“Looks like your uncool Dad scored tickets to Hullabalooza!” – Homer Simpson
“Bart, these look real.” – Lisa Simpson
“Check the authenticator spot.” – Bart Simpson
“This is an authentic Hullabalooza ticket. For authentic refreshment, eat Clark bars. And for totally outrageous class rings, it’s Jostons; go Jostons.” – Authenticator Spot
Posts Tagged ‘Homerpalooza
“Looks like your uncool Dad scored tickets to Hullabalooza!” – Homer Simpson
“The hometown show’s the big one, Homer.” – Jimmy Chamberlin
“Yeah, people who called you a weirdo in high school get to see what a successful freak you’ve become.” – James Iha
“Hey, I wasn’t a weirdo. I was in the audio-visual club.” – D’arcy Wretzky
“Really? Me too. But I got kicked out cause of my views on Vietnam . . . also, I was stealing projectors.” – Homer Simpson
Happy Whacking Day everybody! This week we’ve got two links to those cool geeks at the A.V. Club, and while both take specific episodes (“Homer’s Enemy” and “Lady Bouvier’s Lover”) as their starting points, they also both end up in broader discussions of the show and television in general. In addition to that, we are positively swamped with cool fan made stuff this week, from arts & crafts projects to drawings to a simple Star Wars/Simpsons sketch that I can’t believe someone hasn’t turned into a painting yet. And, of course, we’ve also got the usual assortment of lists and random stuff, from usage to the widely linked obituary for Groening’s mom.
Wacking Day! – Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week (Whacking Day Special Edition) is this fantastic fan knitted . . . you know what? Just click the damn thing. It’s not quite hat, it’s not quite a scarf, but it is damned cool.
Works In Progress: “Portraits Of Awesomeness” solo show. – This is just some sketches, but scroll down for the one of Chief Wiggum, as Darth Vader, telling Luke/Ralph that he’s his father. I’m going to have Mark Hamill’s voice screaming, “That’s unpossible!” in my head for the rest of the day. Bravo.
Don Draper vs. Principal Skinner – I put this on Twitter yesterday, but it’s worth linking twice. (And when you think about it, one of Draper’s early sexual conquests could’ve been Agnes.)
The Simpsons, the Welsh designer and the new book celebrating Pembrokeshire – Josh Weinstein has a Kickstarter set up for a Welsh kids book:
For £15 you get a signed copy of the book.
D’oh(nt) Cancel Them Just Yet – Take this as a sign of just how low Zombie Simpsons has sunk on the pop culture totem pole. This is a defense of the show, and even it contains this:
I know, of course, that the show is not as good as it once was. And ratings are showing this. Season 2 of the show, brought highs of 33 million viewers, whereas season 24 brought lows of 3 million.
I’ve got the current all time low at a flat 4.00 million (for that vile episode where Flanders and Krabappel start dating), but the point stands.
The Simpsons Season 9: The Beginning of the End. – A detailed breakdown of Season 9, including best, worst and one underrated episode.
FULL MCBAIN MOVIE HIDDEN THROUGHOUT ‘THE SIMPSONS’ – Hey, that McBain mashup is back from copyright hell.
Today in Period #3 (Wednesday, May 8) – You can’t discuss Tennessee Williams without Llewellyn Sinclair:
We finished reading/watching/discussing A Streetcar Named Desire – there will be a final quiz on the entire play tomorrow.
We also discussed parody and how an episode of the The Simpsons (“A Streetcar Named Marge”) so effectively parodied the play.
Was The Simpsons Arcade the best of all? – Some nostalgia for the arcade game includes YouTube of the ending that I never even got close to seeing in the arcade.
Maggie Simpson | Hama Bead Patterns – The whole family done in those little beads, with guidelines on how to make them yourself.
Style Inspiration: Homer and Bart Simpson – From the same blog that brought you how to dress like Marge without it being Halloween, here’s Bart and Homer (provided you’re a lady).
Springfield is about to E X P L O D E – Bartkira rolls forward.
15 Common Struggles For Music Lovers (As Told Through Simpsons GIFs) – Pretty much what it says, and except for the first one there isn’t any Zombie Simpsons.
Homer Simpson’s Thought Bubbles: A Collection – Also what it says (and most of them are .gifs).
27 Things "The Simpsons" Taught Us About Love – Buzzfeed does good with a Zombie Simpsons free list. Some good animated .gifs here as well.
This Week in Music History (May 8th-May 14th) – I like how this is important enough to count as music history:
5/13- On this day in 1993, Fox aired the season 4 finale of The Simpsons, “Krusty Gets Kancelled”. Guest voices on the show included the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Barry White and Bette Midler.
Patented Skinner Burgers – Heh.
Movie 99 Plump Fiction (1997) – Apparently Castellaneta was in a Pulp Fiction spoof so atrocious that it’s currently #98 on IMDb’s Bottom 100. This is a rather amusing write up of it.
10 marvelously funny cartoon scenes – Just some screen grabs and .gifs from various cartoon shows.
Peaceful Tuesday – A tale of ditching cable includes this excellent reference:
Also, don’t you just think that the very idea of stating things like “I’ve got to catch up on my shows” not only sounds like its work, but also kinda like “I’ve gots to get ma dialin’ wand” or “I wash ma self wit a rag on a stick.” And yes, those are both references to The Simpson, where Homer gets really fat and wears a muumuu.
I haven’t had regular TV in a while, and I really can’t complain.
A classic Simpsons episode explores the universality of being Frank Grimes – A long A.V. Club discussion of “Homer’s Enemy”, including how dark it is or isn’t and how it makes Homer relate to the real world.
Play It Again – Westworld – Agreed:
The malfunctioning robots at Itchy & Scratchy Land in The Simpsons prove to be more entertaining than their aged source material, Michael Crichton’s 1973 sci-fi western Westworld.
I hadn’t seen Westworld until a couple of years ago, but it definitely hasn’t aged well.
TV – The Top 15 episodes of “The Simpsons” (Part 1) – Nary a trace of Zombie Simpsons at spots 15-11.
Everything I Need to Know, I Learned From Marge Simpson – Ten things Marge taught us, with little to no Zombie Simpsons used as examples.
Bringing The Simpsons to North Korea – Presumably kids getting taught by an Aussie aren’t among the nation’s downtrodden, but still:
From 2010 to 2012, Lone, a history professor at the University of New South Wales in Australia, traveled every six months to North Korea to teach high-school boys (and occasionally girls).
“I wanted to explain that there is a variety of experiences,” he said. “My experiences were different.”
For instance, when Lone brought an English-language comic book of The Simpsons for his classroom, he was surprised to learn that everybody was already familiar with the American cartoon.
Whacking Day…In 10 Words – No, it says here Larry White.
Iron Man 3…In 10 Words – Professor Frink has really pulled himself together.
Nancy Grace…In 10 Words – Of course, this is just a television show, which is not legally binding, unless proposition 304 passes, and we all pray it will.
I’m pretty selfish – Kicking off a new travel blog with some excellent usage:
As it’s a self-confessed obnoxiousness, I’m reminded of Troy Mcclure:
Selma: Is this a sham marriage?
Troy: Sure baby, is that a problemo?
Selma: But… don’t you love me?
Troy: Sure I do! Like I love Fresca. Isn’t that enough? The only difference between our marriage and any one else’s is: we know ours is a sham.
And so too is the difference between this and other travel blogs: we know this one is obnoxious.
The quote’s had some stuff excised from the middle, but it’s dead on, so that’s excellent usage.
Matt Groening’s mom dies; maiden name Wiggum, she inspired Marge Simpson – She was 94 years old, and the on-line guest log has filled up with fan tributes from around the world. Condolences.
Maggie as a Teenager – Maggie Simpson Fan Art (653742) – Pretty much what it says. Well done.
When asked about The Simpsons character to whom Luiz is so often compared, Chelsea interim manager refused to divulge any knowledge of him.
From PA Sport:
Asked if he was aware who Sideshow Bob is, Benitez said: "I’m aware David Luiz is one of the best players in the Premier League, by miles – miles away from a lot of players. He’s one of the best, without doubt.
According to the Telegraph’s Ben Rumsby a Sky Sports reporter even produced a picture of Sideshow Bob to show Benitez, which is just a bit weird.
That’s right, professional soccer coaches are being belittled with pictures from The Simpsons.
homer simpson – An animated .gif of Homer doing the shifty eyes thing from “Beyond Blunderdome”.
Dag 089 – Another vintage Homer t-shirt.
“Lady Bouvier’s Lover” – And finally, this A.V. Club writeup includes a summation of why The Simpsons was so damned good:
That’s the thing I find when I return to these old episodes of this show. They’re crammed with gags, yeah, but they’re also crammed with gags I remember incredibly well and maybe even think about in my day-to-day life. I wouldn’t call “Lady Bouvier’s Lover” one of the finest half-hours the show ever produced—unless we’re going wide-scale and pulling in every episode ever, in which case it’s in the top 100 or so just by dint of being in this season—but it’s got so many jokes in it I didn’t even know were part of this particular episode that I’m sort of in awe of it. For instance, I remembered that the “Play It Cool” sequence between Homer and Grampa was here, because it was directly related to the plot, but not, for instance, the bit about Homer imagining the kids as looking what we might perceive as “normal.”
That was the genius of The Simpsons—likely my favorite TV show ever made—when it was on a roll. The show did lots and lots of jokes, yes, but it also did many different kinds of jokes. The slapstick of Bart getting punched in the face bumps up against Grampa lifting wholesale from old movies (and getting trouble from legal departments representing the Charlie Chaplin and Jimmy Durante estates), which bumps up against a surrealistic cutaway gag like Homer’s imagination running wild. I’ll occasionally read sniffing from people who don’t like early Simpsons saying that it’s “just” a bunch of pop-culture gags, like, say, Family Guy (and even if it was that, the pop-culture gags draw from so many varied sources that they’d win just based on sheer scope), but even a less instantly classic episode like this one gives the lie to that notion. In addition to strong, heartfelt stories, the show packed in gags as far as the eye could see, then made sure that they hit so many different targets that there would be something for everyone to laugh at. I don’t suppose I need to make the argument here that The Simpsons was the birth of what we think of as much of “modern” TV, but it sure seems that way to me, and that idea gets reinforced every time I go back and look again.
