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Subject: The Simpsons: Zeitgeist, Ages, Archetypes, and Archies

Written By: MaxwellSmart on 07/26/07 at 2:14 am

One of the mistakes Matt Groening and Co. made was assigning ages to characters.

Thus, Homer Simpson is my age; Marge is a few years younger.
If you aged Bart from the day of his creation, Groening said that Bart would be 30.
Doesn't make much sense.

Jon Stewart brought this up with Groening, who didn't answer it except to say cartoons are great because they don't age.  Yes!  Then don't give them ages.

No TV family has "lived" as long as the Simpsons.  I noticed this early in this decade.

The Simpsons is stuck in the zeitgeist of it's creators. 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archetype
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zeitgeist

Marge and Homer are archetypes of parents as envisioned by Groening & co. in the '80s.
Grandpa Simpson reminds me of my grandfather who lived to be 100.
He does not remind me of my father who is now 67.
Grandpa Simpson is an archetype of a grandfather as envisioned by Groening & co. in the early '90s.
And for the same reason, Bart and Lisa are more like children of 1990 than children of 2007.

This is way I think Groening & co. should hang it up after the movie.

They can either stop now or turn into Archie comics.

"Archie" comics is a campy holdover from the mid-20th century.  The comics started in 1941 based on people the creator, Bob Montana, knew in his hometown of Haverhill, Massachusetts.  "Archie" made it as far as about 1963 and stalled in that (fifty cent word again) zeitgeist of teen pop culture.  In 1982 Archie and friends used the term "making time" for flirting.  Huh?  And who ever saw a crown cut-out of a beanie hat like Jughead wore?  All the stereotypes were the same as 20 years earlier.  I haven't checked Archie to see what kind of progress it's made since the early '80s, and I'm a bit scared to find out!
True, by the early '80s:
The girls wore nylons and not bobby socks.
They added a few token African-American characters.
The sexual themes were a bit racier.

But there are no more "malt shoppes," certainly not in Haverhill!  Archie's world belongs to the zeitgeist of Bob Montana.

"Archie" did have an inhibiting factor.  The comic books were aimed at the pre-teen/early teen demographic.  Most parents would not tolerate Archie at Ridgemont High.  Thus, explicit sex, drugs, violence, and controversial socio-political themes remained vorboten.  That's why a comic book about high school students for children could not cross the counterculture barrier at the mid-'60s.  Thus, "fan fiction" is prohibited on the official Archie website.  We all wondered the same things, what if, what if, what if?  You had good looking guys, hot teenage girls, and you never saw a thing.  So when the old fans got up there on the site, they took revenge!  You know, let's draw Betty and Veronica without their clothes on; storyboard: Dilton Doiley creates a super Viagra pill, and Big Moose doesn't live up to his name!
:D

Being all ages and coming up in a less innocent time, the Simpsons have more flexibility; however, I still say the series has reached it's limit due to zeitgeist shift and it is time for it to wind down!

 



Subject: Re: The Simpsons: Zeitgeist, Ages, Archetypes, and Archies

Written By: Marty McFly on 07/26/07 at 4:13 am

Their ages just advance as the series does. Like, in a 1990 episode, Bart would be born in 1980 and Lisa would be born in about 1982. If we followed those versions today, they would be about 27 and 25 now, but the current versions are still 10 and 8. Sometimes when they do flashbacks, it will be in a year the show was already on the air, yet it's quite a bit "in the past".

I do agree they still seem like early '90s kids adapted with modern elements. In fact, the entire town of Springfield seems that way, which in some ways makes sense, since that was the basis for its "creation".

Subject: Re: The Simpsons: Zeitgeist, Ages, Archetypes, and Archies

Written By: Satish on 07/28/07 at 8:27 am

So what if the characters don't age? Lots of other fictional characters don't, either. The James Bond movies have been around since the early 1960s, but he hasn't aged. And the comic book superheroes(Superman, Batman, Spiderman, etc.) don't age, either. Really, James Bond should be in his 70s and Batman in his 90s!

I'm not sure if I agree "The Simpsons" has become dated. I was 10 years old in 1990 when the show started, so really, I ought to be the same age as Bart Simpson. I can't really notice "The Simpsons" having become out of date when compared with the real world, but then, maybe I'm not that observant.

I know what you mean about the Archie gang, though. They really do feel like they belong in the 50s. But it's not that they don't include any risque behaviour like sexual promiscuity and drug use that makes it anachronistic. You'd never expect something intended for kids to show those kinds of things. After all, "Full House" was created for kids in the 90s, and they never showed DJ and her boyfriend Steve doing the nasty!

Subject: Re: The Simpsons: Zeitgeist, Ages, Archetypes, and Archies

Written By: snozberries on 07/28/07 at 10:09 am

I simply choose to accept that The Simpson's exist in a vortex where time moves forward but the people remain the same. 

I think the Archie comics are an excellent reference because they did start in the fifties but the drawings, cars and clothing changed over the years. However, although Archie and friends trends changed their morals did not. I mean Archie's image has always been clean cut. Sure he wants to be a ladies man but he just wants to look at (and date) the ladies nothing more. Archie wasn't having sex and doing drugs in the "free love" sixties; snorting coke in the 80; or cutting and going Emo now. 

And look at Little Archie. Even the comics about Archie and his pals when they were presumably, somewhere between 8-12, don't change their era. If you went to stands in the 70s and picked up a Archie comic and a Little Archie comic they both had current cars and clothing. It wasn't liike Archie represented 1975 and Little Archie 1969 they simply co-existed in the same time.

I like it to the whole Quantum Leap theory of the Time Space Continuum. Take a string and pull it straight and think of that as time but ball it up and see how the strings intertwine. They just exisit, seperately, along the same plane...or something like that... gotta pull out the season 1 dvd and watch the pilot again (Also see Sliders) for alternate worlds existing at the same time in other planes.  Maybe there are hundreds, like 400+, Simpsons universes and instead of moving forward in time each week we move across it->  we go sideways jumping from one Simpsons reality to the next... and in episodes where the flashback, or reference a previous episode, then we simply re-visited one of the realities a short time in the future. Which can explain why no one ages on the Simpsons. 

Personally, because the Simpons is so heavily ladden with pop culture references, I want to see a soap opera episode where Maggie ages from scene to scene without explanation until she is 20 but Bart remains 10.  Now that would be cool! 
 

Subject: Re: The Simpsons: Zeitgeist, Ages, Archetypes, and Archies

Written By: snozberries on 07/28/07 at 10:14 am



I know what you mean about the Archie gang, though. They really do feel like they belong in the 50s. But it's not that they don't include any risque behaviour like sexual promiscuity and drug use that makes it anachronistic. You'd never expect something intended for kids to show those kinds of things. After all, "Full House" was created for kids in the 90s, and they never showed DJ and her boyfriend Steve doing the nasty!


Full House? Really?  What about Blossom?  Didn't she have sex?  I know Paul did on Wonder Years. . . Look at Degrassi both old and new. There are lots of shows that are "intended for kids" that portray some of the challenges of youth...  I always sort of felt like it was implied that as DJ got older she was sexually active but maybe I just 'read' it wrong.

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