PDA

View Full Version : Why is Lisa from the Simpsons so unpopular in the USA?



Newman
2012-01-01, 08:38 AM
She was my absolute favourite as a kid, I felt so identified...

Nobody ever listens to her...

tensai_oni
2012-01-01, 08:42 AM
Because following seasons made her devolve just like with Homer, only in the opposite direction. The Simpsons dad changed from a stupid and bumbling but lovable doofus into a temperamental jerk who remains just as useless but loses all sympathy with his dickish behavior. As for Lisa, she turned into the only saint in the den of idiots that is Springfield, always saying and doing the right things and being the only competent and non-evil person. Without any significant character flaws. In short, someone that annoys people and for good reasons.

Just a note, the writers noticed both changes having mostly negative reaction from the fans and the last seasons were slightly better about characterisation.

Newman
2012-01-01, 08:46 AM
I think failing to get people to listen to her is a pretty solid flaw in itself.

nyarlathotep
2012-01-01, 09:49 AM
I think failing to get people to listen to her is a pretty solid flaw in itself.

It is not, the inability to see the right answer is a flaw shared by almost every other character on the show. That being said you could argue that her main flaw is the inability to state what is right without coming off as condescending and/or preachy. Unfortunately that flaw is one that generally removes audience sympathy rather than gathering it. Additionally Lisa has in the past been rather transparently been used as a writer mouth piece in argued over topics.

That all being said however few if any people have a problem with her early characterization (seasons 1-8 or so), but as the show's overall writing became characterized and in many people's opinion bad she became incredibly grating.

Edit: As a lot of this comes from the acting I have a question for you. Is English your first language and what language are you watching the Simpsons in?

Soras Teva Gee
2012-01-01, 10:13 AM
Lisa is knowingly designed to be generally unlikable, that's her purpose as it were.

Speaking in a broad sense and without debating the details this entails, America is generally said to be center right on the political spectrum. Lisa is far left and very much the missionary about it. This dissonance is reflect foremost in the show, and reinforced because one can tell that the writers use her for a mouth piece so she is annoyingly right much of the time as a statement on where America is being a bunch of idiots.

I also understand situations like when she went vegetarian and then ruined Homer's BBQ but was shown to be an intolerant prig for doing so have gotten rarer over the years.

Eldan
2012-01-01, 11:11 AM
She never appeared all that far left to me, I must say. Moderate center to slightly left, probably.

But political leanings aside: it's not her ideas that are annoying to me. It's how she goes about them. She is often quite smug and preachy. I meet people like her every day at university, those who think they are somehow superior because they visited a certain lecture and now have to tell everyone about how fantastic their ideas are.

Newman
2012-01-01, 11:56 AM
Edit: As a lot of this comes from the acting I have a question for you. Is English your first language and what language are you watching the Simpsons in?

It's been more than a decade since I watched them, and mostly in French, later Spanish. I only saw season XX in English, I think.

I've been turned off the Simpsons for some time: too much plot going off-the rails...

Nerd-o-rama
2012-01-01, 12:04 PM
Left and right are relative, and "where" people fall on the sliding scale is going to vary heavily between Europe and America. This is also an illegal topic.

You also have to consider, Newman, that general audience antipathy toward Lisa is a relatively recent development. The characters of the Simpsons have generally gone farther from being rounded characters and more into hateable stereotypes as the show's gone on - the trope used to be called "Flanderization" for a reason. Homer's become more stupid, Bart more obnoxious, and Lisa more preachy and self-absorbed as the show's gone on. Whether she's correct or not has nothing to do with it. All Simpsons characters have become more annoying, Lisa is no exception.

NerfTW
2012-01-01, 12:05 PM
. As for Lisa, she turned into the only saint in the den of idiots that is Springfield, always saying and doing the right things and being the only competent and non-evil person. Without any significant character flaws. In short, someone that annoys people and for good reasons.

What show were you watching? Lisa is extremely flawed. For starters, she's only eight and acts like it. When she picks up a new belief, she crams it down people's throats to the extent of making her parents think she hates them. Her vegetarianism, her Buddhism, her wedding, her going on the bus and getting lost, trying to change Mr. Burns into an environmentalist, the list goes on. Her flaws are that she doesn't see where she's going wrong and often fails to consider her father's feelings. (Oh, and the episode with the sensory deprivation tank pretty much lays that right out there)


Also, I don't get it, why do you (the op) think Lisa is unpopular in the US? I'd say she's only behind Bart and Homer in popularity. (Personally, I love each and every one of them, and I'm a massive fanboy)

nyarlathotep
2012-01-01, 12:07 PM
It's been more than a decade since I watched them, and mostly in French, later Spanish. I only saw season XX in English, I think.

I've been turned off the Simpsons for some time: too much plot going off-the rails...

Well depending on how exact the translation is (comedies tend to take a lot of localization) the episodes involving Lisa could have had vastly different tone and feel than the English equivelents that American audiences saw. Even if the
over all idea of a given seen was the same the way it was handled could have been vastly different.

Tiki Snakes
2012-01-01, 12:08 PM
I remember on a show about the Simpsons, to tie in with some anniversary, Matt Groening or some other producer of the show said that, if it ever became simply the mad adventures of Homer Simpson they'd know it was time to end the show.

truemane
2012-01-01, 12:10 PM
It always seemed to me that Lisa's job was to to reflect what the writers saw as the hostility toward intellectualism in the US. I'm not saying there is hostility toward intellectuals, I'm saying that I think the writers feel there is and use Lisa as a means to represent it.

