Archive for August, 2009

31
Aug
09

“New Kids on the Blecch” Makes Baby Jesus Cry

A Fish Called Selma2
“That took a lot of class.” – Troy McClure

I had genuinely forgotten just how bad some of these Season 12 episodes are.  I remember when this boy band episode was first broadcast, and I remember hating it, but I’d forgotten how painfully long it is.  And I know it clocks in at the usual amount of time, but the third act of this one is terribly boring, even by the standards of Zombie Simpsons.  There’s a concert on the ship, then it sails to New York, then they blow up the Mad Magazine building for some reason and it just keeps on going to the point that it feels like it’s never going to end.  Oh yeah, and “‘N Sync” shows up to be fawned over instead of mocked.  Just a truly awful spectacle.

Anyway, there are a whopping eleven people commenting on this one, including one from ‘N Sync.

1:15:  Mike Scully had to yell at the writers for not coming up with any good ideas and this piece of shit was the result.

3:15:  Discussing how star struck everyone was to have ‘N Sync around.

4:45:  Still talking about how popular ‘N Sync was.

5:20:  Laughing at the stupidity of their band notification joke.

6:30:  Now they’re discussing how all of the ‘N Sync songs sounded the same.

7:45:  Discussing how the guy they got to produce the crappy songs was an asshole to the singers they brought in.  The purpose, of course, was to get that authentic boy band sound that really made this episode oh so special.

8:20:  Discussing how faithfully their crappy fake boy band singing imitates actual crappy boy band singing.  Seriously.

9:30:  In keeping with the other Season 12 DVD commentaries, this is the part where they laugh about how strange and bizarre the plot of this episode is.

11:40:  Discussing the fact that they had no ending for this episode, somebody says, “It was during a period when a lot of conspiracies were afoot on the show.  When people weren’t what they seemed.”  Basically that means that they didn’t have an ending for this half-cooked story and just pulled something out of their asses.  What’s more, they did that a lot.  Yet again, the apathy towards the quality of their own show is really telling.

12:40:  Talking about an ‘N Sync concert.

13:10:  Someone mockingly calls the story “airtight” to general laughter.  They just don’t care.

13:20:  Discussing whether or not the Village People were an inspiration for this insane Navy conspiracy ploy, “That’s way more thought than we put into it.”  Yup.

15:40:  “Another great song”.  Seriously, half this episode is bad imitations of worse songs, and these guys are thoroughly entertained by it.

18:00:  Long story from ‘N Sync guy about the perils of lip syncing.

19:30:  Lip syncing story still going on.

19:50:  Laughing at the wild stupidity of having ‘N Sync show up for no reason.

20:35:  Mildly interesting note in that they had to pull this episode from syndication for a while after the 2001 terrorist attacks because they blew up a building in New York.

21:12:  Laughing at the Irish cop and what they’re doing on a moving boat.  I’ll say it again: utter apathy towards their work, just the textbook definition of phoning something in.

31
Aug
09

Quote of the Day

secretshame1

“Oh go eat some flowers!” – Bart Simpson

secretshame2

“(shrieks) My secret shame!” – Homer Simpson

30
Aug
09

Quote of the Day

queen

“And you see that queen over there?  Her name is Smithers.” – C. Montgomery Burns

29
Aug
09

“Tennis the Menace” Makes Baby Jesus Cry

“I don’t want to judge the rightness of your ego orientation, but my inner critic says you should have done your job.” – Marge Simpson

There is a definite theme on the Season 12 commentaries so far.  That theme is an almost complete indifference to telling a coherent story.  I say “almost complete” because when the commentators do acknowledge the lack of story they seem kinda pleased with themselves.  It’s like a mechanic telling you, “Yeah, I didn’t fix your transmission, but who really needs one of those, amirite?”

Anyway, this episode sucks ass.

1:00:  There are eight guys commenting, including the guy who created “Everybody Loves Raymond” who apparently just happened to be in the building.  Granting that the people behind terrible sitcoms are often a lot funnier than the sitcoms themselves, “Everybody Loves Raymond” is the apotheosis of formulaic television.  You know, the thing The Simpsons used to be the opposite of.  “Raymond” guy immediately makes a joke about this actually being an episode of his crappy show.  This will not be the last time he does this.  (It’s his job to be repetitive, his job, his job, repetitiveness is his job . . .)

1:45:  The censors forbid them from showing Homer’s ass after Season 14?  Figures.  Also I’d forgotten this episode starts off with a joke ripped straight from “Bart vs Australia”.

2:45:  Laughing at the fact that they need radical story shifts to get to the main plot.  Once again I’m kinda amazed by the callousness of it, especially since they then pat themselves on the back for having Homer reference it.

3:10:  The “Raymond” guy makes the exact same joke he did two minutes ago.  Remember what I said above about the people behind a crappy sitcom being funnier than the sitcom?  Nevermind.

3:30:  Mildly interesting note: this was the first time the whole thing is digitally colored.  Now that’s all they do, this one was a test.

4:15:  More laughing at the fact that Homer had to pause awkwardly at the names of the deodorants.  Again, really callous towards their own inability to tell a story smoothly.

6:00:  Discussing the Tom Hanks cameo from the movie and ignoring the crappiness of what’s going on.

