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Scott D. Pierce
Scott D. Pierce writes about television for the Salt Lake Tribune. Vice president of the Television Critics Associationn, he's covered TV in Utah since 1990.

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The Simpsons retreat to their bomb shelter, unaware of what the citizens of Springfield are planning for them in "At Long Last Leave," the milestone 500th episode of "The Simpsons," airing Sunday, Feb. 19 on FOX. Courtesy image
This weekend on TV: D'oh! It's the 500th episode of "The Simpsons"

The Simpsons (Sunday, 7 p.m., Fox/Ch. 13) reaches an amazing milestone this weekend - it airs its 500th episode.

To put that in perspective, only two other scripted series in the history of television have aired more episodes - "Gunsmoke" (633 episodes from 1955-75) and "Lassie" (588 episodes from 1954-73).

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The only other truly successful prime-time animated series to come before Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie made their debut, "The Flintstones," produced 166 episodes from 1960-66.

Yes, there are people out there who contend that "The Simpsons" isn't as good as it used to be. But it's hard to find an episode that doesn't have at least a few laughs.

And those complaints are predictable. When series creator Matt Groening launched "Futurama" back in 1999, he said that "The Simpsons" would not only still be in production in the year 3000, it would have its own channel.

"But the fans on the Internet are complaining that the last 500 years aren't as good as the first 500 years," he joked.

The Simpsons get kicked out of Springfield in Sunday's episode. But (spoiler alert, sort of) they'll be back with episode 501 next week.

Elsewhere on Friday ...

Undercover Boss (7 p.m., CBS/Ch. 2): The CEO of Checkers & Rallys goes under cover at his restaurants.

The 43rd Annual NAACP Image Awards (7 p.m., NBC/Ch. 5): Recognizing artistic achievements.

College volleyball (7 p.m., BYUtv): Cal Baptist at BYU

NBA (7 p.m., ROOT): Washington Wizards at Utah Jazz

A Gifted Man (8 p.m., CBS/Ch. 2): Two patients with nothing in common seek treatment for the same unusual symptoms.

Michael Feinstein's American Songbook (8 p.m., PBS/Ch. 7): A look at the history of nightclub entertainment.

Fringe (8 p.m., Fox/Ch. 13): A mentally ill patient seems to be connected to a series of murders.

Supernatural (8 p.m., CW/Ch. 30): A demon Sam and Dean exorcized four years ago returns.

Merlin (8 and 10 p.m., Syfy): Morgan teams up with the wizard Alatar.

Blue Bloods (9 p.m, CBS/Ch. 2): A man's family is beaten and robbed in front of him.

Elsewhere on Saturday ...

Women's college basketball (1 p.m., BYUtv): San Diego at BYU

Men's college basketball: Colorado at Utah (3 p.m., ROOT/FSN); BYU at Santa Clara (5 p.m., BYUtv)

College volleyball (7 p.m., BYUtv): Cal Baptist at BYU

The Firm (8 p.m., NBC/Ch. 5): Mitch's case gets complicated when his client's brother becomes a co-defendant.

Saturday Night Live (10:30 p.m., Ch. 30): Maya Rudolph hosts; Sleigh Bells performs.

Elsewhere on Sunday ...

NBA (5 p.m., ROOT): Utah Jazz at Houston Rockets

60 Minutes (6 p.m., CBS/Ch. 2): A Harvard psychologist says drugs used to treat depression do work, but for the most part it's the placebo effect.

The Amazing Race (7 p.m., CBS/Ch. 2): A new season begins, the teams race from California to Argentina - where they have to skydive.

Once Upon a Time (7 p.m.. ABC/Ch. 4): Prince Charming searches for Snow White.

The Simpsons (7 p.m., Fox/Ch. 13): In the show's 500th episode, the Simpons are kicked out of Springfield.

The Walking Dead (7, 9 and 10:30 p.m., AMC): Rick, Glenn And Hershel are trapped by zombies.

Napoleon Dynamite (7:30 p.m., Fox/Ch. 13): Uncle Rico and Napoleon win the annual bed race - by cheating.

The Good Wife (8 p.m., CBS/Ch. 2): The firm leads a suit against a company that produced software the Syrian government used to target Americans.

Desperate Housewives (8 p.m., ABC/Ch. 4): Susan finds out who the father of Julie's baby is; Orson returns to care for Bree.

The Celebrity Apprentice (8 p.m., NBC/Ch. 5): It's another season of this horrific show - which is pretty much guaranteed to kill brain cells if you watch it.

Downton Abbey (8 p.m., PBS/Ch. 7): There are some major developments in the second-season finale. (And, yes, we do know there will be third season.)

CSI: Miami (9 p.m., CBS/Ch. 2): Women in a sorority are targeted by a murderer.

Pan Am (9 p.m., ABC/Ch. 4): Maggie is in a perilous position in the season finale. (And, no, we don't know if there will be a second season.)

Luck (10 p.m., HBO): Ace meets with a colleague.

Shameless (10 p.m., Showtime): Frank wants Grammy out of the house.

Eastbound & Down (11 p.m., HBO): In the third-season premiere, Kenny tries to resurrect his baseball career.

House of Lies (11 p.m., Showtime): Marty tries to behave himself on the road; Monica drops a bombshell.

Life's Too Short (11:30 p.m., HBO): Ricky Gervais and his partner, Stephen Merchant, are behind this faux documentary about the trials of little person/actor Warwick Davis.

Californication (11:30 p.m., Showtime): Richard gets in the way of Hank's attempt to reconnect with Karen.



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