Posts Tagged ‘James L. Brooks Interview’

A Whistleblower in Springfield: “The Simpsons” 500th Episode

Friday, February 17th, 2012

It started as a series of shorts on The Tracey Ullman Show in 1987. It’s now the winner of 27 primetime Emmys, has been licensed in more than 100 countries, been syndicated domestically for 18 years, is the longest-running American sitcom in television history, and beat out Gunsmoke to become the longest-running primetime, scripted series. Oh, and no one on the show has aged in 23 years. Talk about mind-blowing.

Matt Groening’s The Simpsons celebrates a landmark achievement in television this Sunday night. The show will air its 500th episode, “At Long Last Leave,” in which the Simpsons are evicted from Springfield. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will guest star as himself and musician Alison Krauss will provide a special theme song to celebrate the milestone. In a lead up to Sunday’s episode, Groening received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame this past Tuesday, and FOX sponsored a marathon screening of the series on February 8th in an attempt to set a new Guinness World Record for longest continuous television viewing. Simpsons superfans Jeremiah Franco and Carin Shreve indeed reset the record by watching 86 hours and 37 minutes of The Simpsons and earning $10,500 from FOX in the process.

How did The Simpsons skyrocket from short reels to record setters? In his 2003 Archive Interview, Executive Producer James L. Brooks discusses The Simpsons rise from bumpers on The Tracey Ullman Show to the stand-alone, half-hour program that debuted on December 17, 1989:

Bart was quickly the breakout character of the show, and Nancy Cartwright shares how she voices his plethora of memorable catchphrases:

Not to be outdone, Homer has a pretty memorable catchphrase of his own. Dan Castellaneta on the origins of “d’oh!”:

Tune in Sunday at 8pm EST/PST on FOX to see what gems Bart, Homer and the rest of The Simpsons will deliver in their 500th episode. Think leaving Springfield leads to life in hell, or will the Simpsons finally get the love they deserve from their hometown?

- by Adrienne Faillace

“The Mary Tyler Moore Show” At 40

Sunday, September 19th, 2010

On September 19, 1970, The Mary Tyler Moore Show debuted and ran for seven perfect seasons. As part of a Saturday night line-up  considered among the best ever in TV (in the 1973-74 season, the other shows were: All in the Family, M*A*S*H, The Bob Newhart Show, and The Carol Burnett Show), the series was an instant classic.  For many years, it held the record for the most Emmy Awards won by a series (at 29); the show saw wins for ensemble cast members Edward Asner, Valerie Harper, Ted Knight, Cloris Leachman, Mary Tyler Moore, and Betty White.  As noted by The Museum of Broadcast Communications’ Encyclopedia of Television: “The program represented a significant change in the situation comedy… As created by the team of James Brooks and Allan Burns, The Mary Tyler Moore Show presented the audience with fully-realized characters who evolved and became more complex throughout their life on the show.”

The Archive of American Television interviewed creators Brooks and Burns, main series director Jay Sandrich, writers including Treva Silverman, and many of the series cast.  Click here to watch these interviews (and the show’s premiere episode from Hulu) on the Archive’s show page for The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

Additionally, see special curated spotlights on two classic Mary episodes: “The Lars Affair” (that introduced Betty White’s “Happy Homemaker”) and “Chuckles Bites the Dust” (considered one of the best sitcom episodes of all-time).