Posts Tagged ‘Krusty Gets Kancelled

03
Oct
13

Renewal Season: Watching the Wall

Krusty Gets Kancelled16

“Hey, Red Hot Chili Peppers, would you guys like to appear on a Krusty the Klown special?” – Bart Simpson
“Sure, if you can get us out of this gig.” – Flea
“No problemo.  Hey, Moe, look over there!” – Bart Simpson
“What?  What am I looking at?  I don’t see nothing.  I’m gonna stop looking soon.  What?  What, is that it?” – Moe
“Hey, Moe, can I look too?” – Homer Simpson
“Sure, but it’ll cost you.” – Moe
“My wallet’s in the car.” – Homer Simpson
“He is so stupid.  And now back to the wall.” – Moe

[Note: Apologies for speculating about the end of your jobs, people on the staff.  You’ve been nothing but courteous and wonderful when contacting us; please understand it’s not personal.]

Back in October of 2011 there were widespread rumors that the show was at last on the verge of cancellation.  FOX and the principle voice actors were deadlocked over the renewal of the contract.  But after a very busy week of anonymously sourced leaks to the press, rampant speculation, and confusion about whether or not there had already been a decision to finally let the show die, it all came to nothing.  In the end, the negotiations were less cordial than usual, but the very wealthy people on both sides of the table unsurprisingly agreed to continue making each other slightly wealthier. 

For all the smoke in the media and on-line, there was very little fire.  All those articles, blog posts, comments, Tweets and general what have you stemmed from just three or four anonymous quotes all week.  The only person directly involved who was willing to stick his name by anything in the media was the ever admirable Harry Shearer, and all he was doing was dumping on FOX. 

Well, it’s now October 2013, which means we’re in the same part of the contract cycle as they were two years ago when “Simpsons cancelled?” was one of the big stories of the week.  That deal runs through episode 559.  “Homerland” was 531; and given the extremely long production time of each episode, it’s likely that episode #559, which will probably be broadcast next Fall, is even now in its earliest stages. 

Contract negotiations can be easily kept private, especially if they’re going well or both sides just want a simple renewal.  But any disruption in the production of the show, or even the ordering of a series finale, would be very difficult to keep off the internet.  It was never confirmed or anything, but supposedly one of the reasons the negotiation problems became public last time around was that they were up against a deadline as to whether or not they’d be able to produce a series finale.  (Jean later said that had the talks failed, they would’ve held over that future Christmas episode until late 2012 and made it the finale.) 

If that’s true, then the extension of the show past the current 559 episode contract will become a forgone conclusion sometime in the next few weeks or months, because if anyone in charge seriously thought #559 was going to be the end they’d stop the production of #560.  So, in this case, no news would itself be news. 

If last time is anything to go by, then we can be at least somewhat confident that the show will be getting a full Season 26 and Season 27 if nothing about renewal or death becomes public by, say, the end of October.  (The current contract provides for enough episodes for a shortened Season 26.)  If nothing is said until after New Year’s, then things just become that much more likely.  Obviously this is all much too speculative to put any numbers on, and we could get news tomorrow that they’ve decided to end things or that negotiations are at a potentially fatal impasse.  But if Zombie Simpsons is going to come to an end before the Rio Olympics do, we should find out sometime very soon.  It probably won’t, but this is the time to pay attention. 

13
May
13

Quote of the Day

Krusty Gets Kancelled15

“Well, you’ve been on TV longer than I have.  I’m sure you’ve saved up quite a nest egg.” – Johnny Carson
“Uh, yeah.  Do they still buy human hair down at the wig shop?” – Krusty the Klown

Happy 20th anniversary to “Krusty Gets Kancelled”!  Original airdate 13 May 1993.

04
Oct
12

Quote of the Day

Krusty Gets Kancelled14

“I admit I used the city treasury to fund the murder of my enemies.  But, as Gabbo would say, ‘I’m a bad little boy’.” – Mayor Quimby

28
Jun
12

Compare & Contrast: Celebrity Game Shows and Homer Simpson

Krusty Gets Kancelled12

“Hurry, Charley, there is not much time.” – Rainier Wolfcastle
“I ain’t goin’ nowhere.  I’ve been in this square fer near thirty seasons, and I ain’t a leavin’ now.  Aaaahhhh!” – Not Charley Weaver
“He’s dead now.” – Homer Simpson

Without drawing too broad a conclusion from just one example, there aren’t many clearer comparisons for how the show’s sense of humor deteriorated than to look at the two times they poked fun at The Hollywood Squares, first in Season 4’s masterful “Krusty Gets Kancelled”, and then again in Season 11’s pathetic “Hello Gutter, Hello Fadder”.  What makes these two so revealing isn’t just the way Season 11 did a rote copy and paste job from Season 4, it’s also the way the two episodes make use of Homer.

First, though, remember what The Hollywood Squares is.  Tic-tac-toe with minor or fading celebrities has been around, on and off, since the 1960s.  As you’d expect, Wikipedia has an entertainingly thorough article on it, including exhaustive write ups of all four (4!) times it’s been resurrected from cancellation.  But through all its iterations, including the new one that’s built around rappers, the basic concept has remained the same.

Hollywood Squares 5 - Square Harder

Pimpin’ ain’t easy.  (Image shamelessly yoinked from here.)

It’s a show that’s cheap to produce and cheap to market because it relies on cobbling together the renown of nine low wattage and low pay stars to take the place of one big, expensive star.  Given the public’s insatiable appetite for famous people (however generously defined) and the entertainment industry’s constant bestowing of mild fame on new people (as well as pushing previously big celebrities further down its guest lists), the show’s durability is no surprise.

Any institution that sticks around that long will eventually become ripe for parody, but The Hollywood Squares was born ripe.  Its entire reason for existing is to wring a few coins from the leftover scrapings at the bottom of the fame barrel; taste, thought, and embarrassment be damned.  Worse, not only is it trashy entertainment; it isn’t even popular trashy entertainment.  After once being a hit network show, it now bounces around as cable and syndication filler, just another undistinguished part of the background noise of television.  There’s a reason that all the versions are big on scripted jokes and having everyone over-laugh at them: literally none of the “celebrities” really want to be there.  That’s pretty sad when you think about it, and distracting the audience from that fact is vital to the show’s appeal.

Krusty Gets Kancelled13

“Live from Springfield Harbor, where the sewage meets the sand!”

The Simpsons fully understood that inherent patheticness, which is why the show itself is the target of the jokes.  Zombie Simpsons, which “Hello Gutter, Hello Fadder” epitomizes, can’t be bothered with that much thought, so they make Homer acting like a dick the focus of their attempt.  For example, consider the way each handles the fact that The Hollywood Squares writes jokes for the celebrities who are supposedly just hanging out and being super nice and approachable.

On Zombie Simpsons, Homer just holds up two pieces of paper and asks which one he reads from.  It’s a semi-clever way to acknowledge that the whole thing is a sad farce, but it’s just telling the audience what’s going on instead of showing us by making an actual joke.  On The Simpsons, Kent Brockman and Rainier Wolfcastle botch the same idea:

Brockman: Oh, Rainier Wolfcastle, star of McBain and the upcoming film ‘Help, My Son Is a Nerd’.
Wolfcastle: My son returns from a fancy East Coast college, and I’m horrified to find he’s a nerd.
Brockman:  Ha ha ha ha, I’m laughing already.
Wolfcastle:  It’s not a comedy.

Not only is this yet another multi-layer gag where the setups are just as funny as the punchlines, but it perfectly illustrates how depressingly lame the whole ‘Hollywood Squares’ idea really is.  Brockman and Wolfcastle are following the joke-laugh-answer formula exactly, but they’re so apathetic toward what they’re doing that they can’t even accomplish a simple thing like mindlessly plugging Wolfcastle’s hilariously terrible movie.  This is what The Hollywood Squares actually is: bored entertainers phoning it in because they’d rather be doing almost anything else.

By contrast, when Homer shows up to the show in Season 11, he gets in a fight with Ron Howard (which he’d already done just one season earlier), and is actually pitied by him and Kent Brockman:

Brockman: We’ve got to stop putting these flavors of the month on.
Homer: Flavor of the month?  Me? 
Howard: Yeah, Homer, you can’t just ride one accomplishment forever.

Homer acting out and other characters responding to him is the only thing that’s going on.  The show itself is assumed to be something decent and worthwhile that Homer is ruining with his brutish behavior.  It’s one note comedy compared to the symphony of ideas and jokes in “Krusty Gets Kancelled”, but that’s only the half of it.

