The Simpsons first appeared in 1987 as a series of 30-second shorts produced by Groening for the FOX series “The Tracey Ullman Show.” The first of these shorts aired on April 19, 1987, during the third week of primetime broadcasts on FOX. Soon they had their own series, premiering on FOX as a half-hour Christmas special on Dec. 17, 1989 (20 years ago today), and then as a regular series on Jan. 14, 1990.

Aside from the wide range of souvenir items generated by the program, some of the character’s sayings have become part of pop culture history, such as “Don’t have a cow” and “D’oh.” Fun fact: when The Simpsons first went on the air, there were 193 million television sets in U.S. homes — today, the number is more than 300 million.