AZTEC THEATRE, MY TWO CENTS

The Simpsons live show is over now, with far less casualties than the usual Hollywood Bowl event. In defiance of the rules, some audience members recorded it with their cell phones and cameras. Here’s a video of the Friday show, which could be taken down at any time:

Dead Homer Society has some more videos of the Saturday and Sunday shows, but I’m not going to bother watching them.

Some observations:

  • “Unlike Seth MacFarlane, Matt [Groening] will not force you to listen to him sing” burnsauce
  • Whoever recorded this decided to leave it on for part of the intermission, but ran out of battery during Jon Lovitz singing the Planet of the Apes musical, and then somehow regained power immediately after. Okay…
  • Jon Lovitz is basically a more likable version of Ricky Gervais.
  • Host Hank Azaria got to live his greatest nightmare onstage because nobody told him a clip he was setting up was cut.
  • The Alf Clausen tribute seemed abrupt and a little at odds with the rest of the show’s tone. Still, nice to see the Sideshow Bob motif get its due…
  • Conan O’Brien seemed energetic, but “The Monorail Song” isn’t really much of a song, come to think of it.
  • “Do The Bartman” was really disappointing. Granted, it’s hard to do the Bart voice while singing in front of hundreds of people with limited stage experience, while also trying to make sure you don’t fall off the stage, but still…
  • Here’s the weirdest thing: Harry Shearer (who generally doesn’t agree to anything that’s not in his contract because he feels cheated by Fox) apparently didn’t give permission for his voice to be used in clips. So, twice they had to replace him with a “scratch” voice that’s REALLY OBVIOUS AND WEIRD. Shearer also declined to do The Simpsons Ride, but his voice is still present in episode clips that play while you’re waiting in line, so I don’t know what the deal is.
VOICE BOX

Hank Azaria as GargamelYesterday, Simpsons voice actor Hank Azaria (Moe, Chief Wiggum, Lisa) survived a close encounter with inhabitants of the notorious investigation-hindering and pony-fetish forum Reddit long enough to answer some of their burning questions. Frankly, his AV Club interview from several years ago was a lot more illuminating and in-depth if you really wanna know more about the Hankster, but nevertheless, here are the highlights from his “Ask Me Anything” interview so you don’t have to navigate Reddit’s terrible comment layout.

First, he tackled the obvious question, whether or not he’s ever seen Dan Castelleneta choke Nancy Cartwright to get the Homer-strangling-Bart scenes just right:

i have never witnessed it, but there is a lot of circumstantial evidence to prove that it has happened.

In a rather shocking development, it turns out he still likes the show that pays him millions of dollars each year:

mostly i’m too close to the show and love doing it so much to have an objective opinion. i do what i’ve always done, which is show up and enjoy making what they’ve written come to life. the show still really makes me laugh. i’ve certainly seen online over the years, and elsewhere, people criticizing the show. it reminds me of the beatles anthology. there’s this section where people are talking about how the white album isn’t so good…that it was too long and that a lot of the tracks didn’t work, and you see various people saying it wasn’t up to snuff. and then, they cut to paul mccartney who says “yeah, i’ve heard people don’t like the white album, but i say it’s the bloody beatles white album. it’s fucking great.” that’s kind of how i feel about the show.

Panda rape & talking rags? Same thing as the White Album, basically.

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MEANINGLESS MILESTONES, SCULLY DUGGERY

scullyThe Hollywood Reporter did a big cover story about The Simpsons in honor its meaningless milestone of having churned out a certain number of product. Former showrunner Mike Scully used the occasion to share his death wish with the nation:

“I think the show will outlive all of us,” says former producer Mike Scully. “Nothing would make me happier than some episode in the future to end with a title card that reads, ‘In memory of Mike Scully.'”

Yup, Mike Scully wants to die. Nothing would make him happier. There is no other way to interpret that quote. After years of death threats from Simpsons nerds, it seems Scully has decided to embrace the icy hand of death.

The rest of the article is mostly just a rehash of the same stories they’ve been telling for years in interviews and audio commentaries (did you know Michael Jackson didn’t do his own singing???), but nonetheless there’s a few interesting tidbits I haven’t heard elsewhere, if you use a charitable interpretation of “interesting.”

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VOICE BOX

homer houseJust how nice is Dan Castellaneta, voice of TV’s Homer Simpson? He is so nice that he will give you his house, if you ask him.

His best friend in the whole wide world, Simpsons co-worker Hank Azaria (Apu, Moe, etc.), was in the market for a new mansion after selling his home. Hearing that his good friend was now homeless, Castellaneta stepped up to his plate, and sold him his current mansion, the place where he lives and sleeps, because that is how nice a guy he is. Now, some people might let you stay in the guest room for a couple days or something, but Dan Castellaneta will just straight up give you his house.

So where are the Castellanetas going to live now? Nobody knows, maybe they will live in their car from now on. Only time will tell. [Los Angeles Times]

BORT REPORT, WRITER WATCH

bortA couple weeks ago, Ben Joseph, a first-time Simpsons writer, went onto the notorious pony-fetish website reddit and took some questions about his experience hanging out with Bart Simpson. Some of the answers are sorta-kinda interesting – how the writing process works, how much money you get before taxes, what Hank Azaria looks like (“a bronzed Adonis”) – but then he let this little nugget of info slither out:

No restrictions. But, as much as I’d have loved to pitch an all-Bort episode, I also worked hard to pitch something that felt like something they would actually do.

Thanks for dashing our dreams, jerkwad. [reddit]

VOICE BOX

for your considerationHuffington Post blogger Harry Shearer was once again hosed by the TV gods, who failed to nominate him for a prestigious “Emmy” orange blimp award in the category of “Best Voice-Talkin’ Guy.” Shearer, voice of Mr. Burns, Smithers, Lenny, and Principal Skinner, among others, has only been nominated in that category once (in 2009) and is the only regular Simpsons cast member to have not won it (the others somehow all won in 1992, WTF?). Dan Castalleneta (Homer), Hank Azaria (Moe), and Anne Hathaway (the princess in that godawful 20th anniversary episode) are nominated this year along with Seth Green, Dave Foley, and Coach McGuirk. [Los Angeles Times]

VOICE BOX

Voice actor Hank Azaria (Comic Book Guy, Moe, Chief Wiggum) and his girlfriend are expecting a child. Imagine that! [E!]

VOICE BOX

The cast of The Simpsons finally got around to renegotiating their contracts, thus putting an end to the pay dispute that threatened to tear apart humanity and resulted in at least thirty artists losing their jobs while production was halted. Dan Castellenta (Homer), Julie Kavner (Marge), Nancy Cartwright (Bart), Yeardley Smith (Lisa), Hank Azaria (Maggie), and Harry Shearer (Mr. Burns) will now each get $500,000 $400,000 per episode, an increase from $360,000, to donate to Scientology. Ironically, this pay increase comes at a time when viewership has dwindled by nearly fifty percent over the past five years. Aye carumba! [telegraph.co.uk]