‘The Simpsons’ Retire Ms. Krabappel with Warm Salute to Marcia Wallace

The Simpsons

The Simpsons creative team honored voice talent Marcia Wallace with a special tribute at the opening of “Four Regrettings and a Funeral” last night. Instead of Bart’s usual detention joke, he sadly wrote a single line on the chalkboard: “We’ll really miss you Mrs. K.”

Wallace voiced the character of Bart’s teacher Edna Krabappel since 1990. The actress passed away on October 26. She was 70.

Ahead of Sunday’s 8PM airing, Fox aired “The Ned-liest Catch,” an episode that featured the Springfield Elementary School teacher.

The Simpsons creative team will be retiring the character of Mrs. Krabappel. Producer Al Jean expressed his sadness over the loss, “I was tremendously saddened to learn of the passing of the brilliant and gracious Marcia Wallace… She was beloved by all at The Simpsons and we intend to retire her irreplaceable character.”

2012 Creative Arts Emmys: ‘Justified,’ ‘Game of Thrones,’ ‘American Horror Story’ and ‘Downton Abbey,’ Among Winners

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A week before the big awards are doled out at the Emmys, the technical awards and guest actors are being honored Saturday at the Nokia Theatre LA for the Creative Arts Emmys, which will air an edited special on the Reelz network, Sept. 22 at 8pm.

Among some of the winners already announced are HBO’s Game of Thrones for Outstanding Costumes for a Series, Showtime’s Homeland for Outstanding Casting for a Drama Series, Girls for a Outstanding Casting for a Comedy Series, and HBO’s Game Change for Outstanding Casting for a Miniseries, Movie or Special.

AMC’s The Walking Dead and Greg Nicotero‘s team of makeup artists for Outstanding Prosthetics and Makeup, Hatfields & McCoys for Outstanding Makeup for a Miniseries or MovieDownton Abbey for Hairstyling for TV Series, NBC’s Smash for Outstanding Choreography, Downton Abbey for Outstanding Music Composition Dramatic Score and American Horror Story for Hairstyling for a Miniseries.

Shocking many was Jeremy Davies who took home an Emmy for Best Guest Actor in a Drama Series for his work as Dickie Bennett in Justified. He beat out stiff competition from Breaking Bad’s Mark MargolisParenthood’s Jason RitterThe Good Wife’s Dylan Baker and Michael J. Fox, and Mad Men‘s Ben Feldman.

Kathy Bates took home the Emmy for Best Guest Actor in a Comedy Series for her work in Two and a Half Men. She beat out Elizabeth Banks in 30 RockMargaret Cho as Kim Jong-il in 30 RockDot-Marie Jones in Glee and Melissa McCarthy and Maya Rudolph who each hosted Saturday Night Live.

HBO’s critical favorites, Boardwalk Empire and Game of Thrones tied for Outstanding Art Direction for a Single Camera Series; both series also took the Hollywood magic awards Thrones for Special Visual Effects and Empire for Visual Effects in a Supporting Role. 

2 Broke Girls won Outstanding Art Direction for a Multi-Camera Series, and there was another tie for Art Direction for Variety or Nonfiction Program by The 54th Grammy Awards and the 65th Tony Awards.

Editing Awards went to Homeland (for Drama Series beating Breaking Bad, Mad Men, and Downton Abbey), Curb Your Enthusiasm (for Single-Camera Comedy beating Modern Family and 30 Rock) How I Met Your Mother (for Multi-Camera Comed), and Hatfields & McCoys (for Mini-Series or Movie). Outstanding Picture Editing for Reality Programming went to Deadliest Catch.

Fans of animated series might be surprised to see that Penguins of Madagascar won for Outstanding Animated Program, beating out American Dad, The Simpsons, Futurama, and Bob’s Burgers. Futurama’s Maurice LaMarche took home another Emmy for Outstanding Voice Performance.

Commercial nerds will be a bit disappointed to know that Target’s “Color Changes Everything”, Chrysler’s “It’s Halftime in America” and Volkswagen’s “The Bark Side” and “The Dog Strikes Back” Star Wars parodies were beaten by Procter & Gamble’s “Best Job” commercial.

Other awards given out were:

Outstanding Casting for a Comedy Series: Jeff Greenberg (Modern Family), Jennifer Euston (Girls), Julie Tucker (Nurse Jackie), Benard Telsey (The Big C), Seth Yanklewitz, Michael Nicolo, Anya Colloff, and Juel Bestrop (New Girl), and Allison, Jennifer Euston, and Pat Moran (Veep).

Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series: Jimmy Fallon for Saturday Night Live, Bobby Cannavale for Nurse Jackie, Will Arnett for 30 Rock, Greg Kinnear for Modern Family and Jon Hamm for 30 Rock.

Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series: Kathy Bates for Two and a Half Men, Melissa McCarthy for Saturday Night Live, Maya Rudolph for Saturday Night Live. Margaret Cho for 30 Rock, Dot-Marie Jones for Glee and Elizabeth Banks for 30 Rock.

