Archive for March, 2009

31
Mar
09

Grammatically Incoherent Synergy

“I didn’t want a hokey second wedding like those ones on TV.  This one is for real.” – Homer Simpson
I highly recommend clicking over to IGN for this week’s edition of Network Synergy and You.  Not so much for the “review” itself, as it has been significantly improved below, but for the instantly recognizable image of Marge, which has been labeled with a caption that reads (and I am not making this up): “This is the character Marge Simpson from the animated television series The Simpsons.”  Well, holy shit, I would not have been able to figure that one out for myself.  
Enjoy:

March 30, 2009 – “Wedding for Disaster” was one of those episodes that, while not knocking you down with laughter clever or entertaining, was quite fun easy to watch mock. It had a number of common Simpsons stories (religion, romance, movie parodies references, the rotting comedy carcass of Sideshow Bob) all stuck together into one bloated episode. I think that’s why I enjoyed wasn’t the least bit surprised by it. Once you thought you were settling into one story, the episode ran out of ideas, took a turn and started to take you in another direction. It was an episode that had me smiling shaking my head for 30 full minutes, if not always laughing out loud.

Things began with the show having trying to have a little fun with religion, as it has once had a reputation to do. Reverend Lovejoy explained that there were really only two commandments and that the rest are just filler, which would be funny if George Carlin hadn’t done exactly that eight years ago. Makes sense to me. The good reverend also announced that the Parson an inoffensive, made up religious figure would be visiting Springfield. Apparently, the Parson is a bit like the Pope in the “Presbyluthern” religion, which the writers probably took eight hours creating after rejecting Baptomethodism. I loved how Real Simpsons was always non-specific this episode was about what religion is actually practiced at Lovejoy’s church, because it’s funnier that way. Lenny’s excitement over “the earthly embodiment of the elected chair of the national congress of deacons” was my favorite line from this portion of the episode did not in any way sound forced coming from a guy who is supposed to be a blue collar drone.

The Parson’s visit was to let Lovejoy know that, for a time, he was uncertified to perform church related acts for some reason. This meant that anything he officiated during that time period simply didn’t count because . . . duh. There was a montage of scenes with Lovejoy breaking this news to people, and the best most time consuming was Cletus thinking the mailman was a ghost who has been haunting his shack. I also felt Homer greeting Lovejoy as the pizza deliveryman was ridiculously sublime a typically pointless Homer monologue. 

Another highlight of this episode was how the series handle to main plot(?).  [Editor's Note: Unpossible!] Lovejoy had officiated Homer and Marge’s second marriage in season eight’s “A Milhouse Divided.” Marge recalled this event in another clock eating gimmick as she looked through her scrapbook because most of the remaining viewers of this show were in diapers at the time. I’m so happy this happened, because All too often the series Zombie Simpsons will go on with a plot that could and should, in some way, reference was more or less lifted directly from something that has occurred earlier in the series’ run. All too often, The writers have either forgotten about these events, or they simply didn’t bother to fit in an explanation or acknowledgment of any kind in. “Wedding for Disaster” made great use of the previous episode and, like a fourth-rate sequel, smartly used it to move tether this episode’s gimmick of a story forward to characters the audience once cared about.

With their previous second marriage null and void, Homer wanted to give Marge the big, romantic wedding she never had got back in Season 8. As Homer put it, we wanted this wedding to be, like the one we had twelve years agounlike our children, planned in advance.” This portion of the episode was the least enjoyable indistinguishably bad from the others. Marge became a bridezilla during the planning process, for some reason. This didn’t work for me. Marge has been known to get frazzled now and again, but and the meanness didn’t suit her here, but this is Zombie Simpsons we’re talking about so nothing should come as a surprise. When Homer didn’t come out for the ceremony, Marge thought it was because of how she acted, because “bridezillas” are notorious for instantly blaming themselves. Instead, the episode took another turn and gave us a mini Saw parody re-enactment. The hot sauce lollipop was great made me want wings. And then the episode this piece of shit threw us for another loop when Sideshow Bob arrived as a suspect in Homer’s kidnapping showed up to help kill some more time. The Bob scene was fun a waste, but again, nothing that exactly bowled me over. what isn’t on this show these days?

