Archive for the 'The Simpsons' Category

01
Oct
14

Compare & Contrast: Krusty’s Struggles

Like Father, Like Clown13

“Hi, kids.  Today’s show is gonna be the funniest, side-splittinest, cavalcade of . . . ah, the hell with it.  Roll the cartoon.” – Krusty the Klown

There are a lot of big, flashing similarities between “Like Father, Like Clown” and “Clown in the Dumps”, most prominently that both are about Krusty and his father, and, even moreso, about Krusty missing his father.  But there are also a lot of small, individual scenes and jokes that are very similar.  So let’s consider one of the former and then one of the latter.

For our overarching theme, just look at how each episode handles Bart and Lisa.  In Season 3, Bart and Lisa have a reason to meet Krusty (their saving him in “Krusty Gets Buster”), and then we follow them as they set out to help him.  We see them asking Reverend Lovejoy how to find a rabbi, we see them meet Rabbi Krustofsky, get rejected, and then their attempts to win him over.  (The Simpsons being The Simpsons, Sammy Davis Jr. succeeds where the Talmud fails.)

Meanwhile, the episode checks in on Krusty as we see him wallowing in depression: watching a TV movie in a bus station, cracking up on his own show, and dialing his father over and over again.  It’s genuinely sad, but it’s still funny because the movie is Hercules vs. the Martians and Krusty’s on-air break down is his touched response to a particularly brutal and gory Itchy & Scratchy.

Like Father, Like Clown12

“And didn’t Scratchy Jr. look happy playing with his Dad until they got run over by the thresher.”

By contrast, in the blasted wasteland of Season 26, Bart and Lisa are just sort of there for the ride.  Lisa because she was shunted off to an unrelated (and very repetitive) B-plot; and Bart because we don’t see him do anything except show up and explain to us the stuff we didn’t see him do.

In addition to this not making sense, it sucks out a lot of the fun.  Instead of getting to see Bart and Lisa as active characters who get to do things like lie to Reverend Lovejoy about liking his radio show and dress up in curls and a hat to argue Jewish philosophy, we watch Bart talk to Krusty, talk to Krusty, and then talk to Krusty again.

ThrillingConversation

Great, good conversation there.

And it’s not like what we do get to see is any better.  Krusty bounces from one manic episode to the next, but they fall flat over and over again, which brings us to our individual scene of wretchedness, Krusty hosting his show and airing what I almost hesitate to call an “Itchy & Scratchy” cartoon.

Things open with Sideshow Mel helpfully expositing everything that’s happening:

“Boys and girls, you know that we’ve been dark for a couple of days because of a tragic loss in the Krustylu family.  Now, put your hands together for the man who’s falling apart before our eyes, Krusty the Klown!”

That is quintessential “tell don’t show”: not a single word of that needs to be there.  It’s filler from start to finish.  We already know what’s going on, and while there’s something to be said for a dry description of the obvious from time to time, Zombie Simpsons uses it so much that it’s impossible to tell if they’re even trying to be funny with it.

The really bad part, though, is that they’ve become so bad at showing things, they almost have to resort to this sort of thing.  After Krusty appears and tells them to roll the cartoon, we see a very short Scratchy cartoon (Itchy isn’t in it), and then this:

MildlyUpsetKrusty

Krusty, looking a little miffed.

Krusty is kind of upset, but he looks completely normal, and his dialogue is just him setting up a rimshot worthy punchline:

Oh, my God, who made this monstrosity?

Which is immediately followed by a recording of him on the TV claiming credit (rimshot), then more exposition:

Kids, I’m experiencing a crisis of conscience.

It goes on from there while he explains each joke as it happens and tells us what he’s going to do.

Compare that to Krusty also barely holding it together in “Like Father, Like Clown”.  For one thing, we get a real Itchy & Scratchy cartoon, one of the bloodiest and most violent ever, “Field of Screams”.  Just like in Zombie Simpsons, it starts with Scratchy playing with Scratchy Jr..  Since Zombie Simpsons ends it right there, that’s where the similarities stop.  “Field of Screams” has Scratchy and Scratchy Jr. run over by a mechanized thresher driven by Itchy and Itchy Jr., whom we then see playing catch with Scratchy’s head.  There’s a lot of blood, Bart and Lisa (watching from home) laugh uproariously, and then we see Krusty:

Like Father, Like Clown11

 Now that’s sad, and he didn’t even need to tell us what he’s feeling.

Take a look at those two images.  In one, we see Krusty acting perfectly normal (or what passes for it for him), in the other one, we see a broken man just barely holding it together who chokes up and starts crying as he desperately tells them to go to commercial.  The Simpsons doesn’t need to have Krusty tell the audience how he’s feeling because we can see it plainly on his face.

