30 Years of the Simpsons – Welcome to Springfield

From Katharina Wilhelm

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Cult for 30 years: Maggie, Marge, Bart, Homer and Lisa Simpson. (dpa / © 20thCentFox / courtesy Everett Collection)

They survived nuclear disasters and even predicted Trump: “The Simpsons” are celebrating their 30th birthday today. Well-known guest stars, cryptic humor and a merciless view of American society have given the US cartoon series cult status.

Welcome to Springfield, a small town somewhere in the USA where the absolute average Americans live – at least that was the intention of Simpsons creator Matt Groening. He created the yellow family, which at least on the surface looks pretty close to his own family:

“I named her after my own family,” Groening said on Charlie Rose’s talk show: “Homer is my father, Margret – Marge – is my mother, I have a younger sister Lisa and a little sister Maggie.”

The only difference was that he didn’t name his son Matt, he said Bart, so that not everyone would think the stories were autobiographical.

The Simpsons don’t mince their words

The Simpsons are anything but an average family anyway and have already experienced a lot in their 30 years: Father Homer flies into space or invents the tomaco, a mix of tomato and tobacco. Housewife Marge takes on jobs in between, becomes a bodybuilder or even a drag queen. The smart Lisa and the cheeky Bart regularly solve criminal cases and Baby Maggie starts small wars with another baby.

But it’s not just the absurd and evil humor that defines the Simpsons. The Simpsons, who run on the very conservative channel “Fox”, do not mince words. In their own way, they comment on modern America, the grievances such as ailing schools or the health system.

They even predicted Trump

And sometimes they can even look into the future: In one episode, Lisa becomes President of the United States as the successor to Donald Trump, who previously plunged the country into economic misery. That was in 2000, 16 years before Donald Trump actually became president.

Even now it is often highly political when the Simspons creators, for example, let special investigator Robert Mueller meet Donald Trump who wants to bribe him.

Many celebrities also appear at the Simpsons – the band Aerosmith or Lady Gaga were allowed to pay a visit to Springfield.

What also makes the Simpsons so likeable is that their creators don’t seem corruptible. Despite the conservative channel Fox, on which they run, they repeatedly criticize it. Disney, who last bought Fox, is also regularly portrayed as super bad. The Simpsons are apparently allowed to do everything, especially when they are 30 years old.


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