Archive for the 'The Simpsons' Category



01
Jul
14

Gamblor On Your Phone

Tapped In (640)

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

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

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

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

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

Purchase from Amazon

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

Click here to read the first chapter.

27
Jun
14

Reading Digest: Teaser Announcement Edition

Gabbo

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

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

Tapped In (640)

Thanks, Cessna!

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

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

Enjoy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’d be Otto!

Vocal sample?

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

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

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

On your next EP?

Okay, done! I’ll credit you.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bacon Week Continued – Bacon Donuts – Homer would plotz.

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

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

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

20
Jun
14

Reading Digest: Play Reviews Edition

Treehouse of Horror III10

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

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

Enjoy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Life Lessons from The Simpsons – Excellent idea:

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

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

How Real Men Spend Father’s Day – Heh.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Obligatory:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

7 WWE Superstars Who Were Probably Alcoholics – Excellent usage:

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

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

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

Feisty, yet spineless.

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

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

Excellent usage.

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

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

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

3.shows running for too long

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

Amen.

13
Jun
14

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

Colonel Homer13

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Soul Donut – Excellent nail art:

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

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

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

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

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

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

homer – A Homer haiku.

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

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

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

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

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

Go away, Zombie Simpsons.  Nobody likes you.

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

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

In Sight – Excellent reference:

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

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

Aquaman in Blinky’s Revenge – Heh.

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

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

Indeed he does.

12
Jun
14

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

By Connor Dunphy 

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

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

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

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

1

 

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

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

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

2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3

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

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

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

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

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

06
Jun
14

Reading Digest: No End to Licensed Merchandise Edition

Lisa the Greek17

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

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

Enjoy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[...]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Simpsons mural coming to town – Cool:

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

[...]

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

That’s Springfield, Oregon, by the way.

Just Because… – Heh.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

06
Jun
14

Quote of the Day

EineBooby

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

Happy Birthday Sam Simon!

31
May
14

Quote of the Day

Hurricane Neddy12

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

30
May
14

Reading Digest: Call for Guest Posts Edition

Itchy and Scratchy and Marge18

Between the holiday, the end of the television season, and the fact that it’s now basically summertime, the Simpsons had a pretty sparse week on-line.  All those things also mean that it’s time for my annual solicitation for guest posts.  If you’ve got something you’d like to say about the show, send it in.  We accept rants, cranky letters to the editor that end with “I am not a nut”, well thought out analyses, and just about anything else.  Pictures and images are welcome, and we’ll be happy to link back to your Twitter account, blog, or what have you.  String a few sentences together, and a tiny slice of internet fame can be yours.  You’re certainly welcome to send in something completed, but if all you’ve got is an idea, I’m happy to help you think it through and flesh it out a little.

As for this week’s actual links, we’ve got a beaded Bart, memories of Phil Hartman, a Lisa inspired music video, a couple of lists, and one of the junior Murdochs being such a ridiculously callous business executive that I could almost believe he was just trolling poor, hapless Variety.  Almost.

Anyway, enjoy, and get thee to a keyboard if you want to publish a guest post.

What HiFi stereo system is in The Simpsons house? – Stereo geeks take a guess at what kind of system the Simpsons have.  Perhaps a Pioneer C-5600?

Dear Phil – A nice remembrance for Hartman:

I still hear your voice, you know. It’s one of the most soothing sounds in life. Seriously!!! Hahahaha and not disembodied as I go through my day – though it does happen from time to time. Picture it: I’ll see something funny on the subway, and you’re narrating it like Troy McClure. It just takes the hilarity to a whole new level.

WWLSR – What Would Lisa Simpson Read Project – Now this is a project idea:

since I have been so involved in book clubs recently I thought it would be fun to read the books that Lisa reads on the show, in the order that she reads them. There is a Lisa Simpson book club out there in Tumblr land, but their reading list is missing a few titles, and is also not in chronological order. I’m a little OCD, so I’m rewatching all the episodes from se01ep01 to the current season so I can make a complete list of books read or referenced by Lisa Simpson. I’ve created a group on the Goodreads website (find it here!) but will also post about it and include my screenshots (Yes, I am ridiculously thorough). This post covers seasons 1, 2 and most of season 3.

That’s gonna be a lot of reading, and don’t forget that at the end of Season 3 she finally gets a copy of Ethan Frome to call her own.

: in remembrance : – Aw:

That’s my dog, his name was Bart. Together, we were Bart and Lisa. You know, The Simpsons?
He was one of the world’s great dogs and we were inseparable.

Sniffle.

Sexism in Springfield – On the less than stellar dialogue of Tapped Out.

D is for diorama – Pretty sure I learned that word from the show, too:

but it is only down to The Simpsons that I knew what was expected when Child 3 came home announcing she needed to make a diorama. I first heard the word in this context in the episode Lisa’s Rival (1994), where Lisa fears another girl’s diorama will be better than hers and plans to sabotage it.

James Murdoch on Cord-Cutting, ‘Fault in Our Stars’ and ‘Simpsons’ Syndication – I forget which one of Murdoch’s kids he is, but he has certainly mastered the content-free timbre of corporate speak:

“We are in an environment of really extreme plurality for customers … you have to have things that are differentiated,”

What does that even mean?

“Over the next three-to-five years we see a lot of really attractive filmic product coming through,”

Ooh, I love “filmic product”!

“The challenge for us is how do we monetize that video?”

Fry, get back to the office, shift some paradigms, revolutionize outside the box!

Classic Album Covers Get The Pop-Culture Parody Treatment – You’ll have to scroll through a few, but the Homer/Radiohead one is pretty good.

Family guy the quest for stuff – Uh-oh, dedicated Tapped Out players are migrating to Quahog.

The Simpsons: 10 Best Episodes Focusing On Minor Characters – Serious pageview whoring on this list, but at least there’s no Zombie Simpsons.

The Simpsons: 10 Greatest Movie Spoofs – Same as above, except there is some Zombie Simpsons.

Simpsons casting director chosen Expat Finn of the Year – Awesome:

Bonita Pietila, a name familiar to every Simpsons fan, was in Finland this week to accept an award for Expatriate Finn of the Year from the Finland Society.

