“You wouldn’t happen to know anything about a cigarette truck that got hijacked on Route 401?” – Chief Wiggum
“What’s a truck?” – Fat Tony
Happy birthday Joe Mantegna!
“You’re eight hours early for work. I like that.” – Fat Tony
“Did you kill my principal?” – Bart Simpson
“Uh, Chinese guy with a moustache?” – Fat Tony
“No, my principal!” – Bart Simpson
“That Skinner guy? No we didn’t kill him.” – Legs
“I see wedding bells for Vanna White and Teddy Kennedy.” – Princess Opal
“Please, Princess Opal, if we could just stick to Principal Skinner.” – Chief Wiggum
“Chief Wiggum, I am merely a conduit for the spirits. Ah! Willie Nelson will astound his fans by swimming the English Channel.” – Princess Opal
“Really, Willie Nelson?” – Chief Wiggum
Happy birthday Jo Ann Harris!
“That Simpson boy is looking at a hundred and eighty years.” – Mr. Smithers
“Thank God we live in a country so hysterical over crime that a ten-year-old child can be tried as an adult.” – C.M. Burns
Happy 20th Anniversary to “Bart the Murderer”! Original airdate: 10 October 1991.
“Hey, when do we get the check for this?” – Homer Simpson
“Well, they said they changed it just enough so they don’t have to pay us.” – Marge Simpson
“Oh, you know who the real crooks are? Those sleazy Hollywood producers.” – Homer Simpson
Happy birthday James L. Brooks!
“Bart Simpson, you’re late. Go fill out a tardy slip.” – Mrs. Krabappel
“But I’m only, five, ten, twenty . . . forty minutes! That’s pretty damn late.” – Bart Simpson
A number of people sent in links, ideas and actual content this week, but I’m afraid I didn’t have time to get to it. On top of that, I’m several owed e-mails deep. In lieu of all that better stuff, here’s some other internet content. Sure it’s shorter than usual, but it’s also massively late in the day, so I’ve got both halves of “too little, too late” covered.
Simpsons alphabet – You should click Smooth Charlie’s Click of the Week right now. Why are you still reading this? Click. Now. I was going to call out individual letters for brilliance, but this is genius from A to Z.
The Wizard of Oz…In 10 Words – “Someone is charging room service to the company, sir.”
This Weekend – Animated .gif of one of the greatest days in Homer’s life.
Videogames a la simpson – Frink as Gordon Freeman is the highlight here, though Homer in Dead Space is pretty good.
A syllogism – I’m an American, so I know just enough about Canada to find it all tucked away down there on a map, and I know even less about how their politics work. That said, comparing Canadian political parties to The Simpsons and South Park will always get linked on this blog. Even if it refers to a “Principal Snyder”.
That’s Mantegna, not Montana – I’m sorry, were you under the impression that Joe Mantegna isn’t here to redeem us all?
The Simpsons Do Pulp Fiction – Pai Mei probably doesn’t tip.
Matlock Description WIN – I think I’ve seen this before, but that in no way diminishes how awesome it is.
Simpsons Video of the Week: Homer Goes To Hell – Hulu YouTube of exactly what you think it is.
Simpsons – Dignity – Okay, genius, why don’t you draw dignity?
Classic Artwork with a Simpson Spin – Courtesy of our friends at Stay Tooned In (to whom I owe a very overdue e-mail, sorry guys), some excellent fan made artwork. Two of them I’m pretty sure I’ve seen before, but the painting of the kid on the wall is new to me and worth the click all on its own.
May 4, 2011 d’oh, graphic novel – Hmmm:
Outside of kid bloggers and Simpsons fanatics, does anyone really say “cromulent” or “craptacular,” much less “kwyjibo”?
I’ve definitely heard people use “craptacular” without knowing it was on The Simpsons. I don’t know if it came from the show or not, but adding “-tacular” to a lot of things is pretty standard these days. Lord knows I do it.
