Archive for August, 2010

31
Aug
10

“The Old Man and the Key” Makes Baby Jesus Cry

Bart on the Road3

“What is this place?” – Nelson Muntz
“Branson, Missouri. My Dad says it’s like Vegas, if it were run by Ned Flanders.” – Bart Simpson

This episode has a lot of problems, most glaringly the heavy dependence on referencing pop culture, going so far as to have a truly dizzying array of guest voices all playing themselves. But that wackiness comes only at the end, by that point the episode has devolved into a nonsensical series of set pieces that have almost nothing to do with the fact that it slowly becomes a travel episode about Branson, Missouri. (Nevermind that they already went there in Season 7, the Zombie Simpsons people sure don’t.) Sorry for rambling, but there isn’t a coherent way to describe this.

What makes it all the more tragic/frustrating/sad is that there was the germ of a good episode in here. The very first moments of the commentary are spent discussing Jon Vitti, who penned this and a tiny number of other Zombie Simpsons episodes after he left the show in Season 7. Vitti had an idea for a plot about how old folks homes are vicious little nests of social squabbling that put junior high to shame. But that concept is dropped almost immediately so that Grampa can go on a weird adventure and then the family can follow him into the land of car chases, childish plot conceits, and celebrity guest voices.

Six people on this one, including Caroline Omine as the token female.

0:35 – Vitti wrote this, but had the good sense not to show up for the commentary. He read an article about how retirement homes are filled with cliques, cool kids and dorks and that was the basis for the first, oh, three minutes of this.

1:40 – “I wonder how many people were fooled by this opening? Where they really thought, ‘Are they killing off Grampa’?” Uh, no one?

2:00 – This is the episode that has “Old Man Yells at Cloud” which they point out is something that gets used a lot by other people.

3:30 – Jean points out that all these jokes at old people’s expense are getting closer and closer to their age bracket. Might be a good idea to stop then, eh?

4:10 – Discussing the “Yessss?” guy and Frank Nelson. Not really talking about much, just sort of informing each other about a character they all vaguely remember.

4:40 – Omine points out that they use the real Ray Jay Johnson here and how “we’d done” a joke about him earlier, presumably referencing “Krusty Gets Kancelled” in Season 4. For the record, Omine’s first credit is Season 10. Rest of the non-Jean commentary people on this episode:

Carolyn, fellas, The Simpsons used Ray Jay Johnson as an example of something that wasn’t funny. You used him straight up to be funny. Draw your own conclusions.

5:00 – Now Jean chimes in on that theme to talk about how he didn’t think that notorious recluse Mr. T would want anything to do with the show, but, here’s the kicker: he did want to be on the show! This has been another True Hollywood Story.

5:15 – Another straight up point: old people have high accident rates in cars. Just in case you didn’t know that.

5:35 – “Now, this was before Grampa and Selma got married.” Holy crap, did that actually happen?

5:45 – Slight giggles at “Old Man Yells At Cloud”.

6:25 – Discussing the fashionable history of the zoot suit.

6:30 – Long silence as Homer’s in the car on Grampa’s date for some reason.

7:00 – Jean breaks the uncomfortable silence by talking about how Branson, Missouri is a real place. They’re getting all defensive that people might not get some of the jokes because the entertainers they’re “satirizing” are so very old.

7:35 – They’re surprised they were able to do a Viagra joke. They’re so impressed with it that they sit silently at watch it for the twenty five seconds it takes to tell.

8:00 – That long, erectile silence is broken briefly to note that Grampa gets laid twice this season. That’s followed by more silence.

8:25 – Silence again temporarily broken to note that it’s unusual for Grampa and Lisa to fight. Now, back to the silence.

8:50 – Silence broken after Grampa runs up stairs for no reason, here’s the exact quote:

“Now, Olympia Dukakis, she’s related to governor Dukakis, right?”
“Right.”
“Yes, both Greeks form the Northeast.”

Coming up next week on another hilarious Zombie Simpsons commentary, obscure relatives of Barry Goldwater and Al Gore!

9:00 – Nervous giggling at Homer’s “switcheroo” with Grampa.

9:40 – Overly expensive leather jackets, like Branson Missouri, actually do exist. For about the third time this episode:

tmyk2

10:30 – Now they’re talking about how they have Simpsons jackets.

11:00 – Now they’re talking about the Christmas presents they got from the show this year. It’s the GPS with Homer’s voice that gets people lost.

11:45 – More half remembered reminisces about where else they’ve seen the other old guys.

12:00 – More nervous laughter at one of their “cheats” (since there’s no hill near the Simpson house). I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: they know this stuff is weak, and they do not care.

12:50 – Long silence again.

