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:
@seanoneal@ditzkoff The show introduced Lunchlady Dora after Doris Grau passed away. So we did the opposite of forget.
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.
According to the French Simpsons site The Simpsons Park, the French networks W9 and Canal + have been blurring Duff Beer in Simpsons reruns. Why? Because a German brewer somehow won a trademark dispute with Fox and now they can legally sell Duff Beer, complete with a logo completely ripped off from the show. Although Fox had two Duff Beer trademarks filed in the European Union, a Belgian court annulled them "because they weren't registered for an actual beverage" (the German brewer, Duff Beer UG, has applied for their own trademark, which takes a lot of chutzpah). And now that Duff Beer is available in France, French TV has to blur Duff Beer because advertising alcohol is apparently illegal there, and showing this fictional beer that's been around for over two decades could be seen as an advertisement for this insane rip-off beer that brazenly stole its name and logo and has nothing to do with The Simpsons. Europe is weird.
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.
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.
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.
Matt Groening came up with the idea for The Simpsons, but that doesn't mean all his ideas are winners. Like, for instance, Marge Simpson being an anthropomorphic rabbit disguised as a human.
*record scratch* Say wha--?!? Here's Daria Paris, who was the assistant to former executive producer Sam Simon, as quoted in John Ortved's The Simpsons: An Uncensored, Unauthorized History:
There were times in the room when Matt would come up with the stupidest ideas. And he had this one: we were going to do an episode where Marge finally lets her hair down, and Matt's idea was that once she let it down the audience finds out she has rabbit ears, which was ridiculous. And Sam said no.
And here's what Groening had to say about it on the audio commentary for Selma's Choice, when writer David M. Stern brings it up and puts him on the spot:
That was the original - back in the - my plan, back in the very beginning, that she was actually a Life in Hell rabbit from my comic strip... but then it just seemed like a... I just said "oh, forget it, there's no ears under there."
"Ridiculous" is putting it lightly. Here's how I'd like to imagine that transpired: the writers and producers are seated around a giant table in a Dr. Strangelove-like Situation Room. Matt Groening causally brings up his idea that Marge Simpson - loving wife, devoted mother, future Playboy centerfold - is a rabbit in disguise, a secret that would be revealed in the final episode. A long, awkward silence ensues, as the writers sit in stunned disbelief at the utter insanity their boss just uttered. Suddenly, Sam Simon starts yelling at Groening about what a stupid idea that is. After a big back-and-forth about the plausibility of the whole concept, Simon finally puts his foot down, and Groening shame-facedly retreats to his office, to console himself with money. And thus we were all spared from the horror of Marge's closet rabbitness being An Actual Thing.
Nicki Minaj recently admitted in an interview that her eccentric big wigs are inspired by Marge Simpson's 2-foot hairdo:
"Never did I think I would be rocking the Marge Simpson," Minaj tells PEOPLE of her wigs, which she claims are reminiscent of The Simpsons matriarch's tall blue beehive. "But you know what, now that I am [wearing] them I realize that she was cutting edge and before her time. So shout out to Marge."
Networks in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland are planning to edit Simpsons episodes that feature nuclear disasters, because evidently the Fun Police in those countries have decided it's not ok to laugh at cartoon meltdowns while real-life meltdowns are occurring. It's unclear how far these networks are intending to go; the episodes "Homer Defined" and "King-Size Homer" would almost certainly be severely cut down or removed from rotation altogether, but are appearances by Blinky the three-eyed fish ok? What about Homer throwing a bar plutonium in the sewer every week in the title sequence? Fortunately, the censors only have to go through eight seasons, after which Homer all but quits his job at the plant to take on a multitude of wacky new jobs.
Meanwhile, Diablo Canyon Power Plant in California, best known for being namedropped in "Bart on the Road," is facing increased criticism for violating safety regulations, as well as its close proximity to multiple fault lines.
Acclaimed German director Werner Herzog (Fitzcarraldo, Grizzly Man, Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2) was apparently unaware that The Simpsons was a TV show, if the shoe-eating auteur is to be believed:
An episode of The Simpsons is soon due to air in which Herzog's famous voice will make a cameo appearance. "I was very surprised when they approached me because I thought The Simpsons was a newspaper cartoon. So when they called, I said, 'Do a voice? I don't understand, it's a TV programme?' They thought I was joking," he continues, chuckling, "but I was not."
The Cato Institute, the highly respected and influential libertarian think tank, just released an important study revealing that the Obama Administration's push for high-speed rail is exactly the same as as an episode of a cartoon show:
Biden's performance brings to mind the classic Simpsons episode "Marge vs. the Monorail" in which con-man Lyle Lanley convinces the town's residents to waste money on an exciting-sounding high-speed train that turns out to be a boondoggle.
Looks like Vice President Biden made the mistake of talking to a group of people about transportation and being enthusiastic about it! Everybody knows you're not supposed to do that anymore, or else you'll be compared to a Phil Hartman character from 20 years ago. Doesn't this guy have handlers?
There are some uncanny parallels between the two pitches.
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]
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:
In addition to selling dangerous "super Squishees" made entirely of syrup that makes kids go crazy (Broadway-style) and black out, the Kwik-E-Mart has apparently also been selling Four Loko, the controversial alcoholic energy drink popular amongst young people, according to this important news report:
In a stunning career move never before accomplished, former Vanity Fair editor John Ortved made the leap from penning a whole bunch of words about The Simpsons to typing a dating blog for Glamour magazine, where he regularly explores questions like "Do You Have a Set Number of Dates Before You'll Sleep With a Guy?" and "Do You Ever Film 'It?'? Should You Ever?" Could there be a correlation between Simpsons nerdiness and sex smarts? Developing... [Glamour]
In a stunning rebuke to global warming, the Dachstein Ice Palace in Austria is set to unveil its new copyright-infringing ice sculpture of TV's the Simpsons today, or at least that's all I could extrapolate from this article:
Die Eiskünstler Hans Böhmer (Mitarbeiter der Dachsteingletscher-Bahn), Christian Schmid und Sebastian Zörweg haben in den letzten Wochen mehr als 4 Tonnen Kunsteis und 9 Tonnen Gletschereis verarbeitet, um die Simpsons in Lebensgröße so realistisch wie möglich zu schnitzen. Ab Samstag, den 12. Juni können alle Gäste auf der wohl berühmtesten Couch der Fernsehgeschichte gemeinsam mit der Familie Simpson Platz nehmen. Neu ist auch der Fotopoint im Dachstein Eispalast. Besteigen Sie den Eis- Thron und fühlen Sie sich für ein paar Augenblicke wie ein König in dieser frostig - faszinierenden Eiswelt. Dazu Dachstein-Geschäftsführer Ernst Trummer: "Der Eispalast ist seit dem 1. Tag eine Erfolgsgeschichte. Um weiterhin für unsere vielen Besucher attraktiv zu bleiben, haben wir heuer alle Figuren neugeschnitzt und die Eis-Säle neu gestaltet".
You should watch the video, particularly the moment at 1:54. [SimpsonsNews.de]
Due 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:
According to The New York Post, Homer is going to undergo a colonoscopy this season. Actually, it's not going to be part of the long-running FOX show, it's going to be part of the multi-network cancer benefit on September 5 titled Stand Up To Cancer. The Post even quotes a line from the segment that already has me laughing, from Marge: "There's his wedding band! He told me he was having it polished!"
Your Elected Representatives are using Your Tax Dollars to write Simpsons fanfiction. There is no explanation for this.
Republican Senate hopeful Montgomery Burns today joined with Mayor Joe Quimby, D-Springfield, to support the Senate's gazillion-dollar SCHIP bill.
"If the poor children can get a piece of the action, why can't I?" explained Burns at a MoveOn.org rally in Capital City. "The little darlings are needy? Me, too. I need somebody to pay. Quimby here says he knows a bunch of low-income nobodies who are ripe for the picking. Excellent."
Have you ever wondered what Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT), Democratic presidential candidate, would look like if he was a Simpsons character? Yeah, me neither, but here it is anyway. [MySpace via Wonkette]
"Voice acting god" and Simpsons recurring voice actor Frank Welker revealed in an e-mail to Simpsons fan Kenneth White why he hasn't appeared in The Simpsons since Season 13:
A few years back Dan "C" did Santa's Little Helper in a rehearsal and unfortunately for me ... did it a little too good. The producers thought ... "Hmmm, Dan barks pretty good, and we are already paying him and he seems to like doing the dog thing ... why do we need to pay Welker who comes in here, spends less than an hour, eats all the doughnuts, refuses to come to rehearsals ... let's just give the damn dog to Dan!" Bingo ... I'm out. I did do lots of shows that needed sound effects and weird sounds, but Santa is without this little helper.
I wanted a raise ... most of what they asked me to do was wild and wacky, but it also almost always hurt my throat. So, I asked for a raise ... that is why you haven't seen me. They are really great people over there, but they have a rule about "top of the show" for guest performers and I fell under that consideration.
Welker has played Santa's Little Helper, Snowball II, She's The Fastest, Fred from Scooby Doo, Megatron, Milhouse's monkey, Burns' canine executive vice president, Africa's wildlife, Lisa's pony, and a dozen zoos' worth of other animals. Life is ruff! [No Homers Club]
It appears one of the pervs who make erotic Simpsons fanart and ruined Google Image Search for everyone was put in charge of designing the logo for the 2012 Summer Olympics, because how else to explain this? Oh sure it's supposed to be "2012," rendered in an abstract style reminiscent of early-80's LA New Wave, but doesn't it look like something... unseemly... that will be impossible to unsee once you've seen it?
Writer Brian Mciver rattles off his favorite moments from the series in broken English, including such classic moments as Maggie's escape from the nursery, Homer in space, Homer selling his soul to Devil Flanders, "Mr Plough," and... what the hell?!
Lisa of the future (President)
BART sees his future at a carnival and is shocked to find Lisa becomes President, while he is a struggling musician and Homer has a robotic prostate.
This is the first time I've seen that episode included in a list of the "best" anything, aside from "Best Episode Entitled 'Bart To The Future'"[Daily Record]
It can be hard to get noticed amid the hustle and bustle of a red carpet -- just ask Minnie Driver. "I'm in 'The Simpsons Movie'!" the Oscar-nominated acress piped up... Reluctant to let plot points slip because, she said, "I could tell you about it, and then I'd literally get shot by ['Simpsons' creator] Matt Groening," Driver nevertheless revealed she'll be playing "a patronizing grievance counselor in one hilarious scene."
Ruh-roh! We'll be keeping a close eye on this one... [MTV]
Ivy Supersonic, who according to Wikipedia is "a New York fashion designer, entertainer, publicist, promoter, event planner, and animated character designer," sent out a press release claiming that former Simpsons producer Sam Simon helped steal her idea for the squirrel thing from the Ice Age movies and tried to blackmail her into starring as his wife in a TV show (????):
"Sam Simon is not a man of his word -- he is a man of many words that do not hold true. He said Howard Stern asked him to be a writer on the show," Supersonic said. "He was considering it but said he would not do it unless I had a starring role as his wife. I was blown away when Ice Age 2 hit the theaters. Simon's partner and writer Matt Groening, was one of the writers on Ice Age 2, released by 20th Century Fox. Sam Simon's Simpson cartoon short premiered in front of Ice Age 2. There is nothing more I hate than someone who is dishonest to land me in the sac. I am more than outraged, I am eternally livid!" Supersonic says angrily.
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