Posts Tagged ‘Itchy and Scratchy and Marge


Reading Digest: Call for Guest Posts Edition

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Between the holiday, the end of the television season, and the fact that it’s now basically summertime, the Simpsons had a pretty sparse week on-line.  All those things also mean that it’s time for my annual solicitation for guest posts.  If you’ve got something you’d like to say about the show, send it in.  We accept rants, cranky letters to the editor that end with “I am not a nut”, well thought out analyses, and just about anything else.  Pictures and images are welcome, and we’ll be happy to link back to your Twitter account, blog, or what have you.  String a few sentences together, and a tiny slice of internet fame can be yours.  You’re certainly welcome to send in something completed, but if all you’ve got is an idea, I’m happy to help you think it through and flesh it out a little.

As for this week’s actual links, we’ve got a beaded Bart, memories of Phil Hartman, a Lisa inspired music video, a couple of lists, and one of the junior Murdochs being such a ridiculously callous business executive that I could almost believe he was just trolling poor, hapless Variety.  Almost.

Anyway, enjoy, and get thee to a keyboard if you want to publish a guest post.

What HiFi stereo system is in The Simpsons house? – Stereo geeks take a guess at what kind of system the Simpsons have.  Perhaps a Pioneer C-5600?

Dear Phil – A nice remembrance for Hartman:

I still hear your voice, you know. It’s one of the most soothing sounds in life. Seriously!!! Hahahaha and not disembodied as I go through my day – though it does happen from time to time. Picture it: I’ll see something funny on the subway, and you’re narrating it like Troy McClure. It just takes the hilarity to a whole new level.

WWLSR – What Would Lisa Simpson Read Project – Now this is a project idea:

since I have been so involved in book clubs recently I thought it would be fun to read the books that Lisa reads on the show, in the order that she reads them. There is a Lisa Simpson book club out there in Tumblr land, but their reading list is missing a few titles, and is also not in chronological order. I’m a little OCD, so I’m rewatching all the episodes from se01ep01 to the current season so I can make a complete list of books read or referenced by Lisa Simpson. I’ve created a group on the Goodreads website (find it here!) but will also post about it and include my screenshots (Yes, I am ridiculously thorough). This post covers seasons 1, 2 and most of season 3.

That’s gonna be a lot of reading, and don’t forget that at the end of Season 3 she finally gets a copy of Ethan Frome to call her own.

: in remembrance : – Aw:

That’s my dog, his name was Bart. Together, we were Bart and Lisa. You know, The Simpsons?
He was one of the world’s great dogs and we were inseparable.


Sexism in Springfield – On the less than stellar dialogue of Tapped Out.

D is for diorama – Pretty sure I learned that word from the show, too:

but it is only down to The Simpsons that I knew what was expected when Child 3 came home announcing she needed to make a diorama. I first heard the word in this context in the episode Lisa’s Rival (1994), where Lisa fears another girl’s diorama will be better than hers and plans to sabotage it.

James Murdoch on Cord-Cutting, ‘Fault in Our Stars’ and ‘Simpsons’ Syndication – I forget which one of Murdoch’s kids he is, but he has certainly mastered the content-free timbre of corporate speak:

“We are in an environment of really extreme plurality for customers … you have to have things that are differentiated,”

What does that even mean?

“Over the next three-to-five years we see a lot of really attractive filmic product coming through,”

Ooh, I love “filmic product”!

“The challenge for us is how do we monetize that video?”

Fry, get back to the office, shift some paradigms, revolutionize outside the box!

Classic Album Covers Get The Pop-Culture Parody Treatment – You’ll have to scroll through a few, but the Homer/Radiohead one is pretty good.

Family guy the quest for stuff – Uh-oh, dedicated Tapped Out players are migrating to Quahog.

The Simpsons: 10 Best Episodes Focusing On Minor Characters – Serious pageview whoring on this list, but at least there’s no Zombie Simpsons.

The Simpsons: 10 Greatest Movie Spoofs – Same as above, except there is some Zombie Simpsons.

Simpsons casting director chosen Expat Finn of the Year – Awesome:

Bonita Pietila, a name familiar to every Simpsons fan, was in Finland this week to accept an award for Expatriate Finn of the Year from the Finland Society.

Congratulations!  I always assumed that name was Spanish of some extract, guess not.

Wolf Alice – ‘Moaning Lisa Smile’ – Musical usage:

The video stars Ellie Roswell, who explained the video in a statement: “‘Moaning Lisa Smile’ was inspired by our favorite 8 year old girl, Lisa Simpson. We wanted to create a Lisa-type character and follow her in a pursuit to happiness. Although faced with obstacles in the shape of some nasty bitches, Lisa soon finds the group who make her feel like she belongs.”

The video’s pretty good, and certainly has a more coherent story than any episode in the last decade.

Perler Beads : Bart Simpson – Just what it says.  Well done (and the skateboard is a nice touch).

WATCH: Wisconsin police officer escorts ducks across busy road – Excellent usage:

You may remember a scene from “The Simpsons”, when Apu (in his role as a volunteer firefighter) is racing to the scene of a fire – only to be halted by a mother duck and her ducklings, lazily strolling across the road.

“You ducks are really trying my patience!” Apu complains. “But you’re SO cute!”

There are likely a few commuters in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, who can appreciate that sentiment.

Dining to the Oldies at Stewart’s Busy Apron – I’m not quite sure what it means in context, but it’s a great reference:

The blinds are always down at Stewart’s Busy Apron in Anaheim, but not to keep out the sun. This is the diner version of that sign on The Simpsons outside the retirement home announcing to visitors, “Thank You for Not Discussing the Outside World,” for here is a museum piece.

Duff beer labelled dangerous by Australian Medical Association – Expect more like this as Duff spreads around the globe.

Variety bash team takes on Dave’s obession with The Simpsons – While we’re on the subject of Australia, remember that Simpsons car from a couple of weeks ago?  Here’s the team, complete with Duffman and Duffwoman costumes.

Aaaah, so that’s how you ruin The Simpsons. #PicOfTheDay – Still of what I assume is some kind of Korean game or lottery show with people dressed as Bart, Marge and Homer.  I’d say the weird french fry looking thing on Bart’s head is the oddest part, but the white circles around Homer and Marge’s eyes aren’t far behind.

Music From The Simpsons – Spinal Tap – Lotta good YouTube, here, including the immortal, “These go to eleven.”.

Round 115: Trilogy of Error vs. The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show – “Trilogy of Error” is possibly the best episode in Season 12, it just happens to not really be funny at all, which is a bit of a handicap if you’re going up against Season 8.

de kooning – groening – Can you see Bart with “woman lips” in that?  I kinda can.

D’OH Boy – I think there’s like four puns in there, and I maybe get two of them.

Best Summer Vacation TV Episodes – “Summer of 4 Ft. 2″ naturally makes the grade.

Bacon Bourbon Pecan Pie & Maple Bacon Ice Cream – Yet more good food with Simpsons YouTube and a .gif of Homer trying to eat pie with his eyes closed.

Memorial Day: Which pop culture cookout would you crash? – And speaking of summer themes lists desperate for pageviews, here’s one that manages to list both “Lisa the Vegetarian” and Bad Boys 2.



Reading Digest: No One Cares About the Season Finale Edition

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“Aren’t you going to watch the rest of your cute cartoons?” – Marge Simpson
“Nah, come on Lis.” – Bart Simpson
“Maybe there’s something else to do on this planet.” – Lisa Simpson

Thank Jebus, most of the Lego hoopla has fallen down the internet memory hole and we’ve got a full set of great links for what feels like the first time in forever.  There’s crazy people driving a Simpsons car across Australia, tons of cool fan made stuff (everything from Homer as a serial killer to a nice Malibu Stacy cross stitch), some fun lists, several people who agree with us, and the most bizarre Bart(ish) statue I’ve ever seen.  Better yet, even though the season finale is two days away, nobody seems to care in the least.  A few people linked to the typically lifeless preview video, and that was it.  Even the recently announced (and sure to be godawful) Family Guy crossover didn’t get any internet love outside of the dutiful stenography of the entertainment press.


Are Weezer The Simpsons of the Music World? – Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week is this excellent comparison of two faded 90s icons that completely agrees with us:

When looking at the latest Weezer song or the latest Simpsons episode, what’s maddening is that they come off as imposters of their past selves – almost like a cover band or bad fan fiction.

Worth the click.

Part I: The End of Easter – There is much discontent in virtual Springfield:

It is no secret that the Easter event was met with a variety of negative emotions; including disappointment, anger, stress, and frustration.

Part II: What Went Wrong – And it’s well justified:

Investing your time was the priority, as it should be. Players who stick with something for years are more likely to buy something down the road, as oppose to this event which clearly just wanted players to invest their money, because there was never going to be enough time to win all of the prizes through regular game play.

