in over 2()() weekly newspapers. Groening still continues to devote one day a week to penning the comic strip. even though he’s at the helm of a multimedia empire. But it would be The Simpsmts that changed Groening‘s life forever. Broadcast around the world to 70 countries and a cash cow worth millions in
Groening continues to help shape and tweak storylines for the show. ‘1 stick my nose in when I think it’s needed,’ he says, adding that talks are under way for a Simpsons motion picture. ‘But it’s certainly not as intense as it has been in the past.’ Instead, producer Mike Scully handles the day-to—day duties, freeing
the show and l was worried that if] was not at The Simpsons every day, the show might meander.’
The other great consequence of success has been the catchphrases — ‘D’ohl’, ‘Don’t have a cow, man’, ‘Ay Caramba’ — that have infiltrated Groening’s life. And now their
merchandising alone each year, The Simpsons has maintained an unparalleled achievement of consistent hip irreverence and clever satire for over ten years now. making it one of the 90s true pop culture phenomenons.
lts origins lie in a series of shorts shown on The Tracey Ullman Show. for which Groening concocted a cast named after members of his own family (though Bart was originally dubbed ‘Matt‘). After 49 simplistic shorts, the characters soon got their own primetime TV special in December I989 and. within a month, premiered as a weekly half hour series. By that Spring. Simpsonsmania had swept the country and commenced warping the minds of kids across North America. Homer, Marge, Bart. Lisa. and Maggie quickly replaced the Cosbys as the archetypical American family, while Springfield‘s demented denizens became part of television‘s most sharply written and fully developed characters.
Groening to be ‘very much consumed’ by Futurama. Though he was begged for years by Fox to create a Simpsons follow- up, Groening always resisted, ‘because I was
having too much fun working
creator would like to take this opportunity to issue a public apology for that saturation of Simpsonese speak, repeated back to him more times than he cares to count. ‘At the beginning of The Simpsons, I thought it was fun to create catch- phrases,’ he laughs, ‘but now it’s just plain annoying. I mean. I was on stage giving a speech a few weeks ago and I accidentally dropped the microphone and half the audience yelled out “D-ohl". It follows me where ever I go.’
Futurama begins on Sky One on Tue 21 Sep, 8pm.
26 Aug—9 Sep THE lIST 112