Both episodes have the exact same scene (Krusty bombing his show because he’s upset about his father), but the version from The Simpsons has no gratuitous exposition, a much better Itchy & Scratchy cartoon, and enormously more emotional punch, all while letting the jokes speak for themselves instead of explaining or pre-explaining them.  Furthermore, that incident is what prompts Bart and Lisa to go in search of Rabbi Krustofsky.  They can see Krusty is in pain, and they try to do something.  In Zombie Simpsons, Bart just kinda shows up from time to time.

It’d be one thing if Zombie Simpsons was just repeating things.  Twenty-six seasons is a lot of stories, after all.  But they can’t even repeat things competently, and the way they bungle characters, scenes and even jokes over and over again gives the distinct impression that they don’t care enough to try.

29
Sep
14

Quote of the Day

Bart's Girlfriend15

“With the way you’re treating me, why should I protect you?” – Bart Simpson
“Because, if you tell, no one will believe you.  Remember, I’m the sweet, perfect minster’s daughter, and you’re just yellow trash.” – Jessica Lovejoy

Happy birthday Gabor Csupo!

28
Sep
14

Sunday Preview: Clown in the Dumps

Clown_in_the_Dumps_promo_2

A Springfield resident dies. Also, Krusty retires after he’s offended by a comedy cable channel roast of him, and Lisa tries to protect Homer from getting hurt.

Welcome everyone to season 26. We are going to kick off with the much talked about ‘death of a recurring character who is voiced by an actor who won an Emmy for the character but it’s not anyone important blah blah blah’ episode for which we have all been waiting.  Also some other things are going to happen. I can’t decide what thing I care less about, but that’s because they are all equally meaningless to me.

Also tonight is the Family Guy / Simpsons Crossover, which is technically a Family Guy episode, so I am not obligated to write anything about it here.

 

 

26
Sep
14

Reading Digest: Flock of Vultures and Parasites Edition

Kamp Krusty19

“Is it true you attempted suicide when you heard the news?” – Vulture #1
“Are you and Princess Di just friends?” – Vulture #2
“You people make me sick!  You’re vultures!  Where were you when I sang at Farm Aid?  Out of my way, you parasites!  I said out of my way!” – Krusty the Klown

This week we’ve got four (count’ em four!) links to Vulture, which is doing yeoman’s work to promote the new season of Zombie Simpsons, which starts, ugh, on Sunday.  The first one is by far the most interesting, but all of them have their moments, even if those moments serve as yet more evidence that nobody cares about Zombie Simpsons.

Other than that, this is a pretty short Reading Digest because the ever obsequious entertainment press is pimping both the Family Guy crossover and this goofy stunt about a character dying as hard as they possibly can.  There’s no point to any of it, so I didn’t link any of it.  There are some other lists and .gifs and the usual what-have-you, of course, but the marketing machine was at full power this week and that always screws up the signal-to-noise ratio.

Enjoy.

David Silverman on 8 Early Simpsons Sketches – Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week is this guided tour of some very early sketches, including from “Bart the Genius”, “Life on the Fast Lane”, and a Butterfinger commercial.  Really cool.

Simpsons Showrunners on the ‘Classic Era’ Myth – The headline for this interview with Jean, Mirkin and Selman is a little misleading in that they only mention their “myth” a little near the end.  As per usual, the Soviet fiction of “the show is still good” is officially maintained while almost all the examples they cite are from single digit seasons.  The intro even contains this:

Matt Selman is arguably the greatest Simpsons writer of the latter seasons, and many of the newer episodes on our list of the 100 best were written or co-showrun by him.

Talk about damning with faint praise!

28 Simpsons Quotes Every Fan Must Know – Our next Vulture link pretty much proves what I’m talking about above.  There are 28 quotes.  One (1) is from Zombie Simpsons (and it’s Season 16, which ain’t exactly recent in its own right).

Hank Azaria on 5 of His Many Simpsons Voices – And our final link from them is Azaria talking about some of the voices he does.  There’s nothing really new here, but it’s kinda neat, and he repeats what he’s said before about how he really has no new voices to do, whereas he used to do tons of new ones.

“Land of Chocolate” by Alf Clausen – Fear Alf Clausen’s terrible gaze:

Hank Azaria As Chief Wiggum Sings “Let It Go” – Azaria went on the Conan O’Brien show and they talked about the Hollywood Bowl thing.

Miley Cyrus Wears Her Love Of ‘The Simpsons’ On Her Sleeve—You Can, Too – I feel dirty just for linking to this, but it’s an MTV link about a (probably paid promotional) celebrity selfie to flog Itchy & Scratchy pajamas.  MTV is so naked about their sales job that they actually wrote this:

Drop Dead has developed a boutique Itchy & Scratchy Show collection in conjunction with Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products featuring iconic Simpsons characters.

