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36 Things You Probably Didn't Know About "The Simpsons"

You'll have to speak up. I'm wearing a towel.

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1. Characters in The Simpsons are yellow because creator Matt Groening wanted to get the attention of people who were channel hopping.

2. Before going on to make his name as a talkshow host, Conan O'Brien was a writer on the show. He wrote classic episodes such as "Marge vs the Monorail".

3. On his first day working on the show, however, a bird flew through the window, killing itself in the process. His colleagues tried to convince him that it was an omen.

4. If Bart Simpson aged normally, he'd now be 34. The age that was given to Marge when the show started.

5. There is a full McBain movie hidden across a number of episodes, though this apparently occurred entirely by accident.

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6. Homer, Marge, Lisa, Maggie, and Patty were the names of Groening's real life parents, sisters, and aunt.

7. The name Bart, however, was chosen because it was an anagram of "brat".

8. When South Park aired its anti-Family Guy episode, the cast of The Simpsons sent creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker flowers.

9. Whenever Bart prank-calls Moe's, he dials the number 764-84377. When typed on an old-style phone these numbers spell out "SMITHERS".

10. According to a family tree that Groening produced, Mr Burns is a distant relative of the Simpsons.


11. Johnny Cash played the hallucinogenic coyote in the surreal but ever-popular episode "El Viaje Misterioso del Nuestro Homer (The Mysterious Voyage of Homer)".

12. But in terms of high-profile guest appearances, arguably the biggest was Michael Jackson in 1991 episode "Stark Raving Dad". There is some controversy about whether it's actually him as he wouldn't let them use his name in the credits, but it DEFINITELY was.

13. However, though it was his voice when he was talking, he wasn't allowed to sing, so an impersonator was used to record "Happy Birthday Lisa".

14. Jackson also had another link with the show – he co-wrote and produced Bart's chart topping hit, "Do the Bartman".

15. Sideshow Bob and Principal Skinner shared the prison number 24601 (the latter during Vietnam). This was also the prison number of Hank Jennings in Twin Peaks and Jean Valjean in Les Misérables.

16. As well as voicing characters such as Bart, Nelson, and Ralph, Nancy Cartwright also played Chuckie in Rugrats from 2002 to 2004.

17. After the tragic death of Phil Hartman in 1998, all of his characters were retired, including Lionel Hutz and fan-favourite Troy McClure. They do sometimes appear silently in crowd shots, however.

18. Maude Flanders was killed off after voice artist Maggie Roswell felt Fox wasn't paying her enough and decided to leave the show. She has since returned, but sadly it was too late for poor old Maude.

19. According to the DVD commentary, "The City of New York vs Homer Simpson" wasn't aired for five years after 9/11 because the episode focuses heavily on the World Trade Center.

20. Though it is now shown again, some lines have been permanently edited out. One such scene shows two men arguing between the two towers. One says to the other: "They stick all the jerks in Tower One!"

21. You may have noticed that Smithers was originally black. It was decided that a subservient black character could cause controversy so he was turned yellow.


22. When *NSync appeared on the show, Justin Timberlake complained that in real life he would never say "word!" as was scripted, so as a joke the editing team reused the one take where he said "word!" after nearly every line.

23. The Who appeared in the episode "A Tale of Two Springfields", but Pete Townshend didn't want to take part so got his brother Paul to voice him instead.

24. In "Lisa's First Word" we finally hear Maggie speak when she ends the episode with the word "Daddy". This was voiced by Elizabeth Taylor.

25. The sucking noise that Maggie makes the rest of the time, however, was actually recorded by Groening himself.

26. God and Jesus are the only characters in The Simpsons that have five fingers.

27. The Simpson family were very nearly rabbits. Groening told the BBC: "I was going to do something completely different but then thought to myself, 'I'll do humans instead of bunny rabbits,' which was my original idea. And then I just drew them really quickly."

28. In the original opening titles the price that appears on the cash register when Maggie is scanned is $847.63. According to Matt Groening this was the monthly cost of raising a child in 1989.

29. In the Arabic version of the show Homer is called Omar Shamshoon.

30. Veronique Augereau and Phillipe Peythieu, who dub the voices of Marge and Homer in the French version of the show, married in real life in 2001. Tres bien!

31. Hank Azaria (who plays Chief Wiggum, Moe, Apu, and many more) auditioned twice for the role of Joey in Friends. He later went on to play Phoebe's love interest, David the scientist.

32. Supervillain Hank Scorpio was at one point going to return as the bad guy in The Simpsons Movie, but the idea was sadly dropped.

33. The movie wasn't released in Burma because, bizarrely, the colours red and yellow are banned in movies. Sure.

34. Dustin Hoffman appears in 1991 episode "Lisa's Substitute" as substitute teacher Mr Bergstrom. Like Michael Jackson, he was credited under a pseudonym.

35. Meanwhile, Paul and Linda McCartney agreed to lend their voices to the episode "Lisa the Vegetarian" on the condition that Lisa remained a vegetarian throughout the rest of the series. She still is one to this day.

36. Moe was only given the surname Szyslak so his initials would be MS and he could therefore be implicated in the shooting of Mr Burns.