For almost three decades, Springfield's residents have become vibrant characters in their own right. Let's take a look at where their stories all started, in their own words. (Note: These first lines are all from the series only—Tracey Ullman shorts or commercials don't count.)
1. Marge Simpson
"Ooh, careful, Homer."
This is the first sentence uttered in Simpsons history, from the series premiere "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire."
2. Homer Simpson
"There's no time to be careful. We're late."
Homer's first line, in response to Marge's plea to drive safely.
3. Seymour Skinner
"Wasn't that wonderful? And now, the Santas of many lands, as presented by the entire second grade class."
Principal Skinner emceeing the Springfield Elementary holiday pageant.
4. Bart Simpson
"Jingle Bells/Batman Smells/Robin Laid an Egg/The Batmobile Broke Its Wheel/The Joker Got Away..."
We're introduced to Bart with his interpretation of "Jingle Bells."
5. Lisa Simpson
"But I really want a pony and I have been really really good this year."
Lisa eventually got that pony, albeit for a brief period of time.
6. Patty Bouvier
On the phone, Patty had no interest in speaking with Homer.
7. Ned Flanders
"Hold your horses, son. Hey, Simpson!"
We meet Ned right before he shows off his "too bright" Christmas display.
8. Waylon Smithers
"Attention all personnel. Please keep working during the following announcement."
Mr. Smithers, as dutiful as ever.
9. Charles Montgomery Burns
"Hello. I'm proud to announce that we've been able to increase safety here at the power plant without increasing the cost to the consumer or affecting management pay raises. However, for you semi-skilled workers, there will be no Christmas bonuses. Oh, and one more thing, Merry Christmas."
Mr. Burns, as gracious as ever.
10. Todd Flanders
"Hey, Mr. Simpson. You dropped your pork chop."
Inadvertently embarrassing Homer Simpson, just like his father.
11. Moe Szyslak
"What's the matter, Homer? Did someone leave a lump of coal in your stocking? You've been sitting there sucking on a beer all day long."
Moe, moments before uncharacteristically offering a candy cane.
12. Barney Gumble
"Drinks all around!"
Barney, even more uncharacteristically having money.
13. Selma Bouvier
Said with feigned politeness in response to Homer's insincere statement that she looks well.
14. Milhouse Van Houten
"Get a load of that quote-unquote Santa."
Questioning Homer's Santa skills.
15. Abraham Simpson
Grampa Simpson, rolling his eyes at the "unadulterated pap" that is Happy Little Elves with Lisa.
16. Martin Prince Jr.
"Principal Skinner, one of my fellow children is vandalizing school property."
A big-time tattle for a big-time tattler's first line. From "Bart the Genius."
17. Edna Krabappel
"Now, I don't want you to worry, class. These tests will have no effect on your grades. They merely determine your future social status and financial success ... if any."
18. Otto Mann
"Sorry little dudes. Party Hardy equals tardy."
Otto, running late in "Homer's Odyssey."
19. Sherri (or Terri) Mackleberry.
"We're going to make you sing, Bart Simpson."
20. Terri (or Sherri) Mackleberry
"Yeah Bart Simpson, we're going to make you sing."
21. Clancy Wiggum
"Well, it's no secret this city is under siege by a graffiti vandal know as 'El Barto.' Police artists have a composite sketch of the culprit. If anyone has any information, please contact us immediately."
El Barto would forever remain out of his grasp.
22. Officer Eddie
Said moments before accepting a beer, but not pretzels, while on duty in "There's No Disgrace Like Home."
23. Officer Lou
"Good one, Moe. Listen, we're looking for a family of Peeping Toms who've been terrorizing the neighborhood."
That family was, of course, the Simpsons.
24. Nelson Muntz
"Nah, happens all the time. Somebody else's blood spatters on me. Hey, wait a minute. You're right. You made me bleed my own blood."
Nelson was welcomed to the show with a punch to the face by Bart in "Bart the General."
25. Jasper Beardly
"Simpson, give me your newspaper!"
26. Ralph Wiggum
"Hey, what are you talking to her for? She's just gonna say something weird."
In "Moaning Lisa," before the show dumbed Ralph down considerably.
27. Krusty the Clown
Springfield's favorite clown, very upset at Bart and Homer in "The Telltale Head."
28. Reverend Timothy Lovejoy Jr.
"Look, now we've got them!"
Rev. Lovejoy was also angry at Bart and Homer in "The Telltale Head."
29. Jimbo Jones
"Hey, hot dog."
Said in an effort to break Bart's concentration on his skateboard.
30. Kearney Zzyzwicz
"Oh yeah? Well, do it again."
31. Dolph Starbeam
"Psst, coast is clear."
Dolph informs his fellow bullies (minus Nelson) that they can view Space Mutants 4 free of charge.
32. Apu Nahasapeemapetilon
"Okay. Now don't you kids take anything. I'm watching you. I've got eyes on the back of my head. $4.52."
33. Helen Lovejoy
"Marge? Marge Simpson? You remember me, don't you? I'm Helen Lovejoy, the gossipy wife of the minister."
