DVD box sets up to Season Thirteen have been released, and are available in North America, Europe, Australasia and in many other languages and countries around the world. In addition an "episode only" (no extras, no commentary) release of Season 20 is available, no doubt to take advantage of the mid-season switch to broadcasts in high definition. Beyond that they've also released various thematic DVD singles that carry four or five episodes each, and as a result six episodes from seasons 14 and 15 have also been released.
All of the season sets (except Season 20) were released in order of season number, contain all episodes in their entirety with restored footage previously cut in syndication, as well as outtakes, cut scenes, foreign language clips, audio commentary from Matt Groening, James Brooks, David Silverman, Al Jean, Mike Reiss, cast members, and others, plus many special goodies. The DVD box sets are available from most online retailers and sell for around US$30-40 each.
The goal was originally for two new sets to be released every year, but that was soon proven to be rather ambitious, as only thirteen seasons have been released to date.
No word yet on when Seasons Fourteen through Nineteen and Twenty-One will be available, or the availability of a Season Twenty set with commentary and/or extras.
Again, please visit The Simpsons Audio and Video Releases Guide at
In North America twenty-five videotapes were released, usually consisting of two full uncut episodes and one Tracey Ullman short. Several videotapes were also released to the UK, and as imports to the rest of Europe.
A set of 12 SECAM VHS videotapes featuring 24 episodes from Season One and Season Two were originally released in France by Fox France.
A set of 4 PAL VHS videotapes featuring 8 episodes from Season One were originally available in Finland. Several UK originals have been released in Finland too; the complete list is available in the Finnish L.I.S.A.
A set of 3 PAL VHS videotapes featuring 6 episodes each from Season One were originally released to Italy in 1991.
Please visit The Simpsons Audio and Video Releases Guide at
There are currently six full-length albums available:
The first two are rock/pop albums of original songs performed by the cast voices with various musical guests. The Yellow Album was finally released in November 1998, a full six years after the tracks were completed (because of that many fans feel it sounds horribly out of date). There are various singles and radio promotions from each.
The next three are compilations of musical clips and full songs used on the television show. Many clips contain dialogue from the show as well.
The last one is (obviously) the soundtrack from The Simpsons Movie.
Again, please visit The Simpsons Audio and Video Releases Guide at
There have been literally hundreds of Simpsons books, including both official "Matt Groening" volumes and various "unofficial" books by other authors not affiliated with the show.
Official Simpson volumes released in the United States consist of;
Given the popularity of our favorite family, other authors have published their own books and guides, with thirty-one books released in the United States, another ten published in the United Kingdom, and dozens published in other languages, including German, French, Spanish, Italian, Finnish, Portuguese, Turkish and Russian.
A complete listing of books, calendars, sticker albums, etc. on all things Simpsons from
each country can be found at our Complete Simpsons Book List
Hundreds of board games, handheld games, puzzles, trivia games, card games, and yes, video games have been released over the 20 years The Simpsons have been on television. Dozens of video games have been released over the years for over twenty systems. These are all documented on our Simpsons Games list found at /guides/games.html.
Simpsons Illustrated was a quarterly "fan" magazine that was published from 1991 to 1993 that is no longer in print. An almost identical Australian version was also published six months after the American issues. Issues of SI include cast and production staff interviews, fan artwork, and lots of trivia. A Simpsons annual and a special 3-D issue were also published. Our Guide to Simpsons Illustrated is available at /guides/simpsons.illustrated.html. Back issues appear periodically on your favorite on-line auction sites.
Since Matt's real dream was to publish a comic, they initially decided to trial issue - Simpsons Comics & Stories - which was well received. They went on to form the Bongo Comics Group, which leads us to our next question.
After the single issue of Simpsons Comics & Stories (see prior question) Bongo Comics was born in January 1993, and their inaugural effort consisted of four comics; Simpsons Comics, Bartman, Radioactive Man and Itchy and Scratchy Comics. Over the past twenty years several series have come and gone including Krusty Comics, Lisa Comics, Simpsons-Futurama crossover issues and most recently Comic Book Guy. Current series are;
Bongo Comics has never offered subscriptions, but your local Comic Book Guy is happy to sell you the comics, various bookstore chains and independent sellers carry them, and yes, several on-line comic dealers will indeed offer you a subscription. Back issues may be available from your local dealer and are available from various on-line dealers, and for those who who just want to read them they have been reprinted in book form and are listed as part of our Complete Simpsons Book List which can be found at /guides/booklist.html, with United States comic reprints found at /guides/booklistus02.html.
Simpsons Comics have also been republished in English in the UK and Australia, and translated and published in dozens of countries in at least twelve languages, sometimes as almost identical issues in another langauge, sometimes as reorganized issues mixing and matching different stories from different comics, and sometimes in book collections. Sometimes as two or three of these, as has been done in the United States. The book collections are all documented on the Complete Simpsons Book List found at /guides/booklist.html.
