Reading Digest: FOX Doesn’t Want You Watching Edition

Fear of Flying6

“Don’t look at me!  Don’t look at me!” – Clancy Bouvier

There was a lot of (content-deficient) news about Zombie Simpsons coming out of Comic-Con this week, a bit of which I’ve linked below.  Long story short: it’s going to be just as dull as Season 22, which was just as dull as Season 21, which was just as dull as Season 20, and so forth.  They released a promotional clip from the Halloween episode, but when I went to watch it on YouTube it said that it’d been taking down due to a copyright claim by FOX.  Morons.  In the realm of news not coming out of Comic-Con, FOX is changing its deal with Hulu to prevent all you internet freeloaders from seeing their shows for (almost) free.  New episodes of Zombie Simpsons (and other shows) won’t be available at Hulu until a week after they originally air.  It’s almost like they don’t want you watching their shows.  Of course, we’ve also got some neat fan art, a writeup of a Simpsons trivia night I desperately want to attend, some word nerd love for “cromulent”, lots of Mike Reiss, and the usual smattering of excellent usage.


Can I Borrow an Answer? My Night of Simpsons Trivia – Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week is this refreshing, full-bodied write-up of classic Simpsons trivia night in Brooklyn.

Simpsons’ Vet Mike Reiss Leads a Toonful Evening – Awesome recap of Mike Reiss’s appearance at the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival last week.  I love this part:

For a writer not a comedian, Reiss timing was pitch-perfect on lines like, “I’m Jewish. I would never eat a ham sandwich in a synagogue on Yom Kippur – if anyone was watching.”

Oh, and the episode he brought with him was “Like Father, Like Clown”.  No Zombie Simpsons.

The Simpsons’ Mike Reiss Talks About Unexpected Success and Superheroes’ Jewish Origins – A related interview with Reiss.  I would submit this as a big part of the reason the quality of the show has fallen so dramatically:

How many seasons were you and Al the showrunners?
Part of season two, and then seasons three and four. It was a real burnout job. The job nearly killed me. I was working 100 hours a week, and we were working 51 weeks a year. The big change that’s happened over the years is that we started out with six writers, and then we went up to eight writers, and now we have 23 writers — and everybody’s really good at the show. But that’s allowed us to spread the workload around. Al’s been running the show single-handedly for eight or 10 years. And that would not have been possible in the old days.

Fox challenges cord-cutters by sticking TV shows behind paywall – Oh, this is rich.  If you want to watch FOX shows on Hulu, you’ve either got to be a Hulu Plus subscriber or a subscriber to a cable/satellite package that lets you go through a convoluted login process.  Why?  Let FOX “president of affiliate sales” Mike Hopkins explain:

What caused Fox, and presumably others, to become gun-shy about putting ad-supported content online for free? "We’re concerned that cord-cutting is going to be a problem," Hopkins said.

The subscriber gravy train is leaking gravy, and their response is to make sure the doors are still locked.  Shrewd.  There are a lot of reasons watching television on-line sucks, but the luddite intransigence of the local affiliates (who have the networks by the balls for all kinds of arcane reasons) doesn’t get nearly the press it should. 

[Brief note on Hulu Plus: I was staying with a friend last weekend and he’s got access to Hulu Plus through someone at work.  Hulu Plus is awful.  It’s hard to navigate, the commercials are relentless, and when things do come back or go to commercial the video skips.  They may get some of those things sorted out in the future, but as of right now it’s not ready for primetime.]

“The Simpsons” [Film Roman] – Television Critics Association – Some bland quotes from Jean accompanied by some mildly interesting pictures of the current animation process.

Behind-the-scenes: The Simpsons – A small tour of the animation facility with some banal quotes from Jean and Mark Kirkland and the usual heavy emphasis on upcoming guest stars.  Sadly, no pictures.

Lil Chase’s top 10 unwords – Oh yeah, “cromulent” is on here.

Is Homer Simpson Coaching The Baltimore Ravens? – This is just excellent usage:

Derrick Mason? I like your hustle.

That’s why it was so hard to cut you.

Santa Cruz: Cruzer – Some officially licensed Simpsons skateboards (via).

Unmotivated Socialites – This is the story of the beginning of a project wherein one member is skeptical:

Oh, I'm so out right now.

If you hear me out, Everything will
be coming up Millhouse okay?

Tim Hortons USA Vs Tim Hortons Canada – It’s The Little Differences – The little differences between Tim Hortons north and south of the St. Lawrence with audio YouTube of Wiggum and the boys from “22 Short Films About Springfield”.

As gripping as ABC – Excellent usage:

IN AN EPISODE of “The Simpsons,” Steven Wright tells this joke: “I finally got around to reading the dictionary. Turns out the zebra did it.” Lisa, of course, has to explain the joke to Homer: “Dad, the zebra didn’t do it, it’s just a word at the end of the dictionary.”

But even Homer didn’t need Lisa to explain to him the underlying premise: Nobody reads the dictionary cover to cover.

The article’s about a novel written as a dictionary.  What will they think of next?

