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Thread: Nepotism on the Writing Staff



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    Nepotism on the Writing Staff

    Like any company, I think it's unfair for a boss to hire someone just because they're family. Having connections is one thing, like knowing someone who can put in a good word for you and get your foot in the door. Numerous people get internships that way. But for the boss to give their spouse/sibling a job without an interview or writing sample is kinda messed up. However, if he/she can prove themselves to be a great writer, then it's fine.

    Rachel Pulido (Bill Oakley's wife) hit it out of the park with the criminally underrated "Grade School Confidential. The Bumble-Bee Man segment in "22 Short Films" I can take or leave.

    Brian Scully (Mike Scully's brother) seemed promising with "Lost Our Lisa," but mucked it up with "Sunday Cruddy Sunday" and "Make Room for Lisa."

    Julie Thacker's (Scully's wife) episodes are just forgettable. Not bad, but not classics either.

    Joel H Cohen (brother of "Flaming Moe's" writer, Robert Cohen) is considered one of the worst writers.

    Stephanie Gillis' (Al Jean's wife) episodes are forgettable too. I don't even remember all the ones she's written.

    Thoughts?

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    Pin Pal B-Boy's Avatar
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    To be fair, Joel has had his moments over the years.
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  3. #3
    Do you want some brownies? Evil Homer's Avatar
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    Jeff Martin has let his daughter write episodes with him.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 714MatchesFound View Post
    But for the boss to give their spouse/sibling a job without an interview or writing sample is kinda messed up.
    What makes you think any of these writers got a job without going through the proper process? Do you even have a notion of what it takes to break into the industry?

    Brian Scully is older than Mike Scully and started as a writer well before him. He struggled for years without proper pension, health insurance or WGA security, long before The Simpsons. Julie Thacker's been a working writer alongside Mike Scully since the 1980s. You can be sure they had plenty of Friends and Seinfeld spec scripts on their resumé before becoming Simpsons producers.

    It's only nepotism if the hired person is a talentless hack or a lazy slob. Neither of which applies to the above writers. And even then, getting a job is not guaranteed. You're assuming getting hired is easy. Let me tell you: it is not. So forgive me for saying they absolutely earned their chance. Writers either start from spec scripts and endless pitching, or they get a break by working as a writers' assistant. Such is the case for Matt Groening's son Abe Groening, who got his start as an assistant on Disenchantment. Family connection may have helped him get the assistant job, but it was his work ethic and willingness to learn from the experienced writers that got him a full-time staff writer job on the show since, finally getting his first episode credit after years of hard work.

  5. #5


    Quote Originally Posted by jbauer View Post
    What makes you think any of these writers got a job without going through the proper process? Do you even have a notion of what it takes to break into the industry?

    Brian Scully is older than Mike Scully and started as a writer well before him. He struggled for years without proper pension, health insurance or WGA security, long before The Simpsons. Julie Thacker's been a working writer alongside Mike Scully since the 1980s. You can be sure they had plenty of Friends and Seinfeld spec scripts on their resumé before becoming Simpsons producers.

    It's only nepotism if the hired person is a talentless hack or a lazy slob. Neither of which applies to the above writers. And even then, getting a job is not guaranteed. You're assuming getting hired is easy. Let me tell you: it is not. So forgive me for saying they absolutely earned their chance. Writers either start from spec scripts and endless pitching, or they get a break by working as a writers' assistant. Such is the case for Matt Groening's son Abe Groening, who got his start as an assistant on Disenchantment. Family connection may have helped him get the assistant job, but it was his work ethic and willingness to learn from the experienced writers that got him a full-time staff writer job on the show since, finally getting his first episode credit after years of hard work.
    You're right. It's incredibly difficult to break in. Perhaps I was ahead of myself for saying "without an interview or writing sample." I didn't know any of that about Brian Scully. I'm glad he's able to retire now (Mike has gone on record for saying that). And I sure they all had spec scripts and struggled for years (Mike and Julie met on one of those previous shows). I'm just saying when it came time for The Simpsons, they didn't have to jump through all the hoops like everyone else. Take Mike Scully for example: after 6 or 7 years in LA, he wrote a Seinfeld spec and Larry Sanders spec. He wrote the latter because he had an interview planned with its show runner. But that guy quit and Scully never got word of it. So he sent that script around town. And that's when it finally landed at Gracie Films. Richard Sakai read it, then David Mirkin read, then he had the interview, and THEN he got hired for the show.

    Julie and Brian most likely didn't have as much trouble. Perhaps getting hired wasn't a guarantee, but it was much easier for them to get a foot in the door at The Simpsons, than it was for Selman, Doyle, Martin, Long (the latter said he flew from in from New York to LA to have lunch with Scully on a Saturday morning).

  6. #6
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    Not a writer of course, but current director Michael Polcino, brother of former director Dominic Polcino, could be considered another case of nepotism on the show.



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