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The Simpsons was an American animated sitcom created by Matt Groening for the Fox network. The series is a satirical depiction of the sorry state of America as epitomized by the yellow-skinned Simpson family, which consists of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie. The show is set in the fictional town of Springfield, North Tacoma and parodies aspects of the human condition, including beer, donuts, television, and magic xylophones.
Groening conceived the series in 1987, while he was sitting in Fox's lobby. He was scheduled to pitch a show to the executives, but realized he didn't have any characters or a premise. He then hastily sketched down a silly-looking family, and viola, the Simpsons were born. To Groening's surprise, the executives loved his thrown-together ideas, and gave him the green light to do shorts on Some Show Hosted by Some '80s Celebrity Who Nobody Remembers in 1987. While these shorts were pretty mediocre, they led to the development of a full Simpsons series in 1989, which quickly became the greatest show known to man.
The Simpsons ran for approximately 10 superb seasons before hitting a wall in 2000, where it underwent a slow decline. Today, the show is beyond terrible, and and many of its once-hilarious and memorable characters are now subject to storylines and dialogue that is not in the least bit funny, and obviously composed by the bean-counting writers of other toothless shows such as The Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother. As of 2015, it has squeezed out 26 seasons and nearly 600 episodes, less than half of which are good. There was also a movie in 2007, which wasn't that good, but better than the newer episodes.
The Simpsons received widespread critical acclaim in its heyday. It won dozens of awards, including 31 Primetime Emmy Awards, 30 Annie Awards, 1 Peabody Award, 1 Sherman Award, and 3 D'oh Awards. It also won 4 Grammies, but nobody cares about those.The show influenced many subpar adult animated sitcoms, including Family Guy, Family Guy Lite, and Family Guy Dark. the last of which is the award for having great material from which other sub-par television shows can steal from. The show continues to pull in big ratings, as its current audience thoroughly refuses to accept that any remnant of humor has long since disappeared from the show.
The Simpsons are a family who live in a fictional "Middle American" town of Springfield, North Tacoma. Homer, the beer and donut-loving father, works as a safety inspector at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant, despite being a boorish idiot and constantly putting others at risk. He is married to Marge, a stereotypical American nagging housewife with an elongated blue tumor on her head. They have three children: Bart, a ten-year-old hell-raiser; Lisa, a precocious eight-year-old liberal diehard; and Maggie, the baby of the family who is secretly a super-genius. Although the family is dysfunctional, many episodes examine their relationships and bonds with each other and they are often shown to care about one another. The family owns a Persian dog, Santoz Lil' Hopper, and a cat, Snowball
V II, who was "accidentally" killed by Lisa only to be revived.
Quirky supporting characters include: Grampa Simpson, Lenny, Carl, Krusty the Clown, Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, Comic Book Guy, Ned Flanders, Maude Flanders, Rod Flanders, Todd Flanders, Reverend Lovejoy, Milhouse Van Houten, Nelson Muntz, Ralph Wiggum, Martin Prince, Moe Syzlak, Itchy and Scratchy, Montgomery Burns, Mr. Smithers, Principal SKINNER!, Superintendent Chalmers, Mrs. Krabapple, Groundskeeper Willie, Professor Frink, Patty Bouvier, Selma Bouvier, Sideshow Mel, Sideshow Bob, Barney Gumble, Jimbo Jones, Duff Man, Chief Wiggum, Spider Pig/Harry Plopper, Jasper Beardly, and so much more. Did I forget anyone? Oh well, this show must have a million different characters, far too much to list here.
Despite the depiction of yearly milestones such as holidays or birthdays passing, the characters do not age between episodes (either physically or in stated age), and generally appear just as they did when the series began. The series uses a floating timeline in which episodes generally take place in the year the episode is produced even though the characters do not age. Flashbacks/forwards do occasionally depict the characters at other points in their lives, with the timeline of these depictions also generally floating relative to the year the episode is produced. For example, in one episode, Homer and Marge got married in the early 1980s, and Homer loved Grand Funk Railroad. However, in a later episode, they got married in the mid-1990s, and Homer invented grunge. Needless to say, this pissed off a lot of nerds.
