Bill Oakley

William Lloyd Oakley (born February 27, 1966) is an American television writer and producer, known for his work on the animated comedy series The Simpsons. Oakley and Josh Weinstein became best friends and writing partners at high school; Oakley then attended Harvard University and was Vice President of the Harvard Lampoon. He worked on several short-term media projects, including writing for the variety show Sunday Best, but was then unemployed for a long period.

Oakley and Weinstein eventually penned a spec script for Seinfeld, after which they wrote "Marge Gets a Job", an episode of The Simpsons. Subsequently, the two were hired to write for the show on a permanent basis in 1992. After they wrote episodes such as "$pringfield (Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Legalized Gambling)", "Bart vs. Australia" and "Who Shot Mr. Burns?", the two were appointed executive producers and showrunners for the seventh and eighth seasons of the show. They attempted to include several emotional episodes focusing on the Simpson family, as well as several high-concept episodes such as "Homer's Enemy", "Two Bad Neighbors" and "The Principal and the Pauper", winning three Primetime Emmy Awards for their work.

After they left The Simpsons, Oakley and Weinstein created Mission Hill. The show was plagued by promotional issues and was swiftly canceled. They worked as consulting producers on Futurama, then created The Mullets in 2003. The two wrote several unsuccessful TV pilots, and were due to serve as showrunners on Sit Down, Shut Up in 2009. Oakley left the project over a contract dispute. He has since written for The Cleveland Show and Portlandia, without Weinstein. He also served as co-executive producer and writer on Portlandia, sharing a Writers Guild of America Award with his fellow writers in 2013. In 2018, Oakley reunited with Weinstein as co-executive producer on Disenchantment, Matt Groening's series for Netflix. Oakley is married to fellow writer Rachel Pulido.

Bill Oakley
Oakley in 2008
Oakley in 2008
BornWilliam Lloyd Oakley
February 27, 1966 (age 53)
Westminster, Maryland, U.S.
OccupationTelevision writer
ResidencePortland, Oregon, U.S.
NationalityAmerican
Period1988–present
GenreComedy
SpouseRachel Pulido
PartnerJosh Weinstein
Children3 (Mary, Bitsy, James)

Early life

William Lloyd Oakley was born on February 27, 1966 in Westminster, Maryland and raised on a farm in Union Bridge, Maryland.[1][2][3] He was a fan of Mad magazine from an early age, which helped shape his comic sensibility.[2] He attended St. Albans High School in Washington D.C., where he met and became best friends with Josh Weinstein in the eighth grade. The two created the school humor magazine The Alban Antic in 1983.[1][4] Such would be the length of their partnership; the two often finish each other's sentences.[5] Oakley later attended Harvard University, where he wrote for and served as Vice President of the Harvard Lampoon,[2] working on the famous 1986 USA Today parody issue.[6] He graduated in 1988 after studying American history.[1][7]

Career

Oakley did not land a job on a major comedy series, as previous Harvard graduates who wrote for the Lampoon had done, despite writing numerous spec scripts for shows such as Saturday Night Live and Late Night with David Letterman; he moved back home.[1][8] There, he worked in publicity, doing promotion for America's Most Wanted.[8] In their free time, Oakley and Weinstein wrote for local comedy groups, such as Gross National Product.[1] In 1989, they moved to New York City after being hired to write for a game show on Ha!, before writing for a variety show on the network featuring Denis Leary.[8] The two also wrote for the National Lampoon and Spy.[4] An editor of Spy was hired by NBC to run the variety show Sunday Best, and took Oakley and Weinstein to Los Angeles with him in 1991. When the show was canceled after three episodes, they were unemployed for a lengthy period, and Oakley lived on unemployment benefits.[6][8] He later considered applying to join the United States Foreign Service.[1]

The Simpsons

As a writer

After changing their agent,[1] they wrote a spec script for Seinfeld, which was well received. Amongst those who liked it were Al Jean and Mike Reiss, showrunners of The Simpsons. There were no openings on the staff at the time, but Oakley and Weinstein were hired to write the episode "Marge Gets a Job", based on an idea by Conan O'Brien.[8] The episode aired as part of season four.[8][10] Their Seinfeld script and The Simpsons episode caught the attention of Diane English, and they were offered a job on a sitcom. Before they accepted this job, they were told that Jay Kogen and Wallace Wolodarsky were leaving The Simpsons, and then joined the writing staff on a permanent basis in 1992, in the third season of that show.[8][11] They began as story editors.[12] They were initially quiet and felt "intimidated", being in the same room as "10 of the greatest minds in comedy", but eventually started pitching jokes with confidence.[8] They wrote their scripts together, working side-by-side at a computer.[8] Their first episode as staff writers was "Marge in Chains", an existing idea that they were assigned. The first draft of the script was based on research about women in prison conducted by Oakley and Weinstein, making it "slightly more realistic" than the final version of the episode, in which many realistic elements were replaced.[13]

After season four, most of the original staff left the show. Before David Mirkin arrived to take over as showrunner for season five, Oakley, Weinstein, O'Brien and Dan McGrath were the only writers working on the show and spent a month mapping out most of the season's episodes.[11] Oakley and Weinstein wrote several episodes for season five, penning the "Terror at 5½ Feet" segment of "Treehouse of Horror IV",[14] "$pringfield (Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Legalized Gambling)",[15] "Lisa vs. Malibu Stacy",[16] the show's 100th episode "Sweet Seymour Skinner's Baadasssss Song"[17] and "Lady Bouvier's Lover".[18] For season six they wrote "Sideshow Bob Roberts", basing much of the episode on the Watergate scandal, in which they had a great interest.[19] They also wrote "Grampa vs. Sexual Inadequacy",[20] and "Bart vs. Australia". The writing staff wanted to do an episode in which the Simpsons family traveled to a foreign country; they selected Australia because they thought that everyone in Australia had a good sense of humor and "would get the jokes",[21] with the episode being intentionally inaccurate.[22] The episode proved somewhat controversial; some Australian fans said the episode was a mockery of their country. Shortly after it had aired, the Simpsons staff received over a hundred letters from Australians who were insulted by the episode.[23] The pair wrote the two-part episode "Who Shot Mr. Burns?", which was initially proposed by series creator Matt Groening.[24] While deciding who the culprit was, Oakley and Weinstein pitched Barney Gumble because he was a character that could go to jail and it could change the dynamic of the show.[25] Mirkin suggested Maggie because he felt it was funnier and wanted the culprit to be a family member.[26] Oakley and Weinstein were initially unsure about having Maggie as the culprit, and it was decided that the episode would end with Maggie shifting her eyes and making it look like it was not a complete accident.[27]

