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04
May
15

Behind Us Forever: Let’s Go Fly a Coot

Lemon of Troy14

“Hey, look, someone’s attractive cousin!” – Bart Simpson

This week on Zombie Simpsons, a bunch of old Air Force pilots show up to threaten Homer into spending time with his dad, or something.  Meanwhile, Milhouse’s hot cousin (voiced by Carice van Houten, a/k/a She Who Queefs Shadows on Game of Thrones) likes to use e-cigarettes.  Nothing much happens in either.

– Short couch gag and shortened opening, don’t see that too often.

– We open at Milhouse’s super elaborate birthday party.  Homer picks up the take home bag and helpfully tells us what each of the contents are as he picks them up.

– Homer is now plotting out loud against elaborate birthday parties.

– And montage.

– Ugh, and as soon as the montage is over, Marge pops up to ask, “Homer Simpson, do you know anything about these epic birthday fails?”.

– More witty, sparkling dialogue:

Homer: I’m not afraid of Big Birthday!  Ahh!  Big Birthday!

– Now there’s a guy in a suit telling us what we’ve just been watching.

– The guy in the suit is still here, and now for some reason he’s threatening Homer with never having balloon animals at his kids birthday parties.  This got super weird faster than usual.

– Now Homer has thrown a party and at air museum for Rod Flanders.  If this was coherent enough to be confusing, I’d be confused.

– Grampa’s old Air Force buddies (don’t ask) just flew in out of the sky.

– Uh, Homer just fed Grampa a carrot and then led him away by his bolo tie.

– Milhouse’s attractive cousin just showed up with an e-cigarette.  This should provide a healthy mix of hapless topicality and expository nonsense.

– The old guys just showed up at the house so Homer can fight them in his underwear.

– Remember what I said about nonsense exposition?  Here’s Milhouse:

Milhouse: Everybody’s got one gift.  Mine is portable, indoor Dutch shuffleboard.

He then puts the game on a shelf labeled “Portable Foreign Games”.  Ugh.

– Apu is now ranting about e-cigarettes.

– But there was a good sign joke in the background.  A video game called “Marbury vs. Madison”.

– The old Air Force guy is now babbling about something.

– And they’re at the movies.  We got another decent sign gag, “The Exhaustibles 3: Arthritis Will Unite Us”.

– But then there was a preview for a movie about a “dystopian future”.  Homer then started listing off dystopian future movies.  It goes on for a while.

– They did mention the Mr. Burns play in the list though.  That was nice of them.

– Oh, the Air Force guy was apparently with them the whole time.  Huh, he didn’t do anything during that whole listing thing.

– Expositing crappy jokes is just what they do:

Air Force Guy: If you love your father, you’ll make sure he doesn’t get disoriented trying to work the knobless faucet.
Grampa Simpson: I’m too cold to trigger the infra-red.
Homer: Ugh

We then see Homer waiting outside the bathroom.

– Now the old Air Force guys are holding Homer at gunpoint to make him hug Grampa.  Yeesh.

– Back in the B-plot, Bart and Milhouse’s cousin are reciting lists of things to each other.

– Marge and Luann just showed up out of nowhere. to catch Bart with the e-cigarette.

– Bart just ran into the kitchen to say that they’re sending Milhouse’s cousin back to Holland.  This show seems to enjoy out of the blue plot swerves.

– And now we’re in a flashback.

– And Lisa interrupted the flashback.  Though she wasn’t there before Grampa started it.

– We’re back in the flashback and Abe is flying a test jet despite the fact that he wasn’t a pilot.

– This flashback keeps going.  We just got a Jack Kerouac reference explained to us.

– And it ends with the revelation that some waitress was really Homer’s mom.  That doesn’t really have any bearing on the rest of this story, but they seemed to think it was a conclusion of some kind.

– Now Bart is chasing Milhouse’s cousin down at the airport.

– Bart is now expositing about, ah screw it.  There’s only a minute to go and this isn’t worth recapping.

– Milhouse has a lizard tongue.

– And then the A-plot showed up to . . . not resolve itself.  Weird.

