Posts Tagged ‘“Simpsons”’

A Whistleblower in Springfield: “The Simpsons” 500th Episode

Friday, February 17th, 2012

It started as a series of shorts on The Tracey Ullman Show in 1987. It’s now the winner of 27 primetime Emmys, has been licensed in more than 100 countries, been syndicated domestically for 18 years, is the longest-running American sitcom in television history, and beat out Gunsmoke to become the longest-running primetime, scripted series. Oh, and no one on the show has aged in 23 years. Talk about mind-blowing.

Matt Groening’s The Simpsons celebrates a landmark achievement in television this Sunday night. The show will air its 500th episode, “At Long Last Leave,” in which the Simpsons are evicted from Springfield. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will guest star as himself and musician Alison Krauss will provide a special theme song to celebrate the milestone. In a lead up to Sunday’s episode, Groening received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame this past Tuesday, and FOX sponsored a marathon screening of the series on February 8th in an attempt to set a new Guinness World Record for longest continuous television viewing. Simpsons superfans Jeremiah Franco and Carin Shreve indeed reset the record by watching 86 hours and 37 minutes of The Simpsons and earning $10,500 from FOX in the process.

How did The Simpsons skyrocket from short reels to record setters? In his 2003 Archive Interview, Executive Producer James L. Brooks discusses The Simpsons rise from bumpers on The Tracey Ullman Show to the stand-alone, half-hour program that debuted on December 17, 1989:

Bart was quickly the breakout character of the show, and Nancy Cartwright shares how she voices his plethora of memorable catchphrases:

Not to be outdone, Homer has a pretty memorable catchphrase of his own. Dan Castellaneta on the origins of “d’oh!”:

Tune in Sunday at 8pm EST/PST on FOX to see what gems Bart, Homer and the rest of The Simpsons will deliver in their 500th episode. Think leaving Springfield leads to life in hell, or will the Simpsons finally get the love they deserve from their hometown?

- by Adrienne Faillace

Ay Caramba! “The Simpsons” start Season 23 and Bart’s still 10

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

Though Bart remains 10 years old, The Simpsons begins its 23rd season Sunday, September 25th on FOX. Not just the longest-running animated program in American television history, The Simpsons is also the longest-running American sitcom, and beat out Gunsmoke to become the longest-running primetime, scripted series.

The brainchild of Matt Groening, The Simpsons originally appeared as a series of animated shorts on The Tracey Ullman Show in 1987. Executive Producer James L. Brooks liked the popular shorts, which were then developed into a stand-alone, half-hour program and debuted as such on December 17, 1989. Bart (Nancy Cartwright), Lisa (Yeardley Smith), Maggie, Marge (Julie Kavner) and Homer (Dan Castellaneta) hit the big-time that night and have reigned on FOX ever since.

The show at times stirs up controversy for its portrayal of a dysfunctional, but loving family, and not only cemented the phrase “D’oh!” into the minds of millions, but also launched dozens of other catchphrases. From “Don’t have a cow, man!”, “Ay Carumba!”, “Eat my shorts!” and “Cowabunga!” The Simpsons has its own vernacular that continues to penetrate pop culture. Nancy Cartwright’s interview (she voices Bart Simpson, Ralph Wiggum, Nelson Muntz, Todd Flanders, Kearney, and Database) is now available online. As Mr. Burns would say as he craftily twiddles his fingers, “Excellent.”

Cartwright was originally going to audition for the role of Lisa, but when she saw Bart Simpson described as “Ten years old, school-hating underachiever and proud of it”-  she knew that was the role she wanted:

On Bart Simpsons’ memorable catchphrases:

On how she differentiates between similar characters (“Nelson” v. “Kearney” and “Ralph” v “Todd Flanders”):

On how people who criticize the show respond when they find out she plays Bart:

On The Simpsons‘ place in American pop culture:

About this interview:

In her Archive interview, Nancy Cartwright describes how she got her start as a voiceover artist. Active in speech club in high school, she discovered her talent with voices and pursued Communications in college, first at Ohio University, then at UCLA, to be closer to the industry. She recalls training with acclaimed voiceover artist Daws Butler, her first professional job on Richie Rich, and her on-camera work as a guest actor on Cheers and as the lead in the television movie, Marian Rose White. Cartwright then details her work on The Simpsons, originally a series of sketches on The Tracey Ullman Show. She recalls going in to audition for the part of “Lisa Simpson” and walking out with the role of “Bart Simpson.” Cartwright outlines the recording schedule of the show, other characters she voices, expanding the show to a half hour program, her Emmy win for Outstanding Voiceover Actor, and her favorite episodes.  She also comments on other shows to which she’s contributed (Rugrats, Kim Possible) and speaks of her extensive charity work. Jenni Matz conducted the interview on March 17, 2011 in Northridge, CA.

Classic “All in the Family” episode given the “Simpsons” Treatment

Monday, March 29th, 2010

On the recent Simpsons episode “Stealing First Base” (airdate: 3/21/10) Sarah Silverman guest-starred as a girl who plants a kiss on Bart, leading to a Cinema Paradiso-inspired montage of famous movie & TV kisses. The last kiss seen in the montage is, unusually, and hilariously, from the All in the Family episode “Sammy’s Visit” (in which the Bunker household welcomes Sammy Davis Jr., who gets the last laugh on Archie). The Simpsons‘ team brilliantly capture the look that Carroll O’Connor’s Archie gave during this memorable classic TV moment.


Watch the Simpsons montage on the Archive’s new page for All in the Family: “Sammy’s Visit” and hear from the contributors of this classic episode including star Carroll O’Connor, writer Bill Dana, and director John Rich.