The Simpsons (seasons 1-10, 32-present)

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The Simpsons
Simps.jpeg
Putting the "fun" back in "dysfunctional" since 1987!
Genre: Animated sitcom
Slice-of-life
Satire
Running Time: 21-24 minutes
Country: United States
Release Date: April 19, 1987 - May 14, 1989 (Tracey Ullman Show shorts)
December 17, 1989 - present
Network(s): Fox (US broadcast)
FXX (US syndication)
Network Ten (1991-2011; Australia)
Eleven (2011-17; Australia)
7mate (2018-present; Australia)
Sky One (1990-2021; UK broadcast)
Sky Showcase (2021-present; UK broadcast)
BBC One (1996-97; UK syndication)
BBC Two (1997-2004; UK syndication)
Channel 4 (2004-present; UK syndication)
Disney+ (Worldwide streaming)
Created by: Matt Groening
James L. Brooks
Sam Simon
Distributed by: 20th Television (On behalf of Disney–ABC Domestic Television)
Starring: Dan Castellaneta
Julie Kavner
Nancy Cartwright
Yeardley Smith
Hank Azaria
Harry Shearer
Seasons: 35
Episodes: 13 (Season 1)
22 (Seasons 2, 4-5, 11, 13, 15, 17-18, 22-28, 31-33)
23 (Seasons 10, 21, 30)
24 (Season 3)
25 (Seasons 6-9)
Previous show: The Simpsons shorts from The Tracey Ullman Show


The Simpsons is an American long-running adult animated sitcom created by Matt Groening for the Fox Broadcasting Company. It is based on the 1987-1989 shorts made for the Tracy Ullman Show. Since its debut on December 17, 1989, 720 episodes of the show have been broadcast. It is the longest-running American animated series, longest-running American sitcom, and the longest-running American scripted primetime television series, both in terms of seasons and number of episodes. It is considered to be one of the greatest cartoons of all time, despite its gradual decline afterwards. The show received acclaim throughout its early seasons in the 1990s, which are generally considered its "golden age". Since then, it has been criticized for a perceived decline in quality.

History

When producer James L. Brooks was working on the television variety show The Tracey Ullman Show, he decided to include 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. 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. He named the characters after his own family members, substituting "Bart" for his own name, adopting an anagram of the word brat.

The Simpson family first appeared as shorts in The Tracey Ullman Show on April 19, 1987. 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. The animation was produced domestically at Klasky Csupo, with Wes Archer, David Silverman, and Bill Kopp being animators for the first season. The colorist, "Georgie" Gyorgyi Kovacs Peluce (Kovács Györgyike) made the characters yellow; as Bart, Lisa and Maggie have no hairlines, she felt they would look strange if they were flesh-colored. Groening supported the decision, saying: "Marge is yellow with blue hair? That's hilarious — let's do it!"

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. 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.[33] The half-hour series premiered on December 17, 1989, with "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire". "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. 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—a claim rejected by the courts.

Executive producers and showrunners

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, 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. 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, at least until his passing in 2015. 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.

Writing

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. Newer Simpsons' writing teams typically consist of sixteen writers who propose episode ideas at the beginning of each December. 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. Until 2004, 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. Each episode takes six months to produce so the show rarely comments on current events.

Credited with sixty episodes, John Swartzwelder is the most prolific writer on The Simpsons. 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. English comedian Ricky Gervais wrote the episode "Homer Simpson, This Is Your Wife", becoming the first celebrity to both write and guest star in the same episode. Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, writers of the film Superbad, wrote the episode "Homer the Whopper", with Rogen voicing a character in it.

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.

Voice actors

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. Julie Kavner voices Marge Simpson and Patty and Selma, as well as several minor characters. 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. Cartwright voices Bart Simpson, Nelson Muntz, Ralph Wiggum and other children. Smith, the voice of Lisa Simpson, is the only cast member who regularly voices only one character, although she occasionally plays other episodic characters. 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,[54] so she was given the role of Lisa instead 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". Groening let her try out for the part instead, and upon hearing her read, gave her the job on the spot. 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. 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 main voice cast since the second season in one episode "Old Money" and then perpetually part of the regular main voice cast since the third season, 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 formerly Dr. Hibbert. Every main cast member has won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance.

