My thoughts on the Chinese New Year

It’s the time of year when China has reached the start of the New Year. It does sound strange, but the times are so different in each country; for instance, when I went to Australia at the age of 12, the country was nine hours ahead of England and it was our summer vacation, despite it being winter in Aussie. There was also a humorous reference in that Thunderbirds episode (Lord Parker’s ‘Oliday) where Scott, Virgil and Brains are returning home from a rescue mission that occurred in Italy and they contact Jeff, stating; “we’ll be home for breakfast” and Jeff’s like “breakfast? It’s 2am” and they point out that they got the times in the different locations mixed up. And who can possibly forget that Simpsons one (Bart Vs Australia) where they arrive in Aussie and Homer asks Lisa what time it is there. Because of the different times in each country, they don’t all commence with the same season, which explains why China celebrates their New Year later in January.
And speaking of the Chinese New Year, here’s where
I first heard about it. I was eight and at elementary school when our teacher told us all about the tradition. She also read a story about the origin of the celebration. The story began where 12 animals; a dog, dragon, hare, horse, monkey, ox, pig, ram, rat, rooster, snake and tiger, were squabbling over which one was the best animal and which one would win some prize for best animal or something. So in an attempt to cease them from bickering, a Chinese emperor arranged for a swimming race across the river. Whoever won got the prize. The animals agreed and the race commenced. During the race, the ox was in the lead and the rat was struggling to swim. So it cheated and climbed on the ox’s back, thus taking the lead. The rat won the race and got the prize and these are the rest of the finishing positions starting with the 2nd place; ox, tiger, hare, dragon, snake, horse, ram, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.
Since the story, each year has represented an animal. If a year was the year of the rat, the next one would be the year of the ox, then the tiger and so on. After the year of the pig, it goes back to the start. I was born in 1990, which was the year of the horse. I didn’t know that until I was eight. I was pretty disappointed when I found that out. I’ve got nothing against horses whatsoever or any other animal, except wasps (I have a history). But at the time, I was more into the more vicious animals. I had hoped to be born in the year of the dragon or tiger or the rat as it won the race. But then, one can’t choose when to be born. It all depends when your mother’s pregnant. Being born in the year of the horse doesn’t seem bad though. Personally it makes me feel stronger, considering you can ride on it and take power over people not riding on horses. Maybe it’s the medieval movies I watched in my life.
Last year, 2016(!), was the year of the monkey, which means that 2017 is the year of the rooster.
Happy Chinese New Year everybody!

