The Simpsons Folder

Highly informative and original fan site, offering carefully selected information about The Simpsons with special photos, drawings, graffities, videos and other intriguing bits of content you won't find elsewhere.



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Fan Interview: Bruce Gomes

This document is done

Tell us about yourself?

I live in Monroe, NY, commute into NY City daily, work next to World Trade Center as a VP in a systems software area for a NY bank. Married with four children, three at home, all teenagers or older!

Hobbies of the net?

Maintaining The Simpsons Archive! Other net activities include work on genealogy, old personal computers, New York, and Chinese, and I use eBay and Usenet for all of them.

How did you become a Simpsons fan?

I’ve always been a fan of avant-garde animation, and first noticed the Simpsons on The Tracey Ullman Show in 1987. At that point I began taping the shorts, which was difficult because there was no obvious point when a cartoon would suddenly appear (and not all shows had them!). So I began taping entire Tracey Ullman shows. The June 10, 1989 TV Guide advised they were getting a show of their own and I began at that point collecting all the information I could about the show. I began taping the show with the first broadcast, and I’ve been taping the show ever since!

Beginning in December 1989 I began formally collecting information, writing a document I called The Simpsons Tome, which I periodically distributed on floppy discs. That included the Bibliography, which we find on The Simpsons Archive today, and many of the other lists many people formed at that time; blackboard quotes, Bart’s calls to Moe, etc. There are still some out-of-date lists in The Tome I hope to resume and get on the Archive!

Who is your favorite character on The Simpsons and why?

From the very beginning my favorite character was Lisa. During 1990 I went everywhere wearing a pin (part of an unofficial series of Simpson pins sold at that time) that said “I Love Lisa”. Female strangers would comment “Oh how romantic!” operating under the assumption is was my girlfriend / wife.

Who is least favorite and why?

The first character I discovered I *didn’t* like was Duffman. I don’t know if I didn’t find him believable, or just didn’t like the way he acted.

What is your favorite Simpsons episode and why?

7F19, Lisa’s Substitute. Almost any episode around Lisa I’m going to like, but any episode that touches a characters heart is going to reach mine. Many times during the show when they reach a touching moment they turn it into a joke, when IMHO it would be better to leave it there if they invested time in setting up the scene.

What is your favorite Simpsons season so far?

I always have trouble with these questions; every season has its great moments, and picking one is difficult. I love the early seasons, so I suppose I would have to pick season two!

What about least favorite Simpsons season?

Season Eleven has the legendary Saddlesore Galactica episode, so if I must condemn one season, let it be that one.

How do you see future of The Simpsons?

With respect to quality..

The show is more “on track” now than they were a few seasons ago but I really think they still have quality improvements to make. Our issue here is that we remember how great it’s been; I really don’t think most people consider how bad it could be – much, much, worse than it is now. My fear has always been that the show will end its current run, and then the rights will be turned over to a Saturday morning Smurf mass production group. What will *now* work against that is simply that the quality of animation has come a long way over the past 15 years, partially thanks to The Simpsons, and the fact that hopefully the owners recognize that by investing some money they can make money!

With respect to longevity…

My feelings have always been that it could continue far longer then anyone expects. Reality dictates that shows stay around as long as they’re profitable, so Fox may destroy the show unintentionally but they won’t intentionally kill it off. The voice actors are finally paid reasonable amounts, and they’re getting further along in their careers and hence less likely to jump, so there’s a good chance everyone will continue producing shows.

If you could change something on the Simpsons, what would it be?

I would have the director issue a set of guidelines that could only be broken with a group approval. Issues like continuity, characters staying in character, and The Simpsons not violating “reality” should be in place and adhered to except where they specifically choose to violate them. I would think Matt Groening would still want to guide his creation and approve basic exceptions. That’s not to say they can’t experiment artistically, but we don’t want them to do something stupid for a quick gag.

When did you in first place joined on the SNPP?

I had heard SNPP was “out there” on the net but for many years I had no access to the Internet from where I lived without incurring expensive long distance charges. I received disks of SNPP content in the 1990’s from the same people I distributed my lists to. When I finally acquired local internet access I ‘found’ SNPP, submitted corrections to various lists on the archive and joined the archive in 1996, submitting The Simpsons Bibliography.

Could you tell us what is like to be “one of the guys” at SNPP?

It’s really a great group – knowledgeable not just on Simpsons trivia, but on the production of The Simpsons, on maintaining a web site, on UNIX and the internet.

Any memorable moments to share with us from the history of The Simpsons Archive? (like, you’ve met MG on the street saying, “hey Bruce, keep maintaining those files on… or something like that, heh)

One of the more interesting has been getting an email from the Oxford English Dictionary about the history of “D’oh” and then seeing what I submitted appear largely word for word in the dictionary. Being able to help edit books on The Simpsons and provide information requested for magazine articles and television shows is also great. When I was working temporarily in Rockefeller Center after 9/11 I had a query from someone at NBC in the building across the street from me.

