TV Article

Talking about ''The Simpsons''

Talking about ''The Simpsons'' -- Conan O'Brien, Dan Castallaneta, Matt Groening and Al Jean reflect on working on the animated series

Matt Groening
(creator)
''The original idea behind Krusty the Clown was that he was Homer in disguise, but Homer still couldn't get any respect from his son, who worshipped Krusty. If you look at Krusty, it's just Homer with extended hair and a tuft on his head. We were in such a rush in the beginning of the series that I thought, 'Oh, it's too complicated,' so we just dropped it. But when I look at Krusty, I think, 'Yeah — that's Homer.'''

Conan O'Brien
(writer-producer '91-93)
''People think the writers' room must be this magical world of laughter. The truth is, it's 9 percent joy and 91 percent grim boredom.... Someone chewed up a giant wad of toffee and stuck it to the ceiling. Then we kept adding stuff to it, and it became this big blob. We started taking bets on when it would fall. You're sitting there, trying to think, 'What can Marge say when Homer loses the family savings for the 900th time?' so you'd stare at the ceiling, and wait for it to fall. I think I was dared to lick it, I licked it, and people were impressed. Then they saw me on TV licking Ed Asner's back and they were like, 'Oh. He'll lick anything.'''

Dan Castellaneta
(voice of Homer)
'''D'oh!' was originally written as 'annoyed grunt.' James Finlayson — a comedian who was in a lot of Laurel and Hardy pictures — would always go 'D'ohhhhhhh!' and I thought, 'I'll do that,' because I was a big Laurel and Hardy fan. Homer was the classic silent-movie antagonist to Bart's Charlie Chaplin, so that's what popped into my head — that Edgar Buchanan/James Finlayson frustrated foil. Because you have to say things faster in animation, it was sped up and became 'D'oh!'''

Al Jean
(exec producer)
''I was lucky enough to direct [then British prime minister] Tony Blair. We said, 'We'd like you to be on the show. The Simpsons are going to London.' He wanted to promote tourism. We had a thing where he was going to give out dogs to people in the airport but they said, 'No, no, people call him Bush's poodle, that's going to look bad.' But he did agree to a joke where Homer gives him a dollar and he puts it in his pocket — and to be drawn zooming away in a jet pack like James Bond. He was great. I think he'll have a great career in voice-over.''

Originally posted Jul 20, 2007 Published in issue #945 Jul 27, 2007 Order article reprints
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