[[caption-width-right:350:[[RunningGag The couch where everything]] ''[[RunningGag and]]'' [[RunningGag anything begins.]]]]

->''"D'oh!"'' [[note]][[HarpoDoesSomethingFunny Or "[annoyed grunt]" to the scriptwriters.]][[/note]]
-->-- '''Homer Simpson'''

''The Simpsons'' first aired from 1987 to 1989 as a series of animated shorts on ''The Tracey Ullman Show''. Unofficially known as "Season 0," the original 48 ad-bumpers kicked off what is now well established as one of television's all-time classic series (which premiered on the then-fledgling Creator/{{FOX}} network in December 1989). It is currently in its ''twenty-seventh'' season, making it the longest-running prime-time sitcom in American TV history (worldwide, that honor belongs to ''Series/LastOfTheSummerWine'', although the latter has [[BritishBrevity fewer episodes]], with 297 while ''The Simpsons'' has surpassed 500). When it was first adapted into television, it set a new trend in animation - much of the voice acting had been rather industrial, with voice actors simply reciting a list of their character's lines[[note]]As in: "Line 234: "Bart! Why you little...""[[/note]], in whatever emotion the script called for. ''The Simpsons'', however, recorded its lines like a live-action movie, the voice actors for a given scene recording together, allowing for more organic interaction between the characters.

Depicting the animated adventures of the upper-lower-middle class Simpson family, the show started as a parody of DomCom conventions, but quickly incorporated elements of social satire, pop culture references, and a mix of highbrow and lowbrow humor that has kept it popular year after year. Originally the show focused most of its attention on 10 year old Bart Simpson, [[BreakoutCharacter but after the first 3 seasons, his dad Homer gradually took on being the most consistent protagonist]].

One reason for the show's longevity is the massive cast of over 100 recurring characters it has built up over time, allowing the writers to work with a rich variety of relationships and milieus. Another thing that has established ''The Simpsons'' as being unique is an absolute refusal to acknowledge the passing of time. Bart has [[NotAllowedToGrowUp remained 10 years old]] and in general the show employs an active NegativeContinuity, sometimes even [[LampshadeHanging acknowledged in the show]].

For roughly the first 10 seasons, ''The Simpsons'' was widely considered to be one of the most consistently funny TV shows ever produced. However, it is generally considered that at some point after (or near the end of) that, the series declined in quality. Exactly ''when'' it declined, and by how much, is difficult to find a consensus on, but viewership has decreased over the recent seasons. Its numbers remain strong though, and the merchandising juggernaut shows no signs of stopping. Fox at one point [[http://www.cartoonbrew.com/tv/the-simpsons-network-49783.html considered setting up a separate Simpsons/spin-off network]]; though that didn't happen, Simpsons re-runs became a cornerstone of the comedy-oriented FXX cable network when that was spun off from the FX network. Though, despite claims that it's not as good as it once was, [[LongRunners there's something to be said about a show that debuted (as a series of shorts) when]] UsefulNotes/RonaldReagan [[TheEighties was U.S. President]], was referenced by name by UsefulNotes/GeorgeHWBush, had its best years when UsefulNotes/BillClinton was in office, and was more-or-less still going strong as it coasted through the UsefulNotes/GeorgeWBush administration, and is around to see UsefulNotes/BarackObama get elected twice.

[[TheMovie A feature film]] ([[SarcasmMode creatively titled]] ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsonsMovie'') was released in summer 2007. Perhaps not surprisingly, [[BrokenBase reactions from fans were mixed]], with some fans claiming it to be on the level of the Golden Age episodes, and some considering it just an extra long Tarnished Age episode. Nevertheless, the film was a huge financial success and received a positive response from critics, earning a 89% Fresh Rating on Website/RottenTomatoes and getting a 80 on Metacritic.

Many of the people behind the show are also responsible for ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'' (and while ''Futurama'' certainly takes some comedic cues from this show, it is a far cry from a ''Simpsons'' clone).

