Archive for May, 2011

31
May
11

Quote of the Day

22 Short Films about Springfield6

“Help me.” – Mr. Smithers
“Holy smokes, you need booze!” – Dr. Nick Riviera

30
May
11

Quote of the Day

Bart of Darkness3

“Is it true we should wait at least an hour after eating before we go in?” – Marge Simpson
“Look, question lady, this job is not what I really do, okay?  I play keyboards.” – Pool Sharks Guy

29
May
11

Quote of the Day

The Springfield Connection5

“They’re butchering the classics!  Could that bassoon have come in any more late?” – Homer Simpson
“Oh c’mon, Homer, there’s lasers.  You like lasers.” – Marge Simpson
“Laser effects, mirrored balls, John Williams must be rolling around in his grave.” – Homer Simpson

Happy birthday Danny Elfman!

28
May
11

Season 3 Marathon: 24 Episodes, 24 Beers, 9h:12m:06s

Dog of Death7

“Marge, I’ve figured out an alternative to giving up my beer.  Basically, we become a family of traveling acrobats.” – Homer Simpson
“I don’t think you’ve thought this through.” – Marge Simpson

Good morning everyone, and welcome to the Season 3 Simpsons-Beer marathon!  Season 7 tightened the gap a little yesterday afternoon, and had been ahead earlier in the week, but Season 3 stayed on top of the poll, and so Season 3 it shall be.  Just like the previous marathons, I’m not above using the pause and reverse buttons to get a quote or a screen shot, but there will be absolutely no use of the fast forward button.  I’ll update this post at the end of each episode, and you can probably expect the ones later in the day to be a bit more . . . enthusiastic.  And now, that first delicious breakfast beer calls.

1. Stark Raving Dad

  • “Marge, I can’t wear a pink shirt to work, everybody wears white shirts.  I’m not popular enough to be different.” 
  • I love that the power plant has a bare light bulb interrogation room and performs body cavity searches, and then they end up talking about Gilbert & Sullivan.  That’s high quality absurdity right there.
  • That’s a really gratuitous crotch grab from Leon on “Billy Jean”.  Baseball players would have a hard time getting away with that on network TV.
  • Nice touch: Homer’s wearing the pink shirt in Bart’s lobotomy fantasy.
  • For those of you too young to remember 1991, it’s hard to describe just how huge Michael Jackson was.  Imagine if Lady Gaga, Kanye West and Justine Timberlake were the same person, and then quadruple that, I was a kid who wasn’t yet into popular music and I knew who he was.  It actually wasn’t that implausible that an entire town would drop what it was doing to go see him.  I get that it’s a joke, but still.
  • Bart gets a pretty good sound out of that trash can. 
  • And wow is this a great song.

2. Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington

  • Homer’s job specifies an illiterate. 
  • The Reading Digest sex tips are great. 
  • Nice touch: the eagle in the park has the arrow and the olive branch.
  • “Jingoism” is one of the score categories for the essays. 
  • “Brevity Is . . . Wit”
  • Love Barbara Bush’s “damn badges” line.
  • Unlike so many of Zombie Simpsons’ “destination” episodes, the sights the family sees here (VIP badges excepted for comedy) are things that really are right next to each other in D.C.  These days they skip from landmark to landmark regardless of sense and it’s really disorienting.  Here you never feel like they’ve left reality.
  • We’ve got a lot more than two women Senators now.  Good work, Lisa.
  • I’ve only been sightseeing in D.C. once, but I giggled when, sure enough, the Jefferson Memorial was deserted while the Lincoln Memorial had people crawling all over it.  Lincoln’s got a more convenient spot, but the contrast is huge.
  • I use Bart’s “Cool, a ruckus” all the time.
  • The swift justice accorded to Bob Arnold is such a wonderfully Simpsons touch, they’re willing to go cynical exaggeration on anything.
  • “Imprisoned Congressman becomes born again Christian.”
  • I forget his name, but otherwise intelligent people thought that piano guy (who was a real guy) was funny.  He wasn’t. 

3. When Flanders Failed

  • Every time a Zombie Simpsons writer turns in a script with a ton of Jerkass Homer running around and acting like a lunatic, s/he (probably he), should be strapped into a chair, Clockwork Orange style, and forced to watch this episode.  Homer’s an ass this entire episode, but it’s because he’s jealous of Flanders, not just because.  Better yet, his asshole behavior is mostly passive.  When he’s laughing with the food in his mouth, and Maude and Ned are kinda grossed out, he’s 1/100th of Jerkass Homer . . . and then he chokes. 
  • Akira’s karate commercial is fantastic, especially his swollen eye after he breaks the board with his head.
  • Castellaneta’s delivery of “No, I do not know what Schadenfreude is, please tell me because I’m dying to know” should be in some kind of sarcasm hall of fame.
  • Small point: when Homer’s talking to Chuck Ellis the collection agent, he was going to tell him about the store, he just got interrupted.  It’s a subtle thing, but it makes the eventual change less melodramatic and displays that respect for the audience Zombie Simpsons doesn’t have.
  • “Sold it to you for seven cents”, Homer having Ned’s monogrammed handkerchief, the Libertarian Party headquarters, even in this episode’s most emotional scene they never let things get heavy. 
  • “Ah, the worm has turned has it not, my tin plated friend?”
  • Maude wearing Donna Reed’s dress from It’s a Wonderful Life is one of those things I didn’t notice for the first, oh, forty viewings.

