“I’m alive! I’m alive! And I owe it all to this feisty feline.” – Homer Simpson
“Dad, ‘feline’ means cat.” – Lisa Simpson
“Elephant, honey, it’s an elephant.” – Homer Simpson
Posts Tagged ‘Bart Gets an Elephant
“Mr. Simpson, I think you’ll find this amount more than fair.” – Mr. Blackheart
“Dad, I think he’s an ivory dealer. His boots are ivory, his hat is ivory, and I’m pretty sure that check is ivory.” – Lisa Simpson
“Lisa, a guy who has lots of ivory is less likely to hurt Stampy than a guy whose ivory supplies are low.” – Homer Simpson
First Google Image result for “warped Africa map”, shamelessly yoinked from here.
“Don’t worry, Stampy, I won’t let Homer sell you to that ivory dealer. You and I are gonna run away together. We’ll keep to the back roads and make our way south. Then, if I know my geography, it’s just twelve miles to Africa.” – Bart Simpson
“After breakfast, me and Milhouse are going down to the ravine. We got a tip from a six-year-old that there’s a dead Martian down there.” – Bart Simpson
Before we get to this week’s links, let me take you on a brief tour of a rumor. Yesterday afternoon, Springfield Springfield tweeted:
‘The Simpsons’ likely to end after current season, confirms Fox executive
The tweet contained a link to this story from New York Daily News titled “‘The Simpsons’ likely to end after current season, confirms Fox executive: report”. The keyword here is “confirms”, which is used right in the second paragraph as well as in the title:
A Fox executive confirmed to Reuters on Wednesday that even if the actors who voice the animated series took a pay cut, it still wouldn’t make it profitable — so the current 23rd season will likely be the last.
Following the link to the Reuters story reveals “Another ‘Simpsons’ Season Would Likely Be Last, Executive Says (Exclusive)”. This is what happens when you do Ctrl-F for the word “confirm” at that story:
So, there really hasn’t been any confirmation at all. Nor, for that matter, was it an “exclusive”. While the story linked from the New York Daily News is indeed at reuters.com, it’s not an actual Reuters story. In fact, it’s a rewrite of the same original report at The Wrap. The story is even bylined “By Tim Molloy at TheWrap”. The Wrap and Reuters must have some kind of content sharing agreement, but no FOX executive ever spoke with Reuters. There’s no “exclusive” and there certainly isn’t any cause to use the word “confirm”.
However, since the content sharing agreement apparently doesn’t require a link back to the original story (which I discussed yesterday), it certainly looks like a second report from Reuters confirming the original story. It isn’t. It’s the original story published in two places.
So what happened is: a story originally at entertainment site The Wrap gets published. A few hours later, the exact same guy changes a few words and publishes it on Reuters. The New York Daily News picks that up as confirmation, which then gets sent as confirmation to Springfield Springfield’s twitter followers. Not a single new piece of information hit the internet, it’s just one report echoing around as fast as fiber optic cable can carry it (which is really fast). This single, unconfirmed report spawned more news stories and blog posts than I could ever hope to link, all saying that the show likely had only one season left.
However, late yesterday, right about the time the New York Daily News was getting confused, there was an actual new story published at The Wrap, “‘Simpsons’ Deadline for Voice Actors Looms”. It contains this direct refutation of the original quote:
The person familiar with the actors’ position dismissed the idea that Fox wants no more than one more season as "pure spin" and a negotiating tactic. The person said the offer now on the table for the actors would include a guarantee of two more seasons and the option of a third.
This is just one more anonymous quote in a week that’s seen far too many of them, but the report that Season 24 won’t be the last is at least as credible as the one that Season 24 will be the last. It probably won’t go flying around the internet like the other one, but that has nothing to do with whichever of them turns out to have been correct.
Ultimately, that a whole bunch of people were temporarily misinformed about this isn’t that big of a deal. The show is either going to get cancelled (still very unlikely) or it’s going to keep going (ugh). All the blog posts and goofy stories by theoretically respectable news outlets won’t matter in the least to the outcome. But it’s a little disturbing that a single unconfirmed rumor that was childishly easy to track down – all I had to do was read and follow links – could get people that confused that fast.
Due to cancellation fever, there are fewer links than usual this week. On the plus side, several of those links are from people who heard the talk of the show ending and thought it should’ve done so long ago. There’s also the return of awesome Simpsons embroidery, a couple of mentions of Homer’s parenting advice, productivity enhancing camping hammocks, and cake pops. Mmmm, cake pops.
[Programming note: Time spent sorting through rumors this week was time I didn’t spend doing a Compare & Contrast post for “Bart Stops to Smell the Roosevelts”. It will be along, likely early next week. There’s no new Zombie Simpsons this Sunday anyway. There will be further updates on the Zombie Simpsons contract negotiations when actual new information comes along. At this point, things are exactly where they’ve been all week: negotiating behind closed doors for a contract extension.]
[Update 12:06pm EDT: Harry Shearer released a statement this morning. It basically just takes a dump on FOX and says they’re being a bunch of greedy bastards, which is true. No news about progress or collapse of the talks. Carry on.]
The 5 Best Songs on The Simpsons – Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week is six songs from the show. While some people just make lists, others go to the time to find YouTube for each song, even if it means the dialogue is dubbed into a foreign language while the song is still in English. The bilingualism causes some funny juxtapositions, especially on the Canyonero song.
Greed may do ‘The Simpsons’ a favor – Five classic YouTube clips to celebrate the rumored end of the show.
Rick’s Cafe: The ten best Simpsons sports episodes ever – This list contains one episode from Season 11, everything else comes from before that. Oddly enough, the only two images are from Zombie Simpsons episodes that aren’t on the list.
Homer Simpson Model of Parenting – A list of some of Homer’s better parenting quotes. I didn’t check them, and there are a few later season quotes, but on the whole this is a very cromulent list. Bravo.
half-arsed over-gardening – Some excellent parental usage:
It feels a little small when she, when they give me that look. As Homer said in reply to Bart, “But I’m using my whole ass.”
Homer’s resigned sadness in that line is awesome.
