“Tonight on Rock Bottom, we go undercover at a sex farm for sex hookers.” – Godfrey Jones
“I keep tellin’ ya, I just grow sorghum here.” – Farmer
“Uh-huh, and where are the hookers?” – Reporter
“Round back. . . . Oops.” – Farmer
Posts Tagged ‘Homer Badman
“Now, here are some results from our phone-in poll. Ninety-five percent of the people believe Homer Simpson is guilty. Now, of course, this is just a television poll, which is not legally binding, unless Proposition 304 passes, and we all pray it will.” – Kent Brockman
“Homer, that’s your solution to everything, to move under the sea. It’s not going to happen!” – Marge Simpson
“Not with that attitude.” – Homer Simpson
Give Zombie Simpsons credit for consistency, for the 500th episode they served up a perfectly banal rendition of their usual hacktacular schlock. They recycled two old ideas (family leaves Springfield, rebuild the town), had an illogical, meaningless and irrelevant celebrity voicing himself, and left plot threads hanging all over the place. No real reason is given for why the town suddenly decides they miss the Simpsons, nothing about the “Outlands” makes sense, either as a post-apocalyptic environment or as a modern “off the grid” community, and what few jokes there were leaned heavily on Homer getting hurt and bizarre asides. To top it all off, they had a lot of filler in the form of an ultra long couch gag, a second opening in the middle of the episode, and a bunch of set pieces that dragged on interminably (e.g. Wiggum and the cat thing, parading the family out of town).
For examples of all of these problems we need look no further than the sudden u-turn the episode took after its clock killing “The Outlands” opening. They had just reached their destination, but after talking to the wildly out of place Julian Assange for no reason, Marge says she misses Springfield and then – wham – they’re back in Springfield. The first scene is them already in the heart of the city before they decamp for a couple of quick stops at the Lard Lad sign, the Bowlarama, and their house. None of these are related in the least aside from being in Springfield.
To get them back out of Springfield (after the bullies mysteriously disappear from the house), they essentially rerun the earlier scene from the town hall. This one occurs at night and six minutes deeper into the episode, but basically nothing has happened in that time other than some disjointed set pieces. Compounding the problem, there isn’t anything in the second expulsion that even so much as hints at, much less actually sets up, the eventual ending where – for no discernable reason – the rest of the town decides that they all want out of Springfield.
Apart from the couch gag and the passive aggressive title card at the end (and, for the record, I’ve been outside several times already today) there wasn’t much in the way of celebratory fireworks here. Abandoning the town to build a shanty one a few miles down the road sounds epic, until you remember that in just the last few years they’ve had Springfield fenced off from immigrants, descend into chaos from Lisa’s social network, and irradiated by a nuclear bomb. Abandoning or destroying Springfield is unexceptional these days.
Anyway, the numbers are in and they are wretched, despite all the hype. Last night just 5.79 million viewers wondered why this thing hadn’t ended hundreds of episodes ago. That’s an improvement from last week’s nadir, but it’s still embarrassingly low and continues to sink Season 23’s overall viewer average.
“Sorry kids, but this is the one event I want my darling wife by my side.” – Homer Simpson
“Oh, well thank you, Homer. But take one of the kids.” – Marge Simpson
“Marge, they can’t carry enough candy! They have puny little muscles, not big ropey ones like you.” – Homer Simpson
Like last week, there are quite a few aspects of “The Food Wife” which were done better on actual episodes of The Simpsons. There was the family trying out ethnic food, which made more sense and had more to do with the rest of the episode in “One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish”. There was Homer’s now advanced woodworking skills, which were probably intended as a callback of some kind but which only reminded me how little Zombie Simpsons is like its predecessor. There was especially the way Marge becomes afraid that she’s no fun, which was infinitely funnier and more believable in “Bart’s Inner Child”. For sheer simplicity though, nothing really beats the way “The Food Wife” and “Homer Badman” both open: with the family going to a convention.
The differences in the things Zombie Simpsons cares about and the things The Simpsons cared about are massively apparent right in the opening scenes. As “The Food Wife” begins, Lisa and Bart have earned a reward of some kind and are going to get a “Saturday Surprise Dad Day”. As soon as Marge announces that, the kids cheer and Homer lets us know that this is something that happens quite often. In just this one scene we can see how much the family has degenerated into characterless, one dimensional nobodies.
Nothing says “The Simpsons” like a prosperous family that loves spending time together!
