The Simpsons is a cartoon series dreamt up by Life in Hell creator, Matt Groening, apparently whilst sitting in the foyer of an office block when he had 15 minutes to kill before meeting his future co-worker James L. Brooks.

The show itself centres around the lives of the eponymous family, Homer , Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie, as well as a whole host of other characters, in the town of Springfield. Several famous people have made guest appearances on the show as part of a storyline, including David Duchovny, Adam West, Spinal Tap, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Barry White. Much of the cartoon's subject matter is clearly aimed at adults, with a fair smattering of popular culture and film references in many episodes .

Apart from the high quality humour and animation, the show is famous for its long running gags, including Bart's blackboard punishments during the title sequence, and the subliminal messages that pop up when Maggie is scanned into the shopping till, as well as for the numerous catchphrases that have wormed their way into common parlance, including such 'classics' as Aye Carumba, and most notably D'oh!

The Simpsons was originally broadcast on 19th April, 1987, as a series of shorts on The Tracey Ullman Show. It was so popular that is was spun off as its own series hosted on The Fox Network as of 17th December 1989. The original three series were animated by Klasky-Csupo, and subsequent series have been made by Film Roman. The voices for the family are provided by Dan Castellaneta as Homer, Julie Kavner as Marge, Nancy Cartwright as Bart and Yeardley Smith as Lisa .The show has run for over 250 episodes stretched over 11 series making it one of the worlds longest running animated programs, and has won many awards including a Peabody Award, 16 Emmy Awards, 8 Annie Awards, three Genesis Awards, three International Monitor Awards, three Environmental Media Awards, and also has a star on The Walk of Fame.

A 1999 survey conducted by Roper Starch Worldwide found that 91 percent of American children between the ages of 10 and 17 could identify members of the Simpson family. 84 percent of adults could identify them. In each case, this was a greater percentage of children and adults than could identify then–Vice President Al Gore.

Which seeks to be a list of every recurring Simpsons character

(Written mostly in the order they occured to me, with a mind to not creating too many useless nodeshells. Please /msg me with any omissions/misspellings)

The Simpsons

The Flanderserzeres

  • Ned Flanders - the Simpson's churchy neighbors
  • Maude Flanders (deceased) - killed by a flying t-shirt at a speedway
  • Rod Flanders
  • Todd Flanders

Powerplant workers

People from Springfield Elementary


Non-recuring But still worthy of a mention

  • Mindy Simons - extra-marital temptation for Homer
  • Lureene Lumpkin - country singer and extra-marital temptation for Homer
  • Mr. Sparkle - a very brave corporate logo
  • Jessica Lovejoy - daughter of the reverend and Helen
  • Osmodiar - a small green alien only Homer can see
  • The egg - from the Egg Council
  • Tipsy, Queasy, Surly and Remorseful - four of the 7 Duffs
  • Kirk Van Houghen : Milhouse's Father
  • Side Show Bob's full name : Robert Underdunk Terwilliger,
  • Cecil Terwilliger : Side Show Bob's brother :
  • Grandma Jackie Bouvier : Mother of Marge
  • Mona Simpson : Mother of Homer
  • Gladys Bouvier : Marge's Aunt

Many Harvard graduates find themselves working for or writing for The Simpsons. The list of Harvard graduates grows longer and longer, which may be part of the reason of the shows major success.

The list of writers who graduated from Harvard includes:

Al Jean          Dan McGrath          John Collier
Patric Verrone   Bill Canterbury      David Cohen
Jon Vitti        Rich Appel           Bill Oakley
David Sacks      Ken Keeler           Steve Tompkins
Conan O'Brien    George Meyer         Max Pross 
Steve Young      Dan Greaney          Jeff Martin 
Mike Reiss       Tom Gammill          Nell Scovell

Conan O'Brien, who now has his own late night TV show at NBC was the president of the Harvard Lampoon, which is Harvard's humor magazine, and Bill Oakley served as vice-president of the magazine.

