The Simpsons vacation episodes, ranked

As it’s done with every other cornerstone of family sitcoms, The Simpsons has taken the vacation episode to new heights (and lows). In its 29 seasons—and counting—the animated series has journeyed to France, Australia, China, Iceland, and the town of Bronson, where even the children are stone-cold badasses. Over time,…

A life writing for The Simpsons fails to embiggen an insider’s book about the show

As much as the introduction of DVD commentaries promised revelations inside the creative process, plenty of times they offered more insight into the banter of the people involved, as seemingly important scenes sail by unexplained. Longtime Simpsons producer-writer Mike Reiss, a frequent presence on the hours and hours…

The Simpsons take Grampa to Denmark for cheap medical treatment and some serious déjà vu

Grampa needs some expensive medical treatment, so the family heads off to a foreign country whose very different economic system allows for inexpensive health care for all. Yes, the Simpsons are heading to Cuba! No, wait, that was last season. Okay, well, once there, the family finds that their new surroundings offer…

And now, Conan The Librarian: 8 fictional shows, games, and books we wish were real 

Welcome back to AVQ&A, where we throw out a question for discussion among the staff and readers. Consider this a prompt to compare notes on your interface with pop culture, to reveal your embarrassing tastes and experiences, and to ponder how our diverse lives all led us to convene here together. Got a question you’d…

Sticking their noses in other people’s business: 16 TV Cyranos

You know Cyrano de Bergerac even if you don’t know Cyrano De Bergerac. The protagonist of Edmond Rostand’s century-old play—based loosely on the life of an actual French polymath—is a canonical figure, his romantic plight, panache, and prodigious proboscis immortalized in countless stagings, adaptations, and lit-class…

On The Late Show, Hank Azaria says recasting Apu “seems like the right thing to do”

Midway through an interview largely given over to the ongoing discussion about the problematic nature of his 29-year run as Springfield’s most prominent South Asian character voiced by a white guy, Hank Azaria told Stephen Colbert that he was just as unpleasantly surprised by The Simpsons’ recent, defensive…

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Lisa has a musical crisis, but The Simpsons is content to breeze through New Orleans

Since “Lisa Gets The Blues” reaches back to a classic episode for what emotional resonance it’s got, allow me to reach back to Nathan Rabin’s Simpsons (Classic) review of “Moaning Lisa” to similarly prop up my review of an episode that didn’t inspire much in the way of its own poetry. In discussing Lisa Simpson’s role…

A lost line from "Steamed Hams" has been discovered, reconfiguring time and space

Earlier this month, we short-sightedly declared the lunatic, surprisingly malleable “Steamed Hams” as having “reached its zenith” when human meme Jeff Goldblum played Principal Skinner in the now-classic “22 Short Films About Springfield” scene. Ah, but that is not for us to declare; the shadowy, online cabal of…

Simpsons showrunner Al Jean still seems pretty sure there's no problem with Apu

If there was any doubt that last week’s Simpsons episode, “No Good Read Goes Unpunished,” was written at least in part as a direct response to/dismissal of Hari Kondabolu’s TruTV doc The Problem With Apu, a quick glance at showrunner Al Jean’s Twitter account should make the cause-effect relationship pretty clear.…

TruTV is re-running The Problem With Apu, right before this week's The Simpsons

Hari Kondabolu’s TruTV documentary The Problem With Apu first aired last November, offering up a critical examination of The Simpsons’ hard-working Kwik-E-Mart operator, along with the various cultural factors, writing decisions, and acting choices that led a white man’s caricature of an Indian accent to become a…