On the heels of renewal through its 28th season, a perennial contract dispute (with a twist) has at long last claimed one of The Simpsons' foundational cast members. Harry Shearer, the versatile artist behind such indelible characters as Ned Flanders, Mr. Burns, Smithers, Principal Skinner, Kent Brockman, McBain, Dr. Hibbert, Rev. Lovejoy, Dr. Marvin Monroe, Otto-man, Lenny, and dozens of others will be departing the show at the end of the current season. Of course, the show must go on.
Diagnosed with terminal cancer two years ago, and given only months to live, Sam Simon is still alive and still racing to spend the fortune he made as co-creator of The Simpsons on causes he loves, whether he is rescuing grizzly bears (and chinchillas and elephants) or funding vegan food banks. Sam Simon and philanthropy previously on Metafilter
With the momentous series finale of Breaking Bad just hours away, fans of the show are hungry for something, anything to wile away the time before the epic conclusion tonight. So why not kick back and chew the fat with your fellow MeFites with the help of a little tool I like to call "The Periodic Table of Breaking Bad." [more inside]
Conan O'Brien recently reunited with some of the other writers of The Simpsons who he worked with during his tenure on the show. The panel touches on "... how Jub-Jub became the name of Selma's iguana, how Tracy Ullman always hated the cartoon, and how Conan was the only person in the show's history to have three episode ideas accepted in one story idea day."
A famously reclusive writer, John Swartzwelder is responsible for many of The Simpson's iconic episodes. He stopped writing for the show in '04 and began to self-publish a series of increasingly absurd Sci-Fi Detective novels.
Simpsons shorts from The Tracey Ullman Show, 1987-1989. [(Low-quality RealMedia I'm afraid.]