15 Things You Didn’t Know About the Simpsons

3 May 2021

Who Isn’t Aware Of the Legendary TV Show the Simpsons. Here Are 15 Things You Didn’t Know About the Show.

The Simpsons tv show first aired in 1989 and since then, has gone through more generations of viewers than any sitcom ever. You miss a lot in the dense scripting and tightly packed punchlines, so let’s find out 15 Things You didn’t Know About The Simpsons.

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Fans Are Criticising New Episodes

Show creator Matt Groening has one of the biggest challenges ever to keep such a vast fan base happy. A spanner in the works is that the Simpson characters are in an eternal ground hog day, never aging. There is no option for Homer to grow from his mistakes, or Bart to level up and tackle more teen issues, or baby Maggie to start to add some dialogue.

Older fans are critical that the storylines are not as “good” as the earlier days, criticising discrepancies, or contradictions in the timeline.


Greatest Pieces of Simpsons Merchandise

Sure, you can pick up a Simpsons T-shirt, mug or pen at almost any merchandise store. But finding something with true bragging power is more difficult.

One of the ultimate pieces of playable merchandise is the Homer Car Kit.  This is a snap together ode to the time Homer lost his half brothers investment by sinking it into a ridiculous car design. And while a car horn that plays “La Cucaracha” is priceless, Homer’s price tag of $82,000 didn’t warrant any buyers in Springfield.

The toy version of the Homer car kit, however, is available on eBay for around $70.

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Margaret Groening’s Obituary Revealed Several Inspirations for the Show

When Matt Groening’s mother died in 2013, the obituary published in the newspaper gave away how much of Margaret Groening, born Wiggum, inspired the show.

Wiggum is the name of the chief of police in Springfield. Margaret married her college sweetheart, Homer Groening because “he made her laugh the most”, an ode to the humorous head of the house, Homer J Simpson.

Margaret’s children also had a lot of familiarities with the cast. Her daughters were Patty, Lisa and Maggie, a nod to Marge’s sister Patty Bouvier, and of course the two Simpson daughters.

There are tons more undeniable “inspirations” in the obituary, too many to mention here.


Matt Groening’s Favourite Line

Imagine having to pick a line of dialogue after 32 years of shows, but there is one line of comedy gold that the creator loves. Homer is working on the monorail and comes upon a mother possum and all her baby’s hanging out in an electrical cabinet. Homer delivers the line: “I call the big one Bitey.”

Matt Groening explains his love for the loaded one liner: “That kills me every time, because Homer’s sort of pleased with himself and also it implies that there’s a story behind that.” He apparently has been bitten by that possum – more than once.


Maggie’s Price and Why

In the opening credits of The Simpsons tv show during Marge’s grocery store check-out sequence, Maggie is scanned by the unmotivated cashier. The devil is in the detail though, the price that Maggie rings up for is $847.63, the average cost in 1989 to raise a baby.

If you are interested in more content regarding raising kids, check out 10 Things To Teach Your Kids (Part 1).


Characters Based on Real People

Some of the real-life parody’s are easier to pick up on than others, for example Springfield’s action hero Rainier Wolfcastle is basically a yellow avatar of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Although at some stage Wolfcastle stars as McBain, a clear parody to Bruce Willis’s character in Die Hard. But Arnie and Rainier even share most of the letters in their name. Coincidence? I think not. 


Why the Simpsons Lifestyle Doesn’t Work in 2021

The Simpsons tv show of 1989 depicted a typical middle class set up; a single breadwinner, stay home mom, 3 children, cat and a dog. All living in a freestanding home with a yard in the burbs. In a 1996-episode Homer’s paycheck revealed that he earned $25,000 a year.

In 1996 the average household income was $35,000, and if Homer’s earning power remained in that vein, he would take home $50,000 annually in 2021 according to research by Dani Alexis Ryskamp, author of the Atlantic essay “The Life in The Simpsons Is No Longer Attainable.

And although $50,000 is a good salary, the cost of living and items like health care, school fees and housing have more than doubled. So, a nice lifestyle for a family of five in the suburbs from just a single earner isn’t realistic, and more fictional, but then we suppose everything in The Simpsons is…except well all these coincidences…


Do They Really Predict the Future

The Simpsons are known to have predicted Trump’s presidency, Ebola and even Covid-19. There has been speculation that Groening and his team are a comedic clan of soothsayers predicting the future of politics, economics and even show biz.

Let’s unpack some examples:

Over 20 years before Disney acquired 21st Century Fox’s film and TV assets, a 1998 episode 5 of season 10 of the tv show The Simpsons showed a 20th Century Fox sign with the words: “a Division of Walt Disney Co.”

Another spooky coincidence was on the premier of season 28 when Homer filled water pistols with lemonade, and pal Karl would fill one with iced tea, both ingredients to make the ice tea drink named after Arnold Palmer. Then Homer explains to Marge using the unfortunate line: “we’re going to Arnold Palmer Lenny.”

