Here first: Julian Assange’s password!
February 22, 2012
[CJ Hinke of FACT comments: Art imitates life. Just in case you thought WikiLeaks wasn’t mainstream. We hope this classic episode will inspire some couch potatoes to blow the whistle. D’oh! Torrent here: http://eztv.it/shows/249/the-simpsons/ and here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/At_Long_Last_Leave
|“At Long Last Leave”|
|The Simpsons episode|
|Orig. airdate||February 19, 2012|
|Written by||Michael Price|
|Guest star(s)||Julian Assange as himself|
“At Long Last Leave” is the fourteenth episode of the 23rd season of the American animated sitcom The Simpsons, and the 500th episode overall. It is scheduled to air on the Fox network in the United States on February 19, 2012.
The Simpson family discovers that everyone in Springfield has grown tired of them and are secretly planning to have them thrown out of the city. The family moves out of Springfield to a rugged place where Julian Assange becomes their new neighbor.
“At Long Last Leave”, which is the 500th episode of The Simpsons, was written by Michael Price. The Simpsons show runner Al Jean has described it as “a tribute to people who love the show.” Being a fan of musical theater, Price titled the episode in reference to the Cole Porter song “At Long Last Love“. Price did not write “At Long Last Leave” with the intention of it becoming the 500th episode; that decision was made afterwards when the staff members realized the story offered an opportunity for a look-back at the history of the Simpson family. He said in an interview with Channel Guide Magazine that he was “deeply honored” when his episode was selected for the milestone. As acknowledged by Price in that interview, the plot of the episode features similarities to the 2007 film The Simpsons Movie, in which the Simpsons are forced to flee to Alaska after Homer angers the townspeople in Springfield by polluting a lake. However, Price commented that “I think it’s different from the movie in that it sort of does reference back the entire history of the show, the collective experience of Springfield vis-a-vis the Simpsons, whereas the movie they were forced to run away due to that very specific thing”. He further noted that despite the similarities “we [the staff] liked it enough to go with it anyway.” The plot was first announced to the press at the Comic-Con convention in San Diego, California on July 23, 2011, during a panel with the cast and crew of The Simpsons.
The episode features several guest appearances. American musician Alison Krauss and her band Union Station recorded a bluegrass version of the Simpsons theme song that is played in the episode and over the closing credits.
Australian activist Julian Assange—the founder of WikiLeaks, a controversial website which publishes information from whistleblowers—is set to appear as himself. In 2010, Swedish authorities issued a European Arrest Warrant to extradite Assange from Britain to Sweden for questioning in relation to sexual assault allegations made against him there. Assange was arrested in England, before being freed on conditional bail until a decision would be made as to whether or not he should be extradited to Sweden. Assange recorded his lines over the phone while under house arrest in England. Jean, who directed Assange’s performance from Los Angeles, only acquired a phone number to call and received no information about the whereabouts of the activist. According to Jean in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, The Simpsons creator Matt Groening had found out through a rumor that Assange wanted to appear on the show. Casting director Bonnie Pietila was therefore given the task to get contact with Assange and make sure the guest appearance could happen. The episode features no reference to Assange’s legal situation at the time of his recording. Jean commented that “He’s a controversial figure, and there’s a good reason he’s controversial. There was discussion internally whether or not to have him on the show, but ultimately we went ahead and did it.” Groening has said in an interview that “We [the staff] dare ourselves to do things and Julian Assange was a dare.”
To promote the 500th episode milestone, the Fox network, which airs The Simpsons, attempted to break the Guinness World Record for longest continuous television viewing by arranging a marathon screening of the show’s episodes at Hollywood & Highland. The record of 86 hours, six minutes, and 41 seconds was set in 2010 when three people watched all episodes of the Fox show 24 in a row. A hundred fans were selected to participate in the Simpsons marathon, which was also a contest to determine which fan could last the longest into the marathon. The screening started on February 8, 2012 with the first episode of the series, and ended on February 12 with the eleventh episode of the eleventh season. At that point, 86 hours and 37 minutes had passed, which meant the record was broken. The only two remaining fans—Jeremiah Franco and Carin Shreve—were crowned the winners of the contest and each won US$10,500. They also got to attend the 500th Episode Celebration party held on February 13 for the cast and crew of The Simpsons.
The episode is scheduled to air on the Fox network in the United States on February 19, 2012.
“At Long Last Leave” has received generally positive reviews from television critics. Matt Roush of TV Guide wrote favorably about the episode, describing it as a “keeper” and highlighting the “dazzling opening sequence”. He concluded: “From opening chalkboard joke to the final snarky salute to the eternal (if not forever gracious) fan, The Simpsons once again delivers the goods, proving itself to be a classic for our age and for the ages.” HitFix‘s Alan Sepinwall also commended “At Long Last Leave”, writing that “like many latter-day Simpsons outings, [it] features a story we’ve seen variations on several times before (including in The Simpsons Movie), but also features many funny jokes that affirm my belief that I’m happier to live in a world that keeps giving us new Simpsons episodes [...] than I will be in the one where that inevitably stops.” Sepinwall praised the couch gag as being “marvelous”, noting that it “actually made me choke up a bit.” TIME critic James Poniewozik commented that “At Long Last Leave” was an “all right” episode, noting that certain gags felt “forced by the writers’ room”. Poniewozik, who thinks the quality of The Simpsons declined at the end of the 1990s, added however that “a few moments made me bark out loud and realize why I loved the show in the first place.”
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- ^ a b c Day, Patrick Kevin (2012-01-27). “‘Simpsons’ marathon set to celebrate the show’s 500th episode”. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-01-31.
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- ^ Snierson, Dan (2012-02-14). “Meet the two brave souls who watched 86 hours and 37 minutes of ‘The Simpsons’ in a row”. Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2012-02-14.
- ^ Roush, Matt (2012-02-17). “Weekend TV Reviews: Simpsons’ 500th, Downton Finale, a New Race and More”. TV Guide. Retrieved 2012-02-17.
- ^ a b Sepinwall, Alan (2012-02-17). “Best. Episode. Ever? Pick your ‘Simpsons’ favorite”. HitFix. Retrieved 2012-02-17.
- ^ Poniewozik, James (2012-02-17). “TV Weekend: The Simpsons At 500″. TIME. Retrieved 2012-02-17.
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