Archive for the 'The Simpsons' Category

25
Jul
14

Reading Digest: Promising Features, Regrettable Drawbacks Edition

Homer vs Patty & Selma13

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oakley Tweet - Lawsuit

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

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

The … – Duplo Simpsons!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Unexplained fires will be a matter for the courts!

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

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

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

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

SD: Sonic Youth plays too, right?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

24
Jul
14

Debunking the Zombie Simpsons Apologists (Part 2)

By Calvin

[You can check out Part 1 here.]

So-called “fans” have always criticized the show, even in its glory days. Al Jean says so.

Charlie Sweatpants effectively debunked this argument, but it bears repeating. During the classic years of The Simpsons in the 1990s, Internet access was not even close to being as widespread and democratic as it is now. Many of us relied on dial-up modems at schools and libraries to access the Internet through now-outdated programs like America Online and Prodigy, which were slow and expensive to use from what I remember.

I didn’t know Simpsons message boards existed. Even Simpsons writers like Bill Oakley thought it was a hassle to get online and engage with these techie fans, whom he ignored anyway.

These so-called Simpsons fans’ disparaging comments about the classic episodes can be found in The Simpsons Archive at snpp.com, proving that Internet message boards have always been havens for snark and trolling, even in the early years. But as Charlie writes about the SNPP crowd:

“Their opinions have outsized prominence because they were amongst the first people to discuss popular culture on-line, but the population that generated those reviews is extremely non-representative of Simpsons fans. It’s highly skewed towards the techiest of the early 1990s nerds who were, to put it mildly, an abnormal set of people … that said criticism is ridiculously harsh, should NOT obscure the fact that in this day and age, indeed since the turn of the century at least, there has been a solid and growing contingent of Simpsons fans who feel the show has badly lost itself.”

I sympathize with Zombie Simpsons writers to some extent in that I work for a news website that allows online comments. Some of the nasty, unfair things readers write about my work and my colleagues’ work makes me despair for humanity. That’s still no excuse for us to churn out an inferior product; regardless of the comments, I’m inspired to work harder and be better.

As Charlie explains:

“When the real grumbling about the show started, it wasn’t because disliking the show was cool, or because the most involved fans all have mean streaks.  It was because the show got worse, a gradual process that had precisely nothing to do with the internet and everything to do with the show itself.”

You’re older, crankier and more cynical. Of course (Zombie) Simpsons no longer appeals to you.

I’ve never understood this argument. Even former Simpsons writer Jay Kogen (co-writer of episodes like “Bart the Daredevil” and “Last Exit to Springfield”) used this to defend the show in a Reddit Q&A.

When asked if he thought the show’s quality had declined over the years, Kogen responded:

I keep thinking that maybe people feel that way because THEY’VE gotten older. I loved the first star wars movies and hated the later ones because I saw the first ones when I was 12 and the later ones when I was 30. Kids who saw the later ones as kids, loved them.”

The Star Wars movies Kogen viewed as young boy (Episodes 4-6) debuted to critical and commercial acclaim and made a significant impact on pop culture, much as The Simpsons have. Decades after their initial release, people still can’t get enough of Star Wars and all the comic books, TV shows, clothing and toys. Some people have turned Star Wars into a lifestyle.

In contrast, the Star Wars prequels (Episodes 1-3), which came complete with the latest film technology and big-name actors, received much scorn and mockery, and George Lucas was excoriated. Even Zombie Simpsons poked fun at how disappointing the Star Wars prequels were (they were years late to the party, but still).

Kids who only saw Episodes 1-3 loved them because they didn’t have the originals to compare them with. (Plus, why are you placing so much faith in the opinions of children?)

By Kogen’s logic, he should hate the original Star Wars movies and older Simpsons fans like myself should hate those old episodes. Yet he doesn’t follow through with this argument. Instead, it seems he suggests that Zombie Simpsons only appeals to young children who have never seen the earlier seasons. That’s not a defense but an admission that Zombie Simpsons is not what it used to be, as well as a mockery of its adult fans.

(Zombie) Simpsons has evolved with time, as have you. Of course it’s not as funny/relevant/impactful to you as it once was.

This is a variation of the argument above, and it also doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. Do Zombie Simpsons writers really not care about making a show that makes an impact or holds up well with time?

Yes, apparently. Zombie Simpsons writer Dana Gould made this argument, as did Zombie Simpsons writer Michael Price, who brings up the silly Star Wars comparison. (Mike, do you really compare your work to the dreaded Star Wars prequels?)

