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Old 12-08-2018, 08:37 PM   #1
Catherine Wheel
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Default The simpsons episode where Bart joins the local mob

You know the really ancient episode of the Simpson’s where bart joins the mafia and gets tied to all these diffrent crimes? And towards the end there is a courtroom scene with a pie chart / venn diagram that makes him out to be the ringleader? Like who would believe someone like that could be organized crime ringleader? That definitely made me think about what’s going on now with Trump.

 
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Old 12-08-2018, 09:37 PM   #2
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Temp mute

 
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Old 12-08-2018, 09:46 PM   #3
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Compare CW's left nut to his right nut.

 
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Old 12-08-2018, 09:57 PM   #4
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QWERTY!!!!!!!!!11

 
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Old 12-08-2018, 11:00 PM   #5
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This reads like a satire of your own posts

 
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Old 12-11-2018, 12:02 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by butthurt View Post
Compare CW's left nut to his right nut.
Neither compare to his middle nut

 
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Old 12-11-2018, 12:02 PM   #7
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Old 12-15-2018, 11:14 AM   #8
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The Simpsons is a cartoon.

 
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Old 12-15-2018, 03:59 PM   #9
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The Simpsons
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This article is about the television show. For the franchise, see The Simpsons (franchise). For other uses, see The Simpsons (disambiguation).
The Simpsons
The Simpsons Logo.svg
Simpsons FamilyPicture.png
The Simpson family. From left to right: Bart, Marge, Santa's Little Helper (dog), Maggie, Homer, Lisa, and Snowball II (cat).
Genre Animated sitcom
Created by Matt Groening
Based on "The Simpsons" shorts
by Matt Groening
Developed by
James L. Brooks
Matt Groening
Sam Simon
Voices of
Dan Castellaneta
Julie Kavner
Nancy Cartwright
Yeardley Smith
Hank Azaria
Harry Shearer
(Complete list)
Theme music composer Danny Elfman
Opening theme "The Simpsons Theme"
Composer(s) Richard Gibbs (1989–90)
Arthur B. Rubinstein (1990)
Ray Colcord (1990: "Dead Putting Society)"
Alf Clausen (1990–2017)
Bleeding Fingers Music (2017–present)
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 30
No. of episodes 649 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
List of exec. producers[show]
Running time 21–24 minutes
Production company(s) Gracie Films (1989–present)
20th Century Fox Television
Klasky Csupo (1989–1992)
Film Roman (1992–2016)
Fox Television Animation (2016–present)
The Curiosity Company (2015–present, uncredited)
AKOM
Rough Draft Studios
Distributor 20th Television
Release
Original network Fox
Picture format 480i/576i (4:3 SDTV) (1989–2009)
1080i (16:9 HDTV) (2009–present)
Audio format Stereo (1989–1991)
Dolby Surround 2.0 (1991–2009)
Dolby Digital 5.1 (DVD, broadcast 2009–present)
Original release December 17, 1989 – present
Chronology
Preceded by The Simpsons shorts from The Tracey Ullman Show
External links
Official website
The Simpsons is an American animated sitcom created by Matt Groening for the Fox Broadcasting Company.[1][2][3] The series is a satirical depiction of working-class 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 culture and society, television, 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. Groening created a dysfunctional family and named the characters after his own family members, substituting Bart for his own name. 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 (1989–90).

Since its debut on December 17, 1989, 649 episodes of The Simpsons have been broadcast. It is the longest-running American sitcom, and the longest-running American scripted primetime television series in terms of seasons and number of episodes. The Simpsons Movie, a feature-length film, was released in theaters worldwide on July 27, 2007, and grossed over $527 million. Then on October 30, 2007, a video game was released. Currently, The Simpsons is on its thirtieth season, which aired September 30, 2018.[4][5] The Simpsons will be renewed for a thirty-first season, with Al Jean completing a Treehouse of Horror XXIX script, though the date has yet to be announced.[6]

The Simpsons received acclaim throughout its first nine[7][8] or ten[9][10] seasons, which are generally considered its "Golden Age". Time named it the 20th century's best television series,[11] and Erik Adams of The A.V. Club named it "television's crowning achievement regardless of format".[12] 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 31 Primetime Emmy Awards, 30 Annie Awards, and a Peabody Award. 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. However, it has also been criticized for a perceived decline in quality over the years.


Contents
1 Premise
1.1 Characters
1.2 Continuity and the floating timeline
1.3 Setting
2 Production
2.1 Development
2.2 Executive producers and showrunners
2.3 Writing
2.4 Voice actors
2.5 Animation
3 Themes
4 Hallmarks
4.1 Opening sequence
4.2 Halloween episodes
4.3 Humor
4.3.1 Foreshadowing of actual events
5 Influence and legacy
5.1 Idioms
5.2 Television
6 Reception and achievements
6.1 Early success
6.2 Run length achievements
6.3 Awards and accolades
6.4 Criticism
6.4.1 Controversy
6.4.2 Ban
6.4.3 Declining quality
6.4.4 Apu controversy
7 The media
7.1 Comic books
7.2 Film
7.3 Music
7.4 The Simpsons Ride
7.5 Video games
8 Syndication and streaming availability
9 Merchandise
10 References
10.1 Notes
10.2 Bibliography
11 Further reading
12 External links
Premise
Characters
Main article: List of The Simpsons characters
The Simpsons is known for its wide ensemble of main and supporting characters.

The main characters are the Simpson family, who live in a fictional "Middle America" town of Springfield.[13] 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, a stereotypical American housewife and mother. They have three children: Bart, a ten-year-old troublemaker 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.[14] Homer's dad Grampa Simpson lives in the Springfield Retirement Home after Homer forced his dad to sell his house 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".[15] 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 quirky supporting characters, which ******* Homer's co-workers (also friends) Lenny Leonard and Carl Carlson, the school principal Seymour Skinner and teachers Edna Krabappel and Elizabeth Hoover, 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. A number of them have 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.[16]

Continuity and the floating timeline
Despite the depiction of yearly milestones such as holidays or birthdays passing, the characters do not 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 depictions 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.

A canon of the show does exist, as 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, as with most other comedy-focused television shows. For example, Krusty the Clown may be able to read in one episode, but may not be able to read in another. Lessons learned by the family in one episode may be forgotten in the next. Some examples of limited continuity ******* Sideshow Bob's appearances where Bart and Lisa flashback at all the crimes he committed in Springfield or when the characters try to remember things that happened in previous episodes.

Setting
Main article: Springfield (The Simpsons)
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.[17] Springfield's geography, and that of its surroundings, contains coastlines, deserts, vast farmland, tall mountains, or whatever the story or joke requires.[18] Groening has said that Springfield has much in common with Portland, Oregon, the city where he grew up.[19] The name "Springfield" is a common one in America and appears in 22 states.[20] 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."[21]

Production
Development
Main articles: History of The Simpsons and The Simpsons shorts

James L. Brooks (pictured) asked Matt Groening to create a series of animated shorts for The Tracey Ullman Show.
When producer James L. Brooks was working on the television variety show The Tracey Ullman Show, he decided to ******* small animated sketches before and after the commercial breaks. Having seen one of cartoonist Matt Groening's Life in Hell comic strips, Brooks asked Groening to pitch an idea for a series of animated shorts. Groening initially intended to present an animated version of his Life in Hell series.[22] However, Groening later realized that animating Life in Hell would require the rescinding of publication rights for his life's work. He therefore chose another approach while waiting in the lobby of Brooks's office for the pitch meeting, hurriedly formulating his version of a dysfunctional family that became the Simpsons.[22][23] He named the characters after his own family members, substituting "Bart" for his own name, adopting an anagram of the word "brat".[22]

The Simpson family first appeared as shorts in The Tracey Ullman Show on April 19, 1987.[24] Groening submitted only basic sketches to the animators and assumed that the figures would be cleaned up in production. However, the animators merely re-traced his drawings, which led to the crude appearance of the characters in the initial shorts.[22] The animation was produced domestically at Klasky Csupo,[25][26] with Wes Archer, David Silverman, and Bill Kopp being animators for the first season.[27] Colorist Gyorgyi Peluce was the person who decided to make the characters yellow.[27]

In 1989, a team of production companies adapted The Simpsons into a half-hour series for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The team included the Klasky Csupo animation house. Brooks negotiated a provision in the contract with the Fox network that prevented Fox from interfering with the show's content.[28] Groening said his goal in creating the show was to offer the audience an alternative to what he called "the mainstream trash" that they were watching.[29] The half-hour series premiered on December 17, 1989, with "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire".[30] "Some Enchanted Evening" was the first full-length episode produced, but it did not broadcast until May 1990, as the last episode of the first season, because of animation problems.[31] In 1992, Tracey Ullman filed a lawsuit against Fox, claiming that her show was the source of the series' success. The suit said she should receive a share of the profits of The Simpsons[32]—a claim rejected by the courts.[33]

Executive producers and showrunners

Matt Groening, creator
List of showrunners throughout the series' run:

Season 1–2: Matt Groening, James L. Brooks, & Sam Simon
Season 3–4: Al Jean & Mike Reiss
Season 5–6: David Mirkin
Season 7–8: Bill Oakley & Josh Weinstein
Season 9–12: Mike Scully
Season 13–present: Al Jean
Matt Groening and James L. Brooks have served as executive producers during the show's entire history, and also function as creative consultants. Sam Simon, described by former Simpsons director Brad Bird as "the unsung hero" of the show,[34] served as creative supervisor for the first four seasons. He was constantly at odds with Groening, Brooks and the show's production company Gracie Films and left in 1993.[35] Before leaving, he negotiated a deal that sees him receive a share of the profits every year, and an executive producer credit despite not having worked on the show since 1993,[35][36] at least until his passing in 2015.[37] A more involved position on the show is the showrunner, who acts as head writer and manages the show's production for an entire season.[27]

Writing
Main article: List of The Simpsons writers
The first team of writers, assembled by Sam Simon, consisted of John Swartzwelder, Jon Vitti, George Meyer, Jeff Martin, Al Jean, Mike Reiss, Jay Kogen and Wallace Wolodarsky.[38] Newer Simpsons' writing teams typically consist of sixteen writers who propose episode ideas at the beginning of each December.[39] The main writer of each episode writes the first draft. Group rewriting sessions develop final scripts by adding or removing jokes, inserting scenes, and calling for re-readings of lines by the show's vocal performers.[40] Until 2004,[41] George Meyer, who had developed the show since the first season, was active in these sessions. According to long-time writer Jon Vitti, Meyer usually invented the best lines in a given episode, even though other writers may receive script credits.[40] Each episode takes six months to produce so the show rarely comments on current events.[42]


Part of the writing staff of The Simpsons in 1992. Back row, left to right: Mike Mendel, Colin ABV Lewis (partial), Jeff Goldstein, Al Jean (partial), Conan O'Brien, Bill Oakley, Josh Weinstein, Mike Reiss, Ken Tsumura, George Meyer, John Swartzwelder, Jon Vitti (partial), CJ Gibson and David M. Stern. Front row, left to right: Dee Capelli, Lona Williams, and unknown.
Credited with sixty episodes, John Swartzwelder is the most prolific writer on The Simpsons.[43] One of the best-known former writers is Conan O'Brien, who contributed to several episodes in the early 1990s before replacing David Letterman as host of the talk show Late Night.[44] English comedian Ricky Gervais wrote the episode "Homer Simpson, This Is Your Wife", becoming the first celebrity to both write and guest star in an episode.[45] Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, writers of the film Superbad, wrote the episode "Homer the Whopper", with Rogen voicing a character in it.[46]

At the end of 2007, the writers of The Simpsons went on strike together with the other members of the Writers Guild of America, East. The show's writers had joined the guild in 1998.[47]

Voice actors
Main articles: List of The Simpsons cast members, List of The Simpsons guest stars, and Non-English versions of The Simpsons
The Simpsons has six main cast members: Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith, Hank Azaria and Harry Shearer. Castellaneta voices Homer Simpson, Grampa Simpson, Krusty the Clown, Groundskeeper Willie, Mayor Quimby, Barney Gumble and other adult, male characters.[48] Julie Kavner voices Marge Simpson and Patty and Selma, as well as several minor characters.[48] Castellaneta and Kavner had been a part of The Tracey Ullman Show cast and were given the parts so that new actors would not be needed.[49] Cartwright voices Bart Simpson, Nelson Muntz, Ralph Wiggum and other children.[48] Smith, the voice of Lisa Simpson, is the only cast member who regularly voices only one character, although she occasionally plays other episodic characters.[48] The producers decided to hold casting for the roles of Bart and Lisa. Smith had initially been asked to audition for the role of Bart, but casting director Bonita Pietila believed her voice was too high,[50] so she was given the role of Lisa instead.[51] Cartwright was originally brought in to voice Lisa, but upon arriving at the audition, she found that Lisa was simply described as the "middle child" and at the time did not have much personality. Cartwright became more interested in the role of Bart, who was described as "devious, underachieving, school-hating, irreverent, [and] clever".[52] Groening let her try out for the part instead, and upon hearing her read, gave her the job on the spot.[53] Cartwright is the only one of the six main Simpsons cast members who had been professionally trained in voice acting prior to working on the show.[43] Azaria and Shearer do not voice members of the title family, but play a majority of the male townspeople. Azaria, who has been a part of the Simpsons regular voice cast since the second season,[54] voices recurring characters such as Moe Szyslak, Chief Wiggum, Apu Nahasapeemapetilon and Professor Frink. Shearer provides voices for Mr. Burns, Mr. Smithers, Principal Skinner, Ned Flanders, Reverend Lovejoy and Dr. Hibbert.[48] Every main cast member has won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance.[55][56]

With one exception, episode credits list only the voice actors, and not the characters they voice. Both Fox and the production crew wanted to keep their identities secret during the early seasons and, therefore, closed most of the recording sessions while refusing to publish photos of the recording artists.[57] However, the network eventually revealed which roles each actor performed in the episode "Old Money", because the producers said the voice actors should receive credit for their work.[58] In 2003, the cast appeared in an episode of Inside the Actors Studio, doing live performances of their characters' voices.

The six main actors were paid $30,000 per episode until 1998, when they were involved in a pay dispute with Fox. The company threatened to replace them with new actors, even going as far as preparing for casting of new voices, but series creator Groening supported the actors in their action.[59] The issue was soon resolved and, from 1998 to 2004, they were paid $125,000 per episode. The show's revenue continued to rise through syndication and DVD sales, and in April 2004 the main cast stopped appearing for script readings, demanding they be paid $360,000 per episode.[60][61] The strike was resolved a month later[62] and their salaries were increased to something between $250,000[63] and $360,000 per episode.[64] In 2008, production for the twentieth season was put on hold due to new contract negotiations with the voice actors, who wanted a "healthy bump" in salary to an amount close to $500,000 per episode.[64] The negotiations were soon completed, and the actors' salary was raised to $400,000 per episode.[65] Three years later, with Fox threatening to cancel the series unless production costs were cut, the cast members accepted a 30 percent pay cut, down to just over $300,000 per episode.[66]

In addition to the main cast, Pamela Hayden, Tress MacNeille, Marcia Wallace, Maggie Roswell, and Russi Taylor voice supporting characters.[48] From 1999 to 2002, Roswell's characters were voiced by Marcia Mitzman Gaven. Karl Wiedergott has also appeared in minor roles, but does not voice any recurring characters.[67] Wiedergott left the show in 2010, and since then Chris Edgerly has appeared regularly to voice minor characters. Repeat "special guest" cast members ******* Albert Brooks, Phil Hartman, Jon Lovitz, Joe Mantegna, Maurice LaMarche, and Kelsey Grammer.[68] Following Hartman's death in 1998, the characters he voiced (Troy McClure and Lionel Hutz) were retired;[69] Wallace's character of Edna Krabappel was retired as well after her death in 2013.

Episodes will quite often feature guest voices from a wide range of professions, including actors, athletes, authors, bands, musicians and scientists. In the earlier seasons, most of the guest stars voiced characters, but eventually more started appearing as themselves. Tony Bennett was the first guest star to appear as himself, appearing briefly in the season two episode "Dancin' Homer".[70] The Simpsons holds the world record for "Most Guest Stars Featured in a Television Series".[71]

The Simpsons has been dubbed into several other languages, including Japanese, German, Spanish, and Portuguese. It is also one of the few programs dubbed in both standard French and Quebec French.[72] The show has been broadcast in Arabic, but due to Islamic customs, numerous aspects of the show have been changed. For example, Homer drinks soda instead of beer and eats Egyptian beef sausages instead of hot dogs. Because of such changes, the Arabized version of the series met with a negative reaction from the lifelong Simpsons fans in the area.[73]

Animation

Animation director David Silverman, who helped define the look of the show[27]
Several different U.S. and international studios animate The Simpsons. Throughout the run of the animated shorts on The Tracey Ullman Show, the animation was produced domestically at Klasky Csupo.[25] With the debut of the series, because of an increased workload, Fox subcontracted production to several local and foreign studios.[25] These are AKOM,[74] Anivision,[75] Rough Draft Studios,[76] USAnimation,[77] and Toonzone Entertainment.[78]

For the first three seasons, Klasky Csupo animated The Simpsons in the United States. In 1992, the show's production company, Gracie Films, switched domestic production to Film Roman,[79] who continued to animate the show until 2016. In Season 14, production switched from traditional cel animation to digital ink and paint.[80] The first episode to experiment with digital coloring was "Radioactive Man" in 1995. Animators used digital ink and paint during production of the season 12 episode "Tennis the Menace", but Gracie Films delayed the regular use of digital ink and paint until two seasons later. The already completed "Tennis the Menace" was broadcast as made.[81]

The production staff at the U.S. animation studio, Film Roman, draws storyboards, designs new characters, backgrounds, props and draws character and background layouts, which in turn become animatics to be screened for the writers at Gracie Films for any changes to be made before the work is shipped overseas. The overseas studios then draw the inbetweens, ink and paint, and render the animation to tape before it is shipped back to the United States to be delivered to Fox three to four months later.[82]

The series began high-definition production in Season 20; the first episode, "Take My Life, Please", aired February 15, 2009. The move to HDTV included a new opening sequence.[83] Matt Groening called it a complicated change because it affected the timing and composition of animation.[84]

Themes
Main articles: Media in The Simpsons, Politics in The Simpsons, and Religion in The Simpsons
The Simpsons uses the standard setup of a situational comedy, or sitcom, as its premise. The series centers on a family and their life in a typical American town,[13] serving as a satirical parody of a middle class American lifestyle.[85] However, because of its animated nature, The Simpsons' scope is larger than that of a regular sitcom. The town of Springfield acts as a complete universe in which characters can explore the issues faced by modern society. By having Homer work in a nuclear power plant, the show can comment on the state of the environment.[86] Through Bart and Lisa's days at Springfield Elementary School, the show's writers illustrate pressing or controversial issues in the field of education. The town features a vast array of media channels—from kids' television programming to local news, which enables the producers to make jokes about themselves and the entertainment industry.[87]

Some commentators say the show is political in nature and susceptible to a left-wing bias.[88] Al Jean acknowledged in an interview that "We [the show] are of liberal bent."[89] The writers often evince an appreciation for liberal ideals, but the show makes jokes across the political spectrum.[90] The show portrays government and large corporations as callous entities that take advantage of the common worker.[89] Thus, the writers often portray authority figures in an unflattering or negative light. In The Simpsons, politicians are corrupt, ministers such as Reverend Lovejoy are indifferent to churchgoers, and the local police force is incompetent.[91] Religion also figures as a recurring theme.[92] In times of crisis, the family often turns to God, and the show has dealt with most of the major religions.[93]

Hallmarks
Opening sequence
Main article: The Simpsons opening sequence
MENU0:00
The music played during the opening sequence. This piece is also known as The Simpsons Theme.
The Simpsons' opening sequence is one of the show's most memorable hallmarks. The standard opening has gone through three iterations (a replacement of some shots at the start of the second season, and a brand new sequence when the show switched to high-definition in 2009).[94]

Each has the same basic sequence of events: the camera zooms through cumulus clouds, through the show's title towards the town of Springfield. The camera then follows the members of the family on their way home. Upon entering their house, the Simpsons settle down on their couch to watch television. The original opening was created by David Silverman, and was the first task he did when production began on the show.[95] The series' distinctive theme song was composed by musician Danny Elfman in 1989, after Groening approached him requesting a retro style piece. This piece has been noted by Elfman as the most popular of his career.[96]

One of the most distinctive aspects of the opening is that three of its elements change from episode to episode: Bart writes different things on the school chalkboard,[95] Lisa plays different solos on her saxophone and different gags accompany the family as they enter their living room to sit on the couch.[97]

Halloween episodes
Main article: Treehouse of Horror

Bart Simpson introducing a segment of "Treehouse of Horror IV" in the manner of Rod Serling's Night Gallery
The special Halloween episode has become an annual tradition. "Treehouse of Horror" first broadcast in 1990 as part of season two and established the pattern of three separate, self-contained stories in each Halloween episode.[98] These pieces usually involve the family in some horror, science fiction, or supernatural setting and often parody or pay homage to a famous piece of work in those genres.[99] They always take place outside the normal continuity of the show. Although the Treehouse series is meant to be seen on Halloween, this changed by the 2000s, when new installments have premiered after Halloween due to Fox's current contract with Major League Baseball's World Series,[100] however, since 2011, every Treehouse of Horror episode has aired in October.

Humor
The show's humor turns on cultural references that cover a wide spectrum of society so that viewers from all generations can enjoy the show. Such references, for example, come from movies, television, music, literature, science, and history.[101] 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 fleeting that they become apparent only by pausing a video recording of the show.[102] 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."[103]

One of Bart's early hallmarks 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 prank calls known as the Tube Bar recordings, though Groening has denied any causal connection.[104] Moe was based partly on Tube Bar owner Louis "Red" Deutsch, whose often profane responses inspired Moe's violent side.[105] As the series progressed, it became more difficult for the writers to come up with a fake name and to write Moe's angry response, and the pranks were dropped as a regular joke during the fourth season.[106][107] The Simpsons also often includes self-referential humor.[108] The most common form is jokes about Fox Broadcasting.[109] 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.[110][111]

The show uses catchphrases, and most of the primary and secondary characters have at least one each.[112] Notable expressions ******* Homer's annoyed grunt "D'oh!", Mr. Burns' "Excellent" and Nelson Muntz's "Ha-ha!" Some of Bart's catchphrases, such as "¡Ay, caramba!", "Don't have a cow, man!" and "Eat my shorts!" appeared on T-shirts in the show's early days.[113] However, Bart rarely used the latter two phrases until after they became popular through the 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."[114]

Foreshadowing of actual events
The Simpsons has gained notoriety for including jokes that would eventually 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 would successfully run for the position.[115] Another episode, "When You Dish Upon a Star", lampooned 20th Century Fox as a division of The Walt Disney Company. Nineteen years later, Disney indeed made a deal to purchase the studio from Rupert Murdoch.[116] Other examples of The Simpsons predicting the future with accuracy ******* the introduction of the Smartwatch and autocorrection technology, and even Lady Gaga's acrobatic performance at the Super Bowl LI halftime show.[117]

Influence and legacy
Idioms
A number of neologisms that originated on The Simpsons have entered popular vernacular.[118][119] Mark Liberman, director of the Linguistic Data Consortium, remarked, "The Simpsons has apparently taken over from Shakespeare and the Bible as our culture's greatest source of idioms, catchphrases and sundry other textual allusions."[119] The most famous catchphrase is Homer's annoyed grunt: "D'oh!" So ubiquitous is the expression that it is now listed in the Oxford English Dictionary, but without the apostrophe.[120] Dan Castellaneta says he borrowed the phrase from James Finlayson, an actor in many Laurel and Hardy comedies, who pronounced it in a more elongated and whining tone. The staff of The Simpsons told Castellaneta to shorten the noise, and it went on to become the well-known exclamation in the television series.[121]

Groundskeeper Willie's description of the French as "cheese-eating surrender monkeys" was used by National Review columnist Jonah Goldberg in 2003, after France's opposition to the proposed invasion of Iraq. The phrase quickly spread to other journalists.[119][122] "Cromulent" and "embiggen", words used in "Lisa the Iconoclast", have since appeared in the Dictionary.com's 21st Century Lexicon,[123] and scientific journals respectively.[119][124] "Kwyjibo", a fake Scrabble word invented by Bart in "Bart the Genius", was used as one of the aliases of the creator of the Melissa worm.[125] "I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords", was used by Kent Brockman in "Deep Space Homer" and has become a common phrase.[126] Variants of Brockman's utterance are used to express obsequious submission. It has been used in media, such as New Scientist magazine.[127] The dismissive term "Meh", believed to have been popularized by the show,[119][128][129] entered the Collins English Dictionary in 2008.[130] Other words credited as stemming from the show ******* "yoink" and "craptacular".[119]

The Oxford Dictionary of Modern Quotations includes several quotations from the show. As well as "cheese-eating surrender monkeys", Homer's lines, "Kids, you tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is never try", from "Burns' Heir" (season five, 1994) as well as "Kids are the best, Apu. You can teach them to hate the things you hate. And they practically raise themselves, what with the Internet and all", from "Eight Misbehavin'" (season 11, 1999), entered the dictionary in August 2007.[131]

Television
The Simpsons was the first successful animated program in American prime time since Wait Till Your Father Gets Home in the 1970s.[132] During most of the 1980s, US pundits considered animated shows as appropriate only for children, and animating a show was too expensive to achieve a quality suitable for prime-time television. The Simpsons changed this perception,[25] initially leading to a short period where networks attempted to recreate prime-time cartoon success with shows like Capitol Critters, Fish Police, and Family Dog, which were expensive and unsuccessful.[133] The Simpsons' use of Korean animation studios for tweening, coloring, and filming made the episodes cheaper. The success of The Simpsons and the lower production cost prompted US television networks to take chances on other adult animated series.[25] This development led US producers to a 1990s boom in new, animated prime-time shows for adults, such as South Park, Family Guy, King of the Hill, Futurama and The Critic.[25] For Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane, "The Simpsons created an audience for prime-time animation that had not been there for many, many years ... As far as I'm concerned, they basically re-invented the wheel. They created what is in many ways—you could classify it as—a wholly new medium."[134]

The Simpsons has had crossovers with four other shows. In the episode "A Star Is Burns", Marge invites Jay Sherman, the main character of The Critic, to be a judge for a film festival in Springfield. Matt Groening had his name removed from the episode since he had no involvement with The Critic.[135] South Park later paid homage to The Simpsons with the episode "Simpsons Already Did It".[136] In "Simpsorama", the Planet Express crew from Futurama come to Springfield in the present to prevent the Simpsons from destroying the future.[137] In the Family Guy episode "The Simpsons Guy", the Griffins visit Springfield and meet the Simpsons.[138]

The Simpsons has also influenced live-action shows like Malcolm in the Middle, which featured the use of sight gags and did not use a laugh track unlike most sitcoms.[139][140] Malcolm in the Middle debuted January 9, 2000, in the time slot after The Simpsons. Ricky Gervais called The Simpsons an influence on The Office,[141] and fellow British sitcom Spaced was, according to its director Edgar Wright, "an attempt to do a live-action The Simpsons."[142] In Georgia, the animated television sitcom The Samsonadzes, launched in November 2009, has been noted for its very strong resemblance with The Simpsons, which its creator Shalva Ramishvili has acknowledged.[143][144][145]

Reception and achievements
Season No. of
episodes Originally aired Viewership
Season premiere Season finale Time Slot (ET) Avg. viewers
(in millions) Most watched episode
Viewers
(millions) Episode Title
1 1989–90 13 December 17, 1989 May 13, 1990 Sunday 8:30 PM 27.8 33.5 "Life on the Fast Lane"
2 1990–91 22 October 11, 1990 July 11, 1991 Thursday 8:00 PM 24.4 33.6 "Bart Gets an F"
3 1991–92 24 September 19, 1991 August 27, 1992 21.8 25.5 "Colonel Homer"
4 1992–93 22 September 24, 1992 May 13, 1993 22.4 28.6 "Lisa's First Word"
5 1993–94 22 September 30, 1993 May 19, 1994 18.9 24.0 "Treehouse of Horror IV"
6 1994–95 25 September 4, 1994 May 21, 1995 Sunday 8:00 PM 15.6 22.2 "Treehouse of Horror V"
7 1995–96 25 September 17, 1995 May 19, 1996 15.1 19.7 "Treehouse of Horror VI"
8 1996–97 25 October 27, 1996 May 18, 1997 Sunday 8:30 PM (Episodes 1–3)
Sunday 8:00 PM (Episodes 4–25) 14.5 20.9 "The Springfield Files"
9 1997–98 25 September 21, 1997 May 17, 1998 Sunday 8:00 PM 16.3 19.8 "The Two Mrs. Nahasapeemapetilons"
10 1998–99 23 August 23, 1998 May 16, 1999 13.5 15.5 "Maximum Homerdrive"
11 1999–2000 22 September 26, 1999 May 21, 2000 8.8 18.4 "The Mansion Family"
12 2000–01 21 November 1, 2000 May 20, 2001 15.5 18.6 "Worst Episode Ever"
13 2001–02 22 November 6, 2001 May 22, 2002 Tuesday 8:30 PM (Episode 1)
Sunday 8:00 PM (Episodes 2–20)
Sunday 7:30 PM (Episode 21)
Wednesday 8:00 PM (Episode 22) 12.5 14.9 "The Parent Rap"
14 2002–03 22 November 3, 2002 May 18, 2003 Sunday 8:00 PM (Episodes 1–11, 13–21)
Sunday 8:30 PM (Episodes 12, 22) 14.4 22.1 "I'm Spelling as Fast as I Can"
15 2003–04 22 November 2, 2003 May 23, 2004 Sunday 8:00 PM 11.0 16.3 "I, (Annoyed Grunt)-Bot"
16 2004–05 21 November 7, 2004 May 15, 2005 Sunday 8:00 PM (Episodes 1–7, 9–16, 18, 20)
Sunday 10:30 PM (Episode 8)
Sunday 8:30 PM (Episodes 17, 19, 21) 10.2 23.07 "Homer and Ned's Hail Mary Pass"
17 2005–06 22 September 11, 2005 May 21, 2006 Sunday 8:00 PM 9.55 11.63 "Treehouse of Horror XVI"
18 2006–07 22 September 10, 2006 May 20, 2007 9.15 13.90 "The Wife Aquatic"
19 2007–08 20 September 23, 2007 May 18, 2008 8.37 11.7 "Treehouse of Horror XVIII"
20 2008–09 21 September 28, 2008 May 17, 2009 7.1 12.4 "Treehouse of Horror XIX"
21 2009–10 23 September 27, 2009 May 23, 2010 7.1 14.62 "Once Upon a Time in Springfield"
22 2010–11 22 September 26, 2010 May 22, 2011 7.09 12.6 "Moms I'd Like to Forget"
23 2011–12 22 September 25, 2011 May 20, 2012 6.15[146] 11.48 "The D'oh-cial Network"
24 2012–13 22 September 30, 2012 May 19, 2013 5.41[147] 8.97 "Homer Goes to Prep School"
25 2013–14 22 September 29, 2013 May 18, 2014 5.02[148] 12.04 "Steal This Episode"
26 2014–15 22 September 28, 2014 May 17, 2015 5.61[149] 10.62 "The Man Who Came to Be Dinner"
27 2015–16 22 September 27, 2015 May 22, 2016 4.0[150] 8.33 "Teenage Mutant Milk-Caused Hurdles"
28 2016–17 22 September 25, 2016 May 21, 2017 4.80[151] 8.19 "Pork and Burns"
29 2017–18 21 October 1, 2017 May 20, 2018 4.07[152] 8.04 "Frink Gets Testy"
Early success
The Simpsons was the Fox network's first television series to rank among a season's top 30 highest-rated shows.[153] In 1990, Bart quickly became one of the most popular characters on television in what was termed "Bartmania".[154][155][156][157] He became the most prevalent Simpsons character on memorabilia, such as T-shirts. In the early 1990s, millions of T-shirts featuring Bart were sold;[158] as many as one million were sold on some days.[159] Believing Bart to be a bad role model, several American public schools banned T-shirts featuring Bart next to captions such as "I'm Bart Simpson. Who the hell are you?" and "Underachiever ('And proud of it, man!')".[160][161][162] The Simpsons merchandise sold well and generated $2 billion in revenue during the first 14 months of sales.[160] Because of his popularity, Bart was often the most promoted member of the Simpson family in advertisements for the show, even for episodes in which he was not involved in the main plot.[163]

Due to the show's success, over the summer of 1990 the Fox Network decided to switch The Simpsons' time slot so that it would move from 8:00 p.m. ET on Sunday night to the same time on Thursday, where it would compete with The Cosby Show on NBC, the number one show at the time.[164][165] Through the summer, several news outlets published stories about the supposed "Bill vs. Bart" rivalry.[159][164] "Bart Gets an F" (season two, 1990) was the first episode to air against The Cosby Show, and it received a lower Nielsen ratings, tying for eighth behind The Cosby Show, which had an 18.5 rating. The rating is based on the number of household televisions that were tuned into the show, but Nielsen Media Research estimated that 33.6 million viewers watched the episode, making it the number one show in terms of actual viewers that week. At the time, it was the most watched episode in the history of the Fox Network,[166] and it is still the highest rated episode in the history of The Simpsons.[167] The show moved back to its Sunday slot in 1994 and has remained there ever since.[168]

The Simpsons has received overwhelmingly positive reviews from critics, and it has been noted for being described as "the most irreverent and unapologetic show on the air."[169] In a 1990 review of the show, Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly described it as "the American family at its most complicated, drawn as simple cartoons. It's this neat paradox that makes millions of people turn away from the three big networks on Sunday nights to concentrate on The Simpsons."[170] Tucker would also describe the show as a "pop-cultural phenomenon, a prime-time cartoon show that appeals to the entire family."[171]

Run length achievements
On February 9, 1997, The Simpsons surpassed The Flintstones with the episode "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show" as the longest-running prime-time animated series in the United States.[172] In 2004, The Simpsons replaced The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet (1952 to 1966) as the longest-running sitcom (animated or live action) in the United States.[173] In 2009, The Simpsons surpassed The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet's record of 435 episodes and is now recognized by Guinness World Records as the world's longest running sitcom (in terms of episode count).[174][175] In October 2004, Scooby-Doo briefly overtook The Simpsons as the American animated show with the highest number of episodes (albeit under several different iterations).[176] However, network executives in April 2005 again cancelled Scooby-Doo, which finished with 371 episodes, and The Simpsons reclaimed the title with 378 episodes at the end of their seventeenth season.[177] In May 2007, The Simpsons reached their 400th episode at the end of the eighteenth season. While The Simpsons has the record for the number of episodes by an American animated show, other animated series have surpassed The Simpsons.[178] For example, the Japanese anime series Sazae-san has over 7,000 episodes to its credit.[178]

In 2009, Fox began a year-long celebration of the show titled "Best. 20 Years. Ever." to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the premiere of The Simpsons. One of the first parts of the celebration is the "Unleash Your Yellow" contest in which entrants must design a poster for the show.[179] The celebration ended on January 10, 2010 (almost 20 years after "Bart the Genius" aired on January 14, 1990), with The Simpsons 20th Anniversary Special – In 3-D! On Ice!, a documentary special by documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock that examines the "cultural phenomenon of The Simpsons".[180][181]

As of the twenty-first season (2009–2010), The Simpsons became the longest-running American scripted primetime television series, having surpassed Gunsmoke. On April 29, 2018, The Simpsons also surpassed Gunsmoke's 635-episode count with the episode "Forgive and Regret."[173][182]

Awards and accolades
Main article: List of awards and nominations received by The Simpsons

The Simpsons has been awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
The Simpsons has won dozens of awards since it debuted as a series, including 31 Primetime Emmy Awards,[71] 30 Annie Awards[183] and a Peabody Award.[184] In a 1999 issue celebrating the 20th century's greatest achievements in arts and entertainment, Time magazine named The Simpsons the century's best television series.[185] In that same issue, Time included Bart Simpson in the Time 100, the publication's list of the century's 100 most influential people.[186] Bart was the only fictional character on the list. On January 14, 2000, the Simpsons were awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.[187] Also in 2000, Entertainment Weekly magazine TV critic Ken Tucker named The Simpsons the greatest television show of the 1990s. Furthermore, viewers of the UK television channel Channel 4 have voted The Simpsons at the top of two polls: 2001's 100 Greatest Kids' TV shows,[188] and 2005's The 100 Greatest Cartoons,[189] with Homer Simpson voted into first place in 2001's 100 Greatest TV Characters.[190] Homer would also place ninth on Entertainment Weekly's list of the "50 Greatest TV icons".[191] In 2002, The Simpsons ranked #8 on TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time,[192] and in 2007 it was included in Time's list of the "100 Best TV Shows of All Time".[193] In 2008 the show was placed in first on Entertainment Weekly's "Top 100 Shows of the Past 25 Years".[194] Empire named it the greatest TV show of all time.[195] In 2010, Entertainment Weekly named Homer "the greatest character of the last 20 years",[196] while in 2013 the Writers Guild of America listed The Simpsons as the 11th "best written" series in television history.[197] In 2013, TV Guide ranked The Simpsons as the greatest TV cartoon of all time[198] and the tenth greatest show of all time.[199] Television critics Alan Sepinwall and Matt Zoller Seitz ranked The Simpsons as the greatest American TV series of all time in their 2016 book TV (The Book).[200]