Congratulations!  I always assumed that name was Spanish of some extract, guess not.

Wolf Alice – ‘Moaning Lisa Smile’ – Musical usage:

The video stars Ellie Roswell, who explained the video in a statement: “‘Moaning Lisa Smile’ was inspired by our favorite 8 year old girl, Lisa Simpson. We wanted to create a Lisa-type character and follow her in a pursuit to happiness. Although faced with obstacles in the shape of some nasty bitches, Lisa soon finds the group who make her feel like she belongs.”

The video’s pretty good, and certainly has a more coherent story than any episode in the last decade.

Perler Beads : Bart Simpson – Just what it says.  Well done (and the skateboard is a nice touch).

WATCH: Wisconsin police officer escorts ducks across busy road – Excellent usage:

You may remember a scene from “The Simpsons”, when Apu (in his role as a volunteer firefighter) is racing to the scene of a fire – only to be halted by a mother duck and her ducklings, lazily strolling across the road.

“You ducks are really trying my patience!” Apu complains. “But you’re SO cute!”

There are likely a few commuters in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, who can appreciate that sentiment.

Dining to the Oldies at Stewart’s Busy Apron – I’m not quite sure what it means in context, but it’s a great reference:

The blinds are always down at Stewart’s Busy Apron in Anaheim, but not to keep out the sun. This is the diner version of that sign on The Simpsons outside the retirement home announcing to visitors, “Thank You for Not Discussing the Outside World,” for here is a museum piece.

Duff beer labelled dangerous by Australian Medical Association – Expect more like this as Duff spreads around the globe.

Variety bash team takes on Dave’s obession with The Simpsons – While we’re on the subject of Australia, remember that Simpsons car from a couple of weeks ago?  Here’s the team, complete with Duffman and Duffwoman costumes.

Aaaah, so that’s how you ruin The Simpsons. #PicOfTheDay – Still of what I assume is some kind of Korean game or lottery show with people dressed as Bart, Marge and Homer.  I’d say the weird french fry looking thing on Bart’s head is the oddest part, but the white circles around Homer and Marge’s eyes aren’t far behind.

Music From The Simpsons – Spinal Tap – Lotta good YouTube, here, including the immortal, “These go to eleven.”.

Round 115: Trilogy of Error vs. The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show – “Trilogy of Error” is possibly the best episode in Season 12, it just happens to not really be funny at all, which is a bit of a handicap if you’re going up against Season 8.

de kooning – groening – Can you see Bart with “woman lips” in that?  I kinda can.

D’OH Boy – I think there’s like four puns in there, and I maybe get two of them.

Best Summer Vacation TV Episodes – “Summer of 4 Ft. 2″ naturally makes the grade.

Bacon Bourbon Pecan Pie & Maple Bacon Ice Cream – Yet more good food with Simpsons YouTube and a .gif of Homer trying to eat pie with his eyes closed.

Memorial Day: Which pop culture cookout would you crash? – And speaking of summer themes lists desperate for pageviews, here’s one that manages to list both “Lisa the Vegetarian” and Bad Boys 2.

 

29
May
14

Quote of the Day

Mirror

“The mirror . . . the mirror!” – Lisa Simpson

Happy birthday Danny Elfman!

27
May
14

Quote of the Day

Lisa's Substitute9

“I think he’s taking the next train to Capital City.” – Apartment Woman
“The train, how like him: traditional yet environmentally sound.” – Lisa Simpson
“Yes, and it’s been the backbone of our country since Leland Stanford drove that golden spike at Promontory Point!” – Apartment Woman
“I see he touched you too.” – Lisa Simpson

Happy birthday Jo Ann Harris!  
23
May
14

Reading Digest: Lots of Clothing Edition

Scenes from the Class Struggle in Springfield9

“I need a formal dress for tonight!” – Marge Simpson
“You’ve come to the right place.” – Patty Bouvier
“We’ve got classy duds up the yinyang. . . . I call this one, ‘Fantasy in Maroon’.” – Selma Bouvier
“It’s got some cigarette burns, but we can patch ‘em up with new vinyl.” – Patty Bouvier
“It’s a bit peppery for me.  Why don’t we put this in the maybe pile?” – Marge Simpson

Season 25 rolled unmourned into the past this week with hardly a peep from the internet.  I was sort of hoping for a few more stories about how the ratings are historically low, but Zombie Simpsons has become such a dull and ordinary thing that even that didn’t rate.  But we do have the usual smattering of fun stuff, including three links to officially licensed clothing and one to a (far superior) fan made jacket.  In addition to that, we’ve got two pieces of Australian usage, some love for Lisa, great Lego pictures, a couple of people who agree with us, and more sand Simpsons from England.

Enjoy.

A Hypothetical Aside and Round 113: Homer Badman vs. The Wandering Juvie – Smooth Charlie’s link of the week is our old friend Nebel asking what if the show had gone off the air after Season 9?  I agree that they probably would have rebooted it by now.  I wonder if that would’ve been worse or better than Zombie Simpsons?

I am the Lizard Queen – Homemade punk Lisa jacket.  Yes.  Ten thousand times, yes.

The Simpsons™ LEGO® Minifigure Series – Excellent series of fan photos, including such notable pairings and Nelson and Milhouse, Burns and Maggie, and, of course, Homer and Flanders.

I used to be with ‘it’… – Excellent .gif of one of Grampa’s greatest lines.

Round 111: El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer (The Mysterious Voyage of Homer) vs. Home Sweet Homediddly-Dum-Doodily – Oh, bitch, bitch, bitch.

Round 112: In the Name of the Grandfather vs. Beyond Blunderdome – Nice that “winner” is in quotes for Season 20 vs. Season 11.

How Do You Solve a Problem like Animation? – Nice catch on the Chomet couch gag:

Even the light switch is French, guys.

So it is.

Simpsons character leering over Tweed Heads motorists – An enterprising Australian graffiti artist has a mostly complete Burns-as-Dracula done on an embankment overlooking a highway.  Fresh victims for his ever growing army of the undead, no doubt.