The best kind of tent is not a tent – Apparently they make hammocks you can use to go camping with now. What an age to be alive. There’s also Hank Scorpio YouTube here, you can probably guess which scene.
the simpsons embroidery project // 4 – Simpsons embroidery is back again. This time we’ve got Homer riding the bomb and Thrillho. Both are amazingly done, from the nicks in the “Do Not Ride The Bomb” sign to the wind in Thrillhouse’s hair.
Birthday with the Simpsons – Fan made Simpsons cake pops. Oh man, those look good (and check out Marge’s hair!).
Rebel With A Versatile Cause – Pretty much:
I love The Simpsons. If I were in a conversation with a like-minded soul, and we just sat there throwing out quotes from the first 10-seasons or so, I genuinely cannot imagine what would happen to make me tire of the conversation. Dehydration, perhaps.
The Simpsons Top 10 Episodes of the First 10 Seasons (Re-post) – Exactly what it says, though I was a bit surprised to see “Viva Ned Flanders” in the #10 spot.
Lisa Simpson, I’m amazed – Some vegan love for Lisa, along with bran flakes and tiny Simpsons toys. Cool.
peeing with the door open is patriotic – If you have a bathroom you don’t share with anyone you can do whatever you want in it, including post YouTube of Homer whizzing with the door open.
Boob – And finally, we get to end with three links to people who agree with us. First up is this quick television roundup which includes this:
Simpsons- I watch this almost completely out of nostalgia and some weird form of loyalty. It hasn’t been great in over a decade and barely borders on good most of the time. The premiere was so-so, and the online voting was so lame. For those that don’t know, they ended the finale with an online poll. They wanted the viewer to vote whether or not a couple should stay together. Wow. Hilarious.
My sarcasm detector just exploded.
Mmmm, opinions on Beliebers… – The author here is a teenager who isn’t keen on Justin Bieber or his fans. After some excellent mockery of both, she brings down the hammer:
Tonight on Twitter, PURPLE MONKEY DISH WASHER was trending. For a second, I had some faith in my generation. I was so excited! People knew The Simpsons! Wow!
Haha, I was wrong.
Apparently, PURPLE MONKEY DISH WASHER is an inside joke within the Beliebers. They are clueless to its origin, and that makes me sick.
There’s a video of me at 4 months old watching The Simpsons. I’ve been raised with it. I have seen positively every episode, most twice. You do not mess with me and The Simpsons.
Something that drives me crazy about people today is that they’ve only ever seen the new episodes. I tell people all the time, you have to go back and watch the old ones! You fool! You have no idea what you’re missing!
Got that right. Keep the faith, sister; their love of Bieber will fade, but love of The Simpsons lasts a lifetime.
The “About Goddamn Time” Files – Simpsons might get cancelled – This guy hits a lot of the notes we always hit:
The characters that used to drive the show are all just caricatures of their former selves. The writing is hackney. They try to compensate with funny or topical (or both) situations, but the situations aren’t funny or particularly topical (and even if they were, there’s no way to gloss over how bad the writing and characters have become).
Got that right. Plus there’s this:
Normally, I wouldn’t mind it going on forever. If people somehow actually enjoy the new episodes, whatever, let them watch it. My problem with the continued production of these terrible terrible terrible episodes is that they dilute the rerun pool.
That’s what I keep saying! Welcome, friend. Welcome.
“Mr. Blackheart?” – Lisa Simpson
“Yes, my pretty?” – Mr. Blackheart
“Are you an ivory dealer?” – Lisa Simpson
“Little girl, I’ve had lots of jobs in my day, whale hunter, seal clubber, president of the FOX Network, and like most people, yeah, I’ve dealt a little ivory.” – Mr. Blackheart
A few weeks ago, a reader (thanks Steve!) e-mailed me with a PDF copy of an unpublished book written by a longtime television writer named Andrew Nicholls. Nicholls and Darrell Vickers, his writing partner, have been typing away for television since the 80s, including a number of recognizable titles and the last years of The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. (This is their website). Nicholls’ book is titled “Valuable Lessons: How I Made (And Lost) Seven Million Dollars Writing For Over A Hundred Shows You Never Heard Of”. It’s a 280-page insider’s tale of the bureaucratic, greedy, dishonest, and generally fucked systems and people that make almost all teevee suck so very, very hard. There’s a PDF copy available at their website, or you can drop eight bucks and get a nicely formatted Kindle version. Either way it’s an excellent read.
In particular, I want to draw your attention to two parts which serve to illustrate the same principle from two different vantages. If Nicholls has an overarching theme, other than “where the hell did my life and money go?”, it’s that teevee is shitty because too many twits are allowed positions of creative power. The first selection is the only section of the book that deals directly with The Simpsons, though Al Jean and Mike Reiss do make an occasional cameo elsewhere. The second is about what happens to an otherwise promising show when the inmates begin running the studio.
The Simpsons was famously doused in anti-executive garlic by His Holiness St. Brooks of New Jersey, and “Valuable Lessons” is a reminder of just how lucky we are to have gotten the show the way we did. I’m going to quote this at some length because it gets right to the heart of how utterly backwards and unintentionally cynical the unwritten rules of mass media really are. From a chapter titled “Where Are They?” (p. 44):
Those who develop programs for television, who account for all the new shows’ existence at the annual TCA (Television Critics Association) meetings in L.A. or New York, often say they’re open to any new thing they feel the public might be turned on by. Innovation. Stuff we haven’t seen on TV until now. Push that envelope. We’re the network that takes chances. We’re always looking for talent. (No, they’re always looking for latent). We wanted to give it a twist, do it from a new angle. We told everyone this year to think outside the box. Mix things up. Take a few wild swings, see what happens.
So where are the high-IQ characters on TV who aren’t also socially inept?
Where are the single people with poor or no relationships?
Where are the characters who have three or four, or even two major interests in their lives?
Where for that matter is the person who is consistently interested in anything other than sports, beer, sex and money?
Where are the poor people who slowly work their way to wealth instead of inheriting it or winning it in a lottery like Malcolm and Eddie or Roseanne?
Where are the socialists?
Where are the highly-admired bullies? A 2004 UCLA study revealed that schoolyard bullies are actually popular with their peers and, contrary to everything you see on TV, they have the lowest rate of emotional problems. (We had a highly-admired bully on Ned’s Newt, but you haven’t seen that.)
