Archive for October, 2011

31
Oct
11

And the Children Were Silent

Chalkboard - Treehouse of Horror XXII

“That doll is evil, I tells ya.  Evil!  Evil!” – Abe “Grampa” Simpson
Grampa, you said that about all the presents.” – Marge Simpson
I just want attention.” – Abe “Grampa” Simpson

I happened to find myself at my brother’s house yesterday, keeping an eye on three of his kids, two nephews (13 and 11) and a niece (8).  Though they’re well aware that the new episodes are subpar, they wanted to watch the new Zombie Simpsons.  When Homer farted for the first time my niece got a goofy grin on her face, but the boys only looked up from their laptops intermittently.  Not a single one of them laughed out loud during the entire episode, and when it was done my niece said, and I quote, “That wasn’t very good.”  Allow me to agree with the eight-year-old.

Of the various crimes against comedy that went into those four segments, the farting was the most tiresome, but the entire episode was an exercise in stretching weak jokes and weaker ideas to fill that unforgiving time requirement.  The premise of the opening segment is Homer getting trapped a la 127 Hours, but even though that whole thing was supposed to be an introduction, it took nearly two minutes just to get Homer out into the boonies.  Once he was there they dragged it out even more by having him chew off a limb three (3) times.  The second segment had such a weak premise that it couldn’t make it through even its limited runtime without a classic Zombie Simpsons swerve, having Homer suddenly become Spiderman.  The Dexter thing suffered a similar fate as it ran out of steam and needed divine intervention to make it to the commercial break.  The Avatar segment, easily the longest, clocking in at nearly eight minutes, spent more than a quarter of its runtime on the goofy battle/action/whatever sequence at the end that was light on jokes, thought and satire and heavy on surprisingly boring cartoon violence.

There were a couple of lines I actually liked, notably Flanders telling the hooker to “Spend less time on your back and more time on your knees” and Chalmers’ windy but accurate “This is a delicate mission that requires utter loyalty.  I can think of no better candidate than the resentful guy in the wheelchair who has just arrived.”  But for each of those there were a dozen or more cringe inducing duds like the alien repeatedly screaming at Milhouse.  When she yelled at him for kicking the rock my instant reaction was, “I wonder how many times they’re going to repeat this.”  The answer was three.

All in all, this was about what to expect from Zombie Simpsons in a Halloween episode.  Turned loose with no limits on their creativity, they hash together a few tepid pop culture references and call it a day.

Anyway, the numbers are in and they are the worst ever for a Halloween episode.  Last night’s unworthy successor was silently endured by just 8.01 million viewers.  That’s below last year’s 8.20, which was itself a record low for Treehouse of Horror.  The Halloween episode is often one of the strongest numbers of the year, and if that’s the best Season 23 has to offer then it’s going to plummet to unheard of depths by the end of the season.

31
Oct
11

Quote of the Day

Treehouse of Horror II6

“Before last year’s Halloween show, I warned you not to let your children watch, but you did anyway.  Well, this year’s episode is even worse.  It’s scarier and more violent, and I think they snuck in some bad language too.” – Marge Simpson

Happy 20th anniversary to “Treehouse of Horror II”!  Original airdate 31 October 1991.

30
Oct
11

Sunday Preview: Treehouse of Horror XXII

zombietreehouse

Image from here, photoshop by Dave.

Well, that was a nice two weeks, but Zombie Simpsons returns tonight with another indifferent and slow witted entry in the once proud Treehouse of Horror series.  Simpsons Channel has the lackluster details:

Homer takes a dangerous dive into an isolated canyon on Candy Peak, but when a crashing boulder traps his arm, he channels Aron Ralston (guest voicing as himself) to save himself. In “The Diving Bell and Butterball,” the first of three hair-raising Halloween tales, a venomous spider bite leaves Homer paralyzed, but when Lisa discovers Homer’s ability to communicate through natural gases, he is able to express his love for Marge. The killer spells continue in “Dial D for Diddly,” when Ned Flanders, devout preacher by day, transforms into a cold-blooded vigilante by night. In the final terrifying tale, “In the Na’Vi,” Bart and Milhouse are assigned on a mission to access a sacred extract on a distant planet. They morph into the land’s indigenous one-eyed avatars, but when Bart finds love and an eternal mate abroad, he is caught in planet warfare.

For those of you scoring at home, that’s two times Homer gets paralyzed/trapped, as well as two topical segments that no one will care about by this time next week. 

