Posts Tagged ‘Burns’ Heir

14
Apr
14

Quote of the Day

Burns' Heir11

“Okay, let’s make this sporting, Leonard.  If you can tell me why I shouldn’t fire you without using the letter e, you can keep your job.” – C.M. Burns
“Uh, okay, um, I’m a good work . . . guy.” – Lenny
“You’re fired.” – C.M. Burns
“But I didn’t say-” – Lenny
“You will.” – C.M. Burns
“Eeeeeeee!” – Lenny

Happy 20th anniversary to “Burns’ Heir”!  Original airdate: 14 April 1994.

20
Feb
14

Quote of the Day

Burns' Heir10

“I have nothing to offer you but my love.” – Milhouse van Houten
“I specifically said no geeks!” – C.M. Burns
“But my mom says I’m cool.” – Milhouse van Houten

28
Jan
14

Behind Us Forever: Specs and the City

Chalkboard - Specs and the City

“This is my pride and joy: I’ve had hidden cameras planted in every home in Springfield.  I got the idea from that movie ‘Sliver’, what a delightful romp.” – C.M. Burns

If there’s one thing Zombie Simpsons has perfected, it’s taking familiar elements of The Simpsons, blasting away everything that made them wonderful, and then propping up the barely recognizable remains as though they weren’t decrepit garbage.  In its own ass backwards way, “Specs and the City” was a tour-de-force of that.  Homer actually spent time at the nuclear plant and stopped for a beer at Moe’s when he was done.  Marge was running the house.  The kids even managed to go to school.  There weren’t any magic powers or post-apocalyptic hellscapes, there was nary a drawn out chase scene nor even a bizarre celebrity cameo.  But even within those relatively calm confines, Zombie Simpsons still managed to create a husk of an episode with few to no jokes, nothing that could be called a coherent story (or ending), and lots of expository filler.

To take just one particularly wretched scene, Nelson is for some reason obsessed with the Valentine’s Day cards he gets from the other kids.  (Did I mention that it was Valentine’s Day?  Well it was, until it wasn’t anymore, and then it was again.  Yeah.)  Not only is the entire classroom set up as a line to Nelson’s desk (there was a notable and distinctly awkward absence of Mrs. Krabappel), but for some other reason Dolph and Jimbo(!) are acting as fourth grade muscle to punish kids whose cards don’t meet with Nelson’s approval.

And they weren’t the only ones who were just slapped into scenes with no regard for who they are (or were).  Incompetent Burns was back, letting Homer easily break into his office, stay there for several hours, and then allowing Homer kick him out.  Marge got mad at Homer for wearing his Google Glass thing while they were fooling around, but didn’t notice until Homer told her he was wearing them even though they were glowing through the damn sheets.  Moe gave Homer atrociously terrible advice, which wouldn’t have been bad in and of itself, except that it worked like a charm.

- So the couch gag has stopped even being a couch gag and just become another way they can kill a minute before they have to start the actual episode.

- The stress ball was dumb the first time someone swallowed it.

- “You wear them like eyeglasses, but inside the lens you see information about the people and places around you”, thanks Exposition Smithers!

- So Burns had a wall of TV screens installed behind his wall of TV screens?

- And he spent too much money on them?  Here’s a mini-compare & contrast for you, this dialogue . . .

Burns: Smithers, how much did this company lose to office supply theft last year?
Smithers: Seven thousand, forth-three dollars.
Burns: Yes, well, no more of that thanks to this twenty-six million dollar surveillance system.

. . . and this quote about the same thing from Season 3.  Notice how in one Burns is evil and competent and in the other he’s hapless and costing himself money.  These are two very different Mr. Burnses.

- And we’re supposed to be surprised that he’s spying on his employees when he’s been doing that since the start of the show?  Not to mention the whole town?  And why is Smithers shocked?

- Apparently this is also a Valentine’s Day episode.  Huh.

- Frontline/Firstline, comedy gold!

- “right after I decide if these videos are funny or die” – ah, a preview of the exact thing you’re about to do.

- Why is Marge surprised he’s wearing the glasses in bed?  He was already doing that and she can clearly see them.  And they could’ve handled his getting caught wearing them during sex well if they were so inclined.  Homer could sneak the glasses on, whisper something to them to get some information, turn on a sex app, anything but having him just wearing them and Marge somehow not noticing would’ve shown at least some care toward what they’re doing here.

- “Burns gave us those glasses so he could spy on us”, for the sweet, uncompromising love of Jebus, please just give us one scene where something happens without you telling us what it is.  Just one!

- And then he tells us exactly what we’re seeing on the monitors.

- The floating head Moe scene certainly took up some time.  Well done.

- Apparently the Valentine’s Day plot is going to drag on past actual Valentine’s Day.  (And let’s not even get into the weirdness of having an A-plot where Marge and Homer are fighting and a B-plot where it’s Valentines Day and yet the holiday never comes up in the A-plot.)

- We see the happiness (Wednesday) and sadness (Tuesday) montages, and then Homer explains what we just saw in case nobody noticed the several times they put the day on screen.  Six-year-olds don’t need things explained to them this many times.

