Archive for the 'The Simpsons' Category



06
Jun
15

Quote of the Day

Principal Charming11

“Bart, I’m flabbergasted!  Surely you knew as you were writing your own name in forty-foot high letters on the field that you would be caught.” – Principal Skinner
“Maybe it was one of the other Barts, sir.” – Bart Simpson
“There are no other Barts!” – Principal Skinner

Sam Simon would’ve been sixty-years-old today. Happy birthday.

05
Jun
15

Reading Digest: Pondering the Absence of Shearer Edition

Burns Verkaufen der Kraftwerk13

“Oh, sir, what will you do next?” – Mr. Smithers
“Well, first I’ll get that new hip I’ve been hankering for, then, who knows?  Beekeeping, boxing, bocce ball, the world is my oyster, Smithers!  Farewell.” – C.M. Burns

I’m finally digging out all the Shearer related stuff I didn’t have time to get to over the last couple of weeks, and I have found a couple of gems.  There’s a Hollywood insider take, a journalist take, and a fan take, all on what his (potential) leaving means for the show.  In addition to that, we’ve got some excellent references, great fan art, a bunch of .gifs, and a wildly dickish local news team.

Enjoy.

Harry Shearer’s excellent Simpsons adventure – Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week is this Hollywood insider perspective on Shearer’s situation from a longtime TV writer who actually knows him:

“What is he thinking?” asked dozens of text messages from people who know that we’re friends. “Is he insane?”
He is not insane, I told them. Harry Shearer is a fantastically gifted writer-performer-director, and after 26 years of voicing the characters of Mr Burns, his devoted assistant Smithers, school principal Skinner, irritating neighbour Ned Flanders, and many others, Harry simply decided to do something else.
“He’s ill, isn’t he?” asked one person. No, I said. He isn’t ill, either mentally or physically. He just can’t see how he’ll be able to devote the time his future projects require if he’s also committed to several more years of The Simpsons.

He goes on to make the case that the money is the least important part of this.  I still don’t know whether or not Shearer’s actually leaving, but this is very good perspective.

Why a Shearer-less ‘Simpsons’ can survive – I like this article.  The basic premise is that the show sucks anyway so who cares if they replace Shearer?

Variety bash team Simpsons Car 1111 hosts a charity golf day – That is phenomenal Simpsons swag from Australia.

Q & A With Bill Oakley on Portland Playhouse’s “Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play” – Heh:

Have you seen the play? If no, why not? If yes, thoughts?

BO: I have not seen the play because I do not like to leave my house. If they want to come over here and perform it, I can push back a couch in the living room and maybe provide Cheetos and Snapple.

And:

There have been so many celebrity cameos on The Simpsons. Who has not been on the show yet that you would like to see make an appearance.

BO: We could never get Stockard Channing to appear on the show for some reason and I’m pretty sure she is still alive. So STOCKARD CHANNING it is.

The Simpsons – Absolutely outstanding Simpsons tablecloth which can be yours on Etsy for $200.  Click through for lots of detailed pictures and real Simpsons love:

The tablecloth was found in a thrift store, like all of my accoutrements. The lace edge and sunshine yellow called my name, screamed my name, and I was truly giddy taking it home. I first envisioned stitching Yellow Submarine on this gem. When The Simpsons also came to mind, I went with the franchise I felt was less likely to sue me.

Heh.

Breaking Bad, Simpsons, True Detective Fictional Foods – The Duff can and Krusty burger are phenomenal.

The War Of The Simpsons – Fantastic line:

“…That music always sends a chill down my spine…”

TV Legends Revealed: What’s the Secret, Lazy Origin of ‘The Simpsons’ Opening? – Time has always been hard to fill, no doubts there.

Sepp Blatter…In 10 Words – He’s crossed that line from everyday villainy into cartoonish super-villainy.

FOX 46 Charlotte – Bart Simpson graffiti sticks again, City of CLT says it needs to – See, this is why nobody likes local news:

The City was unaware of the NoDa graffiti until FOX 46 News notified them. There has been no word yet from the owner of the apartments if the graffiti will stay.

