Newsarama tried to stealthily ask showrunner Al Jean why he’s been showrunner for the past nine years, and he answered that the writers haven’t been getting offers to work on other comedies and that comedy might finally be back on the upswing. I guess all those Judd Apatow-produced movies and animated comedies (some of them not created by Seth MacFarlane) and single-camera sitcoms like Arrested Development and The Office that have popped up in the past couple of years were actually part of a downswing?
Nrama: But haven’t you always had a philosophy of keeping the writers rotating? It kept new blood flowing.
Jean: Well, it was never a philosophy. There were two dynamics at work. In the 1990’s, there were a lot of comedies on the air. People who were on ‘The Simpsons’ got all these offers to work elsewhere. So they would leave, often to head their own projects. So we’d replace them.
This decade, unfortunately, comedy has not been doing so well. If people are doing a good job, then I keep them. So it doesn’t rotate as much. Still, I’m encouraged by this year’s ratings. Comedy might be back on the upswing. ‘American Family’ has started off really well.
Like fellow cast member Nancy Cartwright, Harry Shearer is also part of a cult – the cult of iPhone. [The Guardian]
After twenty years on the air, it should be hard to come up with fresh, new ideas for the show, right? Not so, says executive producer Al Jean:
If you look at The Daily Show, which is obviously on daily, I mean, they’re still hilarious after ten years. And we’re only on weekly, so we really have the liberty of picking and choosing the ideas that we turn into episodes. The world is a very interesting place and The Simpsons is a great way to view it.
See, The Daily Show comes on four times a week and it’s hilarious. Well, what if you took only the best parts of those four episodes and crammed them into one episode a week? That would be four times as hilarious, and that’s what The Simpsons is, supposedly. [TV Squad]
Fun factoid: According to his Twitter, Harry Shearer – the most vocal critic of the show amongst the cast – offered to write an episode a long time ago but was never taken up on it. [Twitter.com/letwits]
Omagh councilor Ross Hussey, of Ireland or something, got told he looks like the dad from Family Guy and now he might run campaign posters highlighting this resemblance in a misguided attempt to win over young voters. Look at the picture, it is funny. [BBC]
U.K. funnyman Ricky Gervais, apparently unsatisfied with having written and starred in the Simpsons episode “Homer Simpson, This Is Your Wife,” has vowed to create his “own Simpsons,” which will air on HBO. In an interview with the BBC, Gervais claims “we’ve got our own Homer,” a transparent admission that he and his crew are blatantly ripping off Simpsons characters, i.e. by renaming Homer Simpson “Karl Pilkington.” [BBC Newsbeat]