The Simpsons


Harry Shearer returns to The Simpsons

Harry Shearer, the voice of Mr. Burns, Waylon Smithers, Ned Flanders and other memorable characters on The Simpsons, is returning to the long-running show, TV network Fox announced Tuesday.

The 71-year-old actor has signed the same contract as the show’s other five primary voice actors: Hank Azaria, Dan Castellaneta, Nancy Cartwright, Julie Kavner and Yeardley Smith.

The two-season deal pays an estimated $300,000 US per episode and includes an option for another two seasons. Fox has renewed the show for a historic 27th and 28th season, with a 29th and 30th considered likely.

Shearer, a member of the cast since it was just a cartoon short on The Tracey Ullman Show, sparked a massive online furor in May with his announcement he was leaving the popular program over a contract dispute.

His vast roster of characters for the show included elementary school principal Skinner, broadcaster Kent Brockman, Springfield elders Dr. Hibbert and Rev. Lovejoy, as well as bus driver Otto and Homer’s pal Lenny.

At the time via social media, Shearer cited “the freedom to do other work” as the reason behind his decision to leave.

However, in various interviews, Simpsons showrunner Al Jean revealed that everyone in the cast tackles additional projects and that producers have never prevented anyone from pursuing other work.

Though Shearer has not yet commented about his return, the official Simpsons Twitter account revelled in the news.

The Simpsons

Woo hoo!!

The entire ‘Simpsons’ catalog is going online

Attention, “Simpsons” fans: Stock up on Duff and doughnuts because FXX is airing a historic “Simpsons” marathon, showing all 552 episodes of the groundbreaking animated sitcom in chronological order — including the “Simpsons” movie.

But if you’d rather choo-choo-choose to watch the episodes on your own terms, you’re in luck: After the marathon, the network is unveiling its Simpsons World app, which will allow cable subscribers all-you-can-eat access to the show’s entire catalog once the series launches.

Starting at 10 a.m. Aug. 21, FXX — the first network to get syndication rights for the show — will air all 25 seasons, 24 hours a day, for 12 days straight through Sept. 1, with the movie appearing after episode 400 (the same time, chronologically, that it was released in theaters). It’s the longest marathon in TV history, so your couch ass-groove will be in good shape afterwards.

Of course, you can probably stop watching after about Season 10, which is generally considered where the show took a nose dive in quality (although there are a few gems in later seasons, but you have to sit through a lot of gratuitous guest stars and increasingly absurd plot lines).

On the app, you’ll be able to search by character, favorite quote or scene, and share it across social media — which is great because, despite the fact that they have the Internet on computers now, Fox doesn’t currently allow you to share clips from the show.

As Hitflix reports, you can also create your own playlists of episodes and open up an exhaustive guide for each episode, with behind-the-scenes info, explanations of references and the full episode script. The app will be available on iPhone, iPad, Android phones and tablets, Apple TV, Samsung, XBox1 and XBox360.

You might be tempted to buy some goggles to protect your eyes with all that viewing. But be warned, they do nothing.

The Simpsons

I’ll believe it when I see it!!

Save Me the Krust: ‘The Simpsons’ Likely Killing Off Krusty the Clown

Last October, Simpsons showrunner Al Jean announced that his long-running animated staple would be killing off a major character – one whose actor received an Emmy for their work on the series. Ever since that grim tease, fans have been theorizing about who the doomed Springfield resident could be: Princess Penelope (Anne Hathaway)? Perhaps demented favorite Sideshow Bob (Kelsey Grammer)? But, according to The Hollywood Reporter, Jean offered a major hint during a Sunday panel at the Television Critics Association summer press tour: “(The episode) is called ‘A Clown in the Dumps’,” he said, reportedly to audience gasps.

Jean didn’t show his spoiler cards at first, maintaining that the character’s identity was “obvious” and repeating the Emmy clue. But the “Clown” title all but cements the fate of Springfield’s resident wise-ass TV host, Krusty (voiced by Emmy winner Dan Castellaneta, who also gives live to Homer’s iconic “Doh!”s). “It turned out bigger than we thought it was going to be,” Jean said of the episode, which is set to air on September 28th. “It’s not going to be this blood bath where they all get murdered.”

September 28th will be a major day in Simpsons history, as the series will be featured in a crossover episode with fellow Fox series Family Guy. In related news, the Simpson family will appear live on stage for the first time for The Simpsons Take the Bowl, a trio of special performances (featuring never-before-seen clips and live orchestral music) at the Hollywood Bowl on September 12th, 13th and 14th; Hank Azaria — the versatile voice behind fan favorites such as Apu Nahasapeemapetilon and Moe Szyslak — will host, with a number of special guests set to appear.

The Simpsons

Could be cool!!