Unboxing the Past – Box 7 – This is a bunch of pictures of someone’s old stuff, including a set of Simpsons playing cards. I’m linking it because it contains a picture of a molecule model set that, when he reads this, will make Mad Jon’s face tick involuntarily.
D’Oh – Homer figurine photobombs some Star Wars characters. I smiled.
“Hey, I like this kid. I can’t believe we we’re gonna shoot him.” – Fat Tony
As part of the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day that opens this episode, Bart eventually falls down some concrete stairs, only to have a halo of guns surround his head. His ultimate fate is decided in court, on charges of murder; in between he is in various forms of serious jeopardy. But no matter how many times guns are jammed in his face or adults scheme his false conviction, the story is never played for tension or suspense.
This extends to Bart’s nightmare, where he’s haunted by grim, black-and-white imaginings of the many ways his new compatriots may have gruesomely disposed of his principal. But even that turns into less The Seventh Seal and more Young Frankenstein once Reverend Lovejoy and Homer show up to, respectively, tacitly condone and enthusiastically encourage the execution of a ten-year-old. Even in the protected confines of a network comedy, an audience would be expected to blanche at a child contemplating wrongful execution. Yet The Simpsons not only hung their entire ending off of it and made it funny the whole way, they let the real bad guys get away in the end.
“Your Honor, the prosecution moves that Principal Skinner’s testimony be stricken from the record.” – Prosecutor
“Denied!” – Judge Snyder
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 “DeGeneres”).
One of the few good jokes from Season 10’s relentlessly dull Super Bowl episode “Sunday, Cruddy Sunday”, was when they described the two teams and then the President. In the first instance, they had Moe put a mug in front of his mouth when naming the Atlanta Falcons. When he spoke, his voice was also recorded slightly differently. They couldn’t properly animate his lines because they had no way of knowing who would be playing, so they made a joke out of it, using the obvious ploy to cover up his mouth. They went on, using the same gag to joke about Bill Clinton’s impeachment, implying that he might not be the President much longer. One of the few high points in an otherwise very bad episode.
At the end of this week’s American Idol promo, they had someone do a Jay Leno impersonation about the BP oil spill. Only the voice didn’t match up at all, in fact, there was even a jarring change in the voice. When it’s a wide shot, the dialog is “Have you seen this, the President says Iran has gotten a hold of the most dangerous weapon known to man.” It then zooms in so the image on Moe’s television is the full shot, and a very different voice says, “The BP oil rig! That’s right ladies and gentlemen, but I know how to make that leak disappear: put it on NBC!” During the second shot the voice doesn’t begin to match the animation or the tone from the previous line. It’s childishly clumsy.
When you’re screwing up things even Season 10 knew how to do, that’s not a good sign.
Charlie Sweatpants: Enough about BP, is it time to move onto the second biggest disaster in America this week?
Mad Jon: Sounds like a plan
Charlie Sweatpants: I can’t decide if I want this episode to get more press, or if I want it stricken from the record.
Mad Jon: Can’t it have one because of the other?
Charlie Sweatpants: I was a little less upset by the Kesha thing a few weeks ago than you guys were, but this was too much.
Dave: It was pretty whorish.
Mad Jon: That was Simon Cowell’s second guest appearance.
Charlie Sweatpants: I saw that, good that they only work with the most non-flash in the pan people, isn’t it?
Mad Jon: Very classy.
Dave: We should expect nothing less.
Charlie Sweatpants: But he wasn’t even the worst part, the other judges were.
Mad Jon: I didn’t even know Ellen was a judge on American Idol.
Charlie Sweatpants: You learned it, you can’t unlearn it.
Dave: That tacitly implies that you’ve watched American Idol before, Jon.
Mad Jon: You can’t watch FOX without seeing commercials for it. Also I think I guess I thought I would have heard that Ellen replaced whoever was there before her. That seems like it would be a big pop culture deal.
Charlie Sweatpants: Okay, let’s not get into a pissing contest over who is purer when it comes to ignoring American Idol.
Mad Jon: Sorry Dave.
Dave: Oh fine. I forgive you, Jon.