WA’s ‘Flanders’ jokes amid budget gloom – And speaking of Australia, our old friend D.N. sent this in a couple of weeks ago (and I completely forgot about it):

Western Australia’s state government has just announced the 2014-15 budget, hiking up prices, hitting families, and selling off billions of dollars’ worth of assets to regain the state’s AAA credit rating. The announcement is not going down well. What does this have to do with The Simpsons? Well… Take a look at the attached photographs. The first is of the front page of the state’s leading daily newspaper, The West Australian (Friday 9 May); the second is from the inside. Both pictures were drawn by cartoonist Dean Alston.

StupidBudgetFlanders01

And:

StupidBudgetFlanders02

Thanks, D.N.!  (And good luck with Budget Flanders.)

Family Guy Review: Toast House – A sad, but I think accurate, observation:

Fifteen years ago – when I was a devoted Simpsons fanatic who dismissed this show as knock-off claptrap – I certainly never would have dreamed that I’d be looking forward to Family Guy each week, while I haven’t caught an episode of the Simpsons in years.

But Family Guy’s joke machinery – rather than The Simpsons’ warm character development – has better weathered the test of time. I’m shocked to hear myself say it, but I really think the Griffins are the ones doing the Simpsons a favor with this crossover.

Outside of post-football, I can’t recall the last time I saw Zombie Simpsons with higher ratings than Family Guy.

Burps Sea Doodles! – Neat fan sketch of Bart and Homer.

How To Start Planning My Creative Future While Watching The Simpsons – I’m envious:

Anywho…recently, my retail job and watching early seasons of The Simpsons have taken up most, if not all, of my time. I had never seen an episode of the Simpsons until this year and now I’m addicted. It’s like a meteor of stupid and relevant humor landed in my lap and I can’t get rid of the stains, no matter how hard I try. So far, my favorite seasons are 3, 5, 6, and 8 and I go on amazon a lot to find others.

I’d stop around 9.

I Was Mint For You – Me too:

It also reminds me of a fantastic visual gag from The Simpsons where Homer strides into his kitchen and declares to Lisa, who is lamenting her lack of power as an eight-year-old girl, that as part of the coveted 18 to 49 white male demographic, everyone listens to his ideas, upon which he promptly pulls a can out of the cupboard bearing a label for “Nuts and Gum, Together at Last!” and starts chowing down.  Slays me every time.

Things we love: Drop Dead Clothing – High fashion clothing embraces Itchy & Scratchy.  Never thought I’d see the day.

Cartoon Feminists – Lisa naturally headlines the list, but there’s more, including a good Bob’s Burgers .gif.

DeadstocksVA Conceptual Art Collection – I don’t think they’ve ever done a merchandising tie in with Nike, but if they did, that’s probably what it would look like.

The Top 25 Simpsons Episodes Of All Time – From Paste magazine.  There’s only one pick from Zombie Simpsons, and it’s #24.  You also don’t see the Poochie episode take #1 on these very often.

Beer and bacon – together at last! – Wow, that looks good.  Also, there’s a .gif of Homer’s epic escape from the candy convention.

Let’s get this started – YouTube of a couple of girls taking that quiz where you call the episode based on a single screen grab.  Excellent guesswork on the last one.

simpsonized game of thrones – Sure, stick Jaime with all the ladies.  He’s pretty enough.  (Also: well done.)

Weekly Photo Challenge: Works of Art? – Bart, Maggie and Santa’s Little Helper painted on an East German car long, long ago.  Bravo.  (I think that’s Homer on the roof.)

Weekly Photo Challenge: Work of Art – More beach Simpsons in England.  I wonder if this was our old friend Martin Artman?

Our students met The Simpsons writers & creator! – Groening and company may not be able to turn out a decent episode anymore, but they remain comprehensively nice people.

Maureen Lipman and The Simpsons’ Harry Shearer Will Star in West End Transfer of Oliver Cotton’s Daytona – Is the title of Hardest Working Man in Show Business currently vacant?  Because Shearer is making a serious run at it.

Ralph Wiggum amigurumi – Cool:

This is an amigurumi doll I made for a friend two years ago at her request. Her boyfriend’s favorite character from The Simpsons was Ralph Wiggum, and I think this was a gift for his birthday or Christmas, I cannot recall!

This is the kind of project I love, fan art. It’s always fun to re-create characters using a crochet hook and yarn, you never know what you are going to end up with, but the challenge makes it fun.

And it looks great.

ELEVENPARIS x The Simpsons x colette Capsule Collection – Officially licensed t-shirts tend to suck, but this one is pretty clever.

The Simpsons x New Era x PORTER 25th Anniversary Collection – Case in point of the above.

Good Beer Week kicks off – Excellent usage:

WHILE Homer Simpson’s beverage of choice is Duff – “the beer that makes the day fly” – Bendigo’s beer connoisseurs, it seems, prefer more sophisticated malts.

The commercial actually calls it, “the beer that makes the days fly by”, but that’s close enough.  (Plus it gets bonus points for being from Season 1.)

Now they’ve apparently just stopped trying – And finally, I get to end with someone who agrees with us, this time a for real newspaper writer:

I still watch “The Simpsons.” I don’t know why. I think I’ll be relieved when I finally just stop, and then watch the highlights or check out the show when social media makes a fuss. Right now, I’m one of the people who posts on those rare instances when the show is creative or clever.
But every once in a while, “The Simpsons” pushes things with me a little too much.

He’s upset about that dumb and pointlessly gory Itchy & Scratchy cartoon from a couple of weeks ago, and justifiably so.

22
May
14

Compare & Contrast: Homer and 4th of July Fireworks Disasters

Summer of 4 Ft 2(15)

“This baby’s sure to kill something!” – Homer Simpson

There is little doubt that a man who famously likes his beer cold, his teevee loud, and his homosexuals flaming, is a big fan of the thundering light show that is Fourth of July fireworks.  Of course, Homer is also the exact opposite person who should ever actually be involved with them.  He is thoughtless, careless and impulsive, and those are not traits that mix well with gunpowder.  In “The Yellow Badge of Cowardage”, Zombie Simpsons played with that combustible mixture and blew itself up.  In “Summer of 4 Ft. 2″, The Simpsons used the same ingredients to put on a masterful display.

