The Simpsons Sphere

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http://www.tvweek.com/blogs/tvbizwire/simpsons-family-couch.pngSince it began in 1989, twenty five years ago it has become a pop culture phenomenon. Its more than just a sitcom about a dysfunction middle class nuclear family, it has made a major change in the mediated public sphere. As many 1980’s sitcoms were generally very conservative, had good morals and were extremely family friendly, the Simpsons become the show that pushed the boundaries. The show although animated is not set entirely for children, it had dealt with real adult issues for example Homer and Marge’s marriage came issues of sex, cheating/affairs, separation & conflict, financial issues, self esteem issues, emotional issues and communication breakdowns, I could go on and on. The show heavily uses stereotypes, and as seen in the infamous ‘Australia’ episode which portrayed us Australians as backwards and dimwitted due to our descendants being from British convicts. This is where issues arise in the mediated public sphere as it can begin to offend cultures or people of a certain race and as seen in The Simpsons there are many stereotype characters from Apu the Indian convenience store clerk to Ned Flanders the good Christian neighbour. ned-flanders-harry-potter-620x798 Some say can be it can be offensive to their culture others say its looking at their culture with a satirical approach, it all depends on how you view the message. Other than domestic and family issues The Simpsons has a lot of satirical humour on political issues and propaganda. It pokes fun at the government system and at Fox News as we saw in the week 4 lecture and their influence to try and control our ideologies and values. All in all The Simpsons has influenced or should I say created a generation in the mediated public sphere where controversial issues can be acknowledged using humour, stereotyping and good old self awareness.

This image used for the opening gag caused controversy for its use of Asian sweatshop workers

This image used for the opening gag caused controversy for its use of Asian sweatshop workers

http://whatculture.com/tv/simpsons-10-controversial-moments-ever.php

http://voices.yahoo.com/the-simpsons-more-than-just-stereotypes-4800964.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/8791379/The-Simpsons-history-of-the-series.html

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4 thoughts on “The Simpsons Sphere

  1. I love how you have used The Simpsons, and I especially love how you have pointed out that just because it is a cartoon, it is not necessarily directed at the younger generations. I never really thought about The Simpsons when writing this blog, but its great to see that you have! So many sneaky messages and innuendoes in The Simpsons, I love it!

  2. The Simpsons completely skipped my mind when I was thinking about The Public Sphere – But it really is a prefect example of how popular culture can help bring issues to the front of our thinking.

  3. Nice post, I agree that The Simpson have tested the public a bit with their controversial topics, in particular cultures and religions (a sensitive topic within society). Well done though!

    1. Honestly there is so much to go into with the Simpsons, I could have written 3000 words.Thankfully we didn’t have to, but as our generation has grown literally with the Simpsons (6pm weekdays) and brought our attention to controversial topics, which were taboo on prime time sitcoms and this really shocked previous generations being exposed to this, especially through an animation which is generally meant to be safe and kid friendly.

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