But then, I haven't watched the show in a few years, so things may have changed.

Also, as the OP asked why Lisa isn't popular, do we have any data on her actual popularity (or lack thereof)? Possible we're all talking about an issue that doesn't exist.

NerfTW
2012-01-01, 12:13 PM
Well depending on how exact the translation is (comedies tend to take a lot of localization) the episodes involving Lisa could have had vastly different tone and feel than the English equivelents that American audiences saw. Even if the
over all idea of a given seen was the same the way it was handled could have been vastly different.

Ooh, good point.


It's been more than a decade since I watched them, and mostly in French, later Spanish. I only saw season XX in English, I think.

I've been turned off the Simpsons for some time: too much plot going off-the rails...

I stopped watching around season 15 maybe? Then picked up again with season 20. And going back and watching season 19, I can see why I stopped. Even with fresh, non jaded eyes, that season was absolute garbage. (I think I have the right season. The one with That 90's Show spoofing Nirvanna. It just didn't have the same tone as the Beatles spoof)

But they've been fantastic for the last 3 years, I'd highly advise rewatching.

Edit- Just double checked. The writer's strike was the same year, but that would have affected seasons 20 and 21, not 19. If anything, it's almost like the strike helped the show get out of it's rut.

snoopy13a
2012-01-01, 02:43 PM
Lisa is a necessary foil for Homer and Bart. Still, I'm one of the those people who liked the Simpsons better when it was Bart-centric (e.g., seasons 1&2) rather than Homer-centric.

Also, people still watch the Simpsons? :smalltongue:

Newman
2012-01-01, 03:10 PM
Left and right are relative, and "where" people fall on the sliding scale is going to vary heavily between Europe and America. This is also an illegal topic.

You also have to consider, Newman, that general audience antipathy toward Lisa is a relatively recent development. The characters of the Simpsons have generally gone farther from being rounded characters and more into hateable stereotypes as the show's gone on - the trope used to be called "Flanderization" for a reason. Homer's become more stupid, Bart more obnoxious, and Lisa more preachy and self-absorbed as the show's gone on. Whether she's correct or not has nothing to do with it. All Simpsons characters have become more annoying, Lisa is no exception.

While we're at it, I don't get the Flanders hate either. His anti-catholicism and bouts of zealot fanatism aside, he's the nicest, kindest, most competent and effective guy in Springfield.

His kids have a strange sense of fun though... I hope they never get a religious crisis...

nyarlathotep
2012-01-01, 03:18 PM
While we're at it, I don't get the Flanders hate either. His anti-catholicism and bouts of zealot fanatism aside, he's the nicest, kindest, most competent and effective guy in Springfield.

His kids have a strange sense of fun though... I hope they never get a religious crisis...

Well he was. In later seasons he seems to be a projection of anything the writers don't like about religious people.

Traab
2012-01-01, 03:36 PM
While we're at it, I don't get the Flanders hate either. His anti-catholicism and bouts of zealot fanatism aside, he's the nicest, kindest, most competent and effective guy in Springfield.

His kids have a strange sense of fun though... I hope they never get a religious crisis...

**** envy. We hate him because he is a tripod, as several blurry images have shown us. Aaaaaand, star wipe.

KingofMadCows
2012-01-01, 03:44 PM
She's too much like Peggy Hill.

Eldan
2012-01-01, 03:52 PM
While we're at it, I don't get the Flanders hate either. His anti-catholicism and bouts of zealot fanatism aside, he's the nicest, kindest, most competent and effective guy in Springfield.

His kids have a strange sense of fun though... I hope they never get a religious crisis...

Used to be. Then came the jokes like "I have to wear pants in the shower so I don't see my willy and get tempted" and "we have to play board games without dice, because gambling is the devil". He just became a really annoying stereotype of the most stupid kind of American Christian.

chiasaur11
2012-01-01, 04:10 PM
Anyone here watch Community?

There's a pretty perfect case study on the why.

Britta. AKA human tennis elbow, the opposite of Batman, the pizza burn on the world's mouth...

Initially, she was "a better person". Socially conscious, saw through Jeff's lies, ect. The most morally superior member of the group.

Audiences loathed her. This was not a good thing. So Dan Harmon and crew, being the gold pooping geniuses they are, decided on a simple solution.

The show would dump on Britta. Thus descriptions like "You're the AT&T of people". Thus, she buys laser eye surgery for her cat, and defends the decision by saying "He only has the one eye! I can't exactly buy him a cat monocle, can I? It's pretentious!"

Have someone be the obvious author mouthpiece tends to make people wary at best, angry at worst. Thus, the problem with Lisa.

Even at his least caricatured, Flanders was the butt of jokes. (And, to be fair to the writers, even at his most he's still portrayed as one of the few halfway decent guys in town) Meanwhile, Lisa gets off light. It's the sort of thing that bugs people.

Kato
2012-01-01, 06:32 PM
To be honest... I don't quite get it. Okay, I'll try not to get political but... why do Americans hate those 'author mouth pieces' so much? It's the same with Brian on Family Guy, or that's the impression I tend to get.
Okay, I can see why one wouldn't like preachy people but heck, aren't the auhtors allowed to state their opinions? And what else should they do? make the characters change their opinions every episode so it's not always the same character? And if you don't agree, well, ignore it. I never had the feeling South Park got that mucharguing maybe because they go at it as over the top as they do, I don't know...


