10 things we learned about 'The Simpsons' at Comic-Con

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Image Credit: Fox

 The producers of The Simpsons invaded Bartroom, excuse me, Ballroom 20 this afternoon to chat about the animated Fox comedy’s upcoming 23rd season and answer all sorts of fan questions. (They also showed an amusing parody of the Dexter opening credits starring Ned Flanders, which will appear in the show’s annual “Treehouse of Horror” Halloween episode.) Here are 10 things we learned during the panel — and afterward, when we followed up with executive producer Al Jean.

• Surprise, surprise: There will be at least two more Banksy-eseque gags sprinkled throughout the season. “If you liked Banksy, then you’ll like these two,” Jean told EW after the panel. “But it’s not the same thing,”

• The 500th episode (yes, 500th) will air Feb. 19. Here was Jean’s one hint to EW about the episode: “There’s a secret town meeting that the Simpsons aren’t invited to, and then they sneak in and they find out it’s a meeting discussing whether to ban them from Springfield, because people are so sick of them after all this time. But there are more surprises.”

• The guest cast this season includes such celebrities as Kiefer Sutherland, Jane Lynch, Michael Cera, Andy Garcia, Armie Hammer, Joan Rivers, Jeremy Irons, and Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim. And don’t forget… President Theodore Roosevelt? After the panel, Jean elaborated on his tribute to a former Commander-in-Chief: “We have a show where it turns out Superintendent Chalmers’ hero is Theodore Roosevelt, so we have actual audio of Roosevelt (taken from a speech circa 1918) in the show. I thought, ‘Finally! We can put a president in the show. And a good one too. We’re going to give him a little credit at the end.”

• On series creator Matt Groening’s wish list: Radio personality Phil Hendrie. On Jean’s? Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax.

• When a fan asked why there were no musical numbers in The Simpsons Movie, Jean said that they wound up on the cutting room floor, including a big song about Alaska, with music by The Eurythmics’ Dave Stewart. “They got pretty far along in the animation, and then we got scared that the movie began to drag in that section,” explained Jean, noting that the song will be included on the next DVD release of the movie.

• Last season, couple-in-the-making Ned Flanders and Mrs. Krabappel – a.k.a. Nedna – hit a roadblock when he found out about all the men she’d been with. The show — which has placed the fate of the pair in the hands of fans, who can vote here – will honor their choice and stick with the storyline. No tricks. (For the record, the producers seemed to be more in favor of the love connection than the audience did.) Groening explained his pro-Nedna stance this way: “Bart deserves his teacher living next door.”

• While Lisa will explore romantic possibilities with Michael Cera’s character, she may ultimately find true love with a certain four-eyed nerd. “If she winds up with anybody, it’s going to be Milhouse,” Jean said, sending the room into cheers. After the session, he elaborated: “We did an episode where she kissed him — she admitted he was cute in the moonlight and then he fell off a cliff and an eagle saved him and he said, ‘Everything’s coming up Milhouse!’ People were so happy and it reminded me of when the little red-haired girl liked Charlie Brown. I thought, ‘I don’t know how the show will end or when, but in my heart, I think they’re going to be together.’”

• The show will bend its format with an episode that follows the saga of Moe’s bar rag over hundreds of years. “It used be a tapestry and then it was used by Michaelangelo,” Jean teased, “and the voice of the bar rag is Jeremy Irons.”

The Simpsons won’t shoot 1,000 years into the future to do a cross-over with Futurama, but it will jump ahead to a Simpsons Christmas 30 years in the future — and the episode was written by former Futurama writer J. Stewart Burns. In other intriguing news, the family will journey to their seventh and final continent, Antarctica, and in one episode, Mr. Burns has an iPad app called “Angry Burns.”

• In answering a SAO fan’s question, Groening said that it was always his intention to not have the characters on the show age, thanks to the wonders of animation. But, as he quipped, “we may do it when we run out of ideas. That may be the last sad season of The Simpsons. Bart will turn 11.”

