‘Simpsons’ Producer Responds to Adi Shankar’s Claim They’ll Drop Apu: ‘Does Not Speak for Our Show’

Apu may not be gone just yet.

In response to film producer Adi Shankar’s claim that “The Simpsons” was going to quietly drop the character, showrunner Al Jean said that Shankar has nothing to do with the long-running animated series.

“Adi Shankar is not a producer on the Simpsons,” Jean tweeted on Sunday. “I wish him the very best but he does not speak for our show.”

Also Read: ‘The Simpsons’ Will Get Rid of Apu Character, Says Adi Shankar

Adi Shankar is not a producer on the Simpsons. I wish him the very best but he does not speak for our show.

— Al Jean (@AlJean) October 28, 2018

Last week, Shankar told Indiewire that the show was going to drop the character.

“I got some disheartening news back, that I’ve verified from multiple sources now: They’re going to drop the Apu character altogether,” said Shankar in an interview with IndieWire. “They aren’t going to make a big deal out of it, or anything like that, but they’ll drop him altogether just to avoid the controversy.”

The question of the future of Apu has followed the show since the November 2017 release of the documentary, “The Problem With Apu.” The film studies the effects of what star and director Hari Kondabolu believes to be negative stereotypes perpetuated by the popular animated East Indian character. The fictional Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, who has a very thick accent and runs a convenience store, is voiced by a white man, Hank Azaria.

Also Read: ‘South Park’ Trolls ‘The Simpsons’ in ‘The Problem With a Poo’ Episode Twist Ending (Video)

In a statement on Friday, Fox pointed out that Apu appeared in the Oct. 14 episode “My Way or the Highway to Heaven,” but did not elaborate any further. Previously, “Simpsons” creator Matt Groening said there have been no discussions about retiring the character.

Shankar started a contest in April to see who could come up with the best way to, as he puts it, “subverts him, pivots him, writes him out, or evolves him in a way that takes a creation that was the byproduct of a predominately Harvard-educated white male writers’ room and transforms it into a fresh, funny and realistic portrayal of Indians in America.”

Groening made his displeasure with the criticism of Apu known in April, telling USA Today, “I think it’s a time in our culture where people love to pretend they’re offended.” He expanded on those comments earlier this month to The New York Times.

Also Read: Matt Groening Finally Explains That Michael Jackson ‘Simpsons’ Cameo (Video)

“Well, I love Apu. I love the character, and it makes me feel bad that it makes other people feel bad,” said Groening. “But on the other hand, it’s tainted now — the conversation, there’s no nuance to the conversation now. It seems very, very clunky. I love the character. I love the show.”

In April, the show’s writers addressed the issue in an episode in which mom Marge painstakingly edited a bedtime story for Lisa to make it “inoffensive as a Sunday in Cincinnati.” Unfortunately, in doing so, the benign tale has now become pointless, per the middle Simpson kid.

“What am I supposed to do?” an exhausted Marge asks.

Also Read: Did ‘The Simpsons’ Predict the 2018 World Cup Final – In 1997? (Video)

“It’s hard to say,” Lisa responds. “Something that started decades ago and was applauded and inoffensive, is now politically incorrect. What can you do?”

With that last rhetorical line, Lisa glanced at a picture of Apu, which rests on her nightstand. “Don’t have a cow,” the autographed photo reads.

“Some things will be dealt with at a later date,” Marge then says.

“If at all,” Lisa adds.

Comedy Central’s “South Park” also took a shot at “The Simpsons” in a recent episode this season.

Related stories from TheWrap:

‘The Simpsons’: Next Year’s ‘Treehouse of Horror’ Will Be Episode 666

‘Simpsons’ Showrunner Jokes That 17 People Were Fired Over This Huge Mistake From 23 Years Ago

Matt Groening Finally Explains That Michael Jackson ‘Simpsons’ Cameo (Video)

Apu may not be gone just yet.

In response to film producer Adi Shankar’s claim that “The Simpsons” was going to quietly drop the character, showrunner Al Jean said that Shankar has nothing to do with the long-running animated series.

“Adi Shankar is not a producer on the Simpsons,” Jean tweeted on Sunday. “I wish him the very best but he does not speak for our show.”

Last week, Shankar told Indiewire that the show was going to drop the character.

“I got some disheartening news back, that I’ve verified from multiple sources now: They’re going to drop the Apu character altogether,” said Shankar in an interview with IndieWire. “They aren’t going to make a big deal out of it, or anything like that, but they’ll drop him altogether just to avoid the controversy.”

The question of the future of Apu has followed the show since the November 2017 release of the documentary, “The Problem With Apu.” The film studies the effects of what star and director Hari Kondabolu believes to be negative stereotypes perpetuated by the popular animated East Indian character. The fictional Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, who has a very thick accent and runs a convenience store, is voiced by a white man, Hank Azaria.

In a statement on Friday, Fox pointed out that Apu appeared in the Oct. 14 episode “My Way or the Highway to Heaven,” but did not elaborate any further. Previously, “Simpsons” creator Matt Groening said there have been no discussions about retiring the character.

Shankar started a contest in April to see who could come up with the best way to, as he puts it, “subverts him, pivots him, writes him out, or evolves him in a way that takes a creation that was the byproduct of a predominately Harvard-educated white male writers’ room and transforms it into a fresh, funny and realistic portrayal of Indians in America.”

Groening made his displeasure with the criticism of Apu known in April, telling USA Today, “I think it’s a time in our culture where people love to pretend they’re offended.” He expanded on those comments earlier this month to The New York Times.

“Well, I love Apu. I love the character, and it makes me feel bad that it makes other people feel bad,” said Groening. “But on the other hand, it’s tainted now — the conversation, there’s no nuance to the conversation now. It seems very, very clunky. I love the character. I love the show.”

In April, the show’s writers addressed the issue in an episode in which mom Marge painstakingly edited a bedtime story for Lisa to make it “inoffensive as a Sunday in Cincinnati.” Unfortunately, in doing so, the benign tale has now become pointless, per the middle Simpson kid.

“What am I supposed to do?” an exhausted Marge asks.

“It’s hard to say,” Lisa responds. “Something that started decades ago and was applauded and inoffensive, is now politically incorrect. What can you do?”

With that last rhetorical line, Lisa glanced at a picture of Apu, which rests on her nightstand. “Don’t have a cow,” the autographed photo reads.

“Some things will be dealt with at a later date,” Marge then says.

“If at all,” Lisa adds.

Comedy Central’s “South Park” also took a shot at “The Simpsons” in a recent episode this season.

Related stories from TheWrap:

'The Simpsons': Next Year's 'Treehouse of Horror' Will Be Episode 666

'Simpsons' Showrunner Jokes That 17 People Were Fired Over This Huge Mistake From 23 Years Ago

Matt Groening Finally Explains That Michael Jackson 'Simpsons' Cameo (Video)

‘The Simpsons’: Next Year’s ‘Treehouse of Horror’ Will Be Episode 666

“The Simpsons” airs its annual “Treehouse of Horror” Sunday night on Fox. Next year’s Halloween special, “Treehouse of Horror XXX,” will appropriately be the 666th overall episode of the long-running cartoon, the Fox studio confirmed for TheWrap.

Mwahahaha!

“Next year, ‘Treehouse of Horror XXX’ will coincidentally be ‘Simpsons’ Episode 666,” showrunner Al Jean first pointed out to EW. “As we planned it in 1989!”

Also Read: ‘South Park’ Trolls ‘The Simpsons’ in ‘The Problem With a Poo’ Episode Twist Ending (Video)

“The Simpsons” has technically not be renewed for Season 31 yet, but, come on — the show is going to outlive all of us.

Sunday’s “Treehouse of Horror XXIX,” will pull gags from “Jurassic Park,” “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” and “The Three Faces of Eve.”

“The Simpsons” airs Sundays at 8/7c on Fox.

Related stories from TheWrap:

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‘Simpsons’ Showrunner Jokes That 17 People Were Fired Over This Huge Mistake From 23 Years Ago

Matt Groening Finally Explains That Michael Jackson ‘Simpsons’ Cameo (Video)

“The Simpsons” airs its annual “Treehouse of Horror” Sunday night on Fox. Next year’s Halloween special, “Treehouse of Horror XXX,” will appropriately be the 666th overall episode of the long-running cartoon, the Fox studio confirmed for TheWrap.

Mwahahaha!

“Next year, ‘Treehouse of Horror XXX’ will coincidentally be ‘Simpsons’ Episode 666,” showrunner Al Jean first pointed out to EW. “As we planned it in 1989!”

“The Simpsons” has technically not be renewed for Season 31 yet, but, come on — the show is going to outlive all of us.

Sunday’s “Treehouse of Horror XXIX,” will pull gags from “Jurassic Park,” “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” and “The Three Faces of Eve.”

“The Simpsons” airs Sundays at 8/7c on Fox.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Joe Scarborough Mocks Michael Avenatti: 'Sounded Like Lionel Hutz on 'The Simpsons'

'Simpsons' Showrunner Jokes That 17 People Were Fired Over This Huge Mistake From 23 Years Ago

Matt Groening Finally Explains That Michael Jackson 'Simpsons' Cameo (Video)

‘South Park’ Trolls ‘The Simpsons’ in ‘The Problem With a Poo’ Episode Twist Ending (Video)

It may not come as a surprise that a “South Park” episode titled “The Problem With a Poo” included a shot at “The Simpsons,” which has been criticized lately for it’s long-running Indian caricature-character Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, most notably in documentary “The Problem With Apu.” But how Wednesday’s Comedy Central half-hour actually ended might jolt your system a bit.

“The Problem With a Poo” centered on Mr. Hankey the Christmas Poo, who is a talking piece of poo in a Santa Claus hat that’s been in and out of “South Park” since the very beginning. In a hearing meant to mock Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination testimony, Mr. Hankey defended offensive tweets he posted.

The whole circus really turned into a Kavanugh-Roseanne Barr hybrid joke when the literal piece of crap blamed Ambien for his unkind social media posts. Yeah, the cast-off “Roseanne” star did that in real life.

Also Read: Catholic League President Calls ‘South Park’ Creators ‘Cowards’ Over ‘A Boy and a Priest’ Episode

At the end of last night’s episode, Mr. Hankey was sent packing from the lovely little town of South Park, where nothing offensive ever happens.

“Where will he go?” Stan Marsh asks.

