Homer’s heart is where the

Af­ter 24 amaz­ing sea­sons, The Simp­sons is the golden crop that keeps re­seed­ing, writes Holly Byrnes

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Gaming -

SHIELD YOUR EYES: When the half man from Two and a Half Men, An­gus T. Jones, told view­ers that his show was ‘‘filth’’, Matthew Perry paid at­ten­tion. This video sees him do the same, tes­ti­fy­ing against his cur­rent TV hit, Go On. He’s even will­ing to give his pay che­ques back. Al­most all of them, any­way. WATCH: http://bit.ly/RmCz2y

Wewere hop­ing to last 13 weeks. Now, to times that by 20 years is amaz­ing

to plot the next sea­son of sto­ry­lines, Jean teases about what — and who — fans can ex­pect from coming episodes.

There’s Mr Burns’s chauf­feur, who keeps threat­en­ing to drive over a fis­cal cliff (the eco­nomic buzz word be­ing held over the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion); Homer be­comes a prep­per (those hoard­ers who pre­pare for the end of the world); New Girl’s Zooey Deschanel re­turns as the voice of Bart’s girl­friend; while other celebrity cameos in­clude Tina Fey, Jane Krakowski, Ed Nor­ton and Sher­lock star Ben Cum­ber­batch, who re­cently crashed a ta­ble read­ing for the show and begged for a role.

Prov­ing its con­tin­ued ca­chet with Hol­ly­wood, Aussie ac­tress Isla Fisher re­cently re­vealed she had been ‘‘ dev­as­tated’’ af­ter her guest spot in The Simp­sons movie was axed.

‘‘ They all said: ‘ you did such a great job!’ But then they cut me, so clearly they were not telling the truth. I never saw the movie . . . I was too bit­ter. I’m a huge, huge Simp­sons fan.’’

Jean names Bri­tain’s Prince Wil­liam as top of his guest ‘‘ wish list’’ and re­veals one of his favourite Simp­sons perks was vis­it­ing 10 Down­ing St to record former Bri­tish prime min­is­ter Tony Blair.

‘‘ I hap­pened to be in Lon­don to pro­mote the 300th episode and we had pre­vi­ously tried to get him on the show. I got a call to say, ‘ You can come to 10 Down­ing St, but don’t tell any­one.’ Then a pho­tog­ra­pher snapped me leav­ing, with a script in my hand and the num­ber 10 over my head and it was in one of the tabloids the next day,’’ Jean said.

His per­sonal life also has been mined for in­spi­ra­tion, draw­ing on his own ex­pe­ri­ence as the fa­ther of two daugh­ters to craft the re­la­tion­ship be­tween Homer and Lisa Simp­son (voiced by Yeard­ley Smith).

Some of Homer’s most in­fa­mous mo­ments were also first lived by Jean him­self.

‘‘ In one episode, Homer tried to eat a six-foot sand­wich and ate it even af­ter it was cov­ered in mould and passed its ex­pi­ra­tion. I might have had one in the fridge just like it,’’ he says, laugh­ing.

Also from the clas­sics vault is the episode in which Homer sues restau­rant The Fry­ing Dutch­man over their all-youcan eat shrimp buf­fet.

Simp­son takes his case to the courts af­ter he is dragged out of the seafood diner, in a suit de­scribed by his lawyer as ‘‘ the most bla­tant case of fraud­u­lent ad­ver­tis­ing since my suit against the film, The Nev­erEnd­ing Story’’.

‘‘ That was based on me too, but was a bar where they ad­ver­tised all you can drink. They tried to throw me out af­ter eight (drinks).’’

FOR­GET Nate Sil­ver, the po­lit­i­cal pun­dit cred­ited with pre­dict­ing Barack Obama’s re­turn to the White House. The Simp­sons’ showrun­ner Al Jean thinks the ap­plause should be shared with his team of writ­ers, who penned a clever pro­mo­tion for the se­ries, timed to co­in­cide with the 2012 Pres­i­den­tial Elec­tion.

Not sur­pris­ingly, the schem­ing Mr Burns en­dorsed Mitt Rom­ney, film­ing a pub­lic ser­vice an­nounce­ment where he puts the poll ques­tion to the Repub­li­can can­di­date’s dog Sea­mus (af­ter it was re­vealed the pet had been strapped to the roof of Rom­ney’s car dur­ing a fam­ily va­ca­tion).

The cow­er­ing pooch is left to de­cide be­tween a masked Obama im­per­son­ator, tempt­ing the dog with a plate of broc­coli, or ‘‘ Meat’’ Rom­ney, of­fer­ing a juicy steak.

The mutt whim­pers be­fore jump­ing out a win­dow in de­spair, while Burns moans ‘‘ Urgh, an­other jumper, (shout­ing) bring in the next dog.’’

When Homer lodges his vote for Rom­ney, the elec­tronic polling com­puter turns into a vac­uum, suck­ing Simp­son into a dark void and an­nounc­ing he’s been ‘‘ out­sourced’’ to a Chi­nese fac­tory.

The cheeky satire made head­line news, hit­ting close to the funny bone and skew­ing far left on the Fox net­work.

You can get away with go­ing rogue when you’re The Simp­sons, US TV’s long­est-run­ning scripted prime-time show.

‘‘ You do what you want cre­atively be­cause there isn’t the need to jus­tify your success in terms of prof­its and rat­ings,’’ Jean tells Switched On.

Since its in­cep­tion (cre­ated first by Matt Groen­ing as shorts on The Tracey Ull­man Show, then adapted as a half-hour se­ries in 1989), it has con­sis­tently hit po­lit­i­cal, so­cial and cul­tural tar­gets, roast­ing sa­cred cows like Homer would his back­yard hot dogs and burg­ers.

Now ap­proach­ing its 25th sea­son and back on at 6pm on Chan­nel 10, Jean praises The Simp­sons as that ‘‘ golden crop that keeps re­seed­ing . . . it never goes away’’.

‘‘ We were hop­ing to last the (first) 13 weeks. Now, to times that by 20 years is amaz­ing,’’ the Har­vard-alum writer says.

With the writ­ing team off to a plan­ning re­treat this month The Simp­sons, Chan­nel 10, daily, 6pm. Sea­son 15 out nowon Blu-ray and DVD.

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