Transcript:Commentary:When Aliens Attack

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Transcript of commentary for
"When Aliens Attack"
Transcribed bySvip
Commentary participants
  • Note: One question mark in bold (?) means that the speaker was not identified by the transcriber.
  • Note: Three question marks (???) means that the word in proximity to the question marks is a suggested word, but not necessarily correctly identified, or if there is no word near the question mark (a space away is not near), then no suggested word was provided.

Matt Groening: Hey, it's Matt Groening here.

Scott Vanzo: Scott Vanzo, director of computer graphics.

Ken Keeler: Ken Keeler, the writer of the episode.

John DiMaggio: John DiMaggio, voice of Bender and other characters.

Brian Sheesley: Brian Sheesley, the director of the episode.

David X. Cohen: David Cohen, executive producer.

Rich Moore: And Rich Moore, supervising director of the series.

DXC: I believe, NYW is the new– is this the radio station from news radio? WNYW, does anybody know?

JD: Actually, WNYW is a Fox affiliate in New York.

DXC: Oh, is that what it is?

JD: That's what it is!

DXC: I couldn't remember we got that. I recall...

JD: Well, it's kinda funny as I went to college with Calista Flockhart. Everybody looks at me. She was skinny then! "Anyway, I say this, gang, everybody go home and suck salt". Don't look at me like that, it's true!

DXC: This is a parody of Ally McBeal of course.

SV: We are gonna be pulling out in one of the longest shots, leaving Earth up to another galaxy and a big 3D shot from the movie Contact, we'd parody. I didn't know how we were gonna do this one when we did it, but- pieces together together, little noise in the nebula to make it looks like it's receding.

KK: Omicron Persei 8, I just wanna say, Omicron Persei was chosen because it is roughly a thousand lightyears away. That's the reason for the choice of that star.

DXC: Also, if you watch very carefully, then in the pullback, you see Viking, is it? Or Pioneer, which one is it that you see?

RM: I think it was the Viking.

DXC: The Viking, yeah.

RM: One frame.

DXC: It's only like a fraction of a second. Is it really one frame?

RM: One thirty.

DXC: Wait, you can pretty much see it.

BS: Really fun part about directing this episode is developing new characters like that, the– designing the Omicronians.

DXC: Those Omicronians are named Lrrr, L-R-R-R and Ndnd, N-D-N-D. Ken Keeler made those names, I don't know where those came from.

KK: I like consonants!

BS: Actually, Lrrr and Ndnd are the king and queen of Omicron Persei 8.

DXC: They might have been duly elected.

KK: Hermes' inexplicit nudism.

JD: He loves to take his clothes off.

KK: We thought it was really clever writing to lay in, Fry's reliance on television this early episode, that was a theme, but in fact I'm sure nobody ever notice that.

SV: Actually, it's here on the beach, in Photoshop we came up with a little didion on how to do the sand, so this is the first time for digital and stuff, where you basically can see every grain of sand when we get really close or far away from it.

DXC: Cool. This Monument Beach was inspired by the movie Independence Day, 'cause we all like the shot of the White House blowing up. Thinking we could get a lot more monuments blowing up and out do them.

KK: We crossed by a joke there that ended up getting cut between Leela's use of tanning butter and Zoidberg's use of butter, Amy was using originally, "I Can't Believe It's Not Tanning Butter".

DXC: That's not in here anymore?

KK: Nope.

DXC: Well, the public missed out on that.

KK: But they are enjoying it now.

JD: That's the first time we see him scuttle.

KK: It always amazes me, it's the kind where you write "he scuttles off" and you have no idea how it's gonna come out and you look and say "boy, that's much funnier than any material that surrounds it". Very frustrating as writer, it just steals the scene.

JD: Wasn't this originally like [Bender] "aw, my ass, aw, my ass"? Was it "my ass" and then say like "my ass" a lot?

DXC: I think we may have exceeded the ass-quota.

DXC: That's the future.

JD: Amy– Amy's stacked. That was a stacked shot. That was out of control, man.

SV: [dark] Special effects.

DXC: Sounds like another John DiMaggio voice.

JD: [mutters]

DXC: Having the scripts in front of me, I can tell.

JD: Ladies, I'm just as repped.

RM: That was designed after you.

JD: Yeah! ... before the problem. With the food and booze and flavouring.

DXC: He's another item of clothing with a hole in it. We've been noticing how all the clothing in the future are covered with holes.

?: A little swimmy underwater effect.

KK: Later in the series when Zoidberg goes underwater, he doesn't scuttle anymore. OR does he swim? He seems to walk upright very normal.

DXC: That slowmo is hard to do, I remember and it's cool looking.

KK: Now we carefully lay in that Bender's eye functions as a camera.

DXC: That pays off in a big way.

MG: It's pretty good gag.

BS: So a lot of the shots coming up are from Independence Day or Mars Attacks, references from those movies.

DXC: I could listen to the sound effect all day. Awesome, love that wa-wa-wa.

DXC: ??? Donuts from Los Angeles, famous landmark there.

SV: I think that little ship was done about ten times before we got it right.

RM: It had to be just right.

RM: I forgot how good that looked.

?: It's Maurice LaMarche.

KK: This was a throw-away joke - his inability to understand that the mic was on - and yet it meant that every time he returns, he must have similar difficulties with the mic and in a new way.

DXC: McNeal, we really– we did a good parody on McBeal. Or didn't we? It's a critical plot point.

KK: You're tipping the plot.

DXC: That's right. A critical plot point that the President's name sounds like- a lot like the name of the star of that lawyer show, Ally McNeal.

