Book describes how to use The Simpsons as a teaching tool.
October 4, 2010

Nominations are in Animated Program and Voiceover categories.
July 10, 2010

Coke's new Super Bowl ad will feature The Simpsons.
January 30, 2010

EA brings the classic game to iPhone and iPod Touch.
December 20, 2009

Duff beer six packs spotted in European shops.
October 18, 2009

The Simpsons up for the best animated show, music and voiceover awards.
July 17, 2009

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Classroom Simpsons
By Jouni Paakkinen ( - October 4, 2010
     Released just before summer, "The Simpsons in the Classroom: Embiggening the Learning Experience with the Wisdom of Springfield" is an intriguing book emphasizing the availability of The Simpsons as a teaching tool. It is written by two Simpsons fans and educators who have used the show for over ten years each in their teaching.
     The authors, Denise DuVernay and Karma Waltonen, aim to give instructors an understanding of how to integrate The Simpsons into their lessons, never forgetting the most important thing – learning. "Teachers who are burned out with their tired old lesson plans will like the book the most," says Du Vernay to The Simpsons Archive. "Simpsons fans will enjoy the culture chapter, and anyone who's ever been curious about what postmodernism is will also appreciate our book."
     Unlike many unofficial Simpsons titles currently available, "The Simpsons in the Classroom" does not put much weight on trivia or gossip. "Much attention is paid to how the show interacts with culture, reflects culture, and changes culture," Du Vernay describes. "We don't spend a lot of time explaining the basics of the show; we assume anyone interested in our book realizes the educational potential of the show."
     The book also includes a very unique episode guide. Each episode is listed with teachable elements given for each one. However, even for a Simpsons buff, watching and taking notes on 400+ episodes was an immense task. "We knew it would be a lot of work, but we didn't realize how much hard work it would be," says Denise Du Vernay, but is obviously pleased with the outcome.
     More information about the book is in an excerpt available on the authors' web site, Simpsonology 101.

The Simpsons in the Classroom:
Embiggening the Learning Experience with the Wisdom of Springfield
By Karma Waltonen & Denise Du Vernay
McFarland (2010)
ISBN 978-0786444908
List price $29,95

Four Emmy Nominations
By Don Del Grande ( - July 10, 2010 - updated August 23
     The Simpsons got four nominations, in two different categories.
     First, the show itself was nominated for Animated Program (this year, there is no more "less than one hour" and "one hour or more" categories, although shows 15 minutes or less – for example, most of the shows on Adult Swim – can enter in a "short format animation" category (and, in fact, the 2009 Robot Chicken Christmas episode did get nominated in that category)), for the episode "Once Upon a Time in Springfield" (the "Princess Penelope" episode). It is competing against Alien Earths (National Geographic), Disney Prep & Landing (ABC – it was a Christmas special), The Ricky Gervais Show (HBO), and South Park's two-part episode where they never did show Muhammad (apparently, it aired as a single hour episode at one point, which allows the two episodes to be entered together – they did the same thing with the three-part "Imaginationland").
     Second, three actors have been nominated for Voiceover Performance – Dan Castellaneta, for "Thursdays with Abie"; Hank Azaria, for "Moe Letter Blues"; and, Anne Hathaway, for "Once Upon a Time in Springfield" (she voiced Princess Penelope). The other nominees are H. John Benjamin for fX's Archer, Dave Foley for the ABC Christmas special Disney Prep & Landing, and Seth Green for Robot Chicken. With no nomination, it's now 19 years and counting (the category was created in 1992) that Harry Shearer will not win a voiceover Emmy.
     In addition, Morgan Spurlock's "The Simpsons 20th Anniversary Special – In 3D! On Ice!" was nominated for Nonfiction Special, along with EpixHD's Believe: The Eddie Izzard Story, HBO's By the People: The Election of Barack Obama, Turner Classic Movie's Johnny Mercer: The Dream's on Me, NBC's Saturday Night Live in the 2000s: Time and Again, and HBO's Teddy: In His Own Words. Note that this category can have multiple, or even no, winners, although under a new rule, the show that doesn't get the most votes needs to get at least a 90% vote to win an Emmy.
     For those of you interested in such things, the only other nomination that a Fox animated show got was Family Guy being nominated for Music & Lyrics (i.e. Original Song) for the song "Down's Syndrome Girl" in the episode "Extra Large Medium" (that's the episode with the girl with Down's syndrome who says her mother "is the former governor of Alaska").
     The voiceover and animation categories are currently scheduled to be presented at the Creative Arts (aka the "Who Cares") Emmy ceremony on August 21 (the main ceremony is August 29 – E! usually shows a heavily edited version the following Friday or Saturday, but there is also a Twitter feed "broadcasting" the winners as they are announced.
     However, the Academy is in the habit of moving one of the Creative Arts categories to the main show, and since the infamous South Park "Muhammad" episode is nominated for Animated Program, I would not be surprised if they decide to move that category up.
      UPDATE (08/23): The show won two Emmys this year: Anne Hathaway won for Voiceover Performance for her part as Princess Penelope in "Once Upon a Time in Springfield". Additionally, Charles Ragins won one of the Individual Achievement in Animation Emmys as a background designer on "Postcards from the Wedge" (Some lists will leave this one off, as it was one of the "juried" awards).