Part III: Economic Voices – But not unexpected:

If you truly don’t like these types of events, you’ll have to break the Pokémon mentality (i.e. “Gotta catch ‘em all!”) and accept that you’re not going to be able to earn certain prizes, no matter how often you play the game. Of course this is easier said than done.

Much easier said than done, deliberately so.

Malibu Stacy – Fan made cross stitch with quote.  Bravo, Chloe.

Dan LuVisi – Cartoon Heroes As Serial Killers – Very impressive fan made art of just what it says.  Homer and Yoshi are particularly cool.

For My Bucket List: With gratitude to The Simpsons – A second “to do before death” list inspired by the family.

Round 109: Lisa’s Wedding vs. Treehouse of Horror XIV – Welcome back, Nebel.  (Oh, and Season 6 obliterates Season 15, but you knew that already.)

Losing the Why and How for the What: A Case for Spoilers – There is no such thing as “overfamiliartiy” when it comes to the show:

While I can’t speak to the specifics of the original Dallas story line (as neither was I born, nor have I ever watched Dallas), I have a fair understanding of the story entirely based on my familiarity (some say overfamiliarity, I say go fuck yourself) with The Simpsons episode.


Wishlist – This is (partially) about collecting the Lego minifigs, but it’s also worth clicking for the awesome Milhouse blog header.

Return of Bartzilla! –  We must flee!

From the extended edition. – From the same blog as the above, Marge would’ve made those much better movies.

umm That ain’t me kid. – One more.  Heh.

The Zombie Simpsons Family – Not sure of the source, but it’s a black and white image of the family as zombies.

cape_town – Reader Frank C. sent in this picture of a statue in Cape Town, South Africa writing simply “Don’t know what it means, but here you go”.  Well put:

Africa Bart Statue

Thanks, Frank!

In Defense Of Zac Efron: We’ve Rounded Up Some Of TV’s Worst Neighbors – You know who’s #1:

The Simpsons — Homer Simpson

Offenses: Uh, let’s see. Being indirectly responsibly for the death or your first wife. Getting you married to a Las Vegas hooker. Not returning borrowed household items. To list them all would require more time than this writer has.

Bad Neighbor Rating: 10.0

The episode where Maude dies sucks, but “War Rocks” always gets me.

List O’ the Week: 20 Worst episodes of The Simpsons (Classic era) – Part. 1 – Oof, picking bad episodes out of Seasons 3-8 seems basically impossible to me, but to each their own.

Scanning the Simpsons – Scanner pictures of the Simpsons Lego characters.  Cool.

It Was A Simpsons Sky – Fan poem.  Neat.

Why ‘The Simpsons’ Is the Best TV Show Ever – A long love note to the great years of the show.

The Simpsons! – Cool fan made sketch of the family.  But how come Maggie’s head isn’t being vomited out by someone else?

It’s The Simpsons! – A handy fan made fact sheet, including the depressing fact that FOX owns the show until 2082.

Tuesday “News:” 90s-Related Media I Discovered Last Week – The 90s Project rolls on.

Simpsons – Gun Accessories – Big screen grab of Homer’s gun purchase.

BREAKING: Beloved TV series eerily predicted Hank Scorpio’s takeover of the eastern United States – A lot of people wrote up that goofy story about Syria’s government blaming the show for something.  This one is the best I’ve seen:

OK, first of all, “New Kids on the Blecch” is a mediocre effort at best. The boy band parodies are OK but too on the nose, and the navy stuff is just flat. Second of all, say whaaaaaa?

Toy Review – LEGO Simpsons House (71006) – Serious minded review of the Lego set:

I also really like the items the family gets. Not just the things like the couch and a kitchen table, but they also get a piano, and accessories for every bedroom. It also may be the first product to feature an official LEGO toilet.

If that’s not a ringing endorsement, I don’t know what is.

GAME REVIEW: The Simpsons – Bart vs The World – A review of the second Simpsons game.  Bonus points for using the Sega Master System version instead of the NES one.  Don’t see that much.

A “Simpsons” and “Family Guy” crossover episode is coming whether you like it or not – Oh, relentlessly positive corporate PR, don’t ever change:

Fox chairman Kevin Reilly was delighted to share the news, saying, “Generations of fans will be talking about this one.”

What was I laughing at now?  Oh, yes, that crippled Irishman.

Yeppoon trio ready to drive The Simpsons through the bush – Some rather awesome people are going to drive a Simpsons themed VW Bug around Australia.  That license plate is fantastic.

Chomet the way to Springfield: Sylvain Chomet on turning TV’s favourite family French and the virtues of hand-drawn animation – A little more about how that couch gag came about:

The 50-year-old can trace his relationship with The Simpsons back to when he had a studio in Scotland while working on The Illusionist. “We had this actor, Harry Shearer, who does a lot of voices for the show, including Mr Burns,” he explains. “He said ‘you know they [Groening and long-time Simpsons producer Al Jean] really like your work’.”

Even in its senile years, Harry Shearer does what he can to brighten Zombie Simpsons.  Also, that would be the animated 2010 The Illusionist, not that crappy 2006 Edward Norton movie.

The 10 Worst Simpsons Episodes of All Time – A perfectly cromulent list:

With that in mind, we present the 10 worst episodes in The Simpsons’ history. Unsurprisingly, none of these episodes come from the peak of the show’s run, when it was considered nigh universally great. Perhaps surprisingly, they all come from a period in the show’s run even later than the time when you most likely stopped watching. (You’re such a quitter.)

I kinda thought the talking bar rag would be higher, and there’s no Lady Gaga, but those were all certainly terrible and forgettable.

Product Launch – AUS: Duff Beer – The real Duff soon won’t just be for Aussies and tourists at Universal Studios:

Duff has only been available previously through counterfeits and imitations.
“Australia as a beer-loving nation felt like the perfect place to launch the official Duff Beer,” a spokesperson told just-drinks.
A global roll-out over “the next few years” is planned, the spokesperson added.

I’ll bet it is.

The Simpsons x Johnny Cupcakes – The merchandising has now reached the frosted arts.


The Simpsons 25th Anniversary 5″ Celebrity Guest Stars Action Figure – Series 03 – And more collector crack.

Brief thoughts on the Simpsons – This is far gentler on Zombie Simpsons than I’m willing to be, but this is a pretty cool story:

When I was five my family was called by the Nielsen people wanting to know what we were watching on television, it just so happened that we were watching a very early episode of the Simpsons. While I might not have fully understood what I was watching, I knew that I liked the show. I can remember my mom telling the woman on the phone that we enjoyed the show and hoped to see more of it.

Crossover: The Simpsons x Family Guy – I smell another cheap cartoon crossover.

The Simpsons: The first year – Our old friend Stefan Grasso does an epic writeup of the entirety of Season 1.  He concludes:

25 years later, the show’s producers had betrayed Groening’s original vision, causing The Simpsons to become the same mainstream trash that Groening didn’t want to make, and that’s where The Simpsons had gone wrong. Unfortunately, by the time Mike Scully’s reign of terror ended, the damage had already been done.

I maintain that Scully attracts way more blame than he deserves, but there’s no arguing that when he stepped down the show was kaput.

Nielsen Infographic: How Long It Takes To Binge Watch Popular TV Shows – Uh, Nielsen?  I think you’re missing one there.

The Simpsons Sucks Now – And finally, I get to end the way I prefer, with someone who epically agrees with us:

We have been sucked dry by the series and have little to show for it aside from distant memories. The Simpsons sucks now.
Gone are the detailed plots that show the shenanigans of the town. There is no longer a running story. The episodes now are simply a one and done experience. We are hit over the head with “guest appearances” and it is painful. It legitimately upsets me how little the writer’s care about the loyal fans who have been keeping up with the show for the 20 plus seasons.

Preach, brother.  Preach.


Quote of the Day

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“Take a letter, Miss White.  Dear valued viewer, thank you for taking an interest in the Itchy and Scratchy program.  Enclosed is a personally autographed photo of America’s favorite cat and mouse team to add to your collection.  In regards to your specific comments about the show, our research indicates that one person cannot make a difference, no matter how big a screwball she is.  So let me close by saying . . .” – Roger Meyers Jr.
“And the horse I rode in on?  I’ll show them what one screwball can do!” – Marge Simpson

Happy birthday Alex Rocco!  (Well, he’s a Leap Day baby, but close enough.) 


Quote of the Day

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“You heard me, I won’t be in for the rest of the week. . . . I told you, my baby beat me up. . . . Oh, it is not the worst excuse I ever thought up.” – Homer Simpson


Quote of the Day

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“I knew all this stuff would come in handy someday.  Let’s see now, ah, here it is: the Complete Handyman’s Bookshelf, Volume 1, Spice Racks.” – Homer Simpson


Hey, Everybody, Season 24 Is Over

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“Hi, kids! . . . What the . . . is this Saturday?” – Krusty the Klown

I’m still going to do Behind Us Forever for this week’s episodes, but the last two days have not been kind in terms of free time.  In the interim, how about a little ratings schadenfreude?