?: So it's nice to see in the first season for a couple of Zapp episodes, that he's gone from a captain to a 25-star general.

BS: This is actually the first episode where we got to design a lot of new vehicles and everything. Just basically for this shot and upcoming shots.

SV: Thank god, we could appropriate a lot of our surface vehicles for the space shots.

BS: Where was that school bus from? Was it a specific reference to something?

DXC: Flying school bus?

SV: No, we just wanted to put a gun ontop of a school bus.

DXC: There aren't enough guns in our schools.

JD: [Bender] I don't know.

BS: So a lot of science-fiction fans will find out, you know, the same shots we kinda pulled from Star Wars and Star Trek.

RM: Oh this episode was our first all out space battle, so we went all out.

DXC: Where are these beds from? Star Trek or Star Wars?

RM: That's a ??? from Star Wars. The rebel briefing.

DXC: I like the way, Zapp flexes his hips on the word "idiot" just to remind you that he is an idiot.

?: Didn't seem 'em.

RM: I believe that the following scene coming up was written in the script "a huge space battle and Sues???".

DXC: Take that, animators.

BS: That's a director's dream. Just play with it.

JD: Matt, that little salute there, who came up with that salute?

MG: Oh, that was my son, Will. I said "how do they salute in the future?" And he did that, hat to heart and away, yeah.

DXC: Look at these 3D shots here, this is unbelievable. This is too good for TV, these 3D shots here. It's unreal, look at that.

SV: Gotta make sure those laser beams weren't like intersecting objects that they shouldn't be.

?: Star Wars.

?: Don't—

?: Shadows.

RM: I had to get that shot.

RM: Of course, Luke Skywalker's helmet.

BS: This is two explosions on top of each other.

KK: You know what that object looked like? I want to make a point about 30 seconds on in this episode.

?: ???

MG: I like the swirling tyre.

KK: No! No. No!

?: Yeah.

KK: It wasn't the Hubble Telescope!

DXC: In a thousand years, they have modified the Hubble Telescope.

KK: To look exactly like what one of the alien ships.

RM: Yeah.

DXC: It's been known to happen.

?: Great.

DXC: Things like that happen now and then.

?: Coincidence or not.

MG: I just wanna know how a ship skids in outerspace.

KK: Very carefully.

RM: For me, the episode's over. Yeah, I'm done guys, you ruined it.

RM: So is Morbo deliberately left out since he is an alien?

KK: Exactly. Exactly, it was a– we hate to go and broadcast without Morbo, but sometimes it's necessary.

DXC: Morbo's the alien newscaster, for anyone who doesn't know his name.

?: Well, if you bought this, you should know.

DXC: There will be a test at the end of the episode.

JD: Maurice plays all the aliens, I just realised.

KK: This is like one of the nicest forests, lawn type scene, I can call us ever having.

DXC: There goes the President of Earth.

RM: Paving the way for...

DXC: Richard Nixon!

JD: It's a lot of that. A lot of robots and aliens telling humans, "silence!" "Silence!" Well they are like that.

MG: Yeah.

DXC: There it is, that's where you lay it in early, that Fry likes to watch TV.

KK: Yep.

DXC: So it does make sense. That's good writing, folks.

KK: Yes it is.

?: That's what Ken was saying.

?: [Professor] Oh brilliant.

DXC: This actually brings up an interesting question. We have the TV signal from our time take a thousand years to get to the star, but we've also explained that in the future they can travel all around the universe without violating the limiting of the speed of light, because the speed of light has been increased in the future by scientists. So, our explanation for that is that light that departed in our time is "old light", that travels at regular light speed. Light in the future, if it's sound out from a point that will travel in the new light speed, which is quadrillion of times faster.

MG: Hard science at work.

KK: I think we just went by what I like to think as the most sacrilegious joke ever put in the series about the second coming of Jesus already having happened and apparently life going on as usual afterwards.

DXC: But it destroyed a lot of video tapes.

KK: Yeah, except for the videos.

DXC: Not all.

KK: Not as normal, it's true.

DXC: Some video tapes.

KK: I guess that's why we didn't get a censor note.

[Bender's third camera.]

?: Look out!

DXC: There are the cameras. Make of the cameras what you want.

DXC: We'll call back to your singing in episode 2 there, your "I'm pretty good".

JD: One of the funniest Zoidberg lines is coming up. Ever. One word.

?: It's juicy.

JD: [Zoidberg] Gracias, [normal] I just– oh god. That is so funny.

JD: Eat it. Yes.

KK: The eye was originally supposed to stay on, basically to the end of the show, but it became difficult, so they said stab it and eat it.

?: The professor looks great in a suit.

?: Makes a good judge.

KK: We're– writers often use internal on speeches in the script on how to read them, like "enthusiastic" or "exhicted" or "angst". The internal on Bender's line, "what' you talkin' 'bout, Fry" was just "Arnold".

DXC: I like how the professor kinda believes it, he thinks it's a possibility.

KK: There's a little gesture coming up that was none of the writers certainly had anything to do with, we were just– cracked us up completely, since we saw it in colour and think we've always used it since then. Right there. That cape swoop.

?: A little ???.

JD: Number 9 man.

DXC: Wasn't that the setting of electricity den in episode 9?

JD: Yeah.

?: Yeah, yes.

DXC: Makes sense, it's a nearby street. During the day it's an okay neighbourhood.

MG: I like how the world comes together, including a clown hugging a nun. That was a good joke.

?: Right there is probably our biggest 2D pull out that we've ever had.

RM: Yeah, those are more complicated than they look.

?: These are all made up names. We just had the budget.