“He’ll have to find a place that accepts racist, awful beings like him,” dad Randy replies. “There are still places out there who don’t care about bigotry and hate.”

Also Read: ‘South Park’ Season 22 Premiere: ‘Dead Kids’ Bags 1.5 Million Viewers on Wednesday

Cut to: A relative facsimile of “The Simpsons” opening music and its classic scroll-down from the clouds.

Apu welcomes Mr. Hankey in the Springfield Square, and the the whole thing closes with a #cancelthesimpsons hashtag. That’s a play on the #cancelsouthpark hashtag that Comedy Central has used in its promotion of this current season.

Watch the ending of “The Problem With a Poo” below.

Also Read: ‘Simpsons’ Showrunner Jokes That 17 People Were Fired Over This Huge Mistake From 23 Years Ago

South Park just went there on @TheSimpsons and Apu #cancelthesimpsons pic.twitter.com/djT8eTRgfn

— Matt Wilstein (@mattwilstein) October 11, 2018

Also Read: Matt Groening Finally Explains That Michael Jackson ‘Simpsons’ Cameo (Video)

“Simpsons” home Fox did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment on the “South Park” swipe, nor did it’s studio, 20th Century Fox. Comedy Central did not immediately elaborate on it either.

Here’s what “Simpsons” showrunner Al Jean had to say about the episode:

.@TheSimpsons Please don’t cancel @SouthPark

— Al Jean (@AlJean) October 11, 2018

Also Read: Hank Azaria Says He’s ‘Happy and Willing to Step Aside’ as Voice of Apu on ‘The Simpsons’ (Video)

This isn’t the first time the two popular animated shows have commented on one other. “South Park” Episode 607 was titled “Simpsons Already Did It,” and the whole plot basically revolved around the fact that the Fox comedy has been on TV for so long there are no original plot devices left for a younger show. Fast-forward to now, and “South Park” is in its 22nd year of existence.

“The Simpsons” have mostly relied on Bart to fire off a few rounds at its cable rival.

Below are video compilations of both shows getting their licks in.

Also Read: ‘The Simpsons’ Unkillable ‘Steamed Hams’ Meme Explained by Its Creator



Related stories from TheWrap:

‘The Problem With Apu’ Trailer: Doc Shreds ‘Simpsons’ Most Stereotypical Character (Video)

‘Simpsons’ Showrunner Promises to Seek ‘Popular’ and ‘Right’ Solution to Apu Problem

‘Simpsons’ Producers ‘Haven’t Talked About’ Retiring Apu

It may not come as a surprise that a “South Park” episode titled “The Problem With a Poo” included a shot at “The Simpsons,” which has been criticized lately for it’s long-running Indian caricature-character Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, most notably in documentary “The Problem With Apu.” But how Wednesday’s Comedy Central half-hour actually ended might jolt your system a bit.

“The Problem With a Poo” centered on Mr. Hankey the Christmas Poo, who is a talking piece of poo in a Santa Claus hat that’s been in and out of “South Park” since the very beginning. In a hearing meant to mock Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination testimony, Mr. Hankey defended offensive tweets he posted.

The whole circus really turned into a Kavanugh-Roseanne Barr hybrid joke when the literal piece of crap blamed Ambien for his unkind social media posts. Yeah, the cast-off “Roseanne” star did that in real life.

At the end of last night’s episode, Mr. Hankey was sent packing from the lovely little town of South Park, where nothing offensive ever happens.

“Where will he go?” Stan Marsh asks.

“He’ll have to find a place that accepts racist, awful beings like him,” dad Randy replies. “There are still places out there who don’t care about bigotry and hate.”

Cut to: A relative facsimile of “The Simpsons” opening music and its classic scroll-down from the clouds.

Apu welcomes Mr. Hankey in the Springfield Square, and the the whole thing closes with a #cancelthesimpsons hashtag. That’s a play on the #cancelsouthpark hashtag that Comedy Central has used in its promotion of this current season.

Watch the ending of “The Problem With a Poo” below.

“Simpsons” home Fox did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment on the “South Park” swipe, nor did it’s studio, 20th Century Fox. Comedy Central did not immediately elaborate on it either.

Here’s what “Simpsons” showrunner Al Jean had to say about the episode:

This isn’t the first time the two popular animated shows have commented on one other. “South Park” Episode 607 was titled “Simpsons Already Did It,” and the whole plot basically revolved around the fact that the Fox comedy has been on TV for so long there are no original plot devices left for a younger show. Fast-forward to now, and “South Park” is in its 22nd year of existence.

“The Simpsons” have mostly relied on Bart to fire off a few rounds at its cable rival.

Below are video compilations of both shows getting their licks in.

Related stories from TheWrap:

'The Problem With Apu' Trailer: Doc Shreds 'Simpsons' Most Stereotypical Character (Video)

'Simpsons' Showrunner Promises to Seek 'Popular' and 'Right' Solution to Apu Problem

'Simpsons' Producers 'Haven't Talked About' Retiring Apu

‘Simpsons’ Showrunner Jokes That 17 People Were Fired Over This Huge Mistake From 23 Years Ago

“The Simpsons” writers and producers were just tipped off to a continuity error more than 20 years after the fact when the daughter of one of the executive producers pointed out the mistake to her father.
On Tuesday, executive producer Matt…

“The Simpsons” writers and producers were just tipped off to a continuity error more than 20 years after the fact when the daughter of one of the executive producers pointed out the mistake to her father.

On Tuesday, executive producer Matt Selman tweeted a screenshot of the 1995 episode “And Maggie Makes Three,” which was a flashback episode from the show’s sixth season centered on Maggie’s birth.

In the still from a scene where Marge tells Homer that she’s pregnant with their third child, a photo of Maggie can be seen hanging on the wall behind her.

“Canon is is ruins!” showrunner Al Jean tweeted, later adding, “I hope you’re happy because we just fired SEVENTEEN people for that blunder. Fired. Through. Done.”

Some commenters have suggested alternate explanations for the framed picture. Perhaps it’s an old photo of Lisa wearing clothes that would later go to Maggie as hand-me-downs. Or maybe it’s just Homer being an unreliable narrator. Or is it another secret baby?

Written by Jennifer Crittenden, “And Maggie Makes Three” sees Homer explain to Bart and Lisa why there are no photos of their sister in the family photo album. He explains that Homer had quit his job at the power plant, but the unexpected pregnancy forced him to return to work, where he hung all the baby pictures of Maggie on the wall.

Related stories from TheWrap:

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Al Jean still thinks The Simpsons should end in an eternal time loop

The Simpsons will never end, even if a super-intelligent computer has to keep generating episodes long after humanity has been eradicated, but showrunner Al Jean has an ending in mind anyway. Speaking with Geek Tyrant, Jean reiterated an idea he first …

The Simpsons will never end, even if a super-intelligent computer has to keep generating episodes long after humanity has been eradicated, but showrunner Al Jean has an ending in mind anyway. Speaking with Geek Tyrant, Jean reiterated an idea he first pitched on Twitter back in 2014, suggesting that the final episode…

Read more...

‘The Simpsons’ Showrunner Shares Barbara Bush’s Letter To Marge Simpson

In the wake of the death of former First Lady Barbara BushThe Simpsons showrunner Al Jean shared a letter that Bush sent Marge Simpson almost two decades ago when the two had an exchange that started salty but had a heartwarming ending.
During a magazine interview in 1990, Bush said The Simpsons “was the dumbest thing she’s ever seen.” Being the protective and dignified matriarch that she is, Marge did not clap back. Instead, she wrote a letter to the First Lady at the…

In the wake of the death of former First Lady Barbara BushThe Simpsons showrunner Al Jean shared a letter that Bush sent Marge Simpson almost two decades ago when the two had an exchange that started salty but had a heartwarming ending. During a magazine interview in 1990, Bush said The Simpsons “was the dumbest thing she’s ever seen.” Being the protective and dignified matriarch that she is, Marge did not clap back. Instead, she wrote a letter to the First Lady at the…

‘The Simpsons’ Showrunner Al Jean Promises to Find a More ‘Popular’ Answer to the Apu Problem

After a week-long Twitter war with fans following Sunday’s episode, the showrunner continues to court bad publicity. Now, he’s promised a solution of sorts.

The Simpsons” showrunner Al Jean hasn’t stopped responding to fans on Twitter since Sunday’s controversial episode, and days of bad publicity don’t seem to be coming to an end. The episode, titled “No Good Read Goes Unpunished” — an ironic title, given the slang usage of “read” as a synonym for criticism in modern social media — was intended to be a commentary on political correctness. Instead, it was met with widespread criticism when it briefly referenced and seemingly shrugged off the controversy surrounding its long-standing supporting character, Apu Nahasapeemapetilon.

One of the most known South Asian characters on primetime television, Apu has always been a point of contention for the award-winning show. His exaggerated accent, mannerisms, and quirks are all indicative of offensive Indian stereotypes, further exacerbated by the fact that his voice actor (Hank Azaria) isn’t even Indian. A 2017 documentary, “The Problem with Apu,” finally brought the issues to the attention of viewers who were perhaps unaware of the controversy.

In response, Jean and Azaria promised that the controversy would finally be brought up on the show, with the former even tweeting:

The so-called “explosion” is a shoehorned scene with Marge and Lisa. After Marge tries and failed to make a childhood book politically correct, she asks her daughter how to address the issue. Lisa, replies that “something that started decades ago and was applauded and inoffensive is now politically incorrect. What can you do?”

She looks at a framed photo of Apu by her bed. “Don’t have a cow,” it reads.

And that’s it. That’s how “The Simpsons” addresses the long-awaited response to a racist caricature. Days later, Jean was back on Twitter again, saying:

The lackadaisical response only gained more ire from fans and critics alike, kickstarting a week of Twitter wars between the showrunner and nearly every person who replied to his comments. Jean even linked an article to the conservative site “National Review” to defend the continued use of the character.

Some fans used equally incendiary language toward the showrunner. Others wondered why it was so difficult for him to admit his wrongdoing.

Additionally, the episode was poorly received and viewed by critics as indicative of a larger series problem, most notably by Dennis Perkins of “The A.V. Club.” “Man, is this episode unfunny,” he writes, before going on to ask in the review: “Why are present-day Simpsons writers averse to telling a main story?”

Following the weeklong Twitter war, Jean seemed to somewhat remove himself from the issue, at least for now.