Sunday’s episodes both scored dismal ratings, with the first one (“The Saga of Carl”) coming in at just 4.01 million viewers, and “Dangers on a Train” bumping up a bit to 4.52 million.  The former is good for #2 on the all time least watched list, with even the higher rated second episode coming in at #10.  Here is the current bottom twenty in terms of viewers:





Episode Title

1 23-21 13-May-12 4.00 Ned ‘N Edna’s Blend
2 24-21 19-May-13 4.01 The Saga of Carl
3 24-20 12-May-13 4.05 Fabulous Faker Boy
4 24-17 14-Apr-13 4.07 What Animated Women Want
5 24-12 10-Feb-13 4.19 Love Is a Many-Splintered Thing
6 23-13 12-Feb-12 4.33 The Daughter Also Rises
7 24-8 16-Dec-12 4.41 To Cur With Love
8 24-19 6-May-13 4.43 Whiskey Business
9 24-18 28-Apr-13 4.48 Pulpit Friction
10 24-22 19-May-13 4.52 Dangers on a Train
11 24-13 17-Feb-13 4.57 Hardly Kirk-Ing
12 24-14 3-Mar-13 4.66 Gorgeous Grampa
13 23-20 6-May-12 4.75 The Spy Who Learned Me
14 23-22 20-May-12 4.79 Lisa Goes Gaga
15 24-15 10-Mar-13 4.85 Black-Eyed Please
16 23-18 15-Apr-12 4.86 Beware My Cheating Bart
17 24-16 17-Mar-13 4.89 Dark Knight Court
18 23-16 11-Mar-12 4.96 How I Wet Your Mother
19 22-18 10-Apr-11 5.00 The Great Simpsina
20 23-19 29-Apr-12 5.00 A Totally Fun Thing That Bart Will Never Do Again

Of those twenty, nineteen are from Seasons 23 or 24, with the lone exception being from Season 22.  Every single episode broadcast since February of this year has made the list.  And not a single episode in all of Season 24 was viewed by more than 10 million people, the first time that’s ever happened.  (The only one even close came after an NFL playoff game.)

In terms of average viewership, Season 24 ran away with the title of least viewed ever.  After bumping along in the low seven million range from Season 20 through 22, last season fell down to just 6.13 million viewers on average.  Season 24 sunk even further, averaging just 5.47 million viewers over its twenty-two episodes.

Now, the usual caveat about these ratings: these are just the overnight numbers.  When there are significant changes to them (usually because a sporting event runs long), I make those updates, but these are not the fancy pants final numbers that take into account demographics, DVR viewers, and whatever else advertisers complain about.  Nielsen only makes very limited data available to the public (at least, as far as I can tell), so these are the numbers I use, but don’t try reading anything into these in terms of “Will the show get cancelled?”.

The thousand monkeys at a thousand Blackberries who run FOX will be looking at those more detailed ratings as well as factoring in all kinds of things like whether or not a replacement would provide the same lead-in numbers for the rest of the Sunday lineup, how expensive said replacement would be, and how much Jean and company react when feces are thrown at them during meetings.  (MacFarlane doesn’t even flinch.)  Given the production lead time, we should be hearing something about a renewal beyond the current contract (on which there are 29 episodes left) sometime in calendar 2013, but that’s about all that can be said right now.

[Update 6:45pm EDT: Just saw this: CBS Takes Key Ratings Crown for First Time in 21 Years.  FOX lost the battle for the nuts and gum people to CBS this year and their overall viewers were third at 7.0 million.  No idea what the monkeys will think of losing to the old people network and having Zombie Simpsons dragging down their overall number, but it seemed worth mentioning.]


Reading Digest: Foreign Art Edition

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“This will be the art event of the century!  The greatest masterpiece of Italian Renaissance, Michelangelo’s David, on a coast-to-coast tour, United States.” – Italian Art Guy
“Sir, which cities will be included in your itinerary?” – Reporter
“Ah, New York, Springfield, and if we have time, Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles.” – Italian Art Guy

This week we have four(!) outstanding pieces of serious Simpsons art from a bunch of foreigners.  There’s a Canadian, a Frenchman, Brits, and one that I think is Brazilian, but I couldn’t tell for sure, and all of them are excellent and click worthy.  There’s also a couple of people marking Groening’s birthday last week, several others who agree with us, two mentions of “Bart’s Comet” since deadly rocks became all the rage last week, and a bunch more links about “The Longest Daycare”.


Smooth Charlie’s four part Click of the Week presented in no particular order:

Happy Birthday Matt Groening: A look back at the legacy of the animation legend – A quick tour of some of what made the show so great that also agrees with us directly and indirectly.  For the indirectly, all of the examples it cites for why the show was great (with one tiny exception) come from The Simpsons, not Zombie Simpsons.  For the directly, there’s this:

Celebrity Cameos

Although this later became a hindrance due to including celebrities just for the sake of it, there is a plethora of worthwhile cameos from the illustrious kind.

Worth a read, and there’s an awesome, thirteen minute YouTube video that’s nothing but songs (none from Zombie Simpsons).

Sketchbook Feb 18, 2013 – This is just a sketch, but check out Kirk wearing a Gudger sweatshirt.

15th February 2013 – Matt Groening’s Birthday – Celebrating Groening’s birthday by watching Duffless, which itself just turned 20 on Monday.

Three (Day 47) – A woman took a picture of her son’s “Simpsons magazine” and, tsk-tsk, someone didn’t do the proof reading.

‘The Simpsons’ Oscar-Nominated Short, Starring Maggie And Baby Gerald – Warming Glow, a television blog named after a Simpsons reference, handles the delicate issue of being critical of Zombie Simpsons well here:

The short, titled The Longest Daycare, features Marge dropping Maggie off at daycare, and the butterfly-related adventure she goes on while she’s there. In four dialogue-free minutes, it manages to be both funny and charming, which [fill in complaint about newer seasons of The Simpsons versus the golden years].

Yes, Apatow’s Simpsons Script Will Be Rewritten – Confirmation from Mike Reiss that yes, they are going to make Judd Apatow’s script:

"We never got around to it, and decades went by," Reiss said. At one point, ten years or so after receiving Apatow’s idea — a hypnotist regresses Homer to childhood, enabling him to pal around with Bart — The Simpsons did an episode with a hypnotist, 2001’s "The Blunder Years," where Homer was hypnotized and discovered repressed memories, "so we had to wait another ten years," Reiss said.


Your Top 20: Television Cartoons of All Time – This is from the same site that had the shown down at #10 for all time best shows, but it’s #1 here for cartoons.

Festival of Animation welcomes ‘Simpsons’ Producer David Silverman to La Jolla – The possibly-soon-to-be-Oscar-winner Silverman stopped by a San Diego animation festival and earned this nice writeup.  Not much news, but Silverman does appear to be wearing a Homer T-shirt where he’s wearing 3-D glasses.

Dress up or dress down with a classic bow tie – Excellent reference:

Sporting a bow tie in broad daylight – or really anywhere other than a horse race — may seem the sole domain of uppity pricks. Donald Duck and the Cat in the Hat gave bow ties a comedic reputation, and Krusty the Clown didn’t exactly help the professionalism of bow ties either.

The article is actually in favor of rocking the bowtie, but the truth is, you should never trust a man who wears a bowtie.  A cravat’s supposed to point down to accentuate the genitals.  Why’d you want to trust somebody whose tie points out to accentuate his ears?

Oscar Shorts: Animated nominees – Comparing and discussing all the nominated movies, goes with “Fresh Guacamole” as the predicted winner.

Maggie Simpson’s Oscar dress – The show put out some drawings of Maggie in snazzy looking Oscar dresses this week.  Cute.

David Silverman on Guiding ‘The Simpsons’ to the Oscars via ‘The Longest Daycare’ (Video) – Some fluff background on Silverman’s career and how “The Longest Daycare” got started.

Maggie Simpson Stars in ‘The Longest Daycare': Where Babies Face Off – Still more praise:

the The Longest Daycare uses Maggie’s silence to reinvent the sort of irreverent comedy and affable charm that has made the series so enduring.

Review: Oscar Nominated Shorts – An animator’s take on the short:

The film is funny but it’s also very touching and it isn’t afraid to mix the two to get the desired effect. This again, is why the Simpsons has been on for so long, because of its ability to have such empathy in its characters. The animation itself is a blend of 2-D animation with 3-D elements, which is quickly becoming the standard today and it was used very effectively. I think the fact that these people have been working with these characters for so long just gives this short a certain level of polish that only comes with time and the 3-D elements are well integrated and don’t feel in any way added unnecessarily. So how have they readapted to their original format: with humorous elegance.

