Now, 25 years after he first submitted it, the Apatow-penned episode of The Simpsons will finally air on Jan. 11.
According to an interview with TV Guide, Apatow thinks the episode, entitled “Bart’s New Friend,” contains themes of youth struggling to embrace adulthood, which has been a major recurring idea throughout his work, from The 40-Year-Old Virgin to Knocked Up.
Here’s how Apatow describes the plot of the episode:
“Homer gets hypnotized and thinks he’s a 10-year-old. He has such a great time being Bart’s friend that he doesn’t want to become an adult again.”
Sounds like pure distilled Apatow formula to us. The writer told the magazine that he had written the spec script when the show was just six episodes old.
I sent it in — in fact, I sent it to all my favorite shows — and got no job offers. I also wrote a spec script for the great Chris Elliott show Get a Life. They at least brought me in for a meeting, but that didn’t lead to any work, either. Then, all these years later, [Simpsons executive producer] Al Jean calls and says, “Hey, we’ll make it now!”
Apatow thinks Jean was reminded of the spec script after Apatow discussed it at a recent interview with the L.A. County Museum. In that interview, Apatow described how themes from old Simpsons plots still resonate with him all these years later.
Apatow liked the script so much he’d been carrying it around with him all these years, just in case The Simpsons ever came calling. Lucky for him, and all of us, they did.
But while Apatow told TV Guide that the takeaway was “never give up” and “don’t become a pack rat,” we think the real takeaway is the miracle of The Simpsons itself—and its ability to thrive for two-and-a-half decades in order to give Apatow, at long last, his chance to shine.
Photo via Canadian Film Centre/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)