30
Oct
11

Quote of the Day

Treehouse of Horror III7

“Hey, who’s this ‘Homer’ dude?” – Captain Otto
“He’s either a fifty foot prehistoric ape, or a tourist trap concocted by the Ape Island Jaycees.  Either way, we’re going ashore.” – C.M. Burns

29
Oct
11

Quote of the Day

Treehouse of Horror V5

“Come family, sit in the snow with Daddy and let us all bask in television’s warm, glowing warming glow.” – Homer Simpson

Happy birthday Dan Castellaneta!

28
Oct
11

Reading Digest: Marge Costume Edition

Marge in Costume

As I’m sure everyone knows, Monday is Halloween, and while there were lots and lots of previews for Sunday’s Zombie Simpsons episode, you will find none of them linked below.  Why bore yourself more than once?  Instead we have several links to Marge costumes past and present.  Sadly, the only picture is of a lame store bought one, but a quick Google Image search will net you plenty of great looking homemade ideas and tips.  In addition to that, we’ve got a Homer video game customization, a wildly overzealous copyright takedown notice, lots of usage, a kick ass home made skateboard, and a guy who agrees with us so much that he actually uses the word “zombie”. 

Enjoy.

Duff Brewery – Jaw dropping, fan made, wood burned, skateboard of Captain McAllister.  Here’s a picture from slightly farther back with a bottle opener attached.  Wow. 

by TW Collins Minimalist Lisa Simpson – The blue makes it look a bit more like Maggie to me, but the resemblance is uncanny. 

10 Sitcoms That Actually Moved Women Forward – Simpsons checks in at #9 among good company.  Unfortunately, the YouTube is from Zombie Simpsons (via).  Which leads me to . . .

What’s the deal with airline food and Asian people? – . . . this article about 2 Broke Girls and where the line gets drawn between stereotype comedy that’s funny, and stereotype comedy that’s just stereotypes.  I’d like to add this sentiment to the cost of Zombie Simpsons:

Buuut, comedy isn’t just pointing and laughing. If it were, all comedy would be incredibly mean-spirited. A good chunk of comedy is laughing with the protagonists, at ourselves. “We’ve all been there.” This means that while our protagonists may get humiliated and hurt, they also get the character development, the funny lines, the big checks—while the women and black people stand off to the side, being kind of sagely and disappointing and not funny. In a comedy. Call it the Lisa Simpson Problem.

That Lisa has become a scold, set off to the side to cast disapproval, and not funny is all on Zombie Simpsons.  She didn’t used to do that, she used to do things like lose her faith in democracy, gamble on pro football, and play hockey, and it was hilarious.  Now?  Not so much. 

The Critic–The Live Action Movie – Attempting to cast a live action movie of The Critic.  There are some good choices in here, but I can’t see Gary Busey or Robert Redford as Duke Phillips.  We’d need someone who can play a megalomaniacal Southerner, did Jerry Reed have any kids that went into acting? 

Mike Argento: A burger and a shake, all in one – Excellent usage:

"We take eighteen ounces of sizzling ground beef, and soak it in rich, creamery butter, then we top it off with bacon, ham and a fried egg," the announcer, a woman with a voice soaked in sex, intoned, breathlessly. "We call it the Good Morning Burger."

That episode aired in 1994. Since then, reality has taken to beating satire into a coma.

He goes on to compare it to some new gigantic burger they have at Denny’s. 

There is no such thing as bad publicity – Bart and Martin’s competing posters for class president.

Midnight Club Los Angeles Homer Simpson’s Car – A YouTube video of a rather impressive Homer customized car for Midnight Club: Los Angeles. 

Simpsons – A picture of a Marge Halloween costume that is sadly of the “sexy X” variety rather than the “homemade and cool” variety.  That looks more like a bustier than a dress.  (Also, thanks for the link!) 

Trick or treat – Aww, (future) family togetherness:

And then there were other times when I was one of the few weirdos dressed up on the 31st of October. Like 17 years ago when I worked for a large conservative government agency and showed up at my new place of employment decked out like Madonna. With half of my eyebrows shaved off and drawn into an arch, a high Jeannie-style ponytail, and two pointy prominent cones poking through my pin-striped suit, I thought I looked good.

My boyfriend’s sister, who also worked there and was not in costume, called their mother immediately to report my attire.

The following year my future mother-in-law looked relieved when I showed up at her house trick-or-treating with her son as the less sexy Marge Simpson and Krusty the Klown.

Three-Eyed Nuclear ‘Simpsons’ Fish Caught – It’s a real three eyed fish caught (apparently) near a nuclear plant.  It’s definitely not appetizing. 

♥ Girls Get Busy ♥ | WE ♥ LISA SIMPSON zine contributors needed – This is the same thing I mentioned last Saturday, just a reminder that the deadline is next week. 

