<![CDATA[NBC4 Washington - Top Stories]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcwashington.com/entertainment/top-stories http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/WASH+NBC4+BLUE.png NBC4 Washington http://www.nbcwashington.com en-us Tue, 30 Sep 2014 20:19:35 -0400 Tue, 30 Sep 2014 20:19:35 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA["Today" Sneak Peek of Pharrell Video]]> Tue, 30 Sep 2014 11:10:21 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/454724968.jpg

A sneak peak of Pharrell Williams’ new music video for his single “It Girl” was revealed during Tuesday’s episode of the "Today" show.

The single comes from his album “Girl,” which also features the number 1 Billboard hit “Happy.”

This first look was announced on Monday night’s episode of “The Voice.”

Watch the video above and be sure to catch Pharrell coach on "The Voice" Mondays and Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on NBC.

Photo Credit: Getty Images for G-Star]]>
<![CDATA[George Clooney, Amal Alamuddin First Wedding Photo]]> Tue, 30 Sep 2014 10:58:25 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/clooney-people-mag.crop.jpg

The first photos have been unveiled from the wedding of George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin.

People magazine wrangled the exclusive images and lead the new issue with a stunning cover photo of the newlyweds that also teases "25 exclusive, intimate photos" inside. 

The couple shared many public moments with fans and media outlets both before and after Saturday's star-studded wedding event in Venice, Italy, but this is the first glimpse of the Hollywood actor and human rights lawyer inside the ceremony and party.

Alamuddin, 36, wore a custom Oscar de la Renta French lace wedding gown, hand-embroidered with pearls and diamanté accents featuring an off-the-shoulder neckline and a full circular train, according to People. "He's such an elegant designer and such an elegant man," Alamuddin said of the designer.

The groom wore a Giorgio Armani tuxedo. People also reports that Clooney, 53, wore customized cufflinks from Alamuddin, with "George" inscribed in Arabic.

Being married "feels pretty damn great," Clooney is quoted as saying by the magazine.

"George and Amal radiated love all night," Alamuddin's mother Baria told People. "The wedding was so unbelievably special, it was legendary. These three days — the friends, the families, the atmosphere, everything — will stay with me all the rest of my life."

Vogue magazine also got in on the wedding dress action, posting an image of Alamuddin at her final fitting with de la Renta on Instagram:

"George and I wanted a wedding that was romantic and elegant, and I can’t imagine anyone more able than Oscar to capture this mood in a dress,” Alamuddin says in an article about the fitting at Vogue.com. Photographer Annie Leibovitz captured the moment.

"Amal and I looked at a lot of evening dresses and wedding dresses together, and we discussed what she liked. That gave me the idea of what she wanted," the designer told Vogue of his inspiration for the dress.

Other guests who traveled to Italy to fete the couple included Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, Bono, Cindy Crawford, Rande Gerber, John Krasinski, Bill Murray and Anna Wintour.

The new issue of People magazine featuring Clooney and Alamuddin's wedding is on newsstands starting Wednesday.

Photo Credit: People
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<![CDATA[Meyers: "Finally, Some Good News: Iraq"]]> Tue, 30 Sep 2014 06:45:34 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Screen+Shot+2014-09-30+at+3.27.09+AM.png Seth Meyers discusses a positive New York Times article about Iraq.]]> <![CDATA[Late at Night on NBC]]> Thu, 07 Aug 2014 09:39:14 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP24762024125.jpg

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Meyers: Che Talks Upbringing, Morgan]]> Tue, 30 Sep 2014 06:50:01 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/456352788.jpg Michael Che talks to Seth Meyers about growing up in New York and tips Tracy Morgan gave him with his stand-up.]]> <![CDATA[Emily VanCamp on Starting a Family on "The Meredith Vieira Show"]]> Tue, 30 Sep 2014 11:00:28 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AB023_Emily_VanCamp_On_Starting_A_Family_PR_1200x675_334892611853.jpg Emily VanCamp reveals to Meredith Vieira why her nieces and nephews make her want to start a family.]]> <![CDATA[Meyers: Che Talks Fellow Weekend Update Anchor Jost]]> Tue, 30 Sep 2014 06:30:12 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/456352778.jpg "Weekend Update Anchor" on "Saturday Night Live" Michael Che talks to Seth Meyers about sendoffs his co-anchor Colin Jost came up with. ]]> <![CDATA[Meredith Vieira Takes "Sex & The City" Character Quiz]]> Tue, 30 Sep 2014 10:57:08 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/F_01201.jpg Meredith reveals which "Sex & The City" character she is from taking the quiz. Kim Cattrall also reveals if she's ever taken the quiz!