‘The Simpsons’ and ‘Family Guy’ are crossing over in September

Though it was first revealed in 2013, next to nothing has been said about the crossover event between “Family Guy” and “The Simpsons.” At FOX’s 2014 upfront presentation though, they spilled the beans.

“The Simpsons Guy” will air in September as an hour-long crossover event. A section of footage was shown to advertisers and press in attendance.

It’s unclear what the special’s story will be, but from two screengrabs of the footage it’s easy to see that Stewie and Bart may get along, but Homer and Peter certainly don’t.

The Simpsons

Lego is everywhere!!

‘Simpsons’ Lego episode to air May 4

The Lego Movie is dominating theaters now, and soon the toy building bricks will invade your television sets too.

Fox announced today that it will air an all-Lego episode of The Simpsons on May 4 at 8 p.m, meaning Homer & Co. will become a different kind of yellow. The story revolves around Homer finding himself in a world where Marge, Bart, Lisa, Maggie, and the rest of Springfield’s residents are made of Lego pieces. The logline of “Brick Like Me” asks: “Can he ‘put together’ how he got there and somehow figure out how to get home before he is stuck in a world of bricks forever?”

The animated comedy has broken form before in smaller doses: For example, Katy Perry performed with Muppet versions of the Simpsons in a Christmas episode and Homer found himself in a new dimension during a “Treehouse of Horror” segment.

The Simpsons returns to the air with two new episodes on March 9, starting at 7:30 p.m.

The Simpsons

Can’t wait to see it!!

Judd Apatow’s 20-Year-Old ‘Simpsons’ Episode Will Air Next Season

One of Judd Apatow’s dreams will come true when The Simpsons creates an episode around a script he wrote . . . over 20 years ago. Apatow recalled writing the episode in a recent interview with EW. He remembered penning it, along with a spec script for the early Nineties Fox series Get a Life, after the cartoon’s first season, which premiered in December 1989.

“I sent them all around town and I did not get a job from anybody,” he said. “I got a meeting at Get a Life and didn’t get a job there either. But I heard that they liked it at The Simpsons.” After a stint writing for The Ben Stiller Show, Simpsons producers Al Jean and Mike Reiss hired the director to work on the cartoon The Critic, but even then they did not consider developing his episode. Jean finally decided to look at the script a few years ago after reading an interview with Apatow, in which he mentioned his episode. “The reason I brought up The Simpsons episode is because I realized while doing this interview that everything I had ever written was the premise of the first thing I had ever written,” Apatow told EW. “All of my stories are about people trying hard not to grow up.”

As for the plot of Apatow’s episode, he said that the Simpson family would go to a “hypnotism show,” but the hypnotist would suffer a heart attack mid-demonstration. This would leave Homer thinking that he was 10 years old. “It’s about Bart and Homer becoming best friends because they’re the same age, and then Homer doesn’t want to be revived because he’d rather be 10 than have adult responsibility,” Apatow explained. “I wrote it in what I thought was the style of The Simpsons after only six episodes had aired.”

The director says that the Simpsons writing team is currently punching up his script and that the changes he’s seen so far have been “hilarious and brilliant.” After the writers finish the editing process, Apatow will look over the script again. “I think the idea of my episode is very good and there are some nice moments,” he said, “but it was the first thing I ever wrote. . . .” He also joked about wanting to voice the episode’s hypnotist.

Apatow ended the interview by saying that getting the episode developed is “a real full-circle moment” for him. “I wanted to be a part of it from the second it was created,” he said. “I knew it was one of the landmark moments in comedy and now that I have become a part of it, there is a small part of me that thinks I should retire. . . . There’s nothing else to dream for.”

Since writing the script, the Apatow has become one of the strongest voices in modern comedy with films such as The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, This Is 40 and more, as well as executive-producing the TV series Girls. This Sunday, Apatow will lend his voice to The Simpsons alongside actors he’s worked with often over the years – Paul Rudd, Seth Rogen and his wife, Leslie Mann – as well as Channing Tatum and Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford.

The Simpsons

Woo hoo!!

The Simpsons Renewed for Historic 26th Season

No one is saying “Boo-urns” to this news.

The Simpsons has been picked up for a historic 26th season, Fox announced today. The comedy, starring one of the most dysfunctional families on the small screen, is the longest-running scripted show in television history.

“For more than a quarter of a century, The Simpsons has captured the hearts and minds of fans in a way that transcends ages, languages and cultures,” Kevin Reilly, Chairman of Fox Entertainment said in a statement. “This groundbreaking series is not only the longest-running scripted show in television history, it’s one of the greatest sitcoms of our time, and I’m looking forward to yet another landmark season.”

