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!

26
May
11

Compare & Contrast: Cliffhangers & Cultural Relevance

“This past summer, all of America was trying to solve the mystery of who shot Mr. Burns, then they found out it was the baby.” – Troy McClure

Twas the summer of 1980, and America was atwitter over a television cliffhanger about who had shot a character named J.R. on a primetime soap opera called Dallas.  T-shirts were produced, bets were placed, and, if the Wikipedia article titled simply “Who shot J.R.?” is to be believed, that year’s presidential contest even got into the act with jokes and buttons.  When the shooter was revealed that autumn, it became one of the highest rated events in television history.  Dallas was already a hit, but after the shooting stunt it would reach new heights, becoming the #1 show in America for three of the next four seasons.

I Married Marge6

Fifteen years later, The Simpsons ran a parody cliffhanger, replacing J.R. with their own Charles Montgomery Burns.  The summer of 1995 saw the country flooded with advertising sporting the image of Mr. Burns and his potential assailants, though the ads themselves had basically nothing to do with who had shot him.  (The late 1990s advertising boom for collect calling services remains puzzling to me.  I’ve never been able to figure out who was making so many collect calls that national ad campaigns were worth the expense.)  The parody, though just an echo of the original, was big enough to merit its own exhaustively footnoted Wikipedia page

Sixteen years later, Zombie Simpsons has brought us a different kind of cliffhanger, one that doesn’t manage to parody anything and is altogether more boring, more hapless, and less interesting.  Instead of cooking up a satire or turning the whole endeavor into a joke, they plopped down an improbable romance and a half assed web page (which I will not link).  Their marketing tie in isn’t a series of nationwide commercials, it’s a handful of downloadable images that a few people will put on their Facebook pages for a day or two.  How the mighty have fallen.

Worse, Zombie Simpsons has bumbled into the desperate trap of so many flailing comedies: manufactured romance.  Teasing audiences with unresolved sexual tension, even the comedic kind, has been a survival instinct of television shows since the days of vacuum tubes and Newton Minnow.  Vicarious frisson and suggestive endings are trotted out in the hope that they’ll create the kind of curiosity that can withstand an entire summer’s worth of commercial interruptions.  So what Zombie Simpsons has done is take two worn concepts and attempted to rub them together, hoping for a little spark of attention, or at least a fleeting second of pop culture relevance.  But the cliffhanger and the contrived love story they’ve produced are too threadbare to do anything but disintegrate against one another. 

The problem isn’t that Zombie Simpsons is engaging in a publicity stunt.  The shootings of J.R. and Mr. Burns were just as shameless.  The problem is that Zombie Simpsons is engaging in a publicity stunt that’s doomed to fail and be instantly forgotten.  The people who cooked up “Who shot J.R.” succeeded beyond their wildest dreams, and the parody of it on The Simpsons is probably remembered by even more people than the original here in 2011.  Both were noticed, and commented on, and talked about by people far outside the scope of the usual audience.  In these nosier times, this far more timid and cliched stunt doesn’t stand a chance.  There will never be an – ugh – “Nedna” Wikipedia article, at least not one that isn’t swiftly nominated for deletion for falling pathetically short of even the most generous definition of notability. 

26
May
11

Quote of the Day

Bart's Friend Falls in Love2

“We just moved here from Phoenix.  My dad owns a home security company; he came to Springfield because of its high crime rate and lackluster police force.  All my friends are back in Phoenix, and this town has a weird smell that you’re all probably used to, but I’m not.” – Samantha Stanky
“It’ll take you about six weeks, dear.” – Mrs. Krabappel

25
May
11

Crazy Noises: The Ned-Liest Catch

“I’m surprised you don’t remember, son. It was only eight years ago.” – Homer Simpson
“Dad, thanks to television I can’t remember what happened eight minutes ago.” – Bart Simpson

In our ongoing mission to bring you only the shallowest and laziest analysis of Zombie Simpsons, we’re keeping up our Crazy Noises series for Season 22.  Since a podcast is so 2004, and video would require a flag, a fern and some folding chairs from the garage, we’ve elected to use the technology that brought the word “emoticon” to the masses: the chatroom.  Star Trek image macros are strictly forbidden, unless you have a really good reason why Captain Picard is better than Captain Kirk.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (surprisingly enough, not on “aneurystic”, which I just made up and therefore can’t be spelled wrong).

