At a recent screening of his new movie This is 40, Judd Apatow revealed that the first script he ever wrote was a spec script of The Simpsons back in 1990, when the show was still in the midst of its first season. Here’s Apatow on the subject, as quoted by Slash Film:
“Who wants to grow up really? It’s kind of a drag. It’s funny because the first thing I ever wrote was about that. The first thing I ever wrote was a spec episode of The Simpsons. After only five Simpsons episodes aired, I sat down and tried to write one when I was in my early twenties. And what it was about was they went to see a hypnotism show and at the hypnotism show, they made Homer think he was the same age as Bart. And then the hypnotist had a heart attack. So now Homer and Bart became best friends and they spent the rest of the show running away because Homer didn’t want responsibility and didn’t want to be brought back to his real age. So I basically copied that for every movie I’ve made since.”
Apatow’s Simpsons episode never got made, and he didn’t mention whether he ever submitted it to the show. He did, however, end up working for Simpsons producers James L. Brooks, Al Jean, and Mike Reiss when he was hired to write for The Critic in 1993. Apatow isn’t the only famous writer/director to have penned an unfilmed Simpsons episode during the show’s first season. According to Doreen Alexander Child’s biography Charlie Kaufman: Confessions of an Original Mind (ugh), Charlie Kaufman wrote two spec episodes of The Simpsons also in 1990, and oddly enough, one of them involved hypnotism (specifically, Bart being hypnotized into joining a team of evil acrobats). So, I guess 1990 was a big year for writing Simpsons specs and for hypnotism comedy?