The Simpsons is a 30 minute adult, animated comedy series on the FOX Network about a politically incorrect, dysfunctional family who make you feel that maybe your family's not so bad after all! Homer Simpson is the not-too-bright, beer-guzzling father who works as a safety inspector at the local nuclear power plant (No ... it's not safe in there!). Luckily for the Simpsons kids, their mother Marge is always there for them when they need her. She takes her job as mother and housewife very seriously. Their son Bart is a mischievous underachiever who likes to pull pranks, especially on his school's principal. Bart's younger sister Lisa is the hope of her town. She's smart, gets terrific grades in school, and everybody loves her (except Bart, of course). And then there's Maggie, the often ignored baby of the family. Together, they and the other goofy residents of Springfield keep the laughs coming, assuming you aren't totally turned off by the politically incorrectness.
The Simpsons Characters
Dan Castellaneta .... Homer Simpson / Grampa / Barney Gumble / Krusty the Klown
Dan Castellaneta .... Groundskeeper Willie / Mayor Quimby / Hans Moleman
Dan Castellaneta .... Sideshow Mel / Others
Harry Shearer .... Montgomery Burns / Waylon Smithers / Reverend Lovejoy
Harry Shearer .... Ned Flanders / Kent Brockman / Rainer Wolfcastle
Harry Shearer .... Principal Skinner / Dr. Hibbert / Others
Nancy Cartwright .... Bart Simpson / Nelson Muntz / Todd Flanders / Ralph Wiggum
Nancy Cartwright .... Kearney / Others
Hank Azaria .... Moe Szyslak / Chief Wiggum / Apu / Comic Book Guy / Cletus
Hank Azaria .... Professor Frink / Others
Julie Kavner .... Marge Simpson / Patty & Selma Bouvier / Others
Yeardley Smith .... Lisa Simpson
Pamela Hayden .... Milhouse Van Houten / Rod Flanders / Others
Russi Taylor .... Martin Prince / Others (1990-)
Tress MacNeille .... Jimbo Jones / Agnes Skinner / Others (1990-)
Maggie Roswell .... Maude Flanders / Helen Lovejoy / Others (1990-1999, 2002-)
Marcia Wallace .... Edna Krabappel (1990-2011)
Phil Hartman .... Lionel Hutz / Troy McClure (1991-1998)
Karl Wiedergott .... Miscellaneous Voices (1998-2010)
Doris Grau .... Lunchlady Doris (1989-1996)
Marcia Mitzman Gaven .... Maude Flanders / Helen Lovejoy / Others (1999-2002)
The Simpsons Trivia
The Simpsons TV show started as 30 second cartoon segments on the "Tracy Ullman Show". Dan Castellanet (Homer Simpson's voice) and Julie Kavner (Marge Simpson's voice) were regulars on the series and Nancy Cartwright (Bart Simpson's voice) and Yeardley Smith (Lisa Simpson's voice) were hired specially for the Simpsons segments. In 1992, Tracy Ullman sued them to get some of the profits from Simpson's merchandise sales but she lost the law suit.
In the beginning on the Tracey Ullman Show and the first few episodes of the Simpsons TV Show, Dan Castellaneta modelled Homer Simpson's voice after that of Walter Matthau. Then Dan decided to make Homer more of a "dimwit" by dropping his I.Q. dramatically! That also resulted in a change in Homer's voice.
Did you ever wonder how the characters themselves were designed? Well, series creator Matt Groening was sitting outside of producer James Brook's office and drew all members of the Simpson family for the first time in only a few minutes!
Nancy Cartwright originally auditioned to do Lisa Simpson's voice and then got the job to do Bart's voice.
The characters, "Kodos" and "Kang" are two aliens and were named after two characters from the original Star Trek TV Show. Kodos was an evil mass murderer on the order of Adolf Hitler. Kang was a Klingon warrior.
In episode #170, "Brother from Another Series", David Hyde Pierce guest starred by doing the voice of Sideshow Bob's brother Cecil. Sideshow Bob is voiced by Kelsey Grammer, Pierces co-star on the TV series, "Frasier" where they also played brothers!
Speaking of Kelsey Grammer, he reunited with his fellow Cast from the TV series, "Cheers" on episode #114 of the Simpsons titled, "Fear of Flying". In that episode, Homer gets kicked out of Moe's Tavern and finds another bar to frequent called Cheers! Ted Danson, Woody Harrelson, Rhea Perlman, John Ratzenberger, George Wendt all did their characters' voices. The Frasier character did not speak, however, as both of Grammer's characters (Frasier and Sideshow Bob) have the same voice.
TV Guide magazine has been kind to the Simpsons TV Show. In their May 30, 2004 issue, they gave it sixth place in their list of the "25 Top Cult Shows Ever"! In the August 21, 2005 issue, they gave it third place in their list of "TV's 20 Top Catchphrases" for Bart's phrase, "Eat My Shorts!". Good old Bart himself was awarded first place in their March 27, 2005 issue's list of "TV's 10 Biggest Brats"! Bravo TV also gave Homer Simpson fifth place on their "100 Greatest TV Characters of All Time" list!
The Simpsons also took over first place from the series, "The Flintstones" in 1997 as the longest running animated TV show in prime time! In 2004, it became the longest running comedy series in primetime, animated or otherwise. "Saturday Night Live" is still the longest running comedy series in any time slot though. The Simpsons as of the 2009/2010 season is the longest running U.S. prime time series of all types!
Yet another record for the Simpsons is for the most guest stars ever on a TV series!
The Simpson is also the only non-variety series that ever had all three (at that time) surviving members of the Beatles as guest stars. George Harrison, Paul McCartney, and Ringo Starr all made appearances!
Series creator, Matt Groening, had watched the TV series, "Dennis the Menace" as a child but didn't like the fact that the TV Dennis was not nearly as "nauty" as the comic book Dennis. When Matt first conceived of the Simpsons, he decided to create the character, "Bart Simpson" who would more than make up for his earlier disappointment!
In episode #75, "Duffless", Lisa states that she is laughing at a joke from the TV series, "Herman's Head". That was an inside joke due to the fact that Yeardley Smith who does Lisa's voice was one of the regulars on Herman's Head!
The "Yeeeeees!" character was taken from a character played by actor Frank Nelson on the TV series, "The Jack Benny Show". Frank also played the role on the radio version of the Jack Benny Program. Usually, Jack Benny would ask for help from a clerk in a department store (who always turned out to be less than helpful) and Frank Nelson would respond with "Yeeeeees!"
Series producer David Mirkin went to Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California where there was a bar nearby called "Fireside". That is the bar upon which Moe's Tavern is based.
When the series does (if ever) finally end, don't despair. The main cast members have all agreed to recreate their characters in three movies sometime in the future. It's in their contracts!
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