Like many other former fans, I stopped watching The Simpsons sometime in the mid-2000s. It’s not that I think it’s uniformly terrible now — it’s still better than a whole lot of other shows on TV — or I’m boycotting it on principle. Hell, I even end up tuning in a few times per season, for a “Treehouse of Horror” or if someone I like is guest starring. But unlike its newish neighbor in Fox’s Sunday-night animation block, Bob’s Burgers, The Simpsons just can’t hold my attention anymore.
Sure, part of it is just that, a quarter-century into its run, the show rarely comes up with the kind of brilliantly loopy storylines that sustained it through the ’90s. What bothers me even more, though, is that a show that once had so many smart and original things to say about American culture has long seemed behind the times, its criticism mild and stale. In perhaps the most glaring example of this unfortunate trend, The Simpsons welcomed Portlandia stars Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein (as well as Patton Oswalt and, briefly, The Decemberists) to Springfield for an episode about hipsters.
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A young, up-and-coming Judd Apatow wrote a spec script for The Simpsons, and now the This is 40 director will be seeing his rejected work make its way to the small screen on the long-running, animated comedy next year. The Anchorman filmmaker spoke to Conan O’Brien on the talk show host’s web series Serious Jibber-Jabber… Read More
1. If you haven’t seen it yet, this video of The Simpsons’ Montgomery Burns endorsing Mitt Romney — because his dog Shamus prefers “Meat” Romney over “Broccoli” Obama — is pretty hilarious. [via LAT]
2. Colin Firth and Michael Fassbender playing Thomas Wolfe and his legendary editor Max Perkins in a film adaption… Read More
German illustrator Angela Dalinger (aka Sandra Angela W.) creates naive-style artworks that are inspired by famous sitcoms like Seinfeld, Who’s the Boss, and The Simpsons. We first spotted her raw, childlike paintings and drawings on Juxtapoz and admired the way they capture the memorable features of our favorite TV stars — like Phoebe Buffay’s broomstick skirt and guitar. We love seeing the coloring lines and exaggerated faces on each figure. Head past the break for a your daily dose of nostalgia, and visit Dalinger’s website and online store to see more of her work.
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According to television legend, Matt Groening developed The Simpsons’ lengthy opening sequence in order to cut down on the amount of new animation he’d have to create for each episode. Twenty-four seasons and a few slight tweaks later, it’s a classic bit of pop culture history that most of us can probably recreate from memory. That’s why we were so excited to come across this fantastic commercial for the show commissioned by Sky1 and created by Devilfish back 2006 that imagines what the animated intro might look like in real life. Apparently, the clip proved so popular that they used it at the beginning of a Season 17 episode that was directed by Ricky Gervais. If like us, you somehow missed seeing this before now, click through to check out the spot and let us know in the comments if you agree with their casting choices!
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Vanna Bonta, the space traveling author, award-winning poet, and notable inventor of the lovesuit to promote sex in space and other similarly weightless environments, keenly observed that “popularity is not an indication of quality.” Case in point: Pikachu-inspired cars and engagement photos ala The Phantom Menace. We’re now adding over the top interiors to our growing list of unfortunate achievements by pop culture aficionados the world over. From an exact recreation of the Starship Enterprise’s famous flight deck in a London flat to a baby’s nursery inspired by The Dharma Initiative from Lost, click through to check out some of the most bizarre interiors that take obsession to another level entirely.
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Despite a shaky start, we have high hopes for The New Normal, which officially debuted last night on NBC (tonight, the series’ second episode will air in its regular Tuesday time slot). As discussed in our fall preview, we felt the pilot a touch too didactic and the characterization teetering on offensive, but we’re hoping these things even out because the show’s talented cast, inclusive premise, and promise for sitcom-defying weirdness promise to far outweigh the bad. If you’ve followed TV news the past month, then you’ve probably heard about the backlash from One Million Moms, and then of course the Salt Lake City NBC affiliate’s decision not to air the show, behavior not entirely unusual in the scheme of TV sitcom history.
When networks have introduced “new normals” in decades past, the initial response wasn’t always warm — nor was the execution always perfect. But bit by bit, the sitcom has evolved, eroding the notion that a family can only look one way, and we hope the pattern continues. Click through for an abridged looked at some of these most boundary-breaking families, from the Ricardos on through the Lear era, and to the “anti-family” shows of the late ’80s that cleverly left us fumbling for a firm handle on what it means to be “normal” anyways.
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What’s more exciting than the story that’s been floating around today that Ryan Lochte is filming a 30 Rock cameo? Lots of things, as far as we’re concerned, but most relevantly, there’s the news that Tina Fey is slated to appear on The Simpsons. Entertainment Weekly reports that Fey will lend… Read More
Whether through homage or satire, there’s a rich tradition in cinema — fueled by the likes of cinephile filmmakers such as Godard and Tarantino — of making inside references to other filmmakers. But perhaps even more than the directors enjoy making movie references, audiences love picking up on them. It makes us feel like we have a specialized, albeit useless, expertise. Apparently the writers of The Simpsons have indulged in their share of cinephilia over the years as well, and the Movie Simpsons Tumblr — which launched earlier this year — has been posting animated gifs of famous movie scenes reconstructed, referenced, or otherwise alluded to on the show. We’ve put together ten of our favorites here.
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Every now and then — well, maybe a little more often in Family Guy — our favorite cartoons will get all dressed up as other fictional characters. Just about every comedy cartoon has parodied Star Wars, and how precious is this Snoopy dance? Since we always enjoy a good ol’ pop culture crossover, we’ve gathered 15 images of popular cartoons dressed as characters from other TV shows and films. Check ‘em out after the jump, and hit the comments to tell us about your favorite cartoon mash-up.
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