“They swore they’d get us back by spiking our water supply, but they didn’t have the guts.” – Homer Simpson
“Ohhh, the walls are melting again.” – Marge Simpson
“Personally, I think I’m overdone.” – Turkey
Happy birthday Wes Archer!
“They swore they’d get us back by spiking our water supply, but they didn’t have the guts.” – Homer Simpson
“Ohhh, the walls are melting again.” – Marge Simpson
“Personally, I think I’m overdone.” – Turkey
Happy birthday Wes Archer!
“Egad, man! How are we supposed to pass the time?” – C.M. Burns
“Best bet is to stake yourself out a good spot at the starin’ window.” – Abe “Grampa” Simpson
It’s another short Reading Digest this week. As always we’ve got some good stuff, including an insane Lego video, the magical touch of Harry Shearer’s Twitter account, a sexually unusual farm animal, more clothing, and several great pieces of usage, but overall volume remains pretty low. Not sure why. Anyway . . .
Fast Food Formations: Homer Simpson Built From Junk Food – Some crazy geniuses constructed a life size Homer (waist up, anyway) out of things like marshmallows and licorice, and there’s a video of the construction. Excellent.
The Simpsons: 10 Deleted Scenes You Must See – This is one of those annoying pageview whoring things that makes you click for each entry, but they are all deleted scenes from the DVDs, so there’s some good ones. Sadly, no video, though (via @DailySimpsons).
▶ Itchy and Scratchy in STAR GORE – (Lego Simpsons Star Wars) – Lego Star Wars, meets Lego Itchy and Scratchy in this blood soaked YouTube video. I laughed when Scratchy got sucked into the engine on Luke’s speeder. Thanks to reader David for sending this in.
GIF Life Lessons: The Simpsons – Seven Deadly Sins – Pretty much what it says, and only one is from Zombie Simpsons. Personally, I’d have gone with Homer fantasizing about his body in “Duffless”, but that’s just me.
The Simpsons El Barto / Monorail / Pin Pals Badge Set 3 Original Pop Art Pinbacks 90s TV Pins | Picture Blog About Pinback Buttons – Three more. An “El Barto” tag on the monorail is a nice touch.
Homer V. Simpson gets honorary street sign in Madison – This may be the most Wisconsin story you’ll see all day:
Homer Simpson made his mark in Madison long before a character of the same name became a cultural icon on the small screen.
Legend has it that Homer V. Simpson, a prolific gambler, won half of Antler’s Tavern in a poker game and bought the owner out of the second half in 1943. He also bought land around the West Broadway bar, eventually donating some to the city. Simpson Street — which runs parallel to Broadway — was named in his honor.
Everything’s Coming Up Millhouse – Awesome Milhouse van in Sacramento, photographed by a woman wearing her Milhouse t-shirt. So . . . this is what’s it like . . . when doves cry.
On My Wish List: The Simpsons x Hello Kitty – The fashionable clothing has now had some crossovers of its own.
Ireland’s gay bull Benjy saved from slaughterhouse – National – Simon continues his good deeds:
He faced execution for failure to perform. But Benjy, the gay bull of Ireland, has been saved following a worldwide appeal backed by The Simpsons co-creator Sam Simon.
Ireland’s Animal Rights Action Network said Tuesday that Simon is paying for Benjy’s transportation to an animal sanctuary in England.
Every Sideshow Bob Episode Of ‘The Simpsons,’ Ranked – Unsurprisingly, the Zombie Simpsons episodes are all at the bottom. Of course, they’ve crammed him in as a cameo a couple of times now as well, but I don’t think those are on here.
B+ Blogging – Excellent reference:
Due to recent injury to my left pinky finger, typing correctly is currently tricky. If using proper home row typing form, which I insist upon doing to eschew greenhorn-ish hunting/pecking, multiple keys become impossible to type, including one biggie directly preceding “b.” I’ll try to blog without using these letters, much like how Lenny, the Simpsons’ self-described “good work guy,” once begged for continued employment without use of the letter “e.”
