Simpsons Hip-Hop Episode Cued Gordains for Composer – Variety| Instant News

In November 2016, the creative team behind “Simpsons“Started working on special episodes for one hour. It was a hip-hop parody of “The Great Gatsby” – loaded with references to Fox’s soap “Empire” – which would succeed or fail based on music.

The problem is, in the view of the executive producer James Brooks, is a 75-year-old event composer. Alf Clausen has printed more than 500 episodes in 27 years on the show, writing enduring works such as “We Put the Spring in Springfield.” But manufacturers know that hip-hop is far outside their comfort zone.

“Brooks questioned whether Clausen was the right person to prepare rap music and questioned her work more generally,” Richard Sakai, a producer at the event, said in a court declaration filed on Tuesday.

In a few months, Clausen will be expelled from the show. Last year, he filed the wrong termination suit against Fox and Brooks’ company, Gracie Films, said he was fired because of his age and disability.

Fox’s lawyers submitted their response on Tuesday, outlining their case that Clausen was let go for legitimate “creative” reasons. Submissions included declarations from Brooks and several producers and executives, offering a rare glimpse into how the show works.

The conflict over the rap episode, titled “The Great Phatsby,” is just one problem. The producers also acknowledged that the show was looking for ways to reduce costs, and a live orchestra of 35 works used by Clausen was an obvious place to cut. In addition, the producers expressed concern that Clausen was distributing her work to other composers, including her son, without permission. They also said that he might find it difficult to collaborate.

But basically, they felt that he did not keep up with the times. Matt Selman, one of the two runners of the show, said in a declaration that Clausen was most comfortable with classical music, big band and jazz. If they need something else – rap, hip-hop, grunge, or EDM – they often go into the difficult process of bringing outside composers.

“(O) Your creative possibilities are limited by Clausen’s abilities,” Selman said in the declaration. “The Simpsons have been broadcast now for more than 30 years. In my view, it is important for shows to refer to and use genres of music that are popular at the time or that generate relevant cultural references, because they are entertaining not only by telling a story but also by making these cultural references – and musical references are very important to that. At some point, it became clear to me that Clausen was not adept at composing all forms of music that were wanted for the show. “

In a complaint that was changed earlier this month, Clausen revealed that he was suffering from Parkinson’s disease, even though at the time he was still working on the show that he could be controlled with drugs. However, his lawyer said that after being fired he suffered “severe emotional consequences,” and his physical and emotional condition deteriorated rapidly.

The complaint also quoted 23 Emmy Clausen nominations, and argued that he “did the important tasks of his job very well and for the complete and total satisfaction of the accused.”

On “The Great Phatsby,” the producer brought Jim Beanz, who wrote most of the music on “Empire,” to work with Clausen. Brooks was very happy with this episode, according to Selman’s statement, because he thought it was a “pleasant concept.”

But when Brooks heard the signal from the Clausen orchestra, he was “not happy,” Selman said. “As a runner, I also think we can do better because the episode doesn’t look as rich in music or as vibrant as I expected.”

Writing for AV Club, Dennis Perkins gave the episode generally favorable reviews, while acknowledging the limitations of the event.

“Listen, The Simpsons aren’t the coolest show in town,” Perkins wrote. However, he wrote that the episode had been infused with “darkness that was legitimate enough to make the whole ‘Simpsons do a rap episode’ less frightening than maybe the initial description made it sound.”

For Clausen, the hook came. Brooks was disturbed by the revelation that Clausen’s son did a lot of work, and held a series of meetings with his producers.

“I believe that this series can do better with respect to music,” Brooks said in a statement. “We have decided to find a new composer.”

Brooks turned to Hans Zimmer, who had worked on “The Simpsons Movie” and many other films. Eventually, they decided to hire Bleeding Fingers Music, a collection of songs that Zimmer began, and to release Clausen.

Bleeding Fingers rely more on computer “synth” music. This switch saves about 40% of the cost of performing music. (In the declaration, Sakai said that money is now used for animation and “additional creative content,” and that the budget has not changed.)

Clausen was awarded the “composer emeritus” award for the next two seasons, along with $ 2,500 per episode.

Whether music has improved for strife. Selman, who hopes to expand the “breadth and relevance” of music, said in his declaration that Bleeding Fingers “can handle different genres better than Clausen because they have many composers.” He also said the synth music was so good that he could not hear the difference.

But according to Clausen’s complaint, this new music is “lower in quality, depth, range and sound, but substantially similar in substance.”

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