Archive for the 'Simpsons' Category

25
Jul
14

Reading Digest: Promising Features, Regrettable Drawbacks Edition

Homer vs Patty & Selma13

“Congratulations, Mr. Simpson, this invention of yours has made us all rich, especially you!  It’s simple yet ingenious, and it fits right in the palm of your hand.  Every person in America now owns one of these, and in many cases, three or four.” – Imaginary Executive
“Uh, could I just get a look at that?” – Homer Simpson
“Now, why would you need to see it?  You’re the genius who invented the . . . product in question.” – Imaginary Executive

The big news this week was the first look at “Simpsons World”, an app/website-of-some-kind that’ll be debuting in October.  I have very mixed feelings about it, and I’m sure we’ll learn more once people who aren’t obsequious entertainment reporters can get their hands on it.  For now, however, there’s quite a lot to be excited about (easy access to clips, being able to stream the show) and quite a lot to be pissed about (you must have cable, your cable company must have FXX, AND it’s only in the US).  How much of either ends up in the final product remains to be seen.

In addition to that we’ve got word record breaking tattoos, two more Lego links, old video games, finger nail art, fan art, and some excellent usage.  Enjoy.

With FXX’s Simpsons World, A Clip Database Comes Closer to Non-Linear Reality – Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week is – by far – the most thoughtful first hand account of Simpsons World I read.  There is some healthy skepticism here along with fanboi excitement about what some of the promised features could mean.  It’s a little long, but in a week where every entertainment site seemed to do little more than quote the press release, you’re better off reading this than ten of those.  The fact that there’s going to be a currency called “donuts” that you can “earn” makes me very leery, for obvious reasons.

Here’s how the new Simpsons app will change your life – A quicker breakdown highlighting some of the main features.

‘The Simpsons World’ app won’t be available in Canada – And this is part of the reason why I have mixed feelings.  TV rights are locked into ancient distribution deals that are definitely bad for fans and, one suspects, also bad for the people who create the shows.  Endless legal arcana has always been a big help to the bosses screwing the worker bees.  As Bill Oakley sarcastically noted earlier this week:

Oakley Tweet - Lawsuit

Mondrian and Homer Simpson Inspired Wine Bottles – Some Russian designers created fake Homer and Marge wine bottles.  They are gorgeous, too bad there’s no wine in them (yet).

Simpsons Fan Sets Record With 41 Homer Simpson Tattoos – I put this up on Twitter a few days ago, but there’s plenty of good pictures at the link.  The one of Homer inside his Ganesh costume is a nice touch.

The … – Duplo Simpsons!

You can’t mess up with Lego. – Surprisingly creepy Flanders.  Looks like after the Gremlin got to him.

“And I for one welcome our new insect overlords…” – The complete background and a few examples of modern usage.

The Simpsons to kill off Krusty the Clown: 6 life lessons he taught us – The hot rumor is that they’re going to “kill” Krusty.  I would be skeptical if I bothered to care.  However, there are some good Krusty moments here, including a great .gif of him killing the wealthy dowager.

10 Hilarious “The Simpsons” Moments – Plenty of good YouTube here.

Nvidia Announces Shield Tablet, an Android Device for Hardcore Gamers – Excellent usage:

In an online press briefing yesterday, Shield Tablet general manager Matt Wuebbling said the market for mobile devices has matured to the point that a company like Nvidia can respond to the specific needs of a niche like hardcore gamers. A trend of homogeneity turning to variety is coming to tablets the same way it came to cars and PCs, Wuebbling said.

And if tablets were cars, Nvidia seemingly wants the Shield to be the Canyonero from “The Simpsons”:

Unexplained fires will be a matter for the courts!

Speedy Ortiz talks the Simpsons and playing in space at Pitchfork Festival 2014 – Good answer:

DC: (If the world were going to end in a year) and you were allowed to play any one festival, what would it be?

MF: We got this question the other day, and I’m still sticking with the Simpsons one.

DM: Oh yeah, Hullabalooza. The Smashing Pumpkins would have to play.

SD: Sonic Youth plays too, right?

DM: Yeah. And Peter Frampton. He’s headlining.

And in between sets they could watch the acts from the Pageant of the Trans-Mundane.

Homer Simpson’s parenting advice – There’s a couple Zombie quotes on here, but it’s a pretty solid list.

The Simpsons 25 – A heartfelt and touching remembrance of a lost child through the show.

20 ‘Simpsons’ Quotes That Everyone Hears In Everyday Conversation – Nice list.  Not sure how often you actually hear some of these, but nice list nevertheless (via @dailysimpsons).

Gameplay – Midnight Rescue was a great game, and don’t feel bad for learning wordplay from the likes of Chalmers.  We all did.

‘Simpsons’ Fan Made Only Coke Name Bottle Worth Owning – Someone finally took this to its logical conclusion.  Unfortunately, Coke is now sold out of “Bort” personalized bottles.  I repeat, they are sold out of “Bort” bottles.

Mike Scully’s “The Simpsons”: When everything went wrong – Our old friend Stefan Grasso takes some swings at the Scully years.

Newt! (OMD2) – Fingernail designs inspired by “Radioactive Man”.

Planet of the Apes (1968) Review – I saw “A Fish Called Selma” long before I saw the old Charlton Heston movie too:

Aside from what I’d picked up in a Simpsons episode with a musical version of the movie, Planet of the Apes was a mystery. I had an idea that it was much more about chasing humans, action-packed fight sequences and heavy science-fiction.

It’s only after you’ve seen the movie that you pick up on other references, like the parents rounding up the kids at the beginning of “Bart’s Girlfriend”.

The Simpsons: “The Otto Show” – Even when people don’t like a particular episode, it’s still generally pretty good.

14 Classic Episodes from The Simpsons, season 5 (and 8 memorable ones!) – Season 5 is just insanely solid.

You Are Lisa Simpson – A list of sad animated moments includes “Jurassic Bark” and Homer sitting on the hood of his car after saying goodbye to his mother.

SNES A Day 59: Krusty’s Super Fun House – That was a pretty fun game.

“Going to a nice restaurant with my wife tonight.” – Heh.

“The Simpsons” needs to can its celebrity guest stars – And finally, I get to end the way I like, with someone who agrees with us.  In this case it’s mainstream outlet Salon:

There are two ways the celebrity guest appearance goes on “The Simpsons”; in some cases, a star appears as him- or herself, as with the episode where Lisa and Lady Gaga become friends. In others, a star riffs on his or her persona, as in the episode in which Homer and Marge become friends with “hipsters from Portland” played by Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein. The only commonality here is that in all cases, no matter who the celebrity is, their persona takes over the plot. In the world of the show, Lisa would never become friends with a pop star and Homer and Marge are studiously unhip. But still the celebrities must be shoehorned in, even when it means that the story either ignores what we know about the characters or just makes the nominal stars of the show into bland sounding boards.

“The Simpsons” has never been realistic, but in its best years it obeyed internal logic as to how its characters would behave. Dustin Hoffman’s famous appearance as “Mr. Bergstrom,” Lisa’s substitute teacher, cleverly demonstrated Lisa’s need for respect from adults. But such stories need to be done subtly, with an attention to narrative coherence. Even stars as hammy as Kelsey Grammer playing Bart’s nemesis Sideshow Bob could have told an interesting story, but simply plugging in a celebrity and expecting greatness is a tall order.

Except for when they talk to reporters, the staff stopped expecting greatness a long time ago.

21
Jul
14

The Day the Laughter Died

By Mike Zanna

There was a time when The Simpsons was the best show on TV. The show that currently calls itself “The Simpsons” has little resemblance. It’s not nearly as good. It’s not even good compared to the rest of the stuff on television. It’s like The Simpsons, but without everything that made The Simpsons so amazing. The show has become a hollow shell, a shadow of itself, a ghost of its former greatness. I’m sure there’s another supernatural metaphor I could use.

So what the hell happened? At some point, The Simpsons went off the air and was replaced by its evil twin, Zombie Simpsons. I’m not sure when this happened, but it was at least a decade ago, maybe even a decade and a half. I started wondering if I could pinpoint the exact moment that the change occurred. If I could find one episode that killed the show, what would it be? When exactly did The Simpsons jump the shark? I came up with an answer. Personally, I think The Simpsons died on February 13, 2000, with the death of Maude Flanders.

Alone1

Maude wasn’t the only one who died that day.

“Alone Again, Natura-Diddily” isn’t the worst episode ever, but it had the longest lasting negative effect on the series. Most bad episodes can be safely skipped or ignored. Even “The Principal and the Pauper” restores the status quo at the end of the episode. Whether you like the revelation about Principal Skinner or not, it doesn’t affect the episodes that aired afterwards. “Alone Again, Natura-Diddily” was what TV Tropes would call a Wham Episode. Afterwards, the show would never be the same.

Change isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and after eleven years, I can see why the producers would want to shake things up. It’s just that this particular change was a bad idea that was poorly handled. The show had made some changes before, and many of them are lampshaded in this episode. For example, the Van Houtens had split up. Zombie Simpsons would later have them get remarried. Killing Maude Flanders was the first change the producers had made that was irreversible.

The Simpsons had never killed a recurring character before. Bleeding Gums Murphy had died back in Season 6, but he hadn’t been seen on the show in years, outside of the opening title sequence. He wasn’t played by one of the show’s regular voice actors, so the producers couldn’t use him without bringing in Ron Taylor or recasting the part. Maude Flanders was played by one of the regulars, Maggie Roswell, who had played many parts before leaving the show. She would later return, but Maude would not.

I suppose the producers could have resurrected Maude if they’d wanted to. They are the gods of the show’s universe, after all. They can do whatever they want. But there’s no way they could bring her back without destroying the show’s reality. Then again, this episode ran the week after “Saddlesore Galactica,” which might be the least realistic show ever. The producers could have pressed the reset button, but they didn’t. They made their choice and stuck with it.

Maude Flanders wasn’t the most interesting person in the world, but one of the things that made The Simpsons great was its large cast of diverse characters. It had an entire universe full of people who seemed like real people, but funnier. She had played a key role in great episodes like “Bart of Darkness” and “Home Sweet Home-Diddily-Dum-Doodily.” And she lived next door to the title characters. But Maude Flanders wasn’t the only character who died in “Alone Again, Natura-Diddily.” The episode also basically killed the character of her husband, Ned.

Alone2

He’s just not Ned.

Before he became a conservative Christian stereotype, Ned Flanders was just a nice guy with a perpetually cheerful attitude. Even when times were tough, he at least tried to keep a smile on his face. See “When Flanders Failed,” “Homer Loves Flanders,” or “Hurricane Neddy.” His religion was a part of his character, sure, but I think his most prominent character trait was his positive attitude. After this episode, he couldn’t be that guy any more. There would always be some sadness in him. There would have to be.

I guess the producers thought making Ned single again could lead to some interesting stories, but it really didn’t. And I think Ned dating other women so soon after losing Maude was kind of out of character. I don’t think he would be so quick to look for a replacement. There could have been some humor in Ned trying to date again, but there really wasn’t. There were a couple of episodes, two with that Christian singer girl whose name I can’t remember, and one with Marisa Tomei. And then there’s that strange Zombie Simpsons plot line where he dated Mrs. Krabappel and they later got married. Now she’s gone too, and he’s a widower twice over. That’s just depressing.

Then there’s effect that losing their mother would have on the kids, Rod and Todd. “Alone Again, Natura-Diddily” basically skips over their reaction, and I guess it would have to. It’s kind of hard to make that funny. But I think it shows that the producers of this episode did a really half-assed job. They wanted to kill a character, but they didn’t want to deal with the consequences that it would have. The characters on The Simpsons were characters. They seemed like real people. On Zombie Simpsons they’re just props for delivering bad jokes. It’s kind of hard to feel sympathy for them, because they don’t act like people would.

Then there’s the way “Alone Again, Natura-Diddily” changed the character of Homer. He had become more of a jerk during Mike Scully’s tenure as show runner, and this episode shows him at his absolute low point. He actually causes another person’s death. He is responsible for the death of someone that he has known for years. A real person would feel at least a little guilty about that.

Okay, it wasn’t actually his fault. It was an accident. Maude Flanders’ death was like something from an Itchy and Scratchy episode. Slapstick violence isn’t really funny if we’re supposed to care about the people who get hurt. I guess you could blame the girls who shot the t-shirts that knocked Maude off the bleachers. This kind of begs the question of why they were at the funeral. But really, the girls only shot the t-shirts because of Homer. He provoked them, so he has to take some responsibility for the fact that a person died. It’s the first time his antics caused another person’s death.

Alone3

This is a pretty crappy way to send off a longtime character.

I know some people might mention Frank Grimes, but that’s a different situation. Homer doesn’t actively antagonize his co-worker. He tries to be a nice guy to him. He tries to make friends, but it doesn’t work. Frank ends up going crazy out of jealousy and basically kills himself, by doing something too stupid even for Homer. And that episode was basically The Simpsons criticizing itself. It was almost a self-parody.

Homer wasn’t a jerk in “Homer’s Enemy,” but he really was in “Alone Again, Natura-Diddily.” There’s a line where he says he parked in the ambulance zone preventing any possible resuscitation. What the hell? First off, that doesn’t even make sense. I don’t think you can resuscitate someone with a broken neck. But second, it just makes Homer seem more like a callous bastard. It also makes the producers look like jerks too. It’s possible to be tasteless and funny, but I think this episode is just the first one.

I think my least favorite joke is when Bart changes the cake from “Rest in Peace” to “Rest in Pee.” This is too juvenile for even a 10-year-old. The fact that the producers think this is funny is just really telling, and the fact that they think Bart would find it funny shows how little they get his character. Then there’s the scene with Rod and Todd playing “Billy Graham’s Bible Blaster,” which is actually a little funny. But I don’t think the kids would just be playing video games after their mom died. Maybe they’d be happy because they think she’s in heaven. I don’t know.

Death is a hard subject to make funny, but The Simpsons were able to do it. Take “’Round Springfield” for example. This website has already done a Compare and Contrast with that episode, so I don’t want to be redundant. It’s just amazing how much better that episode is than “Alone Again, Natura-Diddily.” “’Round Springfield” managed to be funny while still taking the death seriously. It managed to be sad but also had some great jokes. “Alone Again, Natura-Diddily” doesn’t do either of those things. The death is treated like a joke and the attempts at humor are just sad.

“Alone Again, Natura-Diddily” was a terrible episode, but it was more than that. When Maude Flanders died, a part of the show died. The characters stopped behaving like actual people, so it became really hard to care about them. The show had lost its sense of humor, and with this episode it lost its heart. Yes, it’s kind of arbitrary, but I think that’s the episode where the show crossed the line from The Simpsons to Zombie Simpsons. It was the day the series died.

18
Jul
14

Reading Digest: Fun for All Ages Edition

Lisa the Vegetarian15

“I think it’s nice we’re doing something Maggie will enjoy for once.  Besides, I’m sure Storytown Village is also fun for everyone, from eight to . . . God only knows.” – Marge Simpson

There are more than a few things that make The Simpsons unique, even when compared to other hit programs.  Close to the top of that list, and this is borne out more and more with each passing year, is the damned near agelessness of it.  At some point, the world is going to tire of the Simpsons family and it’ll become a part of history, but that point seems to keep receding into the future rather than coming closer.  This week we’ve got a couple more links about that very adult play positing that the culture of the show would survive the apocalypse, and in a nice contrast to that we’ve also got glowing write ups of old episodes from a teenager (who wasn’t even born when the episodes he’s watching were made) and even younger kids who dress up and act out the show.  We take that persistent interest for granted, but it’s pretty damned mind blowing when you take a second to think about it.

In addition to that we’ve got a couple of people who agree with us, the most detailed Lego breakdown yet, Lego Gorilla the Conqueror, shameless Buddha merchandise, and some excellent usage.  Enjoy.

The Simpsons Lego House – I’ve linked a few people assembling the Simpsons Lego set before, but nobody’s taken this many pictures and gone into this much detail.  If you want an up close look at what’s in that box, this is the link for you.

