“Listen, rummy, I’m going to say it plain and simple: where’d you pinch the hooch? Is some blind tiger jerking suds on the side?” – Rex Banner
“Yes?” – Barney Gumble
Good morning and welcome to the Season 8 Simpsons-Beer Marathon. Thanks to everyone who voted, because I do love me some Season 8 and this is going to be a lot of fun. As with previous marathons, I’ll be pausing or reversing a little to get a quote right or take a screen grab, but I won’t be touching the fast-forward button, even for credits and openings. This is also the first time I’ve done this since the demise of my beloved old laptop, so we’ll see if this new fangled fancy one (Snowball II) is up to the task of its predecessor.
The comment section is open and the plan is to put a few things on Twitter as well (the kids seem to like that), but I’ll be busy and drunk, so don’t be miffed when I don’t respond with anything but further updates. And so, acknowledging that an episode about excessive drunkenness is waiting for me eighteen beers ahead at around 3pm, let’s get going.
1. Treehouse of Horror VII
- I would read Homer’s autobiography.
- Gotta love the misdirection of them hiding in the closet instead of the vases.
- “So we did the only humane thing.” “We chained Hugo up in the attic like an animal and fed him a bucket of fish heads once a week.” “It saved our marriage!”
- It’s the second smack on the head that really makes the pigeon-rat.
- The narrative economy of the Halloween episodes is amazing. The Hugo segment has time for a full backstory and a twist ending, and it doesn’t get in the way of the jokes.
- “Mold! That’s science fair paydirt.” Yup.
- Smith’s grumbling delivery about the waffle iron being “in the shop forever” is why she’s so good. It’s sincere and silly all at the same time.
- The animation when the ships fly out and attack Bart is great, especially that one that flies through his ears.
- He lives in the Clark building. Heh.
- The tiny, super brief and clever references, like the woman with her baby as the little people run from Bart or the way the alien claw behaves like one of those crappy games when it picks Homer up, are what we won’t be getting next Sunday with Zombie Simpsons.
- “Oh my God, space aliens! Don’t eat me! I have a wife and kids, eat them!” – Homer Simpson
- Phil Hartman’s Clinton is the best Presidential imitation that ever came out of SNL, including Ferrell’s Bush the Younger and Carvey’s Bush the Elder.
- That’s right, the DNC rides around in a cargo van, what of it?
- Only The Simpsons could have a campaign satire where the sitting President and his challenger both show their butts, right before being killed.
2. You Only Move Twice
- You don’t need me to tell you how great this episode is, but what I maybe love most about it is the simplicity of the concept. The entire thing, right from the start with the job offer and benefits, is predicted on a Bond villain who cares about his henchmen. That’s it. If there’s one thing that unifies all Bond villains it is a complete disregard for their underlings, so they came up with a perfectly plausible Bond villain and made him the most employee friendly boss ever. The word “genius” gets used way too much these days, but that is stone cold genius.
- The Simpson family: early pioneers of jingle mail.
- Never before has the enormity and majesty of Redwoods been described so poetically.
- Other Simpson innovations: robot vacuum cleaner.
- And even though Scorpio is the best boss ever: he’s still a jerk who doesn’t want you to call him the boss.
- “Matter of fact, I didn’t even give you my coat!”
- Albert Brooks is just amazing here. Everything he says is quotable. (And his reprise of this role was – by far – the best thing about the movie.)
- Anyone besides me ever notice the slight nasal note to Bart’s voice when he talks about cursive? Did he have the allergies in an earlier draft of the script or something?
- Oh, the kids in the Leg Up Program.
- I use “case of the sposedas” all the time.
- Someday I want to open a hammock store called Put Your Butt There.
- Nobody every says Italy.
- The animation for Lisa’s allergies and the chipmunk is just phenomenal.
- I don’t remember precisely, but I laughed so hard I may have peed a little when Homer tackles Bund and they do what no Bond villain ever does and just shoot him.
- Kill it with fire!
- And, because this episode wasn’t awesome enough already, we get the song at the end.
