“Well, William, another school year gone by.” – Principal Skinner
“And may I say, a job well done, sir.” – Groundskeeper Willie
“Well, back to work then. Make sure to give those toilets a good scrubbing. We want the old girls sparkling when I get back.” – Principal Skinner
“Aye, sir . . . ya silk wearing buttercup.” – Groundskeeper Willie
Archive for December, 2011
“Well, William, another school year gone by.” – Principal Skinner
“Bart, did you hear that? What a name! Santa’s Little Helper? It’s a sign! It’s an omen!” – Homer Simpson
“It’s a coincidence, Dad.” – Bart Simpson
I know tomorrow is New Year’s Eve and that Christmas is in the rearview mirror, but this is a list of links from the past week, and in that time “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire” won the internet. We’ve got five – count ’em five! – links to people who in one way or another wrote up the original Simpsons episode. Combined with comments like these, it’s nice to see it still garnering so much love and attention all these years later. There’s also an abbreviated version of the usual stuff, including excellent usage, fan art, crappy merchandise, a sweet tattoo, and a YouTube video that needs to be seen.
Homer Simpson CUBED!!! – Smooth Charlie’s Link of the week is this amazing Homer Simpson made from 225 Rubik’s cubes:
Special bonus points for using “Simpsons Christmas Boogie” as a background song. This has 59 views on YouTube, it needs about 59,000.
Christmas and the Wisdom of the Simpsons – Love for “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire”:
This may in fact be the one that got my kids started on their Simpsons obsession. Listening to it while I wrapped presents reminded me of the brilliance of this show. They can take a topic that I would rail on and on about (boringly and shrilly) and boil it down to a hilarious 7-second quip.
Sounds Like the Perfect Saturday to Me – Animated .gif of Homer on the couch dreaming of being on the couch.
The Simpsons and the GOP 2012 Race – Heh. Jon Huntsman as Smithers and Rick Santorum as Gil are particularly clever.
Macy’s Christmas Parade at Universal Studios – The Orlando theme park has a Christmas parade, and here are pictures of it, including a few of people in Simpsons costumes.
The Marriage of Bacon and Bacon – Homer’s family cufflinks on what appear to be real, tuxedo cuffs.
25 Days of Lezzie Christmas Episodes: Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire – Our old friend Lenny takes a look at this week’s theme episode:
I love the introduction to Patty. She refuses to even speak to Homer, she just keeps asking if Marge is there. The annoying in-laws are kind of an oldschool sitcom cliche. It’s kind of amazing how developed and sympathetic they eventually become without losing those delightfully bitchy personalities.
The show always did a good job of walking that line. Patty and Selma are a pain in the ass, but then you look at Homer and realize, they kind of have a point.
Batman Abroad: In Bruges, aka The Holiday Post – A list of good and bad movies of the year, a pictorial essay of a trip to Bruges, Batman, and it still mentions:
OK now I’m watching Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire. Fun fact, this is the first ever episode of The Simpsons.
Sideshow Bob by ~phifel on deviantART – Fan made pencil sketch of Sideshow Bob looking nonchalantly stabby.
Bart Simpson as Baby Jesus – Sweet Bart themed nativity scene in Portland.
Illini Survive Ugly, Never-Ending 2OT Conference Opener vs. Gophers – Moderate usage:
One of my all time favorite The Simpsons quotes: “Mr. Simpson, this is the biggest case of false advertising since my suit against the film the never ending story” –Lionel Hutz
The legendary lawyer character played by the late, great Phil Hartman refers to a 1984 film with a running time of 94 minutes in the American version. Illinois escaping 81-72 in 2 OT over the Minnesota Golden Gophers ran about 2 hours, 40 minutes.
Hutz actually says, “Mr. Simpson, this is the most blatant case of fraudulent advertising since my suit against the film ‘The NeverEnding Story’.”
1990 Marge and Homer Simpson Bendable Action Figures – Another old time Krusty Brand Seal of Approval here.
MARGE SIMPSON | Flickr – Someone got an astonishingly well done replica of one of the images of Marge from Playboy tattooed on his thigh. The colors, shadows and everything match.
Timberwolves rookie Ricky Rubio talks, Bob Sansevere listens: "You always dream about one day playing in the NBA" – The Simpsons isn’t just beloved in the NHL, but also in the NBA:
I liked "The Simpsons" growing up. I had a couple more cartoons I liked, but they were in Spanish. I really loved "The Simpsons." I still watch it.
Top Five TV Devils – The Animated Edition – Devil Flanders and the Robot Devil are on here.
Simplifying Skepticism: Correlation vs Causation – Illustrating correlation and causation with tigers, rocks and the Bear Patrol.
Hope Lies on Television #12 – A Family Tradition, From A Non-Traditional Family – A long take on pretty much every Christmas episode from The Simpsons and Zombie Simpsons, including you know what:
Considering that ‘Simpsons Roasting On An Open Fire’ was the first example of these characters being used to tell a fully realised narrative, it’s amazing how bleak it is right up until the final moment of slight redemption.
Greatest Christmas TV Episode Ever: Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire – And finally, I get to end with another link to the original episode and someone who agrees with us:
I’ve mentioned before how The Simpsons is my favorite TV show. Even though it’s not as great now as it was back in the 90s, The SImpsons still is number one to me. ”Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire” was the first episode aired of the series, and it remains a holiday classic.
“There are two ways for a dog to relieve himself. One is like a faithful friend and partner for life. The other is like a hose without a fireman. Which way do you think that was, Mr. Simpson?” – Emily Winthrop
“Like a hose . . . your wrinkled highness.” – Bart Simpson
Happy birthday Tracey Ullman!
