Archive for January, 2009

31
Jan
09

Public Service Announcement

“So, do you think the Redskins’ll beat the spread?” – Homer Simpson
“Put me down.” – Lisa Simpson

Tomorrow is the high holy day of the NFL.  There have been three episodes that prominently featured the Super Bowl.  One of them is amongst the finest 22 minutes ever committed to television.  The other two are the opposite of that.  

For your own safety, please restrict your Super Bowl weekend viewing to:
“Lisa the Greek”  (Season 3 Disc 3) 
Do NOT, under any circumstances, view:
“Sunday, Cruddy Sunday” (Season 10 Disc 2)
“Homer and Ned’s Hail Mary Pass” (Your Nearest BitTorrent Site)
Super Bowl Weekend is a time for fun, family and football, please watch The Simpsons responsibly.  
A Public Service Announcement from the Dead Homer Society
31
Jan
09

Quote of the Day

“Would it really be worth living in a world without television?  I think the survivors would envy the dead.” – Krusty the Klown
30
Jan
09

Unsubstantiated Internet Rumors? Well, This IS a Blog

“Say it ain’t so Krusty.” – Bart Simpson
Is this going to be the kind of blog that overreacts to internet rumors of uncertain sourcing?  If it’s Friday and we’re looking for a cheap post, you’d better believe it is.  Look what the internet brought this morning:
Another celebrity voice (quite possibly playing herself), whatever; I’m numb to them at this point.  Wait . . . what?  Oh, fuck:
Contact Music reported that her role will be the girlfriend who testifies in court in defense of Krusty the Clown who is wrongly-accused of committing a crime.

Read that last part again: Krusty is wrongly accused of a crime.  Have the people behind Zombie Simpsons ever watched the show or do they just scroll through old episode titles looking for ideas?
(In case you were wondering, yes, that is an image of Hathaway Simpsonized.)
30
Jan
09

Quote of the Day

“To alcohol!  The cause of – and solution to – all of life’s problems.” – Homer Simpson
29
Jan
09

I’d Rather Watch the Dryer Channel

“I lost to Channel Ocho?  What the hell is that?” – Krusty the Klown
Good news everybody, that abortion last Sunday was the least watched Zombie Simpsons ever:
An extended mid-season break has bitten The Simpsons dearly in the ratings, with Sundays episode ‘Lisa The Drama Queen’ fetching just 5.75 million viewers at 8:00pm, a new all time low for the show.

Huzzah.  But wait, there’s more!  How about some insult to go with that injury?
a new American Dad scored 5.73 million viewers at 9.30.

American Dad?  A first run Simpsons episode is just as interesting to people as Family Guy‘s recycled afterbirth?  It’s too bad that the people keeping Zombie Simpsons on the air have no remaining shame or they might be embarrassed.  
Ah well, a good sign nevertheless.  Unprofitability here we come!  
29
Jan
09

Quote of the Day

“At the risk of editorializing, these women are guilty, and must be dealt with in a harsh and brutal fashion.  Otherwise, their behavior could incite other women, leading to anarchy of Biblical proportions. . . . It’s in Revelations, people!” – Kent Brockman
28
Jan
09

End the Simpsons #2 – Think of the Children!

“Hey, when I was your age fifty cents was a lot of money.” – Homer Simpson

“Really?” – Bart Simpson
“Nah.” – Homer Simpson

One of the many horrible side effects of the fact that there hasn’t been a genuine Simpsons episode in more than a decade is that we are now raising a generation of Simpsons cripples.  Anyone born after the late 1980s didn’t become old enough to really appreciate the show until well after it’d fallen on hard times.  These days even the syndication runs are so polluted with Zombie Simpsons and its semi-lifeless forbearers that a decent appreciation of the classics needs to be deliberately sought out or instilled.  

For example, I have a bunch of nieces and nephews ranging in age from six to thirteen; they all like watching The Simpsons.  But they have a hard time distinguishing real Simpsons from Zombie Simpsons.  When I get out my laptop at family gatherings and queue up some of the classics they’ll sit there, riveted to the screen, and laugh out loud.  They TiVo the syndicated episodes at home, but until I started showing them the original seasons they had hardly seen any of those episodes.  To them, The Simpsons is just another television show; there was never a time in their lives when it stood head and shoulders above everything else.  
Of course, the last thing any kid wants to hear from a grown up is some variation of, “In my day . . . we walked uphill to school/folks was tougher/Simpsons didn’t suck.”  I haven’t found a way to break through that; maybe there isn’t one.  That would be a pity because it would mean that the existence of Zombie Simpsons not only tarnishes a part of my upbringing, but it spoils what should be a cultural treasure for them as well.  
I’m not too worried though; as they get older they’ll be able to tell shit from Shinola.  
28
Jan
09

