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How Long It Really Takes To Create Just One Episode Of The Simpsons

The fact that "The Simpsons" continues to endure and influence the realm of television and adult animation to this day is really saying something. Since its 1989 premiere following a series of shorts on "The Tracey Ullman Show," the show, which follows the satirical adventures of an American working-class family, has become a mainstay of television and the entirety of pop culture. 

In addition to the show's current collection of over 730 episodes spread across 30 seasons, "The Simpsons" has also spawned into a thriving franchise that includes a feature film, video games, comic books, theme park attractions, and much more. In fact, while it might not be an Avengers-level threat, this is a franchise that rakes in millions just from T-shirt sales alone (via Today). To date, it is the longest-running scripted primetime series in the history of television (via CBS News).

With such a hearty run, it's easy to take the show for granted and forget what goes into its production process. In particular, have you ever wondered how long it takes to create an episode of "The Simpsons" from idea to getting on your TV screens? While the series certainly doesn't have the bells and whistles of a Pixar movie, it is still animation at the end of the day, a genre that is notorious for the length of time it can take to complete. And for "The Simpsons," this rule is no exception.

The Simpsons takes half a year to get to the couch

While estimates vary, it generally takes anywhere between six and nine months to make an episode of "The Simpsons." While certain aspects of making the show have evolved over the decades, the process itself evidently remains more or less the same (via The Verge).

After being written and having voices recorded, storyboards are produced which illustrate the script in a visual, comic-like format. Those storyboards get turned into a story reel, which showcases the storyboards in video format. This is crucial to understanding the camera moves, acting beats, and staging before the animation is done. From there, the design department handles any character, costume, and prop designs. Once all story and design aspects are approved, the layout artists create all the finished backgrounds and important character key poses within each scene, which are then sent over to an animation studio in Korea to complete the animation. Afterward, the crew adds music and edits the episode as needed (via The Hollywood Reporter).

While production on "The Simpsons" is certainly a lengthy venture, it's not too out of place for animated series. While there are rare exceptions of shows such as "South Park" that take as little as six days to produce, others such as "Rick and Morty" can take as long as 9 to 12 months to create just one episode (via Inverse). But you know what they say — if it ain't broke, don't fix it. And for a show that's been on the air for over 30 years, it seems that their system has yet to crack.