Posts Tagged ‘Homer’s Barbershop Quartet


Last Night, On Twitter . . .

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“I can’t remember the last time we were all together.” – Principal Skinner
“Last year, on that stupid Dame Edna special.” – Apu Nahasapeemapetilon

Al Jean continues to ever so gingerly dip his toes into the never ending torrent of love, hate and general bullshit that is Twitter.  Last night, he tweeted out this undated picture of some of the old staff:


I wasn’t sure who everybody was, so I asked him, and he was kind enough to reply.  From left to right it’s him, Mike Reiss, Wallace Wolodarsky, Jay Kogen, Jon Vitti, and Jeff Martin.  He also said this:

Aren’t you the guys that trash us every week? Peace and love, man.

I’d quibble with “trash” and substitute “criticize”, but I don’t begrudge him his point of view on that.  Al, we love you all the same, and thanks for the picture!


Quote of the Day

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“The B-Sharps.” – Homer Simpson
“The B-Sharps.” – Principal Skinner
“The B-Sharps.” – Apu Nahasapeemapetilon & Barney Gumble
“The B-Sharps. . . . Well, you can’t blame a guy for trying. . . . Ah, you’re all under arrest.” – Chief Wiggum

Happy 20th anniversary to “Homer’s Barbershop Quartet”!  Original airdate 30 September 1993.


Today I Am a Clown Makes Baby Jesus Cry

 Mr. T and the Nancy Reagan

Image shamelessly yoinked from here.

“This is worse than your song about Mr. T.” – Apu Nahasapeemapetilon
“I pity the fool who doesn’t like . . . he.” – Homer Simpson

This episode has a cavalcade of guest voices, several of whom are playing themselves, plus Homer gets a new job as a talk show host.  Happily, they spend most of the commentary ignoring the episode and telling stories about Mr. T, who is apparently exactly like his public persona when he’s recording voices.  It’s also worth pointing out that by this point in Zombie Simpsons, even the DVD commentaries are getting repetitive.  Three or four times someone will tell a story or note some piece of trivia after mentioning that they’ve said so many times before. 

Anyway, we start with ten people on this one, but Caroline Omine shows up late.  To begin we have Jean, Selman, Castellaneta, Tim Long, Joel Cohen, Don Payne, Tom Gammill, Max Pross, Nancy Cruz, and Steve Moore.

0:40 – After Cruz says her name, she was ninth, someone asks “Is that it?” before Steve Moore describes himself as a “guest attendee”. 

1:00 – Jean asks Joel Cohen to discuss the origin of the episode.  It was originally pitched as a travel show where they could go to Israel for Krusty’s bar mitzvah, but it became just Krusty’s bar mitzvah. 

1:20 – Gammill asks Cohen, for the benefit of those who don’t know, what a bar mitzvah is, which leads to some insider Jewish humor, “You read from the Torah in front of friends, families and people with envelopes in their pockets.”  Ha.

2:15 – Jean asks Castellaneta if he knew Krusty was Jewish when he started doing the voice.  He did not, and then launches into the “he’s based on Rusty Nails” story, which he acknowledges has been told many, many times at this point.

3:00 – Discussing the nationwide franchising of Bozo the Clown.  Jean laughs about how the one in Detroit lost the rights and had to change his name to Oopsie the Clown when he was a kid.

3:30 – Cohen won a Jewish Image award for this, but didn’t win a Writers Guild award.

4:00 – Castellaneta did Rabbi Krustofski at the table read, and then does his Jackie Mason impression here.  It’s funny.

4:20 – On screen Homer just finished strangling Santa’s Little Helper, but no one wants to talk about that so Jean asks Castellaneta if he ever met any real TV clowns.  He has, in fact, met the son of the guy who played Bozo, Bob Bell.  They’re not discussing the episode at all, but so far this is a pretty entertaining commentary.

5:20 – Krusty’s mansion was done a little to look like Jerry Lewis’s place in The King of Comedy.

5:30 – Jean’s just killing time now, so after noting that it’s been on many commentaries before, he talks about how Krusty is just Homer with different hair.

6:20 – After another digression, Jean asks Long what it was like to direct Mr. T for this episode.  Mr. T was one of the most enthusiastic guest voices they ever had, which launches into a Rocky III story that Long says he’s told many times before. 

7:30 – Still discussing Mr. T, who comes in for very high praise for being fun to work with.

7:55 – Apparently, Mr. T’s recording session overlapped with Weird Al’s recording session, and the two met right in the room they’re using for the commentary.  Mr. T was “a little hazy” about who Weird Al was.  Again, nobody’s paying the least bit attention to the episode, but this commentary remains much more entertaining than most.

8:30 – Selman tries to keep the Mr. T thing going, and everyone just ignores him so Gammill can ask if the setting they’re in is supposed to be Washington Square Park.  Consensus: yes it is.

9:15 – Gammill recounts living near Washington Square Park for ten years.  They once found a body in his apartment building.  This leads to much joking and laughter.  Man, I wish they were always this entertaining when they ignore the episode.

10:00 – Gammill’s body finding story is still going on.  His elderly neighbor was murdered, and the rumor around the building was that she was involved in selling untaxed cigarettes. 

11:00 – Now they’re joking about getting Gammill to confess. 

11:15 – After that winds down, Jean breaks the silence by asking Castellaneta if Krusty’s voice or Homer’s voice is more natural for him.  Answer: not really.

12:00 – Trivia bit: Lisa jokes in this episode that her imaginary Jewish friend got into Brandeis.  A few weeks later, they got a fake acceptance package from Brandeis.

13:00 – After a long silence where they just ignore the fact that Homer is now a successful talk show host, Jean asks Cruz about how many changes there were after the animatic.  Cruz doesn’t think it was unusually bad. 

13:45 – Kind of interesting note about the actual episode: Cruz sees Marge talking as Homer’s on TV, and wonders what the original line was because her mouth movements are clearly animated for something other than what she says. 

14:35 – Long silence is broken by brief laughter after Chief Wiggum describes Homer as “always eating”. 

15:00 – Homer has a dream where he saves Abraham Lincoln, and Jean thinks comedy writers have a little obsession with that.

15:20 – Jean breaks that silence by asking, “Any other interesting stories about Mr. T”?

15:45 – Caroline Omine just showed up.  They get back to Mr. T very quickly, eventually asking Omine if she has any stories: “None that I can share”.  Heh.  She did once see him signing the Mr. T comic at a book store.

16:40 – Oh yeah, we’re still talking about Mr. T.

17:15 – Apparently, Gary Coleman wasn’t enthusiastic about doing his catch phrase, but Mr. T had no problems pitying the fool.  Omine again, “He said, I get up in the morning, I brush my teeth, and I go, ‘I wonder what fool I’m gonna pity today!’.”  This gets a huge laugh, and deservedly so.

17:30 – They were about to discuss the commandments of Mr. T, but the Beach Boys are on screen now and that distracted them.

18:00 – Mr. T is finally on screen, and he was game for reading lines in Hebrew.

18:40 – Long silence.

19:00 – Homer’s talk show gets cancelled, and to break the above mentioned long silence, Jean mentions that he heard of a show that actually got cancelled mid-taping once.

19:20 – Smelling the credits, Jean talks about a Dick van Dyke episode about an adult bar mitzvah.

20:00 – More compliments for Mr. T as he gets spun on a giant menorah.  They originally had it as a Star of David, but changed it.  Jean jokes that it’s now “all in perfect taste”. 

20:45 – Jean tells a story about Jackie Mason, who is a real rabbi and was so funny during his sermons that people told him to go on stage.

21:05 – And we end with on last mention of Gammill’s dead neighbor and one more Castellaneta Jackie Mason impression. 


