UPDATED: In a statement released late Monday, Al Jean, executive producer of “The Simpsons,” didn’t explain why the show brought its Fox News chopper back for a third time — after he said a few weeks ago it wouldn’t. But the decidedly humorous statement he crafted was likely designed to imply the show is just having fun — at FNC’s expense, of course. “We tried to ground our choppers,” Jean wrote, “but the valiant pilots insisted on returning to the air for one more mission. Never has one show owed so much to so few!”
PREVIOUSLY: “The Simpsons” staged another airborne surprise attack on Fox News Channel just two weeks after the show’s executive producer said the series was done poking FNC with satiric jibes.
The latest appearance of an animated Fox News helicopter occurred Sunday night in the opening of the long-running series, which airs on co-owned Fox. For the third time since Nov. 21, the chopper had a barbed slogan printed on its side. This one said: “Merry Christmas from Fox News . . . But No Other Holidays.” The aircraft’s previous slogans were: “Fox News: Not Racist, But #1 With Racists” and “Fox News: Unsuitable for Viewers Under 75.”
The “Racist” slogan even drew a reaction from FNC’s Bill O’Reilly, who slapped “The Simpsons” with one of his “pinhead” labels a day after it aired. In fact, a few days after the “Unsuitable” slogan aired, “Simpsons” executive producer Al Jean vowed in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter that the show had reached its limit with two FNC pokes.
“I think at that point you’re becoming stale,” Jean said at the time. “I believe that something is only funny twice.”
The helicopter appeared only once in Sunday’s episode, which had Homer getting arrested for a number of civil offenses and then agreeing to trade his prison sentence for an assignment as a “Donnie Brasco”-like undercover informant in Fat Tony’s crime family. Jon Hamm of “Mad Men” guest-starred as the voice of Homer’s FBI contact in the episode, which played in part like a parody of the Martin Scorsese Mafia movie “GoodFellas.”
Reps for Fox TV and “The Simpsons” weren’t immediately available to explain why the show went after FNC for this third time, particularly if the show’s executive producer evidently believes twice was enough.
What do you think? Are the FNC news choppers on ‘The Simpsons’ getting stale? Or are you hoping the show goes for four or more?