An extract on #steelwoollandmarks
Matt Groening first conceived Marge and the rest of the Simpson family in 1986 in the lobby of producer James L. Brooks' office. Groening had been called to pitch a series of animated shorts for The Tracey Ullman Show, and had intended to present an adaptation of his Life in Hell comic strip. When he realized that animating Life in Hell would require him to rescind publication rights, Groening decided to go in another direction and hurriedly sketched out his version of a dysfunctional family, naming the characters after members of his own family. Marge was named after Groening's mother Margaret "Marge" Groening, who has said she bears little similarity to the character, stating, "It's really weird to have people think you're a cartoon." Marge's beehive hairstyle was inspired by the titular Bride in Bride of Frankenstein and the style that Margaret Groening wore during the 1960s, although her hair was never blue.
Marge debuted with the rest of the Simpson family on April 19, 1987, in The Tracey Ullman Show short "Good Night". In 1989, the shorts were adapted into The Simpsons, a half-hour series airing on the Fox Network. Marge and the Simpson family remained the main characters on this new show.
Matt Groening believes that episodes featuring Marge are among the most difficult episodes to write. Bill Oakley believes that the "junior" writers are usually given Marge episodes because he and writing partner Josh Weinstein were given several to write during their first season. During the third season of the show, most of the writers focused on Bart and Homer, so David M. Stern decided to write a Marge episode, which became "Homer Alone" (season three, 1992). He felt that they could achieve a "deeper vein" of comedy in an episode where Marge has a nervous breakdown, and James L. Brooks quickly approved.
The October 1, 1990 edition of People included an interview with then-First Lady of the United States Barbara Bush. The article included the following passage: "She loves America's Funniest Home Videos but remains baffled after sampling The Simpsons. "It was the dumbest thing I had ever seen," she says, "but it's a family thing, and I guess it's clean." The writers decided to respond by privately sending a polite letter on September 28 to Bush where they posed as Marge Simpson. On October 9, Bush sent a reply: "Dear Marge, How kind of you to write. I'm glad you spoke your mind ... I foolishly didn't know you had one. I am looking at a picture of you... depicted on a plastic cup... with your blue hair filled with pink birds peeking out all over. Evidently, you and your charming family Lisa, Homer, Bart and Maggie are camping out. It's a nice family scene. Clearly you are setting a good example for the rest of the country. Please forgive a loose tongue."
In 2002, opponents of the Seattle Monorail Project planned on showing the episode "Marge vs. the Monorail" at a protest event. Following complaints, 20th Century Fox sent a letter to the event organizers ordering that the episode not be shown due to copyright laws. In 2004, Marge appeared on Channel 4 in the United Kingdom for the Alternative Christmas message, which is annually broadcast at the same time that Queen Elizabeth II gives her Christmas message.
On April 9, 2009, the United States Postal Service unveiled a series of five 44 cent stamps featuring Marge and the four other members of the Simpson family. They are the first characters from a television series to receive this recognition while the show is still in production. The stamps, designed by Matt Groening, were made available for purchase on May 7, 2009.