As showrunner

Oakley and Weinstein were appointed executive producers and showrunners of the seventh and eighth seasons. They were chosen partly because they had been with the show since the third season and understood many of its dynamics.[11] The showrunner is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the show's production. Each episode takes ten months to produce, so the showrunner must "oversee many different episodes in different stages of production all at the same time", with roles including head writer, making notes on the storyboards and working with the voice actors, animators, editors and composers. Oakley and Weinstein often set two script-rewriting rooms in motion at the same time, delegating leadership in the rooms to writers such as Steve Tompkins and David Cohen.[8] Mirkin, who had suggested that the two take over, remained on the show in an advisory capacity, helping Oakley and Weinstein with technical aspects of the show such as editing and sound mixing.[8] When they took over the series, they wanted many of the episodes to be realistic ones that focused more on the five members of the Simpson family and explored their feelings and emotions towards each other.[28] They wanted to produce Treehouse of Horror episodes, episodes about Sideshow Bob, Itchy & Scratchy and several "format-bending" episodes such as "22 Short Films About Springfield", for which Oakley wrote the Principal Skinner and Superintendent Chalmers scene, the latter being his favorite character.[29] They aimed for "at least two episodes per season that 'pushed the envelope', [and] expanded the definition of what an episode could be."[8] This was a style they employed for both seasons they produced.[30] Season eight featured several episodes in which focus was given to secondary characters and in which new issues were explored, such as divorce.[30] Their preferred choice of guest stars were those with unique and interesting voices, and several of their guest stars were "old grizzled men with distinctive voices" such as R. Lee Ermey, Donald Sutherland, Kirk Douglas and Lawrence Tierney.[31] Oakley considered season three to be the single greatest comedic season of television ever produced and so attempted to recreate the feel of that season for the two he ran,[2] focusing on stories with real emotions and situations, as well as some off-the-wall episodes.[8] Season three was their basis for Homer: "We liked Homer the way he was in the second and third seasons. That was what we consciously used as our model. Dimwitted, loving, hyper-enthusiastic, creatively goofy, parody of the American father – drawn with real emotions, though admittedly amplified. This was exemplified in "Mother Simpson", "Lisa the Iconoclast", "Diddly-Dum-Doodly", and a couple others. In some of the less reality-based episodes, i.e. the Beer Baron one – usually Swartzwelder's, we'd treat this stricture with a certain amount of latitude."[9]

One of their most notable episodes was "Homer's Enemy", an episode designed to "push the envelope conceptually." The idea for "Homer's Enemy" was first conceived by Oakley, who thought that Homer should have an enemy. This evolved into the concept of a "real world" co-worker who would either love or hate Homer. The writers chose the latter as they thought it would have funnier results.[32] The result was the character of Frank Grimes, a man who has had to work hard all his life with nothing to show for it and is dismayed and embittered by Homer's success and comfort in spite of his inherent laziness and ignorance.[32] "Homer's Enemy" explores the comic possibilities of a realistic character with a strong work ethic placed alongside Homer in a work environment. In the episode, Homer is portrayed as an everyman and the embodiment of the American spirit; in some scenes, his negative characteristics and silliness are prominently highlighted.[32][33] By the close of the episode, Grimes, a hard working and persevering "real American hero,"[33] is relegated to the role of antagonist; the viewer is intended to be pleased that Homer has emerged victorious.[33] Oakley says the episode was "hyper-meta" and focused on "parodying to some degree the Homer we don't like. That's one of the things that episode is supposed to illustrate – 'Homer gone wrong'. Although, I would argue that in 'Homer's Enemy' he's not even really even all that excessively stupid or immature, actually."[9] Weinstein said: "We wanted to do an episode where the thinking was 'What if a real life, normal person had to enter Homer's universe and deal with him?' I know this episode is controversial and divisive, but I just love it. It really feels like what would happen if a real, somewhat humorless human had to deal with Homer. There was some talk [on NoHomers.net] about the ending—we just did that because (a) it’s really funny and shocking, (2) we like the lesson of 'sometimes, you just can't win'—the whole Frank Grimes episode is a study in frustration and hence Homer has the last laugh and (3) we wanted to show that in real life, being Homer Simpson could be really dangerous and life threatening, as Frank Grimes sadly learned."[8] When the episode was first broadcast, many fans felt it was too dark, unfunny and that Homer was portrayed as overly bad-mannered.[34] On the DVD commentary, Weinstein considers this episode one of the most controversial of the seasons he ran, as it involves sharp observational humor which many fans "didn't get."[32] Weinstein talks about a "generation gap"—the episode was originally panned by viewers, but has since become a favorite among fans who grew up with the show.[32]

Simpsons writers1
Oakley (left) along with Weinstein, Mike Reiss and Jeff Martin in 1994.