6:50:  Talking about how it’s kinda lame to wait until the second act to get to the main story they mention that it’s okay if they “anchor” things emotionally.  Huh?

8:00:  Apparently they couldn’t figure out a way to squeeze in John McEnroe amongst all the tennis celebrities.  I am less sorry about this than they are.

9:00:  Still talking about McEnroe

10:00:  Long silence at tennis zaniness.

10:45:  Mindless laughter at super wide supermarket aisles.

11:20:  The “Raymond” guy just said that “Simpsons” influenced all the shows that came after it by lowering the bar for “how stupid can we make the dad” and then says that Homer’s about as far as one can go.  I really don’t think that’s a compliment.

11:50:  Still talking about how dumb Homer can be and how they had a rule that he could never forget who he is.  Then someone else notes that they’ve violated that rule a lot, and everyone laughs.  I’m getting tired of typing it, but their indifference toward the show is really telling.

13:00:  Oh goody, more inside information on “Everybody Loves Raymond”.  What DVD set am I watching again?

14:30:  Long silence at Homer’s weirdness is finally broken by a broken car window.  That’s about right.

17:30:  Speaking of low bars . . . for some reason they’re very pleased with themselves for setting this ludicrous conflict within the family instead of outside of it.

18:35:  Defending the Krusty “racket-earring” joke.  Seriously.

19:00:  Long silence as the episode devolves into irretrievable stupidity with the Williams sisters.

21:00:  Again, quite pleased with themselves for the improbability of their ending.

22:00:  Admitting that the ending sucks, nonplussed about it.

22:10:  “Raymond” guy makes his same joke for the third and final time.  Ugh.

29
Aug
09

Quote of the Day

friends

“More friends!  More allies!  More I say!  Hang those who talk of less!” – Martin Prince

28
Aug
09

Friday Link Dump – Skepticism Edition

A Star is Burns3

“I’m telling you people, the Earth revolves around the Sun!” – Principal Skinner
“Burn him!” – Abe “Grandpa” Simpson

There’s a nice menagerie this week.  We’ve got the usual random internet crap, a spectacular usage fail, me hating on astrology, Simpsonized skeptics, and an oblique reference to the Miss Universe pageant.

10 Best Father/Son Wisdom Exchanges from TV and Movies – Bart and Homer make the list for Homer’s awesome “You’re not talking about killing anyone, are you?” speech.

Miss Kosovo vs Marge Simpson – You be the judge. – Miss Kosovo (it’s a country now!) lost the Miss Universe pageant to Miss Venezuela last Sunday.  In this photo she has a bit of a “up” hair-do.  Enh.  If you ask me, they’re all winners.

No Grand Slam, but a Triple Crown, maybe – Reviewing the new movie “Bandslam”, Daniel Carey gets a silver star for this almost excellent usage:

THERE’S a great scene in ‘The Simpsons’ where Ralph Wiggum, interviewed by Krusty the Klown on live television, reveals that he loves Lisa Simpson and plans to marry her. A horrified Lisa screams ‘No!’ and admits that she only gave him a Valentine’s Day card because nobody else would. Afterwards, Lisa’s brother Bart plays her back the tape of the show in slow motion, and reveals that ‘you can actually pinpoint the exact second where his heart rips in two!’

He muffs the quote from Bart just a bit (“you can actually pinpoint the second when his heart rips in half!”), but it’s still pretty good.

OFFBEAT: Readers respond to Rick Springfield, along with Paul Anka question – I didn’t know Paul Anka wrote Johnny Carson’s tonight show theme.

Simpsons Top Trumps: Skeptics EditionTop Trumps is a card game.  This is a mockup set with prominent skeptics drawn Simpsons style.  I know who about half of these people are, but I’m still damn impressed.

TV’s Homer Simpson to lead Cincinnati dance – This is pretty much what the headline says:

Homer Simpson — or someone dressed like the patriarch of TV’s popular cartoon family — will be out in front of what they call the World’s Largest Chicken Dance, part of the city’s annual Oktoberfest celebration on Sept. 20.

The Fox Network sought the invitation to promote the 20th anniversary of ”The Simpsons.”

Doesn’t this family know any songs that aren’t commercials?

Astro-Homer – It’s an astrological breakdown of the Simpson family.  Fun astrology fact: in addition to being complete hokum in general, astrology can’t even get its own signs correct.  The calendar dates used to determine what “sign” you are don’t actually correspond with the constellations because of a silly little thing called precession.

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Johnny Unitas – Now here’s something Morgan Spurlock should look into.  A commenter attributes Grandpa’s line about setting your watch to his haircut to Hank Hill and is immediately corrected by three different people.  Then somebody busts out Unitas’ turn as a spokesman for the Lady Krusty line.  That is the pervasiveness of Simpsons.

Minaya has his faults, but shouldn’t be fired – This isn’t so much usage as it is a reference, but it’s a good one:

However, Minaya couldn’t have foreseen a plague of injuries the likes of which hasn’t befallen a team since the “Homer at the Bat” episode of The Simpsons.

Murphy opens up 8pm Sky 1 slot as Simpsons moves – There will be less Simpsons on Sky 1.  This is what DVDs and .avi files are for.