4. Bart the Murderer

  • Great animation on the close up of Bart’s parched tongue licking envelopes.
  • There really was a “Fat Tony”.  According to Wikipedia, he died less than a year after this was broadcast.
  • Small animation note: the cocktail chart is listed below the radio when the Phil Hartman gangster announces the call for the third race.  That’s a hell of an attention to detail.
  • Oh how I miss themed Itchy & Scratchy episodes.
  • I love the panicked yell of the smoker, “How do we know that?”. 
  • Fat Tony’s self serving description of hijacking is one for the ages.
  • Flowers By Irene!
  • The unreserved joy of the kids at hearing that Skinner is missing is one of those great multi-layered moments of the show at its best.  Not only do the students hate the principal, they’re fine with showing it openly, and it underlines the plot by showing Bart being nervous. 
  • Even Bart’s nightmare about being executed is treated lightly.
  • “Chinese guy with a moustache?” – Oh yeah, Fat Tony murders people.
  • The cartoon of Bart with tentacles in every part of town is another brilliant little touch.
  • Skinner’s recollection of the police search, complete with the cops eating his food and drinking his beer, is great.  The whole story hinges on the fact that the cops are too incompetent to look in the basement.
  • Is this the first inkling the world got of the comedic potential of the dry delivery of Neil Patrick Harris?

5. Homer Defined

  • “The little touches are what made it enduring.”  Well said, Martin.  Well said.
  • I’ve asked around, I’ve checked the closed captioning, I’ve Googled, does anyone have any idea what Otto says when they pull up to the school?  “I’d like to say thanks and a ??????? applause to birthday boy  Milhouse”?  It sounds like “plose” or something.  Was it an early 90s stoner word?  I have no idea. 
  • Project Bootstrap!
  • Thank you, President Ford.
  • You see episodes like this one enough times and you take it for granted, but they are talking about killing an entire town with radiation and yet everything, even the strings of suspense, are pasted over with gags and jokes. 
  • Case in point: Frink’s Strangelove glasses, which aren’t even the main joke of the scene he’s in.
  • Enjoyably quick nod to “Goldfinger” with the 007 count on the timer.
  • They did like their wine spritzers this season.
  • The wall of Smithers photos is such a great payoff for his earlier bitching about Homer winning Employee of the Month.
  • Gotta enjoy the terrible parenting that is Homer’s indifference to Lisa’s newfound admiration for him.
  • “Behold the glory that is Homer Simpson!”

6. Like Father, Like Clown

  • Gotta love Cpl. Punishment holding Mel’s unconscious self.
  • “I always suspected that nothing in life mattered, now I know for sure.”
  • That the seltzer young Krusty is playing with in the bathroom hits him in the face like a money shot is another one of those things that’s so dirty the censors never had a chance.
  • Someday I will have a “Gabbin’ About God” t-shirt made. 
  • The deli setup is the kind of thing a lesser show would’ve used as a third act.  Not only is Krusty humming “La Marseillaise”, he put on a tuxedo!
  • God bless Sammy Davis Jr.
  • If you want to see filler that doesn’t feel like filler, check out the quick cutaway to Moe and Barney.

7. Treehouse of Horror II

  • I promise I’ll stop talking about Zombie Simpsons soon, but nothing they’ve done in the last ten years comes close to the self awareness on display here in the Monkey’s Paw segment.  They’re really laying into themselves for being overexposed and for having shitty stuff for sale, and they did it all the time.  Nowadays they have to farm anything remotely that true out to Banksy.
  • “He’s got a board with a nail in it!”
  • I always laugh when Snowball II sets the curtains on fire.  Every single time.
  • Ditto Otto saying “This is fun isn’t it?  We’re gonna die, aren’t we?” and then laying hard on the accelerator with his hand.
  • The conditional emphasis Dr. Marvin Monroe places on “maybe even love him” is fantastic. 
  • Burns’ Frankenstein laboratory is fantastically drawn.
  • Burns humming “If I Only Had a Brain” while he removes Homer’s with an ice cream scoop is just too damn perfect.  Did they have to pay a royalty on that?

