Frinkiac, named after Springfield’s favorite mad scientists, Professor Frink, is a search engine that matches the Simpsons quotes with the corresponding still from the long-running animated series. Type the quote and a screenshot pops out. It’s as simple as that.
Created by Paul Kehre, Sean Schulte, and Allie Young, Frinkiac features searchable scenes from across the first 15 seasons.
Paul says on his website, “Frinkiac is a search engine for Simpsons quotes. It contains nearly 3 million screenshots (every episode from season 1 through 15) indexed by the quote they are associated with and has a variety of features to help you find the exact screenshot you’re looking for. Once you’ve found it you can share it with your friends or make a quick meme. Never again find yourself wishing you could pinpoint the second his heart rips in half. You’ll feel like god must feel when he’s holding a gun.”
The Simpsons is one of greatest television comedies of all time, and having ready access to the perfect screenshot will make people laugh and remind them to rewatch their favorite episodes.
Schulte said in an interview to Wired, “We had the idea several years ago when we were quoting The Simpsons at each other all day long, and it was surprisingly difficult to find an image of the scenes we were quoting on Google. The majority of the code was written in about a week, to parse the video files and upload them to the server and index them and search them.”
Time gives an example that if you want to find the moment where Otto realizes he’s wasted his life or Homer Simpson is showing off the features of the Monorail saying, “This is the snack holder where I can put my beverage, or if you will, cupcake.” Simply type “snack holder” into Frinkiac and possible stills pop up.
Frinkiac cuts every scene into 100 parts, takes the average color of each part, and compares its coloration to the most recently saved image. If they’re different enough, a new screenshot pops up with minimal redundancy through the hundreds of hours of video being analyzed.
Kehrer admitted, “For the last several months it’s been complete but we’ve just used it with coworkers and friends.”
The downside is that there isn’t an easy way to share. You have to screenshot the screenshot, to put it simply.
Frinkiac is designed for dedicated Simpsons fans. To look up a bit of dialogue requires the precise mentions. For example, you can’t summon up every appearance of Fat Tony on a whim, just occasions where people are talking about him. To find the exact moment Fat Tony explains to Marge that his wife “has been most vocal on the subject of the pretzel monies,” you need to search for that exact quote or a standout portion of it.
Schulte says, “One thing I wasn’t expecting — or didn’t know how to think about — was how people other than us would search for things. We started from an almost encyclopedic memory of Simpsons quotes, which is kind of the basic unit of Thinking About The Simpsons for us. From seeing search queries, that’s not exactly common: many people seem to search for a description of the scene rather than just what is being said out loud.”
There are fears Fox might throw a copyright claim on Frinkiac, but it does seem to have received a thumbs up from at least one of the show’s ex-writer/producers. So get on the ride and enjoy, sooner the better.
[Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images]