What started as just a series of shorts on The Tracey Ullman Show soon morphed into one of the longest-running primetime cartoon shows and a global behemoth of a series that now seems virtually unending. With its 31st season airing this year (!), Matt Groening’s The Simpsons is set in the fictional town of Springfield and follows the titular family of dad Homer, a safety inspector at a local power plant, mom Marge, a homemaker, and their three children: troublemaker Bart who’s always getting into it at school, Lisa, a precocious activist, and baby Maggie who rarely talks. The family parodies American society and pop culture with their increasing levels of ridiculousness and a huge cast of townie characters that add to the sheer stupidity and genius of the show.
With 663 episodes and counting, The Simpsons outlasted Gunsmoke as the longest-running American scripted primetime TV show in terms of seasons and episodes. A full-length feature film was released in 2007 (entitled The Simpsons Movie), in addition to comic books, video games, and even a Universal Studios ride. The family even has its own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (they’re kind of a big deal).
The Simpsons has been airing since 1989, but thanks to its limited continuity and floating timeline, viewers can easily jump in and out as they please. Now with Disney+, you can stream The Simpsons Season 1 online.
How to Stream ‘The Simpsons’ Season 1 – Exclusively on Disney+
The Parent Trap is one of the classic 90s Disney movies that will be streaming exclusively on Disney’s new subscription streaming service, Disney+.
You can sign up for a 7-day free trial of Disney+ HERE, which will allow you to stream The Parent Trap and hundreds of other movies and shows on your computer, phone, tablet, smart TV or streaming device. If you extend past the free trial, the service costs $6.99/month. You may also opt for this discount bundle of Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ for $12.99/month.
- 1. Sign up for Disney+ here
- 2. Go to Disneyplus.com or download the Disney+ app on your device
- 3. Log in using your information
- 4. Search for “The Parent Trap”
- 5. Start streaming
Disney+ also boasts a vast library of Disney-owned movies and series — plus several new original series coming soon. The service includes unlimited downloads so you can watch offline whenever and wherever you want. The list of compatible devices and smart TVs includes iPads, Apple TV, Amazon devices, Amazon Fire TV, Android, Chromecast, Roku, PS4, and Xbox One.
‘The Simpsons’ Season 1: Overview
Release Date: December 17, 1989 – May 13, 1990
Creators: Creator and producer Matt Groening, and producers James L. Brooks and Sam Simon
Starring: Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith, Harry Shearer, and Hank Azaria
Rating: The series is mostly rated TV-PG, though some episodes are slapped with a TV-14 rating.
Synopsis: The Simpsons is a satirical depiction of working-class life, epitomized by the Simpson family, which consists of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie, all of whom live in the fictional town of Springfield. It parodies American culture and society, television, and the human condition.
How Long Is ‘The Simpsons’ Season 1?
The Simpsons Season 1 consists of 13 episodes in total. Without commercials, episodes range between 22 and 24 minutes.
‘The Simpsons’ Season 1 Plot
The Simpsons are the ultimate, yet very unorthodox nuclear family that often parodies American culture and society and the very nature of television. Dad Homer is a lovable dopey father who stumbles his way through his family life and works at the local nuclear power plant. Marge is an overbearing, but responsible mother, while Bart, the fourth-grade underachiever and troublemaker, is the nemesis to Springfield Elementary’s principal, Mr. Skinner. Sister Lisa is a brainy and responsible eight-year-old, and Maggie, the oft-forgotten baby who barely speaks helps round out the family of five. Based on a series of small cartoon sketches from The Tracy Ullman Show, The Simpsons offers wacky exploits and commentary from their hometown of Springfield and beyond. Other characters include an incompetent lawyer, an incompetent police chief, the too-perfect cookie-cutter neighbors, the Flanders, and an alcoholic local town hero who’s also a “Klown.”
