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Does Homer Know Best? Essay

1985 words - 8 pages

Sitcoms like The Simpsons, are used to show that the traditional family is not what it is played out to be on other shows like Father Knows Best, The Jetsons and Leave it to Beaver. The Simpsons challenges and upholds the traditional sitcom while representing the American nuclear family as a unique and lovable family. Like most shows that come out of Hollywood, The Simpsons is pro-Democrat and against Republican views. This show suggests that not following the traditional family roles will you give you a happier life. Gender roles are often used in the show to demonstrate masculinity and femininity. Through satire and parody, The Simpsons addresses gender roles and the typical problems and behavior of an average American family.
In modern society, the average nuclear family is considered to be the mother, father, and 2.5 children. That is exactly what the Simpson’s has. Maggie has not aged one bit even though the show has been on since 1987. The average American family can be explained as the mother being the caretaker and the father as the head of the household. The mother and children are dependent on the father to provide for their family. The Simpson Family does display this but they aren’t a perfect white picket fence family. Lisa is the smartest in the family and she is only a child, she has more intelligence then her mother and father combined. “The Simpsons: Atomistic Politics and the Nuclear Family” was written by Paul A. Cantor. Cantor is the Clifton Waller Barrett Professor at the University of Virginia. He is also an American literary and media critic. Cantor is well known for his writings about popular culture. He is considered a preeminent scholar in the subject of American popular culture studies. This article from JSTOR has a focus on The Simpsons that will be applicable to my essay on gender roles and family. Cantor suggests,
The Simpsons indeed offers one of the most important images of the family in
contemporary American Culture and, in particular, and image of the nuclear family. With
the names taken from creator Matt Groening’s own childhood home, The Simpsons
portrays the Average American family: father (Homer), mother (Marge) and 2.2 children
(Bart, Lisa, and little Maggie) (735).
The show is so successful because it displays real human issues that everybody can relate too and recognize as their own. Overall the characters of Springfield, USA seem more human and well rounded than the characters that are on most sitcoms with real human being characters. Even though The Simpsons seems like it is trying to undermine the American Family and it’s authority, the show continues to remind us that antiauthoritarianism is considered an American tradition and that the authority of families has always been a problem in democratic America. The show draws in the audience because it combines antitraditonalism alongside traditionalism by using parody and satire to make fun of the traditional American family.
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