Strange New Places

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“And where’s Barney?” – Homer Simpson
“Oh, he’s with his new girlfriend, the Japanese conceptual artist.” – Principal Skinner
“Barbershop is in danger of growing stale. I’m taking it to strange new places.” – Barney Gumble

In the interest of not burying the lead: mocking Season 23 has been fun, but it’s also the last time we’re going to go full tilt for a new Zombie Simpsons season around here. Don’t worry, we’re not taking the site down or anything; in fact, for the next few months you shouldn’t notice much difference. Quotes of the Day will continue as normal, and, just like the last three summers, we’ll be doing Crazy Noises for old episodes. This year it’s going to be Season 11, the last one the Manifesto lists before Zombie Simpsons.

After that, the Magic 8-ball becomes less clear. Season 24 (ugh) will likely start sometime in late September, but we won’t be doing our full Preview-Ratings-Crazy Noises-Compare & Contrast schedule. I’m sure we’ll do something (and suggestions are welcome), but whatever it is will be much less comprehensive.

As for why we’re doing this, there’s only one real reason and it is not intended ironically. We think it best to stop before we get dull and do nothing but repeat ourselves.

For all its manic bumbling and endless stream of pointless cameos, the only enduring characteristic about Zombie Simpsons is how blandly repetitive it is. Episodes consistently have no coherent story, few jokes, fewer funny jokes, wasted guest voices, hacktacular pop culture references, and all manner of things poorly lifted from old episodes. And then every once in a while the animation goes off the rails too, though that’s usually because the writers have once again managed to string together something too dumb to convey.

In Crazy Noises and elsewhere, I’ve begun to get the sense that we’re often doing little more than citing examples of the same kinds of things each week: it sucked when they made Homer do this, that joke went on too long, that’s not even a joke, this voice sounds terrible, that was done better years ago, this made no sense, etcetera etcetera. We are trying to put a tiny thrill into these gray little episodes, but they rarely give us something novel enough to make criticisms we haven’t already made dozens of times before. Whatever points we’ve tried to articulate over the past few years here, another few thousand words per episode are unlikely to change them. In short, it seems very unlikely that most of the episodes in Season 24 (or Season 25, or Season 26, or Season Whatever) are going to be worth a close examination and serious criticism.

On a related personal note, I simply find Zombie Simpsons boring. I stopped watching regularly sometime in Season 13, and didn’t catch more than a handful in total from Seasons 14-19. When Dave, Mad Jon and I started getting serious about this site in early 2009, I picked up at the beginning of Season 20, and very little had changed. I’ve seen every episode since, four full seasons, and I can honestly say that’s enough. Apart from its vague resemblance to my favorite show ever, Zombie Simpsons just isn’t that interesting; and I’d rather not spend my time watching it.

Long story short:

  • No change to Quotes of the Day
  • Still doing Crazy Noises for Season 11 this summer
  • Greatly reduced schedule for Season 24 this fall

On two happier notes, Chapters 7 & 8 of the book are now on-line, and to celebrate the end of Season 23, I’m going to do another Simpsons-Beer Marathon this Saturday.

For those of you who’ve started reading this site since the last time I did this, you can find a full explanation of how this works here. Basically, I watch an entire season of the show, drinking one beer per episode, and post updates along the way. I’ve done marathons for Seasons 1, 3, 4, 5, and 6 already, and you can check them out by clicking on our “Living Life to Its Fullest” category.

You can vote for which season you’d like me to watch on Saturday in the poll at right. And, no, if Season 7 is selected, I won’t be including “Marge Be Not Proud”. I dislike that episode, even if it does have some very funny parts (see the freshly posted Chapter 7 for details).  The marathon begins at 8:00am Eastern Daylight Time (US), which is 12:00 UTC, Saturday May 26th.  The poll closes at midnight Eastern Time tomorrow.

Update 26 May: It’s Season 2 in a landslide:

Season 2 Beerathon Poll

Thanks to everyone who voted.


Quote of the Day

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“Look what I got!  Now people will stop intentionally ramming our car.” – Marge Simpson
“Hmm, baby on board?  ‘Baby on board, something something Burt Ward’, this thing writes itself.” – Homer Simpson

Happy birthday Alf Clausen!


Quote of the Day

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“Apu Nahasapeemapetilon.” – Apu Nahasapeemapetilon
“Never fit on a marquee, love.  From now on your name is Apu de Beaumarchais.” – Nigel
“Well, it is a great dishonor to my ancestors and my God, but okay.” – Apu de Beaumarchais


Dead Homer Society Xmas Gift Guide

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“Oyster shells!  Hand painted to resemble Lucille Ball!  You’ll love Oyster Lucy!” – Moe

For the second year in a row we here at the Dead Homer Society are offering this belated and woefully incomplete shopping guide for the Simpsons fan in your life.  Just like last year, the idea here is to find cool Simpsons stuff that does not feed the merchandising beast that does more than anything else to keep Zombie Simpsons on the air.  Also just like last year, this basically amounts to me doing a search on Etsy and then linking the best results.  Still, any one of these items is both more creative and more original than another set of “collectible” figurines or the latest novelty items to get Simpsonized.



ABC’s of geek pop culture by SuburbanYeti – $25 – This is a fantastic idea:

ABC's of Geek

Gotta love the Flux Capacitor.

Fantasy Floorplans for The Simpsons/Residence by fantasyfloorplans – $64 – Serious, wall mountable floor plans for a house that doesn’t exist.

Lisa Simpson Pez Oil Painting Still Life by PatrickFlynn – $100 – An oil painting of a Lisa Simpson Pez dispenser.  I did not expect to see that when I got up this morning.

Limited Edition 8 x 10 Print of Still Life with by Marge Simpson Pez PatrickFlynn – $15 – From the same seller is a print of his painting of Marge’s Pez dispenser.  Here’s one of Bart.

Simpsons Abstract by ChikyuuTenshi – $18 – A painting of the family in what almost looks like a cracked mirror.

Homer Simpson untooned Original Oil Painting by MrBlondieNation – $25 – A painting of what Homer might look like if he were a real guy.

Simpsons Kalidescope by natureslittlequilts – $35 – Wow:

Simpsons Kalidescope

Marge Simpson Playboy centerfold numbered edition by nwlimited – $200 – A framed picture of nipple/donut Marge from the Playboy spread along with some of the stamps.


Springfield Nuclear Plant Parking Decal by seasnarke – $10 – This is really clever, it’s a fake parking sticker in the shape of a nuclear cooling tower.

Canyonero Custom Car Emblem by Empira – $15 – This is a great idea:


I cast each piece in durable plastic from a custom silicone rubber mold, paint them black and chrome, and apply automotive-grade double-sided tape so it will stick permanently on the back of your car.

A hundred cheers to whoever puts one of these on a Prius or a Leaf first.  The irony alone might power the car for miles.


Arts & Crafts

Jebediah Springfield Quote Finished Cross Stitch by JupiterStarPower – $15 – A small cross stitch with Jebediah’s famous “noble spirit” quote.

Simpson Fabric Buttons Set of Four by StashFabulous – $5 – Simpsons character buttons.

Homer Simpson Recycled Board Game Journal – £7 – A refillable journal made from an old Simpsons board game.

The Simpsons Cluedo handmade journal by peonyandthistle – £24 – Another notebook made from a recycled board game.

Clothing & Stuff

Obey Giant Parody Tshirt DOHBEY XLarge Adult by naturespresident – $20 – I’ll let the picture do the talking:


Heh.  Other sizes are available as well.

The Many Faces of Homer Fleece Scarf Slim by Handmadecrafter – $7 – A handmade scarf with images of Homer in moods that range from pensive and happy to, I don’t know, horny?

Brain Slug Beanie Hat by ZucciniPancakes – $25 – Okay, this is technically from Futurama, but I too favor unreasonably large subsidies to the brain slug planet:

Brain Slug Hat


Unique handmade leather belt CARTOON silhouette design by WittyandCharming – £35 – This belt has a ton of silhouettes of famous cartoon characters on it, including Marge and Bart.  I know it’s supposed to be his arm, but Fred Flintstone does kinda look like he’s got an erection in the first image there.

multicolored Simpson theme with white bluetip by threecatshats – $20 – A Santa hat, with the typical red replaced by Homer.