Other episodes included "Two Bad Neighbors", which sees Homer meet former President George H. W. Bush, a reference to the show's feud with the Bushes in the early 1990s.[35] Weinstein said that the episode is often misunderstood. Many audiences expected a political satire, while the writers made special effort to keep the parody apolitical.[36] Oakley stresses that "it's not a political attack, it's a personal attack!", and instead of criticizing Bush for his policies, the episode pokes fun at his "crotchetiness". Oakley described the episode as a companion piece to "Homer's Enemy", in that a character is juxtaposed alongside Homer and does not get along with him.[37]

Oakley considered working on the show to be similar to working in a bubble due to the lack of interference from the Fox network's executives, as is commonplace on other shows.[11] This allowed them to produce any episodes they wanted, as Weinstein commented: "The great thing about The Simpsons is that we pretty much were able to get away with everything, so there weren't any episodes we really wanted to do that we couldn't do. Even the crazy high-concept ones like 'Two Bad Neighbors' and 'Homer's Enemy' we managed to put on the air because honestly there were no network execs there to stop us."[8] Such was the network's limited input that, when an executive suggested the staff introduce a new character to live with the Simpsons so as to "liven up the show",[38] the staff rejected the idea and instead created the episode "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show", inserting the one-time character Roy, with no explanation as to who he was, or why he was living with the family, as a reference to the executive's proposal.[39] The episode, which marked the point at which The Simpsons surpassed The Flintstones for the number of episodes produced for an animated series,[40] was named by the BBC as one of the ten most memorable episodes of the show. They noted "the writers used the opportunity to pay tribute to the art of animation and rail against network interference in their show."[41] The intrusion of the network censors was limited: the normal procedure is for an episode's script to be sent to the censor and then faxed back with a list of lines and words that should be substituted, causing limited problems, as often the offending lines are removed or changed for comedic purposes after animation. The episode "Homer's Phobia" drew the censor's objections. Its script came back with two pages of notes about almost every single line. The censors stated that they did not like the use of the word "gay", or the discussion of homosexuality at all, and closed with a paragraph which stated that "the topic and substance of this episode are unacceptable for broadcast". The censor problems ultimately came to nothing; when the episode came back from animation in South Korea, the then-Fox president had just been fired and replaced, with the censors being replaced as well. The new censors sent back merely one line: "acceptable for broadcast".[42]

Leaving the show

Oakley and Weinstein stood down as showrunners after season eight because they "didn't want to break [the show]." Oakley said: "We always said we'd never do a joke that we'd done before."[1] They felt the showrunner should not stay for more than two seasons.[11] Due to the pressures of having to work on two seasons at once (writing season eight, while doing post-production of season seven), Oakley said that at least two episodes from season eight would ideally have been rewritten, had there been sufficient time,[30] and that towards the end, they were "treading water".[2] As they were working on post-production of season eight, they were credited as consulting producers for season nine, which was in its initial writing stages.[8] Oakley stated that they contributed "somewhere between 0 and .0001%" of the season, only attending the table readings of the scripts.[8]

They produced three episodes held over from season eight, which aired as part of season nine: "The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson",[43] "The Principal and the Pauper" and "Lisa the Simpson". "The Principal and the Pauper" was negatively received due the sudden revelation that long-time character Seymour Skinner was actually an imposter. For example, in his book Planet Simpson, Chris Turner describes "The Principal and the Pauper" as the "broadcast that marked [the] abrupt plunge" from The Simpsons' "Golden Age", which he says began in the middle of the show's third season. He calls the episode "[one of] the weakest episodes in Simpsons history".[44] As such, Oakley considers it the most controversial episode from his tenure as executive producer. He and Weinstein advise viewers to treat "The Principal and the Pauper" as an "experiment". They surmise that the negative reception was partly due to the fact that it was not immediately apparent to viewers that this was such an episode (as opposed to, for example, "The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase"). They describe the ending of the episode as an attempt to reset the continuity and allow fans to consider the episode on its own.[45] "Lisa the Simpson" was their final involvement with the show. The duo wanted to end on a good note—Weinstein stated that the episode "was meant to embody the humor, depth, and emotions of The Simpsons,"—and they were pleased with the result.[46]

Awards and critical reaction

Oakley won three Emmys for his work on The Simpsons, and shared them with the other producers.[47] When Oakley was the showrunner and executive producer, "Homer's Phobia" won the Emmy for Outstanding Animated Program (For Programming One Hour or Less) in 1997.[47] The previous year, "Treehouse of Horror VI" was submitted for the award. The staff felt the 3D animation sequence "Homer³" would have given it the edge. The episode eventually lost to Pinky and the Brain. Oakley later expressed regret about not submitting an episode with a more emotionally driven plot, such as "Mother Simpson".[48] In 1996, during season seven, the show received a Peabody Award.[49] Oakley shared the awards for "Lisa's Wedding" and "Trash of the Titans" in 1995 and 1998 respectively.[47][50][51] Oakley and Weinstein themselves were nominated, along with the show's composer Alf Clausen, for the Emmy for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Music and Lyrics for writing "Señor Burns" from "Who Shot Mr. Burns? (Part Two)".[47]

Many of the episodes by Oakley and Weinstein are considered amongst the show's best. For example, in 2003, Entertainment Weekly included six episodes they produced ("Homer's Phobia", "A Fish Called Selma", "The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson", "22 Short Films About Springfield", "The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase" and "The Itchy and Scratchy and Poochie Show") and one episode they wrote ("Who Shot Mr. Burns?") as part of their list of the show's 25 best episodes.[52] Robert Canning of IGN said the episode "You Only Move Twice" from season eight "may well be the greatest Simpsons episode of all time. In my book, it's at least tied," with "Marge vs. the Monorail".[53] A. O. Scott described their era as "reach[ing] a pinnacle of zany self-reference with "22 Short Films About Springfield" and "Simpsons Spin-off Showcase"."[54] The two are popular amongst the show's fans,[9] and in the early days of the Internet, Oakley read and participated in fan discussion of the show on newsgroups such as alt.tv.simpsons.[2][11] In 2005 and 2006, they participated in two question-and-answer sessions on the fan message board NoHomers.net.[8][30]

