It was April 1987. Ronald Reagan was president, Aretha Franklin and George Michael had a number-one hit in “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me),” and Tracey Ullman was entertaining America with songs, sketches, and crudely drawn filler material… that would eventually become the longest-running (and best) scripted primetime television series in American history. And it all began exactly 30 years today, with the poorly animated short, “Good Night.”
Some 615 episodes, 48 shorts, and one movie later, The Simpsons is still going strong. It may not be the cultural juggernaut it once was — the highest-rated episode this season would be the lowest-rated episode from seasons 1-8 — but that’s because The Simpsons is an institution. As South Park famously pointed out, it’s done everything. But when was the first time The Simpsons did everything? In honor of its 30th birthday, I took a look back at some of the show’s “firsts.” Who was the first non-Simpson character to speak? What was the first episode to take place in the future? Who was the first guest star?
Here’s to another 30 years.