“Wow, I’ll take that ring.” – Homer Simpson
“Yes, sir. And how will you be paying for it?” – The Family Jewels Salesman
“I don’t know.” – Homer Simpson
“There certainly are a lot of stains on the ceiling.” – Marge Bouvier
“Marge, I’m sorry. I wish I could afford a better place.” – Homer Simpson
“Homer, I’d be lying if I said that this is how I pictured my wedding day. But you are how I pictured my husband.” – Marge Bouvier
“I am?” – Homer Simpson
“Well, you may not look like Ted Bessell, but you’re just as nice.” – Marge Simpson
A cultural touchstone as broadly known and deeply loved as The Simpsons is bound to bring people together, and someone wearing small pigs for cufflinks at their wedding probably comes across my screen twice a year or so. But this week, we have a happily married couple that was brought together because one of them got a Stonecutter tattoo, and the other Googled “Stonecutter tattoos”. The story just gets more fun from there. Truly we live in the future, and The Simpsons makes it a better one than it otherwise would be.
(Oh, and we’ve also got more Bartkira, a couple people who agree with us, some excellent usage, a Flanders band, a couple of lists, and all the other usual stuff.)
My Simpsons Destiny – A few years back, I used to regularly link to a blogger who did these neat Simpsons embroideries. Well, she’s back with one of the greatest Simpsons fan stories ever and it is Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week:
Last summer I received an email alert that someone had commented on my blog. Since I abandoned it 3 years ago I was pretty surprised. Apparently he did a Google search for Stonecutters tattoos, saw mine and said to himself “I must know this woman immediately!” and left a comment. And that’s how it began. Just some random Google search and BAM, life changer.
I mean it wasn’t just the Simpsons that made us realize we were soulmates, there were many other weird coincidences that were uncovered later. But the Simpsons was most definitely the catalyst for us meeting each other while he lived in Chicago at the time and I was in Kansas. He flew down last August to meet me in person and proposed. …with an onion ring!
Yes, you can see a picture of the engagement onion. And, yes, there is a “Whale of a Wife” cake. And yes, there’s a picture of the Stonecutters tattoo that started it all. Congratulations, Amanda!
Joke Origins: I wish I could retire / The State Hospital – Our friends over at Flim Springfield have an interesting theory in regards to Homer’s dream of retirement from “Marge Gets a Job”, namely that it might have been inspired by a piece of 1960s installation art set in a mental institute. Highly worth the read.
Okilly Dokilly: Metal with a Ned-edge – And because Flim Springfield was on a roll this week, I’m pretty sure they’re the ones who got the Ned Flanders metal band to go moderately viral:
Some friends in our Phoenix music community just started a Simpsons themed band, Okilly Dokilly. I think you can tell by their promo picture what they’re aiming for…
The Simpsons Best Moments – Reader Steve sends in a link to a Facebook page that indeed has some of the show’s best moments. “Core Explosion Repent Sins” always cracks me up.
My (possibly) favorite episode of The Simpsons: “I Love Lisa” – It’s a fine choice:
Finally, on a more subjective note, I just feel like “I Love Lisa” is a perfectly structured, perfectly paced, perfectly plotted episode in which everything comes together more perfectly than any I can remember—the dialog, the jokes, the story, the characters, the emotions. Like “Marge vs. the Monorail”, “I Love Lisa” doesn’t have a B plot, but I feel like there’s more to this episode. I never get to the end of this one and think, “Oh, that’s it? It’s already ending?”
John Baird’s post-politics Twitter feed is a bizarre menagerie of cat photos, Simpsons references – Good for him, I guess?:
The Ottawa MP abruptly resigned from cabinet last February, and stepped down as an MP the following month. Widely seen as one of the top contenders for power within the Conservative Party, Baird is now an advisor to Barrick Gold, and has joined the board of Canadian Pacific Railway.
