D'OH REPORT

Mr. Snrub

For the first time in nearly 20 years, The Simpsons wasn’t nominated for an Emmy in the Outstanding Animated Program category.

Since the show began, it had been nominated in that category every year except 1993 and 1994, when they tried to compete against the big boys in the Outstanding Comedy Series category. After failing to even get nominated both years, thanks to the Emmy’s well-known 3DPD bias, they returned to the Animated Program category in 1995, where they were typically seen as the cartoon to beat. “It is a light thrill to beat Garfield every year, but it’s getting a little old,” quipped Matt Groening in 1992.

Showrunner Al Jean claims they were snubbed:

Re-recording mixers Mark Linden and Tara A. Paul were nominated for Outstanding Sound Mixing For A Comedy or Drama Series (Half-Hour) and Animation, and Harry Shearer – the only main cast member to never win an Emmy for his performance – was nominated for Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance.

While the show itself regularly made fun of award shows, the producers don’t hesitate to mention their massive trophy case whenever its quality is called into question. During a nasty spat with Shearer in 2004, Jean rattled off a list of their recent awards:

I am responding to recent comments by Harry Shearer regarding the current quality of the Simpsons. In the past year and a half, our show has won every award it could possibly have won, including emmys for best animated program and voice-over actor (Hank Azaria), four Annie awards (show, writing, directing and song–a feat the Simpsons had never accomplished in the previous 13 seasons) and a writers guild award, which the show had also won never won before. Yesterday I was informed that Dan Castelleneta had won an emmy for his work in the episode “Today I Am A Clown” and we are nominated for three additional emmys (including best animated program) again this year.

Luckily, this obnoxious argument will have to be retired if they can’t even get nominated.

How did this happen? Having learned nothing from the time they submitted “Treehouse of Horror VI” under the belief Emmy voters would be blown away by seeing Homer in 3D, the show submitted their overhyped LEGO commercial. Jean jokingly (?) points the blame squarely at The LEGO Group:

Well, they can always make their own Emmy out of LEGO bricks.

Of course, there may be another reason for the show’s recent Emmy drought. Their last win in the Animated Program category was for “Eternal Moonshine of the Simpson Mind” in 2008, the last year of the Bush Administration. Could President Obama be behind this…?

JEAN MACHINE

al jean

Simpsons showruner Al Jean recently joined the social dating app “Twitter,” and has already committed many a faux pas. It’s always funny to see new users struggle with the learning curve, doubly so if it’s someone semi-famous.

Here’s a DEVASTATING TAKEDOWN of his initial tweets from friend-of-the-site hammster, with links added:

his first tweet he refers to joining twitter as “entering twitter”. entering.
his second tweet tells me to watch a couch gag on youtube without linking to it
his third tweet he misspells excited as “exicted”
the only tweet he has favourited is a manual retweet of a tweet from the official simpsons account RATHER THAN THE ACTUAL TWEET

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WHAA...?!

Lunchlady Doris

After Simpsons voice actress Doris Grau passed away in 1995, her character Lunchlady Doris remained in the show. Or so we thought! It turns out that at some point in the series Doris was silently replaced with a pod person named “Lunchlady Dora,” who just happens to look and sound exactly like her.

Out of respect for the late Phil Hartman, his characters Lionel Hutz and Troy McClure were completely retired from the show (well, eventually… they still made occasional background appearances until 2003). This wasn’t the case for Lunchlady Doris, who lurked silently in the background for years.

