Archive for the 'The Simpsons' Category



08
Feb
15

Sunday Preview: Walking Big & Tall

Walking_Big_&_Tall_promo_4

Lisa discovers that Springfield’s anthem was lifted from another town, so she composes a new one, while Homer gets a big lesson in “Wide Pride.”

Tonight’s guest hat is Pharell Williams. I find him to be quite entertaining, but I since I find zombie simpsons most unentertaining, I guess I will just have to miss whatever hijinks that are in store for him tonight.

08
Feb
15

Quote of the Day

The Twisted World of Marge Simpson11

“Welcome to the dynamic world of mobile pretzel retailing.” – Frank Ormand
“When can I start?  What’s my territory?” – Marge Simpson
“Your territory . . . well, let me tell you, wherever a young mother is ignorant of what to feed her baby, you’ll be there.  Wherever nacho penetration is less than total, you’ll be there.  Wherever a Bavarian is not quite full, you will be there.” – Frank Ormand
“Don’t forget fat people.  They can’t stop eating.” – Marge Simpson
“Hey, pretzels.” – Homer Simpson

Jack Lemmon would’ve been 90 today.  Happy birthday!

06
Feb
15

Reading Digest: Pixels Pixels Edition

Boy Scoutz 'N the Hood16

“Keep cool, Simpson. Be in the game, but not of the game.” – Bart Simpson
“No es bueno!” – Panamanian Strongman

There was one link that dominated the Simpsons internet this week.  Usually when that happens it’s yet another lame publicity stunt or the latest celebrity to do a guest voice.  This time, however, it is truly worthy:

Watch it.  Then watch it again.  It’s so slick and professional that at first I thought it was another one that Zombie Simpsons had commissioned.  Nope.  Just some guys who have serious skills and love the show.  Excellent.  Bravo.  Well done.  Kudos to you, Paul Robertson, Ivan Dixon, and Jeremy Dower!

In other news before we get to the links, this Monday will be the first ever Woo-hoo Simpsons Trivia here in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  If you’ve ever been to one of the ones in Toronto, New York, Chicago or elsewhere, this’ll be pretty much the same.  I even went to the trouble of hacking together this little flyer:

Flyer1

My apologies to everyone who gets tired of me flogging this on Twitter all weekend, but I would vastly prefer not to be the only one who shows up.  There will not be free balloons for everyone who enters, but we do have prizes for first, second and third place.

In actual links this week, we’ve got a couple of arcade games, Al Jean accidentally endorsing the idea that Zombie Simpsons sucks, lots of .gifs, frivolous lawsuits, and fan made Homers in the mediums of snow and banana.

Enjoy.

13 Things You Never Noticed About ‘The Simpsons’ Pilot Episode Because A Lot Has Changed In 25 Years – My guess is that most of you have noticed these things, but there are some very good .gifs here, and it’s always nice to see Season 1 get some love.  (via @dailysimpsons)

Macedonia man builds winter wonderland – He’s got an Xtapolapocetl sized Homer snow head in his front yard.  Bravo.

Bart The Daredevil – Noah takes a look at Homer falling down the cliff, and I agree completely:

This Gorge-jumping scene with Homer is truly the start of the Homer pain gags we’d see often, especially post-season 9. However, here it’s done in a different manner than the latter-season beatings. In this episode, the Homer beating may be brutal, but it’s fairly quick, isn’t overly graphic, and doesn’t involve him screaming for the entire time. Now, we have seen post-classic-era beatings that have been relatively funny, however I feel that this is truly the “right” way, if I may call it that, to beat the living hell out of Homer Simpson.

And he doesn’t bounce right back, he ends up in traction next to Lance Murdock.

The Jazz Hole – A very early look at a Lisa poster they’re apparently releasing next month and that will also be at Comic Con this summer.  You can’t quite see the whole thing, but it looks great.

the wit and wisdom of homer j. simpson – A collection of quotes without even a hint of Zombie Simpsons.

Stephan Brusche transforms bananas into icons and famous artworks – Yes, this man turned a banana into Homer Simpson.  He will be our new god.

Eddie Huang Rates the Best (and Worst) Coming-of-Age TV Shows of All Time – Publicity interviews are usually a complete waste of time, but occasionally you get a gem:

Okay, let’s go a little more recent: Bart Simpson.
I love Bart, man. One of my first CDs was that Simpsons soundtrack with Bart doing the Bartman. Bart was fucking a downtown New York cartoon character.

I don’t think he’s aged well, though.
He got that Asian dolphin skin. And hey: The Simpsons might be the first Asian-American family on television.

Because they’re yellow?
They are!

That’s fucked up, Eddie.
My last name means yellow.