8. Lisa’s Pony

  • Another nice, detailed touch: adding the letterbox bars for the 2001 “Dawn of Man” segment.
  • Funny and appropriate character touches: Lisa not wanting to call her father until after she checked with a ton of people and the “nice man who caught the snake in our basement”, and Homer, after trying to get out of it, being touched anyway.
  • Words I learned from The Simpsons: trenchant.
  • More great character moments: Skinner hating the talent contest backstage, then praising it on stage.
  • Between Homer ignoring Lisa’s first steps for Fantasy Island and ignoring her calling him “dada” to strangle Bart, this show once again displays its mastery of emotional moments that remain very funny.
  • “No, you were right the first time with that quick fix idea.”
  • The scene where Burns loans Homer the money is perfect, everyone’s in character, it’s joke laden from start to finish, and it allows the overall plot to move on quickly.
  • Grampa flailing around at the video game is every time I ever tried to get my parents or grandparents to pick up a controller.  As a kid, this was one of those scenes that just sung to me.
  • Nice callbacks to Season 1: not only does Apu live at Fiesta Terrace, he’s dating April Flowers/Princess Cashmere.
  • Homer’s sleep montage is so, so great.
  • “Homer sleep now” is another one of those things I use all the time.
  • “Although there is no change in my patrician facade, I can assure you, my heart is breaking.”

9. Saturdays of Thunder

  • On TV: Mr. Sugar Cube creates perfectly square sugar cubes.  On Evergreen Terrace: Cubes are lumpy and misshapen. 
  • The Poe tombstone thing, up to and including “you’ll think the body’s still warm”, is like eleven jokes in ten seconds.  It’s cruel.
  • Speaking of tons of things crammed into almost no screen time: McBain in the diner.
  • Thank Jebus for YouTube, now no one has to miss Joe Theismann.
  • Saturdays of Thunder8
  • “He reminds me of me before the weight of the world crushed my spirit.”
  • Trusting the audience: no exposition is necessary for the first race, they just show us the “Time Trials” banner for about a second.
  • Nelson going Ben Hur on on Bart is great.
  • When Martin offers to let Bart drive his car, Bart doesn’t agonize, he just agrees in a single sentence that makes fun of the cliched setup and moves the plot to its next step. 
  • And then Homer calls Martin a “Home wrecker” and Martin replies with the standard teevee mistress rebuttal that the betraying party “still loves you”.  God this season is genius.
  • And then they stand the usual “sore loser” teevee message on its head, but only after Homer and Bart are forced to ignore the fact that Martin was the real winner. 

10. Flaming Moe’s

  • “It’s a dustpan.”  “The wax never lies.”
  • I’ve already not noted at least a dozen of them, but Castellaneta again deserves special mention for “That’s it, I’m outta here.”  It’s the perfect combination of resignation and an excuse to escape.
  • That’s right, Moe accepts food stamps.
  • Tipsy McStagger – It’s a joke, and then Moe thinking he’s real makes it another one, which they can then use for a callback.  Beautiful use of a good idea without running it into the ground.
  • There’s such a wonderful naivete to Bart thinking it’s okay to bring booze to class if he brings enough for everybody, and then Krabappel letting him have whatever the teacher’s lounge doesn’t finish compounds it.  The layers children, the layers.
  • The song, the song!
  • The secret ingredient is always love, isn’t it?
  • Even when Eye on Springfield comes back from commercial there’s a hot girl shaking her ass.  Local news uber alles.
  • On any other program, Hutz’s whole scene, including his citation of the “Frank Wallbanger” case, would be the highlight of the entire episode.  Here we’ve grown so spoiled we expect it.
  • I type really fast, but I can’t type nearly fast enough to keep up with the memorable scenes here.
  • Krabappel rocks that bra sized tube top.
  • And one final Cheers/Shelly Long joke, leaving to pursue her movie career.

11. Burns Verkaufen der Kraftwerk

  • We’re at the German episode already?  Fuck’s sake, we’ve been through ten episodes that contain things even casual fans love, and now we’re at the German episode?  Holy fuck this season is solid. 
  • Everyone talks about Hutz and McClure, but Homer’s stockbroker saying “Ah, there, now we trust each other” is as good as Hartman ever did, and that’s a bar most comedians can’t even see, much less reach.
  • There’s a ton of great Itchy & Scratchy this season.  They can take a simple thing, like a mouse hammering a nail into a cat’s skull, and make it funny. 
  • Buying the Cleveland Browns was funny, then they moved, now they’re back and as terrible and ever, and it’s funny again. 
  • With the exception of Bobo, and that was more subdued, $100,000,000 may be the only thing Burns ever loves. 
  • Another small point for those of you who don’t remember 1991, there was a real (and really stupid) panic that the Germans and the Japanese were taking everything over at the time.  Fortunately, America has Mr. Burns.
  • I may have raised my hand when Horst asked if there were any alcoholics among us. 
  • “Also, we cannot overemphasize the importance of employee safety.”:

