Archive for the 'The Simpsons' Category



12
Aug
14

Quote of the Day

Treehouse of Horror VI9

“Here comes something!” – Kodos
“Remember the story.  We’re newlyweds on our way to Earth Capital.” – Kang
“Oh, shazbot.” – Kodos

Goodbye, Robin Williams.

08
Aug
14

Reading Digest: Spreading Stupidity Edition

Purple Monkey Dishwasher

“Now for operation Strike Make Go Longer. . . . You know, I heard Skinner say the teachers will crack any minute.” – Bart Simpson
“Skinner said the teachers will crack any minute, purple monkey dishwasher.” – Teacher
“Well, we’ll show him!  Especially for that purple monkey dishwasher remark.” – Mrs. Krabappel 

Sorry for the later than usual posting, but that Uproxx/Warming Glow thing was just too damn dumb to be dealt with in a snarky sentence or two.  (That it came on a blog named after a Simpsons joke is just aggravazing.)  As you’ll see, the stupid has already spread to the A.V. Club, though they were at least a little circumspect, and from there it’ll just keep going, giving rhetorical ammunition to all kinds of shallow arguments and internet trolls.  Feh.  Anywho, this week we’ve got two more people cracking wise about the looming catastrophe that is the Family Guy crossover, a sweet Lego Springfield, several cool pieces of fan art (including some mashup posters), two political links (one from Alabama, the other from Russia/Ukraine), and a new officially licensed book.

Enjoy.

The Most Iconic Buildings in Springfield From ‘The Simpsons’ Rebuilt in LEGO – Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week has already been up for a while, but is damned impressive.  The tire fire is just superb.

Minimalistic Poster by Karl Bembridge – Excellent fan made poster featuring nothing but Marge’s hair.

The Simpsons get political in art pieces – The same guy who had Marge and other cartoon characters as beaten up wives now has several of them asking to free Gaza.  Say this for the guy, he knows how to attract attention.

How Bart Simpson was dragged into the war of words against Putin – Someone photoshopped the opening sequence to call Vladimir Putin a “dickhead”.  Heh.

Simpsons Mash Ups – Some of these I’ve seen before, some of them I haven’t, and there are some very good ones.

Conan to perform The Simpsons ‘Monorail’ song with gay choir – That show at the Hollywood Bowl looks increasingly impressive.  Maybe they’ll end up putting it on YouTube for the rest of us?

The Decline and Fall of The Simpsons: Rape jokes in Springfield – There was too much criticism of the Family Guy crossover for just one week to contain, so here’s some more:

I’m not being holier-than-thou. “The Simpsons” has never shied away from dark subjects – Moe himself is a case in point. He is a violent man with a history of criminal activities. He has variously been depicted as homicidal, syphilitic and even as a stalker who is also a registered sex offender. And yet the character has been allowed many moments of nuance and tenderness too. Although an especially-ugly yellow-skinned cartoon character, Moe Szyslak is a recognisably-human character who has clearly known love and loss.

Yup.

Trailer Talk- The Simpsons Guy – And along similar lines:

What bothers me most about this crossover is that “Family Guy” and “The Simpsons” have very different cultures and senses of humor. The first being a “Simpsons Knock-Off” and a “frat boy” show that later evolved into satirical name dropping, left winged shout outs, cultural riffs, and senseless violence. That freedom and willingness to make people mad, groan, and complain, and then still get great viewership is what has set it apart from everything else on TV. “The Simpsons” on the other hand was built on family values, not swearing as much, nothing superficial like excessive violence (unless its a springfield riot). The stories were all “everyman” stories as well. More relatable to the original older audience the show was targeted for, before the YA crowd elevated it to current popularity. On paper you would not think two shows like this could really do a crossover.

In addition to on paper, I don’t think they can do it on a television screen either.

The Simpsons Archive dredges up some vintage Internet scorn from the show’s golden age – See, this is why I write lengthy replies to crap like that Uproxx post this morning.  On the internet, dumb ideas just ripple into the infinite future.

The Simpsons – Fan made drawing of the family on the couch.  Has a nice Season 1 feel to it, well done.

Celebrate 25 Years of The Simpsons™ With An Excerpt and Giveaway of ‘C. Montgomery Burns’ Handbook of World Domination’ – The merchandising parade continues, with a new book that you can win a copy of.