But the aftermath of this social media war now seems to raise new questions: How can a show that’s won numerous accolades for its wit continue to rely on sloppy racial humor? And what “popular” answer will Jean come up with next?

“The Simpsons” advised its viewers to not have a cow over Apu. If Jean’s Twitter is any indication, it seems that it was unable to follow its own advice.

‘Simpsons’ Showrunner Promises to Seek ‘Popular’ and ‘Right’ Solution to Apu Problem

“The Simpsons” showrunner Al Jean has answered some of the criticism to the show’s response to “The Problem With Apu” documentary, ultimately promising to contemplate the issue further.

“I truly appreciate all responses pro and con,” Jean wrote in a tweet on Friday after engaging with several of his followers about Sunday’s episode. “[We] will continue to try to find an answer that is popular & more [importantly] right.”

The statement echoes what was said in the episode, set up as a response to comedian Hari Kondabolu’s documentary criticizing the show for its stereotypical Indian-American character Apu (voiced by Hank Azaria with a thick accent). Titled “No Good Read Goes Unpunished,” the episode delves into the issue through the lens of a beloved children’s book that seems racist and offensive from a modern day perspective.

Also Read: ‘The Simpsons’ Pushes Back at Critics of ‘Politically Incorrect’ Apu (Video)

“Something that started decades ago and was applauded and inoffensive, is now politically incorrect. What can you do?” one character says in the episode. The line is met with the response, “Some things will be dealt with at a later date.”

In a separate tweet, Jean explained the moment to a confused viewer: “There’s no answer that will satisfy.”

Kondabolu’s truTV documentary, “The Problem With Apu,” released in November, studied the effects of what he believed to be negative stereotypes perpetuated by the popular Eastern Indian character. The show’s fans and critics have spent the intervening months waiting to see how “The Simpsons” would answer those criticisms.

“In ‘The Problem with Apu,’ I used Apu & ‘The Simpsons’ as an entry point into a larger conversation about the representation of marginalized groups & why this is important,” Kondabolu wrote on Twitter following the episode. “‘The Simpsons’ response tonight is not a jab at me, but at what many of us consider progress.”

Also Read: ‘The Simpsons’ Oral History of ‘Last Exit to Springfield,’ The Best Episode Ever

Up until Friday, however, Jean continued to defend the episode, saying it “could be unpopular but still be right” and equating the entire debate to a “free speech issue.”

“We tried bringing in Utkarsh Ambudkar as Apu’s nephew. It was deemed unsatisfactory — there’s no solution I fear that will satisfy,” Jean wrote in reply to one fan. “We’ve been trying to make Apu nuanced, sympathetic and (more than our other characters) admirable for 30 years.”

.@TheSimpsons For those who’d ask why Lisa would defend Apu: he’s her friend. He taught her to be vegan. She admires him.

— Al Jean (@AlJean) April 13, 2018

To me it’s a free speech issue.
I favor open expression of all types to a pretty large degree.

— Al Jean (@AlJean) April 13, 2018

It’s not. We tried bringing in Utkarsh Ambudkar as Apu’s nephew. It was deemed unsatisfactory –there’s no solution I fear that will satisfy.

— Al Jean (@AlJean) April 13, 2018

.@TheSimpsons I truly appreciate all responses pro and con. Will continue to try to find an answer that is popular & more important right

— Al Jean (@AlJean) April 13, 2018

Related stories from TheWrap:

‘The Simpsons’ Pushes Back at Critics of ‘Politically Incorrect’ Apu (Video)

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“The Simpsons” showrunner Al Jean has answered some of the criticism to the show’s response to “The Problem With Apu” documentary, ultimately promising to contemplate the issue further.

“I truly appreciate all responses pro and con,” Jean wrote in a tweet on Friday after engaging with several of his followers about Sunday’s episode. “[We] will continue to try to find an answer that is popular & more [importantly] right.”

The statement echoes what was said in the episode, set up as a response to comedian Hari Kondabolu’s documentary criticizing the show for its stereotypical Indian-American character Apu (voiced by Hank Azaria with a thick accent). Titled “No Good Read Goes Unpunished,” the episode delves into the issue through the lens of a beloved children’s book that seems racist and offensive from a modern day perspective.

“Something that started decades ago and was applauded and inoffensive, is now politically incorrect. What can you do?” one character says in the episode. The line is met with the response, “Some things will be dealt with at a later date.”

In a separate tweet, Jean explained the moment to a confused viewer: “There’s no answer that will satisfy.”

Kondabolu’s truTV documentary, “The Problem With Apu,” released in November, studied the effects of what he believed to be negative stereotypes perpetuated by the popular Eastern Indian character. The show’s fans and critics have spent the intervening months waiting to see how “The Simpsons” would answer those criticisms.

“In ‘The Problem with Apu,’ I used Apu & ‘The Simpsons’ as an entry point into a larger conversation about the representation of marginalized groups & why this is important,” Kondabolu wrote on Twitter following the episode. “‘The Simpsons’ response tonight is not a jab at me, but at what many of us consider progress.”

Up until Friday, however, Jean continued to defend the episode, saying it “could be unpopular but still be right” and equating the entire debate to a “free speech issue.”

“We tried bringing in Utkarsh Ambudkar as Apu’s nephew. It was deemed unsatisfactory — there’s no solution I fear that will satisfy,” Jean wrote in reply to one fan. “We’ve been trying to make Apu nuanced, sympathetic and (more than our other characters) admirable for 30 years.”

Related stories from TheWrap:

'The Simpsons' Pushes Back at Critics of 'Politically Incorrect' Apu (Video)

'The Big Sick' Director Michael Showalter Signs TV Production Deal With Annapurna

Annapurna, Plan B to Produce Miranda July's Family Heist Movie

‘The Simpsons’ Showrunner Al Jean Engages Twitter Followers In Apu Controversy, Vows To “Find An Answer”

The Simpsons showrunner Al Jean said today he’ll continue “to try to find an answer that is popular & more important right” after a couple days of engaging with Twitter followers on both sides of the recent controversy over the show’s longstanding Apu character and the episode that made a brief reference to it.
“I truly appreciate all responses pro and con,” tweeted Jean today. “Will continue to try to find an answer that is popular & more important right”. (See it and…

The Simpsons showrunner Al Jean said today he’ll continue “to try to find an answer that is popular & more important right” after a couple days of engaging with Twitter followers on both sides of the recent controversy over the show’s longstanding Apu character and the episode that made a brief reference to it. “I truly appreciate all responses pro and con,” tweeted Jean today. “Will continue to try to find an answer that is popular & more important right”. (See it and…

‘So It’s Come to This:’ The Story Behind the First ‘Simpsons’ Clip Show

The writers of “The Simpsons” were exhausted. During the show’s fourth season in March 1993, the team had just put to bed what would become arguably the best episode of the show ever.

But coming off that high mark, the show hit a bump in the road: “The Simpsons” aired its first clip show.

“I mean, the title of the episode is, ‘So It’s Come to This: A Simpsons Clip Show.’ We knew it was lazy. We knew we weren’t giving people a whole show,” Season 4 co-showrunner Mike Reiss told TheWrap.

Also Read: ‘The Simpsons’ Oral History of ‘Last Exit to Springfield,’ The Best Episode Ever

For those of you too young to remember, a clip show is a sitcom staple compiling fan favorite moments from past seasons in lieu of a new episode. Such a thing would never exist today when you can pull up literally any episode or any clip online. But in the days before syndication when reruns were a rarity, a clip show was a necessity.

Surprisingly, this episode still offers more substance than your average clip show. The story finds Homer landing in a coma after Bart’s particularly nasty April Fools’ prank. The episode even became the subject of a Reddit fan theory that presumes Homer has remained in that coma ever sine 1993, which co-showrunner Al Jean later denied.

But why would a show firing on all cylinders feel the need to rehash their greatest hits?

“We were really overwhelmed,” Reiss said. “We were doing 24 episodes with eight writers. Now we do 22 episodes with 20 writers. And we were really burning out.”

Also Read: Watch ‘The Simpsons’ Predict a US Olympic Gold Medal in Curling Back in 2010 (Video)

“Nobody realized how much work that would mean when two seasons started overlapping,” Jean told TheWrap. “When we were running the show and it started happening to us, I’m not exaggerating, we were working 80-hour weeks, Mike Reiss and myself. We were just exhausted, working 8 a.m. till 3 a.m. the following morning.”

Jean and Reiss went to “Simpsons” executive producer James L. Brooks and proposed they do just 22 episodes instead of 24. To Brooks’ credit, he agreed and said he wanted to preserve the integrity of the show, even though it meant less money. He even went one step further and suggested that one of those 22 should be a clip show.

But the burnout was still real, and “The Simpsons” was such a hot property, other writers could land jobs on any show they wanted.

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“For whatever reason, I had just had enough,” writer Wallace Wolodarsky told TheWrap, whose episode “Last Exit to Springfield” which he co-wrote with Jay Kogen, would be their last. “We had the feeling of, we got to get out of here. We don’t have any more childhood memories to mine. I’ve done every funny story I can think of about my youth and Jay’s youth, so I feel like it’s the time to get out, and the show would last a couple seasons and that would be that. It’s astonishing that it still goes on.”

“Jay and Wally left. Jeff Martin left. And we were worried because we had this really tiny staff. Conan [O’Brien] was the first person we brought on who was new who wasn’t in the original group,” Jean said. “Mike and I were just trying to keep the show together, much less do an episode people were talking about 25 years later. Looking at how nervous I was before the start of that season, to think how thin I thought we might be, I’m wowed by how well we have wound up.”

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The writers of “The Simpsons” were exhausted. During the show’s fourth season in March 1993, the team had just put to bed what would become arguably the best episode of the show ever.

But coming off that high mark, the show hit a bump in the road: “The Simpsons” aired its first clip show.

“I mean, the title of the episode is, ‘So It’s Come to This: A Simpsons Clip Show.’ We knew it was lazy. We knew we weren’t giving people a whole show,” Season 4 co-showrunner Mike Reiss told TheWrap.

For those of you too young to remember, a clip show is a sitcom staple compiling fan favorite moments from past seasons in lieu of a new episode. Such a thing would never exist today when you can pull up literally any episode or any clip online. But in the days before syndication when reruns were a rarity, a clip show was a necessity.

Surprisingly, this episode still offers more substance than your average clip show. The story finds Homer landing in a coma after Bart’s particularly nasty April Fools’ prank. The episode even became the subject of a Reddit fan theory that presumes Homer has remained in that coma ever sine 1993, which co-showrunner Al Jean later denied.