Mission Hill and other work

After Oakley and Weinstein left The Simpsons, they created Mission Hill in 1997, a show about a hip, lazy, 24-year-old cartoonist named Andy French, and sold it to The WB for a fall 1999 debut.[8][55] They pitched the show in 1998 "as an animated series for young adults with a sophisticated, 'Simpsons'-style sensibility." They aimed to make the show about realistic issues affecting young adults, which were too mature for The Simpsons.[1] The network was impressed and initially ordered 13 episodes; they ordered five more once the first was completed.[8] Oakley explained: "The audience we're going for is one that's sophisticated, that likes high and low humor, that's very savvy in animation. [But] this show is definitely a case where a lot of people don't get it. It's not setup, setup, setup, punch line. It's observational humor. It's jokes told in a weird way, in the background or with a bizarre sound effect."[1] The show was plagued by "public relations" difficulties, which meant it was "tarnished" from the start. A badly edited two-minute promotional video for the show, sent to advertisers in April 1999 for the annual upfronts, was poorly received. Oakley and Weinstein had been informed that the upfronts did not matter.[1] Similarly, because no episodes were finished in time, journalists were not able to see anything of the show at the network's schedule presentation in July. Subsequently, as Weinstein commented to The Washington Post, "for seven months, the only impression people had of the show was based on a two-minute tape that looked terrible. Six major publications panned it before they even saw it." The pilot garnered largely negative reviews from publications such as The Deseret News; and earned a positive write-up in Variety.[1] Furthermore, the show was forced to change from its originally planned title of The Downtowners due to its closeness to an MTV show.[1] All of these factors combined to ensure the show received little attention, and the WB ran only a few commercials for it. Weinstein stated: "I don't know exactly why America doesn't know about this show. It's like Teen People came out with its fall preview, and we're not even in it."[1] Mission Hill came at a time when the TV schedules were already saturated with animated shows; some of the response could be chalked up to its genre.[9]

The show was put out on a Friday, a night on which the WB had never broadcast before, at 8:00 pm, a time Oakley felt was inappropriate,[1] and aired in front of The Wayans Bros., The Jamie Foxx Show and The Steve Harvey Show, all shows with which Oakley felt it was "incompatible".[8] The show's poor reviews and ratings of an average of 1.8 million led to its swift cancellation.[9][55] Oakley concluded that the pair had been "very naive" with regard to producing the show,[1] and that it "would've been better on cable anyway because it would never have appealed to a broad enough audience due to the subject matter."[9] The 13 completed episodes were later aired on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim block and the show garnered a worldwide cult following. After lobbying from Oakley and Weinstein, the WB eventually released the series on DVD.[4][8][55]

From 2001 to 2002, the two served as consulting producers on Futurama. They worked for two-and-a-half days a week, contributing jokes and helping with stories. They worked most substantially on the episodes "That's Lobstertainment!" and "Roswell That Ends Well".[8] They produced The Mullets for UPN in 2003.[56] Oakley and Weinstein have written and produced several television pilots. These include a CBS dramedy entitled 22 Birthdays, Business Class, a comedy for NBC about two traveling salesmen, The Funkhousers, an off-the-wall comedy for ABC about a close-knit family which was directed by Frank Oz and The Ruling Class for Fox, about a high school class who all got along, regardless of their social group.[8][57][58] They have written two feature film screenplays: The Optimist for New Line Cinema, in which Seann William Scott was slated to star as a man born with no unhappiness gene,[59] and Ruprecht, a Santa Claus-related comedy for Disney.[60]

Along with Weinstein, Oakley was to serve as an executive producer on the Fox television series Sit Down, Shut Up in 2009.[61] Oakley ended his involvement with the show due to a contract dispute between the staff and Sony Pictures. Sony refused to offer a contract which operated under the complete terms of the Writers Guild of America. Weinstein continued working on the show.[62] His two subsequent projects have been without Weinstein. In late 2009, NBC commissioned a pilot for Oakley's sitcom about "the youngest judge in a circuit courthouse."[63] He wrote the 2010 episode of The Cleveland Show "Gone with the Wind".[64] Amongst other projects, Oakley planned a live-action show where the characters are all robots, which would be made by the same people who produce the children's show Yo Gabba Gabba!.[2] Oakley began writing for the sketch comedy show Portlandia in its second season. He became a co-executive producer from the show's third season, co-writing every episode with Fred Armisen, Carrie Brownstein and Jonathan Krisel.[65][66] He and his fellow writers shared the Writers Guild of America Award for Outstanding Achievement in Writing Comedy/Variety (Including Talk) – Series in 2013.[67][68] Oakley and Weinstein will again team up to co-write and co-executive produce 22 Birthdays, the failed pilot they originally produced for CBS, as a pilot for Bravo. Doug Liman and Dave Bartis will also be co-executive producers. It is set to air in 2013.[69]

Personal life

Oakley and his wife Rachel J. Pulido[70] have two daughters Mary and Bitsy,[4] and a son named James.[71] He and his family live in Portland, Oregon.[2]

Pulido (born January 26, 1967) graduated from Harvard, where she was a writer for the Harvard Lampoon. She wrote for The Simpsons and Mission Hill and was the only Hispanic staff writer in the twenty-year history of The Simpsons.[72] She is of Mexican heritage.[73] Pulido wrote the episode "Grade School Confidential",[74] and the Bumblebee Man segment of "22 Short Films About Springfield".[71]