Sex Offenders and the Simpsons – Massive usage FAIL here.  He’s talking about the fact that sex offender databases are often chock full of people who aren’t really predators.  Fine.  Then he drops this non-sequitur:

That recent Economist issue argues:

“In fact its (the USA’s) sex-offender laws have grown self-defeatingly harsh … They have been driven by a ratchet effect … Stricter curbs on (pedophiles) win votes. And to sound severe, such curbs must be stronger than the laws in place, which in turn were imposed by politicians who wished to appear tough themselves. Few politicians dare to vote against such laws, because if they do, the attack ads practically write themselves.”

The problem on one level is that it’s mixing in the young and foolish — the Bart Simpsons — with the really bad guys, the dangerous offenders.

The Bart Simpsons? Bart is many things, but a sex offender? Even by the prurient standards of craven state legislatures? No. (Okay, maybe with Arthur and the fireworks.) But wait, there’s more!

Once more, the challenge is close to home. It is not a good image to visualize parents complaining to schools or law enforcement about sex offenders while, perhaps, nobody watches their youngsters on the playground or ensures that persons watching their children at home can be trusted to be alone with them. Usually, it’s not the strangers who are the predators.

In my favorite Simpsons episode may lie part of the answer to how community involvement might help bring the proper focus to this issue. In this episode, Lisa is being bullied at school and Marge at first just basically says, “be a good girl and put up with it.” Then mother-bear Marge reconsiders, and with righteous anger drives to school and strongly urges Lisa to stand up for herself.

First of all, the Simspon citation doesn’t make any sense in context.  Second, and as always take this with the caveat that there are Zombie Simpsons episodes I haven’t suffered through, I’m guessing he’s referring to “Moaning Lisa” here.  But that is a pretty poor description of the plot.  Lisa isn’t exactly “bullied” and when Marge snaps and picks Lisa up she tells her to be herself, not stand up for herself.

I don’t see how anything in this piece has anything to do with The Simpsons, other than as an ingenious way to drive pageviews, which I just aided.

Believe It Or Not, Here’s An Amazing Season 20 Simpsons Episode – “Best Week Ever” is shallow and pointless even by the inch deep standards of popular culture.  Their website, believe it or not, is even worse.  Nevertheless, this cannot go without vehement disagreement:

As a diehard Simpsons fan and occasional masochist, I take it upon myself to try to keep up with recent Simpsons seasons because, contrary to popular widespread lazy anger, like SNL, the Simpsons doesn’t just “suck” now; granted, about 40% of the episodes do straight-up suck (especially any “three stories” episodes or “travel to some country” episodes), while about 40% are funny but have absurd plots, and a select handful of episodes each year really do earn the right to be called “great episodes.”

Where to begin?  Our anger is indeed popular and widespread, but it certainly isn’t lazy.  SNL is and always has been cyclical.  It’s funny for a while, the funny people leave, it sucks for a while, a new core of funny people comes in and the circle is complete.  This has happened to SNL like five times now.  The Simpsons, on the other hand, was great and now sucks.  It’s sucked for about a decade and hasn’t shown any signs of life in the meantime.  And no the absurd plots do not make things funny.  And no, nothing in Season 20 has earned the right to be called anything other than flaming donkey shit.

If you care, and I suspect you don’t, the two episodes he thought were good were “The Good, The Sad, and the Drugly” (the one where Bart is nice for the fifth grade girl and Lisa’s subplot consists almost entirely of smiley faces covering the screen, kind of like a screen saver from 1993) and “Eeny Teeny Maya Moe” (the one where Moe dates the dwarf lady and Maggie has the bizarre playground subplot).  Maybe he just likes episodes that are transparent retellings of older episodes?

Liveblogging “One Life To Live”: The Fish hits the fan – People live blog soap operas?  I love the internet.  Here’s why this is semi-relevant:

It looks to be a busy episode for Oliver, as he and MCBAAAAAAAAIN! (please tell me I’m not the only one who automatically thinks of The Simpsons when they see John‘s last name) get closer to the secret of the drug ring, and Layla finally puts all of the pieces of Oliver’s secret together.

I just can’t believe Stark would stoop to that, and right in the middle of Montana and Dakota’s wedding.

6 Bullshit Facts About Psychology That Everyone Believes – This is a long, actually kinda interesting article though it suffers from “Myth Busters” syndrome in that about half of these are things I didn’t think anyone actually believed.

You always hear people talk about how “cathartic” an experience was and how much better they feel, or you’ll hear them say things like, “If you keep your anger bottled up, one day you’ll just snap!”

In fact the “about to go crazy because he can’t express anger” character is a mainstay in television and movies (see that Simpsons episode where Ned Flanders finally loses it, and every movie where a renegade cop fires his gun into the air instead of unloading on the bad guy who just killed his wife).

I can’t speak for anyone else, but I find releasing my Zombie Simpsons anger on this blog to be extremely cathartic.  And that is going to be doubly true once Zombie Simpsons starts back up in a month.

Hugh Hefner Makes Disturbing Announcement – This has been kicking around the internet for a couple of days now and much as I think it’s going to be a complete waste of time I suppose we have to mention it.  From Hugh Hefner’s Twitter feed:

Marge Simpson has a surprise for her fans in the November issue of Playboy.

Meh.  Thanks to Jezebel for the direct twitter link.

