Al Jean, longtime producer of The Simpsons, has addressed the cartoon sitcom’s future as it reaches another milestone.
The 700th episode of The Simpsons was broadcast yesterday (March 21), a landmark achieved after more than 30 years on screen. Manger Things is a flashback episode that shows the inside of the small room depicted above the family garage for the first time.
Jean told Variety that while the series is unlikely to reach 1,000 episodes (he noted it would take another 12 years to reach that amount) it’s not out of the question. “As soon as they cancel us, they’ll reboot us,” Jean said. “I’m confident, after I’m gone, there’ll be some sort of Simpsons coming. It’s too ubiquitous to think that it’ll just disappear.”
Of the milestone episode, Jean added: “The thought was, Matt Groening wanted to do an episode featuring that little room above the garage that you see every week, but we’ve never been in. That features big in this episode, and I thought it would be great if Homer and Flanders has sort of a secret bond that we never knew about, which is revealed in an episode that dates six years before the present.”
The fact that the episode takes place during Christmas was also an intentional nod to the first episode of The Simpsons, broadcast in December 1989, being a Christmas special. Producers “thought that this year the world could use two Christmases”, Jean added, explaining why Manger Things was set in the festive period.
Despite Jean being uncertain of The Simpsons ever reaching the 1,000 episode milestone, the animated series has been renewed for another two seasons, ensuring that it will be on the air until at least 2023.
The long-running cartoon series is currently airing its 32nd season, and the show’s new deal with the Disney-owned Fox has green-lit seasons 33 and 34.
Speaking about the renewal, Simpsons creator and executive producer Matt Groening said: “Everyone at The Simpsons is thrilled to be renewed once more, and we are planning lots of big surprises.
“Homer will lose a hair, Milhouse will get contact lenses, and Bart will celebrate his tenth birthday for the thirty-third time.”