“And to think, Smithers, you laughed when I bought Ticketmaster, ‘Nobody’s going to pay a hundred percent service charge’.” – C.M. Burns
“Well, it’s a policy that ensures a healthy mix of the rich and the ignorant, sir.” – Mr. Smithers
The Tapped Out game continues to be a runaway hit for FOX and EA. Freemium games that dribble out content in exchange for cash have proven to be goldmines, and the Simpsons one is at the head of the pack, which means that there’s quite a bit of internet discussion about it. We’ve got a review of the latest expansion, an interview with an EA executive, and an article about the sneaky nature of freemium. In addition to those, we’ve also got a couple of links to ye olde Simpsons video games, some great fan made stuff, excellent usage, and discussion of television pets and gimmicks.
National Library Week!! – Excellent:
In the meantime, I did a few Instagrams through some old translucent Simpsons trading cards, at a local library. I now share here, to better show how some of us (represented by familiar cartoon icons) relate to our libraries.
Click through for the pictures. They’re quite clever.
The Simpsons Season 24 Review "What Animated Women Want" – This is a pretty fair summary of last week’s episode:
It’s a real feat for the late-era The Simpsons to feel even lazier than usual, but, alas, sometimes we still get episodes like “What Animated Women Want,” which rests largely on Lisa acting completely out of character, and a hacky Fifty Shades of Gray reference. It just all felt shapeless. Each side of the episode even got a guest star, neither of whom did much of anything.
The Simpsons’ Cupcake Mistake – And this is just a great way to describe Zombie Simpsons:
I have a habit of spotting continuation mistakes in TV programs, especially ones that are so blatant and sometimes it happens in cartoons/animation, but those aren’t so obvious… unless you’re the increasingly unfunny, hipstertastic Simpsons.
Heh, “hipstertastic”. And that would explain all the sushi restaurants.
The ‘Malibu Stacy with new hat effect’. – Excellent usage:
Chiefly, what I’m going to pick on is Apple here, as they are the brand I am most familiar with that is guilty of producing these kinds of displays.
Drawing from that endless pool of Simpsons’ analogies, do you recall an episode where Lisa endeavours to make a doll that does not conform to female stereotypes? Shortly before this doll (Lisa Lionheart) was released, a stand of dolls from monopoly brand Malibu Stacy is wheeled out, diverting the crowd of crazed girls.
“Look, cries one girl, “it’s Lisa Lionheart!”Another encourages them, “Keep running! We’re almost there!”
They almost make it, except an employee pulls a cart full of Malibu Stacy dolls “with NEW hat” in their path. They all stop: “They changed Malibu Stacy!” one exclaims. “She is better than ever!” says another. Lisa tries to point out that the only difference is her stupid cheap hat. “She still embodies all the awful stereotypes she did before!” Smithers is quick to point out, “But she’s got a new hat.”
Perfectly quoted and very astute.
Uruguay – U R GAY – Lots of people noted this connection when Uruguay went for marriage equality last week, but this one has YouTube.
Feature: Retro Vault: Castle of Illusion and Bart vs The Space Mutants – Check out this awesome 1992 print ad for Bart vs. The Space Mutants on Genesis. The copy is . . . unsubtle:
So help me save the earth! BUY MY GAMES! Thanks, man.
Month of Nostalgic Video Game Reviews 2 – The Simpsons: Bart’s Nightmare – Speaking of games from the early 90s:
Man, The Simpsons: Bart’s Nightmare was probably the first Simpsons game I played and was the strangest one. When I was younger this game used to freak me out a little, I think it was due to the strange nature of the dream universe that Bart was cruising through, some of the locations in the mini games were right weird and the music didn’t help either.
Email Roundtable #21 – No One Likes the Monkey – A Crazy Noises style discussion of TV pets which naturally includes lots of Simpsons discussion, everything from Blinky to Mojo.
The Simpsons: Tapped Out and the popular world of currency hacks – This is about right:
Many free-to-play games these days do suffer from “unseasonable design.” The Simpsons: Tapped Out is an offender of this. EA only gives away a negligible amount of donuts as a reward for raising your level. This generosity is offset when EA raises the amount of donuts needed to complete a task. Some things can take six donuts to complete instantly. When the game first released, two donuts could be used to speed up the majority of tasks. The Simpsons: Tapped Out is not a player-friendly game. It’s a money pit that takes advantage of Simpsons fans.
Indeed it is.
We talk to EA about The Simpsons smartphone game and mobile gaming in general – From an interview with an Australian/New Zealand EA executive:
One of EA’s biggest hits recently has been The Simpsons: Tapped Out. What do you think has enabled the game to become such a hit?
MF: There have been a number of contributing factors to The Simpsons: Tapped Out success. The game has been popular as it let new and old fans connect with the show; create their own Springfield with such a great history of characters; receive monthly content updates with tie-ins to episodes and iconic events like Treehouse of Horrors; and it is free to play. The Simpsons is an extremely popular show and has been over its 23 and counting year run on television. Everyone has a favourite episode.
Which episode of The Simpsons is your favourite one?
MF: Personally, mine is the eight episode of season four [“New Kid on the Block”] where Homer gets thrown out of the All-You-Can-Eat Seafood restaurant.
Well, he’s got good taste in episodes, and his ability to switch from execu-speak in the first question to normal English in the second is pretty impressive.
The Simpsons Tapped Out: Whacking Day – About the latest update:
Premium items are pretty bland this time, consisting of mainly vanity items. There’s a basket of snake eggs, which won’t benefit you, but also an elite Whacking License (up to 10 snakes per friend). Lumpy is also up for sale at 55 doughnuts, but I’m not sure if he/she/it is a character that just walks around or will be an inanimate object.
Why Bart Simpson Drives the Venezuelan Authorities Nuts – Click through for the picture:
Consider the little-known case of Miguel Ángel Hernández Souquett, a 51-year-old Venezuelan auto mechanic.
On February 5, 2010, at a baseball home game between Venezuela and Mexico, Hernández was arrested by agents of Venezuela’s military for the alleged crime of "offenses against the head of government." His crime? Hernández was wearing a short-sleeved T-shirt emblazoned with the cartoon character Bart Simpson, depicted with his trousers down and exposing his buttocks. Printed in black capital letters it read "Hugo, I shit on your revolution."
Ha. Well done, sir.
The funnyman has been hosting Le Show on Santa Monica’s Kcrw-Fm since 1983, but station executives have now decided to ditch the programme as part of a massive scheduling overhaul.
Bosses hope to continue distributing the programme as a podcast and for national radio syndication, but Shearer is angry he will no longer be heard on the station which launched the show.
He has even appealed for another local station to take him on, writing in series of posts on Twitter.com, "Any radio station in La want to carry Le Show?… Well I guess that’s the end of my Kcrw affair."
Shearer goes on to encourage fans of Le Show to express their thoughts to station bosses, adding, "Thjx (thanks) to La Le Show listeners for weighing in on Kcrw decision. If you haven’t yet, now’s the time."
Our Favorite Simpsons Episodes (with Pics) – A touch of Zombie Simpsons here, but nothing past Season 12.
Do You Only See Homer? – A college student writing about media crams in an impressive number of citations in just a few paragraphs, including this, which I’d never seen before:
As Turner muses, The Simpsons ‘‘has become the new repository of the West’s common metaphors’’ (Turner via Smith 2005).
Full Faith and Credits* – A post about the ways shows modify their opening credits, which naturally includes “the real grand-daddy of the constantly changing credits has to be The Simpsons”.
Best. Episode. Ever. (Round 10) – The 256 episode Simpsons bracket continues. Here “Lady Bouvier’s Lover” beats “There’s No Disgrace Like Home”. Elsewhere, “Sideshow Bob Roberts”, “Homer and Apu”, and “The Trouble With Trillions” all advance. “The Homer They Fall” beat the undisputed king of Zombie Simpsons, “Eternal Moonshine of the Spotless Mind”:
I don’t want to be mean-spirited. I really do think “Moonshine” deserves praise, for its creative plot, elaborate animation and a few good jokes (like the “Ice Age” parody). But this tournament was set up to determine my favorite episode of my favorite TV show, and there are things here I just can’t overlook. The voice acting bugs me, too many of the jokes don’t land, the gimmicky plot is not strong enough to distract from its many holes.
That episode is way more inventive than typical Zombie Simpsons, but it definitely still sucks.
Here’s Conan O’Brien And A Bunch Of Old Writers Talking About The Simpsons – This is just a link to the O’Brien discussion from earlier this week, but it does contain a rather awesome animated .gif of O’Brien and Bart dancing before Bart is told to sit perfectly still.
“The Simpsons” Writers Reunion – Serious Jibber Jabber on Team Coco – This gets it about right:
It’s basically an extra-long DVD commentary (over 80 minutes long!) but for geeks of the show, it’s never dull.
I think Jean was relieved not to have to shoulder the entire discussion like he often has to on the Zombie Simpsons commentaries.
Video: “The Simpsons” Writers Reunion on Serious Jibber-Jabber w/ Conan O’Brien – I had no problem watching it all the way through:
This may not get too many views and few will sit through the entire 80-minute video (I did) but this is up simply because it’s awesome. For fans of The Simpsons, the world of comedy, and the process and history behind legendary works in entertainment, this is gold.
It is. (There’s a YouTube version at the link, if you want it.)
The Simpsons Top 10- Number 9-Mr Plow – Lots of good YouTube here.
Doctor Who Monday: Cold War…In 10 Words – I sure could go for a hundred tacos right about now.
42 (movie)…In 10 Words – I never realized how boring this game is.
Scary Movie 5…In 10 Words – Instead it’s been weird and scary like that movie Police Academy.
A 10 Word Tribute to Pat Summerall – He was always better than Brent Gunsilman.
