Posts Tagged ‘Dancin’ Homer

08
Nov
14

Quote of the Day

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“Don’t fill up on those vegetables, kids.  Save room for your nachos.” – Homer Simpson
“Alright!” – Bart and Lisa Simpson

07
Feb
14

Reading Digest: Hooray Season 2 Edition

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“Look, there’s only one thing worse than being a loser.  It’s being one of those guys who sits in a bar telling the story of how he became a loser, and I never want that to happen to me.” – Homer Simpson
“Please, Homer.” – Barney Gumble
“Yeah, come on, Homer.” – Moe
“Well, okay.” – Homer Simpson

We’ve got three links about Season 2 this week, and not just “here’s a thing that happened in this episode”, but lots of love for the whole season.  Excellent.  In addition to that, Hank Azaria got a new part, there’s some cool fan art, further evidence that old sitcoms were atrocious, a new ebook about the show, and a cool retrospective on Julie Kavner’s non-Simpsons career.

Enjoy.

An alternative Simpsons timeline – I don’t agree with everything in Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week, but it is a very thoughtful overthinking of what the show could’ve been if it had aged the characters and gone off the air before the Fall.

More early rough sketches and drafts from David Silverman – I love the one of Homer ridiculing Marge from “Blood Feud”.  They don’t even attempt that kind of expressive animation anymore. 

The Hollywood Bowl’s 2014 summer season includes Beatles, ‘The Simpsons’ tributes – The weekend of September 12-14 there will be three concerts at the Hollywood Bowl celebrating the 25th anniversary of the show with fireworks.  Sounds fun, but tickets don’t go on sale until May.

Marge Simpson’s Julie Kavner Is a National Treasure – Indeed she is.  Click through for a recounting of her career and a picture of her from what looks like her mid twenties.

Fashion Spotlight: Big Trouble Mixes The Simpsons and Big Trouble in Little China – Fan made mashup image of the two.  I especially like Burns as Lo Pan with Blinky on his forehead.

Scripting (Comedy): The Simpsons, Season 2 – Oh, nothing, just some quotes from the first seven episodes of Season 2.

Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? – Episode #028 – Ash is down on this one:

Infuriated, Herb hops on a bus but before leaving he hisses to Homer that he has no brother. As Lisa said, “his life was an unbridled success until he found out he was a Simpson.” I guess all Simpsons are meant to have bad luck in their lives.

It’s more than just luck, it’s that they’re inherent losers who expect defeat and keep going anyway.

Robert & Homer Simpson: When Composers and Comedians Share a Name… – As even the post itself admits, there isn’t much at this link.  There is, however, a cool drawing of Homer playing a guitar with the lines coming out of some sheet music.

My 14 Favorite Episodes of The Simpsons, season 2 – It’s just a Season 2 kind of week:

This was a tough list to make as the second season of The Simpsons doesn’t really have any bad episodes.

Proof of that is a list of favorites that covers nearly 2/3 of the season.

The Simpsons’ Hank Azaria Lands Major Arc on Ray Donovan – It’s a Showtime show, so he’ll probably get to say “fuck”:

The actor – who most notably lends his voice to several characters on The Simpsons – will play James Cochran, the ambitious head honcho of the Los Angeles FBI who becomes a thorn in Ray’s (Liev Schreiber) side.

Tim Doyle Teams Up With Spoke Art For His Third Solo Show And The Continuation Of His Uber Successful: “UnReal Estate” Series – Yet more of those pop culture paintings, including one of the First Church of Springfield (complete with one of the best signs they ever did).

So, Bob Dylan Made A Super Bowl Commerical (and the Broncos Lost 43-8) – Was it a Canyonero moment?  Also, excellent usage:

In the words of Principal Seymour Skinner: “The times they are…becoming quite different.”

Week 4: What Cartoons Did I Watch Growing Up? – The Simpsons, of course, especially good old Lisa.

Ugggh Broncos! – Marge just doesn’t know about football.

Round 99: Kiss Kiss Bang Bangalore vs. Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(Annoyed Grunt)cious – Hey, that’s not Season 17, that’s footage of Kent Brockman interviewing the Pope!

Round 98: The Old Man and the Lisa vs. ‘Scuse Me While I Miss the Sky – You could write this about a lot of Zombie Simpsons:

I remember liking this episode when it first aired, but it really doesn’t hold up. Compared to “The Old Man and the Lisa” the script’s flaws and gaping plot holes become obvious, and the few jokes and gimmicks that might have made you chuckle at first don’t offer anything worth revisiting.

Round 97: A Milhouse Divided vs. King of the Hill – Most of Season 9 isn’t going to be able to hang in late rounds.  There are some great episodes in there, but the rot had clearly set in by that point.

No, The Simpsons Did Not Predict The Super Bowl Nine Years Ago – Headline says it all.  Also, it’s Zombie Simpsons.

Sitcom sports: Classic episodes featuring skating or hockey – “Lisa on Ice” is here, as well as this excellent reason to never watch “Leave It to Beaver”:

“Leave It to Beaver” (“Beaver’s Ice Skates,” 1961) Beaver (Jerry Mathers) is too embarrassed to tell his parents that a salesman pressured him into buying ice skates three sizes too big.

