From its crudely drawn vignettes on The Tracey Ullman Show to its nearly 700 episodes, The Simpsons has evolved from an alternative programming experiment to a worldwide cultural phenomenon. At 30 seasons and counting, The Simpsons boasts the distinction as the longest-running fictional primetime series in the history of American television. Broadcast around the globe, the show's viewers relate to a plethora of iconic characters-from Homer, Marge, Lisa, Maggie, and Bart to Kwik-E-Mart proprietor Apu, bar owner Moe, school principal Seymour Skinner, and conniving businessman Montgomery Burns, among many others.
In The Simpsons: A Cultural History, Moritz Fink explores the show's roots, profiles its most popular characters, and examines the impact the series has had-not only its shaping of American culture but its pivotal role in the renaissance of television animation. Fink traces the show's comic forerunners-dating back to early twentieth century comic strips as well as subversive publications like Mad magazine-and examines how the show, in turn, generated a new wave of animation that changed the television landscape.
Drawing on memorable scenes and providing useful background details, this book combines cultural analysis with intriguing trivia. In addition to an appreciation of the show's landmark episodes, The Simpsons: A Cultural History offers an entertaining discussion of the series that will appeal to both casual fans and devoted aficionados of this groundbreaking program.
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
Number of pages: 264
Weight: 535 g
Dimensions: 238 x 159 x 25 mm
While today The Simpsons is noteworthy for its longevity, librarian and scholar Fink (coeditor, Culture Jamming) goes back to the beginning, illustrating why the animated show was revolutionary when it premiered in 1989. Created by underground cartoonist Matt Groening, the series offered a subversive take on the sitcom, featuring a dysfunctional family who satirized contemporary culture, including viewers' own habits. The Simpsons may have been flawed, but they were lovable, and the expanded cast grew to encompass many fan favorites. There were also enough pop culture references and background details to keep audiences engaged online between episodes, resulting in a massive early Internet community. In this affectionate look back, Fink evaluates the lasting influence of the show, crediting it with legitimizing animated sitcoms. He skillfully guides readers through 30 culturally relevant episodes, demonstrating that The Simpsons was groundbreaking, quality programming. VERDICT Fans of the show will enjoy revisiting classic episodes, and media scholars will find this a useful survey of television's changing landscape. * Library Journal *
"It's time for a new appraisal of the cultural significance of the longest-running scripted prime-time series in television history, and Fink, a media scholar and unabashed Simpsons fan (and critic), is just the guy to write it. . . . Combining scholarship and goofy fun, it's a book that should satisfy The Simpsons' most loyal fans and its harshest critics." * Booklist *
Valuable for both the serious fan and serious scholar of The Simpsons, Moritz Fink gives us a lively, witty, and deeply informed overview of maybe the most influential program in American TV history. He not only provides deft readings of the multiple ironies at play in The Simpsons, he also places The Simpsons within the larger cultural evolution from the pre-digital world of its origins to its central role in the development of digital cultures. A must read for anyone who cares about The Simpsons and the evolution of popular culture over the last thirty years. -- John Alberti, editor of Leaving Springfield: The Simpsons and the Possibility of Oppositional Culture
Mmmmmm ... cultural history. A fun, expansive, and highly recommended telling of the Homeric epic of American television's most important family. -- Jonathan Gray, Professor of Media and Cultural Studies (University of Wisconsin - Madison) and author of Watching with The Simpsons: Television, Parody, and Intertextuality