“Oh, this isn’t gonna be about Jesus, is it?” – Homer Simpson
“All things are about Jesus, Homer . . . except this.” – Reverend Lovejoy
Archive for June, 2011
“I can assure you our preschool is of the highest quality. Over 75% of our graduates go on to first grade.” – Miss Tillingham’s School for Snotty Girls and Mama’s Boys Administrator
It’s always nice to see people who worked on The Simpsons continue to do well, and we’ve got several of them this week. Rich Moore (Seasons 1-5, 9), Donick Cary (Seasons 7-11), Greg Daniels (Season 5-9) and Mike Reiss (um, a lot of Seasons) all either have new projects in the works or are just getting some well deserved recognition. There’s also a lot of great references and usage, a fantastic law school graduation gift, old Twilight Zone video, and a non-ironic award for being the biggest FOX marketing whore.
Seattle Repertory Theatre will workshop and perform two public readings of Anne Washburn’s new play Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play July 15 and 16 at 7:30 p.m. in the Poncho Forum. A play with music, Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play is set in a post-apocalyptic world where episodes of "The Simpsons" gain new significance as stories from a fallen civilization.
What are you really looking at when you think you’re looking at something? – This is neat. Some researchers hooked people up to devices that measure where their eyes are actually focusing when they watch video. There’s a clip from There Will Be Blood, a 2008 presidential debate, and the HD Zombie Simpsons opening sequence.
Disney Announces CG Comedy Adventure Wreck-It Ralph – Disney is making a computer animated movie about a video game character, and it’s going to be directed by Simpsons (and Futurama and The Critic) alum Rich Moore.
Saban Brands plots Christmas special – In other Simpsons alumni news, Mike Reiss is producing an animated holiday special based on monkey cartoon characters that originally started out as clothing accessories.
Deal Me In: Startups Pursue Variations on the Groupon Model – Donick Cary is working on a discount group shopping application that uses animation to get people’s attention. Or something, neither the link above nor this one are super clear on just how it works.
Film Geek: Favorite Star Wars references & spoofs, part II – There’s everything from Buffy the Vampire Slayer to Futurama, including some Simpsons stuff. I’ll admit to being slightly disappointed in the inclusion of some Zombie Simpsons while Burns having the “Imperial March” played for him gets omitted. Oh well, it’s still a pretty good list.
The Twilight Zone: The Shelter – YouTube of The Twilight Zone episode on which the end of “Bart’s Comet” is based.
VEGAS 2011: Ink honoured by Fox Consumer Products – Apparently the Krusty Brand Seal of Approval has its own awards show now:
The firm was awarded Agent of the Year at The Homeys – which are given annually by Fox Consumer Products to its partners for outstanding achievement.
Slow clap. Slow clap.
Apple/Samsung lawsuit revised: more products included – This isn’t the world’s greatest reference or anything, I just like the way it completely describes The Simpsons in the past tense:
Remember those Itchy and Scratchy cartoons that would show up in episodes of The Simpsons from time to time? They were like Tom and Jerry, but uncensored. One clip I can remember shows Itchy trying to outdo Scratchy by threatening him with a larger weapon than the one he was holding. Itchy retaliated with an even bigger one. And so, the duel continued until they had guns the size of the planet. That is exactly what this Apple vs. Samsung lawsuit is turning in to.
The man behind The Office has long history in comedy – Unlike the other Simpsons alums in this week’s post, Greg Daniels doesn’t have a shiny new project. But here’s some deserved butt kissing for him anyway, including this fawning whoopsie:
In fact, it was The Simpsons connection that first endeared Daniels to Gervais and Stephen Merchant, the creators of the original British version of the Office.
When the British comedian discovered that Daniels had written Badman Homer, in which the Simpson patriarch becomes public enemy No. 1 after being falsely accused of sexual harassment by a feminist-leaning babysitter, they knew they had their man.
Duke Nukem was one of the “raddest” video game action heroes of the late 80′s/early 90′s. It was a simple time – Unsolved Mysteries was scary, The Simpsons were funny, and the Australian Classification Board was run by SEGA.
