A Simpsons short starring Maggie the Baby is being shoved in front of the fourth Ice Age movie, flying into theaters this summer. The commercial said it’s in 3D except I don’t know if they mean “3D” as in CGI or “3D” as in “you have to wear special glasses while Maggie throws blocks at you” or both. “The Longest Daycare” is being directed by longtime Simpsons guy David Silverman who used to animate the original Simpsons shorts on the Tracey Ullman Show twenty-five years ago.
Back in the days before television, theaters used to show amazing cartoons starring Mickey Mouse and newsreels starring Hitler before movies instead of a billion anti-piracy commercials and trailers for Transformers sequels. Pixar has kept the cartoon tradition alive with delightful shorts in front of their blockbuster smashes, but their parent company Disney and Warner Bros. haven’t had much luck resurrecting their old characters for theatrical shorts. For example, in 2004 Warner Bros. decided to shelve some new Looney Tunes shorts (produced by former Simpsons writer Larry Doyle) they had commissioned, possibly out of shame – and this is the studio that brought you that weird Looney Tunes anime thing, mind you. Now, Fox is taking a whack at it with the only iconic cartoon characters they have in their stable – the Simpsons – which sorta cements the notion that the Simpsons are to Fox what the Looney Tunes are to Warner Bros. and Mickey Mouse is to Disney.
Who knows, if “The Longest Daycare” is well-received, maybe they’re make more Simpsons shorts, which would provide another avenue to keep the characters/brand “alive” after the show ends, which is both reassuring and ominous.