Archive for the 'Simpsons' Category

31
Oct
14

Reading Digest: Ranking ToH Segments Edition

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“What kind of show you got for us, Mr. Burns?” – Reporter
“Well, the ape’s going to stand around for three hours or so.  Then we’ll close with the ethnic comedy of Dugan and Dershowitz.” – C.M. Burns
“Sensational!” – Reporter

Happy Halloween, everybody!  This week we’ve got a bunch of Treehouse of Horror related links, include quite a few to people who decided to list individual segments.  As always, some are better than others and Zombie Simpsons only gets the occasional pity mention (if that).  In addition we’ve got some live sightings of Simpsons clothing, video game ideas, cool tattoos, and a new food blog.

Enjoy.

Patented Space-Age Out of This World Moon Waffles – Someone actually made them.  And it’s part of a new Simpsons food blog.  And that blog is called “Eats Like a Duck”.  Yes!

Along came these two cool dudes…. – Some truly excellent Simpsons tattoos, including donut-headed Homer, Kirk van Houten’s album, the Space Coyote, and Scrabble letters.

The Definitive List of the Best Simpsons Episodes Ever – This certainly isn’t definitive, but it’s a very good list and has lots of great YouTube.

Five Simpsons Games that Need to Get Made – The kart racing idea pops up from time to time, and done right it would be excellent and have tons of things that put the Luigi Stare to shame.

What Do You Think of the Simpsons World? – Let us hope that these things will be fixed:

Not all the features FXX promised are up and coming yet, the video playback is not quite as consistent as that of Netflix or HBOGo, and most importantly, the show isn’t screened in its original 4:3 ratio, cropping the older episodes and hurting many of the sight gags (fortunately, FXX has promised these problems will be resolved soon).

Have they actually said that they’re going to change the player to do 4:3?  I don’t think I’ve seen that anywhere, and they seem really wedded to everything being widescreen.

Simpsons World: Maybe Not The “Worst. App. Ever.” – One more very mixed review.

Does Anybody Want the Last Homer? – A clever cartoon, possibly from the Planet of the Donuts.

13 great Simpsons Treehouse Of Horror Halloween stories – The only thing from Zombie Simpsons is “Night of the Dolphin”, which I’ve always kinda liked, so hooray for this list.

The 9 Best Treehouse of Horror Segments According to Critics – Some schmuck from NPR picked a Zombie Simpsons segment, but other than that this one is great.

Top 5 Halloween TV Episodes – Wisely, the kids at the University of Arizona didn’t try to cram all the Treehouse of Horrors in, they just said watch ‘em.

Spooky Wednesday List: Top 5 Halloween Specials – This one just recommends “Treehouse of Horror V”, but sagely points out that there are many more.

Big Ten Power Poll: The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror Edition – Two of these are from Zombie Simpsons, but it’s mostly very good.  (And, dear god, does Michigan need access to a time machine.)

The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe – It just wouldn’t be Halloween without Poe, James Earl Jones, and The Simpsons.

Subsequently Strange – A top five list of Treehouse segments, with nary a trace of Zombie Simpsons.  Bravo.

Where Have I Seen Dan Castellaneta? All His Non-Simpsons Acting. – Shame on you, Uproxx, you neglected to include his stint as the very Hibbert like “Dr. Stein” on Arrested Development.

All 25 ‘Treehouse Of Horror’ Episodes Of ‘The Simpsons,’ Ranked – Better, Uproxx, better.  Though why you ranked this year’s above “X” or “XI” is beyond me.

Halloween 2014: The best Simpsons Treehouse of Horror episodes to watch this Halloween – There’s one Zombie Simpsons episode in here for some reason, but other than that it’s solid.

Now that it’s happened how do we hide the fact that it’s happened? – Bad husbanding, here:

Apparently when your pregnant wife tells you to hold her drink while she goes to the toilet you’re supposed to drink it, not stand there like an idiot and return it in its undisturbed state. This happened to me more than once. I’m pretty sure that Jo viewed me like this scene from The Simpsons.

Heh.

New breed of dolphins venture on land in hunt for food – The dolphin apocalypse is still a long way off, but you can’t talk about them eating on land without mentioning that one segment from Season 12 (with .gif).

Today on the tray: Greasy foods – Apparently last Saturday was Greasy Foods Day.  Dr. Nick approves.

Enjoying a Beer With Irish Zombies on the Boardwalk: A Quick Recap of the Last Five Days – Now that’s truly scarifying:

I took a vacation day to await the arrival of my new pantry. David Henne told me that was the least manly reason to take a day off from work, but I think that’s hyperbole. Maybe it would’ve been more acceptable if I spent the day watching 10-15 episodes of The Simpsons, but the best my DVR had to offer was latter-day “Treehouse of Horror” episodes.

Classic Vintage “The Simpsons” Neck Tie – That’s actually a pretty good Simpsons tie, what with it having just the kids and an actual pattern on it.

It’s a Simpson’s Family Pizza Dinner – Lego Simpsons sitting down to eat.

Artist creates comic posters titled ‘Homerization': Indianised version of Homer from Simpsons – And lots of them.

When Flanders Failed – Episode #038 – Ash is back on his game with a twofer this week.

Bart The Murderer – Episode #039 – Nobody ever said Homer was a good parent:

Two things I noticed during the scene with Bart’s room being stocked with cigarettes due to his boss’ warehouse being full:
1. How did that amount of cigarettes get into the house without anyone even noticing? That was until Homer walked by and
2. How does making Bart smoke every single cigarette teach him a lesson? What lesson was Homer trying to teach him here? How to smoke?

The life of a Writer … – Heh.

#TBT post – Simpson fashion in the wild at Universal Studios.

New trending GIF tagged tv television the simpsons… – Teacher.  Mother.  Secret Lover.

New trending GIF tagged cartoon loop the simpsons… – Homer, trying to see what Bart wrote on the back of his skull.

New trending GIF tagged the simpsons nicki minaj… – Skinner tying his shoe, and the Sir Mix-A-Lot subtitle is great.