Charlie Sweatpants: The point here is that they have about six judges all of whom were basically given their own "talking into the camera" moment for ten or fifteen seconds.
It went beyond lazy, and honestly, could you even tell if the actual Zombie Simpsons writers wrote it?
Mad Jon: No, I assumed they did because I considered poking out my own eyes, but I don’t really have any proof.
Dave: It may as well have been an effort from Fox’s marketing dept.
Charlie Sweatpants: You mean, this show isn’t part of FOX’s marketing department?
Dave: I guess you’re right, I was giving it too much credit.
Charlie Sweatpants: But let’s not get distracted. While the American Idol part was perhaps the most bought and sold thing this show has ever done, and I’m including commercials for Butterfinger, Coke, Toyota, and every other fucking thing, the rest of the episode also sucked.
Case in point: the monkey diaper thing.
Mad Jon: Pretty bad.
Charlie Sweatpants: Not a completely horrid idea, but then it went on for twenty seconds and ended with a man eating a diaper for no reason.
Mad Jon: Drederick Tatum none the less
Charlie Sweatpants: The Flanders evolution "joke" was in a similar vein.
Mad Jon: Yeah, I hated that less, but It wasn’t funny. Even though Flanders and Lisa were actually themselves – still not funny.
Charlie Sweatpants: But that was just a taste of Lisa’s moments of showing up for no reason in this episode.
Dave: Like Ralph showing up to swear?
Mad Jon: Oh sure. But the other show up was to help support Santa’s Little Helper in the B.5 plot.
Charlie Sweatpants: Talk about desperate time ploys, I guess even they thought DeGeneres’ dance went on too long.
Mad Jon: I had the feeling they just plum forgot to finish what they started.
Charlie Sweatpants: There was a lot of that going on.
Mad Jon: But perhaps the plot writing computer just went haywire and no one bothered to stop it.
Charlie Sweatpants: Probably wouldn’t be the first time.
Mad Jon: Or the last.
Charlie Sweatpants: Sadly, no.
But those weren’t the only ones, we had another pointless montage, Moe’s painfully slow walk across the entire aisle as dumber and dumber things get put into seats, and that scene where Homer kept sneaking up on Marge for no reason.
That Moe sitting down thing was really bad, there was more humor in the bus scenes from Forrest Gump.
Mad Jon: Ugh. And I think the XFL joke may have been, I don’t know, a few YEARS to late?
Charlie Sweatpants: Fuck, I’d blocked out that sports bar.
Dave: Me too.
Charlie Sweatpants: Take that Buffalo Wild Wings/XFL/Swanson’s.
Mad Jon: I spent many of my formative years watching Homer sitting on the couch and drinking beer. Perhaps he forgot how to do that, which would explain the need for the Marge wanting space bit.
Charlie Sweatpants: I thought of that too.
Mad Jon: I’m not surprised you did.
Charlie Sweatpants: Why was Homer suddenly interested in harassing Marge like it was his job?
And what’s with the labels on the eggs?
Mad Jon: The label maker from season three must have had it’s contract option picked up.
Charlie Sweatpants: Excessive labeling (Radio Bart), and individual labeling (Summer of 4 Ft 2) have both been done before and done better.
Mad Jon: Speaking of throwbacks
Charlie Sweatpants: I see we were on the same page there.
Mad Jon: Did anyone notice the music right before the normal end credit music?
Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, was it the German polka for a reason?
Did I miss something?
Mad Jon: It was the music from the beer garden when Burn’s sold the plant to the Germans.
Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, but why?
Dave: Empty fanservice!
Like the aye-carumba
Charlie Sweatpants: Speaking of out of character, Dr. Nick.
I really thought he was going to say "Spaghetti-Os" at the end.
Mad Jon: Is that supposed to be a subliminal deal to try and make me like Zombie Simpsons? You know, remind me of good times? Or have I succumbed to my rage and hatred so much that I am looking for any reason to pin a conspiracy on the Zombie writers…
Charlie Sweatpants: Conspiracy isn’t the right word. Conspiracies are secret. They’re pretty open about the fact that they’ve been mooching off built up good will for more than a decade.