The most striking detail is the sheer tonnage of cat images: Dozens of retweeted videos and animated gifs depicting cats stretching, napping or adorably swatting at things.
Typical for many who were in their 20s during the 1990s, Baird is also a devoted Simpsons fan, posting regular references and in-jokes from the series.
S01 E09 – Life on the Fast Lane – That does put a different perspective on things:
Dang. This is a heavy episode. I don’t remember it hitting so hard as a kid. I assume that would have something to do with the fact that I haven’t seen this episode since I’ve been married. Well, let’s talk about marital infidelity everyone!
Top Ten Simpsons Episodes – Part Two – This completes a list I linked back in June. No Zombie Simpsons and “Homer Badman” at the top spot, which is both a solid choice and one I don’t see at the top of these lists too often.
Eye On Springfield with Dustie Pitstick of Duderus – Good way to put it:
My backup favorite is Lenny. As I’ve grown older I’ve watched him in my mind develop from Homer’s drinking buddy into this beautiful parody of the modern “guy’s guy”. He’s always got a smile on his face and a beer in his hand, but he’s secretly facing some horrible misfortune at every turn.
Milhouse – Bartkira – Why, he’s almost a military strongman.
If anyone wants me, I’ll be in my room. – And here’s some Duffman Bartkira.
Top 8 Grown-Up TV Cartoons – I think we all know what comes in at #1 here.
The Unsung Heroes of Hollywood: Alex Rocco – A little more appreciation for Roger Meyers Jr.
The Occasional New Post After a Few Months Delay… – Excellent usage:
And then I seemed to think that my blogging delay was getting too long for just a casual post to be my return and that I should come back with a REALLY deserving post. And then I’d built up the expectations of it and so never got around to actually writing it- until now. (“It’s going to be better than 10 Super-Bowls! I don’t want to oversell it… judge for yourselves!”- Yes. This post is Poochey… and that’s okay.)
Review: When the world becomes Springfield – A very positive review of the Indiana version of the play.
Review: The Simpsons Hit & Run – The death of console memory cards has been a boon to humanity:
I used to play this game for hours, along with my brother who did the harder missions. We eventually got 100% and because we were so paranoid that our data was going to be lost from our PS2 memory card, we transferred it onto two different memory cards just to be safe. It was one of those games that we would go back and play again from the start and still have so much enjoyment from.
Punch them! – Heh. (The black and white is a nice touch.)
At its peak, the show was incredibly sophisticated, working at a level that appealed to children and adults alike. Episodes featured slapstick, visual gags, incredibly sly wordplay, and cultural references. Now, in its Abe Simpson-like dotage, the show’s jokes seem obvious, the wordplay more crass, and the references less subtle. This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the problems afflicting the fine folk of Springfield.
Memories of Springfield, Part 1 – And finishing up:
The majority of these episodes, barring only a few exceptions, were extremely well-written and packed practically beginning to end with moments that were any to all of the following: clever, perfectly-timed, hilarious, and infinitely quotable. In the seasons that followed, due to the exodus of the show’s best writers, and having apparently run out of good story ideas, the episode plots became fragmented and outlandish, and the attempts at humour lacking in any real wit, instead being almost entirely reliant on sight gags. Episodes went from generating LOLs per minute to eliciting no more than a chuckle or two in the entire half hour. The show has never since regained its former glory.
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.
“Is Mom gonna have another baby, Dad?” – Lisa Simpson
“Maybe.” – Homer Simpson
Apologies for the lack of Compare & Contrast, Reading Digest, and general radio silence around these parts the last couple of days. My Dad went in for a long planned surgery yesterday (which went fine), but between that, work, and the Shearer kerfuffle, regular blogging fell down a hole without even the benefit of Leonard’s carcass to land on.
In terms of actual Simpsons news, there have been two developments of note. The first is Shearer related, though it needs to be kept in context. Good ol’ CNN Money reports:
For all “The Simpsons” fans concerned that a Mr. Burns voiced by Harry Shearer has spent his last days in Springfield, the voice actor has two words for you: “stay tuned.”