Homer, the man who used to routinely avoid doing anything with his kids, is excited to take them somewhere on his precious Saturday. Bart and Lisa are thrilled at the prospect of some of Homer’s half assed over-parenting (and Bart has somehow been behaving well). And Marge, despite the jealousy that the audience will repeatedly see her go through for the rest of the episode, is just peachy keen on all of this. Not only do none of these things fit with who these people are supposed to be, but since Homer rattles off two things he’s done before it means that it’s been going on like this for a while. This is particularly jarring when it comes to Marge, since “cemetery paintball” and “go karts on real roads” don’t sound like activities she’d want her ten-year-old son or eight-year-old daughter doing. The entire scene is pure Zombie Simpsons, apathetic towards the characters and generally nonsensical (and we haven’t even gotten to the convention yet).
Compare that with the opening scene from “Homer Badman”, which also takes place at the kitchen table. This one opens with Bart picking the non-marshmallow pieces out of his cereal, Lisa calling him on it (revealing her own hatred of the non-marshmallow pieces in the process), and then Homer talking about the candy convention to which he’s gotten tickets. But he doesn’t give his mouth watering description of the convention because he’s planning to take his kids, though they immediately beg him to do just that. Instead, he wants to take Marge. She’s flattered by this but doesn’t really want to go, and it’s only then that it comes out that he actually wants to take her because Bart or Lisa won’t be able to carry as much candy as she can.
Everyone in this scene is perfectly in character. Bart and Lisa are acting like kids who just want sugar, with Lisa being the less lazy and more conscientious of the two. Marge is acting like the responsible adult. And Homer is at his best: unthinkingly disappointing his entire family (the kids because they can’t go with him, Marge because she’s being used as a pack mule), but only doing so because of his well established love of candy. And, of course, every part of the setup is a joke, from Bart picking at the cereal to Homer’s reasons for wanting to bring Marge. You’d need a transcript to include all the gags (and even that wouldn’t do it justice). The Simpsons cares about its story and its characters, Zombie Simpsons just plunges ahead into nonsense.
You can see that directly once the respective kitchen scenes are over. Zombie Simpsons jumps immediately to the video game convention, where Homer has somehow acquired VIP tickets. How did that happen? Well, they don’t say, but my immediate guess would be that the writers are so used to being VIPs that they’ve forgotten that Homer isn’t one. By contrast, The Simpsons shows us Homer getting his regular tickets by taking advantage of Apu.
More than that, “Homer Badman” also shows us a second scene at the house that sets up the rest of the episode. First we see Marge reluctantly getting sewn into the many pocketed trenchcoat that Homer’s going to use to smuggle candy out of the convention. Then our main guest character, graduate student Ashley Grant, arrives to babysit. She doesn’t just pop into the episode for no reason, she shows up because Marge can’t find anyone else to sit for her kids.
Even better, she immediately joins the joke parade while we find out who she is. She’s smart, capable, and, crucial to the sexual harassment plot, believes that women don’t have to be second class citizens. Bart objects (“How can you leave us with this maniac?”) and prepares to destroy yet another babysitter, but Grant is unfazed and instantly disarms him with “Disemboweler IV”.
“The game where condemned criminals dig at each other with rusty hooks.”
On Zombie Simpsons they don’t have anything like those scenes and just cut instantly to Homer and the kids breezing into the video game convention with their VIP badges:
Come right in, Mr. Selman.
There’s a superficially similar scene when Homer and Marge arrive at the candy convention but, like Zombie Simpsons and The Simpsons more broadly, the similarities are only cosmetic:
Homer? Excited. Marge? Nervous. Story? Progressing.
In the scene from “The Food Wife”, Homer and the kids walk past a nice orderly line that looks like a pretty decent recreation of the entrance at something like E3. It is neither funny nor creative, and they’re doing so with VIP badges that Homer got from nowhere. Whereas in “Homer Badman”, we saw Homer get the tickets and the candy convention is so desirable that it hilariously requires a dozen police officers to guard its entrance. It makes more sense in terms of the story, it’s a joke, and it takes only a second; the arrival in Zombie Simpsons is nothing more than a reenactment of how nice it must be to have private security kiss your ass, but includes lots of exposition in case the audience didn’t understand.
Part of the reason Zombie Simpsons skips right into the video game convention is because, unlike the candy convention, the video game expo has nothing to do with the rest of the episode. More than that, however, is the way the vast majority of “The Food Wife”’s attempts at humor are pop culture riffs, and they want to get to those quickly. Even then most of them are references not jokes; “Guts of War” isn’t a parody of “God of War”, it’s just a wink and a nod to let you know that they’re hip and cool enough to know who Kratos is. The same is true of “YBox”, “Electronic Crafts”, “Medal of Duty”, and “Gamestation 3”.
It sure was nice of them to essentially repeat Apple’s slogan for them.