Mad Jon: This seems a bit more blatant than usual…
Charlie Sweatpants: Enh, it’s no worse than that time the Plow King showed up.
Dave: It was their last opportunity for a few months. Go big or go broke
Charlie Sweatpants: But in this case they went big and broke.
Mad Jon: Indeed.
It seems Moe has gotten a lot of play as of late.
Talk about the bottom of the barrel.
Charlie Sweatpants: He’s easy to write for.
Mad Jon: He didn’t even cry this time.
Charlie Sweatpants: No, but he did get all gushy over that song.
That was pretty bad.
Mad Jon: Oh yea, when Simon Cowell sabotaged his judging career in less then 12 seconds.
Charlie Sweatpants: I mean, when the bar is set at "sexually harass your waitress to get guilted into doing right by your friend", everything’s going to fall short. But still, he’s been awful for years and this was right along those lines.
I will admit to being mildly amused by all the fake reality show titles, but that was pretty low hanging fruit.
Mad Jon: It was very Family Guy.
Not to bring them into this.
Charlie Sweatpants: Fast Animals, Slow Children, and all that.
You’re right, though.
Mad Jon: It would have been edgy 8 or 9 years ago, a series of reality show titles that at the time would have been outrageous, but are now probably on either FX or HGTV…
Charlie Sweatpants: Another good point.
Mad Jon: Still, if you have to not hate at least one part of the episode, that would probably be the joke not to hate.
Charlie Sweatpants: Speaking of whiffing on topicality, there was that Jay Leno thing at the end.
Mad Jon: I didn’t understand that at all.
Dave: It was completely tacked on.
Charlie Sweatpants: What Dave said.
Mad Jon: Was it because of all the recent late night mix ups or something?
I don’t really watch those types of shows either.
Charlie Sweatpants: They mentioned the BP spill, but the voice changed completely and they didn’t even bother to try syncing up the animation and the speech.
Mad Jon: If I’m awake at eleven I am either seriously drinking or playing Xbox.
Charlie Sweatpants: Or both.
Mad Jon: Usually both.
Charlie Sweatpants: Okay, anything else?
I’m quite ready to be done with this piece of shit season.
Mad Jon: No, but I’m probably just looking for an excuse to stop talking about new Zombie Simpsons for a few months
Charlie Sweatpants: Amen to that.
“You ate my homework? I didn’t know dogs really did that.” – Bart Simpson
This week’s Reading Digest is shorter than most, but I have two and a half excuses. The first is that for some reason the “Simpsons” tag on WordPress isn’t working correctly, and I often get several links from there. The other one and a half excuses are the fact that we are sitting in between two talked about Zombie Simpsons episodes. Last week they had two guest stars and one of them was playing Michelle Obama, this week Zombie Simpsons is going to Jerusalem. Much like the whole “Marge in Playboy” thing, this has caused a flood shallow and uninteresting Simpsons commentary on-line. When the signal to noise ratio gets this out of whack I have a hard time finding good stuff, and I’m much too lazy to plow through it all. But we still have some usage (excellent and poor), a Zombie Simpsons fan who blunders right into a classic cliche, two links about Simpsons words, and two YouTubes of the same scene (one in German, one in Spanish).
DON’T BUY THIS!!!!! ~~"The Simpsons: The Complete Twentieth Season" – A rather wonderful review from Canadian Amazon.
‘The Simpsons’: Their greatest gift to us? ‘Yoink.’ – In defense of “Yoink” as the best Simpsons contribution to the English language. The real treat here is the comments section, which breaks out into a rash of quotes. It goes for nine pages and I didn’t bother with them all, but there are, as you’d expect, very little Zombie Simpsons.
Cartoons that still run after 10+ years – I never knew the color yellow was so powerful.
‘The Simpsons’ is Still Awesome – I really should start cataloging these:
For the record, even when everyone else stopped watching "The Simpsons" I stuck with it. Admittedly some of the years out of the past decade have not been its finest, but if you were once a "Simpsons" fan and quit, you should really pick it back up.
