Posts Tagged ‘Homer Goes to College

05
Mar
14

Quote of the Day

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“Don’t worry, Mr. Simpson, we can take care of ourselves.” – Black Nerd
“Uh, wallet inspector.” – Snake
“Oh, here you go.  I believe that’s all in order.” – Fat Nerd
“Whoa, I can’t believe that worked!” – Snake
“Hey, that’s not the wallet inspector.” – Homer Simpson

14
Oct
13

Quote of the Day

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“Marge, someone squeezed all the life out of these kids.  And unless movies and teevee have lied to me, it’s a crusty, bitter old dean.” – Homer Simpson
“Hi there, hello, I’m Dean Peterson, but you can call me Bobby.  I just want you to know, if you ever feel stressed out from studying or whatever, I’m always up for some hacky sack.  Or hey, if you just want to come by and jam, I used to be the bass player for the Pretenders.” – Dean Peterson
“Boy, I can’t wait to take some of the starch out of that stuffed shirt.” – Homer Simpson

Happy 20th Anniversary to “Homer Goes to College”!  Original airdate 14 October 1993.

18
Apr
13

Quote of the Day

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“We played Dungeons & Dragons for three hours, then I was slain by en elf.” – Homer Simpson
“Listen to yourself, man, you’re hanging with nerds.” – Bart Simpson
“You take that back!” – Homer Simpson
“Homer, please, these boys sound very nice, but they’re clearly nerds.” – Marge Simpson

Happy birthday Conan O’Brien!

26
Sep
12

Compare & Contrast: Homer Parties Like It’s Freshman Year

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“Now, the only antidote to a zany scheme, is an even zanier scheme!” – Homer Simpson
“Why does it have to be zany?” – Fat Nerd

Since the show had all but run out of ideas by Season 11, it’s no surprise that they had to start revisiting topics and concepts that they’d already done with increasing frequency.  And while most of “Kill the Alligator and Run” is a bizarre slideshow of the family leaping from one goofy, vaguely Southern situation to another, it gets there by transporting Homer to a raucous college party and having him run around with the drunken kids.  As it happens, Homer had tried to party with college students once before, in Season 5’s infinitely better “Homer Goes to College”.

As with so many comparisons between The Simpsons and Zombie Simpsons, to really get to the heart of the matter you have to put aside most of Zombie Simpsons usual problems.  So, no, the trip to Florida doesn’t have anything to do with spring break, nor does it have much to do with Homer’s odd freakout at the beginning of the episode or the subsequent multi-act run from the law.  And, no, Homer getting down with the college kids doesn’t make any sense on its own either, from his getting to the beach with a bed tied to him to his bizarre antics at the Kid Rock concert to the sheriff happily looking the other way for Homer.  All of those typical Zombie Simpsons shortcuts distract from just how empty the comedy here really is, so while they exist and are a big part of what makes this episode so very unwatchable, they aren’t what makes their take on “spring break” so utterly empty, boring and unfunny.

On the surface, both “Homer Goes to College” and “Kill the Alligator and Run” have Homer acting like a jerk around college kids.  But if you look just a bit deeper, you can see that Zombie Simpsons wasn’t doing anything else while The Simpsons was using Homer for far more than just him running around and yelling.

Kill the Alligator and Run2

Homer yelling and running, there’s a lot of this.

The premise of “Homer Goes to College” was that Homer, in his infinite stupidity, thought that all those Animal House style movies about college are what life on campus is really like.  When he actually got there, he figured that the jocks would be constantly beating the nerds, that the dean was naturally out to get everyone, and that the rest of the students would feel the same way he did.  Homer being Homer, he couldn’t see that none of that was true, and instead tried to do things like take the nerds on a beer fueled road trip and prank a nearby school that no one else on campus even cared about.  The jokes come fast and heavy, but the main idea on which everything else rests is that Homer is wildly out of place and spectacularly wrong about what college is like.

By contrast, in “Kill the Alligator and Run”, Homer isn’t wrong about anything.  In fact, he’s exactly correct about what it is all those young people are doing.  Because of this, the episode is left with hardly anything to do but exaggerate the wildness on display and hope for the best.  That’s how it gets stuck with having Homer and some kids turn over the family car, Homer ride to the beach on the top of a van, and a Kid Rock concert that features a cartoonish, Acme-sized bottle of booze and the late Joe C being fired out of a makeshift slingshot.  Like their hapless fluffing of Lady Gaga earlier this year, this is Zombie Simpsons making something look awesome and mistaking that for satire.

So while Homer is behaving like an out of control jerk in “Homer Goes to College”, there’s a point to it, namely that Homer is doing his level best to fit in with the insane depictions of college in movies and teevee.  Homer isn’t just stumbling around because that’s what he likes to do, nor is he insisting on it because he’s an invincible cartoon character, he’s just got it in his head that zany schemes and pig abduction are par for the course.  He can’t comprehend that Dean Peterson (but you can call him Bobby) isn’t some crotchety old jerk who hates fun, or that the students don’t think it’s funny that the professor dropped his notes.  He doesn’t even realize the nerds are nerds until his family tells him.

The Jerkass Homer in “Kill the Alligator and Run” is just and only that: Jerkass Homer.  He’s not interested in acting out some strange media portrayal, he just wants to run around and scream and drink for the sake of running around and screaming and drinking.  So when it ends, he just keeps it up, dragging his family along for the ride.  It’s the difference between this (which, let’s remember, is just the starting point for more insane adventures):

Kill the Alligator and Run3

And let’s not even wonder where he got the airboat or why the rest of them are going along with this.

