Archive for the 'Reading Digest' Category

10
Apr
15

Reading Digest: Still Waiting For Renewal Edition

New Kid on the Block23

“You’ve been flushing for twenty minutes.  Is there a problem?” – Principal Skinner
“Uh, no, Principal Skinner.” – Jimbo Jones
“Very well.  I’ll continue to wait.” – Principal Skinner

As near as anyone can tell, the show remains without an official renewal.  Eika Isabel Vega, who’s been a real good sport about me using her Twitter feed to track the potential death of her job, tweeted this an hour ago:

VegaTweet2My guess is still that it’ll be renewed, but it looks like production is beginning to shut down, so we’ll see what happens.  In regular link news, this week we’ve got some great fan art, the death of DVDs, emoji Simpsons, a look back at when the show knew how to inject culture into its episodes, and more.

Enjoy.

11 Minimalist Simpsons Posters – Oh, wow, some of these are outstanding.  And you can download them as wallpapers if you like.

And now for something completely silly – Classic Simpsons quotes told through emojis.  A sample:

emojiquote

There’s a few more at the link.  The dogs with bees in their mouths in inspired.

The Similarities Between Saul Goodman And Lionel Hutz – Pretty much the same guy.

Jerkface – The Donut Mobile – Someone painted a small truck with Homer and donuts.  Excellent.

The Simpsons Outlives DVD Market – Darn, I guess I’ll never get to own all those great Season 18 episodes.  Then I will hug and kiss some poisonous snakes.

No More Simpsons Seasons Released on DVD – Reader John H. sends in this IGN link, with a picture/headline juxtaposition that doesn’t quite convey the sadness the article presumes to be occurring among fans:

WooHooNoMoreDVDs

Heh.

Pixar’s Brad Bird Talks French Food, Animated Rats And New Film ‘Tomorrowland’ – Bird was on some NPR show and they gave him a truly dumb Simpsons quiz near the end.  He missed one, but the impression he was supposed to be guessing was terrible.

128th-Final, Round 6: Itchy & Scratchy Land vs. Bart Sells His Soul – That’s a tough one.

11 best uses of bad grammar from The Simpsons – There are about three Zombie Simpsons entries on here, which is three too many considering they left out “perfectly cromulent”, “no more apples in the vending machine please”, and Lionel Hutz not working on contingency.

iOS 8.3 Emoji with ‘Simpsons’ complaints – Definitely a bit of resemblance there.

Locating Springfield, A Simpsons Theory. – Enjoyably pointless.  Heh.

The Simpsons and King Arthur – Ah, for when the show made pointed little cultural insights a habit:

During its second season, The Simpsons aired an episode entitled “Dead Putting Society,” about a miniature-golf match between Bart Simpson and his neighbor Todd. What qualifies this episode as a “medieval afterlife” is the miniature-golf setting itself. On Bart’s first visit, it’s introduced by a sign at the entrance: “Sir Putt-a-Lot’s Merrie Olde Fun Center,” with a cartoon icon of a jousting knight; further attractions listed include “Her Majesty’s Batting Cage” and “Merlin’s Video Dungeon.” The “Merrie Olde Fun Center” itself, shown in the background, is a pseudo-medieval castle, and throughout the episode attentive viewers may catch sight of signs for “Ye Olde” everything: “Ye Olde End of Course,” etc.
I’m always charmed by this episode because these post-medieval features are treated as throwaways: they’re not necessary to the plot, and no one calls attention to them; indeed, the viewer has to slo-mo through the entrance sign if s/he is to appreciate the Fun Center’s features. It’s all just part of the lower-middle-class decor, and thus reflects an important aspect of the medieval Arthurian afterlife in the USA: its association with class aspirations. Everyone has seen a trailer park or motel named “King Arthur’s Court,” and the creators of The Simpsons clearly understood this phenomenon as widespread enough to be satirized for the TV audience.

Welcome to Springfield, U.S.A!!! – Having a few of the Seven Duffs as shrubbery is pretty cool.

My New Favorite Cardigan – One of those Hello Kitty/Simpsons sweaters out in the wild on a real person.  Looking good.

this makes me really want donuts – Animated .gif of Homer in Hell, eating all the donuts in the world.

New trending GIF tagged tv dancing the simpsons… – Homer wants candy.

New trending GIF tagged dancing the simpsons martin… – Finland, let’s see that native dance.

03
Apr
15

Reading Digest: Eating Like Homer Edition

Simpson Tide9

“Gentlemen, there’s only one solution: we place this last donut in the reactor core, exposing it to radiation, thereby making it big!” – Homer Simpson

This week we’ve got two links to great moments in food related Simpsons fandom, one on the consumption side and one on the production side.  Happily, both of them are even videos, so you don’t have to reduce your boredom by reading anything.  In addition to that, the play is spreading like the Osaka Flu, we’ve got three late obituaries, lots of drawings of Milhouse, a couple people who agree with us, another Simpsons-movie casting mashup, and more.

Enjoy.

Man recreates scene of homer pigging out on couch – Fantastic:

Bye bye belt!

10 illustrated tributes to The Simpsons’ Milhouse – More of “Milhouse from Memory”.  Damns, some of those are really cool.

Gone Girl: Cool Girls and Yellow Trash – Our friends over a Flim Springfield have done another of their .gif heavy casting calls.  Officer Marge as Kim Dickens is inspired.

The ‘Simpsons’ Episode That Introduced Homer To The Real World – A nice writeup of “Secrets of a Successful Marriage” by our old friend Johnny Sugar.  Also, there’s YouTube.

Principal Charming – Love this line:

“Homer, lighten up. You’re making Happy Hour bitterly ironic.”

Also, Noah would like some suggestions:

(EDITOR’S NOTE: While this will always primarily be a “rewatch-’em-all” blog, I’m thinking about occasionally doing posts about other Simpsons-related things, such as characters, locations, lists, what-have you. I’m criminally wishy washy, so if you’ve read this far, I beg you [please?] for some input. Advance thanks!)

Hmm, how about Ghost Mutt?  Or, like Hans Moleman in this episode, a look at the first (or only) time we see characters?

In search of some Modern Art – Tastefully and artistically done nude of Patty & Selma.

