Ah, a new year is upon us, giving me a chance to catch up on all the news stories I’ve neglected over the past few weeks before they get too old to post.
- The administrator of the now-defunct pirate streaming site WatchTheSimpsonsOnline, which was shut down in October, has been ordered to pay $10.5 million in damages. Now that’s a lot of “D’oh”!!!!! [TorrentFreak]
- Fox is getting back in the theme park game! Twelve years after the miserable failure of their first park, Fox is bringing “Twentieth Century Fox World” to Malaysia, with plans for more. They won’t be allowed to feature any Simpsons attractions since the franchise is licensed to Universal, which is kinda like Comedy Central making a theme park without South Park. But they will have a recreation of the Titanic!!! [Variety]
- Mrs. Krabappel and the late Simpsons writer Don Payne were depicted as angels for a split-second in a recent Christmas episode. That’s heartwarming and all, but why are there angels at the North Pole? [E! Online]
- The Simpsons has teamed up with BAPE for a line of streetwear where they all look dead. [BAPE]
Simpsons writer Don Payne died yesterday at the young age of 48. The cause is unknown at this time, but former writing partner John Frink told the Wilmington Star-News he’d been suffering from bone cancer.
Fellow Simpsons writer Mike Scully broke the news yesterday afternoon on Twitter. Executive producer Al Jean issued a statement saying Payne was “beloved in the ‘Simpsons’ community and his untimely passing is terrible news to us all.”
Back in the 90s, Payne and Frink wrote for sitcoms like Veronica’s Closet, Men Behaving Badly and a bunch of unproduced pilots before they were both brought in to The Simpsons in 2000. Together they wrote the Simpsons episodes “Insane Clown Poppy,” “Bye Bye Nerdie,” “Simpsons Tall Tales,” and “The Bart Wants What It Wants.” They ended their writing partnership a few years later on amicable terms. Payne’s solo Simpsons credits include “Thank God It’s Doomsday” and “Fraudcast News,” the latter of which earned him a special Paul Selvin Award from the Writers Guild of America. In 2007, he gave the Star-News ten reasons why he loved working on The Simpsons, including “We can do jokes about socialism and Homer’s butt catching on fire.”
Rather than be constrained to writing television, Payne managed to achieve his childhood dreams of conquering Hollywood and writing boffo blockbusters. A lifelong comics fanboy, his first credited movie was the superhero spoof My Super Ex-Girlfriend, which later led to him co-writing the Marvel films Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Thor, and its upcoming sequel Thor: The Dark World. According to a 2011 interview, he had an idea for his own comic that he was keen to do if he could ever find the time between his Simpsons and film duties.
He is survived by his wife and three young children. [Wilmington Star-News]