The family was conceived by Groening shortly before a solicitation for a series of animated shorts with producer James L. Brooks. Groening created a dysfunctional family and named the characters after his own family members, substituting Bart for his own name. The shorts became a part of The Tracey Ullman Show on April 19, 1987. After three seasons, the sketch was developed into a half-hour prime time show and became Fox's first series to land in the Top 30 ratings in a season (1989–90).
[The Principal and the Pauper] is about a community of people who like things just the way they are. Skinner's not really close to these people - he's a minor character - but they get upset when someone comes in and says 'this is not really the way things are' and they run the messenger out of town on the rail. And when the episode aired, lo and behold, a community of people who like things just the way they are got mad. It never seems to have occurred to anyone that this episode is about the people who hate it.