Posters from McGarnagle: The Movie and other films from The Simpsons – I’ve seen some of these before, but whoever put a Jay Sherman “Reprehensible” quote on the McBain poster was a genius.

‘Simpsons’-‘Goodfellas’ Lawsuit: Fox Wants To End $250M Suit – FOX has responded to that weird, longshot lawsuit.  I continue not to care.

The Simpsons Expansion at Universal Studios Hollywood [Video Walkthrough] – Would you like to watch a three-and-a-half minute YouTube of someone else walking through an amusement park in California?

VR vs. School – I will buy a VR system as soon as I can go where Genghis Khan goes, defile what he defiles, and eat who he eats.

Confusion Is Sex (1983) – A discussion of Sonic Youth that includes the obligatory Simpsons mention:

It’s obvious Sonic Youth didn’t get on The Simpsons off the back of this record. Nor did they want to. This is not the album of a band whose objective was mainstream success, rather the album of a band who just wanted to do their own thing and cater for the fans of their local music scene.

Of course, the blog header for their month of Sonic Youth is those damn kids eating Peter Frampton’s watermelon.

OakOak pays tribute to Banksy & Homer Simpson – Excellent Homer donut art.

Giant Donut Cake – And speaking of donuts, holy shit:

Full recipe at the link.

Twentieth Century Fox readies merchandise with new ally – If you live in India, FOX is preparing to blast the merchandising cannon at you directly:

Dream Theatre has tied up with Bio World, a Delhi-based manufacturer and distributor, specialising in licensed merchandise. It had earlier partnered with The Simpsons’ franchise outside of India.
“The Simpsons has a huge fan following and with direct-to-retail now an option, thanks to e-commerce, we plan to launch the apparel range in the coming months. The fact that our audience is also an avid user of the e-commerce platform makes it better for business,” says George. He adds that with a franchise that has been around for 26 years, it makes sense to have as many merchandising options as possible.
“We want to go as horizontal as possible with The Simpsons. Apparel and accessories are the most obvious routes, but there is a lot of scope in the novelty, gifts, collectibles and figurines segments. In fact, within accessories, we have products like mobile cases which are popular with young adults. So, you see, the scope to scale up is huge with The Simpsons,” he says.

I know those words, but that sentence makes no sense.

Tickets to Outside the March’s ‘MR. BURNS’ Now on Sale – The play goes to Toronto.

The Ball State Daily – And Indiana.

‘Simpsons’-inspired ‘Mr. Burns’ presents Bart as art – And here’s a review of the Minneapolis one.

Analog Stick’s – Top 3 most overrated games of all time – Simpsons Hit & Run makes the list.

Phil Hartman – Our old friend Gran2 has a new project called “Late Obituaries”.

Leonard Nimoy – They’re short but informative.

Sam Simon – And many, but not all, have a Simpsons bent.

Las Enseñanzas de los Simpsons – Heh.

New trending GIF tagged the simpsons the simpsons… – Homer getting back with the people, the young people.

New trending GIF tagged tv cartoon the simpsons… – His jiggling is almost hypnotic.

New trending GIF tagged tv cartoon the simpsons… – Homer doing the standard scream.

New trending GIF tagged love simpsons talking phone… – Sounds delish, he’ll just throw on some jeans and . . . wait, who is this?

117 – Adaptation and Bart’s Soul – Don’t feel bad, lots of people were unfamiliar with the works of Pablo Neruda:

I learned about Pablo Neruda from the Simpsons in an episode where Bart sells his soul. I learned about classic film, scientific theories and television history from them as well. The Simpsons led me to consume better art and comedy. It may be the easiest pop culture touchstone to praise.

Day 198- Simpsonized – Continuing from last week, more simpsonized portraits.

Day 199-Simpsonized – See above.

Day 200-Simpsonized – See above.

Day 201- Simpsonized – Last one, since from here it moves onto The Jetsons.

“You couldn’t fool your mother on the foolingest day of your life if you had a electrified fooling machine!” – With a little YouTube.

TV Pick of the Day – Wednesday 1 April – And finally, I get to end with someone who agrees with us:

Lemon of Troy is a classic Simpsons episode in which the neighbouring town of Shelbyville (boo, hiss etc) steals Springfield’s prized lemon tree. This may not sound like much of a plot but, in the capable hands of The Simpsons’ finest writers, it becomes one of my favourite episodes of all time. My favourite gag centres around Springfield’s belief that the residents of Shelbyville have a tendency towards inbreeding. Awesome.

Watch it for: The incest gag, the Shelbyville doppelgängers, a reminder of how good this show used to be.

But their cousins are so attractive!

27
Mar
15

Reading Digest: The Simpsons Will Outlive Us All Edition

Bart's Friend Falls in Love17

“Hey, Bart, according to this magazine, in another million years man’ll have an extra finger.” – Lisa Simpson
“Five fingers?  Eww, freakshow.” – Bart Simpson

For obvious reasons, this site takes the position that The Simpsons was and is the greatest show ever.  (Zombie Simpsons naturally excluded.)  Of course, plenty of people disagree about that for one reason or another, but the nice thing about being a Simpsons advocate is that I get to cite examples, lots of them.

For instance, this week we have a link to an article about the best sitcom of the 1990s, the author presumes that The Simpsons is grander than all of them and excludes it because it isn’t quite a sitcom.  We also have an interview with Anne Washburn, author of the Mr. Burns play, in which she discusses considering and rejecting a number of other television shows for her premise.  We also also have someone explicitly saying the show will never die while pretending to praise Zombie Simpsons.  And that’s before we get into the tattoos.  And while I can think of no reliable source of information to prove it, I’m willing to bet that Simpsons is the most tattooed show in history.  Oh, and we’ve got usage, fan art, and all the other usual stuff.

Enjoy.

35 Simpson Tattoos – Whoa, are there some good ones in there.  I’m partial to Homer as the jack-in-the-box from “Treehouse of Horror II”, Rod and Todd on the thumbs, and Floreda.  Baphomet Lisa is pretty evil too.  As a bonus, here’s another one via Maggie Roswell’s Twitter:

C.M. Burns tattoo

BWW Interviews: MR. BURNS, A POST-ELECTRIC PLAY’s Anne Washburn Ponders Pop Culture After the Apocalypse – The play is coming to Minneapolis, and this is a great observation:

Q: What about “The Simpsons” do you think captures people’s imaginations enough that it would survive a nuclear meltdown?
A: I think people would remember really enjoying it. And it’s a show in which the humor is so verbally precise that lots of people enjoy the act of remembering it even now, and so I think chunks of it would be in readiness.