Today Calls for Some of This – Heh:
Yes, it’s Colonel Kwik-E-Mart’s Kentucky Bourbon.
The Raven | Dec. 30, 1334 – Even I wouldn’t go quite this far:
A nostalgic read, reminding me of my days at Worthing Sixth Form College studying A-level English literature and great for me to pick-up anytime I want to read a short horror story or poem. It contains the poem The Raven as made famous by The Simpsons.
It was famous before the show, though it does seem that no one can talk about it now without mentioning “Treehouse of Horror”.
50 most influential TV shows: Coronation Street and Columbo in, but no Mad Men or Sopranos – Unsurprisingly, The Simpsons makes the list.
15. Marge and Homer Simpson on The Simpsons – This is from a clickbait article on the “25 Most Sexual Sitcom Couples”. That is all.
Homer and Marge Simpson: Greatest TV couple ever – The staff at EW.com gushes over Homer and Marge. That is also all.
Journey to Double Jaw Surgery – This sounds terrible, but there is relief to be had:
Despite the horrendous nature of my recovery, it was brightened by having movies, lots of The Simpsons to watch, and Legend of Zelda to keep me busy
At least no one can drive her around the South and charge two bits a gander.
Let’s face facts: Animated Television for grownups is a bit of a barren landscape. Sure, Archer is still going strong into its fourth season and Adventure Time, while not strictly a grownup show, has real emotional moments underneath its absurd hilarity, but The Simpsons is a fraction of the shadow of its former self it used to be
A very small fraction.
Does Sideshow Bob constitute true artistic excellence? – And finally, I get to end with someone who concisely agrees with us. Asked for “true artistic excellence”:
Guante, hip-hop artist and educator, went back in time: "Honestly, what comes to mind right away — one of the reasons I am such a big critic of everything — is because I remember Seasons 3 through 10 of ‘The Simpsons,’ which is so well-written and well-constructed and incredible that it is hard to like anything else."
“Anyway, get ready beer belly, we’re gonna show Springfield what we’re made of!” – Homer Simpson
Good morning and welcome to the seventh and final Simpsons-Beer Marathon. Today I get to spend my whole Saturday watching Season 7, and it is going to be awesome. As with previous marathons, I will be using the pause and reverse buttons to get a quote down or take a screen grab, but the fast-forward button is strictly verboten. Since I was way too drunk by the end of the Season 6 marathon (I blame Dave) to comment intelligently on “Who Shot Mr. Burns?”, I’m going to start with Part 1 instead of Part 2. And with that, let’s get going.
1. Who Shot Mr. Burns? (Part One)
- “Ah, poor fellow, crushed by his own water bottle.”
- I really need to start using the word “dunderpate”.
- The whole candy box scene, where Burns remembers Maggie, Bart, and Santa’s Little Helper, is another exhibit for why this show should’ve ended not too long after this.
- The statues outside the animal hospital are a nice touch.
- Great animation when Homer’s pupils contract as he realizes Burns didn’t thank him.
- “Hey, if you guys are getting loaded off them fumes, I’m gonna have to charge you.”
- Not sure if it counts as animation or directing, but the way Grampa falls out of the shot during the earthquake is really well done.
- They just don’t write Burns dialogue this evil and insane anymore: “Since the beginning of time, man has yearned to destroy the Sun.” That’s batshit crazy and completely hilarious.
- Heh, “blubberpot”, lotta good words in this episode.
- There may never be a funnier delivery of “You bastard” than the one by Old Jewish Guy at the meeting.
- I screwed up with my VCR when this one was first broadcast so I couldn’t rewatch it to figure out who did it (my guess was the dog), but it is always fun to see the little clues they left: Smithers pointing to the sundial, Maggie being the only one who doesn’t look away, the rolled down window on the car. Even by the Himalayan standards of The Simpsons, this episode is crafted with outstanding care for detail.
2. Who Shot Mr. Burns? (Part Two)
- Fantastic delivery by (I think) Azaria on “Speedway Squad, in color!”
- Great subtle joke, the crappy hospital is the Veterans one.
- There aren’t a lot of shows where a father can lovingly say that he considers his children potential murderers.
- Speaking of great Azaria delivery, Dr. Colossus everybody. “When is my lawyer coming?”
- “And with the prime suspect cleared and found completely innocent, we must now ask ourselves: Who could possibly be as bloodthirsty as Waylon Smithers?”
- The Tito Puente song alone was worth buying that CD.
- The oyster guy and the guy at the condom machine are great.
- This episode is rife with great little scenes, especially Moe and the lie detector.
- Only on The Simpsons can you bribe lab techs with cigarettes.
- I haven’t seen The Fugitive in a long time, so I’m not sure how well it’s aged, but that escape scene was cool as hell in 1993.
- “You chose fruit, you live with fruit.”
3. Radioactive Man
- It’s partly just alt.tv.simpsons, but this show was way ahead of the times on internet movie fans.
- The Scoutmaster! If you’ve never actually bothered to watch any of the Adam West Batman show, this is exactly what it was like. It was on in reruns constantly when I was a little kid and even then I knew it was terrible.
- Great sign at the hospital: “Our Extra Patients Make Patient Extras”.
- Another sign this show should’ve ended soon after this: Nelson “ha ha”ing himself in the mirror. It’s great here, but it’s also what you do when something is starting to get played out. This will happen again in seven hours or so when we get to “22 Short Films About Springfield”.
- “You’re right, Lis, I can suck up to him, like the religious people suck up to God.”
- Fantastic animation on the full power X-ray machine.
- It’s great that the town is scamming the movie so hard that even Quimby is ashamed of it.
- Goggles, people!
- Also, the whole acid scene is beautifully drawn.
- The spirograph guy is great.
- Great guest voice by Mickey Rooney. Every line. He bounces back and forth between pathetic Hollywood shill and wise old man beautifully.
4. Home Sweet Homediddly-Dum-Doodily
- Homer’s monocle is a fantastic double gag. It’s a terrible prop, one that only Homer would think makes him look rich . . . and it works!
- “See ya in hell, you wingless bloodsuckers!”
- The shrieking of the lice and showing Bart’s ass for no reason other than just to do it are yet more nice touches.
- Speaking of which: the child welfare van crushing that bike.
- I can’t put a fresh roll of toiler paper in without thinking about “improper overhand fashion”.
- The kids being taken from Homer and Marge is a genuinely wrenching scene, and they move it along at the perfect pace.
- Rod and Todd aren’t just traumatized by Itchy & Scratchy, they’re actually paler.
- “The number you have dialed can no longer be reached from this phone. You. Negligent. Monster.”
- Brilliant character touch to have Flanders not quite be able to say “Jesus” as he goes back and forth between blasphemy and being incredulous at Bart’s answer.
- Lovejoy’s exasperation with Flanders never gets old.
- Homer falling down the hill is them still knowing how to hurt him without it being overdone or stupid.
- The Godfather musical cues during the baptism are pitch perfect.
- Maggie may be an almost entirely silent baby, but they use her really well here by having her want to stay with the Flandersesses until she sees Marge.
5. Bart Sells His Soul
- Iron Butterfly sounds pretty good on an organ. Just sayin’.
- Milhouse’s idea of what a soul is and can do feels appropriately kid like.
- Great animation on the “natural light” as Hibbert and company come into Moe’s.
- More great animation on Bart’s imagining of the giant sponge dinosaur. It’s exactly as blocky as it should be.
- And again on Bart’s face getting squished on the automatic door. Man, this one has a ton of great animation. Never noticed that before.
- The way the Space Needle crashes into Scratchy’s eyeball always cracks me up.
- Ditto Homer getting stuck in the stairs.
- “Why isn’t anybody helping?”
- Never understood what’s with Moe’s gap tooth look in this one. It’s not bad or anything, just kinda odd.
- Crazy crap on the walls remains the best description of all those mid-range chain restaurants.
- “Aw, look at all the cute little minors.” – He’ll always be a sleazy bartender.
- Moe’s hapless attempt at a real haircut also adds to the way he’s plainly uncomfortable doing anything but handing out booze to alcoholics.
- Cartwright shines in this one. Nothing really specific, but Bart goes through a lot of shit here, and she knocks it out of the park every time, whether he’s excited, scared, sad, whatever.
- Milhouse’s grandma’s apartment is dead on perfect.
- When did Comic Book Guy become a Red Sox fan? He is a self absorbed douchebag, I just never noticed that before.
6. Lisa the Vegetarian
- The sound effects at Story Town Village (the broken speaker on Mama Bear, the creaking cottage with the three little pigs, the way mother goose gets decapitated) are outstanding.
- Lord Thistlewick Flanders. I wish that was my XBox gamertag.
- “You might say the extra ingredient is salt.”
- The Independent Thought Alarm is straight genius. As a man who went to an incompetent and authoritarian school, I will always love that joke.
- Great work when Scratchy’s headless torso falls onto the table.
- “Go back to Russia!”
- “It’s still good, it’s still good!” is a wonderfully useful quote.
- Lisa admitting she’s going to marry a carrot is another perfectly kid type moment.
- It’s a very good thing that they got through all three (at the time) surviving Beatles when the show was still awesome. Can you imagine the shitshow it would’ve been if they’d had McCartney on in Season 14 or something?
- “Then you must think I’m a monster.” “Yes, indeed I do think that.”
- Has anyone ever run the credits backwards to see if there is a lentil soup recipe there? I can hear the odd sounds, I’ve just never tried it.
7. Treehouse of Horror VI
- “Dude, you’re huge!” No idea why, but that gets me each time.
- Gotta love the malevolent glee on Lard Lad’s face when he gets the donut and then proceeds to smash stuff and kick that dog.
- “Remember the story, we’re newlyweds on our way to Earth Capital.”
- Skinner is great in the second segment. He couldn’t help “monitoring” their conversation.
- Two spaghetti meals in one day.
- Skeleton Willie is awesomely creepy.
- All the dream sequences are animated with just the right amount of shine compared to the usual.