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. 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. 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. 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. The strike was resolved a month later and their salaries were increased to something between $250,000 and $360,000 per episode. 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. The negotiations were soon completed, and the actors' salary was raised to $400,000 per episode. 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.

In addition to the main cast, Pamela Hayden, Tress MacNeille, Marcia Wallace, Maggie Roswell, and Russi Taylor voice supporting characters 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. Wiedergott left the show in 2010, and since then Chris Edgerly has appeared regularly to voice minor characters. Repeat "special guest" cast members include Albert Brooks, Phil Hartman, Jon Lovitz, Joe Mantegna, Maurice LaMarche, and Kelsey Grammer. Following Hartman's death in 1998, the characters he voiced (Troy McClure and Lionel Hutz) were retired; Wallace's character of Edna Krabappel was retired as well after her death in 2013. Following Taylor's death in 2019, her characters (including Sherri, Terri, and Martin Prince) are now voiced by Grey Griffin.

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".[74] The Simpsons holds the world record for "Most Guest Stars Featured in a Television Series".[75]

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.[76] 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.[77]

Animation

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. With the debut of the series, because of an increased workload, Fox subcontracted production to several local and foreign studios. These are AKOM, Anivision, Rough Draft Studios, USAnimation, and Toonzone Entertainment.

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, who continued to animate the show until 2016 when they were replaced by Fox Television Animation, which allowed the show to be made more in-house. In Season 14, production switched from traditional cel animation to digital ink and paint. 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.

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.

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. Matt Groening called it a complicated change because it affected the timing and composition of animation.

Why These Seasons Go "Woo-Hoo!"

