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July 25, 2009

Comic Con: Guinness Records for The Simpsons

The fans knew The Simpsons was more important than pesky political events or major disasters -- and now the Guinness Book of World Records agrees. At Comic-Con, Matt Groening was surprised by an award from that other record book ("I'm not from the Duff Book of Records, I'm from the real one," the representative said) for the longest running sitcom in history -- surpassing Ozzie and Harriet's record of 435 episodes. That's on top of the award for most Emmys won by a single show and being named "one of the most important things that have happened in the last 10 years." Take that, Obama!

The Simpsons fans also got some scoop on the upcoming season. Ubiquitous funnyman Seth Rogen will voice a character in the season premiere, and another Judd Apatow regular, Jonah Hill, will appear later in the season. Sarah Silverman will bring voice to Bart's new girlfriend, but don't expect the relationship to go smoothly. Other voices to keep an ear out for: The Smothers Brothers, the Manning Brothers (including the one who doesn't play football, who was the hardest to get), Far Side cartoonist Gary Larsen, and the late Eartha Kitt.

The fans also got a sneak peak at this year's Treehouse of Horror -- which will actually air before Halloween for a change. There's a gorgeous Spellbound homage (the 1945 Hitchcock movie, not the more recent spelling-bee documentary), and an explanation why Indian convenience-store owners may be our best hope when the zombies inevitably rise.

Despite 20 years of episodes, countless cultural references and a hell of a lot of awards, Groening promises the show isn't going anywhere. "The is no end in sight. Simpsons forever!"

Comic-Con: The Cleveland Show Cast Speaks

More fun from Comic Con: The cast of The Cleveland Show spilled on what's coming up and gave the crowd a special shout out -- by using the attendees as a cautionary tale for Cleveland Jr. Thanks?

The Cleveland Show hasn't hit screens yet, but "in a gesture of almost heartbreaking desperation, [FOX has] already picked us up for a second season," said show co-creator Rich Appel. "We just had our table read for what will either be our triumphant return or the single most expensive DVD extra in NewsCorp. corporate history."

From what we saw, the show should be in decent shape -- Cleveland gets to dance, rap and kick ass, and Rallo promises to fill the evil-baby position admirably. But if it doesn't work out, MacFarlane promises that Cleveland will happily move back to Quahog. After all, plans for replacing Cleveland don't go well on Family Guy: "We had this idea -- actually, I had this idea, and everyone hated it -- that maybe the fourth guy int he group would just be Mr. T," MacFarlane said. Even with his workout video, Mr. T could never take Cleveland's place!

Comic-Con: The Scoop on Family Guy

Expect cardboard affairs, the source of all dirty jokes, the unveiling of the Evil Monkey, and tough-girl Meg this season on Family Guy. Seth McFarlane and the cast and crew revealed this and more -- much of which we can't quote directly, because the obscenity filter at work would blow up. Gotta love Seth and Comic Con.

We got an exclusive peak at the next Family Guy Star Wars episode -- including the "giant boobie nipple gun," a screed against 20th Century Fox for giving George Lucas all merchandising rights, and a Jetson's cameo -- plus hints about upcoming episodes. Here's what's coming up:

  • Peter has an affair with a cardboard cutout of 90s supermodel Kathy Ireland.
  • Peter, Joe and Quagmire go on a quest to find the source of all the world's dirty jokes. We imagine they find them in Seth McFarlane's head.
  • Brian drives drunk and hits and kills a dog in the road. He's wracked with guilt -- and then wracked with rage when he discovers that no one really cares when a dog dies.
  • Meg goes to jail, and comes out a little tough, a little scarier, and a bit more manly.
  • Lois bonds with her mom over "an interesting sexual experience they've shared in their lives." We're officially afraid.
  • The family finally meets the Evil Monkey.
But there's one episode that probably won't make it to the air -- an unplanned pregnancy episode that the network allowed them to film, but shied away from actually airing. Gee, Family Guy addressing a sensitive political hot-button issue like abortion -- how could they not think THAT was a good idea?

What we saw of the Star Wars episode looks typically hysterical -- and yes, the crowd here ate it up. Plus, we found out that we'll see American Dad and The Cleveland Show characters -- along with James Woods -- in the Star Wars ep.

What's your take on The Family Guy? Which upcoming ep are you looking forward to the most? Talk about it in the comments!

Comic-Con Update: Fringe Science

Cue the maniacal laughter: The mad scientists behind some of our favorite shows, including Fringe, shared their secrets with the Comic Con crowds on Thursday. Here's what we learned:

  • Fringe writer Rob Chiappetta explained why the science on the show tends to focus on biology and neuroscience rather than, say, astrophysics: "Fringe is partly a horror show -- we want something creepy in every episode,  and it's easier to get to creepy and gross with biology and neurology than astrophysics." Moderator Phil Plait, creator of Bad Astronomy, disagreed: "You obviously haven't been to many parties with astrophysicists."
  • Phil asked if Astrid was named after Professor Farnsworth on Futurama. No -- that would be Philo T. Farnsworth, the inventor of television. "I was close, because Futurama is one television," Phil said. Nice try, Phil!
  • Rob muses that Fringe needs its own Law & Order spin-off, since they spend so much time debating the ethics of various scientific breakthroughs and concepts. Example: A company on the internet that allows you to put your belongings in escrow so, if you're reincarnated, you can "inherit" your possessions. What kind of proof do they accept, he wondered: "Can I just walk in and say 'I think I might be someone who died 40 years ago -- can I have my stuff?"
  • Sometimes episodes are inspired by current science, and sometimes the writers and scientific advisors have to come up with a justification for what happen in the script. "If J.J. Abrams says he wants a head to explode, you better make sure a head explodes," Rob said. "And then [the science advisors'] heads explode, because it's not possible."
  • Yes, Fringe deals with a lot of science that's only slightly out of reach today. However... "If you see walter do something on screen, do not attempt it," Rob said. "Now you tell me after I've taken LSD and gone into a isolation tank!" Phil responded.
What's your take on Fringe's science? Talk!

July 20, 2009

We're Going to Comic Con!

Hey there, Sourcites -- just a quick note to let you know that we're going to be to the ground at Comic Con 2009, starting Wed., July 22! We'll be checking out your favorite FOX shows -- 24, Bones, Fringe, Dollhouse, Glee, Family Guy, The Simpsons and more -- plus getting the scoop on new FOX shows Human Target and Past Life! We'll cover the panels, get exclusive interviews from the stars and behind-the-scenes wizards, and give you the scoop on the whole Comic Con scene!

Will you be at Comic Con? We'd love to see you! Give us a heads-up in the comments!I