Archive for the 'The Simpsons' Category

28
Aug
15

Reading Digest: What Do You Want, It’s August Edition

Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(Annoyed Grunt)cious10

“Lisa, don’t sit in front of that telly like a fly stuck in a toffee.  It’s a great big world out there!” – Shary Bobbins
“Been there, done it.” – Lisa Simpson

Very short Reading Digest this week on account of the fact that there’s always a lull at this time of year because people with more sense than me are outside and away from their keyboards.  We do have some love for Season 2, some extremely crappy merchandise, some excellent usage, some more Bart art, and an Icelandic Homer, so it’s not all bad.

Enjoy.

The Dark Past Of Your Favorite Cartoon Characters And More… – This only mentions the show in passing, but it’s a great collection (complete with lots of YouTube) of the smoking, drinking, and wildly racists past of such favorites as Donald Duck and Bugs Bunny.

10 Simpsons mash-ups will make you smile – Some more excellent Bart art from that show a couple weeks ago.  Bart as Spike Lee from Do the Right Thing is spot on.

Timeline Photos – Via @RealJeffJ on Twitter is an old Icelandic comic strip that looks familiar:

OldIcelandHomer

The Family’s Best Friend – A short, familial history of television, complete with excellent usage:

Whether black and white or colour, big and bulky or sleek and high definition, the purpose of the television is one every generation can understand. In the word’s of Homer Simpson, “Come, family, let us all bask in television’s warm glowing warming glow.”

Homer actually says, “Come, family, sit in the snow with Daddy,” first, but the rest of the quote is dead on.

Okily Dokily and The History of Simpsons Inspired Bands – A list of some Simpsons named bands, some famous, some not.  I’d see a band called “The Speedholes”.

5 top pacts with the devil in literature – “The Devil and Homer Simpson” makes this Faust heavy list, but “The Devil and Daniel Webster” does not.  Score one for television.

Fear the Walking Dead, Rogue One, and why Hollywood makes prequels – Almost excellent usage from Entertainment Weekly:

Hollywood has gotten more thesaurus-y in pitching these projects: companion series, expansion, reimagining, “palate cleanser.” And doesn’t “spin-off” sound wrong, classless, shamefully capitalistic? But we shouldn’t kid ourselves: The de facto Hollywood playbook right now is The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase, except now it’s The Simpsons Cinematic Universe.

128th-Final, Round 12: Bart Gets an “F” vs. Homer the Vigilante – Oof, that’s tough.

128th-Final, Round 13: Lost Our Lisa vs. The Front – This, however, is a very easy one.

S02 E06 – Dead Putting Society – Read the bosom part again:

Homer then mocks the letter endlessly with the family, especially the fact that Ned used the word “bosom” several times.

S02 E07 – Bart vs. Thanksgiving – They certainly nailed a lot of my family Thanksgiving experiences:

It’s episodes like this that really show why your parents were crabby on holidays when they hosted, everyone’s a judgy jerk

S02 E08 – Bart the Daredevil – Always cracks me up:

And I love when Flanders cries at Todd’s solo, and Homer says “c’mon Flanders, he’s not that bad.”

Itchy & Scratchy & Marge – This is true:

I love that the other kids in school give Bart sympathy for not getting to watch Itchy and Scratchy anymore. There were kids in school growing up that didn’t get to watch TV, and everyone treated them like they were bereaved.

Gr8at: Visual Jokes from The Simpsons – Heh, “Make a List”.

HAVE YOU CONTRACTED TV? – Excellent usage:

“Television! Teacher, mother, secret lover.” ~ Homer Simpson (Flaxen-faced sexegenarian philosopher)

Bart Simpson Dart Board – Even by the usually low Krusty Brand Seal of Approval merchandise standards, this one is piss poor.  It’s just Homer and Bart painted on the outside of a crappy looking electronic dart board.

LEGO The SIMPSONS Minifigures SERIES 2! – YouTube of blind bags of Simpsons legos being opened.

‘Simpsons’ Writer: Trump Presidential Run ‘Not as Fun as It Should Be’ – Dan Greaney wrote “Bart to the Future”, which isn’t nearly as bad as some of the other crap in Season 11:

Greaney says he had completely forgotten about the episode until it was cited—by The Washington Post, Mashable, and Deadline, among other news outlets—as yet another example of the Simpsons writing crew’s uncanny ability to see into the future. (“Entertainment Weekly said it was the worst episode in the history of the show, [so] I was hoping to have an opportunity to have the episode reevaluated, anyway,” he said.)