Credits

Episodes listed are those Oakley has been credited as writing or co-writing

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Waxman, Sharon (1999-10-07). "That's Show Buzz – For the Guys Behind 'Mission Hill,' a Long, Hard Climb". The Washington Post. p. Style C1.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Oakley, Bill (2010-02-14). Outlook Portland (Interview). Interviewed by Rick Emerson. Portland: KRCW-TV. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ Bill Oakley Interview « The Boar The Boar Retrieved 2014-10-25.
  4. ^ a b c d Fu, Sandra (2003-03-11). "A Lesson On The Concept of "Relatability": Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein, Mission Hill". Morphizm. Archived from the original on 8 September 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-29.
  5. ^ Belcher, Walt (1996-07-22). "'Simpsons' writers plan busy season". The Tampa Tribune. p. 4.
  6. ^ a b Hallett, Victoria C. (1999-09-17). "The Comedy Connection". The Harvard Crimson. Archived from the original on 2011-07-17. Retrieved 2010-07-28.
  7. ^ Rehling, William E. (1996-05-20). "Homer-palooza...from a Harvard perspective". The Harvard Crimson. Archived from the original on 2 August 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-29.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x "Ask Bill & Josh". NoHomers.net. 2005-11-02. Retrieved 2010-07-31.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g "Oakley/Weinstein Interview". Springfield Weekly. Archived from the original on 2007-11-30. Retrieved 2010-07-06.
  10. ^ Oakley, Bill (2004). The Simpsons The Complete Fourth Season DVD commentary for the episode "Marge Gets a Job" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  11. ^ a b c d e f Oakley, Bill & Weinstein, Josh. (2006). Easter egg Commentary for "Lisa the Simpson", in The Simpsons: The Complete Ninth Season [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
  12. ^ "Joshing around". Sunday Herald Sun. 2006-04-02. p. F03.
  13. ^ Oakley, Bill. (2004). DVD Commentary for "Marge in Chains", in The Simpsons: The Complete Fourth Season [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
  14. ^ Oakley, Bill (2004). The Simpsons The Complete Fifth Season DVD commentary for the episode "Treehouse of Horror 4" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  15. ^ Martyn, Warren; Wood, Adrian (2000). "$pringfield". BBC. Retrieved 2010-07-29.
  16. ^ Martyn, Warren; Wood, Adrian (2000). "Lisa vs. Malibu Stacy". BBC. Retrieved 2010-07-29.
  17. ^ Martyn, Warren; Wood, Adrian (2000). "Sweet Seymour Skinner's Baadasssss Song". BBC. Retrieved 2010-07-29.
  18. ^ Martyn, Warren; Wood, Adrian (2000). "Lady Bouvier's Lover". BBC. Retrieved 2010-07-29.
  19. ^ Oakley, Bill (2005). The Simpsons season 6 DVD commentary for the episode "Sideshow Bob Roberts" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  20. ^ Martyn, Warren; Wood, Adrian (2000). "Grampa vs. Sexual Inadequacy". BBC. Retrieved 2010-07-29.
  21. ^ Weinstein, Josh (2005). The Simpsons The Complete Sixth Season DVD commentary for the episode "Bart vs. Australia" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  22. ^ Mirkin, David (2005). The Simpsons The Complete Sixth Season DVD commentary for the episode "Bart vs. Australia" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  23. ^ Oakley, Bill (2005). The Simpsons The Complete Sixth Season DVD commentary for the episode "Bart vs. Australia" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  24. ^ Oakley, Bill (2005). The Simpsons The Complete Sixth Season DVD commentary for the episode "Who Shot Mr. Burns? (Part One)" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  25. ^ Weinstein, Josh (2005). The Simpsons The Complete Seventh Season DVD commentary for the episode "Who Shot Mr. Burns? (Part Two)" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  26. ^ Mirkin, David (2005). The Simpsons The Complete Seventh Season DVD commentary for the episode "Who Shot Mr. Burns? (Part Two)" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  27. ^ Oakley, Bill (2005). The Simpsons The Complete Seventh Season DVD commentary for the episode "Who Shot Mr. Burns? (Part Two)" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  28. ^ Oakley, Bill (2005). The Simpsons The Complete Seventh Season DVD commentary for the episode "Home Sweet Homediddly-Dum-Doodily" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  29. ^ Oakley, Bill (2005). The Simpsons The Complete Seventh Season DVD commentary for the episode "Homer the Smithers" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  30. ^ a b c d "Ask Bill and Josh 2 Q&A Thread". NoHomers.net. 2006-01-08. Retrieved 2010-07-26.
  31. ^ Oakley, Bill (2005). The Simpsons The Complete Seventh Season DVD commentary for the episode "Marge Be Not Proud" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  32. ^ a b c d e Weinstein, Josh (2006). The Simpsons The Complete Eighth Season DVD commentary for the episode "Homer's Enemy" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  33. ^ a b c Turner 2004, pp. 99-106.
  34. ^ Reardon, Jim (2006). The Simpsons The Complete Eighth Season DVD commentary for the episode "Homer's Enemy" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  35. ^ Brooks, James L. (2004). "Bush vs. Simpsons", in The Simpsons: The Complete Fourth Season [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
  36. ^ Weinstein, Josh (2005). The Simpsons The Complete Seventh Season DVD commentary for the episode "Two Bad Neighbors" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  37. ^ Oakley, Bill (2005). The Simpsons The Complete Seventh Season DVD commentary for the episode "Two Bad Neighbors" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  38. ^ Groening, Matt (2006). The Simpsons The Complete Eighth Season DVD commentary for the episode "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  39. ^ Smith, Yeardley (2006). The Simpsons The Complete Eighth Season DVD commentary for the episode "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  40. ^ McCampbell, Marlene (1997-12-26). "1997 Timeline". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2007-03-13.
  41. ^ "The Simpsons: 10 classic episodes". BBC News. 2010-01-14. Retrieved 2010-01-15.
  42. ^ Oakley, Bill (2006). The Simpsons The Complete Eighth Season DVD commentary for the episode "Homer's Phobia" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  43. ^ Oakley, Bill (2006). The Simpsons The Complete Ninth Season DVD commentary for the episode "The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  44. ^ Turner 2004, pp. 41-42.
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Bibliography

External links

$pringfield (or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Legalized Gambling)

"$pringfield (Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Legalized Gambling)", also known as "$pringfield", is the tenth episode of The Simpsons' fifth season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on December 16, 1993. In the episode, Springfield decides to legalize gambling to revitalize its economy. A casino owned by Mr. Burns is created and Homer gets a job as a blackjack dealer. Meanwhile, Marge develops a gambling addiction, Bart starts his own casino, and Burns develops an odd personality in a parody of Howard Hughes.