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My thoughts on Hallowe’en

It’s that time of year, the 31st October that is; Halloween, also known as Allhalloween, All Hallows’ Eve, or All Saints’ Eve, which is celebrated in a majority of countries.
Halloween originated apparently with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people lit bonfires and dressed up to ward off roaming ghosts. During the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honour all saints and martyrs, hence All Saints Day. In other words, some people would use the tradition to pay their respects to the deceased. The term ‘Halloween’ didn’t originate until the mid-18th century and is of Christian origin. It refers to ‘hallowed evening’ or ‘holy evening’. Those would probably explain why Halloween takes place a day before All Saints Day.
As of today, Halloween remains a popular vacation and I have to say; I’m most certainly one of them guys who celebrates Halloween. I’d probably be over-estimating if I was to say it’s as popular as, say, Christmas. Mind you, it does take place a couple of months before Christmas which could be why people start over-thinking about Christmas days before Halloween comes and personally, that irritates me, because for one thing, Christmas ain’t come yet, duh(!) and for another thing, people like myself are trying to think about Halloween. I also say the same thing about Guy Fawkes Night.
Anyway, enough of my moaning. Halloween is celebrated in a variety of ways. As a kid, I mostly celebrated it by what we call trick-or-treating. Basically, I would dress in a costume, go round the streets with a group of friends and knock on doors, then call “trick or treat”. The resident(s) would then give us some candy. Some trick-or-treaters would egg houses, but myself and the others never thought of that. Of course, trick-or-treating is more of a kids’ activity. Other activities include parties, carving pumpkins and lighting them, apple bobbing, telling haunting stories and watching horror films. These could be celebrated by any age really. And yes, also plain dressing up. Most Halloweens, I remember dressing up as a vampire. This year, I dressed as David Bowie as his character in the music videos to Blackstar and Lazarus. I was going to dress up as the Penguin (one of Batman’s enemies), but I was still struggling to get over losing one of my true heroes. Ziggy Stardust or Jareth from Labyrinth were also options, but I thought I’d keep it more simple. Some of my family don’t seem to celebrate the vacation as much as I do and they used to. I remember when my dad once dressed up as Herman Munster from the Munsters. But then, I’m living in Britain and Halloween has been known to be an American vacation. Some Brits have pointed that out and don’t understand the point of celebrating it as a result. But I see no reason why I have to avoid it, just because it happens to be mainly associated with America. Of course not everybody celebrates Halloween. I have no problem with that.
Speaking of horror films and the media, we get plenty of those films suitable for celebrating Halloween, such as John Carpenter’s Halloween. Recently I was watching Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie, an animated feature update of his famous short from 1984 and gee it was awesome! Other horror films I watched this month include Daddy’s Deadly Darling (aka Pigs), two of Roger Corman’s films (The Raven and The Little Shop Of Horrors) and Saw. It’s also amazing how very few TV shows contain Halloween specials. These include The Simpsons (with most of its episodes labelled Treehouse Of Horror and boy such classics they are!) and Psychoville (which had one Halloween special). And yet, there are fewer Halloween specials than there are Christmas specials (sorry to bring that up again). But it doesn’t mean that some TV episodes can’t be set during Halloween, just because they’re not called specials. There’s that Malcolm In The Middle episode, Halloween Approximately, where the boys have their older brother arrive a week late for the vacation, but still celebrate it. There’s South Park (Korn’s Groovy Pirate Ghost Mystery), My Family (Friday the 31st) and that pilot episode of Aaahh!!! Real Monsters. Then you have TV shows which relate to the horror genre as a whole. Many episodes of shows such as The X-Files, The Munsters and The Addams Family could be viewed in celebration to Halloween.
On the subject of ghosts, personally I don’t believe in ghosts. I once had a conversation with one of my work colleagues about the time during 1998 when a ‘ghost’ happened to be spotted in Belgrave Hall in Leicester, where I reside. I’m kinda like Dana Scully from The X-Files in a way and believe there must be some logical explanation; I mean it could be a white cloth of some sort or a bed sheet. That would certainly make a great X-Files episode.

Happy Halloween everybody!

IN EU!

Hey guys, not long now till the polling station opens in regards to the votes on whether the United Kingdom should stay or leave the European Union (EU). The voting begins on Thursday and there’s been some debate on the subject of staying in/leaving the EU. For the purpose of this post, I want to share what I personally think.

I’m voting to remain in the EU. When I first heard that voting was to take place this year, I was unsure what to vote for. But through one of my monthly meetings with the Labour Party, we had a discussion on the EU and one of my fellow members, who is a war veteran, stated that he was in favour of remaining in the EU and pointed out that the UK, France, Germany, Belgium and the other European countries are like a ‘brotherhood’. Plus he recalled his experiences during the war and remembered when the UK and the other countries worked together to attempt to end the war. I say he had a darn good point! The EU was set up with the aim to end the wars between the neighbouring countries. There’s no reason why we can’t get along.

Another reason why I’m for being part of the EU is because x% of the UK’s jobs are part of the trade unions. Some of the large businesses are networked across the continent. If we leave the EU, we could face a much deeper financial crisis than we are in now. If we stay, we could receive an opportunity to defend/extend the rights of people and work. Jeremy Corbyn recently said this and those were words from a pure intelligent man.

We were even faced with a few confrontations in recent times. At one point, members of the British First (a party which is a cross between UKIP and the National Front), crept into my hometown Leicester, a county which is meant to be fascist-intolerant, and campaigned for Britain to leave the EU. The crowd rightly said “racists are not welcome” and Paul Golding of the British First was rightly arrested. And this is another reason why I’m favour of staying in the EU; anti-racism. The British First, National Front and UKIP are clearly too ignorant to understand the meaning of ‘civilisation’. They complain about the amount of immigration there is in Britain. I don’t give a damn how many immigrants there are in the UK. I’m proud to have interacted with people from foreign countries. They’ve made a massive and positive contribution to the UK. We’ve had film-makers and artists and caterers, hell I’m proud to have had a French teacher at my school. Without her, I wouldn’t’ve obtained a GCSE in the subject. The foreign interaction also relates to the European workers network. I even dismiss the various comments “oh they’re taking our jobs”. Whoever says such a thing needs to get one’s own facts straight; they’re just doing jobs that certain ‘Brits’ don’t want to do. If people want to make the UK ‘British’ again, then I don’t recall racism being British. I don’t even recall it being American. The problem isn’t to do with immigrants, it’s businesses purposefully exploiting cheaper labour. If you don’t like immigrants, explain the fact that certain Brits are emigrating to other countries. EXPLAIN THE HYPOCRISY!!!