24
Oct
14

Reading Digest: Hopeless Lawsuit Edition

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“I’m going to write a figure on this piece of paper.  It’s not quite as large as the last one, but I think you’ll find it fair.” – C.M. Burns
“I think we should take it.” – Lionel Hutz

There were two big Simpsons news stories this week.  First, the “Simpsons World” app/website finally launched.  I took a quick look, but it spent lots of time buffering and seemed to be struggling under launch-day loads, so I’ll come back to that next week.  (We do have quite a few links about it, however.)  The second was that an actor who played a minor character in Goodfellas is suing the show for [Dr. Evil pinky] two-hundred-and-fifty-million-dollars [/Dr. Evil pinky] because Legs looks like him.  It doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell, and even if they someone convince FOX to pay them (which would be very un-FOX like), it’ll be a teeny tiny fraction of that.  Yet for some reason this hopelessly longshot lawsuit got tons of press.  It was linked all over the place, with plenty of them just mindlessly repeating the big scary number.  We’ve got a link, but there’s basically nothing to it.

More importantly, Halloween is next week, and the annual crush of costumes (and tattoos!) has begun.  There are some really good ones in our first link, and there’s more where that came from.  And, of course, there’s lots of other random items as well: the Homer computer doll with infrared eyes, Harry Shearer just being himself, Jean dutifully slogging through another interview, a decidedly unlicensed music video, and much more.

Enjoy.

Classic Simpsons Trivia Chicago Costume Contest 2014 – I put this up on Twitter, but it’s really worth a look.  I can see why the Clown Bed won, but Dr. Hillbilly and the Iron Yuppie should’ve at least gotten some kind of couples or group costume award.  Ashley Grant and the Luann in her jacuzzi suit are also pretty damned awesome.

Never miss an episode with smart Homer Simpson – This is awesome.  Someone took a Homer doll, slapped some electronics into it, and now it automatically turns on the doll’s eyes whenever the show is on.  Bravo, tech geeks.  Bravo.

5-sentence review of ‘The Simpsons: Treehouse of Horror XXV’ – Heh:

The appearance of the Simpsons characters as the originally appeared in animated shorts on “The Tracey Ullman Show” is proof that even “The Simpsons” is nostalgic for the pre-dull “The Simpsons.”

Good one.

The Simpsons in Retrospect – A thorough breakdown of the decline of the show that includes a chart of the ever declining popular opinion of the show.

How Harry Shearer Discovered the Soul of Richard Nixon – There’s a little bit of Simpsons stuff in here, Shearer calls Burns more purely evil than Nixon, but this is my favorite part:

MJ: Is there any other president you’d like to play?
HS: Well, I’ve, on my radio show I’ve played every one since—
MJ: How’s your Garfield?
HS: Poor. But who’s to know?

Ha!  Shearer is the best.

Counting Down To Halloween With The Simpsons #1 – These are a series of posts about just what makes the Treehouse of Horror episodes so great.

Counting Down To Halloween With The Simpsons #2 – This one’s about Marge’s warnings before the first ones.  It’s good to remember this:

What few people realize however is that in the very first Treehouse of Horror this warning was not a gag or gimmick as it became later but was meant to be taken seriously. In 2014 The Simpsons have pretty much become part of the furniture in western society so its easy to forget that when it first aired in 1989 it was a highly controversial show.

I’d say it’s still a gag, even if, yes, it was meant to actually deflect anger.  But that speaks to the brilliance of the show: they knew they were going to piss people off, so why not pre-ignore them as well?

Counting Down To Halloween With The Simpsons #3 – Amusing tombstones.

Counting Down To Halloween With The Simpsons #4 – Scary credits.

DisfiguredStick – Milhouse – That is a great Milhouse costume, and the backpack is a nice touch.

It’s Never Too Late to be Marge Simpson – Husband and wife go as Homer and Marge.  Great wig.

Essential Halloween Viewing – “Treehouse of Horror V” makes the list here, along with several other old cartoon specials.  I actually remember that episode of Ghostbusters.

Top 10 TV Halloween Specials – V and VI make this list.

Goodfellas Actor’s $250 Million Lawsuit Against The Simpsons – This looks like a hopeless attempt to squeeze some money from FOX.  The headline number is just there for press attention, which it got a ton of.  (Thanks to Rob K. for sending it in.)

Poochie? That you? – An ad for hot dogs with a serious Poochie look alike.  Nice find.

Do You Even Stretch Bro? Stretching and the gym. – Exercise advice for when you go to the all night gym.

Top Man Simpsons Prints – High fashion Simpsons stuff is no longer just for the ladies.

On this day in history… – Celebrating the anniversary of “Rosebud”.  Go to hell, you old bastard.

Things Get Violently “Simpsons”-Like In Girl Talk’s New Video – Indeed they do:

“Suicide (Remix)” is the latest video to come from the collaboration between mash-up artist-turned-beatmaker Girl Talk and journeyman rapper Freeway. In it, artist Lisa Ramsey unleashes a violent stream of animated mayhem that was clearly, ahem, inspired by The Simpsons. The colorful pastiche puts shotgun-toting Bart Simpson and Milhouse van Houten on skateboards–and the skateboards themselves are about as far as the faithfulness goes. By the time a fully grown and blessed out Lisa makes the scene, sway-dancing while puffing on a joint–it’s clear that we’re worlds away from Springfield. Still, it’s mandatory viewing for anyone who has ever wanted to see the sailboat painting from the Simpsons’ living room attain sentence and spit bars.

Don’t forget the daggers that come out of Krusty’s eyes.  Video at the link.

How Do I Get The Simpsons World FXX App? Everything You Need To Know. – I’d quibble with “Everything”, there, but the main outline seems solid.

Simpsons World: A Streaming Archive of American History – A hands on look at the site.

‘Simpsons’ go streaming: Al Jean talks new site – Jean doing a publicity interview.  No real news, but he was talking to CNN, so that goes almost without saying.