Outstanding Cinematography for Multi-Camera Series: Gary Baum for Mike & Molly, Steven V. Silver for Two and a Half Men, Gary Baum for 2 Broke Girls, Chris LaFountaine for How I Met Your Mother, and John Simmons for Pair of Kings (Disney XD).

Outstanding Single-Camera Editing for Comedy Series: Ryan Case for Modern Family, Steven A. Rasch for Curb Your Enthusiasm, Steven A. Rasch for Modern Family, Ken Eluto for 30 Rock and Leap Day for 30 Rock.

Outstanding Multi-Camera Editing for Comedy Series: Peter John Chakos for The Big Bang Theory, Joseph Bella for Two and a Half Men, Darryl Bates for 2 Broke Girls, Mark Alan Dashnaw for Hot in Cleveland, and Sue Federman for How I  Met Your Mother.

Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Half-Hour Comedy or Drama Series: Tom Stasinis, Dennis Kirk, and Todd Orr for Entourage; Stephen A. Tibbo, Brian R. Harman and Dean Okrand for Modern Family; Jan McLaughlin and Peter Waggoner for Nurse Jackie; Robert Palladino, Martin Brumbach, Josiah Gluck and William Taylor for 30 Rock; and John Cook, Steve Morantz, Peter Nusbaum for Parks and Recreation.

Emmy Nominations – Who Got Served and Who Got Screwed Again

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The 2012 Emmy nominations have been announced and we’ve got all of the major categories listed as well as our initial, emotional reactions.

Outstanding Drama Series
Breaking Bad
Downton Abbey
Boardwalk Empire
Homeland
Mad Men
Game of Thrones

Reaction: What’s to debate here? All deserve it to some degree. Even in a down season, Downton Abbey is still phenomenal television, even if it’s not your cup of tea. My only gripe is that last year Abbey was considered a Miniseries and now they take the place of an equally deserving show. Nothing is budging Breaking Bad or Mad Men, and there’s no one else more thrilled to see Homeland and Game of Thrones included. Boardwalk Empire belongs too, but again, Sons of Anarchy will sadly never be in the Emmy conversation for whatever reason even though this past season wasn’t its most consistent. There were series that were going to be left on the outside looking in and SOA, The Good Wife, The Walking Dead and Justified were left out this year.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Julianna Margulies – The Good Wife
Elizabeth Moss – Mad Men
Michelle Dockery – Downton Abbey
Kathy Bates – Harry’s Law
Claire Danes – Homeland
Glenn Close – Damages

Reaction: There is nothing but rage, absolute rage. Someone please take Bates out and place Sons of Anarchy‘s Katey Sagal! It’s absolute B.S. And where’s Sarah Michelle Gellar for playing dual roles in Ringer. I’m kidding about that last comment, people, I’m kidding.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Anna Gunn – Breaking Bad
Archie Panjabi – The Good Wife
Maggie Smith – Downton Abbey
Joanne Froggatt – Downton Abbey
Christina Hendricks – Mad Men
Christine Baranski – The Good Wife

Reaction: It’s a glorious day to see Anna Gunn break into the category and get some recognition for Skylar White. It’s well-deserved and been a long time coming. Downton Abbey was a bit too soapy for me this past season but I can see why Smith and Froggatt are nominated. The Good Wife is filled with great actresses up and down that cast so there was no doubt that Baranski and Panjabi were going to be nominated. No Joelle Carter this year, but if all goes right, next year could be her year knowing her potential storylines in Justified.

Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series
Joan Cusack – Shameless
Uma Thurman – Smash
Julia Ormond – Mad Men
Loretta Devine – Grey’s Anatomy
Jean Smart – Harry’s Law
Martha Plimpton – The Good Wife

Reaction: Good choices, especialy with Plimpton and Cusack. Thurman was one of the few memorable things about Smash, but does anyone believe that show qualifies as a Drama series? It’s more like a comedy…

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Hugh Bonneville – Downton Abbey
Steve Buscemi – Boardwalk Empire
Bryan Cranston – Breaking Bad
Michael C. Hall – Dexter
Jon Hamm – Mad Men
Damien Lewis – Homeland

Reaction: This is one of the toughest categories year in and year out. Anything Homeland is hot, but Cranston is putting on a clinic each week on Breaking Bad. Hall is getting a bit long in the tooth in this category and is a bit outclassed, so I would have cheered more had Fringe’s John Noble took his place who is long overdue for some recognition for playing a dozen versions of his character Walter Bishop. We still love you, John. And Timothy Olyphant was also left out for what was his finest season as Raylan Givens.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Aaron Paul – Breaking Bad
Giancarlo Esposito – Breaking Bad
Brendan Coyle – Downton Abbey
Jim Carter – Downton Abbey
Jared Harris – Mad Men
Peter Dinklage – Game of Thrones

Reaction: Again, a knockout category and I’m glad I don’t have a vote for this one. Harris had a season to remember, and I’ve never rooted for an antagonist before like I did with Esposito’s Gus Fring. What’s not to love about Dinklage’s Tyrion Lannister? And both Carter and Coyle are strong on Abbey but I’m surprised not to see Alan Cumming from The Good Wife, also no Walton Goggins for Justified? Bah!

Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series
Mark Margolis – Breaking Bad
Jeremy Davies – Justified
Jason Ritter – Parenthood
Ben Feldman – Mad Men
Dylan Baker – The Good Wife

Reaction: How the hell do you leave Neal McDonough off this list? What an absolute crime! He deserves the spot more than fellow Justified guest, Jeremy Davies who is great on the show, but McDonough was riveting. We’ll be rooting for Breaking Bad‘s Mark Margolis (DING! DING! DING!) who got to finally step out of the wheelchair and show people a great performance in the Breaking Bad episode, “Hermanos.” Ritter who got no respect in The Event, did remind people of his talent in Parenthood.

Outstanding Miniseries or Movie
American Horror Story
Game Change
Hatfields and McCoys
Luther
Sherlock

Reaction: Even with Downton Abbey leaving this category, it still stacked. BBC is well represented with Luther and Sherlock. American Horror Story qualified and that helped it not to get lost in the Drama series. I’m glad it’s recognized. Hatfields and McCoys made a late charge and it’s fresh on voters’ minds.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
Connie Britton – American Horror Story
Ashley Judd – Missing
Nicole Kidman – Hemingway & Gellhorn
Julianne Moore – Game Change
Emma Thompson – The Song of Lunch (Masterpiece)

Reaction: Lots of reliable Academy and fan favorites make this category extremely competitive this season, but something tells me that Moore will get it for portraying Sarah Palin. Judd’s action role in the canceled Missing, AKA TV’s Taken, is a bit of a odd pick.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
Kevin Costner – Hatfield & McCoys
Idris Elba – Luther
Benedict Cumberbatch – Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia
Woody Harrelson – Game Change
Bill Paxton – Hatfield & McCoys
Clive Owen – Hemmingway & Gellhorn

Reaction: – Connect yourself to Ernest Hemmingway in any way, shape or form and you will get attention. I’ll be rooting for either of the BBC representatives in Elba and Cumberbatch because both are so clearly distinct in the massive sea of good television.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
Ed Harris –  Game Change
Denis O’Hare –  American Horror Story
David Strathairn –  Hemingway & Gellhorn
Martin Freeman – Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia
Tom Berenger – Hatfields & McCoys

Reaction: I’ll admit to seeing only Freeman and O’Hare, who I both enjoyed for different reasons. Knowing this Academy, Harris is the front runner in portraying McCain.

Outstanding Host in Reality TV
Tom Bergeron – Dancing With the Stars
Cat Deeley – So YOu Think You Can Dance
Phil Keoghan – The Amazing Race
Betty White – Off Their Rockers
Ryan Seacrest – American Idol

Reaction: I’m rooting for White. I am not afraid to admit that I watch this show and yes, I do think it’s funny. Also, does anyone really care about the rest of these puppets?

Outstanding Reality – Competition
Dancing With the Stars
The Amazing Race
Top Chef
So You Think You Can Dance
The Voice
Project Runway

Reaction: If we’re talking reality here, why is Dancing with the Stars here? The Voice could be roped into that strange celeb/reality blend too because in all honesty, our eyes are on what Christina Aguilera will wear and say next. The Amazing Race will be the odds on favorite, as usual, especially with Survivor being absent. I’ll still be rooting Top Chef and Project Runway but again, Survivor’s absence is a big surprise. Let’s just be thankful that American Idol wasn’t nominated.

Outstanding Variety Series
The Daily Show
Colbert Report
Jimmy Kimmel Live!
Saturday Night Live
Real Time with Bill Maher
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon

Reaction: It’s the usual suspects except Conan O’Brien is missing. That move to TBS has not done much for Conan outside of security. It seems like everyone’s forgotten what network he’s moved to. I also don’t think this was one of SNL’s better years either.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Zooey Deschanel – New Girl
Edie Falco – Nurse Jackie
Tina Fey – 30 Rock
Julia Louise-Dreyfus – VEEP
Lena Dunham -Girls
Amy Poehler – Parks and Recreation
Melissa McCarthy – Mike and Molly

Reaction: The Academy is in love with Fey, Poehler, and McCarthy. Fey can do no wrong despite 30 Rock not currently being as great as the earlier seasons. Poehler and Parks and Rec probably had its best season, and it’s probably no coincidence that both that and Veep’s  leads were nominated in an election year. Well played HBO and NBC. I like Deschanel, but I’m surprised she got nominated, then again, I’m not. Dunham and Falco are no surprises here after their seasons but I feel like this category is missing some stronger candidates.  Also no Alison Brie and no Krysten Ritter… double sigh. Waitaminute, does anyone else notice how they got seven nominations when most others had only six? Lots of gripes are going to come at this one…

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Mayim Bialik – The Big Bang Theory
Merritt Wever – Nurse Jackie
Kristen Wiig – Saturday Night Live
Sofia Vergara – Modern Family
Julie Bowen – Modern Family
Kathryn Joosten – Desperate Housewives

