September 17, 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 11  

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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Simpsons veteran Tim Long talks

By Anton Vidgen
Gazette Staff

Five-year Simpsons writer Tim Long dropped by The Wave last Thursday to chat with a capacity crowd about his behind-the-scenes experience on one of television's most popular shows.
The Gazette scored an interview with Long and...

Are you really a Simpsons writer?
Yeah, actually I have a car here.

Really?
Yes.

You?
Yeah.

Do you ever get people randomly breaking into routines like that?
Sure, I don't particularly mind. I mean, people do what they can.

What is one of your favourite episodes?
I'm a big fan of a lot of episodes. There was an episode we did a few years ago called Behind the Laughter that was, I think, pretty funny. It was sort of a parody of a show called Behind the Music and it was like a documentary behind-the-scenes of The Simpsons. That actually ended up winning us an Emmy. I think we were very fortunate in that respect.

You mentioned Ralph Wiggum as your favourite character.
Yeah, I think so.

Why do you think that?
Because he's so sad. There's something about him, you just know that his life is going to be terrible because he's so unable to function. I like the combination of being really stupid and really cheerful. Homer has that and Ralph has a little of that too.

You also talked about celebrities. Which was perhaps the most interesting celebrity you've dealt with?
They've all been pretty great. I'm surprised at how nice they are ã like when Sarah Michelle Gellar came in, she just could not have been sweeter and more accommodating. I'm surprised at just how normal they are.

Do you think The Simpsons now is perhaps less innovative than it was in the past or does it continue to break new ground?
Obviously you can't lose your virginity twice. You get to the point where, you know, you see this incredibly innovative show - and it still innovates in a smaller way ã but you can't recreate that initial explosion. We've done the best we can. But I still think and I flatter myself to think, we're still doing one of the best shows on TV.

Do you think there is a common message The Simpsons delivers?
Yeah, I think the specifics of the message is "don't believe authority."

And on the subject, could you describe in one word your relationship with FOX?
[long pause] Mixed.

You mentioned The Simpsons ending in 2005 as a possibility. Where do you see yourself in the future?
It's hard to say. I've been really lucky in the sense that I've never had to work on a show that's embarrassed me. I'm going to try and maintain that as things go on. I've never had to go to a party to say I work for a scrappy show. I would like to end up doing my own show or own movie next. We'll see what happens.

 

 

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