“verbally precise”, yes.

NewsRadio was the best sitcom of the 1990s – The link above also has a bit about other shows she considered, but statements like this are part of the reason why The Simpsons won out:

This is a high honor. The ’90s featured a host of great sitcoms. There was Seinfeld and Roseanne and Frasier and Friends and The Larry Sanders Show, all shows that are the ancestors of so many great shows on the air right now. (They also had the golden years of The Simpsons, which I don’t classify as a “sitcom,” because it’s animated. Accuse me of splitting hairs, if you must.)

You can have a debate about Newsradio versus other shows.  You cannot have one about The Simpsons.  It’s so absurd that it gets its own explanatory parenthetical in the opening paragraph of an argumentative article at a mainstream media site.

The Simpsons Get A Film Noir Makeover – Some of these paintings I’ve linked before, but I think the Mr. Plow one might be new.  It is gorgeous.

Don’t Have A Cow, Man – This is true:

As a child, I was allowed to watch The Simpsons.

Other children my age weren’t so lucky. Some parents considered The Simpsons as an evil that could negatively effect the minds of their innocent children. It was to be avoided at all costs.

Usually when I see that statement, it’s “As a child, I was NOT allowed”.  Good on your folks.

Northland, Politics, Transport, and Pork – Via reader James T. comes this piece of excellent visual usage from New Zealand:

Why is this important? Well, I suspect what all of these conservative parties have done, including National, is held focus groups where they’ve asked people whether they support more investment in roads. In response, many of these people have said “yes”. Something like these guys.

itchyscratchypoochieNewZealand

The Simpsons makeup! – The Marge makeup as used by an actual person.  Bravo on the two tones.

Simpson Characters V2 – Fan drawings, including the rather clever and awesome “Sideshow Warhol”.

How ‘The Simpsons’ Became Immortal – This is one of the most halfhearted defenses of Zombie Simpsons I’ve seen in a while:

I quite enjoy the new Simpsons’ episodes. Granted, they are not as great as the glory years, but I quite enjoy the long-running series’ hot takes on political issues.
And, I can always keep re-watching the old stuff, too.

Talk about damning with faint praise.

Tampa Bay Lightning with the A+ Simpsons reference to mock Bruins fans – This is truly excellent usage:

Bruins-Lightning

Hiekkamyrsky Helsingissä – I’m not sure what this all says, but if you scroll down you’ll find a well done Simpsons family, with couch, in beach sand.

March 19, 1990: America loves ‘The Simpsons'; Buffalo, not so much – There’s an image of a TV column from The Buffalo News from twenty-five years ago.  Apparently, “Life on the Fast Lane” didn’t do so hot in the local ratings that week, though the guy (who looks like Ron Swanson) does note that it’s doing much better nationally.  He even closes with this little zinger:

“Elvis” is being marked return to sender, address unknown. ABC is removing its critically acclaimed series from the scheudle and says it will return at a later date. Despite a strong lead-in from “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” “Elvis” has been getting destroyed in the rations nationally by Bart, Homer and the rest of “The Simpsons”.

According to IMDb, ABC dumped the rest of the episodes in the summer then canceled it.

Day 196-Simpsonized – A simpsonized caricature, part the first.

Day 197- Simpsonized – And another.

The Joy of Glitches – I gave up on Tapped Out a while ago, but that is pretty cool looking.

Bartkira! – Is Bender sneaking in there too?

Homer Vs. Lisa And The 8th Commandment – The Mt. Sinai parts are just fantastic:

-The animation of Mt. Sinai is terrific. It’s the kind of quality you can only get with hand-drawn animation. I really wish at least one animated show nowadays would go back to hand-drawn. There was a Peanuts special a few years ago that did that, and it gave the cartoon some nice, charming feel.

-There are lots of funny things going on in the background at the beginning. People beating the crap out of each other, guys chasing woman, and my personal favorite: Homer (the thief) stuffing his shirt with calf idols every time the carver-guy turns around.

Don’t worry, they’ll be wandering out there two weeks, tops.

Brazil legend Pele to lease forehead for commercial advertising – Pele is king of the soccer field, to be king of your lapels, use Crestfield wax paper.

How I’m Feeling Of Late – Heh.

Has ‘Bob’s Burgers’ Surpassed ‘The Simpsons’? – Zombie Simpsons?  Of course.  I think they did that about ten minutes into the pilot.

New trending GIF tagged television the simpsons the… – Remember The X-Files?  They’re back.  In .gif form.

New trending GIF tagged the simpsons season 8… – Poochie would like you to recycle.

Happy Birthday, Spock! – No reason not to have some more Nimoy love, including Simpsons YouTube.

SMARCH with the Simpsons – And finally, I get to end with someone who agrees with us:

Every Sunday at Tattooed Mom, there are free arts and crafts. For the lousy Smarch weather, we’re going to have a Simpsons themed night. Classic Simpsons episodes will play, Ninties episodes only! You will learn how to draw the Simpsons, color the simpsons and paint eggs from Vincent Price’s Egg Magic.

If you’re in or around Philadelphia, that’s happening Sunday night.

20
Mar
15

Reading Digest: Moar Sam Simon Tributes

LandOfChocolate

Sam Simon was so widely beloved that there was no way to sort through even a part of people’s tributes to him last week.  Now that the noise has settled down and big media outlets are on to the next thing, this week we’ve got a ton more great stuff about the man.  There’s other stuff too, of course, but mostly it’s Simon.

Enjoy.

My buddy Sam Simon. – Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week is this long and loving encomium for Simon by a writer who met him over poker.  It’s long, but it’s a great read.

Someone built all of Springfield in Minecraft to recreate the ‘Simpsons’ opening – Now this is an impressive act of geekery:

There’s a little tour of the place at the link.

Dark Ink Art To Release Dave Perillo’s Second Simpsons Treehouse of Horror Print On March 17, 2015 – I do not have $50.  But that is gorgeous.  (And no Zombie Simpsons!)

