Placing "The Simpsons" ahead of "Sesame Street" bodes poorly for the future of life as we know it. But at least it's not "Beavis and Butt-Head," "South Park," "Family Guy" or "Spongebob Squarepants," none of which would've been possible without America's favorite, surprisingly functional dysfunctional family, on air since 1989.
That said, it's not the first cartoon to mix adult humor and cutting political and social commentary with animation -- that distinction goes most rightfully to "Rocky and His Friends" (or perhaps to "The Yogi Bear Show"). Nor was it the first to hang its hat on the dysfunctional, middle-American family -- "Married … With Children" beat it to the punch (and "All in the Family" before that).
But the sheer scale of Bart's irreverence and Homer's oblivious, bumbling, but eventually good-hearted stupidity broke new ground in what was possible on network television. Not to mention taboo-treading characters like Ned Flanders and Waylon Smithers.