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Tag: The Simpsons (91-100 of 119)

Watch 'The Simpsons,' from EW's New Classics Collection

What’s left to say about The Simpsons after 19 years? It’s really the signature pop-cultural achievement of our era. It was the clear choice for the top spot on our list of the Top 100 TV Series of the last 25 years in the new EW 1000 issue. The show’s universe has grown so vast that each episode seems like an encyclopedia of the human experience as we know it today — take, for instance, last month’s "Mona Leaves-a" episode (which you can watch in full, below), whose opening credits alone trace the evolution of life on this planet from single-celled organisms to Homer Sapiens.

This is the fifth installment in EW.com’s selection of 10 great episodes of programs on our top 100 list. We’ll be streaming an episode from a different show every day, or you can watch the entire slate in one sitting at Hulu. The first half of the list is here; Part 2 is here.

'Simpsons' no, 'Baywatch' sí

Bartsimpson_l¡Ay caramba! According to Reuters, Venezuelan TV has pulled The Simpsons from its 11 a.m. slot, with the argument that the show is bad for children. Going up in its place: reruns of Baywatch Hawaii. Now, granted, kids can probably learn a lot more about some subjects (CPR, human anatomy) from the bouncing lifeguards than from the four-fingered toon family, but still, harmful for children? Why, look at the United States: for the past 18 years, an entire generation of American kids has grown up watching Bart’s mischief, and look at how they turned out…

Uh, never mind, Venezuela. Carry on.

Bored, striking TV writers swap shows

Theoffice_lThere must be a little-known proviso in the Writers Guild rules that permits striking TV writers to pen scenarios for shows other than their own in snarky magazine articles. So it is with New York magazine, which cross-assigned teams of writers from various strike-afflicted shows to dream up season-ending arcs for other strike-afflicted shows. (Hat tip to TV Barn and TV Tattle for the link.) The results aren’t as funny as I’d have hoped, though I did enjoy the Simpsons crew’s apocalyptic take on The Office. I’d still like to see what, say, Tina Fey’s 30 Rock-ers could do with House or Heroes. How about you, PopWatchers? What TV writer swaps would you like to see?

addCredit(“The Office: Byron J. Cohen”)

We're stoked about the new 'Futurama' DVD!

"Good news, everyone!"  Futurama is back! Not on any network schedule, but in Bender’s Big Score, a feature-length DVD — the first of a planned four — that went on sale today. That’s 88 minutes of what is most assuredly animated-comedy gold featuring Fry, Leela, Bender, and the other space-faring misfits of the Planet Express delivery service.  (My copy was pre-ordered many weeks ago and is now, hopefully, in a brown truck of the pathetically Earth-bound UPS delivery service.) Below is a short clip featuring the first five minutes from the new movie.

I know I’m not the only one that has missed the Matt Groening-created series (although I confess to jumping on this wagon after FOX grounded the show in 2003). Innumerable viewings on DVD have only convinced me that the finest episodes of Futurama can stand toe-to-toe with the finest episodes of The Simpsons. In fact, I’d even venture to claim that misanthropic and larcenous robot No. 2716057 (aka Bender Rodriguez) is the best character to have come from either series. So, who else out there is excited about this movie?  And while you’re at it, what are your favorite Bender-isms?

On the Scene: The Simpsons Game's Hollywood premiere

Simpsons_lIf you’re a videogame fan at all, you know there is an ongoing debate regarding whether games can be classified as "art." In one corner, Roger Ebert says no; in the other corner, the millions of gamers who’ve played Shadow of the Colossus, Okami, Ocarina of Time and countless other examples say, "Hell, yeah."

It’s a silly argument, for if we want to entertain the idea that "art" even exists as a concept, then surely videogames belong. What isn’t debatable, however, is the growing clout of the videogame industry. Halo 3 made $170 million on its first day, and as a result, Hollywood is starting to treat games with the same respect and enthusiasm typically reserved for movies.

Case in point: Tuesday’s The Simpsons Game launch event at the Hard Rock Cafe Hollywood.