Where are the men who offer to help a woman build or assemble something and who succeed? Or the women (Ellen being the exception) who do so and fail?
Where are the mentally ill Chinese guys?
Where are the families engaged in ongoing frustrating disputes with insurance companies, HMOs, Boards Of Education, local government?
Where are the unattractive middle-aged people trying to figure out why or where their lives turned out so horribly wrong?
Where are the men or women involved in ongoing labor disputes?
When has a boys’ sports team ever beaten a girls’ team?
Where are the Jewish families, orthodox or non? With only 5.8 million citizens, who’s more of a minority in the U.S. than the Jews? There are more Mormons in America, for Moroni’s sake. And where are the Mormons for that matter, God bless their underage-niece-marrying souls?
Where are the white characters who continually get the better of a minority character? This is the kind of argument right-wingers make, no? But what does it say of the idées recues of a society that a network will only air an episode of a comedy in which the woman shows her husband how to start a fire, or how to jack up a car or erect a camping tent?
It says they think it’s funnier that the woman can do it.
Think about that. They wouldn’t air a show in which the punchline was that an athlete can outrun a couch potato. Or that a Harvard grad out-SATS a self-educated guy who grew up on a farm. (The Simpsons is a whole separate case… and it’s close to miraculous, considering how much money it’s made Fox, and how much the other networks like money too, that it hasn’t been more widely imitated in half-hour comedy. Their secret: no network notes. Ever. Do you know what Fox did to help the show in its first two years? Nothing. They hated it.)
In other words, they think having the woman fix the tire is so obviously unlikely that to show it will provoke laughter. They are saying, “We all know women are incompetent at this, let’s turn things on their head in this one instance for a big wacky guffaw!”
Except, over the years, that one instance has become every instance, and the comedy has worn off like the outside of a Tic Tac.
If you’re picking up here because you skipped the block quote, go back and read the whole thing. I’m serious.
Shit like that is why The Simpsons is unique, and why most television programs are forgettable and bland. How many times have you seen the exact same plot on different shows? How many times have you heard the same jokes? Watched as the same concepts and characters are dragged in circles around your screen like the floppy corpses of vanquished charioteers?
Which brings us to Drexell’s Class. This particular single season sitcom has so completely dissolved into the pop culture ether that its opening credits don’t even merit their own YouTube video. You have to skip to the 5:35 mark, past the openings for The Trials of Rosie O’Neill, Step by Step, Reasonable Doubts, The Best of the Worst, and Palace Guard, to see them and, insult to injury, the video is titled “1991 TV show openings Part 7”. I failed to find a clip; most of the video search results were maudlin tributes to Brittany Murphy (who got started on the show), and even those were just still photos of her accompanied by whatever piece of musical treacle seemed least likely to offend the copyright gods. Drexell’s Class has been all but totally forgotten and, to hear Nicholls recounting of its genesis, it’s no wonder why.
Image yoinked from epguides.
The show was originally conceived as “W.C. Fields teaching school”. It’s a pretty simple fish out of water setup: cantankerous hard ass forced into the company of educators he considers beneath him and children he loathes. They even got Dabney Coleman to play the W.C. Fields part, which made perfect sense as Coleman spent the 80s playing cantankerous hard asses (most memorably in Tootsie and Nine to Five). Nicholls describes the beginning of the first episode (p. 140):
On a particularly bad day, Drexell calls the father of a troublemaking student in to school, only to learn that the dad works at a local racetrack and knows of a wink wink sure thing in tomorrow’s last race. Drexell places a big bet and proceeds to systematically trash everyone and everything at the school, while running back and forth between home and class to pack, and following the race on the TV and radio. Of course after he’s called the Principal an “inflexible, barren, potato-shaped sack of malice” the winning horse stumbles on the track.
But that wasn’t what it looked like once FOX got done with it. And please remember that this is 1991 FOX, the network that was operating out of a shoebox, broadcasting controversial fare like The Simpsons and Married With Children, and constantly promoting itself as the rebellion against network television. Nicholls:
At first Fox seemed to be on board with the premise of the show: the posters had a picture of a scowling Dabney and the slogan DABNEY COLEMAN ON FOX. IT HAD TO HAPPEN.
But as we went into production the notes on the script bespoke a different attitude:
*character is too nasty
*give Otis’s character more genuine moments so you care about him
*he is a fundamentally decent guy and this needs to be sensed
*show how he takes the situation of anger and turns it into a positive teaching thing
*show edgier ways of showing “heart” moments that will be unique to the show
*he needs to have more levels in his character coming across (charming, funny, graceful, wisdom)
*have Otis push Billy Ray to a new level and show a breakthrough and how it has affected him
*a genuine moment is needed in the script
*show how he genuinely is a good teacher
Gee, can we get genuine enough? When I read heart moments I just about beshat myself.
As you can guess, things went rapidly downhill from there. FOX, the edgy new kid on the block that was supposed to be changing all the rules, had the horse race excised in full from an episode in which the main plot was the horse race. A few pages later FOX lets them know, “We never want to see another scene set in the classroom”, on a show that had the word “Class” in the title.
It’s that kind of grotesque, Brazil-level absurdity that makes so many shows basically unwatchable if you want to do anything besides set your brain to “liquefy” for a little while. Case in point, this promo for the episode “Bully for Otis”, which looks to have been broadcast during the original airing of “Burns Verkaufen der Kraftwerk”:
Har har, Dabney fall down! Check out this joint promo for “Homer Defined” and the Drexell’s Class episode “Convictions”:
It’s funny because they’re prisoners! Keep in mind that “Convictions” was the fifth episode of the series. Five (5) episodes in and they had completely abandoned their premise. Nicholls relates that the prohibition on showing the regular classroom came after episode four. “Valuable Lessons” has plenty of those kinds of gory details, up to and including a dead orangutan, as well as some “aww Johnny” moments about Carson that are just nice. It’s a quick read, and if you have any interest in how television shows are made, and why they are made so relentlessly poorly, it’s very much worth your time.
