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Are "The Simpsons" still relevant?


Thanos

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The Simpsons as philosophy

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The Simpsons is more than a funny cartoon, it reveals truths about human nature that rival the observations of great philosophers from Plato to Kant... while Homer sets his house on fire, says philosopher Julian Baggini.

With the likes of Douglas Coupland, George Walden and Stephen Hawking as fans, taking the Simpsons seriously is no longer outre but de rigeur.

It is, quite simply, one of the greatest cultural artefacts of our age. So great, in fact, that it not only reflects and plays with philosophical ideas, it actually does real philosophy, and does it well.

How can a comic cartoon do this? Precisely because it is a comic cartoon, the form best suited to illuminate our age. To speak truthfully and insightfully today you must have a sense of the absurdity of human life and endeavour. Past attempts to construct grand and noble theories about human history and destiny have collapsed. We now know we're just a bunch of naked apes trying to get on as best we can, usually messing things up, but somehow finding life can be sweet all the same. All delusions of a significance that we do not really have need to be stripped away, and nothing can do this better that the great deflater:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/4995624.stm

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There is a book about this called 'The Simpsons on Philosophy' - there is also one about Seinfeld and Buffy and their takes on philosophy.

BTW - the link doesn't work.

There is a book called "The Gospel According to the Simpsons". Pretty good read, except it is kinda like a thesis paper or something.

It illustrates how The Simpsons is the most religious show on TV.

One of mine too.

I've said for years that The Simpsons will be studied by college students for years as a satire of America.

College students already study it. :)

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the last episode was pretty damn funny.

but i still feel that the characters have become too static and stereotypical instead of actual people. homer went from a father trying to provide for his family to an bumbling moron. lisa went from a gifted 8-year old to an annoying activist who never shuts up. bart went from a 10 year old boy who pulled a few pranks to 13 year old bent on distruction.

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I read a few chapters of a book in the "Pop Culture and Philosophy" series. It was pretty terrible. It was "Hip-hop and philosophy," and it pondered on the question,(I'm not making this up) "Could God roll a blunt so strong that even he couldn't hit it?" It's amazing what publishers will allow to be published.

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the last episode was pretty damn funny.

but i still feel that the characters have become too static and stereotypical instead of actual people. homer went from a father trying to provide for his family to an bumbling moron. lisa went from a gifted 8-year old to an annoying activist who never shuts up. bart went from a 10 year old boy who pulled a few pranks to 13 year old bent on distruction.

I agree.

What I loved about the Simpsons when growing up was that despite their flaws, the characters were all pretty much real people. Now, they've pretty much become caricatures of themselves and the show is becoming increasingly cynical. Even the side characters have become pretty much one-dimensional (Moe, Karl & Lenny, Smithers, and so on).

The show used to have heart.

Remember the episode where Bart didn't want to repeat a year (though it is really moot since the characters never age) and he was even at the brink of tears? Or how about when Bart decided to pull a really mean practical joke on his teacher by communicating with her as a lover, only to feel remorse at the end when he sees his teacher break down in tears and eventually becoming closer to her.

Lisa's birthday? She celebrated it by herself.. But Bart and "Michael Jackson" came to the rescue. Bleeding Gums. Homer and Marge's marriage on the rocks, and when they go to a retreat for counseling, Homer goes after a legendary fish but lets it go for Marge.

My favorite episode, though, is the Christmas episode where Bart is caught shoplifting and thus does not make it in the family picture. In the end, Bart is sneaking something into the house and Marge gets angry, only to find that Bart was hiding a picture of himself that he could add to the family picture.

See, stuff like that.

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Simpsons has been overtaken by South Park as the type of cartoon the Simpsons used to embody. I think they bought into the fact that... "Oh, we've done everything"... without really trying to explore new ideas in the past 3 seasons.

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