- Movies, teevee and such started getting crazy with computer graphics in the very early 1990s (Terminator 2 had a lot to do with it). Most of them looked like shit immediately or very shortly thereafter. Well done, they can still look great even years later, and this segment does exactly that.
- There’s a wonderfully simple terror to Frink’s chalk drawing of the “doomed individual”.
8. King-Size Homer
- Smithers and the hired goons dragging Homer out of the john is wonderful misdirection.
- “Hey, where’s Charlie, how’d he get out of this?” I stayed home all day drinking beer, thank you very much.
- Assal horizontology.
- In the annals of Shakespeare gags that take less than one second, Much Ado About Stuffing has to be up there.
- Is “the subway ran over my hat” a Superman joke? I’ve never been clear on that.
- Of all Smithers’ descriptions of Homer, “chair moistener” might be the best.
- “Oh no, the corn, Paul Newman’s gonna have my legs broke.”
- Castellaneta’s reading of “Flanders?” when Homer knows things are fucked it brilliant.
- Gotta love the fear in the ice cream man when Homer hijacks his truck.
- Burns’ Yale sweater is a nice touch.
- Though Homer driving on the side of the cooling tower is an ill omen.
9. Mother Simpson
- “The Profit People”
- The quick shot of the empty hammock is perfectly funerary.
- Glenn Close fucking rules. That is all.
- I inherited a lot of 60s/70s toys from my older siblings, and Homer’s room is full of them. We had a flip open kid record player that looked exactly like the one in his room.
- That the Super Bowl once needed support is just hilarious.
- The Spiro Agnew clock is excellent.
- Kenny Brockelstein.
- Phrenology, add that to list of things I found out about because of this show.
- “Do I know what rhetorical means?”
- Nothing’s quite like Bart(!) reciting right wing slogans in a tie-dyed t-shirt.
- ABBA and Wagner, hells yeah.
- The image at the end is great, but the music is just as gutting.
10. Sideshow Bob’s Last Gleaming
- So far we’ve had Homer’s mom, Bart selling his soul, Lisa becoming a vegetarian, Burns getting shot, on and on and on, and now it’s time for a Sideshow Bob episode. The consistent genius of this show is unbelievable.
- Remember when this show actually made fun of Rupert Murdoch and FOX?
- “dollar intensive ordinance delivery vector”
- “Sweet Enola Gay, son!” – R. Lee Ermey is also awesome.
- When I used to have to watch these on syndication, the part where Bob hits the bump with the bomb always got cut off. Thank Jebus for DVD (and ripping all the DVDs to .avi).
- Gotta love Frink in the Strangelove glasses.
- Only Brockman and Channel 6 could lump together the end of the Soviet Union and premium ice cream price wars.
- The static-y look of Krusty’s emergency broadcast is just right.
- Chattering cyclops, that’s every inch as good as “vast wasteland”.
- Krusty jumping back after he drops the scorpion takes a tiny fraction of a second. That’s the kind of attention they put into this show.
11. The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular
- “America’s favorite non-prehistoric cartoon family.”
- If they tried to do a montage of modern couch gags like the opening of this one, it’d take an hour and a half.
- It’s relatively gentile satire, but Groening as a tequila swilling lunatic is a great joke.
- The unused clips are hilarious: “I can ride a bike again!”
- The robotic Richard Simmons, it’s a testament to how densely awesome “Burns’ Heir” is that this didn’t make it.
- Old time video technology alert: on the alternate ending where Smithers shot Burns, you can see the VCR distortion at the bottom of the frame.
- Hard core nudity!
12. Team Homer
- That’s right, Lunchlady Doris is the Squeaky Voiced Teen’s mom.
- Skinner’s ’Nam flashbacks and remembrances saw the show toeing a very fine line, and it was great.
- Even Ether Burns is more evil than Zombie Simpsons Burns.
- As a storytelling move, not showing Otto pick up the 7-10 split while the rest of them are cheering is brilliant. We already know what’s going to happen, so why bother showing it?
- Springfield Police Framers, fantastic team name.
- “They were the suckiest bunch of sucks that ever sucked.”
- Love the one gay “Home-Wrecker”.
- The shots where the bowling ball is right on the edge of the gutter are very well drawn.
13. Two Bad Neighbors
- No Parcheesi Sets, Please.
- SCUBA squishy machine repair!
- Oh, Disco Stu, why couldn’t you have remained as a one or two off character?
- Mrs. Glick’s old person insistence that her candy dish be used for nothing else is one of those things that seems like it came from real world old people experience.
- Great aside joke with the guy who says “yes” to the Ayatollah.
- We used to laugh at the Bushes, then it was less funny for awhile, and now it’s funny again. Things are better when it’s funny.
- “Just happy to be here among good, average people, with no particular hopes or dreams.”
- Homer’s “my taxes paid for that horn” line is wonderfully layered. It’s not just wrong, it’s also a stereotypically dumb complaint about anything.
- “And since I’d achieved all my goals as President in one term, there was no need for a second.”
- “Grover Cleveland spanked me on two non-consecutive occasions.”
- The green, CNN-Live-From-Baghdad glow to the fireworks explosion is wonderfully subtle.
- Ah, if only Bush the Younger had stayed a cardboard cutout, not that Zombie Simpsons had anything to say about that.
- Gerald Ford, president of football and nachos. Fuck and yes.
14. 1Scenes From the Class Struggle in Springfield
- “We can’t afford to shop at any store that has a philosophy.”
- The rich women are awesomely over dressed, under brained (except for Sus-an), and generally clueless.
- “We microwaved our own soup!”
- Tom Kite is another well used, unobtrusive, sensible, and still awesome guest voice. “You can keep the shoes."
- You can tell they’re paying exquisite attention to story here because while Lisa bugs Marge before she fucks up the Chanel, that isn’t why it get ruined. Marge can’t and doesn’t need to blame Lisa, it’s entirely her fault because it’s entirely Marge’s story.
- “Peppery” is the nicest possible way to describe that atrocious dress
- Gotta love that the rich people really were going to let the Simpsons in before they walked away.
15. Bart the Fink
- I doubt that Castellaneta’s fake-sad delivery while mourning for Aunt Hortense could be done any better.
- Cayman Islands Offshore Holding Corporation!
- Leave it to Krusty to think that his legal problems might be about popcorn that wasn’t bought “fair and square”.
- “Avoison, it’s a crime, look it up.”
- Thirty-two cartons of pornography, ah the days before internet porn.
- The side shadows on the scene where Bart and Krusty talk on the sidewalk are really well done. They’re consistent, and Krusty really looks like a blossoming degenerate drunk.
- Great that Sideshow Raheem and Luke Perry are at the funeral.
- There’s no getting around a headstone that says “See Ya Real Soon Kids!”. Not a lot of shows will put up a message that basically says: Children, You Will Die.
- Newhart’s eulogy denigrates Krusty and fails to praise him. It’s awesome.
- Call me back, Ishmael.
- Handsome Pete!
- Scrap iron has never seemed so romantic.
16. Lisa the Iconoclast
- Cromulent, embiggens, land cow? This episode rules.
- “Here’s Johnny Cakes!”
- Donald Sutherland owns this episode from start to finish. It takes a rare talent to read the term “Emancipation Retraction” with the requisite old-white-guy gravity.
- “I support most any prejudice you can name, but your hero-phobia sickens me.”
- All good meetings end with someone digging up a corpse.
- In Springfield, George Washington strangles men with his bare feet. Hell yeah!
- Sutherland wins forever: “I’m an antiquarian, damn it!”
- Only in Springfield would there be a police sniper who comes *this close* to killing a little girl before the mayor decides to see what she has to say.
- And then we let the lie continue. This show is the best.
17. Homer the Smithers
- For anyone who’s never been to a drag race, this is a fair approximation.
- Well, except for the funny way the drivers eye each other after Burns tells them to slow down.
- Casually letting the water out of the water cooler is a great Burns move. He won’t let Smithers drown, but he’s not going to expend any emotion or energy saving him either.
- This episode is very good in general, but it’s also the beginning of the Burns who’s incompetent and useless instead of evil and effective.
- Great delivery from Kavner on “If he’s alive.”
- “We’re going to have to put a steel rod where your spine was.”
- Burns’ Mom has a wicker wheel chair.
- Great ending: http://deadhomersociety.com/2009/02/07/quote-of-the-day-13/
18. The Day the Violence Died
- “hilarious atrocity” – awesome.
- Kirk Douglas, for the win.
- Manhattan Madness is fantastic, as is Milhouse’s bloodlust.
- The first scene with Lampwick in the kitchen is just him poking through every cabinet and then the cat fucks off at light speed. It’s wonderful.
- This is one of the last great Hutz episodes: “If I hear ‘objection’ and ‘sustained’ one more time today, I think I’m going to scream.”
- Roger Meyer Jr’s rant is awesome.
- And it ends in Ghost Mutt.
- Amendment to be!
19. A Fish Called Selma
- “People don’t do that type of thing with fish.”
- Hartman totally channels his inner Heston with “you wouldn’t ask a handsome man like me to wear glasses?” rant.
- Patty’s disgust at Selma’s infatuation is almost too funny for words.
- “Jury duty is work”, well done, Jeff Goldblum.
- Leper in the Backfield
- Stop the Planet of the Apes, say what you will about Hollywood’s insistence on remaking and rebooting everything, but it does make a lot of old Simpsons jokes contemporary again.
- “Gay? I wish!” Jebus, I miss Hartman.
- McBain 4: Fatal Discharge, heh.
- “Like how we built that snowman together in that Newport ad? Remember how alive with pleasure they said we were?” Seriously, Hartman was uniquely fucking good at everything.
20. Bart on the Road
- Hell yeah, cracker factory.
- They did like staplers spewing staples this season.
- Despite my current inebriation, I do like the way Bart, Milhouse and Nelson quietly push away their beers when Barney, of all people, tells them to join the party, exposing the basic patheticness of drinking this much.
- “That’s it, back to Winnipeg!”
- “Well, I didn’t think I was rehabilitated, but I guess they needed the extra bed.” – Drifter
- Andy Williams!