Season 25, which premiered on Sept. 29, will feature yet another impressive list of guest stars: Amy Poehler, Elisabeth Moss, Eva Longoria, Will Arnett, Zach Galifianakis, Bob Odenkirk and Daniel Radcliffe are all set to lend their voices to the animated series.

Also happening in season 25 is the death of a major character in The Simpsons world. “I’ll give you a clue that the actor playing the character won an Emmy for playing that character, but I won’t say who it is,” executive producer Al Jean shared in a conference call with reporters.

The Simpsons annual Halloween special, “Treehouse of Horror XXIV”, airs this Sunday on Fox and will open with a couch gag directed by Guillermo Del Toro.

Shall we celebrate with some Flaming’ Moe’s?

The Simpsons

Woo hoo!!! They’re back!!!

‘The Simpsons’ Producer Al Jean on the ‘Astounding’ 25th Season

“The Simpsons already did it.”

That’s not a valid argument to make anymore, South Park, not when The Simpsons is still doing it (in this case, “doing it” equals “making all-new original episodes”) after 25 years on the air. That’s right: Later this month, the longest-running American primetime scripted series extends its run for a milestone 25th season.

“It’s an astounding number to all of us,” executive producer Al Jean said during a conference call with the press. Jean, who was part of the original writing staff on The Simpsons, has served as showrunner since 2001. “What it means is, whatever happens, if anything goes wrong, it’s your fault,” he joked. But based on his comments, Jean and his writing staff don’t have much to worry about in the “doing it wrong” department.

“I think this upcoming season is one of our best ever,” he said. “There are some extremely ambitious episodes toward the end of the year that are unlike anything we’ve done before.”

Season 25 premieres Sunday with an episode called “Homerland.” Fans of a certain Showtime drama can draw their conclusions about what the episode entails.

“It was an idea pitched by one of our writers, Stephanie Gillis,” Jean said. “The fact that Homer works at a nuclear power plant lends itself to him being somebody who could be turned by nefarious forces to do something terrible. And there’s the fact that you just add an ‘r’ to Homeland and you get ‘Homerland.’”

Another happy coincidence: “Homerland” airs the same night Homeland premieres its third season. The timing was a “complete accident,” Jean said, but the premise of the episode was anything but.

“When you have a basic, great dramatic premise — is this person a traitor or a hero? — that’s something you can turn into comedy very easily,” he said. “Particularly the scenes where his daughter is discovering what he’s doing. We thought that would work very well with Lisa and Homer.”

There’s even more drama in store for Homer later in the season, when the Simpsons patriarch finds himself trapped in an elevator, forced to help a woman (played by Mad Men star Elisabeth Moss) give birth.

“She’s grateful, she doesn’t have a husband, so she names the baby Homer Junior,” Jean revealed. “Homer bonds with this baby better than with his own children — and Marge gets very mad.”

But it’s not just the nuclear family getting in on the action this season. One future episode involves Comic Book Guy getting married, with none other than Stan Lee presiding over the ceremony. And on a darker note, Jean teased that an established Simpsons character is on their way to the great beyond.

“We’re working on a script where a character will pass away,” he confirmed. “I’ll give a clue: The actor who plays the character won an Emmy for playing that character. I won’t say who it is.”

Speaking of dark themes, the opening for The Simpsons‘ annual Halloween tradition, the “Treehouse of Horror” episode, is in the hands of horror master Guillermo del Toro this year.

“It was amazing, what he did,” Jean said of del Toro’s work on the episode, airing Oct. 6. “I’ve met some people who like scary things, but he’s the greatest expert on horror movies that I’ve ever encountered. There are so many references in that opening that he put in. It’s really brilliant.”

Much later in the season — right around finale time, in fact — The Simpsons will have a full-on crossover episode with the cast of Futurama.

“I’ve been here for 25 years and we had a read for [the Futurama episode] yesterday where the excitement was as high as I’ve ever seen,” he said. “We had John DiMaggio and Billy West and Maurice LaMarche from Futurama, and we had our cast. I thought, ‘This has got to be the best voice-over talent at one read that I could ever think of.’ It was really great seeing Bender interact with Homer. I can’t wait to see that episode.”

With all eyes on the show’s 25th season, there’s one area of Springfield that isn’t getting much attention these days: the movies. Jean said there are no active plans for a follow-up to 2007′s The Simpsons Movie, even if the possibility isn’t completely off the table.

“The really honest answer is, we talk about it from time to time. We say we’d like to do one,” Jean said of making a second Simpsons movie. “But I will say there’s a unanimous feeling that nobody wants to do a bad movie or a movie that looks like it’s for the money, or anything that doesn’t have the attention that the first movie got lavished on it. If we come out with one, it won’t be for a while, and it will only be because everyone working on it would say, ‘This is a great movie. We want to do this.’”