I started watching The Simpsons when I was about 7 or 8 years old; I’m now a 20-something adult. (Yikes!) When I watch classic Simpsons episodes, I find they are still as funny to me at this age as they were when I was a kid; in fact, I appreciate these episodes on a different level because I understand more of the jokes and references that probably went over my head when I was a child. As a writer myself, I appreciate the story structure and character development of episodes like “Marge vs. the Monorail” and “You Only Move Twice,” which should be studied in English and creative writing courses.

Besides, can anyone really argue that The Simpsons has “evolved”? No character has really changed: Bart and Lisa are still ageless in elementary school; Maggie is still a baby; Homer and Marge are still married; Diamond Joe Quimby is still mayor; 99.9 percent of the original characters are still alive. They’re the same people, but less likeable and relatable.

Regarding our changing world, Zombie Simpsons has never really dealt with how major events like the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Barack Obama’s election, WikiLeaks, Edward Snowden’s whistleblowing, or wars in the Middle East have affected the citizens of Springfield, aside from the occasional heavy handed or forgettable episode. Zombie Simpsons never even parodied George W. Bush!

True, I’m not the same person at this age as I was when I was 9: I’m older, more educated, less naïve, more realistic, a beer drinker, not as lazy or easily amused. So why does The Simpsons hold up so well for adult me, while Zombie Simpsons (and the cartoons I used to enjoy as a child) do not? It’s not nostalgia.

If you don’t like the show, don’t watch it.

This is not a defense of the show, but thanks for the advice, Confucius. I’m already ahead of you.

It’s worth noting that if you listen to the DVD commentaries for Zombie Simpsons, not even the writers, producers and voice actors seem to like the show. Now compare those to commentaries for classic episodes, and it’s like the difference between night and day. When your own priceless voice actors can’t get excited about the show, it’s time to end it.

But The Simpsons is still capable of one or two funny jokes per episode

The worst episodes of Family Guy, a shameless joke factory, can still have one or two jokes that make you laugh.

Dane Cook probably has at least one routine that makes me smile.

Sean Hannity might say something I agree with on occasion.

Is it really worth spending 22 minutes of your time watching a mediocre Simpsons episode in hopes that Homer Simpson will say something — anything — that makes you chuckle?

But The Simpsons team want to keep making money the show going. Matt Groening said so!

If the prolific Seth MacFarlane can admit that Family Guy should have ended a few years ago, then Matt Groening can do it too.

At this point, it’s completely disingenuous to insist that The Simpsons should keep going because the cast and crew are dedicated to putting out a quality show for us lucky fans – especially when they have essentially admitted that the show is a shameless merchandising tool.

Here’s a sample of the dialogue from the June 18 update of The Simpsons Tapped Out game (which, by EA’s own estimates, has generated $130 million since its debut), written by Zombie Simpsons writers:

Blue-Haired Lawyer: Krusty, if you’re jaded about being rich, there’s only one solution to your spiritual crisis — get even richer … What you need is to start making new Itchy & Scratchys.

Krusty: But we’ve already got hundreds of them, and the characters don’t change or age. What innovative stories could any writer wring out of those characters?

Blue-Haired Lawyer: From what I can tell, none. But it doesn’t matter. No one needs to watch the new episodes. They just need to know they’re being made and remember the old ones fondly… and voila, the brand is still relevant! Then you can start merchandising T-shirts and action figures, slot machines and beer… maybe even develop a freemium game!

Krusty: Would the game have to be good?

Blue-Haired Lawyer: Not at all!

If that’s not a cynical admission of them turning this once-beloved show into a zombie cash cow, than I don’t know what is.

23
Jul
14

Debunking the Zombie Simpsons Apologists (Part 1)

By Calvin

[You can read Part 2 here.]

One of the reasons I enjoy visiting Dead Homer Society at least once a week is reading the articulate breakdowns and critiques of latter-day Simpsons episodes, from the show’s desperate efforts to be relevant by bringing in celebrities and making clumsy pop culture references, to the poor and disjointed writing, lame new characters, odd character development, bad animation, and lack of actual, you know, jokes. As a longtime Simpsons fan who reveres its glory years, it was devastating to find myself joining the ranks of its fans-turned-critics and agreeing that it should have ended years ago.

Yet I’m intrigued by fans of Zombie Simpsons, who lack an equivalent website like DHS but pop up in nearly every online discussion to defend the show. Sure, it’s difficult to engage with people who dismiss your arguments with, “Well, I still like it,” but it’s gotten annoying to see them trot out the same arguments and half-hearted defenses of Zombie Simpsons that can easily be debunked.