The media called the cops.  Boy, you guys suck.  There are, of course, good pictures at the link, if you’re interested.

Model Antonina Petkovic’s Simpsons T-Shirt – Apparently, Bart can be “grungy-chic”.

19-year veteran AP English teacher fired for reading Allen Ginsberg poem to class – Excellent reference:

Oilo’s colleagues, friends, and students were quick to defend him. Said one former student “There has been a definite tonal change since I grew up here. It makes me think of Mrs. Flanders from The Simpsons: ‘Will no one think of the children??’ I mean, if there are parents in town who think their teenagers don’t know what a blow job is, they are sorely mistaken.”

We got to Check Out The Simpsons Springfield Grand Opening at Universal Studios, Hollywood! – There was a ceremony at an amusement park.  Here’s a 1 minute YouTube video of it.

The Simpsons, Doctor Who, More Coming to Lego Dimensions – It took awhile, but Lego turned into the King of Licensing so gradually, I didn’t even notice:

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment today confirmed that its Lego Dimensions title, slated for release this fall, will include gameplay from The Simpsons, Doctor Who, Ghostbusters, Jurassic World, Scooby-Doo!, Portal, Midway Arcade, and Lego Chima.

4 Reasons Why ‘Simpsons’ Dimwit Ralph Wiggum Might Be Secretly Smart – He’s not, but that was a decent read with plenty of good YouTube and no Zombie Simpsons.

Eye On Springfield with Dan Jackson of Void Ritual & Desu – This blog is called “Xtapolapometal”, “A blog about metal and The Simpsons”.  Excellent.  (Also, the interview is good, too.)

Eye On Springfield with Chris Alfieri of Vattnet Viskar – Same blog as above:

It depends on my mood really, I do like when they take on cultural issues without trying to outwardly make a fool out of people who may not share their view. They have a lot of tact which I respect a ton. But occasionally I just need to see a brainless but well written episode like the Trilogy of Error episode.

That is a great way to describe “Trilogy of Error”.

Disney princesses and Marge Simpson turned into breast cancer survivors to celebrate ‘courage’ – This is by that same Italian artists who’s been doing these lately.

Simpsons joke origins: Sideshow Bob’s campaign ad – And to think, that commercial was only aired a single time.

Someone has made the actual gummy Venus De Milo from The Simpsons and it’s incredible – This is at least the second time someone’s done this, and maybe the third.  Bravo, everyone.

Hall and Oates – An essay about Homer (well, non-Zombie Homer, anyway) as a classic Fool.

Homer’s Heaven – Lego Homer, real donut.

Five Fandom Friday: Five Characters That Get Me – Lisa tops the list, but it’s nice to see Wednesday Addams on there too.

5 Fandom Friday: 5 Fictional Characters You Most Identify With – Homer makes this one.

Photo of the day: Christen Press and Christen Press – One of our forwards got life size Simpsonsized.

The Simpsons: Hit & Run – Old video game review complete with .gifs.

New trending GIF tagged the simpsons simpsons homer… – Clean as a whistle!

New trending GIF tagged the simpsons simpsons smoking… – He’s got money to singe!

New trending GIF tagged the simpsons bye goodbye… – Poochie goes home.

Etsy: Patty and Selma Cross Stitch – It’s not just Patty & Selama, it’s Patty & Selma freshly back from the beauty parlor.

Tristin Hopper: Like the Vatican, the Church of the Simpsons will go on – And finally, I get to end with someone who not only agrees with us, but does so in rousing, theological ways:

For someone who grew up on the Simpsons but stopped watching in the 1990s, seeing a contemporary episode is akin to Jesus Christ walking into the Vatican. The basic tenets may be familiar, but the presentation is shockingly dissimilar from its origins.

Throw out the heretics!

