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The Simpson is now arguably the biggest sitcom and animation of TV history, but what is it that makes it so successful compared to traditional sitcoms. In order to answer this question, we have to look at sitcom as a whole; then the difference if any between modern and traditional sitcoms. Sitcoms when first released were aimed at families and it tried to show what American should be like. Sitcoms are popular for many different reasons; some of these including that they were episodic in nature therefore you didn’t have to watch them from the beginning.
Also the American had fought in world war two, so shows like “Leave it to Beaver” showed them what they want. The producer used varies comic devices to make the audience laugh; these including visual humour, word play, funny situations and hyperbole. Traditional Sitcoms used to follow a narrative structure; such as the father worked and the mother was a housewife. The family was set in a white sub-urban community “utopias” where the elders were still respected.
The storylines were set around the family which was middle-class and they were very tight together.
Most of the characters in traditional sitcoms were good, but to stop it being too sugary, they had one or two bad characters that cause small problems. As world war two was just over, the American media and government was trying to maintain the American’s image of freedom and the image of hope. The Simpsons has some of these characteristics but it does break most of them.
The first difference you see straight away is that the characters are mostly yellow and this is because it was supposed to catch the eye of “channel flickers” quoted by Matt Groening.
Also because it is an animation, it can be more unrealistic therefore use more hyperbole. Unlike families in traditional sitcoms such as “Leave it to Beaver”; the Simpsons family is far from perfection as shown by Homer, the unreasonably and lazy father. The main difference in storylines is that Simpsons is not afraid to talk about controversial topics and make fun out of politics. This makes the Simpsons more realistic then traditional sitcoms were therefore audience got more involved with the family The Simpson’s trademark when compared to others sitcoms is it opening sequence; there is no other like it.
It has different functions; one of the main functions is to clearly establish the setting and the main character The Simpsons family. They are introduced visually; we see Homer work in the power plant and leaving as soon as the whistle blows; Marge doing the shopping; Bart writing up lines and Lisa playing a saxophone solo. We learn a lot from this opening sequence such as that Homer is not passionate about his work or maybe lazy; Marge is the traditional housewife looking after Maggie; Bart is not the perfect child like Beaver and Lisa is a rebel and more intelligent then most students.
It also shows that the TV is the centre of their family life as they mostly gather around it. The opening sequence also informs the audience that “The Simpsons” is also a comedy because it creates humour such as the couch gag. It also involves the audience straight away from the start with the three things that changes: Writing on the Billboard, Lisa’s solo, couch gag. The opening sequence shows that this is not like other conventional sitcoms; as we see everyone is not perfect, and the nuclear power plant which would be frowned upon by most people.
As most people, after the Chernobyl nuclear incident, would not like to be near a power plant. Humour is a main feature of The Simpsons; therefore the writers include a lot of comic devices, such as hyperbole and puns, to make the audiences laugh. One type of comic devices used is hyperbole and this is when there is an exaggeration of a situation such example is when Homer throws away uranium tubes on the floor. The Simpsons make the uses of being an animation because it can perform bigger exaggeration then normal sitcoms.
It also uses language devices such as sarcasm and a common example is when Homer meets Patty and Selma, Homer pretends to be happy. The storyline in the Simpsons can be so unrealistic, it is almost a farce but this is what makes it humorous. The writers of the Simpsons use a lot of wordplay such as puns; they also make their storyline unique. The main feature of animation contributes to the success of the show; because they are animated then can do almost any storyline possible. All these different devices works together to make the show the funniest show ever.
The range of the storylines ensures that it can go on forever also the characters will never have to age like human actor. Traditional sitcoms did not challenge or criticize American values or society. However, “The Simpsons” refuses to be quiet; it says what it feels need to say. For example, in the episode “Trash of the Titans”, “The Simpsons” satires and criticizes the way US politics and politicians. It condemns mud-slinging when he is telling lies about the oppositions. Homer makes unrealistic promises to the citizens of Springfield, also he has an immoral campaign but he still wins.
Most “Simpsons” episodes follow a traditional narrative structure of orientation- complication- conclusion. For example in the episode, I have chosen “New Kids on the Bleech”, the episodes begins with the family watching Great Moments In Olympic History on the television. The program features highlights such as Jesse Owens beating Hitler’s zeppelin and the oldest marathon winner. Inspired by the accomplishment of the marathon champion who is roughly his age, Homer decides to compete in the Springfield race. Marge rebuts, “Oh please, you get exhausted watching The Twilight Zone marathon.