Make your Franklin – This is a number of alternate images of a $100 bill, with Benjamin Franklin either altered to look like someone from pop culture or replaced by same. They’re neat, if weird. For example, the Homer one also has a Disney swastika. Huh?
Top Five – T.V. Dads – Homer checks in at #3 here.
Top 20 TV Theme Songs of All Time – Lots of good nostalgia YouTube here, with The Simpsons grabbing the penultimate spot.
Simpsons Video of the Week: Al Gore – Lenny, who’s got a guest post coming up next week, brings us video of Al Gore celebrating.
The 2011 Tony Awards…In 10 Words – Here are your hosts, Tyne Daly and Hal Linden.
Like Wearing Nothing at All, Nothing at All … – This Captain Marvel action figure bears a striking resemblance to skiing Flanders.
Natural History: Anthony Lepore and Mark Hagen – Nice reference:
Nature still does this sometimes, but as in Werner Herzog‘s Grizzly Man, there’s some element of collective dumb surprise when a modern man who frolics with wild bears gets eaten by one, as if nature hadn’t got the memo we’d already beaten it. A classroom nature film from The Simpsons sums it up best: Man Versus Nature: The Road to Victory.
Five Terrifying Treehouse of Horror Segments – Not a trace of Zombie Simpsons. Excellent.
PlayStation Vita: It Only Does Too Much At Once – Excellent reference:
Fans of The Simpsons know the episode, "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?" where Homer receives the green light to design his own car, an opportunity that proves disastrous when he throws practicality out the window in favor of bloated excess.
The point? Less is more. That, and Homer should keep his day job at the power plant.
It’s a memorable scene (Homer grinning from inside the automobile, his brother’s successful career evaporating before our eyes), one we cannot shake since experiencing PlayStation Vita, Sony’s new portable system. It’s without question one sexy piece of hardware, but the chance of Sony overextending itself is quite real.
I would drive a Homer. I don’t know if I’d pay $82,000 for it, but I would drive it.
A little touch of Springfield – I put this up on Twitter on Monday, but it’s too cool not to mention again. A woman carved 71 plywood Simpsons figures for her son’s graduation from law school in 2008. The picture is amazing.
To paraphrase Homer Simpson, "I suppose ‘The Killing’ will be fun enough."
DRINK(s): Bartender Interview at the Beach Tavern – Moderate usage:
Homer Simpson once said, "The only guys who wear Hawaiian shirts are gay guys and big fat party animals." Mark Gill, bartender of the Beach Tavern, is the latter.
The actual quote is, “There’s only two kinds of guys who wear those shirts, gay guys and big fat party animals”, but I don’t think that would’ve worked as well in the sentence.
The Wry Successes of Archer – But Do They Come Too Late? – This is a rather long discourse on the rise and fall of smart animation on things like Adult Swim. I don’t agree with the main premise, that the fantastic Archer is behind the times, but I do agree with this:
The Simpsons was slipping in its old age, but still kicking (it’s never really been again what it was in the nineties).
If there’s one thing Zombie Simpsons does, it’s kick. Mostly it’s audience, but still.
Image used under Creative Commons license from Flickr user Kent Wang.
“I shouldn’t have served those North Korean fortune cookies, they were so insulting. ‘You Are a Coward’, no one likes to hear that after a nice meal.” – Marge Simpson
- By Charles Kenny
Bless me Father for I have sinned. It has been 6 months since I last watched a new episode of The Simpsons.
I sinned against comedy when I decided that one, fateful Sunday evening to watch a film on Netflix instead of ‘Animation Domination’. I knew it was wrong, but by that stage I has reached my wits’ end.
Long had I watched the quality of one of my favourite shows decline. I stuck with it through thick and thin; the unmasking of Seymour Skinner, the many instances of Marge kicking Homer out of the house, seeing Mr. Burns slowly slip into senility and of course, the many, many personal lives of the peripheral characters that required the Simpsons’ involvement for one reason or another.
I suppose I should have known the slide was coming, I mean, how many times can Homer let out that wail of a sigh that signals his displeasure with something? The answer is a lot and even once an episode is too many.
The nonsensical plots also influenced me. Perhaps I had grown too accustomed to the finely honed scripts that were enacted before me every evening. Perhaps I really have watched too many re-runs. I have been spoiled for the last 15 years or so.
