Snail Mail Fun with The Simpsons

Every year the United States Postal Service convenes a Citizen’s Stamp Advisory Committee that’s given the task of choosing 20 commemorative stamps out of over 50,000 suggestions. This year the members wisely decided that one of the 2009 designs will feature one of America’s favorite cartoon families: The Simpsons. Well, that only took two decades!

We only have to wait a few more days to see them; a sneak preview of the stamps will appear on the USPS Web site on April 9 at 8 a.m. along with a link to pre-order the set. Don’t know get the chills when you watch the new opening sequence in HD? Lucky for you it’s not the only television show featured this year.

In a play for “good old days” nostalgia, another set called “Early TV Memories” will start appearing at the post office this August. The set honors television shows from the medium’s infancy. For this collection, 20 black-and-white shows from the ’50s made the cut, including Alfred Hitchcock Presents; Dragnet; Howdy Doody; I Love Lucy; Lassie; The Lone Ranger; Perry Mason; The Tonight Show; and The Twilight Zone. To be honest, I only remember these shows from when Nickelodeon started their after-hours “Nick at Nite” segment in the ’80s, and even then I was more likely to watch Gilbert Godfrey’s Up All Night before I’d let anyone take me to TV Land, but it did lead me to wonder: What other television shows have received the same iconic postal recognition as tropical fruit and jury duty?

Glad you asked. The last time a television show got a stamp of its own was in 2004 when Jim Henson and The Muppets got an 11-panel pane that depicted Henson and 13 of his fuzzy characters. The set’s release coincided with the show’s 50th Anniversary, and honored the memory of the late puppeteer. The Muppet stamps are a continuation of a childhood theme, as five Looney Tunes stamps had been released just a few years before: Porky Pig (2001), Wile E. Coyote & Road Runner (2000), Daffy Duck (1999), Tweety & Sylvester (1998), and of course, Bugs Bunny (1997).

Detecting a pattern yet? And that only makes it more confounding that The Simpsons, the longest-running prime time comedy in television history, just made the cut this year. It begs the question: Which overlooked TV shows do you think deserve the stamp treatment? Imagine licking George Costanza’s head before you slap his mug on a birthday card. Or sending off your taxes with a Serena van der Woodsen seal of approval. The possibilities for postal irony are endless…