The impact of “The Simpsons” on the world of animation

By Tim Decker, MATC animation instructor

When I think of Milwaukee Area Technical College turning 100 years old this year, I thought of a cultural icon that also celebrates an important milestone in 2012.

“The Simpsons” turns 25 this year and the series’ 500th episode airs Sunday, Feb. 19. This show has made a huge contribution to the art of animation. “The Simpsons” came around during a time when the general public was basically subjected this art form on Saturday mornings. Many experts stated that the “golden years” of animation were long past.

MATC and animation share an evolutionary characteristic. When the general population seems to feel we have exhausted our special purpose, the creative minds come together once again and re-invent, improve and create a new road to follow to inspiration.

During the early days of “The Simpsons” I was a student at CalArts (California Institute of the Arts). While I was there, I was fortunate to watch the rebirth of animation on television and in the box office. After graduating from CalArts, I was hired to work on “The Simpsons” staff and spent seasons 4, 5 and 6 (1992-1995) there. During that time I was fortunate to work with many talented, creative and humorous people.  The crew on “The Simpsons” is a very tightly knit group. We spent a great amount of time together drawing, drawing, drawing and more drawing! The experience of working on a culture-changing show became invaluable to my friends and myself.

“The Simpsons” changed Sunday evening television. During the early days of the show it seemed everyone watched it. Everyone had an opinion about the show and of course everyone had a “great idea” for a script.  It is because of “The Simpsons” the American public became hungry again for humorous animated shows. From “The Simpsons” crew a number of shows were born. “Family Guy,” “The Critic,” “Futurama,” and “King of the Hill” are a few of the shows that were created by alumni of “The Simpsons.” In my opinion “The Simpsons” were a driving force in the rebirth of television animation.

The impact of “The Simpsons” animation on the world is similar to the impact MATC has had in the Milwaukee area, the state of Wisconsin and the Midwest. MATC embraces challenge, evolves with technology, and creates opportunities for those less fortunate and counted out by society. MATC offers the chance for the community to better itself and those within. We support the skilled trades and are training the workers of tomorrow. “The Simpsons” has inspired many of our current students to pursue an animated education.  As a result, MATC is making an impact on our local community.

For more information on MATC’s animation associate degree program, visit http://matc.edu/student/offerings/animaas.html

The MATC Source Corner provides expert commentary from members of the MATC community on current events and timely topics.

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