The Simpson’s a Streetcar Named Marge

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Introduction 

The term animation is a common term in the acting and filming industry. It is a style and technique of filming in which non-human objects are used to represent the human world. In other words, animation may be defined as a way of experiencing and seeing the world by using objectified living creatures with little if any relation to the actual and lived human experience of the world. In the animation, the animated world reveals the astonishing variety of worlds which the contributors of the animation confront us with. Paul Wells describes animation in an artistic perspective as the World in Brit-lit animation using the literary theory of subjective corrective (Wells, p. 202).  On the other hand, animation as a form of artistic work is based on reflecting the norms and behavior of the society. And as postulated by Brooker in the concept of re-functioning which emphasize on discovering something new in something old, animation is a new form of seeing the world (Brooker, p. 115). Instead of just reflecting the society, it is a way of reforming and transforming it. The paper aims at undertaking an in-depth research on the Simpson’s “A Streetcar Named Marge” by applying Paul Well’s subjective correlative and Peter Brooker’s conception of re-functioning. The analysis will most importantly address how the cartoon demonstrates the possibility of originality and adaption as metamorphosis.

Lisa Simpson is a great television animation which depicts the endurance of a feminist. Her mother, on the other and hand, represents the tragicomic example of an idealistic, passionate, beautiful, and smart woman who serves the interests of  the unappreciative brood of an oafish brute at the expense of her own needs. Marge serves the purpose of acting as a harrowing, cautionary warning to the society of what happens when women accept the retrograde notions of the society on how women, mothers and wives should behave without the pursuit of their own passions (Moore, p. 42. The personality portrayed by Lisa is both a response and a reaction to her mother’s willingness to self-negation and smiling servility under which she undergoes through suffering on behalf of the husband and the family. Lisa being a young girl, however, plays a strangely passive role in the A Streetcar Named Marge where she watches the objectification of women and sexism demonstrated in the beauty pageant without complaining. This can be interpreted as the level of helplessness that most females especially the young little girls have in the society. It symbolizes the women objectification in the society that reduces women to male subjects and servants. 

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While Lisa takes the sideline position in the unfolding of the A Streetcar Named Marge, Marge assumes the center stage role in transforming the society by expressing her personal and creative frustrations. Marge is the saintly, sweet, and dear character in A Streetcar Named Marge who freely expresses her personal dissatisfaction in continuing to sacrifice her passion and happiness for the interests of the almost sub-verbal man-gorilla. Her core dissatisfaction comes from sublimating her happiness in the art. A Streetcar Named Marge has both an emotional resonance and a hilarious setting which is bracingly smart and literate from the start to the finish without calling for attention to itself. In this regard, it exemplifies the metamorphic work of art. The stage is set in the beginning of the episode with one of specialties in The Simpson (Moore, p. 5). The satirical evisceration of the succinct setpiece portrays the corrupt cultural institution depicted by the beauty pageant. In this corrupt culture, women are dubbed up in the burlesque which is outrageous; they are asked to take part in an impossibly cheery version for the claim to perform for fame. The implication of artistic metamorphosis, in this sense, is the counter-cultural interaction of the corrupt cultural institutions that women are subjected to, the satisfaction exhibited by most of them, and the dissatisfaction expressed by Marge. It depicts the artistic visualization of how the societal change and the unfolding of events.

The version at seventeen is an outsider’s anthem that is evenly maudlin, achingly emotional, and tremblingly earnest. It is sung from the point of view of an ugly duckling with a lot of self-pity, barbed jealously, and anguish that is present in the lives of the perfect, shiny blonde haired popular girls and the homecoming queens. In the world represented by “The Simpsons”, the meaning of the song is reversed and is stripped of its authenticity, objectivity, sadness, and pain. For instance, the morose outsider’s lamentation when she learns that love is meant for the beauty queens at 17 is transformed into a glossy celebration (Martin, p. 5). A Streetcar Named Marge, therefore, shows an aspect of re-functioning is which we can see something new in something old. The smart joke is used to set up the central comic conceit of the show. Instead of continuing the desperation and loneliness of the depressing meditation, it glibly transforms it into an inappropriate, wildly showmanship in the form of crowd-pleasing entertainment (Moore, p. 7). Instead of persistently carrying the original message, it completely negates the original message. The defilement of the beauty pageant at seventeen represents the demented community, but it is also hilarious and audacious.

A Streetcar Named Marge is an artistic presentation that is dense with jokes and ideas that some of its funniest sights are buried. The beauty pageant is full of ideas ranging from the presentation of the contestants with super-fast pans to each of the contestants having a different outfitted meaning (Moore, p. 4). However, the event is only a distraction to the scene’s real action; the upcoming auditions about the A Streetcar Named Desire which Marge is cheerfully talking about taking a role in the community-theatre musical. Marge’s humble aspirations in show-business did not interest Bart, Lisa, and Homer who were transfixed in the beauty pageant and its banality to pay any attention to her (Martin, p. 4). The Simpsons display both its originality of artistic thinking as well as a great metamorphosis of ideas. While Marge seems interest and committed to pursue her aspirations, other females are held up in the web of traditions which they have found comfort and have no interest in seeking liberation. This is double edged in its context. Conformity to the societal ideals shown by Bart, Lisa, and Maggie symbolize the theory of subjective correlative which sees artistic work as a mirror reflection of the society (Wells, p. 203). The three characters show how most people are comfortable with their current status and do nothing to change it. On the other hand, Marge depicts originality of ideas and her willingness to challenge the traditions by trying out what disinterest others in her quest to fulfill her aspirations which is based on the concept of re-functioning.

