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The Guys Who Go With the 'D'oh!'

A current drawing of the Simpsons family. (By Matt Groening -- Twentieth Century Fox)

"And then I abandoned that idea," Groening says.

"Some secrets are best kept secret," Jean says.

"But we came up with a better identity for Krusty," Brooks says.

Silverman: "Yeah, that he is Jewish and his father was Jackie Mason."

Jean: "With substance abuse issues."

Silverman: "Write what you know."

Question: So you're just making it up as you go along?

"We're not only making it up from week to week," Groening says, "we were making it up scene to scene. I was drawing on animation paper as quickly as I could and my expectation was that professional animators would clean it up and make it slick and good. And that didn't happen." And so the classic simplicity of the Simpsons animation style was born.

When they went from the Ullman shorts to the Fox half-hour show, again the Simpsons faced looming disaster. The creative team worked on the series for eight months. "Everything was going great," Brooks says. "But we'd never seen any of the animation." The episode originally scheduled to be the first of the series in 1989 came back from the animation shop and they screened it at Brooks's office.

"It was terrible," Groening says.

"They were ugly," Brooks says. Homer, Marge, the kids. "They were repellent."

They sat there, stunned. "It was like a bomb went off," says Brooks. "We didn't think we had a show."

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