Epic Agreement (And Show Still on Hiatus)

Two Cars in Every Garage and Three Eyes on Every Fish12

“Holy moly, nine-thirty!  Hello, Marge, sorry I didn’t call, but it’s been a madhouse down here.  Yeah, these twelve hour days are killing me.” – Homer Simpson

My apologies, but there won’t be a Reading Digest this week.  I am eyeballs deep in my stupid real job.  However, there are two things I’d like to note.

First, the radio silence regarding the show being on hiatus continues.  I checked a few staff Twitter accounts and haven’t seen peep outside of Jean responding to someone from No Homers that the negotiations are ongoing.  (Sadly, Isabel Vega has deleted her Twitter account after her tweets kept popping up here and elsewhere in Simpsons fandom.  Sorry, Isabel!  Really didn’t want to get you in trouble or anything.)  One of the last tweets from Vega was that increasing numbers of staff are being told not to come in and that people around the office are worried:

That moment when a director goes around saying good-bye to the remaining crew saying “See you next season, if there is one…” #TheSimpsons

So we’re about where we were last week: nobody’s saying squat.  That is probably for the best, since swirling rumors and ill sourced media speculation don’t have any bearing on the negotiations but do get a lot of people agitated for no reason.  My money continues to be on the show getting renewed.

Second, and far more fun, is this fantastic article (that mentions Zombie Simpsons by name) about the unrivaled cultural legacy of the show:

The Simpsons – the Shakespeare of our time?

We’re automatically programmed to know that Dickens was the greatest writer of his day. It’s reasonable to assume that in the 19th century he was just really, really popular. Nobody in that age would have guessed that they would be teaching his work in primary schools a century down the line. The reason they do so is because it was the most accurate satire of Victorian England, much like The Simpsons to the modern West.

I highly recommend the whole thing.

31 Responses to “Epic Agreement (And Show Still on Hiatus)”

  1. 17 April 2015 at 5:09 pm

    The staff of The Simpsons is either playing a joke or keeping quiet b/c of sites like these.

    Thank God.

    • 2 youngandmattproductions
      18 April 2015 at 3:02 am

      How can they play a joke when they haven’t been funny in years?

      I really think it’s going to be over (whether or not their 27th season is a half-season made of leftover season 26 episodes or a full season with leftover season 26 episodes and whatever season 27 production episodes they cobbled together while negotiations were going down). They just don’t want to upset anyone.

      • 3 Stan
        18 April 2015 at 9:51 am

        Yet that’s exactly what they’re doing right now, because in fact, they don’t want to give two shits about their viewers, and fuck me Freddy it really shows! Someone in there is seriously fucked up, because they just had to pressure that girl into locking up her Twitter for us, the regulars. I don’t know about you, but to my eyes it really says a lot about what dickhead is running their shit.

        Btw if Charlie says his money is on the show still continuing, I’d believe him because he has much more connections in there than many of us do. Which means those fucks will still run their Season 27, and, most likely, 28. Their fans are the last people they want to give a shit about.

        • 4 torbiecat
          18 April 2015 at 12:51 pm

          Yeah, I, too, have gotten the impression that Ms. Vega was told to shut up about the state of the show by the suits or her else head would be on the chopping block. (I don’t know if they directly told her to delete her Twitter or if she did it because it would had been too tempting for her to keep on tweeting if she kept the account or what.) If the show were cancelled, I’m sure that suits could had found ways to smear Ms. Vega’s reputation so that she’d have a hard time being hired elsewise.

          But, really, I can’t imagine how nerve-wracking things are for those who are involved with the show, but aren’t in the know. Being left in the dark is an annoying experience for anyone and makes it hard for people to prepare for the worst.

