“Ooh, look Maggie, what is that? Dodecahedron. Dodecahedron.” – Lisa Simpson
“Lisa, I don’t know what you’re doing but it’s very strange and your father’s trying to worry.” – Homer Simpson
Archive for April, 2011
“No, Celeste, I mean the things she says are sexist.” – Lisa Simpson
“Lisa said a dirty word!” – Girls
This week we have two people who watched “Lisa vs. Malibu Stacy” for a class and had to blog about it. Isn’t the internet wonderful? “Lisa vs. Malibu Stacy” is just about the quintessential “watch for a class” episode when it comes time to study female portrayals in popular media. But if I may make a suggestion to the syllabus writers of the world, don’t overlook “Dukerella”, the penultimate episode of The Critic. Presumably because the DVD revenue is miniscule, FOX’s copyright killjoys don’t patrol YouTube for it nearly as aggressively as they do for The Simpsons, so you can actually watch the whole thing (as of this writing, anyway). In the episode, Miranda, Alice’s blond bombshell sister, moves in and attempts to flirt and charm her way to love and money in New York City. It’s chalk full of jokes and satires of pointless female competition, sibling rivalry, and the general unfairness of the universe. Some of the more choice lines:
Penny (Alice’s adorable little daughter): Momma, Aunt Randa’s gonna teach me to giggle stupidly to make men do my bidding.
Miranda: Please, Alice, this is my last chance at happiness. You’ve got so much, a beautiful daughter, a good job, your boyfriend with his unique interpretation of masculinity. All right, I have to admit it, I’m jealous of you.
Alice: You, of me? Yes!
There’s much more, and if you get to the 10 minute mark you can see the street harassment/Supreme Court joke that has made it completely impossible for me to ever read anything about Learned Hand without tittering to myself. Of course, we’ve also got some other stuff. There’s a video tour worthy of Troy McClure, bad metaphors, excellent usage, a demonstration of the power of Simpsons Wiki, and some excellent fan art.
the men of my dreams – Fan made clown images, including an awesomely creepy and bloodshot Krusty.
The Simpsons – College essay #1.
The Simpsons Connection – College essay #2.
Who is this Simpsons Character? – This one’s a package deal with . . .
Mystery Solved – . . . this one. I always just think of him as the sarcastic guy, but I guess he’s got a name.
“I would kill everyone in this room for a drop of sweet beer.” -Homer Simpson – Three weeks in a row for Freakoutville.
Video Tour of a Google Data Center – This is a promotional video made by Google to reassure paranoid IT people about putting their oh so precious data on Google Apps, but it’s basically engineer porn. In this case it comes with fake Troy McClure sayings, of which my personal favorite is either “The Decapitation of Ask Jeeves” or “Lycos: Delicious But Deadly”.
Just not the big red one – This is a blog called “Bad Metaphors”. This particular post has Homer saying:
“A nuclear reactor is a lot like a woman. You just have to read the manual and press the right buttons.”
It’s never easy to tell, but I’m pretty sure Homer says “button”, not “buttons”. Singular makes it work better as a sexual metaphor, which the title of the linked post can also be interpreted as. God bless that button.
The apprentice presidential candidate – This goes against my general policy of ignoring instead of enabling attention junkies, but excellent usage is excellent usage:
Trump — he of the big mouth, the bigger ego and, to quote no less an authority on coiffes than Apu from “The Simpsons,” the “hair by Frank Lloyd Wright” — is teasing the media about seeking the 2012 Republican presidential nomination,
Meghan McCain Interviews Trump, Shows That She’s a Nitwit – Here we can see two products of nepotism congratulating each other. Normally I’d ignore it, but, having already mentioned the Hairpiece once, in for a penny in for a pound. And excellent usage is still excellent usage:
There’s a great episode of The Simpsons where Mr. Burns decides to run for mayor and, as a campaign stunt, has dinner at the Simpsons’ house in front of TV cameras.
The entire thing is, of course, completely choreographed by Mr. Burns, who has supplied the Simpson family with the questions they’re supposed to ask him.
Lisa’s scripted question: “Mr Burns, your campaign seems to have the momentum of a run-away freight train. Why are you so popular?”
Mr. Burns responds: "Oh, a tough question, but a fair one. Lisa, there’s no single answer. Some voters respond to my integrity. Others are more impressed by my incorruptibility. Still others like my determination to lower taxes and the bureaucrats in the state capital can put that in their pipes and smoke it!"
The Burns quote is off by little tiny bits, but I don’t care.
Tron (1982) Blu-ray Movie Review – And finally, a little excellent usage that agrees with us:
There’s a line in an old episode of The Simpsons (back when y’know.. it was good), where Homer asks an assembled throng "Um, it’s like, uh… did anyone see the movie "Tron?" – The entire cast say no.