And this (which is a movie parody and occurs at the end of the episode):

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And, once again, Homer learns nothing.

10
Jun
12

Quote of the Day

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“It was the most I ever threw up, and it changed my life forever.” – Homer Simpson

22
Jan
12

Quote of the Day

Game Show Bribe

“Oh, very well, it’s time for your bribe.  Now, you can either have the washer and dryer where the lovely Smithers is standing, or you can trade it all in for what’s in this box.” – C.M. Burns
“The box, the box!” – Nuclear Inspector

08
Apr
11

Reading Digest: The Perils of Syndication Edition

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“Wow!  They’ll never let us show that again, not in a million years!” – Krusty the Klown

Assuming that pure joy expands in a circle at the speed of light, the echo of my unbounded glee at learning that reruns of The Simpsons would be on five days a week should be somewhere between Altair and Sigma Draconis by now.  In those dark days before DVDs, DVD rips, and bottomless hard drive platters, watching old episodes wasn’t easy to do, and the news that it would be on every weeknight (and sometimes on Saturday) was literally life changing.  All those episodes that I had only seen once or twice were suddenly going to be broadcast again and again, and that meant that I could watch them again and again.  These days I never watch the syndication runs, both because they’re hopelessly polluted with Zombie Simpsons and because having episodes on my computer is vastly more convenient.  But I recognize that I’m in the minority on how I watch, and this week we have two links to demonstrate that.  One to a television station that’s broadcasting good episodes in May, and another to someone who’s still shackled to the whims of the program directors.  We’ve also got pictures of that beaded Springfield, an awesome love song, plenty of excellent usage, and a Hans Moleman video. 

Enjoy. 

Perfectly Cromulent Analysis: Mr. Plow – Smooth Charlie’s Click of the Week is a post on “Mr. Plow” by our old friend Andreas.  He extensively and rightly praises that excellent “Do you come with the car?” joke that still rings true nearly twenty years later.  Well worth reading in full. 

The Unofficial Smithers Love Song – Fan made song and video that contains 100% of your daily recommended amount of fuck yeah (via @springfieldx2). 

Electronic Arts Cancels ‘Dead Space 2′ Wii, ‘The Simpsons Game 2′ – A Simpsons related game I didn’t know was being developed has been cancelled. 

10 Best Female Voice Actors | Actors & Directors | Screen Junkies – Nancy Cartwright snags #1 here, but no one else from the show makes the cut.

The Simpsons Makes a Skit About Precious – Thanks go to Maggie C for sending in a link to this Tumblr site that noted Zombie Simpsons’ pathetic “Precious” dream sequence in “Love Is a Many Strangled Thing”.  My favorite comment got right to the point:

holy shit fuck you, simpsons

Simpsons town revealed in Forest Hills artist’s home – Pictures from the revealing of Forty Square Feet of Awesome.  The Disco Stu door prize is pretty cool.

Financial Lessons from the Final Four, Yoga, Homer Simpson, and Other Odd Sources – Prosaic advise courtesy of a copy and paste job at Time magazine.  They get the quotes right so it’s excellent usage even if it is banal to the point that Henry Luce’s corpse would blush if it still could. 

Everything I Know About Money, I Learned from Homer Simpson – And linked from the above is this, which doesn’t quote anything, but does mange to allude only to plotlines from Season 10 and earlier.

Grizzly Links: Stephen Colbert, David Lynch, The Simpsons, & a Midget in a Gorilla Costume – There’s some good stuff here, I’m especially fond of the Jaws painting (though shouldn’t one of them be on drums?).  Among the links is a montage of Hans Moleman clips, the first part is mostly from good seasons with a sprinkling of Zombie Simpsons, volume two reverses the ratio:

FOX legal will be calling in three, two, one . . .

Homer simpson Minecraft Skin – Exactly what it says.  Nicely done.

Searching for gluten-free food at Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville – Discussing watching baseball when your usual pleasures are denied you brings us this:

In a long-ago episode of “The Simpsons,” an on-the-wagon Homer sits silently sober at the ballpark while everyone around him enjoys cups of beer. After a few seconds of dead silence with his eyes wide open, Homer remarks: “I never realized how boring this game is.”

Excellent usage.

Mr Burns takes a nap – While I’m not a fan of crappy collector stuff, I am a fan of it being used creatively. 

Todays winners and Losers – From the “Losers” category:

The feeling when you get home and you flick to channel 4 and the simpsons end credits are on… gutted.

I used to hate that feeling. 

Future Finds: Computers (#74) – Speaking of creatively repurposing Simpsons stuff, this guy doesn’t sound like on of the five richest kings of Europe to me. 

Classic Simpsons In May – A UHF station in San Francisco will be running “rare” and “haven’t seen in years” episodes during the month of May, and by that they mean things from Seasons 1-10.  Fucking Zombie Simpsons has ruined syndicated Simpsons. 

Things That Will Always Guarantee Laughs – This is a list, and while I don’t agree with everything on it, this is true:

The Simpsons (seasons 3 to 8)

Oh Seasons 1 & 2, I will love you so much it will make up for the rest of the world’s indifference. 

The Origin Story – Reminisces, and a picture, of a 1990 Bart Simpson skateboard. 

Forbes Fictional 15: list – This list gets stupider every year.  How do you assign a worth to the dragon from The Hobbit?  And what the hell is Jeffery Lebowski doing on there?  He’s so poor he had to steal a million dollars from little urban achievers.  Oh, and Mr. Burns checks in at #12.

