Break out the doughnuts because it's time to celebrate!
The Simpsons, which debuted over 20 years ago, is hitting a major milestone this Sunday: its 500th episode! Can you believe it? 500 episodes! That's a whole lot of "d'ohs," doughnuts and crazy shenanigans courtesy of the Simpson clan.
We caught up with creator Matt Groening, Nancy Cartwright aka the iconic voice of Bart Simspon, and guest star Weird Al Yankovic at the 500th Episode Celebration Party to talk about the achievement, the show's impact on pop culture and Lady Gaga's upcoming guest appearance...
"It is nice to take one moment and go "Yeah! We did it! 500!" Groening says of the milestone episode. "When we did our 200th episode one of the writers said, 'Well, we're halfway done.'" So what is the vibe like in the writers' room after 500 episodes? "It's all bitter, we're just bitter and snacking," Groening jokes.
Yankovic, who has guest starred as himself in two episodes, has very fond memories of the show growing up. "The Simpsons raised me as a small child, made me everything that I am today. The Simpsons is one of my all-time favorite shows, it's iconic," he raves. "I think it has shaped a lot of people's sense of humor, it has been on the air so long. It's such a cultural touchstone and it has commented on pop culture and it has become a large part of pop culture."
And yet, the cast remains pretty grounded about the success and impact of their show. When asked when she knew the show was a hit, Cartwright says, "Probably after 10 years! I'm not kidding because you don't know if it's going to go on, are they going to renew it, do they want it, is it still loved? You get a lot of false information and you can't always believe what you hear in the press. So, for me, this is the best possible gig that I could have ever dreamed to have. I feel like I am living the dream and when we're all together and I get to play in a studio with all these other actors it's just a dream come true."
And just because the show is 500 episodes old doesn't mean it's not keeping up with the times. Case in point: Lady Gaga is set to guest star in an upcoming episode. "The great thing about having Lady Gaga is that she came in a number of times and always with a different getup," Groening says of the pop superstar. "Like she'd leave the room and come back in after a break in a completely new getup. It was unbelievable. The only time that she ever took off her hat was when it was banging into the microphone."
So is there anyone else they'd love to have on the show? "I've always wanted to work with Hugh Jackman. I think that'd be fun, just kind of see what it'd be like to play with Hugh Jackman," Cartwright says. "They'd do a song and dance that'd be fun! A musical! I think that the next movie that they do should actually be a musical and get all these guys: Lady Gaga, Michael Bublé, Josh Groban." We're in!
The Simpsons' 500th episode airs this Sunday at 8 p.m. on Fox.
What's your favorite episode of The Simpsons? How has the show impacted your life? Do you have a favorite guest star? Sound off in the comments!