This week came the news that the cast of ‘The Simpsons’ would need to take a massive pay cut in order to keep the show on air. They weren’t keen on this idea since they only get paid per episode, not based on how often the episodes get shown, and need to make a living. Putting aside the “it should have ended after season #” comments that litter the internet like confetti, and imagine that ‘The Simpsons’ ended today. Now you’ve got a bunch of beloved, established characters just aching to have their own wacky spin-off! Here’s what I want to see…
The Flanders in San Francisco
Much of the humour associated with Ned Flanders and his family is their straight-laced attitude and unwavering resolve in the face of the opposing values exhibited by the rest of Springfield, and their attempt to see the best in everyone no matter what. With the close of the Simpsons and Ned’s business running the Leftorium the opportunity exists for them to relocate their shop to another location.
Ned hears about a city called San Fransisco which is known for its alternative lifestyles. Taking this to mean it has a high left-handed population, he take Rod and Todd and moves. Upon finding his new home to be not what he expects, he makes the best of a bad situation, leading to plenty of fish-out-of-water humour.
Future Maggie in High School
We’ve glimpsed the future world of Springfield more than once – the ingenious Lisa in college episode and ‘meh’ Lisa as president episode – and the clever in-jokes and future sci-fi related humour had plenty of potential for fun. Not wanting to simply repeat what we’ve already had in a new setting, the future spin-off focuses on Maggie and her high-school or college life. Whilst school set sitcoms were once common, they’ve all but dried up and will give the show a dynamic different to the usual Simpsons family centered show.
Principal Skinner as a Soldier of Fortune
Seymour Skinner’s years in the Vietnam war are an important part of the character, and the source of much comedy as his activities during the war are often at odds with the button down, straight-laced principal we see on the screens. Hints of time be traumatised in a POW camp paint a more complex picture than the bland character he presents himself as. This juxtaposition holds more potential that could be explored in a new series, where Skinner becomes Soldier of Fortune with an A-Team type group, his conservative ways conflicting with the rougher characters he’ll associate with, keeping the real Skinner reigned in until he’s needed.
Lenny and Carl share a house
I don’t even need to sell this concept, it’s a ready made sitcom. Naive Lenny and smooth-talking Carl are already a sitcom dream pairing. To give it a fresh twist it could take the ‘Community’ route and riff on genre conventions…Lenny and Carl: the sitcom about sitcoms!
Comic Shop Guy anthologies ala Twilight Zone
‘The Simpsons’ writers have proven themselves adept at producing some fun anthologies in the past, from their ‘Treehouse of Horror’ episodes through to various classic story recreations. The have also shown a fondness for old sci-fi anthology TV shows ‘The Twilight Zone’ and ‘The Outer Limits’ with several references (such as the gremlin on the side of the bus) and the spoof ‘The Spooky Door’ which appeared in Futurama. I for one would like to see this concept taken further – other-the-top classic sci-fi concepts narrated by the ever dry and sarcastic Comic Book Guy.
Larry Sanders esque Krusty Show
Never heard of the ‘The Larry Sanders Show’? Then substitute that for ‘The Muppet Show’. Fox did actually consider a Krusty the Clown spin-off, but in a massive bone-headed move they wanted it to be live action featuring Dan Castellaneta in clown make-up hosting a talk show. Instead we want to keep it animated and show the Krusty the Clown show as well as its behind the scenes workings. Krusty’s brittle, hostile attitude paired with his on-screen persona is comedy gold.
Ralph Wiggum POV
Whilst he rarely has episodes dedicated to him, he does lay claim to some of the funniest lines in the show. Ralph has a very unique view of the world, and there’s potentially a surreal experience to be had retelling classic Simpsons stories from the perspective of this special individual.
Mister Burns and Smithers
Never mind Pinky and the Brain, these are the two I want to see trying to take over the world! Mister Burns is evil, this we already know, and some of his schemes have been right up there with the best of the mad scientists in fiction. Let’s cut to the chase and send Burns right after world domination – every episode another hair-brained plot with Smither’s trying to reign him in while being unable to resist his loyalty to his employer. Every scheme will fail in the end due to Burns being completely out of touch with the modern world.
Sideshow Bob PI
Sideshow Bob makes his return every year with good reason – he remains one of the funniest characters on the show and only gets better over time. His snobbish, pretentious intellect is best shown in the sarcasm he lobs of the criminals and miscreants he deals with day in, day out. Naturally we want to keep that dynamic, but the audience can hardly be expected to side with a guy trying to murder children, so let’s take the spin-off staple of making him a Private Investigator! They tried it with ‘Angel’ and ‘Baywatch Nights’, it’s bound to work here!
Dr. Hibbert and Dr. Riviera faux-reality show
There’s been dozens of medicine and hospital reality shows over the past two decades, and the genre is ripe for satire. Enter the odd couple that is Dr. Hibbert and Dr. Nick Riveria dealing with a busy hospital shot documentary style. Throw in the residents of Springfield and the problems they get themselves into and you’ve got a decent way to spend half and hour.