a chaotic office, a team of writers is on the way
to creating the longest-running sitcom ever. KATHY
all begins in a small, chaotic office
with a view of the fishpond. Here,
the writers of The Simpsons work
on several episodes at once, developing
the first draft for new shows and
refining the scripts for those in
"The history and the style of the show is firmly embedded in the disgusting
conference room that we work in," writer and producer Matt Selman said. "There's
food everywhere and wrappers and cans and papers and garbage and old scripts.
They try to clean it up but the cleanliness level is that of a 13-year-old boy."
The creative process is exhausting for everyone who works
on the show, with each episode taking up to eight months
to complete. Fox has renewed The Simpsons for another two
seasons, and when that contract ends in mid-2005, it will
have become the longest-running sitcom ever. The Simpsons
300th show was aired (in Australia) on May 7.
It was only recently that Selman received first-hand evidence
of its extraordinary popularity with viewers from dozens
of countries around the world. Eagle-eyed fans spotted
an email address for Homer in one episode and sent a flood
of emails. Selman registered the address — email@example.com — before
the episode aired and logged on after its American broadcast
in January to check viewer reaction. At least 10,000 lucky
viewers received a personalised response from Homer.
"I'm still getting emails to that address as the episode airs in other countries
but I've had to stop answering them, lest it consume me," said Selman, who
has been writing Homer Simpson for five seasons. "People around the world
love the show and it was interesting to get emails from people in Singapore,
Czechoslovakia, Brazil and Argentina."
Along the eight-month rollercoaster ride of each episode,
Selman and his team have ample opportunity to check the
jokes are still tickling their funny bones. "We do
two or three different re-writes — and you've had
a two-month break between each time you've seen it — so
you see it fresh and you're more able to judge the material
honestly," he said.
"The process feels like that famous episode of I Love Lucy where
the chocolate balls are coming along too fast... it feels like you are just trying
to keep up with the conveyor belt."
• The Simpsons
is on Ten at 6pm Saturday and every
article is from the May 18th, 2003
edition of tvguide from the Sunday
Mail newspaper in Adelaide, South
Australia. It has been posted here
for general information purposes
and no profit is being made from
this article. Visit The Advertiser/Sunday
Mail website here.