“Tonight we’ll visit Springfield’s answer to the Benedictine monks, the Rappin’ Rabbis.” – Kent Brockman
“Don’t eat pork, not even with a fork! Can’t touch this!” – The Rappin’ Rabbis
“Marge, are we Jewish?” – Homer Simpson
“No, Homer.” – Marge Simpson
“Woo-hoo!” – Homer Simpson
“You know Stan Taylor?” – Homer Simpson
“Know me? Ned Flanders saved me. I used to party all night and sleep with lingerie models until Ned and his Bible group showed me that I could have more.” – Stan “The Boy” Taylor
“Professional athletes, always wanting more.” – Homer Simpson
It’s silly season and so people tend to be away from their keyboards more than usual, which means a shorter than average Reading Digest. (In case you are bored or stuck at work or something, I have attempted to compensate through aggressive block quoting.) We do have two Tebow-Flanders links this week though, in addition to lots of crappy merchandise (seasonally appropriate!), the ugly reality behind that merchandise, some excellent usage, and a forward for the L.A. Kings who agrees with us.
[Programming Note: With Annual Gift Man descending from the moon on Saturday night things are likely to be a little quiet around here. Quotes of the Day will go up as normal, of course, but there might be just one or two other posts next week, depending on when Netflix delivers the first disc of . . . ugh . . . Season 14. There probably will be a Reading Digest next week, but no promises. This time of year has a way of cruelly mocking well intentioned plans.]
“Um…Dasher…Dancer…Prancer…Nixon…Comet…Cupid…Donna Dixon?” – Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week is this piece of well deserved love for “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire”. That episode can never be loved enough.
D’oh! Stunned couple unearth 800-year-old stone head in their garden… and it looks like HOMER SIMPSON – The 800 year figure is total speculation, but apparently someone at a museum did think it was old. And it does look like Homer.
Review: Greetings from the Simpsons! – That postcard blog remains on a Simpsons roll. This week they’re reviewing two different books of Simpsons postcards. Check out Selma’s “Rocket Bra”.
7 Similarities Between Tim Tebow and Ned Flanders – I like #6 and #7:
6. Both are thankful for the little things, like rainbows. And Marion Barber.
7. Both have a non-believer they just cannot convert.
Watch: Brad Bird talks about directing Tom Cruise in IMAX for M:I – Ghost Protocol – If we get one good thing out of a completely unnecessary fourth Mission Impossible movie, it will be to let Brad Bird do whatever he wants next:
As long as I’ve been in LA, I’ve been enjoying great conversations with Brad Bird.
When I worked at Dave’s Video in the early ’90s, Bird was one of our regular customers. At that point, he was working on "The Simpsons," and he was already known by some film geeks for his incredible "Family Dog" episode of "Amazing Stories." At that point, I remember long conversations about pulp classics, spy movies, his dream of making either "The Spirit" or a SF animated film called "Ray Gunn," and much more. He was one of those customers of ours who really lived and breathed movies, who seemed to be interested in every genre and in every type of filmmaking.
There’s also some interesting backstory about The Iron Giant.
“One For The Book”/“The Spy Who Came In For A Cold One” – Speaking of showbiz lore, here’s a little Sideshow Bob tidbit for you:
(There is a punchline: According to multiple sources, Kelsey Grammer, who had worked with Rabb in the theater, would later claim to have used him as the model for Sideshow Bob, The Simpsons’ affected, two-bit carny geek with Shakespearean aspirations.)
25 Of The Craziest Simpsons Guest Stars – This is a decent if (somewhat page-whorish) list that stops right as it gets into the twilight of the show.
Holiday Toy Guide | The Indypendent – I have no idea how much credence to give this, Jebus knows citing National Review Online isn’t encouraging, but here it is:
Homer Simpson Slippers
China, the biggest exporter of consumer goods on the planet, is also home to the largest penal colony in the world — a top-secret network of more than 1,000 forced-labor camps known as laogai. Charles Lee, one of five million prison slaves, was imprisoned from 2003-2006, and says that he was forced to make Homer Simpson slippers. When asked by a reporter from National Review Online what he thought of people who bought the slippers, he replied, “Oh, they just want the cheapest product. But I feel that, if they knew about my situation, it would bother them.” D’oh!
Banksy, a nation turns its lonely eyes to you.
Burger King Marge Simpson 12in Doll 1990 – The Krusty Brand Seal of Approval strikes again:
Yes, her feet are bigger than her shoulders, but I’m sure it passed a rigorous quality screening before it got sent to Burger King.
Homer Simpson animated clock $16.99 & free shipping, hurry – More crappy merchandise:
Product Features: •Beer or doughnut? Homer can’t decide
•Arms move up and down
•Eyes move back and forth from doughnut to beer
•Requires 2 AA batteries (not included)
•Tells the time
What You Get: Homer Simpson Animated Clock
“Tells the time”, well that’s a relief.
Corporate America: No complaints considered – It’s Season 11, but it’s still excellent usage:
So in the words of “The Simpsons’” Krusty the Klown, “”Have a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, Kwazy Kwanzaa, a tip-top Tet, and a solemn, dignified Ramadan.” And speaking of complaints, I just know I’ll be hearing about this.
Not from me, he got the quote dead on.
Sideshow Bob by ~Raptorhunter123 on deviantART – Fan drawing of Sideshow Bob with hair that’s been flattened a bit. Perhaps he was sleeping?
Fictional Holiday Specials That I Wish Were Real – More of Krusty’s Non-Denominational Holiday Fun Fest would’ve been a real improvement for that episode. Also, KISS Saves Santa is a fantastic idea.
Thhhhhheeeee Skaaaarrryyyyyyyssss – A few photos of really well done Marge graffiti in Melbourne, Australia.
Tim Tebow…In 10 Words – The rare twofer reference from our friend Galileo, with both the tagline and the tooltip being Simpsons related.
New Deck: International Icon Tarot (with Happy Squirrel card) – There’s a real tarot card deck with a Happy Squirrel card:
Some extra love is of course reserved for the Happy Squirrel card (about which you can read everything you ever wanted to know here and here), which was included as a reference to Matt Groening’s The Simpsons (you can see a storyboard of the episode here). I love squirrels, and I love Lisa Simpson, and I love having a serious tarot deck that references The Simpsons.
Sadly those links aren’t working, but that’s still pretty cool of whoever it is decides what goes into tarot decks.