- That ending was . . . unexpected.  This episode basically had three things going on, Burns spying on everyone with Google Glass, Homer spying on Marge’s therapy sessions, and that bizarre, unconnected Valentine’s Day plot with the kids.  Not a single one of them had an ending, or even really a conflict, and they wrapped it up with a completely unrelated scene with Ralph drawing on his face.  I was actually surprised when the credits rolled.

Anyway, the ratings are in and we have a new champion for least watched episode ever.  On Sunday, just 3.91 million people wished they were playing around with Google Glass.  That easily breaks the previous record of 4.00 million people set back in Season 23.  We’ve still got half the season to go, but it looks like Season 25 is going to easily break Season 24′s recently set record for least watched ever.  But hey, there’s Legos and Mr. Potatohead now, so we’ve got those.

09
Aug
13

Quote of the Day

Burns' Heir9

“It’s a little tight.” – Bart Simpson
“Yes, that’s to correct your posture.  Soon you’ll have a mighty hump.” – C.M. Burns

19
Jul
12

Compare & Contrast: Children Perform for Burns

Audition Rejection

“Ow!” – Bart Simpson
“Excellent.” – C.M. Burns

To say that the evil and charismatic Mr. Burns enjoys having people perform for him is something of an understatement.  This is a man who has crippled an Irishman for his own amusement and tied a bundle of cash to a string to taunt an eight-year-old girl.  He kidnapped Tom Jones and made him sing while shackled to the stage.  The Burns we all know and love to hate likes to see people squirm under duress, preferably duress that he’s causing.

You can see this trait in spades in “Burns’ Heir”.  In this episode alone, we see Burns fire a pistol at a man’s feet to make him dance, laugh as Homer is plunged into an industrial smokestack, and drop Lenny into a pit while he was pleading for his job.  In keeping with his cruel and callous nature, Burns summons many of the town’s children to his mansion so that they can try to impress him and win his money.  Since he doesn’t really tell them what he’s looking for (other than no girls and no geeks), the entire idea is borderline sadistic.  Young kids have to stand on a stage so that all of their insecurities and shortcomings can be picked apart by an old man who plainly despises most of them.  True to form, Burns proceeds to humiliate the ones he doesn’t like and either applauds or instigates physical violence against the ones who really displease him.

Burns' Heir8

Give the bully an extra point.

The entire scene is exactly what we expect from Burns.  He’s evil, in charge, and taking out his frustrations and fears on people who are hopelessly weaker than he is.  The only kid who even kind of impresses him is Nelson, and that’s because Nelson’s the one who shares Burns’ contempt for the rest of them.  This is Burns wallowing in his own crapulence with no one to stop him or even mitigate his actions.

The opposite of that scene occurs in “Grift of the Magi” when Skinner takes some of the kids to Burns Manor to beg for help for the school.  In both cases, the kids are there because their adults want money from Burns, but that’s where the similarities end.  Consider, just for a minute, how everyone got there.  In “Burns’ Heir”, it’s made explicitly clear that these children are there only on the sufferance of Burns.

Burns' Heir7

See, Zombie Simpsons?  Sign gags can be in service to the plot.

By contrast, in “Grift of the Magi”, the kids just show up and start putting on a show which Burns, for some unexplained reason, sits patiently and watches.  Having the episode skip over the how and why of Skinner and his charges getting into Burns Manor, as well as the how and why of Burns paying attention instead of instantly releasing the hounds, is yet another example of the declining give-a-shit level of the show as it became Zombie Simpsons. 

It wouldn’t have been hard for them to come up with some kind of excuse or joke for how they all got into Burns Manor or why Burns is listening to them.  Maybe they poisoned the hounds, maybe the security guards are all illiterate, who knows?  Anything would’ve been better than the nothing they actually did.  No sooner has this episode said that it’s impossible to get into Burns Manor than Skinner and the kids just appear, and Burns is fine with it.  They don’t even care enough to give us a single line (from Burns, Skinner, anyone) that makes light of the fact that they just skipped over a gaping plot chasm and contradicted one of the most well established traits of one of their best known characters.

Somewhat impressively, things manage to get even worse once the little production actually starts.  Skinner’s play is predictably stupid and cut rate, nothing wrong with that, but then Burns falls for it, not realizing it’s for charity until the very end.  This is a man who wanted to drive on after he hit Bart with his car, a man who kidnapped a Brazilian soccer team to work in his nuclear plant, a man who was once accurately described by Judge Snyder as having an, “unbelievable contempt for human life”.  No part of the real Burns would ever be so gullible as to find Skinner’s toddling morality play plausible or so empathetic to care that someone might be served rat poison:

Nelson:  Hmm, which one of these is the salt?  Too bad I’m an idiot cause my school closed.  Oh, well.
Burns: No, that’s the rat poison!

It actually goes downhill from there, but in just that single exchange we can tell that Burns simply isn’t who he’s supposed to be anymore.  The smart and unlimitedly cruel Burns is gone, and in his place is a doddering fool who is dumb and caring.  As Bart and Ralph(!) get their turns on stage, this new Burns continues to lap up their transparent bullshit:

Skinner:  Now, who in Springfield will eat the poisoned broth?  It could be anyone, even Mr. Burns.
Burns: This play really speaks to me.