Creator/MattGroening has said he created the core family members in ''The Tracey Ullman Show'''s production office waiting room after realizing he didn't want to sign the rights to his ''ComicStrip/LifeInHell'' characters over to UsefulNotes/RupertMurdoch.

In 2009, the show began its 21st season, officially dethroning ''Series/{{Gunsmoke}}'' as the longest running primetime American television series of all time (although ''Series/SesameStreet'', among other daytime programs, still retains an even longer run with 40 seasons, and ''Gunsmoke'' still has more episodes).

The Simpsons (TV show and movie) was banned in Burma since it has some violence, its portrayal, ability to cause fear, illegal/harmful behavior, disrespectful language and a yellow-looking skin color (just like those featured in ''WesternAnimation/TheLEGOMovie'' including Emmet, Lucy/[=WyldStyle=], Benny, Gandalf, Dumbledore, Milhouse and Metalbeard) as described in Wikipedia.

In addition to the video games with their own pages linked below, ''The Simpsons'' have featured in other fairly mediocre games including:
* ''[[VideoGame/TheSimpsonsBartVsTheSpaceMutants Bart vs. the Space Mutants]]'' (1991)
* ''[[VideoGame/TheSimpsonsBartVsTheWorld Bart vs. the World]]'' (1991)
* ''Krusty's Fun House'', released in 1992-1993, originally named ''Rat-Trap'' before being reworked as a ''Simpsons'' title. The UsefulNotes/SuperNintendoEntertainmentSystem and UsefulNotes/SegaGenesis versions were named ''Krusty's Super Fun House''. It was essentially a maze game.
* ''[[VideoGame/TheSimpsonsBartmanMeetsRadioactiveMan Bartman Meets Radioactive Man]]'', a platform game released in 1992.
* ''Bart's Nightmare'' on the UsefulNotes/SuperNintendoEntertainmentSystem, released in 1992 (a GameplayRoulette game)
* ''Virtual Bart'', despite its name actually released on the [=SNES=] and the Sega Genesis, not the UsefulNotes/VirtualBoy, in 1994. Another gameplay roulette game, with each level having a different theme.
* ''The Itchy & Scratchy Game'', a platform game starring the titular duo (and not Bart for once), released in 1993 and 1995 - you play as Itchy and battle against Scratchy.
* ''The Simpsons Wrestling'', a, well, [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin wrestling game]] on the {{PlayStation}} released in 2001, featuring the voice actors from the show and unique special moves for each character.

Check out [[Characters/TheSimpsons this character sheet]] for more info on Fox's "first family" of animation. Also has a work-in-progress recap page [[Recap/TheSimpsons here]].
!!Subpages and Other Works
* [[TropeNamers/TheSimpsons Tropes Named by The Simpsons]]
* [[Advertising/TheSimpsons Advertisements Based on the Series]]
* [[VideoGame/TheSimpsons The Simpsons (Arcade Game)]]
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsonsMovie''
* ''Ride/TheSimpsonsRide''
* [[Comicbook/TheSimpsons Simpsons Comics]]
* ''WesternAnimation/TheItchyAndScratchyShow''
* ''[[VideoGame/TheSimpsonsHitAndRun The Simpsons Hit & Run]]''
* ''VideoGame/TheSimpsonsGame''
* ''Pinball/TheSimpsonsDataEast''
* ''Pinball/TheSimpsonsPinballParty''
* ''VideoGame/TheSimpsonsSkateboarding''
* ''[[WesternAnimation/TreehouseOfHorror The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror]]''
* ''VideoGame/TheSimpsonsRoadRage''
* ''VideoGame/TheSimpsonsTappedOut''
* ''WesternAnimation/TheLEGOMovie'' (Milhouse cameo appearance)
* ''VideoGame/LEGODimensions'' (The Simpsons Level Pack)
!!Tropes used:
* TheSimpsons/TropesAToB
* TheSimpsons/TropesCToD
* TheSimpsons/TropesEToH
* TheSimpsons/TropesIToM
* TheSimpsons/TropesNToR
* TheSimpsons/TropesSToZ
--> [[VanityPlate Shhhhh!]]