Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Simpsons Goes Super-Sized

Animated cartoons don't offer fat people much relief from painful contradictions, such as in the show "King-Sized Homer" aired on The Simpsons some years ago when America's favorite simpleton, Homer Simpson gained weight [60 plus pounds] just to get on disability. After a week of outrageous gluttony rewards him with a home computer, affirmed is one of America's most cherished myths: that the super obese willfully gobble their way into entitlements.
Equally telling is his son Bart's fantasy of being a grotesquely fat man unable to leave his bed, but who makes time for marshmallows on a stick. Not to be outdone, Homer eats everything in sight, from greasy fried fish to hamburger after hamburger. Every stereotype is advanced, the message here might as well be, "Two all beef patties, hold the truth!".

What is scary about this, is I realized that Homer who pigs out on donut after donuts, is really around 240lbs [at around 6 feet tall?] when he is "normal" which may tell you something about how the writers of this show really perceive the heavier working classes in America. His new disability weight is around 315 pounds but he is rendered fatter then his notorious 1,000-pound counter part Walter Hudson or 400-500lb Chef Prudhomme [who has since lost weight] on whom the 'fat guy hat" in the above video is based.

Homer receives little empathy from Springfield's fellow n'er-do-wells, who tell him, that his butt has it's own Congressman!. Homer responds, "I am sick of your stereotypes! I'll show the world that fat people aren't undisciplined and lazy!". Homer's need to explain himself undermines his defense, although his girth later helps save Springfield's nuclear power plant from a meltdown. Homer's boss, Montgomery Burns, responds by ordering an extensive liposuction for his wayward employee. This tidily imaginative surgical solution, relieves America's favorite goof from addressing the pros and cons of weight loss, while the hip animators need not explain the attitudes they are promoting.

Sadly, these guardians of cool have performed a classic bait and switch job: Springfield's fat characters from Comic Book Guy to Chief Wiggum and Ralph, are clueless, gluttonous, cretinous wastrels who can only see paradise through a donut hole along with the star of the show Homer. While humor can serve a purpose, everyone should be able to laugh at themselves, watching Simpsons, one really can see how fat people are perceived in our society and their resulting low status. The point almost seems to be why take them seriously when they're just taking up space?

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