A deep dive into the quirky history of one of the most iconic TV shows of all time, The Simpsons.

After 33 years of television dominance, you would be hard-pressed to find someone who hasn’t formed some kind of connection to The Simpsons. Though it’s hard to even attempt to describe the cultural significance of the nation’s most-loved sitcom, we’ve tried our best to delve into the behind-the-scenes setup and the on-screen charm that makes the Springfield animation so special. Whilst we wait patiently for a new batch of episodes, come with us as Forever Geek presents a complete guide to The Simpsons.

The Simpsons aren’t going anywhere after season 34

The most recent season of The Simpsons finished up in May 2023 and was, remarkably, the 34th series of the TV show. To put that into perspective, Gey’s Anatomy (which feels like it has been around forever), has only done 19!

And even though some fans claim the show is no longer what it once was, our favorite cartoon family shows no signs of leaving our screens just yet.

In January 20223 it was announced that the show had been signed on by its parent network Fox to do two more seasons, meaning we’ll still receive our share of Springfield content until at least 2025.

For anyone who missed out on season 34, or wishes to re-watch it to fill the time while waiting for 35, you can catch it on DIRECTV, Hulu, FuboTV or Fox if you’re a state-side subscriber. Those in the US can also rent or buy it from Apple TV, Prime and VUDU. For those in the UK, the latest episodes are not yet available to stream, though you can watch up to season 33 on Disney+.

Who are the voice actors on The Simpsons?

In a similar vein to its cartoon counterpart Family Guy, The Simpsons has maintained a small core of voice actors who have worked on the show from the early days. But loyalty has its price, with the main cast said to be paid a whopping $315,000 each, per episode.

Dan Castellaneta as Homer, Abe and Krusty

The man who voices Homer, arguably the show’s most popular character, as well a host of side characters including his father and the nefarious clown Krusty, is Dan Castellaneta. Castellaneta has voiced Homer ever since the show first started as a sketch segment on The Tracey Ullman Show, and fans were given a rare glimpse into his process during a now-viral appearance on the Conan O’Brien show back in 2000.

Julie Kavner as Marge, Patty and Selma

Though Marge’s voice is one of the most iconic sounding accents in TV history, the chances are you wouldn’t recognize the actress responsible if you saw her on the street. Julie Kavner has been a key part of The Simpsons setup since the late 80s, but is known to be rather reclusive, and is seldom seen alongside other cast members in public.

Nancy Cartwright as Bart and Maggie

On the contrary to Kavner is Nancy Cartwright, who is arguably the most well-known of The Simpsons’ cast. Whether it’s on TV or radio, Cartwright can regularly be seen or heard wowing audiences with her Bart Simpson voice, with many viewers having assumed over the years that Bart was voiced by a man. Cartwright, however, has raised eyebrows over her connection to the Church of Scientology, an organization she is reported to have donated over $20 million to.

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Yeardley Smith as Lisa

While the previously mentioned voice actors all help to bring a range of characters to life, Yeardley Smith only consistently voices Lisa. Smith does do the occasional extra voice for one-off characters, but when it comes to the main cast she appears content with sticking with the young saxophone prodigy. Lisa’s voice is an iconic one after all!

Hank Azaria and Harry Shearer as the wider cast

The remaining two members of the core cast of actors are Hank Azaria and Harry Shearer, each of whom has their own set of characters that help to populate the town of Springfield. Among Shearer’s arsenal are Principal Skinner, Reverend Lovejoy and Ned Flanders, while Azaria’s current credits include Moe Szyslak and Chief Wiggum. Azaria also voiced both Lou and Apu until 2020, but stepped down over fears his contributions to the characters had helped to perpetuate racial stereotypes.

The Simpsons’ weird knack for accurate predicting the future

One of the weirder phenomena attached to the show is the strange way in which The Simpsons appears to have accurately predicted the future on a number of occasions.

For example, they made headlines in 2016, when fans recalled the show rather eerily predicting a Donald Trump presidency in an episode broadcast way back in 2000. The season 11 episode, Bart To The Future, depicted a 38-year-old Lisa inheriting the role of US President, and alluded to the idea that Trump had held office the term before her.

The Simpsons Movie, as well as Marge In Chains (a 1995 season 4 episode in which the whole town gets the flu), also drew comparisons to the covid-19 pandemic and the ensuing lockdowns.

