The Quick 10: Happy Anniversary, Simpsons!

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If Sitcom Time progressed like real time, Bart Simpson would be 30 today. On December 17, 1989, the Simpson family debuted their own show "“ a Christmas Special called "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire" - to rave reviews. Prior to that, they had just appeared as small skits on The Tracey Ullman Show. To celebrate their longevity, here are a few tidbits about everyone's favorite animated dysfunctional family.

babysitter1. Although "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire" was the first episode ever aired, it was actually the eighth episode produced. The debut kept getting pushed back, and by the time it was finally ready, it was December 17th (obviously) and it made sense to go with the holiday-themed episode as opposed to the actual first episode. The first episode produced was actually "Some Enchanted Evening," where the Simpson kids encounter the Babysitter Bandit.

2. Until The Simpsons surpassed them in 1997, The Flintstones was the longest-running prime time animated show. Fred and Barney had a pretty good run of six seasons.

3. The show has been renewed through 2011, which means it will break Gunsmoke's record for the longest-running prime time show in history, animated or not, with its 21st season next year.

4. Matt Groening says Comic Book Guy is based on himself. He thinks it's the way other people see him. Comic Book Guy has a name, by the way "“ it's Jeff Albertson.

crazy cat lady5. Other characters whose names you may not know: the Crazy Cat Lady is Eleanor Abernathy, Bumblebee Man's name is probably Pedro (that's what his bowling shirt says, anyway), Jimbo is actually Corky James, Otto is Otto Mann, and "Squeaky-Voiced Teen" is Jeremy.

6. Because Matt Groening grew up in Portland, Oregon, a lot of the names found in the show were inspired by places and streets in Portland. For instance, Lovejoy, Terwilliger and Flanders are streets in Portland.

7. Homer's famous "D'oh!" was inspired by Laurel and Hardy. The made-up word appeared in The New Oxford Dictionary of English in 1998, with the definition, "used to comment on an action perceived as foolish or stupid." It finally made the big guy, The Oxford English Dictionary, in 2001. That definition is a little more detailed:

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 (cf. DUH int.).

8. In one episode, Homer created a gossip website that spilled the beans about everyone in town. You can actually go to that website "“ check out www.mrxswebpage.com.

9. The characters have four fingers, with one exception: God. Anytime God is portrayed on The Simpsons, he has all five fingers. One episode ("Homer the Heretic") does depict him with four, but this is widely thought to have been an accident.

10. I've always been a fan of the clever names and titles on the show. Here are some of them:

  • BloodBath and Beyond, a gun shop.
  • Karmaceuticals, new age store.
  • Repo Depot, a repossession business.
  • It Blows, an air conditioner store.
  • Valley of the Dolls, a toy store.
  • Saks Fifth Grade, a girls' clothing store.
  • The Family Jewels, a jewelry store.
  • Maybe not surprisingly, I appreciate clever store names in real life too.

    What's your favorite Simpsons moment from the last 20 years? Or is it impossible to choose?

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