Is The Simpson's The Perfect Family?

1524 words - 6 pages

The Simpsons The Perfect Family?The Simpsons is one of the longest running yet most controversial cartoons in television history. The show revolves around the life of a suburban family in Springfield, USA. This nuclear family consists of a father (Homer), a mother (Marge), a son (Bart), and two daughters (Lisa and Maggie) facing common problems such as Homer losing his job or Bart having trouble in school. One may question what sets a show like this apart from many other shows that depict the suburban lifestyle. Jonah Goldberg, Douglas Rushkoff and Paul Cantor are all authors of articles that describe The Simpsons as a unique show and praise it for the way it gets its message across. Still, critics believe that the show uses its characters, humor, and sarcasm to show the opposite of what a family should be like. Homer is seen as an irresponsible father who makes bad decisions, drinks beer, and loves donuts. Bart is seen as the rebellious son who does not listen to his parents and Lisa who is seen as the "odd one" for being a smart intellectual girl. What the critics do not realize is that although The Simpsons seems to demonstrate the opposite of what a family should be like, its subtle messages about family values are actually exemplified through its characters.Marie Winn, the author of "Television and Family Life" examines the effects of television on American parents and their children. She believes that because of television, thequality of the nuclear family life has gone down. Winn states that "it destroys the special quality that distinguishes one family from another, a quality that depends to a great extent on what a family does" (Winn 401). She insists that although watching television could be a family event, it doesn't compare to the special rituals, games, and other shared activities that do not come with watching television. In Winn's opinion watching so much television leads to the loss of family values. "If the family does not accumulate its backlog of shared experiences, shared everyday experiences that occur and recur and change and develop, then it is not likely to survive as anything other than a caretaking institution" (Winn 403). Winn feels that television is taking away from the family value of spending time together and ruining the bond between parents and their children. In "TV, Freedom, and the Loss of Community," an article by Bill McKibben he feels that television is also taking away from the importance of family values. In what he calls "faceless suburbia" shows such as Ozzie and Harriet and other shows in the 1950s, McKibben thinks that there is still some "sense of shared values, albeit white and patriarchal and square and repressive values, values largely worthy of being overthrown. And TV joined gleefully on this overthrow" (McKibben 203). Still he believes that "TV actively participates in the savaging of an old order it once helped set in stone… the demolition of the last ordered American 'way of life'"...

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