This batch of trailers all very amusingly advertised the 2007 videogame, The Simpsons Game, with the Medal of Homer trailer even picking up a Golden Trailer award for Best Video Game Trailer. All were (and, at time of writing, still are) accessible at the website for the game, with individual pages for each mock game.
As promos for a tie-in game that seemed inspired largely by an attempt to create more buzz around a spinoff movie of an original television show, these clips would likely be excused by many as mindless additions to a hype and promotions system that has long since gone feral. Yet, at this seemingly distant outpost of The Simpsons, active textuality is being produced. We have The Simpsons’ signature animation style, voice talent, and style, but most importantly we have its signature brand of smart, savvy media parody. Each of these clips, in other words, offers as much Simpsons as an equal segment of the television show. They create an image of the game (as suitably Simpsonesque, as meta and playful in approach, as several games in one) while also authoring The Simpsons text at the paratextual, overflowed outskirts.
Presentation of such instances of overflow can often appear interesting and cute, yet peripheral, or even rather arcane. Yet with an entity the size and fame of The Simpsons, I pose that a great deal of the public understanding of the text is created at such paratextual outposts. After all, we all know The Simpsons as much if not more through its merchandise, advertising, promos, tie-ins, and substantial paratextual imprint as through the show itself. At this point in the show’s life, even many of its self-declared fans know it and enjoy it more through such sites than through the show. And thus, while “overflow” as phrase can suggest excess and more than is needed or wanted, often overflow is anything but extraneous.
I ask, then, how much of any well-known franchise or text is read and understood in part or in whole through its various forms of overflow?