Archive for June, 2011

30
Jun
11

Ten Scary Simpsons Moments

- By Andreas

“Cool, she’ll be a freak!” – Bart

To have an annual Halloween episode is one thing. To freely cram shocking, ghoulish imagery into otherwise normal episodes of a family sitcom is another. But then, The Simpsons’ writers and animators never had much interest in following formulas or obeying TV conventions, preferring to meld their own savagely satirical experiments with an emotionally naturalistic representation of family life. This, and the fluid nature of its animation, meant that the show could veer from mundane reality to nightmarish fantasy in the blink of an eye.

Here, then, are ten of the most WTF-inspiring, pants-wetting moments from Simpsons continuity. They’re all bizarre, deeply terrifying digressions, but each one still adds depth to its episode. I give you the crème de la crème of The Simpsons’ out-of-nowhere scares…

10) “The Day the Violence Died”

thedaytheviolencedied2
This episode’s ending introduces Lester and Eliza, doppelgängers for Bart and Lisa who save the day, ominously pass by the Simpson house, and are never seen again. They’re drawn roughly in the same style as the Tracey Ullman shorts, but their appearance isn’t nostalgic so much as an eerie, never-resolved non sequitur. As Bart says, “There’s something unsettling about that.”

9) “El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer”

elviajemisteriosodenuestrojomer2
Homer’s visit to the land of the Space Coyote—a blocky, stylized version of the American Southwest—is probably the series’ most effectively sustained foray into the surreal. Most of his hallucination, however, is more psychedelically beautiful than it is scary. The exception is when Homer spots a faceless statue of Marge which, as he begs it to talk to him, blows away in the wind. It’s a disturbing visual metaphor for the failure to communicate.

8) “Lisa’s First Word”

lisasfirstword3
When Homer’s shoddy woodworking skills meet the automatically scary concept of “clown,” it’s no surprise that this monstrosity is the result. It’s such a dead-on evocation of how frightening the world is to a child and how oblivious parents can be, all summed up in one meme-generating sentence: “Can’t sleep… clown’ll eat me…”

7) “Itchy & Scratchy Land”

itchyandscratchyland2
Countless I&S episodes and their respective mutilations could’ve fit in this slot, but for some reason I find this excerpt from Scratchtasia to be the worst of all. When an army of microscopic Itchies hack Scratchy up from the inside, this grotesque diversion transcends its Fantasia-parodying roots and sends shivers up my spine. Eww!

6) “The Old Man and the Lisa”

theoldmanandthelisa1
On the whole, this is one of season 8’s weaker episodes, and its interplay between Lisa and Mr. Burns lacks any real subversive bite. Still, the finale is gross and traumatizing enough to compensate for all of that, as Burns perverts Lisa’s ecofriendly idealism into a plant that “recycles” all sea life into a repulsive slurry. His scheme is so vile and implausibly evil that it’s impossible to watch without a severe cringe.

5) “New Kid on the Block”

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Yeah, it’s just a quick cutaway to literalize Bart’s heartbreak, but it’s also scary in its own right between the narrowed palette of red, black, and blue and the malice in Laura’s voice as she says “You won’t be needing this!” It viscerally captures the power of preteen angst with, in effect, a very short and vivid horror movie. The heart sliding down the wall and into the trash bin is the perfect final touch.

4) “Selma’s Choice”

selmaschoice3
Nothing good can come of little kids visiting a beer-themed amusement park and, sure enough, Bart badgers Lisa into drinking the mysterious, hallucinogenic “water” of Duff Gardens. As Lisa descends into a hellish trip, her aunt transforms into something out of Ralph Steadman’s worst nightmares, complete with a monster growing from her shoulder. The finishing touch? The pale, naked Lisa shouting, “I am the lizard queen!” before being heavily medicated.

3) “Brother from the Same Planet”

brotherfromthesameplanet3
This episode’s whole opening sequence is a brutal glimpse into the emotional dynamics of abandonment and irresponsible parenting, as Homer forgets to pick Bart up from soccer practice. Homer lies in the bathtub, dreaming about finding his son’s skeleton, while Bart waits in the rain, seething with rage. Eventually Homer goes to retrieve his son, but by then he’s so intensely furious that he imagines his father melting amidst plumes of hellfire.

This brief fantasy goes straight into the deep end of unmitigated horror. I don’t think any other episode (Treehouse of Horror included) has a single image as disturbing as Homer’s flesh bubbling and his eyes turning back into his head as he leans in to say, “How ’bout a hug?” The image draws us into the depths of Bart’s resentment, motivating the rest of the episode while chilling us to the bone.

2) “My Sister, My Sitter”

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This is the rare Simpsons episode whose main goal is to inspire fear rather than laughter. It’s still very funny, but as it approaches its climax beneath the harsh Squidport lights, any comedy is overwhelmed by the raw terror of Lisa’s waking nightmare. It’s a precocious child’s worst-case scenario: saddled with a small responsibility, she (through Bart’s ADHD-exacerbated behavior) has lost control and is wandering down the highway—her unconscious brother in a wheelbarrow and her baby sister in a cat carrier.

And somehow, with every turn, this worst case grows even worse. When the hazy, mud-soaked Lisa gazes up at the judgmental townspeople, it paralyzes me with vicarious anxiety. Every childhood has at least one or two events this bad, and “My Sister, My Sitter” is a painful reminder of how easily they can come about.

1) “Bart Sells His Soul”

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I’ve written extensively about this episode over at Pussy Goes Grrr; suffice it to say that Bart’s dark night of the soul, as he scrambles through downtown Springfield in spiritual peril, is easily among the series’ scariest moments. It’s hard enough to see Bart quivering in fear throughout the episode, but when he begs a terrified Ralph for “a soul… any soul—yours!” it crosses over into another territory altogether.

It becomes deep, dark, and disturbing. It’s stomach-churning horror that organically emerges from the show’s perceptive vision of childhood. That organic quality is exactly why The Simpsons contained such great, spellbinding moments of horror. If you look hard enough into the minds and souls of its inhabitants, Springfield can be a very scary place.

30
Jun
11

Quote of the Day

Convenience Store

Image used under Creative Commons license from Flickr user Eric Kilby.

“Selma, this wedding is spinning out of control.  Can we really afford it?  I’ve already run through eight of the ten dollars they gave me when I left prison.” – Sideshow Bob
“Hey, relax, I told you, I got money.  I bought stock in a mace company just before society crumbled.” – Selma Bouvier

29
Jun
11

Crazy Noises: Homer Simpson in “Kidney Trouble”

Homer Simpson in Kidney Trouble1

“Aren’t you going to give him the last rites?” – Marge Simpson
“That’s Catholic, Marge.  You might as well ask me to do a voodoo dance.” – Reverend Lovejoy

For the third summer in a row, we at the Dead Homer Society are looking to satisfy your off-season longing for substandard commentary on substandard Simpsons.  This summer we’ll be looking at Season 10.  Why Season 10?  Because we’ve already done Seasons 8 and 9 and we can’t put it off any longer.  Prior to Season 10, we watched as the show started falling over, this is when it fell over.  And while the dust wouldn’t settle completely for another season or so, there is no bigger gap in quality than the one between Season 9 and Season 10.  Since we prefer things to remain just as they were in 1995, we’re sticking with this chatroom thing instead of some newer means of communication that we all know just isn’t as good.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (especially on “prostitutes”).