Think before you speak (but not too much) – Another excellent reference:
The whole thing reminds me of that episode of The Simpsons where Marge thinks a woman named Becky is trying to steal her family away from her. While driving to the store, Marge laments over the fact that she didn’t use her brilliant comeback of “Shut up, Becky!” when she got the chance. Of course, by the time she gets around to use it, it makes absolutely no sense but in typical Simpsons fashion, it’s still pretty hilarious.
Tee 469 – The Sgt. Pepper’s cast image.
How to Germans Adapt to Watching American Television? – Germans might not like Uter, so in Germany they made him Swiss. I learned something today.
Brush with Greatness: Harry Shearer and Me! – Nothing will improve your standing with your kids like getting a tweet from the voice of Otto and Burns.
“I am not steak. You can’t just order me.”* – A discussion of Mike Nichols movies ends with something that never hurts:
So what to recommend? How about “Lady Bouvier’s Lover” from season five of The Simpsons? Mrs. Bouvier!!
Hello, Grampa, my old friend . . .
New trending GIF tagged the simpsons snow winter… – Homer getting doused in snow in “Mountain of Madness”.
10 Categoric Reasons Why The Simpsons Is Better Than Family Guy – Reader Arvin sends in a pretty good list. “Quotability” alone is probably enough to win this.
This Day in Music History — November 21 – Know your history, kids:
1991 : An animated Aerosmith perform Walk This Way on the “Flaming Moe” episode of The Simpsons. The band is one of the first musical guests on the show.
And Mrs. Krabappel stole Joey’s drumsticks.
“Kids have been doing that one since my day.” – Marge Simpson
Rather than get into the nonsensical pageant of the transmundane that was the last third of “Blazed and Confused”, I’d like to take a look at a small moment from the beginning that illustrates the general shallowness of this episode. Specifically, the way that Bart’s closet/skeleton “prank” fails as both a prank, a joke, and as a part of the rest of the episode, especially when compared with Bart’s similar actions in “The PTA Disbands”.
While the backstories differ considerably, the immediate situation in both episodes is remarkably similar. In each one, the kids have a new teacher about whom they know basically nothing other than, as Bart says, “They’re trying to teach”. Also in each, Bart has prepared an elaborate booby trap to welcome the newly unfortunate teacher. This is where the two episodes diverge.
In “Blazed and Confused”, Bart has hidden a remote control car and a skeleton in the closet at the back of the room. His plan is to bump the car into the door a couple of times to get the teacher to investigate; when the door is opened, the skeleton drops from the ceiling, presumably frightening the teacher.
This is, to put it mildly, a very pedestrian prank. It wouldn’t be all that hard to set up in real life. Unless the person involved was very high strung or this was being done late at night on Halloween or something, it probably wouldn’t frighten anyone so much as briefly puzzle them. For proof, look no further than “Bart Carney”, which did the exact same thing as an example of something that was indefensibly lame.
“That was just confusing.”
To be fair to Zombie Simpsons, upon seeing Bart’s hapless skeleton trick, Milhouse says that it’s only kinda scary. So they’re aware that this is not one of Bart’s masterpieces. But they still have him go through with it, thinking it’ll work. It’s Bart doing what so many characters do in Zombie Simpsons: act contrary to who he is. Similarly, later in the episode, Marge will blindly trust Homer to do something that the Marge of Season 6 would never blindly trust Homer to do. The situations and story requirements are so dumb that they require the characters to act like lifeless versions of themselves just to get from scene to scene.
Bart’s prank, which they show us twice, is something the Bart of “The PTA Disbands” would scoff at. He’s the kid who hung a giant log from the ceiling to smash some unsuspecting teacher back into the blackboard. It would probably be fatal in real life, but that doesn’t matter because this is a cartoon and nothing bad actually happens. Bart leaps to his mother’s rescue, and she, having nearly just killed, fondly intones that kids have been attacking their teachers Ewok-style since she was in school.
