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Australian Simpsons News
Second Half, 1998

These pages are maintained by . Feel free to email me any suggestions or contributions.

24th December, 1998

Merry Christmas to everyone!

I'm taking a break from work, so there'll be no updates for a couple of weeks (unless I decide to sneak in just for an update), but hopefully when I come back I'll be able to implement some of the changes that have been on the drawing board for a while. I think I've left enough info to keep you all happy until I get back, so happy viewing and see you in 1999!

PS: Don't forget the Simpsons New Year's Day Recovery Marathon on Foxtel!

21st December, 1998

Having received my January Foxtel Guide on Friday (well done, Foxtel!), I've now confirmed and updated my predictions for January 1999. No real surprises. The highlight is, of course, The Simpsons New Year's Day Recovery Special from 7:00am on New Year's Day. I've provided some tentative times for the start of each episode (at 25 minutes each, including ads). Note that the Guide lists 1F03 and 2F01 in the opposite order, so I've left these italicised.

17th December, 1998

Details of The Simpsons New Year's Day Recovery Marathon on Foxtel have been posted, along with February predictions. Also, a correction for last week's story on The Yellow Album: it was apparently spotted in Australia, not the US, so look for it at your local record store.

In other news, gleaned from The Simpsons Archive, both Rupert Murdoch and Stephen Hawking recently recorded their roles for future Simpsons episodes (Sunday, Cruddy Sunday and They Saved Lisa's Brain, respectively).

11th December, 1998

The Yellow Album: One of my visitors tells me The Yellow Album has been released in the US. Featuring new songs sung by our favourite family with celebrity accompaniment, this record was thought lost by many fans until Geffen's announcement at the end of October. It will probably be a few months before we see this album in Oz.

New Year's Day on FOX8: Foxtel has planned the perfect hangover-recovery TV schedule for New Year's Day on FOX8: twelve and a half hours of The Simpsons, from 7:00am to 7:30pm! This will be followed by the normal Friday evening line-up of Highlander, The X-Files and Millennium. More details to follow...

30th November, 1998

I've made some fairly extensive updates, particularly the addition of predictions for January 1999 and an update to Season Ten in the episode guide.

More importantly, Foxtel viewers might be interested in information about the various online schedules which I've posted on the TV News page of The Oz TV Gazette.

26th November, 1998

Summer Simpsons on Ten: Ten is dropping their Wednesday Simpsons timeslot for the summer, refilling it with repeats of Just Shoot Me! The Sunday stream will continue as before.

Christmas Simpsons: Finally got my December Foxtel Guide last night. There's just a couple of variations for The Simpsons -- everything else is as predicted. But on Christmas Eve (Thursday, 24th December), the first-season Christmas episode (Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire) will air in the normal timeslot, and there'll be no Simpsons on Christmas Day. On Monday, the weekday stream will resume where it left off, except that Bart on the Road (3F17) will be skipped.

17th November, 1998

I'm back! But only to remind you that Season Nine of The Simpsons commences on Saturday morning, 21st November, on Foxtel.

29th October, 1998

The November Foxtel schedule has been updated, and I've added December predictions for both Ten and Foxtel. By the way, the information I have on new episodes starting the 21st November comes from a reliable source; but there's always the possibility of last-minute changes.

Brief Hiatus: This will probably be the last update for a couple of weeks, as I'm going to a couple of conferences (unfortunately not overseas) and won't have access to the Internet during this time. Hopefully I've left you with enough to tide you over. Next update should be on the 16th November.

27th October, 1998

Season Nine Arrives on Foxtel Amidst Big Changes at FOX8: Changes at FOX8 are inducing changes to the screening schedule for The Simpsons. The weekday repeat timeslot returns to 7:00am, screening the same episode as that same evening at 7:00pm. In contrast, the weekend morning timeslots are being cut back to just two hours, from 9:00am to 11:00am, and just five episodes each day. The changes come into effect from the 1st November.