First Look: Doughnut Vault – There’s a new donut shop in downtown Chicago that sounds fantastic (albeit pricey).  This is poor usage, however:

Homer Simpson may have said it best when he called the doughnut sacrilicious.

The waffle that Bart tossed on the ceiling was sacrilicious.  The donut is just, “Mmmm” or “transcendent” (as translated by Lisa).

Release the Hounds – Silvio Berlusconi as Mr. Burns.  Heh. 

#1 of the 365 Things That Make Me Happy: The Simpsons – Ahem:

I absolutely adore The Simpsons and have ever since the shorts were used as bumpers on another favorite television show of mine; “The Tracy Ullman Show”. I know a lot of critics and fans say that the show isn’t as good as it used to be, and to some degree they are right. However, I feel that The Simpsons have given me so many great years of programming, that if they want to coast on a few episodes, I don’t mind a bit.

I used to say almost exactly that, then they kept on coasting for more than a decade.  But The Simpsons does always make me happy. 

Critics use The Simpsons to lampoon Mexico’s Slim – Somebody took out a newspaper ad in Mexico making fun of the world’s richest man, Carlos Slim, with “The Slimsons”.  Sadly, I was unable to find an image of the ad on-line. 

Weird science on the equator line – Wikipedia is skeptical of Lisa’s explanation of the Coriolis effect, but this is a first hand account of the strange things you can do at the equator, and it includes clockwise and counterclockwise draining.     

“The Simpsons” and Their Films – The image and the link from whence it came are something we’ve mentioned before around here.  But I want to wholeheartedly agree with this:

The more films I watch the more I notice that sometimes I’m approaching them backwards: I’ve often seen the parody before I’ve seen the picture itself. When I first saw Frank Capra’s It’s A Wonderful Life (1946), for example, I found it was quickly coloured yellow, as Homer Simpson’s take on George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) came to mind.

In fact, The Simpsons becomes consistently richer the more films I see. References to America’s cinematic heritage appear not only in episode-long treatments of certain pictures but also in the more fleeting echoes of a particular shot or character trait.

I’ve lost track of the number of movies I’ve watched specifically because they were mentioned on the show.  Last year that number included The Devil and Daniel Webster (thanks Andreas!), which was fantastic. 

Up and atom, veggie burger! – And finally, among an excellent looking recipe and much excellent usage is this:

It was only the Simpsons’ 7th season, so it still had writers who rolled out classic lines

Indeed.  (There’s also YouTube of “My eyes, the goggles do nothing!”.) 

02
Apr
11

College Students to Zombie Simpsons: Meh

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“Someone squeezed all the life out of these kids.  And unless movies and teevee have lied to me, it’s a crusty, bitter old dean.” – Homer Simpson

If you Google “Zombie Simpsons”, the first result is a post I wrote last year called “The Cost of Zombie Simpsons”.  Not being familiar with anything more than the barest outlines of Google’s proprietary alchemy, I can only guess as to why it’s that one and not another.  But if I had pick of our back catalog to occupy that choice spot of search real estate (it gets more traffic than all but a handful of pages here), it’d probably be that one. 

My strained pollution metaphor was prompted by my discovery of a Futurama fan who had never seen “Marge vs. The Monorail”.  He knew of The Simpsons, but had never seen one of their most well known episodes.  I wondered how many people out there, too young to have watched the show’s decay as it happened, lived under the misunderstanding that it had always been so ordinary. 

This week I came across two blogs written by guys who fall under that age bracket.  The first is a student at Tufts University who writes about television for the campus newspaper.  In an article titled “Fox offers laughs beyond Seth MacFarlane”, he spends 769 words talking about all of the comedies currently broadcast on FOX.  (The piece is part of a series of four, one for each network.)  This is the Simpsons bit:

Outside the MacFarlane empire, "The Simpsons" is still going strong in its 22nd season. It’s not what it used to be, but it still has some smart plotting, good jokes and original stories after all these years.

I obviously agree with the part about it not being what it used to be and disagree with the part about it being “smart”, “good”, and “original”.  But that’s neither here nor there.  What’s revealing about this is the fact that the entire article is about FOX comedies, and yet those two fleeting sentences are the only part that discusses Zombie Simpsons.  The show is only mentioned one other time in the entire piece, and that’s just to note that it’s been overshadowed by MacFarlane’s television hydra.  In other words, even to people who like it, Zombie Simpsons is far less culturally interesting than every other program on FOX.  It’s a placeholder that gets brought up only for the sake of completeness. 

The second blog is brand new.  Its author is a student at the University of Arizona and the first four substantive posts are a top 25 Simpsons episode countdown.  I’ve seen a lot of these kinds of lists over the years.  Most of the time they’re either entirely or predominantly episodes from the before time, the long long ago; those are my favorite.  Sometimes they’re a jumble of The Simpsons and Zombie Simpsons, with picks ranging from Season 1 to the present; I like those kind less.  But, hey, it’s somebody’s opinion and they’re certainly entitled to post it on-line. 

What’s unusual about this list is the range of episodes it covers.  The earliest episode on it is from Season 5 and the latest is from Season 14 (though only a handful are from after Season 11).  I’ve never seen a list like that before.  The explanation for this unusual selection comes in the introduction to the first part (emphasis added electronically by Channel 6):

As a dedicated (and somewhat obsessed) fan of The Simpsons, I have seen my fair share of Simpsons episodes (302 to be exact) and decided I would attempt to rank my favorite Simpsons episodes of all time. I took a lot of different factors into consideration of each episode (story,gags,overall hilarity), but mostly just picked the ones that I know I can sit through time and time again.