Criticism
Controversy
Bart's rebellious, bad boy nature, which underlies his misbehavior and rarely leads to any punishment, led some people to characterize him as a poor role model for children.[201][202] In schools, educators claimed that Bart was a "threat to learning" because of his "underachiever and proud of it" attitude and negative attitude regarding his education.[203] Others described him as "egotistical, aggressive and mean-spirited".[204] In a 1991 interview, Bill Cosby described Bart as a bad role model for children, calling him "angry, confused, frustrated". In response, Matt Groening said, "That sums up Bart, all right. Most people are in a struggle to be normal [and] he thinks normal is very boring, and does things that others just wished they dare do."[205] On January 27, 1992, then-President George H. W. Bush said, "We are going to keep on trying to strengthen the American family, to make American families a lot more like the Waltons and a lot less like the Simpsons."[160] The writers rushed out a tongue-in-cheek reply in the form of a short segment which aired three days later before a rerun of "Stark Raving Dad" in which Bart replied, "Hey, we're just like the Waltons. We're praying for an end to the Depression, too."[206][207]

Various episodes of the show have generated controversy. The Simpsons visit Australia in "Bart vs. Australia" (season six, 1995) and Brazil in "Blame It on Lisa" (season 13, 2002) and both episodes generated controversy and negative reaction in the visited countries.[208] In the latter case, Rio de Janeiro's tourist board—which claimed that the city was portrayed as having rampant street crime, kidnappings, slums, and monkey and rat infestations—went so far as to threaten Fox with legal action.[209] Groening was a fierce and vocal critic of the episode "A Star Is Burns" (season six, 1995) which featured a crossover with The Critic. He felt that it was just an advertisement for The Critic, and that people would incorrectly associate the show with him. When he was unsuccessful in getting the episode pulled, he had his name removed from the credits and went public with his concerns, openly criticizing James L. Brooks and saying the episode "violates the Simpsons' universe." In response, Brooks said, "I am furious with Matt, ... he's allowed his opinion, but airing this publicly in the press is going too far. ... his behavior right now is rotten."[135][210]

"The Principal and the Pauper" (season nine, 1997) is one of the most controversial episodes of The Simpsons. Many fans and critics reacted negatively to the revelation that Seymour Skinner, a recurring character since the first season, was an impostor. The episode has been criticized by Groening and by Harry Shearer, who provides the voice of Skinner. In a 2001 interview, Shearer recalled that after reading the script, he told the writers, "That's so wrong. You're taking something that an audience has built eight years or nine years of investment in and just tossed it in the trash can for no good reason, for a story we've done before with other characters. It's so arbitrary and gratuitous, and it's disrespectful to the audience."[211]

Ban
The show has reportedly been taken off the air in several countries. China banned it from prime-time television in August 2006, "in an effort to protect China's struggling animation studios."[212] In 2008, Venezuela barred the show from airing on morning television as it was deemed "unsuitable for children".[213] The same year, several Russian Pentecostal churches demanded that The Simpsons, South Park and some other Western cartoons be removed from broadcast schedules "for propaganda of various vices" and the broadcaster's license to be revoked. However, the court decision later dismissed this request.[214]

Declining quality

Chart by fan Sol Harris showing the decline in quality of the show from Season 1 to Season 28[215]
Critics' reviews of early Simpsons episodes praised the show for its sassy humor, wit, realism, and intelligence.[29][216] However, in the late 1990s, around the airing of season 10, the tone and emphasis of the show began to change. Some critics started calling the show "tired".[217] By 2000, some long-term fans had become disillusioned with the show, and pointed to its shift from character-driven plots to what they perceived as an overemphasis on zany antics.[218][219][220] Jim Schembri of The Sydney Morning Herald attributed the decline in quality to an abandonment of character-driven storylines in favor of and overuse of celebrity cameo appearances and references to popular culture. Schembri wrote: "The central tragedy of The Simpsons is that it has gone from commanding attention to merely being attention-seeking. It began by proving that cartoon characters don't have to be caricatures; they can be invested with real emotions. Now the show has in essence fermented into a limp parody of itself. Memorable story arcs have been sacrificed for the sake of celebrity walk-ons and punchline-hungry dialogue."[221]

In 2010, the BBC noted "the common consensus is that The Simpsons' golden era ended after season nine",[8] and Todd Leopold of CNN, in an article looking at its perceived decline, stated "for many fans ... the glory days are long past."[220] Similarly, Tyler Wilson of Coeur d'Alene Press has referred to seasons one to nine as the show's "golden age",[7] and Ian Nathan of Empire described the show's classic era as being "say, the first ten seasons."[9] Jon Heacock of LucidWorks stated that "for the first ten years [seasons], the show was consistently at the top of its game", with "so many moments, quotations, and references – both epic and obscure – that helped turn the Simpson family into the cultural icons that they remain to this day."[10]

Mike Scully, who was showrunner during seasons nine through twelve, has been the subject of criticism.[222][223] Chris Suellentrop of Slate wrote that "under Scully's tenure, The Simpsons became, well, a cartoon ... Episodes that once would have ended with Homer and Marge bicycling into the sunset now end with Homer blowing a tranquilizer dart into Marge's neck. The show's still funny, but it hasn't been touching in years."[222] When asked in 2007 how the series' longevity is sustained, Scully joked: "Lower your quality standards. Once you've done that you can go on forever."[224]

Al Jean, showrunner since season thirteen, has also been the subject of criticism, with some arguing that the show has continued to decline in quality under his tenure. Former writers have complained that under Jean, the show is "on auto-pilot", "too sentimental", and the episodes are "just being cranked out." Some critics believe that the show has "entered a steady decline under Jean and is no longer really funny."[225] John Ortved, author of The Simpsons: An Uncensored, Unauthorized History, characterized the Jean era as "toothless",[226] and criticized what he perceived as the show's increase in social and political commentary.[227] Jean responded: "Well, it's possible that we've declined. But honestly, I've been here the whole time and I do remember in season two people saying, 'It's gone downhill.' If we'd listened to that then we would have stopped after episode 13. I'm glad we didn't."[228]

In 2004, Harry Shearer criticized what he perceived as the show's declining quality: "I rate the last three seasons as among the worst, so season four looks very good to me now."[229] Dan Castellaneta responded: "I don't agree, ... I think Harry's issue is that the show isn't as grounded as it was in the first three or four seasons, that it's gotten crazy or a little more madcap. I think it organically changes to stay fresh."[230] Also in 2004 author Douglas Coupland described claims of declining quality in the series as "hogwash", saying "The Simpsons hasn't fumbled the ball in fourteen years, it's hardly likely to fumble it now."[231] In an April 2006 interview, Groening said: "I honestly don't see any end in sight. I think it's possible that the show will become too financially cumbersome ... but right now, the show is creatively, I think, as good or better than it's ever been. The animation is incredibly detailed and imaginative, and the stories do things that we haven't done before. So creatively there's no reason to quit."[232]

In 2016, popular culture writer Anna Leszkiewicz suggested that even though The Simpsons still holds cultural relevance, contemporary appeal is only for the first ten seasons, with recent episodes only garnering mainstream attention when a favorite character from the golden era is killed off, or when new information and shock twists are given for old characters.[233] The series' ratings have also declined; while the first season enjoyed an average of 13.4 million viewing households per episode in the U.S.,[153] the twenty-first season had an average of 7.2 million viewers.[234]

Alan Sepinwall and Matt Zoller Seitz argued in their 2016 book titled TV (The Book) that the peak of The Simpsons are "roughly seasons [three through twelve]", and that despite the decline, episodes from the later seasons such as "Eternal Moonshine of the Simpson Mind" and "Holidays of Future Passed" could be considered on par with the earlier classic episodes, further stating that "even if you want to call the show today a thin shadow of its former self, think about how mind-boggingly great its former self had to be for so-diminished a version to be watchable at all."[235][236]

Apu controversy
Further information: Apu Nahasapeemapetilon § Accusations of racial stereotyping
The stereotypical nature of the character Apu Nahasapeemapetilon has long been the subject of controversy. This was particularly highlighted by Indian-American comedian Hari Kondabolu's 2017 documentary The Problem with Apu. In the film, Kondabolu states that as a child he was a fan of The Simpsons and liked Apu, but he now finds the character's stereotypical nature troublesome. Defenders of the character responded that the show is built on comical stereotypes, with creator Matt Groening saying, "that's the nature of cartooning."[237] He added that he was "proud of what we do on the show", and "it's a time in our culture where people love to pretend they're offended".[238] In response to the controversy, Apu's voice actor, Hank Azaria, said he was willing to step aside from his role as Apu: "The most important thing is to listen to South Asian people, Indian people in this country when they talk about what they feel and how they think about this character."[239]

The criticisms were referenced in the Season 29 episode "No Good Read Goes Unpunished", when Lisa breaks the fourth wall and addresses the audience by saying, "Something that started decades ago and was applauded and inoffensive is now politically incorrect. What can you do?" to which Marge replies, "Some things will be addressed at a later date." Lisa adds, "If at all." This reference was clarified by the fact that there was a framed photo of Apu with the caption on the photo saying "Don't have a cow, Apu", a play on Bart's catchphrase "Don't have a cow, man," as well as the fact that Hindus do not eat cows as they are considered sacred. In October 2018, it was reported that Apu would be written out of the show.[240]

The media
Main article: The Simpsons (franchise)
Comic books
Main article: List of The Simpsons comics
Numerous Simpson-related comic books have been released over the years. So far, nine comic book series have been published by Bongo Comics since 1993.[241] The first comic strips based on The Simpsons appeared in 1991 in the magazine Simpsons Illustrated, which was a companion magazine to the show.[242] The comic strips were popular and a one-shot comic book titled Simpsons Comics and Stories, containing four different stories, was released in 1993 for the fans.[243] The book was a success and due to this, the creator of The Simpsons, Matt Groening, and his companions Bill Morrison, Mike Rote, Steve Vance and Cindy Vance created the publishing company Bongo Comics.[243] Issues of Simpsons Comics, Bart Simpson's Treehouse of Horror and Bart Simpson have been collected and reprinted in trade paperbacks in the United States by HarperCollins.[244][245][246]

Film
Main article: The Simpsons Movie

A Seattle 7-Eleven store transformed into a Kwik-E-Mart as part of a promotion for The Simpsons Movie.
20th Century Fox, Gracie Films, and Film Roman produced The Simpsons Movie, an animated film that was released on July 27, 2007.[247] The film was directed by long-time Simpsons producer David Silverman and written by a team of Simpsons writers comprising Matt Groening, James L. Brooks, Al Jean, George Meyer, Mike Reiss, John Swartzwelder, Jon Vitti, David Mirkin, Mike Scully, Matt Selman, and Ian Maxtone-Graham.[247] Production of the film occurred alongside continued writing of the series despite long-time claims by those involved in the show that a film would enter production only after the series had concluded.[247] There had been talk of a possible feature-length Simpsons film ever since the early seasons of the series. James L. Brooks originally thought that the story of the episode "Kamp Krusty" was suitable for a film, but he encountered difficulties in trying to expand the script to feature-length.[248] For a long time, difficulties such as lack of a suitable story and an already fully engaged crew of writers delayed the project.[232]

On August 10, 2018, 20th Century Fox announced that a sequel is in development.[249]

Music
Main article: The Simpsons discography
Collections of original music featured in the series have been released on the albums Songs in the Key of Springfield, Go Simpsonic with The Simpsons and The Simpsons: Testify.[250] Several songs have been recorded with the purpose of a single or album release and have not been featured on the show. The album The Simpsons Sing the Blues was released in September 1990 and was a success, peaking at #3 on the Billboard 200[251] and becoming certified 2× platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.[252] The first single from the album was the pop rap song "Do the Bartman", performed by Nancy Cartwright and released on November 20, 1990. The song was written by Michael Jackson, although he did not receive any credit.[253] The Yellow Album was released in 1998, but received poor reception and did not chart in any country.[254][255][256]

The Simpsons Ride
Main article: The Simpsons Ride

The Simpsons Ride at Universal Studios Florida.
In 2007, it was officially announced that The Simpsons Ride, a simulator ride, would be implemented into the Universal Studios Orlando and Universal Studios Hollywood.[257] It officially opened May 15, 2008 in Florida[258] and May 19, 2008, in Hollywood.[259] In the ride, patrons are introduced to a cartoon theme park called Krustyland built by Krusty the Clown. However, Sideshow Bob is loose from prison to get revenge on Krusty and the Simpson family.[260] It features more than 24 regular characters from The Simpsons and features the voices of the regular cast members, as well as Pamela Hayden, Russi Taylor and Kelsey Grammer.[261] Harry Shearer did not participate in the ride, so none of his characters have vocal parts.[262]

Video games
Further information: List of The Simpsons video games
Numerous video games based on the show have been produced. Some of the early games ******* Konami's arcade game The Simpsons (1991) and Acclaim Entertainment's The Simpsons: Bart vs. the Space Mutants (1991).[263][264] More modern games ******* The Simpsons: Road Rage (2001), The Simpsons: Hit & Run (2003) and The Simpsons Game (2007).[265][266][267] Electronic Arts, which produced The Simpsons Game, has owned the exclusive rights to create video games based on the show since 2005.[268] In 2010, they released a game called The Simpsons Arcade for iOS.[269] Another EA-produced mobile game, Tapped Out, was released in 2012 for iOS users, then in 2013 for Android and Kindle users.[270][271][272] Two Simpsons pinball machines have been produced: one that was available briefly after the first season, and another in 2007, both out of production.[273]

Syndication and streaming availability
The cable television network FXX has exclusive cable and digital syndication rights for The Simpsons. Original contracts had previously stated that syndication rights for The Simpsons would not be sold to cable until the series conclusion, at a time when cable syndication deals were highly rare. The series has been syndicated to local broadcast stations in nearly all markets throughout the United States since September 1993.[274]

FXX premiered The Simpsons on their network on August 21, 2014 by starting a twelve-day marathon which featured the first 552 episodes (every single episode that had already been released at the time) aired chronologically, including The Simpsons Movie, which FX Networks had already owned the rights to air. It was the longest continuous marathon in the history of television (until VH1 Classic aired a 433-hour, nineteen-day, marathon of Saturday Night Live in 2015; celebrating that program's 40th anniversary).[275][276] The first day of the marathon was the highest rated broadcast day in the history of the network so far, the ratings more than tripled that those of regular prime time programming for FXX.[277] Ratings during the first six nights of the marathon grew night after night, with the network ranking within the top 5 networks in basic cable each night.[278]

On October 21, 2014, a digital service courtesy of the FXNOW app, called Simpsons World, launched. Simpsons World has every episode of the series accessible to authenticated FX subscribers, and is available on game consoles such as Xbox One, streaming devices such as Roku and Apple TV, and online via web browser.[279][280] There was early criticism of both wrong aspect ratios for earlier episodes and the length of commercial breaks on the streaming service, but there are now fewer commercial breaks during individual episodes.[281] Later it was announced that Simpsons World would now let users watch all of the SD episodes in their original format.[282]

In July 2017, all episodes were made available for purchase on the iTunes Store, in the United States.

Merchandise
See also: List of The Simpsons books and List of The Simpsons home video releases
The popularity of The Simpsons has made it a billion-dollar merchandising industry.[160] The title family and supporting characters appear on everything from T-shirts to posters. The Simpsons has been used as a theme for special editions of well-known board games, including Clue, Scrabble, Monopoly, Operation, and The Game of Life, as well as the trivia games What Would Homer Do? and Simpsons Jeopardy!. Several card games such as trump cards and The Simpsons Trading Card Game have also been released. Many official or unofficial Simpsons books such as episode guides have been published. Many episodes of the show have been released on DVD and VHS over the years. When the first season DVD was released in 2001, it quickly became the best-selling television DVD in history, although it was later overtaken by the first season of Chappelle's Show.[283] In particular, seasons one through seventeen have been released on DVD in the U.S. (Region 1), Europe (Region 2) and Australia/New Zealand/Latin America (Region 4). However, on April 19, 2015, Al Jean announced that the Season 17 DVD would be the last one ever produced, leaving the collection from Season 1 to 17, Season 20 (released out of schedule in 2009), with Seasons 18, 19, and 21 onwards unreleased.[284][285] Jean also stated that the deleted scenes and commentary would try to be released to the Simpsons World app, and that they were pushing for Simpsons World to be expanded outside of the U.S.[284] Two years later, however, on July 22, 2017, it was announced that Season 18 would be released on December 5, 2017 on DVD.

In 2003, about 500 companies around the world were licensed to use Simpsons characters in their advertising.[286] As a promotion for The Simpsons Movie, twelve 7-Eleven stores were transformed into Kwik-E-Marts and sold The Simpsons related products. These included "Buzz Cola", "Krusty-O" cereal, pink doughnuts with sprinkles, and "Squishees".[287]

In 2008 consumers around the world spent $750 million on merchandise related to The Simpsons, with half of the amount originating from the United States. By 2009, 20th Century Fox had greatly increased merchandising efforts.[288] On April 9, 2009, the United States Postal Service unveiled a series of five 44-cent stamps featuring Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie, to commemorate the show's twentieth anniversary.[289] The Simpsons is the first television series still in production to receive this recognition.[290][291] The stamps, designed by Matt Groening, were made available for purchase on May 7, 2009.[292] Approximately one billion were printed, but only 318 million were sold, costing the Postal Service $1.2 million.[293][294]

 
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The Simpsons
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This article is about the television show. For the franchise, see The Simpsons (franchise). For other uses, see The Simpsons (disambiguation).
The Simpsons
The Simpsons Logo.svg
Simpsons FamilyPicture.png
The Simpson family. From left to right: Bart, Marge, Santa's Little Helper (dog), Maggie, Homer, Lisa, and Snowball II (cat).
Genre Animated sitcom
Created by Matt Groening
Based on "The Simpsons" shorts
by Matt Groening
Developed by
James L. Brooks
Matt Groening
Sam Simon
Voices of
Dan Castellaneta
Julie Kavner
Nancy Cartwright
Yeardley Smith
Hank Azaria
Harry Shearer
(Complete list)
Theme music composer Danny Elfman
Opening theme "The Simpsons Theme"
Composer(s) Richard Gibbs (1989–90)
Arthur B. Rubinstein (1990)
Ray Colcord (1990: "Dead Putting Society)"
Alf Clausen (1990–2017)
Bleeding Fingers Music (2017–present)
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 30
No. of episodes 649 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
List of exec. producers[show]
Running time 21–24 minutes
Production company(s) Gracie Films (1989–present)
20th Century Fox Television
Klasky Csupo (1989–1992)
Film Roman (1992–2016)
Fox Television Animation (2016–present)
The Curiosity Company (2015–present, uncredited)
AKOM
Rough Draft Studios
Distributor 20th Television
Release
Original network Fox
Picture format 480i/576i (4:3 SDTV) (1989–2009)
1080i (16:9 HDTV) (2009–present)
Audio format Stereo (1989–1991)
Dolby Surround 2.0 (1991–2009)
Dolby Digital 5.1 (DVD, broadcast 2009–present)
Original release December 17, 1989 – present
Chronology
Preceded by The Simpsons shorts from The Tracey Ullman Show
External links
Official website
The Simpsons is an American animated sitcom created by Matt Groening for the Fox Broadcasting Company.[1][2][3] The series is a satirical depiction of working-class 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 culture and society, television, 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. Groening created a dysfunctional family and named the characters after his own family members, substituting Bart for his own name. 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 (1989–90).

Since its debut on December 17, 1989, 649 episodes of The Simpsons have been broadcast. It is the longest-running American sitcom, and the longest-running American scripted primetime television series in terms of seasons and number of episodes. The Simpsons Movie, a feature-length film, was released in theaters worldwide on July 27, 2007, and grossed over $527 million. Then on October 30, 2007, a video game was released. Currently, The Simpsons is on its thirtieth season, which aired September 30, 2018.[4][5] The Simpsons will be renewed for a thirty-first season, with Al Jean completing a Treehouse of Horror XXIX script, though the date has yet to be announced.[6]

The Simpsons received acclaim throughout its first nine[7][8] or ten[9][10] seasons, which are generally considered its "Golden Age". Time named it the 20th century's best television series,[11] and Erik Adams of The A.V. Club named it "television's crowning achievement regardless of format".[12] 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 31 Primetime Emmy Awards, 30 Annie Awards, and a Peabody Award. 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. However, it has also been criticized for a perceived decline in quality over the years.


Contents
1 Premise
1.1 Characters
1.2 Continuity and the floating timeline
1.3 Setting
2 Production
2.1 Development
2.2 Executive producers and showrunners
2.3 Writing
2.4 Voice actors
2.5 Animation
3 Themes
4 Hallmarks
4.1 Opening sequence
4.2 Halloween episodes
4.3 Humor
4.3.1 Foreshadowing of actual events
5 Influence and legacy
5.1 Idioms
5.2 Television
6 Reception and achievements
6.1 Early success
6.2 Run length achievements
6.3 Awards and accolades
6.4 Criticism
6.4.1 Controversy
6.4.2 Ban
6.4.3 Declining quality
6.4.4 Apu controversy
7 The media
7.1 Comic books
7.2 Film
7.3 Music
7.4 The Simpsons Ride
7.5 Video games
8 Syndication and streaming availability
9 Merchandise
10 References
10.1 Notes
10.2 Bibliography
11 Further reading
12 External links
Premise
Characters
Main article: List of The Simpsons characters
The Simpsons is known for its wide ensemble of main and supporting characters.

The main characters are the Simpson family, who live in a fictional "Middle America" town of Springfield.[13] 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, a stereotypical American housewife and mother. They have three children: Bart, a ten-year-old troublemaker 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.[14] Homer's dad Grampa Simpson lives in the Springfield Retirement Home after Homer forced his dad to sell his house 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".[15] 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 quirky supporting characters, which ******* Homer's co-workers (also friends) Lenny Leonard and Carl Carlson, the school principal Seymour Skinner and teachers Edna Krabappel and Elizabeth Hoover, 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. A number of them have 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.[16]

Continuity and the floating timeline
Despite the depiction of yearly milestones such as holidays or birthdays passing, the characters do not 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 depictions 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.

A canon of the show does exist, as 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, as with most other comedy-focused television shows. For example, Krusty the Clown may be able to read in one episode, but may not be able to read in another. Lessons learned by the family in one episode may be forgotten in the next. Some examples of limited continuity ******* Sideshow Bob's appearances where Bart and Lisa flashback at all the crimes he committed in Springfield or when the characters try to remember things that happened in previous episodes.

Setting
Main article: Springfield (The Simpsons)
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.[17] Springfield's geography, and that of its surroundings, contains coastlines, deserts, vast farmland, tall mountains, or whatever the story or joke requires.[18] Groening has said that Springfield has much in common with Portland, Oregon, the city where he grew up.[19] The name "Springfield" is a common one in America and appears in 22 states.[20] 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."[21]

Production
Development
Main articles: History of The Simpsons and The Simpsons shorts

James L. Brooks (pictured) asked Matt Groening to create a series of animated shorts for The Tracey Ullman Show.
When producer James L. Brooks was working on the television variety show The Tracey Ullman Show, he decided to ******* small animated sketches before and after the commercial breaks. Having seen one of cartoonist Matt Groening's Life in Hell comic strips, Brooks asked Groening to pitch an idea for a series of animated shorts. Groening initially intended to present an animated version of his Life in Hell series.[22] However, Groening later realized that animating Life in Hell would require the rescinding of publication rights for his life's work. He therefore chose another approach while waiting in the lobby of Brooks's office for the pitch meeting, hurriedly formulating his version of a dysfunctional family that became the Simpsons.[22][23] He named the characters after his own family members, substituting "Bart" for his own name, adopting an anagram of the word "brat".[22]

The Simpson family first appeared as shorts in The Tracey Ullman Show on April 19, 1987.[24] Groening submitted only basic sketches to the animators and assumed that the figures would be cleaned up in production. However, the animators merely re-traced his drawings, which led to the crude appearance of the characters in the initial shorts.[22] The animation was produced domestically at Klasky Csupo,[25][26] with Wes Archer, David Silverman, and Bill Kopp being animators for the first season.[27] Colorist Gyorgyi Peluce was the person who decided to make the characters yellow.[27]

In 1989, a team of production companies adapted The Simpsons into a half-hour series for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The team included the Klasky Csupo animation house. Brooks negotiated a provision in the contract with the Fox network that prevented Fox from interfering with the show's content.[28] Groening said his goal in creating the show was to offer the audience an alternative to what he called "the mainstream trash" that they were watching.[29] The half-hour series premiered on December 17, 1989, with "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire".[30] "Some Enchanted Evening" was the first full-length episode produced, but it did not broadcast until May 1990, as the last episode of the first season, because of animation problems.[31] In 1992, Tracey Ullman filed a lawsuit against Fox, claiming that her show was the source of the series' success. The suit said she should receive a share of the profits of The Simpsons[32]—a claim rejected by the courts.[33]

Executive producers and showrunners

Matt Groening, creator
List of showrunners throughout the series' run:

Season 1–2: Matt Groening, James L. Brooks, & Sam Simon
Season 3–4: Al Jean & Mike Reiss
Season 5–6: David Mirkin
Season 7–8: Bill Oakley & Josh Weinstein
Season 9–12: Mike Scully
Season 13–present: Al Jean
Matt Groening and James L. Brooks have served as executive producers during the show's entire history, and also function as creative consultants. Sam Simon, described by former Simpsons director Brad Bird as "the unsung hero" of the show,[34] served as creative supervisor for the first four seasons. He was constantly at odds with Groening, Brooks and the show's production company Gracie Films and left in 1993.[35] Before leaving, he negotiated a deal that sees him receive a share of the profits every year, and an executive producer credit despite not having worked on the show since 1993,[35][36] at least until his passing in 2015.[37] A more involved position on the show is the showrunner, who acts as head writer and manages the show's production for an entire season.[27]

Writing
Main article: List of The Simpsons writers
The first team of writers, assembled by Sam Simon, consisted of John Swartzwelder, Jon Vitti, George Meyer, Jeff Martin, Al Jean, Mike Reiss, Jay Kogen and Wallace Wolodarsky.[38] Newer Simpsons' writing teams typically consist of sixteen writers who propose episode ideas at the beginning of each December.[39] The main writer of each episode writes the first draft. Group rewriting sessions develop final scripts by adding or removing jokes, inserting scenes, and calling for re-readings of lines by the show's vocal performers.[40] Until 2004,[41] George Meyer, who had developed the show since the first season, was active in these sessions. According to long-time writer Jon Vitti, Meyer usually invented the best lines in a given episode, even though other writers may receive script credits.[40] Each episode takes six months to produce so the show rarely comments on current events.[42]


Part of the writing staff of The Simpsons in 1992. Back row, left to right: Mike Mendel, Colin ABV Lewis (partial), Jeff Goldstein, Al Jean (partial), Conan O'Brien, Bill Oakley, Josh Weinstein, Mike Reiss, Ken Tsumura, George Meyer, John Swartzwelder, Jon Vitti (partial), CJ Gibson and David M. Stern. Front row, left to right: Dee Capelli, Lona Williams, and unknown.
Credited with sixty episodes, John Swartzwelder is the most prolific writer on The Simpsons.[43] One of the best-known former writers is Conan O'Brien, who contributed to several episodes in the early 1990s before replacing David Letterman as host of the talk show Late Night.[44] English comedian Ricky Gervais wrote the episode "Homer Simpson, This Is Your Wife", becoming the first celebrity to both write and guest star in an episode.[45] Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, writers of the film Superbad, wrote the episode "Homer the Whopper", with Rogen voicing a character in it.[46]

At the end of 2007, the writers of The Simpsons went on strike together with the other members of the Writers Guild of America, East. The show's writers had joined the guild in 1998.[47]

Voice actors
Main articles: List of The Simpsons cast members, List of The Simpsons guest stars, and Non-English versions of The Simpsons
The Simpsons has six main cast members: Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith, Hank Azaria and Harry Shearer. Castellaneta voices Homer Simpson, Grampa Simpson, Krusty the Clown, Groundskeeper Willie, Mayor Quimby, Barney Gumble and other adult, male characters.[48] Julie Kavner voices Marge Simpson and Patty and Selma, as well as several minor characters.[48] Castellaneta and Kavner had been a part of The Tracey Ullman Show cast and were given the parts so that new actors would not be needed.[49] Cartwright voices Bart Simpson, Nelson Muntz, Ralph Wiggum and other children.[48] Smith, the voice of Lisa Simpson, is the only cast member who regularly voices only one character, although she occasionally plays other episodic characters.[48] The producers decided to hold casting for the roles of Bart and Lisa. Smith had initially been asked to audition for the role of Bart, but casting director Bonita Pietila believed her voice was too high,[50] so she was given the role of Lisa instead.[51] Cartwright was originally brought in to voice Lisa, but upon arriving at the audition, she found that Lisa was simply described as the "middle child" and at the time did not have much personality. Cartwright became more interested in the role of Bart, who was described as "devious, underachieving, school-hating, irreverent, [and] clever".[52] Groening let her try out for the part instead, and upon hearing her read, gave her the job on the spot.[53] Cartwright is the only one of the six main Simpsons cast members who had been professionally trained in voice acting prior to working on the show.[43] Azaria and Shearer do not voice members of the title family, but play a majority of the male townspeople. Azaria, who has been a part of the Simpsons regular voice cast since the second season,[54] voices recurring characters such as Moe Szyslak, Chief Wiggum, Apu Nahasapeemapetilon and Professor Frink. Shearer provides voices for Mr. Burns, Mr. Smithers, Principal Skinner, Ned Flanders, Reverend Lovejoy and Dr. Hibbert.[48] Every main cast member has won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance.[55][56]

With one exception, episode credits list only the voice actors, and not the characters they voice. Both Fox and the production crew wanted to keep their identities secret during the early seasons and, therefore, closed most of the recording sessions while refusing to publish photos of the recording artists.[57] However, the network eventually revealed which roles each actor performed in the episode "Old Money", because the producers said the voice actors should receive credit for their work.[58] In 2003, the cast appeared in an episode of Inside the Actors Studio, doing live performances of their characters' voices.

The six main actors were paid $30,000 per episode until 1998, when they were involved in a pay dispute with Fox. The company threatened to replace them with new actors, even going as far as preparing for casting of new voices, but series creator Groening supported the actors in their action.[59] The issue was soon resolved and, from 1998 to 2004, they were paid $125,000 per episode. The show's revenue continued to rise through syndication and DVD sales, and in April 2004 the main cast stopped appearing for script readings, demanding they be paid $360,000 per episode.[60][61] The strike was resolved a month later[62] and their salaries were increased to something between $250,000[63] and $360,000 per episode.[64] In 2008, production for the twentieth season was put on hold due to new contract negotiations with the voice actors, who wanted a "healthy bump" in salary to an amount close to $500,000 per episode.[64] The negotiations were soon completed, and the actors' salary was raised to $400,000 per episode.[65] Three years later, with Fox threatening to cancel the series unless production costs were cut, the cast members accepted a 30 percent pay cut, down to just over $300,000 per episode.[66]

In addition to the main cast, Pamela Hayden, Tress MacNeille, Marcia Wallace, Maggie Roswell, and Russi Taylor voice supporting characters.[48] From 1999 to 2002, Roswell's characters were voiced by Marcia Mitzman Gaven. Karl Wiedergott has also appeared in minor roles, but does not voice any recurring characters.[67] Wiedergott left the show in 2010, and since then Chris Edgerly has appeared regularly to voice minor characters. Repeat "special guest" cast members ******* Albert Brooks, Phil Hartman, Jon Lovitz, Joe Mantegna, Maurice LaMarche, and Kelsey Grammer.[68] Following Hartman's death in 1998, the characters he voiced (Troy McClure and Lionel Hutz) were retired;[69] Wallace's character of Edna Krabappel was retired as well after her death in 2013.

Episodes will quite often feature guest voices from a wide range of professions, including actors, athletes, authors, bands, musicians and scientists. In the earlier seasons, most of the guest stars voiced characters, but eventually more started appearing as themselves. Tony Bennett was the first guest star to appear as himself, appearing briefly in the season two episode "Dancin' Homer".[70] The Simpsons holds the world record for "Most Guest Stars Featured in a Television Series".[71]

The Simpsons has been dubbed into several other languages, including Japanese, German, Spanish, and Portuguese. It is also one of the few programs dubbed in both standard French and Quebec French.[72] The show has been broadcast in Arabic, but due to Islamic customs, numerous aspects of the show have been changed. For example, Homer drinks soda instead of beer and eats Egyptian beef sausages instead of hot dogs. Because of such changes, the Arabized version of the series met with a negative reaction from the lifelong Simpsons fans in the area.[73]

Animation

Animation director David Silverman, who helped define the look of the show[27]
Several different U.S. and international studios animate The Simpsons. Throughout the run of the animated shorts on The Tracey Ullman Show, the animation was produced domestically at Klasky Csupo.[25] With the debut of the series, because of an increased workload, Fox subcontracted production to several local and foreign studios.[25] These are AKOM,[74] Anivision,[75] Rough Draft Studios,[76] USAnimation,[77] and Toonzone Entertainment.[78]

For the first three seasons, Klasky Csupo animated The Simpsons in the United States. In 1992, the show's production company, Gracie Films, switched domestic production to Film Roman,[79] who continued to animate the show until 2016. In Season 14, production switched from traditional cel animation to digital ink and paint.[80] The first episode to experiment with digital coloring was "Radioactive Man" in 1995. Animators used digital ink and paint during production of the season 12 episode "Tennis the Menace", but Gracie Films delayed the regular use of digital ink and paint until two seasons later. The already completed "Tennis the Menace" was broadcast as made.[81]

The production staff at the U.S. animation studio, Film Roman, draws storyboards, designs new characters, backgrounds, props and draws character and background layouts, which in turn become animatics to be screened for the writers at Gracie Films for any changes to be made before the work is shipped overseas. The overseas studios then draw the inbetweens, ink and paint, and render the animation to tape before it is shipped back to the United States to be delivered to Fox three to four months later.[82]

The series began high-definition production in Season 20; the first episode, "Take My Life, Please", aired February 15, 2009. The move to HDTV included a new opening sequence.[83] Matt Groening called it a complicated change because it affected the timing and composition of animation.[84]

Themes
Main articles: Media in The Simpsons, Politics in The Simpsons, and Religion in The Simpsons
The Simpsons uses the standard setup of a situational comedy, or sitcom, as its premise. The series centers on a family and their life in a typical American town,[13] serving as a satirical parody of a middle class American lifestyle.[85] However, because of its animated nature, The Simpsons' scope is larger than that of a regular sitcom. The town of Springfield acts as a complete universe in which characters can explore the issues faced by modern society. By having Homer work in a nuclear power plant, the show can comment on the state of the environment.[86] Through Bart and Lisa's days at Springfield Elementary School, the show's writers illustrate pressing or controversial issues in the field of education. The town features a vast array of media channels—from kids' television programming to local news, which enables the producers to make jokes about themselves and the entertainment industry.[87]

Some commentators say the show is political in nature and susceptible to a left-wing bias.[88] Al Jean acknowledged in an interview that "We [the show] are of liberal bent."[89] The writers often evince an appreciation for liberal ideals, but the show makes jokes across the political spectrum.[90] The show portrays government and large corporations as callous entities that take advantage of the common worker.[89] Thus, the writers often portray authority figures in an unflattering or negative light. In The Simpsons, politicians are corrupt, ministers such as Reverend Lovejoy are indifferent to churchgoers, and the local police force is incompetent.[91] Religion also figures as a recurring theme.[92] In times of crisis, the family often turns to God, and the show has dealt with most of the major religions.[93]

Hallmarks
Opening sequence
Main article: The Simpsons opening sequence
MENU0:00
The music played during the opening sequence. This piece is also known as The Simpsons Theme.
The Simpsons' opening sequence is one of the show's most memorable hallmarks. The standard opening has gone through three iterations (a replacement of some shots at the start of the second season, and a brand new sequence when the show switched to high-definition in 2009).[94]

Each has the same basic sequence of events: the camera zooms through cumulus clouds, through the show's title towards the town of Springfield. The camera then follows the members of the family on their way home. Upon entering their house, the Simpsons settle down on their couch to watch television. The original opening was created by David Silverman, and was the first task he did when production began on the show.[95] The series' distinctive theme song was composed by musician Danny Elfman in 1989, after Groening approached him requesting a retro style piece. This piece has been noted by Elfman as the most popular of his career.[96]

One of the most distinctive aspects of the opening is that three of its elements change from episode to episode: Bart writes different things on the school chalkboard,[95] Lisa plays different solos on her saxophone and different gags accompany the family as they enter their living room to sit on the couch.[97]

Halloween episodes
Main article: Treehouse of Horror

Bart Simpson introducing a segment of "Treehouse of Horror IV" in the manner of Rod Serling's Night Gallery
The special Halloween episode has become an annual tradition. "Treehouse of Horror" first broadcast in 1990 as part of season two and established the pattern of three separate, self-contained stories in each Halloween episode.[98] These pieces usually involve the family in some horror, science fiction, or supernatural setting and often parody or pay homage to a famous piece of work in those genres.[99] They always take place outside the normal continuity of the show. Although the Treehouse series is meant to be seen on Halloween, this changed by the 2000s, when new installments have premiered after Halloween due to Fox's current contract with Major League Baseball's World Series,[100] however, since 2011, every Treehouse of Horror episode has aired in October.

