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]
Okay, listen up people. We all know The Simpsons can’t go on forever. Yes, it’s been on the air for a fifth of a century. Yes, we’re almost at the point where The Bad Episodes constitute two-thirds of the series. But it has to end at some point. Now, the smart money is on the show wrapping things up when Year 25 rolls around. But Fox can’t just cut and run; the network needs an exit strategy to take care of the gaping hole in its formidable Animation Domination programming block The Simpsons would leave behind. Luckily, the executives have thought ahead and ordered a whole bunch of animated series – some of which is already airing, some of which will probably get cancelled after a couple episodes, and some that probably already died in utero. Just for funsies, let’s pretend it’s a big Sport Game with brackets and stuff, which I have helpfully diagrammed below:
As you can see, these cartoon sitcoms are locked into a NO HOLDS BARRED BATTLE TO THE DEATH. Only one show can take over the coverted 8pm Sundays timeslot sweetspot The Simpsons currently occupies. Or, actually, maybe one can take it over for a little bit, then be replaced in mid-season by another one. Who knows. Let’s take a closer look at the competitors…
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Now that Aflac has dumped Gilbert Gottfried as the voice (quack?) of its disyllabic duck character, who should replace him? timlowell, a commenter (commentator?) over at The Awl suggests Simpsons thespian Harry Shearer as a possible candidate:
Harry Shearer does a regular bit on Le Show where he mimics Gilbert Gottfried’s Aflac duck, except he changes it to “AF-PAK”, as in what the military calls the Afghanistan/Pakistan region. I e-mailed him, but he hasn’t responded.
Here’s the most recent “News of AFPAK” segment, so you can judge for yourself.
Popular songstress and harpy Joanna Newsom is reportedly appearing in an upcoming Simpsons episode. It’s being described as a “guest appearance,” but I have reason to believe this is merely a smokescreen for the real truth: the producers are secretly bringing in Newsom to replace Yeardley Smith as the voice of Lisa Simpson.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: hey, the Yeardster’s voiced America’s favorite starfish-haired feminist for nearly 25 years! They’re not just going to throw her under the bus! Well, let’s take a look at the evidence:
FACT: Newsom’s voice is often compared to that of Lisa Simpson’s.
FACT: The voice actors are not getting any younger.
Just look at what happened to Frank Welker, who used to voice the dog: the producers discovered Dan Castelleneta could voice the dog just as good, so they gave Frankie the boot. Could history repeat itself again when Newsom comes in to record what she believes is a cameo? Let’s say, hypothetically, a director slides her a script and asks her, just for funsies, to read some of Lisa’s lines. And what if, that night, the producers get together, in secret, and compare her vocal track with Smith’s… and decide Newsom’s is better?
If I were Yeardley Smith, I’d be looking over my shoulder at all times. And I were Joanna Newsom, I’d leave the harp at home, in order to prevent any Nancy Kerrigan-type shenanigans… Developing… [TwentyFourBit ]
UPDATE (10/20/2010): IN THE NEWS has successfully shamed the producers from going through with their plan, and Joanna Newsom’s cameo is definitely not happening. Yeardley Smith, you’re welcome. [Pitchfork]
An animated television series based on the 2004 film Napoleon Dynamite is currently in development at Fox, a network spokesperson has confirmed to FishbowlLA.
Since Fox only does cartoons on Sundays, and there’s a limited number of timeslots, could this cartoon replace The Simpsons after it’s cancelled next year?? And what of Bob’s Burgers??? Developing… [FishbowlLA]
On November 8th, The Simpsons will be replaced by an episode of Family Guy, which will then be followed by a 30-minute “variety special” starring Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane and featuring integrated advertisements for the upcoming Windows 7 operating system. [Variety via A.V. Club]