Literally hundreds. As of this writing, the show has been nominated for 70 Emmys, with 27 victories, including several for "Outstanding Animated Program", a record that has earned them one of several spots in Guiness World Records. For a comprehensive listing of all awards and nominations, please check out the new and improved Awards and Honours Page found at /guides/awards.html.
In the United States: Butterfinger candy bars, 1-800 COLLECT, Burger King, Intel, and most recently MasterCard. A new MasterCard "priceless" ad starring Homer aired during Super Bowl XXXVIII.
The Simpsons have also advertised many products overseas, most of which you will never see on U.S. soil. In Australia, they were used in a series of CC's potato chip ads. And in Europe, there are actually some commercials where the characters are nude!
Ads for C.C. Lemon, a Japanese Suntory company, have also been produced and begun airing in Japan.
The details of the outcome of the contest were divulged by former executive producers Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein:
"You had to use 1-800-COLLECT and submit your name and the name of the person you were calling, then a pool of eligible people was selected and it was about 200 people and they were called by MCI - plus YOU had to be home during the broadcast and the person you had called during the summer also HAD to be home during the broadcast. And not one of the people who they called had the right answer! So somebody was picked randomly from among those eligible."
Ms Gibson did not watch The Simpsons and she took the cash prize instead of the opportunity to be animated on the show. As it turns out, the prize FOX claimed to offer wasn't all it was cracked up to be, as the contestant would have only received a drawing of themselves with the Simpsons, and not an actual animated appearance on the show as the ads led viewers to believe.
Kaufman and Broad designed a 2,200 square ft., 4-bedroom house in Henderson, Nevada (just outside of Las Vegas) meant to be an exact replica of the Simpsons' house. Pepsi-Cola Company set up a contest to give this very house away to someone. With certain beverage products came a game piece with a number, which, if matched with the number flashed during the ninth season premiere of The Simpsons, would be the winning number. The winning number was 9786065.
The winner, Barbara Howard, a 63-year-old great grandmother from Richmond, Kentucky, was given the keys to the $120,000 house on December 10th, 1997. She decided to let the house become a tourist attraction, but not after having its pink exterior painted a sand color to match all the other houses in the neighborhood.
An article about the house can be found here.
In what time slots have The Simpsons aired?
In the United States: (All times EST)
There have been rare occassions naturally over the past twenty years when an original broadcast has been either delayed by a live broadcast of another earlier event or rescheduled to another time slot. Don Del Grande continues to maintain a highly accurate record of all broadcasts in The Simpsons Episode & Air Dates List which is found at /guides/episode_list.html.
Syndication is when a television series that has been around for a few seasons can sell the rights to its reruns to any television stations who want to buy them, regardless of network affiliation, and the stations may air them any time they wish. All the completed seasons are available for rebroadcast, and as the show completes further seasons, those can also be made available.
The Simpsons began its syndication run in September 1994, a little after it reached its 100th show. 100 shows is usually the magic number needed for interest in syndication.
After over a dozen years of syndication, The Simpsons remains one of the highest-rated programs watched in reruns.
Syndicated episodes of a show are edited to allow more commercials to be shown. This means that some scenes are shortened or removed entirely. As such, the first material to be edited usually includes the title sequence (which is why the syndicated titles often are even shorter than the standard abridged sequence in recent US broadcasts by Fox) and scenes that are not integral to the plot - with the result that some of the most memorable lines are missing from the syndicated versions.
A list of all cuts ever made, through Season Twelve, can be found within the Simpsons Syndication Cuts Guide.
In addition, a list of all blackboard openings changed in syndication can be found at /guides/syndicated.openings.html.
A few episodes have never been cut. However, often they are compressed to gain additional seconds. Also, sometimes, the last two seconds of an act is cut for a commercial break. Here's the list of episodes that have never been cut:
7G04 is the shortest episode of The Simpsons ever. Only two episodes appear in syndication with full[er]-length openings. Those are Bart the Daredevil and Homer's Enemy. Some Season Ten episodes have also appeared in syndication with long openings, as well.
The episode Team Homer was modified in syndication. A scene in which Homer anticipates winning a bowling tournament showcases him flushing a stolen supporting actor Oscar down the toilet. The name engraved on the award was Haing S. Ngor, an actor who was murdered February 25th, 1996. In syndication, the name was (apparently, briefly) changed to Don Ameche.
A better explanation of syndication can be found at the Simpsons Syndication Cuts Guide FAQ.
Probably not, unless you're watching the syndicated versions of the episodes, which are edited (more on that in upcoming questions). Episodes broadcast in England and Australia are routinely censored to abide with younger children's viewing guidelines because of the time slots used by these countries (somewhat ironic in the latter case considering they allow profanity and full-frontal nudity after 8 p.m. on network television). This censoring usually consists of unusually violent or gory scenes, like many Itchy & Scratchy cartoons, for example.
