The Simpsons' 14th Season Kicks Off
By David McCormick (firstname.lastname@example.org) -
October 2, 2002
NOTE: This article contains significant spoilers. Some episode titles, airdates and
descriptions are tentative and subject to change.
The Simpsons begins its season in trademark fashion on Sunday, November 3rd, with
Treehouse of Horror XIII,
episode DABF19. Details on this episode are still a little sketchy, but we do know that Maggie Roswell returns to voice
Maude Flanders' ghost. Roswell was the voice of Maude Flanders, Helen Lovejoy, Elizabeth Hoover and several other
incidental characters until she left after season 10 due to a pay dispute. In the first section, entitled Send in
the Clones, Homer's new hammock starts to make clones of him. Then, Lisa gets Springfield to start a cash-for-guns
program, leaving the town defenceless against gun-bearing zombies, in The Fright to Creep and Scare Harms.
The final part is entitled The Island of Dr. Monroe, likely a parody of The Island of Dr. Moreau.
The official season première comes one week later on November 10th, with
How I Spent My Strummer Vacation (DABF22). Homer is secretly videotaped complaining about his family
while in a cab. In an effort to help him regroup, Marge, Bart, Lisa and little Maggie send him to Rock 'N' Roll Fantasy
camp, run by Sir Mick Jagger (who guest stars as himself). Once there, Homer lives the life of a rock star, taught to
him by the likes of Keith Richards, Lenny Kravitz, Elvis Costello, Tom Petty and Brian Setzer all of whom guest star as
Another November episode, Large Marge (DABF18) features Marge who mistakenly
thinks Homer is eyeing other women. In an effort to uplift her appeal, she decides to get plastic surgery to look
younger. But the surgery goes awry when Marge receives breast implants meant for one of Mayor Quimby's
escorts. Meanwhile, Bart and Milhouse catch an episode of Batman and Robin (guest stars Adam West and
Burt Ward), where they battle Clown Man who coincidentally looks a lot like a younger version of Krusty.
There are even more guest stars to come throughout the series, including James L. Brooks,
co-creator of The Simpsons, Elliot Gould, Kelsey Grammer (Sideshow Bob), Marisa Tomei, Weird Al
Yankovic, Joe Mantegna (William Fat Tony Williams), Eric Idle, George Plimpton and Little Richard.
Other Season 14 plots include:
What's more, The Simpsons will reach its 300th episode this February with Barting
Over (EABF05). In this landmark episode, Bart learns that he had acted in commercials as a baby, as Baby
Stinkbreath (for a baby mouthwash) and that Homer has squandered all his money. 'I spent it naming a star after our
family', says Homer. And, of course, the star went supernova. Bart becomes so angry that he sues to become an
emancipated minor, leaves home and lands in a loft, where the show's guest stars are also living. Somehow the whole
troupe winds up at the Skewed Tour, a parody of the rock-meets-extreme-sports festival the Warped Tour. This will
guest star Blink-182 and Tony Hawk as themselves.
- In Bart vs. Lisa vs. the 3rd Grade (DABF20), Lisa is promoted to the third grade... where she
meets Bart, who has been dropped down from fourth grade.
- Principal Skinner and Edna Krabappel contemplate tying the knot, in EABF02, Special Edna
(aka Love and Marking). This should air sometime in early January.
- In Helter Shelter (DABF21), when the Simpsons are forced to leave their house, they go on a reality
show where they have to live in a house with the rules of 1895... but when the ratings start to slip, they throw
Squiggy (David Lander) into the house.
- Concerned that she's been neglecting her health, Marge starts lifting weights, which leads to steroid abuse
and a harsher Marge to the family in Strong Arms of the Ma (EABF04).
- In EABF09, Mr. Spitz Goes to Washington, Krusty gets elected to Congress in part to help
get the flight path for Springfield Airport diverted from directly over Homer's house, but falls in line with
the conservatives once he's there.
- Finally, in 'Scuse Me While I Miss The Sky (EABF11), Lisa complains about light pollution
when she's unable to see the stars at night.
For further details and up-to-date airdates, visit the
Upcoming Episodes page.
