MY TWO CENTS

Springfield Confidential: Jokes, Secrets, and Outright Lies from a Lifetime Writing for The Simpsons by Mike Reiss and Mathew Klickstein; released 2018, available at HarperCollins

Feels like a Season 4 episode in that there’s a lot of funny jokes but also a lot of filler


LISTICLE PARADISO

An image of the Simpsons
  1. The Simpsons is a cartoon
  2. The Simpsons is about a family named the Simpsons
  3. The Simpsons have yellow skin
  4. The dad’s name is Homer
  5. Homer is fat
  6. The boy’s name is Bart
  7. Bart has spikey hair
  8. The girl’s name is Lisa
  9. The mom’s name is Marge
  10. Marge has large, blue hair
  11. There is also a baby
GROEN DRAIN

How did Simpsons creator Matt Groening get to be so rich and successful? Well, it turns out he had a trick up his sleeve… a time-traveling trick!!!

It has now become clear that at some point in the future where time travel has become achievable, Matt Groening warped back to Olympia, Washington in the 1970s, and gave his past self a bunch of Simpsons memorabilia and a 20-year plan for creating the franchise and becoming king of all media. Unfortunately, Old Matt didn’t count on Young Matt painting all this new information and hiding it away for years. Now, those paintings – the only known evidence linking him to the crime of violating the Temporal Prime Directive – have resurfaced.

As originally reported by the Kitsap Sun, a 69-year old artist bought some Simpsons watercolors at a Seattle-area thrift store and thinks they were made by Matt Groening when he was a student at the Evergreen State College, more than a decade before the Simpsons shorts began airing on The Tracey Ullman Show. She is now trying to auction them off at $2,000 apiece.

Continue Reading →

JEAN MACHINE

al jean

Al Jean, the guy who’s been in charge of The Simpsons for the past thirteen seasons, told a radio interviewer he is looking for someone else to take over his duties:

We actually have been, just preliminarily, trying to think of a way we could get someone else to do it full-time.

Naturally, Jean is referring to The Critic, the short-lived animated series he co-created with Mike Reiss. Supposedly there is buzz it could be revived for a second time because everything else from the ’90s is being revived (I’ve already pre-ordered my tickets to the Sears Air Conditioner Commercial movie). But, since Jean and Reiss have their hands full with The Simpsons and… uh… whatever Reiss does nowadays, they would need a new person to actually run the show and get called gay by Jon Lovitz on a day-to-day basis.

The thing is: would The Critic even work in the 2010s? Instead of film critics on TV we have something called The Tomatometer, and now that Siskel & Ebert have gone to the concession stand in the sky, the most recognizable film critics today are insufferable YouTube personalities ranting about Jar-Jar Binks. I suppose we’ll find out, maybe.

[LIVE 105 via CinemaBlend]

BONGO BEAT

Bongo Comics Group

In a highly unexpected move, The Simpsons is ending… its business relationship with comiXology.

Bongo Comics Group, the publisher of Simpsons Comics, quietly took all their stuff off comiXology, the leading digital comics retailer owned by Amazon. Nobody seems to know what led to this decision, and both sides are remaining tight-lipped about it. Here’s what they told Tom Spurgeon of The Comics Reporter:

Chip Mosher of comiXology told CR, simply, “Bongo is no longer available on comiXology.” Susan Grode a partner at Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP, speaking on behalf of Bongo, said, “Thank you for your email. My client has no response regarding Comixology. Bongo has created the Simpsons Store app for its comics and trade books on iTunes, to be released shortly.”

It’s hard to say what’s a stupider name, comiXology or Simpsons Store.

Spurgeon says he was also told users who previously bought Bongo comics on comiXology will still be able to read their books, because that’s apparently a thing you have to worry about in the digital marketplace.

Bongo making their own app is a bold move for a company that didn’t even have a website until 2010. Grode’s terse statement does raise some concerns, though: she only mentions iTunes, with no mention of whether Simpsons Store will be available on Android, Windows Phone, or the web, like comiXology is. Also, calling it Simpsons Store (ok, maybe it’s a placeholder name?) leaves the digital fates of Bongo’s non-Simpsons output, like Futurama Comics and SpongeBob Comics, unclear. Because, come on, buying a SpongeBob comic from a Simpsons app would just be madness.

