Posts Tagged ‘Selma’s Choice


Quote of the Day

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“I’m Lionel Hutz, executor of Miss Bouvier’s estate.  She left a video will, so I earn my fee simply by pressing this play button.  Pretty sweet, eh?” – Lionel Hutz


Zombie Simpsons Scenarios: Season 24 and Beyond

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“I want to get off.” – Bart Simpson
“You can’t get off, we have five more continents to visit.” – Selma Bouvier

Between Comic-Con and the fact that FOX opened up the animation department to a bunch of reporters a couple of weeks ago, there has been a flurry of news-ish reports in my inbox of late.  Most of these are fluff and contain nothing in the way of real news for the already plugged-in Simpsons fan.  However, a few interesting tidbits did slip out, and it’s worth taking a look at the available production, calendar and contract information to sketch out a few rough scenarios about where the show is vis-a-vis the end of its current deal and its continuation into the indefinite future.

Speculating about this is inherently inaccurate, so I’ve broken things down into four scenarios (the first two of which I consider unlikely but which I’ve included because they are possible based on currently available information):

  1. Season 23 is it, the show ends with an hour long finale consisting of back-to-back episodes on May 27th, 2012.
  2. The current contract is it, the show ends in November 2012 with a shortened Season 24.
  3. The current contract is extended to fill out Season 24 with an abbreviated production run.
  4. The current contract is extended to fill out a full production run, which will complete Season 24 and have episodes left over for a potential Season 25. 

First, a note on “production” versus “broadcast”.  To understand this, you need to differentiate between the broadcast seasons and the production runs.  Where the seasons are numbered, the production runs are alphabetical, followed by the letters “ABF”.  (I’ve added a hyphen (e.g. M-ABF) to make it a little easer to read.)  Since Zombie Simpsons settled into its current stupor at the turn of the millennium, it has followed a very predictable pattern.  The first third of a season (roughly seven or eight episodes) is from the previous year’s production run, and the rest is from that year’s production run.

Season 21, for example, had eight episodes from the L-ABF production run (L-ABF 13-20), the rest are from the M-ABF production run (M-ABF 1-15).  Season 22 had the remaining seven episodes from the M-ABF production run (M-ABF 16-22) plus fifteen from the N-ABF production run (N-ABF 1-15).  Season 23 will finish out the N-ABF run and then most of it will be from P-ABF.  [Ed note: see update at bottom.]

So when you read a report that says that the show is signed through Season 23, what that really means is that the current contract ends with the P-ABF production run.  The first episode of Season 23, scheduled for September 25th, will be the show’s 487th.  According to the often dubiously informed entertainment press, the current contract with FOX runs through episode #515, which should be episode P-ABF-22.  The possibilities:

Scenario #1 – Season 23 exhausts the current contract and contains twenty-nine episodes.  There are several problems with this, starting with the fact that there has never been a twenty-nine episode season.  The longest seasons were twenty-five episodes, but those ended with Season 9.  Zombie Simpsons tends to be right around twenty-one or twenty-two.

Furthermore, for reasons of sweeps and advertising rates, most big series finales happen in May.  But they’ve announced that the 500th episode is going to be broadcast on February 19th of next year and there are only fourteen Sundays between that date and the last Sunday in May (the 27th).  In order to cram them all in, they’d need to run a new episode every week from the 500th to the series finale, when they’d have to send things off with back-to-back episodes.  That seems unlikely.

It’s also worth mentioning that the current turnaround time on a typical episode is nine months.  If things were going to end in May, they would already be getting ready to shut down production (telling animators and the like that their contracts won’t be renewed), and something like that would presumably be hard to keep off the internet.

Finally, I’m not an expert on how sweeps months work, but it would also appear that the 27th is outside the sweeps period for 2012.  Put all of these together, and Season 23 seems very unlikely to be the end of things.

Scenario #2 – Season 23 ends normally in May of next year, followed by a brief Season 24 in Fall 2012.  If it’s a standard twenty-two episode season, then the season finale would be episode #508.  That would leave seven episodes left on the P-ABF production run at the conclusion of Season 23, but seven episodes does not a full season make.  A September start to a seven episode Season 24 would allow them to end things in the November 2012 sweeps period, but such a move would be highly unusual.  It would also leave a gaping hole in FOX’s Sunday animation lineup with most of the season still to go.  This too seems unlikely.

Scenarios #1 and #2 posit that the show ends with the P-ABF production run, but the calendar and the vicissitudes of network television argue against it.  The question then becomes how those seven episodes from P-ABF are complimented.

Scenario #3 – FOX orders a partial production run of Q-ABF (approximately fifteen episodes) to fill out Season 24 and end the series in May of 2013.  For the avid Simpsons fan, this is the best, realistic scenario.