Humor
The show's humor turns on cultural references that cover a wide spectrum of society so that viewers from all generations can enjoy the show. Such references, for example, come from movies, television, music, literature, science, and history.[101] 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 fleeting that they become apparent only by pausing a video recording of the show.[102] 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."[103]

One of Bart's early hallmarks 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 prank calls known as the Tube Bar recordings, though Groening has denied any causal connection.[104] Moe was based partly on Tube Bar owner Louis "Red" Deutsch, whose often profane responses inspired Moe's violent side.[105] As the series progressed, it became more difficult for the writers to come up with a fake name and to write Moe's angry response, and the pranks were dropped as a regular joke during the fourth season.[106][107] The Simpsons also often includes self-referential humor.[108] The most common form is jokes about Fox Broadcasting.[109] 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.[110][111]

The show uses catchphrases, and most of the primary and secondary characters have at least one each.[112] Notable expressions ******* Homer's annoyed grunt "D'oh!", Mr. Burns' "Excellent" and Nelson Muntz's "Ha-ha!" Some of Bart's catchphrases, such as "¡Ay, caramba!", "Don't have a cow, man!" and "Eat my shorts!" appeared on T-shirts in the show's early days.[113] However, Bart rarely used the latter two phrases until after they became popular through the 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."[114]

Foreshadowing of actual events
The Simpsons has gained notoriety for including jokes that would eventually 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 would successfully run for the position.[115] Another episode, "When You Dish Upon a Star", lampooned 20th Century Fox as a division of The Walt Disney Company. Nineteen years later, Disney indeed made a deal to purchase the studio from Rupert Murdoch.[116] Other examples of The Simpsons predicting the future with accuracy ******* the introduction of the Smartwatch and autocorrection technology, and even Lady Gaga's acrobatic performance at the Super Bowl LI halftime show.[117]

Influence and legacy
Idioms
A number of neologisms that originated on The Simpsons have entered popular vernacular.[118][119] Mark Liberman, director of the Linguistic Data Consortium, remarked, "The Simpsons has apparently taken over from Shakespeare and the Bible as our culture's greatest source of idioms, catchphrases and sundry other textual allusions."[119] The most famous catchphrase is Homer's annoyed grunt: "D'oh!" So ubiquitous is the expression that it is now listed in the Oxford English Dictionary, but without the apostrophe.[120] Dan Castellaneta says he borrowed the phrase from James Finlayson, an actor in many Laurel and Hardy comedies, who pronounced it in a more elongated and whining tone. The staff of The Simpsons told Castellaneta to shorten the noise, and it went on to become the well-known exclamation in the television series.[121]

Groundskeeper Willie's description of the French as "cheese-eating surrender monkeys" was used by National Review columnist Jonah Goldberg in 2003, after France's opposition to the proposed invasion of Iraq. The phrase quickly spread to other journalists.[119][122] "Cromulent" and "embiggen", words used in "Lisa the Iconoclast", have since appeared in the Dictionary.com's 21st Century Lexicon,[123] and scientific journals respectively.[119][124] "Kwyjibo", a fake Scrabble word invented by Bart in "Bart the Genius", was used as one of the aliases of the creator of the Melissa worm.[125] "I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords", was used by Kent Brockman in "Deep Space Homer" and has become a common phrase.[126] Variants of Brockman's utterance are used to express obsequious submission. It has been used in media, such as New Scientist magazine.[127] The dismissive term "Meh", believed to have been popularized by the show,[119][128][129] entered the Collins English Dictionary in 2008.[130] Other words credited as stemming from the show ******* "yoink" and "craptacular".[119]

The Oxford Dictionary of Modern Quotations includes several quotations from the show. As well as "cheese-eating surrender monkeys", Homer's lines, "Kids, you tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is never try", from "Burns' Heir" (season five, 1994) as well as "Kids are the best, Apu. You can teach them to hate the things you hate. And they practically raise themselves, what with the Internet and all", from "Eight Misbehavin'" (season 11, 1999), entered the dictionary in August 2007.[131]

Television
The Simpsons was the first successful animated program in American prime time since Wait Till Your Father Gets Home in the 1970s.[132] During most of the 1980s, US pundits considered animated shows as appropriate only for children, and animating a show was too expensive to achieve a quality suitable for prime-time television. The Simpsons changed this perception,[25] initially leading to a short period where networks attempted to recreate prime-time cartoon success with shows like Capitol Critters, Fish Police, and Family Dog, which were expensive and unsuccessful.[133] The Simpsons' use of Korean animation studios for tweening, coloring, and filming made the episodes cheaper. The success of The Simpsons and the lower production cost prompted US television networks to take chances on other adult animated series.[25] This development led US producers to a 1990s boom in new, animated prime-time shows for adults, such as South Park, Family Guy, King of the Hill, Futurama and The Critic.[25] For Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane, "The Simpsons created an audience for prime-time animation that had not been there for many, many years ... As far as I'm concerned, they basically re-invented the wheel. They created what is in many ways—you could classify it as—a wholly new medium."[134]

The Simpsons has had crossovers with four other shows. In the episode "A Star Is Burns", Marge invites Jay Sherman, the main character of The Critic, to be a judge for a film festival in Springfield. Matt Groening had his name removed from the episode since he had no involvement with The Critic.[135] South Park later paid homage to The Simpsons with the episode "Simpsons Already Did It".[136] In "Simpsorama", the Planet Express crew from Futurama come to Springfield in the present to prevent the Simpsons from destroying the future.[137] In the Family Guy episode "The Simpsons Guy", the Griffins visit Springfield and meet the Simpsons.[138]

The Simpsons has also influenced live-action shows like Malcolm in the Middle, which featured the use of sight gags and did not use a laugh track unlike most sitcoms.[139][140] Malcolm in the Middle debuted January 9, 2000, in the time slot after The Simpsons. Ricky Gervais called The Simpsons an influence on The Office,[141] and fellow British sitcom Spaced was, according to its director Edgar Wright, "an attempt to do a live-action The Simpsons."[142] In Georgia, the animated television sitcom The Samsonadzes, launched in November 2009, has been noted for its very strong resemblance with The Simpsons, which its creator Shalva Ramishvili has acknowledged.[143][144][145]

Reception and achievements
Season No. of
episodes Originally aired Viewership
Season premiere Season finale Time Slot (ET) Avg. viewers
(in millions) Most watched episode
Viewers
(millions) Episode Title
1 1989–90 13 December 17, 1989 May 13, 1990 Sunday 8:30 PM 27.8 33.5 "Life on the Fast Lane"
2 1990–91 22 October 11, 1990 July 11, 1991 Thursday 8:00 PM 24.4 33.6 "Bart Gets an F"
3 1991–92 24 September 19, 1991 August 27, 1992 21.8 25.5 "Colonel Homer"
4 1992–93 22 September 24, 1992 May 13, 1993 22.4 28.6 "Lisa's First Word"
5 1993–94 22 September 30, 1993 May 19, 1994 18.9 24.0 "Treehouse of Horror IV"
6 1994–95 25 September 4, 1994 May 21, 1995 Sunday 8:00 PM 15.6 22.2 "Treehouse of Horror V"
7 1995–96 25 September 17, 1995 May 19, 1996 15.1 19.7 "Treehouse of Horror VI"
8 1996–97 25 October 27, 1996 May 18, 1997 Sunday 8:30 PM (Episodes 1–3)
Sunday 8:00 PM (Episodes 4–25) 14.5 20.9 "The Springfield Files"
9 1997–98 25 September 21, 1997 May 17, 1998 Sunday 8:00 PM 16.3 19.8 "The Two Mrs. Nahasapeemapetilons"
10 1998–99 23 August 23, 1998 May 16, 1999 13.5 15.5 "Maximum Homerdrive"
11 1999–2000 22 September 26, 1999 May 21, 2000 8.8 18.4 "The Mansion Family"
12 2000–01 21 November 1, 2000 May 20, 2001 15.5 18.6 "Worst Episode Ever"
13 2001–02 22 November 6, 2001 May 22, 2002 Tuesday 8:30 PM (Episode 1)
Sunday 8:00 PM (Episodes 2–20)
Sunday 7:30 PM (Episode 21)
Wednesday 8:00 PM (Episode 22) 12.5 14.9 "The Parent Rap"
14 2002–03 22 November 3, 2002 May 18, 2003 Sunday 8:00 PM (Episodes 1–11, 13–21)
Sunday 8:30 PM (Episodes 12, 22) 14.4 22.1 "I'm Spelling as Fast as I Can"
15 2003–04 22 November 2, 2003 May 23, 2004 Sunday 8:00 PM 11.0 16.3 "I, (Annoyed Grunt)-Bot"
16 2004–05 21 November 7, 2004 May 15, 2005 Sunday 8:00 PM (Episodes 1–7, 9–16, 18, 20)
Sunday 10:30 PM (Episode 8)
Sunday 8:30 PM (Episodes 17, 19, 21) 10.2 23.07 "Homer and Ned's Hail Mary Pass"
17 2005–06 22 September 11, 2005 May 21, 2006 Sunday 8:00 PM 9.55 11.63 "Treehouse of Horror XVI"
18 2006–07 22 September 10, 2006 May 20, 2007 9.15 13.90 "The Wife Aquatic"
19 2007–08 20 September 23, 2007 May 18, 2008 8.37 11.7 "Treehouse of Horror XVIII"
20 2008–09 21 September 28, 2008 May 17, 2009 7.1 12.4 "Treehouse of Horror XIX"
21 2009–10 23 September 27, 2009 May 23, 2010 7.1 14.62 "Once Upon a Time in Springfield"
22 2010–11 22 September 26, 2010 May 22, 2011 7.09 12.6 "Moms I'd Like to Forget"
23 2011–12 22 September 25, 2011 May 20, 2012 6.15[146] 11.48 "The D'oh-cial Network"
24 2012–13 22 September 30, 2012 May 19, 2013 5.41[147] 8.97 "Homer Goes to Prep School"
25 2013–14 22 September 29, 2013 May 18, 2014 5.02[148] 12.04 "Steal This Episode"
26 2014–15 22 September 28, 2014 May 17, 2015 5.61[149] 10.62 "The Man Who Came to Be Dinner"
27 2015–16 22 September 27, 2015 May 22, 2016 4.0[150] 8.33 "Teenage Mutant Milk-Caused Hurdles"
28 2016–17 22 September 25, 2016 May 21, 2017 4.80[151] 8.19 "Pork and Burns"
29 2017–18 21 October 1, 2017 May 20, 2018 4.07[152] 8.04 "Frink Gets Testy"
Early success
The Simpsons was the Fox network's first television series to rank among a season's top 30 highest-rated shows.[153] In 1990, Bart quickly became one of the most popular characters on television in what was termed "Bartmania".[154][155][156][157] He became the most prevalent Simpsons character on memorabilia, such as T-shirts. In the early 1990s, millions of T-shirts featuring Bart were sold;[158] as many as one million were sold on some days.[159] Believing Bart to be a bad role model, several American public schools banned T-shirts featuring Bart next to captions such as "I'm Bart Simpson. Who the hell are you?" and "Underachiever ('And proud of it, man!')".[160][161][162] The Simpsons merchandise sold well and generated $2 billion in revenue during the first 14 months of sales.[160] Because of his popularity, Bart was often the most promoted member of the Simpson family in advertisements for the show, even for episodes in which he was not involved in the main plot.[163]

Due to the show's success, over the summer of 1990 the Fox Network decided to switch The Simpsons' time slot so that it would move from 8:00 p.m. ET on Sunday night to the same time on Thursday, where it would compete with The Cosby Show on NBC, the number one show at the time.[164][165] Through the summer, several news outlets published stories about the supposed "Bill vs. Bart" rivalry.[159][164] "Bart Gets an F" (season two, 1990) was the first episode to air against The Cosby Show, and it received a lower Nielsen ratings, tying for eighth behind The Cosby Show, which had an 18.5 rating. The rating is based on the number of household televisions that were tuned into the show, but Nielsen Media Research estimated that 33.6 million viewers watched the episode, making it the number one show in terms of actual viewers that week. At the time, it was the most watched episode in the history of the Fox Network,[166] and it is still the highest rated episode in the history of The Simpsons.[167] The show moved back to its Sunday slot in 1994 and has remained there ever since.[168]

The Simpsons has received overwhelmingly positive reviews from critics, and it has been noted for being described as "the most irreverent and unapologetic show on the air."[169] In a 1990 review of the show, Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly described it as "the American family at its most complicated, drawn as simple cartoons. It's this neat paradox that makes millions of people turn away from the three big networks on Sunday nights to concentrate on The Simpsons."[170] Tucker would also describe the show as a "pop-cultural phenomenon, a prime-time cartoon show that appeals to the entire family."[171]

Run length achievements
On February 9, 1997, The Simpsons surpassed The Flintstones with the episode "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show" as the longest-running prime-time animated series in the United States.[172] In 2004, The Simpsons replaced The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet (1952 to 1966) as the longest-running sitcom (animated or live action) in the United States.[173] In 2009, The Simpsons surpassed The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet's record of 435 episodes and is now recognized by Guinness World Records as the world's longest running sitcom (in terms of episode count).[174][175] In October 2004, Scooby-Doo briefly overtook The Simpsons as the American animated show with the highest number of episodes (albeit under several different iterations).[176] However, network executives in April 2005 again cancelled Scooby-Doo, which finished with 371 episodes, and The Simpsons reclaimed the title with 378 episodes at the end of their seventeenth season.[177] In May 2007, The Simpsons reached their 400th episode at the end of the eighteenth season. While The Simpsons has the record for the number of episodes by an American animated show, other animated series have surpassed The Simpsons.[178] For example, the Japanese anime series Sazae-san has over 7,000 episodes to its credit.[178]

In 2009, Fox began a year-long celebration of the show titled "Best. 20 Years. Ever." to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the premiere of The Simpsons. One of the first parts of the celebration is the "Unleash Your Yellow" contest in which entrants must design a poster for the show.[179] The celebration ended on January 10, 2010 (almost 20 years after "Bart the Genius" aired on January 14, 1990), with The Simpsons 20th Anniversary Special – In 3-D! On Ice!, a documentary special by documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock that examines the "cultural phenomenon of The Simpsons".[180][181]

As of the twenty-first season (2009–2010), The Simpsons became the longest-running American scripted primetime television series, having surpassed Gunsmoke. On April 29, 2018, The Simpsons also surpassed Gunsmoke's 635-episode count with the episode "Forgive and Regret."[173][182]

Awards and accolades
Main article: List of awards and nominations received by The Simpsons

The Simpsons has been awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
The Simpsons has won dozens of awards since it debuted as a series, including 31 Primetime Emmy Awards,[71] 30 Annie Awards[183] and a Peabody Award.[184] In a 1999 issue celebrating the 20th century's greatest achievements in arts and entertainment, Time magazine named The Simpsons the century's best television series.[185] In that same issue, Time included Bart Simpson in the Time 100, the publication's list of the century's 100 most influential people.[186] Bart was the only fictional character on the list. On January 14, 2000, the Simpsons were awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.[187] Also in 2000, Entertainment Weekly magazine TV critic Ken Tucker named The Simpsons the greatest television show of the 1990s. Furthermore, viewers of the UK television channel Channel 4 have voted The Simpsons at the top of two polls: 2001's 100 Greatest Kids' TV shows,[188] and 2005's The 100 Greatest Cartoons,[189] with Homer Simpson voted into first place in 2001's 100 Greatest TV Characters.[190] Homer would also place ninth on Entertainment Weekly's list of the "50 Greatest TV icons".[191] In 2002, The Simpsons ranked #8 on TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time,[192] and in 2007 it was included in Time's list of the "100 Best TV Shows of All Time".[193] In 2008 the show was placed in first on Entertainment Weekly's "Top 100 Shows of the Past 25 Years".[194] Empire named it the greatest TV show of all time.[195] In 2010, Entertainment Weekly named Homer "the greatest character of the last 20 years",[196] while in 2013 the Writers Guild of America listed The Simpsons as the 11th "best written" series in television history.[197] In 2013, TV Guide ranked The Simpsons as the greatest TV cartoon of all time[198] and the tenth greatest show of all time.[199] Television critics Alan Sepinwall and Matt Zoller Seitz ranked The Simpsons as the greatest American TV series of all time in their 2016 book TV (The Book).[200]

Criticism
Controversy
Bart's rebellious, bad boy nature, which underlies his misbehavior and rarely leads to any punishment, led some people to characterize him as a poor role model for children.[201][202] In schools, educators claimed that Bart was a "threat to learning" because of his "underachiever and proud of it" attitude and negative attitude regarding his education.[203] Others described him as "egotistical, aggressive and mean-spirited".[204] In a 1991 interview, Bill Cosby described Bart as a bad role model for children, calling him "angry, confused, frustrated". In response, Matt Groening said, "That sums up Bart, all right. Most people are in a struggle to be normal [and] he thinks normal is very boring, and does things that others just wished they dare do."[205] On January 27, 1992, then-President George H. W. Bush said, "We are going to keep on trying to strengthen the American family, to make American families a lot more like the Waltons and a lot less like the Simpsons."[160] The writers rushed out a tongue-in-cheek reply in the form of a short segment which aired three days later before a rerun of "Stark Raving Dad" in which Bart replied, "Hey, we're just like the Waltons. We're praying for an end to the Depression, too."[206][207]

Various episodes of the show have generated controversy. The Simpsons visit Australia in "Bart vs. Australia" (season six, 1995) and Brazil in "Blame It on Lisa" (season 13, 2002) and both episodes generated controversy and negative reaction in the visited countries.[208] In the latter case, Rio de Janeiro's tourist board—which claimed that the city was portrayed as having rampant street crime, kidnappings, slums, and monkey and rat infestations—went so far as to threaten Fox with legal action.[209] Groening was a fierce and vocal critic of the episode "A Star Is Burns" (season six, 1995) which featured a crossover with The Critic. He felt that it was just an advertisement for The Critic, and that people would incorrectly associate the show with him. When he was unsuccessful in getting the episode pulled, he had his name removed from the credits and went public with his concerns, openly criticizing James L. Brooks and saying the episode "violates the Simpsons' universe." In response, Brooks said, "I am furious with Matt, ... he's allowed his opinion, but airing this publicly in the press is going too far. ... his behavior right now is rotten."[135][210]

"The Principal and the Pauper" (season nine, 1997) is one of the most controversial episodes of The Simpsons. Many fans and critics reacted negatively to the revelation that Seymour Skinner, a recurring character since the first season, was an impostor. The episode has been criticized by Groening and by Harry Shearer, who provides the voice of Skinner. In a 2001 interview, Shearer recalled that after reading the script, he told the writers, "That's so wrong. You're taking something that an audience has built eight years or nine years of investment in and just tossed it in the trash can for no good reason, for a story we've done before with other characters. It's so arbitrary and gratuitous, and it's disrespectful to the audience."[211]

Ban
The show has reportedly been taken off the air in several countries. China banned it from prime-time television in August 2006, "in an effort to protect China's struggling animation studios."[212] In 2008, Venezuela barred the show from airing on morning television as it was deemed "unsuitable for children".[213] The same year, several Russian Pentecostal churches demanded that The Simpsons, South Park and some other Western cartoons be removed from broadcast schedules "for propaganda of various vices" and the broadcaster's license to be revoked. However, the court decision later dismissed this request.[214]

Declining quality

Chart by fan Sol Harris showing the decline in quality of the show from Season 1 to Season 28[215]
Critics' reviews of early Simpsons episodes praised the show for its sassy humor, wit, realism, and intelligence.[29][216] However, in the late 1990s, around the airing of season 10, the tone and emphasis of the show began to change. Some critics started calling the show "tired".[217] By 2000, some long-term fans had become disillusioned with the show, and pointed to its shift from character-driven plots to what they perceived as an overemphasis on zany antics.[218][219][220] Jim Schembri of The Sydney Morning Herald attributed the decline in quality to an abandonment of character-driven storylines in favor of and overuse of celebrity cameo appearances and references to popular culture. Schembri wrote: "The central tragedy of The Simpsons is that it has gone from commanding attention to merely being attention-seeking. It began by proving that cartoon characters don't have to be caricatures; they can be invested with real emotions. Now the show has in essence fermented into a limp parody of itself. Memorable story arcs have been sacrificed for the sake of celebrity walk-ons and punchline-hungry dialogue."[221]

In 2010, the BBC noted "the common consensus is that The Simpsons' golden era ended after season nine",[8] and Todd Leopold of CNN, in an article looking at its perceived decline, stated "for many fans ... the glory days are long past."[220] Similarly, Tyler Wilson of Coeur d'Alene Press has referred to seasons one to nine as the show's "golden age",[7] and Ian Nathan of Empire described the show's classic era as being "say, the first ten seasons."[9] Jon Heacock of LucidWorks stated that "for the first ten years [seasons], the show was consistently at the top of its game", with "so many moments, quotations, and references – both epic and obscure – that helped turn the Simpson family into the cultural icons that they remain to this day."[10]

Mike Scully, who was showrunner during seasons nine through twelve, has been the subject of criticism.[222][223] Chris Suellentrop of Slate wrote that "under Scully's tenure, The Simpsons became, well, a cartoon ... Episodes that once would have ended with Homer and Marge bicycling into the sunset now end with Homer blowing a tranquilizer dart into Marge's neck. The show's still funny, but it hasn't been touching in years."[222] When asked in 2007 how the series' longevity is sustained, Scully joked: "Lower your quality standards. Once you've done that you can go on forever."[224]

Al Jean, showrunner since season thirteen, has also been the subject of criticism, with some arguing that the show has continued to decline in quality under his tenure. Former writers have complained that under Jean, the show is "on auto-pilot", "too sentimental", and the episodes are "just being cranked out." Some critics believe that the show has "entered a steady decline under Jean and is no longer really funny."[225] John Ortved, author of The Simpsons: An Uncensored, Unauthorized History, characterized the Jean era as "toothless",[226] and criticized what he perceived as the show's increase in social and political commentary.[227] Jean responded: "Well, it's possible that we've declined. But honestly, I've been here the whole time and I do remember in season two people saying, 'It's gone downhill.' If we'd listened to that then we would have stopped after episode 13. I'm glad we didn't."[228]

In 2004, Harry Shearer criticized what he perceived as the show's declining quality: "I rate the last three seasons as among the worst, so season four looks very good to me now."[229] Dan Castellaneta responded: "I don't agree, ... I think Harry's issue is that the show isn't as grounded as it was in the first three or four seasons, that it's gotten crazy or a little more madcap. I think it organically changes to stay fresh."[230] Also in 2004 author Douglas Coupland described claims of declining quality in the series as "hogwash", saying "The Simpsons hasn't fumbled the ball in fourteen years, it's hardly likely to fumble it now."[231] In an April 2006 interview, Groening said: "I honestly don't see any end in sight. I think it's possible that the show will become too financially cumbersome ... but right now, the show is creatively, I think, as good or better than it's ever been. The animation is incredibly detailed and imaginative, and the stories do things that we haven't done before. So creatively there's no reason to quit."[232]

In 2016, popular culture writer Anna Leszkiewicz suggested that even though The Simpsons still holds cultural relevance, contemporary appeal is only for the first ten seasons, with recent episodes only garnering mainstream attention when a favorite character from the golden era is killed off, or when new information and shock twists are given for old characters.[233] The series' ratings have also declined; while the first season enjoyed an average of 13.4 million viewing households per episode in the U.S.,[153] the twenty-first season had an average of 7.2 million viewers.[234]

Alan Sepinwall and Matt Zoller Seitz argued in their 2016 book titled TV (The Book) that the peak of The Simpsons are "roughly seasons [three through twelve]", and that despite the decline, episodes from the later seasons such as "Eternal Moonshine of the Simpson Mind" and "Holidays of Future Passed" could be considered on par with the earlier classic episodes, further stating that "even if you want to call the show today a thin shadow of its former self, think about how mind-boggingly great its former self had to be for so-diminished a version to be watchable at all."[235][236]

Apu controversy
Further information: Apu Nahasapeemapetilon § Accusations of racial stereotyping
The stereotypical nature of the character Apu Nahasapeemapetilon has long been the subject of controversy. This was particularly highlighted by Indian-American comedian Hari Kondabolu's 2017 documentary The Problem with Apu. In the film, Kondabolu states that as a child he was a fan of The Simpsons and liked Apu, but he now finds the character's stereotypical nature troublesome. Defenders of the character responded that the show is built on comical stereotypes, with creator Matt Groening saying, "that's the nature of cartooning."[237] He added that he was "proud of what we do on the show", and "it's a time in our culture where people love to pretend they're offended".[238] In response to the controversy, Apu's voice actor, Hank Azaria, said he was willing to step aside from his role as Apu: "The most important thing is to listen to South Asian people, Indian people in this country when they talk about what they feel and how they think about this character."[239]

The criticisms were referenced in the Season 29 episode "No Good Read Goes Unpunished", when Lisa breaks the fourth wall and addresses the audience by saying, "Something that started decades ago and was applauded and inoffensive is now politically incorrect. What can you do?" to which Marge replies, "Some things will be addressed at a later date." Lisa adds, "If at all." This reference was clarified by the fact that there was a framed photo of Apu with the caption on the photo saying "Don't have a cow, Apu", a play on Bart's catchphrase "Don't have a cow, man," as well as the fact that Hindus do not eat cows as they are considered sacred. In October 2018, it was reported that Apu would be written out of the show.[240]

The media
Main article: The Simpsons (franchise)
Comic books
Main article: List of The Simpsons comics
Numerous Simpson-related comic books have been released over the years. So far, nine comic book series have been published by Bongo Comics since 1993.[241] The first comic strips based on The Simpsons appeared in 1991 in the magazine Simpsons Illustrated, which was a companion magazine to the show.[242] The comic strips were popular and a one-shot comic book titled Simpsons Comics and Stories, containing four different stories, was released in 1993 for the fans.[243] The book was a success and due to this, the creator of The Simpsons, Matt Groening, and his companions Bill Morrison, Mike Rote, Steve Vance and Cindy Vance created the publishing company Bongo Comics.[243] Issues of Simpsons Comics, Bart Simpson's Treehouse of Horror and Bart Simpson have been collected and reprinted in trade paperbacks in the United States by HarperCollins.[244][245][246]

Film
Main article: The Simpsons Movie

A Seattle 7-Eleven store transformed into a Kwik-E-Mart as part of a promotion for The Simpsons Movie.
20th Century Fox, Gracie Films, and Film Roman produced The Simpsons Movie, an animated film that was released on July 27, 2007.[247] The film was directed by long-time Simpsons producer David Silverman and written by a team of Simpsons writers comprising Matt Groening, James L. Brooks, Al Jean, George Meyer, Mike Reiss, John Swartzwelder, Jon Vitti, David Mirkin, Mike Scully, Matt Selman, and Ian Maxtone-Graham.[247] Production of the film occurred alongside continued writing of the series despite long-time claims by those involved in the show that a film would enter production only after the series had concluded.[247] There had been talk of a possible feature-length Simpsons film ever since the early seasons of the series. James L. Brooks originally thought that the story of the episode "Kamp Krusty" was suitable for a film, but he encountered difficulties in trying to expand the script to feature-length.[248] For a long time, difficulties such as lack of a suitable story and an already fully engaged crew of writers delayed the project.[232]

On August 10, 2018, 20th Century Fox announced that a sequel is in development.[249]

Music
Main article: The Simpsons discography
Collections of original music featured in the series have been released on the albums Songs in the Key of Springfield, Go Simpsonic with The Simpsons and The Simpsons: Testify.[250] Several songs have been recorded with the purpose of a single or album release and have not been featured on the show. The album The Simpsons Sing the Blues was released in September 1990 and was a success, peaking at #3 on the Billboard 200[251] and becoming certified 2× platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.[252] The first single from the album was the pop rap song "Do the Bartman", performed by Nancy Cartwright and released on November 20, 1990. The song was written by Michael Jackson, although he did not receive any credit.[253] The Yellow Album was released in 1998, but received poor reception and did not chart in any country.[254][255][256]

The Simpsons Ride
Main article: The Simpsons Ride

The Simpsons Ride at Universal Studios Florida.
In 2007, it was officially announced that The Simpsons Ride, a simulator ride, would be implemented into the Universal Studios Orlando and Universal Studios Hollywood.[257] It officially opened May 15, 2008 in Florida[258] and May 19, 2008, in Hollywood.[259] In the ride, patrons are introduced to a cartoon theme park called Krustyland built by Krusty the Clown. However, Sideshow Bob is loose from prison to get revenge on Krusty and the Simpson family.[260] It features more than 24 regular characters from The Simpsons and features the voices of the regular cast members, as well as Pamela Hayden, Russi Taylor and Kelsey Grammer.[261] Harry Shearer did not participate in the ride, so none of his characters have vocal parts.[262]

Video games
Further information: List of The Simpsons video games
Numerous video games based on the show have been produced. Some of the early games ******* Konami's arcade game The Simpsons (1991) and Acclaim Entertainment's The Simpsons: Bart vs. the Space Mutants (1991).[263][264] More modern games ******* The Simpsons: Road Rage (2001), The Simpsons: Hit & Run (2003) and The Simpsons Game (2007).[265][266][267] Electronic Arts, which produced The Simpsons Game, has owned the exclusive rights to create video games based on the show since 2005.[268] In 2010, they released a game called The Simpsons Arcade for iOS.[269] Another EA-produced mobile game, Tapped Out, was released in 2012 for iOS users, then in 2013 for Android and Kindle users.[270][271][272] Two Simpsons pinball machines have been produced: one that was available briefly after the first season, and another in 2007, both out of production.[273]

Syndication and streaming availability
The cable television network FXX has exclusive cable and digital syndication rights for The Simpsons. Original contracts had previously stated that syndication rights for The Simpsons would not be sold to cable until the series conclusion, at a time when cable syndication deals were highly rare. The series has been syndicated to local broadcast stations in nearly all markets throughout the United States since September 1993.[274]

FXX premiered The Simpsons on their network on August 21, 2014 by starting a twelve-day marathon which featured the first 552 episodes (every single episode that had already been released at the time) aired chronologically, including The Simpsons Movie, which FX Networks had already owned the rights to air. It was the longest continuous marathon in the history of television (until VH1 Classic aired a 433-hour, nineteen-day, marathon of Saturday Night Live in 2015; celebrating that program's 40th anniversary).[275][276] The first day of the marathon was the highest rated broadcast day in the history of the network so far, the ratings more than tripled that those of regular prime time programming for FXX.[277] Ratings during the first six nights of the marathon grew night after night, with the network ranking within the top 5 networks in basic cable each night.[278]

On October 21, 2014, a digital service courtesy of the FXNOW app, called Simpsons World, launched. Simpsons World has every episode of the series accessible to authenticated FX subscribers, and is available on game consoles such as Xbox One, streaming devices such as Roku and Apple TV, and online via web browser.[279][280] There was early criticism of both wrong aspect ratios for earlier episodes and the length of commercial breaks on the streaming service, but there are now fewer commercial breaks during individual episodes.[281] Later it was announced that Simpsons World would now let users watch all of the SD episodes in their original format.[282]

In July 2017, all episodes were made available for purchase on the iTunes Store, in the United States.

Merchandise
See also: List of The Simpsons books and List of The Simpsons home video releases
The popularity of The Simpsons has made it a billion-dollar merchandising industry.[160] The title family and supporting characters appear on everything from T-shirts to posters. The Simpsons has been used as a theme for special editions of well-known board games, including Clue, Scrabble, Monopoly, Operation, and The Game of Life, as well as the trivia games What Would Homer Do? and Simpsons Jeopardy!. Several card games such as trump cards and The Simpsons Trading Card Game have also been released. Many official or unofficial Simpsons books such as episode guides have been published. Many episodes of the show have been released on DVD and VHS over the years. When the first season DVD was released in 2001, it quickly became the best-selling television DVD in history, although it was later overtaken by the first season of Chappelle's Show.[283] In particular, seasons one through seventeen have been released on DVD in the U.S. (Region 1), Europe (Region 2) and Australia/New Zealand/Latin America (Region 4). However, on April 19, 2015, Al Jean announced that the Season 17 DVD would be the last one ever produced, leaving the collection from Season 1 to 17, Season 20 (released out of schedule in 2009), with Seasons 18, 19, and 21 onwards unreleased.[284][285] Jean also stated that the deleted scenes and commentary would try to be released to the Simpsons World app, and that they were pushing for Simpsons World to be expanded outside of the U.S.[284] Two years later, however, on July 22, 2017, it was announced that Season 18 would be released on December 5, 2017 on DVD.

In 2003, about 500 companies around the world were licensed to use Simpsons characters in their advertising.[286] As a promotion for The Simpsons Movie, twelve 7-Eleven stores were transformed into Kwik-E-Marts and sold The Simpsons related products. These included "Buzz Cola", "Krusty-O" cereal, pink doughnuts with sprinkles, and "Squishees".[287]

In 2008 consumers around the world spent $750 million on merchandise related to The Simpsons, with half of the amount originating from the United States. By 2009, 20th Century Fox had greatly increased merchandising efforts.[288] On April 9, 2009, the United States Postal Service unveiled a series of five 44-cent stamps featuring Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie, to commemorate the show's twentieth anniversary.[289] The Simpsons is the first television series still in production to receive this recognition.[290][291] The stamps, designed by Matt Groening, were made available for purchase on May 7, 2009.[292] Approximately one billion were printed, but only 318 million were sold, costing the Postal Service $1.2 million.[293][294]

 
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Козенко, Андрей (June 15, 2009). "Прокуратуру попросили из "Южного парка"". Moscow: Коммерсантъ. Retrieved January 10, 2012.
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Suellentrop, Chris (February 12, 2003). "Who turned America's best TV show into a cartoon?". Slate. Retrieved July 3, 2006.
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"'Simpsons' Creator Matt Groening Says Debate Around Apu Is 'Tainted'". New York Times. Retrieved 2018-07-18.
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"The Simpsons Indian character Apu 'axed' after racial controversy". Sky News. Retrieved 2018-10-29.
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FXX Lands 'The Simpsons' In Biggest Off-Network Deal In TV History Deadline Hollywood, November 15, 2013
Bradley, Bill (2014-04-09). "'The Simpsons' Launches On FXX With Longest Continuous Marathon Ever". The Huffington Post. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
"VH1 Celebrates 40 Years of 'Saturday Night Live' with 'SNL Rewind: 2015 – 1975′ Mega-Marathon". VH1. Retrieved October 20, 2015.
Kissell, Rick (2014-08-22). "'The Simpsons' Marathon More Than Triples Primetime Audience for FXX". Variety. Retrieved August 24, 2014.
Kondolojy, Amanda (2014-08-28). "FXX Paints Labor Day Weekend Yellow". TV By the Numbers. Retrieved September 2, 2014.
"A deep dive into the glorious time-suck that is 'Simpsons World'". EW.com. Retrieved October 30, 2014.
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Jon Fingas. "At last, 'The Simpsons' is streaming in its original aspect ratio". Engadget. AOL.
Lambert, David (September 19, 2004). "Chapelle's Show—S1 DVD Passes The Simpsons As #1 All-Time TV-DVD; Celebrates by Announcing Season 2!". TVshowsonDVD.com. Archived from the original on July 4, 2006. Retrieved July 3, 2006.
Sean O'Neal@seanoneal (April 9, 2015). "The Simpsons will no longer be released on DVD · Newswire · The A.V. Club". Avclub.com. Retrieved November 1, 2015.
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Bonne, Jon (November 7, 2003). "'Simpsons' evolves as an industry". msnbc.com. Retrieved March 8, 2009.
"7-Eleven Becomes Kwik-E-Mart for 'Simpsons Movie' Promotion". Fox News. July 1, 2007. Archived from the original on October 12, 2013. Retrieved July 3, 2007.
Lieberman, David (May 14, 2009). "Pressure is on 'The Simpsons' to capitalize on merchandise". USA Today. Retrieved October 18, 2010.
"Simpsons' stamps unveiled". Sify News. Retrieved May 16, 2009.
"The Simpsons get postage stamps". BBC News Online. April 1, 2009. Retrieved April 1, 2009.
Szalai, George (April 1, 2009). "Postal Service launching 'Simpsons' stamps". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on January 10, 2011. Retrieved April 1, 2009.
"'Simpsons' stamps to hit post offices (d'oh!)". CNN. April 9, 2009. Retrieved April 9, 2009.
"The Simpsons stamps launched in US". Newslite. May 8, 2009. Archived from the original on August 28, 2009. Retrieved May 8, 2009.
"Stamp Manufacturing and Inventory Management" (PDF). United States Postal Service Office of Inspector General. July 23, 2012. Retrieved April 27, 2014.
Bibliography
Alberti, John (2003). Leaving Springfield: The Simpsons and the Possibility of Oppositional Culture. Detroit: Wayne State University Press. ISBN 978-0-8143-2849-1.
McCann, Jesse L.; Groening, Matt (2002). The Simpsons Beyond Forever!: A Complete Guide to Our Favorite Family ... Still Continued. Harper Collins Publishers. ISBN 978-0-06-050592-9.
Beck, Jerry (2005). The Animated Movie Guide. Chicago Review Press. ISBN 978-1-55652-591-9.
Cartwright, Nancy (2000). My Life as a 10-Year-Old Boy. New York City: Hyperion Books. ISBN 978-0-7868-8600-5.
Folkard, Claire (2006). Guinness World Records 2006. Bantam USA. ISBN 978-0-553-58906-1.
Groening, Matt (1997). Richmond, Ray; Coffman, Antonia, eds. The Simpsons: A Complete Guide to Our Favorite Family (1st ed.). New York: HarperPerennial. ISBN 978-0-06-095252-5. LCCN 98141857. OCLC 37796735. OL 433519M.
King, Geoff (2002). New Hollywood Cinema: An Introduction. I B Tauris & Co. ISBN 978-1-86064-750-5.
Ortved, John (2009). The Simpsons: An Uncensored, Unauthorized History. Greystone Books. ISBN 978-1-55365-503-9.
Turner, Chris (2004). Planet Simpson: How a Cartoon Masterpiece Documented an Era and Defined a Generation. Foreword by Douglas Coupland. (1st ed.). Toronto: Random House Canada. ISBN 978-0-679-31318-2. OCLC 55682258.
Further reading
Brown, Alan; Logan, Chris (2006). The Psychology of The Simpsons. Benbella Books. ISBN 978-1-932100-70-9.
Gray, Jonathan (2006). Watching with The Simpsons: Television, Parody, and Intertextuality. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-36202-3.
Hoffmann, Frank W.; Bailey, William G. (1994). Fashion and Merchandising Fads. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-56024-376-2.
Irwin, William; Conrad, Mark T.; Skoble, Aeon (1999). The Simpsons and Philosophy: The D'oh! of Homer. Open Court. ISBN 978-0-8126-9433-8.
Keller, Beth L. (1992). The Gospel According to Bart: Examining the Religious Elements of The Simpsons. Regent University. ISBN 978-0-8126-9433-8.
Keslowitz, Steven (2003). The Simpsons And Society: An Analysis Of Our Favorite Family And Its Influence In Contemporary Society. Hats Off Books. ISBN 978-1-58736-253-8.
Pinsky, Mark I (2001). The Gospel According to The Simpsons: The Spiritual Life of the World's Most Animated Family. Westminster John Knox Press. ISBN 978-0-664-22419-6.
Pinsky, Mark I.; Parvin, Samuel F. (2002). The Gospel According to the Simpsons: Leaders Guide for Group Study. Westminster John Knox Press. ISBN 978-0-664-22590-2.
Singh, Simon (2013). The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets. ISBN 978-1-62040-277-1.
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The Simpsons
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This article is about the television show. For the franchise, see The Simpsons (franchise). For other uses, see The Simpsons (disambiguation).
The Simpsons
The Simpsons Logo.svg
Simpsons FamilyPicture.png
The Simpson family. From left to right: Bart, Marge, Santa's Little Helper (dog), Maggie, Homer, Lisa, and Snowball II (cat).
Genre Animated sitcom
Created by Matt Groening
Based on "The Simpsons" shorts
by Matt Groening
Developed by
James L. Brooks
Matt Groening
Sam Simon
Voices of
Dan Castellaneta
Julie Kavner
Nancy Cartwright
Yeardley Smith
Hank Azaria
Harry Shearer
(Complete list)
Theme music composer Danny Elfman
Opening theme "The Simpsons Theme"
Composer(s) Richard Gibbs (1989–90)
Arthur B. Rubinstein (1990)
Ray Colcord (1990: "Dead Putting Society)"
Alf Clausen (1990–2017)
Bleeding Fingers Music (2017–present)
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 30
No. of episodes 649 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
List of exec. producers[show]
Running time 21–24 minutes
Production company(s) Gracie Films (1989–present)
20th Century Fox Television
Klasky Csupo (1989–1992)
Film Roman (1992–2016)
Fox Television Animation (2016–present)
The Curiosity Company (2015–present, uncredited)
AKOM
Rough Draft Studios
Distributor 20th Television
Release
Original network Fox
Picture format 480i/576i (4:3 SDTV) (1989–2009)
1080i (16:9 HDTV) (2009–present)
Audio format Stereo (1989–1991)
Dolby Surround 2.0 (1991–2009)
Dolby Digital 5.1 (DVD, broadcast 2009–present)
Original release December 17, 1989 – present
Chronology
Preceded by The Simpsons shorts from The Tracey Ullman Show
External links
Official website
The Simpsons is an American animated sitcom created by Matt Groening for the Fox Broadcasting Company.[1][2][3] The series is a satirical depiction of working-class 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 culture and society, television, 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. Groening created a dysfunctional family and named the characters after his own family members, substituting Bart for his own name. 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 (1989–90).