The episode was written by Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein, and directed by Wes Archer. Gerry Cooney and Robert Goulet guest starred as themselves. The episode features cultural references to the films Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, The Wizard of Oz, Rain Man, and 2001: A Space Odyssey. Since airing, the episode has received mostly positive reviews from television critics. It acquired a Nielsen rating of 11.7, and was the highest-rated show on the Fox network the week it aired.

22 Short Films About Springfield

"22 Short Films About Springfield" is the twenty-first episode of The Simpsons' seventh season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on April 14, 1996. It was written by Richard Appel, David S. Cohen, Jonathan Collier, Jennifer Crittenden, Greg Daniels, Brent Forrester, Dan Greaney, Rachel Pulido, Steve Tompkins, Josh Weinstein, Bill Oakley, and Matt Groening, with the writing being supervised by Daniels. The episode was directed by Jim Reardon. Phil Hartman guest starred as Lionel Hutz and the hospital board chairman.The episode depicts brief incidents experienced by a wide array of Springfield residents in a series of interconnected stories that take place over a single day. The episode's concept originated from the end segment of the season four episode "The Front", and serves as a loose parody of Pulp Fiction, which gave the staff the idea of a possible spin-off from The Simpsons. The title is a reference to the film Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould. The episode received positive reviews from critics, and is noted for its popularity among fans.

Bart vs. Australia

"Bart vs. Australia" is the sixteenth episode of the sixth season of the American animated television series The Simpsons. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on February 19, 1995. In the episode, Bart is indicted for fraud in Australia, and the family travels to the country so Bart can apologize.

The episode was written by Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein and directed by Wes Archer. It features cultural references to films such as Mad Max 2 and Crocodile Dundee. "Bart vs. Australia" acquired a Nielsen rating of 9.1 and was the fourth highest rated show on the Fox network the week it aired. It received a mixed reception in Australia, with some Australian viewers saying the episode was a mockery of their country.

Bill Oakley (comics)

William Douglas "Bill" Oakley (April 1, 1964 – February 16, 2004) was a letterer for numerous comic books from Marvel, DC, and other companies. His most prominent works include the first two volumes of Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill's The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Batman: Gotham Knights #1-11, #15-37.

Grampa vs. Sexual Inadequacy

"Grampa vs. Sexual Inadequacy" is the tenth episode of The Simpsons' sixth season. It was first broadcast on the Fox network in the United States on December 4, 1994. In the episode, Homer and Marge's sex life is struggling, but Grampa perks things up with a homemade revitalizing tonic. He and Homer go on the road to sell their elixir, and Grampa reveals that Homer’s conception was unintentional.

The episode was directed by Wes Archer and written by Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein. After its initial airing on Fox, the episode was later released as part of a 1999 video collection: The Simpsons – Too Hot For TV, and released again on the 2003 DVD edition of the same collection. The episode features cultural references to songs such as "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" and "Celebration", as well as a reference to the 1963 film The Nutty Professor. "Grampa vs. Sexual Inadequacy" received a positive reception from television critics, and acquired a Nielsen rating of 9.5.

Home Sweet Homediddly-Dum-Doodily

"Home Sweet Homediddly-Dum-Doodily" is the third episode of The Simpsons' seventh season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on October 1, 1995. In the episode, the Simpson children are put in the custody of Ned and Maude Flanders after a series of misadventures. Homer and Marge are forced to attend a parenting class so they can get their children back. Learning that none of the children have been baptized, Flanders sets up a baptism, but Homer and Marge are able to stop him just in time.

The episode was written by Jon Vitti and directed by Susie Dietter. The story was pitched by another writer on the show, George Meyer. It was the first episode on which writers Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein served as show runners. The episode features cultural references to the 1965 film Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! and Sonny & Cher's song "I Got You Babe".

Since airing, the episode has received positive reviews from television critics. It acquired a Nielsen rating of 9.0, and was the fourth highest-rated show on the Fox network the week it aired.

Homer's Enemy

"Homer's Enemy" is the twenty-third episode in the eighth season of the American animated television series The Simpsons. It was first broadcast on the Fox network in the United States on May 4, 1997. The episode's plot centers on the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant's hiring a new employee named Frank Grimes. Despite Homer's attempts to befriend him, Grimes is angered and irritated by Homer's laziness and incompetence despite leading a comfortable life. He eventually declares himself Homer's enemy and tries to expose his flaws through public humiliation. Meanwhile, Bart buys a run-down factory for a dollar.

"Homer's Enemy" was directed by Jim Reardon and the script was written by John Swartzwelder, based on an idea pitched by executive producer Bill Oakley. The episode explores the comic possibilities of a realistic character with a strong work ethic hired for a job where he has to work alongside a man like Homer. He was partially modeled after Michael Douglas as he appeared in the film Falling Down. Hank Azaria provided the voice of Frank Grimes, and based some of the character's mannerisms on actor William H. Macy. Frank Welker guest stars as the voice of the Executive Vice President dog.

