10 Things You Didn’t Know About ‘The Simpsons’

FOX's "The Simpsons" Panel - Comic-Con International 2014

It would be hard to picture life without The Simpsons. As someone who was born in the mid 1980s, I honestly don’t remember life without Homer, Bart, Lisa, Marge, and Maggie. The Simpsons is currently in its 26th season on television, making it the longest running primetime sitcom ever., and FOX announced earlier this year that the show will be returning for Season 27. Though it does not bring in the 20+ million viewers it used to, The Simpsons is still a profitable series for FOX through merchandising, and it serves as a great lead-in for its Sunday night comedy block. Here are ten facts you may not know about The Simpsons.

1. Why are they yellow?

Have you ever been watching an episode of The Simpsons and wonder why Homer, Bart, Lisa, and the rest of Springfield are yellow skinned? Well, there is a reason for that. Creator Matt Groening decided to use yellow as the skin tone because he felt it would attract channel surfers to stop and start watching the episode. He believed the color was eye-catching. The idea must have worked since the series has been on the air for so long.

2. R.I.P. Maude Flanders

Maude Flanders met her demise while attending a speedway race on a 2000 episode of The Simpsons. The reason she was killed off was because Maggie Roswell, the woman who voices the character, left the series in 1999 after she felt she was not being paid enough. Maude was voiced by a different actress for a short period of time. Roswell would return to the series in 2002 and voices the characters Helen Lovejoy, Miss Hoover, and Luann Van Houten.

3. Maggie costs how much?!

In the opening credits for The Simpsons, Marge is shown with Maggie at the Supermarket. Maggie winds up being scanned along with the rest of the groceries and if you pause your television, you can see that Maggie costs $847.63. Creator Matt Groening decided to use this number in the opening sequence because that was the average monthly cost to raise a child in 1989, when the show first began airing.

4. Bart gets an “F”

Bart gets bad grades all the time, so it should not be a surprise that an episode of The Simpsons would be devoted to Bart failing a class. This episode was the premiere of the second season. FOX moved the series to Thursdays at 8 PM, to try to compete with NBC’s hugely popular The Cosby Show. Many thought the series would tank, however “Bart Gets an ‘F'” was the most watched show for the week. It still holds the record for being the most watched episode of The Simpsons to date with 33.6 million viewers .

5. Homer aka Krusty the Clown

Have you ever noticed that Homer Simpson and Krusty the Clown closely resemble one another? Well, there is a reason for that. Homer was originally going to be Krusty the Clown. The storyline was going to revolve around the fact that Bart has no respect for his own father but worships the ground of someone who looks just like him. The twist would be that Homer was Bart’s idol this whole time. The idea would later never come to development during the first season and was later scrapped all together.

6. An award-winning series

If a show like The Simpsons is going to be on the air for 26 seasons, chances are it probably has some awards otherwise it would have been cancelled long ago. Currently, The Simpsons has received 31 Emmy Awards. Anne Hathaway received a win for her appearance on the series in 2010. Dan Castellaneta has won 4 Emmy for voicing Homer, Barney, Krusy, and Abe. Julie Kavner took home the prize in 1992 for voicing Marge, which is the same year that Nancy Cartwright would win for voicing Bart and Yeardley Smith would receive the Emmy for voicing Lisa. Stars Harry Shearer and Hank Azaria have also received Emmy wins.

7. An arcade game

Due to the early popularity of The Simpsons, an arcade game was created in North America in March of 1991. The game allowed up to four players and you could choose to become a punching and kicking Homer, a vacuum wielding Marge, a skateboard bashing Bart, or a jump rope attacking Lisa. The goal of the game was to travel through several levels and retrieve Maggie, who was stolen by Waylon Smithers because she was using one of his stolen diamonds as a pacifier.

8. Character differences

Some of the characters on The Simpsons appeared slightly different during the first season of the series. For example, Milhouse, Moe, and Chief Wiggum were all sometimes shown with black hair. Also, due to an animation error Waylon Smither was brown skinned with greyish hair. The twins Sherri and Terri and police officer Lou have all been shown with yellow skin when the twins are really white and Lou is brown. Similar skin changes have happened to Hans Moleman and Judge Synder.

9. The Lego episode is not connected to the movie

Last season, The Simpsons aired an episode that was done partially with Legos. It came out shortly after The Lego Movie hit theaters and made millions of dollars. The idea for the Lego-themed episode of The Simpsons happened way before the movie premiered. Showrunner Al Jean told Esquire magazine, “It actually was recorded a long time ago and because of the complication of the animation and because Lego didn’t want it to come out before the movie, we didn’t release it until the 550th episode. We had that in the works for a couple years.”

10. The voice actors are paid well

When The Simpsons first aired in 1989, no one really knew if it was going to last. It has been years since an animated show had aired in primetime. The six main voice actors for the series were paid roughly $4,000 an episode. Over the years, that would continue to increase to $400,000 per episode. The actors did all agree to a cutback of $300,000 per episode to keep the series running, which equates to about $6.6 million a season.

Know any other facts about The Simpsons? Let us know in the comments below.

Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

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