29 Seasons Of Homer And Family
♦ Over at EW, they have details and images from the 29th season of Fox’s The Simpsons, which starts today in the US…
And this season will help the animated Fox comedy blow past another milestone, as it contains episode No. 636. Homer & Co. will eclipse TV’s longest-running scripted primetime series, Gunsmoke, the CBS western that churned out 635 episodes. “It’s a tribute to everybody that’s worked on the show, and how hard they’ve worked,” says executive producer Al Jean. “It used to be an unthinkable number and here we are!… I don’t even know if [the Gunsmoke producers and actors] were aware that they were establishing a record when they went off the air, or I don’t remember anybody saying, ‘Take that!’ but we’re beating it.”
Aside from the deafening sound of shattering records, what else can fans expect when Springfield springs back into action? Here’s a dozen visual teases for season 29, which kicks off Oct. 1 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Fox.
Springfield will be transformed into something fantastic(al) for the season premiere. An ambitious fantasy-themed episode, titled “The Serfsons,” will pay tribute to the movies, TV shows, and books in said genre.
“It’s a sprawling epic fanatsy episode that’s worthy of a 9-hour movie trilogy — 10-and-a-half hours after you count the extended edition,” says Simpsons executive producer Matt Selman. “Setting an episode in a fantasy world allowed us to tell a deeper, more emotional story that had huge surges of emotion and feeling but also is really silly. It has a lot of satire and asks interesting philosophical questions — and makes fun, pointed political commentary.”
Game of Thrones star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau hops over from Westeros to make a brief appearance. “The part is more Needle than Longclaw,” nerdily says Selman, “but no less deadly.” Selman won’t reveal too much about the role, other than to say, “He has a very Jaime Lannister-type relationship with one of the Simpsons,” and also to reassure: “It is an acceptable level of disgusting.”
So, what exactly happens when The Simpsons goes medieval on itself? “Homer Serfson has to lead a rebellion against what he loves most: feudalism itself,” quips Selman. “If you thought one Milhouse was annoying, imagine dozens of goblin Milhouses. Krusty has a uniquely magical venereal disease. And Moe’s bar is, if anything, a little nicer.”
The second episode of the season is a short one — a Martin Short one. In a story that knowingly nods at Alison Bechdel’s graphic memoir Fun Home, Lisa and Marge join creative forces to whip up a graphic novel about Lisa’s life. (Words by Lisa, drawings by Marge.) “It becomes an unexpected hit and it takes Bi-Mon-Sci-Fi-Con, which is our version of Comic-Con, by storm,” says Simpsons consulting producer Tim Long, who co-wrote the episode with Miranda Thompson. “Everything is going great, but an eccentric theater director played by Martin Short turns it into a musical extravaganza, à la Fun Home, and ends up sewing chaos and driving a wedge between mother and daughter. Maybe, just maybe, those bonds can be repaired by the end of the episode, but tune in to make sure.”
The Short episode also features Crazy Ex-Girlfriend star Rachel Bloom as an intelligent, highly neurotic student psychologist. “The Simpsons send Lisa to her to deal with her neuroses because they’re both loving parents and incredibly cheap,” says Long. “It’s her idea to get Lisa expressing her feelings through art therapy, which sets the whole graphic novel part in progress.”
Bloom will flower in a geeky subplot as well. “There’s a funny, very small subplot where it turns out that Rachel’s character has a complicated relationship with her academic supervisor,” says Long, “so if you love comedy about academic supervision, you’re going to love this episode.”
The annual Halloween episode, “Treehouse of Horror” is usually heavier on screams of laughter than screams of fright, but executive producer Al Jean thinks the final segment in the XXVIIIth edition may change that. “We have what I think is the scariest segment we ever did,” he says. “I don’t want to say more.” Please say more. “I’ll give you the title: ‘Mmmmmmm, Homer.’ We actually put a disclaimer on it again like we used to — a warning to the audience.”
There’s also a 3-D parody of Neil Gaiman’s Coraline, titled “Coralisa,” which features Neil Gaiman voicing the cat. “Lisa finds a perfect world,” says Jean, “except that they make you sew buttons on your eyes.”
Another THOH segment features baby Maggie becoming possessed, and The Exorcist star Ben Daniels voicing the role of the priest. “Maggie says, ‘You’re all going to die,’ and Marge is excited,” says Jean, “because it’s Maggie first words.”
For the full story, visit EW here