“The Simpsons” will hit another huge milestone this season when it crosses the 500-episode mark, putting it in an even more rarefied space among prime-time television’s longest-running series.
Episode 500, written by show veteran Michael Price and scheduled to air Feb. 19, 2012, will be as self-aware as the show usually is. Executive producer Al Jean explains the premise:
“There’s a big town meeting that the Simpsons don’t know about, and when they go in, the town is saying we’re going to get rid of the Simpsons,” Jean told reporters Tuesday (July 26) after a tour of the show’s animation studio, Film Roman. “They’re sick of them.”
Jean also teased a few other episodes from the coming season, which premieres Sept. 25:
– One episode involves an “Inception” parody “where one dream level was [drawn in] the ‘Tracey Ullman Show’ style,” Jean says. Dan Castellaneta reverts to his old, Walter Matthau-inspired Homer voice for the segment.
– The Christmas episode, written by J. Stewart Burns, takes place 30 years in the future. “Bart is this lousy, deadbeat dad who actually lives in the school, which is now condos, and Skinner is his landlord,” Jean says. “… It’s really, really great animation.”
– Homer becomes a Glenn Beck-esque TV pundit and leader of the “Gravy Boat” movement. His preferred presidential candidate is Ted Nugent, who guest-stars.
– A question about how Jean and the other writers decide which jokes will stand up five or 10 years later in syndication brought yet another teaser. “We have a show coming up where Homer gets addicted to a show that’s basically ‘Lost,’” he says. “It ended five years ago, but he’s like, ‘Don’t tell me how it ends!’ I thought it was good because we’re doing it post-‘Lost,’ and five years from now it will still be post-‘Lost,’ so it should hold up.”