The Real-Life Family That Inspired The Simpsons

The Simpsons are easily one of the most famous fictional families in TV history. In the more than 30 years since they’ve been on the air, Bart and the rest of the Simpson crew have become iconic figures in pop culture. Even if you have never seen the show, you can probably name all of the members of the Simpson family. At this point, there are people all over the world who probably feel like they know the Simpsons personally. One thing that many people don’t know, though, is that the Simpsons aren’t as fictional as they may seem. While it’s true that the Simpson family doesn’t technically exist. There is a real-life family that was the inspiration for the Simpsons. Keep reading to learn more about the family that inspired some of the world’s most legendary cartoon characters.

The Simpsons Are Really the Groenings

It’s no secret that the best pieces of fiction are always rooted in reality. The Simpsons is certainly no exception. The show’s creator, Matt Groening, drew inspiration from his family when coming up with ideas for the characters on The Simpsons. The creator of a show drawing inspiration from his own family probably isn’t surprising, but there’s more to the story than that. The Groenings’ inspiration didn’t manifest in the show in the way you might think. The characters’ looks and personalities aren’t modeled after anyone in his family, but their names certainly were. All of the members of the Simpson family — except for Bart — are named after Groening’s actual family members. Bart’s name is an anagram of the word brat. When asked how his family members felt about their names being used in the show, Groening told David Sheff, ” I think it’s an ongoing mixed bag shading toward nightmarish. Back at the beginning we all fantasized about various aspects of fame and wild success and wouldn’t it be neat to name cartoon characters after our families. Well, I did it. I just didn’t think through the consequences. I named Homer after my father, Homer, and my mother’s name is Margaret; Marge is what many people call her. I have a sister Lisa and a sister Maggie.

When she was very young, Maggie did actually walk around in a blue sleep suit, incessantly sucking on a pacifier. I also have a brother Mark and a sister Patty, whom I did not name characters after.” Ultimately, however, the Groening’s don’t mind the fact that the Simpsons have borrowed their names. They’ve actually gotten to the point where they can laugh. When it comes to personalities, Groening says that Bart is a combination of himself and his older brother. Other than that, the characters don’t have anything in common with the people they were. In fact, Matt Groening says that his father, who was named Homer, was absolutely nothing like Homer Simpson. The Groening’s however, aren’t the only ones responsible for inspiring some of our favorite things about the Simpsons. Color designer Gyorgyi Peluce was the person who suggested that the Simpsons’ skin color be blue. This was done because Groening was looking for a creative way to color the characters since they had originally only been drawn in black and white. Peluce is also the person who inspired Marge Simpson’s blue hair.

The Inspiration Lives On

Not only did the Groening family inspire the characters on The Simpsons, but the success of the show then inspired Groening when it came to the next generation of his family. Groening actually named his son Homer. During his interview with David Sheff, Groening said, “Homer the cartoon character and Homer my son were born around the same time. I named my son Homer in part trying to prove to my dad that I had the best intentions. I wasn’t just trying to get back at him for some perceived slight. Also I love the name Homer. When I was wheeling him around in a stroller when he was very small, though, people would ask my baby’s name, and I’d say, “Homer.” They’d burst into laughter, thinking I was joking. They’d get horrified looks on their faces when they realized I wasn’t kidding.” Even though The Simpsons has already achieved a lot of very impressive things, the show’s legacy will only continue to grow in the future. In the years to come, it’ll be interesting to see what’s next for the Simpsons and the town of Springfield. One thing’s for sure, however, the Groening family will live on forever thanks to The Simpsons.


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