‘The Simpsons’ Has Become Longest Running US scripted TV Series Of All Time
Since premiering in 1989, The Simpsons has notched up a decent amount of records and awards. But yesterday it hit an impressive achievement by becoming the longest-running American scripted TV series of all time.
Sunday's episode was The Simpsons' 636th, which has finally over taken Gunsmoke, a western that has held that coveted title since it ended in 1975. They even paid homage to the show in the opening title.
Speaking to USA Today, show creator Matt Groening said: "We certainly didn't expect to last this long. When we started, we didn't even know if the Fox network was going to last, much less our own show. Fox was an experiment, and they allowed us to do pretty much whatever we wanted.
"We always try to surprise ourselves and then hope we surprise the audience. After doing so many episodes, those surprises become harder to think up. I'm very proud of some of the places the show has gone in recent years."
Sunday's episode was the 18th for season 29 and was called 'Forgive and Regret'.
After more than 600 episodes, the show has been facing criticism from people who reckon Apu is racist.
Indian-American comedian Hari Kondabolu recently released the film The Problem With Apu, which charts his relationship with the stereotypical Indian supermarket proprietor.
He initially saw Apu as a representation of his people on screen, but latterly saw the character as a rude stereotype that contributed to racism against South Asian people. Kondabolu described Apu as 'a white guy doing an impression of a white guy making fun of my father'.
When asked about it, Groening said: "I'm proud of what we do on the show. And I think it's a time in our culture where people love to pretend they're offended."
However the flak has been so heavy that the bloke who voices Apu, Hank Azaria, has said he's happy to let the role go.
He appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and told the host: "It's come to my attention more and more over the past couple years. The idea that anyone young or old, past or present, being bullied based on Apu really makes me sad.
"It certainly was not my intention. I wanted to bring joy and laughter to people.
"I'm perfectly willing to step aside. It just feels like the right thing to do to me."
The Simpsons already had the title of longest-running American sitcom and the longest-running American animated program, but now this latest title is just another gong to put on an already very packed mantlepiece.
Featured Image Credit: Fox/The Simpsons