Who was Chip Davis?
Though this obscure “Simpsons” character was killed off more than a week ago, he was not the one who executive producer Al Jean said would die on the show this season.
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Davis was the one whose funeral scene kicked off an episode of “The Simpsons” that had it all, including a plotline that was a savage send-up of TV news, guest voices ranging from Rachel Maddow to Joe Namath, and the death of this Chip Davis character that came only a few weeks after Jean revealed to reporters that a character will die this season.
But he wasn’t the one whose death we have been warned to expect, a Fox spokesperson confirmed to XfinityTV on Tuesday.
We asked about Chip Davis because his funeral, seen at the beginning of an episode of “The Simpsons” earlier this month, was the jumping-off point for a series of overlapping storylines as various characters who attended the service at the Rev. Lovejoy’s First Church of Springfield mused silently about their own lives and choices they have regretted along the way.
It turns out that the death of this Chip Davis character was not on Al Jean’s mind when he talked about the death of another character whose identity has yet to be revealed.
In fact, the death of Chip Davis was a joke of sorts — he was portrayed as a well-liked member of the Springfield community, but the fact was, he was never before seen on the show (despite the montage of still photos of the character in scenes from legendary past episodes that ran at the end of the episode).
For the record, here’s what Jean said about the death of a character coming up this season:
"We're actually working on a script where a character will pass away," Jean said in the telephone news conference held on Sept. 20. "I'll give a clue that the actor playing the character won an Emmy for playing that character, but I won't say who it is."
Of course, that’s a pretty wide-ranging “clue”: Just about every voice-over actor on the show has been nominated for an Emmy. And each actor voices multiple characters — so hazarding a guess from this “clue” is virtually impossible, which the producer knew full well when he said it.
Then, the character-death story became more muddled with the death of long-time cast member Marcia Wallace on Oct. 25, when Jean felt it necessary to explain that the character death he revealed a month earlier was not the one Wallace played — schoolteacher Edna Krabappel. He did say at the time of Wallace’s death that the Krabappel character would now be retired, but there has been no indication that the character would die.
The upshot is: Some major character is still supposed to die this season and it’s neither Chip Davis nor Edna Krabappel.
Meanwhile, we loved this “Simpsons” episode for a number of reasons, but mainly due to the plotline in which Springfield news anchor Kent Brockman regrets having never pursued a career in New York on the cable news networks — just like his former colleague, Rachel Maddow.
We always like it when “The Simpsons” spoofs the TV business. In this episode, Brockman’s visit to Sixth Avenue in Manhattan (where, in real life, MSNBC and Fox News Channel are located near each other) provides a great sight gag skewering those two channels plus CNN.
Watch the whole show, above.