The problem with people’s problems – Nice reference:

RADIO REVIEW: THERE IS an episode of The Simpsons in which Lisa, the smart one, sees her belief in the irretrievable dim-wittedness of her family confirmed by their choice of television viewing, a reality show called When Surgery Goes Wrong . Oh, how we laughed. Little did we know that the fictional programme’s apparently outlandish subject would become a staple – nay, a triumphant highlight – of one of Ireland’s most popular radio shows.

Kane County Chronicle | Face time with Sara Harrigan – Woman on the street interview reveals this:

What was your best Halloween costume? Marge Simpson.

It’s Only a Movie: Films For All Hallow’s Eve – Some old, campy, or just plain fun Halloween viewing, including, of course, Treehouse of Horror. 

[Vídeo do dia] Abertura humana dos Simpsons – There’s a YouTube video here, but it doesn’t play.  It’s been taken down by the dimwitted legal eagles at FOX.  Normally I just skip these kinds of things, but here’s the preview image:

Dastardly Copyright Infringers

Looks like a real threat to FOX’s bottom line to me.  I mean, that nine-year-old in the back has cymbals! 

Late but never forgotten. – Fan made drawing of Maggie as the spawn of Kang. 

Tax Court Refuses to Allow Man to Save Him from Himself – This is a blog by two accountants, and it features almost excellent usage:

Reaffirming my long-held belief that everything in life can be related back to The Simpsons, there’s an episode in which Homer is investigated by the IRS for tax fraud. In lieu of prosecution, Homer is told that he will “work for the IRS” to help the Service bring down Homer’s boss, Mr. Burns. Homer’s reply to the proposed arrangement?

“Sure, but can you pay me under the table?….I’ve got a little tax problem.”

Homer’s actual quote is “Okay, but could you pay me under the table? . . . I got a little tax problem.”

Floated in an Isolation Tank – A first hand account:

Have you ever seen that Simpsons episode where Home and Lisa lie in isolation tanks? When Lisa experiences a hallucination wherein she becomes the family cat and Homer believes that, when his isolation tank is reclaimed by repo men and dropped down a hill, he has also gone on a wild mind ride? I’ve done that. Floated in the isolation tank, that is, not been inadvertently repossessed.

“Don’t kid yourself, Jimmy. If a cow ever got the chance, he’d eat you and everyone you care about!” -Troy McClure (The Simpsons) – Freakoutville, FTW.

Die, Simpsons, Die – And finally, I get to end with someone who vehemently and epically agrees with us.  Seriously:

I say let the pulvarized zombie horse keel over and die instead of throwing it a goodbye party first.

There’s much, much more at the link, and it’s so much like my dreams it’s scary.  Highly recommended.

28
Oct
11

Quote of the Day

Treehouse of Horror V6

“In case all that smiling didn’t cheer you up, there’s one thing that never fails: a nice glass of warm milk, a little nap, and a total frontal lobotomy.” – Ned Flanders

27
Oct
11

Quote of the Day

Treehouse of Horror IV11

“Alright, stay calm, remember your training.  ‘Dear Homer I.O.U. one emergency donut signed Homer’.  Bastard!  He’s always one step ahead!” – Homer Simpson

26
Oct
11

Quote of the Day

Treehouse of Horror II7

“And to conclude this Halloween newscast on a scary note, remember, the presidential primaries are only a few months away.” – Kent Brockman
“Hey, if you don’t like it, go to Russia.” – Homer Simpson

25
Oct
11

“Eternal Moonshine of the Simpson Mind” Is Boring

Wild Barts Can't Be Broken2

“Wow, you look really hung over, Dad.  What did you do last night?” – Lisa Simpson
“Last night?  Um . . .” – Homer Simpson

Last week I came across a blog post titled “How to End the Simpsons – Eternal Moonshine of the Simpson Mind (s19e09)”.  The author loves The Simpsons, says that he “has some significant misgivings about the current state of the show”, and tries to imagine how they might go about finally ending the thing.  While he’s not too keen on Zombie Simpsons, he is optimistic that they could end the show decently, and, as you can tell from the title, he takes as his starting point Season 19’s “Eternal Moonshine of the Simpson Mind”.  He goes on to praise that episode as something that effectively shows the townspeople, focuses on Homer and Marge, and generally works well.

Now, I’m not trying to pick on this guy.  Respect and even admiration of “Eternal Moonshine of the Simpson Mind” is fairly common.  It comes up quite a bit in other articles and blog posts I see.  And if you look at the IMDb user ratings, it’s the only Season 19 episode that’s over an 8.0 and the only Season 19 episode that’s in the top 100 rated episodes (nothing else is even close).  So I think it’s fair to say that “Eternal Moonshine of the Simpson Mind” is generally considered quite the outlier in terms of quality for Zombie Simpsons.  But, in the immortal words of Mr. Burns, I disagree.

