GROEN DRAIN

TW: Fans talk of the golden age, seasons three through eight or nine. Now that you’re into season 18, haven’t there been other phases, maybe a new renaissance?

MG: I don’t feel like I want to defend the show to people who don’t like it, but I would say that the animation is better, that we’re doing shows that I defy anybody to say that we’ve already done. We’re coming up with, I think, ideas that are certainly surprising to us. And the show still makes me laugh. That’s all I care about. I hope that it makes other people laugh, too.

For comparison to other executive producers:

Al Jean: “I think the last couple years have been among our best”
James L. Brooks: Season 17 is “a classic”
Matt Groening: Animation is better, surprising new ideas, still makes him laugh [The Wave]

EYE ON SPRINGFIELD

City officials have accepted an invitation from 20th Century Fox to compete against other Springfields across the country in a contest where the winner will host the premiere screening of “The Simpsons Movie,” due out in July. The film is one of the most highly anticipated releases of the year.

Gwyne Ortiz, a Fox publicist, said Fox has asked 16 Springfields from Oregon to Massachusetts to participate in the contest.

Studio execs will pick the winner after reviewing short films submitted by local officials. Each entry should showcase a community’s positive aspects, and somehow link it to “The Simpsons” TV show. The megapopular prime-time animated series created by Portland-born Matt Groening is now in its 18th season.

“We want each Springfield to express the highlights of what they do, and have it tie into the whole Simpsons element,” Ortiz said.

Not sure why any city would want to be like “America’s Worst City” (according to Time magazine) but OK [The Register-Guard]

WHAA...?!

It can be hard to get noticed amid the hustle and bustle of a red carpet — just ask Minnie Driver. “I’m in ‘The Simpsons Movie’!” the Oscar-nominated acress piped up… Reluctant to let plot points slip because, she said, “I could tell you about it, and then I’d literally get shot by [‘Simpsons’ creator] Matt Groening,” Driver nevertheless revealed she’ll be playing “a patronizing grievance counselor in one hilarious scene.”

Ruh-roh! We’ll be keeping a close eye on this one… [MTV]

ANNOYED GRUNTS

But with [South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut], we had an R-Rated version of a show not yet in its prime held back by censors; with The Simpsons Movie, we have a longer, PG-13 episode of a show that hasn’t been funny in ages. Great. I’m so excited.

burnsauce

[The Daily Reel]

WRITER WATCH

Gould: I don’t want to be standing at the Pearly Gates explaining why I spent my life watching DVDs of sitcoms I’d already seen. I mean, really … do something else. Fold up old paper bags. Make a puppet. Dress like an angel and convince a wino that he’s died. Something constructive.

Does his boss Matt Groening know about this??? [City Paper]

TREEHOUSE OF ERROR

Sure, Matt Groening might have his name emblazoned on every piece of Simpsons art and merchandise, but what about the other creators, such as Gabor Csupo, former supervising animation director?

Christy Lemire sets the record straight in her review of Bridge to Terabithia:

Killer birds and giant squirrels and menacing trees come out of nowhere and dart about in this live-action feature debut from Hungarian animation artist Gabor Csupo, who helped create “The Simpsons.”

Csupo is a pretty accomplished guy in his own right – he’s one of the two founders of successful animation company Klasky-Csupo, which produced the mega-popular Rugrats. So why is his Simpsons connection still being emphasized? [The Brunswick News]

EYE ON SPRINGFIELD

Even some of Springfield’s biggest fans admit that Americans know little about the city beyond its Lincoln connections. If they have any impression, it’s probably of a pleasant, nondescript midwestern city.

“It’s Every Place,” said Curtis Mann, manager of the local library’s Sangamon Valley Collection.

[Associated Press]