JEAN MACHINE

al jean

Al Jean, the guy who’s been in charge of The Simpsons for the past thirteen seasons, told a radio interviewer he is looking for someone else to take over his duties:

We actually have been, just preliminarily, trying to think of a way we could get someone else to do it full-time.

Naturally, Jean is referring to The Critic, the short-lived animated series he co-created with Mike Reiss. Supposedly there is buzz it could be revived for a second time because everything else from the ’90s is being revived (I’ve already pre-ordered my tickets to the Sears Air Conditioner Commercial movie). But, since Jean and Reiss have their hands full with The Simpsons and… uh… whatever Reiss does nowadays, they would need a new person to actually run the show and get called gay by Jon Lovitz on a day-to-day basis.

The thing is: would The Critic even work in the 2010s? Instead of film critics on TV we have something called The Tomatometer, and now that Siskel & Ebert have gone to the concession stand in the sky, the most recognizable film critics today are insufferable YouTube personalities ranting about Jar-Jar Binks. I suppose we’ll find out, maybe.

[LIVE 105 via CinemaBlend]

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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COMING ATTRACTIONS

What do you do if you’re a long-running show that’s totally out of ideas? Do you scrounge up long-discarded episode ideas from the Trash Co. waste disposal unit and try to pass them off as new? What if you’ve completely exhausted that avenue? What’s your next recourse? Well, if you’re The Simpsons, you do the next best thing – scrounge up long-discarded fanfiction.

A little while ago, comedy movie king Judd Apatow told Slashfilm he wrote a fanscript for The Simpsons way back in 1990 after only five or six episodes had aired, which he described like so:

And what it was about was they went to see a hypnotism show and at the hypnotism show, they made Homer think he was the same age as Bart. And then the hypnotist had a heart attack. So now Homer and Bart became best friends and they spent the rest of the show running away because Homer didn’t want responsibility and didn’t want to be brought back to his real age. So I basically copied that for every movie I’ve made since.

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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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