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Why Futurama Hurts Female Characters More Than The Simpsons

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It’s certainly true that, back in 2000 at least, “The Simpsons” had a strong hesitance to allow “physical mayhem” to wreak havoc on its female characters. Even in the “Treehouse of Horror” episodes, Lisa was rarely the victim of whatever spooky thing was happening in the segment. Some of this is just the natural extension of socialized gender roles, where boys are expected to be more violent and physically reckless, and some of this is a reflection on the characters. Lisa is an indoor-kidd brainiac and Marge is the virtuous voice of reason, so it makes sense that they’re not the ones falling down the Springfield Gorge

“The Simpsons” has nevertheless addressed this problem in recent years, if you can call it a problem. In the post-classic era, they’ve allowed Lisa and Marge to be the cause of (and victim of) far more physical mayhem. From Marge recklessly driving into a demolition derby to Lisa getting murdered multiple times throughout “Treehouse of Horror XXXI,” the latter years of the show have at least embraced the possibility that physical violence can be funny when it happens to women too. Is this progress? I can’t tell. All we know is that when it comes to letting its female characters be victims of slapstick comedy, “Futurama” has always been ahead of the curve. Just ask Leela:



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