But why would a show firing on all cylinders feel the need to rehash their greatest hits?

“We were really overwhelmed,” Reiss said. “We were doing 24 episodes with eight writers. Now we do 22 episodes with 20 writers. And we were really burning out.”

“Nobody realized how much work that would mean when two seasons started overlapping,” Jean told TheWrap. “When we were running the show and it started happening to us, I’m not exaggerating, we were working 80-hour weeks, Mike Reiss and myself. We were just exhausted, working 8 a.m. till 3 a.m. the following morning.”

Jean and Reiss went to “Simpsons” executive producer James L. Brooks and proposed they do just 22 episodes instead of 24. To Brooks’ credit, he agreed and said he wanted to preserve the integrity of the show, even though it meant less money. He even went one step further and suggested that one of those 22 should be a clip show.

But the burnout was still real, and “The Simpsons” was such a hot property, other writers could land jobs on any show they wanted.

“For whatever reason, I had just had enough,” writer Wallace Wolodarsky told TheWrap, whose episode “Last Exit to Springfield” which he co-wrote with Jay Kogen, would be their last. “We had the feeling of, we got to get out of here. We don’t have any more childhood memories to mine. I’ve done every funny story I can think of about my youth and Jay’s youth, so I feel like it’s the time to get out, and the show would last a couple seasons and that would be that. It’s astonishing that it still goes on.”

“Jay and Wally left. Jeff Martin left. And we were worried because we had this really tiny staff. Conan [O’Brien] was the first person we brought on who was new who wasn’t in the original group,” Jean said. “Mike and I were just trying to keep the show together, much less do an episode people were talking about 25 years later. Looking at how nervous I was before the start of that season, to think how thin I thought we might be, I’m wowed by how well we have wound up.”

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9 Things You Didn’t Know About ‘The Simpsons’ Episode ‘Last Exit to Springfield’ (Photos)

This week marks the 25th Anniversary of “Last Exit to Springfield,” considered the best episode of “The Simpsons” ever. We spoke with the director, writers and showrunners about the making of the show for an epic oral history of the episode, but there was so much great stuff we just couldn’t fit in. Here are some perfectly cromulent pieces of trivia about the show’s finest half hour.

OJ Simpson Was Almost On “The Simpsons”

For a scene when Homer Simpson appears on the news talk show “Smartline,” the showrunners originally asked O.J. Simpson to be a guest star. But when he passed, they turned to a frequent panel guest in ’90s, Dr. Joyce Brothers, to deliver just one hilarious line. “One of the writers, not me, used to say that Joyce Brothers had a fire pole so that if a show asked her to be a guest star, she’d slide down it really fast,” showrunner Al Jean told TheWrap.

The Writers Thought A Lot About Mr. Burns’s Running Gag

One of the longest running gags in early “Simpsons” history is a joke in which Mr. Burns can never remember who Homer is. “Last Exit to Springfield” takes the next step and shows just how often he’s forgotten. Writer Wallace Wolodarsky said he had been dying to do the joke, but Sam Simon always wanted to put it off.

A Francis Ford Coppola Movie Inspired the Montage

“Why, you and I can run this plant ourselves!” Director Mark Kirkland explained that during the episode’s delightful musical montage, storyboard artist Kevin O’Brien initially suggested using music from Francis Ford Coppola’s “Tucker: The Man and His Dreams” as a temp-track. The final theme from Alf Clausen ended up being very similar to a sequence where Homer visits “The Land of Chocolate,” a sequence Kirkland also directed.

This Episode’s “McBain” Was Especially Violent

“Last Exit to Springfield” opens with a scene from a “McBain” film, a running action hero character that’s a parody of ’80s Schwarzenegger and Stallone movies. “In our cartoons we’re not going to show a head getting shot to pieces, but we might with a plaster bust,” Kirkland explained about this especially violent entry.

The Director Was Behind a Famous Moment

“First thing tomorrow morning, I’m going to punch Lenny in the back of the head.” In the script, this moment simply cuts to something else. But it was Kirkland’s idea to include the two-second “pick-up shot.” The show was running long and needed to be cut, so Kirkland confessed he added in that joke himself, only to be pleasantly surprised when Jean kept it in.

The Staff Watched Everything on VHS

In the days before the Internet, the writers and directors of the show would request VHS tapes of all their favorite movies such that they could copy staging frame by frame. They even hired Warner Research Group to go through film and TV libraries and provide color Xerox copies when tapes weren’t available. Kirkland recalls popping in a VHS of “The Godfather Part II” to get Homer’s Little Italy dream sequence just right.

Jay and Wally’s Favorite Episode

When writer Jay Kogen learned that “Last Exit to Springfield” was named the best episode of all time, he said, “It wasn’t even the best one we wrote that month!” His favorite episode he wrote, along with Wallace Wolodarsky, was Season 2’s “Bart the Daredevil.” It’s best known for Homer twice falling down Springfield Gorge in a scene that would put Wile E. Coyote to shame. “I take pride and ownership in that gag,” Kogen told TheWrap.

Homer’s Union

A “Simpsons” script is far longer than the average sitcom script because of absurd jokes on signs written into the script, including this episode’s “International Brotherhood of Jazz Dancers, Pastry Chefs and Nuclear Technicians.” “It made me so happy,” Wolodarsky said. “When Jay and I were writing the script, that was a joke I pitched to Jay and said, that’s too crazy and stupid, and Jay, to his credit said, no that’s exactly what it should be. Let’s do it. And Mark Kirkland did the joke of the guy dancing by! I thought that’s a funny director’s flourish that I don’t remember writing, so I’ll give him credit for it.”

Droopy Voice Guy

Among “Last Exit to Springfield’s” notable one-off characters, including Gummy Joe and the menacing orthodontist of Painless Dentistry, is “Droopy Voice Guy.” Twice in the episode Karl takes a role call of “All in favor” and “All opposed,” with only one lone dissenter giving a feeble “nay” each time. The character’s voice was modeled off the vintage cartoon character Droopy Dog and was even written into the script as “Droopy Voice Guy.”

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‘The Simpsons’ Oral History of ‘Last Exit to Springfield,’ The Best Episode Ever

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14 Times ‘The Simpsons’ Predicted the Future (Photos)

This week marks the 25th Anniversary of “Last Exit to Springfield,” considered the best episode of “The Simpsons” ever. We spoke with the director, writers and showrunners about the making of the show for an epic oral history of the episode, but there was so much great stuff we just couldn’t fit in. Here are some perfectly cromulent pieces of trivia about the show’s finest half hour.

OJ Simpson Was Almost On “The Simpsons”

For a scene when Homer Simpson appears on the news talk show “Smartline,” the showrunners originally asked O.J. Simpson to be a guest star. But when he passed, they turned to a frequent panel guest in ’90s, Dr. Joyce Brothers, to deliver just one hilarious line. “One of the writers, not me, used to say that Joyce Brothers had a fire pole so that if a show asked her to be a guest star, she’d slide down it really fast,” showrunner Al Jean told TheWrap.

The Writers Thought A Lot About Mr. Burns’s Running Gag

One of the longest running gags in early “Simpsons” history is a joke in which Mr. Burns can never remember who Homer is. “Last Exit to Springfield” takes the next step and shows just how often he’s forgotten. Writer Wallace Wolodarsky said he had been dying to do the joke, but Sam Simon always wanted to put it off.

A Francis Ford Coppola Movie Inspired the Montage

“Why, you and I can run this plant ourselves!” Director Mark Kirkland explained that during the episode’s delightful musical montage, storyboard artist Kevin O’Brien initially suggested using music from Francis Ford Coppola’s “Tucker: The Man and His Dreams” as a temp-track. The final theme from Alf Clausen ended up being very similar to a sequence where Homer visits “The Land of Chocolate,” a sequence Kirkland also directed.

This Episode’s “McBain” Was Especially Violent

“Last Exit to Springfield” opens with a scene from a “McBain” film, a running action hero character that’s a parody of ’80s Schwarzenegger and Stallone movies. “In our cartoons we’re not going to show a head getting shot to pieces, but we might with a plaster bust,” Kirkland explained about this especially violent entry.

The Director Was Behind a Famous Moment

“First thing tomorrow morning, I’m going to punch Lenny in the back of the head.” In the script, this moment simply cuts to something else. But it was Kirkland’s idea to include the two-second “pick-up shot.” The show was running long and needed to be cut, so Kirkland confessed he added in that joke himself, only to be pleasantly surprised when Jean kept it in.

The Staff Watched Everything on VHS

In the days before the Internet, the writers and directors of the show would request VHS tapes of all their favorite movies such that they could copy staging frame by frame. They even hired Warner Research Group to go through film and TV libraries and provide color Xerox copies when tapes weren’t available. Kirkland recalls popping in a VHS of “The Godfather Part II” to get Homer’s Little Italy dream sequence just right.

Jay and Wally’s Favorite Episode

When writer Jay Kogen learned that “Last Exit to Springfield” was named the best episode of all time, he said, “It wasn’t even the best one we wrote that month!” His favorite episode he wrote, along with Wallace Wolodarsky, was Season 2’s “Bart the Daredevil.” It’s best known for Homer twice falling down Springfield Gorge in a scene that would put Wile E. Coyote to shame. “I take pride and ownership in that gag,” Kogen told TheWrap.

Homer’s Union

A “Simpsons” script is far longer than the average sitcom script because of absurd jokes on signs written into the script, including this episode’s “International Brotherhood of Jazz Dancers, Pastry Chefs and Nuclear Technicians.” “It made me so happy,” Wolodarsky said. “When Jay and I were writing the script, that was a joke I pitched to Jay and said, that’s too crazy and stupid, and Jay, to his credit said, no that’s exactly what it should be. Let’s do it. And Mark Kirkland did the joke of the guy dancing by! I thought that’s a funny director’s flourish that I don’t remember writing, so I’ll give him credit for it.”

Droopy Voice Guy

Among “Last Exit to Springfield’s” notable one-off characters, including Gummy Joe and the menacing orthodontist of Painless Dentistry, is “Droopy Voice Guy.” Twice in the episode Karl takes a role call of “All in favor” and “All opposed,” with only one lone dissenter giving a feeble “nay” each time. The character’s voice was modeled off the vintage cartoon character Droopy Dog and was even written into the script as “Droopy Voice Guy.”

