After Simpsons voice actress Doris Grau passed away in 1995, her character Lunchlady Doris remained in the show. Or so we thought! It turns out that at some point in the series Doris was silently replaced with a pod person named “Lunchlady Dora,” who just happens to look and sound exactly like her.
Out of respect for the late Phil Hartman, his characters Lionel Hutz and Troy McClure were completely retired from the show (well, eventually… they still made occasional background appearances until 2003). This wasn’t the case for Lunchlady Doris, who lurked silently in the background for years.
Her silence was broken in a 2009 episode, when Tress MacNeille took over the role with a pretty dead-on impression. Some viewers felt recasting the character was disrespectful to Grau. However, it turns out it was actually a “new” character, “Lunchlady Dora,” a loophole that made the move perfectly ethical. Although MacNeille was credited as Lunchlady Dora in that episode’s press release, this little change was not mentioned in the actual show until 2013, when Groundskeeper Willie casually mentioned making sweet love to Lunchlady Dora (my fanfic came true!), and a second time in last night’s episode, where Dora is mentioned in the school newspaper. AV Club writer Sean O’Neal tweeted about it, assuming it was a typo, which lead Michael Price to set the record straight and confirm it’s a “different” character:
Well, now that there’s precedent for döppelganger replacement, we can all look forward to the never-ending adventures of Mr. Kurns, Jed Flanders and Principal Skynnyr once Harry Shearer decides to quit.
[Twitter via No Homers Club]
Former union kingpin Patric Verrone, who wrote for Futurama and The Simpsons, and has a thriving historical figurines business, is running for California State Senate. If elected, he would be the second Simpsons writer to hold public office, following John Swartzwelder’s disastrous coup in Guyana.
As president of the Writers Guild of America, West, Verrone led the 2007-2008 writers strike that lead to higher wages and longer beards. Now he’s hitting up people for money by namedropping the shows he worked on:
“At ‘Futurama,’ I wrote a lot about the future,” he said. “For California, the future is still being written. In the script we write together, there’s a happy ending. Please join me in in this cause. We’re still in this together.”
Get it? He wrote Futurama, so now he’s going to write the future, with everyone, banging away on the typewriters of Democracy. Wait a minute… he wants to write a happy ending? He wants to end California?!? This mad man must be stopped at all costs.
Mrs. Krabappel made her final speaking appearance last Sunday in an episode that also featured Sideshow Bob using animal DNA to obtain gills and stepping on a rake underwater. Spoiler: Ned Flanders is cursed, and his Vegas wife should fear for her life.
Other than that, the producers still aren’t totally sure what to do about Bart’s lack of a teacher:
So who will replace Mrs. Kabrappel [sic.] in the fourth-grade classroom? For the time being, no one. The rest of this season’s episodes — which already have been completed — do not involve Bart with his teacher.
It appears they’ve already been removing her from classroom scenes. There’s a recent episode where a still image of Groundskeeper Willie is just pasted in the background of a scene (I’m pretty sure he doesn’t blink).
As for season 26, “we have some ideas,” says Jean. “It’s also possible both given the way the show works and the state of public schools there won’t be a permanent teacher. We can get some great guest stars here and there before we settle on somebody. We’re looking at it from different angles.”
So, basically it’ll be like the post-Steve Carell episodes of The Office, then. Great!
While my preference would be for the show to cease production immediately, my worthless, hacky suggestion is to just have Principal Skinner take over. It’d give the show more chances to focus on his adversarial relationship with Bart and, as a bonus, isolate him from his mother, who’s easily my least favorite character. Meanwhile, Superintendent Chalmers would naturally become principal, since he’s already at the school all the time anyway.
Either that, or it’s finally time for Nameless Ponytail Teacher to step into the spotlight.