With animation, because you can draw anything and do anything and have the characters do whatever you want, the tendency is to be very loose with the boundaries and the rules.
It's a funny show. The characters are surprisingly likable, given how ugly they are. We've got this huge cast of characters that we can move around. And over the last few seasons, we've explored some of the secondary characters' personal lives a bit more.
I have less to do with 'The Simpsons' every season, but I stick my nose in here and there. Basically, it's just trying to keep the characters consistent and making sure the show has a soul.
Since I was there in the very beginning, I know the history of the characters. So, I make comments about the tone and sometimes remind the writers that we've done that before.
The tendency in comedy is to have a character who's stupid get more stupid, because you're trying to top yourself and not just repeat.
Back in high school, I wrote a novel about a character named Bart Simpson. I thought it was a very unusual name for a kid at the time. I had this idea of an angry father yelling 'Bart,' and Bart sounds kind of like bark - like a barking dog.
I basically drew my own family. My father's name is Homer. My mother's name is Margaret. I have a sister Lisa and another sister Maggie, so I drew all of them. I was going to name the main character Matt, but I didn't think it would go over well in a pitch meeting, so I changed the name to Bart.
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