The Simpsons is an animated sitcom created by Matt Groening that centers upon the lives of Homer and Marge Simpson, and their three children: Bart, Lisa, and Maggie.
If it weren't for The Simpsons, there would be no comedy on television. All programs would be either glorified talent shows or police procedurals. The internet also owes a great debt to The Simpsons, as roughly 58% of the non-pornographic content on the World Wide Web relates to this wacky yellow family from Springfield. Similarly, thousands of business are thankful for the popularity of this long-running show. Without The Simpsons, all T-shirts, lunchboxes, and keychains (among millions of other items) would be a single solid color, devoid of any cartoon art or one of the hundreds of catch phrases originated by the show.
Okay, that may be hyperbole. But just slightly. Here is a list, by no means complete, of the pop culture impact The Simpsons has achieved:
As of December 2008, The Simpsons have aired 428 episodes over twenty seasons, making it the longest-running American sitcom ever. Granted, about 103 of the episodes are either clip shows or flashback episodes showing how Homer inexplicably convinced Marge to sleep with him, but they still count.
Seventeen-and-a-half years after the airing of the first episode, The Simpsons Movie opened to terrific critical reception and has grossed over $520 million worldwide. It is the most successful film ever made in North America that displays a ten-year-old boy's penis.
The show has spawned six albums of musical content, most of which stems directly from comedic bits on the show. The most famous single related to the show is "Do the Bartman". It was co-written and produced by Michael Jackson, which seems surprising until the title of the song is taken into consideration.
The popularity of The Simpsons has combined with the show's consistently excellent writing to produce a rich new lexicon that has been introduced into mainstream society. In other words, fans repeat things they hear on the show until it is burned into the brains of every person within earshot. Among the numerous phrases added into millions of fans' everyday vocabularies by The Simpsons: Bart's expression of denial "I didn't do it!", Nelson's derisive "Haw-haw!", Mr. Burns' evilly drawn-out "Excellent!", and Groundskeeper Willie's four word summation of hundreds of years of French culture, "cheese-eating surrender monkeys". Several words invented on the show have even made it into legitimate English dictionaries, such as "d'oh", "meh", "cromulent", and "Gerry Cooney". For more information on this topic, check out the excellent Cracked article From Cromulent to Craptacular: The Top 12 Simpsons Created Words . It was written by Daniel O'Brien and Mark Peters, probably with the help of lots of learning juice.
There have been over two dozen video games based on The Simpsons universe, beginning in 1991 with Acclaim's handheld game Bart Simpson's Cupcake Crisis. It was really awful, so everyone pretends that The Simpsons: The Arcade Game was actually the first game. Most of the games featuring our yellow friends can generously be described as "mediocre". However, the most recent release (The Simpsons Game in 2007) was well made and featured enough inside jokes to satiate even the most obsessive of Simpsons
One of the most enduring aspects of The Simpsons is the long laundry list of memorable characters the show has produced. Fans have found many secondary and tertiary characters to identify with in addition to the Simpson family at the center of the show. As an example of fan devotion to characters of this show, check out The 5 Most Underrated Simpsons Characters written by our Cracked friends at Yankee Pot Roast.
It would be a futile exercise to list every character on The Simpsons. Besides, that's what the humorless librarians over at Wikipedia are for. Cracked is more about delivering to you, the faithful reader, the nuts-and-bolts infomation you need stuffed with the puerile jokes you crave. Dickapedia, if you will. With that in mind, here is a list of some of the more relevant characters on The Simpsons.
Homer Simpson (voiced by Dan Castellaneta): The father of the Simpson clan, Homer is indisputably the purple stuff center of The Simpsons universe doughnut. He actually started as a man of average intelligence, only to grow progressively stupider each season. Homer once topped a poll conducted by the BBC of "fictional character TV fans in the UK would like to see become US president", although this distinction is dubious. Homer is not very smart. He occasionally has trouble with multisyllabic words. He has issues dealing with "driving under the influence". He once owned a professional sports team. What kind of country would elect a man like that into office?
Marge Simpson (voiced by Julie Kavner): The mother of the family, Marge is most easily recognized by her green dress and red faux-pearl necklace. She is the wet blanket of the clan, normally making a token effort to halt the wacky hijinks of Homer and Bart. Her catchphrase is a nagging, guttural groan, the kind that would drive a man to spend a lot of time in seedy bars drinking cheap, crappy beer. Marge's mother (Jacqueline) and two sisters (the twins Patty and Selma) have very similar gravelly voices to Marge, and all of them are performed by Kavner. That leads to one of the biggest mysteries surrounding the show: "How has Julie Kavner's larynx not exploded after twenty years of performing those voices?"
Bart Simpson (voiced by Nancy Cartwright): Bart is the ten-year-old son of Homer and Marge. He used to be the epicenter of the show until kids found out that Bart was voiced by a woman. However, his antics still supply a decent portion of the comedy on the show. Bart has a collection of catchphrases that the show doesn't use anymore after internet geeks repeated them ad nauseam, driving them into the ground and sitting on them with their big, fat, Cheeto-filled asses.
Lisa Simpson (voiced by Yeardley Smith): Eight-year-old Lisa is the oldest daughter of Homer and Marge. Lisa is a smart young girl with a bright future, and she loves jazz music and literature. Because of that, most fans of The Simpsons cannot relate to her, making her the least appreciated character on the show. Yeardley Smith appeared in a few feature films before lending her regular speaking voice to the character of Lisa. After twenty years of having her voice identified with this single cartoon character, it gives a whole new level of hilarity to the movies Maximum Overdrive and The Legend of Billie Jean.
Maggie Simpson (pacifier sucking sounds by Yeardley Smith, then later by Nancy Cartwright): Maggie is the infant daughter of Homer and Marge, and the youngest member of the Simpson family. Maggie doesn't speak on the show, save for a single word that took highly skilled actress Elizabeth Taylor several takes to get right. Maggie communicates primarily via a unique system of pointing and controlled pacifier sucking. She shows signs of high intelligence and flashes of ninja-like agility on occasion. In addition, baby Maggie shows a remarkable adeptness with firearms, managing to plug people with both a handgun and a sniper rifle.
Abraham Simpson (voiced by Dan Castellaneta): Also known as "Grampa", he is Homer's father. Grampa Simpson is a senile old crank who likes to tell long-winded stories of dubious fact before falling asleep almost instantly. He argues with clouds, writes angry, nonsensical letters, and once lost his dentures to a turtle that managed to outsmart him. In other words, he is a positive senior role model that all middle-aged adults should aspire towards being.
Ned Flanders (voiced by Harry Shearer): Ned is the Simpsons' long-time neighboreeno. He began life on the show as a perfect-to-a-fault foil for the boorish Homer, without any religious connotations. When various fundamentalist groups began complaining about the content on The Simpsons, Ned was morphed into an ultra-pious Christian to make fun of them. True to form, the far-to-the-right zealots failed to understand they were being mocked, and instead held him up as an ideal standard for television characters. Stupid Flanders.
Charles Montgomery Burns (voiced by Harry Shearer): Better known as Monty Burns or Mr. Burns, he owns the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant were Homer sporadically works. Mr. Burns has a sycophantic toady named Waylon Smithers who takes care of him, leaving him free to fluctuate between using hilariously anachronistic language and carrying out evil plots that threaten the town. Burns has an illegitimate son named Rodney Dangerfield.
Krusty the Clown (voice by Dan Castellaneta): Krusty is a long-time television entertainer, and is Bart's favorite celebrity. His show has aparently been on the air longer than Krusty has been alive, even though the program seems to consist only of "Itchy and Scratchy" cartoons, stale sketch comedy, and jokes stolen from popular comedians. Krusty seems to be a big fan of the "Rat Pack", often paying homage to them by donning a tuxedo and drinking himself stupider.
Moe Szyslak (voiced by Hank Azaria): Moe runs "Moe's Tavern", a dank hole of a dive bar that Homer frequents. Except for an episode-long infatuation with the "Flaming Homer/Moe" and an occasional import beer, Moe exclusively serves Duff Beer. There is no food at the bar, save for some peanuts, pickled eggs, and the fancy Super Bowl spread he puts out (bologna and white bread). As a youth, Moe was one of the original "Little Rascals" before being kicked off the show for repeatedly introducing Alfalfa's face to the pavement. For you younger readers, The Little Rascals (or "Our Gang") was a television show that aired in the 1920's about a group of kids who smuggled bootleg alcohol for Al Capone.