However, Alex Evans of the UK has informed us that BBC and Sky in England have now relaxed their censorship of The Simpsons. Reruns of episodes previously cut for violence, milder swearing ("ass" and "crap", cut by Sky in Seasons 5-8) or references to sex are now usually uncut.
In Germany, the series runs now, usually without its end credits, at a late time slot. The abridgement of the title sequence in the US is done by the Fox network. Canadian viewers, who don't get the episodes through Fox are usually granted the pleasure of a full episode each week.
In Belgium, the commercial broadcast station VT4 airs uncut episodes of The Simpsons on an irregular, but usually daily basis. Only the episodes 8F15 and 2F09 were edited. Thanks to Werner Peeters for supplying this information (corrections are welcome).
From 1994-1999, The Simpsons ran in reruns on a national syndication cycle, with Twentieth Television distributing the reruns. The contract dictated that Twentieth was in charge of the syndication schedule, and all the local carriers carrying the reruns had to air certain episodes based off of how many times a day and how many days a week the series aired on that station in reruns - and how many episodes per week were aired in addition to the length of the station's contract.
In later years, many viewers noted that the more recent episodes seemed to pop up in reruns a lot more frequently than older episodes.
The only possible reason as to why was that the newer ones were thought to have received higher ratings.
The Simpsons' national syndication run is now over, so individual stations which bought the episodes now have the rights to run them in any order that they wish.
Each episode is produced with extra and alternate animation, to allow the directors the freedom to decide just what will and won't work, up until a few days before a show goes to air. Fox has access to the footage before the final cuts are made, and so it's not unusual for extra material to materialize during the promotions.
Also, the Fox network has taken to mixing clips from previous episodes with clips from upcoming episodes, supposedly to make episodes more enticing or exciting. The best example of this is the commercial for The Itchy and Scratchy and Poochie Show in which Homer's character Poochie is on TV and Lisa says "The network has sunk to a new low," the footage coming from Cape Feare.
I heard that The City of New York Vs. Homer Simpson was pulled from syndication after September 11. Is that true?
Yes, it was true, albeit briefly.
For those unfamiliar with this episode, there are scenes that prominently feature the World Trade Center buildings. In the immediate aftermath of Sept. 11 it was thought that, despite the relative innocence of the scenes in question, viewers might have been too sensitive to seeing images of the building intact (even in cartoon form), with the events of that day still fresh in everyone's mind.
Shortly after 9/11/01, FOX notified all of its syndicated carriers of the show about the episode and left it up to the discretion of the individual stations. A number of TV stations in America did in fact pull the episode and showed other reruns in its place temporarily. As time passed and sensitivity lessened, the episode began being aired again on a regular basis.
As a side note, Mike Reiss recommended in a speech that the episode New Kids on the Blecch from Season Twelve also be pulled from reruns because of a scene involving a hijacked Navy submarine that rams into a building. This may be sensitive to those affected by the U.S.S. Cole incident, in which the same terrorist groups are suspected. It is not known whether any stations decided to follow through on this, though.
Will there ever be another Simpsons movie?
The first movie didn't come about until after years of rumor, speculation and countless false alarms had passed, and was finally released to great success on July 27, 2007. After experiencing the gargantuan effort that went into making it no one wanted to discuss any timetable for the "next" movie other than to say that given the success of the first movie, there will be another movie. Eventually. Several hints to the sequel have been made and indeed, the cast is contracted to make two additional movies. The first blackboard gag broadcast after the opening of the movie was " I will not wait 20 years to make another movie".
Please see our Simpsons Movie Sequel News page for more information.
Any current rumors indicating The Simpsons have been cancelled are just that: rumors.
FOX has renewed the series through to completion of twenty-two seasons, meaning that new Simpsons episodes will still be airing at least through 2012. In the opening billboard for the episode Once Upon a Time in Springfield they provide the most straight forward answer, as it read "The World May End in 2012 But This Show Won't".
Rumours have often started from casual comments made by Matt Groening or production staff. Back in a 2002 interview with the London-based Financial Times Matt Groening was quoted as saying "I think we are closer to winding it up", but he was quick to counter any notion that cancellation was remotely imminent. He later said that "rumors of The Simpsons demise have been greatly exaggerated."
The bottom line is that even after this many years the show still receives strong ratings for FOX and they will keep it going as long as it makes money for the network. Keep in mind that includes broadcast revenue, syndication and as Krusty says "The sweetest plum of all", merchandising.
I truly believe that the title of one of the Simpsons Episode Guides provides the answer: "Simpsons Forever". It may not always exist in the same form as currently exists, and won't always have the same voice actors, and yes, will be far cry from our current show, but when we reach the Futurama year of 3001 it will nonetheless exist in some form.
Only time will tell, as Troy McClure said, "between now and whenever the show becomes unprofitable."
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Copyright © 2011 by Bruce Gomes
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Last updated on January 26, 2011 by Bruce Gomes (email@example.com)