“This is crazy. Just because you and Dad and Bart went downhill doesn’t mean it’s gonna happen to me. Does it?” – Lisa Simpson
“Sure. But it doesn’t mean you can’t live a long and pointless life.” – Abe “Grampa” Simpson
Archive for August, 2011
“Wait a minute, Scully, what’s the point of this test?” – Fox Mulder
“No point. I just thought he could stand to lose a little weight.” – Dana Scully
“His jiggling is almost hypnotic.” – Fox Mulder
“Yes. It’s like a lava lamp.” – Dana Scully
There’s an interesting flow to this commentary. There’s a hefty enough catch of guest stars and X-Files stuff that they start out talking about what sparked the idea and how things finally got going. Then, about halfway, they’ve filled in most of the details there and start paying closer attention to what’s on the screen that moment. This leads to some minor trivia and a lot of laughing.
Six guys on this one.
0:30 – Jean mentions that this is one of the four episodes he and Reiss were able to do on the side while working at Disney (on The Critic).
1:00 – Reiss is joking around that they came up with the idea for this way back when The X-Files was brand new. Jean says he found a copy of TV Guide in the bathroom with the show on the cover and thought, “Oh, this is a good idea”. But it didn’t go anywhere until many years later.
1:45 – Reid Harrison, the credited writer, had been hired by Jean and Reiss to do an episode of The Critic for a season that never got aired.
3:00 – Jean theorizes that one of the reasons FOX cancelled The Critic was that they didn’t own the show, saw it was doing well after The Simpsons, and plugged in King of the Hill, which they did own, to fill the slot. Bastards.
4:00 – The board artist who did Act 2, with David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, was Kevin O’Brien, a big fan of The X-Files who went on to Pixar. Lots of people on the show were fans. That’s where they got many of the details from the show, such as the smoking man.
5:20 – Reiss laughingly plugs the Queer Duck movie by mentioning that Duchovny is in it playing Tiny Jesus. No qualms from me: Queer Duck – The Movie (2006).
6:00 – Jean mentions that because this was one of those split off episodes he and Reiss did, the writers room was only a handful of people and the whole thing got no laughs.
7:30 – They had to try quite a few things to get the glow on the Burns alien to look right. That comment is followed by the obligatory mention that it would be a lot different on computers.
8:00 – Some love for Leonard Nimoy as a nice guy who does funny reads. Reiss mentions that Nimoy doesn’t get used enough for comedy, which reminds me of this music video (which now has a healthy 4.5 million views on YouTube).
8:45 – Jean asks if this is the first episode Steven Dean Moore directed, and it wasn’t. His first episode was “Marge Be Not Proud”, which prompts someone in the background (can’t tell who) to say “What was ‘Marge Be Not Proud’”? Ha.
9:40 – Groening mentions that he hadn’t seen The X-Files when they did this and had wondered why their voices sounded so flat, which causes some deserved laughter.
10:15 – Reiss jokes that the lineup of aliens (Marvin the Martian, Gort, Chewbacca, Alf, and Kang/Kodos) was their “most illegal shot in history”. He and Jean had worked on Alf and they got a call from the Alf guy a couple of weeks later. He said if they ever do Alf again to let him do the voice.
10:50 – Appreciating, and laughing at, the shot of Homer running on the treadmill reflected in the glass as Mulder and Scully look on.
11:45 – Moore thinks it was a writers note to add Duchovny in his speedo on his ID photo. That always cracked me up.
12:00 – Laughing at Moe’s habit of smuggling animals.
12:20 – Jean mentions that this was the second time they had an animal steal Grampa’s teeth, but this was episode 167 and how much longer was it really going to go?
12:50 – Laughing at Duchovny’s goofy speech and Anderson’s eye-rolling reaction.
13:20 – Reiss and Jean are trying to remember how much they fiddled with this one after the script was completed. Consensus is: not much.
14:20 – Another animation note: shadows (Bart and Homer are talking in the kitchen at night) were much harder to do before computers.
15:40 – Laughing about how they don’t have cels to sell anymore, but that there are so many of them left over that paying a bunch of money for one isn’t the brightest idea.
16:20 – Laughing at Nimoy’s fake signoff.
17:10 – Jean always likes goofy file photos of Homer on the news. This is the one where Homer’s tongue is stuck to the frozen pole.
17:40 – Remembering that this was around the time FOX actually broadcast their “alien autopsy” special and how dumb that was.
18:30 – They didn’t get the music rights for the Close Encounters of the Third Kind theme.
18:40 – Laughing at Nimoy’s “Surprise me.” That always gets me.