25 Days of Ultra-Christmas: The Simpsons – “Holidays of Future Passed” – This guy’s much more positive on that episode than I was, but he’s coming from the right place:
The Simpsons, as much as I think it’s the greatest TV comedy of all time, hasn’t been worth watching on a week-to-week basis in at least a decade. Last year’s Christmas episode, which I tuned in for solely because of the Christmas blogging, was pretty dour, and exactly the kind of lame, unfunny stuff I expected from the show.
Alvin & The Chipmunks 3: Chipwrecked…In 10 Words – The chipmunks were part of the “crappy computer animated movie” invasion of the Aughts.
There’s a Simpsons fan in Kings’ locker room – And finally, I get to end with someone who agrees with us, and who just became my new favorite NHL player:
Growing up in the small Mennonite community of Winkler, Manitoba, roughly 15 miles north of the border with North Dakota, Los Angeles Kings forward Dustin Penner found ways to remain entertained outside of hockey during the long winter months.
He watched "The Simpsons." Three or four times a day.
"I first started watching with my mom," Penner said. "That was the first kind of PG-cartoon I could watch coming from a really Christian town."
He also was known over the summer for using a relevant Simpsons quote when asked by a reporter whether fans’ criticism of his play had gotten to him.
"The one thing I can say — and I don’t know if you watch ‘The Simpsons,’ the episode with Darryl Strawberry, when they start (chanting) ‘Darryl, Darryl,’ and there’s a tear in his eye — I used to laugh at that, and now I don’t," Penner told LA Kings Insider in July.
Ha. But wait, it gets better:
Perhaps Penner will need to take Homer’s advice from the episode "Whacking Day" as a message to get the team’s offensive pulse beating again.
"You just put away that rage and put it into a little ball and unleash it at the appropriate time," Penner paraphrased from memory. "Like the day daddy hit the referee with the whiskey bottle. Remember that, when daddy hit the referee?"
But is quoting "The Simpsons" in an NHL locker room the easiest way to get through to your teammates?
"It depends on your audience. A lot of these guys I think aren’t as big of a Simpsons fan as I am," Penner said. "I remember even a couple of years back with a buddy Zenon Konopka, who plays for the Ottawa Senators now — we would go nonstop all day. Maybe I’ve gotten away from it a bit, but it’s always in the back of my mind."
Now I have two new favorite NHL players. Oh, and here’s the part where he agrees with us:
"Whenever they’re on, I’ll watch them," Penner said. "I’m a purist. The older the episode, the more I’ll enjoy them."
* * *
Dustin Penner’s favorite Simpsons lines
• Marge: The plant called and said that if you don’t come in tomorrow, don’t bother coming in Monday.
Homer: Woo hoo! Four-day weekend!
• Homer: Default? Woo hoo! The two sweetest words in the English language! De-fault! De-fault! De-fault!
• Homer: Kids, you tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is: Never try.
Professional athletes, never trying.
“Oh, yikes, what is that?” – Bart Simpson
“It’s the centerpiece, Bart.” – Lisa Simpson
“Well, it’s taking up valuable real estate.” – Bart Simpson
As our friend Mike Amato has been plowing through all the old episodes, I’ve been wondering what he was going to say about “Marge Be Not Proud”. This week, I got to find out. He’s a lot more upbeat about the episode than I am, but what surprised me in reading his take was how little we actually disagreed. There really are a lot of good and excellent parts in this episode, and his long list of tidbits and quotes is very solid (I’ve always liked “You have entered: power drive”).
Where we part seems mostly to be in how much weight we assign to certain problems:
If you read this blog then you’re probably familiar with Dead Homers Society, and their attesting that this is the sole blemish on seven flawless classic seasons. I can’t claim some of their gripes aren’t valid; when you boil it down, this is a “very special episode” played fairly straight, with no real twist or subversion. But what keeps it engaging and impacting is its honesty.
Certainly some things bother or don’t bother some people more than others. For example, I can’t work up too much excitement over problems with “canon” and inter-episode continuity, but start having characters behave in ways that are anathema to their established personalities and I go ballistic. Mike is willing to overlook the “very special episode” thing, but it really rubs me the wrong way, and it’s the main reason that this is the only episode in Season 7 I almost never watch.
“Marge Be Not Proud” was the first time the show really let itself get bogged down with conventional television tropes. They did it in a way that’s subtler than “The Principal and the Pauper”, but both of them are weak stories being propped up by teevee convention (cheap morality for “Marge Be Not Proud” and shocking twists for “The Principal and the Pauper”). Relying directly on old saws like that was something the show had never done before, and it produced episodes that attempt to portray real emotions, but end up undercutting themselves with hoary tricks and tired cliches.
That reliance is something Zombie Simpsons would later make almost routine, but in “Marge Be Not Proud” it was novel. They simply didn’t used to do things like that. Consider a similar story of Bart misbehaving and then redeeming himself, “Bart vs. Thanksgiving”. Both episodes are built around holidays, but, more importantly, both episodes involve Bart acting out and Marge dealing with it.
When Marge yells at Bart in “Bart vs. Thanksgiving”, all the emotional weight of the episode is condensed into a single devastating line that comes like a kick to the stomach: “I hope you’re happy, Bart, you’ve ruined Thanksgiving!”. That is Marge at a full boil (and a bravura delivery by Kavner), and for Bart it comes completely out of the blue. He has no idea how much he hurt Lisa, which is why he doesn’t understand that his cavalier attitude about it is what pushed his mother over the top from angry to enraged.
This is (yet another) one of those scenes from The Simpsons that just flat out works from start to finish. Everyone is in character. The feelings, actions and relationships involved are believable and realistic. And you don’t feel bored or cheated that the rest of the story is spent resolving the conflict set up in this moment because the emotional punch of the scene is devastating. Just look at the aftermath:
- Homer & Marge – Furious at Bart, but that quickly turns to fear and remorse when they find out he’s gone.