I LOVE GEEKS milhouse dress for toddlers by BarbandDawn – $12 – Aww, a clueless looking Milhouse in a heart in a dress for kids.

I Love Nerds Simpsons Re Cut Tank Top by ElevenThirtyEight – $10 – Milhouse again, but this time he’s described as nerd and the shirt is for an adult.

Mmm Beer Homer Simpson Fabric Art Brooch Large by BurnoutBazaar – £8 – I’ll just let the description speak for itself:

Homer Simpson art tends to be a little blokey or aimed at children so I thought I’d redress the balance with this more feminine homage to the animated family man and armchair philosopher. The central design is upcycled fabric from a Simpsons tie in printed, textured polyester. It has been fused to some vintage blue and white polka dot cotton, backed with sturdy blue canvas, machine stitched with a few zig-zag lines and adorned with beads, studs, sequins and contrasting red button.

The Simpsons Tie tshirt featuring ‘Where’s Bart’ by cutiepatoody – $17 – A t-shirt with a built in Simpsons tie.

Scrub HatsBart Simpson Classic by themaddesthatter – $10 – Depending on your point of view, this is either the best or worst thing you could see on a surgeon’s head as they wheel you into the operating place.

Bart Simpson Bandana Style Apron Top by ccquilter – $25 – A snazzy apron mixing and matching a couple of different Bart and other Simpsons cloths and images.

Don’t have a cow man by ClydesdalemeetBetty – $15 – A small-medium Bart t-shirt from 1990 cropped and fringed.  The acid wash jeans in the photo are a nice touch.


Jewelry, Bags, & Such

Pink sprinkle donut necklace by BiffysBoutique – $5 – Pretty much just what it says.

SALE 10 OFF Marge Simpson US Postage Stamp Pendant by 17jewels – $26 – A Marge stamp put into a pendent.

Your Choice Simpsons Post Earrings by NinasCustomDesigns – $7 – Fabric covered earrings featuring your choice of characters.

Simpsons Radioactive man comic book wallet by AllisonKapner – $15 – The description brags that it is a wallet hand made from real comic books, and indeed it is.

Simpsons Where’s Bart Look and Find Tote by BusyBeeStitchery – $28 – A big Simpsons tote bag.

The Simpsons Mesenger Bag by TheTwistedCrafts – $30 – An old Simpsons sheet remade into a messenger bag.  The cloth is character heads in little bubbles, and if you look at the strap you can see a queasy looking Wendell.



12 Crayon The Simpsons Caddy RollUp Crayon’s – $7 – A Simpsons print that can hold a dozen crayons and a doodle pad.

Handmade Bart Simpson Flannel TWIN size by KDMORECRAFTSANDMORE – $40 – Full sized kids blankets that will fit a twin bed.  There’s a blue one with Bart and a pink one with Maggie.

The Simpsons Family Inspired Flat Back Button by SpazzysDelights – $5 – Bottle caps and Simpsons buttons made into little party favors.

BART SIMPSON KIDS/TRAVEL Pillowcase by MadeAtNanasHouse – $6 – Just what it says.

Matching Bart Simpson nursing pillow cover, bib and burp cloth by babygionet – $21 – The complete Bart nursing set.

CUSTOM Simpsons Christmas blanket baby girl boy by RockerByeBaby – $30 – A seriously customized baby blanket.

The UPCycled T Shirt Dress Seasons Greetings from by BravaBoutique – $38 – A child size dress made from an old Simpsons t-shirt.

Naughty Bart Simpson drawstring bag for library toys by LaughLand – $10 – A small bag for kids toys and similar items.

The Simpson Hair Bow by cherrynolivedesigns – $5 – Just what it says it is.

Simpsons print AIO all in one one size cloth diaper by anniemathesonallen – $25 – A cloth diaper with Bart spray painting his name.  Comes with liners and is listed for babies up to 35lbs.


cartoon character 3D tiles personalised FREE by scarboroughrose – £4 – You can get your name or someone else’s on one of these little Simpsons (or Mickey or Garfield) tiles.  Probably nice for a kid’s room.

Humorous Christmas holiday sampler by LucyFrog – $45 – A stitched reminder that Christmas is for celebrating the birth of Santa.

12 Bart & Orange UnPaper Towels Free by 3monkeysclothdiapers – $12 – Washable cloth towels with Bart Simpson on them.

Handmade Wall St Pen with Genuine Simpson Series – $25 – Someone took the Simpsons stamps and embedded them on a ball point pen.  Clever.

Simpsons Dog Collar Comic Size Large – $16 – Exactly what it says, a dog collar with Simpsons characters all over it.

The Simpsons / Where is Bart Cornhole Bags by SwallowingtheMoon – $15 – Simpsons bags for playing cornhole, two sets of four.

The Simpsons Gift card holder by AuntyCarols – $4 – Just what it says, a sleeve for giving out cash or gift cards featuring the Simpson family.

Homer Simpson Christmas gift card holder by AuntyCarols – $4 – From the same seller, except this one has Homer dragging home the tree with the birdhouse still in it.

Simpsons with Bow and Jewel DSLR Camera Strap Cover by ThisMomandHer3Girls – $7 – Spice up your camera strap with Simpsons characters.

Lisa Simpson on Apple iPad vinyl decal by vinyl4ipad – $8 – Lisa in a saucy French beret that seems to scream, ‘I own a Mac!’.

The Simpsons Full Wine charm Set at a special price by lmfries – $40 – Keep your wine glasses identified at your swanky wine parties.  Also available in smaller sets for $15.

Handmade Christmas Red Simpsons Bart Simpson Quilted by mhswebmom – $15 – An adult bib for when you don’t have the Sacred Parchment handy.

Handmade Quilted Bart Simpson adult bib by mhswebmom – $12 – Another Bart bib, but this one isn’t Christmas-y.

The Entire Simpson Family on a Fridge Magnet by wickedcoolstampstuff – $5 – All five family member stamps on a refrigerator magnet.

The Simpsons Comic Book Letters Any Amount by RoseberryStore – £6 – It’s six pounds per letter, but they’re big and look to fit well on a shelf or something similar.

the Simpsons Bartman blank card by Lizzlebugg – $4 – A handmade greeting card with Bartman swinging in front of the moon.

Simpson Family Cartoon Storage Box by DKdezines – $25 – A small storage box lined in and out with Simpsons characters.

Simpsons Nesting Doll Matryoshka Babushka russian by sersonart – $34 – Cool hand painted nesting dolls:

Simpsons Matryoshka

I wonder why Bart got top billing here.


Bart On His Throne Christmas Ornament by thinkingmage – $8 – A small Christmas tree ornament of Bart sitting down with a television remote.

Homer Simpson Ornament by jeeniebeansco – $8 – Felt Homer Simpson ornament.

Simpsons Her Majesty Marge The Queen Christmas by thinkingmage – $8 – A Christmas ornament made out of a Marge chess piece.

Simpsons Sir Bart The Knight Christmas Ornament by thinkingmage – $8 – Same seller and idea as above, but this one has Bart.

Homer Simpson Ornament by terryekennedy – $18 – A Homer Simpson tree ornament made from a dried gourd decorated with clay and paint.  Neat.

Valentine’s Day Stuff

Let’s Bee Friends Set of 10 Valentines by nerdnook – $4 – Valentines Day cards to get clueless boys to realize you don’t think of them that way.

Simpson’s Valentines I ChooChoo Choose You by velvetelvii – $3 – Another cross stitch pattern, this time to make your own Valentine’s locomotive.