Governor or Simpson’s character? Democrat Parker Griffith enjoys laugh at opponent’s expense – Someone backing the Democrat in the Alabama governor’s race send them these:

Fire Bently

10 Badass Cartoon Characters Who’d Be Feminists In Real Life – Lisa, needless to say, makes the list.

What Happens When You Grow Up – Going back to old episodes, (of the show and others):

It’s all very surreal; you say the words that you’ve had memorised for this long out loud, but the meaning becomes warped and morphs into something new. Jokes take on new meaning due to new-found wisdom that however many years have brought you since you heard them as a kid, but they still work.

It is a very odd feeling, but there’s lots to catch.

Springfield @ Universal Studios – Some more pictures from the Springfield area, including several things I hadn’t seen before.

London actors present stories of The Simpsons after the end of the world – The Mr. Burns play is moving from London, England to London, Ontario for a week starting August 29th.

The War Of The Simpsons – Episode #033 – And his eyes were like steel, cold and hard.

The longest drawing in the world… – Awesome:

I bought a giant roll of drawing paper and wax crayons and felt tip pens.
My brothers and sisters and I are now attempting to make a really long drawing. We were inspired by the movie ‘Ramona and Beezus’.
It’s been a lot of fun so far. We started off by drawing trees and buildings, but then moved on to cartoon characters such as The Simpsons.

There’s plenty of pictures at the link.

Artistic Brain Freeze – Creativity and the lack thereof explained in comic form with an analogy to “The Mansion Family”.

100 Greatest TV Episodes: Homer the Heretic (s4 ep3) – And finally, I get to end with someone who agrees with us during this writeup of all time great episodes (“Homer the Heretic makes The Simpsons the first series to have two separate entries into our list!”):

What’s more, he asks genuinely insightful questions of society through his actions and even his words – famously and poignantly asking God:

“I’m not a bad guy, I work hard, and I love my kids. So why should I spend half my Sunday hearing about how I’m going to hell?”

Who knew he could say something that wasn’t entirely stupid, eh, current Simpsons writing team?

They certainly don’t, but we knew that already.

08
Aug
14

REMINDER: Even In The Early 1990s ‘The Internet’ Didn’t Hate On The Simpsons

Das Bus8

“Go apple!” – Bart Simpson
“Go orange!” – Nelson Muntz
“Go banana!” – Ralph Wiggum

This was originally going to be part of today’s Reading Digest, but this silly Warming Glow clickbait is making the rounds and needs a more thorough rebuttal:

REMINDER: The Internet Hated On ‘The Simpsons’ During The Golden Era

Let’s get started, shall we?:

As it’s been noted around these parts, FXX will be airing all episodes of The Simpsons over 12 days in August along with an all encompassing website. As with anything regarding The Simpsons on the internet, there are also plenty of comments about it being nowhere near as good as it used to be (“So only three days of good episodes?,” “It’s all downhill after season x.” etc.). It made me wonder what the internet thought of the classic episodes when they first aired. Well thanks to The Simpsons Archive, we can observe just that, via the Usenet reviews in their episode capsules.

So far, so good.  But this particular Spruce Caboose is about to jump the tracks:

The results were as expected: while there was plenty of praise to go around, many episodes highly regarded today were drawing as much ire as the more recent ones.

No, they weren’t.  In fact, this premise is so thin that it falls apart right here in this single sentence.  Not only do they have to note the praise first, but to say these were drawing “as much ire” is just transparently false.

Don’t take my word for it, the author, “Chet Manly” (<- great screen name), has some examples:

Here are some criticisms starting in season four:

“Kamp Krusty”

Larry Schwimmer {las}: Kamp Krusty had a few good gags and a lot of potential, but
it was often predictable and drawn out.

Chris Baird {cjb}: Rushed. In the past I’ve attributed poor storylines to
the unsuccess of a show, but the voice direction for the first part of
this episode (including that from the usually splendid Ms. Smith) was
that abysmal, it should accept the responsibility for most of the jokes
falling flat. If this happens again, I’m buying a tin of red grease paint.