As always, I’m not here to tell anyone which episodes they do and do not like.  That’s up to you.  But I don’t think “Eternal Moonshine of the Simpson Mind” merits any kind of special attention in Season 19 any more than “MoneyBART” merits special consideration in Season 22 just because it was the one with the Banksy opening.  Indeed, except for its highly memorable YouTube part, “Eternal Moonshine of the Simpson Mind” doesn’t strike me as being in any way different from the bland and boring norm for Zombie Simpsons.

For starters, and in typical Zombie Simpsons fashion, individual scenes don’t make any sense and characters appear and disappear for no apparent reason.  Toward the beginning of the episode, Homer walks into Moe’s to try and figure out what happened.  After he’s spent a minute and a half of screen time talking to Moe and Krusty, it’s suddenly revealed that Chief Wiggum and Snake are sitting behind him.  Wiggum is there to drive the plot forward by telling Homer about what happened, but, because Zombie Simpsons doesn’t care about which characters are in the room, he’s just been silently sitting there the whole time Homer was asking Moe about what happened.  Wiggum isn’t there until Zombie Simpsons needs him to be, and then he just materializes.

This happens with different characters several times over the course of the episode.  When Homer gets to Frink’s lab, the Old Jewish Man is sitting in a row with other old people.  Then Homer and Frink go elsewhere so Homer can go on his little memory adventure.  When Homer wakes up, the Old Jewish Man is suddenly all alone and right next to them.

Magical Old Jewish Man

Six old people . . . no old people . . . one old people, not one of these shots fits with either of the others.

Similarly, right when the episode needs them to, Patty and Selma mysteriously appear on the bridge to give Homer a plot necessary shove.  In the few seconds it takes Homer to fall off the bridge and onto the boat below, the two of them manage to move from the bridge to the boat without jumping off of anything.  All the wizards and magic xylophone ribs in the world can’t keep you from being surprised when they show up at the boat party after their presence on the bridge was the entire reason Homer is on the boat.

People changing locations isn’t the only problem, they also have a tendency to change clothes and the very atmosphere around them.  The entire episode takes place during winter, all the scenes are built around snow . . . right up until Homer lands on the boat.  At that point, all the snow is forgotten instantly.  Not only are Patty & Selma now out of the winter coats they were wearing on the bridge, but all of the people on the boat are dressed for a balmy summer evening.  Observe:

1) Homer begins his fall:

Snow and Winter Coats

It’s snowing heavily, just as it has been all episode, and Patty and Selma are dressed appropriately.

2)  A couple of seconds later:

No Snow and People In Short Sleeves

And there’s no snow and people are wearing shorts and short sleeves.

3)  Oh, and Patty and Selma are back and dressed for summertime:

Only Witches Can Fly

They’re as surprised to be there as I am to see them.

If you look at the images, you’ll see that Sideshow Mel in particular should be bordering on frostbitten, but that just raises another question: what the hell is Sideshow Mel doing at a party for Homer Simpson?  Other nonsensical guests include Mayor Quimby, Krusty, Smithers, Burns, and Kent Brockman.  Just like so many other Zombie Simpsons scenes, the character attributes of these people are completely ignored and they’re inserted as little more than background filler.

All of the above are the kind of lazy and/or apathetic mistakes that are hallmarks of Zombie Simpsons: characters appearing and disappearing, scenes changing radically for no apparent reason, characters being in places it makes no sense for them to be.  But this episode’s problems are not limited to those pernicious but otherwise minor Zombie Simpsons calling cards.

The entire story is built around Homer trying to remember what happened during one crucial moment the night before.  The episode revisits the scene four times: when Homer returns from Moe’s and looks at Marge’s picture, when Homer is in Frink’s machine, again in Frink’s machine but now accompanied by Bart and Lisa, and while Homer is falling off the bridge.  In each instance a little bit more about what happened is revealed, but outside of the first time there’s no reason for his memory to get better.

Once he’s in Frink’s goofy plot device, he should be able to recall everything, but for some reason he can’t so he gets Lisa to help him.  That would make sense except, as Lisa herself says, she’s not really Lisa, she’s just Homer’s memory of Lisa.  Once he’s back out of the machine he finally recalls everything clearly.  No reason is given why his memory should be any better than when he was in the machine (with or without memory-Lisa), it simply is.  Homer’s memory doesn’t improve because of any actions the characters take or any explanation the episode offers, the plot progresses because, hey, that’s what plots are supposed to do.

That all happens just in time for the episode’s exposition heavy (and snow free) scene on the boat.  Despite all of the emphasis on the story in “Eternal Moonshine of the Simpson Mind”, they still have to resort to having people straight up explain away multiple inconsistencies.  Marge as well as Patty and Selma have to retcon away some of their actions from just a few minutes before, and then Santa’s Little Helper appears on the boat suddenly (see? it happens throughout the episode) to fix another problem before conveniently disappearing.  