I was not expecting the premiere of one, ahem, videogame to outclass the majority of movie premieres I’ve attended. But Electronic Arts put on quite a production. Everyone walking by was treated to free food from Tommy’s (a SoCal burger joint) as a trio of breakdancers did their thing. In front of the restaurant’s entrance was a yellow carpet, and at the end of it sat an enormous crate, from which emerged a group of performers in Simpsons costumes.

Inside, guests were treated to Simpsons specialty cocktails. I tried the Homer Ball (gin, lemon juice, sugar syrup, orange juice and grenadine syrup), and yummy it was, even though the Hard Rock bartenders seemed to grumble about having to mix drinks called Recon Maggie and Megaphone Marge.

addCredit(“The Simpsons Game premiere: Chris Polk/WireImage.com”)

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The 'Family Hour' is under attack! Or is it?

Dad_lSo the self-appointed media watchdogs of the Parents Television Council released the results of their latest study today. Like most of their output, this one comes with an alarmist title (literally: "The Alarming Family Hour…No Place for Children") and some authoritative-sounding pronouncements: After reviewing 180 hours of recent network programming during the so-called "Family Hour" (8 to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 7 to 9 p.m. Sunday), the PTC’s crack analysts recorded "2246 instances of violent, profane, and sexual content… or 12.48 instances per television hour." Terrifying! Hide the kids! But as usual, a closer look at the PTC’s data (link leads to a pdf document) reveals that they’re riddled with statistical tricks and misleading labels.

The PTC’s shameless manipulation is most obvious in the "foul language" section of the report. It cites a whopping 815 instances of supposedly inappropriate dialogue; that includes 195 uses of the word "hell" alone, plus uses of other relatively tame or double-entendre-ready terms like "suck" and "screw," which the PTC helpfully identifies as a "euphemism for f—." (Because if Hugh Laurie blurts "Screw this!" on House, he’s obviously talking about raunchy sex.) But that total of 815 instances also includes lots of network-censored swear words ("bleeped f—," "bleeped goddamn"), where audiences were of course unable to hear the offending syllables. Unbelievably, they boosted their numbers still further by citing 54 instances of what they call "bleep (unknown)" and 9 of "pixelated/obscured mouth." If even the PTC’s experienced smut-spotters admit they couldn’t decipher these words "by context or lip-reading," how exactly are they supposed to be harming young viewers? Best of all: Even with their absurdly broad definition of "foul language," the PTC’s total actually dropped by 25.4 percent since the last time they unloaded one of these studies, in 2001.

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Comic-Con 2007: Simpsons, Cylons, and an army of Milla Jovoviches

Lucy_lThe last full day of Comic-Con (Sunday is "Family Day," which apparently means "Hollywood Leaves the Town in Its Dust Day") was abundant with panels, clips and general geekery goodness, so let’s just get to (but some) of the highlights, courtesy yours truly and my fellow reporter extraordinaire Nicole Sperling:

Fresh from the $30 million opening-day gross of The Simpsons Movie, several MVPs from both the movie and the show — including creator Matt Groening, current showrunner Al Jean, and voice-of-Lisa Yeardley Smith — stepped into the cavernous Hall H for the day’s first panel, and, it turned out, the first time The Simpsons had ever commanded the Big Room. What was perhaps most remarkable, however, was that even though a good half the room had already seen the feature film — and the producers screened a brief deleted scene from it (a sausage truck driver discovering his passenger, Homer, had decimated his entire stock) — almost all of the questions were focused on the show. And we did learn a great deal about the upcoming season (number 19!): Jon Stewart and Dan Rather will guest voice in an episode about how Ralph Wiggum manages to become the front-runner in the 2008 presidential election (thanks, of course, to Homer); Sideshow Bob (Kelsey Grammer) and his brother Cecil (David Hyde Pierce) will return in an episode featuring fellow Frasier vet John Mahoney as their father; and country artist Lurleen Lumpkin (Beverly D’Angelo) will pop back into her former manager’s life (that would also be Homer). The panel concluded with a clip from the upcoming annual "Treehouse of Horror" episode, featuring Marge taking her revenge on Fox’s highly obnoxious on-screen promos for its shows by pinning Jack Bauer to her fridge, microwaving Dr. House, and pureeing Peter Griffin into a gelatinous (non-human) blob. That, and a singalong of the "Spider-Pig" song from the movie. But of course.

addCredit(“Lucy Lawless: Michael Tran/FilmMagic.com”)

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Spider-Pig!