There are four consecutive weeks of Zombie Simpsons starting on Sunday, so we’ll be back on our regular schedule for the month of May before embarking on Season 10 for the summer. In the meantime, please enjoy some excellent Simpsons writing from two of our longtime blog friends.
First up is Kokairu, who’s continuing her series of looking back at all the episodes. She’s crammed a whole lot into this one “The Simpsons on Reflection Part V: Seasons 3-5”. (I originally read this back when she posted it at the beginning of the month, and I could swear I posted it here already, but our April archive disagrees.) While she’s harsher on Season 5 than I’d be, I need to emphatically agree with this about “The Front”:
Some of the best jokes in this one went over my head when I was younger; “… actually, I did my thesis in life experience…” Perfect on so many levels.
Overall, that’s happened more times than I can remember, but what makes it even better, beyond the simple reward of catching something that had previously flown over your head, is the way it gives even repeat viewings their own personality. I still remember the time I watched “Last Exit to Springfield” with my then brother-in-law and he said, as Lisa demands the mirror, that he’d never noticed that was from Batman. I remember the first time I watched “Kamp Krusty” after I finally saw Apocalypse Now and getting the pigs heads for the first time. To some extent that’s true of anything you watch, read, etcetera, but The Simpsons provides (note present tense) an unparalleled number of opportunities for such enjoyable little moments.
Second is Andreas, who’s written one of his customarily thorough analysis pieces, this time on “Lisa’s Pony”. In particular, this should be CC’d to everyone who writes for Zombie Simpsons:
This episode also contains an example of one of my favorite Simpsons habits: using pathos to undercut brilliant, perfectly timed slapstick. Homer tries to leave the Kwik-E-Mart, but collapses asleep between the automatic doors, and they slam repeatedly on his head. It’s funny, sure, but the humor is drained out by the underlying emotional weight, and the fact that he’s reduced himself to this humiliating condition for his daughter’s sake.
When they beat on Homer nowadays it’s almost like a nervous tic. They do it without much reason, and just count on Castellaneta’s ability to scream in many different ways to make it funny. Here, none of that is necessary. When the power saw falls on Homer’s head, it’s his lack of reaction that makes it so damned hilarious. Wailing crazily would ruin it.
I highly recommend both pieces. I’d do so anyway, but in this case it’s especially a good idea on account of there aren’t likely to be a lot of warm fuzzies around here for the next four weeks.
“What about Bart?” – Marge Bouvier
“Let’s see, Bart, cart, dart, eart . . . nope, can’t see any problem with that.” – Homer Simpson
As the title indicates, we got two reader submissions from the UK, one with a chart, the other involving art. (This ends the rhyming portion of this post.) First up, the chart.
Seb Patrick noticed something while watching Season 8 recently. He thought the episodes that began with shows-within-the-show ended up being better than those that just started in the regular world of Evergreen Terrace. Curiosity piqued, he plunged ahead:
And for some reason, when an episode opens with one of these scenes, it instantly feels sharper and more imaginative than one that just brings us in to a random scene somewhere in Springfield or at the Simpsons’ home. This is particularly noticeable during these later seasons (and when I say "later", I mean "later in the good period" – we’re going by the assumption that the programme is largely not worth watching, and thus non-existent in my head, after around season eleven), when it’s the more dull and boring episodes that seem to start in this mundane way, and the better ones that give the laughs by opening with – for example – the Krusty Komedy Klassic, or an edition of Eye on Springfield. It therefore feels to me like I’m simply more likely to enjoy an episode if it’s got one of these opening scenes (which from now on I’m referring to as "TV openings", even though they also covers other forms of media).
So, I’ve decided to test it out. And count up data in Excel. And turn it into a graph. Because that’s how I roll.
And the numbers say . . . “kinda”. Isn’t data fun? The whole thing is worth a read. Thanks Seb!
Moving along, we come to the art, to something that reader Adam thinks may not have reached America yet. I’m not entirely sure how to describe this. It’s a Facebook page titled “Simpsons pictures that I gone and done”, and it’s sort of a cross between Ralph Steadman and MS Paint. Observe:
Each one is then accompanied by charmingly random blather like this:
I really love to do portraits of the Barney character from The Simpsons. He is always doing the things that we want to do but just don’t have the guts to do. I love when he walks down the street and just punches people in the back of the head or just completely stands still for ages so people think he’s a wood carving. I love his catchphrase "whats wrong with me".
The slideshow is here, and is strangely mesmerizing. (Note: Facebook pestered me every once and a while to login, but you can just ignore it.) Thanks Adam!