THE SIMPSONS: Al Jean Previews the Ambitious 'Treehouse of Horror XXXI' - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

THE SIMPSONS: Al Jean Previews the Ambitious ‘Treehouse of Horror XXXI’

October 12, 2020 by  

The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror XXXI interview

THE SIMPSONS: Don’t miss the annual terror-themed trilogy, including a frightening look at the 2020 election, parodies of Pixar and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and a ninth birthday Lisa just can’t get over in the Halloween-themed “Treehouse of Horror XXXI” episode of THE SIMPSONS airing Sunday, Oct. 18 (8:00-8:31 PM ET/PT) on FOX. THE SIMPSONS © 2020 by Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.

THE SIMPSONS gets in the Halloween spirit with its annual “Treehouse of Horror” episode on Sunday, October 18.

After kicking off with a timely election-themed intro, “we did a TOY STORY story in CGI, and the animation is fantastic,” THE SIMPSONS executive producer Al Jean teases. “This episode is directed by Steven [Dean] Moore. We’ve had great looking episodes all year and the TOY STORE [homage] is right on of the money; really beautiful, really, really cool.”

“Then we have a SPIDER-VERSE parody and then one of those EDGE OF TOMORROW, RUSSIAN DOLL kind of plots where Lisa keeps dying and then coming back to life, trying to figure out how to get out of the loop,” he continues. “So we thought the stories were really interesting, really diverse and I think the writer, Julia Prescott, did a great job with the show. It was just really fun; every part of it to write, we’re really happy about.”

In the more than three decades of making “Treehouse” episodes, “very little” has changed in the process of how they’ve crafted the iconic installments, Jean says.

“Originally, we used to have a different writer do each segment. We have one writer now who does the first draft, but everyone contributes. We go through dozens of ideas trying to figure out which ones would be good. And this year, especially, I think we happened on four that we were really happy with. After we finally get the ideas, we just rewrite the stories again and again. We read them with [executive producer] Jim Brooks and [creator] Matt Groening and the cast for 3D animation process with rewrites.”



But the team does have a little bit of extra time to craft the episodes compared to the show’s other installments.

“Basically, we have wardrobe changes for every segment,” Jean points out. “That’s a lot of design time, a lot of planning. What we do is we read the ‘Treehouse’ [episode] a year in advance, so we actually have a full year of production time. We just read the ‘Treehouse’ that will air next year. [But] the budget opens up, everybody works really hard, the directors always hit a home run. Everybody knows that people are watching and ‘Treehouse’ is always something we take a lot of pride in.”

Another point of pride for Jean? “Now we have one Halloween show for every day in October, 31. [Fans can watch] one a day without repeating. I’m very happy with [that milestone].”

THE SIMPSONS, Sundays, 8/7c, Fox

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