A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this website.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this site mirrors the long-running, popular TV show's belovedly weird shticks. The humor in the site's content might go over the heads of younger teens, and you'll probably want to talk about the show's satire with older ones. Kids must be 13 to post on the boards, which appear to generally stick to topical -- although often silly -- information: "Homer=The Greatest Man in television history." Reply: "Homer=Figure of Religion." Once in a while an iffy comment does appear: "sex, drugs, rock'n'roll…speed, weed, birth-controll…lifes a bitch, than u die..fuk the world and lets get high," but they are few and far between. There's an odd sequence in the intro to the Character Bios section that shows buxom women vying for a job by kissing the boss in a janitor's closet, and the quotes under the screen shots of each episode often talk about beer, hurting someone with a chainsaw, pooping, porn, and other questionable themes. The site also promotes the Simpsons Movie and has a link to an extensive store.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
Devotees of The Simpsons will find a bonanza of information and obscure things to buy at Fox network's official site for Matt Groening's popular cartoon show. They can also browse through a guide to all 400 episodes (equipped with mostly tactless quotes from the specific episode); read show character bios; post a message (in the Springfield Community Forum) for fellow obsessed fans to respond to; play a trivia game; enter a contest to win Simpsons stuff in the shop; or link to The Simpsons Movie site.
Is it any good?
Overall, there's nothing spectacularly new or innovative on this straightforward promotional site, just standard fan food with lots to view and even more to sell. If you're familiar with The Simpsons, none of the crass, silly, and sometimes not-good-for-kids behavior will be a surprise on this site. Yet an odd sequence in the intro to the Character Bios section showing buxom women vying for job by kissing the boss in a janitor's closet may cross the line into the questionable social message arena for the 13-year-old group recommended for this site.
The Forum area is probably of most concern for parents, as it's not regularly monitored. Surprisingly, it generally sticks to topical -- albeit often silly -- Simpsons information: "Homer=The Greatest Man in television history." Reply: "Homer=Figure of Religion." Once in a while an iffy comment does appear on the boards: "sex, drugs, rock'n'roll…speed, weed, birth-controll…lifes a bitch, than u die..fuk the world and lets get high," but they are few and far between. Users have to enter a DOB and e-mail address to post something, but everyone is able to read the messages.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about talk about The Simpsons empire. From bobbleheads to movie gear, how can enjoying a show or a movie transform into a consumer glut? Families can also talk about the use of social satire. How does a making funny character with flaws help us think about what's right and wrong with certain attitudes and behaviors in American culture?