Anyway, the numbers are in and you’ll be unsurprised to learn that they continue to be historically bad.  Last night, just 3.11 million people wished they were watching Carice van Houten on Game of Thrones instead of this.  That makes it #4 on the all time least watched list and leaves Season 26 with an overall average of 5.00 million.  Season 25’s average was 4.99 million and there are two weeks to go, so Season 26 is almost certainly going to take the title of least watched overall.

04
May
15

Quote of the Day

Saturdays of Thunder16

“And now, to present the trophy, three time soap box derby champion, Ronny Beck!” – MC
“Congratulations, Bart, seeing you out there brought back a lot of memories.” – Ronnie Beck

Happy birthday Russi Taylor! 

03
May
15

Quote of the Day

King of the Hill9

“Don’t you have anything healthy here?” – Homer Simpson
“We do have some low salt candy bars, and some reduced fat soda.  And our beef jerky is now nearly rectum free!” – Apu Nahasapeemapetilon

02
May
15

Quote of the Day

YarnButtons

“There’s the store where I buy my yarn.  But you don’t want to buy your buttons there.” – Marge Simpson
“Whew, well I dodged a bullet.” – Homer Simpson

01
May
15

Reading Digest: Real Life Soul Donut Edition

Treehouse of Horror IV20

“Well, well, finishing something?” – The Devil

This week, someone not only made Simpsons donuts and posted the recipe, they made the Soul Donut!  Excellent.  In addition to that we’ve got fan art everywhere from crosstitch and felt to statues and house paint.  Plus there’s some excellent usage, more episode rundowns and reviews, and more.

Enjoy.

Note: Still no news on contract renewal.  I continue to assume there will be a full Season 27.

Homer Simpson’s Donut Recipe – Just what it says, with easy to follow instructions and this:

real-forbidden-donut

Etsy: Marge Simpson Cross Stitch – Excellent and for sale.

Works in Progress – And coming soon from the same woman as the link above, Moe!

Simpson – Fan made Homer out of felt.  Excellent.

5 ‘Simpsons’ Episodes That Could Have Been The Series Finale – “Behind the Laughter” still gets my vote.

This website archives everything Bart Simpson has ever written on the blackboard – Metro.co.uk rediscovered that site that has all the chalkboard images on it, so it was making the rounds this week.

Brighton students wake up to massive Simpsons mural being painted on their home – Neat:

Renowned Brighton graffiti artist Aroe MSK was commissioned by the landlord to paint the striking artwork on the house in Hartington Road as a result of his Viaduct Road piece last month.

There’s a couple of good pictures at the link.

Weekend Gaming Goodness – Awesome:

The Simpsons trivia tournament was, as many predicted it would be, perfectly cromulent.
The questions were tough, the players were nerds. I went into that tournament all but certain we’d win; we placed fourth.

I am an early Simpsons nut and the questions were all from seasons three to ten. How could I fail? I’ll tell you how: questions like What is the name of the gun store from which Homer buys his gun?

Fourth. Shameful.

Really though, my friends and I had a blast. The host was dressed as Otto and the prize for winning was an inanimate carbon rod.

Our team name? Worker and Parasite.

PeteSnyder on Twitter – Apparently there’s now a “Bartman” sculpture in front of the FOX News headquarters:

BartmanFoxNews

Old Money – I love that wool shawls are in “Activewear”:

-“Grandma’s World” has to be real store somewhere.

Brush With Greatness – Ah, for when Homer’s screams were quick and meant something:

-My favorite part of the episode? Probably Homer’s reaction to seeing Burns in his house. He screams the most abrupt scream in the history of television.

Round 1, Battle 6 – (S.9 Ep. 16) Dumbbell Indemnity vs (S.2 Ep. 1) Bart Gets an “F” – That’s an easy one.

Round 1, Battle 7 – (S.8 Ep.14) The Twisted World of Marge Simpson vs. (S.7 Ep. 11) Scenes from a Class Struggle in Springfield – That’s close, but I gotta go with those stuck up rich snobs and their abalone sandwiches.

Round 1 – Battle 8 – (S.8 Ep.16) Brother From Another Series vs (S.8 Ep. 20) The Canine Mutiny – Yeah, gotta go with the Sideshow brothers there.

