The all purpose character discussion thread!

Discuss The Simpsons, Futurama and other Groening related stuff. Remember Life in Hell?
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The all purpose character discussion thread!

Postby Nidotamer » Fri Feb 15, 2013 9:29 am

Thought I'd try and get a couple little discussions going since, unlike NHC, this place seem to be capable of actually discussing things properly. (heck, I had one guy call me "Dipshit" ... when I'd done nothing to warrant it. :P)

firstly, I kinda wanna know your thoughts on one of the more talked about complaints often heard in the show: Homer's attitude over time.

Personally, I feel the term itself is flawed. Really, I've felt Homer's always been a jerk. How is telling your daughter that you don't care about her feelings NOT a jerkass move? Or strangling your son?

Not to say there's no difference. Rather I feel the difference is in the way he acts like an ass. In a lot of the older seasons, said jerkassery was (often) presented in a more human manner (resentment towards "perfect" neighbors, sudden moments of anger) were more relateable and human. In the cases people like to, for the lack of a better term, bitch about, it seems more like his attitude gets stretched out and exaggerated to the point of becoming unrelateable and more importantly, obnoxious.

Maybe someone here can put it into better words than me. Or at least carry a conversation with an ounce of maturity.
Last edited by Nidotamer on Fri Feb 15, 2013 8:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
[21:32] <Chris> The red Snifit!
[21:32] <Chris> My life is now complete.
[21:32] <Chris> MAY: *kills him*
----
"Harry tore his eyes from his head and threw them into the forest. Voldemort raised his eyebrows at Harry, who could not see anything at the moment."
---- Harry Potter and the Portrait of what Looked Like a Large Pile of Ash
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The all purpose character discussion thread!

Postby Archonix » Fri Feb 15, 2013 1:29 pm

It's just my personal thought, but the difference seems to be in his intent. Early homer was never intentionally cruel or jerassy but rather forgot to think before he spoke. Later Homer seemed to go out of his way to be a butt.

IMO. Always.
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The all purpose character discussion thread!

Postby Nidotamer » Fri Feb 15, 2013 1:35 pm

Well, analyzing someone's behaviour is a rather subjective thing. And yeah, that is one legitimate way of looking at it: that initially it was mostly just impulsive thoughts and actions. Either not thinking before speaking or in the case of "when Flanders failed" thought before thinking it out properly.

Oh that's fine. I pretty started this thread to pool different opinions. I just hate it when people get all pissy over it and start making personal attacks over them. :P Alternate character interpretations are one of my favourite subjects when done well. :3
[21:32] <Chris> The red Snifit!
[21:32] <Chris> My life is now complete.
[21:32] <Chris> MAY: *kills him*
----
"Harry tore his eyes from his head and threw them into the forest. Voldemort raised his eyebrows at Harry, who could not see anything at the moment."
---- Harry Potter and the Portrait of what Looked Like a Large Pile of Ash
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The all purpose character discussion thread!

Postby c_nordlander » Fri Feb 15, 2013 7:22 pm

I pretty much agree with you both.

Homer could do jerkish things in the old seasons, but I never felt that he was consistently a jerk. When he hurt people, it was usually out of inconsiderateness or an inability to think things through. In later seasons, the writers seemed to make him downright angry and abusive just for a laugh.

For me, one of the scenes that define the concept of Jerkass Homer is when he strangles Bart for learning Spanish (fluently) instead of Portuguese. That's completely uncalled for, and seemed like the writer had defined him as "abusive bastard" rather than "stupid, inconsiderate everyman joe".
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Re: The all purpose character discussion thread!

Postby Nidotamer » Fri Feb 15, 2013 8:50 pm

And now, with the new title, we're up for more broad character discussion and ramblings!

Headcanons, things that irked you in characterization but nobody's pointed out, things you appreciate, personal interpretations? Just lump em here!

That can include Futurama too... though I myself have been needing to catch up on that one.

Anyways, who wants to start?
[21:32] <Chris> The red Snifit!
[21:32] <Chris> My life is now complete.
[21:32] <Chris> MAY: *kills him*
----
"Harry tore his eyes from his head and threw them into the forest. Voldemort raised his eyebrows at Harry, who could not see anything at the moment."
---- Harry Potter and the Portrait of what Looked Like a Large Pile of Ash
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Re: The all purpose character discussion thread!

Postby Gulliver63 » Fri Feb 15, 2013 11:57 pm

Off topic, that's a darn nice avatar you got there. On topic, the memory of what my late friend Bobby Whittlow once told me lingers on in my mind...he told me that Homer just got so stupid that he quit watching the show. I think that the cruel side of Homie's nature just works better during the Treehouse episodes, like in their parody of The Shining. When I wrote of Homer as a character in my story, I showed him as more of a guy that was very lacking in confidence, as opposed to the numbskull that the show has often displayed him as. I don't think this has always been the case...it's just in some episodes he's like a child that would just as soon stick a key in a light socket. But, in all fairness, Fred Flintstone often was shown this same way. "Out, Barney, O...W...T, out!"
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Re: The all purpose character discussion thread!