To be fair, and to my slight surprise, the SNPP capsule linked there is clearly incomplete and has only those two reviews.  Since usenet is no longer with us, the complete original may be gone forever, but Google can find some of it, and there’s plenty of praise:

I really liked the scenes with Mr. Black and the evil camp consellors.
In once scene, they toasted “Evil!”.  Later, during the revolt, they
were going to escape by hydrofoil!  In other words, they were acting
like James Bond villians …

And:

A good show, but not great. You can’t have a *great*
: Simpsons episode when Monty Burns *and* Itchy & Scratchy
: are absent.
I quite agree!!

And:

For some reason I liked Homer’s quote:
“Don’t be the boy. Don’t be the boy. Don’t be the boy. D’oooh!”
And in classic Homer style
“If you want something you have to work for it,” he says to Bart
about getting good grades to go to kamp, then we see he has a
lottery ticket. Ha!
I also like the scenes of most of the family (except Marge, of course)
eating like animals. The sound effects are great.

Is every comment positive?  Of course not.  And these guys (and it does seem to be all guys) were hung up on the animation, since this was right around the time it switched from Klasky-Csupo to Film Roman and Akom to Anivision and Rough Draft.  (Oh, if only they knew the horrors of lifeless computer animation that awaited them!)

Moreover, and to reiterate my point from five(!) years ago, the people talking about the Simpsons on-line in 1992 were a very odd and unrepresentative bunch.  Just click that Google link above and you’ll see things like this:

The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the University of
North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Campus Office for Information
Technology, or the Experimental Bulletin Board Service.

A ton of the posts are from university IT departments (I counted Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Temple, Boston, and Stanford among others), and plenty that aren’t are from computer companies (there’s even a “HaL Computer Systems”).  There’s nothing wrong with all that, of course, but you’re talking about a time when new episodes were watched by 15 million people, only a tiny slice of whom had the technical skills to get to this message board.

Finally, he’s very selective about what he quotes.  Here’s the full “Larry Schwimmer” review (Uproxx parts in bold):

Larry Schwimmer {las}:  I wondered if I would ever pan a show.  Well, I
    need wonder
    no longer.  Kamp Krusty had a few good gags and a lot of potential, but
    it was often predictable and drawn out.  Also, a lot of the animation
    was not up to par (a few scenes were quite well done, though -- like
    Lisa giving the letter).

    Highlights:
        The couch sequence
        Goodbye scene with the parents
        "I no longer fear hell" - Lisa
        Krisis at Kamp Krusty
            - the play on TV news coverage
            - Lord of the Flies (including the skewered pig)
        Marge and Homer

    Midlights:
        Mail give-out
        Martin and his imitation gruel
        TV Video voice-over

    Lowlights:
        This is already a tad on the analytical...  If you loved this
        show, great.  That makes one of us. :(

This is deliberately misleading editing, at best.  And while I’m not saying that Schwimmer liked it, he had an awful lot of positive things to say about it.  That’s hardly comparable to “as much ire as the more recent ones”, about which people here and elsewhere frequently have nothing good to say.

Moving on, the next episode Uproxx quotes is “Itchy and Scratchy Land”:

By the time season six rolls around, there are much stronger critiques, where even the compliments are backhanded.

Again, the parts they decided to include are in bold:

Bailey Irwin: This makes my Top 5 worst list of all time, easily.  The
    racing form in the 1st 60 seconds of the show was the only thing
    that made me laugh out loud.  After that, it was nothing but about
    10 jillion stupid "Jurassic Park" jokes.  Killer robots?  Puh-LEEZE.

Scott Oak: I thought the beginning was good, but those silly robots
    kinda killed it for me.

Rod Arz: I liked it a lot.  Agreed that the robots were a bit on the
    lame side, but not as bad as the James Wood sub plot in Homer and
    Apu.  We still haven't seen Mr. Burns yet!  I wanna see him soon.

Shawn Metcalf: The first episode this season that I found myself
    laughing out loud at.  A marked improvement.

J. D. Baldwin: Well, that *was* more like it.  Now, what was that I was
    just saying about the long dry spell just prior to "Flaming Moe's"?

Matt Snyder: That show just didn't cut it.  The best episodes are plot
    driven, this was just one long excuse to make fun of Jurassic Park.
    I thought it was a big wasted opportunity.

