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Can you please help me understand a few sentences? Options
riverbottom
Posted: Monday, October 29, 2018 3:06:38 PM
Rank: Newbie

Joined: 10/29/2018
Posts: 7
Neurons: 150
Hello everyone. I'm a non-native English speaker. I'm reading a book about the Simpsons now. I hope you can help me understand a few sentences.

Quote:
The Simpsons ran its unprecedented and unequalled course in the 1990s. The show found the tender underbelly of American culture, pulled no punches, and used its tremendous media platform to make sure everyone saw the body blows. It mocked everything: religion and politics, unions and corporations, marriage and children, you name it. Even subjects not usually considered much for comedy (the space program, child abuse, feminism) were the subject of merciless satire. It made headlines regularly, for doing everything from defaming New Orleans to becoming a part of one of Bush the Elder’s 1992 re-election stump speeches


I suppose the phrase 'tremendous media platform' means The Fox Broadcasting Company. Is that correct?

Quote:
As part of the original contract, drawn up when FOX was still a fly-by-night operation, The Simpsons had total immunity from network interference. The only people who were allowed to decide what happens in Springfield were the ones in the writers’ room. That freedom allowed the show to become what it was, but it also concentrated enormous responsibility on the ever changing writing staff. Whatever they came up with was what got animated and ended up on screens all over the world. So while the protection from management interference gave the show unprecedented creative freedom, it also meant that any disruptions among the writing staff would have enormous effects on the quality of the show. For good and ill, The Simpsons was entirely its own creation.


I suppose the phrase 'any disruptions' means fight and instability. Do I understand correctly that phrase?

Quote:
Twice in Season 10 Homer falls out of the sky. The first time he crashes through a skylight and lands in bed with movie stars; the second time he falls out of a plane and gets dragged through a field of rose bushes before landing at Marge’s feet, bleeding and broken. A program that once showcased the whole family and an entire city of supporting characters became the kind of one trick showbiz pony it had satirized so brutally in Season 5’s “Bart Gets Famous”. The Season 10 writing staff, largely untested and less experienced than at any point in the show’s history, was increasingly leaning on Dan Castellaneta’s ability to scream.


I don't understand what does the phrase 'one trick showbiz pony' mean. Have you any idea? Please educate me.
FounDit
Posted: Monday, October 29, 2018 6:05:49 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/19/2011
Posts: 9,725
Neurons: 51,343
riverbottom wrote:
Hello everyone. I'm a non-native English speaker. I'm reading a book about the Simpsons now. I hope you can help me understand a few sentences.

Quote:
The Simpsons ran its unprecedented and unequalled course in the 1990s. The show found the tender underbelly of American culture, pulled no punches, and used its tremendous media platform to make sure everyone saw the body blows. It mocked everything: religion and politics, unions and corporations, marriage and children, you name it. Even subjects not usually considered much for comedy (the space program, child abuse, feminism) were the subject of merciless satire. It made headlines regularly, for doing everything from defaming New Orleans to becoming a part of one of Bush the Elder’s 1992 re-election stump speeches


I suppose the phrase 'tremendous media platform' means The Fox Broadcasting Company. Is that correct? Yes.

Quote:
As part of the original contract, drawn up when FOX was still a fly-by-night operation, The Simpsons had total immunity from network interference. The only people who were allowed to decide what happens in Springfield were the ones in the writers’ room. That freedom allowed the show to become what it was, but it also concentrated enormous responsibility on the ever changing writing staff. Whatever they came up with was what got animated and ended up on screens all over the world. So while the protection from management interference gave the show unprecedented creative freedom, it also meant that any disruptions among the writing staff would have enormous effects on the quality of the show. For good and ill, The Simpsons was entirely its own creation.


I suppose the phrase 'any disruptions' means fight and instability. Do I understand correctly that phrase? Yes.

Quote:
Twice in Season 10 Homer falls out of the sky. The first time he crashes through a skylight and lands in bed with movie stars; the second time he falls out of a plane and gets dragged through a field of rose bushes before landing at Marge’s feet, bleeding and broken. A program that once showcased the whole family and an entire city of supporting characters became the kind of one trick showbiz pony it had satirized so brutally in Season 5’s “Bart Gets Famous”. The Season 10 writing staff, largely untested and less experienced than at any point in the show’s history, was increasingly leaning on Dan Castellaneta’s ability to scream.


I don't understand what does the phrase 'one trick showbiz pony' mean. Have you any idea? Please educate me.

A "one-trick pony" has become an idiom based on the idea that a pony in a circus could only do one trick, and became boring. Here, the idiom is used to show how the same idea is used over and over (Homer falling out of the sky). They are saying the show became a kind of one-trick pony; the same thing the show made fun of in Season 5. There is also the criticism that the season 10 writer's, who they say are untested and less experienced, became boring also because they depended so much on the scream.

We should look to the past to learn from it, not destroy our future because of it — FounDit
riverbottom
Posted: Monday, October 29, 2018 6:26:49 PM
Rank: Newbie

Joined: 10/29/2018
Posts: 7
Neurons: 150
I've got it now. Thanks a lot.
Romany
Posted: Tuesday, October 30, 2018 7:37:18 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 6/14/2009
Posts: 14,541
Neurons: 45,412
Location: Brighton, England, United Kingdom
I'm glad that Foundit explained the one-trick pony expression - though I could have picked up the meaning from the context, it's not a phrase used in BE.

