THE SIMPSONS ARCHIVE
FAQS, GUIDES & LISTS

Section I - General Topics


alt.tv.simpsons Basic History

Newsgrouped during the third week of March 1990, alt.tv.simpsons, a Usenet newsgroup, is a free forum for discussing various aspects of the television series The Simpsons.

A separate mailing list also exists for discussing the show, Simpsons-L. To subscribe, send mail to simpsons-l-on@lyris.snpp.com.


The Simpsons Basic History

The Simpsons is an animated television series produced by Gracie Films for Twentieth Century Fox and the Fox Network. It began as a series of interstitals (also called bumpers or shorts) for The Tracey Ullman Show on April 19, 1987, and premiered as a series on December 17, 1989 in the 8PM time slot. Regular broadcasts began on Sundays beginning January 14, 1990. Seasons Two, Three, Four, and Five were broadcast by Fox on Thursday nights in the 8PM slot, before returning to Sunday nights beginning with Season Six. For a brief while, Classic Simpsons was running, beginning at 7 pm to lead the failed block of comedy Fox scheduled for Winter of 1995.

Seasons One, Two, and Three were animated by Klasky-Csupo (pronounced "CLASS-key CHOOP-oh"), who also worked on The Tracey Ullman Show bumpers. Subsequent seasons have been animated by Film Roman, with in-between work being done for both animation houses by Akom Production Company, Anivision, and Rough Draft Studios in Korea.

The Simpson family was created in ~15 minutes while Matt Groening waited in the foyer to James L. Brooks' office, a long-standing legend confirmed in the Oprah Winfrey Interview by Groening himself.

Production on The Simpsons as a series began in April 1989.


"The Tracey Ullman Show" Simpsons History

It was under the suggestion of Pauly Platt, a "Life in Hell" (see Sec 2.2) fan in the "Tracey Ullman Show" offices, that brought Simpsons creator Matt Groening to work on Ullman.

According to Producer/Director David Silverman, production on the Ullman Simpsons shorts lasted approximately four weeks. Currently, production takes approximately six months for an episode of The Simpsons.

The four animators of the totallity of the Ullman shorts (David, Wesley Archer, Bill Kopp, Tim Berglund) got together working on the 1986 movie One Crazy Summer and its brief animated segments, before getting the opportunity to animate the Ullman shorts with the then-relatively new animation company Klasky-Csupo.


Series Timeline


YearEvent
1955Homer born (05/10/1955)
1956Marge born (Within 1 year of Homer.)
1974-1975Homer & Marge graduate High School
1980Homer & Marge wed; Homer gets job at SNPP; Bart is born
1983The Simpsons move into Evergreen Terrace; Lisa is born
1989Maggie is born; Homer & Marge's 10th Anniversary; Snowball II becomes family cat after death of Snowball I; Santa's Little Helper becomes family dog

According to the 1993 "Simpsons Fun Calendar," Maggie was actually born on 19th August 1985, and Bart was born on 17th December 1979. These calendars are MG's productions, and thus can not follow the continual updating the writers impose upon the series. However, from MG's view, these dates are approximately correct, considering the first airings of The Tracey Ullman Show bumpers and the fact that MG has plainly stated the characters do not age.

This is however, a little inconsistent with the UFA, another MG production which unfortunately is inconsistent with the series. In this, it is said that Bart was born on the April 1st, 1980. However, this production appears to have been written before Season Three season was completed, and thus has great inconsistencies with Season Three episodes like "I Married Marge". And according to the Olympic events scheduled on her birthday in "Lisa's First Word", Lisa was born on August 2, 1984. However, Homer also held up a newspaper on her birthday which puts the date closer to March.

More trickiness: Bart says he is two years and thirty eight days older than Lisa in "My Sister, My Sitter," which would make Bart's birthday June 25th, 1982.

At this time, it appears that the production staff has chosen to ignore certain established continuity references beginning with Season Five, and as such the LISA has chosen to reciprocate and ignore subsequent continuity where it interferes with previously established events.


Relevant Associated Newsgroups, Fanclubs, and FTP/WWW Sites

Newsgroups:


alt.tv.simpsons                    - For general discussion of The Simpsons
de.rec.tv.simpsons                 - For German-speaking fans of The Simpsons
uk.media.tv.simpsons               - For fans of The Simpsons in the U.K.
it.fan.simpsons                    - For Italian fans of The Simpsons
peru.fans.simpsons                 - For fans of The Simpsons in Peru
alt.fan.itchy-n-scratchy           - For fans of Itchy & Scratchy
alt.tv.simpsons.itchy-scratchy     - For discussing "The Itchy & Scratchy Show"
alt.binaries.tv.simpsons           - For the posting of Simpsons images
alt.binaries.sounds.cartoons       - For sounds related to the Simpsons
alt.tv.king-of-hill                - For discussing King of the Hill
alt.tv.southpark                   - For discussing South Park
alt.tv.futurama                    - For discussing Futurama
alt.tv.familyguy/alt.tv.family-guy - For discussing Family Guy

FTP and WWW:

ftp://snpp.com - http://www.snpp.com
Known as "The Simpsons Archive", it is the current archive site with a large collection of documents and texts. For specifics on digimark, send Email to Gary Goldberg.

 -> The following World Wide Web sites represent only a sampling of the dozens of Simpsons-related pages in existence. These sites are included on the basis of relative quality, uniqueness, and contribution to the field.

