Long before now, enduring life for "The Simpsons" and its brightly jaundiced folk was simply assumed. What began 20 years ago as a fluke then erupted into a pop-culture juggernaut has continued to spin yarns, spawn characters and lampoon society with no end in sight.
"I think we could do it for another 20 years, actually," Matt Groening, "Simpsons" uber-creator, told The Associated Press at a recent "Simpsons" tribute by Los Angeles' Paley Center for Media. Then he dissolved into giggles.
Of course, these off-screen stars of "The Simpsons" are well served by visual artistry that, among things, keeps them shielded from the passage of time.
"What I love about 'The Simpsons' is, it's so collaborative," Smith said. "The actors do a third, the animators do a third and the writers do a third. That's how I see it."