19:10 – They always had to be careful with lettering on things because the Koreans doing the animation weren’t native English speakers.
19:35 – Laughing at Lenny saying “It’s bringing love, don’t let it get away!”
20:00 – The explanation of the alien came along toward the end.
21:00 – Cracking up at Nimoy’s singing.
22:30 – And we close on someone having to go to a dentist’s appointment.
“Dad, Todd’s speaking in tongues!” – Rod Flanders
“Chabogobolithplaschlablitha.” – Todd Flanders
“I wish he were, Rod, I pray for the day. But I’m afraid he’s just delirious from fever.” – Ned Flanders
One of the fun things about the clattering clank of cogs that is the internet is when you come across something which can’t quite be classified. There are a couple of things this week that, while Simpsons related, are just too random and/or weird to make sense, at least to me. In addition to that we’ve got Kanye West versus Season 5, “Dumpster pools”, some fan art, and the first ever instance of excellent usage actually sent in by the author.
Syncing Season Five of The Simpsons with Kanye West’s ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’ – Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week is this recounting of what happened when one man pushed play on a Kanye West album at the same time as Disc 1 of Season 5. I particularly like this:
-”We’ll have a big ass crib and a long yard…” coincided with a shot of a big ass crib and a long yard.
Bravo, internet. Bravo.
A big hit season for Simpsons trivia gathering – A full writeup of the Classic Simpsons Trivia night in Toronto along with quotes from the two exceptional people who put it together. Al Jean even sent them an animation cel (albeit one from long after Season 11 when they cut the trivia off).
Game Developers and Crunch Time: Is Being Overworked Normal? – Nadia Oxford, freelance writer and video game aficionado, sent us this piece she wrote about the grueling realities of late stage video game development. Her hook? A clog in the torso chute. Excellent. Oh, and Leroy, get your ass in gear!
Top 10: Rise of the Planet of the Cartoon Apes – Mr. Teeny is on here, and I’m not just linking this because they linked to last week’s Reading Digest.
Bart Simpson’s Skateboard in Real Life – Three weeks in a row for skateboard links. Here’s some large pictures of one that looks just like Bart’s.
Simpsons – Homer and Homosexuals – Cleverly animated .gif of Homer demanding “Faaahlaaayming” homosexuals.
Lisa Simpson – Fan made Lisa in a South Park style. The dress kinda makes her look like that one goth girl.
Homer and Marge Simpson Beer Bottle Cozies – I’d drink out of those.
Does eating right have to be expensive? – Moderate usage:
In the midst of our increasing economic nightmare, the family grocery bill is already bound to take a beating, and, as Marge Simpson says, "We can’t afford to shop at any store with a philosophy."
It’s very apt, but Marge actually says “We can’t afford to shop at any store that has a philosophy.”
TV | 05/08 Tonight’s Telly – Heh:
Main Event: Speed, RTE One, 10.35pm
Best referred to on The Simpsons as ‘The Bus That Couldn’t Slow Down’, this 1990s action classic launched the career of Sandra Bullock and turned Keanu Reeves into an Hollywood hero overnight.
I love it when things are remembered more for being on The Simpsons than for being in existence generally.
Councilwoman has ‘Simpsons’ idea for porta-pools – Good idea:
It might be a case of where life imitates “The Simpsons,” specifically where the town of Springfield trucked a “pool mobile” to the Simpsons’ neighborhood to help kids beat the summer heat.
Borough Councilwoman Sharon Lee suggested the next best thing, investigating the purchase of three “Dumpster pools” created by a New York company which is set to auction them off.
It got nixed out of safety concerns, but if I were them I’d look into a different name that “Dumpster pools”.
I Love You, Supernintendo Chalmers – Some love for Chalmers and a YouTube video of Chalmers yelling “Skinner!” (though it has far too much Zombie Simpsons for my taste).
the-simpsons-by-jjuussttee.jpg – Fan made watercolor(?) of the only thing anyone remembers from the movie. The shaded letters are particularly nice.
Fox Animation Domination Sundays Is All Guest Stars This Season – You don’t need to click this because there is nothing the least bit informative about this article. I just think the headline nicely sums up the current state of Zombie Simpsons.
Cover Your Eyes, Gentle Voters – Apparently, someone thinks the 2012 presidential election is going to be the “most negative pres campaign of our lifetimes”. The response to this idiotic, ahistorical overreaction is this excellent usage:
In an old episode of The Simpsons, Homer discovers that he’ll have to pay an extra $5 in taxes to support a bear patrol. "It’s the biggest tax increase in history!" he shouts. "Actually, Dad," says Lisa, "it’s the smallest tax increase in history."