The line sounds like some kind of gangster “knock off” terminology. An hour after the episode aired, golfing legend Arnold Palmer was announced dead.

Even the animals seem to be under the Simpsons comedic spell. In Episode 10 of season 5, magicians parodying Vegas Magicians Siegfried and Roy who performed alongside big cats. During the episode the magicians are attacked by their tiger. Skip ahead 10 years to 2003 and Roy was attacked by one of their white tigers and was injured but survived.

So did the Simpsons predict Covid-19, stick around to find out.


What Word Did the Simpsons Add to the Dictionary?

It’s not D’Oh!

Lisa Simpson popularised a word that Merriam-webster and Oxford dictionaries added to their collection. 

The word is “Embiggens.” Lisa discovered the word while on a campaign to prove that beloved Springfield town founder, Jebediah Springfield, was a murderous pirate who hated towns people and had a very dubious past.

During Lisa’s mission, it’s revealed the town’s motto is “a noble spirit embiggens the smallest man.” A word even teacher Edna Krabappel says she “had never heard of before” until she moved to Springfield.

The word has stuck, and since 2018 the word has been included in many dictionaries.


Net Worth of Actors

It might be surprising to know that the voice actor behind Bart Simpson isn’t the most highly paid Simpsons Actor. The Cowabanga catchphrase actor, Nancy Cartwright, is paid $300,000 per episode, for her work as Bart, Nelson, Ralph, and Todd. She’s amassed a net worth of $80 million.

Harry Shearer is the voice of Springfield villain Mr Burns, as well as Principal Skinner and is worth $85 million.

Hank Azaria voices characters like barman Moe, and chief Wiggum, comic book Guy, KwikE-mart’s Apu, and up until 2020’s season, he voiced Homer’s long-time friend, Carl Carlson. He no longer voices Apu, due to racial stereotypes.

Lisa Simpson is voiced by Yeardley Smith at a rate of $300,000 an episode and has amassed a fortune of $85 million.

Marge Simpson, is voiced by Julie Kavner, known for her 1970s role, Brenda on the sitcom Rhoda. She also earns $300,000 an episode.

Dan Castellaneta plays Homer as well as Mayor Quimby, Krusty the Clown, and Scots Groundskeeper Willie. He also has a net worth of $85 million.


Actors Who Didn’t Want to Guest Star on the Series

Through the years, the Simpsons tv show has hosted many stars voicing their own animated avatars on the show. These guest appearances are a magic part of the comic writing and pop-culture relevancy of the show. But not everyone has been thrilled about being featured.

Quentin Tarantino wasn’t comfortable with the lines he was given.  It was for an Itchy&Scratchy episode that was a nod to Reservoir Dogs. Tarantino’s character ended up decapitated by Itchy. Instead of finding someone else, they just dropped the lines.

Shirley Temple passed on playing a jaded former child star who Lisa goes to for dance lessons.

Courtney Love and the band Hole didn’t confirm or decline an appearance so ultimately weren’t in the show. And while Michael Jackson voiced his own character on the show, Prince backed out and the episode never went ahead.

The biggest Springfield snub received must be from…EVERY PRESIDENT EVER! Despite repeated requests to the current POTUS, The Simpsons has never been able to woo one to do their own voice work.


A Little Controversy Here and There

With all those jokes-a-flowing there is no wonder there has been quite a lot of controversy in the shows long run.

The ongoing depiction of stereotyping the Indian American Kwik shop owner through the character, Apu has been a long-standing bone of contention. The controversy made actor Hank Azaria so uncomfortable that he stepped down from his voice role, and the show tried to tackle the issue in the episode No Good Read Goes Unpunished, but it didn’t have the intended result.


Marge and Her Rabbit Ears

Yup, that’s right, Matt Groening wrote rabbit ears into Marge’s character. These have since been scrapped. It’s from Matt Groening’s earlier comic strip, Life in Hell, where all the characters are elongated, anthropomorphic rabbits.

Groening originally wanted to blend the storylines as Marge revealed her bunny rabbit nature, but as The Simpsons tv show popularised, the need fell away.

The 1991 Simpsons arcade game still reveal Marge’s ears when she has a run in with a hoover.


Homer Was Meant To Be Krusty  

Ever notice how similar Homer and Krusty’s face are? Well, this was intentional as originally the characters were created with the possibility of Krusty being Homer’s alter-ego. It would be revealed to Bart at some point that his dad was cooler than expected.

The plot proved too complicated and was scrapped.


The Future of the Simpsons

On 21 March 2021, The Simpsons tv show reached its 700th episode. Executive producer Al Jean was quizzed by the media about how much further they can expect the show to go. While he doesn’t think they will make it to 1000 episodes, so far there are 757 episodes slated for sure.

For a world in perpetual reset there are some big changes on the horizon according to Matt Groening: “Homer will lose a hair, Milhouse will get contact lenses and Bart will celebrate his tenth birthday for the thirty-third time.” Don’t say we didn’t warn you!


What is your favourite one-liner or moment from the Simpsons, share in the comments below?