How D’Oh Made It Into The Dictionary
In 2011, the phrase D’Oh! made it into the Oxford English Dictionary completing the miraculous journey of Homer Simpson from trailblazer cartoon character to legitimate American icon.
Since the show started, they have made it through 31 years and 684 episodes, leading it to be the longest running sitcom, prime time series, and animated program in the history of American television. In an era where we demand novelty all the time, how on Earth has this show been able to last on its most demanding network in its most demanding time slot for over three decades? How has it been able to appeal to multiple generations, genders, and broadcasted in every nation save for North Korea, China, Russia, and Venezuela?
There is no doubt, the Simpsons is a funny show, but so are a lot of others that peak and fade. Surely, they are tapping into something universal that transcends television?
When you sit down to watch The Simpsons, you know that you are going to get. Bart causing trouble, Homer’s stupidity, Marge’s nagging, Lisa’s tireless crusade, and Maggie sucking her pacifier. While each episode will take the characters in a number of difference directions and include different secondary characters like Mo, Otto, and Principal Skinner, by the closing credits, everything is always back to the familiar and predictable dynamics we depend upon.
Ultimately, those who have meticulously studied the success of The Simpsons have concluded that above all, they are profoundly consistent and emotionally reliable. They do not veer out of their lane. They do not deviate. They have never fixed what isn’t broken. They have had the same introductory song for all 31 seasons, the exact same main characters and supporting cast, the same sub context to every episode, and Maggie still can’t talk.
Take it from those who have endured three decades. We really don’t crave constant innovation. We crave dependable and familiar. That’s how a cartoon began as a controversial sketch and landed as the most popular television show of all-time.
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