  1. Adult animation in its purest form, as this is the first adult animated TV series since The Flintstones and The Jetsons to garner major success.
  2. Clever humor and writing.
  3. Good voice acting.
  4. Likable and memorable characters, such as:
    1. Homer Simpson is one of the biggest adult cartoon icons in history.
    2. Bart Simpson is one of the most iconic kid characters in adult animation.
    3. Marge Simpson is a trusting and loving wife to Homer and mother to Bart, Lisa and Maggie.
    4. Lisa Simpson, for the first six seasons.
    5. Maggie Simpson is a reasonably cute character.
    6. Seymour Skinner
    7. Gary Chalmers
    8. Willie
    9. Milhouse van Houten
    10. Nelson Muntz (though it varies when he is likable or unlikable)
    11. Ralph Wiggum
    12. Otto Mann
    13. Krusty
    14. Sideshow Mel
    15. Troy McClure
    16. Lionel Hutz
    17. Martin Prince
    18. Abraham Simpson II
    19. Lenny Leonard
    20. Carl Carlson
    21. Moe Szylak
    22. Barney Gumble
    23. Apu Nahasapeemapetilon
    24. Clancy Wiggum
    25. Monty Burns
    26. Waylon Smithers
    27. Patty Bouvier (depending on your view)
    28. Selma Bouvier (depending on your view)
    29. Jimbo Jones (depending on your view)
    30. Kearney Zzyzwicz (depending on your view)
    31. Dolph Starbeam (depending on your view)
    32. Professor Frink
    33. Hans Moleman
    34. Timothy Lovejoy
    35. Kent Brockman
    36. Julius Hibbert
    37. Disco Stu
    38. Duffman
    39. Dr. Nick
    40. Ruth Powers
    41. Each of the Simpsons have a very distinct personality:
      1. Homer is the dimwitted, but well-meaning dad.
      2. Marge is the strict, but loving mother.
      3. Bart is the trouble-making son.
      4. Lisa is the overachieving daughter.
      5. Maggie is the silent member of the family, but is often implied to be smarter than one would expect.
  5. Splendid animation, especially that of Season 31 onwards as it's wonderfully smooth due to being animated using Toon Boom Harmony.
  6. Impressive balancing of an extremely large cast of side characters, most of whom have clearly defined and likable personalities.
  7. There are so many hilarious and unforgettable running gags:
    1. Sideshow Bob repeatedly trying to kill Bart Simpson after the events of "Krusty Gets Busted".
    2. A different kind of couch gag at the beginning of every episode.
    3. The many catchphrases like Homer Simpson's "D'oh!", Nelson Muntz's laugh, and Bart's rotated catchphrases "Ay Carumba!", "Don't have a cow, man!", "Eat my shorts!" and "I'm Bart Simpson, who the hell are you?".
    4. The way Superintendent Chalmers yells "Skinner!".
    5. The Itchy & Scratchy Show, which parodies the violent cartoons of the early-to-mid 20th century (most notably Tom and Jerry).
    6. Ralph Wiggum's "Ralphisms".
    7. Bart's prank calls to Moe's Tavern.
  8. Lots of great episodes (see below)
  9. Memorable opening theme music, composed by Danny Elfman and arranged by Alf Clausen.
  10. Most of the in-episode musical numbers are well-written and funny, including:
    1. "We Do!"
    2. "The Monorail Song"
    3. "Who Needs the Kwik-E-Mart?"
    4. "We Put the Spring in Springfield"
    5. "Dr. Zaius"
    6. "Everybody Hates Ned Flanders"
    7. "They'll Never Stop the Simpsons"
    8. "Sold Separately"
    9. "The Garbage Man Can"
    10. "Checkin' In"
    11. "Cut Every Corner"
    12. The musical numbers in "All Singing, All Dancing"
    13. "Jazzman"
    14. "Flaming Moe's" (not to be confused with the episode of the same name)
    15. "Scorpio!" (not to be confused with the character of the same name)
    16. "See My Vest"
    17. "Baby on Board"
    18. "Talkin' Softball"
    19. "Happy Birthday, Lisa"
  11. It's sophisticated and generous in its humor.
  12. Gives out a lot of good morals and lessons for viewers of all ages, like "be careful what you wish for".
  13. The episodes where The Simpsons travel around the world to other countries and other US states are great (except for "Kill the Alligator and Run and Simpson Safari").
  14. Loads of hilarious moments, funny couch gags, great stories and relatable pop-culture references like references to Dr. Seuss, South Park, Monty Python's Flying Circus, Scooby-Doo, The Beatles, Nintendo, Looney Tunes, SpongeBob SquarePants, Michael Jackson, Marvel Comics, etc.
  15. The "Treehouse of Horror" specials are funny, terrifying and unforgettable at the same time.
  16. Gives us decent facts and real-life events about celebrities, politicians, etc.
  17. Many supporting side characters (Lenny Leonard and Carl Carlson, Ned Flanders, Moe Szyslak, Krusty the Clown, Milhouse van Houten, Chief Wiggum, etc.)
  18. It also has its share of many entertaining antagonists (Mr. Burns, Sideshow Bob, Frank Grimes, Hank Scorpio, Kang and Kodos).
  19. Unlike most Fox shows, The Simpsons takes aim at both the Democratic and Republican parties, depicting Republicans as corrupt warmongers and Democrats as brainless idiots (and the opposite, indeed!). Not even presidents were safe from criticism, as Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton have all been subjected to mockery on the show.
  20. The Simpsons has many famous celebrity guest stars in their episodes (Ringo Starr, Barry White, George Carlin, Leonard Nimoy, Mark Hamill, Rupert Murdoch, Michael Jackson, Alec Baldwin, etc).
  21. During the show’s downfall (Seasons 11-31), the show spawned a movie adaptation, The Simpsons Movie, which is great and stays faithful to these seasons.
  22. While the show won't revert back to its classic form anytime soon, it managed to recover from its downfall after complaints from fans and critics when Season 32 aired (not counting the holdover episodes from Season 31 as they aren't that good). This is mainly because that there are more good episodes than bad, many of the characters who were flanderized like Homer, Bart, Marge, Lisa and Ned Flanders got their original personalities back in Season 31 (expect Ned Flanders, which got his original personality back in Season 32).
  23. The Season 32 episode "The Road to Cincinnati", as one of the episodes as the main roles some of supporting characters without the Simpsons family, is extremely hilarious, and it centers to Skinner and Chalmers' relationship.

