THE INSIDE SCOOP

crimea billboard

There’s a big change in store for next season of The Simpsons: nothing but Vladimir Putin jokes! Ukranian and Russian media outlets have obtained an EXCLUSIVE preview clip, and it looks like all future jokes will be replaced with zingers at the Russian president’s expense.

Washington Post:

This simple online video has been picked up by a number of outlets in the region. One major Ukrainian television channel picked it up, though one of Ukraine’s largest Web sites noted that it hadn’t been able to confirm its authenticity yet. The Post reached out to Fox Television, which said that this clip had been doctored. No, Bart Simpson did not call Putin a “huylo,” and no, there is no Crimea billboard in Springfield.

Creator Matt Groening, who has Russian ancestry, is believed to be the mastermind behind the switch. No word yet on how Western audiences will react to the show’s newfound focus on Eastern European politics.

NEWS BRIEFS, 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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NEWS BRIEFS

police dog

  • The sleuths at Bleeding Cool, hot off the heels of their Bapper discovery, noticed that Matt Groening recently bought the domain lifeinhell.tv, which could only mean one thing: Groening is moving to the islands of Tuvalu, which owns and operates the .tv domain. [Bleeding Cool]
  • The Awl has a good piece about the Simpsons-themed area at Universal Orlando (does it have a name?) and the “Experience Economy” that reflects my ambivalence to the whole thing. [The Awl]
  • Nick Offerman, who plays Ron Swanson in Parks & Recreation, casually mentioned that he recorded a part for The Simpsons, a show he’d been “ape-shit” about for a couple decades. [A.V. Club]
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    WEB-WATCH

    comic book guyIf you’ve been using the internet for the past five years, mayhaps you’ve noticed a growing trend of episode-by-episode recaps and reviews of television shows. Virtually every major blog does a recap of Mad Men, Girls is considered “fantastically popular” to those within that New York media bubble, and even The Gray Lady has gotten in on the action. The epicenter for the TV recap industry is of course The A.V. Club, which greatly expanded its television section in an insane quest to review every episode of every TV show, with a (self-admitted) tendency to lapse into “pretentious twaddle” in the course of explaining what episode 702 of The Big Bang Theory says about the human condition.

    Who’s responsible for all this? Slate places the blame squarely on alt.tv.simpsons, the infamous nerdy Simpsons newsgroup personified by the Comic Book Guy:

    Long before the rise of TV recap culture, its best and worst elements commingled in the alt.tv.simpsons laboratory. The content ranged from meticulous (a list of the show’s blackboard and couch gags) to smart (a later-proven theory that Maggie shot Mr. Burns) to overcritical (in the middle the unimpeachably great Season 4, somebody started the thread “Simpsons in decline?” in which one poster claimed that “Marge vs. the Monorail,” a classic episode, “had 0 good quotes”) to offensive (e.g., “Lisa has a proto-dyke Marxist Jew agenda”).

    Yep, sounds the internet all right. I’m sure whatever the big Star Trek newsgroup was at the time also played a big role – Trekkies are responsible for slash fiction and fandoms, mind you – but here it merits only a throwaway reference.

    The rest of the article talks about the Simpsons producers’ relationship to the alt.tv.simpsons, which is mildly interesting. It doesn’t mention this, but there’s a Life in Hell strip I’d very much like to see that pretty much just quotes a scathing review of the Republican-bashing episode “Sideshow Bob Roberts” verbatim (there’s a transcript in this episode capsule; Control+F “Galvanek”), including this choice quote:

    I would get such a kick right about now in seeing Groening writhing in pain as he dangled by a section of his intestine from a tree. At the very least I’m hoping for a sloooooow painful death via some horrible illness of his nervous system, on that allows him to remain fully aware until his very last breath.

    Hmm, kinda makes you wonder why Matt Groening isn’t on Twitter.

    Also, not that it was ever in any doubt, but Slate links to irrefutable proof that Alan Sepinwall, king of the TV recap industry, is a wiener: a post on alt.tv.simpsons where he complains about a continuity error. Haw, haw! nelson

    [Slate]

    GROEN DRAIN

    dead dog

    Simpson creator Matt Groening has apologized for murdering a dog. The dog is not alive not in an alive state, Groening did it, he did the murder. The dog is dead dead dog dead rip im sorry

    Groening: I’m sorry we killed the dog.

    murderdeath murderer Bad Man groening dog-killer Sad sorry so sorry apology sad tears kill kill killdeath deathmurder die unalive not alive dead dead dead

    [Yahoo! TV]

    WRITER WATCH

    writer watch

    Detractors of modern day Simpsons, rejoice: the writing staff is finally putting some effort into something! Unfortunately, that something has nothing to do with the show in any way.

    Bloomberg Businessweek has a story about the writers’ Summer Box Office Fantasy League, a “complicated gambling game” where they waste time by betting on which summer blockbusters will rule the box office for the grand prize of a banner and $400, the equivalent of how much Matt Groening makes in a minute.

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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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    SPRINGFIELD SHOPPER

    duffAs reported here last September, Fox tried to stop a German brewer from producing an unauthorized version of Duff Beer, but were unsuccessful because their trademarks on Duff Beer “weren’t registered for an actual beverage.” So now that a Fox-approved Duff Beer actually exists (despite creator Matt Groening being publicly against it as recently as a year ago), their legal department should have no problem winning future trademark disputes, right?

    GROEN DRAIN, JEAN MACHINE

    So, pop superstar Justin Bieber had a small 10-second cameo in last Sunday’s Simpsons episode, which seemed to disappoint everyone. Bieber fans didn’t like it because it was too short, unbeliebers thought it was too long, and Bieber himself initially tried to suppress all evidence of it last year.

    Perhaps wary of The Controversy, executive producer Al Jean attempted to deflect blame for it onto his boss, Matt Groening:

    According to Jean, Groening requested that Bieber be worked into an episode. “I think he has a family member who was a fan,” Jean says. “I think he’s a fan, too. So he asked us to find a place to use him. I think [Bieber] had also met Matt and wanted to be on the show.”

    Matt Groening, a Bieber fan? It’s possible, but Groening – a former music critic – is known for his eclectic music taste. He likes oddball rock & roll, Balinese gamelan music, and Romanian brass bands. He said pop music “usually sounds like the audio equivalent of CGI.” He wrote a biography of The Residents. He’s curated the All Tomorrow’s Parties progressive music festival twice. He guest-edited an anthology of music writing. He’s let indie bands Tender Forever and Electrelane hang out at his house. He’s a big Captain Beefheart fan. He interviewed and was friends with Frank Zappa.

    Nice try, Al.

    [Rolling Stone]

    EXCLUSIVE, GROEN DRAIN

    Matt GroeningSimpsons creator Matt Groening added yet another company to his only robust portfolio last year, a mysterious entity known as “Bapper Entertainment.” Bleeding Cool suspects he’s “getting ready to reveal” whatever this new thing is. I wouldn’t count on it, though, because making new companies seems to be something of a hobby for him. Let’s take a look at some of the other companies he’s had over the years, shall we?

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