As I was saying about civilisation, it doesn’t mean banishing people, it means welcoming people. Simple as that. Treat people like you would treat your family and friends, no matter what their nationality is. Even Leicester is known to have welcomed various cultures. A few years ago, a friend of mine commented in the Leicester Mercury on how great the restaurants are and expressed the positiveness of the different cultures Leicester has. Many countries have worked with each other since the beginning of time.

So in short, this is why I’m voting for the EU; more jobs, more opportunities, less racial hatred and a stronger future. Anybody who sends me a flyer representing a Leave campaign is wasting their own time, because I ain’t going to be brainwashed by the phoney £350 million saving clap-trap. I know whatever they said about that ain’t true.

Before I end this post, I also want to pay my respects to Jo Cox who was killed last week. As a member of the same party she was MP for i.e. Labour, I also want to express my disgust with the murderer Thomas Mair, who said “Death to traitors, freedom for Britain”. I say that’s disgusting, because clearly, he’s likely to be a member and/or support of the British First and using that as an excuse to harm innocent people who have a brain and know what’s really right for Britain and the rest of the world. It makes me sick to think that members/supporters of the British First or equivalent commit such acts, just because the victims happen to be from an ‘intolerable background’ according to their policies.

I’m sure Jo would’ve wanted to see Britain win the Remain in EU vote.

Originality – Where Has It Gone?

Do you ever feel that certain film-makers/production companies are running out of ideas and turning to nothing but remakes? Well I certainly do sometimes. There’s one particular film company which I feel is totally losing originality – Walt Disney Pictures.

Walt Disney Pictures, in my opinion, is one of the greatest production companies of all time. It’s most certainly popular among film fans worldwide and has produced some of the finest films the industry has to offer; Pinocchio, Mary Poppins, Peter Pan, Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey, Up, etc. Yet it did bring out some bad films as well. These include The Many Adventures Of Winnie The Pooh, Bolt, James & The Giant Peach, Fun & Fancy Free. However in recent years, Disney has seemed to run out of ideas for new films, hence turning animated features into live-action films. Though they would come up with an original project now and then i.e. Into the Woods, which I have yet to see. But all I hear about is live-action remakes to cartoons.

The first live-action animated feature Disney released was an adaptation to 1961’s 101 Dalmatians which came out in 1996. That film was okay. There was some originality to it; the dogs did not speak, the casting was impressive, though I wish the producers didn’t have to make an excuse to add an unnecessary fart joke. Then there was the sequel 102 Dalmatians which I haven’t seen, but oh well. Then I hear Tim Burton has directed a live-action sequel to Alice In Wonderland for the company; an obvious reference to the 1951 film. I saw it and it sucked! Last year, we saw the release of Maleficent; obvious spin-off to Sleeping Beauty and this year, a live-action version of 1950’s Cinderella. The two latters, I did not see and didn’t feel I needed to. I saw Doug Walker’s review of Maleficent and I don’t blame him for expressing his negativity. I didn’t think it would be that good anyway.

But now I hear that Disney is extending their resume on live-action cartoons; The Little Mermaid, Dumbo, The Jungle Book, Beauty & The Beast, Mulan, The Many Adventures Of Winnie The Pooh, the latter which I couldn’t care less about, because I never enjoyed the film anyway. But what really gets to me is that another film they plan to live-actionize is my all-time favourite one of them all. Yes folks, it’s Pinocchio. I’ve loved that film ever since childhood, so to see a live-action version of the film sickens me. There is no way one of them could compete with the animated masterpiece. Pinocchio is like the symbol to awareness of all aspects of evil around the world. To me, it was an awesome way to demonstrate that people can sometimes scam you into things, as I once stated in one of my previous blogs (The Worst-to-Best Movies Produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios). A live-action version will be an obvious repeat. God knows what Dickie Jones would think if he was still around.

I mean, what’s going to be next? What other cartoons could Disney possibly live-actionize? The Sword In The Stone? Atlantis: The Lost Empire? The Emperor’s New Groove? To tell you the truth, I should like to see Disney try and live-actionize The Lion King and Robin Hood. In case you probably couldn’t tell, I was being sarcastic.

