Archive Page 2

20
Oct
14

Behind Us Forever: Treehouse of Horror XXV

Treehouse of Horror III12

“Stupid party, wish we was trick or treatin’.” – Bart Simpson

The annual Halloween episode tends to be pretty bland in the hands of Zombie Simpsons, and this year was no different.  The first story was about Bart going to school in Hell, where he does better than he used to do at Springfield Elementary.  The second is a bunch of meandering references to Stanley Kubrick movies that ends with Kubrick himself staring right at the camera for some reason.  The third one involved the old Tracey Ullman versions of the characters being ghosts.

- Give them this, if they’re going to sneak in Kang and Kodos for no reason, at least this opening didn’t take too long.

- Oof, this thing about “penal”, “penile” and “penis” was probably funnier when it was doodled on an actual fourth grader’s notebook.

- Hey, now Lisa’s here.

- The Hell chalkboard punishment “Eternal Torment Is The Only Just Punishment for the Unbaptized” is pretty good . . . and they didn’t even read it off to us!  Happy Halloween!

- But it didn’t last long.  Lisa just explained to us that snow is cold.

- Then Bart told us how he’s feeling about his teacher.

- The “Burns Hellport” wasn’t terrible.

- Guh, even in Halloween episodes though, we’re reminded of how cushy and comfortable the writers have gotten.  Homer just went on a rant about private schools sending parents twenty e-mails a day.  I bet they also hate it when your worthless butler washes your sock garters but they’re still covered with schmutz.

- And now Hell-Chalmers is expositing pointlessly.

- The montage didn’t even take too long.

- So, this thing with Bart torturing Homer was supposed to be some kind of ending?  Even here they need exposition:

Bart: That’s my Dad, I can’t hurt him.
Homer: No, boy, I want you to do it.
Bart:  What, why?
Homer: Bart, you went to Hell and came back a winner, like Jesus.

Tedious crap like this is why even when they do manage some decent jokes, these segments will always be bland and unmemorable.  “Hell School” is a decent enough little concept, but they can’t give it a coherent plot or not spend time explaining the jokes even in just seven minutes of runtime.

- For a show that got a little pious over Family Guy‘s rape joke, this “In-out” thing sure goes on a long time.

- Moe’s cutesy narrator language is already grating:

“Everything was all fish and chippie until Dum collected himself a twiggy-wick”

- The montage in the first segment didn’t take too long.  This one . . . not so much.  Homer just bounces around his room for a while.

- And we’re back to explaining things.  Homer’s going to marry Marge, then Moe asks a rhetorical question/joke setup, then Marge explains things.

- I get that this segment is just a scattershot of Kubrick references, but it kinda undercuts the joke of Moe being forced to watch FOX when he pleads to have it turned off, and then immediately takes the Clockwork Orange helmet off without a problem.

- Now Nelson, Jimbo, Kearney and Dolph are beating Moe up.  Nelson was already in the house, thus making Moe talking to Kearney at the door pointless.  Is five consecutive seconds of narrative coherence really too much to ask?

- Speaking of sloppy writing, despite the fact that we saw a title card called “Years Later”, Homer just said it’s been a few months.  If that’s a joke, I sure don’t get it.

- And on the topic of narrative incoherence, Moe reacts to his beating by trying to get his old gang back together.  I assumed it was to get revenge, but we never see the bullies again.  Instead we’re off to an incoherent mash up of various Kubrick references.

- Topped off by more expository narration from Moe, and Kubrick himself getting hit on the head with a pen.  This one seems to have just petered out rather than ended, but maybe that’s for the best.

- Onto segment three, where the TV is apparently only playing Married With Children.  I get that’s a show from forever ago, but it might’ve helped for there to be more to it than that.

- Homer and Marge are in bed, then Marge leaves because Grampa was there too, then . . . you know what?  Screw it.  Basically nothing happens and what little does happen is explained to us.

- Lisa just called ghost-Bart burping “unmotivated”.  Maybe they do know what motivation is.  That’s the only evidence from the last five years or so, but still.

- Also, it’s nice that they’re trying to do the old style voices, but twenty-five years has made that impossible.