How ‘Simpsons World’ Went from Deal Point to Immersive App Via FX Networks – Apparently Brooks insisted that if they were going to sell streaming rights, the streaming had to be something special.  Of course, this is Variety and it uses phrases like this, “The app…allows lean-in users to customize their searches”, so take it with ten thousand grains of salt.  (I’m not sure what marketing dictionary “lean-in users” came from, but please put it to the torch immediately.  Thank you.)

Catching Up With The First Family Of TV – This is a nice writeup of how one guy came back to the show through the marathon.  It’s also yet another example of how gun shy people are about bringing up Zombie Simpsons.  Every example he cites is from early in the show, and there’s even this:

Every episode ever. Whatever you want to watch. Not sure if your in the mood for season 3 or 17? Hit random and maybe you’ll get something nice from season 6.

Season 17 is a wasteland, Seasons 3 and 6 are not, but to say so explicitly is to invite trouble when all you want to do is relax and laugh.  I get it.  I just wish it wasn’t so prevalent.

Embiggened: Here’s a Look at “Simpsons World” From A-Z (GQ) – An alphabetical list of stuff on the site, like the above link, mentions only stuff from non-Zombie Simpsons seasons.

Some Changes Need to be Made to Simpsons World – Seems like they’ve still got some kinks to iron out:

However, there is one change that needs to be made and it needs to be made immediately.
The placement of commercials is goofy. Last night while watching “A Star is Burns” I was awaiting my favorite quote from the episode when Hans Moleman says “I was saying boo-urns.” I love that quote and say it all the time.
What I got was Moleman saying “I was saying boo” cut to a commercial “oo-urns”.
Now while watching “You only move twice” I was greeted with a commercial, in the middle of the opening title sequence.
During “Lard of the Dance” I saw a commercial in the middle of a sceen.

Get your spook on: Hallowe’en flash sheets in Brighton and beyond – Some cool Simpsons Halloween themed tattoo designs.

Tattoo Artist Turns Bart Simpson Into Horror Icons! – These are from a different source, and they’re all Bart.  Candyman and Beetlejuice are pretty cool.  More at his website.

Stark Raving Dad Episode #036 – Ash starts in on Season 3.

The 10 Greatest Simpsons Horror Movie Parodies – There’s one from Zombie Simpsons at #10, almost out of pity.

When you get the last slice, you be all like… – Animated .gif of Bart laughing after Homer brings him pizza in “Itchy & Scratchy: The Movie”.

New trending GIF tagged tv the simpsons eating… – Homer snacking while watching football.

New trending GIF tagged horror cartoon simpsons marge… – Marge’s hair exploding into bats.

The Simpsons has now officially been bad for longer than it was ever good – And finally (via @dailysimpsons), I get to not only end with someone who agrees with us, but it’s even in a real publication:

The first segment took the Simpson family to Hell: a city, it seems, very much like Springfield. It was amusing to begin with, but soon pointlessly repeated itself. The last segment had the family confronted by doubles of themselves: a comment, I think, on the endless proliferation of Simpson images and on the repetition compulsion referenced above. The middle segment — well, I can’t tell you about the middle segment because I’ve forgotten it already. Honestly.

[...]

The Simpsons has now been bad for longer than it was good, but when it was good it was great. Television has never provided as many inspired jokes per minute, sometimes per second, as The Simpsons did; has never been as consistently, ruthlessly, creatively
irreverent as The Simpsons was. It taught a generation to revere wit and to distrust authority, two hugely important achievements. Now the irreverence has shrunk to mere random rudeness, and the jokes are flabby and far between. Everything’s gone slack.

Testify!

20
Oct
14

Behind Us Forever: Treehouse of Horror XXV

Treehouse of Horror III12

“Stupid party, wish we was trick or treatin’.” – Bart Simpson

The annual Halloween episode tends to be pretty bland in the hands of Zombie Simpsons, and this year was no different.  The first story was about Bart going to school in Hell, where he does better than he used to do at Springfield Elementary.  The second is a bunch of meandering references to Stanley Kubrick movies that ends with Kubrick himself staring right at the camera for some reason.  The third one involved the old Tracey Ullman versions of the characters being ghosts.

- Give them this, if they’re going to sneak in Kang and Kodos for no reason, at least this opening didn’t take too long.

- Oof, this thing about “penal”, “penile” and “penis” was probably funnier when it was doodled on an actual fourth grader’s notebook.

- Hey, now Lisa’s here.

- The Hell chalkboard punishment “Eternal Torment Is The Only Just Punishment for the Unbaptized” is pretty good . . . and they didn’t even read it off to us!  Happy Halloween!

- But it didn’t last long.  Lisa just explained to us that snow is cold.

- Then Bart told us how he’s feeling about his teacher.

- The “Burns Hellport” wasn’t terrible.

- Guh, even in Halloween episodes though, we’re reminded of how cushy and comfortable the writers have gotten.  Homer just went on a rant about private schools sending parents twenty e-mails a day.  I bet they also hate it when your worthless butler washes your sock garters but they’re still covered with schmutz.

- And now Hell-Chalmers is expositing pointlessly.

- The montage didn’t even take too long.

- So, this thing with Bart torturing Homer was supposed to be some kind of ending?  Even here they need exposition:

Bart: That’s my Dad, I can’t hurt him.
Homer: No, boy, I want you to do it.
Bart:  What, why?
Homer: Bart, you went to Hell and came back a winner, like Jesus.

Tedious crap like this is why even when they do manage some decent jokes, these segments will always be bland and unmemorable.  “Hell School” is a decent enough little concept, but they can’t give it a coherent plot or not spend time explaining the jokes even in just seven minutes of runtime.

- For a show that got a little pious over Family Guy‘s rape joke, this “In-out” thing sure goes on a long time.

- Moe’s cutesy narrator language is already grating:

“Everything was all fish and chippie until Dum collected himself a twiggy-wick”

- The montage in the first segment didn’t take too long.  This one . . . not so much.  Homer just bounces around his room for a while.

