He put the "d'oh!" in the Oxford English Dictionary, the Canyonero on the road, and he's put The Simpsons in your living room every week. Born February 25th, 1954, Matt Groening has managed to capture a realistically outrageous family dynamic in one of television history's longest-running shows that had been awarded 18 Emmy Awards by 2003. Born February 15, 1954, the Portland, OR, native was encouraged to draw by his father, who was also a cartoonist. He doodled his way through school, working for the newspaper and also forming a political party called Teens for Decency. With the slogan of "If You're Against Decency, What Are You For?," he mischievously won the student body presidency. After graduating from Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA, in 1977, he headed out to L.A. To keep friends and relatives informed on how his life was progressing -- or actually, was not -- his letters home detailed his jobs at a sewage treatment plant and as a chauffeur in comic strip form. And thus, Life in Hell was born. The adventures of lead character Binky, his wife Sheba, and Akbar and Jeff, among others, made their way into the Los Angeles Reader in 1980 and can now be found in 250 newspapers worldwide. His next venture would also prove to be long lasting. What started out as animated segments aired during Fox's The Tracey Ullman Show in 1987, The Simpsons got its own timeslot in December 1989. Groening and his team of writers and producers crafted the not-so-atypical family and their friends and neighbors in a comedic light, keeping them all just on the edge of ridiculousness. One episode captures America's favorite under-achieving dad Homer in one of his many schemes as he gains enough weight to be considered medically obese, thus excusing him from having to actually go to work. He instead stays home wearing a muumuu hollering at local kids who come by for a laugh at his expense. As is common, yet trivial Simpsons knowledge, the characters on the series have been named after Groening's family members, as Homer and Marge truly are his parents' names, and so on. As one to pay homage to his beginnings, Groening has the littlest Simpson, Maggie, lugging around a rabbit stuffed animal, which is one of his Life in Hell characters. Creating the sarcastic landscape that is Springfield, he infused his witty outlook on life and said when people watch The Simpsons, they are rewarded for paying attention with inside and/or well-placed jokes. Case in point, Homer decries cartoon writers for their unrealistic story lines; meanwhile, another Homer walks by the window in quite an unfathomable manner. Such humor is lost on some, but has been impressed on enough hearts and minds to keep people tuning in every Sunday night. Groening also dabbled in album cover art design, which can be found on the 1987 self-titled album from Crazy Backwards Alphabet. In 1993, he formed Bongo Comics, which publishes Simpsons-related Itchy & Scratchy, Radioactive Man,
Lisa, and Krusty comics. He also started Zongo Comics in 1995. Books and guides giving detailed information on The Simpsons series have been published, including The Simpsons: A Complete Guide to Our Favorite Family. Games, both board and video, have also been produced involving the famous inhabitants of 742 Evergreen Terrace and Groening has also written books featuring his Life in Hell characters, including Childhood Is Hell, Love Is Hell, School Is Hell, and The Big Book of Hell. His next venture was into the future with the appropriately titled Futurama. Premiering in March 1999 and featuring the voice of Ren and Stimpy, Billy West, the sci-fi cartoon series started with the main character, Fry, delivering a pizza to a cryogenics lab. He ends up being frozen and when he wakes up in the year 3000, he's stuck marveling at the future while lamenting about his lost past with the likes of a one-eyed love interest, a robotic best friend, and a crab as a doctor. In 2000, he helped produce the animated adaptation of the book Olive, the Other Reindeer by J. Otto Seibold and Vivian Walsh. The film's main character, Olive, is the voice of Drew Barrymore and also features Simpsons' regular Dan Castellaneta (the voice of Homer, Krusty the Clown, and other Springfieldians), and former Saturday Night Live cast member Tim Meadows.
July 2007 finally saw the release of a long-awaited Simpsons' movie (cleverly titled as such). The collaborative effort includes direction by David Silverman and writing credits for Groening and James L. Brooks, among many others. Futurama began airing new episodes on Comedy Central in 2010, nearly 7 years after its initial cancellation.