Ken Keeler

Kenneth Keeler (born 1961) is an American television producer and writer. He has written for numerous television series, most notably The Simpsons and Futurama. According to an interview with David X. Cohen, he proved a theorem which appears in the Futurama episode "The Prisoner of Benda".[1]

Ken Keeler
Keeler at the 2010 San Diego Comic-Con International.
BornKenneth Keeler
1961 (age 57–58)
United States
OccupationTelevision writer
Period1992–present
GenreComedy

Education and early career

Keeler studied applied mathematics at Harvard University, graduating summa cum laude in 1983. He then gained a master's degree from Stanford in electrical engineering before returning to Harvard. [2] He earned a PhD in applied mathematics from Harvard in 1990. His doctoral thesis was "Map Representations and Optimal Encoding for Image Segmentation".[3]

After earning his doctorate, Keeler joined the Performance Analysis Department at AT&T Bell Laboratories.

Career

He soon left Bell Labs to write for David Letterman and subsequently for various sitcoms, including several episodes of Wings, The Simpsons, Futurama, and The Critic, as well as the short-lived Fox claymation show The PJs. For The Simpsons, Keeler has written such episodes as "A Star Is Burns" (which Matt Groening refused to be credited for, as he was opposed to the idea of The Simpsons crossing over with The Critic) and "The Principal and the Pauper" (which many fans – including series creator Matt Groening and voice actor Harry Shearer – disliked due to the massive changes in Principal Skinner's backstory).[4][5]

Keeler was instrumental in the creation of Futurama, and served as a co-executive producer in its first three years, and as an executive producer in its fourth year. He was one of the show's most prolific writers, with fourteen episodes to his name (including the original series finale, "The Devil's Hands Are Idle Playthings", the Writers Guild Award-winning episodes "Godfellas" and "The Prisoner of Benda," and the series finale "Meanwhile"). Keeler wrote many of the original songs on both The Simpsons and Futurama during his time with the shows. He also wrote the direct-to-DVD Futurama movies Bender's Big Score and Into the Wild Green Yonder.

Writing credits

The Simpsons episodes

Futurama episodes and films

The Critic episodes

Wings episodes

Personal life

Keeler is also a fan of (but of no relation to) Harry Stephen Keeler and won the fifth and twelfth annual Imitate Keeler Competitions.[6][7] His Futurama episode "Time Keeps on Slippin'" was partly inspired by the Harry Stephen Keeler story "Strange Romance" from the novel Y. Cheung, Business Detective.

References

  1. ^ Levine, Alaina G. "Profiles in Versatility:". American Physics Society. Retrieved July 20, 2010.
  2. ^ "The Truth About Bender's Brain". Retrieved October 25, 2018.
  3. ^ Keeler, Kenneth Charles (October 25, 1990). "Map representations and optimal encoding for image segmentation". Retrieved October 25, 2018 – via Open WorldCat.
  4. ^ Sloane, Robert (2004). "Who Wants Candy? Disenchantment in The Simpsons". In John Alberti (ed.). Leaving Springfield: The Simpsons and the Possibility of Oppositional Culture. Wayne State University Press. p. 165. ISBN 0-8143-2849-0.
  5. ^ Turner 2004, pp. 41–42.
  6. ^ "Fifth Annual Imitate Keeler Competition". site.xavier.edu. Retrieved October 25, 2018.
  7. ^ http://site.xavier.edu/polt/keeler/ikc12.pdf
Bibliography

External links

A Star Is Burns

"A Star Is Burns" is the eighteenth episode of The Simpsons' sixth season. It first aired on the Fox network in the United States on March 5, 1995. In the episode, Springfield decides to hold a film festival, and famed critic Jay Sherman is invited to be a judge.

The story involves a crossover with the animated series The Critic. Jay Sherman was the main character on the show. The Critic was created by Al Jean and Mike Reiss, who had previously written for The Simpsons but left following the fourth season, and produced by James L. Brooks, who was also a producer for The Simpsons. The show had premiered on the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) network in January 1994 but was canceled despite positive critical reception. The series was switched over to Fox, and put in the timeslot directly after The Simpsons. Brooks pitched a crossover episode as a way to promote The Critic and decided that a film festival would be a good way to introduce Sherman.

Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons has heavily criticized this episode, feeling that it was just an advertisement for The Critic, and that people would incorrectly associate the show with him. When he was unsuccessful in getting the program pulled, he had his name removed from the credits and went public with his concerns, openly criticizing James L. Brooks.