These changes are also delaying the debut of Season Nine on FOX8, which will commence on Saturday, 21st November, the first new episode screening at around 9:45am. Note that the Foxtel Guide is incorrect. It shows Season Nine episodes not beginning until the following week. In fact, Season Nine episodes will continue on directly from Season Eight. Unfortunately, I haven't had time to update this in my schedules.

Also worth noting is that the move of Fox Kids to a different channel means the end of that annoying Fox Kids logo in the bottom right corner on Saturday mornings. Now, all Simpsons episodes will be screened with the transparent FOX8 logo.

22nd October, 1998

There's big changes coming to FOX8 in November. From what I can gather, Fox Kids is moving to Channel 31, and FOX8 will probably strip its various shows during the day. Actually, I'm not sure how that will work, since most of its current series are best suited to evening viewing. I've no idea what's happening with The Simpsons. Rather than preempt the Foxtel Guide, I'm going to wait until I receive it before looking at the detailed changes. I'll post my analysis on Monday or Tuesday.

19th October, 1998

It's been a while since I had anything much to say, though updates have continued, as required.

Hallowe'en Live Action and a Lost CD: From The Simpsons Archive, we hear that the Season Ten Hallowe'en episode will feature a mix between live action and animation in one skit. Apparently, Regis Philbin and Kathie Lee will appear for real, rather than as animated simulacra. This episode will screen next week in the US, and in February in Australia.

On a less positive note, the Simpsons CD, Go Simpsonic with the Simpsons, has been confirmed as being "cancelled" -- it's one of these horrible legal things that is unlikely to be resolved. Fortunately, Rhino Records loses their option on The Simpsons at the end of the year, so we can expect the producers of the show to switch to another label soon after.

Site Statistics: Some of you may be interested to know a bit about the popularity of this site. I received information from my host that last month I received over 2000 visits, each lasting roughly four minutes. More than half the visitors were from the US (not surprising, since their population is a tad larger than ours), and there were even two from Lithuania (obviously drawn to my name, which is Lithuanian, rather than The Simpsons). The largest number of link-induced visits came via The Simpsons Archive (I'm glad I got those links put in!), but the new Oz TV Gazette didn't get as many visits as I'd hoped (especially this news page). Of the series I cover here, Highlander managed the most hits.

Based on the statistics (the monthly archive was also very popular), and what I learned from watching someone access my site for the first time last week, I'm hoping to make a few changes to the layout. Unfortunately, I can't promise this will happen quickly, as I'm very busy at work. Nonetheless, if you have any ideas or suggestions, I'd love to .

1st October, 1998

Ten Predictions Updated: I've updated my predictions for The Simpsons on Channel Ten through to the end of November. To the best of my knowledge, Season Six will continue to screen on Wednesdays, while Season Four takes over on Sundays.

I've also updated Foxtel's Season Nine Episode Order, and incorporated this into the November schedule. Note that Lard of the Dance is officially being held over for Season Ten.

24th September, 1998

October Foxtel Schedule: I'd forgotten that the October Foxtel Guide would be out soon, yet it was waiting for me in my mailbox yesterday. The Simpsons schedule is basically unchanged in October. However, the second repeat timeslot on Sundays (ie: at 5:00am Monday morning) is to be dropped.

On the last day of October, Saturday the 31st, FOX8 will be screening The Simpsons Hallowe'en Countdown from 8:30pm to midnight. This will feature all eight Hallowe'en specials, from Seasons Two to Nine, in reverse order. Heading the line-up will be Foxtel's first screening of the Season Nine Hallowe'en special (5F02). The rest of Season Nine will follow in November, possibly starting the morning of the 14th November.

17th September, 1998

Season Nine Soon on Foxtel: FOX8 will be screening all eight Hallowe'en episodes (in reverse order) on the 31st October (Hallowe'en, surprisingly enough). That includes the Season Nine episode. The rest of Season Nine will commence airing in November.

16th September, 1998

Reports of Something New, Greatly Exaggerated: Rumours on Usenet that a new Simpsons episode will be shown by Ten next week appear to be unfounded. There was speculation that the new episode shown by Fox in the US a month ago to help promote their new-season line-up might be shown here earlier than expected. My source at Ten claims that's not true, and that the episode in question (Lard of the Dance) will probably turn up as the first episode of Season Ten (as originally intended).

