Animated Shorts of The Simpsons first aired on The Tracey Ullman Show on April 19, 1987. Created by Matt Groening and producer James L. Brooks for the Fox Broadcasting Company, The Simpsons is a satirical depiction of a dysfunctional middle class American lifestyle epitomized by the Simpson family who live in a fictional middle American Town of Springfield and it parodies American culture, society, television, and many aspects of the human condition. The Simpsons consist of Homer, the father, who works as a safety inspector at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant, a position at odds with his careless, buffoonish personality. Homer’s wife Marge Simpson, a stereotypical American housewife and mother, and three children: Bart, a ten-year-old troublemaker; Lisa, a precocious eight-year-old activist; and Maggie, the baby of the family who rarely speaks, but communicates by sucking on a pacifier. Although the family is dysfunctional, they are often shown to care about one another.
The show also includes an array of quirky supporting characters: co-workers, teachers, family friends, extended relatives, townspeople and local celebrities. The creators originally intended many of these characters as one-time jokes or for fulfilling needed functions in the town. A number of them have gained expanded roles and subsequently starred in their own episodes.
Despite the depiction of yearly milestones such as holidays or birthdays passing, the characters do not age between episodes (either physically or in stated age), and generally appear just as they did when the series began. The series uses a floating timeline in which episodes generally take place in the year the episode is produced even though the characters do not age. Flashbacks/forwards do occasionally depict the characters at other points in their lives, with the timeline of these depictions also generally floating relative to the year the episode is produced.
The Simpsons takes place in the fictional American town of Springfield in an unknown and impossible-to-determine U.S. state. The show is intentionally evasive in regard to Springfield’s location. Springfield’s geography, and that of its surroundings, contains coastlines, deserts, vast farmland, tall mountains, or whatever the story or joke requires.Groening has said that Springfield has much in common with Portland, Oregon, the city where he grew up. The name “Springfield” is a common one in America and appears in 22 states. Groening has said that he named it after Springfield, Oregon, and the fictitious Springfield which was the setting of the series Father Knows Best.An astronomer and fan of the show, Phil Plait, noticed that The Simpsons could be set in Australia, because the moon in Springfield faces the wrong way to be an American location. It is drawn facing the right, as it would in the Southern Hemisphere.
Since its debut on December 17, 1989, the show has broadcast 569 episodes, and the 26th season began on September 28, 2014. The Simpsons is the longest-running American sitcom, the longest-running American animated program, and in 2009 it surpassed Gunsmoke as the longest-running American scripted primetime television series. The Simpsons Movie, a feature-length film, was released on July 27, 2007.
The Simpsons has received widespread critical acclaim. Time magazine named it the 20th century’s best television series, and The A.V. Club named it “television’s crowning achievement regardless of format”. On January 14, 2000, the Simpson family was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It has won dozens of awards since it debuted as a series, including 31 Primetime Emmy Awards, 30 Annie Awards, and a Peabody Award. Homer’s exclamatory catchphrase “D’oh!” has been adopted into the English language, while The Simpsons has influenced and parodied many television sitcoms.