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Congratulations to the cast, crew and creative genius behind Fox Television’s The Simpsons on the occasion of their 500th episode (airing 19 February)! The Simpsons is now officially both the longest-running scripted show for television, and one of three to hit the coveted 500-episodes mark (along with Gunsmoke and Lassie).
A television standard for over 20 years, the Simpsons were created as a bit for the Tracy Ullman show in 1987. Creator Matt Groening, an ethnic Dutch Russländer Mennonite, used a cast of characters from his own family to create America’s First Family of Dysfunction. In 1989, the show gained its independence and is still beloved by millions 23 years and 500 episodes later.
Groening’s Mennonite ancestry has deep roots. His father, Homer Groening, was raised in a Plautdeutsche-speaking family in Main Center, Saskatchewan. His grandfather, Abram Groening, of the Krimmer Mennonite Brethren, taught at the MB’s Tabor College in Hillsboro, Kansas.
I would write more, but an old friend, Mr. Dale Suderman, has already written one of the best articles on Matt’s connections to his Mennonite heritage. I strongly recommend following the link below.
Congratulations, Mr. Groening!
Dale Suderman - The Groenings, The Simpsons and the Mennonites