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The Simpsons is an American animated sitcom created by Matt Groening for the Fox Broadcasting Company. It is a satirical depiction of a dysfunctional middle-class American lifestyle starring the eponymous family: Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie. Set in the town of Springfield, the show lampoons both American culture and the human condition.[1] The family was conceived by Groening shortly before a pitch for a series of animated shorts with producer James L. Brooks. Groening named each character (other than Bart) after members of his own family. The shorts became part of the Fox series The Tracey Ullman Show on April 19, 1987.[1][2] After a three-season run, the sketch was developed into a half-hour primetime hit show.[3]

As of October 30, 2022, 734 episodes of The Simpsons have aired, currently in its thirty-fourth season. The show holds several American television longevity records. It is the longest-running primetime animated series and longest-running sitcom in the United States.[4] With its 21st season (2009–10), the series surpassed Gunsmoke (which had 20 seasons) to claim the spot as the longest-running American primetime scripted television series, and later also surpassed Gunsmoke (which had 635 episodes) for episode count in this category, starting with the 29th-season episode "Forgive and Regret" on April 29, 2018.

Episodes of The Simpsons have won dozens of awards, including 31 Emmys (ten for Outstanding Animated Program), 30 Annies, and a Peabody.[5] The Simpsons Movie, a feature-length film, was released in theaters worldwide on July 26 and 27, 2007, and grossed US$526.2 million worldwide.[6] The first 20 seasons are available on DVD in regions 1, 2, and 4, with the twentieth season released on both DVD and Blu-ray in 2010 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the series. On April 8, 2015, showrunner Al Jean announced that there would be no more DVD or Blu-ray releases, shifting focus to digital distribution,[7] although this was later reversed on July 22, 2017.[8] Almost two years later, on July 20, 2019, it was announced that Season 19 would be released on December 3, 2019, on DVD.[9]

On March 3, 2021, The Simpsons was renewed for seasons 33 and 34.[10] On February 19, 2012, The Simpsons reached its 500th episode in the 23rd season.[11] It reached its 600th episode on October 16, 2016, in its 28th season. On March 21, 2021, The Simpsons reached its 700th episode[12] in its 32nd season.

Season 34 premiered on Fox on September 25, 2022.[13]