Buzz Cola Out, Coca-Cola In
By Jouni Paakkinen ( - January 30, 2010
     Coca-Cola's new commercial slated to debut during the Super Bowl will feature a variety of characters from The Simpsons. According to The Coca-Cola Company, Hard Times features "most notably greedy billionaire C. Montgomery Burns, who has fallen on difficult times. Just when all hope seems to be lost, Mr. Burns learns to appreciate life's simple pleasures as he joins other characters enjoying Coca-Cola and Opening Happiness in a neighborhood park."
     As a part of the campaign, visitors to the Coca-Cola fan page on Facebook can share a special "virtual gift" and receive a 20-second sneak preview of one of two new Coca-Cola ads. For each virtual gift and commercial sneak peek Coca-Cola makes a one-dollar donation to Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
     Once February 7 arrives, the gift-givers receive Hard Times and the other ad in their entirety before their television debut later that evening.

Simpsons Arcade Game Returns
By Jouni Paakkinen ( - December 20, 2009
     In 1991, Konami released The Simpsons Arcade Game, which instantly became a hit among the Simpsons fans and is still considered the most memorable coin-operated Simpsons game by many. The game was subsequently released for home use on the IBM PC and Commodore 64/128 computers.
     Electronic Arts is now about to release The Simpsons Arcade Game for iPhone and iPod Touch. It is not a mere clone of the original game with new graphics and sounds, but a totally new take on the good old concept. According to EA, the player can use touchscreen controls to punch, grab and flip, kick, butt slam, jump, pick up and throw objects, belly flop, and dodge enemies. The character voices are provided by the original Simpsons voice actors.
     The company has worked closely with Gracie Films and Simpsons writer Michael Price to ensure a proper Springfield atmosphere and style. The game consists of 25+ levels in 6 different environments including Krusty Land, Channel 6, and Downtown Springfield.
     For more information and screenshots, view PDF fact sheet.

Get Duffed, Again!
By Jouni Paakkinen ( - October 18, 2009
     Homer Simpson's favorite beer, Duff, has always been a brand every brewery with an eye for business would like to have in their catalogue. The South Australian Brewing company produced Duff beer up to mid-1996 when Fox successfully sued the brewery, forcing them to cease its manufacture. The Duff beer cans became a hot collector's item among fans of The Simpsons, even if the label looked quite different to the one on The Simpsons. In 2001, a family-owned brewery in Dunedin, New Zealand, was approached by lawyers demanding that they cease and desist all production of their "Duffs" brand alcoholic beverage. In complying with Fox's wishes, the Duff family rebranded their beverage "McDuffs."
     It is believed that Matt Groening has never allowed licensing Duff beer over concern that it would encourage kids to drink. However, recently bottles and six packs of Duff Beer have been available in several European countries, including Spain, Italy, Germany and Belgium, where – according to the label of a bottle purchased in Italy – the beer is being brewed. However, no mention of Duff beer can be found on the company's web site. Adding to the mystery, the site promoting Duff beer in Europe,, is no longer available, while its sister sites and are still online. According to the German site, the local manufacturer is Eschweger Klosterbrauerei, but no information on this particular product can be found on their site either.
     In conclusion, at this point it is unknown to us whether this version of Duff beer, the label of which is this time very similar to the one on The Simpsons, is still manufactured or not. We only know by experience that you may be able to find it in little shops selling alcoholic beverages in Europe. Since there is no mention of Fox, The Simpsons or Matt Groening on the label, we can only assume that the product is not endorsed by them. So don't be surprised if it suddenly disappears from the market...
     If you have more information about the new Duff, please contact us.

Five Emmy Nominations This Year
By Don Del Grande ( - July 17, 2009
     The Simpsons received five nominations for three awards in this year's Primetime Emmy Awards. The first one is for the show itself, for the episode "Gone Maggie Gone", and the second one for music composer Alf Clausen, for composing the background music to the same episode.
     The show's competition in the Animated Program Less Than One Hour category is:

  • American Dad ("1600 Candles")
  • Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode II
  • South Park ("Margaritaville")
     The remaining three nominations are in the category of Voiceover Performance, where three of the six nominees are from The Simpsons: Dan Castellaneta as Homer ("Father Knows Worst"), Hank Azaria as Moe ("Eeny Teeny Maya Moe") and Harry Shearer as Mr. Burns, Smithers, Kent Brockman, and Lenny ("The Burns and the Bees"). The other voiceover nominees are Seth MacFarlane (as Peter Griffin in Family Guy), Seth Green (as various voices in Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode II), and Ron Rifkin (for narrating PBS's American Masters – Jerome Robbins: Something to Dance About).
     This is the first time the Voiceover category has nominees announced beforehand. Also, there must be a winner – there can be more in case of a tie, but the option of "no winner this year" is no longer available.
     These categories will be part of the Creative Arts Emmy ceremony, to be held September 12. In addition, the animation category of Individual Animation Achievement does not have nominees; instead, all entries are judged on their own merits, and the winner or winners, if any, will be announced sometime in August.

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Last updated on June 24, 2011 by Jouni Paakkinen (