FASCINATING FACTS: 20 Amusing Facts About ‘The Simpsons’


The Simpsons are the America’s favorite dysfunctional family with a satirical representation of working class family and their lifestyle. It is now the longest-running sitcom and also the longest-running animated series in America with an astounding 27 seasons aired since its debut in 1989.

There are several interesting things about The Simpsons, the on-screen ones and the ones behind the scenes, that are amusing and entertaining to know. Some from IMDB, and some from everywhere else, here are some of those facts about The Simpsons that you wouldn’t want to miss.

1. The Simpsons was originally animated shorts aired as part of The Tracey Ullman Show in 1987. After three seasons, The Simpsons was developed into a half-hour prime-time show and is the most successful spin-offs of all time.

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After deciding to include a short animation after commercial breaks, producer of The Tracey Ullman Show approached Matt Groening to pitch an idea. While waiting in the lobby for the meeting, Groening quickly drew a dysfunctional family naming the characters after his own family. After airing as part of the show, the production team began adapting The Simpsons into a complete show in 1989 and according to Groening it was to serve as an alternative to all the mainstream TV shows that were airing then. The Simpsons soon went onto become an early hit for Fox and its first series to be in the top 30 ratings category.(source)

2. It takes 6 to 8 months to complete just one episode of The Simpsons. The team also uses over 100 animators based in South Korea to get it done. 

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While making the episodes, first the production staff in U. S. creates storyboards, new characters, backgrounds and props. These are then reviewed by the writers and then shipped overseas. To make the episodes Fox subcontracted several international animation studios in South Korea. These studios draw the inbetweens, ink and paint, and render the animation and delivered back to Fox three or four months later. This way they managed to decrease the production costs and yet get the quality required for a prime-time animation show.(12)

3. The Simpsons producer’s contract allows the writers to write the show without any interference from Fox. This allowed them great liberty in creating outrageous stories for many episodes and even joke about the network. 

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The writers were able to negotiate such unusual contract because Fox was still small fledgling network at that time. According to Josh Weinstein, the producer, they “pretty much were able to get away with anything.” They were also able to write and produce many crazy high-end concept episodes such as ‘Two Bad Neighbors’ and ‘Homer’s Enemy’. They even parodied the network’s notes in one of the episodes, ‘Day of the Jackanapes’, in which Krusty was pestered by executives and so leaves Krusty, the Klown Show.(source)

4. Only two characters in The Simpsons have fiver fingers – God and Jesus Christ.

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Every character in The Simpsons has only four fingers. God is depicted, according to many monotheistic religions of the show, as the Almighty and the creator of the Universe who resides in Heaven. His face is almost never shown on the screen in the show. God’s son Jesus Christ is also another such character in the show with five fingers. According to Simon Singh’s book “The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secerts”, having five fingers sets them apart from all other characters, giving them a status of divinity.(12)

5. During the opening credits of the show, Maggie is run through a supermarket scanner which reads that she is worth $847.63. It was a reference to the monthly expenses of rearing a baby in 1989.

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Maggie is the youngest of the Simpsons children and also the most detached. As an infant, she never speaks and communicates through gestures and facial expressions. In the opening credits, Maggie briefly gives her mother a scare and turns up at the scanner. For the 138th episode ‘Spectacular’, the scanner instead reads “NRA4EVER”, a reference to a running joke that the writers are right-wing radicals. In the new episodes the price was again changed to $486.52 to reflect the current rearing expenses.(source)

6. All the McBain clips in the series can be combined into a single movie.


The character McBain is a movie action hero in the show played by Rainier Wolfcaste. He is a parody of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s height, strength, Austrian accent and limited emotional expression, and Bruce Willis’ sarcasm. The name McBain is a play on the name of Bruce Willis’ character John McClane in the Die Hard movie series.(source)

7. Paul McCartney agreed to appear on the episode “Lisa the Vegetarian” with a request that Lisa remained a vegetarian in all subsequent episodes. The Simpsons staff agreed and kept their promise, resulting in one of the few permanent character changes in the show. 

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Since Paul McCartney was the only living member who hadn’t appeared on the show after its creation, the staff thought to pitch him in for the episode in which Lisa becomes a vegetarian. His wife Linda was also recruited for the episode as a guest star and since they are both vegetarians the writers felt it would make an attractive story. The changes made to the characters in the show are not usually permanent. Lisa’s change to vegetarianism was one of the exceptions and she didn’t revert back to eating meat in the next episode.(source)

8. Homer’s trademark expression “D’oh!” was added to Oxford English Dictionary. It was created by the voice actor Dan Castellaneta when Matt Groening asked him to find a sound for Homer’s “annoyed grunt”.

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9. Bart’s anonymous prank calls to Moe were inspired by “The Tube Bar Recordings”, tapes of actual prank calls to Louis ‘Red’ Deutsch, a New Jersey bartender famous for his violent temper whom the pranksters saw beating one of his customers for not drinking fast enough. 

