The Simpsons is among the best known TV series’ of all-time. With 26 seasons under its belt and counting, The Simpsons has not once been canceled and somehow manages to surprise us with new jokes and puns in every episode. It’s even won the Guinness World Record for the longest running, primetime TV animated series and also holds the record for the most guest stars in a televised series. Below we’ll be talking about some other facts about the show itself and America’s most beloved animated family. So, let’s dive in, shall we?
10. Homer and Krusty the Clown
Who better to start off this list than Homer, right? Ever notice how similar he and Krusty the Clown are? In a couple of episodes this is especially evident when Krusty is without makeup or Homer dresses up as Krusty. Well, it’s no mere coincidence, however, as this was intentional right from the beginning of the show. It is also a key element between the both of them and Homer’s son, Bart.
While he shows no respect towards his father, Bart idolizes Krusty. This wouldn’t be so out of the ordinary, given Homer’s, let’s say, lack of wit, but Krusty is no different either. And even though they look almost identical and share the same level of silliness, Bart treats them differently. In the original version, even before the show began, Krusty was in fact considered to be a hidden identity of Homer. The producers decided against it and eventually made two distinct characters.
9. Why Are They Yellow?
Nearly all of the residents of Springfield are yellow in color. This is with the exception of Apu, Dr. Hibbert, Carl, and a few others. The color was created by an animator, who presented it to creator Matt Groening, who then decided on the color simply because it’s very eye-catching. In an interview for the BBC, Groening said: “This is the answer! Because when you’re flicking through channels with your remote control, and a flash of yellow goes by, you’ll know you’re watching The Simpsons.”
Mr. Burns’ devoted assistant, Smithers, on the other hand was originally intended to be a black, gay man with purple hair. He can actually be seen like this in the third episode from season one. They did however change their minds because a black assistant who is loyal to a fault and almost submissive to his superior might be construed as…something different. So instead, Officer Lou, who had yellow skin at the beginning of season one, was later changed to a black man.
8. A Floating Timeline
Like most other animated shows, The Simpsons make use of something called “a floating timeline”. Regardless of how long the show is running or how many seasons it has, the characters never seem to age and the action takes place usually in the present year. Regardless of this, the characters still have a set age. Bart for example is 10 years old and Maggie is one, and season after season, they remain at these ages even though the show has been running for 26 years now.
But if they would have aged normally since the show began, Marge and Homer would now be around 60 years old, Bart would be 35, Lisa 32 and Maggie would be 26. Monty Burns, on the other hand, would be over 120 years old. In order to keep the show and characters the same, the creators make use of this floating timeline. In an episode broadcast in 1991, called “I Married Marge”, Homer and Marge are shown in a flashback to have conceived Bart in 1980 after watching “The Empire Strikes Back” at the cinema. In a later episode however, broadcast in 2008, Marge and Homer are shown again, in an earlier stage of their relationship, but this time during the early ’90s. This inconsistency is caused because of this effect, trying to set the characters in a relative timeline, outside of the normal flow of time.
7. The Simpsons House in Real Life
Back in 1997 a house was built in Henderson, Nevada, just outside of Las Vegas. It wasn’t just any house, though. It was a near exact replica of the Simpson’s house in the show, almost down to the tiniest detail. The house was originally built by Fox and given as a prize for a contest run by the network and Pepsi. The winner would have the choice to either take the house or receive a $75,000 cash prize. Unfortunately the winner chose the money, and the $120,000 home was quickly stripped of its Simpsons décor and memorabilia.
The decorators had to watch over 100 episodes of the show in order to get the details just right. Bart’s tree house and Homer’s barbeque were also included on the property. It was then sold in 2001 to another person without any of The Simpsons objects.
6. D’oh! and Meh
The word “Meh” is used as an expression of boredom or indifference, and is often described as a verbal shrug. Even though the origin of this word is not really known, The Simpsons helped popularize it, because before they started using it, it was more or less unheard-of.
The word “D’oh” on the other hand made its first appearance in the show. In the script the word is described as an “annoyed grunt”. Voice actor Dan Castellaneta, who plays Homer, was inspired by Jimmy Finlayson, who played in several episodes of Laurel and Hardy during the pre-sound movie era, and who used a longer version of it as a substitute for the word “damn”. While Homer is the one who uses it when something bad happens, or will happen to him, members of his family, and other residents of Springfield use it on occasion.