To see the difference between that crowd pleasing spectacle and the kind of disaster that makes people run away screaming, there’s only really two things we need to consider: 1) getting the fireworks and 2) using them.  For the first, Zombie Simpsons makes things easy because they barely bother to show us anything.  Homer and Not Don Vittorio initially go to Cletus’s farm (why? who cares?) where they fail to buy anything.  The very next scene with the two of them is this:

Homer: Okay, let’s make some fireworks.

InstandGunpowder

Uh, I guess they found some?

There’s no explanation of where it came from or how they got it, and certainly not because of time constraints.  After this we get the interminable and mechanically narrated “drive around with gunpowder” scene, which is nothing but the two of them telling us what they’re about to do and then doing it: cobblestone streets, a rickety bridge, gaslights . . . it just keeps going.  So not only did they skip over something important, but they did so with forty-five seconds of filler.

Compare that to Homer’s immortal attempt to act casual like he buys illegal fireworks all the time.  Text is a weak excuse for Castellaneta’s exquisite delivery, and can never hope to reproduce that blithely misplaced confidence that he’s being smooth, but here it is anyway:

Homer: Hi, um, let me have one of those porno magazines, large box of condoms, bottle of Old Harper, couple of those panty shields, and some illegal fireworks . . . and one of those disposable enemas.  Nah, make it two.

This is lunatic insanity of the absolute best kind.  Homer is precisely himself: clueless and utterly incompetent.  The items he thinks are innocuous are the kind of thing that might get a real convenience store owner to tip the police off to this weirdo in his store.  Better yet, the Apu stand-in doesn’t even flinch, calmly explaining that he has no fireworks right up until the coast is clear, whereupon he instantly takes Homer back to his storeroom/arsenal:

Summer of 4 Ft 2(14)

Hey, look, multiple sign gags in just one shot.  I’m particularly fond of “Tang Tse Doodle”.

Once there we get to the M-320 (“Celebrate the independence of your nation by blowing up a small part of it.”) and Homer’s quick and happy response: “Alright”. Coincidentally, the entire scene, from the time Homer walks into the store until he purchases the M-320, takes almost exactly the same amount of time as the pointless gunpowder driving scene in “The Yellow Badge of Cowardage”.  This is the entirety of the dialogue from that fiasco:

Not Don Vittorio: Now drive slowly and carefully to my workshop.  It’s in the cobblestone district.
Homer: Oh, thank God, a rickety bridge.
Not Don Vittorio: Don’t worry, we’ll be safe in the gaslamp district.

That’s it.  In the time The Simpsons showed us Homer’s hilariously moronic attempt to be smooth and gave the world the M-320, Zombie Simpsons managed three lines of hapless exposition. The comparison doesn’t get any better for Zombie Simpsons when we move along to the actual using of the fireworks.

Befitting the sudden nonsense that got Homer and Not Don Vittorio the gunpowder in the first place, we see the two of them get into an argument on the fireworks barge over whether July 2nd or July 4th is the right day to celebrate.  The barge then instantly tilts over somehow and points its fireworks at the crowd. This is yet another example of the complete apathy Zombie Simpsons has for even the tiniest bit of story cohesion.  Not Don Vittorio is supposed to be a retired fireworks expert, so it’s not like it would’ve been hard for him to have shown just a little impatience with Homer leading up to this part.  Instead, the two of them just start battling it out over nothing with no warning whatsoever.

Compounding matters, the barge they’re on manages to (again with no warning, no foreshadowing, no nothing) conveniently tip over in way that barges like that are physically incapable of doing.  It’s one thing to have a rubber band reality where things can be stretched a bit from what physics allows here in the real world.  It’s quite another to toss weird, unexpected and just plain stupid events into scenes because you need to cut a very big corner.  This particular one is even worse than usual because this odd break with the audience’s expectations is immediately followed by people screaming in fear, as if we’re meant to take the danger posed by the fireworks seriously.

BargeoftheImagination

Somehow it manages to stay like this, and we’re supposed to be worried.

You can have physically impossible craziness, or you can have serious physical danger; you can’t have both.  The Simpsons, of course, understood that, and that understanding is crucial to making Homer’s disastrous attempt to light the M-320 pitch perfect.

Having purchased all of his fake items anyway despite not needing or wanting them (because he really is that dumb), Homer heads back to the Flanderses beach house, excited to play with his new toy.  Bart not having any matches, Homer heads into the kitchen for another scene that cannot be described in text.  What’s important to remember is that from the time he lights the middle of the fuse all the way through his casually walking away from the grotesque, brackish sewage that comes burbling up from the sink, there’s never any attempt to treat the danger seriously. Instead, we’re treated to Homer’s panic:

M-320

A .gif, is a poor imitation, I know, but you get the idea. 

There’s no attempt to make this serious, it’s just pure, uncut fun.  And while Homer is scared, he’s still Homer; so he’s willing to risk life and limb to save the beer once he realizes it’s in the fridge with his gargantuan firecracker.  Having destroyed the dishwasher and trashed the kitchen, he calmly walks away.  After all, it was like that when he got there.  (And, of course, the episode later shows them using broken dishes and Marge cleaning up Homer’s mess, because unlike on Zombie Simpsons, events on The Simpsons are actually connected to one another.)

In “The Yellow Badge of Cowardage”, Bart eventually saves the day by driving a bus in front of the fireworks Homer and Not Don Vittorio have managed to fire at the crowd.  It’s a cheap ending for the same reason so many of the stories on Zombie Simpsons are cheap: it comes out of nowhere.  Bart conveniently sees the bus, conveniently finds the keys, conveniently drags Milhouse (who’s supposedly furious with him) along, and conveniently wraps everything up with some more of their oh, so helpful exposition.

Homer’s fireworks disaster wasn’t his own doing, it was just a thing that happened because the story needed to be wrapped up.  It was dumb; it was weird; and it was ultimately hollow since the Homer we know and love, the doofus who adores fireworks but it far too dimwitted to know how to use them, didn’t have anything to do with it.  By contrast, the Homer who destroys his neighbor’s kitchen and leaves his wife an unholy mess to clean is the destructive but malice free idiot who can make us laugh with nothing more than a frantic flailing of his limbs.