8th September, 1998

Not sure how I missed the Emmys on TV, but The Simpsons managed to win three awards: Outstanding Voiceover to Hank Azaria, Animated Series/Special for Trash of the Titans, and Music & Lyrics for "You're Checkin' In" from The City of New York vs Homer Simpson. More details are available at The Simpsons Archive.

Instant Updates: Changes to the way I update my site now mean that updates appear on the web as soon as I upload them (rather than at midnight, as previously). I normally update mid to late afternoon, so evening visitors should be getting more timely information from now on.

1st September, 1998

I'm back from an awesome week's skiing! Despite alternately patchy and slushy snow, we all had a great time at Mt Hotham.

September Simpsons information and October predictions have been updated. On Foxtel, there's basically no change, and Ten has also settled into a pattern that should last until October. Just beware of some one-off scheduling changes on FOX8 on Sunday, 20th September. Various other pages have also been updated, and there will be some minor changes to navigation over the next couple of weeks.

21st August, 1998

Simpsons Cells at the Comic Art Gallery: If you're in Melbourne this weekend (or next week), you might want to check out the Comic Art Gallery at 1011 High St, Armadale. They're holding a Simpsons exhibition from tomorrow (sorry for the late notice). Opening hours are 10:00-5:30 (11:00-5:00 on Sundays).

20th August, 1998

Well, that wraps it up for Season Nine. My feeling is, it was a much more original season than the previous two, and noticeably more funny. There were even a couple of episodes that might qualify as classics in a year or two.

Season Ten nominally starts in the US on the 20th September, though a new episode will be shown on the 23rd August in order to support the launch of Fox's new season line-up. We'll probably be seeing Season Ten next February. In the meantime, Season Nine should be coming to Foxtel in the next couple of months -- I'll give you a precise date when I have one.

King of the Hill: Homer working out? That's unpossible! I was just waiting for the "secret ingredient" in PowerSauce to be steroids, but I guess that's what they wanted us to think. I really enjoyed this episode, laughing at all the little jokes they kept throwing in. The plot was so meagre that it didn't interfere with the humour, while still providing sufficient framework for it to inhabit. Homer's little dream sequence was fun -- we haven't had one of those since The Land of Chocolate and Under the Sea, though this one more closely resembled Lisa's Yellow Submarine. It was strangely satisfying that Homer really did reach the top of Mt Murderhorn. But the real strength of this episode was, sad to say, in Homer's underpants -- nothing makes a good episode like a really funny beginning.

Lost Our Lisa: I'm guessing there were some ironic elements involved, but I never thought catching the bus would be such a big deal. I suppose the episode itself proved me wrong, at least in the context of Springfield. This was an unfortunately drab episode, although, as always with The Simpsons, it did have its moments; Area 51-A's map, marked "You are here; We are not", springs immediately to mind. I also thought Bart's novelty outfit was absolutely hilarious! And Dr Hibbert superglue remover was pretty cool, though perhaps it looked a little too much like a novelty item itself. Gotta love the Egyptian music box!

Wayne Carey likes The Simpsons: This is a little off topic, but on The Fox Files on Tuesday, Wayne Carey mentioned that he watches The Simpsons on Foxtel every Saturday and Sunday morning before his AFL matches. He had no idea how many episodes were being shown, but then I guess most people don't really care. When he mentioned this, I thought, "Come visit my website and you'll find all you ever wanted to know." But then I thought, he probably doesn't have a computer, and he probably doesn't care which episodes are on -- it's just entertainment. Well, Wayne Carey's not going to stop me! I'll keep providing detailed screening information for as long as at least someone wants it. That's the beauty of the Internet: you can always choose just the information you actually want.

18th August, 1998

Homer's Linguistic Discovery: We all thought Homer was making it up when he first said "d'oh!" but it turns out he'd looked it up in the dictionary. At least, that's how it will appear to future generations: the Oxford English Dictionary is adding the word "d'oh" to its next revision. This information is second hand, originally heard on a radio programme last week, so it might not be accurate. But my biggest concern is that they'll probably spell it wrong!