[…]

Ralph Wiggum: Hello, I’m Dr. Stupid.  I’m going to take out your liver bones.  Oops, you’re dead.
Burns: I never liked that Dr. Stupid.
Skinner: Mr. Burns, I’ll be honest.  We had a hidden agenda tonight. 
Burns: [gasps] No!

This is precisely the kind of weak, stupid, and generally helpless Burns that never existed during The Simpsons.  Compare that to the way Burns reacts to the kids who are auditioning to become his heir:

Milhouse: I have nothing to offer you but my love.
Burns: I specifically said no geeks!
Milhouse: But my Mom says I’m cool.
Burns: Next.
Nelson: Gimme your fortune or I’ll pound your withered old face in!
Burns: Oh, I like his energy.  Put him on the callback list.

This is the real Burns: mean, evil and with no patience for those who aren’t.  When he eventually settles on Bart for being “a creature of pure malevolence”, he does so because Bart is smashing his windows and decapitating his statues, actions that would presumably shock and horrify the feeble man in “Grift of the Magi”. 

On top of all that (of course), is the fact that in “Burns’ Heir” the scene with the performing kids is crucial to the overall story, whereas in “Grift of the Magi” it’s an unnecessary and time filling detour that has almost nothing to do with the main plot.  But plot irrelevance is par for the course in Zombie Simpsons.  The real damage here is to Burns, and by extension to the show, since turning him into a husk of himself destroys all the fun that comes with having a wealthy man who revels in the misery of others.

08
Jun
12

Quote of the Day

Burns' Heir6

“Due to my hectic schedule and lethargic sperm, I never fathered an heir.  Now, I have no one to leave my enormous fortune to, no one.” – C.M. Burns
“Ah-hem.” – Mr. Smithers
“You, Smithers?  Oh, no, my dear friend.  I’ve planned a far greater reward for you.  When I pass on, you shall be buried alive with me.” – C.M. Burns
“Oh.  Goody.” – Mr. Smithers

19
Mar
12

Old Dogs, Old Tricks

Chalkboard - Them, Robot

“I suggest you leave immediately.” – C.M. Burns
“Or what?  You’ll release the dogs, or the bees, or the dogs with bees in their mouths and when they bark they shoot bees at you?  Well, go ahead.  Do your worst! . . . He locked the door!” – Homer Simpson

Zombie Simpsons frequently repeats things from The Simpsons, but every once and a while they come up with a perfect confluence of failure, where all of the show’s many flaws combine into a single, memorable scene.  The most recent one I can think of came last year, when they tossed Milhouse off a cliff to have a giant magic eagle save him so they could have him repeat, word for word, his declaration from “Mom and Pop Art”.  Yesterday, Zombie Simpsons put together another one, as it managed to bungle Burns releasing the hounds.

We’ve seen lots of people come to the doors of Burns Manor over the years, and just as many have turned right around and fled to avoid becoming dog food.  Burns does not like other people, and he hates dealing with them so much that he trains his dogs to attack Girl Scouts.  He’s released the hounds on do gooders, on small children, and even on his own employees after the company picnic.  It’s a perfect character trait for him because it is every inch of his contempt and cruelty wrapped up into one casual gesture he orders without a second thought.

Near the monotonously boring end of “Them, Robot”, Homer runs to Burns Manor while being chased by killer robots.  Burns opens the door without even looking, he then tries – and fails – to release the hounds before having them turn on him instead.  Then, against everything Burns used to stand for, he helps Homer escape.  Now, this isn’t the first time they’ve made Burns incompetent and kind.  But it is the first time they’ve had him fail so utterly at what was once one of his signature moves. 

On top of that, and this goes almost without saying, none of the story that led Homer, the killer robots, or the unemployed people who eventually save the day to his door made any sense.  Burns hires all these robot workers, and then ignores them while Homer runs amok, and none of the workers would know to go help there.  And let’s not even get started on the extended segments of town wide destruction and robot car crashes. 

I did actually laugh out loud at the robot fart joke, which is the first time Zombie Simpsons has gotten that out of me in a long while.  Of course, I’m a long time fan of robot fart jokes, dating back at least to that Futurama episode where Bender and the rest of the robots save the Earth by “venting”.  Other than that, this episode can rot in a burning pile of corpses . . . oh, wait.  They did that too, didn’t they?

Anyway, the numbers are in and they continue to be humiliatingly low.  Last night’s remarkably dull apocalypse was mechanically endured by just 5.24 million viewers.  That’s up slightly from last week, but still good for tenth on the all time least watched list.  There have been eight new episodes of Zombie Simpsons since New Year’s, six of them are among the ten least watched ever.  Yes, Zombie Simpsons has more lucrative demographics than most shows so lowly rated, and yes those are overnight numbers, not the ones that include a couple of days of DVR viewers.  But there’s no escaping the fact that Season 23 is notably lower than any previous year.

I’ll do a more detailed analysis after the season finale, but for now just know that from Season 20 through Season 22, Zombie Simpsons was on a ratings plateau, averaging slightly above 7 million viewers per episode, and only declining a little from year to year.  Season 23 is currently just above 6.5 million per episode; and unless it scores some unusually big numbers in the next few episodes, it’s going to end up well below that for the season. 

