It was crazy. On February 22, Bart was a trending topic on Twitter and no one knew why. Then inexplicably, people were tweeting that it was Bart’s 32nd birthday. As a Simpsonologist, I was flummoxed. I knew there was no reason for anyone to think it was Bart’s birthday. So I got to bottom of it, and the story was even funnier than I imagined. So I asked Splitsider if I could write an article about it for them. Luckily, the editor said yes. Read my article here.
For those of you not in the know, my BFF Karma and I wrote a book called The Simpsons in the Classroom: Embiggening the Learning Experience with the Wisdom of Springfield. It was published last year by McFarland Publishing. Not only is this the gleaming accomplishment in my life so far, but it has also led me to meet some amazing people.
In July, I received an email from Josh Weinstein, who used to be a Simpsons writer and show-runner, telling me he had just ordered our book from Amazon and was excited to read it after seeing the course syllabus (adapted from the actual syllabus Karma uses at UC-Davis in her Simpsons course) that was printed in Pop Candy, where I was a guest blogger for Whitney Matheson while she was on vacation. Josh and I have been emailing since, and he hopes to be able to visit Karma’s Simpsons class in Davis in the coming months. Josh Weinstein might be the nicest, humblest, awesomest TV writer on the planet.
A couple months later, Karma and I both received an email from Chris Ledesma, music editor for The Simpsons, telling us he loves our tweets. (You, too, can follow Chris on Twitter). You can’t imagine how that made us feel! He said he hadn’t bought the book yet, but he planned to, and if we ever wanted to be his guests for an orchestral recording session for the show to let him know. (We found out later that Grammar Girl podcaster and author Mignon Fogarty told Chris about us over email, so we thank her in part for this wonderful opportunity).
What do you think we did? We let him know that we would LOVE to be his guests. Who would turn down such a generous offer? Since MLA was planned for Los Angeles in 2011, we decided to double up our trip to Los Angeles with business and pleasure (tax write-off, babies!) — MLA (we are both part of the Margaret Atwood Society, whose business meeting is held during the MLA conference every year) and a Fox visit. And I sent a book to Chris as a pre-thank you that I signed for him. In my inscription, I apologized that the book doesn’t talk all that much about music, but, in the words of Marge Simpson, “Music is none of my business.”
Finally, after a nice visit to my parents’ place in Arizona (I know, I know, I thought I was boycotting AZ, too) it was L.A. trip time. Karma and I landed at LAX within an hour of each other, and my very good friend Justin picked us up. He and his fiancee, Kathy, allowed us to stay over at their place. We had a fun dinner with an adorable server who we overtipped. I was still blissfully ignorant of the fact that I was getting sick (I was telling myself that my sore throat was simply due to the dry Arizona air and not drinking enough water).
That night I slept terribly and Friday morning I awoke to a full fledged cold. I took handfulls of the cold medicine Karma always brings with her, and we got in the car. Our visit began by meeting Josh Weinstein at 10:00 at the Futurama trailer (where we swiped authentic Matt Groening doodles off the table in the re-write room).
With Josh, we walked around the lot a bit and saw such highlights as Conan’s old office door and the outside of Matt Groening’s office. Karma was certain she got a smile from Shia LeBeouf, and I believe her, even though I didn’t notice him at all.
Outside the Simpsons buildings, we bumped into Ian Maxton-Graham (ridiculous fans will know him as a very tall man who inspired a character from “22 Short Films About Springfield”) and Bill Odenkirk.
At Moe’s Bar, Josh bought us coffee, who, in addition to being an incredibly nice guy, was co-writer of some of our favorite episodes, such as “Bart vs. Australia” and “Sideshow Bob Roberts.” Now he is co-executive producer of Futurama, and if you haven’t been watching it lately on Comedy Central, for shame! You’re missing out; they’re doing some of their best work.
At 11:00, Josh left us in the capable hands of Chris Ledesma, the music editor of The Simpsons and, after all, the reason we were there as he had invited us to observe a recording session for the show. We had a nice lunch with Chris and toured important points of interest to the Simpsons fanatic, such as the Marge Simpson ADR Stage (where Bones was being recorded at the moment, so we couldn’t enter). I quipped “You mean Angel could be behind that door?”
