A ‘Simpsons’ primer
1. The Simpsons five are named after Matt Groenings own family.
2. Many of the side characters take their names from streets around Groenings native Portland, Ore. i.e., Ned Flanders, after N.E. Flanders Street.
3. Milhouse is named after former President Richard Milhous Nixon.
4. The Simpsons had a couple of addresses over the years, but the writers finally settled on 742 Evergreen Terrace, which is the name of the Portland street that creator Matt Groening grew up on.
5. In the episode “Kamp Krusty,” the Simpsons lived at 430 Spalding Way (a reference to the late humorist Spalding Gray). (Associated Press)
7. Matt Groenings last name is pronounced Gray-ning, not Grow-ning.
8. Dustin Hoffman guest-starred on the show as the inspirational substitute teacher Mr. Bergstorm in Lisas Substitute in Season 2, but because of contractual obligations he could not use his real name and was instead credited as Sam Etic (a play on Semitic).
9. Also because of contractual obligations, Michael Jackson, who supplied the voice of mental patient Leon Kompowski in Stark Raving Dad, was credited as John Jay Smith.
11. Elizabeth Taylor is responsible for usually silent child Maggies first word: Dad-dee.
12. In the classic episode 22 Short Films About Springfield there are arguably only 20 short films (22 if you count the intro and the end credits).
13. Comic Book Guy does, in fact, have a name: Its Jeff Albertson, as revealed in the 15th seasons episode Homer and Neds Hail Mary Pass.
14. It takes about nine months to complete each episode of the show.
15. In the opening credits, the register says $847.63 when Maggie gets scanned through. That number was once reputed to be the cost of raising a baby for a month. (Fox)
17. Dr. Marvin Monroe, a prominent character in the first two seasons of The Simpsons, stopped showing up in later seasons because Harry Shearer said doing the raspy-voiced character hurt his throat.
18. Bleeding Gums Murphy, the blind saxophone man, is loosely based on blues singer Blind Lemon Jefferson and was voiced by Ron Taylor, who originated the part of Audrey II in the original off-Broadway production of Little Shop of Horrors. (Twentieth Century Fox)
20. Hank Azaria voices more than 200 characters in The Simpsons pantheon.
21. The only Simpsons character to be drawn with five fingers on each hand (and not the usual four) is God.
22. The Italian restaurateur Luigi Risotto was copied directly from a pizza box, which is why he looks slightly different from most Simpsons characters. (Fox)
24. Jebediah Obadiah Zachariah Jedediah Springfield, the purported historical founder of the town of Springfield, may be based on Jedediah Smith, an American hunter who explored the Old West in the 1820s and 30s.
25. The aliens Kang and Kodos are named after characters from the original Star Trek series. Kodos the Executioner was featured in the episode Conscience of the King; Kang was a Klingon warrior in the episode Days of the Dove. (Fox)
27. Although similar to the fictional Charles Foster Kane and the real-life William Randolph Hearst, the actual inspiration for C. Montgomery Burns came from Fred Olsen, a Norwegian shipping tycoon and the owner of Timex.
28. The nasal-voiced, blue-haired attorney who appears in nearly every Simpsons courtroom scene was based on Roy Cohn, the aggressive lawyer in the Rosenberg espionage trial and the McCarthy anti-Communist investigations. (AP)
30. Jovial Dr. Hibbert was designed to be a parody of Bill Cosbys Dr. Huxtable on The Cosby Show, which aired opposite The Simpsons in the series early years.
31. Hibberts less-scrupulous counterpart Dr. Nick Riviera is inspired in part by George C. Dr. Nick Nichopoulos, Elvis Presleys personal physician, who kept the singer pumped full of barbiturates, tranquilizers, amphetamines, laxatives and hormones.
32. The median salary for Homers job as nuclear safety inspector is $67,422. (Fox)
34. Maude Flanders was killed off because Maggie Roswell, the actress who voiced her demanded more money.
35. The Simpsons became the longest-running prime-time animated American series in 1997 and the longest-running American comedy in 2004.
36. The knocker on the Simpsons front door is an elephant.
37. There is a real-life 742 Evergreen Terrace in Port Saint Lucie, Fla. (Matt Groening / AP)
39. Doh! was eventually added to both Websters and the Oxford English Dictionary, which lists its first usage in a 1945 BBC radio script.
40. KBBL-TVs news anchorman Kent Brockman is inspired in part by longtime Los Angeles newsman Jerry Dunphy and CTV National News anchor Lloyd Robertson.
41. Harry Shearer is the only Simpsons cast member without an Emmy for his voice-over work.
42. Mr. Burns telephone greeting of Ahoy, hoy? is the same one Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone, reportedly used. (Fox)
44. Conan OBrien, who was a Simpsons writer from 1991 to 1994, created the recurring character of the Sea Captain, who begins each line with a grizzled Arrrr.
45. The band Fall Out Boy is named after the Simpsons universe comic book character who was a sidekick to Radioactive Man. Band members have claimed they had no idea their name was a Simpsons reference when they picked it.
46. Kwik-E-Mart owner Apu Nahasapeemapetilon is named for the lead character of director Satyajit Rays Apu Trilogy. (Fox)
48. Duffman was inspired by the real-life Bud Man, who appeared at events in conjunction with Budweiser.
49. Barts middle name is Jo-Jo.
FOR THE RECORD: An earlier version of this gallery incorrectly stated that Homer’s middle name was Jo-Jo. Homer’s middle name is Jay.
50. Lisa Simpsons music teacher, seen in the beginning of nearly every episode but rarely seen in the series, is named Dewey Largo. (Fox)
Written primarily by a bunch of very smart Harvard guys, “The Simpsons” is an obsessive’s utopia. Almost every character, street name and store sign is a joke or reference to something else.
If, however, you are not the type to jump on “Simpsons” message boards immediately after a new episode airs, and if you haven’t watched the first nine seasons on DVD with commentary more than twice, then there may be a few things you might be missing as a viewer.
And as the movie premieres this weekend, it’s a perfect time to catch up.
To help you out, we spent the better part of our day compiling this list of what the writers were thinking when they put together the show.
and as you watch the movie, perhaps your viewing experience will be, just a little bit, deepened.
The complete guide to home viewing
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