In Season 4, Homer isn’t involved in the show; he’s watching it.  This is crucial because it perfectly illustrates just how demeaning The Hollywood Squares really is.  He and Bart are exactly the kind of viewer the lowest rung of television is pitched at: bored flyover state residents who tune in to leer at the last glimmers of fame.  That he is their audience is part of what’s so humiliating about the show.  Entertainers who were once at or near the top of their game have been reduced to trading on whatever recognition they have for a (probably not very generous) paycheck.  Worst of all, they have been reduced from stars to replaceable cogs so easily dismissed that when one of them is crushed (and presumably killed) by a tidal wave, their target audience thinks only to laugh. 

“Krusty Gets Kancelled” sees through the forced laughter and glittering lights to the cheap sets and career desperation because it understands that no one has ever gotten into show business to be on The Hollywood Squares.  “Hello Gutter, Hello Fadder”, on the other hand, buys into all that lame self promotion that The Hollywood Squares uses to distract the audience from just how sad it really is.

21
May
12

A Spectacular and Unwatched Catastrophe

Chalkboard - Lisa Goes Gaga

“What the hell was that?” – Krusty the Klown

Give Zombie Simpsons credit, when they embarrass themselves for a pop star, they really embarrass themselves for a pop star.  From start to finish, “Lisa Goes Gaga” relentlessly displayed the pitiful imagination and mediocre craftsmanship behind Zombie Simpsons.  In an episode where they outright tell the audience, right up front in an opening narration, that they’re discarding the usual rules and that weird and strange things are going to happen, just about the only weird and strange things that they managed to conjure were a lot of Lady Gaga outfits. 

Unfortunately for them, dresses made of birds and fire spitting bras will not fill an entire twenty minutes of screen time.  They had to fill in the moments when they weren’t expecting us to laugh because Lady Gaga did something weird with empty and pointless scenes like the school awards, Flanders showing up to converse with Gaga and then disappearing, Marge’s weird behavior at the kitchen table (where she apparently lost the ability to let someone touch her and then quickly regained it), the flash mob, and Homer tossing Lisa around like an hourglass for no reason other than it took up a lot of time. 

On top of all that, what little plot and story that did manage to exist between the Gaga fluffing and the filler didn’t make any sense and crashed into itself several times.  Take, for example, the reaction of the townspeople to Gaga.  When she arrives, they’re head over heels in love with her.  Then, for no reason we see, they cheer that she’s sad as she’s leaving.  Oh, and there were songs, but the less said about those the better.

Somewhere in all that mess, Lisa moped around for a while before she felt better, but we didn’t really know why she felt better until she explicitly exposited it – twice.  The first one:

Lisa: Dad, thank you.  Like always, the fact that I could tune you out without fearing that I’d miss out on something gave me the time to take stock and realize how ungrateful I have been.  Which means, I’ve got a train to catch.

Sure enough, Lisa then catches a train, at which point we get explicit exposition #2:

Lisa: Gaga!
Gaga: Lisa?  Why are you here?
Lisa: To thank you.
Gaga: For what?
Lisa: Look at me!  You did help me, by allowing me to inappropriately focus eight years of rage and rejection on you.  It was like a great sneeze.  And now I can say what’s good about me.

That is appallingly bad writing.  It basically boils down to this:

Gaga: Why are you here.
Lisa: Let me tell you.
Gaga: Okay, I’ll ask again.
Lisa: Now I’ll tell you.

Fortunately for Lady Gaga, Zombie Simpsons isn’t relevant enough to damage her pop culture standing, but that was weird, dumb, unfunny, and boring, even by their standards. 

Anyway, the numbers are in, and Gaga did them no good.  Just 4.79 million people tuned in for that hacktacular exercise in misbegotten pop culture references and inane self help statements.  That’s good for #4 on the all time least watched list, and leaves Season 23 with an average viewership of just 6.13 million people, by far the lowest ever.  Here’s the last five years of Zombie Simpsons:

Season 19 – 8.26 Million
Season 20 – 7.12 Million
Season 21 – 7.13 Million
Season 22 – 7.10 Million
Season 23 – 6.13 Million

At the time, Season 19 was easily the lowest rated ever, and then Seasons 20-22 were even worse.  But Season 23 is a down a whopping 14% just from Season 22.  This does set the bar low for Season 24 to avoid being the third consecutive least watched season ever, but tripping over low bars has become something of a specialty for Zombie Simpsons. 

07
Dec
11

Compare & Contrast: Krusty’s Nadirs

Krusty Gets Kancelled11

“That dummy doesn’t scare me.  I’ve had plenty of guys come after me and I’ve buried ’em all: hobos, sea captains, Joey Bishop.” – Krusty the Klown
“Don’t forget the Special Olympics.” – Ms. Pennycandy
“Oh yeah, I slaughtered the Special Olympics!” – Krusty the Klown

In the introduction to yesterday’s Crazy Noises, I mentioned that “Krusty Changes His Show” should be up there with travel episodes, Homer gets a job, and other serially repeated plots (Lisa gets a cause, Bart gets a girlfriend, etcetera).  A corollary to that is the way we see Krusty freak out once he’s at his wit’s end.  That’s another thing they did several times even before the show’s EEG went flatter than Kansas (“Bart the Fink”, “Last Temptation of Krust”), but for comparison to the hapless ball pit bath we see in “The Ten-Per-Cent Solution” I’d like to look at the first time we see it, in “Krusty Gets Kancelled”. 

I would submit to one and all that this is a man truly at a low end:

Krusty Gets Kancelled10

Take a good look at the above image for a second.  Krusty’s gaze is lowered and his hair is disheveled; his shirt is frayed and his pants are faded.  His sign is haphazard looking even before you read that unlimitedly pathetic message that’s scrawled on it.  From the point of his shoes to the droop of his hair, he is every inch unhappy, ashamed, and hopeless.  Now take a look at this character:

Chillin In a Ball Pit

He’s not happy exactly, but everything from his clothes to his hair to his face is on model and looking quite spiffy.  Nor is he outside on a street corner, he’s sitting in a ball pit in a nice, comfortable and climate controlled Krusty Burger.  Nothing about his appearance or location even remotely bespeaks the kind of desperation as the Krusty from Season 4.  That difference becomes magnified when they start talking.

Zombie Krusty acts like he normally does, screaming, yelling, and generally very manic.  When Lisa informs him that he isn’t her hero, he just ups the ante for wailing and thrashing about.  The whole thing is designed to be funny the same way so much of Zombie Simpsons is: franticly and with a maximum of zaniness.  Neither his dialogue nor his behavior matches the events or emotions he’s theoretically experiencing.  Though, to be fair, that may be expecting too much from a show that just just fired him back and forth between two cannons.

This is the only thing “Will Drop Pants for Food” Krusty says, in response to Bart asking him if he’s making any money:

“Nah, that guy’s giving it away for free.”

This is another one of those perfect, multi-layered Simpsons lines.  In just eight words we understand that Krusty is totally defeated, unable even to succeed here at his lowest, pants dropping ebb.  Worse, he’s being out pants-dropped by a disheveled old man and is so despondent that he doesn’t care enough to walk to a different street corner to try again.  Nor does the animation let up.  Krusty’s head never raises and he meekly goes with Bart and Lisa when they take his arms on their shoulders.  On top of all that, there’s the harmless but wonderfully insane absurdity of the crazy old guy with his pants down singing “The Old Gray Mare”. 

And Krusty’s ordeal isn’t over.  Bart and Lisa still have to cheer him up, convince him he can be a star again, and then get him back into shape after he drinks nothing but milkshakes.  The point of doing all that – aside from the way it’s funny as it’s happening, of course – is to make the ending have a satisfying payoff.  We see not only Krusty have a real crisis, but also why his special is such a success, how he got in trouble in the first place (stealing bits, wasting his money), and finally, with the ruby studded clown nose, the fact that he’s already back to his self destructive ways. 

That, boys and girls, is a hell of an ending.  Not only do they tie in all the celebrities and give them something to do, but they don’t moralize or show Krusty being anything other than the self centered jerk we all need him to be. 

By contrast, in “The Ten-Per-Cent Solution”, Krusty doesn’t go through much of anything.  After that extended flashback, Joan Rivers takes him back as a client almost immediately.  As soon as that happens, he gets himself a revival show, and no sooner is that finished than they’re back together as a couple and he’s off to HBO.  There’s no connection or cause to any of this, it’s just a bunch of stuff that happens.

