TheSimpsons refers to the Fox Broadcasting Company’s animated sitcomproduced by Matt Groening. The cartoon sequel is a satiricalportrayal of the American middle class lifestyle inspired by theSimpson family that is composed of Maggie, Homer, Lisa, Marge, andBart. The franchise is composed of a television series and a movie.The play is based on an imaginary town called Springfield. Groeninginvented the characters of the dysfunctional family, and then gavethem names inspired by his family. James L. Brooks collaborated withGroening in making the first few animated shorts. Presently, thecartoon is one of the highest-ranking TV series of all time. The showdebuted on December 17, 1989. The show is presently on thetwenty-fifth season after broadcasting over 552 episodes. The film isboth the longest-operating American written primetime televisionsequel. In 2007, the series were released in theaters as a movie. Thefilm acquired over $527 million (Irwin 7). The series explore keythemes such as religion. There are many episodes portraying involvingchurches, preachers, and characters of the believers. Some preacherssuch as Reverend Lovejoy is depicted as hypocritical since they havesimilar characteristics with other churchgoers. The intention of thetheme is to criticize corrupt preachers that exploit unsuspectingchurchgoers. Critics have also claimed that the television seriesdoes criticize typical American politics. Key political figures aredepicted as selfish and corrupt. TV series and moviecapture the contemporary American lifestyle using fictitious familycharacters living in an imaginary town (Irwin 11).
TheSimpsons cartoon animation features characters that are hand drawn. Groening refuses the option of using CGI or live action film becausehe wants to give tribute to the art of manually created characters.In 2006, when creating the Simpsonmoviehe invented the biggest palette ever that no other animator has everused. The animations were mainly drawn on the WacomCintiqtablets thereby the images appeared on a computer monitor making iteasy to draw the figures. Theproducers involved in making the movie included James L. Brooks, AlJean, Matt Groening, Richard Sakai and Mike Scully (Keslowitz 74).David Silverman, the director, coordinated the functions of theproducers. Silvermanassigned the animation creation tasks to four distinct studios acrossthe world for faster production. The studios include South Korea’sAKOM and Rough Draft division (Seoul), California’s Film Roman(Burbank) and Rough Draft Studios in (Glendale). The characters,storyboarding, animatic parts, and background layout of theproduction were created in the USA, just like the television series.The international studios were in charge of completing digital inkand painting, animation, and in-betweening process. The movieproduction technique was different since the character shadows arevisible, unlike in the television series (Keslowitz79).
Themovie script is a satire of the modern America. It satirizes variousissues in the American society ranging from homosexuality, politicalissues, and regular problems that face American families. The serieshas remained popular because it is characterized by biting satire andcandid depiction of the American family that generates consecutivehearty laughs. Brooks was assisting Tracey Ullman to establish a TheTracey Ullman Show. Brooks requested Groening, a renownedcartoonist to design animated shorts for using in The TraceyUllman Show (Irwin 21). Groening created characters of amiddle-class American family named after his family. In fact, heportrays himself as Brat Simpson. The shorts became a big success,thereby prompting Brooks to sign a contract with Fox network, suchthat the organization could produce its films while still preventingthe organization from changing with content he created. Brooks andGroening have been the executive producers since the beginning of theshow. Gracie Films, owned by James Brooks, creates the films whileFox Networks distribute it (Irwin 19).
JamesLawrence "Jim" Brooks, the director is an Americanscreenwriter, producer, and director. His hometown was North Bergen,New Jersey. He withstood a broken family life, and he often passedthe time through writing and reading. Initially, the CBS hired him asan usher after he deferred his studies in New York University. Helater began writing CBS News broadcasts. In 1965, David L. Wolpercalled him to Los Angeles so that he could help in to createdocumentaries. He wrote several shows until he was recruited as thestory editor of MyFriend Tony,and afterwards Room222sequel. Brook’s star even shone brighter after Grant Tinkerrecruited him and Burns in MTM productions to develop the 1970’sMary Tyler Moore Show (Keslowitz41).The show was unique because it was among the first to feature aworking-class woman assuming the lead actor role. The criticsshowered the show with accolades that enabled it to scoop severalPrimetimeEmmy Awards.The LouGrant(a drama) and Rhoda(acomedy) were spin-offs of the Mary Tyler Moore Show. Other films thatJames Brooks produced include StartingOver(1979), Termsof Endearment,I`llDo Anything(1994), AsGood as It Gets(2004), and HowDo You Know(2010). In 1984, Brooks established Gracie Films, a television andFilm company (Keslowitz48). He quit television production until 1987 to facilitate TheTracey Ullman Show.He hired Groening to design animated characters for using in theshow, which led to the development of TheSimpsonsin 1889. Since Brooks ventured into animation production, he has wontwenty Emmy awards out of the forty-seven he has been nominated. Hehas acquired a good deal of the Emmy awards from his outstandingproduction of TheSimpson (Keslowitz53).