Burns Verkaufen der Kraftwerk3

  • Like the Browns, Battlestar Galactica was funny at the time, and is now funny for a different reason.
  • “Mmmm, the land of chocolate.”  This, this right here, this is how you do a montage.  The pure joy on his face, the pain of the dog, the fact that he’s excited about half off chocolate. 
  • And then he has to come crashing back to reality, ten minutes ago.
  • Yet more nice character points, Lisa responds to poverty by actually saving for the family, Bart responds by using it as an excuse to do shit he wanted to do anyway.
  • Burns contempt for the “blue collar bar” is perfect him.  He calls it “slumming”, has to hold his nose, and, of course, there’s “the mirthless laugh of the damned”. 
  • Again they undermine the usual television conventions.  Money does make him happy, but only when it makes people afraid of him.  Oh how I miss evil Burns.
  • And then we get a United States of God Bless American back in charge, and what does he do?  Cancel all repairs. 
  • And, yes, there was a dagger in his drawer the whole time his office was a daycare center.

12. I Married Marge

  • Not a lot of programs can compare John Anderson to Supertramp.  Just saying. 
  • More little touches: one of the light bulbs is out at the impregnable castle. 
  • I don’t think this is what they were going for, and I am twelve beers in, but you could interpret this as an example of the way boorish, lazy males use cultural norms about pregnancy to trap women with otherwise better options into dead end marriages that overwhelming benefit said boorish males.  
  • Kool Moe Dee Simpson.
  • It always has kinda bothered me that Homer never hit on “fart” as something that rhymes with “Bart”.  Meh.
  • Hibbert’s haircuts through time are always fantastic.
  • Speaking of well done montages: Homer to “9 to 5”.  The gummy scream of the old woman as Homer reminds himself “handle first” cracks me up every time.  And that’s only part of it.
  • “Repossessing stuff is the hardest part of my job.”
  • Lotta good Bouvier family jokes about Homer going bald in this one.
  • “Gulp ’n Blow”, almost really dirty, but not quite.  Still kinda dirty.
  • “Pour vous”, nice callback to Season 2.
  • “Homer, do you know why I married you?” “Cause I knocked you up?”
  • Burns’ sadistic glee at eating the ghosts in Ms. Pacman is fantastic. 
  • I didn’t note it earlier, but Smithers’ old school haircut, while not as good as Hibbert’s, is pretty good.
  • Best job interview ever.
  • Another great ending: Homer can express his life affirming joy at having kids, only to leap off the couch, spilling all three of them onto the floor in the process, to high five Marge that they won’t have to endure another.

13. Radio Bart

  • It’s great of Homer to be susceptible to cheap marketing phrases like “supply is limited”.
  • And then Bart pays $8 to see his name for about a sixteenth of a second on TV.
  • “When I was a kid we had compact discs, and I don’t recall no one complaining.”  Yet another example of the show seeing into the future.
  • The suspicious, bordering on hostile, eyes of the guy in the Wall E. costume are fantastic.
  • Animatronic pizza animals, ten thousand years from now archeologists will argue over whether or not we worshipped them.
  • Yet another thing that cracks me up every time: “We have captured your president, he was delicious.”
  • Love the guy with Socrates the falcon.
  • This episode is based of a Kirk Douglas movie called “Ace in the Hole”, rather than babble about it drunkenly, I’ll link to this, which I’m pretty sure I wrote sober.
  • Here’s where we get our first look at Willie’s epic abdominals.
  • The Lincoln squirrel has been assassinated!
  • I love the way Homer yanks Sting back after he breaks through.

14. Lisa the Greek

  • If the NFL doesn’t have a season this year, I shall be very put out.  Lousy owners.
  • Great setup for Season 5, Lisa making the shoe box apartment where Malibu Stacey(!) prints a feminist newsletter. 
  • Since I’m apparently big on linked YouTube this week, here’s a video that will explain to anyone too young or foreign to get Smooth Jimmy Apollo.  The real Jimmy the Greek was so over the top he was almost impossible to parody. 
  • The clothes shopping subplot only lasts for the beginning of the episode, but it fits with the rest of it, and is exactly how tortuous shopping for clothes really is when you’re a kid.
  • It’s all but impossible not to think of Lisa’s “He’ll lose” speech whenever you see some guy in a pre-game interview.
  • One more little touch: the way Homer’s eyes narrow as he gets confused at Lisa’s explanation of  the ins and outs of away turf and conference games.
  • Moe saying “Just gimme the best, Lisa” after she explains to Homer why she’s making her picks is a great example of not using a montage.  Could’ve done one, didn’t need to, didn’t.
  • In the category of great deliveries, Smith’s disgusted, bordering on giving up, “Put me down”, has to be mentioned. 
  • It’s great that Moe pours the free beer he mistakenly gave Barney down the sink.  He’d rather see it wasted than unpaid for.
  • Twenty years on and, with rare exceptions (cough, Prince, cough), the Super Bowl halftime show has only gotten worse.
  • Not a lot of shows can end with intergenerational bonding over a tire fire.

