The Simpsons yellow logo.svg

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 prime-time hit show.[3]

Since its debut on December 17, 1989, The Simpsons has broadcast 728 episodes, as of May 22, 2022. The show holds several American television longevity records. It is the longest-running prime-time animated series and longest-running sitcom in the United States.[4] With its twenty-first season (2009–10), the series surpassed Gunsmoke with 20 seasons to claim the spot as the longest-running American prime-time scripted television series, and later also surpassed Gunsmoke which had 635 episodes starting with the twenty-ninth season episode "Forgive and Regret" on April 29, 2018. With “Sorry Not Sorry”, the show’s 693rd episode, The Simpsons also surpassed Australia’s Network Ten’s Prisoner which had 692 episodes on December 6, 2020.[5]

Episodes of The Simpsons have won dozens of awards, including 31 Emmys (ten for Outstanding Animated Program), 30 Annies, and a Peabody.[6] 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.[7] The first twenty 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,[8] although this was later reversed on July 22, 2017.[9] Almost two years later, on July 20, 2019, it was announced that Season 19 would be released on December 3, 2019, on DVD.[10]

On March 3, 2021, The Simpsons was renewed for seasons 33 and 34.[11] On February 19, 2012, The Simpsons reached its 500th episode in the twenty-third season.[12] It reached its 600th episode on October 16, 2016, in its twenty-eighth season. On March 21, 2021, The Simpsons reached its 700th episode[13] in its thirty-second season.

Season 33 ended on Fox on May 22, 2022.[14]

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

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.[16] 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.[18] 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.[19] 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 byStoryboard 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
Brad Ableson, John Achenbach, Martin Archer,
Luis Escobar, Lucas Gray, Colin Heck,
Stephen Reis, John Rice, Christian Roman &
Stephen Sandoval
Mark Ervin, Edmund Fong, Tricia Garcia,
Joshua David Gorczyca, Joe Healy,
Fill Marc Sagadraca, Jason Warnesky &
Glen Wuthrich (additionals)
July 27, 2007 (2007-07-27)

Shorts

Theatrical

TitleDirected byWritten byStoryboard byOriginal release date
The Longest DaycareDavid SilvermanJames L. Brooks,
Matt Groening,
Al Jean,
David Mirkin,
Joel H. Cohen &
Michael Price
David SilvermanJuly 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
Eric Koenig &
David Silverman
March 6, 2020 (2020-03-06)

Disney+

TitleDirected byWritten byStoryboard byOriginal release date
The Force Awakens from Its NapDavid SilvermanAl Jean,
Joel H. Cohen &
Michael Price
John Achenbach,
Eric Koenig,
Ben Lane,
Arlyne Ramirez,
Jeremy Robinson,
Matthew Schofield &
David Silverman
May 4, 2021 (2021-05-04)
The Good, the Bart, and the LokiDavid SilvermanElisabeth Kiernan Averick,
Jessica Conrad,
John Frink,
Al Jean &
Jeff Westbrook
David SilvermanJuly 7, 2021 (2021-07-07)
PlusaversaryDavid SilvermanJoel H. Cohen,
Jessica Conrad,
Al Jean,
Loni Steele Sosthand &
Dan Vebber
Gabriel DeFrancesco,
Manny DeGuzman,
Michael Marcantel,
Drew McPhail,
Stephen Reis,
Thomas E. Richner &
David Silverman
November 12, 2021 (2021-11-12)
When Billie Met LisaDavid SilvermanElisabeth Kiernan Averick,
Broti Gupta,
Al Jean,
Cesar Mazariegos &
David Mirkin
David Silverman,
Ben Lane &
Arlyne Ramirez
April 22, 2022 (2022-04-22)

Miscellaneous

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

Specials

TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateProd.
code
Ratings/
Share
"The Simpsons 20th Anniversary Special – In 3-D! On Ice!"Morgan SpurlockJeremy Chilnick &
Morgan Spurlock
January 10, 2010 (2010-01-10)LABF2113.0[54]

The film examines the "cultural phenomenon" of The Simpsons and includes interviews with both the cast and some fans of the show.[53]

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 Spurlock
October 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.[16] Due to this success, Fox decided to switch The Simpsons' timeslot in hopes of higher ratings for the shows airing after it.[55] 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.[56]

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.[57] 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.[58] At the end of the season Cosby averaged as the fifth-highest-rated show on television, while The Simpsons was thirty-eighth.[55]

The show continued in its Thursday timeslot until the sixth season, when, in 1994, it reverted to its original slot on Sunday. It has remained there ever since.[56][59]

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.
  3. ^ Gerard, Jeremy (February 21, 1990). "Bad Language, Hurt Feelings and Success". The New York Times. Archived from the original on August 2, 2012. Retrieved July 30, 2012.
  4. ^ Owen, Rob (January 21, 2003). "TV Notes: 'Simpsons' breaks record with contract renewal Archived January 2, 2011, at the Wayback Machine". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved January 22, 2022.
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