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The Simpsons Folder


Lucky Winner to Get The Simpsons House
September 16, 1997 © Las Vegas Sun, Inc. ASSOCIATED PRESS By Angie Warner

Round a corner in the new Springfield subdivision of this booming town and you’re awestruck by the wacky house and its 27 gaudy colors. Mixed with the more mundane tan and stucco homes is an eye-popping power orange and solar yellow house that replicates the terrible tastes and absurd lifestyle of “The Simpsons.”

A home builder has captured every detail of the TV cartoon family’s life, from Marge’s corn-print kitchen curtains to Homer’s driveway grease spot from his car. The bizarre house captures the best (or worst) of television’s longest-running animated prime-time series.

Where else should the cartoon family live but just outside Las Vegas, where you can bet on the bizarre?

“Does Bart really live there?” asked one boy, waiting in line under a tent set up to shade the curious.

Bart may not REALLY live there, but someone will.

Kaufman and Broad Home Corp. is teaming with the Fox network and Pepsi-Cola to give away the four-bedroom, 2,200-square-foot home as part of a national promotion coinciding with “The Simpsons” season premiere this Sunday. A drawing will determine the winner of the $150,000 home.

But before the lucky real life family moves in, the show’s fans and even those who aren’t get to tour the home.

Framed by a shiny orange picket fence, the yellow house features the purple family car parked outside. An antenna is perched on the roof, though unlike Home’s house, this one is cable-ready.

Inside, it’s easy to feel trapped in a cartoon with all the Playdoh-colored paint and appliances.

Behind a hall tree where Homer’s hard hat hangs is the “mystery door.” No one goes in and no one comes out, just like on the show.

Logs in the fireplace are painted bright green, as are the leaves and branches of the fig trees in the living room. Above the blue piano is the sheet music Lisa uses to play her saxophone.

Instead of carpet, the architects opted to paint the floors to get the full cartoon effect.

Next to the couch in the TV room is an empty can of Homer’s Duff beer. In the kitchen, food is set out for the family dog, Santa’s Little Helper, and dirty dishes are in the sink.

Out back is a swing set, Homer’s orange barbecue grill and Bart’s treehouse, with the legend, “Come in. NOT.”

In every closet hangs three sets of the same outfit worn by each character. They never change clothes on the show.

To build the replica of the cartooned house, Kaufman and Broad architects spent hours watching episodes of “The Simpsons,” figuring out how the characters moved from room to room and even noting where mouseholes were. (There are three.)

“I ended up watching close to 100 episodes myself,” said architect Manny Gonzalez of Los Angeles. “My kids were kind of wondering why dad was watching ‘The Simpsons’ so much.”

Gonzalez said he and his colleagues looked through 7,400 different colors before deciding on the 27 used throughout the house. The cartoon showed arched doorways, so the architects joked they built them to accommodate Homer’s girth and Marge’s hair.

A Hollywood set designer was hired to handle all the props while another crew painted them with wild colors in the back yard.

Most visitors are overwhelmed when they visit the house. Some even have swiped a few items.

“It shows you how fanatical people are,” said Melissa Robinson, spokeswoman for Kaufman and Broad.

By 9:30 a.m. one day recently, 50 people were already lined up to take a free tour of the home. The line grew to hundreds as the day wore on. Tours run until the season premiere giveaway.

“It was wonderful,” said Linda Cook as she emerged from the house tour with her daughter and a friend. “I’ve never seen it (the show). The kids are rude.”

After the winner is announced, Kaufman and Broad will repaint the outside of the house to conform with the neighborhood’s more traditional colors.

The props and knickknacks will be gone, too. The builder is considering a yard sale for those. The interior colors can be changed if the owner desires.

So what do the neighbors think? Hard to say. Most of the houses on the street are still being built.

Nine-year-old Matthew Madzia, who lives around the corner from the commotion, likes it just fine. And if he wins the house, that would be even better.

“You get a whole bunch of free stuff,” he said.