“I want you to throw away these old calendars and TV Guides.” – Marge Simpson
“Are you mad, woman? You never know when an old calendar might come in handy. Sure, it’s not 1985 right now, but who knows what tomorrow will bring. And these TV Guides? So many memories, ‘Gomer upsets Sergeant Carter’, oh, I’ll never forget that episode.” – Homer Simpson
Remember The Face magazine? I don’t. But I’m not British, so it’s okay. Wikipedia informs me that:
The magazine, often referred to as the "80s fashion bible", was influential in championing a number of fashion music and style trends, whilst keeping a finger on the pulse of youth culture for over two decades;
It folded in 2004, but blogger Lady Lixa has a hard copy of the June 1990 issue (Madonna was on the cover) and scanned in some of the pages. Here’s what it had to say about The Simpsons, post Season 1:
In America, Bart Simpson is hipper than De La Soul, Air Jordans and African pendants. For a drawing, that’s an achievement. The Simpsons started life as animated shorts breaking up the sketches on The Tracey Ullman Show. (The BBC, in its infinite wisdom, bought Ullman’s series but cut the Simpsons from it.) By Christmas ’89 they were so popular with American viewers that a special became inevitable. Now on Fox TV for 30 minutes every Sunday night – the first prime-time cartoon since The Jetsons in the Sixties – the show is essential viewing for Yank youth. Drawn by Matt Groening, the Simpsons make the Flintstones look stone age. The format is simple – middle-American family dealing with the tribulations of modern life – but the style is anarchic. Homer, the grumpy dad, works in a nuclear plant and is a sentimental slob. Marge, his wife with a metre-high blue beehive, keeps the family together. Bart (anagram: Brat), a kid with a spiky flat-top, is perpetually in trouble: he enjoys taking snapshots of his own butt, and loses his dad’s job for him. Lisa plays the baritone sax and aims to get everyone in the poop as often as possible. Maggie is a gooey, dummy-chewing infant. All have mouths that swallow their faces when they open them. The pace is utterly manic, the bickering relentless and the colour lurid; to some The Simpsons is a half-hour headache. No UK broadcast date has been fixed, but Sky are picking it up for autumn. In the meantime, Bart is appearing in bootlegged form on American dance flyers and T-shirts everywhere. If that’s not a sign of a legend in the making, nothing is.
Awesome. I love how the image they have is from the shorts and not from the series. (Also, The Flintstones, not The Jetsons, was the last primetime cartoon before 1989.) Two questions for our British readers:
1) Are pacifiers called “dummy”s the same way botulism is called steak and kidney pie?
2) What the hell does “aims to get everyone in the poop as often as possible” mean?
T-shirts of the cult US cartoon show The Simpsons (see p16) are becoming standard club wear in America. Quick off the mark, Passenger of Beak St and Floral St, London, are stocking them at £15
£15 . . . in 1990 . . . for a T-shirt? Ouch. I didn’t pay that much for my Spinal Tap Tour ’92 shirt.
The article and the little t-shirt blurb are great; in the era of Zombie Simpsons it can be tough to remember how revolutionary the show really was when it first started (“cult US cartoon”). But there it is, straight from the horse’s mouth in June of 1990.
Ten thousand thank yous go to Lady Lixa for having these, scanning them, and letting me copy them.
“Daddy has to go to a beer drinking contest today.” – Homer Simpson
“Think you’ll win?” – Bart Simpson
“Son, when you participate in sporting events it’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how drunk you get.” – Homer Simpson
“Gotcha.” – Bart Simpson
Good morning everybody and welcome to the Simpsons/Beer marathon! I’m planning on updating this whenever the hell I feel like it (the idea of adhering to a schedule on this most relaxing of Saturdays makes me nauseous). I might do six updates for three hundred words, I might do fifty updates for six thousand words, nothing would surprise me. Typos and screwed up grammar are to be expected. I’ve listed all the episode titles below and comments will be entered next to the one that I’m currently watching. If I don’t comment on an episode please don’t construe that as a slight against it, I just might not have had anything update worthy on my alcohol soaked mind. I love everything in here and I look at it as a big puffy cloud of pure joy that I get to float through.
In general I have a very “hands off” approach to the pause button. The ending/opening credits provide ample time for bathroom and kitchen trips so there’s no need to miss anything. However, I am not above pausing or skipping back a few seconds if I need to get a quote right for an update. The fast-forward command will absolutely, positively not be used.
The comments section is open. I will try to read whatever may (or may not) show up, but I make no promises and thoughtful replies are probably not in the cards. Brevity is your friend. But enough of my preamble bullshit, let’s watch some Simpsons!
1. Homer’s Barbershop Quartet
- We begin with literally three couch gags, they’re all funny, and combined they take less time than most of the ones you see on Zombie Simpsons.
- The Be-Sharps existed eight years before the time of this episode, and this episode is now almost seventeen years old. I don’t have a point, I just wanted to test the update system.
- Love baby Lisa dressed like Maggie, except in orange and with pearls.
- True story: I bought this album in about 1997 specifically because they were called the B Sharp Jazz Quartet. I heard their name on the radio and pretty much drove right to the record store. I still listen to it today, track 11 (“Church Bells”) owns.
- The scene at the end where Bart and Lisa point out how none of this makes sense is funny, quick, and makes you care not in the least that it’s all wildly improbable. Fantastically deft. Also, this episode is so wall-to-wall with pop culture references I’m certain there are still things I’m not noticing seventeen years later.
2. Cape Feare
- “That is some outfit Skoey, it makes you look like a homosexual.” – Rainier Wolfcastle
- “Boo!” – Crowd
- “Oh-ho, maybe you all are homosexuals too!” – Rainier Wolfcastle
- What terrible thing(s) did Linda Lavin do? I’ve never been able to figure that out.
- Also, Terror Lake Salutes Hannibal Crossing The Alps. (I love that there’s a whole elephant for “The”.)
3. Homer Goes to College
- All places of work should have nap time.
- The Jade Monkey joke almost killed me the first time I saw it.
- I love how they invented a Cory for “School of Hard Knockers”.
- Just another example of how completely different this is than Zombie Simpsons: when Bart accuses Homer of hanging with nerds Homer threatens him with a steak knife. It takes less than a second and is completely unacknowledged by the soundtrack. It’s hilarious precisely because it’s not emphasized for five seconds. You can do horrible things like have a father threaten his son with a knife, but they become less funny the more you focus on them.