Galway Comedy Carnival has the last laugh – Mike Reiss goes to Ireland:

An eye-catching offering is The Simpsons Backstage Tour with The Simpsons long-time writer and producer Mike Reiss, which includes secrets, rarely seen footage and gossip, on some of the 300 celebrities who appeared over the years. This will be an afternoon show in the Town Hall Theatre followed by a Q & A session.

Ay Caramba! – Famous interjections, one of which was popularized by Bart.

New trending GIF tagged television the simpsons cats… – Nothing but cats.

The cone of ignorance (Simpsons) – Heh.

18
Aug
15

Character, Story, and A One Syllable Punchline

Bart Gets Hit By a Car17

“Hello, Bart.  Now, you know the difference between telling the truth and telling a lie, don’t you, son?” – Judge Moulton
“Maybe.” – Bart Simpson

There’s a great exchange near the beginning of the trial in Season 2’s “Bart Gets Hit By a Car”.  Bart has just taken the witness stand, covered in fake bandages and sitting in an unnecessary wheelchair.  The judge asks if he knows the difference between telling the truth and telling a lie. He replies with a nervous “maybe”.

Bart Gets Hit By a Car16

This is an understandably intimidating situation for a 10-year-old.

Sitting at the lawyer’s table are Homer and Lionel Hutz, and when the judge then asks Bart if he’d, “lie to the United States?”, Bart glances over and we see this:

HutzHomerNo

They’re on screen for barely a second, but it’s plenty, because the episode has already shown us exactly how all of these characters got here.  Homer wasn’t initially planning to sue Burns over the accident, but once shyster extraordinaire Lionel Hutz mentioned a million dollar settlement, Homer’s greed took over and now the two of them are desperate for Bart to lie in court.  Marge and Lisa, who’ve been growing increasingly worried over Homer and Bart’s scheme to get rich by suing Homer’s boss, are sitting there in the background, looking none too pleased.

For his part, Bart isn’t nearly as blinded by greed as Homer and Hutz.  After the trial collapses, we see him casually wonder about how cool it would’ve been to get the money.  (He takes it much better than Homer.) But Bart is still on board with lying to get the money, he just needs a little guidance.  No sooner does he see Hutz and his father quietly telling him to lie to the judge, then he quickly and confidently replies, “No.”

For starters, Nancy Cartwright gives a great delivery of that lone syllable.  The apprehension that was in her voice for Bart’s earlier “maybe” is all gone as he eagerly goes along with the lie.

The writing also deserves credit because the rest of the story is so well put together that just a single two-letter denial can become a punchline.  We’ve seen Homer get greedy, we’ve seen him and Hutz coaching Bart in the living room, we’ve even seen them blow Marge off when she tries to object to them telling her son to perjure himself.

Bart is a clever kid, but he’s still just a kid.  He needs to know from his dad that he is indeed supposed to tell his cock and bull story on the witness stand, even after the judge presses him to only tell the truth.  Homer’s complete lack of scruples about putting his son in that position then becomes a set-up for Bart’s one syllable response that shows him happily going along with his father’s scheme.

None of this requires Homer to get hurt, or scream, or go wingsuiting or something.  This is Homer as understandable loser, who sees this as his big shot at getting rich and is willing to put his son on the line to do it. He’s certainly being a bad father, but he’s not being a jerkass.

14
Aug
15

Reading Digest: Marriage Through Simpsons Edition

I Married Marge17

“There certainly are a lot of stains on the ceiling.” – Marge Bouvier
“Marge, I’m sorry.  I wish I could afford a better place.” – Homer Simpson
“Homer, I’d be lying if I said that this is how I pictured my wedding day.  But you are how I pictured my husband.” – Marge Bouvier
“I am?” – Homer Simpson
“Well, you may not look like Ted Bessell, but you’re just as nice.” – Marge Simpson

A cultural touchstone as broadly known and deeply loved as The Simpsons is bound to bring people together, and someone wearing small pigs for cufflinks at their wedding probably comes across my screen twice a year or so.  But this week, we have a happily married couple that was brought together because one of them got a Stonecutter tattoo, and the other Googled “Stonecutter tattoos”.  The story just gets more fun from there.  Truly we live in the future, and The Simpsons makes it a better one than it otherwise would be.

(Oh, and we’ve also got more Bartkira, a couple people who agree with us, some excellent usage, a Flanders band, a couple of lists, and all the other usual stuff.)

Enjoy.

