What Matt Groening Watches on YouTube

Matt Groening Photo: Getty Images

Promoting The Simpsons Movie, Matt Groening has moved from one upholstered chair to the next, delivering polished one-liners. So we were thrilled to see the man go sincere in the July/August issue of Film Comment. In a surprisingly moving “Guilty Pleasures” column, he comes clean about the B-movies and 'toons that shaped his dysfunctional aesthetic. “During the forest-fire scene [in Bambi],” he says, “I was convinced the theater was burning down, and my older sister Patty had to carry me sobbing to the mezzanine.” Go buy the issue — but since the article’s not available online, we’ve sampled a few choice bits and matched video to his memories, below.


On Torture:
“I have had a lifelong fascination with cartoons in which cute animals are force-fed by machines ever since seeing the indelibly-etched-on-my-brain Pigs Is Pigs, a 1937 Merrie Melodies cartoon directed by Friz Freleng…” Groening says he honored the film with “The Devil and Homer Simpson,” in which a Feed-A-Matic chair forces Homer to “eat all the donuts in the world!” Of course, Homer eats them all and asks for more.

On Sex:
“A grimy little pinball arcade in downtown Portland was where I saw my first naked movie lady. Way in the back, in a dark corner, was a dusty-hand-cranked Mutoscope machine. For one penny my buddies and I watched a skinny-dipping Heddy Lamarr in a 30-second excerpt from Ecstasy (1933).”

On Slapstick:
Another favorite? A YouTube classic, Groening says: “the immortal Pinky the Cat.”

On Absurdity:
We especially adore China’s Mr. Vampire flicks, which, Groening reminds us, star “the great Lam Ching Ying as the unibrowed Taoist priest.”
—Logan Hill

Earlier: ‘Simpsonize Me’ Fails to Meet Usual High Standards for ‘Simpsons’ Online Crap