The secret heart of The Simpsons – Our old friend Alec Nevala-Lee takes a look at the creative mix that made the show and how it’s impossible to either pin down or overstate Simon’s contribution.

Remember Sam Simon – Well put:

 Sam Simon’s legacy for The Simpsons was the creation of a cartoon that an educated person could watch and not be ashamed at; the humor would be intelligent and not dumb itself down for the lowest common denominator.

The Simpsons pub trivia is SUPER SERIOUS. – A great writeup of the last trivia in Chicago.

Easton Hospital buys site for new hospital in 1915 – Almanac March 11, 2015 – Look at all the neat stuff you can find digging through newspaper archives:

25 years ago: Be cool, dude: In answer to an Express Street Talk question about U.S. Postal Service plans to raise the price of stamps from 25 cents to 30 cents, “Who do you think should be on the new stamp?” Donna Snyder, of Allentown, said, “Tom Petty. I like his tunes.” Joanne Panulla, of Belvidere, said, “Boomer Esiason, he looks great on a football card and he would look even better on a postage stamp.” Said Phillipsburg student Robin Torquati, “Bart Simpson. He’s a cool dude and he’s my idol.”

Bartmania lives on.

Simpsons Homer Dan Castellaneta Remembers Sam Simon – Some nice words from Homer himself:

“I first met Sam while we were doing “The Tracey Ullman Show.” My first memory of him from those days was that although he had already been in the business for a while, he was still kind of a wunderkind.
He’d be sitting there with all these experienced guys — Jerry Belson, Jim Brooks — and there’d be times when people would be stuck for a line. I’d see Sam thinking and talking to himself, and then he would say something. At least 70% to 90% of the time, it would be a really great, succinct line.

Mad Men’s Peggy Olson and the allure of TV spin-offs – Excellent usage:

“Spin-off”! Is there any word more thrilling to the human soul?” Troy McClure, the Simpsons’ fading actor once asked. It’s a question you’d imagine AMC would respond to with a resounding “yes”, given how eagerly they seem to be churning out the things.

Akira, Redrawn Using The Simpsons, Is Incredible – More Bartkira, including a .gif of Bart on the motorcycle.

Robyn Urback: An ode to ‘Simpsons’ co-creator Sam Simon, the most cromulent guy around – We’ve all had moments like this:

Indeed, The Simpsons facilitated a type of cartoon-osmosis through which I learned the songs of an 1878 comedic opera, though that was just one of many worthwhile literary and cultural references I absorbed by staring at the show every weekday. There were references to the Salem Witch Trials, the Freemasons, contemporary American politics, religious and environmental issues and so forth, all delivered through a cartoon cast that was somehow made real. And if you ask those who know the behind-the-scenes of the show best, that was Sam Simon’s doing.

The Glesga Simpsons: student gets creative with Scottish inspired drawings of hit show – Fan made Scottish Simpsons images.

Here’s exactly what would happen if EastEnders characters were in the Simpsons – Heading South from Scotland, here are some fictional Londoners done the same way.

Ranking The Simpsons Season 8 – a review – I’d probably only have “Burns, Baby Burns” and “The Homer They Fall” under the “Meh” category, but at least they’re both there.

Groening and Barry Take New York – I think these two might just make it in showbiz.  Not everyone gets a writeup in The New Yorker.

‘Milhouse From Memory’, A Book Featuring Artists’ Illustrations of Milhouse From ‘The Simpsons’ Drawn From Memory – The link has a couple of samples.  Cool.  (via @DailySimpsons)

RIP: Sam Simon – Our old friend Noah says goodbye in cartoon form.

Let’s NP-Ify: The Simpsons – And has some great sketches of the rest of Springfield.

The Thrill: Kimmy Schmidt, Can-Con, and the Simpsons – A CBC podcast that discusses Simon and his legacy starting at the 26:50 mark.  They also spend some time agreeing with us that the show has gone to hell.

Ron English x Garageworks Industries x The Simpsons 1:1 Bart Grin Sculpture – A four foot tall Bart sculpture with teeth that are borderline H.R. Geiger.  Neat.

The Way We Was – Love this line:

“Get off the edge of your seat. They got married, had kids, and bought a cheap TV, okay?”

Homer Simpson’s Profound Quotes In One Place – Some of these are a little screwy, but at least there’s some YouTube and very little Zombie Simpsons.

128th-Final, Round 4: Homer and Apu vs. Sideshow Bob Roberts – That’s a tough one.

128th-Final, Round 5: The Homer They Fall vs. Lady Bouvier’s Lover – But this is not.

7 Wild ‘Simpsons’ Fan Conspiracy Theories – Reader Dan O. sends in this list of pretty out there theories.  As he said via e-mail:

5. THERE ARE MULTIPLE MOLEMEN. LOL

The Simpsons Meets Metal! – Great fan made metal version of the opening theme song:

The Simpsons – Building an Icon Set by Oliver – Fan made set of Simpsons sketch icons.  Bravo.

Hey, Kwik-E-Mart truck: Where’s the (wadded) beef? – A picture of that truck they sent to SXSW.

Bruce Vilanch to Lead SIMPSONS Writer Mike Reiss’ RUBBLE Reading Next Week – Reiss wrote something (play? movie? I’m not sure):

The story of RUBBLE is as follows: Alvin (Vilanch), an aging, down-on-his-luck comedy writer who — much to his chagrin — has narrowly escaped fortune, fame, and Emmy awards, is on a last-chance meeting with a network executive. During a spirited pitch of his new series idea, “My Brother, The Pope,” a massive earthquake hits LA, leaving him buried up to his neck in a pile of rubble. What ensues are a series of hilarious visits – from his older-and-more-useless-than-dirt agent Lee (Adler) and his ex-wife Brie (Wilson), to a pompous Dad (Still) and a singing and dancing Jesus (Maroulis).

Lisa Simpson’s Guide to Geek Chic (Book Review) – They released another officially licensed book.  Here is a review of it.

April ’15 – Sonic Youth – Once you were on The Simpsons, it defines you forever:

JAMIE: I still remember the very first time I heard of Sonic Youth. It was about 1996 and a 12 year old me was watching an episode of The Simpsons called Homerpalooza.