Reaction: When is the Academy going to grow some balls and nominate Kaitlin Olson for It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia? I’m eye-rolling at the Modern Family nods but mildly applauding Bialik’s nomination. Wiig is the only thing that saves SNL half the time and I have to admit that I never been desperate enough to tune into Housewives since the first season. Where are the girls of Happy Endings? Cheryl Hines or Allie Grant of Suburgatory? Bah! The comedy nominations get me pissed every single year.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Don Cheadle – House of Lies
Louis C.K. – Louie
Jon Cryer – Two and a Half Men
Larry David – Curb Your Enthusiasm
Jim Parsons – The Big Bang Theory
Alec Baldwin – 30 Rock

Reaction: People need to stop recognizing Two and a Half Men, seriously. Every time Cryer and this show are recognized, it shows why Hollywood keeps making brain dead comedies for the networks. Parsons, Baldwin, and David were almost written in months ago. Snooze. Here’s where Louis C.K. gets his nomination along with his writing and directing. Him winning would be an incredible upset knowing these voters, but there’s no one else who actually deserves it more than him.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Ed O’Neill – Modern Family
Jesse Tyler Ferguson – Modern Family
Ty Burrell – Modern Family
Eric Stonestreet – Modern Family
Bill Hader – SNL
Max Greenfield – New Girl

Reaction: Again, no disrespect to MF, but the Academy should be ashamed at nominating four goddmamn actors from one show in one category. There are other shows out there you know. Damon Wayans Jr. should be on this list. Also Nick Kroll from The League should be here and I also think that Garrett Dillahunt deserves a nomination for Raising Hope. Want another diss? How about James Van Der Beek on Don’t Trust the B—- in Apt. 23. Hell, anyone but a Modern Family cast member–this season anyway.

Outstanding Comedy Series
Big Bang Theory
Curb Your ENthusiasm
30 Rock
VEEP
Modern Family
Girls

Reaction: Wow, Curb Your Enthusiasm made a resurgence in the comedy awards. Was hoping Louie would crack this category once and for all but somehow 30 Rock got yet another nomination even though it’s been sitting in park for the last few seasons. The same could be said about Modern Family. I’m not sure if Archer entered as a comedy or animated series, but it should be here nonetheless. Wilfred is a cutting edge show that requires more thought than just laughing straight jokes but it seems to go over many heads. Episodes was another snubbed victim. VEEP and Girls took away spots normally held by network comedies and that’s nice, but Louie still deserves to be in this category and so does Community. Booooooo!

Outstanding Animated Program
American Dad – Hot Water
The Penguins of Madagascar – The Return of the Revenge of Dr. Blowhole
Futurama – The Tip of the Zoidberg
Bob’s Burgers – BurgerBoss
The Simpsons – Holidays of Future Passed

Reaction: Where’s Archer? One episode of Archer is more entertaining than all of the nominees back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back.

Outstanding Short-Format Animated Program
Regular Show – Eggscellent
Adventure Time – Too Young
Disney Phineas and Ferb – The Doonkleberry Imperative
Robot Chicken – Fight Club Paradise
Mad – Kitchen Nightmare Before Christmas / How I Met Your Mummy

Reaction: Knowing that Adventure Time, Regular Show, Mad and Robot Chicken all have nominations this year but Sons of Anarchy doesn’t sums up the type of twisted turmoil happiness and anger bestowed on people like us who follow television.

 

Other notable nominations and notes:

  • In the comedy writing category, both Community (Remedial Chaos Theory) and Louie (Pregnant) got nominations. So essentially the Butterfly Effect and TV’s longest fart joke got nominated. See how random the Emmys can be?
  • Louis C.K. also got a directing nomination for “Duckling” which may have been the greatest half hour of television last year.
  • Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan got a directing nomination for the series climax, “Face Off”
  • Mad Men dominated the drama writing category with three nominations; Homeland picked up one too for its Pilot.
  • Nominated for Main Title Design: FX’s American Horror Story’s creepy opening, Cinemax’s Strike Back, Starz Magic City, PBS’ Great Expectation, and Fox’s New Girl that lasts less than 10 seconds. How is Game of Thrones not nominated?
  • Burt Reynolds did not get an Emmy nomination for Voice-Over performance in Archer. Dammit!

Well, those are our initial reactions, want to share yours? For a complete list of the Emmy Nominations including the technical categories, click here.

POLL: Should The Emmys Allow ‘Community’ on Animation Ballots While Continuing To Slight Animated Series’ Writers?

Who doesn’t love Community? Seriously, even if the quirky and geeky NBC comedy isn’t your cup of tea each week, at least one of their dozens of themed episodes should pull smiles from each viewer eventually. This past season saw plenty of oddball episodes including a caper, the creation of a commercial, another musical, a spoof on Ken Burns’ documentary Civil War, and in one of the final episodes, “Digital Estate Planning,” half the episode was animated into an 8-bit world as the study group had to win a custom-created video game to win the inheritance for Chevy Chase’s character, Pierce.