21. 22 Short Films About Springfield
- “Don’t worry, I’ll tell everybody you were untouchable.”
- “If I remember my Heloise, the trick to getting out gum is peanut butter.”
- “Now pump those scrawny chicken legs, you stupors funker!”
- “Holy smokes, you need booze!”
- “Goodbye student loan payments!” – Snake
- “Good Lord, what is happening in there? . . . Aurora borealis. . . . Aurora borealis, at this time of year, at this time of day, in this part of the country, localized entirely within your kitchen? . . . Yes. . . May I see it? . . . No.”
- Cheesy Does It
- “McDonald’s restaurant, I never heard of it either, but they have over two thousand locations in this state alone.”
- “Ay, naranjas en la cabeza!”
- “We gotta swap insurance info!
- “Do your dirty, sinful business.”
- “Hey, what’s going on on this side?”
- “You may purchase this charming Hamburgler adventure, a child has already solved the jumble using crayons, the answer is ‘fries’.”
- “Oh my gosh, sorry, mister.”
- “You keep squirming, there’s going to be a little bald girl with no lollipop.”
- “Everyone needs to drive a vehicle, even the very tall.” (Like I said back during “Radioactive Man”, this is how a joke ends.)
- “That monkey is going to pay.”
22. Raging Abe Simpson and His Grumbling Grandson in "The Curse of the Flying Hellfish"
- A Low-Cost Outing for Seniors
- Damned Kaiser.
- Burns’ rolodex is fantastic. Who else would have an entry for Zoroastrians?
- Nod to continuity: the senior home has the same big screen TV bought in “Old Money”.
- It is best not to “obstruct” “probes” from J. Edgar Hoover.
- No way around it, this episode is a bit weak. There’s just too much poorly handled weirdness.
- Grampa and Bart at the cemetery is really well animated, though. There’s even a fresh grave for Asa.
- Flanders giving up his boat is hilarious, though.
- Plot goofiness aside, it is funny when Bart won’t take the rebreather from Grampa.
- The German baron is fantastic. Body-control.
23. Much Apu About Nothing
- Stupid “Impson” family.
- Mustache parades tend to offer a lot of catchy slogans.
- No one shall argue against the essentiality of the Bear Patrol B-2.
- Grandpa’s insane immigrant remembrance contains approximately fifty immigration cliches in just thirty seconds or so, and it includes a statue head full of garbage to boot.
- Charles Norwood is awesome (if somewhat painful for Buffalo Bills fans); also, “adultivity”.
- “Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman staring at me from Entertainment Weekly with their dead eyes!” – The “dead eyes” quote makes crappy supermarket tabloids so much easier to mock.
- “From now on I’m only marrying for love, and possibly once more for money.”
- Bear Patrol Steps up Bombing Campaign
- Just say slavery.
- When Homer’s giving his soliloquy at the picnic, Lovejoy has Buzz instead of Duff. Well done.
- “In perpetuity throughout the universe” – The Simpsons, saving lawyers time since 1996.
- For an episode that gave us the best ever generational quote “weird and scary”, it’s funny to see their “new bands” be horribly out of date.
- Homer’s rejection in strobe light is awesome.
- “For authentic refreshment, eat Clark bars.”
- Register Not to Vote does need to be next to Bungee Jump Against Racism.
- Peter Frampton is a great guest voice: self parodying and game for lines that involve Pink Floyd’s yard sale.
- “Are you being sarcastic, dude?” “I don’t even know anymore.”
- Rover Hendrix!
- Pretty sure I’ve said this before, but I’d pay decent money for an album authored by Cypress Hill and the London Symphony Orchestra.
- “It’s a policy that ensures a healthy mix of the rich and the ignorant, sir.”
- There’s nothing better than youth oriented product positioning.
25. Summer of 4 Ft. 2
- “Was President Lincoln okay?”
- In terms of being believably kid-like, this episode is as good as it gets. Lisa, for all her adult capacity, is a real kid in this episode.
- “He actually wrote ‘diddly’.”
- Gotta love how suspicious Christina Ricci is when she says “Are you in to books?”, like it’s some kind of plague.
- “Hey, he looks just like you, poindexter!”
- I’m not going to even try to describe Homer trying to buy fireworks. Text does it no justice.
- It is awesome the way Marge just turns around with the rice crispy squares and tang.
- Speaking of things that are indescribable, Homer panicking after lighting the M-320.
- At the Grammar Rodeo, Lisa’s holding a sign that just says “Gerund”. I hate grammar, but that’s funny.
- A hermit crab in a Buzz cola can, that’s a great out.
And that’s it, folks. Thanks for reading, try not to watch Season 24. Barring a level of miraculous improbability equal (or greater) to the meteor the killed the dinosaurs, it’s gonna suck.
“Why do we need new bands? Everyone knows rock attained perfection in 1974. It’s a scientific fact.” – Homer Simpson
Back at the end of December, reader Brian sent in a link to a video at The Escapist modestly titled “The Simpsons Is Still Funny – Pt. 1”. It’s about five minutes long, and you can view it at the link. The second part, “The Simpsons Is Still Funny, Part 2”, came out a week later. These are the kind of internet videos where there’s a fast talking voiceover accompanied by a series of pictures, memes and other low cost imagery.
These particular Zombie Simpsons defenses are narrated by a guy named Bob Chipman, who usually does movie videos. Obviously I don’t agree that what FOX puts out on Sundays is still funny. (I don’t even think it should be called “The Simpsons”.) But Chipman makes some plausible but easily falsified assumptions that come up every once and a while, and they’re worth rebutting in detail.
The tagline of the first video is “The Simpsons isn’t bad, you just grew up”, and that’s a reasonably accurate summary of the video. The Simpsons came out when Chipman was a kid, and he grew into an adult during the single digit seasons which are widely considered to be the best ones. His basic theory is that since he and others like him became more sophisticated fans as the show was at its peak, people have a nostalgic need for those seasons to be remembered as the best ones. Unlike He-Man, The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Transformers (all of which he specifically invokes), The Simpsons was a childhood love that could still be loved by adolescents and adults without any of that icky irony.
I’m going to quote his conclusion at some length here (this begins at the 4:05 mark):
We might have moved on from thinking that cherry bombs and graffiti and “Ay Carumba” were the coolest things on Earth. But now we could groove on, you know, incisive showbiz satire, everyday working class annoyances, and the existential ennui of being a smarty-pants trapped in a dumbed down world, all punctuated by a rotating staff of extremely talented comedy writers. That was the real miracle of The Simpsons’ golden age, thanks largely to a parody of the bad-little-boy sitcom archetype briefly becoming an actual phenomenon with kids and winning a massive grade school audience for a show that was originally intended for an older, primetime viewership, it was able to become for those same kids one of the few precious entertainments of their childhood that was still just as awesome, if perhaps in a different way, as they grew up through their teens and into young adulthood. That, my friends, is how something goes from being simply a good TV show to a full blown, unassailable pop culture institution. And since the timeline of that quote-unquote “institutionalization” roughly coincides with the first nine to ten years of the series, guess which seasons tend to be remembered as “the best ones”? So, yeah, from where I sit, that is how The Simpsons earned a legacy of such high standard that even The Simpsons couldn’t live up to it anymore.
The gist of all that is that The Simpsons simply isn’t as good as you remember it being, you just love it because you loved it as a kid and it’s still highly watchable now that you’re an adult. The big, flashing problem with this is that most fans didn’t grow up with the show the same way he did. He’s mistaking a very narrow age bracket of people as everyone.
This is all based on a wildly incorrect and myopically self centered assumption back at the 2:20 mark of the video:
“It seems to me that a certain majority of disappointed, hard core Simpsons fanatics are also, unsurprisingly, ground zero Generation 1 fans roughly in my relative age bracket.”
A “certain majority”? Outside of Chipman’s immediate friends and acquaintances, is there any evidence for that rather narrow age restriction whatsoever? He certainly doesn’t provide any, instead just assuming it to be true. But it isn’t true. In fact, it isn’t even remotely true. Chipman was a kid when the show came out, so he probably knows a lot of other people who were kids when it came out too. But the show, while popular with kids, was never just for kids.
That is all the more remarkable when you remember that there was a complete lack of adult animation at the time (at least in this country). Before it even premiered, people knew kids would watch it. After all, it was a cartoon and it was on at 8:00pm, the long protected “family hour”, when kids were expected to be watching television. But adults latched on to it just as hard and as quickly.
To be sure, most of those adults were probably on the young side, members of that sweet, sweet 18-34 demographic. But “Bartmania” wasn’t a children’s fad the way Pokemon would later be a children’s fad, or the way the Ninja Turtles and Transformers had been children’s fads a few years before. It was a general cultural storm that encompassed not only kids, but millions of adults as well. Two quick quotes from John Ortved’s book should serve to illustrate this. Here’s current show writer Tim Long (p119):
“When the show started, I was a sophomore in university. I remember thinking, This is the fasted, funniest show ever. I cannot believe this show is on the air. It just felt like a miracle.”
This was a common sentiment among people his age bracket, and he was born in 1969. Ask a fan roughly Long’s age sometime and you’ll get stories about The Simpsons being something people watched in college bars or at home in groups. During the early years of the show, new episodes were an event for a lot of people long past puberty.
Here’s Robert Cohen, who was a production assistant during the first couple of seasons (p120):
And for me in particular, the first “holy crap” moment was during the Hollywood Christmas parade, which is this dopey parade that goes down Hollywood Boulevard, and stars of yesteryear wave from convertibles; it’s this very weird parade. It was the second season, and they’d asked the Simpsons to be in the parade, so they hired some dancers to put on costumes and Jay Kogen and I wore our Simpsons crew jackets. We piled into this car called the Gracie-mobile, which was this big old El Dorado convertible painted with the Gracie logo. The plan was that we would drive the Simpsons down the street in the parade. When we pulled out on to the street and it was parade time – I was at the wheel – the people mobbed us to the point that the car could go only about twenty yards. The sheriff’s department had to veer us outta there because it was like a riot. And they weren’t interested in us. They were interested in these actors in Simpsons costumes. Obviously they weren’t even the real Simpsons. That’s when I realized, Holy crap. This thing’s outta control. Because it was just hundreds of people mobbing stinky felt costumes that represented the show. I knew the show was popular, but I didn’t realize how popular until that moment.