Chris also took us to the Fox store where we picked out swag (at very reasonable prices). Karma got her son a hoodie, I got a t-shirt, reusable canvas shopping bag, and some groovy Homer magnets (pictured below). Chris remarked “Oh, I need a new antenna topper” as if we were at Target and he was mentioned he needed paper towels. I got one, too, for the record. I chose Blinky.
Next, we stopped by the writer’s room, where we saw Bill again and met Joel Cohen, Rob LaZebnik, Brian Kelley, Matt Warburton, Mike Price, and finally Michael Nobori, who wrote the recent hilarious episode “To Surveil With Love.”
[Aside about Michael: I've been chatting with another pop culture lover, Matt, over Twitter. Matt knows Michael, so I took this opportunity to ask Michael if I might end up in a body bag or in pieces in the Pacific should I have lunch with Matt alone. "Nah," Michael said, "You should be fine." With that glowing endorsement, I did meet Matt and had a lovely time.]
While Karma and I were tempted to plop down at the writers’ table and pitch some story ideas and/or yank out our cameras and get super gooey fangirlish, we somehow restrained ourselves and exchanged pleasantries. As both of us have “Simpsonologist” on our business cards, we shared our cards, passing some out and leaving more on the table. Somehow the conversation veered towards hamboning. (I actually think Karma brought it up). At some point I asked, “Who in here are we NOT yet following on Twitter?” Mike Price announced that we weren’t following him, and he pulled out his smart phone and followed us on the spot. (We are now following him as well). Another question was answered: who writes the tweets for Homer Simpson? (There are several Homers on Twitter, but one of them is a verified account). The answer:
the tweets are mostly written by Joel. Joel Cohen, Mike Price,and Jeff Westbrook write them (but Mike says Joel’s posts are funniest).
We were touched at how absolutely kind everyone was to us– we’ve often worried that the minds behind The Simpsons might see us as bottom-feeders piggybacking on the popularity of the show for our own gain, but that has not at all been the case. Everyone we’ve talked to involved with the show (with the exception of Fox legal, of course, who one writer referred to as “the ruiner of all fun”) has been very cool to us. In the case of Chris, he told us with reverence and wonder about how everything lined up for him to have his job, (from way back before his Tracey Ullman Show days) and I think he is just as awe-filled about the whole organism that is The Simpsons as we are. I think when the people involved with the show learn about our book, they appreciate that what we’re doing with our book is out of a place of immense respect. Plus, our book is original educational material and is not simply a rehashing of all the movie references on the show like so many seem to be, or, in the case of John Ortved, writing a book that comes from a place of bitterness, gossip, and cruelty. (I hated the Ortved book. You can read my review of it on Amazon). Our book talks about how the show can and should be used in various classes, which is a huge compliment to those who write and create the show, and I think the writers get that. Josh definitely does, as so many of his episodes are on our syllabi. And the fact that my email address is a nod to one of his jokes helps, too. (My email address is “marzipanjoy” and Josh came up with Uter’s candy, Marzipan Joy Joys).
It was creeping up on 2:00, so Chris took us over to where the music happens. We got the see the orchestra area and noticed music stands with sheet music that the musicians were just seeing for the first time that day. This music was for the episode “Flaming Moe,” to air on January 16. (This was January 7– very fast turnaround indeed!) The episode will feature Scott Thompson (of The Kids in the Hall) reprising his role as Grady ["Three Gays of the Condo"] as well as Kristen Wiig as a substitute music teacher and Alyson Hannigan as her daughter). Next, Chris brought us up to the booth where we met the venerable and adorable Alf Clausen. Somehow, shaking the man’s hand seemed not enough, so I told him I just really wanted to hug him. Wordlessly, he opened his arms to receive my hug (the first of many that day).
Chris brought his copy of our book and showed it to people when he introduced us, and Karma had a chance to sign the book, too. Not many people have both of our autographs in the book — just people who were at our launch party and just a few that were mailed, such as Al Yankovic (who gave us permission to reprint his lyrics in the book). I don’t even have Karma’s auto in my copy!
