Marge Simpson poses nude, but Playboy keeps on singing the blues

Bruce Watson

For 20 years, The Simpsons has distinguished itself from the pack, both among other cartoons and other sitcoms. Whether it was name-checking Ayn Rand, poking fun at the Pope, or parodying Greenpeace, the animated show has always offered a level of cultural criticism that transcends its animated roots. This month, the first family of Springfield is smashing another taboo with a pictorial in the November Playboy featuring the program's blue-beehived matron, Marge.

For the program, this is an interesting move.News Corp. (NWS)'s Fox network has called the Playboy pictorial a stunt to commemorate the show's 20th anniversary, but that explanation seems insufficient. Paired with Marge's steamy on-screen lesbian kiss back in March, it would appear that The Simpsons may be running down a bucket list of cultural prohibitions that it still hopes to explode.

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