Since its debut on December 17, 1989, 649 episodes of The Simpsons have been broadcast. It is the longest-running American sitcom, and the longest-running American scripted primetime television series in terms of seasons and number of episodes. The Simpsons Movie, a feature-length film, was released in theaters worldwide on July 27, 2007, and grossed over $527 million. Then on October 30, 2007, a video game was released. Currently, The Simpsons is on its thirtieth season, which aired September 30, 2018.[4][5] The Simpsons will be renewed for a thirty-first season, with Al Jean completing a Treehouse of Horror XXIX script, though the date has yet to be announced.[6]

The Simpsons received acclaim throughout its first nine[7][8] or ten[9][10] seasons, which are generally considered its "Golden Age". Time named it the 20th century's best television series,[11] and Erik Adams of The A.V. Club named it "television's crowning achievement regardless of format".[12] 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 31 Primetime Emmy Awards, 30 Annie Awards, and a Peabody Award. 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. However, it has also been criticized for a perceived decline in quality over the years.


Contents
1 Premise
1.1 Characters
1.2 Continuity and the floating timeline
1.3 Setting
2 Production
2.1 Development
2.2 Executive producers and showrunners
2.3 Writing
2.4 Voice actors
2.5 Animation
3 Themes
4 Hallmarks
4.1 Opening sequence
4.2 Halloween episodes
4.3 Humor
4.3.1 Foreshadowing of actual events
5 Influence and legacy
5.1 Idioms
5.2 Television
6 Reception and achievements
6.1 Early success
6.2 Run length achievements
6.3 Awards and accolades
6.4 Criticism
6.4.1 Controversy
6.4.2 Ban
6.4.3 Declining quality
6.4.4 Apu controversy
7 The media
7.1 Comic books
7.2 Film
7.3 Music
7.4 The Simpsons Ride
7.5 Video games
8 Syndication and streaming availability
9 Merchandise
10 References
10.1 Notes
10.2 Bibliography
11 Further reading
12 External links
Premise
Characters
Main article: List of The Simpsons characters
The Simpsons is known for its wide ensemble of main and supporting characters.

The main characters are the Simpson family, who live in a fictional "Middle America" town of Springfield.[13] 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, a stereotypical American housewife and mother. They have three children: Bart, a ten-year-old troublemaker 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.[14] Homer's dad Grampa Simpson lives in the Springfield Retirement Home after Homer forced his dad to sell his house 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".[15] 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 quirky supporting characters, which ******* Homer's co-workers (also friends) Lenny Leonard and Carl Carlson, the school principal Seymour Skinner and teachers Edna Krabappel and Elizabeth Hoover, 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. A number of them have 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.[16]

Continuity and the floating timeline
Despite the depiction of yearly milestones such as holidays or birthdays passing, the characters do not 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 depictions 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.

A canon of the show does exist, as 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, as with most other comedy-focused television shows. For example, Krusty the Clown may be able to read in one episode, but may not be able to read in another. Lessons learned by the family in one episode may be forgotten in the next. Some examples of limited continuity ******* Sideshow Bob's appearances where Bart and Lisa flashback at all the crimes he committed in Springfield or when the characters try to remember things that happened in previous episodes.

Setting
Main article: Springfield (The Simpsons)
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.[17] Springfield's geography, and that of its surroundings, contains coastlines, deserts, vast farmland, tall mountains, or whatever the story or joke requires.[18] Groening has said that Springfield has much in common with Portland, Oregon, the city where he grew up.[19] The name "Springfield" is a common one in America and appears in 22 states.[20] 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."[21]

Production
Development
Main articles: History of The Simpsons and The Simpsons shorts

James L. Brooks (pictured) asked Matt Groening to create a series of animated shorts for The Tracey Ullman Show.
When producer James L. Brooks was working on the television variety show The Tracey Ullman Show, he decided to ******* small animated sketches before and after the commercial breaks. Having seen one of cartoonist Matt Groening's Life in Hell comic strips, Brooks asked Groening to pitch an idea for a series of animated shorts. Groening initially intended to present an animated version of his Life in Hell series.[22] However, Groening later realized that animating Life in Hell would require the rescinding of publication rights for his life's work. He therefore chose another approach while waiting in the lobby of Brooks's office for the pitch meeting, hurriedly formulating his version of a dysfunctional family that became the Simpsons.[22][23] He named the characters after his own family members, substituting "Bart" for his own name, adopting an anagram of the word "brat".[22]

The Simpson family first appeared as shorts in The Tracey Ullman Show on April 19, 1987.[24] Groening submitted only basic sketches to the animators and assumed that the figures would be cleaned up in production. However, the animators merely re-traced his drawings, which led to the crude appearance of the characters in the initial shorts.[22] The animation was produced domestically at Klasky Csupo,[25][26] with Wes Archer, David Silverman, and Bill Kopp being animators for the first season.[27] Colorist Gyorgyi Peluce was the person who decided to make the characters yellow.[27]

In 1989, a team of production companies adapted The Simpsons into a half-hour series for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The team included the Klasky Csupo animation house. Brooks negotiated a provision in the contract with the Fox network that prevented Fox from interfering with the show's content.[28] Groening said his goal in creating the show was to offer the audience an alternative to what he called "the mainstream trash" that they were watching.[29] The half-hour series premiered on December 17, 1989, with "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire".[30] "Some Enchanted Evening" was the first full-length episode produced, but it did not broadcast until May 1990, as the last episode of the first season, because of animation problems.[31] In 1992, Tracey Ullman filed a lawsuit against Fox, claiming that her show was the source of the series' success. The suit said she should receive a share of the profits of The Simpsons[32]—a claim rejected by the courts.[33]

Executive producers and showrunners

Matt Groening, creator
List of showrunners throughout the series' run:

Season 1–2: Matt Groening, James L. Brooks, & Sam Simon
Season 3–4: Al Jean & Mike Reiss
Season 5–6: David Mirkin
Season 7–8: Bill Oakley & Josh Weinstein
Season 9–12: Mike Scully
Season 13–present: Al Jean
Matt Groening and James L. Brooks have served as executive producers during the show's entire history, and also function as creative consultants. Sam Simon, described by former Simpsons director Brad Bird as "the unsung hero" of the show,[34] served as creative supervisor for the first four seasons. He was constantly at odds with Groening, Brooks and the show's production company Gracie Films and left in 1993.[35] Before leaving, he negotiated a deal that sees him receive a share of the profits every year, and an executive producer credit despite not having worked on the show since 1993,[35][36] at least until his passing in 2015.[37] A more involved position on the show is the showrunner, who acts as head writer and manages the show's production for an entire season.[27]

Writing
Main article: List of The Simpsons writers
The first team of writers, assembled by Sam Simon, consisted of John Swartzwelder, Jon Vitti, George Meyer, Jeff Martin, Al Jean, Mike Reiss, Jay Kogen and Wallace Wolodarsky.[38] Newer Simpsons' writing teams typically consist of sixteen writers who propose episode ideas at the beginning of each December.[39] The main writer of each episode writes the first draft. Group rewriting sessions develop final scripts by adding or removing jokes, inserting scenes, and calling for re-readings of lines by the show's vocal performers.[40] Until 2004,[41] George Meyer, who had developed the show since the first season, was active in these sessions. According to long-time writer Jon Vitti, Meyer usually invented the best lines in a given episode, even though other writers may receive script credits.[40] Each episode takes six months to produce so the show rarely comments on current events.[42]


Part of the writing staff of The Simpsons in 1992. Back row, left to right: Mike Mendel, Colin ABV Lewis (partial), Jeff Goldstein, Al Jean (partial), Conan O'Brien, Bill Oakley, Josh Weinstein, Mike Reiss, Ken Tsumura, George Meyer, John Swartzwelder, Jon Vitti (partial), CJ Gibson and David M. Stern. Front row, left to right: Dee Capelli, Lona Williams, and unknown.
Credited with sixty episodes, John Swartzwelder is the most prolific writer on The Simpsons.[43] One of the best-known former writers is Conan O'Brien, who contributed to several episodes in the early 1990s before replacing David Letterman as host of the talk show Late Night.[44] English comedian Ricky Gervais wrote the episode "Homer Simpson, This Is Your Wife", becoming the first celebrity to both write and guest star in an episode.[45] Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, writers of the film Superbad, wrote the episode "Homer the Whopper", with Rogen voicing a character in it.[46]

At the end of 2007, the writers of The Simpsons went on strike together with the other members of the Writers Guild of America, East. The show's writers had joined the guild in 1998.[47]

Voice actors
Main articles: List of The Simpsons cast members, List of The Simpsons guest stars, and Non-English versions of The Simpsons
The Simpsons has six main cast members: Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith, Hank Azaria and Harry Shearer. Castellaneta voices Homer Simpson, Grampa Simpson, Krusty the Clown, Groundskeeper Willie, Mayor Quimby, Barney Gumble and other adult, male characters.[48] Julie Kavner voices Marge Simpson and Patty and Selma, as well as several minor characters.[48] Castellaneta and Kavner had been a part of The Tracey Ullman Show cast and were given the parts so that new actors would not be needed.[49] Cartwright voices Bart Simpson, Nelson Muntz, Ralph Wiggum and other children.[48] Smith, the voice of Lisa Simpson, is the only cast member who regularly voices only one character, although she occasionally plays other episodic characters.[48] The producers decided to hold casting for the roles of Bart and Lisa. Smith had initially been asked to audition for the role of Bart, but casting director Bonita Pietila believed her voice was too high,[50] so she was given the role of Lisa instead.[51] Cartwright was originally brought in to voice Lisa, but upon arriving at the audition, she found that Lisa was simply described as the "middle child" and at the time did not have much personality. Cartwright became more interested in the role of Bart, who was described as "devious, underachieving, school-hating, irreverent, [and] clever".[52] Groening let her try out for the part instead, and upon hearing her read, gave her the job on the spot.[53] Cartwright is the only one of the six main Simpsons cast members who had been professionally trained in voice acting prior to working on the show.[43] Azaria and Shearer do not voice members of the title family, but play a majority of the male townspeople. Azaria, who has been a part of the Simpsons regular voice cast since the second season,[54] voices recurring characters such as Moe Szyslak, Chief Wiggum, Apu Nahasapeemapetilon and Professor Frink. Shearer provides voices for Mr. Burns, Mr. Smithers, Principal Skinner, Ned Flanders, Reverend Lovejoy and Dr. Hibbert.[48] Every main cast member has won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance.[55][56]

With one exception, episode credits list only the voice actors, and not the characters they voice. Both Fox and the production crew wanted to keep their identities secret during the early seasons and, therefore, closed most of the recording sessions while refusing to publish photos of the recording artists.[57] However, the network eventually revealed which roles each actor performed in the episode "Old Money", because the producers said the voice actors should receive credit for their work.[58] In 2003, the cast appeared in an episode of Inside the Actors Studio, doing live performances of their characters' voices.

The six main actors were paid $30,000 per episode until 1998, when they were involved in a pay dispute with Fox. The company threatened to replace them with new actors, even going as far as preparing for casting of new voices, but series creator Groening supported the actors in their action.[59] The issue was soon resolved and, from 1998 to 2004, they were paid $125,000 per episode. The show's revenue continued to rise through syndication and DVD sales, and in April 2004 the main cast stopped appearing for script readings, demanding they be paid $360,000 per episode.[60][61] The strike was resolved a month later[62] and their salaries were increased to something between $250,000[63] and $360,000 per episode.[64] In 2008, production for the twentieth season was put on hold due to new contract negotiations with the voice actors, who wanted a "healthy bump" in salary to an amount close to $500,000 per episode.[64] The negotiations were soon completed, and the actors' salary was raised to $400,000 per episode.[65] Three years later, with Fox threatening to cancel the series unless production costs were cut, the cast members accepted a 30 percent pay cut, down to just over $300,000 per episode.[66]

In addition to the main cast, Pamela Hayden, Tress MacNeille, Marcia Wallace, Maggie Roswell, and Russi Taylor voice supporting characters.[48] From 1999 to 2002, Roswell's characters were voiced by Marcia Mitzman Gaven. Karl Wiedergott has also appeared in minor roles, but does not voice any recurring characters.[67] Wiedergott left the show in 2010, and since then Chris Edgerly has appeared regularly to voice minor characters. Repeat "special guest" cast members ******* Albert Brooks, Phil Hartman, Jon Lovitz, Joe Mantegna, Maurice LaMarche, and Kelsey Grammer.[68] Following Hartman's death in 1998, the characters he voiced (Troy McClure and Lionel Hutz) were retired;[69] Wallace's character of Edna Krabappel was retired as well after her death in 2013.

Episodes will quite often feature guest voices from a wide range of professions, including actors, athletes, authors, bands, musicians and scientists. In the earlier seasons, most of the guest stars voiced characters, but eventually more started appearing as themselves. Tony Bennett was the first guest star to appear as himself, appearing briefly in the season two episode "Dancin' Homer".[70] The Simpsons holds the world record for "Most Guest Stars Featured in a Television Series".[71]

The Simpsons has been dubbed into several other languages, including Japanese, German, Spanish, and Portuguese. It is also one of the few programs dubbed in both standard French and Quebec French.[72] The show has been broadcast in Arabic, but due to Islamic customs, numerous aspects of the show have been changed. For example, Homer drinks soda instead of beer and eats Egyptian beef sausages instead of hot dogs. Because of such changes, the Arabized version of the series met with a negative reaction from the lifelong Simpsons fans in the area.[73]

Animation

Animation director David Silverman, who helped define the look of the show[27]
Several different U.S. and international studios animate The Simpsons. Throughout the run of the animated shorts on The Tracey Ullman Show, the animation was produced domestically at Klasky Csupo.[25] With the debut of the series, because of an increased workload, Fox subcontracted production to several local and foreign studios.[25] These are AKOM,[74] Anivision,[75] Rough Draft Studios,[76] USAnimation,[77] and Toonzone Entertainment.[78]

For the first three seasons, Klasky Csupo animated The Simpsons in the United States. In 1992, the show's production company, Gracie Films, switched domestic production to Film Roman,[79] who continued to animate the show until 2016. In Season 14, production switched from traditional cel animation to digital ink and paint.[80] The first episode to experiment with digital coloring was "Radioactive Man" in 1995. Animators used digital ink and paint during production of the season 12 episode "Tennis the Menace", but Gracie Films delayed the regular use of digital ink and paint until two seasons later. The already completed "Tennis the Menace" was broadcast as made.[81]

The production staff at the U.S. animation studio, Film Roman, draws storyboards, designs new characters, backgrounds, props and draws character and background layouts, which in turn become animatics to be screened for the writers at Gracie Films for any changes to be made before the work is shipped overseas. The overseas studios then draw the inbetweens, ink and paint, and render the animation to tape before it is shipped back to the United States to be delivered to Fox three to four months later.[82]

The series began high-definition production in Season 20; the first episode, "Take My Life, Please", aired February 15, 2009. The move to HDTV included a new opening sequence.[83] Matt Groening called it a complicated change because it affected the timing and composition of animation.[84]

Themes
Main articles: Media in The Simpsons, Politics in The Simpsons, and Religion in The Simpsons
The Simpsons uses the standard setup of a situational comedy, or sitcom, as its premise. The series centers on a family and their life in a typical American town,[13] serving as a satirical parody of a middle class American lifestyle.[85] However, because of its animated nature, The Simpsons' scope is larger than that of a regular sitcom. The town of Springfield acts as a complete universe in which characters can explore the issues faced by modern society. By having Homer work in a nuclear power plant, the show can comment on the state of the environment.[86] Through Bart and Lisa's days at Springfield Elementary School, the show's writers illustrate pressing or controversial issues in the field of education. The town features a vast array of media channels—from kids' television programming to local news, which enables the producers to make jokes about themselves and the entertainment industry.[87]

Some commentators say the show is political in nature and susceptible to a left-wing bias.[88] Al Jean acknowledged in an interview that "We [the show] are of liberal bent."[89] The writers often evince an appreciation for liberal ideals, but the show makes jokes across the political spectrum.[90] The show portrays government and large corporations as callous entities that take advantage of the common worker.[89] Thus, the writers often portray authority figures in an unflattering or negative light. In The Simpsons, politicians are corrupt, ministers such as Reverend Lovejoy are indifferent to churchgoers, and the local police force is incompetent.[91] Religion also figures as a recurring theme.[92] In times of crisis, the family often turns to God, and the show has dealt with most of the major religions.[93]

Hallmarks
Opening sequence
Main article: The Simpsons opening sequence
MENU0:00
The music played during the opening sequence. This piece is also known as The Simpsons Theme.
The Simpsons' opening sequence is one of the show's most memorable hallmarks. The standard opening has gone through three iterations (a replacement of some shots at the start of the second season, and a brand new sequence when the show switched to high-definition in 2009).[94]

Each has the same basic sequence of events: the camera zooms through cumulus clouds, through the show's title towards the town of Springfield. The camera then follows the members of the family on their way home. Upon entering their house, the Simpsons settle down on their couch to watch television. The original opening was created by David Silverman, and was the first task he did when production began on the show.[95] The series' distinctive theme song was composed by musician Danny Elfman in 1989, after Groening approached him requesting a retro style piece. This piece has been noted by Elfman as the most popular of his career.[96]

One of the most distinctive aspects of the opening is that three of its elements change from episode to episode: Bart writes different things on the school chalkboard,[95] Lisa plays different solos on her saxophone and different gags accompany the family as they enter their living room to sit on the couch.[97]

Halloween episodes
Main article: Treehouse of Horror

Bart Simpson introducing a segment of "Treehouse of Horror IV" in the manner of Rod Serling's Night Gallery
The special Halloween episode has become an annual tradition. "Treehouse of Horror" first broadcast in 1990 as part of season two and established the pattern of three separate, self-contained stories in each Halloween episode.[98] These pieces usually involve the family in some horror, science fiction, or supernatural setting and often parody or pay homage to a famous piece of work in those genres.[99] They always take place outside the normal continuity of the show. Although the Treehouse series is meant to be seen on Halloween, this changed by the 2000s, when new installments have premiered after Halloween due to Fox's current contract with Major League Baseball's World Series,[100] however, since 2011, every Treehouse of Horror episode has aired in October.

Humor
The show's humor turns on cultural references that cover a wide spectrum of society so that viewers from all generations can enjoy the show. Such references, for example, come from movies, television, music, literature, science, and history.[101] 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 fleeting that they become apparent only by pausing a video recording of the show.[102] 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."[103]

One of Bart's early hallmarks 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 prank calls known as the Tube Bar recordings, though Groening has denied any causal connection.[104] Moe was based partly on Tube Bar owner Louis "Red" Deutsch, whose often profane responses inspired Moe's violent side.[105] As the series progressed, it became more difficult for the writers to come up with a fake name and to write Moe's angry response, and the pranks were dropped as a regular joke during the fourth season.[106][107] The Simpsons also often includes self-referential humor.[108] The most common form is jokes about Fox Broadcasting.[109] 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.[110][111]

The show uses catchphrases, and most of the primary and secondary characters have at least one each.[112] Notable expressions ******* Homer's annoyed grunt "D'oh!", Mr. Burns' "Excellent" and Nelson Muntz's "Ha-ha!" Some of Bart's catchphrases, such as "¡Ay, caramba!", "Don't have a cow, man!" and "Eat my shorts!" appeared on T-shirts in the show's early days.[113] However, Bart rarely used the latter two phrases until after they became popular through the 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."[114]

Foreshadowing of actual events
The Simpsons has gained notoriety for including jokes that would eventually 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 would successfully run for the position.[115] Another episode, "When You Dish Upon a Star", lampooned 20th Century Fox as a division of The Walt Disney Company. Nineteen years later, Disney indeed made a deal to purchase the studio from Rupert Murdoch.[116] Other examples of The Simpsons predicting the future with accuracy ******* the introduction of the Smartwatch and autocorrection technology, and even Lady Gaga's acrobatic performance at the Super Bowl LI halftime show.[117]

Influence and legacy
Idioms
A number of neologisms that originated on The Simpsons have entered popular vernacular.[118][119] Mark Liberman, director of the Linguistic Data Consortium, remarked, "The Simpsons has apparently taken over from Shakespeare and the Bible as our culture's greatest source of idioms, catchphrases and sundry other textual allusions."[119] The most famous catchphrase is Homer's annoyed grunt: "D'oh!" So ubiquitous is the expression that it is now listed in the Oxford English Dictionary, but without the apostrophe.[120] Dan Castellaneta says he borrowed the phrase from James Finlayson, an actor in many Laurel and Hardy comedies, who pronounced it in a more elongated and whining tone. The staff of The Simpsons told Castellaneta to shorten the noise, and it went on to become the well-known exclamation in the television series.[121]

Groundskeeper Willie's description of the French as "cheese-eating surrender monkeys" was used by National Review columnist Jonah Goldberg in 2003, after France's opposition to the proposed invasion of Iraq. The phrase quickly spread to other journalists.[119][122] "Cromulent" and "embiggen", words used in "Lisa the Iconoclast", have since appeared in the Dictionary.com's 21st Century Lexicon,[123] and scientific journals respectively.[119][124] "Kwyjibo", a fake Scrabble word invented by Bart in "Bart the Genius", was used as one of the aliases of the creator of the Melissa worm.[125] "I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords", was used by Kent Brockman in "Deep Space Homer" and has become a common phrase.[126] Variants of Brockman's utterance are used to express obsequious submission. It has been used in media, such as New Scientist magazine.[127] The dismissive term "Meh", believed to have been popularized by the show,[119][128][129] entered the Collins English Dictionary in 2008.[130] Other words credited as stemming from the show ******* "yoink" and "craptacular".[119]

The Oxford Dictionary of Modern Quotations includes several quotations from the show. As well as "cheese-eating surrender monkeys", Homer's lines, "Kids, you tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is never try", from "Burns' Heir" (season five, 1994) as well as "Kids are the best, Apu. You can teach them to hate the things you hate. And they practically raise themselves, what with the Internet and all", from "Eight Misbehavin'" (season 11, 1999), entered the dictionary in August 2007.[131]

Television
The Simpsons was the first successful animated program in American prime time since Wait Till Your Father Gets Home in the 1970s.[132] During most of the 1980s, US pundits considered animated shows as appropriate only for children, and animating a show was too expensive to achieve a quality suitable for prime-time television. The Simpsons changed this perception,[25] initially leading to a short period where networks attempted to recreate prime-time cartoon success with shows like Capitol Critters, Fish Police, and Family Dog, which were expensive and unsuccessful.[133] The Simpsons' use of Korean animation studios for tweening, coloring, and filming made the episodes cheaper. The success of The Simpsons and the lower production cost prompted US television networks to take chances on other adult animated series.[25] This development led US producers to a 1990s boom in new, animated prime-time shows for adults, such as South Park, Family Guy, King of the Hill, Futurama and The Critic.[25] For Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane, "The Simpsons created an audience for prime-time animation that had not been there for many, many years ... As far as I'm concerned, they basically re-invented the wheel. They created what is in many ways—you could classify it as—a wholly new medium."[134]

The Simpsons has had crossovers with four other shows. In the episode "A Star Is Burns", Marge invites Jay Sherman, the main character of The Critic, to be a judge for a film festival in Springfield. Matt Groening had his name removed from the episode since he had no involvement with The Critic.[135] South Park later paid homage to The Simpsons with the episode "Simpsons Already Did It".[136] In "Simpsorama", the Planet Express crew from Futurama come to Springfield in the present to prevent the Simpsons from destroying the future.[137] In the Family Guy episode "The Simpsons Guy", the Griffins visit Springfield and meet the Simpsons.[138]

The Simpsons has also influenced live-action shows like Malcolm in the Middle, which featured the use of sight gags and did not use a laugh track unlike most sitcoms.[139][140] Malcolm in the Middle debuted January 9, 2000, in the time slot after The Simpsons. Ricky Gervais called The Simpsons an influence on The Office,[141] and fellow British sitcom Spaced was, according to its director Edgar Wright, "an attempt to do a live-action The Simpsons."[142] In Georgia, the animated television sitcom The Samsonadzes, launched in November 2009, has been noted for its very strong resemblance with The Simpsons, which its creator Shalva Ramishvili has acknowledged.[143][144][145]

Reception and achievements
Season No. of
episodes Originally aired Viewership
Season premiere Season finale Time Slot (ET) Avg. viewers
(in millions) Most watched episode
Viewers
(millions) Episode Title
1 1989–90 13 December 17, 1989 May 13, 1990 Sunday 8:30 PM 27.8 33.5 "Life on the Fast Lane"
2 1990–91 22 October 11, 1990 July 11, 1991 Thursday 8:00 PM 24.4 33.6 "Bart Gets an F"
3 1991–92 24 September 19, 1991 August 27, 1992 21.8 25.5 "Colonel Homer"
4 1992–93 22 September 24, 1992 May 13, 1993 22.4 28.6 "Lisa's First Word"
5 1993–94 22 September 30, 1993 May 19, 1994 18.9 24.0 "Treehouse of Horror IV"
6 1994–95 25 September 4, 1994 May 21, 1995 Sunday 8:00 PM 15.6 22.2 "Treehouse of Horror V"
7 1995–96 25 September 17, 1995 May 19, 1996 15.1 19.7 "Treehouse of Horror VI"
8 1996–97 25 October 27, 1996 May 18, 1997 Sunday 8:30 PM (Episodes 1–3)
Sunday 8:00 PM (Episodes 4–25) 14.5 20.9 "The Springfield Files"
9 1997–98 25 September 21, 1997 May 17, 1998 Sunday 8:00 PM 16.3 19.8 "The Two Mrs. Nahasapeemapetilons"
10 1998–99 23 August 23, 1998 May 16, 1999 13.5 15.5 "Maximum Homerdrive"
11 1999–2000 22 September 26, 1999 May 21, 2000 8.8 18.4 "The Mansion Family"
12 2000–01 21 November 1, 2000 May 20, 2001 15.5 18.6 "Worst Episode Ever"
13 2001–02 22 November 6, 2001 May 22, 2002 Tuesday 8:30 PM (Episode 1)
Sunday 8:00 PM (Episodes 2–20)
Sunday 7:30 PM (Episode 21)
Wednesday 8:00 PM (Episode 22) 12.5 14.9 "The Parent Rap"
14 2002–03 22 November 3, 2002 May 18, 2003 Sunday 8:00 PM (Episodes 1–11, 13–21)
Sunday 8:30 PM (Episodes 12, 22) 14.4 22.1 "I'm Spelling as Fast as I Can"
15 2003–04 22 November 2, 2003 May 23, 2004 Sunday 8:00 PM 11.0 16.3 "I, (Annoyed Grunt)-Bot"
16 2004–05 21 November 7, 2004 May 15, 2005 Sunday 8:00 PM (Episodes 1–7, 9–16, 18, 20)
Sunday 10:30 PM (Episode 8)
Sunday 8:30 PM (Episodes 17, 19, 21) 10.2 23.07 "Homer and Ned's Hail Mary Pass"
17 2005–06 22 September 11, 2005 May 21, 2006 Sunday 8:00 PM 9.55 11.63 "Treehouse of Horror XVI"
18 2006–07 22 September 10, 2006 May 20, 2007 9.15 13.90 "The Wife Aquatic"
19 2007–08 20 September 23, 2007 May 18, 2008 8.37 11.7 "Treehouse of Horror XVIII"
20 2008–09 21 September 28, 2008 May 17, 2009 7.1 12.4 "Treehouse of Horror XIX"
21 2009–10 23 September 27, 2009 May 23, 2010 7.1 14.62 "Once Upon a Time in Springfield"
22 2010–11 22 September 26, 2010 May 22, 2011 7.09 12.6 "Moms I'd Like to Forget"
23 2011–12 22 September 25, 2011 May 20, 2012 6.15[146] 11.48 "The D'oh-cial Network"
24 2012–13 22 September 30, 2012 May 19, 2013 5.41[147] 8.97 "Homer Goes to Prep School"
25 2013–14 22 September 29, 2013 May 18, 2014 5.02[148] 12.04 "Steal This Episode"
26 2014–15 22 September 28, 2014 May 17, 2015 5.61[149] 10.62 "The Man Who Came to Be Dinner"
27 2015–16 22 September 27, 2015 May 22, 2016 4.0[150] 8.33 "Teenage Mutant Milk-Caused Hurdles"
28 2016–17 22 September 25, 2016 May 21, 2017 4.80[151] 8.19 "Pork and Burns"
29 2017–18 21 October 1, 2017 May 20, 2018 4.07[152] 8.04 "Frink Gets Testy"
Early success
The Simpsons was the Fox network's first television series to rank among a season's top 30 highest-rated shows.[153] In 1990, Bart quickly became one of the most popular characters on television in what was termed "Bartmania".[154][155][156][157] He became the most prevalent Simpsons character on memorabilia, such as T-shirts. In the early 1990s, millions of T-shirts featuring Bart were sold;[158] as many as one million were sold on some days.[159] Believing Bart to be a bad role model, several American public schools banned T-shirts featuring Bart next to captions such as "I'm Bart Simpson. Who the hell are you?" and "Underachiever ('And proud of it, man!')".[160][161][162] The Simpsons merchandise sold well and generated $2 billion in revenue during the first 14 months of sales.[160] Because of his popularity, Bart was often the most promoted member of the Simpson family in advertisements for the show, even for episodes in which he was not involved in the main plot.[163]

Due to the show's success, over the summer of 1990 the Fox Network decided to switch The Simpsons' time slot so that it would move from 8:00 p.m. ET on Sunday night to the same time on Thursday, where it would compete with The Cosby Show on NBC, the number one show at the time.[164][165] Through the summer, several news outlets published stories about the supposed "Bill vs. Bart" rivalry.[159][164] "Bart Gets an F" (season two, 1990) was the first episode to air against The Cosby Show, and it received a lower Nielsen ratings, tying for eighth behind The Cosby Show, which had an 18.5 rating. The rating is based on the number of household televisions that were tuned into the show, but Nielsen Media Research estimated that 33.6 million viewers watched the episode, making it the number one show in terms of actual viewers that week. At the time, it was the most watched episode in the history of the Fox Network,[166] and it is still the highest rated episode in the history of The Simpsons.[167] The show moved back to its Sunday slot in 1994 and has remained there ever since.[168]

The Simpsons has received overwhelmingly positive reviews from critics, and it has been noted for being described as "the most irreverent and unapologetic show on the air."[169] In a 1990 review of the show, Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly described it as "the American family at its most complicated, drawn as simple cartoons. It's this neat paradox that makes millions of people turn away from the three big networks on Sunday nights to concentrate on The Simpsons."[170] Tucker would also describe the show as a "pop-cultural phenomenon, a prime-time cartoon show that appeals to the entire family."[171]

Run length achievements
On February 9, 1997, The Simpsons surpassed The Flintstones with the episode "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show" as the longest-running prime-time animated series in the United States.[172] In 2004, The Simpsons replaced The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet (1952 to 1966) as the longest-running sitcom (animated or live action) in the United States.[173] In 2009, The Simpsons surpassed The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet's record of 435 episodes and is now recognized by Guinness World Records as the world's longest running sitcom (in terms of episode count).[174][175] In October 2004, Scooby-Doo briefly overtook The Simpsons as the American animated show with the highest number of episodes (albeit under several different iterations).[176] However, network executives in April 2005 again cancelled Scooby-Doo, which finished with 371 episodes, and The Simpsons reclaimed the title with 378 episodes at the end of their seventeenth season.[177] In May 2007, The Simpsons reached their 400th episode at the end of the eighteenth season. While The Simpsons has the record for the number of episodes by an American animated show, other animated series have surpassed The Simpsons.[178] For example, the Japanese anime series Sazae-san has over 7,000 episodes to its credit.[178]

In 2009, Fox began a year-long celebration of the show titled "Best. 20 Years. Ever." to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the premiere of The Simpsons. One of the first parts of the celebration is the "Unleash Your Yellow" contest in which entrants must design a poster for the show.[179] The celebration ended on January 10, 2010 (almost 20 years after "Bart the Genius" aired on January 14, 1990), with The Simpsons 20th Anniversary Special – In 3-D! On Ice!, a documentary special by documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock that examines the "cultural phenomenon of The Simpsons".[180][181]

As of the twenty-first season (2009–2010), The Simpsons became the longest-running American scripted primetime television series, having surpassed Gunsmoke. On April 29, 2018, The Simpsons also surpassed Gunsmoke's 635-episode count with the episode "Forgive and Regret."[173][182]

Awards and accolades
Main article: List of awards and nominations received by The Simpsons

