In 1989, Matt Groening devised his cartoon masterpiece The Simpsons. The Simpsons was (and still is) a groundbreaking animated sitcom that targeted not only children but adults as well. The show’s purpose was to satirically portray working class families in suburbia; in The Simpson’s case fictional Springfield, a town is meant to be anywhere USA. All the characters within the show have extremely stereotypical roles that conform with the culture of the time. Homer, the father in the show is the breadwinner for the family, but would rather go to the bar rather than associate with his wife and troublesome kids. Marge is a stay at home mother who cooks, cleans, and prepares the kids for school. And the Clerk at the convenience store is Indian and talks with a heavy accent, trying to sell year old items for a quick dollar. These traditional roles resonate with the audience and have led to the show’s popularity and longevity. The show has been on the air for 28 seasons and does not show signs of ending anytime soon.
In 1999, ten years after the conception of The Simpsons, Groening created Futurama, a show that enabled him to be more expressive than in his previous show. Futurama touches on topics that include women’s rights, environmental advocacy, disabilities, and racial prejudices. Set in the year 3000, Futurama follows a motley crew of misfits. There is Phillip Fry, a delivery boy who had been cryogenically frozen for 1000 years, Leela, a mutant who captains the company’s ship, Bender, a rude, womanizing robot, and Zoidberg, the ship’s physician. Matt Groening has never been afraid to voice his liberal agenda. In recent years, Groening has created a series of shorts directly insulting Donald Trump and his surprising rise to becoming President of the United States. Setting Futurama in the future enabled Groening to break from the stereotyping that that has brought The Simpsons such acclaim and notoriety
Groening put Leela, a powerful woman in a high-ranking position (Space Captain); back in 1999, an unconventional move for that time. Leela often finds herself in situations where she must use quick thinking, and dominant fighting moves to escape from near death situations.
His bold heroine Leela also has a disability seeing that she only has one eye. Leela is a female, Cyclopes, mutant. By making her the leader, Groening took a proactive stance on equality using race, gender, and disability. Although Futurama was canceled in 2013, the show remains one of the most proactive and forward-thinking sitcoms of all time.