Posts Tagged ‘A Milhouse Divided

04
Aug
18

Quote of the Day

“It could not be more simple, Luann. You want me to show this to the cat, and have the cat tell you what it is? Cause the cat’s gonna get it.” – Kirk van Houten
“I’m sorry, I’m not as smart as you, Kirk. We didn’t all go to Gudger College.” – Luann van Houten

01
Dec
17

Quote of the Day

“You’ll do fine. My divorce was tough on my kid, but he got over it.” – Kearney
“I sleep in a drawer.” – Kearney Jr.

31
Aug
17

Alf Clausen Fired

“So that’s it, after twenty years: so long, good luck?” – Kirk van Houten
“I don’t recall saying good luck.” – Cracker Factory Manager

Last night, Variety broke the news that longtime Simpsons music guy Alf Clausen will no longer be working on Zombie Simpsons:

Clausen told Variety that he received a call from “Simpsons” producer Richard Sakai that the company was seeking “a different kind of music” and that he would no longer be scoring the longtime Fox hit.

First of all, condolences to Clausen. Getting fired is rarely fun, and getting fired by the boss’s assistant, over the phone, from a job you’ve had for a quarter of a century, and just four weeks before the next season starts is especially crappy.

The Simpsons wouldn’t have been The Simpsons without him and his orchestra. Vulture put up a nice little package of YouTube videos of some of his more memorable contributions (there’s a tiny bit of Zombie Simpsons at the end, but who cares?), but for my money it’s the smaller musical cues that are what elevated the show.

To take just one example: the end of “Old Money”. The music gets heroic as Grampa quotes Kipling, then gets taught as Homer keeps him from betting, then resolves happily after the bet would’ve missed, and finally flows seamlessly into a sweet and uplifting number as Grampa uses Bea’s money to give the old folks some dignity (and a giant TV for watching cartoons!). It’s genuinely beautiful music and the episode would end with a thud without it.

And, of course, there’s all those other moments: the few Karate Kid-esque notes when Bart is training in “Dead Putting Society”, the heavy gloom of the endless line of mail trucks in “Itchy & Scratchy & Marge”, the seemingly infinite variations on “Baby Elephant Walk” in “Dancin’ Homer”, the dramatic campaign montage from “Two Cars in Every Garage and Three Eyes on Every Fish”, and, of course, the dual endings of “Lisa’s Substitute”, first when Mr. Bergstrom leaves and then when Homer patches things up with his heartbroken daughter. Oh, silly me, I just cited examples that are only from Season 2. Clausen kept up that kind of work for years.

Variety points the finger squarely at the cheapskates at FOX:

Speculation about Clausen’s dismissal involves cost-cutting measures, which have been ongoing at “The Simpsons” in recent years, despite its massive profits for Fox and executive producer James L. Brooks’ Gracie Films.

Clausen uses a 35-piece orchestra every week — something that “Simpsons” creator Matt Groening insisted upon from the start of the show. Including costs of musicians, recording studios, and orchestration, expenses routinely run into the millions of dollars per year.

The sourcing on that is obviously less than ideal. (It’s not even an anonymous source, it’s anonymous speculation.) But it does fit overall with the direction of the show these last few years. Ratings are down, and presumably the ad rates are down along with them.

I have no idea what Clausen himself was getting paid, but 35-piece orchestras aren’t cheap. Whether or not it’s actually in the millions per year doesn’t really matter. The team of monkeys that runs FOX made a purely mercenary decision, and, from their point of view, it’s probably the correct one. How many viewers who haven’t turned the show off already are going to care if the live music gets replaced by two guys and a synthesizer? The only immediate question is whether Clausen is done right now, or if he’s staying on through the current WABF production run, which has seven episodes left.

As for what this means for the future of Zombie Simpsons, who knows? A move like this is not the behavior of a healthy production, but we knew that already. Clausen’s involuntary departure, while bad for him and the show, pales in comparison to what would’ve happened if they’d followed through on replacing Harry Shearer two years ago, and by all accounts they were dead serious about that. FOX has already picked up Zombie Simpsons for two more production runs, which will take it through a full Season 30 and into at least a partial Season 31 in the fall of 2019. Whether or not this is a harbinger of the end won’t be known until next fall at the earliest.

Meanwhile, Zombie Simpsons has managed to get even worse than it already was. Given that it’s already unwatchably dull, this at least qualifies as somewhat impressive.

