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The Simpsons showrunner Al Jean says the show nearly ended 10 years ago

The classic animated sitcom almost concluded with season 23.

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The Simpsons almost concluded in 2011, showrunner Al Jean has said.

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The classic animated sitcom – which first aired in the US in 1989 – nearly came to an end in season 23, with Jean revealing that “budgets were being worked out” behind the scenes on how they could “wind down the series tentatively”.

“I don’t go into a season thinking this will be my last… [but] at one point in season 23 we were talking about it and considering making Holidays of Future Passed the last episode, and there was a budget worked out on how we would wind down very, very tentatively but we didn’t and I’m glad we didn’t as there’s been a lot of great episodes since 23,” Jean told RadioTimes.com.

Episode 9 of season 23, Holidays of Futures Passed, featured the Simpson family flash forward 30 years to find themselves in a tech-savvy, futuristic Springfield. Bart and Lisa have children of their own and decide to spend the holidays as one big family at Homer and Marge’s house. The season eventually ended with episode 22, Lisa Goes Gaga.

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Jean, who has been a co-writer of the series for more than 30 years and also serves as executive producer, went on to share his favourite crossover in the history of the show – and disclosed that he wanted to incorporate The Queen’s Gambit into an episode, with Lisa as Anya Taylor-Joy’s chess prodigy Beth Harmon.

“The X-Files one [The Springfield Files in 1997] personally might be one of my favourites, because that’s the one I pitched and I got to fly to Vancouver where they were shooting X-Files at the time, and Chris Carter who created the show, and David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson were there and they were all fantastic,” he continued.

“You could tell how funny they all were – as you can see in their subsequent work – and that they really enjoyed a chance to do something [not so serious]. The X-Files to me was funny too because they were playing it so seriously and a lot of it was pretty silly, although I love the show of course.”

On a Queen’s Gambit crossover, he added: “I think it would have been really interesting to have done The Queen’s Gambit with Lisa… That would have been a little different to have a real ’60s feel and to have an interesting look. I’m no Bobby Fischer but I played chess when I was 10 and remember that world in a low way so that would have cool, that would have been really fun.”

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The show is currently celebrating its third animated short, The Simpsons in Plusaverary, which coincides with Disney Plus Day today (12th November). Described as Springfield’s event of the year, the animated short features the Simpsons hosting a Disney Plus Day party and everyone is on the list… except Homer. D’oh!

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The Simpsons in Plusaversary debuts today, Friday 12th November, exclusively on the streaming service. You can sign up to Disney+ with an annual subscription for £79.90 or £7.99 a month, or take advantage of a special deal for £1.99 for one month until 14th November.