Meet the real-life ‘Simpsons’ kids in a 1969 film made by Matt Groening’s father, Homer – This is old but was making the general internet rounds again this week.  Basically, Matt Groening’s father made short nature documentaries, and one of them had his kids in it.  It’s six minutes and you can watch it at the link.

Simpson Effect [WIP#2] – The slow but steady progress of a fan made Simpsons/Mass Effect combination.

Simpsons or family guy?-One month on – No surprise:

One month(And a week) ago,we asked you whether you liked The Simpsons or Family Guy,since then, we have had a lot of voters. So I am pleased to announce the results:
1st-The Simpsons-60%
2nd-Family Guy and Both-20% each

New HUGE Art Bust Statue – Homer Simpson as Batman, The Dark Knight! – However you look at it, this giant Homer/Batman head is a pretty cool eBay find.

Why Channel 4 officially sucks – Shame on you, Channel 4:

I only ever bother going to Channel 4 for episodes of The Simpsons, but even then…

They censor some episodes of The Simpsons

The nail in the coffin, however, is that they’re apparently big enough wusses to censor certain episodes of the Simpsons, even if some of that censorship doesn’t exist on Sky 1.

Alex Gordon, Royals Aim to Stop Traffic with Creative Billboard – Heh:

As with almost everything, the billboard allows for a golden era Simpsons reference. Hopefully the Royals will have as much success with their new billboard as Springfield-area English Muffin advertisers.

This year, get her Kansas City Royals tickets, whatever you say, Mr. Billboard!

Yungaburra & Cairns Shop-a-thon – Scroll all the way down for further evidence of the global reach of cheap merchandise: Simpsons flip flops in Australia (where they are apparently called “thongs”).

The Twilight of Charlie X – A little background on, among other things, the Twilight Zone episode that was the basis for the Bart the Monster segment of “Treehouse of Horror II”.

15 Best Guest Voices Of The Simpsons’ Golden Era – This is a promotional list for a new book about the “Golden Era” of the show.  (Pro tip: You can just say Simpsons, everything else is Zombie Simpsons.)  Anyway, it inherently agrees with us and have some good YouTube, but what I’d really like to point out is that only three of these are for celebrities voicing themselves.  The book is five bucks on Kindle.

28
Dec
13

Quote of the Day

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“Bart was strangely quiet.  Later he explained he was confused by feelings of respect for me.  It wouldn’t last.” – Homer Simpson

09
May
13

Quote of the Day

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“A Simpson on a t-shirt, I never thought I’d see the day.” – Marge Simpson

Happy birthday James L. Brooks!

17
Dec
12

Some Simpsons Day YouTube

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“Oh, Marge, sitting next to the boss, the best night of the year and it’s ruined!” – Homer Simpson

Last year Simpsons Day fell on a Saturday and I got to spend the whole thing sitting on my ass and watching cartoons.  Sadly, today is a work day, but there’s still plenty of great, old Simpsons stuff to enjoy on-line.  For starters, check out this 1990 interview with Groening, Brooks and Simon:

Near the end, the interviewer asks about all the merchandise (remember, this was the absolute height of Bartmania), and Groening plugs some of the upcoming licensed crap:

We’ve got some great stuff on its way out, just stay tuned for the Nintendo game, and the Simpsons pinball machine, the official Bart Simpson vehicle of destruction, that’s a skateboard, and lots more.

The great big flashing neon irony of the video comes when Groening is asked about the origin of the show and, referring to the original bumper shorts on The Tracey Ullman Show, says:

I think it’s a very insidious way of keeping people paying attention to a TV show is to make little short cartoons about the length of a commercial so people had to pay attention.  If you blinked you’d miss them when they were on the Tracey Ullman show.

The interviewer then asks, “Did you draw them immediately the way they are now?”, to which Groening responds:

Well, if you watch them on Lifetime, cable, you’ll see that the Simpsons have transformed quite a bit since the early days.

Ha!  Now 1990 is the early days, far more so than 1987 was at the time.

Speaking of 1990, to give you an example of just how immensely popular and phenomenal the Simpsons were at the time, here is a “video yearbook” from some high school’s 1989-90 school year:

Season 1 had just finished airing when this was made, and Bart not only gets the last word (it’s right at the end), but he also gets about as much time as the Berlin Wall coming down.  In a similar high school vein, take a look at this marching band performance of the opening theme in 1990:

The cameraman isn’t doing anyone any favors here, but note the big cheer that goes up from the crowd at the 15 second mark when they recognize the theme.  It’s much bigger than the cheer that the band got before they started playing Elfman’s catchy masterpiece. 

Finally, this is a video from 1990 produced by British Sky Broadcasting for “dealers”, which I presume means the middlemen who have to decide whether or not to carry the channel.  Basically, it’s an in-house promo for how great their programming is and why it’s worth carrying.  At the 7:30 mark they talk about Sky One and how it reaches tons of younger viewers, and they specifically cite The Simpsons as a big reason why. 

When the promo starts, it not only calls the show “the smash hit of the 90s”, but it contains this rather amazing slice of 1990, then Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney holding a Bart Simpson doll while Colin Powell stands behind him:

Dick, Colin & Bart

Wow.

I’ll hopefully have more a little later.  In the meantime, happy Simpsons Day, everybody!