Aaron Varhola: If this is any indication of how the sixth season will
    be, we're in for a treat.  After a dragging first act, the second
    and third acts were some of the best OFF I've seen; vicious shots at
    Disney, meta-humor about cartoon violence, and Bart as his
    mischievous self.  [...] A-.

Brian Fox: Not one of the best, not one of the worst either though...

Philip Hebbes: The show was great, I was laughing through the whole
    show.

John J. Wood: Finally...a *real* Simpsons episode [...].  The plot tied
    together well, and plenty of choice gags.  I watched this twice last
    night, and the second time was even funnier -- kudos on the
    blackboard and couch scenes, too.  Grade: A.

Carl Mueller: I'd have to say this WAS a pretty mediocre episode, but
    compared to what has been shown so far this season, it was a marked
    improvement.  Mainly it was the Disney jokes that got me, the last
    10 minutes (w/ the Robots and stuff) seemed to drag quite a bit.  C-

M. Coale: Was it just me or did "Itchy and Scratchy Land" overstep the
    bounds of parody and become what it was mocking?  The violence, IMO,
    was quite extreme and came very very close to crossing "the line" or
    possibly overstepped it?  It got to the point when it just stopped
    being funny.

Don Del Grande: A-minus - the only things that stood in the way of this
    episode getting a maximum rating were (a) the animation was weak at
    times, and (b) the ending was much too abrupt; it was as if there
    was 20 minutes of material written for a 21-minute show and they
    just tacked on something at the end.

Joel Recht: I thought the Disney barbs were great (recall the "Evil
    Gene" from The boy who knew to much.), the fantasia and Pinnochio
    spoofs were top notch.  I loved the detention center when Bart got
    arrested.  I give it an A.

Benjamin Dreyfus: One of the best episodes ever.  This episode contained
    all of the positive, but none of the negative aspects that were
    characteristic of 5th-season.  [...] In pure absurd-humor power, the
    Bort scene was second only to the rake scene.  This also proved that
    OFF could still be funny outside of Springfield.  Grade: A.

Matthew Kurth: This episode was a vast improvement over most of Season
    Five.  The "Jurassic Park" refs were well done, although the
    revelation that flashes disabled the berserk robots was poorly done
    with no atmosphere.  And finally - a decent ending! 8/10

Tony Hill: A very funny episode, IMHO.  The takeoffs on amusement parks
    were grandly amusing.  Once again we see OFF poking fun at Disney.
    It's no pleasant commentary on our society that a funland called
    "the violentest place on earth" is conceivable.  I give it an A.

Yours Truly: Excellent episode.  I'm in awe of the "Fantasia" parody...
    Elfman's music was spot on.  Loved the Disney and Jurassic park
    jokes, the writing was fast and furious, the violence was so
    prevalent but so blindly accepted that it was hilarious.  Grade: A.

Note that of the seven people who gave it letter grades, Uproxx included only the “C-“.  The other six were all “A”s.  Just as important, there are a lot of straight ahead compliments, not just backhanded ones.  There are more examples and I could go on, but I think I’ve made my point.

Were there internet criticisms of The Simpsons during its heyday?  Yes.  Were those criticisms representative of the entire population of Simpsons fans?  No.  Were those criticisms even representative of just the tiny number of fans who were on-line?  Again and emphatically: no.

Comparing that narrow slice of a narrow slice to the widely held and statistically evident opinion that Zombie Simpsons sucks doesn’t even reach the level of comparing apples to oranges.  It’s a dropped banana.

01
Aug
14

Reading Digest: Crossover Reaction Edition

Behind the Laughter3

“Fans reacted to these slapdash episodes with yawns, angry yawns.” – Behind the Laughter Announcer

The big news this week was a five minute preview video of the upcoming Family Guy crossover, and it was everywhere.  There were so many links from random sites that one was in Cyrillic, but outside of fawning headlines from radio stations and other teevee industry marketing appendages, the reaction was overwhelming negative, and we’ve got several links to prove it.  You can see the video at a couple of them, but I wouldn’t recommend it.  I made it two minutes in and gave up on about the third time they talked about how lame they were.   I try to keep an open mind, but this looks like it’s going to be a very dull forty-two minutes or so.

