CRF Blog

The serious side of ‘The Simpsons’ and ‘Seinfeld’

by Bill Hayes

In The serious side of ‘The Simpsons’ and ‘Seinfeld’ for the Los Angeles Times, critic Robert Lloyd looks at the influence of the two series, which both began airing 25 years ago.

Simply put, “The Simpsons” took the skeptical tone of creator Matt Groening’s “Life in Hell” and ran it through the sitcom-based smarts and sensibilities of its co-developers, James Brooks and Sam Simon, to produce something that was both highly critical of human society and endeavor — every aspect and strand of it, political, economic, sexual, moral, even biological — and capable of world domination: It is a takedown that also serves as a celebration.

Like “The Simpsons,” “Seinfeld” — though often said to be “about nothing” — is potentially about everything, from big cultural trends to dipping a chip in dip after having taken a bite from it, making pearls from a single grain of irritating sand. Both the Simpsons and the Seinfelds exist in a more or less permanent state of war, occasionally relieved by small triumphs or moments of self-satisfaction to be wiped away by the next compulsive obsession or obsessive compulsion, the next perceived slight, the next self-inflicted misfortune, the next scheme gone wrong. [more]