This was the response Shearer had Friday when asked by CNN Money if there was a possibility that he could return.
Shearer had no other comment, other than to reference a tweet from “Simpsons” producer James L. Brooks. On Thursday afternoon, Brooks wrote, “Hey, we tried. We’re still trying. Harry, no kidding, let’s talk.”
Does this mean anything? Short answer, yes with an if: if Shearer or FOX found the uproar over his departure (I even heard a segment about it on BBC World Service) so disruptive that one of them caved on some previously stuck negotiating point, then maybe he’ll be back.
Long answer, no with a but: but this is third hand information glimpsed through the notoriously dirty lens of CNN. It implies that they’re still talking, but that’s all it does. It doesn’t change the fact that Shearer’s only public statement to date was that he seemed to be done. Of course, even that is open to interpretation since all he really did was quote a letter from a lawyer and thank people for their support. Jean was (publicly, at least) taking it seriously, but even that could be posturing.
So, what do we actually know? As always in these situations: very little. Shearer saying “stay tuned” certainly moves the needle a little bit back towards “he isn’t leaving”, but since it was never even close to definitively pointed at “he’s gone”, that doesn’t say much. Until we get either a) a definitive statement that Shearer has signed and is returning, or b) an announcement of new voice actors for some or all of his characters, we can’t know for sure. Whatever happens, the substantive conversations will take place well out of public view, so it’s best to treat all non-definitive news as suspect until proven otherwise.
The second piece of news, which was absent from every single renewal article I came across, is from an interview Jean gave with The Hollywood Reporter:
Do you think this opens the door for other cast? I know that they’ve signed for two more seasons but given the show’s track record do you think that there’s concern?
It’s a really different issue. They are signed for a four-year contract [with] two-year options on Fox.
So at this point Fox has options for seasons 29 and 30?
It turns out that there will be no negotiations due in October of 2016, because the most recent renewal wasn’t just for two more production runs, it was for two more production runs with a FOX option for two more after that.
In addition to being further evidence of the incompetence and incuriosity of the entertainment press (a network option for two more years isn’t a minor detail), this overlooked nugget means that, if FOX wants it, the show will be on until 2019 at the least. Assuming twenty-two episode production runs for the option, that would bring the show to 669 episodes. As a reminder of how long Zombie Simpsons has been on, “Behind the Laughter” (the Season 11 finale) was episode #248.
Whether or not Harry Shearer will be there for all that, I have no idea.
“I was twenty-four years old with a beautiful girlfriend and a job with a future. . . . Hey, you’re supposed to be listening to my story!” – Homer Simpson
“I thought it was over. You had a problem turning blades, you overcame it, the feel good story of the year.” – Bart Simpson
So the 25th anniversary of “Bart the Genius” was this week, which gave lots of people another chance to go back and talk about all the things the show has done. Most notably, this included internet pop culture factory The A.V. Club, which had a “Simpsons Week“. We’ve got a few of their articles linked below as well as a bunch more, plus the usual assortment of usage, fan made stuff, and weird stories from foreign countries.
10 Simpsons from the last 10 seasons that aren’t the… Worst. Episodes. Ever. – I’ll admit that part of the reason I’m linking this here is that it mentions us (thanks for the extra few thousand pageviews!). More importantly, however, are the pretzel like word-knots needed to in any way shape or form defend Zombie Simpsons. Observe:
Placed one episode after the other, 220-plus hours of Simpsons episodes doesn’t look like a steady rise through the early years, a pleasant plateau from seasons six through 10, and then a precipitous drop. Viewed in this context, with the filters of nostalgia and goosed-up memories removed, The Simpsons maintains a remarkable consistency through its 25 years on the air. Yes, it’s produced a few genuine clunkers over the years, but between the truly great moments and the truly regrettable ones, there’s a midrange of Simpsons episodes that any other series would be proud to claim.