Those hundreds of people were not all ten year olds. Moreover, right about the time those anonymous people in costumes were escaping that mob, this was on newsstands all over the country:
This was when the cover of Time was among the most important cultural markers in America, and it’s not about a children’s obsession, it’s “The Best of ’90”, period.
The Simpsons was never a kids show, so when Chipman compares people obsessing over its “golden age” to the way people have kitschy attachments to He-Man or Transformers, he’s conflating two very different things, his personal experience and that of the wider audience. The idea that the show declined noticeably isn’t restricted to people born from roughly 1975 to 1985. It’s a widely held opinion among people of disparate ages, and plenty of people followed the entire arc of the show from Season 1 to Season 9 or so as adults. No pre-pubescent nostalgia is needed to say that the show has gone to hell.
As if to underscore how weak this argument is, the second video drops this concept completely. It doesn’t support this contention and barely even mentions it. Instead, it focuses on the way the culture and the media environment have changed around the show. Chipman gets to his point quickly (1:00):
The Simpsons was an absurdist parody. My contention, then, is that the reason it’s different now is less because the show itself has changed, but that the world around it has changed to the extent that almost everything it first existed to skewer, satirize and parody doesn’t exist anymore.
He continues from there to discuss how many of the situations parodied on The Simpsons were universally recognizable because there were only three networks and everyone was at least aware of the family sitcom tropes the show liked to make fun of. Nowadays, with hundreds of channels and the bottomless pit of the internet fracturing the culture into a bunch of tiny niches, he thinks the show had to become an exaggerated parody of itself to survive.
The problem with this is that while there’s a superficial truth to it, it misses the fundamental aspects of American life The Simpsons got at. The police on The Simpsons are fat, incompetent and often drunk on their own power. Whatever the quality of your local force, that overall perception remains very much with us. Springfield Elementary is perpetually underfunded and doesn’t do many of its kids a whole lot of good. Sound familiar? Corrupt local politicians, annoyingly pious neighbors, gossipy church ladies, and evil plutocrats are still a recognizable part of the American landscape. Self help scams, niche conventions, and painfully dumb awards shows haven’t gone anywhere either.
While some of the concepts the show parodied have faded from memory, the basic take on American life remains amazingly current and relevant. To say, as Chipman does, that the show has become “less vital and certainly less relatable” (4:40) simply because the media landscape has changed is to let Zombie Simpsons off the hook. There have been plenty of vital and relatable shows (pick a critical darling from the last decade) that, while never reaching the level of fame The Simpsons reached, don’t come in for the same kind of routine criticism as Zombie Simpsons. That’s because they aren’t dragging around twenty years of backstory, aren’t constantly repeating things they’ve done better in the past, and aren’t kept alive because FOX doesn’t want to risk a profitable timeslot on a flop.
More than just being a cop out, however, saying a show has to get away from what made it great to stay alive sounds more like a reason to take it off the air than keep it on the air. There are any number of familiar examples of this, silent movie stars who couldn’t make the transition to sound, rim shot comedians in tuxedos who became dinosaurs after Lenny Bruce, hair metal bands embarrassed off the charts by grunge. At some point, people stop caring about what you were doing, and if you can’t change sufficiently, then you’re going to become irrelevant, just as Zombie Simpsons has.
We can still appreciate classics from a bygone era. Truly great books and movies often stay great, genuinely good music has a way of enduring, and those old seasons of The Simpsons have aged incredibly well because they still speak to so much of our lives. But to keep doing what no one cares about anymore is the definition of malingering.
As always, this is somebody’s opinion and they’re perfectly entitled to it. But the specific arguments Chipman is making here simply don’t hold water. They’re riddled with factual inaccuracies, somewhat contradictory (so the show did change?), and generally sloppy. Saying that people’s love of the original seasons is based on nostalgia may be true for a few individuals, but there’s no evidence for that among the general population of fans. Saying that that the world evolved around it is true, but in no way changes the fact that plenty of other shows have found ways to not suck in the era of http. Think Zombie Simpsons is funny all you want, but don’t try to back up your opinion with things that aren’t true and don’t make sense.
“Music is none of my business.” – Marge Simpson
“That’s fine for you, Marge, but I used to rock and roll all night and party every day. Then it was every other day. Now I’m lucky if I can find half an hour a week in which to get funky.” – Homer Simpson
Happy birthday Wes Archer!
“Uh, do know ‘Insane in the Brain’?” – B-Real
“We mostly know classical, but we could give it a shot.” – London Symphony Orchestra Guy
We’ve got a real range of music this week, ranging from rap and hip-hop to jazz, proudly dorky indie rock, and sentimental 70s classics that seem a bit less sentimental than they once did. There’s also a mixed bag of usage, more cool embroidery, David Silverman being a mensch, Simpsons scarecrows, and a Spanish version of the Max Power song.
SIDESHOW BOB PRINT – Awesomely disturbing fan made print of Sideshow Bob having hacked off one of Bart’s arms. I especially like the death’s head in his hair. If you live in New Zealand you can even buy it.
Elzhi and Yuck try to bring back 90s music. – The kids are alright:
I’m not old enough to have real nostalgia for the 1990s–the oldest music I heard as a kid that I still listen to has to be the singles off Speakerboxx/The Love Below. But I’ve heard more than enough about it—bands were ethically purer, less willing to sell out, hip hop wasn’t commercialized, the Simpsons was still funny.
I can’t 100% vouch for everything there, but that last part is definitely true.
the simpsons embroidery project – 2 – More Simpsons stitch work, and even better than last week’s. There’s Grampa riding the bike from “Lisa vs. Malibu Stacy”, a Lisa so brightly colored it almost looks electric, and a sewn version of everyone’s favorite Valentine’s Day card. Outstanding.
Foreign Policy: The Poor Have Preferences, Too – Poor usage:
Money is a convenient yardstick because it follows a simple rule: All other things equal, we’d always like to have another dollar. Think here of a line from The Simpsons, spoken by Montgomery Burns after Barney expresses admiration for his incredible wealth: "Yes, but I’d trade it all… for just a little more."
For a small error, Burns doesn’t say “just”; for a larger one, why on Earth would you think that’s Barney? You don’t even need to know much about the show to know that it’s overwhelmingly likely Homer speaking to Mr. Burns. Bad NPR, bad Foreign Policy.
A Mother and Daughter Discover the Beauty of Spontaneity – David Silverman is apparently a nice dude (even to fans too casual to know that Krusty is spelled with a “K”):
Next, we met animator David Silverman. Among other things, he has been an artist for The Simpsons and directed The Simpsons Movie. He drew a picture of Crusty the Clown for us. Above Crusty’s head he wrote, “Hey, Hey Zach.” He was really friendly and nice and seemed genuinely pleased to meet fans, even if one of them was absent.
Q&A – Yo La Tengo discusses the version of the theme song they recorded for “D’oh-in In the Wind”:
Muddy Mae Suggins ! Yes. In a conceit that possibly strained credibility, Homer has apparently never heard about hippies or hippy culture before this episode. But he likes what he hears. No washing, no working . . . it sounds right up his alley. We were asked to record a psychedelic version of the theme music for the closing credits. We worked out three ideas and they chose the one they liked best.
Would it be fair to say the version you came up with owes a considerable debt to The Beatles’ Tomorrow Never Knows? Yes. Unless you work for The Beatles publishing company, in which case I would tell you that it bears no resemblance whatsoever.
Fashawn Explains Bart Simpson Metaphor & Title Of New Album, "The Ecology" – That “Bart Simpson” song just got deeper:
In an interview with Denmark’s DrozDailySteezin.Dk, he explained the idea behind his "Bart Simpson" track, and the cartoon character’s placement on his Higher Learning Vol. 2 album cover.
"Bart Simpson is a concept I came up with. I was on my way from this camp called Camp Woodward which is a prominent extreme sports, skating camp,” he said. “I was there, and I guess The Simpsons was on TV, and I was just looking at Bart wondering ‘How is Bart Simpson such a big iconic figure in the world?’ Like how people wanted to package him and put him on lunch boxes and make T-shirts out of him, all that type of stuff. People want to do that with rappers—start making toys out of them and putting their names on all types of stuff with their likeness. That’s why I call myself Bart Simpson. That’s where the whole Bart Simpson thing originated from."
Album cover goes here.
Mona Lisa – Mona Lisa Simpson – A website with a ton of Mona Lisa pictures, including a rather startled looking Lisa Simpson Mona Lisa.
The Max Power song is so much better in Spanish.
I have to agree:
Our 15 Favorite Twins in Pop Culture – Patty & Selma check in at #11 here. Sadly the accompanying YouTube clip is Zombie Simpsons.
ASCAP to honor Badalamenti, Clausen – Entertainment News, Music News, Media – Alf Clausen is going to get some well deserved recognition:
Clausen will be presented with the Golden Note Award, given to songwriters, composers and artists with significant career milestones, with previous honorees including Garth Brooks, Stevie Wonder and Tom Petty. Clausen, best known for scoring "The Simpsons," has composed for shows such as "The Mary Tyler Moore Variety Hour" and "Moonlighting," along with pics such as "Half-Baked," "Splash" and "Ferris Beuller’s Day off."
Congratulations Mr. Clausen. Oh, and Variety? It might be a good idea to take “Beuller” out of your spellchecker’s dictionary.
The Toughest “Simpsons” Quiz of All Time – This quiz on the Huffington Post, misleading billed as the “hardest” of all time, was making the rounds this week. Meh.
Simpsons Video of the Week: Lord Palmerstone – I don’t think I need to explain this. Pfft, Pitt the Elder.
Mississippi Totally Looks Like Professor Frink – Not really, and if you turned him around he’d look like Alabama.