(The rest: Part 2, Part 3, Part 4)

He describes himself as a “dedicated” and “somewhat obsessed” fan who watches episodes “time and time again”, but the back catalog is so dauntingly swollen with mediocrity that he’s never sat down and plowed through it all.  At 302 episodes, itself a powerful feat of television watching, he still hasn’t seen nearly forty percent of the show. 

There are only two possibilities with the given math.  Either he’s never seen a significant chunk of the early seasons, or he gave up on the show completely right after Season 14.  Neither scenario reflects well on Zombie Simpsons, but given his list I’d be willing to bet it’s the former.  If that’s true, it means that Zombie Simpsons has deterred him from seeing some of the best things to ever grace the airwaves. 

This is precisely what I was talking about in “The Cost of Zombie Simpsons”.  In its current dilapidated state, Zombie Simpsons is hardly worth bringing up in a discussion of FOX comedies.  But its irrelevance to modern audiences doesn’t prevent it from obscuring its vastly superior predecessor.

07
Mar
11

Quote of the Day

Worcestershire Sauce

Image used under Creative Commons license from Flickr user bsabarnowl.

“Finally, the great taste of Worcestershire sauce in a soft drink.” – TV Announcer
“Ahhh, steaky.” – TV Guy

[Edited because I've been hearing what I wanted to hear since 1993.  I'm not going to stop referring to Worcestershire sauce as "stanky" though.]

27
Dec
10

Quote of the Day

“Don’t worry, Simpson, it just so happens I have a chair at Springfield University.” – C.M. Burns

Springfield University Chair

02
Aug
10

Animation Showcase: Homer Goes to College

- By Bob Mackey

When The Simpsons had its prime-time debut in 1989, the show’s animation was considered crude by most. While it’s true that the visuals improved by leaps and bounds after that first rocky year, the original 12 episodes of The Simpsons – despite their roughness – still stand as a major leap forward in the progress of television animation. And over The Simpsons’ first handful of years, talented artists like Brad Bird, David Silverman, Jeffrey Lynch, Jim Reardon, Wes Archer, and Rich Moore (amongst others) not only defined and refined the look of the show; they also raised the bar for a genre of entertainment largely considered — at the time, anyway — a brainless distraction for equally brainless children. For these visionaries, The Simpsons provided the opportunity for endless experimentation; which is why it’s no wonder that most of these folks went on to fame and fortune at outstanding animation studios like Pixar and Rough Draft.

Generally speaking, the animation on the first six-or-so years of The Simpsons is far “looser” than what it would eventually become; the art on these early seasons complemented the excellent writing, instead merely serving as just a platform for the dialogue. For lack of a better term, directors and animators on The Simpsons were once allowed to make their drawings more “cartoony,” which meant deviating from the standard design of a model sheet for the sake of drawing the strong poses necessary to create a visually interesting and, most importantly, funny image. Of course, when this is taken too far, the results can be disastrous: you only need to look at the outtakes from “Some Enchanted Evening” to see what happens when a group of animators gets The Simpsons completely wrong. But, when used correctly, brief bits of cartooniness can add vibrancy and emotion to a scene – which is something the show used to do very well.

Over the years, The Simpsons’ animation became much more conservative and homogenized, and by the end of season eight, the show had lost nearly all of its cartoon snappiness. And as a fan of the show, it’s this quality I miss the most. For my first post on Dead Homer Society, I’ve decided to visually dissect “Homer Goes to College,” which is an excellent showcase for the brilliant animation once seen on The Simpsons. For those worried, this examination isn’t going to be couched in technical terms; as an animation enthusiast, I’m going to try and break this down into terms everyone can understand.

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This early scene of Homer chasing a bee down a hallway relies entirely on the animation for its humor. Sure, the idea itself is a little funny, but a sitcom-staged shot of Homer running wouldn’t be as funny as what we see here: strong, goofy poses that punctuate his haplessness.

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Here’s a brief instance of some cartoony punctuation. These drawings are incredibly odd when compared to how we normally see Homer, but he quickly snaps back into his normal model once he leaps from the sewer. You can tell whoever drew this was having a lot of fun.

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When was the last time The Simpsons made you laugh with a drawing alone? Here, Homer is locked in an exaggerated position that seemingly defies his anatomy, but that only adds to the hilarity of the scene. Strangely enough, Matt Groening always hated this kind of stuff; if you listen to various DVD commentaries, he claims he was always obsessed with giving the characters solid and consistent anatomy. This isn’t inherently bad, but it makes drawings like the ones throughout this post practically illegal.

14

This shot isn’t particularly mind-blowing, but I picked it because it shows how expressive the characters used to be. Here, Homer’s eyes and mouth are a little bigger than normal, but these small embellishments really sell his sense of panic. In general, eyes on the Simpsons used to be much bigger, and much more expressive, as we’ll see below.

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One of the subtle hallmarks of Simpsons animation used to be the eye bulge; animators would sprinkle this little bit of business in dialogue heavy-scenes to accentuate certain words or ideas. Here, Burns isn’t speaking, but his eye bulge adds a little zing to his freak out. If you weren’t aware of the eye bulge, go back and check out some early episodes while keeping this little bit of acting in mind — it’s everywhere.

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Again, nothing mind-blowing about the animation here, but the brief bit of squash and stretch before Homer’s standard scream makes his reaction much more expressive.

