When "Itchy & Scratchy" decided it wanted a new character, they came up with Poochie. We wish "The Simpsons" better luck in its new endeavor.
As part of its "Best. 20 Years. Ever." celebration, FOX and "The Simpsons" are asking fans to enter a contest to create the "Best. Character. Ever." 
If you're under 18, you're out of luck, but all other fans are invited to create a new Springfield resident and to submit the character’s traits, including name/nickname, age, appearance, occupation and catchphrases, on the show's official website.
The submission deadline is the end of the day (Eastern Time) on Oct. 24. The winner will be selected by the "Simpsons" producers and will be animated into a January 2010 episode, airing as part of the climax of the 20th anniversary festivities. 
In addition, the winner will receive a trip to Los Angeles, where they'll get to meet with the "Simpsons" producers and an animator (not to be confused with "the animations," largely in Korea) to bring the character to life.
Now the challenge is coming up with a character unlike any to ever appear on the show's 445-plus episodes. Our initial ideas included a jazz musician with questionable dental hygiene, an ultra-agressive Asian real estate agent, a geriatric playboy with a fetish for movie tie-in jackets and George Plimpton. Apparently we went 0-for-4. We'll keep trying.
"Simpsons" showrunner Al Jean discussed the contest with HitFix in our interview that preceded the start of the season, the show's 21st.
A long-time member of the TCA Board and a longer-time blogger of "American Idol," Dan Fienberg writes about TV, except for when he writes about movies or sometimes writes about the Red Sox. But never music. He would sound stupid talking about music.