By contrast, the candy convention is filled not just with candy jokes, but with the kind of absurdist exaggerations that The Simpsons reveled in creating. Instead of a bunch of signs that are misspelled versions of “Hershey” or “M&M”, we get a sour ball so sour that it must be contained in a magnetic field. It’s not only funny, but it’s a hell of a lot more creative than replacing the word “Rock” with the word “Marching”. We also get “The front desk is looking for Mr. Goodbar”, the wax lips guy, and the security guard who insists that Marge put some sugar on her celery or get out. And, of course, there’s the precious gummy Venus de Milo, which is giddily insane, and which will soon drive the main plot forward and give us Homer’s Pop Rocks/Coke bomb.
At the video game convention, Homer goes into a lame first person shooter mode and beats up a bunch of people to get to another non-joke reference, the “Funtendo Zii”. After that, the “Funtendo” crap just ends; there isn’t so much as a callback after Homer and the kids go hopping over the fence. The Gummi de Milo, of course, is what gets Homer in trouble with Ashley Grant, what gets him looking like a drooling pervert on Rock Bottom, and what eventually exonerates him. It’s not just absurdly funny as an idea, it’s the lynchpin of the plot.
Zombie Simpsons puts its characters in a place they have no business being and likely wouldn’t want to be anyway if they were still even remotely themselves. Once there, they decorate it with a few cute signs and a couple of semi-clever takes on real video games before dropping the whole thing. The Simpsons keeps everyone in character, takes a few familiar notions and uses them to create a whole world of ludicrous candy inventions, and uses all of it to keep the plot moving and entertaining. The yellow hue is misleading, these two shows have nothing in common except it.
Image shamelessly yoinked from here.
“Dad, I don’t understand. What is she saying you did?” – Lisa Simpson
“Well, Lisa, remember that postcard Grampa sent us from Florida of that alligator biting that woman’s bottom?” – Homer Simpson
“Oh yeah, that was brilliant!” – Bart Simpson
“That’s right, we all thought it was hilarious, but it turns out we were wrong. That alligator was sexually harassing that woman.” – Homer Simpson
“And the dog in the Coppertone ads, same deal, Dad?” – Bart Simpson
“That’s kind of a gray area.” – Homer Simpson
“I feel like a kid in some kind of a store.” – Homer Simpson
Some weeks the internet just gives and gives; like this week, where we have an embarrassment of really cool stuff. I had several contenders for Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week, and ultimately I couldn’t decide on one, but the first four links are all worth your time, though only the Rolling Stone thing will actually take more than a few seconds of it. In addition to that, we’ve got some great YouTube, the usual assortment of excellent usage, three links from our pal Galileo, and, what we all came here to see, hard core nudity!
Burger #284 – Lisa Simpson – It’s the Lisa burger, and it’s vegetarian.
The Simpsons: America’s favorite yellow family – Highly stylized fan made drawing of the family Simpson. I especially like the blue swirls for both Marge’s hair and Maggie’s pacifier.
The Simpsons, the Only Real People on T.V.: Rolling Stone’s 1990 Cover Story – A Rolling Stone cover article about the show from June 1990, i.e. after the first season when Bartmania was at its absolute apex. It’s a nice little time capsule, and it’s always good to remember when the show was rebellious. I’m particularly fond of this quote from Groening:
"I like it because [the Simpsons] are not glamorous. So much in our culture is designed to make you feel envious. The Simpsons definitely do not."
“Glamorous”, there’s a word that pretty neatly describes Zombie Simpsons. I’m going to add that one to my regular repertoire.
Milhaus Shirt – Milhouse/Bauhaus mashup shirt – I put this up on Twitter earlier this week, but it’s worth mentioning again. Unfortunately they appear to have sold out in the meantime, so you can’t get the t-shirt at the moment, but you can gaze upon its nerdy majesty:
But my mom says I’m cool (via).
BoC Gameday: It’s OUR Vertigo – Excellent usage:
I feel bad for Hiller, but I admit that I’d probably giggle if the Ducks literally killed their goaltender with their shitty defense. Are the Ducks drinking chlorinated water or something? Lydman’s seeing double, Hiller can’t stand up, and Ryan Getzlaf’s bones are brittle. The Getzlaf one is especially weird since he always drinks plenty of… malk?
I feel like Ned Flanders! – More excellent usage:
So, I was driving home from work yesterday and as I left Abbotsford and grew closer to Chilliwack, the snow started to fall. Well, not fall, exactly. More like, um, assault my car.
I thought of Ned Flanders, when his house was torn away by a tornado and the town pulled together to build a new house for him. The work they did was done “Shoddilly-iddily-iddily-diddly” and Ned tries to “diddly” his way out of his rage, but then finally explodes in “aaaw hell diddly ding dong crap!”
