J. Michael Mendel, producer of "Rick and Morty" and "The Simpsons," RIP

J. Michael Mendel, beloved producer of "Rick and Morty" and "The Simpsons," has died just two days before turning 55 years old. The cause of his death has not been made public. He is survived by his wife, casting director Juel Bestrop, and two children. From CNN:

Mendel worked on Fox's The Tracey Ullman Show, on which "The Simpsons" began its life as a recurring segment, before moving to the independent series.

He helped to create 207 episodes of "The Simpsons" over his time on the show, winning Emmys in 1995, 1997 and 1997. Mendel then produced 22 episodes of "Rick and Morty," winning a fourth Emmy for his work last year.

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The Simpsons' Apu isn't going anywhere

At yesterday's D23 Expo, The Simpsons creator Matt Groening put an end to speculation that the character Apu Nahasapeemapetilon is going to disappear. Apu's future has been publicly questioned since comedian Hari Kodabolu's 2017 documentary "The Problem with Apu" argued that the character is a racist caricature. From Variety:

When asked by a young fan whether Apu would remain on the show — following reports that the character had been written out of the show — Groening said, “Yes. We love Apu. We’re proud of Apu.”

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The Simpsons producers are pulling the classic Michael Jackson episode

The producers of The Simpsons are pulling the 1991 "Stark Raving Dad" episode featuring Michael Jackson, uncredited, from rerun rotation and streaming services. This follows news that a number of radio stations will no longer play Jackson's music in the wake of the sexual molestation allegations described in the new documentary Leaving Neverland. From Variety:

“It feels clearly the only choice to make,” executive producer James L. Brooks told the Wall Street Journal, which broke the news on Thursday. He told the paper that fellow executive producers Matt Groening and Al Jean agreed with the decision. “The guys I work with — where we spend our lives arguing over jokes — were of one mind on this,” Brooks said.

In the episode, Jackson voiced the character Leon Kompowsky, who meets Homer Simpson in a mental institution. Simpson brings home the character, a large white man who claims to be Michael Jackson. Ultimately, Leon helps Bart Simpson celebrate his sister’s birthday by singing one of the show’s most memorable tunes, “Happy Birthday Lisa.” Jackson didn’t actually sing on the episode; Kipp Lennon mimicked Jackson’s voice on all of the episode’s songs...

“I’m against book burning of any kind. But this is our book, and we’re allowed to take out a chapter,” he told the Journal.

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'How Scandal Fatigue Works In The Time of Trump,' explained by The Simpsons

“Are you sure it’s not a witch hunt?” This is the best GIF adaptation of all time, as one commenter already said. Read the rest

Watch this deeply emotional music video tribute to Milhouse of The Simpsons

"How could this happen? We started out like Romeo and Juliet but it ended up in tragedy!"

Lucien Hughes created this Simpsonwave clip for the Goody Grace track "210 Lilac Sky."

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Pop culture characters in couples therapy

Starring pop culture characters that many of us can identify with, this comic hits home. It is a brutal look at how abusive families shape their childrens' future relationships—but also shows the reality of what triggers are, and what effective therapy looks like. Finally, it shows that even when our parents don't get us, things turn out okay if they love us and let us be who we are. Read the rest

Classic surreal episode of The Simpsons as a 16-bit video game

Mauri Helme (previously) created a 16-bit tribute to King-Size Homer, one of The Simpsons' more surreal turns: "It's a pixel art animation as if there were a 16-bit game starring Homer and his muumuu." (Compare to the "real" 16-bit Simpsons game, which was comparatively sane stuff) Read the rest

The Simpsons Sphere: 500 simultaneous episodes in one 360° video

Dude. 500 episodes of The Simpsons, all in one spherical, 360º video space. I'm trippin' so hard. Read the rest

The Simpsons vs. Miami Vice and 1980s glitzy TV

From Sunday night's upcoming episode "Teenage Mutant Milk-Caused Hurdles." Last week, our sister site "Doing Doing" was mentioned on the show, so you just know The Simpsons are still relevant!