For a single sequence of events that epitomizes the sloppiness of “The Ned-Liest Catch”, we need look no further than Edna’s escape from the rubber room. First, Bart magically enters the building and shows up to help her escape. It’s not explained why he would care or how he got there. He then climbs through the ceiling to allow himself to be attacked by a possum. Once that’s over we find them in the bathroom for a series of scenes that make the possum look downright brilliant.

First, Bart has replaced Edna with a dummy. We never see him do this, nor did Krabappel notice it when she was just in the same room, it simply appears (whatever). Second, after Bart climbs out the window, we see this:

Where Are the Other Two Stories

Edna Krabappel: not that far off the ground.

Bart’s next line describes this as a “three story drop”. This is another one of those pieces of apathy or contempt that would make Michael Bay proud. They could’ve drawn a three story shot, they could’ve changed the dialogue, they did neither (whatever 2x). Third, the ladder breaks with Edna on it. Despite the fact that the previous shot made it look like she’d be about six inches off the ground if the ladder broke like that, it’s played for suspense before we see:

Oh, There They Are

(Whatever 3x)

Fourth, without saying a word, Bart runs off. This is the same Bart who, just a second before, cared so much about Krabappel that he broke into this building, left a dummy of her, and showed her the exit. All of a sudden, without so much as a stab at a joke, he abandons her completely (whatever 4x).

Fifth, Flanders arrives out of nowhere. He wasn’t summoned by Bart; he wasn’t introduced into the scene in any way. He was just there (whatever 5x).

Finally, once the impromptu date is over and Edna is back in the bathroom comes the scene that ignores everything that just happened. Bart left a dummy of Krabappel in the main room so she could sneak out, but once she’s back in the bathroom the other teachers yell at her for being in the bathroom for three hours. Well, which was it? Was there a dummy so they all thought she was still there, or did they think she was in the can? This isn’t a continuity error that requires retconning of decades old episodes or events, this is a continuity error that requires a short term memory with a capacity of less than three minutes (whatever 6x).

[Note: Dave ditched us again this week. I’m beginning to think he doesn’t like watching Zombie Simpsons.]

Charlie Sweatpants: Ready to get to it?

Mad Jon: I think that is best.

  The sooner we start, the sooner this season is in the books.

Charlie Sweatpants: Got that right.

  Where to begin?

  The poorly teased romance, the obstacle courses, the scene with all the hallucinated faces?

Mad Jon: My biggest problem, and this isn’t the first time that Zombie Simpsons has done this, although it is the worst offense, is that Ned Flanders is not a man in the sense necessary to start picking up woman on the street.

It is super convenient that the Ned’s super conservative views on relationships completely contrasts with Edna’s history, but that doesn’t mean you get to completely change both characters, especially Ned, to make the plot work.

Charlie Sweatpants: Ned’s dating life has always been something they’ve had trouble dealing with. In this case they solved that by having her literally fall into his arms . . . in that alley . . . that he just happened to be walking down.

Mad Jon: That he just happened to be walking down.

Charlie Sweatpants: The stranger thing is, Flanders and Krabappel know each other! I’ve seen them in scenes before, Rod and Todd are students at the school!

Mad Jon: Yeah, Ned is the president of the PTA or something.

Charlie Sweatpants: Well, that was a long time ago, and the writers have a, shall we say, selective memory about the past of the show.

Mad Jon: He wants to put the pal back in principal.

Charlie Sweatpants: That too.

But they made a huge scene of the introduction, and yet we know they know each other, not as a one off story in some past episode, but just based on the general structure of the show and who each of them are.

Mad Jon: All very true.

Charlie Sweatpants: I could see Ned and Krabappel hooking up. I mean, why not? They’re both single. But to pretend that they don’t know each other so you can jam in a meet-cute that wouldn’t pass muster in a January romantic comedy was pissing right in the audience’s face.

Mad Jon: Couldn’t agree more. Even if you ignore the chance encounter that rewrites what we obviously know about them, and even if you ignore the ex-husband/soccer dad manner in which Ned picks up Edna, you can’t ignore the fact that every scene with Ned and Edna was more uncomfortable and embarrassing than the one before it.

  Ned doesn’t think and feel these things, he praises Jesus and raises his kids like happy little Mormons. Even though they aren’t Mormons.

