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Every 'Simpsons' 'Treehouse of Horror' short, ranked

Update: The list has been amended to include the three segments from “Treehouse of Horror XXV.”

That’s right: In honor of The Simpsons‘ 25th (!) annual Halloween special, EW didn’t just rank the top 25 “Treehouse of Horror” segments. We took things a step further by ranking every single “Treehouse” segment ever seen on the show—and you’ll find entries 72 through 26 in the list below.

Even when longtime fans sniff that The Simpsons‘ Golden Age is long past, they can agree that late-period Simpsons Halloween shows still pack a punch. Why? Because “Treehouse” segments give the series’ writers a break in two ways: First of all, they’re short, which means that they can explore plot threads that are amusing but too flimsy to support an entire half-hour. And secondly, they’re not bound by the laws of canon (or taste), giving the show’s staff an opportunity to follow their wildest whims—transforming Springfield into a town as drawn by Dr. Seuss, or putting a gremlin on the side of Bart’s schoolbus, or transforming Homer’s head into a giant doughnut.

What makes a good “Treehouse” short? Punchy one-liners and visual gags help, but the best of the bunch have two more things in common: Novel premises (which, admittedly, get increasingly difficult as the show ages) and a genuine stab at including a few real scares. (In other words: The recent trend toward parodies of random movies that have little or nothing to do with horror as a broad category just doesn’t do it.) You’ll find what made the cut in the list below, as well as what maybe should have been left on the cutting-room floor.

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You need to watch 'The Simpsons' premiere's insane opening sequence

Shout all you want that The Simpsons hasn’t been good for the past [insert number less than or equal to 16] years; either way, you can’t deny that the show’s recent spate of elaborate, extended couch gags has led to some dazzling, audaciously creative stuff.

This is especially true when The Simpsons turns over its opening to famous animators and filmmakers like Michal SochaGuillermo del Toro—and, most recently, indie idol Don Hertzfeldt, beloved for absurdist fare like the Oscar-nominated short film Rejected. (Contrary to semi-popular belief, he has nothing to do with those lookalike Pop Tart commercials from 2011; as the F.A.Q. section of his website states, “Unfortunately it seems to be the vogue these days for creatively bankrupt corporate types to copy his work, which is why you may be noticing an abundance of vaguely familiar, cowardly lifeless parrots parading around selling Pop Tarts or mobile phones.”) READ FULL STORY

The 6 most memorable moments from 'The Simpsons' Hollywood Bowl concert

If you caught any of FXX’s epic 12-day Simpsons marathon, then you must have seen at least one great musical moment. Now Springfield is getting the big Hollywood salute it deserves with three performances of The Simpsons Take the Bowl.

Hosted by Hank Azaria (and the countless characters he voices on the show), the event—featuring the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra—highlights some of the sitcom’s best song parodies and musical scoring. Also on tap: Special guests, both in person and in animated form. Here are 6 of the most memorable moments from Friday night’s opening concert: READ FULL STORY

Groundskeeper Willie has some thoughts about Scottish independence

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On September 18th, the people of Scotland will vote on their nation’s independence from the United Kingdom. It’s a complex issue, fraught with a number of potential consequences that may affect the livelihood of millions of real people. And maybe a fake one.

As it turns out, The Simpsons’ resident Scotsman, Groundskeeper Willie, has some very strong opinions about Scottish independence—particularly who would lead the nation should the ayes have it. Guess who that would be. READ FULL STORY

This week's cover: Inside the 'Simpsons'-'Family Guy' crossover

It’s happening. No, really. Crack open a cold one (Duff, Pawtucket, whichever you prefer), because Homer Simpson and Peter Griffin are finally going to hang out. The Sept. 28 season premiere of Family Guy will send the Griffins to Springfield for a hour of comedy power—and a chicken fight to remember between Peter and Homer. You may have come to EW.com in July when we premiered nearly five minutes of footage from the episode, and now you may be itching for more info about this massive mash-up and how it came to be.  Well, this week’s issue of Entertainment Weekly will scratch(y) it.

The new cover features the one-time-only union of two legendary animated Fox comedies: The Simpsons and Family Guy. The two guys responsible for these bold characters—Simpsons creator Matt Groening and Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane—agreed to sit down and talk toons with each other (and EW) as part of a Q&A that touches on the crossover event, the shows’ rivalry with each other, the animated series that has caught their attention, and much more.

Wondering what the key to a good crossover episode is? MacFarlane will tell you: “It’s really about the character interaction. People want to see Peter interact with Homer. They want to see Bart interact with Stewie. In a way, the story in a crossover episode, while it has to be there, is never quite as important as how the characters interact with each other.” Curious as to what the folks at The Simpsons thought when they first watched Family Guy? Groening has this to say: “My first take was: Oh my god, we got competition. And they’re outflanking us. This show is wilder and harsher and nastier. We used to get in trouble. We used to be the cause of the downfall of the United States.” Want to know which character they’d like to steal from each other’s show? Sorry, you’ll have to read the piece for that one.