Tracey Ullman Shorts

Main article: The Simpsons shorts

Series overview

SeasonEpisodesOriginally airedHouseholds / viewersRankRating
First airedLast aired
113December 17, 1989 (1989-12-17)May 13, 1990 (1990-05-13)13.4m h.[n1][15]3014.5
222October 11, 1990 (1990-10-11)July 11, 1991 (1991-07-11)12.2m h.[n1][n2]38[16]8.0
324September 19, 1991 (1991-09-19)August 27, 1992 (1992-08-27)12.0m h.[n1][n3]33[17]
422September 24, 1992 (1992-09-24)May 13, 1993 (1993-05-13)12.1m h.[n1][18]3013.0
522September 30, 1993 (1993-09-30)May 19, 1994 (1994-05-19)10.5m h.[n1][n4]53[19]
625September 4, 1994 (1994-09-04)May 21, 1995 (1995-05-21)9.0m h.[n1][20]67[20]
725September 17, 1995 (1995-09-17)May 19, 1996 (1996-05-19)8.0m h.[n1][21]75[21]
825October 27, 1996 (1996-10-27)May 18, 1997 (1997-05-18)8.6m h.[22]53[22]
925September 21, 1997 (1997-09-21)May 17, 1998 (1998-05-17)9.1m h.[23]309.2
1023August 23, 1998 (1998-08-23)May 16, 1999 (1999-05-16)7.9m h.[24]46[24]
1122September 26, 1999 (1999-09-26)May 21, 2000 (2000-05-21)8.2m h.[25]44[25]
1221November 1, 2000 (2000-11-01)May 20, 2001 (2001-05-20)14.7m viewers[26]21[26]
1322November 6, 2001 (2001-11-06)May 22, 2002 (2002-05-22)12.4m viewers[27]30[27]
1422November 3, 2002 (2002-11-03)May 18, 2003 (2003-05-18)13.4m viewers[28]25[28]
1522November 2, 2003 (2003-11-02)May 23, 2004 (2004-05-23)10.6m viewers[29]42[29]
1621November 7, 2004 (2004-11-07)May 15, 2005 (2005-05-15)9.6m viewers[30]52[30]
1722September 11, 2005 (2005-09-11)May 21, 2006 (2006-05-21)9.1m viewers[31]62[31]3.2
1822September 10, 2006 (2006-09-10)May 20, 2007 (2007-05-20)8.6m viewers[32]60[32]4.1
1920September 23, 2007 (2007-09-23)May 18, 2008 (2008-05-18)8.0m viewers[33]87[33]
2021September 28, 2008 (2008-09-28)May 17, 2009 (2009-05-17)6.9m viewers[34]77[34]
2123September 27, 2009 (2009-09-27)May 23, 2010 (2010-05-23)7.2m viewers[35]61[35]3.4
2222September 26, 2010 (2010-09-26)May 22, 2011 (2011-05-22)7.3m viewers[36]65[36]3.3
2322September 25, 2011 (2011-09-25)May 20, 2012 (2012-05-20)7.0m viewers[37]69[37]3.3
2422September 30, 2012 (2012-09-30)May 19, 2013 (2013-05-19)6.3m viewers[38]70[38]2.9
2522September 29, 2013 (2013-09-29)May 18, 2014 (2014-05-18)5.6m viewers[39]81[39]
2622September 28, 2014 (2014-09-28)May 17, 2015 (2015-05-17)5.6m viewers[40]100[40]2.6
2722September 27, 2015 (2015-09-27)May 22, 2016 (2016-05-22)4.7m viewers[41]102[41]2.1
2822September 25, 2016 (2016-09-25)May 21, 2017 (2017-05-21)4.8m viewers[42]92[42]2.1
2921October 1, 2017 (2017-10-01)May 20, 2018 (2018-05-20)4.1m viewers[43]122[43]1.7
3023September 30, 2018 (2018-09-30)May 12, 2019 (2019-05-12)3.7m viewers[44]126[44]1.4
3122September 29, 2019 (2019-09-29)May 17, 2020 (2020-05-17)3.0m viewers[45]103[45]1.1
3222September 27, 2020 (2020-09-27)May 23, 2021 (2021-05-23)2.4m viewers[46]117[46]0.8
3322September 26, 2021 (2021-09-26)May 22, 2022 (2022-05-22)2.3m viewers[47]98[47]0.7
3422[48]September 25, 2022 (2022-09-25)TBATBATBATBA

Notes

  1. Until the 1996–97 television season, ratings were calculated over 30 weeks from September to mid-April. Episodes that aired after mid-April were not part of the overall average and ranking.[49]
  2. Season one had approximately 13.4 million viewing households.[15] Season two dropped 9%,[50] resulting in an average of approximately 12.2 million viewing households.
  3. Season three had an average rating of 13.0 points.[17] For the 1991–92 season, each point represented 921,000 viewing households,[51] resulting in a total average of approximately 12.0 million viewing households.
  4. Season four had approximately 12.1 million viewing households.[18] Season five dropped 13%,[52] resulting in an average of approximately 10.5 million viewing households.

List of episodes

Seasons 1–20 (1989–2009)

Main article: List of The Simpsons episodes (seasons 1–20)

Seasons 21–present (2009–present)

Main article: List of The Simpsons episodes (season 21–present)

Film

TitleDirected byWritten byRelease date
(U.S.)
The Simpsons MovieDavid SilvermanJames L. Brooks, Matt Groening, Al Jean,
Ian Maxtone-Graham, George Meyer, David Mirkin,
Mike Reiss, Mike Scully, Matt Selman,
John Swartzwelder & Jon Vitti
July 27, 2007 (2007-07-27)

Shorts

Theatrical

TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release date
The Longest DaycareDavid SilvermanJames L. Brooks, Matt Groening, Al Jean,
David Mirkin, Joel H. Cohen & Michael Price
July 13, 2012 (2012-07-13)
Playdate with DestinyDavid SilvermanAl Jean, Tom Gammill, Max Pross,
James L. Brooks, Matt Groening, Michael Price,
Matt Selman & David Silverman
March 6, 2020 (2020-03-06)

