Legendary Simpsons writer reveals that Homer was written as if he were a ‘big dog’

Greg Evans
Monday 03 May 2021 14:09
Showbiz

In a piece of news that would have taken most die-hard Simpsons fans by surprise, The New Yorker published an interview on 2nd May with the legendary but elusive, John Swartzwelder, one of the most celebrated writers in the show’s history.

Swartzwelder wrote 59 episodes of the much loved animated series in its golden period from the early 1990s to the mid-2000s.

Some of the episodes he penned include critically acclaimed instalments such as ‘Homer at the Bat,’ ‘Itchy, Scratchy and Marge,’’Radioactive Man,’’Rosebud’ and many many others.

He also created several long-lasting characters on the show including mobster Fat Tony, Dr Nick Riviera, Cletus and the jailbird Snake. Swartzwelder also made six cameos in the show himself.

In a lengthy discussion with Mike Sacks, Swartzwelder, who had reportedly never given an interview during his career, the 72-year-old talked about his comedy and writing influences, the demanding conditions of working on The Simpsons and his own writing practice which included an anecdote about purchasing two diner booths for his own house as that was his favourite environment to do his work.

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The entire interview is well worth a read for any Simpsons aficionado including revelations that Mr Burns was his favourite character to write for and Patty and Selma being his least favourite.

During the interview, Sacks asks him about something which fellow Simpsons writer Mike Reiss once told NPR in that Homer was written like he was a big excitable dog.

Swartzwelder confirmed that to be true adding: “Yes, he is a big talking dog. One moment he’s the saddest man in the world, because he’s just lost his job, or dropped his sandwich, or accidentally killed his family.

“Then, the next moment, he’s the happiest man in the world, because he’s just found a penny—maybe under one of his dead family members. He’s not actually a dog, of course—he’s smarter than that—but if you write him as a dog you’ll never go wrong.”

Suddenly so many things about The Simpsons and Homer now make sense.

For more fascinating tidbits like that and really great advice, we’d recommend you read The New Yorker interview with Swartzwelder.

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