In addition to the interview with Groening and MacFarlane, Family Guy executive producer Richard Appel, who oversaw this fusion of franchises, explains how he was able to borrow Springfield’s finest for the hourlong episode. And Simpsons executive producer Al Jean tells us a little about that other crossover that his show will be involved with this fall: “Simpsorama,” in which Futurama‘s Planet Express crew time-travels to Springfield.

The only thing that would make this issue even better is if there were different covers for it. So here, we present not one, not two, and not four, but three new Family Guy/Simpsons covers. You’ve got Homer and Peter mmm’ing over some donuts, Bart and Stewie taking dead aim at your face, and Meg taking Lisa’s sax out for a spin. Pick up any one—or the entire pack—by clicking on the link below. Bye, everybody!

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Image Credit: Fox


 

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Image Credit: Fox

Screen Shot 2014-08-26 at 5.32.15 PM
For more on the Simpsons-Family Guy crossover episode, check out this week’s issue of Entertainment Weekly, on newsstands Friday. 

MAC is launching a Marge Simpson-inspired makeup line

You have two reaction options here—disapproving grunt or “Woohoo!”

So, yeah: This summer, fictional housewife Marge Simpson joins a long line of boldfaced names—including, most recently, Lorde, Kelly Osbourne, and, er, Maleficent—who have inspired MAC cosmetics makeup collections. The 10-piece line includes lip glosses, false eyelashes, nail stickers, brightly colored eyeshadows (yes, there’s a bright blue) and blushes, though, curiously, none come in shades of yellow. (How can you really get the Marge Simpson look without aping her signature skin tone?) READ FULL STORY

'The Simpsons' reveals new character... via mobile game

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After 25 seasons, The Simpsons still knows how to deliver surprises.

The animated series quietly debuted a new character earlier this month, but not in an episode — Chester Dupree, slacker brother-in-law of Dr. Julius Hibbert, made his first appearance via the mobile game, The Simpsons: Tapped Out.

Chester was mentioned — but not seen — in an episode back in Season 24, Gone Abie Gone. Dr. Hibbert asks his wife, Bernice, if she has asked her brother to spy on him. “Chester needs a job, she says. “I paid him to build a shed,” Julius replies. “Where is my shed, Bernice?”

His half-built shed appears in the recently-released Level 41 in Tapped Out, which is a mobile city-building game. (The premise: Homer destroyed Springfield and needs a hand rebuilding the town.) Chester is a premium character whose motto appears to be, “College was the best eight years of my life!” READ FULL STORY

Memorial Day: Which pop culture cookout would you crash?

The sun is shining, the smell of summer is finally in the air…and naturally, you’re still thinking about TV and movies. Which is fine, because so are we. Specifically: Not long ago, your pals at EW had a conversation about the pop culture cookouts we’d most love to attend. Three serve pretty standard barbecue fare; two feature whole roast pigs; one makes itty bitty alligators the main course. But all feature great company, from ace Miami detective Marcus Burnett to  growly, grizzled Korean War vet Walt Kowalski to the scrappy kids who spend their days hitting homers on their local baseball diamond. (Or trying to, at least.)

Check out our picks for pop culture’s best outdoor shindigs below — and feel free to add your own: READ FULL STORY

'Simpsons' couch gag reveals Homer's insides are unsurprisingly gross -- VIDEO

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From a coma to intentional weight-gain to crayons up the nose, Homer Simpson’s body has been one 25-season-long punchline on The Simpsons. In the hands of award-winning Polish animator Michal Socha, that portly, balding, radiation-tinged vessel is also a work of art.

It’s not pretty — no one ever expected Homer’s liver to be the picture of health — but Socha’s imagining of the Springfield resident’s innards makes for a very cool couch gag. Kicking off Sunday’s episode, What to Expect When Bart’s Expecting, the director’s opener is a minimalistic Fantastic Voyage, drawn only in red, black and white. The whole family takes a tour of Dad’s body, where intestines dice doughnuts (and nearly Marge) and a can of Duff — yes, a can — flows freely. Take a look: READ FULL STORY

'Nashville' joins proud tradition of unorthodox clip shows: 5 more that stand out

So it’s come to this: A Nashville clip show.

Kinda. On Wednesday, instead of another soapy installment of country-fried drama, ABC will air an hourlong “On the Record Music Special” — during which Nashville cast members will “take the stage to perform show favorites then sit down in the Bluebird Café for acoustic performances and an intimate look at the songwriting process with the songwriters themselves.”

In other words, this is Nashville‘s spin on one of television’s oldest, most reliable hole-pluggers and money-savers: the clip show. Like clip shows of old, this one will be centered on previously-seen material (every song to be performed has already appeared on Nashville); unlike, say, that episode of Friends where Ross and Rachel contemplate their relationship on the even of his wedding to Emily, the Nashville special won’t simply intersperse a few new scenes with a bunch of old ones and call it a day. Which got me thinking: Which other series have found ways to invigorate the clip show formula, adhering to its basic rules while presenting something innovative and exciting? The five best answers I could come up with:

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