ANNOYED GRUNTS, WEB-WATCH

Simpsons writer Broti Gupta, who joined the show last year, was hounded on Twitter for insufficient loyalty to Vice President Kamala Harris.

Gupta had committed the grave sin of making a joke about one of the most powerful people on planet Earth:

In recent months, Harris has made a few verbal flubs, like saying “work together” multiple times in the span of thirty seconds, or her remarks in Highland Park that “we’ve got to take this stuff seriously, as seriously as you are because you have been forced to take this seriously.” It’s fairly innocuous stuff that wouldn’t be out of place in a page-a-day George W. Bushisms calendar from the early 2000s, but that context was ignored by the KHive (described by the Los Angeles Times as “Harris’ extensive, loose-knit and fiercely loyal fan base, which celebrates and defends the vice president with equal fervor”), which egregiously mischaracterized Gupta’s light joshing as a misogynistic and racist attack on their queen, and went into battle mode.
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WRITER WATCH

An image of Mike Reiss displaying a Minions movie in front of three shadowy figures.

With Minions: The Rise of Gru setting box office records “to infinity and beyond,” it’s clear that moviegoers the world over are still under the grip of Minion Madness twelve years after their debut in Despicable Me and remain highly invested in the continuing cinematic adventures of the three principal Minions, Kevin, Stuart, and Bob.

Despite the Minions spin-off films’ gaslighting retcon of established canon, it is clear that Gru created the Minions. But just who named those wretched pill-shaped yellow creatures? It might surprise you to learn it was Mike Reiss, a writer better known for his work with the world’s third-favorite* yellow cartoon characters, the Simpsons.

Perhaps the most startling revelation from his 2018 book Springfield Confidential, is that he, as an uncredited writer doing punch-up, came up with the idea of naming the individual Minions:

But my most lasting contribution was to Despicable Me‘s Minions: I gave the little bastards names. Throughout the script, Gru would always refer to them collectively as “boys,” but I thought it would be funny to address them each by name, since, to me, they were alike as a pile of little yellow Advils.

Even more surprising is just who he named them after:

In order to contrast their weirdness, I gave them bland white-guy names. I chose from the blandest white guys I know: Simpsons writers. I used the first names of staff members like Kevin Curran, Stewart Burns, Bob Bendetson, and about ten others.

That’s right, the Minions are named after Simpsons writers. I don’t think it’s exclusively Simpsons writers, just guys Reiss knows: of the Minions named in the first movie, I don’t see a direct analogue to Phil, Carl, or Jerry amongst the Simpsons writers room (assuming Reiss was the one who named them). It’s possible Tim was named after longtime writer Tim Long, and perhaps Mark was named after Marc Wilmore, but obviously those are very common names and could be coincidental.

For more relevations, check out Springfield Confidential, available from HarperCollins.

*With The Simpsons Ride, the Minion Mayhem ride, and huge presence of SpongeBob SquarePants, Universal Studios is home to all three, making it a must-visit for fans of the color yellow.

THOSE CLOWNS IN CONGRESS

Oscar-winning composer Hans Zimmer, who scored The Simpsons Movie and whose company Bleeding Fingers provides the music for the show, recently tweeted what is perhaps the most deranged, Boomer-brained take on the Supreme Court overturning Roe v Wade:

That’s right: the elimination of the constitutional right to obtain an abortion by an illegitimate, unelected and unaccountable council of elders running a train on 50 years of precedent is just a mere distraction from the January 6 Capitol riot hearings, no doubt orchestrated by none other than Vladimir Putin himself. Stop protesting your loss of bodily autonomy and turn on the TV! You can only care about one thing at a time, everything else is a distraction.

I’m sure the J6 committee is doing hard, necessary work, and recently-revealed details like former/future President Trump allegedly throwing a plate at the wall and trying to wrestle control of a car from the Secret Service are funny. That said, it’s a little hard to care because, well, nothing will actually come of it. The chairman said they’re not making any criminal referrals, leaving it up to the Justice Department. Does anyone actually think they’re going slap handcuffs on ol’ Donny Drumpf and frogmarch him into the hoosegow? I’d be happy to be proven wrong, but never underestimate his ability to wriggle out of jams. Meanwhile, the erosion of civil liberties is something that, y’know, directly affects people. That coup was a success.

