Was This Show the Closest We’ll Ever Get to a Live-Action ‘Simpsons’?

One ‘Simpsons’ fan makes the case that NBC came the closest to capturing the spirit of ‘The Simpsons’ with this sitcom
Was This Show the Closest We’ll Ever Get to a Live-Action ‘Simpsons’?

The real world may never be ready for The Simpsons to spill over into our dimension — especially after they closed that erotic cakes shop.

Thanks to the magic of animation, Matt Groening and The Simpsons were able to create an expansive world full of over-the-top comedy potential on a reasonable budget. All-time great episodes like “Marge vs. The Monorail” and “Deep Space Homer” would have been a nightmare to produce on a live-action project, but, with the power of outsourced animation and South Korean creatives, the incredibly bonkers storylines that made Golden Age Simpsons a masterpiece didn’t require expensive sets or costly sound stages.

What, though, if you took the over-the-top silliness and touching sincerity of The Simpsons and created a live-action show that was literally set in a TV studio? According to one comedy fan, you’d get a series that looks a lot like Tina Fey’s 30 Rock

In a discussion-starting Reddit thread, user BeepBeepGoJeep made the case that “30 Rock is the closest any show has been to a live-action version of The Simpsons.”

“Comedy is obviously subjective, but for me, this was the best of the NBC sitcom,” BeepBeepGoJeep began. “Rapid fire jokes all in 22 minutes, a James L. Brooks level of sincerity, particularly in Liz Lemon’s love life, and a whole assembly of crazy side characters and gags that only Springfield matches.”

Beyond the tone and pacing of both shows, 30 Rock and The Simpsons each boasted the absolute best writers’ rooms of their respective generations, and both have had alumni explode in popularity following their time on the series. The Simpsons, of course, had writers like Conan O’Brien continue on to become some of the most respected and beloved comedic voices on the planet, and 30 Rock gave a certain Donald Glover his first big break with a writing gig. Fittingly, Glover scored the 30 Rock job when he impressed a producer of the show with a spec script he wrote for The Simpsons.

One Redditor argued that more than one NBC sitcom from the Thursday Night heyday fits the description of “Simpsons humor in a live-action sitcom,” writing, “I would say Parks & Rec fits the bill as well. In fact, maybe even more so since it’s in the fictional town of Pawnee which in itself is Springfield-esque. They even have their own rival town like Shelbyville.” 

However, as others noted, Parks and Recreation co-creator Greg Daniels is, himself, a former Simpsons writer, so those similarities certainly aren't accidental.

Whatever live-action comedy best captured the style and humor of The Simpsons, one thing is clear — if theres a live-action version of Family Guy out there, we dont wanna watch it.


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