I'm sure I'm not unusual in that respect. I'm sure there are people who were with The Simpsons from those very first shaky frames, who saw them adopt No. 9 and laughed at Homer botching Christmas songs on the closing credits, and faithfully watched for several years, maybe even a decade before they dropped off.
But one of the best things about the show is, you can always come back. The Simpsons never forget. Yesterday's episode and the 20th Anniversary Special that followed was a nice reminder of that. The episode wasn't the funniest I've seen, but I did realize there has never been an episode of the show that wasn't worth at least a few laughs.
Before The Simpsons begat Futurama, current executive producer of The Simspons Al Jean, along with Mike Reiss, created a short-lived animated series about a film critic who hated almost every film he ever saw.
Starring Jon Lovitz in some brilliant voice work, The Critic ran through two networks in two seasons. Like Futurama and Family Guy, it found some success with reruns on cable -- in this case, Comedy Central -- and a subsequent DVD release. But unlike those series, The Critic remains but a distant memory.
Di Maggio is currently working on Penguins of Madagascar, but neither is working on anything as high profile as Futurama. I can't imagine they have any intention of truly walking away from a revival getting this much press. They were just trying to play hardball, and realized that 20th Century wasn't going to play.
I think it would have been fun if they'd recast the characters. They would have probably even addressed it right in the episodes, having them talk about how they all sound different and coming up with some ridiculous reason for it.
[UPDATE: - Since the composition of this post, all principal cast members have been signed.]
Futurama's executive producer David X. Cohen talked to Wired Magazine's Underwire blog about just what lies ahead for the new Comedy Central episodes.
The good news is Cohen seems to be brimming with more crazy ideas than a Hardee's product development retreat, but he doesn't reveal anything too specific in terms of what Fry, Leela and Bender will be doing in the episodes to come.
The second direct-to-DVD release of Futurama is a fun movie with loads of extras that make the purchase worth it. They include outtakes, deleted scenes, commentary tracks, and an extra I particularly enjoyed: a "Lost Episode" made from a Futurama video game (which was a bit like watching a video game demo, but with jokes). The DVD also comes with a preview of the next Futurama DVD release which looks to be a satire of Lord of the Rings. Guest voices include Brittany Murphy as Fry's new girlfriend, David Cross as the planet-sized Yivo and Professor Stephen Hawking as himself.
Spoilers after the jump...
Maurice LaMarche is the "go to" guy in animation when it comes to Orson Welles impressions. He used the voice for The Brain on both Animaniacs and Pinky and the Brain, and recently played a young Orson Welles in The Simpsons "Treehouse of Horror XVII." Back in the '90s, LaMarche made a few appearances on The Critic, playing the older, rotund Orson Welles who was far removed from his younger and more vibrant days, reduced to doing TV commercials and voiceovers. Unfortunate yes, but this is comedy, and the rule here is that pain and misfortune are always funnier than happiness.
After the jump, enjoy a brief clip from The Critic featuring LaMarche as Welles. It's one of my favorite moments from the series. The "green peaness" line cracks me up every time.
Maurice LaMarche is a voice actor who has done more cartoons than you can shake a stick at. Just to reference a few, he played Dizzy Devil on Tiny Toons, The Brain on Animaniacs and Pinky and the Brain, and most recently did the voice of Kif and Calculon (among others) on Futurama. The Canadian-born LaMarche started out doing stand-up comedy and eventually moved to voice acting. Quick Stop Entertainment has a really long interview with the man, so if you're into voice acting, and every single thing Maurice has ever done in his life, you should check it out. Also, if you want to read about someone from Canada bashing the country he came from, it's good for that as well.
[via Mark Evanier]
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