3. The Homer They Fall
- Weren’t there three Indians last year?
- “A fat, sarcastic Star Trek fan, you must be a devil with the ladies.” And you know they know their Trek because Comic Book Guy calls it “illogical”.
- I’m gonna regret it around 5pm when I’m courting a genuinely unhealthy BAC, but so far I’m glad you guys made me include this one. I’m also gonna regret it during the fight at the end, but the first 2/3 of this one are fantastic.
- “That’s what we get for living in a state founded by circus freaks.”
- It’s not just a surgical 2×4, it’s a sterile surgical 2×4.
- All hobos must have bindles, it is Simpsons law.
- Paul Winfield’s Don King take has everything: gibberish, fake dignity, completely amoral deal making.
- Tasteful Attire Prohibited
- The fake tension at the end drags this out and makes it feel so much longer than it is. It just keeps going . . . and then there’s the oddity of Moe with the fan . . . and then everyone they just left is waiting for them outside. As many great things as this episode has, the end is a terrible preview of Zombie Simpsons.
- “Due to popular demand, we will forego our national anthem.”
4. Burns, Baby Burns
- Just like the previous one, the first two acts here are very solid before everything goes to hell. This was about when people I knew, both kids and adults, really started to bitch about the decline in quality.
- Homer’s brain leaving Flanders’ cider lecture is perfect, right up to and including his nodding and collapse.
- This episode did give us “keen on Jesus”, though, and for that I am very grateful.
- Dangerfield at the snooty cotillion (or whatever) is his best part here. Very Caddyshack.
- Gotta love the deadpan from the Yale guy on “Semper Fudge”. All credit to Azaria.
- I really need a “Gone Drinkin” sign.
- No regard or esteem.
- Oh, shit, here we go with the phony kidnapping.
- The little points, like Too Many Grandmas, Brockman in the chopper, and the theoretical deaths of Homer are good, but this and the heavyweight fight are the kind of filler with which we’ve become all too familiar.
- “It doesn’t have to make sense.” It used to.
5. Bart After Dark
- Ah, the V-chip. It was stupid at the time and is even stupider in hindsight.
- More great delivery from Smith, “Playing on my peach tree, Mom!”
- “Cat in the furnace.” “You know, I think I’ll take Maggie.”
- I would pay to see the World Series of Bumper Cars, and I would pay a lot to see it in a European ballroom.
- And speaking of great deliveries: Cartwright as Bart laughs at his impending death.
- “Are you wearing a grocery bag?” “I have misplaced my pants.”
- Yet more great delivery, that little yip Castellaneta does when Grampa sees Bart as he walks in and turns around.
- “Not pictured, Mrs. Eisenhower.”
- Ha, never noticed Swartzwelder in the audience when Homer shows up at the, uh, back house before.
- Among the many, many reasons it sucked when they killed Maude: her, Flanders and the Lovejoys were great as the resident squares (here as the Citizens Committee on Moral Hygiene).
- Eugene and Rusty are just perfect.
- Even with his eyes blacked out, it’s great how sad and dejected Smithers is in that photo of him leaving.
- And then Grampa and Jasper vote because it isn’t the bordello. It’s the little things.
- There’s no way to name a best song from The Simpsons (or even in Season 8), but The Spring in Springfield is one for the ages. It’s got all the characters in character and it’s funny as hell to boot.
6. A Milhouse Divided
- Homer is reading Hot Lotto Picks magazine. This show hated many things, but it really hated the lottery. (And with good cause!)
- If I could make .gifs easily while I’m drinking and watching TV, I would make one of Maggie in the non-stick wok.
- “The only thing I asked you to do for this party was put on clothes, and you didn’t do it.”
- Table Time and Allied Biscuit! I’d love to know what other things they had before they settled on those.
- Casa Nova: A Transitional Place for Singles
- “I don’t recall saying good luck.”
- Kirk sets the bar for pathetic divorcees. The apartment (race car bed included), the clothes (with gold chain), and Starla, it’s a masterpiece of male failure.