This gloriously fun and creative episode no doubt melted the hearts of gamers and anyone who played games in the 1980’s-1990s whether it be on an Atari or Nintendo console or at the stand-up arcades. But does this singular episode qualify Community as an animated program? This special exception (for the second year in a row) allowed The Television Academy to say, “yes” and is allowing them to contend with other 33 animated series for nominations in animation categories, in addition to several other live-action categories. Now some of the writers-producers from TV’s most illustrious animated series, including Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy), David X. Cohen (Futurama) and Al Jean (The Simpsons) are protesting this ballot entry because they want to be able to submit their work for Comedy categories.

For this I say shame on you, Academy.

community digital estate planning

Showrunners, writers, and directors on animated series have been unable to submit their work as individual achievements outside of the animated categories held in the unaired Creative Arts ceremony, that is normally breezed over in the prime-time telecast faster than a fart in the wind. Here is the Academy’s official response to the protest.

Eligibility in animation programming is an exception to this general rule, because the animation producers, writers and directors enter the Animated Program category together as a team. There is no separate category for the individual achievements of animation writing and directing. (However, if an animated series opts to enter in Comedy Series rather than Animated Program category, then the individual achievement categories are open to them, e.g., writers can enter Writing for a Comedy Series category.)

“Community” is a Comedy Series that for the last two years has included an animated “special episode.” The competition includes a rule that a special episode can enter as a stand-alone special, “if it involved a significant and substantive format change throughout e.g. from whole-episode live action to whole-episode animation.” The “Community” producers followed that rule when they entered the producer-writer-director team for the animated episode in the Animation category and the regular, live-action episodes in the Comedy Series program and Comedy Series individual achievement categories.

The key phrase there is: if an animated series opts to enter in Comedy Series rather than Animated Program category… So it seems for animated series it’s either or, but not both. And in the case of Community they were given the special ability to submit to both and last year, Community won an Emmy on its only ever nomination for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation for another “special” episode, “Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas.”

One could argue that in past years, The Simpsons, Futurama and Family Guy in stretch runs stood tall next to or could have beaten out other Best Comedy nominees and winners. I know I’m not alone in wiping tears of laughter away watching either of those shows at the top of their game, and the same can be said today for FX’s Archer, Adult Swim’s Robot Chicken, and Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time. There are few traditional live-action comedies that could invoke such an equivalent of gut-busting laughter, and regardless of taste or subjectivity, every show starts with the writers, how is it that in animation they get slighted by the industry?

digital estate planning

No one is saying to kick Community out of these categories, in fact the other writers in the ballot protesting agree to let the episode in, but these 52 writers-producers are requesting for the same eligibility to submit their work for comedy categories too. They’re basically saying, sure come into our categories as long as you let us into yours.

But for the sake of the argument, let’s say say that Community is allowed to stay eligible and animation writers are still kept out of the comedy writing categories as individuals. What’s the harm? This continues to weaken the case for animated series that claim to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with live-action comedies. It keeps animated shows from getting too much recognition, despite Fox turning their entire Sunday night lineup into an animation block. If animated series writers were allowed in these categories I believe that would build a case for an animated series to potentially earn Emmy Nominations and actually win them, maybe more networks would invest in creating them?

Family Guy has tried in the past to be considered as a Best Comedy Series but has yet to earn a win but did get nominated in 2009, however, if writers are not allowed to be recognized individually and what few recognitions they do get aren’t even important enough to make it to the main ceremony, then what respect is being given to them by allowing Community the ability to submit to both genres?

Continuing to allow this cross genre eligibility for normal live-action shows is not a good precedent. Community is probably one of the few shows that could crossover, but the Academy would probably adore it if an animated special was made from The Good Wife, or Modern Family. A Glee one even makes sense. That doesn’t mean any of them are being made, but it does build some animosity in the animation circles that they aren’t being given the same merit of live-action shows. Isn’t the goal the same for every show? To entertain? This is just another strange area in the realm of comedy that we must scratch our heads at where the Emmys is concerned. Why don’t they ever recognize edgier basic cable or premium cable comedies and why aren’t animated series writers eligible for comedy awards? Funny is funny in my opinion and it doesn’t matter if it’s animated or not.

What do you think? Cast your vote below.

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Video: Pitt, Clooney, Sheen, & Others Perform L.A. Reading of ‘8’ To Spread Truth About Prop 8 Federal Trial

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Often times celebrities are given rolling eyes when they become invested in a political movement, but their collective star power can make a major impact. On March 3 at the Ebell of Los Angeles, The American Foundation for Equal Rights staged a one-night-only reading, verbatim theatre style, of a play that was written by Academy-award winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black (Milk) and directed by Rob Reiner (The Bucket List). The play was based on the transcripts from the Perry vs. Schwarzeneggger trial, which AFER filed with the district court to overturn Proposition 8, the bill preventing gay and lesbian couples from marrying in California.

brad pitt 8

Brad Pitt (Moneyball) read as Judge Vaughn Walker, prosecuting attorneys Theodore B. Olson and David Boies were played by Martin Sheen (West Wing) and George Clooney (The Descendants) respectively and defense attorney Charles J. Cooper was played Kevin Bacon (X-Men: First Class). The case featured two couples, a lesbian couple Sandy Stier and Kris Perry played by Jamie Lee Curtis and Christine Lahti who raised two boys from birth to their teenage years, and a gay couple Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo played by Matthew Morrison (Glee) and Matt Bomer (White Collar) who have been in a long-term relationship wishing to marry in California.