12:55 – After Jean describes Dukakis’ character in this scene as “senior sexy”, someone (can’t tell who) chimes in that Helen Mirren is sexy. After pointing out that has nothing to do with anything, they discuss Mirren in detail.

14:00 – Jean discusses the difficulty of doing “radio” jokes because you’ve got to be aware of what’s going to be on screen while you do it.

14:35 – Discussing repeated backgrounds in animation, like it’s an innovation.

15:15 – More laughing at the cheap nature of the plot.

15:55 – Discussing hobos.

16:45 – Talking about Branson. Like, talking about what’s actually there. With the exception of laughing at a joke or two, no one has said anything relevant about the episode in about two minutes.

17:55 – “Maybe I’m getting older, but this show actually seems pretty entertaining to me.”

18:20 – Discussing the former popularity of Ray Jay Johnson. At this point they’ve spent more time explaining jokes than doing anything else.

18:45 – Still talking about Ray Jay Johnson.

19:20 – More hesitant laughter.

20:00 – Long silence as the plot finally dies.

20:40 – Now I’m confused. In discussing what for all appearances is Yakov Smirnoff talking with Charlie Callas, they keep mentioning “Bizarro”. Then they get into this long discussion of how many ways “Bizarro” and Smirnoff could negate each other. Perhaps my pop culture knowledge is rusty/non-existent on the subject, but I don’t think Charlie Callas ever had anything to do with Bizarro. Google appears to back me up, although Callas did apparently once play Sinestro in a 1979 live action superhero teevee special. It’s just weird.

21:20 – The family waving over the credits is from The Beverly Hillbillies. As a fitting end to this awful episode and desultory commentary, Jean reminisces about the reunion episode of Hillbillies. From Wikipedia:

The film’s plot had Jed back in his old homestead in Bugtussle, having divided his massive fortune among Elly May and Jethro, both of whom stayed on the West Coast. Jane Hathaway had become a Department of Energy agent and was seeking Granny’s "White Lightnin’" recipe to combat the energy crisis. Since Granny had gone on to "her re-ward", it was up to Granny’s centenarian "Maw" (Imogene Coca) to divulge the secret brew’s ingredients. Subplots included Jethro playing an egocentric, starlet-starved Hollywood producer, Jane and her boss (Werner Klemperer) having a romance and Elly May owning a large petting zoo. The four main characters finally got together by the end of the story.

First, Colonel Klink! Second, there are at least three plots in there they could use for Season 22/23.

31
Aug
10

Quote of the Day


“Homer. Give him what he wants.” – Barney Gumble
“Aw Barney, leave me alone.” – Homer Simpson


(door slamming)
“Oops.” – Barney Gumble
(gunshot)
(glass breaking)
(woman screaming)
(police siren)
“Uh oh.” – Barney Gumble

30
Aug
10

Quote of the Day

Homer's Phobia4

“It’s camp!  The tragically ludicrous?  The ludicrously tragic?” – John
“Oh yeah, like when a clown dies.” – Homer Simpson
“Well, sort of.” – John

29
Aug
10

DHS Editorial: Glenn Beck Is Right About Almost Everything

Homer the Great4

“Please sir, you’re destroying my establishment.” – Low Life Commoner
“We just created the greatest democracy on Earth, you low life commoner!” – Founding Father

The city of Washington was built on a stagnant swamp some two hundred years ago, and very little has changed.  It stank then, and it stinks now.  But yesterday, Glenn Lee Beck lead a rally to purify the air in that fetid cesspool.

We have lots of names for Glenn Beck: bum, deadbeat, loser, scum of the Earth.  We’d like to sweep him into the gutter, or to some other out of the way place.  Oh, we have our reasons.  He’s depressing, he wears ragged clothes, he’s “crazy”.  He smells bad.

This is where his fans, if not the great man himself, might object.  But wait, we’re going somewhere with this.  Because Glenn Beck is the truest of American heroes.  Hardly one man in a hundred is able to reach the plateau of patriotism that Beck has, that uniquely national place where his interests perfectly and seamlessly meld with those of America.  Pardon our French, but l’etat c’est Glenn.

Too many of us are easily distracted by the swirl and bustle of the media complex; caught up in passing fads and ginned up journalistic firestorms, we lose sight of the bigger picture.  Mr. Beck does not.  Out of the cyclonic, internecine fracas of modern discourse, he has discerned two immutable truths.  First, that the only genuine way to show faith in America is the purchase of capitalist gold.  Second, and the reason for this editorial, that The Simpsons is “the funniest show ever written on television”.