- Yeardley Smith has a lot of great Lisa deliveries, but her deadpan, as in “buns in the cabinet”, is maybe the one with the most depth. She’s an 8-year-old who has seen it all, and it wouldn’t work without that mix of resignation, contempt and pity.
- This episode is nigh flawless, but you can already see the absence of Doris Grau with the clerk who files Homer for divorce. It’s funny, but it’s not Grau.
- “Poorness is underlined.”
- Man there are a lot of good songs in this season. There’s already been “Spring in Springfield”, now we get “Can I Borrow a Feeling” and we’re still a ways away from the Shary Bobbins episode.
7. Lisa’s Date with Density
- Great reversal with Kearney yelling at those punk school officials messing with his car.
- “A Jolly Rancher is not a sprinkle, sir. Perhaps in Shangri-la they are, but not here!”
- Jimbo has a chain mace in his locker.
- “But you’re going to annoy thousands of people just to make a few measly dollars.” – Replace thousands with millions and you’ve got Zombie Simpsons.
- Nobody likes Milhouse!
- Milhouse has always been pathetic, but he really takes it to a new level here. Especially once they pack his ears with gauze.
- My high school girlfriend once told me how she had to cringe her way through the part where Lisa tries to impress Nelson with the cat. There really is nothing quite as deeply horrifying as noob romantic fumblings.
- Nuke the Whales is funny, the look on the whales faces is funnier.
- “You kissed a girl!” “That is so gay!” – As usual, the show was ahead of the times.
- I gotta start using “assbutt” more often.
- That is exactly the kind of dog Milhouse would have.
8. Hurricane Neddy
- Fire? Earthquake? Hippies?
- Attention to detail: when the National Guard guy gets Grampa to evacuate the nursing home, he does a perfect heel turn.
- Topwise! Always topwise.
- Gotta love not only a town that has a harpsichord store, but one that is destroyed in a hurricane.
- If you’re going to have a business teetering precariously on top of a mountain, it might as well be a bowling alley.
- Most textual Biblical scholars do believe that Job was right handed.
- Short answer, long answer.
- “You ugly, hate filled man!” “Hey, hey, I may be ugly and hate filled but I, um, . . . what was the third things you said?”
- “Most of those books haven’t been discredited yet!”
- Poor Jay Sherman. Got his show cancelled and ended up at Calmwood.
- “I engaged in intercourse with your spouse or significant other . . . now that’s psychiatry!”
- The little mono-blink from Flanders at the end is a nice touch.
9. El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer (The Mysterious Voyage of Homer)
- I have completely copied Marge’s pronunciation of oregano.
- Jungle primeval.
- Homer’s insanity pepper trip is one of the most gorgeous things they ever put pen to paper for.
- There should be a .gif of the tortoise nodding in the dictionary next to “smug”.
- If you’re gonna have a drug induced space coyote, it couldn’t be anyone but Johnny Cash, a man who knew from drugs and had a voice for the ages.
- “And I bet that crazy pyramid was just the pro shop.”
- So I says to Mabel, I says . . .
- “I’m a lonely insignificant speck on a half bit planet orbited by a cold, indifferent sun.”
- Aye, the hot pants.
10. The Springfield Files
- No one is going to catch Takei for Trek Veteran Who Best Understands 21st Century Pop Culture, but Nimoy is uncontested in second place.
- Hey, I’m on the same beer number that Homer was!
- Let’s all take a moment to enjoy Mulder’s man-thong ID photo.
- “His jiggling is almost hypnotic.” “Yes, it’s like a lava lamp.”
- Tibetan numerologists of Appalachia!
- “Now, son, you don’t want to drink beer. That’s for daddies and kids with fake IDs.”
- For those of you too young to remember some of the lowlights of Nimoy’s TV career, this was a thing. TV was really awful back then. This shit was rerun on cable well into the 1990s.
- The green glow, both on Burns and on the rest of them looks great.
11. The Twisted World of Marge Simpson
- When are the pancakes coming in the mail?
