April 19th, 1987 — thirty years ago today — the family Simpson was first seen on The Tracey Ullman Show, which Springfield denizen Troy McClure described as, “The nation’s showcase for psychiatrist jokes and musical comedy numbers.”
The first ever short, the roughly drawn “Good Night”, featured all your favorite family members trying to settle in for an evening’s rest. In the Seventh Season’s “138th Episode Spectacular”, Troy McClure sits through through their primitive approach to comedy, forces a fake laugh and says, “They haven’t changed a bit, have they?”
For three seasons, Homer and the gang appeared in these crude sketches on The Tracey Ullman Show before they jumped to their own primetime slot with the December 17th, 1989, premiere of The Simpsons.
And 28 seasons later, they’ve become an unstoppable juggernaut of Sunday night hilarity… minus those last 18 seasons of mediocre episodes. But, the writers never forgot their humble roots, and they love to reference the old shorts.
The Simpsons airs Fridays at 8 p.m. on Fox.
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