11. THE SIMPSONS
Created by Matt Groening, Developed by James L. Brooks and Matt Groening and Sam Simon
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Aired: FOX, 1989-Present
The Simpsons is as ineffable as American humor gets. Among the show’s landmarks (hitting 100 episodes, then 200, then 500) was the inclusion of Homer’s exclamation, “Doh!” in the Oxford English Dictionary (“used to comment on a foolish or stupid action, especially one’s own”). As the story of The Simpsons’ development goes, producer Polly Platt passed Matt Groening’s popular alt-comic strip Life in Hell to Tracey Ullman Show producer James L. Brooks, who wanted to use the strip as brief animated segments for the Ullman sketch show. Instead, Groening created the characters of The Simpsons – or what would become The Simpsons as developed by Groening, Brooks, and Sam Simon. The show’s history is also the history of alumni from The Harvard Lampoon flocking to Hollywood to work in TV comedy, George Meyer, Richard Appel Jr., and Mike Reiss (a longtime executive producer with writing partner Al Jean) among them.
Matt Groening on Life in Hell and the Homer that inspired him to be a cartoonist
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