Category Archives: Bill Oakley

Happy Birthday Bill Oakley

Hi folks and welcome to another Simpsons Sunday. Did you enjoy Gal Of Constant Sorrow? I will write a post on it next week.

This weeks post is in celebration of a milestone birthday for a former Show Runner of The Simpsons. Bill Oakley turned 50 years old yesterday and he co-ran the show with Josh Weinstein from Season’s 7 to Season 9.

Some see this as the beginning of the End of the so called “golden era of The Simpsons but to me, it is another progression in the show’s evolution. To give you somewhat of a starting point as to when this began, in Season 8, The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show was the episode where The Simpsons surpassed The Flintstones’s longest running show mark. Then the episode Homer’s Phobia aired and the tone of the plots began to be centred on a “what if” premise. That is how we ran across Brother From Another Series, in which Sideshow Bob becomes a changed man and actually helps Bart and Lisa with foiling his brother’s skeem. The episode Homer’s Enemy is another example of this, where we see Frank Grimes working alongside Homer as a regular person in Homer’s world. You could also say that the seeds for this new plot structure were sow’n in the Season 7 episode Two Bad Neighbours. Most people see Homer’s enemy as a companion piece to this episode, in which what if a celebrity tried to become a regular person in Springfield and had to deal with Homer and even Bart. In this case it was George Bush, who had a feud with The Simpsons, from the early 90s .He gave a speech on family values in which he said something like wanting America to be “more like The Waltons and less like The Simpsons”. I love Two Bad Neighbours because it gave us a funny episode, poking fun at the man’s crotchetyness. Even teasing him about being a wimp, which is a call back to just before the first Gulf War, when some people saw him as such Because of his reputation as a whiner. This was also before he started ramping up the rhetoric in the fall of 1990, leading up to the Gulf War in January 1991. Whether the portrayal is true or not, I think it is one of the best episodes and especially from that period.

Another thing he did was develop some of the secondary characters and once again, put them in a what if type of situation. For example: the episode Lisa’s Date With Density shows Lisa and Nelson dating during the episode. Hurricane Neddy gave us a glimpse into how Ned Flanders ticks and into his past too. We also saw his faith and nice guy demeanor being tested by a weather event which destroys his home. We may also remember Troy McClure’s episode A Fish Called Selma and thankfully, we had the chance to get a better idea of what he is actually like, outside of his educational movies and infomercials.

Also during that period the show began to explore some of the characters backstories. In the episode Burns, Baby Burns we meet Mr. Burns’s son Larry who was voiced by Rodney Dangerfield. It is also revealed that Apu is an illegal alien and is made an American citizen by the end of the episode Much Apu About Nothing. The most controversial example of this was the episode The Principal And The Pauper from Season 9. A lot of people hated the episode because of what it did to make Seymour Skinner into an imposter. It doesn’t bother me that much but I understand other people’s negativity toward the episode. The thing I liked was that Agnes Skinner was actually challenged for the first time, by the real Seymour and it would actually be nice if the current Seymour would do the same. She needs to learn that Seymour has to be a man and make his own decisions.

Of course, my favourite episode from this period will always be Homer’s Enemy because of how great a character Frank Grimes was. All the same, it would have been nice if Homer and Grimy actually liked each other instead. It would add something new in a new character and a new dimension to Homer’s character. Frank lived between two bowling alleys and Homer likes to bowl. Maybe if it was discovered that they had that one comonality they would have got along and well, maybe it wouldn’t have been as funny but other comedic moments could have sprung from this. However, the episode is fine the way it is.

This was also the period when blindness was also mentioned on The Simpsons for the first of few times during the series. A blind man whom we know only as Mr. Mitchell briefly owned Santa’s Little Helper in the episode The Canine Mutiny. Later on, a blind boy named Kevin would be introduced in Season 21, with a prominent roll in the episode Stealing First Base as Nelson’s friend. Also, we see: Bart, Milhouse, Nelson and Martin all going on a road trip in the episode Bart On The Road, without adult supervision. Best of all, we see Homer getting a new job with a really cool boss, in the shape of Hank Scorpio (You Only Move Twice) but the rest of the family aren’t happy with their new home setting for various reasons.

For more on Bill Oakley, check out this Simpsons Wiki page. http://simpsons.wikia.com/wiki/Bill_Oakley

I follow Bill on Twitter and he has always liked and retweeted my tweets but has yet to reply to them. If he does that’s cool and if not, that’s cool too.
Well that’s about it for this weeks post. Check out Chris Ladesma’s blog. He is the Music Editor for The Simpsons and has been since day 1.
http://simpsonsmusic500.wordpress.com/author/simpsonsmusic500/
Also, check out Yeardley Smith’s blog at http://gobbingoff.tumblr.com
Don’t forget about Marchez Vous, which is her women’s shoe designer company, which she started earlier in the decade. You can check out their website at
http://www.marchesvous.com
Additionally, for more news on The Simpsons, you can go to http://news.simpsonswiki.com/
You can also comment here or you can email me at blindgordie@gmail.com and I will reply as soon as I can to all messages I receive. If you follow me on Twitter or are my friend on Facebook you can comment directly to me that way too.
You can follow Simpsons Executive Producer Al Jean on Twitter and his Twitter handle is @AlJean.
He has ran the show since Season 13 and has ran it during Seasons 3 and 4.
Anyway, that is it for this weeks post. Talk to you again next Sunday

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