Today’s episode is 1008, “Homer Simpson in: Kidney Trouble”.  Yesterday was 1007, “Lisa Gets an A”.

Charlie Sweatpants: I find this episode wretched in almost every way imaginable.

Mad Jon: I don’t have much good to say about Kidney Trouble.

  In a general season 10 theme, however, I liked the bloodbath gulch sign.

  The signs are still pretty funny in this season.

Charlie Sweatpants: I may be partially biased because I distinctly remember watching this one the first time and despairing for the future of the show, but it’s bad regardless.

Jon: yes to both.

Mad Jon: But that, and the sumo babies tv ad on the tv guide are the only things I liked.

Dave: Yep. I characterize this one as hard to watch.

Charlie Sweatpants: Except that the animatronic jokes just keeps freaking going, and none of them are as clever as the ones in Selma’s Choice or Radio Bart.

  Ooh, a leg flew off, a butt flew off! Ha ha.

Mad Jon: I wasn’t saying I liked the theme park, just the sign.

Charlie Sweatpants: Oh. See, I didn’t hate the theme park, just the robot jokes.

Dave: Then Grampa makes a joke about the butt, lulz

  Er, pinches, whatever. It still sucks

Charlie Sweatpants: I like the pathetic tour guide, and the lame gun fight, and the fact that Marge is minorly scandalized by the open prostitution of the olden days.

Mad Jon: Agreed. But it was kind of draggy-ony. I did chuckle at the last "Lots of prostitutes in there!"

Charlie Sweatpants: Exactly. But once they leave the theme park . . . it’s all downhill.

The scene in the car is painful, especially since Marge is sitting right there while Homer is basically torturing his father.

  Then the utter the word "kidney" and things go from downhill to freefall.

Dave: How many times does Homer bail on Grampa?

  It was like the rake gag, but terrible.

Mad Jon: Three I believe.

Charlie Sweatpants: And far more drawn out.

Pretty much every scene after he agrees to donate a kidney is a rehash of the same thing: Homer being either afraid or ashamed.

Mad Jon: Yeah, it was hard to watch, I had the same anxious feeling I get when they do an episode where someone learns a tough lesson.

Charlie Sweatpants: And just as glacially.

Pretty much everything from him escaping the hospital for the first time is Homer being guiltily expository in a very television-y way.

Throw in the stupid plot twists (becoming a sailor for about two minutes, washing up next to the father and son) and all the repeated jokes, and it just gets more and more unwatchable.

Mad Jon: I was surprised he could even run that fast!

This episode always reminded me a tad of the episode where Homer has to find his soul mate, but you know, not so good.

Charlie Sweatpants: He can do whatever they want. At this point he’s more of a cartoon character than Bugs or Mickey. They have personalities, Homer acts out in a different direction depending on the episode or scene.

Dave: And that’s why the show basically turned into shit. It became a cartoon.

Charlie Sweatpants: And it started aping its own past gags.

The "doctors carry less than $5" sign is almost identical to the one about the archbishop in Who Shot Mr. Burns Part 2, Homer balking at signing the waver had been done better in Brother Can You Spare Two Dimes, and then there’s all the robot stuff.

  There are few things that undermine an episode more than when many of its best parts had been done better years before.

Mad Jon: Most of this episode was boring to watch, and other than a few lines here and there, the rest was just bad. I now remember why I haven’t watched this one in forever and a day.

Dave: Don’t plan to revisit this one anytime soon. Once in as many years was too much

Charlie Sweatpants: Pretty much, there are so very many pointless exchanges that don’t do anything more than shove the already stupid and obvious plot one or two more inches down the road.

This one is best forgotten.

29
Jun
11

Quote of the Day

Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(Annoyed Grunt)cious3

“Boy for sale!  Boy for sale!” – Principal Skinner
“Is this legal, man?” – Jimbo
“Only here, and in Mississippi.” – Principal Skinner

28
Jun
11

Crazy Noises: Lisa Gets an “A”

Lisa Gets an A1

“I know a liquor store where we can cash this right now!” – Principal Skinner

For the third summer in a row, we at the Dead Homer Society are looking to satisfy your off-season longing for substandard commentary on substandard Simpsons.  This summer we’ll be looking at Season 10.  Why Season 10?  Because we’ve already done Seasons 8 and 9 and we can’t put it off any longer.  Prior to Season 10, we watched as the show started falling over, this is when it fell over.  And while the dust wouldn’t settle completely for another season or so, there is no bigger gap in quality than the one between Season 9 and Season 10.  Since we prefer things to remain just as they were in 1995, we’re sticking with this chatroom thing instead of some newer means of communication that we all know just isn’t as good.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (especially on “tetherball”).

Today’s episode is 1007, “Lisa Gets an A”, Tomorrow will be 1008, “Homer Simpson in: Kidney Trouble”.

Charlie Sweatpants: Okay, let’s get going before Jon drops again.

I know what I hate, and I don’t hate this, despite its many flaws.

Mad Jon: Are we starting with "Lisa gets an A?"

Charlie Sweatpants: Yes.

Mad Jon: Ah

Charlie Sweatpants: The other one I hate, but we’ll get to that in a minute.

Mad Jon: I think I agree with you

Dave: This is the less shitty of the two.

Mad Jon: I feel it starts poorly, but gets better.

Charlie Sweatpants: The scene in the grocery store isn’t the best.

They run the toothpick joke into the ground and there’s far too much Jerkass Homer, but I do have a soft spot for Gavin and his terrible mother.

Mad Jon: Meh, he reminds me of the one bad episode.

Charlie Sweatpants: True, but I always thought he was one of the bright spots.

Dave: He is brief and fleeting. Which is good.

Mad Jon: Also the church scene is along the same lines as far as jokes running too long.

Dave: There was a real opportunity there to run a gag for 2.5 minutes.

Charlie Sweatpants: Definitely, Lovejoy’s "May we burn in painful and foul smelling fire forever and ever" is funny, and then it continues.

This entire episode suffers from what can be modestly described as poor pacing.

Lisa cheats out of desperation, feels guilty, tries to turn herself in, and has the school authorities be less scrupulous than she is I like all over.

Mad Jon: I am not understanding

Charlie Sweatpants: The problem arises in the way too many things get dragged out and in between that is improbable crap.

I get that Lisa would cheat, her dream of Harvard denied is classic her, I get that she would want to turn herself in, I further get that Chalmers and Skinner are far less honest than she is.

Mad Jon: I am with you so far…

Dave: As am I

Charlie Sweatpants: The problem is the way they have to keep patching holes they created themselves. Otto impersonating the comptroller, Bart just happening to be out of class to steer Lisa to Nelson, the whole "A+++" thing on a minor little test becoming super important.

The giant ceremony is the culmination of it, where they take something that doesn’t quite make sense, and turn it into a major plot point.

Mad Jon: Ok.

Dave: So it feels hollow to you then, despite some good gags and normal character trends?

Charlie Sweatpants: What I’m trying to get at is that they had a rational and relatively calm story to work with, and they turned it up to 11 for no real reason in a lot of places.

Mad Jon: I can see that. A lot of those types of transitions would have been unnoticeable a few years ago. Instead of trying to make a joke everywhere, and sometimes getting too crazy, they just would have kept going.

But that being said, there were plenty of good things at which to chuckle.

