I watch, and blog, and watch and blog and watch. It's the Simpsons every day!

Posts tagged ‘television’

Ho Ho D’oh

Episode 1: Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire

Director: David Silverman

Couch gag: None.

Synopsis: The Simpson family are preparing for Christmas. Marge has a stash of money stored in her hair to buy presents with and Homer is expecting a bonus from work. Bart wants a tattoo for Christmas and gets a heart with ‘Mother’ written in it, thinking this tattoo would be something Marge will appreciate. Marge is shocked and spends the family’s savings to get it removed. Homer doesn’t receive his Christmas bonus and starts working as a department store Santa in order to raise funds, but when the pay cheque isn’t as much as he hoped, he and Bart go to the dog track. Their punt comes in last and is rejected by the owner. Santa’s Little Helper becomes the family’s Christmas present.

First appearance* of:The Simpson family (Marge, Homer, Lisa, Bart and Maggie)
Principal Skinner (unnamed)
Grandpa Simpson
Patty & Selma
Ned Flanders and one of his sons (unnamed)
Mr Burns
Smithers (unnamed)
Moe
Barney
Milhouse

The Simpsons were one of the first families of the dysfunctional 90s, rebelling against the societal values of the previous decade (Glynn 1996). During the 1980s, television families were fully functional and everything was resolved nicely within half an hour. Think Family Ties and The Cosby Show. These shows resulted from political aspirations of the time: then-president Ronald Reagan cited Family Ties as his favourite television program (Haglund 2007). The Cosby Show was being criticised for not being realistic; nearly half of African-American families were living in poverty at the time (Hamamoto 1991 in Crawford 2009). Along came The Simpsons which showed some realism despite being an animated program. Creator Matt Groening deliberately showed the wear-and-tear of the Simpsons’ house, addressed issues such as scarcity of money and taking the Simpsons’ characteristics away from traditional animation: their eyes don’t pop, their jaws don’t hit the floor and anvils don’t squish their heads (Crawford 2009). In short, The Simpsons were breaking away from both functional family and functional America stereotypes.

This episode serves as the Christmas special and was the first full-length episode featuring the Simpson family. Although it was not first episode in production, it was the first shown and is therefore classed as the first episode of the series. For those unfamiliar with the Tracy Ullman Show (such as most people in Australia at the time), this episode was the very first introduction to the yellow-skinned family.

References:

Crawford A 2009 ‘”Oh Yeah!” Family Guy as Magical Realism?’ Journal of Film and Video Volume 62 Issue 2 pp 52-69

Glynn K 1996 ‘Bartmania: The Social Reception of an Unruly Image’ Camera Obscura Vol13 Issue 2 pp 60-91

Haglund D 2007 ‘Reagan’s Favourite Sitcom: How Family Ties Spawned a Conservative Hero’ Slate

 

*first appearance in the series; some of these characters appeared in the Tracy Ullman shorts but for the purposes of this blog, we’re focusing on the series only.

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Starting the Simpsons Journey

This is an idea that has been floating around my head for a while now, but today I am taking the first steps in making this dream come alive. For the next, um, a lot of days, I shall watch one episode of The Simpsons every day (when possible). I endeavour to blog often, the content of which is yet to be decided. Maybe it will be reviews of the episodes, mistakes, comments or just random posts about how I watched yet another Simpsons episode. We’ll see how it pans out.

I aim to start on Monday 10 December, 2012, or whenever I can get my hands on the full first season.

Why
Because I can, mostly. I love The Simpsons and there are a lot of episodes I haven’t seen. Recently, I wrote an essay focusing on television’s response to youth culture which focused on two shows of different eras: The Monkees and The Simpsons. I uncovered a lot of interesting research about both shows and now seems like a good time to indulge in watching the entire series.

When
Every day, or as close to every day as humanly possible. Barring emergencies and technological failures, of course.

Where
Mostly from my house, I expect. I am going away in early January so I shall take some episodes pre-loaded onto my tablet. Of course.

Who
Mostly by myself, but I suppose there will be times when my boyfriend will catch an episode as well. He’s not really a fan, but don’t judge him on that.

How
I’m gonna need an external hard drive, aren’t I?

The Rules
1. No skipping episodes, or parts thereof. Just because I’ve seen the early seasons a billion times doesn’t mean I can skip to the good stuff.

2. If I miss a day, the episode missed shall be watched the next day. Reasons for skipping days must be valid and not “I don’t feel like it”.

Leave a comment if you think I’ve missed something.

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