This has occurred to me over the course of the current season, and specifically during a moment from the episode "Postcards From the Wedge."
Zombie Simpsons fan (“I stuck with it”) saying that it’s getting better. How surprising.
22 Theme Songs In 7 Minutes – This has been making the rounds recently. It’s all teevee-theme songs. I almost stopped it right away because it started with “Two and a Half Men”. I saw seven seconds of that show once, almost killed me. Anyway, the Simpsons part starts right after that but is only about seven bars long and bleeds almost immediately into “The OC”. Feh.
Links for Wednesday – The word “Waterloo” has been getting thrown around a lot in political circles here in America this week. This man had the proper response:
I cannot resist embedding such excellent YouTube:
I now have Abba stuck in my head. It was worth it.
The Bus That Couldn’t Slow Down: Why I can’t get enough of those celebrity sex scandals – I consciously avoid celebrity news, but this is excellent usage:
Just because they once pretended in a movie, like Homer Simpson said, to be on “a bus that had to SPEED around a city, keeping its SPEED over fifty, and if its SPEED dropped, it would explode! I think it was called, ‘The Bus That Couldn’t Slow Down’”;
Don’t worry – Poor quotation here:
“Don’t worry son. You could wake up dead tomorrow.” – Homer Simpson, “The Simpsons”
The actual quote is:
“Don’t let Krusty’s death get you down, boy. People die all the time, just like that. Why, you could wake up dead tomorrow.” – Homer Simpson
The Simpsons like you’ve never seen them before: gambling, doing drugs and soliciting prostitutes – A bar in Shanghai has public service announcements (No Prostitution) with Simpsons characters. Click this, it’s too fun to miss (via).
D’oh! – Simpsons grunt has global clout – This list is not cromulent – literally.
Cinematical Late Night: Little Brother, Miley Cyrus, Asian Film Awards & The Simpsons – And finally, I get to end with someone who agrees with us. This is a catchall post most of which has nothing to do with the show; but in the course of mentioning the kiss montage from last week’s episode we get this:
I haven’t been watching The Simpsons with any regularity for some time now because, well, The Simpsons hasn’t been all that good for some time now.
“Me and the boys wish to thank you for hanging on to this stuff for us.” – Fat Tony
“Thanks. Uh, say, are you guys crooks?” – Bart Simpson
“Bart, um, is it wrong to steal a loaf of bread to feed your starving family?” – Fat Tony
“No.” – Bart Simpson
“Well suppose you got a large starving family. Is it wrong to steal a truckload of bread to feed them?” – Fat Tony
“Unh-uh.” – Bart Simpson
“And, what if your family don’t like bread, they like cigarettes?” – Fat Tony
“I guess that’s okay.” – Bart Simpson
“Now, what if instead of giving them away, you sold them at a price that was practically giving them away. Would that be a crime Bart?” – Fat Tony
“Hell no!” – Bart Simpson
“Enjoy your gift.” – Fat Tony
Happy Birthday Joe Mantegna!
This is a terrible episode. As is often the case in Season 12 there’s a mildly coherent idea, Krusty has a daughter he didn’t know about, that degenerates into incoherence when Homer and Krusty have to break into a mob summit meeting to steal back a violin that they mob had because . . . ah hell, you can’t even summarize this episode without babbling on like an idiot. You know what the least bad parts of this episode are though? The Fat Tony parts. And do you know why? It’s because Joe Mantegna is awesome. This was also far an away the best of the Season 12 commentaries to which I’ve subjected myself for the same reason. Joe Mantegna was in the booth with them and he is a one man show.
Ten guys on this one, including Castellaneta and the above mentioned Mantegna. Also, when introducing himself, the director seemed kinda down. Not sure why. Regret, remorse, shame, could be anything.
1:30 – Long discussion from Mantegna about how much he likes doing the show.