‘The Simpsons’ Season 1 Cast
Dan Castellaneta as Homer Simpson, Grampa Simpson, Krusty the Clown, Groundskeeper Willie, Mayor Quimby, and Barney Gumble
Castellaneta voices the lovable imbecile and patriarch of the family, Homer. His other credits include voice spots on The Batman, Hey Arnold, and Futurama, though Castellaneta also acts on screen as well in shows and movies like Super 8, Parks and Recreation, Castle, and Greek.
Nancy Cartwright as Bart Simpson, Nelson Muntz, Ralph Wiggum, and other children
Cartwright voices the mischievous Bart Simpson. When she’s not working on The Simpsons, she can be found (and heard) on shows like Animaniacs, Kim Possible and Rugrats.
Harry Shearer as Ned Flangers, Principal Skinner, Larry, Mr. Burns, Mr. Smithers, Principal Skinner, Reverend Lovejoy, and Dr. Hibbert.
Shearer voices a number of characters that also include Mr. Burns and Waylon Smithers. When he’s not voice acting, he’s spinning comedy gold in films like A Mighty Wind and This Is Spinal Tap.
Julie Kavner as Marge Simpson, and Patty and Selma Bouvier
Before she got into voice acting, Kavner played Brenda Morgenstern on the series Rhoda. Kavner has also starred in films like Hannah and Her Sisters and Click.
Yeardley Smith as Lisa Simpson
Aside from voice acting, Smith made guest appearances on Dharma & Greg, Murphy Brown, Empty Nest, and Mama’s Family and had a regular role for three seasons as Louise on Herman’s Head.
Hank Azaria as Moe Syzlak, Chief Wiggum, Comic Book Guy, Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, and Professor Frink
When Azaria isn’t lending his voice, he can be seen in fares like Ray Donovan and Brockmire. He was also in films like Birdcage and Mystery Men.
‘The Simpsons’ Season 1 Songs and Soundtrack
Although The Simpsons is well known for its original songs, Season 1 only features tracks by established artists like Madonna and Patsy Cline. The series premiere features Christmas songs like “Santa Baby,” “Winter Wonderland,” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”
The Simpsons released a number of various soundtracks. The first album was called The Simpsons Sing the Blues and was produced shortly after Season 1 during the production of the show’s second season. It’s often seen as a coda to The Simpsons Season 1 that followed after the show’s rampant success.
Different cast members lent their voices to the album that consisted of new material and cover songs. There were a number of notable musicians who appeared on the album, including B.B. King, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Dr. John, and Marcy Levy.
“Do the Bartman” is the first track on the album and was the first single released. It was an international success, including being the number-one single in the UK in February of 1991 and reaching a gold certification after selling over 400,000 copies. The second single released, “Deep, Deep Trouble” also did well internationally, and both tracks ended up releasing music videos in that same year.
The full tracklist for the album is:
1. “Do the Bartman” – Written by Bryan Loren and sung by Bart Simpson
2. “School Day” – Originally written and performed by Chuck Berry and sung by Bart Simpson and Buster Poindexter
3. “Born Under a Bad Sign” – Originally performed by Albert King; written by Booker T. Jones and William Bell; sung by Homer Simpson featuring B.B. King on guitar and the horn section from Tower of Power
4. “Moanin’ Lisa Blues” – Written by John Boylan, Al Jean, Mike Reiss, and Jai Winding, sung by Lisa Simpson and featuring Joe Walsh (slide guitar), John Sebastian (harmonica), and the horn section from Tower of Power (horns)
5. “Deep, Deep Trouble” – Written by Matt Groening and DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, sung by Bart and Homer Simpsons
6. “God Bless the Child” – Originally performed by Billie Holiday; written by Holiday and Arthur Herzog, Jr., sung by Lisa Simpson and featuring “Bleeding Gums” Murphy
7. “I Love to See You Smile” – Originally by Randy Newman, sung by Homer and Marge Simpson featuring Dr. John on piano
8. “Springfield Soul Stew” – based on “Memphis Soul Stew” by King Curtis, sung by Marge Simpson
9. “Look at All Those Idiots” – Written by Jeff Martin, Sam Simon, and Jai Winding, and sung by Montgomery Burns (listed as J. Montgomery Burns on this album) and Smithers
10. “Sibling Rivalry” – Written by John Boylan, James L. Brooks, and Jai Winding, and sung by Bart and Lisa Simpson
‘The Simpsons’ Season 1 Ratings
Season 1 of The Simpsons averaged 27.8 million viewers throughout its run. Its highest-rated episode, the ninth episode of the season called “Life on the Fast Lane,” was watched by 33.5 million viewers.