- Lisa – Crushed that her centerpiece, a “labor of love”, was destroyed by the brother who constantly overshadows and torments her. It breaks her in a way that no previous incident has because she begins to suspect that Bart is irredeemable, which is both sad in and of itself and bad news for her in general.
- Bart – Sees the destruction of the centerpiece as an accident and is self centered enough that he genuinely doesn’t understand why everyone is so upset over it. With Lisa, Homer and Marge all seriously angry at him, he gets defensive and bails.
The ruining of Lisa’s centerpiece is such a titanic moment that the show needs only to lightly reference the emotions it generates with little and humorous touches afterwards. When Bart tramples the flowers he has to remind himself that he’s mad. When Lisa tries to read the family her poem there’s just the briefest moment of resignation on her face as she is, once again, instantly set aside as the family chases down Bart.
“Marge Be Not Proud” doesn’t have anything even approaching that kind of deft touch with its story. Bart’s remorse is constantly paraded before the audience, as though we’d forgotten it from a few seconds ago. They lay it on so thick that Bart gets caught not once, but twice. There’s basically no progress to the story in between his encounters with the security guard, it’s just one drawn out sequence of Bart feeling bad about himself. “Bart vs. Thanksgiving” has a lot going on so it never gets bogged down rehashing what we already know. “Marge Be Not Proud” has just the single thread: Bart and Marge feeling bad about each other, and it pounds it into the ground.
Much of the episode is one event after another that reinforces Bart’s guilt about stealing the game. Right from the time Brodka (whose Lawrence Tierney gruffness is great) puts his hand on Bart’s shoulder, it’s an unrelenting parade of the exact same thing. There’s Bart walking through the mall with Brodka; there’s Santa rejecting Bart; there’s Brodka leaving the unsparing message on the answering machine; there’s Bart being told he has to go back to the store; there’s Marge pointing out that he’s ruined all their past photos. Each segment strikes the same tone: Bart feels bad. And all that happens before he gets caught the second time, after which the guilt trip really starts to get heavy.
Are you tired of seeing this expression? This episode isn’t.
Interspersed with all that is a lot of very funny stuff (“Where was I? Oh yeah, stay out of my booze!”), but it can’t conceal the fact that this episode has the emotional range and progression of a metronome. It just keeps hitting that same point over and over and over and over and over.
The monotony of it not only leaves the episode wanting in terms of emotional depth, it also guarantees that the ending is going to be face meltingly obvious. Since the episode has spent so much time wracking Bart with guilt, the only thing it can do at the end is have him finally, at long last, make good. All those scenes of Bart looking nervous, embarrassed, worried, remorseful, etcetera paint it into a corner from where there is only one, hacktacular exit.
The same isn’t true of “Bart vs. Thanksgiving”. When Bart returns to the house after having been at the homeless shelter, he stops short of walking in the door because he has no way of knowing that everyone is worried about him and that his return will be welcomed. He still doesn’t understand why they were so mad at him and fears a repeat. From his point of view, their anger was a grotesque and hurtful overreaction, and since he hasn’t spoken with them since, he has no idea what to expect now.
Even in the harsh moments, things stay funny.
In turn, that sets up his rooftop reconciliation with Lisa, which is both sweet and lined with little jokes to keep things light (“the boy nobody wanted just won the Super Bowl”, “did they cry?”/“yes”/“whoa, bulls-eye!”). Every character acts according to what they know at the time, and all the scenes work within both the plot and emotional boundaries that were established earlier.
The ending of “Marge Be Not Proud” is much clumsier (though still a far cry from Zombie Simpsons). Just like in Season 2, the big moment is Bart returning to the house, this time after having gotten a nice picture of himself taken. Right here the episode opens up a rather stark plot hole. Bart went back to the Try-N-Save and had no problem whatsoever with Brodka. Huh? A big chunk of the middle of the episode is the fact that Bart can’t go to the Try-N-Save. Did that restriction get lifted? They don’t say.
More immediately jarring is the way they stage Bart’s return. After he walks into the house the show puts on this big confrontation between Marge and Bart over what Bart has in his jacket. Marge and the audience are supposed to believe that it’s the video game, but Bart knows it’s his picture (with receipt, just in case you didn’t get it yet). Since Bart knows that, what is the point of that little mini-chase? Of Bart’s terrified looking behavior? Bart’s been trying to make good for a third of the episode at that point, are we really supposed to think he’s stolen video game? The entire scene is fake tension filler before we get to the hammy conclusion that we all knew was coming.
It’s Christmas, so Bart is apparently aware that the end must involve lots of ham.
This is the problem with having such a formulaic, one note plot: it leaves you with no option for resolving it other than cheese drenched schmaltz, a sentiment the show had rigorously avoided to that point. And since it’s something Bart’s been trying to do for most of the episode, by the time it finally happens it’s more of a relief than a resolution.
There’s real emotional pain in both of these episodes, but “Bart vs. Thanksgiving” uses it mostly in the background to drive a typical Simpsons story. Even better, the emotional state of the characters changes as they go through the plot. Bart realizes that the family he was so mad at is actually the best thing he’s got; Lisa feels sad that Bart is gone even after what happened. Finally, they have their private moment on the roof where Bart at last becomes aware of what he originally did.
“Marge Be Not Proud” puts its lone emotion front and center where it weighs everything else down and makes the story painfully simplistic. It’s a single note compared to a symphony, and while there’s a lot of decent stuff in between, the episode has the same kind of weak structure that characterizes so many bad episodes that have come since. If you can abide that one note droning in the background, then more power to you for Troy McClure’s shoplifting video, “SimReich”, and the way Lisa drops the can of fake snow. I can’t. Too many bad episodes, “The Principal and the Pauper” included, start rattling around inside my head.
(Oh, and do read Mike’s whole post, it’s got lots more of the good stuff than this does.)