The name “MTV News” has never been synonymous with high journalistic standards (or really, any journalistic standards), but I find it hilarious that they actually bothered to use the full name “Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products”.  Did they copy and paste it directly from the press e-mail they got?

Kevin Cuneo: Golden age of ‘Simpsons’ flew by – A columnist old enough to have kids in their 20s laments the death of the show.  Please refer to this the next time someone tells you people outgrew the show and that’s why they say it sucks now.  This guy was an adult from start to finish, and he can see how crappy the new ones are.

‘The Simpsons’ Outfit Grids by Bryan Espritu – Nice touch giving Barney his jumbo thong bikini.

The City of New York Vs. Homer Simpson, 17 Years Later: Gothamist – A quick look back at the Twin Towers episode that morons pulled from syndication for a few years.

10 of Our Favorite Quotes from ‘The Simpsons’ – Nary a trace of Zombie Simpsons, and plenty of good YouTube.

Our 10 Favorite Simpsons Moments – From the same site as the above, there is a Zombie Simpsons one in here, but it’s surrounded by the acknowledgement that it was a “bad era”.

The Simpsons Family Book Comes Out Next Week! – There is a new reference book.  That is all.

Round 127: Love, Springfieldian Style vs. Homer Goes to College – First up, Nebel’s exclusive interview with the Pope.

New trending GIF tagged the simpsons homer simpson… – A reversed one of Homer’s attempt at breakfast catching fire.

New trending GIF tagged the simpsons money make… – Money fight!

New trending GIF tagged the simpsons surprised homer… – The suckers’ll think it’s beer nuts.

Culture Shock Part II: The things you watch – I learned something today:

While consuming my regular intake of The Simpsons (Les Simpsons) I noticed another thing that brought up some questions about French broadcasting. The good ole’ Duff beer Homer J. Simpson was enjoying was blurred out! What the Duff!? After raising the question of why, I was informed that in France there is no alcohol promotion allowed whatsoever.

The Simpsons Took the Bowl – And finally, one last recap of the Hollywood Bowl show, one that happens to agree with us:

I was fairly worried that if they were trying to encapsulate the last 25 years of the show, I might be bored during the numbers I didn’t know, but if there was a song created on the show in the last ten years, I didn’t hear it. What I did hear were most of the greats over the show’s early run.

No, I’m not still jealous, why do you ask?

24
Sep
14

Bonus Quote of the Day

Sideshow Bob Roberts10

“Mr. Mayor, is is true you rigged the election?” – Lionel Hutz
“No, I did not.” – Mayor Terwilliger
“Kids, help.” – Lionel Hutz

Phil Hartman would’ve been 66 today, happy birthday!  

24
Sep
14

Quote of the Day

Kamp Krusty18

“Point and game Becker.  And will the harlequin in the third row please keep his voice down.” – Wimbledon Announcer
“Sorry, folks, uh, sorry, your majesty.” – Krusty the Klown

Happy birthday Brad Bird!

19
Sep
14

Reading Digest: Everybody Else Went to the Show Edition

Itchy and Scratchy - The Movie7

“How was it?” – Bart Simpson
“It wasn’t that great.” – Lisa Simpson
“Be honest.” – Bart Simpson
“It was the greatest movie I’ve ever seen in my life!” – Lisa Simpson

This week we’ve got lots of links to those lucky bastards who got to see the Hollywood Bowl show last week, many of them with cool pictures.  Sure, YouTube is better than nothing, but it’s a poor substitute for the real thing.  In addition to that, we’ve got a bunch of .gifs, Duffman in the big leagues, a couple of disappointing lists, and a huge Sam Simon profile.

Enjoy.

D’OH! Eat my shorts! Ha-ha! Don’t have a cow, man! Ay, caramba! – Looking at the long history of the show and its influences on subsequent cartoons.

How The Simpsons Co-Creator Sam Simon Is Facing His Own Tragedy – A full blown writeup of Sam Simon’s life in Vanity Fair.  It’s chock full of stuff like this:

“I’m the best contract negotiator in the world,” he says. “But I had help. I had lawyers and stuff. Relative to the average person Don King negotiates with, I think we were bringing somewhat of an advantage to the situation.” Sam laughs as he recalls a memorable dinner with Don King at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills. “So, I call the lawyer in, and we start talking about a contract to join the stable of fighters that Don King promotes and hopefully to get a shot at the heavyweight championship of the world. We negotiated for three and a half hours, running back and forth, making Xerox copies in the lobby. I just remember how thick the thing was; even though it was only about eight or nine pages, there’s so much sweat from people handing it back and forth and all the scribbling and initialing. Anyway, Don King says, ‘O.K., we have a deal. And I’m going to have my lawyers type up everything that we’ve discussed. So: Here. Sign the bottom of this blank piece of paper. And let me get all three of your signatures. And then I will have everything else typed in above it.’ ”

Sam laughs. Hard.