And the Oscar Goes to…D’oh – Seeing “The Longest Daycare” rekindles the Simpsons spark for someone who lost it around Season 10.

HOMER SIMPSON – It doesn’t quite qualify as great art, but here’s Homer as done in snow.  They even got the hair, bravo.

Five Best Fictional Meteor/Asteroid/Comet Moments – Bart’s Comet ranks at #2 here.  Great list idea.

I’m sorry Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that – Watching 2001: A Space Odyssey for the first time and finally getting all the references.  Don’t forget the Dawn of Man thing at the beginning of “Lisa’s Pony”.

Happy Valentines Day Part Deuce! – A (fan made?) choo-choo valentine that reverses the syntax.

I Got the Job! – Celebrating the acquisition of employment with YouTube of Homer doing the same.  Congratulations.

Simpsons – Oink (gif) – Animated .gif of Homer meeting Old Zeke.  Heh.

A Good Day to Die Hard…In 10 Words – Don’t worry, boy, you don’t have to follow in my footsteps.  That’s okay, I don’t even like using the bathroom after you.

That Meteor That Struck Russia…In 10 Words – At least it landed in a lake and not on someone’s bomb shelterini. 

Beautiful Creatures…In 10 Words – Must . . . drop . . . pantaloons. 

‘The Simpsons’ Perfectly Sums Up U.S. Politics In Less Than A Minute – Shaky-cam YouTube of the epic PTA meeting from “The PTA Disbands”.  The finger thing means the taxes.

Mississippi looks like Bart Simpson – I’ve seen this comparison before, but this one does have a nice image to go with it.

The Simpsons Might Win an Oscar! – A brief discussion of “The Longest Daycare” that agrees with us:

I rather enjoyed this little cartoon. The ending is especially fun. And it would be delightful to see The Simpsons win an Oscar. I’m a long-time Simpsons fan, though, of course, I haven’t seen a new episode in years.

Of course.

Area Man Has Opinion On Oscar-Nominated Short – And finally, I get to end the way I like, with someone who agrees with us, rather epically, it turns out:

Maggie Simpson’s animated adventure “The Longest Daycare,” screened before last year’s Ice Age: Continental Drift, has been nominated for an Academy Award. I didn’t see the thing until five minutes ago, and my reactions are thus: Thank Jeebus a cinematic “Simpsons” product of merit has come along to atone for that deflated mess in 2007 they called The Simpsons Movie. Let me also jam in the requisite complaint that “The Simpsons” tv show hasn’t been able to do anything with a fraction of this much soul since Dikembe Mutombo played for Atlanta.

Where is the soul, “Simpsons” brain trust? Where is the love? Must you give us irony in place of balls, balls in place of brains, and brains in place of soul?

Well said.


Quote of the Day

Itchy and Scratchy and Marge11

“Marge, I’m gonna build you a spice rack.” – Homer Simpson
“Oh, you don’t have to go to all that trouble just for me.” – Marge Simpson
“It’s no trouble, I got a whole garage full of tools I never use.” – Homer Simpson


Quote of the Day

Itchy and Scratchy and Marge9

“What do you have to say to all those Marge Simpson wannabes out there who wish to suppress David’s doodle?” – Dr. Marvin Monroe
“Hmm, I don’t know.  I guess one person can make a difference, but most of the time they probably shouldn’t.” – Marge Simpson


“Itchy & Scratchy & Marge” Spews Truth

Itchy and Scratchy and Marge8

“I’ve started a crusade against cartoon violence.  I can protect my own children, but there are many others whose minds are being warped every afternoon at four.” – Marge Simpson
“That reminds me, I gotta get over to Milhouse’s and . . . play sports.” – Bart Simpson
“Alright.” – Marge Simpson
“And I’m going over to Janie’s again.  We’re going to be, um, making the most of our childhood years.” – Lisa Simpson
Have Fun!” – Marge Simpson
We will.” – Bart and Lisa Simpson

They talk quite a bit about this idea near the end, but “Itchy & Scratchy & Marge” has always been one of the premier examples of the way the show could be funny about every aspect of something.  They are a violent cartoon show, but they’re still able to make violent cartoon shows look bad. 

Four guys on this one, Groening, Jean, Reiss, and Jim Reardon. 

0:35 – Reiss notes that Swartzwelder loves Itchy & Scratchy.

1:00 – Groening recounts how when he was a kid he and his friends would fantasize about what an ultraviolent version of Tom & Jerry would look like.  This leads to him introducing Reardon by pointing out that one of the reasons Reardon was hired was because of a short film he made.

1:15 – Reardon picks up the tale of a student film he made called “Bring me the Head of Charlie Brown”, which is funny and ends with, “I got a reputation for doing violent cartoons, which served me well in this episode.”

2:25 – Reiss briefly mentions Herman & Katnip as a truly terrible Tom & Jerry knockoff.

2:40 – Jean points out that they had a running theme in the early years of Homer being an incredibly bad workman, nothing he produces is any good (he cites the soapbox derby racer and the BBQ pit).  Too bad these days he’s instantly good at everything.

3:00 – As Maggie goes Psycho on Homer, Reiss mentions how great it was that VCRs existed then, because they could go back and get the scenes right.

3:05 – They all crack up as Maggie hops away.

3:35 – Groening laughs and declares it his favorite moment as Marge wonders where Maggie got the idea as she puts her down right in front of the television.

4:15 – Irony alert.  Groening was talking about how they get fan mail asking for Itchy & Scratchy to get their own series, and he had a demo reel of nothing but their cartoons that he’d show to people, but that they’d get numb after about a minute and a half.  This prompts Jean to joke that through ten years there probably wasn’t twenty minutes of actual footage because they’re “incredibly quick”.  Of course, the last two or three seasons, when they do have Itchy & Scratchy, it’s always some forty-five second long movie remake.

5:10 – Since this was Reardon’s first episode, he remembers that they were at the Christmas party when the FOX satellite went on the fritz and the whole west coast missed the first act, so nobody saw his name on the credits.  Aww.

5:40 – They’re laughing at Swartzwelder having Scratchy’s “bombs for eyes” actually work as eyes, and then Groening cracks up at “Dogs Tricked” on Marge’s list of violent acts.

6:15 – When the nerdy looking animator throws Marge’s letter over his shoulder and into the wastebasket, Reiss asks if that’s Reardon.  Apparently it’s a guy named Eddie who used to work with Sam Simon.

6:30 – As Alex Rocco appears to dictate the letter, Reardon jokes that they tried to find a way to get his eye shot out, but they couldn’t “fit it in”.  They would’ve found one these days, methinks.

6:50 – Joking around about the fact that there’s an Itchy & Scratchy on Ice poster in Meyers’ office, and then they actually did do a Simpsons on Ice.  Groening wrote the script and got paid in pinball machines.

7:30 – Reardon notes that all the picket signs are a pain because you’ve got to keep the lettering from bouncing up and down.

8:20 – Laughing at Moe’s sign to “Bring Back ‘Wagon Train’”.

9:20 – They’re just sort of quietly giggling at the episode, with compliments here for Castellaneta’s Krusty.

10:15 – When another animator appears on screen, Jean guesses that it’s supposed to be Rich Moore, but they all kinda look the same and nobody even responds.

11:00 – Reiss laughs that if anyone should understand who the squirrel is supposed to be, it would be Homer, and yet it “goes right by him”.

11:20 – Reiss asks Jean if they were going to get O.J. Simpson for the Smartline panel, but that was going to be for “Last Exit to Springfield” where they got Dr. Joyce Brothers instead.

12:00 – Again, they’re just quietly watching and laughing.  Maybe I’m projecting, but it sure seems like they enjoy watching these episodes a lot more than the Zombie Simpsons ones.

13:00 – Minor animation goof pointed out by Rich Moore when “Live From Vienna” pops up under Dr. Marvin Monroe from one shot to the next.  It must be at least kinda frustrating to have gone through every frame of this a decade earlier, then have to see it all again when you’re far enough removed from it to spot all the little mistakes.

13:20 – As Monroe makes an ass of himself, Jean laughs about how they never had much use for psychiatry.

14:20 – Reiss asks about the shot with all the mail trucks backed up, if it was sort of from Field of Dreams.  Jean deadpans, “Yeah, why not?”.  As usual, I can’t do his delivery justice.

14:35 – Reardon says that this scene where the cartoon gets edited was near to his heart because he always hated it when the Saturday morning cartoons would get half their punchlines edited out.

15:15 – Groening compliments the way the animators look here because they’re not overly elaborate.  In other words, they don’t look like any more time was taken on them than on anyone else.

16:40 – Again, I may be projecting, but you almost can’t count the number of times someone says “I always liked this” or “We love this” on these old commentaries.  Similarly, none of the silences are broken by someone talking for the sake of talking, it’s always about the episode.

