The Simpsons reached the television milestone of 500 episodes on Sunday (February 9, 2012) with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange - who is fighting extradition to Sweden over alleged sex offences - providing his voice for the episode entitled 'At Long Last Leave'.
In the 500th show, the Simpsons are shown sneaking into a secret town hall meeting, where they are told they will be thrown out of Springfield. Assange - who recorded his lines over the telephone from the Uk - meets the famous family when they arrive in a neighbourhood called 'The Outlands'. The acclaimed animated comedy is now in its 23rd season, making it the longest-running prime-time scripted programme on US television. The show was in danger of being axed last year, before eventually being contracted for another two seasons at least. Assange is the latest in a long-list of guest voices on the programme - former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, graffiti artist Banksy, Barry White and Hugh Hefner have all appeared. Creator Matt Groening said the Simpsons' writers still have stories to tell, mostly involving, "characters we've never dealt with", telling the Los Angeles Times, "We have a character we call Squeaky-Voiced Teen.I'd like to know a little bit more about that guy".
Once the show reaches the end of its 25th season, the number of episodes will stand at 559. The Simpsons continues to parody popular culture, and the current season has featured references to 'Mad Men', 'The Social Network' and the political-punditry of Glenn Beck.