THE INSIDE SCOOP

An image of David Zaslav dressed as Thanos, erasing the Simpsons from existence.

Content consumers were aghast last month when Warner Bros. Discovery suddenly removed many beloved animated series from its streaming service HBO Max and cancelled the nearly completed $90 million film Batgirl, locking them away in the studio’s iconic water tower like a certain trio of animated maniacs. Many were quick to point the proverbial finger at CEO David Zaslav, who is as focused on cutting costs as the Batman villain Zsasz is on slashing throats. Worryingly, it seems not even The Simpsons is safe from his tyrannical purge.

Suddenly, with only weeks of warning, 18 Simpsons episodes were removed from Hulu over the weekend – vanished into the ether, perhaps never to be seen again. These episodes comprised the bulk of the show’s thirty-third season, including the Emmy-nominated “Pixelated and Afraid.” It remains unclear just how Zaslav masterminded this feat, particularly as the show is produced by a rival studio and WarnerMedia sold off its stake in Hulu in 2019. What is clear is that derailing Infinity Train and closing up shop on Close Enough weren’t enough to satisfy Zaslav. Following in the footsteps of Judge Doom, he will not rest until every toon is eradicated. The creative community should be on high alert now that his reach is no longer confined to his own entertainment conglomerate.

18 episodes may not seem like much, and some of those episodes definitely sucked, but people spent a lot of time and effort making them and they deserve to have the fruits of their labor available for people to watch. Anyone seeking a legal means of viewing those 18 eradicated Simpsons episodes will simply have no choice but to purchase them from digital marketplaces, or wait until October 5, when the entire season is added to Disney+ as per licensing agreements.

PANEL PIECES

A photo of the Simpsons panel at the 2022 D23 Expo featuring Yeardley Smith, David Silverman, Matt Groening, Al Jean, Matt Selman, Tim Long, and Rob LaZebnik.
(The Walt Disney Company)

On Friday, The Simpsons held its second-ever panel at Disney’s D23 Expo, moderated by voice actress Yeardley Smith. A press release for the panel touted “a surprise so shocking it can’t even be announced in press release form!” Simpsons simps hoping for a big announcement of some kind – a new movie? A spin-off? A new game? The Ullman shorts? Cancellation??? – unfortunately had their dreams denied. Here’s a recap of the event.
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ANNOYED GRUNTS, WEB-WATCH

Simpsons writer Broti Gupta, who joined the show last year, was hounded on Twitter for insufficient loyalty to Vice President Kamala Harris.

Gupta had committed the grave sin of making a joke about one of the most powerful people on planet Earth:

In recent months, Harris has made a few verbal flubs, like saying “work together” multiple times in the span of thirty seconds, or her remarks in Highland Park that “we’ve got to take this stuff seriously, as seriously as you are because you have been forced to take this seriously.” It’s fairly innocuous stuff that wouldn’t be out of place in a page-a-day George W. Bushisms calendar from the early 2000s, but that context was ignored by the KHive (described by the Los Angeles Times as “Harris’ extensive, loose-knit and fiercely loyal fan base, which celebrates and defends the vice president with equal fervor”), which egregiously mischaracterized Gupta’s light joshing as a misogynistic and racist attack on their queen, and went into battle mode.
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WRITER WATCH

An image of Mike Reiss displaying a Minions movie in front of three shadowy figures.

With Minions: The Rise of Gru setting box office records “to infinity and beyond,” it’s clear that moviegoers the world over are still under the grip of Minion Madness twelve years after their debut in Despicable Me and remain highly invested in the continuing cinematic adventures of the three principal Minions, Kevin, Stuart, and Bob.

Despite the Minions spin-off films’ gaslighting retcon of established canon, it is clear that Gru created the Minions. But just who named those wretched pill-shaped yellow creatures? It might surprise you to learn it was Mike Reiss, a writer better known for his work with the world’s third-favorite* yellow cartoon characters, the Simpsons.

Perhaps the most startling revelation from his 2018 book Springfield Confidential, is that he, as an uncredited writer doing punch-up, came up with the idea of naming the individual Minions:

But my most lasting contribution was to Despicable Me‘s Minions: I gave the little bastards names. Throughout the script, Gru would always refer to them collectively as “boys,” but I thought it would be funny to address them each by name, since, to me, they were alike as a pile of little yellow Advils.

Even more surprising is just who he named them after:

In order to contrast their weirdness, I gave them bland white-guy names. I chose from the blandest white guys I know: Simpsons writers. I used the first names of staff members like Kevin Curran, Stewart Burns, Bob Bendetson, and about ten others.

That’s right, the Minions are named after Simpsons writers. I don’t think it’s exclusively Simpsons writers, just guys Reiss knows: of the Minions named in the first movie, I don’t see a direct analogue to Phil, Carl, or Jerry amongst the Simpsons writers room (assuming Reiss was the one who named them). It’s possible Tim was named after longtime writer Tim Long, and perhaps Mark was named after Marc Wilmore, but obviously those are very common names and could be coincidental.

For more relevations, check out Springfield Confidential, available from HarperCollins.

*With The Simpsons Ride, the Minion Mayhem ride, and huge presence of SpongeBob SquarePants, Universal Studios is home to all three, making it a must-visit for fans of the color yellow.

THOSE CLOWNS IN CONGRESS

Oscar-winning composer Hans Zimmer, who scored The Simpsons Movie and whose company Bleeding Fingers provides the music for the show, recently tweeted what is perhaps the most deranged, Boomer-brained take on the Supreme Court overturning Roe v Wade:

That’s right: the elimination of the constitutional right to obtain an abortion by an illegitimate, unelected and unaccountable council of elders running a train on 50 years of precedent is just a mere distraction from the January 6 Capitol riot hearings, no doubt orchestrated by none other than Vladimir Putin himself. Stop protesting your loss of bodily autonomy and turn on the TV! You can only care about one thing at a time, everything else is a distraction.

