Today in life imitating The Simpsons news: some fishermen caught a fish with three eyes near a nuclear power plant in Argentina. Literally, like, for reals, they found a radioactive mutant freak fish with three goddamn eyes, and it happened In Real Life. This should probably be cause for alarm, but since the same scenario happened in a beloved cartoon from over two decades ago, it can be safely relegated to the "lighter news" section of the news, chuckled at, and then instantly forgotten. 2011: not a good year for nuclear power.
October 2011 Archives
Mark Zuckerberg and his Facebook goons have apparently deleted Bill Oakley's Facebook account, effectively rendering the former Simpsons showrunner and current Portlandia producer a non-person in this hyper-connected age. The crack team at Facebook determined that Oakley was illegally impersonating former Simpsons showrunner and current Portlandia producer Bill Oakley, who is the same person, and swiftly deleted his account. Despite being informed his account will not be reactivated "for any reason," Oakley has taken to the Twitter to bring the issue to as many Facebook employees as possible, as well as popular tech blogs Mashable and the New York Times' Bits blog. In the eyes of this reporter, it is great to see Facebook allocating its resources on protecting little-known TV producers from impersonation instead of focusing on less important issues, like instituting better privacy safeguards.
Bongo Comics, the comics distribution arm of the vast Matt Groening media empire, is apparently redesigning most of its logos to be blander and textier, for inexplicable reasons. Take a gander:
Hey, do you remember when I told you about THIS IS NOT BART, the Simpsons-themed art show currently being held in Newcastle, Australia? Well, a few days ago IN THE NEWS operative "Adam B." did some reconnaissance and reported back his findings:
I went to the This Is Not Bart art exhibition and talked to the curator and he said they will be making it an annual event , so around september 30 til october 22, 2012 it will be on again.
Yes, it's going to become a yearly tradition, I guess! Ha ha, so much for Australian culture.
On Saturday, people continued to line up in Misrata to view the body of Gaddafi, kept in a freezer as speculation remained rife as to when and where he would be buried.
(from "Lisa the Simpson," original airdate March 8, 1998)
Beloved cartoon character Milhouse Van Houten might have began life as part of an unsuccessful pitch for a Saturday morning cartoon.
In a discussion on Twitter last week, Simpsons superdirector David Silverman clarified some things about Milhouse's origins, shooting down rumors he's just a rip-off of Paul Pfeiffer from The Wonder Years (come on dudes, he's pretty much just Akbar/Jeff with hair and glasses). He also shared a little more behind-the-scenes information about his first appearance. It's been known that Milhouse first appeared in a pre-series Simpsons Butterfinger commercial - in 2000, Simpsons creator Matt Groening told TV Guide he "needed to give Bart someone to talk to in the school cafeteria" - but until now it was believed he was created specifically for that commercial.
To the surprise of no one, Simpsons showrunner Al Jean told Entertainment Weekly he'd like to see the show continue past the 25 seasons guaranteed by Friday's re-negotiation deal:
"I honestly think that 30 is a goal to shoot for. I want to put The Simpsons at 30 seasons before the end of the decade," he quips, nodding to John F. Kennedy's moon speech. "Forty sounds insane, but 25 sounded insane 20 years ago. Having seen how far it's gone, it's not for me to cap it... And Gunsmoke did 635 episodes [a record for a prime-time series], so that's something to shoot for, too."
Even though he's supposedly quipping, keep in mind he can recite how many episodes Gunsmoke did off-hand. Please, nobody tell him about the animes.
First things first: The Simpsons, after days of cancellation rumors amidst a fierce contract negotiation between the voice actors and Fox, has been renewed for not only Season 24 (2012 - 2013), but also Season 25 (2013 - 2014), despite those honest, upstanding Fox "anonymous sources" telling every news outlet within earshot they would only renew it for Season 24 "at most." That's right: Twenty-Five. Goddamn. Seasons. Five Hundred Fifty-Nine Episodes. Let's assume everything after Season 8 is bad. That means by the end of Season 25, the good seasons will comprise slightly less than 32% of the entire series. And this season just started two weeks ago, so we have a guaranteed three seasons of atrocious episodes to look forward to. Excuse me while I go stick my head in the oven.
Outspoken super-animator John Kricfalusi was fired from his own show, The Ren & Stimpy Show, back in 1992. Since then, his television projects have been short-lived: The Ripping Friends lasted 13 episodes on the air, while Ren & Stimpy "Adult Party Cartoon" lasted a mere 3.
Last Sunday, The Simpsons aired a couch gag "guest-animated" by the K-man himself. And about two days later, rumors of the show's cancellation began swarming after The Daily Beast reported on tense cast negotiations. We are still waiting to hear if this season will be the last.
Now, I'm not saying that John K. is cursed, and his mere presence will doom every TV show he comes in contact with. But it IS a weird coincidence. I'm just saying.
According to Reuters, Fox is finally weaning off their bad Simpsons-renewing habit, and have declared they they only want one more season of The Simpsons at most, if the voice actors agree to their "draconian" pay cuts. That would be Season 24, the 2012-2013 season, falling just short of the unthinkable 25 year milestone (unless you go by the Simpsons' Tracey Ullman Show debut, which marks its 25th anniversary this April). But keep in mind these are anonymous executives, in the middle of some big-time renegotiations where they repeatedly use the press as a conduit to spread rumors and innuendo to get a more favorable deal, from a TV network that once straight up lied said their plan "is not all Seth [MacFarlane], all the time" while giving him three and maybe four shows, which happens to be a subsidiary of one of the most cartoonishly evil corporations in the world, so take that with a pillar of salt.
Also according to these unnamed executives, "the show is no longer profitable for the network." Forbes asked a bunch of analysts, and found that ending the show would likely more profitable for Fox than continuing it:
The freedom of selling the show into syndication on cable or even to online streaming providers like Netflix or Amazon could generate $1-2 million an episode for a show that has produced nearly 500 of them, RBC estimates.
Those revenues - around $750 million of incremental content monetization - are likely to come across a number of years, because of the original syndication deal and the likely preference for smoother earnings, "but the upside is real."
RBC estimates broader syndication for The Simpsons post-cancellation could add 10 cents per share to News Corp.'s bottom line.
So now we appear to have reached the point foretold by Troy McClure, who once asked, "Who knows what adventures [the Simpsons]'ll have between now and the time the show becomes unprofitable?" Extra credit goes to former Simpsons writer Greg Daniels, who back in 2008 predicted the show would end when "the per episode syndication price falls below the cost of producing an episode."
Oh boy, it's that lovely time every three years or so when the Simpsons cast re-negotiate their contracts with Fox! And this time the stakes HAVE NEVER BEEN HIGHER. The Daily Beast reports that this time the voice actors are asking for a pay cut, instead of their usual pay raise. Say whaa??? Have we wandered into Bizarro World??? No, while they're asking for a 30 percent pay cut, it's because they want a piece of that hot, hot syndication and merchandise action worth billions of dollars in CA$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 CANCEL THE SIMPSONS.
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.
If you happen to be in Newcastle, Australia this month, you might want to consider seeing the THIS IS NOT BART exhibition at the ARThive art gallery. It's full of weird Simpsons arts, like a dress-up Mr. Burns, paintings inspired by the Planet of the Apes musical, or Snagglepuss. It'll be like looking at Bomers in real life, with other people! Wow! Full deets are on their website.