News for The Simpsons

SideReel Isn't Afraid of the Dark

Television is an incredibly effective ghostbuster (except where  Poltergeist  is concerned)! Halloween can be a scary time, what with ghouls, maniacally grinning pumpkins, and roving bands of little kids. (Yes, that's right, kids can be creepy.) But there is a surefire way to banish dread into the shadows — and that way is to watch comedies! True, Halloween episodes have a less illustrious history than those for Thanksgiving or Christmas, but all the cool kids/shows are doing them now, and it's always enjoyable to see funny people in dumb outfits. So take a break from chowing down on candy corn and have a laugh or eight while waiting for that Sassy Rick Grimes costume to arrive.   Home Movies  S3E13: Coffins and Cradles This sardonic cartoon never really got its due (even on its second home of Adult Swim, whose offerings are increasingly stoner bait), but it was the most meta comedy in existence prior to the launch of  Community . The Halloween edition, however, ditched the high concept in favor of accessibility. That doesn't mean it's stupid or unfunny (it is, in fact, the complete opposite of those things), but it manages to cram cults, identical costumes, heart attacks, and births into 22 minutes, and never once feels rushed.   Friends  S8E6: The One With The Halloween Party Also known as the one with the worst costume in the world, namely Ross's attempt at a visual pun in Spud-nik (Half-potato. Half-satellite. All terror.). Concept: Chandler and Monica throw a party and all of the titular friends show up and have inoffensive and adorably funny concerns and arguments... it's a whole thing. I'll admit that this one is an office favorite, and not necessarily a personal pick, but it's enjoyable in the same way that all  Friends  episodes are. So there you have it.    The Office  S8E5: Spooked Holiday episodes of  The Office  were always series highlights, maybe because in a show that so often took its characters out of their comfort zones for no real reason, theme parties (Christmas, Halloween, birthdays) put them in  identifiably  awkward scenarios — after all, everyone who has ever been a corporate citizen can identify with the stilted interaction prompted by executive decree. Regrettably, "Spooked" takes place during James Spader's odd 15-episode run, but it's saved by the plight of Dwight, who must surrender parts of his costume in the name of office safety.   Community  S2E6: Epidemiology The paintball episode might have been the first time that we see Dean Pelton as having no real plan (he just wants to be a good dean!), but this is the episode that truly solidifies that trait. Greendale's Halloween party is pure Pelton: non-stop ABBA; rancid Army-surplus meat (with zombifying properties); and the willingness to lock all of the students inside at the request of men in uniform. So no, the Dean might not have a plan, but Harmon surely did, setting "Epidemiology" up as the start of the long game of Shirley's pregnancy, Jeff and Britta's secret sex, and Annie's infatuation with Rich.   NewsRadio  S3E5: Halloween Another show that deserved more praise and credit than it ever got was  NewsRadio , a powerhouse comedy from the mid-90s NBC hit machine. After being disinvited from the company Halloween party for being "too cool for school," the WNYX crew acquiesces to dressing up with eyes collectively rolling the whole time. Dave Foley gets back into drag in a callback to his time on  The Kids in the Hall , while, in an unintentionally tragic scene, Bill (Phil Hartman) is given an early date with death by a psychic. It's truly uncomfortable and sad in retrospect, but take my advice: ignore the pathos and join the cool kids radio club.   The Simpsons  S6E6: Treehouse of Horror V And so we come to the grande dame of Halloween specials.  The Simpsons  started doing its Treehouse of Horror episodes in its second year and its first entry was strong right out of the gate. While each year has had its own particular strengths (1996's highlight, a Clinton/Dole-inspired vignette, still gets widely quoted every election cycle), this fifth edition is the most emblematic of the series between Homer's time travel travails, a terrific parody of  The Shining ,  and the underrated closer, "Nightmare Cafeteria."    How I Met Your Mother  S1E6: Slutty Pumpkin More than any other season 1 episode up to this point, "Slutty Pumpkin" crystalized the  How I Met Your Mother  gang's individual characters. Ted spends his time pining for a woman he barely knew (the titular Slutty Pumpkin), Barney shows him the error of his ways in the meanest way possible, while Marshall and Lily try overzealously to combat Robin's fear of commitment. But despite showing all of their worst traits, the episode is light and sweet, like Halloween candy.     Curb Your Enthusiasm  S2E3: Trick or Treat Look, Larry David's awkward-a-thon of a series is not everyone's cup of tea, but it is  my  cup of tea and I identify with it totally and completely, so it should come as no surprise that I've got LD's back on this one. Why should he have to give candy to sarcastic teenage trick-or-treaters who won't even dress up? And why should they be allowed to spraypaint "BALD ASSHOLE" on his house? Sure, he might be a bald asshole, but not for the reasons they indicate!     Leah E. Friedman  is the editor of She went as  Star Trek  characters for Halloween decades before it was cool. You can follow her musings on  Twitter .

