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How The Simpsons Campaign for Obama

The push for the president's policies in a cartoon is so predictable.

by
Barry Rubin

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December 4, 2013 - 10:14 am
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The culture war is so extreme that nothing can escape, but also interesting is the predictability of plots. One thing is that absolutely minimal pretense can be wrapped around supposed balance. Because it is so extreme and these people are so brazen, balance does not matter anymore. For example, in my son’s former 6th grade class in Maryland, teaching was conducted with Obama playing cards, by a math teacher who was a strong advocate for Obama’s election. In other words, they have gone much further than you would ever expect.

For example, in a recent episode of The Simpsons Lisa Simpson is depressed because she doesn’t have friends, but then Lisa meets another girl who shares similar intellectual interests. Lisa and this girl, Isabella, both decide to run for class president. There are some interesting features in this. Lisa is horrified to discover that Isabella is a Republican. While Lisa is able to make reasonable and normal points, Isabella is presented as a stereotype. The Republican committee consists of the following people:

1. A scary, corrupt, dishonest clown

2. A crazy Texan who shoots off guns

3. An Arnold Schwarzenegger look-alike

4. A vampire

5. The dishonest owner of a nuclear power plant (isn’t this over the top, even for an animated comedy?)

In contrast, the Democrats are presented as follows: Bill Clinton, John Kerry, and Michael Dukakis. These characters are just teased. Bill Clinton is not criticized, even though he did some “bad things.” Dukakis is lightly jibbed, and Kerry is not dealt with at all. In contrast to the Republicans, a waste dispenser would look like an upright figure.

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Top Rated Comments   
Wow. I remember the Simpsons. Is that show still on?

Matt Groenig said way back when the show was first created that he intended the show "to annoy Republicans". So this isn't exactly a news flash.

I have to say, Family Guy is ragingly liberal, but it's also willing to take the cheap shots at themselves, too. Similarly talented actors, but it's just plain better written than the Simpsons.

My all-time favorite, though, is South Park. The Simpsons, even in their glory days in the 90's, were utterly predictable. It was workmanlike rather than brilliant. With South Park, you really never know where they'll go next, and underneath all the shock potty humor they have interesting and insightful things to say. It's the kind of thing Douglas Adams did, that one-two of "ha ha!... hey, wait a minute..." Every once in a while they'll bomb, but the more frequent moments of brilliance are just incredible.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (11)
All Comments   (11)
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18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
Disney has been doing this for years. They are just more subtle about it.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Care to give me a dating range? I definitely don't recall The Little Mermaid having anti-Republican/anti-Conservative messages in there. Maybe Beauty and the Beast, though, considering I had a very militant feminist teacher who bashed Christianity and males, as well as implied that women couldn't get an education during the 1960s as well as a Chaucer professor who said largely the same things, only openly supporting second-wave feminism as well as inferring that St. Augustine of Hippo invented misogyny.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
that episode was really bad.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Simpsons haven't been funny since 1995.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Wow. I remember the Simpsons. Is that show still on?

Matt Groenig said way back when the show was first created that he intended the show "to annoy Republicans". So this isn't exactly a news flash.

I have to say, Family Guy is ragingly liberal, but it's also willing to take the cheap shots at themselves, too. Similarly talented actors, but it's just plain better written than the Simpsons.

My all-time favorite, though, is South Park. The Simpsons, even in their glory days in the 90's, were utterly predictable. It was workmanlike rather than brilliant. With South Park, you really never know where they'll go next, and underneath all the shock potty humor they have interesting and insightful things to say. It's the kind of thing Douglas Adams did, that one-two of "ha ha!... hey, wait a minute..." Every once in a while they'll bomb, but the more frequent moments of brilliance are just incredible.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Simpsons was willing to take cheap shots at Democrats as well. I remember one episode where Sideshow Bob mentioned that he'll be back on the streets "once the Democrats were back in power" while being arrested (I think this was his second major appearance, after the episode where he framed Krusty). Similarly, as werewife mentioned below, Abraham Simpson (Grampa) mentioned getting money for something he wasn't actually doing (due to Bart and Lisa ghostwriting Itchy and Scratchy episodes in his name), and that it must have meant the Democrats were back in power. I think it wasn't until "Sideshow Bob Roberts" where the more anti-Republican bias became more pronounced.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
I love how this episode showed the diabolical Springfield Republican Committee resorting to dirty tricks and slander to get their candidate elected. Because Democrats never do such horrible things.
The one thing that really angered me about this episode was how Lisa Simpson wasn't called out for her behavior towards Isabella.
Here we have an open minded Liberal who has preached tolerance and good will for two decades recoiling in horror at the thought of being friends with *gasp* a Republican, and all Marge said was Isabella was going through a "phase?"
At least Family Guy will call out Liberal characters like Brian Griffin for their blatant hypocrisy and double standards.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
I used to love the Simpsons. I would watch every episode and tape what I couldn't watch live.

They always had some political commentary, but it was light, it was reasonably fair, and it was funny.

Then about 8-10 years ago they just turned too preachy and at the same time stopped being funny. I haven't watched them since.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
This was my experience, too. In fact, it's been so long since I watched the Simpsons that I can't even remember now what it was that ticked me off enough to boycott them, other than the fact that it something political and liberal.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
A pity. The Simpsons (back when I still watched it) has been more "fair and balanced." Once, Grandpa Simpson was getting paid for a do-nothing job of which he wasn't even aware, and when informed as to why he was getting a regular check, said something like, "Is that what it is? I thought the Democrats were back in power again!" Than again, we'll always have South Park...
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
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