he creator of ‘The Simpsons’ has a distinctive view on American families; this is clearly reflected in the Simpson episodes. The excerpts form the article “Welcome to Planet SIMPSON”, BY Stuart Jeffries of the Guardian newspaper suggests “Homer Simpson is a ground down anti-hero who is designed to be laughed at hardly ever with” Homer is a conformist and says “I am not popular enough to be different”. Homer gives Bart some fatherly advice to Bart telling him “Never say anything unless you’re sure everyone around you feels exactly the same way”. This shows that Homer Simpson is scared and anxious of not fitting into society. He is also frightened of getting fired even though he has been fired on many occasions before.
Simpsons are an American family that is greatly influenced by television. In the ‘STUNT BART’ episode both Bart and Homer go “Whoa” at the same time. They are both astonished and overwhelmed at what they saw. They stare at the screen and they hear the fading echo “one helluva match”, this is enough to persuade both Homer and Bart that they want to go to the rally. This also shows us that they are moderately similar in some ways. They are also effortlessly brainwashed by television commercials.
From this we can see that television plays an extensive role in not only Homer’s life but the rest of the family too. Television has an immense impact on the lives of the Simpsons and most Americans in real life. Homer believes that a pleasant “family growth thing” would be if the whole family would go to the ‘Monster Truck Rally’ to see Truckasaurus. But Lisa objects to this suggestion as her recital takes place that night and it is especially significant to her as it is her first solo.
Lisa warns Homer that is he doesn’t attend the recital she will be “forced to go and see a child therapist on Sunday”. When Homer arrives at the concert he does some un-fatherly things. Such as, when Lisa plays the saxophone, Homer stands up and claps just for Lisa shouting “That was beautiful”. Homer is behaving selfishly as usual, but it shows other parents at the concert that Homer is not such a good father. His actions were unnecessary. He calls the recital “junk”; this is also another unnecessary action. When Principal Skinner comes up to the whole school and tells them “now the unfinished symphony”. Homer comments “Oh good unfinished it shouldn’t take too long”. Marge is not impressed by Homer’s manners especially because he keeps looking at the watch to check that he gets to the rally on time.
We see Ned Flanders starting to cry when his son is playing and says “My son my son”. Homer feels that he must comment upon Ned Flanders action and says “Come on Flanders he’s not that bad”. But because Ned Flanders cries it shows us that he is a good father who is proud of his children’s achievements.
Homer is in a hurry and we can see this from the way he keeps looking at the watch. As soon as the concert is over he goes back stage picks Lisa from her chair but brings her back out again so she can bow to the audience. But Lisa feels that she has “reached him”. She believes this because on the way to the rally Homer dangerously drives through the cars but he is humming the tune that Lisa played at the concert.
From this part we can see that the family are considerably close as Homer finally decides to go to Lisa’s recital. But we can clearly see that Homer is more concerned with entertainment because of the huge impact television has on his life. Homer is more worried about the rally than Lisa’s achievement. This shows that he gives priority to other entertainment related activities rather than his own children’s achievements. But Homer does make an effort to be the best father he can be because he did compliment Lisa at the recital even though it was in a selfish way but he meant it in a good way. And he also attends her recital.
The next part is about Bart’s stunt and how certain events lead up to him wanting to jump over Springfield Gorge, but at the same time at the end of the episode Bart and Homer are drawn closer and realize certain things about each other.
In this section of the episode Bart intends on jumping over Springfield Gorge, and television definitely contributed tremendously towards Bart’s intention to perform such a dangerous stunt that could’ve killed him. Bart saw the advert for the Truck Rally on television. When he arrived at the rally he saw a daredevil, Lance Murdoch who performed a very dangerous stunt. The idea of performing such stunts attracted Bart.
Bart intends to undertake the challenge of jumping over Springfield Gorge on just his skateboard. He announces this to his fellow classmates on the Bus on Otto’s speaker and adds “There’s a good chance I may plunge to my bloody death”. As soon as Lisa hears this she automatically becomes concerned for her brother’s welfare. Lisa attempts to “stem the tide entertainment related accidents” by taking Bart to see Lance Murdoch in hospital. She says “Springfield Gorge, Bart you’ll be killed”. She also adds “Before you do anything there is someone I’d like you to talk to”. This shows that Lisa is a concerned sister and sensible too, and even though they are different in man, and even though they are different in many ways she still cares for Bart.
When Bart tells Lance Murdoch what he intends to so the daredevil’s response comes as a surprise as he says “Good for you son, it’s always good to see young children taking an interest in danger”, he supports Bart’s objective. He carries on by saying “Now a lot of people are gonna be telling you that you’re crazy, and maybe they’re right” he continues. This makes even more determined because he looks up to Lance Murdoch and wants to follow his advice as he feels it is the right thing to do. Even Homer can’t make him change his mind.
When Homer learns of Bart’s challenge, Homer tries to stop him the beast way he can by simply shouting at him “I forbid you to jump over that Gorge”, “Go to your room”. Bart’s rebels but Homer says, “I can and do”. Homer is satisfied and says, “I’m glad someone’s put an end to all this nonsense”. Bart’s reply to this is “You can’t watch me 24 hours a day, as soon as your back’s turned, I am grabbing my skateboard and heading straight towards that Gorge”. This shows that Bart is rebellious and that his parent’s authority doesn’t usually affect his decisions, he sees Homer as a weakling and ends by saying “There is nothing you can do” quite confidently.