The music began and we were stunned and impressed at how quickly the musicians got the music and how few takes it took for Chris and Alf (yes, “Alf.” I tried to call him “Mr. Clausen” and he wasn’t having it) to get what they wanted. We were also surprised the episode wasn’t quite done at that point– there were times when the footage on the screen was still in storyboards. The show is a machine; they know what they’re doing. Maybe you’ve never noticed the music before; if you haven’t, that means that the music is doing its job. Alf’s music suits the show so perfectly and works to create the feel of the scene that it’s actually perfect if it’s not noticed. Sometimes the music isn’t background but is part of the plot, and you will notice, I’m sure, the piano music in this episode that is made in the style of an old silent film. (At that point, Chris called down to the conductor that the music should sound more “upright and less grand.” And in the next take, the piano sound was definitely the brighter, looser sound that you expect to come from an old upright piano). An hour or so into the session, there was a small break and Alf asked if I needed another hug. I did. I didn’t want to let go, and he said, “You just let me know when we’re done.”
When the recording was over, Chris let us choose some sheet music that he signed for us. Karma brought her journal and had everyone sign inside her journal; I had brought the booklet from The Simpsons Season 7 (when Josh Weinstein was showrunner) for Josh to sign, and had Alf sign it as well. Karma and I were sad to go. We walked outside and turned our cell phones on (they had to be powered completely down so as to not interfere with the recording equipment) and I found a text message from David Silverman, the director of many brilliant Simpsons episodes (such as “Mother Simpson” and “Krusty Gets Kancelled”) and The Simpsons Movie.
[Aside about David Silverman: David was the first person involved with the show that Karma and I had contact with, thanks to Twitter. One day when I was working on the book, I tweeted "This linguistics chapter is kicking my ass" (or something equally eloquent) and David responded “I would so fail your class.” When I saw that David was following Simpsonology on Twitter (and after I stopped jumping up and down, squeaking, and was calmed down enough to call Karma to tell her to get online NOW), I sent him a DM and we began a friendship of sorts. He answered several questions during the book writing process. You may have noticed that he is thanked first on the book’s acknowledgments page.
David was not able to come to Fox during the day as he had meetings elsewhere, but he was able to meet all of us at a bar called The Tar Pit that evening. (David did the drawings for The Tar Pit’s menu, and because of that, he is welcome there anytime. But once you meet David Silverman, you’d welcome him to your place anytime, too. He is funny, warm, and remarkably handsome, you know, for an animator. Or whatever).
At the bar, Karma and I supplied him with paper and pens and he doodled for us. Below is the one he did for me, held onto my fridge by the magnets I bought at the Fox store. Sadly, his doodle did not stand up well to the chaos that is my purse.
I joked with David about my holiday card– he had sent one last year, so I was wondering why I didn’t get one this year. He said “I think it’s in the mail,” and I responded with “Yeah, my mom told me the big lies. It’s in the mail. The package is on the truck . . .” (I didn’t supply the third, which is R rated). When I got home Wednesday night, amongst the bills and junk, indeed, my new year’s card was there.
Karma left L.A. on Sunday evening, and I had a few more days in L.A. to spend with Justin and Kathy (both of whom, by the way, caught my cold. I am the best house guest EVER).
Wednesday night, I came home to cloudy, gray, dirty Chicago and cried. The only feeling I can compare it to is when I finally saw Bon Jovi for the first time. I had looked forward to it for so long, and then in the car on the way home, I was let down. Not because I didn’t love the concert, but because I felt like I’d never experience anything so awesome ever again. (Of course, I have experienced things at least as awesome as my first Bon Jovi concert, but do you know that feeling that life will never be that amazing again?)
[this originally appeared on www.simpsonology.com, the day after the Banksy intro on The Simpsons]
I am occasionally confronted by haters.
The haters who bug me the most are the ones who say The Simpsons isn’t funny or relevant anymore. So, today, with a smile on my face and a Duff in my hand (okay, a Newcastle), I say with confidence and conviction to the haters: Suck it.
Anyone who was online today (and especially if they have a Twitter account) knows that the Internets have been dominated by The Simpsons. Not what you’d expect from a show that’s entered its tired 22nd season, is irrelevant, and hit its stride in 1993, because clearly, the haters are wrong. Irrelevant shows don’t dominate the media, from Twitter to Forbes to Chicago Now to Entertainment Weekly. Everyone is talking about Sunday night’s episode of The Simpsons.
Of course, what everyone has been talking about is the couch gag by Banksy. People have been buzzing about how “subversive” it was. How “ballsy” it was. How sassy to Fox it was. The truth is, The Simpsons has always been subversive. It’s always been ballsy. It’s always been sassy to Fox. This is not news.