The End of Season Nine: Ten will be screening the last two episodes of Season Nine of The Simpsons tomorrow night (Wednesday, 19th August) from 8:30pm. Don't forget to set the video! And don't be confused: the Season Six Hallowe'en special will air on the same day in the usual, 7:30pm timeslot.

Episode Air Dates at The Oz TV Gazette: Not only does my TV mini-website have a new name, I've also added air dates for individual episodes to the episode lists, so you can properly plan your viewing. Get all the info at The Oz TV Gazette.

12th August, 1998

Happy birthday! Today, The Simpsons at Sofcom (also known by other names) celebrates its first birthday! Born from the remnants of Tony Lammens' TV Guides, whose legacy is still with us, the Simpsons pages have evolved into a comprehensive record of The Simpsons in Australia. Changes in the site have largely been a reflection of my learning of HTML, which I had never used previously, so it's been quite a learning experience for me.

To all of you who have visited these pages and found something useful, and especially to all those who have emailed me to express their appreciation, a big thank you! Your support and your ideas mean a lot to me.

As for the future, I plan to continue running this site as long as I can foresee. Even if I were to lose Foxtel (God forbid!), I plan to continue providing you all with the best Simpsons information I can lay my hands on.

In coming months, you'll see more Season Ten information appearing (I've just added three new episodes to the Episode List), Season Nine coming to Foxtel, and hopefully a special treat for those of you with a historical interest in The Simpsons.

With the recent introduction of the TV Episode List pages, I'm now able to provide information about others of my favourite shows, and keep you up to date with more varied television news. Even more changes are planned (although not too many more). For example, you may start seeing a little more colour, here and there.

So thanks for coming, and please do keep coming back. Happy viewing!


PS: I finally sold my car!

6th August, 1998

Special Episode in the US: Despite Season Nine having ended in the US some time ago, on the 23rd August, a new Simpsons episode will be shown on the Fox network, though which one has not yet been decided (maybe Lard of the Dance). Apparently, this is to promote Fox's new, pre-season, Sunday line-up, but I'm not sure of the details. As for which season the new episode will be part of, I'm guessing Ten here in Australia will hold it until the start of Season Ten, so that's where I'll be putting it.

4th August, 1998

New Episode List Pages: I'm pleased to announce the opening of my Episode List Pages, providing episode lists and Australian broadcast information for all my favourite TV shows. As part of the move, news not specifically relating to The Simpsons will be moving to the new pages, so if you're only interested in The Simpsons, there won't be all this other stuff cluttering up this page. Unfortunately, if you're interested in all the stories I've been providing here, you're going to have to load an extra page. I apologise for that, but things were getting out of hand.

[On 25th March, 1999, as part of the process of archiving the two news pages, older non-Simpsons news stories were moved to the Pre-Gazette, non-Simpsons News Archive.]

Anyway, feel free to check out the new pages, and if there's any problems, or if the navigational changes I'm making to the Simpsons pages cause you any problems. Incidentally, the new pages are still a little bit raw, so expect some extra polish to accumulate over the coming weeks.

30th July, 1998

Simpsons Season Finale: The last two episodes of Season Nine will screen together at 8:30pm on Wednesday, 19th August. Unfortunately, the two are to be merged, so Australian viewers will again miss a couch joke and more. Apparently, a repeat will also screen that night in the usual 7:30pm timeslot. Since that accounts for all of Season Nine, we'll be seeing Season Six repeats on Wednesdays from now on, and Season Five episodes on Sundays.

Trash of the Titans: Unfortunately a very mediocre episode, despite being the 200th. But there were moments of brilliance -- things like the opening. Perhaps Ten should take note of Bart's admonition, "I will not mess with the opening credits." Later, Bart caught the plague and Homer tells him it's like measles -- it's good to get it out of the way! The garbage song was painful, but Homer's beating, captured on the big screen for all to see, and Otto telling other concert-goers to sit down ... ahh. Did anyone else notice how much Maggie featured in this episode, yet without really doing anything? I did note one scene which she spent sitting on the couch, petting Snowball. I wish we saw more of Maggie, like in the early seasons. Finally, I loved Quimby's classic, "Did I hear a, ah, briefcase opening?" But what the hell was that business with the spoons?