20

On these earlier episodes of the Simpsons, it wasn’t odd to see characters emote in ways they never had before. Instead of looking at model sheets for stock expressions, the animators in these days tailored the emotion of their drawings to the unique situation of the scene. We’ve seen Homer angry countless times before, but for some reason, this drawing feels fresh.

21

An excellent display of self-control from whoever laid out this scene. Later episodes would probably place the emphasis on Homer, but the composition of this shot (which goes on for a while) sells the awkwardness of the situation, and highlights Homer’s choice of seating.

22 23

More acting unique to this episode. I don’t think I’ve seen Homer in these poses before or since.

24

Nothing incredible happening here, but I took this screenshot to highlight how Homer was generally plumper and more retarded in Jim Reardon’s episodes. His walleye here used to be a hallmark of the shows eye acting (along with the bulge), which seems to have been lost to the mists of time.

25

Another expression I haven’t seen before or since. Something tells me this brief bit of self-satisfaction from Homer wouldn’t look nearly as funny if it was animated five years later.

26

A really strong pose from Homer. What would you call this emotion? It’s a perfect, dialogue-free reaction to the nerd revealing the reality of their road trip.

27

This scene begins with an amazing shot and tons of detail. Staging like this is what made The Simpsons so much more visually interesting than anything that had come before. The planning of the prank could have begun with a less complicated shot, but its current layout really sells the mock-drama of the scene.

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Another bit of exaggerated animation before Homer pops back into a normal pose.

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And again. The simulated motion blur of Sir Oinks-A-Lot’s face is absolutely hilarious, and really makes him seem vicious for those brief few frames. Homer’s eye bulge is equally great; I actually remember slow-mo-ing this scene back when I originally recorded the episode as a kid.

39 40 41 42

Some fantastic poses from Bart and Lisa that really sell the range of emotions they go through in this scene: from awe, to shock, to panicked urgency. You don’t even need to be aware of the scene’s context to know what they’re feeling.

43

A hilarious shot, from a perspective of The Simpsons I believe we’ve never seen before or since (or perhaps just not that often). The characters’ unique anatomy makes them extremely weird-looking from certain angles, but going with a strange, funny shot like this just shows how much the animators were willing to experiment.

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This may be my favorite bit of animation in the entire history of The Simpsons; in fact, I look forward to this scene every time I watch Homer Goes to College. It’s incredibly brief, but the animators transformed a simple stage direction into an incredibly expressive (and impressive) bit of acting. Every little frame, from Homer’s confident slide out of this chair, to his jaunty little walk, to the way he hands in his paper, completely sells his confidence in a way that dialogue never could. If I didn’t know better — and I don’t — I’d say David Silverman did this scene.

56

Another great expression to end this post. You can really tell that Homer has no goddamned idea what he’s talking about, here.

Since I have no way to conclude this little article except awkwardly, I’d like to thank you for humoring me in this examination of what I feel is one of The Simpsons’ most-overlooked qualities. If I can muster up the fortitude to do this again, I’ll probably tackle “Homer’s Triple Bypass” next.

13
Feb
10

Quote of the Day

“The bee bit my bottom! Now my bottom’s big!” – Homer Simpson

02
Feb
10

Synergy Has a Nostalgia Hangover

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“Duh, Homer, why are we down here?” – Bernie
“Aw geez, I told you Bernie, to guard the bee.” – Homer Simpson
“But why?” – Less Gifted Employee
“Oh you guys are pathetic, no wonder Smithers made me head bee guy.” – Homer Simpson

Having read more of these IGN Simpsons reviews than I care to think about it’s become clear that they just don’t put a lot of thought into them.  Case in point is this week’s review which has only two main elements, 1) praising the show for being on the air a long time, and 2) retelling the various setups that made up the plot.  Number 2 is pretty standard for these reviews, but I think the presence of number 1 is mostly a carryover from the last few weeks.  IGN got locked into nostalgia mode over all the 20th anniversary stuff and just sort of mindlessly kept going with it.

February 1, 2010 – After their 450th 451st episode focusing on Krusty and a celebratory special spreading the love and dissing Zombie Simpsons, it was nice to have things get got back to the familiar level of suck with "Million Dollar Maybe." And by familiar level of suck, I mean watching what’s left of Homer do what he can to make his family happy, while screwing it up as he tries random, crazy shit. Sunday night’s episode had Homer yet again letting down Marge, winning a million dollars for “plot” reasons, spending it all without her knowledge for some reason and still finishing the half-hour in the arms of the woman he loves. All this and laughs, too.

Things started with Homer and Marge preparing a musical toast for a cousin’s wedding contrivance. But on the day of the wedding contrivance, Homer opened a fortune cookie stating this was his lucky day. At first, Homer blew off the fortune: "Any part of a cookie you can’t eat is just a waste of time." But his luck did indeed start to turn as crashing into a vending machine resulted in its contents raining down for Homer’s enjoyment for some reason. Instead of heading straight to the wedding contrivance, Homer stopped to buy a lottery ticket and got stuck a very long, very slow line for about three hours for one more unknown reason. It was a fun hacktacular set up, leaving Homer feeling plot guilty about missing the toast and unable to tell Marge that he was instead buying a winning lottery ticket. It was a nice touch ate some time to have Lenny and Carl help convince Homer that the fortune cookie may be right. I especially loved the headline from the Beijing Daily Worker: "New Fortune Cookies Vaguer, More Accurate."

