“In that family, nobody trusted nobody. They even brought their lawyers to Thanksgiving dinner.” – Abe “Grampa” Simpson
Harry Shearer has decided to keep doing voices for Zombie Simpsons:
You don’t really need to click that link, it’s mostly nothing and even repeats the dubiously sourced $300,000 per episode number, but it’s been confirmed by a couple of other outlets. The article also says that Shearer signed the same contract as the other five cast members, which (if true) means that money really wasn’t the issue and Shearer really did think the show was preventing him from doing other projects. Jean took to Twitter to explain:
I would like to clear up a misunderstanding. I have recently been told that during a period where Harry Shearer believed he had a five week free period from the Simpsons, I was unaware of this fact, and did in fact request material from him. If so, my bad. I am truly glad he is returning to the show.
This is the public explanation for Shearer’s abrupt “I’m leaving” announcement in May, that Jean had asked Shearer to work during a time Shearer thought he was on break, so he balked at signing an extension. If it seems a little bizarre that it took them eight weeks to sort out something as simple as that, well, that’s because it is bizarre.
Maybe relations between Shearer and the show are strained to the point that it really did take them this long to clear up something that can be described in two and a half Tweets (Shearer’s original announcement quoted a letter from a lawyer, so they may indeed be at the “acrimonious divorce” stage of communication). Maybe there was a negotiation, and while Shearer may be getting the same money he also now has a better deal in terms of hours and flexibility. Maybe Jean’s telling the truth, and it really was just an honest mistake.
Whether Jean is spinning for his bosses or accurately describing this whole big saga doesn’t really matter, however. Shearer will continue to phone in his voices, and Zombie Simpsons will continue its mediocre ways.