Thanks to Jonah Flynn for some of the information
Art of The Simpsons
By William LaRue, courtesy of Collecting Simpsons! - September 27, 2002
Bongo Comics has begun working on a hard-cover book tentatively titled Art of the Simpsons,
according to Bongo creative director Bill Morrison.
Bongo is the publisher of Simpsons comic books. But it also handles a lot of the creative work on
other Simpsons merchandise, including calendars and episode guide books.
Bill told Collecting Simpsons! that work is still in the
preliminary stage on the art book, which won't be published for at least another year by HarperCollins.
But current plans are is make it one of those large coffee table books featuring art work that's
gone into the making the TV series and possibily other Simpsons creations.
We haven't decided what we're going to limit it to. It will be mostly the TV show. But we may feature
chapters on merchandise and comics and a lot of additional stuff, Morrison says. It's a project we're just initiating now.
I think it's going to be a big job.
Meanwhile, Morrison shares news on some other Simpsons book projects.
The long-delayed Homer's Guide to Being a Man has been postponed for at least another year.
Designed as a sequel to the 1990 book
Bart Simpson's Guide to Life,
Bongo held up the Homer guide to make sure the content was as witty as the first book, Morrison says. We weren't really
happy with the direction it was going in, and wanted to take some time to rethink it. So it sort of got put on the back burner
for a while. We're going to open it back up, he says.
Beyond Forever, a guide to seasons 11 and 12 due in November, will have several
improvements over the two previous episode guides. We've expanded the format a bit, Morrison says.
Originally, in the first two books, we had a double-page spread about every three episodes. In this issue, every episode
gets a double-page spread and the 'Treehouse of Horror' episodes get four pages. So there's more art, more facts, more bits.
We really spent a lot of time on this and did a lot of extra research just to keep the hard-core fans really happy.
The newest episode will also be available as a box set,
The Ultimate Simpsons in a Big Ol'
Box, packaged with the two previous guides at a reduced price over buying all three individually.
Morrison says Simpsons creator Matt Groening decided with the second book that just updating a single book wasn't
a good idea. It was suggested that we just do a revised and expanded version of the first book, that adds two
more seasons. Matt said, 'No, I don't want to cheat the fans who have the first book and make them buy this one just
to buy these two seasons.' So there really was some thought put into that and consideration of the fans, he says.
A reprint of the Sunday Simpsons comic strip is also in the works. We'll probably be doing a
soft-cover book that collects, if I'm not mistaken, the entire run, Morrison says. He expects the comic-strip reprint
to prove extremely popular, as numerous fans have told them their newspapers haven't carried the strip. In fact, the
strip has struggled a bit after initially appearing in about 50 newspapers, losing at least four in a controversy over
a violent Itchy & Scratchy strip that appeared around Christmas. We're working on a relaunch (of the Sunday strip).
Although it's still being published in a few papers around the country, we're not producing any new ones at this point,
Morrison says. He didn't say when the comic strip reprint will appear. The only upcoming reprint listed at Amazon.com is
Simpsons Comics Madness,
which is due in stores in April 2003.
Morrison says there are no plans to reprint in book form the Simpsons Illustrated magazines from
the early 1990s. I know Welsh (Publishing) is out of business. They were swallowed up by Marvel Comics at one point
some years back.
The Complete Second Season
By Petri Teittinen (email@example.com)
Courtesy FS Film - July 24, 2002
During its second season, The Simpsons rose to the prestigious status
of one of America's most popular series, occasionally beating even The
Cosby Show. Following the groping and uneven scripts of its first season,
The Simpsons quickly found its own path, including significantly more
polished animation that was even then very close to today's style. While Dan
Castellaneta had yet to discover Homer's full voice range, his style
by season two was noticeably closer to today's modern Homer than during
the first season.
In its second season, The Simpsons began pointing out
various problems with today's society dealing with everything from
nuclear power and its defects to TV violence and the general decay of morals.
Throughout its second year on the air, The Simpsons evolved into a show that managed
to deliver an important message through laughter.
