A similar cartoon to ‘Itchy and Scratchy’ is ‘Tom and Jerry’ the characters in both cartoons dislike each other. They differ however in their use of weaponry. In the cartoon ‘Itchy and Scratchy’, these battles are exaggerated and the violence escalates through the use of dangerous weapons and graphic imagery. This culture can be seen on the streets of America where the use of guns and knifes are regularly used. In this episode of The Simpson’s the producers use parody as a technique to mock the TV culture of America by including the Psycho scene.
Each time Maggie attacks Homer the creators adds tension and atmosphere by using the same music and camera angles. This is because Psycho is a well known horror film which is easily recognisable. From then on each time Maggie attacks Homer we hear the same music to show that she is about to do something bad. The shower scene from Psycho is made to appear shocking because an innocent woman is brutally attacked. The Simpson’s use many of the camera angles to parody this.
Some of the famous shots from psycho have been used for example, when Homer and Janet Leigh realise the attacker is behind them they use a big close up shots to show the emotion and fear on their faces. There is a close up of Homers mouth just as he realises that Maggie is about to hit him, in a similar way we see Janet Leigh scream as she sees the killer. Also when they feel the blow, Homer pulls the table cloth to the ground, we see the cloth rip in the same way that the shower curtain rips in Psycho.
As Janet Leigh blood runs down the plug hole they use the same panning shot to show Homer lying on the floor and the red paint runs to the plug hole and then they use a fading shot into his eye to start the next scene off. The music adds tension because it stars off high pitched and gives you a sense add danger, as it goes on the pitch gets lower and slow down, the double base and cello are perfect instruments because they make sharp hollow noses building tension to make you wonder what gong to happen next. This technique combines to make the scene recognisable and easy to relate to.
Once Marge realises the terrible effects the cartoon is having on Maggie she begins to wrights letters of protest to the creators of ‘Itchy and Scratchy’ and Crusty the Clown. After a successful campaign the nature of the cartoon changes. The theme tune now begins ‘We love, we share, we love we share we care ‘, Itchy and Scratchy are now loving and caring. The cartoon ‘Porch Pals’ shows them sitting on the porch and shared the lemonade with one another. Maggie is once again influenced but this time for the good. She goes over to Homer to give him a glass of lemonade.
The other kids are disappointing with the changes to the show. Lisa said “it’s lost its touch” and Bart said “this suck”. Millhouse, Bart’s friend turned off the TV and the camera angle shows a disappointed expression. The fact that children apparently only enjoy watching TV violence is exaggerated by the creators, they make all the children turn off the TV and walk out side to play. As the children walk out side they rub there eyes to exaggerate the effect that the sun has had on their eyes. The music changes to Beethoven 6th symphony makes the atmosphere happy and joyful.
All the children are playing traditional games. Homer sits at the table and his children are happy and polite. Attitudes to each other change. Homer shows an interest in his children by asking “what have you done today” and the children become polite by asking “may we leave”, Homer comes out with a comment ‘this is the golden age’ but it might not necessarily be as perfect as they all think. One boy is shown watching paint dry and there is a saying that ‘nothings more boring then watching paint dry. ‘ This indicates that everything is not perfect after all.
The positive influence of not watching TV has been well presented ever though it has been exaggerated. The children are spending their time doing positive, worthwhile things, making friends, helping the community and being much more polite. Although TV can have a negative affect on children the creators are aware that too much censorship is also bad. When Michael Angelo’s David is brought to Springfield the parents begin to protest against it. Marge, on the other hand is in favour of the statue coming to Springfield. This makes Marge re-examines her own attitudes to TV violent.
What one person finds offensive could be considered a masterpiece by others. She realises that censorship denies others the right of free choice. When answering the original question it would appear that the Simpson’s does influence the behaviour of children. When violent cartoons such as Pokamon are popular the incidences of playground violence increases as children try to imitate their actions. However, as children grow up they develop the ability to distinguish between TV and reality. In certain cases seeing violent acts and the affect it has on victims may prepare people placed in similar situations to cope in real life.