Charlie Sweatpants: Agreed. Like I said, I don’t hate this episode, I just think you can see their give-a-shit level falling in it. The little sequence where Chalmers shows Lisa how bad the school is, the cinderblock tetherball, the Oscar Meyer periodic table, and, of course, Super Nintendo Chalmers, are all great.

Mad Jon: Yep, it’s the little things. The employees must wash hands sign in Nelson’s stall, Captain McAllister asking for change at the last second, planning on taking the 250K check to a liquor store. All good.

Charlie Sweatpants: Exactly. But there are plenty of dire portents of Zombie Simpsons in Gil just happening to be there. Ditto Willie and Nelson in the bathroom with their funny but lazy exposition.

It feels like they’ve stopped caring about the little things, figuring that the occasional brilliant line will make everyone forget them.

Dave: I routinely forget that this was the episode that gave us Super Nintendo Chalmers.

Which is, in fact, brilliant.

Charlie Sweatpants: Absolutely, the entire B-plot functions the same way (though I think it’s worse than the A). It has a couple of great moments, but to get there you have to overlook a ton of crap.

For example, at the very end when Homer says Pinchy’s in a place with no more pain, and then snapping his neck. That’s good, but the payoff wasn’t worth all that build up.

Mad Jon: Agreed.

There are a few scenes that point to the future of Zombie Simpsons, such as the salt in the fish tank.

Charlie Sweatpants: That was less than good.

Dave: No, to get to that we had to suffer through the fish tank, cartoon Pinchy, realistic Pinchy, and that whole stupid beach scene

Charlie Sweatpants: Homer calling Pinchy a mammal can’t make up for all of it. However, it does bring a quick smile to my face and I kinda like Captain McAllister’s little rant.

Mad Jon: Me too, especially when he ends it by asking for spare change.

Charlie Sweatpants: It suffers from the usual "Hey, there’s one of our characters!" problem that Zombie Simpsons has refined into a television war crime, but his speech is kinda funny.

Mad Jon: That’s going to keep happening.

Charlie Sweatpants: No shit.

I could list some of the other things I like about this one, Hoover spilling booze while grading papers, Bart not being able to differentiate between cheating and honest work, and the fact that the entire thing was over a "basic assistance grant" among them, but I don’t have much more to add in terms of description.

This episode isn’t spectacular, but it’s grounded enough and contains enough good things that I don’t hate it. In fact, I rather like it.

Mad Jon: It is one of the most watchable of this season.

Charlie Sweatpants: Dave, you good with that? If so, we can move on to the renal episode that can’t be expunged with a thousand bladder evacuations.

Dave: Yep, let’s be done.

Charlie Sweatpants: Alright then, let’s flip up the toilet seat.

28
Jun
11

Quote of the Day

Sweet Seymour Skinner's Baadasssss Song7

“Frankly, the Army isn’t quite as I remembered it.” – Sergeant Skinner
“Up yours, Sergeant!” – Soldier
“Actually, it’s exactly as I remembered it.” – Sergeant Skinner

27
Jun
11

Quote of the Day

Sideshow Bob's Last Gleaming5

“Then where’s Sideshow Bob?” – Chief Wiggum
“He ran off.” – Minimum Security Convict
“Oh, great.  Well, if anyone asks, uh, I beat him to death.  Okay?” – Chief Wiggum
“Right.” – Lou

26
Jun
11

Quote of the Day

Homer Defined3

“My best friend shafted me.  I’ll never get over this, Otto man.” – Bart Simpson
“Oh, sure you will.  You know, once my old lady ran off and married my brother.  Well, it hurt, but here it is a month later, and I’m sleeping on their couch!” – Otto

Edited to fix my inability to discern words in English.

25
Jun
11

Some Weekend Reading

Some Enchanted Evening5

“Until then, they can watch a tape from our video library.” – Marge Simpson

A couple of weeks ago, I came across a new addition to the Simpsons blog universe: Me Blog Write Good.  You can get the full background in the introductory post, but the short version is that this fine young man first got into the show on VHS, has been a fan ever since, and is now going to watch every episode from Seasons 1-20 and blog about it.  (He’s stopping at 20 because that’s when Zombie Simpsons finally broke his spirit.)  He finished Season 1 earlier this week, noting that he wouldn’t have much use for a “worst” episodes list until Season 9 at the earliest, and just yesterday started in on Season 2.  I’ve read them all, and if you’re reading this blog, you’ll probably enjoy his as well.

25
Jun
11

Quote of the Day

Blood Feud6

“What’s the matter, Homer?  You’re not your normal, effervescent self.” – Moe
“I got my problems, Moe.  Give me another one.” – Homer Simpson
“Hey, Homer, hey, you should not drink to forget your problems.” – Moe
“Yeah, you should only drink to enhance your social skills.” – Barney Gumble

24
Jun
11

Reading Digest: 1950s Television Edition

$pringfield7

We’ve got three links this week that deal with the ancient dawn of television, some more unintentionally funny than others.  There’s also a guy who draws Bart obsessively, alumni updates for Groening and Kavner, some sweet YouTube, and plenty of excellent usage. 

Enjoy.

The Greatest TV Writers Rooms Ever – Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week is this exhaustive and informative article about the most revered television writing groups ever.  It starts all the way back in the 1950s, and displays the proper apathy toward Zombie Simpsons by only including people who wrote for the show through Season 5.  

I always dreamed of being in a Broadway audience. – Two weeks ago, I linked to this, a performance of Simpsons music in New York.  Guest poster Lenny actually went, and this is her writeup, complete with a rather awesome YouTube video of the troupe singing the Love-Matic Grampa theme. 

The Top Ten TV Dads – If I told you that this list idolizes Ward Cleaver and sees television as a vast left wing conspiracy and is from a magazine, would you need more or less than three guesses to get to National Review?

This quote from Grandpa Simpson rings more and more true as I venture deeper into adulthood – Found this on Reddit, and I must nitpick.  There’s no “and” before “It’ll happen to you”.  Other than that, quite good.

Sideshow Bob Tree – This might be photoshopped, but no one ever said photoshopped things can’t be funny. 

25 Funny Signs From The Simpsons – A slight hint of Zombie Simpsons here, but overwhelmingly good stuff.

HelloGiggles – Homer Simpson’s Top 10 Best Parenting Tips – Setting aside that there are two quotes from the same rant in “Marge Be Not Proud”, this is a great list, with nothing past Season 9. 

Simpsons – Tag – With their life sapping uniforms on, the kids playing tag almost works better as still images with subtitles.

The Seasons of The Simpsons , In Order – He’s got Season 10 ahead of Season 1, but other than that everything single digit is ahead of everything double digit.  Well done. 

‘I Kid With Brad Garrett,’ just kidding – Apparently there’s a new iteration of “Kids Say the Darndest Things”, and this review of it contains excellent usage:

In a classic episode of “The Simpsons,” Homer gets drunk at a party and says to his son, “Bart! Do that thing you do that’s so cute!” It’s an awkward moment both for Bart and for the guests Homer is trying to entertain.

The reviewer is pretty lukewarm on the show, but what he leaves out is that Homer was drunk when he said that.  If you got Brad Garrett liquored up and then let kids torment him, I’d certainly be more likely to watch. 

Jennifer Aniston, Vin Diesel among Hollywood Walk of Fame class of 2012 – Groening is getting a star on the Walk of Fame.  That is all.

