The longest-running scripted prime-time TV series just got longer.
The Simpsons will not only celebrate its groundbreaking 700th episode tonight, but it has also been renewed for its 33rd and 34th seasons, bringing the animated series to prime time in 2023 and a total of 757 episodes.
Simpsons showrunner Al Jean, who grew up in Farmington Hills, sums it up best: Woo-hoo!
In previous interviews, Jean, 60, a Harrison High School and Harvard University alumnus, had given up trying to guess how long the show would last.
At least until season 34, which is great for me, says Jean, who lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Simpsons writer Stephanie Gillis, and their two daughters.
He admits that the show lasted beyond the wildest expectations. No one predicted it would last that long.
No, no one did, said Jean. It would be crazy. When asked if he could imagine The Simpsons surviving him, Jean replies: Absolutely.
The 700th episode, called Manger Things, is a flashback episode and parody of Stranger Things, the Netflix horror drama set in the 1980s. In Manger Things, a secret is uncovered about Ned Flanders, a neighbor of next door joyful and God fearing (voiced by Harry Shearer). Homer Simpson (Dan Castellaneta) initially looked down on Ned, but that changed over the course of the series.
We learn of a surprising connection between Ned and Homer, says Jean. And a secret room that was in full view.
For the remainder of this season, says Jean, guest stars will include comedian Stephen Fry, Nick Offerman and Megan Mullaly. There will also be a shout out to Detroit rocker Bob Seger.
John will be writing a Homer-centric episode later this season. I’m writing a show about the great tragedy in Homer’s life, he alludes.
As for seasons 33 and 34, creator Matt Groening says there are plenty of surprises in store.
Everyone at The Simpsons is excited to be renewed once again, and we anticipate a lot of big surprises, says Groening. Homer will lose a hair, Milhouse will receive contact lenses, and Bart will be celebrating his 10th birthday for the 33rd time.
The Simpsons debuted on April 19, 1987, as crudely sketched shorts on The Tracey Ullman Show. On December 17, 1989, The Simpsons graduated from their own eponymous series which has been booming ever since, with a well-received 2007 film and a popular tour at Universal Studios. It spawned a pop culture craze in 1990 with a huge merchandise boom. Many people who don’t follow The Simpsons still recognize Homer, Marge (Julie Kavner), Bart (Nancy Cartwright), Lisa (Yeardley Smith), and baby Maggie as they are indelible in the fabric of pop culture.
The show has won numerous awards, including 34 Emmys – including its 11th Emmy for Outstanding Animation in 2019 – 34 Annie Awards, 13 Writers Guild of America Awards, nine Environmental Media Awards, and seven People’s Choice Awards. “The Simpsons” was the first animated series to win the TV Industry’s Peabody Award in 2019. It was also named “Best Show of the 20th Century” by Time Magazine, called “Greatest American Sitcom” by Entertainment Weekly – well that it’s never won Best Comedy at the Emmys – and was named “The Best TV Show Ever” by vulture.com. “The Simpsons” even has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
My biggest move was at the very beginning when I decided to never uncross my fingers, says executive producer James L. Brooks, whose long writing and production credits include iconic TV shows such as The Mary. Tyler Moore Show, Lou Grant and Taxi, and the hit. Movies Terms of Tenderness, Jerry Maguire and as good as it gets.
This season, The Simpsons averages 7 million viewers across all platforms, and its first season of Season 32 last September was its most beloved comeback in five years, the most watched launch in six years and the most popular premiere. aired on Hulu and FOX NOW.
We are now competing with ourselves on FX and Disney + and happy to have all of these forums, says Jean.
Jeans’ affiliation with The Simpsons dates back to its early days as a member of the original editorial team. He was a showrunner for seasons 3 and 4, but left in 1994 and created The Critic, an animated comedy series starring Jon Lovitz as movie critic Jay Sherman, who even appeared on The Simpsons. In 1998, Jean returned to The Simpsons with his 10th season. With his 13th season in 2001, he returned to being the showrunner, a position he has held ever since. He shares some of his duties with producer Matt Selman.
Jeans proud to be part of this American institution.
A kid who grew up on 12 Mile in Michigan never takes things like that for granted.
The 700th episode of The Simpsons airs at 8 p.m. Sunday, March 21 on Fox (WJBK-Channel 2 in Detroit).