26 things you might not know about THE SIMPSONS

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Ay caramba! The 26th (26th!!!) Season of The Simpsons gets underway this Sunday, and so to celebrate everyone's favourite yellow-skinned family Geek Dave presents 26 things you might not know about The Simpsons.


1. If you've ever wondered why The Simpsons are yellow it was because the creator, Matt Groening, deliberately chose it so that if someone was channel surfing they would instantly know The Simpsons was on the moment they saw it. Clever, eh?

2. Groening famously named the Simpsons after his own family, but when he needed to provide names for all the ancillary characters he used the street signs in his hometown of Portland, Oregon.


3. The first ever full length episode of The Simpsons was broadcast on December 17th 1989. This was the Christmas special, titled 'Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire'. Originally it was intended to be the eighth episode of the first season, but show scheduling meant it was moved up to take advantage of the Holiday Season. It was immensely popular amongst viewers and critics alike, and was nominated for 2 Emmy Awards. Surprisingly, it was not written by Matt Groening, or any of the other regular Simpsons writers, but by illustrator Mimi Pond. If you're saying "who?" then that's no surprise, it was her one and only Simpsons episode, and in fact her IMDB page only includes one other writing credit.

4. Some Enchanted Evening was supposed to be the first episode broadcast. The storyboard was sent to Korea to be animated, when it was returned it was dreadful, with producer James L. Brooks declaring "This is sh*t.". They demanded it be re-animated and because it took 6 months to do so it ended up closing out the first season instead.



5. Homer's famous "d'oh" sound was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2001. It is defined as:
"Expressing frustration at the realization that things have turned out badly or not as planned, or that one has just said or done something foolish. Also (usu. mildly derogatory): implying that another person has said or done something foolish."
It was Homer's voice actor Dan Castellaneta who came up with the saying. In the script it read 'annoyed grunt', so he took inspiration from Jimmy Finlayson’s "Dooooh!" as heard in the Laurel And Hardy films.

6. The Simpsons now holds the world record for the longest running prime time TV show. It also holds the record for most guest stars on a TV show ever - over 600 of them!


7. However, not everyone approached to guest star on The Simpsons has said yes. The first reported person to turn down a guest voice role on the show was William Shatner (believed to be as a cameo in the Star Trek XII: So Very Tired skit). Other famous people to say no include fellow Star Trek alumni George Takei, Quintin Tarantino, Tom Cruise, Michael Caine, Clint Eastwood, Bruce Willis and Demi Moore.

8. Whilst on the subject of Star Trek, Kang and Kodos, the two aliens, are named after Star Trek characters.


9. In the 1991 episode Stark Raving Dad, Michael Jackson voiced a character called Leon Kompowsky who thought he was Michael Jackson. Due to contractual obligations, Jackson was not credited with voicing the character, instead it is credited to John Jay Smith (a made up name). To complicate matters further, his record label wouldn't let him sing so even though he wrote the song that was performed in the episode, "Happy Birthday Lisa", a sound-a-like was hired to record the lyrics. The same issue stopped him receiving any credit for the single "Do The Bartman", which he co-wrote and produced.

10. Like most cartoon characters the characters in The Simpsons do not have a full compliment of fingers on their hands. All of them are one digit short, except two. They would be Jesus and God...


11. Whenever Bart would prank call Moe’s Tavern he dialed the number 764-84377. Not only is this one number longer than US phone numbers but if you use the letters on the phone it spells out 'SMITHERS'.

12. Talking of whom, in his first appearance on the show (the third ever episode - Homer's Odyssey) Smithers was actually black. This was down to an error at the animation stage, he was always going to be white but after seeing 'black Smithers' the animators thought about keeping him this way, until it was pointed out that it could be seen as controversial and "would be a bad idea to have a black subservient character". In the next episode he was white.


13. Milhouse's full name is Milhouse Mussolini Van Houten. It's a bit of a nefarious name all round. Milhous was Richard Nixon's middle name, Mussolini is a reference to Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini and Miss Leslie Van Houten was a member of the Charles Manson family.