I do have yet to see Maleficent and the live-action version of Cinderella, so I can’t say whether they’re good or bad until I’ve seen them. I was reluctant to watch them when they came out. First of all, those two sorts of things are usually aimed for a female audience and I’m not female. Second, the reluctance relates back to when I saw Tim Burton’s version of Alice In Wonderland and I predicted I would get the same cheap result from the films. The fact that I did not enjoy any of the Despicable Me movies certainly put me off seeing Minions. Plus, the fact that now Disney is turning to remakes of their own material; the films that most of us grew up with. Some of those films are among the ones I want my future children to grow up with and I wonder what impact the remakes are going to have on today’s kids. For instance; if Pinocchio‘s going to be ‘live-actionised’, are children going to think about the remake, each time they think of the title, and ignore the original? This, I personally find disturbing. I don’t mind remakes as long as they’re good ones, but that seems to be all that Disney’s doing now. Some of my friends are giving up on Disney as a result, and for that I don’t blame them.

On the recent news that I hear Tim Burton is to direct a remake of Mary Poppins for, you guessed it, Disney;

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Okay, this is the very last straw. Disney have overstepped the mark. I’m never watching a new Disney movie again.

I just feel as betrayed as certain fans of the company do. Disney, I ain’t angry, but I’m very disappointed. They produced some of the best quality work in history and now they’ve clearly run out of ideas.

A Roller-Coaster through The Alton-Rations

What’s happening to British theme parks nowadays? I ain’t saying they suck, because they don’t. Theme parks in general are always great fun. But there’s some pretty lame sections added to them. For example, I know now it has occurred last year, but I had recently heard that Alton Towers has introduced CBeebies Land. What? A section whose theme is based on a god-awful British TV channel which broadcasts god-awful TV programmes? Programmes with unoriginal and forgettable episodes?

Guys, think of the wide audiences. If you want to introduce something to all ages, why not include a Disney-themed part or something? Oh wait, there’s already numerous Disney Lands across the globe. I so would like to check at least one of them out. Or what about a section with a theme that links to Steven Spielberg’s movies? Oh wait, there’s already a Universal Studios-related theme park in America. But there’s plenty of other things to think about.

It was bad enough when the long defunct American Adventure had its most exciting rides, i.e. The Missile and the Twin Loop-De-Loop, closed down to make way for more kiddie rides. No wonder the theme park closed down eventually. Lack of audience figures can lead to a lowering business, equalling eventual extinction. Or what the time when one of the surprisingly oldest British parks, Drayton Manor, introduced Thomas Land. Yes folks, the section of the park whose theme is based on one of the lousiest and most overrated kids’ shows in TV history, need I say what it’s called? The one about the trains with large gobs, and that’s pretty much it, it’s about trains that can talk. As the Nostalgia Critic might say, (yawns) Adventure ho. Though technically, it was based on a series of novels, then got made into a show. I personally wouldn’t care, but it was. Okay, maybe the idea for Thomas Land was to get more younger children invested, but if you think about it, most of the general rides in Drayton Manor are amateur and rather lousy, exceptions including the Apocalypse, Shockwave and Flumes. But there are very few of those rides that still stand.

Now a couple of years ago, Alton Towers just had to introduce CBeebies-Land! This is the sort of thing which does not appeal to me whatsoever. I didn’t grow up with CBeebies. I was in my pre-teens when the channel was launched and I was way too old for the nonsense they broadcast. I am familiar with some of the shows they broadcast or used to broadcast i.e. Teletubbies, which I’ve long expressed my strong dislike within. Some of the shows were broadcast sometime before the channel’s launch. And yet, I’d be disturbed if certain rides were closed to make way for CBeebies-Land. I personally believe it was wrong to shut down the Corkscrew and the Submission, because they were epic! Plus the Corkscrew was apparently one of the very first rides in Alton Towers. If the manufacturers wanted to create some baby-themed section, why couldn’t they get rid of the Hex?

If there’s a section of a theme park with a theme based on Gerry Anderson’s shows, I would be up for it. Not only am I a long time fan of his works, but his productions are known to appeal to all ages. I’d say the same for a Hanna/Barbera themed-section or one based on Aardman or Nickelodeon. These producers/production companies are more likely to extend their audiences compared to CBeebies.

That’s my opinion anyway.

Is Animation Dead?

Two years ago, a friend of mine who is a year younger than me, asked me if I would be interested in seeing Despicable Me 2 at the cinema. I was reluctant at first for one second, but because we’re mates, I did not refuse. When I saw the film, it looked rather cutesy and obnoxious. I liked Gru’s character portrayal, but I found the minions irritating. My mate liked the film better than the first film. I did not see Despicable Me 1 until a year later when it was broadcast on ITV1 and I could sense why he didn’t like that one. To be honest, since Shrek The Third, cartoons, mainly CGI, seem to be going downhill, which is why I avoided the film. So could animation possibly be dead?