Simpsons Emmy Nominations: The Simpsons has received four Emmy Award nominations this year, for Outstanding Animated Program, Outstanding Music Composition (Dramatic Underscore), Outstanding Music Direction, and Outstanding Music and Lyrics. More information is available at The Simpsons Archive, where they also mention that Rupert Murdoch has been invited to guest voice as himself in an upcoming Season Ten episode.

23rd July, 1998

Another large collection of news today. Read on for information about Season Ten of The Simpsons, the 200th episode, Simpsons changes on Foxtel, new shows on FOX8, and some commentary on The Panel and Good News Week. Perhaps I should split off the non-Simpsons stuff to another page...

200th Episode: The Simpsons' 200th episode airs next Wednesday, 29th July at 7:30pm, with guest appearances from Steve Martin and U2. This episode saw a lot of promotion in the US, and I'm surprised I haven't heard anything here in Australia -- maybe I'm just looking in the wrong places.

Season Ten Starts Soon in the US: Season Ten of The Simpsons is reportedly starting on the 20th September in the US, though a new episode is likely to also be shown on the 23rd August to help launch Fox's Fall Lineup. Mark Hamill and Jerry Springer are both slated to appear in the first episode, with Murdoch popping up later in the series. It seems the new season will consist of 26 episodes, so those of you taping will need to make space for the extra episode. For more details, see The Simpsons Archive's Season Ten Info.

The Foxtel Guide is In: Looks like distribution of the Foxtel Guide is back on track this month; I got mine yesterday, and have already updated relevant parts of the site, including September predictions. The only change from my August predictions occurs in the Sunday evening timeslot (which moves to 6:00pm from 2nd August). On Sunday, 23rd August, Season Eight having concluded the previous week, this stream will revert to Season Six episodes (starting with 2F33), rather than returning to the very beginning. My first thought was that this is intended to run straight into new, Season Nine episodes when Foxtel secures these rights. But then we wouldn't see them until April next year! Fortunately, that's not the case.

Girly Edition: I loved this episode! It reminded me of Homer's Enemy, except this time the kids' plot governed the episode and Homer's adventures were the sub-plot. The start of the episode was the first time we've seen Itchy & Scratchy for some time, Homer's monkey was just hilarious (anyone remember Ross's Marcel from Friends?), and did you notice the gigantic Lard Lad statue from Attack of the 50 Foot Eyesores (episode 3F04)? A couple of subtle computer jokes made an appearance: Lisa asking the studio exec, "What is Zork?" and Kent Brockman's story on the merry-go-round to be replaced by "a shop that sells designer mouse pads." The "Bart's People" segment was a beautiful satire on modern news and current affairs, with horrible overtones of Ray Martin and co. Definitely one of my favourites of the season.

16th July, 1998

The Trouble With Trillions: Do Americans really queue in post offices to submit their tax returns at the last minute? I suppose it does at least make for some good jokes, especially in contrasting the Flanders approach. I found this episode reasonably bland. There was nothing bad about it, but nor was there anything particularly innovative. Oh well, I guess I did laugh, so mission accomplished. Some highlights: Homer's football-shaped tax return boucing into the empty "Severe Audit" trolley, the two-sided chair in Homer's IRS interview, Cuban boxers smoking cigars in the ring...

15th July, 1998

The Rise of Adult Animation: Fox Entertainment News last night had an interesting story about the rising popularity of animated shows for adults, cited The Simpsons as the show that initiated this animation revival. Apparently, The Simpsons is the longest-running sitcom currently on US TV. I'm guessing it's still got a few seasons to go until it catches up to Cheers, however. Also of interest, Mark Atkin at SBS was the first person in the world to pick up South Park. On ya, SBS!

9th July, 1998

New URL! As of today, this site is moving to its own domain name, at Accesses to the old URL will be redirected to the new one, but please change your bookmarks. You'll notice there's no .au extension on the new URL, because the server is apparently in the US. I would have preferred to keep the Australian identification, but access seems just as fast as at the old URL. If you do have any problems with this, just email the Sofcom TV Guide and let them know.