17:15 – Groening loves the montage because it’s a satirical point that’s the opposite of what they believe.  They don’t actually think everything would be Norman Rockwell if cartoons were banned, but they did it anyway because it’s funny and the cartoons here are getting made fun of just as much as the censorship.  Things like this really are what made the show so damn good.

17:30 – They’re complimenting the pastoral montage, and Reiss cracks up recalling that Brooks had wanted it to end with everyone happy like this and Itchy & Scratchy banned.

18:00 – The Beethoven was in Swartzwelder’s script, it wasn’t a later addition.

18:45 – Jean notes that Bart’s line about building a soapbox racer was the genesis for next season’s episode where that happened, and how they often combed over old episodes to find new ideas.  Reiss mentions that Skinner’s line about seeing some awful things in ’Nam was kind of the same way.  Afterwards, they just kept coming up with more.

19:30 – Reardon’s favorite joke is the newspaper headline that reads “Michelangelo’s David in 1958”.  That is a great joke.

20:20 – Jean recalls having seen a picture of a David statue in Florida that really did have marble pants on it.

20:35 – Reiss jokes that “Scratchy’s the cat, by the way”.  They could only remember because “Scratchy” has the word “cat” in it.

22:10 – And we end with Jean joking that at least they didn’t have to pay old Ludwig any royalties.


A Heartwarming Tale of Friendship Overcoming Zombie Simpsons

Itchy and Scratchy and Marge7

“You know, some of these stories are pretty good.  I never knew mice lived such interesting lives.” – Homer Simpson

If the only thing the dull eyed, undead colossus of Zombie Simpsons cost the wider world was half an hour on FOX every Sunday, it wouldn’t be a problem.  There are a lot of television channels these days, and wasting one more timeslot on a mediocre show that fades from your mind as soon as the credits roll isn’t the least bit meaningful.  In the context of the entertainment panoply of the early twenty-first century, everything from movies on demand to the inexhaustible firehose of fun that is the internet, a show as consistently meh as Zombie Simpsons shrinks to near total insignificance.  Unfortunately, that stumbling wreck of a television program does more than fill airtime almost no one watches, it dissuades people from watching The Simpsons, a show that, twenty years later, remains brilliant, biting and laugh out loud funny.

All over the world there are people who, given the chance, would laugh until they cried upon seeing the ambulance hit the tree, giggle to the point of bladder hostility at the look on the wolf’s face when Krusty announces the secret word, and smile uncontrollably whenever they thought of “sacrilicious”.  Instead of that, many of them take a look at two decades of episodes and come to the perfectly reasonable conclusion that they don’t want to wade through it all.  Life is short, and there are an enormous number of other things to do.  When watching it would take so long, why not leave The Simpsons alone?

That is precisely the logic invoked here by WordPress blogger mekkalekkah (whose “Heavy Metal” profile picture indicates that she’s favorably disposed toward subversive cartoons):

When that show premiered, I worked at night and I never had a chance to watch it.  By the time I had a regular schedule, it had been on for so many years I felt like I was way behind.  Now it’s been on for so long, there seems no point in starting to watch it now.  I have Googled most of the pop culture references such as I, for one, welcome our robot overlords so I can figure out what’s going on if people talk about it.  I wish that someone would just make a Best of Simpsons DVD so I could consume it in an unhealthy binge weekend.

Ordinarily, this is where I’d shake my fist at Zombie Simpsons and lament that they already made a “Best of Simpsons DVD” and it was called Season 2.  Then they did it again and called it Season 3.  Seasons 4, 5 and 6 followed in course, and while Seasons 7 and 8 miss in a place or two, they’d be the pinnacle of almost any other program.  Happily, I don’t have to do that.  WordPress blogger thethousandbookproject did it for me in the comments:

I bet I can give you a list of Simpsons episodes to watch on a binge. Basically you want to avoid the past ten years.

You’ve got that right, mekkalekkah then replied:

Yeah, if the Simpsons is on Netflix streaming I’d be up for a list! I feel like I missed out on a lot of funny stuff.

Sadly, it isn’t available on Netflix streaming, but you can have Netflix send you literally any disc from the seasons I mentioned above and be completely safe.  “I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords” is on Disc 3 of Season 5 (along with a ton of other great stuff, everything from James Woods at the Kwik-E-Mart to “Nuts and Gum: Together at Last!”).  The single digit seasons are your friend.  Oh, and a great big thumbs up to the author of thethousandbookproject (which itself looks pretty cool).


Quote of the Day

Itchy and Scratchy and Marge6

“In preparing for this debate I did a little research, and I discovered a startling thing.  There was violence in the past, long before cartoons were invented.” – Roger Meyers Jr.
“I see, fascinating.” – Kent Brockman
“And there was something called The Crusades, for instance, tremendous violence, many people killed, the darn thing went on for thirty years!” – Roger Meyers Jr.
“And this was before cartoons were invented?” – Kent Brockman

Happy birthday Alex Rocco!  (Well, technically it’s not until Leap Day 2012, but I’m sure he’s learned to make do.)


Quote of the Day

Itchy and Scratchy and Marge5

“But Mom, if you take our cartoons away we’ll grow up without a sense of humor and be robots!” – Lisa Simpson
“Really?  What kind of robots?” – Bart Simpson

Happy 20th Anniversary to “Itchy & Scratchy & Marge”!  Original airdate 20 December 1990.


Crazy Noises: Loan-a-Lisa

Original Concept Art

Original concept art for Itchy & Scratchy “Up” parody in “Loan-a-Lisa”.

The Itchy & Scratchy bit at the beginning of “Loan-a-Lisa” was, to put it mildly, creatively bankrupt.  It starts by spending forty-five seconds re-enacting “Up” with nary a joke in sight; that would be bad enough, but Zombie Simpsons then makes things even worse.  Instead of ending with some kind of “Up” inspired violence (a balloon house falling on them, a giant blimp attack, a pack of remotely controlled dogs tearing them to pieces)  it ends by repeating not one, not two, but three (3) scenes from previous Itchy & Scratchy episodes.  In other words, they faithfully recreated “Up” until they could no longer directly copy the source material, then they copied something else.  They couldn’t be bothered to come up with their own ideas, even derivative ones. 

I know I said this last week, but it really does seem like they think developing new ideas is beneath them. 

Mad Jon: You guys ready?

Charlie Sweatpants: Sure am, let’s get this over with so I can never think about this episode again.

Dave: Word.

Mad Jon: This was pretty bad.

How many inheritances does Grandpa have to give out?

Charlie Sweatpants: As many as need be between now and the time the show becomes unprofitable.

Dave: Two so far and it was only funny the first time.

Mad Jon: It pains me that we are now to the point they don’t even try to avoid re-doing premises.

Dave: No they sort of revel in it.

  Faded glory and all that.

Charlie Sweatpants: Pretty much. That joke way back in Season 11 where Comic Book Guy comes on and says they did this already is looking better and better in hindsight. Now we don’t even get that.

Dave: They must think we’re stupid

Mad Jon: It’s probably more that they don’t care what we think or if we are stupid.

Dave: Well, that too.

Charlie Sweatpants: While we’re on the opening though, there are two excellent examples of painful joke stretching here. The small one is Bart mentioning how that won’t pay his vig, and then, because that line was so hard to come up with and didn’t last long enough, they cut to a shot of Jimbo in a conveniently placed window.

The second and much larger one was the whole deck of cards thing.

  That Grampa’s hands shake so bad he can’t play cards is kinda funny, but then they ruin it by having Marge extend the gag for another ten seconds of tortuous screen time.

Mad Jon: I actually was physically embarrassed when that kept going.

  That’s pretty rare for me with Zombie episodes, I usually just boil in anger.

Dave: You have a range of emotions as a human being.

Mad Jon: So I’ve been told.

Charlie Sweatpants: My "sympathy embarrassment" feelings for this show are pretty well numbed at this point.

Dave: Perhaps you will experience love next. But it sure as hell won’t be with Zombie Simpsons.

Charlie Sweatpants: He is married, you know.

Mad Jon: True, but in all fairness Teevee was my first love.

  My wife was 15 years or so too late.

Charlie Sweatpants: Speaking of marriages, did you enjoy the condensed 45-second version of Up? I sure didn’t.

Dave: Ha.

  No, that was miserable.

  It just kept going and the payoff was nonexistent.

Pretty much like every other I&S in recent memory.

Charlie Sweatpants: No, it existed. It was just a rehash of about three other Itchy & Scratchys.

Mad Jon: That was really bad. Up made me feel things and stuff, the never ending I & S made me want to cry.

  But not for the same reasons.

Charlie Sweatpants: There was another one like last year, albeit with a far more obscure film.

Mad Jon: Not that I cried at the opening of Up. No matter what any multiplex employee tells you.

Charlie Sweatpants: They are liars.

Dave: Jon, I share your secret shame.

Mad Jon: Not so secret anymore is it.