You’ve maintain about 20+ documents on The Simpsons Archive. I can’t even go into details but only ask you how do you manage to keep them all updated? I assume it needs countless of hours of re-watching the show for spotting everything.

I like to watch a show a few times when it’s first broadcast just to enjoy it, and then I take an electronic copy and go through it very slowly, repeatedly pausing to record all information I need for the show for all the lists on the archive (MY lists, new lists I’m building as well as many other people’s lists). On my notes for a show I record the list the item is for, a flag as to whether I’ve added it to the list yet, and the actual information, quoting the characters as needed. I’ve seen a single line from the show result in updates to three lists, which means I record it three times on my notes. When I’m ready to update a list I then scan ALL my notes for ALL shows, looking for items for that list that haven’t been flagged as recorded yet. Whenever I subsequently watch any show I try to have my notes handy so I can add anything I previously missed.

The Simpsons Archive is often contacted by it’s visitors by questions. Has there ever been contacts from the staff of the Simpsons?

Not recently. Years ago I had a few contacts at Fox, but not really anyone who worked directly on the show. 🙁

How do you see future of the SNPP?

I would like SNPP to long term be a permanent source of information about The Simpsons, outliving all of us. Gary has been currently hosting the site, and if for any reason that were to discontinue I would do whatever it takes to make sure it continues on. I figure I’ll be here forever, or as long as I’m around, so my goal is to make sure that it continues beyond that! Naturally we also need to strive to bring more maintainers on board, and I don’t know how successful we’ll be in doing that. I really appreciate the fact that we run “commercial free”.

Do you visit on other Simpsons site on the net beside The Simpsons Archive?

Use to work off the top 100 Simpsons site list to periodically visit other sites – although it appears that a large number of sites are using files taken from our site – or taken from a site that took it from our site. Still, there are other good sites with original content, but I haven’t had time since 9/11 to do any of that..

Do you have any favorites?

One I often visited is Bill LaRue’s site, collecting Simpsons. (Looking ahead) ..but I see those questions are coming!

I believe you’re big Simpsons collector also. Am i right?

Back in 1989 – 1990 I collected everything Simpsons that I could. Since though my collections are now limited to audio, video, games and anything published – magazines, books, and calendars. (That excludes all the figurines and other related spin-offs.) I do try to collect every format from every country in every language – and it isn’t easy getting the stuff from Finland!

What is favorite Simpsons collectible/merchandise item you have bought?

I love the foreign books and games. Some of them are just cheap imitations, and some of them are very well done. When Simpsons Illustrated had just decided to stop publishing I went down to the publisher’s office in NYC and bought several sets of them. I have various signed copies of books and photos by Groening and by the voice actors. In general I try not to acquire them unless I have some way of knowing it’s authentic.

Have you met/seen anyone from the show ever in real life?


Every time there’s been an occasion to meet them in person something has come up to prevent it. I was heading up to Toronto to see the voice actors do a live show when a family illness came up. I was going to a Harry Shearer show but didn’t make it. Ditto the time I was heading to a Nancy Cartwright book signing. That time someone I know went without telling me, bought the book, had it signed and gave it to me for my birthday. I thought about going to a Comic Book convention knowing that Groening shows up there.

Maybe some day we’ll finally have a Simpsons Convention. Sadly, many people would have difficulty getting to wherever they hold it!

You have also pretty extensive collection of Simpsons books and magazines. Have you count them yet?

I have about 250 books on The Simpsons, counting different versions, printings and foreign language versions. Back in 2001 I had over 2000 Simpsons magazines, and I continue to collect, although I haven’t had the time to search newsstands and eBay like I use to.

What is in your opinion best book ever written of The Simpsons?

Have to go with The Complete Guide to Our Favorite Family. Have to admit though that I’ve purchased the two recent academic books on The Simpsons but have yet to read them!

It’s 10th anniversary year for The Simpsons Archive this year. Have you heard any plans from the webmaster, Jouni Paakkinen to throw a year-long celebration on the site just like they did few years ago on the official site? < 😉 >

I just wish I had more ideas for the celebration! If someone were to run a contest I would be glad to give away prizes!

Describe your desktop. What do you see around your computer?

Desktop in my office at home is an eight foot table – with eight feet of computer equipment; two monitors (for one system), tower, UPS, modem, router, printer, scanner, external drives. We’re a family of computer geeks here, running gigabit Ethernet between the systems with two DSL lines and a cable line to the outside.

Any final comments?

Simpson’s Forever!