Bart Simpson May Have Just Got Her Ass Fired
Nancy Cartwright has never struck me as the most “with it” or “hip” person. Call me a mad hater, but I’m not sure Nance understands what “The Simpsons” is all about. Exhibit A: in the Frequently Asked Questions section of her website, the voice actress remarks numerous times that she can’t believe she gets paid so much money to “burp and fart.” I’m sorry, but when was the last time Bart Simpson’s character revolved solely around gastronomical occurrences? Never? Yeah, that’s right. Even in those Tracey Ullman shorts, the little guy was attempting to discuss the concept of death with his father.
Exhibit B: Nancy’s 2000 book, My Life As A 10-Year-Old Boy. I’m pretty sure she’s the only member of “The Simpsons” cast to cash in this way, which is kind of sad when you consider the (far richer) careers of regulars like Harry Shearer and Julie Kavner. I flipped through Nancy’s slim volume once; I remember it kind of insulting my intelligence. The biggest revelation in 10-Year-Old Boy, if I’m remembering correctly, is the fact that Nancy Cartwright’s largest acting influence was the guy who voiced Huckleberry Hound. That would be Exhibit C.
I have a bunch of other evidence suggesting Nancy Cartwright “doesn’t get it,” like the fact I’ve never heard her on a “Simpsons” commentary track and the way she smiles, but all of that is irrelevant now in the face of some potentially devastating Scientology-related phone calls the actress allegedly made earlier this week:
No, I don’t understand what the hell she’s talking about – “auditing new OT-7?” Her “many wins?” Is she talking about Xenu or some awesome new video game? I don’t know. What I do know—or what I think I know—is Bart Simpson is the property of FOX Entertainment and cannot be appropriated for personal / religious purposes without the written consent of Matt Groening, twenty lawyers, and possibly some bonkers Australian. Like, Tim Allen can’t call people up as Buzz Lightyear and invite them to a “No On Prop 15” rally because he thinks crossing guards should tuck their shirts in. Roy Disney would have his ASS in a VICE.
So did Nancy Cartwright just get her ass fired? Mmmm, maybe. I’m guessing (despite the Mariana Trench quality drop in recent years) that “The Simpsons” is still a pretty large revenue generator for FOX. They were renewed last year for three more seasons; beyond that, there could be films, spin-offs, and interactive media a la “The Simpsons Ride” on the horizon. This isn’t a TV show anymore; it’s an entertainment property. Bart Simpson is a big part of that property – some might say the core. Remove Bart and Homer has no foil; Milhouse, no friend; adults in general, no adversary. Whatever soul “The Simpsons” have left would be murdered O.J.-style if Bart was taken out.
Yet stranger things have happened. Valerie Harper was killed off on her show, and she was the main friggin’ character. Nearly the entire principle cast of “Happy Days” was gone when that show ended. Hell, I think Letterman and Leno logged more time behind Carson’s desk than Carson did in the late eighties. So I guess a Bart-less “Simpsons” isn’t inconceivable. It would be an amazing / shocking / sad / historical / kinda funny / totally crazy move, though.
Here are three predictions regarding the outcome of “Nancy’s Folly” that I will totally play up if any of them come true:
1. FOX, Groening, and Cartwright go to war. They kill Bart off on the show. “The Simpsons” ends. Everyone has a bitter taste in their mouth.
2. Cartwright is fired. They either replace her or write around Bart until the show ends (latter more likely). Everyone just kind of feels weird.
3. FOX docks the shit out of Cartwright’s pay. She continues voicing Bart begrudgingly because she wants to keep Scientology afloat with whatever money she’s got. The cast turns against her and the “Simpsons” oral history I write fifteen years from now has an awesome and super-juicy chapter about the behind-the-scenes feuding.
Now, some people are saying that perhaps the woman in this controversial recording is NOT Nancy Cartwright. To those people, I say your opinion is very cromulent.