Monday, February 1, 2010

Famous Cartoon Families in Modern America

Who is your favorite cartoon family? It's not an easy question. Is it? When I ask it of myself I am reminded immediately of The Simpsons. Other ideas that pop into mind are The Family Guy family and some from South Park, like Stan's. Let's take a stroll through these classic depictions of suburban life in the 21st century and see what they have to say about us today. They are actually more telling than anyone would know from first glance.

The Simpsons burst onto the scene very strongly in the late 1980's. No one would ever be able to forget the rebellious Bart, the symbol of every little boy who just wants to have fun - and not do his homework. But their cartoon family as a whole is very broad and even. For instance, Lisa balances out Bart by being a hard-working, saxophone-playing do-gooder. And Homer's crack up antics as a lazy nuclear plant employee contrast endearingly to his wife, Marge's awareness of her family as a whole. She is always effortlessly taking care of her baby Maggie. It's just great.

Then with The Family Guy we again see some similar dynamics. For instance Peter the dad is a whole lot like Homer, without being so annoying. And he also has his trustworthy wife Lois. The kids are a little weirder though. I don't really get what's going on with their older boy.

And finally with South Park we see some hilarious American family stereotypes playing out. From white trash Kenny's family, where his mom is always wearing her "I'm With Stupid" t-shirt to Stan's Jewish family, it's all so over the top that it's hard to take offense. There are many funny cartoon families at play here.

But what do these all say about us? Well, since they are caricatures they really highlight a lot of the silly things we assume to be true on a daily basis. But in the Simpsons in particular there is always some sort of an uplifting moment at the end of the episode. This ties it all together so nicely that you almost accept our imperfections as being endearing. So be it. We're not God after all.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Related Posts with Thumbnails