10 Favorite Arcade Games – A little arcade nostalgia, with the Simpsons game coming in at #4.

Game NOT Over: Pasadena couple resurrects Monster Bash, other retro arcade games – And speaking of the arcade game:

The frustrating difficulty of these games might be their biggest charm. Guenther recalls a group of patrons gathered around The Simpsons Arcade Game on opening night, “They finally beat it just at the end as we were closing down, and I’ve never seen the closing credits on that machine.”

The Simpsons: Road Rage (2001) – A harsh review of an old game.

8 People Who Tried To Sue The Simpsons – This is one page per entry click whoring, but it’s at least got some novel information.  I’d only heard about a couple of these.

Harley visits Springfield – A well done photo of a tiny plastic Bart in a tiny plastic Simpsons living room getting visited by a tiny plastic Harley Quinn.

Lisa it’s your birthday – The “Lisa It’s Your Birthday” song works for anyone so long as their first name has two syllables.  There’s no way not to think about it.

Look of the week – Hey, hey, hey, there’s nothing “tacky” about Simpsons socks!  Oh, wait, yes there is.

A.C.T. Partners with San Francisco Institutions for MR. BURNS, A POST-ELECTRIC PLAY Events – Not only is the play headed west, it’s getting a pretty awesome guest:

Following the 2 p.m. matinee on Saturday, March 7, Emmy Award winner and former head writer of The Simpsons, Jon Vitti, will participate in a postshow symposium with Carey Perloff. Vitti has written 25 episodes of The Simpsons, including the “Cape Feare” episode.

TV’s top entrepreneurs: Homer Simpson as Mr. Plow – Homer Simpson, businessman, evaluated.

HIGH FIVE! Homer Simpson’s Parenting Quotes – There’s some good quotes here, and there’s a great YouTube video of Homer getting hurt that’s all non-Zombie Simpsons.

New trending GIF tagged the simpsons pixel art… – Part of that awesome pixelated opening.

New trending GIF tagged the simpsons super bowl… – This mashup of “I Love Lisa” and Richard Sherman’s reaction to the interception that won the Super Bowl was making the rounds this week, for obvious reasons.

New trending GIF tagged the simpsons angry snow… – Brockman cursing the storm that never happened.

Deals of the Week: $30 DualShock 4, Seasons of The Simpsons, $36 Xbox Live – And finally, Al Jean tweeted out this link:

JeanDVDTweet

Where it says:

A few Simpsons Seasons Are Suddenly Cheap

We’re talking good seasons too. Season 4season 5, and season 6 are all just $10. Our best Simpsons episodes list makes a nice buying guide.

Heh.  (That list of best episodes also has no Zombie Simpsons.)

03
Feb
15

Quote of the Day

Bart Gets Famous14

“Many interesting and important things have been put into boxes over the years: textiles, other boxes, even children’s candy.” – Box Factory Manager
“Do any of these boxes have candy in ‘em?” – Milhouse van Houten
“No.” – Box Factory Manager
“Will they ever?” – Milhouse van Houten
“No, we only make boxes to ship nails.” – Box Factory Manager

30
Jan
15

Reading Digest: Suggested Search Edition

Deep Space Homer11

“I suggest a lengthy, inefficient search, at the taxpayers’ expense, of course.” – NASA Scientist
“I wish there was an easier way.” – NASA Director

It’s a very short Reading Digest this week.  The WordPress “Simpsons” tag wasn’t working, those Auschwitz images I linked last week went kinda big, plus all the chatter about Elon Musk meant the signal to noise ratio went to hell again.  We’ve got some usage, some more play reviews, a couple of cool fan doodles, and the first few instances of Bacon Day cards, so it’s not like it’s completely barren.  Things should smooth out by next week.  But first, in the silly fun category, reader Feodor sent in this search suggestion:

ZombieSuggestion

Heh.  Thanks, Feodor!

Enjoy.

Definitive proof that The Simpsons is getting worse – This is just the IMDb ratings put into a nice graphic.  It’s been done before (here and elsewhere), but it’s nice to see people paying attention to how clearly different The Simpsons and Zombie Simpsons are.

Simpsons Star Wars Doodles… – The one of Homer in the famous Episode I poster is great.

The Avocado is the Hipster of Vegetables! – Scroll down for a printable Choo-Choo-Choose You image.

New Valentine’s Day Cards! – And here’s a fan made Etsy version for all your Bacon Day needs.