As a kid, I was a bit of an animation bluff. Like many people, I definitely familiarised myself with and enjoyed Tom and Jerry and other cartoons by Hanna/Barbera, Looney Tunes, Deputy Dawg, some Disney cartoons, etc. But if you’re wondering about cartoons that were produced from my time (1990-onwards), the ones I watched include The Simpsons, The Animals Of Farthing Wood, Sonic The Hedgehog, Secret Squirrel, Garfield & Friends, so many TV animations to name, and they were awesome! Film-wise, I watched some films from the Disney Renaissance, especially The Hunchback Of Notre Dame, Tom & Jerry: The Movie, Antz, some Pixar. Plus when I was thirteen, I watched the South Park movie (yeah I know, I was naughty considering the BBFC rated it 15). Many of these media products from my birth-onwards were enjoyable experiences.

So how is it that I’m feeling put off by 21st Century animation? Well, I don’t feel that way for all the cartoons from that era. I love Atlantis: The Lost Empire, mainly because of its stunning visuals, strong liberal values and well-developed characters. I enjoy Family Guy for similar reasons, even if there’s occasional obnoxiousness and Brian’s over-clichéd needs for a human woman. When Pixar made Toy Story, a lot of us seemed thrilled, because it was the first feature to entirely use CGI. Then Antz came out and I kind of like that film better, because it’s more detailed. This is also why I most certainly prefer it to A Bug’s Life. Yes, I like the liberal message and Hopper’s cool for a villain, but the animation style of the ant characters is wrong. First of all, ants have six legs, not four. And why were they coloured blue? Antz was much less cutesy compared to A Bug’s Life.

Relating to CGI animation in the 21st Century, the best one in my opinion is Robert Zemeckis’ Beowulf. The reason is because this was exactly what I was expecting from Pixar. Beowulf looked like a live action movie, hence how deeply detailed each human face was. But it was in fact animated, due to the lack of certain shadows. The human designs were still convincing enough for a cool CG animated movie. Beowulf demonstrated what CGI is all about; detail. Pixar could have made the effort for the human characters’ designs when they made Monsters INC, Finding Nemo and The Incredibles and a little less cartoony. It’s like seeing those awful CG characters that were constructed for the movie versions of Scooby-Doo, Garfield and Alvin & The Chipmunks. When I view CGI, I think something in the style of, say, Jurassic Park or Jumanji or Lord Of The Rings. I don’t picture myself seeing rubbery skinned men with plum-shaped noses. I have no problem with that on traditional animated movies, but if this is a CGI cartoon, it looks effortless in my opinion.

Another thing that bugs me about this millennium’s cartoons is certain content included. Seriously, what is it with family movies and fart jokes? This sort of humour was only funny on stuff such as South Park, to name a few. They were given high certification, because of that. So why are censors not censoring Despicable Me and other cartoons? They’re rated U in the UK and G in the USA and yet they’re going overboard on the toilet humour. Just because a character’s farted, doesn’t make it funny. If you want to include farting in a movie, there has to be a certain point. In fact, this goes for all family movies, no matter what format they are in. This will be covered in a later blog. But the point is, many cartoon characters from the 21st century are so obnoxious or just plain annoying.

These include;

Mumble (Happy Feet)

Prince Charming, Artie and the babies (Shrek The 3rd)

The Minions and the kids (Despicable Me franchise)

Mike Wozowski, Boo, Celia, Smitty and Needleman (Monsters Inc)

Mittens (Bolt)

Vannellope (Wreck-It-Ralph)

(sighs) SpongeBob SquarePants!

Speaking of toilet humour, I dread to think what started this dreadful cliche for a family movie.

Harry Shearer’s quitting The Simpsons?!

Last week, I heard the news that one of America’s most legendary voice actors is quitting the production of one of America’s most legendary TV cartoons. Yes folks, it’s the Mel Blanc of the 90s-onwards, Harry Shearer.

For those who don’t know, Harry Shearer, like the other cast members, voices various characters in The Simpsons. His characters include Mr. Burns, Mr. Smithers, Principal Skinner, Ned Flanders, Reverend Lovejoy, Kent Brockman, Dr. Hibbert, Otto, Lenny Leonard and Rainier Wolfcastle. The reason why I associated him with Mel Blanc is not only due to the various voices, but because Mel once mentored him.

