AZTEC THEATRE Archives

Don Hertzfeldt Animated Tonight's Couch Gag

I am a banana
America's greatest living independent animator Don Hertzfeldt (Rejected, Billy's Balloon, It's Such a Beautiful Day) is doing the couch gag for tonight's The Simpsons episode (the one where Krusty's dad dies).
UPDATE (10/2/2014): And here it is:

John Swartzwelder's Long-Lost Western Pilot Is On YouTube

Pistol Pete

Pistol Pete, a 1996 pilot for a Western spoof written and produced by legendary Simpsons writer John Swartzwelder, has surfaced for the first time thanks to a mysterious benefactor on YouTube:

The show centers around Pistol Pete, a fake cowboy starring in a New York City Wild West stage show who becomes the real sheriff of a Western town, played by the impeccable Stephen Kearney. It's kinda like the Adam West Batman series set in the West with absurd Swartzweldian gags.

Like its mysterious creator, Pistol Pete gained some notoriety because pretty much nobody outside the people who produced it had ever seen it. Will Harris of Antenna Free TV wrote a comprehensive account - or at least as comprehensive as you can be about something you've never seen - about it last year, scoring interviews with Kearney and co-star Mark Derwin. Apparently, Swartzwelder was in such high demand that the studio pretty much gave him whatever he wanted. Unfortunately, the Fox network declined to pick it up as a series, possibly because Rupert Murdoch was feeling sleepy when the executives screened it.

Upon discovery (...?) of the video, Swartzwelder e-mailed it to Harris, who then tweeted it to the world. Now, perhaps the only big Simpsons writer "holy grail" that remains is George Meyer's script for an unproduced movie that was to star David Letterman.

[YouTube via Twitter]

Bowl Taken

The Simpsons live show is over now, with far less casualties than the usual Hollywood Bowl event. In defiance of the rules, some audience members recorded it with their cell phones and cameras. Here's a video of the Friday show, which could be taken down at any time:

Dead Homer Society has some more videos of the Saturday and Sunday shows, but I'm not going to bother watching them.

Some observations:

  • "Unlike Seth MacFarlane, Matt [Groening] will not force you to listen to him sing" burnsauce
  • Whoever recorded this decided to leave it on for part of the intermission, but ran out of battery during Jon Lovitz singing the Planet of the Apes musical, and then somehow regained power immediately after. Okay...
  • Jon Lovitz is basically a more likable version of Ricky Gervais.
  • Host Hank Azaria got to live his greatest nightmare onstage because nobody told him a clip he was setting up was cut.
  • The Alf Clausen tribute seemed abrupt and a little at odds with the rest of the show's tone. Still, nice to see the Sideshow Bob motif get its due...
  • Conan O'Brien seemed energetic, but "The Monorail Song" isn't really much of a song, come to think of it.
  • "Do The Bartman" was really disappointing. Granted, it's hard to do the Bart voice while singing in front of hundreds of people with limited stage experience, while also trying to make sure you don't fall off the stage, but still...
  • Here's the weirdest thing: Harry Shearer (who generally doesn't agree to anything that's not in his contract because he feels cheated by Fox) apparently didn't give permission for his voice to be used in clips. So, twice they had to replace him with a "scratch" voice that's REALLY OBVIOUS AND WEIRD. Shearer also declined to do The Simpsons Ride, but his voice is still present in episode clips that play while you're waiting in line, so I don't know what the deal is.

Marge Simpson Was On Project Runway

marge dress
Former Playboy model Marge Simpson was on the fashion reality game show Project Runway: All Stars a few days ago in another dumb stunt that's embarrassing for both shows. Contestants had to design a fancy dress for Marge to wear on a dinner date with Homer, because that's definitely in character for her and something that would happen in The Simpsons. Apparently the guidelines were 1. it has to go well with mutant yellow skin, and 2. it can't be green. Also, something about her ass?

Simpsons Does Harlem Shake, Because That's The Kind of Thing They Do Now

Harlem Shake! I still don't really know what the hell it is because I try to avoid these global phenomenon internet meme things like the plague. Sometimes a guy likes to preserve a little mystery and be blissfully unaware of all internet traditions, y'know? About a week after "Harlem Shake" starting creeping up on my radar I started seeing blog headlines declaring it dead, and I breathed a sigh of a relief that maybe it really did die before becoming a year-long "thing" like Gangnam Style ended up being and I wouldn't have to eventually learn what it is. But, of course, nothing can truly be dead until after Modern Simpsons has had their "take" on it. Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you "Homer Shake."