Even Zombie Simpsons can’t just fizzle out quite that easily though, so they manufacture a conflict out of thin air by having Rivers go nuts once she and Krusty get to HBO.  Bear in mind that this isn’t something that is so much as hinted at earlier in the episode.  Despite the fact that they could’ve easily set it up during his revival show or the flashback, it drops completely from the sky just a few minutes before the credits roll.  In fact, Rivers-the-loony-agent is so thin and transient that it gets dropped just as completely as it got conjured almost immediately.  Rivers is threatened with getting fired, but instead of that happening, she and Krusty get a different HBO show.  Roll credits.  Huh? 

Worried Stagehands

Everyone looks upset, and with good cause.  The final conflict is about to be introduced at the 16:00 mark.

That, boys and girls, isn’t even an ending.  Rivers wasn’t acting crazy, then she was, then she wasn’t.  It’s like a sentence that trails off in the middle. 

Here’s the kicker, “Krusty Gets Kancelled” is easily the wilder and more improbable story of the two.  For all its sloppy execution, Krusty gets fired –> reconnects with old agent –> gets new show isn’t an insane plot.  (By Zombie Simpsons’ standards it’s downright tame.)  Bart and Lisa get in touch with half a dozen celebrities they’ve never met to put on a star studded show right there in Springfield is much stranger and unrealistic.  But none of that matters because the story is well told.  We see Krusty go through a real crisis, we see him claw his way back up, we see the celebrities doing things that are sort of what you’d expect (Midler being a do-gooder, the Chili Peppers playing a concert, Hefner hanging out in a smoking jacket) while still being funny and twisted (crashing the pickup truck, having a promoter believe Moe’s holds 30,000 people, a research facility staffed by women in bunny costumes). 

You can get away with crazy stuff from time to time if you make the effort to slip it into something the audience cares about.  On the other hand, you can’t get away with even sane stuff if you don’t bother to make it anything other than a disconnected series of skits. 

04
Oct
11

The End of Zombie Simpsons Would Be Great; Still Probably Not Happening

Not Enough Information

“I don’t think they’re giving you enough information, Dad.” – Lisa Simpson
“I’ll figure it out.  I’m gonna use all the power of my brain.” – Homer Simpson

The NFL escaped from its lockout basically unscathed, the NBA is getting into serious crunch time with theirs, and now Zombie Simpsons has added its name to this year’s list of labor-management disputes between millionaires and billionaires.  This morning, gossip and media columnist Lloyd Grove published an anonymously sourced article on The Daily Beast reporting that contract negotiations between FOX and the voice cast aren’t going well (thanks to Gran2 in comments).  Let’s wade into the weeds of spin-tastic journalism:

Fox studio execs have occasionally threatened to replace uncooperative cast members with sound-alike actors. But for the first time in nearly a quarter century of haggling, the executives have insisted that if the cast doesn’t accept a draconian 45 percent pay cut, The Simpsons will die an abrupt death as a first-run series.

According to Grove’s anonymous “insider”, the threat here isn’t that they’ll continue the show with a new cast, it’s that they’ll just stop it at the end of the current production run.  The article goes on to relate details of the negotiation, of which there are two actual pieces of information:

Sticking Point #1 – FOX is asking for a 45% salary cut, actors are offering 30%.
Sticking Point #2 – In exchange, the actors want a back end percentage.  FOX doesn’t like that.

The rest of the article is mostly filler, including the widely reported but dubiously sourced claim that the six principle voice actors are currently making $8,000,000 per year (which is roughly $400,000 per episode).  Headlined “Money Dispute May End ‘Simpsons’”, the story has already been linked on Jebus knows how many other sites (Google has it on Vulture, USA Today, Huffington Post, and The A.V. Club already, none of which I’m going to link because all of them just point back to the original article) and is currently eating the #Simpsons tag on Twitter. 

So, what if anything does this new information mean?  Until something more concrete comes along, the answer is “not much”.  You will be seeing this story all over the place for the next week at least, but unless some more actual information bubbles to the surface it will be nothing but rehashed speculation, not unlike the recent “Simpsons channel” non-story.  So if you’re reading something and all it does is link back to The Daily Beast, you can safely ignore it. 

Whoever Grove’s source, they obviously have an interest in the negotiations, but we don’t even know if they’re labor or management so I wouldn’t put too much energy into analyzing either sticking point.  Furthermore, there is no reason to believe that FOX wants to end the show.  Their motives in keeping it on the air have been purely mercenary to this point, and nothing in Grove’s story indicates a change in attitude. 

The bottom line is that while it is possible for a money dispute to finally get Zombie Simpsons off the air, we are a very long way from that happening.  Especially considering that previous money disputes were all resolved to mutual financial benefit (if not quite always amicably), there is every reason to believe that this is a tempest in a teapot.  Based on what we actually know, I’d say this article raises the chances of there not being a Season 24 from “less than 1%” to “slightly higher but still less than 1%”. 

It is nice to see people talking about ending the show.  The comments at the original article contain gems like this:

clairels

15 Minutes Ago

FOX, by keeping this show on the air through more than 10 unnecessary, astonishingly unfunny seasons, has continued to brutalize the legacy of this once-brilliant show. Hopefully this final blow will allow The Simpsons to rest in peace.

And this:

LocalMan

49 Minutes Ago

About time. This used to be the funniest show on TV but it hasn’t been very amusing for a loooong time. I gave it a chance last week and immediately turned it off after they did a Breakfast Club flashback joke that could have been stolen directly out of Family Guy.

But until there is real confirmation of this – as opposed to articles just linking the original and adding speculation – there isn’t (yet) much to see here.

09
Sep
11

Quote of the Day

Not a Comedy

“Rainier Wolfcastle, star of McBain and the upcoming film ‘Help! My Son Is a Nerd!’.” – Kent Brockman
“My son returns from a fancy East Coast college and I’m horrified to find he’s a nerd.” – Rainier Wolfcastle
“I’m laughing already.” – Kent Brockman
“It’s not a comedy.” – Rainier Wolfcastle
“Oh.” – Kent Brockman

14
Apr
11

Faded Stars, Failed Stunts

Krusty Gets Kancelled9

“Here’s my address book, go get those stars!” – Krusty the Klown

According to the schedule on FOX’s website, there’s no new Zombie Simpsons this Sunday (rerun) or next Sunday (rerunning the movie).  And while no new Zombie Simpsons is always good news, it also means we’re going to lack for fresh meat around here.  (This week’s Crazy Noises should be along in a day or two.)  Fortunately, Splitsider stepped into the content gap this morning with an excellent piece by Chris Morgan titled “The Changing Role of Guest Stars on The Simpsons.

The conclusion is a little soft, but for the most part the article is enjoyably harsh on Zombie Simpsons.  It takes the time to dredge up some of their more pandering and desperate moments, from Britney Spears to that reprehensibly boring boy band episode.  In particular, I’d like to highlight this, which comes right after a paragraph that is laced with terms like “wasn’t funny”, “gimmicky”, “poorly executed”, and “groan”:

Things haven’t really changed much since seasons 11 and 12.

That is precisely the problem.  Zombie Simpsons is nothing if not stale, and it’s stale because all it does is go through the motions, including the way it handles celebrity voices.  The roll call from “The Great Simpsina” is a perfect case in point.

The story concludes with Lisa and Raymondo backstage at the magic competition watching the milk can trick go wrong.  It’s going wrong because it’s been sabotaged, and it was sabotaged by four (4) celebrity magicians.  Not one, four.  They could’ve ended their story the exact same way with a single celebrity guest, but instead they crammed in as many as they could.

This isn’t a recent Zombie Simpsons innovation, they’ve been doing things like this since the show permanently decomposed around Seasons 11 and 12.  There have been episodes overflowing with sports stars, journalists and authors.  They’ve even larded up on cross promotion with other FOX programs on at least three separate occasions

As both “Homer at the Bat” and “Krusty Gets Kancelled” make clear, it isn’t about the number of celebrity guests, it’s about why they’re all there.  In “Homer at the Bat”, there are nine baseball players because that’s how many guys are on a team.  In “Krusty Gets Kancelled”, the avalanche of guests is integral to a story about Krusty making a big, star studded comeback.  In “The Great Simpsina” and similar drudgeries it’s more for the sake of more. 

Morgan’s article, once again:

Sometimes they play actual characters, but more often than not they play themselves, and usually in a small cameo. In other words, stunt casting. If the writers have a good joke for it, that’s fine, but far too often these guest appearances feel gratuitous. Through 18 episodes this season, there have been 44 guest stars.