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10. The telephone number at Moe’s Tavern is 764-8437, or SMITHERS, which was revealed in the episode “Homer the Smithers” when Mr. Burns tries to call his assistant Waylon Smithers, but does not know his number. So, instead he just dials the letters SMITHERS. 

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11. Krusty the Clown was originally supposed to be Homer’s secret identity. But the idea was later dropped because it was too complex.

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Originally Groening wanted The Simpsons to be about a kid who had no respect for his father but worshiped a clown who looked exactly like his father. But as the show progressed, the theme became less important. One of the initial concepts of the show had Krusty being revealed as Homer’s secret identity. But the writers were too busy developing the series, and the concept was too complex and had to be abandoned. Though they weren’t sure whether to always keep Krusty in his clown getup at all back then, they later decided it didn’t matter.(source)

12. “The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show” was written by the creators in response to Fox’s suggestion that they add a new family member to boost the show ratings.

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Before the production process for season 8 began, the executives at Fox suggested that the writers add a new permanent character who would live with the Simpsons. The writers found the move of desperation to boost a flagging show amusing and so created the show. As with most other episodes, almost all the characters for that show are based on the actual staff of The Simpsons.(source)

13. The term “meh” used to show indifference towards something was popularized by its use in The Simpsons.

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“Meh” was first used in the episode “Sideshow Bob Roberts” in 1994 when a librarian reacts to Lisa’s surprise that voting records are not classified. The term also appears later in two other episodes “Lisa’s Wedding” and “Hungry Hungry Homer” in which Lisa spells out the word “M-E-H” for emphasis.(source)

14. Homer’s voice is the most downloaded GPS voice in the world, beating Darth Vader, Ali G and Brian Blessed. 

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Originally released in 2009 and developed by GPS voice specialist Locutio Voice Technologies, the voice of Homer had a record six-figure sales in the first year itself. Almost 40 percent of US sat nav voice downloads were all Homer’s, and in 2011 it also became TomTom’s iPhone app navigator.(source)

15. Groening named Springfield, the fictional town in which The Simpsons takes place, after Springfield in Oregon. 

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The Simpsons has always been evasive about which state the fictional American town of Springfield is located in. Depending on the story the town’s geography and surroundings contained coastlines, deserts, farmlands, mountains or any other such landscape. The name Springfield is also very common and appears in almost 22 states. Groening said that since it’s such a common name, everyone watching the show will think it’s their Sprinfield.(source)

16. The total number of children Cletus and Brandine have is 44.

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Cletus is depicted as someone who doesn’t care much for what other people think, especially about his relationship with Brandine, who is a relative. Though Brandine is represented as his wife, the actual nature of their relationship is rather vague in the show. Brandine is sometimes seen or referred to be in labor during the show, bearing more children. The couple are also known to give their children strange names like Condoleezza Marie, Rubella Scabies, Birthday, Crystal Meth and so on, to mock pretentious celebrities who give unorthodox names.(source)

17. Lenny and Carl both have a master’s degree in nuclear physics.

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Lenny and Carl are two supporting characters who are the best friends of Homer with a master’s degree in nuclear physics. All three of them work at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant. Lenny and Carl are very close to each other and are rarely seen apart in the entire show. Homer almost always confuses Lenny and Carl, and even has to write down who’s who on his hand so that he won’t forget.(source)

18. The Couch Gag was originally designed as a time-filler. If an episode is long, then the couch gag is short, and if the episode is short then the couch gag is long. 

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Couch gag is a running visual joke in the opening sequence of The Simpsons, depicting the characters in scenes of outlandish and absurd situations. Sometimes the couch gags are new, but most of them are repeated. The longest couch gag so far has the Simpsons family forming a chorus line with dancers while their living room background gives way to reveal unicyclists and elephants. Known as the “Circus Line couch gag”, it was used when the episodes were in danger of being too short.(source)

19. “Do the Bartman” topped the charts of Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, and the United Kingdom. The song was co-written and co-produced by Michael Jackson, who also provided background vocals for it. 

Though the producers initially denied that Michael Jackson was involved in the song, Groening later confirmed that he was in fact involved. He could not be credited for the song because he was under contract to another record label. Jackson was also a fan of The Simpsons, especially the character Bart, and had called the producers to write a single for Bart and to guest star in the show. That was how “Do the Bartman” song came about and he starred in the episode “Stark Raving Dad”.(source)

20. The Simpsons predicted Donald Trump’s presidency, the outbreak of Ebola virus in Africa, Higgs-Boson particle, and the Arab Spring.

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In the episode “Bart to the Future” aired in 2000, a fortune teller gives Bart a glimpse of the future in 2o30 when Trump leaves the White House after his tenure. By that time America suffers great financial loses and mismanagement, and becomes dependent on aid from Europe and China. Similarly in an episode in 1997, Marge is seen holding a book titled “Curious George and the Ebola Virus”. In the episode “The Wizard of Evergreen Terrace”, Homer is seen to approximately calculate the mass of Higgs-Boson.(source)

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