Annotated Bibliography – The Simpsons

Collins, Ben. The Simpsons Archive: Episodes by Writer. 2003. website is an article of the episodes listed by writer. The site is going to be helpful for me to know which episodes to watch and analyze that have been written by writers who have branched off into celebrity status. When I analyze the episodes, I will look for themes and comedic styles that let the viewers know who the writer was that wrote each episode. I am particularly interested in episodes written by Conan O’Brien, Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg. 

Gray, Jonathan. Watching with The Simpsons: television, parody, and intertextuality. New York: Taylor & Francis, 2006. Print.

This book will be helpful in discovering what is it about the show that allows it to be popular for so long. Gray discusses how the show is able to be a part of three genres (the sitcom, ads, and news) and be successful. He also writes about the relationship between the text of the series and the show’s audience. This will be a good source to use when I begun to write about how the series is so distinct from others and why the writers might want the series to be involved in different genres.


Kolbert, Elizabeth. “At Work With: Matt Groening; The Fun of Being Bart’s Real Dad”. New York Times. 1993

The characters from the series are based off of Groening’s own family. This New York Times article gives Groening the chance to talk about his inspirations for the characters and what were his intentions when writing the series. He says that he wanted to write something that wouldn’t be able to be taught in high school due to the excessive amount of foul language. This article made me think about how much a writer/creator can put them into the project. Groening mentions how every week he gets offered to develop cartoons and storylines. He gets to make the ultimate decisions. I am thinking about using this source in an argument to talk about the reason The Simpsons is so popular is because its writers have complete control over their work. They don’t have to include as many suggestions into their series as in other series we have talked about in class. 

Owen, Rob. Gen X TV: The Brady Bunch to Melrose Place. New York: Syracuse University Press, 1999. Print.

Although there is only a small section of this book that refers to The Simpsons, the section refers to the large amount of influence that the show has over other forms of media. The book claims that if something is made fun of on the series than it was seen as a part of popular culture. I think there is something to be said of the amount of authorship control the writers have to intertwine the series with current trends and fads. The writers are able to use the shows sarcasm to express their feelings about certain topics.

Turner, Chris. Plant Simpson: How a Cartoon Masterpiece Defined a Generation. Da Capo Press, 2005. Print.

This book discusses the origins of the show. Matt Groening developed The Simpsons as a response to not offer control of another comic, Life in Hell, to Fox. Groening wanted the writers of the show to have complete control over everything Simpsons in order to express the true vision of its creators. I am planning on using this book to discuss the foundation of the show. Along the lines of why and how is the show able to commit to adult humor but is an animated television series.

Waxman, Sharon. “Simpsons Animated Gay Nuptials, and a Debate”. New York Times. 2005

The New York Times quoted different opinions about The Simpsons having aired an episode about same sex marriages. I find it interesting that the president of the Parents Television Council criticized the show and said “I’d rather them not do it all.  You’ve got a show watched by millions of children. Do children need to have gay marriage thrust in their faces as an issue?” First off, the show is the highest rating prime time series for people between the ages of 19-49. The series isn’t meant to be a children program. The assumption is that since the program is an animated series, the show is meant for children. This article made me think about the challenges the writers have when faced with writing for an animation series. Since the characters are cartoons, many people will assume that the program is suitable for children.

Wright, Jean Ann. Animation writing and development: from script development to pitch. New York: Focal Press, 2005. Print. 291-292

The section of the book I will like to focus on is under the title “Prime-Time Animation”. The section describes how prime time animation shows are writing differently than other animations shows. Each episode has a showrunner who oversees the writers. The scripts tend to be less visual and the comedy is centered on the characters. The scripts are written by committee. After one writer has written a draft of the episode, a group of staff writers will meet to work together. Or the group of writers will work together to brainstorm ideas and assign one writer to produce the script. It’s interesting to know how distinct prime-time animation series are written when compared to other series.

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