I’d say that’s about right.
Tom Felton is Mr Burns from The Simpsons – There is a picture here of the erstwhile Draco Malfoy that does kinda look like Burns.
2011 Arizona State Sun Devils Football Season Preview – Excellent usage in a college football preview:
“It looks like heaven’s easier to get into than Arizona State,” said Ned Flanders in one of The Simpsons’ greatest lines.
Simpsons (Bowling) – A rather awesome Homer/bowling t-shirt. (Also, nice WordPress theme.)
“Ah, Monday morning. Time to pay for your two days of debauchery, you hungover drones.” -Charles Montgomery Burns (The Simpsons) – This week’s bonus Freakoutville link is to this excellent quote from SNL alum Jack Handy.
Unemployment…In 10 Words – Double usage from our old friend Galileo.
Bill the Cockroach – This is a comic strip wherein two guys discuss Ralph Wiggum, but I do not get it. I get the Ralph quotes and references, but the guy in the hat has me baffled.
QUOTABLES – A nice, minimalist design of Homer’s quote extolling the virtues of work and lottery tickets.
Enter Title Here – A Simpsons stream of consciousness:
Sometimes small children don’t want to go to sleep. It’s not very fun. The only thing keeping Sethikins from going insane and trying to bite me to death is a rather large, fun blanket and season seven of the Simpsons.
Scratch that–reverse it, and then put the words back in the right order, so as to make sure that no underwear is unnecessarily microwaved on cold winter days.
And now I’m confused again. Pleasantly confused, but confused nonetheless.
The horror! The horror! – Weird search terms are always fun, I just never thought of pairing them with images. A couple here are Simpsons related, including “old men gay pissing in armpits” which has Grampa fighting the alligator in the toilet.
Punishment – A psychology major uses Homer’s soul donut (with YouTube) to illustrate the textbook definition of “punishment”. Excellent educational usage.
Time Is My Everything – A list of television shows that, while not as strident as we are, does seem to agree with our basic premise:
What is there to say, that hasn’t already been said? Maybe it’s been going too long (I’ve known Bart for longer than I’ve known my nephew. My nephew is 19 years old at present), maybe it isn’t as fresh as it used to be, maybe the characters, or the continuity or what have you has gone askew.
There is likely an argument for all these cases. All I know is that if I check into a hotel, and they don’t have pay tv, a little part of me is disappointed that I won’t be able to watch The Simpsons as I get ready for the day. This show has been around for two-thirds of my life. I think it might be hardwired into my DNA now.
“This is my fault. I tried to teach Bart about town pride, but the power of my words filled him with a sort of madness.” – Marge Simpson
“Now Marge, you can’t blame all of Bart’s problems on your one little speech. If anything turned him bad it’s that time you let him wear a bathing suit instead of underwear. And let’s not forget your little speech.” – Homer Simpson
- By Lenny Burnham
I’m guessing everyone reading this knows the main thesis of Dead Homer Society: The Simpsons was a smart satire with developed, interesting characters. Zombie Simpsons is a stupid mess with only a shallow resemblance to The Simpsons. But, while the extreme decrease in quality in the double-digit seasons is a bummer for any Simpsons fan, it creates a particular problem for queer Simpsons fans—half of the show is great in quality but has fairly little in the way of representation, half has lots of gay characters and storylines but doesn’t have the same quality. It’s hard to watch an episode like “There’s Something About Marrying” without longing to see what the people who made episodes like “Lisa vs. Malibu Stacy” could have done with the same subject matter. It’s nice to dream of a world where the years of smart satire overlapped more with the years that were flush in references to gay life, but it will always just be a dream. But, my question is—what show does a better job with queer representation, The Simpsons or Zombie Simpsons? On sheer number of characters and screentime, Zombie Simpsons wins hands down. They added in Julio and Grady, explicitly outed characters whose sexuality had only been hinted at previously and they’ve had three episodes (“There’s Something About Marrying”, “Three Gays of the Condo” and “Flaming Moe”) dedicated to gay subject matter, while The Simpsons only had one (“Homer’s Phobia”).
References to homosexuality in The Simpsons were quick and relatively subtle. Look no further than the town meeting in “Bart After Dark.” When Marge, Maude, Ned and the Lovejoys hold a town meeting to discuss Springfield’s burlesque house, they show a slideshow that reveals many of the Springfieldians that have visited the place and we hear their loved ones react with shock. The fourth person we see is Patty and Selma cries out, “Patty?!” In a lesser show, this would have been the punchline—far too many shows think that the very existence of gay people is a punchline. But here gay life is just an accepted part of the world and we quickly move on to Brandine’s reaction to the picture of Cletus before we get to the actual punchline, which, because this is The Simpsons, consists of four quick jokes in a row (no one cares that Barney is a sleazebag, Wiggum sounds like a child whining that they did him twice, Smithers’s parents insisted he give it a try and Quimby claims that you can’t identify him by his very obvious “Mayor” sash because that could be any mayor). In a very short sequence we get four jokes and two acknowledgements of gay life, without any of the humor being at the expense of the gay characters.
