Our long Springfield nightmare is over: Harry Shearer will indeed be coming back for the next season of the Simpsons (previously). Simpsons fans are understandably happy with the news, but others who had hoped to replace him may be a little bummed out.
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.
Groening and Barry Take New York (Sarah Larson, The New Yorker)
"In the early eighties, discovering non-mainstream culture (independent cinema, post-punk rock, comic strips that weren’t 'Beetle Bailey') was much like being a detective, and local alternative newsweeklies were valuable providers of clues. They reviewed art and music that was hard to find; most important, they printed Groening’s 'Life in Hell' and Barry’s 'Ernie Pook’s Comeek.' Both were electrifyingly good. You wondered who these people were, where they came from, why they did what they did. I remember the jolt I felt when looking at the copyright page of Groening’s book 'Love Is Hell' and seeing an odd message, like a note left in a knothole: LYNDA BARRY IS FUNK QUEEN OF THE GALAXY. Groening and Barry were friends!"
Sam Simon, writer, producer, philanthropist and co-creator of The Simpsons has passed away of colorectal cancer at the age of 59. Previously.
Following a record-breaking $750 million syndication deal with parent company Fox, the FXX network most recently made headlines back in August with its twelve-day marathon of Every. Simpsons. Ever. But that was just the prelude to the real deal launching today: Simpsons World, a staggeringly comprehensive multiplatform video database including clips, news, featurettes, curated playlists, a heartbeat tracker of each season's popularity, and (for the intrigued who'd like to subscribe to their
newsletter network) on-demand streaming of all 552 episodes and counting. Coming early next year is an even greater expansion of features, bringing full-series dialogue search, real-time script tracking, and "geolocation" of all scenes throughout Springfield -- something very close to Myles McNutt's vision for a shareable Simpsons clip database (previously).
I, for one, welcome our new Simpsons-quoting overlords. [more inside]
To kick-off its 26th season, The Simpsons handed the couch opening gag to cult animator Don Hertzfeldt (previously) who transformed Our Favorite Family into a surreal nightmare vision of the far future.
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
There is no place on the social structure for a second-grade boy who thinks rats are “pointy kitties” and calls his teacher “Mommy.” Kids can be misfits (Milhouse), or they can be brownnosers (Martin), or they can be troublemakers (Nelson), or they can be tattle-tales (Sherri and Terri), but being Ralph is simply not a taxonomically viable option. Ralph Wiggum's Finest Moments.
For the last few weeks, the Twitter account @Homer_Marijuana has been publishing a bizarre piece of long-form fan fiction about The Simpsons, family, America's wars in the Middle East, and marijuana, vast amounts of all sorts of marijuana. Now, 5,015 tweets later, Marijuana Simpson has concluded, and is available to read on an easier-to-follow Scribd document.
From the mind of cartoonist KC Green (previously) comes The Ballad Of Dark Homer, a stranger take on our favorite animated family.
How we think of and use The Simpsons on a daily basis comes in the form of jokes, bits, and memorable sequences. The Simpsons travels in these bite-sized chunks, and the value of The Simpsons in the age of online streaming should ideally reflect this. What I've long proposed is an online app that allows you to create your own clips based on classic Simpsons episodes.
Actor, comedian, screenwriter, and graphic artist Phil Hartman died fifteen years ago this week. The Vulture and Legacy.com look back at some of his most memorable characters. KCAL talks to John Hartman about his brother's death and plans to develop his posthumously-released comedy album Phil Hartman's Flat TV as an animated feature. [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."
"The Yellow Album isn’t an album so much as the most dramatic test of a true believer’s faith since God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. The album dares Simpsons diehards like myself to make it through a harrowing 48-minute gauntlet of ill-considered covers, train-wreck collaborations (Lisa and P-Funk All Stars: oh, it happened), generic synth-pop grooves, and jokes that would be killed in Jay Leno’s writers’ room for being insufficiently edgy. " - My World OF Flops on the bizarre, unloved Simpsons cash-in, "The Yellow Album. " complete with sample tracks.
Bartkira is a collaborative effort of several cartoonists to adapt the manga Akira in to the world of The Simpsons. Here are a few panels from artist Cameron Stewart.
Policymic has compiled a list of the 6 greatest guest star appearances of all time on the t.v. shoe The Simpsons. Trying to pick the best cameos from a pool of 500+ episodes is a daunting task, so for the purpose of the following list, one criteria is that the cameo needs to be more than just a celebrity drop-in to the Simpsons' world. Instead the cameo role needs to be central to the episode's storyline; the other criteria is that the appearance has to be funny. [more inside]
Photographer Noah Kalina (previously, previouslier) has taken a photograph of himself everyday for the last 12.5 years. In 2006, he released the first video showing six years of the perils of time on the human form. Well, the human face. It went viral. The Simpsons parodied it (alt). Time named it one of YouTube's 50 best videos. The work in progress comprises of 4514 photos (so far).
