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]
ANNOYED GRUNTS

mad marge

As the 12-day FXX marathon enters into The Modern Age and all the goodwill turns into apathy and anger, let’s take a brief look at people and entities who are mad at The Simpsons this week.

The Parents Television Council recently sent Matt Groening an open letter shaming him for the rape joke(s…?) in the upcoming Family Guy/Simpsons crossover, which the Simpsons team apparently had little say over. President Tim Winter claims he’s been a fan of Groening’s work “as far back as the mid-1980s when [Life in Hell] appeared in the LA Weekly.” Yes, I can totally picture the head of the PTC picking up an alt-weekly and laughing at the antics of the frequently-nude gay twins Akbar & Jeff next to ads for escort services. [Parents Television Council]

Tapped Out players are getting fed up with the game and EA’s slowness in addressing the problems. “Gil cannot save Tapped Out,” a blogger dramatically proclaims. It’s always Gil’s fault, isn’t it? [TSTO game via Dead Homer Society]

Hologram USA claims the Homer hologram shown at Comic-Con violated their patent on a variation of the stage trick “Pepper’s Ghost,” which is also the title of my Blue’s Clues creepypasta. [The Hollywood Reporter]

Simpsons purists are annoyed because the “Every Simpsons Ever” marathon is being broadcast in a widescreen 16:9 aspect ratio, cropping out some funny visual gags and crucial murder mystery clues. Boy, sounds like FXX is really FXXing things up. Eh? Eh? No? Sorry. [The Verge]

NEWS ROUNDUP, PANEL PIECES

police dog

The creator of The Simpsons shows off his sweet dance moves, the crew dashes the hopes of Comic-Con attendees, Homer chokes, Bob from Bob’s Burgers flies, and a showrunner becomes a lawbreaker.

  • Witness the raw acting talent of Matt Groening as he interacts with a hologram version of Homer. [YouTube]
  • A couple of of the questions from the audience at the Simpsons panel seemed a wee bit hostile:

    Is there any way to inject fresh blood into the series? “No!” we’re told. But Matt explains that no-one ever leaves the show once they’ve joined the series.

    The next young fan asks if The Simpsons is ever going to end? There are claps as Matt says the show is “going to be around for a while”. “We’ve got two years to run it into the ground and ten years before it ends,” he jokes.

    When one of the most-asked questions about your show is about when it’s ending, maybe it’s a sign you’ve worn out your welcome? [Digital Spy]

  • Maybe it’s funnier in context, but I’m a little baffled someone somewhere decided this scene where Homer struggles to breathe as Lisa helplessly watches was hilarious enough to show at Comic-Con. [YouTube]
  • Here’s some footage from the upcoming Simpsons/Family Guy crossover featuring a surprise cameo from none other than Bob Belcher… which is no longer a surprise, sorry. [Entertainment Weekly]

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JEAN MACHINE

al jean

Remember the Simpsons/Family Guy crossover? Still happening, and it looks like the Family Guy writers are bringing their A game with more of their atrocious rape jokes. Luckily there’s a man who, positively can do, everything he possibly can to keep rape culture at bay: Simpsons executive producer Al Jean.

Jean asked for some minor tweaks but, other than that, he was fine with what the Family Guy writers came up with.

[…]

“We said, ‘Can you cut just one rape joke?'” Jean recalled, straight-faced. “They said, ‘No,’ and we said, ‘OK.'”

Well, at least he tried.

[The Province]

TOON BEAT

Bordertown

With The Cleveland Show cancelled and American Dad heading for TBS, it was looking like Fox might be down to just three Seth MacFarlane-produced shows on their schedule: Family Guy, Dads, and the upcoming Cosmos reboot. Luckily, Fox immediately sprang into action and greenlit his latest cartoon (his fourth for the network), thus maintaining their quota:

Fox has given a 13-episode order to Bordertown, from MacFarlane and Family Guy‘s Mark Hentemann. Set in a fictitious desert town near the U.S.-Mexico border, Bordertown centers on the intertwining daily lives of neighbors Bud Buckwald and Ernesto Gonzales. Bud, a married father of three, is a Border Patrol agent who feels threatened by the cultural changes that have transformed his neighborhood. Living next door is Ernesto, an industrious Mexican immigrant and father of four, who is proud to be making it in America. As Bud and Ernesto’s paths begin to cross, their families become bound by friendship, romance and conflict.

