This essay talks about how The Simpsons family often reflects the way many current families live and how, although many individual characteristics in a family member may not always be the best, as a whole a family will often come together and help one another constructing a strong family bond. Although Van Allen over exaggerates the obstacles of the everyday life, he refers to The Simpsons as a “nuclear” resemblance of the typical 20th century family.
Throughout the essay, Van Allen often uses many literary techniques/ rhetorical devices to help the reader understand the effectiveness of the piece. Humour is used when Van Allen makes a personal connection to the fact that at the beginning of each Simpsons episode, the Simpsons family all run to the couch and sit in their “specific” spot, just like his own. He refers to this as a “mirror image of my couch-dwelling family”.
Having this humour presented in the essay allows for the reader to stay attentive and wanting to read more, as humour often keeps the reader interested. This often allows for the reader to have more of a connection with the author and to get more of a feel of what the authors thinking process is. Allegory is present throughout the essay as Bert and Lisa’s everyday behaviour allegorically teaches the lessons of the average American. For instance, in “Bart Sells His Soul” love and concern is shown by Lisa’s actions as she cares for him and always has his back.
This contributes to the effectiveness of the piece because although many family members (individually) may not always be the best and act to their morals, as a family, everyone works together and helps each other’s weaknesses become strengths and will grow off the strengthens of one another, creating a family, as outlined by Richard Corliss, “they stick together with one another through thick and thin”. As a reader, this is thought to give the essay “personality” and with that comes good T.
V reviews as viewers become attached and are able to relate to their own family/ real life scenarios. Periodic sentence is present when Van Allen refers to Matt Groening, The Simpsons creator, when he states “I knew that other kids were going to get serious and go on and be professional... I never wanted to go to an office and carry a briefcase”, as it is only clear at the end of the sentence what Groening meant by that. He knew that “carrying a briefcase” wasn’t for him so he created a new way to express his talents and his passions.
This contributes to the effectiveness of the piece because it forces the reader to keep reading to find out what the author was trying to say, and without doing so the main point of what the author is trying to get across is confusing and may often be misunderstood. Throughout the essay many literary terms/ rhetorical devices are present; these are just a few of many that really stuck out to me. Before reading Van Allen’s paper, I had never thought of The Simpsons in the way he had portrayed it, or the way Groening explained the story behind it.
It wasn’t until fully reading and understanding Van Allen’s essay that I started to click into the logic behind the mirror image ideology that The Simpsons family portrayed of the typical 20th century American family. I felt that throughout the essay Van Allen supported his point of how The Simpsons portrayed the average 20th century family very well. He made a lot of personal connections that both any reader and I could easily relate too. For example, he talked about how The Simpsons was “that” T.
V show for him and his family that they felt was the mirror-image of their family life. How they all ran to the T. V to watch The Simpsons episode that was coming on next, just how The Simpsons family does at the beginning of each episode. He also talked about how now a days, individual family members don’t always act appropriate and may have some horrible individual traits, from Bart’s rebelliousness, to Homer’s stupidity and foolishness, but as a group and family together they make the best come out in each other.
No family has perfect kids or perfect parents but it’s the love and care that one another share, that matters most. This is taught throughout Van Allen’s essay about The Simpsons family in comparison to the average family now a day. To me, family means to always be there for another and always have each others back. Unlike friends, you can’t choose your family. You know that as much as they might get on your nerves sometimes, you must look past that, and find the good in what you are blessed with.
While reading Van Allen’s essay I felt that I could relate to a lot of what he was saying and found it very easy to understand what he was trying to get across, which kept me wanting to read more. I strongly agree with Van Allen’s point on how The Simpsons is a character formatted sitcom version of the typical 20th century family. Overall, reading this essay has made me think about how much more relatable and relevant some of shows on T. V actually are. Every time I turn on the T.
V and go to watch a sitcom type show especially, it makes me think about any possible story line or lesson that may be hidden behind the show that may benefit me in any way. Van Allen’s essay has made me truly appreciate the hard work and effort gone into such a show, as The Simpsons would have been the last show I would have thought to have a message behind it. All in all, Van Allen`s essay has given T. V shows a whole new outcome, as in how they are looked upon and I am more understanding of the meanings behind the “hidden messages” in our simple day to day shows.