Comic-Con is once again upon us and while we can’t physically be there the folks who run the show have turned the event digital. This means a slew of panels we can all enjoy from the comfort of our own homes.
The Simpsons are a Con regular so they had a panel that included Yeardley Smith with director Mike Anderson, executive producer Matt Selman, consulting producers David Silverman and Carolyn Omine, and showrunner Al Jean.
The creative team brought two special sneak peeks of Season 32’s “Treehouse of Horror XXXI” anthology to Comic-Con@Home. The first clip shows Homer (Dan Castellaneta) meeting versions of himself based on Yogi Bear and a singing Disney princess (who actually looks more like Bart). The video ends with the princess having her tiara stolen by a three-eyed raven that’s become a symbol of the yearly Halloween special.
The second clip, set to the’Flight of the Bumblebee’ is a time lapse of Homer bingeing on candy in a horror themed version of his office at the Springfield nuclear power plant. At one point, he’s removed on a stretcher by a pair of paramedics, but he later returns to eat more candy, puke, and eat more candy. He follows up the sweets with an entire turkey and (you guessed it) more candy. If you look closely you’ll notice some of the candy is copyright safe such as “Rhesus” and “n&n’s.” I would’ve preferred some better background sight gags but I’ll take what I can get.
Speaking about the origins of TOH Al Jean had this to say, “in the ’50s, there were these comics called EC Comics that I remember, as a kid, you couldn’t buy them because they were so scary and creepy…They would have these three scary little comic episodes, and [creator Matt Groening] had the idea to turn that into an animated tradition with The Simpsons. We were so worried the first few times we aired, that Marge has a disclaimer warning people it’s too scary, and that’s because Maggie was carrying a knife or something. Now we kill like 20 people a minute, but we were really worried we were gonna terrify every kid in America.”
TOH is usually the highlight of every season and it looks like we’re going to get some Disney parodies which I’m pretty excited for.
More generally the panel talked about how COVID-19 affected their operations. Production moved to home when the lockdown started and took about a week and a half to set up. Carolyn Omine said she misses the energy you get from other people from working in the office environment. However, Al Jean said the writers’ room would be the worst place to be during a pandemic because it’s a small room with no air conditioning where everyone’s talking really loud.
They did reveal that next season’s guest stars will include Hannibal Buress, Olivia Coleman, David Harbour, Ben Platt, and others. Their guest star wish list includes Sir Michael Palin of Monty Python (who just recorded an appearance) and Elaine May. Their favorite past guest stars include Jon Lovitz, Anne Hathaway, Cate Blanchett, Sacha Baron Cohen, Don Cheadle, and Jack Black.
Season 32 premieres Sunday September 27, 2020 at 9:00 p.m. eastern time.