Ultimately, it was revealed decided that Patty and Selma were behind ruining the wedding, because the writers once again painted themselves into a corner. This fit and was also fun. And it was also sweet contrived, out of character bullshit to have Homer’s recitation of his vows be the turning point for his sisters-in-law. Again, this wasn’t a howlingly funny awful episode, but there were some great individual parts that were even worse, and overall “Wedding for Disaster” was a pleasant enough telling of Marge and Homer’s third and fourth weddings reminder of why genuinely creative television shows don’t need to recycle plots.

31
Mar
09

Quote of the Day

“Lousy Smarch weather.” – Homer Simpson

30
Mar
09

Still Shitty

The numbers are in and while they’re a mild improvement from last week they’re still well below both the season average and where they were last year.  Last night’s Sideshow Bob cameo popped for 6.58 million viewers, so the over has it.  

I would also like to point out that “Wedding for Disaster” is a pretty good example of pop culture references instead of pop culture jokes.  I’m not opposed to sending up the concept of psychotic brides to be, because it’s a ridiculous concept and could use some satirizing.  Nor am I opposed to sending up the bridezillas themselves, because crazy people applying their narcissistic crazy to their wedding and everyone around them also deserve to have some fun poked at them.  But that’s not what “Wedding for Disaster” did.  Instead it just has Marge acting nuts (and way way way out of character) in the context of a wedding.  They aren’t satirizing anything, they’re just having their characters act out an overly planned wedding.  
The same goes for the “Saw” thing.  Did it add anything to the episode?  Of course not, they just wanted to reference a string of popular movies.  It’s not like the “Saw” franchise isn’t crying out to be made fun of, they’ve made five movies in five years.  But Zombie Simpsons didn’t make fun of them, they just used the “Saw” plot and visuals to inch their moronic plot along.  
30
Mar
09

Quote of the Day

“I didn’t think you’d understand.” – Lisa Simpson
“Hey, just because I don’t care doesn’t mean I don’t understand.” – Homer Simpson
29
Mar
09

Bubbling with Anticipation

I just clicked on the epguides.com link to tonight’s Zombie Simpsons.  Here is what it says:

After Marge and Homer’s marriage turns out to be invalid, they decide to re-do their vows. But when Homer goes missing, Bart and Lisa smell something funny and investigate his disappearance.

Oh good, it’s a recycled plot and and adventure mystery.  Color me tickled pink.  Now if you’ll excuse me I’m going to pre-emptively watch “A Milhouse Divided” and “Grampa vs. Sexual Inadequacy” to steel my brain against tonight’s onslaught of stupid.  
(That’s Season 8 Disc 1 and Season 6 Disc 2, respectively, by the way.)
Edit: While I’m at it, let’s set the O/U for tonight’s ratings at a flat 6.00 million viewers.  I’ll be optimistic and take the Under.
29
Mar
09

Quote of the Day

“Go on Homer, our commandments clearly state that beer is alright.  Try some.” – Rev. Lovejoy
28
Mar
09

Quote of the Day

“Two!” – Homer Simpson
“Mmnn, actually Homer that’s just one.  See, each pushup includes both an up part and a down part.” – Lenny
27
Mar
09

Friday Link Dump – Obscure Guest Voice Edition

“That guy cheapens our whole profession.” – Bruce Baum

T.O. funnyman Bruce Baum soars into cyberspace – Remember the guy pictured above?  He’s got a comedy website, TheOuterNet.com (careful, video plays when you click), that The Ventura County Star wrote an article about and, in typical newspaper fashion, neglected to link.  Whatever, barbecue armpit deodorant sounds good to me.  

Channeling Homer Simpson on the Deficit Numbers – MIT economist Jonathan Gruber gets a gold star for excellent usage.  

