“And then I saw my boy in a burlap sack, and they told me he had lice.” – Marge Simpson
“Is this story going somewhere?” – Burlap Sack Guy
Posts Tagged ‘Home Sweet Homediddly-Dum-Doodily
“Who wants to be the first to enter God’s good graces?” – Ned Flanders
Zombie Simpsons has a well established track record for wild plot twists, nonsensical stories, and characters behaving so strangely that one wonders whether or not they’re still supposed to be human. “The Changing of the Guardian” valiantly upheld that reputation, particularly in the way it took its main conflict, scrambled it beyond even a semblance of coherence, and then awkwardly jammed it into just the last two minutes of the episode.
Consider, for a second, the enormous inhumanity this episode expects you, the audience member, to swallow. Set aside the oddity of Mav, the millionaire surfer, and his wife Portia, the ultra-liberal lawyer, deciding to basically steal the Simpson children for no reason. Or Homer and (especially) Marge trusting their kids to these people they barely know. Set aside even the brain dead way they all met. Just think about the ending from Bart, Lisa and Maggie’s perspective.
The kids go off with their new guardians for what the episode explicitly describes as “a weekend”. At some point during that “weekend”, Marge and Homer see a picture of the kids with Mav and Portia under the heading “Our Family” in the window of a portrait studio. After a meandering car ride, Homer and Marge finally get to Mav and Portia’s ski chalet, where (after he of course crashes the car) Homer gets out and starts yelling at Mav with Bart standing right there:
Oh. Look. Homer’s angry.
Notice that Bart doesn’t say anything. Cut to the next scene where Homer, Marge, Mav and Portia have a discussion about Mav and Portia taking the kids. This is the finale of the episode, and it is as confused and sloppy as anything Zombie Simpsons has ever broadcast. Here we go:
Mav: Honestly, we fell in love with ’em. And it just seemed like you guys didn’t really want ’em.
Homer: Sure, you wanted the fun parts. But do you want to go their little league games and recitals.
Mav: Totally have.
Portia: Like clockwork.
Homer: Well, I’m glad someone has.
Wait a second, weren’t the kids just there for a weekend? And do they have baseball games and music recitals up there in the mountains?
Marge: Look, before anyone says anything else, how could you possibly think you could get our kids?
Portia: It happens more than you know, Marge. I’m a lawyer, he’s a surfer, that combination’s pretty unstoppable.
This is just amazingly hacktacular. Marge asks a sensible question, to which Portia gives a nonsense response. This is Zombie Simpsons directly telling us that they do not give a shit. But it’s about to get worse, because we’re finally about to hear from the kids:
Bart: Well I’m afraid that we don’t want to be with anyone but Mom and whoever she chooses to be with.
Lisa: Portia, you’re the woman I dream of becoming, but Mom is my mom.
Where the hell have these two been? Whether they’ve been up there in the mountains for a weekend or longer, is this the first they’re hearing of it? Were they going along and changed their mind, or had they already objected? Either way (or any way, really), one cannot follow from the other. At that, the scene concludes:
Portia: Fine, but you’re leaving a gap in our lives that can only be filled by foreign travel, sleeping late, and gourmet food.
Mav: You guys lock up. We’re going to Bali.
So . . . they just give up? Mav and Portia, whom the episode has been portraying as the most hyper-competent and pulled together people on Earth, thought they could just take the kids and then they just abandon the whole idea at the first objection? Nobody’s actions here, not Marge or Homer, Mav or Portia, or Bart and Lisa fit with even just the preceding scenes, much less who they’re supposed to be in general.
Compare that unsalvageable mess to the solid brilliance at the end of “Home Sweet Homediddly-Dum-Doodily”. Both episodes have the Simpson kids in the custody of other parents, but that’s really where the similarities end. “Home Sweet Homediddly-Dum-Doodily” shows us all the things that “The Changing of the Guardian” either doesn’t or can’t because it’s too incoherent:
- The kids actually spending time with their new family (“Well, children, it’s Saturday night, so what say we let our hair down and play bombardment-” / “yay!” / “-of Bible questions!”)
- How they react (“It seems like our house, but everything’s got a creepy Pat Boone-ish quality to it.”)
- How the new parents come to want the Simpson kids (“Until this I never thought Homer and Marge were bad parents, but now I know you kids need a less Hell-bound family.”)
- Why (Maggie, at least) would want to stay (“When was the last time Dad gave her that kind of attention?”)
