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The Simpsons Season 20 Preview

Published October 6, 2008 in Television
By Fred Topel | Image property of Fox
The Simpsons The Simpsons

The Simpsons are into their 20th season now and they still haven't run out of things to do. Showrunner Al Jean remains as enthusiastic as ever. He's always happy to talk about the upcoming storylines and guest stars.

Return of The Simpsons

"Sometimes we do these trilogy episodes, and this one has powerful women through history and we do a parody of The Fountainhead, the Ayn Rand book," said Jean. "Maggie Simpson is in a preschool where she’s trying to build these beautiful block buildings and the preschool teacher keeps knocking them down because it’s too creative. At the end, she goes on trial, like the end of The Fountainhead and Jodie Foster does Maggie’s voice."

Anne Hathaway guest stars in another episode. "We do a show where Bart meets a girl who is really sweet and thinks he’s really a nice kid and not a brat, so he tries to hide his true identity from her and then she finds out what he’s really like and they break up. She was very funny; she’s really hilarious to work with."

Of course, the annual "Treehouse of Horror" is coming for just after Halloween. "The opening we do a little thing about the election where Homer tries to vote for Obama, but the machine keeps changing it to McCain and then finally kills him. We do a satire of the fact that they can take dead celebrities, put them in commercials, and do whatever they want, so Homer starts killing living celebrities so they can use them in commercials. We have a parody for the first time of It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, where our character, The Grand Pumpkin, totally different legally, comes to life and he’s so mad at the way humans treat pumpkins that he tries to kill them all."

The Simpsons still has their eye on hit movies too. "We have an episode that will air in March where Homer has to get some poison to kill some rats in his kitchen. It’s a bit like Ratatouille, they make him a meal but it’s okay, it’s not great, so he wants to kill the rats. He leaves Maggie on the doorstep of a convent where they take her and then it turns into a Da Vinci Code satire where they have some use for Maggie at this convent that may involve world peace and they’re trying to get Maggie back. It has National Treasure elements in it and there’s this really cool complicated story line."

They also address social changes and foreign relations. "We also have one where The Simpsons go to Ireland and Homer and Grandpa go to this bar that Grandpa went to 40 years ago and it was the happiest night of his life. They get drunk, they buy the bar, and then they find, as it turns out, in Ireland, pubs aren’t so popular anymore because you can’t smoke in them, so they’re really up a creek. We just had Kenneth Branagh to record. He’s the pub owner that sells them the pub, and Kenneth Branagh is actually Irish, so he was really nice and really great, of course.

The Simpsons airs Sunday nights on Fox.

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Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of Fox

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