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How The Simpsons Evolved Over Time

Updated June 12, 2019 106.7k views17 items

The Simpsons manages to be both timeless and a throwback - it's been on television for 30 years. Some critics might claim The Simpsons isn't good anymore, but it's evolved with the times and influenced countless modern animators.

Starting as short animated sketches, the family first appeared on The Tracey Ullman Show in the late '80s. The characters' colorful complexions and minimalist features were something of a mistake, though. When creator Matt Groening originally drew the designs, he assumed animators would improve upon them. The animators kept Groening's preliminary sketches, however, giving the world the Simpsons they now know and love.

While recent Simpsons seasons may pale in comparison to the show in its heyday, the characters certainly look a whole lot better than they did in the 1980s.

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  • Photo: Fox / Fox
    Homer Jay Simpson is a fictional character and the main protagonist of the American animated sitcom The Simpsons. He is voiced by Dan Castellaneta and first appeared on television, along with the rest of his family, in The Tracey Ullman Show short "Good Night" on April 19, 1987. Homer was created and designed by cartoonist Matt Groening while he was waiting in the lobby of James L. Brooks' office. Groening had been called to pitch a series of shorts based on his comic strip Life in Hell but instead decided to create a new set of characters. He named the character after his father, Homer Groening. After appearing for three seasons on The Tracey Ullman Show, the Simpson family got their own...  more

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    • Photo: Fox / Fox
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      • Photo: Fox / Fox
        Bartholomew JoJo "Bart" Simpson is a fictional character in the animated television series The Simpsons and part of the Simpson family. He is voiced by Nancy Cartwright and first appeared on television in the Tracey Ullman Show short "Good Night" on April 19, 1987. Cartoonist Matt Groening created and designed Bart while waiting in the lobby of James L. Brooks' office. Groening had been called to pitch a series of shorts based on Life in Hell but instead decided to create a new set of characters. While the rest of the characters were named after Groening's family members, Bart's name was an anagram of the word brat. After appearing on The Tracey Ullman Show for three years, the Simpson...  more
        • Photo: Fox / Fox
          Lisa Marie Simpson is a fictional character in the animated television series The Simpsons. She is the middle child of the Simpson family. Voiced by Yeardley Smith, Lisa first appeared on television in The Tracey Ullman Show short "Good Night" on April 19, 1987. Cartoonist Matt Groening created and designed her while waiting to meet James L. Brooks. Groening had been invited to pitch a series of shorts based on his comic Life in Hell, but instead decided to create a new set of characters. He named the elder Simpson daughter after his younger sister Lisa Groening. After appearing on The Tracey Ullman Show for three years, the Simpson family were moved to their own series on Fox, which...  more

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