The Simpsons from The Ullman Shorts to season 8

The Simpsons begun when cartoonist Matt Groening, the creator of the cartoon stripe Life in Hell, was offered to do an animation on the Tracey Ullman show. James L. Brooks the executive producer of the show, had seen one of Matt’s comics, and wanted him to make short clips they could put into the show. Matt originally wanted to animate his Life in Hell characters, but in the last minute he came up with new characters, so his cartoon wouldn’t be ruined if this failed. In a moment with lacking creativity, Matt named the characters after his own family: His mother Margaret became Marge, his father is named Homer, and he has two sisters named Lisa and Maggie. Instead of naming the boy after himself, he came up with Bart. The Simpson characters in the Ullman shorts looks quite different from the ones in the half hour shows. According to Matt, is this because he only drew sketches. He thought the producers would clean them up, and make them look like professional cartoons, but instead they only traced them.

The Golden Years
Fox eventually realized that this could become a prime time animation, but was sceptical in the beginning because neither of the producers had any experience doing 30 minutes long shows. After 48 Ullman shorts, the first half hour show with the Simpsons aired December 17, 1989. In this Christmas special we can see how Santa’s Little Helper becomes a part of the family. Patty and Selma and Ned and Todd Flanders are also introduced. Season one is generally a very good season. It only features 13 episodes, but they are all very good. Among my favourites are the episodes where Bart becomes a general, Call of The Simpsons where Homer is mistaken for Bigfoot and Krusty Gets Busted, where we can hear Sideshow Bob voiced by Kelsey Grammer (Fraiser), for the first time. Looking back at this season, after watching all the newer ones, it’s easy to see that things have certainly changed over the years: Moe, Police Chief Wiggum and Smithers don’t have black hair, and several characters have different voices. During the first season Bart also makes his first prank calls to Moe’s Tavern.

Five months after the season final of season one, the first season two episode aired. Bart has to get a D-minus, to avoid being held back in the fourth grade for an extra year. After lots of studying, Bart passes the test. Twelve years later, Bart still attends fourth grade. During this season, we can see the first Treehouse of Horror episode. The bad dream house decides to destroy itself, instead of living with the Simpsons. In Hungry are the damned, we meet Kang and Kodos for the first time. Other great moments from season 2 includes the episodes where Mr. Burns runs for governor, when Marge starts the campaign against Itchy & Scratchy and violence in cartoons, and when Homer meets his unknown brother, Herb.

In season three we learn more about different characters outside our favourite family. In Bart the Murderer we learn more about Fat Tony and his ‘Legitimate Businessman's Social Club’. Bart starts working as a bartender there, because he makes excellent Manhatens. In Like Father Like Clown, we learn more about Krusty’s difficult relationship with his father, Rabbi Krustofski. Thanks to Bart and Lisa, they get reunited on the Krusty the Clown Show. Ned Flanders opens his store for left-handed, The Leftorium, in the episode When Flanders Failed. Homer really wants Ned to fail, but eventually he’s the reason the store survives. Bart starts writing love letters to his teacher, Edna Krabappel, in the episode Bart The Lover. Sideshow Bob returns, released from prison, to marry Selma Bouvier, but Bart knows he got cruel intentions. In Bart’s Friend Falls In Love, Milhouse falls in love with the new girl at school, Samantha Stanky and his friendship with Bart is being tested. The season ends with the episode Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes? Where Homer is reunited with his brother Herb. Herb is now poor, since the car Homer made for me, was a gigantic failure. Herb comes up with a great invention, that makes him rich. When he leaves he has forgiven Homer. The episode Mr. Lisa Goes To Washington, is the first episode broadcasted in Dolby Surround Stereo.

In season four's first episode Bart and Lisa spends the summer vacation at Kamp Krusty. The kids are treated badly, and Bart leads a revolt against the leaders. Marge and Ned Flanders stars in a musical called A Streetcar Named Desire. In Itchy And Scratchy: The Movie, Homer and Marge starts punishing Bart, because they realize that he needs better discipline. A flash fourty years forward in time shows that Bart has become a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. He and Homer sees the movie for the first time. When Marge Gets A Job at the Power Plant, Mr Burns falls in love with her and kidnaps Tom Jones to make a special night for the two of them. In New Kid On The Block, we see Ruth and Laura Powers for the first time. Bart falls in love with the older Laura, but she's going on a date with Jimbo. Maggie says her first word - Daddy, in the episode Lisa's First Word, and Homer gets a triple bypass operation by Dr. Nick Riviera for $129.95 in the episode Homer's Triple Bypass. After Krusty gets Cancelled in the season final, Bette Midler, Hugh Heffner, Elizabeth Taylor and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers guest stars in a special Krusty show to bring him back to the screen.

