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The Simpsons: How and where to watch the TV show, shorts, movie, and spin-offs in release and chronological order

Yes, the whole Simpsons thing - Movie and Disney+ shorts included.

Image credit: Fox

In the '80s, a young animator named Matt Groening pitched a series of cartoon segments to a Fox-airing sketch show. Centered around a comically disfunctional famiily that shared first names with his own, Groening's creation would eventually get its own spinoff and, in time, become the most successful animated show in the history of the world.

Welcome, dear reader, to Popverse's The Simpsons watch order.

Here we'll pay homage together to Groening's titanic achievement by listing out a cohesive order of experience for both Springfield-curious newbies and regulars at Moe's Tavern. I'm going to explain how to watch the entire show (yes, the entire show) in both release and chronological order, then answer some FAQs about watching America's favorite animated comedy.

But before we get there, there are some things you need to understand about The Simpsons, starting with...

The Simpsons on the Tracey Ullman Show

Image credit: 20th Century Fox

Before they had a show of their own, Maggie, Lisa, Marge, and Co. appeared in special animated segments on The Tracey Ullman show (1987-1990). The short segments are listed below by title, along with which episode of The Tracey Ullman show they appeared on:

  • Good Night - Season 1, Episode 1
  • Watching Television - Season 1, Episode 2
  • Bart Jumps - Season 1, Episode 3
  • Babysitting Maggie - Season 1, Episode 4
  • The Pacifier - Season 1, Episode 5
  • Burp Contest - Season 1, Episode 6
  • Eating Dinner - Season 1, Episode 7
  • Making Faces - Season 2, Episode 1
  • The Funeral - Season 2, Episode 2
  • Maggie's Brain - Season 2, Episode 3
  • Football - Season 2, Episode 4
  • House of Cards - Season 2, Episode 5
  • Bart and Dad Eat Dinner - Season 2, Episode 6
  • Space Patrol - Season 2, Episode 7
  • Bart's Haircut - Season 2, Episode 8
  • World War III - Season 2, Episode 9
  • The Perfect Crime - Season 2, Episode 10
  • Scary Stories - Season 2, Episode 11
  • Grandpa and the Kids - Season 2, Episode 12
  • Gone Fishin' - Season 2, Episode 13
  • Skateboarding - Season 2, Episode 14
  • The Pagans - Season 2, Episode 15
  • The Closet - Season 2, Episode 16
  • The Aquarium - Season 2, Episode 17
  • Family Portrait - Season 2, Episode 18
  • Bart's Hiccups - Season 2, Episode 19
  • The Money Jar - Season 2, Episode 20
  • The Art Museum - Season 2, Episode 21
  • Zoo Story - Season 2, Episode 22
  • Shut Up Simpsons - Season 3, Episode 1
  • The Shell Game - Season 3, Episode 2
  • The Bart Simpson Show - Season 3, Episode 3
  • Punching Bag - Season 3, Episode 4
  • Simpson Xmas - Season 3, Episode 5
  • The Krusty the Clown Show - Season 3, Episode 6
  • Bart the Hero - Season 3, Episode 7
  • Bart's Little Fantasy - Season 3, Episode 8
  • Scary Movie - Season 3, Episode 9
  • Home Hypnotism - Season 3, Episode 10
  • Shoplifting - Season 3, Episode 11
  • Echo Canyon - Season 3, Episode 12
  • Bathtime - Season 3, Episode 13
  • Bart's Nightmare - Season 3, Episode 14
  • Bart of the Jungle - Season 3, Episode 15
  • Family Therapy - Season 3, Episode 16
  • Maggie In Peril: Chapter One - Season 3, Episode 17
  • Maggie In Peril: The Thrilling Conclusion - Season 3, Episode 18
  • TV Simpsons - Season 3, Episode 19

Looking back on The Simpsons's history, it's pretty incredible that such a massive cultural touchpoint would have such humble origins. And while we shouldn't forget the family's origins, I'm going to have to truncate this portion of their history for the sake of brevity in this list. From now on, we'll refer to this era as "The Tracey Ullman shorts" - but you can always refer to the list above for the full catalogue of what that entails.