26
May
12

Season 2 Marathon: 22 Episodes, 22 Beers, 8h:23m:51s

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“I can’t think of a better place to spend a balmy summer’s night than the old ball yard.  There’s just the green grass of the outfield, the crushed brick of the infield, and the white chalk lines that divide the man from the little boy.” – Lisa Simpson
“Lisa, honey, you’re forgetting the beer.  It comes in seventy-two ounce tubs here.” – Homer Simpson

Good morning and welcome to the sixth Simpsons-Beer Marathon.  Today we’re doing Season 2.  As with previous efforts, I will make use of the pause and reverse buttons to get a quote right or take a screen grab, but the fast-forward button will go totally unused. 

Since I’ll be in no condition to do it later in the day, Chapters 11 & 12 of the book are on-line right now.  That gets us through the bulk of the text.  Most of the appendices are short, and I’ll put them up sometime next week.  Serious thanks once again to everyone who has read the book, found one of my mistakes, linked it somewhere, or actually bought it.  And now, it’s been Simpsons-Beer Marathon day for hours and I’m still not drunk yet, so let’s get going.

1.    Bart Gets an F

  • And we start off with Martin’s book report, which is simultaneously flattering to Hemmingway and making fun of people who take him too damn seriously. 
  • “I will not fake my way through life”
  • They made all those crappy video games based on this show, and yet they never made Escape from Grandma’s House in real life.  For shame.
  • This show that jokes about school bus crashes.  That is all.
  • Ah, faking sick to leave school. 
  • “As a result, Bart is an underachiever, and yet he seems to be, how should I put this, proud of it?” – Less than ten minutes into Season 2, and they’re already making fun of “Bartmania”. 
  • The defeat in Martin’s voice as he retreats to the “forecastle of the Pequod” is just awesome. 
  • Speaking as someone who was the same age as Martin and Bart when this episode was first broadcast, I can’t say enough about how recognizable the two of them were to me and my friends.  We didn’t get into as much shit, but they felt like real kids to us. 
  • Case in point for the above: waiting for the radio guys to announce if school was closed.  These days they do it by e-mail and there’s no suspense, but at the time that’s exactly how it happened.
  • It actually says “Diamond” on Quimby’s podium. 
  • “John Hancock’s writing his name in the snow!”  Yet another great example of how they snuck things past the censors.  Joking about bodily functions is right at the top on the list of things that aren’t allowed, and they did it with the Declaration of Independence. 

2.    Simpson and Delilah

  • “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader” was/is (not sure if it’s still on) yet another case of life imitating The Simpsons.  Hitler, North Dakota?
  • I love how the doctor is willing to sell him the Hair in a Drum even though he knows it doesn’t work.
  • “It’s in the union contract, sir.  One token promotion from within per year.”
  • It’s great how Marge tells Homer to hire Karl without realizing that he’s much more of a sexual threat than any of those bubbly women who make kissy faces at her husband.
  • Homer in a suit with a real haircut looks just like Herb Powell. 
  • “Management Caves In To Condiment Outcry”
  • The transition from the executive bathroom floor (with the ultra-deferential towel guy) to the office tower is gorgeous.
  • The scene in the back yard where Marge worries about a rainy day always used to get cut in syndication.  I’d completely forgotten it existed by the time Season 2 finally came out on DVD.
  • Great callback on the ivory backscratcher, which is itself two jokes in two words.
  • Homer calls it a “dirty trick” when Bart says he loves him.  It’s just fantastic.
  • Hey, Zombie Simpsons, you’re twenty-two years behind the times:
    Simpson and Delilah8

3.    Treehouse of Horror

  • Marge’s intro to this, about telling people not to write letters, is a really fantastic piece of satire.  They take a character who would very likely hate their show if she were real, and use her to preemptively respond to the arguments actual critics make. 
  • The entire Bad Dream House segment is them flexing their new animation capabilities.  It’s lit and colored wonderfully, and still looks creepy by today’s standards.
  • The house’s voice is exhibit four and a half thousand or so of Shearer doing brilliant, original work on this show. 
  • And they snuck in a quick “Bitchin!”.  You’re watching FOX.
  • The first appearance of Kang and Kodos! 
  • I am physically incapable of thinking about “If you wanted to make Sarak the Preparer cry, mission accomplished” without giggling.
  • It’s been said before, but the James Earl Jones rendition of “The Raven” has made more kids get this poem than thousands of English teachers.
  • The shadow effects as Homer investigates his chamber door are really well done.  They even fade as they get further from their source.
  • As great as Jones is, Castellaneta totally holds his own: “Take thy beak from out my heart, and take they form from off my door!”. 
  • Clausen deserves a lot of credit here as well.  The music as Homer’s chasing the raven is pitch perfect.

