I Didn't Do It, How The Simpsons Effect Kids

2337 words - 9 pages

The Simpsons is one of Americas most popular television shows. It ranks as thenumber one television program for viewers under eighteen years of age. However, theideals that The Simpsons conveys are not always wholesome, sometimes not even ingood taste. It is inevitable that The Simpsons is affecting children.Matt Groening took up drawing to escape from his troubles in 1977. At thetime, Groening was working for the L.A. Reader, a free weekly newspaper. He beganworking on Life in Hell, a humorous comic strip consisting of people with rabbit ears.The L.A. Reader picked up a copy of his comic strip and liked what they saw. Life inHell gradually became a common comic strip in many free weeklies and collegenewspapers across the country. It even developed a cult status. (Varhola, 1)Life in Hell drew the attention of James L. Brooks, producer of works such asTaxi, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and Terms of Endearment. Brooks originallywanted Groening to make an animated pilot of Life in Hell. Groening chose not to doso in fear of loosing royalties from papers that printed the strip. Groening presentedBrooks with an overweight, balding father, a mother with a blue beehive hairdo, andthree obnoxious spiky haired children. Groening intended for them to represent thetypical American family 'who love each other and drive each other crazy'. Groeningnamed the characters after his own family. His parents were named Homer andMargaret and he had two younger sisters named Lisa and Maggie. Bart was an anagramfor 'brat'. Groening chose the last name 'Simpson' to sound like the typical Americanfamily name. (Varhola, 2)Brooks decided to put the 30 or 60 second animations on between skits on TheTracy Ullman Show on the unsuccessful Fox network. Cast members Dan Castellanetaand Julie Kavner did the voices of Homer and Marge. Yeardley Smith (later to star inHerman's Head) did the voice of Lisa. Nancy Cartwright did the voice of Bart.Cartwright previously supplied the voices for many cartoons, including Galaxy High,Fantastic Max, Richie Rich, Snorks, Pound Puppies, My Little Pony, and Glo-Friends.Tracy Ullman later added Cartwright to her cast. (Dale and Trich, 11)Brooks, Groening, and Sam Simon, Tracy Ullman's producer, wanted to turn theSimpson family into their own show. The Fox network was looking for material toappeal to younger viewers. The only show they had that drew a young audience wasMarried With Children. To Fox's pleasure, The Simpsons saved the network from nearfailure. (Varhola, 3)On December 17, 1989, The Simpsons got their break. The Christmas special,'Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire' aired. (Dale and Trich, 19)In the episode, Bart got a tattoo, much to Marge's dislike. She quickly spent allof the family's Christmas money to remove Bart's tattoo with a laser. At the same time,Homer, still on his morning coffee break at 4:00 in the afternoon, learns that he will notreceive a Christmas bonus. When he learns that Marge is relying on the money forChristmas, he...

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