‘The Simpsons’: Why Are the Cartoon Characters Yellow?

The Simpsons is perhaps the most beloved American comedy series of all time. Its record-breaking history certainly indicates that: The Simpsons is the longest-running sitcom that is on the air today, both in terms of the number of seasons (30) and the number of episodes (over 630).

Three decades of this hilarious show means that it’s been around longer than many of today’s celebrities have even been alive!

The Simpsons has undoubtedly marked itself as a legendary series that’s here to stay. The show’s characters have many quirks, not the least of them being that they all boast a bright yellow skin tone.

It’s not just the protagonists who are colored this way. Almost every single character in the show, with one or two exceptions, has this same yellow glow. So what’s the deal? Why yellow and not another color? Every Simpsons fan is dying to know!

What is ‘The Simpsons’ about?

The Simpsons "Treehouse of Horror XXX" Episode 666
The Simpsons “Treehouse of Horror XXX” and Episode 666 | TCFFC

RELATED: ‘The Simpsons’ Series Finale Plan Is a Genius Way to Keep the Show Evergreen

The Simpsons is set in Springfield, a fictional but typical working-class town in middle America. The show revolves primarily around the somewhat dysfunctional Simpson family: Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and the baby, Maggie.

The characters haven’t aged in all 30 years of the show being on television, which means week after week, long-time fans are treated to the same jokes and family dynamics that they have loved for so long. Other prominent characters include Mr. Burns, the old cranky man who serves as the primary antagonist in the show, and Milhouse Van Houten, a young boy who is Bart’s best friend. All of these characters walk around with bright yellow skin, which is the mystery in question.

Fans love The Simpsons‘ hilarious jokes and familiar characters, so much so that despite being criticized for what see as its declining quality, it has not been taken off the air even once in its 30-year history. It’s also won almost 200 awards throughout its run, including multiple Emmys, People’s Choice Awards, and Annie Awards. It’s clear that the show’s success isn’t slowing down any time soon.

‘The Simpsons’ characters are almost all yellow

View this post on Instagram

Guess we have a few Simpsons fans… #TheSimpsons

A post shared by The Simpsons (@thesimpsons) on

Although these characters and their appearances have become a familiar part of our everyday lives now, it’s not hard to imagine that when these characters first came on-air with their bright yellow skin tone, it must have taken people quite a bit of time to get used to. The Simpsons creator Matt Groening has spoken about what it felt like to finally hit the nail on the head as he was choosing his characters’ skin color.

Apparently, Groening’s main motivation was simple: He wanted to make the Springfield residents look memorable and interesting. With all of the other animated series on the air, Groening felt it was important to make sure that Homer, as well as his family and neighbors, stood out from the crowd. Although he considered other colors, yellow was the one that shone through in the end.

“An animator came up with the Simpsons’ yellow and as soon as she showed it to me I said: ‘This is the answer!’ When you’re flicking through channels with your remote control, and a flash of yellow goes by, you’ll know you’re watching The Simpsons,” Groening once stated.

Yellow has a psychological effect, as well

View this post on Instagram

Jam with your fam! #TheSimpsons

A post shared by The Simpsons (@thesimpsons) on

Although choosing yellow was perhaps just a stroke of genius for Groening and his team of animators, the color yellow also is known to have a psychological effect on the human brain. YouTube creator ChannelFrederator has explained that many of our most beloved cartoon characters (the residents of Springfield, Tweety Bird, and SpongeBob SquarePants, for example) are yellow because of color theory.

Yellow is the most visible color to the human eye, because of the way our eyes process light. Yellow is also known to be a color that represents optimism and joy. Knowing this, it makes total sense that the Simpson family, who have spread so much joy in their 30-year history, are painted this color!