- Why (Maggie, again) rejects her new parents and wants to stay with her original family (“Oh, Maggie, you’re a Simpson again!”)
The story in Season 24 is so dumb that the kids basically have to be airbrushed out of it because their presence at any part of the ending would cause the entire flimsy thing to come crashing down around itself. By contrast, the story in Season 7 involves them at every step, not only because that way it makes sense, but because there’s a lot of humor and comedy to be had from Bart, Lisa and Maggie living with people other than Marge and Homer. Zombie Simpsons thinks having Homer rant is the be all and end all of comedy; The Simpsons knew better.
“Where are we going? Where are we going?” – Marge Simpson
“Okay, okay, don’t panic. To find Flanders, I just have to think like Flanders.” – Homer Simpson
“I’m a big four-eyed lame-o and I wear the same stupid sweater every day and-” – Homer’s Brain
“The Springfield River!” – Homer Simpson
This is a much shorter than usual Reading Digest, entirely due to the fact that just about anytime someone punched “Simpsons” into a keyboard this week it was right next to the word “Oregon”, and all of them were equally worthless. It’s the internet, so I guess you’ve got to take the bad with the good, but that an awful lot of concentrated stupid. There is still some good, though, including cool fan made stuff (mmm, cupcakes), a fantastically meta YouTube video, and Superintendent Chalmers on the DC Metro. There’s also two links about John Swartzwelder, one of which debunked a cool but untrue idea about him and Ron Swanson from Parks and Recreation, and another that’s just a general fan letter.
[Updated at 1:13pm because I got my drafts confused and left out Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week in the one I originally published.]
Kirk’s Movie Blog: Listorama! My Top 10 Simpsons Episodes (Part One) – Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week is a two parter that came in via e-mail. It’s a great list, partly because it’s got no Zombie Simpsons, partly because each entry contains an explanation as well as quotes and a picture, and partly because of this:
Some Simpsons fans have queried whether the second season belongs to the ‘Classic Era’ of the Simpsons, but for me, there can be no question about it.
Too bad they don’t make a Radiation Queen – This is pure YouTube brilliance:
I don’t miss the crappy picture or the tinny sound, but those old televisions definitely had more personality than the generic black rectangle that most of them are today.
Is Ron Swanson Based On John Swartzwelder, Legendary ‘Simpsons’ Writer? – Bill Oakley tweeted this yesterday, and there are at least some superficial similarities. Unfortunately, Oakley also quashed it a few hours later:
Oh, well. It was fun while it lasted.
Cupcake the Simpson Family – SELLY – This is not in English, and I have no idea what it says. But these are some of the coolest Simpsons cupcakes I’ve ever seen.
mattachinereview: [Sideshow Bob, from The... – You’re going to need to be aware of relatively uncommon gender pronouns to get this joke, but I chuckled.
Laura E. Enriquez: How DREAMers Made Me Reconceptualize My Citizenship – Excellent usage:
To encourage participation we say that every voice counts but we also tend to re-frame the event -- Get Out the Vote rallies become concerts, social justice rallies have bands, feature celebrity speakers, or offer food. On The Simpsons, they tried to make jury duty more interesting by framing it as joining the "justice squadron" at the "Municipal Fortress of Vengeance." So maybe citizenship itself is in need of some re-framing so we can increase civic participation and get citizens like myself to appreciate the privileges we are afforded.
I’ve been called for jury duty three times and had to serve on a jury once, and that scene had a smile on my face all the way through orientation.
Just when you think it can’t get weirder, it does. – Simpsons characters (and others) on parade during a fair in France.
The consolations of poetry: If the foolish call them flowers – Excellent Emily Dickinson usage:
I was first introduced to Emily by way of watching the Simpsons (the same medium by which I discovered Walt Whitman). Lisa follows Bart to military camp and, being the only girl, finds herself in her only lonely quarters: “Solitude never hurt anyone. Emily Dickinson lived alone, and she wrote some of the most beautiful poetry the world has ever known… then went crazy as a loon.”
Perfectly quoted, well done.
Appointment Viewing: April 9-April 15 – There’s new Zombie Simpsons this Sunday, and Lenny’s got us covered:
8:00 – The Simpsons (Fox): Jimbo’s girlfriend falls for Bart after he’s forced to chaperone her to a movie. School bullies notice, and that’s bad for Bart. Meanwhile, Homer is persuaded to buy an exercise machine, but doesn’t have to be persuaded to use the TV that comes with it. Why would anyone go for Bart over a good-looking rebel who plays by his own rules?