We can laud him for the first truth quickly.  It is self evident that the hoarding of a precious metal whose value increases with human misery is a patriotic duty.  Wags and pundits may cluck their tongues, stroke their beads and talk about the supposed hypocrisy of pitching apocalyptic investments while claiming to be on a mission to save the United States.  But Mr. Beck is playing a deeper game.  By calmly and civilly expounding on the potential horrors that await us, Beck is fighting against disaster while still preparing for it.  His self-effacing and admirably altruistic mission to bring the true teachings of Martin Luther King, Jr. to the prosperous, melanin-free portion of the citizenry that had initially rejected them is to be wholly commended.  An MLK who is anti-inequality and anti-war is the exact kind of vile “progressive” revisionism that Mr. Beck so routinely skewers with imperceptible logic and impenetrable reason.

It is on the second point where Mr. Beck makes a rare and uncharacteristic stumble.  It goes almost without saying that the rank debasing of fatherly authority on television was instigated by the cultural revolutionaries of the 1960s.  In turn, that led directly to the buffoonish, anti-American caricature of the television patriarch that is Homer Simpson.  Mr. Beck has the perspicacity to realize that this was not the result of nebulous and uncontrollable cultural trends, but rather an amply documented and maliciously directed decades long plot to smear the good names of Jim Anderson, Steve Douglas, and Ward Cleaver*.

Despite his usually keen ability to separate hard-nosed conservative wheat from effete liberal chaff, however, has Mr. Beck truly embraced the uncaring and irresponsible dervish that passes for Homer in Zombie Simpsons as the real item?  The snobbish superman on display in Zombie Simpsons is a perfect socialist fantasy.  He changes jobs regardless of skill or qualification, never displaying any thought for the economic prospects of his employers.  He has no regard for his own health or well-being, relying on America’s overly generous system of emergency rooms to cure him of all ills.  His deliberate and self-interested behavior at almost every opportunity is a socialist fantasy writ large: no responsibility, no consequences, and certainly no failure.  In Zombie Simpsons, every day is Everybody Gets a Trophy Day.

How a man as clear eyed as Mr. Beck can fail to recognize this ultimate expression of an obvious forty-year-old hippie plot is beyond the authors of this editorial.  Homer Simpson once stood for the deserved and perpetual failure of lazy, non-Randian slobs; he took comfort in un-luxurious housing, unionized job security, and the immaterial love of his family.  Failure to condemn those peasant-like pleasures is tantamount to condoning them.  For shame, Mr. Beck.

*Yeah, they were gay. 

29
Aug
10

Quote of the Day

Homer's Night Out2

“Simpson, I am by most measures a successful man.  I have wealth and power beyond the dreams of you and your clock punching ilk.” – C.M. Burns

28
Aug
10

Quote of the Day


“Ugh. Back to the loch with you, Nessie.” – Groundskeeper Willie

27
Aug
10

Reading Digest: Foreign Usage Edition

Much Apu About Nothing4

We’ve got excellent usage from all over the globe this week.  And I mean all over, from Cambodia to Lebanon to Ireland.  There’s even a wonderfully titled blog from the UK.  In addition to that we have iPads for sumos, an evil talking Krusty doll, several people doing sketches, and a homemade Simpsons table I would love too much to ever put anything on.  Oh, and Season 13 came out this week, but I don’t care about that.

Enjoy.

40 Movie References From The Simpsons – This is Smooth Charlie Apollo’s Click of the Week.  We’ve linked to these types of things before, but this is epic.  Plus, I’d never heard of Sorcerer or The French Lieutenants Woman.  Those shots certainly looked like they came from something, and now I know what.  Is it time for a jungle adventure with Roy Scheider?  I think it is. 

MRS. KRABAPPEL AND PRINCIPAL SKINNER WERE IN THE CLOSET MAKING JIHAD AND I SAW ONE OF THE JIHADIS AND THE JIHADI LOOKED AT ME. – Jihadi looked at you?

Report: Big-fingered sumos given iPads – Excellent usage:

To fans of "The Simpsons," this storyline may also sound vaguely familiar.

In one episode, the character Homer grows so fat that his sausage-shaped fingers are too big to punch the keys on his phone.

As he’s struggling with this, he gets an automated message: "The fingers you have used to dial are too fat. To obtain a special dialing wand, please mash the keypad with your palm now."

When I had a television with no remote, I used to use a reaching stick to change the channel.  Seriously. 

Simpson Meets Dali: The Simpsons and The Persistance of Memory – Since it looks kinda old and it’s got Groening’s name in the corner, I kinda doubt that the Flickr user created this (happy to be wrong!), but this is still very cool. 

Evil Krusty DollSimpsons Evil Krusty the Clown doll Large Plush Talking – Yup:

RARE, large plush Krusty the Klown good and evil talking doll, it has a switch on its back so u can switch from good to evil.

