“Wow, and original Malibu Stacy from 1958!” – Lisa Simpson
“Yeah, they took her off the market after some kid put both his eyes out.” – Swap Meet Guy
“Oh, my.” – Lisa Simpson
Posts Tagged ‘Homer’s Barbershop Quartet
“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!
“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.
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.
“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:
Thanks to everyone who voted.