TheSimpsons has six major voice-over actors. They include Hank Azaria,Harry Shearer, Dan Castellaneta, Yeardley Smith, Nancy Cartwright,and Julie Kavner. Castellaneta acts as an adult male character suchas Barney Gumble Krusty the Clown, and Grampa Simpson. Julie Kavneris assigned the voice of minors such as Patty and Selma and MargeSimpson. Smith voices Lisa Simpson. Cartwright voices Bart, theschool-hating, devious, cunning, irrelevant, and confidentunderachiever. Shearer and Azaria are cast as the voices of othertownspeople. All the actors featured in the movie have won prime-timeEmmy awards for excellent Voice-Over Performance (Keslowitz13).
Themovie is set in an imaginary city called Springfield. Groening, thewriter of the episode, invented the city. It is practicallychallenging to determine the actual location of the city in the USbecause there are 22 states with cities called ‘Springfield’.However, the author claimed that the location was inspired bySpringfield” Oregon as he grew up in the region. In addition, thename is popular in America, thus many people would be interested inwatching the film because they would think that the movie is inspiredby their local Springfield (Keslowitz25).
Althoughthe Simpsons sequel is based in a small town, it facilitatesreflexive imagining of possible neighboring states. James Brookssuggests possibility of neighboring nations through the inclusion andrejection of foreigners. In the Simpsons, the characters areportrayed as either American or non-American using a variety ofsymbolic props such as flags, relevant literature, language,territory, gastronomy, and national holidays. The director hassuccessfully integrated the six elements in the film to portraydifferent nations (Holland7).
Variousartists have composed music for each Simpsons’ episode. Forexample, Brooks assigned Hans Zimmer the task of composing music forthe movie. The intention of choosing different music composers isacquiring a style that would represent the characters appropriatelywithout wearing out the fans. The music is composed of short lyricsthat are subdivided into short lyrics for each character. Forexample, Homer and Marge have a short lyric version. Bart and Lisahave unique versions each (Keslowitz65).
TheSimpsons is an animated adult sitcom that satirizes the contemporaryAmerican lifestyle. One of the major themes it explores includes theAmerican culture. For instance, Lisa’sSubstituteexplores typical relationship of parents with their children. AfterMiss Hoover allegedly contracts Lyme disease, Mr. Bergstromsubstitutes her. The new teacher develops good chemistry with LisaSimpsons such that she thinks of him as a positive role model thatshe has ever met. The episode satirizes modern parenting as a primaryresponsibility for parents because the teacher emphasizes to Lisathat he could not continue being his role model (Holland11). He gives her a note emphasizing that she is a Simpsons, so sheshould look up to his family, especially his father Omer as the bestrole model. The cartoon also satirizes the risk of the Americanalcohol culture. is a typical dysfunctional middle-classfamily. The film does also portray political figures in a pessimisticor unflattering perspective. For instance, they are portrayed ascorrupt people. On the other hand, the preachers such as ReverendLovejoy are similar to the rest of the churchgoers despite that theyare supposed to be the role models (Holland15). Just as the American regular American families turn to God in timesof crises seeking intervention to stop harm coming their way, thecartoon characters also seek divine intervention every time theyexperience tough challenges. Most of the common religions in Americaare featured in the cartoon Simpsons series since religion is a majortheme that recurs in many episodes. Lastly, the sequel portrays womenas homemakers. The father (Homer) is a drunk that spends a lot oftime taking alcohol. Although he is the breadwinner, and Marge ishomemaker, she plays a significant role in bringing the familytogether (Keslowitz105).
Insummary, TV series and movies capturethe contemporary American lifestyle using fictitious familycharacters living in an imaginary town. Matt Groening invented thecharacters in the show.The show is based in Springfield, which is an imaginary location.However, the characters have typical American lifestyle habits. TheTV series is sponsored by the Fox Film Networks. It is presently the longest running TV series in the Americanhistory. Besides, James L. Brooks, one of the key producers andinventors of the television series has won several productionaccolades associated with the series.
Holland,Travis. TelevisionNations: Imagined Communities in ,University of Wollongong. Web, retrieved on September 7, 2014 from
Irwin,William. and Philosophy: The D`oh! of Homer.Chicago, Ill. [u.a.: Open Court, 2003. Print.
Keslowitz,Steven. The World According to the Simpsons: What Our Favorite TvFamily Says About Life, Love and the Pursuit of the Perfect Donut.Naperville, Ill: Sourcebooks, 2006. Print.