We'll get to the larger Simpsons repetoir in just a moment, but first, you should know that Tracey Ullman's show wasn't the last time Springfield's #1 family appeared in quick animated segments.

The Simpsons shorts on Disney+

Image credit: 20th Century Fox

Not content with merely dominating TV, the denizens of Springfield have stretched their reach into theaters, as we know from the 2007 movie, and of course, into streaming-first entertainment. At the moment, streamer Disney+ plays host to multiple short adventures of the yellow fellows - here they are in order of release:

  • The Longest Daycare
  • Playdate with Destiny
  • The Force Awakens from Its Nap
  • The Good, the Bart, and the Loki
  • The Simpsons | Balenciaga
  • Plusaversary
  • Te Deseo Lo Mejor
  • When Billie Met Lisa
  • Welcome to the Club
  • The Simpsons Meet the Bocellis in 'Feliz Navidad'
  • Rogue Not Quite One

A quick clrification: Though all of these shorts are now available on the streamer, four of them weren't Disney+ originals. The Longest Daycare and Playdate with Destiny were released in theaters, attached to feature films (Ice Age: Continental Drift and Onward, respectively), while The Simpsons | Balenciaga (a collaboration between the producers and the titular French/Spanish luxury fashion house) was released during Paris Fashion Week 2021 and Te Deseo Lo Mejor (a music video) premiered on rapper Bad Bunny's YouTube page.

Except for the commercials in which they've appeared (we're not even going to go into it - that way lies madness), what you've read above comprises the entirety of The Simpsons' official appearances in licensed media. Which means, at long last, it's time to ask...

How to watch The Simpsons in release order

Image credit: 20th Century Fox

Like items at a grocery store, the simplest way to order The Simpsons is by the date on the bag. That's what I've done here - taking everything watchable appearance of Flanders, Krusty, and the rest and stacking them by when they came ot in our world. If that's the way you want to experience the show, follow this list:

Of course, the list above only lines up The Simpsons via the history of our world, not theirs. Like any longrunning sitcom, The Simpsons deals with the pasts and even futures of its characters. If you're interested in experiencing Simpsons history the same way they do, then you're going to have to ask yourself...

How to watch The Simpsons in chronological order

Image credit: 20th Century Fox

Ok reader, this is about the time newscaster Kent Brockman would be tellinig you that it's "time to panic." Buut don't worry, we'll get through this together.

The problem with The Simpsons chronology is that the show exists in a sliding timeline - in the land of Springfield, technology advances and history progresses, but the characters stay the same age. Some longtime Simpsons enjoyers would tell you that this temporal relativity erases the possibility of a chronological order... but you're not going to listen to them, are you?

Of course you're not. Because you know that even though dates on America's favorite animated TV show blur, there's still a past, present, and future in the Simpsons canon. It's with this knowlegde that we can begin to build a chronological list of episodes.

Below, I've broken down the entirety of The Simpsons into these three categories - episodes "before" the Simpsons status quo was established, "during" that status quo, and "after" it's run its course. Since most chapters are set in the "present" or during the status quo, I've only listed them according to season and episode. But for "past" and "future" episodes (since there are considerably less), I've listed their title and placement relative to the Simpsons' "present."

Before we begin, keep this in mind - I'm only singling out episodes whose plots hinge on either being in the past or present. I haven't pulled out every episode with a future cutaway or flashback in service of a joke. First of all, because you wouldn't read that. And second of all, because I'd go insane.

Alright, let's get into it, starting with...