28
Dec
11

Quote of the Day

Burns' Heir5

“Wow, Bart, Mr. Burns gives you everything you could ever want.  My parents use that old love excuse to screw me out of toys.” – Milhouse van Houten

05
Jul
11

“Burns’ Heir” Spews Truth

Wings

Image yoinked from Wikipedia.

“But I did get Paul McCartney out of Wings.” – Conformco Guy
“You idiot!  He was the most talented one!” – Homer Simpson

Even with twenty years of viewings under my belt, I am continually amazed at the sheer number of cultural references and allusions in The Simpsons.  There isn’t a guest voice and the focus of the episode is a story about Burns and Bart, but they bring up or crib from about five different movies and make fun of half a dozen celebrities.  They toss them off with remarkable speed so that things never slow down or feel heavy handed.  You the view just have this steady stream of moments of where cultural awareness is rewarded. 

Five guys on this one.

0:40 – Jace Richdale recounts how David Mirkin told him on his first day that he had to pitch stories, and he came up with this one without putting much thought into it. 

1:20 – Mirkin’s talking about the exodus of writers after Season 4 and how he brought on Richdale. It’s very complementary in an anodyne, DVD commentary sort of way.

3:00 – Groening recounts how they did a promotion with Burger King with an environmental message. They were going to give some of the money to an environmental group, but no one would take their money because they were making plastic cups and other landfill fodder.

3:50 – The THX sound joke earned them a call from George Lucas and company who then used it in actual movie theaters.

5:10 – Still discussing the THX thing, they had a big argument for whether or not a person’s head could explode. They came down in favor.

5:40 – Joking about the prevalence of head explosions in Jane Austen novels.

7:10 – Laughing about the boot kicking Bart and Homer’s reaction bleeds into Homer’s lesson about never trying.

8:30 – Laughing at Bart’s destruction of Burns property.

9:00 – Still laughing.

9:20 – I know I’ve said this every time I’ve written up one of these older commentaries, but the contrast with the commentaries from Seasons 12 and 13 couldn’t be more stark. They’re clearly proud of this episode (justifiably), and they really like watching it and talking about it. There’s never a moment where they’re thinking “Well, what do we talk about now?” because they’re having such a good time.

11:20 – Apparently people ask about the Homer eating flowers thing a lot.

12:15 – They’ve been giggling for the last forty seconds or so.

13:15 – Discussing the robotic Richard Simmons that got cut from here. Apparently Simmons turned them down because he didn’t want to be a robot.

15:45 – The whole Bart driving thing, hitting the Christmas village, was a rewrite after the original idea involving a car and a train was deemed pointlessly hard to animate.

17:00 – Getting back to the Richard Simmons robot, they cut it because it always died when they were reviewing it. But it killed whenever one of them would show it when they were giving a talk at a comedy festival or the like.

18:30 – The James Woods part in “Homer and Apu” was originally written for Michael Caine, but he turned them down so they put him in here playing Homer.

20:00 – Marveling and laughing at Lenny both a) not saying the letter “e” until after the trap door opens and b) just going right into it, like he’s accustomed to completely insane orders from Burns.

21:50 – And we end on them laughing at Hans Moleman.

08
Mar
11

Quote of the Day

Phallocentrism

“I propose to you that your heir need not be a boy.  In this phallocentric society of ours –” – Lisa Simpson
“I don’t know what phallocentric means, but no girls!” – C.M. Burns
“So much for Plan B.” – Milhouse van Houten

28
Jan
11

Reading Digest: Movie Tie-In Edition

Burns' Heir4

“Let’s all go to the lobby, let’s all go to the lobby.  Let’s all go to the lobby, get ourselves some snacks!” – C.M. Burns

We’ve got a few links to various movies this week and, as a special bonus, not a single one of them mentions the Oscars.  There’s a list of what some of Troy McClure’s movies could’ve been, some excellent YouTube of various snack videos and parodies, and even some excellent usage in a movie review.  There’s also a return appearance by Marge’s stupid Playboy cover, a rather excellent gambling story about Sam Simon, and one hell of an awesome looking donut cake. 

Enjoy

Simon says, ‘Woo hoo!’ to Las Vegas, charity – A newspaper fluff piece on Sam Simon that includes the story of what has to be the most expensive grilled cheese sandwich in history. 

Visit Cedar Rapids for the Jokes (But Don’t Expect Much More.) – Excellent usage (movie review). 

Hughes the man – Excellent usage (soccer article). 

25 of Playboy’s Worst Cover Models – Marge checks in at #9, but is also used as the headline image.  Guh, I knew this desperate publicity ploy would be with us forever (via Springfield Springfield’s Twitter feed). 

Conan O’Brien: ‘The Simpsons Could go For Another 100 Years’ – Jebus, let’s hope not. 

Celebrating Australia Day – More horizontally reversed, non-English Simpsons on YouTube. 

11 Best Titles Of Troy McClure Movies From The Simpsons – Just what it says.  As the intro makes clear, there are just way too many to choose from here.  (Thanks to Galileo from In 10 Words for the tip.)