Season 12’s “Trilogy of Error” was similarly heavy on a convoluted plot, but for all of its shortcomings as a comedy episode, those three stories really did tie in quite well together.  Here you can’t even say that.  The story doesn’t make a lick of sense the first time you see it, and the more you think about it the less sense it makes.  Primarily, the story is an excuse to let them indulge in MacFarlane-esque flights of randomness, so we get things like the bit about the Ice Age squirrel, the bizarre cell phone commercial, and memory-Bart fighting two different memory-Homers for some reason.

The most famous of these needless asides is the Simpsonization of one of the most viewed YouTube videos of all time.  It’s got the same pleasantly mind fogging piano music as the wildly popular original (21 million views as of this writing) and is easily the most entertaining part of the episode.  I can’t prove this, of course, but I’m of the opinion that this brief one minute segment is pretty much the only reason this episode gets high marks on-line.  It’s not much in the overall scheme of the episode, the vastly lamer “Power of 10” couch gag takes almost as long, but it actually is clever in parts and is exactly the kind of pop culture mashup that the internet loves so much.

When you add it all together, what you have is sixty seconds of video, designed to go viral on-line, surrounded by just another random, poorly plotted, and altogether (forgive me) forgettable Zombie Simpsons episode.  That YouTube part may be the only memorable thing in all of Season 19, which may indeed make “Eternal Moonshine of the Simpson Mind” the best episode of that entire season.  But that doesn’t make it a good episode.

25
Oct
11

Quote of the Day

Treehouse of Horror VI4

“Bart, what happened?” – Marge Simpson
“Well, we hit a little snag when the universe sort of collapsed on itself.  But Dad seemed cautiously optimistic.” – Bart Simpson
“Crap!” – Homer Simpson

Happy birthday Nancy Cartwright!

24
Oct
11

Quote of the Day

Like Father, Like Clown6

“Didn’t Itchy Junior look happy playing with his father?  And didn’t Scratchy Junior look happy playing with his dad until they got run over by a thresher?” – Krusty the Klown

Happy 20th anniversary to “Like Father Like Clown”!  Original airdate 24 October 1991.

23
Oct
11

Quote of the Day

Rosebud9

“What have we become?” – Jasper
“We’ve given the word ‘mob’ a bad name.” – Dr. Hibbert

22
Oct
11

Write About Lisa Simpson for Someone Besides Us

Lisa the Greek10

“Look Dad, I made a modest studio apartment for my Malibu Stacy doll.  This is the kitchen, this is where she prints her weekly feminist newsletter . . .  Dad!  You’re not listening to me!” – Lisa Simpson

Few things drain the joy out of entertainment more than social or political patronization.  Even if you agree with a particular cause or sentiment, it isn’t fun to have righteousness clumsily thumped into your skull, especially by rich, do-gooder celebrities.  Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney are two musicians of indescribable talent, but “Ebony & Ivory” is agitprop of such brazen low quality that even Pravda would have trouble defending it as anything other than pandering.

Before Zombie Simpsons obliterated every trace of humanity from its characters, Lisa was immune from those kind of blandishments.  She believed in radical ideas like women being people too, but she came at it from the ideologically compromised perspective of an ordinary little girl.  She couldn’t pretend that a song or a statement could make equality all right for ever and ever because she still had to get up in the morning and live life in a world where that was plainly untrue.

That’s all over “Lisa vs. Malibu Stacy”, of course, but the same daily feminism is baked into everything from “The Call of The Simpsons” and “Moaning Lisa” to “Homer Badman” and “Summer of 4 Ft. 2”.  Lisa isn’t a great character because she can be deployed to advocate for whatever trendy liberal idea happens to be de rigueur in Los Angeles.  She’s a great character because her life sucks, but she kicks the hell out of it anyway.

With that in mind, allow me to steer you to this Tumblr post:

WE ♥ LISA SIMPSON zine contributors needed

The details:

I’m making a zine dedicated to Lisa Simpson & Feminism because I think she is such a great role model ♥

So I’m looking for contributors who’d like to share their memories and experiences of Lisa’s time on our screens. I’m mainly looking for writing, but art is totally fine too!

Send your submissions to bsiveyer@gmail.com – DEADLINE 6th November

It’s Saturday morning (well, here in the States, anyway).  The entire weekend is yawning before you, and I know how much so many of you, chicks and dudes, love Lisa Simpson.