Every time I see this episode I think that someday that’ll be me.
There is also a rather nice photo to go with that, in both regular and old timey versions.
This General has a major thing for the Globetrotters – This is the rare example of a botched quote that indisputable qualifies as excellent usage. Observe:
The Generals, my newly adopted teammates, had lost 13,561 in a row. As "The Simpsons’ " Krusty the Clown once noted, "The Generals are so due."
That’s not an exact quote, more of a paraphrase. But you get the idea.
Well done. For the record, the exact quote is “I thought the Generals were due!”
Why America Hates Arcade Fire, and Why That’s Sort of Hilarious – Because this week is all about how The Simpsons had such justifiable contempt for awards shows, please read this paragraph from an article that defends the Grammys even while acknowledging how stupid they are:
In a year where self-identified indie bands permeated all layers of mainstream culture, and in a year where no single album emerged as a talisman for what 2010 was about, Arcade Fire was absolutely the best choice of the five, and music observers in the know shouldn’t be surprised that the band took home the little gold statue derided by The Simpsons all the way back in 1993.
I’d also like to point out the irony in defending a Grammy win by pointing out shitty Grammy wins. And then this:
Gadhafi In Popular Culture – I also put this on Twitter earlier. It’s a YouTube video of all the ways American pop culture has been making fun of Gaddafi for a quarter century. Another famous Indian was Crazy Horse.
Libya…In 10 Words – Speaking of Gaddafi and The Simpsons.
Wisconsin’s Union Issue…In 10 Words – YouTube of Lisa’s union strike song.
Scott Walker’s Prank Call…In 10 Words – And one more.
AEBN Streams ‘Simpsons: The XXX Parody’ in HD – Looks like the porn parody is ready to roll. I might get in trouble with WordPress for this, but screw it: here’s the link. Lots of payment options, including pay-per-minute (ha!), a 48-hour rental for eight bucks, and an mp4 download (specifically marked “DRM Free”) for twenty-five. Say what you want about the porn industry, but their distribution methods are years ahead of mainstream entertainment.
The beginning of an era, where the Knicks may even be good – Discussing the Carmelo Anthony trade:
Also coming to New York is Shelden Williams and his larger-than-life head, which is presumably a result of drinking the same tonic Ken Griffey Jr. was hooked on in the greatest Simpsons episode of all-time.
Gif Collection (23/02/2011) – There’s a couple of Simpsons .gifs here, Ralph at the focus group in “The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show” and Bart pulling down the shade in “Bart of Darkness”. Plus there’s Hermione making fun of Bella, which is always win.
Health Care Gone Wrong – Hibbert treating some of the Warner Brothers gang.
Ice Cream & Bagels -OR- HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! – Happy birthday:
Yes, yours truly’s birthday clock just hit the top of the hour today. I’m off to celebrate with free goods and/or services.
Nice reference. Click through for YouTube of the Ramones.
Presidents’ Day – Awesome YouTube video of various Simpsons songs.
Girl on Girl on TV: Week of February 13 – Television review:
In this episode they reveal that the grey in Patty and Selma’s hair is just ash—when she shakes it out, it’s red. She also threatens to beat up Homer, saying, “I could bend him like Beckham.” That’s what passes for comedy these days?
Sadly, yes, at least as far as Zombie Simpsons is concerned.
“Why would anybody wanna touch a girl’s butt? That’s where cooties come from!” – Bart Simpson
This is another one of those Season 13 episodes that blazes around at high speeds, shifting gears at random while not doing a whole lot in the a) making jokes or b) making sense categories. It’s also another in the long line of Bart-gets-a-girlfriend episodes and, like most of them, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense and involves a lot of awkward pauses and pointless exposition. The commentary does its best to ignore all this and is greatly aided by the presence of Pamela Hayden who does the voice for Milhouse. They spend more than half the commentary just asking her random Milhouse questions. The end result is that there is some decent Milhouse trivia here, but no insight into this craptacular excuse for an episode.
Eleven guys on this one, including Hayden as the token female.
0:55 – Apparently this is Hayden’s first commentary recording.
1:10 – Jean asks Hayden how she came up with the voice of Milhouse. She originally tried out to be the voice of one of Bart’s friends in a Butterfinger commercial, pre-series.
2:15 – They changed the Olympic rings on the side of the helicopter just enough so they don’t have to pay. You know who the real crooks are? Those sleazy Hollywood producers.
3:00 – The Canadians were disappointed as this was billed as a Simpsons-go-to-Canada episode and Canada is barely in it.
