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Matt Groening

The Simpsons 25th Anniversary
by yo go re

Surprisingly, this figure does not earn a spot on our list of directors-turned-action-figures. He may have created The Simpsons and written a few episodes, but he's never directed one. Who knew!

(And no, he's not a toymaker, either.)

The world-famous creator of Futurama stopped by Springfield to play himself in Season 15's "My Big Fat Geek Wedding." When the Simpsons go to the Bi-Monthly Science Fiction Convention they see the genial "Mr. Groaning" chatting up his loyal fans and inviting them to cut locks of his hair, pull his beard, and invade his home for autographs.

You look at Matt Groening's name, and yes, it looks like it's pronounced "groaning." Before DVD commentaries were a thing, the only way to hear from the man himself was in print interviews, where he always pointed out that his name rhymes with "complaining." But see, I thought that was just a joke: groan, complain - get it? But no, once we could actually hear him speak, the illusion was shattered.

Matt has a shaggy haircut, a goatee, and a big mustache that would make any resident of his hometown Portland proud. His hair was well on its way to gray by the time this episode aired, but the animators left it brown. He's wearing separate glasses, just like Penn and Weird Al did, but the shape of his face doesn't quite match the art - it looks more like John Hodgman than Matt Groening.

Of course, John Hodgman is just a deranged millionaire, while Matt Groening is rich enough to dress like a real human being. He's wearing sneakers, jeans, a T-shirt and a black jacket with red sleeves. When Kidrobot made a Matt Groening figure, they called it a "director's jacket," as though a director's jacket were an actual thing. Presumably it's based on an actual garment he wears, because it's become a standard part of his character model. There are red snaps, stripes on the hems, and his name embroidered on the chest.

Groening moves at the Springfield Four, because of course he does. You want him to fit into the World of Springfield, so now is not the time to break tradition - swivels at the neck, shoulders and waist are enough. Besides, he comes with two accessories: a pad of paper (sadly, there's no drawing on it) and a marker. Yes, he holds it in his left hand, and yes, it's removable. And we guess NECA couldn't really have put anything on the paper, because in the episode, he draws Fry.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, of all the real-life people to have been made in this Simpsons 25th Anniversary line, Matt Groening has been on the show the most number of times: discounting the episodes where he's mentioned but not seen, couch gags, and the 138th Episode Spectacular, he's been on at least eight episodes; he's been a court artist twice, banned from The Android's Dungeon, attended an awards show, laughed at Nelson, printed his own comics (Bongo comics, not Damnation, Johnny Reb or True Murder Stories), and was even captured by The Collector! When NECA announced this line, Groening was my top choice for inclusion, so I'm glad he made it in before the end.

-- 06/07/15

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