  2. 5 Sarah J
    18 April 2015 at 3:22 am

    Fascinating article. Maybe this is just cause I’m an anthropology student, but popular media really does reflect so much about a society. I’m pretty fascinated by The Simpsons. It’s very rare for a show to have as much impact as this one did, and you could really get into a lot by trying to figure out why. Shoot, lots of colleges teach classes on certain genres, or types of shows, or even individual shows themselves. My mythology teacher mentioned that he was asked to teach a course on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In the fall, my university is going to be offering a class on the anthropology of superheroes. (really makes me wish I was taking classes in the fall, ha ha) I’ve heard of schools that offer classes on zombies.

    The Simpsons wasn’t just some short, passing fad. It was a big deal, and it still has a presence. It has words in the dictionary, there are so many popular quotes and phrases. Even people who never watched the show regularly can identify characters and the theme song. The lasting value of the show definitely makes it worth studying. Shoot, Charlie, I love “Zombie Simpsons: How the Best Show Ever Became the Broadcasting Undead” not just for trashing ZS, but because of how it examines the place of The Simpsons in the time period it came in, and why it struck such a chord with people.

    As a side note, I also want to say that even when something is just a passing fad, it can still be worth studying and examining.

    • 6 Sarah J
      18 April 2015 at 3:28 am

      Got so caught up in talking about cultural impact of The Simpsons that I forgot to comment on the silence. Ominous. If this is the last season, would they have time to create a proper finale? It’s pretty rare for a long running show to get cut off without early notice. For each season a new show gets, odds of it being the last season will increase. Since ratings usually start to drop after a while, the networks and show creators generally have a good idea of when would be a good time to cut off the show. Zombie Simpsons is long overdue, really seems like any season could be its last.

      • 7 Bleeding Gums Murphy
        18 April 2015 at 12:04 pm

        I have been thinking for some time that “Summer or 4 ft. 2” would have been the greatest series finale for The Simpsons.

        All Lisa-centric episodes ends with Lisa growing up a bit, but “Summer of 4 ft. 2” is the episode where Lisa finally understands she can be popular, she can succeed in life and she can be happy without renouncing to be both a Simpson and herself. And the basic premise of the entire series is that the Simpsons always fail in everything due to a lack of skills, simple bad luck, general incompetence, and, well… being a Simpson.

        That, combined with the episode ending at the end of summer and the kids starting a new year in school… I dunno. Fits pretty well when you think about it.

        Even if the Zombie Simpsons staff has more than enough time to make a proper series finale… look at “Holidays of Future Passed”. People at nohomers love it, but it’s a pretty mediocre episode by Zombie standards, let alone Simpsons standards. They made a sequel which was even worse. With an hiatus, it seems the show will end with a regular episode. Maybe it’s for the best.

        • 8 Sarah J
          19 April 2015 at 2:38 am

          I’m not saying a series finale would be any good, I would just find it odd for the show to be cancelled without the chance for a proper finale.

        • 9 Vivian Wallace
          21 April 2015 at 1:09 am

          IMO, the last episode should have been either the one where Homer floods the town with trash, the one that ended with Homer having a massive heart attack after Lisa tells him exactly how much the family could have had for the slurry factory (even the show writers felt they should have stopped there), or, if you think the show lost its charm and wit after season four, then either Kristy Gets Kanceled or the one with Bobo the teddy bear (since it has a season four production number), because where do you go creatively after showing Johnny Carson playing “Good Night Ladies” and the show ‘s theme music on an accordion while balancing two old geezers on his head or a cyborg Mr. Burns running off into the sunset of a Planet of the Apes-style dystopia while his sexually-confused assistant follows suit, now grafted onto a robot-dog’s body?

    • 18 April 2015 at 7:36 pm

      Great points. I remember a Simpsons episode where Lisa was in a college class and watching a video of Itchy and Scratchy.