Do You Buy Rioter’s Apology? With Help From "The Simpsons" – Quoting four Simpsons scenes to spice up an otherwise dull story about a kid who was part of that Stanley Cup riot in Vancouver. 

Kavner lands role in "Relatively Speaking" on Broadway – It’s three one act plays, and has an official opening date of October 20th.  On the plus side, Woody Allen and Ethan Coen are involved, on the minus side, so is Steve Guttenberg. 

Heineken, Beck’s, Peroni, Tuborg. Duff? – American college student samples Duff in Italy, finds it disappointing. 

A legacy neglected – The history of Canberra, with an excellent reference up front:

But here in Canberra, a city designed from scratch by Walter Burley Griffin, the ACT’s economic development minister Andrew Barr recently declared Griffin was dead and irrelevant. It was time to move on and modernise.

”Griffin is surely the Jebediah Springfield of Canberra,” he said.

‘Mabul (The Flood)’ to open Jewish Film Festival – Mike Reiss goes to San Francisco:

Stein, who is stepping down after this festival, said he is also excited about the "comedy night" program called "Jews in Toons," offering episodes from three animated series, "The Simpsons," "Family Guy" and "South Park." Emmy-winning producer and writer Mike Reiss ("The Simpsons") will also show clips from his career as part of the program, 7 p.m. July 25 at the Castro.

I wonder if he’ll show anything from Zombie Simpsons. 

Degree shows 2011: Camberwell Graphics and Illustration – From an art college show in London comes one Sam Taylor, a man who likes drawing Bart.  You can see a couple of them near the top of the link, as well as here, here and here on his blog.  Creepy?  Sweet?  Creepysweet?

Simpsons Video of the Week: Smithers’s Deal – YouTube of Troy McClure explaining that Smithers is unmarried and currently resides in Springfield. 

“Well, he’s kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace ‘accidentally’ with ‘repeatedly’ and replace ‘dog’ with ‘son.’” -Lionel Hutz: (The Simpsons) – I nitpick because I care, Hutz actually says:

Hutz: “Well, he’s had it in for me ever since I kinda ran over his dog.”
Marge: “You did?”
Hutz: “Well, replace the word ‘kinda’ with the word ‘repeatedly’, and the word ‘dog’ with ‘son’.

The Upper Deck Sitcom Character Fantasy Draft – Homer was taken with the #2 overall pick behind John Ritter from Three’s Company

Barcelona Are Being Awful Clever… – Excellent European football usage:

Will You Take Us To Mount Splashmore?
Remember that episode of the Simpsons where Bart and Lisa want to go to Mount Splashmore and they go up to Homer and say "will you take us to Mount Splashmore? Will you take us to Mount Splashmore? Will you take us to Mount Splashmore? Will you take us to Mount Splashmore? Will you take us to Mount Splashmore? Will you take us to Mount Splashmore? Will you take us to Mount Splashmore?…"
That’s what Barca are doing to Arsenal regarding Fabregas. Eventually Wenger and P H to the Wood will just snap and shout "Arrrgghh! Please just take him if it will shut you up."
Cliff (Love caber tossing, hate SHGA) Mallinder

Homer Simpson’s Ceiling Waffle! – I know I shouldn’t eat thee, but . . . :

 

i know i haven’t done this in awhile, but MORNING GIF!!! – An animated .gif of Bart washing himself with a rag on a stick. 

prints! – A long time ago I posted a link to a wonderfully over the top Homer portrait.  Now you can buy a print of it (via).

Dangerous Entertainment News – Wednesday, June 22 – Discussing last night’s return of Futurama:

The problem with “Futurama” when it was on Fox was two-fold. First of all, people compared it to “The Simpsons” which is a losing situation for any show (unless you are comparing it to today’s “Simpsons” in which case you have a pretty good shot) and secondly, people are dumb.

Heh. 

24
Jun
11

Quote of the Day

Bart's Comet3

“Because you have impeded science, you must now aid science . . . yes.  Starting tomorrow, you will assist me with my amateur astronomy, taking down coordinates, carrying equipment, and so forth, four-thirty in the morning.” – Principal Skinner
“There’s a four-thirty in the morning now?” – Bart Simpson

23
Jun
11

A Lisa-centric Simpsons Marathon

- By Lenny Burnham

Yesterday I planned and executed a Lisa-centric Classic Simpsons marathon. I thought I’d make a handy guide of what discs you’ll need if you want to replicate this marathon and throw in a few notes and observations from the discussion that came up while we were watching.

Season One

Moaning Lisa (Disc One)

  • This episode caused an argument between my roommate and I. She just doesn’t like season one, even though this episode has Lisa saying she’s wailing for the homeless, poor farmers and sick miners and Mr. Largo telling her that none of those unpleasant people will be at the recital and Bleeding Gums telling her that she plays pretty well for someone with no real problems and that the blues is about making other people feel worse and making a few bucks while you’re at it. I know Dan Castellaneta sounds weird and half the people have the wrong hair and skin color, but come on.
  • I was a pretty depressed third grader and I listened to Lisa’s blues song a lot, with a level of seriousness that I probably should be ashamed of now, but I’m not.
  • It’s incredibly sad that Marge doesn’t really know how to comfort Lisa, even though we see that Marge was an unhappy child as well. It’s nice to see a comedy really go there.

 

Season Two

Homer vs. Lisa and the 8th Commandment (Disc Three)

  • This marathon was partially inspired by Lisa being a relatively underrated character when compared to Homer and Bart, so I was happy to report that the commentary on this episode states that they added Lisa’s name to the title because episodes with her name in the title are always popular. Looking at this list of episodes, I can see why.

 

Lisa’s Substitute (Disc Four)

  • My friend Sara has a theory that Holly Holiday from Glee is a direct rip off of the Dustin Hoffman character in this. A zany substitute who dresses up in historical costumes and tries to teach the kids to love themselves? I see it.
  • This episode and “Moaning Lisa” are both very funny while being about a depressed child who will probably not feel any better for a long time. That might be one of the strongest aspects of Classic Simpsons.
  • I use the phrase “Semitic good looks” a lot. It comes up.

 

Season Three

Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington (Disc One)

  • This episode has a nice handful of good jokes with a feminist bent, but my favorite is definitely Homer and Marge’s respective responses to the “Ms.-Haps” cartoon. The title alone is such a great satire of just how blatantly sexist the media can be. Then we get Homer and Marge’s respective responses. Homer says, “Ain’t it the truth.” Marge responds by saying it’s not the truth, it’s just a sexist stereotype. Homer immediately busts out the “it’s just entertainment” excuse. He insists that cartoons don’t have any deeper meaning despite the fact that he’d said “ain’t it the truth” just a second before, perfectly demonstrating the faultiness of people insisting “it’s just entertainment” when something perpetuates terrible stereotypes. Classic Simpsons: the show that will have a brilliant moment of insight and then show an ass crack. They were firing on all cylinders.
  • Lisa Sees Dead People #1: The Thomas Jefferson statue comes to life and talks to her. She isn’t taken aback.
  • I love how encouraging Bart is in this episode. It took someone who doesn’t care at all about authority or politeness to give Lisa the total support she deserves. (“Cesspool! Cesspool!”)

 

Lisa’s Pony (Disco Two)

  • I love that Bleeding Gums Murphy loves Bart’s comedy routine. That man is so nurturing of the Simpsons kids’ talents.

