NOSTRAD'OHMUS

An image of Ruth Bader Ginsburg's head from the Futurama movie Into The Wild Green Yonder.

As you may have heard, longtime Supreme Court justice and Funko Pop icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg recently passed away at the age of 87, a tragic occurrence nobody could have possibly seen coming… nobody, that is, except for the genius writing staff of cult classic animated sitcom Futurama! The Simpsons may grab headlines for predicting future events, like the election of President Trump, but its sister series is certainly no slouch in the prognostication department either.

In the December 2002 episode “A Taste of Freedom,” Justice Ginsburg’s disembodied head appeared as an Associate Justice of the Earth Supreme Court. Now, in case you’ve forgotten, the world of Futurama features a technology invented by Ron Popeil that keeps human heads alive in jars, even long after the person has died. Getting goosebumps yet? This means that the people behind the show somehow knew that Justice Ginsburg would pass away at some point between the year 2002, when the episode first aired, and 3003, which, according to The Infosphere, is when the episode takes place. And that’s exactly what happened in real life. Uncanny!

The head of the Notorious R.B.G., as Justice Ginsburg is commonly referred to in the ‘hood, later reappears in the 2009 OVA Into The Wild Green Yonder and the 2012 episode “Decision 3012.” Unfortunately, her name was misspelled as “Ginsberg” in all three appearances. Oh well! When you’re able to use your third eye to peer into the world beyond the veil and prophesize future events with such a startlingly high degree of accuracy, you’re bound to make a few slip-ups here and there.

OAKLEY CORRAL

An image of Bill Oakley facing off against the Wendy's mascot

Watch out Wendy’s, because a certain showrunner is bringing the heat!

Former Simpsons producer Bill Oakley WENT OFF on the chain’s recently reintroduced Spicy Chicken Nuggets during a live Instagram review earlier this month. “I wanted to go try them, I’ve never had Wendy’s spicy nuggets,” he told his followers, explaining that although he dislikes Wendy’s chicken, he wanted to see what the hype was about and be prepared for the inevitable comparison to McDonald’s Spicy Chicken McNuggets.

Well, the writer of “Steamed Hams” must have felt pretty steamed himself when he ate a nugget and discovered it didn’t taste very good.
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MY TWO CENTS

Springfield Confidential: Jokes, Secrets, and Outright Lies from a Lifetime Writing for The Simpsons by Mike Reiss and Mathew Klickstein; released 2018, available at HarperCollins

Feels like a Season 4 episode in that there’s a lot of funny jokes but also a lot of filler


LISTICLE PARADISO

An image of the Simpsons
  1. The Simpsons is a cartoon
  2. The Simpsons is about a family named the Simpsons
  3. The Simpsons have yellow skin
  4. The dad’s name is Homer
  5. Homer is fat
  6. The boy’s name is Bart
  7. Bart has spikey hair
  8. The girl’s name is Lisa
  9. The mom’s name is Marge
  10. Marge has large, blue hair
  11. There is also a baby
GROEN DRAIN

How did Simpsons creator Matt Groening get to be so rich and successful? Well, it turns out he had a trick up his sleeve… a time-traveling trick!!!

It has now become clear that at some point in the future where time travel has become achievable, Matt Groening warped back to Olympia, Washington in the 1970s, and gave his past self a bunch of Simpsons memorabilia and a 20-year plan for creating the franchise and becoming king of all media. Unfortunately, Old Matt didn’t count on Young Matt painting all this new information and hiding it away for years. Now, those paintings – the only known evidence linking him to the crime of violating the Temporal Prime Directive – have resurfaced.

As originally reported by the Kitsap Sun, a 69-year old artist bought some Simpsons watercolors at a Seattle-area thrift store and thinks they were made by Matt Groening when he was a student at the Evergreen State College, more than a decade before the Simpsons shorts began airing on The Tracey Ullman Show. She is now trying to auction them off at $2,000 apiece.

