Matt Selman interview: ‘The Simpsons’ executive producer
In selecting which episode of “The Simpsons” would be their submission for this year’s Emmys, executive producer Matt Selman obviously wanted something that would stand out and this ultimately lead them to choosing “Pixelated and Afraid.” “It started from this sitcomy place of the kids are worried mom and dad aren’t romantic enough. At the end of this, we’re showing a new, deeper side of the Homer and Marge love story,” he tells Gold Derby during our recent webchat (watch the exclusive video interview above). One of the keys to how the episode works was embracing the idea that just because a couple doesn’t want to try new things or isn’t traditionally romantic, doesn’t mean that they have stopped loving each other. “There’s deep romance in just watching bad reality television together while eating Cheetos. I know people were really moved by it. You can do a ‘Simpsons’ episode that makes people feel human emotions, so we bet on human emotions for the Emmy!”
“The Simpsons” has a lasting track record at the Emmys that few programs outside of the variety categories can claim. The show has claimed the prize for Best Animated Program a record-setting 11 times, which is more than double the number of wins achieved by the next closest program, “South Park.” The show won the category in 1990-91, 1995, 1997-98, 2000-01, 2003, 2006, 2008 and 2019. The show has also collected 23 additional trophies including 16 for voice acting. Selman has worked on “The Simpsons” since 1997 when he joined the show as a staff writer. He eventually rose to become an executive producer on the show and in 2020 became the co-showrunner along with Al Jean. He’s won six Emmys for his work on the show.
Selman came to the show as a longtime fan of the program and had already had numerous jokes and episodes that he ranked as his favorites from the shows first eight seasons. One of the most memorable ones for him came in the first season episode, “The Call of the Simpsons.” “They trapped the rabbit in the trap and it just goes flying into the distance. You’re like, oh, they just killed that rabbit in a really surprising way. That’s dark and funny and you never saw that coming.” But sometimes it’s the unassuming episodes that he finds to be some of the most memorable. “The utter simplicity of ‘Homer at the Bat.’ Could we ever do a show like that today that just is so elegant and beautiful and simple and funny, and with so many baseball players?”
Winning at the Emmys has provided him with a lot of great memories and one of his favorites didn’t even happen inside the auditorium where the ceremony was occurring. It happened outside because Selman arrived late to the ceremony. “As I was getting out of my car to go into the building, I see a bunch of furious ‘King of the Hill’ writers leaving the building. I’m like, ‘Hey guys! How’s it going?’ And they’re like, screw you!” Selman adds that he loves all the writers from “King of the Hill” and he’s done the same when he’s been in their situation, but still maintains that was one of the most fun ways to find out he had won.