The Simpsons, love it or hate it, you’ve no doubt heard of the animated TV show, and like it or not, you’ve probably used one of the many words or phrases attributed to the characters too – I’m in the fan category, so you can “eat my shorts”!
The Simpsons first debuted way back in 1989, and now, after 24 seasons it rules supreme in TV world for holding the title for the longest-running American sitcom, the longest-running American animated programme, and longest-running American primetime, scripted television series, not to mention the 27 Primetime Emmys it has accumulated.
In 1999, the highly regarded Time magazine named it the best TV show of the 20th century, and Bart Simpson was named one of the century’s 100 most influential people – despite being a cartoon character!
In 2008, Empire magazine ranked the show number one in its greatest 50 TV shows ever, Bart and Homer have both been named Entertainment Weekly’s Entertainer of the Year, and when Marcia Wallace, the voice of Edna Krabappel, died last month, there was an outpouring of grief from fans all around the world.
So, they have been culturally significant, but their influence doesn’t end there, with numerous words and phrases from the show used in common parlance and even entered into various dictionaries, the most famous of which would be Homer Simpson’s expression of annoyance, “D’oh!”
According to The Simpson’s creator, Matt Groening, the expression was inspired by a character in the Laurel and Hardy films, who often said “Dow” in frustration at the pair’s antics, this was transformed into a faster version of “D’oh!” to suit animation, and Dan Castellaneta’s voice – and is now famously an entry in the Oxford English Dictionary.
Similarly, the popularity of the dismissive expression “Meh” has been attributed to The Simpsons. Although it may have its origins from Yiddish, its use in The Simpsons as early as 1995, has led to its widespread usage, and in 2008 it was selected from hundreds of submissions as the public’s entry for the 30th anniversary edition of the Collins English Dictionary.
There are entire websites dedicated to Simpsons-speak, much of which is only recognised by the truly dedicated fans, but most of us will have either heard, read, or seen (usually on T-Shirts) the more common phrases – here are a few to remind you: "Don't have a cow, man"; “Ay Carumba!”; “Okily Dokily”; “Hi, I'm Troy McClure! You may remember me from such (insert appearance type) as (insert title) and (insert second title)”; “cheese-eating surrender monkeys”, and the fabulous “craptacular”.
We could go on, but you get the gist. And although we will never see the day that Homer and his clan win the brains of Britain, we reckon Shakespeare would be proud! What are your favourite sayings from The Simpsons?