Perhaps it was the fact that I had slowly come to the conclusion that the turning point of the series was, in fact, an innocuous scene in “Maximum Homerdrive”. Over time, I came to realise that the second that truck began to drive itself, the series had indeed, become a parody no longer based in the real world, but a fantasy one where anything is possible.
After a few years of that, the move to a widescreen HD format practically sealed the deal. Not long after, it became harder and harder to justify the time spent watching FOX on a Sunday evening.
Before I knew it, earlier this year, I faced the prospect of watching a new episode or seeing a film I’d never seen before on Netflix. The choice was tough, my palms were sweaty, my brow furrowed in pensive thoughts, but at last my choice was made. I switched on the Roku and began watching. I nearly turned my face away in shame, but I couldn’t not after all I’d been through.
While I admit I have turned my back on a friend, I can say in all honesty that said friend has changed beyond recognition. The truth may hurt initially, but now that I have accepted it and moved on, I realise that I made the right choice. My life is fuller, my Sunday evenings more enjoyable and my passion for the old days is untainted. Yes, leaving zombie Simpsons behind was the best thing I’ve ever done, and why you should do the same.
“To put you at ease, we have recreated the most common spawning locations of your species. You may choose either, the back seat of a Camaro, an airplane bathroom, a friend’s wedding, or the alley behind a porno theater.” – Kodos
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 (depressingly enough, not on “syphilis”).
Today’s episode is 1004, “Treehouse of Horror IX”. Yesterday was 1003, “Bart the Mother”.
[Note: Mad Jon was trying to join us via smart phone and it, uh, didn’t work quite as well as we hoped. So if this seems stupider than usual, blame Steve Jobs.]
Dave: I’m surprised no one has invented breakfast cereal for people with syphilis yet.
Charlie Sweatpants: That may be the best joke in this episode, especially the callback where we see Moe actually eating it.
Mad Jon: I almost choked when he asked for that cereal, I had forgotten about that joke.
Charlie Sweatpants: Overall, this is a really uneven Halloween episode.
The toupee episode has such a thin premise. I don’t need mystery or suspense, but how many times did they think it was going to be funny to have Homer change into Snake?
Dave: Clearly several.
It was basically all they did as far as I could remember.
Charlie Sweatpants: Well, it had some decent little set pieces. I liked Brockman’s reporting, and the game show style executions on FOX.
But by the time Marge cuts Lisa off about everyone already having figured that out, it’s already worn thin.
Dave: Sure. I don’t know, it’s not revelatory to say that ToH episodes have gone downhill but it was really evident here. No fresh ideas.
Charlie Sweatpants: No fresh ideas is a good way to describe it. The entire cartoon segment is like a really lame version of Animaniacs or something.
The best parts of that segment are the non-cartoon parts, from Kathy Lee Gifford saying that Dom DeLuise can interview himself, to Homer’s "going where?" as he’s dressed as a hobo.
Dave: Yeah, that wasn’t so bad.
Charlie Sweatpants: But the cartoon parts just feel stale. I get the jokes and all, but they’ve been done better elsewhere. Like you said, no fresh ideas.
Dave: Yeah. Compared to what came before it, this is a really weak effort.
Charlie Sweatpants: To some extent the same applies to the Jerry Springer segment, but that one has a lot more life to it.
The sexual insecurity of both Homer and Kang, the idea of putting aliens into one of Springer’s shows, it moves faster and has quite a few more laugh lines.
I’m particularly fond of Kang’s "I hear all!", Hibbert’s "Fire, and lots of it" and the always hilarious sex scene between Marge and Kang, where we get to see all the cliches of sex cast into a ludicrous light. "Have you decreased in mass?" always gets me.
Dave: I’m with you, I suppose the parody of Springer at the time may have been more salient, novel.
Mad Jon: I like when Marge comments on Kang’s bedroom celerity.
I have a fondness for this segment, but just because I used to watch a lot of Jerry Springer. And this is exactly what it is like. Exactly.
Charlie Sweatpants: The final segment works pretty well overall. It was also the first time I can recall anyone realizing that bleeps themselves are funny.