The episode was directed by Susie Dietter and was the first episode to be written by Ken Keeler. Jon Lovitz, the star of The Critic, guest stars as Jay Sherman, while Maurice LaMarche (who was also a regular on The Critic) has a few minor roles. The episode received mixed reviews from critics, many of whom felt the crossover was out of place on the show, although Barney's film festival entry was well received.

Brother from Another Series

"Brother from Another Series" is the sixteenth episode of The Simpsons' eighth season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on February 23, 1997. Sideshow Bob is released from prison into the care of his brother Cecil and claims to be a changed man. However, Bart does not believe him and tries to find out what Bob is up to. It was the first episode directed by Pete Michels and was written by Ken Keeler. The episode guest stars Kelsey Grammer in his sixth appearance as Sideshow Bob and David Hyde Pierce as Cecil. The title is not only a pun on the movie The Brother from Another Planet (used for a previous episode as well), but also a reference to the fact that guest stars Kelsey Grammer and David Hyde Pierce also played bickering brothers Frasier Crane and Niles Crane, respectively, on the NBC sitcom Frasier.

El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer (The Mysterious Voyage of Homer)

"El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer (The Mysterious Voyage of Homer)", (Spanish pronunciation: [el ˈβjaxe misteɾˈjoso ðe ˈnwestɾo ˈxomeɾ]) also known as "The Mysterious Voyage of Our Homer", is the ninth episode in the eighth season of the American animated television series The Simpsons. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on January 5, 1997. In the episode, Homer eats several hot chili peppers and hallucinates, causing him to go on a mysterious voyage. Following this, he questions his relationship with Marge and goes on a journey to find his soulmate.

"El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer (The Mysterious Voyage of Homer)" was written by Ken Keeler and directed by Jim Reardon. The episode explores themes of marriage, community, and alcohol use. Homer's voyage features surreal animation to depict the elaborate hallucination. The episode guest stars Johnny Cash as the "Space Coyote".

Godfellas

"Godfellas" is the 20th episode in the third season of the American animated television series Futurama. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on March 17, 2002. The episode was written by Ken Keeler and directed by Susie Dietter. It features Bender becoming the god of a tiny civilization, and explores various religious issues. The episode won the first Writers Guild of America Award for animation.

List of Futurama episodes

The American animated science fiction sitcom Futurama, created by Matt Groening for the Fox Broadcasting Company, aired on Fox from March 28, 1999, to August 10, 2003; Cartoon Network's Adult Swim aired reruns of the show from 2003 through 2007. Following a commitment from 20th Century Fox Television to produce four straight-to-DVD Futurama films, Comedy Central announced on June 23, 2006 that they were resurrecting the show and would air the films as new Futurama episodes (reconfiguring each film into four episodes) after each film's DVD release. Comedy Central began airing Futurama reruns in January 2008 and broadcast the first film on March 23, 2008. Following the four films (considered the fifth season of the show), Comedy Central has broadcast a sixth season of twenty-six episodes, split over 2010 and 2011. A seventh season was announced in March 2011 and debuted in the summer of 2012.The original 72-episode run of Futurama was produced as four seasons; Fox broadcast the episodes out of the intended order, resulting in five aired seasons. This list features the episodes in original production order, as featured on the DVD box sets.

The show aired its final episode on September 4, 2013. During the course of the series, 140 episodes of Futurama aired over seven seasons.

Meanwhile (Futurama)

"Meanwhile" is the series finale of the American animated television series Futurama. It serves as the 26th episode of the seventh season, and the 140th episode of the series overall. The episode was written by Ken Keeler and directed by Peter Avanzino. It premiered on Comedy Central in the United States on September 4, 2013, along with Futurama Live, a special preshow and aftershow for the occasion.

Set in a retro-futuristic 31st century, the series follows the adventures of the employees of Planet Express, an interplanetary delivery company. As the conclusion to the series, "Meanwhile" revolves around the romantic relationship between Fry and Leela. In the episode, Professor Farnsworth invents a button that allows the user to travel backwards in time by 10 seconds. However, the button is stolen and abused by Fry, who wants to use it to prolong the sunset during a romantic dinner after his marriage proposal to Leela.