The real news in my eyes is that they asked and got Banksy to do a couch gag. The news to me is that Banksy did the couch gag, the show was able to maintain about 95% of it after Fox made their comments, and that it was kept under wraps– it was nowhere on the Internets before the episode aired. According to Al Jean, The Simpsons sought out Banksy and gave him freedom to create. What other show has the good sense and creativity to reward their viewers with an intro by Banksy, a visit from Flight of the Conchords‘ Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement that featured music McKenzie and Clement wrote and produced, an unexpected cameo by Ira Glass, and three of the cast of Glee, and a chat with Mark Zuckerberg, all in just three episodes? It’s not just the fact that they get these guests that makes the show relevant (but the caliber guest stars they continue to attract certainly says a lot), but the way that the writers create stories that allow their guests to shine while still not overshadowing the regular cast (nor messing with the chronology and the flavor of the show) makes the show fresh and germane to the culture, but it also teaches a lesson that the writers of all other scripted shows, animated or not, could learn a thing or two from. This is not new or renewed in season 22: two years ago while we were drafting the book, Karma and I actually named a chapter of our book “The Simpsons and the Outside World: Culturally Literate and Socially Significant” because we feel that it’s always reflected, affected, and satirized our culture.
Last week, The Simpsons was a big topic (albeit not like this week) because people were excited that Mark Zuckerberg was a guest star. During the week that The Social Network opened, a film that doesn’t show Zuckerberg in the most flattering light, where did he appear? The Oprah Winfrey Show and The Simpsons. And on Oprah, he had to give away $100 million. On The Simpsons, he just got to be himself.
Season 22 of The Simpsons so far has been The Simpsons at its best. They are seriously bringing the funny. The writing is sharp and clever. It doesn’t reek of effort and feel forced (like some animated shows I could mention, but won’t, because that’s not the topic here). The show has always been one that rewards close viewing (slogans at stores, etc.) and close listening (puns, inside jokes), and even reaches out to their know-it-all fans and to specialized geeks with jokes, sometimes even extended jokes like last night’s focus on obscure baseball references. I haven’t re-watched last night’s episode yet, but when I do, I guarantee I will catch jokes that I missed last night. Why am I so sure? Because it’s been true of every single episode; they’ve established some precedent. The show has always been layered– including something for everyone, including physical humor, wordplay, hysterical throwaway lines, Easter eggs, and self-referentiality. Take last night’s episode, “MoneyBART.” As soon as we learned that Mike Scioscia was going to be on, we big fans knew they’d have to address the radiation poisoning he experienced in 1992′s “Homer at the Bat.” In fact, when I tweeted that Scioscia would be on, several followers @ replied me, wondering if they’d mention it. And they did address it (an expected callback) but, perhaps to offset the expected, they threw in a bonus, unexpected reference to an different episode that perhaps casual fans didn’t catch: the megaphone bit was a hat tip to 1997′s “The Secret War of Lisa Simpson.”
I am seriously excited for this season and what’s to come. Before Banksy, the Twittersphere was stoked for Daniel Radcliffe being in the “Treehouse of Horror” episode this year. I am too, but after the past three episodes, I don’t know what else I’m excited for; I just know I am looking forward to Sunday nights more than ever.
I usually try not to engage the haters and trolls because it’s kind of stupid and a waste of energy to do that, but because The Simpsons is seriously bringing it, I’m inspired to bring it too. And, frankly, I’m seriously right.
On the few occasions that I have attempted to talk to the haters, to ask them what the problem is and what the show could do to win them over or win them back, it becomes glaringly obvious that they’ve never watched the show or haven’t seen an episode since 1998. I’ve been watching it straight through since The Tracey Ullman Show, and I assure you: The Simpsons has remained clever, satirical, and really fucking funny. The haters just didn’t know it because they were busy raising Two and a Half Men‘s ratings (yeah, thanks for that).
Anyway, why should the fact that some people aren’t Simpsons fans have anything to do with those of us who love The Simpsons? The truth is, it doesn’t. For example, I hate fishing shows. I hate outdoorsy TV channels in general, and all the shows they air. I hate their commercials for lures. I find them offensive. When I am flipping channels and I come across one of those shows, I feel my chest tense up and have to fight back my rage. But do I go on the Internet and voice my dislike? This is the first time. Do I go to The Ultimate Fishing Show with Matt Watson‘s forum and comment about how much I hate the show and hate fishing? No, no I do not. Do I think that sportsman channels should be taken off the air? Well, of course not, because I understand that not everyone has the same tastes as mine.