Crazy Noises: The Ned-Liest Catch

“I’m surprised you don’t remember, son. It was only eight years ago.” – Homer Simpson
“Dad, thanks to television I can’t remember what happened eight minutes ago.” – Bart Simpson

In our ongoing mission to bring you only the shallowest and laziest analysis of Zombie Simpsons, we’re keeping up our Crazy Noises series for Season 22.  Since a podcast is so 2004, and video would require a flag, a fern and some folding chairs from the garage, we’ve elected to use the technology that brought the word “emoticon” to the masses: the chatroom.  Star Trek image macros are strictly forbidden, unless you have a really good reason why Captain Picard is better than Captain Kirk.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (surprisingly enough, not on “aneurystic”, which I just made up and therefore can’t be spelled wrong).

For a single sequence of events that epitomizes the sloppiness of “The Ned-Liest Catch”, we need look no further than Edna’s escape from the rubber room. First, Bart magically enters the building and shows up to help her escape. It’s not explained why he would care or how he got there. He then climbs through the ceiling to allow himself to be attacked by a possum. Once that’s over we find them in the bathroom for a series of scenes that make the possum look downright brilliant.

First, Bart has replaced Edna with a dummy. We never see him do this, nor did Krabappel notice it when she was just in the same room, it simply appears (whatever). Second, after Bart climbs out the window, we see this:

Where Are the Other Two Stories

Edna Krabappel: not that far off the ground.

Bart’s next line describes this as a “three story drop”. This is another one of those pieces of apathy or contempt that would make Michael Bay proud. They could’ve drawn a three story shot, they could’ve changed the dialogue, they did neither (whatever 2x). Third, the ladder breaks with Edna on it. Despite the fact that the previous shot made it look like she’d be about six inches off the ground if the ladder broke like that, it’s played for suspense before we see:

Oh, There They Are

(Whatever 3x)

Fourth, without saying a word, Bart runs off. This is the same Bart who, just a second before, cared so much about Krabappel that he broke into this building, left a dummy of her, and showed her the exit. All of a sudden, without so much as a stab at a joke, he abandons her completely (whatever 4x).

Fifth, Flanders arrives out of nowhere. He wasn’t summoned by Bart; he wasn’t introduced into the scene in any way. He was just there (whatever 5x).

Finally, once the impromptu date is over and Edna is back in the bathroom comes the scene that ignores everything that just happened. Bart left a dummy of Krabappel in the main room so she could sneak out, but once she’s back in the bathroom the other teachers yell at her for being in the bathroom for three hours. Well, which was it? Was there a dummy so they all thought she was still there, or did they think she was in the can? This isn’t a continuity error that requires retconning of decades old episodes or events, this is a continuity error that requires a short term memory with a capacity of less than three minutes (whatever 6x).

[Note: Dave ditched us again this week. I’m beginning to think he doesn’t like watching Zombie Simpsons.]

Charlie Sweatpants: Ready to get to it?

Mad Jon: I think that is best.

  The sooner we start, the sooner this season is in the books.

Charlie Sweatpants: Got that right.

  Where to begin?

  The poorly teased romance, the obstacle courses, the scene with all the hallucinated faces?

Mad Jon: My biggest problem, and this isn’t the first time that Zombie Simpsons has done this, although it is the worst offense, is that Ned Flanders is not a man in the sense necessary to start picking up woman on the street.

It is super convenient that the Ned’s super conservative views on relationships completely contrasts with Edna’s history, but that doesn’t mean you get to completely change both characters, especially Ned, to make the plot work.

Charlie Sweatpants: Ned’s dating life has always been something they’ve had trouble dealing with. In this case they solved that by having her literally fall into his arms . . . in that alley . . . that he just happened to be walking down.

Mad Jon: That he just happened to be walking down.

Charlie Sweatpants: The stranger thing is, Flanders and Krabappel know each other! I’ve seen them in scenes before, Rod and Todd are students at the school!

Mad Jon: Yeah, Ned is the president of the PTA or something.

Charlie Sweatpants: Well, that was a long time ago, and the writers have a, shall we say, selective memory about the past of the show.

Mad Jon: He wants to put the pal back in principal.

Charlie Sweatpants: That too.

But they made a huge scene of the introduction, and yet we know they know each other, not as a one off story in some past episode, but just based on the general structure of the show and who each of them are.

Mad Jon: All very true.

Charlie Sweatpants: I could see Ned and Krabappel hooking up. I mean, why not? They’re both single. But to pretend that they don’t know each other so you can jam in a meet-cute that wouldn’t pass muster in a January romantic comedy was pissing right in the audience’s face.

Mad Jon: Couldn’t agree more. Even if you ignore the chance encounter that rewrites what we obviously know about them, and even if you ignore the ex-husband/soccer dad manner in which Ned picks up Edna, you can’t ignore the fact that every scene with Ned and Edna was more uncomfortable and embarrassing than the one before it.

  Ned doesn’t think and feel these things, he praises Jesus and raises his kids like happy little Mormons. Even though they aren’t Mormons.

Sorry, that’s been eating me up all day.

Charlie Sweatpants: Right. Their scenes together were painfully awkward because they never really gave us a reason why they’d get together.

They moved immediately into a montage, like that’s going to explain things.

  But that wasn’t even the most absurd pairing in the episode. Why the hell did Flanders go to Moe’s with Homer? Why was Bart – BART! – alone at the house with Rod and Todd?

Mad Jon: Both excellent questions.

Charlie Sweatpants: This episode was filled with moments like that, where Bart and Homer were just instantly involved in other people’s shit. Not only was there no reason for that to happen, it’s completely against both of their characters.

Mad Jon:  Homer went out of his way to help Flanders, he even wrestled a fucking octopus.

Charlie Sweatpants: Precisely, why did Bart show up to get his enemy out of the rubber room? Why did Flanders and Krabappel knock on Homer’s door for no reason?

Why the hell were Comic Book Guy and Skinner (not to mention Joey from Aerosmith) just hanging out at Moe’s?

Mad Jon: Oh god, the Joey Kramer thing was death. He must have finally got his drumsticks back.

Charlie Sweatpants: Which led to the face hallucination thing which went on for forever and a day. Sometimes you can pull off one of those jokes where something that isn’t funny becomes funny when it goes on for a long time, but this wasn’t even trying. It was a rehash of a scene at Moe’s that shouldn’t have happened in the first place.

Mad Jon: Right, but they have to keep going or they can’t get CBG in the episode like ten times.

Also Santa’s Little Helper can do triple digit subtraction.

Charlie Sweatpants: And the jack-in-the-box thing.

So few bad ideas, so much time . . .

Mad Jon: Well put.

Also, Bart’s face, is um, indifferent to possum attacks. So he’s got that going for him too!

Charlie Sweatpants: Alright, I think the only thing I think we haven’t mentioned yet is the aneurystic way they started the episode.

  Remember when Bart used to torment the teachers by painting the parking lines close together, or creating fake candy hearts? What the hell was all that about?

Mad Jon: How much damage can one boy do in 35 seconds? Let’s find out!

Charlie Sweatpants: Plus the whole Lisa comes out, Skinner calls things off, Lisa starts talking . . . the small riot was one of the least nonsensical things in the entire scene.

Mad Jon: Riots do seem to just start themselves, even in Classic Simpsons. That doesn’t mean they are funny when they end up with children doing impromptu floor routines.

Charlie Sweatpants: Ugh. Though that scene did lead to the only joke I liked in the whole episode, Chalmers saying that they had a zero tolerance policy when things occur in front of witnesses. That I laughed at.

Mad Jon: Yes, I almost forgot that. That was a good line.

Charlie Sweatpants: Do we have to talk about the bullshit cliffhanger, or can we do what they did and just call a halt to the season unfinished?

Mad Jon: I don’t want to address that at all. I think the voting is actually a government conspiracy to locate the IP addresses of idiots so that they can use their homes for UAV target practice.

Charlie Sweatpants: That’s how they got me to vote for Lyndon LaRouche!


Compare & Contrast: Homer on Tour

“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]

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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.

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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.

Two Marges and a Fembot

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.