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JEAN MACHINE

al jean

Al Jean, the guy who’s been in charge of The Simpsons for the past thirteen seasons, told a radio interviewer he is looking for someone else to take over his duties:

We actually have been, just preliminarily, trying to think of a way we could get someone else to do it full-time.

Naturally, Jean is referring to The Critic, the short-lived animated series he co-created with Mike Reiss. Supposedly there is buzz it could be revived for a second time because everything else from the ’90s is being revived (I’ve already pre-ordered my tickets to the Sears Air Conditioner Commercial movie). But, since Jean and Reiss have their hands full with The Simpsons and… uh… whatever Reiss does nowadays, they would need a new person to actually run the show and get called gay by Jon Lovitz on a day-to-day basis.

The thing is: would The Critic even work in the 2010s? Instead of film critics on TV we have something called The Tomatometer, and now that Siskel & Ebert have gone to the concession stand in the sky, the most recognizable film critics today are insufferable YouTube personalities ranting about Jar-Jar Binks. I suppose we’ll find out, maybe.

[LIVE 105 via CinemaBlend]

BONGO BEAT

Bongo Comics Group

In a highly unexpected move, The Simpsons is ending… its business relationship with comiXology.

Bongo Comics Group, the publisher of Simpsons Comics, quietly took all their stuff off comiXology, the leading digital comics retailer owned by Amazon. Nobody seems to know what led to this decision, and both sides are remaining tight-lipped about it. Here’s what they told Tom Spurgeon of The Comics Reporter:

Chip Mosher of comiXology told CR, simply, “Bongo is no longer available on comiXology.” Susan Grode a partner at Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP, speaking on behalf of Bongo, said, “Thank you for your email. My client has no response regarding Comixology. Bongo has created the Simpsons Store app for its comics and trade books on iTunes, to be released shortly.”

It’s hard to say what’s a stupider name, comiXology or Simpsons Store.

Spurgeon says he was also told users who previously bought Bongo comics on comiXology will still be able to read their books, because that’s apparently a thing you have to worry about in the digital marketplace.

Bongo making their own app is a bold move for a company that didn’t even have a website until 2010. Grode’s terse statement does raise some concerns, though: she only mentions iTunes, with no mention of whether Simpsons Store will be available on Android, Windows Phone, or the web, like comiXology is. Also, calling it Simpsons Store (ok, maybe it’s a placeholder name?) leaves the digital fates of Bongo’s non-Simpsons output, like Futurama Comics and SpongeBob Comics, unclear. Because, come on, buying a SpongeBob comic from a Simpsons app would just be madness.

Ideally, the service would be under the Bongo name, and I’d love to see them digitally re-release stuff from their defunct Zongo Comics imprint, the underappreciated Heroes Anonymous, and maybe some uncollected Life in Hell stuff.

[The Comics Reporter]

VOICE BOX

Negotiations with Harry Shearer appear to have hit a wee bit of a snag, as the longtime Simpsons cast member has apparently announced he’s leaving the show.

Shearer made the announcement on Twitter late last night, quoting an imaginary press release from James L. Brooks’s Lawyer, for some reason. Take a look:

Then he seized the opportunity to plug his new comedy song about cops. Hey, why not?

burning bridge

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D'OH REPORT

doh

Fox announced they were picking up a “DOUBLE D’OHse” of The Simpsons earlier this week, but it turns out they may have forgotten to make sure all the contracts were signed before hitting “send” on that press release.

TMZ is reporting that “one of the key players” is holding out for unspecified reasons. Going by the history of previous contract negotiations, the mystery holdout is almost definitely Harry Shearer, trying to get himself a cut of some of those sweet, sweet back-end profits. If true, this would make his grumpy tweets about how almost none of the news coverage mentioned him pretty ironic, I guess.

In the unlikely event the show’s producers can’t come to an agreement with him, they have a backup plan:

A designer said that Al Jean (longtime executive and consulting producer) is optimistic that new contracts with vocal talent will be finalized, but Matt Groening was reported to have said:

“If necessary, I’LL do the voices.”