29
May
15

Reading Digest: Open Audition Edition

A Star is Burns20

“Sir, the actors are here to audition for the part of you.” – Mr. Smithers
“Excellent.” – C.M. Burns

It’s a short Reading Digest this week because I’m still behind the eight-ball, and the Dead Homer Society inbox still has rainbow wigs and floppy shoes everywhere, but some Reading Digest is better than no Reading Digest (right?).  Since the announcement of the (possible, still very unconfirmed) departure of Harry Shearer, plenty of people have been throwing their voices into the ring.  This week, we’ve got three of them (kinda).  We’ve also got some excellent usage, another Simpsons recasting, globetrotting Nancy Cartwright, (Britain, hurt feelings of), and a free silent movie starring Weird Al.

Enjoy.

I Hate the Sea and Everything In It: JAWS – Our friends at FLIM Springfield have done another of their .gif-tastic recastings, and this one is maybe their best yet.  Here’s some chum to get you swimming their way:

frink-hooper

Prof. Frink as Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss)
Elementary chaos theory tells us that all Great White Sharks will eventually turn against humans and run amok in an orgy of blood!

Here’s What The Opening of “The Simpsons” Looks Like Recreated With Stock Footage – This was making the rounds last week.  It’s impressive, but pretty uneven.  Some of the shorts are really good and pretty close to the intro.  Others are a bit tenuous.

This dude could easily replace Harry Shearer on ‘The Simpsons’ – This guy is very good (though some of the voices are a lot better than others), but it’s not hard to tell the difference, either.

▶ 28 Simpsons Impressions! Comedy Brian’s tribute to the Simpsons. – This is more than just Shearer voices, and again there are some very good ones in here (Burns and Patty & Selma, particularly).  (Thanks for sending this in, Brian!)

Harry Shearer Replacements for Mr. Burns – Reader Gary Lee sent in this compilation of clips with celebrities doing Burns lines.  Way more Zombie Simpsons than I would’ve used, but some of them are very good.

Michiana man aims to break world record for largest Simpsons collection – That is a lot of Simpsons stuff.

What If The Simpsons Became Our Post-Apocalyptic Mythology? – A nice writeup of the play in Portland.

‘The Simpsons’ Nancy Cartwright Interview: Cannes Film Festival – Cartwright went to France to promote a small movie she did based on a one-woman show she did twenty years ago called “In Search of Fellini”.  She does talk a bit about doing French for “The Crepes of Wrath” and artfully dodges a question about Shearer leaving.

Nancy Cartwright Added To Supanova Perth & Sydney – And then she’s off to Australia.

The Moving Picture Co. 1914 – Remember that silent movie with Weird Al that Mark Kirkland made?  Well, now you can watch it.

Movie review: Even the cast is too familiar with the plot to be scared by ‘Poltergeist’ – Excellent reference:

The 1982 Tobe Hooper-Steven Spielberg film is an oft-telecast classic. But generations have been exposed to the plot and its loopiness, thanks to reruns of “The Simpsons.” Hard to get too worked up about a “Treehouse of Horror” tale.

Skyler: Parents, foster the success of dealing with failure – Another excellent reference:

Eighty percent of the baby boys continued to pull on the string, yanking harder and harder, some even getting a foot into the pulling action, until they were exhausted with anger and frustration.

Eighty percent of the baby girls tried the string once or twice, realized immediately it no longer worked, then began to cry.

I was reminded of the “Simpsons” episode in which Lisa devised an experiment called “Is my brother dumber than a hamster?” Every time Bart reached for a cupcake, his hand was shocked. Despite this pain, he reached for the cupcake over and over and over.

Someone got a Drake as Bart Simpson tattoo (Photo) – The headline says it all.  Well done, someone.

The myth of bad British teeth – The BBC takes exception to a stereotype:

Having bad teeth is one of the stock American jokes about British people. In the world of film, spoof super-spy Austin Powers cavorts around London as a would-be sex symbol, not realising that his discoloured, crooked grin is being mocked.
In one episode of the Simpsons, a dentist scares a young patient into better oral hygiene by exposing him to a horrific publication called The Big Book of British Smiles. It features mocked-up pictures of gappy, unaligned teeth belonging, among others, to Buckingham Palace guards, the Prince of Wales and Sherlock Holmes.
Chris van Tulleken, a British doctor and TV presenter, has joined the criticism by telling Radio Times magazine that British dental standards are globally infamous and having “brown, foul teeth doesn’t really bother us”.
But are British mouths really in such a state and is there such a lack of vanity?