The Bacon Mile – This is about a guy who jogs and likes bacon.  (I like one of those two things, see if you can guess which.)  It has almost nothing to do with The Simpsons except that he quotes Homer at the beginning.  Excellent usage.

28
Aug
09

Homer Guitar!


Something told me this was a very special, very magical piece of wood, that I could make a guitar out of.

Something told me this was a very special, very magical piece of wood, that I could make a guitar out of.

“Hey, cherry ax, Bart dude.” – Otto

This Homer guitar is simply too cool to be part of today’s link dump.  Instructables user captainserious created it from a leftover guitar neck and some wood.  (The full list of the steps to create it are here.)  What makes this thing really impressive is the fact that it’s a dead-on Homer drawing.  I’d be impressed if someone just drew that freehand, much less made it out of wood and painted it.

Mad Jon is the resident musician around here, but would it even matter what this guitar sounded like?  I mean, you haul this one up on stage and everybody’s gonna go nuts regardless, right?

(found via Daily DIY)

28
Aug
09

Quote of the Day

jameswoods

“You’re my agent, you have to do something about this.  How can it be the same movie if they’ve changed my character from a tightly wound convenience store clerk to a jittery Eskimo firefighter? . . . uh huh . . . uh huh . . . mmm hmm, well actually, that’s . . . that’s a pretty good explanation.” – James Woods

27
Aug
09

How to Put Homer Simpson Properly Out of Character

Homer Simpson is an ill educated moron.  He is a loser of the first caliber and is locked into a perpetual cycle of stupidity and defeat.  Then again, all his best lines were written by rich, over-educated nerds, which made the task of putting trenchant insights into his mouth that much more difficult.  That’s why this little exchange from “The Spingfield Connection” is so great:

“This police radio entertains me with other people’s miseries.  We get a free funeral for Marge, God forbid.  And I can run backround checks on whomever I want! . . . Mohmar.” – Homer Simspon

I’m never one who is 100% sure of his grammar, but it sounds to me like Homer used the according-to-Hoyle version of who/whom there.  It’s subtle, it takes less than a second, and it’s never mentioned again.

27
Aug
09

Crazy Noises: Homer’s Enemy

Homer's Enemy4

“I’m better than okay, I’m Homer Simpson!” – Frank Grimes

“You wish.” – Homer Simpson

In an attempt to fill the summer with love, hate and pointless Simpsons commentary we at the Dead Homer Society are going to spend some time overthinking Season 8.  Why Season 8?  Because Season 8 is when The Simpsons really began to deteriorate into Zombie Simpsons.  That’s why.  Because we’re cutting edge and ultra-modern we’re using a newfangled, information-superhighway fad called a “chatroom” to conduct our conversation.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (though not on “mitochondrial”).

Today’s episode is 823 “Homer’s Enemy“.  Yesterday’s was 822 “In Marge We Trust“.

Note: This is going to be the final entry in our Season 8 Crazy Noises series and the choice to end with Frank Grimes is deliberate.  We consider “Homer’s Enemy” to be a watershed for the show, an episode that departs from much of what made The Simpsons great, but still manages to be hilarious.  It was a feat rarely, if ever, to be repeated.

Mad Jon: As far as I am concerned this episode is the mitochondrial DNA of all Zombie Simpsons. That being said it worked out in this one.

Dave: I love this episode to bits. But it isn’t an episode of “The Simpsons,” really.

Mad Jon: Exactly.

Charlie Sweatpants: Not to get ahead of things, but I think this episode encapsulates everything that was both great about this show and at the same time showed how awful it was going to be.

Mad Jon: This is the episode where they figured out how Homer can be funny without being Homer. But it really only worked this time.

Charlie Sweatpants: Well put, Dave.

Dave: That’s a diplomatic way of putting it, Charlie.

Charlie Sweatpants: Well put, Jon.

Dave: It is, simply the Finest Zombie Simpsons Episode Ever.

Charlie Sweatpants: I always find that it boils down to the scene where Homer has Grimes over to the house and brags about all he’s done. It’s funny, yeah, but at the same time it’s an admission that Homer isn’t the loser that made him Homer.

Well put, Dave (x2).

Dave: Explain that a bit, Charlie.

Mad Jon: The problem is that this episode was funny enough that it didn’t have any natural predators. And later on when the writers ran out of ideas (I would like to point out the McFarland post from earlier this week) or they just got lazy, there was no proof that this type of comedy would end up as crappy as it has.

Charlie Sweatpants: Homer, at his core, was an all-American loser. He’s got a job he hates and kids who don’t appreciate him, everything he does goes wrong, etcetera. But all the adventures he got in, all the things he did, they’re the opposite of that and that was a big part of what made them funny.

Now he expects to “win”, he expects to get away with things, and that rips the heart out of it.

Mad Jon: Homer drink acid? He’ll sure try. Compete in a contest for children? Even he can’t lose that one.

Charlie Sweatpants: Exactly.

Mad Jon: Good thing Hank Azaria is as funny as he is with his actual voice and disdain for Zombie Homer.

Dave: That is a brilliant summary of Homer as he was and as he was doomed to be.

Mad Jon: Simply put, I hate that which Grimey hates.

Charlie Sweatpants: Thanks?

