“The Simpsons” is an animated, American sitcom. It makes fun of the ‘average’ American family and the American way of life. In the opening sequence we see twelve separate places. There is an aerial view from the clouds descending into a long shot of town along the road to the school: then a medium shot zooms into the classroom, then we cut to the nuclear plant where we first see Homer in a medium shot. There is a cut to the supermarket where Marge and Maggie are, then to the music room where Lisa is. We cut to Homer in his car driving, and see Bart on his skateboard in the street, as the angle of the car move around the car then follows Bart.
We cut to Maggie imitating Marge as she’s driving. All the family, one by one, finally get home then rush to the couch. The main difference between the opening and closing shots is that the family are in different places within the town but in the closing shot they are together, which, in my opinion is quite typical of a family since they each lead different lives but in the end they are one. Throughout the title sequence the music is firstly slow and heavenly then as we descend from the clouds as if we are gathering speed the music becomes lively, upbeat, jazzy and discordant like the family they argue but always come back together.
It is also fast moving, just like the scenes-which are sometimes joined and flowing. Springfield is a small town where everyone knows everyone. It has everyday places that you need to live. It is a busy normal town with people walking along the street. We see Bart on his skateboard, Chief Wiggum shouting at Bart, Barney standing by and some children from Bart and Lisa’s school playing. In the title sequence we learn that Bart is the bad child and a ‘daredevil’ because he was writing lines on the board and dodging people through the street.
Lisa is an independent person because she was playing her saxophone differently from the class. Homer is careless and clumsy because he gets a radioactive crystal stuck in his clothes and throws it out his car window when he was driving. Marge likes to have a routine and Maggie is a quick learner because she was copying her mother when she was driving. The cartoon genre allows “The Simpsons” to break the rules because anyone who is from the past, present or future, dead or alive, real or imaginary can make an appearance i. e. Elvis, God and George Washington all have made guest appearances.
“The Simpsons” will never get old i. e. Maggie is an eternal baby, Marge will never get grey hairs it will always be blue and Bart will always be 10 years old. As a family “The Simpsons” love each other and they have their own different personalities that they have to get along with although they may have. When a situation causes the family to look at themselves; they reflect on what has happened and sometimes learn from it and use it in their daily lives. We know they are a family (since everyone looks similar) because they go into the same house and though out the title sequence we follow one of family.
Also the sitcom is about and named after the family. The colour uses in the sitcom are bright, vivid, and intense which will attract children of a young age or a short attention span. The speed also adds to the vibrant effect on the colour because we are cutting all the time so the colours are quick and stunning. In each episode the words, which Bart is writing changes and hints to what, that episode is about i. e. in an episode Bart, on the board, wrote ‘the truth is out there’ and the family on jetpacks flew to the couch.
That episode was about Bart and Homer claiming to see an alien that glowed, which turns out to be Mr. Burns, Homer’s boss, he was very sick and his medicine made him glow. When they all are rushing into the house, the way they get to the couch changes i. e. they have dived, danced, went to the wrong room, gone to the wrong show, ran, and flown on jetpacks. In the “Homer Badman” episode, the frame with Ashley Grant, feminist student shows the hypnotic effect of violent video games on young boys, since she used the game to bribed him to do what she asked.
For the younger audience it is funny because Bart seems to be hypnotized and for the mature audience the humour is that a feminist would frown upon anything violent especially for young children. Also in this episode there are references to other films i. e. Homer was singing about living ‘under the sea’-The Little Mermaid, and Homer made a ‘hand grenade’, then threw it at the people chasing Marge and him-Die Hard. The title sequence appeals to different age groups because children do things that they think is funny but others think it’s silly and adults can also appreciate the humour in raising a young family.
“The Simpsons” are very popular worldwide because it is funny and enjoyable for all ages. The first showing of “The Simpsons” was shown on 17th December 1989 it was a trial run of the series, which was very popular so the first episode was shown on 14th January 1990. ‘Homer Badman’ was originally shown on 27th November 1994. In the first year on air “The Simpsons” over took the most popular situation comedy (The Cosby Show) capturing a regular audience of over 24 million each week and has achieved over 2 billion dollars of merchandise sales.
Also “The Simpsons” was the first animated show to appear on prime time television since ‘The Flintstones’ in the 1960s. In each episode there are over 250,000 frames and no matter how old you are, you can relate to it because it is based on, and named after, Matt Groening’s own family. The family depict life in different aspects of real life and this in turn gives you a feeling of understanding and relativity to one’s own life experiences, whilst having the added benefit of seeing the humour in the experiences one goes through in real life.