With pull-string.

That’s cool, and I love the teeth.  I’m not saying I’d want to own it, but at least it’s merchandise that’s actually from the show.  I wonder if one of the things it says is, “It’s a little hot for that cheerleader outfit, don’t you think?” 

Ma bi’asser: Lessons for life from Lebanon – More excellent usage:

The great contemporary thinker, Homer Simpson, once gave his beloved son, Bart, three lessons to get him through life: “Number one: ‘Cover for me.’ Number two: ‘Oh, good idea, boss.’ Number three, ‘It was like that when I got here.’” Ignorance of these basic lessons has led to the loss of many opportunities in my life.

Guest Post: Paolo on Time Travel! – This is about weight loss and the motivational power of theoretical time travel.  Also, there’s this:

To borrow a quote from The Simpsons:
Skinner: Bart Simpson on the side of law and order? Has the world gone topsy-turvy?
Bart: That’s right, man. I got my first taste of authority…and I liked it.

Excellent usage.

D’oh: 8 ways to Simpsons-ise your Apple iphone/ipad/MacBook – Pretty much exactly what the title says. 

Ode to a personal ad – Click through for the picture and a bonus quote:

Lavalife may trump the magazine ad these days, but Jasper’s strategy is just as relevant.

Also, from the same site, look at the third image here.  “Bart the Lover” is on a roll over at Ironclad Folly. 

Anything to keep Mother Nature karm! – This is about walking and has almost nothing to do with the Simpsons.  But great blog titles must be saluted, and “We’re all Lost Socks in the Laundromat of Oblivion” is a fantastic one. 

Let me tell you about the time I….sold my first condom – I’ve never sold anyone a condom, I’ve given them to people, and I have vivid memories of the first time I bought one, but never sold.  This story is better than any of mine, and quite funny.  Plus it comes with this:

When I was 17,
I drank a very good beer,
I drank a very good beer
That I purchased with a fake ID.
My name was Brian McGee,
I stayed up listening to Queen,
When I was 17…..

To be my usual nitpicky self, it’s actually “some” not “a” very good beer, and there’s no “that” before “I purchased”.  Other than that it’s spot on; and since it’s so entertainingly apt, it’s still excellent usage. 

House is not a Meme – Hugh Laurie creepily photoshopped to look like Milhouse. 

Can’t Beat Kennedy Friday 08/27/10 – Further proof that you’ve got to check your IQ at the door with FM radio.  This is a five question quiz:

1. The Simpsons just released season 13 on DVD. Name all 3 of Homer & Marge’s kids in that series?

Bartender?  Another round please, there’s some stupid I need to forget. 

Here’s cheers: a toast to well-being – People quote and misquote this line so often I don’t always link to it.  But I’ve never linked to “Cambodia’s Newspaper of Record” before, and this is still excellent usage:

AS THE famous cartoon guru Homer Simpson once remarked: “A toast to alcohol, the cause of and solution to all of life’s problems.”

Bravo, Phnom Penh Post

Dial Z for Zombie or Z o m b i e s >> V a m p i r e s – Reasons zombies are fun.  Reason number four for liking zombies speaks for itself:

4) The Simpsons. Nuff said!

That’s a YouTube link, by the way. 

The 12 heaviest drinkers in TV history – Barney’s #9.  #8 would’ve been funnier.  Bender, understandably, checks in at #1.  (via Springfield Springfield’s Twitter)

Custom 10" Homer Simpson Toy2R Qee by DrilOne – Customized crappy merchandise looks much cooler, but is still just crappy merchandise. 

Bart Simpson drawing-Miley Cyrus-Stay. – This is someone sketching Bart with a Miley Cyrus song playing in the background.  The best part’s at the end where you get to see not only the completed Bart drawing, but also ones for Lisa, Milhouse and Smithers. 

Simpsons Mosaic Table is the Best out of Waste! – This, on the other hand, is definitely fan made and fucking awesome to boot. 

How to draw Homer Simpson – SketchHeroes.com – This is a video, it is quite short, and even if I had the software I still couldn’t do any of it. 

The Top Ten Lines From A Cartoon – Hmmm, it’s actually fifty, but there’s a lot of Simpsons here.  And while there’s also some Zombie Simpsons (boo), it’s toward the bottom.  The good stuff is on top.  (Also, nice WordPress theme.)  

Edward Kean, Chief Writer of ‘Howdy Doody,’ Dies at 85 – Ready to learn something?  Good:

After leaving “Howdy Doody” in 1955, Mr. Kean worked for several public relations firms. But music was his passion, and for many years he was a lounge pianist at hotels and clubs in Miami and Detroit. He once said that he was probably best known for coining the word “cowabunga” (originally spelled with a “k”) as a greeting for Chief Thunderthud, a character on the show. The word has become part of American vernacular, used by the cartoon character Bart Simpson and by the crime-fighting Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

“You know,” Mr. Kean said, “I tried to get my phone number listed as Cowabunga Kean, but couldn’t get them to do it.”