ET & The Simpsons Descend On Gatcombe & Chillerton – Apparently the Isle of Wight has a Scarecrow Festival every year. Nice:
Necks are always the bane of scarecrows.
This Simpsons Clip Pretty Much Sums Up The Thrashers’ Move To Winnipeg (Video) – In celebration of hockey returning to a place where you can actually play it, here’s YouTube of “That’s it, back to Winnipeg!”
Quote of the Day: Animation Domination Week – Part two of our quote section this week is Lyle Lanley effortlessly deflecting the objections of the townspeople. Perfectly quoted, bravo.
Simpson cake – DIANDRA – This isn’t in English, but pictures of Simpsons donut cakes require no translation.
Win H.M.S. Pinafore tickets at 1 p.m. – Going Out Gurus – They gave away tickets to a Saturday performance of “H.M.S. Pinafore” based on Simpsons responses. Also, excellent usage:
Sideshow Bob: Well, Bart, any last requests?
Bart: Well, there is one, but…Nah.
Sideshow Bob: No, go on.
Bart: Well, you have such a beautiful voice.
Sideshow Bob: Guilty as charged.
Bart: Uh-huh. Anyway, I was wondering if you could sing the entire score of the H.M.S. Pinafore.
Sideshow Bob: Very well, Bart. I shall send you to heaven before I send you to hell.
How to Draw Bart Simpson – Step by step instructions of the non-video variety.
Bart Simpson Minecraft Skin – Exactly what it says.
Casual Something: Bellyfire – Excellent usage of Bart’s ballet bellyfire as a way to see beyond the right angled drudgery of the cubicle farm.
Pyramids, Plates, and Carbon Rods – There was a momentous change here in the States this week. After decades of having our officially sanctioned dietary recommendations be symbolized by a pyramid, they are now symbolized by a plate. Here that august transition is presented with an appropriate amount of excellent Simpsons snark.
Simpsons – The Food Chain – And here we have the proper Simpsons dieting graphic.
Funny Post of the Day: Clips from The Simpsons (1991 – 1993) Made a Coherent McBain Movie – This is not the original McBain video, someone included the UNICEF pennies thing from “King of the Hill” in this version, but it hasn’t been taken down by FOX yet, so it can still be easily watched on YouTube.
I Miss You Phil Hartman – Two YouTube videos of Troy McClure.
Ask 411 Movies for 05.30.11: 400 Columns that Blow! – This one’s a twofer. Not only does this guy list “Cape Feare” as his favorite episode, he provides YouTube of “You Light Up My Life”. That’s Homer and Marge’s song from “I Married Marge”, and it made headlines recently because the guy who wrote it killed himself after it came out that he appears to have been a serial rapist. This has been “destroying your childhood”, thanks for reading.
Sax giant still wailing at moon – On a more cheerful musical note, the bridge scene in “Moaning Lisa” was apparently based off of something Sonny Rollins used to do:
”I was looking for some place to practise my horn and I couldn’t do it in my small apartment in New York,” Rollins says.
”I happened to be walking one day and I saw the steps going up to the [Williamsburg] Bridge.
”I walked across to Brooklyn and there’s nobody up there. I said to myself, ‘Wow, this is it! This is a place I can bring my horn and practise to my heart’s content.’
”So yes,” he chuckles, ”it turned into a very romantic story.”
Homebuyers can move into Homer Simpson’s home – Castellaneta’s house is up for sale for a cool $5.75 million. Also, there is apparently a website called Real Estalker. Tee hee.
Simpsons – Cuckoo cuckoo – Animated .gif of Bart in the Leg Up Program.
‘Simpsons’ Duff sells well as a cerveza – That Duff beer in Latin/South America made the news again recently. There’s nothing really new here, it just got noticed again by the media.
Muppets, Baby – Discussing the fact that there’s a new Muppet movie in the works:
The Muppet Show, the older Muppet movies, and even Muppet Babies were classic examples of film/TV that was enjoyable for kids, but well-written enough to be fully appreciated by adults as well. That is a rare quality indeed and something that only the better Pixar films and the early Simpsons episodes can pull off.
The later Simpsons episodes aren’t entertaining for kids or adults.
“Has anyone mentioned that Homer doesn’t know anything about mountain climbing, and that this is all crazy?” – Marge Simpson
“Well yes, a number of people.” – Neil
Just a few minutes into “A Midsummer’s Nice Dream”, more than a decade of accumulated bad habits catastrophically cratered the episode:
Zombie Marge: Homie, you know all the bits, maybe you could help him.
Zombie Homer: I can’t do reefer comedy, I’m drunk, two different animals.
Zombie Marge: Homer Simpson, that man’s albums have given you decades of entertainment, and seen you through some very square times. Help him!
Zombie Crowd: [Cheers wildly]
Mobsters, teachers, Smithers, Mrs. Glick, it’s almost like they have no personality of their own.
You know where it goes from there. Homer walks on stage and everyone loves him. The man who is ostensibly an ordinary guy from an ordinary town once again becomes an overnight celebrity. Afterwards, the episode staggers around for another fifteen minutes, bumbling from one topic to the next as it tries to tell a story it’s told a hundred times before.
Homer has had plenty of wild adventures going all the way back to the beginning of the show. But prior to about Season 9 or so, whenever Homer went out and did something really far fetched he was usually more along for the ride than in the driver’s seat. He certainly didn’t become an accomplished professional in the span of a few seconds. When he headed out with Hullabalooza, he wasn’t backing up Peter Frampton on guitar or freestyling with Cypress Hill. When he went into space, the NASA guys were planning on sedating him almost immediately, he wasn’t scheduled to land the shuttle. When he played softball with all those ringers, he couldn’t get a hit off Roger Clemens, nor could he field as well as Daryl Strawberry. He was always an amateur, even if he often found himself in places amateurs rarely tread.
Compare that with the way Marge and the crowd shove him onstage during “A Midsummer’s Nice Dream”. He becomes the main act instantly, acquiring the timing and poise of an accomplished stage performer, something that requires years of training and practice, in less than a minute. The crowd knows it too, and they’re a-okay with Homer replacing one of the men they paid to see. He’s no longer a lucky amateur, he’s now the same mega-popular super character within the world of the show that he’s long been outside of it, and everyone, from his family to the crowd to the guest stars, understands that intuitively.
I bet he’s glad his face is on a bunch of crappy merchandise though.
This is far from the first time Zombie Simpsons has done something like this. The degradation of Homer from a recognizable everyman into an unrepentant, unfeeling, unrestrained id of middle age wish fulfillment is one of the true hallmarks of Zombie Simpsons. It started way back when the show began its implosion around Season 9 as Homer embarked on an ever increasing series of jobs for which he was wildly unsuited: submarine captain, mayoral bodyguard, movie producer, etcetera. It’s been going on ever since; in just the last two seasons Homer has become a movie star, an Olympic athlete, an undercover cop, and now a professional comedian.
The reduction of Homer into a cheap, one dimensional gag machine has also damaged the other characters around him, especially Marge. When Homer goes on tour with his humble barbershop quartet, Marge is devastated and tries to compensate. When Homer wants to go on tour with the pageant of the transmundane, Marge is skeptical and afraid for him. These are the kinds of reactions you might expect from an actual woman upon hearing that her husband is planning on skipping town for a little while. In “A Midsummer’s Nice Dream”, Marge just pats him on the head and tells him not to have too much fun, like she’s sending one of her children out to play.
We’ve secretly replaced the real Marge Simpson in one of these images. Try to guess which!
Once he’s actually out on tour the difference becomes even starker as Homer immediately becomes completely untethered from his life in a way that’d be unthinkable for the man in “Homer’s Barbershop Quartet” or “Homerpalooza”. In the former, even winning a Grammy can’t distract him from his homesick loneliness, and he goes so far as to record a taped message for his kids. In the latter, his exploits with Smashing Pumpkins and company pass very quickly, and most of those are told in a letter he writes to Bart and Lisa. Yet for the entire middle of “A Midsummer’s Nice Dream”, Homer is completely cut off from his family or anything else that’s going on in the episode. He’s just out pestering Cheech Marin and doesn’t spend a single frame thinking about or missing the family he left behind.
The contrast with Hullabalooza and The Be Sharps couldn’t be clearer. In those episodes Homer is a real character whose actions and reactions reflect that, so even if he frequently finds himself in “wacky adventures” (as Lisa put it in Season 5), he’s still recognizable as the same guy. In Zombie Simpsons, Homer knows that he’s not a regular guy, he knows that his wife will happily tell him to board that tour bus, and once he’s aboard he never needs to give the rest of his life a second thought. Hacktacular crap like this went a long way towards degrading the show in the first place lo those ten or twelve years ago, and it hasn’t changed much.
“Dad! No one cares about any of your stupid dinosaur bands!” – Bart Simpson
Splitsider is running a whole series of articles (explanation) this week about The Simpsons. Even better, they’ve explicitly labeled it “Classic Simpsons Week”, which means you can read it in peace without worrying about stepping into a writhing pile of Zombie Simpsons.
Highlights so far:
George Meyer’s Army Man and the Birth of The Simpsons – If you’ve read Ortved’s book or any number of articles about the origins of the show over the years, the words “Army Man” probably already mean something to you. If they don’t, I highly recommend a click. Sample:
One of the Army Man #1′s Deep Thoughts even found their way into Nirvana’s I Hate Myself and Want to Die: "Many people don’t realize that large pieces of coral, which have been painted brown and attached to the skull by common wood screws, can make a child look like a deer."
The Lost Jokes and Story Arcs of "Sweet Seymour Skinner’s Baadasssss Song" – Bill Oakley on the evolution of “Sweet Seymour Skinner’s Baadasssss Song”, including hinted at subplots that never quite made it. Sample:
The one scene that I would have loved to have seen, which was in both the outline and the script, is where Homer was running the PTA and trying to railroad through this motion to impeach Flanders. And it was in both versions and it just had to get cut, because that whole aspect of him being head of the PTA got cut. I love that thing where he says, "Please just do me this one favor and fire Ned Flanders." And Dr. Hibbert says, "That is an absurd request. I suggest we fire you and put an end to your brutish behavior." [Laughing] I know that Josh and I for about six months after that would walk around and say that we’d "put an end to your brutish behavior” in that Dr. Hibbert voice.
