Newspaper article The Observer (Gladstone, Australia)

The Simpsons Deliver Decades Poking Fun at Popular Culture

Newspaper article The Observer (Gladstone, Australia)

The Simpsons Deliver Decades Poking Fun at Popular Culture

Article excerpt

AMERICA'S most famous dysfunctional cartoon family, The Simpsons, last week celebrated two decades of making the world laugh while offering alternative television therapy to millions of fans.

The now distinctive yellow characters of Homer, Marge and their children, the intellectually challenged Bart, his smart sister Lisa and dummy-sucking baby Maggie first burst onto American TV screens on December 17, 1989.

Over the past 20 years, they have entered into the national and global consciousness as an icon of television entertainment.

The Fox network show's influence on popular American culture was highlighted when The Simpsons were idolised on US postage stamps earlier this year, and in November Marge Simpson was the cover girl for Playboy magazine.

The gravelly voiced Marge, whose upswept blue hair-do defies gravity, became the first cartoon character to grace the cover of the magazine, more known for featuring movie stars, athletes and other celebrities in states of undress.

The show's success has surprised even creator Matt Groening and executive producer Al Jean, the creative pens behind the family which lives in the shadow of a nuclear reactor in a fictional town called Springfield.

"I knew that the show would be a success, but I didn't know that it would be so big, last so long and become a global phenomenon," Groening said.

Fox studios said in a statement that The Simpsons "immediately struck a chord with viewers across the country as it poked fun at itself and everything in its wake".

"With its subversive humour and delightful wit, the series has made an indelible imprint on American pop culture, and the family members have become television icons," the statement said.

The series is now the longest-running comedy in US television history and has received numerous awards.

Fox is planning to mark the 20th birthday with a special documentary about how the world views The Simpsons to be directed by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Morgan Spurlock, star of Super Size Me and 30 Days. …

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