That’s the opening paragraph. It would seem to not agree with the third one:
To admit that the “good” version of The Simpsons couldn’t last for 26 seasons is to admit that the greatest TV show ever made is also just another TV show. The Simpsons was so transcendently good for so long, but that doesn’t mean it’s immune to the vagaries of inspiration and production that every other show deals with.
So, wait, where’s the twenty-five years of “remarkable consistency” if it was “transcendently good for so long” before falling victim to the same forces that destroy all television shows? It can be consistent, or it can be great and then fall apart, hard to see how it can be both. Here’s the kicker, the last sentence of that paragraph:
Quality be damned, the show remains a cultural force.
Under all the verbiage, there remains no denying that the show that’s on now isn’t the same one that started all those years ago.
What’s your favorite Simpsons quote? – For further evidence, here’s nineteen A.V. Club people picking their favorite quote. Eighteen of them pick from a non-Zombie Simpsons season (including the author of “10 Episodes” link above). The one dissenter writes this:
I’m going to court controversy—and possibly incite a whacking stick-wielding mob—but my choice comes from an episode that aired within the last 10 years. “Papa Don’t Leech,” from the 19th season, is not, by any conceivable measure of quality, a good episode of The Simpsons. Its sins are various—the opening dream sequence of Homer gleefully murdering Abe is bad, but that’s nothing compared to the way the episode craps on the show’s past by unnecessarily revisiting country music seductress Lurleen Lumpkin, from the classic “Colonel Homer.”
You’ve got to pick through a lot of shit to find something worthwhile in Zombie Simpsons. The same cannot be said of The Simpsons.
The irrational rightness of The Simpsons – Our old friend Alec-Nevala Lee on the show’s inexplicable weirdness:
What I’d like to highlight here is a quality that doesn’t get mentioned often enough: the show’s underlying strangeness. Looking back at the golden years of the series, it’s striking how many lines, scenes, and images are both inexplicable and totally right. They’re often tangential beats that go on longer than seem comedically possible—not just the rake gag from “Cape Feare,” but Mr. Burns laughing over the crippled Irishman in “Last Exit to Springfield,” or Homer twiddling his thumbs in “Bart’s Comet.” They’re the comedic version of what Donald Richie, in his discussion of Kurosawa, calls “the irrational rightness of an apparently gratuitous image in its proper place,” and as Richie points out, they’re often the things we remember.
The Simpsons: The Genius of “Bart the Genius” After 25 Years – Den of Geek with a tremendous write up of “Bart the Genius”. A sample:
The episode crystallized the Simpsons vision. The writers turned intelligence and authority on its head. They ridiculed open education and peppered it with subversion. Left, right and center are all off-kilter in Springfield. Blue noses were tweaked and ratting was rewarded. Bart runs bare-assed across the family living room.
Top 5 Kubrick References in ‘The Simpsons’ – With no Zombie Simpsons whatsoever.
On Endings – Very true:
The truly sad thing about these endings is that they can all be done so well, yet many shows never get a chance to try them, since it is far easier to milk a show until it stops paying, then cancel it abruptly. If The Simpsons had ended when it seemed appropriate to wrap it up, a lot of money would have been lost.
Judd Apatow’s ‘Simpsons’ Episode — Season 26 Interview With Writer – Jean and Apatow doing a short publicity interview. I’d kinda like to read this:
JEAN | I actually had a Golden Girls [spec script]. … It was one where Dorothy had an auto accident with Mother Teresa and everyone hated Dorothy.
APATOW | Did you get the job?
JEAN | No, they hated it. [Laughs]
Springfield Stitches – Excellent fan made versions of Ralph not getting any valentines and Kirk van Houten’s master pictionary skills. Some are even for sale if you click through.