- And we’re back to explaining things.  Homer’s going to marry Marge, then Moe asks a rhetorical question/joke setup, then Marge explains things.

- I get that this segment is just a scattershot of Kubrick references, but it kinda undercuts the joke of Moe being forced to watch FOX when he pleads to have it turned off, and then immediately takes the Clockwork Orange helmet off without a problem.

- Now Nelson, Jimbo, Kearney and Dolph are beating Moe up.  Nelson was already in the house, thus making Moe talking to Kearney at the door pointless.  Is five consecutive seconds of narrative coherence really too much to ask?

- Speaking of sloppy writing, despite the fact that we saw a title card called “Years Later”, Homer just said it’s been a few months.  If that’s a joke, I sure don’t get it.

- And on the topic of narrative incoherence, Moe reacts to his beating by trying to get his old gang back together.  I assumed it was to get revenge, but we never see the bullies again.  Instead we’re off to an incoherent mash up of various Kubrick references.

- Topped off by more expository narration from Moe, and Kubrick himself getting hit on the head with a pen.  This one seems to have just petered out rather than ended, but maybe that’s for the best.

- Onto segment three, where the TV is apparently only playing Married With Children.  I get that’s a show from forever ago, but it might’ve helped for there to be more to it than that.

- Homer and Marge are in bed, then Marge leaves because Grampa was there too, then . . . you know what?  Screw it.  Basically nothing happens and what little does happen is explained to us.

- Lisa just called ghost-Bart burping “unmotivated”.  Maybe they do know what motivation is.  That’s the only evidence from the last five years or so, but still.

- Also, it’s nice that they’re trying to do the old style voices, but twenty-five years has made that impossible.

- Speaking of “unmotivated”, what’s with ghost-Marge and regular-Homer falling in love?  Ghost-Homer just kinda stands there.

- And now Marge killed herself.  Uh, okay.

- Good question from new-ghost-Marge, “Won’t the other Homer be a problem?”.  That little reminder slightly preceded Homer getting killed by ghost-Homer.

- And now Lisa and Bart are dead too because . . . I really don’t know.  I guess they all want to be ghosts for some reason?

- Dr. Marvin Monroe is now also back as a ghost.  His butt gets stuck in the wall.  (Comedy!)

- “Let’s not fight anymore, let’s make him decide between us!” – Not only are they telling us what’s happening, they’ve once again forgotten the older Homer.  Then both Marges explain themselves, because ghosts explaining themselves is a significant fraction of the dialogue here.

- Now both Marges are hugging their respective Homers.

- And we end on many different Simpsons versions.

I expect basically nothing from this show, so it’s hard to call myself disappointed in any of this, but that final segment is still kinda disappointing.  It’s a neat idea to bring back the original character models and you could probably have some fun with the old and new versions interacting or going at cross purposes, especially in a Halloween episode where you’ve got basically no rules.  Instead, Homer and ghost-Marge have a weird non-romance and most of the segment is people killing (themselves or others) and explaining how they feel.  What a waste.

Anyway, the ratings are in and it remains good to be behind football.  Last night’s dutiful episode reminded 7.64 million viewers that this show used to do much better Halloween specials.  As with previous weeks, that’s good for this year and very bad historically.

17
Oct
14

Reading Digest: Local Boys Make Good Edition

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“The challenger learned how to fight in the notorious projects of Capital City, and honed his skills while serving time for aggravated assault and manslaughter in Springfield Prison.” – Boxing Announcer
“Alright, a local boy!” – Barney Gumble

With the hoopla around the premier and the crossover now safely in the rear view mirror, and Halloween stuff not yet ramping up to full volume, it’s a pretty short Reading Digest this week.  We do have hometown articles about both Al Jean and Mike Reiss, however.  In addition to those, we’ve got some excellent fan art, a couple of interesting lists, and some stuffed animal based charity.

Enjoy.

[TV Talk] Top 10 Simpsons Horror Movie Parodies – This is a pretty good list.  There is one Zombie Simpsons segment, but it’s #9.  #10 is the Guillermo del Toro couch gag, which was pretty entertaining even if it wasn’t part of the show proper.

Cakes Raise Cancer Awareness – Simpsons cakes, specifically, and there’s even art of one of Comic Book Guy.  Bravo.

Sometimes words just get in the way – Longtime director Mark Kirkland has made a short, silent movie:

A romantic comedy that takes place, as the first title card explains, in a “long-forgotten movie studio,” The Moving Picture Co. 1914 has a 22-minute running time that Kirkland notes is the same length as a Simpsons episode if you cut out the commercials.
“I’m used to that time length and meter,” says the California Institute of the Arts graduate, who double-majored in film and animation. “The Simpsons are in my blood.”

Weird Al is playing the guy who’s playing Jesus.

Reboot The Simpsons – Instead of flashing everyone forward, I guess you could go backwards instead, but either way I remain convinced that the current show has to die before anything new and interesting can come out of Simpsons-world.

Reproduction of Lisa Simpson, The Scream – Excellent fan made painting.

Four sitcoms past their prime – Zombie Simpsons is such a fixture on lists like these, that the lists themselves have taken a meta-note of it:

The Simpsons
This show has been on every past-their-prime list published in the last decade.

Bargain Bin Games – The Simpsons: Bart Vs. The World  – A YouTube review.

Say Anything Parodies on TV: 8 of the Best – Otto proposing to Becky is on here, but I’d probably go with Itchy & Scratchy’s “Spay Anything” in “Cape Feare”, though that doesn’t have the boombox over the head thing.

On TV: 5-sentence review of ‘The Simpsons’ Season 26, Episode 3: ‘Super Franchise Me’ – According to the ratings, a lot of people do this:

Truth be told, I only watch about four “The Simpsons” episodes a year, until they choke out their “Treehouse of Horror,” and then I go on my way forgetting that they’re on TV, basically having vague memories that this was something I once looked forward to watching.

WTF Wednesday: Questionable Trends in Fashion – The trend of fashionable Bart clothing spreads.

