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The Simpsons: 19 years and still going strong

Written By : jonathan Bryce. By JONATHAN BRYCE The Simpsons’ have been seen on the television screens since 1989 and after 19 seasons, they still manage to appeal to a
21 Jun 2008 12:00

Written By : jonathan Bryce. By JONATHAN BRYCE

The Simpsons’ have been seen on the television screens since 1989 and after 19 seasons, they still manage to appeal to a wide range of audiences.
Considered, to be one of the most popular animated series of the modern age, this TV program, has captured the hearts and minds of viewers all over the world with their large variety of characters, themes and humorous storylines.
The show mostly appeals toward its target audiences which are made up of teenage and mature audience groups rather than young audiences who often watch animated shows.
The series’ popularity even allowed the creators of the show to develop a movie version of the series which was released last year.
As the longest running prime time animated series to come out of the United States, this show has won a multiple number of awards over the past few years which include twenty-three Emmy awards with nine for Outstanding Animated Programme as well as a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
By now, audiences are very familiar with the main characters of the show.
Unlike most conventional animated programmes, most of the characters’ skin colours are coloured yellow instead of the usual pinkish brown. The show’s main characters are the five members of the Simpson family with each character being very different from the other.
First, there is the head of the family, Homer J. Simpson, who is voiced by Dan Castellaneta as an overweight, bald, idiotically lazy, nuclear factory worker in his mid-40s. Homer is depicted as a dedicated husband and father, but, he is a moronic imbecile of a man.
His character is very easily influenced, which often leads him into trouble. Homer’s idiocies are the funniest elements of his character, but his always-good actions and intentions in the end are what make him such a lovable character.
Many of the show’s funniest storylines revolve around him always tackling a new job which he usually lands by pure luck from being a store clerk to a space astronaut, but still keeps him coming back to his job at the local nuclear power plant.
The woman of the Simpson household is Homer’s wife, Marge, who is voiced by Julie Kavner. She is usually portrayed as the most sensible member of the Simpsons and sometimes serves as the moral anchor of the family. Marge is a home-maker whose sisters continue to oppose her marriage to Homer.
Marge eventually displays many skills in trying to keep her family out of trouble. Marge spends much of her time taking care of their infant child Maggie, but is usually seen making efforts to better herself. Marge often displays hidden talents that sometimes get her a number of jobs which she usually takes to boost her self-esteem and bring pride to her family.
However, like Homer, she also has her weaknesses which are usually displayed with frustrations over the trouble her husband or children usually get their family into.
The three Simpson children are made up of Homer and Marge’s ten-year-old son Bart and eight-year-old daughter Lisa who are voiced by Nancy Cartwright and Yeardley Smith as well as their infant daughter Maggie.
The Simpson kids are extremely different from one another as well. Bart is displayed as a mischievous spiky-haired boy who is always pulling pranks on his school principal or his father, trying to survive the day against school yard bullies and keep his parents in the dark when his pranks land against the entire town.
Bart and his father don’t just see each other as father and son, but also as partners in crime as well as worthy adversaries when they try to prank one another or get the other into trouble.
Lisa, however, is the smartest member of the family and the only Buddhist in their Christian family and has dedicated herself to becoming an academic success. Lisa tries to follow her mother’s lead and become a moral center for her often chaotic family.
Her scientific and political views have often landed her in hot water with her school-mates and the townspeople, but she is always comforted by her family’s support. Her character is often seen either arguing with her brother or joining him in his pranks.
Though Lisa loves her family dearly, her overall view of them is completely summarized in a line she says to her infant sister, Maggie, at the end of an episode when she finds out her brother and parents had been arrested; she says “Well Maggie, I always knew it would someday boil down to just you and me; I’ll look for work in the morning.”
Through the years, this family has entertained audiences with their popular antics and ability to make people laugh.
The show’s popularity had even attracted numerous famous guest stars who had lent their voices to the show either as new characters or as themselves.
Such famous guest stars vary from award winning and Shakespearean actors like Patrick Stewart, James Earl Jones, Meryl Streep and Glenn Close to comedians like the late Bob Hope, Mel Brooks and Brendan Fraser to famous musicians such as U2, Johnny Cash, Barry White, Aerosmith and the Smashing Pumpkins.
The series launched a number of merchandises off the show including toys, t-shirts and comic books.
Even the famous word-phrase “D’oh!” which Homer’s character speaks when he comes annoyed has become an iconic word in today’s culture and is even a copyright trademark of 20th Century Fox.
The series’ creator, Matt Groening plans to continue the series as there are no signs of audiences getting tired of watching the Simpsons in action.

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