However, I don't see how - or where - one could get the impression that the "tremendous media platform" that The Simpson's has attracted came from Fox and it's viewers? I thought The Simpsons brand of satire was anathema to Fox? All the things that The Simpsons parody and have fun with are the kinds of things that Fox supports - besides which they don't seem to understand the "merciless satire" which has made the show internationally famous and loved? Why on earth would they, of all people, provide a 'tremendous media platform' to a show they abhor?

To me that makes no sense: it was the show itself which earned this almost-global "platform" as it is broadcast all over the world on hundreds of different channels. It was never broadcast (or referred to?) on Fox.

I would also disagree that 'disruptions' in this context has absolutely anything to do with "fighting" though "instability" is valid. They're talking about the writing process: - things that could "disrupt" the smoothness of that process could be the illness/death/breakdown/quitting of any of the writing team. Each episode depended on the writing team: if anything at all happened to even one person in that team it could have spelt disaster for the show. The point of the paragraph is to show the vulnerability and "chancy" aspect of the show's production: if anything happened to even one member of the team it could have ruined the show.
riverbottom
Posted: Tuesday, October 30, 2018 8:43:35 AM
Rank: Newbie

Joined: 10/29/2018
Posts: 7
Neurons: 150
Romany wrote:
I'm glad that Foundit explained the one-trick pony expression - though I could have picked up the meaning from the context, it's not a phrase used in BE.

However, I don't see how - or where - one could get the impression that the "tremendous media platform" that The Simpson's has attracted came from Fox and it's viewers? I thought The Simpsons brand of satire was anathema to Fox? All the things that The Simpsons parody and have fun with are the kinds of things that Fox supports - besides which they don't seem to understand the "merciless satire" which has made the show internationally famous and loved? Why on earth would they, of all people, provide a 'tremendous media platform' to a show they abhor?

To me that makes no sense: it was the show itself which earned this almost-global "platform" as it is broadcast all over the world on hundreds of different channels. It was never broadcast (or referred to?) on Fox.

I would also disagree that 'disruptions' in this context has absolutely anything to do with "fighting" though "instability" is valid. They're talking about the writing process: - things that could "disrupt" the smoothness of that process could be the illness/death/breakdown/quitting of any of the writing team. Each episode depended on the writing team: if anything at all happened to even one person in that team it could have spelt disaster for the show. The point of the paragraph is to show the vulnerability and "chancy" aspect of the show's production: if anything happened to even one member of the team it could have ruined the show.


Thanks for your explanation about 'disruptions'.
FounDit
Posted: Tuesday, October 30, 2018 1:06:40 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/19/2011
Posts: 9,725
Neurons: 51,343
Romany wrote:
I'm glad that Foundit explained the one-trick pony expression - though I could have picked up the meaning from the context, it's not a phrase used in BE.

However, I don't see how - or where - one could get the impression that the "tremendous media platform" that The Simpson's has attracted came from Fox and it's viewers? I think you misunderstand. The author of the book never said The Simpson's achieved its "tremendous media platform" because of the Fox Broadcasting Company. The "tremendous media platform" is television itself. However, it was, indeed, the viewers on Fox that skyrocketed the show to its place as a media icon from its beginning.

I thought The Simpsons brand of satire was anathema to Fox? All the things that The Simpsons parody and have fun with are the kinds of things that Fox supports - besides which they don't seem to understand the "merciless satire" which has made the show internationally famous and loved? Why on earth would they, of all people, provide a 'tremendous media platform' to a show they abhor?
This just goes to show you that much of what you have been told, and may believe, about Fox is not accurate; as is nearly everything that the media reports.

To me that makes no sense: it was the show itself which earned this almost-global "platform" as it is broadcast all over the world on hundreds of different channels. It was never broadcast (or referred to?) on Fox.
Did you miss this part?
Quote:
As part of the original contract, drawn up when FOX was still a fly-by-night operation, The Simpsons had total immunity from network interference.


This would tend to indicate that it was broadcast on Fox from the beginning.

I would also disagree that 'disruptions' in this context has absolutely anything to do with "fighting" though "instability" is valid. They're talking about the writing process: - things that could "disrupt" the smoothness of that process could be the illness/death/breakdown/quitting of any of the writing team. Each episode depended on the writing team: if anything at all happened to even one person in that team it could have spelt disaster for the show. The point of the paragraph is to show the vulnerability and "chancy" aspect of the show's production: if anything happened to even one member of the team it could have ruined the show.
Here is another case of reading into the post some things that are not there. The author of the book never mentioned "fighting" or "instability" at all. That is entirely your own conclusion.

Only "disruptions" without defining them are mentioned and that any such disruptions "would have enormous effects on the quality of the show [for good or ill]"; a conclusion you also reached at the end of your paragraph.



We should look to the past to learn from it, not destroy our future because of it — FounDit
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Thursday, November 1, 2018 12:38:47 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/12/2011
Posts: 30,401
Neurons: 179,177
Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom
FounDit wrote:
The author of the book never mentioned "fighting" or "instability" at all. That is entirely your own conclusion.

Not Romany's conclusion - riverbottom's in the original post.

Quote:
I suppose the phrase 'any disruptions' means fight and instability. Do I understand correctly that phrase?


Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
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