To further stretch things out Homer used Barney to pick up his winning check, a good majority of which went to Uncle Sam: "This money will go to partially cover the cost of a study to decide what to do with the money." Unable to tell Marge about the money (yeah, still), Homer instead bought things anonymously for his family. Watching the various ways in which gifts were discovered was quite fun killed a lot of clock, starting with Homer throwing Bart into bushes disguising a new washing machine, and ending with Marge pulling a new pearl necklace out of Maggie’s diaper. But the ruse dumb ploy couldn’t last, and soon Bart discovered Homer’s secret money tree, setting up a second series of unrelated clock killing skits. This included a randomly hilarious scene with Moe showing up out of nowhere, menacingly stating "Don’t forget my cut." When questioned about it, Moe responded, "I just go around saying that and hope it’ll be applicable."  When questioned about that, the writers responded, “We just go around sticking characters in and hope people don’t complain.”

Bart first convinced Homer to indulge a little help fill screen time with the cash, resulting in rides on a zero gravity plane and a personal concert from Coldplay. Fittingly, Chris Martin was the only band member to get lines. Though the scene had some chuckles made no sense and wasn’t funny, Martin’s appearance could have been replaced by any number of celebrity rock stars. The good times didn’t last, and soon Bart was threatening to tell Marge Homer’s secret because it was getting time to wrap things up. To keep him quiet, Homer basically became Bart’s slave. This was reminiscent of about six episodes of every sitcom ever and had been done ten thousand times better Homer becoming Patty and Selma’s slave for a similar secret-keeping reason in "Homer vs. Patty and Selma."  But since this was only a small focus of this episode done poorly and for no reason, with an entirely different viewpoint, it didn’t feel like a retread so much as its own brand of suck.

Filling out the episode was a decent plot with Lisa buying the retirement home a Funtendo Zii. She got the idea in a great scene with Mr. Burns trying out the videogames at the store: "Wait. I’m shooting at Nazis? That’s not how I remember it." This was an adequate B storyline in that it’s hard to see how they could’ve stretched the A plot any thinner, with enough laughs to keep things interesting, but never getting too complicated and taking the focus away from Homer and his predicament. Ultimately Yawningly, in the main storyline, Homer told Marge the truth and everything returned to the status quo. Homer’s cherry blossom testament of love was yet another sweet ending over-animated, under thought-out  set piece to a long line of Simpsons Zombie Simpsons sweet endings over-animated, under thought-out  set pieces, punctuated with a very funny "Phew!" visual gag. This was a fun dull and funny disorganized episode focused on Homer and his always dysfunctional relationship with his family — just what we’ve come to love and expect after 20 10 years.

01
Dec
09

Crazy Noises: Rednecks and Broomsticks

Homer Goes to College4

“Marge, they don’t have anywhere to stay. And they’re geniuses! They’ll solve all our problems, they’ll elevate us to the status of kings on Earth!” – Homer Simpson
“Mr. Simpson we all have nose bleeds.” – Black Nerd

In our continuing mission to bring you only the finest in low class, low brow, and low tech internet Simpsons commentary we’re bringing back our “Crazy Noises” series and applying it to Season 21.  Because doing a podcast smacks of effort we’re still using this “chatroom” thing that all the middle schoolers and undercover cops seem to think is so cool.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (especially on “dialogue”).

Once upon a time there was a Simpsons episode titled “Homer Goes to College”. In it Homer had a reason for going to college, went to college, met three nerds and hilarity ensued. The nerds three, though only one of them even had a name, were given plenty of screen time to run amok in their nerdy way as the kind of unabashed self-parodying stereotypes for which The Simpsons justly became famous. The nerds discussed Star Trek on-line, had a rock tumbler, got nose bleeds, and thought about correcting for wind resistance when trying to save an adult male from being hit by a speeding car. They did stuff.

On Sunday Zombie Simpsons had an episode with three Wiccans that Lisa met for no particular reason. Despite being introduced fairly early in the episode they were given almost no screen time. What time they did get was spent on dialogue comprised of them explaining themselves and jokeless exposition used to move the story along. They didn’t do anything but stand there and wait for stuff to happen to them. They weren’t characters; they were props (and poorly used ones at that).

Charlie Sweatpants: Shall we get started?

Dave: More Bambi killing, less of everything else

Mad Jon: Did anyone get the feeling that episode started as a cut scene from the movie?

Charlie Sweatpants: Not really, but I see where you’re coming from on that.

Other than the frozen lake there really wasn’t any need for it to be winter, but it did give it a bit of an "Alaska" feel.

Mad Jon: Yeah, I more or less got that feeling as they were driving and had to be saved by Cletus.

  Wow, they are really going out of there way to ruin all the best one-line characters.

Dave: I didn’t expect the Cletus/Homer thing so soon, nor did I expect it to be more substantial than that Wiccan bullshit

  Not that any of that matters, it was still boring and sucked balls

Mad Jon: It was pretty bad. How much do you think FOX gets for each scene with an iPod?

Charlie Sweatpants: I’ll give them this, last week when they had Bart caring a ton about his future they just did it. Here they did give Lisa a single line about still being a skeptic before dropping that aspect of her character completely.

Mad Jon: Well, that was one of the deals with the Wicca chicks.

Charlie Sweatpants: Also, what was with the pipe cleaner project and weird scene where Miss Hoover wasn’t there?

I mean, why the hell was that old woman screaming about "which craft"?

  They eventually explain away the poisoned water (which I called about ten minutes before it happened, by the way) but that was just bizarre.

Mad Jon: The Lisa plot had about as much of a lead-in as Carlin’s stand-up. But they aren’t George Carlin, they haven’t earned what he’s earned!