Let’s All Go To The Lobby! – A bunch of videos of the famous singing movie foods, including the original.  Sadly the Simpsons video is from a movie tie in, not “Burns’ Heir”, but it was one of the better movie promo things they did.  For my money though, the original is the funniest of the bunch.  I love how they openly refer to the popcorn as “Butter Drenched”, and the disembodied head of the little boy eye humping the naked, suicidal hotdog at about the 2:00 minute mark is a piece of unintentional comedy gold. 

Bigfoot Meets the Simpsons – A list of the times Bigfoot showed up on the show.  There is one mention of Zombie Simpsons, but it’s cancelled out by the inclusion of “Spanish Fry” from Futurama.

The Best Fictional Beer Brands on TV – These aren’t in any particular order, and the Simpsons YouTube says “removed by the user”, but there are a lot of things on here besides Duff and there are lots of video clips (via Springfield Springfield’s Twitter feed).

Jack LaLanne…In 10 Words – I forgot LaLanne did a guest voice.  There are a lot of Season 10 episodes I haven’t seen in a long time. 

The Jack LaLanne Power Juicer…In 10 Words – “Gotta get a juicer, gotta drink juice, lose weight, won’t get chest pains from answering the phone anymore.”

Stupid Sexy Spiderman… – Spiderman really does looks like Flanders here. 

The Simpsons Donut Cake – Transcendent. 

Me in 5 years – Hey, speaking of donuts, it’s an animated .gif of Homer’s favorite infernal torment. 

Post A Day 2011 Rewind: Share something that makes you smile – A wonderfully sweet story of intergenerational bonding and medical recuperation through Simpsons. 

High-Speed Homer Simpson/ Jackson Pollock – I’ve linked this video/painting before, but it’s too damned awesome not to link again. 

A Black Day – Shaky cam (though watchable) YouTube of “Here come the pretzels!”. 

The things that blow my mind – Please enjoy this YouTube of about half of the original material in Season 9’s “All Singing, All Dancing”.  I too had no idea “Paint Your Wagon” was a real movie for years after I saw this. 

The Simpsons iPhone Wallpaper – Exactly what it says it is, for those of you with iPhones. 

One of those days, eh? – We have a rare double whammy here, it’s Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week and a person who agrees with us:

Suicidal Boredom: Only repeats of early seasons of your favorite yellow family can cure it!

Amen.  And click through for a rather awesome drawing that really should be available in poster form.

22
Nov
10

All Downhill

Chalkboard - The Fool Monty

“Gimme your fortune or I’ll pound your withered old face in!” – Nelson Muntz
“Oh, I like his energy.  Put him on the callback list.” – C.M. Burns

Once the overwrought couch gag finally ended, and I think it may have been longer than Avatar itself, Zombie Simpsons had a secret media conspiracy inside the Statue of Liberty.  To my astonishment, it was actually funny.  To no astonishment whatsoever, the rest of the episode was not.  Even by the filler-rific standards of Zombie Simpsons, the last, oh, seventeen minutes or so of this episode were filler-rific.  Burns’ odd suicide alone took nearly a minute, and that was before the usual round of poorly executed slapstick, long form exposition, and about three different endings, each one longer than the last. 

The numbers are in and they are worse than ever.  Last night’s self referential crapfest was suffered through by a mere 6.63 million viewers.  That’s half a million people lower than any fall episode from last year and the second lowest fall number ever.  That record, 6.19 million viewers, is held by Season 20’s “The Burns and the Bees”, and I have great hope it will not hold that title much longer.  There is only one Sunday left in November, and Zombie Simpsons typically only has one or two new episodes in December before going dark for the oddball weeks around Christmas and New Year’s, so there are two or three chances. 

Last week’s number, by the way, was revised down from 8.97 million to 8.83 million.  Through six episodes, Season 22 is averaging a mere 7.79 million viewers.  The first six episodes of Season 20 averaged 9.19 million, and Season 21’s number was 8.29 million.  Notice a trend?  I sure do. 

18
Jun
10

Reading Digest: Detailed Analysis Edition

Burns' Heir3

“Look, a bird has become petrified and lost its sense of direction.” – C.M. Burns
“I think it’s a rock, sir.” – Mr. Smithers
“We’ll see what the lab has to say about that.” – C.M. Burns

This week’s post is bookended by long analyses of two separate episodes, “Rosebud” and “22 Short Stories About Springfield”.  In between those, there’s a fad of which I was unaware, Simpsons takes on famous photos, some usage, and my own (mildly) detailed analysis of a very lazy essay about teevee dads. 

Enjoy.

All Homer Needs Is Love – An oddly formal essay comparing Season 5’s “Rosebud” to its source material, Citizen Kane.  Long story short, Homer is capable of love, Burns and Kane are not. 

The Simpsons do iconic photos – Pretty much what it says, stills from the show that match famous photographs.  Sadly, there’s some Zombie Simpsons here, but not much, and on the whole it’s quite neat. 

Grandpa Simpson gets a writing gig – Excellent usage.

Guess What I’ve Got – More caption fun with Mr. Burns and the mystery box.

Today’s Newest Sign of the Apocalypse: Silly Bandz – This illustrates the stupidity of a fad I had not heard of with YouTube of Homer, Herb and the drinking bird.