In Homer's Barbershop Quartet, the first season five episode, we learn about the barbershop quartet Homer formed together with Apu, Chief Wiggum and Principal Skinner. Wiggum was soon replaced with Barney. Homer's song 'Baby On Board' becomes a big hit and the group wins a Grammy. After Sideshow Bob has been released on parole in the episode Cape Feare, the family has to join a witness relocation program, known as the Thomsons. You can see Mr. Burns'/Maggie's teddy bear, Bobo, for the first time in the episode Rosebud. In the Thelma & Louise parody , Marge On The Lamb, Marge and Ruth Power is chased by Chief Wiggum and Homer is seduced by the new Power Plant employee, Mindy, in the episode The Last Temptation Of Homer. Bart Gets Famous when he knocks over a set on live television and says: "I didn't do it." In the episode Deep Space Homer, Homer is sent up in space when NASA discovers that no one is interested in rocket launches anymore.

Bart breakes his leg in the first season six episode, Bart of Darkness. After spying on Ned Flanders from his window, he is convinced that Ned has killed his wife. A new student named Alison joins Lisa's class in the episode Lisa's Rival. She is just as smart as her. The Simpsons are hunted by Itchy & Scratchy robots in the episode Itchy & Scratchy Land. Sideshow Bob Roberts is running for Mayor and wins, but Lisa and Bart discovers that the election is rigged. Bart falls in love with Reverend Lovejoy's daughter, Jessica, and Lisa starts playing hockey. Homer becomes a member of the Stonecutters in the episode Homer the Great. One of the best seasons ever of The Simpsons also includes the episodes when Homer joins Krusty's clown college, when the Simpsons travels to Australia, Lisa's Wedding, the episode were Marge becomes a cop, Lemon Of Troy where Springfield's lemon tree is stolen and the very exciting season final Who Shot Mr. Burns? (Part One).

During the automn of 1995, the first season 7 episode aired for the first time, giving answers to Who Shot Mr. Burns. Homer was charged for the crime, but when Mr. Burns came out of his coma he revealed that it was Maggie who fired the gun. Bart's trying to get the roll as Fallout Boy for the new Radioactive Man movie, but Milhouse ends up getting it. In Home Sweet Homediddly-Dum-Doodily Homer and Marge loose custety over their children to the Flanders. In Treehouse Of Horror VI you can see the infamous Homer 3D episode, which includes both 3D animation and real humans. Glenn Close gives the voice to Homer's mother in the episode Mother Simpson. She turns out to be wanted by the FBI for releasing antibiothichs in Montgomery Burns' germ lab. Sideshow Bob returns in Sideshow Bob's Last Gleaming, where he steals a nuclear bomb and threathens to detonate it unless all tv is abolished in Springfield. Troy McClure hosts the 138. episode of the Simpsons which includes behind the scene material, Tracey Ullman clips, never before seen clips and alternative endings to Who Shots Mr. Burns! George Bush Sr. becomes the Simpson's new neighbor in the episode Two Bad Neighbors. In Lisa The Iconoclast Lisa finds out that Springfield's founder Jebediah Springfield actually was a murderous pirate named Hans Sprungfled. 22 Short Films About Springfield includes two hilarious Pulp Fiction parodies and Homer joins the Hullabalooza festival as the canonball man in the episode Homerpalooza.

Season 8 premiered during the autumn of 1996 with the 7th Treehouse of Horror episode. In the first segment Bart meets his unknown twin brother, Hugo, who has been locked up in the attic since he was born. In the episode You Only Move Twice, the Simpsons moves to Cypress Creek when Homer gets a job at Globex Corporations. Mr. Burns meets his son, Larry, in the episode Burns, Baby Burns and Milhouse's parents get separated in A Milhouse Divided. After repressing his feelings for years, Ned Flanders lets it all out in Hurricane Neddy before he commits himself to a mental institution. In the "crossover" episode The Springfield Files, Fox Mulder and Dana Scully from The X-Files come to Springfield to interview Homer about an encounter with an glowing creature in the woods.