My Simpsons Destiny – A few years back, I used to regularly link to a blogger who did these neat Simpsons embroideries.  Well, she’s back with one of the greatest Simpsons fan stories ever and it is Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week:

Last summer I received an email alert that someone had commented on my blog. Since I abandoned it 3 years ago I was pretty surprised. Apparently he did a Google search for Stonecutters tattoos, saw mine and said to himself “I must know this woman immediately!” and left a comment. And that’s how it began. Just some random Google search and BAM, life changer.

[…]

I mean it wasn’t just the Simpsons that made us realize we were soulmates, there were many other weird coincidences that were uncovered later. But the Simpsons was most definitely the catalyst for us meeting each other while he lived in Chicago at the time and I was in Kansas. He flew down last August to meet me in person and proposed. …with an onion ring!

Yes, you can see a picture of the engagement onion.  And, yes, there is a “Whale of a Wife” cake.  And yes, there’s a picture of the Stonecutters tattoo that started it all.  Congratulations, Amanda!

Joke Origins: I wish I could retire / The State Hospital – Our friends over at Flim Springfield have an interesting theory in regards to Homer’s dream of retirement from “Marge Gets a Job”, namely that it might have been inspired by a piece of 1960s installation art set in a mental institute.  Highly worth the read.

Okilly Dokilly: Metal with a Ned-edge – And because Flim Springfield was on a roll this week, I’m pretty sure they’re the ones who got the Ned Flanders metal band to go moderately viral:

Some friends in our Phoenix music community just started a Simpsons themed band, Okilly Dokilly. I think you can tell by their promo picture what they’re aiming for…

that sounds like rock and/or roll

THRILLHAUS – Some absolutely outstanding Simpsons designs on buttons, shirt, etcetera.  Found via Xtapolapometal.

The Simpsons Best Moments – Reader Steve sends in a link to a Facebook page that indeed has some of the show’s best moments.  “Core Explosion Repent Sins” always cracks me up.

My (possibly) favorite episode of The Simpsons: “I Love Lisa” – It’s a fine choice:

Finally, on a more subjective note, I just feel like “I Love Lisa” is a perfectly structured, perfectly paced, perfectly plotted episode in which everything comes together more perfectly than any I can remember—the dialog, the jokes, the story, the characters, the emotions. Like “Marge vs. the Monorail”, “I Love Lisa” doesn’t have a B plot, but I feel like there’s more to this episode. I never get to the end of this one and think, “Oh, that’s it? It’s already ending?”

(via @SimpsonsShowPod)

John Baird’s post-politics Twitter feed is a bizarre menagerie of cat photos, Simpsons references – Good for him, I guess?:

The Ottawa MP abruptly resigned from cabinet last February, and stepped down as an MP the following month. Widely seen as one of the top contenders for power within the Conservative Party, Baird is now an advisor to Barrick Gold, and has joined the board of Canadian Pacific Railway.

[…]

The most striking detail is the sheer tonnage of cat images: Dozens of retweeted videos and animated gifs depicting cats stretching, napping or adorably swatting at things.

Typical for many who were in their 20s during the 1990s, Baird is also a devoted Simpsons fan, posting regular references and in-jokes from the series.

S01 E09 – Life on the Fast Lane – That does put a different perspective on things:

Dang. This is a heavy episode. I don’t remember it hitting so hard as a kid. I assume that would have something to do with the fact that I haven’t seen this episode since I’ve been married. Well, let’s talk about marital infidelity everyone!

Top Ten Simpsons Episodes – Part Two – This completes a list I linked back in June.  No Zombie Simpsons and “Homer Badman” at the top spot, which is both a solid choice and one I don’t see at the top of these lists too often.

Eye On Springfield with Dustie Pitstick of Duderus – Good way to put it:

My backup favorite is Lenny. As I’ve grown older I’ve watched him in my mind develop from Homer’s drinking buddy into this beautiful parody of the modern “guy’s guy”. He’s always got a smile on his face and a beer in his hand, but he’s secretly facing some horrible misfortune at every turn.

Milhouse – Bartkira – Why, he’s almost a military strongman.

If anyone wants me, I’ll be in my room. – And here’s some Duffman Bartkira.

Top 8 Grown-Up TV Cartoons – I think we all know what comes in at #1 here.

The Unsung Heroes of Hollywood: Alex Rocco – A little more appreciation for Roger Meyers Jr.

The Occasional New Post After a Few Months Delay… – Excellent usage:

And then I seemed to think that my blogging delay was getting too long for just a casual post to be my return and that I should come back with a REALLY deserving post. And then I’d built up the expectations of it and so never got around to actually writing it- until now. (“It’s going to be better than 10 Super-Bowls! I don’t want to oversell it… judge for yourselves!”- Yes. This post is Poochey… and that’s okay.)

