Archive for February, 2011

28
Feb
11

Compare & Contrast: Mocking Awards Shows

Black Widower3

“You know the rules, awards for excellence in entertainment are contraband, no Emmys, no Oscars, not even a Golden Globe.” – Prison Guard

One of the more revealing ineptitudes of “Angry Dad: The Movie” is the way it fails to copy not one, but two different Simpsons episodes that did the exact same thing it did.  (This is particularly stunning coming from a show that loves repeating jokes and unabashedly lives off of fan nostalgia.)  Of course, both of those older episodes did things much quicker, and managed to actually mock the kidding-but-serious way awards shows take themselves and their participants.  I am speaking of both the Emmys in “Black Widower” and the generic (but Emmy statue lookalike) Annual Cartoon Awards in “The Front” (which are awarded at the Springfield Civic Center the night before it’s closed for roach spraying).

In “Black Widower”, Krusty comes out to present the award for “Best Supporting Performer in a Children’s Program”.  Right there, the show is already making fun of the uselessness of the Daytime Emmys by creating a nonexistent, but not implausible, category for sidekicks.  Taking the whole enterprise one level further into satiric silliness, Krusty reads a list of the enjoyably wacky nominees:

Daytime Emmy Nominees

Clockwise from top left: Droopy Drawers, Colonel Coward, Pepito (the Biggest Cat in the Whole Wide World), and Suck Up the Vacuum

None of those four characters merit too much attention, but each gets his (its?) own little moment of personality.  We see the improbably hot companion of Droopy Drawers reassuringly pat him on the hand.  Colonel Coward freaks out from nerves just a little bit, and Pepito waves like the good natured mascot he is.  Suck Up, who looks more than a little terrifying and can’t possibly be human, is too good to attend this complete sham.  The entire thing takes only ten seconds before the main plot resumes.

Despite not containing much more content than a vacuum cleaner in Spain, none of the plodding parodies in “Angry Dad: The Movie”  move nearly as quickly.  It’s not even close:

  • “The Triplets of Belleville” takes about forty seconds.
  • “Persepolis” is also forty seconds.
  • “Toy Story” managed to be only thirty seconds (but certainly felt longer).
  • “Wallace & Gromit” was sixty-five seconds (as in more than a minute!).
  • “Angry Dad” was a comparatively tame twenty seconds. 

That’s five clips, totaling well over three minutes of screen time, in an episode that’s barely twenty minutes long.  And that doesn’t even count Halle Berry’s part.  For comparison’s sake, please note that the College Humor video of the McBain clips, which the killjoys at FOX legal have already taken down (shhh, reverse Spanish version), was only slightly longer, and it was from five separate episodes over three seasons.

In “The Front” almost the exact same thing – awards show presentation with clips and a celebrity voice – is done in a small fraction of the time.  Brooke Shields and Krusty come out so Krusty can read the terrible joke about his hair, the kind of thing that awards shows still trot out to this day.  He instantly goes off script and starts bitching while Shields gamely plays it straight.  Once he storms off the episode goes right to the parodies.  First is “Strondar: Master of Akom”, the “wedding episode”:

The Front9

Does it takes forty seconds to parody He-Man?  No, no it does not.  It requires less than five seconds and gives us Not He-Man, in his formal S&M gear, tugging nervously at his Chippendales-style bowtie choker.  That goes immediately to “Action Figure Man”, the “How to Buy Action Figure Man” episode:

The Front10

This one is really amazing, because it takes only a few words and a couple of seconds but manages to send up pretty much the entire genre of children’s cartoons, including the incessant merchandising that makes them so very lucrative and the way shameless marketing is used to get kids to basically extort their own parents.  The final “clip” is the only one they didn’t make up themselves but, once again, they didn’t need half a minute to make a quick joke about the fact that new episodes of The Ren & Stimpy Show were less than forthcoming at the time.

From the time Shields introduces the first clip until we get to “Barbershop of Horrors” takes less than thirty seconds.  The whole sequence, from Krusty and Shields walking on stage to Grampa winning the award, is only ninety seconds.  Zombie Simpsons takes three and a half minutes to complete the same thing, and that’s before you get to the respective acceptance speeches.  In “The Front”, Grampa immediately launches into his anti-cartoon tirade without a moment of hesitation.  For his candor he is pelted with fruit thrown by people in formalwear.  In “Angry Dad: The Movie”, Bart launches into a tedious monologue about how many people he needs to thank, and is then joined on stage by Homer for some wrap up exposition.

