BIZZFAD

A blurry silhouette stands in front of the real-life Simpsons house. Lisa and Bart look apprehensive at the figure.

For as long as there have been Simpsons, mankind has pondered what they’d look like if they walked amongst us. Not as simplistic, googly-eyed, yellow-skinned cartoon characters, but as living, breathing human beings.

People have tried to fancast a live-action Simpsons movie for decades. Notable names like John Goodman, Ben Affleck, Danny McBride, Kevin James, Hardy Rawls, and even Dan Castellaneta have been bandied about as potential candidates to take on the lead role of Homer Simpson. As talented as those thespians may be, however, they would always be imperfect impostors. No, we want to know what Homer would look like in real life, not a real-life man wearing a Homer costume.

There are a number of factors to consider when contemplating a realistic version of Homer Simpson. What is the real-world analogue to the two croquet hoops of hair that crown his cranium? What would his five o’clock shadow look like without cartoonish abstraction? What is the texture of his white polo shirt? And what about his eyes, those windows to the soul? Would his glimmering blue irises still feel as recognizable to us as the simple black dots that grace our televisions? These are the questions that pervade our thoughts as we go about our ho-hum, mundane existence.

Some remarkable artists working in multiple mediums have attempted to take on this task. Their depictions of what Homer Simpson would look like in real life are wonderful, intriguing, and sometimes scary. As incredible as they may be, these works will nevertheless always be constrained by the skill level of the artist, their subjectivity, and their breadth of influences. We can – nay, we must – go further.

With the advent of artificial intelligence, we can now harness the combined power and computational knowledge of thousands of supercomputers trawling through trillions of terabytes of images to generate a realistic Homer. Yes, with just a few lines of text and a click of the computer mouse, we can glimpse upon the true visage of Homer Jay Simpson, the hero of Evergreen Terrace, the paterfamilias of Animation Domination.

Unfortunately, the AI system said we didn’t have enough tokens to generate the image. It seems that Realistic Homer Simpson is, for now, reserved for God’s eyes only.

UNRELATED SIMPSONS IN THE NEWS

Homer and OJ Simpson looking morose in a heavenly sports bar. They are in angelic garb with halos, eating onion rings. Behind them are a lot of TVs showing various football games.

Pro Football Hall of Famer O.J. Simpson, who was quite a character, has been permanently ejected from the game of life by cosmic forces, and also cancer. He was 76.

Born in 1947, Orenthal James Simpson, also known as “The Juice,” is widely regarded as one of the greatest football players of all time. During his time in the NFL, he was the first player to rush more than 2,000 yards in a season, and recorded an average of 143.1 yards rushing per game, a record that still holds today. The former Buffalo Bills running back also had a storied acting career as an ad spokesman for the Hertz rental car company and a recurring role in the Naked Gun franchise, before running into some legal problems in the mid-1990s.

Simpson claimed to be a fan of The Simpsons in a 1991 issue of Simpsons Illustrated, “especially the part at the beginning where Bart has to write on the blackboard.” Despite this, he turned down a role as a celebrity panelist in the classic episode “Last Exit to Springfield,” which then went to Dr. Joyce Brothers. Thanks to a draft of the script uploaded to the Internet Archive by JamesHellBrooks, we now know how the original scene would’ve gone:
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BONGO BEAT

The Simpsons waving at the viewer. Behind them are various Simpsons comic books. Text at the top: It's a Simpsons send-off!

Bongo Comics announced in an e-mail that its Simpsons Store app, which enabled consumers to purchase Simpsons comic books digitally, will be shut down on April 30:

To our dedicated fans:

We regret to announce that, after more than a decade, the Simpsons Store app has come to an end across all platforms and devices.

We are no longer accepting any new purchases or downloads, but the app will still be available for use in its current state (which may include technical difficulties) until April 30, 2024, at which point the app, all in-app comics, and all other app-related content will no longer be available for use. Please enjoy the app until the servers shut down on April 30, 2024.

Thank you for supporting the Simpsons Store.

Its companion app, Futuramaland, will be shutting down on April 12.

Bongo previously sold its titles digitally on ComiXology before announcing it would be moving to its own proprietary service in 2015. Amazon killed off ComiXology’s standalone app late last year.