NEWS ROUNDUP

A collage of random Simpsons-related pictures.

Howdy pard’ners, this here’s a roundup of Simpsons news items from all over yonder.

  • Chris Ledesma, the show’s music editor since the series began, has left the show. Although it’s not regularly updated anymore, his blog Simpsons Music 500 was super-informative if you’re into TV production minutae. For example, here’s a post about music spotting notes. [Matt Selman/Twitter]
  • Back in 1990, the producers insisted the Simpsons aren’t Toons, although Matt Groening joked “they could be in Roger Rabbit 3!” OK, so the new Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers movie isn’t exactly Roger Rabbit 3, and the Simpsons technically don’t appear in it, but I’m still gonna say that was a prescient call. [Rolling Stone]
  • If you’re a parent who’s sick of the absolute filth on Disney+, the Parents Television and Media Council has helpfully provided a list of alternatives, including Daily Wire Kids. [PTC]
  • Apparently Rick & Morty exists in Star Trek canon, but whether or not The Simpsons does remains unclear. [Digital Spy]
  • Remember the hulabaloo when Hulu announced yet another revival of Futurama and voice actor John DiMaggio (Bender, Randy) was holding out for more money, before finally signing on? Well, he recently admitted at a convention that he was unsuccessful in that regard, saying “trying to get money out of Disney is like trying to get blood from a stone.” [/Film]
BUZZFAD

An image of Lisa Simpson with Billie Eilish.

Hello Search Engine user, are you wondering “where can I watch the latest The Simpsons short on Disney+?” Well we will tell you where to watch the latest Simpsons short on Disney+, right here, in this article, after some unnecessary paragraphs to pad out the length.

According to Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, The Simpsons is an American animated sitcom created by Matt Groening for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The series is a satirical depiction of American life, epitomized by the Simpson family, which consists of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie. The show is set in the fictional town of Springfield and parodies American culture and society, television, and the human condition.

A Disney press release stated that the newest Simpsons short is entitled “When Billie Met Lisa,” and the plot synopsis is as follows: “Lisa Simpson is discovered by chart-topping artists Billie Eilish and FINNEAS while searching for a quiet place to practice her saxophone. Billie invites Lisa to her studio for a special jam session she’ll never forget.”

Billie Eilish (Singer) Biography, Age, Height, Weight, Boyfriend …https://www.celebrityborn.com › biography › billie-eilish Mar 5, 2022 — Billie Eilish was born on 18-12-2001 in Los Angeles in the state of California, United States. She is an American Singer, Songwriter, Musician, …AGE (in 2022): 20 Years Old WEIGHT: in Kilograms- 52 kg; in Pounds- 114….HEIGHT: in centimeters- 165 cm; in meters- 1.65 …BIRTH PLACE: Los Angeles, California

The latest Simpsons short, “When Billie Met Lisa,” can be streamed on Disney+.

DIS INFORMATION

An image of Bob Chapek with Simpsons producers behind him in the background.

A recent Hollywood Reporter story on embattled Disney CEO Bob Chapek opened with this observation:

It is unclear at this point whether Chapek, 61, can execute a reset with Disney staff and creative partners. A cartoon hanging in the production offices of The Simpsons seems to suggest an opinion: It has Chapek in the “In Memoriam” section of the Oscars show.

First of all, what a fuckin’ lame cartoon. Second of all, who cares. Some comedy writers made light of authority, stop the presses.

Well, apparently the Simpsons TOP BRASS care, because the article was updated later in the day to include this parenthetical disclaimer:

(The Simpsons top brass, including Jim Brooks, Matt Groening, Al Jean and Matt Selman, deny that that there was such a cartoon in the office. “For the sake of the simple truth: No notice concerning Bob Chapek has been on the walls of any Simpson’s office. Since March 2020 all our work has been done remotely due to Covid. Nobody has been in the offices for two years now. We do miss the snack room,” they wrote in a joint statement. The source who spoke with THR said that the circulated cartoon was in fact subsequently taken down.)