- That Moon money is mine!
- “Scientists say 40% of America’s pictures are hanging crooked.”
- Gotta love the Travolta painting behind Disco Stu, who is doing his people’s native dance.
- I don’t know if it’s real words or just mumbling, but the chef’s bitching as the franchise lady closes the window on him is hilarious.
- Can’t beat Jack Lemmon’s disgusted but professional delivery on “check for millipedes”.
- More easy usage: “shoulda but didna”.
- “And here come the pretzels!”
- “A barrage of pretzels now knocking Whitey unconscious.”
- Only Fat Tony’s mob would leave the Girl Scouts out at the county line.
- What husband wouldn’t reach out to violent mobsters?
- Mantegna’s pretzel money speech also has it all: threats of violence, domestic tension, and good, old fashioned extortion. Also: “C’mere you little squirt.”
- Forgiveness please.
12. Mountain of Madness
- Not only does Homer barricade the door so no one else can get out, but later all the windows are broken, the wall is smashed, and yet Homer’s blocked door is intact.
- All the points to Azaria for the park ranger. It’s Adam West-y when he says “Budget cutbacks have forced us to eliminate anything the least bit entertaining.”
- “If you can take advantage of a situation in some way, it’s your duty as an American to do it.”
- Marge has such wonderfully insane earmuffs.
- “From the mightiest pharaoh to the lowliest peasant, who doesn’t enjoy a good sit?” – Shearer’s so good at Burns that you almost don’t notice it because the excellence is utterly consistent.
- Humor the children. Ouch.
- “Something’s wrong with it’s brakes.”
- No one ever learns anything about teamwork, which is why that glum, collective “Yes” when Burns asks is so good.
13. Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(Annoyed Grunt)cious
- Not only are Carl and Apu Confederates in the re-enactment society, but Barney(!) is Abe. Awesome.
- “I hide a bottle of Schnapps in the baby’s crib.”
- Is it a minor animation goof on “anyone but him” in the first song where Bart and Lisa start pointing before they get to that line, or am I just missing something?
- Text can’t do it justice; Willie’s Flashdance is beyond description.
- I watched a documentary about the Sherman brothers, who composed many of the classic Disney songs, and they used to play “Feed the Birds” for Walt Disney all the time. He’d just walk into their office and ask them to “play the song”. The Simpson version may be the most touching thing about destructive alcoholism ever put to music.
- Between the animation and Maggie Roswell, original creation Shary Bobbins is one of the best parodies ever.
- If you’re going to end a satire of a movie about magic and fun competing in a technological age, why not have the hero sucked into an airplane engine and diced into confetti?
14. The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show
- This episode may be about crappy Itchy & Scratchy, but it does have some great I&S moments. Pouring gasoline into the disemboweled intestines of a cat dangling over an active volcano, case in point.
- Focus groups: significant to idiots.
- “Please refrain from tasting the knob.” Dirty.
- To this day I try never to use the word ‘paradigm’.
- Homer’s tryout for Poochie is a tour-de-force from Castellaneta.
- “Very few cartoons are broadcast live. It’s a terrible strain on the animator’s wrist.”
- “Rest assured that I was on the internet within minutes registering my disgust throughout the world.”
- Alex Rocco doesn’t even get a line when he gets frustrated that the actors won’t read Poochie’s death line, but his wretched wails of frustration say plenty.
- The sworn affidavit is on a scroll!
- So long, Roy.
- What else is on?
15. Homer’s Phobia
- Bart would have the presence of mind to put a legal disclaimer on the back of a ticket for a lottery he’s running out of a dryer.
- John Waters! John Waters! John Waters!
- John is a ho-mo-sexual!
- “I like my beer cold, my TV loud, and my homosexuals flaming!”
- Castellaneta’s delivery on “I don’t know” at The Anvil should be in the Smithsonian or something.
- “Just my bones and organs.”
- Keep reaching for that rainbow!
16. Brother from Another Series
- “He explained his reasons for trying to kill us all, and I assure you: they were perfectly sane.”