Comic-Con 2011: Ronan Posts a Question to ‘The Simpsons’ panel – No Sideshow Bob in Season 23, that’s a relief.

Savouring the Journal: A Simpsons Synchronicity! – No sooner do you think about the Red Hot Chili Peppers, then they appear on The Simpsons in a foreign country.

“Expand my brain, learning juice!” -Homer Simpson – In a delightfully ironic twist, Freakoutville uses a quote from Season 17 to link to an awesome fan made drawing of Homer accompanied by an endorsement of us.  Well played. 

10 things we learned about ‘The Simpsons’ at Comic-Con – It’s a stretch to get to ten, but never underestimate the ass kissing/space filling abilities of Entertainment Weekly.  They’ve been doing this a long time.  On the actual news front, not much beyond the usual: more guest stars, more gimmicks, more Ozmodiar.

Dangerous Entertainment News – Monday, July 25 – Linking the above article:

Seriously, only EW would write a promotional article about a classic show that should have been cancelled about ten years ago. Keep up the hard-hitting analysis EW!

Amen on both counts.

13 Responses to “Reading Digest: FOX Doesn’t Want You Watching Edition”

  1. 29 July 2011 at 1:03 pm

    Thanks for linking to my blog. Hope you enjoyed my post and the usage of the Krustyburger vs McDonald’s audio clip. Here’s hoping FOX doesn’t take down that YouTube clip!!!

  2. 2 Cassidy
    29 July 2011 at 1:54 pm

    ” Hulu Plus is awful. It’s hard to navigate, the commercials are relentless …”

    Man, that just kills me. What is it – $10 a month? – and they still shove commercials down your throat? They couldn’t even offer a premium service with no commercials (or greatly reduced from the free version). I mean, what’s the goddamn point? That’s rhetorical. I know that if you like the shows Hulu offers then $10 is a hell of a lot cheaper than cable. But still!

    oh bitch, bitch, bitch

    • 3 Charlie Sweatpants
      29 July 2011 at 4:06 pm

      It wasn’t a full slate of commercials, but everywhere there would normally be a commercial break, even right after the opening of a show (we were watching South Park), there was a good minute long ad, usually for some Save the Children type group. And heaven help you if you try fast forwarding or backing up.

      • 4 Charlie Sweatpants
        29 July 2011 at 4:08 pm

        Whoops, didn’t mean to hit reply there. Just wanted to add that there’s a commercial before you even get started as well. So for watching a show it goes like this: terrible menu -> finally select what you want -> commercial -> opening -> commercial -> actual show.

  3. 29 July 2011 at 1:57 pm

    The clip is ridiculous, their Dexter “parody” featuring Flanders. Except it’s not a parody at all; they just do the Dexter opening, with close-ups of him doing mundane things that look dastardly, except it’s with Flanders. What a wonderful parody. And it has so much to do with Halloween too.

    And if you must see it, here it is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CAqH8HOBjno

    • 6 Thrillho
      29 July 2011 at 6:09 pm

      Their parodies of the intros to Mad Men and The Office were the same thing. They think making the same openings with different characters somehow qualifies as parody, but it doesn’t.

      • 7 Wrinkledlion X
        30 July 2011 at 8:01 pm

        I watched that recent episode where Bart and Lisa’s “Angry Dad” cartoon is at an awards show, and all the supposed “parodies” were just like this. They aped Pixar and Aardman films, but didn’t have any kind of perspective on them. You could tell they LIKED the source material, but it didn’t even qualify as an affectionate parody because they simply DIDN’T HAVE anything to parody. They just showed an approximation of something those two studios might do, and watching it I was like, “Yep. Those are indeed what Pixar and Aardman films are like. Yep.”

        It’s an unbelievable exercise in blandness and lack of opinions.

    • 31 July 2011 at 4:12 am

      I laughed at the final clip (Flanders praying, turns out to be the discarded limbs of Quimby). That was a different view of what the Dexter titles do (ie, it was a dastardly thing to look mundane), so I approved.

  4. 29 July 2011 at 5:07 pm

    To quote Montgomery Burns, “Excellent!” Love your blog and thanks to linking to mine.

  5. 10 SailorSonic
    29 July 2011 at 10:03 pm

    I can’t believe FOX is getting rid of the Simpsons on Hulu. Goddamnit.

  6. 11 Jason
    30 July 2011 at 12:54 am

    The show will bend its format with an episode that follows the saga of Moe’s bar rag over hundreds of years. “It used be a tapestry and then it was used by Michaelangelo,” Jean teased, “and the voice of the bar rag is Jeremy Irons.”

    God, the comic-con stuff is awful.

    And Jeremys Iron, what happened? You used to be cool.

    • 12 fudge
      30 July 2011 at 7:06 am

      “an episode that follows the saga of Moe’s bar rag over hundreds of years.”


      Sounds… real exciting.. yeah.. right… *slowly backs away*

  7. 30 July 2011 at 2:06 pm

    A link to Dead Homer Society is always a satisfyingly strange pleasure…!

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