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Sam Simon

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A crucial force behind the greatest television comedy there ever was died at age 59.  R.I.P.

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  • partisan

    “the greatest television comedy there ever was”? Certainly one of the very best from 1989 to 1997, but I have to stand up for Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

    • wjts

      There’s something to be said for consistency and longevity. Python ran for four seasons and 45 episodes, and certain episodes (particularly from the Cleese-less fourth series) are decidedly uneven. But the 118 episodes of The Simpsons seasons 3-7 are pretty much without exception outstanding pieces of television comedy (and the weakest episodes from that run are still very, very good). Even though the cracks started to show in season 8, the series continued to produce some pretty great television until its cancellation in 1999.

      • Scott Lemieux

        Exactly. MPFC was great, but had many fewer episodes than the Simpsons had before it was tastefully cancelled by Fox as far as I know in 1999, and yet was more uneven.

      • LeeEsq

        Where did you buy your reality distortion device?

      • Fighting Words

        Actually, I would argue that the Simpsons was really good until about 2002. Then after that…let’s just go with uneven.

  • Fighting Words

    Janey: “Will my dog Pepper be there?”

    Ms. Albright (the Sunday school teacher): “I’m sorry, but the answer is no.”

    Janey: “Why not?”

    Ms. Albright: “Because Heaven is for people.”

    Lisa: “What about my cat, Snowball?”

    Ms. Albright: “I’m sorry, but the answer is no!”

    Bart: “Uh, ma’am. What if you’re a really, really good person and you’ve been in a really, really bad fight and your leg gets gangrene and it has to be amputated? Will it be waiting for you in Heaven?

    Ms. Albright: “For the last time, Bart, yes!!!”

    From “The Telltale Head,” Season 1, 1990.

    • Fighting Words

      Marge: “Lisa, Bart, what did you two learn in Sunday School today?

      Lisa: “The answers to deep theological questions.”

      Bart: “Yeah, among other things, apes can’t get into heaven.”

      Homer: “What? Those cute little monkeys? That’s terrible. Who told you that?

      Bart: “Our teacher.”

      Homer: “I can understand how they wouldn’t let in those wild jungle apes, but what about those really smart ones who live among us? Who roller-skate and smoke cigars?”

  • Dennis Orphen

    Moe: “How is being Eurotrash treating you?”

    From “Mom and Pop Art”, season 10, 1999

  • Moe: “Moe’s Tavern.”

    Bart: “Uh, yes, I’m looking for a friend of mine. Last name Jass, first name Hugh.”

    Moe: “Hold on, I’ll check.”

    [calls]

    Moe: “Hugh Jass! Hey, I want a Hugh Jass! Oh, somebody check the men’s room for a Hugh Jass!”

    Hugh Jass: “Uh, I’m Hugh Jass.”

    Moe: “Telephone.”

    Hugh Jass: “Hello, this is Hugh Jass.”

    Bart: “Uh, hi.”

    Hugh Jass: “Who’s this?”

    Bart: “Bart Simpson.”

    Hugh Jass: “What can I do for you, Bart?”

    Bart: “Uh, look, I’ll level with you, mister. This is a crank call that sorta back-fired, and I’d like to bail out right now.”

    Hugh Jass: “All right. Better luck next time.”

    [hangs up]

    Hugh Jass: “What a nice young man.”

    “Flaming Moe’s”, Season 3, 1991.

    • Dennis Orphen

      Worthy of Guy du Maupassant.

  • Ahuitzotl

    Rowan Atkinson has died?

    • Dennis Orphen

      I don’t think so but Benny Hill, Dave Allen and Tommy Cooper are. Peter Cook is as well, probably to no one’s surprise.

      • My whole family loved Dave Allen, my parents in particular….. local PBS station ran “Dave Allen at Large” for a while back in the 70’s and 80’s.

        Here is a medley of Dave Allen sketches.

        • Breadbaker

          That link isn’t working. Please fix it because my wife is somewhere doing something where she really, really could use a laugh and she and I adored watching Dave Allen on those PBS stations in the 70s and 80s. I can’t see a guy without a finger without laughing and then having to explain quite laboriously why.

          • I don’t remember the specific video I linked to any more. If you search for “Dave Allen at Large” on YouTube, you will find a bunch of clips and a number of full episodes of the show.

  • Crusty

    The simpsons has remained strong for a very long time, obviously getting a little more inconsistent as time passed and writers rotated in and out, but over a 25 year run, it is more likely that you changed than the quality of the show did.

  • ThrottleJockey

    On January 27, 1992, then-President George H. W. Bush said, “We are going to keep on trying to strengthen the American family, to make American families a lot more like the Waltons and a lot less like the Simpsons.”

    The writers rushed out a tongue-in-cheek reply in the form of a short segment which aired three days later in which Bart replied, “Hey, we’re just like the Waltons. We’re praying for an end to the Depression, too.”

    • Crusty

      There was also an episode many years later where George H.W. and Barbara moved in across the street. Homer made an effort to be friendly with his new neighbor but they didn’t gel and HW gave Bart a spanking.

      I recall a scene where 41 was working on his memoirs, typing out loud something along the lines of “…and because I accomplished everything during my first term, there was no need for a second.”

  • keta

    “Walking your dog is one of life’s great pleasures,” (Simon) says as we head inside. “I don’t get why anyone would want a dog-walker. It’s like paying someone to fuck your wife.”

    This solid profile of Simon is a look inside a very interesting man. It’s too bad he had a truncated life.

    Completely useless information: I went to school with Jennifer Tilly, Simon’s first wife.

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