  3. 12 Sarah J
    18 April 2015 at 3:33 am

    If Zombie Simpsons gets cancelled, what do you think will happen next? We already know that merchandising gets a lot of money, but it’s not like this specific show needs to continue for merchandise to sell. With how popular sequel series, reboots, and spin-offs are right now, I’m really surprised we haven’t seen any recent talk of those possibilities for Simpsons. If cancellation is to come within the next few years, I wouldn’t be surprised if FOX started scrambling for such a project (or maybe multiple) as a replacement. As an added bonus, a spin-off or whatever could potentially renew interest in the Simpsons franchise, at least if it’s any good.

    The Love-Matic Grandpa would probably be better than Zombie Simpsons.

    • 13 Bleeding Gums Murphy
      18 April 2015 at 12:10 pm

      With a rich and diverse cast as it had, it its last years the show could have feature more Simpsons-less episodes, in the line of “22 short stories”, but expanded to full 22-minute episodes. Yeah, the show was called “The Simpsons”, there were certain rules, but with proper care the results could have been amazing.

      • 14 torbiecat
        18 April 2015 at 1:29 pm

        I heard that the spin-off concept of focusing on other Springfield residents, which “22 Short Stories” was its backdoor pilot, was rejected because it was supposedly too hard to write for. But, what I’m confused about is what the actual format of that proposed show would had been like: would it had been directly like “22 Short Stories” in that each episode would had featured a bunch of vignettes, or would had been that a certain character or characters would had been focused on for a full twenty-two minutes? If it was the former format, I certainly can see how that would had been a problem, but I don’t see how the latter format would had been problem. Even now, there are certain long-established characters on the show who have very little backstory–I don’t see how if would had been such a huge problem to write entire episodes for these characters.

        • 15 Bleeding Gums Murphy
          18 April 2015 at 3:56 pm

          I’m not entirely sure if the story about “22 short stories” being a pilot is entirely correct. I have heard once (maybe I was sleeping) Groening wanted to make a live version of the Krusty the Clown show, and later ideas (including the spinoff series) were developed in “22 Short Stories”. There’s also the story of Phil Hartman wanting to make a live movie of Troy McClure. Maybe other Simpsons fans can help me?

          But I think the main problem with the latter idea you’re suggesting is what you describe: too little backstory for long-establised characters. Granted, there are certain characters that cannot really develop much further (Barney? He’s not A-material), but when the show really wanted to make rich backstories and character development, itgave good results. Burns himself is the central part of four episodes of Season 2 (Bart Gets Hit By a Car, Blood Feud, Two Car on Every Garage and Three Eyes on Every Fish and Brush with Greatness), and the flashbacks in “Rosebud”, “Last Exit to Springfield”, “Burns’ Heir”, and even “Burns, Baby Burns”, regardess of how quick and small they are, makes hints at an amazing adventures over the course of a very long life. Moe himself was a kid talent and part of a gang, he migrated to America and abandoned his italian roots and then he had a boxing career. Even the cheap idea of Skinner being an impostor could have really, really worked.

          Would the spinoff show have lasted many years? Probably not, but remember Sam Simon’s words: “thirteen episodes and we’re out”.

          • 18 April 2015 at 7:33 pm

            Family Guy spinoff The Cleveland Show was fun to watch.

          • 17 Sarah J
            19 April 2015 at 2:49 am

            I’ve heard of the Krusty and Troy McClure spinoffs. Apparently the Krusty one didn’t take off because the effects Groening wanted would’ve been too expensive, and McClure didn’t go anywhere because of Phil Hartman’s death.

            • 18 Charlotte Mercer
              20 April 2015 at 2:40 pm

              I thought the Troy McClure spinoff was gonna be a feature film, like how SNL’s characters sometimes have their own flicks…

        • 19 Sarah J
          19 April 2015 at 2:54 am

          Apparently the idea they had for a “22 Short Films” spinoff was that each episode would be different characters, different stories, and even different formats. But the writing staff already had their hands full with The Simpsons.

          I’m honestly pretty surprised that they never went in that direction with the main series. (they went in the opposite direction, shoving Simpson family members into stories whether or not it made sense) Even if the later seasons had a talented writing staff, eventually the show hits a point where you’ve done all you can with the characters without getting crazy.

