Harry Shearer Wins Emmy, Finally

Harry Shearer

For over two decades, Harry Shearer (voice of Mr. Burns, Ned Flanders, Principal Skinner, Waylon Smithers, Reverend Lovejoy, and Maggie Simpson) was the only primary cast member to have never won an Emmy for his work in The Simpsons, but this grave injustice was finally rectified last night at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards. Not bad for someone who's been phoning it in for years! Unfortunately, he couldn't show up to collect his prestigious orange blimp award in person, because he's currently stuck in 1974 after Quantum Leaping into President Nixon.

Oh, and Bob's Burgers won its first-ever Emmy for the episode "Mazel Tina." [Deadline]

New Simpsons Site Foolishly Tries To Compete With Undisputed Champion rubbercat.net/simpsons

duff beer

While there's a million Simpsons blogs on Tumblr now, the community of general-purpose Simpsons fansites has diminished greatly over the past few years. Long-time heavyweights like Simpsons Folder and Simpsons Channel have abdicated their thrones, as have smaller sites like The Springfield Connection, Simpsons Zip, Go Simpsonic!, and the listserv Simpsons-L. Clearly, this is because they were all too weak to compete against the likes of rubbercat.net/simpsons, cyberspace's #1 Simpsons fansite in the world and undisputed champion of the Bortosphere.

Now, in a "Man Bites Dog"-style change of pace, a new fansite has risen: Drink Duff, a throwback to fansites of yore boasting "the latest news, great archives and original content."

One of its latest posts is the discovery of an alternate ending to The Telltale Head, featuring a few lines that were cut in its second airing and thought to be lost forever (check The Simpsons Archive's Syndication Cuts Guide). Oh wow... unearthed Simpsons arcana... that's cool... I'm not scared of this new threat at all...

Season 26 Preview: All Putin, All The Time

crimea billboard
There's a big change in store for next season of The Simpsons: nothing but Vladimir Putin jokes! Ukranian and Russian media outlets have obtained an EXCLUSIVE preview clip, and it looks like all future jokes will be replaced with zingers at the Russian president's expense.

Washington Post:

This simple online video has been picked up by a number of outlets in the region. One major Ukrainian television channel picked it up, though one of Ukraine's largest Web sites noted that it hadn't been able to confirm its authenticity yet. The Post reached out to Fox Television, which said that this clip had been doctored. No, Bart Simpson did not call Putin a "huylo," and no, there is no Crimea billboard in Springfield.

Creator Matt Groening, who has Russian ancestry, is believed to be the mastermind behind the switch. No word yet on how Western audiences will react to the show's newfound focus on Eastern European politics.

NEWS BRIEFS: Comic-Con 2014

police dog
The creator of The Simpsons shows off his sweet dance moves, the crew dashes the hopes of Comic-Con attendees, Homer chokes, Bob from Bob's Burgers flies, and a showrunner becomes a lawbreaker.
  • Witness the raw acting talent of Matt Groening as he interacts with a hologram version of Homer. [YouTube]
  • A couple of of the questions from the audience at the Simpsons panel seemed a wee bit hostile:
    Is there any way to inject fresh blood into the series? "No!" we're told. But Matt explains that no-one ever leaves the show once they've joined the series.
    The next young fan asks if The Simpsons is ever going to end? There are claps as Matt says the show is "going to be around for a while". "We've got two years to run it into the ground and ten years before it ends," he jokes.

    When one of the most-asked questions about your show is about when it's ending, maybe it's a sign you've worn out your welcome? [Digital Spy]

  • Maybe it's funnier in context, but I'm a little baffled someone somewhere decided this scene where Homer struggles to breathe as Lisa helplessly watches was hilarious enough to show at Comic-Con. [YouTube]
  • Here's some footage from the upcoming Simpsons/Family Guy crossover featuring a surprise cameo from none other than Bob Belcher... which is no longer a surprise, sorry. [Entertainment Weekly]

Al Jean Powerless To Stop Rape Joke

al jean
Remember the Simpsons/Family Guy crossover? Still happening, and it looks like the Family Guy writers are bringing their A game with more of their atrocious rape jokes. Luckily there's a man who, positively can do, everything he possibly can to keep rape culture at bay: Simpsons executive producer Al Jean.
Jean asked for some minor tweaks but, other than that, he was fine with what the Family Guy writers came up with.

[...]

"We said, 'Can you cut just one rape joke?'" Jean recalled, straight-faced. "They said, 'No,' and we said, 'OK.'"