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'The Simpsons' Oral History of 'Last Exit to Springfield,' The Best Episode Ever

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14 Times 'The Simpsons' Predicted the Future (Photos)

‘The Simpsons’ Oral History of ‘Last Exit to Springfield,’ The Best Episode Ever

Twenty-five years ago, “Simpsons” writers Jay Kogen and Wallace Wolodarsky begged their bosses not to cut the core joke in “Last Exit to Springfield,” the best episode in the history of the show.

It’s a long, weird bit that goes thirty awkward seconds without a payoff. The words “dental plan” and “Lisa needs braces” bounce around Homer’s brain as he waits in a beer line, until he blurts out a realization that reveals to viewers, for the first time, how dumb he truly is.

“It went on for a page and a half! We gotta cut this. This doesn’t make any sense at all,” Mike Reiss, who was co-showrunner of “The Simpsons” at the time, remembers thinking. “And Jay and Wally said, you gotta do it. Trust us on this.”

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The idea of the episode is simple — Homer Simpson becomes a union leader to fight for his dental plan — but it spawns endless jokes, movie and TV parodies, and even a folk song. Outlets from USA Today to The Ringer have named “Last Exit to Springfield” the best “Simpsons” episode ever, which it is.

But the writers told TheWrap that “Exit” — which premiered 25 years ago this Sunday, on March 11, 1993 — was just another episode to the frazzled, exhausted “Simpsons” team. The writers were so burned out that the next week’s episode was a clip show.

Here is the complete oral history of “Last Exit to Springfield.”

‘The Big Book of British Smiles’

Wallace Wolodarsky (co-writer): I hated my orthodontist. I hated him. He was horrible. He was mean, and he was never nice. That’s what brought around my psychoses before I got to take advantage of it.

Jay Kogen (co-writer): I remember Wally being instrumental on that dental scene. All the dental tools, “the gouger, the scraper,” those are Wally’s jokes as far as I remember. He also created the Big Book of British Smiles.

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Wolodarsky: I know, so ridiculous. It’s almost like if you’re a comedy writer, it’s almost like cheating.

Mark Kirkland (director): And then there was the hilarious step-by-step pathology, that this will give [Lisa] fangs if we don’t go through with braces, so another just really fun visual thing. I went to my dentist, and I asked him at the time, do you have tools named this, this and this? And he just laughed at me.

Al Jean (Season 4 co-showrunner): The dentist, we asked Clint Eastwood originally, and I don’t know what the exact wording was, but it was “hell no.” And we’ve never had him on the show. The second person we asked was Anthony Perkins, and he really wanted to do it, and then very sadly, something was wrong, we couldn’t get him to come into the studio, and then he passed away, which is really sad. He would’ve been fantastic. So we wound up with Hank [Azaria], who was great.

Politics

Wolodarsky: The story is very easy to understand. You lose your dental insurance, or Lisa will have horrible braces. Now you start to hang every last joke that you can on it. You never think about weighing heavy themes, though it does have one of my favorite themes, which is labor versus management. As a person who’s in multiple Hollywood unions, I’m very much a labor person. So that was fun to put the labor message out into the world. As it’s been the case for many years now, labor has been crushed every which way. It was fun to see labor as the hero.

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Jean: I have to give credit to Mike Reiss, who suggested the idea for the episode that Homer becomes union leader. … We were conscious of being very even-handed at the time. There were many more moderate Republicans and there was a real sense, although I think many of the writers always leaned liberal, most of them, not all of them, that there was a sense that you wanted to respect both sides.

Mike Reiss (Season 4 co-showrunner): At the time, Al and I were running the show, and the bosses had sort of backed away. Jim Brooks and Matt Groening had let us do the show ourselves, so I think that fourth season just starts getting a little crazier, moves a little faster. We weren’t trying to please anyone above us, and we were just getting to do it the way we wanted to do it.

We skew pretty liberal, but we always say don’t get your opinions from “The Simpsons,” and we don’t want the show to be preachy. If we start advocating in one direction, we always want to show the other side of it. Al always used to say, “It’s not liberal, it’s nihilistic.”

Wolodarsky: There’s an unspoken word in the office that everything is up for grabs. You can make fun of everything. There was never a moment of, I don’t want to make fun of unions because I believe in unions. Because I do believe in unions. And unions can be corrupt and cynical organizations. We never limited ourselves in terms of who we were going to go after.

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‘Dental Plan… Lisa Needs Braces’

Kogen: I remember writing the joke where the dental plan is going to be taken away. Mr. Burns offers the beer instead of the dental plan. “Dental Plan, Dental Plan, Dental Plan,” and Homer still doesn’t get it. The voice repeats in his head in the traditional movie style where he hears it once and is supposed to go, “Oh my God!” But he doesn’t get it and hears it a thousand times and doesn’t understand it. I remember that being a funny joke to me, and I wrote it so many times I thought for sure Mike or Al would cut it down because it was so long.

Kogen: There’s a joke that Jon Vitti wrote that’s identical to the shaping of the scene itself. I always quote it because I think it’s really funny. Homer goes into the freezer and takes a box of Neapolitan ice cream out, with vanilla, strawberry and chocolate ice cream. “Mmmm chocolate,” he says, and then finds out all the chocolate has been scooped out. Then he takes another box of Neapolitan ice cream and says “mmm chocolate,” and it’s all scooped out, and he screams to Marge and says, “We need more Neapolitan ice cream!” So it’s the same thing. He’s so myopic. He loves chocolate ice cream. He could just ask for chocolate ice cream. But instead, he wastefully asks for Neapolitan ice cream because that’s the system he’s trapped in. That’s a joke from [Season 3]. There’s no difference to me between that joke and trying to become a union boss in our episode.

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Jean: Homer works best when you take something that’s relatable, something that you or I might do, and you boil it down to its simplest atoms. He just thinks about it simply, but it’s stuff that everybody really thinks about. In the same season, there’s a joke where he eats a sub sandwich and got sick because he kept it in his fridge for several days. That was something I did. You go, that’s crazy, but it’s based on some reality of somebody.

Kirkland: Early in the show’s history, Homer wasn’t as dumb. He got progressively dumber in this time, and I remember Jay and Wally liking the really dumb Homer. Why not? If it gets us the laughter we need, why can’t he be that dumb? That one might’ve pushed the envelope of, oh my God, he’s this dumb? But it works.

Fox

‘The Godfather’

Kirkland: I can’t even count how many references to other movies there were or TV shows: “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” “The Godfather,” the “Get Smart” thing. From a social commentary, when the town blacked out and the town immediately started rioting, I think we had just come off the LA riots, and I think it was a social commentary on people doing that.

Jean: We assumed our viewers had a wide range of cultural references. It wasn’t like now where you could look anything up on Google. But it was also like “Bullwinkle,” where if you didn’t get it when you were 10, you would get it when you were 20, and it would add to your enjoyment of the show later.

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… It was at the time when we were breaking the reality of the show just ever so slightly. We would do the “Yellow Submarine” parody. The big thing I remember about that was that we had to completely make it different from “Yellow Submarine.” I think we called it the Purple Submersible. You look at each character, and each character there’s a real clear legal distinction between the Beatle it was representing. That’s the sort of thing we were putting more of, cutaway jokes, than had been in the show in series previous, and I think they work really well in that one.

Kirkland: We had specific directions to make them like The Beatles but they’re all different. They’re all mixed up and different. I also remember drawing, it said in the script, a “campy engraved Queen Victoria.” It says that. And as a kid, my parents are Canadian. And in our house, we have this antique portrait of Queen Victoria in my house, so I knew exactly what to do when it came to doing that.

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Wolodarsky: We really just enjoyed reprocessing all of the stuff we had been ingesting for so many years as pop culture lovers. It doesn’t follow any program. “Remember that feeling when you took gas and you felt high?” That leads you to psychedelic imagery and that leads you to, “Yellow Submarine” would be perfect for this. The same thing for “The Godfather.” We knew “The Godfather” backwards and forwards. So it was our way to insert our love for these other movies.

Jean: We had done a lot of “Godfather” parodies, but the Little Italy scene I think wasn’t the most obvious, and I love Homer being that Don.

Kirkland: When I did storyboarding myself for Homer the Don, I watched “Godfather Part II.” He’s in the white suit walking around picking up apples off the apple cart, bouncing them in his hand the way Homer is doing it with the donut. But I remember for sure popping in the VHS and copying the staging. I always loved “Godfather Part II,” so for me, this is really cool for Homer behaving like this. Of course it’s all about donuts.

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Reiss: I’m guessing that is what people really like about it, dense, irreverent. Did I catch this, did I catch this? It’s all on Wikipedia now though. I remember looking at the moment of Lisa looking at herself in the mirror and smashing the mirror, and I remember at the time it was a very timely joke because it was Tim Burton’s “Batman,” but now people wouldn’t recognize that reference.

Kirkland: It was so imaginative. All of our “Simpsons” are imaginative, but this one is more surreal somehow. Maybe it’s just more of it, more of the dreams and kooky satire and the “Get Smart” bit…  They finally end up in a room with the main computer and it’s got a screen door with a stray dog. And Burns, like the villain he is, kicks a dog! The gags flew at you.

Reiss: Our stamp on the show was that we did more and more of those things. Finally out of desperation, I know we could tell a story so fast that we had to plug it with little holes and other freestanding bits. Like, a few years later we did a Mary Poppins episode, and that episode is almost all padding and cutaways. It’s not only padded in that it’s musical for musical numbers, but half the episodes it’s people watching other things on TV. It just always worked on the show, no matter how much we revved it up, it still always worked, and you could still get the references. And when “Family Guy” came along, they went even much further in terms of the cutaways being more abundant and more far flung and more off topic, and people could still enjoy it.

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‘Now Do Classical Gas!’

Kogen: I think I was listening to “The Times They Are A-Changin’,” and I tried to write something in the theme of that. And then in the rewrite, it got morphed into the song it is now through Mike and Al. The song I originally wrote is about half there. The song Wally and I wrote is about half to two-thirds there, but it got changed around to not be exactly like “The Times They Are a Changin’.” I usually think “The Simpsons” does a good job of parodying songs, but this became its own song.

Kirkland: Paul Wee, he’s one of our great animators. And he said it always bugs me when I see characters playing instruments and I can tell. He said it may not be perfect, but it passes, and he made an attempt to hit the right chords. That is the kind of detail that can be put into these things. And he’s the same guy by the way who did the “Batman” thing with Lisa and the mirror.

