[[caption-width-right:350:[[RunningGag The couch where everything]] ''[[RunningGag and]]'' [[RunningGag anything begins.]][[note]]Left to right: [[BumblingDad Homer]], [[CanineCompanion Santa's Little Helper]], [[WetBlanketWife Marge]], [[WiseBeyondTheirYears Lisa]], [[TeamPet Snowball II]], [[CuteMute Maggie]], [[ThePrankster Bart]].[[/note]]]]

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

The brainchild of independent cartoonist Creator/MattGroening (author of ''ComicStrip/LifeInHell''), ''The Simpsons'' first aired from 1987 to 1989 as a series of animated shorts on ''Series/TheTraceyUllmanShow''. 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-eighth'' 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 made 600 episodes so far). It has also been renewed for two more seasons, which will take it up to '''669''' episodes in total, which will make it surpass ''Series/{{Gunsmoke}}'' as the [[LongRunner the longest running scripted television program by episode count ever]].

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.

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, [[VoicesInOneRoom the voice actors for a given scene recording together]], allowing for more organic interaction between the characters.

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. [[BrokenBase Exactly]] ''[[BrokenBase when]]'' [[BrokenBase it declined, and by how much, is difficult to find a consensus on]], but viewership has decreased over the years. 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 Creator/{{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]], debuted in prime-time and referenced by name when UsefulNotes/GeorgeHWBush was in office, had its best years when UsefulNotes/BillClinton [[TheNineties was in office]], was more-or-less still going strong during the UsefulNotes/GeorgeWBush [[TurnOfTheMillennium administration]], saw UsefulNotes/BarackObama [[TheNewTens get elected twice]] and was around to [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tLSy8Tl2bjs repeatedly]] [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oz7_JP7ROvA mock]] [[Creator/DonaldTrump the incumbent president]] throughout his entire campaign and ongoing tenure.

[[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 ''Series/TheTraceyUllmanShow'''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, before surpassing ''Gunsmoke'''s episode total in 2018 (although ''Series/SesameStreet'', among other daytime programs, still retains an even longer run with 40 seasons).

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]].

See the [[Franchise/TheSimpsons Franchise]] page for all related works.

!!Tropes used:
* TheSimpsons/TropesAToB
* TheSimpsons/TropesCToD
* TheSimpsons/TropesEToH
* TheSimpsons/TropesIToM
* TheSimpsons/TropesNToR
* TheSimpsons/TropesSToZ
--> [[VanityPlate Shhhhh!]]