The Simpsons History Hour

Have you ever wondered why “The Simpsons” was such a great show? Welcome to a “Simpsons History Hour” — pull up a chair.

I have been watching my entire life. The show always had a knack for skewering the world’s current events. I never knew exactly why I loved it so much. Surely, I identified with Lisa’s introversion, Bart’s sense of destruction and Maggie’s invisibility. There was always a subversive element to it; the writers and animators were on a mission. You could feel an undercurrent of dissatisfaction with the dumbest elements of society.

But I never knew it was also historically iterative.

I came across a couple of images from episodes of the show. I noticed they were similar to iconic photographs from history. So, I did a little research, and of course, someone had already done all the legwork. I mean, it’s the Internet… which is Navajo for “everyone already knows.”

  • Lunch Atop a Skyscraper – Simpsons 1 of 20
    Lunch Atop a Skyscraper - Simpsons
    Why are Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie sitting on a steel girder?
  • Lunch Atop a Skyscraper – Historical 2 of 20
    Lunch Atop a Skyscraper - Historical
    This photograph depicts eleven men eating lunch on a steel girder 840 feet above New York City streets. It was taken on September 20, 1932.
  • Falling Soldier – Simpsons 3 of 20
    Falling Soldier - Simpsons
    Who is this falling soldier?
  • Falling Soldier – Historical 4 of 20
    Falling Soldier - Historical
    Rober Capa depicted a Spanish solider dying in the Spanish Civil War in his 1936 image "The Falling Solider."
  • Dewey Defeats TrumanDewey Defeats Truman – Simpsons 5 of 20
    Dewey Defeats TrumanDewey Defeats Truman - Simpsons
    Simpson defeats Prince? Looks familiar....
  • Dewey Defeats Truman – Historical 6 of 20
    Dewey Defeats Truman - Historical
    President Truman holding a copy of the Chicago Tribune on November 3, 1948 after winning the 1948 Presidential election. Trying to be the first to report the news, the Tribune printed a false headline of "Dewey Defeats Truman" based off of early predictions.
  • Hindenburg – Simpsons 7 of 20
    Hindenburg - Simpsons
    The Duff beer blimp looks like it's having some familiar troubles...
  • Hindenburg – Historical 8 of 20
    Hindenburg - Historical
    Image from the "Hindenburg" disaster of May 6, 1937. The German LZ-129, originally used as Nazi propaganda, was a passenger service when it crashed while attempting to dock in New Jersey.
  • Famous Pin-Up – Simpson 9 of 20
    Famous Pin-Up - Simpson
    Bart knows how to move down the catwalk...
  • Famous Pin-Up – Historical 10 of 20
    Famous Pin-Up - Historical
    Bart reenacts the famous pin-up photograph of actress Betty Grable in one of the most famous pin-up photographs of WWII.
  • Loch Ness Monster – Simpsons 11 of 20
    Loch Ness Monster - Simpsons
    What is that mysterious figure?
  • Loch Ness Monster – Historical 12 of 20
    Loch Ness Monster - Historical
    The first known photograph of the Loch Ness Monster, a supposed pre-historic creature in the freshwater lake in the Scottish Highlands, was taken on November 12, 1933.
  • Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima – Simpsons 13 of 20
    Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima - Simpsons
    Teamwork like this should be immortalized as a statue, right?
  • Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima – Historical 14 of 20
    Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima - Historical
    The famous photo taken by Joe Rosenthal of soldiers raising the flag on Mt. Suribachi on the Japanese island of Iwo Jima was taken February 23, 1945.
  • Fall of Saigon – Simpsons 15 of 20
    Fall of Saigon - Simpsons
    This looks an awful lot like a photo from 1975...
  • Fall of Saigon – Historical 16 of 20
    Fall of Saigon - Historical
    During the Fall of Saigon in 1975 Hubert Van Es. captured the evacuation of American civilians and some Vietnamese by helicopter in April 1975.
  • Why We Fight – Simpsons 17 of 20
    Why We Fight - Simpsons
    Milhouse looks a little upset.
  • Why We Fight – Historical 18 of 20
    Why We Fight - Historical
    A French man shedding tears as the defeated french army departs for North Africa from the Toulon harbor during WWII. Image from the "Why We Fight" propaganda film series by Frank Capra.
  • Woodstock Embrace – Simpsons 19 of 20
    Woodstock Embrace - Simpsons
    A seemingly non-descript scene...
  • Woodstock Embrace – Historical 20 of 20
    Woodstock Embrace - Historical
    Burk Uzzle captures a couple embracing at the Woodstock Music festival in Bethel, New York in August of 1969.

“Simpsons” images property of Fox Broadcasting Company and historical photos used under Fair Use laws.

So, parents: fret not. Your kids have been learning all this time without even knowing it. Take solace in the thought that, at the very least, somewhere in our minds there are historical images sitting as reference points when we decide to crack open the books and learn about our history. We have the keys now that need just the  right locks so we can open our minds. Pretty cool if you ask me.

Thanks, “Simpsons” writers, animators and producers. We always knew you were the smartest kids in the class.

Article Posted 3 years Ago

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