Hype launches The Simpsons apparel with Topman – See above.  Retro cool now, I guess.

Young Glendale sisters lend a helping hand – Cute:

There’s one thing 9-year-old Karis Zavala rarely puts down: a miniature doll of Lisa Simpson from the animated sitcom “The Simpsons.”
She’s vowed for the past seven years to never let it go.

She and her sister are going a charity thing to collect plush toys for kids.

Library dedicates section to ‘The Simpsons’ writer, Bristol native – You gotta love Reiss:

“When I won my first Emmy for ‘The Simpsons,’ I told my wife ‘Take a picture, I’ve got to send it to the hometown paper,’ and she did,” he said. “Four days later it was on the front page of The Bristol Press — me in a tuxedo holding an Emmy, over the caption ‘Local Man Claims To Win Award.’”

‘The Simpsons’ founding writer Al Jean on his Detroit roots – And speaking of local-boy-makes-good, Jean talks about his roots, and what they have to teach us.

BWW Reviews: MR. BURNS, A POST-ELECTRIC PLAY with The Catamounts in Boulder – The play gets good reviews even a couple thousand miles from Broadway.

Did The Simpsons Predict A Hot-Button SCOTUS Case 22 Years Ago? – No.  This has been simple answers to simple questions.

robocall – Excellent illustrative reference:

The pre-recorded, automated telephone call, almost as widely reviled as it is exploited, has benign and malevolent uses. Professor Frink, in The Simpsons, envisioned using the technology to tell children about school cancellations, which seems harmless enough. But in the same episode, Homer demonstrates a range of abuses. An appointment reminder from your auto dealer or the doctor’s office may not be so bad. But no one likes non-human solicitations, or repeated entreaties to vote for this candidate or the next.

Patty or Selma, you are a real woman … – A multi-colored animated .gif of Patty based on one of the vacation photos from “Flaming Moe’s”.

Awesome Character #1: Milhouse Van Houten – Just a little appreciation for everyone’s favorite dorky doormat.

Thrift Store Halloweekends – Barney Gumble, The Simpsons Spooky Light-Ups (Burger King) – Someone found a fast food toy left over from 2001.

Homer Simpson Stonecutter by deathbycartoon – Fan made depiction of the Chosen One leading the Stonecutters to glory.

Simpsons Collection Vol:1 – Fan made Simpsons sketches.

The Simpsons predicted Ebola outbreak in 1997, some people on the internet actually believe – I’d say most people just think it’s weird, but I’m sure there are some believers out there.

Blood Feud – Episode #035 – Heh:

We are now at the end of the episode here and I have one thing to say… How the hell did the delivery guys manage to get the gift of Xtapolapocetl into the house? There is absolutely no way! Well, that cartoons for you.

The Simpsons Arcade Game retrospective: How Konami struck yellow gold – And finally, I get to end the way I like, with someone who agrees with us.  In this case, in a video game retrospective:

Family Guy’s Peter Griffin spoke for most of us when he declared “I am over the Simpsons,” during a recent crossover episode with Springfield’s famous five, but such talk would have been dismissed as sacrilege when Matt Groening’s creation was at the peak of its popularity.
It’s been misfiring for as long as most of us can remember, but The Simpsons remains one of television’s greatest achievements.

Indeed.

10
Oct
14

Reading Digest: Mr. Burns Play Spreads

Blood Feud15

“I want the whole world to hear the story of my harrowing struggle with hypohemia.” – C.M. Burns

The post-apocalyptic Mr. Burns play continues to spread.  Local theater companies in both Arizona and Colorado are putting it on the next couple of weeks, and we have links to both.  At this rate, the play itself might survive the apocalypse.  In more regular links, we also have a couple more unhappy reviews of the crossover, some excellent usage, several .gifs, an in-depth look at the varieties of Duff on sale in Florida, and the relentless filler of Zombie Simpsons demonstrated in YouTube format.

Enjoy.

(Oh, and in case anyone cares, Season 17 will be released on home video on December 2nd.  I got a nice press e-mail from FOX about it, including this image that has the entirely predictable details:

SimpsonsS17FactSheet

The only interesting thing is that they’re including “Krusty Gets Busted” and “Cape Feare” on the Blu-Ray versions, and since I could get either of those with a good season, it’s a pretty weak upsell.  That is all.)

Bort license plate: Simpsons fans get them in real life, comprise nerdy club – Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week is a story about license plates that comes with lots of cool anecdotes and pictures.

All 554 Simpsons couch gags in one video – This was making the rounds this week, and is kind of neat.  I would just like to point out that this is what it looks like halfway through:

ZombieSimpsonsIsSlow

Please note that it’s almost entirely Zombie Simpsons, the only exception being (what I assume) is “The 138th Episode Spectacular”, where they replayed a bunch of them.  They eat clock with this thing regularly (even when they do it themselves).

4 Ways The Simpsons Might End – Our old friend Bob Chipman lays out four scenarios.  I’d suggest a fifth, if only because it almost happened three years ago: FOX cans the show and they have to pick something that’s already in production as the finale.

Curtain Critic: ‘Mr. Burns’ at Space 55 manages dark, apocalyptic pop-culture comedy – Oh, cool, you can go see the Mr. Burns play in Phoenix for the next three weekends.

Boulder troupe imagines ‘The Simpsons’ surviving apocalypse – And in Arizona too.

Hey Internet, I Tried. Part 2: The Simpsons/Family Guy Crossover – There was no way to fit all the reviews in last week, but the ones from this week aren’t any more positive:

They might as well have had Maggie shoot Peter.
Nothing sucks more than missed opportunities. The Family Guy/Simpsons crossover had a lot of that.

So… the Family Guy and The Simpsons crossover – Oh, what the hell, one more:

Was as we all expected, a flaming ball of excrement. I will keep this brief, as not much can, and not much needs to be said.

Lukas Podolski posts picture of Danny Welbeck as a skinny Homer Simpson – And tall.

