SPRINGFIELD SHOPPER

Homer and Bart scream in front of some Simpsons toys

¬°Ay, caramba! In a crushing blow to fans, it looks like The Simpsons is coming to an end… collector toy company Super7’s line of Simpsons figures, that is.

Last month, company founder Brian Flynn was interviewed for Robo Don’t Know, where he admitted that “Simpsons did not perform nearly as well as we had hoped” and their relationship with Disney is not moving forward. While figures that were previously announced will still be produced, the Simpsons line (which he says they had a lot of plans for) has been cancelled, along with other Disney properties. Flynn is hopeful that the two companies could work together in the future, but for now they don’t see eye to eye on what is “realistic.”

Super7’s Simpsons line focused more on niche-y, fan-favorite characters rather than, you know, the Simpson family. While that strategy worked on me – I bought the figures of McBain’s ill-fated partner Scoey and Troy McClure with Fuzzy Bunny – perhaps it limited the appeal to more casual fans. Regardless, Simpsons toys aren’t going to rake in Disney Princess money, if that’s what Disney was expecting. It seems to me like Disney doesn’t quite know how to handle The Simpsons; cigarettes were removed from a Krusty figure prior to production, presumably at their request, even though these toys aren’t made for children (beer’s fine, though).

While the loss of the Disney license is surely a blow, Super7 is still working with a number of other properties, running the gamut from Richard Scarry to American Psycho, that will hopefully help them weather industry headwinds.

[Robo Don’t Know h/t Talking Simpsons]

NEWS ROUNDUP

Homer strangles Bart while Scoey and Bob Iger look on, and the Australian guy looks at his phone bill.

Howdy pard’ners, he’s some ace-high Simpsons news tidbits rounded up for your reading pleasure.

  • According to Simpsons Wiki, the last time Homer strangled Bart in normal continuity was in 2019’s “The Winter of Our Monetized Content,” so it would be accurate for Homer in 2023 to say he doesn’t do that anymore. There, I’ve done more research than 99% of the articles about Stranglegate. You know what other gags they haven’t done in a long time? Bart prank calling Moe. Bart saying “Cowabunga.” Troy McClure listing movies you might remember him from. Mr. Burns not remembering Homer’s name. Inappropriate songs playing when characters get put on hold. Marge reminding Homer of a previous lifelong dream. McBain’s crusade against Mendoza. Search for the Sun. Homer’s love of mambo. The family going out for frosty chocolate milkshakes. I guess my point is sometimes things get dropped.
  • I rarely buy Simpsons merchandise, but I was convinced to shell out some simoleons for Super7’s Scoey and Troy McClure with Fuzzy Bunny figures. Preternia has noted that something is going on with their Simpsons line, but it’s unclear what it is. Concerning.
  • Disney officially announced they’re buying Comcast’s remaining stake in Hulu, ending speculation that they might instead sell their stake as CEO Bob Iger had floated back in February. In related news, Disney+ will be adding some Hulu content next month for bundle subscribers, with an official rollout in March 2024. I’m curious if Hulu The Disney+ Brand Tile will include next-day episodes of The Simpsons, or if that will remain exclusive to Hulu The Standalone Service.
  • How do you spell the currency mentioned in “Bart vs. Australia” and an episode of Bluey, dollarydoos or dollar-adoos? Writer Josh Weinstein posted the script, revealing it’s actually dollaridoos. By the way, for just one dollaridoo you can get a Dollarita at your local Applebee’s [SPONSORED CONTENT].
MY TWO CENTS

An image of a Simpsons NFT next to Bill Cipher and Lisa planting a tree.

In honor of Disney+ Day on November 12, the NFT collectible platform VeVe has announced an NFT collection featuring golden digital statues “inspired by” Disney properties. The first two, featuring Homer and Bart choking each other and Bart’s skateboard, will drop tomorrow.

My limited understanding is that NFTs (non-fungible tokens) are digital artworks that people spend lots of cryptocurrency (pretend computer money) on just so it says on a website somewhere that they are the “owner” of said artwork. Of course, since they’re digital artwork, anyone can just right click and save them, which to a normal person would make “ownership” seem pointless and the whole enterprise seem scammy. They also have the added bonus of being incredibly harmful to the environment. “Hey, don’t have a cow, man, these ones are actually carbon neutral!,” you might say. First, that’s greenwashing. Second, most NFTs look like absolute shit. A massive corporation like Disney getting involved with their giant portfolio of iconic characters helps legitimize the entire cryptoart marketplace.

Are these NFT statues the most immoral pieces of Simpsons merchandise to exist? Probably not. Nevertheless, The Simpsons has been awarded 9 Environmental Media Awards over the years. They should return them if they’re going to choke the planet with this garbage.

MEANINGLESS MILESTONES, SPRINGFIELD SHOPPER

An image of the Simpsons Season 1 DVD cover.