- Speaking of “unmotivated”, what’s with ghost-Marge and regular-Homer falling in love?  Ghost-Homer just kinda stands there.

- And now Marge killed herself.  Uh, okay.

- Good question from new-ghost-Marge, “Won’t the other Homer be a problem?”.  That little reminder slightly preceded Homer getting killed by ghost-Homer.

- And now Lisa and Bart are dead too because . . . I really don’t know.  I guess they all want to be ghosts for some reason?

- Dr. Marvin Monroe is now also back as a ghost.  His butt gets stuck in the wall.  (Comedy!)

- “Let’s not fight anymore, let’s make him decide between us!” – Not only are they telling us what’s happening, they’ve once again forgotten the older Homer.  Then both Marges explain themselves, because ghosts explaining themselves is a significant fraction of the dialogue here.

- Now both Marges are hugging their respective Homers.

- And we end on many different Simpsons versions.

I expect basically nothing from this show, so it’s hard to call myself disappointed in any of this, but that final segment is still kinda disappointing.  It’s a neat idea to bring back the original character models and you could probably have some fun with the old and new versions interacting or going at cross purposes, especially in a Halloween episode where you’ve got basically no rules.  Instead, Homer and ghost-Marge have a weird non-romance and most of the segment is people killing (themselves or others) and explaining how they feel.  What a waste.

Anyway, the ratings are in and it remains good to be behind football.  Last night’s dutiful episode reminded 7.64 million viewers that this show used to do much better Halloween specials.  As with previous weeks, that’s good for this year and very bad historically.

20
Oct
14

Quote of the Day

Treehouse of Horror III11

“My baloney has a first name, it’s H-O-M-E-R.  My baloney has a second name it’s H-O-M-E-R….Ahhh!” – Homer Simpson

19
Oct
14

Sunday Preview: Treehouse of Horror XXV

Treehouse of Horror XXV

On the annual spooktacular Halloween special, Bart and Lisa are transported to a demon-filled alternate universe after Bart reads a set of Aramaic symbols he finds on the underside of his desk; Moe’s “Clockwork Orange”-style gang is disrupted when Dum (Homer) falls for a girl (Marge) who wants him to give up the thug life; and, in an homage to “The Others,” the Simpsons are visited by their former Tracey Ullman-era versions of themselves

Happy almost-Halloween everyone, it’s time for the annual installment of THOH.  This is the 25th such episode, which I guess could be celebrated as some sort of milestone, if one wished to do so.  I’m not going to, but I am a bit of a jerk.

 

19
Oct
14

Quote of the Day

Lisa's Sax13

“And so, just as things looked their worst…” – Marge Simpson
“I realized I could make money selling my medication to Deadheads.” – Abe “Grampa” Simpson
“Grampa, what are you talking about?” – Marge Simpson
“Uh, nothing.” – Abe “Grampa” Simpson

18
Oct
14

Quote of the Day

He'sCrazy

“A lot of you would think I was crazy if I did this.” – Homer Simpson
“He’s crazy!” – C.M. Burns

17
Oct
14

Reading Digest: Local Boys Make Good Edition

Homer vs Lisa and the 8th Commandment15

“The challenger learned how to fight in the notorious projects of Capital City, and honed his skills while serving time for aggravated assault and manslaughter in Springfield Prison.” – Boxing Announcer
“Alright, a local boy!” – Barney Gumble

With the hoopla around the premier and the crossover now safely in the rear view mirror, and Halloween stuff not yet ramping up to full volume, it’s a pretty short Reading Digest this week.  We do have hometown articles about both Al Jean and Mike Reiss, however.  In addition to those, we’ve got some excellent fan art, a couple of interesting lists, and some stuffed animal based charity.

Enjoy.

[TV Talk] Top 10 Simpsons Horror Movie Parodies – This is a pretty good list.  There is one Zombie Simpsons segment, but it’s #9.  #10 is the Guillermo del Toro couch gag, which was pretty entertaining even if it wasn’t part of the show proper.

Cakes Raise Cancer Awareness – Simpsons cakes, specifically, and there’s even art of one of Comic Book Guy.  Bravo.