21
May
14

Last Night, On Twitter . . .

Homer's Barbershop Quartet12

“I can’t remember the last time we were all together.” – Principal Skinner
“Last year, on that stupid Dame Edna special.” – Apu Nahasapeemapetilon

Al Jean continues to ever so gingerly dip his toes into the never ending torrent of love, hate and general bullshit that is Twitter.  Last night, he tweeted out this undated picture of some of the old staff:

JeanWritersPic

I wasn’t sure who everybody was, so I asked him, and he was kind enough to reply.  From left to right it’s him, Mike Reiss, Wallace Wolodarsky, Jay Kogen, Jon Vitti, and Jeff Martin.  He also said this:

Aren’t you the guys that trash us every week? Peace and love, man.

I’d quibble with “trash” and substitute “criticize”, but I don’t begrudge him his point of view on that.  Al, we love you all the same, and thanks for the picture!

18
May
14

Sunday Preview: The Yellow Badge Of Cowardge

 

The_Yellow_Badge_of_Cowardge_Promo_4 (2)

Bart is plagued with guilt when he wins the annual “last day of school” race around Springfield Elementary, with an assist from Nelson, who beats up frontrunner Milhouse. Meanwhile, Homer tries to bring back the annual 4th of July fireworks display after it’s canceled for budget reasons.

 

This is the season finale, so we got that going for us. However, based on the description, there will most likely be lost of guilt horns, so that sucks.  I also read that Glenn Close will be voicing Mona Simpson tonight. I am almost certain she is dead, unless they brought her back in one of the many ZS episodes I neglected to watch,  so maybe its in a dream sequence. Whateves,  I am less interested in solving that mystery than I am in figuring out why Bart gives a crap about winning a race around the school in the first place.

16
May
14

Reading Digest: No One Cares About the Season Finale Edition

Itchy and Scratchy and Marge17

“Aren’t you going to watch the rest of your cute cartoons?” – Marge Simpson
“Nah, come on Lis.” – Bart Simpson
“Maybe there’s something else to do on this planet.” – Lisa Simpson

Thank Jebus, most of the Lego hoopla has fallen down the internet memory hole and we’ve got a full set of great links for what feels like the first time in forever.  There’s crazy people driving a Simpsons car across Australia, tons of cool fan made stuff (everything from Homer as a serial killer to a nice Malibu Stacy cross stitch), some fun lists, several people who agree with us, and the most bizarre Bart(ish) statue I’ve ever seen.  Better yet, even though the season finale is two days away, nobody seems to care in the least.  A few people linked to the typically lifeless preview video, and that was it.  Even the recently announced (and sure to be godawful) Family Guy crossover didn’t get any internet love outside of the dutiful stenography of the entertainment press.

Enjoy.

Are Weezer The Simpsons of the Music World? – Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week is this excellent comparison of two faded 90s icons that completely agrees with us:

When looking at the latest Weezer song or the latest Simpsons episode, what’s maddening is that they come off as imposters of their past selves – almost like a cover band or bad fan fiction.

Worth the click.

Part I: The End of Easter – There is much discontent in virtual Springfield:

It is no secret that the Easter event was met with a variety of negative emotions; including disappointment, anger, stress, and frustration.

Part II: What Went Wrong – And it’s well justified:

Investing your time was the priority, as it should be. Players who stick with something for years are more likely to buy something down the road, as oppose to this event which clearly just wanted players to invest their money, because there was never going to be enough time to win all of the prizes through regular game play.

Part III: Economic Voices – But not unexpected:

If you truly don’t like these types of events, you’ll have to break the Pokémon mentality (i.e. “Gotta catch ‘em all!”) and accept that you’re not going to be able to earn certain prizes, no matter how often you play the game. Of course this is easier said than done.

Much easier said than done, deliberately so.

Malibu Stacy – Fan made cross stitch with quote.  Bravo, Chloe.

Dan LuVisi – Cartoon Heroes As Serial Killers – Very impressive fan made art of just what it says.  Homer and Yoshi are particularly cool.

For My Bucket List: With gratitude to The Simpsons – A second “to do before death” list inspired by the family.

Round 109: Lisa’s Wedding vs. Treehouse of Horror XIV – Welcome back, Nebel.  (Oh, and Season 6 obliterates Season 15, but you knew that already.)

Losing the Why and How for the What: A Case for Spoilers – There is no such thing as “overfamiliartiy” when it comes to the show:

While I can’t speak to the specifics of the original Dallas story line (as neither was I born, nor have I ever watched Dallas), I have a fair understanding of the story entirely based on my familiarity (some say overfamiliarity, I say go fuck yourself) with The Simpsons episode.

Huzzah.

Wishlist – This is (partially) about collecting the Lego minifigs, but it’s also worth clicking for the awesome Milhouse blog header.

Return of Bartzilla! –  We must flee!

From the extended edition. – From the same blog as the above, Marge would’ve made those much better movies.

umm That ain’t me kid. – One more.  Heh.

The Zombie Simpsons Family – Not sure of the source, but it’s a black and white image of the family as zombies.

cape_town – Reader Frank C. sent in this picture of a statue in Cape Town, South Africa writing simply “Don’t know what it means, but here you go”.  Well put:

Africa Bart Statue

Thanks, Frank!

In Defense Of Zac Efron: We’ve Rounded Up Some Of TV’s Worst Neighbors – You know who’s #1:

The Simpsons — Homer Simpson

Offenses: Uh, let’s see. Being indirectly responsibly for the death or your first wife. Getting you married to a Las Vegas hooker. Not returning borrowed household items. To list them all would require more time than this writer has.

Bad Neighbor Rating: 10.0

The episode where Maude dies sucks, but “War Rocks” always gets me.

List O’ the Week: 20 Worst episodes of The Simpsons (Classic era) – Part. 1 – Oof, picking bad episodes out of Seasons 3-8 seems basically impossible to me, but to each their own.

Scanning the Simpsons – Scanner pictures of the Simpsons Lego characters.  Cool.

It Was A Simpsons Sky – Fan poem.  Neat.

Why ‘The Simpsons’ Is the Best TV Show Ever – A long love note to the great years of the show.