Perhaps that’s why The Simpsons is still active after all these years: Jean and his team do what they want with the show, and very little else.

“It’s a pretty small list of what we’ve wanted to do where we’ve been told ‘No,’ and a pretty long list of amazing things we can’t believe we’ve been able to do,” he said. “You can go to a Simpsons [theme park] in Universal, Florida. There’s a play on Broadway that we didn’t write, but it’s inspired by an old episode. It’s crazy. It’s really nuts what’s come about because of this show.”

“Animation is the most evergreen thing there is,” he added. “I’m really glad I do it.”

The Simpsons begins its 25th season Sunday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Fox.

The Simpsons

A win for them would be AWESOME!!

‘The Simpsons’ qualifies for Oscar with animated short ‘Longest Daycare’

We already know “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane is hosting next year’s Academy Awards ceremony, and now comes news that FOX’s other animated stalwart, “The Simpsons,” is in the hunt for an Oscar nomination.

“The Simpsons” short film spinoff “Maggie Simpson in ‘The Longest Daycare,'” directed by David Silverman and written by “Simpsons” executive producers Matt Groening and James L. Brooks made the shortlist of 10 animated short films vying for five nomination slots.

“Longest Daycare” played in theaters before summer release “Ice Age: Continental Drift” and follows the littlest Simpson, Maggie, as she attempts to outwit her nemesis Baby Gerald at the Ayn Rand School for Tots.

It’s unusual for animated short contenders to have received a wide theatrical release, but it’s also the case for another of this year’s contenders: Disney Animation Studios’ “Paperman” which is currently playing in theaters before the Disney hit “Wreck-It Ralph” and could be the favorite to win on Oscar night.

Odds on “Daycare” landing a nomination are harder to call. 2007’s “The Simpsons Movie” qualified for Oscar consideration in the Best Animated Feature Film category, but failed to earn a nomination. Fans of the show will probably remember the 2011 episode skewering the Oscars and the Animated Feature category specifically.

If the “Simpsons” short does make the list, it’ll be interesting to see if MacFarlane has anything to say about it during the Oscar telecast.

Nominations for the 85th Academy Awards will be announced Jan. 10, 2013.

The Simpsons

500, and counting!!

‘The Simpsons’: A soundtrack to our laughter

With “The Simpsons” 500th episode airing on Sunday (Feb. 19), the show will be celebrated for its wit, pop culture references and overall comedy. But one thing that’s often overlooked about the series is the quality of its musical numbers.

The show has written countless tunes, or in other cases, taken famous songs and re-written them for the show. These ditties range from a melancholy Apu singing about how he misses the Kwik-E-Mart to a send up of “The Music Man” as the whole town looks for a mass transit system.

Here’s a list of some of our favorites and why we adore them so much:

“Baby On Board” – Homer, Apu, Principal Skinner and Barney rocked the music charts as the barbershop quartet, “The Be Sharps.” Their story, in many ways, parallels that of The Beatles on their rise to super-stardom and subsequent break up. The episode even featured George Harrison as himself. But it was their song “Baby On Board,” inspired by the popular sign people used to hang in cars in the mid-1980s, that was the prize of the show. If you’ve heard it once, you’ll never be able to get it out of your head.

“The Monorail Song” – Want to sell a barely operable mass transit system to a town full of rubes? We’ll Lyle Lanley did and he knew the only way to do so was to hook in everyone with a catchy tune. In a send up of “The Music Man,” Lanley sings “The Monorail Song.” This ditty gets everyone up in such a fervor that they must have the latest and greatest. Sure, they’ll find out later that the equipment is garbage and they’ve all been scammed, but not before enjoying a nice group number.

“Dr. Zaius” – As Troy McClure gets his career back on track following years of doing B-movies and infomercials, he lands a starring role in “The Planet of the Apes” musical. The episode rocks out with a tune called “Dr. Zaius,” which is to the tune of the Falco song “Rock me Amadeus.” Is it possible for the remake to be better than the original?

“Oh, Streetcar!” – Frustrated by her home life and general isolation, Marge sets out to join community theater. And the project she hooks up with is a musical version of “A Streetcar Named Desire.” In her role as Blanche DuBois, Marge channels her inner rage toward Homer in what would be a Tony-winning performance if TV cartoons could win Tonys. The episode didn’t win any friends in New Orleans as one of the lines was “New Orleans/Home of pirates, drunks and whores.”

“I am their Queen” – There are too many songs from this episode to choose from, so we’ll just pick one. The episode is a send-up of “Evita” in which Lisa wins student body president. She then attempts to lead a student uprising that’s filled with inspiring, but not quite copyright-violating, songs.