Ever since John Swarzwelder retired as a author for The Simpsons in 2003, he has chosen to stay totally out of the public eye. Though he continues to work as a novelist, he has excused himself from each type of Simpsonian obligation, refusing to look on DVD commentaries and by no means granting interviews — till now. This week, The New Yorker has printed the first public interview with Swarzwelder, carried out over electronic mail by author Mike Sacks, to debate his iconic profession and most indelible contributions to the long-running Fox show.
Swarzwelder wrote 59 episodes of The Simpsons, and to many followers of the sequence, they represent a few of the best episodes – the Golden Era, if you’ll – of the show. Swarzwelder is chargeable for gems (which he notes as being his personal private favorites) like the season 5 classics “Bart Gets an Elephant,” season six’s “Homie the Clown,” and season eight’s “Homer’s Enemy” and “Homer vs. the Eighteenth Amendment.”
In the dialog with Sacks, Swarzwelder particularly addresses “Homer’s Enemy,” which is likely to be one among the extra polarizing, and undoubtedly one among the darker episodes of the sequence. The episode encompasses a new co-worker at Homer’s job at the nuclear energy plant, named Frank Grimes, who loathes Homer’s laziness. In the technique of mocking Homer and calling him out for his incompetence, Grimes by chance electrocutes himself. If Grimes was meant to be the anti-Homer, an upstanding citizen who cared about his work, Swarzwelder has no sympathy for him.
“Grimey was asking for it the entire episode. He did not approve of our Homer. He was asking for it, and he obtained it,” Swarzwelder says.
As for Homer, a personality that Swarzwelder says he loved writing, all he needed to do to embody Homer’s spirit was think about that he was a canine. “He is an enormous speaking canine. One second he is the saddest man in the world, as a result of he is simply misplaced his job, or dropped his sandwich, or by chance killed his household. Then, the subsequent second, he is the happiest man in the world, as a result of he is simply discovered a penny—perhaps underneath one among his no longer alive relations. He’s not really a canine, after all—he is smarter than that—however when you write him as a canine you will by no means go mistaken.”
Swarzwelder, who has stayed out of the media, with the exception of the occasional tweet to advertise his self-published detective novels, says that whereas he is “happy that folks nonetheless like” his episodes, he solely ever wrote them to make himself and his co-writers chortle, saying, “Write what makes you chortle. At least you will get amusing out of it.”