Archive for April, 2009



22
Apr
09

Quote of the Day

“Now before I give you the check, one more question.  Uh, this place “Moe’s” you left just before the accident, this is a business of some kind?” – Total Disaster Insurance Agent

“Don’t tell him you were at a bar . . . but what else is open at night?” – Homer’s Brain

“It’s a pornography store, I was buying pornography.” – Homer Simpson

“Heh heh heh, I woulda never thought of that.” – Homer’s Brain

21
Apr
09

Synergy Admits Past Relationships

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“Must . . . fight . . . Satan, make it . . . up to him . . . later.” – Bart Simpson

When even your own corporate internet shill has to mention no fewer than five previous episodes in reviewing your latest installment, it might be time to re-evaluate things.  And he went easy, I added a sixth amongst my usual corrections for accuracy and honesty.

Enjoy.

April 20, 2009 – A lot of the basic ideas found in “The Good, the Sad and the Drugly” have been mined before done better in previous episodes of The Simpsons. This can happen with a show that’s been on the air this long about twice as long as it should have been. Heck, it can happen to programs that have been on the air for half that time that’s about when it started repeating itself in the first place. And while we may have seen rifts develop between Bart and Milhouse before, and even seen one of the other Simpson kids on mind-altering drugs, “The Good, the Sad and the Drugly” didn’t recycle the same old jokes, so there were still some fresh laughs to be had which is too bad because that would have been an improvement.

The Bart/Milhouse storyline was plotted very well got bogged down as soon as Milhouse started showing up and saying creepy things over and over again. The pair pranked Springfield Elementary by unscrewing every screw, an idea whose physical impossibility serves only to highlight its lack of imagination. After Milhouse was caught, Principal Skinner, acting for some reason as though he has no idea that Milhouse is friends with Bart, threatened to suspend him if he didn’t give up the name of his accomplice. Ever the true friend In order to advance the plot, Milhouse took the fall and Bart promised to visit him at home every day. Of course, when Bart fell for fifth grade girl Jenny, in the fastest grade school courtship ever, Milhouse was forgotten.

We’ve seen the basics of this plot in episodes like “The Bart Wants What It Wants,” where both Bart and Milhouse dated Rainier Wolfcastle’s daughter Greta, too bad it stunk then and it stinks now. We’ve also seen things come between the pair other than people, like in “Three Men and a Comic Book” (comic book) and “Radioactive Man” (movie role), of course those comparisons are unfair because those stories made sense and were, you know, funny. This time, it is once again a woman… well, a girl., well really it was a women voicing a girl, but why split hairs? Do-gooder Jenny was voiced by Anne Hathaway (Rachel Getting Married, Get Smart) and the actress did a fine job read her lines competently even though none of them required even a shred of acting, timing or delivery. There was nothing extreme remotely funny in the part that she was called upon to perform, so in essence Jenny could have been performed by anybody.

While Bart was wooing Jenny, he instantly became a kinder person freakishly romantically confident 10-year old. Again, tThis was similar but importantly different from something we’ve seen before in “Bart’s Girlfriend,” where he tried pretended to be a good person for Reverend Lovejoy’s daughter, only to drop the charade when he couldn’t take it any more and find found out she liked bad boys. In Sunday night’s episode, Bart went good and stayed good for Jenny, which makes less sense and is a hell of a lot less funny. Things only went south degenerated completely when Milhouse confronted Bart about breaking his promise to visit him every day. This led to Milhouse making every effort repeatedly threatening to show Jenny the real Bart Simpson, which took up a lot more screen time than having him only do it once would have.

Meanwhile, thrown into the midst of this episode, Lisa was again having a breakdown over her perceived vision of our devastating future. Her therapist called it “environment related despair” and prescribed her “Ignorital Repressitol.” This “B” story was a lot like Bart’s time on “Focusyn,” only in a smaller dosage without even its shreds of cleverness. But even with the familiarity, hHaving Lisa’s depressing images covered with smiley faces was quite entertaining, was almost amusing the first time and tedious and repetitive the other forty seven. One of the best moments least plausible came when Maggie wielded a fan in front of Lisa and then in front of a drugged out Santa’s Little Helper for some reason.