That’s a rate of nearly two and a half per.  Stunt casting indeed. 

19
Jan
11

Crazy Noises: Flaming Moe

Krusty Gets Kancelled8

“I’ve got to fire that agent.” – Elizabeth Taylor

In our ongoing mission to bring you only the shallowest and laziest analysis of Zombie Simpsons, we’re keeping up our Crazy Noises series for Season 22.  Since a podcast is so 2004, and video would require a flag, a fern and some folding chairs from the garage, we’ve elected to use the technology that brought the word “emoticon” to the masses: the chatroom.  Star Trek image macros are strictly forbidden, unless you have a really good reason why Captain Picard is better than Captain Kirk.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (especially on  “addiction”).

Most of the discussion around here about “Flaming Moe”, including the one below, focuses on just how lame the A-plot was, and that’s entirely proper because it made up most of the episode and was, indeed, astonishingly lame. But the B-plot deserves to have some scorn heaped on it at well, if for no other reason than spending a hundred words or so criticizing it would give it more attention than its writers did, literally. Here’s the entirety of the dialogue for “Melody” (voiced by Alyson Hannigan of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “How I Met Your Mother” fame):

I can’t believe I’m playing video games with Bart Simpson.

I’ve sketched you so many times in my dream journal.

Can I do a hand stand against you?

You’re breaking up with me? Upside down? Raggedy Ann was so right about you.

That’s forty-two words in four lines. That’s not a guest part, that’s borderline insulting. (Granted, it’s more than Katy Perry got, but still.) Even minor, one off guest voices usually get a little more to do than show up, fawn over Bart Simpson, and then exit stage right never to be heard from again.

Back in the land of the A-plot, I’d like to point out an example of the kind of humor a smarter show than Zombie Simpsons might do when it comes time for a “gay” episode: Steakhouse or Gay Bar. It’s a very simple website, you are presented with the name of an establishment that is either a gay bar or a steakhouse, you then guess which kind of joint it is based on the name alone.

What’s so wonderful about “Steakhouse or Gay Bar?” is that in addition to being really funny, the results are very often a tossup. When you answer a question it tells you not only whether you were right or wrong, but what percentage of other people guessed the same way. So when I guess that the Grey Fox Pub is a steakhouse, I get a message that says:

Grey Fox Pub is a gay bar in Saint Louis, Missouri.

47.78% got that wrong, too.

Or when I guess that Tad’s is a gay bar I see:

Tad’s is a steak house in San Francisco, California.

53.38% got that wrong, too.

Most of the percentages you see aren’t too far from 50% one way or the other, which means that people really can’t tell from the name whether or not it’s a steakhouse or a gay bar. The gag is that the same veneer of macho masculinity can apply to radically different purposes (unless it’s a gay bar that happens to serve steaks), and it’s a much better joke than anything that was in “Flaming Moe”. It’s current, it’s subversive, it’s not a rehash of things that stopped being clever a decade ago. I don’t think you could construct an entire episode around the concept (and please, Zombie Simpsons, don’t try), but it’s not as if gay humor is frozen in time the way “Flaming Moe” seems to think it is.

[Note: We did have Dave this week, but he was forced to bail almost instantly.]

 

Charlie Sweatpants: Then let us begin.

  Any initial thoughts other than “I wanted this to end eighteen minutes before it did?”

Dave: Gay bashing and stereotypes are so 2009.

  That’s basically all I have to say about whatever the hell it was I watched.

Charlie Sweatpants: Don’t forget the hippie girl subplot.

  That also happened.

Mad Jon: Well, I think you covered it in your post with the help of some external comments, but I miss the gay-episodes that had something behind them. There wasn’t much of a statement other than “Pretending to be Gay for profit is a bad thing”

Also there were two guest voices, I only know who one of them were, and I couldn’t tell you what either of them were pitching.

Dave: Gents, I apologize

  I’m out again

Mad Jon: Bye Dave

Charlie Sweatpants: Bye Dave.

I think there were three, one of the guys from Kids in the Hall was there too.

Mad Jon: Oh man.

Charlie Sweatpants: Anyway, this is one of the rare instances where the guest voices weren’t playing themselves, but basically still had no character.

Mad Jon: Yeah, they were both excellent script readers, but not a whole lot of acting going on there.

Charlie Sweatpants: Willow from Buffy and that chick from SNL aren’t the world’s biggest stars, but they certainly deserved better than the six lines each of them got.

The third grade girl especially was hardly in the episode. Did that really require a guest voice?

Mad Jon: Well, Willow is now one of the major characters on “How I Met Your Mother” which I am ashamed to say I enjoy. If for nothing more than NPH.

Charlie Sweatpants: Doesn’t that reinforce my point? She deserved better.

Mad Jon: Yes, yes it does reinforce your point.

Charlie Sweatpants: It’s also worth noting that the whole “square from the school falls in love with free spirited hippie” was done – as a b-plot and far better – back in Season 2 of South Park.

Mad Jon: Oh yeah, when Mr. Mackay starting taking acid.

  Was that Season 2? Man that was a long time ago.

Charlie Sweatpants: It was, but it also worked way better than this.

Mad Jon: Yeah.

Charlie Sweatpants: Skinner just gets off the bus, and it’s like, “Oh, you’re back”. The whole thing was rushed to the point of incoherence. And that includes that montage.

Mad Jon: On a quick note, I liked how when Smithers went into Burns’ safe, there was a heart in a jar for a quick second.

Charlie Sweatpants: I noticed that too, it wasn’t bad.

What I didn’t like was the way Burns was senile.

Mad Jon: Which montage, the free spirited one or the one with the bar pictures that made it so I didn’t have to try to remember how many times Moe has changed the bar?

Charlie Sweatpants: The free spirit one.

Mad Jon: Ah yes.

Charlie Sweatpants: That was b-plot time that could’ve been used far better.

Mad Jon: It was a bit of time before I realized that was the b-plot.

Charlie Sweatpants: The problem with Burns in this episode is that they can’t decide what they want him to be. Is he fantastically cruel and evil? Or is he an incompetent buffoon? Just fucking pick one already, at least within a single scene is it too much to ask that he stay in character?

Mad Jon: That is a good point, Burns was always in a linear character, but that haven’t been able to properly use him in forever. But name a character with which that isn’t the case.

Charlie Sweatpants: Sad but true.

Mad Jon: Burns is evil, Burns wants to connect with the common man, whatever.

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah. Also, is Smithers out to Burns now? There are a lot of Zombie Simpsons I haven’t seen, but it sure seemed like he didn’t care if Burns knew he was gay.

Mad Jon: I don’t know. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE else knows he is gay, and there have been like a hundred scenes where something really awkward happens, but it has never been directly addressed.

Charlie Sweatpants: There was a lot of those kind of grindingly unfunny improbabilities here. So we’re supposed to believe that this collection of the gayest gay men this side of the Castro can’t tell that Moe is straight?

Mad Jon: Also, hasn’t there always been a different gay bar across the street?

Charlie Sweatpants: I guess.

I kept waiting for them to mention the other gay bar again, but instead, fifteen minutes into the episode, they made up some crap about a parade and had Moe run for office.

  Did not see that one coming.

Mad Jon: I can’t believe Springfield is large enough to need a city council

Charlie Sweatpants: I can’t believe Patty was standing there the whole time Moe was pretending to be gay and didn’t say shit.

Mad Jon: Or that any of the unbelievably large amount of woman Moe has harassed didn’t say anything.

Charlie Sweatpants: The list goes on.

I think someone left “Milk” on when they fell asleep and just filled in all the parts they missed with random minor characters.

Mad Jon: Except no one killed Moe in the end…

Charlie Sweatpants: Well, like I said, they fell asleep.

  Anything you liked here?

Mad Jon: The couch gag spoke to my memories of old, nice and simple and not over the top.

That was about the only thing that didn’t make me dislike the episode.

Charlie Sweatpants: I liked Moe’s line about a “horrible addiction compels you”.

Mad Jon: Also pretty good.

  There were a couple of lines, but they were so crowded by crap and boredom that they are hard to remember in correct context.

Charlie Sweatpants: Bingo. The dizzying array of plot twists made the whole thing seem even messier than it already was.

  Oh, and right on the heels of Fit Tony there was Comic Book Gay.

Mad Jon: Yeah, who likes comic books of a different kind.

  I swear to god I hate that Comic Book Guy for what he has done to Comic Book Guy.

