Hi there and welcome to another Simpsons Sunday post. Well, it’s 2 weeks away from Season 26 of The Simpsons and the crossover episode with Family Guy. Are you excited? I certainly am and it will be interesting to see how the Simpsons/ Futurama crossover episode also turns out. Let us also not forget that the cast of The Simpsons and others are performing at the Hollywood Bowl this weekend, with 3 concerts on Friday, Saturday and tonight. From all accounts I have heard that it is a great time being had by all and I wish I was lucky enough to be there and maybe meet the cast and the creator himself, Matt Groening.
This week The Simpsons will meet The Simpsons? Okay, on Wednesday I found out that the current day Simpsons will meet the Tracey Ullman era Simpson family in the next Installment of Treehouse Of Horror, which will air on October 19th. Even better, the cast will do their original voices for the characters back then in this episode too.
To give those of us who are newer to the series some background, about how The Simpsons came to be a primetime animated show on Fox. In 1985, Simpsons creator Matt Groening was going to pitch a series of animated shorts to James L. Brooks for his commic strip Life In Hell cartoon, while James was working on The Tracey Ullman show. At the last minute Matt Groening decided to go in another direction and create the crudely drawn Simpson family, which first appeared before and after the commercials as animated shorts, on April 19th 1987. He went in this direction because he realized that he would possibly have to ressynd publishing for his life’s work on Life In Hell. He also named the characters after members of his family except for Bart, which is an anagram for the word brat.
Julie Kavner and Dan Castellaneta were already a part of the cast and were asked to voice Marge and Homer respectively as the parents of their 3 kids: Bart, Lisa and Maggie. Nancy Cartwright was of course hired as the voice of Bart and Yeardley Smith became the voice of Lisa. Obviously, we know how long all 4 of them have retained their voice rolls. As for Maggie’s pacifier? Well, according to Nancy Cartwright in her book My Life As A 10-Year-Old Boy, Matt Groening made that sound on the shorts and I assume that it is a sample we hear throughout the series as her sucking.
To get back to an earlier point, I mentioned the original voices for the family. Yes, it is the same cast from April 19th 1987 to present day but not all the voices are the same as they were back then.
If you have followed The Simpsons from then to now you notice that Homer’s voice is much different from what it was on the Tracey Ullman shorts to what it is today. Dan Castellaneta used a Walter Matthau type of sound to the voice. This was from the Tracy Allman shorts to season one of the series. It became more like the Homer we know starting from Season 2 but you can still hear a bit of the old sound at times and by Season 3 it became the Homer we all know and love as that bumbling loveable idiot, or jerk,or whatever he wants to be during an episode.
Marge had a change to her voice too in that it was always with the gravel but it was pitched higher and was rather wavy in sound. She too became more stable as the show went on.
Bart and Lisa aren’t so obvious in voice but in personality, you can surely tell the difference. Bart was a brat and only a brat and Lisa was also terrorized by Bart however she could also be said to be a female version of him on the Tracey Ullman shorts.. She and Bart also changed in that Bart was still a mischievous little troublemaker but he also had a softer side in the series. Case in point, on the series premiere Simpsons Roasting On An Open Fire, when Homer realizes that he only gets payed $13.00 for being a mall Santa Bart says “ohh, come on Dad. Let’s go home.”
Later on when Santa’s Little Helper looses at the dog track and comes over to Homer and Bart after being dismissed by his original owner for loosing too many times, Bart says “oh, can we keep him Dad, please?” Homer refuses at first but when SLH kisses him he says “he’s, a Simpson.” Santa’s Little Helper becomes Bart’s best friend and a character he shows that softer side to in the show.
Lisa obviously became the intelligent bookworm we all know and love, thanks to Yeardley Smith and her delivery of Lisa’s lines. She also makes Lisa sing like an angel too.
Even Grandpa Simpson sounded a bit different those days too. He was a cranky old man but not quite like we know and love him today on the Shorts and in the first 13 episodes. Nowadays you do notice a difference in voice as well as a more comically amplified elderly type of personality from Season 3 onwards as Homer’s voice changed too. Grandpa Simpson is now the cranky old senile man we all know and love and laugh at on a weekly basis, when his character appears.
If you really want to dig deep into this, check out My Life As A 10-Year-Old Boy by Nancy Cartwright. You can go on the internet and you can even find some of the old Tracey Ullman shorts on Youtube as well. I have a long time ago and they are very interesting to hear and compare to how it sounds 27 years later. My favourite so far is when Homer and Bart are left alone at home, while Marge, Lisa and Maggie go out for the evening. Homer decides to put Fish nuggets and pork-a-rony and Bart obviously doesn’t likes it and says “tastes like dog food.” Now that I think about it the mix would be unappealing to me too. I mean, I like fish and I like pork butt mix the two together? Yuck!
As usual to end each Simpsons Sunday post, I recommend checking out Chris Ladesma’s blog. He is the Music Editor for The Simpsons and has been since day 1.
I also recommend checking out Yeardley Smith’s blog at http://gobbingoff.tumblr.com
I should also mention Marchez Vous, which is her women’s shoe designer company, which she started earlier in the decade. You can check out their website at
For some strange reason everyone I know hasn’t heard of them yet. Hopefully I can change that.
You can also comment here or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will reply as soon as I can to all messages I receive. I would much prefer getting an email so I can reply directly to you, but that’s just me.
One final thing to mention is that you can follow Simpsons Executive Producer Al Jean on Twitter and his Twitter handle is @AlJean.
He has ran the show since Season 13 and has ran it during Seasons 3 and 4.
Anyway, that is it for this weeks post. Talk to you again on Weather Wednesday.