Intertextuality In The Simpsons

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Intertextuality is one of the major factors that have enabled The Simpsons to sustain a large, diversified audience for more than twenty years, and it has created an incentive for this audience to participate actively in discussions and cultural analysis. The Simpsons often goes further its entertaining purpose and assesses analytically the television in general, and current medial surroundings, including multiplication and the sitcom genre, in particular. It is not only concerned with what it narrates, but also with how it narrates. This involves acknowledging its own artificiality and a break with the illusion of a coherent narrative reality. As von der Goltz rightfully noticed, referring to Nöth and Bishara, The Simpsons serves as another piece of evidence for the frequently described fact that “messages, communication, and the media have always been about themselves, too – self-referential messages about messages, communication about communication, and media about the media” (91).
However, for intertextuality to be entertaining, it does not need to be “funny”, as humorous and other usages of intertextual references are equally important for the show’s success. Moreover, the show positions itself in a long tradition of self-referential
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They are heavily influenced by individual animation series, such as the Warner Brothers cartoons and particularly Hanna-Barbera’s Tom and Jerry and Pixie and Dixie and Mr. Jinks, but the various episodes that trace their historical development also show elements of Disney cartoons, Robert Crumb’s Fritz the Cat and Felix the Cat (Arnold 260; von der Goltz 163). Therefore, The Itchy & Scratchy also enables the producers of The Simpsons to position their show in relation to other animated shows or films and use this intertextual mirror to reflect upon the characteristics of the whole series instead of single

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