The Simpsons: “Dog of Death” – Young, soon to be college student takes a look at some of Season 3 that he’s never seen before and comes away impressed . . .

The Simpsons: “Colonel Homer” – . . . particularly with this one:

Hilarious, emotional, and wonderfully paced, it doesn’t get more classic The Simpsons than “Colonel Homer.”

The Simpsons: “Black Widower” – These episodes were made before he was born, hard to see anyone doing the same for Season 23 in two decades or so.

Truro school celebrate end of summer term with unusual school production – And speaking of the kids being alright, here’s some even younger ones dressed up as the “Sampsons” for a play.

Producers Endorse New Fox Presidents: ‘They Really Know What They’re Doing’ – Al Jean knows where his bread is buttered:

“I’ve worked with them both for a while, and they really know what they’re doing,” said “The Simpsons” executive producer Al Jean, who pointed to their long string of successes with comedies like “How I Met Your Mother.” “I think of the 23 network presidents ‘The Simpsons’ have had, they’ll be the best.”

Meet the new monkey bosses, same as the old monkey bosses.

ELEVEN PARIS x The Simpsons x colette – Promoting the high fashion merchandise means opening up a Simpsons themed something or other in Paris for a little while:

If you are a Simpsons fan and in Paris over the coming weeks, do try and make the effort to go and see the fun and loud Simpsons lair lurking under the super chic glass, chrome interior of colette. It’s the closest you may get to Springfield on this side of the Atlantic, until they open a Euro Universal Studios

Hello? Euro Universal Studios open for business!

The Simpson Family & the Respective Strains of Weed That Match Their Characters (You’re Welcome!) – The weirdness of the Homer_Marijuana twitter account continue to echo.

WWLSR: Seasons 7-9 – The Lisa reading project rolls on, including through the book heavy “Summer of 4 Ft. 2″.

Bunch of bloody clowns… – Fan made collage that includes a rather Mr. Sparkle looking Homer.

The Simpsons – The “25 Years Comic Con” poster.

Flashback: ‘The Simpsons’ Turn ‘Planet of the Apes’ Into a Musical – Video – There’s video, and there’s this:

As awesome as Dawn of the Planet of the Apes may be, it’s definitely not the best resurrection of the franchise. That honor still goes to the 1996 Simpsons episode “A Fish Called Selma,” which featured Troy McClure (voiced by the legendary Phil Hartman) reviving his stalled career by appearing in a musical adaptation of The Planet of the Apes entitled “Stop the Planet of the Apes. I Want To Get Off!”

And he’s starring as . . . the human!

Celebrate 25 Years of The Simpsons with 7″ Silver Homer Buddha – He is not forgetting the first two Noble Truths!

Tritone-Based Songs: The Devil’s Music – I did not know this:

It’s the very first notes you hear: “The Siiiiiimmmm-” form a tritone, before “-mmpsons” resolves back to a perfect fifth. The bass notes you can hear poking through now and again also follow a pattern that’s based around the Devil’s interval.

If you play the close credits backwards, there’s a recipe for a really ripping lentil soup.

Brilliant and Bonkers… ‘Mr Burns’ at The Almeida Theatre – The play’s got just over a week left in London, so here’s another happy review.

Review – Mr Burns by Anne Washburn at the Almeida Theatre – And here’s another “good, but…” review:

As a result, I’m not sure whether I’d recommend Mr Burns or not! If you prefer your theatre to be safe and comfortingly familiar, stay away. However if you’re willing to embrace something bravely different and take a risk, then give it a go. Although you have been warned about that third Act!

Futurama 3D – The Forrest Gump song is a little out of place, but that is very impressive visually:

The ad for Mom’s robot oil is a nice touch.

VIDEO: See The World ‘Futurama’ Rendered In 3-D – Some more stills and some extra video from the above.

Max’s Tavern named “best bar in the world” by Bar and Restaurant Magazine – It does bear a little resemblance to Moe’s, at least from the outside.  Not sure how that would help in a ranking, Moe’s is a dump, after all, but I’m not in charge of “Bar and Restaurant Magazine”, so what do I know?

People, like animals, are sometimes just jerks – Excellent usage:

Eventually, for everyone’s sake he was moved on to an animal reserve where he immediately picked up where he left off in Evergreen Terrace.

“Why is he attacking all those other elephants?” Marge asked the head ranger.

“Animals are a lot like people, Mrs. Simpson,” he replied. “Some of them act badly because they’ve had a hard life or have been mistreated. But, like people, some of them are just jerks.”

Mick Malthouse was moved onto the game reserve we know as Princes Park at the end of 2012 and picked up where he left off at Collingwood.

The game preserve guy actually says “Well” before “Animals”, but that’s nitpicking.

My Top 10 Favourite Television Opening Credits – The show comes in at #4 here.

Marge Attacks – Not sure of the source here (comic book, maybe?), but it’s Marge as the victim of a Kang & Kodos experiment.

Gorilla the conqueror! – The granddaddy of them all in simple Lego form.

Who Still Watches The Simpsons? – And finally, I get to end the way I like, with some people who agree with us.  A local sports radio guy in Kentucky asks:

Half a dozen of us would spend entire weekends watching episodes old and new on TV or DVD or VHS(!), bickering over which ones were funnier, cobbling together conversations entirely from Simpsons quotes. We played Simpsons boardgames. We destroyed local Simpsons-themed bar trivia nights. Yet all of us, every single one, stopped watching almost a decade ago. Come to think of it, literally not a single person I regularly speak with watches The Simpsons anymore.

No one in the comments watches it either.

11
Jul
14

Reading Digest: Makeup Edition

The Wizard of Evergreen Terrace4

“This next one’s for the ladies.  How many times have you gals been late for a high powered business meeting only to realize you’re not wearing makeup?” – Homer Simpson
“That’s every woman’s nightmare.” – Marge Simpson
“That’s why I invented this revolutionary makeup gun!  It’s for the woman who only has four fifths of a second to get ready.  Close your eyes, Marge. . . . And now you’re ready for a night on the town.” – Homer Simpson
“Homer, you’ve got it set on whore.” – Marge Simpson

That Marge related makeup line they announced a few weeks ago got its big marketing rollout this week, so there were a ton of links to it.  Amusingly, personal blogs and sites were mostly filled with geeky love while the big commercial sites were uselessly parroting the press release.  In addition to all that merchandising glamour, we’ve got a couple of really stand out analysis pieces, one about animation and Bob’s Burgers, and another about the delicacy of translating Flanders.  Plus there’s some great fan art (including zombies!), a couple of lists, some usage, some soccer, some Australian politics, and the Lisa Simpsons version of Sir Mix-a-Lot.

Enjoy.

Beyond Easy: Bouchard Buffet, Part 5: Bob’s Burgers – Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week is this detailed look at Bob’s Burgers and the early years of The Simpsons from our old friend Patrick R.  The focus is on animation, but it goes deep into characters and stories as well.  It’s worth reading even if you aren’t a Bob’s Burgers watcher, because it really gets at the underlying comic sensibilities of various shows.  Bravo.

The Fun of Nonstandard Lang-diddly-anguage – This was going to be the link of the week before I read the above, and it is also very much worth a read.  It’s a linguistic look at translating Flanders into other languages, with particular attention to the Fladerseses from around the world in “Lisa the Vegetarian”:

When assimilating these tics to their respective linguistic systems, several European translators opted to use variations of typical expressions (“salut”, “salve” and “hola” in FR, IT and ES for “hi-diddly-ho”) distorted in such a way as to retain the rhyme, alliteration and assonance that characterises the odd, yet distinctive, effect created in the English.

How do you translate “ding dong diddly días” into Italian?

Vampire Mob Graphic Novel – Issue 1 – I am really good at ignoring press releases and I get a lot of practice because this is a semi-popular internet site in a time when everyone is starved for attention, but I got one this week for an Indiegogo for a graphic novel based on a web series that Marcia Wallace was in before she died:

Zombie Simpsons: Mrs Krabapple by danosborne on deviantART – And speaking of Edna Krabappel, this is one of a series of excellent fan made zombie drawings.  There’s also Otto, Willie, and Krusty.

The Simpsons Wasted My Youth: Top 15 Episodes, Pt. 2 (Top 5) – Completing the list from last week, there is still no Zombie Simpsons and Hank Scorpio sits atop them all.

A Guide to the Dark, 420 Simpsons Remix on Twitter – The complete Denton write up.

Simpsons on the Block – A minimalist design of the family on a t-shirt.

The Simpsons – Heh:

“I like big books and I cannot lie
You other readers can’t deny
When a good book walks in with
A good plot base
And a big spine in your face
You get sprung!

Simpsons football lookalikes: Luiz Suarez as Cletus and David Luiz and Sideshow Bob – 12 football stars who look like your favourite characters – It just isn’t that hard to find a picture of Sepp Blatter looking like the personification of desiccated greed.

Dagwood Bumstead – TV characters and their sandwiches.  I think you all probably know the sandwich Homer has.

Makeup Like Marge: The MAC Simpsons Collection – That makeup collection from a few weeks back got a release date: end of August.  Give them this, it may be the first makeup to use the title “Nacho Cheese Explosion”.

Marge x MAC – But this just seems silly:

The Simpsons x MAC collection won’t hit stores until September, but the nerds at Comic-Con get first dibs when it goes on sale there for one day only in a few weeks. Me? Well, I’m yellow with envy

Ha!  Giving out makeup at Comic-Con . . . do they know their audience at all?

mac x simpsons makeup collection: it’s not a want, it’s a need. – Oh, one last link:

And a probably the first makeup tip I ever learned:

Ladies pinch.  Whores use rouge.

5 best memes of the Brazil World Cup 2014 – Comparing Brazil-Germany to Ralph’s heartbreaking moment on the Krusty 29th Anniversary show.

Webcomic Wednesday – There is a Simpsons Facebook page dedicated to making fun of Australia’s Liberal Party.  That is all.

Time For Change – Cool fan made Bart and Milhouse (among others) sketches.

Pick one and Never Lego – Ralph graffiti in the city of the angels.

Fox’s Fall Premiere Plan Includes Family Guy/Simpsons Crossover, 3-Part Utopia Launch, Late Mulaney Start – Ugh:

SUNDAY, SEPT. 28
8 pm The Simpsons (Season 26 Premiere)
8:30 pm Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Season 2 Premiere)
9 pm Family Guy (One-Hour “The Simpsons Guy” Season 13 Premiere Crossover Event)

Krusty go BOOM! – The destruction and rebuilding of a Tapped Out Krustyland.

Should I Purchase Lincoln? – The irony of that headline is tough to beat.  Heh.

Good or bad teeth? The genetics of tooth decay – Excellent reference from CNN:

Remember “The Big Book of British Smiles” from “The Simpsons”?
The dentist used it to scare children into proper dental hygiene.
And let’s be honest, it was funny! Because though British tea and good manners have an excellent international reputation, British teeth are mostly used as a punch line.

Top Thirteen Female Characters – #3: Lisa Simpson – Awesome:

I don’t remember a lot about that first season (I do now since I own it due to the miracle of DVD), but I do remember pretending to be Lisa Simpson. In kindergarten there was a stage you could play on and I distinctly remember playing Jem and the Holograms with my friends, but wanting to be Lisa Simpson instead of Kimberly of the Holograms. The mind of a five-year-old, right?

Round 117: Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire vs. Bart vs. Australia – Tough.

30 All-American Simpsons Episodes – There’s some Zombie Simpsons on this list, but it’s all buried down near the bottom, so well done on that.

How Fireworks Work, It’s All In The Chemistry – Excellent reference:

In the immortal words of The Simpsons, July 4th is a time to celebrate the independence of our nation by blowing up a small part of it.

Draw your friends – Well done:

I spent the whole night drawing my friends. Haha. Simpsons and Tim Burton styles.

Simpsons Denied Animated Emmy Nom for First Time – I suppose I should make a note of this, but I don’t give even the teensiest of fucks about the Emmys, so I have nothing to add.

I Want to Write for The Simpsons – And finally, I get to end with someone who agrees with us.  I’m on record, just as recently as yesterday, as saying there is no hope for the show ever resuscitating itself, but there are some good ideas in here, and he agrees with us:

What made The Simpsons great wasn’t that they were going for just gags, instead they told simple stories and then gently assaulted viewers with witty jokes. The Simpsons were witty, they didn’t linger on jokes, they didn’t beat dead horses. I don’t see why the writers don’t return to this style. Worst case scenario, people are too busy laughing at one joke to hear the next, but that just adds longevity; people will want to rewatch episodes to catch everything.
The show was smart, but not up its own ass with pretentiousness. Everyone was self-aware but not self-obsessed.

Al, hire this kid.

03
Jul
14

Reading Digest: Harry Shearer Speaks Between the Lines Edition

Homer the Smithers9

“What did Simpson do to you?” – Mr. Smithers
“Oh, nothing other than drive me to distraction with his incompetent boobery.  Terrible at everything!  A complete moron . . . but I’m not really free to talk right now.” – C.M. Burns

Thanks to Freedom Day tomorrow, it’s a short week and nobody’s spent much of it on the internet, so this is a very short Reading Digest.  And since big holidays are always some of our lowest traffic moments of the year, I thought I’d bump it to today.   There’s the usual collection of usage, some fan made stuff, and a little graffiti, but my favorite link is the last one, with some wonderfully circumspect words from the man himself, Harry Shearer.

Enjoy.

That Disastrous Car Homer Simpson Designed Was Actually Ahead of Its Time – This is a very misleading headline since most of the article explains how things in the Homer didn’t actually come true, but it’s a nice little comparison nonetheless.

Booze Geek News Special: Duff Beer To Launch Across The USA – Apparently, some kind of Duff is coming here to the States.  Also, this should give you an idea of how insanely convoluted this all is:

In Germany, a brewery in Hessen, brews a Duff Beer distributed in many European countries and in Australia from 2011. They applied for a trademark in Europe but were successfully opposed by Fox. Fox tried to establish their own Duff Beer trademark in Europe, but were ruled that a “Beer” logo applied exclusively to non-beer merchandise was misleading. But as a result of the German brand, in France they now have to blur out the “Duff” beer in the Simpsons cartoon so as not to advertise it.

Simpsons Trivia – Another fan of Classic Simpsons Trivia, this time in Vancouver.

“The Simpsons” Wasted My Youth: Top 15 Episodes, Pt. 1 (15-6) – Excellent list, with no Zombie Simpsons whatsoever and a .gif of Moleman getting hit by football.

WWLSR: Season 4-6 – More from the Lisa Simpson Reading project.

Illustrator Matt Gondek Exploding Homer Simpson Mural – It’s pretty cool.  You can see it and some others at his Instagram page.

Low-frills PEOPLExpress Airlines is back in the air after 27 years – Excellent reference:

PEOPLExpress, the iconic low-cost airline that Homer Simpson said brought air travel to hicks, is back in business 27 years after it folded, and once again flying out of Newark.

Domestic Violence Campaign Sees Your Favourite Cartoon Characters Battered And Bruised – The same guy who did those Kanye West and Kim Kardashian drawings a few weeks ago is back with Marge, Wilma Flintstone, and a few other famous cartoon women sporting bloody noses and black eyes.  I don’t know if this is effective in the least at reducing domestic violence, but it is kinda creepy.

Redeemer: The Life of Jimmy Carter, Part 1 – Excellent Jimmy Carter usage:

Without Marge’s famous marshmallow squares to sell, Springfield’s Beautify Our Parks Bake Sale falls short of its goal, forcing the town to purchase a statue of Jimmy Carter instead of Abraham Lincoln.  Furious, someone in the crowd cries, “He’s history’s greatest monster,” and the townspeople riot, eventually using the statue of Carter as a battering ram

Allison Green: Bart Simpson Crop Top – More high highfalutin’ Simpsons fashion.

The Original Demo Of “Lisa, It’s Your Birthday.” Sung By The Actual Michael Jackson – This isn’t the first time I’ve linked this, but it’s always nice to see it crop up again.

10 Words That “The Simpsons” Invented – I am suspicious of this list for a couple of reasons (“frogurt”, for example, was not invented by the show), but at least the only Zombie Simpsons entry is from Season 12.