That said, I like Lisa. I don't agree with everything she says, and yeah, she can be preachy but opposed to Homer at his worst or Bart or many others I'd rather have someone too smart than too dumb to live. There are so many other characters to dislike in the Simpsons.


Flanders... he ... well, he is okely dokely... Yeah, he is at times a rather exaggerrated perfect Christian but... well, it's a comedy show. No reason to hate him for that. It's just a stupid trait, like all others have stupid traits.

Nerd-o-rama
2012-01-01, 06:51 PM
When an author or writer makes a character in the story to be their mouthpiece, rather than a person, that makes them a bad character, someone who doesn't fit in the narrative because they represent a perspective outside the narrative, that of the author's opinions on the real world. They don't fit, so they grate.

That said, I'm still pretty sure Lisa is intended to be annoying and flawed, just like every other character in the show. It's just that characters have become only their flaws as the Simpsons has gone on, and Lisa's flaw is "annoying know-it-all", with the unfortunate reinforcing effect that the writers frequently agree with the things she's being annoying about.


And South Park never gets more irritating than when Stan or Kyle blatantly states Matt Stone and Trey Parker's political views, which partly consist of "celebrities shouldn't use their status or performances to enforce their political views" (see Team America: World Police and the recursive hypocrisy inherent in its villains).

Soras Teva Gee
2012-01-01, 07:35 PM
Why do people not like mouth pieces and political content in general:

-Often accompanied by somehow being shown they are right by the universe around them. Often with exaggerated consequences that break suspension of disbelief.

-Objections are never addressed as being at all legit. Only as being either purely stupid/ignorant or as being dirty tricks (lies) by the obviously evil opponents.

-People don't share the beliefs of the mouth-piece and find what they say offensive decreasing their personal enjoyment.

-People want to make up their own mind without feeling like they are being told what they should believe.

-That people want their entertainment to be separate from the often depressing state of politics.

Traab
2012-01-01, 07:46 PM
Why do people not like mouth pieces and political content in general:

-Often accompanied by somehow being shown they are right by the universe around them. Often with exaggerated consequences that break suspension of disbelief.

-Objections are never addressed as being at all legit. Only as being either purely stupid/ignorant or as being dirty tricks (lies) by the obviously evil opponents.

-People don't share the beliefs of the mouth-piece and find what they say offensive decreasing their personal enjoyment.

-People want to make up their own mind without feeling like they are being told what they should believe.

-That people want their entertainment to be separate from the often depressing state of politics.

Yeah, 90% of the time, any objection to the writers point of view will be a strawman anyway. Someone mentioned south park, thats a show that takes this to an extreme. Instead of an actual debate, every character that doesnt agree with the writers viewpoint are a bunch of moronic derps, any argument used to defend them is a blatantly false straw man, and did I mention going against their view is always shown as being an idiot? DEY TOOK ER JOBS! VOTE OR DIE! RABBLE RABBLE RABBLE!

On the other hand, despite the heavy handed political views, at least south park doesnt try to hide it, and id like to think they overdo it specifically for laughs instead of doing it to make their views seem more right. Also, doing current event type episodes is all that kept the series from dying a slow death 4 seasons ago or more.

Maxios
2012-01-01, 09:29 PM
It's simple: she tries to force her beliefs into people. Remember the episode when she became vegan, and ruined Homer's BBQ?

Nerd-o-rama
2012-01-01, 10:04 PM
It's simple: she tries to force her beliefs into people. Remember the episode when she became vegan, and ruined Homer's BBQ?

Vegetarian. She learned her lesson at the end of the episode when Apu, a vegan, demonstrated tolerance towards her. That was an early episode where she had to learn a lesson about not bossing people around.

Jahkaivah
2012-01-01, 10:22 PM
Vegetarian. She learned her lesson at the end of the episode when Apu, a vegan, demonstrated tolerance towards her. That was an early episode where she had to learn a lesson about not bossing people around.

Though a lot of people felt that episode sparked the change in Lisa that irritated them. Much like how a lot of people felt that the Frank Grimes episode sparked the change in Homer that made him an obnoxious jerk.

Avilan the Grey
2012-01-01, 10:29 PM
I don't get the Lisa hate either. Of course I am one of these that still truly enjoys the show, and has through all seasons (with the exception of the first half of the first season, before the characters found their pace (and remember, first season or two Lisa was just another Bart, just like in the shorts on Tracy Ulman Show)).

Basically it boils down to this for me: Every time a character acts TOO over the top, it's Rule Of Funny. UNDER that is the true characters. Also remember that this is a show with an intentional negative continuity.

Starscream
2012-01-02, 01:35 AM
I always liked Lisa growing up, and never got the impression she was particularly unpopular with people, but I agree that like most characters she has become more of a self-parody in recent years, to her detriment.

I think the reason it has hit her particularly badly is that she was the normal one (relatively speaking). Homer became more of a doofus, Bart became more of a brat, but Lisa's thing was being the sane character. When everyone started to become more exaggerated, she did too, and now no longer seems particularly sane at all.

I can only speak for myself, but Lisa was the character I could relate to easiest when I was a kid. Bart and Homer were funny because they reminded me of people I knew, but Lisa was more like myself. Now that "Flanderization" has set in, she is no longer easy to empathize with.

McStabbington
2012-01-02, 01:44 AM
I think it's because most people don't like people who condescend to them, even if those people happen to be right. And condescension and Malibu Stacy are basically Lisa's hats.

