#1 of 5 Pop Culture Classics Created Out of Laziness
The Simpsons are like having a shitty house guest who also happens to be Mahatma Gandhi. Sure, they can't take the hint that it's time to leave, but you can't exactly kick them out. They've made some very important to contributions society- hey! Would it kill you to use a coaster, Mahatma? This is oak, man. Jesus.
But let's just be clear: this show has given us some of the funniest moments in television history. Bart was named one the 100 most important people in the 20th century. The Sunday Times once declared Homer Simpson "the greatest comic creation of our time."
But it Only Exists Because...
When producer James L. Brooks asked Matt Groening to pitch an idea for a series of animated shorts, The Simpsons wasn't his first choice. He hadn't even thought of it yet; he originally intended to adapt his Life in Hell comic strip:
Somehow "Jeff is the greatest comic creation of all time" just doesn't have the same ring.
However, while sitting in the lobby of Brooks's office, it suddenly occurred to Groening that for the shorts to be made, he would have to give up the copyright to his most beloved creation. Panicking, he picked up a yellow notepad and quickly "made up these other characters [he] didn't really care about." The result:
At first they were a family of inbred circus freaks.
Groening couldn't even be assed to come up with character names, so he just named them after his father Homer, mom Margaret and sister Lisa. Realizing he needed to get creative on the boys name lest Brooks know something was up, he changed two letters to transform "Matt" into "Bart," which was also an anagram for brat. The fact that he thought this might throw Brooks off the scent of what he'd done either implies that Brooks is criminally retarded, or Groening has all the subtlety and subterfuge of an exploding dump truck.
So in summation: The only reason The Simpsons exists is because the creator thought that some amorphous blobs he'd created years before were much more valuable than they were; he only had maybe 15 minutes in a waiting room to come up with something new; and he's not very good under pressure. And that's how you make a classic, folks!