Simposons Semiotic analysis

Essay by MrSnrubUniversity, Bachelor'sC+, October 2004

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Simpsons Semiotic analysis

The Simpsons began life in January 1990 on American televisions. The show centres on the Simpson family, a dysfunctional middle - class American family living in the fictitious world of Springfield. Now in its 14th season, the Simpsons has become the longest running prime - time television series. The secret to the series' success has been its vast appeal. The humour is diverse, ranging from simplistic slap - stick, to subtle television and movie references, but it is the shows satirical take on Western Popular Culture and American culture values that wins over the majority of the show's audience. The young and the old, educated and the un - informed can all enjoy the many levels of humour within the Simpsons.

Popular culture is quite difficult to define. Popular is defined as relating to, or representing the majority of people. Culture can be seen as the shared expression of a group of people.

With these two meanings combined we can define popular culture as an expression of culture which is not 'high culture' that has a limited following but which is consumed on a global market, is accessible because of the developments of technology and is evolving over time.

Millions of people throughout the western world watch the Simpsons, therefore the Simpsons is an integral part of modern popular culture. Indeed, the majority of those living in Western society can name at least one Simpsons character and its critics bemoan the fact that the current generation of children are more likely to be able to quote the Simpsons than the Bible. In 1998, Time magazine included Bart Simpson in their listing of the 20th century's most influential figures.

Using the sociological research method of semiotics (study of signs and their meanings), we can see that the characters,