Saturday, August 04, 2007

The D'oh! Factor

They have been the number one cartoon family on television for the last 18 years and as of July 27th they became the number one 2-D animated movie with the largest opening, and third among all animated movies (just behind Shrek the Third and Shrek 2). The Simpsons have been a beloved family on television and their latest movie proves the point. Yet some are still contending that they have been displaced as America's favorite animated household by Seth MacFarlane's The Family Guy

The Simpsons are, however, treasured icons of 90s television who have maintained their stardom in the 21st Century. Their movie grossed 74 million dollars on opening weekend and dominated the box-office. Their success has paved the way for other adult oriented cartoons such as King of the Hill, Matt Groening's other animated show Futurama, and The Family Guy itself. But The Simpsons aren't ready to give up their spot in the heart of fans just yet. The movie will surely garner new fans and draw back any old fans that were lost for another season. But what makes The Simpsons so much better than The Family Guy? It's the D'Oh! Factor.

Let's be honest, even Chief Wiggum can see the copy-cat work of the creators of The Family Guy. But the real difference is in the characters themselves. Peter Griffin is as bad a father as Homer is, but there is something endearing about Homer. He tries, he wants to be a good father. He is selfish, yes. He is lazy, yes. But he loves his wife, loves his children, and usually fixes his mistakes, apologizes to his family, and starts over. Peter Griffing beats his wife in mock fights, hates his kids, and generally gets away with every form of debauchery and self-indulgence. This is not an absolute truth, but it is a general guiding principle for the two shows. The difference in the shows is not in its build up or plot, it is in its character development! Homer is simply a better man that Peter. While the Simpsons frequently learn a lesson, the Griffins just exist. It's the difference between D'Oh, as in "I made a mistake," and Peter's intentional resistance to love his family. It's the D'Oh! factor that makes the difference!

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