Lord Seth
2012-01-02, 03:25 AM
Also, as the OP asked why Lisa isn't popular, do we have any data on her actual popularity (or lack thereof)? Possible we're all talking about an issue that doesn't exist.I'm not sure if Lisa is necessarily unpopular. It's just that the people who dislike her tend to be very loud about it.

It's kind of like how Metroid: Other M had an overall decent reception if you look at sites like GameRankings or Metacritic to see average scores, but the people who hated it were really noisy about it and made it seem like the game had a really negative reception.

It really should be demonstrated that Lisa is indeed "unpopular" and not just a case of a few people really hating her and being loud about it.
To be honest... I don't quite get it. Okay, I'll try not to get political but... why do Americans hate those 'author mouth pieces' so much? It's the same with Brian on Family Guy, or that's the impression I tend to get.

Okay, I can see why one wouldn't like preachy people but heck, aren't the auhtors allowed to state their opinions? And what else should they do? make the characters change their opinions every episode so it's not always the same character?What else should they do? How about not have a character whose main purpose is just to be a mouthpiece. One possible way to do this is to spread their thoughts or opinions among several different characters rather than stacking them all onto one.

Honestly though, I've never found Lisa that annoying, and I feel people seem to exaggerate her role as a supposed mouthpiece. Even at her worst, I don't think she ever got anywhere near as bad as Brian did sometimes on Family Guy.


And if you don't agree, well, ignore it.This is a rather weak argument. Why should people be ignoring flaws?

Avilan the Grey
2012-01-02, 03:26 AM
I think it's because most people don't like people who condescend to them, even if those people happen to be right. And condescension and Malibu Stacy are basically Lisa's hats.

I don't agree. Or rather when she is written as such, she is usually taught a lesson about it at the end of the episode.

Also, unlike the other character's Flanderization Lisa's has a more serious undertone; it has been hinted on several times that she might be suffering from at least as many problems as Bart, only non-funny. Basically, as Flanderization goes, she acts fairly realistic.

She IS also a small kid with an extremely high IQ. She is not the "normal" one; that is her mother. She is the genius one; there IS a reason she can be condescending to her brother, and other idiots on the show; she really IS that much smarter and knows it. It must be very hard not to be condescending at times living with morons like the people in Springfield.

AtlanteanTroll
2012-01-02, 03:34 AM
She's too much like Peggy Hill.

I ... What? Lisa, not Marge. And even then ...

Kato
2012-01-02, 04:33 AM
I hate getting off topic but I guess it still kind of is on the topic of Lisa because being a mouth piece is i guess one of the major complaints...


It really should be demonstrated that Lisa is indeed "unpopular" and not just a case of a few people really hating her and being loud about it.What else should they do? How about not have a character whose main purpose is just to be a mouthpiece.
How is she/Brian that? they have their own personalites and problems, like Lisa being less popular at school or falling in love at times or whatever. (Same for Brian when he gets center stage) Their not "just" there as mouthpieces, they are "also" there as mouthpieces if anything. And if you discuss a serious topic, shouldn't you be allowed to state your opinion (if it's not all you do the entire episode)?


One possible way to do this is to spread their thoughts or opinions among several different characters rather than stacking them all onto one.
That's more of a general problem with stereotypes... The thing is, you won't get Mr Burns to be the person who's for legalizing Mariuhana or Ned Flanders to be discussing smoking or whatever. I guess you could blame it on the characters they are the "left wing politics" in the cast but that's really their stereotype. It just doesn't suit the idiot father to take that job. ot saying it's a good thing but otherwise I guess way too many characters would just blend together (also, then all of a sudden the complaints would probably be "Half the cast are damn liberals!"


This is a rather weak argument. Why should people be ignoring flaws?
I could spend hours discussing the things I don't like about pretty much any given thing... ever. Or I could just enjoy it. What makes my life more enjoyable? :smallwink:




-Objections are never addressed as being at all legit. Only as being either purely stupid/ignorant or as being dirty tricks (lies) by the obviously evil opponents.
Given, that's a problem even if you don't have a mouth piece. But that's not the fault of the mouth piece, but of the author (well, I guess it ALL comes down to the author in the end)


-People don't share the beliefs of the mouth-piece and find what they say offensive decreasing their personal enjoyment.
Even if I don't agree with a given statement does simply someone disagreeing with me really make me feel bad? Why is it offensive to stae your opinion when done in a decent manner? And I can hardly recall Simpsons ever being straightoff offensive about something. (Well, once or twice, maybe)


-People want to make up their own mind without feeling like they are being told what they should believe.
Yeah... you see... there are quite a few people who either don't think at all about stuff like that or who got their opinions and don't question them, like ever, and instead get angry when someone says something different. But shouldn't one rather think about things, especially if other people disagree with me because, you know, they might have a point and maybe I should spend some time using my head to see whether I'm really right. Or how they are wrong. Instead of just getting annoyed.
But I guess more people than not really don't like ding that. (In any given country, no offense to the Americans)

grimbold
2012-01-02, 06:06 AM
Well depending on how exact the translation is (comedies tend to take a lot of localization) the episodes involving Lisa could have had vastly different tone and feel than the English equivelents that American audiences saw. Even if the
over all idea of a given seen was the same the way it was handled could have been vastly different.

this is correct IMO

having watched simpsons in french and english (american living in france) i think that the translation is average at best and that Lisa does come over as a jerk

as for the later seasons... i try not to think about them too much :smallannoyed:

Newman
2012-01-02, 06:22 AM
French Homer is best Homer.