Dave: As long as we’re not flying to Holland and eating tulips.

Charlie Sweatpants: Now that was a movie parody. And I didn’t even need to suffer through "Sliver" to get the joke.

Mad Jon: What a delightful romp.

Charlie Sweatpants: In the spirit of good conversational transitions, Milhouse’s overly long rendition of "Hot Cross Buns" was another example of something that could’ve been funny if it had taken up about 10% of the screen time it actually did.

The first three words of that song was the joke, the next forty or so were just filler.

Mad Jon: Indeed, Milhouse’s girly behaviors can be wielded well, or poorly.

  This was poorly.

Charlie Sweatpants: There was also Skinner’s whole 11-dollars-an-hour thing.

It was funny at first.

  Then he ripped off his sleeves.

Mad Jon: Yeah, I was kind of checked out by then.

Charlie Sweatpants: Then Chalmers showed up.

Mad Jon: Oh yeah, then they argued about who saw it first.

  That just kept going.

Charlie Sweatpants: It did provide them with a way to explain the bad epoxy to Nelson. Though why Skinner didn’t mention it sooner was left like a turd on a buffet table.

Continuing my transitional efforts, the Wiggum buffet scene also sucked, as did the whole "bag in danger" . . . motif? Action sequence? I’m not even sure what that was, but it lasted for a very long time and had a lot of string music of suspense.

Mad Jon: I was a bit confused as to what to call the returning items thing, was that just one extra mini-plot or are we talking B-plot sub a and sub b?

Because there was the bag thing, and the Homer stuff.

But I guess that is relatively unimportant.

Dave: Classification in this case is superfluous, yes.

Charlie Sweatpants: Well, it was unusual in that the b-plot started off as the a-plot, then it took a drastic left turn and became the b-plot.

  Really, the guilty party here is us, because we’re using the word "plot" to describe things that have no resolution.

Dave: Also true.

Mad Jon: Bad student. Uh-uh-uh, bad principal.

Charlie Sweatpants: The "returning things" story was premised on the idea that Homer couldn’t afford these things, and at the end he got stuck with the bill (sort of) and nothing happened.

Mad Jon: And Chris Hhhaaaannnsooon was there too.

Charlie Sweatpants: Again, sort of.

  Also, didn’t "To Catch a Predator" jokes get old about three years ago?

Mad Jon: Yep. Back when South Park did an episode about it.

Charlie Sweatpants: Sounds about right.

  Pop quiz: which guest voice was more pointless, Yunus or Zuckerberg?

Dave: Both?

Charlie Sweatpants: Nice try, but it’s a trick question. There is nothing colder than absolute zero.

Mad Jon: Nice.

Dave: It’s cute that Zombie Simpsons wanted to tackle microfinance. But it’s way, way out of their league.

Charlie Sweatpants: Does that mean that there are still some things in their league?

Mad Jon: Play-dough?

  Matchbox cars?

  Finger painting?

  …. that’s all I got.

Charlie Sweatpants: Jokes about when your lazy butler washes your sock garters and they’re still covered with schmutz?

Dave: Sure, that.

Mad Jon: Look at that waxy buildup.

Charlie Sweatpants: So this thing has totally wasted guest voices, stretches jokes way too long (the couch gag was interminable), and repeats shit from old episodes.

  Is that about it?

Dave: Wasted implies value. I’d call them pointless.

Charlie Sweatpants: Well put.

Mad Jon: Yep, potentially two or three shitty episodes cut short, except for where it would have helped, rolled into one 22 minute puke fest, sprinkled with old events redone, cook for 20 minutes at 150 and everyone dies from e-coli.


“The Simpsons Movie” Makes Baby Jesus Cry (Part 2)

Itchy and Scratchy and Marge4

“No, make it a pie. Pies are easier to draw.” – Itchy & Scratch Animator
“Okay, a pie.” – Roger Meyers Jr.

After spending roughly seven weeks in the optical drive of my laptop, The Simpsons Movie is finally in the custody of the United States Postal Service and on its way back to Netflix.  (Which means “Lies Make Baby Jesus Cry” should start for Season 13 in the next few days.)  The second commentary was done by some of the animators and directors of the film, and while there is some interesting information in here, mostly it’s a blur of two ideas.

The first is, and coming from the other commentary this is no surprise, that there were many, many different versions of almost every scene. The constant reactions and overreactions to test screenings meant that lots of things that had already been animated were scrapped, and whole new sequences were jammed in, up to and including at the last minute.

The second is the term “beautifully animated” and variations thereof. Whatever else may be said about its timidity, its over-reliance on physical comedy, and its complete lack of anything that could be called a coherent story, The Simpsons Movie has a distinct and colorful look to its animation that served it well. This is, in many places, a very pretty film, and the animators are justifiably happy with how their work turned out.

The commenters here are David Silverman, Mike Anderson, Steve Moore, and Rich Moore. Since they don’t pause the movie, and since there’d be no point in my noting the many times they mention a specific animator and compliment their work, this one is a lot shorter than Part 1. So let’s get to it.

0:50 – Discussing Scratchy’s entrance, the animators were also looking for a big laugh when the audience recognized the character.

3:45 – Pointing out that all of the audience is made up of regular characters, no generic animations.

4:30 – More discussion about how many times all of these things got redone.

5:15 – Discussing another thing that got cut by test audiences: “It looked really good, and um, nobody laughed.”

7:00 – Discussing all the different people who did animation and layouts at two different studios.

12:00 – At this point I’m beginning to wonder if there’s use in doing this for the animation commentary. Basically they’re just mentioning who did a specific animation or background along with the occasional mention of whether or not something was redone after test audiences did or did not like it.

15:00 – Further underlining how much they got away from their usual editorial independence, someone asks how this was different than animating the show, and the answer is that they had to keep redoing things on account of rewrites.

18:30 – Here they’re discussing how they do transitions between all the completely unrelated scenes.

19:00 – Everybody loves Spider Pig.

19:45 – When they’re having Krusty, Cat Lady and Moe dump things in the lake, there was originally going to be a trunk labeled “Sperm Bank”, and then it would dump out furniture as a head fake. Just another example of things getting taken out that were more creative than the ones that got left in.

21:00 – The Fat Tony body dumping joke nearly got cut.

23:00 – This is about the third time they’ve mentioned that they had to make Homer less of a jerk. That’s right, he was even more Jerkass Homer earlier.

26:00 – Discussing Cargill, they had done a lot of revisions on his character and backstory, for two days it was going to be Hank Scorpio before none other than Albert Brooks talked them out of it.

28:05 – Once the dome is down they pull back for a wide shot of it, and if you look on the right you’ll see that the stadium is half in, half out of the dome. That’s because their used to be a joke about a baseball game half in, half out. (It’s on the deleted scenes.)

29:00 – Really glad they aren’t pausing the movie.

29:10 – More discussions of how many different Cargills there were.

30:00 – Springfield disappearing on the GPS had several fully animated sequences before it just became a little blip on the map.

31:00 – Long discussion about what the dome would look like and the reflections therein.

32:45 – Much talk about the massive pain that was the first shot with the mob and all the things they had to keep sending back to Korea to get reanimated.

34:00 – More discussion about the hands punching through the door. Jean talked about that on the other commentary, and, really, it was that much of a production?

34:30 – They cut out a scene where Lovejoy had gotten the mob to set the house on fire, which explains why the whole thing is on fire when Marge runs into it before they escape.

37:15 – The house going into the vortex on the sinkhole had so many people working on it that even these guys (for the most part) can’t remember who did what.

38:50 – As the family runs into the cornfield, they comment on how nice the corn looks before we find out again that something got cut here. Which is why this whole thing just disappears without explanation.

39:20 – Cargill’s line about going mad with power was one of the first things they animated (albeit with the original Cargill model instead). The line when it was Hank Scorpio: “You’re giving me that look. I know that look. You think I’ve gone mad with power.”

40:15 – Long discussion about how many things in the motel scene got changed, over and over.

43:00 – Oh, it’s my favorite scene, where Homer rides the motorcycle in the little ball. Not that any was needed, but we now have more confirmation that this thing was shoehorned in at the last minute.

44:50 – They did the doodles Bart does on the wanted poster in one day. It was just someone doodling and they used it.

45:45 – The token scene at Burns mansion was done Jonathan Demme style with everyone looking straight at the camera.

48:00 – They had a guy who worked for Don Bluth do the Disney animals that do the intro to the sex scene.

50:30 – The five plans Cargill presents was originally going to be a mystery box.

51:00 – Very half assed defense of the final quality of the film after all the rewrites. Someone actually uses the term “trust word”. Is that like “safe word”? Because BDSM is as good a metaphor as any for the perverse pain of this movie.

52:00 – Discussing Homer disappointing Marge and the family about going back to Springfield and how it was originally even worse, at one point the family attacked Homer and he had to dive out the window.

