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The Simpsons

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The Simpsons
The Simpsons
Premiere series preview
December 17, 1989
series premiere
January 14, 1990
Finale
Airs Sundays at 8PM
Creator created by:
Matt Groening
developed by:
James L. Brooks
Matt Groening
Sam Simon
Network FOX
Style 30-minute animated comedy
Company Gracie Films
Klasky-Csupo
(seasons 1–3)
Film Roman
(seasons 4—)
20th Century Fox Television
Seasons 26
Episodes 552 (through season 25)
Status Currently airing season 26
Renewed through season 27 (2015-2016)
Origin USA
Official Twitter @TheSimpsons
Official Facebook The Simpsons

The Simpsons is an animated sitcom that first aired on December 17, 1989 and continues to air to this day, making it the longest running non-news U.S. primetime series ever. The series revolves around the core Simpson family and the expansive supporting cast which surrounds them in the fictional city of Springfield.

From August 21 to September 1, 2014, cable network FXX aired the entirety of The Simpsons within 12 days, titled Every Simpsons Ever. After the marathon, the entire series will still air on the network and be available to stream on-demand via FXNOW.

Contents

History

Though the episode Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire was the first appearance of the family in a 30-minute format, the concept behind the series debuted in a much shorter form on The Tracey Ullman Show. Series creator and Life in Hell cartoonist Matt Groening was called in to pitch a version of Life in Hell that could be animated and broadcast, but once Groening realized that this would require him giving up publishing rights to his comic strip, he quickly sketched out what would become the first incarnation of the Simpson family and named them after his own family. His idea was accepted by James L. Brooks as a suitable replacement for what he was originally supposed to pitch and he was told to go forward on the shorts.

In the first season of Ullman's variety show, a more crudely drawn version of the Simpsons appeared as bumper segments alongside a quickly forgotten animated short which was left in the proverbial dust after The Simpsons began to gain popularity. In the beginning, these shorts were written entirely by Groening with the aid of several animators from Klasky-Csupo. The shorts would continue to be broadcast until the end of the third season when FOX allowed Groening and Brooks to develop the shorts into a full series.

The series quickly blew up in popularity, particularly during the early 1990s when "Bartmania" swept the country, leading to the extreme merchandising of the characters, particularly Bart and Homer. The first season of the series drew an average of 13 million viewers in the United States alone, a number that allowed the fledgling FOX network to catapult into the big leagues, although the series suffered when executives programmed it against the wildly popular Cosby Show. However, the popularity of the series wasn't seen as a positive force in television. President George H. W. Bush and his wife Barbara Bush openly criticized the program, saying that they wanted families to be "more like The Waltons and less like The Simpsons."

On July 27, 2007, the first feature-length Simpsons movie was released theatrically after being in creative limbo since the season four episode, Kamp Krusty, which was originally considered as the plot of a full movie.

Themes

Groening originally created the family as an alternative to what was being displayed on the typical American sitcom family in that the Simpsons are a functional dysfunctional family. In an early interview with Entertainment Weekly dating back to 1993, Groening commented that his goal was to offer "an alternative to the audience, and show them there's something else out there than the mainstream trash that they are presented as the only thing." As a result, while the series at its core is a simply story about a family in American society, there are deliberate messages being delivered with their adventures.

Homer's employment in a nuclear power plant gives writers the ability to comment on environmental issues, Springfield Elementary is used as a backdrop of looking at education in America, Reverend Lovejoy and his church allow for religious discourse which at one point even included Homer having a conversation with a suspiciously five-fingered god in Homer the Heretic. However, the series is not technically topical like South Park due to the time it takes to produce an episode, instead it examines broad social messages, usually through the eyes of Homer or Bart.

Some have observed the social content and philosophy of the series as nihilist, due to the overwhelming corruption and incompetence of those who run the town. Mayor Joe Quimby is a womanizer, the police force is frequently ineffective, Rev. Lovejoy is often portrayed as bored and indifferent towards his congregation and corporate owners like C. Montgomery Burns are shown as out for greed and greed alone. However, beneath the somewhat bleak outlook, those beneath that specter are shown as unique and nuanced people who reflect average Americans rather than cartoonish caricatures.

Cast

For reasons of size, only the most prominent character voiced by each actor is listed in this table. For a full listing of Simpsons characters, see the character listing.

