Groening named 2012 AWC Animation Writing Award honoree; Writers add their two cents.
(December 7, 2012)
Photo: Michael Jones
As creator of Futurama and The Simpsons, the longest-running scripted show in history, now in its 24th season, Matt Groening changed the face of primetime television. Groening was recently named this year’s recipient of the Animation Writing Award, presented by the WGAW’s Animation Writers Caucus.
In honoring the prolific writer-producer-cartoonist who introduced Homer, Bart and Professor Farnsworth into the national lexicon, Groening’s fellow writers – David X. Cohen and Patric M. Verrone (Futurama) and Al Jean, Mike Reiss and Mike Scully (The Simpsons) – sat down with WriteNow to talk about... well, Matt.
Tell us something surprising about Matt that most folks don't know.
Scully: His favorite television show of all time is Designing Women. He'll deny it and pretend he's never even seen the show, but it's the absolute truth.
Cohen: He's never seen a single episode of Star Trek.
Verrone: Matt will never say no to an autograph request. Now that people know that, I suspect it will no longer be true.
Reiss: He has an enormous collection of bootleg Simpsons merchandise. He loves the stuff.
Give us a Matt moment – the funniest thing you ever heard Matt Groening say or do.
Cohen: Here's a typical "Matt Moment.” One day I saw him in the office wearing a suit and tie, which is very rare:
David: "Very nice. What's going on?"
Matt: "I'm going to the Webby Awards."
David: "Were you nominated for something?"
Matt: "No, I’m a judge."
David: "What did you judge?"
Matt: "Nothing. I forgot."
Jean: Matt proposed the idea of the Simpson Movie (a town with too much pig crap) and it was an instant sale.
Verrone: Matt is amazingly funny all the time but the quintessential Matt moment in Futurama history occurred when, in our episode "The Late Philip J. Fry," Professor Farnsworth had just sent a forward-only time machine through the entire history of the universe (which happens to be a continuous loop - who knew?) and everything was about to return to normal when Matt simply announced, "We should do it twice." That scene alone probably won us the Emmy.
Which Simpsons character is Matt most like – and why?
Scully: I think Matt is equal parts Homer and Bart. In fact, I've seen him trying to strangle himself. He still thinks like the smart-ass ten year old who loves to question authority, but also is the beleaguered Dad who doesn't want to hear it.
Jean: I would say the character "Matt Groening" in the episode My Big Fat Geek Wedding.
Reiss: Matt is really like Homer with a genius IQ -- he seems to enjoy life immensely. You'd never guess how merry the creator of Life in Hell is.
Fill in the blank: Matt Groening is great at what he does because…
Jean: He has one of the most original and creative minds of the 20th Century. In the 21st Century, still pretty talented.
Cohen: He's open to all ideas, even very stupid ones. But not extremely stupid ones.
Verrone: He genuinely loves doing it. Also, he limits himself to only doing things he's great at and leaving everything else to the rest of us.
If you wanted to suck up to Matt Groening, what would you say or do?
Jean: I would not send him questions like these.
Cohen: Since Matt is always trying to class up our act, I would make his day by writing a Futurama episode with no puking, urinating or diarrhea jokes, and at most three uses of the word "ass.”
Reiss: Glad to see you're not blowing your millions on fancy clothes.
Scully: I would tell him he's won some sort of phony-baloney Writers Guild Lifetime Achievement Award.
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