Exploring The Simpsons in WikiLeaks Era with Al Jean

by Reg Seeton

The Simpsons returns to Fox on February 19 to mark the animated show’s 500th episode in which WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange makes a guest appearance.

When The Simpsons airs the episode “At Long Last Leave” this Sunday, Homer and the family are evicted from Springfield and join an off-the-grid community outside of town where they meet an animated Julian Assange. Yes, the real voice of Julian Assange, the controversial WikiLeaks founder who’s currently under house arrest as he appeals his extradition to Sweden. As the 500th episode of The Simpsons continues, Homer and Marge try to sneak back into Springfield where they’re met with hostility from former friends and quickly begin to appreciate their new and more accepting home.

When The Deadbolt caught up with The Simpsons executive producer Al Jean ahead of the 500th episode, Jean reflected on the impact that The Simpsons has had on society given the guest spot of Julian Assange.

“It’s hard to exactly tell, but I think it’s [WikiLeaks] just one of the most recognized – for lack of a better word – literary accomplishments in history. Really, you’re going around the world and someone like Julian Assange says, ‘I’d like to be on The Simpsons,’ is something I never would have conceived of 20 years ago. And the people that we’ve gotten to meet and work with in that time are just unbelievable. It’s really like the kind of people you meet in a dream are the ones we’ve gotten to work with.”

It’s no secret that The Simpsons has been one of the most successful television shows in history. After 20 years and 500 episodes, The Simpsons continues to be a popular animated staple for millions on Sunday night.

After 500 episodes, how does Al Jean look at The Simpsons as a family today as compared to The Simpsons of 1989?

For Jean, as reflected through the guest spot of Assange, it’s more about how The Simpsons have survived the many changes within society.

“I think the world has gotten a little bit more post-apocalyptic in its thinking with a lot of dire prognostications and bleak visions of the future. So I think that the show reflects that a little bit. But we were never that optimistic about big institutions and government, we were always more intersted in the relationship of the family.”

The Simpsons celebrates the milestone 500th episode “At Long Last Leave,” airing Sunday, February 19 at 8:30pm on Fox.


Be Sociable, Share!