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  1. #1
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    Ask Bill and Josh 2 Q&A Thread

    Once again, once you post in this thread, it will not appear. The questions are sent to the moderation queue where they will be selected by the moderators.

    All right, kids! Wow, lots has changed since the first Q&A session. And while I'd love to stay and chat, I'm headed to Florida to get away from the Internet for a while. It's... a harsh mistress.

    Okay, enough from me. It's time for more questions to be submitted for our special guests, Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein.

    1. This time around, the questions should be limited to reactions to the Simpsons Season 7 DVD commentary featuring Bill and Josh (including questions about the commentary-making process). Questions about things you'd like to see for season 8 are also accepted.

    2. The best from the submitted questions will be picked. Beginning on Monday, Bill and Josh will be around to answer two to three questions per day.

    3. WHAT THE HELL DID I SAY ABOUT THE FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY

    Okay, kids, those are the rules. Post away!

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  2. #2


    From campbart23

    In the DVDs, you explained season 7 tried to emulate season 3 with a refocus on the family. What was the plan for season 8?

    From FuzzyWuzzyWuzABear

    Was there any digital animation used in THOH VII or "El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Homer"?

    From joaopedro1

    Of the two seasons you showran, which did you prefer and why?

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    Bill's Replies Vol. 1

    GENERAL NOTE
    We're happy to be back here at NHC!

    I think Josh is mentioning this in his post, but we start doing the commentaries for Season Eight THIS WEEK -- so if you have any burning questions about Season Eight (or things you think we should specifically address in the commentaries) please submit those notions as well.

    Perhaps the moderators would like to start a separate thread here just for S8 commentary suggestions that don't need to be answered as Q&A's.

    And if you have any questions about the Season Seven Commentaries, the commentary-making process, etc., we want to answer those as well.

    As those of you who listened to the S7 commentaries know, we have a large repository of nerd-knowledge to go along with our nerd-personalities and nerd-lives -- so we're happy to share it with NHC.

    From FuzzyWuzzyWuzABear

    Was there any digital animation used in THOH VII or "El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Homer"?

    [/QUOTE]

    Hey, FWWAB--

    Sorry I can't give you a definitive answer to this question but I am almost certain the answer is no. I think both episodes were just done the old-fashioned way. They might have used a bit of computer assistance in the hallucinatory part of "Viaje" -- I'll ask Reardon about this.

    I did, however, use my own Macintosh computer to distort the audio on that crazy Flanders "iddly-diddly" speech in the chili show.

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    Bill's Replies Vol. 2

    Quote Originally Posted by Channel Surfer

    From joaopedro1

    Of the two seasons you showran, which did you prefer and why?
    By a slight margin, Josh and I prefer Season Seven to Season Eight -- I think for the same reasons that many of you do.

    If I were personally grading the episodes of both seasons in NHC style, I don't think many of the episodes in S7 would dip below a B+.

    In S8, I think there are a couple of B-minuses, or worse. There are at least two episodes I think we should have either scrapped at the outline stage or reconceived from top to bottom.

    On the plus side, though, I do think that the "Highs" of S8 are equal to the Highs of S7; but I think the "Lows" are lower. I'm still very proud of S8 but as a whole, I think it's maybe 85-90% as good as S7.

    There's a reason why this happened -- the overwhelming workload caught up with us in S8. (I assume this happens to every showrunner after their first season.) When we began to work on S7, we had the luxury of TIME to work out and pitch out and rewrite every episode to perfection (at least, our version of it). This is because Dave Mirkin was still doing all the editing, post-production, scoring, and mixing of S6 while we and the writers were cooking up S7. We literally had nothing to do but sit and write all day.

    When S7 episodes began to come back from Korea, Josh and I had to handle all the editing, post, and mixing for S7 while pitching out and leading rewrites for S8. The seasons began to overlap, and the crunch began.

    The crunch did not stop until we recorded our last episode and Mike (Scully) took the writers to begin work on S9.

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    Josh's Replies Vol. 1

    Quote Originally Posted by Channel Surfer
    From campbart23

    In the DVDs, you explained season 7 tried to emulate season 3 with a refocus on the family. What was the plan for season 8?
    Hello, campbart23!