The Simpsons has been awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
The Simpsons has won dozens of awards since it debuted as a series, including 31 Primetime Emmy Awards,[71] 30 Annie Awards[183] and a Peabody Award.[184] In a 1999 issue celebrating the 20th century's greatest achievements in arts and entertainment, Time magazine named The Simpsons the century's best television series.[185] In that same issue, Time included Bart Simpson in the Time 100, the publication's list of the century's 100 most influential people.[186] Bart was the only fictional character on the list. On January 14, 2000, the Simpsons were awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.[187] Also in 2000, Entertainment Weekly magazine TV critic Ken Tucker named The Simpsons the greatest television show of the 1990s. Furthermore, viewers of the UK television channel Channel 4 have voted The Simpsons at the top of two polls: 2001's 100 Greatest Kids' TV shows,[188] and 2005's The 100 Greatest Cartoons,[189] with Homer Simpson voted into first place in 2001's 100 Greatest TV Characters.[190] Homer would also place ninth on Entertainment Weekly's list of the "50 Greatest TV icons".[191] In 2002, The Simpsons ranked #8 on TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time,[192] and in 2007 it was included in Time's list of the "100 Best TV Shows of All Time".[193] In 2008 the show was placed in first on Entertainment Weekly's "Top 100 Shows of the Past 25 Years".[194] Empire named it the greatest TV show of all time.[195] In 2010, Entertainment Weekly named Homer "the greatest character of the last 20 years",[196] while in 2013 the Writers Guild of America listed The Simpsons as the 11th "best written" series in television history.[197] In 2013, TV Guide ranked The Simpsons as the greatest TV cartoon of all time[198] and the tenth greatest show of all time.[199] Television critics Alan Sepinwall and Matt Zoller Seitz ranked The Simpsons as the greatest American TV series of all time in their 2016 book TV (The Book).[200]

Criticism
Controversy
Bart's rebellious, bad boy nature, which underlies his misbehavior and rarely leads to any punishment, led some people to characterize him as a poor role model for children.[201][202] In schools, educators claimed that Bart was a "threat to learning" because of his "underachiever and proud of it" attitude and negative attitude regarding his education.[203] Others described him as "egotistical, aggressive and mean-spirited".[204] In a 1991 interview, Bill Cosby described Bart as a bad role model for children, calling him "angry, confused, frustrated". In response, Matt Groening said, "That sums up Bart, all right. Most people are in a struggle to be normal [and] he thinks normal is very boring, and does things that others just wished they dare do."[205] On January 27, 1992, then-President George H. W. Bush said, "We are going to keep on trying to strengthen the American family, to make American families a lot more like the Waltons and a lot less like the Simpsons."[160] The writers rushed out a tongue-in-cheek reply in the form of a short segment which aired three days later before a rerun of "Stark Raving Dad" in which Bart replied, "Hey, we're just like the Waltons. We're praying for an end to the Depression, too."[206][207]

Various episodes of the show have generated controversy. The Simpsons visit Australia in "Bart vs. Australia" (season six, 1995) and Brazil in "Blame It on Lisa" (season 13, 2002) and both episodes generated controversy and negative reaction in the visited countries.[208] In the latter case, Rio de Janeiro's tourist board—which claimed that the city was portrayed as having rampant street crime, kidnappings, slums, and monkey and rat infestations—went so far as to threaten Fox with legal action.[209] Groening was a fierce and vocal critic of the episode "A Star Is Burns" (season six, 1995) which featured a crossover with The Critic. He felt that it was just an advertisement for The Critic, and that people would incorrectly associate the show with him. When he was unsuccessful in getting the episode pulled, he had his name removed from the credits and went public with his concerns, openly criticizing James L. Brooks and saying the episode "violates the Simpsons' universe." In response, Brooks said, "I am furious with Matt, ... he's allowed his opinion, but airing this publicly in the press is going too far. ... his behavior right now is rotten."[135][210]

"The Principal and the Pauper" (season nine, 1997) is one of the most controversial episodes of The Simpsons. Many fans and critics reacted negatively to the revelation that Seymour Skinner, a recurring character since the first season, was an impostor. The episode has been criticized by Groening and by Harry Shearer, who provides the voice of Skinner. In a 2001 interview, Shearer recalled that after reading the script, he told the writers, "That's so wrong. You're taking something that an audience has built eight years or nine years of investment in and just tossed it in the trash can for no good reason, for a story we've done before with other characters. It's so arbitrary and gratuitous, and it's disrespectful to the audience."[211]

Ban
The show has reportedly been taken off the air in several countries. China banned it from prime-time television in August 2006, "in an effort to protect China's struggling animation studios."[212] In 2008, Venezuela barred the show from airing on morning television as it was deemed "unsuitable for children".[213] The same year, several Russian Pentecostal churches demanded that The Simpsons, South Park and some other Western cartoons be removed from broadcast schedules "for propaganda of various vices" and the broadcaster's license to be revoked. However, the court decision later dismissed this request.[214]

Declining quality

Chart by fan Sol Harris showing the decline in quality of the show from Season 1 to Season 28[215]
Critics' reviews of early Simpsons episodes praised the show for its sassy humor, wit, realism, and intelligence.[29][216] However, in the late 1990s, around the airing of season 10, the tone and emphasis of the show began to change. Some critics started calling the show "tired".[217] By 2000, some long-term fans had become disillusioned with the show, and pointed to its shift from character-driven plots to what they perceived as an overemphasis on zany antics.[218][219][220] Jim Schembri of The Sydney Morning Herald attributed the decline in quality to an abandonment of character-driven storylines in favor of and overuse of celebrity cameo appearances and references to popular culture. Schembri wrote: "The central tragedy of The Simpsons is that it has gone from commanding attention to merely being attention-seeking. It began by proving that cartoon characters don't have to be caricatures; they can be invested with real emotions. Now the show has in essence fermented into a limp parody of itself. Memorable story arcs have been sacrificed for the sake of celebrity walk-ons and punchline-hungry dialogue."[221]

In 2010, the BBC noted "the common consensus is that The Simpsons' golden era ended after season nine",[8] and Todd Leopold of CNN, in an article looking at its perceived decline, stated "for many fans ... the glory days are long past."[220] Similarly, Tyler Wilson of Coeur d'Alene Press has referred to seasons one to nine as the show's "golden age",[7] and Ian Nathan of Empire described the show's classic era as being "say, the first ten seasons."[9] Jon Heacock of LucidWorks stated that "for the first ten years [seasons], the show was consistently at the top of its game", with "so many moments, quotations, and references – both epic and obscure – that helped turn the Simpson family into the cultural icons that they remain to this day."[10]

Mike Scully, who was showrunner during seasons nine through twelve, has been the subject of criticism.[222][223] Chris Suellentrop of Slate wrote that "under Scully's tenure, The Simpsons became, well, a cartoon ... Episodes that once would have ended with Homer and Marge bicycling into the sunset now end with Homer blowing a tranquilizer dart into Marge's neck. The show's still funny, but it hasn't been touching in years."[222] When asked in 2007 how the series' longevity is sustained, Scully joked: "Lower your quality standards. Once you've done that you can go on forever."[224]

Al Jean, showrunner since season thirteen, has also been the subject of criticism, with some arguing that the show has continued to decline in quality under his tenure. Former writers have complained that under Jean, the show is "on auto-pilot", "too sentimental", and the episodes are "just being cranked out." Some critics believe that the show has "entered a steady decline under Jean and is no longer really funny."[225] John Ortved, author of The Simpsons: An Uncensored, Unauthorized History, characterized the Jean era as "toothless",[226] and criticized what he perceived as the show's increase in social and political commentary.[227] Jean responded: "Well, it's possible that we've declined. But honestly, I've been here the whole time and I do remember in season two people saying, 'It's gone downhill.' If we'd listened to that then we would have stopped after episode 13. I'm glad we didn't."[228]

In 2004, Harry Shearer criticized what he perceived as the show's declining quality: "I rate the last three seasons as among the worst, so season four looks very good to me now."[229] Dan Castellaneta responded: "I don't agree, ... I think Harry's issue is that the show isn't as grounded as it was in the first three or four seasons, that it's gotten crazy or a little more madcap. I think it organically changes to stay fresh."[230] Also in 2004 author Douglas Coupland described claims of declining quality in the series as "hogwash", saying "The Simpsons hasn't fumbled the ball in fourteen years, it's hardly likely to fumble it now."[231] In an April 2006 interview, Groening said: "I honestly don't see any end in sight. I think it's possible that the show will become too financially cumbersome ... but right now, the show is creatively, I think, as good or better than it's ever been. The animation is incredibly detailed and imaginative, and the stories do things that we haven't done before. So creatively there's no reason to quit."[232]

In 2016, popular culture writer Anna Leszkiewicz suggested that even though The Simpsons still holds cultural relevance, contemporary appeal is only for the first ten seasons, with recent episodes only garnering mainstream attention when a favorite character from the golden era is killed off, or when new information and shock twists are given for old characters.[233] The series' ratings have also declined; while the first season enjoyed an average of 13.4 million viewing households per episode in the U.S.,[153] the twenty-first season had an average of 7.2 million viewers.[234]

Alan Sepinwall and Matt Zoller Seitz argued in their 2016 book titled TV (The Book) that the peak of The Simpsons are "roughly seasons [three through twelve]", and that despite the decline, episodes from the later seasons such as "Eternal Moonshine of the Simpson Mind" and "Holidays of Future Passed" could be considered on par with the earlier classic episodes, further stating that "even if you want to call the show today a thin shadow of its former self, think about how mind-boggingly great its former self had to be for so-diminished a version to be watchable at all."[235][236]

Apu controversy
Further information: Apu Nahasapeemapetilon § Accusations of racial stereotyping
The stereotypical nature of the character Apu Nahasapeemapetilon has long been the subject of controversy. This was particularly highlighted by Indian-American comedian Hari Kondabolu's 2017 documentary The Problem with Apu. In the film, Kondabolu states that as a child he was a fan of The Simpsons and liked Apu, but he now finds the character's stereotypical nature troublesome. Defenders of the character responded that the show is built on comical stereotypes, with creator Matt Groening saying, "that's the nature of cartooning."[237] He added that he was "proud of what we do on the show", and "it's a time in our culture where people love to pretend they're offended".[238] In response to the controversy, Apu's voice actor, Hank Azaria, said he was willing to step aside from his role as Apu: "The most important thing is to listen to South Asian people, Indian people in this country when they talk about what they feel and how they think about this character."[239]

The criticisms were referenced in the Season 29 episode "No Good Read Goes Unpunished", when Lisa breaks the fourth wall and addresses the audience by saying, "Something that started decades ago and was applauded and inoffensive is now politically incorrect. What can you do?" to which Marge replies, "Some things will be addressed at a later date." Lisa adds, "If at all." This reference was clarified by the fact that there was a framed photo of Apu with the caption on the photo saying "Don't have a cow, Apu", a play on Bart's catchphrase "Don't have a cow, man," as well as the fact that Hindus do not eat cows as they are considered sacred. In October 2018, it was reported that Apu would be written out of the show.[240]

The media
Main article: The Simpsons (franchise)
Comic books
Main article: List of The Simpsons comics
Numerous Simpson-related comic books have been released over the years. So far, nine comic book series have been published by Bongo Comics since 1993.[241] The first comic strips based on The Simpsons appeared in 1991 in the magazine Simpsons Illustrated, which was a companion magazine to the show.[242] The comic strips were popular and a one-shot comic book titled Simpsons Comics and Stories, containing four different stories, was released in 1993 for the fans.[243] The book was a success and due to this, the creator of The Simpsons, Matt Groening, and his companions Bill Morrison, Mike Rote, Steve Vance and Cindy Vance created the publishing company Bongo Comics.[243] Issues of Simpsons Comics, Bart Simpson's Treehouse of Horror and Bart Simpson have been collected and reprinted in trade paperbacks in the United States by HarperCollins.[244][245][246]

Film
Main article: The Simpsons Movie

A Seattle 7-Eleven store transformed into a Kwik-E-Mart as part of a promotion for The Simpsons Movie.
20th Century Fox, Gracie Films, and Film Roman produced The Simpsons Movie, an animated film that was released on July 27, 2007.[247] The film was directed by long-time Simpsons producer David Silverman and written by a team of Simpsons writers comprising Matt Groening, James L. Brooks, Al Jean, George Meyer, Mike Reiss, John Swartzwelder, Jon Vitti, David Mirkin, Mike Scully, Matt Selman, and Ian Maxtone-Graham.[247] Production of the film occurred alongside continued writing of the series despite long-time claims by those involved in the show that a film would enter production only after the series had concluded.[247] There had been talk of a possible feature-length Simpsons film ever since the early seasons of the series. James L. Brooks originally thought that the story of the episode "Kamp Krusty" was suitable for a film, but he encountered difficulties in trying to expand the script to feature-length.[248] For a long time, difficulties such as lack of a suitable story and an already fully engaged crew of writers delayed the project.[232]

On August 10, 2018, 20th Century Fox announced that a sequel is in development.[249]

Music
Main article: The Simpsons discography
Collections of original music featured in the series have been released on the albums Songs in the Key of Springfield, Go Simpsonic with The Simpsons and The Simpsons: Testify.[250] Several songs have been recorded with the purpose of a single or album release and have not been featured on the show. The album The Simpsons Sing the Blues was released in September 1990 and was a success, peaking at #3 on the Billboard 200[251] and becoming certified 2× platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.[252] The first single from the album was the pop rap song "Do the Bartman", performed by Nancy Cartwright and released on November 20, 1990. The song was written by Michael Jackson, although he did not receive any credit.[253] The Yellow Album was released in 1998, but received poor reception and did not chart in any country.[254][255][256]

The Simpsons Ride
Main article: The Simpsons Ride

The Simpsons Ride at Universal Studios Florida.
In 2007, it was officially announced that The Simpsons Ride, a simulator ride, would be implemented into the Universal Studios Orlando and Universal Studios Hollywood.[257] It officially opened May 15, 2008 in Florida[258] and May 19, 2008, in Hollywood.[259] In the ride, patrons are introduced to a cartoon theme park called Krustyland built by Krusty the Clown. However, Sideshow Bob is loose from prison to get revenge on Krusty and the Simpson family.[260] It features more than 24 regular characters from The Simpsons and features the voices of the regular cast members, as well as Pamela Hayden, Russi Taylor and Kelsey Grammer.[261] Harry Shearer did not participate in the ride, so none of his characters have vocal parts.[262]

Video games
Further information: List of The Simpsons video games
Numerous video games based on the show have been produced. Some of the early games ******* Konami's arcade game The Simpsons (1991) and Acclaim Entertainment's The Simpsons: Bart vs. the Space Mutants (1991).[263][264] More modern games ******* The Simpsons: Road Rage (2001), The Simpsons: Hit & Run (2003) and The Simpsons Game (2007).[265][266][267] Electronic Arts, which produced The Simpsons Game, has owned the exclusive rights to create video games based on the show since 2005.[268] In 2010, they released a game called The Simpsons Arcade for iOS.[269] Another EA-produced mobile game, Tapped Out, was released in 2012 for iOS users, then in 2013 for Android and Kindle users.[270][271][272] Two Simpsons pinball machines have been produced: one that was available briefly after the first season, and another in 2007, both out of production.[273]

Syndication and streaming availability
The cable television network FXX has exclusive cable and digital syndication rights for The Simpsons. Original contracts had previously stated that syndication rights for The Simpsons would not be sold to cable until the series conclusion, at a time when cable syndication deals were highly rare. The series has been syndicated to local broadcast stations in nearly all markets throughout the United States since September 1993.[274]

FXX premiered The Simpsons on their network on August 21, 2014 by starting a twelve-day marathon which featured the first 552 episodes (every single episode that had already been released at the time) aired chronologically, including The Simpsons Movie, which FX Networks had already owned the rights to air. It was the longest continuous marathon in the history of television (until VH1 Classic aired a 433-hour, nineteen-day, marathon of Saturday Night Live in 2015; celebrating that program's 40th anniversary).[275][276] The first day of the marathon was the highest rated broadcast day in the history of the network so far, the ratings more than tripled that those of regular prime time programming for FXX.[277] Ratings during the first six nights of the marathon grew night after night, with the network ranking within the top 5 networks in basic cable each night.[278]

On October 21, 2014, a digital service courtesy of the FXNOW app, called Simpsons World, launched. Simpsons World has every episode of the series accessible to authenticated FX subscribers, and is available on game consoles such as Xbox One, streaming devices such as Roku and Apple TV, and online via web browser.[279][280] There was early criticism of both wrong aspect ratios for earlier episodes and the length of commercial breaks on the streaming service, but there are now fewer commercial breaks during individual episodes.[281] Later it was announced that Simpsons World would now let users watch all of the SD episodes in their original format.[282]

In July 2017, all episodes were made available for purchase on the iTunes Store, in the United States.

Merchandise
See also: List of The Simpsons books and List of The Simpsons home video releases
The popularity of The Simpsons has made it a billion-dollar merchandising industry.[160] The title family and supporting characters appear on everything from T-shirts to posters. The Simpsons has been used as a theme for special editions of well-known board games, including Clue, Scrabble, Monopoly, Operation, and The Game of Life, as well as the trivia games What Would Homer Do? and Simpsons Jeopardy!. Several card games such as trump cards and The Simpsons Trading Card Game have also been released. Many official or unofficial Simpsons books such as episode guides have been published. Many episodes of the show have been released on DVD and VHS over the years. When the first season DVD was released in 2001, it quickly became the best-selling television DVD in history, although it was later overtaken by the first season of Chappelle's Show.[283] In particular, seasons one through seventeen have been released on DVD in the U.S. (Region 1), Europe (Region 2) and Australia/New Zealand/Latin America (Region 4). However, on April 19, 2015, Al Jean announced that the Season 17 DVD would be the last one ever produced, leaving the collection from Season 1 to 17, Season 20 (released out of schedule in 2009), with Seasons 18, 19, and 21 onwards unreleased.[284][285] Jean also stated that the deleted scenes and commentary would try to be released to the Simpsons World app, and that they were pushing for Simpsons World to be expanded outside of the U.S.[284] Two years later, however, on July 22, 2017, it was announced that Season 18 would be released on December 5, 2017 on DVD.

In 2003, about 500 companies around the world were licensed to use Simpsons characters in their advertising.[286] As a promotion for The Simpsons Movie, twelve 7-Eleven stores were transformed into Kwik-E-Marts and sold The Simpsons related products. These included "Buzz Cola", "Krusty-O" cereal, pink doughnuts with sprinkles, and "Squishees".[287]

In 2008 consumers around the world spent $750 million on merchandise related to The Simpsons, with half of the amount originating from the United States. By 2009, 20th Century Fox had greatly increased merchandising efforts.[288] On April 9, 2009, the United States Postal Service unveiled a series of five 44-cent stamps featuring Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie, to commemorate the show's twentieth anniversary.[289] The Simpsons is the first television series still in production to receive this recognition.[290][291] The stamps, designed by Matt Groening, were made available for purchase on May 7, 2009.[292] Approximately one billion were printed, but only 318 million were sold, costing the Postal Service $1.2 million.[293][294]
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Old 12-15-2018, 04:29 PM   #13
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Lightbulb 'Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire' Script

ACT ONE

"The Simpsons Christmas Special" appears on screen. The episode begins with Homer, Marge and Maggie arriving at Springfield Elementary School. They are late for the schools' Christmas show.

MARGE
Oh, careful, Homer!

HOMER
There's no time to be careful, we're late.

They enter the hall. A class is singing "Oh, Little Town of Bethle****.

MARGE
Sorry, excuse me, pardon me, sorry.

HOMER
Hey Norman, how is it going? So you got dragged out here too, huh?

MARGE
Excuse me, excuse me.

HOMER
How are you doing, Fred? Yeah. Excuse me. (he steps on someone's feet) Oops, pardon my galoshes.

The audience applaud. Principal Skinner comes on stage.

SKINNER
Wasn't that wonderful? And now, the Santa's of many lands, as presented by the entire second grade class.

MARGE
Oh, Lisa's class.

GIRL
Frohlich Weihnachten. That's German for Merry Christmas. In Germany Santa servant Bruprecht gives presents to good children and whipping rods to the parents of bad ones.

The audience applaud.

BOY
Merry Kurisumasu I am Hotiashi a Japanese priest who acts like Santa Clause. I have eyes in the back of my head so children better behave when I'm nearby.

He turns around to reveal glasses (with eyes attached) on the back of his head. One of the eyes pops out, and the crowd gasp, then applaud.

MR. LARGO
Now presenting Lisa Simpson as Towanga, the Santa Clause of the South Seas.

HOMER
Oh it's Lisa! That's ours.

Lisa, wearing a witch doctor mask and grass skirt, juggles flaming torches.

SKINNER
Ah, the fourth grade will now favor us with a melody... er... medley of Holiday favorites.

The class sing Jingle Bells...

CLASS
Dancing through the snow,
In a one-horse open sleigh,
O'er the fields we go,
Dancing all the way, ho ho ho...

MARGE
Isn't Bart sweet, Homer? He sings like an angel.

...but Bart creates his own lyrics.

BART
Jingle Bells, Batman smells, Robin laid an egg. The Batmobile broke its wheel, the Joker got awa-aah!

He is pulled off stage by Skinner. The scene fades from Homer looking bored to Homer looking even more bored.

SKINNER
The fifth grade will now favor us with a scene form Charles... uh... Dickens'... A Christmas Carol.

HOMER
Oh, How many grades does this school have?

At the Simpsons' home, Marge is writing a letter. We hear her reading the letter in her head.

MARGE
"Dear friends of the Simpson family. We had some sadness and some gladness this year. First, the sadness: our little cat Snowball was unexpectedly run over and went to kitty heaven. But we bought a new little cat Snowball II, so I guess life goes on. Speaking of live going on, Grandpa is still with us, feisty as ever. Maggie is walking by herself, Lisa got straight A's, and Bart... well, we love Bart. The magic of the season has touched us all."

HOMER
Marge! Haven't you finished that stupid letter yet?

MARGE
"Homer sends his love. Happy Holidays..."

HOMER
Marge!

MARGE
"...the Simpsons."

HOMER
Marge! Where's the extension cord?

MARGE
For heaven sakes, Homer, its in the utility drawer.

HOMER
Sorry I'm just a big kid. I love Christmas so much.

He opens the drawer and finds that the extension cord is tangled up.

HOMER
D'oh!

MARGE
All right, children, let me have those letters. I'll send them to Santa's workshop at the North Pole.

BART
Oh please, there's only one fat guy that brings us presents and his name ain't Santa.

MARGE
(looking at Lisa's list) A Pony? Oh Lisa, you have asked for that for the past three years, and I keep telling you that Santa cant fit a pony in his sleigh. Cant you take a hint?

LISA
But I really want a pony and I have been really really good this year.

MARGE
Oh, dear. Maybe Bart is a little more realistic. (reading) A tattoo?!

HOMER
A what?

BART
Yeah, they're cool, and they last for the rest of your life.

MARGE
You will not be getting a tattoo for Christmas.

HOMER
Yeah, if you want one, you'll have to pay for it out of your own allowance.

BART
All right!

MARGE
Homer!

The phone rings. Homer answers it.

HOMER
Hello?

PATTY
Marge please.

HOMER
Who is this?

PATTY
May I please speak to Marge?

HOMER
This is her sister isn't it?

PATTY
Is Marge there?

HOMER
Who shall I say is calling?

PATTY
Marge please.

HOMER
(handing the phone to Marge) It's your sister.

MARGE
Oh, hello.

PATTY
Hello Marge, its Patty. Selma and I couldn't be more excited about seeing our baby sister for Christmas Eve.

MARGE
Well, Homer and I are looking forward to your visit too.

Homer makes a strangling sound.

PATTY
Somehow I doubt that Homer is excited. Of all the men you could have married, I don't know why you picked one who is always so rude to...

The scene fades to outside. Homer is putting lights up. After connecting the last one he falls off the roof.

BART
Good one, Dad.

HOMER
Okay kids prepare to be dazzled. Marge, turn on the juice! What do you think kids?

The lights are pretty pathetic.

LISA
Nice try, Dad.

BART
Ugh.

FLANDERS
(to Todd) Hold your horses, son. (calling from next door) Hey, Simpson!

HOMER
What is it, Flanders?

FLANDERS
Do you think this looks okay?

BART
Whoa, neat-oh!

HOMER
Its too bright. (muttering) Flanders, what a big show off.


ACT TWO

The family is at the breakfast table.

MARGE
Kids, do you want to go Christmas shopping?

LISA
I do!

BART
All right, the mall!

MARGE
Go get your money.

HOMER
Tell us, Marge, where have you been hiding the Christmas money?

MARGE
Oh, I have my secrets. Turn around. (She pulls a jar of money out of her hair.) You can look now.

HOMER
Oh, big jar this year!

At the mall, Marge and Lisa are looking at the trains and Bart is looking at some tattoos. Bart imagines himself with a "Mother" tattoo.

MARGE
Oh, Bart that's so sweet. Its the best present a mother could get, and it makes you look so dangerous.

Bart decides to go into the store and get one.

BART
One "Mother" please.

TATTOO GUY
Wait a minute. How old are you?

BART
Twenty one, sir.

TATTOO GUY
Get in the chair.

At the power plant, Homer is checking the equipment. Everything is in order, even one with a red flashing light. An announcement comes over the tannoy.

SMITHERS
Attention all personnel. Please keep working during the following announcement.

The employees stop to eat donuts.

SMITHERS
And now, our boss and friend, Mr. Burns.

MR. BURNS
Hello. I'm proud to announce that we've been able to increase safety here at the power plant without increasing the cost to the consumer or affecting management pay raises. However, for you semi-skilled workers, there will be no Christmas bonuses. Oh, and one more thing Merry Christmas.

HOMER
Oh, thank god for the big jar.

Back at the mall.

MARGE
Where's that Bart?

Bart's screams can be heard. Marge walks into the Tattoo store, and is shocked to see Bart getting a tattoo with the word "Moth" on it. She yanks him out of the chair, and takes him next door to a doctor that can remove the tattoo.

BART
But Mom, I thought you would like it!

DOCTOR
Yes, Mrs. Simpson, we can remove your sons tattoo. Its a simple routine involving lasers.

BART
Cool!

DOCTOR
However, it is expensive we must insist on a cash payment up front.

MARGE
Cash?

DOCTOR
Mm-hmm.

MARGE
Thank god for Homers Christmas bonus.

The doctor turns the laser on.

BART
Aye Carumba!

DOCTOR
Now, what ever you do boy, don't squirm. You don't want this sucker near your eye or your groin.

Back at home. Lisa touches Bart's arm.

BART
Ow! Quit it. (she does it again) Ow! Quit it. (she does it again) Ow! Quit it (Maggie touches his arm) Ow! Quit it.

Homer walks into the room.

HOMER
Hey, what's this? (he touches Bart's arm)

BART
Ow! Quit it. It used to be a real boss tattoo.

LISA
But Mom had to spend all the Christmas money to have it surgically removed.

Marge shows him the empty jar.

HOMER
Oh, its true! The jar is empty! Oh my god, we're ruined. Christmas is canceled, no presents for anyone.

MARGE
Don't worry Homer we'll just have to stretch your Christmas bonus even farther this year.

HOMER
Aah!

MARGE
Homer?

HOMER
Oh, yeah... my Christmas bonus. Hee hee... how silly of me. This will be best Christmas yet. The best any family ever had!

He goes outside, and looks at his measly decorations, then Flanders' extravagant decorations. He hangs his head in shame.


ACT THREE

Homer and Marge are in bed.

MARGE
I get the feeling there's something you haven't told me Homer.

HOMER
Huh? Oh, I love you Marge.

MARGE
Oh, you tell me that all the time.

HOMER
Good, because I do love you. I don't deserve you as much as a guy with a fat wallet and a credit card that wont set off that horrible beeping.

MARGE
Well, I think it does have something to do with your Christmas bonus. I keep asking for it, but...

HOMER
Marge, let me be honest with you.

MARGE
Yes?

HOMER
Well... I... I want to do the Christmas shopping this year!

MARGE
Well, sure, okay.

She hands him a piece of paper. Homer smiles in a big grin, and Marge switches the lights out. Homer's eyes and teeth can still be seen.

Homer is at the store, shopping.

HOMER
Marge, Marge, mmm, lets see... oh, look! Pantyhose! Practical and alluring. A six pack, oh, only 4.99. Ooh, pads of paper. I bet Bart could think of a million things to do with these. That just leaves little Maggie... oh look, a little squeak toy! It says its for dogs, but she cant read.

Outside, Homer runs into Flanders and they both drops their boxes.

FLANDERS
Oh, ho ho Simpson, its you.

HOMER
Hello Flanders.

FLANDERS
Oh my, what a little mess we've got here. Well, which ones are yours and
which ones are mine?

HOMER
Well, lets see.

FLANDERS
(picking up boxes) Well this one's mine, and this one's mine. This ones mine, and...

HOMER
They're all yours!

TODD
Hey, Mr. Simpson. You dropped your pork chop.

HOMER
(snatching it) Gimme that!

FLANDERS
Well, happy holidays Simpson!

TODD
(walking off) Gee Dad, this is going to be the best Christmas ever.

FLANDERS
You bet!

Homer is at Moe's Tavern.

MOE
What's the matter, Homer? Did someone leave a lump of coal in your stocking? You've been sitting there sucking on a beer all day long.

HOMER
So?

MOE
So, its Christmas. (He hands Homer a candy cane)

HOMER
Thanks Moe.

Barney enters.

BARNEY
Drinks all around!

HOMER
What's with the crazy get up, Barn?

BARNEY
I got me a part time job working as a Santa down at the mall.

HOMER
Wow, can I do that?

BARNEY
I dunno, they're pretty selective. (he belches)

Homer is being interviewed for the Santa job.

MANAGER
Do you like children?

HOMER
What do you mean, all the time? Even when they're nuts? (the manager frowns at him) Uh, I certainly do!

MANAGER
Welcome aboard, Simpson. Pending your completion of our training program that is.

Homer is in a classroom, filled with Santa look-a-likes.

SANTAS
Ho ho ho! Ho ho ho! Ho ho ho! Ho ho ho!

Homer raises his hand.

TEACHER
What is it now, Simpson?

HOMER
Uh, when do we get paid?

TEACHER
Not a dime till Christmas Eve. Now, from the top.

SANTAS
Ho ho ho! Ho ho ho!

Later in class.

HOMER
Um, Dasher... Dancer...

TEACHER
Mm-hmm.

HOMER
Prancer...

TEACHER
Mm-hmm.

HOMER
Nixon... Comet... Cupid... Donna Dixon?

TEACHER
Sit down, Simpson.

Later again. The teacher is sat on Homer's lap.

HOMER
And what would you like, little boy?

TEACHER
You're not really Santa, tubby.

HOMER
Why you little...! (he tries to strangle the manager)

TEACHER
Hey! No Homer, if such an emergency arises just tell them Santa is very busy this time of year, and you're one of his helpers.

HOMER
D'oh, I knew that one too.

Back at home. Homer has just arrived back.

MARGE
Homer, why are you 7 hours late?

HOMER
Not a word Marge, I'm heading straight for the tub.

MARGE
But Homer, my sisters are here, don't you want to say hello?

Homer shudders.

BART & LISA
Daddy, Daddy!

BART
Welcome home!

LISA
Where so glad to see you!

HOMER
Why? Oh yeah. Hello Patty, hello Selma, how was your trip.

PATTY
Fine.

HOMER
You both look well.

SELMA
Thank you.

HOMER
Yeah, well, Merry Christmas.

PATTY
It's Christmas? You wouldn't know it around here.

HOMER
And why is that?

SELMA
Well, for one thing there's no tree.

HOMER
Well I was just on my way out to get one!

LISA
Can we go too, Dad?

BART
Yeah, can we?

HOMER
No!!

Homer drives around, looking for Christmas trees. He passes signs that read "All trees $75'', "Trees $60 and up'' and "Christmas trees, slightly irregular, $45''. Finally, he goes to an area marked "No trespassing" and cuts down his own tree. A guard chases after him.

GUARD
Hey you! What do you think you're doing?

HOMER
Uh-oh.

GUARD
Hey! Hey! Come back here!

He shoots several shots off a gun as Homer drives off. Back at the house, the family admire the tree.

HOMER
So, what do you think, kids? Beauty, isn't it?

BART
Wow!

LISA
Way to go, Dad!

SELMA
Why is there a birdhouse in it?

HOMER
Oh, that's an ornament.

PATTY
Do I smell gun powder?

At the mall, a boy sits on Homer's lap.

BOY
And then I want some Robotoids, and then I want a gook monster, and I want I great big...

HOMER
Ah son, you don't need all that junk. I'm sure you already got something much more important: a decent home, and a loving father that would do anything for you. Hey, I cant afford lunch, give me a bite of that donut.

Bart, Milhouse and Lewis watch Homer from the gantry.

MILHOUSE
Get a load at that quote-unquote Santa.

LEWIS
I cant believe those kids are falling for it.

BART
Hey Milhouse, I dare you to sit on his lap.

MILHOUSE
Oh yeah? Well I dare you to yank his beard off.

BART
Ah Touché!

Back down below.

GIRL
I hope you feel better, Santa.

HOMER
Oh, I will when Mrs. Clause's sisters get out of town. Thanks for listening kid.

Bart is up next.

BART
Hey Santa, what's shakin' man?

HOMER
What's your name Bart... ner... uh, little partner?

BART
I'm Bart Simpson, who the hell are you?

HOMER
(angrily) I'm jolly old Saint Nick.

BART
Oh yeah, we'll just see about that. (Bart pulls his beard off)

HOMER
D'oh!

BART
Homer!

HOMER
I want a word with you in Santa's Workshop little boy! (aside) Cover for me Alphy.

BART
Don't kill me Dad, I didn't know it was you!

HOMER
Nobody knows! Its a secret. I didn't get my bonus this year but to keep the family from missing out on Christmas I'd do anything.

BART
I'll say. You must really love us to sink so low.

HOMER
Well lets not get mushy son, I still have a job to do. (leaves the workshop) Hey hey! Santa's back! Ho ho (he bangs his head) D'oh! Dammit!

Homer is getting paid.

HOMER
Ah, son, one day you're going to learn the satisfaction of payday - receiving a big fat check for a job well done.

CASHIER
Simpson, Homer. Here you go.

HOMER
Come on son lets go cash this baby and get presents for... aah! Thirteen bucks? Hey wait a minute!

CASHIER
That's right. $120 gross, less Social Security...

HOMER
Yeah...

CASHIER
Less unemployment insurance...

HOMER
But...

CASHIER
Less Santa training...

HOMER
Santa training?

CASHIER
Less costume purchase...

HOMER
Wait a minute...

CASHIER
Less beard rental...

HOMER
But...

CASHIER
Less Christmas club.

HOMER
But...

CASHIER
See you next year.

HOMER
Ohh...

BART
Come on dad lets go home.

HOMER
Thirteen bucks? You can't get anything for thirteen bucks.

BARNEY
All right, thirteen big ones! Springfield Downs, here I come!

HOMER
What?

BARNEY
You heard me, I'm going to the dog track. I got a hot little puppy in the fourth race. Want to come?

HOMER
Sorry Barney, I may be a total wash out of a father but I'm not going to take my kid to a sleazy dog track on Christmas Eve.

BARNEY
Come on Simpson, the dogs name is Whirlwind. Ten to one shot. Money in the bank.

HOMER
Uh-uh.

BART
Aw, come on Dad. This could be the miracle that saves the Simpsons' Christmas. If TV has taught me anything, its that miracles always happen to poor kids at Christmas. It happened to Tiny Tim, it happened to Charlie Brown, it happened to the Smurfs, and it going to happen to us.

HOMER
Well, okay lets go. (walking off) Who's Tiny Tim?

At the Simpsons home. Everyone is watching the Happy Little Elves.

ELF #1
Hey, Moley, do you think Santa will be able to find Elf County under all this snow?

ELF #2
I doubt it, Bubbles. We'll be sad little elves this Christmas.

LISA
Oh no!

GRAMPA
Oh Brother.

SELMA
Where's your husband?

PATTY
Yeah, its getting late.

MARGE
Well, he said he went caroling with Bart.

At the dog track. Bart is on Barney's shoulders.

BART & BARNEY
We're in the money! We're in the money!

HOMER
I can't believe I'm doing this.

They walk past a child with his father.

KID
Can we open our presents now, Dad?

FATHER
You know the tradition, son, not till the eighth race.

HOMER
Hey Barney, which one is Whirlwind?

BARNEY
Number six. That's our lucky dog right over there. He won he last five races.

HOMER
What, that scrawny little bag of bones?

BART
Come on Dad, they're all scrawny little bags of bones.

HOMER
Yeah, you're right. I guess Whirlwind is our only hope for a Merry Christmas.

ANNOUNCER
Attention racing fans, we have a late scratch in the fourth race. Number eight Sir Galahad will be replaced by Santa's Little Helper once again Sir Galahad has been replaced by Santa's Little Helper.

HOMER
Bart did you here that? What a name - Santa's Little Helper. It's a sign. It's an omen.

BART
It's a coincidence, Dad.

HOMER
(at the betting desk) What are the odds on Santa's Little Helper?

MAN
Ninety nine to to one.

HOMER
Wow! Ninety nine times thirteen equals... Merry Christmas!

BART
I got a bad feeling about this.

HOMER
Don't you believe in me son?

BART
Uh...

HOMER
Come on boy, sometimes your face is all that keep me going.

BART
Oh... go for it, Dad.

HOMER
That's my boy! (to the clerk) Everything on Santa's little Helper.

Back at home. The Happy Little Elves reaches a happy end.

ELVES
Hip-hip-hooray! Hip-hip-hooray! Hip-hip-hooray!

LISA
Yay!

GRAMPA
Unadulterated pap.