In France, the word “D’oh!” is translated to “T’oh!”, while in Spanish, it’s translated to “Ouch!” Since 2001 the word has appeared in the Oxford English Dictionary, but without the apostrophe.
Milhouse is Bart’s best friend, but it wasn’t always like that. They weren’t enemies or anything, but Milhouse made his first appearance not in the show, but in a Butterfinger ad in 1990 and he was used just as someone for Bart to talk to in the cafeteria. Matt Groening then used him in as Bart’s classmate and, eventually, best friend.
Even so, many fans suspected Milhouse to being a caricature of the character Paul Pfeiffer from the show The Wonder Years. However, animator David Silverman shut down this theory on Twitter, noting that a nerdy kid with glasses and a big nose is simply a common stereotype. Another fact about Milhouse that only hardcore fans know is that his middle name is Mussolini, and his last name is Van Houten. And to add insult to injury, the name “Milhouse” is the middle name of former US President Richard Nixon and Matt Groening chose it because he thought this to be the most unfortunate name he could think of for a kid. Moreover, in the episode “Lisa’s Rival”, Bart got Milhouse added to the FBI’s most wanted list.
4. Fox and The Simpsons
It isn’t unheard off for a network to change one of its shows according to the wishes of the people in charge. A small tweak here and there, a cut wherever is necessary, is something commonplace in the movie and TV industries. There’s a specific clause, however, in the contract between The Simpsons show creators and Fox where the network is not allowed to give notes, make any cuts, or exert any creative control whatsoever.
This is why the HQ at Fox is depicted as a bunch of well-dressed people in a trailer on a hill and Krusty the Clown says things like, “You’re Fox! You’re known for taking chances on crap!” while the network’s slogan in the show is, “Fox News: Not racist, but number one with racists”. Nevertheless, this doesn’t seem to bother the network that much since they own the rights to The Simpsons up until 2082.
3. The Movie within the Show
The Simpsons has a running couch gag at the beginning of the show, which is different almost every time, and the creators use it to adjust the length of a new episode, depending on what they need. That’s one of several better known hidden gags the show has employed over the years. However, there’s another Easter Egg hidden among the many episodes, which is equally as fun, though not nearly as well known.
Every now and again a clip from a movie starring McBain (a character closely resembling Arnold Schwarzenegger) is seen throughout various episodes. Now, if you were to put all of these end to end, you would end up with a pretty coherent story.
2. The Longest Continuous Television Viewing
Back in February of 2012, The Simpsons reached its 500th episode and in order to mark this milestone, they organized an event at Hollywood and Highland in Los Angeles where fans were invited to break the record for the longest continuous television viewing in history. If they were able to do so, they would win a cash prize of $10,000. The rules were simple. The contestants were allowed to eat and drink as much as they wanted but they weren’t allowed to sleep.
The attempt, which was hosted by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment and attended by the show’s creator Matt Groening and several cast members, including Nancy Cartwright and Yeardley Smith, began with 100 initial participants watching the first Simpsons episode, which aired back in 1989.
In a true display of TV binge watching, Jeremiah Franco, 22, and Carin Shreve, 33, both from California, set a new record for 86 hours and 37 minutes, after making it to the 11th episode of the 11th season, which is a total of 239 episodes and crushing the previous record from 2010 by 31 minutes. In December of 2014 however, this record was broken in Toronto, Canada, with 91 hours of continuous TV watching.
1. How it All Began
The show – which spun off from a series of shorts on The Tracey Ullman Show – actually first aired with a Christmas special called Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire. This seems quite strange and pretty much unheard of, and it wasn’t even planned to begin with. But because the first episode aired on December 17, the creators decided to air this episode first, even though it was originally intended to be the 8th in the season.
Despite all of this, the episode went on to be nominated for two Emmy Awards in 1990 and received immensely positive reviews, having been written by Mimi Pond and directed by David Silverman. The episode is about Homer learning he will not get a bonus from work and being unable to buy his family presents for Christmas. In order to get some extra cash, he gets hired as a mall Santa, only to discover that this is still not enough. Homer then takes Bart to the dog-racing track in order to bet the money he already has. According to Al Jean however, the original premise for the episode was that, “Homer was worried that Marge was going to get drunk at a party and get him in trouble at the office.”
This episode also lacked the opening couch sequence, which was only added in the second episode “Bart the Genius” when Matt Groening realized that it would mean less animation. Moreover, one of the layout artists for this first episode was Eric Stefani, Gwen Stefani’s brother and a founding member of No Doubt.