3:00 – Talking about how this one was written the previous year but didn’t get all the way produced. They refer to episodes like that, jokingly of course, as “holdover, or bad episodes”. Everyone laughs. Again. Sigh. By the way, Homer and Bart have been blowing up the house for no reason whatsoever for about two minutes now and not one of the commentators has mentioned what’s actually going on in the episode.
3:30 – Mildly interesting note that the “illegitimate child” idea was originally a spec for an episode of “The Critic”.
4:05 – They forget that Tom Wolfe wasn’t actually in this one, he was in a later episode.
4:45 – Trivia about Stephen King filming Maximum Overdrive. Still haven’t said a word about what’s going on except for the celebrity guest voices.
5:40 – Story about Christopher Walken at a party. Jebus, this is like listening to a gossip show.
7:00 – Celebrity story about John Updike now.
7:40 – “Krusty’s daughter has been in many many episodes since this episode, right? We wouldn’t bring something like that up and then just drop it.” Laughter.
(A brief aside on continuity and the reaction to it: It doesn’t matter. I’ve mentioned this before, but you can start poking continuity holes in this show in Season 1, it isn’t a problem because it isn’t a serial drama. But whenever defenders of Zombie Simpsons feel like scoring a cheap point against critics of Zombie Simpsons they’ll erect the strawman of, “Oh those nerds on the internet, they want everything to make sense, blah blah blah, a wizard did it.” On behalf of rational internet nerds, let me just say that we don’t care about continuity between episodes, but it would be nice if you a) didn’t recycle whole plots and b) had the story make sense within a single episode, which, by the way, this one doesn’t.)
8:00 – Time for the Drew Barrymore story, she’s a celebrity who likes dogs! OMG!!!! Sooooo cute!!!1!!!!1
10:00 – Talking about how Krusty’s daughter looks like him. Low bar for success these days, eh?
11:40 – Ah, more discussion of the outfits. Fashion faux pas have always been central to the show’s appeal.
12:15 – Discussing how they can’t remember what changes were made to this episode during rewrites, “I do remember we used to keep more story back in those days.” Shocking.
12:30 – Talking about Homer walking along the beach with a truly ridiculous amount of shit (flippers, a kite) and children hanging on him, they cite that as scene that grounds him as a normal father. Then they talk about how they often don’t do that anymore, though they apparently think it takes only one token scene to ground all the crazy shit. I think most of these guys know the show is a pale imitation of itself, they’d just be fired and sued into bankruptcy by FOX if they ever admitted it.
15:00 – Mildly interesting note, Mantegna based Fat Tony off of an uncle of his.
15:30 – Reminiscing about salad days in Chicago and ignoring the stupidity of the poker/violin/etcetera.
17:00 – More Mantegna stories. They’re far more interesting than either this episode or the usual commentaries. I’m glad he’s here.
18:20 – Once again ignoring what’s going on as the plot goes into its lunatic tailspin.
19:00 – Seriously, Mantegna is great. I can’t do it justice in print.
20:45 – Laughing at the conceit that is the gunfight that breaks out after Krusty and Homer (who has no business being there) carry out all the violin cases (for some reason), right past all the mob guys (for some other reason), and then the guns go off (for some final reason). This leads to one of the worst parts of Zombie Simpsons: the clock eating “action” sequence.
21:00 – Long silence at the pointless ending.
22:00 – Uproarious laughter at the pointless Homer scene at the end. And we’re done.
The IGN review for this week’s four part Zombie Simpsons clusterfuck is the first one they’ve put up since I’ve been doing these synergy posts that isn’t a rave. To be sure, it’s pretty gentle criticism, but it’s not a glowing review and that’s a first. What puzzles me, however, is the fact that the episode still garners a rating of 6.2. 6.2! When the review considers only one of four segments to be good, shouldn’t that be more like a 2.5, or, if you’re rounding up, a 3? What, precisely, is the point of having a scale go from 1-10 if even things you really don’t like score a six or higher?