With all these Harvard graduates working for it, its no wonder that The Simpsons have so many Ivy League references as well as jokes. Examples:

Credit attributed to

The Simpsons was a four player arcade game released by Konami in 1991. It allowed you to take control of four "wacky" characters (Homer, Marge, Lisa, and Bart), on a mission to rescue "Maggie" who has been kidnapped by the evil Smithers.

This was one of the most successful arcade games of the early 1990s, and it was ported to several different console systems and was even available for MS-DOS based computer systems (the ports play pretty much the same, but are lacking in the area of graphics and sound).

The Game

Smithers bumps into the Simpsons family after pulling off a diamond theft, and the diamond ends up in baby Maggie's mouth. Smithers opts to grab the baby and make his escape, and it is up to the rest of the Simpsons family to save her.

You begin the game by selecting your character, from either Homer, Marge, Lisa, or Bart. You may get to select from a menu, or each character may have a specific joystick that controls them, it all depends on which version or port you are playing, in the dedicated four player arcade version each character has a specific joystick. Each character acts a little bit differently in the game (and they each have a different weapon), Marge has a vacuum cleaner, Lisa (my personal favorite) has a jump rope, Bart has a skateboard, and Homer fights with his fists. You fight your way through the town of Springfield battling goons, thugs, zombies, drunks, firemen, and a whole host of other enemies. At the end of each stage you will face a "boss" character, before finally facing Mr. Burns at the end of the game.

The game itself had great graphics (which looked a lot like the work of Matt Groening, although he didn't actually participate in the creation of this game), and wonderful sound (much of which was done by professional television voice actors such as Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, and Yeardley Smith to name a few). The levels are full of wonderful little details and jokes (such as a poster in the game advertising the game, which shows a smiling Homer Simpson playing a Simpsons arcade game). One feature that the casual player may miss out on is the ability to "team up" with another player and do some really funny combination attacks (which are only mildy effective, but are fun to watch).

This is a beat 'em up game at heart, and if you like that kind of game, then you will love this one. I have found it is easiest to defeat the enemies by attacking them one at a time, just keep hitting them until they go down. The enemies do not tend to attack very often, so you can usually just walk up to them and take them out. On the other hand, groups of enemies are best handled with hit and run tactics, just don't let yourself get surrounded.

Hardware Information

There were several distinct versions of this game available in the arcade, the four player dedicated cabinet, the four player conversion kit (designed to retrofit Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but a lot of them ended up on Gauntlet machines too), and the two player conversion kit (designed to retrofit almost anything). The only real difference in gameplay between versions was the maximum amount of players.

The Simpsons dedicated cabinet was fairly large and had an oversized control panel (to accomodate four players). The sides were decorated with painted sideart showing all five members of the Simpsons family scampering around (Homer seems to be stepping on the tail of the family cat). Some cabinets may have this same scene as a large sticker, instead of it being painted on (I have only encountered a single stickered one, but reproduction stickers are now available, so they will probably become more common than the painted ones). American machines are usually blue in color, while the European ones were usually white. The marquee shows a family photo and has a "The Simpsons" logo done in yellow. The control panel repeats the graphics from the marquee and has four joysticks (one for each player), each of which is a different color. Different Simpsons machines will have different sized monitors, although 25" and 32" were the most popular sizes available.

Moving on to the interior of the machine, the game itself runs on a pseudo-JAMMA compatible circuit board. The board itself will plug into a JAMMA wiring harness, but it has a second harness to accomodate the controls for players three and four. The games Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Sunset Riders, and Bucky O'Hare are fully compatible with this extended harness, and will plug directly into a Simpsons cabinet without modification. The game's code itself runs on a pair of processors, a Z80 and a second processor that is labeled a KONAMI (which appears to be an encrypted 68000 processor). Oddly enough, this is different hardware than Konami's other four player games from that era, I am unsure as to why they designed a new (weaker) platform specifically for this game.