“Your son is a very sick boy, just look at the X-rays. You see that dark spot there? Whiplash.” – Dr. Nick Riviera
“Whiplash? Oh, no!” – Homer Simpson
“And this smudge here that looks like my fingerprint? No, that’s trauma.” – Dr. Nick Riviera
“Well, get a last look at the beautiful ocean scenery, kids.” – Homer Simpson
A few weeks ago I noticed something peculiar about Season 7: half the episodes end with a sunset or something similar, often with someone heading off into it. As near as I can tell, it’s not like that in any other season. Even Season 8, which was run and written by most of the same people as Season 7, features a more typically random assortment of endings. These are the endings of the Season 7 episodes that were done under Oakley and Weinstein:
Radioactive Man – Movie safely back in Hollywood.
Home Sweet Homediddly-Dum-Doodily – The family walks into the sunset.
Bart Sells His Soul – Bart and his soul row into a sunset like gleaming emerald city.
Lisa the Vegetarian – Homer and Lisa walk into the sunset.
Treehouse of Horror VI – Erotic cakes.
King-Size Homer – Homer doing sit ups at night.
Mother Simpson – Homer watches his mom drive into the sunset.
Sideshow Bob’s Last Gleaming – The ending happens at sunset (which Grampa drives off into).
The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular – Hard core nudity!
Marge Be Not Proud – Marge and Bart hugging.
Team Homer – Homer stealing the bowling trophy.
Two Bad Neighbors – Gerald Ford and Homer walk off to Ford’s house . . . at sunset.
Scenes From the Class Struggle in Springfield – Family eating at Krusty Burger.
Bart the Fink – Krusty, Bart and Lisa walk along the beach at sunset.
Lisa the Iconoclast – Homer marching in the parade.
Homer the Smithers – Family eating Smithers’ gift basket.
The Day the Violence Died – Bart staring down Lester.
A Fish Called Selma – Selma walking into a moonrise.
Bart on the Road – Homer giggling in bed as Marge keeps getting weird phone calls.
22 Short Films About Springfield – Frink complaining.
Raging Abe Simpson and His Grumbling Grandson in "The Curse of the Flying Hellfish" – German guy drives into the sunrise.
Much Apu About Nothing – Willie is deported.
Homerpalooza – Family in the car discussing being cool.
Summer of 4 Ft. 2 – Crab with Homer’s Buzz can walks off into the sunset.
Now, look at this:
There are twenty-three Oakley & Weinstein episodes in Season 7, and that’s ten of them. Now, as tempting as it is to work this into a metaphor about the sunset of the show’s good years, I don’t think there’s anything profound or insightful here. I have no idea if it was intentional, and it wouldn’t surprise me if they didn’t even notice they were doing it at the time. But when you line them all up like that, and all those sunsets are staring you in the face, it does seem like they were on a bit of a theme.
I’m just curious as to whether or not anyone’s ever noticed that before. I’ve been watching these episodes for years and years and never put it together before now.
“Oyster shells! Hand painted to resemble Lucille Ball! You’ll love Oyster Lucy!” – Moe
For the second year in a row we here at the Dead Homer Society are offering this belated and woefully incomplete shopping guide for the Simpsons fan in your life. Just like last year, the idea here is to find cool Simpsons stuff that does not feed the merchandising beast that does more than anything else to keep Zombie Simpsons on the air. Also just like last year, this basically amounts to me doing a search on Etsy and then linking the best results. Still, any one of these items is both more creative and more original than another set of “collectible” figurines or the latest novelty items to get Simpsonized.
ABC’s of geek pop culture by SuburbanYeti – $25 – This is a fantastic idea:
Gotta love the Flux Capacitor.
Fantasy Floorplans for The Simpsons/Residence by fantasyfloorplans – $64 – Serious, wall mountable floor plans for a house that doesn’t exist.
Lisa Simpson Pez Oil Painting Still Life by PatrickFlynn – $100 – An oil painting of a Lisa Simpson Pez dispenser. I did not expect to see that when I got up this morning.
Limited Edition 8 x 10 Print of Still Life with by Marge Simpson Pez PatrickFlynn – $15 – From the same seller is a print of his painting of Marge’s Pez dispenser. Here’s one of Bart.
Simpsons Abstract by ChikyuuTenshi – $18 – A painting of the family in what almost looks like a cracked mirror.
Homer Simpson untooned Original Oil Painting by MrBlondieNation – $25 – A painting of what Homer might look like if he were a real guy.
Simpsons Kalidescope by natureslittlequilts – $35 – Wow:
Marge Simpson Playboy centerfold numbered edition by nwlimited – $200 – A framed picture of nipple/donut Marge from the Playboy spread along with some of the stamps.
Springfield Nuclear Plant Parking Decal by seasnarke – $10 – This is really clever, it’s a fake parking sticker in the shape of a nuclear cooling tower.
Canyonero Custom Car Emblem by Empira – $15 – This is a great idea:
I cast each piece in durable plastic from a custom silicone rubber mold, paint them black and chrome, and apply automotive-grade double-sided tape so it will stick permanently on the back of your car.
A hundred cheers to whoever puts one of these on a Prius or a Leaf first. The irony alone might power the car for miles.
Arts & Crafts
Jebediah Springfield Quote Finished Cross Stitch by JupiterStarPower – $15 – A small cross stitch with Jebediah’s famous “noble spirit” quote.
Simpson Fabric Buttons Set of Four by StashFabulous – $5 – Simpsons character buttons.
Homer Simpson Recycled Board Game Journal – £7 – A refillable journal made from an old Simpsons board game.
The Simpsons Cluedo handmade journal by peonyandthistle – £24 – Another notebook made from a recycled board game.
Clothing & Stuff
Obey Giant Parody Tshirt DOHBEY XLarge Adult by naturespresident – $20 – I’ll let the picture do the talking:
Heh. Other sizes are available as well.
The Many Faces of Homer Fleece Scarf Slim by Handmadecrafter – $7 – A handmade scarf with images of Homer in moods that range from pensive and happy to, I don’t know, horny?