Sorry, that’s been eating me up all day.

Charlie Sweatpants: Right. Their scenes together were painfully awkward because they never really gave us a reason why they’d get together.

They moved immediately into a montage, like that’s going to explain things.

  But that wasn’t even the most absurd pairing in the episode. Why the hell did Flanders go to Moe’s with Homer? Why was Bart – BART! – alone at the house with Rod and Todd?

Mad Jon: Both excellent questions.

Charlie Sweatpants: This episode was filled with moments like that, where Bart and Homer were just instantly involved in other people’s shit. Not only was there no reason for that to happen, it’s completely against both of their characters.

Mad Jon:  Homer went out of his way to help Flanders, he even wrestled a fucking octopus.

Charlie Sweatpants: Precisely, why did Bart show up to get his enemy out of the rubber room? Why did Flanders and Krabappel knock on Homer’s door for no reason?

Why the hell were Comic Book Guy and Skinner (not to mention Joey from Aerosmith) just hanging out at Moe’s?

Mad Jon: Oh god, the Joey Kramer thing was death. He must have finally got his drumsticks back.

Charlie Sweatpants: Which led to the face hallucination thing which went on for forever and a day. Sometimes you can pull off one of those jokes where something that isn’t funny becomes funny when it goes on for a long time, but this wasn’t even trying. It was a rehash of a scene at Moe’s that shouldn’t have happened in the first place.

Mad Jon: Right, but they have to keep going or they can’t get CBG in the episode like ten times.

Also Santa’s Little Helper can do triple digit subtraction.

Charlie Sweatpants: And the jack-in-the-box thing.

So few bad ideas, so much time . . .

Mad Jon: Well put.

Also, Bart’s face, is um, indifferent to possum attacks. So he’s got that going for him too!

Charlie Sweatpants: Alright, I think the only thing I think we haven’t mentioned yet is the aneurystic way they started the episode.

  Remember when Bart used to torment the teachers by painting the parking lines close together, or creating fake candy hearts? What the hell was all that about?

Mad Jon: How much damage can one boy do in 35 seconds? Let’s find out!

Charlie Sweatpants: Plus the whole Lisa comes out, Skinner calls things off, Lisa starts talking . . . the small riot was one of the least nonsensical things in the entire scene.

Mad Jon: Riots do seem to just start themselves, even in Classic Simpsons. That doesn’t mean they are funny when they end up with children doing impromptu floor routines.

Charlie Sweatpants: Ugh. Though that scene did lead to the only joke I liked in the whole episode, Chalmers saying that they had a zero tolerance policy when things occur in front of witnesses. That I laughed at.

Mad Jon: Yes, I almost forgot that. That was a good line.

Charlie Sweatpants: Do we have to talk about the bullshit cliffhanger, or can we do what they did and just call a halt to the season unfinished?

Mad Jon: I don’t want to address that at all. I think the voting is actually a government conspiracy to locate the IP addresses of idiots so that they can use their homes for UAV target practice.

Charlie Sweatpants: That’s how they got me to vote for Lyndon LaRouche!

25
May
11

Quote of the Day

Brother Can You Spare Two Dimes7

“Except for huge gaps in the western states, Hands Across America was a complete success.” – TV Announcer

24
May
11

Idiot to Drunkenly Watch Teevee Again

Duffless5

“Do you ever drink to escape from reality?” – Marge Simpson

Ladies and gentlemen, we made it.  Season 22 is over, and the only confirmed casualties were humor, plot and enjoyable comedy.  In celebration, I’ll be undertaking another Simpsons-beer marathon this Saturday, the 28th of May.  For those who’ve found this blog since the last time I did this, the basic concept is that, starting at about 8:00am Eastern Time (US), I’m going to watch an entire season of The Simpsons and drink one beer per episode.  I’ll post running updates after each episode finishes, (a more detailed description can be found here).

Just like the previous times, the season I watch will be decided by the Simpsons fans with the good taste and penchant for self torture who deign to visit this site.  Seasons 4, 5, and 6 have been done, so the poll at right contains Seasons 1, 2, 3, and 7.  The poll will be open until midnight Friday (04:00 GMT Saturday), and I’ll watch whichever season comes out ahead. 

Update May 28: Season 7 put up a hell of a fight, but Season 3 prevailed.  Thanks to everyone who voted.

