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Author Topic: Futurama/Simpsons article  (Read 374 times)
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Vamsi

Bending Unit
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« on: 09-02-2003 17:25 »

Saw this posted on the Futurama newsgroup:
 http://www.theedit.net/theedit_animation_article__the_moon_shall_rise_again.htm

A really nice article contrasting Simpsons with Futurama. Well worth reading...
MrB

Bending Unit
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« Reply #1 on: 09-02-2003 17:48 »
« Last Edit on: 09-02-2003 17:48 »

Very cool.  Though I can't imagine a person whose never seen Futurama being able to understand anything he was saying,  since he was referencing the Smelloscope and Dr.Zoidberg.
Squeezit

Bending Unit
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« Reply #2 on: 09-02-2003 21:18 »

Whyyyyyyy does everything I end up loving to pieces end up being some cult thing that no one else understands. . .
zvoidx

Delivery Boy
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« Reply #3 on: 09-02-2003 21:33 »

Not sure Squeezit...hey, nice avatar...Anyway, what I don't understand is why The Simpsons possess "instant gratification" for the masses that Futurama allegedly doesn't. More specifically; I find that half the jokes on The Simpsons are sophisticated, not obvious at all and require thought and extensive knowledge of culture to comprehend the humor.
Is it that the other half, slapstick/blatant jokes, etc., are enough to grab the mass public? If so, maybe Futurama would have been more successful (i.e. still around) if that ratio/recipe was used.
zoidburgisking

Crustacean
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« Reply #4 on: 09-02-2003 21:55 »

Good Article with alot of truth in it. I don't think Futurama should be all slapstick jokes, it really is a sophsitcated show that raises some points that I would not think about. We don't need anymore South Parks or even another Simpsons-like show.
Lt. Kroker

Bending Unit
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« Reply #5 on: 09-03-2003 16:23 »

Loved the article.

 
Quote
Is it that the other half, slapstick/blatant jokes, etc., are enough to grab the mass public? If so, maybe Futurama would have been more successful (i.e. still around) if that ratio/recipe was used.

I'd say definitely. Quite often when I'm watching the Simpsons, and Futurama to a lesser extent, with other people, it's the obvious, clunky jokes that get the laughs, and the great ones are ignored.
Futurama_Hil

Urban Legend
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« Reply #6 on: 09-03-2003 17:02 »

Great article (though some phrases were too intense for my primitive mind). There was actually new stuff in here. I LOVE it when people say positive things about Futurama, and agree with us hating fox.

I love Futurama's witty jokes and odd phrases.  I probably don't get as much jokes as others, but there are also plenty of jokes thrown in for mindless viewers aswell. I rest blame on fox, not Futurama's wit.
Rover

Bending Unit
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« Reply #7 on: 09-03-2003 17:40 »

Nice article! It's good to hear someone talk about it.

I like the way futurama's jokes make you think and use your brain, therefore bringing together highly intellectual people. YAY!
PCC Fred

Space Pope
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« Reply #8 on: 09-03-2003 18:20 »

 
Quote
Originally posted by zvoidx:
Anyway, what I don't understand is why The Simpsons possess "instant gratification" for the masses that Futurama allegedly doesn't. More specifically; I find that half the jokes on The Simpsons are sophisticated, not obvious at all and require thought and extensive knowledge of culture to comprehend the humor.

That may have been the case five years ago, but The Simpsons has been dumbed down considerably since then.
M Jackson
Professor
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« Reply #9 on: 09-03-2003 18:44 »

"Futurama is slowly building up more awareness in society, it has probably the highest level of regard amongst TV critics since the aforementioned Seinfeld".

This was an excellent article, there's a lot of truth in there. In fact, comparing The Simpsons to Friends, and Futurama to Seinfeld is probably the best way to clasify the styles if each show. I hope Fox get a copy of this so they can think about what they have done (Stupid F***heads!). And I hope Matt and David get a copy so that they get inspired all over again and don't give up hope. I think that a studio like Dreamworks would be an excellent route to go down in getting a movie into production.