- “Oh dean, this is what your new hip is going to look like.” – Dr. Hibbert
- Addendum to the above: this episode handles physical violence and the threat of said violence really, really, really fucking well. It’s quick, it’s brutal, and it’s still funny even when it’s not a surprise because you’ve seen it eight dozen times.
- Oh yeah, this season has shortened intros. Must . . . pee . . . faster.
- The fact that Burns is always watching his employees on his wall of monitors is the perfect illustration of this show’s complete and utter disdain for Authority of any kind.
- Two episodes in a row with Nixon! One of the best things Futurama ever did was bring him back as the President. I wonder if, twenty years from now when the wounds aren’t as fresh, Bush the Younger will make an equally hilarious villain. Probably.
- “That rare first draft of the Constitution with the word ‘suckers’ in it.” There are alumni of first tier law schools who’ve never said anything that perceptive about the law.
- I’ve been watching the DVD versions for so long now that I’ve mostly forgotten where the syndication cuts were. I could look it up on SNPP, but I’m pretty sure the “Homer’s recording studio” thing used to get cut out and I know the “you too huh?” thing from Jimmy Carter used to get cut out.
- Why – why – didn’t I buy slices of American cheese when I was at the store yesterday?
- “Excuse me, we wanted to see the geek who valued the happiness of his children more than money.” – Power Plant Guy
- The third act of this episode is 1/63rd as long as Season 20 and I would rather watch it on a loop than all of that piece of shit.
5. Treehouse of Horror IV
- I don’t know if it was intentional or not, probably it wasn’t, but the Donut Demon sounds so much like Moe that I can’t help but think they were making some kind of an addiction joke.
- Three in a row with Nixon (and second of the season with Lizzie Borden)! Also, Benedict Arnold had a tiny penis.
- “Marge, look at all this great stuff I found at the marina. It was just sitting in some guy’s boat.” – Homer Simpson
- Mit Iodine!
- This is an off topic tangent, but the whole Dracula segment reminded me of Keanu Reeves, who was the main, though by no means the only, so-bad-it’s-good attraction of Point Break. If Kathryn Bigelow doesn’t win an Oscar tomorrow night and someone you know complains about it, just point them to this Wikipedia article and rest your case.
6. Marge on the Lam
- “Mr. Simpson you do realize this may result in hair loss, giddiness, and the loss of equilibrium?” – Army Doctor
- This episode isn’t as famous as the preceding ones, but it’s a testament to the merciless quality of Season 5 that it’s no worse. I’m five minutes in and we’ve had a stolen power sander, trapped inside vending machines, the bear in the little car, an Army serum to avoid dinner with Patty & Selma, and Edward the Penitent. Holy shit, that’s a murderer’s row and we’re three plus minutes from the first commercial.
- If you have never shot at cans I can assure you that you are missing one of life’s great pleasures.
- I’ve never smashed a weather station, but I imagine the same applies.
- Miguel Sanchez!
- Classic car chase music.
- “I’m directly under the Earth’s sun . . . now”, I use that all the time.
- And it’s immediately followed by Brockman’s insane sermon. Jebus I love this episode.
7. Bart’s Inner Child
- Brad Goodman was funny at the time, but if anything the kind of idiotic woo that people like him pitch has gotten worse since this was first broadcast.
- “Troy, this circle is you.” – Brad Goodman
- Gotta love the nonsensical, self-help bullshit phrases like, “life script” and “shame spiral”. Clearly anyone capable of such seemingly clever diction (and a turtleneck) can solve your problems for $24.95.
- Going off something we were talking about here a few weeks ago, it’s amazing how much of the crowd at the seminar is made up of anonymous nobodies. It’s not populated by stock characters and that definitely makes it work better.
- Smithers’ teal tank top is adorable.
- Love the Brad Goodman Idol.
- It’s our first McGonigle reference, but there will be another.
8. Boy-Scoutz ‘N the Hood
- I fell asleep twenty or so minutes in to “My Dinner with Andre” and never went back to finish it.
- There was a squishy machine in my high school cafeteria but the lunch ladies would never let us make one entirely out of syrup. We gave them like $5 one time too.
- I’ve never seen “New York, New York”, and I even like musicals.
- “Weaseling out of things is important to learn! It’s what separates us from the animals . . . except the weasel.” – Homer Simpson
- Seven and a half beers in I’ve attained the rank of “Pussywillow”.
- Floor pie!
- I know Ernest Borgnine best as Dominic Santini from Airwolf, but that’s just me. Also, Borgnine rules.
- Love how Bart imagines Homer making a hat out of the map, and then Homer actually makes a hat out of the map.
- I don’t know if one person just thought it up, or if there was a discussion of “what’s the most wasteful thing Homer could do with the water?”, but washing his socks is perfect.
- I haven’t watched enough Zombie Simpsons to know the real answer, but when was the last time Patty and/or Selma openly wished for Homer’s death?
- Excellent way to end things with Homer and Bart reconciling and Homer telling him to “Go away, eating.”
9. The Last Temptation of Homer
- If I ever have a desk people can stand in front of I want a button to push. It doesn’t have to suck them into a tube or open a trap door, but it has to do something.
- Equal employment people dressed as ninjas. Need I say more?
- “Colonel Klink, why have you forsaken me?” – Homer Simpson
- Even in the darkest moment of temptation for his marriage, one inspired by something as mundane as a fortune cookie, Homer still hates Bart. Bravo.
10. $pringfield (Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Legalized Gambling)
- It takes a great deal of historical awareness and comedy genius to make people cower in terror as a train comes at them on their 10” TV screen.
- It’s a hundred years later and we’re back to McKinley-nomics.
- Predicting tiger attacks on gay lion tamers years before it actually happened. Life truly does imitate The Simpsons.
- Speaking of syndication cuts, I’m pretty sure the Rainman thing wasn’t syndicated.
- The Bogy Man sequence is . . . well, you know. They should have sent a poet.
- “I’m Idaho!”
11. Homer the Vigilante
- I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: nobody gets it worse on this show than old people. It’s beautiful that even they get their revenge in this episode.
- World domination! “Mental note, the girl knows too much.” – Homer’s Brain
- Not unlike “You Only Move Twice” where there’s a Bond Villain who, in defiance of all convention, cares about his employees, this episode is based on a single yet perfectly absurd twist: a burglar who only steals things with sentimental value. To call it genius is to fall well short of the mark.
