Understanding The Simpsons
Animating the Politics and Poetics of Participatory Culture
Amsterdam University Press
OverviewAnother book on The Simpsons? you might wonder. Isn’t the yellow cartoon troupe around the eponymous chaotic family somewhat worn-out? Perhaps you even ask yourself whether that nineties’ show is still on the air anyhow.
Accolades such as "the best TV show of the twentieth century" or "the longest-running scripted series on American prime-time television" have elevated The Simpsons to the pop culture pantheon, while also suggesting the very vintage character of the program. But the label "The Simpsons" refers not just to a show that seems to belong to a bygone television era, it implies a rich narrative universe, including a set of iconic figures, familiar across continents and generations.
Through lens of a transmedia studies, Understanding The Simpsons traces the franchise’s trajectory, from its original conception shaped by alternative media traditions to its astounding, long-lived impact as a cult phenomenon in popular culture. Examining the legacy of online fan forums and bootleg T-shirts from the show’s heyday in the early 1990s, as well as the meaning of The Simpsons in contemporary digital culture, this book demonstrates how one of the most popular comedy series of all time has redefined the intersections between the corporate media and participatory culture – and is alive indeed.