Structurally, The Simpsons is like a sitcom, but culturally, it’s become an institution, expected to comment on the times. How important or unimportant is being topical?
AJ: One little criticism we got was after we depicted Bush the First in a very whimsical, Dennis the Menace–type way, that we didn’t do that much for George W. Bush when he was president. People said, “Oh, you’re ignoring the issues of the day.” But watching those episodes when George Bush was president, I’m certainly glad he wasn’t popping up every two minutes.
DM: A policy that I always try to follow — and that really everybody does— is that you’re really trying to write something that’s going to be funny 20 years from the time you write it. We’re just interested in that syndication money. It’s big money; you don’t want to screw around. [Laughs.] We always think of not dating the show. And therefore it can become timeless. And that’s what classic things are. It’s not fun to see something 20 years later that’s laden with references that no longer work.
via Vulture via MediaREDEF.