The Simpsons! – Cool fan made sketch of the family.  But how come Maggie’s head isn’t being vomited out by someone else?

It’s The Simpsons! – A handy fan made fact sheet, including the depressing fact that FOX owns the show until 2082.

Tuesday “News:” 90s-Related Media I Discovered Last Week – The 90s Project rolls on.

Simpsons – Gun Accessories – Big screen grab of Homer’s gun purchase.

BREAKING: Beloved TV series eerily predicted Hank Scorpio’s takeover of the eastern United States – A lot of people wrote up that goofy story about Syria’s government blaming the show for something.  This one is the best I’ve seen:

OK, first of all, “New Kids on the Blecch” is a mediocre effort at best. The boy band parodies are OK but too on the nose, and the navy stuff is just flat. Second of all, say whaaaaaa?

Toy Review – LEGO Simpsons House (71006) – Serious minded review of the Lego set:

I also really like the items the family gets. Not just the things like the couch and a kitchen table, but they also get a piano, and accessories for every bedroom. It also may be the first product to feature an official LEGO toilet.

If that’s not a ringing endorsement, I don’t know what is.

GAME REVIEW: The Simpsons – Bart vs The World – A review of the second Simpsons game.  Bonus points for using the Sega Master System version instead of the NES one.  Don’t see that much.

A “Simpsons” and “Family Guy” crossover episode is coming whether you like it or not – Oh, relentlessly positive corporate PR, don’t ever change:

Fox chairman Kevin Reilly was delighted to share the news, saying, “Generations of fans will be talking about this one.”

What was I laughing at now?  Oh, yes, that crippled Irishman.

Yeppoon trio ready to drive The Simpsons through the bush – Some rather awesome people are going to drive a Simpsons themed VW Bug around Australia.  That license plate is fantastic.

Chomet the way to Springfield: Sylvain Chomet on turning TV’s favourite family French and the virtues of hand-drawn animation – A little more about how that couch gag came about:

The 50-year-old can trace his relationship with The Simpsons back to when he had a studio in Scotland while working on The Illusionist. “We had this actor, Harry Shearer, who does a lot of voices for the show, including Mr Burns,” he explains. “He said ‘you know they [Groening and long-time Simpsons producer Al Jean] really like your work’.”

Even in its senile years, Harry Shearer does what he can to brighten Zombie Simpsons.  Also, that would be the animated 2010 The Illusionist, not that crappy 2006 Edward Norton movie.

The 10 Worst Simpsons Episodes of All Time – A perfectly cromulent list:

With that in mind, we present the 10 worst episodes in The Simpsons’ history. Unsurprisingly, none of these episodes come from the peak of the show’s run, when it was considered nigh universally great. Perhaps surprisingly, they all come from a period in the show’s run even later than the time when you most likely stopped watching. (You’re such a quitter.)

I kinda thought the talking bar rag would be higher, and there’s no Lady Gaga, but those were all certainly terrible and forgettable.

Product Launch – AUS: Duff Beer – The real Duff soon won’t just be for Aussies and tourists at Universal Studios:

Duff has only been available previously through counterfeits and imitations.
“Australia as a beer-loving nation felt like the perfect place to launch the official Duff Beer,” a spokesperson told just-drinks.
A global roll-out over “the next few years” is planned, the spokesperson added.

I’ll bet it is.

The Simpsons x Johnny Cupcakes – The merchandising has now reached the frosted arts.

THE SIMPSONS x CONVERSE JAPAN JACK PURCELL SLIP-ON JP – Also, more shoes.

The Simpsons 25th Anniversary 5″ Celebrity Guest Stars Action Figure – Series 03 – And more collector crack.

Brief thoughts on the Simpsons – This is far gentler on Zombie Simpsons than I’m willing to be, but this is a pretty cool story:

When I was five my family was called by the Nielsen people wanting to know what we were watching on television, it just so happened that we were watching a very early episode of the Simpsons. While I might not have fully understood what I was watching, I knew that I liked the show. I can remember my mom telling the woman on the phone that we enjoyed the show and hoped to see more of it.

Crossover: The Simpsons x Family Guy – I smell another cheap cartoon crossover.

The Simpsons: The first year – Our old friend Stefan Grasso does an epic writeup of the entirety of Season 1.  He concludes:

25 years later, the show’s producers had betrayed Groening’s original vision, causing The Simpsons to become the same mainstream trash that Groening didn’t want to make, and that’s where The Simpsons had gone wrong. Unfortunately, by the time Mike Scully’s reign of terror ended, the damage had already been done.

I maintain that Scully attracts way more blame than he deserves, but there’s no arguing that when he stepped down the show was kaput.

Nielsen Infographic: How Long It Takes To Binge Watch Popular TV Shows – Uh, Nielsen?  I think you’re missing one there.

The Simpsons Sucks Now – And finally, I get to end the way I prefer, with someone who epically agrees with us:

We have been sucked dry by the series and have little to show for it aside from distant memories. The Simpsons sucks now.
Gone are the detailed plots that show the shenanigans of the town. There is no longer a running story. The episodes now are simply a one and done experience. We are hit over the head with “guest appearances” and it is painful. It legitimately upsets me how little the writer’s care about the loyal fans who have been keeping up with the show for the 20 plus seasons.

Preach, brother.  Preach.

12
May
14

Behind Us Forever: Pay Pal

Chalkboard - Pay Pal

“And this is Lord Thistlewick Flanders.” – Ned Flanders
“Charmed . . . Uh, googily doogily.” – Lord Thistlewick Flanders

Every once and a while we get episodes like “Pay Pal” that seem to be made up of B-plots that got discarded from other episodes and were found lying on the writers’ room floor.  The first thing that happens is that there’s an Evergreen Terrace block party, then John Oliver shows up as a new British neighbor.  Then he gets into a fight with Homer and vanishes completely from the episode.  With the “British neighbor” story concluded, there’s a new (more or less unrelated) story about Marge paying a kid to be friends with Lisa.  Neither story underpins or overlaps with the other and you could easily see either one being the subplot to some larger and wackier A-plot.