Comments (86 total) Add your comment
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  • kana

    Thanks much for the article. I still love The Simpsons and I’m looking forward to Nedna or Not Nedna.so

    • MarcHon

      Nedna sucks…I still love the Simpsons and watch every week, but Futurama has surpassed it in quality.

      • Lena

        Go Nedna, go Nedna, go! They complete each other!

    • richromanceix

      OMG ,My best friend ,she just has announced her wedding with a millionaire young man who is the CEO of a MNC !they met via ——–Meet’Weαlthy.ČoM- — -..it is the largest and best club for wealthy people and their admirers to chat online. …you don’t have to be rich there ,but you can meet one ,maybe you wanna check it out or tell your friends
      —–It was Homer’s first day at the CO of the submarine. He doesn’t need to create another international incident for the nth time!

      • Grumpster

        Why must you post this crap?

      • Hasan

        ..A clupoe of them,via recurrent premonitary dreams(or shall I say,nightmares!) occuring for a clupoe of months prior to the actual event.Very disturbing,I would scream in my sleep and wake up terrified.Why these dreams always appears just as warning about catastrophes?Why don`t I have a nice dream regarding a pleasant event due to occurre???Anyway,nevermind.The latest premonitary nightmare was about my family,so as a result of the event taking place ,they are not with me to tell me their opinions about it,if you know what I mean.And before that event,a few years before.I remember having a few minutes of panic one morning,when I really insisted that my grandma,who was at the hospital at the time see a priest.I didn`t know why I panicked like that for a few minutes,but soon afterwards I came to my senses and carried on my daily business as usual.While on my way to my country`s capital,I was passing by the local cemetery,but for some reason,I couldn`t bring myself to look at it.As if I was avoiding it.A few hours later,I came back home and got the terrible news that my grandma died ..

  • Jake

    You don’t need to age the characters to be old.

    • Grumpster

      Vocally, you can hear the characters ages…play an old episode and a new one…they are quite different sounding. Of course, we had the Walter Matthow-esque version of Homer which could be something they bring back in a spoof toward the end…or revert to in the end.

      • jeremy

        The first season all the actors were still figuring out how the voices should sound. From then on they are pretty much locked in and all sound the same since.

      • Priscila

        Religion plays a major role to aevcihe peace of mind. It helps us to transmit our values from one generation to another, and influences the way we interact with the natural environment. Individual practices religious rituals and believes. More the person thrives, in education, health, mental health, marriage, family i.e. organized life. Less likely is he to be involved in crime, addiction, abuse or a host of other ills, a savage life as he was doing during the cave days. One is religious without performing religious rituals or uttering the name of the God. If one respects the creation and helps the needy he/she is more religious than the person who practice the prayer or rituals of fasting and going to religious fairs number of time. In fact they go to these places for shopping and visiting fairs and eating different foods.

  • Flip

    The Simpsons is still a great show and I’m excited for the new season. :D

    • sae

      aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

      • Subhas

        cartercool90 on July 13, 2009 if mama bird push baby bird out of nest, and then baby crack head on gournd and get eaten by cat then he do better next time! lol Christmas Eve is so random

  • Trudy Chandler

    Love Love Love The Simpsons

  • Diggerjohn111

    It’s about time they got to Antarctica. Homer still has a score to settle with those arrogant penguins.

    • intern

      It was Homer’s first day at the CO of the submarine. He doesn’t need to create another international incident for the nth time!

  • Dan Lewis

    The Simpsons are still on? Cool.

    • Flip

      You stopped watching The Simpsons? Wow.

      • jp

        Flip, it’s just not as good as it used to be. Not nearly as good.

      • @jp

        Nothing is. Especially after 23 years.

  • Josh

    If they were going to really decide the storyline based on votes, they would’ve put a “View Results” button on the page. I’m not buying it.