Season 3 Poll

24
May
11

Quote of the Day

Homer's Enemy6

“If you turn that security camera around, you can sleep and no one will ever know.” – Homer Simpson
“I don’t think we’re being paid to sleep.” – Frank Grimes
“Oh yeah, they’re always trying to screw you.” – Homer Simpson

23
May
11

If a Show Falls in the Woods and Nobody Watches It, Does It make a Sound?

Chalkboard - The Ned-liest Catch

“That crater is where your lousy cartoon crash landed.  It’s ratings poison!” – Krusty the Klown

You’ve got to give Zombie Simpsons one thing, when they want to really put on a tour de force of crappiness, they can still do it.  They had Bart and Homer acting manic and inserting themselves into other people’s lives just because.  They had plenty of pointless filler, including two different scenes with characters clambering over obstacles for no discernable purpose.  (And the second one wasn’t even a call back!)  They took characters appearing and disappearing from scenes to new heights.  And the story managed to be overwrought and nonsensical while still being tedious and needing tons of exposition.  On the absolute scale of dull and boring this is worthy of being their season finale, and I haven’t even mentioned the gimmick at the end.

I’m not sure if the conclusion, with Homer and Marge addressing the camera, actually qualifies as breaking the fourth wall; it’s more like shrugging at the fourth wall.  Breaking the fourth wall is when you address the fact that you’re in a teevee show, preferably with something clever.  This was the show saying, “Meh”.

Happily, the numbers are in and the audience replied with equal apathy.  Last night’s petty excuse for a bad date movie was not called back by just 5.29 million viewers.  That is the fifth lowest number in history, and pushed Season 22 below Season 20 for the title of least watched season ever.  As recently as March, Season 22 looked like it would avoid this fate; but where Season 20 averaged 7.12 million viewers per episode, Season 22 only made it to 7.10 million.

As much fun as that is to type, it’s worth mentioning that those numbers aren’t the kind of thing that can doom the show.  I use the quick and dirty overnights from TV By the Numbers, but advertising rates are calculated using not only live viewers, but anyone who watches it on DVR within three days.  Nor do my numbers account for demographics, and Zombie Simpsons does better among the impressionable youth that advertisers lust after.  So while it’s certainly embarrassing when your highly promoted, internet gimmick season finale loses in the ratings to a Family Guy special that was released on DVD last December, it isn’t fatal.

However, that doesn’t mean the low numbers aren’t fun to laugh at.  Season 22 managed only one episode with more than ten million viewers, and that was thanks to a generous lead in from the NFL playoffs.  Of the ten lowest rated episodes in the show’s twenty-two year history, one is from Season 20, four are from Season 21, and five are from Season 22.  Of the fifty lowest, all but one of them came in the last four seasons; and compared to just five years ago, when Season 17 averaged 9.46 million viewers, the show has lost a quarter of its audience.  So whenever you see someone talk about how the show’s still got it after all these years, you can truthfully say that the numbers don’t agree.

[Edited because I can't count to five, I originally thought it was the fourth lowest rated episode.]

23
May
11

Quote of the Day

Summer of 4 Ft 2(7)

“School’s out, up yours Krabappel!” – Milhouse van Houten

No new Zombie Simpsons for at least four months!  Viva summer vacation! 

22
May
11

Sunday Preview: “The Ned-liest Catch”


At long last, we’re two hours away from the end of Season 22 of Zombie Simpsons with a miserably titled finale, “The Ned-liest Catch.” I don’t even know what that means. Is Ned some of crab? Is Ms. Krabappel some sort of captain? Does anyone care? Here’s the description from Simpsons Channel, in case you do:

Feeling guilty for getting Mrs. Krabappel suspended after one of his school pranks, Bart helps her escape detention, and Ned Flanders winds up saving her life in the process. When Edna and Ned start dating, he is surprised to learn she’s been with many of Springfield’s men, including Homer and Aerosmith drummer Joey Kramer (guest-voicing as himself).

Ned’s a good samaritan and Edna’s a slut. Oh and there’s a guest star. Whatever. Moving on.

