Postmodernism (Discussion)

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The Simpsons: "Mom and Pop Art"

  1. In what sense do postmodern texts (including TV programs) "hijack" antecedent (i.e., previous) texts? How can this change the "cultural significance" or meaning of the antecedent material? Cite two examples of this sort of hijacking from this Simpsons episode.
  2. Collins claims that "intertextual references are emblematic of the hyperconsciousness of postmodern popular culture." So, what are intertextuality and hyperconsciousness? Cite an example of each of these concepts from this Simpsons episode.
  3. What is bricolage (pronounced "brick-oh-lawj")? What do you think Collins means by the "radical eclecticism" of bricolage? Cite one other example of bricolage in TV--and not the book's examples.

"Movie (and other) references", from The Simpsons Archive:

  + pop art (art genre)  {tr}
     - title is a take-off  [See "Comments" section for more -- Ed.]
  + "Dr. Strangelove" (movie)
     - family rides an atom bomb to its target, like the Slim Pickens
       character in the movie
     - [I decided to re-cite the reference, after all -- Ed.]
  + "Lime in the Coconut" (song)  {jg}
     - Homer sings Harry Nilsson song, but about beer
  - Hawaiian Punch (canned drink)  {dh}
     - Homer dons Hawaiian hat and shirt, lying in the hammock, sipping on a
       coconut drink [like the commercials for Hawaiian Punch]
  + Home Depot (chain of hardware stores)  {yd}
     - "Mom and Pop Hardware" store similar  [See "Comments" section for more
       -- Ed.]
  + "Home Improvement" (TV series)
     - "Toolin' Around'" strongly resembles show-within-a-show "Tool Time"
  ~ Orchard Supply Hardware (chain of hardware stores)  {ddg}
     - the in-store ad is similar to Richard Karn's ads
  - "Godfather" (movie)  {asw}
     - Homer pulls gun from behind water tank of toilet
  + Pere Noël (mythical figure)  {bjr}
     - Wiggum calls Homer "pear Noël", referencing Homer's body shape and the
       French Santa Claus  [See "Comments" section for more -- Ed.]
  - "Psycho" (movie)  {gw}
     - when Homer is driving in his car, trying to get rid of the BBQ, the
       shots and music are similar to the famous scene where Janet Leigh is
       driving in the rain
  + "Love, American Style" (TV series)
     - Springfield's avant-garde gallery called "Louvre: American Style"
  + "White Christmas" (song)  {tr}
     - Burns nearly bought "Guernica" for a song -- this one
  + "David" (statue)  {bjr}
     - Michelangelo's statue of David recreated with junk at the first art
  + "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte" (painting)  {ddg}
     - Barney's napkin drawing is a copy of Seruat's famous painting of a
       French riverbank scene
  + Homer's "Odyssey" (epic poem)
     - Greek epic poem (and poet) lend name to Homer's solo art show
  + The Smithsonian (museum)  {bjr}
     - The Springsonian Museum inspired by the Washington, D.C., showcase
  + "Life In Hell" (comic strip)
     - Homer disses an Akbar and Jeff painting from this strip  [N.B.:
       "Simpsons" creator Matt Groening also draws "Life in Hell" -- Ed.]
  - "Duck Amuck" and "Rabbit Rampage" (cartoon)  {eac}
     - two classic Warner Brothers cartoons that featured the characters
       arguing with their animators and being partially erased
  + "The Sleeping Gypsy" (painting)  {bjr}
     - the first image in Homer's nightmare comes from this Henri Rousseau
  + "Terminator 2" (movie)  {jg}
     - the gunman in the Cubist painting says "Hasta la vista, baby!"
  - "Mortal Kombat" (video game)  {cg}
     - in Homer's dream, Leonardo's 4-armed, 4-legged man punching and
       kicking him is like Goro (and other multi-armed creatures) in this
       series of games
  + Andy Warhol (artist)
     - his famous picture of Campbell soup appears in museum and Homer's
     - artist himself fights Homer in the dream sequence [See "Comments"
       section for more -- Ed.]
  + "Magic's Greatest Secrets Revealed" (TV specials)
     - Homer confuses Cristo with Valentino, the Masked Magician from these
  + Noah's Ark (Biblical tale)  {hl}
     - at first, Ned thinks the Lord has drowned the wicked and spared the
  + "Everything's Coming Up Roses" (song)  {jg}
     - "Everything's coming up Milhouse!"


  1. Butler, Jeremy G. Television: Critical Methods and Applications. Mahweh, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2007.
  2. Robert C. Allen, Channels of Discourse, Reassembled, second edition (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1992).

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