673 Best American TV Show

Wendi and Ken talk about the most successful TV show in America.

Wendi: So. I wanna know why you think The Simpsons were so successful?

Ken: They have a kind of humor that funny to people of all ages. It's funny to people from all different walks of life. So I guess it appeals to the masses more than any other show.

Wendi: But how do they do that? How do you make something appealing to 8-year olds and fifty-year olds?

Ken: Yeah. It's difficult. Like I haven't really thought about it all that much but like they have jokes that only old people would get and they have the fart jokes that, you know, children love at the same time, so. Yeah. So I guess that's what, yeah. It's a phenomenom.

Wendi: It is crazy. The thing that I think is wild about that show, is that just the colors even. Do you know what I mean? It's so basic. Kind of like the lines and the colors. Everything is like incredibly basic, yet it's so, kind of strong and powerful. It's really weird.Do you have any idea of what I'm talking about?

Ken: Not really. No.

Wendi: It's just like a coloring book kind of with bright colors filling in the lines. I don't know. The animation, just the style, all of it. It's just all so simple yet, I don't know, it really works, like the characters and everything.

Ken: It doesn't have to be visually stimulating, or visually...

Wendi: Like sophisticated or anything.

Ken: Sophisticated to be funny, just like South Park isn't at all yet it's one of the more popular shows on TV right now.

Wendi: But I don't know. I think one of the really funny things about the Simpsons are like the shapes of the people and stuff, like the way like that guy has the big kind of beak, like the bartender guy.

Ken: Oh, yeah, Mo.

Wendi: He has like a beak. He almost looks like a duck in a way. And it's like you know. Marges hair and then like Homer's crazy beer belly. It's all just so funny and then like the people that are supposed to be stupid like they look stupid. You know, they have the really like stupic look. Like hammerhead sharks looking.

Ken: Yeah. Yeah.

Wendi: It's just all brilliant.

Learn Vocabulary from the lesson

different walks of life

I think "The Simpsons" was so successful because it's funny to people from all different walks of life.

We say that people come from 'different walks of life' when they come from different backgrounds and histories. Everyone has a different experience in life, and that unique experience is his 'walk.' Notice the following:

  1. We come from very different walks of life, but somehow we became best friends.
  2. The best part of international travel is meeting people from different walks of life.

incredibly basic

The lines and the colors of that show is incredibly basic, yet so strong and powerful.

Something that is 'incredibly basic' is not complicated at all. There are many new shows that have special effects and computer animation, but the Simpsons just uses a fundamental way to show the story. Notice the following:

  1. I am looking for an incredibly basic camera.
  2. Although the school is incredibly basic, I think the students get a good education.

visually stimulating

It really doesn't have to be visually stimulating for it to work.

When something 'stimulates' you, it makes one of your senses excited. Something that is 'visually stimulating' is interesting to look at or watch. In this case, a visually stimulating television program would have all kinds of special effects. Notice the following:

  1. Her dress is a little too visually stimulating for me.
  2. When you work in advertising, your job is to create visually stimulating signs.


It also doesn't have to be sophisticated to be funny.

Here, 'sophisticated' is like 'complex' or 'detailed.' Notice the following:

  1. I was surprised how sophisticated the city was.
  2. The first few weeks they will be training you on how to use this sophisticated machines.

beer belly

Marge's hair and Homer's crazy beer belly are just so funny.

Beer has a lot of calories in it, so when people drink a lot of beer, they sometimes get a big fat stomach, which is called a 'beer belly.' Notice the following:

  1. She got kind a beer belly when she went away to college.
  2. Most guys his age have a bit of a beer belly.
Answer these questions about the interview.

Keep Listening

Here are some more great lessons!

Vocabulary Challenge

Complete the sentences with the words below.
walks • incredibly • stimulating
sophisticated • belly
  1. The hostel is clean, but the rooms are basic.
  2. This whole thing sounds like a very plan.
  3. Our school is very proud of the fact that the students come from different of life.
  4. I've been running a lot to try to get rid of this beer that I have.
  5. He's at an age where he doesn't care much about the story of the movie; he just wants something visually .