In its original broadcast on the Fox network, "Homer's Enemy" acquired a 7.7 Nielsen rating. It was viewed in approximately 7.5 million homes, finishing the week ranked 56th. "Homer's Enemy" is considered to be one of the darkest episodes of The Simpsons, and it split critical opinion. It is a favorite of several members of the production staff, including Bill Oakley, Josh Weinstein and Matt Groening, but it is one of the least favorites of Mike Reiss. Although Grimes is never shown alive after this episode, he was later named one of the "Top 25 Simpsons Peripheral characters" by IGN. He has since been referenced many times in the show, most notably in the season fourteen episode "The Great Louse Detective", in which his vengeful son plots to kill Homer.

Lady Bouvier's Lover

"Lady Bouvier's Lover" is the twenty-first episode of The Simpsons' fifth season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on May 12, 1994. In the episode, Abe Simpson falls in love with Marge's mother, Jacqueline Bouvier, and they start dating. However, on a night out in town, she is charmed by Mr. Burns. Abe is broken hearted when he learns that Jackie is going to marry Mr. Burns.

The episode was written by Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein, and directed by Wes Archer. It was recorded in October 1993 at the Darryl F. Zanuck Building on the 20th Century Fox lot in West Los Angeles. The episode features cultural references to films such as The Gold Rush and The Graduate, and songs such as "Moonlight Serenade" and "Sing, Sing, Sing". Since airing, the episode has received mixed reviews from television critics. It acquired a Nielsen rating of 10.0, and was the third highest-rated show on the Fox network the week it aired.

Lisa the Simpson

"Lisa the Simpson" is the seventeenth episode of The Simpsons' ninth season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on March 8, 1998. In the episode, Lisa fears that she may be genetically predisposed to lose her intelligence after Grandpa tells her of a family gene that can permanently take away intelligence.

"Lisa the Simpson" was written by Ned Goldreyer and directed by Susie Dietter. This episode was the final episode with Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein as show runners. It received generally positive reviews from critics, and is considered one of the best episodes of the ninth season.

Lisa vs. Malibu Stacy

"Lisa vs. Malibu Stacy" is the fourteenth episode of The Simpsons' fifth season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on February 17, 1994. In the episode, Lisa challenges the makers of the Malibu Stacy doll to create a less sexist doll. Together with the original creator of Malibu Stacy, Stacy Lovell, Lisa creates the doll Lisa Lionheart in an effort to positively influence young girls.

The episode was written by Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein, and directed by Jeffrey Lynch. The episode's plot was inspired by the Teen Talk Barbie talking doll, which spoke short phrases typical of a middle-class American teenager. Kathleen Turner guest starred in the episode as Stacy Lovell, creator of Malibu Stacy. It features cultural references to action figures such as Ken and G.I. Joe. Since airing, the episode has received mostly positive reviews from television critics. It acquired a Nielsen rating of 11.6, and was the second highest-rated show on the Fox network the week it aired.

List of Transformers UK comics

The Transformers (cover-titled simply Transformers from issue #200) was a comic published by Marvel UK for 332 issues, from 1984 to 1991. It consisted of re-printed material from the American Transformers comic, as well as original UK material. The format of the comic changed several times during its seven-year run.

Marge Gets a Job

"Marge Gets a Job" is the seventh episode of The Simpsons' fourth season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on November 5, 1992. In this episode, Marge gets a job at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant to pay for foundation repair at the Simpson house. Mr. Burns develops a crush on Marge after seeing her at work and attempts to woo her. A subplot with Bart also takes place, paralleling the fable The Boy Who Cried Wolf. It was written by Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein and directed by Jeffrey Lynch.

Mission Hill (TV series)

Mission Hill (originally titled The Downtowners) is an American animated television series that ran on The WB from September 24, 1999, to July 16, 2000, and on Adult Swim from July 14 to August 11, 2002. Although 18 episodes were planned, only 13 were produced. The show was put on hiatus by the WB Network after two episodes due to poor ratings. It returned to the WB in the summer of 2000 but was canceled after four additional episodes. The show went on to develop a cult following, thanks to repeated airings of all 13 episodes on Teletoon's Teletoon Unleashed block; Cartoon Network's popular late night programming block Adult Swim; and Too Funny To Sleep, a late night programming block on TBS. Mission Hill was formerly known as The Downtowners, although MTV's production of the similarly titled Downtown forced a name change.

It has also been popular outside of the United States and Canada, receiving broadcasts in Australia, Eastern Europe, Latin America, Spain and New Zealand.

Stylistically, the series is recognizable for its bright, neon color palette, and features a peculiar mixture of modern animation and traditional "cartoonish" drawings (dashed lines coming from eyes to indicate line of vision, red bolts of lightning around a spot in pain). The style was made to be reminiscent of Warner Bros. cartoons from the 1930s to 1950s, as well as 1960's Hanna-Barbera cartoons. The designs were done by Lauren MacMullan, who cites the comic series Eightball as her source of inspiration for her overall design.

The show was created in 1997 by Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein, former executive producers of The Simpsons, and the artistic designer was Lauren MacMullan. It features the voices of Wallace Langham, Scott Menville, Brian Posehn, Vicki Lewis, Nick Jameson, Tom Kenny, Herbert Siguenza, Jane Wiedlin, Tress MacNeille and Lisa Kushell. The theme song is a faster, instrumental version of "Italian Leather Sofa" by Cake.

Warner Home Video released all 13 completed episodes on DVD, on November 29, 2005.

Sideshow Bob Roberts

"Sideshow Bob Roberts" is the fifth episode of The Simpsons' sixth season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on October 9, 1994. Kelsey Grammer returns as Sideshow Bob, who, in this episode, wins the Springfield mayoral election through electoral fraud. The episode was written by Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein, and directed by Mark Kirkland. Oakley and Weinstein drew inspiration for the episode from the Watergate scandal, and included many cultural references to political films, as well as real-life events. These included the film All the President's Men and the first televised debate between Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy during the 1960 United States presidential election.

