Faith treated with respect amid Simpsons‘ satire

Simpsons_s1The Simpsons: The Complete First Season, Fox Video, 2001.
William Irwin, Mark T. Conard, and Aeon J. Skoble, eds.: The Simpsons and Philosophy: The D’oh! of Homer, Open Court, 2001.
Mark I. Pinsky: The Gospel According to the Simpsons, Westminster John Knox, 2001.

I DON’T watch a lot of television, but I have always been a fan of The Simpsons.

Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie made their debut in the late 1980s, in a series of short animated sketches that played between skits on The Tracey Ullman Show. These shorts — which poked fun at typical family activities like going to zoos and funerals and singing creepy bedtime lullabies — were a hit on the animation-festival circuit, and it wasn’t long before this wonderfully dysfunctional family was given its own half-hour show, beginning with a Christmas special in 1989. That special, and the rest of the show’s first season, are now available on DVD.

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Where sibs are a sin

For the haziest of reasons, there is a near taboo on the portrayal of adult brothers and sisters in film

In When Harry Met Sally, Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan famously argued over whether men and women could be friends without one of them wanting to have sex with the other. When I first saw the film 11 years ago, I found it funny, entertaining and a good conversation piece, but I couldn’t help thinking that Crystal and Ryan — neither of whom seemed to have any family beyond their fellow single New Yorkers — had overlooked something. I could certainly think of a few women in my own life for whom this was a non-issue, and one of them was sitting right next to me in the theatre. I refer, of course, to my sister.

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