Her silence was broken in a 2009 episode, when Tress MacNeille took over the role with a pretty dead-on impression. Some viewers felt recasting the character was disrespectful to Grau. However, it turns out it was actually a “new” character, “Lunchlady Dora,” a loophole that made the move perfectly ethical. Although MacNeille was credited as Lunchlady Dora in that episode’s press release, this little change was not mentioned in the actual show until 2013, when Groundskeeper Willie casually mentioned making sweet love to Lunchlady Dora (my fanfic came true!), and a second time in last night’s episode, where Dora is mentioned in the school newspaper. AV Club writer Sean O’Neal tweeted about it, assuming it was a typo, which lead Michael Price to set the record straight and confirm it’s a “different” character:

Well, now that there’s precedent for döppelganger replacement, we can all look forward to the never-ending adventures of Mr. Kurns, Jed Flanders and Principal Skynnyr once Harry Shearer decides to quit.

[Twitter via No Homers Club]

WEB-WATCH

RAcial HOly WArWhat do white supremacists think about The Simpsons? It’s the question that’s been on everybody’s mind. Well, okay, maybe just one person’s. About four years ago, a former member of the No Homers Club message board decided to “infiltrate” the white supremacist board Stormfront and ask the posters there directly for their take on the long-running show. The resulting thread (click at your own risk) is very informative.

After some initial questioning of whether the yellow-skinned characters are actually white, the conversation gets into full swing. Karl Lueger took a hard stance, calling the show “jewish subversion… simply designed to create self-loathing and hatred for anything White.” Others weren’t so sure. After all, says White Pride Warrior, “[t]hey did an episode once where they made fun of feminist, white male hating, liberal college professors.” Plus, the Jewish characters aren’t shown “in a good light either;” Marge’s prom date Artie Ziff “is shallow, self centered, greedy, and weaker than Lisa.” bill kwacker posted a photo of show creator Matt Groening, mentioning “he looks kind of Jewy.” However, self-proclaimed Nazi punk MisanthroPunk disagreed with that assertion, saying “[Stormfront] members see jews everywhere.” Oh, those guys and their anti-Semitism! WastedPunk laments the show’s decline, calling it “utterly pointless nowadays” while Seasons 3-10 “were golden.” It seems discussing what constitutes The Simpsons‘s “golden era” is a universal constant.

[Stormfront.org via No Homers Club]

READING DIGEST

David Foster Wallace, the celebrated author of the novel Infinite Jest and seminal anti-cruise diatribe “A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again,” may be dead dead dead in real life, but apparently he’s still alive and kickin’ it in the Simpsons universe. Here’s a framegrab of someone who strongly resembles him in the background of the latest Simpsons episode, cleverly entitled “A Totally Fun Thing That Bart Will Never Do Again,” as spotted by No Homers Club poster Real Melvin:

David Foster Wallace in The Simpsons

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BONGO BEAT, SPRINGFIELD SHOPPER

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post’s headline mistakenly said “atom” instead of “at them.” IN THE NEWS regrets the error.

radioactive man collectionThe most critically underrated component of the enormous Simpsons media empire is the Radioactive Man spin-off comic book series occasionally put out by creator Matt Groening’s Bongo Comics, which after 18 years is finally being collected in a deluxe hardcover anthology.

First, a little backstory. The premise of Radioactive Man is simple but ingenious: each issue was purported to be a random issue from the fictional comic book series’ nearly 50-history, satirizing different comic book eras (Golden Age, Silver Age, etc.) and all the superhero conventions and gimmicks that come with it. There was initially a six-issue run in 1994, starting with #1 (mostly consistent with what we saw of it in the Simpsons episode “Three Men and a Comic Book”) and ending with a Spawn-tastic #1000, followed by an “80 page colossal” the following year. A second run debuted in 2000, this time written by the remarkable Batton Lash, with a noticeable improvement in the artwork. Each issue also featured faux ads from the Simpsons universe and letters from readers playing along with the joke (however, the letters in the second series were all fictional; i.e. #222 features a letter from a young Marge Bouvier). Everyone at Bongo is a giant comics nerd (the first issue of Simpsons Comics is a Fantastic Four reference, for example) and Radioactive Man really let them go hog-wild, sort of like how The Critic allowed Simpsons writers Al Jean and Mike Reiss do all the movie parodies they wanted.
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EXCLUSIVE, OAKLEY CORRAL

PrinceBill Oakley has done it again. Last Friday on Twitter, the former Simpsons showrunner revealed his personal top ten Simpsons episodes that were “pitched, discussed, [and] written,” but, for whatever reason, never produced and lost to the sands of time.