10 More Visual Gags from The Simpsons – Nice list.  I always liked “Let’s Share the Blame”.

Tropical Brunch Club – Good thinking:

Once a month, one of us hosts brunch club, affectionally dubbed the S.S.B.S. (Super Sunday – or Saturday – Brunch Spectacular – a la this episode of The Simpsons).

They would appear to have more than just baloney and bread.

Mmm… Donuts – A collection of donut .gifs, including Homer wolfing them down at the start of “Homer at the Bat”.

Itchy and Scratchy show – Neat photo of Itchy and Scratchy Lego figures.

maggie simpson – Fan made pencil sketch of Maggie, with what looks like Marge on the sheet underneath.  Neat.

O que tá rolando de melhor na C&A, Renner e Riachuelo? – A creepy looking Bart robot t-shirt from I don’t know where.

Mr. Burns – From the same site as the above, but it’s Burns at a cafe.

Harry Shearer interview: ‘I told them I don’t dance – now I prove it nightly’ – And finally, I don’t think Shearer is the God, but he’s at least a god:

Do you see The Simpsons as a job for life?

The show will continue until the Fox network can find a new hit comedy show for 8pm and, based on their track record so far, I’d give us another 50 years.

Heh.  Also, it’s been an open secret for more than a decade that he agrees with us, and now we have this:

Do you think the quality of The Simpsons has ebbed and flowed over the years?

I think about it but I don’t talk about it.

Well said, Mr. Shearer, well said.

27
Jun
14

Reading Digest: Teaser Announcement Edition

Gabbo

“What’s Gabbo?” – Bart Simpson
“I figure it’s some guy’s name.  Some guy named Gabbo.” – Homer Simpson

It’s been relatively quiet around here the last few weeks.  I’ve had a Season 16 disc from Netflix sitting next to my computer since the beginning of the month, but haven’t yet gotten around to more Lies Make Baby Jesus Cry or anything else.  However, it was all in the service of something equally pointless: another little mini-book.  It’s much shorter than “Zombie Simpsons”, so even using the word “book” feels like a stretch, but it does have a cover:

Tapped In (640)

Thanks, Cessna!

In case my indirect and overlong title is confusing, it’s about The Simpsons: Tapped Out and it’s not flattering.  The full announcement post should go up on Tuesday of next week, though this thing has already taken so much longer than I originally intended that I wouldn’t carve that in stone or anything.  I sincerely hope you all like it, but I’ll forewarn you that it’s far more about the game than it is about the show.

For today, we’ve got a decent if somewhat skinny (it is summer, after all) link selection.  We’ve got a couple more play reviews, the possible origin of the Mathemagician, more Bartkira art, the artist currently known as Pitbull, and frickin’ bacon donuts.

Enjoy.

Mmm…collectibles: estate sale at home of Homer Simpson’s dad – Castellaneta’s father’s stuff is for sale in suburban Chicago today and tomorrow.  Click through for the drawing of Dan done by his dad.

My Tapped Out Anniversary – I didn’t make it a whole year, but I understand.  Keep up the good work.

Talk Tuesdays w/ Steve Reiss, The Math Magician and The Most Boring Author in San Diego – I did not know this, but apparently Mike Reiss has a brother who is a “Math Magician”.  Was he the basis for the man who tried to make a remainder disappear?

Who Is America’s Favorite TV Family? Answer Depends on Age, Gender and Political Affiliation – Well, mostly age.  As in, if you aren’t currently over 50, you probably like The Simpsons.

The Simpsons Challenge – 552 episodes of glory? – Todd, don’t do it:

So 552 episodes (currently) in 365 days should be pretty easy.  Much easier than my Doctor Who challenge (800 episodes some hour-long ones!).

It starts off as 1.51 episodes a day as a target.  I’m 44 episodes in, having rewatched all 1st and 2nd season episod

Quit at 11.  For pity’s sake, quit at 11!

Simpsons/Akira mashup Bartkira volume one released online – “Moe’s Bar”, yes!

INTERVIEW: ALISON WONDERLAND ON THE SIMPSONS AND HER SKYROCKETING SUCCESS – The kids remain alright:

You also post Simpsons screenshots pretty regularly on social media. If you could collaborate with one Simpsons character on a track, who would it be and why?

It’d be Otto!

Vocal sample?

Yeah, definitely! Or Barney burping, I could totally sample that. Tune it, make it an instrument. That would be kinda weird.

I asked The Game the same question and he said Maggie. He wants to sample her pacifier noise into a beat.

Oh, that’s sick. I wanna sample Barney’s burp.

On your next EP?

Okay, done! I’ll credit you.

In London, ‘Mr. Burns’ and ‘Adler & Gibb’ Stir Things Up; ‘Khandan’ Provides Relief – The official New York Times stamp of approval.

From the Bard to Bart: how Mr Burns challenges our common culture – And from The Guardian.

A Numerical Bart Simpson Snack Store in Hengyang – Don’t think FOX is getting a check for that.  I’m sure they’ll be okay.

VIDEO: Giant Duff Beer Pong With Pitbull And Jimmy Fallon – The title pretty much says it all.  This, by the way, does not detract from my theory that Pitbull is not a real person, but rather was created explicitly for the purposes of selling Dr. Pepper and Bud Light.

10 Hilarious Visual Gags from The Simpsons – Nary a trace of Zombie Simpsons.  Bravo.

Donut Sundae! – Apparently they serve donuts with ice cream at the amusement park in Florida.

Top Thirteen Female Characters – Honourable Mentions – Marge makes it between Belle and Jessica Rabbit.  Hopefully Lisa will make the actual list, which is counting down and hasn’t fully been published yet.

List O’ the Week: 20 Worst episodes of the Simpsons (Classic Era) – Part. 2 – Oof.

Has it ever happened to you, KalZ? – Heh.

Hot Smoked Salmon – Our old friend Gusface Grillah with an excellent paraphrase:

I don’t often eat salmon because the thought of having to wrestle a bear to snatch away his favourite delicacy frightens me.
But then I remembered the wise words of Homer Simpson, “Hey, if you want wild bears eatin’ your children and scarin’ your salmon, that’s your business. But I’m not gonna take it! Who’s with me?” (Unfortunately the bear patrol was as ineffective as a rock that keeps tigers away… ‘Lisa, I’d like to buy your rock’

Bacon Week Continued – Bacon Donuts – Homer would plotz.

Batman: Arkham Knight – 8 Reasons It Should End The Franchise – If you want to invoke pop culture zombies, there’s only one place to turn:

Sometimes one of the most amicable traits a creator of any entertainment property can show is restraint. Hell, just look at how perfectly Vince Gilligan knew how to handle Breaking Bad, as oppose to what remains of something like The Simpsons in 2014 being every possible plot thread has been pulled at until there’s nothing left.

Stop . . . stop, they’re already dead.

20
Jun
14

Reading Digest: Play Reviews Edition

Treehouse of Horror III10

“I’m dreading the reviews, I can tell you that.” – C.M. Burns 

Last week I mentioned that the post-apocalypse Mr. Burns play was opening in London.  Well, London being something of a theater loving town, we have a deluge of reviews this week.  Most are quite positive, some are decidedly not, but I suppose that’s life in showbiz.  In addition to that, the merchandising march continues, a couple of Simpsons alums do some charity work, there’s quite a bit of excellent usage, and people keep finding creative ways to use the Lego figures.

Enjoy.

Family Guy vs. Simpsons – Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week is a novel comparison.  It’s not about the shows, it’s about the freemium games and compares pretty much every aspect of them.

Simpsonesque : Douglas Coupland – “Worst. Person. Ever.” – There’s an actual novel called “Worst. Person. Ever”, which inspired this:

I suppose we’ve culturally transcended the point where Shakespeare or the Bible were good places to look for titles. It’s “The Simpsons”‘ turn to shine. I took a lot at some popular literary categories I use in this blog, and here are “Simpsons”-inspired titles for them.

There are some pretty good ones.  I’m fond of the “Romance” category getting “Teacher, Mother, Secret Lover” and “Theater” being “Is This the End of Zombie Shakespeare?”.

Drop Dean Clothing: Itchy & Scratchy Capsule Collection – Skinny pretty people wearing high falutin’ Simpsons clothes.  Again.

The internet sarcasm detector – Oh, that’s a real useful invention!

Save the Children Names New Giving Fund for ‘Simpsons’ Co-Creator Sam Simon – Simon continues to put all that Simpsons money to good use.

News :: Ay caramba! Charity poker event helps children – Meanwhile, Cartwright is hosting charity poker tournaments.

TV and film-themed sandcastles – Just what it says, with everything from the show to Monsters, Inc.

Life Lessons from The Simpsons – Excellent idea:

And our children have watched the Simpsons since they could see. In fact, when they were little and hadn’t figured out “time” yet, we’d explain longer car trips in terms of the equivalent number of Simpsons episodes.

Ay Caramba! 7 Lessons Event Organizers Can Learn From The Simpsons – Just what it says and not a trace of Zombie Simpsons.  Well done.

How Real Men Spend Father’s Day – Heh.

Geeky Lego Flower Pots – Star Wars, Lord of the Ring, and Simpsons all get the treatment.

Deadpool and Bobo verse the World – Well, the Lego world.

Why The Simpsons Is the Greatest Show of All Time – Those first ten years, yeah.

213. Duff – Another very “meh” review from an Aussie beer site.

D’Oh Nuts – You can now buy officially licensed “D’oh Nuts” in Britain, apparently.

Simpsons, Sedaris, and Story Structure – David Sedaris, fan of at least some Simpsons.

Groundskeeper Willie: My Not-So-Secret Crush – I’m not even gonna tell you what that guy’s into.

Licensing Business for Entertainment Biz Grew to $51 Billion in 2013 – Moar:

Products tied to not just Disney and Lucasfilm’s new “Star Wars” trilogy and spinoffs, but also Marvel’s “The Avengers: Age of Ultron,” Universal’s “Jurassic World,” and Warner Bros.’ “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” and following “Justice League” movies are expected to boost interest in film-based products over the next two years.
But so are anniversaries like “Ghostbusters’” 30th, “Gone with the Wind’s” 75th, and “The Simpsons’” 25th. Disneyland also turns 60, while Hello Kitty is celebrating 40.

Obligatory:

Playwright Anne Washburn enjoying ‘marmite’ appeal of the Almedia’s Mr Burns – And now we begin our extensive collection of play links with a Washburn publicity piece.

Mr Burns @ The Almeida Theatre Review – A very positive review calls it “one of this year’s theatrical highlights”.

A two and three quarter hour play based on a 20 minute cartoon – that sounds like a great id…D’oh. – A decidedly less positive review:

It is the kind of play that signifies its intent early, and the signs that title each act may as well have written on them that this is a ‘big play’ tackling ‘big themes’.

Review – Mr Burns at the Almeida Theatre – But as when it was on this side of the Atlantic, most of them are very taken:

For some of the first night reviews plastering broadsheets and blogs with flimsy star ratings failure was the first conclusion they jumped to and the one they stuck with, and I feel genuinely sorry that they missed out on one of the richest, most thought-provoking, imaginative, intricate, intelligent scripts, one of the most startling, dazzling designs, and one of the most accomplished creative teams I’ve witnessed at the theatre.

Mr Burns review – rebuilding the US on fragments of pop culture – This one is mostly happy, but I must take fierce exception to this:

Clearly Washburn is on to something in suggesting that, in the event of some future catastrophe, people would cling to their recollections of TV shows rather than Shakespeare or the Bible. But her play also suffers from its reliance on one particular episode of a cartoon comedy. Aficionados chuckle knowingly at every quotation from the original. If, however, you stumbled into the theatre knowing nothing of The Simpsons, you’d be totally lost.

First of all, if you’re going to a play that has “Mr. Burns” in the title, you don’t have a leg to stand on for complaints about not knowing the show.  More importantly, at this point not knowing The Simpsons is far worse in many circles than not knowing Shakespeare or the Bible.  Don’t we deserve plays too?

Mr Burns: ‘It’s not a play about The Simpsons’ – See?  The BBC knows it’s a ‘classic':

The play begins with several survivors sitting around a campfire trying to recall their favourite episode of The Simpsons.
That episode turns out to be 1993 classic Cape Feare, in which Sideshow Bob – voiced by Kelsey Grammer – is released on parole and sets out to kill Bart, forcing the Simpsons into a witness protection programme. The entire plot was a riff on Martin Scorsese’s 1991 remake of Cape Fear.

Mr Burns, Almeida Theatre, review: ‘three hours of utter hell’ – In the above link, the playwright says that people tend to love it or hate it.  File this one under the latter:

I have to say that in this one respect the director Robert Icke does not disappoint. This is a play that appears to have been calculated not just to annoy, but to actually distress, discomfort and dehydrate audiences.

Hi-dilly-ho, neighborinos: Flanders is coming to Cork! – Enough of London, how about Ireland?  Harry Shearer just bought a house there, plus there’s some YouTube.

See ‘Simpsons’ Version Of Kim Kardashian Butt Selfie – For once, the celebrity butt kissing wasn’t done officially.

Homer Simpson thief part of gang raid on store – Pretty sure “Don’t Be Conspicuous” is one of the basics of robbery, so the Homer Simpson onesie might not have been a good idea.

Ochoa Wins Sideshow Bob Battle With David Luíz – Big puffy hair always brings out the Sideshow Bob in everybody.

7 WWE Superstars Who Were Probably Alcoholics – Excellent usage:

If you’re a fan of The Simpsons then you probably remember the episode where Homer jumped on a car and said this famous line: “To alcohol! The cause of and solution to all of life’s problems.” It’s a funny line that’s also true in a lot of ways. It also applies to the wrestling business very well.

Weird cases: ‘Eye-watering’ Onionhead religion – More excellent usage:

Not everyone takes Homer Simpson’s attitude to employment. Addressing his boss, Mr Burns, Homer once said: “Listen to me, Mr Bigshot, if you’re looking for the kind of employee who takes abuse and never sticks up for himself… I’m your man.”

Feisty, yet spineless.

First Look: Glazed & Confuzed opens on Leetsdale – One more:

Doughnuts have long been associated with a cop’s favorite breakfast, but even Homer Simpson appreciates glaze and sprinkles: “Doughnuts. Is there anything they can’t do?” asked the famous patriarch of the Simpson family of cartoon characters.

Excellent usage.

City reveals a glimpse of planned downtown ‘Simpsons’ mural – It’s just a drawing of Maggie and Lisa on a bike, but it’ll probably look nicer on a wall with some personal style.

Real Springfield seeks artist for ‘Simpsons’ mural – And the call for submissions and proposals is out.

5 things that I just don’t like – And finally, I get to end with someone who explicitly agrees with us:

3.shows running for too long

Does anyone remember when the Simpsons or Spongebob has had a really great episode recently? yeah neither do i, and i understand why they want them to continue because hey they practically print money, but come on enough is enough just give us something new.

Amen.

20
Jun
14

Quote of the Day

Bart After Dark14

“Wow, man, what is this place?” – Bart Simpson
“I prefer not to be called ‘man’.  My name is Belle, and this is the Maison Derriere.  That means the, uh, back house.” – Belle

Happy birthday Tress MacNeille!

13
Jun
14

Reading Digest: It’s Not Supposed to Be Good Beer Edition

Colonel Homer13

“Duff, please.” – Homer Simpson
“We don’t sell Duff.  We sell Fudd. ” – Beer -N-Brawl Bartender
“Okay, Fudd me.” – Homer Simpson

This week we’ve got two links to Australian beer aficionados who were less than impressed with the recently released “Duff” beer.  Long story short, it’s meh at best and kinda gross at worst.  This is unsurprising, as crappy merchandise is crappy merchandise, even when it is infused with sweet, mind numbing alcohol.

More amusing, however, is the fact that Duff isn’t supposed to be good.  It’s supposed to be the kind of thing German executives consider swill, where you might find a rat, a syringe, or even Hitler’s head in a bottle.  They’re marketing it as a good beer because they have to.  Budweiser and Miller Lite are called good beers by the people who make them as well, but that doesn’t mean anybody believes it, and this “Duff” falls into the exact same category.

