Lance Wilder

By Dan Wooding

"A Bible-Study on The Simpsons..."
© ASSIST News Service, March 23, 2002.

Christian animator Lance Wilder reveals this surprise news and also says why he works on the popular show

BEL AIR, CA -- Lance Wilder is the background design supervisor of The Simpsons television show which is made by Film ROMAN in Hollywood, and in an interview before the Christian Film & Television Commission's 10th Annual Faith & Values Awards Gala March 20 at the Skirball Cultural Center in Bel Air, California, he revealed that he is not the only Christian working on the hugely popular show.

"Behind the scenes, there is a Bible study that goes on and I would say about 20 churchgoing Bible-believing Christian artists now working on The Simpsons," said Wilder who was attending the star-studded event with his wife Maria.

Wilder then explained how he got the job on The Simpsons. "I went to the Rhode Island School of Design and I graduated in 1990 and the show premiered back in December of 1989," said Wilder. I was taking animation and illustration and I was just a huge fan of the show and I knew the show was going to be something big. However, I never thought it would last this long, but I wanted to be part of it. I really thought that it was something that could last maybe or two or years or so and I took a few animation tests but I failed the first group and so I asked them what was right and wrong about it and I followed directions and gave it to them within 48 hours and they hired me. The day after I graduated, I moved out here and that was going on 12 years ago. As a matter of fact, we just started our 14th season three days ago."

When asked if he, as a Christian working on the show, was able to influence anything on The Simpsons,
"Some things I am," said Wilder. "I am able to certainly put in my creative bit according to what the writer's have written. I certainly put in things that are appropriate to the show or the characters they have written or whatever the episode happens to be focusing on. Sometimes I have a say and sometimes I don't, like anyone on a show that involves about 80 to 100 artists and 15 writers."

He said that one of his favorite characters is Side Show Bob, the evil genius played by Kelsey Grammar. "It looks we are going to be doing another one of those episodes. We have already done seven in the past with him and we are going to be doing a new one in the upcoming season as well."

When asked if he would ever wish to leave The Simpsons, he replied, "I'd never leave as long as the scripts are really top-notch. The writers always joke about the fact that they have to come up with 22 new ideas for a new season, and yet every season we have some of the best episodes that we have ever done and I am to the point to where if they wanted to keep it going for a few seasons - like they have talked about doing a three-picture movie deal - there are so many great ideas and so many characters in the show. We have not only 10 or 20 main characters, but we have about 200 secondary characters that are my favorites and seem to be some of the fans favorites as well."

He then answered the critics who condemn its movies.

"I think you get out of it what you put in and certainly there are good-meaning talented writers, producers and artists in Hollywood. There is so much going on here that here that it takes a talent and there is a lot of good-hearted not only Christian people, but people who really want to say something, write about something or produce something that is worthwhile and not just gratuitous sex and violence. There is enough of that in the world without spending hundreds of millions dollars to make more of it, but there are so many wonderful stories about different people, religion and cultures, that can be uplifting and positive.

"That's one of the things that I love about The Simpsons and personally one of the things I love about good television and good film-making, whether it is animated or not, is just working with so many wonderful talented people who care about doing something here in Hollywood that has some benefit for people and certainly if Christians with good values abandon this place, just like any other business, you are going to get garbage.

"So if people are putting their talents into it, they are going to get good things out of it and that's why I am here at the MOVIEGUIDEŽ Awards Gala and why hundreds of people are here supporting the best in film and television. That's why I support this. It is just tremendous."

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Last updated on September 22, 2002 by Jouni Paakkinen (