Such was the case with the rest of the episode. There was a lot that seemed (and was) familiar implausible and repetitive, but it didn’t take away from the fun in “The Good, the Sad and the Drugly.”, as there was none to begin with. Throughout the episode, there were some hilarious bits juxtaposing straining horribly to relate kid life with adult relationships. The best most out of character was when Nelson was giving Bart advice on flirting with Jenny, which included pulling sticks of gum from his wallet (to stick in her hair) as if they were condoms: “I always come prepared. Take two. You might get lucky.” Ralph‘s had a hilarious take on what Springfield would be like in 50 years: “The vacuum cleaner will be quiet and not scary.” was maybe the only thing that merited a chuckle. And, really, Many times Milhouse gets got angry it’s funny, and no matter the cause situation it just seemed forced. This episode will never be considered a classic watchable by anyone, but it was still a fun half hour. To me, it felt like “The Good, the Sad and the Drugly” was using the classic episodes as an inspiration, when and not simply ripping them off would have been better.

21
Apr
09

Life Imitates Simpsons

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“We’re here! We’re queer! We don’t want anymore bears!” – Homer Simpson

Last Thursday a wild brown bear made an unannounced visit to Ljubljana, in search of food, or possibly employment, which forced the Slovenian police to seal off part of the capital.  Apparently there are more than one bear attacks in Slovenia each year, but it appears that the Slovenian Bear Patrol was prepared.  On a separate note, if any Slovenian authorities are reading this I have a rock in which you may be interested…

21
Apr
09

Quote of the Day

black-widower1

“Krusty, can you ever forgive me for framing you and putting you in jail?” – Sideshow Bob

“Hey, if they ever open the books on this telethon I’m right back in there.” – Krusty the Klown

20
Apr
09

For Once The Government And I Agree

“Hey Clinton, get back to work!” – Moe

“Make Me!” – Bill Clinton

There has been much talk about The Simpsons postal stamp deal and even though most of my thoughts about the subject fall in the ‘Unimpressed/Murderously Angry’ category, it has occurred to me that the US Government has made an overlooked statement here. Unless I am incorrect, and that may be the case as I have done absolutely zero research on the subject, a person must be dead for ten years before they are eligible to be on a postage stamp. I believe this to be the case because I remember seeing a news report about the Elvis stamps released quite some time ago, and I remember the news caster saying this was proof that Elvis was actually dead, and not at Krispy Kreme.

Disregarding the obvious point that The Simpsons are a cartoon and not a real person, it is clear to me that The USPS has decided to get on board with the team here at DHS. 

On May 2nd 1999 “Monty Can’t Buy Me Love” was broadcast. Simple logic would show that 5 days later the government (Lead at the time by Slick Willy, God bless’em) decided that in the depths of the fetid quagmire that was season 10, The Simpsons had died, leaving only a corpse which would soon be reanimated and roam the earth longing  to feed on the brains of unwitting fanboys.

Thank you Government, now if you would please issue a Matt Groening stamp I would be able to prove my theory that he has also been dead for a decade and any decisions regarding The Simpons since then have been made by the break dancing Richard Simmons robot brought in to replace him.

Also I apologize for writing yet another post regarding the stamps, but somethings just can’t be left unsaid.

20
Apr
09

Just Another Telling Example

barts-girlfriend11“I hate the sea, and everything in it.” – Captain McAllister

Two weeks after Moe acted way out of character to land a woman, we get the same thing from Bart.  He displayed an hitherto unknown amount of confidence and skill at flirting with a girl who, despite the fact that she also attends Springfield Elementary, he has never seen before.  The obvious comparison here is “Bart’s Girlfriend” from Season 6 and there is a specific aspect I’d like to point out.  

Twice last night, Bart looked at “Jenny” and saw her outlined in a halo of light complete with background music.  This is a pretty standard TV trope for “instant love”.  Last night they just played it straight: light + music = isn’t she perfect.  Now, recall the beginning of “Bart’s Girlfriend”, when Jessica Lovejoy makes her entrance on the pulpit, she too is wreathed in light.  Of course, we’re quickly shown the source of the light: Captain McAllister’s deliberately incompetent lighthouse policies.  

The difference is that Simpsons mocks the cliche; Zombie Simpsons just straight ahead uses it – twice.  

We’ll set the over/under on the ratings at 6.4 million viewers.