Charlie Sweatpants: Heh. I’m just nervous that Sideshow Mel is going to have a cousin named Sideshow Sell who does infomercials.

Mad Jon: He has not so subtly gone down the road Homer did so long ago. Doesn’t really have a job anymore, unless it is pivotal for the ‘plot’. Is part of every major Springfield/Simpson family event, and he went from one line zingers that filled the space brilliantly to a conversationalist who still tries to use those one liners, only a lot lot more often.

Charlie Sweatpants: That’s all true, but like my comment about Burns, what character can’t that be said about?

Mad Jon: Very true sir.

Charlie Sweatpants: Chalmers keeps showing up for no reason, I think you’re right, he sleeps at the school now.

Mad Jon: It just gets me that all of the sudden everyone is on this CBG bandwagon, like he is the new ‘it’ character, except he has been doing this for years.

Well at least this time Chalmers, who apparently has a first name now, was at least outside of Skinner’s office.

Charlie Sweatpants: But he is just there whenever they need him to be. I’m reminded of that episode last year when Hoover showed up on the playground to give Lisa her paper back, and then vanished.

  They’re replacing the school music teacher, there’s actually a reason for Chalmers to be there, but they don’t even bother.

Mad Jon: Maybe someone’s voice contract requires a certain amount of Chalmers time.

Charlie Sweatpants: Nah, I think it’s just apathy.

Mad Jon: Also I would imagine introducing a new student to the class is the job of a principal.

But once again…

Charlie Sweatpants: Anything else here? Between the half formed romantic comedy b-plot and the strange twists and turns of the a-plot I think we’ve covered everything.

Mad Jon: No, I think we have devoted enough of our free time to this episode.

Charlie Sweatpants: That’s good. I don’t think I could take much more discussion of “Queer Eye for Springfield”.

Oh crap, that’ll be an episode title in about two seasons once no one remembers what “Queer Eye” originally was.

Mad Jon: That would be about right . . . Damn you Sweatpants!

28
Sep
10

Somebody Please Pay Attention To Us!

Krusty Gets Kancelled7

“So, you want ventriloquism do you?  Alright, watch this!” – Krusty the Klown

It has been a very long time since I was a regular Sesame Street viewer, even various junior family members I’ve babysat over the years have now outgrown it.  On top of that, I have an almost physical revulsion to celebrity “news”.  I go out of my way to avoid knowing about the latest brouhaha surrounding famous people of every stripe which, given the pervasiveness of such information, is itself something of a chore.  My apathy about this subject typically extends to announcements about the latest celebrity voices to make appearances on Zombie Simpsons.  I rarely report them because the cameos themselves long ago became indistinct and pointless and, besides, there are plenty of other Simpsons websites for that kind of second hand promotion.  So please understand that I have no insight or opinion about aspects of this story that do not involve this rather novel publicity stunt by Zombie Simpsons. 

That preamble concluded, singer Katy Perry has apparently been in the news lately because a guest spot she did on Sesame Street got scotched.  I’ll let The New York Daily News give you the details using one sentence paragraphs:

Perry, whose duet with Elmo was cut from Sesame Street after parents complained the singer showed too much skin, will get a second chance to sing with puppets this winter as a guest-star on "The Simpsons."

Though celebrities are usually given the cartoon treatment for "Simpsons" cameos, this time Perry’s much-maligned cleavage will be on full display.

The pop star will appear as herself in an unusual live-action segment, alongside the other Simpsons characters who will be transformed into muppet-like puppets.

In the episode, due to air Dec. 5, the "Teenage Dream" singer reportedly plays crusty bartender Moe’s girlfriend, and leads the gang in a rousing rendition of the "The 39 Days of Christmas."

If you want to see a picture of the puppets, you can click the link.  The whole family is there, plus Moe and, oddly enough, Burns; they all look very Muppet-like.  Much like the Kesha opening from last season, this will no doubt result in a very short Reading Digest the Friday before it’s broadcast.  It will then suffer the same fate as all obscure pop culture moments, popping up on-line from time to time until the heat death of the internet. 

In terms of what this means for Zombie Simpsons, all it tells us is that their desperation to stay relevant using the popularity of others is still redlining.  But we knew that already.

09
Jul
10

Reading Digest: Emmy Apathy Edition (Part II)

Krusty Gets Kancelled6

“This was a great show, Krusty.  You deserve an Emmy for this!” – Bette Midler
“Forget it, the Academy hates me.  I don’t know why.  Bunch of old, know nothing dinosaurs wouldn’t know entertainment if it bit them in the . . . hey hey!” – Krusty the Klown

There was a lot of blather on-line this week on account of the Emmy nominations were announced.  I don’t care about the Emmys, and since I was passing over lots of links to them I thought this week’s theme would be ignoring the Emmys.  That felt a little familiar, so I searched our archives and . . . yep, “Friday Link Dump – Emmy Apathy Edition” from July of last year.  So, welcome to the second annual Ignoring of the Emmys (well, there’s one link about them).  Also, there are some good lists and some bad lists, someone who used to have the same laptop as me, a new religion, and one piece of usage. 

Enjoy.

The 15 Greatest Songs from The Simpsons (So Far) – The bad news: there are three songs from Zombie Simpsons on here.  The good news, none of them are in the top ten.  In fact, why not skip to page two where it’s Zombie Simpsons free?  The audio and video are of the varying quality typical of aggressively enforced copyright. 

Fellows Friday with Mitchell Joachim – Building the world of tomorrow by designing it for Homer Simpson. 

Hey! Glenn Beck! Leave Them Kids Alone: ‘Beck University’ Launches This Week – I don’t usually grab things from comments threads, but we’re low on usage this week and this is well quoted:

When read that Beck was starting a "university", I immediately asked the same question Bart Simpson asked when Homer said he was going to college, "barber or clown?"

Excellent usage. 

Little Fockers: Top Ten Troublesome Kids – Bart checks in at #4. 

How can Homer work in a nuclear facility? – If this is sarcasm, it is very well camouflaged:

Nuclear powerplants are very dangerous places and only smart people are allowed to work there. One wrong move and it could be a catrastrophy. So why then do they allow Homer Simpson to work there. He is clearly an incognizant, inept, buffoon of a man. And whats worse, he is the saftey supervisor. How does a nuclear accident like this get a possition that important?

Talk about missing the joke.  Also, spellcheck is your friend. 

New Show at AVAM co-curated by Matt Groening of Simpson’s Fame! – Groening is curating again, and this time the context for the word “curated” actually makes sense:

So when our pals at the Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore told us a month or so ago that the word on the street was that the NEW show would be curated by Matt Goening and “the guy that worked on Pee-Wee’s Playhouse”, I nearly jumped for joy!  What might those kooks dream up?

Turns out JOY is just what they’re thinking of.  In October of 2010, we will all be delighted I’m sure to see “What Makes Us Smile”:  the theme of the new exhibition at AVAM.  “This mega exhibition on the timeless and global phenomena of smiling, laughter and humor will include contributions by dozens of artists…”

Small-time book touring – Just a quick update from the ongoing saga that is publishing a Simpsons book.  All the best, and good luck.

After losing first Emmy bid last year, Harry Shearer back to being snubbed for ‘The Simpsons’ – The Emmys are a farce, and even though my time is not valuable in the least, reading this article would’ve been a waste of it.  I made it three paragraphs in before getting bored.  I’m linking it because of the old school drawing of Burns and the rest of the cast.  It has a very early season vibe to it, and for some reason Smithers has red hair.  That’s worth a look, the accompanying text is not. 

Blago the ‘bully’ puts the squeeze on for more than just lunch money – Cartoonishly corrupt ex-governor of Illinois Rod Blagojevich is finally on trial.  He actually used the word “bully” to describe his relations with state contractors.  This prompted a vigorous Nelson Muntz comparison. 

The Simpsons Are On Vacation – Sad news:

MYFOXCHATTANOOGA – Your favorite family is going on vacation.  The Simpsons will not be seen on FOX61 at 7:30pm.  But don’t worry, it’s only for the rest of the summer.  They’ll be back for the fall lineup.  But while you’re enjoying the heat, the sun and the rest of the summertime fun, you can catch a full hour of My Name Is Earl beginning at 7 each weeknight.

From time to time, I’m forced to remind myself that lots of people watch the show on syndication.  Then I wonder how it warps me to almost never watch it that way. 

