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2 items from 2014

Is The Simpsons relying too heavily on gimmicks?

2 October 2014 12:07 AM, PDT | Den of Geek | See recent Den of Geek news »

The Simpsons' media gimmicks, crossovers and auteur couch gags have become a bigger story than the show itself over the last few years...

Warning: contains spoilers for this week's episodes of The Simpsons and Family Guy.

“It's not selling out, it's co-branding. Co-branding!”

So says Homer Simpson in the throes of a feverish nightmare at the beginning of Brick Like Me, the 550th episode of The Simpsons, which then unfolds mostly in a Lego version of Springfield.

It's a cute way to start an episode that uses an exercise in product placement to tell a story about parenting and creativity, which is mirrored at the end of that story when the episode acknowledges how The Lego Movie did the exact same thing a few months earlier.

Such meta-textual hat-tipping may be appreciated by more pernickety fans of The Simpsons, (it's also telling that the antagonist of Brick Like Me »

- louisamellor

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'The Simpsons': Judd Apatow on playing 'self-involved' Judd Apatow and the upcoming episode he wrote (two decades ago)

3 January 2014 10:50 AM, PST | EW - Inside TV | See recent - Inside TV news »

Judd Apatow is one of Hollywood’s biggest comedy voices, and he’s lending his to The Simpsons on Sunday (Fox, 8 p.m.) The writer-director-producer whose credits range from This is 40 to Anchorman to Bridesmaids to Girls plays himself in an episode in which Homer screens illegally downloaded movies in his backyard, only to wind up on trial for piracy. (Will Arnett, Apatow’s wife, Leslie Mann, Paul Rudd, Seth Rogen, Channing Tatum and Rob Halford also pop up.) This won’t be Apatow’s only contribution to the animated comedy; the producers also plan to turn a script »

- Dan Snierson

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2014 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004

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