Oinkster Burger Week 2015 is here! Get ready for seven days of burgers – Heh:

Also, for the first time, the folks at Oinkster have collaborated with their neighbors at Highland Park Brewing to create a Burger Week beer. Red Tick ale is a sessionable red ale, the name for which is an obscure “Simpsons” reference (one episode from the eighth season).

Here’s what it sounds like when Generation X runs for president – The Washington Post – Weak reference:

Declaring Tupac Shakur superior to The Notorious B.I.G. Listing off favorite Clinton-era episodes of The Simpsons. A romantic epiphany that involved a foam party and a pay phone.
It could all be late-night chatter in a mid-1990s dorm room – or the recent musings of Republican men vying to be the leader of the free world.
Generation X has hit the campaign trail.

[Rant]There is no such thing as “Generation X”.  There is no such thing as “The Greatest Generation” or “The Silent Generation” or “Millennials” or “Generation Y” or (and I have seen this) “Generation Z”.  There was a “Baby Boom“, it was the result of a unique set of historical circumstances, the big one being that it was a lot harder to have and raise kids from 1929-1945 than it was after that.  Once those circumstances faded, population growth went back to normal.  The only demographic bulge is the post-WWII one, everything else is just lazy shorthand for trend piece writers that means nothing.[/rant]

29
May
15

Quote of the Day

Snrub

“Hello, my name is Mr. Snrub, and I come from . . . someplace far away.  Yes, that will do.  Anyway, I say we invest that money back in the nuclear plant.” – C.M. Burns
“I like the way Snrub thinks.” – Mr. Smithers

Happy birthday, Danny Elfman!

22
May
15

Behind Us Forever: Mathlete’s Feat

Treehouse of Horror X5

“Oh, my God!  Lisa!  She’s been crushed, and so have the hopes of our mathletics team.” – Principal Skinner

Sorry (again) for the non-existant blogging around here, still been busy.  There probably isn’t going to be a Reading Digest today, but on the plus side, Season 26 is over, so I’ve got plenty of time to pretend that I’ll get caught up at some point.  On the Harry Shearer front, there has been nothing but silence from both sides so presumably they’re still talking.  Read into that whatever you’d like.

As for the finale, “Mathlete’s Feat” was bog standard: lots of filler, even more exposition, several magically appearing characters, and a couple of montages.  After a rich school beats Springfield Elementary’s mathlete team, the Nerds (from “Homer Goes to College”) buy the school a bunch of computers, that promptly get fried, which leads to a lot of flattering exposition about Waldorf schools, which leads to Bart becoming the captain of the math team (for some reason), which (just one scene later) leads to a rematch with the rich school, which leads to the usual unconnected ending.

– Hey, Rick and Morty, that’s better than this.  Thank goodness this “couch gag” took over 10% of the episode.

– “Good Seats Will Always Be Available” is pretty decent for an opening sign gag.

– But things go south fast with a literal drive by appearance from Nelson and twenty-seconds of Homer not laughing at a math joke.

– The Nerds are back for a hopefully brief cameo.  Oh, and the math competition has a full audience.  They didn’t even remember their own sign gag.

– Krusty just showed up to apparently host and yell the words “Drug Reference!” at the audience.

– Okay, Krusty’s gone.  Now we’re on “introductory videos” for each team.  Oh, and the rich kids video is directed by a yelling Michael Bay.  South Park did that way better a long time ago.  Just sayin’.

– Lisa’s monologing for some reason.

– Homer is explaining Lisa’s emotions.

– The Nerds are sticking around.  Apparently they went to Springfield Elementary.