With all that garbage clogging up the internet, I’m amazed we had as much other stuff as we did, but in addition to plenty of anti-crossover bile, we’ve got a couple of other Comic-con wrap ups, two wildly different Bart t-shirts, apathy at Allure magazine, more Lego Flanders, a sand sculpture Homer, and lots more.  Enjoy.

The 30 Best Golden-Era ‘Simpsons’ TV References – No one is holding out much hope:

Despite all evidence to the contrary, maybe the Family Guy/Simpsons crossover episode will turn out not-embarrassing…possibly? As hard as I try, though, I can’t help but assume the worst about the “stupid tie-in cartoon,” which is why I’m glad it’s TECHNICALLY a Family Guy episode.

The list itself is great, though.  With lots of YouTube.

The Simpsons Guy: 8 reasons the Simpsons and Family Guy crossover will suck – These are pretty good, especially:

4. It’s not funny

Did you watch the trailer? It’s pretty laugh-free

And:

7. It feels like a desperate attempt to be relevant

As with the Simpsons/Futurama crossover, this feels like a desperate attempt to make both The Simpsons and Family Guy relevant again. The Simpsons has been on TV screens longer than most of the World Cup England squad have been alive and no one has cared about Family Guy since around 2004. Neither are culturally relevant any more and The Simpsons Guy feels like a sad attempt for one last hurrah.

LET’S TALK ABOUT THE TRAILER FOR ‘THE SIMPSONS GUY’ – Sensing a theme?:

First and foremost, the number one question on my lips – and doubtlessly on a whole lot of other lips, too – is why? Why was this necessary? Who are the people, in their infinite lack of wisdom, who were asking for this? Cynical though this outlook may seem, I feel that The Simpsons Guy has its origins in little more than a desperate ploy for viewers.

WATCH: Footage from the Simpsons/Family Guy crossover that absolutely nobody wanted. – Popular conclusion:

So why now? The cynical part of me sees it as nothing more than a quick grab for money and ratings. The logical part of me is having trouble viewing it as anything more than that either. Either way, it’s happening – and it’s one part nonsensical plot points, the other part jokes that you could see coming from at least half a decade ago.

Segregate my TV – Somebody else is unimpressed with the crossover:

It just all ends up being boring.

Man Gets Hit By Football – Australian Tour!! – An Aussie punk band has one of the best posters ever (click through) and an EP called “Can I Borrow A Feeling”.  Bravo.

You’re Toxic I’m Slipping Under – The play has closed in London, but this is high praise indeed:

I think Mr. Burns is brilliant. I have never seen a full episode of The Simpsons, but from what I’ve seen I think of it as a show for small-minded people. I don’t think slapstick humor is funny, nor stupidity, and I’ve been led to believe that The Simpsons largely relies on that type of humor.

Someone that clueless about the show (though, not far off for Zombie Simpsons) still loved it.

Kayte Walsh announces the name of her new baby boy – Sideshow Bob is having another kid.  I only mention it because of how they describe him:

It is her second child with Kelsey Grammer, star of Frasier and The Simpsons.

Cheers doesn’t even rate these days.

Comic-Con 2014: ‘The Simpsons’ sets world record with Homer’s Dome – There sure are a lot of weird world records:

The canvas had 5,565 squares in a paint-by-numbers type of format that the organizers were trying to fill out over the course of Comic-Con. The FXX team behind the event hoped to break the Guinness World Record for the most contributions to a painting by the numbers.

Beauty Lessons I Learned From The Simpsons – Allure magazine had one of their editors type up a little mention of the new Marge themed cosmetics line.  This is just a magazine doing an otherwise unnecessary favor for an advertiser, and you can tell because of how it ends:

Tell me: Do you have a favorite Simpsons beauty moment?

No, the internet does not:

Simpsons Beauty Tips

And that 1 person “listening” was me when I took the screen grab.

Sweat-Free SoHo Style – Nobody seems to care much about the Marge makup at Allure, but the New York Times has a “women on the street” video about summer fashion that features a woman (who is identified as a model) wearing a Bart mug-shot t-shirt.