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The stunning words spoken in trial were read in powerful and effective fashion by the actors and were made even more enlightening with the support of conversations Stier and Perry had with their sons and interviews with with Katami and Zarrillo. Their words showed that marriage is not just a label to gay couples but being denied that right is another example of the discrimination and prejudice they face every day in their lives.

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The live stream of the reading attracted 200,000 viewers according to Reiner and is available for viewing on Youtube and on the AFER website. It can be viewed below. The first 30 minutes of the presentation is a collection of the propaganda ads that were aired on television in support of Proposition 8 as well as notable clips of politicians supporting the ban of gay marriage. Viewers have the option to skip ahead to the beginning of the 90 minute reading.

This play was created because no cameras were allowed in the hearing, drawing attention away from the defense’s weak case. No public access was given to trial until after the decision was made by Walker’s ruling. Their hope is that the LA reading will go viral and with the star power attached, would reach an audience that would not go out of their way to see the Broadway production of the play. Reiner is also directing a documentary about Prop 8 that will be released in 2013. When the real prosecuting attorneys joined Reiner and the cast at the end of the reading, Olson declared that “Fear and prejudice were put on trial and fear and prejudice lost,” as they hope to raise awareness of the case and take the matter to the Supreme Court.

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Others playing smaller but important parts are Yeardley Smith (The Simpsons), George Takei (Heroes, The Howard Stern Show), Bridger Zadina, Jansen Panettiere, James Pickens Jr. (Grey’s Anatomy), John C. Reilly (Chicago), Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family), Jane Lynch (Glee), Chris Colfer (Glee), Vanessa Garcia, Cleve Jones, Campbell Brown (The Today Show), Rory O’Malley (Dreamgirls).

The play is currently being performed on Broadway featuring Lahti, Bomer, and many who were featured in the LA reading of 8 and also feature Ellen Barkin, Morgan Freeman, John Lithgow, Bob Balaban, Anthony Edwards amongst others.

Blast Off #5: Animated Prime Time & The 2012 TV Schedule

The fifth Team Focus Blast Off is here, featuring Ernie Estrella and Mo Fathelbab.

buzzfocus blast off tv 2012 animated prime timeIn this podcast, we discuss the growing landscape for animated prime time TV shows, starting with old time favorites like The Simpsons, Family Guy, Futurama and Robot Chicken to newer series including The Looney Tunes Show, Thundercats, Archer, Young Justice and Allen Gregory.

We then shift our attention over to the 2012 TV show and check out some of the new shows coming in 2012, like HBO’s Luck and Showtime’s House of Lies, as well as returning favorites like Justified, Game of Thrones, Shameless and many more.

Check out the latest podcast and enjoy!

Click here to listen to the Team Focus Blast Off. Click here to Subscribe to our Podcast on iTunes.

‘The Simpsons’ Will Reach Historic 25 Seasons After Actors Agree To Take Less D’oh

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After a long and ugly battle of negotiations with the voice cast, The Simpsons will get two additional seasons on Fox to make it the longest running scripted series on network television. The negotiations went as smoothly as Homer’s average call down to Mr. Burns office.

Cast members including Dan Castellaneta (Homer), Harry Shearer (Mr. Burns, Principal Skinner and others), Yeardley Smith (Lisa), Hank Azaria (Moe, Apu and others), Julie Kavner (Marge and others), and Nancy Cartwright (Bart and others) will return after agreeing to a pay cut of around 30% from the $440,000 down to $300,000 per episode. The actors will get extra pay when their voice is used in licensing, but Fox held firm in its long stance of not including them in the back end profits.

While no one is exactly feeling bad for the actors for still making over $5 million for roughly four months of work, it certainly does fail in comparison to being included on the back end deals where the real money is made. It also makes for a good discussion. How big of a role are the voices in an animated series? Are they not as identifiable with the show as much as the style and look of the show? When a Homer Simpson t-shirt sells with the phrase, “D’oh!” in a word balloon, is it not synonymous with the way Dan Castellaneta says it?

Voice talent has long been undervalued in the world of animated TV and film even with The Simpsons, the pinnacle of prime time animated series. They are often made on tight budgets and some of the more recent celebrated series are voiced heavily by their creator(s). Seth MacFarlane’s Family Guy, Mike Judge’s King of the Hill and even Seth Green’s Robot Chicken come to mind. Should a series enjoy any type of mainstream success, are the actors entitled to some type of creative contribution or connection to these characters that would put them on the same level as the show’s creators or producers?

Recently Futurama was another animated series that was embroiled with their cast members in negotiations for a seventh season and were threatened that the show would go on with sound-alike voice actors. Eventually the actors settled and but in an industry where lead actors are often the highest paid and well-treated, or are able to negotiate a deal for back end profits, voice actors are often treated as if they are better heard (only when recording) but not seen.