54:35 – Complimenting Kavner’s performance in the video tape scene that was discussed on the other commentary.

56:40 – The transition to the NSA building is yet another thing that used to be a lot longer.

57:30 – Talking about all the ins and outs and doubts about Homer’s hallucination.

58:35 – Unlike the writers, the animators actually have something to be proud of about the hallucination scene.

61:20 – Homer’s staggering through the snow is based on David Silverman acting it out in his office (without snow, of course).

62:30 – When Homer’s focusing his eyes like they were binoculars, one of the editors didn’t get it. He thought the binoculars were missing.

64:45 – Just like on the other commentary, they’re discussing the massive entrance scene they had planned for when the family wakes up in the dome.

68:00 – Now that we’ve gotten back to the dome, there are several discussions about things that they cut out, and a lot of those were animations that made things make a bit more sense, continuity wise.

70:30 – Long discussion about the police robot that commits suicide.

73:15 – They wanted to make the dome appear as big as possible.

75:20 – It was one of the animator’s ideas to include the ambulance on the gorge.

77:35 – In the background during the crowd celebration scene, Carl is acting like Lando Calrissian at the end of Return of the Jedi. I did not notice that.

79:00 – We’re in the credits now, and the little scene with Burns and Smithers was originally in the movie but got cut.

79:30 – More about how the Spider-Pig thing got bigger on account of Hans Zimmer.

82:25 – They’re still talking over the credits, but it’s mostly just shout outs to the names on the screen and discussion about how much work and or fun it was.

83:15 – Final interesting note: they decided to go with super widescreen instead of 1.85:1 very early after only a few test drawings.


Quote of the Day


Image used under Creative Commons license from Flickr user richardmasoner.

“Well, Kent, to me the hijinks of a few comic characters absolutely pale in comparison with the crippling emotional problems a psychiatrist runs into every day.  I’m referring here to women who love too much, fear of winning, sexaholism, stuff like that.” – Dr. Marvin Monroe


Quote of the Day

Itchy and Scratchy and Marge3

“I don’t believe this.  ‘I will never watch your show, buy any of your products, or brake if I see you crossing the street.’  Wow that’s cold.  ‘Dear sleaze merchant’, aw come on, that hurts. . . . Gentlemen, the screwballs have spoken.” – Roger Meyers Jr.

Happy Birthday to Alex Rocco! 

(Note: He’s a Feb 29th guy, so no actual birthday for him until 2012.  But birthday wishes nonetheless.) 


Friday Link Dump – Shutup and Start Masturbating Edition

Itchy and Scratchy and Marge2“I told you she was soft on full frontal nudity.” – Maude Flanders

Since we’re very lazy around here we have Google Alerts do most of our web research for us.  Unfortunately when something like, oh, say, Marge being drawn into Playboy happens, it means that all of a sudden 95% of the on-line mentions of the Simpsons are about the exact same thing.  What’s worse, and I’ll admit I didn’t notice until about the tenth time I saw it, is that everyone uses the word “posing”, as though a cartoon character can “pose” for anything.

Anyway, out of the whirling internet maelstrom of “Marge in Playboy” stuff this week, I’ve found only two items that are actually worth posting.  In addition to that we’ve got some excellent usage, a little bit more stuff about Ortved’s book, and the most bad ass video game room of all time just got a little more bad ass.

Marge Simpson In Playboy Two Franchises On The Way Down – Pete Vonder Haar of the Houston Press finds this whole thing as stupid and ridiculous as I do, also he points out that the show sucks now with this delicious phrase:

Meanwhile, ratings for The Simpsons continue to decline, and a few years back the show passed the point where the number of mediocre/bad seasons officially outnumbered good ones (a subjective call, but one I’m comfortable making).

Very comfortable, pajamas with the feet comfortable.  That was going to be the only Marge/Playboy link but then I found . . .

AFA TO 7-Eleven: DON’T STOCK SIMPSON PORN – . . . this.  In what may be the only good thing to come out of the whole Marge/Playboy stunt, unctuous conservative groups are mad.  Granted, they’re always mad.  But now it’s (kinda) because of the Simpsons and I enjoy that (via Twitter).

Hugging Instructions? Yep. – Irrational panic of children has now reached the point where churches are distributing training documents on hugging.  The ludicrousness of this reminded one commenter of Flanders.  It’s perfectly quoted and plenty apt, excellent usage.

New Neighbor Moving Into Springfield – Apparently you can go to the official website and submit a character design, name and catchphrase and the winner will be in an upcoming episode of Zombie Simpsons.  That’s right, they’re outsourcing.

That Timmy O’Toole Is a Real Hero! – Yeah this was caused because of that stupid balloon thing which I don’t care about, but it’s got a great YouTube video and eloquently praises “Radio Bart” and so I say bravo.

The Wolfman Cometh – If you’re going to complain about something, complain in Simpsons.  Excellent usage.

Welcome to MattyBohlog! – Introducing a blog isn’t easy.  Why not just pack it with Simpsons references?

New Game Room Addition (Rad Arcade Content) – This guy has one of the most kick ass video game rooms I’ve ever seen and now he’s added an old Simpsons arcade machine!  If I had a room like that I would have a toilet installed and then never leave it.  That is fucking sweet and, get this, he’s married!  Sorry, ladies.

“Simpsons” Creator Will Curate ATP Festival Weekend – Groening will “curate” the ATP music festival in Britain in May. (via Twitter)

Word Wednesday: tmesis – Many words have come from The Simpsons.  Tmesis is not one of them.

Funny thing about Michael Jackson’s episode – Jackson was already weird in the early 90s, who knew?

Will an anonymous clan of slack-jawed troglodytes cost him the election? – This is just some basic information about the Burns for Mayor campaign that gets linked because I love that line and that is an excellent way to deploy it.  Also, we’ll be issuing our endorsement editorial on Sunday, will we back Bloomberg?

Simmering Away – This has almost nothing to do with the Simpsons, though there is a screen grab of Lisa shilling for Al Gore’s book.  I’m linking it because it links to our friends at Eye on Springfield, which everyone should click on from time to time for a chuckle.

Think The Worst Is Over? Think Again, VCs Say At Tech Showcase – The quote isn’t quite dead on, but it’s very close so I’m gonna call it excellent usage.

Voices – I am, quite obviously, the last person on earth who should get uppity about people stealing content, but if you’re going to start a new blog why – why – would you just copy and paste stuff from Wiki-fucking-pedia?  The footnotes are still in it!

Simpsons MMA – And I get to end with a blogger who agrees with us.  He’s complaining about how unimaginative “The Great Wife Hope” was and writes:

The Simpsons is past it’s prime and has grown preachy and up its own arse over the last five years or so. Though it’s still kicking fairly strong and immortalizing pop legends, the Simpsons needs that climactic final episode, maybe an hour long, to say it’s goodbyes.

Obviously we’d go farther back than five years, but other than that . . . yeah.


Crazy Noises: The Great Wife Hope

Itchy and Scratchy and Marge1
“Hello Marge, oh, what is S. N. U. H.?” – Helen Lovejoy
“Snuh.” – Marge Simpsons
“Oh.” – Helen Lovejoy
“It stands for Springfieldians for Non-violence Understanding and Helping.  I’ve started a crusade against cartoon violence.” – Marge Simpson
In our continuing mission to bring you only the finest in low class, low brow, and low tech internet Simpsons commentary we’re bringing back our “Crazy Noises” series and applying it to Season 21.  Because doing a podcast smacks of effort we’re still using this “chatroom” thing that all the middle schoolers and undercover cops seem to think is so cool.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (especially on “subconscious”).

This is maybe the shortest “Crazy Noises” post we’ve ever done for the simple reason that this was one of the most content free episodes of Zombie Simpsons in a while.  Also, see the picture above for a comedy opportunity The Simpsons used and Zombie Simpsons (as we discuss below) ignored.

Charlie Sweatpants: So, did everyone actually watch this one?

Mad Jon: I did

Dave: I did too

Well, watch is unfair.

It was really just background noise

Mad Jon: It really did just barely exist

Charlie Sweatpants: You mean you didn’t give it your strictest attention so as not to miss the wall to wall humor?

Dave: Precisely.

Mad Jon: I can’t decide what pissed me off the most, but I am pretty sure it was the rhythmic gymnastics scene.

Charlie Sweatpants: Oh man, that went on forever.

Dave: One exchange stands out: “What’d I miss?” – Homer

“Ehh, nothing.” – Bart

Mad Jon: Specifically the noises Marge was making.

Dave: That was pretty bad, yeah.

Charlie Sweatpants: Last week’s was a hot mess, this was more of a cold mess. Yeah, it had a beginning middle and end (sort of), but nothing happened.

Mad Jon: Well the ending pissed me off, that at least was something.

Dave: Yeah, it’s amazing that they need 20 minutes to say nothing.

