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November 22, 2014

animation domination

Chalmers Takes Us Back to 'The Breakfast Club' on 'The Simpsons' (VIDEO)

by Jason Hughes, posted Oct 3rd 2011 2:15AM
'The Breakfast Club' - 'The Simpsons'When Bart Simpson pranks a fundraising event, Principal Skinner challenges Superintendent Chalmers to try educating the perennial troublemaker on 'The Simpsons' (Sun., 8PM ET on FOX). In the heat of the moment, Chalmers accepts, but is immediately consumed with self-doubt.

That doubt takes us to a flashback of the last time he was a teacher, which was apparently in Shermer High School back in 1985, as we saw him stepping into the library of 'The Breakfast Club.' Except, even though their faces were familiar, they said they were the Fight Club and proceeded to give him a beatdown the likes of which both Brad Pitt and Edward Norton would have been proud of.

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It's Time for FOX to Find a New Night for Live-Action Comedies

by Jason Hughes, posted Apr 13th 2010 5:14PM
'Sons of Tucson'With 'American Dad' restored to FOX's Sunday night lineup this past weekend, all seems right with the world. The network spent years building their "Animation Domination" block, and should be commended for bringing animation back into prime time. The problem is that they seem to have painted themselves into a corner, or at least that's how they're acting.

With the success of these cartoon comedies on Sunday night, FOX programmers seem to think Sunday is their only night for comedy, and they keep trying to establish new live-action hits there. Shows like 'Brothers,' ''Til Death' and the recent 'Sons of Tucson' have all failed to gain traction with the Sunday night FOX audience.

It's time for the network to consider expanding their comedy presence to another night. Leave the successful "Animation Domination" block alone, and let it do what you built it to do. Comedy is on the rise, and ABC proved you can launch a new night of it successfully, if the shows are good enough. But where should FOX go?

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'The Simpsons' - 'The Color Yellow' Recap

by Jason Hughes, posted Feb 22nd 2010 2:40AM
'The Simpsons' - 'The Color Yellow'(S21E13) You'll have to forgive me when I admit that I'm not familiar with all of the instances of the Simpson family history that have been presented over the years, as I've not caught all 453 episodes prior to this one. I also suspect that Lisa's journey across the attic featured costumes and memorabilia from across the past 20 years, which would have been a nice touch for that lackluster anniversary 450th episode that featured Krusty, for some reason. Bonus points to anyone who can recognize every artifact shown.

Speaking of Krusty, he showed up in the flashback installments of this nostalgic look back at the Simpsons in the era of slavery. It was but one of a few awkwardly forced historical cameos in what was otherwise a rather solid episode.

Plus, we learned where donuts originated from, and knowledge is power!

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Sundays with Seth: Revenge, Redemption and Roger's "Precious"

by Jason Hughes, posted Feb 22nd 2010 2:00AM
'The Cleveland Show' - 'The Curious Case of Cleveland Jr. Working at the Stool'
This week managed to be both boring and wonderful at the same time. In fact, 'American Dad' and 'The Cleveland Show' paralleled one another in this sense. Both had very strong lead stories featuring their respective fathers and sons, and both had rather dull back-up installments featuring the daughters.

What is it with Seth MacFarlane and female daughters? The fact that he can't find anything to do with Meg has become a running joke on 'Family Guy,' but he has the same problems with Hayley and Roberta.

Did you notice anything different about Roberta this week? Did she sound a little more like Sarah Chalke than Lecy Goranson (that's a 'Roseanne' joke for those paying attention)? That's because Nia Long, who's been the voice of Roberta thus far was replaced this episode by Reagan Gomez-Preston. I know, it's almost as shocking as when Darrin went from one Dick to another on 'Bewitched.'

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Sundays with Seth: A night of criminal activity

by Jason Hughes, posted Feb 1st 2010 4:10AM
Family Guy: Dial Meg for Murder
I'm not sure if it was by bizarre coincidence or divine -- by which I mean Seth MacFarlane -- intervention, but all three MacFarlane episodes this week were mired in illegal activities. 'Family Guy' saw Meg go from a sweet innocent teenaged girl into a hardened criminal, Cleveland Brown inadvertently became a drug trafficker, while Stan Smith found himself overwhelmed with a drug problem of his own.

And in both 'The Cleveland Show' and 'American Dad,' we got reminders that marijuana isn't really a drug. 'The Cleveland Show' listed for us where we can get it legally (with a prescription), while 'American Dad' mocked the notion of someone becoming addicted to pot to the point they would need rehab.

At least 'Family Guy' kept it simple. Drugs weren't an issue throughout the entire episode, though Meg was certainly acting like she was on drugs. What she was really doing, though, was acting out over years of abuse by everyone around her.

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Review: The Simpsons - Million Dollar Maybe

by Jason Hughes, posted Feb 1st 2010 3:07AM
The Simpsons: Million Dollar Maybe
(S21E11)
This episode featured two surprises, though both rather short-lived. The band Coldplay appeared as themselves, and the winning character from the "Best. Character. Ever" contest was revealed. It's so much excitement, even a million dollars couldn't top it!

The animation looked a little more awkward than in most weeks for some reason. It's as if the characters were drawn in a slightly more abstract way, similar to Groening's 'Life in Hell' comic strip. There was a bit more distortion in their features than we're used to seeing. 'The Simpsons' has become a very crisp production.

The main plot this week involved Homer ditching Marge at a wedding because a fortune cookie told him he would be lucky that day. From there, things went into the realm of the absurd at a breakneck pace.