 

Lisa the Greek (Disc Three)

  • I made an apartment for my Barbie in a shoebox, but I can’t remember whether I got the idea from this episode.
  • This episode says that gambling is illegal in 48 states. They were slightly off: It’s actually illegal in 2 states. [I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and say that they were probably talking specifically about sports betting, but they do just say “gambling.”]

 

Separate Vocations (Disc Three)

  • I love that this episode shows what an effective badass Lisa would be if she were a badass. Stealing the Teacher’s Editions was a fantastic prank. The teachers should be lucky that Bart is the hellraiser and not Lisa because Bart and Krabappel can spar back and forth, but Lisa would eventually just destroy her teacher.

Season Four

Lisa the Beauty Queen (Disc One)

  • Props to Lisa for being on the ball enough to see the danger of Amber’s scepter acting as a lightning rod when no one else was worried about it.

 

I Love Lisa (Disc 3)

  • Excellent use of the “Monster Mash.”
  • “I’m not gay, but I’ll learn.”
  • I’m proud of Lisa for finding the “Let’s Bee Friends” card—it expressed exactly what she wanted to say and had the kind of pun Ralph loves. I imagine she was searching Hallmark for at least ninety minutes.

 

Season Five

Lisa vs. Malibu Stacy (Disc 3)

  • It’s hard to talk about this episode in a concise manner because there’s so much to say about it. For now I’ll leave it at the fact that calling this episode “timeless” feels wrong because I think the ultimate goal of this episode is to aim for a better world where the satire around talking Malibu Stacy won’t feel timeless.
  • We were sort of disappointed that season 5 only had one Lisa-centered episode, but they did really hit it out of the park with “Lisa vs. Malibu Stacy.” I assume that after that one, everyone was afraid to pitch Lisa ideas since they didn’t want to follow that.

 

Season Six

Lisa’s Rival (Disc 1)

  • My roommate and I both strongly believe that Homer’s sugar rant and that plot in general are the highest forms of comedy that mankind has ever achieved.  We are consistently baffled when we watch this episode with people who aren’t brought to tears by the power of the sugar b-plot.

 

Lisa on Ice (Disc 2)

  • “I hope you understand I’m too tense to pretend I like you”

 

Lisa’s Wedding (Disc 3)

  • They were really on the ball predicting Lisa’s outfit. She’s clearly wearing skinny jeans and an American Apparel sweater.
  • I never realized it before, but this episode referenced Lisa growing up to be a vegetarian and came out before “Lisa the Vegetarian.” The writers really understand their characters.

 

‘Round Springfield (Disc 4)

  • Lisa Sees Dead People #2: Bleeding Gums Murphy communicates to Lisa through the clouds, not to mention Mufasa, Darth Vader and the CNN guy. She isn’t taken aback.

 

Season Seven

Lisa the Vegetarian (Disc 1)

  • I think the Independent Thought Alarm sequence is Simpsons at its best. The idea of an elementary school with an Independent Thought Alarm is already so powerful and then they perfectly build on it by having Skinner say that the children are overstimulated and instructing Willy to take the colored chalk out of the classrooms.

 

Lisa the Iconoclast (Disc 3)

  • Lisa Sees Dead People #3: George Washington visits Lisa. Naturally.

Summer of 4 Ft. 2 (Disc 4)

  • It seems like Lisa is really dismissive of the two girls on the yearbook. They like her, so shouldn’t that be enough? The theory we came up with is that those two girls are so close with each other that it’s impossible for Lisa to get in on that friendship.
  • During one of the touching Lisa/Erin scenes, I mentioned that this episode is borderline romantic. I mean, Lisa and Erin really grow fond of each other over the course of the episode. My friends who weren’t distracted by being a huge lesbian reminded me that when you’re a kid, friendships tend to get so close they seem romantic because you’re very quickly like, “I’ve never felt this way before!”

 

Well, that’s the marathon. I will give Season 8 a little credit by mentioning that there are episodes in Season 8 that I consider to be well worth watching. Sadly, “My Sister, My Sitter” and “The War of Lisa Simpson” are not among them.

23
Jun
11

Quote of the Day

Team Homer5

“If we quit now, we’ll never know how badly they’re gonna beat us.” – Homer Simpson
“Yeah, you’re right.  That’s the kind of thing that would haunt you.” – Moe

22
Jun
11

Crazy noises: D’Oh-in’ in the Wind

D'Oh-in' in the Wind1

“I’ll treasure this poncho forever.” – Homer Simpson
“Uh, you might want to wash that.  The dog has a lot of skin and bladder problems.” – Seth

For the third summer in a row, we at the Dead Homer Society are looking to satisfy your off-season longing for substandard commentary on substandard Simpsons.  This summer we’ll be looking at Season 10.  Why Season 10?  Because we’ve already done Seasons 8 and 9 and we can’t put it off any longer.  Prior to Season 10, we watched as the show started falling over, this is when it fell over.  And while the dust wouldn’t settle completely for another season or so, there is no bigger gap in quality than the one between Season 9 and Season 10.  Since we prefer things to remain just as they were in 1995, we’re sticking with this chatroom thing instead of some newer means of communication that we all know just isn’t as good.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (especially on “drunkenness”).

Today’s episode is 1006, “D’Oh-in’ in the Wind”.  Yesterday was 1005, “When You Dish Upon a Star”.

Charlie Sweatpants: Initial thoughts on Homer the Hippie?

Mad Jon: I don’t really like this one, but there some good parts. I can just never get into it.

I get bored.

Charlie Sweatpants: Disagree. This is one of the precious few in Season 10 that’s in my regular rotation.

Dave: Whoa. Didn’t see that coming. (Seriously.)

Mad Jon: Well, to each their own.

I love the hippies, I like the original trip to the farm, and the cut scene at Woodstock is classic, but I just can’t keep my focus when this one is on.

Charlie Sweatpants: This one has a lot of good lines and quick jokes, enough that I don’t mind the usual “Homer gets a job” type crap.

Mad Jon: I think my biggest problem is that Homer smiles too much, for me that is a hallmark of a bad Homer episode.

Dave: I’m with Jon. Some good bits but it doesn’t hold my attention. It’s not quite miserable in the way “Dish” is/was.

Mad Jon: But that’s me.

I definitely like this one better than “Dish”, but that’s not really a high bar.

Charlie Sweatpants: Let me then admit to an equal amount of surprise that you guys aren’t as high on this one as I am.

Dave: Pun intended, I’m sure.

Charlie Sweatpants: On quotability alone, this one might outrank everything else in 10.

Mad Jon: It’s is really a separation from the normal Simpson life.

I agree with that.

There are plenty of lines worth repeating.

Charlie Sweatpants: That counts a lot in my book.

Mad Jon: Well, when it comes to The Simpsons, you are a Viking.

Charlie Sweatpants: Thanks?

Mad Jon: It was a compliment. I normally trust your opinion on teevee, no matter how jaded you get with age.

Still can’t get into this one.

Charlie Sweatpants: I’ll grant that there are some distracting problems: the sudden plot shifts (factory ruined to Homer makes thing worse) are less than smooth, I could do without the fake tension at the end, and there’s the very un-Homer-like enthusiasm for new stuff.

However, in addition to the aforementioned quotes (of which there are many), I like that it did kinda make sense that Homer would like to just drop all of the near-middle class pretense that he’s no good at.