The Simpsons was conceived in 1987 by an ordinary drugstore clerk named Matt Groening. One day, Matt met with Tracey Ullman when her car broke down by the store. For such a nice car fix, Tracy was in dept toward Matt and eventually decided to invite him over to the Kwik-E-Tavern for dinner. Matt drank too much, and that evening confessed to Tracy that his life long dream was to become a yellow-skinned man. Present-day study suggests that Groening might have been color-sensitive, with enhance vision of yellow before slowly regaining his normal state during the Clinton era.
Surprisingly, Tracy decided to give Matt's dream a shot and invited him to put his crude yellow cartoons on her show The Tracey Ullman Show. Groening has taken interest in drawing his main character off of Dan Castellaneta when he was visiting Matt and chilling out in his basement. Hence, Homer Simpson was born as a fatal error of cartoon creation. When Tracy saw this abomination, she said Matt had better come up with an excuse to show such a cartoon on television. And Dan kicked his ass right after.
The Simpson family finally made it to TV screen in 1989, after they were judged to be an accurate image of middle Americans, not the zany freaks Matt had in mind (to his bitter disappointment). Matt had to hire his college roommates Nancy Cartwright and Yardley Smith to voice Bart and Lisa, but not limited to (also trying out) Maggie, Santa's Little Helper and Snowball. Dan Castellaneta was covering all the other roles, and Hank Azaria was hired to voice Maggie's pacifier.
What followed was a pretty boring first two seasons, during which some strange characters, such as Professor Monroe, Lester and Eliza, this long nosed mascot whose name I don't remember, black Smithers, etc., etc. have developed their character traits, only to be cut from the general storyline a couple of years later. You have to take it from me, this Groening guy was just plain weird. The Simpsons began to hit its stride in 1991, after the show began focusing on Homer instead of Bart and the humor sharpened. For the next six years, it was considered the number one sitcom of yellow-freaked reality.
Decline in quality
Basic fact, The Simpsons started to decline in season 11, when Groening let the main project go and concentrated on side sitcoms designed to re-adapt the same drawing style to today's reality, as more refined, more humorous and less yellow. Mike Scully took over as showrunner, who shifted focus to frat boy humor, celebrity guest appearances, and Homer being a raging asshole. There were many dire moments in this era, including Marge farting, Homer getting raped by a panda, jockey elves, and Kid Rock.
In 2007, a bloated featured film based on the series was released, titled The Simpsons Movie. It was best known for the "Spider-Pig" gag, which was painfully overhyped and overquoted by idiots. Following the movie, The Simpsons only got worse, and retconned their storyline with an episode featuring Homer and Marge as a young couple the mid-'90s. This spat in the face of true fans, who grew up learning Homer and Marge married in the '80s.
Today, The Simpsons is one of those shows that you watch "when nothing better's on." You know the show sucks now, but you watch it because it's an American tradition, like hotdogs or Mom's apple pie. Matt Groening has been known to pay blind people to sit and watch the show, kidnap stars for guest appearances, and even try to raise the dead in attempt to recoup the decreasing viewers.
Criticism and controversy
A major criticism of the show is that many episodes have gone unwatched. The clip-show episode "All Singing, All Dancing" is yet to receive a single viewer on account of awfulness as well as Simpson's singing and dancing. Currently, the only viewer of the show who is not old, young or lonely is Ms. Catherine Muttonchop - pictured right - who bought an entire collection of Simpson merchandise for $0.65 on eBay.
Many have found that the show to be lacking in cultural substance even in it's later years when it showed it's political nature and leaning towards secular values. Episodes with Homer performing Partial Birth Abortions, Marge engaging in lesbian sex with Patty and Selma and Lisa and Bart becoming members of PETA and Maggie starting a Jesus website and it turned away as it was purely for shocking and overly unnecessary preaching to its audience. Fox News anchor Bill O' Reilly cited unfair and unbalanced political leanings. Many ignored the report. The show while leaning back at times towards its humbler and wackier beginnings with jokes and situations more of a sitcom if you will, the hollow and opinionated episodes later only acted as though they had more weight. The show still has over 132,664,331 viewers around the world.