Bad Qualities

  1. Being such a long-running show, it wasn’t safe from experiencing seasonal rot. Some fans believe it began to go downhill around Seasons 9 and 10, though it didn’t get too noticeable until Season 11 when the series underwent a pretty big decline in quality that lasted for years. Athough Seasons 11-20 and 25, and 31 are considered average among fans, Seasons 21-24, 26-30 are the worst seasons of the. It wasn’t until Season 32 when the series finally broke out of the rot.
  2. Quantity Over Quality: Just like Family Guy and SpongeBob SquarePants, the main problem is that the series has been going on for an extreme runtime (it started all the way back in 1989), as the show now has 35 seasons and 700+ episodes and counting. While it sounds like a cool idea on paper, the show will often jump the shark because of this. There is a possibility that the show will be around even when the universe explodes.
    • It could have ended sometime in 2007 when The Simpsons Movie was released or when the episode "Holidays of Future Passed" aired, but it instead became the cash cow for the Fox network.
    • There are enough episodes to the point where Wikipedia needed to have two episode lists.
    • While all the seasons are available to watch on Disney+ (excluding Season 35, since it’s still airing new episodes), most of the seasons are still not released on DVD yet, as only the first 20 seasons have a DVD release and for whatever reason, FOX/Disney opted not to release the rest of the seasons on DVD/Blu-ray.
      • Not to mention, there was a gap between the releases of 17th and 18th season sets starting in 2014, as FOX wanted to focus more on digital distribution. It wasn't until July 22, 2017, when the 18th season set was announced due to a fan protest.
  3. On some occasions, the humor is done at the wrong time and barely makes any sense.
  4. Season 1's animation (while decent) isn't that great, as it has a ton of errors, washed out colors and mediocre character designs:
    1. "Some Enchanted Evening" is the worst offender, especially the original version of it. Matt Groening and his crew wanted a show with more restricted, less cartoonish animation, while Klasky Csupo wanted something fluid and expressive à la the Tracey Ullman shorts. Nobody seemed to have told AKOM anything, meaning the animation of the episode was wildly inconsistent, and 70% of the animation had to be redone by David Silverman's domestic unit (only a few scenes from the original director, Kent Butterworth, remained). James L. Brooks is on record as calling the original version "shit". As a result, the episode (which was originally intended as the series premiere) was pushed back to the season finale.
    2. Anivision had worse animation than either AKOM or Rough Draft Studios or Funbag Animation Studios Inc; the DVD commentary mentioned that they had issues with keeping the characters' pupils the correct size (they weren't mentioned by name, but the staff pointed to "I Married Marge", which was animated by Anivision). Simpsons Archive also considers them the worst overseas studio, citing that they specialize in "lousy colors, misshapen figures (especially the eyes), and generally unfinished-looking, sloppy work." [1] They were let go by the end of Season 10 (either because of the quality of their work or because this was around the time Anivision was absorbed into Sunwoo Entertainment).
    3. Season 2's animation, while better than that of Season 1, still had its fair share of color inconsistencies, probably the biggest example of this is when Bart's shirt was salmon pink in the season’s first half, before gradually switching back to its normal red color by “Blood Feud” (the season’s finale).
  5. The FXX reruns of Seasons 1-20a are remastered and cropped from 4:3 to 16:9. Even though the colors are restored for the cel-animated episodes and the picture quality looks better, it looks really off-putting and claustrophobic compared to the original 4:3 aspect ratio.
    • Disney even used the 'remastered' 16:9 versions for Disney+, but they luckily fixed this issue by giving an option to view the series in the original 4:3 aspect ratio in May 2020 (not counting any of the episodes after the series switched to 16:9).
    • Even the international FOX channels used the 16:9 versions since around 2015 or 2016, which in fact, the only way to watch the 4:3 episodes is on DVD (before Disney+'s launch).
  6. Unlike most Western and European shows being localized to Japan, its Japanese dub lasted only 14 seasons. After the movie was released in Japanese, starting in Season 15, the show is no longer dubbed by Japanese voice artists but is rather shown subtitled, an oddity for a foreign animated show in Japan.
  7. Many of the moments in the earlier seasons intended to be controversial and unexpected feel fairly tame by today's standards. This is inevitable for a series from that era, though.
    • One of Bart's old catchphrases "I'm Bart Simpson, who the hell are you" clearly often puts emphasis on the word "hell", which was considered unfit for television animation at the time, but nowadays, is almost comical because characters even younger than Bart, like Stewie Griffin, say much worse.