I did not know that. 

Tee of the Day – I always knew that stuff about the Earth’s core being made of iron was bullshit.  It’s obviously a clown’s nose.  (via Springfield Springfield’s twitter)

Ten reveals new digital channel Eleven as future home of The Simpsons and Neighbours – You Aussies are about to get the show on a new spin-off channel. 

What’s Blu This Week – And finally, the topic I don’t want to discuss.  Question:

Simpsons: Season 13:  Yes, this show is still on, and still funny.  Why not go with it?

Answer: because only half of your first sentence is true. 

27
Aug
10

Quote of the Day

Trash of the Titans2

“Whoa, whoa, whoa, can I help you?” – U2 Concert Security
“Potato man.” – Homer Simpson
“Where the hell have you been?” – Paul McGuinness

26
Aug
10

Simpsons Alumni Update: Harry Shearer (He Just Won’t Stop!)

Harry Shearer’s documentary about how Katrina and the Army Corps of Engineers fucked New Orleans will be going to theaters one night only: Monday August 30th.  Trailer:

Local show times all across the US can be found here.  Give ’em hell, Harry.

26
Aug
10

Quote of the Day

Bart's Dog Gets an F5

“Uh, I changed my mind.  I decided I don’t want these shoes.” – Homer Simpson
“Hey, wait a minute, what happened here?” – Shoe Store Clerk
“Well, my faithful dog was bringing me my shoes and they fell apart in his mouth.” – Homer Simpson
“I’m sorry sir, our warranty doesn’t cover fire, theft or acts of dog.” – Shoe Store Clerk

25
Aug
10

“The Simpsons Movie” Makes Baby Jesus Cry (Part 2)

Itchy and Scratchy and Marge4

“No, make it a pie. Pies are easier to draw.” – Itchy & Scratch Animator
“Okay, a pie.” – Roger Meyers Jr.

After spending roughly seven weeks in the optical drive of my laptop, The Simpsons Movie is finally in the custody of the United States Postal Service and on its way back to Netflix.  (Which means “Lies Make Baby Jesus Cry” should start for Season 13 in the next few days.)  The second commentary was done by some of the animators and directors of the film, and while there is some interesting information in here, mostly it’s a blur of two ideas.

The first is, and coming from the other commentary this is no surprise, that there were many, many different versions of almost every scene. The constant reactions and overreactions to test screenings meant that lots of things that had already been animated were scrapped, and whole new sequences were jammed in, up to and including at the last minute.

The second is the term “beautifully animated” and variations thereof. Whatever else may be said about its timidity, its over-reliance on physical comedy, and its complete lack of anything that could be called a coherent story, The Simpsons Movie has a distinct and colorful look to its animation that served it well. This is, in many places, a very pretty film, and the animators are justifiably happy with how their work turned out.

The commenters here are David Silverman, Mike Anderson, Steve Moore, and Rich Moore. Since they don’t pause the movie, and since there’d be no point in my noting the many times they mention a specific animator and compliment their work, this one is a lot shorter than Part 1. So let’s get to it.

0:50 – Discussing Scratchy’s entrance, the animators were also looking for a big laugh when the audience recognized the character.

3:45 – Pointing out that all of the audience is made up of regular characters, no generic animations.

4:30 – More discussion about how many times all of these things got redone.

5:15 – Discussing another thing that got cut by test audiences: “It looked really good, and um, nobody laughed.”

7:00 – Discussing all the different people who did animation and layouts at two different studios.

12:00 – At this point I’m beginning to wonder if there’s use in doing this for the animation commentary. Basically they’re just mentioning who did a specific animation or background along with the occasional mention of whether or not something was redone after test audiences did or did not like it.

15:00 – Further underlining how much they got away from their usual editorial independence, someone asks how this was different than animating the show, and the answer is that they had to keep redoing things on account of rewrites.

18:30 – Here they’re discussing how they do transitions between all the completely unrelated scenes.

19:00 – Everybody loves Spider Pig.

19:45 – When they’re having Krusty, Cat Lady and Moe dump things in the lake, there was originally going to be a trunk labeled “Sperm Bank”, and then it would dump out furniture as a head fake. Just another example of things getting taken out that were more creative than the ones that got left in.

21:00 – The Fat Tony body dumping joke nearly got cut.

23:00 – This is about the third time they’ve mentioned that they had to make Homer less of a jerk. That’s right, he was even more Jerkass Homer earlier.