The episode received a favorable reception in the media, including a positive mention in I Can't Believe It's a Bigger and Better Updated Unofficial Simpsons Guide and Green Bay Press-Gazette. A review in Press & Sun-Bulletin placed the episode as the seventh best of the series.

The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson

"The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson" is the first episode of The Simpsons' ninth season. It was originally broadcast on the Fox network in the United States on September 21, 1997, as the 179th episode of the series. The episode features the Simpson family traveling to Manhattan to recover the family car, which was taken by Barney Gumble and abandoned outside the World Trade Center, where it has been repeatedly posted with parking tickets, and disabled with a parking boot.

Writer Ian Maxtone-Graham was interested in making an episode where the Simpson family travels to New York to retrieve their misplaced car. Executive producers Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein suggested that the car be found in Austin J. Tobin Plaza at the World Trade Center, as they wanted a location that would be widely known. Great lengths were taken to make a detailed replica of the borough of Manhattan. The episode received generally positive reviews, and has since been on accolade lists of The Simpsons episodes. The "You're Checkin' In" musical sequence won two awards. Because of the World Trade Center's main role, the episode was taken off syndication in many areas following the September 11 attacks, but had come back into syndication by 2006.

The Mullets

The Mullets is an American sitcom that was created by producers Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein, who also created Mission Hill for The WB. It first aired on UPN in September 2003, and was cancelled in March 2004 due to poor reception. It starred Michael Weaver, David Hornsby, Loni Anderson, and John O'Hurley.

The Simpsons (season 7)

The Simpsons' seventh season originally aired on the Fox network between September 17, 1995 and May 19, 1996. The show runners for the seventh production season were Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein who would executive produce 21 episodes this season. David Mirkin executive produced the remaining four, including two hold overs that were produced for the previous season. The season was nominated for two Primetime Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Animated Program and won an Annie Award for Best Animated Television Program. The DVD box set was released in Region 1 December 13, 2005, Region 2 January 30, 2006 and Region 4 on March 22, 2006. The set was released in two different forms: a Marge-shaped box and also a standard rectangular-shaped box in which the theme is a movie premiere.

Treehouse of Horror IV

"Treehouse of Horror IV" is the fifth episode of The Simpsons' fifth season and the fourth episode in the Treehouse of Horror series of Halloween specials. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on October 28, 1993, and features three short stories called "The Devil and Homer Simpson", "Terror at ​5 1⁄2 Feet", and "Bart Simpson's Dracula". The episode was directed by David Silverman and co-written by Conan O'Brien, Bill Oakley, Josh Weinstein, Greg Daniels, Dan McGrath, and Bill Canterbury.

In "The Devil and Homer Simpson", Homer Simpson announces he would sell his soul for a doughnut, and the Devil appears to make a deal with Homer. Homer tries to outsmart the Devil by not finishing the doughnut but eventually eats it and is sent to Hell. A trial is held between Homer and the Devil to determine the rightful owner of Homer's soul. In "Terror at ​5 1⁄2 Feet", while riding the bus to school, Bart Simpson thinks he sees a gremlin disassembling the bus piece by piece. Nobody sees it except for Bart, so he tries to remove it by himself. In "Bart Simpson's Dracula", Mr. Burns is a vampire and Bart falls victim to his bite. Lisa and the rest of the family go to Burns' castle to kill Burns so Bart can return to normal.

As with the rest of the Halloween specials, the episode is considered non-canon and falls outside the show's regular continuity. The episode makes cultural references to television series such as The Twilight Zone, Night Gallery, and Peanuts. References are also made to films such as Bram Stoker's Dracula and The Lost Boys. Since airing, the episode has received mostly positive reviews from television critics. It acquired a Nielsen rating of 14.5, and was the highest-rated show on the Fox network the week it aired.

Treehouse of Horror VI

"Treehouse of Horror VI" is the sixth episode of The Simpsons' seventh season and the sixth episode in the Treehouse of Horror series. It first aired on the Fox network in the United States on October 29, 1995, and contains three self-contained segments. In "Attack of the 50 Foot Eyesores", an ionic storm brings Springfield's oversized advertisements and billboards to life and they begin attacking the town. The second segment, "Nightmare on Evergreen Terrace", is a parody of the A Nightmare on Elm Street film series, in which Groundskeeper Willie (resembling Freddy Krueger) attacks schoolchildren in their sleep. In the third and final segment, "Homer3", Homer finds himself trapped in a three dimensional world. It was inspired by The Twilight Zone episode "Little Girl Lost". The segments were written by John Swartzwelder, Steve Tompkins, and David S. Cohen respectively.

An edited version of "Homer3" would appear alongside several other shorts in the 2000 American 3-D animated anthology film, CyberWorld shown in IMAX and IMAX 3D.

The first version of the episode was very long, so it featured a very short opening sequence and did not include several trademarks established in previous Treehouse of Horror episodes. "Homer3", pitched by executive producer Bill Oakley, features three dimensional computer animation provided by Pacific Data Images (PDI). In the final scene of the episode, Homer is sent to the real world in the first ever live-action scene in The Simpsons. "Attack of the 50-Foot Eyesores" includes a cameo appearance from Paul Anka, who sings the song "Just Don't Look".

In its original broadcast, the episode was watched by 22.9 million viewers, acquired a Nielsen rating of 12.9, finishing 21st in the weekly ratings, and was the highest-rated show on the Fox network the week it aired. In 1996, the "Homer3" segment was awarded the Ottawa International Animation Festival grand prize and the episode was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program (for Programming Less Than One Hour).

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