"The moon shall rise again"!
Futurama_Hil

Urban Legend
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« Reply #10 on: 09-03-2003 19:14 »

Hehe fox cancelled it because they're too stupid to get the jokes. Bastards.
Squeezit

Bending Unit
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« Reply #11 on: 09-03-2003 20:00 »

They've been guzzling down too much Duff. Their brain cells are fried.
Vortianized

Crustacean
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« Reply #12 on: 09-03-2003 20:32 »

Hmm..Impressive article! But even though I've been a Simspon fan longer than Futurama, I think FOX shouldn've cancelled The Simpsons by the start of Season 13 or so. I mean, Matt did good while it lasted for 14 years, but now the show has lost a lot of 'Simpsonic' feeling to it AND THE NEW WRITERS SUCK!! Matt did a lot beeter on Futurama than what he started out with on The Simpsons, so why did FOX cancel Futurama instead of Simpsons? I dunno. I guess FOX is just as evil as N-i-c-k-e-l-o-d-e-o-n!!(having Invader Zim lost issues here)
Futurama_Hil

Urban Legend
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« Reply #13 on: 09-03-2003 20:51 »
« Last Edit on: 09-03-2003 20:51 »

Ah, but Nick is nowhere near as horrible as disney channel. In fact, I like some shows on Nick (Spongebob, Fairly OddParents..).  I may even hate disney more than fox.
Squeezit

Bending Unit
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« Reply #14 on: 09-03-2003 21:05 »

Hey--you never explained why Disney was evil. Or maybe you did--just not in this topic. . .
Futurama_Hil

Urban Legend
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« Reply #15 on: 09-03-2003 21:40 »

Why is disney evil? Why ISN'T disney evil? I would go in to more detail but it'd be offtopic.
Evil Fox Exec

Bending Unit
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« Reply #16 on: 09-04-2003 10:07 »

If you want to know why Disney is evil, see if you can find the book "Disney:  The Mouse Betrayed" by Peter Schweizer and Rochelle Schweizer at your local library.  'Nuff said.
Damitol

Bending Unit
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« Reply #17 on: 09-04-2003 11:47 »

 
Quote
...we have a witty, inherently niche programme that would attract a discerning and intelligent audience who make informed choices about viewing rather than watching the general society favorite at the time.

Hey - I is smart!

Seriously, without trying to stroke the ego too much, Futurama's demise may be more due to the fact they didn't pander to the masses than anything else.  Just look at the current "Nerdiest Joke" thread.  I'll admit I didn't get (or even acknowledge) the "Aleph-nul Plex" joke when I first saw it, but now that our resident math whizes explained in the pseudo-layman's terms - it *is* funny.

It is/was the recipe for a perfect show.

Clever jokes stand side by side with jokes that make you think, and the occasional d!Ęk joke thrown in for good measure.  Blend in a nicely done shippy (and thankfully occasional, so the show kept its comedic edge) story arc, absolutly brilliant animation sequences, over 200 different robots (per a DVD commentary) and some ordinary water - laced with nothing more than a few spoonfuls of LSD.

No wonder I love this show so much.
User_names_suck
Professor
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« Reply #18 on: 09-04-2003 15:21 »

get over yourselfs everyone

futurama is not quite the incredibly hillarious and super intellectual and thought provoking show you think it is.

yes its better in those departments than most shows but its not that amazing
Akito01

Bending Unit
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« Reply #19 on: 09-04-2003 16:21 »

Did I read right, that the BBC is turning Doctor Who into a computer animated series?
[-mArc-]

Administrator
Liquid Emperor
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« Reply #20 on: 09-04-2003 16:27 »

I read it a bit ago and mostly found it long. Partly I agree, partly I don't, and partly, someone really needs to give this guy a clobbering with the "its"-stick.
Evil Fox Exec

Bending Unit
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« Reply #21 on: 09-04-2003 19:51 »

 
Quote
Originally posted by User_names_suck:
get over yourselfs everyone

futurama is not quite the incredibly hillarious and super intellectual and thought provoking show you think it is.

yes its better in those departments than most shows but its not that amazing
Actually, I'll have to agree with you.  The characters/stories themselves are not intellectual.  Just the little details thrown in here or there relating to math are.  I mean, just look at Bender for example.  He's a character that anyone will find funny.

DotheBartman

Liquid Emperor
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« Reply #22 on: 09-04-2003 23:27 »

Fox screwing over the show is probably the main issue, but I think another aspect to Futurama's comparitive lack of success to The Simpsons was that, at least when it started, The Simpsons was essentially about a family and their every day lives.  It may have had wackier stuff like Frenchmen putting anti-freeze in wine and Ozzie Smith literally  dropping off the face of the earth (heh), but it was essentially still a pretty down to earth show in its premise.  As George Meyer said, it was good for the concept itself to be very simple(while the execution itself is the crazy part) because "people can only take so much before their brains explode".  Basically, your average person had an easier time relating to characters who go to school and (currently) normal jobs then characters who in some cases are aliens or robots and spend their time flying through space, getting into battles, etc.