Review: When the world becomes Springfield – A very positive review of the Indiana version of the play.

Review: The Simpsons Hit & Run – The death of console memory cards has been a boon to humanity:

I used to play this game for hours, along with my brother who did the harder missions. We eventually got 100% and because we were so paranoid that our data was going to be lost from our PS2 memory card, we transferred it onto two different memory cards just to be safe. It was one of those games that we would go back and play again from the start and still have so much enjoyment from.

Punch them! – Heh.  (The black and white is a nice touch.)

The Simpsons jumped the shark . . . in 1999 – Finally, and just like last week, I get to end with two people who agree with us (via):

At its peak, the show was incredibly sophisticated, working at a level that appealed to children and adults alike. Episodes featured slapstick, visual gags, incredibly sly wordplay, and cultural references. Now, in its Abe Simpson-like dotage, the show’s jokes seem obvious, the wordplay more crass, and the references less subtle. This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the problems afflicting the fine folk of Springfield.

Indeed.

Memories of Springfield, Part 1 – And finishing up:

The majority of these episodes, barring only a few exceptions, were extremely well-written and packed practically beginning to end with moments that were any to all of the following: clever, perfectly-timed, hilarious, and infinitely quotable. In the seasons that followed, due to the exodus of the show’s best writers, and having apparently run out of good story ideas, the episode plots became fragmented and outlandish, and the attempts at humour lacking in any real wit, instead being almost entirely reliant on sight gags. Episodes went from generating LOLs per minute to eliciting no more than a chuckle or two in the entire half hour. The show has never since regained its former glory.

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.

11
Aug
15

Tuesday Evening Cartoons

Blood Feud18 “Bart, take a letter.  Dear Mr. Burns, I’m so glad you enjoyed my son’s blood, and your card was just great.” – Homer Simpson

Liver spots are one of those undeniable signs of aging that remind us and others that the robust younger years are far in the past.  Mr. Burns, being very far indeed from his days as a barefoot boy with cheek of tan, has quite a lot of them, something The Simpsons liked to have fun with, most famously when Marge catches Burns coming out of the shower in “Brush with Greatness”. There’s another liver spot joke in Season 2, however, that’s so subtle that I doubt I noticed it for years after I first saw it.  In “Blood Feud”, Homer angrily dictates a letter to Burns after receiving only a lousy card in exchange for saving the old man’s life:

You are a senile, buck-toothed old mummy, with bony girls arms, and you smell like an elephant’s butt!

Later, after Burns reads the letter and decides to have Homer fired, he’s ranting to Smithers about the contents: Blood Feud17

Senile, eh?  Buck-toothed, am I?  Bony arms, are they?  Liver spots, did I?

Notice the addition?  Homer doesn’t mention the liver spots; Burns does.  It’s the show taking a quick, barely perceptible potshot at Burns that you really have to be paying attention to catch.  Burns doesn’t just have liver spots, despite his fearsome visage, he’s actually sensitive about them.

07
Aug
15

Reading Digest: Global Calls for Cancellation Edition

The Boy Who Knew Too Much12

“First of all, his accuser is a very shady character.  That waiter, Mr. LaCoste, not only wasn’t born in Springfield, he wasn’t even born in this country!” – Blue Haired Lawyer
“From now on, you tell me everything!” – Lionel Hutz

This week we’ve got two different foreigners calling for the show to be sent to a farm upstate, and both are agreeably brutal towards Zombie Simpsons.  In addition to that, we’ve got reports from that LA art show, the play has expanded its reach again, there’s some excellent fan art, another person’s going to try and watch them all, and more.

Enjoy.

Curated by Be Street :: The Unofficial Bootleg Bart Art Show – Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week is this interview with the guy behind that highfalutin art show in Los Angeles.  Groening himself even showed up:

The show also included a 10-foot tall piñata of Bart mooning the crowd, and a 26-foot-long wall on which attendees were able to draw their own Bootleg Bart (Matt Groening even came out and left his mark on the wall). Next month, Be Street will host its first Be Street Weeknd in Los Angeles, and in October, the Bootleg Bart art show will travel to Paris,

And, if they have time, Chicago, Boston and Springfield.

The Simpsons kitchen comes to life in Calgary home – A Canadian couple redid their kitchen to look like 742 Evergreen Terrace, right down to the corn cob curtains.  There’s even video.

A Lifetime of Simpsons – Another person is attempting to watch them all and blog about it:

A combination of the show dipping in quality, and me expanding my horizons to new shows and movies led me to gradually stop watching the show. Where I used to watch the show religiously and tape the episodes each Sunday night, now I would go weeks without catching and episode, then when I would, I’d feel disappointed. I briefly came back when the movie came out in 2007, but by then the spark was gone. In college I met some friends who had similar stories, and we bonded watching the classic seasons together, but once again, the Simpsons faded out of my life.