Dead Homer Society Xmas Gift Guide

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“Human roaches, feeding off each other’s garbage, the only thing you can’t buy here is dignity.” – Mayor Quimby 

It is the stated position of the Dead Homer Society that the fount of filthy lucre that is crappy Simpsons merchandise is a major reason behind the continued existence of Zombie Simpsons.  Merchandise generates twice as much cash as the television show, and the continued production of new episodes has been explicitly linked by people at FOX to licensing revenue.  And while one person’s purchasing decisions wouldn’t even register as a rounding error on that mountain of money, why buy things that support Zombie Simpsons, especially when they tend to be cheaply manufactured garbage? 

With that in mind, here is the official Dead Homer Society Xmas Gift Guide.  These are all homemade or repurposed Simpsons items that won’t put a penny towards next season’s production budget.  And if you’re wondering if I got all of these by searching Etsy for Simpsons stuff, you would be correct.  All prices are in US Dollars, though most items have non-US/Canada shipping available.  Isn’t this better than clock radios that can’t be plugged in and horribly deformed Krusty dolls?


5 pc Simpson Hand Painted Russian Nesting Doll – $55 – For some reason Bart, not Homer, is the largest one here, but these are actually from the Ukraine so who cares?

Homer Simpson framed original pop art, Neil Jam style – $13 – Homer is staring back at me with his dead eyes:

Neil Jam Homer

Limited edition signed numbered audrey hepburn simpson fine art print – $45 – Time for breakfast at Margie’s:

Audrey Hepburn Marge Simpson


A Homer Simpson Christmas Tree Reusable Bag/ Tote – $7 – Homer stands with a Christmas tree made of Duff on the side of this all purpose reusable bag. 

Homer Simpson Not-so-Handyman – $7 – Another Simpsons bag from the same source as the one above.  This one isn’t Christmas themed, but it would make a nice gift. 

The Simpsons/Groundskeeper Willie Mini Duct Tape Wallet – $7 – A compact wallet that just wants to know if you’ve got any grease. 

Simpsons Trifold Wallet – $12 – This wallet has plenty of space for your membership cards in the Elks, the Masons, the Communists, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance, and the Stonecutters.

Naughty Bart Simpson drawstring bag for library, toys, sheets, cotton – $9.50 – Nice little Bart Simpson bag. 

Where’s Bart Wristlet – $4 – A small Simpsons zippered pouch. 

Simpsons Coin Purse – $6.50 – That’s right, a purse! 

ipod blackberry itouch cell phone case SIMPSONS – $12 – A small Simpsons case for your small electronic device.

Simpsons Wallet – $22 – From merry old England comes this impressive use of recycled materials:

This wallet is made from recycled Simpsons caramel biscuit packets, encased in a super sturdy vinyl. Lisa, Bart and Homer also feature on the inside.

There are 5 inside pockets made from the same clear vinyl, allowing the features of the wrappers to show through.

Bridal?  Bridal.

Marge & oo Homer SIMPSONS Wedding Cake Topper Simpson 1 – $98 – If you’ve got a wedding cake that needs topping you could do a lot worse.  I don’t think they come to life and have little parties at night, but I could be wrong. 

wedding garter BART SIMPSON bridal set white – $26 – Yep, it’s a Bart Simpson garter.  I would try to catch that so hard.  (Here’s a blue one.) 

Clothing & Such

Bart Simpson inspired Flannel Blanket – $30 – Bart looks like undersea explorer Bart Simpseau here.

Adult size full apron made with vintage Simpsons bed sheet by Kiss Me Designs – $20 – That is a very vintage Simpsons bed sheet alright, and the apron looks great to boot. 

Hand Felted Wool Slippers. Can be made in 2 days. Bar(t) Simpson – $56 – That looks more like Homer in the picture, but I guess you can get whatever you want.  Holy crap do those look warm. 

Stonecutters ID Reel – $9 – I would love to walk into one of those buildings where you need to wear ID at all times with this clipped to my shirt:

Have you always wanted to belong to a secret society? Perhaps one that participates in the failure of both the metric system and the electric car? The Stonecutters might just be for you. Now shhhhut up. It’s a secret.

8 Simpsons Pinback Buttons – $7 – Some classic quotes, though I continue to wonder why people spell Jebus with two “e”s. 


The Simpson’s – Bart Simpson – Guitar Pick Earrings – $2 – Not exactly the height of fashion, but that’s not why you’d wear these, is it?

Donut stud earrings (pink sprinkles) – $20 – Mmmm, earrings. 

Cartoon Skateboard Sk8 Charm Pendant Necklace Skater Chain – $12 – With skateboard lingo, no less:

Cartoon figure and his red and green signature striped skateboard is so sick! A 1.25" metal charm pendant on a chrome-finish silver-tone 23" ballchain necklace.  He is throwing down mad skills on his board!  He’s got on a fierce-cherry-red tshirt and some blue shorts with matching blue hightops.


Child’s apron and chef’s hat set with utensils – $35 – From Australia comes this Bart Simpson apron and hat for ages 4-10. 

Skater Bart I Spy bag – $15 – A homemade toy for your tiny Simpsons fan in training. 

The Simpsons Oversized Baby or Toddler Bib – $4 – Speaking of children, how about a bib with the whole town of Springfield on it? 

BART SIMPSON KIDS/TRAVEL Pillowcase – $5 – Pretty much what it says. 

Baby Simpsons Shoes – Elastic Fit – $15 – Cute little Simpsons shoes for infants. 

12 Crayon The Simpsons Caddy Roll-Up – Crayon’s Included – $9 – On the go crayon coloring. 


Naked Homer Simpson,with added bits – $60 – A standard Simpsons doll, denuded of clothing and given that which man has always had but dolls usually lack.  A little pricy, but just imagine the look on someone’s face when their eyes first alight on Homer’s dong.

The Simpsons – Homer, Smithers, Lenny, Mr. Burns, the Ace of Clubs and the Ace of Hearts Playing Cards Organic Upcycled CAT TOYS with Feathers – $5 – Six cat toys for one low price, and they know their market:

Is your cat sick of all the time you spend watching The Simpsons when you could be feeding or petting him?
Well now your cat can have it his way with these six fun toys!

Superior Intellect (SALE) – $1 – If you’ve got to send out holiday cards, why not quote Kang & Kodos on something done on an old fashioned letter press? 

Choo Choo Choose You 8 x 10 Matted Print – $25 – Tell someone you love them with a Ralph Wiggum quote that will last. 

Simpson Corkboard – $50 – You could hang a lot of D- tests on that.

Custom Itchy & Scratchy Simpsons Coffee Table – $379 – And finally, this thing ain’t cheap, but look at it.  Just look at it:

Itchy & Scratchy Coffee Table



Quote of the Day

Homer's Barbershop Quartet5

“Well, William, I’m back.  So, how did you spend your summer?” – Principal Skinner
“I made millions in software, and lost it at the track!  Ach!” – Groundskeeper Willie


Reading Digest: The Internet Loves ‘Glee’ Edition

Homer's Barbershop Quartet4

“Hey, those girls you paid to scream are doing a great job.” – Moe
“I didn’t pay any girls to scream.” – Nigel
“Huh?!” – Moe

Earlier this week, promotional images for Zombie Simpsons take on a two year old South Park episode hit the internet.  In the aftermath, the yellow, chin-less versions of three members of the Glee cast went up on more websites than I can remember.  If you want to see them (and the guys from Flight of the Conchords, but far fewer people care about that), Simpsons Channel has you covered, but there’s no point in linking to the rest of them.  As is often the case when the signal-to-noise ratio drops, we’ve got a rather puny Reading Digest.  We do have some cupcakes that are sweeter than sweet, a cranky old fart from The Wall Street Journal, incompetent and possibly non-human radio DJs, and someone else who thinks the show needs to die. 


I bet Milhouse plays with LEGO bricks… – This appears to be a few years old, so you may have seen it before, but here’s full scale Lego models of Bart & Milhouse.  (via Springfield Springfield’s Twitter)

Lisa & Bart Simpson Cupcakes for Ten – Wow.  Just wow.  They’re almost too beautiful to eat.  Almost. 

