No Reading Digest Today (And Other Bad News)

Grade School Confidential8

“Stop pushing me.  What’s going on?” – Bart Simpson
“Just enjoy the movie, it has Tom Berenger.” – Principal Skinner

On account of the welcome disruption to normality that is turkey day, there will be no Reading Digest today.  However, I did want to highlight this particularly sad piece of Zombie Simpsons news, courtesy of our all-star commenter Abra Cadaver:

The Simpsons is filming a Judd Apatow spec script he wrote 22 years ago, because he’s Judd Apatow

As for his Simpsons episode, Apatow says it involves Homer attending a hypnotist’s show, being put under a spell that causes him to believe he’s the same age as Bart, and their becoming best friends, which then leads Homer to embrace his life as a responsibility-shirking man-child—a premise which Apatow acknowledges he’s "basically copied for every movie I’ve made since." And of course, the premise also recalls that episode where Homer visits a hypnotist’s show and is put under a spell that makes him believe he’s 12 years old, as well as all the many, many other episodes where he pals around with Bart and embraces his life as a responsibility-shirking man-child. Still, that’s only a problem if you expect The Simpsons not to repeat things, in which case you probably already stopped watching long ago.

The repetitive and uncreative nature of Zombie Simpsons isn’t a secret; it’s on display for anyone who bothers to sit through one of their episode.  But this particular instance of half-assed creative failure is nakedly unconcealed, even by their standards.  Not only are they producing a script that they wouldn’t have touched with a ten foot clown pole when the show was still itself, they’re doing so for the sole reason that the author happens to have become famous since their standards declined.  They aren’t making this episode because the writing is awesome, or because the script is some lost piece of comedy genius that was swallowed by the industrial vagaries of Hollywood.  They’re making it because people know who Judd Apatow is.  This isn’t the first time they’ve lunged at relevance with a celebrity writer, but it is the first time they’ve done so purely because of someone else’s notoriety. 

Zombie Simpsons: Famous People Like Us, You Should Too. 

15 Responses to “No Reading Digest Today (And Other Bad News)”

  1. 1 Chris
    23 November 2012 at 2:25 pm

    “As for his Simpsons episode, Apatow says it involves Homer attending a hypnotist’s show”

    This loses me right here. It takes me right back to that horrible episode they did, I think called the Blunder Years, where Homer gets hypnotized and then screams for about 10 minutes. Not only are they stealing ideas from themselves, but they’re stealing ideas from horrible episodes now. Good lord, it won’t be long before the jockey elves reappear and Homer goes on some daytime TV talk show to discuss being raped by a panda. I guess they’ve already stolen all the good ideas, so now they have to steal the shitty ones.

    Us: We preferred your half-assed under-parenting to your half-assed over-parenting.
    Al Jean: Oh, but I was using my whole ass.

    • 2 Hugot
      23 November 2012 at 2:41 pm

      If he really wrote this script 22 years ago, then the idea isn’t stolen from anywhere, it’s just another case of The Simpsons having already done everything.

    • 3 abra cadaver
      25 November 2012 at 1:32 pm


  2. 5 Hugot
    23 November 2012 at 2:55 pm

    22 years ago was 1990. The Simpsons was still in its infancy, and Zombie Simpsons didn’t yet exist. That means that this script in its original form was only influenced by what The Simpsons was, and not what it currently is.

    Of course, there’s a significant chance that Judd Apatow only STARTED the script 22 years ago, and never really finished it. Or, he’s felt the urge to change bits and pieces (or entire scenes) along the way. And realistically, it was probably edited/revised by the current writing team before it was put into production.

    But suppose for a moment that none of that is true, and that Judd Apatow has actually been holding onto a finished, untouched Simpsons script for 22 years. One that, at least in his own mind, is up to the standards of the show as it was 22 years ago. Even if it turns out to be nowhere close to that lofty goal, it could still turn out to be the best episode in over a decade.

    • 23 November 2012 at 3:26 pm

      Possibly, but there’s nothing to stop it from being heavily rewritten. I still don’t think every word of Ricky Gervais and Seth Rogen’s scripts were theirs.

  3. 9 Al Gore Doll
    23 November 2012 at 3:17 pm

    I have no possible idea how this could work. Homer’s been a giddy man-child with zero responsibilities for at least a decade (does he even work at the power plant?), so how could he act any different? It’s been shown time and again that Bart resents Homer, even going to so far as to ignore him dying in that ZS episode with the homeless therapist. So the only way Bart would treat Homer is like a second Millhouse.

    What would be really brilliant is if Homer had one too many knocks on the head and actually reverted to his season 1 demeanor, slow but grouchy. Then suddenly the entire warped universe around him settled into the crapsack satire of the first few seasons and the series comes full-circle.

  4. 10 ecco6t9
    23 November 2012 at 7:01 pm

    It’s something that could of worked at sometime with a better staff but not these days. The TV show Recess did the same idea, however in their story they only had to fill 9 mins.

  5. 13 FireFlower
    24 November 2012 at 1:14 pm

    They are so desperate for material they are digging up 22 year old scripts from the garabage just because the author is famous now. Wow…that is pathetic.

  6. 15 abra cadaver
    24 November 2012 at 3:51 pm

    D’awww, I’m an all-star all-star commenter on an ant-simpsons blog. Go, me!

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