    Here's the boring part of my answer, and forgive me, because I'm boring myself as I type this: For Season 8, we had much the same plan as Season 7, in that we wanted to tell a number of "classic"-style Simpsons stories, meaning both family-related emotional stories (My Sister, My Sitter) as well as just-plain funny episodes (Mountain of Madness, Poochie) BUT we did want to push things more, explore areas and characters we hadn't in Season 7.

    Certainly "You Only Move Twice" started things off by pushing into a new area - the Simpsons moving from Springfield. Also, Mr. Burns is such a classic, old-fashioned boss - I'm talking 19th century old-fashioned - that we wanted to see how Homer would do with a thoroughly modern touchy-feely Silicon Valley style boss. With a twist of course.

    Whoa.... Before blabbing on endlessly about each and every episode (that's for the commentaries!), let me just give you a short list of a few of these episodes that "pushed" off into new areas:

    Exploring secondary characters' previously unexplored lives and backgrounds:

    Hurricane Neddy (Ned)
    In Marge We Trust (Lovejoy)
    A Milhouse Divided (the Van Houtens)

    Conceptual/Stylistic Explorations:

    The Mysterious Voyage of Homer
    The Simpsons Spin-off Showcase

    Topics Previously Untouched by the show:
    A Milhouse Divided
    Homer's Phobia

    You can hear more about Season 8, of course, on our upcoming Season 8 commentaries and now...

    HERE'S THE MOST INTERESTING PART OF THE ANSWER:

    We're just starting to record commentaries for Season 8 this next week (so those rumors about Swartzwelder recording a "secret" separate commentary for Season 8? Untrue. Though I wish it were. The guy is hilarious).

    THIS MEANS YOU HAVE A CHANCE TO ASK US SOME QUESTIONS ABOUT SEASON 8 THAT COULD ACTUALLY BE ANSWERED ON OUR COMMENTARIES.

    SEE BILL'S RESPONSE FOR MORE DETAILS!

    Let me answer one question right now:

    "In the commentaries for Season 7, I notice that you, Josh, say "This is one of my very favorite episodes" before just about every single episode. This is highly annoying. Are you going to be doing that in your Season 8 commentaries?"

    I going to try not to. But I just don't know. I'm sorry.

  6. #6


    Quote Originally Posted by billoakley
    Perhaps the moderators would like to start a separate thread here just for S8 commentary suggestions that don't need to be answered as Q&A's.
    I've passed the idea to the others just to let you guys know.

  7. #7


    OK, the next batch of questions...

    From Cartoonnetwork

    Why are there so many revelations and secret histories behind characters/the town in your seasons? Is it just a coincidence or do you like that type of plot?

    From Homer_Thompson

    How do you go arrange the commentaries do you call everyone involved and try and organize a date when you can get as many people as possible, would certain people take priority over others (sorry that’s incredibly boring but I thought I should try asking something about commentaries)

    From Random Viewer Guy

    On the commentary for "22 Short Films about Springfield", you mention that a deleted scene, written by David S. Cohen, involving Krusty, was cut, and would be shown on the deleted scenes montage. Unfortunately, it's not there (I'm guessing it couldn't be found in time). However, fans have managed to find a cel of which shows Krusty and Ralph on a plane that's said to be from that episode. Would it be possible to have a quick rundown on what happened in the Krusty story?

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    Bill's Replies Vol. 3

    Quote Originally Posted by Channel Surfer
    OK, the next batch of questions...

    From Random Viewer Guy

    On the commentary for "22 Short Films about Springfield", you mention that a deleted scene, written by David S. Cohen, involving Krusty, was cut, and would be shown on the deleted scenes montage. Unfortunately, it's not there (I'm guessing it couldn't be found in time). However, fans have managed to find a cel of which shows Krusty and Ralph on a plane that's said to be from that episode. Would it be possible to have a quick rundown on what happened in the Krusty story?
    Great question, RVG, but first the customary warning:

    *****SPOILERS AHEAD******












    I'm guessing this is an Easter egg somewhere on the disk. Either that or something went wrong in the production process, or legal clearances, or who knows where...

    Because when we did the commentary on the reel of deleted scenes, the Krusty/Ralph scene WAS there. We did commentary on it.

    The layouts you posted are indeed from that scene. Here's a rundown of what happened in it:

    It was a short scene, about 45 seconds long, I think it was either before or after the Comic Book Guy scene. There was a pan up in to the sky, to a passing jet.