Parodying famous cartoons like “Toy Story” and “Wallace & Gromit” is a fine thing for a show like Zombie Simpsons to try to do.  But trotting out so many of them for so very long means they’re going to feel like filler, even if they had been packed with insightful humor.  “The Front” could’ve dragged its parodies out, but instead it kept them short and funny, and in doing so left itself time for its own little short, “The Adventures of Ned Flanders”.

[Edited 1 March 2010 to change “Vacom” to “Akom”, see comments for details.]

28
Feb
11

Quote of the Day

Itchy and Scratchy and Marge6

“In preparing for this debate I did a little research, and I discovered a startling thing.  There was violence in the past, long before cartoons were invented.” – Roger Meyers Jr.
“I see, fascinating.” – Kent Brockman
“And there was something called The Crusades, for instance, tremendous violence, many people killed, the darn thing went on for thirty years!” – Roger Meyers Jr.
“And this was before cartoons were invented?” – Kent Brockman

Happy birthday Alex Rocco!  (Well, technically it’s not until Leap Day 2012, but I’m sure he’s learned to make do.)

27
Feb
11

Quote of the Day

Sweet Seymour Skinner's Baadasssss Song5

“Ned Flanders actually eliminated detention and put the whole school on the honor system?” – Seymour Skinner
“Yeah, and the teachers are afraid to leave the faculty lounge!” – Bart Simpson

Happy birthday Bill Oakley!

26
Feb
11

Saturday Morning Cartoons

Separate Vocations7

“Well, that was a waste of time.” – Janey
“Janey, school is never a waste of time.” – Lisa Simpson
“Since we have fifteen minutes until recess, please put down your pencils and stare at the front of the room.” – Ms. Hoover

Doctoral theses could be written about this episode, but let me just add this.  The following things are mocked in this brief, twenty-two minutes of television:

  • Elementary education
  • Standardized testing
  • Post grad education
  • Law enforcement
  • The army
  • Hope
  • Sexual bondage
  • Cop shows
  • Action movies
  • Oedipal complexes
  • The space program
  • The Wild One (1953)
  • Handwriting analysis
  • Hippies
  • Law
  • Beverly Hills Cop (1984)
  • Fascism
  • Aspiration and authority of any kind, stripe or variety

And I’ve omitted far more than I’ve listed.  Ladies and gentlemen, The Simpsons

26
Feb
11

Quote of the Day

Bart Sells His Soul3

“Cover me sarge, I’m going after Bart’s soul! . . . If the ayatollah can’t have it, no one can!” – Milhouse van Houten

25
Feb
11

Reading Digest: Spectacular Links Edition

Homer Badman5

“I feel like a kid in some kind of a store.” – Homer Simpson

Some weeks the internet just gives and gives; like this week, where we have an embarrassment of really cool stuff.  I had several contenders for Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week, and ultimately I couldn’t decide on one, but the first four links are all worth your time, though only the Rolling Stone thing will actually take more than a few seconds of it.  In addition to that, we’ve got some great YouTube, the usual assortment of excellent usage, three links from our pal Galileo, and, what we all came here to see, hard core nudity! 

Enjoy. 

Burger #284 – Lisa Simpson – It’s the Lisa burger, and it’s vegetarian. 

The Simpsons: America’s favorite yellow family – Highly stylized fan made drawing of the family Simpson.  I especially like the blue swirls for both Marge’s hair and Maggie’s pacifier. 

The Simpsons, the Only Real People on T.V.: Rolling Stone’s 1990 Cover Story – A Rolling Stone cover article about the show from June 1990, i.e. after the first season when Bartmania was at its absolute apex.  It’s a nice little time capsule, and it’s always good to remember when the show was rebellious.  I’m particularly fond of this quote from Groening:

"I like it because [the Simpsons] are not glamorous. So much in our culture is designed to make you feel envious. The Simpsons definitely do not."

“Glamorous”, there’s a word that pretty neatly describes Zombie Simpsons.  I’m going to add that one to my regular repertoire. 

Milhaus Shirt – Milhouse/Bauhaus mashup shirt – I put this up on Twitter earlier this week, but it’s worth mentioning again.  Unfortunately they appear to have sold out in the meantime, so you can’t get the t-shirt at the moment, but you can gaze upon its nerdy majesty:

Milhaus

But my mom says I’m cool (via).

