Posts Tagged ‘Figurative Voice’

In class during the week of April 18th, we viewed episodes from The Simpsons and Buffy The Vampire Slayer.  While these two episodes present two very different situations, both Lisa Simpson and Buffy figure out a way to show their feelings without speech.

In the episode “Lisa v. Malibu Stacy,” Lisa Simpson, like nearly every girl her age (as well as Mr. Smithers), frantically await the release of the new talking Malibu Stacy doll.  Lisa finally manages to get the new doll and is shocked at the  phrases it makes.  Lisa can see the effect the doll has on little girls with sayings like “don’t as me, I’m just a girl” by taking a look at her mother, who happens to make a few of the same phrases throughout the show.  Lisa comes to find that no one is really listening to what she is saying, so she decides to track down the creator of the doll so her voice can be heard.  Lisa manages to track down the creator of the doll to discuss the phrases the doll makes and comes to find that the doll and all her accessories are actually scaled down versions of the creator’s life.  Stacy Lovell, the doll’s creator, tells Lisa that the doll used to represent her lifestyle, but she had lost control over the company and the doll had moved in a different direction.  This causes Lisa to team up with the real Stacy to create a doll that represents everything Malibu Stacy is not: smart, educated, and independent.  While the sales of Lisa’s new doll are trumped by a new version of Malibu Stacy that comes with a hat, Lisa’s figurative voice is heard through one little girl buying the doll.  While Lisa is initially upset that not everyone got to hear her voice through the new doll, she becomes satisfied that she is making a difference for one little girl.  The overall message of this show is to combat the “perfect” Barbie-doll image by showing that girls don’t have to be just eye candy; they can be educated, independent women that can do so much more than just be housewives.  While this show is a cartoon and the main association with cartoons is children’s entertainment, Hilmes states in her book that “The Simpsons” appeals to younger audiences and highly sophisticated adults at the same time.”  This show does this through the incorporation of comedy as well as cartoon characters to combat and often mock what is considered to be the social norm in a lot of cases.

Buffy The Vampire Slayer’s main character, Buffy, is an “average” girl with the abilities of a superhero.  While Buffy doesn’t have the ability to fly or super strength, she still manages to use spells on vampires and other mythical monsters that she combats in every episode.  In the  episode “Hush,” Buffy talks about her struggle to tell Riley,a guy she hangs out with, how she feels about him.  Buffy has a dream about a little girl singing a song about everything being silent.  When this dream comes true and everyone in the town wakes up without a voice and people are ending up murdered and heartless by strange floating men, it is up to Buffy and Giles to stop these mythical villains.  Along the way, Buffy is able to show her true feelings for Riley without using her voice.  Buffy is much like the crime fighting trio seen in Charlie’s Angels, in that, she is a female playing the part that is historically played by men and much like the three Buffy is very strong willed and independent.  She doesn’t appear to play the role of the damsel in distress in this episode, but she does work with the assistance and direction of Giles throughout the episode.  This show, much like The Simpsons, manages to capture the eyes of viewers of multiple age groups.  To quote Hilmes, the characters in Buffy “faced adult-type problems with articulation and style, in a way that drew in older viewers while still capturing younger ones.”

Both shows present the problem of the main character trying to find a way to overcome obstacles and show their feelings and beliefs without the direct use of speech.  While Lisa uses a doll and Buffy has to do so without the use of her actual voice, both programs show that you can get people to hear what you’re trying to say without the actual use of your voice.