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The Tracey Ullman Show

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The Tracey Ullman Show logo

The Tracey Ullman Show was a weekly American television variety show, hosted by British comedian and onetime pop singer Tracey Ullman. It debuted on April 5, 1987 as the FOX network's second primetime series and ran until May 26, 1990. The show featured sketch comedy along with many musical numbers, featuring Emmy Award-winning choreography by Paula Abdul.

The Simpsons[edit]

The Simpsons as they originally appeared on The Tracey Ullman Show

The Simpsons first appeared as short vignettes on the Tracy Ullman Show. These cartoon shorts acted as bumpers that are shown before and after commercials. The shorts were written by Matt Groening and animated at Klasky-Csupo by a team consisting of David Silverman, Bill Kopp and Wes Archer (in the later seasons, the shorts were animated by Silverman and Archer) Dan Castellanata, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith and Julie Kavner provided the voices of characters Homer, Bart, Lisa and Marge.

The characters were crudely drawn because Matt Groening assumed that the animators would clean them up after he submitted the rough sketches them. Instead, the animators simply traced over the sketches.

The first short, Good Night, was aired on April 19, 1987. Later, the shorts were given their own segment on the show before the cartoon was developed into a 30 minutes TV animated spin-off in 1989.

NotClearThe Tracey Ullman Show.jpg

One unseen short that was going to be part of the short Season 4 was storyboarded in June 1989, because the producers thought the shorts were going to continue. It appears that in the short Bart watches a scary sci-fi movie late at night and has a bad dream when he goes to bed.[1]


References to The Tracy Ullman Show on The Simpsons[edit]

Picture Season Episode number Episode name Reference
Gulliver Dark.png 1 10 "Homer's Night Out" The character Gulliver Dark appears, who appeared in several live-action sketches on The Tracy Ullman Show.
138th Episode Spectacular (Simpsons Now and Then).png 7 138 The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular Several shorts are played partially or fully: Good Night, The Perfect Crime, Space Patrol, World War III, and Bathtime. Additionally, a portrait comparing the Ullman and modern Simpsons are shown.
9 181 "Lisa's Sax" Tracey Ullman is mentioned by Homer when explaining the origin of Lisa's saxophone.
CouchGagS11E01.png 11 227 "Beyond Blunderdome" The couch gag features the Ullman Simpsons, which also appears in "Days of Wine and D'oh'ses".
Homer Ullman Clone.png 14 292 "Treehouse of Horror XIII" In the 'Send in the Clones' segment, one of Homer's clones is the Ullman version of him, who says his catchphrase "Let's all go out for some frosty chocolate milkshakes!"
Happy 1987.png 18 394 "Homerazzi" Among the family photos being recreated is a '1987 Party', with the Ullman versions of Homer, Lisa, and Bart.
Family Portrait.png 20 400 "You Kent Always Say What You Want" The Family Portrait short is played instead of the couch gag.
24 511 "Adventures in Baby-Getting" Corpses of the Ullman Simpsons are found below the leaky faucet.
THOH25 - Family Portrait.png 26 556 "Treehouse of Horror XXV" In the 'The Others' section, the old Simpsons appear as ghosts. The section ends with a reference to the short Family Portrait.
Every Man's Dream couch gag 3.png 27 575 "Every Man's Dream" The Ullman Simpsons (in black suits) appear in the The Yellow Album parody cover in the couch gag
GCYHM Title Screen.png 29 623 Grampy Can Ya Hear Me The Title screen gag contains Ullman Homer and Bart ghosts.
The Aquarium.png 635 Lisa Gets the Blues Part of The Aquarium is shown before the title screen.
639 "Flanders' Ladder" Homer and Marge dig up an old VHS of The Tracy Ullman Show, and Homer imitates his voice then.

External links[edit]