Are The Best Days Of ‘The Simpsons’ Over? – The basic premise here is right on, though it’s written for a website called Starpulse so there’s a distinct whiff of Valley Girl crazy about the whole thing.  (From Starpulse’s about page: “Starpulse.com offers celebrity enthusiasts like you . . “, uh, count me out, thanks.)  There is one little thing that deserves special attention though, the misspelling of ‘Jebus’.  I see this all over the place, ‘Jeebus’ instead of ‘Jebus’.  For fuck’s sake people, it’s pronounced exactly like the original but with a “b” in place of an “s”.  There is no need for an extra “e”.  Wow, that got off topic fast.
Great minds think differently – It’s a list of thinkers, and I used the term loosely, who might have opinions about the current recession, including Homer Simpson, Sun Tzu, Epicurus, and Tony Soprano.  This guy is padding his list just a bit, methinks.
Triceratops Was A Social Animal, Group of Dinosaur Fossils Suggests – A site in Montana has fossils from a bunch of different Triceratops skeletons.  It’s called the Homer Site because the guy who found it, Helmuth Redschlag, is a Simpsons fan.  Well done.  
Lottery win like a joke, trucker says – This guy won almost two million dollars from a lottery machine that said “Woo hoo!” when he scanned his ticket.  
Transit Spotting – Mr. Matt Smith isn’t very happy with a new San Francisco transit project.  I couldn’t tell you anything about the merits of the project, but the man’s got his Simpsons straight and that’s good enough for us.  
The 20 Hottest Movie Mums (via)- Internet lists are always pointless and stupid, but Marge is #1.    
Despite the sunshine, it rained on my parade – Damn right.  Even the Irish thought that episode was a piece of shit.
Barack Obama’s Top 5 Bart Simpson Moments – Just one of the hundreds of radical right wing messages inserted into every post by co-creator Charlie Sweatpants.  
27
Mar
09

Quote of the Day

“In gratitude, I present you this offering of cookies and milk.  If you want me to eat them for you, give me no sign.  Thy will be done.” – Homer Simpson
26
Mar
09

Getting Out of Hand

“I’m in television now.  It’s my job to be repetitive.  My job.  My job.  Repetitiveness is my job.” – Bart Simpson
Simpsons Channel has a post up with the promo image for April 19th’s Zombie Simpsons, titled “The Good, the Sad and the Drugly”.  Here’s the plot description:

To win the heart of Jenny (guest voice Anne Hathaway) a sweet 5th grade girl, Bart becomes a good samaritan and gives up his prank-pulling days

Given the presence of the perfectly cromulent word “drugly” in the title I’m gonna guess that this girl might have a lesson or two to teach Bart about growing up.  It’s always creepy and rage inducing when Zombie Simpsons goes on one of its weird “we’re moralizing/but no we’re really mocking moralizing/um yeah, we’re actually moralizing” skids.  That was about half the run-time of this season’s feculent “Mypods and Boomsticks” episode and it always sucks.
Well, at least we found out who Anne Hathaway is voicing on the Simpsons.  Apparently it’s going to be Bart’s love interest, not Krusty’s.  The earlier leaked plot was to have her testify in court when . . . ugh . . . Krusty was falsely accused of a crime.  Now it seems she’s voicing a goody-two-shoes that . . . ugh . . . Bart straightens up and flies right in order to impress.  I wouldn’t rule out the Krusty-accused plot also being included; there’s no real limit to the amount of stupidity Zombie Simpsons can jam into a single meandering story.  Of course, if that little gem of a Krusty plot isn’t in there on April 19th, we could always see it later.
On the plus side, the endless repetition of earlier plots may finally be having an effect.  There are some grumbly comments on that Simpsons Channel post from people who otherwise still think it’s good.
26
Mar
09

Quote of the Day

“You’re like the guy, you’re a legend around here.  Can I ask you, is it true you once worked ninety-six hours straight?” – James Woods
“Oh yes, it was horrible I tell you.  By the end I thought I was a hummingbird of some kind.” – Apu Nahasapeemapetilon
25
Mar
09

A Lesson in Internet Reading Comprehension

“After breakfast me and Milhouse are going down to the ravine.  We got a tip from a six year old that there’s a dead martian down there.” – Bart Simpson

I saw goofy little stories like this one and this one and this one on-line last week.  They amount to nothing that could be called news and I didn’t even include them in the Friday Link Dump.  Then I check in on Simpsons Channel this morning and what do I see?  

Sigh.  All of the above links can be traced to this post on the website of the British tabloid The Sun.  Here is the full quote from James L. Brooks:
“We’d love to have Barack on the show. No president has agreed to do it yet but we’ll keep asking.  We’re putting all the right signals out.”  

