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The Simpsons

The Simpsons is an animated TV series created by Matt Groening. Originally created for a short insert on the Tracey Ullman show, The Simpsons was converted 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 US 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-US President George H. W. Bush. 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.

The show's basic premise centers around the antics of the Simpsons family, which consists of Homer and Marge Simpson, and their three children, Lisa, Bart, and Maggie. 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.

Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie Simpson Fox Entertainment

The Simpsons opening sequence is one of the show's most memorable trademarks. Almost every episode of 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. In syndication, sometimes the chalkboard and/or the couch are cut from the intro.

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.

Nearly every episode features celebrity guests contributing their voices to the show. Some guests, like Michael Jackson are uncredited. Celebrities that have contributed their voices to show include Stephen Hawking, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, MxPx, Green Day, U2, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, The Who, Christina Applegate, Aerosmith, Guns N' Roses, The Smashing Pumpkins, Dustin Hoffman, Journey, Jack Lemmon, Kirk Douglas, Lisa Kudrow, Matthew Perry, Pierce Brosnan, David Crosby, Patrick Stewart, Leonard Nimoy, Elvis Costello, Rob Lowe, Brian Setzer, Meryl Streep, Richard Gere, Tom Jones, James Brown, Helen Hunt, Jerry Springer, David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Sam Neill, Paul Newman, Little Richard, Blink-182, R.E.M., The Moody Blues, Johnny Cash, Tom Petty, Lenny Kravitz, Peter Frampton, Drew Barrymore, Willie Nelson, Phish, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Sonic Youth, James Taylor, Elizabeth Taylor, Steve Allen, Mel Brooks, The Jerky Boys, Tony Bennett, Mel Gibson, Michelle Pfeiffer, Ron Howard (multiple episodes), Elton John, Dolly Parton, Danny DeVito (multiple episodes), and others.

The series' distinctive theme song was composed by musician Danny Elfman.

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

On February 9, 1997 the The Simpsons surpassed the 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 television comedy[?] ever in the USA. It almost seems as if The Simpsons has done the impossible and become an uncancellable TV series.

Series within The Simpsons

See also:

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