The SimpsonsLatest News and Opinion
Posted Wednesday 6/13/18 at 3:30AM EDT
New book on The Simpsons is lot like the show itself: Hilarious, joke-a-minute and overstaying of its welcome
Longtime Simpsons writer Mike Reiss' new book Springfield Confidential: Jokes, Secrets, and Outright Lies From a Lifetime Writing for The Simpsons is part memoir and part reflection on the series, written with the structure of the Fox animated comedy. "Springfield Confidential works best as fan service, and I don’t mean that as a dig," says Jack Hamilton. "Reiss knows his audience, and it’s unlikely that many people will read this book who aren’t already Simpsons obsessives." Still, because Reiss is too close to the show, having written for it since Episode 1, "Springfield Confidential ultimately feels a bit overly protective of The Simpsons’ legacy, which is as understandable as it is unnecessary," says Hamilton. He adds that "Reiss has dedicated more than half his life to this show, and he defends it with the ferocious irrationality that a parent would his child."
Posted Tuesday 5/29/18 at 12:43PM EDT
Remembering Phil Hartman, 20 years after his murder
The Saturday Night Live and The Simpsons star was killed by wife Brynn Hartman in a brutal murder-suicide on May 28, 1998.
Posted Friday 5/18/18 at 11:54PM EDT
Check out a timeline of the history of TV's working-class sitcoms
The Honeymooners, The Flintstones, Taxi, Roseanne, Married with Children, The Simpsons, Mom and Atlanta all have the same working-class storylines in common.
Posted Tuesday 5/08/18 at 1:23PM EDT
The Problem with Apu's Hari Kondabolu thinks it's "too late" for Hank Azaria to step aside from The Simpsons' Apu role
Kondabolu says he doesn't think The Simpsons writers or Matt Groening saw his truTV documentary -- but he thinks Azaria did -- because his film made clear that he didn't think Apu was made with nefarious purposes. "The Simpsons’ writers’ response is a response of people who didn’t see the film," he says. "That’s what I mean about fragility. I’m trying to have a nuanced discussion and they’re acting like the trolls on the internet who don’t read or watch anything and then question it." As for Azaria saying recently he'd step aside from the role, Kondabolu says: "I mean, personally, I think it’s too late. I think he can have the voice, but what can you do to make it more current, to make (Apu) more upwardly mobile? How about his kids’ voices? I think it would be funny if Apu’s kids were made fun of at school because of their father. Ultimately, there are creative solutions they haven’t explored and it’s bullsh*t to say they can’t change."
Posted Friday 5/04/18 at 1:53PM EDT
Priyanka Chopra says The Simpsons' Apu "was the bane of my life, growing up"
The Quantico star said she personally experienced the ramifications of the controversial Indian-American character, telling The View: “A lot of people are talking about, ‘oh, the show was so successful for 30 years, why are we suddenly waking up and being offended by a character that everyone loved.' The population of Indian-Americans in America has tripled … so the voice is louder, the representation and the demand for representation for people of color is louder.”
Posted Wednesday 5/02/18 at 1:17PM EDT
Longtime The Simpsons writer says Apu is practically already gone from the show
Mike Reiss says he's puzzled by recent The Problem with Apu controversy because the writers were aware three or four years ago that the Indian-American character was problematic, which is why they came up with the 2016 "Much Apu About Something" episode. Apu “has barely been in the show since then. People are saying, ‘Get Apu off the show.’ Well, he’s not on!" says Reiss, who's promoting his new Simpsons book Springfield Confidential. “There is all this hoopla about Apu," he says, "and the fact is we were cued into this three or four years ago. We did an episode then to address it." Reiss adds: “Though there’s a lot of discussion on Apu, he’s barely had a line in the past three seasons. Hank Azaria saying he won’t voice the character anymore is like Val Kilmer announcing he won’t play Batman again—no one’s asking him to.”
Posted Monday 4/30/18 at 8:42PM EDT
The Problem with Apu's Hari Kondabolu: "Matt Groening finally responded & sounds like every other troll on the internet who didn’t see the documentary"
The Simpsons creator told USA Today last week when asked about the Apu controversy, "I think it’s a time in our culture where people love to pretend they’re offended." Kondabolu responded to Groening's comment, tweeting: "Well, that seals it. Matt Groening finally responded & sounds like every other troll on the internet who didn’t see the documentary. No one is offended by this character. It was, at times, insulting & was frustrating to many of us who were solely represented by that one image." ALSO: Groening's remark is "the height of willful ignorance."
Posted Monday 4/30/18 at 2:02PM EDT
Indian-American movie producer Adi Shankar is crowdsourcing a plan to fix The Simpsons' Apu
The Dredd and Lone Survivor producer has launched “Crowdsourcing the cure for The Simpsons," a free competition open to everyone, but it offers the following warning: “If you don’t have any experience with Indian culture in America then you may not have the perspective and experience to write well on this topic." Shankar says he'll take the winning script to The Simpsons' writers' room and Fox and ask them to run it, and hire its writer full-time.