Actor Character Duration
Main Cast
Dan Castellaneta Homer Simpson 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25
Julie Kavner Marge Simpson 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25
Nancy Cartwright Bart Simpson 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25
Yeardley Smith Lisa Simpson 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25
Hank Azaria Moe Szyslak 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25
Harry Shearer Charles Montgomery Burns 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25
Season numbers in red indicate a recurring or guest role in that season.
Supporting/Recurring Cast
Pamela Hayden Milhouse Van Houten 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25
Tress MacNeille Agnes Skinner 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 17 19 20 21 22 23 24 25
Russi Taylor Martin Prince 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25
Marcia Wallace Edna Krabappel 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25
Maggie Roswell Helen Lovejoy 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25
Marcia Mitzman Gaven 11 12 13 14
Jo Ann Harris Additional Voices 1 2 3 4
Kelsey Grammer Sideshow Bob 1 3 5 6 7 8 12 14 17 19 20 21 23 24 25
Phil Hartman Troy McClure 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Doris Grau Lunchlady Doris 2 3 4 5 6 7
Jon Lovitz Additional Voices 2 3 4 6 8 13 15 18 24 25
Frank Welker Santa's Little Helper 2 3 5 6 7 8 11 12 13
Joe Mantegna Fat Tony 3 6 7 8 10 11 12 13 14 16 17 18 20 21 22 24 25
Maurice LaMarche Additional Voices 6 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 24 25
Karl Wiedergott Additional Voices 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22
Jane Kaczmarek Constance Harm 13 14 15 16 18 21
Terry W. Greene Additional Voices 14 16 17 22 24
Kevin Michael Richardson Additional Voices 21 22 23 24 25
Chris Edgerly Additional Voices 22 23 24 25

Seasons

Season Premiere Finale #
FOX
Season One December 17, 1989 May 13, 1990 13
Season Two October 11, 1990 July 11, 1990 22
Season Three September 19, 1991 August 27, 1992 24
Season Four September 24, 1992 May 13, 1993 22
Season Five September 30, 1993 May 19, 1994 22
Season Six September 4, 1994 May 21, 1995 25
Season Seven September 17, 1995 May 19, 1996 25
Season Eight October 27, 1996 May 18, 1997 25
Season Nine September 21, 1997 May 17, 1998 25
Season Ten August 23, 1998 May 16, 1999 23
Season Eleven September 26, 1999 May 21, 2000 22
Season Twelve November 1, 2000 May 20, 2001 21
Season Thirteen November 6, 2001 May 22, 2002 22
Season Fourteen November 3, 2002 May 18, 2003 22
Season Fifteen November 2, 2003 May 23, 2004 22
Season Sixteen November 7, 2004 May 15, 2005 21
Season Seventeen September 11, 2005 May 21, 2006 22
Season Eighteen September 10, 2006 May 20, 2007 22
Season Nineteen September 23, 2007 May 18, 2008 20
Season Twenty September 28, 2008 May 17, 2009 21
Season Twenty-One September 27, 2009 May 23, 2010 23
Season Twenty-Two September 26, 2010 May 22, 2011 22
Season Twenty-Three September 25, 2011 May 13, 2012 22
Season Twenty-Four September 30, 2012 May 19, 2013 22
Season Twenty-Five September 29, 2013 May 18, 2014 22
Season Twenty-Six September 28, 2014 22
Season Twenty-Seven 2015 2016
Feature Film
The Simpsons Movie July 27, 2007

In-Depth

DVD and Blu-ray Releases

DVD

Title Release Date #
Season Sets
The Complete First Season September 25, 2001 3 purchase
The Complete Second Season August 6, 2002 4 purchase
The Complete Third Season August 26, 2003 4 purchase
The Complete Fourth Season June 15, 2004 4 purchase
The Complete Fifth Season December 21, 2004 4 purchase
The Complete Sixth Season August 16, 2005 4 purchase
The Complete Seventh Season December 13, 2005 4 purchase
The Complete Eighth Season August 15, 2006 4 purchase
The Complete Ninth Season December 19, 2006 4 purchase
The Complete Tenth Season August 7, 2007 4 purchase
The Complete Eleventh Season October 7, 2008 4 purchase
The Complete Twelfth Season August 18, 2009 4 purchase
The Complete Thirteenth Season August 24, 2010 4 purchase
The Complete Fourteenth Season December 6, 2011 4 purchase
The Complete Fifteenth Season December 4, 2012 4 purchase
The Complete Sixteenth Season December 3, 2013 4 purchase
The Complete Seventeenth Season Late 2014
The Complete Twentieth Season January 12, 2010 4 purchase
Feature Film
The Simpsons Movie December 18, 2007 1
Episode Collections
Treehouse of Horror September 2, 2003 1 purchase
Christmas with the Simpsons October 14, 2003 1 purchase
The Simpsons Gone Wild September 14, 2004 1 purchase
Christmas with the Simpsons 2 December 2, 2004 1 purchase
Bart Wars May 17, 2005 1 purchase
Kiss & Tell February 7, 2006 1 purchase

Blu-ray

Title Release Date #
Season Sets
The Complete Thirteenth Season August 24, 2010 3 purchase
The Complete Twentieth Season January 12, 2010 2 purchase
Feature Film
The Simpsons Movie December 18, 2007 1 purchase

Soundtrack Releases

Title Release Date Music By #
Soundtracks
Songs in the Key of Springfield March 18, 1997 Alf Clausen 39
Go Simpsonic With The Simpsons November 2, 1999 Alf Clausen 53

External Sites