– Sigh.  Skinner just appeared out of nowhere in Miss Hoover’s class, grabbed a film strip projector, and hurled it out the window (breaking it) and causing Willie to scream in pain.  Remember when Skinner was funny because he was a buttoned down square and not another zany nutbar?  The writing staff doesn’t.

– Montage!

– The “state of the art digital book burner” was a bit of a stretch, but they did set its temperature to 451F.

– And now the computers the Nerds bought have all been fried.  That took a while, and involved a lot of exposition and urgent horn music.

– Back from commercial and we are literally watching them do nothing.

– The teachers now have no electronics and the Nerds have vanished from the plot without so much as a goodbye, so we’re getting their new, non-technical classroom activities exposited to us.  Like Nelson reading his marshmallows.

– Lisa just left class and walked outside to see Willie, who didn’t so much as greet her before he went into a monologue of his own.

– Oh, for fuck’s sake, after getting several things explained to us, Lisa declared, “Move over, metric system, I’m learning the gastric system!”.

– And now Lisa just walked in on Skinner and Chalmers to exposit some more about learning math from Willie.  It’s bad, “Willie has showed me that losing our technology doesn’t have to be the end of our learning.  We could turn our school into a Waldorf school.”  This reminds of that scene in Spaceballs where Rick Moranis looks right at the camera and asks, “Everybody got that?”.  Only there it was intended to be funny.

– Lisa is now explaining a Waldorf school. . . . and now she’s teaching in the kitchen with no teachers around and, ugh, Lunchlady Doris.

– Now Lisa is back in class learning from Miss Hoover.  I guess they ran out of things for her to explain.

– Now Marge is reading from a pamphlet at the dinner table to further the explanations.

– There’s a song now, which Homer liked enough that he took over the explanations about the school in the next scene.

– Oof, this is a mess.  Willie was outside with some kids, and then Lisa and Skinner ran up out of nowhere to inform him that the plot needs to move along.

– After Lisa promoted Willie to coach of the school math team, he starts yelling and chasing Chalmers with a whip.  I take back my previous “Oof”, now it’s really a mess.

– Now Chalmers crashed his car after Bart hit him with an egg.  Now Bart is leading the math team.  Now, now, now.

– And we’re back at a math competition against the same school from the beginning.  Full audience again.  Sigh.

– Willie has a Gandalf hat and stick for some reason, so the squeaky voiced asks him about college so he can pretend to be a sorting hat from Harry Potter.  References!

– Lisa answers a math question correctly (which for some reason is taken as stunning, but whatever), then Bart complains that no one said there’d be math, then Lisa feels compelled to remind everyone that Bart is the math team captain.  That happened one scene ago, but since it doesn’t make any sense and we never saw Bart do any captaining before getting to the competition, I guess they felt the need to restate it.

– Luigi just stood up from the crowd to yell for a bit and then walk into a pole.  Huh.

– Montage!

– Though it is giving them a chance to flash a few equations on the screen.

– Then Bart somehow got the last question by drawing on Homer’s head.  Then Homer yells about what we just saw.

– Our post-plot comedy sketch this week is an after party where Lisa is somehow drunk on “Mountain Doo”.

– Nevermind, that was our first, post-plot comedy sketch.  The second one is introduced with a title card that reads, “The Simpsons Post Show Jug Band Fills The Time”.  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: they know how crappy these are and do not care.

– The jug band filled twenty-five seconds of dialogue free time, though, so at the very least the title card wan’t lying.

The numbers are (long since) in, and they’re about what we’d expect.  Last Sunday, just 2.79 million people wished Rick, Morty, and the jug band thing could’ve taken more of the runtime.  That’s good for #4 on the all time least watched list, and pulls Season 26’s average viewership down to just 4.80 million.  Season 25 previously held the record for least watched Season at 4.99.  Come on down, Season 27!

As always with the ratings, the nuts and gum numbers are better than the overall ones, and since we now know that FOX has the option to keep the show on until 2019, I wouldn’t hold out any hope that they’ll drive the show off the air.  But it is fun to point and laugh.