In “Treehouse of Horror III” Patty sees Homer naked and says, “There goes the last lingering thread of my heterosexuality.” It clarified that Patty is gay—and comfortable referencing her sexuality—quickly in the form of a joke and then moved on. Back in the days of The Simpsons they could let a character just be gay without a long, jokeless episode about their emotional struggle because they weren’t desperate to be relevant.
By the time, “There’s Something About Marrying” aired, it was no longer enough for The Simpsons to have funny references from characters whose homosexuality was just one dimension of their character. They had to dedicate entire episodes to begging people to watch them for their politics, not for their humor. And they even screwed that up. You’d think that an episode dedicated to supporting same-sex marriage would be, if not actually good, at least positive for gay people, but they had to have Patty’s fiancé turn out to be a man. This episode might claim to support gay marriage, but it undercuts its own point completely by focusing on a relationship in which one of the partners is so oblivious that they didn’t even notice their partner’s gender. They have so little respect for lesbians’ sexuality and relationships that they dare us to accept the idea that Marge noticed Patty’s fiance’s large Adam’s apple before Patty noticed that or any other telltale signs. If you’re going to make an episode about how homosexual relationships are just as valid as heterosexual relationships, it might be a good idea to focus on a couple that at least took a cursory glance at each other’s bodies before jumping into getting engaged.
In another gay issue episode, “Flaming Moe”, Moe converted his bar into a gay bar and then every gay character in Springfield became a regular (except Dewey Largo, who had left town as part of another plot in that episode). Group shots were populated by every gay character, including Patty. Every time I got a glimpse of Patty I wondered why she wasn’t at home, watching TV and avoiding social interaction. The episode just decided that every gay person spends every night at a gay bar. This isn’t even an instance of them milking a stereotype or oversimplification for the sake of a joke, this is them mindlessly and needlessly accepting that all gay people have the same habits for absolutely no story or comedy purpose.
Even though Zombie Simpsons tries and tries to win over gay audiences with issue episodes like “There’s Something About Marrying” and “Three Gays of the Condo” and The Simpsons only had a handful of references in its run, I’d still pick The Simpsons over Zombie Simpsons every time. Because every character in The Simpsons, even minor ones, were thought through and developed, we got great characters like Smithers, Patty and Karl. Even though Zombie Simpsons has much more room to be explicitly inclusive, they’ve only added a few extremely one-dimensional gay guys and still haven’t bothered creating another lesbian. For me, Zombie Simpsons’s policy with representation can be summed up by the end of “Homer Scissorhands.” When Marge said she found a new hairdresser besides Homer, I immediately thought, “It’s going to be Julio” even though I’d never seen him portrayed as a hairdresser before and it had been established that he’s a photographer. Indeed, I was right. They had plopped Julio into the role of hairdresser for a plot point. Because Smithers and Patty were created early in the series, they have firmly established jobs at the power plant and the DMV. If Patty had been created now her job description would be “maybe she makes leather vests or maybe she plays in the WNBA or something like that.”
“So, what’s next for the Israelites, land of milk and honey?” – Exodus Milhouse
“Well, actually it looks like we’re in for forty years of wandering the desert.” – Exodus Lisa
“Forty years? But after that, it’s clear sailing for the Jews, right?” – Exodus Milhouse
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 “hieroglyphics”).
Today’s episode is 1018, “Simpsons Bible Stories”. Yesterday’s was 1017, “Maximum Homerdrive”.
Charlie Sweatpants: I find the Bible episode more underwhelming than anything else.
Mad Jon: This feel like something they sat on for a while.
Charlie Sweatpants: The stories aren’t bad, exactly, but given the material they didn’t perform at a level above what you’d expect from post-12:30 SNL.
Mad Jon: Well, it is the last episode on disc three…. I am usually asleep by the last two on a disc.
Charlie Sweatpants: That’s hardly an excuse.
Mad Jon: Fair enough.
Charlie Sweatpants: I mean, it’s the Old Testament. That’s been a comedy goldmine for a very, very long time, and here they just treated as an easy target and moved on.
Mad Jon: There are some good lines here, but the story is exactly what you said, underwhelming.