    Krusty was sitting in First Class, relaxing, with an empty seat next to him. Ralph sat down in the seat and nattered on and on in his Ralph-y way, driving Krusty nuts. (Don't remember all the specifics, but Ralph was moved up to First Class from coach for some reason.)

    Finally, Krusty asked the stewardess to be moved to another seat. He got moved to the only other open seat on the plane: a cramped middle seat in coach -- between Patty and Selma.

    I think it ended with the traditional "Krusty moan".

    Amusing, but not the funniest segment of the show. And when we were overlong, it presented itself as a neat trim.

    Hope someone, somewhere can find it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Channel Surfer
    OK, the next batch of questions...

    From Homer_Thompson

    How do you go arrange the commentaries do you call everyone involved and try and organize a date when you can get as many people as possible, would certain people take priority over others (sorry that’s incredibly boring but I thought I should try asking something about commentaries)
    Don't be ashamed of your boring question, HT! I think an explanation of how the DVD's are made might be illuminating -- particularly based on some posts I've read here where people speculate (inaccurately) about why certain people are, or are not, on certain commentaries.

    The DVD commentaries are done in a period of about 6-8 weeks. We did the S7 commentaries last summer; we're starting the S8 commentaries next week.

    Scheduling everything is a big pain -- and the guy who has to do it is named John Albarian, from Blink Digital, the company that produces the DVD's. He and his staff, along with Denise Sirkot and her team from Gracie, set everything up.

    Before we begin working on the season, John gives us a chart of all the shows, listing the writers and directors and guest stars and we mark who to invite and who not to. (A shocking number of guest stars from S8 turned out to be DEAD!)

    We almost always invite the writer and director and guest stars. (Jeff Goldblum is the only one who ever came! Thanks, Jeff.) We also invite the cast member, or members, most prominent in the show.

    Matt G. and Jim B. are, of course, invited to all commentaries. And we invite David Silverman to everything as well.

    Who shows up and who does not is often a function of timing. Matt G. was unfortunately on vacation during a part of last summer when we did several commentaries, but we always try to make the time convenient for him.

    We usually do 3-4 shows per session, once a week, and they are NOT done in order -- why is why we can sometimes repeat or even contradict ourselves or tell the same tiresome anecdote and not realize we're doing it.

    The shows are usually grouped by director because some of them (Reardon, especially) have to come in from out of town.

    This year (and I see someone has already suggested this on the other thread), we are going to invite some non-traditional people (i.e., people from the casting and music and legal departments) to give us their input as well and hopefully spice things up.

    (The worst thing that happened last year was when no one besides Josh and myself showed up for the "Day the Violence Died" commentary and we had to do the whole things ourselves. That one, predictably, turned out to be kind of a snoozefest.)

    And, in conclusion, I apologize for this boring answer. It might have even been more boring than the question. (You should see the parts I edited out!)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Channel Surfer
    OK, the next batch of questions...

    From Cartoonnetwork

    Why are there so many revelations and secret histories behind characters/the town in your seasons? Is it just a coincidence or do you like that type of plot?
    Hello, Cartoonnetwork!

    Good question - and it leads to one of the many reasons Bill and I love the Simpsons so much (and I'm guessing this will ring true for many of you, too) - it's because the show - unlike other sitcoms that have just 5 actors and a couple of boring sets - is its own ENTIRE UNIVERSE, hundreds and hundreds of characters that live in a town that is in a world populated by amazing and hilarious stuff!

    It's kind of like a crazy video game, where wherever you turn, you uncover something new and interesting.

    And by the 7th and 8th season, we determined people were familiar enough with the characters that we could start exploring their backgrounds and lives a little more in depth, to start rounding out the universe, so to speak.

    Now, there's always room to learn more about Homer, Marge and the kids. The show could go on for years and there's still new stuff to discover about them. But there are also 150 other characters out there, and we love 'em all, from Flanders and Wiggum down to Disco Stu, the Just Stamp The Ticket Man and the One-Eyebrowed Baby.

    We also found it a fascinating idea that these other characters were actually living out their lives even when they weren't on screen. Surely they must have lives of their own, personal demons they carry with them, histories, etc. all that could be potentially very interesting and funny and give us all a clue as to why they act in the way they do.

    I think the best example of this is "Hurricane Neddy". We were really careful to create a whole psycho-history that would explain exactly why Ned is the way he is. We really delved into questions of "Why would he act like this? What could have happened in his life to make him act this way, etc.?" And I think it turned out great, adding more depth to his character without wrecking him.

