After starting in 1989, The Simpson was instantly beloved. Its popularity has seen it go on to become America’s longest-running sitcom along with worldwide acclaim with little end in sight.
Its appeal was made known to me while working at a youth hostel in London in 1991. All put everything on hold to be huddled in front of the TV to take in The Simpson’s. The exploring of the many attractions of London or adjoining areas were secondary. All were captivated by the light-hearted parody of American society and life in general. In its infancy, if I had been given a quid for every time I heard ‘doh’ by people mimicking Homer’s iconic catch cry, I would have resembled Bill Gates!
The interesting aside in looking at the show is its correlation with how society has changed during its 28-year tenure. Everything in real life has become so much more precious and reactionary. Hysteria is rampant as a result. The Social Age brings this into such focus due to everything being immediate and a mere click away.This is defined by the galling Political correctness that represents literal choker chains around the necks of all. Where you need to think before you talk or act. In the knowledge that even the most innocent of gestures can be viewed instantly and misrepresented leading to repercussions.In the media and within tv shows this is magnified to the enth degree
Amidst this, the show seems to enjoy immunity.
Think of these common trends in the show and the lack of any reaction;
The relationship between Homer and Ned Flanders defines bullying that clashes with the focus on this issue in society. Similarly, Nelson Munz is portrayed in the light of a ‘cool cat’ despite most of his scenes revolving around acts of bullying. The show seems to laugh them off with a characteristic, ‘HA-HA’
The show uses Homer’s gluttony for food for cheap giggles. Devouring donut after donut or being ejected from all you can eat taverns screaming and kicking due to still not being full. Chief Wiggum is a similar bastion of unhealthy eating and body shape.
The many instances of Homer irresponsible drinking habits are embodied in drinking to excess. Many of these occasions in front of his children, or in work settings. Barney, when he falls off the wagon, is painted in the same vein. Both stoop to shameful extents to feed their habit. As seen in Barney licking the remnants of grog out of a dirtied ashtray or Homer exclaiming 'how he would kill for a beer'.
Even the practices at Moe’s Tavern condescend responsible serving of alcohol. Where the grizzled barman has no objection in letting his bar junkies get toasted followed by allowing them to drive home.
Think of the many times you see Homer lose it with Bart and resort to strangling him. Ask yourself what reaction would ensue if this was witnessed in real life?
The relationship between Homer and Lisa is your bastion of neglect. Where he shows little attention to his daughter and knows little of her interests. This carries on to similar with Maggie
Female role models #1
Marg as the prominent female in the show is your atypical neglected wife. Who is happy to deal with varied abuse to fulfil her role as a traditional wife, and mother. She gladly sacrifices all her hopes and dreams to be a bastion of old world subservience.
Female role models #2
Lisa is a bright, independent and empowered girl. Who is passionate about a host of social issues. The show constantly casts her as an outcast that defies the status quo for the roles that girls should have in society.
Treat them as resembling a dish rag and then cast them aside. Homer profits from Grandpa Simpson selling his home then duly throws him in a home. The main theme in the nursing home is the mistreatment of the old residents that has little care for them.
Bumbling and corrupt with Chief Wiggum the poster child. An obesely overweight character that is profoundly incompetent in the crucial role he assumes.
The bringing up of these points paints me in a precious vein to the point of being anal. Particularly when most take the show in the light-hearted manner that is its common theme. The aside is the reactionary nature that goes hand in hand with everything in society. Which brings into focus even the most flippant gestures, words, or acts.
Why does The Simpsons escape the same associated hysteria?