The Simpsons

The Simpsons is an American animated sitcom created by Matt Groening for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The series is a satirical depiction of American life, epitomized by the Simpson family, which consists of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie. The show is set in the fictional town of Springfield and parodies American lifestyle and society, tv shows, and the human condition. The family was conceived by Groening shortly before a solicitation for a series of animated shorts with producer James L. Brooks. He created a dysfunctional family and named the characters after his own family members, substituting Bart for his own name; he thought Simpson was a funny name in that it sounded similar to “simpleton”. [5] The shorts became a part of The Tracey Ullman Show on April 19, 1987. After three seasons, the sketch was developed into a half-hour prime time show and became Fox’s first series to land in the Top 30 ratings in a season (1989– 1990). Since its debut on December 17, 1989, 706 episodes of the show have been broadcast. It is the longest-running American animated series, longest-running American sitcom, and the longest-running American scripted primetime television series, both in terms of seasons and number of episodes. A feature-length film, The Simpsons Movie, was released in theaters worldwide on July 27, 2007, and grossed over $527 million, with a sequel in development as of 2018. The series has also spawned numerous comic book series, video games, books, and other related media, as well as a billion-dollar merchandising industry. The Simpsons is a joint production by Gracie Films and 20th Television. Its thirty-second season premiered on September 27, 2020 and includes the show’s 700th episode. On March 3, 2021, the series was announced to have been renewed for seasons 33 and 34, which were later confirmed to have 22 episodes each, increasing the episode count from 706 to 750. The Simpsons received acclaim throughout its early seasons in the 1990s, which are generally considered its “golden age”. Since then, it has been criticized for a recognized decline in quality. Time named it the 20th century’s best television series, and Erik Adams of The A.V. Club named it “television’s crowning achievement regardless of format”. On January 14, 2000, the Simpson family was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It has won dozens of awards since it debuted as a series, including 34 Primetime Emmy Awards, 34 Annie Awards, and 2 Peabody Awards. Homer’s exclamatory catchphrase “D’oh!” has been adopted into the English language, while The Simpsons has influenced many other later adult-oriented animated sitcoms.

The Simpsons are known for their wide ensemble of main and supporting characters

The main characters are the Simpson family, who live in a fictional “Middle America” neighborhood of Springfield. [11] Homer, the father, works as a safety inspector at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant, a position at odds with his careless, buffoonish personality. He is married to Marge Bouvier, an ordinary American housewife, and mother. They have three children: Bart, a ten-year-old mischief-maker and prankster; Lisa, a precocious eight-year-old activist; and Maggie, the baby of the family who rarely speaks, but communicates by sucking on a pacifier. Although the family is dysfunctional, many episodes examine their relationships and bonds with each other and they are often shown to care about one another. Homer’s dad Grampa Simpson lives in the Springfield Retirement Home after Homer forced his dad to sell his residence so that his family could buy theirs. Grampa Simpson has had starring roles in several episodes. The family also owns a dog, Santa’s Little Helper, and a cat, Snowball V, renamed Snowball II in “I, (Annoyed Grunt)- Bot”. Both pets have had starring roles in several episodes. The Simpsons sports a vast array of secondary and tertiary characters. The show includes an array of eccentric supporting characters, which include Homer’s co-workers (also friends) Lenny Leonard and Carl Carlson, the school principal Seymour Skinner and school teachers Edna Krabappel and Elizabeth Hoover, neighbor Ned Flanders, friends Barney Gumble, Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, Moe Szyslak, Milhouse Van Houten, and Nelson Muntz, extended relatives Patty and Selma Bouvier, townspeople such as Mayor Quimby, Chief Clancy Wiggum, tycoon Charles Montgomery Burns and his executive assistant Waylon Smithers, and local celebrities Krusty the Clown and news reporter Kent Brockman. The creators originally intended many of these characters as one-time jokes or for fulfilling needed functions in the town. The number of them has gained expanded roles and subsequently starred in their own episodes. According to Matt Groening, the show adopted the concept of a large supporting cast from the comedy show SCTV.

