Ay caramba! On Sunday, animated Fox hit "The Simpsons" will air its 500th episode, a milestone that even executive producer Al Jean is a bit surprised about.http://theclicker.today.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/02/15/10418889-simpsons-series-finale-youve-seen-it-sort-of
When the series first launched in 1989, he had no idea it would become such a long running success. "I'd be lying if I said I'd be here answering questions about episode 500," Jean told reporters during a conference call Wednesday.
But last fall, the end of "The Simpsons" seemed quite possible when Fox said it couldn't afford the show anymore if the voice actors didn't take big pay cuts. A deal was ultimately reached (the stars reportedly had their compensation reduced by 30 percent) for the show to continue through a 25th season for a total of 559 episodes.
But had things not been hashed out with the talent, there was a plan in place for the end of the Simpsons family saga. And in fact, viewers have already seen what would have been the series finale, according to Jean. And that was "Holidays of Future Passed," which aired on Dec. 11. It was an episode that looked ahead and (would have) provided closure to longtime fans with its peek at the family 30 years in the future.
Instead of having that episode serve as a bookend to a successful series, it now stands alone and viewers can expect at least 60 episodes to come before Jean and his team have to come up with another tidy way to end things. "I don't know where the end is. I've jokingly said, 'Why not 1,000 (episodes)? Why not 2,000?" he said.
The executive producer also noted he has no plans yet for the series finale. "No, we spent it! Right now there's no clue," Jean told reporters. "It's not a show like 'Lost' where we're going to hope to answer a fundamental question with our last episode."
23x09 is the ep. I'm going to watch it now and then not watch any new episodes of The Simpsons ever again until the actual final episode.