22
May
11

Quote of the Day

Simpson and Delilah5

“Brilliant.  Who could ever have imagined that Simpson’s sweeping reforms would pay off so quickly?” – C.M. Burns
“You know, sir, accidents decreased by exactly the number that Simpson himself is known or suspected to have caused last month, and our output level was just as high during Simpson’s last vacation.” – Mr. Smithers
“My dear, tired old Smithers, do I detect a note of jealousy?” – C.M. Burns

21
May
11

Quote of the Day

Mother Simpson5

“Are you sure this is the woman you saw in the post office?” – Joe Friday
“Absolutely.  Who could forget such a monstrous visage?  She has the sloping brow and cranial bumpage of the career criminal.” – C.M. Burns
“Uh, sir, phrenology was dismissed as quackery a hundred-sixty years ago.” – Mr. Smithers
“Of course you’d say that, you have the brainpan of stage coach tilter.” – C.M. Burns

Happy birthday Richard Appel!

20
May
11

Reading Digest: Bart Flickr Edition

The Telltale Head8

“Ready for inspection, Mom.” – Lisa Simpson
“Very nice, Maggie.  And Lisa, you look lovely.  Bart, assume the position.” – Marge Simpson

This week we’ve got two Flickr users putting Bart to creative use, one thanks to a big street mural, the other with a statue.  There’s also some excellent usage, an apathetic Zombie Simpsons fan, lots of short YouTube clips, and new blog that holds the promise of cool Simpsons stuff.  Oh, and Lenny Tunes was killin’ it this week.

Enjoy.

Love is in the Air in Springfield and ‘The Simpsons’ Fans Get to Play Cupid – FOX is going to milk the desperation soaked ploy of having Flanders and Krabappel get together all summer:

Following the all-new “The Ned-liest Catch” season finale episode of THE Simpsons, airing Sunday, May 22 (8:00-8:30 PM ET/PT) on FOX, fans can decide the future of “Nedna” at http://www.thesimpsons.com by voting “Pro Nedna” or “No Nedna.” All summer long, “I’m Pro Nedna” and “I’m No Nedna” wallpaper, videos, Twitter badges and Facebook icons will be available for fans to download and post. After the fan voting ends in August, results will be revealed during the Season 23 premiere airing this fall on FOX.

Oh, cross platform promotion, you are so vile.  But wait, there’s more:

In “The Ned-liest Catch,” feeling guilty for getting Ms. Krabappel suspended after one of his school pranks, BART (Nancy Cartwright) helps her escape detention, and Ned Flanders winds up saving her life in the process. When Edna and Ned start dating, he is surprised to learn she’s been with many of Springfield’s men, including HOMER (Dan Castellaneta) and Aerosmith drummer JOEY KRAMER (guest-voicing as himself).

I guess he got his drumsticks back.

Zombie Simpsons – Cool fan made picture of the family as actual zombies.

is this thing on? – This is the inaugural, and so far only, post at a new blog:

i haven’t quite decided how often i will update this blog. hoping for once a week. any suggestions on what i should talk about? maybe i’ll devote a post on how much embroidery i do of the simpsons. yeah, i think i’ll do that…

Please do.  This blog has a longstanding policy to link to all fan made Simpsons stuff, and Simpsons embroidery, Etsy links included, falls squarely into that category.  Good luck with the blog!

TV 2011; the season of cancellations! – This is a rundown of shows currently on television.  Here’s the part about Zombie Simpsons:

The Simpsons (FOX)
Always forget this is on, but Tivo keeps recording it.  I don’t know why I don’t watch every episode as every time I watch one I think it’s just as fresh as I remember.

Even people who like Zombie Simpsons barely give a shit about it.  If that’s not a hallmark of forgettable television I don’t know what is.

Simpsons Rewatch: Homer’s Phobia. – Our first Lenny Tunes link is about the episode that predated The Ellen Moment:

Homer’s line about being mad at John not because he’s gay, but because he’s a sneak, is the first of a couple lines that I think now serve as excellent commentary on gay representation in television. I’m inclined to say that they weren’t intended that way because in 1997 there was probably not that much representation to comment on (Will & Grace started in 1998), but one of the amazing things about early seasons of The Simpsons was that they had their finger on the pulse of pop-culture so much that they were able to seemingly satirize things that hadn’t happened yet.

Co-sign.  Not only was the show ahead of its time, it called stuff.  How many times has life imitated The Simpsons? 