This is one of those multi-layer jokes that made this show so damned funny. There’s 1) the over the top violence of it, 2) the fact that little 10-year-olds are vicious enough to plan it, 3) that 10-year-olds have always been doing that, and 4) that all of this is considered so normal that nobody is even upset. And none of that even takes in the context: Bart having to be reminded of them by Milhouse, the list of already dispatched teachers, and Bart suffering the beginnings of the perpetual embarrassment of being one of his earnestly uncool mother’s students.
And Milhouse didn’t even have to stick his nose through the hole.
The blackboard shattering impact of the log isn’t any kind of stand alone joke or punchline. It’s a fast and necessary part of a complete scene where each element complements and exaggerates every other. The last line before it comes crashing down is Milhouse’s, “I meant the other bobby trap!”, a statement that wouldn’t make sense if we hadn’t already seen Bart brush the thumb tack off Marge’s chair, or rush up there in a panic, or the rest of the scene that explains what they’re doing.
By contrast, the last line before Season 26 Bart starts his effort at teacher warfare, is Bart saying, “I will not. Anything to delay a spelling test”. What spelling test? What is Bart hoping this hapless thing he once saw in a broken down carnival ride is going to accomplish? Cause this guy to run off screaming? Prime him for the most traumatic hose soaking of his life? We sure don’t know. He’s trying to get out of something the audience neither knows nor cares about, and what he’s doing wouldn’t work anyway. In and of itself, the prank is dumber and weaker, and outside of that it dangles (literally) in the middle of the scene with hardly a connection to outside events.
You can see this same isolation and lack of connection throughout “Blazed and Confused”. The scene where Jason shows up to murder the park ranger was just a random thing dropped into the middle of the episode. There are literally no characters at “Blazing Guy” other than Lassen. Everyone else in attendance is just a one note blip, on and off the screen for whatever reason they happened to be there. Lassen introducing himself in Skinner’s office hardly needed to be there. And, given that his face cutting was probably the creepiest thing he did, the episode likely would’ve been better off without that entire scene.
Zombie Simpsons never bothers to weave a joke or a scene together with everything else. They just stack a few things up and hope a couple of them land. And if Bart’s prank doesn’t work, who cares? Maybe the next thing will. The Simpsons didn’t do that. It made each part of the script, down to individual lines and words, aspects of a coherent whole that builds on itself. That intrinsic context and support can make a murderous “prank” hilarious, just as not having context and support can drain the fun from great ideas, and leave bad ones hanging lifelessly from a thread.
“Camp is gonna be great! Seven days without parents, homework or ear medicine!” – Milhouse van Houten
The best thing to say about this episode is that at least the designers and animators had some fun (including David Silverman, who even got a line!). Other than that, this one was a cheerless, contradictory mess. There’s a new teacher, who’s some kind of psychotic, rule crazy nutjob, but who nevertheless is a regular at “Blazing Guy”, a Burning Man parody so uncreative that they actually tried to make fun of themselves for it. Nothing we see of this guy would indicate that he would want to be so much as near “Blazing Guy”, but he’s in line for the great honor of setting the big statue on fire. Was Zombie Simpsons making a point about not assuming what type of people might attend Burning Man? Of course not. In their world, him being an uptight prick in the first half of the episode has nothing to do with the second anyway.
- Decent (and short) couch gag for once.
- This show has deteriorated to the point that Chalmers yelling is now considered a go to gag.
- This teacher swapping scene isn’t a terrible idea, but dear sweet Jebus is the execution dumb. Chalmers yelling and being afraid of this teacher doesn’t make a lick of sense, precludes them from making actual jokes, and makes this guy’s introduction serious instead of, you know, comedic.
- Oh, look, Willem Dafoe is back. Also, he just cut his face for no reason. Hi-larious.
- Bart has constructed a prank in the closet with a remote controlled car and a skeleton. Enjoy it, because this episode moves so slowly they’re going to show it to us twice.