17
May
15

Sunday Preview: Mathlete’s Feat

Mathlete's_Feat_promo_2

When a modernized Springfield Elementary has a technical meltdown, Lisa transforms it into a Waldorf school. Meanwhile, Groundskeeper Willie becomes the coach of the mathletes

Season Finale! For this year’s death rattle, Lisa has apparently been given the ability to force families to send their formally publicly educated children to a school that won’t grade anyone.  All this makes me think about is that Otto almost had tenure at Brown.  Also Willie is now a modern day Archimedes, so you know, whatever.  Frankly the only interesting thing that is related to this episode is that i don’t have to watch any previews for a few months.  Have a great summer.

16
May
15

Rumor Control: Shearer Negotiations Still Open

I Married Marge16

“Is Mom gonna have another baby, Dad?” – Lisa Simpson
“Maybe.” – Homer Simpson

Apologies for the lack of Compare & Contrast, Reading Digest, and general radio silence around these parts the last couple of days.  My Dad went in for a long planned surgery yesterday (which went fine), but between that, work, and the Shearer kerfuffle, regular blogging fell down a hole without even the benefit of Leonard’s carcass to land on.

In terms of actual Simpsons news, there have been two developments of note.  The first is Shearer related, though it needs to be kept in context.  Good ol’ CNN Money reports:

For all “The Simpsons” fans concerned that a Mr. Burns voiced by Harry Shearer has spent his last days in Springfield, the voice actor has two words for you: “stay tuned.”

This was the response Shearer had Friday when asked by CNN Money if there was a possibility that he could return.

Shearer had no other comment, other than to reference a tweet from “Simpsons” producer James L. Brooks. On Thursday afternoon, Brooks wrote, “Hey, we tried. We’re still trying. Harry, no kidding, let’s talk.”

Does this mean anything?  Short answer, yes with an if: if Shearer or FOX found the uproar over his departure (I even heard a segment about it on BBC World Service) so disruptive that one of them caved on some previously stuck negotiating point, then maybe he’ll be back.

Long answer, no with a but: but this is third hand information glimpsed through the notoriously dirty lens of CNN.  It implies that they’re still talking, but that’s all it does.  It doesn’t change the fact that Shearer’s only public statement to date was that he seemed to be done.  Of course, even that is open to interpretation since all he really did was quote a letter from a lawyer and thank people for their support.  Jean was (publicly, at least) taking it seriously, but even that could be posturing.

So, what do we actually know?  As always in these situations: very little.  Shearer saying “stay tuned” certainly moves the needle a little bit back towards “he isn’t leaving”, but since it was never even close to definitively pointed at “he’s gone”, that doesn’t say much.  Until we get either a) a definitive statement that Shearer has signed and is returning, or b) an announcement of new voice actors for some or all of his characters, we can’t know for sure.  Whatever happens, the substantive conversations will take place well out of public view, so it’s best to treat all non-definitive news as suspect until proven otherwise.

The second piece of news, which was absent from every single renewal article I came across, is from an interview Jean gave with The Hollywood Reporter:

Do you think this opens the door for other cast? I know that they’ve signed for two more seasons but given the show’s track record do you think that there’s concern?

It’s a really different issue. They are signed for a four-year contract [with] two-year options on Fox.

So at this point Fox has options for seasons 29 and 30?

Yes.

It turns out that there will be no negotiations due in October of 2016, because the most recent renewal wasn’t just for two more production runs, it was for two more production runs with a FOX option for two more after that.

In addition to being further evidence of the incompetence and incuriosity of the entertainment press (a network option for two more years isn’t a minor detail), this overlooked nugget means that, if FOX wants it, the show will be on until 2019 at the least.  Assuming twenty-two episode production runs for the option, that would bring the show to 669 episodes.  As a reminder of how long Zombie Simpsons has been on, “Behind the Laughter” (the Season 11 finale) was episode #248.

Whether or not Harry Shearer will be there for all that, I have no idea.




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