Good luck, Alf. We love you and your work and we always will!

Update: Clausen confirms on Twitter that the orchestra has also been fired. We now bring you an exclusive sneak peak of the new musical coordinator for Seasons 29 and 30:

Update 2: In a move that shows they’ve learned the importance of weaseling out of things, the show has released a very weaselly statement:

“We tremendously value Alf Clausen’s contributions to the Simpsons and he will continue to have an ongoing role in the show,” producers said in a statement provided to Deadline. “We remain committed to the finest in music for the Simpsons, absolutely including orchestral. This is the part where we would make a joke but neither Alf’s work nor the music of the Simpsons is treated as anything but seriously by us.”

It’s not clear what his ongoing role will be.

Jean tweeted out the link, so this is official. It’s also about as vague and non-specific as it’s possible to be in English. There’s nothing definite, no denial of the earlier report that Clausen and the orchestra are gone, and no concrete replacement offered. 

At best this could set the stage for a triumphant reunion like what happened with Shearer two years ago. More likely this is a cover-your-ass publicity move that doesn’t change a thing. 

01
Dec
16

Quote of the Day

non-stickcoating

“Hey, Lis, check this out: non-stick coating.” – Bart Simpson

14
Nov
16

Quote of the Day

forgeteverything

“I must say, Luann, you’re really handling this splendidly.” – Marge Simpson
“From now on, forget everything you thought you knew about Luann van Houten!” – Luann van Houten
“Actually, Luann, I don’t really know anything about you.” – Marge Simpson
“Forget it! She’s gone! Presto change-o, kaboom! Sweet Fanny Adams, bye-bye!” – Luann van Houten

Happy birthday, Maggie Roswell!

20
May
16

Reading Digest: Cake and Stupidity Edition

WhaleOfAWife

“See? You don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a first class wedding reception.” – Homer Simpson

Zombie Simpsons had a gimmick last Sunday, which was Castellaneta taking live calls while very little happened on screen. It was novel but pointless, so as far as the desperation of their publicity stunts go, this ranks somewhere in the middle. Marketing and pageview desperation being what they are, plenty of people on the internet wrote it up. There’s a couple links below, though none of it is really all that interesting. The tl;dr version is that they used thinking machine super computers. In more savory and less advertised news, we also have two links to Simpsons cakes.

Enjoy.

Celebrating 25 Years Of The Simpsons With Cake – This is fantastic, custom baked cakes with Simpsons characters based off of other art and images. Fair use has never been this delicious.

Cooking The Simpsons: Whale of a Wife Cake – More cake! (And this one includes step-by-step instructions.)

15 Simpsons Coffee Gifs You Need In Your Life – Sprudge – These are great (thanks again, Frinkiac!), and there’s nary a trace of Zombie Simpsons.

The Simpsons live – how you can do it yourself – This is kinda neat in and of itself, but there’s no getting around the fact that it looked awful. I remember when Forrest Gump came out, there were stories on the news about all the fancy computer machines they used to make the various Presidents mouth movements from old footage. Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, all of them looked like crap then and still do now. So does this.

Woo Hoo! The Simpsons TV Show and Adobe Make Live Animation Television History – For the curious, here’s Adobe’s official explanation of it.

How ‘The Simpsons’ Will Pull Off a ‘Live’ Episode – Speakeasy – WSJ – Jean doing publicity. He’s a trooper.

The Simpsons: “Simprovised” Review – IGN – Reader Noah B sent in this link and reminded me of the old “Syngery” segment I used to do here. For those who haven’t been reading this blog since 2010, IGN (which was owned by FOX at the time) used to write these fawning reviews of Zombie Simpsons, and I used to fisk them. This isn’t nearly as bad, but is still desperately scratching for nice things to say:

The seminar itself was fairly entertaining. Having had his one and only ice-breaker stolen by Mr. Burns, Homer had a complete and total meltdown on stage. It was there we learned that Mr. Burns keeps a group of therapy hounds on call for just such a situation. Sadly, like so many episodes in recent years, the writers never managed to follow through on their initial premise.

Office workers start a Post-it war, and stick with it – Marge and Maggie made with post-it notes in a window. It’s great, they even got he pearls right.

‘The Simpsons’ Recap: 9 Truths (and 5 Lies) in Live Comedy – Here’s a fawning recap of their latest dumb publicity stunt.

