Series Name: The Simpsons
Television Network : Fox
Running Time : 22-24 Minutes
Broadcast Run : December 17th, 1989 to present(530 episodes and counting)
This post was transplanted from my previous blog, Today on Television. It is something I wish to continue over here, but not something I’d wish to commit a daily post to.
C’mon. Like I wouldn’t dedicate the first Animation Domination post to the most influential cartoon of the past twenty years. Perhaps even the most influential comedy television show of our lifetime, so ingratiated into the lexicon of pop culture that it’s spawned entries in Websters Dictionary. You ask a modern day comedy writer what his influences are, you’d be hard pressed to find one who doesn’t list the Simpsons as inspiration.
Spawning off The Tracy Ullman Show as short little commercial bumps, the Simpsons became a regular series and helped keep the Television Network Fox alive during it’s first couple years in existence. Due to it’s depiction of a lower/middle class dysfunctional family which a troublesome older child talking back to his parents and graffiting the town with “El Barto,” parents voiced their concern that the Simpsons was corrupting the children. Even today, sales of the Simpsons dolls are banned in Iran for corrupting children. ¹
The Simpsons became a media whirlwind, being featured on local news outlets and national coverage. Without Bart Simpson telling his teachers to “Eat My Shorts,” we wouldn’t have such contemporary vulgar classics such as Family Guy or South Park, or even the late night network Adult Swim.
What could I possibly say to you if you’re a Simpsons fan that you haven’t heard before? And if you’ve never given the Simpsons a chance, after twenty plus years, what could I possibly say to get you to try it? In May, The Simpsons finished it’s 24th season, making it older than an entire generation. The Simpsons Movie grossed over $500 million worldwide on it’s release in 2007‡. The Simpsons has won over 27 Emmy’s, was named Time’s Best Television Show of the 20th Century², and Hollywood even gave the Simpsons family a STAR on the walk of fame.³
The story goes like this, newspaper comic strip writer Matt Groening had a strip he was quite fond of called “Life in Hell.” He went to James L. Brooks office to pitch a television show but was worried about losing the rights to his beloved characters. So he quickly sketched The Simpsons, naming each character after his own family members, and placing himself in the role of Bart†. When the Simpsons became an overnight success, Groening negotiated a deal that would allow him to serve as an executive producer even when not working on the show. The Simpsons has gone through numerous show runners. The list of special guest stars who have lent their voice to the Simpsons is innumerable. The Simpsons airs in syndication ALL over the globe. During my time in Germany, I watched the Simpsons in an hour block every day of the week to brush up on my language skills. They even teach classes at Universities about the effect of Simpsons on philosophical issues§.
Quality of the show varies depending on show runner(Looking at you Mike Scully) but still delivers the laughs. Just not as many as it had in it’s prime. Here are some of my favorite animation sequences, because well… listing all the potential hilarity? Way too many choices, and you know how indecisive I am.
You either love the Simpsons, and know enough about it making everything I say complete old hat to you. Or you don’t care for the Simpsons, and you’re probably not even reading this sentence. Which means I can call you evil. Because there’s something wrong with you.