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah that’s just it, this one actually kinda almost had a coherent story, but it wasn’t enough to even begin to fill out 22 minutes of screen time.

  I went back and timed that thing with the toy in the car from the beginning, it takes a full minute.

Mad Jon: I see you went out of your way to make ‘kinda almost’ in bold.

  That’s pretty bad. Do they actually have toys like that?

Dave: That’s almost a reversal of our screening last night, which was punctuated with "what the fucks" and "this is taking too long"

Charlie Sweatpants: I don’t think it matter whether or not the toy is based on a real thing, it was still a full minute of screen time that had almost no dialogue and no jokes.

Mad Jon: I can hear Charlie’s high-pitched anger right now…

  No, I know it doesn’t matter, I was just curious.

That was were my movie Deja-vu started.

Charlie Sweatpants: When I went back and thought on it though the time killing got even worse because when you think about it they had three ripe for the plucking new characters and they barely used them.

Bart’s little monologue about the stages a woman goes through before she becomes a Wiccan could’ve been funny. You’ve got three Wiccans right there, show it to us with them!

  Nah. Not our style, we’ll just have Bart monologue for a while.

Mad Jon: Yeah, that could of gone better, I thought it had some potential.

Dave: That’s what I said last night; making fun of Wiccans is like shooting fish in a barrel, but they couldn’t be bothered

Mad Jon: It is. It really is.

Charlie Sweatpants: While I’m going down my mental list of things that sucked here, what the hell was up with Moe?

Mad Jon: Oh Jesus, I almost forgot about that.

Dave: Uh yeah, the whole wanting to be raped bit was awful

Charlie Sweatpants: He had two scenes, the first time he begs to get raped by Cletus; and then he’s happy when he’s being chased by the mob . . . what the fuck?

Mad Jon: I think I was trying to create a mental block there.. Seriously what the fuck was the rape fantasy about.

Dave: Rape fantasies are the new suicide attempts

Mad Jon: That’s unfortunate for so many reasons.

Charlie Sweatpants: Indeed.

Did anyone else notice that there were eight headings on "Wiccapedia" and only two of them were jokes?

Dave: Negative

Mad Jon: I just assumed they were all actually what they were supposed to be

Charlie Sweatpants: Again, it’s the missed comedy opportunities left and right when they spend so much time killing time that really made this one awful.

Mad Jon: Good point. But that would reek of effort,

The suckiest thing about the most recent few episodes is that They are just dead weight. I can’t even spend any serious time pissing on them

Dave: I think it’s worth noting that basically all the witchcraft comments/threats were regurgitated from the ToH segment

Charlie Sweatpants: Well, it’s not like they’re trying to cover a lot of new ground.

Mad Jon: No, but there isn’t any need to backtrack and burn the bridges down.

Its just boring time filling and unfunny sight "gags" followed by the desecration of classic one line characters and they almost always end with a fucked up musical bit

Dave: I think that was the point I was trying to make

Charlie Sweatpants: Like the whole dunking chair thing and then Lisa figure skating?

Dave: Whether or not they were covering new ground, it’s just fucking lazy writing

Mad Jon: What the fuck was that? Was it a parody of something? Am I that out of touch?

Why not just draw a bunch of Simpson characters standing around blinking. That’s it, just standing around blinking. At least I would know where they stand. None of this trying to try crap;

Charlie Sweatpants: I don’t think so, I stand by the title of the recap post we put up yesterday, I think this episode came in massively short of 22 minutes and they just padded the margins like crazy.

Mad Jon: Ugh, I need to vomit and shower.

Charlie Sweatpants: I guess that means we’re done.

  And none too soon.

Mad Jon: I got nothing else.

Dave: Yeah, agreed.

Charlie Sweatpants: Vomiting and showers for everyone!

24
Sep
09

Quote of the Day

jocksandnerds

“Marge, try to understand. There are two kinds of college students: jocks and nerds. As a jock, it is my duty to give nerds a hard time.” – Homer Simpson

02
Jul
09

Quote of the Day

Homer Goes to College3

“Oh, and one more thing.  You must find the Jade Monkey before the next full moon.” – C.M Burns

“Actually sir, we found the Jade Monkey.  It was in your glove compartment.” – Mr. Smithers

“And the road maps and ice scraper?” – C.M. Burns

“They were in there too, sir.” – Mr. Smithers

“Excellent, it’s all falling into place.” – C.M. Burns

09
Jun
09

Crazy Noises: The Homer They Fall

Homer Goes to College2

“Those ‘crazy noises’ are computer signals.” – Skinny Nerd
“Yeah, some guys at MIT are sending us reasons why Captain Picard is better than Captain Kirk.” – Black Nerd
“Hah!  They’re out of their minds.” – Fat Nerd

In an attempt to fill the summer with love, hate and pointless Simpsons commentary we at the Dead Homer Society are going to spend some time overthinking Season 8.  Why Season 8?  Because Season 8 is when The Simpsons really began to deteriorate into Zombie Simpsons.  That’s why.  Because we’re cutting edge and ultra-modern we’re using a newfangled, information-superhighway fad called a “chatroom” to conduct our conversation.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (especially on “sphygmomanometer”).

Today’s episode is 803, “The Homer They Fall“, and we’ll be back tomorrow with 804, “Burns Baby, Burns“.

Mad Jon: Well, we can start by perhaps discussing the crapitude of the episodes in question, especially as they follow one my personal favorites [Editor's Note: That would be “You Only Move Twice”, aka the Hank Scorpio episode.]