    • 20 torbiecat
      18 April 2015 at 12:41 pm

      As far as merchandising goes, I’ve wondered why Fox and Matt Groening hadn’t tried branding things as both “Classic Simpsons” and “The Simpsons” (which would actually be what we see as Zombie Simpsons). I’m sure that a number of people would reach for the “Classic Simpsons” branded stuff, but I guess such an endevour would be logistically and monetarily be more involved than I understand.

      • 21 Sarah J
        19 April 2015 at 2:43 am

        They don’t really want to acknowledge that there’s much of a difference between the two. Even people who insist that modern episodes are so good don’t treat them the same as they do the classic episodes. I don’t see a lot of people who go “I never miss a new episode”, it’s more something they catch when they can. And when talking about best and most memorable Simpsons moments, ZS doesn’t have much to offer.

        Just as well, I’m sure most of the hardcore fans who buy lots of merchandise do it with “classic” Simpsons in mind anyway.

  4. 18 April 2015 at 9:31 am

    I think if they were ever going to cancel the show, now would be the time. With every episode rerunning on FXX for all eternity, and a streaming site where you can watch any episode your heart desires, they no longer need new episodes to keep the public aware of the series. And it’s not like people watch the new ones anyway.

    • 24 Charlotte Mercer
      20 April 2015 at 3:03 pm

      It does seem to be headed in that direction, but they might try to do what American Dad did and jump ship to cable with new episodes.

  5. 25 Stan
    18 April 2015 at 9:52 am

    ‘cept Dickens didn’t get to be booed and nobody pissed on his grave.

  6. 26 Anonymous Jerk
    18 April 2015 at 9:16 pm

    I assume Fox is just trying to lowball the staff again. It makes sense to keep Zombie Simpsons “alive” but not so much to pay top dollar for it.

  7. 30 milpool
    26 April 2015 at 12:10 am

    I have been speculating whether or not season 27 will be a complete whole season and if 28 is dropped, whether or not the show will get snatched up by another network from Murdoch’s vulture talons? It happened with Family Guy along with Futurama regarding Cartoon Network. In retrospect, while FXX is owned by News Corp. just like the parent company, will that mean new premieres of The Simpsons will be picked up as a sole FXX series, never to be broadcast on primetime ever again? FXX did dish out millions and competed with other syndicates over the airing rights for reruns so it would be an educated guess that this station would pick up where FOX left off. Another speculation is if the show will get a reboot or a spin-off and start fresh again to click with new audiences – while the current Simpsons tries to stay aligned with the current timeline, efforts seem sloppy and unnecessary at best, at worst it becomes a tarnished and confusing yarn ball (for example That 90s Episode comes off as a train wreck in the timeline.) I could see the effort for a spinoff like the previously planned Springfield pitch, I could see it working especially how the Simpson family wouldn’t be shoehorned into the meddling of others’ affairs as it has came across in many of the titled “Zombie Simpsons” episodes. While I seem obstitely optimistic about this, a rehaul could be what this series needs if someone was to delicately toe the line.

    • 31 Matthew
      27 April 2015 at 12:42 am

      “Fire everybody and start over” is the only option that would make it worthwhile to continue making new episodes. It’s gotten to the point where the show’s not even better than the things it makes fun of. It can’t get any worse than that. It’s hard for me to feel sad about the DVDs coming to a halt when the episodes not being released sucked when they were new.

      This is rock bottom for the show. It hasn’t been funny in ages and it is relevant to nothing; even animation bloggers only talk about their couch gags whenever they hire someone from the outside or if it’s a spoof of or homage to some other piece of intellectual property. The ratings are down to new lows, and if things continue like this, the time the show becomes unprofitable will be upon us. If I were programming Fox, I’d end it and put either Bob’s Burgers or Brooklyn Nine-Nine on at 8 PM unless they showed Al Jean the door. I would only let the show continue if they hired a new showrunner.

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