IT'S NO JOKE: EUGENE GETS A PLUG ON 'THE SIMPSONS'.Byline: Susan Palmer The Register-Guard
At last. After years of living in Springfield's celebrity shadow, Eugene finally got its own moment in the humor spotlight.
For 14 years, Eugene's neighbor to the east has reveled in its status - earned or not - as hometown to Fox TV's comedy cartoon "The Simpsons."
But on Sunday night Sunday Night, later named Michelob Presents Night Music, was an NBC late-night television show which aired for two seasons between 1988 and 1990 as a showcase for jazz and eclectic musical artists. , Eugene got a brief taste of the thrill when "The Simpsons" writers deigned to put the city in the script, too.
On average, 12 million Americans watch the cartoon comedy created by Portland native Matt Groening Matthew Abram Groening (born February 15, 1954 in Portland, Oregon; his family name is pronounced 'greɪnɪŋ', rhymes with raining . The show airs in 60 countries and Salon magazine reported a few years back that weekly viewership averaged 60 million. That's a lot of people knowing your name.
In Sunday's episode, the cartoon characters re-enact re·en·act also re-en·act
tr.v. re·en·act·ed, re·en·act·ing, re·en·acts
1. To enact again: reenact a law.
2. the Lewis and Clark expedition Lewis and Clark expedition, 1803–6, U.S. expedition that explored the territory of the Louisiana Purchase and the country beyond as far as the Pacific Ocean. with Homer's drinking buddies Carl and Lenny playing the Lewis and Clark parts.
Naturally, when the two reach the mouth of the Columbia River Columbia River
River, southwestern Canada and northwestern U.S. Rising in the Canadian Rockies, it flows through Washington state, entering the Pacific Ocean at Astoria, Ore.; it has a total length of 1,240 mi (2,000 km). , the rain kicks in.
"I say we give this lovely land a name," says Lenny. "How about: Eugene, Oregon The city of Eugene is the county seat of Lane County, Oregon, United States. It is located at the south end of the Willamette Valley, at the confluence of the McKenzie and Willamette rivers, about 60 miles (100 km) east of the Oregon Coast. ?"
For a nifty in-joke chaser, the show ends with Homer watching "Animal House," the comedy classic filmed here 25 years ago. That's a long time to go between jokes.
"Simpsons" head writer Al Jean, reached by telephone Monday, said another writer on the show, Michael Price
Michael F. Price (born 1953) is a value investor and fund manager in Far Hills, New Jersey. , came up with the line because he thought it sounded funny and because Eugene's a pretty well-known place.
(Really, compared to what? Yoncalla?)
While Groening didn't inspire the line himself, he was on hand for the final mixing of the show, when special sound effects are added, and was amused when he heard the line.
`He said, `I really hope they see it in Eugene,' ' Jean said.
While plenty of people believe Groening set his cartoon world in Springfield as a nod to the city 108 miles south of his hometown, that's not exactly so, Jean said.
Groening as a kid watched a lot of "Father Knows Best," and that squeaky clean family drama also was set in Springfield. Groening thought the writers meant the one in Oregon and it wasn't until he became an adult that he learned that practically every state has a Springfield, Jean said. It's more an every-town kind of name, Jean said.
How national a splash Eugene made is anybody's guess, considering that the show aired against a live broadcast of the Grammys with skimpily skimp·y
adj. skimp·i·er, skimp·i·est
1. Inadequate, as in size or fullness, especially through economizing or stinting: a skimpy meal.
2. Unduly thrifty; niggardly. dressed music superstars and wardrobes likely to malfunction at any moment.
"I turned on my TV and saw Prince dancing around and I thought: `Oh my God, how can we compete with that?' ' Jean said.