Most recently, viewers claimed that The Simpsons had foreseen the Titan submersible disaster of June 2023, though of course there were no actual links between the show and Titanic tourist disaster.

Who are the show’s original creators?

The story goes that The Simpson family was first created by Matt Groening in the lobby of James Brooks’ office while he waited to enter a meeting with the TV producer.

Having been impressed by his ideas, Brooks allowed Groening to trial The Simpsons as a sketch on The Tracey Ullman show, a popular Fox comedy at the time.

While several creative minds have been introduced to The Simpsons mix in the years since its TV debut in the 80s, the original pairing of Groening and Brooks still play a part in its creation.

At the time of writing in July 20223, both Brooks and Groening are currently listed as executive producers and consultants to the show.

Celebrity guests

Such is the popularity of The Simpsons that the show has been able to attract several famous faces to make appearances over the years.

From bands like Green Day and Sonic Youth to impressive acting coups like Willem Dafoe and Mark Hamill, The Simpsons has been able to attract a vast range of famous faces to make guest appearances, perhaps more so than any other TV show has managed in the past.

Though the show has featured over 900 celebrity guest appearances, one of the most noted celebrity Simpsons moments came in a 2010 commercial.

Sentimental soccer fans will recall the time that Portuguese baller Christiano Ronaldo appeared in the doorway of 742 Evergreen Terrace, and proceeded to nutmeg a rather starstruck Homer.

The best theme tune of all time?

The best way to judge a TV theme tune is by how many people know it straight away, regardless of how often, if ever, they’ve watched the show.

And one could definitely make the case that the most instantly recognizable, stand-out theme tune in contemporary television is the intro to The Simpsons.

While virtually everybody knows every note of The Simpsons Theme, less is known a bit the man who wrote it – Danny Eflman. In an interview with Classic FM in 2015, Elfman revealed that he hadn’t thought much of The Simpsons initially, and wrote the theme “in the car on the way home” after meeting with Groening.

The composer went on to explain that the royalties from The Simpsons theme have been rather lucrative, and have paid for his health insurance ever since.

An entire subgenre of memes

Undoubtedly one of the biggest cultural influences The Simpsons has had in recent years is the impact it has made on internet meme culture.

From re-occurring reaction memes to Twitter accounts dedicated to posting meme-worthy moments from the show, there’s no question about the fact that The Simpsons is the most memeable TV show of all time.

Just recently, the animated family went viral on TikTok, as users toyed with AI to create several covers of popular songs, sung in the style of Homer and the gang.

One of the most popular examples of a Simpsons meme came from Springfield Elementary headteacher, Principal Skinner. In a season 5 episode, Skinner delivered the now-iconic line: “Am I so out of touch? No. It’s the children who are wrong.” The line has since become synonymous with politicians and leaders being out of touch with young people, and a screenshot of the moment is often posted in response to decision-making that young people on disagree with.

What we know about a potential Simpsons Movie sequel

July 2023 marks the 16th anniversary of the release of the cult comedy classic, The Simpsons Movie.

Raking in over half a billion at the box office, The Simpsons Movie was a hit financially and among fans, who hailed it as a return to form for the long-running series. Why then, has there not been a sequel?

Promotional Events for "The Simpsons Movie"
Photo by Noel Vasquez/Getty Images

One of the most recent answers to that question came from producer Al Jean, who explained to ComicBook.com that progress had actually been made regarding a sequel but was halted by covid.

“We were really talking about it a lot before the pandemic,” Jean told the site.

Referring to the post-covid movie experience, Jean added: “And now I think just as a caution, I want to see how movies and, specifically, animated movies come back, because I wouldn’t want to do it just as a streaming experience, we really want it to be a theatrical movie because that was the point of the first one.”

The lore of Treehouse of Horror

One of the most impressive things about the longevity of The Simpsons is the way the show has been able to commit to producing themed episodes for special occasions.

Specifically, the show’s most celebrated special episode of format is the Treehouse of Horror episodes – of which there are 34, one for each season.

Spooky, zany and, sometimes bordering on psychedelic, each Treehouse of Horror episode shows The Simpsons family in a whole new Halloweeny-y light, and fans cannot get enough of them.

With so many to choose from, fans often list and compare their favorite Treehouse episodes – in what is another one of the many slices of brilliance from the cultural powerhouse that is The Simpsons.

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