15. Homer Alone

  • Even for animation, the way Marge’s face hardens into about an 8.3 on the Mohs scale as her family hassles her all at once is fantastic.
  • Really nice animation on the overhead shots of the river flowing under the bridge.
  • Good party gag: yellow police/caution tape that reads “Distressed Mother – Please Stay Back”
  • After Wiggum and Quimby have their backroom fight, it’s great to see Wiggum’s resentful look as Quimby lets her go.
  • I love how reassured Homer is once Marge swears she’s coming back.  That’s all he needed to know.
  • Such a nice and brief contrast between the wide eyed discomfort of Lisa and Bart in bed at Patty & Selma’s, and Marge realizing she can spread out at Rancho Relaxo.
  • Cutting the joke off while it’s still funny: Barney spraying water into the house.
  • Also, the woman horrified to have Marge’s haircut in the salon.
  • Excellent absurdity: what kind of movie is titled “Calling all Quakers” AND contains the words, “Have it your way, baby.”? 

16. Bart the Lover

  • The Zinc filmstrip is so dead on it’s almost not a parody.
  • Not all that long after this episode and its yo-yo group, my school was visited by a bunch of people who did the same thing, but for jump rope instead of yo-yos.  Other than laughing at it with my friends, the only thing I remember is that they had a bootleg copy of “Partyman” by Prince that was so cheap it still had the ambient sounds and dialog from Batman in it.  (Second Prince mention of the day!)
  • I love that the teacher’s lounge has “happy hour”.
  • A photo that’ll get your pencil moving:
    Bart the Lover6
    I do love it when this show got away with shit.
  • Much love for Lovejoy thinking Flanders was complaining about the vegetables and not the swearing.
  • “Look, Homer, all of us pull a few boners now and then, go off half cocked, make asses of ourselves.”
  • That’s right, Marge gives Homer a swear jar exception for when they’re snuggling.  Hell yeah.
  • Homer’s emotional clumsiness at a) wanting to tell Krabappel the truth, and then b) his break up ideas, are a great way for him to be a terrible person without hurting people.  This way we don’t have to feel weird when he acts like a mean spirited fucktard.

17. Homer at the Bat

  • The softball episode: it begins.
  • Somebody scare him / That’s for the hiccups.
  • Just once I would like to play a softball game with Simpsons rules: can’t leave first until you chug a beer, anyone scoring has to chug a beer, you have to chug a beer at the top of all odd numbered innings, and we’ll figure something out for the fourth inning being the beer inning.  And yes, we will have a keg by first base.
  • Burns’ “I disagree” wins forever.
  • Known to cause gigantism.
  • Smithers asks Burns what he’s going to do with his million dollars, and Burns, offhandedly, says he’s going to throw it on the pile.  Right there they basically resolve the million-dollar-bet plot so they can focus on just winning the championship and Homer getting to play.  You hardly notice it when it happens, but it makes the entire episode run smoothly.
  • The entire sequence where the ringers fall victim to misfortune is perfectly done.  It’s not a montage, it’s not done strictly in order, it’s just little pieces told well together, even the ones that take more than one scene. 
  • The end is such a great way for Homer to win without actually winning. 
  • And, another song.

18. Separate Vocations

  • I went to a terrible school that was staffed by incompetents; I love this episode.  Everyone’s hopes and dreams, starting with Krabappel and her masters from Bryn Mawr, are tarnished. 
  • “No, the army said I was too heavy, the police said I was too dumb.”  That’s a great joke, making fun of two usually sacrosanct institutions by implying that the soldiers are dumb and the cops are fat.
  • “You’ve inherited a finger condition known as ‘stubbiness’.”  It’s impossible not to say that whenever I drop something.  At this point it’s a reflex.
  • Eggplant Xerxes Criminy Overbite Narwhal
  • Mr. Glasscock.
  • I love the panic in the teacher’s longue after they realize the kids are on the same footing that they are.
  • Only Wiggum would send in the battering ram on the library.
  • The locker searching scene sounds like, but is legally distinct from, Beverly Hills Cop.
  • “In your pre-fascist days you knew the giddy thrill of futile rebellion.”

19. Dog of Death

  • Deceptive lottery ads: still the same twenty years later.
  • 380,000,000:50
  • There’s an enjoyably ironic cruelty to making the poor Simpsons watch the rich Kent Brockman get even richer.
  • “What makes a man endanger his job and, yes, even his life, by asking me for money?”  Burns finger on, then off, then quickly back on the security button is a great way to make an otherwise not funny scene funny.
  • Burns contempt for even the idea of recycling is awesome.  He just doesn’t want to have to paw through garbage like a starving raccoon, that’s all.
  • Smithers in the Girl Scout uniform!
  • Rich Kent Brockman: tan, gold draped, and nearly naked, is exactly what a guy like him would do with money. 
  • No dogs were harmed in the drunken watching of this episode.  A cat got sick, and somebody shot a duck, but that’s it.