What makes it funnier is that, unlike Bud and Miller, Duff was originally intended to be crappy.  So, through no fault of their own, the merchandising pukes may have managed to finally, at long last, make something actually worthy of the show.  Duff is supposed to be barely drinkable piss, that’s why Homer drinks it, and they seem to have succeeded in bringing it to life.  Well done.

In other links, we’ve got fan painted nail art celebrating national donut day, Mike Reiss being a mensch, a quick Homer haiku, some comedy theory, and much more.  Plus there’s a couple of people who agree with us, one in an actual newspaper.

Enjoy.

The Top Simpsons Episodes – Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week is this rundown of favorite episodes, one each from Seasons 2-10.  Plus there’s lots of good Youtube, a healthy dislike of Zombie Simpsons, and a great Hank Scorpio picture.  Well done lists are so much better than slapdash ones.

“To be thus is nothing, but to be safely thus” – The Mr. Burns play is now showing in London at the Almeida theater.  It opened yesterday and runs through July 26th.  The linked review is quite up on it.

Had enough of Duff – The Australian Duff would appear to not be very good:

But Duff isn’t a stock-standard lager. It’s a good deal worse than that. It starts off with an odd, slightly chemical flavour before some malt notes come barging in out of nowhere. Then the malt disappears, leaving that that odd flavour centre-stage.

Duff beer – Review – This one’s a little more positive, but still concludes:

Drinkable for a gimmick beer, but not something I’d frequently buy.

Sadly, they obviously didn’t make it as cheap as Duff is in the show.

“Don’t blame me. I voted for Kodos.” – Exploring the background and wisdom of one of Homer’s most famous political quotes.

TV: Saturday, June 14 – The Sydney Morning Herald is starting to sound like me:

Remember when The Simpsons was wet-your-pants funny? When every line sparkled with wit and pitch-perfect cultural references? This is the sort of episode that will have you pining for those far-off glory days. Its contrived plotlines barely hang together, and you’ll be looking at your watch long before the credits roll. First up, Grampa Simpson comes to live with the family after his nursing home is shut down. Then there is an abrupt change of gear with Bart sticking up for Nelson, for reasons that are unclear, and being invited to join the bullies’ gang. There follows a parody of a 1979 movie called The Warriors (nope, never heard of it either) and, at the last minute, an unsatisfying denouement that brings the stories together.

Brush With Greatness – Episode # 031 – After some computer problems, our old friend Ash is back.

Drop Dead Clothing unleashes Itchy & Scratchy collection onto unsuspecting world of music & fashion – Moar merchandise of the fashionable clothing variety.

Mackenzie Davis of ‘Halt and Catch Fire’ on AMC – And speaking of said clothing, here’s a New York Times actor profile that notes:

“I love seeing the insides of things,” Mackenzie Davis said, tucking her bleached bob behind her ears, a giraffe’s neck expanse above her slashed and safety-pinned Bart Simpson T-shirt.

The photo isn’t the best, but it would appear she’s wearing a Bartman shirt.  So I guess the retro-cool thing is working?

6 Reasons Why Springfield, Missouri, is Totally the Springfield from The Simpsons – One of the real Springfields makes its case to be the one from the show.

Soul Donut – Excellent nail art:

Here I tried to capture the dichotomy between the light and dark nature of the donut as a comment on the circularity of our lives. Or maybe I just wanted an excuse to paint horns and a halo on a pair of donuts? Who knows.

Devil Flanders is on the thumb, and the donuts of good and evil are on her fingers.  Bravo.

You Need to Hear This Extremely Rare Recording – Nice take on how Comic Book Guy changed from when the show started even just to Season 8.

Zombie Simpsons Longboard Custom – Zombie Bart on a longboard for sale in Peoria.

It’s National Doughnut Day, So Here’s The Best ‘Simpsons’ Food GIFs – There’s more than a little Zombie Simpsons in here, but most of them are good.

National Doughtnut Day – And here’s some Homer donut images.

homer – A Homer haiku.

Summer Travels: Meeting Semi-Famous People – Mike Reiss, nice guy:

During my stay, one of the Simpsons writers, Mike Reiss, was giving a talk at the State Museum in Harrisburg, and we went to see him. After the show, he signed this postcard for me and drew a cute little picture. I’m not sure if it’s supposed to be Bart or himself.

To be fair, he’s a writer, not an animator.

Top 5 Television Shows… – Once again, Zombie Simpsons spoils the show:

2. The Simpson’s – The longer this series goes on, the more I think I may have to drop this one from my list.

Go away, Zombie Simpsons.  Nobody likes you.

Arriving In Style. – Nicely artsy photo of a little model Homer car.

Incongruity Theory: Why a well-timed Banana peel can be hilarious – Exploring incongruous comedy with Sideshow Bob and his arch nemesis: rakes.

In Sight – Excellent reference:

I found myself becoming so involved with the piece that when it finally finished I had to take a moment to collect my thoughts! Ok, I know what you guys thinking; That’s a bit lame, we thought you were cool, you changed mannnnn. But let me stop you right there! I have not changed! I’m still cool, China’s still cool.

Homer SEAmpson – Lego Homer by the beach.  But what will the remote work?

Aquaman in Blinky’s Revenge – Heh.

The Simpsons Tapped Out: The Definitive Simpsons Video Game – And finally, I get to end the way I like, with someone who agrees with us.  In this case, it’s not only about the show, but also about Tapped Out:

However all this fondness can only last so long, and sadly the best the game has to offer is over once the original 20 levels have been completed. The loose storyline of Homer reuniting with his family finishes at this point; the game continues without real purpose and reveals the most striking resemblance it has with the series. The only true objectives from here on out are to continue building and participate in the next seasonal event; things continue but the heart and soul of the project has ended. Like the show itself, plot lines become more zany and nonsensical  (if not downright forgettable) and the family themselves spend less time together and more time with their secondary, tertiary and one-line gag cohorts to keep churning out more content (the Yes-Man comes to mind here…).

Indeed he does.

06
Jun
14

Reading Digest: No End to Licensed Merchandise Edition

Lisa the Greek17

“Oh, Dad, you must’ve bought me every Malibu Stacy accessory there is!” – Lisa Simpson
“Not quite.  They were out of Malibu Stacy lunar rovers.” – Homer Simpson

This week we’ve got links to more designer t-shirts, Lego knockoffs, a crappy alarm clock, a small “collector’s” model of Powell Motors’ last design, and I think I forgot a couple.  Also, we’ve got two links from Australians who’ve gotten their first taste of Moe’s and Duff.  (If this keeps up all the way through the actual 25th anniversary in December, I may have to re-title these posts “Merchandising Digest”.)  Fortunately, that’s not all we’ve got.  There are several cool fan made items as well, including NHL logos, embroidery, and an actual Zombie Bart.  Oh, and the Bartkira project released a teaser book.  There’s also some behind the scenes information about “The Cartridge Family”, a great reference, and an actual Springfield getting a Simpsons mural.

Enjoy.

Simpsons gun episode: “The Cartridge Family” was kind to the NRA, but they didn’t get it (VIDEO). – Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week is this blog post about “The Cartridge Family” that includes Scully explaining a few things:

Scully says that the NRA sent an angry letter to the Simpsons staff, proving that the organization didn’t get it. “It’s like they didn’t watch the show,” Scully says.

Moe’s Tavern – Woolloomooloo Bay Hotel – Pictures from that mini-launch of Duff in Australia, including kegs of the stuff.

Had some Duff Beer at Moe’s Tavern, Springfield – More of the above, including a great look at the menu.

Bart Simpson zombie – Cool (and creepy) fan made drawing.

BARTKIRA – The Bartkira project has released a short book as it continues its massive task.  Only $15.

Bart Simpson Embroidery – Excellent fan made Bart.  The look on his face is great.  I can picture him saying “Yessum”.

Colette x ELEVENPARIS – More new fancy t-shirts.  These are from the same company as that all blue Marge one.  They aren’t as good as that one, but they’re not terrible either.

BREWING UP SOME FUNK: Grand Funk Railroad’s Don Brewer talks about the early days and sweet, sweet Connie – Don Brewer is aware of Homer’s opinion of his competent work:

CRAIG: How does it feel to have Homer Simpson as a big fan of yours?

BREWER: (LAUGH) I was honored. When they sent me the script for that episode they wanted to use one of my songs, “Shinin’ On.” And I read what (Homer) was going to say about each guy in the band. And he was telling his kids about Grand Funk Railroad, and I was like, wow. I guess we are Americana now.

Steve Sax gets tiny residual checks from his appearance on classic Simpsons – Heh:

Steve Sax tells @Midday180 he gets quarterly residual checks from the Simpsons worth $0.45 to $0.73.

Back in my day, that was a lot of money.  Really?  Nah.

SDCC 2014: Simpsons and James Bond Hot Wheels Exclusives are Announced – And the prize for this year’s “First Mention of Comic Con” goes to Mattel:

Mattel has started to announced their Hot Wheels SDCC 2014 exclusives!

[...]

Hot Wheels The Homer ($30)
Hot Wheels proudly presents The Homer from everyone’s favorite cartoon show “The Simpsons.” This vehicle is a faithful reproduction in awesome collectible packaging of the Homer Simpson-designed car “that’s everything the average man ever dreamed of!”

ak47_studios on Instagram – It’s NHL logos remade with Simpsons characters.  Lisa as the Rangers is pretty damned good, but the cake might have to go to Wiggum as the Mighty Pigs, er Ducks.  (via @johncessna)

The Simpsons – The Simpsons section at the Florida theme park has been such a success that they’re building one in the California theme park.  Here are some under construction pictures.

HOMER SIMPSON Animated Clock 8 by 11 inches – Another poorly built alarm clock that cannot be plugged in.  I suppose they didn’t want it to get incredibly hot.

Simpsons soccer parody: The episode “The Cartridge Family” is history’s best soccer satire. – It is pretty good.

Did the Simpsons predict Cryptocurrency back in 1997? – Not really, but it’s a nice thought.

Game #1 – 4 in 1 (Super Famicom) – A writeup of a weird old, Japanese game cartridge that misidentified the Simpsons game that was on it.  Also, excellent usage:

Also, since this picture was taken, the label has fallen off. Bah, cheap weatherstripping!

Interview with Johnny Cupcakes on The Simpsons Official Collaboration – Small number of baking products, large number of t-shirts.

Simpsons mural coming to town – Cool:

The city announced Friday that a mural featuring the animated family, created with input from TV series creator Matt Groening, will be painted on the west side of the Emerald Art Center at Fifth and Main streets.

[...]

A print artist who works for 20th Century Fox Television, which helps produce and airs the show, is completing the original artwork that will serve as the basis for the mural.
A show publicist said it’s most likely the artwork won’t be released publicly before the completion of the mural in mid-September. Laudati said the artwork will depict Homer lounging in a hammock, Bart climbing a tree, Marge painting, and Lisa and Maggie riding a bike.

That’s Springfield, Oregon, by the way.

Just Because… – Heh.

New Addition to the Family – More merchandise, this time “Diamond Blocks”.

Homer’s Enemy: The ballad of Frank Grimes – Our old friend Stefen Grasso writes up one of the turning point episodes of the series.

Trivia pursuits: Really specific bar trivia around Brooklyn – Go classic Simpsons trivia:

Perhaps the most specific trivia night in the whole borough, Woo Hoo! Classic Simpsons Trivia on the first Thursday of the month at Williamsburg’s Berry Park tests contestants’ exclusively on episodes of “The Simpsons” from the ’90s. Battle it out with teams such as “Allied Biscuit,” “Team Discovery Channel,” and “The Neglecterinos.” If you don’t get those references, this isn’t the trivia night for you.

7:30 pm at Berry Park [4 Berry St. between N. 14th and N. 13th streets in Williamsburg, (718) 782–2829, www.berryparkbk.com]. $10 per team, $5 solo players.

Granola, which many may choose as a healthy breakfast, has more than 400 calories – I like how the illustrate their story on crappy eating with a picture of box after box of Krusty-Os.

Has anyone found missing Bart Simpson doll? – That’s sad:

Elaine said: “Bart is 25 years old and was a character bought for my son who is now 28!

“It has been packed away safely in my cupboard over many years now.

“Having decided to pass it on to my two-year-old grandson, it was lost on its first day out in the region of the Sure Start children’s centre and Hill Street.

Syndicated TV Ratings: ‘Judge Judy’ Again Number One in Households & Viewers & ‘Dr. Phil’ Top Talker for Week Ending May 25, 2014 – Ratings – One suspects that these are ratings the show would still do quite well in:

Why Aren’t The Simpsons on This List?!
While The Simpsons repeats are available nationally its ratings are not counted in the weekly syndicated ratings because The Simpsons does not sell any national advertising in syndication.

30
May
14

Reading Digest: Call for Guest Posts Edition

Itchy and Scratchy and Marge18

Between the holiday, the end of the television season, and the fact that it’s now basically summertime, the Simpsons had a pretty sparse week on-line.  All those things also mean that it’s time for my annual solicitation for guest posts.  If you’ve got something you’d like to say about the show, send it in.  We accept rants, cranky letters to the editor that end with “I am not a nut”, well thought out analyses, and just about anything else.  Pictures and images are welcome, and we’ll be happy to link back to your Twitter account, blog, or what have you.  String a few sentences together, and a tiny slice of internet fame can be yours.  You’re certainly welcome to send in something completed, but if all you’ve got is an idea, I’m happy to help you think it through and flesh it out a little.

As for this week’s actual links, we’ve got a beaded Bart, memories of Phil Hartman, a Lisa inspired music video, a couple of lists, and one of the junior Murdochs being such a ridiculously callous business executive that I could almost believe he was just trolling poor, hapless Variety.  Almost.

Anyway, enjoy, and get thee to a keyboard if you want to publish a guest post.

What HiFi stereo system is in The Simpsons house? – Stereo geeks take a guess at what kind of system the Simpsons have.  Perhaps a Pioneer C-5600?

Dear Phil – A nice remembrance for Hartman:

I still hear your voice, you know. It’s one of the most soothing sounds in life. Seriously!!! Hahahaha and not disembodied as I go through my day – though it does happen from time to time. Picture it: I’ll see something funny on the subway, and you’re narrating it like Troy McClure. It just takes the hilarity to a whole new level.

WWLSR – What Would Lisa Simpson Read Project – Now this is a project idea:

since I have been so involved in book clubs recently I thought it would be fun to read the books that Lisa reads on the show, in the order that she reads them. There is a Lisa Simpson book club out there in Tumblr land, but their reading list is missing a few titles, and is also not in chronological order. I’m a little OCD, so I’m rewatching all the episodes from se01ep01 to the current season so I can make a complete list of books read or referenced by Lisa Simpson. I’ve created a group on the Goodreads website (find it here!) but will also post about it and include my screenshots (Yes, I am ridiculously thorough). This post covers seasons 1, 2 and most of season 3.

That’s gonna be a lot of reading, and don’t forget that at the end of Season 3 she finally gets a copy of Ethan Frome to call her own.

: in remembrance : – Aw:

That’s my dog, his name was Bart. Together, we were Bart and Lisa. You know, The Simpsons?
He was one of the world’s great dogs and we were inseparable.

Sniffle.

Sexism in Springfield – On the less than stellar dialogue of Tapped Out.

D is for diorama – Pretty sure I learned that word from the show, too:

but it is only down to The Simpsons that I knew what was expected when Child 3 came home announcing she needed to make a diorama. I first heard the word in this context in the episode Lisa’s Rival (1994), where Lisa fears another girl’s diorama will be better than hers and plans to sabotage it.

James Murdoch on Cord-Cutting, ‘Fault in Our Stars’ and ‘Simpsons’ Syndication – I forget which one of Murdoch’s kids he is, but he has certainly mastered the content-free timbre of corporate speak:

“We are in an environment of really extreme plurality for customers … you have to have things that are differentiated,”

What does that even mean?