4.    Two Cars in Every Garage and Three Eyes on Every Fish

  • Speaking of Clausen, the music in this episode goes through an enormous range of emotion and feeling with aplomb. 
  • Love the inspection team and the bribe. 
  • “Why are my teeth showing like that?” “Because you’re smiling.”  “Ah, excellent, this is exactly the kind of trickery I’m paying you for.”  It takes a real villain to be unfamiliar with smiling as anything other than a trick.
  • An actor portraying Charles Darwin!
  • “So far the only negative thing we have found is from some guy who dated her when she was sixteen.”  “Ah, and?”  “He, uh, he felt her up.”  “Bah, not good enough!”
  • “I love dogs, babies too.” 
  • Burns’ barely concealed contempt for regular people, voters, and everything else he has to do to be governor is perfectly him.  He sees the whole thing as an inconvenience.
  • It’s great how Lisa gets up and leaves the table before Burns is even done answering her question with his well worn catchphrases. 
  • I always thought it was kind of unfair for Marge to serve him the head, but it does make for a great visual.
  • And now, a first tier, hall of fame, etch-it-in-stone Burns quote: “Ironic, isn’t it Smithers?  This anonymous clan of slack jawed troglodytes has cost me the election.  And yet if I were to have them killed, I would be the one to go to jail.  That’s democracy for you.”

5.    Dancin’ Homer

  • The comedy density of these episodes cannot be overstated.  They’re starting a flashback with a bus arriving at a stadium, and they turn it into Otto escaping from the cops and skid marks on the parking lot.  If they’d actually shown the chase it would’ve sucked, but just referring to it makes it hilarious and takes less time.
  • “Springfield Savings, Safe from 1890-1986, 1988-”
  • The digitizing effect on “Jumbo-vision” is another subtle piece of animation that does a lot to make things feel more realistic and recognizable than they otherwise would. 
  • “I felt an intoxication that had nothing to do with alcohol.  It was the intoxication of being a public spectacle!”
  • The blink-and-you-miss-it look of annoyance on Big Bill McClosky’s face when the PA guy calls him “mediocre” shows once again how much they paid attention to every frame and detail.
  • Yet another little touch: the beefcake posters on the walls where Helen the organist plays. 
  • Hey look, Homer asked to leave the plant before taking a new job.  That doesn’t happen much these days.
  • Tony Bennett!  And it isn’t contrived or dumb!
  • Great guest voice from Tom Poston.
  • And the player’s ex-wife sitting right behind Bart sounds suspiciously like he does.

6.    Dead Putting Society

  • God I love old Flanders.  He’s just as much of an unwitting tormentor to Homer, but he’s also a recognizable human being. 
  • The first call to Reverend Lovejoy.  That was a tremendous running gag.  Damn Flanders.
  • Lovejoy’s sleeping mask (frilly pink trim!) is just fantastic.
  • Bosom.
  • “Homer, I couldn’t help overhearing you warp Bart’s mind.”
  • That is exactly the sound that one hand clapping makes.
  • Bart doing the Crane on top of the trash can is a great little joke.  Incidentally, The Karate Kid has aged really well. 
  • It’s great how terrified Bart is when Homer wakes him.
  • Words fail to describe how hilarious the British announcer guy is.  Half of his lines aren’t even jokes, and yet everything he says is funny because golf announcers are masters of unintentional self parody.
  • After the boys declare their draw, the way they cut to a reaction shot of the Lincoln robot while it makes that little noise is another deft touch of genius. 
  • And I have finished my first 72oz tub.  Only two and two-thirds more to go.

7.    Bart vs. Thanksgiving

  • Ah, the inanity of parade announcers.
  • On my .avi rip, the Bart Thanksgiving parade balloon lasts only 27 frames.  Not seconds, or even tenths of a seconds.  Frames.  That is quick comedy.
  • I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: nobody got it worse on this show than old people.  The joy on Mrs. Spencer’s face because her family sent her a fax is cruel, heartbreaking and hilarious.
  • Nice touch having Bart sing the FOX fanfare as he comes in to destroy Lisa’s centerpiece.
  • The “ruined Thanksgiving” line is devastating but as brief as it could possibly be.  It’s masterful storytelling.
  • “Things like that always happen in this family.”  “I’ve noticed that too.”  Meta jokes before anyone knew what the word “meta” meant. 
  • Ah, the corner of Croesus and Mammon.
  • The security guard is reading Les Miserables!  This show viewed wasted screen space as a grievous sin. 
  • Support for the above, there’s scare quotes around “Massage” parlor and the liquor store has a sign that says “Yes!  We have rot gut!”. 
  • Hey, it’s Lou sounding like Eddie! 
  • “Children need discipline!  You can ask any syndicated advice columnist.” 
  • I love the happy endings of Season 2.  They set the bar for family success so low that seeing the Simpsons struggle to cross over it really is both sweet and funny. 

8.    Bart the Daredevil

  • The dirt riding dunk masters always get me.
  • Skinner’s casual drop that it’s the start of a series of concerts, and Homer’s moaning “series?”, are just more wood for the pyre of Homer’s life being something he hates.  Miserable Homer is and always will be funnier than happy Jerkass Homer.
  • “Sunday: Bear Baiting”
  • I laugh every time the lion pops up to pull him back into the tank.  Every time. 
  • Love the scrawl:Bart the Daredevil5
  • “But the fact of the matter is, bones heal, chicks dig scars, and the United States of America has the best doctor to daredevil ratio in the world.”
  • The Homer-gorge scene is the best argument for how you can do insane things with these characters so long as you do it well.  The ambulance hitting the tree is such a great joke that the callback to it in the movie is one of the two or three funniest things in that whole bloated film.