PATTY
It's almost nine o'clock.

SELMA
Where is Homer anyway?

PATTY
It's typical of the big doofus to spoil it all.

LISA
What Aunt Patty?

PATTY
Oh nothing, dear. I'm just trashing your father.

LISA
Well, I wish that you wouldn't. Because aside from the fact that he has the same frailties as all human beings, he's the only father I have. Therefore, he is my model of manhood, and my estimation of him will govern the prospects of my adult relationships. So I hope you beer in mind that any knock at him is a knock at me, and I am far to young to cartoon myself against such onslaughts.

PATTY
Mmm-hmm. Go watch your cartoon show, dear.

Back at the dog track.

HOMER
Come on Bart, kiss the ticket for good luck. Not that we need it!

ANNOUNCER
Here comes Shirley the mechanical rabbit. And they're off. Around the first turn, it's Whirlwind in the lead, and coming up on the left is Quadruped followed by Dog of War and Fido.

Bart and Homer cheer for Santa's Little Helper.

ANNOUNCER
Dog of War coming up fast on the outside. And in last place... is Santa's Little Helper.

HOMER
D'oh! Oh...

BART
Don't worry Dad. Maybe this is just for suspense before the miracle happens.

HOMER
Come on you stupid dog.

BART
Come on boy.

ANNOUNCER
Whirlwind wins by a country mile followed by Dog of War.

HOMER
D'oh!

BART
It doesn't seem possible, but I guess TV has betrayed me.

HOMER
I don't want leave till I dog finishes. (long pause) Ah forget it, lets go.

Outside the dog track, Bart and Homer looks for a winning ticket.

HOMER
Find any winners son?

BART
Sorry, Dad.

Barney drives up, with a woman in the passenger seat.

BARNEY
Hey Simpson, what did I tell you - Whirlwind. Lets go Daria.

They drive off. A man starts shouting.

MAN
Beat it! Scram, get lost! You came in last for the last time!

BART
Look Dad, its Santa's Little Helper.

MAN
And don't come back!

The dog runs towards Homer & Bart.

HOMER
Oh no you don't! No, no, get away from me! Uh-uh.

BART
Oh, can we keep him dad please.

HOMER
But he's a loser! He's pathetic! He's... (the dog licks Homer) ... a Simpson.

Back at the Simpson home.

MARGE
Mmm... maybe we should call the police.

PATTY
He'll sober up.

SELMA
Yeah, come staggering home.

PATTY
Uh-huh. Smelling like cheap perfume.

Homer & Bart enter.

MARGE
Homer!

GRAMPA
(waking up) What? Wha?

HOMER
Look everybody, I have a confession to make.

PATTY
This should be good.

HOMER
I didn't get my Christmas bonus. I tried to not let it ruin Christmas for everybody, but no matter what I did...

BART
Hey everybody, look what we got!

LISA
A dog! All right dad!

MARGE
God bless him.

LISA
So love at first sight is possible.

BART
And if he runs away he'll be easy to catch.

MARGE
This is the best gift of all, Homer.

HOMER
It is?

MARGE
Yes, something to share our love. And frighten prowlers.

LISA
What's he's name?

HOMER
Number 8. I mean, Santa's Little Helper.

The family all pet the dog. The moment is captured in a snapshot, with "Happy Holidays from The Simpsons" written on it.

The Simpsons family then sing "Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer" (a la Simpson) over the closing credits. Grampa is sat at the piano. Bart and Lisa interrupt the song.

ALL
Rudolph the Red nosed reindeer,
Had a very shiny nose,
And if you ever saw it,
You would even say it glows.

BART
Like a light bulb!

HOMER
Bart!

ALL
All of the other reindeer,
Used to laugh and call him names.

LISA
Like Schnozzola!

HOMER
Lisa!

ALL
They never let poor Rudolph,
Join in any reindeer games.

BART
Like strip poker!

HOMER
I'm warning you two!

ALL
Then one foggy Christmas Eve,
Santa came to say,

MARGE
Take it Homer.

HOMER
Er... Rudolph, get your nose over here,
So you can drive my sleigh... today...

GRAMPA
Oh, Homer...

ALL
Then all the reindeer loved him,
And they shouted out with glee,
Rudolph the red nose reindeer,
You'll go down in history!

BART
Like Attila the Hu- ught urk!

HOMER
You little... grrrr!!
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Old 12-15-2018, 11:01 PM   #14
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Old 12-09-2018, 01:37 PM #1
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Default The simpsons episode where Bart joins the local mob
You know the really ancient episode of the Simpson’s where bart joins the mafia and gets tied to all these diffrent crimes? And towards the end there is a courtroom scene with a pie chart / venn diagram that makes him out to be the ringleader? Like who would believe someone like that could be organized crime ringleader? That definitely made me think about what’s going on now with Trump.

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Old 12-09-2018, 02:37 PM #2
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Old 12-09-2018, 02:46 PM #3
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Compare CW's left nut to his right nut.

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Old 12-09-2018, 02:57 PM #4
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Old 12-09-2018, 04:00 PM #5
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This reads like a satire of your own posts

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Neither compare to his middle nut

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The Simpsons is a cartoon.

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The Simpsons
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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This article is about the television show. For the franchise, see The Simpsons (franchise). For other uses, see The Simpsons (disambiguation).
The Simpsons
The Simpsons Logo.svg
Simpsons FamilyPicture.png
The Simpson family. From left to right: Bart, Marge, Santa's Little Helper (dog), Maggie, Homer, Lisa, and Snowball II (cat).
Genre Animated sitcom
Created by Matt Groening
Based on "The Simpsons" shorts
by Matt Groening
Developed by
James L. Brooks
Matt Groening
Sam Simon
Voices of
Dan Castellaneta
Julie Kavner
Nancy Cartwright
Yeardley Smith
Hank Azaria
Harry Shearer
(Complete list)
Theme music composer Danny Elfman
Opening theme "The Simpsons Theme"
Composer(s) Richard Gibbs (1989–90)
Arthur B. Rubinstein (1990)
Ray Colcord (1990: "Dead Putting Society)"
Alf Clausen (1990–2017)
Bleeding Fingers Music (2017–present)
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 30
No. of episodes 649 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
List of exec. producers[show]
Running time 21–24 minutes
Production company(s) Gracie Films (1989–present)
20th Century Fox Television
Klasky Csupo (1989–1992)
Film Roman (1992–2016)
Fox Television Animation (2016–present)
The Curiosity Company (2015–present, uncredited)
AKOM
Rough Draft Studios
Distributor 20th Television
Release
Original network Fox
Picture format 480i/576i (4:3 SDTV) (1989–2009)
1080i (16:9 HDTV) (2009–present)
Audio format Stereo (1989–1991)
Dolby Surround 2.0 (1991–2009)
Dolby Digital 5.1 (DVD, broadcast 2009–present)
Original release December 17, 1989 – present
Chronology
Preceded by The Simpsons shorts from The Tracey Ullman Show
External links
Official website
The Simpsons is an American animated sitcom created by Matt Groening for the Fox Broadcasting Company.[1][2][3] The series is a satirical depiction of working-class 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 culture and society, television, 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. Groening created a dysfunctional family and named the characters after his own family members, substituting Bart for his own name. 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 (1989–90).

Since its debut on December 17, 1989, 649 episodes of The Simpsons have been broadcast. It is the longest-running American sitcom, and the longest-running American scripted primetime television series in terms of seasons and number of episodes. The Simpsons Movie, a feature-length film, was released in theaters worldwide on July 27, 2007, and grossed over $527 million. Then on October 30, 2007, a video game was released. Currently, The Simpsons is on its thirtieth season, which aired September 30, 2018.[4][5] The Simpsons will be renewed for a thirty-first season, with Al Jean completing a Treehouse of Horror XXIX script, though the date has yet to be announced.[6]

The Simpsons received acclaim throughout its first nine[7][8] or ten[9][10] seasons, which are generally considered its "Golden Age". Time named it the 20th century's best television series,[11] and Erik Adams of The A.V. Club named it "television's crowning achievement regardless of format".[12] 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 31 Primetime Emmy Awards, 30 Annie Awards, and a Peabody Award. 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. However, it has also been criticized for a perceived decline in quality over the years.


Contents
1 Premise
1.1 Characters
1.2 Continuity and the floating timeline
1.3 Setting
2 Production
2.1 Development
2.2 Executive producers and showrunners
2.3 Writing
2.4 Voice actors
2.5 Animation
3 Themes
4 Hallmarks
4.1 Opening sequence
4.2 Halloween episodes
4.3 Humor
4.3.1 Foreshadowing of actual events
5 Influence and legacy
5.1 Idioms
5.2 Television
6 Reception and achievements
6.1 Early success
6.2 Run length achievements
6.3 Awards and accolades
6.4 Criticism
6.4.1 Controversy
6.4.2 Ban
6.4.3 Declining quality
6.4.4 Apu controversy
7 The media
7.1 Comic books
7.2 Film
7.3 Music
7.4 The Simpsons Ride
7.5 Video games
8 Syndication and streaming availability
9 Merchandise
10 References
10.1 Notes
10.2 Bibliography
11 Further reading
12 External links
Premise
Characters
Main article: List of The Simpsons characters
The Simpsons is known for its wide ensemble of main and supporting characters.

The main characters are the Simpson family, who live in a fictional "Middle America" town of Springfield.[13] 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, a stereotypical American housewife and mother. They have three children: Bart, a ten-year-old troublemaker 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.[14] Homer's dad Grampa Simpson lives in the Springfield Retirement Home after Homer forced his dad to sell his house 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".[15] 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 quirky supporting characters, which ******* Homer's co-workers (also friends) Lenny Leonard and Carl Carlson, the school principal Seymour Skinner and teachers Edna Krabappel and Elizabeth Hoover, 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. A number of them have 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.[16]

Continuity and the floating timeline
Despite the depiction of yearly milestones such as holidays or birthdays passing, the characters do not 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 depictions 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.

A canon of the show does exist, as 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, as with most other comedy-focused television shows. For example, Krusty the Clown may be able to read in one episode, but may not be able to read in another. Lessons learned by the family in one episode may be forgotten in the next. Some examples of limited continuity ******* Sideshow Bob's appearances where Bart and Lisa flashback at all the crimes he committed in Springfield or when the characters try to remember things that happened in previous episodes.

Setting
Main article: Springfield (The Simpsons)
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.[17] Springfield's geography, and that of its surroundings, contains coastlines, deserts, vast farmland, tall mountains, or whatever the story or joke requires.[18] Groening has said that Springfield has much in common with Portland, Oregon, the city where he grew up.[19] The name "Springfield" is a common one in America and appears in 22 states.[20] 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."[21]

Production
Development
Main articles: History of The Simpsons and The Simpsons shorts

James L. Brooks (pictured) asked Matt Groening to create a series of animated shorts for The Tracey Ullman Show.
When producer James L. Brooks was working on the television variety show The Tracey Ullman Show, he decided to ******* small animated sketches before and after the commercial breaks. Having seen one of cartoonist Matt Groening's Life in Hell comic strips, Brooks asked Groening to pitch an idea for a series of animated shorts. Groening initially intended to present an animated version of his Life in Hell series.[22] However, Groening later realized that animating Life in Hell would require the rescinding of publication rights for his life's work. He therefore chose another approach while waiting in the lobby of Brooks's office for the pitch meeting, hurriedly formulating his version of a dysfunctional family that became the Simpsons.[22][23] He named the characters after his own family members, substituting "Bart" for his own name, adopting an anagram of the word "brat".[22]

The Simpson family first appeared as shorts in The Tracey Ullman Show on April 19, 1987.[24] Groening submitted only basic sketches to the animators and assumed that the figures would be cleaned up in production. However, the animators merely re-traced his drawings, which led to the crude appearance of the characters in the initial shorts.[22] The animation was produced domestically at Klasky Csupo,[25][26] with Wes Archer, David Silverman, and Bill Kopp being animators for the first season.[27] Colorist Gyorgyi Peluce was the person who decided to make the characters yellow.[27]

In 1989, a team of production companies adapted The Simpsons into a half-hour series for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The team included the Klasky Csupo animation house. Brooks negotiated a provision in the contract with the Fox network that prevented Fox from interfering with the show's content.[28] Groening said his goal in creating the show was to offer the audience an alternative to what he called "the mainstream trash" that they were watching.[29] The half-hour series premiered on December 17, 1989, with "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire".[30] "Some Enchanted Evening" was the first full-length episode produced, but it did not broadcast until May 1990, as the last episode of the first season, because of animation problems.[31] In 1992, Tracey Ullman filed a lawsuit against Fox, claiming that her show was the source of the series' success. The suit said she should receive a share of the profits of The Simpsons[32]—a claim rejected by the courts.[33]

Executive producers and showrunners

Matt Groening, creator
List of showrunners throughout the series' run:

Season 1–2: Matt Groening, James L. Brooks, & Sam Simon
Season 3–4: Al Jean & Mike Reiss
Season 5–6: David Mirkin
Season 7–8: Bill Oakley & Josh Weinstein
Season 9–12: Mike Scully
Season 13–present: Al Jean
Matt Groening and James L. Brooks have served as executive producers during the show's entire history, and also function as creative consultants. Sam Simon, described by former Simpsons director Brad Bird as "the unsung hero" of the show,[34] served as creative supervisor for the first four seasons. He was constantly at odds with Groening, Brooks and the show's production company Gracie Films and left in 1993.[35] Before leaving, he negotiated a deal that sees him receive a share of the profits every year, and an executive producer credit despite not having worked on the show since 1993,[35][36] at least until his passing in 2015.[37] A more involved position on the show is the showrunner, who acts as head writer and manages the show's production for an entire season.[27]

Writing
Main article: List of The Simpsons writers
The first team of writers, assembled by Sam Simon, consisted of John Swartzwelder, Jon Vitti, George Meyer, Jeff Martin, Al Jean, Mike Reiss, Jay Kogen and Wallace Wolodarsky.[38] Newer Simpsons' writing teams typically consist of sixteen writers who propose episode ideas at the beginning of each December.[39] The main writer of each episode writes the first draft. Group rewriting sessions develop final scripts by adding or removing jokes, inserting scenes, and calling for re-readings of lines by the show's vocal performers.[40] Until 2004,[41] George Meyer, who had developed the show since the first season, was active in these sessions. According to long-time writer Jon Vitti, Meyer usually invented the best lines in a given episode, even though other writers may receive script credits.[40] Each episode takes six months to produce so the show rarely comments on current events.[42]


Part of the writing staff of The Simpsons in 1992. Back row, left to right: Mike Mendel, Colin ABV Lewis (partial), Jeff Goldstein, Al Jean (partial), Conan O'Brien, Bill Oakley, Josh Weinstein, Mike Reiss, Ken Tsumura, George Meyer, John Swartzwelder, Jon Vitti (partial), CJ Gibson and David M. Stern. Front row, left to right: Dee Capelli, Lona Williams, and unknown.
Credited with sixty episodes, John Swartzwelder is the most prolific writer on The Simpsons.[43] One of the best-known former writers is Conan O'Brien, who contributed to several episodes in the early 1990s before replacing David Letterman as host of the talk show Late Night.[44] English comedian Ricky Gervais wrote the episode "Homer Simpson, This Is Your Wife", becoming the first celebrity to both write and guest star in an episode.[45] Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, writers of the film Superbad, wrote the episode "Homer the Whopper", with Rogen voicing a character in it.[46]

At the end of 2007, the writers of The Simpsons went on strike together with the other members of the Writers Guild of America, East. The show's writers had joined the guild in 1998.[47]

Voice actors
Main articles: List of The Simpsons cast members, List of The Simpsons guest stars, and Non-English versions of The Simpsons
The Simpsons has six main cast members: Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith, Hank Azaria and Harry Shearer. Castellaneta voices Homer Simpson, Grampa Simpson, Krusty the Clown, Groundskeeper Willie, Mayor Quimby, Barney Gumble and other adult, male characters.[48] Julie Kavner voices Marge Simpson and Patty and Selma, as well as several minor characters.[48] Castellaneta and Kavner had been a part of The Tracey Ullman Show cast and were given the parts so that new actors would not be needed.[49] Cartwright voices Bart Simpson, Nelson Muntz, Ralph Wiggum and other children.[48] Smith, the voice of Lisa Simpson, is the only cast member who regularly voices only one character, although she occasionally plays other episodic characters.[48] The producers decided to hold casting for the roles of Bart and Lisa. Smith had initially been asked to audition for the role of Bart, but casting director Bonita Pietila believed her voice was too high,[50] so she was given the role of Lisa instead.[51] Cartwright was originally brought in to voice Lisa, but upon arriving at the audition, she found that Lisa was simply described as the "middle child" and at the time did not have much personality. Cartwright became more interested in the role of Bart, who was described as "devious, underachieving, school-hating, irreverent, [and] clever".[52] Groening let her try out for the part instead, and upon hearing her read, gave her the job on the spot.[53] Cartwright is the only one of the six main Simpsons cast members who had been professionally trained in voice acting prior to working on the show.[43] Azaria and Shearer do not voice members of the title family, but play a majority of the male townspeople. Azaria, who has been a part of the Simpsons regular voice cast since the second season,[54] voices recurring characters such as Moe Szyslak, Chief Wiggum, Apu Nahasapeemapetilon and Professor Frink. Shearer provides voices for Mr. Burns, Mr. Smithers, Principal Skinner, Ned Flanders, Reverend Lovejoy and Dr. Hibbert.[48] Every main cast member has won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance.[55][56]

With one exception, episode credits list only the voice actors, and not the characters they voice. Both Fox and the production crew wanted to keep their identities secret during the early seasons and, therefore, closed most of the recording sessions while refusing to publish photos of the recording artists.[57] However, the network eventually revealed which roles each actor performed in the episode "Old Money", because the producers said the voice actors should receive credit for their work.[58] In 2003, the cast appeared in an episode of Inside the Actors Studio, doing live performances of their characters' voices.

The six main actors were paid $30,000 per episode until 1998, when they were involved in a pay dispute with Fox. The company threatened to replace them with new actors, even going as far as preparing for casting of new voices, but series creator Groening supported the actors in their action.[59] The issue was soon resolved and, from 1998 to 2004, they were paid $125,000 per episode. The show's revenue continued to rise through syndication and DVD sales, and in April 2004 the main cast stopped appearing for script readings, demanding they be paid $360,000 per episode.[60][61] The strike was resolved a month later[62] and their salaries were increased to something between $250,000[63] and $360,000 per episode.[64] In 2008, production for the twentieth season was put on hold due to new contract negotiations with the voice actors, who wanted a "healthy bump" in salary to an amount close to $500,000 per episode.[64] The negotiations were soon completed, and the actors' salary was raised to $400,000 per episode.[65] Three years later, with Fox threatening to cancel the series unless production costs were cut, the cast members accepted a 30 percent pay cut, down to just over $300,000 per episode.[66]

In addition to the main cast, Pamela Hayden, Tress MacNeille, Marcia Wallace, Maggie Roswell, and Russi Taylor voice supporting characters.[48] From 1999 to 2002, Roswell's characters were voiced by Marcia Mitzman Gaven. Karl Wiedergott has also appeared in minor roles, but does not voice any recurring characters.[67] Wiedergott left the show in 2010, and since then Chris Edgerly has appeared regularly to voice minor characters. Repeat "special guest" cast members ******* Albert Brooks, Phil Hartman, Jon Lovitz, Joe Mantegna, Maurice LaMarche, and Kelsey Grammer.[68] Following Hartman's death in 1998, the characters he voiced (Troy McClure and Lionel Hutz) were retired;[69] Wallace's character of Edna Krabappel was retired as well after her death in 2013.

Episodes will quite often feature guest voices from a wide range of professions, including actors, athletes, authors, bands, musicians and scientists. In the earlier seasons, most of the guest stars voiced characters, but eventually more started appearing as themselves. Tony Bennett was the first guest star to appear as himself, appearing briefly in the season two episode "Dancin' Homer".[70] The Simpsons holds the world record for "Most Guest Stars Featured in a Television Series".[71]

The Simpsons has been dubbed into several other languages, including Japanese, German, Spanish, and Portuguese. It is also one of the few programs dubbed in both standard French and Quebec French.[72] The show has been broadcast in Arabic, but due to Islamic customs, numerous aspects of the show have been changed. For example, Homer drinks soda instead of beer and eats Egyptian beef sausages instead of hot dogs. Because of such changes, the Arabized version of the series met with a negative reaction from the lifelong Simpsons fans in the area.[73]

Animation

Animation director David Silverman, who helped define the look of the show[27]
Several different U.S. and international studios animate The Simpsons. Throughout the run of the animated shorts on The Tracey Ullman Show, the animation was produced domestically at Klasky Csupo.[25] With the debut of the series, because of an increased workload, Fox subcontracted production to several local and foreign studios.[25] These are AKOM,[74] Anivision,[75] Rough Draft Studios,[76] USAnimation,[77] and Toonzone Entertainment.[78]

For the first three seasons, Klasky Csupo animated The Simpsons in the United States. In 1992, the show's production company, Gracie Films, switched domestic production to Film Roman,[79] who continued to animate the show until 2016. In Season 14, production switched from traditional cel animation to digital ink and paint.[80] The first episode to experiment with digital coloring was "Radioactive Man" in 1995. Animators used digital ink and paint during production of the season 12 episode "Tennis the Menace", but Gracie Films delayed the regular use of digital ink and paint until two seasons later. The already completed "Tennis the Menace" was broadcast as made.[81]

The production staff at the U.S. animation studio, Film Roman, draws storyboards, designs new characters, backgrounds, props and draws character and background layouts, which in turn become animatics to be screened for the writers at Gracie Films for any changes to be made before the work is shipped overseas. The overseas studios then draw the inbetweens, ink and paint, and render the animation to tape before it is shipped back to the United States to be delivered to Fox three to four months later.[82]

The series began high-definition production in Season 20; the first episode, "Take My Life, Please", aired February 15, 2009. The move to HDTV included a new opening sequence.[83] Matt Groening called it a complicated change because it affected the timing and composition of animation.[84]

Themes
Main articles: Media in The Simpsons, Politics in The Simpsons, and Religion in The Simpsons
The Simpsons uses the standard setup of a situational comedy, or sitcom, as its premise. The series centers on a family and their life in a typical American town,[13] serving as a satirical parody of a middle class American lifestyle.[85] However, because of its animated nature, The Simpsons' scope is larger than that of a regular sitcom. The town of Springfield acts as a complete universe in which characters can explore the issues faced by modern society. By having Homer work in a nuclear power plant, the show can comment on the state of the environment.[86] Through Bart and Lisa's days at Springfield Elementary School, the show's writers illustrate pressing or controversial issues in the field of education. The town features a vast array of media channels—from kids' television programming to local news, which enables the producers to make jokes about themselves and the entertainment industry.[87]

Some commentators say the show is political in nature and susceptible to a left-wing bias.[88] Al Jean acknowledged in an interview that "We [the show] are of liberal bent."[89] The writers often evince an appreciation for liberal ideals, but the show makes jokes across the political spectrum.[90] The show portrays government and large corporations as callous entities that take advantage of the common worker.[89] Thus, the writers often portray authority figures in an unflattering or negative light. In The Simpsons, politicians are corrupt, ministers such as Reverend Lovejoy are indifferent to churchgoers, and the local police force is incompetent.[91] Religion also figures as a recurring theme.[92] In times of crisis, the family often turns to God, and the show has dealt with most of the major religions.[93]

Hallmarks
Opening sequence
Main article: The Simpsons opening sequence
MENU0:00
The music played during the opening sequence. This piece is also known as The Simpsons Theme.
The Simpsons' opening sequence is one of the show's most memorable hallmarks. The standard opening has gone through three iterations (a replacement of some shots at the start of the second season, and a brand new sequence when the show switched to high-definition in 2009).[94]

Each has the same basic sequence of events: the camera zooms through cumulus clouds, through the show's title towards the town of Springfield. The camera then follows the members of the family on their way home. Upon entering their house, the Simpsons settle down on their couch to watch television. The original opening was created by David Silverman, and was the first task he did when production began on the show.[95] The series' distinctive theme song was composed by musician Danny Elfman in 1989, after Groening approached him requesting a retro style piece. This piece has been noted by Elfman as the most popular of his career.[96]

One of the most distinctive aspects of the opening is that three of its elements change from episode to episode: Bart writes different things on the school chalkboard,[95] Lisa plays different solos on her saxophone and different gags accompany the family as they enter their living room to sit on the couch.[97]

Halloween episodes
Main article: Treehouse of Horror

Bart Simpson introducing a segment of "Treehouse of Horror IV" in the manner of Rod Serling's Night Gallery
The special Halloween episode has become an annual tradition. "Treehouse of Horror" first broadcast in 1990 as part of season two and established the pattern of three separate, self-contained stories in each Halloween episode.[98] These pieces usually involve the family in some horror, science fiction, or supernatural setting and often parody or pay homage to a famous piece of work in those genres.[99] They always take place outside the normal continuity of the show. Although the Treehouse series is meant to be seen on Halloween, this changed by the 2000s, when new installments have premiered after Halloween due to Fox's current contract with Major League Baseball's World Series,[100] however, since 2011, every Treehouse of Horror episode has aired in October.

Humor
The show's humor turns on cultural references that cover a wide spectrum of society so that viewers from all generations can enjoy the show. Such references, for example, come from movies, television, music, literature, science, and history.[101] 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 fleeting that they become apparent only by pausing a video recording of the show.[102] 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."[103]

One of Bart's early hallmarks 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 prank calls known as the Tube Bar recordings, though Groening has denied any causal connection.[104] Moe was based partly on Tube Bar owner Louis "Red" Deutsch, whose often profane responses inspired Moe's violent side.[105] As the series progressed, it became more difficult for the writers to come up with a fake name and to write Moe's angry response, and the pranks were dropped as a regular joke during the fourth season.[106][107] The Simpsons also often includes self-referential humor.[108] The most common form is jokes about Fox Broadcasting.[109] 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.[110][111]

The show uses catchphrases, and most of the primary and secondary characters have at least one each.[112] Notable expressions ******* Homer's annoyed grunt "D'oh!", Mr. Burns' "Excellent" and Nelson Muntz's "Ha-ha!" Some of Bart's catchphrases, such as "¡Ay, caramba!", "Don't have a cow, man!" and "Eat my shorts!" appeared on T-shirts in the show's early days.[113] However, Bart rarely used the latter two phrases until after they became popular through the 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."[114]

Foreshadowing of actual events
The Simpsons has gained notoriety for including jokes that would eventually 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 would successfully run for the position.[115] Another episode, "When You Dish Upon a Star", lampooned 20th Century Fox as a division of The Walt Disney Company. Nineteen years later, Disney indeed made a deal to purchase the studio from Rupert Murdoch.[116] Other examples of The Simpsons predicting the future with accuracy ******* the introduction of the Smartwatch and autocorrection technology, and even Lady Gaga's acrobatic performance at the Super Bowl LI halftime show.[117]

Influence and legacy
Idioms
A number of neologisms that originated on The Simpsons have entered popular vernacular.[118][119] Mark Liberman, director of the Linguistic Data Consortium, remarked, "The Simpsons has apparently taken over from Shakespeare and the Bible as our culture's greatest source of idioms, catchphrases and sundry other textual allusions."[119] The most famous catchphrase is Homer's annoyed grunt: "D'oh!" So ubiquitous is the expression that it is now listed in the Oxford English Dictionary, but without the apostrophe.[120] Dan Castellaneta says he borrowed the phrase from James Finlayson, an actor in many Laurel and Hardy comedies, who pronounced it in a more elongated and whining tone. The staff of The Simpsons told Castellaneta to shorten the noise, and it went on to become the well-known exclamation in the television series.[121]

Groundskeeper Willie's description of the French as "cheese-eating surrender monkeys" was used by National Review columnist Jonah Goldberg in 2003, after France's opposition to the proposed invasion of Iraq. The phrase quickly spread to other journalists.[119][122] "Cromulent" and "embiggen", words used in "Lisa the Iconoclast", have since appeared in the Dictionary.com's 21st Century Lexicon,[123] and scientific journals respectively.[119][124] "Kwyjibo", a fake Scrabble word invented by Bart in "Bart the Genius", was used as one of the aliases of the creator of the Melissa worm.[125] "I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords", was used by Kent Brockman in "Deep Space Homer" and has become a common phrase.[126] Variants of Brockman's utterance are used to express obsequious submission. It has been used in media, such as New Scientist magazine.[127] The dismissive term "Meh", believed to have been popularized by the show,[119][128][129] entered the Collins English Dictionary in 2008.[130] Other words credited as stemming from the show ******* "yoink" and "craptacular".[119]

The Oxford Dictionary of Modern Quotations includes several quotations from the show. As well as "cheese-eating surrender monkeys", Homer's lines, "Kids, you tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is never try", from "Burns' Heir" (season five, 1994) as well as "Kids are the best, Apu. You can teach them to hate the things you hate. And they practically raise themselves, what with the Internet and all", from "Eight Misbehavin'" (season 11, 1999), entered the dictionary in August 2007.[131]

Television
The Simpsons was the first successful animated program in American prime time since Wait Till Your Father Gets Home in the 1970s.[132] During most of the 1980s, US pundits considered animated shows as appropriate only for children, and animating a show was too expensive to achieve a quality suitable for prime-time television. The Simpsons changed this perception,[25] initially leading to a short period where networks attempted to recreate prime-time cartoon success with shows like Capitol Critters, Fish Police, and Family Dog, which were expensive and unsuccessful.[133] The Simpsons' use of Korean animation studios for tweening, coloring, and filming made the episodes cheaper. The success of The Simpsons and the lower production cost prompted US television networks to take chances on other adult animated series.[25] This development led US producers to a 1990s boom in new, animated prime-time shows for adults, such as South Park, Family Guy, King of the Hill, Futurama and The Critic.[25] For Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane, "The Simpsons created an audience for prime-time animation that had not been there for many, many years ... As far as I'm concerned, they basically re-invented the wheel. They created what is in many ways—you could classify it as—a wholly new medium."[134]

The Simpsons has had crossovers with four other shows. In the episode "A Star Is Burns", Marge invites Jay Sherman, the main character of The Critic, to be a judge for a film festival in Springfield. Matt Groening had his name removed from the episode since he had no involvement with The Critic.[135] South Park later paid homage to The Simpsons with the episode "Simpsons Already Did It".[136] In "Simpsorama", the Planet Express crew from Futurama come to Springfield in the present to prevent the Simpsons from destroying the future.[137] In the Family Guy episode "The Simpsons Guy", the Griffins visit Springfield and meet the Simpsons.[138]

The Simpsons has also influenced live-action shows like Malcolm in the Middle, which featured the use of sight gags and did not use a laugh track unlike most sitcoms.[139][140] Malcolm in the Middle debuted January 9, 2000, in the time slot after The Simpsons. Ricky Gervais called The Simpsons an influence on The Office,[141] and fellow British sitcom Spaced was, according to its director Edgar Wright, "an attempt to do a live-action The Simpsons."[142] In Georgia, the animated television sitcom The Samsonadzes, launched in November 2009, has been noted for its very strong resemblance with The Simpsons, which its creator Shalva Ramishvili has acknowledged.[143][144][145]

Reception and achievements
Season No. of
episodes Originally aired Viewership
Season premiere Season finale Time Slot (ET) Avg. viewers
(in millions) Most watched episode
Viewers
(millions) Episode Title
1 1989–90 13 December 17, 1989 May 13, 1990 Sunday 8:30 PM 27.8 33.5 "Life on the Fast Lane"
2 1990–91 22 October 11, 1990 July 11, 1991 Thursday 8:00 PM 24.4 33.6 "Bart Gets an F"
3 1991–92 24 September 19, 1991 August 27, 1992 21.8 25.5 "Colonel Homer"
4 1992–93 22 September 24, 1992 May 13, 1993 22.4 28.6 "Lisa's First Word"
5 1993–94 22 September 30, 1993 May 19, 1994 18.9 24.0 "Treehouse of Horror IV"
6 1994–95 25 September 4, 1994 May 21, 1995 Sunday 8:00 PM 15.6 22.2 "Treehouse of Horror V"
7 1995–96 25 September 17, 1995 May 19, 1996 15.1 19.7 "Treehouse of Horror VI"
8 1996–97 25 October 27, 1996 May 18, 1997 Sunday 8:30 PM (Episodes 1–3)
Sunday 8:00 PM (Episodes 4–25) 14.5 20.9 "The Springfield Files"
9 1997–98 25 September 21, 1997 May 17, 1998 Sunday 8:00 PM 16.3 19.8 "The Two Mrs. Nahasapeemapetilons"
10 1998–99 23 August 23, 1998 May 16, 1999 13.5 15.5 "Maximum Homerdrive"
11 1999–2000 22 September 26, 1999 May 21, 2000 8.8 18.4 "The Mansion Family"
12 2000–01 21 November 1, 2000 May 20, 2001 15.5 18.6 "Worst Episode Ever"
13 2001–02 22 November 6, 2001 May 22, 2002 Tuesday 8:30 PM (Episode 1)
Sunday 8:00 PM (Episodes 2–20)
Sunday 7:30 PM (Episode 21)
Wednesday 8:00 PM (Episode 22) 12.5 14.9 "The Parent Rap"
14 2002–03 22 November 3, 2002 May 18, 2003 Sunday 8:00 PM (Episodes 1–11, 13–21)
Sunday 8:30 PM (Episodes 12, 22) 14.4 22.1 "I'm Spelling as Fast as I Can"
15 2003–04 22 November 2, 2003 May 23, 2004 Sunday 8:00 PM 11.0 16.3 "I, (Annoyed Grunt)-Bot"
16 2004–05 21 November 7, 2004 May 15, 2005 Sunday 8:00 PM (Episodes 1–7, 9–16, 18, 20)
Sunday 10:30 PM (Episode 8)
Sunday 8:30 PM (Episodes 17, 19, 21) 10.2 23.07 "Homer and Ned's Hail Mary Pass"
17 2005–06 22 September 11, 2005 May 21, 2006 Sunday 8:00 PM 9.55 11.63 "Treehouse of Horror XVI"
18 2006–07 22 September 10, 2006 May 20, 2007 9.15 13.90 "The Wife Aquatic"
19 2007–08 20 September 23, 2007 May 18, 2008 8.37 11.7 "Treehouse of Horror XVIII"
20 2008–09 21 September 28, 2008 May 17, 2009 7.1 12.4 "Treehouse of Horror XIX"
21 2009–10 23 September 27, 2009 May 23, 2010 7.1 14.62 "Once Upon a Time in Springfield"
22 2010–11 22 September 26, 2010 May 22, 2011 7.09 12.6 "Moms I'd Like to Forget"
23 2011–12 22 September 25, 2011 May 20, 2012 6.15[146] 11.48 "The D'oh-cial Network"
24 2012–13 22 September 30, 2012 May 19, 2013 5.41[147] 8.97 "Homer Goes to Prep School"
25 2013–14 22 September 29, 2013 May 18, 2014 5.02[148] 12.04 "Steal This Episode"
26 2014–15 22 September 28, 2014 May 17, 2015 5.61[149] 10.62 "The Man Who Came to Be Dinner"
27 2015–16 22 September 27, 2015 May 22, 2016 4.0[150] 8.33 "Teenage Mutant Milk-Caused Hurdles"
28 2016–17 22 September 25, 2016 May 21, 2017 4.80[151] 8.19 "Pork and Burns"
29 2017–18 21 October 1, 2017 May 20, 2018 4.07[152] 8.04 "Frink Gets Testy"
Early success
The Simpsons was the Fox network's first television series to rank among a season's top 30 highest-rated shows.[153] In 1990, Bart quickly became one of the most popular characters on television in what was termed "Bartmania".[154][155][156][157] He became the most prevalent Simpsons character on memorabilia, such as T-shirts. In the early 1990s, millions of T-shirts featuring Bart were sold;[158] as many as one million were sold on some days.[159] Believing Bart to be a bad role model, several American public schools banned T-shirts featuring Bart next to captions such as "I'm Bart Simpson. Who the hell are you?" and "Underachiever ('And proud of it, man!')".[160][161][162] The Simpsons merchandise sold well and generated $2 billion in revenue during the first 14 months of sales.[160] Because of his popularity, Bart was often the most promoted member of the Simpson family in advertisements for the show, even for episodes in which he was not involved in the main plot.[163]

Due to the show's success, over the summer of 1990 the Fox Network decided to switch The Simpsons' time slot so that it would move from 8:00 p.m. ET on Sunday night to the same time on Thursday, where it would compete with The Cosby Show on NBC, the number one show at the time.[164][165] Through the summer, several news outlets published stories about the supposed "Bill vs. Bart" rivalry.[159][164] "Bart Gets an F" (season two, 1990) was the first episode to air against The Cosby Show, and it received a lower Nielsen ratings, tying for eighth behind The Cosby Show, which had an 18.5 rating. The rating is based on the number of household televisions that were tuned into the show, but Nielsen Media Research estimated that 33.6 million viewers watched the episode, making it the number one show in terms of actual viewers that week. At the time, it was the most watched episode in the history of the Fox Network,[166] and it is still the highest rated episode in the history of The Simpsons.[167] The show moved back to its Sunday slot in 1994 and has remained there ever since.[168]

