March 2013 Archives

Don Payne (1964 - 2013)

Simpsons writer Don Payne died yesterday at the young age of 48. The cause is unknown at this time, but former writing partner John Frink told the Wilmington Star-News he'd been suffering from bone cancer.

Fellow Simpsons writer Mike Scully broke the news yesterday afternoon on Twitter. Executive producer Al Jean issued a statement saying Payne was "beloved in the 'Simpsons' community and his untimely passing is terrible news to us all."

Back in the 90s, Payne and Frink wrote for sitcoms like Veronica's Closet, Men Behaving Badly and a bunch of unproduced pilots before they were both brought in to The Simpsons in 2000. Together they wrote the Simpsons episodes "Insane Clown Poppy," "Bye Bye Nerdie," "Simpsons Tall Tales," and "The Bart Wants What It Wants." They ended their writing partnership a few years later on amicable terms. Payne's solo Simpsons credits include "Thank God It's Doomsday" and "Fraudcast News," the latter of which earned him a special Paul Selvin Award from the Writers Guild of America. In 2007, he gave the Star-News ten reasons why he loved working on The Simpsons, including "We can do jokes about socialism and Homer's butt catching on fire."

Rather than be constrained to writing television, Payne managed to achieve his childhood dreams of conquering Hollywood and writing boffo blockbusters. A lifelong comics fanboy, his first credited movie was the superhero spoof My Super Ex-Girlfriend, which later led to him co-writing the Marvel films Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Thor, and its upcoming sequel Thor: The Dark World. According to a 2011 interview, he had an idea for his own comic that he was keen to do if he could ever find the time between his Simpsons and film duties.

He is survived by his wife and three young children. [Wilmington Star-News]

Ashley Greene Nearly Killed A Simpsons Writer

Tim LongSimpsons writer-producer Tim Long almost died last Friday! His downstairs neighbor, Twilight starlet Ashley Greene, accidentally set her West Hollywood apartment on fire because of a dumb candle. People managed to evacuate in time, but sadly one of Greene's dogs was not so lucky (rip im sorry).

Sam Simon Has Cancer

This past Monday, Simpsons producer emertius and animal activist Sam Simon went on Jon Leiberman's Leiberman Live at Five radio show and publicly revealed he's been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Sam's good friend Howard Stern played a few clips of that interview yesterday, which you can listen to below:.

Simon had been strongly hinting at the diagnosis for a while on Twitter: last month, he tweeted a photo of his medications, including one for chemotherapy, as well as a photo of all the "medical" marijuana people have been giving him.

Simon, of course, played an enormous role in forming the tone and voice of The Simpsons as it evolved into a series.

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."