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Fan Interview: Tammy Hocking

This document is done

Tell us about yourself?

I’m a 25-year-old graphic designer from Melbourne, Australia. I work full time for Fairfax Community Newspapers, creating dvertisements, mockups & layouts, and also run my own business on the side called Catnip Graphics. I’m happily married and unhappily living with my parents right now – looking forward to moving into our new house in mid 2003!

Hobbies off the net?

The four biggest loves of my life are design, animation, music and cats. Both my sister Deborah and husband Matt are musicians; Deb is a singer/songwriter of folk-rock, and Matt is presently her drummer in the Deborah Hocking Band as well as for another band called Cinematic. So much of my free time is consumed with designing websites and artwork for Deb’s music as well as attending both band’s gigs (and being Matt’s roadie!). I’m also a big fan of Ben Folds, Barenaked Ladies and Dave Matthews Band. Outside of music, it’s all Simpsons and Futurama – I can’t get enough of either one. I also watch too many TV shows and movies. Some of my other fave shows being Everybody Loves Raymond, Monk and Six Feet Under.

I like to collect as much animation memorabilia as I can justifiably afford – I currently have two Simpsons production cels/drawings (one signed by Nancy Cartwright for my 21st birthday) and one Futurama production piece (3 animator drawings + hand drawn reproduction) from the first episode, signed by Matt Groening (not personalised). But my real prize pieces include a script of “I Married Marge” signed by several cast/crew members, as well as two personalised thank you notes from Matt Groening himself.

I also have two cats, Stimpy and Alley – I’m allergic to cats and dogs but I just *cannot* live without a cat.

How did you become a Simpsons fan?

I had my first contact with the show when I was 11 (1989)… I was seeing Milo & Otis in the cinema and saw what turned out to be a Tracey Ullman sketch during the previews. It was the one where Homer and the kids go to a psychiatrist’s office and Bart ate the bowl of mints (before spitting them back into the bowl). I recall thinking how odd the characters looked but thought it was something different.

Nothing was heard of the show until late 1990 when Australia had a Simpsons marketing frenzy thrust upon it before the the show had even premiered on Australian television. I don’t think I’ve seen such a staggering level of hype prior to any TV show being aired before or since… and it obviously worked, because people were very curious and receptive to it, myself included. My best friend at the time played me the “Do the Bartman” single and I think that was what got me intrigued. I then saw the video and made the connection to the short I’d seen in 1989, so I began taping the show from episode one in February 1991. There was nothing like it on television at the time, certainly nothing animated in prime time, so I was hooked and that was it.

Geez… I promise all my answers won’t be this long winded! 🙂

Who is your favorite character on The Simpsons and why?

Lisa… I’ve always loved her sweetness and intellect, but especially now that she’s the character to stay closest to her original form through all the changes in the show, in my opinion.

Who is least favorite and why?

From memory there’s really none that I hate, but Homer’s descent since Season 9 or 10 has really left me frustrated with the show.

What is your favorite Simpsons episode and why?

It changes a lot, but currently I really enjoy Old Money.

What is your favorite Simpsons season so far?

This is hard to answer because some of my most favourite episodes are scattered from all different seasons (even newer seasons), but most of them fall into Season 3.

What about least favorite Simpsons season?

Any during the Mike Scully years.

How do you see future of The Simpsons?

Endlessly annoying. Annoyingly endless. No, really… I have mixed feelings about the show ending. I would like to see it salvage any dignity it has left by not dragging on any longer, but now and then they still pull out a decent episode. And the show’s been such a big part of my life for so long and made such an impact on me that it would still be sad to see it end. What’s funny is that when I was 13, I desperately wanted to become an animator so I could work on the show one day – but I figured by the time I was out of school and had a decent enough folio to apply for the show, it would be over. If only I’d known.

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

To have had Jim Brooks involved in every single season – he insisted on keeping it real.

You met your husband, Matt Rose on the Simpsons chat. Could you tell me whole story about it?

Now you’re just asking for a long winded answer 🙂

I had a yellow onion tied to my belt at the time I first read Matt’s fanscript (on SNPP I believe) back in mid 1996. I loved it, dropped him an email to tell him so, he replied back saying “thank you” and that was our first and only contact for a while. We then bumped into each other by accident a few months later in a WBS Simpsons chatroom, realised who each other was and started chatting. We became good friends, chatting more and more over the next two years until I finally flew over to meet him in person on 1 July 1998 (officially, to visit The Simpsons animation studio together – unofficially, to check each other out). Love bloomed that first week amidst our Simpsons studio visit and we spent the next two and a half years talking every day via IRC, with a few short visits in between. We finally got married on 1 July 2002 (all the gory details can be seen at and are currently living in Australia.