Egg Council Emergency Averted

egg council creepTwo years ago, I enlisted you, the reader, to go forth and locate the egg council commercials that the classic "You'd better run, egg!" scene from "Homer the Great" was referencing. Well, reader James e-mailed me with the news that he located two of them (maybe the only two?) on AdForum.com.

I can't embed the videos so you'll have to click the links:

Here's a minute-long commercial featuring an egg being sent to the electric chair.

And here's a 30-second one that starts the same way, but features different types of eggs.

A couple observations: the eggs are noticeably shorter than the guards, and they have no legs; they're not normal-sized people cosplaying as eggs with normal legs like the Egg Council creep. Secondly, the brand is "California Egg Commission," not the Egg Council, which appears to be made up.

Boy it feels good to finally have closure on this pressing issue. Thank you, James.

WRECK-IT RALPH POISED TO WRECK ALL BOX OFFICE RECORDS!!!

I’m gonna wreck itI am real excited about Wreck-It Ralph, an upcoming Disney movie about video game characters, or as I like to think of it, Tron With Jokes. It's written by former Simpsons director Jim Reardon (he appears in The Simpsons nearly every time there's a scene at a train station) and directed by former Simpsons director Rich Moore (he's the first guy on The Escalator to Nowhere). It's good to see Simpsons alums doing well!

TAG Blog says the animators working on Ralph are "psyched" about it, because as one guy points out, "[t]he company lawyers could have just had us do parodies of other characters, but they went and got the rights to use actual personalities from other video games." Bowser! Robotnik! All the Street Fighter guys! Clyde the ghost from Pac-Man! Q*bert! Some other guys I don't recognize! You can see 'em in this trailer Disney released today...

The Armenian Version of The Simpsons Is So Much Better Than Ours

I don't want to oversell this, but I've seen a lot of weird Simpsons videos, and this Armenian parody is one of my favorites. It starts out with four lads morphing into the Simpsons singing "Yesterday" in Armenian atop Stonehenge and gets stranger from there.

This Is What The Simpsons Looks Like In Nightmare World

Artist JK Keller created an intense video manipulation of The Simpsons entitled Realigning My Thoughts on Jasper Johns that will break your browser and possibly your mind if you try to watch the whole piece on his website. Here's the introduction, which gives you a good idea of what the rest is like...

Here Is The Tim & Eric Foodie Rap

Famous comedy duo "Eric & Tim" appeared in the sure-to-be-classic "Marge Becomes A Food Blogger" episode of The Simpsons last night and sang a rap song about being a foodie, which you can watch below courtesy of YouTube user "MelZtube80."

Simpsons Writer Tom Gammill and Cathy Guisewite Looking at Nancy Comics Together

The Simpsons writer/The Doozies drawer Tom Gammill and his best friend Cathy Guisewite (creator of Cathy) recently visited the Ernie Bushmiller Museum to pay their respects to the creator of Nancy and Sluggo. This video is a MUST-WATCH if you are a big Nancy fan!!!

[YouTube via GoComics]

Now You Can Watch The Simpsons On Your Coat


Some nerdlinger made a "video coat" made up of little LED screens that allows the wearer to show Simpsons episodes and other videos on their jacket. I guess it's similar to Nam June Paik and Charlotte Moorman's TV-Bra for Living Sculpture (1969), except less likely to give you cancer, maybe. Doesn't this seem like something out of a bad sci-fi movie about obtrusive advertising in the future? If this gets out of hand, Fox will have to join forces with the Fashion Police to stop bootleggers.