The deal ends a week of speculation of the long-beloved series potentially being cancelled after the 23rd season, which starts on October 30 with “Treehouse of Horrors XXII.” Daily Beast first reported earlier in the week that Fox was seeking to cut salaries 45%. The actors have long sought to negotiate a cut of the billions in profits made from syndication rights, merchandising, and licensing. Profit participants are usually given to creators, main writers and producers. But Fox played hardball saying that if a deal was not accepted then they would cancel the show after this season and be content with a sale to cable, online distributors and another round of syndication–a deal analysts predict could be worth $750 million when you consider that there are over 500 episodes in the massive Simpsons library. Fox had all of the negotiating leverage.

Early Friday afternoon, before the deal was agreed upon, Shearer released a personal statement that he would accept a deal that would reduce his salary by more than the proposed 45% cut:

“I say, fine – if pay cuts are what it will take to keep the show on the air, then cut my pay. In fact, to make it as easy as possible for Fox to keep new episodes of The Simpsons coming, I’m willing to let them cut my salary not just 45 percent but more than 70 percent – down to half of what they said they would be willing to pay us. All I would ask in return is that I be allowed a small share of the eventual profits.”

“My representatives broached this idea to Fox yesterday, asking the network how low a salary number I would have to accept to make a profit participation feasible. My representatives were told there was no such number. As a member of the ‘Simpsons’ cast for 23 years, I think it’s fair to say that we’ve had a great run and no one should feel sorry for any of us.”

The only alternatives Shearer said was “to cancel the show or fire me for having the gall to try to save the show. Neither would be a fair result – either to those of us who have committed so many years to the show or to its loyal fans who make our effort worthwhile.” Shearer made it clear that he spoke only on his behalf and did not represent his fellow cast members.

Ratings have slowly dipped in recent years for The Simpsons, making it a less profitable show to produce for Fox. Despite its long-running success and worldwide popularity, many feared that Homer Simpson had eaten his last doughnut. Retirement awaits for at least another two years. One thing is for certain, they’ll have aged well for being on the air for 25 years.

Are you happy to see The Simpsons get seasons 24 and 25? Do you still watch The Simpsons? Do you think voice talent deserves to be included in the profit participants? Give us your thoughts below.

Nerdy Secrets With Mo Fathelbab – Episode 2 Podcast

BuzzFocus.com Presents NERDY SECRETS WITH MO FATHELBAB Episode 2 is up!!!! The latest show was recorded live, in front of a studio audience at The Nerdist Theatre at Meltdown Comics in Hollywood, California on TUESDAY, AUG. 30TH. We dubbed it THE RAMADAN SPECTACU-ALLAH! because Danielle Kramer, Dan Curry, “Nerdy Kid” Gil, and I cooked up an honest-to-goodness end of Ramadan feast for everyone.

The always funny DC PIERSON (“Mystery Team”) returned, this time as the special guest co-host.

The show kicked off with a brilliant stand-up comedy set by DAN CURRY. Then 9-year-old “Nerdy Kid” GIL T. DOMINGUEZ-LETELIER gave us a recap of his favorite summer films in a segment he called “The Summer of Mutants”. He schooled DC and I on how to make a great comic book movie (“more action, less talking”).

Then DC and I have an incredibly funny exchange with the panel which consisted of: AZITA GHANIZADA (from SyFy’s “Alphas”), KUMAIL NANJIANI (from TNT’s “Franklin & Bash”), and MATT SELMAN (the writer/executive producer of “The Simpsons”). We discussed an array of topics, from working with “Zack Morris” to stabbing teachers with pencils (you’ll understand it when you hear).

So anyway, without further ado: Posted on Categories Alphas, Captain America: The First Avenger, Celebrity, Comedy, Cowboys & Aliens, Critic Review, DC Comics, Film & Movies, Justice League of America, Nerdy Secrets, On Location: LA, Team Focus Blast Off, The Avengers, The Simpsons, TNT, TV, X-Men: First Class1 Comment

BuzzFocus.com Presents ‘NERDY SECRETS WITH MO FATHELBAB’ – Episode 1 is Up!

Live from The Nerdist Theatre at Meltdown Comics in Hollywood! It’s NERDY SECRETS WITH MO FATHELBAB, presented by BuzzFocus.com!

The first NERDY SECRETS WITH MO FATHELBAB ever was only suppose to have 1 panel but instead we give you 2!

Panel #1 features BEN SCHWARTZ (“Parks & Recreation”), RICH SOMMER (“Mad Men”), ARLENE TUR (“Torchwood: Miracle Day”). We discuss very important things, like their respective works, Jon Hamm, “Transformers 2″, and treehouses.

Panel #2 features nerdy porn stars MISTI DAWN (“Revenge of the Nerds: A XXX Parody”) & APRIL O’NEIL (Star Trek: The Next Generation – A XXX Parody”), and comedian DC PIERSON (DERRICK Comedy). Of course we discuss the adult film industry but we also talk about our favorite sci-fi shows, video games, celebrity crushes, and Mormon court (it’s an actual thing).

So, click on this and enjoy!