Mad Jon: Meh, that’s just a different shade of the job changing that haunts Zombie Homer.

Dave: Yeah, how is this any different?

He does it as carelessly and caustically as any of his other job transitions.

And it ends as poorly.

Charlie Sweatpants: It’s not wholly different, but here Homer’s selfishness is the kind you always expected him to have, one that’s basically pro-drunkenness and pro-lazy. Him being the super competent assistant to a couple of movie stars strikes me as a lot more un-Homer than him wanting to sit around and get drunk all the time.

Mad Jon: I see what you are saying. There is a different edge to it, but to me it still gets thrown in the category.

Dave: It’s an astute distinction you make Charlie, but as Jon says it sort of feels the same.

Charlie Sweatpants: I’m not saying it would pass muster in Season 6, or even Season 8, but I can buy hippie in a way that I can’t buy successful artist, mayoral bodyguard, or celebrity gofer.

Mad Jon: I can as well.

Those are all much, much worse.

But, I’m not here to compare season 10 jobs against each other, I am here to rag on Zombie trends.

Charlie Sweatpants: Combine that with all the quotes, from “You can’t like, own a potato” and “I’ll go shoot myself for bringing this up” to “the ideals our hippie forefathers refused to go to war and die for” and George Carlin’s perfect deadpan of “This man does not represent us”, and I can’t dislike this episode.

Mad Jon: Carlin was great, I liked all those things, the dog’s name, and lots of other things.

Dave: Actually the dog was great.

Charlie Sweatpants: Also, have you ever seen the video for “Uptown Girl”?

That may be the most un-hippie thing ever, in addition to being the gayest supposedly straight thing this side of the volleyball scene in “Top Gun” (Christie Brinkley or no Christie Brinkley).

Mad Jon: That was a very gay scene.

Charlie Sweatpants: For that and more (Castellaneta does a fantastic job as Young Abe, Brockman’s line about point shaving in Globetrotter’s games, Lou saying that the electric yellow has got him by the brain banana), I like this episode, warts and all.

Mad Jon: Fair enough buddy, Fair enough.

Charlie Sweatpants: Any further objections or thoughts?

Dave: None from me. I don’t hate this, but I don’t watch it regularly either.

Mad Jon: Well, I always have a love hate relationship with scenes used to describe people tripping. They are fun, but at the same time so over the top that it’s a little off putting. So maybe that also adds to the hate. But in the end – meh.

Charlie Sweatpants: Alright then, I’m going to go freak out some squares.

22
Jun
11

Quote of the Day

Rare First Draft of the Constitution

Original image yoinked from Wikipedia.

“Look at all the wonderful things you have Mr. Burns: King Arthur’s Excalibur, the only existing nude photo of Mark Twain, and that rare first draft of the Constitution with the word ‘suckers’ in it.” – Mr. Smithers

21
Jun
11

Crazy Noises: When You Dish Upon a Star

Fred Astaire Vacuum Cleaner

Image yoinked from here.

“You people must realize that the public owns you for life, and when you’re dead, you’ll all be in commercials dancing with vacuum cleaners.” – Homer Simpson

For the third summer in a row, we at the Dead Homer Society are looking to satisfy your off-season longing for substandard commentary on substandard Simpsons.  This summer we’ll be looking at Season 10.  Why Season 10?  Because we’ve already done Seasons 8 and 9 and we can’t put it off any longer.  Prior to Season 10, we watched as the show started falling over, this is when it fell over.  And while the dust wouldn’t settle completely for another season or so, there is no bigger gap in quality than the one between Season 9 and Season 10.  Since we prefer things to remain just as they were in 1995, we’re sticking with this chatroom thing instead of some newer means of communication that we all know just isn’t as good.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (though not on “jerkassosity”, which isn’t a word but totally should be).

Today’s episode is 1005, “When You Dish Upon a Star”.  Tomorrow will be 1006, “D’Oh-in’ in the Wind”.

Charlie Sweatpants: Shall we get going?

Mad Jon: Let’s do it

Start with the dish?

Charlie Sweatpants: I haven’t watching the movie star episode in a long time. Having done it again, I remember why. This is like blueprint for Zombie Simpsons, pointless celebrity voices, Jerkass Homer, and a near bottomless supply of stupid plot twists.

Mad Jon: Yeah, there are some funny things, but Homer’s insanity is too prevalent

Dave: That was what stood out to me most; the intensity of Homer’s jerkassosity

Pretty much non-stop end-to-end

Mad Jon: Right from when he meets Alec and Kim to the end, it was like they were buddies in high school and Homer was the one everyone avoided.

Charlie Sweatpants: Well described. Why the stars liked him was never explained, and he couldn’t have been more unlikable if he’d set their house on fire.

Mad Jon: And I know it was intentional, so they could get the craziness going right away, but how is Homer not star struck?

Dave: He is, they just kept it truncated for the reason you mentioned

Charlie Sweatpants: Homer’s not star struck, because neither were the people who wrote and approved this.

More than anything, this feels like they took all the Hollywood insider jokes they’d been making to each other and tried to string an episode out of them.

Mad Jon: I can see that. Although I did like Ron Howard’s blatant alcoholism.

Charlie Sweatpants: Howard is one of the bright spots here, especially his relationship with Homer’s terrible movie idea.

Mad Jon: That was actually pretty funny

  That joke got better as the episode went on.

Charlie Sweatpants: It did. Unfortunately, it was also the only one to do so.

Dave: I tend to see this as the gateway drug to future Howard appearances that are less successful

Mad Jon: Agreed

  With both of you for that matter.

Charlie Sweatpants: Wait, he was on the show again?

Mad Jon: I don’t actually remember….

Dave: Yes.

Charlie Sweatpants: Hmm, IMDb says he was, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0701105/.

Dave: http://simpsons.wikia.com/wiki/Ron_Howard

Mad Jon: Well I’ll be buggered!

Charlie Sweatpants: Damn you, Dave, for your more informative link.

Dave: So really it was only once more that Howard shows up.

  But I seem to remember his second stint to be less successful. He takes his kids to a celebrity zoo or some shit

Charlie Sweatpants: I still don’t get your point though. Ron Howard wasn’t the problem going forward, "Arrested Development" is proof enough of that. This one does feel like the mythical gateway drug, though more for the aforementioned Jerkass Homer and pointless "as him/herself".

Dave: And he briefly chokes out Homer

Mad Jon: With a singing hippo or something, I remember now.

Dave: Yeah. So I overstated Howard’s impact. It was one other appearance that wasn’t quite as good.

It was a fantastapotamus.

Mad Jon: ah.

Charlie Sweatpants: So we’re agreed that Ron Howard was among the few good parts of this one. Too bad about the rest of the episode though, because there’s not a lot to love here.

Mad Jon: Yeah, I think there were a couple of good, as you pointed out "inside jokes", like the Oscar polish joke, but other than that, phhhhbtt.

Although I also liked the sign at the lake.

Dave: I liked the bit in the beginning about wearing a tie with no pants.

  That’s sort of a dream of mine, actually.

Mad Jon: Do you also dream about tearing a park ranger to shreds?

You might want to get that checked out.

Dave: So noted.

Charlie Sweatpants: I maintain that Homer putting his arms around Basinger and Baldwin is a watershed moment, even if it was more of a signpost than a turning point.

Mad Jon:  Go on….

