TV URBAN LEGEND: Kamp Krusty was almost turned into a Simpsons movie.
The Simpsons movie was released in 2007…
However, the idea of doing a Simpsons movie had been gestating for over two decades. It was something that occurred to the producers regularly in the early years of the show. The biggest problem was having the time to produce both a movie and the show itself. The show itself is produced year round (as there is a lot of lead time needed to create episodes). Therefore, there really was not all that much time to expand their production to fit a movie, as well. Plus, of course, having a plot that was worth basing an entire film around was also an issue. However, the time seems to be the biggest problem.
Of the Simpsons producers, James L. Brooks was one of the guys who pushed the idea of doing a movie fairly regularly over the years.
Oddly enough, one episode that Brooks pushed for them to turn into a movie occurred TWENTY-FIVE YEARS before the actual release of the movie.
“Kamp Krusty” was the season premiere of the fourth season of The Simpsons and it aired in the fall of 1992. It is about Lisa and Bart going away to summer camp at a camp endorsed by Krusty the Klown. Naturally, the camp is terrible and they ultimately stage a rebellion and take control of the camp. In one of the most iconic scenes in the show’s history, reporter Kent Brockman visits the camp and goes to meet with the mysterious leader of the rebellion. Homer and Marge are watching at home (Homer has lost weight in his time away from his kids) and Homer repeatedly says, “Please don’t be the boy” until the leader is revealed and, sure enough, it’s Bart (homer’s gut then instantly pops back out)…
The idea of taking the characters out of their familiar surroundings is often a concept that people use for films based on TV series (how many TV films based on TV shows involved the cast going to Europe or somewhere exotic? Tons of them, right? Plus actual films based on TV shows, like Lizzie Maguire: The Movie). So Brooks felt that this concept could have lent itself very well to being a movie.
Showrunner Al Jean, though, had two major problems. One, since the episode was the premiere, they did not have an episode to replace it if it got pulled and two, the episode was actually SHORT on content. They had to expand the Kamp Krusty camp song…
Just to have enough content to fill the half hour time slot.
As Jean noted on the commentary for the episode, “First of all, if we make it into the movie then we don’t have a premiere, and second, if we can’t make 18 minutes out of this episode how are we supposed to make 80?”
So Brooks backed off and the episode instead became a Simpsons classic.
The legend is…
Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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