“I really don’t see how this helps Bart.” – Marge Simpson
“Just do it!” – Mrs. Krabappel
Archive for the 'The Simpsons' Category
Scotty Boom, a Chew Network super-chef, challenges Homer to a smoke-off. But when someone steals Homer’s secret weapon – a smoker he bought off a mysterious man at a BBQ shack – Lisa and Bart are on the case.
Edward James Olmos and Bobby Moynihan guest star tonight, but I doubt it will be as entertaining as it should be to cross Battlestar with seven years of SNL. Fun fact for the week: my dog is named Craigory James Olmos (we call him Craig). Obviously he is named after the elder guest star we have tonight. So I got that goin’ too!
“Don’t you think you should get a little fresh air and maybe some exercise?” – Marge Simpson
“Yeah, but what are you gonna do?” – Bart Simpson
In the early days, when the show routinely came in for social criticism from cranky old people, the writers liked to use Marge as a way to shoot back. The most famous example of this was “Marge’s” letter to then First Lady Barbara Bush, but they often worked it into episodes as well.
The quote above comes right after Marge asks Bart how many hours of TV he watches per day, and he casually replies “Six. Seven if there’s something good on“. That’s the show heaping scorn on brow-furrowing magazine articles and solemn pieces on 60 Minutes and the like about how television is terrible. It then really drives the point home:
“Marge, TV gives so much and asks so little. It’s a boy’s best friend.” – Homer Simpson
“That’s the problem. Even as we speak, millions of children are staring at the TV instead of getting some much needed exercise. Those children’s parents should be ashamed of themselves.” – Marge Simpson
This is The Simpsons being meta before that was even a term people used. Marge is parroting all the criticisms, while Homer is listing the simple reasons those critics will always be ignored. The whole thing ends with Homer asking Marge to apologize to the television after it gives Bart the idea to enroll in karate class.
Despite being on teevee, The Simpsons is perfectly happy to agree that television is terrible for people. It just isn’t going to pretend to care. What it is going to do is make fun of people who do care by showing how utterly ineffective all their shame throwing is. The joke, as with so many of their best, is on all of us.
“We studied traffic patterns and found that drivers move the fastest through yellow lights. So, now, we just have the red and yellow lights.” – Professor Frink
“C’mon, stay yellow! Stay yellow! Man, I’m making record time! If only I had someplace to be.” – Lenny
Happy birthday Gabor Csupo!
Homer is diagnosed with narcolepsy — but instead of returning home with his prescription medication — he returns home drunk. He and Marge visit a marriage counselor and have a trial separation, during which Homer begins dating a 20-something.”
Here we go, welcome to season 49. Oh wait, what’s this? Homer has another love interest and his marriage to Marge is in jeopardy, AND they separate?? AAANNNDDD There is a trendy guest star??????
I can see what went down in the writer’s room now:
Writer 1: I have the perfect idea for the season opener. We have Homer and Marge break up again and Homer can meet another woman, and also move out I guess.
Writer 2: I feel like we did this several times before…. Will there be a couple of gay guys or Weird Al again?
Writer 1: Even better. We got Lena Dunham and her friends from that show we don’t watch. That’s kind of like a couple of gay guys and Weird Al, only, you know, gayer.
Writer 2: Sure, whatever. Wait, what show are we writing for again?
Head Writer: Hey, if you ladies are done clucking I need someone to help me finish this ‘autobiography’ of Rupert before he gets back from the puppy and kitten slaughterhouse tomorrow morning.
… That’s probably close. Enjoy the show or don’t, I obviously won’t.
“This is what love costs a month?” – Homer Simpson
“These are standard stable fees, Mr. Simpson. Plus I’m teaching your daughter riding, grooming, and, at no extra charge, pronunciation.” – Lady at The Grateful Gelding Stables
“Father! You’ve made me the happiest girl who ever lived!” – Lisa Simpson
NOTE: Sorry for no Reading Digest yesterday. I realize it’s not graduation season, but my advice to seniors in both high school and college is: never get a job. Bart was right, working is for chumps.
I’m a big fan of the gleeful nihilism of Rick and Morty, the relentless contrarianism of South Park, the sarcastic hopelessness of Futurama, and plenty of other two word praiseworthy comedies. But there has never been anything like The Simpsons, and this morning I’m going to cite “Lisa’s Pony” as an example of why.
The first thing to note is the near mathematical precision of the writing. A line like “The young man you replaced is rolling over in his grave” is eleven words long and contains (depending on how you want to count) something like four or five jokes. Not only was a young man (who certainly didn’t care about his job enough to roll in his grave about it) killed before he had a chance to really live, but Apu blithely replaced him with a father of three because he considers routinely fatal gunshots an occupational hazard. But this is Season 3, and lines that evilly good are too numerous to count.
What puts the show above everything else is the way that lines like are justified by characters and situations. At the end of the first act, Homer says:
“Maybe I should just cut my losses, give up on Lisa, and make a fresh start with Maggie.”
That’s among the most awful things a parent can say about their child. In its way, the apathy it implies is even worse than outright abuse. This is Homer seriously contemplating quitting on an eight-year-old. And it’s not like he’s clever enough to say this for pity from Marge. He means it. Plus, it’s set up perfectly by a very short montage that has happy music over an escalating series of his parenting catastrophes.
As horrific as that is, it’s funny because we the audience never doubt Homer. We know he loves Lisa. He loves her deeper and more powerfully than he can even begin to understand; the only reason he’s thinking of quitting on her is because he can’t see any way she would ever love him again.
That’s what compels him to get the pony, to sign the usurious loan from Mr. Burns, to take the high profile yet demanding midnight-to-8am job at the Kwik-E-Mart. Every crazy and hilarious thing that happens comes from one central idea: Homer loves Lisa.
It’s beautiful, compelling, and wonderful, and building the episode on it makes and justifies every joke, no matter how bleak, cynical or hopeless. Jebus, this show is good.