The Simpsons – A Lesson in TV Longevity
When people think of cartoon they normally conjure up an image of a little pink bunny rabbits hopping around magical forests entertaining and delighting little children. Cartoons are more often than not associated with children more so than adults, and rightfully so: a large majority of the cartoons put on television are in fact geared toward the younger portion of the television watching community. That being said, recently there has been an influx in the number of cartoon programs designed for adults and a more mature audience. Shows like Family Guy as well as the entire lineup of shows that are broadcast on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim have popped up on cable and satellite TV sets all across the nation, and have changed the way we look at cartoons as a genre of programming. However, while this may seem like a brand new trend, there is one cartoon show that has entertained mature audiences for years: The Simpsons essentially started the movement toward adult animation.
The Simpsons is based around a single family that is meant to be situated somewhere in rural America. They live a routine, normal American life and are meant to be relatable in the way they dress, eat, work, and play. Sports are a big part of what Homer – the main character and father figure in the show – spends his talking and worried about, as are beer, pork chops and getting away from his job and boss. You would be lying if you said that at least one of these things wasn’t part of your daily routine as well!
Furthermore, the family is painted as being lower middle class – there are no HD TVs in the home. This is intentional as it allows for a number of comical situations to spring up. For example, when daughter Lisa wants a pony, Homer is forced to work a second job to afford to keep it, which results in a number of highly comical endings. Or, when the family loses their vacation money because son Bart breaks his arm and needs a doctor’s attention, the family is forced to be creative in their spending so as to afford to go away. Or consider when Homer sets up an illegal satellite TV connection so he can watch the upcoming boxing match with all his bar buddies, just to decide at the last minute that the act is wrong and miss watching the fight altogether. These types of situations arise mainly out of the family’s economic standing and create for a number of whacky situations that add a lot to the show’s overall comedic value.
The fact of the matter is, no matter what misadventure the family finds a way of getting itself into, they always find a way out and a moral (more or less) is learned. It is this format that has allowed the family to stay on the air, entertaining real life families for well over a decade. With shows jumping in and out of syndication these days, a show that has stood the test of time like The Simpsons has is extremely impressive.