PopWatch Entertainment Weekly's PopWatch Blog

Tag: The Simpsons (51-60 of 119)

Will 'The Simpsons' still be funny when no one gets the references?

simpsons-shinningImage Credit: FoxWe live in an era of hyper-referential humor. Shows as diverse as Glee, Community, and South Park all regularly feature “theme” episodes that riff on pop culture iconography — look at Glee‘s Christmas episode (in which Sue Sylvester re-enacted How the Grinch Stole Christmas), or Community‘s upcoming Pulp Fiction episode, or the episode of South Park that riffed on TRON (before TRON was briefly cool and then lame again). You can thank The Simpsons for all the nonstop pop culture references — Matt Groening’s iconic animated series turned hyper-referentiality into an art form, regularly packing in throwaway references to high and low culture right from the start.

Even after a decade of diminishing returns, the show’s place in the TV pantheon is secure… or is it? Salon‘s Matt Zoller Seitz has written an intriguing argument that shows built on pop culture nods — what he calls “footnote shows” — simply don’t age well. (He singles out an extended Hollywood Squares joke in an early-’90s Simpsons episode.) Considering how much of TV humor is now constructed on a foundation of referentiality, it’s definitely worth considering: Will we still consider “footnote shows” funny decades from now? READ FULL STORY

'The Simpsons': Do all of the McBain clips add up to a killer action movie?

Are the producers of The Simpsons even sneakier than we thought? Consider the following video evidence, which stitches together all of those ’90s Simpsons clips featuring Rainier Wolfcastle in action as McBain, the Arnold Schwarzenegger/Bruce Willis-spoofing movie action hero. Turns out, they kinda-sorta add up to a short film in which McBain butts heads with his by-the-book boss (“Bye, book,” he declares after literally shooting the captain’s book), avenges the death of his partner (who was just two days away from retiring and sailing away with his wife on their newly christened boat, The Live-4-Ever!) by taking down Senator Mendoza (who’s been moonlighting as the head of an international drug cartel!), and gets the girl (“Right now, I’m thinking of holding another meeting… in bed”). So, was this part of an ancient secret master plan that is only now coming to light? READ FULL STORY

Glenn Beck on 'Today': Controversial commentator compares himself to Jon Stewart, 'The Simpsons'

Fox superstar Glenn Beck appeared on the Today Show this morning to promote his new self-help book, The 7: Seven Wonders That Will Change Your Life, co-written with Dr. Keith Ablow. Host Meredith Vieira asked about Beck’s amazing transformation from suicidal sad-sack to transcendent success story, but she clearly wanted to apply the book’s lessons to the current political climate. After Beck cited compassion and truth as elements of what this country needs, Vieira pounced, reciting Beck’s own harsh rhetoric about the president and other leading Democratic politicians, and asked if Beck regretted his comments in light of the events in Tucson. “Any thing I said in jokes, no. Ask Jon Stewart [the same question]. Ask The Simpsons,” Beck said. “Comedy is comedy.” Watch the clip after the jump: READ FULL STORY

The Best TV Character Deaths of 2010

2010-deathsImage Credit: Michael Courtney/FoxOn TV, death is a good thing. Death shakes up the status quo. Death eliminates annoying characters, and it sends off beloved characters with an emotionally-explosive bang. The threat of main-character death has hovered over some of the greatest TV shows of the last ten years. Some shows, like 24, practically made a game out of their gleeful employment of the Death Twist, an out-of-nowhere elimination of an apparently central character. (Be honest: you had a couple bets going on who would die in the Lost finale, right?) Killing off a main character can be just a cheap gimmick, but when it’s done well, it can be incredibly moving. It can even revitalize a show. (See: Grey’s Anatomy, post-bloodbath.)

For our round-up of the best character expirations on TV this year, we focused exclusively on characters that were, if not series regulars, at least important parts of an ensemble — our (perhaps arbitrary) cut-off was that the character must have appeared on at least four episodes before expiring. By nature, this list skews towards drama, but it’s not all dour. On TV at least, death can be pretty funny. As you might expect, this post is SPOILER ALERT central, so if you’re worried, just click down to the comments right now and tell us your favorite deaths from 2010. Otherwise, check out the list after the jump… READ FULL STORY

'The Simpsons' takes another jab at Fox News

The Simpsons took another jab at the Fox News last night, completing a trifecta of teasing that started a few weeks ago. On Nov. 21, a slogan on a Fox News helicopter on the show read “Not racist, but #1 with racists,” and a week later, the slogan read “Unsuitable for viewers under 75.” This week’s dig was “Merry Christmas from Fox News… But no other holidays.” Oh, snap!

Except, you know, not really, because when The Simpsons wants to go after Fox News, it does. Like it did on the episode from season 14 where Krusty ran for Congress, and a Fox News host said “Welcome to Fox News, your voice for evil.” That has a little more bite! How about “You Kent Always Say What You Want,” which was basically an entire episode about the conflicting politics of the conservative news source and its often provocative network brethren? That was a bit more aggressive, too. In fact, The Simpsons has a long legacy of going after its parent company, and it’s hardly the only show to do so: How often does David Letterman make fun of CBS? (Often.) Or Jon Stewart make jokes about Comedy Central? Again, a lot. And it’s great, because that is their job, as comedians and commentators.