20. Colonel Homer

  • There really should’ve been a movie called “Honey, I Hit a School Bus”.
  • The pig that gets tossed on stage always makes be laugh. 
  • Beverly D’Angelo nails everything about this part.
  • Moe casually mentioning that Fudd made all those hillbillies blind is a great call back.  Again, they took the time to not run a good idea into the ground.
  • Homer’s complete sexual innocence makes this episode.  He genuinely doesn’t understand that Lurleen wants to fuck.  He’s just too stupid and loyal to get it.
  • Though he’s not above failing to placate his wife, “Marge, it takes two to lie.  One to lie, and one to listen.”
  • All of which makes the scene in the trailer, with Beverly D’Angelo and the soundtrack turning the sexy to 11,  so damn great.  “Oh, that’s hot, there isn’t a man alive who wouldn’t get turned on by that . . . well, goodbye.”
  • Fiberglass hay.
  • And when he does finally understand what Lurleen wants, all he can think about is Marge, though not without “You would’ve gone all the way with me, wouldn’t you?”  They never play it for tension, and that crucial question is resolved for Homer only after he’s walked out and has no chance with her.  This is another one of those minor things that demonstrates how delicately they used to handle things.  They’ll make the jokes, but they won’t ask us to pretend that Homer’s going to cheat on Marge, which we know he won’t. 

21. Black Widower

  • Even before they change the shot to just his face, it’s great watching Bart’s eyes as he follows Homer’s imaginary stabbing motions.
  • And then there’s Homer’s denial that he’s forgetting the first two Noble Truths of the Buddha.  “I am not” is too general to quote in conversation, but damn it’s funny.
  • We’ve been doing this blog long enough that in many places I can just link to things like Homer’s inimitable rant about cocktail weenies.
  • They were probably already going to cancel MacGyver, but if they weren’t, this episode sealed it. 
  • The 8pm timeslot is the supposed “family hour”, the defiling of which makes morons clutch their pearls and head for the nearest fainting couch, and Homer is literally advocating drunkenness, “stumble home in the mood for love”, as a marital aide.  Even today that’d be tough to pull.
  • Love Lisa’s bitterness at not being flower girl.
  • Great off color animation on Bob’s pre-commercial confession in the car.
  • And having him already confess to the audience, the show gets to have fun with his reluctance to actually be Selma’s husband.
  • The mockery of the usual Murder She Wrote style ending is great, especially Homer and Wiggum’s failure to understand.
  • It’s true, you can’t keep the Democrats out of the White House forever.  Palin 2012 bitches!

22. The Otto Show

  • The t-shirt of Spinal Tap kicking Libya’s unspellable leader in the butt was a timeless classic in 1992.
  • Count me among the many and increasing number of people who saw the actual Spinal Tap movie long after they saw this episode.  It made much more sense after.
  • “We salute you, our half inflated dark lord.”
  • I love the petty, knee jerk censorship of Brockman wanting to “ban all music”.
  • “Slag off!” 
  • Skinner’s five o’clock shadow failure to drive the bus works so much better because of his earlier, clean cut confidence that he could. 
  • I love Patty’s instant love of Otto once she realizes he too hates Homer.  It’s like the only time we ever get to see her genuinely happy, and it’s awesome.

23. Bart’s Friend Falls in Love

  • Bart's Friend Falls in Love3 
  • There’s lot of copies of the Fluffy Bunny video online, but the surrounding scenes are just as good, especially Krabappel’s bitterness.  Also, I would pay serious money for a copy of the sex ed video they made us come into school and watch on a Wednesday night in fourth grade.  It was dumb at the time, I can only imagine that it would be hilarious now.
  • “But in real life, Santa would be suffering from gall stones, hypertension, impotence, and diabetes.”
  • We’re twenty-three episodes in at this point, and it’s just staggering how many jokes and punchlines they put into each episode.  Even more impressive, they all at least kinda work.  Not everything lands equally, but there aren’t any lines or subplots that thud disastrously or feel crammed in for the sake of cramming. 
  • I can neither paint nor draw, nor do I know enough about either to competently criticize either.  But, I think a cromulent representation of Milhouse standing forlornly on the jungle gym with the trees in the background could, given a century or so, hang in a Louvre level museum:
    Bart's Friend Falls in Love4
    How is that not the saddest (non-fatal) thing a kid can feel?
  • Yet, yet yet another nice point: Milhouse has an uneaten meal on a tray by his bed.
  • I use that metal dealy to dig food all the time.
  • Ne pas de boys.
  • Though I’m already two images in on this episode, it would be derelict of me not to include this:
    Bart's Friend Falls in Love5