‘Simpsons’ Fan Complains About Too Many Quotes In Facebook Group – I am reminded often, if not quite daily, that I’m glad I never joined Facebook, but this is pretty damned funny.

5 Fandom Friday: Gateway Fandoms That Made Me Who I Am Today – You have chosen . . . wisely:

My love for The Simpsons knows no bounds. I’ve been a fan ever since I was about 7 or 8. My mom won some radio contest and the prize was any DVD/Box set we wanted. They had so many choices and I almost picked up King of The Hill, but I picked up The Simpsons season 5. That was probably the best decision I’ve made in my whole life thus far.

‘The Simpsons Are Going To..': Ranking Every ‘Simpsons’ Travel Episode – No surprise, the couple from the single digit seasons are at the top here.  (Though I’m not sure I’d count “Itchy & Scratchy Land” as a travel episode since it’s not a real place, but to each his own.)

The Simpsons ‘Springfield’ as you’ve never seen it before – You’ve actually probably seen these before, since I’ve linked them a couple of times, but they remain as gorgeous as ever.

Brew Review – Duff Beer at Universal Orlando – A serious beer fan takes a look at what’s on offer at the amusement park.  There’s actually a “Duff Dry” that looks pretty good.

The Simpsons Family History by Matt Groening (2014) – A short review of that new book they published.

Aurora Borealis?! – Excellent usage:

“BIG NEWS: People in Sydney, New York, the UK and other middle latitude cities may be able to see the Southern or Northern lights this weekend, thanks to two huge solar storms heading our way.”

My first thoughts?

Aurora borealis? At this time of year? At this time of day? In this part of the country? Localised entirely in your kitchen?!

Heh.

New Techniques: Cold Smoked Cheese – Heh:

I thought I would start with cheese as it’s the cheapest and least complicated, plus cheese rules everything around me.
Marge: Have you been up all night eating cheese?
Homer: I think I’m blind.

Get the gouda, chedda chedda bill, ya’ll.

Start with a T – All the ways you can rock a Simpsons t-shirt.

Only the Lonely – A review of The Zero Theorem starts with excellent usage:

FXX is running classic episodes of The Simpson’s, but I just couldn’t allow myself to watch another three-hour block and then call it a night. Unless A Fish Called Selma is showing, that might be my favorite episode (“No, what I have is a romantic abnormality, one so unbelievable that it must be hidden from the public at all cost. You see…”).

And it comes with a .gif of Troy McClure repairing his beanbag chair.

New trending GIF tagged cartoons & comics dance… – Homer’s missing the chili cook off.  It’s going on right now and he’s missing it!

On TV: Review of ‘The Simpsons’ Season 26, Episode 2 – And finally, I get to end with someone who agrees with us:

I start every fall optimistically. I think Lucy will let Charlie Brown kick the football. And I think they’ll be a funny episode of “The Simpsons.” I’m wrong on both counts.

If I’d thought of that sentence five years ago, we might never have needed this whole damn blog.

03
Oct
14

Reading Digest: Crossover Fallout Edition

Sideshow Bob Roberts11

“Bart, we can’t let Bob steal the spotlight.  We’re gonna have to stoop to the lowest common denominator.” – Lisa Simpson
“I can do that.” – Bart Simpson

Seemingly everyone with an internet connection weighed in on the Family Guy crossover this week.  I couldn’t possibly read or link them all, so the below is by no means a definitive, or even a representative, sample, but broadly reactions seemed to fall into two categories.  There were people who hated it and there were people who liked it.  The difference is that the people who hated it, really hated it, while the people who liked it qualified their admiration with lots and lots of caveats and reservations.  So the below is mostly reviews of the crossover leavened with some other stuff that somehow made it through all the noise.

Enjoy.

We Met the World’s Leading Authority on Bootleg Bart Simpson T-Shirts – Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week is this interview with a guy who collects bootleg Bart t-shirts.  There’s a neat little video, lots of examples, and he even says this:

A lot of people bash the show now for not being like how it used to be, but the couch gags alone smash anything I’ve seen on TV. You don’t need to watch the full episode if you don’t want to, but man… watch those couch gags.

I keep saying it because it’s true: nobody cares about what’s actually in the episodes.

Is The Simpsons relying too heavily on gimmicks? – Yes.  (The article makes a number of good points that will be familiar to anyone reading this site, namely that the actual episodes are now by far the least important and visible part of the show.  Maybe they should pull the plug or something?  Nah, that’s crazy talk.)

Don Hertzfeldt’s Simpson’s Couch Gag is about relationships and mental illness – That couch gag got kind of lost in the shuffle this week, what with the death and the crossover.  I’m not sure I agree with this, but it’s by far the most thoughtful and careful writeup of it that I saw.

They did it! They actually did it! Why critical old me is pleasantly surprised by The Simpsons/Family Guy Crossover – I guess it’s time to get started with the crossover links.  This is from someone who liked it:

This crossover was nothing less than a big “jokes-on-you” to everyone who was getting way too hyped about this crossover. Everything from the Griffin’s first conversation to the widely-predicted chicken-style end fight between Peter and Homer is a slap in this face to whoever thought this was going to be the best thing that’s ever hit Fox’s Sunday night line up.

Couch Potato: “The Simpsons Guy” B+ – Again, this is from someone who was generally pleased:

the special was smart to begin with Chris basically breaking the 4th wall and explain that crossovers are mostly a marketing ploy. Stewie then tells him to shut up, acknowledging that even if so, so what?

Not exactly a ringing endorsement.

The Simpsons/Family Guy Crossover – This is fairly typical:

Throughout the episode, characters from each of the two shows popped up in different scenes. It was fun to see some of the characters interact with one another and during these moments, we could easily identify how The Simpsons has inspired elements of Family Guy, but as the episode wore on, these interactions became less funny. Ultimately, an episode’s success has to rely on its ability to tell a story. An endless stream of interactions between characters from two different worlds does not accomplish this.

