For 28 seasons, Nancy Cartwright has entreated viewers around the globe to eat her shorts as the voice behind Bart Simpson. While also voicing a slew of other character populating the town of Springfield, she’s helped turn the Simpson family’s resident troublemaker into a globally recognizable mascot just short of Mickey Mouse. In a new video interview exclusive to Rolling Stone, Cartwright looked back on her time on The Simpsons and considered what the Bart Simpson legacy means, both for her and the iconic character’s many fans.
“I think that The Simpsons really set the footprint for all the other subsequent shows that followed,” Cartwright admits. “The quality of the show, when you look at [creators] Matt Groening, Jim Brooks, and Sam Simon – those three guys together helped to create a cultural icon.”
Cartwright still remembers the surprising speed with which The Simpsons broke away from the pack and started to attain phenomenon status. “We did 13 episodes that first year, and it was probably around show four or five when we were starting to be interviewed,” she recalls. “There was controversy: kids were expelled from school for wearing Bart Simpson t-shirts, which I thought was really cool.”
The character, however, didn’t require much development: “With Bart, not so much,” she says. “I can listen to the old ones, and he sounds pretty much like I still do today. Bart is like bam, bad! He’s fun to play. I can pull on all the things I did as a kid and didn’t always get away with. People relate to that, there’s a little bit of Bart in everybody.”
“[But] I had no idea it would go on what’s rapidly approaching 30 years,” she claims.