    • Flip

      If people are voting against Nedna, they are just plain stupid. I hope the writers continue this romance next season regardless of the votes.

  • bryant arbuckle

    I think they should make a spin off series of where there teenagers

    • Kaly

      @___@ Really?….. -.-

    • Jen

      Wereteenagers? No, THERE teenagers!

      • Joe

        If you’re going to correct someone Jen, please do it proper. THERE indicates location, like “over there”, while in this case the proper word would be “they’re”. All of you need to go back to 2nd grade

      • lordastral

        Yes, by all means, do it properLY.

      • GM

        You’re joking, right, Joe? She’s referencing Young Frankenstein!

  • Ed C

    I’ve always thought (actually just thought if it right now) that they should do an episode of dream sequences (ie the camera go through the house at night and peer into each characters dream). That would be entertaining and open all kinds of weird possibilities that don’t need to be added to any running storyline

    I have some other ideas (ok, don’t really, but could make some up) if they want to write me a big fat check for my brain products, although my ideas invariably involve either monkeys, robots or bad 80′s haircuts at some point.

    • TJ Spyke

      Ed, they actually did that for the episode “Treehouse of Horror II” back in season 3 (segment 1 was Lisa’s dream, segment 2 was Bart’s, season 3 was Homer’s). They also had a episode of characters dreams in “Simpsons Bible Stories” (where they dreamed they were characters from the Bible, like Marge dreaming that she and Homer are Adam and Eve).
      Anyways, I am pro-Nedna and hope they do that. I am not a fan of Lisa ending up with Milhouse. I have a feeling that Michael Cera will play the same character he does in EVERY movie and TV show.

      • Enan

        What the F are you talking about, you don’t want Milhouse and Lisa to happen?! That would be amazing. And Milhouse loves her and the whole family probably better than his own sad ‘rents. Lisa is supposed to be the most unsuperficial character on the show and a true testament to that would be her seeing how much Milhouse makes sense. Yeah, he is a nerd, but so is she.

      • Russ

        What are rents?

      • Sun WuKong

        Pa’rents

  • Jimmy Wilson

    There have been a lot of animated shows on TV that while at times were funnier than The Simpsons,lack the heart. That’s what keeps me a fan. Keep up the good work.

  • Die

    Não sei pq mais tem alguma coisa nesta imagem que me incomoda me atrai como se fosse subliminar ou um enigma.

    • Grumpster

      yeah…same to you…except in ENGLISH!!!

  • Mike K

    I’m glad they’re really thinking about the show still. Sure it’s had up and downs but this season sounds great so far. I can’t wait for Feb. 19th

  • Cindy

    I love The Simpson’s. They have great writers. I hope they never go off the air – ever. Looking forward to whatever comes next- (but NOT Edna and Flanders!)

    • Sanger

      Lunardo70 on February 1, 2010 2010 Toyota Venza hmmm, isn’t Toyota going through some Mechanical Problems. Ford had plbroems with their Explorers ways back and decided on changing the Brand of Tires. No more accidents. The Ford Edge is smaller than a Explorer and larger than the Escape. My Edge has car-like comfort and get 27 mpg on the Highway (I drove from Derwood, Md to Philadelphia, PA on a FULL TANK and used a Quarter Tank size when I got to Philly! better than my car!)No this isn’t a truck it’s a miracle!

  • Tom J

    I think Maggie should be able to talk, even just once !

    • Peter P

      already happened, a few times.

      • jk

        I think Tom means that Maggie should say full sentences in front of the family and NOT in a fantasy sequence.

    • kim in kentucky

      “daddy” and “sequel”

  • eric

    i’m not buying this whole nedna thing, i can already tell you it’s going to happen and people are going to lose intereste we don’t need another couple ur messing with a stable formula that works.

    • Flip

      How in the F**K do Nedna “mess with a stable formula”? When Edna and Skinner hooked up, it didn’t mess with anything. And they were a couple for years!

      • Captain

        But Skinner and Edna made sense.

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