The Simpsons has been on the air for more than a quarter of a century, and yet the show always seems to be able to bring something fresh and new to fans. Wired reports that the newest contribution from the world of The Simpsons is Frinkiac. Named after The Simpsons character Professor Frink, this is a search engine that can access every quote from the first 15 seasons of The Simpsons and match the quote with its corresponding screenshot.
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According to Sean Schulte, co-creator of Frinkiac, they have had the idea for quite some time.
“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.”
When describing the process they used to create the database, Schulte said they didn’t really know how people other than them would search for things.
“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.”
The Simpsons is certainly still a popular show and now, according to Campaign, The Simpsons have finally achieved branded stores in China. The show only started airing in China in 2014, and FCP president Jeffrey Godsick expects The Simpsons to do well in China.
“We have very high expectations for The Simpsons in China. They are pop culture icons that represent the American family, and early indications show real excitement and anticipation from the Chinese audience.”
With that much popularity and 26 years under its belt, it is interesting to look back on The Simpsons in the early years. People took a look at what critics were saying about The Simpsons back in 1990, when it first premiered.
David Hiltbrand, writing for People, called The Simpsons a “subversive beast” and likened Groening’s style to R. Crumb.
“Groening’s style clearly owes more to underground cartoonist R. Crumb than it does to Hanna-Barbera.”
Richard Zoglin writing for Time said The Simpsons were witty and off-putting.
“The Simpsons has a good deal of savvy wit,… strangely off-putting most of the time… The drawings are grotesque without redeeming style or charm (characters have big beady eyes, beaklike noses and spiky hair) and the animation is crude even by TV’s low-grade standards.”
Later on, Joe Rhodes of Entertainment Weekly wrote about The Simpsons.
“In just a few months, The Simpsons has become the shining star in Fox’s lineup, a regular entry in the Nielsen top 15 despite the fact that at its heart this is guerrilla TV, a wicked satire masquerading as a prime-time cartoon. Homer Simpson, [is] the leading candidate to replace Ronald Reagan as America’s most befuddled father figure.”
The New York Times gave the show relatively high praise.
“There is, admittedly, a fine line between being hilariously perceptive and just plain, even objectionably, silly. While habitually teetering on that line, The Simpsons has shown a remarkable ability to come down on the right side most of the time.”
It is amazing how far The Simpsons have come over the decades.
[Photo by Michael Buckner / Getty Images]