Homer is clear in his opposition towards Marge’s interest in acting. Instead his position is that Marge should continue staying at home to take care of his every need. In the auditions, Llewellyn Sinclair, the impetuous community theater auteur is introduced. The dramatic introduction to the all time greatest of Simpson’s characters and a mountain of a man shows how the community praises men. In A Streetcar Named Desire, the director Llewellyn Sinclair cast Marge in the role of Blanche Dubois. She, however experiences problems with her emotional scenes. She cannot break the bottle even with the encouragement she gets from Ned Flanders who was acting opposite as Stanley Kowalski. Marge is sad with her role and she calls Homer to tell him that he was right when he asserted that outside interests are stupid interest (Martin, p. 6). The director has an inflated self regard which is both hilarious and demeaning to the women. His guffaw-inducing pronunciation expresses the demeaning attitude towards the women when states that Marge is not an uncouth lout who is needed to perform the role of Blanche, the delicate flower. Men characters are only shown to hold a belittling attitude towards women. Her resignation to call Homer is indicative of the world-weary resignation and the litany of sadness that cultural corruption reduces the poor and the helpless. 

The critical world of the social world requires the artist to be aware of the contemporary society and respond to those needs through creative artistic works. In this regard, the animation was responding to the patriarchal society’s norms of treating men as demigods who are served by the women as their subjects. The re-functioning context of A Streetcar Named Marge is to change the societal values which are demeaning to women and stereotyped with gender roles (Moore, p. 3). For instance, despite Sinclair looking down at Marge, he realizes through the phone she makes to Homer that she was actually the right person who can play the role of the Blanche. The original idea and meaning of a woman is transformed (Brooker, p. 114). What was expected to be a male role in the play becomes the role that can perfectly be played by a woman. According to the concept of re-function, art should not only reflect the society but should also be the society transformer thus showing what the society should be like. In this animation, the society seems to be stereotypical and believing in the concept of gender roles. However, this episode shows that what is believed to a man role can be perfectly done by women.

Marge starts attending the rehearsals and Maggie is left to attend the baby care where helping others is frowned upon and using pacifiers is viewed as a weakness. The daycare’s center wall has a poster that angrily insists that helping is futile. Maggie’s pacifier is confiscated, but she eventually liberates them in The Great Escape’s parody and shares them with others. In what is seen as a common phenomenon in the animation, the society is based on an altruism setting where everyone is interested in their personal wellbeing. This is reflective of the subjective corrective literary theory proposed by Paul Well where the capitalist society is full of self-centered characters (Wells, p. 202). However, this concept is broken by the concept of re-functioning portrayed by Maggie when she shares the pacifiers with her imprisoned brethren to refute the general view of the entire society. 

The rehearsals help Marge to call upon the rage she holds against Homer’s obliviousness which she use to make a remarkable transformation into a method actress from a meek housewife. Marge expresses the anger of a trampled woman and she can hardly take the abuse from Homer with gentle good humor. Although this is supposed to be funny to the fiery vixen, the jokes hold a lot of awful pain and frustration. The artistic metamorphosis exhibited by the episode shows how the animation is able to integrate satire when displaying a serious societal concern in a comic way (Wells, p. 202). Behind the cozily domestic character of Marge is a G-rated heroine. Apart from its ability to use metamorphosis A Streetcar Named Marge is a form of originality in which characters are expressing their negative aspects in the form of jokes. Using the concept of re-functioning, Homer the callous beast and insensitive man who is disinterested in Marge’s new pastime eventually transforms the character and even shows up at the grand premiere to show that he is caring enough of her success. 

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Conclusion

Conclusively, the comic ending of the theatre suggests that a stranger is friend who we have not met and things only seem strange because of the mindset of the society which prevents us from testing them. The conscience of The Simpsons is caught in the Homer’s surprise to Marge when he discerns the parallels between their relationships with the play. The play had clear ramification with their relationship because just like Homer who was harsh and unfriendly to Marge, Stanley was supposed to be nicer to Blanche (Moore, p. 4). The closing burst of sentimentality was a classic form of The Simpsons testing the bond between Marge and Homer. A Streetcar Named Marge is in the subjective corrective context reflective of the domestic emotions and satire. On the other hand, it depicts the scathing pop-culture and its consistent hilarious marriages. However, this context is in an artistic metamorphosis depicting that The Simpsons had originality as it demonstrated the evolutionary plane in which the society is highly changing (Brooker, p. 114). The evolution depicted by the transformation in Homer’s character depicts the concept of re-functioning in which something new comes out of the old.

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  1. Brooker P. Postmodern adaptation: pastiche, intertextuality and re-functioning. Cambridge University Press. Pp. 107-19, 2007. Print. https:/www.cambridge.org/core.
  2.  Martin J. A Streetcar Named Marge. Directed by Moore R.  Lovitz J. &  Hartman P. 1992. 
  3. Moore R. The Simpsons (Classic): “A Streetcar Named Marge”. 1992
  4. Wells P. Classic literature and animation: all adaptations are equal, but some are more equal than others, Cambridge University Press. Pp. 201-210, 2007. Print. https:/www.cambridge.org/core.
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