Now, most of our competition would just lazily copy & paste the list and call it a day, but we here at rubbercat.net/simpsons have much more respect for you, the reader. We have attempted to dig up as much information about these would-be episodes as possible, from audio commentaries, interviews, and story outlines, to bring you the most complete picture of these extra-bonus-non-episodes as possible. Let’s run through the list, shall we?


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ANNOYED GRUNTS

rag timeAfter failing to come up with any new ideas for Simpsons episodes, the writers decided to call it quits and throw in the towel… then, as they gazed upon the towel they threw, suddenly became struck with inspiration and wrote a whole episode around it. At least, that’s how I imagine this rag episode came about.

I didn’t see it, but I read the Wikisimpsons article about it, which is chock full of insane plot details like “Moe is part yeti,” “Moe has a magical talking bar rag from the Middle Ages voiced by Jeremy Irons,” “Milhouse’s mom chokes on a rock and refuses the Heimlich maneuver,” and “Moe is part yeti.”

Judging from the feedback on the internet, “the rag episode” represents yet another low point for the series, like jockey gnomes, “the Israel episode,” and whatever that Ke$ha thing was.

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ANIMOTION MACHINE

Of the many little things I detest about the new HD opening sequence – the egregious fanservice, the flow-killing Ralph moment, the inexplicable downgrading of Mr. Burns to “background character seen during whip-pan” – my biggest gripe is with the scene where Maggie is scanned. In the original, Marge becomes extremely concerned when she realizes Maggie is gone, she swivels around with her hair accentuating her movement, then she lets out a big sigh of relief when Maggie pops out of the bag. It’s a nice little moment of character animation, which you can see here in this crude gif I put together (framegrabs shamelessly taken from No Homers Club poster Wooster):

old intro

In the new one, Marge doesn’t really react at all – her head jerks around, her slight frown changes to a slight smile, and then she blinks while Maggie exchanges a shaking of fists with The One-Eyebrowed Baby (ughhh):

new intro

Aye carumba, Marge really did become a robot!

Anyway, the reason I’m posting about this now is because I only recently discovered this rather candid journal entry by Dane Romley, one of the animators who worked on it. Turns out he hates the Marge thing too!

This whole scene was mine. I didn’t like what they did where they cut pieces of body parts and moved them in the computer ie. Maggie’s head etc. It looks like it was done in flash. About the Marge turn, I had originally done a version where she did a nice head turn but, again, they didn’t want it. “Just have a simple head turn because we want the joke to be Maggie and the unibrow baby,” they told me. I didn’t know they were going to stiffen it up that much, I’m just defending myself because that seems to be the first thing people mention is Marge. They kept my Maggie scan and popping out of the bag though and in my defense they added the fist shaking later, I didn’t do those 2 drawing cycle *eck*

At the end, he advises everybody not to blame the arists for the bad animation, they were only following orders, etc. It is a good read, you should read it! [deviantART]

WRITER WATCH

Someone claiming to be Simpsons writer Bill Odenkirk posted a thread on the No Homers Club message board to respond to internet criticism for the punderful title of upcoming episode “Mona Leaves-a” and defend the use of titular punnage:

Most of you are showing hate towards the episode title, Mona Leaves-a. I’m the writer for this episode, and also pitched the title. I’m here to say that it’s supposed to be a bad pun…

We don’t mind you people criticizing the episodes after they’ve aired, but judging them like you do, when all you know is the title, really makes us mad towards you. Hey, what a great pun! New episode title here we come!

[No Homers Club]

UPDATE: See follow-up post I guess??