The Simpsons

The Simpsons

"The Simpsons" is a 20th Century Fox production. You know this company from movies like

Dr. Doolittle
Romeo & Juliet
The Thin Red Line
The X - Files

or TV series like

Beverly Hills 90210
The X - Files
Melrose Place

"The Simpsons" were created by the cartoonist Matt Groening in 1987. At first it was a series of 30 - second spots for the FOX series "The Tracy Ullman Show". A total of 48 shorts were produced over the first three seasons, and Bart is the only character to appear in all 48. The response to the spots was so positive that FOX made a half - hour Christmas special on Dec. 17, 1989. Since Jan. 14, 1990 "The Simpsons" is a regular series.

"The Simpsons" was Groening's introduction into the animation world. Previously, he was best known for his "Life in Hell" cartoon strip. This was an irreverent[1] portrayal of broken life that debuted in 1977. It currently appears in more than 250 newspapers world - wide.
Groening named the characters after members of his family: Father Homer, Mother Marge, and sisters Lisa and Maggie. The son was christened Bart, a play of the word brat, and would be given characteristics of Matt himself and his brother Mark.

"The Simpsons" is registered in the Guinness Book of Records for the longest animated series in the television history. There are more than 200 episodes. The show’s 100thepisode was aired in April 1994, the 200thin May 1998.

"The Simpsons" has become a staple[2] for guest stars all over music, sports, movies, and television like:

Bette Midler
James Brown
Meryl Streep
Kathleen Turner
Siegfried and Roy
Entering its 9thseason, "The Simpsons" has been honored with

a Peobody Award
10 Emmy Awards
7 Annie Awards
3 Genesis Awards
3 International Monitor Awards and
3 Environment Media Awards.

Bartholomew J. Simpson

Aliases: El Barto, Bartman
Age: 10
Occupation: Student

Bart is the most misunderstood Simpson. At heart, he is just a good kid with a few bad ideas and one or two that are still being reviewed by the Springfield district attorney. He enjoys skateboarding, bubble gum and caring for his pet elephant. Bart’s first words as a baby were "Aye, Carumba!".

Homer J. Simpson

Age: 35
Occupation: Nuclear Safety Technician

Homer is a devoted[3] husband. He loves his family and he would do just about anything to prove it. He enjoys drinking beer, at home or in a bar.
Homer works at Springfield’s nuclear power plant as a safety inspector, a job he secured after passing the specialised training course on his third attempt.

Lisa Marie Simpson

Age: 8
Occupation: Student, Sax Player

Lisa’s enormous intelligence and moral authority place her in a unique position in the Simpson family. Her first word as a baby was "Bart". She has got her common sense, hard work ethic and sympathy for others from her mother.
For the record, Lisa says she watches TV only for "The MacNeil - Lehrer Report". In truth, however, she is always willing to interrupt a piercing MacNeil - Lehrer roundtable whenever her beloved "Itchy and Scratchy" cartoons are on TV. Her deep love for cartoon characters proves that, no matter how precocious she may be, Lisa is still a Simpson.

Margaret (Maggie) Simpson

Age: 1
Occupation: None

Over all seasons, we have watched Maggie grow from a cute pacifier[4] - sucking infant[5] into a cute pacifier - sucking infant who has said her first word, "Daddy".

Marge Bouvier Simpson

Age: 34
Occupation: Houswife, Mother

Marge is the putty[6] that holds the Simpson family together week after week. Marge’s one extravagance is having her tall blue hair done twice a day.

The Production

Pre - Production

It all starts early each year. Usually in January or February a conference of all the current writing and production staff will get together and discuss show ideas. Eight or ten stories will come out of each of these conferences. One episode is usually expanded into a 25 or 30 page outline full of character dialogue.

The Recording Session

The recording session is done totally live in the fahion of an old radio play. Scenes are usually recorded five or six times to test infelction[7], volume, and rewrites. Sometimes the animators come in to watch to get some inspiration, and they often mimic the actors’ movements in whatever character they’re playing when they animate.
There are about 80 - 90 speaking parts present in each episode. Divided by a few very talented speakers, the actors take up about a dozen voices apiece.

The Animation

Now the real hard part begins. A copy of the voice track is sent to the animation studios. There, approximately 24,000 black and white drawings will be produced and somehow coordinated with the voices. When a rough black and white version of the finished episode is completed, it is sent to Korea, at a place called Anivision, where the colour is added. Each drawing is drawn and hand - painted to precision. This is the primary reason why episodes take so long and cost so much (often half a million dollars or more).

The Music

An amazing amount of work goes into the music. This means five days of hard work for one episode. The producers and a team for music and special effects see the entire episode with no dialogue. They decide where and when the music will set in and what exactly is required for certain moments.
The team has got three days to compose the music. Then a 40 - piece orchestra records the music. If there are any vocals to be done, studio singers are used to overdub them later.

Finishing Touches

Once the music has been added, everything is finished. Sometimes, the cast will be called back later to change dialogue and final cuts are made.
[1] irreverent respektlos
[2] staple Hauptgegenstand, Hauptthema
[3] devoted hingebungsvoll, begeistert
[4] pacifier Schnuller
[5] infant Säugling
[6] putty Kitt, kitten
[7] infelction Modulation, (Ton) Veränderung

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