A timeline of The Simpsons

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A timeline of The Simpsons:

A timeline of The Simpsons By Jordan Rivett

Beginnings:

Beginnings In 1987, The Simpsons started out as a series of shorts appearing at either side of the ad breaks on the variety programme, The Tracey Ullman show. Appearing on The Tracey Ullman show until 1989. Genre and purpose. The Simpsons is an animated Sit-com that is suitable for the whole family. It was one of the first cartoons since The Flinstones to appeal to adults because of the use of satire humour and parody of American life.

Form and style:

Form and style The Simpsons is an animated comedy, that is intended for all audiences, with the satire comedy and parodies of real-world events that appeal to adults.

Season one:

Season one The Simpsons is an animated Sit-com and is In 1989 The Simpsons got it’s own half-hour slot on Fox. The first episode was a Christmas special on December 17 th 1989 (Simpsons roasting on an open fire). After the success of the first episode, a thirteen episode series started on January 14 th 1990.

Season 24:

Season 24 From 1989 to 2013, The Simpsons has aired over 500 episodes. Season 24 which began on 30 th September 2012. It includes a family trip to New York, the regular Halloween special ‘Treehouse of horror’ as well as an episode based on Steve Jobs and Apple. This season also features a second return for B art’s former girlfriend Mary as part of a Valentines’ day themed episode. The Simpsons has had large success over the 24 seasons and expanding from a simple series of shorts before and after ad breaks, to one of the most watched TV programmes all across the world.

Treehouse of horror:

Treehouse of horror In 1990, The Simpsons aired the first Treehouse of horror episode. This became an annual occurrence and would air close to Halloween each year from season two onwards.

Other media:

Other media Since 1989, The Simpsons has expanded into many different forms of media. In 2007, it had its own feature length movie which grossed $183 million dollars at the box office. They have also made several video games including; 1991s The Simpsons arcade game, 2001s The Simpsons wrestling and more recently; 2003s The Simpsons Hit and Run, 2007s The Simpsons game and 2012s The Simpsons Tapped out.

Other media:

Other media The Simpsons have also released many comics and official books. This includes; Greetings from The Simpsons (1990), The Simpsons handbook (2007) and The Simpsons library of wisdom which consists of 10 books released over several years. The Simpsons have had several comics that have been running since the show began. Mainly; The Simpsons comic, which is a monthly magazine that was first published on 29 th November 1993 and has continued ever since.

Guest stars:

Guest stars Since the first season, The Simpsons has had a countless amount of celebrity guest stars appearing on the show, some of them playing the part of small characters and some playing the part of themselves. They are often the main focus of the episode they appear in and help to develop the main cast and teach them and the audience life lessons.

Guest stars:

Guest stars Some of these guest stars include; Simpsons creator Matt Groening, singer James Brown and Marvel creator Stan Lee. As well as Paul and Linda McCartney who appeared as friends of Apu. There are many celebrities who have appeared as other characters rather than themselves. These include; Zooey Deschanel, Anne Hathaway and Jon Lovitz.

The production process:

The production process A team of about 15 writers decide on plots and throw around ideas for jokes and gags, then one or two writers are sent away to write a full script for the episode. This script is then given a read through by the voice artists, before making any final alterations. The main voice artists are Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith, Hank Azaria, Harry Shearer plus any special guests (See the cast list and guest stars list for more info). The episode is recorded onto a voice track and sent to the animating team. The animators draw out story boards and rough sketches for how the episode will look, followed by a set of black and white drawings for the whole episode, called frames. These are then shot under a camera, pieced together and combined with he voice track to give the writers and director a rough overview of the episode. They can also make any last minute changes needed. The drawings are sent to Korea to be drawn neatly and inked (coloured in), where labour is cheaper. These are again shot under a camera and linked to the voice track. Finally comes the music. Alf Clausen and his orchestra add music to give emotion and feeling to the episode. Everything is combined together and the writers & producers can get a look (and a laugh at the final product before airing. This whole process take about nine months. "It's like having a baby," says executive producer Mike Scully. "Only it's a cartoon baby." The producers sometimes find it aggravating that it takes so long. A episode for a sitcom is usually written over two or three days, recorded the next day, and then aired a week later. However, on the set of The Simpsons, an episode is written in two days, recorded on the third day, then the final product is viewed six months later. Nevertheless, everyone who works on The Simpsons agrees that "it's the best job in show business."

Content and meaning:

Content and meaning The writers of The Simpsons are free to say anything that they want to because of an unusual contract written up by the show's producer; James L Brooks. This contract meant that Fox had no input in anything included in The Simpsons, which gave Matt Groening along with the show's writers a unique freedom which even meant frequent criticism of the Fox network. Media is a recurring theme of satire on The Simpsons. It is known for its satire of American popular culture and particularly television culture. Since it began, The Simpsons has covered all types of media, such as Animation, Journalism, commercials, comic books, internet and music. The series focuses on a typical American family who live in a typical American town. However, because it is animated, The Simpsons scope is larger and 'Springfield' acts as a complete universe for its characters. The town has its own Media, involving newspapers (Springfield shopper) and TV channels. These channels show local news presented by Kent Brockman, Troy McClure's documentaries and a children's TV programme presented by the town's clown; Krusty. All of these fictional TV programmes allow the producers to make jokes about themselves and the entertainment industry. Most of The Simpsons media satire focuses on television. This is done by using the characters mentioned above; Kent Brockman, Troy McClure and Krusty the clown. Each of these characters have a career in a fictional TV programmes within The Simpsons. The Itchy and Scratchy show is a show within a show, which is used as a satire of animation and sometimes a satire of The Simpsons itself. Topics range from censorship issues, plagiarism, unoriginal writing, to spoofs of shows and documentaries. A theme that comes up a lot is Journalism. The Simpsons has a fictional news team with Kent Brockman as the anchor who presents the fictional shows such as; 'Smart-line' and 'Eye on Springfield'. However, Brockman is more interested in entertaining the viewers than informing them and through him, the writers can make commentary on the amplified and sensationalised nature of television news. The Simpsons also deals with the tabloid media by making people look guilty without a trial, as well as using a complete lack of privacy, by setting up camp outside people's homes. When The Simpsons was first developed, James L Brooks negotiated an unusual contract, in which the producers prevented the Fox network from interfering with the show. This contract allowed them to write several jokes about both the Fox network and Fox news. Matt Groening has commented that this contract puts The Simpsons in a unique position and commentators have commented that it defies industry practices. It could be argued that The Simpsons reaches into people's minds and has the potential to teach children and adults about media literacy. The Simpsons is also famous for its large amount of guest stars over the years, these include; James Brown, Elizabeth Taylor, The Rolling stones, Sir Paul McCartney, Michael Jackson and Leonard Nimoy amongst many others. The characters they represent normally become the main focus of the episode and help the family in their adventures.

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