Here’s the unfinished first line of paintings at about 97% complete all around and many more to come soon on Etsy! – The devilish look on Bart’s face is great.
Russian Man to Build Copy of ‘The Simpsons’ House in Moscow Region – That’s a much better headline than “Man to Build House”.
This guy recorded alternate versions of your favorite TV theme songs, and they’re incredible – Here’s the Simpsons one:
Find Your Somate, Homer – Heh:
Sometimes, though, the curtain gets pulled back, and great search terms come through. Today, I was treated to this:
“Find your somate, Homer.”
This was either a typo (“find your soulmate, Homer” are the immortal words of Johnny Cash, in his guise as Space Coyote, to Homer Simpson) or an earnest call for Homer Simpson to manifest in the physical world.
What’s Marge Simpson’s problem? – Never thought of it like this:
The thing that bothers me is that in many previous episodes, Marge has consistently stood by Homer no matter how stupid he was, but in this episode, Marge is always against Homer and is constantly locking horns with him over religion. What I’m wondering is, in “Homer the Heretic”, why does Marge get so easily flared up over religion? In every episode where the family goes to church, Marge always has to play the role of the traffic cop, rushing the entire family to go to church looking clean.
Seems pretty Marge like to me for her to pray (“he just likes to sleep in on Sundays”), invite Reverend Lovejoy over, and just keep going back, but that’s just me.
Simpson And Delilah – Some Season 2 love.
Treehouse Of Horror – And some more.
Ript Apparel: Future City, Action Packed 1st Issue!, and Police Dept. of Springfield – Wink wink, indeed.
Wade Boggs — 107 Beers – Pitt the Elder!
Simpsons did it: Springfield’s denizens coming to Minecraft for Xbox – The headline tells you pretty much everything you need to know, but click through and try to count all the references in the actual article. I dare you.
The Simpsons Serves Up a Stinker – Man, people really didn’t like that alien episode.
I agree: You can’t really compare The Simpsons to Family Guy on television. They’re different shows and comparing those two would be like comparing cats to dogs. Whichever you like best is your own opinion. But, their mobile games… Those I can compare.
If You Can Do The Bartman, You’re Bad Like Michael Jackson – A history of the show’s early musical success.
Orange juice – Heh.
Why ‘The Simpsons’? – The show remains very useful:
do worry that one day “The Simpsons” will be completely out of date and every year I find fewer students who are able to fill in “how does this episode end?” questions. However, I still get good reception from students on the whole. I’ve had older students who said before class they avoided the show because it was “trashy” but really enjoyed the clips. That being said, most of my clips are from the first eight seasons when the show was focused on the characters much more than the newer episodes are.
Stick with those and you’ll be okay.
Buy me some peanuts and Cracker-snax! – A guinea pig (I think) wearing sunglasses and a tiny Duff foam dome. Excellent.
Random Photos – Jan13 – Ah, the world of Legos, where Spider-man can drink a coffee next to Marge.
Flaming Moe’s – Episode #045 – Ash heads to a place right down the block where you can drink your misery away.
No Need To Worry When Playing With House Money – Oregon’s crushed football hopes put into perspective with excellent usage:
Homer: Will you remember this the next time I wreck your life?
Lisa: It’s a deal.
That episode reminds us that we can’t look at tonight’s game from the filter of where the season is now, but rather from where the season began, through a lens of the preseason narratives that the cynical fans believed and the optimistic feared going into the season.
Kitty Says Cobrashark – Pretty creepy Burns/skull design.
Unfortunately after all of those cuddles from the children within the nursery I am not poorly I’m all flued up with a poorly stomach so this is my perfect excuse for not moving and watching Simpson episode after Simpson episode there is something about the Simpsons that cheers me up im not quite sure whether its cause it takes me back to my childhood and sitting with my dad to watch them or whether its just because they are awesome and by awesome I mean seasons 2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11 there are none of the newest ones I don’t like them end of lol.
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