Things You Didn't Know About 'The Simpsons'


Fanatics of “The Simpsons” may think they know everything there is to know about the show. Mike Reiss, who has been a writer, producer and show-runner for the series from the day it began nearly 30 years ago to the present, has written a book titled “Springfield Confidential: Jokes, Secrets and Outright Lies From a Lifetime of Writing for ‘The Simpsons’.” Here are a few fun facts even the most loyal fans may not know.

The Opening

Writes Reiss: “Since season one, January 1990, each Simpsons episode begins with a joke that is missed by tens of millions of fans in hundreds of millions of viewings. When The Simpsons title card emerges from the clouds, you see the first half of the family’s name, “The Simps,” before the rest of the word. So what? Well, “Simps" is short for simpletons — stupid people — like the ones you’re about to see in the show. If you never caught this, don’t feel bad; most of our current staff didn’t know it, either.”


Comic Padding

Sometimes scripts run too short to air and need additional material. “There’s the famous Sideshow Bob joke in the ‘Cape Feare’ episode that involves him stepping on an endless series of rakes. That alone was creative padding. But the show was still seven seconds short, so [show runner] Al Jean said, ‘Let’s do it again.’ We repeated the sequence exactly, and somehow turned a slapstick joke into a surreal classic.”

The Prediction

In the futuristic episode, “Bart to the Future,” Lisa says, “We’ve inherited quite a budget crunch from President Trump.” “An impressive call,” writes Reiss, "especially since we made it in 2000, 16 years before he was elected. Virtually every news outlet mentioned the joke, but none of our writers can recall who pitched it. Or maybe nobody wants the blame. One thing to remember about the prediction: ‘President Trump’ was the punchline to the setup, ‘What’s the dumbest thing we can imagine America doing?’ ”.....