Archive for the 'The Simpsons' Category

19
Oct
14

Sunday Preview: Treehouse of Horror XXV

Treehouse of Horror XXV

On the annual spooktacular Halloween special, Bart and Lisa are transported to a demon-filled alternate universe after Bart reads a set of Aramaic symbols he finds on the underside of his desk; Moe’s “Clockwork Orange”-style gang is disrupted when Dum (Homer) falls for a girl (Marge) who wants him to give up the thug life; and, in an homage to “The Others,” the Simpsons are visited by their former Tracey Ullman-era versions of themselves

Happy almost-Halloween everyone, it’s time for the annual installment of THOH.  This is the 25th such episode, which I guess could be celebrated as some sort of milestone, if one wished to do so.  I’m not going to, but I am a bit of a jerk.

 

17
Oct
14

Reading Digest: Local Boys Make Good Edition

Homer vs Lisa and the 8th Commandment15

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

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

Enjoy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Young Glendale sisters lend a helping hand – Cute:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

robocall – Excellent illustrative reference:

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

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

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

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

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

Simpsons Collection Vol:1 – Fan made Simpsons sketches.

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

Blood Feud – Episode #035 – Heh:

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

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

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

Indeed.

17
Oct
14

Renewal Announcement Overdue [Updated]

Homer vs Patty & Selma14

“Sweet, trusting Marge, I can’t let you down.  I’ll get some money somehow. . . . Hello, Vegas?  Gimme a hundred bucks on red. . . . D’oh!  Alright, I’ll send you a check.” – Homer Simpson

It’s now officially mid-October and there has been no announcement from FOX or anyone else about next season.  For most shows, that wouldn’t be an issue, but for Zombie Simpsons, which is wildly asynchronous with the rest of network television’s renew/cancel announcements, it’s very odd.  Thanks to the show’s ancient pedigree and very long production schedule, the last couple of renewal announcements have come in early or mid-October.  Well . . . it’s that time of year and we haven’t heard anything.

Complicating matters is the general laziness of the entertainment press.  Last year we got the renewal announcement for Season 26 on October 4th.  But that’s all we got.  Unlike previous renewals, which bragged about the new episode total, all the press release said was that the show would be around for Season 26.  And while plenty of sites reported “Simpsons renewed” none that I was able to find (then or now) contained an episode total.  (Even The New York Times just wrote up the press release and didn’t ask any questions.)

The episode total is more important than the season number because, as I’ve said before, how the show ends is determined by the production runs, not the broadcast runs.  For several years now, FOX has been ordering 22-episode production runs.  The “SABF” run comprised most of Season 25, and its first few episodes have spilled into Season 26.  Sometime soon, the “TABF” run will start being broadcast and will make up most of Season 26.  This is all entirely normal.

However, since the copy and paste brigade that passes for entertainment journalism didn’t give us an episode total, it’s at least possible that instead of ordering a full 22-episode production run last year, FOX only ordered a shortened run that will end this spring instead of spilling over into next fall.  If that’s the case, then we could see the end of the show in 2015.

Now, I don’t think that is the case and I don’t want to start any rumors that the show is finally going to end.  Quite frankly, the opposite is more likely.  Odds are that last year they ordered a full 22-episode TABF run, no reporters bothered to ask them for a total, and that the show is already de-facto renewed for at least a partial Season 27.

But the reason this time of year is important is because of the extraordinarily long lead time needed to create an episode.  The show can’t wrap the finale the week before it’s broadcast and just send everyone home.  Instead, the production will gradually shut down months ahead of time as new scripts stop being ordered and the final episodes wind their way through the animation process.  In the age of Twitter and friends, there’s no way you could keep that secret, even for a little while.

So, we have a couple of interesting pieces of information:

1.  It’s mid-October and there’s been no renewal announcement.
2.  There was no confirmation that the TABF production run is a full 22-episodes.  (At least that Google and I could find, anyway.)
3.  The long production time of the show means that it’ll shut down months before the last broadcast.

Where does that leave us?  It means that sometime in the next month or so we’ll either get a renewal announcement, a cancellation announcement, or another rumor heavy cluster fuck (a la 2011) about whether or not the show will stagger forward for another year or more.  My money is on a renewal announcement (best predictor of future behavior being past behavior, and all that), but we are in a situation where it’s at least possible that we might hear otherwise in the near future.

Keep watching the skis.

[Update 2:08pm Eastern: Word from Caesar himself in comments: "TABF = full 22 order".  Still looking for a renewal notice, but there will definitely be at least a partial Season 27.]

13
Oct
14

Behind Us Forever: Super Franchise Me

Lost Our Lisa3

“Don’t make me tap the sign.” – Bus Driver

There are episodes of Zombie Simpsons that border on manic, where they just throw crazy shit at the screen and hope that some of the incoherent jumble produces a chuckle or two.  But there are also episodes like “Super Franchise Me”, that feel like they were produced by people in the depths of an Eeyore level depression.  This is Zombie Simpsons going through the motions: slowly, reluctantly, joylessly.  The story, Marge opens a sandwich franchise, is paper napkin thin, and since there’s no B-plot, they had to tack on a slow motion fantasy chase sequence at the end to shuffle this one across the twenty-minute finish line.

(Sorry we forgot to put up a preview post.  Guess we weren’t the only ones half-assing it this week.)

