A cartoon television series created by Matt Groening. Originally created for a short insert on the Tracey Ullman show, the Simpsons was converted into a series for Fox television in 1989. Set in the fictional US town of Springfield and highly satirical of many facets of the American way of life (including beer, fast food, tv and organised religion) "The Simpsons" was a massive hit, generating a huge popular following, and criticism from then President George Bush. The writers also showed a love for cameo appearances by celebrities and extended pastiches of contemporary and classic movies, as well as subtle visual jokes and a high regard for the sophistication of the audience.
The Town of Springfield, while described as existing in the US, cannot exist by virtue of its geographical characteristics. It is described as being near a junction of five states, having a canyon, and bordering the ocean, a desert, and mountains. It snows in Springfield. Episodes frequently make fun of this contradiction by adding further conflicting descriptions, obscuring onscreen map representations, and interrupting conversational references. While it is not a real place, its characteristics could lead one to believe that it is somewhere in the Pacific Northwest.
Serious academic work (mmm ... academic work) has been done on the show. Among the publications that deal with it are
- The Simpsons and Philosophy: The D'oh! of Homer by William Irwin (Editor), Mark T. Conard (Editor), Aeon Skoble (Editor) ISBN:0812694333
- The Gospel According to The Simpsons: The Spiritual Life of the World's Most Animated Family by Mark I. Pinsky ISBN:0664224199
Series within The Simpsons: