THROWBACK THURSDAY: Debut of “The Simpsons”

The Simpsons as they first appeared: from left, Maggie, Lisa, Marge, Homer and Bart.

The Simpsons is an American animated television sitcom starring the animated Simpson family, created by Matt Groening. It has been on the air for 31 years, including the shorts that debuted on April 19, 1987 on The Tracey Ullman Show. After a three-season run there, the sketch was developed into a half-hour prime time show called The Simpsons, which debuted on December 17, 1989. The show was an early hit for Fox, becoming the first Fox series to land in the top 30 ratings in a season (1990).

simpsons today
                        The Simpsons today.

The show was controversial from its beginning and has made the news several times. In the early seasons, some parents and conservatives characterized Bart as a poor role model for children and several United States public schools even banned The Simpsons merchandise and t-shirts. In January 1992, then-President George H. W. Bush made a speech during his re-election campaign in which he said: “We are going to keep on trying to strengthen the American family, to make American families a lot more like the Waltons and a lot less like the Simpsons.”

The Simpsons has became the longest-running American sitcom, the longest-running American animated program, and in 2009 surpassed Gunsmoke as the longest-running American prime-time, scripted television After entering its 21st season in late 2009, the show beat Gunsmokes record as the longest-running American prime-time, scripted television series. Since its debut in 1989, the show has broadcast 634 episodes; its 29th season began on October 1, 2017.

The Simpsons StampTo commemorate the show’s 20th anniversary, the U.S. Postal Service unveiled a series of five, 44-cent stamps featuring each of the show’s main characters. Designed by Groening, approx. one billion were printed and made available for purchase on May 7, 2009. The Simpsons is the first television series still in production to receive this recognition.