DIS INFORMATION

An image of Homer Simpson cheering in front of The House of Disney+.

Later this year, Disney+ will finally give users the option to watch The Simpsons as it was originally meant to be shown: with commercials.

The service recently announced the addition of a new lower-cost, ad-supported subscription tier, which has been a long-time feature of its streaming sibling Hulu. It will launch in the US in late 2022 and expand internationally in 2023. Pricing has not yet been announced.

Media analysts at LightShed Partners are skeptical of the move:

Lowering price and jamming in ads does not feel like the answer to driving usage — if anything it feels like it will have the opposite effect. Disney needs to focus first and foremost on delivering more must-watch, buzzy content on Disney+.

Sure, some might gripe about paying for commercials you can’t skip, but this is great news for Simpsons simps. When Disney+ first launched, much ado was made over the fact you couldn’t watch the pre-HD episodes in their proper 4:3 aspect ratio. They eventually rectified this oversight by letting you toggle between aspect ratios, allowing you to watch the show the way the artists originally intended it to be shown. By adding commercials, Disney+ is furthering their commitment to artistic integrity by presenting the show as it was meant to be viewed when it originally aired on regular TV. With commercials, the meta jokes from “And Maggie Makes Three” and “Treehouse of Horror VI” will hit harder, act breaks will have more dramatic weight, and you’ll stay informed of new products. Best of all, it will cost you less money than the ad-free tier, and with the money you saved, you could potentially purchase something you saw in one of the ads. It’s a win for everybody, but especially for Simpsons fans craving a more authentic viewing experience.

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]
D'OH REPORT

doh

Whoops!!! It looks like Bart Simpson’s carbon rod accidentally made a repeat appearance for a few frames in last night’s Simpsons episode, “Specs in the City.” An editor on Wikisimpsons took a screencap to preserve this watershed moment in network television history for future generations. Those frames have yet to be censored or removed from the Hulu version of the episode (in the name of journalistic integrity, this reporter had to redeem his hard-earned Bing rewards points to get a Hulu Plus subscription in order to confirm it wasn’t a hoax).

Presumably, this means either Fox’s ban on butts has been lifted, or some rogue animator is getting fired for that blunder.

[Specs and the City via No Homers Club]

WEB-WATCH

WTSOThe internet’s most notorious site for illegally watching The Simpsons online, WatchTheSimpsonsOnline, has unexpectedly shut down after at least four years of operation.

Here’s an outdated Wikisimpsons article about the site. Currently, visitors are greeted with this vague goodbye message:

Hello, The website you’re trying to reach has been permenantly shut down.

If you wish to watch new episodes of the simpsons online please visit hulu.com or fox.com.

Thanks for your understanding.

Continue Reading →

D'OH REPORT, WEB-WATCH

dohBack in 2007, rival media conglomerates News Corporation and NBCUniversal put aside their differences and joined forces to create Hulu, a video site designed to combat rampant piracy. If you miss your favorite shows, you can just catch ’em the next morning on Hulu for free in exchange for watching some commercials. It’s been a big success, and something that many viewers have become accustomed to. Well, if you’ve been using the service to watch Fox shows, THE FREE RIDE STOPS HERE, BUCKO. Recently, Fox changed its rules so that Hulu viewers will have to wait eight days to watch new episodes from Fox shows, unless they pony up the cash for the subscription service Hulu Plus or prove they pay for DISH Network.

Unsurprisingly, people have turned to piracy to get their fix:

Over the last week TorrentFreak tracked two Fox shows on BitTorrent to see if there was an upturn in the number of downloads compared to the previous weeks, and the results are as expected […] During the first 5 days, the number of downloads from the U.S. for the latest episode of Hell’s Kitchen increased by 114% compared to the previous 3 episodes. For MasterChef the upturn was even higher with 189% more downloads from the U.S.

And keep in mind the fall season hasn’t started yet; these trends may increase once shows like House and The Simpsons return to the airwaves.

Admittedly, ad revenue from Hulu is paltry compared to television – former NBC executive Jeff Zucker once quipped “We’re exchanging analogue dollars for digital dimes.” But surely it’s better to make some money rather than no money, right? [TorrentFreak via TechCrunch]

NEWS CORP. NEWS

fox newsLast week’s Simpsons episode featured a Fox News helicopter adorned with the slogan “Not racist, but #1 with racists.” Everybody liked this joke so dang much, especially smug schmucks who proudly buy coffee mugs that say “FAUX NEWS” on them, so The Simpsons just had to do it again this week. If you haven’t seen the show after they went high-def, they now have a “cloud gag” where something WACKY flies by show’s title, destroying Matt Groening’s original intention of it being a transition from the real world to the Simpsons’ world. This time, another Fox News helicopter flew by, with the slogan “Unsuitable for Viewers Under 75.”

But if you’re too cool to watch TV shows on TV at their correct bat-time, and opted instead to watch it Monday morning on Hulu (which is directly helping keep the show on the air, so knock it off), you didn’t get to see this ever-so-precious sight gag; instead you got Homer as King Kong (one of those depressing “hey guys, remember this thing from back when we were funny?” callback gags for the “old school” fans).

Blogs like Mediaite and Think Progress were immediately suspicious: did Fox News, which according to the liberal hivemind is responsible for Everything Bad In The World, exert their vast influence within News Corporation to force their corporate cousins The Simpsons and Hulu censor a mildly critical jape at their expense??? Is Fox News leading an assault on comedy??? Is Bill O’Reilly going to tear out Doonesbury from everybody’s newspaper???

No, says The New York Times‘ ArtsBeat blog, which actually bothers to ask the show’s producers about these things:

The “Simpsons” producers could not let that remark stand, so they rushed their second Fox News joke into Sunday’s episode — so late in the production process that the gag could only be inserted into the version shown in North America, but not into versions shown in foreign markets or on the Internet.

I remember feeling super-special when I watched “Trilogy of Error” for the first time and noticed that the closed captioning was occasionally different from the spoken dialogue, because they had changed jokes at the last minute, after the episode had already been sent to closed-captioning factory (or whatever, I don’t know it works). I was getting bonus jokes! This silly non-conspiracy is just the same thing, just on a larger scale. So while it’s tempting to believe Fox News, the Koch brothers, and Satan are all cruising around in a Halliburton blimp, snatching up people in their tractor beams and throwing them down the memory hole because they criticized Sarah Palin’s choice of eyewear on their Tumblr, it’s important to remember The Simpsons hasn’t been controversial in about a decade. [ArtsBeat]

WAGON TRAIN, WEB-WATCH

wagon trainEveryone knows that one of the major causes of the writers’ strike was the fact that writers were not being compensated for profits made from online distribution. Rather than waiting to see how negotiations would turn out, News Corp. and NBC Universal launched the private beta of their YouTube rival Hulu at the end of October (I didn’t get my invite until like a few days ago, so whatever). Hulu features clips and full episodes of all your favorite Fox and NBC shows, including The Simpsons, with some fairly annoying ads for the upcoming movie Hitman built in. It’s actually a nice, clean interface, and you actually the option to turn on subtitles. As of right now, the Simpsons category only has full episodes from Season 19, as well as some 60-odd clips from Seasons 1 – 7, some of which are just couch gags.

So while you’re waiting for the strike to end, you can just sit back, relax, and enjoy all your favorite Fox/NBC-owned content, with the knowledge that none of that ad money is going to the writers. [Hulu]