Despite the depiction of yearly events such as holidays or birthdays passing, the characters never age between episodes (either physically or in stated age), and generally appear just as they did when the series began. The series uses a floating timeline in which episodes generally take place in the year the episode is produced even though the characters do not age. Flashbacks and flashforwards do occasionally depict the characters at other points in their lives, with the timeline of these representations also generally floating relative to the year the episode is produced. For example, in the 1991 episode “I Married Marge”, Bart (who is always 10 years old) appears to be born in 1980 or 1981. But in the 1995 episode “And Maggie Makes Three”, Maggie (who always appears to be around 1 year old) appears to be born in 1993 or 1994. In the 1992 episode “Lisa’s First Word”, Lisa (who is always 8) is shown to have been born in 1984. A canon of the show does exist, although Treehouse of Horror episodes and any fictional story told within the series are typically non-canon. However, continuity is inconsistent and limited in The Simpsons. For example, Krusty the Clown may be able to read in one episode, but not in another– however he is regularly portrayed as being Jewish and that his rabbi father has since passed away. Lessons learned by the family in one episode may be forgotten in the next. Some examples of limited continuity include Sideshow Bob’s appearances where Bart and Lisa recollection at all the crimes he committed in Springfield or when the characters try to remember things that happened in previous episodes. The Simpsons takes place in the fictional American town of Springfield in an unknown and impossible-to-determine U.S. state. The show is intentionally evasive in regard to Springfield’s location. Springfield’s geography, and that of its surroundings, contains coastlines, deserts, vast farmland, tall mountain peaks, or whatever the story or joke requires. Groening has said that Springfield has much in common with Portland, Oregon, the city where he grew up. The name “Springfield” is a common one in America and appears in at least 29 states. Groening has said that he named it after Springfield, Oregon, and the fictitious Springfield which was the setting of the series Father Knows Best. He “figured out that Springfield was one of the most common names for a city in the U.S. In anticipation of the success of the show, I thought, ‘This will be cool; everyone will think it’s their Springfield.’ And they do.”

The show’s joke turns on cultural references that cover a wide range of society so that viewers from all generations can enjoy the show. Such references, for example, come from movies, television, songs, literature, science, and history. The animators also regularly add jokes or sight gags into the show’s background via humorous or incongruous bits of text in signs, newspapers, billboards, and elsewhere. The audience may often not notice the visual jokes in a single viewing. Some are so short lived that they become apparent only by pausing a video recording of the show or viewing it in slow motion. [101] Kristin Thompson argues that The Simpsons uses a “flurry of cultural references, intentionally inconsistent characterization, and considerable self-reflexivity about television conventions and the status of the programme as a television show.” One of Bart’s early trademarks was his prank calls to Moe’s Tavern owner Moe Szyslak in which Bart calls Moe and asks for a gag name. Moe tries to find that person in the bar, but soon realizes it is a prank call and angrily threatens Bart. These calls were apparently based on a series of trick calls known as the Tube Bar recordings, though Groening has denied any causal connection. Moe was based partly on Tube Bar owner Louis “Red” Deutsch, whose often profane responses inspired Moe’s violent side. As the series progressed, it became more difficult for the writers to come up with a phony name and to write Moe’s angry response, and the pranks were dropped as a regular joke during the fourth season. The Simpsons also often consist of self-referential humor. The most common form is jokes about Fox Broadcasting. [108] For example, the episode “She Used to Be My Girl” included a scene in which a Fox News Channel van drove down the street while displaying a large “Bush Cheney 2004” banner and playing Queen’s “We Are the Champions”, in reference to the 2004 U.S. presidential election and claims of conservative bias in Fox News. [109] [110] The show uses catchphrases, and most of the primary and secondary characters have at least one each. Notable expressions include Homer’s irritated grunt “D’oh!”, Mr. Burns’ “Excellent”, and Nelson Muntz’s “Ha-ha!” Some of Bart’s catchphrases, such as ” ยก Ay, caramba!”, “Don’t have a cow, man!” and “Eat my shorts!” appeared on T-shirts in the show’s early days. However, Bart rarely used the latter two phrases until after they became well-known through merchandising. The use of many of these catchphrases has declined in recent seasons. The episode “Bart Gets Famous” mocks catchphrase-based humor, as Bart achieves fame on the Krusty the Clown Show solely for saying “I didn’t do it.” Purported foreshadowing of actual events The Simpsons has gained notoriety for jokes that appeared to become reality. Perhaps the most famous example comes from the episode “Bart to the Future”, which mentions billionaire Donald Trump having been President of the United States at one time and leaving the nation broke. The episode first aired in 2000, sixteen years before Trump (who at the time was exploring a presidential run) was elected. Another episode, “When You Dish Upon a Star”, lampooned 20th Century Fox as a division of The Walt Disney Company. Nineteen years later, Disney purchased Fox. Other examples purported as The Simpsons predicting the future include the introduction of the Smartwatch, video chat services, autocorrection systems, and Lady Gaga’s acrobatic performance at the Super Bowl LI halftime show. Fact-checking sources such as Snopes have exposed many of these claims, saying that the show’s extensive run means “a lot of jokes, and a lot of opportunities for coincidences to appear” and “most of these “predictions” have rather simple and mundane explanations”. For example, the device shown on The Simpsons with autocorrection is an Apple Newton, a real 1993 device notorious for its poor handwriting recognition. Technologically advanced watches have appeared in numerous works of fiction, decades before The Simpsons.