Now, on the eve of my 26th birthday, I have a plan. I want to reconnect with the show that meant so much to me. So, for the foreseeable future, I’m going to watch every episode of the show. The good, the bad, and the painful. Every week day I’ll be posting my thoughts on the episodes. An episode a day. For 574 days and counting. It’ll be a hell of a journey, but I feel like I owe it to the show that meant so much to me, and honestly shaped me into the man I am today. So please join me as I travel through a Life Time of the Simpsons.

Good luck!  I’d certainly quit after Season 11, but that’s just me.  Right now he’s up to “The Telltale Head“:

As time has gone on, I’ve gotten very comfortable with my atheism, and who knows, the cynicism that the Simpsons always portrays organized religion, may have had something to do with it. When they’re listening to the sermon, they’re always bored, and when they’re in Sunday school they’re miserable. And that’s kind of what I’ve always associated church with. And really, on the rare occasions I have to sit through a sermon now, it’s pretty much the same. But I love church scenes on the show. They’re always so hilarious, especially the Sunday school scenes. And this one was a great one, we get to hear the exasperated Sunday School teacher tell the kids the heaven is only for people (which I always thought was bullshit) and then have to deal with Bart’s ridiculous follow up. I can’t tell if the best Bart question is whether a gangrenous leg that gets amputated goes to heaven, or if a ventriloquist dummy gets to go with the ventriloquist. I also love the defeated teacher asking “is a little blind faith too much to ask?” That pretty sums up my feelings about religion to a tee.

Simpsons part of the ‘Topes family – The story of how Homer and Marge statues came to a baseball stadium in New Mexico:

There, sitting on a couch outside the entrance to Nick Metropolis Collectible Furniture – “the coolest junk yard of weird, cool and collectible stuff you can imagine,” Traub said – were Homer and Marge.

Animation representation – I have no real disagreements with this:

Consider The Simpsons. The award-winning sitcom has some of the biggest brains in the business writing for it and has created some of America’s best comedy. However, with its vast cast of characters, The Simpsons is also able to draw the starkest contrast. A quick scan of Wikipedia’s character page for the show reveals that about 88 recurring characters are male. Female representation trails at approximately 26 recurring characters.

The show was way ahead of its time when it started.  Now?  Not so much.  (via)

Letting Academic Things Go – I would’ve read this:

Kelly J. Baker just posted an article called “Goodbye to All That,” about abandoning her recently-contracted plan to write an academic book on the cultural history of zombies. I have very similar feelings about my work on music in The Simpsons, including my proposed academic book, related possible journal articles, and already-presented conference papers (e.g., 20062013).

Round 1, Battle 40 – (S. 5, Ep. 7) Bart’s Inner Child vs.U (S.9 Ep.20) The Trouble with Trillions – Agreed:

McGonigle flags fly forever. Bart’s Inner Child Moves on.

The story behind that Simpsons street art on downtown Houston’s east side – Sure, it’s a publicity stunt.  But it’s a neat one, and there’s lot of pictures in the slideshow.  (via @DailySimpsons)

5 Fandom Friday: I NEED THESE PETS! – Snowball II makes a list of pets we’d all like to have, along with Stitch and R2D2.

How American culture went nuclear — without us realizing it – Heh:

Back in the 1960s, Weart says, a psychologist gave people a word-association test as part of a study. The tester said “nuclear,” and the subjects answered with words like “bomb,” “laboratory” and “war.” The question was asked again in the 1990s, with subjects repeating many of the same words, except adding a new term: “The Simpsons.”

bort – Fan made zombie Bart with a crow bar, presumably for prying and jimmying.

Crazy Bart Simpson by Alexandrov Oleg – Awesome stylized Bart.  I’d guess that’s steam coming out of his ears (if we’re lucky).

TheaterJones | Q&A: Anne Washburn – The play comes to Texas.

‘Simpsons’ episode drives plot of new play – And Indiana.

LEGO Dimensions: Worlds Feature Trailer – So, Lego pretty much has all of the licenses now, and they would like you to buy them too.

Doug Camilli: Hey Snoop, how are you liking Europe? – I love craptacular:

Last week I told you about Greg Poehler using the term “craptastically” about the brutal ratings that killed his sitcom. Along the way I said he had coined this “memorable, useful new word.”

Not so fast, says reader Amy Lord, who tells me she and her friends have used the word for years.