Graphs of every word used on The Simpsons (Also: all other TV and movies) – There is a link at the bottom to a tool dedicated to just The Simpsons.

Hank Azaria: Simpsons, Ray Donovan Star on His First Time in Variety – An interesting little interview with Azaria about his career.  The drawing of him at the top is also pretty cool.

90s Cartoon Party by Makomali – Cool fan made drawing of various 90s cartoon characters.

Possibly The Best Simpsons GIF – I don’t know if it’s the best, but an old tape of Homer, Lenny and Carl working is pretty good.

The Simpsooooons – Pictures and an account of the Hollywood Bowl show.

The Simpsons Take the Bowl at the Hollywood Bowl last night was so amazing – Lots of pictures and video and one gigantic donut.

Highlights – Great picture of the start of the show, even getting the sign in the background.

Guest Post – The Simpsons Hollywood Bowl Show! – Another write up by some lucky person.

The 6 most memorable moments from ‘The Simpsons’ Hollywood Bowl concert – And the official write up from Entertainment Weekly.

My Absolute Favorite Video on Youtube of All Time – Heh:

There’s just so much purity in this moment. It’s my ‘plastic bag flowing in the wind’

Trambapoline!

Tee 452 – Clever Homer/Jaws shirt.

Lisa Simpson Loses Out in Mensa Poll – Bart is the favorite of people who belong to Mensa, the group for people with low self esteem.

The NFL Simpsonized – Some NFL players in yellow.  Nice of them to have Jay Cutler smoking.

Dear Baby: You Need To Sleep Now – Heh:

I guess you just have to do your best in making your baby comfortable. Unfortunately, sometimes that means being awake at all hours of the night. Remember that episode of the Simpson’s where Homer’s brother (did you remember he had a brother?) invents that machine that can translate baby talk into English? Someone needs to get on making that a reality. Now.

New trending GIF on Giphy – Milhouse being literally labeled “Fat”.

New trending GIF on Giphy – Homer thinking.

New trending GIF on Giphy – Ha ha, you love me.

Crazy Cat Lady Begin – Fan poem that ends with the beginning of Crazy Cat Lady.  Neat.

Matt Duffy of the Giants Has Duffman on the Ends of His Bats – Cool:

MattDuffyBats

5 Things The Simpsons Predicted – The Yard Work Simulator has come terrifyingly true.

‘The Simpsons’ star Yeardley Smith heads to ‘The Mindy Project’ – Everything there is to know is in the headline.

Return To The Idiotbox! – Four Cartoons That Are Great To Revisit As An Adult – The show comes in at a mere #3.

The Top 10 Lists: Top 10 Cartoons (Part 1) – And #6 here.




E-Mail

deadhomersociety (at) gmail

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Twitter Updates

  • "Cool! She can fly!" - Bart "I think it's supposed to symbolize her descent into madness." - Lisa http://t.co/pgtk5EA31x // 10 hours ago
  • “I made some peanut butter brownies for everyone.”/“Well, would anyone else like a bite of banality?”/“I would.” http://t.co/KdNCbWclhQ // 12 hours ago
  • "You know I would never do anything to hurt your feelings. Good night." - Homer http://t.co/BhjfZ8xzTD // 12 hours ago
  • "You know, the painting class, the first aid course, the whole Lamaze thing!" - Homer "Why didn't you tell me you felt this way?" - Marge // 12 hours ago
  • "I can't fake an interest in this. And I'm an expert at faking an interest in your kooky projects." - Homer "What kooky projects?" - Marge // 12 hours ago

Useful Legal Tidbit

Even though it’s obvious to anyone with a functional frontal lobe and a shred of morality, we feel the need to include this disclaimer. This website (which openly advocates for the cancellation of a beloved television series) is in no way, shape or form affiliated with the FOX Network, the News Corporation, subsidiaries thereof, or any of Rupert Murdoch’s wives or children. “The Simpsons” is (unfortunately) the intellectual property of FOX. We and our crack team of one (1) lawyer believe that everything on this site falls under the definition of Fair Use and is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. No revenue is generated from this endeavor; we’re here because we love “The Simpsons”. And besides, you can’t like, own a potato, man, it’s one of Mother Earth’s creatures.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 426 other followers