Homer starts to cry and says “There’s nothing we can do he’s a goner”. This shows Homer is not experienced at handling difficult situations involving Bart. Homer starts to panic and cry. Marge’s advice to Homer is “You’re his father, try reasoning with him”, “Have a heart to heart talk with him”. This suggests that Marge is mainly in control of the relationship and is the logical thinker.
Homer goes to talk to Bart and tells him “Now boy these aren’t phony boloney promises I don’t expect you to keep” this shows the lack of trust in Homer and Bart’s father-son relationship. Homer threatens Bart by saying “If you don’t I won’t believe anything you ever say again”.
When Homer finds out later that Bart has gone he is disappointed and angry and goes after him. When he gets there he says to Bart “I tried ordering you, punishing you and goodness knows I tried reasoning with you”. So Homer decides to jump the Gorge himself in order prove a point to Bart. “The only thing left to do is to jump the Gorge myself”, “That way you can know how it feels to see another member of the family risking there life for no good reason”. Bart starts to become concerned “But Dad you’ll never make it”. Homer replies “Don’t you think I know that”.
So Bart changes his mind and says, “No stop I won’t ever jump again”. And he adds, “I love you Dad”. Homer in return replies “I love you too son”. Homer then says “I don’t think I’ve ever felt so close to you as I do right …”, and then he accidentally falls down the Gorge. But during their short conversation Bart called Homer “Dad”, this shows he respects him.
The Simpsons act differently in various situations. One minute they could be shouting and the next they could be a calm and loving family. Bart does not always respect his father but he learns to do this at the end of the episode. Homer is quite a caring parent as he is willing to risk his life for his son Bart. Homer and Marge love Bart and are concerned for his safety. Homer can’t control Bart as they have different expectations. But there is some love in the Simpsons household.
From the article in the Guardian of “Welcome to Planet SIMPSON”, by Stuart Jeffries, “One of the main virtues of The Simpsons, which makes the show singular among Murdoch products is its subversive ness”, this shows that people enjoy watching the Simpsons partly because, they laugh at wealthy people such as Mr. Burns, Principal Skinner and Joe Quimby the mayor. At the end of the episode Homer says ‘you think you got guts, try raising my kids’, this shows that Homer feels that bringing up children is not an easy job, and especially not in the modern America, as there are so many influences. I feel, Homer is a good father to a certain extent, however, he is not always there for the children as he as communication problems with the children, they like different things.
George Bush feels that the Simpson family aren’t good role models, he feels intimidated by the type of family the Simpsons represent.
I think that he feels intimidated by the Simpsons because they are popular partly because of their subervise ness. This shows that in the Simpsons popular people in society are often made fun of like Mr. Burns or Mayor Quimby; people in power in Springfield are often made fun of. For instance Ned Flanders is a good Christians and keeps to his faith, but Homer is usually picking on him and Mr. Burns and Mayor Quimby have no real friends either.
The Guardian article says “The Simpsons are rarely so insecure. “Underachiever and proud of it” is what Bart says. This is one of Bart’s t-shirts slogans. “State schools banned it” this shows that Bart is a troublesome role model.
George Bush maybe unsettled by ‘The Simpsons’ behaviour because “some groups of American parents are uneasy about their children’s exposure to such issues, and also about the cult of Bart”. Bart is “not exactly a proper role model”. For this reason Bart’s image has been banned from public schools. The Simpsons also encourage violence in some episodes; we see this because Homer often strangles Bart for his bad behaviour.
Often in the Simpsons we witness Bart doing unnecessary things. Bart’s behaviour is hardly ever punished; as Bart rarely suffers as a result of what he has done.
Homer and Bart amongst other characters such as Moe often use inappropriate language. Bart always uses bad language throughout each episode. Bush may also find The Simpsons inappropriate as they review the school as an unpleasant place to be. This is shown through various episodes when many people even Bart have often experienced bullying. It shows intelligent Bart Simpson and Nelson Muntz often bully characters like Martin Prince.
We also see Homer not trying to gain promotion he is quite satisfied with his position and job. He doesn’t really want to get to a higher level, as he knows he hasn’t got the qualities or qualifications to and also because he is lazy and doesn’t want to work any harder than he has to.
The Simpsons family also has unhealthy pastimes or lifestyles. For instance Homer is often hanging out at Moe’s Tavern. He is constantly consuming unhealthy food like Donuts and drinking endless cans of Duff Beer. He enjoys all this eating and drinking and is not at all ashamed of what he does. This shows that the community of Springfield is an overall unhealthy environment. Homer is also frequently strangling Bart by the neck.
The Simpsons are more acknowledged and accepted than The Waltons because they represent a more typical American way of family life with everyday issues. Therefore, I prefer the Simpsons family as they are more realistic, whereas the Walton, though their set is realistic – the attitudes to life and family is not wholly accurate.