Brain Slug Beanie Hat by ZucciniPancakes – $25 – Okay, this is technically from Futurama, but I too favor unreasonably large subsidies to the brain slug planet:
Unique handmade leather belt CARTOON silhouette design by WittyandCharming – £35 – This belt has a ton of silhouettes of famous cartoon characters on it, including Marge and Bart. I know it’s supposed to be his arm, but Fred Flintstone does kinda look like he’s got an erection in the first image there.
multicolored Simpson theme with white bluetip by threecatshats – $20 – A Santa hat, with the typical red replaced by Homer.
I LOVE GEEKS milhouse dress for toddlers by BarbandDawn – $12 – Aww, a clueless looking Milhouse in a heart in a dress for kids.
I Love Nerds Simpsons Re Cut Tank Top by ElevenThirtyEight – $10 – Milhouse again, but this time he’s described as nerd and the shirt is for an adult.
Mmm Beer Homer Simpson Fabric Art Brooch Large by BurnoutBazaar – £8 – I’ll just let the description speak for itself:
Homer Simpson art tends to be a little blokey or aimed at children so I thought I’d redress the balance with this more feminine homage to the animated family man and armchair philosopher. The central design is upcycled fabric from a Simpsons tie in printed, textured polyester. It has been fused to some vintage blue and white polka dot cotton, backed with sturdy blue canvas, machine stitched with a few zig-zag lines and adorned with beads, studs, sequins and contrasting red button.
The Simpsons Tie tshirt featuring ‘Where’s Bart’ by cutiepatoody – $17 – A t-shirt with a built in Simpsons tie.
Scrub HatsBart Simpson Classic by themaddesthatter – $10 – Depending on your point of view, this is either the best or worst thing you could see on a surgeon’s head as they wheel you into the operating place.
Bart Simpson Bandana Style Apron Top by ccquilter – $25 – A snazzy apron mixing and matching a couple of different Bart and other Simpsons cloths and images.
Don’t have a cow man by ClydesdalemeetBetty – $15 – A small-medium Bart t-shirt from 1990 cropped and fringed. The acid wash jeans in the photo are a nice touch.
Jewelry, Bags, & Such
Pink sprinkle donut necklace by BiffysBoutique – $5 – Pretty much just what it says.
SALE 10 OFF Marge Simpson US Postage Stamp Pendant by 17jewels – $26 – A Marge stamp put into a pendent.
Your Choice Simpsons Post Earrings by NinasCustomDesigns – $7 – Fabric covered earrings featuring your choice of characters.
Simpsons Radioactive man comic book wallet by AllisonKapner – $15 – The description brags that it is a wallet hand made from real comic books, and indeed it is.
Simpsons Where’s Bart Look and Find Tote by BusyBeeStitchery – $28 – A big Simpsons tote bag.
The Simpsons Mesenger Bag by TheTwistedCrafts – $30 – An old Simpsons sheet remade into a messenger bag. The cloth is character heads in little bubbles, and if you look at the strap you can see a queasy looking Wendell.
12 Crayon The Simpsons Caddy RollUp Crayon’s – $7 – A Simpsons print that can hold a dozen crayons and a doodle pad.
Handmade Bart Simpson Flannel TWIN size by KDMORECRAFTSANDMORE – $40 – Full sized kids blankets that will fit a twin bed. There’s a blue one with Bart and a pink one with Maggie.
The Simpsons Family Inspired Flat Back Button by SpazzysDelights – $5 – Bottle caps and Simpsons buttons made into little party favors.
BART SIMPSON KIDS/TRAVEL Pillowcase by MadeAtNanasHouse – $6 – Just what it says.
Matching Bart Simpson nursing pillow cover, bib and burp cloth by babygionet – $21 – The complete Bart nursing set.
CUSTOM Simpsons Christmas blanket baby girl boy by RockerByeBaby – $30 – A seriously customized baby blanket.
The UPCycled T Shirt Dress Seasons Greetings from by BravaBoutique – $38 – A child size dress made from an old Simpsons t-shirt.
Naughty Bart Simpson drawstring bag for library toys by LaughLand – $10 – A small bag for kids toys and similar items.
The Simpson Hair Bow by cherrynolivedesigns – $5 – Just what it says it is.
Simpsons print AIO all in one one size cloth diaper by anniemathesonallen – $25 – A cloth diaper with Bart spray painting his name. Comes with liners and is listed for babies up to 35lbs.
cartoon character 3D tiles personalised FREE by scarboroughrose – £4 – You can get your name or someone else’s on one of these little Simpsons (or Mickey or Garfield) tiles. Probably nice for a kid’s room.
Humorous Christmas holiday sampler by LucyFrog – $45 – A stitched reminder that Christmas is for celebrating the birth of Santa.
12 Bart & Orange UnPaper Towels Free by 3monkeysclothdiapers – $12 – Washable cloth towels with Bart Simpson on them.
Handmade Wall St Pen with Genuine Simpson Series – $25 – Someone took the Simpsons stamps and embedded them on a ball point pen. Clever.
Simpsons Dog Collar Comic Size Large – $16 – Exactly what it says, a dog collar with Simpsons characters all over it.
The Simpsons / Where is Bart Cornhole Bags by SwallowingtheMoon – $15 – Simpsons bags for playing cornhole, two sets of four.
The Simpsons Gift card holder by AuntyCarols – $4 – Just what it says, a sleeve for giving out cash or gift cards featuring the Simpson family.
Homer Simpson Christmas gift card holder by AuntyCarols – $4 – From the same seller, except this one has Homer dragging home the tree with the birdhouse still in it.
Simpsons with Bow and Jewel DSLR Camera Strap Cover by ThisMomandHer3Girls – $7 – Spice up your camera strap with Simpsons characters.
Lisa Simpson on Apple iPad vinyl decal by vinyl4ipad – $8 – Lisa in a saucy French beret that seems to scream, ‘I own a Mac!’.
The Simpsons Full Wine charm Set at a special price by lmfries – $40 – Keep your wine glasses identified at your swanky wine parties. Also available in smaller sets for $15.
Handmade Christmas Red Simpsons Bart Simpson Quilted by mhswebmom – $15 – An adult bib for when you don’t have the Sacred Parchment handy.
