Content consumers were aghast last month when Warner Bros. Discovery suddenly removed many beloved animated series from its streaming service HBO Max and cancelled the nearly completed $90 million film Batgirl, locking them away in the studio’s iconic water tower like a certain trio of animated maniacs. Many were quick to point the proverbial finger at CEO David Zaslav, who is as focused on cutting costs as the Batman villain Zsasz is on slashing throats. Worryingly, it seems not even The Simpsons is safe from his tyrannical purge.
Suddenly, with only weeks of warning, 18 Simpsons episodes were removed from Hulu over the weekend – vanished into the ether, perhaps never to be seen again. These episodes comprised the bulk of the show’s thirty-third season, including the Emmy-nominated “Pixelated and Afraid.” It remains unclear just how Zaslav masterminded this feat, particularly as the show is produced by a rival studio and WarnerMedia sold off its stake in Hulu in 2019. What is clear is that derailing Infinity Train and closing up shop on Close Enough weren’t enough to satisfy Zaslav. Following in the footsteps of Judge Doom, he will not rest until every toon is eradicated. The creative community should be on high alert now that his reach is no longer confined to his own entertainment conglomerate.
18 episodes may not seem like much, and some of those episodes definitely sucked, but people spent a lot of time and effort making them and they deserve to have the fruits of their labor available for people to watch. Anyone seeking a legal means of viewing those 18 eradicated Simpsons episodes will simply have no choice but to purchase them from digital marketplaces, or wait until October 5, when the entire season is added to Disney+ as per licensing agreements.