    • "The Telltale Head" was controversial for having Bart deface the head of the statue of Jebidiah Springfield, although the episode is very tame by today's standards due to Bart almost immediately regretting his actions at the end.
    • Even by the late 90s, several moments that were controversial then are tame by today's standards, for example, the moral that gay people are equal to straight people in the 1998 episode "Homer's Phobia", while shocking for broadcast TV back then, is a pretty standard and cliched moral on shows today.
  8. The good seasons aren't always perfect and have their share of hiccups.
    1. Season 1, while decent, can be considered dull and boring for some compared to the later seasons due to having weaker animation, comedy and the characters being less developed. This can be excusable since, just like any other first seasons of any shows, they are just getting started.
    2. Seasons 9 and 10, while also good, are the weakest of the "Golden Age" seasons, as they're considered to be the start of the series' downfall and there are more bad episodes than in previous seasons, such as "Miracle on Evergreen Terrace", "Homer Simpson in: 'Kidney Trouble'" and the infamous "Principal and the Pauper", which is widely considered to be the show's "jump the shark" moment. The episodes themselves are also considered a mixed-bag and the Flanderization of the characters (most notably Homer) are starting to kick in.
    3. Season 32, while enjoyable and the first good season since Season 10, is unfortunately the first season where white actors would no longer voice non-white characters because Al Jean forced all of them to step down from their roles following the George Floyd riots, which is pandering to political correctness. To be fair, most of the new voice actors do a fine job with their work and sound close to the original actors, but Alex Désert, the new voice actor of Carl, sounds like he's trying way too hard to imitate Hank Azaria. Even Kevin Michael Richardson does a mediocre job voicing Dr. Hibbert, since he lacks the charm Harry Shearer had and just comes across as Dr. Hibbert sounding more like he is making a voice impression of Mr. Gus from Uncle Grandpa.
      • Even in Seasons 32-onwards, Marge's voice Julie Kavner, cannot play her role as the character anymore without having vocal cord issues.
    4. Season 33, while still decent overall, is arguably considered the weakest of all of the good seasons, as it has more bad episodes than the previous good seasons (though not as much as the bad/average seasons).
  9. Even the good seasons have their fair share of bad-to-mediocre episodes. They once even cluttered the Terrible TV Shows Wiki with their individual pages before they were all removed and sub-sequentially banned on that wiki and were later relocated to the Horrible TV Show Episodes Wiki (though the episodes have been restored on the wiki after they were both merged), such episodes include:
    • "Homer's Night Out" (the first bad episode of the series)
    • "My Sister, My Sitter" (depending on your point of view)
    • "The Principal and the Pauper" (which is widely considered to be the worst episode of the "Golden Age" and is what started the series' decline)
    • "Lisa The Vegetarian"
    • "Miracle on Evergreen Terrace"
    • "All Singing, All Dancing" (despite being intentionally bad)
    • "When You Dish Upon a Star"
    • "Homer Simpson in: 'Kidney Trouble'"
    • "Now Museum, Now You Don't"
    • "The 7 Beer Itch"
    • "Yokel Hero"
    • "The Star of the Backstage" (which started Season 33 disappointingly; as it has a good concept for a musical episode; but in execution it was very sour)
    • "Portrait of a Lackey on Fire"
    • "The Longest Marge"
    • "You Won't Believe What This Episode Is About - Act Three Will Shock You!"
    • "Bart the Cool Kid"
    • "Pretty Whittle Liar"
    • "The Sound of Bleeding Gums"
    • "Meat Is Murder"
    • "Poorhouse Rock" (another bad musical episode and a terrible way to end Season 33)
  10. Some of the couch gags (whilst very enjoyable) can get pretty weird or outright disturbing for some viewers' tastes (the "Treehouse of Horror" ones being notable examples).
  11. The Disney+ shorts are considered to be mediocre cash-ins, depending on your view.
  12. Whilst the humor for the most part is excellent, the show can sometimes throw in humor or jokes that comes across as unfunny, repetitive or disturbing:
    • Sometimes, the series overuses lowbrow forms of humor such as flatulence jokes and slapstick humor to the point that they overstay their welcome. However, this was much rarer in the first eight seasons or so.
    • It sometimes overuses pop-culture references, even in the earlier seasons. This also means that a lot of these references will go over the heads of younger viewers, as the Simpsons have always been intended as a more family-oriented show compared, say, to the crassness of South Park.
      • Episodes often referenced pieces of pop culture that are now mostly forgotten, for example, Cape Feare being a parody of the now fairly obscure 1991 film Cape Fear, in which created an effect where many comments on videos about that film often relate to Sideshow Bob in some way, especially the movie's main theme, which would be used even in later Sideshow Bob episodes, and a fair bit of 90s episodes name-dropping Melrose Place, a live-action show that aired before or after The Simpsons before shows like Family Guy, King of the Hill, Bob's Burgers or The Great North debuted.