She added that all this reminded her a classic bit from The Simpsons:

Mrs. Krabappel: “Embiggens? I never heard that word before moving to Spingfield.”

Miss Hoover: “I don’t know why, it’s a perfectly cromulent word.”

And an article at cracked.com claims that “craptacular” – first cousin to craptastic, obviously – is, like cromulent, a Simpsons coinage.

Thanks, Ms. Lord.

The Reason Why Teaching Children to Count Just Got Harder – Excellent usage:

Sylvester Stallone, the creator of the successful Rocky movie franchise has his own unique method of counting to 10, although it’s possibly due to not being able to understand him, or his lack of trying that I haven’t found out exactly how and when we’ll reach ten with his method.

His method goes like this…

Rocky, II, III, IV, V, Balboa, Creed

The Rocky method of counting was noted in the Simpsons episode Lemon of Troy. During a class lesson, Bart’s teacher Mrs Krabappel tries to teach the class Roman Numerals. Her class is disrupted when Nelson announces to the class that something has happened (the Springfield lemon tree had been stolen) yet there was no time to explain.

Summer Camp Shakedown – Kamp Krusty ties for worst camp with the one from a horror movie called Sleepaway Camp that sounds just awesome.

Sexy Marge is Sexy – That’s a very elaborate Marge wig.  Bravo, somebody.

New trending GIF tagged the simpsons simpsons maggie… – Tracy Ullman Maggie belching.

New trending GIF tagged the simpsons simpsons bart… – Bart reacting to the all syrup super Squishee.

New trending GIF tagged the simpsons car pig… – Old Zeke rides up front.

10 Best Season Finales Of A Comedy Series – “Who Shot Mr. Burns? Part One” makes the list at #4.

My 5 Favorite TV Title Sequences – The show comes in #2 to Kimmy Schmidt, which does have a great opening.

‘Simpsons’ Lawsuit From ‘Goodfellas’ Actor Dismissed – Remember that lawsuit that never had any chance?  Now you can go back to never thinking about it.

Here’s why The Simpsons deserves to be cancelled – The first excellent article that agrees with us comes all the way from Ireland, and doesn’t mince words:

What began as an alternative to the mainstream trash – creator Matt Groening’s own words, by the way – has crossed over and become just that. Trash.

[…]

In 2001, longtime producer / showrunner Al Jean said that “the hardest thing at this point is just thinking of fresh ideas. People are so on top of things that we’ve done before, so the challenge now is to think of an idea that’s good, but hasn’t been seen.” That’s fourteen years ago. We’ve had fourteen years of tired, hackneyed ideas and couch gags and references to jokes that show a writing team and showrunners who aren’t leading popular culture so much as desperately following it to stay relevant.

Indeed.

How is The Simpsons still on the air? – And now, from Canada:

Today I find The Simpsons virtually unwatchable. It feels baggy and lumpen, stilted with dead air; the characters and locations are recognizable, but put to use in a way that strikes me as closer to fan-fiction than a continuation of a once-beloved thing.

Preach, brother.  Preach.

 

31
Jul
15

Reading Digest: Bands! Edition

It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Marge4

“You got Poison to play at our wedding?” – Becky
“We’re Cyanide, a loving tribute to Poison.” – Cyanide Singer
“We need a ride home!” – Cyanide Drummer

This week we might have a link of the month instead of a link of the week.  From Australia comes a list of bands with names from the show from all over the globe.  I’ve linked maybe three or four of them on here, and I had no idea just how many there really were.  It needs to be seen to be believed, and it’s hard to conceive of another show offering up this many possibilities.  Just astounding.  In addition to that, we’ve got more bootleg Bart stuff, some speculation on the demise of the DVDs, several pieces of fan art, love for Lisa, new merchandise, and more.

Enjoy.

This Is What A Festival Filled With Bands Named After ‘The Simpsons’ Would Look & Sound Like – Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week is this list of real bands with Simpsons names.  They band play good.

The 13 Best Bootleg Barts – An excellent selection of new bootleg Bart images from that show in LA last week.

Bart Vs Video Game Trivia: How Well Do You Know Simpsons Games? – There’s even a quiz.

The Simpsons DVD news: Are the sales really that bad? No, they aren’t – The show was selling relatively well, but wasn’t doing gangbusters anymore if this is true:

Yes, those numbers are approximately half of the sales of season 16, but the numbers are still excellent given the market today. I think there’s more to this story than “sales numbers are poor.” Maybe their sales expectations are too high and they would rather make no money off DVD sales than less money.

