18
Jun
10

Reading Digest: Detailed Analysis Edition

Burns' Heir3

“Look, a bird has become petrified and lost its sense of direction.” – C.M. Burns
“I think it’s a rock, sir.” – Mr. Smithers
“We’ll see what the lab has to say about that.” – C.M. Burns

This week’s post is bookended by long analyses of two separate episodes, “Rosebud” and “22 Short Stories About Springfield”.  In between those, there’s a fad of which I was unaware, Simpsons takes on famous photos, some usage, and my own (mildly) detailed analysis of a very lazy essay about teevee dads. 

Enjoy.

All Homer Needs Is Love – An oddly formal essay comparing Season 5’s “Rosebud” to its source material, Citizen Kane.  Long story short, Homer is capable of love, Burns and Kane are not. 

The Simpsons do iconic photos – Pretty much what it says, stills from the show that match famous photographs.  Sadly, there’s some Zombie Simpsons here, but not much, and on the whole it’s quite neat. 

Grandpa Simpson gets a writing gig – Excellent usage.

Guess What I’ve Got – More caption fun with Mr. Burns and the mystery box.

Today’s Newest Sign of the Apocalypse: Silly Bandz – This illustrates the stupidity of a fad I had not heard of with YouTube of Homer, Herb and the drinking bird.

Burn Down the Houston Tire Fire – Some of the follies of the city of Houston entertainingly examined through some of the city of Springfield’s. 

Where And What To Watch – It’s not claiming to be a quote, but it’s a bit off:

Kathe Donovan was reportedly on the short list for LT Gov. but she did not get it…just in case you have been living in cave. On Mars. With your eyes closed. And and your fingers in your ears ( not my joke, actually – credit Sideshow Bob’s brother Cecil from an episode of the The Simpsons )

That’s moderately good usage.  For the record, the actual quote is, “Goodness, I had no idea!  For you see, I have been on Mars for the last decade, in a cave, with my eyes shut, and my fingers in my ears.”

Quote: Burns On Work – This is blog – Wage Slave Revolt – about the stupidities of modern American toil.  This post is just the quote form Burns before he decides to build robot workers in “Treehouse of Horror II”.  Excellent usage. 

Army Preps ‘Unblinking Eye’ Airship for Afghanistan – This has basically nothing to do with Simpsons.  The Army is getting itself three long endurance surveillance blimps, and since they stay aloft for so long the guy from Northrop Grumman used the term “unblinking eye”.  The Army is already very busy “crossing the desert”, but when will we stop pussyfooting around and bring the “Paddling of the Swollen Ass” to Afghanistan? 

Changing roles of TV fathers – I didn’t know they still let people use canards this freely.  I mean, this is hacktacular to many powers of ten:

After the Vietnam War and Watergate scandal, American idealism was breaking down and so were our father figures.

Yowza.  You don’t even need to be a professional writer to be embarrassed by that sentence, as a human being you should just naturally feel shame for something so utterly vacuous.  The rest of the article is scarcely better, tracing a long and meandering line through dimly remembered pop culture from the 1950s through today.  Bor-ing.  Also, have you ever actually watched these shows?:

“The Simpsons” started a wave of deplorable, idiot dads (looking at you, “Family Guy”) who need more mothering by their wives than their kids. Homer Simpson (D’oh!) was more often seen drinking, belching and tripping up rather than doing any real parenting. Likewise, Al Bundy on “Married With Children” was another anti-dad who would rather be anywhere else than with his family.

"It used to be that father knew best, and then we started to wonder if he knew anything at all," says Matt Roush, senior television critic at TV Guide Magazine. "Dads became bumbling fools and the butts of jokes."

The point, you have missed it.  Family Guy did indeed get its start as a low rent Simpsons clone, but both Al Bundy and Homer Simpson were direct responses to the teevee dads of yore.  Their genesis had nothing to do with how America treats or views its father figures, they were created to satirize cliche ridden sitcom dads.  And it’s not like Al and Homer were the only sitcom dads on the air at the time; the late 80s and early 90s were rife with regular old family sitcoms from the anodyne “Growing Pains” (seven seasons) to slightly irregular fare like “Major Dad” (four seasons) and “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” (six seasons).  Hell, those were the years of “Alf” (four seasons) and his relatable human family.  Each of those programs had cookie cutter teevee dads, and none of them is mentioned in this shallow and stupid article. 

Homer Simpson – Sleeping – Use Firefox?  Like those “personas” that act basically as skins?  Here’s one of Homer sleeping. 

Marge Simpson VS. Troll : Bad Hair Contest – This has YouTube of Marge taking Bart’s Troll doll.  More importantly there’s this:

Then Alex showed me this video, :D makes me like the Simpsons, I’m more of a Futurama fan.

This is the damage that Zombie Simpsons does.  Another self identified Futurama fan who (by all appearances) has not seen Season 6’s “Bart’s Girlfriend”.  Among it’s many brilliances, that’s the episode that gave us Willy and the wee turtles, the “Probably misses his old glasses” thing where Homer calmly contemplates the murder of his own son, and, of course, Scotchtoberfest. 

The Curse of Monty Burns – Evaluating the stats from the 1992 MLB season of the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant ringers. 

Simpsons Classics: 22 Short Films about Springfield – This is from No Pun Intended and deserves its own post, but I just never got to it this week and it’s my best chance to end with someone else ragging on Zombie Simpsons.  Besides, I’ve never read Ulysses and the only thing I know about Berlin  Alexanderplatz is that they made a really long movie out of it.  (And I learned that from The Critic.)  In what I assume is a meta-wink to the episodic nature of the source materials, Tim has broken his piece into smaller pieces so that the footnoting scheme restarts almost every paragraph.  But don’t let that deter you, the system works well and is very readable:

They are very static characters, and there are very few scenes that feature Moe but not Homer, just like there are few scenes in which we see Milhouse but not Bart. They will get the occasional one-liner at the opening or close of a scene, but largely, these secondary et al. characters are there to interact with Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and even Maggie. I mean, the Simpsons even appeared in Wiggum P.I. and The Love-matic Grampa in “Simpsons Spin-off Showcase.”*,**

*Our Phil Hartman retrospective sadly did not include what I think may be my favorite Troy McClure line ever: “Spin-off! Is there any word more thrilling to the human soul?”

**In fact, this is related to one of my BIG pet peeves with later episodes of the show, in which the Simpsons play an unrealistically large part in the lives of other Springfieldianites.

Co-sign me on that last part.  About the only thing he doesn’t mention is the Frink bit at the end, which is funny on its own, but also reinforces the fact that there really isn’t enough time to tell all the stories.  This is not a short post, but it was a very pleasant read. 


1 Response to “Reading Digest: Detailed Analysis Edition”


  1. 1 D.N.
    19 June 2010 at 7:33 am

    “Al Bundy and Homer Simpson were direct responses to the teevee dads of yore. Their genesis had nothing to do with how America treats or views its father figures, they were created to satirize cliche ridden sitcom dads.”

    And considering how Al Bundy slaved away in a crappy, low-paying job for years, to provide money for his lazy, self-centred wife (whom he never cheated on, even though he had ample opportunity to do so) and his two generally ungrateful children – hell, I’d say Al qualifies as one of TV’s better dads, irrespective of the fact that the character was conceived to make a satirical point of how fathers in television were traditionally represented. Al Bundy was crude and uncouth, but he was the most abusive towards characters who were much more vile than him. And given the buckets of self-loathing Al had, and his resolve to never walk out on his family or to commit suicide, I think that he’s a much more fascinating character than the supposedly more laudable father figures on TV at the time.


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