Oh good, another girl falls for Bart. This needs to stop happening so much.
Distorted Marge Simpson t-shirt at Red Bubble – That is a fantastic idea, but do you get $2 off because it got smeared?
The Simpsons (1990-1997)—“Roger Meyers Jr.”
AR: Yeah, what’d I do, about six or seven of those? I did a series for Jim Brooks, for Gracie Films, called Sibs. That was a really good show. Marsha Mason was my wife. And because I’m with that family, pretty soon Jim Brooks says, “Play this.” And it’s kind of fun being the owner of Itchy and Scratchy.
AVC: Do you enjoy the opportunity to do voice work on occasion?
AR: Yeah. It really is fun, because you can go in shorts and a beard, you read off a piece of paper, and you're done. It’s like stealing money. [Laughs.]
There’s another reason Zombie Simpsons sucks, no Roger Meyers Jr.
Simpsons Runway Style Fashion Shopping Guide – To call this pageview whoring would be a gross understatement, but some people at GQ went through a ton of episodes and found real life men’s fashions that look like things on the show. I clicked through all 36 of them (18 Simpsons screen grabs, each followed by some blank faced, real life model), and while I make no claim as to the clothes, they at least had relatively good taste in episodes. I didn’t see anything past Season 10.
The Three Stooges Movie…In 10 Words – Moe is their leader.
marge simpson – Cool, minimalist fan made image for Marge.
SQ Drawings: Bart Simpson & Family – Fan made pencil/colored pencil poster of Bart done by a guy for his son’s bedroom. Cool, though Bart does appear to have five fingers.
Metro Confirms That the Resurrection Is ‘Not a Standard Announcement’ – An employee of the DC Metro got on the PA on Sunday and delivered a little Easter sermon, which prompted this:
But Flanders quickly runs afoul of public-school decorum when he attempts to "thank the Lord" over the public-address system. Superintendent Chalmers becomes irate, fuming that in a public school, "God has no place in these walls, just as facts have no place in organized religion." Flanders is fired on the spot.
It’s wonderfully apt, though Chalmers actually says “within these walls, just like facts have no place within organized religion.” Still, those are minor, so I’m still calling it excellent usage.
Bart Simpson Rag Doll (NEW) – Old school crappy merchandise still in its original packaging.
WHO WOULDN’T? – Animated .gif of Homer showing off his new chainsaw and hockey mask.
From Duluth to the world – Hopefully this will be on a Behind the Music type show one day:
They also reminisced about the band’s early days just up the hill from the auditorium. Like their very first official band rehearsal in 2003.
"It was a Sunday, and we were supposed to meet at 7 p.m.," Carroll recalled. "We called each other and were like, ‘Dude, "The Simpsons" are on, so … 7:30?’"
Who’s Awesome #6 – Some love for John Swartzwelder that is unrelated to the brief Ran Swanson speculation agrees with us:
The period of the Simpsons that I pay attention to is seasons 3-9. Other than those seasons, very rarely keep watching. Swartzwelder was in his prime then.
Amen. And . . . charge!
“I thought I could ride this thing out, but everything’s just too weird here.” – Lisa Simpson
“I know, they put honey on pancakes instead of maple syrup.” – Bart Simpson
“And they read Newsweek instead of nothing!” – Lisa Simpson
For those keeping count at home, tonight’s episode is one of four left this season to ridicule and summarily reject on the basis of mediocrity. Usually Fox trots out a promo image for new Zombie Simpsons episodes, but they opted not to this time around. No matter, ours is way better. In fact, Fox might as well save themselves the trouble and borrow our format: screengrabs from old episodes magically repurposed into something new and daring.
Anyway, gazing into SNPP’s crystal ball, we get the following synopsis about “Father Knows Worst,” which is guaranteed to be forgettable:
Homer tries to solve Bart and Lisa’s academic and social problems with a bit of overparenting; meanwhile, if anybody is looking for Marge, she’s probably in the sauna in the basement
Are the writers even trying anymore? Even the shoddy premise signals that they’ve thrown their arms up like so many cheese-eating surrender monkeys.
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Though it was my favorite show as a kid, by the time I turned 12 or 13 I discovered that the “Simpsons” were best viewed in reruns. The “Simpsons” has declined so much since then that it has unwittingly justified the decision of every other show that decided to go out on a high note.