Round 1 Battle 9 – (S. 2 Ep. 22) Blood Feud vs (S. 3 Ep. 5) Homer Defined – Oof, that’s rough.

TV Pick of the Day – Heh:

Watch it for: Some dark Simpsons gags (think cops and brothels), a lesson in the dangers of the household rake.

You may remember me from such shows watched from the set of $ale….. – Heh.

Tao of Homer – Philly sports bar heh.

Hello Kitty x The Simpsons – One of the shirts in the wild on a real person.

This leaked Sony email helps explain why most Hollywood movies are garbage – Excellent usage:

Shore’s email (Subject: “Spidey thought”) reads like the pitch scene from the Poochie episode of The Simpsons (“He needs more attitude!“) It imagines an EDM blasting, Tough Mudder-running, Snapchat-obsessed douchebag Spider-Man.

Sony: The Studio That Makes FOX Look Competent.

Doctor Who and The Simpsons among the most important television articles on Wikipedia – Well, most referenced, anyway.

The Simpsons Transcend the Apocolypse in Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play – The Vegas version of the play has some seriously creepy Simpsons masks.  Bravo.

Ignore the news and watch The Simpsons – Good advice:

Thoughtful investors know their job is to restrain the reflexive response, which produces behaviour that is the very antithesis of intelligent investing.

I follow the maxim of a commentator who said: “The best thing to do at key turning points is to ignore the news completely and watch the Simpsons”.

I have found this to be good advice.

Minecraft PS4 Adds The Simpsons DLC This Week – That is all.

Cate Street deal shows danger of crony capitalism – Excellent reference:

Given all that, the idea that Maine might end up playing Springfield to Cate Street’s Lyle Lanley should come as no surprise. The only difference between the Cate Street scheme and Lyle Lanley selling Springfield a monorail in “The Simpsons” with the city’s nuclear fallout settlement money is that at least Springfield was lucky enough to have Marge Simpson as a lone voice of reason. Though she was completely ignored, she argued to use the settlement money on traditional infrastructure improvements, like repairing Main Street.
Under the dome in Augusta, there was no Marge Simpson: the New Market tax credit plan sailed through with bipartisan support.

New trending GIF tagged tv cartoon the simpsons… – Burns and his favorite word.

New trending GIF tagged tv cartoon the simpsons… – Nerd!

New trending GIF tagged the simpsons woody allen… – That’s noted taxpayer Willie Nelson, not Woody Allen.

01
May
15

Quote of the Day

The Last Temptation of Homer11

“Agent Wesson, Department of Labor.  This man’s an illegal alien.” – Agent Wesson
“That’s preposterous!  Zutroy here is as American as apple pie.” – C.M. Burns

30
Apr
15

Compare & Contrast: Making Flashback Episodes Worthwhile

Lisa's First Word14

“Can you say David Hasselhoff?” – Bart Simpson
“David Hassahof.” – Lisa Simpson
“Can you say Daddy?” – Homer Simpson
“Homer.” – Lisa Simpson

The Simpsons did its first flashback episode way (way) back in Season 2.  “The Way We Was” introduced us to Homer and Marge as high school kids who had never even met; and along the way answered one of the fundamental questions of the show: why, exactly, is Marge with Homer?  Over the next four seasons they flashed back three more times, each time showing the birth of one of the Simpson kids.  “I Married Marge” showed us Bart’s accidental conception inside a mini-golf decoration.  “Lisa’s First Word” put the family in now their iconic house and showed the beginning of Bart and Lisa’s never ending rivalry.  “And Maggie Makes Three” completed the set and showed us that there was no sacrifice too painful for Homer to make for his kids (well, not the boy, but you know what I mean).

And Maggie Makes Three16

Genuine character development, a concept unknown to Zombie Simpsons.

These episodes do not, strictly speaking, fit chronologically.  If Bart was conceived after his parents saw The Empire Strikes Back in a theater, there’s no way he can be two years older than Lisa, who was born in the summer of 1984.  Similarly, if Homer and Marge were leaving high school in 1976, Homer wouldn’t be twenty-four-years-old in 1980.  But it doesn’t matter because background numbers that only the dedicated will ever put together aren’t the point.

