The Simpsons Folder

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The Simpsons Folder


Keep an open mind
The Daily Universe, Jul 26, 2001 By Bret Clark

I grew up in a small town and we didn’t have cable — we received NBC, CBS and PBS via antenna, but not ABC.

The funny thing is that even though in all my years living in Ashton, Idaho, I never saw the television cartoon The Simpsons, it was common knowledge that it was one of the worst programs, morally, on TV at the time.

I’ve found that this disdain for the cartoon depicting the life and times of the Simpson family is pretty general throughout the church. For some reason, this show has been singled out by many people as particularly offensive to moral sensibility.

The reason I bring this up is that in the last few years I have watched, and grown to love, Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie. And contrary to popular belief, the show is the most moral show on popular TV today.

Now, before you stop reading, putting me in the desensitized gentile category, let me tell you why: Every episode of The Simpsons teaches a moral message.

Remember the ’80s. We loved The Cosby Show, Family Ties, and The Smurfs. What is the difference between them and shows we watch today, like Friends and The Drew Carey Show? There is one main difference. Today’s shows don’t say anything.

Sure, they are funny. But when you finish watching them you’ve spent a half hour laughing, but nothing else. The Cosbys tackled big issues: modesty, racism, etc. And at the end of the show the family always was happy and together. Today’s situation comedies teach that premarital sex is OK and that it’s funny when families don’t stay together.

However, The Simpsons hasn’t followed that trend. Sure, some of the jokes aren’t purely wholesome, and Homer definitely isn’t a role model I want my son to look up to.

But his faults are exaggerated to prove a point. The writers want us to recognize how stupid people can be. Maybe, if we laugh at Homer’s mistakes we won’t make them.

Even though Homer jokes, at times, about his being annoyed by the family, by the end of the half hour he is a loving, devoted father who would do anything to keep his family together. When The Simpsons is over, some intelligent jokes have been made and a significant lesson has been learned.

But my point isn’t that we should watch The Simpsons. I think we can learn a lot more than that from this example. All too often, we as church members reject new ideas and experiences because we’ve heard rumors that they are different from the mainstream culture.

I’m not saying we should try things we know are bad. What I am saying is that we have an open mind.

We shouldn’t disregard Darwin’s theories because they might bring us to question the Bible.

We can’t neglect C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters because they mention Satan and how he works.

We have to examine them. If we have the spirit we will soon realize what is good and what is bad, but it takes quandary.