Update: The numbers are in and the over has it, ever so slightly, at 6.5 million viewers.  

20
Apr
09

Quote of the Day

oh-brother-where-art-thou1

“She did things your mother would never do, like have sex for money.” – Abe “Grandpa” Simpson

19
Apr
09

Sunday Preview: “The Good, The Sad, and The Drugly”

The Good, The Sad, and The Drugly
The lack of a new episode last week was such a tease. Unfortunately, there’s a new Zombie Simpsons on tonight, which guest stars Anne Hathaway as Bart’s object-of-desire Jenny. My memory’s slightly hazy – I tend to block out shit I hate – but this will be at least the fourth celebrity-voiced love interest Bart has had. This is, as Charlie opines, getting out of hand. Anyway, SNPP offers us this description:

Bart volunteers at the Springfield Retirement Castle in order to impress a girl, but this leaves Milhouse (who took the rap for a school prank he and Bart pulled) less than impressed; Lisa becomes depressed when she writes a report on what Springfield will be like 50 years from now.

Whoop dee doo. In case you’re chomping at the bit to watch this (sycophantic No Homers members, I’m looking in your general direction), here’s a clip or two to hold you over. Yeah, it’s going to be bad.

19
Apr
09

Quote of the Day

“What’s brunch?” – Marge Simpson

“You’d love it, it’s not quite breakfast, it’s not quite lunch, but it comes with a slice of cantaloupe at the end.  You don’t get completely what you would at breakfast, but you get a good meal!” – Jacques

18
Apr
09

Simpsons Wedding List

lisas-wedding1
“Mom, I feel kind of funny wearing white.  I mean . . . Milhouse.” – Lisa Simpson
“Oh, Milhouse doesn’t count.” – Marge Simpson

I’m attending a wedding this afternoon.  One thing I’ve learned through experience is that a Simpsons equipped laptop is a handy thing to have at such occasions, especially if you’re more or less required to get there several hours in advance.  So, without further Apu, I present my Simpsons wedding list which, in various forms, I’ve used several times over the last few years.  

Simpsons – 220 – The War of the Simpsons

Simpsons – 312 – I Married Marge

Simpsons – 321 – Black Widower

Simpsons – 521 – Lady Bouvier’s Lover

Simpsons – 522 – Secrets of a Successful Marriage

Simpsons – 610 – Grandpa vs. Sexual Inadequacy

Simpsons – 619 – Lisa’s Wedding

Simpsons – 806 – A Milhouse Divided

This list is, obviously, not exhaustive, but I’ve found that each episode has sufficient wedding/marriage related content so that even wedding attendees who would not ordinarily call themselves Simpsons fans find them appropriate.  

(You may notice that the Season 6 episode “Another Simpsons Clip Show” is not on the above list.  That episode is about love and romance whereas marriage is about property, a wholly separate concept, and, therefore, does not apply.)

18
Apr
09

Quote of the Day

lisa-the-vegetarian1“But what do you do if somebody wants a non-alcoholic beer?” – Lisa Simpson

“You know, it’s never come up.” – Apu Nahasapeemapetilon

17
Apr
09

Friday Link Dump – Not About Stamps Edition

“Well, he’s got all the money in the world but there’s one thing he can’t buy.” – Homer Simpson
“What’s that?” – Marge Simpson
“. . . A dinosaur!” – Homer Simpson

 

By avoiding anything and everything that had to do with the Simpsons stamps this week I got a pretty motley group, from triceratops to transvestism. 

New Fossil Discovery in Montana’s Homer Site – More news from our favorite Triceratops dig, apparently juveniles lived in groups.  No word on whether or not the mother was a put upon housewife. 

Kids, writing should never be a punishment – A guy in Minnesota thinks that making students write lines or punitive essays is a bad practice.  Here’s the Simpsons part:

Checking online, apparently writing still serves as a punishment in some schools, though it isn’t as widespread as it once was and it was never as widespread as the entertainment field makes it out to be. (Think Bart Simpson at the introduction to “The Simpsons.”)

The practice was going out of style, but I spent some time in the late eighties and early nineties writing things over and over again (on a chalkboard and on paper).  I thought it was pretty common. 