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ANNOYED GRUNTS

Crossover! Is there any word more thrilling to the human soul? Family Guy has listened to your 1999-era fan fiction and is going full steam-ahead on a crossover episode where the Griffins meet the Simpsons, and wackiness is sure to ensue. Just think of the possibilities: maybe Homer and Peter will argue over which cartoon beer is better?? Maybe Stewie and Maggie will try to kill someone?? Maybe the talking dog will sniff the other dog’s butt?? Unfortunately you’ll have to wait more than a year to see all your amazing Animation Domination crossover fantasies brought to life on the silver screen.

Anyway, Brad Bird, who’s now a big-time director about to start production on a sci-fi movie called Tomorrowland and needn’t concern himself with piddley new developments in the field of long-running run-into-the-ground TV cartoons, weighed in on Twitter by saying he agrees with his former boss, 1995 Matt Groening.

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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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TOON BEAT

seth macfarlaneSeth MacFarlane, beloved by millions around the globe as the voice of Stewie The Talking Baby Who Says Naughty Things and Brian The Talking Dog Who Says Naughty Things, is ready to branch out and tackle the next big challenge of his artistic career: directing, writing, producing and starring in a live-action movie about a Talking Teddy Bear Who Says Naughty Things.

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TOON BEAT

adult swim logoFox hired a guy from Adult Swim to find out how to better compete with Adult Swim and his solution was for Fox to make their own Adult Swim. Brilliant! The two hour programming block will air on Saturdays at 11pm starting next year.

Basically, they’re grabbing up all the “edgy” cartoons they don’t have room for on Sunday nights (which I will henceforth refer to as “Animation Domination Prime”) and dumping them on Saturday nights, formerly the home of MADtv, Wanda Sykes’s late-night talk show, and the remaining episodes of Sit Down, Shut Up they were contractually obligated to air. Nobody knows what’s on there now. The audience for this thing will primarily consist of Adult Swim viewers who forgot Saturdays are when Adult Swim airs The Animes.

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TOON BEAT

family guyHoly crap, Lois! Remember the time when Family Guy writer Patrick Meighan got sent to the slammer for the heinous crime of occupying Los Angeles? What the deuce??? He set up a blog to share his ordeal.

I unlinked my arms voluntarily and informed the LAPD officers that I would go peacefully and cooperatively. I stood as instructed, and then I had my arms wrenched behind my back, and an officer hyperextended my wrists into my inner arms. It was super violent, it hurt really really bad, and he was doing it on purpose. When I involuntarily recoiled from the pain, the LAPD officer threw me face-first to the pavement. He had my hands behind my back, so I landed right on my face. The officer dropped with his knee on my back and ground my face into the pavement. It really, really hurt and my face started bleeding and I was very scared. I begged for mercy and I promised that I was honestly not resisting and would not resist.

With us Occupy LA protestors, however, they set bail at $5,000 and booked us into jail. Almost none of the protesters could afford to bail themselves out. I’m lucky and I could afford it, except the LAPD spent all day refusing to actually *accept* the bail they set. If you were an accused murderer or a rapist in LAPD custody that day, you could bail yourself right out and be back on the street, no problem. But if you were a nonviolent Occupy LA protestor with bail money in hand, you were held long into the following morning, with absolutely no access to a lawyer.

I guess you could say it was the opposite of “freakin’ sweet.” Giggity giggity goo, damn you vile woman, etc.

[My Occupy LA Arrest, by Patrick Meighan via AMERICAblog]