9.    Itchy & Scratchy & Marge

  • This is about the part in the marathon where I get amazed at the unrelenting excellence of these episodes.  This is a famous classic, there hasn’t been an even vaguely weak episode yet, and the next few introduce Troy McClure and Lionel Hutz.  I have loved many television shows other than this one, but I don’t think anything can compete with The Simpsons in terms of an unbroken streak of consistent excellence.
  • Ah, the way Scratchy’s limp body falls into the crater just before they pile onto him.
  • Psycho is a famous enough movie that I got that reference even though I hadn’t seen the movie the first time I saw this episode.
  • The one that’s cut off at the top is “Cats Blown Up” with three checkmarks next to it:Itchy and Scratchy and Marge10
  • “And the horse I rode in on?”  That’s as close as you can come to saying “fuck” on network television.  Fuck yeah.
  • Bring Back “Wagon Train”
  • More great work from Clausen and company in this one.
  • Gotta love the dry, understated execu-speak for “drop an anvil on her” and the like.
  • Smartline!
  • Marvin Monroe is in Vienna!  Of course he is.
  • Alex Rocco for the win in this one: “It’s different, I’ll give you that”. 
  • “It’s a tool that every home handyman needs.  It’s a jigsaw, it’s a power drill, it’s a wood turning lathe, it’s an asphalt spreader.  It’s sixty-seven tools in one!”
  • More small notes of care: the massive pupils on Itchy and Scratchy for the opening of their “love and share” episode.
  • Well done, Ludwig
  • Also, the marbles animation is spectacular.
  • “It’s filth!  It graphically portrays parts of the human body, which, practical as they may be, are evil.”
  • More subtle touches, the sign that says “Kancel David” at the house is the same one that had “Kancel Krusty” at the studio.  The Simpsons is in the details.
  • The ever more gigantic pistols are great.

10.    Bart Gets Hit by a Car

  • Hartman!
  • Satan uses a Mac.  Just sayin’.
  • Love the quick sight gag of the guy who looks like Jacques getting nervous while the doctor puts on the rubber glove.
  • And we have a Wizard of Oz joke, because why not?
  • It’s the second season, and they’re already making little jokes at their own expense for never letting Burns remember Homer.
  • Aww, Grau and Hartman in the same scene.
  • Dr. Nick’s degrees are hilarious.  “I went to medical school for four years and all I got was this lousy diploma”.
  • Credit to Azaria for nailing Dr. Nick’s voice right from the get go.  It never changed from this one and didn’t need to.
  • Love the quick look Bart gives to Hutz as he says he sometimes wishes he had been killed.
  • “What are you looking at me like that for?  You believed his cock and bull story.”
  • Marge on the stand could’ve easily been heavy handed and boring, but they pulled it off.
  • Homer trying to keep himself mad at Marge in Moe’s is the same way.

11.    One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish

  • This episode is a useful reminder that it wasn’t that long ago that karaoke was considered weird and insane.
  • Takei!
  • “No need to panic, there’s a map to the hospital on the back of the menu.”
  • “Well, if there’s one consolation, it’s that you’ll feel no pain at all until sometime tomorrow evening when your heart suddenly explodes.” 
  • Homer’s progression through the stages of acceptance needs no further praise from me, but . . . damn, that’s funny.
  • Those three little sentences of father-son advice have definitely helped at times.
  • On the other hand, I’ve never had any luck with toilet paper to stanch shave related bleeding.
  • Homer loves “When the Saints Go Marching In” but doesn’t even know the chorus. 
  • This episode has an emotional dexterity that borders on surgical.  Homer goes from not caring about his Dad to wanting to make up with him and back to being sick of him in no time flat.
  • The “atmosphere” harmonica guy also always gets me.
  • I know I said this last Saturday, as well as two bullet points above, but the way this episode handles sadness and death is amazing.  Even Marge’s desperation can be funny when Bart asks why they’re really waiting for Homer.  And it’s not just a matter of making a joke for the sake of making a joke, the comedy is totally in character and part of the story.
  • And then there’s the bowling announcers, who are just dead on, “Well, he’s an erratic bowler”.

12.    The Way We Was

  • The first McBain clip: “I don’t want to hear it, McBain!”
  • This is also the first time we get a look at one of Hibbert’s period haircuts, in this case a giant, late 70s afro.
  • There’s no way not to enjoy the petty authoritarianism of Dondelinger, especially since I’m not in high school any more and I never had to be there in the 1970s, when it was probably even worse.
  • Marge takes a stand about not taking a stand. 
  • Among the many great firsts of this episode, we get to see that Grampa was just as terrible a father to Homer as Homer is to his kids.
  • More attention to detail, check out the outfit on the debate teacher.  That is 1970s chic:The Way We Was11
  • Kavner does a really great job in this episode of making Marge’s voice sound younger even though it’s basically a rasp.
  • Artie says “Aachem!” (or however it is you spell Jay Sherman’s catchphrase/catchhack).
  • The sarcastic limo driver is such a great part that the same voice became a recurring character.  His “okay, but I’m only paid to drive” never gets old.