3:45 – They’re talking about Canada, not much is going on.
4:15 – Important trivia point: “Now, this is really Wolfgang Puck.” Sadly, he brought no food to the recording.
4:30 – Saying how nice Reese Witherspoon was.
5:25 – They were going to make a George Bush joke, but didn’t on account of they thought it was too soon after the 2001 attacks. That leads into a discussion of why they never made fun of Bush much, and Jean lays the blame on the fact that they never had someone who could do the voice really well. I try not to break out Comic Book Guy’s most famous expression very often, but: Worst. Excuse. Ever.
You have what might be the most talented and versatile voice casts in the history of television plus any number of serious actors and comedians who would fall over themselves for a reoccurring role on your show, and you couldn’t get someone to do a presidential impression? Bullshit.
6:30 – After a long silence, they’re working Hayden into the conversation when the subject of Milhouse’s original design comes up. There’s a rumor that it was based on Joel Cohen’s brother Rob, but Jean says that though he wasn’t there when they did it, he heard Milhouse was modeled after the friend on The Wonder Years. There’s certainly a resemblance.
7:05 – Long silence.
7:25 – More Milhouse trivia. Hayden can’t remember her first line as Milhouse in the commercial, nor if she met Cartwright then. To her credit, she finishes with a quick Grampa line, “It was nineteen aught two . . .” to laughter.
8:40 – Laughing at the dated-ness of making fun of what at the time was the relatively new format of DVD.
9:20 – The family is sitting down to dinner with Wolfcastle, and they remember that Schwarzenegger used to have a sausage restaurant.
10:15 – Milhouse shows up to do the Budweiser “Wassuuuuup?” thing about three years after people stopped doing it, and two and a half years after people stopped making fun of it. This leads to people remembering the commercial.
10:45 – Long silence as Homer introduces Wolfcastle to Lenny and Carl at Moe’s.
11:30 – Silence broken by a discussion of celebrity lookalikes, quickly returns to silence.
12:05 – Someone notices this and says, “Lotta quiet for twelve people.” (I counted eleven, but whatever.) So Jean tells a very old joke (seriously, this thing is ancient, I think I heard it the first time in about the sixth grade):
There’s a guy who’s really sick, and his wife has no money so she has to earn money and she goes out and sleeps with a bunch of guys. And she comes in and goes, “Well, I earned $630.05.” And he goes “Who paid you five cents?”, and she goes “Everybody”.
12:25 – Joke over, silence returns. This time someone breaks it by playing Delroy Lindo and asking Hayden if when she started doing Milhouse she ever thought he would be this global icon. If the staff of the show starts asking itself the same inane questions that lazy entertainment reporters ask them, isn’t that going to lead to some kind of feedback loop that will cause the media universe to collapse in on itself?
13:00 – Still asking Hayden about the early days of Milhouse, now they’re wondering in which episode he made his first appearance.
13:25 – Talking about other characters that may have originated in commercials. As per usual, not a whole lot of commentary about what’s going on in the episode.
13:55 – Lisa’s hair is in curlers for some reason and gets noticed, but the closest the commentary comes to actually commenting on it is to wonder how that results in her spiky hair look.
14:40 – Again joking that Canada hasn’t been in the episode yet.
15:15 – Now discussing who’s got Canadian citizenship and who’s got American citizenship. Scintillating.
15:45 – Discussing whether Rob and Joel Cohen are the only brothers to have written for the show. They are not. Mike Scully and his brother Brian both wrote for the show. Marc Wilmore is the brother of Daily Show correspondent Larry, but Larry never wrote for the show.
16:15 – Now we’re discussing whether or not Reese Witherspoon’s character really likes Milhouse or whether she was just doing it to get back at Bart. This lead to a discussion of all the girlfriends Bart has had, and they wanted to do a joke about it with all his exes in a bus flipping him off.
16:40 – In regards to Bart, “He’s certainly dated all the up and coming young starlets. He’s like the Warren Beatty of cartoons.” At least they’re aware they’ve done a ton of these.
17:15 – A lot of small giggling here about not much in general.
17:30 – Once upon a time Jean was surprised that they have adult women doing the kids voices.
18:15 – Finally got to Canada, which is followed by the fact that this is the song from Bob & Doug McKenzie, which is followed by a discussion of the fact that the US dollar used to be worth more than the Canadian dollar.
19:10 – Jean tells a story, which he admits might be false, that once upon a time someone was shooting a movie in Toronto that was set in New York. To make it look more like New York, they put garbage in the streets, but each night it would get picked up and they had to trash the place again in the morning. This has nothing to do with the episode, which now has Homer and Bart sneaking onto a movie set.