Vintage-loving hipsters can eat my shorts – Excellent usage, albeit copied and pasted direcrtly from Wikiquote.

Hold on to your hats! – Nebel with a great pull:

In the episode “Brother from the Same Planet,” Homer engages in a long, drawn-out fist fight with Bart’s Bigger Brother, Tom. It wasn’t until I bought the DVD set of season 4 in 2004 that I learned this was a direct reference to the 1952 John Ford film.
Showrunner Al Jean explains in the episode’s audio commentary:
“We were looking to rewrite the ending of the show, and [Sam Simon] suggested that we look at the movie ‘The Quiet Man,’ the John Wayne movie where he and Victor McLaglen have this huge fight that goes all the way across Ireland. And I remember we came in on a Saturday to watch that movie, or to watch at least the fight sequence, which goes on for a long time.
It’s a great fight. Just two huge guys pounding each other all the way across Ireland. And the people in the community really love the fight. John Wayne, at one point, is dragging his wife across town, and a woman comes up and goes, ‘Here’s a stick for you to beat the pretty lady with.’ It’s these attitudes you certainly couldn’t put in a movie now.”

VIDEO: Conan And Zachary Quinto Remember Leonard Nimoy – O’Brien recalls freaking out when he first met Nimoy.

The Simpsons Kwik-E-Mart Comes to LEGO and Second Series of Minifigures – Want to see lots of pictures of the Lego Kwik-E-Mart?  Here you go.

“Stupid sexy Flanders” – True:

During times like this, it may be better to try not to think about the thing we want to remember. Rather, just relax and let your mind wander back to what it’s supposed to be thinking off in the first place.

It includes YouTube.

Ballarat Swap Meet: Barney – Streaking Barney as a hood ornament?  Awesome.

Good Old Classic Homer – “And Maggie Makes Three” really should be the official episode to get parents to let their kids watch the show.

100 Funny Signs From Around Springfield on “The Simpsons” – And very little Zombie Simpsons.

Sam Simon – Please to be forwarding this to the Zombie Simpsons staff:

Simon cuts straight to the heart of the matter. He tells Maron there are 3 rules for good writing:
1. Story above all.
2. Don’t be afraid of the quiet moments.
3. Love your characters.

Can’t Do It: TV Shows I Stopped Watching – This is about when I quit:

When I Bailed: Midway through Season 14

A Sam Simon lament: Depression in the creative industry – Among a discussion of how writing and sadness seem to go together, here’s a full George Carlin quote:

“The biggest problem, though, was that Sam Simon was a fucking horrible person to be around. Very, very funny, extremely bright and brilliant, but an unhappy person who treated other people poorly.”

Universal Studios Hollywood: March 2015 Harry Potter and Simpsons Construction Update – The Simpsons land is coming to California, and there are construction pictures.

Annoying Popcorn, and Some Stuff About Sam Simon – Plenty of us did this:

People think it’s ridiculous to say some entertainment was important for your childhood, but “the Simpsons” really impacted me. I remember watching it in kindergarten, but others say I was interested in it from birth. One of my favourite feelings in the world is lying around on a lazy Saturday, maybe when it’s raining outside, and watching reruns of the show. I did that all the time when I was a kid, and sometimes I still indulge. When I felt lonely being the little kid in the house, I watched the show. When I dreaded going to school the next day, I watched the show. When I came home from the mall where I was supposed to meet my dad – separated from my mum – and he didn’t show up, I watched the show.

It’s a guaranteed pick me up.

The 8 Tragic Misfortunes In ‘Homer At The Bat,’ Ranked – Ozzie Smith needs to be higher here.

Man Seeking Woman Creator: The Simpsons is Behind Every Great TV Comedy – It’s true!:

I’m sure the cause is a lot of factors as to why TV has gotten so good, and some are cultural, some are just a shift in commercial realities, but if I had to point to one thing, I would say it’s The Simpsons. I know that sounds simplistic, but I think 25 years ago, nobody had ever seen The Simpsons, and now, every comedy writer has seen The Simpsons, and as a result, comedy in America has gotten funnier. I’ve never been in a writers room before where somebody didn’t reference The Simpsons once an hour. I don’t know how you would ever write a good show without constantly trying not to rip off a specific Simpsons script. So if I had to point to one factor, it would just be the fact that every comedy writer in 2015 has seen between 50 and 200 episodes of The Simpsons.

New trending GIF tagged the simpsons mr burns… – Mr. Burns tenting his fingers.

New trending GIF tagged cartoon the simpsons the… – Blinky blinking.

New trending GIF tagged cartoons & comics cartoon… – Homer lounging in Herb’s pool.

New trending GIF tagged kiss 90s retro simpsons… – Homer kissing Flanders.

The Password Is: The Simpsons – How the show can warp on-line dating.

R.I.P. Sam Simon (1955-2015) – A fitting send off ends with:

There was a great outpouring of mourning and gratitude on social media following the news of Simon’s passing. All that can be said has been said by the right people.
So all I can say is: Thanks, Sam.

Amen.

18
Mar
15

Compare & Contrast: Vintage Duff Commercials

Duffless14

“Only Duff fills your Q zone with pure beer goodness.  So drink up, and up, and up!” – Cartoon Doctor
“Duff Beer, proud sponsors of Amos ‘n Andy!” – Narrator 

It’s always nice when Zombie Simpsons provides a wealth of options for Compare & Contrast.  For “Waiting for Duffman”, I could’ve gone with Homer quitting drinking like he did in “Duffless”.  Of course, there he quits because Marge thinks he might have a problem and we see just how awful and ubiquitous beer advertising really is, whereas here he gets a fake microchip implanted in him and screams a lot.  I could’ve also gone with the Duff calendar contest from “Pygmoelian” against that hapless, celebrity voiced reality show facsimile they strung together this week.  I almost contrasted the time Lisa rejected being a corporate spokeshack in “Lisa the Beauty Queen” with Homer’s abrupt and nonsensical about face as Duffman.  Hell, I could’ve even gone with Homer being dropped into a store’s publicity event, which is done much better in “Homie the Clown” than it was this week.