13.    Homer vs. Lisa and the 8th Commandment

  • “Good evening, Zohar the adulterer, my wife sends her warmest regards.”
  • And then Zohar starts hitting on that woman as soon as Homer tells everyone to look busy because Moses is there.
  • Cable companies are big faceless corporations, which makes it okay.
  • And there’s Troy McClure, today he’d like to talk to you about a pleasant tasting candy that actually cleans and straightens your teeth.
  • Hey, it’s also the first time we get to see the shopping cart rolling backwards into the street.
  • When Homer stands up at the ad for Watson-Tatum 2, Lisa gets dumped on the ground.  It’s funny precisely because it’s understated.  If they’d made a big show of him being such a jerk to his daughter it would’ve been creepy and bad, instead it’s just funny.
  • “You haven’t lost the common touch, sir.”:Homer vs Lisa and the 8th Commandment7
  • Gotta say, if I ever caught my son charging admission for other kids to see soft core porn, I might have to act mad for the other parents, but I’d likely be proud of him.  That’s enterprising as hell. 
  • Even the police don’t care that the cable hookup is illegal.

14.   Principal Charming

  • One of the all time great wedding welcomes, “Friends, relatives, work related acquaintances”. 
  • Another great if subtle piece of animation, see how the cross line on the “A” bleeds into the “R”:Principal Charming8
  • Selma cutting out the coupon for “Muffins” while complaining about Patty having “bosoms till Tuesday” is another time when the background makes the whole thing better.
  • Schnapps?
  • Barney is such a wonderful disaster of a person in this one.  He’s a complete failure, and yet doesn’t mind in the least.

15.    Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?

  • So many 1980s action movies, so many evil drug kingpins, so many exploding tanker trucks.
  • I mentioned this idea earlier, but Grampa’s contempt for Homer is not only funny on its own, but also a great explanation for why Homer is such a terrible father in his own right.
  • Herb’s boardroom meeting, complete with pomegranates, is awesome.  DeVito hits every note, pissed off, sad, exasperated, everything.
  • “All born in wedlock?”  “Yeah, though the boy was a close call.”
  • More things that are funnier for not being on screen, Bart spitting on a guy from the hot air balloon.
  • Herb making Homer say “Sort of!” with self confidence is magnificent contradiction. 
  • No further comment necessary: http://deadhomersociety.com/2010/01/04/quote-of-the-day-343/
  • “To think I wasted my life in boardrooms and stockholder’s meetings, when I could’ve been watching cartoons!  This old fool has wasted his life.”

16.    Bart’s Dog Gets an F

  • Nice dig at the Cosby clan with that shot of Hibbert at home.
  • Gotta love the quilt square of the woman shooting the buffalo while ridding side-saddle.
  • “How many of these guys are named Corey?”
  • Like DeVito, Ullman owns every line she has.  Even the ones that aren’t explicit jokes, she makes funny.
  • “I just dip in and out.  I’m only watching today because Brandy is coming out of her coma and she knows the phony prince’s body is hidden in the boathouse.”  A better description of soap operas may never be written.  “Father McGrath!  I thought you were dead.”  “I was!”
  • The shoe store has a section called “Street Crime”.
  • It takes a special kind of show to turn a little girl defending her dog into a joke about end of life care. 

17.    Old Money

  • As bad as the old people usually get it on this show, this episode shows us how much they old people hate the young as well.  No one and nothing escaped this show’s attention.
  • “Nothing says ‘I love you’ better than a military antique.  Let’s take a look at the bayonet case.”
  • The second line after the announcement of Bea’s death is a gag.  This show never lets up.
  • The ordinariness of the unlimitedly sleazy guy who tells Grampa that money will buy him better care is yet another example of something that’s sad, cruel and hilarious. 
  • The scene where people ask Grampa for money is great both because of all the insane, stupid, greedy and inhumane requests (“I need the money to buy a baby”), and because Grampa considers all of them.  It isn’t random, it makes sense because Grampa just wants to make people a little better off.
  • To be honest, the ray only has evil applications.
  • Funny to see the old people watching Itchy & Scratchy, even after they got upgraded.

18.    Brush with Greatness

  • After asking the kids not to make him a liar, “I want to go to Mount Splashmore.  Take me, take me, take me, take me now!  Now!  Now!  Now!  Now!  Now!”
  • Ah, for the days when TV promos for upcoming episodes could use lines like, “This is a rather shameless promotion”.
  • When they’ve got the pipe with Homer in it in the air, the clouds behind it are supposed to make it look like the pipe is moving, but it actually looks like the clouds are moving since there’s no fixed point of reference.  One of the rare animation notes that bug me in Seasons 1-8 or so.
  • It’s great the way Smithers’ first analysis of having Marge do the portrait is to note that she’ll be easily intimidated.
  • “Beatles, eh?  Oh, yes, I seem to remember their off key caterwauling on the old Sullivan show.  What as Ed thinking?"
  • Harvard, Yale, Oxford, the Sorbonne, the Louvre, this should hang in all of them:Brush with Greatness9
  • “He’s bad, but he’ll die, so I like it.”

