Who would have thought a family of animated, disfunctional
yellow people would take the world by storm?
Fifteen years after The Simpsons first aired, the perpetually funny
characters are watched by more than 60 million people worldwide with
catch crys like "D'oh!" embedded in our varnacular.
But creating a classic cartoon and cultural icon that maintains its
appeal after 350 episodes is no easy feat.
It is understood that one episode takes about nine months to produce
- from script to screen. The sitcom's popularity has enticed everyone
from music legend Paul McCartney to British PM Tony Blair to make
"appearances" - and now even creator Matt Groening.
In a new episode to air in Australia on September 8 called My Big
Fat Geek Wedding, Groening plays himself signing autographs for fans
at a science fiction convention. He is identified not as the creator
of The Simpsons, but the author of one of his other shows, Futurama.
"The writers wrote me in and it's very odd. It's easy for me to draw
other people and animate them, but to see myself drawn was difficult,"
Groening says. "That was the first and last time. I don't think you'll
see me again, unless I have my own spin off," he laughs.
Groening's family inadvertently became cult figures after he named
characters after his father Homer, mother Marge, and sister Lisa
- much to their surprise. But he jokes his son, who he named after
Homer refrained from using his real name to avoid being a "moving
"My son is about as old as The Simpsons is. I thought that by naming
a cartoon character after my father Homer, I could make it up to
him by naming my son after him," he said. "But my son, who generally
uses another name in daily life, is proud of the name. Whenever he
has to go on stage for graduation or to accept an award he uses the
The show, which provides a social commentary on everything from capitalism
to homosexuality and religion, was borne out of Groening's love of
the sitcoms in the late 50s and early 60s.
He said one of the reasons The Simpsons was "refreshing" was because
they were based on old shows. "I've always been a fan of sitcoms.
I was a huge fan of shows none of you would remember - Ozzie and
Harriet, Life of Riley, Sergeant Bilco. I stopped watching television
in the 1970s, I had other things to do. So when I finally turned
my attention to doing a show, I based all of my ideas on these old
shows I watched when I was a little kid."
The new Simpsons series starts on Ten on Wednesday at 7:30pm
article is from the August 29,
2004 edition of tvguide from the
Sunday Mail newspaper in Adelaide,
South Australia. It has been posted
here for general information purposes
and no profit is being made from
this article. Visit The Advertiser/Sunday
Mail website here.