By Jouni Paakkinen (email@example.com) - 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
List price $29,95
Four Emmy Nominations
By Don Del Grande (firstname.lastname@example.org) - 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
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 (email@example.com) - 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) - 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 (email@example.com) - 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, duffeurope.com, is no longer available, while its sister sites
duffitalia.it and duff-bier.de 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) - 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:
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).
- American Dad ("1600 Candles")
- Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode II
- South Park ("Margaritaville")
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.