“Over the next three-to-five years we see a lot of really attractive filmic product coming through,”

Ooh, I love “filmic product”!

“The challenge for us is how do we monetize that video?”

Fry, get back to the office, shift some paradigms, revolutionize outside the box!

Classic Album Covers Get The Pop-Culture Parody Treatment – You’ll have to scroll through a few, but the Homer/Radiohead one is pretty good.

Family guy the quest for stuff – Uh-oh, dedicated Tapped Out players are migrating to Quahog.

The Simpsons: 10 Best Episodes Focusing On Minor Characters – Serious pageview whoring on this list, but at least there’s no Zombie Simpsons.

The Simpsons: 10 Greatest Movie Spoofs – Same as above, except there is some Zombie Simpsons.

Simpsons casting director chosen Expat Finn of the Year – Awesome:

Bonita Pietila, a name familiar to every Simpsons fan, was in Finland this week to accept an award for Expatriate Finn of the Year from the Finland Society.

Congratulations!  I always assumed that name was Spanish of some extract, guess not.

Wolf Alice – ‘Moaning Lisa Smile’ – Musical usage:

The video stars Ellie Roswell, who explained the video in a statement: “‘Moaning Lisa Smile’ was inspired by our favorite 8 year old girl, Lisa Simpson. We wanted to create a Lisa-type character and follow her in a pursuit to happiness. Although faced with obstacles in the shape of some nasty bitches, Lisa soon finds the group who make her feel like she belongs.”

The video’s pretty good, and certainly has a more coherent story than any episode in the last decade.

Perler Beads : Bart Simpson – Just what it says.  Well done (and the skateboard is a nice touch).

WATCH: Wisconsin police officer escorts ducks across busy road – Excellent usage:

You may remember a scene from “The Simpsons”, when Apu (in his role as a volunteer firefighter) is racing to the scene of a fire – only to be halted by a mother duck and her ducklings, lazily strolling across the road.

“You ducks are really trying my patience!” Apu complains. “But you’re SO cute!”

There are likely a few commuters in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, who can appreciate that sentiment.

Dining to the Oldies at Stewart’s Busy Apron – I’m not quite sure what it means in context, but it’s a great reference:

The blinds are always down at Stewart’s Busy Apron in Anaheim, but not to keep out the sun. This is the diner version of that sign on The Simpsons outside the retirement home announcing to visitors, “Thank You for Not Discussing the Outside World,” for here is a museum piece.

Duff beer labelled dangerous by Australian Medical Association – Expect more like this as Duff spreads around the globe.

Variety bash team takes on Dave’s obession with The Simpsons – While we’re on the subject of Australia, remember that Simpsons car from a couple of weeks ago?  Here’s the team, complete with Duffman and Duffwoman costumes.

Aaaah, so that’s how you ruin The Simpsons. #PicOfTheDay – Still of what I assume is some kind of Korean game or lottery show with people dressed as Bart, Marge and Homer.  I’d say the weird french fry looking thing on Bart’s head is the oddest part, but the white circles around Homer and Marge’s eyes aren’t far behind.

Music From The Simpsons – Spinal Tap – Lotta good YouTube, here, including the immortal, “These go to eleven.”.

Round 115: Trilogy of Error vs. The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show – “Trilogy of Error” is possibly the best episode in Season 12, it just happens to not really be funny at all, which is a bit of a handicap if you’re going up against Season 8.

de kooning – groening – Can you see Bart with “woman lips” in that?  I kinda can.

D’OH Boy – I think there’s like four puns in there, and I maybe get two of them.

Best Summer Vacation TV Episodes – “Summer of 4 Ft. 2″ naturally makes the grade.

Bacon Bourbon Pecan Pie & Maple Bacon Ice Cream – Yet more good food with Simpsons YouTube and a .gif of Homer trying to eat pie with his eyes closed.

Memorial Day: Which pop culture cookout would you crash? – And speaking of summer themes lists desperate for pageviews, here’s one that manages to list both “Lisa the Vegetarian” and Bad Boys 2.

 

23
May
14

Reading Digest: Lots of Clothing Edition

Scenes from the Class Struggle in Springfield9

“I need a formal dress for tonight!” – Marge Simpson
“You’ve come to the right place.” – Patty Bouvier
“We’ve got classy duds up the yinyang. . . . I call this one, ‘Fantasy in Maroon’.” – Selma Bouvier
“It’s got some cigarette burns, but we can patch ‘em up with new vinyl.” – Patty Bouvier
“It’s a bit peppery for me.  Why don’t we put this in the maybe pile?” – Marge Simpson

Season 25 rolled unmourned into the past this week with hardly a peep from the internet.  I was sort of hoping for a few more stories about how the ratings are historically low, but Zombie Simpsons has become such a dull and ordinary thing that even that didn’t rate.  But we do have the usual smattering of fun stuff, including three links to officially licensed clothing and one to a (far superior) fan made jacket.  In addition to that, we’ve got two pieces of Australian usage, some love for Lisa, great Lego pictures, a couple of people who agree with us, and more sand Simpsons from England.

Enjoy.

A Hypothetical Aside and Round 113: Homer Badman vs. The Wandering Juvie – Smooth Charlie’s link of the week is our old friend Nebel asking what if the show had gone off the air after Season 9?  I agree that they probably would have rebooted it by now.  I wonder if that would’ve been worse or better than Zombie Simpsons?

I am the Lizard Queen – Homemade punk Lisa jacket.  Yes.  Ten thousand times, yes.

The Simpsons™ LEGO® Minifigure Series – Excellent series of fan photos, including such notable pairings and Nelson and Milhouse, Burns and Maggie, and, of course, Homer and Flanders.

I used to be with ‘it’… – Excellent .gif of one of Grampa’s greatest lines.

Round 111: El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer (The Mysterious Voyage of Homer) vs. Home Sweet Homediddly-Dum-Doodily – Oh, bitch, bitch, bitch.

Round 112: In the Name of the Grandfather vs. Beyond Blunderdome – Nice that “winner” is in quotes for Season 20 vs. Season 11.

How Do You Solve a Problem like Animation? – Nice catch on the Chomet couch gag:

Even the light switch is French, guys.

So it is.

Simpsons character leering over Tweed Heads motorists – An enterprising Australian graffiti artist has a mostly complete Burns-as-Dracula done on an embankment overlooking a highway.  Fresh victims for his ever growing army of the undead, no doubt.

WA’s ‘Flanders’ jokes amid budget gloom – And speaking of Australia, our old friend D.N. sent this in a couple of weeks ago (and I completely forgot about it):

Western Australia’s state government has just announced the 2014-15 budget, hiking up prices, hitting families, and selling off billions of dollars’ worth of assets to regain the state’s AAA credit rating. The announcement is not going down well. What does this have to do with The Simpsons? Well… Take a look at the attached photographs. The first is of the front page of the state’s leading daily newspaper, The West Australian (Friday 9 May); the second is from the inside. Both pictures were drawn by cartoonist Dean Alston.

StupidBudgetFlanders01

And:

StupidBudgetFlanders02

Thanks, D.N.!  (And good luck with Budget Flanders.)

Family Guy Review: Toast House – A sad, but I think accurate, observation:

Fifteen years ago – when I was a devoted Simpsons fanatic who dismissed this show as knock-off claptrap – I certainly never would have dreamed that I’d be looking forward to Family Guy each week, while I haven’t caught an episode of the Simpsons in years.

But Family Guy’s joke machinery – rather than The Simpsons’ warm character development – has better weathered the test of time. I’m shocked to hear myself say it, but I really think the Griffins are the ones doing the Simpsons a favor with this crossover.

Outside of post-football, I can’t recall the last time I saw Zombie Simpsons with higher ratings than Family Guy.

Burps Sea Doodles! – Neat fan sketch of Bart and Homer.

How To Start Planning My Creative Future While Watching The Simpsons – I’m envious:

Anywho…recently, my retail job and watching early seasons of The Simpsons have taken up most, if not all, of my time. I had never seen an episode of the Simpsons until this year and now I’m addicted. It’s like a meteor of stupid and relevant humor landed in my lap and I can’t get rid of the stains, no matter how hard I try. So far, my favorite seasons are 3, 5, 6, and 8 and I go on amazon a lot to find others.

I’d stop around 9.

I Was Mint For You – Me too:

It also reminds me of a fantastic visual gag from The Simpsons where Homer strides into his kitchen and declares to Lisa, who is lamenting her lack of power as an eight-year-old girl, that as part of the coveted 18 to 49 white male demographic, everyone listens to his ideas, upon which he promptly pulls a can out of the cupboard bearing a label for “Nuts and Gum, Together at Last!” and starts chowing down.  Slays me every time.

Things we love: Drop Dead Clothing – High fashion clothing embraces Itchy & Scratchy.  Never thought I’d see the day.

Cartoon Feminists – Lisa naturally headlines the list, but there’s more, including a good Bob’s Burgers .gif.

DeadstocksVA Conceptual Art Collection – I don’t think they’ve ever done a merchandising tie in with Nike, but if they did, that’s probably what it would look like.

The Top 25 Simpsons Episodes Of All Time – From Paste magazine.  There’s only one pick from Zombie Simpsons, and it’s #24.  You also don’t see the Poochie episode take #1 on these very often.

Beer and bacon – together at last! – Wow, that looks good.  Also, there’s a .gif of Homer’s epic escape from the candy convention.

Let’s get this started – YouTube of a couple of girls taking that quiz where you call the episode based on a single screen grab.  Excellent guesswork on the last one.

simpsonized game of thrones – Sure, stick Jaime with all the ladies.  He’s pretty enough.  (Also: well done.)

Weekly Photo Challenge: Works of Art? – Bart, Maggie and Santa’s Little Helper painted on an East German car long, long ago.  Bravo.  (I think that’s Homer on the roof.)

Weekly Photo Challenge: Work of Art – More beach Simpsons in England.  I wonder if this was our old friend Martin Artman?

Our students met The Simpsons writers & creator! – Groening and company may not be able to turn out a decent episode anymore, but they remain comprehensively nice people.

Maureen Lipman and The Simpsons’ Harry Shearer Will Star in West End Transfer of Oliver Cotton’s Daytona – Is the title of Hardest Working Man in Show Business currently vacant?  Because Shearer is making a serious run at it.

Ralph Wiggum amigurumi – Cool:

This is an amigurumi doll I made for a friend two years ago at her request. Her boyfriend’s favorite character from The Simpsons was Ralph Wiggum, and I think this was a gift for his birthday or Christmas, I cannot recall!

This is the kind of project I love, fan art. It’s always fun to re-create characters using a crochet hook and yarn, you never know what you are going to end up with, but the challenge makes it fun.

And it looks great.

ELEVENPARIS x The Simpsons x colette Capsule Collection – Officially licensed t-shirts tend to suck, but this one is pretty clever.

The Simpsons x New Era x PORTER 25th Anniversary Collection – Case in point of the above.

Good Beer Week kicks off – Excellent usage:

WHILE Homer Simpson’s beverage of choice is Duff – “the beer that makes the day fly” – Bendigo’s beer connoisseurs, it seems, prefer more sophisticated malts.

The commercial actually calls it, “the beer that makes the days fly by”, but that’s close enough.  (Plus it gets bonus points for being from Season 1.)

Now they’ve apparently just stopped trying – And finally, I get to end with someone who agrees with us, this time a for real newspaper writer:

I still watch “The Simpsons.” I don’t know why. I think I’ll be relieved when I finally just stop, and then watch the highlights or check out the show when social media makes a fuss. Right now, I’m one of the people who posts on those rare instances when the show is creative or clever.
But every once in a while, “The Simpsons” pushes things with me a little too much.

He’s upset about that dumb and pointlessly gory Itchy & Scratchy cartoon from a couple of weeks ago, and justifiably so.

19
May
14

Behind Us Forever: The Yellow Badge of Cowardge

Chalkboard - The Yellow Badge of Cowardage
“Gratzi, gratzi, you have brought great joy to this old Italian stereotype.” – Don Vittorio DiMaggio
“No, no, Don Vittorio, you’re not-” – Legs
“Yes, I am.  I know it, I am.” – Don Vittorio DiMaggio

If nothing else, “The Yellow Badge of Cowardge” capped off Season 25 with the same brand of forgettable and lackluster nonsense that we’ve come to expect.  (Points for consistency, if literally nothing else.)  Jokes and childishly simple plot points are explained ad nauseam while the overall story staggers around in a world of dull nonsense.  So, for example, near the middle of the episode Homer and the guy who looks and sounds like Don Vittorio DiMaggio but isn’t Don Vittorio DiMaggio drive around with barrels of gunpowder strapped to their car.  Despite the fact that we know nothing of consequence is going to happen, the show insists on driving them through a bunch of neighborhoods where everything might explode.  It goes on for the better part of a minute and they explain every place they go before they get there.  It’s Season 25 (and really all of Zombie Simpsons) in a nutshell: a bad joke that’s explained ahead of time and then run into the ground.

- At least the couch gag was short.  Didn’t have a couch, but it was short.

- Why is Lisa narrating when the first time we see her she’s asleep?

- Bart banging pots and pans . . . feels like I’ve seen that before.  Also, he explained what he was doing while he was doing it.

- “That’s a prison road crew” – Marge, telling us what we’re looking at.

- Having had a couple of jokes explained while they were happening, here’s Marge to pre-explain the fire department delivering pizza in a pointless, Family Guy aside.

- Narration Lisa is now also pre-explaining the jokes “and run with your leg tied to someone who wouldn’t talk to you all year”.

- Cletus, doing the same.

- Skinner is getting pelted with eggs.  He used to be good at his job.

- As is sometimes the case, the sign gags are at least okay.  Lewis’s out of office text message was kinda funny.  It couldn’t save that extended bit with Chalmers just yelling and mumbling, but it wasn’t terrible.

- This whole field day is an excuse for them to jump from one bad idea to another.

- Okay, Edwin Moses contemptuously saying that all hurdles are the same size was funny.

- The cheese grater abs on Milhouse are kinda gross.

- I think Chalmers reciting all the kids names is supposed to be fan service.  Getting hard to tell.

- Aaaaand, proving once again that they will overuse anything decent, they have Moses jump off a cliff (literally).

- Nelson’s here to punch Milhouse.  Supposedly he’s there because the bullies don’t want to pay off a bet to Martin (which they would do why, exactly?), but maybe he just wanted Milhouse to stop expositing while he ran.

- Speaking of exposition, Narration Lisa is now helpfully explaining his dilemma to us: “Bart faced a terrible choice, take a beating with his friend or slither off like a coward.”

- “Mom, I’m narrating!” <- actual line

- Hibbert, having explained what we just saw happen to Milhouse, now pre-explains the joke about kids having ice cream headaches.

- Time for a Bart dream sequence that re-explains the scene we saw less than two minutes ago.

- Bart is now re-re-re-explaining what happened . . . to Maggie: “You must have figured out I chickened out during the race.”  Shit like this is unforgivably lazy writing.  Could Maggie handing Bart a chicken feather kinda work?  Sure.  But it doesn’t work when she wanders into his room in the middle of the night and then, after the fact, instead of making a joke or even just showing us Bart feeling ashamed, they have him repeat what’s going on.

- Case in point of the above: Narration Lisa is explaining that when Homer was a kid, he liked fireworks because then he couldn’t hear his parents yelling.  Fine.  But instead of showing us that, and maybe even trying to make it funny while it happens, they tell us what’s going on explicitly, “It was the one night of every year that he couldn’t hear his parents argue.  He figured it was because they loved the fireworks just as much as he did.”.

- More of same: “With his mother gone, Homer needed a hero, and no one was more of a hero than the magical little man behind the controls.”  Stop. Explaining. Everything. Please?

- After Homer and the old fireworks guy who looks and talks like Don Vittorio DiMaggio spit one liners at each other, the A-plot returns to once again remind us that Bart is feeling guilty.  This will not be the last time.

- Homer and the repeat old Italian stereotype are now buying fireworks from Cletus.  It ends with an exploding Spider-Pig.

