The Simpsons Folder : Scrapbook : Al Jean Interview
You are Al Jean, executive producer of the Simpsons. Could you tell us about yourself?
I am a Harvard graduate who has worked on The Tonight Show, Alf, It’s Garry Shandling’s Show and the Simpsons. I also created two shows: The Critic, and
How did you found yourself into the Simpsons factory?
When Sam Simon was hiring the first Simpsons staff my partner (at the time) Mike Reiss and I were the first two writers hired.
You have won an Emmy in 2001 for Outstanding Animated Series for the
episode “HOMR”. How much did influenced you?
I was thrilled to win the Emmy for a script I
You are nowadays the executive producer of The Simpsons. Could you tell
me what exactly executive producer do?
I am currently the executive producer/showrunner of the Simpsons. I am the head writer and am resonsible for all creative and financial aspects of
How much you can influence on the written story itself when you’re an executive producer?
I choose the stories that are told (contributing to them myself) and have editorial control over the writing.
Writing the episodes. What is that like since you have been doing it since season 1 also? Do you write whole episode and
create the idea of it when you’re writer of the episode?
Generally an episode’s writer comes up with the original concept, but has contributed no more than 40 per cent of the material in the final draft.
Over the years the Simpsons has changed a bit. Their voices sound bit different in first season, characters have different
kind of look and so on. What i do wanna know – are the Simpsons still made a
way i’m gonna call “old-fashioned” when it comes to people working behind it? We’re there any siginificant changes ever made in the background that fan would not know
about it and you might be interested to reveal something to me?
The biggest change this year was from ink and paint to digital animation (like Futurama).
What’s your favorite Simpsons episode?
I have no single favorite episode.
How much you have to cut the scenes from the episodes, generally?
Generally we cut 2-3 minutes of the color print before airing an episode.
Are there lot’s of deleted scenes in some old warehouse which fans won’t never see?
There are deleted scenes, but most aren’t very good (which is why they were deleted).
One of my favorite episodes are “Lisa’s Sax”, 3G02 from season nine. It’s a classic story which in my mind would fit in
around season 5 also. You have written it. Do you see it as an excellent episode yourself?
I was happy to write “Lisa’s Sax” (and contributed a great deal of the material in it) but I don’t exactly know why it’s such a fan favorite.
The Simpsons are on its 14th season. Is it hard to maintain the quality of the show season after season? As a executive
producer – do you face more difficulities these days than in early days?
Maintaining the quality of the show requires a great deal of effort–probably more now than earlier.
If you could change something on the show from the past – what would it
be? i.e is there any bad characters you wouldn’t wanted to see on the show
but you didn’t had opportunity to say your word of it?
There are occasional jokes here and there in the past that I would improve.
The Simpsons is created by Matt Groening. How much Matt has input for the episodes today?
Matt serves the show in a supervisory capacity.
You we’re also writer of the Sledgehammer and ALF. Am i right?
Sledgehammer! and Alf were fun shows to write for, but obviously with nowhere near the long-lasting appeal of The Simpsons.
What do you think about fans of the show,
especially fans on the internet?
I appreciate the fans of the show and want as many of them as I can get.
Can you see yourself as a fan of the show?
I’ve never had distance from the show, since I was working on it before it hit the air.
You’re one of the guys doing audio commentary tracks on the Simpsons
DVD’s. Is it hard job try to remember all those old things around some particular episode?
Doing the DVDs is very interesting–the memories come back quickly.
How big process is the make those audio
The audio commentaries are recorded in about the time it takes to listen to them.
And lastly, question about official website, thesimpsons.com. I’ve been surfing on
the net since 1994 and came up with my own dedication to the show in 1995. In my opinion official Simpsons site has been always been bit odd by not giving the shows fans what they really after –
interviews, audio clips and rare material which we won’t see in the television.
Do you know are there any reason why the site it’s just a nicely decorated window without real content?
I couldn’t tell you.
[Jukka’s note to everyone: Al is a man of few words]