26:00 – Discussing Cargill, they had done a lot of revisions on his character and backstory, for two days it was going to be Hank Scorpio before none other than Albert Brooks talked them out of it.

28:05 – Once the dome is down they pull back for a wide shot of it, and if you look on the right you’ll see that the stadium is half in, half out of the dome. That’s because their used to be a joke about a baseball game half in, half out. (It’s on the deleted scenes.)

29:00 – Really glad they aren’t pausing the movie.

29:10 – More discussions of how many different Cargills there were.

30:00 – Springfield disappearing on the GPS had several fully animated sequences before it just became a little blip on the map.

31:00 – Long discussion about what the dome would look like and the reflections therein.

32:45 – Much talk about the massive pain that was the first shot with the mob and all the things they had to keep sending back to Korea to get reanimated.

34:00 – More discussion about the hands punching through the door. Jean talked about that on the other commentary, and, really, it was that much of a production?

34:30 – They cut out a scene where Lovejoy had gotten the mob to set the house on fire, which explains why the whole thing is on fire when Marge runs into it before they escape.

37:15 – The house going into the vortex on the sinkhole had so many people working on it that even these guys (for the most part) can’t remember who did what.

38:50 – As the family runs into the cornfield, they comment on how nice the corn looks before we find out again that something got cut here. Which is why this whole thing just disappears without explanation.

39:20 – Cargill’s line about going mad with power was one of the first things they animated (albeit with the original Cargill model instead). The line when it was Hank Scorpio: “You’re giving me that look. I know that look. You think I’ve gone mad with power.”

40:15 – Long discussion about how many things in the motel scene got changed, over and over.

43:00 – Oh, it’s my favorite scene, where Homer rides the motorcycle in the little ball. Not that any was needed, but we now have more confirmation that this thing was shoehorned in at the last minute.

44:50 – They did the doodles Bart does on the wanted poster in one day. It was just someone doodling and they used it.

45:45 – The token scene at Burns mansion was done Jonathan Demme style with everyone looking straight at the camera.

48:00 – They had a guy who worked for Don Bluth do the Disney animals that do the intro to the sex scene.

50:30 – The five plans Cargill presents was originally going to be a mystery box.

51:00 – Very half assed defense of the final quality of the film after all the rewrites. Someone actually uses the term “trust word”. Is that like “safe word”? Because BDSM is as good a metaphor as any for the perverse pain of this movie.

52:00 – Discussing Homer disappointing Marge and the family about going back to Springfield and how it was originally even worse, at one point the family attacked Homer and he had to dive out the window.

54:35 – Complimenting Kavner’s performance in the video tape scene that was discussed on the other commentary.

56:40 – The transition to the NSA building is yet another thing that used to be a lot longer.

57:30 – Talking about all the ins and outs and doubts about Homer’s hallucination.

58:35 – Unlike the writers, the animators actually have something to be proud of about the hallucination scene.

61:20 – Homer’s staggering through the snow is based on David Silverman acting it out in his office (without snow, of course).

62:30 – When Homer’s focusing his eyes like they were binoculars, one of the editors didn’t get it. He thought the binoculars were missing.

64:45 – Just like on the other commentary, they’re discussing the massive entrance scene they had planned for when the family wakes up in the dome.

68:00 – Now that we’ve gotten back to the dome, there are several discussions about things that they cut out, and a lot of those were animations that made things make a bit more sense, continuity wise.

70:30 – Long discussion about the police robot that commits suicide.

73:15 – They wanted to make the dome appear as big as possible.

75:20 – It was one of the animator’s ideas to include the ambulance on the gorge.

77:35 – In the background during the crowd celebration scene, Carl is acting like Lando Calrissian at the end of Return of the Jedi. I did not notice that.

79:00 – We’re in the credits now, and the little scene with Burns and Smithers was originally in the movie but got cut.

79:30 – More about how the Spider-Pig thing got bigger on account of Hans Zimmer.

82:25 – They’re still talking over the credits, but it’s mostly just shout outs to the names on the screen and discussion about how much work and or fun it was.

83:15 – Final interesting note: they decided to go with super widescreen instead of 1.85:1 very early after only a few test drawings.