  13. Some of the characters are not very likable, like Lisa, Agnes Skinner, Ned Flanders, Miss Hoover, Sherri and Terri Mackleberry, Patty and Selma Bouvier, Helen Lovejoy, Mr. Largo, Luann van Houten, the Rich Texan, Jimbo Jones, Kearney Zzyzwicz, Dolph Starbeam and Dr. Marvin Monroe. It also varies when Nelson Muntz is likable or unlikable.
    • To be fair, Lisa isn't too bad in the early seasons, but during seasons 7-30, she is portrayed as a soapbox for whatever liberal viewpoints the creators want to push. Even in the early seasons, she behaves less like an actual child and more like a teenager or young adult, expressing knowledge that no kid her age (at least back then) would know or care about, such as when Texas became a state, what a revolver is, who Mel Brooks and William Shatner are, or that Monaco has a prince, not to mention her feminist Thanksgiving centerpiece in "Bart vs. Thanksgiving". However, since season 31, she is now more tolerable and keeps most of her charm.
    • Seymour Skinner had not only suffered from flanderization in Season 9, but he also had one of the worst character derailments in the series, as he went from a reasonably competent, no-nonsense principal who was a Vietnam veteran and had an overbearing mother, and was one of Bart's enemies, as he tried to force authority on Bart, to a pathological and pathetic wimp who was revealed to be an imposter named "Armin Tamazarian" in the infamous "The Principal and the Pauper" episode.
    • At times, Nelson Muntz, Jimbo Jones, Kearney Zzyzwicz, Dolph Starbeam can all come across as very unlikable at times. Whilst some of their bully antics can be entertaining at times, there are a few times where their bully antics can come across as mean and cruel than actually funny. But to be fair, that's pretty much the point of their characters as they're normally supposed to be treated like real-life bullies and are not supposed to be rooted for, which makes sense why.
      • Not to mention, Nelson Muntz is mostly sympathetic at times, mainly due to him suffering from child abuse and the fact he had a father who ran away from his family.
    • Though Patty and Selma Bouvier are likable in their own ways from Seasons 1-15 and 31-present since they just make simple mean, yet funny jokes about Homer, they were flanderized in Seasons 16-30 into being even more unlikable by kidnapping Homer on the day he and Marge were going to renew their wedding vows and wanting to hurt him in various ways. Luckily, later seasons tone it down.
    • Homer is sometimes miswritten as being totally selfish, uncaring and borderline abusive towards his family and friends, to the point where there was trope name for it called "Jerkass Homer", which became his notable personality trait in seasons 11-30. Notable examples of "Jerkass Homer" include him causing his father's kidneys to explode in "Homer Simpson in: "Kidney Trouble"" and framing Marge for drunk driving in "Co-Dependents' Day".
      • This was much rarer in the first ten seasons, but still occasionally cropped up.
    • Martin Prince and Ralph Wiggum, while never unlikable on the slightest, can get a little bit annoying at times.
  14. The show has spawned some controversies that caused the creators to make some horrible and/or unnecessary changes to the show:
    • "Stark Raving Dad" was banned after allegations against guest star Michael Jackson resurfaced in 2019 with the release of Leaving Neverland. It's bad enough to ban the episode from airing on TV, but the episode was also removed from digital distribution and future reprints of the Season 3 DVD set and has remained absent on Disney+. Thankfully, it was back on the air through FXX on October 9th, 2019 and it can be bought digitally through Amazon Prime in the UK.
    • The recent seasons have relegated the character of Apu to the background due to voice actor Hank Azaria's refusal to voice the character, as he thinks that the character is supposedly a racist caricature. However, Apu has actually shown reasonable levels of nuance and is no more exaggerated than other characters who have been allowed to stay on the series, and even Matt Groening and Al Jean said so.
      • Groening, in particular, says that he has "big plans" for the character and is proud of him.
  15. The Channel 4 airings in the UK are censored, sometimes cutting out good jokes.
    • Sky One and its replacement Sky Showcase also censor the show. However, they're minor compared to Channel 4's censorship.
  16. From Season 2 point on, the episodes are often aired out of order in terms of production orders and airing orders of each episodes and season. If you want to know the episodes and seasons in the correct production orders of each episode, it's right here.
  17. Even outside of the dark age, the show can try to be cool and hip at times, for an example, the title of the Season 33 episode "You Won't Believe What This Episode is About - Act Three Will Shock You!" sounds like something for a click baiter video than an actual episode. Yes, the episode is literally named that way.