The I, Omnibus Top Ten (US) Cartoons of the 1990’s – A short history of why cartoons became much better in the 90s:

There were three major factors that brought US animation out of its “Ghetto Age” that lasted throughout the 1960’s, 70’s, and 80’s, and into its “Golden Age” of the 90’s. One was the Disney Renaissance – its rebirth of motion picture animation, which funnelled over to the television side. The second was the success of The Simpsons, which brought animation back to “Prime Time.” And the third was the success Ren and Stimpy, which reminded network executives that cartoons were once catered towards adults, and could be once again.

Reviews: Theater for thought and laughter – The play in Chicago gets some more critical love.

THEATER REVIEW Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play – Oh, hell, one more.

The Minimalists – Excellent usage:

The rigidity of minimalism’s reductionism has been parodied in mass entertainment, from Absolutely Fabulous (which taught us that if you make your home a white cube, there’s nowhere to stash the booze) to The Simpsons – think of the early 1990s episode in which a Yoko Ono-esque character sits at Moe’s bar and orders “A single plum, floating in perfume, served in a man’s hat”.

New trending GIF tagged happy the simpsons excited… – Here’s an appealing fellow.  They’re a-peeling him off the pavement.

The Full McBain – YouTube of all those McBain clips stitched together.

A kid-filled day – Adorable 4-year-old discovers Simpsons arcade game at a roller rink.  Aww, the kids love it too.

Boo-Urns Night. – Heh:

Nonetheless, Burns Nicht is celebrated all over Scotland (and indeed in many other places worldwide) and the celebration typically features more outlandishly Scottish stereotypes than a heroin-fueled Caber-Toss between Groundskeeper Willie and Ewan McGregor.

Excellent reference.

Rod McKuen, Prolific Poet and Lyricist, Dies at 81 – And finally, this is Critic rather than Simpsons, but this scene always cracks me up:

28
Jan
15

Compare & Contrast: Famously Smart Guest Stars

They Saved Lisa's Brain8

“I wanted to see your utopia, but now I see it is more of a Fruitopia.” – Stephen Hawking
“I’m sure what Dr. Hawking means is-” – Principal Skinner
“Silence!  I don’t need anyone to talk for me, except this voice box.” – Stephen Hawking

Celebrities voicing themselves has long been one of the most widely acknowledged hallmarks of Zombie Simpsons.  In truth, of course, the show had been using self voiced celebrities almost since the beginning.  What changed was the way those voices were used.  In Season 2, Ringo Starr voices himself, but responding to decades old fan mail, not arriving on the Simpsons’ doorstep.  In Season 3, an entire baseball team of Major League players voiced themselves, but that’s because they were all getting paid by Burns, not because they all suddenly decided to go to Springfield.  Self-voiced celebrities themselves aren’t inherently a problem, how they’re used is more important.

On The Simpsons, not only was there always a reason for some famous person to be there, but what they were doing was always a takeoff on who they were and/or why they were famous.  On Zombie Simpsons (in addition to being used far more often), the self voiced celebrities usually appear out of nowhere.  And once they are on screen, frequently don’t do much more than be their normal selves.  This is how famous street artists repeat their names and do nothing else and the entire cast of American Idol pops up just because.  It’s straightforwardly uncreative and almost always looks and feels like nothing more than a plea for attention.

All of those negatives apply to Elon Musk’s episode.  He literally drops out of the sky at random, and (like Lady Gaga) once he’s in Springfield he just kinda acts like an even more exaggerated version of himself.  Look, there’s drones and electric cars and friggin’ hyperloops!  Aren’t they funny?

LandingCraft

Too bad Kang and Kodos weren’t in there.

Even the episode’s attempts to show how his crazy ideas backfire falls apart.  Everything he does works, and Springfield becomes a futuristic utopia right up until Burns fires everyone.  Does Musk react to this?  Nope.  He disappears entirely as Springfield falls apart, showing up only at the end to act hurt that Homer doesn’t want to be his friend anymore.

They could’ve shown Musk as Shary Bobbins, a noble creature whose best efforts are eventually overwhelmed by the inherent crappiness of Springfield.  Or they could’ve shown Musk as an evil, Hank Scorpio-esque nutbar who loves his inventions more than people.  Or, with just a few tweaks, they could’ve shown a Musk vs. Burns battle for the soul of Springfield.  (Burns would triumph, of course, because good is dumb.)  But they didn’t do any of that.  They had Musk show up, then they drew some of his stuff into Springfield, then he vanished while everything fell apart.  This is about as shallow and pointless as it is possible to be given the enormous amount of screentime he got.

DisappearingAct

The episode manages to find him again, but only with binoculars.  He is apparently unaware that all of his improvements to the town have become failures.

