The man at the helm of ‘The Simpsons’ doesn’t want to make another movie about the world’s favourite yellow family, until the record-breaking series is finally finished.
Al Jean tells HuffPostUK: “I would strongly advise not doing it until after the show is done. We had more people writing on the show when we did the movie, and it was really hard to do at the same time, I would just say, ‘why?’
“They don’t need the money, they’ve got the game and the ride for that. I would say, only make a movie if you have a great movie.”
Despite this, Al has no intention of bringing to an end the show currently celebrating its 25th year.
“I love it and I’m terrified of being the one who causes it to end,” he says of his continuing affection for the show, which he joined in its first season, and then left for a few years before returning as show runner.
“It wouldn’t be my call to pull the plug,” he reflects. “The probable cause would be revenue, if the ratings started to drop and the costs were still high, and it did come close four years ago.
“They (the network) said we had to cut 25% of the budget or they wouldn’t pick it up, and the cast and crew took pay cuts, we made the budget work.
“With that cut, this show should last a long time, it’s a little expensive, but still several years.
“You get something like this once in your career, and don’t expect to ever get anything like it when it’s done.”
Asked to explain the appeal of the show, he refers to the universal appeal of Homer, Marge, Bart and Co.
“Outside America, people like the fact that Homer is dumb and fat, and a poll in the UK named him as the most admired American. Ahead of Abraham Lincoln, and he’s not even a real person.”
Despite this, Al admits his favourite character to write for is Lisa Simpson, Bart’s smart sister.
“I empathise with her,” reveals Al. “My brother was the Bart of the family, he was more reckless.
“I’ve met a few Homers, maybe I’ve turned into him. Everyone puts their basic instincts into Homer, makes him the embodiment of how they would behave if they thought they could get away with it.”
Al spends no time worrying about critics who say the best years of the show are long gone.
“If you have a Prime Minister or President, people get sick of them after five or six years.
“If you have a TV show, after 10 years, people say, ‘oh that’s just old, it’s not fresh,’ so to be on 26 years, you’re really weathering a real great deal of ‘Oh, I’ve already seen it’ and it’s the thing we have to constantly fight off is the idea we’re not worth watching.
“The Simpsons are the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. People go see the Rolling Stones, but they never want to hear a song recorded after 1980, and viewers still talk about the fabled third season. At least the Simpsons don’t look like someone’s grandmothers.”
If Al admits he has a problem relaxing if he sees the colour yellow anywhere when he’s trying to have a rare day off, one of the things he enjoys most is the freedom he gets from network bosses to create his own yellow universe.
“On another show, you’d get notes from production executives, on the Simpsons you don’t get notes, and you don’t have to justify anything, you get all this freedom.
“Apart from when Lisa got drunk on vacation, and we got told we weren’t allowed to show the wine glass on her lips.”
The Simpsons Season 17 is available now on Blu-ray and DVD.