NEWS BRIEFS

An image of Mrs. Krabappel reading a book while a fucked-up Bart-like creature writes on the chalkboard. Also, there is a Smarch calendar.

  • Simpsons writer Marc Wilmore, whose credits also include In Loving Color, The PJs, and F is for Family, passed away from COVID-19 complications at the age of 57. Before joining the show, he participated in a prank on a writer where he pretended to be an irate mayor. [New York Times]
  • The late Marcia Wallace will be making a posthumous g-g-guest appearance in an upcoming episode where Bart finds Mrs. Krabappel’s diary. [TheFutonCritic.com]
  • What’s going on with Bongo Comics, Matt Groening’s all-but-defunct comic book publishing company, and what does it mean for Simpsons Fun Calendars? The situation is unclear, but the hosts of the podcast Talking Simpsons tried to make sense of it. I remember one year (2001) they included a page for Smarch, and it’s those little touches that set them apart from other calendars. [Talking Simpsons (25:52)]
  • Former Instagram tech nerd Thomas Dimson used AI to create a horrible nightmare Simpsons character generator. [This Fucked Up Homer Does Not Exist via Adam B.]
MY TWO CENTS

Mrs. Krabappel

Mrs. Krabappel made her final speaking appearance last Sunday in an episode that also featured Sideshow Bob using animal DNA to obtain gills and stepping on a rake underwater. Spoiler: Ned Flanders is cursed, and his Vegas wife should fear for her life.

Other than that, the producers still aren’t totally sure what to do about Bart’s lack of a teacher:

So who will replace Mrs. Kabrappel [sic.] in the fourth-grade classroom? For the time being, no one. The rest of this season’s episodes — which already have been completed — do not involve Bart with his teacher.

It appears they’ve already been removing her from classroom scenes. There’s a recent episode where a still image of Groundskeeper Willie is just pasted in the background of a scene (I’m pretty sure he doesn’t blink).

As for season 26, “we have some ideas,” says Jean. “It’s also possible both given the way the show works and the state of public schools there won’t be a permanent teacher. We can get some great guest stars here and there before we settle on somebody. We’re looking at it from different angles.”

So, basically it’ll be like the post-Steve Carell episodes of The Office, then. Great!

While my preference would be for the show to cease production immediately, my worthless, hacky suggestion is to just have Principal Skinner take over. It’d give the show more chances to focus on his adversarial relationship with Bart and, as a bonus, isolate him from his mother, who’s easily my least favorite character. Meanwhile, Superintendent Chalmers would naturally become principal, since he’s already at the school all the time anyway.

Either that, or it’s finally time for Nameless Ponytail Teacher to step into the spotlight.

[Entertainment Weekly]

NEWS BRIEFS

police dogAh, 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]
D'OH REPORT

doh

Late last week, Fox announced plans to honor the passing of Simpsons voice actress Marcia Wallace by airing the classic Season 3 episode “Bart the Lover,” for which she’d won an Emmy.

However, viewers on Sunday were instead presented with the Season 22 travesty “The Nedliest Catch,” the stunt episode where viewers got to decide the fate of Mrs. Krabappel and Ned Flander’s relationship, also known as “Nedna.”

Entertainment Weekly, which had announced the news, updated their story to explain the switcheroo:

The network originally announced plans to re-air Wallace’s Emmy-winning episode from the show’s third season, “Bart the Lover,” but “technical issues” clearing the 20-year-old episode prevented the last-minute switch and a newer episode featuring her character had to be chosen instead.

Apparently, Fox is now literally incapable of broadcasting quality Simpsons episodes.

RIP

Marcia Wallace, the voice of Mrs. Krabappel, died of pneumonia complications Friday night at the age of 70.

Once a student teacher in Iowa, Wallace moved to New York in 1964 and got her start in show business typing scripts. She eventually worked her way up to regular appearances on The Merv Griffin Show, which caught the attention of CBS founder Bill Paley, who personally demanded she be given a role on The Bob Newhart Show in 1972. For six seasons (and a 1994 episode of Murphy Brown), Wallace played the smart-mouthed and lovelorn secretary Carol Kester, a role that made her a star. Afterwards, she became a regular on various game shows, including Hollywood Squares. In the late 1980s she became a voice actress for cartoons including Darkwing Duck, Captain Planet, and The Simpsons. She was also a stage actress in a number of regional productions, including a starring role in An Almost Perfect Person.

Diagnosed with breast cancer in 1985, Wallace became an activist for breast cancer awareness and a motivational speaker. She lost her husband of six years, Dennis Hawley, to pancreatic cancer in 1992, leaving her to raise their adopted son alone. She wrote about her ordeals in her 2004 memoir, Don’t Look Back, We’re Not Going That Way:

Ten years ago, I was a devastated widow with a little kid, a house that was ready to be foreclosed, and a hundred thousand dollars’ worth of debts. Now all that’s paid off and my house is secure. And I’m opening up to new possibilities. Who knows what’s around the corner? I feel ready to find out. You know me, hon, I’m a scrappy gal. And I’m not looking back… ’cause I’m not going that way.

For 25 seasons, Marcia Wallace played Edna Krabappel, Bart Simpson’s acerbic chain-smoking fourth grade teacher. Openly disdainful of her students, Krabappel was a exquisite personification of an uncaring public school system, and her caustic “ha!” became a trademark. She dated Principal Skinner a while, and in recent seasons married Ned Flanders. Wallace won an Emmy in 1992 for her performance in the episode “Bart the Lover.”

Technically a recurring guest star, Wallace is the third cast member of the The Simpsons to pass away, following Doris Grau (Lunchlady Doris) in 1995 and Phil Hartman (Lionel Hutz, Troy McClure) in 1998. As with Hartman’s characters, Mrs. Krabappel’s “irreplaceable character” will be retired, according to showrunner Al Jean:

Before her death Wallace “recorded several lines which will appear in upcoming shows,” Jean said. “But I don’t intend to have anyone else play Mrs. Krabappel. I think Bart will get a new teacher and Ned Flanders will be a widower again.”

Simpsons staffers have been expressing their sympathies. Jean told the Los Angeles Times that she was “sweet, funny, not at all pretentious […] and just a wonderful person to be around.” Co-star Yeardley Smith tweeted “Heaven is now a much funnier place b/c of you, Marcia.” Director David Silverman drew a tribute sketch.

Wallace has a small role in the upcoming film Muffin Top: A Love Story, scheduled for release next year.

[Deadline, TMZ, MarciaWallace.com, Entertainment Weekly, Los Angeles Times]