Judd Apatow, the reigning bro-man-king of Hollywood comedy, has ushered in a wave of some of our most gifted and ubiquitous comic actors. He’s arguably made careers for the likes of Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill and Lena Dunham, but once upon a time, Judd was just like you and me. Okay, not really, but the comedic poet of male regression behind “Knocked Up,” “Superbad,” “Girls” and more was once a young and hungry screenwriter who churned out specs in hopes of breaking into television. One of the shows young Apatow aspired to write for was “The Simpsons,” not surprisingly, and now two decades later, Fox has announced their plans to air Apatow’s once-rejected ‘Simpsons’ script from 1990.
Actually, this is not Apatow’s first contribution to the world of “The Simpsons”: he just recently played a smarmy version of himself on the show (alongside frequent collaborators Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd) and, in an upcoming episode, the “Freaks and Geeks” creator will receive his first writing credit for the legendary animated series. The episode, which was given the go-ahead by producer Al Jean after he heard Apatow mention it in an archival interview from the L.A. County Museum (and, certainly, after Apatow’s clout and cultural influence increased) is called “Bart’s New Friend.” In the episode, Simpson paterfamilias Homer undergoes hypnosis and enters a dream state where he believes he is ten years old. He subsequently becomes the best friend of his hell-raising son Bart and, reveling in the glorious chaos of his lost youth, realizes he doesn’t want to go back to being an adult.
The themes of regression, adolescent longing and hopelessly arrested development that have run as a thread through Mr. Apatow’s work may have even taken root with this script, and he even seems to think so himself: “I have always been fascinated with how difficult it is to grow up. In fact, everything I’ve done on film and TV is pretty much based on my ‘Simpsons’ idea. I can’t shake it,” he told TV Guide.
No matter what your opinion on his cultural output may be – and in more recent years, with fare like “This is 40” and “Girls” in the popular stratosphere, majority opinion has been more divergent – there’s no denying Apatow’s place in the comedic pantheon. He’s paid his dues and worked for and with some of the smartest, funniest people in the business. We know we’re definitely intrigued by his upcoming, Amy Schumer-starring “Trainwreck” (which recently just made our 100 Most Anticipated Films of 2015). He’s also, endearingly, willing to be the butt of the joke, as evidenced by his damning self-portrait on “The Simpsons” and his willingness to admit that the show’s vicious dig at “The Cable Guy” is actually really, really funny.
Check out a script excerpt from “Bart’s New Friend” below via The Daily Beast which has references to Apatow’s films added by “The Simpsons” writers, along with a clip featuring a Simpsonized Apatow.