Traab
2012-01-02, 08:13 AM
I don't agree. Or rather when she is written as such, she is usually taught a lesson about it at the end of the episode.

Also, unlike the other character's Flanderization Lisa's has a more serious undertone; it has been hinted on several times that she might be suffering from at least as many problems as Bart, only non-funny. Basically, as Flanderization goes, she acts fairly realistic.

She IS also a small kid with an extremely high IQ. She is not the "normal" one; that is her mother. She is the genius one; there IS a reason she can be condescending to her brother, and other idiots on the show; she really IS that much smarter and knows it. It must be very hard not to be condescending at times living with morons like the people in Springfield.

I dunno, most of the episodes I can think of tend to have lisa acting along the lines of, "Well, here we go again. Time to save my idiot family from themselves. Thank god I know what to do." Obviously not a direct quote, but the long suffering sighs, the internal monologues, lisa sees herself as superior to her family, and that its her job to be right and to fix everything they do wrong, (which is almost everything they do) Yes sometimes she is the one in the wrong, but usually thats how it happens.

Soras Teva Gee
2012-01-02, 11:41 AM
How is she/Brian that? they have their own personalites and problems, like Lisa being less popular at school or falling in love at times or whatever. (Same for Brian when he gets center stage) Their not "just" there as mouthpieces, they are "also" there as mouthpieces if anything. And if you discuss a serious topic, shouldn't you be allowed to state your opinion (if it's not all you do the entire episode)?

Well just a casual look I was able to find this for Brian:


Brian, unfortunately was terribly misused this season. He's degenerated into nothing more than a soapbox for the political views of the writers, and it's been a bit too heavy handed as of late. He's also been quite a jackass lately his conduct in "We Love You Conrad" was particularly loathsome.IGN Season 7 Review (http://tv.ign.com/articles/986/986840p1.html)

Noting that just about anything that can get to the level of published criticism probably has a substantial general public representation. Mind you I do think the case for Lisa is over stated.

I did not quickly find criticisms like the one above for example. However umm.... lets just say that the entertainment industry and therefore what it rewards and criticizes does not have a reputations as politically neutral. And Lisa just so happens to align with said reputation.


Given, that's a problem even if you don't have a mouth piece. But that's not the fault of the mouth piece, but of the author (well, I guess it ALL comes down to the author in the end)

Which is why I had "political content in general" heading my list as an addition. Precisely because it all goes back to the creators.


Even if I don't agree with a given statement does simply someone disagreeing with me really make me feel bad? Why is it offensive to stae your opinion when done in a decent manner? And I can hardly recall Simpsons ever being straightoff offensive about something. (Well, once or twice, maybe)

{scrubbed}

Eldan
2012-01-02, 02:09 PM
I think the reason it has hit her particularly badly is that she was the normal one (relatively speaking). Homer became more of a doofus, Bart became more of a brat, but Lisa's thing was being the sane character. When everyone started to become more exaggerated, she did too, and now no longer seems particularly sane at all.

I thought that Marge's thing was being the calm one that balanced out the family?

Kato
2012-01-02, 02:55 PM
IGN Season 7 Review (http://tv.ign.com/articles/986/986840p1.html)
Even if IGN is probably one of the more reliable sources I'd still feel the need to go back and rewatch the respective episodes before I agree or disagree. And since I really don't have the time or energy to watch (or read reviews) of a whole season I guess I'll either have to stick to my foggy memory or leave Brain out of the discussion on Lisa.


Which is why I had "political content in general" heading my list as an addition. Precisely because it all goes back to the creators.
Okay, my bad.



Let's take a single piece. Lisa becomes a Buddhist (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/She_of_Little_Faith).

[...]

Well, it's not my place to tell you what you may judge or may not but if I may speak openly, I don't really see that much offensive with the episode which I know rather well. Admittedly, I don't consider myself a firm believer in Christianity by far but isn't tolerance and acceptance of people with other believes and opinions a rather essential part of todays western culture (or should be, anyway)
I guess I shouldn't expect other people to think the same as me but I for my part have e.g. no problem if atheists or Germans or physicists or with whatever else I may identify are made fun of by... well, as far as I can recall anyone. And I don't feel put off by it either, I can laugh along.

But before someone really gets an infraction I guess we'd better stop :smallsmile:

Karoht
2012-01-02, 03:10 PM
Lisa is a walking talking example of "It's not what you say it's how you say it"

When she dumbs things down without being condescending, she's typically quite a palattable character.
When she tries do dumb things down but comes off condescending, she's typically an irritant, sometimes with hilarious results, sometimes with a witty commentary about a certain demographic, sometimes with a bit of biting cynicism that most either love or hate.
At least, that's how I see it.

I've always viewed the Jonathan Frink character as an exaggerated version of Lisa who invents things. Though this viewpoint doesn't always fit that description.

Also, her 'tolerance' tends to be smugness towards those she's tolerating.

Traab
2012-01-02, 03:26 PM
I thought that Marge's thing was being the calm one that balanced out the family?

Nah, she represses everything until she flips out and blocks a bridge with her car.

Prime32
2012-01-02, 03:27 PM
I've always viewed the Jonathan Frink character as an exaggerated version of Lisa who invents things. Though this viewpoint doesn't always fit that description.Frink isn't exactly a moral crusader. He's too easily distracted by SCIENCE! Honestly it would be more accurate to describe him as "smart Homer".