My new best friend!!! – This is relevant for two reasons, though I doubt anyone but me cares about the first.  Man buys new laptop to replace his old one:

Anyway, it was a Dell 5100. A blue, heavy workhorse of a machine, and before you yell at me for some reason, I have to say that it was one of the most reliable pieces of electronic machinery that I have ever owned. I bought it in 2003 to use for college and it performed everything that I needed it to.

I’m typing this on my blue Dell 5100, though I got mine in 2004, and “workhorse” is very good description.  I’ve done terrible things to this laptop, and it still runs like a champ.  I have no plans to replace it, and my stated goal is to see if I can make it last through 2014 for an even decade.  Mad Jon was doubtful when I told him this, but what does he know?  Now, the Simpsons part:

And yes, I was watching The Simpsons while doing this, and extra special brownie points to whoever can tell me the name of the episode that is being shown!

I already hit his comment section with the answer, but there’s no reason the game can’t be played twice, so here’s the image:

Krusty and the New Laptop

I can’t afford extra special brownie points, so you’ll have to make do with regular special brownie points.

He’s So Spry! And Agile! – An animated .gif of Homer’s Whacking Day training routine.

What’s the what – Oh Season 5, so many people love you:

What else I’ve been up to lately:

01| Math class. Today’s my first quiz. Gross!

02| Watching season five of the Simpsons. Why not?

Why not, indeed. 

Welcome to a new religion – It’s called “Lisaism”:

Whilst there is no absolute commands in Lisaism and no direct consequenses for not following them, I encourage following this code as a way to show your love towards your favourite Simpson.

He cites four episodes, and only one of them is from Zombie Simpsons.  That’s not a terrible ratio, in fact, I can think of quite a few holy books that are much more than 25% garbage.

Five legged toad found in Nottinghamshire – Did they call it Hoppy?:

Faye Sweeney, 27, found the unusual amphibian on a pathway. She said: "It reminded me of The Simpsons when they find the three eyed fish!"

Let’s ask an actor portraying Charles Darwin what he thinks.

Doobie brothers – Apparently Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong are touring together again, and they’re going to be on an upcoming episode of Zombie Simpsons:

“We just recorded something for ‘The Simpsons’ and Dave didn’t show up there, either. It’s a whole bit on Cheech and I breaking up. We break up because I just got tired of doing ‘Dave’s not here.’ They wrote it. It’s very funny.”

Tommy, it would probably better if you wrote it. 

Homer Voorhees – Krusty Brand Seal of Approval for Homer dressed as Jason from the Friday the 13th movies.  I just want a brownie while they’re still hot. 

Happy Birthday America!!!! – One YouTube, one Hulu, and one nice transition between them.

PlayStation Move bundles en route to Japan: Resident Evil, Time Crisis ahoy – Nothing helps us explain ourselves quite like The Simpsons:

Remember that episode of The Simpsons when Lisa rigged a cupcake with electrodes, and then Bart kept trying the cupcake despite the shocks? And the mouse learned his lesson right after the first shock? That’s like me with motion controllers, all of them: I know it’s not for me, so why keep trying?

The blogger has learned a valuable lesson: beware the hand of Sony.

Can Jesus Make A Burrito So Hot He Couldn’t Eat It? – Much as I am dreading the Season 13 DVDs, I am kinda curious to watch the medical marijuana one again.  I haven’t seen it in years, but I remember not completely hating it when it came out.  (Yeah, yeah, I could go over to WTSO, but I’m really lazy.)   And that burrito line is good, and this link puts some thought behind it. 

Vancouver Canucks Go Homeless. For A Few Hours. – The Canucks used to play at “GM Place”, but the stadium got renamed since General Motors can’t afford that kind of stuff any more.  I would like to think that people really did call it the “car hole” though. 

Me And My Homer Simpson Cup – One picture, two happy looking guys. 

Bacon Fest 2010: Bacon Jam – If you scroll down there are 10 Homer/bacon quotes.  Some are Zombie Simpsons and some are screwed up, but #4 is Bacon Day and that always makes me laugh.  Just for fun:

“And this is for my huggy bug, in honor of this special day.” – Marge Simpson
“Special day?  Oh, what have I forgotten now?  Now, don’t panic, is it Bacon Day?  No, that’s crazy talk!” – Homer’s Brain

02
Apr
10

Crazy Noises: The Greatest Story Ever D’ohed

Krusty Gets Kancelled5

“I don’t like it.  He’s got Johnny Carson, Bette Midler and Hugh Hefner!  What do we got?” – Gabbo
“Ray J. Johnson.” – Arthur Crandall

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 “blaspheming”).

The internet gods saved us from finishing our group therapy session this week.  But before that happened we managed to get to most of what made this episode terrible.  The only thing I’d add is that turning a show over to a guest star is, generally speaking, not indicative of a healthy production. 

Mad Jon: Anyway I watched the new Zombie Simpsons today and now I have eye cancer too. You guys happy?

Charlie Sweatpants: It only gave you eye cancer? I need a better oncologist.

Mad Jon: I was having gin, I think that protected my insides…

Charlie Sweatpants: Yes . . . that’d do.

Anyway, was this a by the numbers Zombie Simpsons travel episode or what?

Mad Jon: I guess

Dave: It was predictable, yes.

Mad Jon: I think it was what the child of “Hurricane Neddy” and “Homer’s Enemy” would look like if it was a crack baby.

Charlie Sweatpants: How so?

Mad Jon: Ahem

Charlie Sweatpants: Jon’s using bold! We’re all gonna die!

Dave: Everybody take shelter!

Mad Jon: Because the episode started with Homer pissing off Ned. And then Homer acted exactly like the Zombie Homer that was born in “Homer’s Enemy” and then Ned kept being angry like “Hurricane Neddy” but didn’t have the ending therein, instead, it turned out EVERYONE thought they were the chosen one.

And Borat tried to ruin his career.

Charlie Sweatpants: I really had no idea where you were going with that, but that actually makes a lot of sense.

Mad Jon: AND Bart fought a ninja girl.

Dave: Jon wins. Conversation over.

Mad Jon: Thanks.

Charlie Sweatpants: As soon as Borat’s niece was there you knew she was going to have to do something with Bart. I was all ready to start in on Girlfriend #9, but they went with an action sequence instead.

Dave: Montage, Charlie.

  It’s a basic requirement of this season.

Mad Jon: Also, I had no idea what was going on during their tour.

Charlie Sweatpants: Neither did the writers, don’t feel bad.

Mad Jon: Other than Homer pissing Ned off.

Dave: Other than the broad excuse to pretend lampoon Israel you mean?

Mad Jon: I am so angry I just ended a sentence with a preposition

Charlie Sweatpants: No Grammar Rodeo for you, young man.

Mad Jon: Why, is there a breathalyzer?

Charlie Sweatpants: What was really bad about the whole Angry Ned thing is that there wasn’t even a resolution to it. Ned calmed down right as Homer went off on his pointless desert excursion (hello Johnny Cash).

Mad Jon: For almost no reason at all too.

  He was just… Better.

Charlie Sweatpants: Then later, they give it this sweet scene on the airplane as Homer is basically blaspheming worse than he’s ever done before.

I mean, it’s one thing to have Ned get pissed off, it’s another to have him then be sweet as sugar as Homer claims to be the Second Coming.

Mad Jon: I almost threw my computer on the ground when Homer empted the sand from his shoe.

Charlie Sweatpants: I guess what I’m trying to say is that making characters one dimensional is one thing, but having that one dimension change from scene to scene is really, really lazy.

Mad Jon: And again when he added salt to the Dead Sea

Charlie Sweatpants: Does the top of each script page just begin with “Also, this happened…”

Mad Jon: Well said pants.

  Transitions are so passe.

Dave: Patty & Selma’s Dead Sea bit was more concise and funnier. Go figure.

Mad Jon: The joke was two words long

Charlie Sweatpants: But was there any reason for him to go to the Dead Sea?

  Fuck no.

Mad Jon: Yeah, to put salt in it and drink it.

Dave: Oh not at all.

  Flimsy excuse for a crappy hallucination that led to something else.

  Like you said, lazy writing.

Charlie Sweatpants: Ohh, take that VeggieTales!

Dave: Burn, phallic Christian vegetables.

Charlie Sweatpants: When it comes to Christian children’s shows I’m partial to Jay Jay the Jet Plane, myself.

Mad Jon: How the hell did the Simpson family afford to pay their way to Israel?

Charlie Sweatpants: Oh shit, I almost forgot about that.

Mad Jon: Does Homer still have a job?

Charlie Sweatpants: Marge walks out and just says, “We’ll pay our own way!”