Postby Nidotamer » Sat Feb 16, 2013 1:44 pm

@Gulliver: Actually, that's a pretty neat and unconventional way of looking at Homer and I can actually sorta see it tying into his behavior a bit. Sort of lacking in much self-worth (and really, considering the only person who has anything good to say about him is Marge... sometimes, can you really blame him?) he kinda gets rather prone to grudges and even imaginary flaws (like being under the impression that Flanders looks down on him) to feel better about himself.

Another way I can think of it is semi-meta and, if anything, Homer goes to college is a good example of what I mean, where he tries waaaay too hard to amuse the people around him by being as loud, ect as possible without really being aware that he's just being annoying.



Since we're bringing other characters into this I thought I might as well get this out the way too: Are there any particular personality flaws or such that Lisa DOES have?

Sometimes she does kinda come off (to me anyhow) as borderline Mary-sue when the comics are factored in too. Again, this didn't seem to be much of an issue when the series first started off. She was smart back then but it was also kinda established that there were kids that were more intelligent (Allison) but nowadays she's "Student of the millennium" the only one who's any good in the band and in the case of the comics even becomes the best in gym class too. Not to mention in Lisa on Ice she was shown to be kind of a wimp... and now is strong enough to knock Bart out with one punch... on more than one occasion. Heck, in the comics she gets a near-immediate grasp on how a nuclear plant works. Oh, and can build Robots too.

Even when she's treated like an outcast, it seems to have much less to do with personality or whatnot and far more towards portraying others as either evil and out to make her miserable and/or jealous of her super-awesomeness. (To borrow a quote off My Immortal: "...Im good at too many things! WHY CAN'T I JUST BE NORMAL? IT'S A FUCKING CURSE!") and of course she's nearly always in the right. Even when her attitude is unpleasant nothing bad ever seems to come out of it nowadays where on the other hand anyone who even slightly antagonizes her will either like her at the end of the episode or face retribution.

Keeping all that in mind, would it be fair to say she is kind of a Mary-sue nowadays? Is there any way someone could think of to balance it out a bit? Or maybe put a more flawed perspective on some of her traits and whatnot? I'm hoping to get into writing and frankly, writing a character who's too good at everything isn't very fun for me... or readers.
[21:32] <Chris> The red Snifit!
[21:32] <Chris> My life is now complete.
[21:32] <Chris> MAY: *kills him*
----
"Harry tore his eyes from his head and threw them into the forest. Voldemort raised his eyebrows at Harry, who could not see anything at the moment."
---- Harry Potter and the Portrait of what Looked Like a Large Pile of Ash
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Re: The all purpose character discussion thread!

Postby fellranger » Sat Feb 16, 2013 4:36 pm

Lisa in the earlier seasons was as believable a character as the rest. Pride was certainly a flaw of hers and she didn't always know when it was best to tone down her opinions or to compromise. Early season Lisa could be insecure at times and even neurotic. They also wrote her as child with the usual childish jealousies and sibling rivalry. Of course later on she went the same way as the rest of the cast and became a parody of herself, losing a lot of depth in the process. I don't think she got quite as bad a deal as Marge but she tended to be written as a rather shrill mini-adult who was wheeled out whenever the writers had a political point they wanted to bludgeon us with. In a sense it was an exaggeration of some of her existing personality traits (and you could say the same about jerkass Homer) but it made her a lot less rounded as a character. I'd watch some season 1-7 episodes if you want to see Lisa written well. :lisa:
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Re: The all purpose character discussion thread!

Postby Gulliver63 » Sat Feb 16, 2013 5:18 pm

would it be fair to say she is kind of a Mary-sue nowadays?


I'm so glad that you brought up the subject of a Mary Sue. When I write my Futurama stories, I view these characters as incomplete people...isn't a Mary Sue sort of a person that has it all? Looks, brains, just a totally complete person? I'm not 100% sure of what a Mary Sue is, but that's how I view one. If we had a story with nothing but complete people that lacked nothing, wouldn't it be boring as heck? Like writing a story about a perfect Utopia...the only thing that would make that story work is to have at least one thing wrong or incomplete or lacking in it. Good point, BTW.
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Re: The all purpose character discussion thread!

Postby Nidotamer » Mon Feb 18, 2013 4:59 pm

Gulliver63 wrote:
would it be fair to say she is kind of a Mary-sue nowadays?