Karoht
2012-01-02, 04:09 PM
Frink isn't exactly a moral crusader. He's too easily distracted by SCIENCE! Honestly it would be more accurate to describe him as "smart Homer".
I stand corrected.

Movie Bob did a great 2-part piece on The Simpsons over on theescapist.com
Just click videos and select 'the big picture' it's about 10 minutes of your time to watch both parts. Might be worth it for context.

Lord Seth
2012-01-02, 08:02 PM
How is she/Brian that? they have their own personalites and problems, like Lisa being less popular at school or falling in love at times or whatever. (Same for Brian when he gets center stage) Their not "just" there as mouthpieces, they are "also" there as mouthpieces if anything.First, I was speaking more generally, not about any particular character(s). Second, I never said anything about a character just being a mouthpiece. I referred to characters whose main purpose was to be a mouthpiece. A mouthpiece character is generally going to have some role in the story other than just being a mouthpiece, but it doesn't mean that isn't their main role. And I even stated that I didn't find Lisa to really be a mouthpiece character, at least not as much as some others do.


And if you discuss a serious topic, shouldn't you be allowed to state your opinion (if it's not all you do the entire episode)?This is the sort of thing that I think should be reserved for outside the fictional medium. Trying to argue a point in a nonfiction writing is fine. But when it intrudes into the fictional world...you can get problems. And you can easily discuss serious topics in fiction without having to flat-out state your own opinion. Gullivar's Travels has lots of satire in it, but I don't remember any characters being there just to say "hey! This is what you should think!"

In a video SF Debris made where he reviewed the Voyager episode Jetrel, he made a decent point about this sort of thing. Unfortunately, the video isn't up anymore (he took all his review videos off YouTube because they started being taken down, and he's putting the older ones back up--gradually--on Blip, but this one isn't back yet), but he said an issue with a number of episodes in the Star Trek franchise is that rather than presenting you with a situation and asking you to think about it, they presented you with a situation and told you how to think about it, which is actually discouraging you from thinking.


That's more of a general problem with stereotypes... The thing is, you won't get Mr Burns to be the person who's for legalizing Mariuhana or Ned Flanders to be discussing smoking or whatever. I guess you could blame it on the characters they are the "left wing politics" in the cast but that's really their stereotype. It just doesn't suit the idiot father to take that job. ot saying it's a good thing but otherwise I guess way too many characters would just blend together (also, then all of a sudden the complaints would probably be "Half the cast are damn liberals!"I'm again talking more from a general perspective, particularly in terms of the creation of characters.

Of course, in terms of cases like the legalizing marijuana episode of Family Guy, there is another option: Just don't do that episode at all! Then you don't have to worry about who it would be in character for. I wish they had done that. That was a pretty bad episode...


I could spend hours discussing the things I don't like about pretty much any given thing... ever. Or I could just enjoy it. What makes my life more enjoyable? :smallwink:When a flaw in a series is getting in the way of my enjoyment, then I feel the attitude "just ignore it!" is fallacious. Would you try to argue that, say, Manos: the Hands of Fate is a good movie on the basis that people shouldn't be paying attention to its flaws and should ignore them in order to enjoy the movie?

Soras Teva Gee
2012-01-02, 08:27 PM
Well, it's not my place to tell you what you may judge or may not but if I may speak openly, I don't really see that much offensive with the episode which I know rather well. Admittedly, I don't consider myself a firm believer in Christianity by far but isn't tolerance and acceptance of people with other believes and opinions a rather essential part of todays western culture (or should be, anyway)
I guess I shouldn't expect other people to think the same as me but I for my part have e.g. no problem if atheists or Germans or physicists or with whatever else I may identify are made fun of by... well, as far as I can recall anyone. And I don't feel put off by it either, I can laugh along.

But before someone really gets an infraction I guess we'd better stop :smallsmile:

Your response is typical. By which I mean I have seen it in close variation many a time. And one of the primary problems is this type of response is taking the approach of whether a complaint is valid or not. Mind you there are plenty of other times this argument is not really political, my perennial fave is judging a show based on hype or its fans for example. However when trying to reach a determination on "reasonable objection" overlaps with social politics it only heightens the tension because it becomes an objection to those beliefs.

Put simply the entire mind set you just espoused is on such a different wavelength that it rapidly becomes welll... gah I'm doing it again. Okay pick something you would consider offensive, anything that if you saw you might change a channel for or stop watching a show. Doesn't matter what it is.

That is possibly where you begin. Particularly for religion when it matters it is a supernova that makes everything else is a matchstick. To give you an idea of the sort of energy levels involved.

And now I'm done.

Terraoblivion
2012-01-02, 09:17 PM
{Scrubbed}

So basically people dislike her because they're so insecure in their beliefs that they have to avoid ever hearing another viewpoint? :smalltongue:

Soras Teva Gee
2012-01-02, 10:01 PM
Uh oh here go.... I have to refuse to engage that Terraoblivion.

nyarlathotep
2012-01-02, 11:13 PM
So basically people dislike her because they're so insecure in their beliefs that they have to avoid ever hearing another viewpoint? :smalltongue:

So the same reason people get mad when you criticize Evangelion in an anime circle?

Or people dislike Sword of Truth. :smallbiggrin:

Anarion
2012-01-03, 12:29 AM
So basically people dislike her because they're so insecure in their beliefs that they have to avoid ever hearing another viewpoint? :smalltongue:

I shouldn't, but I can't resist trying to answer this.