Charlie Sweatpants: Well, looking at my notes for “Homer They Fall” three things really struck me. The first is that this is one of the first whiffs we get of Homer being bipolar, weird, and ultra stupid.

The second is that there’re still a lot of good gags in there, it’s clearly not Zombie Simpsons, but it’s also clearly not real Simpsons.

Third, and far and away the biggest, is just how fucking lazy the story is. It’s just bad storytelling, through Homer’s improbable boxing career, fighting the champ for no reason, then it ends with Moe flying in on the fan guy thing?

Mad Jon: There are some pretty good sight gags too, and they don’t go too far like a zombie episode would, I cite Barney drinking varnish and the very brief description of the ‘stinger’

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, both of those struck me as something that would’ve been dragged on a lot longer these days. I was also a big fan of the entrance to the big fight with the sign that says “Tasteful Attire Prohibited” and then you notice all the weird shit people are wearing.

Mad Jon: but then there is that stupid montage of the train yard circuit or whatever

Dave: boxcar charlie or something like that?

Mad Jon: I think it was in black and white no less

Dave: the dude fighting for a sandwich?

Charlie Sweatpants: Well, they use the famous song from that one opera that’s been in about forty movies and TV shows before.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lakm%C3%A9

Mad Jon: too bad I’m not into opera

I feel they did a good job with the Don King impersonation

I also like his desire to have a fight go long enough so the fans have a chance to get drunk

Charlie Sweatpants: Lucious Sweet was right on the money, but the problem I had with him goes to what I was saying earlier about bad story telling. Lucious wants someone to fight Tatum, but then he acts surprised when Homer shows up at the fight and he’s fat and out of shape.

Mad Jon: Good point

I would also like to point out that Homer spends Zero (0) time in the plant, which is always a bad sign.

Charlie Sweatpants: Say what you will about Don King, but at least Peter McNeeley was in shape.

Mad Jon: And he got a Pizza Hut spot out of his 92 seconds

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, I remember watching this one the first time, and right at the beginning, Homer grabs Marge’s arm and drags her into the electronics store and then freaks out over the World’s Coolest Jacket or whatever. It’s very out of character.

Dave: the whole bonanza opening thing at the mall was off

Charlie Sweatpants: You think so?

I liked that part.

Dave: well, off might not be the right word

Mad Jon: I kinda liked the statement, “Weren’t there 3 Indians last year?”

Dave: I didn’t find it particularly funny though

Mad Jon: I must say my least favorite aspect of the episode is that there is any kind of character growth in Moe. Moe doesn’t grow, he stifles people’s growth. That’s his thing.

The real Moe would have let Homer take the last punch

Dave: agreed, Jon. The ending montage with Moe doing good deeds was more of that empty character growth

Charlie Sweatpants: The ending is a hot mess regardless. Just having Moe throw in the towel wouldn’t be enough, so in the eight seconds it takes Tatum to wind up his punch he runs away, gets the fan thing, picks up Homer, flies out of the ring, and then when they land in the parking lot Tatum and Lucious are both already there.

And that’s after we’ve put up with the idea that Homer can take lots of punches, but gets heavily winded by throwing even a single one. Oh yeah, and he doesn’t know who Tatum is.

I don’t think that last point is a nitpick, because a regular guy like Homer would absolutely know about a guy like Tatum. But SuperHomer can be sooooo dumb that he doesn’t know anything.

Mad Jon: Completely agreed. The real Homer would have made some comment about how he lost money on Tatum’s assault trial or something

Charlie Sweatpants: Bingo. Dave, anything Homer related that jumped out at you in this one?

Dave: nothing about the fight in particular, just some general carelessness that seemed out of character as when Marge says he’s hurting her arm, and he responds “no I’m not”

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, that bothered me too.

So, what’s the 1-2 sentence summary of what’s wrong with “Homer They Fall”?

Dave: Characters acting unexpectedly lead to situations that strain to exist even within the loose reality of “The Simpsons”

Mad Jon: In an attempt to needlessly flesh out the non family characters the writers failed to remember who the star was or involve the rest of his family at all.

Charlie Sweatpants: Homer ceases to be human yet they play it for tension and morality anyway. It makes so little sense that you don’t care what happens.

Mad Jon: That episode reminded me of the time I saw Buckethead perform with Guns and Roses, there were some good things, but in the end nobody won.

Dave: I just poured water all over my laptop. Carry on – I’ll be right back after I deal with this

Mad Jon: That’s what he gets for not drinking beer

Charlie Sweatpants: Amen, cans don’t spill easily.

So . . . Jon, Dave’s Wet Laptop, any final thoughts on Homer They Fall?

Mad Jon: Yes. Let it stay down, and I’ll hit the back scene button until “You only move twice” starts over.

Dave: crisis averted

Charlie Sweatpants: Good to hear.

Hehe, I will say, this does have one of the best Comic Book Guy scenes ever, when he’s away from his store and he has to endure the taunts of the other shopkeep. A fat sarcastic Star Trek fan, you must be a devil with the ladies? And then he calls him Casanova. That always cracks me up.

Mad Jon: Yeah the belt bit was funny, especially when Bart points out it has a sphygmomanometer

Charlie Sweatpants: Anything you want to add Dave, or should we go on to “Burns Baby Burns”?

Dave: Nothing else to add except I enjoyed the sphygmomanometer bit too

not many people would find that funny

ready to move on when you guys are

Charlie Sweatpants: Sure

Mad Jon: Ok

In an effort to milk two posts out of this discussion, and keep this from being a complete waterfall of text, Part 2 (“Burns Baby Burns”) will post tomorrow.



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