Nor should they. But they should STFU, as I promise to do from now on about fishing shows*.
So to anyone who has suggested that The Simpsons has lost its stride, I say it again: Suck it.
*Honestly, I’m making it up for the sake of this discussion. I couldn’t be more indifferent about fishing shows.
Why is there such a movement towards angry feminism these days? We need a big tent, people. There’s room enough for many flavors of feminism, but I ask that you hear my argument for materialist feminism.
For starters, there’s been some Tina Fey bashing. This isn’t new– some feminist bloggers have been complaining about Fey for a while. One (Melissa McEwan) even railed Tina Fey (harshly) for not being proud of her scar. Mederma ads must offend her to the core. (Anyone with a scar knows that the feelings towards it are more complicated than just “I hate my scar because of society’s idea of beauty” blah blah blah. And Tina Fey’s is no exception).
Liz Lemon’s style of feminism has been critiqued for quite some time (some bloggers calls it “Liz Lemonism”). Liz Lemon is privileged and white, after all, and has more than her fair share of babycrazy. Some bloggers argue that Liz Lemon and the other characters on 30 Rock don’t do much for feminism. Chloe Angyal can’t stand that Tina Fey is pretty, saying she’s too hot to play Liz Lemon. In the same post as the scar issue above, McEwan shows she doesn’t get the humor of 30 Rock by explaining her irritation with the behavior of Jenna (she’s a joke, Melissa–a caricature of the diva). She also completely misses the point of a joke made at Maxim‘s expense.
This week, Rebecca Traister wrote a very terrific and interesting article for Salon about the Tina Fey backlash, which has gained steam after feminist complaints about several of the sketches Fey appeared in during her recent SNL hosting gig. Normally, the flavor and quality of a sketch wouldn’t be pushed onto the guest host, but because Fey had formerly been head writer for the show, and because so many of the sketches had that distinct Fey humor about them, it’s safe, I think, to assume that she had some part in writing most of Saturday’s show.
Is it anti-feminist to mock Sarah Palin’s stupidity or Bombshell McGee’s homewrecking skills? What’s terrible is that someone on Twitter (who calls herself a feminist) suggested that Fey’s husband is cheating on her because Fey took issue with Bombshell McGee during Weekend Update. I say it’s more anti-feminist that women like Sarah Palin and Bombshell McGee exist; for a comedian to critique/mock their behavior (especially a female comedian) brings some equilibrium to the situation. We do feminism no favors by protecting women like Bombshell McGee and Sarah Palin. They need to be called out on their crap and crimes against other women, as Tina did so well on Saturday.
Consider the brownie husband sketch for a moment.
I’m tempted to write about how it reminds me of a certain Simpsons episode in which Homer behaves quite the same way in a motel room, but I’ll let that go. For now. In the meantime, let’s consider what the feminists have to say. One says that Fey is using this “pathetic single woman” trope as a refrain. (Referring also to Liz Lemon). To them I say, it’s comedy! Lighten up! We want freedom in comedy; we don’t want to be tiptoed around, do we? We can’t have it both ways, girls.
And besides, as I watched and rewatched the commercial, it seems to me that the parody is more of a joke on dating and how much it sucks, difficulty of finding the right guy, etc. etc. Women are not so simple as to just need chocolate at the end of the day, and men are not so simple as to be easily replaced by chocolate at the end of the day. Fey’s humor is more layered than she’s often credited for.
It wasn’t so long ago that male comedians contended that no women were funny. Fey became the first female head writer of SNL, and she didn’t turn it into a comedy show for female audiences. In fact, she wrote some of the best SNL since its second heyday in the late ’80s. She should have written sketches that were just plain funny and not necessarily worrying about them being pro-woman, and that’s what she did.
