What a long, hilarious, brilliant trip it’s been. Last year, it wasn’t sure if they’d make it to this milestone, but just as Matt Groening had his 58th birthday on February 15, The Simpsons will be hitting their 500th episode on this Sunday, February 19.
As you may recall, last October there was a salary blow up that was eventually settled, and The Simpsons will thankfully still be around for a while. While I think the show’s first seven to eight years were the best, and it hasn’t been as good since, even if they never made another great episode again, The Simpsons will always be one of the greatest shows in history in my opinion.
Al Jean, the show’s long running executive producer, told Deadline that Fox was willing to keep the show going as long as they could keep costs at a certain level, and that no one seriously was going to walkout or bring the show to a halt.
Still, if other cast members went on strike, like Harry Shearer briefly did, they would not have continued with new voices. (Unlike big Hollywood blockbusters, there will thankfully never be a Simpsons reboot because there would be an enormous fan revolt, and Groening and company know the fans are too smart to fall for that).
The current deal has the Simpsons gang on for 559 episodes, but when asked how long The Simpsons could keep going, Jean said he couldn’t tell where the show’s going to finally end. “I’ve jokingly said why not do 1,000 episodes or 2,000. It sounds as preposterous as 500 did at the beginning.”
I can still fondly recall seeing The Simpsons on The Tracey Ullman show, and saw the pilot episode when it first premiered on Fox on December 17, 1989. It’s amazing the show has come this far, and has provided the world with such wonderful, sharp, right on target hilarity for so many years. Frankly, it’s good to still have the citizens of Springfield around.