- Now Dafoe is hassling Nelson, who is helpfully expositing everything.
- He just gave Bart a haircut, so naturally the next one minute of screen time (at the Simpson dinner table) will be a rehash of that.
- Marge says that Bart should’ve gotten a balloon with his haircut. Bart then has a balloon. Hacktacular!
- And here’s the big swerve. Marge mentions that there’s a camping trip. She also asked Homer to book a reservation. This makes so little sense that the show has Marge weep and exposit it.
- Now the teacher just punched through the blackboard. Don’t ask.
- Then Milhouse stuck his nose through the hole. Please continue not asking.
- Bart just got electrocuted with lots of sad music playing. It’s weird.
- Milhouse just plugged New Zealand’s film industry for some reason.
- Bart helpfully tells us that he set up a camera in the teacher’s lounge. That leads Lassen (which is the name they gave this guy) to helpfully exposit that he wants to talk to Miss Hoover on-line. Bart then exposits that he’s created a fake profile for Miss Hoover, which means they can now see Lassen’s profile. Everybody got all that?
- Meanwhile, Homer is on the phone begging for a campsite reservation. Then Jason from the Friday the 13th movies shows up, murders the park ranger Homer’s talking to, and listens while Homer describes his house and his “pretty wife”. It’s also weird.
- Bart and Milhouse are now sitting outside. After Nelson and Lassen show up real quick for no reason, Milhouse helpfully pushes the plot forward by telling us that photos of Lassen were taken at “Blazing Guy”. He then asks what that is before saying “Oh, that’s convenient” as he clicks on a video that explains it.
- The neo-hippie in the video explains that “this year’s” guy who ignites the statue is Lassen. While he’s doing this, the statue, already on fire, burns in the background. Shit like this is why I call the writing lazy. There’s no need for that. It isn’t a “cheat”; it doesn’t move the story forward; it isn’t a joke. It’s just sloppy. Either nobody noticed or nobody cared, and neither speaks well for the quality of the show.
- Bart then exposits that if they go there and film him, he’ll get revenge. This also makes no sense, and Lassen’s profile already has such pictures, but whatever.
- Marge and Lisa are packing for the camping trip that for some reason she still assumes is going to happen. Bart and Homer then show up to stage whisper to each other about going to “Blazing Guy” instead. Marge and Lisa are still in the room and might’ve noticed this, but Zombie Simpsons doesn’t care about that.
- In the car, Marge reminds everyone that she doesn’t know where they’re going.
- For no reason and with no consequences, the family tent just blows away. Because this show has the attention span of an inch worm, we knew it was going to happen because a random guy popped up to tell us that it would first.
- And Marge just got high on tea offered to her by a stranger.
- And now there’s a new tent.
- Ugh, they just panned over a bunch of “Blazing Guy” musicians while Lisa narrated who they are.
- Here’s another example of how shallow and pointless all of this is. When Lisa first sees where they are, she happily declares it, “A world of anarchic free expression!”. A few scenes later, we see her playing her sax in a drum circle, where she is quickly joined by more musicians who it seems like might be stepping on her toes. (This is also David Silverman’s cameo.) But instead of adding some depth to “Blazing Guy” by saying that maybe all the anarchy can get annoying, or that Lisa actually loves it, or anything else, they just exit Silverman stage right and move on. The sum total of the Zombie Simpsons take on “Blazing Guy” is that people dress and act weird.
- Remember the plot? The episode just had Bart and Milhouse spying on Lassen, including Bart helpfully reminding us of what they were doing.
- Marge being stoned gives them their excuse to eat some clock with a trippy montage. Not before Homer gets hurt in the crotch and Bart reminds us again of why they’re there.
- Oh for fuck’s sake. Bart and Milhouse are wandering around and Bart finds some “fire retardant”. He tells us what the cans are, even though it’s stenciled on the side of each one. This is this episode’s “opens a box of flesh eating ants”. Bart then explains how it will work.