25
Aug
10

Quote of the Day


“Hey Moe, what’ll you give me for an AA chip?” – Barney Gumble
“Uh, Barney, this is a five minute chip. Eh, it’s worth a Pabst.” – Moe Szyslak

24
Aug
10

Much Better Than Average Al Jean Interview

As a nice contrast to last week’s depressingly formulaic Al Jean Season 13 promo interview, comes this much longer and much better one from Crave Online.  Not only does the interviewer, Silas Lesnick, manage to not ask the “When are you quitting?” question that Jean usually has to duck, but he keeps the celebrity stuff to a minimum and even manages to tease out some actual information:

CraveOnline: What’s the biggest difference between working on the show now and working on the 13th season?
Al Jean: Between the 13th season and now, I would say that the biggest change is technological. The 13th season was the last one that was hand painted in the sense that there were actual cells.  Subsequently, we switched to digital coloring. Back then I would watch half inch tapes of episodes and give notes. Now, obviously, I get everything through e-mail. And as a writer, I can’t begin to say how useful Google is. There used to be things we wouldn’t even bother trying to find out. Now you can find out in just a minute. I would say those are the biggest changes. At it’s core, it’s still all about trying to depict the truth of an American family.

Given free reign to answer decent questions, Jean takes the opportunity to deviate from the company line a little bit:

CraveOnline: I remember there was a joke on the very first Simpsons DVD where Matt Groening said that the releases would come out just fast enough for the format to become obsolete. Now we’re getting the first release on Blu-ray, which almost seems a payoff to that.
Al Jean: We had a season 20 Blu-ray release, but they kind of rushed it and we didn’t do commentaries. But this is the first of the sort of full-commentary with all the extras season that’s on Blu-ray.

There’s plenty more, and while I certainly don’t think Season 13 is anything more than a floating, unflushed turd, it’s worth reading.

[Programming note: No Crazy Noises again this week.]

24
Aug
10

Quote of the Day


“Hey, they’re trying to learn for free!” – Enemy Soldier


“Get ‘em!” – Tour Guide


“Use your phony guns as clubs!” – Member of the Ninth Bearded Infantry

23
Aug
10

Quote of the Day

“Your mother seems really upset about something. I’d better go have a talk with her. During the commercial.” – Homer Simpson

22
Aug
10

Sunday Afternoon Cartoons

$pringfield2

“And special awards go to the two students who obviously had no help from their parents, Lisa Simpson and Ralph Wiggum.” – Principal Skinner

Parental neglect is one of those things a lesser show would treat with respect, not The Simpsons.  Half the plot of “$pringfield”, which would be a masterpiece for any other program but is instead just par for the course, is about Marge’s gambling induced inattention of her kids, specifically her elder daughter.  In the hands of lesser storytellers, Marge would’ve had a big emotional moment with Lisa.  Instead, Lisa’s worst nightmare, the thing she most dreads, comes to pass.  She is basely humiliated at the geography pageant.

Rather than play this for sadness or poignancy, the show makes it a joke.  Lisa’s embarrassment, while terrible for her, is funny to us on account of the school’s unintentional exacerbation of it through an institutional need to reward failure.  The worst students, the ones who most need to be shielded and helped, are made to stand alone on stage in front of everyone.  Not only does this scene help wrap up the plot, but it’s hilariously mean.  Lisa doesn’t even need a line, putting her on the same level as the blissfully ignorant Ralph Wiggum does it all.

22
Aug
10

Quote of the Day


“I won’t eat anything unless it’s shipped overnight from Vermont or Washington state.” – Evelyn
“We order our steaks through the New Yorker.” – Roberta

21
Aug
10

Quote of the Day


“Chief Justice of the Supreme Court; what great men he would join. John Marshall, Charles Evans Hughes, Warren Burger… mmm, burger.” – Homer Simpson

20
Aug
10

Reading Digest: The Kids Are Alright Edition

Homerpalooza1

“I used to be with it.  But then they changed what it was, now what I’m with isn’t it, and what’s it seems weird and scary to me.  It’ll happen to you.” – Abe Simpson

Back before I turned twenty and became the mature adult I am today, I used to be amused by the goofy and illogical hysteria of press accounts about “teenagers” and the crazy things we were apparently doing.  Not once did I ever ready a story about the youth or see some segment on the news and think to myself, “Wow, that could be me and my friends!”.  I try to keep that in mind whenever I see headlines about teenagers using the internet to get high or injecting botulism into their pristine, unwrinkled faces.  In that spirit, we have a number of links this week by and about the next generation of meat bags.  The overall conclusion?  They’re fine.  Which is to say they’re just a fucked up as the rest of humanity.  Go team.  In addition to those fine young specimens, we’ve got a couple of cool videos, references to Bill Cosby and David Lynch, a new button I don’t care about, and a song that’s not actually about waffles. 

Enjoy. 

Kinetic Typography – The Simpsons – If you click on only one link this week, click on this one.  I’ll only say one thing: Aurora Borealis. 

Life Imitating… the Simpsons? – Apparently, that line of Disney brand crowd control barriers wasn’t selling well. 

