Oct 252012

The Simpsons is a revolutionary animated sitcom, which has won several awards and become a major part of mainstream television in North America.  It is intended to portray the typical working class American family.  The show exaggerates and jokes about many of the stereotypes in America, which often offends people.  Marge, the stereotypical housewife and mother, is married to her overweight husband Homer who works as an inspector for a nuclear power plant.  He hates his job but only does so to support his wife and three kids.  He’s always looking for shortcuts to get ahead in life and is gullible enough to get involved with get-rich-quick schemes.  Homer and his son Bart, a mischievous kid, have drawn criticism for being poor role models.  Several parents have decided to not allow their children to watch the show.  Despite that, millions of people love The Simpsons and tune in every week.

Phrases and Vocabulary used:

Revolutionary:  Extremely new and much different from the past.  Things that are revolutionary have a large influence.  The internet is revolutionary for society.

Animated:  Something that has been animated means it has been given life.  We say that Cartoons on TV are animated.  The Simpsons is a cartoon.

Sitcom:  This is short for “Situational Comedy”.  This is a humorous television program based on situations that could happen in real life.

Mainstream:  Something that is belonging to the most dominant and popular group.  Mainstream television is the most popular and widely known television shows.  Mainstream music is the type of music that is played on the most popular radio stations for example.  If something is mainstream it means that many people know about it.

Working class:  The type of people who work for a wage.  They are often the people who do manual labor type jobs.  These are usually people in the lower middle economic class.

Stereotypes:  a simplified and general belief about a wide group.  These aren’t necessarily true for all members of the group.  For example, some stereotypes are “Americans like guns”.  “Canadians like hockey”.  “Girls like to play with dolls”.

Shortcuts:  A shortcut is method that is used to reduce the time and energy needed to do something.  A lot of times shortcuts have disadvantages but lazy people like to take them.  For example, taking weight loss pills is a short cut for losing weight.  They are certainly not the healthiest way to lose weight but are much easier than running for hours at the gym.

Gullible:  Someone who is gullible is tricked easily.  It is easy to make them believe things that aren’t true.

Get-rich-quick schemes:  These are ways to get rich quickly without doing a lot of work.  These most often don’t work and the people who believe in them are lazy and gullible.  In North America it is common to see someone trying to sell their “get rich overnight” secret system, book, or video.  Most people who buy these things don’t end up making any money.  These schemes sound good are first but are usually too good to be true.

Mischievous:  causing trouble or harm.  Young boys are often mischievous.  Lying to your parents about homework, sneaking out at night, or pulling your sister’s hair are all examples of “mischievous” behavior.

Drawn:  This means “attract” or “get”.  If you draw attention it means you get or attract attention.  If you draw criticism it means you get criticized.  If you draw a large crowd, it means that many people will come to watch you.  David Beckham draws a large crowd no matter where he plays.

Role models:  A person who has positive characteristics that you would like to learn.  It’s important for young people to have good role models.  Michael Jordan is often looked upon as a good role model for young kids.

Tune in:  Tuning in means to “watch” or “listen to”.  You can tune into your favorite TV show, or you can “tune into” China232.

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