The Family from Springfield
Now, it needs to be specified that first mini-episodes emerged back in 1987 in “Tracey Ullman Show”. Short runtime (mere 2 minutes) and poor graphic didn’t prevent Homer and his family from gaining popularity among the audience as well as from persuading producers of the necessity to create a freestanding series.
Besides, we have to thank Matt Groening for the Simpsons. Author of advertising billboards and booklets in 80s worked for Steve Jobs himself and was actively going in for animation. But he was never interested in popular cartoons about superheroes. The artist enjoyed following lives of ordinary Americans. It was there where he found inspiration for as much as 25 seasons!
Over the years the Simpsons scored around the globe. And here it is important to mention not only interesting characters but also intelligent promo campaigns. Thus, for instance, in mid-90s when viewers got slightly bored with the series, its ratings in the USA started to drop, creators of the epic decided to paint Western Pacific Airlines with pictures of main characters. On seeing their idols in the sky, millions of people rushed home to watch TV again.
Unfortunately, airlines wound down with the series failing to get to some parts of the world. Never mind, because good PR-expert can do everything and anything, even… change main characters’ skin color. (pic. Black Simpsons). The idea worked out: Africa too got “hooked” on the Simpsons.
However, attitude towards the cartoon isn’t always good. Over quarter-century of its existence authors faced millions of complaints and a couple of dozen law suits. Sharp jokes, social morality criticism and cavils to religion – this is a noninclusive list of accusations that authors of the series had to encounter. They even faced censorship a couple of times. Thus, when the Simpsons started to come out in United Arab Emirates in 2005, bosses of local channels significantly shred the TV-product. Muslims watch short versions: characters there don’t drink beer, don’t eat bacon and don’t make fun of different religions.
Anyway, Groening and other screenwriters stand pat. Cartoon remains rough and cynical and this is what constitutes its main value. It isn’t for nothing that in 2005 influential magazine “Men’s Health” declared Homer Simpson… philosopher of the decade. And we are not a bit surprised. Sometimes a life spent at a factory and in a bar teaches more them certain universities. And the main character’s favorite exclamation “D’oh!” is included into Oxford Dictionary of English. According to the description, Homer uses it “expressing frustration at the realization that things have turned out badly or not as planned, or that he has just said or done something foolish”. And things like that happen to him quite often.
Meanwhile his spouse, Marge, keeps up with him: she joined TOP-10 of most caring TV mothers. And it is no coincidence since “The Simpsons” author admits that the character was drawn from life, from his own mother. Also, in 2009 Homer’s wife ornamented November’s edition of «Playboy» cover. It was the first and only case when an animation character became a cover-girl. Interview and resume of the blue-haired diva was published in the same magazine.
“The Simpsons” have probably become so ingrained in many people’s lives it seems now that the cartoon existed forever. Many modern researchers and sociologists believe the series will never annoy the audience because it is a mirror of the society. And people have always enjoyed watching themselves, even if the mirror reflects them in a slightly geeky way and with only four fingers on their hands.