If Tina Fey stuck to comedy that didn’t mock or satirize women, it would fall flat. Women are over half the population, for chrissakes. We do a lot of funny stuff. We might even do half of all the stupid things done in any given day. Why, just the other day, a female friend of mine (with an MBA) went to lick whipped cream off her finger and forgot she was holding a mocha, consequently pouring hot mocha down her shoulder. Comedy gold! And doesn’t the fact that women can be mocked show that we’ve come a long way, babies? We all know the rules of comedy: it’s not funny to pick on underdogs and underlings. And Sarah Palin and Bombshell McGee are not weak. They can, and should, take it. And frankly, it would be anti-feminist to ask her to keep her critique of women out of her comedy. Instead of picking on Fey, I think these old school feminists should be railing against Lifetime, because that channel epitomizes the kind of simplification of women, their tastes, and their concerns that actually does do damage to feminism.
But what’s really got my undies in a bunch is attitudes such as Sady Doyle’s. She says:
Feminism is for women, but Tina Fey’s Feminism seems like it’s for … Tina Fey
This makes me angry because this kind of attitude sends feminism back a decade or two. First of all, Tina Fey (nor anyone) owes feminism nothing except to be true to herself. She’s a comedian: the only thing she owes us is laughter. That’s the kind of freedom feminism has fought for!
Secondly, feminism is not for women. Feminism is for everyone. What is the point of a social movement that promotes any group over another? Feminism’s top concern is for all-around equality regardless of sex, sexual orientation, ethnicity, race, age, socio-economic background, religion (or lack there of), etc. This is what materialist feminism is all about. Feminism illuminates the fact that white men (simply for being white men) having had the upper hand, more choices, more money, more respect, etc. etc. for so long is not right.
Electing Barack Obama President is just as much a boon for feminism as electing Hillary Clinton would have been.
Maybe there’s a problem inherent in the word “feminism” as it sounds like it means “pro-woman.” It really means “pro-equality.” Of course, I will argue up and down for years and years that people (like Tina Fey) should have their own flavor of feminism, (and should be allowed to be photographed from whichever side they prefer) but this doctrinaire, anti-male, anti-freedom feminism that attacks people like Tina Fey gets us nowhere. When feminism comes across as anti-male (and as though feminism is only for women), people are turned off of feminism. It makes young girls not want to call themselves feminists because the idea of seeming like a radical, man-hating bulldyke is unappealing to many girls, shockingly enough. It makes men of all ages not identify as feminists because they don’t feel welcome here. I, for one, want anyone who believes in equality to feel comfortable identifying as feminist; and to achieve this goal, we feminists have to stop claiming feminism is only for and about women (and particular types of women at that). Let’s ditch the negativity and the exclusion, girls! Melissa, Chloe, Amanda, Sady . . . I ask you all to rethink your dated, doctrinaire approaches to feminism and join me in 2010. Join me in the type of feminism where men and boys are welcome and women get called out on their reprehensible behavior (if they are guilty of it), just as we call men out.
Today, a tweet by Mindy Kaling got my attention. The tweet read “If a girl ever leaves jewelry or an item of clothing at your house after she spends the night, it is never, ever, ever an accident.” I know that she’s right, and I’m now inspired to write about the top ways I’ve found out I was being cheated on. You’ll see why at #5. So here they are in no particular order:
1. In the car with a mutual friend, singing along with “Always the Last to Know” by the band Del Amitri, the friend says “Yep, you’re always the last to know.” When pressed, the friend verified that yes, he was telling me that my BF was seeing someone else, but he wouldn’t say who. I asked the BF, who gave it away quite easily.
2. An acquaintence overheard me lamenting to a friend that things weren’t going well with the BF, and she piped up with the information “He’s with Sasha now. I thought you knew that.” (Yes, same guy as #1. I don’t learn quickly).
3. During a hug with a BF, I could feel scabs through his shirt. So I walked around to his back, lifted up his shirt, and saw ginormous scratches. (Not the same guy as 1 & 2). I asked who did it, and he told me. I had to see her every day (in the same Love & Rockets t-shirt pretty much every day) in Spanish class.
4. I had a hunch that another girl wasn’t “just a friend,” so I asked her best friend if anything was going on between the two of them. She said no, but I could tell she was lying. So then I pushed it: I told her that I had gotten a sexually transmitted disease from the guy (total lie), and that she should tell her friend if there was even a remote chance so she could be treated. Well, that did it. She crumbled like a stale cookie. (It went something like this: Oh, poor “____”. She really believed him too that you two were broken up and that he wanted blah, blah.blah . . .”).
