'The Simpsons Guy': Rich Appel and Steve Callaghan Tease the FAMILY GUY-THE SIMPSONS Crossover - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

‘The Simpsons Guy’: Rich Appel and Steve Callaghan Tease the FAMILY GUY-THE SIMPSONS Crossover

September 28, 2014 by  


FAMILY GUY and THE SIMPSONS’ highly-anticipated crossover finally airs tonight, and while fans of the shows may have been waiting for this for years, there was a good reason to delay the Simpsons and Griffins from meeting: “You couldn’t do a crossover like this until FAMILY GUY had become an institution itself,” FAMILY GUY executive producer Rich Appel pointed out to a small group of reporters earlier this week.

And, yes, while “The Simpsons Guy” is a crossover hour, this is, technically, an episode of FAMILY GUY.

“It’s an episode of FAMILY GUY,” FAMILY GUY executive producer Steve Callaghan explained. “It’s a premiere of FAMILY GUY. And [THE SIMPSONS producers] very kindly, and generously let us invade Springfield.”

In “invading” Springfield, the crossover expanded far beyond the two central families meeting — a whole bunch of Springfield regulars pop up in “The Simpsons Guy.”

“Everyone was available [for the episode] except for Harry [Shearer (who voices Ned/Principal Skinner, etc)],” Appel noted. “We went to the internet and we all knew some, but we went, who are Dan Castellaneta’s characters? And we printed them out. What are Hank Azaria’s characters, what are Julie Kavner’s characters? The nice thing was even though Harry wasn’t available, we did a gag in the courtroom where you could see [his characters]. I think we counted — I think there are 25 speaking parts for SIMPSONS characters in the episode. But [we] used the ones that we love and the ones that you guys love. And sometimes, it’s just, ‘We have to find a way to use Krusty,’ and there’s a chase and [it fits in there]. [But] I’m not sure we honored the exact layout of Springfield.”

“That was part of the fun, too: not only including all of THE SIMPSONS characters, but THE SIMPSONS landmarks that have become familiar,” Callaghan added.

Since it was a FAMILY GUY episode, the show’s creative team took control of what happened, with the blessing of THE SIMPSONS team. “We can’t stress enough how generous they were,” Appel enthused.

“Not every SIMPSONS moment is going to work on FAMILY GUY and not every FAMILY GUY moment is going to work on THE SIMPSONS,” Appel continued. “But obviously you can blend the two…We talked to [THE SIMPSONS creator] Matt [Groening] and [executive producers] Al [Jean] and Jim [Brooks] at the very, very beginning, when we just had the idea for the crossover. And then we broke the story, pitched it to [FAMILY GUY creator/star] Seth [MacFarlane]. Seth had some things — and it should be said, before we even spent that much time breaking the story, and I think originally, the guy who ended up writing this episode, Patrick Meighan, is one of our co-executive producers had the idea [for idea that flares up the feud between Peter and Homer]…and we knew enough that [we should] run it by Seth. And to his enormous credit, he laughed and said that’s funny, and as the central conceit of the show, run with it. Then we broke the story and pitched it to Al Jean, and…he accepted the story. They always said, ‘Let us read the script.’ It was never script approval, it was just let us read the script. And literally had two line notes on an hour episode…they were very generous. And knew we’d have to let Peter take a couple of shots at THE SIMPSONS, too.”

(For his part, Jean told reporters on a recent conference call, “Well, I can tell you this: I’ve seen it, I’ve seen the whole episode, and I loved it. That’s probably my strongest recommendation. When Rich Appel, who works on FAMILY GUY, approached us, Rich had also worked for us and I’ve known him a long time. A really great writer.  Him working on it, I thought, well, it’s going to be great. You know, they all did a great job, him and Steve Callaghan, and of course, Seth McFarlane. I can only say – I don’t want to give anything away, I don’t want to reveal the jokes in it – but I thought it was actually sweet, and it made me laugh multiple, multiple times, so I’m glad it exists. If they sold a DVD of it, I’d buy it.”)

When it came time for the actual production of the episode, there was a bit of geeking out by all those involved.

“So many of the crew, and especially the writers who work on our show are such huge fans of THE SIMPSONS from long ago,” Callaghan noted. “So it was like having rock stars come and visit our office.”

“Every time one of them had their first line as a character [during the table read for the episode], it literally got applause in the room,” Appel added. “It’s flattering and very nice that Dan and Hank were there because they were fans of the show. They were happy to do it. And really game at every stage — coming in for ADR, Dan came in literally to do the effects for the fight scene….just watching Dan [make the Homer noises], every sound he made was funny.”

And after spending the past two years working on this, the producers are relieved it came out the way they hoped it would.

“The main thing I want known is that we’re really proud of it,” Appel said. “Steve and I and the writer and [FAMILY  GUY director] Peter Shin and the animators and the production team worked really hard on it. And we’re proud of it. And it’s a cliche to say, but it’s a labor of love. People who worked on this episode love these shows. And I’d say if you’re a fan of THE SIMPSONS, you’ll really like it, if you’re a fan of FAMILY GUY, you’ll really like it. And if you’re a fan of both, then my God, your head will explode.”

“The Simpsons Guy” airs tonight at 9 PM on Fox.


FAMILY GUY-THE SIMPSONS Crossover Photos: ‘The Simpsons Guy’
Alex Borstein and Yeardley Smith Preview THE SIMPSONS-FAMILY GUY Crossover

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