For the record, I favor ending Zombie Simpsons with a proper sendoff, as the writers on Futurama were able to do when that show was canceled. I believe it’s ridiculous to keep defending a bad show with vigor that these “fans” would never give to any other show, as if Zombie Simpsons is more sacred than the Catholic Church or Prophet Muhammad.

Here are my responses to some of the most common (and silly) defenses of the show. In keeping with the theme of this website, I refer to latter-day Simpsons (post-season 9 episodes) as Zombie Simpsons.

Even at its worst, (Zombie) Simpsons is still better than most crap on television

I still hear this claim from the most devoted fans, even though they typically preface it with a caveat like, “I don’t rush home and watch it like I once did” or “I watch it On Demand when I have the time.” Can you imagine Simpsons fans saying this when the show was in its prime? “I didn’t have time to watch ‘Lisa’s Pony,’ but I recorded it and will see it later this week if I have the time.”

The problem with making this claim, especially in 2014, is that The Simpsons is no longer the best show on TV. Heck, it’s not even the best show on Sunday.

You’ve probably read those articles about how we’ve entered the golden age of television, when cable and broadcast networks are attracting the best and brightest writers, actors and directors, and TV shows are surpassing movies in the quality of their acting and writing. Famous Hollywood directors and actors are jumping on the bandwagon and forgoing movies in favor of television (and being rewarded for it).

On Sunday nights, Americans have the option of tuning in to a range of popular, critically acclaimed shows such as Game of Thrones, Mad Men, True Detective, Veep, The Walking Dead, Silicon Valley, Boardwalk Empire, Cosmos, True Blood, British imports like Sherlock and Downton Abbey, and many other shows I’m forgetting. Even the other shows on the Fox’s Sunday cartoon block like Bob’s Burgers and American Dad! are earning critical and fan acclaim. In contrast, I can hardly find an article about Zombie Simpsons’ latest ratings gimmick without a variant of the “It’s not as good as it used to be” line.

The next day, these shows become the hot topic of conversation with family, friends and co-workers. Yet I can’t remember the last time I discussed the latest Simpsons episode with coworkers and friends – which would have been inconceivable to me 15 years ago.

Perhaps if you live in a country with state-run television that relies on U.S. imports to fill the schedule, than Zombie Simpsons may still be better than 99 percent of everything else. Still, don’t most people watch everything online anyway?

Shut up, Comic Book Guy. The Simpsons owe you nothing. If anything, you owe them for all that free entertainment they gave you.

My, what a timely Simpsons reference dating all the way back to … 1997, in season eight. Could you not think of any line from season 20-something that delivers an equally clever jab?

Regarding your overall point, I agree that I owe The Simpsons a lot for the years of entertainment it provided to me. This is why, 20 years after my first viewing, I remain an outspoken fan of those classic seasons, and why I engage with fellow fans, including those of you who continue to convince me that its inferior seasons are somehow worthy. Heck, I wouldn’t be writing this if I didn’t care about it.

You can’t end The Simpsons. It’s a popular, critically acclaimed show, and an American institution! People would lose their jobs!

Folks, are you familiar with how television works? All in the Family, M.A.S.H., Seinfeld, Cheers, I Love Lucy and The Mary Tyler Moore Show were TV royalty in their heyday. Guess what happened to them?

TV shows get canceled all the time for any number of reasons. There are websites dedicated to informing viewers when their favorite shows are canceled. Zombie Simpsons is no different.

I know the disappointment of seeing a favorite show get canceled. Freaks and Geeks, Carnivale, The Critic, Rome, Boomtown, Arrested Development, and Futurama are favorite shows of mine that were axed by heartless network executives. (Note how two of those shows were created by Simpsons alumni.)

I’m frustrated when my favorite shows get the chop but I adjust, as do the people behind these shows. Cancelation is not a career death sentence. Producers, writers and actors go on to do other things. Matt Groening & Co. are big boys (and big girls) with clout in the industry; they’ll be fine and may go on to create other great shows.

As I stated above, I would like Fox to give Zombie Simpsons advanced notice to end the show so that the writers could give it a proper sendoff, just as the writers of Futurama were able to do. Subsidizing a show with diminishing ratings for the benefit of a few vocal fans is not how TV should work (unless you’re a Communist or something).

But if I still haven’t convinced you, let’s imagine the alternate world in which The Simpsons ended its run after Season 8. What could have happened?

  • The Simpsons cements its status as the greatest show of all time and is admired for ending at the height of its popularity, while subsequent criticism from critics and fans (like me) never happens
  • Matt Groening goes on to create Futurama and several other TV shows that earn critical and audience acclaim
  • A Simpsons movie comes out every few years
  • Simpsons writers, voice actors and crewmembers get jobs at other sitcoms and cartoon shows, and drive the overall quality of those programs up (it’s worked out for Brad Bird and Greg Daniels)
  • Mike Scully doesn’t become a hated figure among fans
  • The Simpsons still gets a lucrative syndication deal where two to four classic episodes are aired back to back, five days a week, on Fox or on one of those cable channels like TBS or Cartoon Network
  • We don’t get to see Homer take 50+ new jobs as an acrobat, hair stylist, Super Bowl choreographer, Mexican wrestler, paparazzo, and grunge musician
  • Awful episodes like “Saddlesore Galactica,” “That ‘90s Show,” “Strong Arms of the Ma,” “Donnie Fatso,” “Large Marge,” and the episode where Homer gets raped by a panda never get made

The horror, the horror!

[Ed Note: Part 2 coming tomorrow!]

22
Jul
14

Quote of the Day

Bart's Inner Child15

“Right now, I want each of you to try something interesting.  There’s no trick to it.  It’s just a simple trick!” – Brad Goodman

Happy birthday Albert Brooks!

21
Jul
14

Quote of the Day

A Streetcar Named Marge9

“Maggie is allergic to strained pears and she likes a bottle of warm milk before nap time.” – Marge Simpson
“A bottle?  Mrs. Simpson, do you know what a baby’s saying when she reaches for a bottle?” – Ms. Sinclair
“Ba ba?” – Marge Simpson
“She’s saying, ‘I am a leech!’.  Our aim here is to develop the bottle within.” – Ms. Sinclair

Happy birthday Jon Lovitz! 

20
Jul
14

An Observation While Re-Ripping My DVDs

DVDs

“The way I see it, if you raise three children who can knock out and hog tie a perfect stranger, you must be doing something right.” – Marge Simpson

A few months ago I stopped resisting and finally got a smart phone.  It’s very snazzy and does lots of things my beloved old flip phone couldn’t do, including play video.  Naturally, this got me to thinking about how I could get The Simpsons on there.  Way back in 2006, I ripped all my DVDs to .avi files that came in at ~183MB each.  (These are the files from which I get pretty much all of the screen grabs on this site.)  For the 203 episodes that comprise Seasons 1-9, that’s a total of 37.2GB.  My new phone, snazzy though it is, has only 32GB of space, a mere 26.8GB of which is available for media storage.  To paraphrase Hermes Conrad, if I know anything about which number is bigger than the other number, those files won’t all fit on the phone.  Ergo, time to re-rip the DVDs to smaller files.

Now, ripping teevee show DVDs is boring, repetitive and time consuming, so I put it off a good long while.  But on Friday I finally got off my duff and figured out the right settings in HandBrake for a good balance between quality and file size.  For the curious, I settled on H.264 at 320kbps video and 96kbps audio in a .mkv file to preserve the DVD chapters.  More importantly, each episode runs just ~73MB, and once I’m done they should come in just under 15GB total.  These won’t look or sound great on my television, but on a tiny phone screen with headphones, they’re just fine thank you.

One of the annoyances of all this is making sure each file gets named correctly.  HandBrake can’t automatically add the titles to the filenames (you have select “Title1″ and so on), and after each disc is done I’m left with something like this:

Simpsons – 401 – .mkv
Simpsons – 402 – .mkv
Simpsons – 403 – .mkv
Simpsons – 404 – .mkv

Since I’ve never watched these files before and it’s always possible that I goofed and picked the wrong part of the disc or made some other mundane mistake, I check them after I add episode titles.  I don’t need to watch the whole thing, just play the file real quick, skip to the somewhere past the credits, and make sure that the file I’ve just called “Simpsons – 403 – Homer the Heretic.mkv” is, in fact, “Homer the Heretic”.  I finished through Season 4 yesterday, and I just started ripping Season 5 today.  So I have popped open and seen a few random seconds from a lot of episodes this weekend.

Doing so has served as yet another reminder (not that I needed one) of how astonishingly dense this show is.  You can skip to almost any part of an episode and see something that is laugh out loud funny.  Boop, there’s Bart thinking they can’t afford all the library books in “Dead Putting Society”.  Boop, there’s the casino reverend handing Homer ten dollars worth of chips and telling him to kiss the bride.  Boop, there’s “The Erotic Adventures of Hercules”, with Normal Fell as Zeus!  Whether you land in an A-plot, a B-plot, or even just a cutaway or flashback, there’s something memorable and funny.

I have no real point here, it’s just amazing, especially when you remember that these episodes are all 20+ years old.

18
Jul
14

Reading Digest: Fun for All Ages Edition

Lisa the Vegetarian15

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hello? Euro Universal Studios open for business!

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

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

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

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

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

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

And he’s starring as . . . the human!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No one in the comments watches it either.

13
Jul
14

Quote of the Day

Bart the Mother5

“What can I get for eight thousand tickets?” – Nelson Muntz
“A BB gun or an Easy-Bake Oven.” – Squeaky Voiced Teen
“Hot food is tempting, but I just can’t say no to a weapon.” – Nelson Muntz

Happy birthday David S/X Cohen!  

11
Jul
14

Reading Digest: Makeup Edition

The Wizard of Evergreen Terrace4

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

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

Enjoy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Simpsons – Heh:

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

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

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

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

Marge x MAC – But this just seems silly:

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

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

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

And a probably the first makeup tip I ever learned:

Ladies pinch.  Whores use rouge.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Draw your friends – Well done:

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

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

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

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

Al, hire this kid.

10
Jul
14

Sorry, Uproxx, Zombie Simpsons Is Never Worth Watching

Bart Carny4

“Sorry.” – Screamatorium Carny

I understand the desire for there to be funny and watchable episodes of Zombie Simpsons.  Hell, I share it.  If they ever made a good episode again you could get out the crayolas and color me tickled pink.  But that will never happen.  The show is too far gone to regain even a spark of what once made it great, and the proof of that is on display in every episode of Zombie Simpsons.

And I mean every episode, as in all ten on this Uproxx list of “10 Episodes From the Past Five Years That Are Totally Worth Watching” @dailysimpsons tweeted earlier today.  This is readily apparent just by reading the article, where phrases like, “with Moe, for some reason”, “Umm..okay”, “wacky adventure with a farting toy train”, and “it’s a bit gruesome to watch” dot every entry.  But for a fuller rebuttal, let’s just go to the tape.

10.  “A Totally Fun Thing Bart Will Never Do Again” – This was the love note to the completely unlovable cruise industry.  Also, Bart’s feelings, which Uproxx mentions several times, were as stupid and ham handed as possible.

9.  “Donnie Fatso” – This is the one with the completely lifeless FBI agent and Homer being a suave undercover cop.  It’s boring as hell.

8.  “The Bob Next Door” – This one is from so long ago that there isn’t even a Compare & Contrast for it, but there was a nonsensical plot, lazy gags and pointless exposition.

7.  “The Food Wife” – The best compliment Uproxx can come up with is that there was a Tim & Eric song on this, which they call one of the best Simpsons songs in years.  When someone else’s work is the high point of your scripted show, it’s not a good sign.  This one also highlighted how much the family now lives like rich TV writers who can’t be bothered to think up non-pun brand parodies.

6.  “500 Keys” – This was a “Trilogy of Error” clone that managed to step on the few jokes it made.

5. “Homer The Father” – This is what I mean when I say that the premise of this post is constantly undermined by just how crappy these episodes are:

At a point in this show’s history where it tends to rely on weirder and weirder plots just to keep from getting bored with itself, this one features a simple storyline about Homer trying to be a better father (by following the advice of a cheesy 80s sitcom, of course)

That is very weak praise, indeed.  And let’s not forget that they whiffed completely on making fun of the eminently mockable 80s sitcoms.

4. – “The Saga Of Carl” – The Simpsons are going to Iceland, where they will kill time with chase scenes and musical montages.

3. – “Holidays Of Future Passed” – Another future episode that’s limp and lifeless next to “Lisa’s Wedding”.  They like this so much they’ve done it a couple more times since.

2. – “The Book Job” – A bland stab at parody with no villain ranks #2 on this list.  That’s about all you really need to know.

1.  “Brick Like Me” – Ah, the much touted merchandising tie in episode that both they and I think is the best they can do.  Sadly, that still means having characters constantly tell us what they’re doing and how they feel, which is even worse than usual because they spent two years on it and still managed to have a nearly jokeless script that would get laughed out of the remedial classes at Hollywood Upstairs Screenwriting College.

And that’s the problem with trying to find some good in Zombie Simpsons, there just isn’t anything the least bit memorable or creative about any of them.  These episodes are all from just the last five years, but with the possible exception of the Lego one, will any of these be fondly remembered five years from now?  Seems unlikely.  And even the Lego episode is only notable for the novel animation, not for quotes, jokes, parodies or any of the other things that make episodes from twenty years ago endlessly rewatchable.

Zombie Simpsons has been in a comfortable and generally dull rut for a lot more than five years, and in all that time hasn’t shown even a spark of breaking out.  Assuming the show continues its undead shuffle across network teevee for another five years, someone at Uproxx could write this exact same post, massive caveats and all, in 2019 and nobody would notice.

03
Jul
14

Reading Digest: Harry Shearer Speaks Between the Lines Edition

Homer the Smithers9

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

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

Enjoy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tropical Brunch Club – Good thinking:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do you see The Simpsons as a job for life?

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

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

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

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

Well said, Mr. Shearer, well said.

03
Jul
14

Quote of the Day

Lisa's Rival16

“I’ve got to stop being so petty.  I should be Alison’s friend, not her competitor.  I mean, she is a wonderful person.” – Lisa Simpson
“Way to go, Lis.  Why compete with someone who’s just gonna to kick your butt anyway?” – Bart Simpson
“I prefer my phrasing.” – Lisa Simpson

Happy birthday Yeardley Smith!

01
Jul
14

Gamblor On Your Phone

Tapped In (640)

“Marge, I want you to admit you have a gambling problem.” – Homer Simpson
“You know, you’re right, Homer.  Maybe I should get some professional help.” – Marge Simpson
“No, no, that’s too expensive.  Just don’t do it anymore.” – Homer Simpson

Any time I start writing a post for this site, I can never be sure just how long it’s going to end up.  Sometimes, I’ll think I’ve got some big post that’s gonna take awhile, only to find myself done much quicker and shorter than I thought.  Other times, I’ll figure I’ve got a nice compact idea for a Compare & Contrast, that I’ll just knock out a few hundred words in forty-five minutes or so.  Two hours later I’m staring at some sixteen hundred word monstrosity and I have no idea how the hell it happened.  Some posts just sprawl on me.

Well, I’m here today with the all time grand champion of sprawled posts.  What I originally thought would be a quick and dirty post about The Simpsons: Tapped Out has ended up as a fat, 10,000 word ebook called, “Tapped In: How EA Combined The Simpsons with Video Gambling to Make $130 Million (and counting)“.  Here is the table of contents:

1 – Quarters, Dollars, and Credit Cards: The Games We Pay
2 – Designing Addictively Rigged Games for Fun and Profit
3 – Chips vs. Brains and Machines vs. People: We Don’t Stand a Chance
4 – Domesticating the Beast: Video Gambling to Video Gaming
5 – Training the Beast: Fixing Mechanical Problems and Increasing Flow
6 – The Infinite Profit Margins of Colored Pixels
7 – Machine Gaming: Greed on a Tilted Playing Field

It’s about half as long as “Zombie Simpsons: How the Best Show Ever Became the Broadcasting Undead“, and just like that one it’s for sale at Amazon for Kindles and Kindle apps.  (Also, I appear to have an affinity for long subtitles that start with the word ‘How’.)  Since it’s much shorter and took much less time, the price is a mere $0.99.

Purchase from Amazon

Just like its predecessor, it will eventually be published in full and for free right here at Dead Homer Society.  The first chapter is live now, and a new one will be going up each week until they’re all here.  DRM remains stupid and counterproductive; and I remain convinced that giving it away and selling it is the only way to go.  So you can read the whole thing right now for Kindle, or just read along over the next few weeks.  Either way, I hope you all like it.

Click here to read the first chapter.

27
Jun
14

Reading Digest: Teaser Announcement Edition

Gabbo

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

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

Tapped In (640)

Thanks, Cessna!

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

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

Enjoy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’d be Otto!

Vocal sample?

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

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

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

On your next EP?

Okay, done! I’ll credit you.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bacon Week Continued – Bacon Donuts – Homer would plotz.

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

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

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

20
Jun
14

Reading Digest: Play Reviews Edition

Treehouse of Horror III10

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

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

Enjoy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Life Lessons from The Simpsons – Excellent idea:

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

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

How Real Men Spend Father’s Day – Heh.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Obligatory:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

7 WWE Superstars Who Were Probably Alcoholics – Excellent usage:

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

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

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

Feisty, yet spineless.

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

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

Excellent usage.

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

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

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

3.shows running for too long

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

Amen.

13
Jun
14

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

Colonel Homer13

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Soul Donut – Excellent nail art:

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

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

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

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

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

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

homer – A Homer haiku.

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

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

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

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

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

Go away, Zombie Simpsons.  Nobody likes you.

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

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

In Sight – Excellent reference:

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

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

Aquaman in Blinky’s Revenge – Heh.

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

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

Indeed he does.

12
Jun
14

Zombie Simpsons Should Go and Die With a Heated Coathanger In Its Bum

By Connor Dunphy 

Yo, it’s Dead Homer Society. You know how it is, you ain’t here if you don’t. Let’s get straight to it, because I got something to rant about.

Charlie and his accomplices have done a real fine job of utterly deconstructing Zombie Simpsons. And it deserves every single bit of it, because watching it is like seeing your beloved Grandma contract dementia and then proceed to start being really mean and horrible for no reason. Everything they’ve mentioned: the dialogue, the storylines, the characterization, lack thereof of all three, it’s all grade A, 100%, farmer’s dream bullshit. Today, though, I’m here to properly shed some light on something else. I’m gonna scoop some of that bullshit from a corner of the bottom of the barrel which I don’t think has been properly examined: the animation of Zombie Simpsons.

Ever since I started thinking about how this show has declined other than “eh it’s not as good, I guess”, since I read the very first word of this site’s manifesto, what’s pissed me off the most, got me to pause whatever platform I’m watching the show from, made me draw characters on my toilet paper to properly represent where their shenanigans can go, was the way the animation has gone.

Think back to all the classic Simpsons episodes that you know. You got your “You are Lisa Simpson”s, your “Do it for her”s, just all the amazing seasons you see people on Tumblr, Twitter, anything quote. They had amazing animation. Everything felt human. If I could refer to a specific example, it would be the scene where you can pinpoint the exact moment Ralph’s heart breaks in half.

1

 

You can sense, just from how this specific frame is drawn, what the characters are feeling. Lisa feels regret, sorrow, sadness of some kind, and Bart, in his amused indifference, is rubbing it in. You don’t need to watch the entire episode to sense that. You don’t need overwhelming [SOMBER TRUMPET NOISES] to know that they’re feeling that, because you know who the characters are, what their personalities are. If someone came up to me and said “hey dude, I never seen the Simpsons can you show me a quick sum up of the characters”, then I’d take pity on them for being denied a right as entitled to him/her as freedom of speech, and show them this picture. Everyone knows the barest thing about the Simpsons. Hell, I used to listen to this square-ass radio station where middle-aged people would get asked “who is the mischievous person in the Simpsons” and they’d just instantly say Bart.

You look at this picture, and you have the 0.003333333% of Simpsons knowledge that everyone who’s never watched it does, you know what’s going on. This is the beauty of old Simpsons animation, it fit the characters and the storyline. A truly great producer has their music fit the vocalist, whether it’s a rapper or a folk singer, they use the right sounds, samples and all of that to make sure that it all comes together. They may have created them, but the people behind the Simpsons managed to perfectly encapsulate the essence of the characters in every frame.

Sadly, this is the end of the good. The good that makes the bad just a little bit badder. Now we move onto my grievances. The Simpsons died in an unspecified date between 1997 – 1998, and it happened too slowly for us to properly evacuate the premises before being revealed to it’s rotting form, so we could only stiffen our bodies in shock as it began spewing acidic vomit piles such as “Saddlesore Galctica”, “The Principal and the Pauper”, and “Lisa the Skeptic”, just awful episode after awful episode as we stood in front of this now monstrous, decaying creature, our forearms eroding off of our bodies from the acid, nervously thinking “It’s only a little burn, it’s still good! It’s still good!”. Speaking of “Saddlesore Galactica”, I might as well use it as Exhibit A.

2

Does anyone care how this is drawn?
Zombie Simpsons animators: No!

I want you to look real closely at the above picture. If possible, line it up with the previous picture that I so affectionately praised. Remember the whole thing about being able to see what the characters are feeling, having some rudimentary look into their motivations? If you can honestly look at that picture, especially in comparison to the previous one, and see that, then I will personally come over to your house and let you make me watch Season 21, Clockwork Orange style.

Anyways, my point is that you can’t. You can’t see what the characters are feeling, you can’t have an idea of what the story is. Probably the only thing that I can say about this type of animation is that it’s consistent with everything else in the episode.

Just glance at everyone in the picture. Homer has the only actual expression, and even without context it’s a disgustingly-OOC face that spits on the personality built up for him in the past 7 seasons. Everyone else, from the formerly three dimensional main characters, to the background characters, all have blank looks like they just got lobotomized. Chief Wiggum is redundantly inserted into the scene, sans purpose. The three people beside him look like that puppet Krusty brought in to compete with Gabbo (you know, the one whose mouth fell off and terrified all in attendance). The three people in the foreground have no eyes. [Ed note: Eww.]  All of them look like they’re in stasis, waiting to be used, to be actually in some semblance of a sensical story. They aren’t, of course, because this episode prioritizes edgy horses and here today, gone tomorrow jokes about Bill Clinton, but I digress.