Charlie Sweatpants: Anything else here?
Dave: Not so much.
I’m ready to move on.
Charlie Sweatpants: Move on? I thought we were done.
“For decimating our pigeon population, and making Springfield a less oppressive place to while away our worthless lives, I present you with this scented candle.” – Mayor Quimby
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 “blithely”).
Today’s episode is 1003, “Bart the Mother”. Tomorrow will be 1004, “Treehouse of Horror IX”.
[Note: Mad Jon was trying to join us via smart phone and it, uh, didn’t work quite as well as we hoped. So if this seems stupider than usual, blame Steve Jobs.]
Charlie Sweatpants: Good to go?
Dave: I am
Charlie Sweatpants: "Bart the Mother" is like all the bad parts of "Marge Be Not Proud", but even slower and minus most of the humor. There’s a reason I never watch this episode.
Mad Jon: This one really makes me feel bad, and relatively anxious. Not quite what I’m looking for in a cartoon.
Dave: It is really dull as shit.
It tries to tug at your heartstrings but fails pretty hard.
Charlie Sweatpants: And it takes so damn long to do it. Everything from Bart’s reluctance to shoot, to Marge finding out about the bird and then the eggs, what’s going to happen becomes obvious long before individual scenes are even close to completed.
Dave: Oh sure, but it’s just co-opting normal sitcom conventions, right? You gotta ease the audience in and then make them feel smart as they figure out the obvious
Charlie Sweatpants: Normal sitcom conventions indeed. That’s always been my big complaint about "Marge Be Not Proud", and here it’s even worse.
Dave: I suppose there could have been an opportunity there to have some fun, but expecting that out of the show’s writers in S10 is asking a lot.
Charlie Sweatpants: Well, the Troy McClure video is pretty good. I always laugh at "Man vs. Nature: The Road to Victory".
Dave: I do like the tongs, for reasons I’ve never fully resolved.
Charlie Sweatpants: Well, it’s pretty funny the way he’s just blithely tormenting the bird.
Dave: I guess that makes me a bad person.
Charlie Sweatpants: Nah, there’s plenty of other reasons you’re a bad person.
Charlie Sweatpants: I calls ‘em like I sees ‘em.
Back to the episode, there are quite a few good one liners here, but that’s all they are, one liners.
Here it seems like they’ve really lost their ability to string together whole scenes
Dave: I’d agree with that.
They were quite good with horns of sadness and suspense though.
Does that balance things out?
Charlie Sweatpants: No. No it does not.
There’s also a distinct whiff of Zombie Simpsons at the bird watching meeting. Why the hell were Burns and Smithers there?
Charlie Sweatpants: Exactly, it’s that same impulse to just jam characters into scenes.
Skinner I can buy, Apu I can buy, Burns? Not so much.
Mad Jon: I did like how Jasper sees the pigeon, crosses it off the list and bolts like he was there for punishment.
Dave: I’d even say Smithers is acceptable.
But the combination of the two of them is quite off.
Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, I could see Smithers there.
Dave: As if they were setup for a "joke" that didn’t happen.
Charlie Sweatpants: I guess it’s always possible something got cut, but this isn’t an episode that felt like a lot got left out. Quite the opposite, many things felt like time killing.
And speaking of whiffs of Zombie Simpsons, Homer in the batting cage.
Dave: Ugh, yeah.
And the whole go kart nonsense.
They just go on. Forever.
Mad Jon: I like the sign at the Family Fun Center "As seen on When Disaster Strikes 4"
Charlie Sweatpants: Agreed. I kinda like Marge’s "stick with the plan" thing, but, much like the rest of the episode, most of the scene tacks on way too long.
So a couple of good things aside (Quimby’s speech, Skinner listing the dirty sounding bird names), we’re agreed that this one is pretty lame overall?
Dave: That sums it up, yeah.
Charlie Sweatpants: Unless there’s anything else, let’s make it Halloween in June.
“Attention, this is Principal Skinner, your principal, with a message from the principal’s office. All students please proceed immediately to an assembly in the Butthead Memorial Auditorium. Damn it, I wish we hadn’t let the students name that one.” – Principal Skinner
Image shamelessly yoinked from here.