14. The Simpsons includes one of the coolest Easter Eggs ever. Across the first three seasons there were clips from a movie starring the character McBain appearing in many episodes. If you put them all together they actually made a full coherent story...



15. The Season 2 premiere episode, Bart Gets An F, is still the highest ever rated episode of The Simpsons broadcast. 20 years later, the Season 22 episode The Great Simpsina, became the lowest ever rated broadcast episode.

16. In the episode Bart's Comet, Springfield is about to be destroyed by, er, a comet! News Anchor Kent Brockman announces:
“Over the years, a news reporter learns things that for one reason or another, he simply cannot report. It doesn’t seem to matter now, so the following people are gay…”

All the names were Simpsons staff members. Before broadcast FOX insisted that every one of them sign a release in case they should try to sue the Network for 'outing' them.

17. Homer Simpson and Krusty the Clown look very similar, something that was played upon in the episode Homie The Clown. Well there's a really interesting reason why they look the same, as Matt Groening explained:
''The original idea behind Krusty the Clown was that he was Homer in disguise, but Homer still couldn't get any respect from his son, who worshipped Krusty. If you look at Krusty, it's just Homer with extended hair and a tuft on his head. We were in such a rush in the beginning of the series that I thought, 'Oh, it's too complicated,' so we just dropped it. But when I look at Krusty, I think, 'Yeah — that's Homer.''' 

18. In 1994 Matt Groening attempted to launch a Simpsons spin-off series featuring Dan Castellaneta as Krusty The Clown. But this was no animated series, it would've been a live action show. Groening revealed:
"We had this running joke in the script that Krusty was living in a house on stilts and there were beavers gnawing their way through the stilts. But somebody at the network pointed out how expensive it was to hire trained beavers, and an equally prohibitive cost would be to get mechanical beavers.'"
Which is likely why it never made it past the planning stages.

19. The Simpsons has been exported to all corners of the globe, and in 2005 it was purchased by an Arabic television company called MBC. Rebranded as 'Al Shamsoon', Homer became Omar Shamsoon. The show was edited so that he did not consume alcohol or bacon (which are both against Islam), and Moe's Bar was written out entirely (along with Jewish Krusty the Clown and Reverend Lovejoy). Omar would be seen drinking fizzy soda and eating barbecued Egyptian beef hot dogs. Even his favourite doughnuts where changed to traditional Arab cookies called kahk.



20. Iran has also had 'issues' with The Simpsons. The nation’s Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults banned the sale of any Simpsons toys in any Iranian store, claiming that they were promoting "destructive cultural and social consequences".
 
21. The official city motto for Springfield is 'Corruptus in Extremis', and The Springfield Penitentiary uses 'If you committed murder, you'd be home by now!' as its motto.

22. Cletus (The Slack Jawed Yokel) and Brandine's children are named Tiffany, Heather, Cody, Dylan, Dermot, Jordan, Taylor, Brittany, Wesley, Rumer, Scout, Cassidy, Zoe, Chloe, Max, Hunter, Kendall, Caitlin, Noah, Sasha, Morgan, Kyra, Ian, Lauren, Q-Bert, Phil, Rubella, Condoleezza, Cory McDowell Marie, Crystal Meth, Mary and Stabbed In Jail!


23. Phil Hartman, who provided the voices for characters including lawyer Lionel Hutz and actor Troy McClure, was murdered in 1998. Out of respect his characters were retired rather than recast. Whenever they appeared on the show after that they were always silent.

24. There was another Homer Simpson prior to the famous yellow one. Back in 1975 Donald Sutherland (who in 1996 guest starred in The Simpsons episode Lisa the Iconoclast) starred in a film called The Day of the Locust, where he played a character named Homer Simpson.

"Homer Simpson"


25. In the 12th Season episode 'The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes', Homer created a website with false dirt on many of Springfield's citizens - basically it was packed full of lies. For several years after the episode was broadcast you could actually visit Homer's site - www.mrxswebpage.com. In reality it showed the main news stories taken from www.fox.com - a'hem!

26. Finally, if The Simpsons aged in real time Bart would now be 36 years old...


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