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Okilly Dokilly, a Ned Flanders tribute, metal band

Talk about BRUTAL. Rip It Up tells the history of this awesome tribute band, and shares a link to some of their music! Read the rest

Watch: Bartkira (Akira meets The Simpsons)

"The future is not a straight line. It is filled with many crossroads." Read the rest

Hertzfeldt's weird future Simpsons couch gag

Esteemed animator Don Hertzfeldt's deeply strange and wonderful take on the Simpsons couch gag. Read the rest

The Simpsons' Springfield, USA in Lego

Sure, Lego released some Simpsons kits, but a fellow named Matt De Lanoy built the entire town of Springfield out of Lego!

Matt De Lanoy's Flickr stream (via PFSK) Read the rest

Let The Simpsons die

Slate's Joseph Lapin suggests a way of making the Simpsons "relevant" again: The Characters Should Start Getting Older

[Killing off a character is] just a temporary fix: It will not restore the show’s reputation as innovative or groundbreaking. To reclaim that type of territory, and reestablish its hold on the American zeitgeist, The Simpsons needs to think much bigger. So here is what I’m proposing: The Simpsons should break free from its static biological present. The characters need to age. Yes, a cartoon, a 2-D world where the laws of nature are constructed in a writers’ room, should suddenly be forced to carry, like Homer chained to the “Stone of Shame,” the same burden all humans are forced to carry: growing older.

No. It's already done. They should just end the show itself, before it really starts to stink. Read the rest

Photos of awful Bart Simpson bootleg t-shirts

In the early 1990s, I used to get a kick out of the horribly-drawn Bart Simpson bootleg t-shirts, particularly those created by college fraternities as party souvenirs. For example, I distinctly recall one of Bart in a rasta cap holding a bong to commemorate "Reggae Night" at some frat. Bootlegbart on Instagram is a feed collecting hundreds of badly-drawn Barts and other Simpsons characters. And yes, some of them are racist or otherwise offensive and horrible. Bootlegbart (Thanks, Gabe Adiv!) Read the rest

Simpsons land coming to Universal Studios Florida

Universal Studios Florida is opening a Simpsons themed area this summer. It'll mostly consist of facades and restaurants serving food inspired by the horrible cuisine of Springfield, as well as a pair of rides:

The expansive, new area within Universal Studios will be anchored by the mega-attraction, The Simpsons Ride, and will allow guests to enter the world of The Simpsons like never before. It will be the only place in the world where guests can walk the streets of Springfield. It will include a brand-new outdoor attraction, places and foods pulled right from the show and two new Simpsons characters who will make their debut with the new area – Krusty the Clown and Sideshow Bob.

And yes – there will be Duff Beer, brewed exclusively for Universal Orlando.

For the first time ever – anywhere – fans will be able to walk down Fast Food Boulevard and visit the places that helped Springfield stake its claim as “Shelbyville by the Sea.” They will be able to grab a Krusty-certified meat sandwich at Krusty Burger, snatch the catch of the day at the Frying Dutchman, get a slice at Luigi’s Pizza, go nuts for donuts at Lard Lad, enjoy a “Taco Fresho” with Bumblebee Man and imbibe at Moe’s Tavern.

The new attraction – called Kang & Kodos’ Twirl ‘n’ Hurl – will take “foolish humans” on an intergalactic spin designed to send them into orbit.

Springfield Comes to Life at Universal Orlando This Summer Read the rest

What friends are for: making Simpsons humor real

A grief-stricken Redditor asked by a friend if there was anything he needed quoted the Simpson's episode in which Barney's Japanese girlfriend requests "A single plum, floating in perfume, served in a man's hat." The friend obliged.

My grandma died, and a good friend asked: "Is there anything you need?" As a joke, I said: "A single plum, floating in perfume, served in a man's hat." The next day: (imgur.com) Read the rest