Burn Down the Houston Tire Fire – Some of the follies of the city of Houston entertainingly examined through some of the city of Springfield’s. 

Where And What To Watch – It’s not claiming to be a quote, but it’s a bit off:

Kathe Donovan was reportedly on the short list for LT Gov. but she did not get it…just in case you have been living in cave. On Mars. With your eyes closed. And and your fingers in your ears ( not my joke, actually – credit Sideshow Bob’s brother Cecil from an episode of the The Simpsons )

That’s moderately good usage.  For the record, the actual quote is, “Goodness, I had no idea!  For you see, I have been on Mars for the last decade, in a cave, with my eyes shut, and my fingers in my ears.”

Quote: Burns On Work – This is blog – Wage Slave Revolt – about the stupidities of modern American toil.  This post is just the quote form Burns before he decides to build robot workers in “Treehouse of Horror II”.  Excellent usage. 

Army Preps ‘Unblinking Eye’ Airship for Afghanistan – This has basically nothing to do with Simpsons.  The Army is getting itself three long endurance surveillance blimps, and since they stay aloft for so long the guy from Northrop Grumman used the term “unblinking eye”.  The Army is already very busy “crossing the desert”, but when will we stop pussyfooting around and bring the “Paddling of the Swollen Ass” to Afghanistan? 

Changing roles of TV fathers – I didn’t know they still let people use canards this freely.  I mean, this is hacktacular to many powers of ten:

After the Vietnam War and Watergate scandal, American idealism was breaking down and so were our father figures.

Yowza.  You don’t even need to be a professional writer to be embarrassed by that sentence, as a human being you should just naturally feel shame for something so utterly vacuous.  The rest of the article is scarcely better, tracing a long and meandering line through dimly remembered pop culture from the 1950s through today.  Bor-ing.  Also, have you ever actually watched these shows?:

“The Simpsons” started a wave of deplorable, idiot dads (looking at you, “Family Guy”) who need more mothering by their wives than their kids. Homer Simpson (D’oh!) was more often seen drinking, belching and tripping up rather than doing any real parenting. Likewise, Al Bundy on “Married With Children” was another anti-dad who would rather be anywhere else than with his family.

"It used to be that father knew best, and then we started to wonder if he knew anything at all," says Matt Roush, senior television critic at TV Guide Magazine. "Dads became bumbling fools and the butts of jokes."

The point, you have missed it.  Family Guy did indeed get its start as a low rent Simpsons clone, but both Al Bundy and Homer Simpson were direct responses to the teevee dads of yore.  Their genesis had nothing to do with how America treats or views its father figures, they were created to satirize cliche ridden sitcom dads.  And it’s not like Al and Homer were the only sitcom dads on the air at the time; the late 80s and early 90s were rife with regular old family sitcoms from the anodyne “Growing Pains” (seven seasons) to slightly irregular fare like “Major Dad” (four seasons) and “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” (six seasons).  Hell, those were the years of “Alf” (four seasons) and his relatable human family.  Each of those programs had cookie cutter teevee dads, and none of them is mentioned in this shallow and stupid article. 

Homer Simpson – Sleeping – Use Firefox?  Like those “personas” that act basically as skins?  Here’s one of Homer sleeping. 

Marge Simpson VS. Troll : Bad Hair Contest – This has YouTube of Marge taking Bart’s Troll doll.  More importantly there’s this:

Then Alex showed me this video, :D makes me like the Simpsons, I’m more of a Futurama fan.

This is the damage that Zombie Simpsons does.  Another self identified Futurama fan who (by all appearances) has not seen Season 6’s “Bart’s Girlfriend”.  Among it’s many brilliances, that’s the episode that gave us Willy and the wee turtles, the “Probably misses his old glasses” thing where Homer calmly contemplates the murder of his own son, and, of course, Scotchtoberfest. 

The Curse of Monty Burns – Evaluating the stats from the 1992 MLB season of the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant ringers. 

Simpsons Classics: 22 Short Films about Springfield – This is from No Pun Intended and deserves its own post, but I just never got to it this week and it’s my best chance to end with someone else ragging on Zombie Simpsons.  Besides, I’ve never read Ulysses and the only thing I know about Berlin  Alexanderplatz is that they made a really long movie out of it.  (And I learned that from The Critic.)  In what I assume is a meta-wink to the episodic nature of the source materials, Tim has broken his piece into smaller pieces so that the footnoting scheme restarts almost every paragraph.  But don’t let that deter you, the system works well and is very readable:

They are very static characters, and there are very few scenes that feature Moe but not Homer, just like there are few scenes in which we see Milhouse but not Bart. They will get the occasional one-liner at the opening or close of a scene, but largely, these secondary et al. characters are there to interact with Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and even Maggie. I mean, the Simpsons even appeared in Wiggum P.I. and The Love-matic Grampa in “Simpsons Spin-off Showcase.”*,**

*Our Phil Hartman retrospective sadly did not include what I think may be my favorite Troy McClure line ever: “Spin-off! Is there any word more thrilling to the human soul?”

**In fact, this is related to one of my BIG pet peeves with later episodes of the show, in which the Simpsons play an unrealistically large part in the lives of other Springfieldianites.