22
Oct
11

Quote of the Day

Bart Sells His Soul4

“The deep fryer’s here.  I got it used from the Navy.  You could flash fry a buffalo in forty seconds.” – Moe
“Forty seconds?  But I want it now!” – Homer Simpson

21
Oct
11

Reading Digest: Comic Book Edition

Three Men and a Comic Book6

“Who’re you supposed to be?” – Comic Convention Guy
“I’m Bartman!” – Bart Simpson
“Never heard of him, full price.” – Comic Convention Guy

We’ve got several comic book links this week, but the first one is over the moon outstanding.  On top of that there’s another piece of banana art, another Harry Shearer interview, lots of lists, a Julie Kavner update, and what may be the most awesome Kang (or is it Kodos?) t-shirt ever made. 

Enjoy.

The Line It Is Drawn #62 – Comic Book Characters/Simpsons Characters – Smooth Charlie’s Click of the Week is almost too awesome for words, and I’m not even a big comic book fan.  This is worth clicking for the drawing of Lovejoy as “Reverend” alone, and that’s just one of them. 

Top Ten Treehouses of Horror – As usual, nobody likes Zombie Simpsons, there’s one segment from Season 11 here, but nothing past that. 

Kang from The Simpsons – Best Kang t-shirt ever?  Best Kang t-shirt ever. 

Time to waste time with Harry Shearer – Another non-Simpsons interview with Shearer, this one about ballsy comedies conducted by the Adult Swim people. 

The Simpsons’ Top 11 Musical Guests – A truly cromulent list, lots of YouTube, and just a whiff of Zombie Simpsons towards the end. 

The Gay Gal’s Guide to the 10 Best Halloween Episodes. – Our friend Lenny breaks it down, with Treehouse of Horrors coming in at #10 and #1. 

Woody’s ‘Honeymoon’ Home Run – A while back I linked to that play Julie Kavner was going to be in.  Well, here’s the review:

“Honeymoon Motel” is in a league of its own. It takes place entirely in the garish hideaway to which Jerry Spector (Steve Guttenberg) has abducted his son’s bride, Nina Roth (Ari Graynor), dragging her from under the chupah. Before long, the entire wedding party wends its way to the motel room, including Jerry’s horrified best friend, Eddie (Grant Shaud), his wife, Judy (Caroline Aaron), Nina’s parents, Fay (Julie Kavner) and Sam (Mark Linn-Baker), and even the pompous rabbi (Richard Libertini).

The insults and recriminations fly, with a constant string of revelations about each character’s most embarrassing flaws and most intimate sexual history. Kavner, whose nasal voice is best known as the voice of cartoon character of Marge Simpson, is especially funny as a doleful, cantankerous woman whose own marriage leaves much to be desired.

Love In The Time Of Matt Groening – The perils of dating a non-Simpsons fan, both highly entertaining and kinda depressing.  

A Love Letter to Lisa Simpson – Pretty much what it says.  Sadly contains Zombie Simpsons YouTube, happily also contains actual Simpsons YouTube. 

Homer Simpson carved on to banana – Last week we had the Marge banana, here’s the Homer version. 

I am the 1 Percent. – Burns is the 1%. 

Best thing to happen to The Simpsons in YEARS, the “couch gag” at the end by John Kricfalusi. Behold actual funniness: – If you want to watch the Ren & Stimpy opening, Freakoutville has you covered. 

Some records might not be worth having – From a tongue in cheek NHL breakdown:

Brendan Shanahan  At the current pace, his “Brendan Shanahan Explains a Suspension” series will have produced more episodes than The Simpsons by mid-December.

Heh. 

Coke Names – This is almost excellent usage:

A couple of weeks ago when I saw ‘Wen’ as one of the names, I had a theory that some Coke execs’ son got his name on one of the bottles. Now with these other wacked-out names floating around, I came to believe the execs must be playing around with a Sarah-Palin-name-generator.

The whole thing reminds me of the old Simpsons scene:

Bart: Cool! Personalized plates! Barcley, Barry, Barry, Bert, Bort…come on…Bort?
Kid: Mommy mommy! Buy me a license plate!
Mom: No! Come along Bort!
Guy: Are you talking to me?
Mom: No, my son’s name is also Bort.

“Barry” is only said once, and the mom says “No, my son is also named Bort”, but other than that it’s dead on. 

canned squid – It’s a real thing, which understandably prompted this:

it reminds me too much of the Simpsons episode where they buy cans of plankton. i am not trying to hate on canned sea creatures, but….for some reason that canned plankton just sticks with me as a real benchmark of what i’d like to avoid.

I’ve had enough good sushi in my life to know that squid can be delicious, but that does not look appetizing. 

Keep your shirt on while you ogle them – Tiny representations of pop culture characters.  The Simpson family are among the easiest here. 