    "A Fish Called Selma" is another great example. What really goes on in the life of Troy McClure when he's not on screen? It added a delighfully sordid, sad and maybe even touching layer to this already great character.

    Another good example is "Mother Simpson". We wanted to explain a bit more about Homer, why a mother would've abandoned a kid, etc. The way we created her explains a lot about her, Homer and Abe. And it felt believable and real in a sweet, funny way. Again, it added something to the universe I think. And it's a cool idea to think she's still out there somewhere.

    Another example, "A Milhouse Divided". We wanted to explore the idea of divorce, but also perhaps explain why Milhouse was so odd and needy. And did we ever flesh out the lives of Kirk and Luanne! Especially Kirk! In the course of doing that episode, he became one of my favorite characters and suddenly started to become a much more real, albeit pathetic, human being.

    Now, I know what you're thinking -- "What about 'The Principal & The Pauper?!!!! What were you guys thinking?!!! I sure hope someone got fired for that blunder, etc." Well, that episode was a risk. And, frankly, it was more based on the French film "The Return of Martin Guerre" than any deep desire to mess with the character of Skinner. By season 8, we thought we could take some risks like that. You be the judge. And, yes, I go back and forth about it all the time.

    (I have to add that some of my favorite personality traits of Skinner - ones that came out in "Swwweeeet Seymour Skinner's, etc." were based on real-life teachers Bill and I had at our high school, some of whom really lived with their mothers! As a writer, it's always fun to add dimension to a character's life, that's my point. And, as that guy said in "Apocalypse Now", "It must be tempting to play God". And when you're given a show like the Simpsons, it sure as heck is! Sorry, God!)

    In conclusion, I don't think there will ever be another show like the Simpsons, one with such an expansive universe. It's such a treat to watch something like that. And it was an even bigger treat to run it.

  10. #10


    From George Cauldron

    Working together for so many years, you must be very good friends, but have the two of you really disagreed on anything Simpsons-related during your time on the show - stories, jokes, etc?

    From Mohammed Jafar

    Were there any aspects of S7 that surprised you ten years later when watching them all to do the commentaries?

    From fabman

    I would like to know why there were holdover episodes (3G) produced (by Al Jean, Mike Reiss, George Meyer, Mike Scully, Steve Tompkins) during the eight season.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Channel Surfer

    From fabman

    I would like to know why there were holdover episodes (3G) produced (by Al Jean, Mike Reiss, George Meyer, Mike Scully, Steve Tompkins) during the eight season.
    fabman:

    In this era of the show, it was common for a different exec-prod team to produce two episodes per season. (This was in addition to the two holdover episodes from the previous production season).

    In S6, while Dave Mirkin was running the show: Mike & Al produced "A Star is Burns" and "Round Springfield".

    In S7, while we were running it, Mirkin produced "Lisa the Vegetarian" and "Team Homer".

    In S8, while we were running it, Mike & Al produced "The Springfield Files" and the Shary Bobbins show.

    Mike & Al wrote and produced their episodes with the staff of "The Critic". Dave wrote and produced his with a mixture of our writing staff and others brought in from outside.

    The reason for this, to answer your question:

    Fox always wanted 24 episodes. The production staff and writers simply could not make any more than 22; it was already too exhausting. So this solution was invented, where another team of writers and producers would do the other two.

    Good question!

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    Bill's Replies Vol. 5

    Quote Originally Posted by Channel Surfer

    From Mohammed Jafar

    Were there any aspects of S7 that surprised you ten years later when watching them all to do the commentaries?
    Thanks for asking, this is a really thoughtful question.

    In general we were both a little surprised at how well the episodes had stood the test of time, that they were still funny and moving and Simpson-y all at once.

    We were also surprised that they weren't nearly so blisteringly fast as we thought they were at the time. As you know, the pace of the show has become faster and faster over the years (especially when you look back at S2!). When we were doing S7, there was some concern that jokes and events and scenes were going by so fast that people would literally not be able to keep up with what was going on!

    I know that this sound like a hilariously antique concern, esp. now in the age of Family Guy and the 20-jokes a minute pace they keep. But I think the world as a whole is moving at a much faster pace than it was ten years ago and everyone's so used to it they don't even notice.