Charlie Sweatpants: Homer Simpson is many things, but he is not beloved by society’s winners.

Him being liked by the movie stars, to the point that they feel guilty about firing him, is one of the first times it becomes clear that Homer-in-the-show is becoming as popular as Homer-outside-the-show. And that is a very bad thing.

Mad Jon: I can see that.

Charlie Sweatpants: Late note: I like the beginning of the Yogi Bear dream, but then it goes on too damn long. Just like so many other things, in Season 10 and since.

Mad Jon: Still, a decent opening for a later season.

Charlie Sweatpants: The dream yes, but as soon as he wakes up he’s suddenly Jerkass Homer, thinking he’s a good father. The Homer I know and love is perfectly aware that he is a terrible father and has all but nothing of which to be proud.

Mad Jon: That is true.

  I forget the line.

Charlie Sweatpants: I was referring to the whole "making promises/keeping promises" thing right after he wakes up from Hanna Barbara.

Mad Jon: Yeah, that’s it.

Charlie Sweatpants: And from there it just gets worse, not only does he make fun of the movie stars, he starts to think he’s as good as them. The scene at dinner with Marge and the kids is fucking painful to watch. Homer Simpson – Homer Simpson(!) – turning his nose up at mass market sloppy joes? Never.

The point is, that there isn’t any part of this episode that doesn’t at least kinda suck. There are several good lines and a few great deliveries of said lines, which is more than we usually get from Zombie Simpsons today, but there’s never a part of this episode where stupidly zany shit isn’t making the whole thing feel dumb.

Mad Jon: That’s it in a nutshell.

Charlie Sweatpants: If I may, there’s one thing that jumped out at me, especially in light of the fact that this is the first time I saw this episode since I started watching Zombie Simpsons.

Dave: What’s that?

Charlie Sweatpants: Did you notice that both Sideshow Mel (outside the gates) and Krusty (in Homer’s stupid museum that he made in the RV he got where?) were among the gawkers?

Mad Jon: Yep. National celebrities, unless there are any real celebrities around I guess.

Charlie Sweatpants: Exactly. Krusty is supposed to be for real famous, and Mel is hardly the type to sniff movie star crotch for fun. Here though, they’ve given up on caring about who’s in what scene. They’re just there because.

Mad Jon: As you’ve pointed out many times before, they are recognizable characters.

Dave: Don’t forget the gawking at the bar over Kent Brockman.

Charlie Sweatpants: This episode is chalk full of those kinds of shortcuts that make you go "huh?". Why is Homer shopping in the Hummer at Kwik-E-Mart, why do the movie stars think they can just drive out of the front gate when the previous five minutes of screen time have had a mob of people there? How did Homer manage to be their assistant without disrupting the rest of his life?

Dave: He’s not a celebrity.

  He’s one of them.

Mad Jon: 4 day weekend.

Charlie Sweatpants: I guess.

There are a couple of flashes of humor here, Homer’s speech in court is a nicely funny description of the twisted world of modern celebrity, but like his insane movie pitch, it’s something that would’ve been funny anywhere. None of it had anything to do – or even fit in with – what was happening in the episode.

Anything else here? Can we go frolic in the grass with the hippies? They’re a hell of a lot more fun than the celebrities.

Mad Jon: Agreed, let’s get out of this one.

“You people must realize that the public owns you for life, and when you’re dead, you’ll all be in commercials dancing with vacuum cleaners.” – Homer Simpson

For the third summer in a row, we at the Dead Homer Society are looking to satisfy your off-season longing for substandard commentary on substandard Simpsons.  This summer we’ll be looking at Season 10.  Why Season 10?  Because we’ve already done Seasons 8 and 9 and we can’t put it off any longer.  Prior to Season 10, we watched as the show started falling over, this is when it fell over.  And while the dust wouldn’t settle completely for another season or so, there is no bigger gap in quality than the one between Season 9 and Season 10.  Since we prefer things to remain just as they were in 1995, we’re sticking with this chatroom thing instead of some newer means of communication that we all know just isn’t as good.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (though not on “jerkassosity”, which isn’t a word but totally should be).

Today’s episode is 1005, “When You Dish Upon a Star”.  Tomorrow will be 1006, “D’Oh-in’ in the Wind”.

Charlie Sweatpants: Shall we get going?

Mad Jon: Let’s do it

Start with the dish?

Charlie Sweatpants: I haven’t watching the movie star episode in a long time. Having done it again, I remember why. This is like blueprint for Zombie Simpsons, pointless celebrity voices, Jerkass Homer, and a near bottomless supply of stupid plot twists.

Mad Jon: Yeah, there are some funny things, but Homer’s insanity is too prevalent

Dave: That was what stood out to me most; the intensity of Homer’s jerkassosity

Pretty much non-stop end-to-end

Mad Jon: Right from when he meets Alec and Kim to the end, it was like they were buddies in high school and Homer was the one everyone avoided.

Charlie Sweatpants: Well described. Why the stars liked him was never explained, and he couldn’t have been more unlikable if he’d set their house on fire.

Mad Jon: And I know it was intentional, so they could get the craziness going right away, but how is Homer not star struck?

Dave: He is, they just kept it truncated for the reason you mentioned

Charlie Sweatpants: Homer’s not star struck, because neither were the people who wrote and approved this.

More than anything, this feels like they took all the Hollywood insider jokes they’d been making to each other and tried to string an episode out of them.

Mad Jon: I can see that. Although I did like Ron Howard’s blatant alcoholism.

Charlie Sweatpants: Howard is one of the bright spots here, especially his relationship with Homer’s terrible movie idea.

Mad Jon: That was actually pretty funny

  That joke got better as the episode went on.

Charlie Sweatpants: It did. Unfortunately, it was also the only one to do so.

Dave: I tend to see this as the gateway drug to future Howard appearances that are less successful

Mad Jon: Agreed

  With both of you for that matter.

Charlie Sweatpants: Wait, he was on the show again?

Mad Jon: I don’t actually remember….

Dave: Yes.

Charlie Sweatpants: Hmm, IMDb says he was, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0701105/.

Dave: http://simpsons.wikia.com/wiki/Ron_Howard

Mad Jon: Well I’ll be buggered!

Charlie Sweatpants: Damn you, Dave, for your more informative link.

Dave: So really it was only once more that Howard shows up.

  But I seem to remember his second stint to be less successful. He takes his kids to a celebrity zoo or some shit

Charlie Sweatpants: I still don’t get your point though. Ron Howard wasn’t the problem going forward, "Arrested Development" is proof enough of that. This one does feel like the mythical gateway drug, though more for the aforementioned Jerkass Homer and pointless "as him/herself".

Dave: And he briefly chokes out Homer

Mad Jon: With a singing hippo or something, I remember now.

Dave: Yeah. So I overstated Howard’s impact. It was one other appearance that wasn’t quite as good.

It was a fantastapotamus.

Mad Jon: ah.

Charlie Sweatpants: So we’re agreed that Ron Howard was among the few good parts of this one. Too bad about the rest of the episode though, because there’s not a lot to love here.

Mad Jon: Yeah, I think there were a couple of good, as you pointed out "inside jokes", like the Oscar polish joke, but other than that, phhhhbtt.

Although I also liked the sign at the lake.

Dave: I liked the bit in the beginning about wearing a tie with no pants.

  That’s sort of a dream of mine, actually.