Top ten Twilight Zone references in pop culture – Only one entry from The Simpsons and it’s at #9?  That’s shockingly low placement. 

Top 10 Reasons Why I Love America | Debating Dykes – Ah, this is better.  It’s a list of ten things about what makes America great with entries for an entire family of television channels (#7 ESPN) as well as the concept of television itself (#4 Television), and The Simpsons still makes the list with its own entry. 

THE SIMPSONS Treehouse Of Horror XXII Promo Posters – There they are.  You likely won’t remember them a week after the episode airs, but they’re there if you want to see them. 

Today’s hybrid dessert: Doughnut Cake. Someday: Cookie-stuffed Pie, Chocolate Lava Baked Alaska* – Oh man, that pink frosted donut cake. 

Long Night Of Driving And Gyros – It’s a YouTube video of nothing but the drunk cameraman “Technical Difficulties” sign and “Spanish Flea”.  Well done, whoever. 

The 10 Most Memorable Simpsons Alter-Egos – This is 100% Colombian link bait (it contains some guy from Season 21 I’d forgotten about and Armin Tamzarian), and it isn’t all that funny.  I’m just linking it as further proof that no one remembers anything about post Season 10 Simpsons. 

Hector Villagra: Who Should Police the Police? – Excellent usage:

In 1994, Lisa Simpson — daughter of Homer, sister of Bart — posed the question that continues to plague law enforcement: "If you’re the police, who will police the police?"

Homer answered, "I dunno; Coast Guard?"

New York Shitty Photo du Jour: Eyes On The Street – A little graffiti outline of Marge. 

Six and a half cracking Star Wars parodies – Bi-Mon-Sci-Fi-Con is on here, and there’s lots of good YouTube. 

A Simpsons Suffering – Allow me to answer these for you:

The Simpsons is a great show, or at least it was. The last decade has seen a clear decline in quality and ratings, and the show is no longer the alpha male in a pack of youthful ani-coms. But then again, drama like this often gives fire to an otherwise chilled entertainer. Now that the Simpsons is given another chance, and has less money as well, should we expect some sort of new exciting chapter in the Simpsons story? Will the writers, cast, and producers try to prove themselves to a patient fan base and a doubtful network? We shall certainly hope.

Respectively, the answers are “no” and “no”.  Hope is futile, at least when it comes to Zombie Simpsons.

Basket Case…In 10 Words – “Give it a try.  It’s like kissing a peanut.”  “Homer, I want that thing out of my house.” 

Comic Book Pick of the Day: Simpsons Comics #180 – A positive review of the comic book. 

Magazine Design Fail – A less than positive review of the comic book. 

The Simpsons – If you’re using Simpsons in the classroom (book link goes here), there are a ton of things you can do:

Other themes you could use with The Simpsons; the elderly (Abe Simpson), friendship, families, childhood, marriage, relationships, responsibility… there are loads more I’m sure. You could also use it when studying narrative tenses, and get the students to write the plot of the story.

Stay south of Season 10 and you’ll find more themes than Shakespeare. 

Most Misleading Movie Titles Ever – Excellent reference:

The NeverEnding Story – 1985

Now this one was just too obvious not to write about! I love the episode of The Simpsons where Lionel Hutz admits that he actually tried to sue the creators of this film for false advertisement. 

[…]

I can imagine the court room scene now though.  A really sharp looking laywer in full business suit complaining of the emotional torment and stress this film caused their client because they bought the film only because it promised to never end and the client thought “what a bargain.”

Hey, weird German puppets are their own never ending story, and Atreyu’s adventures live on inside all of us.  Also, they did make two sequels, and, oh crap, apparently they’re remaking it as well. 

An EB Expo, GoW3, Simpsons and Mango Epic. – A four year belated review of the Simpsons video game:

I’ve gone 4yrs back in time and started playing The Simpsons game. The camera angles are, quite frankly, complete shit. The number of times I have climbed up a pole and then tried to jump off onto a ledge, only to fall to my death because it’s so difficult to line it up properly is ridiculous. In general though, I am actually really, really enjoying it.

The Simpsons. Yet Again. – This is more generous than I’m willing to be, but I can’t disagree with any of it:

What transpired, most notably in the recent years, were episodes that came off as…disjointed. Story lines came about that were unbelievable, and quite frankly, completely off-book as far as the Simpson’s canon goes….

Yup, that’s about the size of it.