If you’re going to bite the hand that feeds you, at least make it worth it and really chomp down. Right, PopWatchers?

Read more:
Lampooning Fox News? ‘Simpsons’ did it!
‘Simpsons’ exclusive: David Mamet to guest

'The Simpsons': Martha Stewart's Six Easy Steps to Make Your Home Feel Like a Childless Gay Couple's

simpsons-martha-stewartI’ve been struggling to figure out how to make people totally impressed with me during the holidays, and the OTHER special guest on The Simpsons, Martha Stewart, offered much more productive advice in this arena than Katy Perry (“Wear latex”). After the jump, Six Easy Steps to Make Your Home Feel Like a Childless Gay Couple’s. Finally! Some answers! READ FULL STORY

Lampooning Fox News? 'Simpsons' did it!

The Simpsons might air on Fox, but that doesn’t mean the network’s satellite news channel, Fox News, is immune to parody. After spoofing another big dog during its couch gag — Avatar Simpsons took a stab at the channel that brings us Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly last night: The episode began with an image of a Fox News helicopter adorned with the slogan, “Not racist, but No. 1 with racists.” (So I suppose the news channel’s viewers aren’t immune either.) And the animated series lampooned the network’s real slogan when the helicopter began to crash — yelled the pilot, “Gah! We’re unbalanced! It’s not fair!”

Of course, since The Simpsons is an equal opportunity offender, the show poked fun at another network as well. As media titans gathered in the crown of the Statue of Liberty to plan their next “phony crisis,” Jeff Zucker’s ideas were immediately turned down: “NBC, you are here to listen and not speak.” READ FULL STORY

This year's Halloween episodes: Which will be the best?

modern-familyImage Credit: Danny Feld/ABCHalloween episodes are always fun. But the best ones still manage to reveal something about their characters, such as that Buffy the Vampire Slayer‘s former vengeance demon Anya is afraid of bunnies, and Bones‘ Brennan, who doesn’t understand 99.9 percent of pop culture references, insists upon dressing up as Wonder Woman every year. Which of this year’s remaining Halloween-themed episodes (sorry, Parenthood and One Tree Hill) sounds like it will become a classic? (We’ve got details straight from the networks on 22 shows. If we’ve missed one, add it in the comments.) Spoiler alert! READ FULL STORY

'Simpsons' producer on Vatican's assertion that Homer is Catholic: 'I really don't think he could go without eating meat on Fridays'

HOMER-CATHOLICImage Credit: FoxHe may drink too much and strangle his son—and, sure, there was that time he sold his soul to the devil for a donut—but Homer Simpson seems to have the Vatican seal of approval. In an article from the Oct. 17 edition of the Vatican publication L’Osservatore Romano—which also references a story in the Italian Jesuit magazine La Civilita Cattolica—Fox’s The Simpsons is praised for covering issues of faith, family, and Christianity (plus, they say prayers before meals!). There is also mention of the animated comedy’s 2005 episode in which Homer and Bart consider converting to Catholicism after Bart befriends a Catholic priest (voiced by Liam Neeson). “Few people know it, and he does everything he can to hide it… [but] it is true: Homer J. Simpson is a Catholic,” states L’Osservatore Romano, which also tipped its papal hat to the show last year during The Simpsons’ 20th anniversary celebration. (Perhaps they didn’t see The Simpsons Movie, in which Homer mocks churchgoers as “pious morons” who are “too busy talking to their phony-baloney god.”)

Simpsons HQ is flattered and amused by the attention from the Vatican. “My first reaction is shock and awe,” exec producer Al Jean tells EW.com, “and I guess it makes up for me not going to church for 20 years.” That said, Jean is quick to throw not-so-holy water on the Homer-is-Catholic assertion, pointing out that the family attends the First Church of Springfield, which is decidedly Presbylutheran. “We’ve pretty clearly shown that Homer is not Catholic,” he says. “I really don’t think he could go without eating meat on Fridays—for even an hour.”

Do you think the Church has a case, PopWatchers? Or did you question Homer’s faith ever since the episode when he said, “I’m not normally a praying man, but if you’re up there, please save me, Superman!

Banksy does 'The Simpsons': Exec producer Al Jean talks about pulling off the ultimate couch gag

Al-Jean-simpsons-banksyImage Credit: Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic.com; FoxWho says The Simpsons isn’t as subversive as it used to be? Last night, the animated Fox series raised eyebrows—and corners of mouths—with a daring, bleak opening credits sequence that was masterminded by Banksy, the mysterious British graffiti artist. Viewers were taken on a surreal journey into an Asian sweatshop where kittens were used as stuffing for Simpsons dolls, and a shackled, defeated unicorn was used to make holes in Simpsons DVDs. Shudder. EW.com rang up Simpsons executive producer Al Jean to get the behind-the-scenes story on the Banksy gag. READ FULL STORY

Latest Videos

Advertisement

From Our Partners

TV Recaps

Powered by WordPress.com VIP