After 20 years and nearly 450 episodes, The Simpsons received a surprising distinction: an endorsement from the Vatican.
"I called my father — whose been going to Catholic Mass for 70 years — and I said, 'So it turns out I've been doing God's work all this time,'" laughs longtime executive producer Al Jean. (The official Vatican newspaper praised the show last month for its "realistic and intelligent writing.")
Even without the Roman Catholic Church's approval, the series has thrived. Playing in more than 90 countries, the longest-running prime-time scripted series will simultaneously celebrate its 20th anniversary and 450th episode Sunday. The Simpsons 20th Anniversary Special: In 3D! On Ice!, airing Sunday at 8:30/7:30c, will look back at both the show's humble origins and worldwide impact.
TVGuide.com talked with Jean — the series' current showrunner and a writer since Season 1 — about the show's anniversary, his favorite characters and guest stars.