Examples of Great Simpsons episodes

Season 1 (1989-90)

  1. "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire" (which started the series on a heartwarming note)
  2. "There's No Disgrace Like Home" (although the personalities are different)
  3. "Bart the General"
  4. "Moaning Lisa"
  5. "The Call of the Simpsons"
  6. "The Telltale Head"
  7. "Krusty Gets Busted"
  8. "Some Enchanted Evening" (despite the poorly aged animation, which ended season 1 on a high note)

Season 2 (1990-91)

  1. "Bart Gets an F" (depending on your view, it started season 2 on a high note)
  2. The "Treehouse of Horror" episodes (except "Treehouse of Horror XXII")
  3. "Bart the Daredevil"
  4. "Bart vs. Thanksgiving"
  5. "One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish"
  6. "Brush With Greatness"
  7. "Lisa's Substitute"

Season 3 (1991-92)

  1. "Stark Raving Dad" (which started season 3 on a high note)
  2. "Homer Defined"
  3. "Like Father, Like Clown"
  4. "Lisa's Pony"
  5. "Saturdays of Thunder"
  6. "Flaming Moe's"
  7. "Burns Verkaufen der Kraftwerk"
  8. "I Married Marge"
  9. "Homer Alone"
  10. "Bart the Lover"
  11. "Homer at the Bat"
  12. "Separate Vocations"
  13. "Black Widower"
  14. "The Otto Show"
  15. "Bart's Friend Falls in Love"

Season 4 (1992-93)

  1. "Kamp Krusty" (which started season 4 on a high note)
  2. "Homer the Heretic"
  3. "Marge Gets a Job"
  4. "New Kid on the Block"
  5. "Mr. Plow"
  6. "Lisa's First Word"
  7. "Homer's Triple Bypass"
  8. "Marge vs. the Monorail"
  9. "I Love Lisa"
  10. "Selma's Choice"
  11. "Duffless"
  12. "Last Exit to Springfield"
  13. "So It's Come to This: A Simpsons Clip Show"
  14. "The Front"
  15. "Whacking Day"
  16. "Krusty Gets Kancelled" (which ended season 4 on a high note)

Season 5 (1993-94)

  1. "Homer's Barbershop Quartet" (which started season 5 on a high note)
  2. "Cape Feare"
  3. "Homer Goes to College"
  4. "Rosebud"
  5. "$pringfield" (also known as "How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Legalized Gambling")
  6. "Homer and Apu"
  7. "Lisa vs. Malibu Stacy"
  8. "Deep Space Homer"
  9. "Homer Loves Flanders"
  10. "Bart Gets an Elephant"
  11. "Burns' Heir"
  12. "Sweet Seymour Skinner's Baadasssss Song"
  13. "Boy-Scoutz 'n the Hood"
  14. "The Boy Who Knew Too Much"

Season 6 (1994-95)

  1. "Lisa's Rival"
  2. "Sideshow Bob Roberts"
  3. "Bart's Girlfriend"
  4. "Homer Badman"
  5. "Homer the Great"
  6. "And Maggie Makes Three"
  7. "Bart's Comet"
  8. "Lisa's Wedding"
  9. "The PTA Disbands!"
  10. "Itchy & Scratchy Land"
  11. "'Round Springfield"
  12. "The Springfield Connection"
  13. "Lemon of Troy"
  14. "Who Shot Mr. Burns?" (Parts 1 and 2)

Season 7 (1995-96)

  1. "Radioactive Man"
  2. "Bart Sells His Soul"
  3. "King-Size Homer"
  4. "Mother Simpson"
  5. "Sideshow Bob's Last Gleaming"
  6. "Team Homer"
  7. "Two Bad Neighbors"
  8. "Homer the Smithers"
  9. "A Fish Called Selma"
  10. "Bart on the Road"
  11. "22 Short Films About Springfield"
  12. "Raging Abe Simpson and His Grumbling Grandson in 'The Curse of the Flying Hellfish'"
  13. "Much Apu About Nothing"
  14. "Summer of 4 Ft. 2" (which ended season 7 on a high note)

