In world of fast-paced Trump satire, 'The Simpsons' go medieval

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The creators of satirical animated series "The Simpsons," who once eerily predicted Donald Trump would become U.S. president, cannot keep pace with the comedy he is now inspiring and have decided instead to take family back to medieval times.

Bumbling Homer, housewife Marge, troublemaker Bart, prodigy Lisa and baby Maggie, who have captured the changing face of America over 28 years, become "The Serfsons" in the season 29 premiere on Fox <FOXA.O> on Sunday.

In 2000, "The Simpsons" joked in an episode titled "Bart to the Future" that Trump would enter the White House and said his presidency would ruin the economy.

But executive producer Matt Selman said the show, which takes more than a year to produce each season, cannot keep up with jokes about Trump since he won the 2016 election.

"There's a massive industry of nothing but Trump comedy," he said in an interview. "We can't beat them to the punch. We can only show how Trump's America has sadly seeped its way into Springfield."

For the new series, the family live in a feudal medieval society where goblins, ogres and dragons exist, 8-year-old Lisa Simpson can do magic and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau from "Game of Thrones" plays Marge's horny twin brother.

"The Serfsons" includes references to an array of fantasy tales, from "Game of Thrones" and "Lord of the Rings" to "Conan the Barbarian."

"In all fantasy, there's always analogy to the modern world," writer-producer Brian Kelley said.

In one episode, Marge's aging mother Mrs. Bouvier is slowly turned to ice and Homer and Marge try to find an alternate cure when they fail to get enough money for healthcare.

"While we were writing it, the world became much more horrifying, scary and evil," Selman said.

"Wealth and equality and the 1 percent and healthcare - we just wrote those because we thought these were eternal issues, and then they turned into terrifying issues," he added.

"The Simpsons" is the longest-running comedy on U.S. television and will break another record in its 29th season with the most episodes for a scripted show.

Season 29 will have guests stars such as Martin Short, singer Ed Sheeran and author Neil Gaiman in a Halloween episode inspired by his works including "Coraline."

(This version of the story corrects paragraph 4 to drop "daily", The Simpsons is a weekly show)

(Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Richard Chang)

09/29/2017 18:54

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