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Cartoons: Bart Simpson

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Episode Review
History of Bart Simpson
Quick Facts

History of Bart Simpson:  I think most people will agree that Bart Simpson IS "The Simpsons", and when they started downplaying his importance to the show is when the show started to suck.  "The Simpsons" really hasn't been good since about 1995, and the fact that it's still been on all these years is a kick in the pants to what the show used to be.

    I've never understood how the primary character of the series switched from Bart Simpson to Homer Simpson.  There really wasn't a public demand for more Homer episodes, he was just kind of pushed on us.  And for some reason "The Simpsons" show became the "Homer Simpson and celebrity cartoon guest" show.  But the old "Simpsons" episodes still hold up after all these years and are worth seeking out on DVD.

    In 1986, the character of Bart Simpson was created by cartoonist Matt Groening in the lobby of James L. Brooks' office.  Groening was called in to pitch an idea of animated shorts based on "Life in Hell", a self-published comic book series Groening started in 1977.  Instead, he created a whole new set of characters.  While most of the Simpsons' first names were taken from members of Groening's own family, Bart was simply an anagram of the word "brat", which suited him best of anything.

    Animated segments of the Simpsons appeared on "The Tracey Ullman Show", beginning on the airdate of April 19, 1987.  After a few years, "The Simpsons" received their own series on the FOX network, first airing on December 17, 1989.  The Simpsons were drawn very crude at the beginning of their run on "Tracey Ullman".  Over time, the animation became a bit more polished, but even the first season of "The Simpsons" was drawn pretty crude in comparison to the second and later seasons.

    Bart was the eldest child of Marge and Homer at ten years of age, and their only son.  He was easily the breakout character of the series in its early years, because he was the greatest source of comedy.  Bart Simpson did what we always wanted to say and do, but couldn't due to certain "rules".  There is a definite disrespect for authority; not because it IS authority, but that this authority stops him from doing what he really wants to do.  Generally, Bart Simpson is just a mischievous character, but not in an intentionally negative manner.  He just likes having fun and its often at the expense of others.

    During the first two seasons (1989-1991), Bart Simpson was quite popular and inspired an entire line of merchandise.  T-shirts of Bart Simpson were his top-selling items, with sales of a million shirts per day at their peak.  They featured his various slogans/catchphrases and sometimes his superhero Bartman persona.  The song "Do the Bartman", actually performed by "The Simpsons" cast, became a huge, number one hit in 1991 in the U.S. and abroad.  During the height of this Bartmania, there was actually serious debate by parent groups and educators as to whether Bart Simpson was or was not a bad role model for children, which was an entirely stupid thing to even think about.  One T-shirt in particular, with his catchphrase, "I'm Bart Simpson.  Who the hell are you?" was actually banned in public schools across the country.

    I think as more of a survival move than anything else, the creative folks behind "The Simpsons" started concentrating more on the family as a whole than specifically on Bart.  This started happening around the third season.  A few years after that, the series became sort of trash, concentrating far more on Homer Simpson and his interactions with cartoony versions of actual celebrities.  That's pretty much where it stands today.

    Nancy Cartwright, the voice genius behind Bart Simpson, has won several awards for her portrayal of the immortal troublemaker.  She built her career almost entirely on the steam of Bart Simpson, although she has done many other things before and after signing on as Bart.

Quick Facts:
  • Bart's full name is Bartholomew JoJo Simpson.
  • Bart and the Simpsons family made their debut as an animated segment on TVs "The Tracey Ullman Show".  The short was titled, 'Good Night' and aired on April 19, 1987.
  • During Season 1 of "The Simpsons", the FOX network would not allow Nancy Cartwright to give interviews because they didn't want the voice of Bart Simpson associated with a woman.
  • Bart Simpson merchandise made $2 billion in revenue during the first 14 months of sales!
  • Nancy Cartwright, along with Bart, also voices other child characters on "The Simpsons", including: Kearney, Maggie Simpson, Nelson Muntz, Ralph Wiggum, and Todd Flanders.
  • Nancy Cartwright originally wanted to audition for the part of Lisa Simpson, while Yeardley Smith tried out for Bart.  Smith's voice was a bit too high for a boy, so she was given the role of Lisa.  Cartwright, on the other hand, discovered that Bart was a far more interesting character and decided to audition for him.  As it turned out, Cartwright became Bart Simpson, while Smith became Lisa Simpson.
  • The Bart Simpson balloon made its debut at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1990, and has been at every one of these events since (as of 2009).
  • Michael Jackson wrote the extremely popular song, "Do the Bartman" in 1990, but did not take any credit.
  • Michael Jackson was a huge fan of "The Simpsons", especially Bart.  However, in later episodes, Michael Jackson is slammed in the show, even by Bart.
  • Michael Jackson did voicework in the Season 3 episode "Stark Raving Dad", under the false name of John Jay Smith.  In that episode, Bart Simpson was Michael Jackson's greatest fan.
  • "Entertainment Weekly" magazine named Bart Simpson "Entertainer of the Year" in 1990.
  • In 1992, Nancy Cartwright won a Primetime Emmy Award for voicing Bart Simpson.
  • In 1995, Nancy Cartwright won an Annie Award for voicing Bart Simpson.
  • In 2000, Bart and all the Simpsons were awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
  • In 2003, Bart Simpson was voted #2 on the Comedy Central network's TV special "Mouthing Off: 51 Greatest Smartasses".
  • "Bart's" salary 1987-1998= $30,000 per episode.
  • "Bart's" salary 1998-2004= $125,000 per episode.
  • "Bart's" salary 2004-2008= $250,000 per episode.
  • "Bart's" salary 2008-?= $400,000 per episode.


"The Tracey Ullman Show" (1987-1989) [27 segments]
"The Simpsons" (1989-20??)
"The Simpsons Movie" (2007)

Episode Review:


Nancy Cartwright as Bart Simpson (1987-20??)