Let’s all go out for some celebratory frosty chocolate milkshakes…

Troy McClure with pictures of The Simpsons, now and then.

…because today, it’s 28 years since the Simpsons first appeared on U.S. television, as split-up ad-break bumpers during The Tracey Ullman Show on April 19, 1987. The short they first featured in was “Good Night”, which is one of the few shorts to have been released on home media, and is the only short to have been featured fully in an episode, “The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular”, which in the countries which show this episode, is the only showing to have occurred, as only countries such as Germany and the UK have aired the short standalone, but do not air it regularly now.
The first scene, featuring Homer and Bart in his simplistic bedroom.

The shorts came about, if you don’t already know, when show creator Matt Groening was invited by James L. Brooks to animate bumpers of his now-defunct comic strip, Life in Hell, between the advertisement breaks of The Tracey Ullman Show. With only a few minutes left until the meeting, Groening thought about if this all went wrong and then Fox would own his characters. To avoid using the characters from the comic, he drew up what is now known as the Simpson family, using names from his family to name the characters, substituting Bart for his name, an anagram for “brat”. This short was written and storyboarded by Groening, and the family was crudely drawn, because Groening had submitted basic sketches to the animators, assuming they would clean them up, but instead they just traced over his drawings. In further shorts, the Simpson family became much more smoother and cleaner in appearance and resembled how they are today.

Well, that’s another anniversary. Will the Simpson family be around to see their 30-year-anniversary of being on U.S. television? We’ll have to see…

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