America’s favorite cartoon family “The Simpsons” will usher in their twenty seventh season this fall. As we found from some of the show’s writers, they have no plans of leaving the airwaves or Springfield any time soon. They were in Chicago for a special comedy festival, where Fox’s Natalie Bomke caught up with them for an exclusive interview. Since Mr. Burns and Homer Simpson have already hit up Wrigley Field and the second city theater it was high time the writers of the show did the same.
J. Stewart Burns: “Anyone, if you invite us to a city, you’re more likely to have that city appear in the show so you might not want to tell people that, or invite us more.”
Writer, J. Stewart Burns, unrelated to the character of the same name, came with his colleagues, executive producer Al Jean and writer Carolyn Omine. This weekend, at the athenaeum theater in Lakeview, they teamed up with writers of The Onion for a panel discussion. We wanted to know what they think makes the Simpsons so wildly popular.
Jean: “It’s about a family, you know, and everywhere you go, people come from families. Whether they’re old or young, everywhere in the world people relate to the Simpsons.”
While there have been Chicago references sprinkled into the plot lines Jean’s upbringing in Detroit is certainly evident.
Jean: “Chicago people enjoy it. We make fun of the Lions for being the worst football team ever. And when Homer wants to insult Flanders, they put a Lions fan T-shirt on Flanders. So I think Chicagoans can enjoy that.”
More than a thousand people work on the show. Many of whom have taken part since its inception in 1989. While the staff hasn’t changed, the technology certainly has.
Jean: “We have digital coloring, we have high def., who doesn’t. And it’s affected a little bit of how we tell a story. Now if we have a background, we have to write a thousand book titles in a library, where we used to do scribbles before.”
Burns: “Because the animations gotten so much better we’ve also taken advantage of that to make the job harder on the animators by doing more fantastic scenes.”
And more fantastic scenes there will be! The show has just recorded 7 new episodes as part of a new two year deal with Fox. This means 625 episodes will have been recorded in all, at the end of this latest deal.
Jean: “I thought a hundred was a lot so 625. I don’t know anymore.”
Omine: “Now if it ends I’m going to be surprised.”