Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
At today’s TCA panel on Fox’s new animated series Napoleon Dynamite, executive producer Mike Scully, also a longtime producer of The Simpsons, joked that the creative team behind Dynamite should be called “Two Mormons and an Atheist Productions.” That’s because Scully joins Jared Hess and wife Jerusha, the creative couple behind the 2004 cult film, in producing the TV series. The Hesses are Mormons; Scully is not. Although the long-running The Simpsons has a reputation for occasionally raunchy humor, Scully said he sees no conflict in working on Dynamite, which will maintain the movie’s clean, PG-rated family tone. The film’s original cast will voice the characters, including Jon Heder as Napoleon. “I learned on The Simpsons that the raunchy joke is the easiest one, or the pop culture joke,” Scully said. “It’s always fun if you can exercise another part of your brain. When I saw the film, I was laughing so hard I didn’t realize the movie was rated PG. We’ve probably had three or four differences on jokes, but no one is storming out of the room.”
Jerusha Hess noted that the show would in fact be a family show but also cracked: “Have you noticed how many farts are on our show?” Said Hess during the session: “For me the movie was kind of a live-action cartoon anyway. The transition made a lot of sense to us.” After the session, Scully said it took so long to get from the 2004 movie to the 2012 animated series because Jared Hess “had to go through the process of deciding, do we do a sequel to the film? It was several years later he decided he didn’t want to do that.” At that point, Scully said, Jared Hess approached him and they met for lunch to discuss. “I had never met him before that,” Scully said.
Also after the session, Scully talked about the longevity of The Simpsons, which will air its 500th episode February 19. “It may outlive all of us,” he said. “We stopped predicting the end of the series 12 years ago.”
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