Sometimes words just get in the way – Longtime director Mark Kirkland has made a short, silent movie:

A romantic comedy that takes place, as the first title card explains, in a “long-forgotten movie studio,” The Moving Picture Co. 1914 has a 22-minute running time that Kirkland notes is the same length as a Simpsons episode if you cut out the commercials.
“I’m used to that time length and meter,” says the California Institute of the Arts graduate, who double-majored in film and animation. “The Simpsons are in my blood.”

Weird Al is playing the guy who’s playing Jesus.

Reboot The Simpsons – Instead of flashing everyone forward, I guess you could go backwards instead, but either way I remain convinced that the current show has to die before anything new and interesting can come out of Simpsons-world.

Reproduction of Lisa Simpson, The Scream – Excellent fan made painting.

Four sitcoms past their prime – Zombie Simpsons is such a fixture on lists like these, that the lists themselves have taken a meta-note of it:

The Simpsons
This show has been on every past-their-prime list published in the last decade.

Bargain Bin Games – The Simpsons: Bart Vs. The World  – A YouTube review.

Say Anything Parodies on TV: 8 of the Best – Otto proposing to Becky is on here, but I’d probably go with Itchy & Scratchy’s “Spay Anything” in “Cape Feare”, though that doesn’t have the boombox over the head thing.

On TV: 5-sentence review of ‘The Simpsons’ Season 26, Episode 3: ‘Super Franchise Me’ – According to the ratings, a lot of people do this:

Truth be told, I only watch about four “The Simpsons” episodes a year, until they choke out their “Treehouse of Horror,” and then I go on my way forgetting that they’re on TV, basically having vague memories that this was something I once looked forward to watching.

WTF Wednesday: Questionable Trends in Fashion – The trend of fashionable Bart clothing spreads.

Hype launches The Simpsons apparel with Topman – See above.  Retro cool now, I guess.

Young Glendale sisters lend a helping hand – Cute:

There’s one thing 9-year-old Karis Zavala rarely puts down: a miniature doll of Lisa Simpson from the animated sitcom “The Simpsons.”
She’s vowed for the past seven years to never let it go.

She and her sister are going a charity thing to collect plush toys for kids.

Library dedicates section to ‘The Simpsons’ writer, Bristol native – You gotta love Reiss:

“When I won my first Emmy for ‘The Simpsons,’ I told my wife ‘Take a picture, I’ve got to send it to the hometown paper,’ and she did,” he said. “Four days later it was on the front page of The Bristol Press — me in a tuxedo holding an Emmy, over the caption ‘Local Man Claims To Win Award.’”

‘The Simpsons’ founding writer Al Jean on his Detroit roots – And speaking of local-boy-makes-good, Jean talks about his roots, and what they have to teach us.

BWW Reviews: MR. BURNS, A POST-ELECTRIC PLAY with The Catamounts in Boulder – The play gets good reviews even a couple thousand miles from Broadway.

Did The Simpsons Predict A Hot-Button SCOTUS Case 22 Years Ago? – No.  This has been simple answers to simple questions.

robocall – Excellent illustrative reference:

The pre-recorded, automated telephone call, almost as widely reviled as it is exploited, has benign and malevolent uses. Professor Frink, in The Simpsons, envisioned using the technology to tell children about school cancellations, which seems harmless enough. But in the same episode, Homer demonstrates a range of abuses. An appointment reminder from your auto dealer or the doctor’s office may not be so bad. But no one likes non-human solicitations, or repeated entreaties to vote for this candidate or the next.

Patty or Selma, you are a real woman … – A multi-colored animated .gif of Patty based on one of the vacation photos from “Flaming Moe’s”.

Awesome Character #1: Milhouse Van Houten – Just a little appreciation for everyone’s favorite dorky doormat.

Thrift Store Halloweekends – Barney Gumble, The Simpsons Spooky Light-Ups (Burger King) – Someone found a fast food toy left over from 2001.

Homer Simpson Stonecutter by deathbycartoon – Fan made depiction of the Chosen One leading the Stonecutters to glory.

Simpsons Collection Vol:1 – Fan made Simpsons sketches.

The Simpsons predicted Ebola outbreak in 1997, some people on the internet actually believe – I’d say most people just think it’s weird, but I’m sure there are some believers out there.