24. Brother, C.an You Spare Two Dimes?

  • I defy anyone not to crack up at the perfect formation of the “normal” sample of Smithers sperm.  It looks like an aerial stun squadron. 
  • I can’t transcribe it, but I’m pretty sure you know what I’m talking about when I say that Burns’ scene with his lawyers is a kind of angry poetry. 
  • Great fourth wall scene as Homer says he life can’t get any worse. 
  • Smokin’ Joe : Great Cameo
  • Krusty Brand Sulfuric Acid
  • My brother has a drinking bird.  The bastard.
  • “This leash demeans us both.”
  • “Alright, but I never really hugged a man before”:
    Brother Can You Spare Two Dimes8
  • And that’s it folks, thanks for reading.  I’m gonna take a nap.  Windows Live Writer tells me that this is at about 5,200 words.  But even granting 1,000 words per picture, I’ve still fallen haplessly short.  These can only be watched, and I’m glad I did. 
  • For good measure (the bottles came first):
    Season 3 Aftermath
28
May
11

Quote of the Day

Homer vs Patty & Selma4

“You love ballet, yet you fear the boys will laugh at you, no?” – Ballet Instructor
“No, I fear the girls will laugh at me.  I fear the boys will beat the living snot out of me.” – Bart Simpson

27
May
11

Reading Digest: Harry Shearer in Japan Is Only Part of the Awesome Edition

Flaming Moe's6

With the pall of Season 22 lifting from across the pop culture landscape, the internet was in a generous mood this week; there are many spectacular things below.  First and foremost are three, count ’em three, different bloggers who’ve had it with Zombie Simpsons thanks to their embarrassingly cheap cliffhanger ending.  (And, for the record, I didn’t find anyone feeling the opposite.)  There’s also Harry Shearer in an awesome six minute YouTube video that could be titled “Kent Brockman Goes to Japan”.  All by itself that would be a pretty nice haul, but on top of that there’s several links to cool fan made stuff, including to some of the embroidery we were promised last week, two genuinely nauseating pieces of crappy merchandise, plus an original rendition of the theme song.  And I haven’t even gotten to the Click of the Week yet. 

But first, a funny thing happened on Twitter yesterday.  Jenkins7777, a brand new account with zero followers, three tweets, and not following anyone, got James L. Brooks to call him a “shithead”, then not apologize.  Brooks originally tweeted this:

Brooks Tweet1

To which Jenkins7777 replied:

Jenkins7777 Tweet1

At this point, things get a little confusing, because I think Brooks deleted a tweet.  Here’s the next message in the stream, also from Jenkins7777:

Jenkins7777 Tweet2

Brooks then replies with a non-apology apology for what I assume is the deleted tweet:

Brooks Tweet2

Giggle.  Like I said, some weeks the internet just gives and gives, and thanks to Jenkins7777, both for doing this and for letting us know about it. 

On a slightly more substantive topic, what are the two Simpsons things Brooks is nervous/excited about?  If we assume one of them is the execrable on-line voting for their summer cliffhanger, I think I may have found the other one below.  Though at this point figuring out all of horrible things the Simpsons franchise is into is harder than finding all of Voldemort’s Horcruxes, so who knows?  Let’s just hope it’s not another movie.  On to the links!

[Edited to add: Don’t forget to vote for your choice of season for tomorrow’s marathon.  Right now Season 3 is in the lead, but Season 7’s awfully close.]

The Simpsons: 5 Million Viewers, Who Sit in Silence – Smooth Charlie’s Click of the Week comes from our friends at Stay Tooned In, who posit the inverse of Zombie Simpsons, Simpsons Zombies:

You’re watching “The Simpsons”. You sit mindlessly in front of the TV for 30 minutes, during which you don’t have a single laugh of out loud moment. Sound familiar? That’s because you have become a Simpsons Zombie. Yes it’s An Epidemic, effecting at least 5 Million people WorldWide

It’s like a public health warning, but fun.  

The Simpsons Theme Song played on a Musical Saw – Awesome:

(via)

Simpsons Iced Ring D’oh Nuts – The harrowing tale of what happens when crappy donuts get the Krusty Brand Seal of Approval.  A small sample:

The Sainsbury’s label says that the donuts are “unsuitable for vegetarians?” I am not a vegetarian, but what the hell is in these? What is Flour Treatment Agent?

Eww. 

EA preparing Simpsons Facebook game – James L. Brooks noted two Simpsons projects, might this be one of them?  Except for a September (i.e. start of new season) release date, there isn’t much information in the article beyond the headline (via). 

Five weird Harry Shearer roles – I knew Shearer had been a child actor, I didn’t know he was in the pilot for Leave It to Beaver.  Of greatest interest here is #5, the small role he had in 1998’s utterly forgettable Godzilla remake.  The reason is that there’s a YouTube of him, in Japan, basically doing Kent Brockman and reporting on the original Godzilla movie.  Sample:

I met with some members of the old guard to find out what it was like in earlier times, when life was simple and the world was free of giant creatures mutated by radiation. 