- Unnoticed by anyone, Bart has now sprayed the giant statue with “fire retardant”.
- Oof, Lassen is now using David Silverman’s tuba to shoot fire at Bart and chase him around. And then Homer fires himself out of a catapult to collapse the statue.
- Yet more evidence that Zombie Simpsons cannot sustain a thought for more than a few seconds, Marge is high again, and even asks when the tea will get out of her system. Not two minutes ago we saw her sober and talking with Homer. But, hey, they wanted to go back to trippy montage, so why not?
- We get one final scene where Chalmers and Skinner fire Lassen. It too is exposited:
Chalmers: So, where do you go from here?
Lassen: A place where my talents will be appreciated.
Turns out he’s a prison guard now. And Sideshow Bob is there for a very brief cameo.
Anyway, the numbers are in and they’re pretty much the same as last week’s. Yesterday, just 6.64 million people wished they had whatever drugs Marge was on to get them through that snoozefest. That’s in line with what we’ve come to expect from episodes with football lead ins. Next week, the late national game is on CBS, so it’ll doubtlessly be much lower.
“Say, let’s bring him back to life by using technology!” – Future Guy
“Aye caramba!” – Bart Simpson
“Yay!” – Future Crowd
Unsurprisingly, there were a boatload of crossover reviews this week, everything from big publications to regular ole bloggers who just wanted to chip in their two cents. We’ve got a bunch below, but having read even more of them than I linked, this appears to be the general consensus:
1. It was better than the Family Guy crossover.
Outside of that, opinions diverged. Some people really loved it, others thought it was just plain bad. More than a few people from both camps wished it had been a double episode, either to extend the fun or to give it time to fix the problems. In addition to those, we’ve got a couple of old episode reviews, plenty of .gifs, an unusual best episode list, a fan video, and lots more.
Moaning Lisa: New Feelings on an Old Episode – Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week is this heartfelt rewatching of “Moaning Lisa”:
I don’t watch The Simpsons as religiously as I used to. Though I catch the occasional rerun, I usually have to wait a while until the station gets back to the earlier episodes since I have little interest in watching reruns of the newer seasons. And even then, I tend to avoid the first two seasons of The Simpsons mostly due to the rough animation, which is hard to watch sometimes. However, on this particular night, after a long day at work, I decided to just leave the show on in the background even if it was from the first season.
And I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen. From the moment Lisa sighs her way through a day at school, uncaring, searching for an outlet through music only to be squashed creatively by her music teacher to the friendship she forms with Bleeding Gums Murphy, I could not focus on anything but the episode. Something clicked in my head and I felt the deepest and most sincere empathy for Lisa because, at one point in my life, I was just like her.
The whole thing is worth reading, especially for those of you who’ve felt the way Lisa does there (and who hasn’t?).
The Lydians – I don’t know enough about music to follow this deconstruction of the theme song, but it certainly seems knowledgeable. It’s even got a correction at the bottom.
The Simpsons: Season 10, Episode 19 – “Mom and Pop Art” (1999) – A look at the episode, and some of the art and artists in it.
Task 4 – Kinetic Typography Outcome – A short text video of part of the SpiderPig song. Neat.
“The Simpsons” (Season 5 episode 15: “Deep Space Homer, FOX) – This is what I keep saying:
By virtue of having a science-fiction plot there are plenty of set pieces that parody science fiction classics like “2001: A Space Odyssey” and “The Right Stuff.” Thankfully, “Deep Space Homer” doesn’t rely solely on references for its jokes. The bulk of the comedy comes from seeing Homer act in a situation where he’s plucked severely out of his element.
Zombie Simpsons writers, please take note.
“Simpsonrama” brings about nostalgia for cancelled “Futurama” – The headline sums up quite a few of the reviews I found, with this being a widely shared sentiment:
The crossover is a love letter to Futurama fans, the rabid fan base who had to recently go through a second cancellation over at Comedy Central won’t have much to complain about. However, it lacks in plot and motivation. While the character interactions are great and there are countless one-liners, it seems tacked on compared to some of the great story arcs that Futurama has produced.