19.    Lisa’s Substitute

  • A great Skinner moment is his absentminded meanness describing Lyme disease in front of Hoover.
  • “Three, you seem to be of the Jewish faith.”  “Are you sure I’m Jewish?”  “Or Italian?”  “I’m Jewish.”
  • “And for the record there were a few Jewish cowboys, ladies and gentlemen, big guys who were great shots and spent money freely."
  • Great shot:Lisa's Substitute6
  • More asbestos!  More asbestos!
  • Hey, Zombie Simpsons, I want you to watch this scene with Lisa, Homer and Bergstrom at the museum.  See how it’s relevant to the plot, character driven, and funny?  Do at least one of those and you’ll only suck two thirds of the time.
  • “That’s the problem with being middle class.  Anybody who really cares will abandon you for those who need it more.”
  • The “You are Lisa Simpson” note is great, but it would be weird and half-empty if Bergstrom didn’t already understand that Lisa needs Homer more than him, which we saw at the museum and which forms the end of the episode. 
  • By the way, all four family members give excellent voice performances at the dinner table for the baboon scene.  There’s something that doesn’t happen much (if ever) on Zombie Simpsons.

20.    The War of the Simpsons

  • Moe resenting Flanders by dismissively saying ‘college boy’ always gets me.  It’s one of those great double jokes, where the resentment is funny, but the fact that Moe doesn’t get it that no one actually gives Ph.D.s in “mixology” makes it even better.
  • “Remember last year at the Winfield’s party when you threw up in the laundry hamper?”  “No.”
  • And Barney has his shirttail hanging out of his fly again. 
  • “You stink!  You and your whole lousy operation stinks!  I quit!” 
  • How I see myself doing these marathons (especially this late into one):The War of the Simpsons8
  • How it probably looks:The War of the Simpsons7
  • Queen of the harpies!
  • And right after Lovejoy’s greatest success, he tips his hand with “Remember my saving your lives and bringing you happiness when we pass the collection plate next week”.
  • One more McBain clip, “I don’t want to hear it McBain!”
  • Another entry for the bulging file on I-can’t-believe-they-got-away-with-it: “Cherry party, Bart.  Any chicks over eight?”
  • You vile burlesque of irrepressible youth!
  • “That’s right, you heard me, pretending to cry!”
  • “I’ll never trust another old person.”
  • For completeness:
    Store Guy: Yeah, General Sherman.  They say he’s five-hundred pounds of bottom dwelling fury, don’t you know?  No one knows how old he is, but if you ask me, and most people do, he’s a hundred years if he’s a day.
    Customer:  And no one’s ever caught him?
    Store Guy:  Well, one fella came close.  Went by the name of Homer.  Seven feet tall, he was, with arms like tree trunks, and his eyes were like steel, cold and hard.  Had a shock of hair, red, like the fires of hell.

21.    Three Men and a Comic Book

  • Yet more attention to detail, how “12th” is pasted over all the previous numbers.
  • “I’m Bartman”.  Gotta say, the original Keaton/Nicholson Batman movie has also held up remarkably well.
  • Comic Book Guy when he was actually, you know, a comic book guy.
  • Fucking Wonder Years.
  • Nothing like a ten-year-old bribing police with alcohol. 
  • Ribbon candy is disgusting.  It’s from a time when sugar was precious, which it isn’t now. 
  • Gotta love Mrs. Glick being genuinely aroused while she goes back and forth in her rocking chair. 
  • Great the way they have the narration pronounce “(choke)” as it’s being read.
  • Ah, having a fight interrupted by somebody’s mom, like I said all the way back during “Bart Gets an F”, these kids were very recognizable to people who were kids at the time.
  • Gotta love how the usual message of “sharing” is deliberately undercut by the ending here.

22.    Blood Feud

  • Core Explosion, Repent Sins
  • I can’t usefully convey it, but the story of Hercules and the Lion is as great as something is possible to be.  “How did a lion get rich?”  “It was the olden days.”
  • That Burns has hired goons is funny.  That said hired goons are regular, if overly loyal, men makes it even better.  “Yeah, nice guy, play poker with him once and a while.”
  • And the plot turns on Smithers actually being a person instead of a cartoonish outline of one.
  • Final animation note: Burns and Smithers going up the escalator with the mirrors behind them looks great.
  • Love the Triceratops skull at Plunderer Pete’s.
  • But no, it’s Xtapolapocetl!
  • This seems a fitting way to end:
    Lisa: Perhaps there is no moral to this story.
    Homer: Exactly; it’s just a bunch of stuff that happened.
08
Jul
11

Reading Digest: Summer Ephemera Edition

Dancin' Homer6

“I’m sorry, young man, you’re just not ready.  Pick up your check at the front office and for god’s sake put some clothes on!” – Dave Rosenfield

The internet pickings were slim this week.  I don’t know if it was a hangover from the Fourth or just general summer doldrums, but we do have some summer links, including an RC car, a Spanish clip from “Summer of 4Ft 2”, and a nice baseball story.  There are also a couple of lists, an upcoming screening of Harry Shearer’s New Orleans movie, some excellent usage, and even the thinnest of tie-ins to the Murdoch-phone hacking scandal. 

Enjoy.

Rosenfield evolving with the Tides – See that picture of the manager firing jockstrap Homer?  He was named by Ken Levine, who worked as a broadcaster before he wrote “Dancin’ Homer”.  The real Rosenfield was recently honored by the Norfolk Tides for fifty years of service to the minor league team. 