By spacing events a little further apart, they gave themselves more defined cultural targets than just borderline meaningless shorthand like “The 70s” or “The 80s”.  So not only do these four episodes form a coherent whole while filling in the background of our favorite family, they do so while making pointed fun of distinct slices of American culture.

Homer and Marge are in high school in the mid 1970s, then Bart’s birth is the early 1980s, Lisa’s the mid-1980s, and Maggie’s the early 1990s.  Poking fun at Ms. and “makeout music” becomes Yoda and John Anderson, which becomes the 1984 Olympics preceding an hour long episode of Mama’s Family, which finishes up with the “clear beverage craze” and “information superhighway”.

I Married Marge15

Homer Simpson, early pioneer of the sarcastic t-shirt.

That level of specificity is missing from “The Kids Are All Fight”, as is any meaningful background on the family and/or general cultural coherence.  They tell us Lisa and Bart are two and four, but neither of them acts anything like a two-year-old or a four-year-old.  They use film development as a justification for looking back, but it’s not like many people were still using film in 2009.  The flashback idea that used to be so carefully handled has become just another excuse for a weird, semi-magical adventure in a “past” Springfield that is indistinguishable from the one they usually use.

They do make a stab at showing us a little family development, but it’s pretty halfhearted.  You see, Bart and Lisa used to fight a lot (and they will make sure you understand by stating so explicitly many times), and now they don’t.  The eventual story reason they offer for this is that Lisa “gives in”.  There are large scope problems with that (we’ve seen them fight countless times, and Lisa clearly hasn’t given in), and there are small scope problems with that (the wacky adventure they go on is more about Bart bolting than Bart and Lisa fighting).  But what really makes the kids’ story ring hollow is the way that conclusion glosses over Lisa’s surrender.

A show with characters who are faintly recognizable as human beings, or even one with just a little heart, could do a lot with a younger sibling resigning herself to years of dangerously crazy behavior from her brother.  There’s a plenty of material there for emotion, comedy, and fun generally, but Zombie Simpsons brushes any of that off for action scenes of Bart riding a big wheel through traffic and cutesy title cards announcing each new wacky scene.

Storytime Title Card

How whimsical.

For proof of this, look no further than Ralph Wiggum’s brief cameo.  Since this is Zombie Simpsons, he appears out of nowhere, then gets into the wheel of a semi-truck, then is shipped off on a boat.  They put him next to Lisa, but he hadn’t been there the last time we saw her and the two of them don’t interact at all.  He just pops in and then starts talking.

Oh, Hai, Ralph

Hi, Ralph!  Uh, how did you get here?

Here’s the entirety of his dialogue:

Your brother is stupid.  Bye bye.  The wheel I’m inside goes round and round, round and round, round and round.  The boat I’m aboard goes up and down, up and down, up and down.

It isn’t even a good Ralph-ism.  He just tells us what we’re seeing, and it goes on so long that he uses more than twice as many words as “Super Nintendo Chalmers”, “I bent my wookie”, and “Me fail English?  That’s unpossible” all put together.  Even if you don’t care about him materializing and not having anything to do with what was happening, that’s just awful.

The final evidence that story coherence and relatable characters don’t even enter into the thinking at Zombie Simpsons comes one scene later, when we see Chief Wiggum for the first and only time.  The whole second half of the episode is about Lisa and Bart getting into trouble unsupervised and Homer and Marge’s panicked search to find them.  Ralph Wiggum is doing the exact same thing as Bart and Lisa, but all we see Chief Wiggum do is interview Gil (for some reason).

Wiggum doesn’t know that his kid is roaming the streets, and the episode seems to have forgotten it completely as well.  There isn’t even a blithe, expository explanation because, as far as Zombie Simpsons is concerned, the Chief and Ralph are just one scene props.

There isn’t even any connection to the fact that this is a flashback.  Like most of the people, places and events we see in “The Kids Are All Fight”, both of them could just as easily be doing and saying the exact same things in the show’s regular timeframe.  When The Simpsons went to the past, it went with a purpose and made fun of everything it saw.  When Zombie Simpsons goes to the past, it trips backwards, stares blankly for a bit, and then continues stumbling around like always.




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