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Review: The Cleveland Show - Love Rollercoaster

by Jason Hughes, posted Jan 11th 2010 10:04AM
The Cleveland Show: Love Rollercoaster
(S01E11)
While Cleveland and the boys down at the bar were trying to come up with the next great invention, Roberta was learning a lesson in what it's like to not be gorgeous. And who better to teach her the lesson than Jane Lynch. With Glee on hiatus until sometime in 2147 -- at least it feels that long -- I'll take what Lynch I can get. And she was great here as a bitter teacher ... wait, that sounds familiar.

I think she was woefully under-utilized, though, as the storyline involving her never really achieved any resolution. More specifically, it started as a storyline for Roberta, became a storyline for both Roberta and Cleveland, Jr. and yet it was really only Jr. who got a somewhat satisfying conclusion. Of course, I'm probably just bitter that Lynch didn't show up again.

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Sundays with Seth: A horse is a horse, uness it's The Rock

by Jason Hughes, posted Jan 4th 2010 1:03PM
Dwayne
Between The Rock's bizarre guest appearance on Family Guy, and Stan's dirty deed on American Dad, it was a strange week in the twisted mind of Seth MacFarlane. But in a twist M. Night Shyamalan would be proud of, it was Family Guy's Meg Griffin who had the most memorable stand-out moment of the night. Uncomfortable, but memorable.

We also got the first episode of American Dad in the 16:9 widescreen ratio for the first time, and they didn't take advantage of the change to make any modification to the intro sequence at all, or spotlight it in any self-aware way. I still wish last week's epic could have been in widescreen, but with Family Guy now the only holdout on Animation Domination, the whole thing feels a little weird. Shouldn't the marquee show for Seth MacFarlane be in widescreen before its offspring?

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Review: The Simpsons - Thursdays with Abie

by Jason Hughes, posted Jan 4th 2010 12:30PM
Abe (S21E09) You can always count on The Simpsons for a timely reference. Why it was only back in 1997 that Mitch Albom's Tuesdays with Morrie book came out, so it's high time we riff on it. Wait, that TV movie with Hank Azaria they referenced? That's more recent. 1999 recent!

449 episodes later, The Simpsons may no longer be the source for the most cutting edge humor, but at least they've reclaimed a lot of the heart this season that was missing early on. Next week is the big 450th episode celebration, which not-so-coincidentally is the week FOX has opted to celebrate officially the 20th anniversary of the stalwart comedy.

For those tired of Seth MacFarlane dominating the Sunday lineup, next week, it's a reversal of fortunes, as The Simpsons is joined by an hour-long special and the only MacFarlane show to make the grade is his own version of a "traditional" family sitcom: The Cleveland Show.

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Sundays with Seth: The problem with wives ... and babies

by Jason Hughes, posted Nov 16th 2009 2:41AM
American Dad: Shallow VowsIt was nice to cut back Seth MacFarlane's domination of Sunday nights to only three shows. As much as I enjoy all three shows in a general sense, two-and-a-half hours of MacFarlane's brand of humor was a bit much. I continue to enjoy the growth of The Cleveland Show more and more; I'm beginning to see why FOX went ahead and gave it an early season two pick-up.

After a shaky start, we're starting to get a better feel for all these new characters, and I'm finding little things about them to enjoy. It's little things like Arianna's love of confetti that add layers to the character. And while I'm sure it's politically incorrect of me, I find Kendra tooling around in her Rascal absolutely hilarious. That and the over-eating, but all with such a sweet disposition and voice.

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Fox won't even air Sit Down, Shut Up's finale

by Jason Hughes, posted May 13th 2009 9:03AM
Sit Down, Shut Up
Fox must be really disappointed in this show. Not only is it incredibly unlikely to get a renewal beyond this horrible first season, but now Fox won't even air Sit Down, Shut Up's finale this weekend. Instead, they're going with a rerun of already canceled King of the Hill. While Fox is notorious for yanking a show before it gets a chance to find its audience, I think it's safe to say that Sit Down, Shut Up had found about as much audience as it was going to.

In four short episodes, it managed to undo all the work that Fox had done in the past two decades proving that quality animation could be made for prime time. I don't know why the formula didn't work, but I think Mitchell Hurwitz would have been better off trying it live action, like the Australian original.

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The Cleveland Show renewed before it begins

by Jason Hughes, posted May 4th 2009 6:36PM
The Cleveland ShowThat's a show of faith, Fox, renewing The Cleveland Show for a second season before its first episode airs. Sure you can say it's because animated shows need more lead time as it takes a lot longer to complete an episode; how else can you explain King of the Hill getting canceled back in 1976 and having new episodes through next season.

The second season pick-up is only for a half-season, but it does bring the total number of episodes to 35, which is a good start. Especially for a show that hasn't even started.

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Expect three more years of The Simpsons

by Allison Waldman, posted Oct 29th 2008 4:40PM
Simpsons ringAnimation domination will continue with The Simpsons anchoring the Fox toon programming for at least three more years. Al Jean, Simpsons' exective producer, confirmed that since the actors are signed up till 2011, he's pretty much banking on the fact that the award-winning comedy series will stay on the air.

Considering the fact that The Simpsons continues to be so successful -- last year's movie, for instance, grossed a staggering $526 million worldwide -- and remains hilarious and relevant, Fox would be nuts to let the show go. And one of the best things about this family sitcom is that the characters never age. Bart and Lisa only age in the episodes that fantasize about the future.

The Simpsons, paired with the Seth MacFarlane shows -- Family Guy and American Dad -- plus King of the Hill, gives Fox the most competitive and alternative programming for Sunday nights.

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