How To: Frankenstein-Mod your Bart Simpson Chia Pet – Instructions with lots of pictures (including the finished product) for turning an officially license Bart Simpson Chia Pet into a Frankenstein’s Monster.  Sweet. 

Homer Simpson Custom Car/Airplane – A custom build remote controlled car with Homer on top of it. 

Harry Shearer Talks About Tearing Down the Army Corps of Engineers in The Big Uneasy – If you’re in the Bay Area you can see Shearer on Sunday night at the Roxie Theater.  There’s a 7pm and a 9pm show, and he’ll be there after the 7 and before the 9. 

Bart Simpson – Drama – Great fan made drawing of Bart crooning at full Goulet/Bennett levels.

Michael Chertoff Totally Looks Like Mr. Burns – Enh. 

The perils of cleverness – Just because you can do something slightly clever, doesn’t me you should:

And in comedy, it results in a mode of humor in which pop cultural references and winks to the audience have replaced real comedic situations. For this last manifestation, which is probably the saddest of all, I can do no better than quote George Meyer, the legendary writer and producer for the best years of The Simpsons: “Clever,” Meyer notes, “is the eunuch version of funny.”

Simpsons Video of the Week – Our friend Lenny found a Spanish version of the very end of “Summer of 4 Ft 2”.  Awesome. 

Jessie J tweets she’s on ‘bed rest’ after emergency foot surgery – English singer Jesse J broke her foot and then tweeted this:

I feel like Bart Simpson in the episode when he had broken his leg and couldnt play out… #staresoutthewindow

Some quick math says she was six years old when that episode was broadcast.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the kids are alright. 

Michael Jackson Never Sang On The Simpsons – Following up from last week, we can add RTT News (Global Financial Newswires) to the list of people too lazy to Google the Michael Jackson singing thing before writing it up.  Rather breathlessly writing it up in this case:

The voice has long been credited to John Jay Smith, but Simpsons scholars and pop-culture aficionados have since attested that it was a pseudonym for the King of Pop. Yeardley Smith, the voice of Lisa Simpson, is now clearing up the confusion once and for all.

Speaking to TMZ.com, Smith says: "[Michael] was not allowed to sing on the show, so he literally hand-picked a guy to sing like him."

Twenty years later, Kipp Lennon is being outted as the man who lent his voice for the famous episode.

I can’t speak for anyone else, but I prefer my financial and economic news from people who don’t grab headlines unchecked from TMZ. 

July 4th History and Best Locations for Fireworks on Independence Day – This is the opening to a Fourth of July guide for San Diego:

"Celebrate your country’s independence by blowing up a small part of it." – Apu (The Simpsons)

DUVALL: GOP is failing the history test – And so is this:

We will all celebrate our nation’s birthday in different ways. As Apu, the Kwik-E-Mart owner on “The Simpsons” said when selling Homer a cache of illegal fireworks, “celebrate the birth of your country by blowing up a small part of it.”

Both of them attribute it to Apu, who didn’t say it, and get the quote wrong. 

Weekend Diversion: The Physics of Fireworks! – Where the local news sites fail, the physicist blogger gets it right:

"Celebrate the independence of your nation by blowing up a small part of it." -The Simpsons

Bingo.  (Incidentally, that post is awesome.)  

Loud Laughs From Loud Laughers – Here’s a quick YouTube of what James L. Brooks sounds like when he laughs. 

10 Great Things You Might Know Troy McClure From – For something that obviously has no Zombie Simpsons in it, this list is strangely underwhelming.  It’s just rehashes of some of McClure’s appearances on the show (e.g. “Troy’s cheeful narration and a surprisingly jolly musical soundtrack provide an odd counterpoint to video footage of terrible car accidents.”) along with a few quotes. 

Lady Gaga Channels Marge Simpson at Revealing Singapore Press Conference – Meh. 

Turn Over A New Leaf – There’s a new place in Saskatoon that is trying to win friends with salad:

Homer Simpson once famously sang “You don’t make friends with salad,” but Saskatoon’s latest eatery, Greenleaf Fresh Fruit and Salad, has the power to make a ton of new pals — if they can generate the word of mouth I think they thoroughly deserve.

It’s actually “win” not “make”, but that’s too perfectly relevant not to be excellent usage. 

Lisa simpson without feet Minecraft Skin – Exactly what it says. 

New Book Tells "Heaven Is For Real" Readers To Go To Hell – Simpsons alum Gary Apple has written a parody book about a six year old who goes to Hell. 

Rewatching Childhood Favorites – Notable on this list of old cartoons to go back and watch again:

The first 10 seasons of The Simpsons

The Eleven Best Fake Names from The Simpsons – I’ve always been partial to Homer calling up the babysitting service as “Mr. Sampson” wherein he learns what a bunch of savages he and his family are.  Still, this is a pretty good list.

Zings Of The Day July 7, 2011 – Speaking about the Murdoch phone hacking:

News of the World, which is being shut down, supposedly hacked into the mobile-phone voice mails of people ranging from celebrities and politicians to murder victims. I wish they would’ve hacked into "The Simpsons" and made it end years ago. Another News Corp. property well past its prime.

I fail to see how the mechanics of that would work, but it’s a nice sentiment. 




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