Well Grimes is part of the problem.

Dave: You’re welcome.

Mad Jon: I know, I was just making a statement about my hatred for the Homer of the last ten years.

Charlie Sweatpants: He’s too sympathetic. I understand and support the fact that the basis for a lot of the Simpsons humor is outrageous cruelty, but when it’s happening to Grimes it doesn’t land as well as when it’s happening to Homer.

What makes this episode so funny though, is the fact that it’s still pulled off with a great sense of style.

The dog barking when Burns is chewing out Grimes, Carl and Lenny’s descriptions of Homer, and the B plot with Bart and Milhouse works well too.

Mad Jon: I guess, but still I feel that if someone had been paying attention they never would have Homer’s actions proceed similarly in future episodes without another Grimes, which, of course, would be improbable if not impossible.

Dave: Yeah, there’s a lot to like about the subtle extras.

Mad Jon: the B plot is pretty good…

“I saw the whole thing..”

Dave: Milhouse takes on the role of dejected security guard pretty quickly, with hilarious results

Charlie Sweatpants: Well that’s the big rub with this episode, right? If it had come in the last or second to last season, it would be great. But you can’t watch it without watching the horrible architecture of Zombie Simpsons rise before your very eyes.

Dave – yes.

Mad Jon: That should have been even more proof.

Charlie Sweatpants: Especially since his dad just got divorced like 15 episodes beforehand.

Mad Jon: …for the writers that is..

Dave: It is a terrifying vision of things to come

But as I said, it’s the best out of all of them. The writers couldn’t even be bothered to improve on the “formula”

I guess in some ways that makes this episode a fluke. We should hate the shit out of it, but we don’t

Charlie Sweatpants: But that’s just it, this formula only works once or twice.

Mad Jon: Exactly

After this episode Homer should have returned to his life of self loathing and alcoholic coping mechanisms. He shouldn’t have become a fucking punching bag..

But when in Rome..

Dave: Something like that…

Charlie Sweatpants: I don’t know if this is interesting or not, but I looked up the old usenet reviews on the SNPP page for this one. Only one guy gave it a C, everything else was either full of praise (A/B) or hate filled (D/F).

I, for one, straight fucking hated this episode when it came out.

Mad Jon: And that little boy grew up to be…. Roy Cone..

Charlie Sweatpants: Cohn.

Sorry, drunk.

Mad Jon: Eat me rummy

Sorry, drunk too.

Charlie Sweatpants: But it grew on me because once I know the ending, after I don’t care how weird the story is, I can enjoy the jokes.

Mad Jon: Let this be a lesson kids, drink too much and you’ll hate the Simpsons and tease your best friends.

Charlie Sweatpants: But like we said, it’s a formula that can’t hold up repeatedly and this was the best way it was ever done. It was all downhill from here.

Mad Jon: Agreed.

Dave: Yep.

Charlie Sweatpants: There’s a lot of the horns of suspense for Grimes’ plan, and then the horns of danger for his freakout at the end, which sucks a lot of the fun out of the whole thing.

Mad Jon: yeah, the horns have never been a good thing.

I think we’ve harped on that before.

Dave: Horns bad? I’m sure we have

Charlie Sweatpants: Even in my drunken and loquacious state (notwithstanding all of the above), this one leaves me at a loss for words.

“Marge Be Not Proud” was the first miss, yeah, but this one broke the mold, it is unique.

Mad Jon: Its like a lung fish. It’s pretty funny, it’s a change from the predecessor, but it didn’t lead to anything worthwhile.

Dave: Thank you, Captain Science.

Charlie Sweatpants: Damn man, you’ve got biology on the brain.

Mad Jon: Sorry

Charlie Sweatpants: Just ask this scientician . . .

Okay, I’m getting depressed and it has very little to do with the booze. Any final thoughts?

Mad Jon: I hate the fact I love this episode. There I said it.

Dave: That pretty well sums it up.

Charlie Sweatpants: Shall we close with the opening then? Because Brockman’s line, with no lead in whatsoever, of “Which if true, means death for us all.” is as good a thing as he ever said.

Mad Jon: Ha ha ha

Dave: Perfect.

27
Aug
09

Zombie Simpsons is not better than “most” TV

ozmodiar

“You’ve really done it this time, dum-dum.” – Ozmodiar

Read our manifesto.  Time and time again we hear people say that because Zombie Simpsons is better than “most” TV today, it’s still worth watching.  It’s an impossibly tired and empty argument that we’ve discussed at length and beaten to a bloody pulp.  And yet, I feel compelled to revisit this premise once again.

Like my colleague Mr. Sweatpants, I too have been watching the Season 12 DVDs with a combination of dread and revulsion. I haven’t the stomach to sit through the commentaries, but I did transfer “HOMЯ” onto my iPod yesterday so that I could listen to it during my daily run. Y’know, just for shits and giggles. The run was great but listening to the episode was, quite simply, insufferable.