“What is your area of expertise?” – Adult Education Annex Administrator
“Well, I can tell the difference between butter and I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter.” – Homer Simpson
“No you can’t, Mr. Simpson, no one can!” – Adult Education Annex Administrator
Happy birthday Greg Daniels!
Image used under Creative Commons license from Flickr user Francesco Zaia.
“I’ve been so bored since we moved here I found myself drinking a glass of wine every day. I know doctors say you should drink a glass and a half, but I just can’t drink that much.” – Marge Simpson
“It all happened in 1990. Back then, the artist formerly known as Prince was currently known as Prince, Tracy Ullman was entertaining America with songs, sketches, and crudely drawn filler material.” – Homer Simpson
This week we’ve got several links to blasts from the past, everything from a great bootleg t-shirt, fake grunge in Tampa, and old political controversies to some moonlighting Groening once did for Apple. There’s even a story that involves a fax machine. How quaint things used to be. There’s also several kinds of usage, a cool looking show coming up in New York City, and some very technical audio information.
Infographic: The Complete History Of Video Games On “The Simpsons” – Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week is this chart (there’s also a slideshow) depicting the fake games that have been on the show. You may notice that things start to get a little thin in Zombie Simpsons.
Duplex Cabaret Theatre Presents WE PUT THE SPRING IN SPRINGFIELD, 6/23 – This advertisement for an Off Off Broadway show about music from The Simpsons is bursting with win. Not only are there no songs from Zombie Simpsons (not that there are many to choose from in the first place), but it is chock full of references:
The only cure for Simpsons fever is to take two tickets and call us in the morning. Tickets should not be taken internally.
I, for one, welcome our new leviathan overlords. – Ha. This is cool. Someone sat down and actually figured out if all the excess blubber in the country really would fill the Grand Canyon 2/5 of the way up. Even using a definition of “healthy” that would make us a nation of twig people, there just isn’t that much fat. Having been to the Grand Canyon, this does not surprise me. It is, indeed, a very big canyon. (Oh, and because I must nitpick, the quote there is slightly off. Brockman says “American adults”, not “Americans”. Other than that it’s spot on.)
Cinemart – Awesome fan made image of Charlie Brown giving Homer a haircut.
Here’s To The Sun – Bart Simpson – A fan made image of a relaxed looking Bart. Instead of trying to describe it further, I’ll just copy and paste the tags on the post:
This entry was posted on June 8, 2011. It was filed under Art and was tagged with Art, Weed, Marijuana, High, Faded, Shrooms, The Simpsons, Bart Simpson.
Seems about right.
Concert-goers embrace nostalgia at Monkees show – The Monkees are on tour this summer:
“The Monkees weren’t about music,” Marge’s psychiatrist tells her in an episode of “The Simpsons.” “They were about rebellion, about political and social upheaval!”
It’s 1989. The Simpsons creator Matt Groening is drawing for Apple Computer. – Right about the time The Simpsons were moving to the production of full episodes, Groening drew some Life in Hell style cartoons for a brochure trying to sell Macintosh computers to college students. Of the different types of people he describes (“The Procrastinator”, “The Imperfectionist”), I’ll admit to being the very Milhouse looking “Technoid”.
The Most 1991 T-Shirt Of All Time Has Surfaced – Bart Simpson as Michael Jordan quoting M.C. Hammer. You’ve been warned.
The Novels of John Swartzwelder, the Most Prolific Simpsons Writer Ever – Reviews of all of those self published novels Swartzwelder likes to write.
Anthony Weiner’s Sex Scandal…In 10 Words – To be fair, one of those images is of Homer’s butt, not Bart’s.
Simpsons Zombimation – A YouTube video of zombie clips from “Treehouse of Horror III” with music from what sounds like Resident Evil 1. It’s not that impressive, but it’s about Simpsons and zombies and that’s enough for a link.
It hurts, but I’m on the road to physical fitness – A newspaper man makes a summer resolution to get back in shape:
I can’t help but think of the episode of The Simpsons where Homer put on a ridiculous amount of weight in order to go on worker’s compensation — “Marge, the thin, lazy Homer Simpson you knew is no more. Now, I’m a big fat dynamo!”
