Now entering their 25th year, The Simpsons entertained fans at Comic-Con in a panel that included Matt Groening, Yeardley Smith and Al Jean, moderated by David Mirkin. As a long time Simpsons fan who has lost interest in recent years, it was nice to see that the jokes still land as the cast and creative team premiered an upcoming Halloween episode and the full release of the short, The Longest Daycare. Hit the jump for more on The Simpsons panel and be sure to follow along with all of our continuing Comic-Con coverage.
Mirkin headed off the panel with a look at the upcoming Halloween episode, titled “The Greatest Story Ever Holed,” which capitalized on the recent discovery of the Higgs’ Boson, the so-called “God particle.” Much speculation surrounded the CERN experiments with the Large Hadron Collider and many thought the tests would generate a black hole that would swallow the Earth. The Simpsons writers clearly had a field day with this, as a small black hole begins gobbling up everything in sight and eventually spits the family out on an alien homeworld.
After viewing the Halloween episode, the panel fielded a Q&A:
When asked about the potential for developing a Broadway play around the Simpsons, they said haven’t talked about that but love to have those types of creative discussions.
Groening: I did have an idea to have Dan Castellanetta (the voice of Homer) to read Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey
Would the creators ever make a semi-permanent change that lasts longer than an episode?
Groening: Bart is 10 years old and has been for 24 years, will have a 10th birthday next year.
Smith: Changed Lisa to a vegetarian a while back and she stayed that way due to Paul McCartney’s wishes.
A cute little girl asks if it’s true that MG’s initials are in the side of Homer’s face.
Groening draws Homer’s face and adds his initials (M for Homer’s hair and G for his ear). Groening then gives the signed drawing to the little girl.
Groening: No, but I can do Maggie’s pacifier and originally did it on The Tracey Ullman Show. He used to do Barney’s belch, but Dan (and Nancy Cartwright) are experts at it.
Smith speaks in her normal voice and takes the pitch up a bit for Lisa’s voice.
Which Springfield does The Simpsons take place in?
Groening: I’ve answered that question a few times and I always give a different answer. The original inspiration for The Simpsons was the place that Father Knows Best takes place in.
Smith: I heard a story that the reason we lived in Springfield, was that city was the most common name in the United States.
Groening: That and Lincoln.
Jean: And Lincoln was from Springfield. Ooooo!
Did MG enjoy the Adventure Time display and is he a fan of the show?
Groening: I’m a huge fan of Adventure Time! In fact, Pendleton Ward (creator of Adventure Time) was brought to my house by his mother when he was a kid. I advised him on his dream of developing an animated show. I’m also a fan of Regular Show and, of course, everything Fox and Comedy Central does. Like Futurama.
After Fisher left, they debuted the full run of the short starring Maggie Simpson. There was no dialogue throughout the piece, playing up the sound effects, score, lighting and color palette. It was a cute little featurette that follows Maggie’s day under the care of Ayn Rand’s School for Tots. The 3D effects were what you would expect for a Simpsons’ short, but unfortunately we only saw the film in 2D. The Longest Daycare centers on Maggie attempting to bring some color into her dreary prison-like environment by trying to help a caterpillar become a butterfly. Complicating matters is her nemesis, the unibrow baby, who smashes every butterfly he sees. It’s definitely a family friendly short that is worth the price of admission, since it plays in front of Ice Age: Continental Drift.