“The Ten-Per-Cent Solution” and “Holidays of Future Passed”

I’m a little behind in my reporting on the episodes we’re working on. I was afraid this would happen once we hit November “sweeps”. This is one of the times of the season where I’m juggling three, four or even five episodes at once in various stages of production. This past Monday we spotted NABF18 “Holidays of Future Passed” and scored PABF02 “The Ten-Per-Cent Solution”.

“Solution”, written by Deb Lacusta & Dan Castellaneta, brings us a new career crisis for Krusty the Clown and he hires a new agent who just happens to be his former agent who helped him get his career started. Her name is Annie and she is voiced by guest star Joan Rivers. I think the casting choice is just right and Joan is a surprisingly good voice actress. Musically, we’ve got 25 cues running just under five minutes. Of course, we have Itchy & Scratchy cartoons (yes, plural!) and a few nice twists on Krusty’s theme. “Solution” will air on Sunday, December 4, 2011, the 8th episode of season 23, episode 494 on the way to 500.

“Holidays”, written by J. Stewart Burns, takes us into the future to see how the Simpson children grow up and we learn how their parenting skills compare to Homer & Marge’s. Feels like “It’s a Wonderful Life” in reverse. 27 cues, many with a Christmas flavor for our holiday episode. “Holidays” will air on Sunday, December 11, 2011, the 9th episode of season 23, episode 495 headed toward 500. It will also be the last new episode to air in 2011.

In other news let me reflect a bit on our two most recently aired episodes.

NABF20 “The Food Wife”

I enjoyed watching and working on this episode. My wife used to write a food blog so I appreciated all the in-jokes and poking fun at the bloggers. Some food writers out there did not share my enthusiasm, most notably Katherine Shilcutt of the Houston Press. She wrote a pretty tart review of the episode and I was moved to write a rebuttal comment. You can find both here if you have some spare time.

Matt Selman wrote the script and took over running the show for this episode. There have been questions and speculation on the ‘net as to whether this means that Al Jean is stepping down or cutting back. I’m here to tell you emphatically … I don’t know. I’m not privy to these kinds of decisions. I thought Alf’s homages to “Angry Birds” and “Call of Duty” were spot-on. The Ethiopian music that plays for Marge’s dancing taste buds was something Matt found on youtube. It’s authentic Ethiopian pop music and the FOX music department had a lot of fun (where’s the sarcasm font on this thing?) tracking down the owners to get permission for us to use it. Below is the youtube video Matt found for those cues.

The song “Bloggin’ a Food Blog” was composed by Davin Wood with Lyrics by Matt Selman, Tim Heidecker, and Eric Warheim. If you’re even a moderate foodie I’m sure you appreciated the clever food/cooking/chef lyrics.

NABF22 “The Book Job”

I thought this episode, written by Dan Vebber (and run, again, by Matt Selman – I still don’t know if this means anything regarding the future of the show) was very clever, well-written, and well-acted by everyone including our guest stars Andy Garcia and Neil Gaiman. It took two distinct story lines and melded them together into one witty plot: 1) Writing a best-selling children’s literature novel with a writing team (rather than just a solitary writer) and using focus groups, then giving the credit to a fictitious author; 2) A parody of the 2001 remake of “Oceans 11”. If you haven’t seen the episode, I won’t spoil it for you. Get thee to HULU before they take it down.

Once we were into the “Ocean’s 11” part of the story, we used a piece of music that was used in the movie called “Gritty Shaker” by David Holmes. The cue was licensed for our use and Alf arranged and recorded custom versions for the show. Something interesting happened on the dubbing stage while we were working on the “Gritty Shaker” cues. In our episode, every time we saw a title card that announced the next step in the heist, we would play “Gritty Shaker”. We actually used it thirteen times. All the instances of the cue were only three or four seconds long except for two longer uses that came in at around thirty seconds each. As we were dubbing the third or fourth one Matt said he wanted to make sure that we were using the music exactly the same way it was used in “Oceans 11”. We pulled up a copy of the movie and I went through the entire film, listening for about ten seconds, then jumping ahead about thirty seconds, listening again, jumping ahead again, and so on for the length of the roughly 100-minute movie. What I discovered was that “Gritty Shaker” is used only once in “Ocean’s 11”. It’s a long scene taking place mostly in the casino the thieves are trying to rip-off, and the music runs around three minutes. Matt erroneously thought that, like our episode, it played over and over multiple times throughout the movie. So while the use of “Gritty Shaker” is authentic to the parody of “Ocean’s 11”, we used it in a very different way and many times more often.

I’ve encountered a situation like this many times in my career, where someone “remembers” a piece of music a certain way just to find out that it wasn’t really that way at all. The most memorable instance on THE SIMPSONS was many years ago when we had a “Frankenstein” scene in the show (might have been in an Itchy & Scratchy cartoon, but I can’t remember) and Alf was instructed to score the scene “just the way they did it in the ‘Frankenstein’ movie from 1939 starring Boris Karloff”. Alf did his research and discovered something very interesting … there is no music in the 1939 “Frankenstein”. It’s become a running joke in spotting. When we are doing a movie parody and someone asks: “How did the music in that movie go?” Alf or I usually answer: “Just like the music in ‘Frankenstein’”.