The DVD set's steely box with a shade of green contains four discs with rather
amusing Simpsons illustrations beneath each one. A stylish 12-page leaflet
with episode descriptions and a bit of trivia is also included in an
inner sleeve pocket, on top of which is printed a foreword by Matt Groening.
Unfortunately, 20th Century Fox didn't heed fan criticism of the MPEG
compression artifacts visible in the
first season DVDs,
because this set displays many of the same problems. The mosquito noise
around character and object outlines is again more than obvious. On the up side,
though, colors are strong with even surfaces. Some of the thinnest lines do
occasionally disappear, but not to the same extent as with the previous
release. While overall video encoding quality is somewhat better
than that of the first set, and even may be satisfactory to less-discerning
viewers, hard-core fans may be disappointed, especially noting the superior
encoding job afforded to Fox's recent European Futurama
DVD release. (The age of the season 2 Simpsons source material may offer a
partial explanation for the matter, as the aforementioned
Futurama DVDs hold episodes produced in 1999. If this
holds true, then subsequent Simpsons releases may gradually improve in
the picture encoding department). Nonetheless, the visible compression
artifacting brings down the Complete Second Season's total technical
score by one full star.
In the sound department, the second season episodes,
like their first season
DVD predecessors, have been afforded a brand new Dolby Digital 5.1 stereo
mix. However, as earlier, the mix is somewhat cautious. During opening
credits, the sound is alive and moves about the room, but then suddenly
collapses to mostly center channel output. Music cues are spread to two
other main channels and occasionally to the rear channels as well, but only
rarely does the sound mix live up to its full potential. The reason for this
lies in the original soundtrack, which is in traditional stereo. The Simpsons
weren't recorded in Dolby Surround until the third season. Mixing a two-channel
stereo track into an effective 5.1 mix is a heavy and expensive operation, and
re-building the soundtrack from scratch would've brought out a DVD set with a hefty
price tag. Thus, it would be difficult to blame the new 5.1 mix on conservative
Each of the 22 episodes comes with a commentary track. Series
creator Matt Groening can be heard on each one, accompanied by the episodes' directors
and writers. Occasionally other key persons are featured, including James L.
Brooks and David Silverman. The commentary tracks contain heaps of interesting
trivia, inside jokes, and playful teasing. The viewers are informed about
potential freeze frame fun spots, where the DVD medium's outstanding still
image feature is useful. It's also jokingly noted that fans may need to buy
the boxed sets again now that a new video format intended to obsolete DVD is
due to arrive soon. (Groening is amazed to hear Bart scream Cowabunga! in
the season's second episode, mentioning his belief that the catchphrase was
invented by T-shirt makers and never truly uttered by Bart in the show.)
When each disc is inserted, a quasi-roulette wheel showing four characters
their heads juxtaposed appears on-screen. Pressing the middle button rotates
the heads in search of their correct bodies. If repeatedly pressing the button
becomes irksome, the roulette intro can be skipped by pressing your DVD remote's
menu key. Each episode has its own submenu, spiced up with delightful animation
and sound effects. While all episodes must be accessed from their own menus,
pressing the next chapter button before the present episode concludes takes
you directly to the next one although sound options selected for the previous
episode need to be re-selected manually at that time.
The second season boxed set's special features are available on the fourth disc.
(Discs 1, 3 and 4 include hidden Easter eggs, some of which are very difficult
to find.) The extras begin with a clip from the American Music Awards in which
Nancy Cartwight, in a hideous Bart costume, entertains the audience for a moment
and then presents nominees for a category. On the optional commentary track,
Groening and the others are gnashing their teeth over the corny situation. The
five-minute Deep Deep Trouble music video comes with an optional commentary
track with Gregg Vanzo and Matt Groening. A director's cut version of
Do the Bartman music video is similarly
commented by Groening and director Brad Bird.
How many of you knew that the song was written by Michael Jackson, by the way?