6 Other Potential TV Crossovers – This “it was okay but still lame” opinion was widespread:

In a television event that is almost as historic as the final episode of M*A*S*H, The Simpsons crossed over with Family Guy this past weekend, creating a relatively mild episode for both shows. I liked it, in the same way I generally like any new episode of The Simpsons or Family Guy. I will always be a fan of both shows, but I think we’ve all settled into a general state of mediocre acceptance. Still, whoever though it would happen, right?

The Simpsons/ Family Guy Crossover Review – See what I mean?:

With The Simpsons entering it 26th season, and Family Guy entering its 13th, these two much loved shows are perhaps both past their primes, but the novelty of seeing both families duke it on screen is a something that provides in part moments of greatness, in part missed opportunities, as well as a smattering of simply bizarre moments.

The 5 Worst Things About The ‘Family Guy’/’Simpsons Crossover – Uproxx gives it the blow-by-blow.

Family Guy: The Simpsons Guy (13.1) Review – An actually positive review with no sarcasm, irony, or sarcastic irony.  Also, the only one I saw.

Why Brandscaping Works – Unless you count the guy who saw it as a brilliant marketing ploy and actually used the word “brandscaping”.

9 ways the Family Guy/Simpsons crossover was a blight on humanity – Only nine?

The Simpsons Guy had Everything… Except Laughs – Yup:

No soul means that there is no organic drive. Neither the Griffins nor the Simpsons feel like real families anymore. Instead they all feel like actors, lining up to do the same routines regardless of whether or not there is any comedy left in them. When both shows were at their peak, they contained scripts that made the audience able to relate to the characters.

A Bomb in the Lasagna: “The Simpsons Guy” Was Slightly Less Horrible Than I Imagined – Nice one:

As a lifelong Simpsons fan who admittedly subscribes to the common wisdom that the show’s halcyon days are behind them (the new seasons middling premier didn’t help) and as someone whose enthusiasm for Family Guy has dwindled pretty markedly over the past several years, to say that I was less than thrilled about the crossover would be an understatement hovering somewhere between “the Hindenburg explosion was kind of a drag” or “John Wilkes Booth wasn’t really vibeing with what Lincoln was laying down” in terms of severity. But, a combination of failed self-restraint and journalistic integrity (the six of you who actually read this will remember that promise here) led me astray my better judgement and in front of Fox for an hour this past weekend. And, while “The Simpson’s Guy” might not have been the eldritch monstrosity that I believed it would be, it wasn’t much better.

Family Guy/Simpsons Crossover: Bad For Both Shows – The headline says it all, but the article has some fun moments:

“The Simpsons Guy” is a lame Family Guy episode that would never be talked about by anyone outside of the series’ core fanbase if it wasn’t also for the appearance of America’s favorite animated family. Family Guy is never going to be as great as The Simpsons, and both shows are aware of that. But “The Simpsons Guy” is bad for both of them: Family Guy comes off worse than usual, and it’s both frustrating and sad to see it try so hard to bring The Simpsons down to its level.

‘The Simpsons’ and ‘Family Guy’ came together and it was awesome and sad – You know things were bad when USA Today (America’s Favorite Pencil!) trashes the show on a sports blog:

It was funny, but also really sad. Mostly because after 26 years, The Simpsons isn’t funny. It’s been a very long time since The Simpsons had its edge,

‘Simpsons’ fans are totally underwhelmed by the death of (spoiler) – And speaking of McPaper:

So that was it?
That’s what a lot of Simpsons fans are saying after Sunday’s season premiere, when, after the show hyped that a character was going to die, the one who actually kicked the bucket was Krusty the Clown’s dad Rabbi Krustofski. Many fans were expecting a major character, like Krusty himself, to die, and they felt pretty underwhelmed after all the hype.

The Simpsons & the One-Trick Pony – Heh:

The crossover episode put the husband to sleep. It left me feeling like I’d spent an hour watching Seth MacFarlane’s therapy session. And I felt like I should send him an invoice and a list of suggestions for better handling his insecurities.

On TV: Review of ‘Family Guy’ and ‘The Simpsons’ cross-over – Feel the enthusiasm:

The crossover proved largely entertaining if unsurprising. Both “The Simpsons” and “Family Guy” are mature shows that have little room for growth. Their tropes are well-established and all-too predictable.

The Simpsons Guy – Another less than overwhelmed viewer:

Overall I did not like this crossover. The reason? Because it didn’t seem to know what it was supposed to be.

So there you go: lots of “meh” and more than a few “ugh”.  That was a worth a year of buildup.

Simpsons fake out on major death – As for the death of Krusty’s father, this seems to be a pretty typical reaction:

so he will be missed by the shows crew and cast, but maybe not as missed by the fans.

The Simpsons: Krusty’s Dad Dies — Rabbi Krustofsky Dead On Season Premiere – Jean doing a little post death publicity.  Nothing in the way of actual information, though.

Sunday Discussion: Comparing Alabama Political Leaders To The Simpsons – I know nothing about politics in Alabama, but these are some pretty good comparisons.

The Simpsons, Maths and Museums – A writeup of Jean and David X. Cohen at a British science museum talking up the math book.

Girl Gang – Very cool fan art of a Simpsons clad gang.  Bravo.

Don’t Make People Pay for Media, Let Them. – Yet another person whose parents tried and failed to prevent her from watching the show.

And Now: Breast Cancer Action Month – Excellent usage:

My problem is with the name. I’m okay with “breast” and “month,” but the rest?

The Simpsons once had an episode that cleverly poked fun at the idea of awareness of this or that. They had the Awareness Awards (for Awareness of course):

From The Simpsons episode “Behind the Laughter”

Bart: When Willie [Nelson] asked me to be a presenter at the New Awareness Awards, I had to think about it … for about a microsecond!

Marge: You just don’t say no to the redheaded stranger … and when I heard that it was for awareness, that sealed the deal!

But awareness in the social media age seems to be all about putting something, a cause or a product, in front of you early and often and then doing little else.

Kwik-E-Mart Reusable Bag Styled in Honor of ‘The Simpsons’ Convenience Store – Rabbi Krustofsky may be dead, but merchandising will live forever.