Time to get back to the work at hand. Until next time…

Happy Thanksgiving!

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15 thoughts on ““The Ten-Per-Cent Solution” and “Holidays of Future Passed”

  1. I rly enjoyed the music in the book heist and was wondering if I could get music as a song download (it was rly catchy and additive)

    • I’m so glad you’re enjoying the music and taking the time to tell me about it. Unfortunately, all music recorded for the show is owned and controlled by FOX and is not currently available for sale or download at this time. You can write to FOX and ask them to start releasing music for download and see what they have to say. In the meantime you can enjoy listening to it by watching the episode at HULU, or HULU+, or you can download the full episode from the iTunes store. In addition, some of the music from THE BOOK JOB was licensed from another publisher, so while FOX owns the recordings, FOX does not own the right to sell them without permission from the publisher. Very complicated, this world of music.

  2. The only thing that worries me about the ten per cent solution is how much the press release makes it sound like Krusty gets Kancelled. Should I remain worrying?

    • I don’t think you have to worry. This episode isn’t about Krusty’s show being cancelled, it’s about revamping it for a more hip, upscale, premium-cable audience. Plus the added bonus of Joan Rivers playing Krusty’s agent. Enjoy!

  3. I’m looking forward to “The Ten-Per-Cent Solution”.

    I met Joan Rivers a few months ago after one of her shows and as she was signing a book for me I asked her how she liked doing The Simpsons and she said how thrilling it was and excited she was that she got to play a character who had nothing to do with her. Then she said how The Simpsons is one of her favorite shows and how her grandson loves the show.

    I thought nice of her to say :-)

    • actually… I’m not certain if she had actually done her recordings yet at that point… but she was all excited that I asked her about it and about her character. :-)

    • I was very impressed by her performance. Voice acting is a different animal than live-action and she did a very good job. You’ll see when the episode airs. Nice to hear she enjoyed herself.

  4. I like the original Frankenstein as well as Bride of Frankenstein. My dad and I watch them whenever they are on. I also love Young Frankenstein because it is so funny in the way it spoofs those movies. I hope you have a happy Thanksgiving. I did a Thanksgiving cartoon for my webcomic. Here is the link. I hope you like it. http://bit.ly/pBlp1F

    • FEMALE SINGER
      (INTRO/CHORUS) WE’RE BLOGGIN’ A FOOD BLOG / MARGE AND BART AND LISA AS ONE NOW / WE’RE HAVIN’ FUN NOW…

      AMUSE BRUCE
      THROWIN’ DOWN MAD FOODIE GAME / KNOWIN’ ALL THE CHEF’S NAMES

      FOIE GREG
      ROLLIN’ INTO K-TOWN / BIMBIMBAP AND BULGOGI

      AMUSE BRUCE
      THE HOTTIES THAT I CHILL WITH / ARE SRIRACHA AND KIMCHI

      FOIE GREG
      HOUSE-MADE TERRINES / MY DUCKS ALWAYS CONFIT

      AMUSE BRUCE
      I BRAISE WITH A BILLION MORE BTUS THAN I NEED

      FOIE GREG
      COOK THANKSGIVING TURKEY IN A TRASH BAG, SOUS-VIDE

      AMUSE BRUCE
      A FUMATORE IN BRINDISI FEDEXES ME SALAMI

      FOIE GREG
      DON’T SCOOP ME GELATO UNLESS IT’S GOT UMAMI

      AMUSE BRUCE
      I’LL BE FRANK LIKE BRUNI / RUTHLESS LIKE REICHL

      FOIE GREG
      WILEY LIKE DUFRESNE WHEN I TAKE THE MIC OUT / RHYME ABOUT RADICCHIO

      AMUSE BRUCE
      CRITICIZE COLICCHIO / EVERY PUB IS GASTRO

      FOIE GREG
      ALL MY BEEF CARPACCIO

      AMUSE BRUCE
      THROW IT IN THE (“PHUH”) PHO YO

      FOIE GREG
      AND DONTCHA CALL THAT (“PHUH”) PHO (“PHO”) PHO

      AMUSE BRUCE
      TALK ABOUT BROTH-SQUIRTIN’ DUMPLINGS / DUMPLINGS / DUMPLINGS / DUMPLINGS…

      FEMALE SINGER
      (INTRO/CHORUS) WE’RE BLOGGIN’ A FOOD BLOG / UPLOADING PICS WITH OUR FUN MOM, FUN MOM, FUN MOM…

      Copyright 2011, TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX (FOX FILM MUSIC CORP – BMI & TCF MUSIC PUBLISHING, INC. – ASCAP)

      • Thanks for that. Can i just ask who the female singer is? I would guess that it’s Sally Stevens but just want to be 100% sure.

        Thanks,
        Solar Dragon (Callum Walmsley), Wikisimpsons

      • In a rare occurrence, I was not at the recording session for this song, so I don’t have the name of the vocalist but I’m working on getting it for you. Stay tuned. I do know that it was not Sally Stevens.

      • The female vocalist is Carmen Carter. She is also one of the singers on DANCING WITH THE STARS. You can see her website here. Coincidentally Darryl Phinnissee, another DWTS singer, also gave voice to one of our songs recently. He sang the theme song to “Upscalien In Da House” for NABF05 “Homer the Father”. His IMDB profile can be found here.

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