The Simpsons: Conan O’Brien Licked A Blob And 14 More Facts
It's not just one of our favorite shows, it's one of our favorite director's favorite shows. It doesn't matter if we're in a golden age or not (note: we are not), we still can't get enough of The Simpsons trivia. Here's 15 facts about America's jaundiced family:
You Can Join The Steamed Hams Society
Former head writer Bill Oakley—the man who created the Steamed Hams sketch—now runs the Steamed Hams Society & Food Discovery Club. Membership includes a private Discord server to discuss food with other society members and "hand-picked shipments of (Bill's) favorite new snacks." Not to mention Oakley is extremely knowledgable about American cheese.
Treehouse of Horror Accepts Fan Art
2022 will see The Simpsons run two “Treehouse of Horror" episodes, including a full-length parody of IT. The show will be displaying fan art during the end credits of the episode.
Yeardley Smith Didn't Set Out To Do Voice Work
The iconic voice of Lisa Simpson, with “everything that implies, everything that statement encapsulates” did not initially want to be a voice actor. Yeardley Smith says not only was she teased relentlessly for her voice as a kid, she had a specific path for what success as an actor looked like. Lisa Simpson wasn't it. But over the course of 30+ years, Smith has grown to love playing Lisa, saying “my privilege that I have to imbue her with heart, with some of whatever that is that lives inside me.”
One Major Event The Simpsons Didn't Predict
“Who's gonna be around longer, The Simpsons or Queen Elizabeth II” was a question for more decades than anyone expected it to be. Though the show is famous for predicting real-world events, they (perhaps wisely) did not take guess at ol' Lizzie kicking the bucket, despite what a few TikToks would have us believe.
Paul McCartney Insisted Lisa Remain A Vegetarian
Famously alive(?) Beatle Paul McCartney appeared on The Simpsons under a single condition: that Lisa be consistent in her moral values. Or more precisely, that Lisa stay a vegetarian. It's hard to imagine Lisa not sticking by her principles or eating meat now, but vegetarianism was less culturally common in 1995.
South Park Came By “Simpsons Already Did It” Honestly
It's no secret that South Park's creative team has been frustrated by accusations of biting off The Simpsons before, even making a whole episode around the concept. The inspiration for that wasn't necessarily fan condescension, though: Trey Parker and Matt Stone wrote an entire South Park episode where Cartman tries to block out the sun. The frustration of learning Mr. Burns had already given that the ole' college try led to “Simpsons Already Did It.”
Conan O'Brien Will Lick Anything
One of the greatest writers (or at least greatest writers' room success stories) in one of the most well-written show's history called the writers' room “9% joy and 91% percent grim boredom.” Conan told EW that someone once stuck a chewed-up wad of toffee on the ceiling, and it eventually became a giant blob. One day, they dared Conan to lick it. He wouldn't say how it tasted, but he did recall licking Ed Asner's back when telling the story, so…W for trash ceiling blob, L for Asner?
The Problem With Apu Runs Deeper Than The Problem With Apu
The issue of having one of the few South Asian characters on TV being a voiced-by-a-white-guy example of modern minstrel shows is bad enough. But the fact that character originated from Hank Azaria being pissed off at 7-11 clerk for having the audacity to ask him to pay for a Gatorade before drinking it is even worse. Azaria's starting from a, in his words, “sort of a hostile instinct” towards a working-class immigrant isn't a great look for creating a character fans would spend 30+ years with.
Prank Calls To Moe's Were Inspired By Real Life…
Bart's prank calls to Moe's Tavern are an iconic bit of 90s humor—one presumably lost to march of technology. But “Hugh Jazz” has his roots in the more vulgar real world of “Mike Ockoff" and “Clint Toris,” names the infamous Bar Bum Bastards used in their legendary prank call recordings in the '70s. The Bar Bum Bastards recorded their calls just for fun, gaining unground popularity until Matt Groening and Co mainstreamed prank calling.
…As Was Moe Himself
Don't worry, the guy that they were calling was exactly like Moe, except actually imposing. New Jersey dive bar owner Louis “Red” Deutsch was the guy on the other end of the line, and he was even more elaborate and gross with his threats than Moe. Red was so menacing that he was portrayed in a short film by Guy Crime Movies Cast To Be Terrifying Lawrence Tierney.
Tony Blair Is Not George Bush's Poodle
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair did a guest spot on the show, ostensibly in the name of promoting British tourism. The writers wanted to have him giving out puppies at the airport, but the joke was scrapped because Blair's folks said “people call him Bush's poodle, that's going to look bad," according to Al Jean. Only a conservative politician can think the image of him giving out puppies is a bad look.
Matt Groening Jammed With Stephen King, Amy Tan, Dave Barry, and Springsteen
We've covered The Rock Bottom Remainders before, but any chance we get to bring up comedy writing legends Matt Groening and Dave Barry rocking out together, we're gonna do it. Barry says they jammed with Bruce Springsteen, but "didn't let him in the band because he not written a book."
Bart Simpson: Menace To Society
The farther we get away from it, the weirder it's going to seem one our younger readers. Bart Simpson was once something parents worried about. Like, that he was a bad influence on kids. The same kind of worked up people get over drag queens at libraries, with thankfully no real-world violence that we know of. Bart-anic Panic is a good reminder that what parents are worried about as bad influences is usually pretty stupid.
Homer Was Originally Supposed To Be Krusty
It's weird to imagine a long-running institution like The Simpsons needing a “J.D. was imagining Janitor all along”-style twist, but Matt Groening originally wanted Krusty to be revealed as Homer. The longer time marched on, though, the more complicated the idea became. Eventually, the Spider-Man-esque twist was scrapped.
Lisa Simpson Has A Queer Future
It's canon that Lisa has shown romantic interest in boys before, especially in The Simpsons Movie, but it's also canon that she ends up with at least one woman in the future. Al Jean has stated he sees Lisa as “open and, you know, somebody who loves everything. Why not?” as well as saying “I see Lisa as President and possibly polyamorous.” It seems that as society's understanding fluid sexuality continues to evolve, so to will The Simpsons' most intellectually curious character.
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