The Simpsons USB Sticks 8GB – I enjoy a decapitated head sticking out of my laptop.

We meet the guy who draws Homer Simpson in the sand on the South Bank – Our old friend Martin Artman got his name in the paper, and there’s more pictures of those giant beach drawings.

Wauseon students paint to win pizzas – Art students painted the family on the front of a snow plow.  No Mr. Plow, though, so that’s weird.

What to do with a Simpson’s house – Legos are always more fun when you don’t follow the instructions.

The logo 1.0 – Heh.

springfield nail game – Bart, Homer, Milhouse and Duff on fingernails.  Cool.

Bartsock – Some socks, including Bart and Homer ones.

‘Simpsons’ Creator Matt Groening Talks about Early Life, Cartooning – No real news or anything in this Groening interview, it’s just his usual stuff, but the picture of him with yellow hands was pretty clever.

On TV: Review of ‘The Simpsons’ Season 26 premiere – Someone agreeing with us:

I can’t do it. I can’t be generous to “The Simpsons” anymore. I just can’t. It’s dull. And I watched the premiere of the 26th season Sunday night. I chuckled once or twice.

Bart’s Right, Let’s ‘None Of Us Have A Cow’ – And finally, I get to end with someone who really agrees with us:

Well, because the problem is, that killing off a character, can’t possibly rekindle anyone’s interest in the Simpsons; I rarely tune in these days and lament the fact that Maude Flanders isn’t in it anymore. But the main reason that a ‘death’ can’t solve the Simpsons’ problems, is because it is already dead.

Testify!

30
Sep
14

Behind Us Forever: Clown in the Dumps

Homer Goes to College15

“My first day of college.  I wish my father was alive to see this.” – Homer Simpson
“Hey!” – Abe “Grampa” Simpson
“How long have you been back there?” – Homer Simpson
“Three days.” – Abe “Grampa” Simpson

(Sorry for not getting this up yesterday.  The day got away from me.)

Season 26 picked up right where season 25 left off: a time eating guest couch gag, many needlessly self voiced celebrities, characters explaining how they feel and what they’re doing, and plenty of other boring nonsense.  The A-plot was about Krusty being sad and involved the much hyped character death, which turned out to be the nothingburger we all expected.  (The fact that the media is so easily and repeatedly trolled by Zombie Simpsons may be the funniest thing about the show these days.)

The B-plot was about Lisa being worried about Homer’s health all of a sudden.  We know this because she basically narrates the whole thing for us, including how she’s feeling and the ending that was already nonsensical before the school bus crashes into the Simpson back yard.

- Count me among those who generally like the guest couch gags.  It’s nice to get something new and interesting, and since the writing staff doesn’t have to do any plot or dialogue, they’re often very decent.  But this one was pretty bad.  It was a decent concept and had a neat look to it, but it took way too long given how little actually happened and how repetitive the images were.

- This popcorn thing is really dumb.  It was also done much, much better in “Realty Bites”.

- “Cheap to Produce” was at least quick.

- Ugh, this Wiggum crime photo thing.  I thought the Family Guy stuff was going to be during their episode.

- Hey, look: crappy jokes, self voiced celebrities, and canned laughter.

- “Nobody warned me this roast would treat me the same way as every roast I’ve seen and laughed at.” – Unnecessary exposition rolled up with a cheap excuse for the idiot nonsense they just made us sit through.  Stuff like this really demonstrates how much the show has deteriorated.  Krusty knows what a roast is.  It’d be fine to have the roast get to him, bum him out, etc.  Instead, he acts depressed and surprised from the get go because Heaven forefend characters and the story might move along in reaction to what happens rather than just because.

- That swapper joke could’ve been funny if it had made sense.

- Hey, look, Bart just showed up out of nowhere to tell Krusty what to do.  Seamless.

- This is certainly a pointless death scene.

- And now it’s time for a funeral that improbably includes the Simpson family.

- Hey, the B-plot showed up.  I’ll let Lisa explain, “Dad, I’m worried about your health.  I don’t want to lose you.”

- Remember when they only included Sideshow Bob when they had something really great and fun to do?  Long time ago, that.

- “No mimes!” is a decent sign gag.

- And “The elephant and I had our differences” is pretty good.  It’s also short, understated, and unexplained.  Not a coincidence.

- Is it technically an Itchy & Scratchy cartoon if Itchy’s not in it?

- Oh, for fuck’s sake, “Kids, I’m experiencing a crisis of conscious.”

- This is a cruel waste of Maurice LaMarche as the TV critic.

- Lisa’s back to explain what’s happening in the B-plot again.

- Did David Hyde Pierce just wander past the recording room one day?  That might have been even more pointless than the Sideshow Bob cameo.

- Past Krusty shows were a lot better when they were about collective bargaining agreements.

- Similarly, Krusty’s binges used to be more fun.  They even had the Stanley Cup.

- “Krusty, have you fulfilled the promise you made to your father in the dream you never told anyone about?”  Even by their cheat standards that’s lazy.  They weren’t even painted into a corner or anything, they just can’t move things forward without explicitly telling us what’s going on.  Then Bart appeared out of nowhere.

- And now Homer is wrapped in bubble wrap, then there was a car crash and then Lisa explained, out loud, how she was feeling for the fifth time or so.  Mercifully, this B-plot is now over.

- Bart apparently knew who Krusty’s dad’s favorite rabbi was.  No, it doesn’t make any sense.  But at least it was short.

- Oof, the “Jewish Heaven” song is really weak.  There are like three lyrics, most of which are just “Jewish Heaven”, and the rest is just visual references of famous Jews.

Anyway, the ratings are in and they are much improved.  Last night, 8.50 million people lost hope after the FXX marathon reminded them how good the show once was.  That’s way up from last year’s premier, though at least some of that is attributable to the Eagles-49ers game.  It’ll be curious to see whether or not that holds up next week when FOX doesn’t have a late NFL game.  Was it mostly football, or did all that hype actually make a few million people want to start watching the show again?




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