Charlie Sweatpants: Exactly.
Mad Jon: What can you really do with three six-minute segments of the Old Testament without Troy McClure?
Charlie Sweatpants: It’s not without its charm, but the whole thing combined isn’t as memorable as the opening to "Homer vs. Lisa and the 8th Commandment".
I see we were on the same page there.
Mad Jon: Oh yeah.
Charlie Sweatpants: But that’s sort of the point.
When Homer is the thief with the adulterer and the guy whose job (repeat: his job) it is to carve graven images, that’s got a Simpsons twist.
Mad Jon: What bothers me about this one is the little things.
1. The order in which they fall asleep is completely backwards.
Marge and Lisa before Homer and Bart? Not on the coldest day in hell,
Charlie Sweatpants: Enh.
Mad Jon: Meh, probably should remove the "1." from that.
But still there is more.
Charlie Sweatpants: Really, no other little things?
Mad Jon: Ned as God? Again, where is McClure and his 5 fingers?
Charlie Sweatpants: I didn’t notice the five fingers thing, but I think you’re right.
Mad Jon: The groans for the good book were louder than the ones for the fans being turned off?
Charlie Sweatpants: Okay, that’s a pretty good 2.
But the only thing in this one that really bugs me is when they wake up and the apocalypse is on.
I get that it’s a storytelling episode and all, but that was one of those things that even in Season 10 I find jarring outside of a Halloween episode.
Mad Jon: Oh the apocalypse is just off the cliff.
That is what made me think they were sitting on these for a while.
They probably wrote the stories for a rainy day, and just added the front and back when they needed ammo for this season.
Charlie Sweatpants: I’m less concerned with how they wrote it that how little effort they put into it.
Mad Jon: They were pretty basic stories with Simpsons characters thrown in.
Charlie Sweatpants: I mean, why was Nelson so giant? What was with the Ralph thing?
Why does Homer have Lenny and Carl killed?
Mad Jon: Yeah, that was the kind of laziness that you defend by saying it was supposed to be random funniness.
Charlie Sweatpants: There’s just too damn many lazy jokes.
Mad Jon: Not you as in you, but the royal you of course.
Charlie Sweatpants: I’d subtract the "funniness" from random.
Mad Jon: On an aside, did you decode the hieroglyphic chalkboard sentences Bart wrote?
Charlie Sweatpants: No? Was I supposed to?
Mad Jon: I was trying to, and I feel pretty confidant in everything but the final character. " I will not D —–"
With the final character being the pharaoh’s head or something. I didn’t feel like spending anymore time on it.
So I was hoping you got it as you are generally more observant about these things then I am.
Charlie Sweatpants: I did like Skinner dictating to Krabappel.
Mad Jon: Minus the recycled "put away the encouragement whip…" line, I did like the omni-lash joke as well.
And from the first skit, I liked Homer’s line about Marge being uptight for a naked chic.
Charlie Sweatpants: There are a couple of lines like that. I’m fond of the "porno bush".
Mad Jon: And I refer to animals as land monsters a lot too.
Charlie Sweatpants: I like the unicorn. Well, at first, when he’s got that weak kid voice and is like "I’ll be fine".
Mad Jon: Gary was funny.
Charlie Sweatpants: My favorite line in the episode is probably Wiggum’s "Give my regards to the British Museum".
Mad Jon: Also funny.
And I liked Bart as David saying that Jonah died like he lived.
Charlie Sweatpants: Again though, given the material you’d expect them to do better.
Mad Jon: I was starting to type "Again though" as well, but to say that we are again pointing out bit lines that, for the most part, did nothing for the plot one way or the other.
Not that these 3.5 stories were bad, but just not that entertaining.
Charlie Sweatpants: Pretty much.
I can think of one exception. Lovejoy telling them to "Give as though the person next to you were watching." That lead to him being pissed at Homer and reading the Old Testament.
There. One good line that advanced the plot.
Mad Jon: I guess, he could have been pissed about the chocolate bunny without that line, but I’ll give ‘em that one.
Charlie Sweatpants: And as a sign I liked "Christ Dyed Eggs for Your Sins".
Mad Jon: It is a funny line. I generally enjoy it when Lovejoy threatens the congregation into tithing.
That follows a theme of this season as well, the signs that have always been good are still pretty good.
Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, there were a couple in "Maximum Homerdrive", as well as the radio call sign thing, which may be the funniest thing in both of these episodes.
Mad Jon: That is kind of a bad omen… But I can’t argue with your statement.
The signs were always like the cherry on the banana split, it’s painful that I have to eat a turd sundae for the cherry nowadays…
Charlie Sweatpants: Turd sundae is harsher than I’d be, but I can’t really argue against it.
