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  Wikipedia: The Simpsons

Wikipedia: The Simpsons
The Simpsons
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

The Simpsons is an animated television series created by Matt Groening. It is one of the longest-running shows in television history, and has aired over 300 episodes since its debut in 1989.

Origins

The Simpson Family originally appeared, crudely drawn, in a Life in Hell cartoon. They first appeared in animated form as shorts on the Tracey Ullman show, the first short Good Night airing on April 19, 1987. The Simpsons was converted, by a team of production companies that included what is now the Klasky-Csupo animation house, into a series for the Fox Network in 1989, and has run as a weekly show on that network ever since.

Set in the fictional U.S town of Springfield and highly satirical of many facets of the stereotypical American way of life (including beer, fast food, television, and organized religion), The Simpsons was a massive hit, generating a huge popular following, and criticism from then-U.S. President George H. W. Bush. In September of 1990, Barbara Bush said in an interview for People magazine that The Simpsons was the dumbest thing she'd ever seen. The writers also showed a love for cameo appearances by celebrities and extended pastiches of contemporary and classic movies, as well as subtle visual jokes showing a high regard for the sophistication of the audience.

On February 9, 1997 The Simpsons surpassed The Flintstones as the longest-running prime-time animated series and in January 2003, it was announced that the show had been renewed by Fox through 2005, which will make it the longest running sitcom ever in the United States.

Characters and plot

The show's basic premise centers around the antics of the Simpson family, which consists of Homer and Marge Simpson, and their three children, Bart, Lisa and Maggie (in order of age). Homer is a safety inspector at the Springfield Nuclear Powerplant and a generally well-meaning buffoon whose short attention span is often drawn to outrageous schemes and adventures. Marge once was intelligent and sophisticated, but has come to conform with the stereotype housewife/mother. Bart is a trouble-maker and classroom terror, while Lisa is a brainy student and jazz music fan who dreams of a better future. Maggie is an eternal baby.

The show also has a vast array of quirky supporting characters, many of whom are even more popular among fans than the five main characters. For a comprehensive list, see characters from The Simpsons.

The plots of most episodes focus on the adventures of one particular family member, frequently Homer. However the plots have never been very predictable or constant and tend to be very character-driven. Reccuring themes in episodes include:

  • Homer attempting to make money in a get-rich-quick scheme.
  • Marge attempting to move out of the home and find employment.
  • Bart causing a large problem and attempting to fix it.
  • Lisa embracing or advocating the merits of a particular political cause or group.
  • The entire family going on vacation

Opening sequence

The Simpsons opening sequence is one of the show's most memorable trademarks. Almost every episode opens with a title shot coming through the cumulus clouds and into the school where Bart is writing sentences on a chalkboard; the cartoon then introduces Lisa, Homer, Marge, and Maggie on their way home. For each show, Bart writes something different on the chalkboard; and he and the other members of the family come into the living room and sit on the couch in a different way. Also, Lisa plays a different solo on her saxophone each time. In syndication, sometimes the chalkboard and/or the couch are cut from the intro.

The series' distinctive theme song was composed by musician Danny Elfman. The current arrangement was orchestrated by Alf Clausen.

Actors

Actors frequently contributing their voices to the series include Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith, Hank Azaria, Harry Shearer, Tress MacNeille, Pamela Hayden, Marcia Wallace, the late Phil Hartman and others.

Guest celebrities

Many episodes feature celebrity guests contributing their voices to the show, whether as themselves or as fictional characters.

See: List of celebrities on the Simpsons

Trivia

Series within The Simpsons

TV channels that air The Simpsons

Academia

Serious academic work has been done on the show. Among the publications that deal with it are:

  • The Simpsons and Philosophy: The D'oh! of Homer by William Irwin (Editor), Mark T. Conard (Editor), Aeon Skoble (Editor) ISBN 0812694333
  • The Gospel According to The Simpsons: The Spiritual Life of the World's Most Animated Family by Mark I. Pinsky ISBN 0664224199

Related topics

External links


  

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 
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