Season 8 (1996-97)

  1. "You Only Move Twice"
  2. "Bart After Dark"
  3. "A Milhouse Divided"
  4. "Lisa's Date with Density"
  5. "Burns Baby Burns"
  6. "Hurricane Neddy"
  7. "El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer (The Mysterious Voyage of Homer)"
  8. "They Homer They Fall"
  9. "The Springfield Files"
  10. "Mountain of Madness"
  11. "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show"
  12. "Homer's Phobia"
  13. "Brother from Another Series"
  14. "Homer vs. the Eighteenth Amendment"
  15. "Grade School Confidential"
  16. "In Marge We Trust"
  17. "Homer's Enemy" (the highest rated episode on IMDB)

Season 9 (1997-98)

  1. "The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson" (despite how badly some of the jokes have aged following 9/11)
  2. "Lisa's Sax"
  3. "The Cartridge Family"
  4. "The Joy of Sect"
  5. "Das Bus"
  6. "This Little Wiggy"
  7. "Trash of the Titans"
  8. "King of the Hill"
  9. "Natural Born Kissers" (which ended season 9 on a high note)

Season 10 (1998-99)

  1. "The Wizard of Evergreen Terrance"
  2. "Lisa Gets an 'A'"
  3. "Mayored to the Mob"
  4. "Marge Simpson in: 'Screaming Yellow Honkers'"
  5. "Maximum Homerdrive"
  6. "Mom and Pop Art"
  7. "Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo" (which ended the "Golden Age" of the show on a high note)

Season 32 (2020-21)

  1. "Undercover Burns" (which started season 32 and the "Renaissance Age" on a high note)
  2. "I, Carumbus"
  3. “Podcast News”
  4. "The Road to Cincinnati"
  5. “The Dad Feelings Limited”
  6. "Diary Queen" (even though the ending feels a bit rushed)
  7. “Uncut Femmes”
  8. "Mother and Child Reunion"
  9. "The Last Barfighter" (which ended Season 32 on a high note)

Season 33 (2021-22)

  1. "A Serious Flanders"

Season 34 (2022-2023)

  1. "Habeas Tortoise”
  2. ¨Lisa the Boy Scout¨
  3. ¨Treehouse of Horror XXXIII¨
  4. ¨Not It¨
  5. ¨The Very Hungry Caterpillars¨

Reception and Legacy

A number of neologisms that originated on The Simpsons have entered popular vernacular. 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." 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. 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.

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. "Cromulent" and "embiggen", words used in "Lisa the Iconoclast", have since appeared in the Dictionary.com's 21st Century Lexicon, and scientific journals respectively. "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. "I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords", was used by Kent Brockman in "Deep Space Homer" and has become a snowclone, with variants of the utterance used to express obsequious submission. It has been used in media, such as New Scientist magazine. The dismissive term "Meh", believed to have been popularized by the show, entered the Collins English Dictionary in 2008. Other words credited as stemming from the show include "yoink" and "craptacular".

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.

Many quotes/scenes have become popular Internet memes, including Jasper Beardley's quote "That's a paddlin'" from "The PTA Disbands" (season 6, 1995) and "Steamed Hams" from "22 Short Films About Springfield" (season 7, 1996).

In Television Programming

The Simpsons was the first successful animated program in American prime time since Wait Till Your Father Gets Home in the 1970s. 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, 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. 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. This development led US producers to a 1990s boom in new, animated prime-time shows for adults, such as Beavis and Butt-Head, South Park, Family Guy, King of the Hill, Futurama (which was created by Matt Groening), and The Critic (which was also produced by Gracie Films). 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."

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. South Park later paid homage to The Simpsons with the episode "Simpsons Already Did It". In "Simpsorama", the Planet Express crew from Futurama come to Springfield in the present to prevent the Simpsons from destroying the future. In the Family Guy episode "The Simpsons Guy", the Griffins visit Springfield and meet the Simpsons.

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. 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, and fellow British sitcom Spaced was, according to its director Edgar Wright, "an attempt to do a live-action The Simpsons." 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.

Videos

Trivia

  • The show is a spin-off of a successful series of shorts on The Tracey Ullman Show from 1987 to 1989, even though The Simpsons is very popular.

References

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