The Ten Best Gibberish Words in TV Scrabble – An excellent list, with everyone’s favorite North American primate sitting pretty at #1.

Quote of the Day: President Interbush Week – I lived through the 1990s, I heard a lot of Clinton jokes.  This one remains not only one of the best, but also one of the dirtiest, and that’s saying something.  Perfectly quoted. 

Quote of the Day: President Interbush Week – More Lenny Tunes, though this one is just a smidge off.  Stephanopoulos says “a bit” before “confused”.  Other than that, including the always tricky spelling of “Stephanopoulos”, it’s dead on.

Simpsons Video of the Week: Sears Catalogue. – Oh, the Sears bra section!  That joke was definitely written by someone who was a teenager in the dark time before the internet.  I don’t think I’ve ever not laughed at this. 

im learnding – Short YouTube of Ralph’s “Supernintendo Chalmers” bit.

Up and Atom – More quick YouTube.

Philip Roth is one of the great artists of the novel, warts and all – I didn’t know this:

In a spectacularly funny moment in Philip Roth’s novel Portnoy’s Complaint, a teenager has locked himself in the bathroom of the family home in 1940s Newark, New Jersey, to indulge in his favourite solitary pleasure. His worried, overbearing parents start knocking at the door and demanding that he open up so they can see what is so wrong that he is always on the toilet. This literary moment is such a classic of modern comedy that it was lovingly pastiched by The Simpsons, in an episode about the childhood of Krusty the Clown. In the cartoon version, a young Krusty has locked himself in the bathroom to practice spraying soda water when his rabbi father, who disapproves of clowns, knocks demandingly at the door.

Of course, I’ve never read “Portnoy’s Complaint”, so it makes sense.

Lottery luck? – The lottery has always been one of the NBA’s quirkier traditions, but this is excellent usage:

The Suns’ situation and tonight’s NBA Draft Lottery brings to mind some parenting from Homer Simpson to son, Bart.

"Son, if you really want something in this life, you have to work for it," Homer said. "Now quiet. They’re about to announce the lottery numbers."

‘Napoleon Dynamite’ Comes to TV Just in Time for the World to End [Video] – Mike Scully, everyone’s favorite Simpsons alum, will be producing an animated series based on the movie.

Sideshow Bob hair sketches – Some fan made sketches of Bob and his famous ’do.

Animal Kingdom sets decent benchmark – Nice analogy:

The Preakness is very much the Lisa Simpson of the triple crown races. It’s not considered as important as the outspoken, headline-hogging Bart of the Kentucky Derby, yet not ignored altogether by the writers like Maggie’s Belmont. It is the understated, high-achiever of the three 130-odd-year-old siblings.

(via)

Bart Simpson – This is a Flickr photo of Bart superimposed over a picture of a statue in . . . you know what?  Just click it.  I giggled.

Graffiti – Bart Simpson – Adorable little children posing with a giant graffiti image of Bart.

Outlook’s Third Annual Spring Cleaning List: "The Simpsons" – And finally, not only do I get to end the way I like, I get to link to Kaplan Test Prep Daily to do it.  Noted Simpsons aficionado and internet nemesis Matt Zoller Seitz:

That Fox’s "The Simpsons" has seen better days is a more than remotely true proposition — the long-lived cartoon’s past 10 seasons provide more than enough damning evidence that the series should pack it in.

Testify! 

20
May
11

Quote of the Day

Stadium Dog

Image used under Creative Commons license from Flickr user bryce_edwards.

“Ah, the Gammills, good to see you.” – C.M. Burns
“You’re an inspiration to all of us in waste management, sir.” – Mr. Gammill
“Well, take your mind off contaminants for one night and have a hot dog.” – C.M. Burns




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Even though it’s obvious to anyone with a functional frontal lobe and a shred of morality, we feel the need to include this disclaimer. This website (which openly advocates for the cancellation of a beloved television series) is in no way, shape or form affiliated with the FOX Network, the News Corporation, subsidiaries thereof, or any of Rupert Murdoch’s wives or children. “The Simpsons” is (unfortunately) the intellectual property of FOX. We and our crack team of one (1) lawyer believe that everything on this site falls under the definition of Fair Use and is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. No revenue is generated from this endeavor; we’re here because we love “The Simpsons”. And besides, you can’t like, own a potato, man, it’s one of Mother Earth’s creatures.

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