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Long before Judd Apatow became a household name scoring multiple Emmy Awards and nominations for Golden Globe and Academy Awards he was a young comedian hoping to start a career in TV writing. After being told that the way into the industry was to do spec scripts, Apatow sat down to pen an episode of one of his favorite shows The Simpsons.
That was 25 years ago, when Apatow sat down to create the episode entitled, "Bart’s New Friend" and now, it is finally going to be brought to television. Apatow recently explained his writing process all those years ago:
"Only six episodes of The Simpsons had aired at that point but I tried to copy the style and did a spec script where Homer gets hypnotized and thinks he's a 10-year-old. He has such a great time being Bart's friend that he doesn't want to become an adult again. I sent it in — in fact, I sent it to all my favorite shows — and got no job offers. I also wrote a spec script for the great Chris Elliott show Get a Life. They at least brought me in for a meeting, but that didn't lead to any work, either. Then, all these years later, [Simpsons executive producer] Al Jean calls and says, ‘Hey, we'll make it now!’"
Luckily, Apatow held onto the script all these years, and recently in an interview at the L.A. County Museum he mentioned the old spec script and his fascination in how difficult it is to grow up. He told TV Guide in regards to that theme:
"In fact, everything I've done on film and TV is pretty much based on my Simpsons idea. [Laughs] I can't shake it. Parts of that interview hit the press and I guess Al read about it. Better late than never."
In 25 years, Apatow has had quite the career. From Freaks and Geeks to The 40-Year-Old Virgin to Knocked Up and the list goes on, Apatow has proved to be one of the industry’s leading funny-man directors and it’s no surprise that The Simpsons was finally willing to give him a shot. He’s proved himself.
While Apatow admits that the script was pretty rough, he added that he did have funny instincts back then, so there was some good stuff. But Simpsons executive producer Al Jean and staff had to do their magic on it to bring it up to their own requirements. And that didn’t upset Apatow. When asked if he had a problem with his jokes being rewritten he answered:
"Not by this bunch. They know their business. They were very collaborative and very respectful but everything they wanted to do was so much better than anything I could think up. They turned my messy little effort into Cinderella."
Apatow is being humble though. Maybe at 22 he wasn’t the stud he is today, but we’re sure he helped tweak it a bit as well. The episode, "Bart’s New Friend" will air on January 11 on Fox and we can’t wait to take a peek at the young Judd Apatow’s take on the cult-classic cartoon comedy.