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Jean: It was the year 2000, and I met Mason Williams, the composer of “Classical Gas,” and he mentioned how happy he was that we used it in the show. I had loved the Smothers Brothers show that he was on, and that meant a lot to me.

Reiss: My only other big contribution I remember to this episode, I said let’s end it like “The Grinch,” where Mr. Burns has sort of a change of heart. That’s my other big contributions to “The Simpsons:” “Let’s steal this great thing from somewhere else and do it here.”

Kirkland: That was animated by my assistant director, Susie Dietter. She was a fanatic. She loooved “How The Grinch Stole Christmas.” She asked me, can I do that section, and I said sure. She put a lot of love into the posing to get it just right. At the time we were working at Film Roman, and Phil Roman had worked on “The Grinch.” He was down in our office area giving a tour when Susie was working on that, and she got to show him, and he just loved seeing that. For us that was special in a way. Here’s a guy who actually worked on that, and he enjoyed watching us doing it again.

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‘We Never Revisited It’

Jean: To show you how things surprise you, “20/20” came and filmed the writer’s room once, and once only, because we never let them back in. It was working on that episode. We were working late, we were unshaven, and they kept filming us just not thinking of ideas. It was really depressing. It made us look like completely uncreative idiots. That was when we were working on the montage for that episode, and I just go, it’s funny that this thing that was so embarrassing when we were working on it is now regarded as one of the best things we ever did.

Reiss: Just to put it in perspective, even though the episode was really funny and to show how it was not a standout to us, we never revisited it. We never brought back that dentist. We never saw Homer’s union again. There are other shows like the monorail where we go back. But this episode, I don’t remember “The Simpsons” ever talking about it again or ever bringing back any aspect of it again. It’s all flattering when fans told us this is a really good one instead of us being proud of it ourselves.

Jean: I did look up, the first time I saw a recorded example of people saying that the show lost it’s way was the premiere of Season 2, “Bart Gets an F.” They were saying it’s just not the same as it was in the first year. I’ve been seeing it for 28 years. I don’t know when it ever came true if it did, but I’ve seen that consistent criticism for that long. The basic fear we’d had in Season 4 is that maybe it was getting too crazy. And then, as they would say, a few years later I would see “Last Exit to Springfield” as Number One on the list of best episodes of all time, I would be a little surprised.

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Kirkland: One day I’d have three of my shows on the top 10, and the next time there would be some list, I’d have none. Whoever is writing these lists, they have a new favorite all the time. But it’s probably the one I’ve done that’s the highest on the list in my career. It’s probably the one that’s most consistently on the Top 10.

Kogen: It seems picked kind of randomly. It’s not even my favorite episode that we wrote, let alone everyone’s favorite in an entire 30-year series. That may be a value that happens over time, and other things will take its place. I don’t know if there’s truly a consensus, because who judges that? They’re just loud enough to say this is better than that.

Wolodarsky: To Jim’s credit, because he was looking over everything, the story mattered, and the emotional content of the story mattered. Speaking for myself as a young writer, it was something I didn’t care about it, because I was given these opportunities to write these funny jokes, like I got so excited about that. And Sam for sure taught us this lesson: what’s the emotional content? If you go back even further than that, Matt had lots of heartfelt, childhood sentiments that found their way into the show. By that point we all understood that. Why it’s considered the best is totally beyond me. I have no idea. I’ve heard that before from people, and it seems like a really good episode from a really fun year, but is it the best? I don’t know about that.

Also Read: Gal Gadot to Voice Herself in Upcoming ‘The Simpsons’ Episode

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Best. Episode. Ever!

Reiss: About 15 seasons into the show, I saw USA Today had ranked it as the best of the first 300 episodes of “The Simpsons.” And I called Jay Kogen and said, “They picked your episode “Last Exit to Springfield” as the best episode ever. And he said, “It wasn’t even the best one we wrote that month!”

Kogen: I would always be proud because my name was on it and Wally’s name was on it. And also be a little confused because so many great episodes came from that period of time on “The Simpsons.” Why this one? Why is this one better than the others? Maybe I’m too close to it.

Jean: At the time I thought it was a very funny episode like the other ones we were doing, and I didn’t think it stood out as much as something like the monorail episode or the “Streetcar” episode.

Wolodarsky: It was very much in the pipeline of the show. The funny thing about the show is, we would take things that had happened to us, braces for example, and the whole experience of going to the orthodontist, and graft it on to a bigger story about the union. That was always one of the fun things we learned from Sam Simon. He had this great habit of taking two stories, or rather letting one story that didn’t seem connected start a second or third act story.

Reiss: It was part of an assembly line. We never dwelled on it; get that one done and on to the next one. I don’t remember it being a stand out at all during production or even after it went on the air. So for people to single it out even a few years later or talking about it 25 years later, it’s always a surprise to me.

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Hank Azaria: ‘Simpsons’ Producers ‘Will Definitely Address’ Apu Racial Stereotypes Criticism

‘The Simpsons’ Predicted Disney Would Buy 21st Century Fox Back in 1998

Twenty-five years ago, “Simpsons” writers Jay Kogen and Wallace Wolodarsky begged their bosses not to cut the core joke in “Last Exit to Springfield,” the best episode in the history of the show.

It’s a long, weird bit that goes thirty awkward seconds without a payoff. The words “dental plan” and “Lisa needs braces” bounce around Homer’s brain as he waits in a beer line, until he blurts out a realization that reveals to viewers, for the first time, how dumb he truly is.

“It went on for a page and a half! We gotta cut this. This doesn’t make any sense at all,” Mike Reiss, who was co-showrunner of “The Simpsons” at the time, remembers thinking. “And Jay and Wally said, you gotta do it. Trust us on this.”

The idea of the episode is simple — Homer Simpson becomes a union leader to fight for his dental plan — but it spawns endless jokes, movie and TV parodies, and even a folk song. Outlets from USA Today to The Ringer have named “Last Exit to Springfield” the best “Simpsons” episode ever, which it is.

But the writers told TheWrap that “Exit” — which premiered 25 years ago this Sunday, on March 11, 1993 — was just another episode to the frazzled, exhausted “Simpsons” team. The writers were so burned out that the next week’s episode was a clip show.

Here is the complete oral history of “Last Exit to Springfield.”

‘The Big Book of British Smiles’

Wallace Wolodarsky (co-writer): I hated my orthodontist. I hated him. He was horrible. He was mean, and he was never nice. That’s what brought around my psychoses before I got to take advantage of it.

Jay Kogen (co-writer): I remember Wally being instrumental on that dental scene. All the dental tools, “the gouger, the scraper,” those are Wally’s jokes as far as I remember. He also created the Big Book of British Smiles.

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Wolodarsky: I know, so ridiculous. It’s almost like if you’re a comedy writer, it’s almost like cheating.

Mark Kirkland (director): And then there was the hilarious step-by-step pathology, that this will give [Lisa] fangs if we don’t go through with braces, so another just really fun visual thing. I went to my dentist, and I asked him at the time, do you have tools named this, this and this? And he just laughed at me.

Al Jean (Season 4 co-showrunner): The dentist, we asked Clint Eastwood originally, and I don’t know what the exact wording was, but it was “hell no.” And we’ve never had him on the show. The second person we asked was Anthony Perkins, and he really wanted to do it, and then very sadly, something was wrong, we couldn’t get him to come into the studio, and then he passed away, which is really sad. He would’ve been fantastic. So we wound up with Hank [Azaria], who was great.

Politics

Wolodarsky: The story is very easy to understand. You lose your dental insurance, or Lisa will have horrible braces. Now you start to hang every last joke that you can on it. You never think about weighing heavy themes, though it does have one of my favorite themes, which is labor versus management. As a person who’s in multiple Hollywood unions, I’m very much a labor person. So that was fun to put the labor message out into the world. As it’s been the case for many years now, labor has been crushed every which way. It was fun to see labor as the hero.

Jean: I have to give credit to Mike Reiss, who suggested the idea for the episode that Homer becomes union leader. … We were conscious of being very even-handed at the time. There were many more moderate Republicans and there was a real sense, although I think many of the writers always leaned liberal, most of them, not all of them, that there was a sense that you wanted to respect both sides.

Mike Reiss (Season 4 co-showrunner): At the time, Al and I were running the show, and the bosses had sort of backed away. Jim Brooks and Matt Groening had let us do the show ourselves, so I think that fourth season just starts getting a little crazier, moves a little faster. We weren’t trying to please anyone above us, and we were just getting to do it the way we wanted to do it.

We skew pretty liberal, but we always say don’t get your opinions from “The Simpsons,” and we don’t want the show to be preachy. If we start advocating in one direction, we always want to show the other side of it. Al always used to say, “It’s not liberal, it’s nihilistic.”

Wolodarsky: There’s an unspoken word in the office that everything is up for grabs. You can make fun of everything. There was never a moment of, I don’t want to make fun of unions because I believe in unions. Because I do believe in unions. And unions can be corrupt and cynical organizations. We never limited ourselves in terms of who we were going to go after.

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‘Dental Plan… Lisa Needs Braces’

Kogen: I remember writing the joke where the dental plan is going to be taken away. Mr. Burns offers the beer instead of the dental plan. “Dental Plan, Dental Plan, Dental Plan,” and Homer still doesn’t get it. The voice repeats in his head in the traditional movie style where he hears it once and is supposed to go, “Oh my God!” But he doesn’t get it and hears it a thousand times and doesn’t understand it. I remember that being a funny joke to me, and I wrote it so many times I thought for sure Mike or Al would cut it down because it was so long.

Kogen: There’s a joke that Jon Vitti wrote that’s identical to the shaping of the scene itself. I always quote it because I think it’s really funny. Homer goes into the freezer and takes a box of Neapolitan ice cream out, with vanilla, strawberry and chocolate ice cream. “Mmmm chocolate,” he says, and then finds out all the chocolate has been scooped out. Then he takes another box of Neapolitan ice cream and says “mmm chocolate,” and it’s all scooped out, and he screams to Marge and says, “We need more Neapolitan ice cream!” So it’s the same thing. He’s so myopic. He loves chocolate ice cream. He could just ask for chocolate ice cream. But instead, he wastefully asks for Neapolitan ice cream because that’s the system he’s trapped in. That’s a joke from [Season 3]. There’s no difference to me between that joke and trying to become a union boss in our episode.