He got the second sentence right, but the first part is actually, “The slim, lazy Homer you knew is dead.” Moderate usage.
Audio Implementation Greats #2: Audio Toolsets [Part 2] – This is pretty much for audiophiles only, but if you scroll to the bottom here you can see some screen grabs from a presentation EA games gave about the sound design of The Simpsons Game. There’s even a link to download their actual Power Point file.
Simpsons Video of the Week: Space Chips. – Lenny Tunes continues to find excellent YouTube week in, week out. And:
“Careful, they’re ruffled!” has to be the best line delivery by a non-actor in the history of television.
Quote of the Day: Animation Domination Week – Lenny Tunes also brings us quotations with excellent stage direction of Bart’s epidermis related mishap.
How do you balance a top tech education with advertising in schools? – Panasonic put a bunch of fancy electronics in a school in Australia, but they also put up a ton of signs with their logo on it and renamed part of the library the “Panasonic Interactive Learning Common”. This prompted a mention and a picture of Troy McClure teaching “Pepsi presents Addition and Subtraction”. Excellent usage.
Chilli cook-off will be hot stuff – Awesome:
A passion for chilli con carne and cult cartoon The Simpsons has prompted a Reading man to launch a culinary first in the town.
Jon Doody is organising the First Annual Reading Chilli Cook-Off and seven teams threw their toques into the ring as soon as entries were invited.
Mr Doody has been a committed chilli fan and cook for more than 25 years. A classic episode of The Simpsons, where Homer hallucinates after eating Chief Wiggum’s chilli at the Springfield cook-off, fired his enthusiasm even further.
But a search for a cook-off to attend and perhaps enter here proved fruitless – and the idea for the Reading event was born.
MGM to Develop ‘Punk Farm’ Animated Movie – Longtime Simpsons director David Silverman is going to direct a computer animated adaptation of a novel about a bunch of farm animals who form a punk band. It’s co-written by a guy named “David Stern”, but he appears not to be the David Stern who worked on The Simpsons.
Great mistakes in politics (No22) – Bush and Quayle attack sitcoms – A brief recounting, with YouTube, of Bush the Elder’s fight with The Simpsons and Dan Quayle’s fight with Murphy Brown.
Cupcake set the simpson and family – Some rather Gumby looking Simpsons cupcakes.
Cake Simpsons – From the same site as the link above, a cake in which Homer’s body is a donut.
Who Inspired Duff Beer? – Slightly more information on that Duff Beer/Duff McKagan (former bassist for Guns N’ Roses) thing:
In a recent interview he said, ”Our management for GN’R got a fax but it was from like an adult cartoon. Now there wasn’t any adult cartoons in 1988. There just wasn’t and like, ‘an adult cartoon?’ They want to use your name as the name of the beer on the thing and they just want your blessing. It’s not like I own the name Duff, I should’ve trademarked that thing on up if I would’ve known but yeah, that think took off, that Simpsons deal.”
A fax? How delightfully 1988. I remain skeptical about the “inspired” part, but that is kinda funny.
Hallmark Unveils Plans for Comic-Con 2011 – Hallmark will be selling shitty little Comic Book Guy figurines at Comic-Con. Feel the excitement.
Somehow, Jethro Tull Toppled Metallica for a Grammy Upset – This is an excellent reference:
One of the best moments on The Simpsons was in a 1993 episode in which we learned that Homer, Principal Skinner, Barney, and Apu were in a barbershop quartet called The Be Sharps. The group was so good that they won a Grammy award for best “Barbershop Quartet Album.” At one point, Homer doesn’t have change to tip a bellboy, so he offers him his Grammy statue. The bellboy, after seeing it’s a Grammy, throws it off a balcony, and an off-screen voice yells, “Hey, don’t throw your garbage down here.” Yeah, it was a sick burn.
The story goes on to recount the time Jethro Tull won the “Best Hard Rock/Metal” Grammy over Metallica, but it doesn’t mention the other Simpsons reference to that incident in Season 11’s “Behind the Laughter”.