    As far as individual episodes:

    *I was surprised at how genuinely scary the Groundskeeper Willie segment of THOH VI was. My daughter had nightmares about Willie for days after!

    *I was surprised how much I laughed at King-Size Homer.

    *I was surprised that the ending of Mother Simpson still brought a tear to my eye after I'd seen it 200 times in the editing room. It was nice to see it fresh.

    *I was surprised at how much I miss the comedy of Phil Hartman.

    *Both Josh and I were surprised at how much we genuinely loved the Country Club show because at the time (mainly due to the ending) it had been a difficult show.

    *After not having seen Homer the Smithers in years, I was genuinely shocked when Homer hit Mr. Burns -- even though I subconsciously knew it was coming.

    *And I love those freaking Troy McClure movie titles. I can't get enough of them, and I know many on NHC disagree, but man, I laugh everytime I hear "They Came to Burgle Carnegie Hall".

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    Quote Originally Posted by Channel Surfer
    From George Cauldron

    Working together for so many years, you must be very good friends, but have the two of you really disagreed on anything Simpsons-related during your time on the show - stories, jokes, etc?
    Bill and I usually agreed 100% on just about everything we did on The Simpsons. This isn't BS. We've been friends since we were 15 and we tend to think exactly the same things, often at the same time.

    In fact, during our 7 1/2 years on the show, I only remember a few conflicts between people. And they are only memorable in that they were over something spectacularly, delightfully mundane:

    1) One time, 2 writers got into an extremely heated confrontation over the air conditioner in the rewrite room. It didn't come to blows, but did result in one saying to the other "Things were better before you came along!" or something like that.

    2) I think a writer once got really mad at another writer for eating some of the pie they had ordered from the Apple Pan restaurant and had stashed away for later consumption.

    Stuff like that.

  14. #14


    From FuzzyWuzzyWuzABear

    When an episode's air time is pushed back (like "El Viaje Misterioso..." being aired in the middle of season 8 despite being a season 7 holdover), why does this happen? Are the air times decided by fox executives or by showrunners?

    From Jamie

    What does the recording area where commentaries are done look like? Big table? Card table? Big screen television? Big 'ol microphones everywhere? People looking in through the recording booth window?

    From Hydro

    In addition to the "Martin Guerre" homage, was "The Principal and the Pauper" (an episode I actually like) an attempt at spoofing the common cliché in television where something shocking is revealed about a longtime character and then is promptly forgotten?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Channel Surfer
    From FuzzyWuzzyWuzABear

    When an episode's air time is pushed back (like "El Viaje Misterioso..." being aired in the middle of season 8 despite being a season 7 holdover), why does this happen? Are the air times decided by fox executives or by showrunners?
    Hello, FuzzyWuzzyWuzABear,

    The order the shows are broadcast is determined by the showrunner. We would always try to have a good mix in the line-up of episodes - an emotional one followed by a crazy one, a homer-centric episode followed by a Lisa one, etc.

    The holdovers are also determined by the showrunner, and you usually have about 6 episodes from that season's order to choose from. For the first holdover, which would be the next season's premiere, you obviously want to choose a "knock-out". That's why we chose "You Only Move Twice". There was no particular thinking behind holding "El Viaje..." except that it was a really great episode.

    Occasionally, Fox needs to pre-empt the scheduled airing of an episode. Here's an anecdote about how that can go insanely wrong: Because of Baseball, I think the World Series, Fox couldn't air our Halloween episode right before Halloween and kept insisting that it would be just fine if it aired in the first week of November, after Halloween! We had a huge argument with them, with Matt keenly pointing out that it would be the first time in television history that a holiday special would be aired AFTER the holiday! They aired it after Halloween.

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    Bill's Replies Vol. 6

    Quote Originally Posted by Channel Surfer
    From Hydro

    In addition to the "Martin Guerre" homage, was "The Principal and the Pauper" (an episode I actually like) an attempt at spoofing the common cliché in television where something shocking is revealed about a longtime character and then is promptly forgotten?
    Hydro (The Man With the Hyrdaulic Arms):

    I don't actually think the episode was supposed to spoof that convention.

    We did, however, attempt to reset everything at the end of the episode with the "under penalty of TORTURE" line, which I suppose could be called a self-aware remark directed at both the people of Springfield and the viewers, in a meta kind of way. Perhaps this could be called a parody of sitcom conventions where everything is indeed reset at the end of each episode.

