I spent the later morning at Starz Media, walking between the cubicles of Simpsons artists busy at their work.
Most are now working on shows from the middle-part of the new season. You know. Episode 16. Episode 18. Like that.
Trouble is, the artists can take their current episode through the first-pass of the show's animatic (that's a digital storyreel, for those non-versed in 'toon speak) ... and then, it's finito.
In normal times, the series' writers would, after that initial go-through, rewrite the half-hour of comedy, polishing gags and dialogue until they sparkled like new Susan Anthony dollars. And the artists would be busy with the visual revisions. But of course that won't be happening, because the writers are out on various sidewalks with picket signs, and no rewrites will be getting done.
"Things are kind of tense around here, wondering what the writers will do" ... "Well, there's not much we can do about the strike, so I try to chill on the whole subject" ... "I think we're good to go until mid-December, but after that who knows? We'll be taking an early and longer hiatus."
I didn't add anything very useful to the conversation, since I know about as much as the artists do. Next to nothing.
Some designers and boarders cling to the hope that Simpson higher ups will go with the episodes as currently written. That way they can finish them and work a while longer, maybe into the new year.
For their sakes, I hope that too. I can think of happier things than getting laid off two weeks before Christmas.