Simpsorama: The Simpsons and Futurama Crossover Episode Review – Similar to the above, but more forgiving:
It was great, but could have been an hour long episode. Putting these two shows together was a great idea. the flow of the story went smoothly, but for the fans that wanted to see more of an interaction between the two shows, it could have been done better.
TV Review: Simpsorama – A very positive review of the crossover.
5-sentence review of ‘The Simpsons’ and ‘Futurama’ crossover episode – And a not so positive review.
Simpsorama! The Simpsons/Futurama Crossover Review – Again, this seems to be a common sentiment:
Whereas The Simpsons and Family Guy crossover episode earlier this year mirrored its double billing with a double length running time, Simpsorama is a brisk 20 minute jaunt which whilst is certainly funny, simply doesn’t have enough time to become anything more meaningful than an interesting footnote in each show’s history.
The ‘Simpsons’/’Futurama’ crossover: Two great tastes that go pretty well together – Entertainment gossip rag Entertainment Weekly did its best to be enthused:
“Simpsorama” wasn’t a great episode of The Simpsons or of Futurama, but it was a lovely little celebration, a tip of the hat from the class president to the kid who spends lunch breaks inventing new rules for Dungeons & Dragons. Also, Homer twisted the necks off of little green Bart mutants, which isn’t nothing.
Simpsorama – Seeing as how I thought the second production run of new Futurama was much better than the first, I wholeheartedly agree with this:
This crossover within Matt Groening’s universe is a lot more The Simpsons than Futurama. It is nice to see the Planet Express gang, but it left me wanting more after blurting “That’s all they can come up with?”
Now, can we get new Futurama episodes that would definitely be written better than “Simpsorama”?
The Simpsons: Simpsorama Review – That would be sad:
Excuses are the refuge of cowards, crossover shows are the refuge of cowards who have run out of excuses. Someday the future will be here, I mean, when you think about it, the future will be here tomorrow, but there will be a not-too-distant future in the far future and that future may be a future without The Simpsons or Futurama. Of all probably futures, the worst would be that this episode would be the only testament remaining of these two shows.
Let’s hope that doesn’t happen.
Every ‘Futurama’ Reference In ‘The Simpsons’ Crossover – I don’t know if it’s every one or not, but it’s not a great sign for the overall quality of the episode when so many are from the end credits.
Long gone. – Duffman graffiti in an abandoned building in Belgium.
Interview with Will Stateczny on Monkeys Need Love Too -But did you use your main finger?:
Where did you come up with the name “Topwise” and what are your hopes for Topwise Games?
Topwise comes from growing up watching the Simpsons. Most Simpson fans will know exactly what I’m talking about and where the reference comes from.
Indeed we do.
Interstellar…In 10 Words – Giant space ants would’ve helped, actually.
The TMCC’s Top Ten Episodes of “The Simpsons” – Unusual to see two Season 12 episodes on one of these, but there’s nothing past that. Also too, this is more thoughtful and explained than most lists.
Treehouse Of Horror II – Episode #042 – Always liked that Homer and Bart bonding was so terrifying to Bart:
Now, what is it that jolts Bart awake? is it the idea that he has the power to turn his father into anything or was it the exchange of “I love you’s” Hmmm…..
Homer Simpson Wallpaper – Heh.
I used it be with it – Still one of the most timeless quotes in a show that has an awful lot of them.
PHOTO: Peter Budaj’s new Jets mask features fighter pilot Ned Flanders – Just what it says.
Lisa Simpson Hipster Pin – And she looks like Blossom.
Simpsons Homer Mr. Sparkle Pin – Join him or die.
Kitty Says Simpson Ay – Simpsons socks. That is all.
Random Simpsons Screencap of the Day 11/12/14 – Comet heh.
Siblings’ intimacy – Some .gifs of Bart and Lisa’s memories from the end of “Lisa on Ice”.