Mad Jon: Well, maybe a dirt sundae, or a double scoop of non-fat ice milk or something, but my point is relatively valid.
Charlie Sweatpants: Like I said, I can’t really argue against that. Anything else here? It isn’t like there’s a lot to unpack in this one. None of the stories really stand out as better or worse, all of them are just kinda meh.
A few good lines, a weird, unnecessary twist ending, and not much else.
Mad Jon: I can’t really add much to that.
Charlie Sweatpants: There are only so many things you can say about the unremarkable.
Mad Jon: Like meh?
Charlie Sweatpants: Meh.
Mad Jon: Ok. I am ready to be done.
Charlie Sweatpants: Damn, I was hoping you’d go for triple meh. I think I might have been extra blase about that . . . maybe.
Mad Jon: Meh.
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 “implausibility”).
Today’s episode is 1017, “Maximum Homerdrive”. Tomorrow will be 1018, “Simpsons Bible Stories”.
Charlie Sweatpants: Ready to get started?
Mad Jon: As I’ll ever be.
Charlie Sweatpants: I don’t think this episode is particularly worse than the Season 10 average, but it’s always stuck in my head as the quintessential "Homer gets a stupid job" episode.
Mad Jon: It has all the essential elements.
Plot that starts off one way, then lead to a split decision to become ‘blank’, followed by some insanity, a b-plot that is generally disinteresting, some more insanity, and finally a wacky conclusion that leaves me half a liquor bottle lighter.
Charlie Sweatpants: That would be the essentials, yes.
The b-plot in this one is particularly lifeless. This has gotten worse since Season 10, but Marge and Lisa versus the Doorbell is one of those really weak ideas that they don’t care too much about because they figure the episode is basically about Homer being wacky.
And even then, they couldn’t just resolve it, they had to make it a magic doorbell that can’t be deactivated, wakes up the whole neighborhood, and is turned off by a guy in a costume with a whip.
Mad Jon: I got the feeling that it was getting down to the wire, when an intern said, "What if Marge and Lisa get a new doorbell?" Followed by a "……..ok," from the rest of the writers. Once they got into it, they realized they couldn’t go any where and just buckle in.
I did like the Senor’s line about the character being the case at one time.
Charlie Sweatpants: It’s not good when the last half of the b-plot (the b-plot!) feels like filler.
Mad Jon: But then he can’t start the van, through the credits.
Charlie Sweatpants: Senor Ding Dong is a slight improvement on the rest of it, but even this has always been kinda tainted.
Mad Jon: No defense from me.
This b-plot may be more off than the one from "Sunday, Cruddy Sunday."
Charlie Sweatpants: The first time I watched this one, I distinctly remember thinking he’d have trouble with the van, and then he had trouble with the van.
That didn’t used to happen.
Mad Jon: There is most certainly a formulaic procedure for these that didn’t used to happen.
Charlie Sweatpants: Partly, of course, that’s because the van this is a near clone of Adam West from "Mr. Plow".
Mad Jon: The b-plots have become interchangeable at this point in the season. Almost to the point that I get them mixed up.
Charlie Sweatpants: And while that one is kind of a marginal repeat, the subs/grinders/hoagies thing is practically identical to "Fear of Flying".
Mad Jon: This one started with Marge bitching about how Homer gets to have crazy adventures. That could be used on half the episodes in this season, and probably most of the ones in 11 and 12.
There were a lot of recycled jokes here.
I cite the Jehovah’s witnesses.
a la "You Only Move Twice"
Charlie Sweatpants: You’re right. This one they make enough little fourth wall jokes so that we can at least tell they’re still a little ashamed.
But it’s all crazy adventures to the point that Homer actually ends the A-plot with one.
I’d also point out that Homer is in full on Jerkass mode here.
When he says "Hey Bart, watch me run down this old lady" things are decidedly off the rails.
Mad Jon: Not that it needed pointing out, but you are most correct.
Charlie Sweatpants: This is also when they started randomly bottoming out Homer’s intelligence.
In my notes I wrote "Homer’s really getting dumber", but there are so many examples I’m not sure which one prompted me to type that.
Mad Jon: It was one example after the next.
This one really hit the ground running with that.
Back to your point about the A-plot ending, do you realize that is the one point in time someone points out that you need a reasonable way to do something? That is the only time someone calls Homer out, and it is so they can drive a train full of whatever home.
Charlie Sweatpants: That they acknowledge how dumb most of this at least means that they could still either get it or feel shame.
These days it’s hard to tell.
