13 Questions Answered About The Simpsons

Neatorama presents a guest post from actor, comedian, and voiceover artist Eddie Deezen. Visit Eddie at his website or at Facebook.

 Okay, what is left to say about The Simpsons? The adventures of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and their fellow Springfield denizens has given us all countless laughs for an amazing 25 seasons. That's over 500 episodes!!!

Over 500 episodes? Of one television show? Only one series in television history has more episodes, that is Gunsmoke (with the record, over 600 episodes). This makes The Simpsons the longest-running comedy, the longest-running animated series and the longest-running spin-off (it was originally shown in short spots on The Tracy Ullman Show from 1987-1989).

Okay, let's answer 13 questions you may have wondered about The Simpsons.

1) Who is the only character to have dialogue in all The Simpsons episodes?

Homer, who else? Marge appeared in the episode “Krusty Gets Kancelled" and had no dialogue, and Lisa was in the episode “Chief of Hearts" and had nothing to say. Bart actually has only appeared in all but one episode, he never made an appearance in “Four Great Women and a Manicure.”

2) What was the deal with the Lisa and Bart auditions?

Nancy Cartwright, who does the voice of Bart, originally auditioned for Lisa. Yeardley Smith, who does the voice of Lisa, originally auditioned for Bart.

3) Who is the most successful "pre-Simpsons" voice-over artist?

Before getting her gig on The Simpsons, actress Nancy Cartwright was already appearing in six different Saturday morning animated shows, making her, by far, the most successful "pre-Simpsons" voice-over performer.

4) Who was the original Homer Simpson?

Actor Donald Sutherland voiced an appearance in the episode “Lisa the Iconoclast.” In 1975, Sutherland starred in the movie Day of the Locust. He played a character named “Homer Simpson.”

5) Why are they yellow?

According to series creator Matt Groening, the characters were drawn yellow "to attract the attention of channel hoppers.” 

6) Which guest star said "f***k you"?

Guest artist Elizabeth Taylor had one word of dialogue (“Dada") in her appearance as the voice of Maggie. After being made to say the word 15 or 20 times, Taylor finally "improvised" her lone word of dialogue. That take was not used in the final edit. 

7) Which character is based on Matt Groening?

Again, according to Groening, "comic book guy" is based on him. (“It's how people see me.”)

8) Who was the oddest guest star "stand-in”?

Possibly the oddest "stand-in" for any guest star was Paul Townshend, who did the voice of his brother Pete, when rock group The Who made their guest appearance on the show.

9) Springfield is where?

Although the Simpsons live in Springfield, a recurring gag on the show is the exact state the show takes place in. However, in one episode the Simpsons send a letter to Mr. Burns, Homer's boss. Although the Simpsons return address is not listed, the letter lists Mr. Burns’ return address as Springfield, New Jersey.

10) Where did “d’oh!" come from?

Of all the dozens of classic Simpsons catch phrases, none has been more beloved than Homer's "d'oh!" The expression is written in Simpsons scripts as "annoyed grunt".

Dan Castelanetta, who does the voice of Homer, originally used a phrase used by old-time movie actor James Finlayson, who was often the foil in Laurel and Hardy films. When Laurel or Lardy would do something in a film to frustrate or upset Finlayson, he would go “D’ooohhhhhhh.” Dan originally read the line as the longer “D’ooohhhhhh,” but the director told him to shorten it, and he just went “D’oh!" The expression “D’oh" is now formally listed in the Oxford Dictionary.

11) What guest voice impressed The Simpsons writers the most?

According to Dan Castellanetta, Adam West caused the biggest stir when he did his week's guest voice. Dan said all the writers, who usually never come down to watch the recording sessions, came down, as excited as schoolboys, to see “Batman" in person.

12) Which one of the regular cast members does the fewest different voices?

Of the six regular Simpsons cast members, Yeardley Smith, the voice of “Lisa" does the fewest different voices. Because her voice is so unique and distinctive, Lisa is the only voice she does.

13) What was Paul McCartney's one condition he demanded when he guest-starred on the show?

Sir Paul and his wife, Linda, both guest-voiced a Simpsons episode in 1997. The former Beatle and his wife only had one demand: Lisa, who was always an on again/off again vegetarian on the show. But after they were guests, the McCartneys demanded Lisa must remain a vegetarian in all future Simpsons episodes. Their request was granted.

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I always wonder where these "facts" come from and how reliable they are.

I searched for an image of the supposed letter that shows Mr. Burns' address as Springfield, NJ, but it doesn't seem to exist. The return address shows an indistinct state, which looks more like JI and the delivery address state looks like rJ. Neither zip code contains validly legible numbers.

Homer's driver license shows a state code of NT, which is not a state, and zip 49007 which is Kalamazoo, MI. The zip of Springfield, NJ is 07081.

Regarding "D'oh" I saw an interview with Dan Castelanetta who said he came up with that himself and it was more of him almost saying "Damn!" but stopping it for the sake of the kids' ears, cutting it over into "Oh!" thus yielding "D'oh!"
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I knew this guy growing up named Horace - he was a real creep. I saw him a few years back, not only is he a dead ringer for Comic Book Guy - down to the pony tail and goatee - he actually owns a comic book store!
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