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‘The Simpsons’ and ‘The Family Guy’ plan a crossover episode

Anne T. Donahue
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FOX

It was only a matter of time before two of Fox's animated darlings joined forces for the ultimate crossover episode. So grab your Super Squishees and Rex Harrison references: in an upcoming Fall 2014 episode, "The Simpsons" and "Family Guy" will finally become one. (Though we wouldn't have minded seeing "Bob's Burgers" cross paths with "American Dad," just for the record.)

While details of the episode remain relatively under wraps (including the date it will air), fans of "The Simpsons" will see Peter Griffin and family descend upon Springfield, where Peter and Home will team up, Bart and Stewie will connect, Lisa will attempt to find Meg's "talent," and, naturally, Lois and Marge discover they're kindred spirits. (As for Maggie and Santa's Little Helper? Let's assume they just chill out with Brian.)

Fans of "The Simpsons" may remember the 1995 episode that saw the show crossed over with "The Critic," when the John Lovitz-voiced character showed up in Springfield to host a film festival. As it turns out, "Simpsons" creator Matt Groening hated that episode.

Groening hated it so much, in fact, that he removed his name from the credits. That move prompted a feud with "Simpsons" executive producer James L. Brooks, who had cut a deal with Fox to pick up "The Critic" after it was cancelled by ABC in 1994.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Brooks was "furious with Matt."

"He's been going to everybody who wears a suit at Fox and complaining about this," he said. "Certainly, he's allowed his opinion, but airing this publicly in the press is going too far."

Groening responded shortly thereafter, explaining he didn't want "credit or blame" for "The Critic," and felt it violated "The Simpsons" universe.

"'The Critic' has nothing to do with 'The Simpsons' world," Groening said. "[I'm afraid fans] will accuse us of making a crossover episode just to advertise 'The Critic.' That's why I've had my name removed from this episode."

Granted, that incident was nearly 20 years ago, and things have changed. First, "The Simpsons" has snagged a seemingly permanent place on Fox's -- and pop culture's -- landscape, while secondly, "Family Guy" is equally popular, with creator Seth Macfarlane having even hosted the Oscars earlier this year. This crossover episode doesn't exactly seem like an advertisement -- not when both shows are doing fine.

Instead, this crossover seems like a celebration of Fox's success. The network and its shows can stage an event like this and it doesn't seem like anything more than a friendly collaboration.

Either way, there have been no reports of Matt Groening wanting his name removed from the credits this time around, so it seems like "The Simpsons" will welcome "Family Guy" with open arms.

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