The Hours: 24, Season 7: The weaponized megavirus will be ready at the end of the episode. – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: 24 is unwatchably bad.  Here’s the passage that got it linked today:

Some mercs in an armored Humvee drive by, so Knowles tries to create a distraction, Bart Simpson style, which means he pretty much just runs out and yells “Look at me, everybody, I’m Chairman of the Board!” They throw his dumb ass in the back of the Humvee.

I don’t know about you, but I’m sure on the edge of my seat.

What belongs in the Oregon encyclopedia? – If you’re in Corvallis (home of Oregon State University) you can attend a lecture on the 27th about assembling the Oregon Encyclopedia titled, “What Beavers, Ducks, Bart Simpson and Leroy Vinnegar Have in Common, or How to Make a State Encyclopedia of Oregon.”  Groening is from Oregon, hence Bart makes the cut. 

Teacher becomes blue-haired lunch lady to settle a good-natured bet – At last, an excuse to wear makeup. 

Chatting Up Chicks The Vassar Way – This is stupid, but it makes the links for having both an explicit Simpsons reference at the get go and a slightly subtler one in the middle.

Friday’s TV: Medium – This kind of crap cannot go unchallenged:

Despite its age, The Simpsons survives. The writing isn’t as sharp as it once was (the best years were somewhere in the middle, where it played a little closer to the darkness) but this is still a robust, engaging comedy with a lot to say about American life.

Were it a weaker program it might have resorted to aping its nemesis, Family Guy, with the non sequiturs and pop-culture references that have made that show a must-watch comedy. But The Simpsons is better than that and deserves some respect for staying true to itself.

I want you to hang up, call me back and say the exact opposite of everything you just said.

Steve and Mia: She’s longing for a romantic man – Steve the advice columnist accurately quotes Lisa and does so in context.  Excellent usage. 

The Price of Admission – This is about Cornell admitting more rich dolts instead of poorer brainiacs and it also contains a well formulated Simpsons analogy.

Green Energy Act a Trojan horse for building more nuclear reactors – A bunch of Greenpeace protesters in Canada donned Mr. Burns masks.  This image is a little small, but you can see a bunch of yellow heads pretty clearly.

 

"The man you trusted isn't Wavy Gravy at all.  And all this time I've been smoking harmless tobacco." - C.M. Burns

"The man you trusted isn't Wavy Gravy at all. And all this time I've been smoking harmless tobacco." - C.M. Burns

(via.) 

The Simpsons Softball Team: 2009 Edition – What players would Mr. Burns use as ringers today?  After all, Cap Anson and Mordecai “Three Finger” Brown are still dead.

17
Apr
09

Quote of the Day

barts-friend-falls-in-love

“We start with pure milk chocolate…” – TV announcer
“Chocolate…” – Homer Simpson
“Add a layer of farm-fresh honey…” – TV announcer
“Oh, sweet…”- Homer Simpson
“Then we sprinkle on four kinds of sugar…” – TV announcer
(drooling noises) – Homer Simpson
“And dip it in rich, creamery butter.” – TV announcer

16
Apr
09

Quote of the Day

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lisas-rival2
lisas-rival3

“All right, Lisa, um… Jermey Irons.” – Professor Taylor

(pause) “Jeremy’s… iron.” – Lisa Simpson

“Mmmhmm. Well, that’s… very good… for a first try. You know what? I have a ball. Perhaps you’d like to bounce it.” – Professor Taylor
15
Apr
09

Blaming the Victim

“The guys who wrote this show don’t know squat.  Itchy should’ve tied Scratchy’s tongue with a taught line hitch, not a sheet bend.” – Bart Simpson
“Oh Bart, cartoons don’t have to be 100% realistic.” – Lisa Simpson

This is a couple of weeks old now, but it’s a good example of a recurring stupidity I see in a lot of commentary about Zombie Simpsons.  In a review of “Wedding for Disaster”, Steve Heisler up at A.V. Club wrote:

How does the show pull off yet another wedding episode? By spending 5-6 minutes on the fact that Reverend Lovejoy had, somehow, nulled his priesthood for the last three months, so everything he officiated didn’t count.
[...]
But because the show has to spend a bunch of time explaining why they are allowed to do what they are about to do-presumably to appease message board fans-they’ve wasted time they could be spending on the episode proper.