Posted Monday 4/30/18 at 6:42AM EDT
The Simpsons shares the recipe for Homer Simpson's favorite pie on historic Episode 636
The episode that broke Gunsmoke's record for the most episodes by a scripted series contained a recipe that was actually from KCRW Good Food host Evan Kleiman.
Posted Friday 4/27/18 at 1:37PM EDT
The Simpsons will break Gunsmoke's TV record this weekend with Episode 636
Gunsmoke ended in 1975 with 635 episodes. On Sunday, The Simpsons will surpass that record with the 636th episode “Forgive and Regret," in which a deathly ill Grandpa Simpson reveals a shocking secret to Homer about their past. “We never dreamed we’d get this far,” says showrunner Al Jean. “After we aired 635 this past Sunday, I was pretty confident. I thought if we made it it would be a marvelous tribute to the writers, animators and cast who work so hard; and particularly to the wonderful fans who’ve stuck with us all these years.” Jean estimates the writers have churned through 50,000 pages of scripts. “It’s the home-run record of TV,” he says. To celebrate the milestone, The Simpsons released a video of Maggie taking out Gunsmoke.
Posted Friday 4/27/18 at 1:37PM EDT
Matt Groening on The Simpsons' Apu controversy: "I think it’s a time in our culture where people love to pretend they’re offended"
Asked by USA Today if he had any thoughts about The Problem with Apu criticism, The Simpsons creator said: "Not really. I’m proud of what we do on the show. And I think it’s a time in our culture where people love to pretend they’re offended." He added: "We’ll let the show speak for itself."
Posted Thursday 4/26/18 at 1:08PM EDT
The Problem with Apu's Hari Kondabolu on The Simpsons: "Honestly, I wasn’t trying to troll, but if I was, I won"
The Indian-American comedian -- speaking the day before Hank Azaria said he was willing to "step down" from voicing Apu -- said of The Simpsons episode responding to his TruTV documentary: "You’re not supposed to respond to me, you’re The Simpsons! You’re supposed to just keep going, pretend nothing happened. The fact that they buckled like that, to me, is also an indication of, like, white fragility. Oh my god, so somebody on a cable network said something about your show that’s been on for 30 years, and everyone obviously loves you and they don’t really know what my critique completely is, but still, because it damaged you in some small way, all the white writers freaked out and destroyed (the character of) Lisa. What is that? That’s white fragility."
Posted Wednesday 4/25/18 at 4:58AM EDT
Hank Azaria offers to "step aside" from Apu role, calls on The Simpsons to listen to South Asians
Asked by Stephen Colbert about the Apu controversy, Azaria said, “the idea that anyone young or old, past or present, being bullied based on Apu really makes me sad.” Azaria said he'd be “perfectly willing and happy to step aside” from voicing Apu, adding: “I’ve given this a lot of thought, really a lot of thought, and as I say my eyes have been opened. And I think the most important thing is we have to listen to South Asian people, Indian people in this country and they talk about what they feel and how they think about this character and what their American experience of it has been.” The Problem with Apu's Hari Kondabolu responded to Azaria's comments, tweeting: "Thank you, @HankAzaria. I appreciate what you said & how you said it."
Posted Wednesday 4/18/18 at 6:54AM EDT
Recalling when Barbara Bush was pen pals with Marge Simpson
The former first lady and mother to President George W. Bush, who died on Tuesday at age 92, left her mark on pop-culture in 1990 when she found herself embroiled in a controversy with The Simpsons, which was in its second season. The then-first lady, speaking to People magazine, said of the Fox cartoon, “It was the dumbest thing I had ever seen, but it’s a family thing, and I guess it’s clean.” That quote ended up being shortened to the much harsher sounding "the dumbest thing (she) had ever seen," which prompted a letter from Marge Simpson to the first lady. "I recently read your criticism of my family. I was deeply hurt," wrote Marge. "Heaven knows we're far from perfect and, if truth be known, maybe just a wee bit short of normal; but as Dr. Seuss says, 'a person is a person.'" Barbara Bush responded with a "Dear Marge" letter. "How kind of you to write. I'm glad you spoke your mind; I foolishly didn't know you had one," the first lady wrote. "I am looking at a picture of you, depicted on a plastic cup, with your blue hair filled with pink birds peeking out all over. Evidently, you and your charming family — Lisa, Homer, Bart and Maggie — are camping out. It is a nice family scene. Clearly you are setting a good example for the rest of the country." Bush added: "Please forgive a loose tongue," ending her letter with "P.S. Homer looks like a handsome fella!"
- Today's Jenna Bush Hager pays tribute to her grandmother: "I already miss this FORCE of a woman— the “enforcer” because she was the glue that held our family together"
- Watch Barbara Bush hold her own in a 1994 visit to David Letterman's Late Show
Posted Tuesday 4/17/18 at 1:41PM EDT
The Simpsons writer reveals what was cut from the Steamed Hams episode
Former Simpsons writer Josh Weinstein has shared the second draft of the famous episode.