The Simpsons turns 20

Thursday, December 17, 2009

"This might be the miracle that saves Christmas for the Simpsons."
- Bart Simpson

One of my all time favorite television shows, The Simpsons, turns 20 today. On this day in 1989 the very first episode, Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire, aired on the FOX network. Since then both The Simpsons and FOX have grown immensely and many credit the growth of FOX as an actual network to the success of the prime time cartoon.

Looking back on it now the first episode to air (which was not technically the first episode of the season) shows you how primitive the show once was. Back in 1989 the animators didn't have computers to rely on the way they do now. You can clearly see the improvements that have been made over time, but these old episodes still show you how timeless each character really is.

Homer has always been a family man, just wanting to make his family happy even if he is a bumbling idiot. Lisa was always smarter than her age. Marge always had hoped for the best from her family. Patti and Selma always thought the worst of Homer. Grandpa was...well, Grandpa. And Bart? Always the prankster, but always not wanting to shame his family.

"It doesn't seem possible but I guess TV has betrayed me."
- Bart Simpson

The Simpsons, as you may know, started out as a dysfunctional cartoon family on the Tracey Ullman Show. At the time FOX was nervous about airing the show as they feared it would not capture an audience for a full half hour's worth of programming. Two Emmy nominations for the episode alone should have been a sign of what was to come. Twenty years later the show is still going strong on the network, anchoring the Sunday 8pm time slot for the better part of two decades.

"But he's a loser! He's pathetic! He's...a Simpson."
- Homer Simpson

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