Co-sign me on that last part.  About the only thing he doesn’t mention is the Frink bit at the end, which is funny on its own, but also reinforces the fact that there really isn’t enough time to tell all the stories.  This is not a short post, but it was a very pleasant read. 

11
Dec
09

Real Life Simpsons Intro from Estonia

“That midget taught me a lot about his native Estonia.” – Lisa Simpson

What is it with the former Soviet republics this week?  Hot on the heels of the “Samsonadzes” comes this kickass live action Simpsons opening from Estonian TV3 (via Coilhouse):

I am speechless at the power of its awesomeness and I don’t even get most of the jokes.   The general tenor of vague medievalism really makes it work.  I’m not even sure what my favorite part is, the candles in band practice?  The way Estonian Homer is working with an actual glowing rod?  That he almost gets hit by a horse drawn cart?    The angry townspeople?  Epic, epic win on this one. 

31
Aug
09

Quote of the Day

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“Oh go eat some flowers!” – Bart Simpson

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“(shrieks) My secret shame!” – Homer Simpson

26
Jun
09

Friday Link Dump – Excellent Usage Edition

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“Ohh, he card reads good.” – Homer Simpson

There are several examples of people getting their quotes right and using them in context this week.  Also there’s another amusingly out of date cranky old guy (he doesn’t like swearing and backtalk), a woman who hates shorts and Simpsons merchandise made in Chinese prisons.

If you’re overweight and looking for love, it pays to be a man – You mean that different standards are applied to men and women?  I’m shocked.  What does this have to do with The Simpsons?  Well, nothing really, but the story has a picture of Homer and Marge.  It’s all about the page views, baby.

Free massage chairs located at great risk of public ridicule – Using Homer’s vibrating chair to illustrate an article about massage chairs.  There’s no quotes so it doesn’t really count as usage, but it is a cromulent citation.

‘If They Knew About My Situation . . .’ – Shoddy Simpsons merchandise, here exemplified by Homer Simpson slippers, is sometimes made by Chinese prison labor.  Can’t say I’m real surprised by this.

Top 5 TV Dads – Homer’s #2.  Based on the vague description of Homer I’d say the guy is only a casual fan, which makes this all the more illustrative:

When the Simpsons begins this fall it will be the 21st season of the show, making it the longest running sit-com ever.

The Simpsons was very emphatically not a sit-com.  Zombie Simpsons most certainly is.

The things we do for ‘American Idol’ – Some Dallas Morning News journalists have to get up at 4:30 in the morning to cover American Idol tryouts.  He quotes Bart’s famous “There’s a 4:30 in the morning now?”  Excellent usage.

Of mad men* – This is an article about how Catholic saints were often not very nice or very saintly.  It appears in BusinessWorld Online.  I don’t know why.  But it does quote Bart (“Now’s our chance to be bad!”) when referring to St. Augustine of Hippo.  More excellent usage.

Ready to Wear: On the catwalk shorts are high on the agenda – and on the thigh – Some fashion lady doesn’t think males over the age of 10 (and she mentions Bart) should wear shorts.  I don’t get fashion, but shorts rule when it’s fucking hot outside.  Anyone who would wear long pants out of some misguided fear of the fashion police deserves to be sweaty and uncomfortable.

Thoughts On A Picture – This paragraph is from a Seattle Mariners blog.  I will quote it in full:

This is all part of Chris Woodward’s plan to make his face just a little bit visible in every picture that’s taken while he’s up so that a week from now he can prove to all his neighbors that he really was in the Majors. Unfortunately, his efforts are a little too subtle. “There’s my name, right there – Bart Simpson.” “Looks more like Brad Storch.” “No! It says Betty – Betty Symington.” :punch: “That’s for taking credit for other people’s work.”

I don’t know who Chris Woodward is, but all the Simpsons quotes are accurate.  Still more excellent usage.

Comedy, society don’t need four-letter words, bathroom humor – Finally we have an old guy from New England who laments that comedy isn’t as clean as it was in the heyday of Johnny Carson and Ed McMahon.  It is a tour-de-force of “Get off my lawn” and once again I’m 99.9% sure it isn’t satire:

What was particularly sweet about the cartoon was that it harkened back to a time when comedy and entertainment didn’t need four letter words and bathroom humor to make an audience laugh.
During a recent interview, comedian and TV personality Bill Cosby noted the decline of quality programming.

[…]

Cosby also noted that television programming constantly disses parents at the hands of smart alec children. A message sent repeatedly by the Simpsons.

There’s so much more if you click the link.  He thinks families are in trouble because television isn’t a sweet as it once was.  And the kids?  Has he told you about the kids these days?

It may sound narrow-minded to some, but there is a reason families are in trouble today. And one of them is television. How can parents maintain respect when Bart Simpson preaches otherwise and the comedy channel needs to bleep every fifth word.

The obvious answer it to turn off the television and read a book. But then again, it didn’t take long after my sons began going to school to figure where they picked up those four letter words. It wasn’t at home.

These gosh darned kids and their potty mouths, always sassin adults.  You don’t often see this kind of early-90s television bashing anymore.  It’s a refreshing throwback.  Next he’ll be complaining about that Murphy Brown woman having a kid out of wedlock and have you seen this new Married with Children show?