    I hesitate to get too deeply into theory behind this episode without Ken Keeler here. The episode was his idea and I know he has some thoughts which I hope we can all discuss on the DVD commentary.

    You may be interested to know that none of us had any idea it would be so controversial -- but it does remain so, to the extent that Ken and I had a long discussion about it two weeks ago at Josh's New Years' Eve party.

    One thing I do know: in addition to the "Martin Guerre" homage, the episode is based on one, or possibly two, ACTUAL incidents that occurred many years after the Vietnam War. In one, the missing soldier's OWN MOTHER did not recognize "her long-lost son" was an impostor. I believe Ken showed us a news clipping about this when pitching the idea.

    We, of course, thought it would be an interesting twist for Skinner's character.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Channel Surfer

    From Jamie

    What does the recording area where commentaries are done look like? Big table? Card table? Big screen television? Big 'ol microphones everywhere? People looking in through the recording booth window?
    Hey, Jamie,

    The Commentary room, which is a mini-recording room, is located on the 2nd floor of the Marge Simpson Soundstage, a whole building devoted to the recording of The Simpsons.

    It's a room about 15 feet by 15 feet with a huge screen set up in front. About 7 stools are arranged facing the screen in a semi-circle, with a stand and a mic in front of each stool.

    Behind the stools is a big plate glass window, behind which is the recording technician's area, with sound-mixing board, etc. This is also where the people who organize the commentaries, like John Albarian and Denise Sirkot sit while we do the recording.

    The room has a wall-to-wall carpet (medium fiber count) and a couple of potted plants (ficus). The room is darkened and it's pretty comfortable. We use those little headset earphones to hear the playback of the episode as we talk.

    You know that room in the Poochie episode where they do the focus group of kids and Roger Myers yells at them from behind the glass? It's sort of like that, except no one yells at us and we don't win anything by watching.

    There is also the "green room". This is a room down the hall where we all wait and socialize before the session begins. There is always a huge spread of food with sandwiches, etc. There are also very large cookies (unpopular raisin and highly popular white chocolate chip).

  18. #18


    From bovine_university

    How allowing were you when it came to having the cast improvise dialogue? Did it happen often, and if so, what were some of your favorite improvisations?

    From FuzzyWuzzyWuzABear

    I recall the last time you were here, you said that in the cases you were familiar with, the new showrunner is chosen by the previous showrunner. Are you familiar with how Mike Scully was chosen to run the show?

    From AngryDad33

    What episode is your favorite from season 8?

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    Bill's Replies Vol. 7

    Quote Originally Posted by Channel Surfer

    From FuzzyWuzzyWuzABear

    I recall the last time you were here, you said that in the cases you were familiar with, the new showrunner is chosen by the previous showrunner. Are you familiar with how Mike Scully was chosen to run the show?
    Fuzz:

    I think what we actually said is that the previous showrunner is involved in the process, but the ultimate responsibility for approving any new showrunner lies with James L. Brooks (and Richard Sakai, to some extent).

    (If that's not what we said, that's what we should have said. That's the way it was when we were there.)

    That said, we simply cannot discuss the internal politics of the show on the Internet. (That's why we can't tell you which writer nearly punched another and which two it was that had the big air-conditioner fight, among other famous staff freak-outs).

    If you are ever in Santa Monica, California, U.S.A., and happen to drop by our office, maybe we can have an off-the-record chat about some more outrageous behind-the-scenes topics, but we ain't posting anything like that on the Net. Sorry.

    We're close personal friends with about 80% of our staff from S7 & S8, many of whom we've known since college. We all get along well, which is why we all made such a good staff, I think. So their secrets are theirs to keep.

    ALSO:

    Even a cursory glance at the NHC reveals Mike Scully to be a controversial figure, but it should be said that both Josh and I think Mike Scully to be a terrific writer and a great guy -- and that we really enjoyed working with him on the show.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Channel Surfer
    From AngryDad33

    What episode is your favorite from season 8?
    Hello, AngryDad33!

    I've got quite a few favorites from S8, and I can't decide which is #1:

    "You Only Move Twice" - I just love the story and there are so many excellent jokes. Plus, IMHO, the character of Hank Scorpio is one of the most original characters in the history of the show.

    "Mountain of Madness" - for being flat-out funny. As you will hear on the S8 commentary, this episode was the result of many crazy rewrites. But it paid off.