She ruins Marge's brunch date with Jacques (and provides plenty of character detail) in "Life on the Fast Lane."
34. Lenny Leonard
"Ain't you hungry, Homer?"
Lenny was concerned from the very beginning whenever Homer wasn't eating, first in "Life on the Fast Lane."
35. Carl Carlson
"Hey don't worry. Things are gonna pick up once the entertainment gets here."
Lenny's best friend was introduced in the very next episode, "Homer's Night Out"."
36. Agnes Skinner
"You certainly have done well for yourself, Spanky."
Mrs. Skinner was initially impressed with her son Seymour, getting her first speaking line in "The Crepes of Wrath."
37. "Sideshow" Bob Terwilliger
"Ow, my foot, you lousy stupid clumsy...hand over all of your money in a paper bag."
This was said in the guise of his boss, Krusty the Clown, during a failed attempt to frame him in "Krusty Gets Busted".
38. Kent Brockman
"Good evening again Springfield. Krusty the Clown, the beloved idol of countless tots, now nothing more than a common alleged criminal."
39. Mayor "Diamond" Joe Quimby
"I hereby declare this day to be 'Snow Day'—the funnest day in the history of Springfield."
From "Bart Gets An F."
"Greetings, earthlings. I am Kang. Do not be frightened. We mean you no harm."
A very cordial-seeming start for the murderous space alien in the original "Treehouse of Horror."
"Come earthlings, eat. Grow large with food."
42. Maude Flanders
"Hello spongecake. I thought you boys might be hungry so I whipped up some club sandwiches."
Mrs. Flanders in "Dead Putting Society."
43. Rod Flanders
"When's Todd's solo, dad?"
The elder Flanders boy in "Bart the Daredevil."
44. Julius Murphy Hibbert II M.D.
"Mrs. Simpson, Bart tells me he injured himself training for a career in 'death defiance'?"
Dr. Hibbert introduced himself to the world with straightlaced concern for Bart in "Bart the Daredevil."
Thanks to Marge, Scratchy's first word was a kind offer of a refreshing beverage to Itchy in "Itchy and Scratchy and Marge."
Itchy's response, from The Itchy and Scratchy Show's "Porch Pals."
47. Lionel Hutz
"Hutz is the name, Mr. Simpson. Lionel Hutz: Attorney at law. Here's my card—it turns into a sponge when you put it in water."
Lionel Hutz, classy from the very start in "Bart Gets Hit by a Car."
48. Dr. Nick Riviera
"Bad news! Your son is a very sick boy. Just look at the X-rays. See that dark spot there? Whiplash."
49. Rainier Wolfcastle
"Captain, I have proof that he's head of an international drug cartel."
Wolfcastle—in character here as the action hero McBain—was always convinced that Senator Mendoza was up to no good throughout the running gag of the McBain movie clips, starting in "The Way We Was."
50. TROY MCCLURE
"Hello, I'm Troy McClure. You may remember me from such movies as Cry Yuma and Here Comes the Coast Guard. But today, I'd like to talk to you about a pleasant tasting candy that actually cleans and straightens your teeth."
51. Hans Moleman
"'F,' 'L,' oh no I'm sorry, that's a 'C' isn't it?"
Poor Moleman flunking an eye exam at the DMV in "Principal Charming."
52. Groundskeeper Willie
"Save your strength, Lad. There's a whole field for you to resod left."
53. Professor Frink
"Why, it's a death ray, my good man. Behold."
Professor John Nerdelbaum Frink, Jr., failing to get grant money from Grampa in "Old Money."
54. Ms. Hoover
"He's bad, but he'll die. So I like it."
Ms. Hoover on Marge's painting of a naked Mr. Burns in "Brush With Greatness."
"All right. I get out at noon and I'm already invited to a party."
Recurring felon Snake, first seen on a prison phone talking to Otto in "The War of the Simpsons."
56. Comic Book Guy
"Tell you what. I'll show you something very special if you promise to put your grubby little hands behind your back and keep 'em there."
From "Three Men and a Comic Book."
57. Lunch Lady Doris
"This is a whole lot of nothing."
Lunch Lady Doris, along with Groundskeeper Willie and Bleeding Gums Murphy, judging Springfield Elementary's talent show in "Lisa's Pony."
58. Maggie Simpson
59. Superintendent Gary Chalmers
From "Whacking Day."
60. Cletus Spuckler
"Hey ma, look at that pointy-hairded little girl."
Moments earlier, Lisa first refers to him as a "slack-jawed yokel" in "Bart Gets An Elephant."
61. Disco Stu
"Hey, Disco Stu doesn't advertise."
Disco Stu started as a one-off joke, paying off the set-up of Homer running out of room on his jacket to write "Disco Stud" in season seven's Two Bad Neighbors."
"ARE YOU READY TO GET DUFFED?"
Duffman ruined Barney's night of designated driving in "The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson."
63. Gil Gunderson
"Marge, it's a real pleasure. You got any leads? I need some leads. Please, help me."
Sad sack Gil was introduced to Marge by Lionel Hutz as a 42-year veteran of the real estate business, not that his experience was helping, in season nine's "Realty Bites."