Disney+

TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release date
The Force Awakens from Its NapDavid SilvermanJoel H. Cohen, Al Jean & Michael PriceMay 4, 2021 (2021-05-04)
The Good, the Bart, and the LokiDavid SilvermanElisabeth Kiernan Averick, Jessica Conrad,
John Frink, Al Jean & Jeff Westbrook
July 7, 2021 (2021-07-07)
PlusaversaryDavid SilvermanJoel H. Cohen, Jessica Conrad, Al Jean,
Loni Steele Sosthand & Dan Vebber
November 12, 2021 (2021-11-12)
When Billie Met LisaDavid SilvermanElisabeth Kiernan Averick, Broti Gupta, Al Jean,
Cesar Mazariegos & David Mirkin
April 22, 2022 (2022-04-22)
Welcome to the ClubDavid SilvermanJ. Stewart Burns, Joel H. Cohen, Al Jean,
Christine Nangle & Loni Steele Sosthand
September 8, 2022 (2022-09-08)

Miscellaneous

TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release date
The Simpsons | BalenciagaDavid SilvermanJoel H. Cohen, Al Jean & Michael PriceOctober 2, 2021 (2021-10-02)
The Simpsons, Bad Bunny — Te Deseo Lo MejorDavid SilvermanJoel H. Cohen, Al Jean,
Ryan Koh & Christine Nangle
December 24, 2021 (2021-12-24)

Specials

TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateProd.
code
Ratings/
Share
"Springfield's Most Wanted"Bill BrownJack Parmeter & Bob BainSeptember 17, 1995 (1995-09-17)N/A8.4[53]

In a parody of America's Most Wanted, host John Walsh explores the mystery behind who shot Mr. Burns, laying out the potential clues and identifying the possible suspects.

Note: The special aired immediately before the Season 7 premiere of "Who Shot Mr. Burns? (Part Two)."
"The Simpsons 20th Anniversary Special – In 3-D! On Ice!"Morgan SpurlockJeremy Chilnick & Morgan SpurlockJanuary 10, 2010 (2010-01-10)LABF2113.0[55]

The film examines the "cultural phenomenon" of The Simpsons and includes interviews with both the cast and some fans of the show.[54]

Note: The special aired immediately following "Once Upon a Time in Springfield", was assigned production number LABF21 and technically counts as a component of the 20th production season (and of the 21st broadcast season). It does not, however, count towards the series' official episode count.
"Springfield of Dreams: The Legend of Homer Simpson"Morgan SpurlockEric Brewster, Jeremy Chilnick & Morgan SpurlockOctober 22, 2017 (2017-10-22)N/AN/A

An hourlong mockumentary in the style of Ken Burns' Baseball, aired on Fox to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the episode "Homer at the Bat", as well as Homer's induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

Note: The special was produced by Fox Sports.

Ratings

See also: The Simpsons § Reception and achievements

With its first season, The Simpsons became the Fox network's first series to rank among the top thirty highest-rated shows of a television season.[15] Due to this success, Fox decided to switch The Simpsons' timeslot in hopes of higher ratings for the shows airing after it.[56] The series moved from 8:00 p.m. eastern time on Sundays to the same time on Thursdays, where it competed with The Cosby Show, the number-one show at the time.[57]

Many of the producers were against the move, as The Simpsons had been in the top ten while airing on Sunday, and they felt the move would destroy its ratings.[58] Ratings-wise, new episodes of The Cosby Show beat The Simpsons every time during the second season, and The Simpsons eventually fell out of the top ten.[59] At the end of the season, Cosby averaged as the fifth-highest-rated show on television, while The Simpsons was thirty-eighth.[56]

The show continued in its Thursday timeslot until the sixth season, which is when, in 1994, it reverted to its original slot on Sunday. It has remained there ever since.[57][60]

References

  1. ^ a b The Simpsons: America's First Family (television documentary). BBC. 2000. Later released on the 2001 DVD The Simpsons – The Complete First Season by 20th Century Fox.
  2. ^ Groening, Matt (February 14, 2003). "Fresh Air". NPR (Interview). Interviewed by Bianculli, David. Philadelphia: WHYY. Archived from the original on December 13, 2007. Retrieved July 30, 2012.
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