I'm so glad that you brought up the subject of a Mary Sue. When I write my Futurama stories, I view these characters as incomplete people...isn't a Mary Sue sort of a person that has it all? Looks, brains, just a totally complete person? I'm not 100% sure of what a Mary Sue is, but that's how I view one. If we had a story with nothing but complete people that lacked nothing, wouldn't it be boring as heck? Like writing a story about a perfect Utopia...the only thing that would make that story work is to have at least one thing wrong or incomplete or lacking in it. Good point, BTW.


Oh god yes. Really outside of a having a hollow ego I can't really see the desire for people to pretty much publicate their self-projections as utterly perfect beings with no flaws or very minor or overlooked flaws. On the other hand, a utiopian society would make a great setting... if applied with some realism. Kinda like Rapture from Bioshock. Basically that the founder's idea of "utopia" doesn't actually work in practice and the whole place ends up falling apart.

----
Oh, another thing this thread can be for is just dumping random headcanons about characters from TS/F'rama. Maybe you thought of an interesting way to work with a character but wasn't able to think of a situation where it could be applied? Or just lack confidence in writing? Feel free to dump interpretations here too. If anything, I'd love to read them.:P

I might as well get off a couple I have for my favourite twins ever, Sherri & Terri. List IS kinda long since usually they're not exactly paid much thought so... Again these are more or less speculations and opinions/ideas so one could ignore if they want.:V

- Although some fics tend to portray them as such and even get called it on TVtropes, they're not actually "alpha bitches"... not the alpha part anyway. They're actually closer to the bottom of the social latter. They're not really out there to make people feel bad, they just have a very snarky sense of humour... or have the mentality of internet trolls. (may be a good way to avoid the stereotypical "bitchy prep" portrayal for them)
- They're actually quite different to one another, though in subtle ways (ie, different tastes in partners, different favourite games/ect). Kinda leans towards the "actual people" type of characterization people tend to praise in the older eras... but never really applied to these two. After all, even gentically identical twins are unique people but these two never got that treatment beyond preferring balloons or party hats.
- Terri is actually rather timid, though she may not seem like it unless separated from Sherri. Sherri on the other hand can be rather short-tempered when on her own. They both find each other's company to be a soothing presence.

There's just a couple little ideas. I've got loads of them but that was more an example of what I meant by just listing headcanons. Discuss the ones of others too if you want.
[21:32] <Chris> The red Snifit!
[21:32] <Chris> My life is now complete.
[21:32] <Chris> MAY: *kills him*
----
"Harry tore his eyes from his head and threw them into the forest. Voldemort raised his eyebrows at Harry, who could not see anything at the moment."
---- Harry Potter and the Portrait of what Looked Like a Large Pile of Ash
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Re: The all purpose character discussion thread!

Postby Gulliver63 » Mon Feb 18, 2013 11:47 pm

Wow, you threw me a new word...headcanon. I still have lots to learn in this area of writing. I had to look it up ::chuckles::

As far as Utopias, for my generation it was "Logan's Run." You get to live in the perfect utopia, but your life is ended at 30. William F. Nolan was driving along in his car back in 1967, and heard an ad blathering about, "Life begins at 30." And he figured, as any good SF writer would, "What if life ended at 30?"

One of the things I'm batting around in my head is another Simpsons story. Futurama stories come very easy to me, but Simpsons stories are harder to do (maybe because the show has been around so much longer, and they've done so many things). Anyway, my first Simpson story was written about them visiting my hometown of Cincinnati. I would really like to write one taking place entirely in the state I live in now, which is Indiana. My working title at this point is "Hoosier Daddy." Right now it's little more than a lump of clay that I'm playing with in my mind.

BTW, I did a cartoon with the twins in it a couple of years ago
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Re: The all purpose character discussion thread!

Postby Gulliver63 » Thu Feb 21, 2013 12:33 am

Tonight, as I watch "Homer's Odyssey" on television, I have to agree with you guys - Homer was different in those early days. Remember those times? Many of the colors were different. Bart and Lisa were drawn differently. Homer had that lower voice. The Homer in this episode was determined to stand on his principles and make his plant safe. Even though the artwork was really rough (it was only the third episode), it was a really cute storyline. The art is much, much better now than it was in 1990, but I can't help but the show might have lost a little something. I did enjoy watching this episode again, which came out a year before I got married.
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Re: The all purpose character discussion thread!

Postby missy_misery » Sun Feb 24, 2013 3:27 am

For me, the biggest difference between now and then will always be the way the show took a left-turn toward cynicism somewhere around Saddlesore Galactica. It was once achingly sincere as well as side-splittingly funny and packed with great cultural references. The show's never been able to entirely shake the pall of snideness that descended with that episode.
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