- And you can tell things are off to a bad start when they have a clock eating non-guest couch gag.  It’s 45 seconds long.  Just 19m:15s to go!

- Guh, Flanders is reading the sign gags.  The sign gags are one of the few things they don’t completely suck at, so this is always annoying.

- And then they did it with Homer reading the name of the Japanese city.

- This is one of the dumber montages I’ve seen in a while.  Marge is cooking meat, and Homer is worried for some reason.  It takes almost forty seconds.  Tick-tock, tick-tock.

- You want a good example of how filler-iffic this episode is?  Bart and Lisa just watched Homer stuff food into Santa’s Little Helper for fifteen seconds before they objected.  It wasn’t funny, but it did eat some time!

- On a printed, 8pt font list of this episode’s problems, this would be on about page three, but it makes no sense for Marge to make all these sandwiches after Flanders takes his freezer back.  The premise is that the food is gonna go bad before anyone can eat it, and now she’s got a ton of sandwiches that would still need to go in the fridge.

- Similar to the above, why does Bart want sandwiches at night before he goes to bed?

- Oh, now they have a scene with Flanders explaining that he’s keeping them in his freezer.  It’s nice that they tied up the loose end, I guess, but when your story is so week that you almost have to retcon it before the first commercial break, it’s not a good sign.

- Oh, look, the main story has arrived in the form of a woman showing up at the school, where Marge went for no apparent reason.  Literally neither of them should be there.  Well done, Zombie Simpsons.

- Gotta love sparkling dialogue like this: “Mom, you’re gonna open a sandwich store?”, “Uh-huh.”

- Homer’s flashback to a Pizza Hut certainly went on for a while.

- Marge being happy that everything here is hers could’ve been interesting if it had been developed beyond having her just say “my” over and over.

- Krusty and Mr. Teeny just showed up for some reason.  And now the monkey is bathing in a giant salsa tray.

- Frink’s applying for a job.  Marge sets it up by telling him not to make any weird noises.  He then makes weird noises.  I think this was diagrammed out in Chapter 3 of “Scriptwriting For the Terminally Boring”.

- Gil handing out the strip club card would’ve been much funnier if the “Tell You Their Real Name” Tuesday joke had either been on the card or spoken aloud.  It’s both.  Reading the sign gags really sucks.

- Remember what I said earlier about Marge being happy about things actually being hers?  Well, that got dropped completely and now the Simpson family is working in the restaurant.

- “I was short staffed and your father volunteered.” – Thanks, exposition Marge!  We only saw that one minute ago, how could we possibly remember it?

- Montage #2.  This one is about making and selling sandwiches.

- The “We’re Closed and the Alarm Is On” sign with the skull and crossbones is kinda funny, but I’m just happy they didn’t have someone read it to us.

- There’s another sandwich place across the street now.  Bart pointed it out.  I like this scene, it’s a combination between their hatred of object permanence and their love of bizarre and abrupt plot twists.

- Cletus is reading ridiculous kids names.  Haven’t seen that before.

- Burns and Smithers just showed up for some reason.

- It’s okay, they’re gone now.

- You can argue about whether or not this show is funny (I don’t think it is, but to each their own), but there’s no denying that it’s dumb.  The premise here is that the sandwich franchise opened another location across the street and screwed Marge.  That’s actually a real problem (Subway, for example, is notorious for screwing its franchisees like that), but it’s not used for any kind of comedy here whatsoever.  Instead, they have Homer get scalded, stabbed and bashed in his crotch, and even then it doesn’t make sense.

- Just for good measure, we see Burns fall incompetently off of a rowboat.  Remember evil Burns?  He was fun.

- And now it’s over and they’ve got a caveman Homer very (very) slowly chasing some giant animal because this episode came in a solid minute short, even with all that filler.

- Nice of them to mention Jan Hooks, though.

Anyway, the ratings are in and they are way up, but only because of football overrun.  Last night’s cripplingly stretched premise was seen by 7.34 million people, probably half of whom just left it on after the Dallas-Seattle game.  That’s down from the also football lifted season premier, and it would’ve been an average number as recently as Season 22, but it counts as good for them these days.  Next week, the late national game is Giants-Cowboys, so we’ll see if there’s another (relatively) big number.

12
Oct
14

Quote of the Day

GreaseMeUpWoman

“Lunchlady Doris, have you got any grease?” – Groundskeeper Willie
“Yes.  Yes, we do.” – Lunchlady Doris
“Then grease me up, woman!” – Groundskeeper Willie
“Okie-dokie.” – Lunchlady Doris

Doris Grau would’ve been 90 today. Happy birthday!

10
Oct
14

Reading Digest: Mr. Burns Play Spreads

Blood Feud15

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

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

Enjoy.

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

SimpsonsS17FactSheet

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

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

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

ZombieSimpsonsIsSlow

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aurora Borealis?! – Excellent usage:

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

My first thoughts?

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

Heh.

New Techniques: Cold Smoked Cheese – Heh:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

05
Oct
14

Sunday Preview: The Wreck of the Relationship

the-wreck-of-the-relationship-promo-2-108138

Bart’s disrespectful behavior leads Marge to book him and Homer for a conflict-resolution cruise on the Relation Ship, and while Homer’s away, Marge takes charge of his fantasy-football team, with surprising results.

Nick Offerman guest voices tonight, and one of the ‘plots’ involves fantasy football apparently.  These are two of my favorite things, but not watching this episode will still be the best decision I make today.




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