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    Hollywood Insider The Simpsons, 30 Years Success, Best Episodes

    Photo: ‘The Simpsons’/20th Television

    In 1989, a revolutionary TV show premiered that changed the course of television history. Since the first episode of The Simpsons, Homer Simpson has become one of the most recognizable TV characters of all time, “d’oh” has become the ultimate dad catchphrase, and there are hundreds of items of merchandise branded with the phrase “eat my shorts” on Amazon. Point is, The Simpsons  took over the world. America has spent decades watching this lovable yellow family and their fellow residents of Springfield. Now, as season 30 comes to a close, let’s celebrate the show that changed American TV forever.

     History of The Simpsons: How Springfield, Any State and its residents Came to be

    Simpsons shorts began airing on The Tracy Ullman Show on April 19, 1987 with the short “Good Night Simpsons”. The short was praised by critics and fans alike. FilmThreat said after the airing of the first short, “nothing like it stands today, and it’s interesting to see how far they’ve come since these early forays into animation.” The plot of the short is simple enough: Marge and Homer attempt to put the kids to bed but mayhem ensues. But it was enough to make the Simpson family an overnight success. Fans demanded to see more. Simpsons shorts continued airing for the next three seasons of The Tracy Ullman Show. The Simpsons had such a huge following, they eventually grew too big to be just a short on someone else’s show. The Simpsons needed the space to take the spotlight.

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    On December 17, 1989, they got their chance when half-hour episodes of the new half-hour sitcom The Simpsons began airing on Fox. Immediately, the show jumped to the top of the ratings and became Fox’s first show to be in the Top 30 most-watched shows on a weekly basis.

    Why The Simpsons has worked for three decades

    It’s hard to tell exactly what has made the show so long-lasting. Many fans claim that the show has gone down in quality but just two years ago it won an Emmy for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation. So clearly, despite its age, The Simpsons has still been able to achieve a great level of quality. This is probably because the show’s premise is so simple and yet so universal. A family of four with a crazy patriarch, an exasperated wife, a rebel son, a nerdy daughter, and a (potentially?) genius baby: it’s a premise that is simple enough to produce endless plots for episodes that, given quality writers, can each be really special.

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    But beyond that, everyone can see a bit of themselves in at least one member of the Simpson family and if not, there’s a gigantic supporting cast of funny yet relatable characters. Ever been stuck in a deadbeat job? You’re a Moe. Felt like you’re the only competent one of your coworkers? You’re a Carl! Like dressing up in a bee costume and entertaining kids in a Mexican accent? A. You have really weird hobbies but B. you’re the bee guy who no one knows the actual name of.

    Best episodes of The Simpsons

    If you’ve never seen an episode of The Simpsons, how was life living under a rock? You’ll want a guide on the best episodes because it will probably take you three straight weeks with no sleep to watch every episode. There are literally hundreds of episodes that are great but I have my personal favorites. “Rosebud’ is season five episode four and it’s one of the few Mr. Burns centric episodes so if he’s your favorite character, you might need psychiatric counseling but this is the episode for you. Mr. Burns, the richest guy in all of Springfield, longs for one of the few things money can’t buy:  his lost childhood teddy bear but it turns out the stuffed animal has ended up in the hands of Simpsons’ baby Maggie. This episode is a brilliant parody of the classic among classics Citizen Kane and is a surprisingly touching look at one of Springfield’s most hated residents.

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    All “Treehouse of Horror” episodes are pretty good. “Treehouse of Horror” episodes air around Halloween time and are split up into three segments each telling a different horror story in Simpsonian fashion. The most genuinely scary and yet laugh out loud funny of all of these comes in season 8. The Simpsons hear strange noises in the attic which turn out to be Bart’s conjoined twin. When he gets out, he fights to replace Bart. I was seven or eight when I watched this so you can imagine the nightmares it gave me but looking back on it now it is a genuinely well-made horror short that also happens to laugh out loud funny.

    Another episode you have to check out is season 2 episode 11 called “One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Bluefish.” In this episode, Homer goes to a sushi restaurant and orders blowfish, a fish that contains poison and must be prepared precisely or it can kill the eater. You can probably guess what happens next. Homer is given twenty-two hours to live and begins checking items off his bucket list. This one will tug at your heartstrings as Homer says goodbye to those he loves but that just makes the punchline of the episode even funnier: Homer inexplicably survives. We all know it was the only possible ending for this episode. You can’t kill off Homer friggin Simpson but this just makes the ending all the more funny and satisfying.

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    Cultural Impact of The Simpsons: The D’oh Heard Around the World

    It’s impossible to illustrate the size of the impact the Simpsons has had on the world. Homer Simpson is one of the most recognizable animated characters of all time. But beyond that, Matt Groening and the rest of The Simpsons team opened up a door to a new kind of animator. Before The Simpsons, there was only G-rated cartoon shows on TV. Without The Simpsons, we wouldn’t have Family Guy, South Park, Rick and Morty, Bo-Jack Horseman, or Big Mouth. Animation would be a genre still solely reserved for those who can’t pronounce the word “spaghetti.” There are now animated shows for everyone and it’s all thanks to The Simpsons.

    By Carrie Fishbane

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    An excerpt from the love letter: Hollywood Insider’s CEO/editor-in-chief Pritan Ambroase affirms, “Hollywood Insider fully supports the much-needed Black Lives Matter movement. We are actively, physically and digitally a part of this global movement. We will continue reporting on this major issue of police brutality and legal murders of Black people to hold the system accountable. We will continue reporting on this major issue with kindness and respect to all Black people, as each and every one of them are seen and heard. Just a reminder, that the Black Lives Matter movement is about more than just police brutality and extends into banking, housing, education, medical, infrastructure, etc. We have the space and time for all your stories. We believe in peaceful/non-violent protests and I would like to request the rest of media to focus on 95% of the protests that are peaceful and working effectively with positive changes happening daily. Media has a responsibility to better the world and Hollywood Insider will continue to do so.”

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    Simpsons, Simpsons, Simpsons, Simpsons, Simpsons, Simpsons, Simpsons, Simpsons, Simpsons, Simpsons, Simpsons, Simpsons, Simpsons, Simpsons

    All “Treehouse of Horror” episodes are pretty good. “Treehouse of Horror” episodes air around Halloween time and are split up into three segments each telling a different horror story in Simpsonian fashion. The most genuinely scary and yet laugh out loud funny of all of these comes in season 8. The Simpsons hear strange noises in the attic which turn out to be Bart’s conjoined twin. When he gets out, he fights to replace Bart. I was seven or eight when I watched this so you can imagine the nightmares it gave me but looking back on it now it is a genuinely well-made horror short that also happens to laugh out loud funny. 

    Author

    • Carrie Fishbane is obsessed with all things comedy and loves to reflect on the impact of comedy on the world. Having spent thousands of hours studying literature, she also writes about the political impact of entertainment and the power movies and TV have to create social change. Hollywood Insider promotes ethics and substance in entertainment, which is exactly in line with Carrie's perspective. Carrie’s favorite movies include Jojo RabbitDeadpool, and Inception and her favorite shows are Rick and MortyCrazy Ex-Girlfriend, and The Office.

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