The Simpsons Party on Ten: I apologise for not trying harder to get complete information on The Simpsons Party in advance. I'm working on something at the moment that will amply make up for it... In the meantime, I've provided a listing of which episodes were screened during the special. Apart from some old, favourite episodes, they had an interesting set of interviews with the cast and crew of The Simpsons, and an animated interview between Oprah Winfrey and the Simpson family (I believe this last is quite old, but then I never watch Oprah). The thing that really surprised me was Ten's apparent ignorance of the running time for the show (and for the Kylie Minogue special on Tuesday night). The Simpsons Party was variously advertised as running 2 hours and 2.5 hours, appeared in the TV guide at 2.5 hours, but then screened for exactly two and a quarter hours. Looks like someone screwed up, big time.

The Simpsons Party Poster: One of my visitors noticed the poster that hung behind Brooke and Jesse during The Simpsons Party. After a bit of research, I've discovered this poster was released in the US to commemorate The Simpsons' 200th episode (to air in Oz on the 29th July). The poster is not currently available for purchase, but Ten has secured some copies and will be giving them away as part of a promotion on Sydney's Today FM. Alternatively, New Weekly may be having a similar promotion. So if you want a really cool poster of all the characters, look out for these promotions.

This Little Wiggy: This has got to be one of the best opening scenarios The Simpsons has ever done. At least, it struck a very strong chord with me: a pathetic science centre hyped as something else entirely, that is actually closer to the hype than to the science. Bart using a surface rover as a skateboard in a Martian crater was just priceless! After such a good opening, the rest of the episode couldn't quite match up, though it was still very funny, and above all, inventive. The irony of Burns turning off power to the abandoned prison was just beautiful, and made up for how predictable and contrived was Mayor Quimby's demonstration sitting.

2nd July, 1998

I finally received my July Foxtel Guide on Tuesday, and I can't say I'm overjoyed about the new format; its primary effect seems to be to make it harder to read. As it turns out, no Simpsons updates were required from the Guide. But I was very happy to see Ned and Stacey is coming to FOX8, Thursdays at 9:00pm from the 30th July!

Ten's Simpsons Party on Sunday: It turns out that Ten has prepared a truly huge Simpsons extravaganza this Sunday! Not only will we see the normal two episodes at 7:30pm, there will follow a two and a half hour(!) special at 8:30pm. The special will provide a behind-the-scenes look at the show, including clips from past episodes and interviews with the cast and crew. No Simpsons fan should miss it! (I'm kind of hoping it will actually be good.)

Troy McClure to Retire: Matt Groening has announced that he will be retiring all of Phil Hartman's old characters as a mark of respect to the recently-deceased actor. I guess we won't be seeing the likes of Troy McClure or Lionel Hutz again.

Alston dislikes The Simpsons: The Age Green Guide reports that Senator Alston has expressed disapproval at the Simpsons episode, Natural Born Kisser. Personally, I'd be surprised if he even watched it.

Foxtel Drops Weekday Repeats: Just a reminder that FOX8 will be dropping the 11:30pm weekday repeat timeslot as of Monday.

Dumbell Indemnity: It turns out Helen Hunt wasn't too bad in the "role" of Moe's girlfriend. Despite her distinctive voice, it was easy to forget it was her and concentrate instead on the character. I wonder if The Simpsons do something special to celebrities to disguise their voices just slightly. This episode seemed to be more dynamic than most Simpsons episodes. There were a number of scenes with very quick action (eg: the fish swimming out of the way of Homer's car) and I distinctly recall Helen Hunt's character expressing more emotion than is usual on The Simpsons (a lifted eye-brow, a touch of sarcasm...). The whole thing seemed somehow more polished than other episodes, and, of course, very funny. Poor Moe, struggling to master his roller blades, only to be knocked down by a passing horse-drawn carriage.

Australian Simpsons News Archive: First Half, 1998.

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Last Updated: 25-March-1999