Instead, I want to take a detailed look at that one-dimensional Yogi Bear beer commercial and how poorly it fares next to the one Homer and Barney see on the brewery tour in “Duffless”.  The premises here are exactly the same: wildly sleazy commercials from a time when advertising could get away with even more than they can these days.  The differences are all in the execution.

The problems with the Zombie Simpsons version begin even before the commercial itself.  The scene preceding the commercial is that big Game of Thrones montage that takes up nearly a minute and a half.  That thing finishes with Homer taking an oath in this room:

GameofThronesMontageEnding

From there, the family and the beer guy are walking in this hall:

HeyAHallway

And from there, with nary a single word of intervening or introductory dialogue, they walk over to a TV and start watching:

HeyATelevision

Normally, I accuse Zombie Simpsons of overexplaining things, be they jokes, plot points, or whatever.  (And Jebus knows they do that enough elsewhere in this one.)  But this is them actually doing the opposite.  We can infer from the stuff on the walls that they’re in some kind of Duff museum, but the beer guy doesn’t appear to be giving them a tour (he certainly isn’t saying anything) and the TV they walk up to just snaps on without any of them so much as even looking at it.  Immediately they all stare at it and we go into the commercial in full.  There’s no transition, no continuity, just one unrelated bit stuck between two others.

By contrast, at the Duff Brewery in “Duffless”, not only do we know where they are and why they’re there, but we get a quick introduction that sets up the commercial.  The tour guide, fresh off denying that a batch of Duff had been contaminated with strychnine, says:

Here’s one of our favorite Duff beer commercials from the early 1950s.

This is how you set up a bit: it’s short, the tour guide is still in character with his fake pride (“one of our favorite”), and it seamlessly drops in the historical context.  From there we get the commercial itself, which is wall to wall with jokes at the expense of both Duff and the 1950s: “q zone”, the doctor telling people to drink “up, and up and up”, and, of course, “Proud Sponsors” of Amos & Andy, last and grandest of the nakedly racist mainstream minstrel shows.

FavoriteCommercials

Plus, look what Wikipedia just told me:

Adapted to television, The Amos ‘n Andy Show was produced from June 1951 to April 1953 with 78 filmed episodes, sponsored by the Blatz Brewing Company.

Real life Amos ‘n’ Andy was actually sponsored by a very Duff like beer brand, that’s fantastic!  That’s the kind of density this show has: it’s twenty years later and I just got something new.

Compare that with the unintroduced, not quite Yogi Bear ad.  This is the full transcript:

Narrator: When life looks hopeless, it’s not.

Chorus: Duff beer, feeling no pain/
Made from Canadian rain

Chorus: Tastes like nickle champagne/
Not Yogi: It will tickle your brain

Animals: Duff beer, feeling no pain/
Made from Canadian rain

By Zombie Simpson standards, that song is pretty good.  It only repeats a lyric once, and it doesn’t even have a clock eating montage stuffed into it.

But it also takes much longer than the commercial in “Duffless”, and, worse, it doesn’t come at the expense of anyone but Yogi.  It’s just this little, self contained thing that, however funny it may or may not be on its own, can be dropped into a random scene because it relates to precisely nothing else in the episode.

In addition to being part of an episode that goes out of its way to mock beer and beer advertising, the “Duffless” commercial had a point: the 1950s sucked and we are well rid of them.  Justly deserved ridicule is rained down on commercials where beer gets sold with health claims, minstrel shows on television, and the people dumb enough to fall for the former while enjoying the latter.  The Yogi hunting commercial, on the other hand, is little more than cartoon violence.

DeadAnimalHeads

Ha ha, they got shot [snare drum].

And while there’s nothing wrong with cartoon violence (I’m certainly a fan), if you want to be The Simpsons or even pretend to, you need more than just that.  Your beer commercial needs to be part and parcel of a larger whole; one that itself is making fun of huge variety of subjects.  It’s a tall order, I know, and Zombie Simpsons is never up to it, but The Simpsons always was.

13
Mar
15

Sam Simon Roundup

138th Episode Spectacular3

Did you know he drew this?  I didn’t know that.

“You looked so peaceful lying there.” – Marge Simpson
“There’ll be plenty of time for that!  I got tons of important stuff to do!” – Homer Simpson

This post was originally going to go up Tuesday, then Wednesday, then yesterday, but I kept finding more great Simon articles to add.  Regular Reading Digest will be back next week, including all the non-Simon stuff I missed from this week.  Several of these are from @DailySimpsons and @rubbrcatsimp, both of which are great follows if you want news and quotes from the show.

By Ken Levine: My thoughts on Sam Simon – I will leave you with two brief excerpts from Ken Levine’s goodbye note, but it’s worth clicking on in full right now:

In 1985 David Isaacs and I created a series for Mary Tyler Moore. For reasons I won’t go into here, it was a nightmare. We knew Sam Simon from our time on CHEERS. He graciously agreed to join the staff and help on this Mary project. As things went from bad to worse to the brink of thermonuclear war, Sam stood by us. Most of the other writers bolted. Not Sam. He steadfastly hung in there with us. Honestly, we could not have done it without Sam. For that and that alone I have always loved Sam Simon. He could do no wrong in my book.

And:

I worked with Sam on seven series and pilots. He attended family seders, special occasions, and he spoke at my SITCOM ROOM seminar (telling students that sitcoms were dead – thanks for that). He had a wicked sense of humor, even during his recent suffering. A few months ago, when PBS aired the Roger Ebert documentary he was tweeting “get to the cancer already.”

Ha.

‘Simpsons’ producer Al Jean remembers Sam Simon – It always has been one of my favorite lines:

“Here’s a joke that he put in in a show that was written with him and Matt [Groening, the show’s creator] and Mike and me. Bart is doing something to be popular and Homer goes, ‘Son, being popular is the most important thing in the world.’ And that kind of summed up The Simpsons, where it’s this dad giving what seems to be TV Dad advice, but it’s the worst advice in the world. It’s what no TV Dad should ever say. There were very few jokes that encapsulated The Simpsons as perfectly as that one.

Sam Simon (1955 – 2015) – Our old friend over at rubbercat.net/simpsons wrote the best and most complete obituary I saw, and it’s got a ton of great links.