BoC Gameday: It’s OUR Vertigo – Excellent usage:

I feel bad for Hiller, but I admit that I’d probably giggle if the Ducks literally killed their goaltender with their shitty defense. Are the Ducks drinking chlorinated water or something? Lydman’s seeing double, Hiller can’t stand up, and Ryan Getzlaf’s bones are brittle. The Getzlaf one is especially weird since he always drinks plenty of… malk?

I feel like Ned Flanders! – More excellent usage:

So, I was driving home from work yesterday and as I left Abbotsford and grew closer to Chilliwack, the snow started to fall.  Well, not fall, exactly.  More like, um, assault my car. 

[…]

I thought of Ned Flanders, when his house was torn away by a tornado and the town pulled together to build a new house for him.  The work they did was done “Shoddilly-iddily-iddily-diddly” and Ned tries to “diddly” his way out of his rage, but then finally explodes in “aaaw hell diddly ding dong crap!”

Every time I see this episode I think that someday that’ll be me.

There is also a rather nice photo to go with that, in both regular and old timey versions. 

This General has a major thing for the Globetrotters – This is the rare example of a botched quote that indisputable qualifies as excellent usage.  Observe:

The Generals, my newly adopted teammates, had lost 13,561 in a row. As "The Simpsons’ " Krusty the Clown once noted, "The Generals are so due."

That’s not an exact quote, more of a paraphrase. But you get the idea.

Well done.  For the record, the exact quote is “I thought the Generals were due!”

Why America Hates Arcade Fire, and Why That’s Sort of Hilarious – Because this week is all about how The Simpsons had such justifiable contempt for awards shows, please read this paragraph from an article that defends the Grammys even while acknowledging how stupid they are:

In a year where self-identified indie bands permeated all layers of mainstream culture, and in a year where no single album emerged as a talisman for what 2010 was about, Arcade Fire was absolutely the best choice of the five, and music observers in the know shouldn’t be surprised that the band took home the little gold statue derided by The Simpsons all the way back in 1993.

I’d also like to point out the irony in defending a Grammy win by pointing out shitty Grammy wins.  And then this:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gadhafi In Popular Culture – I also put this on Twitter earlier.  It’s a YouTube video of all the ways American pop culture has been making fun of Gaddafi for a quarter century.  Another famous Indian was Crazy Horse. 

Libya…In 10 Words – Speaking of Gaddafi and The Simpsons

Wisconsin’s Union Issue…In 10 Words – YouTube of Lisa’s union strike song. 

Scott Walker’s Prank Call…In 10 Words – And one more. 

AEBN Streams ‘Simpsons: The XXX Parody’ in HD – Looks like the porn parody is ready to roll.  I might get in trouble with WordPress for this, but screw it: here’s the link.  Lots of payment options, including pay-per-minute (ha!), a 48-hour rental for eight bucks, and an mp4 download (specifically marked “DRM Free”) for twenty-five.  Say what you want about the porn industry, but their distribution methods are years ahead of mainstream entertainment. 

The beginning of an era, where the Knicks may even be good – Discussing the Carmelo Anthony trade:

Also coming to New York is Shelden Williams and his larger-than-life head, which is presumably a result of drinking the same tonic Ken Griffey Jr. was hooked on in the greatest Simpsons episode of all-time.

Tee hee. 

Gif Collection (23/02/2011) – There’s a couple of Simpsons .gifs here, Ralph at the focus group in “The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show” and Bart pulling down the shade in “Bart of Darkness”.  Plus there’s Hermione making fun of Bella, which is always win. 

Health Care Gone Wrong – Hibbert treating some of the Warner Brothers gang. 

Ice Cream & Bagels -OR- HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! – Happy birthday:

Yes, yours truly’s birthday clock just hit the top of the hour today.  I’m off to celebrate with free goods and/or services.

Nice reference.  Click through for YouTube of the Ramones. 

Presidents’ Day – Awesome YouTube video of various Simpsons songs. 

Girl on Girl on TV: Week of February 13 – Television review:

In this episode they reveal that the grey in Patty and Selma’s hair is just ash—when she shakes it out, it’s red. She also threatens to beat up Homer, saying, “I could bend him like Beckham.” That’s what passes for comedy these days?

Sadly, yes, at least as far as Zombie Simpsons is concerned. 

25
Feb
11

Quote of the Day

Vodka & Jerky

Image shamelessly yoinked from Well Preserved.

“Poor Mister Homer, could it be that my snack treats are responsible for his wretched health?” – Apu Nahasapeemapetilon
“Gimme some jerky.” – Customer
“Would you like some vodka with that?” – Apu Nahasapeemapetilon
“Oh what the hell, sure.” – Customer




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