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Bart Simpson is a fictional main character in The Simpsons series as well as The Simpsons Movie. He is the eldest child of Homer and Marge Simpson. He is a troublesome prankster.
While sitting in the lobby of producer Jim Brooks, cartoonist Matt Groening came up with the Simpsons, a family based loosely on his own. Groening was going to meet Brooks to pitch an idea for an animated series. He originally wanted to adapt his comic strip Life in Hell, but he decided to go with the Simpsons to keep his copyright of Life in Hell. Bart was based off of several influences. The major one being Matt's brother Mark, along with Huckleberry Finn, Tom Sawyer and Dennis the Menace. He chose the name Bart because it is an anagram for "brat," a word that's indicative of Bart's behavior.
Bart has spiked blonde hair and wears a red shirt with blue shorts. He also wears blue sneakers, similar to Converse. Bart carries around a skateboard and slingshot, two of his trademarks. Like all Simpson characters, Bart has yellow skin and bulgy, round eyes.
Bart is a rebellious, disrespectful, troublemaker. He plays elaborate pranks on his family, teacher and peers. He is often considered "stupid" or "dumb" by his parents and his teacher Ms. Krabapple, but he does show considerable mental agility in cases that require it. He also does show remorse for his actions sometimes, and will go to considerable lengths to fix some of his errors.
Voice actress Nancy Cartwright was brought in to audition for the Simpsons Tracey Ullman Shorts. She originally tried the part of Lisa, but then switched to Bart, who she thought the voice was better suited for. After hearing the audition, Nancy was hired on the spot to play Bart. She also contributes several other characters including Nelson, Ralph and Todd Flanders.
In the early run of the Simpsons, Bart had several recurring catchphrases like "eat my shorts," "ay, carumba," and "don't have a cow man." These catchphrases were put on several t-shirts, toys and other Simpson's memorabilia. They were mocked, however by the show and its writers several times. In the episode "Bart Gets Famous" Bart gets on the Krusty the Clown show for repeating the phrase "I didn't do it." At the end of the episode, all of the show's characters appear to say their catchphrase.
According to the episode "I Married Margie," Bart was conceived accidentally by Marge and Homer Simpson in 1980. Marge and Homer were unmarried at the time, so they were forced to get married, and Homer had to get a job. Bart was raised in a small apartment in the Lower East Side district of Springfield. Once Marge got pregnant with Lisa, they moved to the suburban house they live in today.
Bart quickly became the most popular character on the Simpsons. In 1998 Bart placed 46 on Time magazine's list of 100 most influential people of the 20th century, the only fictional character on the list. He had previously appeared on the cover the December 31, 1990 edition along with the heading "The Best of '90." Bart also appeared alongside his sister Lisa, ranking 11 in TV Guide's Top 50 Greatest Cartoon Characters of All Time. Many of the early episodes of the Simpsons focused heavily on Bart, and many of the titles had Bart's name it, examples being "Bart Gets an F," "Bart Gets Hit by a Car," and "Bart vs. Thanksgiving." This was done mostly in the second season, as a way to get more ratings and compete with the popular Cosby Show, which the Simpsons was up against.
Along with the popularity, Bart also received criticism from parents' groups in the show's early years. Bart was often disobedient, rebellious and used word like "bitch" and "damn," which were very risque at the time. He was considered a bad role model for the children who watched the show, and would want to imitate him. George W. H. Bush responded to this by saying, "We're going to keep trying to strengthen the American family. To make them more like the Waltons and less like the Simpsons."
Other than the Simpsons, Bart has made appearances in several other TV shows and video games. Bart made a small appearance in the South Park episode "Cartoon Wars Part 2," though not by name. He also was in a series of Butterfinger commercials. Bart has also hade appearances in several of the Simpson's video games. He also starred in the "Bartman" music video, which was written by Michael Jackson.
Bart is left handed, like Matt Groening, and several other show writers