Today marks the 20th anniversary of The Simpsons: The Complete First Season DVD boxset in North America (tip of the hat to illustrator Bill Mudron for mentioning this). It was, for a time, the best selling TV show on DVD until it was eclipsed by Chappelle’s Show a few years later. Now that physical media has been rendered a relic by streaming services, let’s take this opportunity to look back at what’s been lost.
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Congratulations to Matt Groening, Al Jean, and co. on achieving this meaningless milestone.
Now, please, for the love of God, do the merciful thing and end it. It’s too late to bow out with dignity. You will never surpass Sazae-san. There are no more plaudits left to achieve. You ran out of ideas over a decade ago. The next episode is about the Simpsons meeting the aliens. You are just throwing stuff at the wall now.
The Simpsons appended this incredibly minor “jab” at Fox News to the rebroadcast of the first episode, Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire, which aired as part of Fox’s twenty-fifth anniversary celebration Sunday night:
Despite its severe lameness (We don’t like Fox News! LOL!), it still got a bunch of press coverage from places like the Huffington Post (takes shot!), Hollywood Reporter (skewered! blasted!), and Zap2It (trashes!) … and that was before professional pinhead Bill O’Reilly weighed in.
I can only imagine what font size they’d use for the headlines if the scene featuring CEO Rupert Murdoch in jail had aired today.
The Hollywood Reporter did a big cover story about The Simpsons in honor its meaningless milestone of having churned out a certain number of product. Former showrunner Mike Scully used the occasion to share his death wish with the nation:
“I think the show will outlive all of us,” says former producer Mike Scully. “Nothing would make me happier than some episode in the future to end with a title card that reads, ‘In memory of Mike Scully.'”
Yup, Mike Scully wants to die. Nothing would make him happier. There is no other way to interpret that quote. After years of death threats from Simpsons nerds, it seems Scully has decided to embrace the icy hand of death.
The rest of the article is mostly just a rehash of the same stories they’ve been telling for years in interviews and audio commentaries (did you know Michael Jackson didn’t do his own singing???), but nonetheless there’s a few interesting tidbits I haven’t heard elsewhere, if you use a charitable interpretation of “interesting.”
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Twenty-two years ago today, America got its first taste of The Simpsons stretched out to 22 minutes with the premiere of the show’s Christmas special, “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire.”
I was going to post some reviews from the time, but the only one I could find (that wasn’t behind a paywall) was this one from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
A mighty Simpsons Day to you all.
The guy who made a whole movie about how eating a lot of mcdonalds food is bad for you is going to direct a documentary about the simpsons, who gives a shit. The real news is that it’s gonna be called “THE SIMPSONS 20th ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL IN 3-D ON ICE,” which is the best name for a thing ever. [ComingSoon.net]
Writer Brian Mciver rattles off his favorite moments from the series in broken English, including such classic moments as Maggie’s escape from the nursery, Homer in space, Homer selling his soul to Devil Flanders, “Mr Plough,” and… what the hell?!
Lisa of the future (President)
BART sees his future at a carnival and is shocked to find Lisa becomes President, while he is a struggling musician and Homer has a robotic prostate.
This is the first time I’ve seen that episode included in a list of the “best” anything, aside from “Best Episode Entitled ‘Bart To The Future'”[Daily Record]
Is executive producer Al Jean hepped up on goofballs, or is he just reading off a generic press release? Read this in a stoner voice and decide for yourself:
Jean recalled the magic of making the first full-length episode, The Simpsons’ Christmas Special. “That show – wow – it was one of the best things,” said Jean, who has served as the show’s head writer and, since 2001, its executive producer… “It had emotion, humor – it was just beautiful,” Jean recalled… “A lot of times, we first think about who we would like to meet and then write a character for them,” he said. “The show has had a lot of success in getting people to come on.” When asked for some his favorite celebrity performers, Jean immediately ticks off names: “Well, Phil Hartman, of course. Kelsey [Grammer] has been great. Jon Lovitz is really amazing. Eric Idle was great. We even had George and Paul and Ringo from the Beatles… It was very exciting when Liz Taylor came on to do Maggie’s voice. She said one word, ‘Daddy,'” Jean recalled. “Ms. Taylor had a little dog – and a ring bigger than my fist. It was all very ‘movie star.'”
IMPORTANT NEWS DISCLOSURE: A publicist for parade.com sent me an e-mail and asked if “[I] could make this announcement on [my] website and include a link to Parade.com” [Parade]