Below you'll find a video of every movie reference, big and small, The Simpsons made in their first five seasons (1989-1994). That's just the visual evidence of the show's writer's love of cinema, though. Their movie obsession runs even deeper than just throwing references into the TV show.
Business Week has a great piece up that breaks down the surprisingly elaborate fantasy league that The Simpsons' masterminds operate from within their writer's room. This isn't just your average office Fantasy Football League, though. They compete to see who will be crowned the king of the summer box office, and apparently they all take it very seriously.
Basically, for the past five years each of the writers are given "100 B.O. bucks" to carefully bid on the films they think will do big business. Whoever's team makes the most money by Labor Day wins the cash pool and the far-more-valuable bragging rights. Sure, it may not sound like the most riveting competition ever, but it's a pretty clever system that's a nice alternative for us movie geeks who don't know jack about real sports. Plus, it makes for great quotes like this:
“When GI Joe: Retaliation was moved out of summer 2012, it was as if [Vikings’ running back] Adrian Peterson shattered his spine in half,” says Selman.
Their spouses, they say, don’t care too much, since the game doesn’t require them to watch sports all day. “But my wife doesn’t like it when I won’t see a movie because I don’t want to help someone else,” Kelley says. Players have been known to pay for their own movie and then sneak into the film they want to see.
And this, which ends with a particularly heartwarming tidbit:
“This is the one thing in our lives we don’t joke about.” Two people have dropped out of the league because they didn’t like the tension of draft day; when previous winners refer to the “League of Champions,” the others earnestly object to the use of the phrase. Former writers, such as Mike Scully and Matt Warburton, come back for the draft, and the widow of 2009 winner Don Payne, who died earlier this year, came to spin the bingo ball cage.
Now if you're thinking of starting up your own Summer Box Office Fantasy League, head to Business Week for the full breakdown of how the professionals do it. And just remember, as is apparently always true in life, The Simpsons did it first.