I just have one quibble: if this guy's so smart, then why is he choosing to watch the Season 9 travesty "This Little Wiggy?" Check and mate. [Cathode Corner via Gizmodo]

The Simpsons Video Oprah Doesn't Want You To See

Oprah Winfrey ended her show today, y'all! Back in 1992, she interviewed the Simpsons in a dopey 2-minute animated segment. Later, she refused to grant Fox the rights to include it on a Simpsons DVD, preferring to throw it down the memory hole. Luckily, someone taped it and uploaded it to YouTube:

Witness Mike Scully's Raw Acting Talent

Mike Scully, the former Simpsons showrunner who ushered in The Bad Years, made a quick cameo on last Thursday's episode of Parks & Recreation (he's a writer/producer for the show). Be forewarned that the Hulu, NBC, and show idents are probably longer than the clip itself:

Long-Lost Simpsons Clip Resurfaces

First, some background: in fall 1990, Fox moved The Simpsons to Thursday nights in a heavily publicized move to compete head-on with The Cosby Show, which was then the reigning television champion. Eventually, The Simpsons managed to overtake Cosby in the ratings, and in June 1991, Bill Cosby announced the following season would be the show's last. The final episode of The Cosby Show aired on April 30th, 1992. The Simpsons paid its respects with a hastily-assembled homage added to that night's episode, a rerun of "Three Men and a Comic Book," with Bart issuing an awfully prescient warning for viewers. It only aired that one time and was thought by many to be lost to the sands of time. Luckily, anything that has ever aired on television in the past fifty years will eventually resurface on YouTube:


Yes, Golden Age Simpsons managed to burn the current incarnation of the show from years in the past. The ownage levels are off the charts. [YouTube via nohomers]

Did Usher Rip Off Homer Simpson???

Earlier this year, some radio show noticed that singer-songwriter Usher's chart-topping hit song "OMG" sounds remarkably like a song Homer Simpson tried to compose in the particularly awful 2003 episode "Dude, Where's My Ranch?" Judge for yourself:


I don't believe Mr. Usher intentionally committed songtheft. Like most of us who watched that episode, he must have tried to block it from his mind, but no matter how hard we try to repress our memories of Current Simpsons, bits and pieces still manage to escape. Try as I might, I can't forget about Sideshow Bob Jr., or that Snowball II is actually Snowball V now, or the time Homer was Kurt Cobain for some reason. In Usher's case, that little ditty somehow seeped through his mental blockade, years later and drained of its context, and because of cryptomnesisa, he thought he'd come up with the tune himself and then proceeded to turn it into a hit single.

Unfortunately for him, this is not the first time he has been accused of plagiarizing a non-human. Last year, a devastating expose revealed he had stolen the opening of "Papers" from a goat. [youtimdotcom via @ShawnElliot]

Taiwanese Animators Reveal Shocking Truth About Simpsons Writers!!!

Everybody's favorite Taiwanese animation studio, Next Media Animation, has made another one of their trademark CGI news reports about the Simpsons/Fox News pseudo-rivalry, exposing the Simpsons writers' secret creative process and Rupert Murdoch's shark fetish:


The Simpsons now joins Jersey Shore and Conan in an exclusive club of TV shows that have been NMAted, which is a verb I just made up and will be charging royalties for. [Next Media Animation via Cartoon Brew]

Simpsons Momentarily Subversive

If you were one of the people watching The Simpsons last night (sucker), you may have noticed something a little different about the opening sequence!


The "couch gag," if one could call it that, was storyboarded and directed by the pseudonymous Britain street artist known as Banksy, whose distinctive graffiti has shown up across the UK and the US, and whose work has been auctioned off for millions of dollars to limousine liberal luminaries like Brangelina.

Showrunner-for-life Al Jean told the New York Times he seeked out the ostensibly underground (despite having a publicist) "art terrorist" and asked him, via a series of messengers, if he'd do the opening, later receiving the storyboards without ever meeting the mystery man. Although 5% was cut out by request of Fox Broadcast & Standards, Jean insists the final product was as close as possible to Banksy's original intention.

The response has been enormous - Banksy became a "Trending Topic" on Twitter last night (which is, like, super-important and stuff) and there are currently hundreds of news stories about it - which I'm sure makes up for the 29% decline in ratings from last week. It's to quantify these things, but I think it's safe to presume this will get more attention than other recent Simpsons "viral" stunts, from the godawful Ke$ha thing to the Itchy & Scratchy parody of Koyaanisqatsi (in the old days, The Simpsons usually generated buzz with actual episodes instead of context-free YouTube clips, but I guess that's the way things are now in the New Media Landscape).

Egg Council Emergency

egg council creepHere's a classic scene from "Homer the Great," where Homer attempts to save Lenny's life by stomping on an egg sandwich, in order to get into the Stonecutters:

Homer: I saved your life! That egg sandwich could have killed you by cholesterol.

