NOSTRAD'OHMUS

An image of Farrah Fawcett on The Simpsons.

Over the past four decades, the The Simpsons television program has made thousands of incorrect predictions about the future, ranging from Arnold Schwarzenegger becoming president, Disney’s acquisition of romance, and the seizure of the East Coast by a supervillain.

So it frankly wasn’t all that surprising when a human-eyed viewer on Digg shared yet another bungled prediction to add to the pile: the late Farrah Fawcett still being alive in the year 2034.

In the 1994 episode “Bart Gets Famous,” Bart Simpson becomes a famous celebrity. Worried that his fame is fleeting, he imagines a future in which he appears on the game show Match Game 2034 alongside other has-been celebrities, including Billy Crystal, Loni Anderson, Spike Lee, the head of Kitty Carlisle, and Farrah Fawcett.

Sadly, Fawcett would not live to see the year 2034, as the Charlie’s Angels star would tragically pass away from a rare type of cancer on June 25, 2009. Compounding the tragedy, she is introduced in Bart’s fantasy as “Farrah Fawcett-Majors-O’Neal-Varney,” implying that she would eventually marry actor Jim Varney, best known for playing the character Ernest P. Worrell. Varney passed away himself in the year 2000.

Nobody expects a cartoon to get everything right, particularly one as frequently wrong as The Simpsons. However, one can’t help but wonder if this tragedy could’ve been avoided if Fawcett had been the one whose head was preserved in a jar. Perhaps Fawcett would’ve seen the episode, become more aware of her mortality, and the cancer could’ve been detected earlier. The Simpsons would still be wrong, but at least we’d still have one more Angel here on Earth.

DIS INFORMATION

An image of Homer Simpson cheering in front of The House of Disney+.

Later this year, Disney+ will finally give users the option to watch The Simpsons as it was originally meant to be shown: with commercials.

The service recently announced the addition of a new lower-cost, ad-supported subscription tier, which has been a long-time feature of its streaming sibling Hulu. It will launch in the US in late 2022 and expand internationally in 2023. Pricing has not yet been announced.

Media analysts at LightShed Partners are skeptical of the move:

Lowering price and jamming in ads does not feel like the answer to driving usage — if anything it feels like it will have the opposite effect. Disney needs to focus first and foremost on delivering more must-watch, buzzy content on Disney+.

Sure, some might gripe about paying for commercials you can’t skip, but this is great news for Simpsons simps. When Disney+ first launched, much ado was made over the fact you couldn’t watch the pre-HD episodes in their proper 4:3 aspect ratio. They eventually rectified this oversight by letting you toggle between aspect ratios, allowing you to watch the show the way the artists originally intended it to be shown. By adding commercials, Disney+ is furthering their commitment to artistic integrity by presenting the show as it was meant to be viewed when it originally aired on regular TV. With commercials, the meta jokes from “And Maggie Makes Three” and “Treehouse of Horror VI” will hit harder, act breaks will have more dramatic weight, and you’ll stay informed of new products. Best of all, it will cost you less money than the ad-free tier, and with the money you saved, you could potentially purchase something you saw in one of the ads. It’s a win for everybody, but especially for Simpsons fans craving a more authentic viewing experience.

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.

  • Former Simpsons composer Alf Clausen has dropped his wrongful termination lawsuit against the show, from which he was fired via email in 2017. Clausen, who was passed over for The Simpsons Movie in favor of Hans Zimmer, was replaced by Zimmer’s “Bleeding Fingers” composing collective, and the orchestra he led for decades was replaced with a more budget-friendly synthesizer. Simpsons producers claimed they let him go because “they didn’t think the classical- and jazz-inclined Clausen was up to the challenges of more contemporary tunes.” You know, like a parody of “America” from the 1957 musical West Side Story or “Tonight (Quintet),” also from West Side Story. [Deadline]
  • Way back in 2006, I wrote a quick post about fashion designer Ivy Supersonic accusing Simpsons producer Sam Simon of stealing her idea for a squirrel/rat character and putting it in the Ice Age movies, which he had nothing to do with. Recently, there were some viral tweets claiming Disney no longer owns the character Scrat as a result of her long legal crusade, which doesn’t appear to be, uh, true. Charles Kenny of The Animation Anomaly did some digging and cleared some things up. [The Animation Anomaly]
  • Holy shit you guys…. there was a thing about trucks in Canada, and wouldn’t you know it… The Simpsons featured a truck once!!!! [Reuters]
  • What happens when Universal Studios’s Simpsons contract expires in 2028? Will Disney try to do their own version of Springfield? Podcast: The Ride discussed that and more in an episode all about The Simpsons Ride. Here’s my proposal: a version of CityWalk called Hulu Highway featuring businesses from Disney’s more “adult” properties: Moe’s Tavern from The Simpsons, Paddy’s Pub from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The Drunken Clam from Family Guy, Bob’s Burgers from Allen Gregory, ISIS Headquarters from Archer, etc. [Podcast: The Ride]
NOISELAND ARCADE

