19
Feb
10

Bill Oakley Interview

In today’s Reading Digest post I put up a link to an interview with Bill Oakley from a television show called “Outlook Portland”.  I couldn’t find the video or a transcript on the show’s blog or on the website of the television station.  Since I’m an idiot it didn’t occur to me to take three seconds and check the world’s largest and most popular video site.  Fortunately, someone from Outlook Portland showed up in the comments and pointed me to the first place I should’ve looked, YouTube. 

(When I was watching it on YouTube.com for some reason it would not go smoothly from one segment to the next so I’ve embedded them all below.) 

Segment 1 wherein Oakley discusses how he got into animation and things that influenced The Simpsons:

 

Segment 2 sees Oakley discuss how he got to the show and the writing process.  Starting at around the 5:15 mark he’s discussing all the steps between writing a joke and seeing the finished product.  The exchange starts around the 5:15 mark but the nut comes forty seconds later:

And that’s the ultimate thing about The Simpsons is that, at least in the old days, you had to laugh at every one of those things or we would cut the joke and rewrite it.  And that’s why it became so arduous and to some extent so good, is because these had to be jokes that would hold up for ten months over repeated viewings to actually make it to the air. 

Now, when he says “at least in the old day” does he mean that that’s how they did it when he was there and he doesn’t know how it’s done now.  Or does he mean that he doesn’t think that’s how they do it now?  The first is a relatively neutral statement, the second is a dig at Zombie Simpsons.  I’m gonna say that it’s both, but judge for yourself: 

 

In Segment 3 Oakley discusses how he thinks Season 3 was one of the pinnacles of comedy and how he and Josh Weinstein consciously tried to pattern Seasons 7 & 8 (when they were running the show) after Season 3.  He also talks about reading internet discussions way back in 1992 and what a pain in the ass it was to get on-line in that primitive time:

 

In Segment 4 we find out why this interview is taking place.  Oakley can do his job from anywhere these days and decided Portland was nicer than Los Angeles:

Many thanks to Outlook Portland, both for steering me in the right direction and making their show available on YouTube. 



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