Jean: Homer works best when you take something that’s relatable, something that you or I might do, and you boil it down to its simplest atoms. He just thinks about it simply, but it’s stuff that everybody really thinks about. In the same season, there’s a joke where he eats a sub sandwich and got sick because he kept it in his fridge for several days. That was something I did. You go, that’s crazy, but it’s based on some reality of somebody.

Kirkland: Early in the show’s history, Homer wasn’t as dumb. He got progressively dumber in this time, and I remember Jay and Wally liking the really dumb Homer. Why not? If it gets us the laughter we need, why can’t he be that dumb? That one might’ve pushed the envelope of, oh my God, he’s this dumb? But it works.

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‘The Godfather’

Kirkland: I can’t even count how many references to other movies there were or TV shows: “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” “The Godfather,” the “Get Smart” thing. From a social commentary, when the town blacked out and the town immediately started rioting, I think we had just come off the LA riots, and I think it was a social commentary on people doing that.

Jean: We assumed our viewers had a wide range of cultural references. It wasn’t like now where you could look anything up on Google. But it was also like “Bullwinkle,” where if you didn’t get it when you were 10, you would get it when you were 20, and it would add to your enjoyment of the show later.

… It was at the time when we were breaking the reality of the show just ever so slightly. We would do the “Yellow Submarine” parody. The big thing I remember about that was that we had to completely make it different from “Yellow Submarine.” I think we called it the Purple Submersible. You look at each character, and each character there’s a real clear legal distinction between the Beatle it was representing. That’s the sort of thing we were putting more of, cutaway jokes, than had been in the show in series previous, and I think they work really well in that one.

Kirkland: We had specific directions to make them like The Beatles but they’re all different. They’re all mixed up and different. I also remember drawing, it said in the script, a “campy engraved Queen Victoria.” It says that. And as a kid, my parents are Canadian. And in our house, we have this antique portrait of Queen Victoria in my house, so I knew exactly what to do when it came to doing that.

Wolodarsky: We really just enjoyed reprocessing all of the stuff we had been ingesting for so many years as pop culture lovers. It doesn’t follow any program. “Remember that feeling when you took gas and you felt high?” That leads you to psychedelic imagery and that leads you to, “Yellow Submarine” would be perfect for this. The same thing for “The Godfather.” We knew “The Godfather” backwards and forwards. So it was our way to insert our love for these other movies.

Jean: We had done a lot of “Godfather” parodies, but the Little Italy scene I think wasn’t the most obvious, and I love Homer being that Don.

Kirkland: When I did storyboarding myself for Homer the Don, I watched “Godfather Part II.” He’s in the white suit walking around picking up apples off the apple cart, bouncing them in his hand the way Homer is doing it with the donut. But I remember for sure popping in the VHS and copying the staging. I always loved “Godfather Part II,” so for me, this is really cool for Homer behaving like this. Of course it’s all about donuts.

Reiss: I’m guessing that is what people really like about it, dense, irreverent. Did I catch this, did I catch this? It’s all on Wikipedia now though. I remember looking at the moment of Lisa looking at herself in the mirror and smashing the mirror, and I remember at the time it was a very timely joke because it was Tim Burton’s “Batman,” but now people wouldn’t recognize that reference.

Kirkland: It was so imaginative. All of our “Simpsons” are imaginative, but this one is more surreal somehow. Maybe it’s just more of it, more of the dreams and kooky satire and the “Get Smart” bit…  They finally end up in a room with the main computer and it’s got a screen door with a stray dog. And Burns, like the villain he is, kicks a dog! The gags flew at you.

Reiss: Our stamp on the show was that we did more and more of those things. Finally out of desperation, I know we could tell a story so fast that we had to plug it with little holes and other freestanding bits. Like, a few years later we did a Mary Poppins episode, and that episode is almost all padding and cutaways. It’s not only padded in that it’s musical for musical numbers, but half the episodes it’s people watching other things on TV. It just always worked on the show, no matter how much we revved it up, it still always worked, and you could still get the references. And when “Family Guy” came along, they went even much further in terms of the cutaways being more abundant and more far flung and more off topic, and people could still enjoy it.

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‘Now Do Classical Gas!’

Kogen: I think I was listening to “The Times They Are A-Changin’,” and I tried to write something in the theme of that. And then in the rewrite, it got morphed into the song it is now through Mike and Al. The song I originally wrote is about half there. The song Wally and I wrote is about half to two-thirds there, but it got changed around to not be exactly like “The Times They Are a Changin’.” I usually think “The Simpsons” does a good job of parodying songs, but this became its own song.

Kirkland: Paul Wee, he’s one of our great animators. And he said it always bugs me when I see characters playing instruments and I can tell. He said it may not be perfect, but it passes, and he made an attempt to hit the right chords. That is the kind of detail that can be put into these things. And he’s the same guy by the way who did the “Batman” thing with Lisa and the mirror.

Jean: It was the year 2000, and I met Mason Williams, the composer of “Classical Gas,” and he mentioned how happy he was that we used it in the show. I had loved the Smothers Brothers show that he was on, and that meant a lot to me.

Reiss: My only other big contribution I remember to this episode, I said let’s end it like “The Grinch,” where Mr. Burns has sort of a change of heart. That’s my other big contributions to “The Simpsons:” “Let’s steal this great thing from somewhere else and do it here.”

Kirkland: That was animated by my assistant director, Susie Dietter. She was a fanatic. She loooved “How The Grinch Stole Christmas.” She asked me, can I do that section, and I said sure. She put a lot of love into the posing to get it just right. At the time we were working at Film Roman, and Phil Roman had worked on “The Grinch.” He was down in our office area giving a tour when Susie was working on that, and she got to show him, and he just loved seeing that. For us that was special in a way. Here’s a guy who actually worked on that, and he enjoyed watching us doing it again.

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‘We Never Revisited It’

Jean: To show you how things surprise you, “20/20” came and filmed the writer’s room once, and once only, because we never let them back in. It was working on that episode. We were working late, we were unshaven, and they kept filming us just not thinking of ideas. It was really depressing. It made us look like completely uncreative idiots. That was when we were working on the montage for that episode, and I just go, it’s funny that this thing that was so embarrassing when we were working on it is now regarded as one of the best things we ever did.

Reiss: Just to put it in perspective, even though the episode was really funny and to show how it was not a standout to us, we never revisited it. We never brought back that dentist. We never saw Homer’s union again. There are other shows like the monorail where we go back. But this episode, I don’t remember “The Simpsons” ever talking about it again or ever bringing back any aspect of it again. It’s all flattering when fans told us this is a really good one instead of us being proud of it ourselves.

Jean: I did look up, the first time I saw a recorded example of people saying that the show lost it’s way was the premiere of Season 2, “Bart Gets an F.” They were saying it’s just not the same as it was in the first year. I’ve been seeing it for 28 years. I don’t know when it ever came true if it did, but I’ve seen that consistent criticism for that long. The basic fear we’d had in Season 4 is that maybe it was getting too crazy. And then, as they would say, a few years later I would see “Last Exit to Springfield” as Number One on the list of best episodes of all time, I would be a little surprised.

Kirkland: One day I’d have three of my shows on the top 10, and the next time there would be some list, I’d have none. Whoever is writing these lists, they have a new favorite all the time. But it’s probably the one I’ve done that’s the highest on the list in my career. It’s probably the one that’s most consistently on the Top 10.

Kogen: It seems picked kind of randomly. It’s not even my favorite episode that we wrote, let alone everyone’s favorite in an entire 30-year series. That may be a value that happens over time, and other things will take its place. I don’t know if there’s truly a consensus, because who judges that? They’re just loud enough to say this is better than that.

Wolodarsky: To Jim’s credit, because he was looking over everything, the story mattered, and the emotional content of the story mattered. Speaking for myself as a young writer, it was something I didn’t care about it, because I was given these opportunities to write these funny jokes, like I got so excited about that. And Sam for sure taught us this lesson: what’s the emotional content? If you go back even further than that, Matt had lots of heartfelt, childhood sentiments that found their way into the show. By that point we all understood that. Why it’s considered the best is totally beyond me. I have no idea. I’ve heard that before from people, and it seems like a really good episode from a really fun year, but is it the best? I don’t know about that.

Fox

Best. Episode. Ever!

Reiss: About 15 seasons into the show, I saw USA Today had ranked it as the best of the first 300 episodes of “The Simpsons.” And I called Jay Kogen and said, “They picked your episode “Last Exit to Springfield” as the best episode ever. And he said, “It wasn’t even the best one we wrote that month!”

Kogen: I would always be proud because my name was on it and Wally’s name was on it. And also be a little confused because so many great episodes came from that period of time on “The Simpsons.” Why this one? Why is this one better than the others? Maybe I’m too close to it.

Jean: At the time I thought it was a very funny episode like the other ones we were doing, and I didn’t think it stood out as much as something like the monorail episode or the “Streetcar” episode.

Wolodarsky: It was very much in the pipeline of the show. The funny thing about the show is, we would take things that had happened to us, braces for example, and the whole experience of going to the orthodontist, and graft it on to a bigger story about the union. That was always one of the fun things we learned from Sam Simon. He had this great habit of taking two stories, or rather letting one story that didn’t seem connected start a second or third act story.

Reiss: It was part of an assembly line. We never dwelled on it; get that one done and on to the next one. I don’t remember it being a stand out at all during production or even after it went on the air. So for people to single it out even a few years later or talking about it 25 years later, it’s always a surprise to me.

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‘The Simpsons’ Showrunner Thinks Ted Cruz ‘Should Stick A Pacifier in His Mouth’ After Misunderstanding the Show

Al Jean fired back at Cruz after the senator brought up the show during a February 22 appearance at CPAC.

Ted Cruz may be a self-professed “The Simpsons” fan, but showrunner Al Jean probably wishes the senator would stop making bad references to his animated series. During a February 22 appearance at CPAC, Cruz and moderator Ben Domenech brought up “The Simpsons” and sorted the characters into either the Republican or Democratic parties. Jean thinks Cruz got it all wrong.

“Homer points out that guns are for things like protecting your family, hunting delicious animals and making sure that the king of England never shows up to push you around,” Domenech told Cruz, who replied, “All good things.”

“I think the Democrats are the party of Lisa Simpson,” Cruz said, “and Republicans are happily the party of Homer and Bart and Maggie and Marge.”