An image of Activision Blizzard's marquee franchises, with the cover of Simpsons Wrestling crudely replacing Diablo.

Activision’s The Simpsons Wrestling, long considered one of the worst Simpsons video games if not video games period, could have a second life thanks to Microsoft’s pending acquisition of its parent company.

Theoretically, the 2001 PlayStation-exclusive game could be ported over to Xbox and released on the Game Pass subscription service, giving a new generation of gamers the chance to have Groundskeeper Willie wail on Lisa Simpson.

Pure poppycock, you say? Consider this: last year saw the surprise return of Konami’s 1991 Simpsons arcade game in the form of an arcade cabinet replica, so who’s to say Simpsons Wrestling isn’t due for a nostalgic revival? Secondly, Microsoft isn’t spending $68.7 billion to not release games, are they?

That said, if they were to port the game, why not use the opportunity to remake it from the ground up? What if Disney teamed up with Activision Blizzard to completely reimagine Simpsons Wrestling as a platform fighting game with a huge roster of Simpsons characters to compete with Super Smash Bros., Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl, and Warner Bros.’ upcoming Multiversus? The Simpsons has been AWOL from console games for years – a Smash clone would be a great way to herald a new era of Simpsons games.

Of course, Activision’s Simpsons license probably expired years ago, EA being the game’s publisher in international markets could cause some legal headaches, and there’s a slight chance so-called “President” Biden’s cronies in the FTC might not even approve the deal in the first place. But a gamer can dream…

RDRR REPORT

An image of characters from Star Trek: Prodigy admiring floor pie.

In the opening moments of the latest episode of Star Trek: Prodigy, the characters experiment with transporting a piece of pie throughout the USS Protostar, leading Jason Mantzoukas’s character Jankom Pog to remark “Mmm, floor pie,” a clear reference to a classic Simpsons moment (also, a clear ADR line). The Simpsons, of course, has made hundreds if not thousands of references to Star Trek over the decades, but as far as I know (which is admittedly very little, as I’m not a big Trek fan and am mostly just cribbing from Memory Alpha) this is the first time the latter franchise has reciprocated. Which made me start to wonder: does The Simpsons exist in the Star Trek universe?

Just to be clear, there is zero possibility Jankom Pog was consciously quoting an Earth TV show that theoretically would’ve premiered nearly four centuries prior to his birth, especially considering the first human he’s ever seen is a hologram of Captain Janeway. That doesn’t necessarily mean the show didn’t exist. If it did, though, it raises all sorts of questions:

Was the team at Gracie Films still cranking out classics like “Kamp Krusty” as the Eugenics Wars ravaged the globe? Did The Simpsons serve as a form of escapism for audiences in the relatively unaffected United States? Would vacation episodes still be as common with much of the world controlled by genetically engineered despots? Were people quoting their favorite Homer lines as they attempted to flee The Augments? Would it still be possible for Bill Oakley to write the “Steamed Hams” segment, knowing full well that 35 million people were being killed in a massive international conflict? Was production halted at the South Korean animation studio Akom when Khan Noonien Singh conquered Asia, or did he allow them to continue? Was he, perhaps, a fan of the show? What about Marla McGivers, the Enterprise’s historian from the 1967 episode “Space Seed” – does her 1990s expertise include Bartmania? If the show did exist, would it still be considered an exemplary work of art by surviving TV critics? Would it still be revered as such in the age of the Federation? Could the Holodeck feature a Simpsons program alongside programs based on Sherlock Holmes and Jane Eyre?

Given that Star Trek and The Simpsons are owned by separate media conglomerates, it is unlikely that we will ever receive an official, canonical answer. But’s it’s certainly something to think about.

BUZZFAD

An image of Harry Potter wearing The Sorting Hat in front of a Simpsons timing sheet.