With the show's success came Simpsons-themed television advertising. Three
Butterfinger ads featuring Bart occupy a total of 1.5 minutes' time. David Silverman
also takes the viewer through the production process of a Simpsons episode,
starting with the script-writing process and ending with the finished color
animation. The presentation takes a little over six minutes, though fans would
gladly have watched the process enumerated in a much longer segment. The Simpsons
family itself also makes an appearance at an Emmy gala, where the puzzled
expressions on the spectators' faces outrank the performance of the characters.
The Tracey Ullman Show roots of The Simpsons are
discussed once again as Matt Groening and James L. Brooks talk about the show's
background and the roles of the family members in a 10-minute interview featurette.
The Art of the Simpsons section contains 20 pages from the storyboard of
Bart Gets an F, and four
storyboard pages from Bart vs. Thanksgiving.
There are also 39 frames of production sketches and 18 photos of magazine covers with our
favorite family. The special features end with a one-minute scene from
7F01 dubbed in five languages: French, German, Hungarian,
Portuguese and Spanish. One can only be amazed by the performances of the alternate-language voice actors.
In general, the special features make a nice package, although deleted scenes the items
most eagerly desired by long-time fans are now totally missing. Hopefully, the forthcoming
sets will contain generous helpings of the two minutes-worth of finished animation that's cut
from each episode before broadcast.
Complete Second Season will be released in the USA and Canada on August 6. For further
details on this and upcoming DVD releases, see our
DVD News page.
The Simpsons - The Complete Second Season
488 minutes (special features not included)
Show: * * * *
Technical: * * * *
(Review based on the R2 edition)
Simpsons Nominated for Two Emmys
By Jouni Paakkinen (firstname.lastname@example.org) - July 22, 2002
The Simpsons received two Emmy nominations from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences
The show was nominated in the category of Outstanding Animated Program (For Programming Less
Than One Hour) for She of Little Faith, the 13th season episode in which Lisa becomes a
Buddhist. The other nominees in the category were As Told by Ginger (Lunatic Lake), King of
the Hill (Bobby Goes Nuts), South Park (Osama bin Laden Has Farty Pants)
and Matt Groening's other animated show, Futurama (Roswell That Ends Well).
Alf Clausen's Ode to Branson from The Old Man and the Key
was chosen in the Outstanding Music and Lyrics category. The other nominees were The Fairly Oddparents, Family Guy,
Judging Amy and a Carol Burnett Show special.
In addition to these, The Simpsons may also receive Voice-Over Performance awards, which do not
involve prior nominations.
Elsewhere, former Simpsons writer Jennifer Crittenden was nominated for writing an episode of
Everybody Loves Raymond.
The Emmy is the most prestigious award for excellence in television, conceded by the Academy
of Television Arts & Sciences. Emmy awards ceremonies have taken place since 1949, with the upcoming event,
marking the 54th annual. The complete list of this year's nominations is available on the official
ATAS (courtesy Don Del Grande)
Sunday School Simpsons
Courtesy Westminster John Knox Press - June 30, 2002
Westminster John Knox Press announced that it has signed best-selling author
Mark I. Pinsky for two more books: a companion study guide to
The Gospel According to The
Simpsons, due out this summer, and The Gospel According to Disney: Cartoon Faith & Values,
tentatively slated for spring 2004.
We are delighted to be continuing our partnership with Mark Pinsky, said WJK vice-president
of publishing Jack Keller. As we've seen with his first book, he has a wonderful gift for exploring and explaining
the religious relevance of pop culture icons.
The Gospel According to The Simpsons has been a smash-hit for the press that
published The Gospel According
to Peanuts more than 35 years ago. The book has also gotten off to a fast start since its September 1, 2001,
publication, landing on Publishers Weekly's Top 10 Religion Books bestseller list for five straight months, starting in
October 2001. It has also reached the number one spot among religious best selling books in the United Kingdom.
The study curriculum
for The Gospel According to The Simpsons, which Pinsky is writing with popular youth writer Samuel
Skip Parvin, will focus on key religious themes as seen in the show.