The Simpsons has received overwhelmingly positive reviews from critics, and it has been noted for being described as "the most irreverent and unapologetic show on the air."[169] In a 1990 review of the show, Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly described it as "the American family at its most complicated, drawn as simple cartoons. It's this neat paradox that makes millions of people turn away from the three big networks on Sunday nights to concentrate on The Simpsons."[170] Tucker would also describe the show as a "pop-cultural phenomenon, a prime-time cartoon show that appeals to the entire family."[171]

Run length achievements
On February 9, 1997, The Simpsons surpassed The Flintstones with the episode "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show" as the longest-running prime-time animated series in the United States.[172] In 2004, The Simpsons replaced The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet (1952 to 1966) as the longest-running sitcom (animated or live action) in the United States.[173] In 2009, The Simpsons surpassed The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet's record of 435 episodes and is now recognized by Guinness World Records as the world's longest running sitcom (in terms of episode count).[174][175] In October 2004, Scooby-Doo briefly overtook The Simpsons as the American animated show with the highest number of episodes (albeit under several different iterations).[176] However, network executives in April 2005 again cancelled Scooby-Doo, which finished with 371 episodes, and The Simpsons reclaimed the title with 378 episodes at the end of their seventeenth season.[177] In May 2007, The Simpsons reached their 400th episode at the end of the eighteenth season. While The Simpsons has the record for the number of episodes by an American animated show, other animated series have surpassed The Simpsons.[178] For example, the Japanese anime series Sazae-san has over 7,000 episodes to its credit.[178]

In 2009, Fox began a year-long celebration of the show titled "Best. 20 Years. Ever." to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the premiere of The Simpsons. One of the first parts of the celebration is the "Unleash Your Yellow" contest in which entrants must design a poster for the show.[179] The celebration ended on January 10, 2010 (almost 20 years after "Bart the Genius" aired on January 14, 1990), with The Simpsons 20th Anniversary Special – In 3-D! On Ice!, a documentary special by documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock that examines the "cultural phenomenon of The Simpsons".[180][181]

As of the twenty-first season (2009–2010), The Simpsons became the longest-running American scripted primetime television series, having surpassed Gunsmoke. On April 29, 2018, The Simpsons also surpassed Gunsmoke's 635-episode count with the episode "Forgive and Regret."[173][182]

Awards and accolades
Main article: List of awards and nominations received by The Simpsons

The Simpsons has been awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
The Simpsons has won dozens of awards since it debuted as a series, including 31 Primetime Emmy Awards,[71] 30 Annie Awards[183] and a Peabody Award.[184] In a 1999 issue celebrating the 20th century's greatest achievements in arts and entertainment, Time magazine named The Simpsons the century's best television series.[185] In that same issue, Time included Bart Simpson in the Time 100, the publication's list of the century's 100 most influential people.[186] Bart was the only fictional character on the list. On January 14, 2000, the Simpsons were awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.[187] Also in 2000, Entertainment Weekly magazine TV critic Ken Tucker named The Simpsons the greatest television show of the 1990s. Furthermore, viewers of the UK television channel Channel 4 have voted The Simpsons at the top of two polls: 2001's 100 Greatest Kids' TV shows,[188] and 2005's The 100 Greatest Cartoons,[189] with Homer Simpson voted into first place in 2001's 100 Greatest TV Characters.[190] Homer would also place ninth on Entertainment Weekly's list of the "50 Greatest TV icons".[191] In 2002, The Simpsons ranked #8 on TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time,[192] and in 2007 it was included in Time's list of the "100 Best TV Shows of All Time".[193] In 2008 the show was placed in first on Entertainment Weekly's "Top 100 Shows of the Past 25 Years".[194] Empire named it the greatest TV show of all time.[195] In 2010, Entertainment Weekly named Homer "the greatest character of the last 20 years",[196] while in 2013 the Writers Guild of America listed The Simpsons as the 11th "best written" series in television history.[197] In 2013, TV Guide ranked The Simpsons as the greatest TV cartoon of all time[198] and the tenth greatest show of all time.[199] Television critics Alan Sepinwall and Matt Zoller Seitz ranked The Simpsons as the greatest American TV series of all time in their 2016 book TV (The Book).[200]

Criticism
Controversy
Bart's rebellious, bad boy nature, which underlies his misbehavior and rarely leads to any punishment, led some people to characterize him as a poor role model for children.[201][202] In schools, educators claimed that Bart was a "threat to learning" because of his "underachiever and proud of it" attitude and negative attitude regarding his education.[203] Others described him as "egotistical, aggressive and mean-spirited".[204] In a 1991 interview, Bill Cosby described Bart as a bad role model for children, calling him "angry, confused, frustrated". In response, Matt Groening said, "That sums up Bart, all right. Most people are in a struggle to be normal [and] he thinks normal is very boring, and does things that others just wished they dare do."[205] On January 27, 1992, then-President George H. W. Bush said, "We are going to keep on trying to strengthen the American family, to make American families a lot more like the Waltons and a lot less like the Simpsons."[160] The writers rushed out a tongue-in-cheek reply in the form of a short segment which aired three days later before a rerun of "Stark Raving Dad" in which Bart replied, "Hey, we're just like the Waltons. We're praying for an end to the Depression, too."[206][207]

Various episodes of the show have generated controversy. The Simpsons visit Australia in "Bart vs. Australia" (season six, 1995) and Brazil in "Blame It on Lisa" (season 13, 2002) and both episodes generated controversy and negative reaction in the visited countries.[208] In the latter case, Rio de Janeiro's tourist board—which claimed that the city was portrayed as having rampant street crime, kidnappings, slums, and monkey and rat infestations—went so far as to threaten Fox with legal action.[209] Groening was a fierce and vocal critic of the episode "A Star Is Burns" (season six, 1995) which featured a crossover with The Critic. He felt that it was just an advertisement for The Critic, and that people would incorrectly associate the show with him. When he was unsuccessful in getting the episode pulled, he had his name removed from the credits and went public with his concerns, openly criticizing James L. Brooks and saying the episode "violates the Simpsons' universe." In response, Brooks said, "I am furious with Matt, ... he's allowed his opinion, but airing this publicly in the press is going too far. ... his behavior right now is rotten."[135][210]

"The Principal and the Pauper" (season nine, 1997) is one of the most controversial episodes of The Simpsons. Many fans and critics reacted negatively to the revelation that Seymour Skinner, a recurring character since the first season, was an impostor. The episode has been criticized by Groening and by Harry Shearer, who provides the voice of Skinner. In a 2001 interview, Shearer recalled that after reading the script, he told the writers, "That's so wrong. You're taking something that an audience has built eight years or nine years of investment in and just tossed it in the trash can for no good reason, for a story we've done before with other characters. It's so arbitrary and gratuitous, and it's disrespectful to the audience."[211]

Ban
The show has reportedly been taken off the air in several countries. China banned it from prime-time television in August 2006, "in an effort to protect China's struggling animation studios."[212] In 2008, Venezuela barred the show from airing on morning television as it was deemed "unsuitable for children".[213] The same year, several Russian Pentecostal churches demanded that The Simpsons, South Park and some other Western cartoons be removed from broadcast schedules "for propaganda of various vices" and the broadcaster's license to be revoked. However, the court decision later dismissed this request.[214]

Declining quality

Chart by fan Sol Harris showing the decline in quality of the show from Season 1 to Season 28[215]
Critics' reviews of early Simpsons episodes praised the show for its sassy humor, wit, realism, and intelligence.[29][216] However, in the late 1990s, around the airing of season 10, the tone and emphasis of the show began to change. Some critics started calling the show "tired".[217] By 2000, some long-term fans had become disillusioned with the show, and pointed to its shift from character-driven plots to what they perceived as an overemphasis on zany antics.[218][219][220] Jim Schembri of The Sydney Morning Herald attributed the decline in quality to an abandonment of character-driven storylines in favor of and overuse of celebrity cameo appearances and references to popular culture. Schembri wrote: "The central tragedy of The Simpsons is that it has gone from commanding attention to merely being attention-seeking. It began by proving that cartoon characters don't have to be caricatures; they can be invested with real emotions. Now the show has in essence fermented into a limp parody of itself. Memorable story arcs have been sacrificed for the sake of celebrity walk-ons and punchline-hungry dialogue."[221]

In 2010, the BBC noted "the common consensus is that The Simpsons' golden era ended after season nine",[8] and Todd Leopold of CNN, in an article looking at its perceived decline, stated "for many fans ... the glory days are long past."[220] Similarly, Tyler Wilson of Coeur d'Alene Press has referred to seasons one to nine as the show's "golden age",[7] and Ian Nathan of Empire described the show's classic era as being "say, the first ten seasons."[9] Jon Heacock of LucidWorks stated that "for the first ten years [seasons], the show was consistently at the top of its game", with "so many moments, quotations, and references – both epic and obscure – that helped turn the Simpson family into the cultural icons that they remain to this day."[10]

Mike Scully, who was showrunner during seasons nine through twelve, has been the subject of criticism.[222][223] Chris Suellentrop of Slate wrote that "under Scully's tenure, The Simpsons became, well, a cartoon ... Episodes that once would have ended with Homer and Marge bicycling into the sunset now end with Homer blowing a tranquilizer dart into Marge's neck. The show's still funny, but it hasn't been touching in years."[222] When asked in 2007 how the series' longevity is sustained, Scully joked: "Lower your quality standards. Once you've done that you can go on forever."[224]

Al Jean, showrunner since season thirteen, has also been the subject of criticism, with some arguing that the show has continued to decline in quality under his tenure. Former writers have complained that under Jean, the show is "on auto-pilot", "too sentimental", and the episodes are "just being cranked out." Some critics believe that the show has "entered a steady decline under Jean and is no longer really funny."[225] John Ortved, author of The Simpsons: An Uncensored, Unauthorized History, characterized the Jean era as "toothless",[226] and criticized what he perceived as the show's increase in social and political commentary.[227] Jean responded: "Well, it's possible that we've declined. But honestly, I've been here the whole time and I do remember in season two people saying, 'It's gone downhill.' If we'd listened to that then we would have stopped after episode 13. I'm glad we didn't."[228]

In 2004, Harry Shearer criticized what he perceived as the show's declining quality: "I rate the last three seasons as among the worst, so season four looks very good to me now."[229] Dan Castellaneta responded: "I don't agree, ... I think Harry's issue is that the show isn't as grounded as it was in the first three or four seasons, that it's gotten crazy or a little more madcap. I think it organically changes to stay fresh."[230] Also in 2004 author Douglas Coupland described claims of declining quality in the series as "hogwash", saying "The Simpsons hasn't fumbled the ball in fourteen years, it's hardly likely to fumble it now."[231] In an April 2006 interview, Groening said: "I honestly don't see any end in sight. I think it's possible that the show will become too financially cumbersome ... but right now, the show is creatively, I think, as good or better than it's ever been. The animation is incredibly detailed and imaginative, and the stories do things that we haven't done before. So creatively there's no reason to quit."[232]

In 2016, popular culture writer Anna Leszkiewicz suggested that even though The Simpsons still holds cultural relevance, contemporary appeal is only for the first ten seasons, with recent episodes only garnering mainstream attention when a favorite character from the golden era is killed off, or when new information and shock twists are given for old characters.[233] The series' ratings have also declined; while the first season enjoyed an average of 13.4 million viewing households per episode in the U.S.,[153] the twenty-first season had an average of 7.2 million viewers.[234]

Alan Sepinwall and Matt Zoller Seitz argued in their 2016 book titled TV (The Book) that the peak of The Simpsons are "roughly seasons [three through twelve]", and that despite the decline, episodes from the later seasons such as "Eternal Moonshine of the Simpson Mind" and "Holidays of Future Passed" could be considered on par with the earlier classic episodes, further stating that "even if you want to call the show today a thin shadow of its former self, think about how mind-boggingly great its former self had to be for so-diminished a version to be watchable at all."[235][236]

Apu controversy
Further information: Apu Nahasapeemapetilon § Accusations of racial stereotyping
The stereotypical nature of the character Apu Nahasapeemapetilon has long been the subject of controversy. This was particularly highlighted by Indian-American comedian Hari Kondabolu's 2017 documentary The Problem with Apu. In the film, Kondabolu states that as a child he was a fan of The Simpsons and liked Apu, but he now finds the character's stereotypical nature troublesome. Defenders of the character responded that the show is built on comical stereotypes, with creator Matt Groening saying, "that's the nature of cartooning."[237] He added that he was "proud of what we do on the show", and "it's a time in our culture where people love to pretend they're offended".[238] In response to the controversy, Apu's voice actor, Hank Azaria, said he was willing to step aside from his role as Apu: "The most important thing is to listen to South Asian people, Indian people in this country when they talk about what they feel and how they think about this character."[239]

The criticisms were referenced in the Season 29 episode "No Good Read Goes Unpunished", when Lisa breaks the fourth wall and addresses the audience by saying, "Something that started decades ago and was applauded and inoffensive is now politically incorrect. What can you do?" to which Marge replies, "Some things will be addressed at a later date." Lisa adds, "If at all." This reference was clarified by the fact that there was a framed photo of Apu with the caption on the photo saying "Don't have a cow, Apu", a play on Bart's catchphrase "Don't have a cow, man," as well as the fact that Hindus do not eat cows as they are considered sacred. In October 2018, it was reported that Apu would be written out of the show.[240]

The media
Main article: The Simpsons (franchise)
Comic books
Main article: List of The Simpsons comics
Numerous Simpson-related comic books have been released over the years. So far, nine comic book series have been published by Bongo Comics since 1993.[241] The first comic strips based on The Simpsons appeared in 1991 in the magazine Simpsons Illustrated, which was a companion magazine to the show.[242] The comic strips were popular and a one-shot comic book titled Simpsons Comics and Stories, containing four different stories, was released in 1993 for the fans.[243] The book was a success and due to this, the creator of The Simpsons, Matt Groening, and his companions Bill Morrison, Mike Rote, Steve Vance and Cindy Vance created the publishing company Bongo Comics.[243] Issues of Simpsons Comics, Bart Simpson's Treehouse of Horror and Bart Simpson have been collected and reprinted in trade paperbacks in the United States by HarperCollins.[244][245][246]

Film
Main article: The Simpsons Movie

A Seattle 7-Eleven store transformed into a Kwik-E-Mart as part of a promotion for The Simpsons Movie.
20th Century Fox, Gracie Films, and Film Roman produced The Simpsons Movie, an animated film that was released on July 27, 2007.[247] The film was directed by long-time Simpsons producer David Silverman and written by a team of Simpsons writers comprising Matt Groening, James L. Brooks, Al Jean, George Meyer, Mike Reiss, John Swartzwelder, Jon Vitti, David Mirkin, Mike Scully, Matt Selman, and Ian Maxtone-Graham.[247] Production of the film occurred alongside continued writing of the series despite long-time claims by those involved in the show that a film would enter production only after the series had concluded.[247] There had been talk of a possible feature-length Simpsons film ever since the early seasons of the series. James L. Brooks originally thought that the story of the episode "Kamp Krusty" was suitable for a film, but he encountered difficulties in trying to expand the script to feature-length.[248] For a long time, difficulties such as lack of a suitable story and an already fully engaged crew of writers delayed the project.[232]

On August 10, 2018, 20th Century Fox announced that a sequel is in development.[249]

Music
Main article: The Simpsons discography
Collections of original music featured in the series have been released on the albums Songs in the Key of Springfield, Go Simpsonic with The Simpsons and The Simpsons: Testify.[250] Several songs have been recorded with the purpose of a single or album release and have not been featured on the show. The album The Simpsons Sing the Blues was released in September 1990 and was a success, peaking at #3 on the Billboard 200[251] and becoming certified 2× platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.[252] The first single from the album was the pop rap song "Do the Bartman", performed by Nancy Cartwright and released on November 20, 1990. The song was written by Michael Jackson, although he did not receive any credit.[253] The Yellow Album was released in 1998, but received poor reception and did not chart in any country.[254][255][256]

The Simpsons Ride
Main article: The Simpsons Ride

The Simpsons Ride at Universal Studios Florida.
In 2007, it was officially announced that The Simpsons Ride, a simulator ride, would be implemented into the Universal Studios Orlando and Universal Studios Hollywood.[257] It officially opened May 15, 2008 in Florida[258] and May 19, 2008, in Hollywood.[259] In the ride, patrons are introduced to a cartoon theme park called Krustyland built by Krusty the Clown. However, Sideshow Bob is loose from prison to get revenge on Krusty and the Simpson family.[260] It features more than 24 regular characters from The Simpsons and features the voices of the regular cast members, as well as Pamela Hayden, Russi Taylor and Kelsey Grammer.[261] Harry Shearer did not participate in the ride, so none of his characters have vocal parts.[262]

Video games
Further information: List of The Simpsons video games
Numerous video games based on the show have been produced. Some of the early games ******* Konami's arcade game The Simpsons (1991) and Acclaim Entertainment's The Simpsons: Bart vs. the Space Mutants (1991).[263][264] More modern games ******* The Simpsons: Road Rage (2001), The Simpsons: Hit & Run (2003) and The Simpsons Game (2007).[265][266][267] Electronic Arts, which produced The Simpsons Game, has owned the exclusive rights to create video games based on the show since 2005.[268] In 2010, they released a game called The Simpsons Arcade for iOS.[269] Another EA-produced mobile game, Tapped Out, was released in 2012 for iOS users, then in 2013 for Android and Kindle users.[270][271][272] Two Simpsons pinball machines have been produced: one that was available briefly after the first season, and another in 2007, both out of production.[273]

Syndication and streaming availability
The cable television network FXX has exclusive cable and digital syndication rights for The Simpsons. Original contracts had previously stated that syndication rights for The Simpsons would not be sold to cable until the series conclusion, at a time when cable syndication deals were highly rare. The series has been syndicated to local broadcast stations in nearly all markets throughout the United States since September 1993.[274]

FXX premiered The Simpsons on their network on August 21, 2014 by starting a twelve-day marathon which featured the first 552 episodes (every single episode that had already been released at the time) aired chronologically, including The Simpsons Movie, which FX Networks had already owned the rights to air. It was the longest continuous marathon in the history of television (until VH1 Classic aired a 433-hour, nineteen-day, marathon of Saturday Night Live in 2015; celebrating that program's 40th anniversary).[275][276] The first day of the marathon was the highest rated broadcast day in the history of the network so far, the ratings more than tripled that those of regular prime time programming for FXX.[277] Ratings during the first six nights of the marathon grew night after night, with the network ranking within the top 5 networks in basic cable each night.[278]

On October 21, 2014, a digital service courtesy of the FXNOW app, called Simpsons World, launched. Simpsons World has every episode of the series accessible to authenticated FX subscribers, and is available on game consoles such as Xbox One, streaming devices such as Roku and Apple TV, and online via web browser.[279][280] There was early criticism of both wrong aspect ratios for earlier episodes and the length of commercial breaks on the streaming service, but there are now fewer commercial breaks during individual episodes.[281] Later it was announced that Simpsons World would now let users watch all of the SD episodes in their original format.[282]

In July 2017, all episodes were made available for purchase on the iTunes Store, in the United States.

Merchandise
See also: List of The Simpsons books and List of The Simpsons home video releases
The popularity of The Simpsons has made it a billion-dollar merchandising industry.[160] The title family and supporting characters appear on everything from T-shirts to posters. The Simpsons has been used as a theme for special editions of well-known board games, including Clue, Scrabble, Monopoly, Operation, and The Game of Life, as well as the trivia games What Would Homer Do? and Simpsons Jeopardy!. Several card games such as trump cards and The Simpsons Trading Card Game have also been released. Many official or unofficial Simpsons books such as episode guides have been published. Many episodes of the show have been released on DVD and VHS over the years. When the first season DVD was released in 2001, it quickly became the best-selling television DVD in history, although it was later overtaken by the first season of Chappelle's Show.[283] In particular, seasons one through seventeen have been released on DVD in the U.S. (Region 1), Europe (Region 2) and Australia/New Zealand/Latin America (Region 4). However, on April 19, 2015, Al Jean announced that the Season 17 DVD would be the last one ever produced, leaving the collection from Season 1 to 17, Season 20 (released out of schedule in 2009), with Seasons 18, 19, and 21 onwards unreleased.[284][285] Jean also stated that the deleted scenes and commentary would try to be released to the Simpsons World app, and that they were pushing for Simpsons World to be expanded outside of the U.S.[284] Two years later, however, on July 22, 2017, it was announced that Season 18 would be released on December 5, 2017 on DVD.

In 2003, about 500 companies around the world were licensed to use Simpsons characters in their advertising.[286] As a promotion for The Simpsons Movie, twelve 7-Eleven stores were transformed into Kwik-E-Marts and sold The Simpsons related products. These included "Buzz Cola", "Krusty-O" cereal, pink doughnuts with sprinkles, and "Squishees".[287]

In 2008 consumers around the world spent $750 million on merchandise related to The Simpsons, with half of the amount originating from the United States. By 2009, 20th Century Fox had greatly increased merchandising efforts.[288] On April 9, 2009, the United States Postal Service unveiled a series of five 44-cent stamps featuring Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie, to commemorate the show's twentieth anniversary.[289] The Simpsons is the first television series still in production to receive this recognition.[290][291] The stamps, designed by Matt Groening, were made available for purchase on May 7, 2009.[292] Approximately one billion were printed, but only 318 million were sold, costing the Postal Service $1.2 million.[293][294]

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The Simpsons
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This article is about the television show. For the franchise, see The Simpsons (franchise). For other uses, see The Simpsons (disambiguation).
The Simpsons
The Simpsons Logo.svg
Simpsons FamilyPicture.png
The Simpson family. From left to right: Bart, Marge, Santa's Little Helper (dog), Maggie, Homer, Lisa, and Snowball II (cat).
Genre Animated sitcom
Created by Matt Groening
Based on "The Simpsons" shorts
by Matt Groening
Developed by
James L. Brooks
Matt Groening
Sam Simon
Voices of
Dan Castellaneta
Julie Kavner
Nancy Cartwright
Yeardley Smith
Hank Azaria
Harry Shearer
(Complete list)
Theme music composer Danny Elfman
Opening theme "The Simpsons Theme"
Composer(s) Richard Gibbs (1989–90)
Arthur B. Rubinstein (1990)
Ray Colcord (1990: "Dead Putting Society)"
Alf Clausen (1990–2017)
Bleeding Fingers Music (2017–present)
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 30
No. of episodes 649 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
List of exec. producers[show]
Running time 21–24 minutes
Production company(s) Gracie Films (1989–present)
20th Century Fox Television
Klasky Csupo (1989–1992)
Film Roman (1992–2016)
Fox Television Animation (2016–present)
The Curiosity Company (2015–present, uncredited)
AKOM
Rough Draft Studios
Distributor 20th Television
Release
Original network Fox
Picture format 480i/576i (4:3 SDTV) (1989–2009)
1080i (16:9 HDTV) (2009–present)
Audio format Stereo (1989–1991)
Dolby Surround 2.0 (1991–2009)
Dolby Digital 5.1 (DVD, broadcast 2009–present)
Original release December 17, 1989 – present
Chronology
Preceded by The Simpsons shorts from The Tracey Ullman Show
External links
Official website
The Simpsons is an American animated sitcom created by Matt Groening for the Fox Broadcasting Company.[1][2][3] The series is a satirical depiction of working-class 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 culture and society, television, 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. Groening created a dysfunctional family and named the characters after his own family members, substituting Bart for his own name. 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 (1989–90).

Since its debut on December 17, 1989, 649 episodes of The Simpsons have been broadcast. It is the longest-running American sitcom, and the longest-running American scripted primetime television series in terms of seasons and number of episodes. The Simpsons Movie, a feature-length film, was released in theaters worldwide on July 27, 2007, and grossed over $527 million. Then on October 30, 2007, a video game was released. Currently, The Simpsons is on its thirtieth season, which aired September 30, 2018.[4][5] The Simpsons will be renewed for a thirty-first season, with Al Jean completing a Treehouse of Horror XXIX script, though the date has yet to be announced.[6]

The Simpsons received acclaim throughout its first nine[7][8] or ten[9][10] seasons, which are generally considered its "Golden Age". Time named it the 20th century's best television series,[11] and Erik Adams of The A.V. Club named it "television's crowning achievement regardless of format".[12] 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 31 Primetime Emmy Awards, 30 Annie Awards, and a Peabody Award. 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. However, it has also been criticized for a perceived decline in quality over the years.


Contents
1 Premise
1.1 Characters
1.2 Continuity and the floating timeline
1.3 Setting
2 Production
2.1 Development
2.2 Executive producers and showrunners
2.3 Writing
2.4 Voice actors
2.5 Animation
3 Themes
4 Hallmarks
4.1 Opening sequence
4.2 Halloween episodes
4.3 Humor
4.3.1 Foreshadowing of actual events
5 Influence and legacy
5.1 Idioms
5.2 Television
6 Reception and achievements
6.1 Early success
6.2 Run length achievements
6.3 Awards and accolades
6.4 Criticism
6.4.1 Controversy
6.4.2 Ban
6.4.3 Declining quality
6.4.4 Apu controversy
7 The media
7.1 Comic books
7.2 Film
7.3 Music
7.4 The Simpsons Ride
7.5 Video games
8 Syndication and streaming availability
9 Merchandise
10 References
10.1 Notes
10.2 Bibliography
11 Further reading
12 External links
Premise
Characters
Main article: List of The Simpsons characters
The Simpsons is known for its wide ensemble of main and supporting characters.

The main characters are the Simpson family, who live in a fictional "Middle America" town of Springfield.[13] 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, a stereotypical American housewife and mother. They have three children: Bart, a ten-year-old troublemaker 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.[14] Homer's dad Grampa Simpson lives in the Springfield Retirement Home after Homer forced his dad to sell his house 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".[15] 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 quirky supporting characters, which ******* Homer's co-workers (also friends) Lenny Leonard and Carl Carlson, the school principal Seymour Skinner and teachers Edna Krabappel and Elizabeth Hoover, 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. A number of them have 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.[16]

Continuity and the floating timeline
Despite the depiction of yearly milestones such as holidays or birthdays passing, the characters do not 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 depictions 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.

A canon of the show does exist, as 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, as with most other comedy-focused television shows. For example, Krusty the Clown may be able to read in one episode, but may not be able to read in another. Lessons learned by the family in one episode may be forgotten in the next. Some examples of limited continuity ******* Sideshow Bob's appearances where Bart and Lisa flashback at all the crimes he committed in Springfield or when the characters try to remember things that happened in previous episodes.

Setting
Main article: Springfield (The Simpsons)
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.[17] Springfield's geography, and that of its surroundings, contains coastlines, deserts, vast farmland, tall mountains, or whatever the story or joke requires.[18] Groening has said that Springfield has much in common with Portland, Oregon, the city where he grew up.[19] The name "Springfield" is a common one in America and appears in 22 states.[20] 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."[21]

Production
Development
Main articles: History of The Simpsons and The Simpsons shorts

James L. Brooks (pictured) asked Matt Groening to create a series of animated shorts for The Tracey Ullman Show.
When producer James L. Brooks was working on the television variety show The Tracey Ullman Show, he decided to ******* small animated sketches before and after the commercial breaks. Having seen one of cartoonist Matt Groening's Life in Hell comic strips, Brooks asked Groening to pitch an idea for a series of animated shorts. Groening initially intended to present an animated version of his Life in Hell series.[22] However, Groening later realized that animating Life in Hell would require the rescinding of publication rights for his life's work. He therefore chose another approach while waiting in the lobby of Brooks's office for the pitch meeting, hurriedly formulating his version of a dysfunctional family that became the Simpsons.[22][23] He named the characters after his own family members, substituting "Bart" for his own name, adopting an anagram of the word "brat".[22]

The Simpson family first appeared as shorts in The Tracey Ullman Show on April 19, 1987.[24] Groening submitted only basic sketches to the animators and assumed that the figures would be cleaned up in production. However, the animators merely re-traced his drawings, which led to the crude appearance of the characters in the initial shorts.[22] The animation was produced domestically at Klasky Csupo,[25][26] with Wes Archer, David Silverman, and Bill Kopp being animators for the first season.[27] Colorist Gyorgyi Peluce was the person who decided to make the characters yellow.[27]

In 1989, a team of production companies adapted The Simpsons into a half-hour series for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The team included the Klasky Csupo animation house. Brooks negotiated a provision in the contract with the Fox network that prevented Fox from interfering with the show's content.[28] Groening said his goal in creating the show was to offer the audience an alternative to what he called "the mainstream trash" that they were watching.[29] The half-hour series premiered on December 17, 1989, with "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire".[30] "Some Enchanted Evening" was the first full-length episode produced, but it did not broadcast until May 1990, as the last episode of the first season, because of animation problems.[31] In 1992, Tracey Ullman filed a lawsuit against Fox, claiming that her show was the source of the series' success. The suit said she should receive a share of the profits of The Simpsons[32]—a claim rejected by the courts.[33]

Executive producers and showrunners

Matt Groening, creator
List of showrunners throughout the series' run:

Season 1–2: Matt Groening, James L. Brooks, & Sam Simon
Season 3–4: Al Jean & Mike Reiss
Season 5–6: David Mirkin
Season 7–8: Bill Oakley & Josh Weinstein
Season 9–12: Mike Scully
Season 13–present: Al Jean
Matt Groening and James L. Brooks have served as executive producers during the show's entire history, and also function as creative consultants. Sam Simon, described by former Simpsons director Brad Bird as "the unsung hero" of the show,[34] served as creative supervisor for the first four seasons. He was constantly at odds with Groening, Brooks and the show's production company Gracie Films and left in 1993.[35] Before leaving, he negotiated a deal that sees him receive a share of the profits every year, and an executive producer credit despite not having worked on the show since 1993,[35][36] at least until his passing in 2015.[37] A more involved position on the show is the showrunner, who acts as head writer and manages the show's production for an entire season.[27]

Writing
Main article: List of The Simpsons writers
The first team of writers, assembled by Sam Simon, consisted of John Swartzwelder, Jon Vitti, George Meyer, Jeff Martin, Al Jean, Mike Reiss, Jay Kogen and Wallace Wolodarsky.[38] Newer Simpsons' writing teams typically consist of sixteen writers who propose episode ideas at the beginning of each December.[39] The main writer of each episode writes the first draft. Group rewriting sessions develop final scripts by adding or removing jokes, inserting scenes, and calling for re-readings of lines by the show's vocal performers.[40] Until 2004,[41] George Meyer, who had developed the show since the first season, was active in these sessions. According to long-time writer Jon Vitti, Meyer usually invented the best lines in a given episode, even though other writers may receive script credits.[40] Each episode takes six months to produce so the show rarely comments on current events.[42]


Part of the writing staff of The Simpsons in 1992. Back row, left to right: Mike Mendel, Colin ABV Lewis (partial), Jeff Goldstein, Al Jean (partial), Conan O'Brien, Bill Oakley, Josh Weinstein, Mike Reiss, Ken Tsumura, George Meyer, John Swartzwelder, Jon Vitti (partial), CJ Gibson and David M. Stern. Front row, left to right: Dee Capelli, Lona Williams, and unknown.
Credited with sixty episodes, John Swartzwelder is the most prolific writer on The Simpsons.[43] One of the best-known former writers is Conan O'Brien, who contributed to several episodes in the early 1990s before replacing David Letterman as host of the talk show Late Night.[44] English comedian Ricky Gervais wrote the episode "Homer Simpson, This Is Your Wife", becoming the first celebrity to both write and guest star in an episode.[45] Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, writers of the film Superbad, wrote the episode "Homer the Whopper", with Rogen voicing a character in it.[46]

At the end of 2007, the writers of The Simpsons went on strike together with the other members of the Writers Guild of America, East. The show's writers had joined the guild in 1998.[47]

Voice actors
Main articles: List of The Simpsons cast members, List of The Simpsons guest stars, and Non-English versions of The Simpsons
The Simpsons has six main cast members: Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith, Hank Azaria and Harry Shearer. Castellaneta voices Homer Simpson, Grampa Simpson, Krusty the Clown, Groundskeeper Willie, Mayor Quimby, Barney Gumble and other adult, male characters.[48] Julie Kavner voices Marge Simpson and Patty and Selma, as well as several minor characters.[48] Castellaneta and Kavner had been a part of The Tracey Ullman Show cast and were given the parts so that new actors would not be needed.[49] Cartwright voices Bart Simpson, Nelson Muntz, Ralph Wiggum and other children.[48] Smith, the voice of Lisa Simpson, is the only cast member who regularly voices only one character, although she occasionally plays other episodic characters.[48] The producers decided to hold casting for the roles of Bart and Lisa. Smith had initially been asked to audition for the role of Bart, but casting director Bonita Pietila believed her voice was too high,[50] so she was given the role of Lisa instead.[51] Cartwright was originally brought in to voice Lisa, but upon arriving at the audition, she found that Lisa was simply described as the "middle child" and at the time did not have much personality. Cartwright became more interested in the role of Bart, who was described as "devious, underachieving, school-hating, irreverent, [and] clever".[52] Groening let her try out for the part instead, and upon hearing her read, gave her the job on the spot.[53] Cartwright is the only one of the six main Simpsons cast members who had been professionally trained in voice acting prior to working on the show.[43] Azaria and Shearer do not voice members of the title family, but play a majority of the male townspeople. Azaria, who has been a part of the Simpsons regular voice cast since the second season,[54] voices recurring characters such as Moe Szyslak, Chief Wiggum, Apu Nahasapeemapetilon and Professor Frink. Shearer provides voices for Mr. Burns, Mr. Smithers, Principal Skinner, Ned Flanders, Reverend Lovejoy and Dr. Hibbert.[48] Every main cast member has won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance.[55][56]

With one exception, episode credits list only the voice actors, and not the characters they voice. Both Fox and the production crew wanted to keep their identities secret during the early seasons and, therefore, closed most of the recording sessions while refusing to publish photos of the recording artists.[57] However, the network eventually revealed which roles each actor performed in the episode "Old Money", because the producers said the voice actors should receive credit for their work.[58] In 2003, the cast appeared in an episode of Inside the Actors Studio, doing live performances of their characters' voices.

The six main actors were paid $30,000 per episode until 1998, when they were involved in a pay dispute with Fox. The company threatened to replace them with new actors, even going as far as preparing for casting of new voices, but series creator Groening supported the actors in their action.[59] The issue was soon resolved and, from 1998 to 2004, they were paid $125,000 per episode. The show's revenue continued to rise through syndication and DVD sales, and in April 2004 the main cast stopped appearing for script readings, demanding they be paid $360,000 per episode.[60][61] The strike was resolved a month later[62] and their salaries were increased to something between $250,000[63] and $360,000 per episode.[64] In 2008, production for the twentieth season was put on hold due to new contract negotiations with the voice actors, who wanted a "healthy bump" in salary to an amount close to $500,000 per episode.[64] The negotiations were soon completed, and the actors' salary was raised to $400,000 per episode.[65] Three years later, with Fox threatening to cancel the series unless production costs were cut, the cast members accepted a 30 percent pay cut, down to just over $300,000 per episode.[66]

In addition to the main cast, Pamela Hayden, Tress MacNeille, Marcia Wallace, Maggie Roswell, and Russi Taylor voice supporting characters.[48] From 1999 to 2002, Roswell's characters were voiced by Marcia Mitzman Gaven. Karl Wiedergott has also appeared in minor roles, but does not voice any recurring characters.[67] Wiedergott left the show in 2010, and since then Chris Edgerly has appeared regularly to voice minor characters. Repeat "special guest" cast members ******* Albert Brooks, Phil Hartman, Jon Lovitz, Joe Mantegna, Maurice LaMarche, and Kelsey Grammer.[68] Following Hartman's death in 1998, the characters he voiced (Troy McClure and Lionel Hutz) were retired;[69] Wallace's character of Edna Krabappel was retired as well after her death in 2013.