Blood Feud – Episode #035 – Heh:

We are now at the end of the episode here and I have one thing to say… How the hell did the delivery guys manage to get the gift of Xtapolapocetl into the house? There is absolutely no way! Well, that cartoons for you.

The Simpsons Arcade Game retrospective: How Konami struck yellow gold – And finally, I get to end the way I like, with someone who agrees with us.  In this case, in a video game retrospective:

Family Guy’s Peter Griffin spoke for most of us when he declared “I am over the Simpsons,” during a recent crossover episode with Springfield’s famous five, but such talk would have been dismissed as sacrilege when Matt Groening’s creation was at the peak of its popularity.
It’s been misfiring for as long as most of us can remember, but The Simpsons remains one of television’s greatest achievements.

Indeed.

17
Oct
14

Renewal Announcement Overdue [Updated]

Homer vs Patty & Selma14

“Sweet, trusting Marge, I can’t let you down.  I’ll get some money somehow. . . . Hello, Vegas?  Gimme a hundred bucks on red. . . . D’oh!  Alright, I’ll send you a check.” – Homer Simpson

It’s now officially mid-October and there has been no announcement from FOX or anyone else about next season.  For most shows, that wouldn’t be an issue, but for Zombie Simpsons, which is wildly asynchronous with the rest of network television’s renew/cancel announcements, it’s very odd.  Thanks to the show’s ancient pedigree and very long production schedule, the last couple of renewal announcements have come in early or mid-October.  Well . . . it’s that time of year and we haven’t heard anything.

Complicating matters is the general laziness of the entertainment press.  Last year we got the renewal announcement for Season 26 on October 4th.  But that’s all we got.  Unlike previous renewals, which bragged about the new episode total, all the press release said was that the show would be around for Season 26.  And while plenty of sites reported “Simpsons renewed” none that I was able to find (then or now) contained an episode total.  (Even The New York Times just wrote up the press release and didn’t ask any questions.)

The episode total is more important than the season number because, as I’ve said before, how the show ends is determined by the production runs, not the broadcast runs.  For several years now, FOX has been ordering 22-episode production runs.  The “SABF” run comprised most of Season 25, and its first few episodes have spilled into Season 26.  Sometime soon, the “TABF” run will start being broadcast and will make up most of Season 26.  This is all entirely normal.

However, since the copy and paste brigade that passes for entertainment journalism didn’t give us an episode total, it’s at least possible that instead of ordering a full 22-episode production run last year, FOX only ordered a shortened run that will end this spring instead of spilling over into next fall.  If that’s the case, then we could see the end of the show in 2015.

Now, I don’t think that is the case and I don’t want to start any rumors that the show is finally going to end.  Quite frankly, the opposite is more likely.  Odds are that last year they ordered a full 22-episode TABF run, no reporters bothered to ask them for a total, and that the show is already de-facto renewed for at least a partial Season 27.

But the reason this time of year is important is because of the extraordinarily long lead time needed to create an episode.  The show can’t wrap the finale the week before it’s broadcast and just send everyone home.  Instead, the production will gradually shut down months ahead of time as new scripts stop being ordered and the final episodes wind their way through the animation process.  In the age of Twitter and friends, there’s no way you could keep that secret, even for a little while.

So, we have a couple of interesting pieces of information:

1.  It’s mid-October and there’s been no renewal announcement.
2.  There was no confirmation that the TABF production run is a full 22-episodes.  (At least that Google and I could find, anyway.)
3.  The long production time of the show means that it’ll shut down months before the last broadcast.

Where does that leave us?  It means that sometime in the next month or so we’ll either get a renewal announcement, a cancellation announcement, or another rumor heavy cluster fuck (a la 2011) about whether or not the show will stagger forward for another year or more.  My money is on a renewal announcement (best predictor of future behavior being past behavior, and all that), but we are in a situation where it’s at least possible that we might hear otherwise in the near future.

Keep watching the skis.

[Update 2:08pm Eastern: Word from Caesar himself in comments: "TABF = full 22 order".  Still looking for a renewal notice, but there will definitely be at least a partial Season 27.]




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