The Past

Image credit: 20th Century Fox
  • I, Carumbus - The Roman Empire (imagined), Season 32, Episode 2
  • Simpsons Christmas Stories - The birth of Christ, Season 17, Episode 9
  • The Serfsons - Medieval era (fantasy), Season 29, Episode 1
  • The Color Yellow - The 1860s, Season 21, Episode 13
  • Raging Abe Simpson and His Grumbling Grandson in "The Curse of the Flying Hellfish" - World War II, Season 7, Episode 22
  • The Way We Weren't - When Homer was 10, Season 15, Episode 20
  • To Cur, with Love - When Homer was a preteen, Season 24, Episode 8
  • The Blunder Years - When Homer was 12, Season 13, Episode 5
  • Mothers and Other Strangers - When Homer was 16, Season 33, Episode 9
  • The Way We Was - When Homer and Marge met, Season 2, Episode 12
  • That '90s Show - When Homer & Marge were dating, Season 19, Episode 11
  • Dangerous Curves - When Homer & Marge were dating, Season 20, Episode 5
  • I Married Marge - In between Homer & Marge dating and Bart's birth, Season 3, Episode 12
  • 3 Scenes Plus a Tag from a Marriage - Right around Bart's birth, Season 29, Episode 13
  • Homer's Barbershop Quartet - Eight years into the past (episode aired 1993, set in 1985), Season 5, Episode 1
  • Lisa's First Word - Shortly after Lisa's birth, Season 4, Episode 10
  • The Kids Are All Fight - When Bart was 4, Lisa 2, Season 26, Episode 19
  • Lisa's Sax - When Lisa discovers music, Bart is in kindtergarten, Season 9, Episode 3
  • Fland Canyon - Before Maggie's birth, Season 27, Episode 19
  • And Maggie Makes Three - Right after Maggie's birth, Season 6, Episode 13

The Present

Image credit: 20th Century Fox
  • The Tracey Ullman shorts
  • Season 1, Episodes 1-13
  • Season 2, Episodes 1-2, 4-22
  • Season 3, Episodes 1-6, 8-11, 13-24
  • Season 4, Episodes 1-4, 6-9, 11-22
  • Season 5, Episodes 2-4, 6-22
  • Season 6, Episodes 1-5, 7-12, 13-8, 20-25
  • Season 7, Episodes 2-21, 23-25
  • Season 8, Episodes 2-25
  • Season 9, Episodes 1-2, 5-25
  • Season 10, Episodes 1-3, 5-23
  • Season 11, Episodes 1-3, 5-16, 18-22
  • Season 12, Episodes 2-21
  • Season 13, Episodes 2-4, 6-22
  • Season 14, Episodes 2-22
  • Season 15, Episodes 2-19, 21-22
  • Season 16, Episodes 2-14, 16-21
  • Season 17, Episodes 1-3, 5-8, 10-22
  • Season 18, Episodes 1-3, 5-22
  • Season 19, Episodes 1-4, 6-10, 12-20
  • Season 20, Episodes 1-3, 6-21
  • Season 21, Episodes 1-3, 5-12, 14-23
  • Season 22, Episodes 1-3, 5-22
  • Season 23, Episodes 1-2, 4-8, 10-22
  • Disney+ Short - The Longest Daycare
  • Season 24, Episodes 1, 3-7, 9-22
  • Season 25, Episodes 1, 3-17, 19-22
  • Season 26, Episodes 1-3, 4-18, 20-22
  • Season 27, Episodes 1-4, 6-18, 20-22
  • Season 28, Episodes 1-3, 5-22
  • Season 29, Episodes 2-3, 5-12, 13-21
  • Season 30, Episodes 1-3, 5-23
  • Season 31, Episodes 1-3, 5-14
  • Disney+ Short - Playdate with Destiny
  • Season 31, Episodes 15-22
  • Season 32, Episodes 1-3, 5-11, 13-19
  • Disney+ Short - The Force Awakens from Its Nap
  • Season 32, Episodes 20-22
  • Disney+ Short - The Good, the Bart, and the Loki
  • Season 33, Episode 1
  • The Simpsons | Balenciaga
  • Season 33, Episodes 2, 4-6
  • Disney+ Short - Plusaversary
  • Season 33, Episodes 7-8, 10
  • Te Deseo Lo Mejor
  • Season 33, Episodes 11-17
  • Disney+ Short - When Billie Met Lisa
  • Season 33, Episodes 18-22
  • Disney+ Short - Welcome to the Club
  • Season 34, Episodes 1-4, 7-8, 10-11
  • Disney+ Short - The Simpsons Meet the Bocellis in 'Feliz Navidad'
  • Season 34, Episodes 12-19
  • Disney+ Short - Rogue Not Quite One
  • Season 34, Episodes 20-22
  • Season 35, Episodes 1-4, 6-14