What the article doesn’t mention is that FOX might not want to keep doing DVDs if they’re also selling the show through streaming and FXX.  I don’t know the full thinking (and this is FOX we’re talking about, thinking might not have been involved at all), but I don’t think it’s entirely coincidental that they canned the DVDs after they finally got their streaming product off the ground.  Thanks to @mstcambot on Twitter.

Eye On Springfield with Shayne Mathis – Fantastic:

My first exposure to vegetarianism was from the episode Lisa The Vegetarian. Has the show ever exposed you to an idea that impacted your life? (Lisa become veg, Barney quitting drinking, etc.)
I wish I had a good story for this question but the extent of The Simpsons’ effect on my life was that I prank called my local grocery store a few times and got them to page Amanda Hugnkiss, I.P. Freely, etc over the PA system.

Eye On Springfield with Chuck BB – My local station had Saturday episodes, except when they had baseball.  Stupid baseball:

The show was in its prime when I was in middle school, I think just entering into syndication – So I would catch The Simpsons airing every night at that point, memorizing jokes and lines and talking to the other kids about the replayed episode the next day. Every God Damn Day…except Saturday. Stupid Saturday.

The Last Word … Homer’s odyssey – I don’t know enough about British politics to fully understand this, but comparing Labour’s leadership election to “Lisa the Vegetarian” is pretty brilliant all by itself.  Thanks to reader David S. for sending this in!

‘The Simpsons’ predicted President Trump way back in 2000 – It’s always fun to watch things percolate up from the bottom of the internet to the top.  As soon as Trump declared, Simpsons geeks mentioned it, then it faded, then someone puts it on Reddit and it rises again, then it fades one more time, and then it makes it to the Washington Post.

The Singing Dorkette – I’m not saying I would trade in my family or anything, but that’s pretty awesome:

If there is one cartoon character that I have related to throughout my childhood, adolescence and feeble attempt at the starting blocks of adulthood, it is Lisa Simpson. Lisa relied heavily on self validation via grades and school success, had her social anxieties, often seemed to feel everything acutely with her sensitive soul, and had strong principles that meant she was faced with many ethical dilemmas. I feel that our outlooks on life are similar.

Plus, when I told my family that I was to stop eating meat, they, too, started a conga line around the kitchen and chanted in sing-song voices, “you don’t win friends with salad”.

Best of luck with the new blog!

Cowabunga – Some Bartkira panels.

Sketch-a-day 7.28 – An agreeably distressed looking Homer drawing.

Superhero – Fallout Milhouse to the rescue!

9 Songs You Didn’t Know Carole King Wrote – Apparently including Lisa’s Jazzman. 

Beaming For Bunnies: Stuff I got in the mail – Our old friend Galileo both sends and receives Simpsons swag.

Dear Life, | letters from milhouse – Yep:

I am milhouse.
Perpetually waiting for my Lisa.

My mom thinks I’m cool.

clearly marge had an affair – Heh.

TV Pick of the Day – Tuesday 28 July – Heh:

What is it: The Simpsons ‘King-Size Homer

Watch it for: The muumuu, the ass pay-off at the end.

10 Most Emotionally Packed Comedy Episodes – “Mother Simpson” makes the list along with, naturally, the dead dog episode of Futurama.

Character Options launches new The Simpsons toy collection – A breathing person actually said this:

With such a huge global reach we are confident that this will be a highly successful new offering within the Character portfolio.

More “collectibles”, on the way.

I Never Caught That: The Simpsons Eddie and Lou in background out of uniform – Nice catch.  Though, Wiggum did let all the criminals out for that game.

Hazel Likes: Sprinkle D’oh-Nuts Dress – More high fashion Simpsons clothing, this time a pretty pink dress.

1998 20th Century Homer Simpson Alarm Clock – Here’s a blast from the Krusty Brand Seal of Approval past, an alarm clock where Homer’s eyes aren’t even pointed in the same direction.

 

GIANT Homer Simpson Santa Claus 8′ Airblown Inflatable Gemmy Light Up – It’s less than five months until Christmas.  Start now.

Body Shapes, a Handy Guide – Heh.  Speaking personally, I’ve always been attracted to Bart women.

