Critical Thinking/ M-W
28 October 2019
Prime Time Television
The Simpsons in one of our generation most recognizable pop culture topics to date with over twenty-five seasons and still going. With so much history and culture happening over the years, the show is a perfect example to show agents of logos, pathos, and ethos taking place with out us even knowing it. We took specifically to season nine episode eight: Lisa the Skepticto take deeper dive into how the show tells its tales and includes our aspects of appeal. In this episode topics like socialization, deviance, religion, and family are all brought to life with numerous examples throughout the episode to try and make a quality viewing experience each episode.
The Simpsons is a cartooned, animated television show with its first episodes airing December 17, 1989 on Fox Broadcast Company. The episode that will be analyzed aired November 23, 1997 and has a mass amount of cultural references to things that were happening during those and previous years. One scene shot where it has the characters silhouettes against the sunset is a reference to the movie Raiders of The Lost Ark, which was released in 1981. Another scene in the episode is a nod to the 1920s Scopes Monkey trial, which dealt with separation of church and state and creationism verse evolution. The show is a based around many aspects of humor and is one of the reasons its still on television to this day.
As soon as the show starts and gets going with the intro we see Bart in detention, receiving an out of date punishment where he is continuously writing on the black board negative for ‘teasing Fatty’. This is a humorous appeal to the agent of logos attempting to re-socialize Bart into treating his peers with respect because according to the NASP, “When students are given an appropriate education in a conducive environment, they improve behavior and performance.” Just a few short clips later and it is Lisa who is now receiving scowls from her music instructor or being deviant against the class and going off on solo with her saxophone. Although Lisa plays the saxophone very well she receives negative sanctions for being a know it all that bothers her classmates for always making them not look as good. This is an obvious appeal to a pathos appeal and how back in elementary school there was always the one kid that “can also be condescending, challenge authority figures and engage in pointless debates” or aknow it all and made all the other kids feel inferior.
At the beginning of the episode, Homer is tricked by the police of all people into thinking he is receiving a free boat but in fact it is a ploy tactic to catch all the criminals or members of society that refuse to pay their fines. This is one a situation with ethos and that who would doubt the ethics of a police officer. Of course that’s the joke in the whole situation because there has always been the skeptics of police and unethical views or tactics. Just in 2019 rough estimates of 734 individuals nationwide have been shot by the police where as in 2018, the estimate of 992 individuals were shot according to the Washington post. In the month of October alone this year has had 53 members verse the astounding 75 of 2018. Fortunately in our episode Homer is not dealing with the shooting from a police officer but merely more of police brutality when he arrives at the station and the unethical tactic of being brought the station. Once he leaves and pays the fines on over 200 hundred parking tickets he drives home in a irritated mood telling Bart he did not buy the boat because “The mast had termites” which Lisa using her logic questions, “Why would a motorboat have a mast?” obviously seeing right through Homers weak attempt to seem like he was a professional on the topic of boating.
Once the episode gets off and going we get to the main plot where a super-mall is being built in the town the according to rumors “the air conditioner will be more powerful than a million hydrogen bombs” which does not even sound safe or makes sense but is a joke of how big super malls always have these huge AC units. Lisa wants to be sure they are not going to destroy the city but also wants to make sure they are not building it over land, which may have valuable fossils. After pleading to her family to help her go complain to the builders, she accepts they will not help and goes off asks the big business men if she could do a dig around the site to see for herself if she finds anything valuable they may have missed which they agree to because it will be good publicity for them if they have a kid doing an archeological dig. As the day ends she believes she finds the skeleton of what the towns folk want to call an angel but Lisa is skeptical and does not believe in religion. The town people the next day begin showing up at the Simpsons house hold to pray with angel or touch the angel for good luck now rendering it a sacred object in the eyes of the town. Lisa still not believing the hype is going against everyone’s belief that its angel once again in the deviant one trying to prove that science will trump religion if a sample could be tested. The fossil goes missing but leaves a sign revealing that ‘the end will come’ which has all the town folk hustling to get to the last service hoping that they will be lead to into heaven. They go to the last service, Lisa still skeptical only going because Marge asked her to attend is eventually correct about her hypothesis when the big business CEOs of the super mall revealed that they made the fossil to get a huge publicity stunt.
As the Simpsons household is divided among the different opinions the core family system is still evident. Their house is a very traditional patriarchal household with Homer deciding how the family goes about their lives ninety percent of the time. When Lisa found the fossil it was Homer who dug it out a brought it back to the house to hold it as a sacred place to honor it. Once he gets the notion that he can charge the people to come and do what they are asking he makes the decision that he will do so against Lisa’s decision. Lisa tries to complain to Marge but Marge being submissive just says she believes in the religious aspect of it and should not be worried about the rest of the people.
The Simpsons have lasted through out time, longer than I have been alive, and their satirical nature has been emulated by dozens of shows that follow. No one does it better or covers and makes fun of our American culture better, as it is evident with each new season it continues to air.
Center, NASP. “Fair and Effective Discipline for All Students: Best Practice Strategies for Educators.” NASP Center, 2002, http://www.naspcenter.org/factsheets/effdiscip_fs.html.
GriffithSpecial, Linda Lewis. “How to Deal with a Know-It-All in Your Life.” Sanluisobispo, San Luis Obispo Tribune, 11 Jan. 2016, http://www.sanluisobispo.com/living/family/linda-lewis-griffith/article54216415.html.
Post, Washington. “Fatal Force: 2019 Police Shootings Database.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 2 Jan. 2018, http://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2019/national/police-shootings-2019/.