That’s it.  Brooks, speaking to a British newspaper, said they’d like to have Obama on the show.  Nothing more to it than that.  Of course The Sun, being a tabloid, has the headline read:
US President Barack Obama and British comic Russell Brand are being lined up for an appearance in The Simpsons

I’d say that’s overstating the case a bit, but it was enough and the internet took it from there.  

Would Obama want to do a guest voice on Zomibe Simpsons?  I have no idea, that’s up to him and the people around him.  For his sake I hope they’re either not thinking about it or decide not to do it.  There’s no sense tarnishing his image by associating him with a dying television show.  
But one thing’s for sure, having Brooks mention that they’d like to do it is a far, far cry from what these stories and headlines imply.  
25
Mar
09

Quote of the Day

“Mr. Simpson, my husband and I have decided to move.” – Mrs. Winfield
“Gonna run out the clock in Florida, eh?” – Homer Simpson
24
Mar
09

I Can’t Imagine Why Fox Didn’t Like This

I have no insight into why this little musical number from Family Guy wasn’t broadcast.  (It looks like it was to have been part of the fall ’07 episode “Lois Kills Stewie”.)  The Entertainment Weekly post where I found it thinks it was the network censors, but other than the original YouTube uploader calling it “banned” I don’t see any evidence of that, it may just have not made the final cut.  Of course, saying something was “banned” or implying that it’s somehow too “think of the children” for broadcast television certainly makes it more appealing than saying it just didn’t fit in the episode. 

That said, I doubt that the joke at about 2:15 pleased any network higher ups:
I could quibble with the particulars, but really I just like seeing other people say that Simpsons isn’t funny any longer.  
Unsurprisingly, the always tedious “Simpsons Sucks/no it doesn’t Family Guy sucks” back and forth breaks out in the comments section of both the Entertainment Weekly post and the originating YouTube link.  
24
Mar
09

Quote of the Day

“Bart, if she breaks up on you steer away from the grandstands or else you might kill hundreds of innocent spectators. . . . Bart, what did I just tell you?” – Martin Prince
“Kill spectators.” – Bart Simpson
23
Mar
09

Oh Yeah, It Was Bad

That was a fairly typical “Zombie Simpsons goes to X” type episode.  A few amusing one liners and cultural jokes are all but lost inside a thin husk of a story that doesn’t make any sense and takes too long to tell.  The ratings are in and once again the numbers are bad, with a mere 6.15 million viewers tuning in.  That’s up slightly from last week, though it’s still well below average for this season and a million or so people down from the same period last year.  

23
Mar
09

Quote of the Day

“Calls?  Oh, calls.  Yes, uh, the Supreme Court called again, they need your help on some freedom thing.” – Della
“Tell them to sit tight, I’ll get back to them.” – Lionel Hutz
22
Mar
09

Quote of the Day

“Hmm.  You’re not as stupid as you look, or sound, or our best testing indicates.” – C.M. Burns
21
Mar
09

Saturday Morning Cartoons

“I’ll tell ya the truth, Dad.  I wasn’t good at it right away so I quit.  I hope you’re not mad.” – Bart Simpson
“Son, come here, heh heh heh.  Of course I’m not mad.  If something’s hard to do then it’s not worth doing.  You just stick that guitar in the closet next to your short wave radio, your karate outfit and your unicycle, and we’ll go inside and watch TV.” – Homer Simpson
“What’s on?” – Bart Simpson
“It doesn’t matter.” – Homer Simpson
I love the above exchange, it’s Homer and Bart at their best.  Homer is a low-give-a-shit father; Bart is a low-give-a-shit son; and together they couldn’t care less.  Even better, this moment is played for sweetness, like it’s a life affirming moment for Homer to encourage his son to quit music and watch television.  None of this Team Mischief crap.  As a bonus, there are three potential episode plots contained in that one quote.  One of them happened, but the other two are just discarded because, in the before time, in the long long ago, The Simpsons overflowed with ideas.  
21
Mar
09

Quote of the Day

“You know Lisa, I feel like I have an instant rapport with you.” – Grandma Simpson
“Ahh, you didn’t dumb it down, you said ‘rapport’.” – Lisa Simpson



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