29
Apr
09

Alcohol and God, a winning combination

Reverend Lovejoy, hittin' the sauce on the job

Another Wednesday, another sight gag: two out of these six vignettes are explored in some detail, but there’s a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it gem hidden in the upper right. Yep, there’s Reverend Lovejoy, hittin’ the sauce on the job. Classic.

23
Apr
09

Happy Birthday Steve Austin

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“Hello Marge, I’m Lee Majors.  Will you come away with me?” – Col. Steve Austin

The Six Million Dollar Man turns 70 today.  Happy birthday from all of us here at the Dead Homer Society and, may I say, that you are in remarkably good shape for a man your age.

11
Apr
09

Quote of the Day

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“Hello Mr. … Kurns. I bad want … money now. Me sick.” – Bart Simspon

20
Mar
09

Friday Link Dump – Barney and Ecstasy Edition

“I can see why this is so popular.” – Homer Simpson
Meet Zaky, the purple bear with a message of tolerance - Zaky is a Barney clone, only he’s a bear instead of a dinosaur and his original target audience was Australian Muslims.  Now he’s going global:
Zaky’s creator, Sydney film producer Subhi Alshaik, describes the mild-mannered cartoon character as “the opposite of Bart Simpson” who teaches “good, ethical, moral messages”.

I would not have guessed that the opposite of Bart Simpson was a purple bear, but what do I know?
Lunch Break: Jon Stewart’s 1994 Interview With Conan O’Brien – This is O’Brien, about a year after he left The Simpsons, on Jon Stewart’s short lived MTV talk show.  It’s mildly amusing.  Oh, and Brother Bently from CollegeOTR, George Bush Sr. was not president in 1994.  Kids these days.
Kids in Texas Are Getting “High” on Bart Simpson & Ninja Turtles - We’re back on the Bart Simpson Ecstasy pills.  I know this is from a local television station so if I’m expecting anything above a fourth grade level discussion I’m going to be disappointed, but c’mon.  They’ve got the word “high” in scare quotes like it’s a new fangled drug term to which “squares” are not yet “hip”.  
Candy-Shaped Drug Worries Local Cops – In Washington state they aren’t even waiting for the pills to arrive before moving straight into the moral panic:
Mansfield says they haven’t yet seen the pills shaped like cartoons

Now this is the perfect story for AM radio.  The station gets a story by doing nothing more than talking to a cop, and the cop gets to be on the radio for doing nothing more than being a cop.  It’s a perfect, news free circle jerk.  

Daily Jolt: Baseball Without Borders - Very poor usage, Andrew Johnson of FanHouse, very poor.  “Radical” is not what comes out of Bart Simpson’s mouth, it’s Milhouse’s thing, that’s his thing that he says.  
VH1 resuscitates “Behind the Music” – Behind the Music is coming back.  That’s how long Zombie Simpsons has been on the air, a show that was enough of a cliche to parody nine years ago has had time to get cancelled and be brought back.  
Homer Simpson goes to Middle East? – Oh yeah, this sounds like a great idea for an episode.  
F1 change won’t alter supermodel quotient – F1 cars are getting bubble domes?
Presumably the brains behind the world’s top motor sport felt they hadn’t already thrown enough curveballs at drivers, who this year will pilot cars so dramatically reshaped from last season that they look more than a little like the one Homer Simpson famously designed for his brother. That car sent Danny DeVito broke; formula one isn’t quite there yet but the signs aren’t trending in a positive fashion.

Hmmm, probably not.  It would be cool though.  

Plans underway for MacGyver movie – “No Selma, this is lying.  That was a well plotted piece of non-claptrap that never made me want to retch.”  Also, MacGyver did a guest voice in 2006?  Whew, dodged a bullet there.
Scratchy has not yet been sighted – Morgan State played in the NCAA tournament last night and they’ve got a point guard named Itchy.  He got the nickname from his brother . . . who was killed “in an argument” a few years ago.  Jebus, Baltimore is a fucked up place.  Still, awesome name.  
Susy Schultz – New WTF column is about helping you – In this lady’s alternate reality, WTF stands for “What’s the Fix?”.  The callous stupidity on display here is pretty astonishing:

A few people — and when I say a few, I mean only two — called or wrote to tell me that there is another meaning to the first three letters of the name of our new column, WTF: What’s the Fix?

My sons might answer that by quoting Homer Simpson, “Du-oh.”

I simply would say, “Yes, I know.”

But we want nothing to do with THAT word. We are very clear that we mean, What’s the Fix?

We are taking back those three simple letters. And we are reinventing them into a column that will help readers. I don’t think that those initials are that far gone yet.

Where to begin?  Well, first of all, yes those three letters are gone and no you can’t change their meaning even, as she writes at the very end, “in The Daily Journal’s readership area.”  (That appears to be just south of Chicago.)  “What the fuck” is a useful, multi-purpose phrase that works just fine; you cannot “fix” what is not currently “fucked”.  And, “Du-oh”?  Does this woman have some kind of neurological impairment, like Rain Man or Awakenings?  I mean, what the hell is she doing here?  



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