Understanding The Simpsons
Understanding The Simpsons
Animating the Politics and Poetics of Participatory Culture
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15.6 x 23.4 cm
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Preface to the AUP Edition


1. Bart Talks Back: The Politics and Poetics of Participatory Culture

2. Alternative TV: The Genesis of The Simpsons

3. More than Just a Cartoon: Meta-Television Culture and the Age of Irony

4. High Fives on Prime Time: Representing Popular Culture

5. At the Edge of Convergence Culture: Engaging in the Simpsons Cult

6. Echoes of Springfield: The Simpsons in Remix Culture

Conclusion: The Simpsons, Cultural Feedback Loops, and the Case of Apu


Reviews and Features

"Does the world need another book on The Simpsons? Don’t have a cow! From Black Bart to Banksy, from the Harvard Lampoon and underground comics to Mad Magazine, from transmedia storytelling to DeviantArt, Moritz Fink deftly explores what’s ‘cult‘ in this long-running television series and in the process, uses The Simpsons to explore the complex status of television in contemporary culture."
- Henry Jenkins, University of Southern California, editor of Popular Culture and the Civic Imagination: Case Studies of Creative Activism

"Meticulously researched and intelligently argued, Understanding The Simpsons: Animating the Politics and Poetics of Participatory Culture will be welcomed by American Studies scholars, students of television seriality, and anyone interested in the cultural histories of the nineties and naughties and beyond. Whether you like to watch The Simpsons as an academic, as a fan, or as an aca-fan, this book is for you."
- Frank Kelleter, Freie Universität Berlin, editor of Media of Serial Narrative

"Broadening the scope of study of The Simpsons from the television series to its status as a global transmedia franchise, Moritz Fink’s book is essential reading for anyone interested in the television industry and production, media convergence, fandom and participatory culture."
- Rebecca Williams, University of South Wales, author of Theme Park Fandom: Spatial Transmedia, Materiality, and Participatory Cultures

Moritz Fink

Understanding The Simpsons

Animating the Politics and Poetics of Participatory Culture

Accolades such as "the best TV show of the twentieth century" or "the longest-running scripted series on American prime-time television" have elevated The Simpsons to the pop culture pantheon, while also suggesting the very vintage character of the program. But the label "The Simpsons" refers not just to a show that seems to belong to a bygone television era, it implies a rich narrative universe, including a set of iconic figures, familiar across continents and generations.

Through the lens of transmedia studies, Understanding The Simpsons traces the franchise’s trajectory, exploring how one of the most popular comedy series of all time has redefined the intersections between corporate media and participatory culture, as the kernel of its cult meaning.

Moritz Fink

Moritz Fink is an independent media scholar. He holds a doctoral degree in American Studies from the University of Munich, and has published on The Simpsons as well as a variety of pop culture themes.