Lenny: Pfft, forget it, Homer. While it has been established that eggs contain cholesterol, it has not yet been proven conclusively that they actually raise the level of serum cholesterol in the human blood stream.

Homer: So one of those Egg Council creeps got to you too, huh?

Lenny: Aw, you've got it all wrong, Homer. It's not like that.

A man in an egg costume creeps, then runs, away.

Homer: You'd better run, egg!

The Simpsons Archive explains the reference:

+ California Egg Council commercial {ert}
- some humorous TV ads put out by the Council depict eggs in prison running off with glee when they're set free

I have a very, very vague memory of a commercial with people in egg costumes, so I searched for it on YouTube, home of a million old commercials for those of us whose memories have been hijacked by Madison Avenue madmen. Thus far I have been unsuccessful in locating it. But I refuse to admit defeat.

That's why I'm enlisting you, hypothetical reader, to go forth and find these commercials, so that the world will know that the Egg Council is a real threat. Here's what I've managed to learn from five minutes of AltaVista-searching:

  • I have no idea if these commercials aired nationally or just in California. Did you non-Californians get those stupid "California: It's The Cheese" commercials?
  • The Egg Council is still around, apparently, and still making commercials.
  • There is also a California Egg Commission. How deep does the rabbit hole go?
  • In "Burns' Heir," Mr. Burns calls it the Egg Advisory Council. Same thing, right? How many Egg Councils can there be?
  • Here is some helpful information on egg

Let me know if you find anything via Twitter or e-mail.

World-Class Chefs Prepare Dishes For Simpsons Characters

On an upcoming episode of Top Chef Masters (May 12 on Bravo) some top chefs have to chef up some foods for Simpsons characters, which will be judged by Matt Groening, Hank Azaria and writer Matt Selman.

Animation Outsourced To Georgia

animotion machineDue to Film Roman's inability to meet their demands for "faster, better, cheaper" animation, Simpsons producers have switched animation studios for the first time since 1992. Starting next season, The Simpsons will be primarily animated by a small animation studio in post-Soviet Georgia. Here's a preview clip:

[Dead Homer Society]

Insanely Detailed Simpsons Quake III Map

Some guy made an incredibly detailed "Springfield" skin for Quake III Arena, with all kinds of nerd-salivating props from past episodes - Big Butt Skinner balloon, pig tracks on the ceiling, etc. Hopefully Fox Interactive, hot off the heels of Simpsons Crazy Taxi, Simpsons Grand Theft Auto and Simpsons Myst will hire this guy to make the next Simpsons video game, Simpsons Quake.


[YouTube via Boing Boing]

NAZI GOLD UNCOVERED!!!

For years, The Simpsons Archive has had a page documenting a long-lost Simpsons short called "Nazis on Tap" involving Hitler, Stalin, and talking dogs. It was supposed to air in Season 2, but was never animated and apparently forgotten about. I always assumed it was a joke, but apparently it's very real -- Simpsons Archive webmaster Jouni Paakkinen recently discovered the long-lost audio track on YouTube, probably uploaded by some disgruntled show staffer who's about to get 20 years of jailtime.


"Aye carumba, the Fuhrer!" [YouTube via Simpsons-L]

Grampa Simpson Mashed Up On YouTube

Here are two video mashups featuring Grampa Simpson. Watch them now, you won't be disappointed. [Wonkette]

Mike Scully Writes Joke For Seth MacFarlane

The guy who exec-produced some of the worst seasons of The Simpsons (9-12) wrote a joke for Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane. How fitting.


[YouTube]

Video of Striking Simpsons Writers

Not as funny as the Office writers but whatever



[YouTube]

Fourth/Worst Trailer Online

WHEREVER YOU GO IN THE WORLD THERE IS ONE FAMILY THAT EVERYONE IS TALKING ABOUT

NOW THE SIMPSONS ARE TAKING ADVENTURE FURTHER THAN EVER BEFORE

THEY'RE A FAMILY THAT LOVES EACH OTHER... THEY JUST HAVE A "FUNNY" WAY OF SHOWING IT

*"What I Like About You" plays in background*

[Simpsons Channel]

New Trailer for Homer in Pain: The Movie

Check out the new Russian trailer for Homer in Pain: The Movie, featuring 2 hours of everybody's favorite punching bag Homer Simpson getting himself hurt in wacky and zany ways! That's not the correct way to hammer, you idiot!!!! [Simpsons Channel]