Mad Jon: How does he know how to drive a truck? Sleeping pills to cancel out pep pills? Announcing the drive-box deally right after he is threatened about blabbing? Riding on the hood because it is windy?
He drives for days and ends up 2200 miles from Atlanta, where did he go? Canada?
Although that may have been more lazy writing then anything.
Charlie Sweatpants: Most of this is lazy writing.
I cite the entire doorbell plot.
Mad Jon: Intern man. Intern.
Not that laziness was in short supply. Homer passes on the 72 ounce steak, but by Bart’s math, he starts to fail at the eating competition before he gets that far.
Charlie Sweatpants: There are a lot of little things like that.
When Homer asks Bart about school, then Bart asks him about work, and he says "touche", that’s a mildly clever line, but it’s probably not good writing if you keep apologizing to your audience every three minutes.
Mad Jon: I imagine that line was less of an apology then it was a "go fuck yourself."
Charlie Sweatpants: Nah, there’s too many acknowledgments of the implausibility for all of them to be "go fuck yourself"s. At least one had to be apology.
Mad Jon: Well, some people say tomato, some tomato.
That doesn’t work so well typed…
Charlie Sweatpants: Ha.
But there are still some examples of restraint. "You still haven’t told us why Lenny bit you" is one example of that.
Mad Jon: You know, I liked the tetanus joke until his jaw locked up.
Charlie Sweatpants: Agreed, but imagine how much worse it would be today.
Mad Jon: I did chuckle when Marge said that, but again, the jaw.
Charlie Sweatpants: The jaw thing could’ve been quicker, but it doesn’t take all that long, ditto a rather lame Gil appearance.
Mad Jon: Too soon. He was just a car salesman. I liked the trainee line, but the bag of crap was a stretch.
Charlie Sweatpants: And the cow hallucination is one of the few really good set pieces in the entire first act.
That could’ve gone on forever nowadays, probably into some kind of stampede that makes Homer scream.
Mad Jon: Oh sure.
Charlie Sweatpants: I’m not saying there aren’t some things that would’ve gotten cut even in Season 8. There are. But as much as this plot is classic Zombie Simpsons in terms of pointlessness, worthless twists, and crazy tangents, they aren’t doing the thing where every single good idea must take at least 25 seconds of screen time.
When the guy says "Congress is racing back to Washington to outlaw these", that’s good.
Mad Jon: True, but a lot of the one liners and visuals that used to be good, and become the 25 second deal, have started to become un-funny.
It’s like the missing link in Simpsons comedy.
Charlie Sweatpants: Like everything else, I believe in gradual evolution.
Mad Jon: I know we talk about it a lot, but re-watching these mid-seasons is really like a lazy kind of archaeology.
I am a punctuated equilibrium man myself, but no big deal.
Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, this is the first season where there are more episodes I don’t watch than ones I do. There are a lot of these I’m not sure I’ve watched since Season 10 came out on DVD, and maybe not even then.
Mad Jon: That answer was perfect.
Charlie Sweatpants: But what I’m discovering is that there is a reason I never watch these.
I’d still take them over the stuff on nowadays, but that’s not saying much.
Mad Jon: It reminds me of the time between the Pinkerton album and Weezer’s green album. Rivers Cuomo got rich, set up a song writing formula, and the rest is history. Now I don’t even know how many albums Weezer has.
But I digress.
Charlie Sweatpants: See, I’d go with more of a television angle.
There are shows I watch, and there are shows that I like enough to rewatch.
This isn’t a show I wouldn’t watch, but it is a show I wouldn’t rewatch.
Mad Jon: So more like the last few albums from Radio Head.
Charlie Sweatpants: I’ll take your word for that.
Mad Jon: It’s probably best.
Charlie Sweatpants: Can we digress further, or should we move on?
Mad Jon: Let’s go!
“You’re Darryl Strawberry.” – Homer Simpson
“Yes.” – Darryl Strawberry
“You play right field.” – Homer Simpson
“Yes.” – Darryl Strawberry
“I play right field too.” – Homer Simpson
“So?” – Darryl Strawberry
“Well, are you better than me?” – Homer Simpson
“Well, I never met you, but . . . yes.” – Darryl Strawberry
“It’s Homer!” – Marge Bouvier
“I don’t know what you see in that ugly meatball.” – Patty Bouvier
“Uh-huh, if you like being pawed by something fat and lazy, we could get a cat.” – Selma Bouvier
“It would leave less hair on the couch.” – Jacqueline Bouvier
“I love you, Dr. Zaius!” – Troy McClure
Today, Hollywood’s second attempt to reboot a 1960s sci-fi franchise that (except for the first one) wasn’t that good in the first place opens in theaters nationwide. This has prompted everyone and their mother to mention and post links to Troy McClure and “Stop the Planet of the Apes, I Want to Get Off!”. I’ve winnowed it down to just a couple of links below, including two different bootleg videos of the multi-million dollar musical in question. I hope they invited Jeff Goldblum to the premier. On top of that, we’ve got two people who agree with us, poor political usage, some tattoos, and an actual Zombie Simpson.