RIP, Sam Simon: How a lone fear led to creating a key character on ‘The Simpsons’ – Great story:

“He was a hard guy. He was a really tough guy,” Silverman tells Comic Riffs. “He gave me a dismissive hand at first.”
One of the show’s first-season episodes, though, proved a turning point. Silverman — who had also worked on the 1989 TV short, “The Simpsons: Family Therapy” — wanted a prominent onscreen credit for directing the episode “Bart the General.” Simon, ever the writer, told Silverman he would give him that screen credit if Silverman could prove that directors really made a difference.
After Silverman directed the episode, he went to the dubbing session. There, with a credit as prominent as the writer’s, was Silverman’s directing nod.
“The guy in the session said to me: ‘You proved it.’ Sam was tough, but fair.”

Sam Simon: 1955–2015 – And another great story:

He was the funniest dying person I’d ever met. He found it hilarious that people were praying for him, because he was an atheist, and because the idea of fans asking God to heal the cocreator of a show like The Simpsons was inherently ridiculous: “It must be His least favorite show.” Toward the end of our conversation, his assistant brought him a stack of printed email messages. Media requests from various outlets. He sifted through them and grinned. “I wish publicity cured cancer,” he said.

‘Simpsons’ Co-Creator Sam Simon’s Battle Over Three-Eyed Fish – I did not know this, but apparently the show pissed off the nuclear industry so badly that they got to take a tour of a nuclear plant.  That’s how you know it’s good comedy: when it can get you past two layers of razor wire and twenty-four hour armed guards.

How Sam Simon Helped Make The Simpsons What It Is Today – This is a little clueless in terms of being about the show.  (The author calls “Treehouse of Horror” a “crucially underrated moment”, because, you know, nobody remembers the Halloween ones.)  But it’s nice to see this in the toniest of tony Eastern magazines:

the cultural legacy of The Simpsons cannot be understated.

How Tension Between Sam Simon and Matt Groening Built “The Simpsons” – Speaking of tony and Eastern, The New Republic, everybody:

Simon was as responsible as anyone for the unique “Simpsons” sensibility, that combination of gleeful impudence and populist courtesy

You had me right up until “populist courtesy”.  What the hell does that mean?

Sam Simon Dead: ‘Simpsons’ Co-Creator Dies at 59 – This is true:

Decades later, he told Stanford magazine of “The Simpsons”: “It was largely based on what I didn’t like about the Saturday-morning cartoon shows I worked on. ‘The Simpsons’ would have been a great radio show. If you just listen to the sound track, it works.”

Sam Simon Wiki: 5 Great ‘The Simpsons’ Moments From His Era – A video heavy appreciation of some of the innovations of the early seasons.

Seth MacFarlane was nice:

Had the mind of Sam Simon not paved the way for all of us in primetime animation, I wouldn’t have a job. He will be sorely missed.

Via David Silverman on Twitter, here’s (L to R), Wes Archer, Silverman, Rich Moore and Simon looking like a bunch of high school kids on their way to prom:

SimonArcherSilvermanMoore1990

Mike Scully with a great little story:

In 1985 @simonsam, who I had never met, called to go thru my spec Cheers script & gave me great notes & encouragement. Best rejection ever.

25 Years Later, This ‘Simpsons’ Episode Still Hits Too Close To Home – “Two Cars in Every Garage and Three Eyes on Every Fish” was prescient in far too many ways.  Simon wrote it with Swartzwelder.

Sam Simon, Co-Creator of The Simpsons and Atheist Philanthropist, Dies at 59 – I did not know this:

“People say I’m trying to buy my way into heaven, which I don’t believe in. So that can’t be true,” Sam says. He paid for those atheist billboards that make news from time to time. Like the one by the Lincoln Tunnel, in New York, that read, IT’S A MYTH, on a picture of the stars over Bethlehem.

“The Simpsons” wouldn’t have been “The Simpsons” without Sam Simon – Good point:

Simon’s lasting effects on pop culture can be found in slightly more indirect ways as well. Just look at the accomplishments of former Simpsons staffers like Brad Bird (“The Iron Giant,” “The Incredibles,” “Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol”), Greg Daniels (“King of the Hill,” “The Office,” “Parks and Recreation”), David Silverman (“Monsters, Inc,” “The Road to El Dorado”), Jim Reardon (“Wall-E,” “Wreck-It Ralph”), and O’Brien, among so many others. Granted, they weren’t all Simon’s hires. But without his guidance, the show wouldn’t have lasted long enough to employ any of them.

I know that Daniels and O’Brien are more famous than Bird, Silverman and Reardon, but Simson did hire those three guys.  No need to pad the list.

Sam Simon – Chris Ledesma tweeted out his blog post from two years ago when Simon announced he had cancer.  This is a great image:

What I do remember is that he was very funny off the top of his head, he laughed heartily at things he thought were funny, and he was seldom without a cigar between his teeth.

I Hope To Die As Well As Sam Simon Did – Don’t we all?

Something called Voodoo Doughnut did this awesome tribute:

VoodooDonut

Maybe it’s not the best thing to say about the recently deceased, but I would eat the shit out of his jacket and head.

Was Sam Simon-era Simpsons the show’s golden age? – Half of it, yes.  This has been simple answers to simple questions.  (Oh, and I will argue the merits of Season 1 any time.)

I’ve linked this whole video before, but this seems like an appropriate send off:

06
Mar
15

Reading Digest: Snowmen Edition

Marge Be Not Proud12

“Check it out, boy, it’s like looking into a living snow mirror.” – Homer Simpson

Two different people in St. Louis decided to use this winter to make some snow Simpsons.  One is just Homer, but the other is the whole family and the couch.  It’s great.  In other impressive fan feats this week, there’s glow in the dark zombie Simpsons, a zombie Springfield, a grammar rodeo t-shirt, and money.  In addition to that we’ve got some excellent usage, lots of Nimoy links, reviews of old episodes and Season 7, and someone who literally agrees with us.

Enjoy.

Zombie Simpsons MAGGIE by Undead Ed Glows in the D by Undead-Art – A Maggie figurine, zombified.  There are lots more, including the rest of the family, Burns, Wiggum and Krusty.

Springfield Zombicide Map: (Part One) The Simpson’s House – A fan made look at what Springfield might look like post zombiepocalypse.   Nice touch on the plywood saying “P.S.  Screw Flanders”.