Scenario #4 – FOX orders a full production run of Q-ABF (probably twenty-two episodes).  This will allow for a complete Season 24 and enough holdover episodes to get Season 25 started in the fall of 2013.  Essentially, this scenario just winds the clock ahead one year, with the dangling end of a production run still loose for 2013 and the door open for a full or partial order of R-ABF.

What all four of these scenarios take into account is the fact that the overhang from the end of one season to the end of a production run creates some odd broadcasting problems.  As long as FOX continues to order episodes in blocks of twenty-two, this overhang will persist.  When (if?) FOX orders an abbreviated production run, even if it is accompanied by a full order (e.g. they order a full Q-ABF and a partial R-ABF at the same time), then we may be getting close to the end of the show.  Until then, all we have is the nine month delay in production and the fickle whims of the television gods.

Given the nine month delay, we can expect some kind of information about the all but inevitable order for Q-ABF sometime in the next six months.  If it’s a full order and they take the show to episode 537 (or close to it), then the cycle starts over.  If it’s a partial order, then we might finally see the end of Zombie Simpsons.  Don’t hold your breath.

[2 August 2011: Edited letters of production runs because Zombie Simpsons is going to skip “O-ABF”.  See comments for details.]


Quote of the Day

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“Look, it’s the Seven Duffs!” – Lisa Simpson
“There’s Tipsy, and there’s Queasy!” – Bart Simpson
“There’s Surly, and Remorseful!” – Lisa Simpson
“Hey!  Take a picture, it’ll last longer.  Get out of here!” – Surly


Quote of the Day

“Ugh. Back to the loch with you, Nessie.” – Groundskeeper Willie


Mmmm, Pareidolia

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“To Marge, I leave my collection of potato chips that resemble celebrities.  They’re all here, Otto von Bismarck, Maurice Chevalier, right up to Jay Leno.  These chips were my children Marjorie, take special care of them.” – Aunt Gladys

[Quote edited on 12 August because our commenters are better at this than I am.]

The human brain is adept at seeing patterns even where there are no patterns.  Looking at the chip below, I can’t quite agree with this:

Drinkers at the Caroline of Brunswick in Ditchling Road, Brighton, were stunned when the star of hit animation show The Simpsons appeared on top of the bowl when the lunchtime snacks were poured out.

Landlord Peter Thornton, 42, said: “As a Simpsons fan, I was delighted to bag my own Homer. I’m a fan of crisps. They’re far better than Doh!-nuts.”

Homer Chip

Image shamelessly stolen from

I guess that looks like Homer.  Of course, it also kind of looks like this image of the Aral Sea from 1985.  And if we rotate it 180 degrees, it kind of looks like a hand grenade:

Homer Chip (rotated)

Incidentally, the comments at that story are quite fun.  My two favorites:

The drinkers were stunned by the chip?
Doesn’t say much for the drinks then, does it?


Utterly uncanny likeness.
Looks just like a crisp with a hole in it.
Light news day?


Quote of the Day

Selma's Choice4

“One drop of this love potion, and you will have any man you desire.” – Princess Opal
“Really?  What are the magical ingredients?” – Selma Bouvier
“Mostly corn syrup, a little rubbing alcohol, you’ll be lucky if it doesn’t make your hair fall out, actually.” – Princess Opal


December 16th, 1989

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“All in favor of skipping the poem? . . . Thank you.” – Homer Simpson

Twas the night before Simpsons, and all through the land
Not a creature suspected the earthquake at hand
The premier had been set, the ads had been bought
‘Tho even the cast knew all might be for naught

Writers, directors, and, yes, the execs
Even the artists had stuck out their necks
Cartoons were for kids, not serious fare
Drawings weren’t worthy of prime network air

But the fox was unfazed, it had nothing to lose
Barely begun, there was no great ego to bruise
It ordered the toons, a lucky thirteen
In hopes people wanted more from their screen

Parents and teachers, the stodgy and old
Hated this show with the guts to be bold
For the smart and the young it was more than a fad
This dimwitted father and his spiky haired lad

Mother and daughters, indeed a whole town
Teachers and preachers and even a clown
A horrible place, the fans knew it well
Their elders had built it, they called it hell

Instead of slick lies that were usually shown
Was the true broken world in which they had grown
The schools were bad and the work even worse
The American Dream turned to a curse

Yet all was not lost, not while you could laugh
That’s the great message of the writing staff
Your life may be bad, just an unending trial
But others are worse, so you’ve reason to smile

Sit on your duff and crack open a beer
Watch TV? That’s what we wanted to hear


Quote of the Day

Selma's Choice2

“What are the odds of getting sick on a Saturday?  A thousand to one!” – Homer Simpson


Quote of the Day

“Marge, I’d like to be alone with the sandwich for a moment.” – Homer Simpson

“Are you going to eat it?” – Marge Simpson
(pause) “Yes.” – Homer Simpson

Quote of the Day

“See the happiest fish in the world at our fabulous Beerquarium!” – TV Announcer


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