Pages dedicated to the show in general:

http://nerd.simplenet.com/fuxworld/sampsons/ http://www.labyrinth.net.au/~kwyjibo/ http://www.geocities.com/Hollywood/Lot/6203/simp.html http://www.wcat.com/~varro/simpsons.html http://www.cyberspc.mb.ca/~davehall
http://simpsonsarch.home.pages.de/
http://www.teleport.com/~jrolsen/simpsons/simpsons00.html
http://members.aol.com/bobakabob/simpsons/index.html

Pages dedicated to specific characters:

http://www.pettifogger.com/hutz.htm

Commercial pages:

http://www.harryshearer.com (Harry Shearer's site for his Santa Monica based Public Radio program, "Le Show") http://www.wnol.com/wnol/simpsonschat.html
http://www.pdi.com/PDIPage/screening/special/simpsons.html
http://www.foxnetwork.com/simpindx.htm
http://www.thezone.pair.com/tv/simpsons.htm
The Ultimate TV List
Yahoo

Two servers suggested as starting points for Archie users are archie.au and nic.funet.fi.

Fanclubs:

The Lisa Simpson Fan Club (LSFC) is devoted to the girl who is arguably the smartest character on television today. For more information or to join the mailing list, visit the LSFC homepage at http://www.wcat.com/lsfc. You can also join the list by sending email to majordomo@wcat.com with the phrase subscribe lsfc in the body.

The Homer J. Simpson Fan Club is dedicated to worshipping the one and only Homer the Great. Send Email to antagone@aol.com for more information.


Frequently Used Acronyms


 Acronym             Translation

  a.t.s.        -  The Usenet newsgroup alt.tv.simpsons
  MG           -  Matt Groening
  OFF          -  Our Favorite Family  (The Simpsons, of course)
  SLH          -  Santa's Little Helper  (the Simpsons' family dog)
  DYN          -  Did You Notice, Didja Notice
  LIH          -  "Life in Hell"  (MG's comic strip)
  I&S          -  Itchy and Scratchy
  FFF, FF      -  Freeze-Frame Fun
  SNPP         -  Springfield Nuclear Power Plant
  IMHO, IMO    -  In My (Humble) Opinion
  BTW          -  By The Way
  WRT          -  With Regard(s) To, With Respect To
  ROFL         -  Rolling On the Floor Laughing
  IYKWIM       -  If You Know What I Mean
  AFAIK        -  As Far As I Know
  WTF          -  What The [Heck]
  IIRC         -  If I Recall Correctly, If I Remember Correctly
  OTOH         -  On the Other Hand
Other Terms:
Production Code  -  The four character episode number given to each episode
P-Code           -  Production Code, ie: 7G08, 7F24, 2F05.  (See Sec 2.1)
Couch Gag        -  Part of the title sequence when the family runs into the
                    house and something unusual happens.
Ref              -  Reference, where an event or scene in the show parodies
                    another show, movie, or event.
Blackboard Quote -  What Bart writes on the chalkboard at the beginning of the
                    title sequence
Cutoff           -  The last thing Bart writes on the chalkboard as he is
                    dismissed from school in the title sequence.
Episode Capsule  -  A compilation file for each episode.  (See Sec 3.1)

Topics That Tend To Go Nowhere

As with most newsgroups, certain threads have been beaten to death. These issues generally revolve around topics that are based on individual interpretations of the evidence presented. As such, there are no set answers, and a large percentage of the readers have either already made up their minds on the subject, or have been bombarded with the topic before.

SNPP.com staff member Ben Collins has run an annual poll since 1997 on alt.tv.simpsons during the summer hiatus to give an update on the current "Best/Worst Episode/Season Ever" consensus, in an effort to provide conclusive collective opinions on some of the Topics That Tend to Go Nowhere which plague alt.tv.simpsons. See the results of his alt.tv.simpsons polls at http://www.geocities.com/TelevisionCity/Studio/7587/polls/

The following is a list of topics which competantly meet the requirements for being a "topic that tends to go no where." As such, it's probably a good idea to try and avoid them.

  • Favorite [insert character name] Quotes
  • Favorite Episodes
  • [insert episode name here] is the Best/Worst Ever.
  • [insert character here] Sucks/Rules
  • [insert season number here] was the Best/Worst Season Ever.
  • Character development is better than cheap gags.
  • Reality vs. Surrealism
  • If you don't like the way the show is headed, then stop watching it.
  • You shouldn't complain about new episodes, everything else on TV sucks.
  • Stop complaining about new episodes, one day the show won't be here to complain about anymore.
  • Smithers is gay, Burns-sexual or bisexual.
  • We tied onions to our belts, which was the style at the time.
  • Family Guy rules/sucks.
  • Futurama rules/sucks.

Be respectful of other people's opinions. If there are people posting negative/positive reviews for episodes of later/earlier years, let it be. Some of the above listed topics tend to generate strong emotional feelings from some people, and if you wish to discuss them, it's best to take it to private e-mail or not to discuss it at all if you don't wish to discuss it rationally and courteously. (See Sec 2.1, Sec 3.3)

In addition, it is wise to avoid fanning the flames of posters who are intentionally starting inflammatory threads simply to elicit an angry response by not responding to them. These are called trolls, and even alt.tv.simpsons isn't immune to them.

Also, it is asked that binary files (GIFs, JPEGs, WAVs, MPEGs, etc.) be directed to the appropriate alt.binaries.* newsgroup rather than posting them to a.t.s. directly.


On to Section I

Copyright © 2001 by Tammy Hocking & Matt Rose (See Sec 8.3)


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Last updated on July 16, 2001 by
Tammy Hocking (kwyjibo@snpp.com) & Matt Rose (mrose@snpp.com)



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