While a comedy series that has been running for 24 seasons will generally not have a great deal of trouble with the ‘running out of ideas’ creative problem (where hiring new writers is often a useful fix as proven in this case), they will naturally be happy for any new ideas to come their way, especially from a renowned Hollywood comedy writer.
Judd Apatow, best-known for directing movies Knocked Up and Funny People, and TV shows Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared (along with serving as a producer or writer on a number of projects), recently revealed that he had once written a script for an episode of The Simpsons when he was an aspiring writer 22 years ago as the show became an emerging phenomenon, and due to his current fame, the Fox series (which recently offered fans the chance to write one of the famed title sequence ‘couch gags’), have now offered to buy his allegedly unpitched concept.
First mentioning the script for The Simpsons (which he obviously can claim to be a long-time fan of) during a screening of his upcoming movie This is 40 (a ‘sequel’ to Knocked Up), 44-year-old Apatow recently told Conan O’Brien’s website Serious Jibber Jabber that producers of the animated series offered to take on the creation.
Fortunately for Apatow, the script appears to be a fairly timeless idea, as he explained when revealing his former work: “Who wants to grow up really? It’s kind of a drag. It’s funny because the first thing I ever wrote was about that. The first thing I ever wrote was a spec episode of The Simpsons. After only five Simpsons episodes aired, I sat down and tried to write one when I was in my early twenties. And what it was about was they [the Simpsons] went to see a hypnotism show and at the hypnotism show, they made Homer think he was the same age at Bart [10 years old]. And then the hypnotist had a heart attack. So now Homer and Bart became best friends and they spent the rest of the show running away because Homer didn’t want responsibility and didn’t want to be brought back to his real age. So I basically copied that for every movie I’ve made since.”
The Simpsons producer Al Jean confirmed the plans, and revealed that the episode is set to air ‘at some point next year’, explaining: “I thought, ‘Well, we’re always looking for good shows and good writers’. I sent word to him, [saying], ‘If you’re interested, we’ll buy it’. I think he had to find it – it was in one of his boxes.”
While some elements of the original script will obviously have to be altered 22 years on, fans of the longevity that The Simpsons continues to achieve will be pleased with the fact that there is another fairly solid concept for an episode ‘in the bag’. If the producers need future ideas on how to keep the show fresh, though, hopefully they won’t try to take too much advice from the current staff on Family Guy…