NEWS BRIEFS

police dog

When Simpsons news falls through the cracks, Lewis Black catches it, in a feature we like to call “NEWS BRIEFS,” because we couldn’t think of a more creative name.

  • Ex-Simpsons/Futurama writer Patric Verrone trailed in his bid for State Senate and won’t be advancing to the general election in November. This is great news, because he now has more time to work on his Supreme Court figurines. [Variety]
  • The town of Springfield, Oregon is getting an officially-sanctioned Simpsons mural even though they’re not “the real Springfield” and don’t deserve diddly squat. Go to hell, Springfield, Oregon. [The Oregonian]
  • Some fans held off on buying the barebones DVD version of The Simpsons Movie because they were expecting Fox to “double-dip” by selling a more deluxe set with more features later on. That ended up never happening, and Simpsons head honcho Al Jean has confirmed there are no current plans to release one. He blames the dwindling home video market, but I think we all know the real reason: it was axed once the executives realized it could never live up to my joke version. [Al Jean via Twitter]
  • Seth MacFarlane’s western movie bombed at the box office and will likely be quickly forgotten, much like Matt Groening’s ill-fated turn as a hardboiled detective in 1993’s Deadly Slumber. [Los Angeles Times]

EYE ON SPRINGFIELD

Springfield Remember a few months ago when everyone thought the fictional cartoon town of Springfield was in Oregon thanks to an egregious misunderstanding on the part of the media? Well, apparently tourists from AROUND THE WORLD have been flocking to the town, evidentially hoping to snap a few photos of their favorite cartoon characters in their natural habitat, at least according to some guy:

“I’ve had people from Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland – they’re coming here because this was declared Simpsontown, Springfield, the town of the Simpsons, so people are coming here,” he said.

I don’t really believe this guy, but if just one person from the other side of the world spent a thousand bucks to fly to America because of a misquote, that’s one too many in my estimation.

Anyway, the guy in question put up a few tacky Simpsons statues in front of his yogurt shop, which is apparently the full extent of The Simpsons Experience in Springfield. It’s been leaving tourists disappointed, because I guess they were expecting to see full-fledged Kwik-E-Marts or something? So now the yogurt guy is proposing the city take “just five or 10 blocks” and turn it into a Simpsons-themed shopping center. Now that’ll get people excited! And by “people” I mean copyright lawyers.

[KVAL via Seattle P-I]

TREEHOUSE OF ERROR

SpringfieldLike a bunch of lemmings jumping off a cliff, just about every news outlet from CBS News to the E! network to the gadget blog Gizmodo to the New Yorker (!) to the Los Angeles Times to the FOX Network to local newscasts around the country has regurgitated the SHOCKING news that Simpsons creator Matt Groening had finally revealed the location of the fictional cartoon town of Springfield: his home state of Oregon. Except, uh, he didn’t say that at all and you’d have to be severely incompetent at basic reading comprehension to think otherwise?

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KANCELLATION KOUNTDOWN, VOICE BOX

hey hey, it’s slideshow melOh boy, it’s that lovely time every three years or so when the Simpsons cast re-negotiate their contracts with Fox! And this time the stakes HAVE NEVER BEEN HIGHER. The Daily Beast reports that this time the voice actors are asking for a pay cut, instead of their usual pay raise. Say whaa??? Have we wandered into Bizarro World??? No, while they’re asking for a 30 percent pay cut, it’s because they want a piece of that hot, hot syndication and merchandise action worth billions of dollars in CA$H MONEY. Fox doesn’t want to give up that money (after all, their parent company News Corp. has tons of phone hacking victims to pay off), and this time they’re threatening to sirenCANCEL THE SIMPSONS. siren

Difficult bargaining is nothing new for the show, which was created by James L. Brooks and Matt Groening. Fox studio execs have occasionally threatened to replace uncooperative cast members with sound-alike actors. But for the first time in nearly a quarter century of haggling, the executives have insisted that if the cast doesn’t accept a draconian 45 percent pay cut, The Simpsons will die an abrupt death as a first-run series.

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CULT LIFESTYLE

leaderNancy Cartwright, voice of Bart Simpson and a prominent member of the Church of Scientology, appeared before a legislative hearing at the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield (!) to stress that her Scientology-inspired character-education program is totally secular and should be taught to schoolchildren.

The Illinois School Code requires “character education,” defined as “the teaching of respect, responsibility, fairness, [etc.]” to be taught in schools. A House Resolution filed by Rep. Daniel Burke (D-Chicago), recommended several programs and clubs that satisfy that requirement, including Cartwright’s “Good Choices” program, of which the bill specifically “encourages its use and the use of similar programs by educators, coaches, mentors, and other community service leaders.”

Cartwright freely admits “Good Choices” is based on “The Way to Happiness,” a 1980 self-helf booklet by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, which teaches important lessons like “Do Not Murder” (precept 8) and “Don’t Do Anything Illegal” (precept 9). While Hubbard’s tract is advertised as non-religious, Newsweek noted that it “uses key words and concepts taken directly from Scientology’s religious lexicon.” Cartwright is a big promoter of the booklet; through her charity, she distributed a million copies of it to the San Fernando Valley in 2007.

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EYE ON SPRINGFIELD, THOSE CLOWNS IN CONGRESS

Last week, Congressman Peter DeFazio, of Springfield, Oregon, sent a tongue-in-cheek letter to Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez.

DeFazio was petitioning for an “investigation” of how Springfield, Vermont, could have won the right to host the movie premiere of “The Simpsons,” over his own hometown.

I’m sure Gonzalez will get right on this as soon as he’s done depriving everyone of their civil liberties [KTVZ]

EYE ON SPRINGFIELD

vermont

The Vermont town of Springfield has beaten 13 rivals and will host the premiere of the film about the animated family The Simpsons. The show is set in a fictional Springfield because its creator, Matt Groening, spotted that it is one of the most common place-names in the US. Vermont was chosen in an online vote after 14 towns submitted videos to argue why their town should win.

[NewsroomAmerica.com]

EYE ON SPRINGFIELD

Unlike those Springfield, Minnesota jerks, the citizens of Springfield, Massachusetts went all out in a bid to host the world premiere of The Simpsons Movie.

The yo-yo expert arrived first, followed by two men in one-piece orange suits and Halloween masks and three boys rolling in on skateboards like Bart Simpson in the opening credits of “The Simpsons” television show.

Then came the pooch de resistance for yesterday’s grand finale of the city’s Simpson video – a mixed-breed yellow dog that might be the deciding factor needed to push Springfield into the winner’s circle.

The city is one of more than a dozen Springfields across the country competing to become the site of the premiere of “The Simpsons Movie” based on the Fox cartoon about a fictional Springfield and due to be released on July 26.

Here’s a photo gallery. Godspeed, Springfield, Mass.! [The Republican]

EYE ON SPRINGFIELD

Springfield, Minnesota is not participating in the contest to be the Springfield chosen to host the premiere of The Simpsons Movie because those pompous elitists think they’re too good to make a silly video and showcase a cartoon movie.

Meanwhile, a comedian is in the running to become the state’s next junior senator. [TV Squad]