The Simpsons shatters major TV milestone
THE Simpsons is about to break yet another record - surpassing Gunsmoke for the most episodes of a prime-time scripted series in TV history.
In the 636th episode (airing this weekend), Homer enters his car in a demolition derby. But Grampa gets deathly ill - and, believing he's about to die, reveals a shocking secret to Homer about their past.
"We never dreamt we'd get this far," series executive producer Al Jean said of the record-setting instalment, which will allude to Gunsmoke at the beginning of the episode.
"After we aired 635 this past Sunday, I was pretty confident. I thought if we made it would be a marvellous tribute to the writers, animators and cast who work so hard; and particularly to the wonderful fans who've stuck with us all these years."
While Jean claimed he's never seen Gunsmoke, he did point out that actress Cloris Leachman appeared on both that series (which ran from 1955-75) and on The Simpsons (she played Mrs. Glick in the episode Three Men and a Comic Book).
"Homer has watched Gunsmoke but he was asleep," he said.
While this week's episode is the record-breaker, Jean said the staff "decided to put all the 'bells and whistles'" into last week's episode, which tied the Gunsmoke record.
"The Simpsons went to New Orleans … there's a brilliant sequence of Homer eating at every restaurant in New Orleans," he says. "The record-breaker on Sunday is a small touching story reminiscent of the early seasons, with a couple of Easter eggs for fans."
Jean was asked if he and the staff celebrated the big milestone episode.
"I enjoyed a free turkey sandwich at the sound mix," he said.
The Simpsons, now in its 29th season, premiered in December 1989.
This story originally appeared in NY Post and is republished here with permission.