- Nice dissolve from Cecil’s flashback back to his face at dinner with his brother.
- Why The Simpsons is The Simpsons: there’s a great joke about a dead dog (the old smell hound). Dead dogs are comedy poison, and they pulled it off.
- Nice animation/music/directing when Bob and the kids slide into the grate.
- “I think I wet my bed.”
17. My Sister, My Sitter
- Allied tradespeople. Heh.
- They make no sense out of context, but both Quimby’s “Stop you idiot” and Homer’s “I was once like you” fit perfectly where they are.
- “Hey, this isn’t faux dive, this is a dive.” “You’re a long way from home, yuppie boy. I’ll start a tab.”
- Hey look, it’s the NASA guy who doesn’t have to give Lisa the amnesia shot for seeing a UFO.
- Everyone in the waiting room at the ghetto clinic is great: Snake with his lies, Smithers with his shame, and, of course, the nurse who just doesn’t care.
- The end of this episode is way too serious, but there is Maggie’s innocent wave when the adults finally discover Lisa.
- And we end on the perpetual desperation of parents for babysitting, because if there’s one thing that’s worth risking your children for, it’s getting away from them.
18. Homer vs. the 18th Amendment
- “Everybody, everybody get naked! Come on, don’t be stuck up, it’s going to be great!”
- “Ladies, please, all our Founding Fathers, astronauts, and World Series heroes have been either drunk or on cocaine.”
- It’s so great that Bernice is a drunk and Hibbert doesn’t even know. I wonder if Phylicia Rashad drank.
- Dave Thomas, who did the voice for Rex Banner, doesn’t get near enough credit. He was also on Oakley and Weinstein’s Mission Hill and he was Doug McKenzie. Thanks again, Canada.
- I’d like a bathtub mint julep.
- “Go to your room, Lisa!” – Homer, Marge & Bart Simpson
- “Hey, Banner, how’s it hanging?” “None of your business.”
- It’s true, if there’s one group of people who don’t know what laughter sounds like, it’s vice squad killjoys who are against fun.
- “On behalf of the city, I’d like to apologize and ask how long it will take for you to flood this town with booze again?”
- Here it is: “To alcohol, the cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems!”.
19. Grade School Confidential
- I don’t remember Nixon, but my Dad can’t let go of “let me say this about that”.
- “Is this how you imagined your life, Edna?” “Well, yes, but then, I was a very depressed child.”
- What kind of total horror must it be to get puke out of a bouncy castle? Well done, Milhouse.
- Good lesson.
- Nice callback to have Skinner humming Beethoven when he calls Bart to give Krabappel the note.
- Agnes forcing Bart to look at her cake book would be bad enough on its own. It’s so much worse because by Season 8 we all know that if there is one group for which this show has zero pity, it’s old people.
- “Willie hears ya, Willie don’t care.”
- But I am a public servant and not permitted to use my own judgment in any way.
- Sex Cauldron!
- Long before there was the 40-year-old virgin, there was Skinner.
20. The Canine Mutiny
- It isn’t even spoken, but “Covet House” is basically Sky Mall except with more taste and discretion.
- You a winner, ha ha ha! You a winner, ha ha ha! You a winner, ha ha ha!
- I have won so many truth telling contests two towns over that I barely remember them all.
- Why did Milhouse have the bowl?
- Yup, the Taco Bell dog is among those who get shoveled into the ship’s furnace with Santa’s Little Helper.
- Be sure: Baby Gerald not only kills butterflies, but he also blinks one eye at a time.
- “There, there, shut up boy.”
- He un-holied the holy water!
- Cops who like weed? Once again, The Simpsons was way ahead of the times.
21. The Old Man and the Lisa
- Are there any real questions?
- “We collected enough paper to save one whole tree.”
- “And I’m sure a pro wrestler such as yourself will appreciate all the closet space, Hit Man.”
- Yeah, those dairy cases are death traps.
- “We’re not allowed to read newspapers, they angry up the blood.”
