IN THE NEWS is happy to report that comedian and former Simpsons writer Dana Gould is not a murderer.
Here’s the deal: a while ago I learned from Wikipedia that Gould had used the pseudonym “Lawrence Talbot” for a Simpsons episode he’d written, Goo Goo Gai Pan, wherein the Simpsons go to China to help Aunt Selma adopt a baby. Curious about this intriguing bit of trivia, I decided to ask him about it in what I hoped was a friendly, professional e-mail:
dear mr. gould
i have a press inquiry: why did u use a pseudonym for the simpsons episode “goo goo gai pan”? or is wikipedia got it’s facts wrong.
urs in christ,
Alas, a few weeks passed and there was no response from Mr. Gould. Naturally, I assumed he was attempting to dodge the question because he was hiding something nefarious, hoping the scandal would blow over before it even started. Well, I wasn’t going to give up so easily. Undaunted, I e-mailed him again a couple times, but each time I was rebuffed with his stonewalling silence. That’s when things got personal. How dare this Hollywood Liberal refuse to answer questions from the press! How could he so callously disregard my joke Simpsons fansite as anything less than legitimate? But I didn’t let my emotions compromise my professional integrity, no sir. I knew that as a member of the vaunted Fourth Estate, my responsibility was to shake out The Truth by any means necessary. So, I decided to take the upper hand in this escalating cat-and-mouse game between reporter and subject. and play a little hardball. Utilizing a journalism strategy I learned from an imaginary book, I took the story public and spread some venomous allegations about Mr. Gould, speculating perhaps he had “murdered a teenage girl” or “shot up an entire orphanage” and was hiding behind a phony name to escape culpability for his crimes. In short, I hoped to force his hand and get him to respond. Here’s the original post about it, as I reported at the time.
Well, I’m happy to report that my questionable journalism tactics actually worked! After more than two years after my original e-mail, Dana Gould finally caved in and set the record straight:
I tell about the Lawrence Talbot pseudonym in my chat with Kevin Pollak:
May Christ be with you always,
Click that YouTube link. It turns out the Gouldster actually had a very good reason for using a pseudonym. Around the time the episode was scheduled to air, Gould and his wife were in the process of adopting a second daughter from China. Fearing the potential ramifications from zealous Chinese overseers unhappy with the episode’s less-than-flattering depiction of modern China that could jeopardize the adoption, Gould took his name off the episode and replaced with a pseudonym. He settled on Lawerence Talbot, the alter ego of filmdom’s The Wolfman, a character that he seems to have an unhealthy obsession with. It worked, and the Goulds were able to add to their family without incident.
So, now that The Truth has finally come out at last, I can hereby recant all the aspersions I cast on his character. Dana Gould is a good man. He is a fine, upstanding citizen. He has never murdered anyone, nor would he ever even think about murdering anyone, not even for a second. He is an honest human being who should be commended for his commitment to decency and virtuousness.
Let this be a lesson to all you aspiring journalists out there: if a source won’t talk to you, just spread a bunch of vicious rumors and innuendo about them. It gets results!