Photo Credit: NBCU]]>
<![CDATA[WATCH: Affleck's Kids Are Unimpressed by Batman Role]]> Tue, 30 Sep 2014 10:48:07 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/456349064.jpg

Ben Affleck revealed to Jimmy Fallon that his three kids aren’t the least bit interested in the actor's role as Batman.

Affleck explained on Monday night's episode of “The Tonight Show” that his children have instead taken a liking to a Disney movie.

“If I was doing the sequel to ‘Frozen’, I would be a hero,” Affleck joked.

“My two older daughters could give a s*** about Batman,"  Affleck said. "They love ‘Frozen.’ And the indignity is so great that they now passed that affection on to my two-and-a-half-year old son."

His son’s constant pleas to watch the movie led Affleck on a quest to find shorter versions in an attempt to avoid watching the full picture over and over again.

That is when Affleck discovered Fallon’s “Frozen” musical performance sketch with Idina Menzel, which his son has completely fallen for, and demands that Affleck sing like Fallon. Or as the toddler calls him: “The Man.” 

“He loved it, he goes crazy for it,” Affleck said.

Watch Affleck talk about his kids' "Frozen" obsession in the video above.

Photo Credit: NBC/NBCU Photo Bank]]>
<![CDATA[Fallon: Affleck's Kids Love "Frozen"]]> Tue, 30 Sep 2014 05:45:11 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/456349056.jpg Jimmy Fallon chats with Ben Affleck about his kids' love for "Frozen," and disinterest in his role as "Batman."

Photo Credit: NBC/NBCU Photo Bank]]>
<![CDATA[Meyers: Che Dishes on His New "SNL" Gig]]> Tue, 30 Sep 2014 07:37:59 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/456352764.jpg Seth Meyers talks to comedian Michael Che about his new "Saturday Night Live" gig as "Weekend Update" anchor.]]> <![CDATA[World's Biggest "Harry Potter" Collection]]> Tue, 30 Sep 2014 07:36:35 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP159469009616.jpg

A Mexico City man is in Hogwarts heaven after his collection of "Harry Potter" memorabilia was named the world's largest.

Menahem Asher Silva Vargas has spent nearly 15 years hoarding all things related to British author J.K. Rowling's young-adult wizard-fantasy series, which spawned eight blockbuster films.

His collection fills two rooms and counts everything from magic wands and toy figurines to Gryffindor scarves and replica Quidditch brooms.

Guinness World Records officially recognized it Monday as the world No. 1, at 3,097 pieces. The old mark was 807.

Silva Vargas said he began with no intent to amass a huge collection. But soon it was like being under a spell.

He laughingly called his obsession both a blessing and a curse: "My salary, my bonuses ... it all ended up here."

Copyright Associated Press / NBC4 Washington

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[DUI Suspect Rear-Ends J.Lo, Remini]]> Mon, 29 Sep 2014 14:36:25 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/117542558.jpg

Singer Jennifer Lopez and actress Leah Remini were uninjured when Lopez's new car was rear-ended by a suspected drunk driver who was later arrested after allegedly fleeing the scene in Malibu Saturday night.

Authorities said Remini was driving Lopez’s car when it was rear-ended at a traffic signal. Lopez’s two children were in the car at the time of the crash and were also uninjured, according to Sgt. Phillip Brooks of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

The collision with a pickup truck was reported around 8 p.m. in the 22700 block of the Pacific Coast Highway.

The driver of the pickup drove away on PCH, but authorities found him a short time later. The unidentified man was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence and hit-and-run, authorities said.

J.Lo vented about the incident on Instagram in a car selfie with Remini.

“Sitting at a light, Riding high right before some drunk fool rear ended us in my new whip!” the singer wrote. “Thank god everyone ok!”

Photo Credit: WireImage
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<![CDATA["SNL" Kicks Off 40th Season With Jabs at NFL ]]> Mon, 29 Sep 2014 10:00:23 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Screen+Shot+2014-09-28+at+8.02.22+AM.png

"Saturday Night Live's" season 40 premiere featured host Chris Pratt, musical guest Ariana Grande and plenty of jabs at recent NFL scandals. 

The cold open scene delved right into NFL's domestic violence controversy and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's handling of it in a mock scene of CNN's "State of the Union," with Candy Crowley (Adily Bryant).

In a clip from a fake press conference, Goodell (Chris Pratt) thanked "the people that stood by" him including, scandal-plagued "Red Skins owner, Dan Snyder, Jets quarterback Michael Vick, and Saints Coach Sean Payton."

Crowley then went on to get perspective from former NFL players Ray Lewis (Kenan Thompson), who avoided conviction after being charged with murder in 2000 and Shannon Sharpe (Jay Pharoah), who was accused of sexual assault in 2010. Both had trouble giving coherent answers to questions about the league's reputation and their own run-ins with the law. 

"Have you ever had legal troubles yourself with a spouse or child?" Crowley asked Sharpe.

"Candy, I have never had any legal trouble of my own dating all the way back to 2010 when I did have some legal trouble, so yes, yes I did," said Sharpe. 

"Why is this such an ongoing problem?" she continued.

"Players in the NFL are trained to be aggressive," he said. "When you get off that field you're full of adrenaline, testosterone, painkillers and Budlight Lime. The NFL needs to calm these players down, you know maybe have some herbal tea," he said. 

In another clip from the mock press conference, Goodell said, "We want to be part of the solution" and explained that the NFL would be organizing it's own "Take Back the Night" march (an international event organized by a non-profit organization with the goal of ending sexual violence).

However, Goodell misread his poster, saying "We Fight Women" instead of "We Fight 4 Women."

During Pratt's monologue, he said he was so excited to host "SNL" that he decided to write a song.

"I know I'm not half the singer that Ariana Grande is," he said while playing guitar. "But I am technically three times her body weight, so the math works out." 

In his song he mentioned, "that hottie in the audience," his wife, actress Anna Faris.

He poked also fun at his dramatic 60-pound weight loss for his role in the summer film, "Guardians of the Galaxy," singing "I've gone from skinny to fat back to skinny, back to fat, I'm probably going to die if I don't stop that." 

Michael Che made his debut as the new "Weekend Update" anchor, but former co-anchor Cecily Strong returned to the desk as her recurring character, "That Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started A Conversation With At A Party."

Che asked her what she thought about the deadly Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

"I'm thinking about it twenty-five seven," she said. "This isn't just an outbreak Michael, it's an outrage, it's an 'Obamanation,' it's 'uncomprehendable.' 

She continued a rant that was unrelated to any of Che's questions and called him a "'fetishist dictator."

President Barack Obama's dismal approval ratings were also discussed. 

"It's no secret that it's been a rough summer for Barack Obama, his poll numbers are at an all-time low," said co-anchor Colin Jost.

"So we just wanted to say, cheer up, President Obama," said Che, "because no matter how hard stuff seems right now, things are going to get easier," cueing background music for "Ooh Child (Things Are Gonna Get Easier)" from the Five Fairsteps, and Kenan Thompson came out to sing. 

Che and Jost alternated in sharing uplifting, but backhanded, messages to Obama about his future.

"If you had a better approval rating, you'd have to be all over the country campaigning for other Democrats," said Che, "but they don't want you anywhere near them, so why don't you just skip the campaign tour and hit up the 'On The Run' tour with the real first family, Jay Z and Beyonce." 

"And plus, everyone loves ex-presidents," said Jost. "I mean the last guy spent eight years wrecking the economy, bombing every country with sand in it and all he had to do to make us forget what he did was paint an OK picture of a dog."

Ariana Grande performed her hit song "Breakfree" and "Love Me Harder," featuring rapper, The Weekend.

Next week, Sarah Silverman hosts with Maroon 5 as musical guest.

<![CDATA[George Clooney's Venice Wedding]]> Mon, 29 Sep 2014 09:44:36 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP960141636402.jpg Family and friends of George Clooney gathered in Venice for his wedding to human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin on Saturday, September 27, 2014. The couple was married in private ceremony, the actor's representative said.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Jimmy Fallon, Nathan Lane "Brawl" on "Tonight"]]> Sat, 27 Sep 2014 11:32:45 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Screen+Shot+2014-09-27+at+3.26.14+AM.png

Some Emmy Award-related tension led to a "brawl" between "The Tonight Show" host Jimmy Fallon and Broadway actor Nathan Lane on Friday's show. 

Lane pretended to be "distracted" by his cell phone as soon as he sat down on the "Tonight" couch with fellow actor Matthew Broderick and Fallon tried to get his attention.

"Is that the new iPhone?" asked Fallon.

"No it's not the new iPhone. I can't afford the new iPhone. Things have been a little tough for me since I lost the guest-actor Emmy to you," Lane quipped.

Fallon and Lane were both nominated for outstanding actor in a comedy series in 2014. Fallon was nominated for hosting "Saturday Night Live," and Lane was nominated for his recurring role on "Modern Family." 

Fallon won, despite it being Lane's sixth time being nominated. It was the second time he lost to "The Tonight Show" host.

Lane explained that "hosting" and "guesting" weren't quite the same, but Fallon tried to prove him wrong by mentioning that while hosting "SNL," he sang, danced, and did impressions.

"Oh yeah, you're multi-talented," quipped Lane. "When do we play beer pong, b....?" 

At that point, Fallon leaped over his desk and over Broderick, to wrestle Lane.

In an attempt to break up the fight, Broderick tried to reason with the two: "Guys, it's just show business, it's not that important, there's a lot of problems in the world and we all want to entertain people and help out so don't take it so seriously. Shake hands, maybe?"

But as Lane went to shake Fallon's hand, he pulled him into another altercation.

Lane fell to the floor and acted as if he was reviving himself.

"I should get an Emmy for that!" said Lane, as he was getting up. 

Lane and Broderick's Broadway show, "It's Only a Play" opens in theaters on October 9 and also stars Megan Mullally.

<![CDATA[Fallon, Robert Plant Sing on "Tonight"]]> Sat, 27 Sep 2014 08:40:53 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/nbc_tjf_hlt_s02e005_133_DooWop_RobertPlant_Int_20140926_1200x675_334211651882.jpg Using a mobile app, Jimmy Fallon and Robert Plant sang Gene Chandler's "Duke of Earl," accompanied by the doo wop sound they created. ]]> <![CDATA[Jay Z, No Doubt at Global Citizen's Concert]]> Sat, 27 Sep 2014 22:01:28 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP700911109916.jpg

More big names have been added to the Global Citizen Festival, the live concert set for Saturday, September 27 in New York City’s Central Park.

Alicia Keys will give a special performance and Sting will take the stage with No Doubt.

The singers will join previously announced acts and presenters including Jay Z, Carrie Underwood, Fun., Tiesto, The Roots, Jessica Alba, Olivia Wilde and host Hugh Jackman, as well as world leaders and more than 60,000 attendees at the third annual festival, which aims to end extreme poverty in the world by 2030.

Concert coverage begins Saturday, Sept. 27 at 3 p.m. ET on MSNBC and msnbc.com. The event will stream live on NBCNews.com and Today.com starting at 4 p.m. ET. A primetime concert special will air at 9 p.m. on NBC, hosted by Tamron Hall.

Over the past two years the festival has secured more than $1.3 billion in new funding and 35 commitments from world leaders to benefit the global poor, according to event organizers.

"Change only takes place when and where there is action," Jay-Z said in a statement. "I’m joining the 2014 Global Citizen Festival because I believe through actions — whether it be by raising awareness, getting involved or educating ourselves — the goal to end extreme poverty by 2030 is possible."

Host Jackman took to Instagram earlier in the week to post the following image to raise awareness and promote the festival:

Photo Credit: Joel Ryan/Invision/AP]]>
<![CDATA[A New-Old Era for "Saturday Night Live"]]> Fri, 26 Sep 2014 11:54:09 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/chris-pratt-ariana.jpg

For nearly four decades, Don Pardo's buoyant baritone helped kick off "Saturday Night Live," serving as a constant herald of humor even as the cast member names he announced neared 150 amid ever-changing lineups.

"SNL" begins its landmark 40th season Saturday without Pardo, but with a challenge that grows with age and stature: keeping an eye on the late night comedy staple's storied past while looking to the future.

There’s bound to be more scrutiny on “SNL” as the NBC show moves toward the anniversary celebration set for February. While reliving the various “good old days” of years past, “SNL” this season needs to create some future good old days for an audience that spans generations.

Even before the first declaration of "It's Saturday Night Live!" since Pardo's death last month at age 96, producer Lorne Michaels already has made some smart moves to set the stage for the show's new-old era. He's lined up the program’s longest-serving cast member, Darrell Hammond, an “SNL” fixture from 1995 to 2009, to take over for Pardo.

Michaels also has enlisted a couple of big-names-of-the-moment for the season opener: Host Chris Pratt, the 35-year-old star of the comedy sci-fi summer blockbuster "Guardians of the Galaxy," will be joined by 21-year-old pop singer Ariana Grande. Before his movie stardom, Pratt displayed his appealingly goofy every-dude charm on former "SNL" standout Amy Poehler's "Parks and Recreation."

From its 1975 debut with George Carlin as the first host, “SNL” always has been in transition, which is both a strength and a hurdle. Some turnovers have been bumpier than others: Last year, Michaels started the season without Fred Armisen, Bill Hader and Jason Sudeikis, and lost Seth Meyers to “Late Night” in February.

This season begins amid a major shakeup. Some Season 39 hires – Brooks Wheelan, Noel Wells and John Milhiser – are not returning and Nasim Pedrad is headed for the new Fox comedy “Mulaney.” Cecily Strong will remain a cast member, but will move out of the “Weekend Update” slot she shared with Meyers, and later Colin Jost. She’ll be replaced by Michael Che, who showed great promise during a brief run on “The Daily Show” and will become the segment’s first African-American anchor.

While all eyes will be on this season’s casting changes, all ears will be on Hammond. Despite his 14-year run, the master impressionist proved personally enigmatic, as he morphed into the likes of Bill Clinton, Sean Connery and Chris Matthews, among others. He even seamlessly subbed a handful of times for Pardo over the years. It’s hard for many fans to imagine Hammond’s normal speaking voice.

Even a veteran like Hammond needs to find his own voice as “SNL” sings out loud and proud this season, celebrating its legacy while daring to build upon it. 


Jere Hester is founding director of the award-winning, multi-media NYCity News Service at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. He is also the author of "Raising a Beatle Baby: How John, Paul, George and Ringo Helped us Come Together as a Family." Follow him on Twitter.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC4 Washington

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<![CDATA[Meyers: Armisen Answers Your Questions]]> Fri, 26 Sep 2014 05:06:09 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Screen+Shot+2014-09-26+at+3.42.28+AM.png After asking "Late Night" fans to send in videos asking Fred Armisen for advice, Seth Meyers shows the "Portlandia" star's responses.]]> <![CDATA[WATCH: Pratt Talks First Headshot, Plays "Word Sneak"]]> Fri, 26 Sep 2014 09:36:50 -0400 > at Rockefeller Center on September 25, 2014 in New York City.]]> > at Rockefeller Center on September 25, 2014 in New York City.]]> http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/456101152.jpg

Chris Pratt told a story about his weird experience getting his first headshot before playing “Word Sneak” with Jimmy Fallon on Thursday’s episode of “The Tonight Show.”

The “Parks and Recreation” star, who will be hosting "Saturday Night Live” this weekend, explained that he got his first headshot in L.A. at the age of 20.

“My friend told me I needed to have a ‘headshot,'” Pratt said. “It’s a shot of your head.”

He said he was in West Hollywood at a post office when a guy asked him to come to his place because he was a photographer. Pratt then explained how he showered at his house, wore one of his shirts, and received a headshot for free.

“He was like ‘Good luck kid’, and I decided this was the best one,” Pratt said as Fallon held up the headshot. “That’s the photo that got me on The WB, that got me on ‘Everwood’.”