I’m sure the J6 committee is doing hard, necessary work, and recently-revealed details like former/future President Trump allegedly throwing a plate at the wall and trying to wrestle control of a car from the Secret Service are funny. That said, it’s a little hard to care because, well, nothing will actually come of it. The chairman said they’re not making any criminal referrals, leaving it up to the Justice Department. Does anyone actually think they’re going slap handcuffs on ol’ Donny Drumpf and frogmarch him into the hoosegow? I’d be happy to be proven wrong, but never underestimate his ability to wriggle out of jams. Meanwhile, the erosion of civil liberties is something that, y’know, directly affects people. That coup was a success.

NEWS ROUNDUP

A collage of random Simpsons-related pictures.

Howdy pard’ners, this here’s a roundup of Simpsons news items from all over yonder.

  • Chris Ledesma, the show’s music editor since the series began, has left the show. Although it’s not regularly updated anymore, his blog Simpsons Music 500 was super-informative if you’re into TV production minutae. For example, here’s a post about music spotting notes. [Matt Selman/Twitter]
  • Back in 1990, the producers insisted the Simpsons aren’t Toons, although Matt Groening joked “they could be in Roger Rabbit 3!” OK, so the new Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers movie isn’t exactly Roger Rabbit 3, and the Simpsons technically don’t appear in it, but I’m still gonna say that was a prescient call. [Rolling Stone]
  • If you’re a parent who’s sick of the absolute filth on Disney+, the Parents Television and Media Council has helpfully provided a list of alternatives, including Daily Wire Kids. [PTC]
  • Apparently Rick & Morty exists in Star Trek canon, but whether or not The Simpsons does remains unclear. [Digital Spy]
  • Remember the hulabaloo when Hulu announced yet another revival of Futurama and voice actor John DiMaggio (Bender, Randy) was holding out for more money, before finally signing on? Well, he recently admitted at a convention that he was unsuccessful in that regard, saying “trying to get money out of Disney is like trying to get blood from a stone.” [/Film]
BUZZFAD

An image of Lisa Simpson with Billie Eilish.

Hello Search Engine user, are you wondering “where can I watch the latest The Simpsons short on Disney+?” Well we will tell you where to watch the latest Simpsons short on Disney+, right here, in this article, after some unnecessary paragraphs to pad out the length.

According to Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, The Simpsons is an American animated sitcom created by Matt Groening for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The series is a satirical depiction of American life, epitomized by the Simpson family, which consists of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie. The show is set in the fictional town of Springfield and parodies American culture and society, television, and the human condition.

A Disney press release stated that the newest Simpsons short is entitled “When Billie Met Lisa,” and the plot synopsis is as follows: “Lisa Simpson is discovered by chart-topping artists Billie Eilish and FINNEAS while searching for a quiet place to practice her saxophone. Billie invites Lisa to her studio for a special jam session she’ll never forget.”

Billie Eilish (Singer) Biography, Age, Height, Weight, Boyfriend …https://www.celebrityborn.com › biography › billie-eilish Mar 5, 2022 — Billie Eilish was born on 18-12-2001 in Los Angeles in the state of California, United States. She is an American Singer, Songwriter, Musician, …AGE (in 2022): 20 Years Old WEIGHT: in Kilograms- 52 kg; in Pounds- 114….HEIGHT: in centimeters- 165 cm; in meters- 1.65 …BIRTH PLACE: Los Angeles, California

The latest Simpsons short, “When Billie Met Lisa,” can be streamed on Disney+.

DIS INFORMATION

An image of Bob Chapek with Simpsons producers behind him in the background.

A recent Hollywood Reporter story on embattled Disney CEO Bob Chapek opened with this observation:

It is unclear at this point whether Chapek, 61, can execute a reset with Disney staff and creative partners. A cartoon hanging in the production offices of The Simpsons seems to suggest an opinion: It has Chapek in the “In Memoriam” section of the Oscars show.

First of all, what a fuckin’ lame cartoon. Second of all, who cares. Some comedy writers made light of authority, stop the presses.

Well, apparently the Simpsons TOP BRASS care, because the article was updated later in the day to include this parenthetical disclaimer:

(The Simpsons top brass, including Jim Brooks, Matt Groening, Al Jean and Matt Selman, deny that that there was such a cartoon in the office. “For the sake of the simple truth: No notice concerning Bob Chapek has been on the walls of any Simpson’s office. Since March 2020 all our work has been done remotely due to Covid. Nobody has been in the offices for two years now. We do miss the snack room,” they wrote in a joint statement. The source who spoke with THR said that the circulated cartoon was in fact subsequently taken down.)

That FOUR executive producers felt the need to issue a joint statement about this stupid doodle that may or may not have actually existed is bewildering and pathetic. Do they think they’re going to get sent to the principal’s office? Maybe they’re right and they’re just really concerned about the spread of Fake News. In that case, why not just have one guy deny it, why did they need all four? Was this really an “all hands on deck” scenario? Also, I guess maybe there’s a world of difference between “production office” and “studio,” because this doesn’t look like somebody’s home to me.

Whatever happened, their emphatic denial makes them sound like they’re absolutely terrified of their boss’s wrath, which seems very silly because The Simpsons was once known for biting the hand that feeds them (albeit with the hand’s permission) and other parts of the company haven’t exactly been shy expressing criticism of their leadership lately.

Who knows, maybe years from now we’ll read in DisneyWar 3 about how this absolutely set Chapek off and made him angrily tear up the plans for Simpsons Land at EPCOT or whatever.