Eleven – A clever graphic illustration of a quote from the hippie guy in “The Old Man and the Lisa”.  (Nitpicking alert: he actually says “somebody” not “someone”, but it’s not important.)  Also, Saria from Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

Top Ten Best Depictions of Satan – Flanders from the episode where he’s the devil is #5.  The Robot Devil from Futurama makes it to #3. 

Who Is John Ridley? You Won’t Find Out Here, This Is About My First Paycheck – What’s that, an extended Simpsons reference?  Yes it is:

One of the cool things about this job is it’s not very known about and it’s hard to get this job. It’s like the Stonecutters on the Simpsons; In order to get in you have to either be related to someone already doing it or save the life of someone already doing it. I got the job because my grandpa, who’s also a member of the communist party for some reason, had the job.

It goes on from there.  Bravo. 

Check These Out!Business Cards from Your Favorite Fictional Comics Companies – I swear I’ve seen some of these before, but I don’t recognize the Duff Brewery one at all.  The other ones are just as well done. 

Simpsons Sunday – Leah continues to bring the funny with an old school YouTube from the Simpsons first CD. 

Can’t Beat Maria: 8/30/10 – Remember last week when I linked to a terrible radio station quiz, Can’t Beat Kennedy Friday 08/27/10?  Well that was for a radio station called “Mix 104.1” in Boston and the “DJs” in question were “Karson & Kennedy”.  This link is to “Mix 96.5” in Houston and the “DJs” in question are “Maria & Brad”.  They have the exact same terrible Simpsons question, “The Simpsons just released season 13 on DVD. Name all 3 of Homer & Marge’s kids in that series”, as “Karson & Kennedy”, and their questions about Tiger Woods and John Travolta are identical as well.  Only “Maria” mixed it up by adding questions about Mariah Carey and Cameron Diaz in place of questions about Macauly Caulkin and Nip/Tuck.  And people wonder why massive radio chains come in for a ton of criticism.  I’m not even sure these are real people, couldn’t they just be subroutines of the DJ 3000? 

Somebody Save Us From All the Neon – Some guy at The Wall Street Journal is fed up with tennis outfits.  In a vain effort to prove he’s not some geriatric stick in the mud, he drops an enormous number of pop culture references, including a rather baffling one to Poochie:

Neon’s fine on tennis balls. Neon tennis clothing, however jjust feels like something that geezery adults (like us) have suddenly decided is cool and are anxious to make it happen again. It recalls Poochie, the sunglasses- wearing, skateboarding dog The Simpsons once used as an example of youth marketing gone amok. And you know what? It will probably work.

I’m not sure what that means, and the “jjust” is in the original.  Rupert Murdoch’s destruction of the standards and integrity of the Journal has moved one step closer to completion. 

MDM’s 100th Post: Battle of the Network Dads – A little trip down recent teevee memory lane.  Thankfully, Homer beats out Peter Griffin. 

My top 20 TV shows. – Simpsons checks in at  . . . #20?  How the mighty have fallen.  I blame Zombie Simpsons. 

Quote for the Day – Homer’s salute to hard work, perfectly quoted. 

Another person calling for the Simpsons to end. – And finally, Smithernet returns to let me finish the week the way I like to, with someone else who’s seen the light:

The writers know they could put out anything with a passing resemblance to the show we love and idiots (like Homer) would continue to lap it up.

That they do.  Read the whole thing, it comes with YouTube and references to soccer I had to look up on Wikipedia. 


Reading Digest: “Jebus, Nudity & Both Kinds of Lefties!” Edition

Dolla Dolla Bill Y'All“Ching ching.” – Reverend Lovejoy

I think I successfully crammed most of my opening into the title this week, so there isn’t much need for an introduction.  There’s some other stuff too, of course, including an unusually specific Family Guy vs. Simpsons article, some usage, and a couple of interviews. 


Ned Flanders disapproves – On console first person shooter games I always have to reverse the look controls vertically, but I’ve never even looked to see if you can swap move/look from the left stick to the right.  But I’m not left handed, so what do I know?

Razer Creates Mouse For Lefties – But on the PC you can now game with either hand. 

History’s Greatest Monster – The great majority of prominent liberals here in America want the health care bill passed.  Some, however, do not; and of those a few have a hard time with Simpsons references. 

‘Fresh Air’ Reflects: Actress Nancy Cartwright – This is more than two years old, and I’ve only had a chance to listen to the first half so far, but it was interesting.  (via San Diego City College Acting for Radio/Voiceover)

Regarding the usage of “boourns” – This is a rant against improper usage of Hans Moleman’s confusing praise of A Burns for All Seasons.  I’m sympathetic to the argument here, which is that “boo-urns” is literally a term of praise, not one of derision which is how it’s commonly used.  However, I think the subtler and more fun way to use it as fake praise that belittles idiots who like crappy things.  To take a recent example, I’d say “boo-urns” to a movie like Transformers 2.  (Side note: I took two of my nephews to see that boring ass movie, the 11 year old didn’t like it that much, the 9 year old thought it was great.  That seems about right.) 

UK election: Most Brits want online vote – If there are any aspiring British political bloggers out there, may I suggest “Moe Szyslak” as your on-line handle?  According to one survey one in six Britons thinks he’s already a political blogger.  That’s a built in audience!  (via Citizens Online)

Corey – A remembrance of Corey Haim that explicitly links him to The Simpsons.  Now there’s only seven of them.

A question for Hepworth, Ellen and music journalists in general – This and the next two links are peas in a pod of fun Simpsons comment usage.  Here discussing music journalism:

For some reason – perhaps this was quoted on this very blog recently, I’m not sure – I’m put in mind of that street philosopher, Homer Simpson.

"You people have stood in my way long enough. I’m going to clown college!"

Excellent usage.

sick slowroll @ 2010 world cup of Poker – Here complaining about poker (or something):

lololol, that’s some weird logic lol. Like Homer Simpson saying someone who fell down a well is a real hero.

Not a quote, but still quite apt. 

Aldermen call for review of meter plan – And finally (there’s no direct link to the comment, it’s the first one though), this is a swing and a miss:

Even Homer Simpson would say Dough to this!

Mmmm, dough. 

‘Hubble 3D': A spectacular look at the universe – I have no seen this particular movie, but IMAX 3D is pretty much always fun.  This probably would’ve made me giggle in the theater:

The scenes of the astronauts walking in space, performing delicate repair work while wearing what amounts to oven mitts on their hands, has a certain suspense. Narrator Leonardo DiCaprio works hard — maybe a little too hard — to muster up boyish wonder, though all the talk about tiny screws brings to mind the "Simpsons" episode where NASA shoots "blue-collar slob" Homer into space because the public has become bored with scientific minutia.

Vatican praises The Simpsons – Want to know why an institution as entrenched and well established as the Catholic Church can praise the show now?  It’s because Zombie Simpsons is tepid horseshit, that’s why:

I’m not a huge fan of The Simpsons, but I just watched a episode about Bart going to Catholic school called “The Father, the Son, and the Holy Guest Star.” [S16E21] In the classic Simpsons’ satire, Bart & Homer become Catholic while Protestant Marge tries to bring them back. WOW! A great episode to use with high school discussion groups.

He’s not a big fan of the show, but refers to “classic Simpsons satire” as a positive, all while ignoring the widespread belief that the Season 16 incarnation of the show was anything but “classic”.  Head spinning.  It goes on to mention that Vatican newspaper article which the church used to shake me down for eight Euros.  The guy who wrote the above is . . . well, I’ll let his about statement speak for itself:

I’m a 30+ year old (recently) former Catholic seminarian discerning the Lord’s call for my life.

