I supervised a package of stories on The Simpsons for Variety in honor of the series' upcoming 400th episode, and contributed this feature on mastermind Matt Groening focusing on his pre-Simpsons years.
As a child and into his college years, Matt Groening was a sponge -- yellow, if you like, to match the dominant color of his most famous creation, the Simpson family.
He soaked up everything -- television, music, popular culture, unpopular culture.
And then, when Groening arrived in Southern California in 1977, fresh out of Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash., he just started squeezing. It would be nearly a decade before he wrung out "The Simpsons," but the show nevertheless was more a product of Groening's youth and innate passion than any life experiences he absorbed as a grown-up. ...
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