Lowlights included:

  • The idiotic and pointless exchange between Homer, himself, and the bank teller involving candy.
  • Moe talking into the functional ears on Barney’s chest as a result of being a medical guinea pig. Barney’s predisposition for making a quick buck by subjecting his body to science was handled more elegantly (and I daresay more realistically) in “Lisa the Beauty Queen,” with electrodes and wires taped to the back of his half-shaven head.
  • Dr. Hibbert’s ridiculous cop-out regarding why he repeatedly neglected to notice the crayon in Homer’s brain along with his immediate, unfunny departure.
  • The fulfillment of the threat of introducing Ozmodiar from “The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase.” That asshole shows up twice in this episode, no less.
  • The hackneyed, deus ex machina note Smart Homer leaves for Lisa after his devolution to Normal Zombie Homer, followed by the perfunctory horns of happiness.

I doubt actually watching the episode would have made it any more tolerable. While I won’t waste more time picking apart the flimsy gags, I would like to ask two questions of the most ardent and occasionally nonsensical defenders of Zombie Simpsons: this shit is better than regular TV how, exactly? Two, do you genuinely find any of the above lowlights funny?

The only safe conclusion I can come to after yesterday’s experiment is that either fans of Zombie Simpsons have really low standards or mine are just unreasonably high. You don’t even need to actually watch Zombie Simpsons to realize how awful it is. As for my run today, I’ll be switching back to NPR, thanks. Kai Ryssdal has a dreamy voice.

27
Aug
09

Spurlock Update: Goin’ Global

Morgan Spurlock is filming in Scotland for his Simpsons special.  We’ve mentioned this briefly in the past, but in Scotland there’s a small dispute over which part of Scotland Groundskeeper Willie calls home.  The two main contenders are Aberdeen and Glasgow.  Spurlock visited both:

When the ginger-haired janitor first appeared on the show, Glaswegians claimed he was from the Dear Green Place.

But a counter-claim was then made by Aberdonians who insisted he hailed from the granite city because he was heard to shout: “Go on Aberdeen” in one episode of the cartoon series.

In Glasgow Spurlock interviewed people on the street as well as the Lord Provost (sort of like a mayor/president of the city council).  In Aberdeen he talked to a soccer team:

ABERDEEN Football Club is to star in a documentary about cartoon favourites The Simpsons.

Staff at Pittodrie, including Aberdeen FC manager Mark McGhee, have been interviewed for the show which will be aired in the US in January.

I’ll give Spurlock credit, from the tiny amount of available information we have he appears to have been serious about his “root it in the fans” comment.  Whether or not that will make for an entertaining special is an open question, but getting the weird menagerie of Simpsons fans on camera can’t hurt.

28 August Update: More on Spurlock’s trip to Scotland, including the fact that he’s spending a total of ten (10) days in Britain.  How much actual screen time can he get out of Scottish people talking about Willie and whatever else he’s filming in Britain?  Ten minutes?  Fifteen?  Methinks someone may have padded his travel schedule while Mr. Rupert was picking up the tab.

27
Aug
09

Quote of the Day

office

“Hey, you!  Get out of my office!” – Lionel Hutz

26
Aug
09

Stained Glass Simpsons

On the same day we’re talking about St. Eleutherius of Nicomedia, I come across the work of Joseph Cavalieri, an artist who makes stained glass windows with Simpsons characters.  The one on the left is from Cavalieri’s site, the one on the right is from Stuff Boston.

"We did it, we beat cancer." - Patty Bouvier

"We did it, we beat cancer." - Patty Bouvier

"This is so much like my dreams it's scary." - Bart Simpson

"This is so much like my dreams it's scary." - Bart Simpson

Much like that hyper-elaborate Homer drawing from a couple of weeks ago, I’m just incredibly impressed by the skill it must take to create something like this.  It’s the little touches that really make it, like Patty & Selma having those conical bras and all of the scrapped televisions beneath Bart & Lisa.

(found via)

26
Aug
09

Crazy Noises: In Marge We Trust

In Marge We Trust4

“Mr. Sparkle, a joint venture of Matsumura Fish Works and Tamaribuchi Heavy Manufacturing Concern.” – Mr. Sparkle Video

In an attempt to fill the summer with love, hate and pointless Simpsons commentary we at the Dead Homer Society are going to spend some time overthinking Season 8.  Why Season 8?  Because Season 8 is when The Simpsons really began to deteriorate into Zombie Simpsons.  That’s why.  Because we’re cutting edge and ultra-modern we’re using a newfangled, information-superhighway fad called a “chatroom” to conduct our conversation.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (surprisingly enough NOT on “St. Eleutherius of Nicomedia”).

Today’s episode is 822 “In Marge We Trust“, tomorrow’s, the final entry in this series, will be 823 “Homer’s Enemy“.

Charlie Sweatpants: So, In Marge We Trust?

Dave: Let’s do it

Mad Jon: I have generally been a fan of this episode, but recent viewings have its appeal beginning to wither.

Charlie Sweatpants: The first two segments are almost perfect, the third? Not so much.

Dave: Jon, you read my mind. I’ve watched this the better part of a half-dozen times in the past week, and I’m left with this uneasy feeling

and Charlie, you hit the nail on the head. It just ends terribly

Mad Jon: Wow, I had a long speech all prepared and you guys wrapped it up in 4 sentences.

In all fairness, my speech probably only would have been 5…

Charlie Sweatpants: You didn’t scrimp much then, don’t feel bad.

