The Simpsons (animation)
The Simpsons first aired from 1987 to 1989 as a series of animated shorts on The Tracey Ullman Show. Unofficially known as "Season 0," the original 48 ad-bumpers kicked off what is now well established as one of television's all-time classic series (which premiered on the then-fledgling FOX network in December 1989). It is currently in its twenty-ninth season, making it the longest-running prime-time sitcom in Amercan TV history (worldwide that honor belongs to Last of the Summer Wine, although the latter has fewer episodes, with 297 while The Simpsons has surpassed 500).
Depicting the animated adventures of the upper-lower-middle class Simpson family, the show started as a parody of Dom Com conventions, but quickly incorporated elements of social satire, pop-culture references, and a mix of highbrow and lowbrow humor that has kept it popular year after year. Originally the show focused most of its attention on 10 year old Bart Simpson, but after the first 3 seasons his dad Homer gradually took on being the most consistent protagonist.
One reason for the show's longevity is the massive cast of over 100 recurring characters it has built up over time, allowing the writers to work with a rich variety of relationships and milieus. Another thing that has established The Simpsons as being unique is an absolute refusal to acknowledge the passing of time. Bart has remained 10 years old and in general the show employs an active Negative Continuity, sometimes even acknowledged in the show.
Roughly from about Seasons 2 - 9, The Simpsons was considered one of the most consistently funny TV Shows ever produced. However, it is generally considered that at some point after that, the series declined in quality. Exactly when it declined, and by how much, is difficult to find a consensus on, but viewership has decreased over the recent seasons. Its numbers remain strong though, and the merchandising juggernaut shows no signs of stopping. Fox announced that it is considering setting up a separate Simpsons/spin-off network. (It's called FXX!)
A feature film (creatively titled The Simpsons Movie) was released in summer 2007. Perhaps not surprisingly, reactions from fans were mixed, with some fans claiming it to be on the level of the Golden Age episodes, and some considering it just an extra long Tarnished Age episode. Nevertheless, the film was a huge financial success and recieved a positive response from critics, earning a 89% Fresh Rating on Rotten Tomatoes and getting a 80 on Metacritic.
Many of the people behind the show are also responsible for Futurama (and while Futurama certainly takes some comedic cues from this show, it is a far cry from a Simpsons clone).
Matt Groening has said he created the core family members in The Tracey Ullman Show's production office waiting room after realizing he didn't want to sign the rights to his Life in Hell characters over to Rupert Murdoch.
In 2009 the show began its 21st season, officially dethroning Gunsmoke as the longest running prime-time American television series of all time (although Sesame Street, among others, still retains an even longer run with 40 seasons).
In addition to the videogames with their own pages linked below, The Simpsons have featured in other fairly mediocre games including:
- Bart vs. the Space Mutants, released in 1991
- Bart vs. the World, released in 1991 (both fairly standard side-scrollers)
- Krusty's Fun House, released in 1992-1993, originally named Rat-Trap before being reworked as a The Simpsons title. The Super Nintendo Entertainment System and Sega Genesis versions were named Krusty's Super Fun House. It was essentially a maze game.
- Bartman Meets Radioactive Man, a platform game released in 1992.
- Bart's Nightmare on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, released in 1992 (a Gameplay Roulette game)
- Virtual Bart, despite its name actually released on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and the Sega Genesis, not the Virtual Boy, in 1994. Another Gameplay Roulette game, with each level having a different theme.
- The Itchy & Scratchy Game, a platform game starring the titular duo (and not Bart for once), released in 1993 and 1995 - you play as Itchy and battle against Scratchy.
- The Simpsons Wrestling, a, well, wrestling game on the PlayStation released in 2001, featuring the voice actors from the show and unique special moves for each character.
- The Simpsons Skateboarding, a... well, it should be obvious. Released on the PlayStation 2 in 2002.
- Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys: Substitute French teacher Groundskeeper Willie calls his class this on the season six episode, "Round Springfield."
- "Close Enough" Timeline: "Treehouse of Horror V."
- Commie Nazis: From a one-off joke from a McBain movie trailer.
- Couch Gag: Started the trend.
