July 29, 2007

Notes to Matt Groening from FOX Censors Regarding The Simpsons Movie


Wanted to check in and let you know we all really love the directions you’ve taken the Simpsons in for their first film (of many…remember your contract!), and while we appreciate you stretching your wings a bit in the transition, we do still want to nab that PG-13 rating. With that in mind, please look over the below list of some of the studio’s thoughts about the current cut.

  • Marge’s hair is a bit phallic for our tastes. Maybe for the movie she could get a nice bob or shoulder-length cut? Or, and we don’t want to interfere here, but maybe her hair is burned off in a chemical fire in the first act? In any case, we’re just not comfortable with one of the main characters’ hair being shaped like an erect blue penis. It invites the audience to imagine a giant blue vagina into which it might fit, and that’s going to hurt our opening weekend box office.

  • This isn’t a ratings concern so much, but one of our interns pointed out that the skin swatches you sent to the animators all came out pretty yellow. It’s hard to notice at first, but take a look at Homer and Bart especially. Good thing we caught that one! That’s the benefit of working with a studio that pays attention to the shows it produces.

  • You may not have noticed this yourself, but Mr. Burns’ evil plan to gain control of Springfield is startlingly similar to the September 11th attacks. In fact, it’s pretty much identical.

  • Most of us thought the sequence where Bart goes full frontal is hilarious, but there’s a few folks on the board who worry it might encourage pedophiles to attend the film. But between you and me: their money’s as good as anyone’s, right? I say leave it in. In fact, I have some sketches I did of Cherri and Terri naked if you’re looking to add any scenes to counterbalance Bart’s. No pressure, but it could really play for the pervert demographic.

  • We really think it’s best to stick with the show’s formula of “Bart crank calls Moe, Moe threatens to gruesomely murder him, but gets sidetracked or outsmarted before he can follow through.” The joke kind of loses its levity when Moe is able to track Bart down, keep him in an underground torture room for three weeks, and finally strangle him with his own intestines. And the scenes of Homer and Marge in tears at their son’s grave really didn’t do much for us either.

  • Again, try and maintain a sense of cartoonish disconnect when dealing with violent sequences like the Itchy and Scratchy short at the beginning. Pasting Itchy and Scratchy’s faces onto footage of US soldiers gunning down Vietnamese POW’s isn’t just lazy animation, it’s downright haunting.

  • We’re pretty sure Maggie has only spoken once in the course of the series, so we were wondering what the thought process was behind having her curse like a sailor every time she appears onscreen.

  • Your character notes say that Homer is thirty-eight, and that he impregnated Marge right out of High School, yet his oldest son is only ten years old. We still want you to account for the missing decade, but honestly, we think you can come up with something better than the rather convoluted forced alien insemination storyboard sequence you sent over. Although we did like the S&M Kang and Kodos designs. Possible toy line?

  • We like most of the funny signs you’ve got in the backgrounds of shots. We were only concerned with the one in the Church of Springfield establishing shot that reads “Woman was God’s second mistake…Nietzsche.” We’ve already got the NOW broads on our nuts enough of the time; do we have to give them another reason to get on the rag?

  • We understand that Smither’s homosexuality has always been a running joke on the show, but we appreciated the subtlety and subdued nature with which it was handled in the past. Please, consider eliminating the Otto/Smithers/Moleman daisy chain sequence.

  • In one sequence, Lenny clearly refers to Carl as a “spade.”

  • We notice that at the end of the movie, things seem pretty resolved. The kids have come to terms with Homer’s death due to a failed liver, Marge and Moe have worked through most of their major problems, and Bart’s drug problem is more or less on the wane. We’re worried you’ve painted yourself into a corner in terms of sequel potential. We don’t want The Simpsons to go the Harry Potter route and only get seven movies out of the franchise. We’re looking at more of a James Bond film dynasty here, with Homer voiced by various actors as time goes on. In light of that, and of course without sacrificing the integrity of the ending you have now, try and make sure everything ends in exactly the same state as it began. If it’ll help, we can probably get Nicole Richie to do a guest voice.

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