Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Al Jean Speaks

And explains why the Yellow Family broke through, and why it continues.

Q: Is it fair to say that The Simpsons would be directly responsible for the huge amount of animation we have now?

AJ: I believe honestly that if we had never come around that South Park or something would have broken through, because for people of my generation animation is something that adults would watch as well as children, but there is no doubt we accelerated the process and we were very lucky to be at the big bang. It’s a funny thing because the same year we started the series, The Little Mermaid came out and there was a similar renaissance in movies and the two have gone on simultaneously.

Q: So it was a generation that was particularly receptive to animation?

AJ: My theory is when I was a kid in the 60s, there was a lot of animation you could see on television, either old features like Bugs Bunny which were now on TV or shows like Rocky and Bullwinkle – and I loved shows like that, as did Matt Groening and other people. I think by 1990, that audience had grown to where it was really ripe for something in primetime. ...

Q: Are you’re looking at a nice even 30 seasons?

There’s no guarantee that will be the last, we have the cast guaranteed till that point, but I was happy when we got to five, I never know any more. ...

My bet is the show will last thirty years, and maybe a bit beyond.

But consider: The Simpsons started its life at Klasky-Csupo, which is pretty much a shell of its former self. The show next moved on to Film Roman, now also past its glory years.

As of the first week in January, The Yellow Family departed FR, although its still in the same building on Hollywood Way. But that will shortly change, when it moves to a newer, fancier home in a different part of Burbank, becoming the third series currently under the Fox Animation banner.

Three different studios over three decades, only with many of the same crew members. There are a few shows that have The Simpsons's longevity (Scooby Doo comes to mind), but none that can claim the same people working on the production from first to last.


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