Ever since I can remember, The Simpsons have been a part of my life. I basically watch it every chance that I get. I bet I even watched the show when I was too young to understand what was going on, in my crib, being mesmerized by all of the pretty, vibrant colors used in each episode. Just the other day I found pictures from when I was very little, crawling around with my Homer Simpson doll. Apparently Burger King was giving them away in the early 90's.
Once elementary school came around I graduated from my Simpsons dolls, and moved on to The Simpsons video games as well as the all popular Simpsons t-shirts. I specifically remember playing The Simpsons arcade game at a Fudruckers arcade while wearing my favorite Bart Simpson, "Eat my shorts!" t-shirt. I recall marge being the best character to play with because she used a big red vaccum to kill the enemies allowing you to have a lot of reach.(*sigh* those were the days).
I also remember my mom not allowing me to go to school while wearing my Simpsons t-shirts because of a stir they caused around the country. Apparently Bart Simpson was a bad role model for kids and a lot of schools banned the shirts. I guess this was due to Bart often doing bad things and not getting in trouble for doing them or maybe it was because he was an underachiever "and proud of it man".
Because of this I was only allowed to wear my Simpsons t-shirts when there wasn't any school. I was always curious as to why Bart sported a light blue t-shirt on all of the early merchandise but on the show he wore an orange t-shirt. Apparently the most popular explanation is that it may have been a trick used for picking out counterfeit or bootlegged merchandise.
Back in the 90's The Simpsons were at the height of their popularity. Everywhere you looked Simpsons merchandise could be found and better yet, every episode that aired back then was amazing ("Cape Feare", "Last Exit to Springfield", "Treehouse of Horror V" just to name a few). I guess that shouldn't be too much of a surprise with their great writing staff at the time. Conan O'Brien even wrote for the show. He actually wrote the great "Marge Vs. the Monorail" episode.
One great thing about the show back then was how the episodes had tons of hilarious moments interwoven into a great story, and sometimes episodes could even become downright emotional. At times it was almost like you would forget you were watching a cartoon for a moment and you actually really felt bad for a character and what they were going through, which does not really happen with The Simpsons we know today. One episode that comes to mind is "Marge Be Not Proud" from the 7th season where Bart shoplifts a video game from the local Try 'N' Save making Marge very upset with him throughout the episode, ultimately causing Bart to feel unwanted by his family.
Another great thing about the show is how episodes can relate to a younger audience, but at the same time relate to and entertain and older audience. When I go back and watch episodes now, I notice things that i never would have picked up on when I was little. For instance, in the episode, "Homer's Barbershop Quartet", the whole episode mirrors the band The Beatles career There were many other things as well such as how Moe's Tavern changes its name to Moe's Cavern, a reference to the Cavern Club in Liverpool where The Beatles frequently performed early in their career and The cover of Bigger Than Jesus, The Be Sharps' second album, features the group walking on water, which is a direct parody of the art on The Beatles' album Abbey Road etc. This just shows how brilliant the show can really be.
The Simpsons is still ridiculously popular today with tons of clothing and merchandise still being sold all over (tv shows on dvd