This Play Has Everything

 

Speaking of monkeys, Jesse David Fox has a great interview with some of the people behind the fantastic Planet of the Apes musical episode from way back in the Simpsons’ 7th season. The Simpsons’ musical composer, Alf Clausen, discusses how he tries to bring some seriousness to the show:

I hearken back to something that was said to me a long time ago by a trumpet player who worked in the studios. He said to me, “You can’t vaudeville vaudeville.” The reason for that particular directive is that he said if you wanted to make something funny, you don’t use funny music to go there. You use music that is extremely serious.

Clausen expands on that with his interview on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross:

GROSS: When you’re writing a song parody are you trying to write it as if it were serious, as if it were really a Broadway show or really a movie theme?

CLAUSEN: Absolutely, not only in creating the songs, but in creating the underscore music for “The Simpsons” and trying to give credence to the emotional content of what the characters are saying. I’m always extremely serious, and I think what happens is that the the listener and observer gets pulled into the situation more effectively once the music is serious, so that when the gag finally comes, the gag then becomes twice as funny.

I think about the musical underscore for shows a lot, how they ham it up during emotional moments to further draw you in. It works.

Fresh Air recently recompiled their old interviews with Simpsons creators and you can read the rest of that episode’s transcript, but really you should listen to it. Here’s the Overcast link for the episode.

 

Homer J. Simpson in the Baseball Hall of Fame

Major League Baseball inducted Homer into their Hall of Fame and commemorated the 25th anniversary of the Homer at the Bat episode, which is honestly one of the best episodes of any television program.

MLB’s Joe Posnanski reporting on the induction ceremony and quoting Al Jean, that episode’s executive producer:

When Bart and Lisa chant “Darryl, Darryl,” at Darryl Strawberry, their mother says they should stop because it’s mean. Lisa explains that as a professional athlete, such insults just roll off their backs. There is then a closeup of Strawberry, and a single tear falling from his eye.

“I didn’t know whether to tell Darryl we were going to do that,” Jean said. “I decided not to tell him.”

I still find myself singing the closing theme song: