Carrie Fisher: 1956-2016

Taken from Wikipedia.

Carrie Fisher, Princess Leia Organa herself, has died today in a Los Angeles hospital. While not completely shocking – given that she had a massive heart attack a few days ago – it’s still gutting to hear about this death in a year that’s become infamous for the sheer amount of pop cultural icons just up and dying, seemingly out of nowhere. (At least there was some warning that she was ill.)

I don’t think I can contribute too much to the tributes that will be paid to Fisher over the next couple of days. Instead, I’ll try and connect it to a (rather small) aspect of this blog. I mentioned last year, when Leonard Nimoy died, that without him, several more logical characters in sci-fi wouldn’t exist. The same could very well be said of Carrie Fisher and badass women in science fiction.

Don’t get me wrong – there were probably quite a few kickass ladies in science fiction before A New Hope. However, with Princess Leia, mainstream audiences got a taste of a leading lady – a Princess, even – that wasn’t merely a damsel in distress. She was an active participant in the rebellion, shooting and plotting against the Empire alongside Luke. She wasn’t some prize for the hero to win (for good reason, as per the end of The Empire Strikes Back.) Leia Organa was a character in her own right, one that was so endearing, she returned nearly forty years later for The Force Awakens.

I don’t often talk about gender on this blog, mainly because I feel like it’s secondary to whether or not I enjoy an art. However, I wonder – would we have gotten endearing badass women in sci-fi such as post-70s Uhura, Turanga Leela, Rey, Princess Bubblegum, Ace McShane, and 80% of the characters in Steven Universe? (That’s just off the top of my head.) I don’t really know.

All I know is that Carrie Fisher was something of a trailblazer for the industry. While she took up many roles over the years – even in silly sitcoms such as Family Guy – it was as Leia that she has left her mark on science fiction.

May the force be with you, Carrie Fisher.

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Sam Simon: 1955-2015

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Great – another death in the Geek-o-sphere.

Sam Simon, one of the three creators of The Simpsons, went to the great beyond today. He had been battling cancer for about two years and beat his doctor’s predictions by… about 18 months. All while donating much of his fortune to charity. THAT, my friends, is impressive.

Honestly… it’s hard to imagine what American TV would be like without the work of Matt Groening, James L. Brooks, and Mr. Simon. What that trio did with the creation of The Simpsons is nothing short of groundbreaking. Simon helped create a show that might have been one of the smartest on TV. That show not only helped create a media empire (for good or for bad), but tapped into the attitudes of a generation unimpressed with a relatively milquetoast slate of American sitcoms.

Without Sam, who knows if The Simpsons would’ve succeeded? Who knows if we’d have shows like Futurama, Gravity Falls, etc?

So, what to do now? I guess a Sam Simon marathon is in order. For your Sam Simon viewing pleasure, please watch these episodes.

  • Season 1
    • “The Telltale Head”
    • “The Crepes of Wrath”
    • “Some Enchanted Evening”
  • Season 2
    • “Treehouse of Horror” (“The Raven”)
    • “Two Cars in Every Garage and Three Eyes on Every Fish”
    • “The Way We Was” (Try not to choke up at the ending of this.)
  • Season 3
    • “Treehouse of Horror II”
    • “Black Widower”
  • Season 4
    • “Treehouse of Horror III” (“Dial Z For Zombies”)
Godspeed, Mr. Simon.

Leonard Nimoy 1931-2015

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“My work is done here.”
“What do you mean, ‘your work is done’? You didn’t do anything!”
“Didn’t I?”
-Leonard Nimoy and Barney, Simpsons “Marge vs the Monorail”.

Leonard Nimoy, known to pretty much every sci-fi fan as Spock from Star Trek, has died at age 83.

I’m not one for sappy, dramatic tributes, but I feel a quick little one is necessary. If I might tie this into the two shows that launched this cheesy blog, Spock, aided by Mr. Nimoy’s portrayal of the character, set the tone for other logical science-minded characters within the realm of sci-fi and fantasy. It’s hard to see how Data, T’Pol, Dana Scully, Kerr Avon, Dipper Pines, Kryten, etc. would exist the way they do without the influences of Mr. Spock. Leonard Nimoy’s acting, in a show often snarked at for it’s acting quality, really sold the character as a centerpiece of American TV, sci-fi, and 60s/70s pop culture.

And besides, to quote Dr. McCoy himself… “He’s really not dead… as long as we remember him.”

Thank you, Mr. Spock.