America’s trendiest new bar is your living room – There are fewer bars and more liquor stores than there used to be. Since I am pro bar and pro liquor store, I don’t know how to feel about this, but here’s a nice quote from a scientist:

The local bar is a classic “third place” in American life — after work and home, it’s a place where people can go to relax, catch up on local news and above all, connect with friends and neighbors. Think of Moe’s from “The Simpsons” or Cheers from, uh, “Cheers.” Third places “are the heart of a community’s social vitality, the grassroots of democracy, but sadly, they constitute a diminishing aspect of the American social landscape,” sociologist Ray Oldenburg has written.

The Eerie Unsolved Mystery of THE SIMPSONS’ Infamous “Dead Bart” Episode – This is clickbait to the point that I almost don’t want to link it. Do people actually think this is a thing? The YouTube video they link is obviously footage from other episodes layered under a bunch of dumb video effects. Anyway, it’s not true.

5YJevvW.jpg (JPEG Image, 750 × 897 pixels) – Scaled (82%) – The kids are alright.

Vtg 90’s Bart Simpson Cropped Stonewash Denim Jacket-JKL1042 – Swanky.

Student turns Raspberry Pi into epic Simpsons episode shuffler – This is a wonderful use of technology.

Here’s how old The Simpsons family would be if they aged in real time – If we were only so lucky.

The One TV Show To Watch With Your Mother Isn’t One You’d Expect | Bustle – Via our old friends Denise and Karma, comes this belated Mother’s Day link.

Homer Simpson celebrates his 60th birthday today – Homer’s driver’s license in “Duffless” puts his birthday on May 12th, 1956. I’ve said this before and I’ll probably say it again, but part of what makes Homer (and Marge) great is that they are perfect caricatures of late model Baby Boomers.

Man Getting Hit By Football (Film) – TV Tropes – There is important stuff on the internet.  (Thanks, Noah B!)

Mike Reiss, CoCreator Of The Simpsons, Gives Us 10 Quotes So Funny Youll Be Rolling On The Floor – They’re not that funny, but they’re kinda funny:

“Donald Duck is a character right out of gay porn. He wears a sailor’s suit and no pants!”

The Simpsons Autographed Movie Poster – This is a Craigslist post:

This is a 27 x 40 “Simpsons” Movie Poster Hand Signed by Yeardley Smith, Dan Castellaneta, Nancy Cartwright, and Julie Kavner Albert Brooks, Minnie Driver, Kelsey Grammer, Pamela Hayden, Hank Azaria, Harry Shearer, Joe Mantegna, Maggie Roswell, Russi Taylor, Matt Groening

All signatures are hand signed and Guaranteed to be Authentic.

Minnie Driver?

‘Family Guy’ was renewed and hardly anyone noticed – Family Guy got renewed. The dusty remnants of FOX’s animation Sunday will remain on the air for another year at least.

Admirable Animation #47: Homer Badman [The Simpsons] – YouTube – Reader Toadat sends in this YouTube video that accurately points out that “Homer Badman” and its vicious portrayal of scandal media has aged very, very well.

How the Simpsons are helping Derby Uni students learn about handwriting – This is nice and all, but I thought handwriting analysis was dismissed as quackery a hundred and sixty years ago.

The Simpsons isn’t really very funny anymore: everything we learned from Homer’s live chat – And finally, I get to end with someone who agrees with us, even about Zombie Simpsons’ most recent stunt:

1) Live is a magic word

2) Homer didn’t exactly bomb, but he ’s better with a script.

3) The Simpsons isn’t really very funny anymore

Yup.

01
Dec
15

Quote of the Day

A Milhouse Divided22

“Man, that is flagrant false advertising!” – Otto




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Even though it’s obvious to anyone with a functional frontal lobe and a shred of morality, we feel the need to include this disclaimer. This website (which openly advocates for the cancellation of a beloved television series) is in no way, shape or form affiliated with the FOX Network, the News Corporation, subsidiaries thereof, or any of Rupert Murdoch’s wives or children. “The Simpsons” is (unfortunately) the intellectual property of FOX. We and our crack team of one (1) lawyer believe that everything on this site falls under the definition of Fair Use and is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. No revenue is generated from this endeavor; we’re here because we love “The Simpsons”. And besides, you can’t like, own a potato, man, it’s one of Mother Earth’s creatures.