Published 17th December 2014
Not since M*A*S*H* has an entire generation enjoyed a host of characters as genuinely funny as the people of Springfield.
The Simpsons happens to be the longest running sitcom in history and one of the most quoted television shows to boot. It can't be understated enough how difficult it is to keep a weekly show -not just a cartoon that has to be animated- but a prime time comedy show going for 25 consecutive seasons across more than two decades, and still be successful.
A lot of people will tell you The Simpsons 'lost it's mojo' in the early-to-mid 2000's for whatever personal reason, and they stopped watching. I can say with some sincerity, whatever they thought was lost, is back now. The Simpsons is funny, and it's better than ever.
I couldn't be more enamoured of an internationally syndicated comedic, satirical cartoon show that captures the zeitgeist of each decade each episode was written in. The whole shebang is an incredibly difficult thing to pull off, and with incredible consistency the writing and production team have done it so well.
I had the great pleasure of meeting one of The Simpsons' great Directors, David Silverman. Name one of your all-time favourite episodes you can remember and the odds are, he directed it.
"Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire" "Bart the Genius" "Bart the General" "Life on the Fast Lane" "Some Enchanted Evening" "Bart Gets an F" "Treehouse of Horror" (The Raven segment only) "Bart vs. Thanksgiving" "The Way We Was" "Old Money" "Blood Feud" "Black Widower" "Homer's Triple Bypass" "Krusty Gets Kancelled" "Treehouse of Horror IV" "Another Simpsons Clip Show" (as Pound Foolish) "Homie the Clown" "Mother Simpson" "The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular" (as Pound Foolish) "Treehouse of Horror XIII" "Treehouse of Horror XV" (as "The Tell-Tale Silverman") "Treehouse of Horror XVI" (as "Godzilla vs. Silverman") "Treehouse of Horror XVII" (with Matthew Faughnan) (as David "Tubatron" Silverman) "The Man Who Came To Be Dinner"[/accordion] [/az_accordion_section]
David also took on the immense task of Directing the Simpsons Movie. I couldn't begin to imagine the scale of what he and the team at Fox had to work with, on top of putting out a new episode of the Simpsons every week.
We had a day to kill together after the NCS Reuben Awards weekend in Boston in 2011, so we walked around the city on foot. One of the great things about talking to David about the show is the passion he has for animation, and for cartooning in general. You can't work in the industry for as long as he has without loving every aspect of the process and its origins. He showed me classic Pogo strips and the artwork and odd vernacular in the old comics.
Every minute with cartoonists like David is a huge and invaluable lesson for young cartoonists, and I couldn't recommend coming to the Reubens and joining the National Cartoonists' Society enough for any working or up-and-coming cartoonist. If you're in Australia, the ACA is just as great a resource.
I think the biggest thing that strikes me about why the Simpsons work is the writing. Some of the best writers in television comedy have worked on the show, and many still do. It's become something of an institution, like the Tonight Show. If you want a glimpse into the mind of one of the Simpsons longest-contributing writers, take a look at Tom Gammill's Comic Strip on GoComics, The Doozies. Lord knows he doesn't promote it enough.
And now, courtesy of The Mirror, The 16 funniest newspaper headlines from The Simpsons...