Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-684899dbb8-ct24h Total loading time: 0.332 Render date: 2022-05-27T01:32:09.083Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true }

6 - Echoes of Springfield: The Simpsons in Remix Culture

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 October 2021

Get access

Summary

Abstract

This chapter analyzes the extent to which the series has become reworked and repurposed in the realm of contemporary remix culture. Most notably, the series’ semiosis has resonated not only with an avid fan community but with participatory culture at large. In particular, “Simpsonizing”—the art of translating people's physiognomies into Simpsons characteristics—has popularized a form of caricature and comedic representation. Besides examining Simpsons-related fan productions exhibiting nostalgic sentiments, this chapter looks into revitalizations of the show's characters and video remixes of The Simpsons’ intro sequence. Finally, I focus on Simpsons imagery used in political contexts in Germany to provide a more profound exploration of The Simpsons’ semiosis used in participatory culture's civic imagination.

Keywords: The Simpsons, remix culture, Simpsonizing, fan art, mashup videos, civic imagination

Over thirty years ago, The Simpsons stirred up the American media landscape. Today, the series has long become a part of the television establishment throughout the world, and its characters are global pop culture icons. According to the commercial logic that rules the entertainment media, the Simpsons franchise will be pursued as long as it is monetizable. The series and its merchandising empire, in other words, will be kept alive even though many fans have been decrying the death of the “real” Simpsons long ago, coupled with a steady decline in the show's ratings. Ultimately, though, The Simpsons will share the fate every TV program has to suffer one day: it will be discontinued as soon as the decision makers at Fox/Disney consider the brand unprofitable.

Within the realm of popular culture, however, The Simpsons will live on indefinitely. Alongside Disney's ducks, dogs, and mice, Charles Schulz's Peanuts, Hanna-Barbera's and Warner Bros.’ cartoon protagonists, and many others, the Simpsons characters iconography have long since joined the pantheon of pop culture imagery. Recognized and cherished by a large number of people in the Western world and beyond, The Simpsons represents a shared point of reference within the imaginary realm consisting of popular products the U.S. entertainment industries have provided.

In his article for Wired on The Simpsons’ parallel existence in digital culture, Thomas McMullan (2019) has pointed to the cartoon characters’ unusual split identity of representing both an ongoing television franchise and an online phenomenon, which is typically shaped by a nostalgic affection for the “original,” genuine Simpsons (that is, the 1990s, spanning Seasons 1–12).

Type
Chapter
Information
Understanding The Simpsons
Animating the Politics and Poetics of Participatory Culture
, pp. 159 - 204
Publisher: Amsterdam University Press
First published in: 2021

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×