Blog: How This Former Music Snob Loosened Up and Re-Embraced Pop Music – Excellent usage:

Part of most people’s aging process seems to be an increasingly lower tolerance for new or challenging things, and one of the most prominent ways that that manifests itself is music. It varies slightly from person to person, but there seems to be a point in most people’s life where their “best” era of music exists, and whatever comes after just sounds increasingly annoying and not-as-good as “their” music. In the wise words of Grandpa Simpson: “I used to be with it. And then they changed what ‘it’ was. Now, what I’m with isn’t it, and what’s it seems weird and scary to me.”

Grampa actually says “But then”, but that’s a nit.

What books are Montrealers taking out from the libraries? – The Simpsons, or “Les Simpson”, apparently.

Comic-Con’s Best Costumes So Far Include Homer Simpson, Snow White And Tons Of Superheroes – Any idiot can put on one of those creepy looking Simpsons masks, but it takes a special kind of lunatic to combine them with Homer’s full Stonecutter regalia.  Excellent work.

Watch Homer Simpson on Drugs in Mac DeMarco’s “Chamber of Reflection” Video – And speaking of creepy looking Homer masks, here’s a music video of a woman walking around wearing one.

Orlando/Universal Studios Day 1 – Getting Simpsons nails done before seeing the Simpsons area.  Cool.

Play D’oh!: The Simpsons FXX marathon schedule – A helpful little guide for those of you planning to watch some of the marathon on FXX at the end of the month.

A Suns-themed Bart Simpson t-shirt exists – Old bootleg Bart shirts are pretty amazing time capsules.

Boston MFA reportedly defaced by Homer Simpson graffiti – There’s a picture, but it’s pretty lazy graffiti.

The Simpsons: Krusty the Clown’s foul-mouthed rant prompts complaints – I’d guess this was “Bart the Fink”, but they don’t identify it:

The washed-up boozy clown was heard to use the word “bastard” during an edition of the programme screened by Channel 4 at 6pm in April, well before the 9pm watershed.

The incessant beep of outraged parents is company enough for him.

Simpsons: “Lisa’s Wedding” episode was pretty good a predicting the future – It’s a nice list, but it’s a little less than comprehensive.

UO alumnus’ firm chosen to paint city’s ‘Simpsons’ mural – The mural they’re painting in Oregon now has a designer.  It’s supposed to be done by the middle of next month.

Photos: Homer Simpson wins annual New Jersey Sandcastle Contest in Belmar – The Homer pictures are near the end of the slideshow, and it’s pretty clever.

American Roadtrip, Part 6: Catching a Baseball Game in Albuquerque – Brits take in a Topes game.

Mrs Grillah’s Amazing BBQ Cake – That is a cake Homer would happily ruin.

A Story of Inspiration – Heh.

Words of the Week 23/2014 – Homer Simpson – Heh (x2).

ravingmadlunitic – Heh (x3).

Sow Seeds Of Love! – Lego Flanders proselytizing.

The Glory Days Of The Arcade – Were the attacks actually different?:

So when my friends and I saw The Simpsons Arcade Game, we knew we just had to play and finish it! Of course, no one wanted to pick Marge so I got stuck with the blue haired housewife. But I was kind of glad she was my character since I thought she had an awesome weapon: a vacuum cleaner. I kind of pitied the guy who had Homer since all he had were his fists!

I genuinely don’t remember.

Friday Conversation: What Is Your All-Time Favorite ‘Simpsons’ Moment? – And finally, I’ll end with this Uproxx post that implictly agrees with us since not a single member of the staff so much as mentions Zombie Simpsons.

31
Jul
14

Just Because

Simple Minded TV Mayhem

Watched this one when I got home from work and thought it’d make a nice .gif.

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.




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Even though it’s obvious to anyone with a functional frontal lobe and a shred of morality, we feel the need to include this disclaimer. This website (which openly advocates for the cancellation of a beloved television series) is in no way, shape or form affiliated with the FOX Network, the News Corporation, subsidiaries thereof, or any of Rupert Murdoch’s wives or children. “The Simpsons” is (unfortunately) the intellectual property of FOX. We and our crack team of one (1) lawyer believe that everything on this site falls under the definition of Fair Use and is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. No revenue is generated from this endeavor; we’re here because we love “The Simpsons”. And besides, you can’t like, own a potato, man, it’s one of Mother Earth’s creatures.

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