Compare that with Stephen Hawking’s brief appearance at the end of Season 10’s “They Saved Lisa’s Brain”.  Now, by Season 10 the show was already falling apart, and Hawking’s sudden arrival isn’t without its share of problems.  Not only does he drive up with no warning whatsoever, but after he scoops Lisa up in his flying chair to save her from the mob, they land all of thirty feet away while the episode forgets completely that a riot was going on.

But Hawking still has both 1) a reason to show up and 2) is given some things to do.  He’s there because eggheads have taken over the town and he wants to check it out.  This still being The Simpsons, their efforts were doomed from the get go and he finds nothing of value in their little experiment.  Moreover, only on The Simpsons would Hawking be a bullying and arrogant dick who insults everyone and uses an extend-o-glove built into his chair to punch Skinner.  Yes, he is smarter than everyone else, but he’s a jerk about it, and that’s what makes it work.

They Saved Lisa's Brain7

Stephen Hawking: Face Puncher

Of course, The Simpsons also knew enough not to try and string that out for an entire episode.  Hawking is only in two scenes, one of which is an epilogue that doesn’t affect the story.  They don’t build the whole thing around him because even in Season 10 the show could still recognize the limits of a guest star.  In the filler laden wasteland of Season 26, weak guest ideas are asked to carry the entire runtime, and even a world famous inventor and entrepreneur can’t make that work.

26
Jan
15

Behind Us Forever: The Musk Who Fell to Earth

The Old Man and the Lisa15

“Eww, this place has got old man stink!” – Hitman
“Oh.” – C.M. Burns
“Don’t listen to him, sir.  You’ve got an enchanting musk.” – Mr. Smithers

I never bothered to watch the Lady Gaga episode a second time, so this comparison may be a little looser than I think it is, but the Elon Musk episode sure felt a lot like it.  A mega famous person arrives out of nowhere in Springfield (Gaga in a giant train, Musk in a spaceship that lands in the Simpsons backyard), crazy shit happens for a little while, then the mega famous person leaves.  There isn’t anything that remotely resembles story, conflict or satire, and the jokes, for whatever little they’re worth, are mostly just exaggerated plays on that mega famous person.  Lady Gaga had a crazy bra, Elon Musk has self packing luggage, har har.

Even by Zombie Simpsons standards, this one was disorganized and scatterbrained, so buckle up.

– No couch gag.

– Homer just showed up to hold up a quarter against an eagle.

– Marge is here now too.

– The Eagle has Maggie, and now Homer is punching it.

– “Ha ha, stupid eagle, it wasn’t the mouse we were after, it was you!”

– Oh, good, the broom vs. eagle fight is continuing.

– Homer’s eyeball popped out.

– So, Homer trained the eagle for four weeks?

– And now Elon Musk is descending in a space pod.

– Homer is weeping and bowing now.  This is more schizo than usual.

– Lisa is now explaining who Musk is.

– “So, what brings you to Springfield, Mr. Musk?”  Exposition Marge is here for us.

– After Musk explains why he’s here, Homer asks him if he’s interested in visiting him at the plant.  Musk replies, “I am, and I will”.

– Lisa just read out loud what Musk wrote on a piece of paper.  This is also going slower than usual.

– I was going to try to explain what’s happening now, but Lisa did it for me, “He’s taking your Homerisms and turning them into his own great ideas.”  This will go on for a while.

– Musk and Homer drove by Lou and Wiggum.  There were gunshots.

– Burns is reading suggestions out loud.

– Burns is being happy and nice, always his best traits.

– This Imaginer(sp?) guy interlude was bizarre.

– But it got weirder as Homer and Musk sit on top of the cooling towers.

– Then they hugged.

– “I don’t trust Musk.”  Exposition Smithers is trying to move the plot along.  I do like that he simply told us how he was feeling instead of us getting to see why he thinks that way, though.  It saves time for all the great stuff they’ve got here.

– Smithers just woke Burns up in the middle of the night for some reason.  Then the hounds were released indoors.

– So, everyone has self driving cars now.  That was unexpected.

– I didn’t see this musical interlude coming.

– Burns just informed us that he’s going to have Musk killed.

– Marge and Homer are in bed.  Marge reminded everyone of what’s going on, then Homer described Musk again.

– A bunch of old guys just shot at Musk and Homer.  Then Homer told us what just happened.

– Musk is apparently going back to his home planet now.

– But first he built Bart a real lightsaber.  Okay.

– And, after some zero-g tears, it’s over.  Huh.

Anyway, the numbers are in and they’re about what we expect with no football on.  Last night just 3.40 million people wondered why Elon Musk wasn’t doing something more interesting with his time.  That’s good for #4 on the all time least watched list and doesn’t auger well for the remaining ten or so episodes this season.




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