Finally, Pratt and Fallon played the “Tonight” game “Word Sneak.” The two had cards with random words on them (such as “Soul Patch” and "Dentures"), and had to drop them into a casual conversation.

Watch them hilariously struggle in the video below.

Photo Credit: Getty Images for "The Tonight Sh
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<![CDATA[Meyers: Samberg on Working With Weird Al]]> Fri, 26 Sep 2014 04:24:27 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/454173314.jpg Andy Samberg talks with Seth Meyers about being in a sketch at the Emmys with his idol Weird Al.]]> <![CDATA[Meyers: Samberg's "SNL" Characters That Never Were]]> Fri, 26 Sep 2014 04:24:11 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/456104562.jpg Andy Samberg talks about all of his "Saturday Night Live" characters that never made the show.]]> <![CDATA[Meyers: The Lonely Island's Amazing New Office]]> Fri, 26 Sep 2014 04:06:24 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/170491459.jpg Andy Samberg tells Seth Meyers that The Lonely Island new office used to be owned by singer Babyface.]]> <![CDATA[Fallon: Pratt Talks About His First Headshot]]> Fri, 26 Sep 2014 04:35:36 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/456103026.jpg Chris Pratt chats with Jimmy Fallon about a weird experience he had getting his first headshot when he moved to L.A.]]> <![CDATA[Fallon: "Word Sneak" With Pratt]]> Fri, 26 Sep 2014 04:00:22 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Screen+Shot+2014-09-26+at+2.41.34+AM.png Jimmy Fallon and Chris Pratt get cards with random words on them (such as "Soul Patch" and "Dentures"), and must work them into a casual conversation.]]> <![CDATA[A "Simpsons," "Family Guy" Crossover Crossroads ]]> Fri, 26 Sep 2014 11:05:48 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/The-Simpsons+Family+Guy+crossover.jpg

"Cartoon Wars," a memorable 2006 "South Park" two-part episode, took dead-on aim at censorship, in perhaps the show's finest moment. The “South Park” team also skewered another target: "Family Guy," lambasting the Fox comedy's penchant for gag-driven humor, even while paying homage to "The Simpsons." 

The "South Park" classic came to mind amid this big week for animated TV comedies. On Sunday, "The Simpsons" marks the start of its 25th season by inviting the "Family Guy" crew to Springfield for a crossover episode. Meanwhile, "South Park" and "Family Guy" begin new seasons that will bring both to the 250-episode club, a once unimaginable benchmark for shows scorned by some for their varying approaches to irreverence.

The scourge of censorship aside, we’re ready to declare the cartoon wars over – at least when it comes to animated TV comedy. And everybody's a winner.

Credit "The Simpsons," which made history and set the stage for the future when it debuted in 1989, more than a quarter-century after "The Flintstones" and then "The Jetsons" brought ink to prime time. Homer, Marge and their family have made the far-more lasting impression and have wielded greater influence – begetting an animation onslaught that’s wrought the likes of not only “South Park” and “Family Guy,” but “Beavis and Butt-head,” “Bob’s Burgers,” “Futurama” and Cartoon Network's “Adult Swim,” among others.

“The Simpsons” remains the cartoon comedy by which the rest are measured – a standard that was only reinforced by the recent marathon of all 552 installments broadcast on FXX. The consistent cleverness shined through in a show that still makes us laugh, even if it may have peaked years ago.

Sure, the longevity of “The Simpsons” resides in large part in its cartoon format (Bart at 35 makes for the occasional fun future-look episode, but not a series). But the show's greater appeal rests in its skewed, yet relatable depiction of family life, its funhouse mirror reflection of the popular culture and its growing parade of guest stars.

Expect an epic guest shot this Sunday when the Simpsons of Springfield meet the Griffins of Quahog. A nearly five-minute preview (above) shown at Comic-Con in July whet the thirst of both the Duff beer and Pawtucket Patriot Ale camps, giving a taste of the blending of two programs with very different sensibilities.  


Jere Hester is founding director of the award-winning, multi-media NYCity News Service at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. He is also the author of "Raising a Beatle Baby: How John, Paul, George and Ringo Helped us Come Together as a Family." Follow him on Twitter.

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