TV ratings: 'Once Upon a Time,' 'The Good Wife' and 'Family Guy' all open down Sunday

Fast National ratings for Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013With a big finale and a number of premieres on cable, Sunday's slate of broadcast-network premieres fell well short of the benchmark they set a year ago."Sunday Night Football" once again carried NBC to an easy win for the night, but for just about every other show, the numbers were down compared to this time a year ago. ABC's "Once Upon a Time" and "Revenge" both dropped by double-digit percentages in adults 18-49, and "Betrayal" opened well below where "666 Park Avenue" did last year. ("OUAT" and "Revenge" at least improved on their averages from last spring.) CBS' "The Amazing Race," "The Good Wife" and "The Mentalist" were all down, as were "Family Guy" and the rest of FOX's animated shows.(Numbers for the finale of "Breaking Bad," which likely had a sizable effect on the 9 p.m. shows, and premieres on Showtime and HBO will be available later...

'The Simpsons' Season 25 premiere: 'Homerland' tackles terrorism, sort of

The historic 25th season of "The Simpsons" has arrived. The season premiere takes on "Homeland" as Homer comes home from a work convention a changed man. He's polite, he's eating healthy, he's not strangling Bart. There's only one possible answer, he was kidnapped and brainwashed by terrorists before coming home.Of course, Lisa is the only one who sees something wrong, so she calls the FBI. That's where Kristen Wiig comes in as a guest voice, playing a bipolar FBI agent, in the same vein as Claire Danes' CIA operative Carrie Mathison on "Homeland," but way more over the top.In the end it was all a crazy mix up, of course. Homer actually befriended a bunch of hippies who taught him a better lifestyle. Oh, those hippies. They also enlightened him about the damage a nuclear power plant could cause, which leads to him finding a peaceful way of closing Springfield's, even if it won't last....

The Simpsons Turns 25 With Kristen Wiig, Guillermo Del Toro And More

  When Homer Simpson suddenly stops eating pork and drinking booze it can only mean one thing — he's gone Muslim! Homeland gets spoofed when The Simpsons returns for its 25th season Sunday, Sept. 29 (8/7c, Fox) to find the D'oh Man greatly changed after his trip to a nuclear-power convention.   Read More...

The Simpsons Season 25 Premiere 2013 “Homerland”

The Simpsons  Season 25 Episode 1 “Homerland” airs Sunday September 29 2013 (8:00-8:30 PM ET/PT) on FOX. Episode Synopsis:  The Simpsons Season 25 Episode 1 “Homerland” – In a nod to the hit cable series “Homeland,” Lisa suspects Homer may have been “turned” when he returns a changed man from a nuclear power plant operating convention. So she enlists the services of Annie (guest voice Wiig), an intense, jumpy FBI agent to help her unravel the truth. Read More...

THE SIMPSONS: Watch the HOMELAND-Themed Opening Sequence Now!

When THE SIMPSONS kicks off its new season this Sunday, the opening credits will be paying homage to another show having a premiere on the same night — Showtime’s HOMELAND. Take a look at THE SIMPSONS’ credits for “Homerland”… THE SIMPSONS’ season premiere kicks off Sunday, September 29th at 8 PM on Fox. Follow @GiveMeMyRemote [...]

The Simpsons Executive Producer Al Jean Discusses Season 25

How do you keep things fresh after 25 years? That was one of many questions posed to  The Simpsons  Executive Producer Al Jean as he sat down for a conference call.  TV Equals  was fortunate to be there, and plenty of information was gathered on the show’s season premiere (the  Homeland  spoof “Homerland”) and the show’s upcoming 25th season. Read More...

Amy Poehler to reprise her guest-star role on 'The Simpsons'

Bart just can't escape his ex-wife. "Parks and Recreation" star Amy Poehler will reprise her role as Bart's future ex-wife on "The Simpsons," EW reports.Executive producer Al Jean confirmed that Emmy-nominated Poehler will guest star in an upcoming episode of the long-running Fox hit animated show. The episode is set 30 years in the future, and Jenda (Poehler) is dating a crab-like alien creature and she's still not getting along with Bart."Bart is trying to get over his divorce and he does it in a bit of a 'Total Recall'-type way," Jean says. "I won't give away what happens, but that's a clue."The episode is titled "Days of Future Future," and it is a sequel to Season 16?s "Future-Drama," in which Poehler first voiced Jenda.Poehler's episode is set to air in the spring. Poehler joins the already impressive Season 25 guest-star roster, which includes Kristen Wiig, Daniel Radcliffe, Elisabeth Moss, Will Arnett, and Eva...

THE SIMPSONS: Al Jean on The Homer, the Very Special Season 25, and More

Last week, THE SIMPSONS executive producers got to experience the real-life version of The Homer car (which Homer Simpson “created” in the show’s second season), and part of that was actually getting to ride in the car…which just so happened to be made for racing. I spoke with THE SIMPSONS executive producer Al Jean before [...]

THE SIMPSONS: See the Real Version of Homer’s Dream Car! Plus, Teases For Season 25

Back in 1991, THE SIMPSONS’ Homer Simpson designed his perfect car in the episode “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?” And now, a real-life version of The Homer was used to race at the 24 hours Of LeMons earlier this summer. “This is a dream come true,” THE SIMPSONS creator Matt Groening told reporters on the Fox [...]