From Cartoons to College Courses: Professors Use The Simpsons To Reach Students


America’s favorite cartoon family, “The Simpsons”, has hit the college scene as professors use the iconic characters as a way to reach students in a fun, relevant way.

Gone are the days of casting the long running cartoon as a lowbrow comedy with nothing to be gained by watching it except a hankering for donuts. You know a show has struck a cultural chord when college professors incorporate Homer Simpson’s most notable catchphrase, “D’oh”, as part of their teaching vernacular and even go as far as naming courses after it.

Professor Richard Pioreck of Hofstra University, says that he prefers to use “The Simpsons” and it’s unique way of referencing important literary works as a way to engage his students in their learning. His conviction that incorporating the perpetual elementary students, Bart and Lisa, as well as baby sister Maggie, dad Homer and mom Marg, as a part of his curriculum is pretty strong. So strong in fact, that he is phasing into a new online course in the spring semester entitled “The D’oh of Homer”, which will feature major literary works that have been referenced at some point in the shows lengthy history. Students can expect to cover the work of Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Dickens and more.

The list of literary references depicted in the show goes on with notable comparisons to “Citizen Kane,” “A Street Car Named Desire” and “The Devil and Daniel Webster”. It is the clever way in which the writers slip these subtle nods to classic writing among what is perceived by many as immature humor that actually makes the show perfect for college students.

If students can learn from a donut loving dimwit and a foul mouthed fourth grader, then bring on the pop culture references!

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