29
Jul
15

Some Examples of Jerkass Homer From More Recent Seasons

The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show11

“Hey, kids?  Always recycle . . . to the extreme!” – Poochie

Johnny Sugar, who once wrote a guest post for us titled “Where Al Jean Went Wrong”, has made it to what passes for the big time if you’re a blogger, Uproxx. There, he’s been the driving force behind their expanded number of Simpsons posts (you know, the ones that keep showing up in Reading Digest). On Sunday, he put up another one:

Homer Simpson’s Changing Ways On ‘The Simpsons’

It’s a rundown of things which will be sadly familiar. In order, they are:

He’s More Of A Jerk

Zany Homer Is Now The Norm

There Are Way Fewer Consequences for His Actions Now

He’s Good At Everything Now

Shortly after the article was published, Al Jean took to Twitter to belittle it:

JeanUproxx

“Article how Homer is “now” w eps from seasons 9,11.12.15.  All 10+ years old.  Is Homer the researcher?”

Jean is, of course, correct. All of the examples are from episodes that are now themselves more than a decade old. But his implication, that these traits are not present in more “now” episodes, is demonstrably incorrect.  Here are examples of each from just the last three seasons:

He’s More of a Jerk:

Season 24 – “Moonshine River” – The family goes back to New York City (Bart is investigating his many, many past loves).  Homer doesn’t do well in the “not being a jerk” department:

Jerk0

Season 25 – “Yellow Subterfuge” – Homer helps Bart get revenge on Skinner by pretending to murder Skinner’s mother:

Jerk2

Season 24 – “A Test Before Trying” – Homer scams the entire town with a broken parking meter:

Jerk1

 

Zany Homer Is Now the Norm:

Season 25 – “The Winter of His Content” – Homer becomes a zany old person:

Zany2

Season 26 – “Bart’s New Friend” – Having done him as an old person, they went the other way and had Homer spend an entire episode thinking he’s 10-years-old.  Here he is playing tag with children on the school playground:

Zany0

Season 25 – “Steal This Episode” – Homer opens a bootleg movie theater, gets arrested, breaks out of prison, hides in an embassy, then goes on trial, all in one episode:

Zany1

This is the lame Fugitive scene, and, yes, they did it a million times better back in Season 7.

Season 24 – “The Day the Earth Stood Cool” – Homer changes his whole life around and becomes a hipster, so it’s zany, but in an ironically un-ironic way:

Zany3

 

There Are Way Fewer Consequences for His Actions Now:

Season 24 – “Homer Goes to Prep School” – Homer gets obsessed with the apocalypse, becomes a doomsday prepper, then releases an “EMP” that wipes out the town, whereupon the Simpsons flee, only to return and find out that everything is fine:

FewerConsequences2

In this scene, Marge and the kids think Springfield has just been destroyed.  Of course, it wasn’t.

Season 26 – “Waiting for Duffman” – Homer becomes Duffman, feels bad about being a corporate shill, then everything goes back to normal.  The picture speaks for itself:

FewerConsequences0

Season 26 – “The Wreck of the Relationship” – Homer and Bart go on a father son cruise where Homer repeatedly falls overboard to no noticeable effect:

FewerConsequences1

 

He’s Good At Everything Now:

Season 26 – “Covercraft” – Homer picks up guitar, gets immediately good, and ends up replacing a real band on stage in a stadium:

GoodAtEverything0

That’s Homer with Apu, Reverend Lovejoy, Dr. Hibbert, and Kirk van Houten.  The crowd loves them.

Season 26 – “The Musk Who Fell to Earth” – Homer goes into successful business with Elon fucking Musk of all people.  They basically destroy society, but it all gets wrapped up before the credits:

GoodAtEverything1

Season 25 – “Labor Pains” – Homer delivers a baby in an elevator and becomes a great father to the kid:

GoodAtEverything2

Season 25 – “You Don’t Have to Live Like a Referee” – Homer becomes a frickin’ World Cup referee:

GoodAtEverything3

Season 24 – “Pulpit Fiction” – Homer becomes a hugely popular deacon at the church:

GoodAtEverything4

They are still capable of a good sign gag on occasions.  Don’t say I never write anything nice.

I could cite a lot more examples, or keep going through Seasons 23, 22, etcetera, but the record is pretty clear.  And lots of these episodes could easily fit into more than one category.  When Homer delivers that woman’s baby and starts being a super parent to the kid, he neglects his own family and almost gets Maggie eaten by zoo animals (seriously), that’d certainly qualify him as a jerk in addition to being instantly good at something he’s always been terrible at.  Or when he goes into business with Elon Musk, they wreck society, but there’s no real consequences or fallout and everything gets wrapped up quickly.

The problems that Homer developed as the show slid into senility and Zombie Simpsons haven’t gone away.  They haven’t even changed much.  Any way you slice it, old examples or new, Homer’s been a successful, zany, consequence free jackass for fifteen years running.  And if FOX decides to exercise that option of theirs and take the show through Season 30-31, he’s going to keep being the same jerkass he’s been since Season 10 or so.




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