The news is the latest blow for Simpsons creator Matt Groening’s publishing ventures. Groening, who owns the show’s publishing rights, launched Bongo Comics Group in 1993 with four Simpsons titles. Its flagship series, Simpsons Comics, ran for 25 years and 245 issues before being discontinued in 2018, when the company ceased publishing monthly titles (it remains unclear if this had anything to do with Disney’s aquisition of 21st Century Fox). The following year, Groening debuted a new company, Bapper Books, which was to publish comics based on his Netflix series Disenchantment as a digital-first series. That ended up not happening, and the comics were not released until late 2023 by Titan Comics, shortly after the show had ended. Currently, old Bongo material continues to be republished in book form, with the third volume collecting the Treehouse of Horror series set to be released by Abrams Books in August.

The news is also an unwelcome reminder that you do not own the digital content you purchase.

NEWS ROUNDUP

Professor Frink looks at a woman in a bikini and Bart's twin Hugo. Behind them is a word cloud, and the word simpon is the only non-Japanese word.

It seems like everything’s in a death spiral these days: linear television, Twitter, the internet in general, America. Oh, and a little show called The Simpsons.

  • Last Sunday’s episode, “Frinkenstein’s Monster,” suffered a huge drop in the ratings from the previous episode (which aired on Christmas Eve), netting only 0.72 million viewers, making it the least-watched episode of the series… so far. For comparison, the highest rated show in that timeslot was the season premiere of The Equalizer, with 6.32 million viewers. [TV Series Finale]
  • Conservative writer Nick Clairmont has watched every episode up to Season 35, but now he’s dropping the show due to a decline in quality, which is a very funny concept. After a couple years of “THE SIMPSONS IS GOOD AGAIN!!!” articles it feels refreshing to get a dissenting view, even if it’s mostly complaining about Wokeness. [The Critic Magazine]
  • There’s been a noticeable increase in spam bots on Twitter as of late, perfectly crystallized in this moment where a Simpsons meme referencing the phrase “░M░Y░P░ U░S░S░ Y░I░ N░B░I░O ░” used by spammers is replied to by another spammer with “the simpon:”A tweet by ErnieLies consisting of a Simpsons meme. There's a reply by user @Chloe019283244, who has a stock image of a woman in a black bikini as their avatar, that just says 'the simpon.''

    Over on Bluesky, “simpon” was briefly the only English word trending, which users then catapulted to #1. [@ErnieLies]

  • Here’s a nostalgic look at the official Simpsons website over the years. It used to be charming and chock full of information, and now I guess it… doesn’t even exist anymore? There’s a page for the show on FOX.com with some information on the cast, but otherwise it looks like it’s just social media for the franchise now. Grim. [Web Design Museum]
SPRINGFIELD SHOPPER

Homer and Bart scream in front of some Simpsons toys

¡Ay, caramba! In a crushing blow to fans, it looks like The Simpsons is coming to an end… collector toy company Super7’s line of Simpsons figures, that is.

Last month, company founder Brian Flynn was interviewed for Robo Don’t Know, where he admitted that “Simpsons did not perform nearly as well as we had hoped” and their relationship with Disney is not moving forward. While figures that were previously announced will still be produced, the Simpsons line (which he says they had a lot of plans for) has been cancelled, along with other Disney properties. Flynn is hopeful that the two companies could work together in the future, but for now they don’t see eye to eye on what is “realistic.”

Super7’s Simpsons line focused more on niche-y, fan-favorite characters rather than, you know, the Simpson family. While that strategy worked on me – I bought the figures of McBain’s ill-fated partner Scoey and Troy McClure with Fuzzy Bunny – perhaps it limited the appeal to more casual fans. Regardless, Simpsons toys aren’t going to rake in Disney Princess money, if that’s what Disney was expecting. It seems to me like Disney doesn’t quite know how to handle The Simpsons; cigarettes were removed from a Krusty figure prior to production, presumably at their request, even though these toys aren’t made for children (beer’s fine, though).

While the loss of the Disney license is surely a blow, Super7 is still working with a number of other properties, running the gamut from Richard Scarry to American Psycho, that will hopefully help them weather industry headwinds.

[Robo Don’t Know h/t Talking Simpsons]

LISTICLE PARADISO

A collage of various Simpsons betrayals.

The Simpsons TV show has been on for a very long time, and in that time there’s been a lot of betrayal. Characters have been betrayed by their lovers, friends, co-workers, and even their own children. Join us as we rank the top ten betrayals in Simpsons history.

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THE INSIDE SCOOP

A Shinigami stands over Lisa.

The Simpsons has won an Emmy for Outstanding Animated Program, marking the first time the series has received the coveted award under a Democratic president since 2000.

