America's Most Dysfunctional Family- The Simpsons
America's favourite and most famous dysfunctional family, the Simpsons, are finally coming to the big screen after 20 years and over 400 episodes on the TV. The Simpson's originally started life as a short animation on the Tracy Pullman show after creator Matt Groening was asked to make a pitch for the spot.
As a result he conceived the idea of an animated series of shorts based on a satirical typical middle American family.
He used his families names for each of the characters but replaced the main characters name with Barty instead of using his own.
After a three year period on the Tracey Pullman Show Fox decided to develope it into a full 30 minute prime time show.
The Simpson became an instant success and won many awards with Time magazine named it the best television show of the 20th Century.
Since it's debut on Dec 17, 1989 it has been on the air for 20 years and just over 400 episodes making it the longest running sit-com on TV and longest running animated series.
The Simpsons has always been controversial and it's lead character has always been attacked as being a poor role model for American kids.
Many schools even banned The Simpson merchandise, particularly the Bart Simpson t-shirt declaring "Underachiever (and proud of it, man)".
The series centers on a typical middle class American family who live in a fictional mid-American town called Springfield.
Marge, Homer's faithful and dutiful wife is a stereotypical American housewife and Homer, despite his clumsy demeanor, is the chief safety inspector at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant.
Marge and Homer have three children, ten year old Bart, eight year old Lisa and Maggie who is still a baby.
Bart is a troublemaker and always up to some mischief and is proud of his "underachievments" whereas his sister Lisa is very intelligent and often takes part in left wing protests.
Maggie cannot talk yet but carries a pacifier in her mouth.
They also have two pets, a dog called "Santa's Helper" and a cat "Snowball II".
Despite the the years that have passed and the number of episodes there have been, the Simpson's have note aged physically over the time.
There are as host of other characters that regularly appear in episodes such as Krusty the Clown, Principal Skinner, Apu, Dr Hibbert, Ned Flanders etc.
Each episode of the Simpsons goes through a rigourus procedure before it even reached the filming stages and takes approxiamately six months to make.
Each December the team of 16 writers get together to put forward ideas for the forthcoming seaso. The principle writer for a given episode will then write the first draft.
A group writing session will then be held to develope the script, add a few new jokes or remove a few and rewrite it.
George Meyer, although note credited for it, often submits the best lines for an episode.
It is because of this timeline that The Simpson's lacks any satire on current affairs although it will often include planned events such as the Superbowl or Olympics.
The Simpsons has won a whole host of awards since it's debut in 1989 including 23 Emmy Awards, 22 Annie Awards and a Peabody.
In 1998 Bart Simpson was named one of the Time magazines top 100 most influential people of the century. In the UK Homer Simpson was voted number 1 Greatest TV Character for 2001and in 2001 & 2005 The Simpsons was voted top in the 100 Greatest Cartoons.
July 27, 2007 will see the premier of the first Simpsons movie and Matt Groening has said "I honestly don't see any end in sight. I think it's quite possible that the show will become financially cumbersome... but right now, the show is creatively, I think, as good or better than it's ever been..."
So, it looks the the Simpsons will continue to keep us entertained for some time yet and I, for one, am looking forward to seeing the movie...
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