I’ve been watching The Simpsons on and off (more on than off, if you must know) for two decades now, which just makes me old. Not as old as Al Jean, maybe, but old just the same. And, as is bound to happen in any long-term relationship, we’ve had our ups and downs. But while my viewing loyalty has waxed and waned over the years, I don’t know any show that’s been as consistently smart, original and inventive for nearly as long.
So if you think I’d pass up a chance to sit in on a conference call with executive producer Al Jean as he discussed The Simpsons scavenger hunt, upcoming shows, and Marge’s Playboy centerfold, you’ve been snorting too much donut batter. (What, you didn’t know that Marge was this month’s Playboy cover girl and centerfold? Neither did I, actually; I stopped reading it when my dad’s subscription lapsed in 1979, back in the original bush years).
As you’d expect, the goal of the call was straight promotion, but really do I care? It was Al-Fucking-Jean, baby, and there was no way I’d miss it. And when he dropped the bombshell on us, I was doubly glad I was on the call. Because he actually admitted (and since he didn’t explicitly tell us not to repeat this, I’m giving him up) that it’s not really Marge in the Playboy spread — it’s Marge’s head Photoshopped onto Betty Rubble’s body.
After that shocker, the rest of the information he passed on barely registered (although I’m definitely watching the episode that ties in with the Playboy piece – “The Devil Wears Nada” airs Sunday, November 15): that The Simpsons scavenger hunt would begin next week (find all Simpsons clues in other FOX shows and you might win a trip to LA to visit the show – hit the FOX site for details), or that upcoming guests include Jonah Hill (Superbad), Neve Campbell (crappy witchcraft and horror movies), and the Manning brothers (who we can only hope will voice their parts less woodenly then their commercials), or that Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me) is directing a Simpsons documentary that will air next year.
No, all of that went in one ear and out the other, because all I could think about was getting a look at Betty Rubble naked.