- Bart is now sharing a stage with Drederick Tatum for winning that race.  One of Tatum’s actual lines, “What’s going on?  Seriously, what’s transpiring?”  They’re actually asking themselves for more exposition.

- After some more expositions (“Bart’s a coward”, “He lied to us”), Tatum tells the tattoo guy (what, you didn’t think there’d be a tattoo guy there?) to change his tattoo of Bart.

- Another decent sign gag with “Fruit Tree Sale, Grow a Pear!”.

- Old people saying they’re all cowards is a decent enough idea, but once again they manage to stretch things too long, re-re-re-explain themselves several times, and generally screw things up.

- After Bart wakes up with Milhouse in his bed, we get yet more nonsense exposition, “This is an angry sleepover, I’m only doing it because it was on the books.”.  It’s one thing to have quick aside scenes, it’s another to have them involve both of the main characters in the A-plot in a way that doesn’t fit in with what we’re seeing and then having one of them say why.

- The Homer driving montage would’ve been much funnier if they hadn’t pre-explained every joke and then have it go on for forty-five seconds.

- And speaking of weak jokes that take too long: Wiggum and Lou trying to fire their Revolutionary War muskets.

- Homer has gotten into an unexpected fight for the second week in a row.  This time it’s on a barge full of fireworks that will end up pointing directly at the crowd for a few moments of fake tension.

- Still more evidence of how hacktacular all of this is.  The fireworks are pointed at the crowd.  Bart spies the Retirement Castle bus, then looks at the keys hanging off the back of the driver’s belt.  Fine.  Overly convenient and kinda dumb, but not beyond rescue.  Then Bart says this, “Milhouse, this is my chance to make things right.”.  Ugh.

- Grampa fleeing by saying “Don’t worry, boys, I’ll be with you all the way to Berlin” was kinda funny.  As per standard Zombie Simpsons procedure, however, they have to stretch it by having him jump in a nearby boat that we’d never seen before.

- Carl just made a Twitter joke . . . then he explained it and told us what we were looking at.

- Actual line: “Quit explaining everything!”.  Make of that what you will.

- And we end the season with Grampa playing piano and an unrelated epilogue where Bart brushes his teeth and Maggie squeaks like a chicken.

Anyway, the numbers are in and . . . they did it!  Last night just 3.28 million people wished the writing staff had the courage to let the show die.  That is good for #2 on the all time least watched list (only the 7:30pm, sad-kid-mental-patient “Diggs” remains lower) and it pushes the average overnight rating for Season 25 down to 4.99 million viewers.  Back in March and April, when they were pulling in low 4 and high 3 million numbers, I didn’t think they’d stink out loud enough to get down under 5 for the season, but the last few weeks have gone a long way towards showing just how unloved this show has become.

I’m planning on doing a longer ratings post this week or next, but in the meantime, here is the current list of least watched episodes.  Note that all but #10 are from this season:

(Season-Ep/Date/Viewers in Millions/Title)

  1. 25-12 / 9-Mar-14 / 2.65 / Diggs
  2. 25-22 / 18-May-14 / 3.28 / The Yellow Badge of Cowardage
  3. 25-19 / 27-Apr-14 / 3.38 / What to Expect When Bart’s Expecting
  4. 25-18 / 13-Apr-14 / 3.59 / Days of Future Future
  5. 25-21 / 11-May-14 / 3.61 / Pay Pal
  6. 25-13 / 9-Mar-14 / 3.73 / The Man Who Grew Too Much
  7. 25-11 / 26-Jan-14 / 3.91 / Specs and the City
  8. 25-15 / 23-Mar-14 / 3.93 / The War of Art
  9. 25-16 / 30-Mar-14 / 3.94 / You Don’t Have to Live Like a Referee
  10. 23-21 / 13-May-12 / 4.00 / Ned ‘N Edna’s Blend

Those are not the numbers of a healthy show.  Then again, undead things don’t have pulses anyway.

16
May
14

Reading Digest: No One Cares About the Season Finale Edition

Itchy and Scratchy and Marge17

“Aren’t you going to watch the rest of your cute cartoons?” – Marge Simpson
“Nah, come on Lis.” – Bart Simpson
“Maybe there’s something else to do on this planet.” – Lisa Simpson

Thank Jebus, most of the Lego hoopla has fallen down the internet memory hole and we’ve got a full set of great links for what feels like the first time in forever.  There’s crazy people driving a Simpsons car across Australia, tons of cool fan made stuff (everything from Homer as a serial killer to a nice Malibu Stacy cross stitch), some fun lists, several people who agree with us, and the most bizarre Bart(ish) statue I’ve ever seen.  Better yet, even though the season finale is two days away, nobody seems to care in the least.  A few people linked to the typically lifeless preview video, and that was it.  Even the recently announced (and sure to be godawful) Family Guy crossover didn’t get any internet love outside of the dutiful stenography of the entertainment press.

Enjoy.

Are Weezer The Simpsons of the Music World? – Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week is this excellent comparison of two faded 90s icons that completely agrees with us:

When looking at the latest Weezer song or the latest Simpsons episode, what’s maddening is that they come off as imposters of their past selves – almost like a cover band or bad fan fiction.

Worth the click.

Part I: The End of Easter – There is much discontent in virtual Springfield:

It is no secret that the Easter event was met with a variety of negative emotions; including disappointment, anger, stress, and frustration.

Part II: What Went Wrong – And it’s well justified:

Investing your time was the priority, as it should be. Players who stick with something for years are more likely to buy something down the road, as oppose to this event which clearly just wanted players to invest their money, because there was never going to be enough time to win all of the prizes through regular game play.

Part III: Economic Voices – But not unexpected:

If you truly don’t like these types of events, you’ll have to break the Pokémon mentality (i.e. “Gotta catch ‘em all!”) and accept that you’re not going to be able to earn certain prizes, no matter how often you play the game. Of course this is easier said than done.

Much easier said than done, deliberately so.

Malibu Stacy – Fan made cross stitch with quote.  Bravo, Chloe.

Dan LuVisi – Cartoon Heroes As Serial Killers – Very impressive fan made art of just what it says.  Homer and Yoshi are particularly cool.

For My Bucket List: With gratitude to The Simpsons – A second “to do before death” list inspired by the family.

Round 109: Lisa’s Wedding vs. Treehouse of Horror XIV – Welcome back, Nebel.  (Oh, and Season 6 obliterates Season 15, but you knew that already.)

Losing the Why and How for the What: A Case for Spoilers – There is no such thing as “overfamiliartiy” when it comes to the show:

While I can’t speak to the specifics of the original Dallas story line (as neither was I born, nor have I ever watched Dallas), I have a fair understanding of the story entirely based on my familiarity (some say overfamiliarity, I say go fuck yourself) with The Simpsons episode.

Huzzah.

Wishlist – This is (partially) about collecting the Lego minifigs, but it’s also worth clicking for the awesome Milhouse blog header.

Return of Bartzilla! –  We must flee!

From the extended edition. – From the same blog as the above, Marge would’ve made those much better movies.

umm That ain’t me kid. – One more.  Heh.

The Zombie Simpsons Family – Not sure of the source, but it’s a black and white image of the family as zombies.

cape_town – Reader Frank C. sent in this picture of a statue in Cape Town, South Africa writing simply “Don’t know what it means, but here you go”.  Well put:

Africa Bart Statue

Thanks, Frank!

In Defense Of Zac Efron: We’ve Rounded Up Some Of TV’s Worst Neighbors – You know who’s #1:

The Simpsons — Homer Simpson

Offenses: Uh, let’s see. Being indirectly responsibly for the death or your first wife. Getting you married to a Las Vegas hooker. Not returning borrowed household items. To list them all would require more time than this writer has.

Bad Neighbor Rating: 10.0

The episode where Maude dies sucks, but “War Rocks” always gets me.

List O’ the Week: 20 Worst episodes of The Simpsons (Classic era) – Part. 1 – Oof, picking bad episodes out of Seasons 3-8 seems basically impossible to me, but to each their own.

Scanning the Simpsons – Scanner pictures of the Simpsons Lego characters.  Cool.

It Was A Simpsons Sky – Fan poem.  Neat.

Why ‘The Simpsons’ Is the Best TV Show Ever – A long love note to the great years of the show.

The Simpsons! – Cool fan made sketch of the family.  But how come Maggie’s head isn’t being vomited out by someone else?

It’s The Simpsons! – A handy fan made fact sheet, including the depressing fact that FOX owns the show until 2082.

Tuesday “News:” 90s-Related Media I Discovered Last Week – The 90s Project rolls on.

Simpsons – Gun Accessories – Big screen grab of Homer’s gun purchase.

BREAKING: Beloved TV series eerily predicted Hank Scorpio’s takeover of the eastern United States – A lot of people wrote up that goofy story about Syria’s government blaming the show for something.  This one is the best I’ve seen:

OK, first of all, “New Kids on the Blecch” is a mediocre effort at best. The boy band parodies are OK but too on the nose, and the navy stuff is just flat. Second of all, say whaaaaaa?

Toy Review – LEGO Simpsons House (71006) – Serious minded review of the Lego set:

I also really like the items the family gets. Not just the things like the couch and a kitchen table, but they also get a piano, and accessories for every bedroom. It also may be the first product to feature an official LEGO toilet.

If that’s not a ringing endorsement, I don’t know what is.

GAME REVIEW: The Simpsons – Bart vs The World – A review of the second Simpsons game.  Bonus points for using the Sega Master System version instead of the NES one.  Don’t see that much.

A “Simpsons” and “Family Guy” crossover episode is coming whether you like it or not – Oh, relentlessly positive corporate PR, don’t ever change:

Fox chairman Kevin Reilly was delighted to share the news, saying, “Generations of fans will be talking about this one.”

What was I laughing at now?  Oh, yes, that crippled Irishman.

Yeppoon trio ready to drive The Simpsons through the bush – Some rather awesome people are going to drive a Simpsons themed VW Bug around Australia.  That license plate is fantastic.

Chomet the way to Springfield: Sylvain Chomet on turning TV’s favourite family French and the virtues of hand-drawn animation – A little more about how that couch gag came about:

The 50-year-old can trace his relationship with The Simpsons back to when he had a studio in Scotland while working on The Illusionist. “We had this actor, Harry Shearer, who does a lot of voices for the show, including Mr Burns,” he explains. “He said ‘you know they [Groening and long-time Simpsons producer Al Jean] really like your work’.”

Even in its senile years, Harry Shearer does what he can to brighten Zombie Simpsons.  Also, that would be the animated 2010 The Illusionist, not that crappy 2006 Edward Norton movie.

The 10 Worst Simpsons Episodes of All Time – A perfectly cromulent list:

With that in mind, we present the 10 worst episodes in The Simpsons’ history. Unsurprisingly, none of these episodes come from the peak of the show’s run, when it was considered nigh universally great. Perhaps surprisingly, they all come from a period in the show’s run even later than the time when you most likely stopped watching. (You’re such a quitter.)

I kinda thought the talking bar rag would be higher, and there’s no Lady Gaga, but those were all certainly terrible and forgettable.

Product Launch – AUS: Duff Beer – The real Duff soon won’t just be for Aussies and tourists at Universal Studios:

Duff has only been available previously through counterfeits and imitations.
“Australia as a beer-loving nation felt like the perfect place to launch the official Duff Beer,” a spokesperson told just-drinks.
A global roll-out over “the next few years” is planned, the spokesperson added.

I’ll bet it is.

The Simpsons x Johnny Cupcakes – The merchandising has now reached the frosted arts.

THE SIMPSONS x CONVERSE JAPAN JACK PURCELL SLIP-ON JP – Also, more shoes.

The Simpsons 25th Anniversary 5″ Celebrity Guest Stars Action Figure – Series 03 – And more collector crack.

Brief thoughts on the Simpsons – This is far gentler on Zombie Simpsons than I’m willing to be, but this is a pretty cool story:

When I was five my family was called by the Nielsen people wanting to know what we were watching on television, it just so happened that we were watching a very early episode of the Simpsons. While I might not have fully understood what I was watching, I knew that I liked the show. I can remember my mom telling the woman on the phone that we enjoyed the show and hoped to see more of it.

Crossover: The Simpsons x Family Guy – I smell another cheap cartoon crossover.

The Simpsons: The first year – Our old friend Stefan Grasso does an epic writeup of the entirety of Season 1.  He concludes:

25 years later, the show’s producers had betrayed Groening’s original vision, causing The Simpsons to become the same mainstream trash that Groening didn’t want to make, and that’s where The Simpsons had gone wrong. Unfortunately, by the time Mike Scully’s reign of terror ended, the damage had already been done.

I maintain that Scully attracts way more blame than he deserves, but there’s no arguing that when he stepped down the show was kaput.

Nielsen Infographic: How Long It Takes To Binge Watch Popular TV Shows – Uh, Nielsen?  I think you’re missing one there.

The Simpsons Sucks Now – And finally, I get to end the way I prefer, with someone who epically agrees with us:

We have been sucked dry by the series and have little to show for it aside from distant memories. The Simpsons sucks now.
Gone are the detailed plots that show the shenanigans of the town. There is no longer a running story. The episodes now are simply a one and done experience. We are hit over the head with “guest appearances” and it is painful. It legitimately upsets me how little the writer’s care about the loyal fans who have been keeping up with the show for the 20 plus seasons.

Preach, brother.  Preach.

15
May
14

Compare & Contrast: Adult Game Night

A Milhouse Divided17

“Oh, I hate having parties.  The toilet always gets backed up.” – Homer Simpson
“I don’t care if the sink shoots sludge, we’re having a party!” – Marge Simpson

There’s an inescapable lameness to those adult games that get broken out after dinner parties.  When kids get together, they can easily make up games on the fly (you’ve got to reach home base at the couch, the lava starts at the edge of the carpet, etcetera), but grown-ups tend to need a little more structure, especially if they’re playing against people they don’t know that well.  Trivial Pursuit, Scattegories and similar games provide a blandly safe sense of fun to social situations that might otherwise be too uptight, awkward or flat out boring.  Carefree kids don’t need that help, but adults do, and that’s uncool and old any way you slice it.

The proof of that is the fact that so many of these games get bought, maybe used once, and then stuffed onto some shelf where they might as well have a sign on them that says “Break Glass In Case of Extreme Boredom”.  That inherent lameness, however, does have the benefit of making them nice, soft targets for comedy.  And while Zombie Simpsons swings and misses at just about everything, The Simpsons smacked those games dead square in the Parker-Brothers logo.

In “A Milhouse Divided”, Marge and Homer throw the quintessential middle class dinner party.  The house gets gussied up a bit, the dinnerware is a cut above normal, and everyone’s dressed just a little nicer than they’d normally be.  Things end badly when the van Houtens boil over at each other over Pictionary, but from Marge’s initial desire to throw the party through Kirk’s awkward goodnight, the entire thing feels like something she would have done with the best of intentions.

By contrast, in “Pay Pal”, the evening is preceded by whole scenes worth of exposition from Marge and quickly devolves into a fight between Homer and John Oliver that comes right out of the blue.  Aside from the initial setup, no part of it makes any sense and most of what passes for jokes are weak one-liners instead of actual dialogue.  Like so much of Zombie Simpsons, they aren’t really concerned with satirizing anything or even telling a story, they’ve just got a short list of things they hope are funny, and they would appreciate it if you would sit still for a half-an-hour while they read it aloud.

The two at least start similarly.  In both cases, Marge is trying to be a little more social.  But even at this early stage you can see an immediate difference in how solid her character and motivations are.  Season 8 Marge wants to inject a little class into her life after seeing too many of the dinners she cooks pass in silence in front of the television.  In bed the night after having her son suggest that they start eating dinner out of a trough, Marge remarks to Homer:

Marge:  Homer, is this the way you pictured married life?
Homer:  Yeah, pretty much, except we drove around in a van solving mysteries.
Marge:  Well, I pictured cocktails and candle lit dinners.  I pictured napkins!  Homer, I want to throw a dinner party.

A Milhouse Divided16

A married couple having a conversation in private and no one bursts into their room.  Huh.