"What if you took the audio from an extended trailer for Forrest Gump and matched to clips from [The Simpsons]? Well, you don’t have to, someone else did and it is fantastic (SLYT)" [more inside]
In honor of Christmas, Splitsider's Mike Drucker runs down twenty Christmas TV episodes, new and old. It all starts with The Dick Van Dyke Show... [more inside]
Talkin' Baseball: Cali, Cardinals, Giants, Mets, Red Sox, Tigers, Twins, Yankees, The Simpsons softball. [more inside]
McBain: The Movie. McBain, an fictional action hero played by fictional movie star Ranier Wolfcastle (probably a parody of somebody famous), has had his movie played in snippets throughout the course of the Simpsons television show since the second season. Somebody took the time to paste these all together into a single 4 minute movie, which ends up having a plot about as good as any action movie you may have watched in the 80's.
"My friend from Michigan says if you pushed all the Great Lakes together they'd be as big as the Mediterranean. I say, why bother?"
Scans of all three issues of Army Man Magazine, the legendary late 80s humor zine put together by future Simpsons' writer George Meyer (an excellent New Yorker profile of Meyer) which also included material from Jack Handey, John Swartzwelder, Bob Odenkirk, among many others. Another contributor, Ian Frazier, talks about Army Man in a Believer Interview. Sadly the scans are small (but the jokes are still big) and of poor quality. For a non-eyestraining introduction, Maud Newton transcribed a good bit of material and posted it at the end of an appreciation of Army Man on her blog.
Joseph Cavalieri is a stained glass artist. Among his works are illustrations of The Gormenghast novels, several panels based on physical culture ads of the 1950s, and a series depicting scenes from "The Missing Episode" of The Simpsons, such as The Countryman and the Serpent, The Death in the Playground, and Funeral for a Friend. via nag on the lake.
After 20 years and 429 episodes, The Simpsons has updated its opening title sequence. Here it is. [more inside]
Bart Simpson is known for prank calls, but Nancy Cartwright, who provides Bart's voice on "The Simpsons," has been heard this week in a phone message using the voice of the cartoon fourth-grader to promote Scientology.
Saving D'oh: How one blogger learned about "cheap, healthy eating" by watching The Simpsons. The readers' comments are fun too. Via.
Homer Simpson in CSS "...I stayed with the idea in mind that more complex designs could be made using the Verdana font and absolute positioning in CSS, thus generating vector drawings directly embedded in the code html." [via]
The Real Life Simpsons -- A creepy depiction of how The Simpsons would look if they were real. (via)
Make your own Simpsons Treehouse of Horror Trailer. Sure, its an ad for the Simpsons, but with a neat interface and clips like Homer chanting "must eat, then poop," there is Friday Fun to be had. Can you put together something fun for the hivemind? [To share a video, you can email a persistant link to yourself, and then post that link in the thread]
Check out this map of The Simpson's hometown of Springfield. We may never know what state the town is located in, and yes, the show has sucked for at least six years now (if not more) but this map was considered to be so good, it was, apparently, added to the Harvard Map collection. Comic Book Guy would be proud.
The Simpsons are going to... the Middle East! As a treat for viewers during Ramadan, Dubai-based network MBC has dubbed 30 episodes of the Simpsons into Arabic. But in order not to offend their audience, this version of Our Favorite Family is, well, a bit different; for instance, Homer (rechristened Omar) doesn't eat bacon or drink beer. Speculation about the fate of other characters abounds, One Angry Arab is not impressed.
Simpsons shorts from The Tracey Ullman Show, 1987-1989. [(Low-quality RealMedia I'm afraid.]
HeiDeas' “Beyond embiggens and cromulent” explores the linguistic humour that appear in The Simpsons.
Simpson stars strike for more 'D'oh!' The voices of the Simpsons are on strike for $360,000 an episode. Seems almost reasonable for such a pop culture phenomenon, but the voiceover work equates to one work day per episode.
Forget The Simpons - Meet The Singhsons 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and begin rants.
Best. Episodes. Ever. Though I think they're wrong about the worst. In honor of the upcoming 300th episode of the Simpsons, Entertainment Weekly looks back at the 25 best episodes and 1 worst. May the arguments, and uneeded meme generation, begin.
Doh! Despite Homer Simpson's worst fears, the Albuquerque Isotopes will take the field next year. However, the team is not originally from Springfield, but from Calgary. The city's AAA baseball team will move to New Mexico next year.
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