The show had won in 2001, 2003, 2006, 2008, and 2019 during the George W. Bush and Trump administrations, but conspicuously had not won during the entirety of Obama’s eight-year presidency, no doubt the handiwork of the former Commander in Chief himself. After Diamond Joe Biden “won” the “election” in November 2020, IN THE NEWS speculated this Emmy drought could continue during his regime. Well, whatever control Obama held over the entertainment industry is apparently no more, as the show’s latest win has broken his curse forevermore.

The episode that won, “Treehouse of Horror XXXIII,” is the first holiday-themed anthology episode to win. Back in 1996, the producers submitted “Treehouse of Horror VI” under the belief that the CGI-animated “Homer3” segment would give it an edge. This time, their gambit paid off, as an anime-style segment parodying Death Note animated by the South Korean studio DR Movie in a short amount of time was a clear highlight of the episode.

DIS INFORMATION

A Simpsons parody of the Disney castle logo.

As the Walt Disney Company continues to celebrate its 100th anniversary, let us consult the tea leaves and try to speculate just what the entertainment conglomerate wants to do with The Simpsons.

  • CEO Bob Iger recently spoke about the importance of quality over quantity. Sure, he was specifically talking about Marvel’s recent underperformance at the box office, but maybe, just maybe, he was secretly thinking about The Simpsons, which passed the 750 episode mark this year and is only getting more expensive to license.
  • There’s a rumor that 20th Century Studios recently greenlit James L. Brooks’s upcoming film Ella McKay in hopes of convincing him to do a sequel to 2007’s The Simpsons Movie. Maybe that’s true, but 20th and Brooks already have a longstanding relationship (his production company Gracie Films is located on the Fox studio lot) and frankly it doesn’t seem like Brooks would need much convincing (the Disney+ shorts were his idea). As I see it, the main obstacles are that everyone is 16 years older and the circumstances that made the first movie possible have changed.
  • Remember back in 2019 when Matt Groening announced a Disenchantment comic book series? Well, good news, it’s finally being released, four years later and after the show has ended. The podcast Talking Simpsons speculated the delay might’ve been due to behind-the-scenes squabbling between Groening and Disney over Simpsons publishing rights, complicating Groening’s plans for a comics app.
  • Disney Parks chairman Josh D’Amaro claims they have enough space in Anaheim “to build another Disneyland there if we choose to do that.” Might The Simpsons find a home there if the Universal contract is not renewed?
NEWS ROUNDUP

Homer strangles Bart while Scoey and Bob Iger look on, and the Australian guy looks at his phone bill.

Howdy pard’ners, he’s some ace-high Simpsons news tidbits rounded up for your reading pleasure.

  • According to Simpsons Wiki, the last time Homer strangled Bart in normal continuity was in 2019’s “The Winter of Our Monetized Content,” so it would be accurate for Homer in 2023 to say he doesn’t do that anymore. There, I’ve done more research than 99% of the articles about Stranglegate. You know what other gags they haven’t done in a long time? Bart prank calling Moe. Bart saying “Cowabunga.” Troy McClure listing movies you might remember him from. Mr. Burns not remembering Homer’s name. Inappropriate songs playing when characters get put on hold. Marge reminding Homer of a previous lifelong dream. McBain’s crusade against Mendoza. Search for the Sun. Homer’s love of mambo. The family going out for frosty chocolate milkshakes. I guess my point is sometimes things get dropped.
  • I rarely buy Simpsons merchandise, but I was convinced to shell out some simoleons for Super7’s Scoey and Troy McClure with Fuzzy Bunny figures. Preternia has noted that something is going on with their Simpsons line, but it’s unclear what it is. Concerning.
  • Disney officially announced they’re buying Comcast’s remaining stake in Hulu, ending speculation that they might instead sell their stake as CEO Bob Iger had floated back in February. In related news, Disney+ will be adding some Hulu content next month for bundle subscribers, with an official rollout in March 2024. I’m curious if Hulu The Disney+ Brand Tile will include next-day episodes of The Simpsons, or if that will remain exclusive to Hulu The Standalone Service.
  • How do you spell the currency mentioned in “Bart vs. Australia” and an episode of Bluey, dollarydoos or dollar-adoos? Writer Josh Weinstein posted the script, revealing it’s actually dollaridoos. By the way, for just one dollaridoo you can get a Dollarita at your local Applebee’s [SPONSORED CONTENT].