Anyway, this week’s review needed considerably less editing than usual, but I still found plenty of synergy. Enjoy:
May 11, 2009 – Aside from the annual “Treehouse of Horror” episode and that disjointed piece of shit “Gone Maggie Gone,” season 20 hadn’t had another anthology episode until this week. “Four Great Women and a Manicure” told had four stories parts, all involving historical female cultural mainstays, all spurred by Marge taking Lisa for her first manicure. And as is often the case with these types of episodes, the segments were hit and miss. One was a clear standout slightly less bad, while the others couldn’t find enough anything resembling good jokes in their subject matter.
The first segment, giving a Zombie Simpsons-style retelling of key moments from the life of Queen Elizabeth, was very weak. Maybe it was Selma as Elizabeth, maybe it was Hank Azaria’s go-to effeminate Spanish-accent “gay” voice, or maybe it was the rushed pacing. Whatever the reason, the story never found its footing and the jokes were few. Some small bits worked, like Lenny and his tiny Spanish Armada, but more over the What jokes there were fell flat. Queen Selma’s “how dare you make out… while I make out not” made me cringe. Worse was Homer and Moe’s “Spanish armada?” exchange: “Armada? What’s armada?” “Nothing. What’s armada with you?” Sure, they mocked the lameness of the bit, but if you know it’s lame, why use the bit? [Editor's note: The answer to your question is: because this is Zombie Simpsons. Try not to imagine how lame the stuff they left out was.]
The second segment was the best of the episode least stupid by a very large margin. This was Lisa’s retelling of Snow White, complete with appropriate changes to pretend to avoid being sued by the Disney Corporation. This story had a different set of seven dwarves, like Crabby, Drunky, Lenny and Doc… tor Hibbert, which isn’t nearly as funny as the Seven Duffs. I think the dwarves were a key part of this segment’s success lack of total failure, because it’s always funny to see our favorite familiar characters effectively put into other familiar roles. Really, this segment had everything you could want from the beginnings of a Snow White spoof, but neither the brains nor the time to make it work. The “Ho-Hi-Ho-Hi” song was hilarious decent, both in the segment and the extension at the end of the episode: “This song’s not like any song you know, ho-hi, ho-hi, ho-hi.” Lisa had started telling the story as a warning to having a “dangerous obsession with female beauty,” and ended the story further pushing her feminist agenda: “Snow White… waited for her prince to come, but he never did. Snow White was brought back to life by a lady doctor.” as quickly as possible with direct, jokeless narration. This was such a fun and funny segment that If you put a gun to my head I would have much rather seen it expanded to an entire episode than watch the other three stories, but that isn’t saying much.
But since that couldn’t happen, there had to be two more. Macbeth was the subject thinly used template off for segment three. The Scottish play has been spoofed by the series in various forms before, but “Four Great Women and a Manicure” put yet another spin on it. Instead of Lady Macbeth scheming to take over the throne, she’s scheming to take over the lead role in the play Macbeth. It was a mildly clever idea, but as usual it wasn’t enough was implemented horribly. A series of murders and some fun theater references followed, (“Why do they write a new review of this play every single day?”) but nothing elevated the segment beyond that lone smart twist.
The fourth segment was something new for the series. Three has been the standard number of stories for all of the previous 19 seasons, and the series joked about mentioned this with Marge stating, “That’s it, three stories. That’s what we always tell.” But with the new format that kicked in midway through the season, there was time need for a fourth. This segment turned crammed Maggie into the architect protagonist in Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead, using building blocks instead of, you know, buildings. This was another weak segment. A string of scenes showing a man creatively knocking down Maggie’s structures does not translate into big laughs. The segment’s only memorable, and not in a good way, moment was hearing Jodie Foster (Nell) join Elizabeth Taylor (The Flintstones) as a voice for Maggie Simpson. Beyond that, there is little to add.
Four stories instead of three, but there was really only one worth watching that wasn’t complete garbage and even it was still Zombie Simpsons.