Mad Jon: I assume that was to give Homer a reason to moan.

Dave: You assume correctly

Mad Jon: Something had to follow the waterslide sceen [Ed Note: left that one in the original]

  God, I’m spelling like an asshole tonight

Dave: It’s the cancer

Mad Jon: The ball cancer or the eye cancer?

Charlie Sweatpants: What I like about that line is that it nicely demonstrates how weak the storytelling has become. The writers don’t want the Flanders to be buying everything because that would make the Simpsons unsympathetic, but at the same time they’re constrained by the fact that the Simpsons are supposed to be poor.

Mad Jon: That’s deep thinking for a Zombie writer

Charlie Sweatpants: They couldn’t write themselves a way around even that simple problem. I miss Chuck Garabedian.

Charlie Sweatpants: And that was Season 10!

Dave: Who was at the helm of this clusterfuck?

Charlie Sweatpants: What do you mean? Isn’t Al Jean still in charge?

Dave: No, the actual credited writer

Charlie Sweatpants: Kevin Curran.

Mad Jon: I assumed they resurrected the guy who played Corkey and had him write it, huh, you learn something every day.

Dave: I don’t know him but I don’t like him.

Mad Jon: Who, Curran or Corkey?

Dave: Curran

Mad Jon: I was going to say…

Charlie Sweatpants: Enh, this strikes me as a group failure. Plenty of blame to go around.

Dave: Sure, I just wanted to cast the first stone somewhere.

Charlie Sweatpants: Well, when it comes to Zombie Simpsons you are without sin.

Mad Jon: Indeed.

I think you could commit some Charles Taylor like war crimes and still throw the first stone at this one.

Charlie Sweatpants: Now there’s a travel episode I’d like to see. The Simpsons are going to Liberia!

Mad Jon: They’ve already been to Africa, remember the monkey diamond mines?

Dave: Shhh, they might hear you.

  Don’t give them any ideas.

Charlie Sweatpants: Oh fuck, I hate that episode.

Mad Jon: Its really terrible

Charlie Sweatpants: This one was a lot like it though.

Dave: More than the Brazil episode?

Mad Jon: really terrible

  It makes me sad thinking about how I’ve seen it before.

Charlie Sweatpants: Well, Simpson Safari was, I think, the template for later Zombie Simpsons travel episodes.

Dave: My timeline’s a little fuzzy

Mad Jon: Form letter indeed.

Charlie Sweatpants: Where all they do is plunk down the family for the sole purpose of having them visit every well known landmark.

Mad Jon: It came free with some Avery labels the writers bought when they were sending out resumes

And then there were monkeys and diamonds

Charlie Sweatpants: The really horrifying twist in this one is that they combined the worst aspects of the travel episode with the worst aspects of the pointless celebrity episode.

  Quite frankly, I think that’s why this one got voted down even at Simpsons Channel and No Homers.

It’s like when the Titanic sank, four water tight compartments, no problem. But you breach that fifth one . . .

Mad Jon: Who the hell was the second guest they listed?

Dave: She sings a song used in an Apple commercial

Mad Jon: What did she do?

Charlie Sweatpants: You’re going to have to narrow that down.

Mad Jon: On the episode?

Charlie Sweatpants: She fought Bart.

Mad Jon: Oh shit

They were a tag team eh? Fuck me that sucks.

  I’m gonna need more beer…

Dave: Go for something harder

Mad Jon: You always were the smart one

Dave: Aw shucks

Charlie Sweatpants: Drunken “I love you, man!”s aside, anything we still need to talk about here?

Mad Jon: I don’t think so. I am sure anything that we didn’t cover was covered by the commenters on the preview

Charlie Sweatpants: I do have one thing.

Mad Jon: Did you ever notice how Charles Taylor looks like an evil Morgan Freeman?

Charlie Sweatpants: No?

Dave: He does, sorta

http://www.topnews.in/files/Charles-Taylor.jpg

  Younger

Charlie Sweatpants: Okay, I’ll give you that.

  Though a lot of it is the beard.

Mad Jon: Anyway, go ahead Charlie.

Charlie Sweatpants: Anyway, what I was going to complain about was the fact that they got to Israel and the only people they talked to were Borat and his niece who spent most of her screen time chasing/fighting Bart.

Mad Jon: And being a sort of stereotypical in a way I didn’t understand.

  But I am interrupting.

Charlie Sweatpants: If you look at, say, “Bart vs. Australia” or even “30 Minutes Over Tokyo”, when they go someplace, they actually deal with a lot of people.

Mad Jon: Yeah, the previews I read led me to believe there would be some ethnic conflict involved

Charlie Sweatpants: Here, once they got where they were going it was just Borat narrating away, only without a fat man’s testicles in his face, so it was less funny.

Mad Jon: that was funny.

Dave: But he was a walking stereotype, and stereotypes are funny.

  Just kidding, his character was terrible.

Mad Jon: Maybe I don’t know enough Israelites.

[Ed note: At this point we began having technical problems - with a chatroom. We suck.]

Dave: Are we collectively giving up here?

Charlie Sweatpants: Is there anything else that we ought to discuss?

We covered the lame guest voices, the ridiculous way they got to Israel, the stupidity of Flanders getting mad and Homer thinking he was Jesus.

Dave: Nah, I’m spent.

Charlie Sweatpants: Does this mean we were saved by technical difficulties?

  And if so, couldn’t we fake this on a regular basis and get out of even thinking about this show?

Dave: Faking it would be less fun I think.

  And more work

Charlie Sweatpants: True enough.

09
Dec
09

Worker and Parasite! (Seriously)

The Simpsons are popular the world over.  Now they’re getting localized in Georgia (the country, not the American state):

Georgian animators are hoping a local television makeover of The Simpsons will mimic the American animated series’ two decades of success. But the show, The Samsonadzes, walks a thin line between originality and flat-out imitation of the world’s best-known cartoon family.

[…]

Launched six weeks ago on Imedi TV, The Samsonadzes feature the bulging eyes, mustard-toned skin, four-fingered hands and character movements reminiscent of their American counterparts. The series’ opening shot — a camera zooming down through the clouds into a candy-colored anonymous town — is more than a little reminiscent of the presentation of The Simpsons hometown of Springfield.

But story differences exist. The Samsonadzes are a nuclear family in the Georgian sense: the father (Gela), mother (Dodo), daughter (Shorena) and son (Gia) live with Gela’s parents, a frequent occurrence in family-centric Georgia. While Gela shares Homer Simpson’s limited intelligence — the first episode featured his finding a job as a bank’s copy machine attendant — Dodo is a sexier, more aggressive take on quiet Marge Simpson.

Georgia’s Caucasus mountain range and the family’s crazed parrot Koke — not Bart Simpson on a skateboard — take center stage in The Samsonadzes opening frames. Ramishvili said that the openings resemblance to The Simpsons is deliberate. "The first reaction is the most important. That is why," he said of The Samsonadzes introduction.

Neither Ramishvili nor Imedi TV discussed licensing issues with 20th Century Fox, the current owners of the The Simpsons’ copyright. Ramishvili says that he does not see any need for a license since The Samsonadzes are a family comedy, a universal genre that Fox cannot copyright. "If we were making The Simpsons, with the same personalities, that would be different," Ramishvili said.

A spokesperson for 20th Century Fox did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication.

Screw FOX if they try and stop these guys.  This is awesome.  The video link to the first episode in that quote wasn’t working earlier, but it does seem to be working now and if you click on it you can see the opening sequence.  (If it isn’t working you can catch at least some of the opening sequence at the 2:30 mark of this news style report.)  The story goes on from there to detail some of the differences between the two. 

Here are the only two things I found on YouTube that show the Samsonadzes.  First a dance promo that gives you a good look at all the characters:

Second, this trailer-like video that shows some of an episode and involves “Tomb Raider”:

Excelsior to Georgia and the Samsonadzes. 

(Yes I know that Georgia is not part of Eastern Europe.  No I do not care.  It’s still a former Communist country and that’s close enough.)

09
Oct
09

Friday Link Dump – TV Shows I Never Watched Edition

Krusty Gets Kancelled4

“I didn’t know you knew Luke Perry.” – Bart Simpson
“Pfft.  Know him?  He’s my worthless half-brother.” – Krusty the Klown
“He’s a big TV star.” – Lisa Simpson
“Yeah, on FOX.” – Krusty the Klown

I watched a lot of television when I was growing up, but even I had my limits and this week we’ve got links to three shows (Melrose Place, Stargate SG-1, Heroes) that I can honestly say I’ve never seen a full episode of.  We also check in with the burnt donut from last week, hot chocolate and nuclear power.  Oh and we’ve got lots of excellent usage this week.