20:00 – The history of Bob & Doug McKenzie.
20:15 – Now they’re all reminiscing about how they got writing gigs and various other Canadian comedians. Meanwhile, Bart and Milhouse are fighting on a curling sheet.
20:50 – Still reminiscing about old Canadian comedy.
21:15 – “I like how all the curling audience is just enthralled by this.” That’s met with general laughter.
Like the curling crowd, the writers are sure you’ll find the conclusions of their episodes more
exciting than a weekend with Batman.
21:40 – Now some of them are remembering sports they played in school.
21:55 – Someone jokes, “So this show needs an Act 4.” Again, it’s met with laughter before Jean puts on his Future Cap: “We switched to four acts, but I always think in the world of the future where you the view sit, they’re just gonna be all one piece because you’re going to be watching them on downloads or DVDs.”
22:10 – And a general cheer for Hayden ends things.
“How did you get tickets?” – Lisa Simpson
“They hid them in every millionth Krusty Klump Bar and Krusty Klump Bar with Almonds.” – Homer Simpson
So you think you can stand two consecutive hours of So You Think You Can Dance? Feel like spending your Friday evening with reruns of Bones and House? Do you have any plans at all next week? Well cancel them quick because FOX is going to put “shout-outs” to the Simpsons across its primetime schedule all next week:
Beginning Monday, Nov. 9 and continuing through Friday, Nov. 13, fans can watch FOX each night to find SIMPSONS shout-outs, tributes and clues featured in primetime programming and on-air promos.
One lucky winner will receive the ultimate SIMPSONS prize package, including a trip for two to Los Angeles to attend a SIMPSONS table read with the Emmy Award-winning voice cast and producers, a home entertainment system, SIMPSONS DVDs and merchandise and tickets to Universal Studios Hollywood, home of The Simpsons Ride.
Viewers 13 years of age and older who spot SIMPSONS shout-outs can log on to http://www.fox.com/scavengerhunt each night to test their knowledge for an opportunity to unlock daily downloadable extras and to enter to win the ultimate grand prize.
Why are they doing this next week, a week that has nothing to do with twenty years of Simpsons? Who cares? Isn’t it funny that kids who weren’t born until Season 8 can participate? Kinda. Would I be able to sit quietly at a Zombie Simpsons table read without causing a disturbance? Not a chance.
Image used under Creative Commons license from Flicker user Barbara L. Hanson.
“It’s just hard not to listen to TV, it’s spent so much more time raising us that you have.” – Bart Simpson
My Google alerts lit up this week as the internet ponders the upcoming fall television schedule, mentions of the new season of Zombie Simpsons are numerous. I have linked to not a one of them because, really, who gives a fuck? No excellent usage this week, but we do have someone else who thinks teevee sucks, a German election, a badass piece of Bart Simpson jewelry and an eight year old girl who took up the sax because of Lisa Simpson. Not to shabby.
Merkel, rival gear up – The Germans are having themselves an election this month and the two leading contenders, who are actually already in a governing coalition together (man and I thought Americans have shitty political options), had a debate on teevee where they apparently spent most of the time agreeing with each other. Thoughtful television people believe in counterprogramming:
However, Germans turned off by their insipid election campaign at least have a choice in the rotund shape of Homer Simpson. While the debate is being carried live on four major channels, a rival station is showing ‘The Simpsons – The Movie”, and has plastered Berlin with ads saying ‘Vote Simpsons.’
Multiple One-Man Shows featured in 2009-2010 at the State Theatre – The one and only Mac Homer is coming to the State Theater in New Brunswick, New Jersey at the end of October.
Eat My Shorts (With a Side of Diamonds) – Sweet Bart Simpson necklace.
Nothing is new – A reminiscence on watching the Simpsons and not paying attention in high school. See, it is hard to get kids to pay attention in high school.
Television: the wasted medium? – This is a long and thoughtful piece that can basically be surmised by this quotation:
This is why I don’t watch TV. Because almost all of it sucks.
Yes, almost all TV sucks. You know what else almost all of sucks? Everything. Almost all painting sucks, almost all music sucks, almost all pornography sucks, you can name any creative medium devised by people and the overwhelming majority of it is terrible. But some of it doesn’t suck and it’s those parts that we love. Anyway, it’s a neat post and worth reading, especially for this part:
The most obvious answer is what’s probably one of the prime achievements in all of television, The Simpsons. A sociocultural behemoth documenting as well as deeply affecting an era (late ’80s and on), it’s also the pinnacle of perhaps my favorite kind of TV, animated satire. Other examples include Ren and Stimpy (which I’ve discussed here before), and The Rocky and Bulwinkle Show, which heavily influenced both of them.
