While everything today is compared to The Simpsons, The Simpsons were being compared to The Flintstones, a prime-time cartoon that lasted six seasons in the 1960s. Nobody was doing animation for adults when The Simpsons came on the air, and they got a lot of grief for what they were doing. But The Simpsons put FOX on the map, and made it okay to have a cartoon for grown-ups, too.
The reason cited for her split from Daniel Erickson was "irreconcilible differences." This is the second divorce for Smith, having divorced actor Christopher Grove in 1992. Smith is planning to change her last name back to Smith from Erickson. The couple have no children.
I'm going to post my overall thoughts on this TV smorgasboard later this week. But before I hop a plane back to Jersey, I wanted to talk about the session that was a TV nerd's dream, at least to this TV nerd: FOX's panel to celebrate the 400th episode of The Simpsons, which will air this May. On the panel was none other than creator Matt Groening, executive producer and TV legend James L. Brooks, current show-runner Al Jean, and voice actors Yeardley Smith (Lisa) and Dan Castellaneta (Homer and a bunch of other voices).
The Simpsons will occasionally reference some obscure television show like The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo and Herman's Head. The latter is special to The Simpsons, however, because it featured two of the voice actors from the series, Yeardley Smith (Lisa Simpson) and Hank Azaria (Moe, Chief Wiggum, Apu, and countless others).
The show, which ran for three seasons on FOX in the early nineties, centered on Herman Brooks, played by William Ragsdale, fresh from his role in Mannequin 2: On the Move. Oh yes, everyone said no one could top the first Mannequin, that no one could embodied the lead like Andrew McCarthy, but he proved them wrong. Who's laughing now, huh? Actually, I never saw that movie. Anyway, Herman was an aspiring writer who worked as a fact checker for a magazine. Inside his head lived four beings who each represented a different part of his psyche: lust, fear; sensitivity (played by a woman, natch), and intellect. Smith played a secretary at Herman's office, while Azaria played his womanizing best friend. It was a rather cheesy premise, and the show, save for the odd premise, didn't venture too far from normal sitcom stuff. Still, it had a fun, kooky feel to it. And really, if it weren't for occasional reruns of The Simpsons tossing the show back into the public consciousness now and again, it would probably have been long forgotten.