Jean quickly responded to the show’s reference by slamming Cruz on Twitter: “Ted Cruz says Maggie Simpson would vote for him. I think Ted’s the one who could use a pacifier in his mouth.”

Jean elaborated on his thoughts to The Daily Beast, joking: “I like that Mr. Cruz enjoys ‘The Simpsons,’ but I think his understanding of the characters is weak. I think if he explored Lisa’s positions, he’s a smart man, he might change his mind.”

Jean’s dig at Cruz is the second time this week a show has fought back after being wrongfully referenced. The cast and creator of “Parks and Recreation” slammed the National Rifle Association after the group used a meme of Leslie Knope on their Twitter page.

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Ted Cruz Invokes ‘The Simpsons’ Along Party Lines, So Al Jean Pacifies Him

Ah, good ol’ Lyin’ Ted Cruz is back in the news — and this time he’s dragging Springfield’s most famous family into the partisan brawl. Seems the Texas senator glommed on to The Simpsons during an appearance at CPAC today.
Some reporters at the GOP chum-fest quoted Cruz as saying, “The Democrats are the party of Lisa Simpson and Republicans are happily the party of Homer, Bart, Maggie and Marge.” And before you could say “Ronald Reagan embracing Bruce Springsteen,” he was…

Ah, good ol’ Lyin’ Ted Cruz is back in the news — and this time he’s dragging Springfield’s most famous family into the partisan brawl. Seems the Texas senator glommed on to The Simpsons during an appearance at CPAC today. Some reporters at the GOP chum-fest quoted Cruz as saying, “The Democrats are the party of Lisa Simpson and Republicans are happily the party of Homer, Bart, Maggie and Marge.” And before you could say “Ronald Reagan embracing Bruce Springsteen,” he was…

‘Simpsons’ Showrunner Answers Ted Cruz Insult: ‘I Wouldn’t Be So Quick to Write Off Lisa’s Vote’

D’Oh! Ted Cruz attempted to take a swipe at Democrats by comparing them to Lisa Simpson (spoiler: it backfired). But Al Jean, current showrunner of “The Simpsons,” said Cruz should really be trying to get the vote of all five members of the family.

“If I was Ted Cruz, I wouldn’t be so quick to write off Lisa’s vote,” Jean told TheWrap. “I think she’s an important person with a lot of intelligence and you’d really want to win her over and not just abandon her.”

At the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Thursday, Cruz said about his political opponents that “I think the Democrats are the party of Lisa Simpson and Republicans are happily the party of Homer and Bart and Maggie and Marge.”

Also Read: Ted Cruz Clowned for Saying Pop Culture’s Biggest Idiot, Homer Simpson, Is a Republican

“Maggie doesn’t speak, so I don’t know how he can say who she’d vote for,” Jean told TheWrap. “Far be it from me to say how these imaginary people who never existed would vote. I don’t know, he’s pretty greedy going after 4 of the 5.”

Cruz’s comments came up after conservative commentator Ben Domenech said the ongoing debate about gun control was similar to an episode of “The Simpsons.” Jean recalls that particular episode a little differently.

“I don’t want to make light of something that’s really horrible, but I think there was a classic episode done by Mike Scully where there’s a five day waiting period and Homer said, ‘But I’m mad now!’ It was a joke about why we should have good control,” Jean said.

Of course, even Maggie Simpson has had a surprising amount of access to guns throughout the show’s run, including most notably, shooting Mr. Burns in one infamous episode.

“And it hasn’t gone well,” Jean said.

Jean also commented on Cruz’s comments on Twitter, quipping that given the direction of the country, even evil “The Simpsons” oligarch Montgomery Burns is probably going to end up a Democrat. See his comments below.

.@TheSimpsons Ted Cruz says Maggie Simpson would vote for him.
I think Ted’s the one who could use a pacifier in his mouth.

— Al Jean (@AlJean) February 22, 2018

.@TheSimpsons The way things are going even Mr. Burns is thinking of becoming a Democrat.

— Al Jean (@AlJean) February 22, 2018

.@TheSimpsons Ted they’re not saying “boo” they’re saying “Cruz”. Oh, wait, they are saying “boo”.

— Al Jean (@AlJean) February 22, 2018

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‘The Simpsons’ Predicted Disney Would Buy 21st Century Fox Back in 1998

D’Oh! Ted Cruz attempted to take a swipe at Democrats by comparing them to Lisa Simpson (spoiler: it backfired). But Al Jean, current showrunner of “The Simpsons,” said Cruz should really be trying to get the vote of all five members of the family.

“If I was Ted Cruz, I wouldn’t be so quick to write off Lisa’s vote,” Jean told TheWrap. “I think she’s an important person with a lot of intelligence and you’d really want to win her over and not just abandon her.”

At the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Thursday, Cruz said about his political opponents that “I think the Democrats are the party of Lisa Simpson and Republicans are happily the party of Homer and Bart and Maggie and Marge.”

“Maggie doesn’t speak, so I don’t know how he can say who she’d vote for,” Jean told TheWrap. “Far be it from me to say how these imaginary people who never existed would vote. I don’t know, he’s pretty greedy going after 4 of the 5.”

Cruz’s comments came up after conservative commentator Ben Domenech said the ongoing debate about gun control was similar to an episode of “The Simpsons.” Jean recalls that particular episode a little differently.

“I don’t want to make light of something that’s really horrible, but I think there was a classic episode done by Mike Scully where there’s a five day waiting period and Homer said, ‘But I’m mad now!’ It was a joke about why we should have good control,” Jean said.

Of course, even Maggie Simpson has had a surprising amount of access to guns throughout the show’s run, including most notably, shooting Mr. Burns in one infamous episode.

“And it hasn’t gone well,” Jean said.

Jean also commented on Cruz’s comments on Twitter, quipping that given the direction of the country, even evil “The Simpsons” oligarch Montgomery Burns is probably going to end up a Democrat. See his comments below.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Ray Liotta Joins 'The Simpsons' Family as Moe's Dad

Gal Gadot to Voice Herself in Upcoming 'The Simpsons' Episode

13 Times 'The Simpsons' Predicted the Future (Photos)

'The Simpsons' Predicted Disney Would Buy 21st Century Fox Back in 1998

Gal Gadot to voice herself on The Simpsons

Gal Gadot has at least three more DC films on the horizon, including the Wonder Woman sequel that will reportedly take place during the Cold War. But apparently, she still has time to drop by Springfield, USA.Read more…

Gal Gadot has at least three more DC films on the horizon, including the Wonder Woman sequel that will reportedly take place during the Cold War. But apparently, she still has time to drop by Springfield, USA.

Read more...

‘The Simpsons’ Showrunner Gets Back At George H.W. Bush

It’s taken 25 years, but The Simpsons‘ showrunner Al Jean finally had his chance to return a jab at George H.W. Bush.
During a speech on family values in 1992, the former president said that American families needed to be “a lot more like the Waltons and a lot less like the Simpsons”. At the time, The Simpsons responded in the next episode in a scene where the family was watching that portion of Bush’s speech and Bart responded, “Hey, we’re like the Waltons. We’re praying…

It’s taken 25 years, but The Simpsons‘ showrunner Al Jean finally had his chance to return a jab at George H.W. Bush. During a speech on family values in 1992, the former president said that American families needed to be “a lot more like the Waltons and a lot less like the Simpsons”. At the time, The Simpsons responded in the next episode in a scene where the family was watching that portion of Bush’s speech and Bart responded, “Hey, we’re like the Waltons. We’re praying…

‘The Simpsons’ Will Return to DVD After A Three-Year Hiatus, After Fans Demand It

Season 18 will finally hit stores in December; here’s what to expect after that.

The Simpsons” fans, your pleas have been answered: Three years after the last release, the show is returning to DVD.

Creator Matt Groening and executive producer Al Jean announced Saturday that 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment will release the 18th season of “The Simpsons” on DVD this December 5. On the cover: Mobster Fat Tony (voiced by Joe Mantegna).

“The Simpsons” Season 17 was released in December 2014 – and then production halted on any future seasons. Groening and Jean revealed the reversal at the annual “The Simpsons” San Diego Comic-Con panel.

“Matt Groening tried really hard to bring them back, and we’re very happy to say the fans were listened to,” Jean said. “This is the one Tweet I’ve been looking forward to announce.”

The Season 18 release is the only one confirmed, but the show’s producers (and some cast) have already also recorded commentaries for Seasons 19 and 20, in the event that the release calendar continues. Season 18 comprised episodes from the 2006-2007 TV season, and included the show’s 400th episode. (Commentary for Season 18 has already been made available on the FXNOW app.)

A barebones Season 20 DVD was released out of order in 2010 to capitalize on the show’s landmark 20th anniversary. Which means that for collectors looking to at least have the first 20 seasons on disc, that will only leave Season 19 missing.

“It’s kind of crazy to imagine that they would do 1-18, and they already did 20, and not do 19,” Jean said. “I really want them to do 19 as well. I might even buy some myself!”

That original Season 20 DVD didn’t include any commentary, so Jean hopes a new release would include that.

“At least I hope we get through 20,” Jean said. “Actually, I hope to do all of them. The sales of this will probably tell.”

“The Simpsons” on DVD

Amazon

Fox Home Entertainment never really explained why the sales halted. The nature of slow DVD sales might have been to blame.

“They did make money, they just weren’t making as much as they had,” Jean said. “I don’t think that’s the issue. It’s a time commitment for people to produce them. But I think the fans deserve it… I see people wanting something to hold, they don’t want everything to be digitized. It’s a human quality.”

But it’s also believed the hiatus was enacted in order to help get FXX’s robust Simpsons World app (via FXNOW) off the ground. (That site, available to FXNOW users, includes every episode of “The Simpsons” ever.)

“Each part helps the other,” Jean said. “If people become fans because of ‘The Simpsons’ ride, or the current show, they go back and look at the older shows, or they watch it on FXX. I’m of the belief that a rising tide lifts all boats.”

Jean is also excited to finally have an answer when he’s asked whether the DVDs are returning. Of course, even if they manage to get to Season 20, that will leave another 9, 10 or even more seasons to go.

Joked Jean: “I know whenever I die, I’ll be going, ‘but I still have ten seasons to do commentary!”

“The Simpsons” has been renewed through its 30th season; next year, during the show’s 29th season, it will hit episode 636, surpassing “Gunsmoke” as producing the most episodes ever of any scripted series.

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