In July 2012, the folks at ‘The Simpsons’ decided to release a new animated short starring Maggie Simpson in theaters. Paired with 20th Century Fox & Blue Sky Studios’ ‘Ice Age: Continental Drift’, ‘The Longest Daycare’ charmed ‘Simpsons’ fans and critics alike. It was the first time that Maggie was on the big screen since 2007’s ‘The Simpsons Movie’ – which earned a Best Animated Feature nomination from nearly every major awards group that year except for the Academy Awards.
But ‘The Longest Daycare’, which saw Maggie navigate a heck of a day with fellow tots, did receive an Oscar nomination in the Best Animated Short Film category.
7 and a half years later, director David Silverman follows-up ‘TLD’ with a new Maggie short: ‘Playdate with Destiny’. In it, the youngest Simpson falls in love with a dashing toddler, and she’ll do anything she can to spend time with him.
What makes the theatrical release of ‘Playdate’ so interesting is that it’s being shown in front of Disney & Pixar’s ‘Onward’. That’s right – now that Disney has absorbed much of Fox – a ‘Simpsons’ short is playing in front of a Pixar movie. Who would’ve predicted that five years ago?
No surprise considering ‘The Simpsons’ have poked fun at the Mouse House for three decades: there’s a comedic nod to the new Disney influence on the franchise as ‘Playdate’ begins. And there are plenty of funny references, both visually and with the music and camera angles. I’m sure I missed a few things on the first viewing; I’ll need to watch it a few more times to catch everything.
Like ‘The Longest Daycare’, ‘Playdate with Destiny’ is a sweet, dialogue-free story that zips along and makes you smile the entire time. Even if this one doesn’t get an Oscar nom, it still shows the power and legacy that ‘The Simpsons’ has on pop culture – even pairing with an animation studio titan that was once thought to be completely untouchable.