Ideally, the service would be under the Bongo name, and I’d love to see them digitally re-release stuff from their defunct Zongo Comics imprint, the underappreciated Heroes Anonymous, and maybe some uncollected Life in Hell stuff.

[The Comics Reporter]

VOICE BOX

Negotiations with Harry Shearer appear to have hit a wee bit of a snag, as the longtime Simpsons cast member has apparently announced he’s leaving the show.

Shearer made the announcement on Twitter late last night, quoting an imaginary press release from James L. Brooks’s Lawyer, for some reason. Take a look:

Then he seized the opportunity to plug his new comedy song about cops. Hey, why not?

burning bridge

Continue Reading →

D'OH REPORT

doh

Fox announced they were picking up a “DOUBLE D’OHse” of The Simpsons earlier this week, but it turns out they may have forgotten to make sure all the contracts were signed before hitting “send” on that press release.

TMZ is reporting that “one of the key players” is holding out for unspecified reasons. Going by the history of previous contract negotiations, the mystery holdout is almost definitely Harry Shearer, trying to get himself a cut of some of those sweet, sweet back-end profits. If true, this would make his grumpy tweets about how almost none of the news coverage mentioned him pretty ironic, I guess.

In the unlikely event the show’s producers can’t come to an agreement with him, they have a backup plan:

A designer said that Al Jean (longtime executive and consulting producer) is optimistic that new contracts with vocal talent will be finalized, but Matt Groening was reported to have said:

“If necessary, I’LL do the voices.”

THE INSIDE SCOOP

future crowd

In an unprecedented move, The Fox Network has renewed the The Simpsons for 254 additional seasons, ensuring America’s Favorite Family will be delighting audiences for centuries to come.

According to a press release, the renewal includes funding for a program codenamed Virtua Script, which developers boast will dramatically cut down on production costs by automating scripts. The program is part of long-term plan for the show to become fully automized by 2041, and achieve sentience soon thereafter.

“I could not be happier about this renewal,” tweeted showrunner Al Jean, who said he plans to upload his consciousness to the machines as soon as it is technologically feasible.

NOISELAND ARCADE

You can rest easy, everybody. It looks like negotiations are over, contracts have been signed, and The Simpsons will be returning from its hiatus.

I speak, of course, about the franchise’s extended hiatus from video game consoles. Hard as it may be to believe, it’s been over seven years since the release of a Simpsons game on a dedicated gaming system. With EA’s attention focused on The Simpsons: Tapped Out, the hugely successful freemium game for iOS and Android devices, the prospects of a followup to 2007’s The Simpsons Game looked fairly dim. But now it looks like Homer and the gang just might be returning to consoles… just not in the way anyone expected.

Yesterday, The LEGO Group and Warner Bros. announced LEGO Dimensions, a new game & toy series in the lucrative “you have to keep buying plastic junk” category pioneered by Skylanders. Once you’ve plunked down a hundred bucks for the starter pack, you can buy additional characters and content from various franchises. Unlike its rival Disney Infinity, LEGO Dimensions won’t be limited to franchises owned by the same megacorporation – they’ve already licensed Back to the Future from Universal, for example.

On Twitter, @UKVGDeals highlighted what could be a clue to a certain other franchise in the extended trailer:

Lego Dimensions trailer

That’s right: a donut with pink frosting and sprinkles, 100% clear-cut confirmation that The Simpsons will be a part of the game in the future. (Aside: When and how did “donut with pink frosting” become the defining icon of The Simpsons, anyway?)

Still not convinced? Well, as fellow Twitter user Ryan W. Mead pointed out, a New York Times article mentions “Characters owned by 20th Century Fox are also expected to join Dimensions as it rolls out.” Clearly they must be referring to the Simpsons because, ha ha, does Fox even have any other franchises anymore?

So, there you have it, folks: The Simpsons is almost definitely coming back to consoles in the form of an add-on pack to LEGO Skylanders: The Game, by next year, probably. What’s less clear is if the show will still be on by then.

Wait, I just remembered the Minecraft pack. Eh, whatever.