That was the basic problem (other then Fox's treatment).  I think if it had been given more of a chance I think more people would have warmed up to it, and in fact many did (but could never find it), but it needed to be given time for people to warm up to the characters, and that time is what it didn't get.  It also doesn't helpt that during the first two seasons, it just wasn't all that deep character wise.  Fry was always an idiot, Leela the nagger, Bender the crass goof off, etc. All pretty predictable.  "Parasites Lost" (which was brilliant) was really the first ever episode to make the audience really care about the characters and the story, but it was a couple years too late.
less than hero

Bending Unit
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« Reply #23 on: 09-05-2003 11:06 »

I only got to scan through the article, but it looks kinda good...
Evil Fox Exec

Bending Unit
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« Reply #24 on: 09-05-2003 17:01 »

 
Quote
Originally posted by DotheBartman:
It also doesn't helpt that during the first two seasons, it just wasn't all that deep character wise.  Fry was always an idiot, Leela the nagger, Bender the crass goof off, etc. All pretty predictable.  "Parasites Lost" (which was brilliant) was really the first ever episode to make the audience really care about the characters and the story, but it was a couple years too late.
I agree, but the root problem was Fox for not letting it develop.  After all, The Simpsons took several years to develop the characters, but in those days the TV industry was a lot more patient. 

Lionel Hutz Esq

Bending Unit
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« Reply #25 on: 09-05-2003 23:14 »

Dothebartman and EFE raise very good points.  I think if Fox had been patient and had marketed Futurama better, the show would be running still.

But, I do have to raise the point that on the whole, Science Fiction hasn't done well on TV.  Star Trek did all right (but never great).  Next Gen, again all right.  But outside of those two, name one SF raitings champ?  Or even one really good SF comedy series?  (Red Dwarf and Hitchhiker's Guide are both british and limited series).  And look at how much bad SF there is on TV. 

But, Futurama had one great thing in its corner.  It was animated, so you didn't have to worry about things looking cheesy or too fantastic.  And the stories were well thought out.  And, despite lousy treatment from the powers that be, which had to effect production, it grew.

They never knew what they had. 
boingo2000

Liquid Emperor
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« Reply #26 on: 09-05-2003 23:22 »

LHE's got a point.  Before Futurama, the most successful mainstream sci-fi show I can think of outside of Star Trek is Quantum Leap.
DotheBartman

Liquid Emperor
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« Reply #27 on: 09-05-2003 23:45 »

 
Quote
Originally posted by Evil Fox Exec:

I agree, but the root problem was Fox for not to develop the characters,   

Eh, that's debateable.  Things like Lisa going vegetarian (season seven) or Apu getting married (season nine) may have happened later, but all the characters are pretty much developed by the middle of season one.  It certainly developed in other ways (season five is probably the first point where not all of those developments were good), but I think the characters were pretty much established earlier then most people give the show credit for.  I'd say around "Bart the General" and "Moaning Lisa" is when everything came together.

But otherwise, agreed.  Networks need to give shows more time to develop.  Many shows these days are axed before their first season is up, but isn't the point of a first season to give the show enough time to gain an audience if it can, and THEN decide if its worth continuing?  The whole idea of a test run of 13 episodes is that you theoreticaly give the show enough episodes that it can test itself to see if it CAN pick up its audience, but if it doesn't they don't spend too much money on it.  But these days some shows get canned after two or three episodes; what kind of test is that?

Plus, Fox stopped supporting the show at all PRECISELY when it was suddenly improving a ton.  If they had continued to support it, for sure some people would have been turned on to it.  There are a lot of people that didn't watch the show at first because they thought it was too thin, but started liking it around season three.   Fox wasn't as trigger happy with Futurama as with some of those 2-3 episode shows, but nonetheless they showed pretty bad excuses for patience and the sad thing is they're not much different from the other networks.  These days if they don't get twenty million viewers on the pilot episode the show is automatically screwed it seems.  Sad thing is, Futurama was lucky compared to most network tv these days.  Five years is apparently great for tv standards these days, which says a lot.
M Jackson
Professor
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« Reply #28 on: 09-06-2003 07:40 »

Everyone seems to forget just what an amazing ratings sucess Futurama pilot episode was! Apparently it holds the record for a Fox show. Or as Matt modestly puts it "It did very well".
green-gesus

Bending Unit
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« Reply #29 on: 09-06-2003 08:45 »

The article brought up a good pioint about futurama's release time (around south park) as a reason for its demise I had not condidered, but should have.

