The Simpsons is an American adult animated sitcom created by Matt Groening for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The series is a satirical parody of a middle class American lifestyle epitomized by its family of the same name, which consists of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie.
The show is set in the fictional town of Springfield and parodies American culture, society, television, and many aspects of the human condition.
The family was conceived by Groening shortly before a solicitation for a series of animated shorts with the producer James L. Brooks. Groening created a dysfunctional family and named the characters after members of his own family, substituting Bart for his own name. The shorts became a part of The Tracey Ullman Show on April 19, 1987. After a three-season run, the sketch was developed into a half-hour prime time show and was an early hit for Fox, becoming the network's first series to land in the Top 30 ratings in a season (1989–1990).
Since its debut on December 17, 1989, the show has broadcast 541 episodes and the 25th season began on September 30, 2013. The Simpsons is the longest-running American sitcom, the longest-running American animated program, and in 2009 it surpassed Gunsmoke as the longest-running American primetime, scripted television series. The Simpsons Movie, a feature-length film, was released in theaters worldwide on July 26 and 27, 2007, and grossed over $527 million.
The Simpsons is widely considered to be one of the greatest television series of all time. Time magazine's December 31, 1999, issue named it the 20th century's best television series, and on January 14, 2000, the Simpson family was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It has won dozens of awards since it debuted as a series, including 27 Primetime Emmy Awards, 30 Annie Awards and a Peabody Award. Homer's exclamatory catchphrase "D'oh!" has been adopted into the English language, while The Simpsons has influenced many adult-oriented animated sitcoms.
The Simpsons are a typical family who live in a fictional "Middle American" town of Springfield.
Homer, the father, works as a safety inspector at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant, a position at odds with his careless, buffoonish personality. He is married to Marge Simpson, a stereotypical American housewife and mother. They have three children: Bart, a ten-year-old troublemaker; Lisa, a precocious eight-year-old activist; and Maggie, the baby of the family who rarely speaks, but communicates by sucking on a pacifier. The family owns a dog, Santa's Little Helper, and a cat, Snowball V, renamed Snowball II in "I, (Annoyed Grunt)-Bot". Both pets have had starring roles in several episodes. Despite the passing of yearly milestones such as holidays or birthdays, the Simpsons do not physically age and still appear just as they did at the end of the 1980s. Although the family is dysfunctional, many episodes examine their relationships and bonds with each other and they are often shown to care about one another.
The show includes an array of quirky characters: co-workers, teachers, family friends, extended relatives, townspeople and local celebrities. The creators originally intended many of these characters as one-time jokesters or for fulfilling needed functions in the town. A number of them have gained expanded roles and subsequently starred in their own episodes. According to Matt Groening, the show adopted the concept of a large supporting cast from the comedy show SCTV (Second City Television (SCTV) is a Canadian television sketch comedy show offshoot from Toronto's Second City troupe that ran between 1976 and 1984.)
Collections of original music featured in the series have been released on the albums Songs in the Key of Springfield, Go Simpsonic with The Simpsons and The Simpsons: Testify.
Several songs have been recorded with the purpose of a single or album release and have not been featured on the show. The album The Simpsons Sing the Blues was released in September 1990 and was a success, peaking at #3 on the Billboard 200 and becoming certified 2× platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. The first single from the album was the pop rap song "Do the Bartman", performed by Nancy Cartwright and released on November 20, 1990.
The song was written by Michael Jackson, although he did not receive any credit. The Yellow Album was released in 1998, but received poor reception and did not chart in any country.