Enjoy.

From ‘With It’ to ‘Senior Listener’ at 22 Years-old – The “then they changed what it was” quote is mangled and Grandpa says it, not Homer.  Poor usage, don’t worry the good stuff’s coming.

Other Nations Expand Nuclear Power While America Keeps Watching The Simpsons – I’m not knowledgeable enough about nuclear power and the alternatives to have an informed opinion about whether or not we should build more nuclear power plants.  That said, they are a comedy gold mine.

The Watchtower of Destruction: The Ferrett’s Journal – Covering The Simpsons Bingo Card – The specifics here are a little weak, but the general premise (that you learn about famous pop culture items from shows like The Simpsons before you actually encounter them) is dead on accurate.  For years I never knew who Ray J. Johnson was, and then I finally looked it up and “Krusty Gets Kancelled” became just a little bit funnier.

ned flanders’ hot chocolate – Instructions on how to make a cup of hot chocolate like Flanders did in the movie.  It even includes step by step photographs (on a windowsill) and a blow torch!  Awesome.

‘Melrose Place’: By hook or by crook – I never watched the first Melrose Place and I have no intention of watching the second one, but this is excellent usage.

Ned Flanders’ Parents: The Web is Monetizable – This is the opening of a long discussion of how you can get paid for creating useful things on-line:

Remember those ‘Simpsons’ beatniks (I believe it was Ned Flanders’ parents) who said, “You gotta help us, Doc. We’ve tried nothin’ and we’re all out of ideas?”

If you listen to the scene it sounds more like Ned’s mom says “You’ve gotta” not “You gotta”, but that nit’s too small for even me to pick.  Excellent usage.

Town keeps tribute to Homer – Springfield, New Zealand is going to replace the burned donut we mentioned last week with an invincible concrete donut.  That ought to thwart the arsonists who torched the old one.  Go Springfield, NZ!  You can click through to see a photo of the burned donut from the front.  I’d still eat it.  It’s just a little charred, it’s still good, it’s still good!

Simpsons references in Stargate – Clearly the people behind this show were fans of The Simpsons.  Not that that says or means much, but still.

Lil’ Monster… Laura’s Sketch 36 – It’s a very well done home-made Halloween card that has nothing to do with The Simpsons until they put a nearly correct Lisa quote underneath it.  Silver star for usage on that one.

Caption Competition – This is a BBC magazine caption contest for a photo of a bunch of people in mascot costumes running a race.  One of the mascots has Bart’s haircut and thus we get:

Despite the mask, Bart Simpson would never live down being beaten by Bumblebee man

Hayden’s Girl-on-Girl Smooch a Cheap Shot? – Marge’s imaginary kiss on last season’s Zombie Simpsons now means that every time someone writes about the girl-kissing-girl teevee trope, Simpsons will get dragged into it:

What used to be taboo TV is now considered nothing more than a ratings-grabbing stunt. The provocative plot point pretty much jumped the shark with moody Marissa Cooper’s (Mischa Barton) sapphic smooch with Olivia Wilde back on ‘The O.C.’ These days everyone from Jennifer Aniston and Courteney Cox (’Dirt’) to ‘Desperate Housewives’ Gaby and Susan are doing it. Even Marge Simpson has had a lesbian kiss!

Look at that list of shitty television shows, why oh why must The Simpsons be on such a terrible list?  This is your fault, Zombie Simpsons.  If the fake girl-kisses-girl is going to be the next iteration of Fonzie jumping the shark it needs a name.  “Plugging the dyke” seems a tad crude, although it does work on three levels: 1) “dyke” (rude but self explanatory) 2) “plugging” (since the hetero-girl kiss always makes the promos) and 3) plugging holes in a dyke (the old definition) is what you do when things are about to get a lot worse.  Does anyone have any other suggestions?

My enthusiasm for my new phrase, however, doesn’t lessen my disappointment in Zombie Simpsons for sullying the good reputation of its forerunner.

Yeardley Smith, voice actress behind Lisa Simpson character, to read in Holland – Smith will be reading from her new book “I, Lorelei” in Holland, MI on October 17th.

Baseball, Football and a Weekend Without Blackouts? – In a post about this weekend’s slate of NFL games we get this (yeah, he misspelled “Simpson”, so what?):

And, rather than post a random video, we’ll end with this. As Jay Sherman once famously told Homer Simpon, “No, Homer, I won’t make fun of you. But I will suggest there may be better things in life than seeing a man get hit in the groin with a football.” Yes, Jay, like a man about to win a playoff game getting hit in the groin with a baseball.

Sherman actually says “I won’t make fun” without the “of you”, but that’s also a pretty tiny nit and I won’t pick it.  Excellent usage.

09
Sep
09

Quote of the Day

undies

“I say if it feels good, do it.” – Police Chief Wiggum
“All right! (laughs)” – Dr. Hibbert
“Don’t snap my undies.” – Police Chief Wiggum

01
Aug
09

Quote of the Day

Krusty Gets Kancelled3

“Two wrongs don’t make a right, Bart.” – Lisa Simpson

“Yes they do.” – Bart Simpson

“No they don’t.” – Lisa Simpson

“Yes they do.” – Bart Simpson

“No they don’t.” – Lisa Simpson

“Yes they do.” – Bart Simpson

“Dad!” – Lisa Simpson

“Two wrongs make a right, Lisa.” – Homer Simpson

18
Feb
09

Zombie Simpsons: Countering the Orange Revolution

“So, here’s Eastern Europe’s favorite cat and mouse team: Worker and Parasite!” – Krusty the Klown

Here is another way in which Zombie Simpsons is damaging our world.  The “Ukrainian State Commission of Morals” (motto: Drinking Vodka and Pissing off Russia since 2004!) has declared that The Simpsons violates moral principals and shouldn’t be shown in the Ukrainian equivalent of primetime:  

Vasyl Kostytskiy, head of the Commission of Morals, explained that members were analyzing “The Simpsons” at the request of two governmental bodies (the prosecutor’s office and National Television and Radio Broadcasting Council). Their task was to check the show’s compliance with the nation’s morals law.

“Our conclusion regarding ‘The Simpsons’ said that there was no violation of law on the protection of morals, but our expert believes that the time frame should be taken into account when demonstrating.” Kostytskiy said, pointing out that 400 episodes of the cartoon “were under investigation in many countries.” 

Showing Simpsons to Ukrainian children is, obviously, a good idea.  They’ll learn how to properly mock authority, not take things too seriously, and generally see the humor in life.  But what about Zombie Simpsons?  Let’s face it, Zombie Simpsons isn’t going to teach anyone anything other than that mediocrity is acceptable and you can slouch through life so long as your paymasters get theirs.  That kind of message only encourages thoughtless authoritarianism. 

29
Jan
09

I’d Rather Watch the Dryer Channel

“I lost to Channel Ocho?  What the hell is that?” – Krusty the Klown
Good news everybody, that abortion last Sunday was the least watched Zombie Simpsons ever:
An extended mid-season break has bitten The Simpsons dearly in the ratings, with Sundays episode ‘Lisa The Drama Queen’ fetching just 5.75 million viewers at 8:00pm, a new all time low for the show.

Huzzah.  But wait, there’s more!  How about some insult to go with that injury?
a new American Dad scored 5.73 million viewers at 9.30.

American Dad?  A first run Simpsons episode is just as interesting to people as Family Guy‘s recycled afterbirth?  It’s too bad that the people keeping Zombie Simpsons on the air have no remaining shame or they might be embarrassed.  
Ah well, a good sign nevertheless.  Unprofitability here we come!  



E-Mail

deadhomersociety (at) gmail

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Twitter Updates

Useful Legal Tidbit

Even though it’s obvious to anyone with a functional frontal lobe and a shred of morality, we feel the need to include this disclaimer. This website (which openly advocates for the cancellation of a beloved television series) is in no way, shape or form affiliated with the FOX Network, the News Corporation, subsidiaries thereof, or any of Rupert Murdoch’s wives or children. “The Simpsons” is (unfortunately) the intellectual property of FOX. We and our crack team of one (1) lawyer believe that everything on this site falls under the definition of Fair Use and is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. No revenue is generated from this endeavor; we’re here because we love “The Simpsons”. And besides, you can’t like, own a potato, man, it’s one of Mother Earth’s creatures.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 389 other followers