This is the idea that Simpsons became Zombie Simpsons, at least in part, because the show is now required to contort itself to justify plots and fit stories into an overarching “canon” of Simpsons lore.  It’s bullshit.  The show has never made any sense episode to episode, so long as it was clever, funny and original no one cared. 
 

The biggest, and funniest, example of this is the inability of Mr. Burns to recall any of his past encounters with the Simpson family, but there are numerous others.  “Kamp Krusty” (Season 4), “Bart of Darkness” (Season 6) and “The Summer of 4 Ft. 2″ (Season 7) all take place at the beginning of the kids summer vacation, but none of them contain any exposition or explanation as to how that’s possible.  The television breaks in Season 2′s “The Way We Was” and doesn’t get fixed; but the very next episode, “Homer vs. Lisa and the 8th Commandment”, is all about them watching television after they get cable.  Of course, that episode ends with them disconnecting the cable, but just one season later in “Burns Verkaufen der Kraftwerk” they watch the “financial channel”.  The house practically burns down in “Homer the Heretic”, they never explain how the Simpsons get a new car after the truck is repossessed in “Mr. Plow”, and the second to last scene in “Homer’s Barbershop Quartet” is basically an admission that none of it fits in with the rest of the show.  I could go on, but you get the idea.
 

The creators didn’t spend the first segment of “Wedding for Disaster” with useless back story and an implausible explanation as to why Homer and Marge needed to get married again to “appease message board fans”.  They did it to eat up screen time because none of the weak story lines they had (Lovejoy not being a minister/feeling inadequate next to his old friend, Marge going nuts over her dream wedding, or Selma kidnapping Homer a la Jigsaw from the Saw movies) could even hope to fill an entire episode. 
 

The Simpsons isn’t some serial drama or mystery show where every little plot point has to fit or the whole thing falls apart.  It’s a comedy and the only requirement is to be funny.  Wacky situations are not and never have been a problem with fans; hell, Season 1 had Bart going to France and an Albanian spy moving into the house.  Weak, unimaginative storytelling and slapdash humor are the culprits and the blame for that is squarely on the people who create the show, not the fans.

15
Apr
09

Quote of the Day

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“I like to keep a lollipop there.” – Homer Simpson

14
Apr
09

Life Imitating Art

 

What was clever satire in 1992 . . .

What was clever satire in 1992 . . .

 

“Oops, I shoulda warned you, that clock gets incredibly hot if you leave it plugged in.” – Krusty Merchandise Executive

 

I really don’t think there’s a whole lot that needs to be said about this.  It was satirized by the show it’s based off of seventeen years before it even existed. 

 

To be fair, this one cannot burn you if you leave it plugged in as it cannot be plugged in, it can only run on four AA batteries.  Four!  And the only display appears to be a small (and from the looks of it non-backlit) digital LED.  This is strictly for the moron collector set.

. . . has become a grim reality in 2009.

. . . has become a grim reality in 2009.

14
Apr
09

Quote of the Day

radio-bart11

“The Lincoln Squirrel has been assassinated.  We’ll stay with this story all night if we have to.” – Kent Brockman

13
Apr
09

Season 12 DVDs

 

Season 12: The Death of Hope

Season 12: The Death of Hope

There isn’t an official release date yet, but Amazon has a pre-order page up for the Season 12 DVDs (via).   (The Simpsons DVDs seem to come out willy-nilly; there’s no real pattern to when they get released, so this one could be coming out in a month or two or not until Christmas or later, who knows?)  Speaking only for myself, 12 was when I knew the show I loved was never coming back.  Prior to that I’d stopped denying that it had lost a step, but I still held out at least some hope for recovery; 12 was when hope died.  

Assuming that the image at left is actually the cover image, I think it’s very fitting.  Obviously there’s the fact that the comic book guy is one of the many minor characters who works extremely well in small parts but falls to pieces when asked to carry an episode.  But the delusional nature of someone with as many failings as he has secretly believing that, despite all evidence to the contrary, he’s super is almost too apt for Zombie Simpsons: “Beneath this mild mannered disguise lies genius!”  Sadly, no.

13
Apr
09

Quote of the Day

treehouse-of-horror-v

“If you ever travel back in time, don’t step on anything because even the tiniest change can alter the future in ways you can’t imagine.” – Abe Simpson




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