‘The Simpsons’ Season 1 Reviews – What the Critics Said
The Simpsons‘ impact on the American sitcom and TV at large remains in stone. The show not only paved the way for every primetime cartoon series that followed, but it did so with critical acclaim and tremendous ratings, shaping ’90s pop culture as we knew it. It was no stranger to awards either, racking up 31 Emmys, 30 Annie Awards, and a Peabody Award thus far.
Time magazine once called The Simpsons the century’s best television series, including Bart in their list of the century’s 100 most influential people. He was the only fictional character included. In 2000, Entertainment Weekly critic Ken Tucker named the series the greatest television show of the 1990s. He also called it a “pop-cultural phenomenon, a prime-time cartoon show that appeals to the entire family.”
Additionally, critics Alan Sepinwall and Matt Zoller Seitz ranked The Simpsons as the greatest American TV series of all time in their 2016 book TV (The Book).
The Simpsons‘ first season proved to be a highly addictive intro to America’s animated first family with a run of entertaining episodes that set the stage for a groundbreaking series, according to Rotten Tomatoes. Verne Gay from Newsday called it, “An endless, imponderable, unstoppable Niagara of sight gags, jokes, one-liners, characters and stories that explore everything from the meaning of God to the anti-allure of Duff Beer.”
John J. O’Connor of The New York Times wrote, “There is, admittedly, a fine line between being hilariously perceptive and just plain, even objectionably, silly. While habitually teetering on that line, The Simpsons has shown a remarkable ability to come down on the right side most of the time.”
‘The Simpsons’ Season 1 Trivia: 5 Fast Facts
1. ‘The Simpsons’ Got Into A Very Public Feud With the Bush Family
Shortly after Season 1 aired, then-First Lady Barbara Bush said of the show, “It was the dumbest thing I had ever seen.” The Simpsons writing staff then penned a pointed response to Mrs. Bush, but wrote the letter in the voice of Marge Simpson, taking some light-hearted shots at the First Lady and pleasantly ribbing her for the critique. The letter read, “Ma’am, if we’re the dumbest thing you ever saw, Washington must be a good deal different than what they teach me at the current events group at the church.”
The Bush family was featured in a future episode when the family moved to right across the street from The Simpsons, but the Bush family (obviously) didn’t voice themselves.
2. Gwen Stefani’s Brother Eric Helped Create the Show
Eric Stefani (formerly of the band No Doubt) was one of the layout artists for the series premiere called “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire.” Originally Stefani split his time between the show and the band but ultimately left the group before their breakthrough to focus on animation full time. The episode “Homerpalooza” contains a quick scene, drawn by Stefani, in which the members of No Doubt appear in the background.
3. ‘The Simpsons’ Was Only the Second Animated Series To Debut in Primetime Since ‘The Flintstones’
The Simpsons was just the second animated show to air in primetime since The Flintstones went off the air 23 years prior. The other show: Wait Till Your Father Gets Home, which aired from 1972-1974.
4. The Show Was Conceived At A Drunken Christmas Party
According to executive producer James L. Brooks, “The Simpsons series began like many things begin: with an animator getting drunk at a Christmas party…We were already doing [The] Tracey Ullman [Show], and David Silverman, who was with us then and would go on to direct The Simpsons Movie, cornered me and poured out his heart about what having a primetime Simpsons show would mean to animators.”
5. Lisa Simpsons Was Originally Supposed To Be A ‘Little Hell-Raiser’
According to Al Jean, in the original shorts, “Lisa was supposed to be this little hell-raiser like Bart, but their character differentiation was wider when we went to full series.”