Being an animation timer is a skilled job that requires a lot of technical wizardry. What if they actually were wizards??? Just for fun, we decided to sort various Simpsons animation timers from past and present into their appropriate houses of Hogwarts, the wizarding school from the Harry Potter series.

Milton Gray is extremely knowledgeable about the animation medium. Check out this post he wrote on the art of timing, or this essay about Bob Clampett. Also, his last name is Gray and the ghost of Hogwarts co-founder Helena Ravenclaw was known as The Grey Lady. Clearly, he’d be right at home in Ravenclaw.

Neil Affleck starred in the cult slasher flick My Bloody Valentine and without getting into spoilers let’s just say he’s capable of getting into a Slytherin mindset.

Cyndi Tang directed multiple episodes of King of the Hill. King of the Hill takes place in Texas. Texas is considered a red state. Red is one of the house colors of Gryffindor.

Chuck Sheetz made a guide on how to use exposure sheets to help his fellow timers. Such helpfulness is characteristic of a Hufflepuff.

Tim Bailey has worn many hats in the animation department. He can fearlessly take on any task you throw at him, exhibiting the bravery of a Gryffindor.

Carlton Batten is a Florida Gators fan. Alligators are reptiles. Serpents are also reptiles. Serpents are strongly associated with Slytherin.

Dean Bauer is credited as the animation timer on “A Tale of Two Springfields,” which features Homer dealing with a badger. Badgers are a symbol of Hufflepuff.

Andi Klein-Roane is a practitioner of Equine-Facilitated Learning, an experiential and hands-on approach to learning that utilizes the wisdom of horses. Dedication to the pursuit of wisdom is prized amongst those in Ravenclaw.

Richard Gasparian had to wait 30 years to release his horror film, Housesitter: The Night They Saved Siegfried’s Brain. Patience is valued by those in Hufflepuff.

Karen Carnegie Johnson is the former president of The Animation Guild and a member of the executive board. Standing up to the animation studios in support of labor rights exhibits the courage and determination that characterizes a Gryffindor.

Acacia Caputo‘s name anagrams to “Accio UTA cap,” a summoning charm for a University of Texas at Arlington baseball cap. Anagrams are strongly associated with Lord Voldemort, a descendent of Salazar Slytherin.

Hunilla Fodor has a “vast knowledge of the animation pipeline” according to producer Anthony Lioi, making her a suitable candidate for Ravenclaw.

SMARTLINE

An image of Comic Book Guy writing an angry screed on his computer.

The failing Democratic Party mouthpiece Jacobin has published a hit piece on The Simpsons in what could only be described as a pathetic attempt to stay relevant. Like the rest of its contemporaries in the liberal media, it’s clear that Jacobin has no idea what to talk about now that ol’ Donnie Trump is temporarily out of office, so now they’re just throwing stuff at the wall. Hating Modern Simpsons is praxis now? Sure, why not.
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DIS INFORMATION, MY TWO CENTS

An image of Lisa Simpson holding up a phone from the short Plusaversary.

As Disney+ Day turns into Disney+ Night, I thought I’d toss off some thoughts about The Big D’s lackluster non-event.

Why wasn’t there a livestream? A few weeks ago DC Comics had their second annual “FanDome,” a multi-hour livestream that touched on all the company’s upcoming projects and culminated in a new trailer for The Batman. Disney couldn’t have done the same? Instead they just dripped out new announcements in a Twitter thread, and then there were a couple short presentations from Pixar and Marvel added to Disney+. Oh, and they mentioned the wrong Will Smith, who continued to be tagged in every subsequent tweet. Weirdly amateurish for something that was supposedly a big deal for the company. Apparently they went all out at the theme parks and had giant balloons in major cities to promote this???

As for the new Simpsons short… eh, whatever. Seems like maybe it could’ve been a decent series of commercials back when Disney+ launched. “Look, all your favorite characters are together in one place.” Why wasn’t that their marketing campaign? Ah well. Also, I suspect they were using a fake mockup of the service as reference and nobody ever bothered to correct them.

In general, I feel David Silverman’s talents are being squandered on these shorts. Disney+ should just give him a huge budget and let him go hog wild.

Speaking of Simpsons shorts, where are the original shorts from The Tracey Ullman Show? I know it’s a long shot but I was kind of hoping for an announcement. Back when FXX launched Simpsons World, they tried and failed to get them. Disney+ should do what Simpsons Worldn’t: figure out what’s going on with the rights, fire their giant money bazooka at the problem, and get them out there. Now that would be a Disney+ Day miracle.