Homer and Marge aren’t talking to the audience, they’re talking to each other.  And within that dialogue we have jokes that fit seamlessly into their back and forth.  Homer’s inane Scooby Doo fantasy and Marge demanding the civilizing touch of napkins aren’t setup-beat-joke sitcom punchlines, they’re Homer being his doofus self and Marge, the master of repressing her own desires, just wishing for the barest level of class in her own home.

Compare that with pretty much the exact same scene in “Pay Pal”:

Marge:  Why don’t we have any couples friends?
Homer:  Because, couples friends are a myth, started by restaurants with tables for four!

This is a setup-beat-punchline sitcom joke, and a very poor one at that.  It’s aimed at no one and makes no sense (are there any restaurants that don’t have “tables for four”?), so much so that you can practically hear where the recorded laughter would go.  Continuing:

Marge:  I want friends!  Any friends.
Homer:  Okay, sweetie, I’ll call the van Houtens.
Marge:  Not the van Houtens!  They’re always bragging about their trip to Rome.  It was twelve years ago, and it was a layover.  I want new friends.

Woof, here we’ve got Marge repeating the same piece of exposition twice, with another hapless (and overlong) sitcom joke smashed in the middle.  But things are about to get so much worse, because Zombie Simpsons is about to have Lisa appear in the door for no reason other than the shallowest form of plot expediency:

Lisa:  Can I make an observation?  I’m okay with no friends.  It’s easier to focus and it’ll give me great material for whatever art form I choose.  Right now I’m thinking long novella.  Good night.

Hacktacular!  Let’s have a character show up quickly, spout some expository nonsense, and then depart before even waiting for a response from the people she was supposedly speaking to!  Along the way they have Lisa tell the audience exactly what she’s thinking (even though it’s not something we’d normally hear from her), then explain the joke she’s about to make, then make that joke, then disappear as quickly as she arrived.  But wait, there’s more!:

Marge:  Okay with no friends?  That’s the saddest thing I can imagine my daughter saying to me.

Note that Marge is now also basically talking to no one except the audience.  She’s not interacting with anyone else around her, she’s repeating things Lisa just said and then telling us precisely how she feels.  And because two hapless monologues deserve a third, Bart then shows up just as suddenly as Lisa did:

Bart:  I can think of worse.  The saddest thing would be if you were driving and texting Lisa, and you hit her, and the last thing she texted before she died was, ‘I got your message’.  Good night.

One last time: this isn’t dialogue.  These characters aren’t discussing anything, they’re spouting lines that bear no resemblance to conversation while physically appearing and disappearing at random.  Bart’s little sad scenario isn’t even trying to be funny.

Open Door Policy

Come, children, monologue at your parents before bed.

From there, the two episode continue in their own way.  Season 8 takes us briskly to the flagrantly false advertised Stoner’s Pot Palace and shows us Marge’s insanely detailed dinner party preparations, which include glazing the ham to the point of luminescence and putting the toilet seats through the dish washer.  Season 25 staggers forward by having Marge spend the next few scenes in yet another extended monologue, this time admonishing Homer about what he should and shouldn’t do for half a minute.  Once again, this is them butchering the single simplest, anyone-can-understand-it, fundamental tenet of good screenwriting: show, don’t tell.

After that we finally get to the respective parties see once more how a poorly constructed, nonsensical one is a hell of a lot less fun than the opposite.  In “Pay Pal”, Homer and Marge show up, get greeted by John Oliver, and then stand there and listen to yet another monologue, the longest yet.  Even John Oliver can’t make this laundry list of mediocrity funny:

Oliver: That’s the spirit.  Wallace and I have found this game to provide a full evening of divertissement, building in suspense to a masterful climax.  We’ve rented costumes you’ll find accurate to period and conducive to character.  We will serve food and wine appropriate to period and palate.  We’ve programmed music to cover every dramatic event.  Hired a foley artist . . . I believe the mare has a slight limp . . . yes, yes!  So, for the next three hours, I welcome you to the moors of-

At that, Zombie Homer cuts him off, so for once at least his jerkass nature came in handy.  Then the fight starts and the scene comes to a mercifully abrupt end.  Literally the only other characters to speak do so with one liners (Sideshow Mel, Wiggum) or yet another monologue (Oliver’s wife).

Bored Foley Guy

The foley guy appears to be accurately representing both the audience and the animation staff.

Beneath the feeble stabs at humor lies the fundamental problem: they aren’t making fun of anything.  They aren’t even really trying.  Instead of satirizing the enforced make believe and jollity of a murder mystery party, they seem to think it’s rather cool, and wouldn’t it be cooler with someone like Oliver around to rent costumes and hire a sound effects guy?  Most of the scene, if it can even be called that, is one long speech about how awesome it’ll be; then it stops.  They can’t make fun of it because they don’t have any real people attending.

On the other hand, by the time “A Milhouse Divided” has its characters playing Pictionary, we’ve seen them be their normal, hilarious selves.  Hibbert has laughed at a couple of his own typically inappropriate jokes; Flanders, clueless as ever, said he likes Woodsey Allen movies except for “that nervous fella”, and Kirk and Luann are starting to reach the boiling point.  There’s no need for monologues and unexpected one-liners because the characters who sit down to play that game are capable of being funny without them.

So when it comes time for the Flandereses to correctly get “corn starch” based on six dots, there’s no need for them to look at the audience and explain what it means when they nuzzle over it being good for “keeping down the urges”.  If there’s one thing Maude and Ned would do, it’s eat something as bland and sinless as corn starch to keep themselves from getting horny.  We don’t need shouted punchlines or pre-joke explanations because we know who these characters are.  All they have to do to be hilarious is act like their normal, believably oddball selves.

After that, we see Luann finally lose it with Kirk over him being an asshole about his wonderfully incomprehensible rendition of “dignity”.  They’ve been sniping at each other literally since they walked in the door, and, as sometimes happens in real life, those harmless looking adult games provide just enough stress to push two people into an outright shouting match.  Sprinkled in there are gems like “Gudger College”, “Allied Biscuit” and Homer’s lightning quick misreading of the word “impotence” in “managerial impotence”.

Everything, from the party itself and the guests to Marge’s motivations and that divorce causing game, is treated as a source of comedy because in the right hands that’s what they are.  Zombie Simpsons just draws some people into a room, nevermind anything else, and hopes that the delivery on a word like “divertissement” brings a slight smile.

09
May
14

Reading Digest: Floodwaters Receding Edition

Flooded

“Marge, I’m going to look for the kids.” – Homer Simpson

The Lego episode is now five days in the past and the internet is starting to move onto other things, but this week’s links are still a little thin from that deluge of marketing.  Amusingly enough, though this is just my informal observation, there were a lot more links (on commercial publications and personal blogs) before the episode aired than after.  Prior to broadcast, my news feeds and Google Alerts were inundated with people posting links to images and that trailer video.  Afterwards there were quite a few reviews, mostly of the “it was pretty good” variety, but far far less overall chatter than there’d been for the build up.

Anyway, we do have a nice smattering of fan made stuff this week, including two professional artists, some Simpsons inspired heavy metal, a Lego Homer car, and an excellent modification to a couple of those recently released Lego characters.  In addition to that, we’ve got some excellent usage, a new makeup merchandising tie in, more on Bartkira, and two people doing some grilling, because it is now that time of year.

Enjoy.

Custom Lego Zombie Simpsons Homer Marge Treehouse Horror Glow Dark Minifigures – Someone took the Lego versions of Homer and Marge and detailed them to look like zombies.  Excellent.

The Simpsons at 25: Satire in serious times – A nice writeup of the show and what made it great that is, nevertheless, curiously absent examples from the last fifteen years or so.  I wonder why?

“Simpsons Doom” band Dr. Colossus release debut EP for streaming – Awesome:

So… do you like… stuff?

“Imagine if we started the heaviest band in the world, like real doomy, Sabbathy kinda stuff. What would we call it…what’s huge?…’Colossus’?…”
“…Or like Dr. Colossus from the Simpsons…
Why don’t we just make a doom band where all the songs are based on episodes of the Simpsons?”

That’s a basic summary of Melbourne duo Dr. Colossus. It’s the doomy riffs of Black Sabbath and Kyuss meeting The Simpsons’ funniest quotes re-written into lyrics. And the duo have released their debut EP – simply titled “IV” – for streaming on SoundCloud.

The dental plan riff has never sounded so heavy.

Amazon.com: Homer Economicus: The Simpsons and Economics eBook: Joshua Hall – It isn’t being officially released until next week, but there’s a new book that attempts to explain economics through Simpsons.

The Art Of ‘Bartkira’ At Portland’s Floating World Comics – The Bartkira project rolls forward.  You can now buy a 96-page “exhibition book” for $15.

See Every ‘The Simpsons’ Character In LEGO Form – The fine young folks at Uproxx seem to have about the right take on “Brick Like Me”:

was it worth the hype? As a novelty episode of television from a show in its 25th season, yes; otherwise, not really.

For the curious, they’ve got screen grabs of what each character looked like in Lego.

Welcome To Springfield – The Simpsons and MAC Collaboration for Fall 2014 – The 25th anniversary marketing barrage continues, this time with cosmetics.

Rare NEW Fire King Stacking Mug Cup Simpsons 25th Anniversary Made in JAPAN – Further down the merchandising totem pole, plastic cups from Japan.

Homer Simpson Is ‘El Chapo’ In Prophetic Drug War Art Series – An Italian artist created some simple drawings of Homer as a couple of famous drug lords and Barack Obama selling weed to Bart.

Jaimie Warren: ‘That’s What Friends Are For’ – And speaking of art, here’s dueling self portraits, one as Boy George and one as Ralph Wiggum.  Click through for the pictures.

Woolies launching Duff Beer at Moe’s Tavern pop-up in Sydney – Aussies will soon be able to buy Duff legally, but this was just a totally blown marketing opportunity:

Kingham said that while the beer has “good novelty value”, the liquid itself will not disappoint.
“We needed to make sure the beer would stack up. It’s a perfectly good lager,” he said.

Don’t call it “perfectly good”, call it “perfectly cromulent”!

‘Simpsons’ Lego episode: Behind the writers’ favorite inside jokes – There’s some decent stuff in here, but an awful lot of it is “brick” puns.

29 Things You May Have Missed in the ‘Simpsons’ Lego Episode – And speaking of brick puns, here’s a list of them.  The duck was a nice touch and I actually didn’t notice #26, the “Lego brick separator”, but that’s because I pry those things apart with my teeth and fingernails like a civilized Lego user.

Ill-Fated Simpsons Car “The Homer” Built Out Of LEGOs – Cool:

Now that LEGO is producing sets based on The Simpsons, LEGO enthusiast Brain Williams has taken it upon himself to build an incredible replica of The Homer. You can see the model in person at Brickworld or head over to Williams’ Flickr account, loaded with pictures of plenty of awesome LEGO creations.

The link has pictures as well.  Bravo.

The Beaten Path: Aaron Pico Is the Future King of Fighting – Excellent usage:

During one episode of The Simpsons, they catch Bart committing some schoolyard prank, and he must meet his principal for disciplinary activities at 4:30 in the morning.
His response to the punishment: “There’s a 4:30 in the morning now?”
Indeed there is, even if most kids (and adults) aren’t overly familiar with it. This drives to the heart of what makes Aaron Pico so unusual. He knows 4:30 in the morning like the back of his hand

Cue the Opening Theme – YouTube of some famous TV show openings which obviously includes The Simpsons.  It’s also nice to see Looney Tunes included.  Their opening is just as iconic, but it’s not a typical montage, so it’s rarely on lists like this.

The Gusface Traveller Chilli Con Carne – The chili looks incredibly good, but while you can’t eat it through the internet, there’s a great .gif of Bart’s time for chili hat that you can see.

‘The Simpsons’ Get Better Ratings In LEGO Form – I imagine that tepid spin like this was not the big publicity bump they thought it would be:

amidst a national epidemic of LEGO fever, The Simpsons fared about 20% than usual last night with its LEGO episode. Now, I’m sure with the expense and marketing behind it, the producers were hoping for/expecting a higher number, but with the show getting some of its worst ratings in history these days, any upward movement is welcome.

That sounds like the last thing someone says before a plane crash.

Game of Thrones – Via Text – This is mostly about the most recent Game of Thrones episode, but there is a delightful .gif of Burns laughing at that crippled Irishman.

Sorry, Moe – Apparently, ogling the ladies in the Sears catalog isn’t as shameful as it used to be.  Heh.

Scientists reverse aging in mice by giving them young blood – You can’t steal blood from the young and give it to the old without referencing “Blood Feud”.

Hank Azaria Settle on the Upper West Side in $9.2 Million Co-op – Azaria is moving from one massively expensive New York City apartment to another one.  That is all.

Hank Azaria on Late Night with Conan O’Brien (Simpsons Voices) – Speaking of Azaria, this is from a few years ago and Azaria does some voices and is generally charming, including a story about an Indian guy who yelled at him for doing Apu.  Near the end, they briefly discuss the origins of Jub-Jub.

The Simpsons: Television Royalty – There’s nothing here that your typical Simpsons fan doesn’t already know, but it’s a nice little love letter to the show.

Eat My Shorts! – First hand review of the Lego figures complete with detailed images.

#019 COM: Elizabeth and Ezekiel – Cool fan made drawing.

Help it’s Allergy season! – Oh, man, Milhouse would not last long there.

Tonight we’re grilling beef! – Is that an officially licensed Simpsons grill or a decal?  I can’t quite tell.  The color is nice, though.

05
May
14

Behind Us Forever: Brick Like Me

Chalkboard - Brick Like Me

“George Carlin on three.” – Miss Pennycandy
“Yeah?  Lawsuit?  Oh, come on!  My seven words you can’t say on TV bit was entirely different from your seven words you can’t say on TV bit.  So I’m a thief, am I?  Well, excuse me! . . . Give him ten grand.” – Krusty the Klown
“Steve Martin on four.” – Miss Pennycandy
“Ten grand.” – Krusty the Klown

Let’s get this out of the way first: this is the best they can do and they know it.  If the PR machine is to be believed, this episode took two years to make and was very expensive to animate.  They bragged about how careful the writing was and how they went the extra mile for this one.  They hyped it for weeks and made it their big May sweeps premier.  And, indeed, it is better and more memorable than most Zombie Simpsons, but that’s a low bar, and the only really memorable thing about it was the animation.

To be fair, the animation was pretty impressive and the episode looked very cool in places.  But the writing and execution would’ve been awful even if the vastly superior The Lego Movie wasn’t looming over every terrible line.  That movie was written and directed by the guys who did Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 121 Jump Street and the unjustly cancelled Clone High.  This episode was written by a guy who started writing for Zombie Simpsons in Season 13 and whose only other IMDb credits in that time are for the justly cancelled Joey.  It shows.

- And we get right into things with fake self deprecation “It’s not selling out, it’s co-branding!  Co-branding!”.

- Give them this, it does look nice.

- The sign gags are pretty lazy, though: “Brick-E-Mart”, “H&R Brick”, “First Brick of Springfield”, “Brick, Block & Beyond”.

- “Hey, these are the monkey’s legs”.  Gee, I sure like being told what I’m seeing.

- “Hmm, what do you know, I enjoyed playing with you.”  Ah, nothing brings us back to the regular reality of Zombie Simpsons faster than characters telling us exactly how they feel.

- And now Homer and Lisa are having an expository talk during a flashback.  It’s crappy writing within a weak plot device within crappy writing within a weak plot gimmick.

- Marge and Homer are sitting at home on the bed and Marge reminds us again that in this world “everything fits with everything else and nobody ever gets hurt”.  That’s about the third or fourth time they’ve explained that.

- “Oh, brick me!” – Just tallying the “brick” puns is exhausting.

- Okay, the increasing sized items on the Love Tester are okay.  Not hilarious or anything, but at least they only used the word “brick” once.

- So, Bart rebuilt the school and then described everything we saw in it with voiceover.

- Lovejoy’s sermon about the beginning of the world is kinda funny (goes on too long, of course, but that’s standard).

- This time it’s Flanders: “everything fits together and no one gets hurt”.  Jebus, we get it already.