- I saw “It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World” once when I was a kid and I remember liking parts of it.
- “Dig up, stupid.” – Chief Wiggum
12. Bart Gets Famous
- The empty beer cans are beginning to take up an alarming large portion of my teevee table. Feels odd that I’m already half done.
- Unpredictable Mexican sitcoms are made by gentlemen with proper British accents. Isn’t that obvious?
- This is the second time Quimby has admitted to, and gotten away with, cheating on his wife this season. It’s almost like he’s a serial adulterer. Awesome.
- Oh for Conan O’Brien to take over the show and end it in a year and a half.
- I love how you can see the seeds of Futurama in all the Simpsons glimpses of the future (e.g. Match Game 2034).
- Gotta love any Pavlov joke that doesn’t involve the word “Pavlov”.
13. Homer and Apu
- I buy the cheap/old meat all the time, haven’t been to the hospital yet.
- “I can see through time!” – Lisa Simpson
- James Woods is an excellent example of a well done celebrity cameo. He’s playing himself, but it’s okay because the reason he’s playing himself is semi-plausible and, more than that, incisively funny.
- Though I enjoy chit chat, as a pathetic single man I can assure you that I am keen to clear the checkout lane as quickly as possible.
- Seriously, Woods has like twelve punch lines in fourteen lines of dialogue and he nails them all. If it wasn’t so funny it would be terrifying.
14. Lisa vs. Malibu Stacy
- The Buzz Cola ad should be mandatorily shown before all the YouTube clips of the Zombie Simpsons Super Bowl Coke ad.
- Aw crap, hiccups.
- For all the dumbass Zombie Simpsons fans who bitch whenever their precious fraud of a show does a Lisa/Marge episode, I submit this as Exhibit A in support of You Are Fucktard.
- Nuts and Gum!
- Speaking of all time classic guest voices: Kathleen Turner.
- I would buy Hortense the Mule-Face Doll.
15. Deep Space Homer
- Bring me the head of Colonel Montoya!
- NASA is the perfect target for The Simpsons, they’re utterly earnest and uncompromisingly focused on substance over style. It’s a recipe for disaster.
- One of the dirtiest things the show ever slipped past the censors: “How come I can’t get no tang round here?” And then they compound it by asking Clinton (pre-Lewinsky) if knows where to get some.
- Everybody loves the music from when Kirk fought Spock.
- I, for one, totally believe that Art Garfunkel would have an industrial strength compressor.
- Hail Ants!
16. Homer Loves Flanders
- This is the warmest weather we’ve had all year. Happiness with my decision to spend the whole day indoors watching sixteen-year-old cartoons I can recite from memory? 100%.
- Why don’t we have robot cars yet? I’m serious.
- “I used to party all night and sleep with lingerie models until Ned and his Bible group showed me that I could have more.” – Stan “The Boy” Taylor
- Pixie Stix : Child Cocaine
- Just having got through the Terminator 2 part where Homer hangs on the car, it dawns on me that this is about the twelfth (probably more) explicit yet unstated movie parody this season. They aren’t spelled out, they aren’t drawn out, they’re just there. Pop culture usage doesn’t get any better.
17. Bart Gets an Elephant
- “Push her down, son.” – This is what I’m talking about when I say that the implication or light/quick implementation of violence is far funnier than the genuine article.
- At KBBL, what’s with Homer walking away with a record and then standing in the sound booth with headphones on? Was that on the DVDs and I didn’t watch it?
- All current politics aside, you know how I know that current fears of terrorism are overblown? This episode came out when the Unabomber was at large and yet there’s a (very good) letter bomb joke and nobody cared.
- Did anyone else ever notice that right as he’s walking out Mr. Blackheart sounds like Skinner?
- The peanut factory manager is brilliant absurdity.
- You know that you’re amongst true hearted Simpsons people when you can ram your head into their shoulders and have them laugh because you might just be a jerk.
18. Burns’ Heir
- When you think about it, it’s really surprising you don’t see more people on message boards with Burns holding the bong as their avatar.
- Burns with a sweater knotted around his shoulders is too perfect.
- “We’ll see what the lab has to say about that.” – C.M. Burns
- Burns wants to give his money to the Egg Advisory Council, and it’s not until next season that we get the Egg as a Stonecutter member. Conspiracy!
- Love the menorah at the end of Bart’s Christmas themed joy ride.
- Burns’ trapdoor gets a wonderful amount of use this season.
19. Sweet Seymour Skinner’s Baadasssss Song
- Going all the way back to “The Old Man and the Sea”, I always enjoy Martin’s class presentations.
- Not that this was a surprise, but add Aliens to the list of brilliantly used movies.
- Billy and the Cloneasaurus!
- Pre-derangement Agnes Skinner is hilarious. Post-derangement Agnes, not so much.
- Here’s another Simpsons thing that’s sadly missing from modern discourse: mockery of the military. The actual troops make personal sacrifices that are as ill appreciated as they are misunderstood, but the institution itself has gone far too long without sufficient mockery.
- Also, it won’t be much longer that you can get out by hitting on your commanding officer.
- “Just like facts have no place within organized religion!” – Superintendent Chalmers And just like that I fall in love with this show all over again.
20. The Boy Who Knew Too Much
- I spent nine years in ultra-hard, posture-ific chairs and I can assure you, despite what the manufacturer may claim, that I still slouch.
- Gotta love Homer and Bart passing each other on the street, each unwilling to admit their casual dishonesty to the other.
- Reporters dashing to pay phones, there’s a cute anachronism.
21. Lady Bouvier’s Lover
- I love the horror at what a first birthday looks like from the kid’s perspective. When you think about it, from the point of view of a twenty-five pound person, flaming candles and flash photography do kinda seem like torture.
- “Each Matlock could be our last!”
- “You remind me of a poem I can’t remember, and a song that may never have existed, and a place I’m not sure I’ve ever been to.” – Abe “Grandpa” Simpson I feel that way about so many things . . .
- When this first came out I thought the idea of selling an animation cel was farce, but then it turns out they actually did this and the show’s mockery of it takes on a whole new meaning.
