After leaving the show almost twenty years ago, the esteemed media-shy comedy writer, John Swartzwelder finally broke his silence regarding the work he did on the lauded animated Fox sitcom, The Simpsons.
In the interview with The New Yorker, conducted over email by Mike Sacks, John disclosed how he thought of the clumsy patriarch, Homer Simpson, as a ‘big talking dog’. His dialect can be read beneath:
“One moment he’s the saddest man in the world, because he’s just lost his job, or dropped his sandwich, or accidentally killed his family. Then, the next moment, he’s the happiest man in the world, because he’s just found a penny—maybe under one of his dead family members”
Of all the episodes Swartzwelder has written, the ones on his all-time binge watch list include Itchy & Scratchy & Marge, Bart the Murderer, Dog of Death, Homer at the Bat, Homie the Clown, Bart Gets an Elephant, Homer’s Enemy, and Homer vs. the Eighteenth Amendment.
When asked about Homer’s Enemy, an episode which required strong hearts to bear such darkness, he implied that such a character as Frank Grimes, who didn’t approve of beloved Homer Simpson, deserved to meet such fate.
For those not inexplicably a follower of classic Simpsons, Homer Simpson is a simple moron who can go from being downright horrible to an extremely loving man. He is often characterized by his own stupidity, immaturity, selfishness, laziness and uncontrollable anger. Homer derives enjoyment from the misfortune of people he hates.
Swartzwelder mocked Homer, relating his characteristics to that of a pet dog. But he did add that Homer was a little bit smarter than a dog.
John also can’t help thinking about how he came to be associated with one of the most awkward-sounding word in English language – ‘Swartzweldian’.
He thinks this affiliation is worse than ‘Oakleyesque’ and ‘Vittiriffic’ (after “Simpsons” writers Bill Oakley and Jon Vitti). Nonetheless, he does seem keen with it, as we see him describing his sense of humor as ‘Swartzweldian’ in his very next dialogue.
In The Simpsons’ 32 year old run, John drafted a colossal 59 episodes from 1990 to 2003, more than any other staff working in the show. According to him, the eternal impact of his contribution to the show for which he was grateful, was that the show’s legacy made the audience look at the writers’ names with a certain degree of appreciation.
About The Simpsons
The Simpsons is an American animated sitcom created by Matt Groening for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The series is a satirical depiction of American life, epitomized by the Simpson family, which consists of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie. The show is set in the fictional town of Springfield and parodies American culture and society, television, and the human condition.
Since its debut on December 17, 1989, 32 seasons of the show have been broadcast. It is the longest-running American animated series, longest-running American sitcom, and the longest-running American scripted primetime television series, both in terms of seasons and number of episodes.
On March 3, 2021, it was announced that the series had been renewed for seasons 33 and 34 up to 2023, surpassing an episode count of 750.