In an interview with the New York Post, Al Jean talks about the 30 years with the show, hitting December 17.
“A lot of people who were fans of the show at the beginning don’t watch anymore, but we always have a new audience coming in. It’s a new show to them, which is a pretty amazing thing. And that’s partly due to its animated nature, since the characters always look the same. I look at it as someone who’s under the age of 30 can’t remember life without ‘The Simpsons.’ That’s a weird fact.”
The show was just renewed for two more seasons, 29th and 30th, taking the show up to 669 episodes, surpassing Gunsmoke‘s 635 (1955-75).
“When we hit 300 episodes I looked it up to see what show had the most episodes and saw that it was ‘Gunsmoke.’ I joked back then that we were heading for them, and here we are, closing in. But it’s never about hitting milestones. There was a definite pride in reaching 600 episodes and it will be cool to surpass ‘Gunsmoke’ … but we just want to keep going if it’s good. The audience will tell us [when to call it quits] when the ratings start to drop.”
Looking back at the start of the current season, September 25th, Jean reports on him thinking he already had an idea it would have been renewed. “I just looked at the ratings. I always thought it was coming back, I believe we’re currently the second-highest-rated show on the network after ‘Empire.’ ”
NYP asked Jean if, after 28 seasons, the show is running on auto-pilot to which he comments “My answer would be I wish we could be on auto-pilot, but every episode is its own struggle. We never get to rest on our laurels. It’s animated well and we make it funny — but we’ve never, from the beginning of the show to now, phoned it in. I work pretty much every weekday of the year trying to figure out how to make the show better. People want [the ‘Simpsons’ characters] to be happy. We’ve always resisted any permanent change to the template because I think, once you do that, it becomes a different show. People ask, ‘What if [the characters] did a time-jump to high school?’ I would say that, rather than do that, I would end the show. It’s gone on so long it has to stay in its current incarnation.”
Jean concludes talking about a future episode he’s excited about: the 666th: “The one I’m looking forward to is number 666, which will fall around Halloween. It’ll probably be a ‘Treehouse of Horror’ episode. Aside from 666, I imagine the next milestone we’ll be celebrating is our 700th episode.”
Source: New York Post