The Simpsons turns 20 today


Twenty years ago today, the first full-length episode of The Simpsons — known as The "Christmas Special" — aired on television. This episode was originally intended to be show number 8, but ended up being first after a series of production glitches and switches. You can find streamable copies around the internets.

I've been traveling in rural, indigenous communities in Central America this week. I was reminded of the awesome happy-power and transcultural reach of the Simpsons in a conversation last night with an 8-year-old K'iche Maya kid. He lives in a highland village. His family is too poor to own a TV, but we got to talking, and he volunteered out of the blue his love for the show. He knows exactly who his favorite character is, too: "Omero" (Homer). He's a shy, quiet, serious boy, but lights right up when he's talking about the Simpsons. Pretty cool to think that a show could delight so many around the world, for so many years.

A special holiday shout-out to David Silverman, a personal friend who also happens to have been the director of that very first episode (and, of course, many others, and that movie). David, I hope you're having a more relaxed December than you did in 1989.