“We’re ready to talk about our feelings now.” In theory F—ed Up guitarist Josh Zucker’s explanation of why they aren’t making so many songs like ‘Police’ anymore makes perfect sense. But in terms of whether he’s being ironic, like the kid in ‘The Simpsons’ episode about Lollapalooza, dude, we don’t even know anymore.
The Tampa Bay Rays Do Grunge All Wrong – The Tampa Bay Rays apparently like to get dressed up together. In this case they’re trying to look like Seattle area rock stars circa 1991. Of more importance is excellent dig at Zombie Simpsons:
This is embarrassing. Not quite as embarrassing as “The Simpsons” episode in which the tale of Homer and Marge’s college romance is set in the ’90s, and Homer lives a life much like Kurt Cobain’s, but it’s close.
5 TV Shows I Used to Watch, and Why I Stopped Watching Them – And finally, I get to end with someone who agrees with us:
Speaking of The Simpsons, this one really hurt. I was a Simpsons fanatic. I still am, but just for their earlier seasons. They were funny, dramatic, heartfelt, had subtle pop culture references, and had great storylines. But I think that’s where they went wrong. In more recent seasons they have started to get away from storyline development and are trying to be like a South Park/Family Guy type show where the jokes are extremely non sequitur, like this one. I miss when I actually cared about The Simpsons, because that was some of the best TV ever.
Indeed it was.
“Folks, do you realize without your support public television can’t afford to bring you such award winning shows as ‘Edward the Penitent’?” – Troy McClure
“I’m really, really, really sorry.” – Edward the Penitent
“I’m afraid sorry doesn’t cut it with this pope.” – Pope
“Okay , it’s over! Get ’em out of here.” – Moe
Aside from the way they don’t go off on random tangents and seem to be actually enjoying these episodes, the next biggest difference between these old commentaries and the ones on Zombie Simpsons is simply the number of people on them. On Season 12 or 13, six people would qualify as a very small contingent, here it’d be quite large. I don’t know if that’s the result of the age of the episodes or scheduling conflicts or what, but it makes things a bit more coherent (i.e. they can actually carry on a conversation) and it makes it a lot easier to tell who’s talking.
Just three guys on this one, Groening, Vitti, and Jean.
1:00 – Jean recalls that Wallace Wolodarsky saw the De Niro Cape Fear remake and thought it would make a good show.
2:00 – Vitti thinks the episode was helped by the fact that it was the last one the original writing staff did, so people were very loose writing it, as in “What are you gonna do, fire us?”.
2:30 – This one has the extra long circus couch gag, which Jean mentions they use to fill time. Oh, how short it looks in retrospect.
4:00 – Groening gets all giddy, saying “Ooh, this is one of my favorite Itchy & Scratchys”.
4:45 – Talking about how this was a bit easier than earlier Sideshow Bob episodes because they didn’t have to write it as a mystery since he wasn’t pretending to be innocent at first.
5:15 – Praise for Kelsey Grammer.
5:45 – Jean’s cracking up about how simple Bob’s plan is, all he’s trying to do is stab a ten year old and yet he goes through all this unnecessary stuff.
6:20 – Laughing about how there’s no logical reason for Flanders to be scowling at Bart. Marge, Flanders and Krabappel potentially threatening Bart were inserted to fill in some time. I’ll just briefly note that when they needed to fill time here the added more stuff instead of stretching scenes with nothing extra.
7:30 – Laughing about Moe having the pandas in the back of the bar. They decide that Moe was smuggling them in sell to zoos at inflated prices.
8:25 – Vitti thinks they made things in this episode a little scarier than they otherwise would have if they weren’t all leaving the show.
8:45 – Jean notes that the picture of Clinton on the wall at the parole hearing is kind of a callback to Bob saying you can’t keep the Democrats out of the White House in “Black Widower”.
9:20 – Apparently, Conan O’Brien was really good at writing Sideshow Bob, including “The Bart, The”. He and “Mike” (Mendel?) were responsible for the “Mr. Thompson” scene, which they basically made up on the spot.
10:10 – Vitti wonders why they hated the Knoxville World’s Fair so much (it’s on Homer’s giant cigar). Jean deadpans: “That World’s Fair pissed me off so much.” It was really funny.
