Biggest Simpsons mysteries finally explained
A WRITER behind The Simpsons has revealed the answers to some of the show's biggest mysteries - including why the family are yellow and why they live in Springfield.
He has worked on the show since the very beginning when it launched in 1989 and has now written Springfield Confidential: Jokes, Secrets, and Outright Lies from a Lifetime Writing for The Simpsons.
In the book, Reiss gives away the answers to some of fans' most enduring questions about the show, which has racked up more than 636 episodes in almost 30 years on-air.
WHY THEY'RE YELLOW
Reiss has revealed the characters' trademark yellow complexion came about completely by accident.
It was all down to a former show animator, who he has chosen not to name, being put in charge of finding a colour for creator Matt Groening's original drawings.
Reiss explained that she picked the unusual skintone for the animations because of the kids' bizarre hairlines.
He wrote: "Bart, Lisa and Maggie have no hairlines - there's no line that separates their skin from their hair points.
"So the animaters chose yellow - it's kinda skin, kinda hair."
WHY THEY LIVE IN SPRINGFIELD
In the book, Reiss said the name of the town was "borrowed" from 1950s hit sitcom Father Knows Best and was chosen by Groening for its "generic blandness".
He wrote of the seemingly location-less town: "Springfield has an ocean on its east side and its west side.
"We once said that East Springfield is three times the size of Texas. And in one episode, we see Homer shovelling snow in the morning and lying in a hammock sipping lemonade that afternoon.
"This raises the question: What planet is Springfield on?"
WHY THE FAMILY'S NAME EMERGES FROM BEHIND A CLOUD IN THE OPENING CREDITS
Fans of the show are used to seeing the family's name emerge from a cloud at the start of the show, but they might be surprised there's a secret reason why it plays out that way.
Reiss explained that when the show name is revealed, viewers only see half the word "The Simps" before the rest follows and it was created that way on purpose.
He wrote: "You see the first half of the family's name, 'The Simps,' before the rest of the word.
"So what? Well, 'Simps' is short for simpletons - stupid people - like the ones you're about to see in the show."
HOW DID THEY GET THEIR NAMES?
It turns out Homer and Marge were named after real people - creator Matt Groening used his parents as inspiration for the fictional sitcom couple.
Lisa and Maggie were named after his sisters, but Bart was his own invention, an anagram of "brat".
WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION BEHIND THE FLAMING MOE'S EPISODE?
Reiss reveals co-creator Sam Simon, who died of cancer in 2015, was part of the inspiration for the classic 1991 episode, that has been hailed as one of the best of all time.
He claimed Simon became bitter at seeing Groening getting all the credit for creating the show and the fractured partnership inspired the story.
He wrote: "[Sam] pitched a story where Homer, like Sam, creates something truly extraordinary … and Moe gets all the credit for it. Homer becomes twisted with rage and destroys them both."
In the episode, Homer tells Moe the recipe for a new cocktail, and the bartender steals it, renames it the Flaming Moe and makes a fortune from selling it at his tavern.
Homer becomes obsessed with Moe and his betrayal and takes revenge on Moe and ends up scuppering a deal that could have made them both millions.
THE SECRET BEHIND THE MICHAEL JACKSON EPISODE
When the King of Pop made a guest role in the show back in 1991, viewers were treated to snippets of his hits sung by the man himself.
However, it wasn't actually Jackson doing to singing - he brought in an "authorised sound-alike" to croon along to his tracks while he just recorded the speech.
Reiss revealed Jackson brought in a "a little white guy" named Kipp Lennon.
When asked why he wasn't singing himself, the writer says the pop legend replied: "It's a joke on my brothers" without any further explanation.
THEY CAN'T GET ANY GUEST STAR THEY WANT TO APPEAR IN THE SHOW
The show's had amazing guest stars - three of The Beatles, Stephen Hawking and Elizabeth Taylor. But some stars don't want to be on it.
The show's tried, and failed, to get Bruce Springsteen on several times.
Tom Cruise declined and they've never had a US president on the show.
THE LEONARD NIMOY CAMEO WASN'T ACTUALLY WRITTEN FOR HIM
The legendary Star Trek actor appeared in one of the show's best ever episodes - Marge vs. the Monorail - but the part was actually written for George Takei.
"We asked George Takei from Star Trek to play himself - Takei had been on an earlier episode, and he loved it," Reiss writes.
"But Takei turned us down, saying, 'I don't make fun of monorails.'
"Turns out he's an impassioned fan of public transit. Instead, we went to Leonard Nimoy, who happily took the part."
This story originally appeared in The Sun and is republished here with permission.