Why animated satire? A variety of reasons, I’d say: I grew up watching it and find that it rings true as an adult; television is an excellent medium for animation, since animation lends itself so well to short-form work; and as for satire… it’s great in any medium, and it’s a way to combat the reactionary qualities of television, which refuses to let artists linger on any one situation, since within 30 minutes, something else is coming on. Just think of the number of jokes skewering television on The Simpsons – even whole episodes, from “The Day the Violence Died,” “Homer to the Max,” “Homer Badman,” and more. “The Joy of Sect,” for example, ends with the Simpson family grateful to be thinking for themselves again; the TV then drones, “You are watching Fox,” to which the family replies in unison, “We are watching Fox.” The show was able to assert itself as work that transcended the TV’s many confines and conventions by pointing them out and making fun of them. That’s the triumph of animated satire.
“sociocultural behemoth”, I like that. Also, note that the latest episode cited there is in Season 10. Zombie Simpsons is the vastest part of the wasteland. I can’t hate on teevee though, partly because it raised me, partly because it gave us The Simpsons, and partly because without it how could we keep the masses sated within the confines of their gray, little lives?
15.0: Homer Simpson speaks on firewater – Long article about drinking on Indian reservations that begins with citing Homer as a responsible drinker. Sad and interesting.
Why can’t arcades just die?! – Arcade nostalgia through the lens of the original Simpsons game.
vegetarianism – Commenting on “Lisa the Vegetarian”:
I suppose it represents a sort of turning point for the character, since in later episodes Lisa goes from a bright, questioning girl to a joyless, self-righteous liberal prig.
Yes, Lisa has become joyless and dead eyed, but what characters haven’t?
D’Oh! FOX 5 Pushes The Simpsons to Late Night – Reruns are getting moved from 7:00pm to 11:30pm in the greater Washington, D.C. area. Once again I’m reminded that not everyone has all the good episodes on their computer, ready to be watched at a moment’s notice.
It is true. I have kissed a pig – Woman dressed as Marge Simpson kissing a pig. Bravo. I love the internet.
Beckham best role model for children: poll – Homer came in dead last.
Switching from Violin to Saxophone – Eight year old takes up the saxa-ma-phone after getting hooked on The Simpsons. Best part:
She got it out straight away at home, tried to put it together and had a go! And then spent the rest of the evening just walking around the house with it strapped around her neck, producing lound honking sounds from it. She experimented with the keys and finally figured out the first few notes of the Simpson’s opening theme tune!
(Sitcom Audience): Awwwwww.
I was poking around for items for tomorrow’s link dump when I came across this from a blog called “Art Brut(e)”:
See I was going to be really clever and somehow link “Mom and Pop Art” with “Duck Amuk” to Larry Johnson and it was going to be really clever, but the conceit doesn’t work anymore so– eh, why don’t you pick up an Art Forum or something.
“Duck Amuck” is one of the most memorable Merrie Melodies ever and, prior to clicking that link, I hadn’t actually watched the whole thing (~7 min) in years. It’s still very clever and quite funny. I cracked up when Daffy’s parachute was replaced with an anvil (William Faulkner could write an anvil gag that would really make you think).
In terms of “Duck Amuck” and The Simpsons the first thing that sprang to mind was Snowball II after Bart makes it more interesting in the second Treehouse of Horror:
But then I got to thinking about all the other times the show broke the fourth wall with animation. (Note: this is not meant to be an exhaustive list.)
First up is “Brush with Greatness” and it’s never ending MC Escher line for the “H2WHOA!” ride:
Next is “The Front” and it’s fantastically crappy reused background of water cooler/nondescript door/cleaning lady:
In Boy Scoutz N the Hood we learn that cartoons don’t need to be 100% realistic and, lo and behold, there are two Homers:
Finally, there are a lot of couch gags that play around with how the Simpsons are animated, but two in particular seem genuinely “fourth-wall-ish”. The one in “Lisa the Beauty Queen” and “Duffless” has the family running literally out of frame:
And then there’s the infinitely receding couch from “Homer Badman” and “Two Dozen and One Greyhounds”:
I always thought that one must have been fun to animate, just keep drawing the family smaller and smaller until they’re basically dots.
This week we have real Gummy de Milos and a real beheaded statue. There’s also some usage (good and bad), a bunch of British celebrities, shoddy merchandise, and more.
Gummi Venus De Milo – Someone made real Gummi de Milos! I’d tell you more but I’m drooling on my keyboard. Click the link for pictures (grad student ass not included). The post is more than a year old, but it’s a little known fact that in the medium of gummi a lack of arms retards spoilage (via).
