Strife and Celebrations in Springfield

Strife and Celebrations in Springfield

By Nicholas Everard

One of television’s most famous families is set to celebrate yet another milestone this weekend, despite being caught up in controversy.

The Simpsons first began in 1989, and has chalked up 29 seasons of television gold. On Sunday, the animated sitcom will air its 636th episode.

This milestone will see the program break the record for the most episodes of a prime-time scripted series in TV history.

According to series executive producer, Al Jean the achievement is telling of the hard work that goes into the program.

“We never dreamed we’d get this far,” he said. “After we aired 635 this past Sunday, I was pretty confident.

“I thought if we made it it would be a marvelous tribute to the writers, animators and cast who work so hard; and particularly to the wonderful fans who’ve stuck with us all these years.”

The record was previously held by American-western program Gunsmoke, which aired 635 episodes in its 20 season run between 1955 to 1975.

A controversial celebration

Despite its record breaking success, The Simpsons has not escaped criticism.

The program experienced wide-spread media backlash, after being the target of a documentary campaign highlighting racism within the program.

According to the documentary, Indian-American character Apu Nahasapeemapetilon is an example of racial stereotyping.

Following a social media response and failed attempts to acknowledge the issue, voice actor Hank Azaria told media his portrayal of the character was not intended to be offensive.

“It’s certainly not the way I feel about it, and that’s definitely not the message I want to send.

“I’ve given this a lot of thought,” he said. “I am perfectly willing and happy to step aside.”

The actor behind 30 voices on the show also called on producers to hire foreign writers to assist in the character’s depiction.

“In television terms, listening to voices means inclusion in the writers room.”

“I really want to see Indian [and] South Asian writers in the writers room. Not in a token way but genuinely informing whatever new direction this character may take.”

You can listen to his full interview with Stephen Colbert here:

The Simpsons in numbers

With nearly 30 years of television history, The Simpsons has reached some impressive triumphs:

 

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earche04
earche04 66 posts

Erin joined the NRN team straight after graduating from a Bachelor of Communications (Journalism) at Charles Sturt University in 2016.

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