You both share same love for the show. Is living with another die-hard Simpsons fan sometimes hard?

Heh… I don’t think so. I think people who are big fans of The Simpsons share a very different kind of humour to most people. I’ve found that one of the deepest connections between Matt and myself is the humour we share (which is no coincidence, since the show brought us together). In the end, I think sharing the same sense of humour can help keep a relationship close in the face of adversity. Laughter really is the best medicine.

Although sometimes I’m sure I drive him crazy when I watch episode after episode on tape before bed! (Especially the newer ones, which he has less tolerance of than me.)

You have also met several people from The Simpsons crew, right?

All the Simpsons folk I’ve met have been at the now sadly defunct Comic Art Gallery in Armadale (in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne). They would frequently have cast or crew come out to visit to do in-store appearances, almost annually. This is how I got my script signed by so many people. I’ve been fortunate enough to meet (in order) Yeardley Smith, Harry Shearer, Jim Reardon, Mike Scully, Jennifer Thacker and Nancy Cartwright. I’ve actually met Harry twice – he’s made many trips to Melbourne to appear on a comedy talk show called The Panel, and it was during his last trip here to promote his movie “Teddy Bear’s Picnic” that Matt and I met him again (a movie worth seeing, incidentally).

Unfortunately someone who’d been high on my wish list for a while, David Silverman, I missed by only days – I had found out too late that he was in town, so I sent him a painted animation cel I had made saying “Sorry I missed you.” I was thanked with a personal email back, which was wonderful.

I also “met” writer Carolyn Omine by accident – she and I were bidding for the same Simpsons item on eBay when I dropped the anonymous bidder an email regarding the item. She replied back saying, “I write for the show so I know many people who would love to have it. I just wanted an extra one as a gift. But I’ll let you have this one.” So she was not only a polite bidder, but a crew member so we exchange a few pleasant emails regarding her massive Simpsons collection.

Who has been most interesting to see in your opinion?

That’s too hard to answer since each experience was so different and enjoyable for different reasons. Yeardley, Harry and Nancy were great to *hear* in person, whereas Jim Reardon was a thrill for me as he was involved in the animation which I love so much. He was a very quiet but friendly and funny guy.

You are one of the people behind The Simpsons Archive. When did you first join the SNPP crew?

Hmmm… I think it was 2000 when our friend Ondre Lombard, who was tiring of the show’s decline, offered the job of maintaining the LISA FAQ to Matt and myself. We were very flattered and took the job without question, giving it a design overhaul and adding lots of new questions. Unfortunately we’ve only updated it a handful of times since, but we hope to increase the updates as time permits.

Any memorable moments to share with us from the history of The Simpsons Archive? Have you’ve met MG on the street saying, “Hey Tammy, keep the spirit alive on the snpp!”… heh

Pfff, I wish! He’s still at the top of my list of Simpsons folk to meet. As well as the FAQ, I also manage the Awards & Honours documents, so any cast or crew members out there who want to drop me an email and correct me on some facts are most welcome… 😉

You have also your personal Simpsons site called The Simpsonian Institute. Currently it cannot be accessed. Do you plan to bring it back online?

I changed ISPs and the old address was lost. I did actually register a new domain name, but never got the time to rebuild the site. However I would dearly love to bring the Institute back and when I do, you’ll be the first to know about it.

Who/what inspired you to create your first Simpsons website?

I created the site back in late 1996 when I noticed a distinct lack of good Simpsons content on the internet, especially regarding the production process of the show. Being a big fan of character animation and its process, I decided to be the one to fill that void and put the information out there for anyone who was curious. A was also a big fan of SNPP from the beginning and was inspired by their amazing efforts to share fascinating information about the show, like obscure references which the show has made its trademark.

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

I have to admit that I don’t, again due to time restraints. But if I did my first stop would be The Simpsons Folder 😀

What has been so far most interesting thing ever happened on the history of The Simpsons in your opinion?

Hmm… it’s a tie between Skinner & Krabappel’s ongoing romance and Homer’s acid-like insanity peppers trip which produced some amazing visuals (as well as being a hilarious and meaningful episode).

No wait, I’m wrong – the Mr Sparkle commercial. That’s it, without a doubt. Sheer brilliance.

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

A custom-made background for Catnip Graphics (with an extreme closeup of a cat’s paw) and lots of shortcuts to graphic and web design software.

Any final comments?