Barney Gumble (voiced by Dan Castellaneta): Barney is Homer's longtime best friend. He is a Grammy award winning singer, the proprietor of a profitable snowplow business, a licensed helicopter pilot, the director of a movie that won top prize at a well-attended film festival, and successfully completed NASA's astronaut training program. Barney is a great man, and every child who watches The Simpsons should emulate everything that he does.
The 5 Most Underrated Simpsons Characters (by Yankee Pot Roast): One of the only articles on the internet that gives Arnie Pye some well-deserved love.
11 Baseball Legends Who Were Legendary Assholes (by Chris Morgan): Listed here for a fleeting reference to the show. Two of the eleven baseball legends on the list appeared on The Simpsons. Try and guess which two! (Hint: it wasn't Kenesaw Mountain Landis)
From Cromulent to Craptacular: The Top 12 Simpsons Created Words (by Daniel O'Brien and Mark Peters): Just read it, assbutt.
The 7 Creepiest Fan Tributes (by Michael Swaim): A video featuring Swaim documenting the freaks who slavishly devote their time to creating off-the-wall Simpsons tribute sites. Goddamn weirdos.
Spanish Live Action Simpsons (video clip): This clip is probably funnier if you understand Spanish...or perhaps not. In any case, you should watch it just to see how freaky Marge looks with plastic eyes and an Adam's Apple.
The Live Action Simpsons Intro (Sky One Channel, UK): This thing busted out a couple of years ago, but it's still fun to watch. Sky One created this shot-for-shot live action tribute to The Simpsons famous opening scene prior to the show's 17th season.
Simpsons Porn is Child Porn (Cracked Forums): A forum discussion about an Australian court ruling that "Rule 34" animated pornography featuring Simpsons characters is considered child pornography. The thread is located in the "We Saved Hitler's Brain" section, which is the place on the forum for serious, no bullshit discussion. If you wish to join the conversation in this thread, please observe the rules of "WSHB", listed here. If you aren't a member of Cracked, you can join for free by following this link.
Simpsons Avatars (Cracked Forums): The first post links to The Simpsons Movie website, which includes a Simpson avatar creator. The rest of the thread shows many of your favorite Cracked forum members (plus me) as Simpsons characters.
The Simpsons Movie Thread (Cracked Forums): The Cracked forum thread discussing The Simpsons Movie.
The Simpsons Television Show Thread (Cracked Forums): The Cracked forum thread discussing the show itself.
The Simpsons introduction, done with Legos.
Cracked forum user Stretch suggested that something be placed here to update people on upcoming Simpsons DVD releases. I told Stretch the idea sucked, and now I'm going to claim it as my own. This is mostly because I could use a job, and I want to demonstrate to morning radio shows that I can steal Cracked content with the best of them.
The last season released was: Season Twelve, released on August 18, 2009 and featuring Comic Book Guy on the packaging. Notable episodes from this season include Krusty discovering he has a daughter named Sophie, the split area codes show with The Who, and the "Worst Episode Ever" where Comic Book Guy has a heart attack and hires Bart and Milhouse to run the store.
The next one is: Season Thirteen, scheduled for release on December 15, 2009. As of August 31, the cover art for the set is unknown. Notable episodes from this season include Manjula's revenge for Apu cheating on her with the Squishee lady, the Springfield sugar ban, Lisa's conversion to Buddhism, and the return of Artie Ziff in an homage to Indecent Proposal.
It's unpossible for me to track down and know about all of the cool media and information about The Simpsons that is on the web. If you have a link or anything Simpsons related that you feel is worthy of inclusion on this page, please click on my name under the "Staff" heading on this page. Once you are on my profile page, click on the "Send a Message" button and let me know what you have. If it's good, I'll add it in here.
Please do not send the links to David Wong or any other administrators or moderators. They get enough mail as it is from people whining about the various contests on Cracked or why their brilliant post got deleted out of the forum.