Here’s a new web app so good and so useful that I can hardly believe it didn’t already exist: Frinkiac, a search engine for Simpsons quotes and their corresponding stills. Everyone knows the pain of wanting to drop the perfect Simpsons line, but coming up empty when trying to find the matching screenshot on Google Image Search. But, unlike Frinkiac’s three creators, not everyone would spend a month solving that problem.
Sean Schulte, Paul Kehrer, and Allie Young uploaded every episode from the 15 seasons of The Simpsons — the only seasons worth quoting anyway, if we’re honest — then wrote code to divide each one into 100 still images, and match those up with subtitle files. Then they made the whole thing searchable, so you can find every “d’oh!” “glaven,” and “Hi, I’m Troy McClure.”
It really helps to know the quotes by heart, though, because Frinkiac’s database doesn’t note who said each line. You can’t search by character. Kehrer told Wired that’s a side effect of how he and his co-creators (die-hard Simpsons fans, all) think about the show.
“We started from an almost encyclopedic memory of Simpsons quotes, which is kind of the basic unit of Thinking About The Simpsons for us. From seeing search queries, that’s not exactly common: many people seem to search for a description of the scene rather than just what is being said out loud,” he explained.
They hope to add more search functionality soon, and the ability to share screenshots more easily. Still, this is a huge breakthrough, and a long-awaited solution to one of life’s oldest problems. (The only previous solution was alcohol.)