Zombicide in Springfield: Moe’s Tavern – Construction photos of Moe’s.

That’s it! Back to Winnipeg! – Excellent fan made National Grammar Rodeo t-shirt.

The Simpsons – The Springfield Files (Review) – A very thorough discussion of how The Simpsons and The X-Files complimented each other.  Also, heh:

o cite a convenient example of The Simpsons‘ anti-authoritarian leanings, The Complete Guide to The Simpsons pointed out that the episode which aired directly before The Springfield Files – the classic El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer – included a “blink and you miss it” gag about government surveillance. In a joke that seems even harsher in 2015, a quick peek through the Simpson family floorboards reveals that the phone is tapped by (handily labeled wires to) the CIA, FBI, ATF, NSA, KGB and MCI. No wonder the Cigarette-Smoking Man got down so quickly.

Money Art by Donovan Clark – One dollar bills with various characters on them, including Homer, Otto and Wiggum.

In Post-Apocalyptic ‘Mr. Burns,’ ‘The Simpsons’ Are, Literally, Legendary – The San Francisco version has opened to the customary positive reviews.

Hipp regulars light up stage in dark comedy ‘Mr. Burns’ – The play has also made it to Florida.  Like most things, it probably won’t get out alive.

Exploring ‘Trilogy Of Error,’ The Most Ambitious ‘Simpsons’ Episode Ever – I’ve never found it funny, but it is impressive in its way.

Jonathan Bradley on Instagram: “Feels like I’m drinking nothing at all… nothing at all… nothing at all…” – Flanders beer:

SexyFlandersBeer

Remembering Leonard Nimoy’s Enduring Pop Culture Reach: Bilbo, The Simpsons and Big Bang – It’s been a week, but who couldn’t use a little more Nimoy appreciation?

10 times Leonard Nimoy proved he was the king of cameos – I didn’t know he was a bad guy on Columbo one time.

New trending GIF tagged the simpsons leonard nimoy… – Great .gif of Nimoy beaming out after saving the monorail passengers.

RIP: Leonard Nimoy – Our old friend Noah does a send off.

Fashion Spotlight: Ridley Buster, As You Wish…, and Donut Portal – Donut Portal is great.

HYPE. THE SIMPSONS COLLABORATION – Yet more high fashion Simpsons clothing.

“The Streetsons” – And the Simpsons drawn with their own trendy threads.

The Simpsons Skin Pack now available for Minecraft on Xbox One, Xbox 360 – Excellent reference:

Are you ready to rasta-fy your Minecraft experience by 10%?

Father and son make snow sculpture of the Simpsons – That is fantastic:

SnowCouch

If you watch till the end of the video, you can see the horrific, melted aftermath.  Plus someone else made a Homer:

SnowmanHomer

Ranking all 25 Episodes of The Simpsons Season 7 – There’s a lot more in the “Not Classic” category than I would have, but to each his own.

‘Whoa, Mama!': A Voice Actress’s Road To Fame As A 10-Year-Old Boy – A four minute NPR segment of Cartwright recalling her audition for Bart.

One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish – There was no way around this:

-The first time I shaved, the scene with Homer teaching Bart how to do it was playing in my head the whole time. Probably because my Dad was the one teaching me how to shave, and he brought the scene up.

I never was able to get the piece of toilet paper thing to work.  Fortunately, it’s much easier to just not cut yourself in the first place.

The Way We Was – Heh:

-Homer: Debate? Like…arguing?
Teacher: Yes.
Homer: I’ll take THAT, you dingpot.
I have no idea what a “dingpot” is, but it’s still a great line.

I’ve always heard it as “stinkpot”, but either way, it is a great line.

Homer Simpson ‘discovered the Higgs boson’ – No, he didn’t, but they did have a similar equation in “The Wizard of Evergreen Terrace”.

11 Best Uses of Bad Grammar from ‘The Simpsons’ – There’s a little Zombie Simpsons in here, but not much.  I love “unfaceuptoable”.

Mid-concert selfie stage invasions – hasn’t Dvorák suffered enough? – Excellent usage:

There’s an episode of Simpsons in which Homer ruins a U2 concert by coming on stage mid-song to boost his campaign to become Springfield’s sanitation commissioner. As the audience boos, Homer explains that he would be, if elected, “the most whack, tripped-out sanitation commissioner ever! Can you dig it?” Not before time the security goons drag him off stage. “Don’t worry, he’ll get the help he needs,” Bono tells the crowd. A video screen behind the band reveals Homer getting his face filled in by the aforementioned goons – totally justifiably in my view – as the band play the richly ironic accompaniment, their song In the Name of Love.

20th Century Fox & FXX Unveil THE SIMPSONS Kwik-E-Mart Truck! – The headline tells you pretty much what you need to know, they’re going to have a traveling food truck trussed up as a Kwik-E-Mart.  The article refers to it as an “activation”.

The Simpsons has been on for a long time… – This August it’ll be five years since the date Lisa was supposed to get married in the future.  Time flies.

A Case of Plagiarism – Competing versions of “what MLB players would Burns hire today”.

Universal Studios: Krusty Burger – Heh:

The Krusty burger is just a regular burger with this yellow sauce on it, I believe it’s cheese? It’s a bit scary, the fact that I can’t tell what I’m eating, but I trust Krusty.

It probably wasn’t circus animals.  Probably.

QC on TV: A Series – Some love for everyone’s favorite attorney.

Hello! Hello! Hello! – .gif of Homer wolfing down NFL snacks.

Lisa Simpson on Thinking – Heh.

Sadly truth – Heh.

The Simpsons – A couple of cool Simpsons logo designs.

17 Simpsons quotes to cheekily work into everyday life – And finally, I get to end with someone who agrees with us:

For me The Simpsons ended around season 13.

Anything after that doesn’t count as The Simpsons I watched at 6pm every night, except not on Saturdays during footy season when Channel 10 had the rights to the Saturday AFL matches.

It didn’t matter if you had seen the episode twenty times beforehand, something was reassuring about knowing the plot and jokes, even the ones you didn’t get because they referenced something from the early to mid 1990s in the United States.

I will continue to refer to The Simpsons in the past tense, as it is how I will always view it.

Agreed.  (Also, there are some great quote suggestions in there.)




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