The Future

Image credit: 20th Century Fox
  • Bart to the Future - Thirty years into the future (episode aired 2000, set in 2030), Season 11, Episode 17
  • Days of Future Future - Thirty years into the future, Season 25, Episode 18
  • Future-Drama - Eight years into the future (episode aired 2005, set in 2013), Season 16, Episode 15
  • Holidays of Future Passed - Thirty years into the future, Season 23, Episode 9
  • Lisa's Wedding - Fifteen years into the future (episode aired 1995, set in 2010), Season 6, Episode 19
  • Mother and Child Reunion - Lisa is about to graduate high school, Season 32, Episode 12
  • When Nelson Met Lisa - Set between Lisa graduating college, 15 years later, Season 34, Episode 9

Now, if you go through this liist closely, you'll realize that there are some episodes that are missing from this list - that I have not chosen to include in the Past, Present, or Future of The Simpsons timeline. That's because there are some Simpsons episodes that have no timeline at all, fitting nowhere in the canon. In fact, in this group, there are no less than three alternate realities per episode.

If you're a Simpsons fan, you already know where I'm going with this. Now, loyal readers, comes my favorite part of this list, as we must ask the question...

How many Treehouse of Horror episodes are there in order?

Image credit: 20th Century Fox

TV's best and most longstanding Halloween tradition, The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror, is an annual event that throws continuity and caution to the wind, as three silly and spine-tingling Simpsons stories play out with absolutely no impact on the "canon" Springfield in the least. Here they are, in order, along with their episodic and seasonal placement.

  • Treehouse of Horror I - Season 2, Episode 3
  • Treehouse of Horror II - Season 3, Episode 7
  • Treehouse of Horror III - Season 4, Episode 5
  • Treehouse of Horror IV - Season 5, Episode 5
  • Treehouse of Horror V - Season 6, Episode 6
  • Treehouse of Horror VI - Season 7, Episode 6
  • Treehouse of Horror VII - Season 8, Episode 1
  • Treehouse of Horror VIII - Season 9, Episode 4
  • Treehouse of Horror IX - Season 10, Episode 4
  • Treehouse of Horror X - Season 11, Episode 4
  • Treehouse of Horror XI - Season 12, Episode 1
  • Treehouse of Horror XII - Season 13, Episode 1
  • Treehouse of Horror XIII - Season 14, Episode 1
  • Treehouse of Horror XIV - Season 15, Episode 1
  • Treehouse of Horror XV - Season 16, Episode 1
  • Treehouse of Horror XVI - Season 17, Episode 4
  • Treehouse of Horror XVII - Season 18, Episode 4
  • Treehouse of Horror XVIII - Season 19, Episode 5
  • Treehouse of Horror XIX - Season 20, Episode 4
  • Treehouse of Horror XX - Season 21, Episode 4
  • Treehouse of Horror XXI - Season 22, Episode 4
  • Treehouse of Horror XXII - Season 23, Episode 3
  • Treehouse of Horror XXIII - Season 24, Episode 2
  • Treehouse of Horror XXIV - Season 25, Episode 2
  • Treehouse of Horror XXV - Season 26, Episode 4
  • Treehouse of Horror XXVI - Season 27, Episode 5
  • Treehouse of Horror XXVII - Season 28, Episode 4
  • Treehouse of Horror XXVIII - Season 29, Episode 4
  • Treehouse of Horror XXIX - Season 30, Episode 4
  • Treehouse of Horror XXX - Season 31, Episode 4
  • Treehouse of Horror XXXI - Season 32, Episode 4
  • Treehouse of Horror XXXII - Season 33, Episode 3
  • Treehouse of Horror Special - Not It - Season 34, Episode 5
  • Treehouse of Horror XXXIII - Season 34, Episode 6
  • Treehouse of Horror XXXIV - Season 35, Episode 5

Watch Treehouse of Horror however you like, in whatever order you like, interspersed with the regular Simpsons as much as like. Hell, you could even just do a Treehouse of Horror watch order on its own using the list above. That's potentially even advisable, considering the list of regular episodes already stretches pretty far.

In fact, that brings up our next question...

How many episodes of The Simpsons are there in total?