Despite the fact that the zaniness is about a low as Zombie Simpsons is capable of setting it (no magic powers, no fantasy worlds, not even any nuclear explosions), things still manage to make absolutely no sense.  Marge and Homer throw a giant party for Lisa but cover it up before she can arrive because none of the other kids showed up.  Grampa tells a story about paying Lenny and Carl to be friends with Homer that falls apart as it’s happening.  There’s an elementary school gym square dancing scene that has so little to do with anything else that it might have been accidentally copied and pasted in from another script.  But, hey, next weak is the season finale and then we can all forget about Zombie Simpsons for four months, so as silver linings go that’s a pretty good one.

- Couch gag is the usual excessive filler, clocking in at  forty seconds.

- This Itchy and Scratchy episode takes way too long, but the real problem is the competely pointless amounts of gore: cats drowning in their own barf, skinned corpses, lots of popped eyeballs.  They do know that a big part of what makes cartoon violence fun is that the coyote’s blood and guts don’t splash out when the boulder lands on him, right?

- What’s with Bart watching TV on a massive and ancient looking portable television, anyway?

- Shauna and Gil are not what you’d call a strong comedic pairing.

- And  now Gil is singing.

- “Now let me taste some of Ned Flanders no alarm chili”.  Ah, for the days when it was two or two and a half alarm chili.

- Homer and Marge are talking in bed and Lisa appears in the door to make an observation about not having any friends.  That’s exposition fairy!

- “That’s the saddest thing I can imagine my daughter saying to me”, characters should always tell you exactly what they’re feeling said no screenwriter ever.

- Now it’s Bart’s turn to appear mysteriously outside of his parents bedroom.  They really make it hard to tell if they just don’t care about constructing scenes or if they drop characters in and out just because they can.

- Did Homer just look directly at the camera?  Yes, yes he did.  That was odd.

- Well, at least this couples party didn’t take long to get to its perfectly silly fighting between Homer and this dull British guy.

- On the walk home, Homer climbs across people’s roofs.  Weird.

- Hey, a partying montage!

- So Homer and Marge threw a party for Lisa but then tore it down before she could get there, so the whole thing was completely pointless.  Also, they seem to think “Gus Hubner” is a really funny name and worth repeating as a punchline several times.

- Lotta scenes that really drag their feet this week.  First the gym teacher had to explain why there was a wall in the gym, then we had to wait for it to open.  Only then did we get to the exciting square dancing scene.

- Okay, this was kinda funny: “Nobody likes jazz that much, even the guy playing it had to take drugs.”

- This girl Lisa is friends with is the very definition of characterless.  She’s so bland I’m surprised she got a name.

- Bart had a nice “pace and exposit” scene until Milhouse showed up from nowhere.

- And then Lisa explains what’s happening, because we didn’t just see it ourselves or anything.

- Hey, another montage.  That ate up some time.

- Lisa’s confrontation with Marge is hacktacular from start to finish.  The two of them just explain stuff past each other, and it’s made all the worse because they’re both being weird and serious.  They really have no idea how to let characters act like people anymore.  Everyone sounds like their reading cue cards: “I would’ve found a friend eventually.  You couldn’t wait a damn decade until I got into college.”  Who talks like that?

- At least they acknowledge at the end of Grampa’s weird flashback that it doesn’t make any sense.

- And now Marge and Lisa are confronting each other again.  This time Lisa is mentally expositing just to us instead of out loud, though.

- And now also out loud: “It’s funny, but hurting your feelings made me feel better.”

Thank goodness that’s over.  I kept expecting John Oliver’s character to briefly show up sometime in the second half of the episode, but he just vanished completely after his fight with Homer.  He wasn’t really all that wacky and kinda seemed like he might have a bigger story purpose that “eat time in Act 1″, but I guess not.  On any other show that’d be weird, but on Zombie Simpsons its just a regular week.

Anyway, the numbers are in and they remain in the same sorry state that they’ve been since January.  Last night just 3.61 million people wondered what happened to John Oliver’s character.  That’s good for #4 on the all time least watched list and has dragged Season 25’s average viewership down to 5.07 million per episode.  Next week is the season finale, and if it comes in at 3.40 million or less, Season 25’s average will slip below five million.  That number doesn’t hold any real significance, it’s just easy to remember.  Either way, Season 25 is already the least watched season ever.

11
May
14

Sunday Preview: Pay Pal

the-simpsons-pay-pal

When Marge swears off becoming friends with couples, after Homer insults the new neighbors, Lisa declares she doesn’t need friends either.

Not much to go off of there.  However, Peter Sagal and Carl Kasell are guest starring as themselves, so you can be sure there will some good ol’ fashioned NPR humor for you tonight.

09
May
14

Reading Digest: Floodwaters Receding Edition

Flooded

“Marge, I’m going to look for the kids.” – Homer Simpson

The Lego episode is now five days in the past and the internet is starting to move onto other things, but this week’s links are still a little thin from that deluge of marketing.  Amusingly enough, though this is just my informal observation, there were a lot more links (on commercial publications and personal blogs) before the episode aired than after.  Prior to broadcast, my news feeds and Google Alerts were inundated with people posting links to images and that trailer video.  Afterwards there were quite a few reviews, mostly of the “it was pretty good” variety, but far far less overall chatter than there’d been for the build up.

Anyway, we do have a nice smattering of fan made stuff this week, including two professional artists, some Simpsons inspired heavy metal, a Lego Homer car, and an excellent modification to a couple of those recently released Lego characters.  In addition to that, we’ve got some excellent usage, a new makeup merchandising tie in, more on Bartkira, and two people doing some grilling, because it is now that time of year.

Enjoy.

Custom Lego Zombie Simpsons Homer Marge Treehouse Horror Glow Dark Minifigures – Someone took the Lego versions of Homer and Marge and detailed them to look like zombies.  Excellent.

The Simpsons at 25: Satire in serious times – A nice writeup of the show and what made it great that is, nevertheless, curiously absent examples from the last fifteen years or so.  I wonder why?

“Simpsons Doom” band Dr. Colossus release debut EP for streaming – Awesome:

So… do you like… stuff?

“Imagine if we started the heaviest band in the world, like real doomy, Sabbathy kinda stuff. What would we call it…what’s huge?…’Colossus’?…”
“…Or like Dr. Colossus from the Simpsons…
Why don’t we just make a doom band where all the songs are based on episodes of the Simpsons?”

