The Simpsons Executive Producer Al Jean Discusses Season 25

How do you keep things fresh after 25 years?

That was one of many questions posed to The Simpsons Executive Producer Al Jean as he sat down for a conference call. TV Equals was fortunate to be there, and plenty of information was gathered on the show’s season premiere (the Homeland spoof “Homerland”) and the show’s upcoming 25th season.

Are you ever concerned about running out of material?

Jean believes that this season will be “one of the best ever”. He said there are a lot of things coming that have reinvigorated the staff.

Wishes that didn’t come true

Jean was asked about things that The Simpsons always wanted to do but never got the opportunity. Jean said they always wanted to “outtakes” of the show like Pixar does at the end of the movies, but it just hasn’t worked out for them. In addition, The Simpsons has never been able to land a living president. He mentioned they used the voice of Teddy Roosevelt once, but they have been shot down by all other living presidents.

Why a Homeland spoof?

Jean mentioned the Homeland spoof came as a pitch from Stephanie Gillis, one of the writers on staff. Gillis thought that because Homer worked at a nuclear power plant, he could become the target for nefarious forces. In addition, Jean thought it would be great to satirize the work of Claire Danes because he has a tremendous amount of respect for her work on Homeland.

What keeps it fresh?

Jean claims it is the family dynamic at the heart of the show that allows the show to remain fresh after 25 years: “We’re about a family, and families always have problems. I think that keeps us fresh. Unfortunately, as times get worse, there’s more to satirize.”

How does the Homeland spoof stack up?

With so many quality spoofs under their belt, The Simpsons has proven time and again to be one of the best satirizers of quality drama. Jean believes the Homeland spoof will rank right up there with their best efforts: “Homeland, when you have just a basic, great, dramatic premise, which was is this person a traitor or a hero, that’s something that I think you can turn into comedy really easily.”

A second The Simpsons Movie

As with any public appearance, Jean was asked the mandated question about the possibility of a second Simpsons movie. Jean said they would love to do another one, but they’re only doing it if they have good ideas and can devote the time to making another really good movie. Jean added: “If we come out with one, it won’t be for a while. It will only be because Jim, me, everybody working on it would say this is a great movie, we want to do this.”

The Simpsons premieres this Sunday at 8 PM on Fox.