The Set of 400: #234 – My Favorite Sandbox Escape

Today! Because this book doesn’t have any answers!

The Simpsons Movie (2007)

Directed by David Silverman

Starring Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright (x2), Hank Azaria, Harry Shearer, Yeardley Smith, Pamela Hayden, Tress MacNeille (x2), Albert Brooks (x3), Tom Hanks (x2), Joe Mantegna

The debt of honor we as a people owe to Tracey Ullman can never truly be assessed. Yes, without Matt Groening and James L. Brooks and Sam Simon we wouldn’t have the decades of merriment and hilarity The Simpsons has given us, but without Ullman’s terrific sketch comedy show on the relatively new FOX network in the late ’80s, they may have never gotten a foot in the door as everyone’s favorite yellow skinned family (and then by extension we never would’ve gotten Futurama, still my pick as one of the top three or four consistently funny sitcoms ever made – The Simpsons has obviously been diluted down by the many years since its heyday).

Congratulations, meat bags!

But, after eighteen seasons on the air, we finally got the big screen treatment long rumored and promised, and it was the best Simpsons product in at least a decade. You can see the full-on effort all over the film, from the well honed jokes to the movie-sized plot about Springfield being placed under a dome due to contamination to the mild stretching of vulgarities they wouldn’t have been allowed to do on television. After so much time, and so many lackluster seasons in the early ’00s, there was definitely some worry they’d waited too long to get Homer and company into a movie theater, that they were no longer capable of making a big, funny story work. Those fears were ungrounded, to say the least. And people showed up! It was a surprisingly big hit, domestically and worldwide, as it had the incessant reruns to cement awareness and then the product exceeding expectations to such a large degree.

And now, twelve years on from The Simpsons Movie, in the midst (I assume) of season 31, we still await the second coming, often hinted at (including in the first post-movie episode, with Bart writing on the chalkboard “I will not wait 20 years to make another movie”) but never truly confirmed. Hey, I guess they’ve got the better part of the next decade before we can be righteously angry!

We were big into the new FOX network when I was a kid – it seemed like such a mind blowing thing, a new major network (this was years before we got cable, figure) – and so by extension the FOX shows seemed cooler than their Big Three competitors. Married… With Children, America’s Most Wanted, Tracey Ullman, 21 Jump Street, Werewolf, Cops – this was appointment viewing. And to this day, I still watch Cops all the damn time. And I tried for a while to get caught up on all The Simpsons – having abandoned it along its insanely lengthy run, like most people, I suspect – but the FX app has problems streaming to my television, and I’ve struggled trying to watch on my phone, and various other excuses. I’ll straighten it out and see season 11 in its entirety soon!

’07 was no slouch at the box office, and The Simpsons Movie was still the eighth highest grossing movie worldwide, garnering a Best Animated Film Golden Globe nomination, but has the film ever been truly honored for its Best Nome, Alaska shoutout? Step it up, Nome!

Tom Hanks and Tress MacNeille join the Two-Timers strictly from voice work today, in #240 Toy Story 2 and #385 Bee Movie, respectively, while Nancy Cartwright has one of each, following her live action role in#331 Twilight Zone: The Movie. And her Twilight Zone co-star Albert Brooks becomes a Three-Timer along with his role in #334 Lost in America. Spotlight!

Hilarious in Broadcast News, and real life brother of Super Dave Osborne himself, Bob Einstein! Yes, he was born Albert Einstein! The more you know!

Coming Monday! Didn’t I get a tie this year?

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