The book will find a welcome home in church youth groups, lock-ins, and retreats, and in campus ministry groups on college
campuses. Many groups are already using The Simpsons as a way to explore faith issues with young people. One university
recently announced a new course offering focusing on the cultural relevance of the show, with Pinsky's book as required
The Simpsons is about as trenchant, as life-affirming, as socially critical a prime-time
sitcom as we can expect on major commercial TV, Pinsky says. When he began watching the show with his two
young children, he was surprised at the central role faith played in the lives of the characters.
Theologians from across the spectrum agree that The Simpsons is the most consistent and
intelligent treatment of religion on TV, Pinsky shows. Complex theological issues, such as the nature of the
soul, and moral dilemmas such as adultery, are regularly addressed on the series. God himself appears in several
episodes and Jesus, heaven and hell, the Bible, and prayer also figure into the lives of the Simpsons and their
neighbors. Pinsky examines how the show treats evangelical Christianity, Catholicism, Judaism, Hinduism, Pentecostalism,
cults and new age beliefs.
In chapters such as Prayer: 'Dear, God, Give the Bald Guy a Break!'; The Church
and the Preacher: 'We Don't Have a Prayer!; and The Bible: I Think It May be Somewhere in the Back;
Pinsky looks at how the Simpsons and their neighbors are both defined and circumscribed by religion. The Simpsons only
seems to question conventional wisdom and values, Pinsky says. The show's consistent message is that family and faith
are the only reliable defenses against the vagaries of modern life. For the characters on the show, as for many of its
viewers, faith is a bulwark, a highly meaningful and relevant refuge.
The Gospel According to The Simpsons:
Leaders Guide for Group Study
By Mark I. Pinsky and Samuel F. "Skip" Parvin
Westminster John Knox Press
Publishing Date: July 2002
Available to pre-order at Amazon.com
Click here for an excerpt from
The Gospel According to The Simpsons.
Second Season Coming to DVD
By Jouni Paakkinen (email@example.com) - April 24, 2002
Following the immensely successful
Complete First Season DVD boxed
set with over 500,000 copies sold, the long-awaited release of the second season has finally been confirmed by Fox
The Complete Second Season
DVD set featuring all 22 episodes from the series' second season (1990-1991), with commentary on
alternate audio tracks, will hit the stores on August 6 in the United States and Canada.
Show's fans are treated with lots of interesting bonus material, such as a 10-minute interview with
creators James L. Brooks and Matt Groening, the two Simpsons music videos Do The Bartman (director's cut, 6m:0s)
and Deep Deep Trouble (4m:58s), both with optional commentary. Additionally, one of the key persons in shaping
the show, former supervising director and animator David Silverman describes the show's production in the Creation
of an Episode featurette (6m:10s).
Other bonus materials include an Emmy Awards presentation (2m:56s), three Butterfinger commercials (1m:15s),
Bart's appearance at the American Music Awards (2m:13s), foreign language clips, still gallery, early drawings and hidden Easter
Offered at the suggested US retail price of $49.98, The season 2 set will take the form of four
dual-layered DVD discs (1.33:1 full frame), each with episodes presented in English 5.1, and Dolby Surround in English
and French. Spanish subtitles will also be available.
Bart Gets An F
Simpson And Delilah
Treehouse Of Horror
Two Cars In Every Garage And Three Eyes On Every Fish
Dead Putting Society
Bart vs. Thanksgiving
Bart The Daredevil
Itchy & Scratchy & Marge
Bart Gets Hit By A Car
One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish
The Way We Was
Homer vs. Lisa And The 8th Commandment
Oh Brother, Where Are Thou?
Bart's Dog Gets An F
Brush With Greatness
The War Of The Simpsons
Three Men And A Comic Book
Additional Bonus Features:
Interview with James L. Brooks and Matt Groening, Do The Bartman director's cut music video
(with optional commentary), Deep Deep Trouble music video (with optional commentary), former
supervising director/animator David Silverman on the Creation of an Episode, Emmy Awards
presentation, American Music Awards (with optional commentary), 3 Butterfinger commercials, foreign
language clips, gallery (animation, magazine covers, etc.), early drawings and Easter eggs.
Source: Fox Home Entertaiment
(Courtesy Bill La
Press Release (draft)
Future news concerning the DVDs will be added on our DVD News page.