- Jasper’s stripper-cake failure – “call the nurse” – set the bar for “jumping out of cake” humor for a decade and more.
- “Hello Grandpa my old friend . . .” – Simon and Garfunkel (second mention this season) are easy to mock, but this is sublime, funny and yet appreciative, just the way the elderly would’ve wanted.
22. Secrets of a Successful Marriage
- I’m pretty sure I could type out a long ass rant about this episode but it would basically boil down to this: outside approval cannot save your fundamentally crappy relationship. I could teach a class.
- Speaking personally, I would flunk the orange eating class.
- I’ve mentioned this before, and I’m sure I’ll do so again, but this show had an unprecedented ability to take an emotionally grotesque situation like a woman throwing a man out of the house and acknowledge the sad parts while emphasizing the funny ones without seeming patronizing or formulaic. Were I any kind of sober I could elaborate on that, but I don’t think it would matter. You either know what I’m talking about or you don’t.
- This episode features the Moe I know and love: not the epically wussy love struck cartoon he’s become.
- Ten million Cynicism Points to this episode for “complete and utter dependence” as a romantic idea.
That’s all folks! Even in my drunken state I can’t gin up anything super profound about all this. I got drunk, I watched a cartoon show. It’s silly and stupid and easily mockable, and without denying any of those descriptions I’d point out one more thing: it was worth doing. This show never focused on passing situations or hypocritical fad mockery; rather, it chose to make fun of the world we live in instead of the ways we live in it. Maybe that’s a distinction without a difference, and I’m in no shape to contest it right now, but I don’t think so. The reason it’s still worth watching all these years later is the same reason it’s still quoted endlessly: it made fun of us, not just our times. Much as we might like to pretend otherwise we don’t really change that much in a mere twenty years.
Update: My phone is old, its connection software is older still, and my laptop predates them both. Getting all three of them to cooperate for the simple purpose of uploading a picture is an adventure even when I’m sober. But I got it, so for any internet doubters out there, here’s the beer:
Image used under Creative Commons license from Flickr user Lisa Brewster.
“Bart, with $10,000 we’d be millionaires! We could buy all kinds of useful things like . . . love.” – Homer Simpson
In our continuing mission to bring you only the finest in low class, low brow, and low tech internet Simpsons commentary we’re bringing back our “Crazy Noises” series and applying it to Season 21. Because doing a podcast smacks of effort we’re still using this “chatroom” thing that all the middle schoolers and undercover cops seem to think is so cool. This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (especially on “aggravating”).
This installment of Zombie Simpsons was so lifeless, so barren of anything that could be called originality or humor that we really didn’t have much to say about it. (That our collective blood alcohol level was lower than usual didn’t help.) How many times can you point out that the characters are acting like comedy writers instead of themselves? How many times can you observe that the ratio of filler to content is sky high? How many nonsensical plot points can three men endure?
Seriously, this episode is to comedy what the lunar surface is to life.
Charlie Sweatpants: Shall we get down to it?
Mad Jon: Ok then
I just watched this today, and as usual I was unable to pay it full attention.
Charlie Sweatpants: Full attention is not what this one deserves.
Mad Jon: But if I remember correctly Homer wins 1 million dollars and can’t tell Marge right?
Dave: Yep, exactly
Charlie Sweatpants: It’s that rare trifecta of suck where they a) didn’t have remotely enough material, b) what they did have was crazy and boring and c) had a celebrity guest voice playing himself for no reason whatsoever.
Mad Jon: So the man who told a classroom of people what turns Marge on, can’t tell her he was late to a wedding for a million dollars.
Wait, wait, wait, Are you telling me the Man who skipped marriage counseling so he could go fishing, can’t tell his wife he won a million dollars.
Dave: Yes in name and but not character, they are one and the same
Charlie Sweatpants: And that’s only the beginning of its problems.
We could be here a long time if you recite all of the more difficult things Homer has done in the past.
Mad Jon: You know, I think there was one funny line. But it was followed by the second most aggravating thing that happened in this episode.
Charlie Sweatpants: Do tell.
Mad Jon: I laughed when Bart asked Homer why he wasn’t having fun or something, and Homer said that if he wanted to have fun he would have left when Bart was born. That was kinda funny.
It was, of course, followed by Homer asking for advice from Bart about how to be more selfish.
Which was the 2nd most aggravating thing I saw.
Dave: What won the prize?
Charlie Sweatpants: I don’t know man, okay that was bad, but I can think of a lot more than just one other thing that was more aggravating that that.
Mad Jon: Well, we will have to agree to disagree. As other than the fact that Homer’s first stop after getting the money wasn’t Moe’s, I found that line the most blood-angering.
Seriously, the man went to Moe’s the instant he sold his entire stock portfolio for $25 bucks.
Charlie Sweatpants: You’re right about that.
That is easily the most out of character thing there was, and for this episode that does say something.
The break dancing cave man was bad, which was only there because they had already stretched that wretched scene at the dinner table well past the breaking point. Both “money spending” montages were weak to say the least, it felt like I was watching one of Adam Sandler’s lesser offerings. The toast, both the rehearsal and the actual one, were painful.
Mad Jon: Yeah, but they dragged on so long that I experienced more boredom than anger. I think I have been conditioned.
Charlie Sweatpants: Of course if they’d had Homer go to Moe’s and open a tab he would’ve died of alcohol poisoning three minutes later and then they’d be about 13 minutes short.
Dave: No you’re wrong about that Charlie
They would’ve had another piece of shit montage. That seems to be their thing this season.
Mad Jon: Or he could have stumbled home, drunkenly told Marge what happened, she gets pissed, he spends episode trying to figure out what went wrong, until Lisa or Apu saves the day.
At least we could have had montages similar to those in seasons 9-12 as opposed to those of seasons 13-20.
Charlie Sweatpants: Enh.
[Editor’s Note: There was about a three minute pause here where no one said anything.]
Charlie Sweatpants: So, uh, I got nothing, apparently.
I know this episode is utterly devoid of content, but it feels like we’ve barely started.
Dave: I dunno, you’re both more riled up than me. Apparently I’m just numb to all of this now
Charlie Sweatpants: I wish I were numb . . .