And they had the extended couch gag to fill up time, too.

Mad Jon: Wasn’t there a catch me if you can episode a few years ago?

Dave: Yeah, there was.

Can’t think of the name of it though.

Mad Jon: Did they think it worked so well it could also be a couch gag?

Or did they just forget?

Charlie Sweatpants: Wait, are you talking about that movie with Hanks and DiCaprio?

Mad Jon: yeah, they did a parody of that in an episode a few years ago.

And now they did a couch gag parody of it. At least that’s what I thought I saw.

Dave: I don’t know if it was a parody of that, but I see what you’re getting at.

Mad Jon: Of course the knowledge that I was about to watch an episode of Zombie Simpsons may have caused enough subconscious shock that I imagined the whole thing…

Dave: Either way, my point was that the gag, like much of the episode, just went on way too long. Add Marge’s training montage to that, too.

Mad Jon: Yeah that sucked.

They only attempted joke involved Akira not being Akira

Charlie Sweatpants: But it wasn’t strictly a montage, was it? It was more a collection of random scenes.

Dave: I was just going to admit to enjoying Akira’s appearance.

I guess it wasn’t a montage in the traditional sense, but you know what I meant.

Mad Jon: Yeah, it was a time filling montage, without awesome 80’s music.

Charlie Sweatpants: Here’s Tatum, here’s Akira, here’s Burns. The last one was particularly dim.

Mad Jon: Ugh,

Dave: Yeah, since when is Burns helpful?

Charlie Sweatpants: Since, like Homer, he became a prop and not a character.

Mad Jon: At least he used to be entertainng

Well put.

Why was Homer waving a Canadian flag?

Charlie Sweatpants: No idea.

Why did Marge walk right into the “septagon”?

Dave: I’m sure the pandering made some Canuck happy.

Mad Jon: I believe to put a stop to the fighting league whatever it was called.

Charlie Sweatpants: Why did the MMA guy offer to fight Marge?

Mad Jon: I think it was a wager of some sort

Dave: To end violence? Who knows.

Mad Jon: But I don’t remember what the terms were. Just that they were going to fight.

Dave: We’ve done sanctimonious Marge episodes before that were better executed, funny, and didn’t feel like you were having a root canal.

Charlie Sweatpants: Exactly.

Dave: Also, Tyranno-Vision is now just Jumbo-Vision. That made me sad.

Charlie Sweatpants: I didn’t even notice that.

That’s pretty bad.

Mad Jon: Me neither.

Dave: I don’t know why I remember that.

Charlie Sweatpants: Speaking of things that didn’t make any sense, what was with Homer’s weird freakout dream about Marge being crippled?

Mad Jon: I dunno, I must have missed that.

Dave: Same here.

Charlie Sweatpants: Don’t worry about it, like all rhetorical questions about Zombie Simpsons it has no real answer.

Mad Jon: Indeed. What is the sound of one episode sucking? If a Zombie writer falls down in the woods, does anyone care?

Dave: Heh.

How Zen.

Mad Jon: “ooOOOOooohh”

Charlie Sweatpants: So, uh, really is there anything to say about this one?

Dave: I feel like we’ve reached an impasse. There’s really not a whole lot more to say or criticize, is there?

Wow we almost typed the same thing

Mad Jon: I don’t know, there wasn’t anything remarkable about it. There were a few scenes that were worse than the others, but I would have a hard time ranking them.

Charlie Sweatpants: This one was less insane than last week’s but just as boring. How do you criticize a blank wall?

Mad Jon: You don’t. You pee on it and go back into the bar.

Charlie Sweatpants: Fair point.

Was there anything in here that didn’t suck?

Dave: Like I said, I kinda enjoyed Akira’s bit, but not much else.

Charlie Sweatpants: I was mildly amused by the scalper’s line about being a guy whose 200 friends didn’t show up, but that hardly made the whole thing worth my time.

Which reminds me, did you see the signs that Marge’s protest group was carrying?

Dave: Negative.

Mad Jon: Didn’t notice

Charlie Sweatpants: They weren’t event trying to be funny with them and a couple were actually the same.

They couldn’t even muster the imagination to come up with more than four fake sign slogans.

Mad Jon: That’s too bad.

Charlie Sweatpants: First year marketing students could do better.

I don’t think things like Homer sticking the straw into his own eye are funny, but at least they’re trying. So much of this one (and Zombie Simpsons in general) just doesn’t have anything that’s even attempting to be funny.

Like that bizarre Rocky III-ish last ten seconds with Bart and Lisa in the ring. Other than killing time, what was the point of that?

Mad Jon: That really sucked. At least they could have ended like Rocky, with the pause before the punch.

Dave: Hope that someone notices the Rocky-ness of the moment and says, “Hey, I get that?”

Charlie Sweatpants: I guess.

Okay, anything else, or can we be done?

Dave: Let’s be done.

Mad Jon: I got nothing, this one wasn’t even worth ripping on.

Charlie Sweatpants: See? Zombie Simpsons could learn from us. When we don’t have anything to talk about, we shut up.


“Day of the Jackanapes” Makes Baby Jesus Cry

“So what’s your big idea, how do we end this?” – Roger Myers Jr.
“Hmmm, let’s see . . . um . . . oh, couldn’t Itchy share his pie with Scratchy?  Then they would both have pie.” – Marge Simpson
“It’s different, I’ll give you that.” – Roger Myers Jr.

This is the Sideshow Bob episode from Season 12 and by the rock bottom standards of Season 12 it’s not 100% terrible, more like 95% terrible.  So while it has a couple of good lines (I like Bob asking to live in the storage unit) it’s still got a nonsensical plot that takes forever to get going; it stretches individual scenes past the breaking point in order to fill time, extensively uses the horns of suspense, and has no ending.  Once again the commentators will laugh at a lot of these things.

Only six guys this time, I think that’s a record.

1:25:  Talking about the fact that they’ve done so many Sideshow Bob episodes over the years that it’s getting hard to come up with ideas.  No shit.

2:15:  Congratulating themselves because they recorded this right after the show got picked up for Seasons 21 & 22.  Ugh.

3:45:  Long silence broken by lone laugh at a poodle.

4:20:  To general laughter: “I love how executives are always trying to explain to you why Seinfeld worked.”  What a common frame of reference, I’m sure all of the audience will get it, like when your lazy butler washes your sock garters and they’re still covered with schmutz.

5:05:  Exciting back and forth here about whether or not the pony-tailed executive was based off of anyone.  “No, not really.”

5:20:  Laughing about how they had to stretch out some of these scenes to the last second.  Guys, much as I appreciate the candor, I figured that one out all by myself a long time ago.
5:40:  This is actually about the fifth time there’s been a twenty second or so silence.  They’re just long enough so that you know there isn’t much going on, but just short enough not to merit me typing “long silence”.

5:45:  Weak, awkward, and forced laughter at Marge saying that shows should go off the air before they get stale and repetitive.  Ever had a senile relative spill a family secret (e.g. cousin Eddy isn’t really Uncle Walt’s son, your aunt was having an affair with the UPS man)?  The truth hurts and all you can do is pretend to laugh.

6:00:  Another medium silence.  Uncle Walt doesn’t look too happy.

6:05:  Explaining the origin of “Krustylu”, followed by more silence, followed by more weak laughter.  Mostly silence.

7:00:  Mildly interesting note: the plot about Sideshow Bob’s shows being lost is loosely based on the fact that a lot of the old Johnny Carson Tonight Shows weren’t recorded for budget reasons.

8:00:  Long, pointless story about the fact that they don’t remember how Sideshow Bob was originally designed.

8:40:  Laughing that they’re in a Gil heavy phase and have been since.  Not a good thing.

9:20:  Medium silence.  Short pity laugh.  Another medium silence.

10:20:  Long silence.

11:35:  Apparently the line, “Krusty, that’s the one man I would never kill!” always got a big laugh when they were making the episode.  Personally, I like my exposition chewy and just a tad under cooked.

12:15:  Laughing at the “cheat” of having the target spin and turn into a spiral.

12:50:  Medium silence.

12:55:  Yeardly Smith just showed up in the comment room putting us up to seven people and breaking the record of having only six.  Oh well.

13:55: Discussion of the original “Manchurian Candidate” and general laughter at what little is going on in the episode.

15:30:  Long, long silence.

17:25:  More Johnny Carson discussion.

18:15:  Laughter, “ah, that’s a great joke.”  Scintillating.

18:30:  Plugging Yeardly Smith’s book.

19:30:  Book discussion finally ends.  Can’t say we missed much on the actual episode.

20:00:  Medium silence.

20:20:  Pointing out that it makes no sense for Bart to – oh so gradually – approach Krusty, someone notes that, “Security is very lax.”  Amongst other things.

21:20:  “Now this ending was kind of a last minute.”  Aren’t they all?  “I think we did leave it a little hanging.”  Ya think?


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