Eek, here goes. A word of warning. – Another new blog, another excellent Simpsons quote:

You don’t belong here. You’re a fraud and a phony, and it’s only a matter of time until they find you out.

Karl remains one of those signature characters I’m still amazed they even got on television.  Welcome to WordPress, Smithernet. 

I hate pants! – Ditching pants is good:

But, since quiting, I’ve been wearing shorts, skirts, dresses, bikinis, flowy yoga cut-off pants and board shorts. And sometimes, like Homer, when I’m alone I just walk around in underwear! I’ve never done that and now that I have IT’S AWESOME! It’s ALL freedom baby!

Joi, you rule.  Just remember, there’s nothing like an unfurnished basement for pure comfort. 

‘Simpsons’ GPS Leads Writer Astray – More follies from the Homer GPS system.  This time it led Mike Reiss astray in Massachusetts. 

The 5 Most Unproductive Companies on TV – I hardly think the nuclear plant qualifies.  Whatever else may be said about them, they do produce power. 

TV Craze. – The teevee watching plans of a youngster:

It’s been a really long time since I last watched an episode of the Simpsons and I decided to watch it again. Especially since the cast of Glee will be there on it’s Season 22 premiere!

Don’t be sucked in.  Watch episodes from single digit seasons and you’ll be far more entertained. 

Happy House graduates meet voice actor – Nancy Cartwright thinking of the children. 

Dexter and the rise of the TV anti-hero – A list of slightly dark teevee heroes, including Homer. 

Ernie Borgnine–the next Betty White? – Everything you ever wanted to know about the Junior Campers most famous celebrity volunteer. 

Sideshow Bob vs. Killer BOB – Sideshow Bob compared with a character from Twin Peaks.  I have absolutely no idea what’s going on. 

Bill Cosby Could Save Modern T.V. – Photoshopping Bill Cosby’s head onto various things, including Hibbert’s body.   

Simpsons Avatar – Burger King may have failed America by taking down Simpsonize Me, but the movie website still works and if you get through a few layers of pointlessly elaborate Flash menus you can still make your own Simpsons character. 

The Future Is Now – More lamenting aging with “Lisa’s Wedding”.  Personally, I find the fact that incoming college freshman don’t know cursive writing to be a step forward for humanity. 

Curriculum lurks in ‘Simpsons’ book by MSOE teacher – Okay, I’m three months late on this, but it’s a praise worthy review of the classroom Simpsons book. 

If you happen to be in Milwaukee this Saturday… – Speaking of which, you can get your copy signed in Milwaukee tomorrow. 

No to The Simpsons – Sometimes, you’ve got to fight for your Simpsons:

So we missed a lot of the Simpsons when we were growing up. We only had passing glimpses of it depending on how fast we could switch to it back and forth from another program with the remote in between the time my dad ventured momentarily out of the family room, where our TV was located.

REVIEW: Spraynard: Cut and Paste – There is a band with a song titled “Stickin’ Together Is What Good Waffles Do”.  Here it is, bathe in its majesty:

Dime Dailies: Boo-urns – With YouTube:

where is the line between congratulations and condemnation? is there a line? is burns the hybrid between the two? “boo-urns:” think about it – think harder. so, now which man has all that power?

Cake the simpsons and sesame street – NISSA – This is not in English, it does not matter.  A Simpsons cake on top of a Sesame Street cake equals epic WIN in every form of communication known to man. 

Veggie Tales – The enduring legacy of “Lisa the Vegetarian” is that everyone has a common frame of reference for vegetarianism.  Also, this blog has a post titled “Kiss me I’m left handed”. 

You Don’t Mess Around With Sly – I’m sure at some point I’ll see The Expendables legally, and certainly not by downloading it for free, but, for now, this will have to do:

Not content simply to play out all the best bits of bygone films, Stallone actively updates a number of time-tested action clichés to new levels of insanity. For example, rather than grabbing onto helicopter skids to escape a gunfight, Stallone leaps from a pier onto the side of his airplane, scales it like a monkey at full takeoff velocity, and manages to swing himself inside to safety just as the big bird lifts off. This vehicle deserves special mention – a giant black cargo plane, adorned with the Expendables logo of a huge raven perched atop the globe, painted with the oh-so-convincing legend “Global Wildlife Conservancy.” It puts one in mind of a similar joke from The Simpsons, where the mafia element spend their time in a back-alley hideout, undetectable except for a huge sign out front that says “Legitimate Businessman’s Social Club.”

‘Meh’ button spreads across Internet – I have no strong opinions about this, but I thought I’d include it.  Feh.

20
Aug
10

Quote of the Day


“There’s nothing wrong with crabgrass. It just has a bad name, that’s all. Everyone would love it if it had a cute name like ‘elf grass.'” – Homer Simpson




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