It's not being unable to hear another belief, but rather that the delivery is not artfully done. Try to remember one of those times in your life where a parent, older sibling, or more mature friend warned you about something, you ignored it, and later they had an "I told you so" moment. Here's one from Lien if you can't think of any (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0554.html).

Basically, if people just tell someone how to do things, it often creates resentment, and if they turn out to be right later, they look smug and the person who was told something often feels embarrassed or annoyed for having been wrong.

Now, sometimes in reality one just needs to be told things, but we watch television for entertainment, not to have someone preach heavy-handed lessons or particular viewpoints. If a TV show wants to teach a lesson well, they need to make it come about naturally from the context of the episode and the logical consequences of poor choices, rather than have a character preaching.

Worira
2012-01-03, 12:39 AM
Well, no, while that's an accurate summary of many people's issue with Lisa, it's not the issue Soras is mentioning having in that post, nor what Terra is responding to.

Avilan the Grey
2012-01-03, 02:13 AM
Well, no, while that's an accurate summary of many people's issue with Lisa, it's not the issue Soras is mentioning having in that post, nor what Terra is responding to.

Exactly. The particular episode is also one of my favorite "early" (the line blurs when a show has been running 20+ years) seasons episode. I have never found anything objective with what she does there; there is plenty of people who are wrong and annoying in that episode, but Lisa isn't one of them.



I shouldn't, but I can't resist trying to answer this.

It's not being unable to hear another belief, but rather that the delivery is not artfully done. Try to remember one of those times in your life where a parent, older sibling, or more mature friend warned you about something, you ignored it, and later they had an "I told you so" moment. Here's one from Lien if you can't think of any (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0554.html).


I honestly don't connect this argument to that episode whatsoever; I just don't see how this has any bearing on the story and message from that episode.

kpenguin
2012-01-03, 03:30 AM
The Modguin: Just a reminder to everyone to keep the discussion appropriate. Please don't have this discussion strays into politics or religion any further.

Kato
2012-01-03, 04:51 AM
Sorry, allmighty penguin master. Guess it was (also) my fault to let the discussion slip off.

I feel like the reasons people dislike Lisa have been collected sufficiently..
So... to turn the discussion on a slightly different angle... can someone name an example how an author in fiction can express his opinion in a (from your personal perspective) good way or do all/most of you think they just shouldn't do it at all?

Newman
2012-01-03, 04:52 AM
Now, sometimes in reality one just needs to be told things, but we watch television for entertainment, not to have someone preach heavy-handed lessons or particular viewpoints. If a TV show wants to teach a lesson well, they need to make it come about naturally from the context of the episode and the logical consequences of poor choices, rather than have a character preaching.

Friendship Is Magic in a nutshell.

Anarion
2012-01-03, 01:02 PM
I honestly don't connect this argument to that episode whatsoever; I just don't see how this has any bearing on the story and message from that episode.

I was arguing more generally because I wanted to avoid the board rules problems. The episode in question and commentary above was that people who are presented with a different viewpoint than one that they strongly hold might find that differing viewpoint offensive. Terraoblivion suggested that was due to insecurity, and my response is that it's not insecurity that causes people to be offended, but rather poor presentation on the part of the show. Even people with a lot of self-confidence don't appreciate being told "you're wrong" to their face, and I think that emotional reaction is analogous to the I listed above about "I told you so" moments.


Friendship Is Magic in a nutshell.

Kinda, although Friendship is Magic has actually been a bit too strong with its lessons from time to time, such as the strong reaction during "Feeling Pinkie Keen" in Season 1.

If I had to pick a show that consistently taught its lessons well, I would suggest Wishbone (the show about the book-reading dog, if you've never heard of it). They always taught a moral, but it was in the context of applying it both to modern life and to a classical story, which made it feel very natural.

Kato
2012-01-03, 01:25 PM
Friendship Is Magic in a nutshell.
Well... yes, but they have very simple topics (and even then, they are not generally true) Nobody would disagree so there's little room for people to feel offended.


I was arguing more generally because I wanted to avoid the board rules problems. The episode in question and commentary above was that people who are presented with a different viewpoint than one that they strongly hold might find that differing viewpoint offensive. Terraoblivion suggested that was due to insecurity, and my response is that it's not insecurity that causes people to be offended, but rather poor presentation on the part of the show. Even people with a lot of self-confidence don't appreciate being told "you're wrong" to their face, and I think that emotional reaction is analogous to the I listed above about "I told you so" moments.


I'm going to make a big step and say: People will much less often feel offended by preaching if they agree with the point of the work. Not, never, but significantly less.
I'm not saying people need to ignore if someone disagrees with them but getting angry because people have another opinion... honestly seems like a character flaw to me. It's not about confidence, yeah but still, it's not a good traitof character to feel offended by people with different opinion than your own. (as long as they are not offensive on purpose, that is)

Karoht
2012-01-03, 02:52 PM
What is interesting to note is not necessarily what Lisa says but the replies she gets.
Notice how she doesn't (often) get into shouting matches over X vs Y per se?
Most of the time the time the springfieldians reply with something clever from pop culture. Usually a line uttered by a celebrity or other important media person in response to a similar issue.

However, due to the prevailance of such responses as pop culture, combined with a large lag time between the last time I watched the simpsons and today, I can't think of an example of such for the life of me.