Dave: My love for Mr. Sparkle, however remains undying

Charlie Sweatpants: The simple fact is that this is excellent Simpsons right up until Dolph, Jimbo and Kearney chase Flanders for no reason.

Mad Jon: Marge as the “listen lady” is an interesting idea; it strays a bit from the standard values, but there is enough hilarity in the jokes that I am willing to pardon it.

I agree with you Charlie, and ending for the sake of an ending.

Charlie Sweatpants: Then it has its weird “action” ending that makes no sense.

Dave: Right. Very contrived series of events

Mad Jon: And yes Dave, Mr. Sparkle still makes me wet myself. Especially the commercial.

Dave: All I know about Japan comes from this episode, and I’m okay with that.

Charlie Sweatpants: Well, I think we can agree that the B plot is “lucky super best wash” awesome. There’s nothing wrong with it.

Mad Jon: There you go fish bulb.

Although I will say that the reason for finding the soap box is iffy.

Charlie Sweatpants: The VHS tape, the look the librarian gives to Homer as he sees him dialing an impossibly long number, the broken English of the guy who answers the phone, it just goes on and on.

Agree with that last thing Jon.

Mad Jon: The dump? really? and Lisa went too?

Charlie Sweatpants: There are definite shades of Zombie Simpsons in the dump scene, especially Homer’s little freak out at seeing the box.

Dave: Shades, but not enough to make me call foul play

Mad Jon: And the phone sequence was the first time I noticed a time filler gag. I was only 9 or 10 the first time I saw this one, but I knew it then for sure.

Charlie Sweatpants: I never thought the phone gag felt like filler, though it did have shades of repeating itself from “Bart vs Australia”.

Dave: Shades of the rake gag, too

Charlie Sweatpants: I don’t think there are really holes to poke so much as a glaring lack of an ending.

Mad Jon: I dunno, he dials the phone for like 20 seconds or so…

the look from the librarian is good, but…

Charlie Sweatpants: Like when trains collide and the cars at the end look normal, it’s just the ones up front that are FUBAR.

Mad Jon: And the rake gag lets us enjoy a few extra seconds of Kelsey Grammer dragging himself down to the level of slapstick, which is kind of a higher level of joke then a repeat of number punching after homer straight up lies to the guy about the local call.

But as I stated in the beginning, this has always been a good episode in my mind. But something is definitely off.

Charlie Sweatpants: Well yeah, but I really think it’s only at the end.

Mad Jon: And the lack of a good ending may be it, but I can’t help at look at the other transitory elements from classic Simpsons to the shell of a show that it is now.

Charlie Sweatpants: Though that may be the fact that the first two segments are amongst the best religion takedowns the Simpsons ever did.

Mad Jon: You are absolutely right about that.

Dave: Yeah, later Zombie Simpsons satires on religion have fallen a bit flat

Like that stupid episode where Homer is a missionary and licks frogs for some reason

Charlie Sweatpants: From the boring sermon, the disinterested pastor, the angry saints, the whole thing is just dead on.

Mad Jon: Well, nowadays they always involve Armageddon or some shit like that. Even a good writer can’t keep Homer off of the ledge in those ones.

Charlie Sweatpants: Good point.

Mad Jon: The scene where Lovejoy is talking to the saints is funny.

Dave: “That’s my name, don’t wear it out.” – St. Eleutherius of Nicomedia

One of my all time favorite lines.

Charlie Sweatpants: There are definitely signs of weakness in the first two segments, Lovejoy seeing the light in the church basement window springs to mind, but it’s so minor that it almost doesn’t register.

Mad Jon: I still can’t get over the Marge centered A plot. It’s just not her role.

Charlie Sweatpants: I’ll disagree with that.

Mad Jon: It’s funny as hell, don’t get me wrong. But I’m a pessimist

Charlie Sweatpants: Volunteering at the church is exactly the kind of thing she’d do, and we know she’s an excellent problem solver having put up with Homer and Bart for years.

Mad Jon: Disagree all you want, but Marge would never go that far.

Charlie Sweatpants: The only serious problem I have with this one is the end.

Dave: I’ll half side with Jon here; I find Marge-dominated plots less interesting and generally less entertaining

Mad Jon: She would for sure volunteer, but taking over Lovejoy’s flock? That’s pretty ambitious.

Charlie Sweatpants: There’s no reason the kids would chase Flanders that far, there’s no reason he would hide inside the baboon enclosure, there’s no reason for Lovejoy to be there at the end, there’s no reason for Lovejoy to fight the apes, it all just sucks.

Yeah, you’re right about taking over the flock, but I didn’t think it was super out of line.

Admittedly, the ending does pave the way for Lovejoy’s self aggrandizing story at the end, but it’s not enough to salvage it.

Mad Jon: No, not super out of line, but like I said, when you spend your time bitching about how the show went downhill you tend to focus on the missing links.

Charlie Sweatpants: Good point.

Dave: I tend to lump Lovejoy’s story with the rest of the shitty ending

Mad Jon: Remember I studied evolution in college, and since I can’t use it to make a living I might as well use it here.

Charlie Sweatpants: You didn’t like Lovejoy’s “Conquest of the County of the Apes” thing, Dave?

Mad Jon: Oh god, the zookeeper’s explanation about how he can’t save Flanders is great.

Charlie Sweatpants: If they don’t kill the intruder it’s really bad for their society.

