He’s written and produced for some of the greatest animated shows ever, he was Steve Jobs’ brother in law, and he ironically has a last name that MUST autocorrect to the name of Steve’s moderately successful computer company. Who is the man pictured above? This week’s Know-This-Geek of the Week (formerly the slightly offensive Obscure Geek of the Week) is Richard Appel.
Richard Appel, has worked on Family Guy, American Dad, King of the Hill, and some live action sitcoms, but he is best known for the amazing “back when it was great” episodes of the Simpsons he wrote.
- The Simpsons (1994–1997) – writer, producer, co-executive producer, consulting producer and story editor
- “Mother Simpson”
- “Bart on the Road”
- “22 Short Films About Springfield” (co-writer)
- “Bart After Dark”
- “The Secret War of Lisa Simpson”
- “The Two Mrs. Nahasapeemapetilons”
- “When You Dish Upon a Star”
Those are some classic episodes right there! The Simpsons didn’t get any better than mid-to-late 90’s, but two episodes stick out for their Apple/Appel connection.
The first was Mother Simpson. Richard was the writer who introduced Homer’s mother Mona, who had been out of Homer’s life for years, to the series. Appel’s then wife, Steve Jobs’ long lost sister who he only met as a millionaire adult (Today you learned Jobs was adopted?), is the prominent writer named…wait for it….Mona Simpson.
The second interesting twist was the Bart After Dark episode, which is an episode about Bart working at a brothel. Good episode but no real plotline ties to his family. Oh no. It’s weirder. In either a bizarre coincidence OR a moment of inspiration for Jobs while watching it over the holidays (Steve Jobs did not spend the holidays doing family things like this, but let’s pretend), the animation from an episode written by Richard Apple in 1996 had this appear as the doorbell for the gate to the whorehouse.
We would see a very similar design as this from Steve in 2001.
Coincidence or theft? Either way, to quote the South Park kids, “Simpsons did it!”