That’s a basic summary of Melbourne duo Dr. Colossus. It’s the doomy riffs of Black Sabbath and Kyuss meeting The Simpsons’ funniest quotes re-written into lyrics. And the duo have released their debut EP – simply titled “IV” – for streaming on SoundCloud.

The dental plan riff has never sounded so heavy.

Amazon.com: Homer Economicus: The Simpsons and Economics eBook: Joshua Hall – It isn’t being officially released until next week, but there’s a new book that attempts to explain economics through Simpsons.

The Art Of ‘Bartkira’ At Portland’s Floating World Comics – The Bartkira project rolls forward.  You can now buy a 96-page “exhibition book” for $15.

See Every ‘The Simpsons’ Character In LEGO Form – The fine young folks at Uproxx seem to have about the right take on “Brick Like Me”:

was it worth the hype? As a novelty episode of television from a show in its 25th season, yes; otherwise, not really.

For the curious, they’ve got screen grabs of what each character looked like in Lego.

Welcome To Springfield – The Simpsons and MAC Collaboration for Fall 2014 – The 25th anniversary marketing barrage continues, this time with cosmetics.

Rare NEW Fire King Stacking Mug Cup Simpsons 25th Anniversary Made in JAPAN – Further down the merchandising totem pole, plastic cups from Japan.

Homer Simpson Is ‘El Chapo’ In Prophetic Drug War Art Series – An Italian artist created some simple drawings of Homer as a couple of famous drug lords and Barack Obama selling weed to Bart.

Jaimie Warren: ‘That’s What Friends Are For’ – And speaking of art, here’s dueling self portraits, one as Boy George and one as Ralph Wiggum.  Click through for the pictures.

Woolies launching Duff Beer at Moe’s Tavern pop-up in Sydney – Aussies will soon be able to buy Duff legally, but this was just a totally blown marketing opportunity:

Kingham said that while the beer has “good novelty value”, the liquid itself will not disappoint.
“We needed to make sure the beer would stack up. It’s a perfectly good lager,” he said.

Don’t call it “perfectly good”, call it “perfectly cromulent”!

‘Simpsons’ Lego episode: Behind the writers’ favorite inside jokes – There’s some decent stuff in here, but an awful lot of it is “brick” puns.

29 Things You May Have Missed in the ‘Simpsons’ Lego Episode – And speaking of brick puns, here’s a list of them.  The duck was a nice touch and I actually didn’t notice #26, the “Lego brick separator”, but that’s because I pry those things apart with my teeth and fingernails like a civilized Lego user.

Ill-Fated Simpsons Car “The Homer” Built Out Of LEGOs – Cool:

Now that LEGO is producing sets based on The Simpsons, LEGO enthusiast Brain Williams has taken it upon himself to build an incredible replica of The Homer. You can see the model in person at Brickworld or head over to Williams’ Flickr account, loaded with pictures of plenty of awesome LEGO creations.

The link has pictures as well.  Bravo.

The Beaten Path: Aaron Pico Is the Future King of Fighting – Excellent usage:

During one episode of The Simpsons, they catch Bart committing some schoolyard prank, and he must meet his principal for disciplinary activities at 4:30 in the morning.
His response to the punishment: “There’s a 4:30 in the morning now?”
Indeed there is, even if most kids (and adults) aren’t overly familiar with it. This drives to the heart of what makes Aaron Pico so unusual. He knows 4:30 in the morning like the back of his hand

Cue the Opening Theme – YouTube of some famous TV show openings which obviously includes The Simpsons.  It’s also nice to see Looney Tunes included.  Their opening is just as iconic, but it’s not a typical montage, so it’s rarely on lists like this.

The Gusface Traveller Chilli Con Carne – The chili looks incredibly good, but while you can’t eat it through the internet, there’s a great .gif of Bart’s time for chili hat that you can see.

‘The Simpsons’ Get Better Ratings In LEGO Form – I imagine that tepid spin like this was not the big publicity bump they thought it would be:

amidst a national epidemic of LEGO fever, The Simpsons fared about 20% than usual last night with its LEGO episode. Now, I’m sure with the expense and marketing behind it, the producers were hoping for/expecting a higher number, but with the show getting some of its worst ratings in history these days, any upward movement is welcome.

That sounds like the last thing someone says before a plane crash.

Game of Thrones – Via Text – This is mostly about the most recent Game of Thrones episode, but there is a delightful .gif of Burns laughing at that crippled Irishman.

Sorry, Moe – Apparently, ogling the ladies in the Sears catalog isn’t as shameful as it used to be.  Heh.

Scientists reverse aging in mice by giving them young blood – You can’t steal blood from the young and give it to the old without referencing “Blood Feud”.

Hank Azaria Settle on the Upper West Side in $9.2 Million Co-op – Azaria is moving from one massively expensive New York City apartment to another one.  That is all.

Hank Azaria on Late Night with Conan O’Brien (Simpsons Voices) – Speaking of Azaria, this is from a few years ago and Azaria does some voices and is generally charming, including a story about an Indian guy who yelled at him for doing Apu.  Near the end, they briefly discuss the origins of Jub-Jub.

The Simpsons: Television Royalty – There’s nothing here that your typical Simpsons fan doesn’t already know, but it’s a nice little love letter to the show.

Eat My Shorts! – First hand review of the Lego figures complete with detailed images.

#019 COM: Elizabeth and Ezekiel – Cool fan made drawing.

Help it’s Allergy season! – Oh, man, Milhouse would not last long there.

Tonight we’re grilling beef! – Is that an officially licensed Simpsons grill or a decal?  I can’t quite tell.  The color is nice, though.

09
May
14

Quote of the Day

Saturdays of Thunder15

“Ugly . . . ugly . . . butch.” – Patty Bouvier
“What’s the matter, can’t you find a hairstyle you like?” – Marge Simpson
“Oh, hold the phone, that’s the one for me.” – Patty Bouvier
“Ed Asner?” – Marge Simpson
“No, next to him: Mary Tyler Moore.” – Patty Bouvier

Happy birthday James L. Brooks!




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