” This is an example of wordplay of the word marathon. The next scene shows Homer preparing himself for the run at the start of the race. A banner above him for the marathon reads, “Ruin Your Knees For Charity. ” After confirming that all his sweatbands and anti-chafe nipple tape are in place, Homer takes his mark. He is ridiculing the latest sport clothes used by professional athletics . At the end of the race, a disguised Bart sneaks ahead of the frontrunners and wins the contest. After a bird steals his fake moustache, exposing Bart as a fraud, the crowd is incensed.
Sideshow Mel shouts, “I demand a re-race. ” Moe proposes, “I have a better idea. Let’s have a fun run on his trachea”, the word trachea, is supposed to sound like track another example of wordplay written by the writers. A handsome blond stranger in a fancy car pulls up and offers Bart a chance to escape. He takes it. It turns out that the stranger is a music producer named L. T. Smash who would like Bart to be the “bad boy” in his new boy band. Marge is about to raise her concerns when Bart interrupts, “Please, Mom. My dream has always been to be a rock star.
” Homer adds, “And my dream is to get rid of Bart. How many lives must you ruin? ” Faced with these arguments, Marge agrees. We learn that Homer is the subversion of the perfect father because he just wants to get rid of Bart as quick as he can. At Classified Records, Bart meets the rest of the band. First, L. T. Smash introduces Millhouse. Then, Smash says, “He’ll break your nose, your glasses, and your heart,” as he introduces Nelson. Bart facetiously but accurately predicts that the last member of the band, which is to be called Party Posse, is Ralph.
Smash mentions the success he had with the other boy bands he produced, including “Boynudo” and “New Kids in the Ditch. ” He then sets the group to work. They are terrible. Undeterred, Smash uses a machine called Studio Magic to enhance their voices, muttering, “Thank you NASA. ” This shows people think that boy bands of the present are just the same things and they have no differences. Next, at an assembly at Springfield Elementary, Principal Skinner introduces “Party Posse”. After the performance, the Party Posse is resting backstage when ‘N Sync comes in with a gift basket.
Justin remarks, “I can’t believe I’m meeting Millhouse. ” After ‘N Sync leaves, an unimpressed Bart notes, “Now we have to send them a basket. ” Bart shows that celebrity act like they get along but that is not the truth. In the next scene, the Simpsons are watching MTV. The Party Posse’s single, “Drop Da Bomb,” comes on. It features an odd chorus of “YVAN EHT NOIJ. ” Lisa asks what that is supposed to mean. Homer answers, “It doesn’t mean anything. It’s like rama-dama-ding-dong, or give peace a chance” and this show that Homer isn’t the cleverest. Unconvinced, Lisa watches the video again.
She catches a single frame of an enlistment poster. Then, playing the song backwards, she realizes that the chorus is telling people to join the navy. Lisa confronts Smash. He denies the charges for a moment, but his tattoos give him away. Finally he explains that the group is part of the Navy’s new recruitment strategy. He says, “It is a three-pronged attack: subliminal, liminal, and superliminal. ” Lisa asks what “superliminal” means. Smash demonstrates, leaning out his window, he yells at Lenny and Karl, telling them to join the Navy. Then, Smash threatens, “Now that you know, Lisa, I’m afraid I can’t let you leave.
” Sadly for him, she has already left. That scene is to humour the audience, the way that Lt Smash tells Carl and Lenny to join the navy and the way Lisa gets away. The officer turns off the Studio Magic voice enhancer. The crowd is immediately disenchanted with the Party Posse and, once Smash gains control of the ship, jumps off and wades back to shore. Homer and the Party Posse are the only ones left on the ship. They are confused as to where they are going and why they are loading missiles. Millhouse wonders, “The Statue of Liberty! Where are we? ” It turns out that Smash plans to blow up MAD Magazine.
A dismayed Homer groans, “Not MAD. That’s our nation’s largest mental illness magazine. ” Nelson agrees, saying, “Tina Brown was just starting to turn it around”. The Party Posse decides that they need the ultimate “chill out song” to calm Smash down. ‘N Sync arrives with just that song and some choreography. In the end, the police arrests Lt Smash. “The Simpsons” is so successful because it does something that no other sitcoms does or has done. This is because it is unconventional, it is not afraid to criticize the world and say that no-one is perfect.
The Simpsons is well renowned for being unconventional and irregular and this is what makes stand alone. This unconventional make it is a huge target by politics such as George W. Bush Snr who openly criticize the Simpson “Americans should be more like The Waltons than The Simpson”. The Simpsons is not bound by reality but the producers still talk about the thing that are important to the audience. This makes the Simpsons closer to audiences heart then traditional sitcoms like “Do it like Beaver” therefore it has been more successful then other sitcoms.
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