first appeared as a vignette on The Tracey Ullman Show in April,
1987, and has become a worldwide phenomenon over the nine years it has
run as a series. The Simpsons has become the longest-running prine-time
animated series in television history, and tonight Ten screens the 200th
episode, Trash of the Titans, in which Homer insults the garbage man and
his trash goes uncollected.
Determined to right this outrageous wrong, Homer runs for samitation commissioner. In an attempt to woo young voters, he sneaks on stage during a U2 concert (band members made guest voice appearences themselves) to promote his election campaign, under the banner of "Waste Not, Want Not".
For Yeardley Smith, providing the voice of Lisa Simpson started out as a fill-in job to supplement her income from acting work in film and TV.
"When it first started, none of us imagined it would last past the initial order of 18 episodes. Now, of course, we (actors) would like to think it could run forever." says Smith.
She says the writers have the difficult job - a seven-day-a-week, year-long search for fresh ideas. They tend to burn out after two years, serve as consultants for the third year, and then move on.
"For the actors, it's great, however," she says. "We only see one another a couple of days a week, so no one gets in anyones hair and we've got time to do other work. We script-read on Mondays and lay down the voices on Thursday - the easiest gig in town."
Aside from co-starring in Herman's Head, Smith's other roles have been TV guest spots in shows such as Dharma and Greg and Murphy Brown. Movies have included City Slickers, Maximum Overdrive and As Good As It Gets.
"To be associated with a project that gets an Oscar makes me one of the lucky ones," she says. "I've been in this business since I was 14 and to survive makes me even luckier. Providing the voice for Lisa for the last ten has helped enable me to do that."