Well, at least he tried.

[The Province]

Marijuana Simpson Is The Greatest Simpsons Fanfiction Ever Made

stoned simpsons

Twitter user @Homer_Marijuana's gripping Simpsons weedpunk saga that took cyberspace by storm has come to an end, and is a must-read for anyone who's a fan of The Simpsons, irony, millennial angst, and/or illicit activity.

First, a little backstory: after allegedly losing some sort of bet with internet mogul vrunt, the Twitter user formerly known as collatingbones was forced to reconfigure his brand around the concept of "what if homer simpson smokes weed." For the first couple of weeks, @Homer_Marijuana posted musings about the concept of beloved cartoon icon Homer Simpson smoking the marijuana drug and unrelated tweets.

Then on June 29th it shifted gears and settled into a narrative, told almost solely in short bursts of dialogue one tweet at a time, about the Simpsons and their unliked son Ken smoking weed on a gazebo known as the "Herb Fortress." The stakes grew higher the next day: after America is attacked on 9/11, Bart (age 19) is deployed to Iraq and becomes a remorseless killer. As Homer tries to stop the war, the Simpson men become mixed up with Al Qaeda and international drug lord Circus Bob. The family becomes torn apart, and Lisa temporarily moves in with the twin aunts Thelma and Selma. Sonic the Hedgehog grapples with the death of his father and rival dealer Bender moving into his territory. Nelson searches for a surrogate father. Apu is discovered to be very valuable. Flanders tries to learn how to be like Homer, but ends up draining the Simpsons's gravity bong by mistake. Maggie is briefly disowned for accidentally feeding thirty years of kief to the dog.

Later, Bart returns home and has trouble re-assimilating back into society. Maggie becomes obsessed with megabats. Moe's efforts to get a family has tragic consequences. Global drug magnate Mr. Burns plans something shady, and his former ally Officer Wiggum becomes determined to crack down on the drugs that have turned Simpson City into a den of iniquity. Throughout the story, characters lament their fate, Lenny, Carl, and Moe (later, Bumblebee Man) comment on story developments like a Greek chorus, and it becomes a musical towards the end.

Sound intriguing??? The whole story has been collected and reformatted into screenplay format on Scribd for your perusal.

Simpsons Snrubbed By TV Oscars

Mr. Snrub
For the first time in nearly 20 years, The Simpsons wasn't nominated for an Emmy in the Outstanding Animated Program category.

Since the show began, it had been nominated in that category every year except 1993 and 1994, when they tried to compete against the big boys in the Outstanding Comedy Series category. After failing to even get nominated both years, thanks to the Emmy's well-known 3DPD bias, they returned to the Animated Program category in 1995, where they were typically seen as the cartoon to beat. "It is a light thrill to beat Garfield every year, but it's getting a little old,'' quipped Matt Groening in 1992.

Showrunner Al Jean claims they were snubbed:

Re-recording mixers Mark Linden and Tara A. Paul were nominated for Outstanding Sound Mixing For A Comedy or Drama Series (Half-Hour) and Animation, and Harry Shearer - the only main cast member to never win an Emmy for his performance - was nominated for Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance.

While the show itself regularly made fun of award shows, the producers don't hesitate to mention their massive trophy case whenever its quality is called into question. During a nasty spat with Shearer in 2004, Jean rattled off a list of their recent awards:

I am responding to recent comments by Harry Shearer regarding the current quality of the Simpsons. In the past year and a half, our show has won every award it could possibly have won, including emmys for best animated program and voice-over actor (Hank Azaria), four Annie awards (show, writing, directing and song--a feat the Simpsons had never accomplished in the previous 13 seasons) and a writers guild award, which the show had also won never won before. Yesterday I was informed that Dan Castelleneta had won an emmy for his work in the episode "Today I Am A Clown" and we are nominated for three additional emmys (including best animated program) again this year.
Luckily, this obnoxious argument will have to be retired if they can't even get nominated.

How did this happen? Having learned nothing from the time they submitted "Treehouse of Horror VI" under the belief Emmy voters would be blown away by seeing Homer in 3D, the show submitted their overhyped LEGO commercial. Jean jokingly (?) points the blame squarely at The LEGO Group:

Well, they can always make their own Emmy out of LEGO bricks.

Of course, there may be another reason for the show's recent Emmy drought. Their last win in the Animated Program category was for "Eternal Moonshine of the Simpson Mind" in 2008, the last year of the Bush Administration. Could President Obama be behind this...?

NEWS BRIEFS: A Million Ways To Die in California State Senate District 26

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When Simpsons news falls through the cracks, Lewis Black catches it, in a feature we like to call "NEWS BRIEFS," because we couldn't think of a more creative name.

  • Ex-Simpsons/Futurama writer Patric Verrone trailed in his bid for State Senate and won't be advancing to the general election in November. This is great news, because he now has more time to work on his Supreme Court figurines. [Variety]
  • The town of Springfield, Oregon is getting an officially-sanctioned Simpsons mural even though they're not "the real Springfield" and don't deserve diddly squat. Go to hell, Springfield, Oregon. [The Oregonian]
  • Some fans held off on buying the barebones DVD version of The Simpsons Movie because they were expecting Fox to "double-dip" by selling a more deluxe set with more features later on. That ended up never happening, and Simpsons head honcho Al Jean has confirmed there are no current plans to release one. He blames the dwindling home video market, but I think we all know the real reason: it was axed once the executives realized it could never live up to my joke version. [Al Jean via Twitter]
  • Seth MacFarlane's western movie bombed at the box office and will likely be quickly forgotten, much like Matt Groening's ill-fated turn as a hardboiled detective in 1993's Deadly Slumber. [Los Angeles Times]

Seth MacFarlane's Enabler Leaving Fox

family guy
Holy crap, Lois! According to Deadline, Fox network executive and Seth MacFarlane enabler Kevin Reilly has announced he is resigning as Chairman of Entertainment, "amid a major ratings downside for the network."

Back in 2010, Reilly stubbornly insisted the network's strategy "is not all Seth, all the time" at the same time they were planning to give him a fourth goddamn show (presumably the abandoned Flintstones reboot, which mercifully didn't come to fruition).

Simpsons Episode Proves Syria War Is U.S. Conspiracy, Somehow

Kids in TV Land, you’re being duped!

Social media users in Egypt are convinced the situation in Syria is actually a vast U.S. conspiracy to destabilize the region. The smoking gun? The Party Posse episode of The Simpsons.

Business Insider explains:

In the episode, entitled "New Kids on the Blecch," Bart, Milhouse, Nelson and Ralph, are tapped for a boy band, The Party Posse, whose first single, "Drop Da Bomb," turns out to be a subliminal recruitment video for the U.S. Navy. In the song's music video, the boys pilot war planes, parachuting into an unnamed Arab nation to teach the local women to wear bikinis and play tether ball.

And if you look closely, a jeep in the video clearly displays the flag now used by the Syrian opposition.

On what appears to be the Egyptian equivalent of the CNN show that just regurgitates whatever people are saying on Facebook (that is, all of them), an anchor played a clip of the episode, and repeatedly stressed that the episode came out in 2001, way before the Syrian opposition started using their flag. (Sidenote: Does this opposition group have a name? That might be something that would be good to know.)

What does this mean??? There are only three possibilities:

  1. Syrian rebels are big-time Simpsons nuts and borrowed their flag from the episode, as a strange, obscure homage of some sort. Maybe it's to them what the Bort joke is to us in the west.
  2. It's a coincidence, because all flags basically look the same. Stars, bars, sometimes a crescent moon or an eagle.
  3. The so-called "war" in Syria is a bunch of smoke and mirrors, with the U.S., Israel and Gulf Arab countries pulling the strings. It's nothing more than a false flag simulation produced by Lockheed and Oracle and Rockwell Collins, with propaganda about chemical attacks being disseminated by their lackeys in the media.

Clearly, #3 is the most likely explanation. As I recently discovered, the Simpsons writing staff is actually a front for the CIA, who often use the show to spread disinformation and plant grotesque "pre-clues" to 9/11. I guess they just decided to reuse some art assets for their fake rebel group instead of designing a new flag? Damned budget cuts are completely dismantling conspiracies right and left.

[Business Insider]

Al Jean's Rocky First Week on Twitter

al jean
Simpsons showruner Al Jean recently joined the social dating app "Twitter," and has already committed many a faux pas. It's always funny to see new users struggle with the learning curve, doubly so if it's someone semi-famous.

