The Simpsons is an American animated television program that premiered in 1989, and the show created by Matt Groening is the longest running scripted TV show in history. In its 25 years, the show has been translated, dubbed, and broadcasted in many nations and languages, and its worldwide popularity is immense. The Simpsons satirizes the American dream and the concept of identity that we as Americans share, and our tendency towards conspicuous consumption and influence by corporate powers. Yet, the biggest reason for its popularity globally is the ability for it to be localized using the huge cast of minor characters.
The Simpsons made its American debut on December 17, 1989 and is now in ...view middle of the document...
There is also Maggie, the always 6-month-old baby, who seems to see and take every thing in. With this cast, creator of The Simpsons Matt Groening gave us five very flawed but lovable characters, who give the American Dream a more attainable standard. The Simpsons personify a satirized; real family- they are headed by a stable marriage with lots of hard work, arguments, modest income, and the kids face problems relative to our society today.
Another part of The Simpson’s appeal in regards to being relatable, is the importance of the outer lying characters and their effects on the plot of the show. Characters like neighbor Ned Flanders, and teacher Edna Krabappel are relatively minor compared to the Simpson family, but their own stories affect the lives of the Simpsons and episode plots, and their eccentricities make them relatable. We all know someone like Homer’s friend and drinking buddy Carl, or Moe, the bartender at Moe’s Tavern. These characters that are satirized in the show are overall relatable to us as Americans, and our concept of identity and the relationships we have with our family, friends, and the minor characters in our own lives.
The Simpsons may be an animated series, but it is also a sitcom in that it tackles social commentary. FOX used The Simpsons to target a more adult audience, and was initially aired in direct competition with the sitcom The Cosby Show. The Simpsons as a sitcom is again proved by the use of minor characters to drive major plots. The minor characters in the show participate in major ways, and fit into the world of Springfield between the more eccentric Simpsons, and the world as the viewers know it, and ultimately become more similar to the way we see ourselves. As well, the minor characters are defined by their stereotypes, and give the show easy jokes. They also allow for more longevity and plots, as there are more minimal characters on The Simpsons than any other sitcom.
A factor in the Simpsons that is satirized and makes the show more relatable is the constant present of corporate brands. In the show, Duff beer is Homer’s drink of choice, and is constantly pictured and a source of many plot lines on the show- the Simpsons even visit Duff Gardens. Duff bear has been likened to Budweiser in the show, and is seemingly always the corporate sponsor, representing the stadium and amusement park, and advertising in the Super Bowl. The word “duff” is slang for useless or broken, and represents the mass-market choice that is heavily advertised and popular, chosen by the undiscriminating beer drinker. Overall, Duff beer represents our homogenized cultural experience and the huge role that consumerism plays in our life. The importance that Duff beer plays in Homer’s life directly represents the extreme consumerism and consumption of Americans, whether that is beers, cars, clothes or food.
In its satire, The Simpsons examines the notions that we create as Americans of our perceived identity, and the way...