The Simpsons turn 20

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Thursday, December 17th, marks the twentieth anniversary of the longest-running sitcom in television history: The Simpsons. Yes, it's hard to believe it's been twenty years since Homer and Bart came home with Santa's Little Helper in the series' pilot, "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire."

The show, which is remarkably still on the air after 449 episodes, has gone through several incarnations, and the first 200 episodes of The Simpsons are on par with the best 200 episodes of any series, ever. And although the show isn't quite as good as it was in the 1990's, it gets a pass due to its longevity. Plus, it's much harder to write an episode of The Simpsons than it is to write an episode of, say, Family Guy or South Park. That's not to say that South Park isn't a great show, it's just that they don't have the same sort of restraints. South Park can literally have an episode where Kyle's father gets a plastic surgery that turns him into a dolphin, and Family Guy can literally have an episode where Brian, the 8 year-old dog, is somehow discovered to have a 13 year-old human child.

Along the way, a ton of sports celebrities have made guest appearances on The Simpsons; for instance, Roger Clemens, Wade Boggs, Ken Griffey, Jr., Steve Sax, Ozzie Smith, José Canseco, Don Mattingly, Darryl Strawberry and Mike Scioscia all appeared in the baseball-relate episode: "Homer at the Bat." In 2004, ESPN's Page 3 did a solid recap of the top 100 Simpsons sports moments. I don't know what happened to Page 3 or frankly why ESPN felt they needed an extension from Page 2, but whatever.

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