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Scenes from the SuburbsThe Suburb in Contemporary US Film and Television$
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Timotheus Vermeulen

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780748691661

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748691661.001.0001

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The Simpsons and King of the Hill: The Suburb as Texture

The Simpsons and King of the Hill: The Suburb as Texture

(p.81) Chapter 3 The Simpsons and King of the Hill: The Suburb as Texture
Scenes from the Suburbs

Timotheus Vermeulen

Edinburgh University Press

The third chapter looks at two animated sitcoms: The Simpsons and King of the Hill. In popular culture as much as in criticism, the suburb is often perceived as a sort of flatland. For many people, the suburb literally lacks dimensions: it is culturally bland, socially conformist, emotionally shallow, or architecturally homogenous. Taking its cue from the philosopher David Kolb, this chapter takes issue with these assumptions. By looking at the ways in which two literally two-dimensional programmes negotiate the generic properties of the sitcom with the medium specific qualities of animation, such as flatness and elasticity, it examines how they problematise the correlation between flatness, superficiality and simplicity, and open our eyes to another figuration of complexity; a complexity that cannot be traced back to city or small town, but that may just be unique to the suburb.

Keywords:   The Simpsons, King of the Hill, Animated Sitcoms, Texture, Flatness

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