Episodes will quite often feature guest voices from a wide range of professions, including actors, athletes, authors, bands, musicians and scientists. In the earlier seasons, most of the guest stars voiced characters, but eventually more started appearing as themselves. Tony Bennett was the first guest star to appear as himself, appearing briefly in the season two episode "Dancin' Homer".[70] The Simpsons holds the world record for "Most Guest Stars Featured in a Television Series".[71]

The Simpsons has been dubbed into several other languages, including Japanese, German, Spanish, and Portuguese. It is also one of the few programs dubbed in both standard French and Quebec French.[72] The show has been broadcast in Arabic, but due to Islamic customs, numerous aspects of the show have been changed. For example, Homer drinks soda instead of beer and eats Egyptian beef sausages instead of hot dogs. Because of such changes, the Arabized version of the series met with a negative reaction from the lifelong Simpsons fans in the area.[73]

Animation

Animation director David Silverman, who helped define the look of the show[27]
Several different U.S. and international studios animate The Simpsons. Throughout the run of the animated shorts on The Tracey Ullman Show, the animation was produced domestically at Klasky Csupo.[25] With the debut of the series, because of an increased workload, Fox subcontracted production to several local and foreign studios.[25] These are AKOM,[74] Anivision,[75] Rough Draft Studios,[76] USAnimation,[77] and Toonzone Entertainment.[78]

For the first three seasons, Klasky Csupo animated The Simpsons in the United States. In 1992, the show's production company, Gracie Films, switched domestic production to Film Roman,[79] who continued to animate the show until 2016. In Season 14, production switched from traditional cel animation to digital ink and paint.[80] The first episode to experiment with digital coloring was "Radioactive Man" in 1995. Animators used digital ink and paint during production of the season 12 episode "Tennis the Menace", but Gracie Films delayed the regular use of digital ink and paint until two seasons later. The already completed "Tennis the Menace" was broadcast as made.[81]

The production staff at the U.S. animation studio, Film Roman, draws storyboards, designs new characters, backgrounds, props and draws character and background layouts, which in turn become animatics to be screened for the writers at Gracie Films for any changes to be made before the work is shipped overseas. The overseas studios then draw the inbetweens, ink and paint, and render the animation to tape before it is shipped back to the United States to be delivered to Fox three to four months later.[82]

The series began high-definition production in Season 20; the first episode, "Take My Life, Please", aired February 15, 2009. The move to HDTV included a new opening sequence.[83] Matt Groening called it a complicated change because it affected the timing and composition of animation.[84]

Themes
Main articles: Media in The Simpsons, Politics in The Simpsons, and Religion in The Simpsons
The Simpsons uses the standard setup of a situational comedy, or sitcom, as its premise. The series centers on a family and their life in a typical American town,[13] serving as a satirical parody of a middle class American lifestyle.[85] However, because of its animated nature, The Simpsons' scope is larger than that of a regular sitcom. The town of Springfield acts as a complete universe in which characters can explore the issues faced by modern society. By having Homer work in a nuclear power plant, the show can comment on the state of the environment.[86] Through Bart and Lisa's days at Springfield Elementary School, the show's writers illustrate pressing or controversial issues in the field of education. The town features a vast array of media channels—from kids' television programming to local news, which enables the producers to make jokes about themselves and the entertainment industry.[87]

Some commentators say the show is political in nature and susceptible to a left-wing bias.[88] Al Jean acknowledged in an interview that "We [the show] are of liberal bent."[89] The writers often evince an appreciation for liberal ideals, but the show makes jokes across the political spectrum.[90] The show portrays government and large corporations as callous entities that take advantage of the common worker.[89] Thus, the writers often portray authority figures in an unflattering or negative light. In The Simpsons, politicians are corrupt, ministers such as Reverend Lovejoy are indifferent to churchgoers, and the local police force is incompetent.[91] Religion also figures as a recurring theme.[92] In times of crisis, the family often turns to God, and the show has dealt with most of the major religions.[93]

Hallmarks
Opening sequence
Main article: The Simpsons opening sequence
MENU0:00
The music played during the opening sequence. This piece is also known as The Simpsons Theme.
The Simpsons' opening sequence is one of the show's most memorable hallmarks. The standard opening has gone through three iterations (a replacement of some shots at the start of the second season, and a brand new sequence when the show switched to high-definition in 2009).[94]

Each has the same basic sequence of events: the camera zooms through cumulus clouds, through the show's title towards the town of Springfield. The camera then follows the members of the family on their way home. Upon entering their house, the Simpsons settle down on their couch to watch television. The original opening was created by David Silverman, and was the first task he did when production began on the show.[95] The series' distinctive theme song was composed by musician Danny Elfman in 1989, after Groening approached him requesting a retro style piece. This piece has been noted by Elfman as the most popular of his career.[96]

One of the most distinctive aspects of the opening is that three of its elements change from episode to episode: Bart writes different things on the school chalkboard,[95] Lisa plays different solos on her saxophone and different gags accompany the family as they enter their living room to sit on the couch.[97]

Halloween episodes
Main article: Treehouse of Horror

Bart Simpson introducing a segment of "Treehouse of Horror IV" in the manner of Rod Serling's Night Gallery
The special Halloween episode has become an annual tradition. "Treehouse of Horror" first broadcast in 1990 as part of season two and established the pattern of three separate, self-contained stories in each Halloween episode.[98] These pieces usually involve the family in some horror, science fiction, or supernatural setting and often parody or pay homage to a famous piece of work in those genres.[99] They always take place outside the normal continuity of the show. Although the Treehouse series is meant to be seen on Halloween, this changed by the 2000s, when new installments have premiered after Halloween due to Fox's current contract with Major League Baseball's World Series,[100] however, since 2011, every Treehouse of Horror episode has aired in October.

Humor
The show's humor turns on cultural references that cover a wide spectrum of society so that viewers from all generations can enjoy the show. Such references, for example, come from movies, television, music, literature, science, and history.[101] 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 fleeting that they become apparent only by pausing a video recording of the show.[102] 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."[103]

One of Bart's early hallmarks 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 prank calls known as the Tube Bar recordings, though Groening has denied any causal connection.[104] Moe was based partly on Tube Bar owner Louis "Red" Deutsch, whose often profane responses inspired Moe's violent side.[105] As the series progressed, it became more difficult for the writers to come up with a fake name and to write Moe's angry response, and the pranks were dropped as a regular joke during the fourth season.[106][107] The Simpsons also often includes self-referential humor.[108] The most common form is jokes about Fox Broadcasting.[109] 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.[110][111]

The show uses catchphrases, and most of the primary and secondary characters have at least one each.[112] Notable expressions ******* Homer's annoyed grunt "D'oh!", Mr. Burns' "Excellent" and Nelson Muntz's "Ha-ha!" Some of Bart's catchphrases, such as "¡Ay, caramba!", "Don't have a cow, man!" and "Eat my shorts!" appeared on T-shirts in the show's early days.[113] However, Bart rarely used the latter two phrases until after they became popular through the 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."[114]

Foreshadowing of actual events
The Simpsons has gained notoriety for including jokes that would eventually 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 would successfully run for the position.[115] Another episode, "When You Dish Upon a Star", lampooned 20th Century Fox as a division of The Walt Disney Company. Nineteen years later, Disney indeed made a deal to purchase the studio from Rupert Murdoch.[116] Other examples of The Simpsons predicting the future with accuracy ******* the introduction of the Smartwatch and autocorrection technology, and even Lady Gaga's acrobatic performance at the Super Bowl LI halftime show.[117]

Influence and legacy
Idioms
A number of neologisms that originated on The Simpsons have entered popular vernacular.[118][119] Mark Liberman, director of the Linguistic Data Consortium, remarked, "The Simpsons has apparently taken over from Shakespeare and the Bible as our culture's greatest source of idioms, catchphrases and sundry other textual allusions."[119] The most famous catchphrase is Homer's annoyed grunt: "D'oh!" So ubiquitous is the expression that it is now listed in the Oxford English Dictionary, but without the apostrophe.[120] Dan Castellaneta says he borrowed the phrase from James Finlayson, an actor in many Laurel and Hardy comedies, who pronounced it in a more elongated and whining tone. The staff of The Simpsons told Castellaneta to shorten the noise, and it went on to become the well-known exclamation in the television series.[121]

Groundskeeper Willie's description of the French as "cheese-eating surrender monkeys" was used by National Review columnist Jonah Goldberg in 2003, after France's opposition to the proposed invasion of Iraq. The phrase quickly spread to other journalists.[119][122] "Cromulent" and "embiggen", words used in "Lisa the Iconoclast", have since appeared in the Dictionary.com's 21st Century Lexicon,[123] and scientific journals respectively.[119][124] "Kwyjibo", a fake Scrabble word invented by Bart in "Bart the Genius", was used as one of the aliases of the creator of the Melissa worm.[125] "I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords", was used by Kent Brockman in "Deep Space Homer" and has become a common phrase.[126] Variants of Brockman's utterance are used to express obsequious submission. It has been used in media, such as New Scientist magazine.[127] The dismissive term "Meh", believed to have been popularized by the show,[119][128][129] entered the Collins English Dictionary in 2008.[130] Other words credited as stemming from the show ******* "yoink" and "craptacular".[119]

The Oxford Dictionary of Modern Quotations includes several quotations from the show. As well as "cheese-eating surrender monkeys", Homer's lines, "Kids, you tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is never try", from "Burns' Heir" (season five, 1994) as well as "Kids are the best, Apu. You can teach them to hate the things you hate. And they practically raise themselves, what with the Internet and all", from "Eight Misbehavin'" (season 11, 1999), entered the dictionary in August 2007.[131]

Television
The Simpsons was the first successful animated program in American prime time since Wait Till Your Father Gets Home in the 1970s.[132] During most of the 1980s, US pundits considered animated shows as appropriate only for children, and animating a show was too expensive to achieve a quality suitable for prime-time television. The Simpsons changed this perception,[25] initially leading to a short period where networks attempted to recreate prime-time cartoon success with shows like Capitol Critters, Fish Police, and Family Dog, which were expensive and unsuccessful.[133] The Simpsons' use of Korean animation studios for tweening, coloring, and filming made the episodes cheaper. The success of The Simpsons and the lower production cost prompted US television networks to take chances on other adult animated series.[25] This development led US producers to a 1990s boom in new, animated prime-time shows for adults, such as South Park, Family Guy, King of the Hill, Futurama and The Critic.[25] For Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane, "The Simpsons created an audience for prime-time animation that had not been there for many, many years ... As far as I'm concerned, they basically re-invented the wheel. They created what is in many ways—you could classify it as—a wholly new medium."[134]

The Simpsons has had crossovers with four other shows. In the episode "A Star Is Burns", Marge invites Jay Sherman, the main character of The Critic, to be a judge for a film festival in Springfield. Matt Groening had his name removed from the episode since he had no involvement with The Critic.[135] South Park later paid homage to The Simpsons with the episode "Simpsons Already Did It".[136] In "Simpsorama", the Planet Express crew from Futurama come to Springfield in the present to prevent the Simpsons from destroying the future.[137] In the Family Guy episode "The Simpsons Guy", the Griffins visit Springfield and meet the Simpsons.[138]

The Simpsons has also influenced live-action shows like Malcolm in the Middle, which featured the use of sight gags and did not use a laugh track unlike most sitcoms.[139][140] Malcolm in the Middle debuted January 9, 2000, in the time slot after The Simpsons. Ricky Gervais called The Simpsons an influence on The Office,[141] and fellow British sitcom Spaced was, according to its director Edgar Wright, "an attempt to do a live-action The Simpsons."[142] In Georgia, the animated television sitcom The Samsonadzes, launched in November 2009, has been noted for its very strong resemblance with The Simpsons, which its creator Shalva Ramishvili has acknowledged.[143][144][145]

Reception and achievements
Season No. of
episodes Originally aired Viewership
Season premiere Season finale Time Slot (ET) Avg. viewers
(in millions) Most watched episode
Viewers
(millions) Episode Title
1 1989–90 13 December 17, 1989 May 13, 1990 Sunday 8:30 PM 27.8 33.5 "Life on the Fast Lane"
2 1990–91 22 October 11, 1990 July 11, 1991 Thursday 8:00 PM 24.4 33.6 "Bart Gets an F"
3 1991–92 24 September 19, 1991 August 27, 1992 21.8 25.5 "Colonel Homer"
4 1992–93 22 September 24, 1992 May 13, 1993 22.4 28.6 "Lisa's First Word"
5 1993–94 22 September 30, 1993 May 19, 1994 18.9 24.0 "Treehouse of Horror IV"
6 1994–95 25 September 4, 1994 May 21, 1995 Sunday 8:00 PM 15.6 22.2 "Treehouse of Horror V"
7 1995–96 25 September 17, 1995 May 19, 1996 15.1 19.7 "Treehouse of Horror VI"
8 1996–97 25 October 27, 1996 May 18, 1997 Sunday 8:30 PM (Episodes 1–3)
Sunday 8:00 PM (Episodes 4–25) 14.5 20.9 "The Springfield Files"
9 1997–98 25 September 21, 1997 May 17, 1998 Sunday 8:00 PM 16.3 19.8 "The Two Mrs. Nahasapeemapetilons"
10 1998–99 23 August 23, 1998 May 16, 1999 13.5 15.5 "Maximum Homerdrive"
11 1999–2000 22 September 26, 1999 May 21, 2000 8.8 18.4 "The Mansion Family"
12 2000–01 21 November 1, 2000 May 20, 2001 15.5 18.6 "Worst Episode Ever"
13 2001–02 22 November 6, 2001 May 22, 2002 Tuesday 8:30 PM (Episode 1)
Sunday 8:00 PM (Episodes 2–20)
Sunday 7:30 PM (Episode 21)
Wednesday 8:00 PM (Episode 22) 12.5 14.9 "The Parent Rap"
14 2002–03 22 November 3, 2002 May 18, 2003 Sunday 8:00 PM (Episodes 1–11, 13–21)
Sunday 8:30 PM (Episodes 12, 22) 14.4 22.1 "I'm Spelling as Fast as I Can"
15 2003–04 22 November 2, 2003 May 23, 2004 Sunday 8:00 PM 11.0 16.3 "I, (Annoyed Grunt)-Bot"
16 2004–05 21 November 7, 2004 May 15, 2005 Sunday 8:00 PM (Episodes 1–7, 9–16, 18, 20)
Sunday 10:30 PM (Episode 8)
Sunday 8:30 PM (Episodes 17, 19, 21) 10.2 23.07 "Homer and Ned's Hail Mary Pass"
17 2005–06 22 September 11, 2005 May 21, 2006 Sunday 8:00 PM 9.55 11.63 "Treehouse of Horror XVI"
18 2006–07 22 September 10, 2006 May 20, 2007 9.15 13.90 "The Wife Aquatic"
19 2007–08 20 September 23, 2007 May 18, 2008 8.37 11.7 "Treehouse of Horror XVIII"
20 2008–09 21 September 28, 2008 May 17, 2009 7.1 12.4 "Treehouse of Horror XIX"
21 2009–10 23 September 27, 2009 May 23, 2010 7.1 14.62 "Once Upon a Time in Springfield"
22 2010–11 22 September 26, 2010 May 22, 2011 7.09 12.6 "Moms I'd Like to Forget"
23 2011–12 22 September 25, 2011 May 20, 2012 6.15[146] 11.48 "The D'oh-cial Network"
24 2012–13 22 September 30, 2012 May 19, 2013 5.41[147] 8.97 "Homer Goes to Prep School"
25 2013–14 22 September 29, 2013 May 18, 2014 5.02[148] 12.04 "Steal This Episode"
26 2014–15 22 September 28, 2014 May 17, 2015 5.61[149] 10.62 "The Man Who Came to Be Dinner"
27 2015–16 22 September 27, 2015 May 22, 2016 4.0[150] 8.33 "Teenage Mutant Milk-Caused Hurdles"
28 2016–17 22 September 25, 2016 May 21, 2017 4.80[151] 8.19 "Pork and Burns"
29 2017–18 21 October 1, 2017 May 20, 2018 4.07[152] 8.04 "Frink Gets Testy"
Early success
The Simpsons was the Fox network's first television series to rank among a season's top 30 highest-rated shows.[153] In 1990, Bart quickly became one of the most popular characters on television in what was termed "Bartmania".[154][155][156][157] He became the most prevalent Simpsons character on memorabilia, such as T-shirts. In the early 1990s, millions of T-shirts featuring Bart were sold;[158] as many as one million were sold on some days.[159] Believing Bart to be a bad role model, several American public schools banned T-shirts featuring Bart next to captions such as "I'm Bart Simpson. Who the hell are you?" and "Underachiever ('And proud of it, man!')".[160][161][162] The Simpsons merchandise sold well and generated $2 billion in revenue during the first 14 months of sales.[160] Because of his popularity, Bart was often the most promoted member of the Simpson family in advertisements for the show, even for episodes in which he was not involved in the main plot.[163]

Due to the show's success, over the summer of 1990 the Fox Network decided to switch The Simpsons' time slot so that it would move from 8:00 p.m. ET on Sunday night to the same time on Thursday, where it would compete with The Cosby Show on NBC, the number one show at the time.[164][165] Through the summer, several news outlets published stories about the supposed "Bill vs. Bart" rivalry.[159][164] "Bart Gets an F" (season two, 1990) was the first episode to air against The Cosby Show, and it received a lower Nielsen ratings, tying for eighth behind The Cosby Show, which had an 18.5 rating. The rating is based on the number of household televisions that were tuned into the show, but Nielsen Media Research estimated that 33.6 million viewers watched the episode, making it the number one show in terms of actual viewers that week. At the time, it was the most watched episode in the history of the Fox Network,[166] and it is still the highest rated episode in the history of The Simpsons.[167] The show moved back to its Sunday slot in 1994 and has remained there ever since.[168]

The Simpsons has received overwhelmingly positive reviews from critics, and it has been noted for being described as "the most irreverent and unapologetic show on the air."[169] In a 1990 review of the show, Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly described it as "the American family at its most complicated, drawn as simple cartoons. It's this neat paradox that makes millions of people turn away from the three big networks on Sunday nights to concentrate on The Simpsons."[170] Tucker would also describe the show as a "pop-cultural phenomenon, a prime-time cartoon show that appeals to the entire family."[171]

Run length achievements
On February 9, 1997, The Simpsons surpassed The Flintstones with the episode "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show" as the longest-running prime-time animated series in the United States.[172] In 2004, The Simpsons replaced The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet (1952 to 1966) as the longest-running sitcom (animated or live action) in the United States.[173] In 2009, The Simpsons surpassed The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet's record of 435 episodes and is now recognized by Guinness World Records as the world's longest running sitcom (in terms of episode count).[174][175] In October 2004, Scooby-Doo briefly overtook The Simpsons as the American animated show with the highest number of episodes (albeit under several different iterations).[176] However, network executives in April 2005 again cancelled Scooby-Doo, which finished with 371 episodes, and The Simpsons reclaimed the title with 378 episodes at the end of their seventeenth season.[177] In May 2007, The Simpsons reached their 400th episode at the end of the eighteenth season. While The Simpsons has the record for the number of episodes by an American animated show, other animated series have surpassed The Simpsons.[178] For example, the Japanese anime series Sazae-san has over 7,000 episodes to its credit.[178]

In 2009, Fox began a year-long celebration of the show titled "Best. 20 Years. Ever." to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the premiere of The Simpsons. One of the first parts of the celebration is the "Unleash Your Yellow" contest in which entrants must design a poster for the show.[179] The celebration ended on January 10, 2010 (almost 20 years after "Bart the Genius" aired on January 14, 1990), with The Simpsons 20th Anniversary Special – In 3-D! On Ice!, a documentary special by documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock that examines the "cultural phenomenon of The Simpsons".[180][181]

As of the twenty-first season (2009–2010), The Simpsons became the longest-running American scripted primetime television series, having surpassed Gunsmoke. On April 29, 2018, The Simpsons also surpassed Gunsmoke's 635-episode count with the episode "Forgive and Regret."[173][182]

Awards and accolades
Main article: List of awards and nominations received by The Simpsons

The Simpsons has been awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
The Simpsons has won dozens of awards since it debuted as a series, including 31 Primetime Emmy Awards,[71] 30 Annie Awards[183] and a Peabody Award.[184] In a 1999 issue celebrating the 20th century's greatest achievements in arts and entertainment, Time magazine named The Simpsons the century's best television series.[185] In that same issue, Time included Bart Simpson in the Time 100, the publication's list of the century's 100 most influential people.[186] Bart was the only fictional character on the list. On January 14, 2000, the Simpsons were awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.[187] Also in 2000, Entertainment Weekly magazine TV critic Ken Tucker named The Simpsons the greatest television show of the 1990s. Furthermore, viewers of the UK television channel Channel 4 have voted The Simpsons at the top of two polls: 2001's 100 Greatest Kids' TV shows,[188] and 2005's The 100 Greatest Cartoons,[189] with Homer Simpson voted into first place in 2001's 100 Greatest TV Characters.[190] Homer would also place ninth on Entertainment Weekly's list of the "50 Greatest TV icons".[191] In 2002, The Simpsons ranked #8 on TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time,[192] and in 2007 it was included in Time's list of the "100 Best TV Shows of All Time".[193] In 2008 the show was placed in first on Entertainment Weekly's "Top 100 Shows of the Past 25 Years".[194] Empire named it the greatest TV show of all time.[195] In 2010, Entertainment Weekly named Homer "the greatest character of the last 20 years",[196] while in 2013 the Writers Guild of America listed The Simpsons as the 11th "best written" series in television history.[197] In 2013, TV Guide ranked The Simpsons as the greatest TV cartoon of all time[198] and the tenth greatest show of all time.[199] Television critics Alan Sepinwall and Matt Zoller Seitz ranked The Simpsons as the greatest American TV series of all time in their 2016 book TV (The Book).[200]

Criticism
Controversy
Bart's rebellious, bad boy nature, which underlies his misbehavior and rarely leads to any punishment, led some people to characterize him as a poor role model for children.[201][202] In schools, educators claimed that Bart was a "threat to learning" because of his "underachiever and proud of it" attitude and negative attitude regarding his education.[203] Others described him as "egotistical, aggressive and mean-spirited".[204] In a 1991 interview, Bill Cosby described Bart as a bad role model for children, calling him "angry, confused, frustrated". In response, Matt Groening said, "That sums up Bart, all right. Most people are in a struggle to be normal [and] he thinks normal is very boring, and does things that others just wished they dare do."[205] On January 27, 1992, then-President George H. W. Bush said, "We are going to keep on trying to strengthen the American family, to make American families a lot more like the Waltons and a lot less like the Simpsons."[160] The writers rushed out a tongue-in-cheek reply in the form of a short segment which aired three days later before a rerun of "Stark Raving Dad" in which Bart replied, "Hey, we're just like the Waltons. We're praying for an end to the Depression, too."[206][207]

Various episodes of the show have generated controversy. The Simpsons visit Australia in "Bart vs. Australia" (season six, 1995) and Brazil in "Blame It on Lisa" (season 13, 2002) and both episodes generated controversy and negative reaction in the visited countries.[208] In the latter case, Rio de Janeiro's tourist board—which claimed that the city was portrayed as having rampant street crime, kidnappings, slums, and monkey and rat infestations—went so far as to threaten Fox with legal action.[209] Groening was a fierce and vocal critic of the episode "A Star Is Burns" (season six, 1995) which featured a crossover with The Critic. He felt that it was just an advertisement for The Critic, and that people would incorrectly associate the show with him. When he was unsuccessful in getting the episode pulled, he had his name removed from the credits and went public with his concerns, openly criticizing James L. Brooks and saying the episode "violates the Simpsons' universe." In response, Brooks said, "I am furious with Matt, ... he's allowed his opinion, but airing this publicly in the press is going too far. ... his behavior right now is rotten."[135][210]

"The Principal and the Pauper" (season nine, 1997) is one of the most controversial episodes of The Simpsons. Many fans and critics reacted negatively to the revelation that Seymour Skinner, a recurring character since the first season, was an impostor. The episode has been criticized by Groening and by Harry Shearer, who provides the voice of Skinner. In a 2001 interview, Shearer recalled that after reading the script, he told the writers, "That's so wrong. You're taking something that an audience has built eight years or nine years of investment in and just tossed it in the trash can for no good reason, for a story we've done before with other characters. It's so arbitrary and gratuitous, and it's disrespectful to the audience."[211]

Ban
The show has reportedly been taken off the air in several countries. China banned it from prime-time television in August 2006, "in an effort to protect China's struggling animation studios."[212] In 2008, Venezuela barred the show from airing on morning television as it was deemed "unsuitable for children".[213] The same year, several Russian Pentecostal churches demanded that The Simpsons, South Park and some other Western cartoons be removed from broadcast schedules "for propaganda of various vices" and the broadcaster's license to be revoked. However, the court decision later dismissed this request.[214]

Declining quality

Chart by fan Sol Harris showing the decline in quality of the show from Season 1 to Season 28[215]
Critics' reviews of early Simpsons episodes praised the show for its sassy humor, wit, realism, and intelligence.[29][216] However, in the late 1990s, around the airing of season 10, the tone and emphasis of the show began to change. Some critics started calling the show "tired".[217] By 2000, some long-term fans had become disillusioned with the show, and pointed to its shift from character-driven plots to what they perceived as an overemphasis on zany antics.[218][219][220] Jim Schembri of The Sydney Morning Herald attributed the decline in quality to an abandonment of character-driven storylines in favor of and overuse of celebrity cameo appearances and references to popular culture. Schembri wrote: "The central tragedy of The Simpsons is that it has gone from commanding attention to merely being attention-seeking. It began by proving that cartoon characters don't have to be caricatures; they can be invested with real emotions. Now the show has in essence fermented into a limp parody of itself. Memorable story arcs have been sacrificed for the sake of celebrity walk-ons and punchline-hungry dialogue."[221]

In 2010, the BBC noted "the common consensus is that The Simpsons' golden era ended after season nine",[8] and Todd Leopold of CNN, in an article looking at its perceived decline, stated "for many fans ... the glory days are long past."[220] Similarly, Tyler Wilson of Coeur d'Alene Press has referred to seasons one to nine as the show's "golden age",[7] and Ian Nathan of Empire described the show's classic era as being "say, the first ten seasons."[9] Jon Heacock of LucidWorks stated that "for the first ten years [seasons], the show was consistently at the top of its game", with "so many moments, quotations, and references – both epic and obscure – that helped turn the Simpson family into the cultural icons that they remain to this day."[10]

Mike Scully, who was showrunner during seasons nine through twelve, has been the subject of criticism.[222][223] Chris Suellentrop of Slate wrote that "under Scully's tenure, The Simpsons became, well, a cartoon ... Episodes that once would have ended with Homer and Marge bicycling into the sunset now end with Homer blowing a tranquilizer dart into Marge's neck. The show's still funny, but it hasn't been touching in years."[222] When asked in 2007 how the series' longevity is sustained, Scully joked: "Lower your quality standards. Once you've done that you can go on forever."[224]

Al Jean, showrunner since season thirteen, has also been the subject of criticism, with some arguing that the show has continued to decline in quality under his tenure. Former writers have complained that under Jean, the show is "on auto-pilot", "too sentimental", and the episodes are "just being cranked out." Some critics believe that the show has "entered a steady decline under Jean and is no longer really funny."[225] John Ortved, author of The Simpsons: An Uncensored, Unauthorized History, characterized the Jean era as "toothless",[226] and criticized what he perceived as the show's increase in social and political commentary.[227] Jean responded: "Well, it's possible that we've declined. But honestly, I've been here the whole time and I do remember in season two people saying, 'It's gone downhill.' If we'd listened to that then we would have stopped after episode 13. I'm glad we didn't."[228]

In 2004, Harry Shearer criticized what he perceived as the show's declining quality: "I rate the last three seasons as among the worst, so season four looks very good to me now."[229] Dan Castellaneta responded: "I don't agree, ... I think Harry's issue is that the show isn't as grounded as it was in the first three or four seasons, that it's gotten crazy or a little more madcap. I think it organically changes to stay fresh."[230] Also in 2004 author Douglas Coupland described claims of declining quality in the series as "hogwash", saying "The Simpsons hasn't fumbled the ball in fourteen years, it's hardly likely to fumble it now."[231] In an April 2006 interview, Groening said: "I honestly don't see any end in sight. I think it's possible that the show will become too financially cumbersome ... but right now, the show is creatively, I think, as good or better than it's ever been. The animation is incredibly detailed and imaginative, and the stories do things that we haven't done before. So creatively there's no reason to quit."[232]

In 2016, popular culture writer Anna Leszkiewicz suggested that even though The Simpsons still holds cultural relevance, contemporary appeal is only for the first ten seasons, with recent episodes only garnering mainstream attention when a favorite character from the golden era is killed off, or when new information and shock twists are given for old characters.[233] The series' ratings have also declined; while the first season enjoyed an average of 13.4 million viewing households per episode in the U.S.,[153] the twenty-first season had an average of 7.2 million viewers.[234]

Alan Sepinwall and Matt Zoller Seitz argued in their 2016 book titled TV (The Book) that the peak of The Simpsons are "roughly seasons [three through twelve]", and that despite the decline, episodes from the later seasons such as "Eternal Moonshine of the Simpson Mind" and "Holidays of Future Passed" could be considered on par with the earlier classic episodes, further stating that "even if you want to call the show today a thin shadow of its former self, think about how mind-boggingly great its former self had to be for so-diminished a version to be watchable at all."[235][236]

Apu controversy
Further information: Apu Nahasapeemapetilon § Accusations of racial stereotyping
The stereotypical nature of the character Apu Nahasapeemapetilon has long been the subject of controversy. This was particularly highlighted by Indian-American comedian Hari Kondabolu's 2017 documentary The Problem with Apu. In the film, Kondabolu states that as a child he was a fan of The Simpsons and liked Apu, but he now finds the character's stereotypical nature troublesome. Defenders of the character responded that the show is built on comical stereotypes, with creator Matt Groening saying, "that's the nature of cartooning."[237] He added that he was "proud of what we do on the show", and "it's a time in our culture where people love to pretend they're offended".[238] In response to the controversy, Apu's voice actor, Hank Azaria, said he was willing to step aside from his role as Apu: "The most important thing is to listen to South Asian people, Indian people in this country when they talk about what they feel and how they think about this character."[239]

The criticisms were referenced in the Season 29 episode "No Good Read Goes Unpunished", when Lisa breaks the fourth wall and addresses the audience by saying, "Something that started decades ago and was applauded and inoffensive is now politically incorrect. What can you do?" to which Marge replies, "Some things will be addressed at a later date." Lisa adds, "If at all." This reference was clarified by the fact that there was a framed photo of Apu with the caption on the photo saying "Don't have a cow, Apu", a play on Bart's catchphrase "Don't have a cow, man," as well as the fact that Hindus do not eat cows as they are considered sacred. In October 2018, it was reported that Apu would be written out of the show.[240]

The media
Main article: The Simpsons (franchise)
Comic books
Main article: List of The Simpsons comics
Numerous Simpson-related comic books have been released over the years. So far, nine comic book series have been published by Bongo Comics since 1993.[241] The first comic strips based on The Simpsons appeared in 1991 in the magazine Simpsons Illustrated, which was a companion magazine to the show.[242] The comic strips were popular and a one-shot comic book titled Simpsons Comics and Stories, containing four different stories, was released in 1993 for the fans.[243] The book was a success and due to this, the creator of The Simpsons, Matt Groening, and his companions Bill Morrison, Mike Rote, Steve Vance and Cindy Vance created the publishing company Bongo Comics.[243] Issues of Simpsons Comics, Bart Simpson's Treehouse of Horror and Bart Simpson have been collected and reprinted in trade paperbacks in the United States by HarperCollins.[244][245][246]

Film
Main article: The Simpsons Movie

A Seattle 7-Eleven store transformed into a Kwik-E-Mart as part of a promotion for The Simpsons Movie.
20th Century Fox, Gracie Films, and Film Roman produced The Simpsons Movie, an animated film that was released on July 27, 2007.[247] The film was directed by long-time Simpsons producer David Silverman and written by a team of Simpsons writers comprising Matt Groening, James L. Brooks, Al Jean, George Meyer, Mike Reiss, John Swartzwelder, Jon Vitti, David Mirkin, Mike Scully, Matt Selman, and Ian Maxtone-Graham.[247] Production of the film occurred alongside continued writing of the series despite long-time claims by those involved in the show that a film would enter production only after the series had concluded.[247] There had been talk of a possible feature-length Simpsons film ever since the early seasons of the series. James L. Brooks originally thought that the story of the episode "Kamp Krusty" was suitable for a film, but he encountered difficulties in trying to expand the script to feature-length.[248] For a long time, difficulties such as lack of a suitable story and an already fully engaged crew of writers delayed the project.[232]

On August 10, 2018, 20th Century Fox announced that a sequel is in development.[249]

Music
Main article: The Simpsons discography
Collections of original music featured in the series have been released on the albums Songs in the Key of Springfield, Go Simpsonic with The Simpsons and The Simpsons: Testify.[250] Several songs have been recorded with the purpose of a single or album release and have not been featured on the show. The album The Simpsons Sing the Blues was released in September 1990 and was a success, peaking at #3 on the Billboard 200[251] and becoming certified 2× platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.[252] The first single from the album was the pop rap song "Do the Bartman", performed by Nancy Cartwright and released on November 20, 1990. The song was written by Michael Jackson, although he did not receive any credit.[253] The Yellow Album was released in 1998, but received poor reception and did not chart in any country.[254][255][256]

The Simpsons Ride
Main article: The Simpsons Ride

The Simpsons Ride at Universal Studios Florida.
In 2007, it was officially announced that The Simpsons Ride, a simulator ride, would be implemented into the Universal Studios Orlando and Universal Studios Hollywood.[257] It officially opened May 15, 2008 in Florida[258] and May 19, 2008, in Hollywood.[259] In the ride, patrons are introduced to a cartoon theme park called Krustyland built by Krusty the Clown. However, Sideshow Bob is loose from prison to get revenge on Krusty and the Simpson family.[260] It features more than 24 regular characters from The Simpsons and features the voices of the regular cast members, as well as Pamela Hayden, Russi Taylor and Kelsey Grammer.[261] Harry Shearer did not participate in the ride, so none of his characters have vocal parts.[262]

Video games
Further information: List of The Simpsons video games
Numerous video games based on the show have been produced. Some of the early games ******* Konami's arcade game The Simpsons (1991) and Acclaim Entertainment's The Simpsons: Bart vs. the Space Mutants (1991).[263][264] More modern games ******* The Simpsons: Road Rage (2001), The Simpsons: Hit & Run (2003) and The Simpsons Game (2007).[265][266][267] Electronic Arts, which produced The Simpsons Game, has owned the exclusive rights to create video games based on the show since 2005.[268] In 2010, they released a game called The Simpsons Arcade for iOS.[269] Another EA-produced mobile game, Tapped Out, was released in 2012 for iOS users, then in 2013 for Android and Kindle users.[270][271][272] Two Simpsons pinball machines have been produced: one that was available briefly after the first season, and another in 2007, both out of production.[273]

Syndication and streaming availability
The cable television network FXX has exclusive cable and digital syndication rights for The Simpsons. Original contracts had previously stated that syndication rights for The Simpsons would not be sold to cable until the series conclusion, at a time when cable syndication deals were highly rare. The series has been syndicated to local broadcast stations in nearly all markets throughout the United States since September 1993.[274]

FXX premiered The Simpsons on their network on August 21, 2014 by starting a twelve-day marathon which featured the first 552 episodes (every single episode that had already been released at the time) aired chronologically, including The Simpsons Movie, which FX Networks had already owned the rights to air. It was the longest continuous marathon in the history of television (until VH1 Classic aired a 433-hour, nineteen-day, marathon of Saturday Night Live in 2015; celebrating that program's 40th anniversary).[275][276] The first day of the marathon was the highest rated broadcast day in the history of the network so far, the ratings more than tripled that those of regular prime time programming for FXX.[277] Ratings during the first six nights of the marathon grew night after night, with the network ranking within the top 5 networks in basic cable each night.[278]

On October 21, 2014, a digital service courtesy of the FXNOW app, called Simpsons World, launched. Simpsons World has every episode of the series accessible to authenticated FX subscribers, and is available on game consoles such as Xbox One, streaming devices such as Roku and Apple TV, and online via web browser.[279][280] There was early criticism of both wrong aspect ratios for earlier episodes and the length of commercial breaks on the streaming service, but there are now fewer commercial breaks during individual episodes.[281] Later it was announced that Simpsons World would now let users watch all of the SD episodes in their original format.[282]

In July 2017, all episodes were made available for purchase on the iTunes Store, in the United States.

Merchandise
See also: List of The Simpsons books and List of The Simpsons home video releases
The popularity of The Simpsons has made it a billion-dollar merchandising industry.[160] The title family and supporting characters appear on everything from T-shirts to posters. The Simpsons has been used as a theme for special editions of well-known board games, including Clue, Scrabble, Monopoly, Operation, and The Game of Life, as well as the trivia games What Would Homer Do? and Simpsons Jeopardy!. Several card games such as trump cards and The Simpsons Trading Card Game have also been released. Many official or unofficial Simpsons books such as episode guides have been published. Many episodes of the show have been released on DVD and VHS over the years. When the first season DVD was released in 2001, it quickly became the best-selling television DVD in history, although it was later overtaken by the first season of Chappelle's Show.[283] In particular, seasons one through seventeen have been released on DVD in the U.S. (Region 1), Europe (Region 2) and Australia/New Zealand/Latin America (Region 4). However, on April 19, 2015, Al Jean announced that the Season 17 DVD would be the last one ever produced, leaving the collection from Season 1 to 17, Season 20 (released out of schedule in 2009), with Seasons 18, 19, and 21 onwards unreleased.[284][285] Jean also stated that the deleted scenes and commentary would try to be released to the Simpsons World app, and that they were pushing for Simpsons World to be expanded outside of the U.S.[284] Two years later, however, on July 22, 2017, it was announced that Season 18 would be released on December 5, 2017 on DVD.

In 2003, about 500 companies around the world were licensed to use Simpsons characters in their advertising.[286] As a promotion for The Simpsons Movie, twelve 7-Eleven stores were transformed into Kwik-E-Marts and sold The Simpsons related products. These included "Buzz Cola", "Krusty-O" cereal, pink doughnuts with sprinkles, and "Squishees".[287]

In 2008 consumers around the world spent $750 million on merchandise related to The Simpsons, with half of the amount originating from the United States. By 2009, 20th Century Fox had greatly increased merchandising efforts.[288] On April 9, 2009, the United States Postal Service unveiled a series of five 44-cent stamps featuring Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie, to commemorate the show's twentieth anniversary.[289] The Simpsons is the first television series still in production to receive this recognition.[290][291] The stamps, designed by Matt Groening, were made available for purchase on May 7, 2009.[292] Approximately one billion were printed, but only 318 million were sold, costing the Postal Service $1.2 million.[293][294]

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