The Alabaster Sock – Smooth Charlie’s Click of the Week is this excellently anguished Simpsons rant that wouldn’t be out of place on our very own homepage. I particularly like this:
It could be an easily ignored program if it didn’t seem like a mediocre puppeteer controlling the corpse of something once great. So I avoid it not just because it’s no good, but because it’s no good and it was once the greatest and that makes me cringe.
Keeping up with The Simpsons – This is another anodyne article about the animation process from that tour they gave reporters a couple of weeks ago. I just thought I’d highlight this:
With the series approaching its 500th episode — a milestone it will reach in February — Kirkland admits one of the big challenges is trying not to repeat themselves. When a recent script called for Homer to harpoon a whale, Kirkland recalled that he’d already animated that.
If that’s not the perfect anecdote for where the show is right now, I don’t know what is.
Rise of The Planet of The Apes…In 10 Words – C’mon, you knew this was coming. I still laughed.
Zombie Bart Simpson by ~Beth182 on deviantART – Awesome fan made drawing of a true Zombie Simpson. (There are a couple of links at the bottom to some of her other Simpsons drawings as well.)
simpsons embroidery project – part 3: slowly but surely – Simpsons embroidery is back, baby! It’s Homer with his giant foam cowboy hat and air horn. In ink or fabric, the look on his face remains priceless.
QUOTABLES – A couple of fan made designs with quotes from the show. Nice.
Sen. Amy Koch sees political ‘classic situation’ in poll results – Poor political usage:
She repeated a bit of dialogue from the episode in which a mechanized disc jockey, DJ 2000, was being unveiled:
“How ’bout those clowns in Congress?” DJ 2000 says.
“How does he keep up with current events like that?” an obviously impressed Homer wonders.
Nice try, State Senator. For the record, the actual quote is:
DJ 3000: Looks like those clowns in Congress did it again. What a bunch of clowns.
Bill: How does he keep up with the news like that?
Santa Cruz X The Simpsons – Some larger and better images of a couple of those new Simpsons skateboards from last week.
The 50 Best Queer Girl TV Episodes Of All Time: 50-41. – Our friend Lenny will be back with another guest post next week, consider the Simpsons entry here a small preview.
The ‘Entourage’ has relationship problems – I must be pretty unplugged from Entourage because I only recognize three of the six guys in that photo, but if someone wants to take Zombie Simpsons off the air, it’s fine by me:
“We’ve all been humbled in this group, but we will all prevail,” Billy emphatically tells his two stars. “We’re going to murder the ‘Simpsons!’”
Test your knowledge of The Simpsons with iOS apps – A list of some Simpsons apps for iOS.
Homer Simpson called – I can’t tell if that’s plastic or a picture of a real donut with sprinkles and pink frosting. But if it is real, I would eat it in approximately 2.3 seconds. It’s just gorgeous.
Homer Simpson’s Voice Will Appear on Parks and Recreation Next Season – The headline tells you everything you need to know.
Aping the apes: TV’s top ‘Planet’ parodies – A bunch of clips of Planet of the Apes parodies, including Troy McClure’s Broadway turn.
Top Ten Tuesday: RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES Fashion Statements – Some side by side photos of various Planet of the Apes movies, accompanied by video of McClure that’s partially in Spanish (or something similar to Spanish).
Neato: Animation Color Wheel – Pretty much what it says, a giant color wheel made up of characters ranging from SpongeBob to Snagglepuss.
The Simpsons vs. Family Guy vs. South Park vs… – Not only did I get to start with someone who agrees with us this week, I get to end that way too. This is a short discussion about animated comedy, but it does contain this:
“Besides Archer and a couple others, my knowledge of animated TV comedy stops about 7 years ago (maybe longer), when I still had a soft spot for The Simpsons and found Family Guy to be a super-derivative, unoriginal ripoff. Perhaps FG has funnied itself up since then? I know The Simpsons has not.”
No, no it has not.
“Besides, every time I learn something new it pushes some old stuff out of my brain. Remember when I took that home wine making course and I forgot how to drive?” – Homer Simpson
“That’s because you were drunk!” – Marge Simpson
“And how.” – Homer Simpson