Al Jean, the long-serving showrunner of The Simpsons, has refuted claims made by composer Danny Elfman that the series was on the brink of finishing.
In an interview with the Metro, Jean said: “No disrespect to Mr. Elfman but we are producing season 32 starting next year and have no plans to end after that.”
Elfman, who wrote the cartoon’s iconic theme song back in 1989, had recently revealed that “from what I’ve heard, [The Simpsons] is coming to an end”, and that the show is supposedly in its last year. But Jean has since poured cold water over the suggestion.
Jean worked on The Simpsons during the first four years of the show, at a time when it was becoming an all-consuming pop culture sensation. After leaving to create his own series, The Critic, Jean returned to the show in 1998, and became sole showrunner in 2001, at the start of its 13th season – a position he has held ever since.
While Jean’s insistence that there’s no end in sight may come as music to many Simpsons fans’ ears, for many others, it is quite the opposite. When The Simpsons first aired in the 1990s, it broke new ground for adult animation, becoming a cultural phenomenon and winning widespread acclaim for its creativity and invention.
But, in the years since, the quality of the show is widely regarded to have dipped. Repeated plot lines and egregious celebrity cameos have led some fans to refer to it as ‘Zombie Simpsons’ – a walking shell of its former self.
When the series was bought by Disney as part of the larger Fox merger earlier this year, some people thought this would be a convenient opportunity to bring the show to a close.
With the core cast all 30 years older than when The Simpsons began, and several having now passed away, such as Russi Taylor, Phil Hartman and Marcia Wallace, many feel the end is nigh for the former sensation.
If Jean’s comments are anything to go buy, however, we might not have to say goodbye for a while.