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The Simpsons - Lovely criticism

Description of the comic series

animated by Matt Groening in 1989
the first animated prime-time series since the 1960's and right from the beginning a part of American culture
the revolutionary new combination of humoristic comic strips and direct social criticism of American society made the Simpsons so successful
they represent the normal and average American society


The main characters of the comic series

The father is called Homer Simpson, he is characterised as the loveable, not terribly

intelligent father

he tries to please his family, his boss and his friends all the time, but with varying
degrees of success

he works as a safety inspector in a nuclear power plant, a job which is more or less meaningless for Homer
the most important things for Homer are TV, Duff beer and doughnuts


His wife and mother of three children is Marge Simpson

she is a patient and quite intellectual housewife with tower-high blue hair
- she embodies the stereotypical


Originaldokument enthält an dieser Stelle eine Grafik!
Original document contains a graphic at this position!


American mother, serving as a model of morality and

good behaviour

Bartholomew J. Simpson, called "Bart", is ten years old and the Simpson's eldest

child

he is a cheeky young boy who only thinks of the next trick he can play on his parents,
his sister, his teachers or Moe, the barkeeper

school is for Bart a necessary evil, his mind is only on skateboarding and his favourite comic, the "Radioactive Man


The brain of the family is definitely Lisa Simpson, particularly marked by her

impressive intellect

she is the cultured person in the show with a deep respect for Jazz - she plays the saxophone passionately - and loves art
Lisa seems to be the perfect child, she is honest, kind, talented and smart


Last but not least there is Maggie Simpson, the youngest child, who is a baby

since the show started Maggie has never spoken a word, she only sucks her pacifier all the time
Social criticism in the comic series
Criticism of the mass media

Groening chiefly criticises the violence in TV shows, mainly expressed by the comic strip "Itchy & Scratchy", the favourite comic series of Springfield's kids, especially of Bart and Lisa, which is presented during every show of Krusty, the Clown
Itchy, a small mouse, continuously fights against his opponent Scratchy, a cat
the mouse tries to kill its opponent always, but not always the same way, the cat has to die differently each time


And why is this a point to criticise?

The concept of these shows targeted at what pleases children. So it is no wonder that the broadcasting time of these comic series is mostly during the afternoon, at a time when mainly children are watching TV. They are exposed to violence without the ability to distinguish between reality and fiction.

Criticism of industry

the SNPP, the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant, is the only source of energy Springfield has
under the leadership of the most powerful man, C. Montgomery Burns it is Springfield's major employer and at the centre of public life
safety measures are seriously lacking in the Power Plant and there is a great risk of leakage of nuclear fallout in the construction and operation
the method of construction was very cheap, Mr Burns does not see any point in restoring the Plant as long as it works
the security equipment of the employees is also very bad or rather non-existant


Again the same question: Where is the criticism?

The attitude Mr Burn's shows is often ascribed to powerful industrialists. The health of the employees does not stand in the foreground but the only priority is to achieve a profit that is as big as possible.

Criticism of politics and politicians

the mayor of Springfield is called Diamond Joe Quimby, he tries to rule the city in a manner that ensures him to have enough money for himself and to get re-elected
every time when things get too hot for him he takes money out of the public purse, puts it into a suitcase and is ready to leave the city, no matter how bad the situation is for the citizens
the situation ends always with Quimby staying because somebody has defused it for him
he only thinks egoistically and about how he can wriggle himself out of responsibility, not caring about the city but only about the next election - his election!
Quimby is open to bribery and works sometimes together with the mafia


...criticism...

Groening shows us that powerful people like politicians may abuse their power to enrich themselves and even don't shrink back from working together with organised crime, like the mafia

The readiness of young people to commit violence

The guy the pupils of Springfield's Elementary School fear most is called Nelson Muntz
he is a rough bully who tyrannizes his classmates all the time; if something is not the way he wants it Nelson uses violence to get his way
he is unable to show his feelings or to act in a friendly or human way and he is proud about his image of being such a rough and violent boy


Come on, old boy, we want to know where the lovely criticism is!! Don't make it that exciting!

As the example of Nelson shows the inhibition threshold of children to acts of violence goes down. The Young nowadays clearly show more readiness to use force. Extreme examples for this are the many terrible news-stories about the massacres committed by the young in American Schools.


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