The Simpsons: Legendary writer John Swartzwelder reflects on show’s darkest episode

Reclusive writer has given extremely rare interview about his time on the show

Jacob Stolworthy@Jacob_Stol
Monday 03 May 2021 16:09
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Reclusive Simpsons writer John Swartzwelder has given a rare insight into his time working on the hit series.

Swartzwelder wrote 59 episodes of the long-running animated show between the years of 1990 and 2003, many of which are considered to be the show’s greatest to date.

Known to be reclusive and private, Swartzwelder granted an interview with The New Yorker in which he opened up about the characters he loved writing for the most and addressed some of his most famous episodes.

One such outing is season eight’s divisive “Homer’s Enemy”, which has long been considered to be the series’ darkest chapter.

First broadcast 24 years ago tomorrow (4 May) in 1997, the episode follows a man named Frank Grimes (voiced by Hank Azaria) who, after being hired as a new employee at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant, grows increasingly angry with Homer’s incompetence and lazy habits.

Despite Homer trying to befriend him, Frank publicly denounces him and attempts to expose his flaws through humiliating him in front of his colleagues. One such plan backfires and, when Homer is celebrated instead, Grimes snaps Falling Down-style and ends up electrocuting himself to death after grabbing a high-voltage wire.

When he was asked about this episode in the interview, Swartzwelder said that Grimes “was asking for it the whole episode”.

“He didn’t approve of our Homer,” the writer said. “He was asking for it, and he got it.”

Swartzwelder also revealed he enjoyed writing for Homer and Mr Burns the most, adding: “Patty and Selma less so.”

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