My point though is, sometimes she isn't being the moral mouthpiece. She's merely the presenter of the issue, while the rest of springfield portray a load of opinions (typically absurd or ignorant, for comedy value) which are themselves portrayal of other public opinions. This portrays the silly side of the arguement, and does actually encourage the viewer to laugh, but at the same time say to themselves "well duh, the answer is so simple" and in effect 'be the Lisa' rather than merely have Lisa talk at them. It's roundabout, other programs have used it (I recall Monty Python employed something similar), but there it is.

This doesn't explain why people dislike her though, it's merely an observation/opinion.

Mewtarthio
2012-01-03, 03:12 PM
Friendship Is Magic in a nutshell.

You kidding? That show's morals are totally preachy. Heck, they even have a segment at the end of every episode where Twilight reads aloud exactly what the kids are supposed to learn this week. It's just that the lessons are almost always totally non-controversial (eg "Friendship is good!" "Self-esteem is good!"), so nobody really cares.

Newman
2012-01-03, 03:29 PM
You kidding? That show's morals are totally preachy. Heck, they even have a segment at the end of every episode where Twilight reads aloud exactly what the kids are supposed to learn this week. It's just that the lessons are almost always totally non-controversial (eg "Friendship is good!" "Self-esteem is good!"), so nobody really cares.

I think you're not giving the show enough credit: there's more to its Aesops than Applause Lights (http://lesswrong.com/lw/jb/applause_lights/). True, the lessons are simple, but they derive from conflicts that have their source organically in the characters' personalities, develop in believable ways, and are resolved in ways that also come organically from the characters' personalities. More importantly, this show is known to inspire its viewers to take the general spirit of the lessons to heart, something other "shows with lesson at the end" usually fail spectacularly at, even encouraging the opposite behavior by making it seem more exciting or fun, or making the do-gooders look lame and reliant on Deus Ex Machina or unrealistic setting rules. Open is not the same as blunt or heavy-handed, you know.

Psyren
2012-01-03, 03:53 PM
Why do people not like mouth pieces and political content in general:

-Often accompanied by somehow being shown they are right by the universe around them. Often with exaggerated consequences that break suspension of disbelief.

-Objections are never addressed as being at all legit. Only as being either purely stupid/ignorant or as being dirty tricks (lies) by the obviously evil opponents.

-People don't share the beliefs of the mouth-piece and find what they say offensive decreasing their personal enjoyment.

-People want to make up their own mind without feeling like they are being told what they should believe.

-That people want their entertainment to be separate from the often depressing state of politics.

I agree with all of these, and I actually like Lisa.

Drascin
2012-01-03, 04:25 PM
I'm not sure if Lisa is necessarily unpopular. It's just that the people who dislike her tend to be very loud about it.

It's kind of like how Metroid: Other M had an overall decent reception if you look at sites like GameRankings or Metacritic to see average scores, but the people who hated it were really noisy about it and made it seem like the game had a really negative reception.

Doubt that, actually. Other M is not considered unpopular because "some whiners yell very hard, most people liked it". It is considered unpopular because a pretty sizeable portion of the fans of the series hate it to death... and the new audiences it was meant to capture met it with a resounding "eh" because it was just a pretty average game with nothing very wow-worthy, all told.

You don't manage to be the one of the lowest selling games in a franchise, despite being in one of the consoles with the hugest install bases ever, by "being liked by most people and just disliked by a few loud people". It's only hated by a few, but that doesn't mean most people like it. It's just more people's reaction to the game is, more or less, summed up as "*shrug*"

Lord Seth
2012-01-03, 04:30 PM
Doubt that, actually. Other M is not considered unpopular because "some whiners yell very hard, most people liked it". It is considered unpopular because a pretty sizeable portion of the fans of the series hate it to death... and the new audiences it was meant to capture met it with a resounding "eh" because it was just a pretty average game with nothing very wow-worthy, all told.

You don't manage to be the one of the lowest selling games in a franchise, despite being in one of the consoles with the hugest install bases ever, by "being liked by most people and just disliked by a few loud people". It's only hated by a few, but that doesn't mean most people like it. It's just more people's reaction to the game is, more or less, summed up as "*shrug*"I find it odd you wrote "being liked by most people and just disliked by a few loud people" in quotation marks considering (1) I never said that, and (2) I never said anything that could be paraphrased as that, and that seems to be what you're arguing against. You're arguing against an argument I didn't make.

Gnoman
2012-01-03, 06:39 PM
I think that the issue that more than a few people have is this. Most of the post-flanderization Simpsons characters personify one (or more depending on the episode) of the classic fatal flaws (not always, it depends on the season and the episode). Just for a few examples, and why the audience reacts as they do to them.

Homer: Sloth, Anger

In sloth mode, Homer works because his elaborate lengths to avoid work are inherently funny, while he makes a perfect target for Bart's pranks. In anger mode, the comedy is in the overreaction.

Bart: Rebellion

This is simple. Bart is pure chaos, and thus he usually works well due to his pranks.

Burns: Greed

I don't think this needs explaining.

Flanders: Humilty, Self-righteousness

While often annoying, Flanders works well (when done well) because he's at heart a good person. Even at his most self-righteuos, he's usually in it for reasons the audience can, at least, understand, and his humility (usually) keeps him from going too far.

Lisa: Pride, Self-righteousness

Lisa isn't humble. She takes over her cause of the week with the full confidence that she is the personification of Right, and is thus automatically superior to those around her. (This doesn't make her a mouthpiece or a bad character. It is just as feasible to attribute it to her youth.) She's also a central character, so she's much more prominent.

I think this illustrates why a lot of people don't like Lisa. It's rarely the message. It's the crusading zealotry.