- Dean Bitterman: The Dean in one-off movie-within-the-show School of Hard Knockers.
- The Dog Was the Mastermind: One of Homer's ideas for some changes for the Mr. Smith Goes to Washington remake in Beyond Blunderdome was, as Mel Gibson put it, to replace the main villain with a dog.
- Flanderization: Ned Flanders used to be only mildly religious, in that he was a typical "good American" who enjoyed going to to church on Sundays in earlier seasons; now he's a Bible-thumping Overprotective Dad. Other characters have been hit with it over the years.
- Goggles Do Nothing: Those goggles won't protect your eyes from real acid, Radioactive Man.
- Kent Brockman News
- Know-Nothing Know-It-All
- The Krusty
- Kwyjibo: Bart made up the word to cheat at Scrabble.
- Legitimate Businessmen's Social Club: Fat Tony et al.
- Mayor of a Ghost Town
- My Beloved Smother: Agnes Skinner to Principal Skinner.
- Named Like My Name: Homer Simpson.
- Non-Giving-Up-School Guy: Skinner.
- Perfectly Cromulent Word: Embiggens is one.
- The Poochie: The character that named it was actually a parody of this type of character. Now renamed to Shoo Out the New Guy.
- Retirony: On the season 12 episode, "Homer vs. Dignity" (a.k.a, the one where Homer gets raped by a panda), Chief Wiggum tells his financial advisor that he's not going to save his money for the future because, like all cops on TV shows and movies, he'll be killed in the line of duty days before he retires.
- Stupid Sexy Flanders: It feels like Ned Flanders is wearing nothing at all! Nothing at all! Nothing at all!
- Suspect Is Hatless: Chief Wiggum described Snake as this on an in-show episode of COPS.
- Think of the Children: Helen Lovejoy's primary concern should be everyone else's as well.
- Think Unsexy Thoughts: Homer used this mantra whenever he was alone with Mindy (a new coworker he was infatuated with because she's basically his Distaff Counterpart, only with red hair, a slim figure, and the voice of Michelle Pfeiffer).
- She used this as a mantra when in an elevator with Homer.
- Trash of the Titans: Title of the 200th episode and a frequent trope in the early days.
- Whale Egg: Ralph Wiggum isn't very good with biology...
- Where the Hell Is Springfield?: Does anybody know? The characters just won't tell us. Until it was defined to be bordering Ohio, Nevada, Maine, and Kentucky. At the same time.
- Why Do You Keep Changing Jobs?: Marge asks this of Lindsay Naegle, who is one of four such recurring characters in the series. Naegle's answer: She's a sexual predator
- A Wizard Did It: Used by Lucy Lawless to explain the glaring continuity errors in Xena: Warrior Princess.
- You Might Remember Me From: Such trope pages as this one. Troy McClure (a washed-up B-list celebrity with an alleged sexual fetish for fish) would always introduce films, documentaries, and even two behind-the-scenes Simpsons episodes (the 138th episode spectacular and the episode featuring three pilots for spin-off shows) with this trope phrase and two fictional titles of movies/TV shows/specials, etc he's been in (such as "The Erotic Adventures of Hercules," "Zombie in the Endzone," "Mommy, What's Wrong With That Man's Face?" "2 Minus 3 Equals Negative Fun," "Lead Paint: Delicious But Deadly," "Here Comes the Metric System," "Five Fabulous Weeks of The Chevy Chase Show," "Alien Autopsy," "Smoke Yourself Thin," and "Get Confident, Stupid!")
- Your Secrets Safe With Me Superman: Barney talking to Adam West (who actually played Batman).
- You Wanna Get Sued?: Bart had the "shinning" in the Halloween segment of the same name, not the "shining." Get it right, people!
- Main Series Tropes, A-L
- Main Series Tropes, M-Z
- Tropes Named by The Simpsons
- The Simpsons (Arcade Game)
- The Simpsons Movie
- Simpsons Comics
- The Itchy and Scratchy Show
- The Simpsons Hit & Run
- The Simpsons Game
- The Simpsons Treehouse Of Horror
- The Simpsons Road Rage
- Or [annoyed grunt]' to the scriptwriters