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Could you please help me understand what the author is talking about? I have no idea what "animated madness" means. I don't understand it.

Many of these sequences are short, funny and downright tame compared to the cartoonish nonsense that would come in a few seasons. But they were also startlingly out of place in a show that had never made use of them before. The Simpsons was increasingly relying on cartoonish tricks and (danger free) action sequences to tell its stories, and was making those parts even harder to swallow by playing the over-the-top moments of animated madness for suspense instead of comedy.

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    The Simpsons is an "animated cartoon", so you could understand the cited usage as a reference to madness as displayed through the technique of cartoon animation. But it could also be a more "metaphorical" reference to animated = energetic, lively (similar to agitated, but without the negative "troubled,disconcerted" overtones). Arguably your exact context deliberately invokes both senses for stylistic effect. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Nov 6 '19 at 13:37
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"Animated" literally means "full of life or excitement; lively", but is also used to describe a process of making cartoons and the like, whereby inanimate things - for example, drawings, clay models etc - are given the appearance of moving, or being alive.

"Madness" can mean crazy behaviour, or perhaps wild, chaotic activity.

"Animated madness" therefore could either mean:

  • a cartoon animation which portrays wild, crazy behaviour, or
  • a real-life scene of such behaviour that is exceptionally lively.

Your text, which appears to be a film review, seems to be describing a "real life" portrayal (as opposed to an "animation"), and so I would normally assume it was the latter of my two definitions above. However, as the review uses the adjective "cartoonish" as an insult (suggesting that the real-life portrayal was as unrealistic as a cartoon), there is a possibility that the phrase "animated madness" is a callback to that.

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