Solving the problem of evil in the twenty-first century

The Simpsons’ Shadows

The Simpsons is the classic television series that has been airing for more than twenty years and has over a billion viewers. Besides portraying the typical American family, the animated is family is loved for much more: specifically their character traits. Among the characters in the Simpson family, the two siblings, Bart and Lisa, are two of the most beloved siblings in television history.

Bart Simpson is the mischievous, rambunctious, dim-witted and prank-pulling older brother while Lisa Simpson is the smart, sweet, mild-mannered, generous and loving younger sister.

The image above portrays the two in a humorous/eerie light. Above the two are walking hand in hand; the traditional heartwarming scene. But their shadows show two completely distinct forms. Bart’s shadow depicts him as the devil, complete with two horns on either side of his head, while Lisa’s shadow depicts her as an angel donned with a halo above her head.

The small changes in the appearance of the two characters creates a big impact. At a first glimpse of the show, the two fit the stereotype of the brother-sister characteristics; what they should be portrayed as. But as the image above illustrates, the personalities of the two resemble the figures of the devil and the angel more than that of a brother and sister.

Another important thing to note about the image is the position of the two Simpsons. Their actual selves are holding hands and walking together into the distance.  Their shadows, however, are holding their hands at the side. This could possibly suggest that Bart and Lisa may “appear” to be getting along and walking in harmony, but their true desire and intentions do not wish to do so.

Realistically, the image is supposed to make you laugh or even chuckle to yourself, since it was meant for comedic purposes. Albeit, one cannot help but imagine the true forms of the Simpson siblings and the eerie message their shadows seem to convey.


3 responses

  1. I thought this was really interesting, especially since I have been a die hard fan of this show for several years. In the show, however, although Bart is certainly a trickster and can show qualities that might be associated with the devil, he isn’t a bad kid overall. There are several episodes where he feels bad for his “evil” actions. There are also several episodes where Lisa commits actions that people might be considered evil, such as cheating on exams, lying and deceiving people, being envious of other people, and more. I agree that this image isn’t meant to be taken seriously, but them holding hands could symbolically represent how they both share some of the same angel-like and devil-like qualities even though one clearly shows those qualities more than the other.

    May 8, 2011 at 9:59 pm

  2. I enjoyed this post a lot. I hadn’t seen this poster before, but your blog and the image made me think about how each character is displayed. It’s like each are going down two different paths, and the consummation is based upon their actions throughout their lives, even in their childhood. I didn’t even notice, until you mentioned it, that the shadows are no longer holding hands. Similar to what you said, the true natures can never be in harmony or in union to one another. Very cool post.

    May 10, 2011 at 5:39 pm

  3. Although I find the portrayal of Bart and Lisa as a devil and angel fascinating in the light of their characters in the actual show, I think this portrayal is not in line with the show’s spirit. The Simpsons, especially in earlier episodes, gleefully eschews preconceived notions about comedy cliches. I’m not sure that portraying characters as having a definite spirit or character falls in line with the subversion the Simpsons is famous for.

    May 10, 2011 at 6:08 pm

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