Fans Say the Darndest Things--To 'Simpsons' Creators

The Simpsons' 500th episode is upon us. As tempted as I am to write about my favorite minor characters, couch gags, and guest stars, I suspect you're getting your fill of bloggers' opinions. Instead, I've collected comments from the show's writers, artists, and crew (past and present) about us, the fans and the general public. What are the weirdest questions we've asked them? What are the oddest comments we've made? What strange misconceptions do we have about their jobs? Find out!

What if you were getting a mani-pedi and heard that the person next to you worked for The Simpsons? What would you say?  What questions would you ask? As you can imagine, they've heard it all. I've collected a few odd comments and questions, that, should you be in the situation, you might consider keeping to yourself.

David Silverman, an animator, producer, and director with the show since 1987, says occasionally someone will say, "I thought you did the show in a week." He doesn't seem offended by this misconception so much as bemused. The ridiculously long, painstaking process that goes into making an episode of The Simpsons is mystifying to many of us, and Silverman is fine with that. "If we put no effort into the animation, we wouldn't be having this conversation," he told me.  

Liz Climo, story reel artist, shared this:

I get asked a lot of unusual questions from fans: can I draw him/her into an episode, do I ever get to write the episodes, can he/she do a voice for the show, is everything drawn by computers, etc. (The answer to each of these questions, unfortunately, is no). As much as I'd like to write and episode or do a voice, there are actually people who are much more qualified than myself to do these things, which is why the show is still good! Drawing someone into a scene would probably not go unnoticed, especially after the scene has been in the hands of so many different people. We actually have an entire catalog of incidental characters that we are supposed to use in any given scene, so we're not just making the extra characters up as we go along. Sometimes we can get away with drawing someone into a larger crowd scene, but it's never a guarantee that they will stay in. Finally, although some days it might be nice to come in and sit in front of a computer that is drawing my scenes for me, this is definitely not the case. We work on a Cintiq, which is a large computer screen that we draw on directly. Even though we are working in computer programs, we are still very much drawing and animating in the traditional sense.

Eric Rogers (writer of various Simpsons comics and Futurama)  says, "I still get weirded out when (fans) ask me to sign comics for them. I implore with them that all my signature does is make the comic book worthless, but they never listen!"

Nikki Isordia, production coordinator, says, 

Well, it's always a little funny when someone asks what I do, when I tell them I work on The Simpsons as a coordinator and also mention that I am a freelance makeup artist, the first response is usually 'How do you do makeup for The Simpsons?!'

I also always get the people who like to mention that they can do great impressions of the Simpsons' voices and let me know that if we ever need a Homer or another character replaced, they would be very happy to take over.

Chris Ledesma, music editor for The Simpsons, says the misconception he hears most often is that Danny Elfman writes the music for the show. (Elfman wrote the original theme, but Alf Clausen has composed the show's music since season two).

Michael Price, Bill Oakley, and Marc Wilmore say that the writers are often asked which characters they write for. "We all get that all the time," Mike Price says. 

Storyboard artist Luis Escobar says he doesn't hear too many odd questions, but he does get his fair share of ones he finds annoying. 

They often start with, "remember that episode when . . . ?" wherein they ask me something really obscure about the show while I stare at them blankly not knowing what the heck they're talking about.

However, the most annoying question he gets about the show is when someone realizes he's an artist on the show: "'You're an artist? I thought that was all done with computers.' As if there was a magical 'draw cartoon' button on computers."

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