Quote of the Day

“If only we’d listened to that boy . . . instead of walling him up in the abandoned coke oven.” – C.M. Burns

27
Jan
09

End The Simpsons #1 – The Less Than Seamless Opening


“Wow, it must be expensive to produce all these cartoons.” – Lisa Simpson  
“Well, we cut corners; sometimes to save money our animators will reuse the same backgrounds over and over and over again.” – Roger Myers Jr.

There are often jarring incongruities in Zombie Simpsons.  Stories twist and turn, characters jump in and out of scenes, exposition and repetition destroy anything that could be called flow.  You never know what you’re going to get, you just know that it’s probably going to be shitty.  However, there is one jarring incongruity that is as reliable and neverending as the renewal of the show.    
The opening sequence, panning over the nuclear plant, into the school, and then all over town, hasn’t changed since about 1990.  Unfortunately, the couch gag has to be produced anew all the time and it looks nothing like rest of the opening.  (Bart’s chalkboard message is a little out of place as well, but it’s not nearly as bad.)  The opening is old school from “The Simpsons” chorus through Homer’s scream as he escapes the car hole and then – bang – it’s semi-CGI time for the latest couch gag.  As if that weren’t off putting enough, it goes back to being old school during the television credits for Groening, Brooks and Simon (praise be their names).
I’ve seen that opening sequence (and heard that song) many thousands of times by now; I’m conditioned like one of Pavlov’s dogs to expect excellence when it ends.  Then the couch gag pops up and I’m ripped back into the harsh, clumsy reality of Zombie Simpsons.  It’s like being the Memento guy; right when I wake up I don’t remember that my wife is gone, but the cost of those precious seconds of hopeful naivete is having the pain always be as sharp as if it were still fresh.  
27
Jan
09

Quote of the Day

“Bart!  Are those liquor bottles?” – Mrs. Krabappel
“I brought enough for everybody.” – Bart Simpson
“Take those to the teacher’s lounge; you can have what’s left at the end of the day.” – Mrs. Krabappel
26
Jan
09

Lisa Wastes Her Time And Mine

I have a few questions that remain unanswered about that episode…

1. Other than needing a plot idea, was there any reason to “parody” Bridge to Terabithia?  (Incidentally, the guy who directed Terabithia, Gabor Csupo, worked on The Simpsons back in the before time.)  
2. Which producer’s kid is Josh Groban holding hostage?  That was almost a commercial.  
3. If you are going to have an episode filled with iPod and Facebook references, why would Groundskeeper Willie flashback to his immigration in the first half of the 20th century?  

4. By my clock that episode was just over 19 minutes from opening credits to closing credits.  Of that time, approximately 1:45 was devoted to montages accompanied by either Groban songs or swirling string music; that’s almost 10% of the screen time used strictly as filler material, and that doesn’t count the fight scene at the end. 
5. You’d think a band that named itself after a minor character would have the self interest and good sense to get better billing that being stuck over the credits of this piece of shit.
6. Seriously, what does Josh Groban have on Fox?

There are two things for which I will give this episode ‘credit’, but only because I want to appear unbiased:

1. There was a quick sight gag where Homer was sitting at the kitchen table drinking from a cup that said “Ned” on it. It lasted two seconds and nobody said anything about it. It wasn’t great but they managed not to fuck it up.
2. Homer didn’t suffer any deadly or incapacitating blows. 

Besides that I have only bad things to say.  What reminded me that I wasn’t actually watching the Simpson’s the most was when Marge and Homer are talking about what Lisa might be doing at the model UN conference she was supposedly at.  When Marge asks if Homer thinks Lisa has enacted the ‘rice tariff’ Homer comes back with a Model UN procedural joke which I am sure the writers thought was witty.  Homer is not a comedy writer; he shouldn’t sound like one.   

This was classic modern Simpsons: toss in a celebrity or three, throw in a recent, half-assed and superficial cultural reference, and call it a day.  


Old Doc Washburn prescribes viewing Lisa’s Rival” (Season 6 Disc 1) to clear the stench of product tie ins and endless montages.  

26
Jan
09

Quote of the Day

“Who knows what adventures they’ll have between now and the time the show becomes unprofitable.” – Troy McClure




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