That FOUR executive producers felt the need to issue a joint statement about this stupid doodle that may or may not have actually existed is bewildering and pathetic. Do they think they’re going to get sent to the principal’s office? Maybe they’re right and they’re just really concerned about the spread of Fake News. In that case, why not just have one guy deny it, why did they need all four? Was this really an “all hands on deck” scenario? Also, I guess maybe there’s a world of difference between “production office” and “studio,” because this doesn’t look like somebody’s home to me.

Whatever happened, their emphatic denial makes them sound like they’re absolutely terrified of their boss’s wrath, which seems very silly because The Simpsons was once known for biting the hand that feeds them (albeit with the hand’s permission) and other parts of the company haven’t exactly been shy expressing criticism of their leadership lately.

Who knows, maybe years from now we’ll read in DisneyWar 3 about how this absolutely set Chapek off and made him angrily tear up the plans for Simpsons Land at EPCOT or whatever.

NOSTRAD'OHMUS

An image of Farrah Fawcett on The Simpsons.

Over the past four decades, the The Simpsons television program has made thousands of incorrect predictions about the future, ranging from Arnold Schwarzenegger becoming president, Disney’s acquisition of romance, and the seizure of the East Coast by a supervillain.

So it frankly wasn’t all that surprising when a human-eyed viewer on Digg shared yet another bungled prediction to add to the pile: the late Farrah Fawcett still being alive in the year 2034.

In the 1994 episode “Bart Gets Famous,” Bart Simpson becomes a famous celebrity. Worried that his fame is fleeting, he imagines a future in which he appears on the game show Match Game 2034 alongside other has-been celebrities, including Billy Crystal, Loni Anderson, Spike Lee, the head of Kitty Carlisle, and Farrah Fawcett.

Sadly, Fawcett would not live to see the year 2034, as the Charlie’s Angels star would tragically pass away from a rare type of cancer on June 25, 2009. Compounding the tragedy, she is introduced in Bart’s fantasy as “Farrah Fawcett-Majors-O’Neal-Varney,” implying that she would eventually marry actor Jim Varney, best known for playing the character Ernest P. Worrell. Varney passed away himself in the year 2000.

Nobody expects a cartoon to get everything right, particularly one as frequently wrong as The Simpsons. However, one can’t help but wonder if this tragedy could’ve been avoided if Fawcett had been the one whose head was preserved in a jar. Perhaps Fawcett would’ve seen the episode, become more aware of her mortality, and the cancer could’ve been detected earlier. The Simpsons would still be wrong, but at least we’d still have one more Angel here on Earth.

DIS INFORMATION

An image of Homer Simpson cheering in front of The House of Disney+.

Later this year, Disney+ will finally give users the option to watch The Simpsons as it was originally meant to be shown: with commercials.

The service recently announced the addition of a new lower-cost, ad-supported subscription tier, which has been a long-time feature of its streaming sibling Hulu. It will launch in the US in late 2022 and expand internationally in 2023. Pricing has not yet been announced.

Media analysts at LightShed Partners are skeptical of the move:

Lowering price and jamming in ads does not feel like the answer to driving usage — if anything it feels like it will have the opposite effect. Disney needs to focus first and foremost on delivering more must-watch, buzzy content on Disney+.

Sure, some might gripe about paying for commercials you can’t skip, but this is great news for Simpsons simps. When Disney+ first launched, much ado was made over the fact you couldn’t watch the pre-HD episodes in their proper 4:3 aspect ratio. They eventually rectified this oversight by letting you toggle between aspect ratios, allowing you to watch the show the way the artists originally intended it to be shown. By adding commercials, Disney+ is furthering their commitment to artistic integrity by presenting the show as it was meant to be viewed when it originally aired on regular TV. With commercials, the meta jokes from “And Maggie Makes Three” and “Treehouse of Horror VI” will hit harder, act breaks will have more dramatic weight, and you’ll stay informed of new products. Best of all, it will cost you less money than the ad-free tier, and with the money you saved, you could potentially purchase something you saw in one of the ads. It’s a win for everybody, but especially for Simpsons fans craving a more authentic viewing experience.