Dave: I didn’t, mostly because I didn’t enjoy the actual conquest

Charlie Sweatpants: I’ll give you that.

Mad Jon: But yeah, the fight scene is very post season 10

Charlie Sweatpants: Agree.

Okay, so I think we’ve got this one worked out. Excellent first two segments, albeit with a few minor problems, and a shitty ending.

Any high or low spots that we haven’t covered?

Dave: The highlight for sure is Mr. Sparkle, I think we hit all the lows

Mad Jon: Well, most of the episode was a high point. But the lows just peek their heads up, and its pretty hard to differentiate, especially for those who are not as obsessed as we are…

But this is still one of the better episodes of the season.

Dave: I found this episode’s bastardized take on Japan funnier than those in subsequent seasons

Charlie Sweatpants: I always liked “nobody is watching us” at the dinner table as a relatively painless 4th wall joke.

Mad Jon: Minus the ending of course…

Dave: I say this knowing you enjoy “Thirty Minutes over Tokyo,” Charlie

Charlie Sweatpants: And I don’t think it’s the show’s fault, but the joke about “Man Without a Face” is one that I bet a lot of people wouldn’t get any more.

That’s not even in the top 10 for memorable Mel Gibson movies.

Mad Jon: Definitely lower than Payback, and I can’t even remember the protagonists name.

Charlie Sweatpants: It’s a topic for another night, but yeah I do have a bit of a soft spot for “30 minutes over Tokyo”. It’s flawed, but there’s more there than there is in a lot of Season 10.

Dave: I loathe Mel Gibson and choose to ignore anything he’s been involved with.

Mad Jon: Even the original Lethal Weapon???

Charlie Sweatpants: Seems like a good way to end, shall we proceed into the dense thicket of Simpsons that is “Homer’s Enemy”?

Dave: Yeah, even the original Lethal Weapon.

Let’s move on before Jon kills me.

Mad Jon: Please, I need a reason to ignore Dave

Charlie Sweatpants: Okay, so, the Frank Grimes episode . . .

Nerd Alert: While looking up the spelling of St. Eleutherius of Nicomedia I came across his one line Wikipedia page and, to my utter astonishment, his appearance on the show wasn’t mentioned.  So I made my first Wikipedia edit ever and in doing so contributed to the encyclopedia’s eventual pop culture heat death.  Go me.

26
Aug
09

Quote of the Day

Home Sweet Homediddly-Dum-Doodily1

“Ecch, that Barlow’s a right wing crackpot.  He said Ted Kennedy lacked integrity, can you believe that?” – Carl

Rest in peace, Teddy.

25
Aug
09

Please, Sir, We Want No More

Yesterday Digital Spy put up an interview with longtime Simpsonista David Mirkin.  (He worked on the show from the beginning pretty much through the start of Zombie Simpsons and then on-again, off-again in more recent seasons.)  It’s an interesting read, including the welcome information that we’re a long way off from a second movie.  Here’s the part that rankles:

Matt Groening said that he doesn’t see an ending in sight for the show. Do you agree?

“I pray for an end! I would like to meet another human being who doesn’t work on the show! And maybe say ‘hi’ to a girl. It’s all up to the fans – as long as they’re telling us that they’re happy, they like it and they want more, our feeling is that we will endeavour to give them new stuff.

Ten thousand Thank Yous for all your work and we love you (in whatever way you’re most comfortable with), but please understand that we are un-happy and would not like any more.

25
Aug
09

2 Simpson Quizes: 1 Live, 1 YouTube

There’s a Simpsons pub trivia competition tonight (Aug 25th) in Denver at a bar called, no shit, Moe’s.  I do not live in Denver, oh well.  However for all us non-Front Range people there is also a Simpsons YouTube quiz at that link:

Setting aside the remix-techno-soundtrack I find this quiz a bit bizarre.  On the positive side it’s moderately difficult (I got all ten right, but I had to guess on one) and features no Zombie Simpsons questions.  Hooray.  Against it is the fact that it misspells (among other things) Smithers’ first name.  It’s “Waylon” not:

Waylen

I just find that odd because whoever put this together has clearly seen a lot of Simpsons and that’s really not a hard thing to find.  Meh.

25
Aug
09

Quote of the Day

judas

“Ah, Smithers.  How’d the beating go?” – C. Montgomery Burns

“Sir, I– there was no beating.” – Waylon Smithers

“What?  Well that’s a hell of a thing, why?” – C. Montgomery Burns

“Because I– I called it off.” – Waylon Smithers

“Judas!” – C. Montgomery Burns

24
Aug
09

Simpsons Drawn in Sand

“Bikini girls, dune buggies, daredevil surfers!  Ordinarily this beach would be swarming with them, but not today, oh, no.  They’ve all been cleared out to make way for painstaking sand preparation.” – TV Announcer

A Briton named Martin Artman took to the beach and made some remarkably precise sand drawings of Homer, Marge and Bart:

The "Good Bye" towel is presumably in reference to the fact that the tide is coming in.

The "Good Bye" towel is presumably in reference to the fact that the tide is coming in.

Click over to his Flickr page for higher resolution images of Bart and equally detailed sand drawings of Marge and Homer.  Awesome.

(found via)




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