Mad Jon: Do you also dream about tearing a park ranger to shreds?

You might want to get that checked out.

Dave: So noted.

Charlie Sweatpants: I maintain that Homer putting his arms around Basinger and Baldwin is a watershed moment, even if it was more of a signpost than a turning point.

Mad Jon:  Go on….

Charlie Sweatpants: Homer Simpson is many things, but he is not beloved by society’s winners.

Him being liked by the movie stars, to the point that they feel guilty about firing him, is one of the first times it becomes clear that Homer-in-the-show is becoming as popular as Homer-outside-the-show. And that is a very bad thing.

Mad Jon: I can see that.

Charlie Sweatpants: Late note: I like the beginning of the Yogi Bear dream, but then it goes on too damn long. Just like so many other things, in Season 10 and since.

Mad Jon: Still, a decent opening for a later season.

Charlie Sweatpants: The dream yes, but as soon as he wakes up he’s suddenly Jerkass Homer, thinking he’s a good father. The Homer I know and love is perfectly aware that he is a terrible father and has all but nothing of which to be proud.

Mad Jon: That is true.

  I forget the line.

Charlie Sweatpants: I was referring to the whole "making promises/keeping promises" thing right after he wakes up from Hanna Barbara.

Mad Jon: Yeah, that’s it.

Charlie Sweatpants: And from there it just gets worse, not only does he make fun of the movie stars, he starts to think he’s as good as them. The scene at dinner with Marge and the kids is fucking painful to watch. Homer Simpson – Homer Simpson(!) – turning his nose up at mass market sloppy joes? Never.

The point is, that there isn’t any part of this episode that doesn’t at least kinda suck. There are several good lines and a few great deliveries of said lines, which is more than we usually get from Zombie Simpsons today, but there’s never a part of this episode where stupidly zany shit isn’t making the whole thing feel dumb.

Mad Jon: That’s it in a nutshell.

Charlie Sweatpants: If I may, there’s one thing that jumped out at me, especially in light of the fact that this is the first time I saw this episode since I started watching Zombie Simpsons.

Dave: What’s that?

Charlie Sweatpants: Did you notice that both Sideshow Mel (outside the gates) and Krusty (in Homer’s stupid museum that he made in the RV he got where?) were among the gawkers?

Mad Jon: Yep. National celebrities, unless there are any real celebrities around I guess.

Charlie Sweatpants: Exactly. Krusty is supposed to be for real famous, and Mel is hardly the type to sniff movie star crotch for fun. Here though, they’ve given up on caring about who’s in what scene. They’re just there because.

Mad Jon: As you’ve pointed out many times before, they are recognizable characters.

Dave: Don’t forget the gawking at the bar over Kent Brockman.

Charlie Sweatpants: This episode is chalk full of those kinds of shortcuts that make you go "huh?". Why is Homer shopping in the Hummer at Kwik-E-Mart, why do the movie stars think they can just drive out of the front gate when the previous five minutes of screen time have had a mob of people there? How did Homer manage to be their assistant without disrupting the rest of his life?

Dave: He’s not a celebrity.

  He’s one of them.

Mad Jon: 4 day weekend.

Charlie Sweatpants: I guess.

There are a couple of flashes of humor here, Homer’s speech in court is a nicely funny description of the twisted world of modern celebrity, but like his insane movie pitch, it’s something that would’ve been funny anywhere. None of it had anything to do – or even fit in with – what was happening in the episode.

Anything else here? Can we go frolic in the grass with the hippies? They’re a hell of a lot more fun than the celebrities.

Mad Jon: Agreed, let’s get out of this one.

21
Jun
11

Quote of the Day

The Limits of Sympathy

“Off the record, ma’am, all the gals on the force knew just how you felt.” – Female Cop
“That’s nice, you think you could loosen my cuffs?” – Marge Simpson
“No.” – Female Cop

20
Jun
11

A Heartwarming Tale of Friendship Overcoming Zombie Simpsons

Itchy and Scratchy and Marge7

“You know, some of these stories are pretty good.  I never knew mice lived such interesting lives.” – Homer Simpson

If the only thing the dull eyed, undead colossus of Zombie Simpsons cost the wider world was half an hour on FOX every Sunday, it wouldn’t be a problem.  There are a lot of television channels these days, and wasting one more timeslot on a mediocre show that fades from your mind as soon as the credits roll isn’t the least bit meaningful.  In the context of the entertainment panoply of the early twenty-first century, everything from movies on demand to the inexhaustible firehose of fun that is the internet, a show as consistently meh as Zombie Simpsons shrinks to near total insignificance.  Unfortunately, that stumbling wreck of a television program does more than fill airtime almost no one watches, it dissuades people from watching The Simpsons, a show that, twenty years later, remains brilliant, biting and laugh out loud funny.

All over the world there are people who, given the chance, would laugh until they cried upon seeing the ambulance hit the tree, giggle to the point of bladder hostility at the look on the wolf’s face when Krusty announces the secret word, and smile uncontrollably whenever they thought of “sacrilicious”.  Instead of that, many of them take a look at two decades of episodes and come to the perfectly reasonable conclusion that they don’t want to wade through it all.  Life is short, and there are an enormous number of other things to do.  When watching it would take so long, why not leave The Simpsons alone?

That is precisely the logic invoked here by WordPress blogger mekkalekkah (whose “Heavy Metal” profile picture indicates that she’s favorably disposed toward subversive cartoons):

When that show premiered, I worked at night and I never had a chance to watch it.  By the time I had a regular schedule, it had been on for so many years I felt like I was way behind.  Now it’s been on for so long, there seems no point in starting to watch it now.  I have Googled most of the pop culture references such as I, for one, welcome our robot overlords so I can figure out what’s going on if people talk about it.  I wish that someone would just make a Best of Simpsons DVD so I could consume it in an unhealthy binge weekend.

Ordinarily, this is where I’d shake my fist at Zombie Simpsons and lament that they already made a “Best of Simpsons DVD” and it was called Season 2.  Then they did it again and called it Season 3.  Seasons 4, 5 and 6 followed in course, and while Seasons 7 and 8 miss in a place or two, they’d be the pinnacle of almost any other program.  Happily, I don’t have to do that.  WordPress blogger thethousandbookproject did it for me in the comments:

I bet I can give you a list of Simpsons episodes to watch on a binge. Basically you want to avoid the past ten years.

You’ve got that right, mekkalekkah then replied:

Yeah, if the Simpsons is on Netflix streaming I’d be up for a list! I feel like I missed out on a lot of funny stuff.

Sadly, it isn’t available on Netflix streaming, but you can have Netflix send you literally any disc from the seasons I mentioned above and be completely safe.  “I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords” is on Disc 3 of Season 5 (along with a ton of other great stuff, everything from James Woods at the Kwik-E-Mart to “Nuts and Gum: Together at Last!”).  The single digit seasons are your friend.  Oh, and a great big thumbs up to the author of thethousandbookproject (which itself looks pretty cool).

20
Jun
11

Quote of the Day

Scenes from the Class Struggle in Springfield2

“Honey, I don’t think these clothes are us.” – Marge Simpson
“Who are they?” – Lisa Simpson
“Hey Brandine, you could wear this shirt to work.” – Cletus
“Oh Cletus, you know I got to wear the shirt what Dairy Queen give me.” – Brandine

Happy birthday Tress MacNeille! 




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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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