Due to the recurrently uncertain production status of Futurama, "Meanwhile" is the fourth episode written to serve as an ending to the series. It follows "The Devil's Hands Are Idle Playthings", Into the Wild Green Yonder and "Overclockwise", all of which were also written by Ken Keeler. "Meanwhile" was watched by 2.21 million people in its original broadcast, making it the 5th most watched episode ever to originally air on Comedy Central, and it received acclaim reviews from television critics.

Overclockwise

"Overclockwise" is the twenty-fifth episode of the sixth season of the animated sitcom Futurama, and originally aired September 1, 2011 on Comedy Central. The episode was written by Ken Keeler and directed by Raymie Muzquiz. In the episode, Bender is overclocked by Cubert Farnsworth, gradually becoming more powerful in computing ability, until eventually becoming omniscient and able to foresee future events. Meanwhile, Cubert and Professor Farnsworth are tried in court by Mom for violating Bender's license agreement, and Fry's relationship with Leela takes a turn for the worse.

The episode was originally written by Keeler to serve as an open-ended series finale, in case the show did not get renewed for another season. In June 2011, as part of its "Countdown to Futurama" event, Comedy Central Insider, Comedy Central's news outlet, released various preview materials for the episode, including storyboards, concept art and a preview video clip of the episode. "Overclockwise" received generally positive reviews from critics, who praised its premises and humor, but felt that the episode was not completely capable of holding its plots together.

Put Your Head on My Shoulders

"Put Your Head on My Shoulders" is the seventh episode in the second season of the American animated television series Futurama. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on February 13, 2000. The episode was written by Ken Keeler and directed by Chris Louden. The episode focuses on a romantic relationship between Fry and Amy.

The Devil's Hands Are Idle Playthings

"The Devil's Hands Are Idle Playthings" is the final episode in the fourth season of the American animated television series Futurama, and the finale of the original run. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on August 10, 2003. The episode was written by Ken Keeler and directed by Bret Haaland, and it guest stars Dan Castellaneta, who reprises his role as the Robot Devil. Keeler was nominated for an Emmy Award for this episode, while the song "I Want My Hands Back" was nominated for an Annie Award.

Set in a retro-futuristic 31st century, the series follows the adventures of the employees of Planet Express, an interplanetary delivery company. In this episode, Fry makes a deal to swap hands with the Robot Devil so he can better play the holophonor, an instrument he believes can help him express his true feelings for Leela. The episode contains several cultural references and it was well received by critics.

At the time, this episode was the series finale, as Fox had not renewed the show for any further seasons. The episode was produced with this in mind and as such, it contains references to the series' ending and almost all of the series' recurring characters were added into the episode. However, the show returned on March 23, 2008, for a fifth season that consisted of four direct-to-DVD films. Seasons six and seven were then produced for Comedy Central before the series ended for a second time on September 4, 2013.

The Honking

"The Honking" is the first episode in the third season of the American animated television series Futurama. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on November 5, 2000. The title references the 1981 film The Howling. The episode is also a reference to the 1977 film "The Car".

The Principal and the Pauper

"The Principal and the Pauper" is the second episode of The Simpsons' ninth season. It first aired on the Fox network in the United States on September 28, 1997. In the episode, Seymour Skinner begins to celebrate his twentieth anniversary as principal of Springfield Elementary School, when a man arrives claiming that Skinner has assumed his identity. Principal Skinner admits that his real name is Armin Tamzarian, and that he had thought the true Seymour Skinner, a friend from the Army, had died in the Vietnam War. Armin leaves Springfield, but is later persuaded to return as principal.

"The Principal and the Pauper" was written by Ken Keeler and directed by Steven Dean Moore. It guest-starred Martin Sheen as the real Seymour Skinner. Although it aired during the show's ninth season, it was a holdover from season eight. The episode is one of the most controversial episodes of The Simpsons. Many fans and critics reacted extremely negatively to the revelation that Principal Skinner, a recurring character since the first season who had undergone a lot of character development, was an impostor. Many fans do not even consider it to be canon. The episode has been criticized by series creator Matt Groening, and by Harry Shearer, who provides the voice of Principal Skinner. Despite this, Ken Keeler considers the episode the best work he has ever done for television.

