Meet the Officially Sanctioned #1 ‘Simpsons’ Fan
Given the cultural impact of The Simpsons, you might wonder how an official “Number One Fan” of the show could possibly be determined. But Alex Ortega, who resides in Mexicali, Mexico, has been cited as the number one fan by no less an authority than Simpsons creator Matt Groening and longtime showrunner Al Jean. And his massive collection of Simpsons collectibles has garnered him a following on Twitter and Instagram, where his bio reads, “Every day I strive to be the number one fan of The Simpsons.” With help from his friend Athzel, who acted as his translator for this interview, I recently caught up with this indisputable king of Simpsons fans…
When did you first become a fan of The Simpsons?
I started with The Simpsons in 1995. I was born in 1991, so I was four years old when I became a fan. I know that is young, but in Mexico, The Simpsons dominated television at the time. It was very, very popular. I watched it with my parents and immediately fell in love with the characters, the colors, the sounds — everything.
My first episode was “Bart the General” from Season One. My favorite part is when Nelson puts Bart inside the trash can and starts rolling him down the street. He rolled all the way to his house, where Lisa was eating ice cream on the sidewalk.
Is “Bart the General” still your favorite episode?
No. It’s very hard for me to choose a favorite — over the 35 seasons and 750 episodes, there are so many great ones. I love the “Treehouse of Horror” episodes, and my favorite episodes change based on how I’m feeling. However, if I have to choose one, I will say “And Maggie Makes Three” from Season Six. I love it because Homer gives everything for his family. It’s a very emotional episode for me.
Who’s your favorite member of the Simpson family?
Definitely Homer. He is the best. He is my hero. I would love to be like Homer because he doesn’t care. Homer is a free soul, completely the opposite of who I am. I was a nerd in my university; I’m a workaholic. I want to be more like Homer.
Who is your favorite non-Simpson citizen of Springfield?
Since I am a collector, who do you think it is?
Comic Book Guy?
Yes, Comic Book Guy! I identify with him because we’re both collectors and passionate about what we like.
What about that collection? What can you tell me about it?
I have so many treasures it’s hard to choose. As a collector, though, my holy grail item is my two Save Blinky Bart figures. Mattel did a line of Simpsons toys in 1990, but it wasn’t a success. Save Blinky Bart was only available as a mail-in figure if you bought the other figures in the line. Not many people requested these, so they stopped production.
There are only seven in the world, and I have two of them. I got one through a private auction and the other secondhand from the original owner. The two I have are slightly different from each other, too. One of them has two left hands, which makes this one even more of a holy grail.
In 2019, I reached 20 years of Simpsons collecting and made a memory book featuring my favorite moments, along with images of my collection. I got the book signed by Matt Groening in 2019 at Comic-Con, and he said that he was a fan of me. So, that book is another favorite.
Meanwhile, Al Jean recently did an interview on Disney+ where he was asked if he knew who the biggest Simpsons fan in the world was, and he said my name, “Alex Ortega.”
Some more of my favorites came from this year at Comic-Con. I got Matt Groening to draw a picture of all of the family members.
I also have the first issue of The Simpsons comic book signed by Bill Morrison, a famous Simpsons artist and writer who once drew me as a Simpsons character, and graded 9.8.
How does it feel to be considered the “Official Number One Simpsons Fan” by so many dignitaries of the show?
Well, even though Al Jean said I was the number one fan, it doesn’t make me any more special than the other fans out there. I try every day to be the best fan of The Simpsons, yes, but we are all fans of The Simpsons. It’s important to a lot of people.