And:

Temple of the Fish God, huh?  Does that mean the . . . is the fish a god, or is it a god that fish pray to?

Best YouTube I’ve seen all week. 

The Simpsons Duff Beer Can Mints – It must really kill the marketing people.  Here they have a fake beer with all the name recognition in the world, but they can’t use it to actually sell alcohol even though it would make millions, so they have to slap the Krusty Brand Seal of Approval on things that look like Duff beer but aren’t. 

Oprah’s Last Show…In 10 Words – I doubt very much we’ve seen the last of Ms. Winfrey, but anything that reduces screen time for exploitative charlatans like Jenny McCarthy, Dr. Phil, and the con artists behind the transparently stupid “The Secret” is fine by me. 

Dune…In 10 Words – Shai-Hulud and “Fear of Flying”, I did not see that one coming.

Jets or bust? Really? – NHL hockey is coming back to Winnipeg, and a local columnist wrote this:

Heck, all this good fortune headed our way was even timed to coincide with a long weekend that, to this point, hasn’t been interrupted by the rapture. In other words, this might be the best week in the city’s history since that time it was featured on an episode of The Simpsons.

Excellent reference.

Simpsons Video of the Week: I’m Smarter Than the Devil – “I’ll see you in Hell yet, Homer Simpson!”

We Don’t Sleep At Night – Cool street art with Wiggum, Willie and some other characters. 

How Far We Go – From the same site as the above, more of what looks like the same wall.  These are great. 

the simpsons embroidery project – Remember last week when we had that new blog that was going to do Simpsons embroidery?  Well, here’s the first installment.  I love the one of Homer doing his thinking dance from “Homer the Vigilante”. 

Season 14 Boxart Revealed – If you’re curious about what the Season 14 DVDs you probably won’t be buying will look like, our friends at Everything Simpsons have you covered.

Welcome to the Crapture – A companion and watch list of what you’d do if you knew the world was going to end, including two episodes from Season 7 and a shaky cam YouTube of the filmstrip from “Lisa the Vegetarian”. 

“Old people don’t need companionship. They need to be isolated and studied so it can be determined what nutrients they have that might be extracted for our personal use.” -Homer Simpson – I very much admire Freakoutville’s attention to quote accuracy. 

Matt Groening Leaves Coppelia a Present; $20 Burger and Oyster Deal in Jersey – Signed comment card for a Cuban diner in New York. 

Slaughterhouse 5 – Continuing last week’s theme of famous novels I have never read:

It is one of those books that manages to combine staggering writing, interesting premise and laugh out loud hilarity.

For me, it is probably like a prose version of The Simpsons, in that each time I read it, I get something new from it.

The Simpsons lack-of-a-finale. – And finally, I get to end the way I like.  But instead of one link to people who agree with us, there are three.  These guys are actually pretty generous to Zombie Simpsons:

While I will certainly admit that the show has been steadily declining in humor and originality, it has still been entertaining enough that I do not disagree with FOX continuing to renew it.

And yet:

They’re clearly putting more effort into it than a normal episode, but nowhere near enough to make it something that we will remember for the premier.  (I’m sure I will have an “Oh, yeah, that was happening” moment when I see them running the promos in the fall.)

Exactly my point from yesterday.

The Simpsons- WORST EPISODE EVER. – The cliffhanger was just too much:

For many years I have been in denial. I have been standing behind this show in much the way that Marge stands behind Homer through all of his idiocy. But just as we learned in The Simpsons movie, everyone has her breaking point. For me this stale, uncreative, desperate attempt at a buzz-generating (for lack of a better term- thanks for nothing thesaurus.com) finale is my breaking point.

I’m sorry. I can’t do it anymore. Please don’t hate me; I’ll always love you. But I am breaking up with you The Simpsons. Believe me, this is harder for me than it is for you. But, I’m tired of the disappointment.

It’s a liberating moment once you realize you don’t have to pretend the show is still good. 

The Simpsons. Fucking Again. – And one more:

I can’t do this Ned & Edna thing. The screenshot on Hulu was enough for me to finally put it down and say no more. There are a lot of things I can deal with. I can deal with you telling me that Homer and Marge had these amazing college years that we know they didn’t have. I can deal with you telling me that Lisa fell for Milhouse, cos nerd love kind of makes sense….but…

Ned Flanders and the bitterest and most cynical of all the elementary teachers in existence? No. Just no. I’m not going to watch it and fuck you, Simpson’s writers for thinking I will.

Preach it! 

27
May
11

Quote of the Day

Flaming Moe's5

“Barkeep, I couldn’t help noticing your sign.” – Not Shelly Long
“The one that says ‘Bartenders Do It ’Til You Barf’?” – Moe
“No, above that store bought drollery.” – Not Shelly Long

Happy birthday Jo Ann Harris!




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