Setting the difficulty on the game at the maximum, and then starting a four player game will result in a screen so clogged with enemies that it is difficult to move (as the game changes the amount of enemies based on the difficulty and the number of players).

Where to play

You can play this game on most older console systems, or you can play the original arcade version using the MAME emulator. The original machines are also still fairly easy to locate out in the real world, so you should have no problem finding a place to play this title.

The Simpsons is a really fun game, but I feel it is a bit overpriced for the average arcade game collection. This game still makes money for arcade operators out in the real world, so they tend to be expensive. You may want to consider simply buying a "The Simpsons" JAMMA board and refitting an existing game, just be aware that the common four player board will work in a standard JAMMA cabinet, but you can only be Marge or Homer (as Bart and Lisa are players number three and four).


Besides being named the Best TV Series of the 20th Century by Time Magazine, The Simpsons have won many awards since it was first aired.

ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards
Alf Clausen won Top TV Series in 1995, 1996, 2001, and 2002.

Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA
The Simpsons won the "Saturn Award" for the best genre network series in 1996.

American Cinema Foundation, USA
The Simpsons won the "E Pluribus Unum Award" for the category of Television Series (Comedy) in 1996.

American Comedy Awards, USA
The Simpsons won the Funniest Animated Television Series in 2001.

Annie Awards
The Simpsons have won Annie Awards every year since 1992, the most impressive of which was the award for the "Top Primetime Honor for Achievement in an Animated Television Production" in 2001.

Emmy Awards
The Simpsons won Emmys in 1991, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1997, 1998, 2000, and 2001. They have totalled 18 Emmy Award wins out of their 37 nominations over the years.

Environmental Media Awards, USA
The Simpsons won in 1991 (for the episode "Two Cars in Every Garage, Three Eyes On Every Fish"), in 1994 (for the episode "Bart Gets An Elephant") and in 2001 "Lisa Simpson, an advocate of clean ecological systems and animal rights, was awarded the organization's board of director's award for ongoing commitment, the association's highest honor."

GLAAD Media Awards
The Simpsons won in 1998 for the episode "Homer's Phobia".

Kid's Choice Award
The Simpsons won "The Blimp Award" in 1992 for "favorite cartoon".

Motion Picture Sound Editors, USA
The Simpsons won in 1998 for "Treehouse Of Horror VIII".

Peabody Awards
The Simpsons won in 1997 for "providing exceptional animation and stinging social satire, both commodities which are in extremely short supply in television today."

Reggie Awards
The Simpsons Global Fanfest won in 2001 for "Global Promotion".

Walk of Fame
The Simpsons had a star put on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (8021 Hollywood Blvd.) on January 14, 2001.

World Animation Celebration
The Simpsons won in 1997 (for Treehouse of Horror Vi) and in 1998 (for 22 Short Films about Springfield).

This list will be updated as needed...

Okay, there are lots of Harvard references in the Simpsons, as everyone knows, because many of the show's writers are Harvard alums. However, what a lot of people don't know are the legends told at Harvard about the origins of certain characters. Here's what Harvard legend says:

Mr. Burns -- Based on government professor Michael J. Sandel, who teaches a huge (700+) lecture class called Justice. The resemblance is uncanny. Sandel looks like a spry 50ish Burns, and even tents his hands (though without saying "Eeehxcellent!"). Campus legend also says economics teacher Marty Feldstein might be the model for Burns, but Sandel is the more likely man, for reasons including... Smithers -- Based on Joel Johnson, the head teaching assistant for Sandel's Justice class for years. Always wears suits, glasses, has a haircut just like Smithers, and it is often suspected that he worships Sandel-- though perhaps not in the same way Smithers worships Mr. Burns. Apu -- Based on Louie of Louie's Superette, a campus convenience store. Both are asian, have extremely distinctive accents, and have a well known catchphrase: Apu's "Thank you, come again!" and Louie's "Okay, see you!"

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