    "In Marge We Trust" - Because it contains my single favorite thing EVER - "Mr. Sparkle", which was a brilliant group effort.

    "Homer's Enemy" - I think this episode is the very best of our attempts to try something different. It also has a lot to do with Hank Azaria's acting. It was just perfect. Interestingly, this episode has become a lot more popular in recent years. When it first came out, it seemed like a lot of people did not like it. I say the people who didn't like it were the Frank Grimes of viewers!

    "Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie" - IMHO, this is one of the best self-reflexive episodes of the Simpsons ever done. It is also an incredibly accurate satire of the TV business. It's also just plain funny. David Cohen always makes me laugh.

    Bill says his favorite episodes from S8 are "Poochie" and "Homer's Enemy".

    Okay, that's it for this round of questions. But you can keep telling us what you'd like to hear in the S8 commentaries - it's a really useful thread, and like we said, we begin recording those commentaries next week.

    I want to thank everyone, not only for asking interesting questions, but also because I feel like we have some real friends and fans out there, people we would never have known about were it not for NHC. It honestly makes a difference to know you're out there.

  21. #21
    Came 2 Burgle Carnegie Hall billoakley's Avatar
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    Bill's Replies Vol. 8

    Quote Originally Posted by Channel Surfer
    From bovine_university

    How allowing were you when it came to having the cast improvise dialogue? Did it happen often, and if so, what were some of your favorite improvisations?
    We LOVED it when the cast would improvise. We never told them not to, always encouraged it when they did.

    Sometimes the results would be priceless -- moments that sounded so real, so off-the-cuff, they could not be scripted.

    Particularly great at it were the teams of Hank and Harry, and Dan and Hank -- but Nancy and Yeardley and Julie all had their moments, too.

    They would probably do it once or twice per episode, when something popped into their heads -- usually at the end of a scene. If it was really great, we would keep it in the audio track and send it to the animators.

    Here are some great improvised moments I can recall off-the-cuff:

    "WHACKING DAY"

    Homer: Remember that? Huh, when Daddy hit the referee?
    Lisa: (sadly) Yeah...

    Chalmers: Did that boy say 'What's a battle'?
    Skinner: No, what's the rattle. Referring to the air duct? I've had a cold.
    Chalmers: So you hear R's as B's?
    (This whole run was improvised, sorry I'm mangling it with my spotty recall.)

    "WHO SHOT MR. BURNS PT. 2"
    Wiggum: That's what they all say! (PAUSE) They all say 'D'oh'!

    "LISA THE ICONOCLAST"
    LISA: Just when I was getting over my Chester A. Arthritis.
    [IMPROV:]
    SUTHERLAND: Er... you had arthritis?
    LISA: Um, no.

  22. #22
    Came 2 Burgle Carnegie Hall billoakley's Avatar
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    Bill's Sign-Off

    Dudes:
    (I assume most all of you ARE dudes, eh?)

    This week has been a blast, again. You guys ask THE most intelligent questions about the show, and it's really great for us to see that some people appreciate the level of detail and hard work we poured into the Simpsons -- and it's a lot of fun to reminisce about it like this.

    Also, it's fun to stay on NHC all day and avoid our actual money-making writing projects.

    But, alas, it's time for us to get back to work.

    Andy and Channel Surfer have our email addresses if you ever want to have us back again, maybe for the Season Eight DVD's. (And don't worry, we're going to print out the Season Eight DVD Commentary Suggestion thread and take it with us for the sessions. We might not get to every question, but we'll certainly get to some. Don't ask for any money; they don't even pay US for that

    I'll end this just like Season Seven:

    Sittin' in our car outside your house
    Remember when you spilled Coke all over your blouse?
    T-shirt, cutoffs, and a pair of thongs
    We've been havin' fun all summer long...


    (20th LOGO)
    (GRACIE LOGO)

    Fade out.

    Bye.

  23. #23
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    Once again I want to thank Josh and Bill for taking the time out to answer questions. This whole experience has been nothing but positive and exciting for the board and its members. I also want to thank Channel Surfer for handling the question picking, as I'm sure there were many good questions to choose from.

    I'm sure I speak for the rest of NHC when I say that I can't wait to hear the commentaries for the season 8 DVD. 8-)

    Once again, thanks to Oakley and Weinstein, and thanks to all our members who submitted questions. Hopefully, like Bill said, we'll be able to do this again soon!

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