WRITER WATCH

Simpsons writer/producer Marc Wilmore announced his departure from the show in a strange series of tweets.

Previously a writer/performer on In Loving Color and The PJs, Wilmore joined The Simpsons in 2000. He was the sole black writer to have been part of the show’s writing staff (Michael Carrington, who co-wrote “Homer’s Triple Bypass” and voiced Sideshow Raheem, wasn’t technically part of the staff).

On Thursday and Friday, he tweeted self-deprecating jokes about his newfound unemployment and suggestions the parting was less than amicable. It’s most certainly all part of a comedy bit, but… what if it wasn’t…?!?

Judge for yourself…

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WRITER WATCH

wagon train

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.

[Variety]

WRITER WATCH

writer watch

Detractors of modern day Simpsons, rejoice: the writing staff is finally putting some effort into something! Unfortunately, that something has nothing to do with the show in any way.

Bloomberg Businessweek has a story about the writers’ Summer Box Office Fantasy League, a “complicated gambling game” where they waste time by betting on which summer blockbusters will rule the box office for the grand prize of a banner and $400, the equivalent of how much Matt Groening makes in a minute.

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WRITER WATCH

Matt SelmanSplitsider did a pretty good interview with current Simpsons writer (and rubbercat.net/simpsons reader) Matt Selman. About half of it is just plugging his latest episode, Homer the Hipster (which he’s already defending), but there’s still some good insights. Selman talks about his thoughts on a final episode, how those lazy layabouts Tom Gammill and Max Pross have finally – after being on the writing staff for over a decade – written an episode, how the staff tries to make sure the show doesn’t feel like a Jay Leno monologue (except, uh, when they actually do Leno monologues), and getting fired from Seinfeld. Then the interviewer gets him to tell the “Mayor of St. Louis” story, which is pretty funny:

It’s starting to get very awkward because he’s sort of addressing his whole speech to me and putting me on the spot and humiliating me and saying, “Who said this about East St. Louis? Have you ever been to East St. Louis?” I’m feeling very uncomfortable and awkward. ‘Oh man, I’m so dead.’ I unfortunately showed my true colors by selling out the others writers by saying that I didn’t write the joke in the show about East St. Louis [and] someone else wrote it [and] we all wrote it together, even though my name was on the script.

There you have it: by his own admission, Matt Selman is a gullible liar, a man who should not be trusted, but is also incredibly trusting. So dark, the duplicity of man.

[Splitsider]

TOON BEAT, WRITER WATCH

hawkthorne Can critically-‘cclaimed cult college comedy caper Community compete in cartoon and comedy categories? No, according to a bunch of incensed cartoon writers – including all 537 Simpsons writers as well as the Family Guy manatees – who wrote a strongly-worded letter to the esteemed representatives of television to protest Community stepping on their turf (their turf being the Emmy categories Best Animated Program and Short-Form Animated Program). See, once again Community is eligible for an Emmy or two in animated categories thanks to a special animated episode – last year it was the stop-motion “Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas” (which won Individual Achievement in Animation, the show’s only Emmy so far), this year it’s “Digital Estate Planning,” an excellent video game-based episode. But since Community is normally a live-action show, it’s also eligible for the usual live-action categories that animated shows are apparently ineligible for, including Outstanding Writing in a Comedy.

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THE INSIDE SCOOP, WRITER WATCH

dana gouldIN 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.

thanx

urs in christ,
adam
http://rubbercat.net/simpsons/news

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.

WRITER WATCH

marge surprisedWriter/producer Matt Selman and former writer/murderer Dana Gould are doing a “thing” this Thursday at Meltdown Comics in Los Angeles. If you pay them 10 bucks, they will regale you with anecdotes about working for The Simpsons in the post-funny era, answer questions about wizard keys, as well as – and this is the important part – give you all the backstage dirt, like “Who punched a box?” If any of you readers out there end up going to this thing, please please please tell me who punched the box. I desperately need to know.

[NerdMelt]

BORT REPORT, WRITER WATCH

bortA couple weeks ago, Ben Joseph, a first-time Simpsons writer, went onto the notorious pony-fetish website reddit and took some questions about his experience hanging out with Bart Simpson. Some of the answers are sorta-kinda interesting – how the writing process works, how much money you get before taxes, what Hank Azaria looks like (“a bronzed Adonis”) – but then he let this little nugget of info slither out:

No restrictions. But, as much as I’d have loved to pitch an all-Bort episode, I also worked hard to pitch something that felt like something they would actually do.

Thanks for dashing our dreams, jerkwad. [reddit]