First of all, I do respect that Harry is now in his 70s and he does have a right to retire if he wishes. Mind you, none of the voice actors are getting any younger, but yet, most of the characters don’t seem to be getting any older. For instance, Bart Simpson remains 10 years old and Marge remains 34. But then how about Mr. Burns revealing himself to be 81 in season 2 and then in season 11, revealed to be over 100? Geez. Second, The Simpsons has run for over 20 seasons and I think it is time it was given a rest, but we’ll get to that later.

Though I hear that none of Harry’s characters are going to be killed off or just plain written out of the programme. They are instead going to be voiced by somebody else. Personally, I can’t see that happening. I know when Gerry Anderson produced the second season of Thunderbirds, he replaced David Holliday with Jeremy Wilkin as the voice of Virgil Tracy. They got away with that. It was only the one major character. When the A-Team was produced, Dirk Benedict replaced Tim Dunigan as Face. Of course, that was only after the pilot. And how about the various cast changes in EastEnders? Actually, the actors’ replacements in The Simpsons are more comparable to the replacements in EastEnders. Sure it was understandable when Todd Carty replaced David Scarboro as Mark Fowler, due to David’s death and the character’s status was to be changed anyway, but the replacements for most of the child characters are fairly unrealistic. For instance, I found it unnecessary when James Martin replaced Joseph Shade as Peter Beale. it looked like Peter went through puberty too quickly. In the Simpsons, I understood they had to kill off Edna Krabappel due to Marcia Wallace’s death in 2013 and Tress MacNeille got away with taking over as the voice of Lunchlady Doris following Doris Grau’s death. But when you think about all the voices Harry Shearer did, who could possibly replace him? Harry once said Mr. Burns was the hardest character he ever voiced. And he was voiced by a professional. Even I can’t do Burns’ voice as well as him.

The Simpsons is one of my personal all-time favourite TV shows. I’ve long-obtained a love to the show since early childhood, when it first aired on BBC2. Nowadays it’s broadcast every weekday at 6pm on Channel 4. There are a variety of reasons why I admire The Simpsons so much. I don’t just praise it for the humour, but I also admire the issues it has tackled, such as environmental problems, economics, depression and so forth. In fact, the show has had a fair amount of adventure and drama included in certain episodes. For instance, I certainly remember feeling tearful when I saw the end credits of the Season 7 episode Mother Simpson.

However I do have to admit that although I enjoyed Seasons 1 to 12, I do feel the show has gone downhill since season 13. Before then, we had such classic and great episodes; The Call Of The Simpsons (S1 E7), One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Bluefish (S2 E11), Bart The Murderer (S3 E4), Marge Vs. The Monorail (S4), Cape Feare (S5 E2), Who Shot Mr. Burns (S6 E25 + S7 E1), The Mysterious Voyage Of Homer (S8 E9), The City Of New York Vs. Homer (S9 E1), The Wizard Of Evergreen Terrace (S10 E2), Take My Wife Sleaze (S11), Trilogy Of Error (S12 E18), to name some. Even the Hallowe’en specials were so cool. But when you look at certain episodes from Season 13-onwards, there have been a few good episodes such as Barting Over. But many other episodes are repeats of the previous ones or plain unrealistic or both. I hated the episode Brawl In The Family (S13 E7). The reason is because it was uninteresting to see the family fighting over a game of Monopoly and then being branded as dysfunctional. We’ve known for the while that they are anyway. It’s totally worn. And then, they come across two Vegas women from an episode way from Season 10, which is so random and couldn’t have much to do with the synopsis. It’s a ridiculous set up.

The point I am trying to make is that I feel pessimistic considering that now Harry Shearer is no longer a cast member for The Simpsons, whether audience ratings and viewings will stay the same, rise or fall. I know according to the Boston Matrix, The Simpsons is considered Cash Cow, but I doubt that Harry’s replacement will be able to pull it off. Very soon, viewers will hear the obvious different voices and think “Wait, this isn’t how I remember Mr. Burns/Skinner/Flanders and so forth.” The show is likely to continue rolling downhill and its fans may soon lose interest. Now and then, I do watch the older episodes, because they certainly define The Simpsons. But the majority of the newer episodes are so forgettable and I doubt that anybody will remember the new Harry’s voices for generations. The voices they’ll definitely remember are the original Harry’s. In general, I think it’s about time The Simpsons ceased production, not only because Harry is leaving, but the producers seem to be running out of ideas for new episodes.

Harry, as an admirer of your various talents, I wish you the very best of luck for the future.