Today marks the 20th anniversary of The Simpsons: The Complete First Season DVD boxset in North America (tip of the hat to illustrator Bill Mudron for mentioning this). It was, for a time, the best selling TV show on DVD until it was eclipsed by Chappelle’s Show a few years later. Now that physical media has been rendered a relic by streaming services, let’s take this opportunity to look back at what’s been lost.
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NEWS ROUNDUP

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.]
SPRINGFIELD SHOPPER

simpsons x hello kittyIn news sure to excite lovers of brands, The Simpsons Brand Entertainment Franchise is joining forces with Sanrio’s Hello Kitty, a Japanese anime cat who exists mostly as merchandise, which seems fitting. As the press release states, this HISTORIC collaboration is to “celebrate” two meaningless milestones:

Announced today, the two iconic pop culture brands are partnering to introduce a product line in 2014 in celebration of two milestone anniversaries: the 40th Anniversary of Hello Kitty and 25th Anniversary of THE SIMPSONS.

As a reminder, The Simpsons once insinuated Hello Kitty products were made from actual cats.

Apparently Sanrio will be making “supercute” versions of the Simpsons that will delight “fans of every age” to be sold alongside its other flagship characters Hello Kitty, Dear Daniel, Badtz-Maru, Chococat, and Mutated Panda.

Frankly, I’m disappointed The Simpsons didn’t go with Lisa Frank. Maybe for the 30th anniversary?

[Fort Mill Times]

COMING ATTRACTIONS

simpsons legoland2014 is shaping up to be a banner year for The Simpsons, with not one but two crossovers, and now a spin-off!

*whatever the digitial media equivalent of a record scratch sounds like*

Well, sorta. Last month, it was announced LEGO was coming out with a line of Simpsons-themed LEGO Group Companies brand colored toy brick plaything objects†. Now, more details are coming out, and according to Nerdly, there will be a TV special:

On top of that, this new LEGO range will also be supported by a special Simpsons LEGO TV episode (much like the LEGO Star Wars specials) in May 2014!

So, a TV special, and that’s all we know so far. Maybe a series of specials if it’s successful…? This seems like a different animal from previous Simpsons specials like the Springfield’s Most Wanted thing (which was just a tie-in to “Who Shot Mr. Burns?”) and The Simpsons 20th Anniversary Special – In 3-D! On Ice! in that it will presumably have an actual story. Since we don’t know if The Simpsons has been renewed yet (we should find out by November), this would be a weird, unexpected way to keep the franchise alive post-cancellation.

Also, no word yet on which Simpsons voice actors have agreed to do this (I’ll bet a zillion bitcoins Harry Shearer won’t participate). It seems a given that current Simpsons writer Michael Price, who’s written the Star Wars LEGO specials and tweets about them a lot, will participate.

There’s also no word what channel it will be on. I’m pretty sure Cartoon Network has aired all the Star Wars things, and its corporate sibling Warner Bros. is coming out with a (The) LEGO movie earlier that year, so that seems like a safe bet. Maybe FOX, since it’s their franchise, but would they really air a commercial for a children’s toy masquerading as a TV show during their Crude & Rude Toons With ‘Tude programming block?

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BART ART, SPRINGFIELD SHOPPER

Possible Banksy? Last season there was a Simpsons episode where Bart becomes a street artist with the help of special guest star Shephard Fairey, because it’s impossible for a Simpson to develop a new skill without meeting the most famous people associated with that skill. Fairey’s perhaps best known nowadays for making that weird Soviet propaganda-ish Barack Obama “Hope” poster in 2008, but back in “the day” his claim to fame was the OBEY Giant campaign where he’d plaster stickers or spraypaint images of deceased wrestler Andre the Giant (later redesigned to avoid copyright infringement) everywhere – without permission! – with the word “OBEY” under it, which may have provided the inspiration for such cultural touchstones as internet memes and Microsoft advertising. For the episode, The Simpsons cleverly “mashed up” Fairey’s two pieces into a “parody” (using the term very lightly) featuring Homer’s face and the word “Dope.”

Anyway, the Associated Press sued him over the “Hope” poster (apparently they own the rights to Obama’s likeness??) and won. Last September a federal court sentenced him to two years’ probation and fined him $25,000. Now where’s an avant-garde street artist supposed to get scratch like that??

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SPRINGFIELD SHOPPER

homer simpson is the face of slaveryHey, uh, do you own that pair of slippers that look like Homer’s face? Are you perhaps wearing them right now?? Well, you’ll no doubt be thrilled to learn they were produced with state-sponsored Chinese slave labor.

Al-Jazeera has a 30-minute documentary on their site (use YouTube if it’s not loading) that uncovers how China throws political and religious dissidents into prison camps and forces them to manufacture consumer goods. It specifically highlights these Homer slippers, which were manufactured in Nanjing Prison near Shanghai for the New Jersey company SG Footwear. The company claimed (via Fox for some inexplicable reason) “it has never knowingly utilized involuntary labor.” Ha ha not only do they not deny it but they made their comment through a second company. Anyway, just something to think about next time your browsing the novelty slipper aisle at your local shoe store.

[Al Jazeera via Tumblr]