“Oh, licking envelopes can be fun; all you have to do is make a game of it.” – Principal Skinner
“What kind of game?” – Bart Simpson
“Well, for example, you could see how many you can lick in an hour, and then try to break that record.” – Principal Skinner
“Sounds like a pretty crappy game to me.” – Bart Simpson
“Yes . . . well . . . get started.” – Principal Skinner
I’m pretty apathetic about the Simpsons being on stamps, but it’s all the rage on the internet this week. Also, there’s some good commenter work and a neat article about cromulent and embiggen.
D’oh! Simpsons Immortalized On Stamps – From the credit where credit is due file:
Postal official David Failor said the promotional tie-in with the show should regenerate interest in a waning hobby.
“Issuing The Simpsons stamps, which includes known philatelist Bart Simpson, will serve as a great opportunity to interest youngsters in stamp collecting,” he said.
Okay, unless there’s a Zombie Simpsons episode I haven’t seen where they expanded on Bart’s stamp collecting (and it wouldn’t surprise me), isn’t that just a one line gag from “Homer the Vigilante”? Way to know your Simpsons, bolded postal official.
A bad decision on commemorative stamp – A cranky sounding woman in Iowa wrote a letter to the Sioux City Journal:
So with a commemorative stamp, the U.S. Postal Service has decided to elevate Homer Simpson, the icon of all that is crude and vulgar, to the same status as the likes of Lucille Ball, Frank Sinatra, Jimmy Stewart and Elvis Presley.
With the possible exception of Jimmy Stewart nobody on that list is exactly a paragon of virtue. Would you guess the author’s age as seventies or higher than that?
Postal Service seleases [sic] Simpsons stamps, Mr. Burns miffed – A Chicago radio station interviewed Harry Shearer – American hero – about the new Simpsons stamps. He riffs in the voices of Burns, Smithers and Flanders about them, it’s right at the beginning of the audio clip (which I don’t think I can embed).
TV’s Biggest Fools – You suck, TV Guide. You’re supposed to know television and yet you wrote this:
Homer’s beer-swilling foolishness has driven hundreds of storylines throughout the years. When Homer had the chance to be smarter – by removing a crayola lodged in his brain, no less – he decided that he actually liked himself as a simpleton. He had the crayon reinserted into his brain saying, “Alright Brain, you don’t like me, and I don’t like you. But let’s just do this, and I can get back to killing you with beer.”
The quote is correct but the episode is way off. That crayon is from “HOMR” in Season 12, the “killing you with beer” thing is from “The Front” in Season 4, which is orders of magnitude funnier than “HOMR”.
Crazy About Donuts – This has only the briefest mention of Homer Simpson, but it’s about donuts and that affects the whole damn lot of us.
Column: Calling Hollywood to run the West – This guy thinks Hollywood personalities, including fictional characters, should be western governors. He picks Homer for Arizona. That is all.
You can thank Homer and Marge – An etymological discourse on “cromulent” and “embiggen”.
Microsoft slapped with $388 million patent verdict – Commenter TinyIoda compares this piddling fine to one levied on Mr. Burns, well quoted and very apt.
Pakistan’s Identity Crisis – Commenter I Majorajam gets a gold usage star for comparng Bart Simpson’s rock-paper-scissors strategy to efforts against rebels in Pakistan.
GIRLS MONTH: Lisa Simpson hits the High Street – Lisa Simpson “Brainiac” stuff for girls.
‘Sarge’ shares passion – A 29-year old on the University of Maine’s rugby team is Grandpa Simpson to his teammates.
Professor Wrestling: ‘WrestleMania’ Wrap – Comparing Mickey Rourke’s fake punch to something Mr. Burns might throw isn’t a compliment.
Truth About Dating: Do you have a sense of humor? – An analysis of the “I have a good sense of humor” trope when it comes to the never ending search for a life better than the one you currently have, with several illustrative Simpsons references.
Pulling A Full Grandpa Simpson – I’m a Pandagon fan, though not usually a commenter, and while the quote is horrifically mangled the sentiment is dead on correct. George Will? Kind of an old crank, maybe we should introduce him to the lady from Iowa who remembers a simpler time when Elvis and Sinatra were setting a good example for America’s children.