Pig_lFor many of you out there in PopWatch land, the impending Simpsons movie is a summer dream come true. You’re easy to spot: Standing in line in front of me at 7-11, choking down your weight in Slurpees and pink-frosted donuts; prefacing every noun with "Mmm…"; wearing those threadbare "Eat My Shorts" jams your mom bought you in junior high; or, if your initials are EW Senior Writer Alynda Wheat, squealing like a child when you see the Krusty the Clown doll I won on the Santa Monica Pier last night, then snatching it out of my hands and hugging it so tightly I’m pretty sure any chance of Krusty being a re-animated Chucky-type doll was squeezed right out. It’s okay. We all have obsessions. (And yeah, Alynda got to keep Krusty.)

But for the casual Simpsons fan (or the one that never did start watching it again once X-Files went off the air), it takes a little more than creative marketing to impress, to excite. But I’ve finally found a product to make me squeal with delight:

SPIDER-PIG T-SHIRTS, PEOPLE.

Even if that wasn’t a reference to the trailer ("Spider-Pig. Spider-Pig. Does whatever Spider-Pig does"), I think I’d still love it.* And I eagerly await the Spider-Pig spin-off franchise, because I think that logo would look simply outstanding in embossed pewter on a black background, don’t you? Quick: Let’s whip up a film treatment in the comments. We’ll be rich!

*NOTE: What does it say about me that two out of my three favorite Simpsons references revolve around swine? ("Uh, Mr. Simpson? I don’t think he likes that." "Oh, yes he does. He’s so cute. Curly, straight! Curly, straight!")

'Simpsons': Will this be the Best. Episode. Ever?

Cbguy_lFox announced yesterday that the Oct. 7 edition of The Simpsons will be (well, they didn’t put it this way, but I will) a pure comic-geek bliss-out: The plot is all about our beloved Comic Book Guy (pictured), who gets some competition in Springfield from a new store, "Coolsville Comics & Toys," run by "hipster" Milo, voiced by Jack Black. What’s even more hipster about this news is that the episode will feature cartoon versions of guest stars Art Spiegelman (Pulitzer Prize-winning creator of Maus), Eightball creator Dan Clowes, and probably the most revered living comics writer, at least among the superhero set: Watchmen creator Alan Moore. No word on whether the voluble, prolific, control-freak Moore will insist on writing his own lines and thereby expand the episode to a special two-hour Simpsons

addCredit(“Comic Book Guy: Fox”)

Harry Potter and the Pop Cultural References

Attention, Potterphiles: EW needs your help. We’re looking for examples of Harry Potter’s influence on pop culture. That is, we’re seeking references to the boy wizard and his world that have cropped up outside the Potter books and films themselves. Example: the time on Friends that Ross wished he had an invisibility cloak like Harry’s, or the allusion in Love Actually, where British prime minister Hugh Grant includes Harry Potter on a list of things that have made England great (also on his list: Shakespeare, the Beatles, and David Beckham’s legs).

Spoofs count, too, like Daniel Radcliffe’s self-parodying guest spot on Extras or J.K. Rowling’s incisive cameo on The Simpsons, as well as the more extensive Potter parody from one of The Simpsons‘ Halloween specials. What other citations can you think of? As a reward for your suggestions, you get to watch the clip below of the famous Saturday Night Live Hogwarts sketch, featuring a certain unlikely SNL-er as Harry and Lindsay Lohan as a distractingly voluptuous Hermione. Oh, and we’ll also award 50 points to Gryffindor.

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