The Simpsons have been around for fourteen years and still been able to stay fresh and relevant. They have been able to invoke controversy and yet still been able not to become too controversial. They have changed America by being the satire on the American family, all the while gaining more and more viewers through smarting and hilarious writing. Though as with most shows, The Simpsons had their meager beginnings. .
The Simpsons have produced over three hundred episodes tying Ozzie and Harriet the longest running sitcom and will hold this record alone after this forthcoming season. This is particularly impressive when you stop to consider where the show originates. The show that was to become The Simpsons started as a couple of thirty second buffers, something that led into a show or out of after and before commercials, for The Tracey Ullman Show in 1987. Matt Groening at the time was a cartoonist for a few regional newspapers. He drew a cartoon called "Life in Hell" which took shots at the darker side of life and who's protagonist was a little, white bunny named Blinky. James L. Brooks, a producer for The Tracey Ullman Show, saw these cartoons and asked Groening to make a few animation pieces for the show. Brooks had also produced for Taxi, The Mary Lyler Moore Show, and Room 222. Groening agreed and this was the beginning of what was soon to become The Simpons. In 1989 the cartoons became so popular that a spin off was green-lighted and The Simpsons headed for primetime. Joining Groening and Brooks to help executive produce and write for the show was Al Jean. This was Jean's first major break who also wrote for Alf, It's Garry Shandling's Show and The Tonight show Starring Johnny Carson. In the first season the animation was not good to say the least. Groening stated his displeasure with the first season animation by saying, "I gave the animators my rough sketches I thought they would clean them up a little, but as it turns out all they were doing was tracing my drawings" (qtd.