Handmade Quilted Bart Simpson adult bib by mhswebmom – $12 – Another Bart bib, but this one isn’t Christmas-y.
The Entire Simpson Family on a Fridge Magnet by wickedcoolstampstuff – $5 – All five family member stamps on a refrigerator magnet.
The Simpsons Comic Book Letters Any Amount by RoseberryStore – £6 – It’s six pounds per letter, but they’re big and look to fit well on a shelf or something similar.
the Simpsons Bartman blank card by Lizzlebugg – $4 – A handmade greeting card with Bartman swinging in front of the moon.
Simpson Family Cartoon Storage Box by DKdezines – $25 – A small storage box lined in and out with Simpsons characters.
Simpsons Nesting Doll Matryoshka Babushka russian by sersonart – $34 – Cool hand painted nesting dolls:
I wonder why Bart got top billing here.
Bart On His Throne Christmas Ornament by thinkingmage – $8 – A small Christmas tree ornament of Bart sitting down with a television remote.
Homer Simpson Ornament by jeeniebeansco – $8 – Felt Homer Simpson ornament.
Simpsons Her Majesty Marge The Queen Christmas by thinkingmage – $8 – A Christmas ornament made out of a Marge chess piece.
Simpsons Sir Bart The Knight Christmas Ornament by thinkingmage – $8 – Same seller and idea as above, but this one has Bart.
Homer Simpson Ornament by terryekennedy – $18 – A Homer Simpson tree ornament made from a dried gourd decorated with clay and paint. Neat.
Valentine’s Day Stuff
Let’s Bee Friends Set of 10 Valentines by nerdnook – $4 – Valentines Day cards to get clueless boys to realize you don’t think of them that way.
Simpson’s Valentines I ChooChoo Choose You by velvetelvii – $3 – Another cross stitch pattern, this time to make your own Valentine’s locomotive.
“Beer. Now there’s a temporary solution.” – Homer Simpson
Good morning and welcome to a special, unannounced, Simpsons Day Beer-Simpsons marathon! For the last two years I’ve been stuck at work on Simpsons Day. That resulted in a lot of YouTube and regular posts. Of those, the 1989 Groening interview on Letterman is probably my favorite. He’s wretchedly adorable in his nervous, pre-fame earnestness. (The embedding’s been disabled in the two years since I posted it, but you can click through to YouTube to see it.) For Simpsons Day this year my butt is planted right where it belongs: squarely in front of my television.
As with previous marathons, I’ll be drinking one delicious, cheap domestic beer per episode and posting updates along the way. The pause and reverse buttons will be employed so I can get quotes or screen grabs, but the fast forward button will not be touched. I’ll try to keep an eye on the comments, but I make no promises on that score. Let’s get started, and happy Simpsons Day!
1. Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire
- Having witnessed and performed in a number of craptacular grade school Christmas pageants, I can attest that this is far and away the most accurate portrayal I’ve ever seen on television. (Parental boredom most definitely included.)
- Among the many things about this season that were horrifying at the time but now seem quaint is the way they repeatedly deny the existence of Santa Claus. People actually thought this was a show for little kids.
- As far as great character introductions go, it doesn’t get much better than having Flanders unwittingly humiliate Homer with a Christmas display.
- “One ‘Mother’, please.” “Wait a minute, how old are you?” “Twenty-one, sir.” “Get in the chair.”
- I don’t have anything to add to this, but Homer stands in for pretty much every Christmas themed hero in the history of American pop culture in this episode.
- Homer’s shiver on the way up the stairs when Marge says her sisters are here should be in some kind of in-law hall of fame.
- There is nothing to dislike about this episode’s total contempt for Christmas television.
- I love the way Lisa destroys Patty & Selma over Homer. It’s especially awesome when you remember that we (the audience) don’t really know who she is yet.
- I make much of this in the post from last year I linked above, but it is essential to Homer that he takes in the dog out of sympathy instead of as a way to save Christmas. Homer sucks at everything here, and it wouldn’t work if he consciously saved Christmas.
2. Bart the Genius
- Aww, it’s the first time we see the opening, compete with bus stop.
- This probably puts me in the minority, but I always liked the story problems in math. Once you got the numbers out of the text they were always really easy.
- I have no idea if George Meyer had a hand in the scene with Bart and his parents in Skinner’s office, but this oft quoted article sums it up perfectly:
“Once, I was sent to the principal’s office, and when I went in my parents were sitting there. They had been summoned somehow. God, that was scary; I would have been very unhappy, but not particularly surprised, if they had said, ‘This time you have gone too far. Now you must die.’”
- All these years later, I remain in awe of the contempt for school authority this show had.
- Animation question for those more knowledgeable than myself: what is with all the backgrounds in Season 1 with gradient colors? So many walls are a color on one end and dissolve into white in the middle or at the other end.
- There is an insane genius to having fourth graders debate free will vs. fate.
- Words I learned from The Simpsons: cuspidor.
- An underrated aspect of this episode is the fact that the genius school never catches on to Bart’s scam. They’re just as full of shit as the regular school.
- The control hamster gets away!
3. Homer’s Odyssey
- Lost in the mists of time is the way that having an admittedly hungover bus driver was kind of offensive in 1990.
- Black Smithers.
- This filmstrip is the precursor of all the Troy McClure bits. You can tell because he literally sweeps nuclear waste under the rug.
- Hey, there’s Blinky!
- Sherri & Terri’s dad is an asshole.
- “There, there, Homer, you’ll find a job. You’ve caused plenty of industrial accidents and you’ve always bounced back.”
- Marge Simpson: roller-skate MILF before there was such a term.
- This show makes a (serious) suicide note funny. Nothing else need be said.
- I don’t think Marge’s vocal but non-verbal description of what the “Dip Sign” describes can be improved upon. That’s exactly what it feels like.
- This episode really demonstrates how much of the later show was present in the beginning. Even the serious/sad/important moments are frivolous and cynical.
- Yes, Homer dismisses the possibility of a serious nuclear accident with a silent “Nah”.