- Homer just re-explained everything again before touching the toy box.  Also, Marge was just standing there, so that was a Zombie Simpsons twofer.

- Woof, this scene with Lisa and the other girls expositing about the, ugh, “Survival Games” is really going on too long.  I like how each of them explained why they were there.

- And, just because it deserves its own bullet point: “Survival Games” is incredibly lazy.

- Now Lisa is explaining why she wants to do something.

- And now, because this is Zombie Simpsons, Homer and Marge are having a conversation about Lisa right in front of Lisa’s open bedroom door.  As usual, their contempt for object permanence or even just basic social sense shines through.

- Hey, how about another one: “everything fits together and no one gets hurt”.  Thanks, Homer!

- Jebus, writing this bad wouldn’t have survived in a first draft of The Lego Movie.  First, Comic Book Guy explained to everyone what we just saw, then Marge actually says this, “One of the main questions I have about that is why?”.  That leads to more expositing from Comic Book Guy.

- Hey, another “brick” pun on the Jebediah statue.  How many of these can they do?

- I’m tired of transcribing them, but Marge and Homer just re-re-re-re-re-stated the premise and explained the plot again, in case anyone missed it.

- And now he’s doing it again at a tea party with Lisa, “I’ve created a perfect world with no PG-13 movies to take you away from me.”  We.  Fucking.  Know.

- Pop quiz: brick Homer realizes he can’t stay in his paradise.  Do we see him living life and growing tired of it, or does he stand still and explain everything in a speech while doing nothing?  You get two guesses, but you’re only going to need one.

- Then, directly after, we see him reiterate the speech he just gave to Marge.

- Comic Book Guy: “But you’ve discovered the joy of living in a world made of toys where nothing bad can ever happen.”  That phrase may account for 10% of the total words here.

- Now Comic Book Guy is explaining who he is.

- The giant Bart robot is kinda cool.  It’s not funny or anything, but it’s the first thing that’s reminded me of The Lego Movie in a good way instead of a bad one.

- Well, at least they know they’re a pale imitation of the movie.

- Nice of Homer to tell us all what he learned this week.  Knowing is half the battle.

- Having Lovejoy’s description of the universe be true at the end was an actual nice touch that didn’t take too long.  Weird.

- But the episode ran waaaay short despite repeating itself over and over again, so it’s time for a “Survival Games” sketch to get us to the finish line.

What a waste of an episode.  Neat, innovative animation like that shouldn’t be locked into the ordinary mess of a Zombie Simpsons story.

Anyway, the ratings are in and all that publicity did not do them much good.  Last night, just 4.29 million people wished The Lego Movie had already come out on home video.  That’s the highest number they’ve had in a month and it’s still good for #16 on the all time least watched list.  Hear that, crappy entertainment industry publications?  Keep writing stories about how nobody watches anymore.

04
May
14

“Invasion of the 60 Foot Homer Simpson Easter Rabbit”

“Okay, that was the sand movie.  Now it’ll just take me a second to set up our next movie.” – Miss Hoover 

A couple of weeks ago, the guy in Britain who does the giant Simpsons drawings in sand e-mailed in with some pictures of his latest creation: a giant Homer Easter Bunny on the banks of the Thames.  Behold:

Martin Artman Easter Homer

You can see more pictures at his site. including a completely different giant Easter Homer and one of Bender.  Thanks, Martin!

02
May
14

Reading Digest: Marketing Success Edition

Gabbo This Gabbo That

“Everyone is saying Gabbo this and Gabbo that!  But no one is saying worship this and Jericho that!” – Reverend Lovejoy
“What’s this about Gabbo?” – Jasper 

Yet another clipped Reading Digest this week because there are two idiotic pieces of public relations sucking up the internet’s attention.  Firstly, they released a trailer for this week’s much hyped Lego episode.  For the record, I quite liked The Lego Movie and it would be a welcome and pleasant surprise if Sunday’s episode was even half as entertaining.  But I do not have my hopes up.

Secondly, Jean, a practiced hand at managing PR stunts, compared whatever that upcoming “major character” death is to Game of Thrones, a show that (despite being on premium cable) is watched by far more people than Zombie Simpson.  He called it the “Yellow Wedding”, and pageview desperate bloggers and magazines swooned at being able to tap people’s insatiable need to click on anything Game of Thrones related.  My money remains on it being a total head fake nothingburger, with the “death” being a reincarnated Dr. Nick or something else that won’t affect the show at all.  Remember when they ran that big contest to have people create a character and then killed him five seconds after they introduced him?  This looks an awful lot like that.

What we do have though is quite a few very solid links, including cool fan art, an internet retelling of “Cape Feare”, Poochie used to lampoon How I Met Your Mother, a couple of cromulent lists, and a nightmare inducing fan made Mr. Burns mask.  Also, there are several factually incorrect links about the low ratings of the show.

Enjoy.

6 Fictional Beers you’d love to drink – Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week is this list of fake beers (with plenty of YouTube), half of which are from The Simpsons.

48 reasons ‘Cape Feare’ might be the greatest episode of The Simpsons – The whole story of “Cape Feare” told in .gifs and screen grabs.  Outstanding.

A Chat with the Cast and Crew of ‘The Simpsons’ – A writeup of a panel discussion Groening, Jean and some of the other big names did:

At one point in the panel they are asked if they’re ever worried about running out of story ideas and Matt admits that they really aren’t. More often, “we find ourselves wondering if we’ve already done a joke.”

That was in 2003.  Jebus.

“The Simpsons” Movie Poster Parodies – More fake movie posters.  Some I’ve linked before, but “Re-Hominator” is new (I think).

Animated sitcoms punching up arcade’s past – The Simpsons – A writeup of the arcade game, and worth the click for the Japanese promotional flyer at the top.  (Also, “World 1-1″ is a great blog name.)

Sweet 17 Syrup and Cinnamon Cake – Cool Simpsons birthday cake:

If a list of TV shows that summed up our early years together were in existence, The Simpsons would be pretty near the top, so I’ve tried to incorporate a resemblance to the classic Simpsons donut. It kinda works.. but the icing is white because I didn’t have pink food colouring and nobody’s perfect.

Bet it was good, though.

DUFF BEER BATH – That is one happy looking wooden Bender.

Complete Collection Of Celebrity ‘Simpsons’ Couch Gags – Lots of YouTube of the only thing on the show anyone talks about.

9 TV Roles From Hank Azaria’s Early Days You Might Have Missed – Azaria had guest spots on such classics as Family Ties and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

Cartoons that made me feel something (Spoilers) – “And Maggie Makes Three” and “Mother Simpson” both make the list here.

‘How I Met Your Mother’ Finale: Poochie Edit – Heh:

Immortalizing Mr. Burns – A creepy looking Mr. Burns ceramic mask and charcoal painting.

Major ‘Simpsons’ death will be a ‘bigger deal’ than Game of Thrones’ Purple Wedding, show producer Al Jean says – There were a lot of these this week.  This is one of them.  No, there is no actual news.  The closest thing to news is Jean saying that whoever dies may still come back in future episodes, but we already knew that.

Is Bart Simpson an Anarchist? – Audio – Say what you will about the impracticalities of anarchism, but at least they don’t get flustered about using copyrighted stuff on their posters.

Best Episodes of The Simpsons – Excellent list, nothing from even close to Zombie Simpsons.  Plus there’s a poll.

My 6 Favorite Episodes of The Simpsons – Another explicitly non-Zombie Simpsons list:

But we were hooked from that very first episode, and I have been a lifelong fan of The Simpsons ever since.
Even if I haven’t seen a new episode in years…

Good move.

Best TV Episodes of All Time – “Cape Feare” comes in at #4 here.

5 Timeless Cartoons – The show comes in handily at #1.

I’m All Tapped Out – On deleting a deliberately addictive app:

It was a great move deciding to play Simpsons Tapped Out at the start of the year. I’m not joking here, I played that game every single day from the day I downloaded it, to yesterday evening. It controlled my life. I wouldn’t sleep until certain characters tasks were done and I was constantly tapping away. It’s absolutely for the best that I deleted the app.

Nancy Cartwright Talks ‘Simpsons’ Lego Episode, Charity Poker Tournament & More – The publicity for that music live show they’re doing at the Hollywood Bowl this summer is getting started.

Springfield bar scene offers craft beers to broaden patrons’ palates – Excellent reference from Springfield, IL:

On a tour of Duff Brewery, Homer Simpson discovers that Duff, Duff Light and Duff Dry all come from the same vat. The joke is that the different varieties of beer are indistinguishable by taste. For craft beer lovers, it spoke to what they believe is a larger truth — that the popular beers from domestic mega breweries don’t taste like much at all.
If Homer were to venture outside of Moe’s and visit the real Springfield, he would discover a cornucopia of beers that vary greatly in taste and style.

The Simpsons play Mr Burns is coming to London’s Almeida Theatre – The post apocalypse play is crossing the Atlantic.

The Simpsons Lego Episode Could Be the Show’s Best in Years – Low bar, very low bar.  (The trailer they released is there, too, if you haven’t seen it.)

Check Out The Simpsons Lego Episode Poster – Also, there is a poster.  Too bad they don’t put this much care into writing the episodes.

The Simpsons ‘ratings crisis': Matt Groening favourite pulls in all-time low with just 3.4 million viewers – This is from Britain’s Mirror, so the scare quote in the headline (‘ratings crisis’) isn’t anywhere in the article and they get their lead fact wrong:

It looks like the magic of The Simpsons could be over.

The animated adventure following the Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie and the residents of Springfield achieved its lowest ever ratings last night in America.
Just 3.4 million viewers tuned in to watch What To Expect When Bart’s Expecting on Fox in the US, signalling an all-time low for the long-running series which is in its 25th year.

It wasn’t an all-time low, it was second.  More importantly, the show is already renewed for another season and its demographic numbers hold up a lot better than the awful topline number would indicate.  So there is a lot of slapdash lazy journalism there.  And yet . . . I’ve long maintained that the only way they’ll cancel Zombie Simpsons is if the ratings get bad enough that they become embarrassing to the far more important merchandising brand.  Replicated enough times in other mainstream publications, headlines and articles like that (missed facts, made up scare quotes and all) could bring enough public embarrassment that the monkeys who run FOX might start thinking that the world doesn’t really need that full 27th season.

‘The Simpsons’ falls to all-time ratings d’oh! – No, Entertainment Weekly, it didn’t, but thanks for furthering the impression.

‘The Simpsons’ Hits All-Time Ratings Low – The same goes for you, Splitsider.  Jebus, the entertainment press is wretched.

Last night’s Simpsons episode set an all-time ratings low – Not sure where the A.V. Club is getting its facts:

Given that The Simpsons has been long been on the decline in the eyes of critics and fans, it’s only logical that it will routinely set new records for all-time low ratings as it carries on. Season 22’s “The Great Simpsina” last held the title, but last night’s episode, “What To Expect When Bart’s Expecting,” dropped ratings to a new low, nabbing only 3.4 million viewers in the show’s Sunday night slot.

At 5.00 million viewers, “The Great Simpsina” would be a certified hit by today’s standards.  I’ve got it at #31 all time on my list.

Batman: “Pure West” – Excellent shakycam YouTube.

2faced homer – Neat fan made image.

Council clears way for gigabit Internet service – Nice reference:

City Council members have OK’d a contract that helps clear the way for AT&T to begin installing gigabit-speed Internet service in some parts of Durham sometime in 2015.
The 5-0 decision didn’t come without some skepticism, expressed most forcefully by Councilman Don Moffitt.
“All of this is vaporware until we start seeing connections,” he said, adding he was “reminded of ‘The Simpsons’ episode where they came in and sold the town a monorail.”

Cartoons of a Generation – And finally, I get to end with someone who very efficiently agrees with us:

Anyone who, like myself, grew up as a child during this era would be aware that there were some epic cartoon adventures that just aren’t matched these days.

[...]

(the best of) The Simpsons

What could possibly match it?

28
Apr
14

Behind Us Forever: What to Expect When Bart’s Expecting

Chalkboard - What To Expect When Bart's Expecting

“Gotcha!  It’s April Fool’s for two more minutes.” – Homer Simpson
“Dad, it’s May 16th.” – Bart Simpson
“You were in that coma for seven weeks.” – Lisa Simpson

This week’s pile of horseshit starts with Bart’s chalkboard saying “You Can’t Play April Fool’s Jokes on April 27th”, which is their way of telling the audience that even they recognized this one as a wretched and unwatchable entry.  Homer and Bart serenade a horse in a cheap, wannabe Les Miserables parody, but that’s after Bart gets a bunch of people pregnant with voodoo, which was itself after they fell back on referencing as many comic geek franchises as they could (again).  The thing was such a mess that they had to tack on a fake beer commercial sketch at the end that had nothing to do with the rest of the episode.  Also, in this April Fool’s reality, horses can operate stereos.  Comedy genius, that.

- Great couch gag, and not only because it was a full minute long, shaving many precious seconds of stupidity off the rest of the episode.  Can they farm these out every week?  It’s really the only good part of the show.

- At least the bartender meeting didn’t take long.  We had to get right to the naked begging for geek approval of putting the characters in superhero costumes.

- Funding from Canal+ was a nice quick sign gag.

- Kirk getting sucked into a vacuum hose was pretty pointless.

- So, Willy’s naked in front of ten-year-olds?  They are asking us to just roll with a lot of shit this week.

- Oh, look, one of Bart’s many ex-girlfriends, and who is also apparently Chamlers’ daughter.

- And more creepy kissing.  I was really hoping that was behind us.

- So, are we gonna come back to the missing ingredient in the voodoo curse?  I have doubts.

- “So, your boy’s got magic knock-up powers, huh?” – Glad we cleared that up.

- Nice of Lenny to explain the joke before he complimented Homer on his virility.  Jokes that need to be explained first to work always land.

- You can tell how slapdash these stories are from the little things: That couple driving onto a baseball diamond for no reason, Homer just happening to walk past Bart’s voodoo show, Homer choking Bart in front of a two strangers who just sit there, the complete absence of Lisa, etcetera.

- Bart is now sitting at Moe’s with Homer.

- Homer’s lack of wallet thing was pure filler.

- Remember when Fat Tony had good lines instead of crap like “How would you like a cast over your face?”.

- “How is this my fault?” “I wouldn’t be here if you were more of a role model.” – Aww, they’re trying to make this about Homer and Bart’s relationship.  It’s like George Meyer left “how to write Simpsons episodes” instructions before he gave up on them and subpoint 2-3.b is “have an emotional connection between family members”.

- A horse just turned on a boombox to play “It’s Raining Men” so it could dance around for ten seconds.  I’d say the show has reached a new low, but we all know that isn’t true.

- And, after following a horse that casually walked out of its stall, we’re in a flashback montage.

- Homer is singing to horses to get them to fuck.  This is really bad, even by their standards.

- And then Homer gets kicked by a horse at the end.  How else could you wrap up that masterpiece?

- Hey, look, they’re aping the opening of Modern Family, a show that’s much better than this one.

- And we’re ending with a horse testifying at a trial in a random, SNL-at-its-worst comedy sketch.  Seems appropriate.

Woof, what a mess of an episode (and yet another total waste of Fat Tony).  That song was just brutal, and what the hell did any of that have to do with Les Miserables?  They long ago lost the ability to tell a story, but when they don’t have a b-plot and everything has to ride on one story it’s usually a bigger trainwreck, and this week was no exception.  I knew we were in trouble when Fat Tony kidnapped them with 8 minutes to go, but I didn’t expect things to get that desperate.  Yeesh.

Anyway, the ratings are in and they are worthy of that hacktacular crapterpiece.  Last night just 3.38 million people wondered whether or not that really was an ill timed April Fool’s joke.  That’s good for second place on the all time least watched list, replacing “Days of Future Future” which held the spot for only two weeks (and no other new episodes).  Eight of the ten least watched episodes of all time, including spots 1-7, are from Season 25.  Presumably the Lego episode next week won’t bomb quite this bad, but Season 25 is already locked into being the least watched season ever.




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