The Prisoner of Benda

"The Prisoner of Benda" is the 10th episode of the sixth season of the animated sitcom Futurama. It aired on Comedy Central on August 19, 2010. In the episode, Professor Farnsworth and Amy build a machine that allows them to switch minds so that they may each pursue their lifelong dreams. However, they learn that the machine cannot be used twice on the same pairing of bodies. To try to return to their rightful bodies, they involve the rest of the crew in the mind switches, leaving each member free to pursue their own personal endeavors in a different crew member's body. The episode is composed of multiple subplots, with the main subplot being Bender attempting to steal a crown, but ending up switching places with the Robo-Hungarian emperor.

The episode was written by Ken Keeler and directed by Stephen Sandoval and was met with acclaim from critics. The issue of how each crew member can be restored to their correct body given the limitation of the switching device is solved in the episode by what David X. Cohen described in an interview as a mathematical theorem proved by Keeler, who has a Ph.D in Mathematics. The title and the story's main subplot is a reference to the 1894 adventure novel The Prisoner of Zenda by English novelist Anthony Hope. Series writer Eric Rogers considers this his favorite episode of the season.

The Series Has Landed

"The Series Has Landed" is the second episode of the first season of Futurama. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on April 4, 1999. The episode was written by Ken Keeler and directed by Peter Avanzino. In this episode, several main characters, including Doctor Zoidberg, Amy Wong, and Hermes Conrad are first introduced, and the crew goes on their first mission. After completing their delivery a series of mishaps occurs which puts Fry and Leela's lives in danger and nearly leaves all of them trapped on the Moon.

The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase

"The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase" is the twenty-fourth episode of the eighth season of The Simpsons. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on May 11, 1997. The episode centers on fictional pilot episodes of non-existent television series derived from The Simpsons, and is a parody of the tendency of networks to spin off characters from a hit series. As such it includes references to many different TV series. The first fictional spin-off is Chief Wiggum P.I., a cop-dramedy featuring Chief Wiggum and Seymour Skinner. The second is The Love-matic Grampa, a sitcom featuring Moe Szyslak who receives dating advice from Abraham Simpson, whose ghost is possessing a love testing machine. The final segment is The Simpson Family Smile-Time Variety Hour, a variety show featuring the Simpson family except for Lisa, who has been replaced.

The episode was written by David S. Cohen, Dan Greaney and Steve Tompkins, with Ken Keeler coming up with the story and the general idea of intentionally bad writing. It was directed by Neil Affleck, and Tim Conway, Gailard Sartain and Phil Hartman guest-starred. The producers were initially uneasy about the episode, as they feared that the purposely bad writing would be mistaken for actual bad writing. The episode, however, now appears on several lists of the most popular Simpsons episodes.

The Six Million Dollar Mon

"The Six Million Dollar Mon" is the seventh episode of the seventh season of the animated sitcom Futurama. It originally aired on Comedy Central on July 25, 2012.

The episode was written by Ken Keeler and directed by Peter Avanzino.

Treehouse of Horror VII

"Treehouse of Horror VII" is the first episode of The Simpsons' eighth season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on October 27, 1996. In the seventh annual Treehouse of Horror episode, Bart discovers his long-lost twin, Lisa grows a colony of small beings, and Kang and Kodos impersonate Bill Clinton and Bob Dole in order to win the 1996 presidential election. It was written by Ken Keeler, Dan Greaney, and David S. Cohen, and directed by Mike B. Anderson. Phil Hartman provided the voice of Bill Clinton.

Two Bad Neighbors

"Two Bad Neighbors" is the thirteenth episode of The Simpsons' seventh season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on January 14, 1996. In the episode, George H. W. Bush, the 41st President of the United States, voiced in the episode by Harry Shearer, moves into the house across the street from the Simpson family.

The episode was written by Ken Keeler and directed by Wes Archer. It was inspired by the animosity towards the show by the Bushes from earlier in the series' run. It features cultural references to the 1959 television series Dennis the Menace and Cheap Trick's 1979 song "Dream Police". Since airing, the episode has received positive reviews from television critics, and Vanity Fair named it the fifth best episode of the show. It acquired a Nielsen rating of 9.9, and was the second highest-rated show on the Fox network the week it aired.

When Aliens Attack

"When Aliens Attack" is episode twelve in season one of Futurama. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on November 7, 1999. This episode was written by Ken Keeler and directed by Brian Sheesley. The episode features an attack by aliens from Omicron Persei 8, when the planet's ruler Lrrr is outraged when the final episode of the Earth show Single Female Lawyer is interrupted by technical difficulties.

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