Mad Jon: The Cartridge Family, I’m with Cupid, Take My Wife, Sleaze, etc. There are many episodes that are kind of crappy, but not the shithole this one was, that follow the same plot line I just said. And this could have been one of those pretty crappy episodes.
But now I feel kind of greasy for trying to defend the fact this could have been a bad, but not as bad episode.
As an act of contrition, I will now try to kick myself in the balls.
Dave: How’d that work out for you?
Mad Jon: Hold on…
Charlie Sweatpants: This one had “blast crater” written all over it from the start. The b-plot is thin and has no conclusion, the a-plot is even thinner but manages to take up all of its allotted time through montages and unrelated set pieces that make an episode of SNL look like a tightly plotted ballet.
Mad Jon: There was a b-plot?
Dave: The Funtendo Zii
Charlie Sweatpants: Lisa with the old people and the not-Wii.
Mad Jon: Oh yeah….
Dave: Again, they reference stuff but fall well short of parody or humor
Mad Jon: A little Deus ex machina to end that one if I remember. The aides dishwash the Wii right?
Charlie Sweatpants: There’s yet another wasted comedy opportunity as I’d previously thought old people + video games has a decent chance.
Mad Jon: Remember when Bart was trying to teach Grandpa to play video games… That was something could all enjoy.
Charlie Sweatpants: That was, what, Season 3?
Mad Jon: Something like that.
Charlie Sweatpants: You’re correct, of course.
Now we have to treat the old people with respect.
Speaking of which, why the hell was Burns trying out a Wii?
Mad Jon: I don’t know. Something about killing Nazis
Charlie Sweatpants: That was almost as bad as the Moe scene in terms of, “Help we’ve got to fill some time!”
Anything else we should mention, specific or general?
Mad Jon: When I saw Moe walk up I thought to myself “Hey, He’s going to ask why Homer isn’t at the bar! That would make sense!” But then I remembered that nothing in the parallel universe that is Zombie Simpsons actually makes sense.
Charlie Sweatpants: It would’ve also been funnier.
Mad Jon: Perhaps, but I guess we will never know.
Charlie Sweatpants: I think we can make a fairly confident guess.
Dave, has your numbness abated enough to spew some hate? That’s cool if not, as I said I kind of envy you. I’m not trying to prod, I’m trying to wrap this up.
Dave: Nah, I’m sort of floating through this one. I think you’ve both hit on all the things I should’ve have been annoyed with, but for one reason or another wasn’t
Mad Jon: You could say Charlie has the same goal as a man kicking himself in the junk, he just wants the pain to end. Trust me on that one.
Charlie Sweatpants: You need to put me in contact with your drug dealer, post haste.
Dave: Also, this is the second episode in as many weeks with a romantic ending, and I’m a grumpy fuck
Mad Jon: Why? Are you going to make him fight yours for the territory?
Charlie Sweatpants: All in the game.
“Hey, hey. How about that weather out there? Woah! That was the caller from hell. Well, hot dog! We have a weiner!” – DJ 3000
“Man, that thing’s great!” – Bill
“Don’t praise the machine!” – Marty
Recently I discovered that one of the radio stations in my listening area has converted to a DJ 3000 format. There are no DJs, all the music is alt/pop rock from the mid 90′s ’till now, and the commercials are only 1 minute long and always followed by the Computer saying something like “That was short, now back to the music..” or “92.3, enjoy.” There is no mindless blabber or stupid callers and the music is from my angsty years, so it fast became my favorite station. Just wanted to point that out. Sorry Bill and Marty…Thanks DJ 3000.
In Season 5′s “Bart Gets an Elephant”, Stampy escapes and Homer and the family try to find the pachyderm by following the trail of destruction. Unfortunately, a tornado has come through since Stampy did. Homer then points up and says, “Look, it got Patty and Selma!” We’re then shown Patty and Selma in rocking chairs (a la The Wizard of Oz) and they make a joke:
Now, compare that with Season 8′s “Hurricane Neddy”, which we discussed at length back in June. Homer ventures out of the basement during the eye of the storm; then, for no real reason, he’s caught up in a tornado-like wind, which causes the following:
Homer is grabbed by Lisa, Lisa is grabbed by Bart, and Bart is grabbed by Marge who then pulls them all back into the basement. This isn’t even a subjective example, where I don’t think a joke is funny but someone else does. There simply is no joke. The musical score is set to “exciting action” and nothing at all funny happens. As soon as they’re back inside Marge begins praying for their safety (which is itself not nearly as funny as when she does the same thing in “Homer Defined”). There’s no punchline and nothing to be quoted, just a few seconds of cartoonish “danger”.
Both segments are short and both involve characters getting sucked up into the sky, but only one is funny. The other doesn’t even try. Sadly, it’s sequences like the one from “Hurricane Neddy” (family-in-danger!!!!!) that have become a staple of Zombie Simpsons.
“Hey Clinton, get back to work!” – Moe
“Make Me!” – Bill Clinton
There has been much talk about The Simpsons postal stamp deal and even though most of my thoughts about the subject fall in the ‘Unimpressed/Murderously Angry’ category, it has occurred to me that the US Government has made an overlooked statement here. Unless I am incorrect, and that may be the case as I have done absolutely zero research on the subject, a person must be dead for ten years before they are eligible to be on a postage stamp. I believe this to be the case because I remember seeing a news report about the Elvis stamps released quite some time ago, and I remember the news caster saying this was proof that Elvis was actually dead, and not at Krispy Kreme.
Disregarding the obvious point that The Simpsons are a cartoon and not a real person, it is clear to me that The USPS has decided to get on board with the team here at DHS.
On May 2nd 1999 “Monty Can’t Buy Me Love” was broadcast. Simple logic would show that 5 days later the government (Lead at the time by Slick Willy, God bless’em) decided that in the depths of the fetid quagmire that was season 10, The Simpsons had died, leaving only a corpse which would soon be reanimated and roam the earth longing to feed on the brains of unwitting fanboys.
Thank you Government, now if you would please issue a Matt Groening stamp I would be able to prove my theory that he has also been dead for a decade and any decisions regarding The Simpons since then have been made by the break dancing Richard Simmons robot brought in to replace him.
Also I apologize for writing yet another post regarding the stamps, but somethings just can’t be left unsaid.