Image credit: 20th Century Fox

There are 764 episodes of The Simpsons as of this writing. Pretty darn impressive, especially considering the fact that that number doesn't account for the 48 Tracey Ullman shorts, 11 modern shorts, and lest we forget, the movie. That's a whole lotta Duff beer and donuts - you'd have to be almost out of your mind to try and figure out -

How long would it take to watch all of The Simpsons?

Image credit: 20th Century Fox

I do this because I love you, Popverse reader, though the math strips braincells from my already diminishing count. Assuming each episode of The Simpsons is ~22 minutes, then adding an hour for all the Tracey Ullman shorts combined, factoring in the 35 minute total I calculated for all the Disney+ shorts, including the 10 minute Balenciaga and 3 minute Bad Bunny videos, and topping the whole thing off with The Simpsons Movie's 1 hour 27 minute runtime and you get...

11 days, 18 hours, and 21 minutes of The Simpsons.

Neither I nor Popverse bear any legal responsibility for what you do with this information.

Where can I watch The Simpsons?

Image credit: 20th Century Fox

Hey, here's a much easier question! Though you can watch some episodes of The Simpsons on Hulu, you can catch every single one of them (plus the modern shorts) on Disney+. You might want to get Hulu anyway though, since that's where you can find creator Matt Groening's second most famous work, another animated comedy set in the 31st century. And since we're talking about the Planet Express gang, now's a great time to ask...

Is Futurama connected to The Simpsons?

Image credit: 20th Century Fox

It absolutely is! Simpsorama, the sixth episode of the 26th season, brings Matt Groening's two most successful creations together as robot Bender is sent back in time to kill Homer Simpson. You can read more about this (and about the Simpsons's sister show) in Popverse's Futurama watch order.

And before we move on from the subject of Matt Groening...

Is Disenchantment connected to The Simpsons?

Image credit: Netflix

Sorry to disappoint, but there's not been a canon crossover between Groening's Netflix fantasy show and his extra nuclear family. However, both shows have been linked, in-universe, by Futurama, which you can read all about in that watch order I linked to above. Beyond this, the characters of Happy Little Elves, a children's show within the Simpsonsverse, look a hell of a lot Disenchanment's Elfo and his kin.

Now, as you can tell by the rolling credits and soft theme playing in the background, we're nearly at the end of this journey into Simpson dreamland (Simpsomnambulism, if you will) that we've taken together. As a parting gift, let me take you on a little tour of the franchise's future, starting by asking...

Will there be another Simpsons movie?

Image credit: 20th Century Fox

As a fan of the first film, I wish I could tell you that another has already been greenlit. Unfortunately, I can't. What I can tell you is that the idea has been discussed - veteran Simpsons producer Al Jean told Comicbook.com that the idea was floating around before COVID-19 hit. So at the very least, there are important people considering the idea.

Still, this is at best a guess to what the future of The Simpsons holds, and that's hardly a way to close the time we've spent together. So let's wrap this baby up by talking about something we know for sure -

Will there be a season 36 of The Simpsons?

Image credit: 20th Century Fox

Before I answer this question, I want you to take a guess. Given what you've seen so far, do you think that The Simpsons wiill be returning after this 35th season is over?

If your answer is no, I desperately want to understand your mind. Most people, I have to believe, know that there's simply no end in sight for Springfield - season 36 was confirmed 9and reported on by Entertainment Weekly) all the way back in January of 2023, guaranteeing the show not just a season 36 but a path beyond its milestone 800th episode.

When will it all end? That's a question you won't see on this list, dear reader; it's a question that no one making decisions about the show has the incentive to ask. What began as a quirkly little experiment in animation has become a universal language. At this point, calling The Simpsons just a TV show is like calling water just a drink. So if you think this list is long, just wait.

It's only going to get longer.

Oh, and if you're into great cartoons featuring characters that never seem to age, check out Popverse's animated X-Men watch order.

Grant DeArmitt

Grant DeArmitt: Grant DeArmitt (he/him) likes horror, comics, and the unholy pairing of the two. As Povperse's Staff Writer, he criss-crosses the pop culture landscape bringing you the news and opinions about the big things (and the next big things). He has written for Nightmare on Film Street and Newsarama, despite their better judgment. He lives in Brooklyn with his partner, Kelsey, and corgi, Legs.


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