Cloud Talk – Somebody cut off the head of a statue of James Garfield. The link has a picture as well as a rundown of the relevant dialogue from “The Telltale Head”. Why is Dolph referred to as “Other Bully”? Because whoever put up this transcript (from which it appears to be cribbed) is an ignoramus. You’re next, Chester A. Arthur.
4 Simpsons Controversies That Didn’t End in Lawsuits – A rundown of some memorable public flaps in the history of the show.
Uruguay: Ban on Homosexuals Joining the Military Is Lifted – “Look at this country: you are gay.” – Homer Simpson
Top 10 British celebrities to star in The Simpsons – Pretty much what it says. Tracey Ullman doesn’t rate, that seems a tad unfair.
How Homer and Co can help us lead healthier lives (by not copying them) – This is really stupid. British tabloid The Sun had a food charity compile a list of all the food and drink on the show for a month. (I’d assume this means whatever’s in reruns in Britain.) Then they treated the results seriously, even though it’s, you know, a cartoon. Oh yeah, and you prudish health food people can go fuck yourselves for saying this like it’s a bad thing:
Lots of gassy beers can also lead to bloating and excess wind.
Buzz Cola: hazardous material – Remember that Buzz Cola they sold during the promotional shitstorm for the movie two years ago? Well, according to this guy some of the cans have now corroded through from the inside and spilled their contents. He doesn’t cite any actual examples, but if it’s true it’s pretty funny.
TV DAD’S DINNER – Feel like harassing the Cleveland Plain Dealer? Sure you do:
For more than 50 years, television has portrayed thousands of imaginary fathers. Whether it’s the ever-earnest Ward Cleaver or that big honkin’ dufus, Homer Simpson, most of us have a favorite TV dad.
Who’s yours? And if – in your own imaginary world – you could cook up a meal to honor your fantasy father this June 21, what would it include? (Besides a plateful of doughnuts for Homer – doh!)
On June 17, in time for Father’s Day, Taste will publish some of the most fun, interesting or thoughtful responses. We’ll post more on cleveland.com.
Want in on the fun? In 75 words or less, tell us:
Your character’s name and the TV show in which he appears;
Why he’s your favorite;
The meal – including why that menu fits your electronic father figure.
Deadline is Monday, May 25. Send us your entry either of two ways:
E-mail: email@example.com (in the subject line, please type “TV Dad’s Dinner).
Conventional mail: “TV Dad’s Dinner,” Taste, The Plain Dealer, 1801 Superior Ave., Cleveland, OH 44114.
The Simpsons’ Krusty talks “he-shes” – Was the transfat/transgender thing from last week’s Zombie Simpsons over the line? Feh. Though, I’m happy to provide an answer to this:
I wonder what the writers were thinking when they were constructing this episode.
They weren’t thinking, it’s against policy.
Pills Or Porn: That Is The Question – Moronic dating advice site YourTango sure does like its Simpsons references.
In response, a quick-fix called AndroGel has been on the market for the past decade, causing men who’ve lost that loving feeling to sign up in droves and attempt to reclaim lost hormones by slathering this foam-like stuff all over their bodies. AndroGel is supposed to turn them from a grouchy, sexless Homer Simpson-type character and into a cheery George Clooney of sorts (“improvement in energy, sexual desire, sexual function, and mood within 1 month” says the website).
I never really thought of Homer as sexless. In fact, and we might want to tell the Plain Dealer this, for a TV Dad Homer got laid quite a lot.
Hard work’s key for Hawks, plus what the vanquished need now – SI.com’s Allan Muir botches his usage while advising the Blackhawks to crash the net against the Red Wings.
My two cents? As the recycling man told Homer Simpson, “Simplify, man. Simplify.”
Nit pick time! The recycling hippie was talking to Skinner, not Homer and the actual quote is, “It sounds like you’re working for your car. Simplify, man!” Ah well, go Wings.
Should have signed a DNR – Scrubs is coming back for another season, though this is what grabbed my attention:
On the plus side at least it is not as bad as the Simpson’s is now.
Collared today: Shadow – The Baltimore Sun runs a little feature where they talk about people’s pets. In discussing their dog Shadow’s trick repertoire the Sadaka family goes with Bart:
As Bart Simpson says, “He doesn’t want to learn, and we don’t want to teach him…We get along great.” Obeys very well-no particular tricks that stand out, but seems to understand everything remarkably well.
Why multi-channeling is bad for HD – Channel ten in Australia has apparently lost its HD and is now broadcasting HD Zombie Simpsons as “widescreen”. Also:
Actually I’m not totally sure that there would be that much difference in The Simpsons HD and The Simpsons SD anyway.