It really baffles me how the animators, the writers, the network, could look at frames like this, where basically the minimum amount of effort has been put in, and think “Yes, this is as good as the previous episodes, let’s release it.”. What used to be relatable human beings became a bunch of zombies with thumbs stuck up their collective ass, existing only to provide the most masturbatory and dismissive of jokes.

Now, it’s all well and good to curbstomp “Saddlesore Galactica”, and I’d like to do it a bit more (maybe later, if you’re up for it), but that is not the extent of my problems with this style. Let’s take it 10 years forward. Zombie Simpsons has now achieved Lisa Trevor status, and is shuffling around the Earth, surviving all attacks against it whilst desperately calling out for a remnant of it’s past. Homer’s a high-pitched noise machine now used in Guantanamo Bay interrogation sessions, everybody says how they feel a lot, Bob’s your uncle.

By this time, the Simpsons had converted to HD animation. I wanna precede the following fancy version of saying “Fuck this show” by noting that the problem does not lie with the use of HD. Basically everything other than Zombie Simpsons has shown us that HD can be used to create beautiful works of art. It lies with the fact that the format was not only misused, but also had a hand in revealing just how homogenized the show had and has became.

3

You probably saw this in the most recent Compare and Contrast. This is an example of how crap the Simpsons has become. Sterile as the reconditioning dystopia led by Flanders, as awkward-looking as a guy wearing a fedora with a trollface T-shirt, I believe the layman’s term is “awful”.

As you can see from inside the car, the blank expression thing has returned, albeit evolved. Now, the only expressions a character can have when they’re not explicitly the focus of whatever half-baked storyline they’re putting out is either the aforementioned “Stare into the distance blankly, often with mouth slightly agape” or the brand-new “Stare into the distance blankly EXCEPT NOW YOU SMILE WOAAAAH”. Homer looks like he’s in a goddamned Mr. Men book, like he’s about to tell Mr. Greedy that he’s greedy. Because of that, all this is, sans context, is just Homer and some guy driving around with a bunch of weirdly-shaded gunpowder containers. This could be some one-off joke; it could be a pivotal point in the storyline; it could be it’s climax; shit, it could probably pass for those time-consuming couch gags. I wouldn’t put it past them.

Everything is technically sound, but what it misses is the actual substance behind it. A corporate executive who basically is the embodiment of everything Frank Zappa despises can perfectly replicate something, whether it be music, a book, a video game, anything, but it will always lack the appeal that brought it to their attention in the first place. The emotion, the meaning, the life behind it, they will never be able to replicate that. Simpsons gave us emotional, inspiring moments and the criticisms of a system we all hated, Zombie Simpsons gives us coldly-animated, poorly composed frames and a yellow hand holding a can of Axe body spray.

This show was once a living legend. If it had died in 1997, we would be celebrating it like Tupac. Now that it’s still alive, the entirety of it’s viewership is slowly beginning to sour on it like Jay-Z. All of this animation only contributes to the decline in quality of Zombie Simpsons, and it just starts to get sad. I’ve found there are two stages to this life that you, I, Charlie, and others live. First is the catharsis of criticizing this cascade of crud, then comes the disappointment you have in the show, the show you grew up on, the show that taught you about some parts of the world by making you laugh and making you feel. The show that you no longer have. Believe me, man, I wouldn’t be so expansive in my rage if I thought the Simpsons was okay.

That’s about it. I don’t have anything to plug, I’m just a young Scottish boy on the grind. Shoutout to Charlie for giving me the opportunity to write this. One love. [Ed Note: Aww.]

06
Jun
14

Reading Digest: No End to Licensed Merchandise Edition

Lisa the Greek17

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

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

Enjoy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[...]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Simpsons mural coming to town – Cool:

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

[...]

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

That’s Springfield, Oregon, by the way.

Just Because… – Heh.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

06
Jun
14

Quote of the Day

EineBooby

“I got separated from my platoon after we parachuted into Dusseldorf.  So I rode out the war posing as a German cabaret singer . . . Won’t you come home Franz Brauser, won’t you come home?” – Abe “Grampa” Simpson
“Yoo-hoo . . . Ach du lieber! Das is not eine booby!” – Adolf Hiter

Happy Birthday Sam Simon!

31
May
14

Quote of the Day

Hurricane Neddy12

“Hey!  Hey!  Get down from that bookshelf, please.  Most of those books haven’t been discredited yet.” – Dr. Foster




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