How The Simpsons Influenced Pop Culture
The Simpsons is coming up with more zany humor than ever before with its 29th season, being the longest running animated television show in the history of American television, beating Hanna Barbara’s The Flintstones. The Simpsons will be remembered among other pop culture icons like The Beatles, Star Wars, Mickey Mouse, and Superman.
The Simpsons first premiered on the Tracy Ullman Show with different sketches and skits from the late 1980s. The skits became very popular that The Simpsons got a time slot on the Fox network.
The Simpsons premiered with “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire,” a Christmas special, which is a play on words for “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire (The Christmas Song),” which was originally sung by Nat King Cole. The episode premiered on Dec. 17, 1989 and was very successful. It was about how the Simpsons got their dog, Santa’s Little Helper, from a dog racing track after Homer bet all of the family’s Christmas money and Marge had to spend all their money getting Bart’s tattoo removed.
The Simpsons gained more success in the 1990s with main characters Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie. The Simpsons have also added many more characters including Chief Wiggum, Groundskeeper Willie, Nelson the School Bully, Moe the Bartender, and many other characters that many viewers can relate to in a humorous way throughout the years.
One part of “The Simpsons” that has been very common is the couch gag. The couch gag shows how the Simpsons get to the couch. Some of them parody older cartoons like The Flintstones, Looney Tunes, Mickey Mouse, and many others as well as some couch gags that no one would ever think of. For example, one couch gag shows the Simpsons parodying the Beatles album, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” The Simpsons also have used couch gags to tell a story. For example, one couch gag shows Homer as a caveman, Homer in Renaissance times, Homer in colonial times, Homer in the early 1900s, and then modern day Homer tired from work.
One episode that was a very influential one is from season four called “Krusty Gets Kancelled.” This episode made a parody of Elvis Presley’s 1968 comeback special, according to Mike Reiss, who is a writer for The Simpsons. The show featured many guest voices including Bette Midler, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Johnny Carson, Elizabeth Taylor, and Hugh Hefner, who recently passed away. This was a landmark episode due to the amount of guest voice talents and a parody of a well-known comeback special.
Another episode that was very special and a lot of people are talking about is season 11, episode 17, called “Bart to the Future.” This episode was known as the predictor of the presidential election for 2016. Lisa Simpson, in the future, is the president of the United States and says according to Lisa that, “we’ve inherited quite a budget crunch from President Trump.” On Nov. 13, 2016, the episode, “Havana Wild Weekend,” showed Bart at the chalkboard, which is another staple in The Simpsons, showing Bart writing “Being right sucks,” according to Tully Wright of Vulture Magazine, in response to the election results from the 2016 election.
The Simpsons have been known to influence many cartoons including Family Guy, South Park, King of the Hill, Beavis and Butthead, SpongeBob SquarePants, Bob’s Burgers, and many other cartoons. The show also has influenced music groups, according to MusicTimes Inc.’s Joey DeGroot, including Fall Out Boy (which is the name of fictional superhero Radioactive Man), Bloodhound Gang (who performed a song called “Ralph Wiggum”), and Les Claypool of Primus (who does the theme song for South Park).
The Simpsons have delivered quite a hilarious show throughout the past years. Whether they reference or parody sports events, movies, television shows, music groups, or even political events, The Simpsons have delivered many different styles of humor. This is a major reason why The Simpsons is as popular as it is today as it was back before a large population of the campus was even born.