The cultural artifact that has been chosen is an episode from the television show: The Simpsons. The episode aired in the evening on the Fox Network in 1997. At the time, this show was competing with other hit series such as The X-files and King of the Hill. The main premise behind this episode is that Marge is trying to best some of her ex-club members by investing in a pretzel franchise after being kicked out of the group . The main act that will be analyzed is when Homer contacts the local mafia for help after Marge’s business ends up failing. The content will be examined through the Pentad. The five aspects of the Pentad that are used in examining texts from a dramatic perspective are act, agents, agency, scene, and purpose. The act is using criminal organizations to intimidate and ruin other food franchises. The agents are Homer Simpson and the mafia. The elements of agency are intimidation, violence and attempted murder. The scenes are the rival organizations that are in the same market as Marge. The purpose is to make Marge’s business successful by getting rid of the competition. By applying the dramatic perspective through the Pentad, this episode presents different qualities of what the writers of the series believe exist in married couples. This aspect can be shown by examining the motivation for Homer’s act as transcendence, the use of victimage to absolve Homer’s guilt that came from his behavior and the lack of mortification for Homer’s act.
Homer’s motive can be seen as an example of transcendence which is the show’s way of making a humorous situation out the underlying message that this episode is trying to give. Homer is a character in the show that will always try to support his family but usually does it in ways that break society’s rules for living due to his ignorance and below average intelligence. After Marge fails in selling pretzels, she accepts defeat. Furthermore, she advises her kids to have low expectations in life. After this scene, Homer declares that Marge needs help. He meets with the mafia and this is what he has to say:
You’re my last hope, I never reached out to you before but my wife is in your hour of need. Your help can make all the difference in the world.
It is clear that Homer was acting on the intent of making his wife feel better and thus, was following a higher calling. This act illustrates the bond that Marge and Homer have as a married couple. This brings the idea that married couples always help each other in hard times. Similar references are made later on in the episode.
The use of victimage in this episode also amplifies the idea of how married couples should act with one another. Near the end, Marge confronts Homer about his actions and starts blaming him for hiring the mafia. Homer replies with this:
I saw you poor your heart and soul into this and getting nowhere … So I did what I could, I did what any loving husband would do. I reached out to some violent mobsters.
Marge then realizes that he was only trying to shield her from failure and forgives him. These type of resolutions are common since in the show, Marge is aware of how Homer acts and understands that these types of actions are common due to his intelligence. Homer can now be seen as a comic-fool which is common in The Simpsons. This type of labeling results in an example of how a married couple support one another through actions they might not agree upon. This is another example of what the writers’ perceive as a trait that exist in successful couples.
With the absence of mortification, it helps in depicting Homer and Marge as a strong couple. In the last scene, a rival food franchise hires the Japanese Mafia. The Japanese Mafia show up at the Simpsons’ household. As a result, a conflict occurs between the Japanese Mafia and the people that Homer hired. While the fight continues in the background, Homer starts blaming himself for failing every time he tried to help Marge. Marge interrupts him and replies:
I don’t hate you for failing, I love you for trying.
Marge not allowing Homer to punish himself by putting himself down is the last portrayal of the support they give each other. This implies that couples will always try to make each other feel better. Once again, the writers ‘ opinion on marriage is reinforced.
In conclusion, each analytical assessment gives an example of a different characteristic that the television show believes exist in married couples. Using Homer’s motive as transcendence implies that a one should support their spouse in any way they can. The use of victimage implies that you should be thankful for the support a loved one gives even though if it results in actions you might not agree with. The lack of mortification implies that couples should always try to cheer each other up. The different messages that are implied through each assessment gives an overall example of what elements exist in strong married couple according to the writers. The episode is an example of the different audiences that this show reaches. Being aired in the evening on the Fox Network implies that the show is being watched by all different ages. The animation and jokes offer entertainment for kids while the underlying messages and morals appeal to the adults that watch this show. The show is able to compete with other series that might only appeal to a certain type of viewer. The amount of levels that this episode reaches is an indication of how complex the show is and why the show is still going strong today.