- Burns multi-movie montage with Lisa is already smart as hell, and then they end it with a doorbell ding-dong that fits the music. Jebus, this show cared about the little things.
- The local news is and always has been a vicious little creature, and they knew it when they wrote lines like Brockman taunting Burns about smelling terrible.
- There’s such a comedy viciousness to the spikes, blades and other industrial dismemberment tools in Burns’ new plant. Horror can be funny.
- Code Blue
22. In Marge We Trust
- Lousy God, should’ve made the week an hour longer.
- “I don’t feel like going to a trash pile today.” “It’s your life.”
- Contestant for greatest Flanders quote ever: “I’m meek, but I could probably stand to be meeker.” And, of course, it’s better because Harry Shearer.
- “That’s ridiculous, nobody is watching us right now.”
- Gotta love the timid yet horrified look on the librarian’s face when Homer starts dialing.
- “Hello Chief, let’s talk, why not?”
- Eleutherius Nicomedia is almost wearing a Captain Picard suit.
- Home prefecture. I could type more, but why?
- “Come on, kids, let’s go home.” “We are home.” “That was fast.”
- The end of this episode is awful dumb, but it doesn’t drag like the boxing one or the Dangerfield one. There’s some useless danger tension, but it takes less time and there’s much less of it.
- Also, we get Lovejoy telling the “heathen baboons” to say their prayers.
23. Homer’s Enemy
- In the context of this show it barely qualifies as a joke, but Brockman’s Horatio Alger enthusiasm for the doomed Grimes is really mean.
- And then he gets shelved by Burns on his first day.
- If you’re going to murder an otherwise sympathetic guy, you could just do it, or you can make him a real person by doing things like make him always wipe his palm on his pants before he shakes hands. The pitch black conclusion works better that way.
- Grimes also does the one eyed blink; they really liked that in this season.
- Another nice callback, with Lenny talking about pencils and erasers.
- And great rotating animation as Grimes is at his desk plotting Homer’s demise.
- Yeah, and Homer beat their brains out.
24. The Simpsons Spin-off Showcase
- Want to make fun of and reinforce dumb TV conventions? The head turn on McClure at “spinoff” .
- “Daddy, these rubber pants are hot.” “You wear ‘em until you learn, son.”
- You want 80s cop show verisimilitude? It’s Wiggum kicking the airboat guy into the water for no reason.
- This may just be my innate hatred of laughtracks talking, but the hoots, hollers and laughs of fake laughtracks like this always get me.
- “I’ve suffered so long, why can’t I die?” – This counts as hopeful on this show. It’s great.
- “Daisy Daisy” from broken Grampa has to rank as one of this show’s subtler Kubrick references.
- “As you may have guessed, it’s inhabited by the ghost of my friend’s dead father.”
- “He’s haunted” – a nice little sotto voce joke from Moe at the end.
- McClure’s remote sparkles before he puts on the variety show.
- “Preppy blonde and stunning”, if you’re going to pretend to ditch Lisa, that’s how it’s gotta go.
- “Well, I know one thing in this world that’s still pure and good.” “Christian love?” “No. Candy!”
- The whole Osmond thing is a nice preview of what they were going for three seasons later in “Behind the Laughter”: Death by pop culture cheese.
25. The Secret War of Lisa Simpson
- Not only is Wiggum incompetent, but his brakes squeak like hell because he isn’t the hero Springfield needs, but he is the one they deserve right now.
- There are always behavior modifying drugs.
- I don’t know how deliberate it was, but casting the good sergeant from Platoon as the commandant and making him bang his shin on someone’s foot locker is funny as hell.
- “A challenge I could do!”
- “That’s more cursing than I like to hear from a cadet in peacetime.”
- And that’s it. You may or may not have noticed a slowdown in updates for the last few episodes, but I can assure you that it was entirely alcohol based.
Thanks for reading, I’m gonna go take a nap. Season 8 is wonderful, and while Zombie Simpsons lurks in many of its moments, it wasn’t there then; and Scorpio, Belle and Rex Banner can’t be any better than they are, so we win.