THe picture I don't all recognize. Where was amy ever in that space suit, or leela holding that gun, or the professor pumping Bender for beer?
boingo2000

Liquid Emperor
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« Reply #30 on: 09-06-2003 08:50 »

I think the Leela picture is from the season 1 DVD.  I don't recognize the Amy or Professor picture, either.  (Season 3, maybe?)
M Jackson
Professor
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« Reply #31 on: 09-07-2003 05:56 »

They're all from the season 3 DVD covers. And it's coffee not beer.
SimPurist

Crustacean
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« Reply #32 on: 09-07-2003 11:34 »

 
Quote
Originally posted by M Jackson:
Everyone seems to forget just what an amazing ratings sucess Futurama pilot episode was! Apparently it holds the record for a Fox show. Or as Matt modestly puts it "It did very well".

Everyone also seems to forget what an amazing ratings drop Futurama had after the pilot.  After the pilot aired, I heard nothing but unkind words about Futurama.  I also seem to recall initial critics reactions as being in the mixed/negative range, citing that it lacked the Jim Brooks magic.  FOX took this to heart and gave the post-Simpsons slot to Malcolm in the Middle (a truly pathetic show IMO). 

Perhaps Futurama could've been saved had they released the DVDs a lot sooner, like a couple months after the first season aired.  That's how 24 was saved. 
Kryten

Space Pope
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« Reply #33 on: 09-07-2003 12:42 »

 
Quote
Originally posted by SimPurist:
 Everyone also seems to forget what an amazing ratings drop Futurama had after the pilot.   

Oh, you mean when they moved it two meeks after the debut to a more competitive timeslot on Tuesday? Are you telling me ratings went down because of that idiotic move? You're a freakin' GENIUS, ya moron!

Evil Fox Exec

Bending Unit
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« Reply #34 on: 09-07-2003 18:43 »

Yeah, I know that The Series Has Landed got 17 million viewers or something (compared to Space Pilot 3000's 19 million viewers).  Fox's time slot change screwed it over.  Come to think of it, Do The Bartman brought up another good point (then again, he always brings up good points).  Why oh why did Fox ditch Futurama at season three, the precise moment when Futurama started getting really deep?  If Fox actually appreciated Matt Groening, they would've and could've turned seasons three and four into huge hits.

P.S. I actually don't know this, but could somebody tell me which was the first episode to air at the 7:00 pm death slot?
DotheBartman

Liquid Emperor
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« Reply #35 on: 09-07-2003 23:15 »

Responding to Kryten, I (and I think SimPurist will agree with this) think that the move to Tuesday was PART of it, but I don't think it was ALL of it.  Series Has Landed had huge ratings too, but remember, the hype for Futurama was HUGE.  It was from Matt Groening after all.  And this wasn't just a "Firefly" situation where the creator had created something with a good fanbase.  The Simpsons has had a HUGE impact on our culture, and is now as recognizable as Mickey Mouse or Walt Disney.  As such people expected great things from Futurama.  Many people who saw "Series Has Landed" had probably missed the pilot but wanted to check out the show regardless, others may have been continuing to give the show  a chance (whether they liked the pilot or not) because, again, this was a MATT GROENING show and they had to.  Logically, the Sunday slot can't be the only component to the show's drop in ratings.  Its certainly part of it, but you would think that if 19 million viewers really loved the show THAT much more of them would have followed it to Tuesdays.

Again, don't get me wrong.  I think Fox goofed up big time, and underestimated Futurama's ability to pick up viewers over time.  As I said, there are even a lot of fans that didn't like the pilot or the first season, but saw the show again around seasons 3-5 and were more impressed.  Fox certainly screwed up royally.  But you can't pin every lost viewer for the show squarely on them, because otherwise it wouldn't have been moved to 7:00 on Sundays in season three in the first place.
Evil Fox Exec

Bending Unit
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« Reply #36 on: 09-08-2003 16:23 »

You know, DoTheBartman, you're one of my favorite posters here.  You always have something logical to say, and it always makes sense.

Regarding Futurama's timeslot moves, there are too many what-if's out there.  It would've been interesting to see how many viewers there woul've been these days if Futurama stayed in its original 8:30 time slot.  I only started watching the Simpsons in 2001, and Futurama in 2002, but I do have memory of all the hype around Futurama when it came out.  It was front page news.  Then somehow Futurama sunk into near-oblivion.  But anyway, back to the original subject, I guess it is hard to say based on the Pilot episode and Episode Two just how many viewers actually liked the show.  I know that episode three, the first one moved to Tuesday, got (only) 9 million viewers.  I guess the people who actually liked it just followed it to Tuesday.  But then again, there are naturally more viewers on Sunday than on other days of the week.
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