That first statement tells you everything you need to know, doesn’t it?  He doesn’t want to give his exact age (“30+”), but he adds in “recently” to let you know that he’s not some deceptive 37 or 38 year old passing himself off as just “30+”.  (Organized Religion: Profiting From Your Fear of Death since 4,000 B.C.)  I don’t want to be too harsh, however, former Catholic seminarians are guys for whom I have a lot of sympathy.  My dad spent most of his 20s in seminary.  When he finally bailed, despite the fact that he’d been their unpaid employee for six years, the only thing they did was try to guilt him into coughing up money for room and board.  So good luck, man.  Trust me when I say the farther away from that organization you get, the better off you’ll be.  And if there is a god, he’s nowhere near them. 

Executive producer and comedian discuss new Comedy Central show – Simpsons alum David M. Stern’s new show Ugly Americans premiered this week.  I haven’t had a chance to watch it yet (though I plan to do so), but here’s an interview with him and one of the voice actors. 

Hank Azaria is latest actor to sign up for new Smurfs movie – The link title tells you what you need to know. 

Homer Simpson Is Not Alone: Trusting in TV – When a Jebus blog whose tagline reads “Looking forward to the Millennial rule of the Kingdom of God” (translation: I want the world to end) cites Homer Simpson, can the apocalypse be long behind?  Only if you consider 4.5 billion years a long time. 

CAMBRIDGE BEAT – A columnist posts her e-mail to speed the flow of angry complaints, and she does so with excellent usage:

Your opinion may not mean much to me, but as Homer Simpson once said, “Just because I don’t care, doesn’t mean I don’t understand.”

Shawn Maxwell Quartet: Maxwell’s House (2010) – Jazz saxophonist Shawn Maxwell has a new album, it contains a song called “7-G”.  You can listen to a nice, lengthy sample at the link.  (via All About Jazz)

THE SIMPSONS BART SIMPSON PLUSH VINTAGE DOLL TOY – This is a very weird looking Bart doll for sale on eBay.  His pants come up to his armpits and he has no shirt, it’s just odd. 

The Simpsons vs. Rhode Island (sort of) – This is from the same guy who wrote that recap of “Mother Simpson” last week.  I haven’t got much to add.  I basically agree with his conclusion, but it isn’t the way I usually approach questions like this.  I will say that I think “Road to Rhode Island” is a very good Family Guy episode, but it isn’t the kind of super-rich comedy “Mother Simpson” is. 

Jackson 5 Victory Tour Promo – This link has audio for “Lisa It’s Your Birthday”, but the real reason to click is the sweet picture of the Jackson siblings (looks like early 80s) all perched atop sports cars. 

Marge Simpson drawing naked on a Playboy chair – And finally, the YouTube below is exactly what it says it is.  Not only is it artistically impressive, it’s also a good – ahem – illustration of why I found it so endlessly frustrating when everyone kept writing that Marge was “posing” nude.  She’s a cartoon, she cannot “pose”, she can only be drawn:


Reading Digest: Kickass Fan Art Edition

Homer's Barbershop Quartet3

“Your teenage son or daughter will think this wishbone necklace is really ‘cool’.” – Marge Simpson
“I doubt my son or daughter is that stupid.” – Man

Woo-hoo!  We’re less than nineteen hours away from my Simpsons/beer marathon.  (If you haven’t already voted you can do so in the poll at right.  It’s pretty close right now.)  In the meantime we’ve got lots and lots of fan art this week; there’s a morbid but fun painting, an elaborate and realistic looking Mr. Burns image, and an embroidered Ralph Wiggum . . . as Idaho!  Plus we’ve got life imitating Homer’s turn as an airline pilot, a slew of pictures from the Simpsons area at Universal Studios Hollywood, an Independent Thought Alarm at Hulu, plenty of excellent usage, and frontal nudity! 


Cherry Valley Lodge’s CoCo Key park allows tropical frolicking in February – This is about a trip to an indoor water park.  Here’s the water slide part:

Then, flying along in the dark, I recalled cartoon character Homer Simpson — too fat to fit through the tube — getting stuck in just such a place. A few seconds later, I was shooting out the bottom, laughing and wanting to do it again.

That’s more citation than usage, but it’s still nice to see.

Exclusive: ‘Castle’ spoofs NBC’s Jay/Conan ruckus… and kills [spoiler alert] in the process! – This is mostly boring Hollywood promotional dreck posing as news but at the end we learn that Yeardley Smith will be a guest star on the April 26th episode. 

I’m Idaho! – Awesome piece of fan art here.  It’s an embroidered Ralph as he appeared at the geography pageant.  This is as fan-fugu-tastic as fan art comes. 

Homer Simpson’s Guide to Software Development – Using two of Homer’s truisms to remind oneself that complex problems need not have complex solutions, especially when it comes to programming. 

Eating salad at the Rod and Gun Club banquet – It’s you don’t “win” friends with salad, but it’s still decent usage. 

"What ‘The Simpsons’ pulled off, ‘Cold Souls’ could not." – Movie Review – This is a review of that movie where Paul Giamatti has his soul extracted.  We’ve mentioned it a couple of times before because lots of people drew the connection between it and “Bart Sells His Soul”.  This review is all about that. 

‘Fake pilot’ arrested moments before take-off – “As a change of pace I’m gonna to let you do most of the work, I think you’re ready for it, Alan.”

PAUSE FOR THE KAWS – Enjoyably morbid rendition of the family with skull heads.  Here’s a little bit of background.  If you put “KAWS SIMPSONS” into Google Images you’ll get even more. 

The Simpsons: Stealing Homer’s Change – Commenter Hoang’s site has Hulu video of Bart’s Raiders of the Lost Ark opening.  Sweet.

Hey Hey! Two Thumbs Down! – Does the new post-surgery and largely chin-less Roger Ebert look like Krusty?  Actually, yeah, he kinda does. 

Facebook: Or How I Learned to Start Worrying and Forget the Marketed Social Network – This is a discussion of the ways Facebook pressures people not to leave and it involves the Movementarians.  The Simpsons facts are slightly off (Marge wasn’t in the theater) but this is too awesome not to quote:

It is soon discovered that no one finds themselves able to leave, each persuaded by the Movementarians to stay and remain a part of the community. Without pressure from other members, I realize that the Simpson family wouldn’t have remained a part of the cult or the communal labor the Movementarians gained from them as a benefit. In the same way, the users of Facebook would not stick with the site if there were no social pressure or the perceived personal benefit of an easily accessible community.

There’s no quote so this is more a reference than usage, but it is excellent. 

10,000 Page Views!!! – This is a collection of random internet humor.  Scroll to the bottom for an animated .gif of Bart’s chili hat.  The caption is slightly off (it’s “mad” not “upset”), but close enough. 

The Simpsons Show, Santa Fe, February 13, 2010 – I’m pretty sure I mentioned this awhile ago, but now you can see photos of it.  Most of the pictures are people you don’t know smiling at the camera, but some of them contain neat looking Simpsons art. 

Adventure to Universal Studios Hollywood – A couple of people went to Universal Studios and took a lot of pictures, mainly of the of the Simpsons ride and its environs.  Cool. 

Mr. Burns bust – I’m generally not a big fan of those creepy looking images of what Simpsons characters would look like in real life, but this one of Mr. Burns is awesome.  He’s got real eyes, liver spots, and his bony fingers are tented.  Really, really well done.  Dare I call it . . . excellent?  (via internettoday). 

TV’s ‘The Simpsons’ are part black now – If you get upset by open racism you probably shouldn’t click this link.  It goes to a white supremacist message board where a bunch of morons stained their tighty-whities brown over “The Color Yellow”.  It’s not often you’ll see me say something nice about Zombie Simpsons, but at least it can piss of self righteous assholes like these.  Of course, anything that doesn’t have a sheet over it pisses these people off, so it’s not a high bar.  But still, it’s nice to see them feel the world slip away from them a little bit more. 

These races would be funny if it wasn’t so tragic – Small time Texas office holders might not be the best people in the world?  I’m shocked.  Excellent usage, though. 

Today’s Pop Five: aestrap’s favorite TV bars – Moe’s comes in at #5.  “Where you can drink your misery away . . .”