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We’re also proud to announce the next LIVE RECORDING of NERDY SECRETS WITH MO FATHELBAB, which will be at The Nerdist Theatre at Meltdown Comics in Hollywood, California (as always) on TUESDAY, AUG. 30TH at 8PM! It will be our wonderful end of RAMADAN SPECTACU-ALLAH!, so if you’ve bought tickets for the show, you’ll also be able to enjoy an authentic Middle Eastern meal Mo and his various L.A. friends will be cooking!

And the line-up is killer! Just check out who’s dropping by:

AZITA GHANIZADA (from SyFy’s “Alphas”)!
KUMAIL NANIJANI (from TNT’s “Franklin & Bash”)!
MATT SELMAN (the writer/executive producer of “The Simpsons”)!
and DC PIERSON returns as the special guest co-host!

With “Nerdy Kid” GIL T. DOMINGUEZ-LETELIER, who’ll give us a recap of his favorite summer films.

And brilliant stand-up comic DAN CURRY will kick the night off with an awesomely funny set!

Advanced tickets are only $8 ($10 at the door) so buy them now at NerdMeltLA.com!

TUESDAY, 8/30 AT 8PM
NERDY SECRETS WITH MO FATHELBAB
at THE NERDIST THEATRE @ MELTDOWN COMICS
7522 W. SUNSET BLVD. (btwn GARDENER & SIERRA BONITA)
LOS ANGELES, CA 90046

Kidrobot Brings Home The Simpsons Mystery Goodie Boxes

Everybody likes receiving gifts. The thrill of opening a package, regardless of whether it’s extravagantly ornate or simple and undecorated, is always titillating. Monetary value aside, the anticipation of finding out what’s inside is always a rush.

Kidrobot’s new The Simpsons line of collectable figures brings out just that excitement. There are twenty-five figures to collect and, much like sports trading cards (or pokemon cards), you never know which figure you’re going to get when you buy a box. Plus, with The Simpsons rich Halloween special history and the current national craze surrounding The Walking Dead, Kidrobot is adding in a few undead surprises in limited quantities. Marge, Homer, Bart, Lisa and Maggie all have a limited edition Zombie version.

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I received three boxes to check out. Each box, pictured below, is brightly colored with neon outlines of several Simpsons characters. The characters and the probability of you getting each one are shown on the side of the box. Since it is the onset of the Holiday season, I decided to create my own Kidrobot holiday tradition and open one box a day – hoping that this would magically increase my chances of getting a zombie Simpson.

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Day 1:
I picked up the first of three boxes and opened it. Inside the box was a foil bag that further delayed my mystery prize. After carefully opening it, like a bag of potato chips, out popped Lisa Simpson dressed like El Mariachi. The figure, made of vinyl, is very sturdy and designed for collectors ages 15 and up. It’s a very spot on representation of Lisa Simpson. Only the arms move so that accessories can fit inside. Lisa came with a hat, fiddle and bow. The hat locked onto her spiked head with no problem. However, like most many collectables, the accessories are not designed right for the hands. The bow will snap into Lisa’s hand without a problem, but the fiddle will require a fair amount of force.

I remember owning GI Joe action figures as a kid (they’re not DOLLS DAMMIT!). What was most upsetting about the toys were the weapons; they never quite fit into the hands of the characters. The toys had natural hand postures (other toys would have the hands posed in a permanent fist with a hole in the center to rest the accessory), but sometimes forcing a weapon inside would cause the plastic weapon to fray or just end up broken. Sombrero wearing Lisa’s fiddle eventually made it into Lisa’s hand. However, despite grooves on the bottom of the fiddle, you can’t pose it like it is pictured on the box (so that it looks like she is playing). Also if you have Lisa hold the fiddle vertically in her hand she will not be able to stand up; the fiddle extends past the length of her body.

willieDay 2:
The Second day of the Kidrobot Holiday brought me Groundskeeper Willie. As one of my favorite Simpsons’ secondary characters, I was excited to get this figure. According to the box, Willie and Otto are the most prevalent characters in the collection. Both are listed as 2/20 (though why it’s not just listed as 1/10 is a mystery). Willie only comes with a plunger. It sticks easily into his hand and will not have the same headache attached.

sideshow-bobDay 3:
The phrase “saved the best for last” does not apply here. My open-one-a-day strategy failed. I ended up with Sideshow Bob. He had a cheesy grin with no accessories. Alas, no zombies were found. I guess I should look on the brighter side. It could have been a dupe (duplicate).

Most characters you’ll find in this set have a 1/20 ratio. The core Simpsons characters are 1/25 and the zombie characters are 1/100. There are also a few characters with an unknown ratio. (Hans Moleman, Zombie Homer and Zombie Bart) Two characters are unmarked, but based on their silhouette they are probably Grandpa Abraham Simpson and one of the Flanders kids (Todd or Rod also with an unknown ratio).

This is the second line of Kidrobot Simpsons figurines. The first set featured the core Simpsons in their standard TV outfits. In this series, the non-Zombie Simpson family figures are in Mexican mariachi clothes.

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Kidrobot Series on Amazon.com: