What do you do if you're a long-running show that's totally out of ideas? Do you scrounge up long-discarded episode ideas from the Trash Co. waste disposal unit and try to pass them off as new? What if you've completely exhausted that avenue? What's your next recourse? Well, if you're The Simpsons, you do the next best thing - scrounge up long-discarded fanfiction.
A little while ago, comedy movie king Judd Apatow told Slashfilm he wrote a fanscript for The Simpsons way back in 1990 after only five or six episodes had aired, which he described like so:
And what it was about was they went to see a hypnotism show and at the hypnotism show, they made Homer think he was the same age as Bart. And then the hypnotist had a heart attack. So now Homer and Bart became best friends and they spent the rest of the show running away because Homer didn't want responsibility and didn't want to be brought back to his real age. So I basically copied that for every movie I've made since.
Well, that guy in Springfield, Oregon may have failed in his attempt to create a "Simpsonsville", but it looks like Universal Studios Florida (which I think is different from Universal Studios Islands of Adventure but I'm not totally sure) might be getting a Simpsons Land around its Simpsons Ride attraction, if "one ride surrounded by a bunch of price-gouging gift shops and restaurants" even counts as a theme park land these days. Some theme park blog called Screamscape (which I don't think is even a "blog" since it appears to just be a static web page that gets updated when new rumors come in) has been on the case since September, when they posted this:
According to Screamscape sources, we can expect to see the International Food Festival food court eatery next to The Qwik-E-Mart [sic.] closed in the next few weeks in order to undergo a major transformation to become Simpsons themed. Rumor has it that we will see the addition of a true Krusty Burger and Moe's Tavern appear here in time for late Spring 2013. I can only assume that we will see Universal take what they learned about adding custom food and beverage items from the Wizarding World [of Harry Potter] and bring some tasty edible Simpsons items to life. Who else is up for a Flaming Moe?
What do white supremacists think about The Simpsons? It's the question that's been on everybody's mind. Well, okay, maybe just one person's. About four years ago, a former member of the No Homers Club message board decided to "infiltrate" the white supremacist board Stormfront and ask the posters there directly for their take on the long-running show. The resulting thread (click at your own risk) is very informative.
After some initial questioning of whether the yellow-skinned characters are actually white, the conversation gets into full swing. Karl Lueger took a hard stance, calling the show "jewish subversion... simply designed to create self-loathing and hatred for anything White." Others weren't so sure. After all, says White Pride Warrior, "[t]hey did an episode once where they made fun of feminist, white male hating, liberal college professors." Plus, the Jewish characters aren't shown "in a good light either;" Marge's prom date Artie Ziff "is shallow, self centered, greedy, and weaker than Lisa." bill kwacker posted a photo of show creator Matt Groening, mentioning "he looks kind of Jewy." However, self-proclaimed Nazi punk MisanthroPunk disagreed with that assertion, saying "[Stormfront] members see jews everywhere." Oh, those guys and their anti-Semitism! WastedPunk laments the show's decline, calling it "utterly pointless nowadays" while Seasons 3-10 "were golden." It seems discussing what constitutes The Simpsons's "golden era" is a universal constant.
[Stormfront.org via No Homers Club]
Last season there was a Simpsons episode where Bart becomes a street artist with the help of special guest star Shephard Fairey, because it's impossible for a Simpson to develop a new skill without meeting the most famous people associated with that skill. Fairey's perhaps best known nowadays for making that weird Soviet propaganda-ish Barack Obama "Hope" poster in 2008, but back in "the day" his claim to fame was the OBEY Giant campaign where he'd plaster stickers or spraypaint images of deceased wrestler Andre the Giant (later redesigned to avoid copyright infringement) everywhere - without permission! - with the word "OBEY" under it, which may have provided the inspiration for such cultural touchstones as internet memes and Microsoft advertising. For the episode, The Simpsons cleverly "mashed up" Fairey's two pieces into a "parody" (using the term very lightly) featuring Homer's face and the word "Dope."
Anyway, the Associated Press sued him over the "Hope" poster (apparently they own the rights to Obama's likeness??) and won. Last September a federal court sentenced him to two years' probation and fined him $25,000. Now where's an avant-garde street artist supposed to get scratch like that??