21
Oct
11

Quote of the Day

One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish7

“Poison?  Oh, what should I do?  What should I do?  Tell me quick!” – Homer Simpson
“No need to panic.  There’s a map to the hospital on the back of the menu.” – Sushi Chef

20
Oct
11

“Significant” & “Lasting”: Two Words That Don’t Apply to Zombie Simpsons

A Good Ending

“How about it, Luann, will you marry me, again?” – Kirk van Houten
“Ooh, no.” – Luann van Houten
“Uh, well, uh, can I have my shirts back at least?” – Kirk van Houten
“Okay, you heard the lady, why don’t you take it outside, alright?” – Pyro
“I’ll be back, prob-probably.” – Kirk van Houten

To reinforce my point from last week that there’s really no way to change the show enough to make it interesting again without also destroying whatever is left of its appeal, I’d like to point out the Zombie Simpsons enforced absurdities of this list of “The 10 Most Significant, Lasting Changes on The Simpsons”.  Here’s the abbreviated version:

10. Barney’s Sobriety

9. Nedna

8. Patty’ Lesbianism

7. Ling, Selma’s Daughter

6. Maggie’s Gun Skills

5. Lisa’s Buddhism

4. Milhouse’s Parents’ Divorce

3. Lisa’s Vegetarianism

2. Apu’s Marriage

1. Maude’s Death

The first thing that jumps out is the prevalence of Zombie Simpsons on that list.  Six of them (1, 5, 7-10) happened post Season 10.  Beyond that though, we can see the shoddy nature of many of these supposedly significant and lasting changes.  Yes, Selma went to China to adopt a baby, but I’ve seen every episode since the beginning of Season 20 and I can’t recall a single time her kid was even mentioned.  Barney’s sobriety seems to come and go (the article mentions this), but even when he is sober they still usually just stick him in Moe’s like nothing ever happened.  I don’t think Patty coming out even counts, since they hinted that she’s gay all the way back in Season 2 and when they finally did bring her out of the closet it turned out that she was in love with a dude.

I bring this up not to take potshots at the list.  Sometimes you have to stretch to get to ten (#6 is plainly not a real thing), and that’s just life on the internet.  I bring this up because all of those post-Season 10 episodes were schlock episodes, that played things seriously but then didn’t actually have much of an effect on the show.  The episode where Barney dries out was really pathetic in a lot of ways, but after all that heavy handed emotion they couldn’t bring themselves to actually change his character.  Flanders being a widower was a bit more effective, but it hasn’t really done anything to change him or his kids (who are almost never on the show anymore anyway).  Pretty much every episode about Flanders now involves him finding love, which got old about ten seasons ago.

If you compare that type of “hey, we’re doing an emotional episode!/psyche everything’s normal!” mentality with the Season 8 entry on the list, Milhouse’s Parents’ Divorce, you can see things are a lot different.  To be sure, that episode has a few downer moments, but it was also done directly in the face of sitcom convention.  If you listen to the commentary for “A Milhouse Divided” (which I did), one of the big themes they had was that they wanted the divorce to be permanent.  Standard teevee had a lot of “divorce” episodes, but they always ended up with the characters getting back together.  Here they deliberately went away from that and made the change lasting.  Zombie Simpsons, swamp of unthinking sentimentality that it is, caved to comedy convention in Season 17 and Season 19, but for a few years there actually was a payoff.

More to the point, adding a baby (or eight), killing off a character over a contract dispute, having characters suddenly fall in love, and doing promos with women kissing women are all hallmarks of a television show on the down slope of its run.  Zombie Simpsons managed to make that even worse by basically ignoring many of its own changes after they happened.  Neither Selma’s daughter, Lisa’s Buddhism, nor Barney’s sobriety have had much of an effect in subsequent episodes.  They were toss-offs posing as permanent changes, single episode ideas that meant so little to the core of the show that they could be safely done without compromising the similarity to The Simpsons that is the only reason Zombie Simpsons is still on the air. 

On the rare occasion they do bring up one of the changes they made, it’s basically an excuse to rerun the same things that happened in the original episode.  How many times have Apu and Manjula been frustrated with having octuplets?  How many times has Flanders pined for a companion? 

Most of these purportedly significant and lasting changes have been neither, and the few that were lasting haven’t been significant.  Even if many of these episodes hadn’t been plodding and heavy handed, Zombie Simpsons would never make genuinely significant changes because doing so would a) be a tacit admission that they’re out of ideas, and b) make them look even more like the undistinguished FOX animation that they are. 

20
Oct
11

Quote of the Day

Bart Gets Hit By a Car8

“Mr. Simpson, the state bar forbids me from promising you a big cash settlement.  But just between you and me, I promise you a big cash settlement.” – Lionel Hutz

19
Oct
11

Quote of the Day

My Sister, My Sitter6

“Hey, Bart, how’s your arm?” – Lisa Simpson
“It’s alright.  I was hoping they’d give me one of those steel claws, but what are you gonna do?” – Bart Simpson




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