Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Simpsons ripped off Disney??

To have some background noise/music, I popped in The Little Mermaid while I cleaned. Do you remember that scene where Scuttle (the seagull) and all the other animals help to stall the wedding when they realized that it was Ursula the Sea Witch in disguise? After she falls into the cake and gets sprayed by dolphins, Scuttle flies over to squawk in her face and she actually grabs him by the neck, shakes him, and says, "Why, you little --" in a way that is reminiscent, nay nearly identical to the way Homer strangles Bart in the Simpsons!

A quick search on Wikipedia turned up that The Little Mermaid was released into theaters on November 17, 1989 and the Simpsons debuted on December 17, 1989. A little more digging gave:
"Homer's extreme strangling of Bart first originated in the Tracey Ullman Short "Family Portrait". Often before strangling Bart, Homer will yell 'Why you little...' [...]"
That particular short aired on the Tracy Ullman Show March 6, 1988.

Ha! I guess the Little Mermaid ripped off the Simpsons! I can't imagine anyone on the Disney team taking something from Matt Groening though... the movie is so beautiful and elegant whereas the Simpsons is especially crude in its first year, both in art and story. Or maybe it was just one big coincidence and they happen to sound EXACTLY THE SAME while doing EXACTLY THE SAME THING.

On a tangent, how hard is it for Eric to have a father-in-law who is the ruler of the seas?


  1. I don't see how Disney writers could rip off a show that wasn't even aired until after the movie was released (which most likely spent at least 6 months in editing after everything was drawn up.)

    But funny on the similarity. :) I think it's just a coincidence.

  2. No, the short first aired in 1988 whereas the movie was released in 1989. A close call but still early enough to be seen during the production process.

  3. Edit: the short first aired in March 1988 and the movie was released in theaters in Nov 1989.


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