What Not to Say: Six Surefire Ways to Get Lectured by Internet Commenters – In the midst of an excellent discussion of the pitfalls and pratfalls of writing on-line we get this excellent usage:

4. Get a detail about the world of Star Trek/Star Wars/Avatar wrong.

“Um, hello? The tauntaun’s sole appearance in the Star Wars franchise was in The Empire Strikes Back, not Return of the Jedi as you erroneously claim.”

“In your misguided attempt to pillory the Na’avi language, you neglected to take into account that they lack both the word for ‘murder’ and the pluperfect subjunctive tense.”

“In episode 2F09 when Itchy plays Scratchy’s skeleton like a xylophone, he strikes the same rib twice in succession, yet he produces two clearly different tones. I mean, what are we to believe, that this is some sort of a magic xylophone or something? Boy, I really hope somebody got fired for that blunder.”

There’s even art of the nerds.  Excellent usage. 

The 20 Worst Bootlegs – These are indeed some epically bad pieces of bootleg merchandise.  There’s a couple of Simpsons items, though the last one just has the name on it, the art looks like a rejected character concept for someone’s high school flash project. 

Simpsons did it – A complaint/lament about the recycled nature of words.  Meh.  (Though it does contain some interesting etymology for “D’oh”.) 

YEP, THAT’S A BURN. – I couldn’t care less about Jennifer Lopez, but any time one of the corporate cogs at Hulu triggers an Independent Thought Alarm it’s excellent usage (with video). 

Heard on the Hill: Best Floor Speech Ever – A US Representative from Illinois is a fan of the show.  He even gave a little floor speech praising it.  That’s all well and good, but this is the kind of weasely cop out one expects from obscure House members:

So where does Quigley weigh in on the heated debate among “Simpsons” fans over whether the animated sitcom is past its heyday?

“It’s still my favorite show,” Quigley says. “I guess, overall, earlier was a little better. But there are some real gems that still pop up.”

Take a stand! 

Homer Simpson [NSFW] – You’ll have to click twice (once on the link and again on the image link at the top of the page) because this indeed involves a picture of a naked lady, but her torso does look like Homer Simpson (eye boobs!). 

The Simpsons: 20 Years, the Complete Twentieth Season – And finally I get to end the way I like, with someone who agrees with us:

Sadly, far from continuing to tap into the cultural zeitgeist, the show lost its way sometime early last decade and started to rely on storylines that sought to see what stupid antics Homer could get up to each week. Instead of being a high water mark for social satire and a funny little show about a dysfunctional yellow family, we saw Homer grow into a buffoonish caricature of his former self. Sure, he’s always been dumb—but did he need to become this dumb? The twentieth season shows just how far the series—and, by extension, animated comedy in general—has fallen;

I’ve always hated the word “zeitgeist” (it’s a little too proactive and paradigm-y for me), but other than that yes to all of the above.  Click on the link for a brilliant rundown of examples of great humor from The Simpsons that Zombie Simpsons has never even managed to approach. 


Abbey Roads

This “Abbey Road” inspired commercial for the Beatles version of Rock Band was broadcast relentlessly during football yesterday:

That reminded me that last month there was another uptick in Beatles nostalgia because it was the 40th anniversary of the cover photo for “Abbey Road”.  As a result the were lots of blog posts and other internet errata talking about it.  Particularly, there were lots of compilations (like this one) of various parody and homage images.  This includes a Simpsons rendering of it originally produced for Rolling Stone to promote the 14th season.  I get that the Rolling Stone thing is cute, it’s easy to find on-line and it fits in with all the other versions of that picture people have done over the years.

However, and chalk this up to my general Simpsons crankiness if you must, I can’t be the only one who remembers that The Simpsons already did an Abbey Road cover parody.  And it wasn’t some stupid promotional stunt, it was, you know, part of an episode.  I’m referring, of course, to the second album by The Be Sharps, “Bigger Then Jesus”:

On the left: part of what made people love The Simpsons.  On the right: Shameless self promotion for a show living off its past.

On the left: part of what made people love The Simpsons. On the right: shameless self promotion for a show living off its past.

Incidentally, and though he may or may not have thought he actually was Jesus, John Lennon never said the Beatles were “bigger” than Jesus.  He said the Beatles were “more popular” than Jesus in England.  Which was true then and may still be true now.  That didn’t stop religious types from flipping their shit, of course.  But it deserves mention.


Quote of the Day


“Uh Barney, how did you join the group?” – Reporter

“They found me on the mens’ room floor.” – Barney Gumble

“Hahahahahaha!” – Reporters


Michael Shermer & Marge Simpson FTW

“Ned, there’s an oil stain the parking lot that looks just like St. Barnabas.” – Rev. Lovejoy
“Oh my stars!” – Ned Flanders

It is, and always has been, easy to make a buck by taking advantage of people’s beliefs.  This is something the Simpsons was long fond of mocking, from low grade hucksterism like Princess Opal to high grade hucksterism like organized Christianity.  The video below is a real world application of that same principal.

This is a talk given by a guy named Michael Shermer at the TED conference in 2006.  He gives a little explanation of skeptical thinking and then has some fun with stupid things that people believe, like seeing faces on Mars and hearing Satanic verses in Led Zepplin’s “Stairway to Heaven”.  Of interest to us is a water stain in Clearwater, Florida that people thought looked like the Virgin Mary.  (It was caused by the interaction of sprinklers and palm trees.)  Shermer points out that it just as easily looks like Marge.

This definitely qualifies as excellent usage.  I enjoyed the entire video, but if you’re pressed for time the part with Marge starts at about 8:20 and Our Lady of Evergreen Terrace makes her appearance at the 9:00 mark.

Found via Lalangue.


Quote of the Day

Homer's Barbershop Quartet2

“Wait til I tell Marge.” – Homer Simpson

“Oh yes, Bouffant Betty.  Well I would prefer we kept your marriage a secret.  You see, a lot of women are going to want to have sex with you, and, ah, we want them to think they can.” – Nigel

“Well, if I explain it to Marge that way I’m sure she’ll understand.” – Homer Simpson

“C’mon honey, it’ll only be until we finish our tour of Sweden.” – Homer Simpson


Simpsons stamps to make life worthwhile

“The airplane’s upside down.” – Homer Simpson

Downtrodden philatelists rejoice – the United States Postal Service has heard your desperate, needy pleas and in an act of noblesse oblige, will finally loose a series of Simpsons-themed stamps for public comsumption. In conjunction with the Fox marketing machine, these stamps are obviously intended to be another salvo in what is sure to be a clusterfuck of a Simpsons 20th anniversary media onslaught later this year.

The 44-cent first class stamps will be previewed on April 9th; no word yet as to when they’ll be released into nerds’ greedy, greasy mitts. If we’re lucky, maybe we’ll even get an episode where the stamps are featured in some dreadful cross-promotional plot. Hey, we can dream, can’t we?

Via Reuters.


Still Shitty

“Are we hot?” – Homer Simpson
“We are not.” – Principal Skinner

I was a little worried that the HD thing (and the attendant promotion) might give Zombie Simpsons a nice ratings number.  My fears were unfounded:

While Take My Wife [sic], Please did not break new lows, it received a total of 6.82 million viewers. It is the third least watched episode of the season but the best ratings since November, which is an improvement at least.

Being the best since November isn’t much of an accomplishment since there have only been two episodes in that time and as recently as two years ago this show was routinely pulling two million more viewers.  
This was only the tenth episode of the season so if they’re going to get to twenty there ought to be a lot of new ones coming relatively soon.  They aren’t bothering to compete with the Oscars next Sunday, but there’s already one scheduled for March 1st.  Starting from March 1st there are thirteen Sundays until Memorial Day Weekend.  If they’re going to get to twenty that means that there’s a maximum of three Sundays unpolluted by Zombie Simpsons between now and then. 
Brace yourselves and hope for low ratings.  


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