I've read a few of his books as well, and while I haven't counted the rate feels similar (of course, depending on how fast you read).
That pace of humor is both prodigious and after excessive analysis a tad tiring. But a Swartzwelder episode isn't a thing to dissect, it's a thing to behold. It's really some of the best comedy every produced, hyperbole be damned. Just take a minor key episode like "Whacking Day"-- it manages to hit this incredibly assured series of notes. It's both completely ridiculous (a town holiday to beat snakes) and at the same time a cutting satire about how people dogmatically stick to tradition. It's completely relevant today, even though many of the younger folks watching might not know who Barry White is. And that's kind of the secret sauce-- the longevity and levity are intimately tied in a way that other comedies (or even the Simpsons of today) can't quite match.
Many of the younger folks watching when the episode first aired in 1993 probably didn't know who Barry White was, either. His hits were from 20 years prior. Even if you didn't know who he was though, he works in the episode because his distinctive voice is written into the story & used as a plot point. He doesn't just make a cameo appearance that any random celebrity could have made.
Keep in mind, this is a show that made Rory Calhoun references in 1995!
It's funny on so many levels, and it requires an amazingly esoteric bit of knowledge in a time before it was easy to find that kind of stuff on the internet.
I remember seeing the episode and understanding the joke... it was just meant to make Mr. Burns appear *really* old.
Maybe I just had a ton of useless/esoteric knowledge as a kid -- that's likely too.
Not only because I understood the cultural references or occasional 'adult' jokes more, but also because of the layers to a joke.
Like many Pixar movies, the same gag can make you laugh in different ways as a kid, as a know-it-all young adult, and as a middle aged person.
Obviously that is really hard to do and its fallen out of style.
This made me think about what The Simpsons, or any show, really is. For a show with a relatively thin premise, it can really be anything the writing team wants it to be. Homer at the Bat might as well be from a different series from The Bonfire Of The Manatees. The cast is the same, so the different writing team is really felt.
Yes. Thanks to the deal [executive producer] Jim Brooks had, Fox executives couldn’t meddle in “The Simpsons” in any way, though we did get censor notes.
I guess Fox had to take some sort of risks when they were a nascent network (especially before they had the NFL). It was probably an exciting situation for the show runners to be in. I don't they could've gotten such a deal at a more established station.
“Moaning Lisa” was an episode idea for the show Taxi.
If I remember my Simpsons DVD commentary correctly one of the Simpson’s writers was fresh off of Taxi and had this idea for an episode for a long time, that didn’t catch on for that show, so it was remolded and rewritten for the Simpsons.
Of course The Simpsons is also just really funny. Family Guy/South Park are too, although I find that Family Guy resorts to shock humor far too much and South Park often repeats the same joke for the entire episode ad nauseum.
King Of The Hill comes to mind as well.
Worked out pretty well, though I don't have any awards to show for it.
Army Man Magazine: https://armymans.tumblr.com/
It was often speculated that Swartzwelder was the inspiration for Swanson in Parks and Rec, but Michael Schur denied it. Though, Greg Daniels was the one who worked with Swartzelder while at The Simpsons, so I don't know if Schur's denial holds water considering it would have been Daniels' who intended it.
They do look and sound strikingly similar.
>Since writing is very hard and rewriting is comparatively easy and rather fun, I always write my scripts all the way through as fast as I can, the first day, if possible, putting in crap jokes and pattern dialogue—“Homer, I don’t want you to do that.” “Then I won’t do it.” Then the next day, when I get up, the script’s been written. It’s lousy, but it’s a script. The hard part is done. It’s like a crappy little elf has snuck into my office and badly done all my work for me, and then left with a tip of his crappy hat. All I have to do from that point on is fix it. So I’ve taken a very hard job, writing, and turned it into an easy one, rewriting, overnight. I advise all writers to do their scripts and other writing this way.
That's a good reminder that can be applied across domains. even perhaps engineering.