- This episode has two morals. First, that industrial safety is the least of management’s concerns. Second, that the appearance of such can be bought cheaply.
4. There’s No Disgrace Like Home
- The initial establishing shot of Burns Manor includes a sign that says “Poachers Will Be Shot”.
- Yet another topic that didn’t get made fun of much before The Simpsons: wifely competition. Also, drunk Marge is awesome.
- One of us, one of us, one of us.
- “Dear Lord, thank you for this microwaved bounty.”
- Subtle Season 1 joke: Homer saying he wants to be alone with his “thought”, singular.
- That’s right, Springfield cops extort drinks on the job. Bless ’em.
- The pawn shop guy is appropriately sleazy.
- Marvin Monroe: total swindler. I love this show.
- Openly denigrating the idea of the nuclear family is just one more of many civic contributions of The Simpsons.
- Realistic flesh tones!
5. Bart the General
- “Bart! You’re saying ‘butt kisser’ like it’s a bad thing.”
- Homer gives a wonderful ton of awful fatherly advice this season.
- That’s right, Bart considers “honor student” to be pejorative.
- It’s great that, in his imagining of his own funeral, Bart figures that Homer would care more about missing work than the death of his first born.
- Homer’s “code of the school yard” speech should be thought in upper level sociology classes.
- Scratch that, this entire episode should be taught in upper level sociology classes.
- C’mon Grampa, you can be a vibrant, sex loving maniac and a bitter, resentful individual.
- Google seems to think that there is not, repeat not, a large type edition of Soldier of Fortune.
- They made a lot of movies about World War II, Patton is one of the best.
- Gorgeous animation much?:
- Grampa’s nostalgia for the horrors of combat is one of those things you probably couldn’t get away with these days.
- This episode has a child say “We were only following orders”.
6. Moaning Lisa
- Grade school band practice is so inherently awful as to be beyond mockery, right until Lisa starts talking. That’s good mockery.
- There’s no way to watch Bart and Homer play the B-plot without wanting to fire up an emulator and play the Mike Tyson game.
- Maggie picking the TV over both of her siblings is a joke that can only be seen, but is no less great for being so.
- It’s sad, but the original Bleeding Gums died in 2002. Still awesome.
- “Oh, so that’s it, this is some kind of underwear thing.” Homer’s cluelessness and Marge’s resigned competence are perfect here.
- Marge’s horrible advice to Lisa about dimwittedly smiling, and her subsequent recantation of said advice, is yet another thing for which this show should be canonized. Here’s what many parents tell their kids, and here’s why that’s stupid beyond belief.
- Speaking of excellent animation: the jazz club and everything afterwards. There are things in Season 1 that don’t look right. This is not one of them.
7. The Call of the Simpsons
- Albert Brooks, RV salesman.
- “You ever known a siren to be good?”
- I’m not trying to make this a theme or anything, but the RV falling off the cliff and blowing up is animated really well.
- The ballistic failure of Homer’s rabbit trap is one of the best visual jokes this show has ever done.
- People say the news media sucks these days, and they’re right. But remember that it sucked in 1990 too.
8. The Telltale Head
- Ever been to church? This episode will let you giggle through that awful waste of time.
- “You don’t need an introduction, you’re the worst kid in school.” “Thanks.”
- Gotta love the school bus on fire going off a cliff.
- There are a lot of shows that will use a distressed cat’s meow as a punchline. There aren’t a lot of shows that will use it twice by starting and stopping it.
- Gotta love the murderous, vigilante rage of Krusty.
- There is also a disturbing “why so serious” vibe to Krusty in this episode.
9. Life on the Fast Lane
- Even in Season 1 animation, Lisa’s insane macaroni birthday card is hilarious.
- “The Springfield Mall is now open for your spending needs.”
- The singing waiters sing “Nearer My God”. And it’s during a birthday celebration. Once again, I love this show.
- God bless sleazy horn music.
- Helen Lovejoy is a great television villain. Let’s hope something runs over her.
- There are a lot of genuinely sad moments in this episode, but everyone one has some gags to let you know that they aren’t really serious.
10. Homer’s Night Out
- Almost all of the time, bachelor’s parties are wretched.
- Hey, look! They’re developing photos with chemicals instead of Mac OX X.
- Research indicates that over fifty-percent of power is used by women. The gall!
- This is another episode that has a brutal hilarity to its conclusion. Yes, women are pathetic drooling objects, but men are salivatory jackasses.
11. The Crepes of Wrath
- “The boy. Bring me the boy.” If there has ever been a better expression of parental frustration I have yet to encounter it.
- Marge looking through the peep-hole to see Skinner is great. It makes him seem as odd for them as he naturally would be. Also, he wants to deport an American citizen.
- “Don’t mess up France the way you messed up your room.”
- Skinner’s jingoistic love of that duplicitous Albanian is great.
- 5% of the people controlling 95% of the wealth, Adil was ahead of the curve.
- Even when his son has been replaced by a Commie spy, Homer still has to be baited into thinking his own kid isn’t worthless.
- It probably won’t even blind him.
- The child spy exchange is awesome.
12. Krusty Gets Busted
- “If cartoons were meant for adults they’d put them on in primetime.”
- In a theoretically serious moment, Chief Wiggum says “Send in the clowns.”
- Again with the “hell yeah!” Season 1 animcation:
- Character wise, the repressed valet parking of Sideshow Bob comes through wonderfully.
- Sideshow Bob: proof that homicidal maniacs can also be authoritarian.
- An invocation of “meddling kids” can also serve as a reminder that children are oft smarter than we give them credit for.
13. Some Enchanted Evening
- Harsh reality time: Homer’s a boob and Dr. Marvin is as useless as those guys on Oprah.
- “We’re all pigs.”
- I can’t do Homer’s mispronunciations in this episode. But that it involves babysitting, work, and nominal child abandonment is good enough for me.
- “Video library”, there’s one of the 1980s worst innovations.
- And we end on Homer giving cash to an armed fugitive.