RICK PORTER It's a cliche for reporters to ask the creator of a long-running
TV show about his favourite episodes, and the cliched response
is for the creator to say that he loves them all and can't possibly
single out one or two.
Yet upon meeting The Simpsons creator Matt Groening at a party
celebrating the show's 350th episode the temptation to ask the
favourites question was too hard to resist. Happily, he didn't
give the usual non-answer, rattling off a list of his top secondary
characters - Apu, the Squeaky Voiced Teen, Ralph Wiggum and Milhouse's
dad, Kirk, among them - and episodes he loves.
"I Don't have a single favourite. There's a bunch I really like,"
Groening says. "I love Bart Sells His Soul, the episode (from October
1995) where he sold his soul to Milhouse for five bucks. I love
the one where we had Frank Grimes (Homer's Enemy, May 1997). And
I like an episode we have coming up where Bart converts to Catholicism
(The Father, The Son & The Holy Guest Star, May 2005)."
That episode was pulled following the death of Pope John Paul II.
Groening says the decision was one the network made: "We think
it's offensive whenever you run it."
It's remarkable enough that The Simpsons has even made it to 350
episodes, more than any other scripted show on TV. That it can
still create a buzz after that long is unheard of in this era.
"No matter how hard people try to run it into the ground by putting
it on too many times a day, putting it on multiple DVDs and oversaturating
the marketplace and all the rest, we still keep going," Groening
says. "In fact, I have to say I'm very proud of this season and
the coming season (17)."
Groening thinks the show has lasted so long because "with animation,
there are so many possibilities to surprise the audience. That's
really what we try to do. We try to keep surprising the audience
and keep surprising ourselves."
Groening was quoted one recent Sunday in The New York Times as
saying "the show has almost reached its halfway point." The following
Monday he said he was "not serious at all" about whether The Simpsons
can last another 250 episodes, but quickly added, "I'll do them
if we can. That's a long time, but if we, you know - unless we
all get killed," he says with a shrug.
"I think five of the main people could get killed and the show
could still go on. But any more than five - that's why we all ride
in separate airplanes."
article is from the May 8,
2005 edition of Sunday Mail TVguide
in Adelaide, South Australia. It
here for general information purposes
and no profit is being made from
this article. Visit The Advertiser/Sunday
Mail website here.