11:20 – Recording for Kelsey Grammer is tough because he’s so busy, so you’ve got to get him out the door quick. I wonder if that’s still true.
11:30 – Vitti launches into a story about the writers on the last day they did recording. It’s pretty funny, but I can’t really do it justice in text. Alcohol and cake are involved.
12:20 – Holy crap, verbatim from Groening after Vitti finishes his story: “We were talking about, in the break before we were doing this commentary, that a history of The Simpsons should be written, an oral history. Because nobody was everywhere at every time, and everybody had such completely different experiences.” Guess he changed his mind between 2004 (when they recorded these) and John Ortved writing his book.
13:20 – Jean laughing about how it never feels like the end for him.
14:00 – Apparently Conan O’Brien was worried because he was signed to a two year deal through Season 5, and everyone else’s contract ended after Season 4, so they were teasing him that he’d have to write Season 5 by himself.
14:30 – Homer’s hat and the singing in the car is apparently an I Love Lucy reference from an episode where they went to Hollywood.
15:30 – According to Jean, the rakes came about because after everything else had gone in they were still short on time, so they just went for broke on the rakes. Grammer was confused when he saw the episode because he only did the noise once, but he liked it.
16:50 – Jean’s cracking up at the elephant with just the word “The” on it.
17:35 – O’Brien performed the jokes about Homer breaking into Bart’s room with the butcher knife and chainsaw, and that’s kind of what sold them.
19:00 – The surreal parts of Sideshow Bob’s performance, things like the Union Jack and Bart having popcorn, were added in to make the otherwise straightforward song funny.
20:50 – The ending with the cops was worked on by the Season 5 staff briefly to get it finished.
21:30 – Vitti mentions that he’s seen this one mentioned on the old Jump the Shark website, but I can’t imagine it got more than one or two votes from disgruntled wackaloons. I’ve never heard anyone have anything but high praise for this one, deservedly so.
“Hello, Marge.” – Tom Jones
“That’s it, big smile, everybody’s happy.” – Mr. Smithers
There’s a lot to love about “Marge Gets a Job”, but two things in particular show the kind of care and skill that made excellence typical on The Simpsons. The first is the way everyone in this episode, regardless of the size of their part, acts perfectly in character. The second is the many callbacks that build from one to another, often involving those minor characters.
Consider Surly Joe, the only foundation repairman in town. He’s only in two scenes, and in both cases he manages to irritate Homer by telling him the truth. Smithers, true to his unwavering dedication to Burns, not only ruins poor Jack Marley’s retirement party, but dutifully and unquestioningly commits several felonies against Tom Jones, even after being demoted to urinal cleaning duty. Speaking of Jones, he’s in three scenes, and in each his troubles deepen. He gets gassed, hit on the head, threatened with a gun, and shackled to the floor, but it’s never drawn out and, unlike so many later celebrity cameos, he doesn’t just pop up out of nowhere.
Like the ever worsening plight of Jones, there are a number of other small jokes that add up over the course of the episode. There’s the plants newly instituted theme and funny hat days, which allow us to see that the place is staffed by depressives, alcoholics and mass murderers. When Lisa is writing Marge’s resume, we see her invent some things that can be called stretching the truth, but those also act as setups for the pack of outright lies about Marge being a songwriter, speaking Swahili, and having invented nuclear equipment. Cramming all of that into a single scene would’ve been gratuitous and tedious, so they spread it out. The same is true of Grampa’s old fashioned medical quackery. It gets started when he can’t figure out that all Maggie wants is her bottle, and while his list of crazy ailments is funny enough on its own, it also primes the audience for his later use of leeches and a rectal thermometer on Bart. And, of course, there’s Tibor, who manages to be one of the greatest minor characters ever without even appearing on screen.
Zombie Simpsons has a tendency to hit on something clever and then drive it immediately into the ground. When The Simpsons came up with meaty concepts like Grampa’s home remedies or Tom Jones being kidnapped, they drew them out slowly, even when they had a bunch of them
[Programming Note: Due to extreme laziness, we had a schedule conflict this week and couldn’t do Crazy Noises. We’re pretty sure they’ll be back next week, prob-probably.]