America’s most beloved animated family, the Simpsons, is gearing up to rule the net with the launch of their new online website. Cable network FXX, who since last year own the cable rights of The Simpsons, will be launching Simpsons World, an internet site that allows viewers to receive all of the Simpsons content they desire, including the ability to get every episode of all twenty-five seasons. While Fox on Demand and Hulu are already loaded with content for the animated series, Simpsons World will be the first site to ever contain all 522 episodes in one place. To help promote the site, FXX will be airing the entire Simpsons archive in one marathon that will begin on August 21, 2014 and will end on the first day of September. This will make it the longest marathon ever in television history.
Audiences were first introduced to The Simpsons on April 19, 1987 on The Tracy Ullman Show. Originally they were sixty-minute animated shorts and were conceived from the mind of executive producer Matt Groening. When he was first asked to do the shorts, he wanted to create his animated series called Life in Hell. However, Groening learned that it would be a hassle to do Life in Hell, so he went back to the drawing board and created a concept based on his version of a dysfunctional family.
Many of the characters’ names are those of his own family members. The character of Bart, the wise-cracking, rebellious 10-year-old son, was based on himself. The substitution of Bart instead of Matt was an easy choice as the name is an anagram for “brat.”
In 1989, production companies who were already fans of The Simpsons shorts proposed to the Fox Network the concept of adapting the short films into a half-hour prime-time series. Fox was hesitant in the beginning about the idea. Not just because there had not been a prime-time animated series since The Flintstones, but also because they feared that the series would not keep the audience’s attention for that long. After some talking, the producers ordered thirteen episodes of the series and on December 17, 1989, Fox presented the series via a Christmas episode titled Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire.
Since then, the series has remained on the air for over twenty-five years. It has been recognized as the longest running prime-time program in America and for Fox. Years before The Simpsons began gearing up to rule the net with Simpsons World, its popularity grew and kept growing into the mayhem it is now.
Audiences made Homer Simpson, the lazy yet lovable father, one of the most beloved characters in entertainment history. To this day, a person rarely meets someone who will not do a Homer impersonation or say his famous grunt, “D’oh!”
In addition to the show’s regular voice cast, many top celebrities have made voice-over guest appearances. This includes the late Michael Jackson, who on the show portrayed a washed up version of himself who has lost his fame and has become a barber. In recent years, the guest stars have included former Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe, rocker Lenny Kravitz, and even comic book legend Stan Lee.
In 2007, Homer and his family made the leap from television to the big screen with The Simpsons Movie. And aside from television and film, The Simpsons have also gained popularity with collectible merchandise, such as toys, posters and clothing items. Even more rewarding for fans of the series was Universal Studios unveiling their Simpsons theme park ride in Universal Studios Hollywood, which is now one of the theme park’s top attractions.
As of now, it does not look like Fox will be pulling the plug on The Simpsons anytime soon. Though other animated shows about dysfunctional families have come along, notably Family Guy and The Cleveland Show, which is also owned by Fox, it all started with Homer, Bart and the rest of the family. While cable network FXX gears up for their historic marathon, and the launch of the Simpsons World site, which could possibly rule the net’s other websites containing Simpsons content, it cannot be denied that America still loves them.
By Andrew Cerecedes