The Simpson’s: America’s Household
Television shows such as The Simpson’s portray the deterioration of families in our society. From the outside they appear to be the typical nuclear family consisting of a mother, father, and three children that live in Springfield, which is basically Anytown, U.S.A., but as most families today The Simpson’s have their own problems.
Marge and Homer are the quintessential American couple. Homer is a blue-collared worker, who spends more time eating doughnuts than paying attention to being in charge of safety at the local nuclear power plant, and has been married to Marge since they graduated high school. He is notorious for spending his evenings at Moe’s, a local tavern, consuming obscene amounts of beer and complaining about his life. When Homer is at home he spends the majority of the time watching television, drinking beer, and ignoring the needs of his family. As a husband, Homer is far from being ideal, when his wife wanted to act in a community play Homer did not understand why she would want to participate in something that didn’t benefit him and was more concerned with who would make dinner for him every night. If being intoxicated ninety percent of the time isn’t damaging enough to his children, then the horrible advice he dispenses to them is. He gives his children advice such as cheating is the only way to win and stealing is okay as long as you’re not caught, while his intentions are usually in the right place, his mind is definitely not.
The other half of the couple, Marge, is not as flawed, but has her faults, too. As a stereotypical housewife, Marge is much more supportive and nurturing than Homer, but is deluded into thinking she has a healthy marriage and perfect children. Marge tends to deal with her problems through obsessive cleaning and compulsive bargain shopping. This coupon-clipping mom ignores the faults in her rebellious son and drunken husband. She may sound like her only weakness is being naive, but she has also made her mistakes in the marriage. In one episode Marge almost had an affair with her bowling instructor and deserted her family every night to go see him. Since, this is a lighthearted show she didn’t go through with the adulterous deed, but it shows us that even Marge is fallible. (http://www.snpp.com)
Marge and Homer may be unorthodox parents, but their children do not seem to be much different. Bart is the oldest of the Simpson children; at ten years old this boy has gotten in himself into more predicaments and mischief than most children even dream of. He has done everything from cutting off the head of the town’s beloved Jebediah Springfield statue to getting the United States in diplomatic discord with Australia. His rebellion is considered harmless “boys will be boys” behavior, and never treated as the potentially dangerous conduct he demonstrates. Whether his actions are out of a need for attention from his neurotic mother or to rebel against the angst he has toward his inebriated father, the community around him is the one that suffers from his delinquency.
Though Bart may be the product of his environment, Lisa, his seven-year-old sister, seems to have come out of this situation with a remarkable amount of morale and intellect. She excels in school and playing the saxophone despite her home life. Her studious demeanor may be due to the fact that she uses books and studying as a means of escape from the reality of having to live within the confines of her house and small town community that neglect her gifts and talents. Much like Marge, Lisa is not without her faults. She tends expect those around her to live up to the unrealistic expectations she has set for herself. When Lisa decided to become a vegetarian, her tolerance for her meat eating family no longer existed. She refused to understand how anyone could not see things her way and sabotaged everything from family barbeques to her mother’s lamb chop dinner. While she may be the only admirable character on the show, her convictions can be an enormous nuisance.
Amongst all these diverse characters is the youngest member of the Simpson family, Maggie. She plays the role of the innocent baby that is caught in the middle of her family’s mayhem. Since she is just a baby she doesn’t have many character traits to analyze, but one can only assume what type of person she would become. Growing up the Simpson household, Lisa and Bart have already taken the roles of the intellect and the rebel, leaving Maggie little room for her to form her own identity; which may be why in the eleven years the show has been on the air Maggie is still an infant. (http://www.thesimpsons.com)
As everyone can relate somewhat to each character in the show, it demonstrates how dysfunctional our society is. We all know what its like to be Lisa, not encourage by your loved ones and left to develop your own sense of morals in an unethical society; or maybe we relate more to Bart, unable to function as a contributing member of society and focused on getting attention from those around us. Marge and Homer imitate the majority of American families, from the loving wife and insensitive husband clich? to their intimate moments in the bedroom.
It may seem that this is a harsh view of a funny cartoon, but millions of viewers tune in every week to see themselves in some way. As we all watch the Simpson’s go through economic difficulties, domestic conflicts, and dreadful family vacations we can all relate to it. Which makes you wonder whether these disturbing characters are what we want our society to be like or a wake-up call telling us we need to change. Shouldn’t we strive to be better than a society of drunken fathers, obsessed mothers, and troubled children?