5. My personal favorite: Driving in my car after a boyfriend had borrowed it, I noticed on the gear shift a pair of thin, HUGE, hootchie-mama gold hoop earrings. And by huge, I mean the circumference of bangle bracelets, which is what I thought they were until a closer inspection.
So, gentle readers, I invite you to share your stories. Especially people who were screwed over by women (my exes are welcome to contribute, as long as they don’t use my name), as I don’t want to imply that only men are capable of being scummy.
For example, the people who supply some of our favorite voices have no shortage of work, such as Russi Taylor and Tress MacNeille, who work together also on Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Taylor provides the voice of one of my faves, Martin Prince, and as well as Sherri & Terri, among others. MacNeille also supplies many character voices; among my faves are Jimbo, Brandine, and Agnes Skinner (quite the range, eh?)
Yeardley Smith is best known for being the voice of Lisa Simpson, but she also starred in the ever-cherished Herman’s Head, played the only likeable character in AS GOOD AS IT GETS (1997), and was Putter in THE LEGEND OF BILLIE JEAN (1985). And sisters, if you have not seen BILLIE JEAN, do yourself a favor and put it on your queue! It’s even more feminist, provocative, and energizing now than it was back when I was a tweener, when “Fair
He looks sweet and mild, but don’t tick him off.
Harry Shearer is the voice behind many of the funniest and/or most beloved Simpsons characters, such as Ned Flanders, Principal Skinner, Burns, Smithers, Otto, Reverend Lovejoy, Dr. Hibbert, Lenny, and, of course, Scratchy (among many, many others). But with his versatile voice and terrific singing ability, Shearer has appeared in oodles of films, including his role as G. Gordon Liddy in DICK (1999) and perhaps most famously as Derek Smalls in THIS IS SPINAL TAP (1984). He also shows off those pipes in A MIGHTY WIND (2003), which might be the most underrated of the Guest, et al films.
David Silverman has been with the The Simpsons since its birth on The Tracey Ullman Show as animator, producer, creative consultant (whatever that is) and director – in addition to directing many episodes of the show, Silverman brilliantly directed THE SIMPSONS MOVIE (2007). In 2005, he got in front of the camera to teach a drawing lesson (watch “Goo Goo Gai Pan” on Hulu or wherever if you don’t know what I’m talking about. You’ll thank me).
Silverman has also worked for Pixar and DreamWorks – he co-directed THE ROAD TO EL DORADO and the sassy MONSTERS,
I really liked her on Dharma and Greg, too.
Clearly, Silverman’s career of the last 20 years or so is impressive, sure, but perhaps the most intriguing thing you’ll find on Silverman’s IMDb page is the head animator credit (albeit spelled incorrectly) for the short TOM WAITS FOR NO ONE. In the 1990s, other Tom Waits fans and I spoke in hushed, revered tones of this film, not knowing whether to believe those who claimed to have seen it, but being jealous of them all the same just in case it could be true. If only we’d had YouTube, like the spoiled college kids of today:
According to Variety, Silverman is slated to direct a live-action film for MGM, an adaptation of the children’s book The Facttracker. Also on his schedule, IMDb reports Silverman will be directing a Disney film called THE PET,
Drawin’ Krusty. Just another day at the office.
If you’re not already following Silverman on Twitter*, do so now (tubatron). He’s funny, announces his groups’ appearances around LA (They are called Vaud and the Villains– hint: his handle is “tubatron” for a reason!) and likes to share the occasional photo (like the one I borrowed above). And maybe eventually he’ll share some 140-character anecdotes about his upcoming films with his followers as he sees fit (hint hint).
*If you’re not already following me on Twitter, what’s wrong with you? You can follow me (duve) and/or the awesome duo of Dr. Karma and me (Simpsonology).
Happy Father’s day, fathers!
Someone asked me today how the book was coming along, and I said that except for thinking about what I need to do and setting up a Twitter account for our book (@Simpsonology), I haven’t done too much lately. But it turns out that setting up the Twitter account was one of the best ideas I’ve had since going to see Patton Oswalt in San Francisco (where we met Dana Gould[!]). I am positively TWITTERPATED. David Silverman (producer, creative mind, and director of many episodes AND The Simpsons Movie) is now following us on Twitter.
Yes, I’ll tell anyone who asks, we are making progress on the book: David Silverman knows Karma and I exist.