Matt Groening’s famous creation, The Simpsons, is the longest running American primetime TV series in U.S. history. The inspiration behind many a webcomic, this animated cartoon parodies American culture and everyday existential events. Focusing on the dysfunctional Simpson family, who live in a fictional town called Springfield, the main characters are Homer (oafish father), Marge (long-suffering mother), Bart (impish son), Lisa (elder daughter) and Maggie (baby daughter).
Some of the supporting characters featured in The Simpsons are almost as cultishly popular as the main figures. Homer Simpson’s employer is the impossibly mean Mr Burns, owner of the local nuclear plant. Mr Burns has a sycophantic second-in-command called Smithers. Other recurring characters include Moe, owner of Moe’s tavern; Ned Flanders the neighbour and his irritatingly perfect family; Bart’s hapless pal, Milhouse Van Houten; and Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, the Indian proprietor of the Kwik-E-Mart convenience store.
History and Awards
The Simpsons’ debut as a 30-minute primetime show was on December 17th 1989. It had previously featured as a short sketch show on The Tracy Ullman Show and ran for three seasons in that format. On September 25th 2016 the show began its 28th season. Aside from longevity, the Simpsons has won multiple awards, including thirty-one Primetime Emmy Awards, thirty Annie Awards, and a Peabody Award.
Famous guest stars have appeared on The Simpsons in abundance. The long list includes Danny DeVito, Tracey Ullman, Ringo Starr, Dustin Hoffman, Michael Jackson, Aerosmith, Sting, Leonard Nimoy, Kathleen Turner, Winona Ryder, Anne Hathaway, Patrick Stewart, Steve Martin, Elton John, Ricky Gervais, Stephen Hawking and Glenn Close. The show holds the Guinness World Record for most guest stars featured on a TV series.
The Simpsons tends to bias left in its politics, but satires all political positions. Big corporations and government officials are portrayed as heartless, politicians are corrupt, church ministers are apathetic, and police are incompetent. No one is safe!
One of the offshoots of The Simpsons is the Frinkiac website, which matches iconic Simpsons quotes with over three million screenshots and allows visitors to create memes.