Here's a DEVASTATING TAKEDOWN of his initial tweets from friend-of-the-site hammster, with links added:

his first tweet he refers to joining twitter as "entering twitter". entering.
his second tweet tells me to watch a couch gag on youtube without linking to it
his third tweet he misspells excited as "exicted"
the only tweet he has favourited is a manual retweet of a tweet from the official simpsons account RATHER THAN THE ACTUAL TWEET

Simpsons LEGO Episode Bankrolled by LEGO Company

armour hot dogs

Shocking news for Simpsons fans concerned about the artistic integrity of an episode based entirely around a name-brand product: it turns out The Simpsons's upcoming 30 minute LEGO commercial was partially funded and essentially proposed by The LEGO Group.

Entertainment Weekly casually mentioned The LEGO Group's financial stake in the episode in an interview with producers Matt Selman and Brian Kelley:

Lego helped pay for the episode. How much input did the company have into the creative side? I understand that there was a sex scene between Lego Homer and Lego Marge that they wanted to tone down.


KELLEY: Let's say we had a lot of fun with the Lego sex scene, and I'm not surprised that it was a little too risque. But we'll always treasure the memory. [Laughs] They were good partners. Our audience is slightly older than their audience, so they would occasionally have concerns, but all the words in the episode are ours. If they had an objection, which they did on very rare occasions, we'd find a way around it.

Good to know that a show with "a near-total absence of network interference" (virtually unheard of in the industry) is now taking notes from a toy company.

James L. Brooks Teases Big Guest Star

Spanglish director and Simpsons head honcho James "Jimbo" Brooks recently teased an upcoming guest star on Twitter, claiming it's on par with Michael Jackson's appearance in 1991:

It's gotta be Obama, right? Dude's willing to do a Funny or Die sketch, but not the venerable American institution known as The Simpsons? They've already gotten three Beatles, a sitting prime minister, a reclusive author, AND telephone voice Joan Kenley; who else is even notable enough to get these old grizzled comedy writers all jazzed up?

Other guesses I'm throwing out there:

  • Bob Dylan - Turned them down before, maybe he relented?
  • The Game of Thrones guy - All the writers are horrible nerds, so...
  • Pope Francis - Hey, it could happen.
  • Ella Fitzgerald - Maybe Brooks discovered a way to revive the dead during his time at My Mother The Car?

Speculate away in the non-existent comment section below.

Lunchlady Doris Secretly Replaced By Lunchlady Dora

Lunchlady Doris
After Simpsons voice actress Doris Grau passed away in 1995, her character Lunchlady Doris remained in the show. Or so we thought! It turns out that at some point in the series Doris was silently replaced with a pod person named "Lunchlady Dora," who just happens to look and sound exactly like her.

Out of respect for the late Phil Hartman, his characters Lionel Hutz and Troy McClure were completely retired from the show (well, eventually... they still made occasional background appearances until 2003). This wasn't the case for Lunchlady Doris, who lurked silently in the background for years.

Her silence was broken in a 2009 episode, when Tress MacNeille took over the role with a pretty dead-on impression. Some viewers felt recasting the character was disrespectful to Grau. However, it turns out it was actually a "new" character, "Lunchlady Dora," a loophole that made the move perfectly ethical. Although MacNeille was credited as Lunchlady Dora in that episode's press release, this little change was not mentioned in the actual show until 2013, when Groundskeeper Willie casually mentioned making sweet love to Lunchlady Dora (my fanfic came true!), and a second time in last night's episode, where Dora is mentioned in the school newspaper. AV Club writer Sean O'Neal tweeted about it, assuming it was a typo, which lead Michael Price to set the record straight and confirm it's a "different" character:

Well, now that there's precedent for döppelganger replacement, we can all look forward to the never-ending adventures of Mr. Kurns, Jed Flanders and Principal Skynnyr once Harry Shearer decides to quit.

[Twitter via No Homers Club]

Simpsons Writer Running For Office

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Former union kingpin Patric Verrone, who wrote for Futurama and The Simpsons, and has a thriving historical figurines business, is running for California State Senate. If elected, he would be the second Simpsons writer to hold public office, following John Swartzwelder's disastrous coup in Guyana.

As president of the Writers Guild of America, West, Verrone led the 2007-2008 writers strike that lead to higher wages and longer beards. Now he's hitting up people for money by namedropping the shows he worked on:

"At 'Futurama,' I wrote a lot about the future," he said. "For California, the future is still being written.  In the script we write together, there's a happy ending. Please join me in in this cause. We're still in this together."

Get it? He wrote Futurama, so now he's going to write the future, with everyone, banging away on the typewriters of Democracy. Wait a minute... he wants to write a happy ending? He wants to end California?!? This mad man must be stopped at all costs.

[Variety]