There are several more, but I don’t want to turn this into some kind of an index. That’s what this tag is for: Classic Simpsons Week.
Thanks to Bill Oakley’s Twitter and reader Sam for alerting me to these.
“So you want to go on tour with a traveling freak show.” – Marge Simpson
“I don’t think I have a choice, Marge.” – Homer Simpson
“Of course you have a choice!” – Marge Simpson
“How do you figure?” – Homer Simpson
“You don’t have to join a freak show just because the opportunity came along.” – Marge Simpson
“You know, Marge, in some ways you and I are very different people.” – Homer Simpson
“I used to be with it. But then they changed what it was, now what I’m with isn’t it, and what’s it seems weird and scary to me. It’ll happen to you.” – Abe Simpson
Back before I turned twenty and became the mature adult I am today, I used to be amused by the goofy and illogical hysteria of press accounts about “teenagers” and the crazy things we were apparently doing. Not once did I ever ready a story about the youth or see some segment on the news and think to myself, “Wow, that could be me and my friends!”. I try to keep that in mind whenever I see headlines about teenagers using the internet to get high or injecting botulism into their pristine, unwrinkled faces. In that spirit, we have a number of links this week by and about the next generation of meat bags. The overall conclusion? They’re fine. Which is to say they’re just a fucked up as the rest of humanity. Go team. In addition to those fine young specimens, we’ve got a couple of cool videos, references to Bill Cosby and David Lynch, a new button I don’t care about, and a song that’s not actually about waffles.
Kinetic Typography – The Simpsons – If you click on only one link this week, click on this one. I’ll only say one thing: Aurora Borealis.
Life Imitating… the Simpsons? – Apparently, that line of Disney brand crowd control barriers wasn’t selling well.
Eek, here goes. A word of warning. – Another new blog, another excellent Simpsons quote:
You don’t belong here. You’re a fraud and a phony, and it’s only a matter of time until they find you out.
Karl remains one of those signature characters I’m still amazed they even got on television. Welcome to WordPress, Smithernet.
I hate pants! – Ditching pants is good:
But, since quiting, I’ve been wearing shorts, skirts, dresses, bikinis, flowy yoga cut-off pants and board shorts. And sometimes, like Homer, when I’m alone I just walk around in underwear! I’ve never done that and now that I have IT’S AWESOME! It’s ALL freedom baby!
Joi, you rule. Just remember, there’s nothing like an unfurnished basement for pure comfort.
‘Simpsons’ GPS Leads Writer Astray – More follies from the Homer GPS system. This time it led Mike Reiss astray in Massachusetts.
The 5 Most Unproductive Companies on TV – I hardly think the nuclear plant qualifies. Whatever else may be said about them, they do produce power.
TV Craze. – The teevee watching plans of a youngster:
It’s been a really long time since I last watched an episode of the Simpsons and I decided to watch it again. Especially since the cast of Glee will be there on it’s Season 22 premiere!
Don’t be sucked in. Watch episodes from single digit seasons and you’ll be far more entertained.
Happy House graduates meet voice actor – Nancy Cartwright thinking of the children.
Dexter and the rise of the TV anti-hero – A list of slightly dark teevee heroes, including Homer.
Ernie Borgnine–the next Betty White? – Everything you ever wanted to know about the Junior Campers most famous celebrity volunteer.
Sideshow Bob vs. Killer BOB – Sideshow Bob compared with a character from Twin Peaks. I have absolutely no idea what’s going on.
Bill Cosby Could Save Modern T.V. – Photoshopping Bill Cosby’s head onto various things, including Hibbert’s body.
Simpsons Avatar – Burger King may have failed America by taking down Simpsonize Me, but the movie website still works and if you get through a few layers of pointlessly elaborate Flash menus you can still make your own Simpsons character.
The Future Is Now – More lamenting aging with “Lisa’s Wedding”. Personally, I find the fact that incoming college freshman don’t know cursive writing to be a step forward for humanity.
Curriculum lurks in ‘Simpsons’ book by MSOE teacher – Okay, I’m three months late on this, but it’s a praise worthy review of the classroom Simpsons book.
If you happen to be in Milwaukee this Saturday… – Speaking of which, you can get your copy signed in Milwaukee tomorrow.
No to The Simpsons – Sometimes, you’ve got to fight for your Simpsons:
So we missed a lot of the Simpsons when we were growing up. We only had passing glimpses of it depending on how fast we could switch to it back and forth from another program with the remote in between the time my dad ventured momentarily out of the family room, where our TV was located.
REVIEW: Spraynard: Cut and Paste – There is a band with a song titled “Stickin’ Together Is What Good Waffles Do”. Here it is, bathe in its majesty:
Dime Dailies: Boo-urns – With YouTube:
where is the line between congratulations and condemnation? is there a line? is burns the hybrid between the two? “boo-urns:” think about it – think harder. so, now which man has all that power?
Cake the simpsons and sesame street – NISSA – This is not in English, it does not matter. A Simpsons cake on top of a Sesame Street cake equals epic WIN in every form of communication known to man.
You Don’t Mess Around With Sly – I’m sure at some point I’ll see The Expendables legally, and certainly not by downloading it for free, but, for now, this will have to do:
Not content simply to play out all the best bits of bygone films, Stallone actively updates a number of time-tested action clichés to new levels of insanity. For example, rather than grabbing onto helicopter skids to escape a gunfight, Stallone leaps from a pier onto the side of his airplane, scales it like a monkey at full takeoff velocity, and manages to swing himself inside to safety just as the big bird lifts off. This vehicle deserves special mention – a giant black cargo plane, adorned with the Expendables logo of a huge raven perched atop the globe, painted with the oh-so-convincing legend “Global Wildlife Conservancy.” It puts one in mind of a similar joke from The Simpsons, where the mafia element spend their time in a back-alley hideout, undetectable except for a huge sign out front that says “Legitimate Businessman’s Social Club.”
‘Meh’ button spreads across Internet – I have no strong opinions about this, but I thought I’d include it. Feh.
“So what’s it like being famous, Dad?” – Bart Simpson
“People know your name, but you don’t know theirs. It’s great.” – Homer Simpson
I have not watched most of these Season 12 episodes since they originally blighted my television set. I didn’t forget how bad they were overall, but I did forget in just how many ways they’re specifically bad. The opening of this episode takes two whole minutes just to get Homer to make a phone call. They do so with a badger that’s hiding in the doghouse. (They have to bring back the badger at the end to drag this deadweight episode to the credits.) “Badger in doghouse” isn’t a terrible idea, but it’s also certainly not something that any self respecting show should try to string along for two whole minutes. And that’s just one example.
Possibly to avoid talking about the horribly boring filler material that makes up almost all of this episode, much of the commentary consists of them talking about a) how cool it was to meet The Who, b) how cool it was for The Who to meet them, and c) how they animated The Who. In fact, the commentary opens with The Who’s Roger Daltry; he wasn’t in the room with them but recorded a little story about doing the voices that plays later in the commentary. The Who were such a big deal that not only do they get their own segment on the commentary but they also merit a star studded commenting cast, it’s ten guys total including Groening, Meyer and Castellaneta.
1:45 – “I just watched it again last night and it’s kind of a crazy episode.”
2:15 – Long background about how they came up with the idea of there being two halves to the town. As per usual they’re ignoring the drawn out and pain filled opening.
3:15 – “This story went through a lot of incarnations, and uh, each one of them equally successful.” Then they all laugh at how dumb it is before talking about how they kept changing things because nothing worked, even doing things they initially vowed not to do. By the way, no one is talking about the fact that Homer just voluntarily got attacked by a badger and now has his internal organs exposed to the world.
4:30 – “I remember people on the internet were angry about Homer’s entrails being visible after the badger gored him.” It was stupid then and it’s stupid now, though I’d describe myself more as “bored” than “angry”.
5:30 – They’re trying to remember whether or not the concert was originally going to be at the beginning or not, they just knew they were going to have The Who.
8:00 – Long silence ended by a discussion of how pissed people were about getting new area codes and how “dark” it is that Homer tries to blow himself up at the town meeting. “Dark” is not the word I would go for there. “Cheap”? Sure. “Pointless”? Definitely. “Stupid”? For sure. But “dark”? How is this dark?
9:00 – Now that the cities are split there’s not much on the commentary. Someone noted that the Cardinals made the Super Bowl this year, that’s nice.
9:40 – Talking about how it didn’t make sense that the town was evenly split because there should be a lot more people on the poor side. We know.
10:40 – “I couldn’t figure out why the bullies were on the rich side of town.” That’s okay, neither can anyone else.
11:00 – Long silence at the clock eating scene where Marge and Apu talk about toilet paper.
12:15 – Discussing how cool it was to meet The Who.
13:00 – Still discussing The Who instead of the bizarre goings on of the episode.
14:20 – More stories about recording with The Who. Meanwhile the episode is crashing and burning.
15:20 – They’ve been telling stories about Pete Townsend’s brother for about a minute now. Episode: still shitty.
15:50 – Now they’re talking about seeing a taping of VH1’s Storytellers. Seriously.
16:40 – After that four minute introduction, Roger Daltry is now talking about doing the voice. He’s not in the same league as Joe Mantegna, but this is much more interesting than the rest of what’s going on here.
18:50 – And Daltry’s done.
19:15 – Discussing how they animated The Who as Homer pretends to be a rock star for thirty seconds.
20:00 – Once they’re done discussing animating The Who there’s a long silence as Homer gets set on fire and the band members resolve whatever it is that passes for the plot.
21:00 – Laughing at how poorly animated the crowd is.
21:30 – As the badgers plot to invade the town, Meyer is asked if he remembers where this came from. His answer: “Desperation”. They all laugh (it was funny), but it doesn’t do a whole lot to undermine my theory that this episode is terrible in every way imaginable.