“I think Lisa needs to feel a little special tonight. How about letting her ride up front too?” – Marge Simpson
“Eh, I tried.” – Homer Simpson
As was inevitable as soon as FXX decided to run the marathon consecutively, instead of something more humanitarian like banishing Zombie Simpsons to the unemployable alcoholic angry loner hours, there have been some defenses of Zombie Simpsons cropping up in the last few days. To start things off, we’ve got three of those, followed by another overflowing pile of other great stuff. We’ve got several links to fan art, lots of people reminiscing about the show, a woman who kept her Maggie doll for twenty-four years, and lists and lists and lists of episodes, most of which wouldn’t don’t even mention Zombie Simpsons.
To start, here are three professional defenses of Zombie Simpsons, in decreasing order of both quality and defensiveness of Zombie Simpsons (that’s not a coincidence):
Extend Your Simpsons Marathon Buzz With These Videos: Gothamist – This one is very solid and is also Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week despite citing some truly awful episodes as “gems”. For starters, there is a metric ton of good YouTube here, including that great Conan O’Brien discussion with the old writers, The Longest Daycare, and some other stuff. Closer to my heart is this:
Despite our reservations, we have truly enjoyed this chance to catch up a bit on the so-called “Zombie Simpsons” era, the not-so-affectionate term Simpsons aficionados use for the show post-season 12.
They didn’t give us a link, which I was a little miffed about at first. Especially because the author goes on to inadvertently cite the two big reasons the show went to hell (writer turnover and that march of time) before basically agreeing with the central premise of “Zombie Simpsons”, namely that it and The Simpsons aren’t the same show:
The show is certainly not the same as it used it (which you can blame on changes in the writing room, or just a byproduct of the inexorable march of time and commerce upon an hit animated television show), and the later seasons don’t touch the first decade (they don’t exist in the same universe, truly)
But then it occurred to me that it’s actually better that we’re not linked because that means the term is catching! Everything is falling into place and all I have to do is take the ice scraper, road maps, and jade monkey out of my glove box before the next full moon.
Sorry haters, The Simpsons is still really good – Thanks to the five or so people who sent me this misleadingly headlined Vox article. Why misleading? Well, try this:
Yes, the show repeats itself a fair amount, but it would be hard for it not to. And, yes, the show has sort of lost a point-of-view character, as its writers have aged past first the Simpson kids and then even the Simpson parents. Many stories in its later years tend to be along the lines of “Can you believe things are this way?!” and have the tone of a particularly perturbed anecdote in the “Life in These United States” feature in Reader’s Digest.
There’s more tepid praise and “to be sure” type statements at the link, so “Sorry haters” isn’t exactly justified by the actual text.
It’s also worth pointing out that the two videos he embeds are about as far from your run of the mill Zombie Simpsons episode as it’s possible to get. One was the Guillermo del Toro opening, which they had basically nothing to do with. The other was from the Lego episode, which was their most lovingly produced and hyped episode in a very long time, and still sucked worse than Season 11.
The Simpson’s Maude Flanders Isn’t as Good as She Seems – And finally, we come to our old friend MovieBob, last seen around these parts making wild assumptions without any evidence to back them up. Well, matters haven’t changed much. He spends half his post coming to the realization that Maude was kind of an authoritarian and praising her character for being better than he remembers, then noting that she dies in Season 11 . . . you know, when Zombie Simpsons finally took over. More amusing, is this:
It also helps put to lie the “Zombie Simpsons” fallacy — the notion of a seismic downward-shift in quality. There are good episodes as recently as last season, and entries from the infallible “classic” era that don’t really hold up. (Mr. Burns sexually-harassing Marge in Marge Gets a Job, Season 4 Episode 7? Not really that funny outside of the let’s-kidnap-Tom-Jones business at the end.)
First of all, this word “fallacy”, it requires some evidence to back it up. MovieBob doesn’t cite a single episode that he thinks is good. He’s welcome to think what he likes, of course, but not even naming a single one doesn’t do his argument any favors. Instead, he takes a quick dump on “Marge Gets a Job”, an episode I cannot recall anyone else ever calling bad. Who doesn’t like Troy McClure’s Half-Assed Guide to Foundation Repair, The Spruce Caboose, and, of course, the Angel of Death on funny hat day, to name but a few? Just as importantly, it ranks dead in the middle of the stellar Season 4 on IMDb’s episode guide. That’s called “evidence”, and if you’re going to use the word “fallacy” it helps to have some. (Thanks for the link, though.)
TV Legends Revealed | Did No ‘Simpsons’ Fan Correctly Guess Who Shot Mr. Burns? – Interesting backstory and a reminder that 1-800-Collect was a strange, strange thing.
Bart Club street art on a San Diego corner. – Some great pictures of various Bart versions on things. The four-eyed banana Bart is particularly memorable.
The 20 Greatest Musical Moments On The Simpsons – These are songs the show created not band guest appearances, so there’s no Zombie Simpsons.
Cropping The Simpsons and The Wire – The genius of the standard #Slatepitch article has always been its ability to generate responses. (Also, too, please don’t fuck up The Wire.)
Why We Love The Simpsons’ Music So Much – The marketing for next weekend’s show at the Hollywood Bowl is ramping up, and this L.A. Weekly article has a nice little story about when Elfman met Groening and how Elfman wrote the theme:
“As soon as I saw the sequence, I heard the ‘bah-bah-bah-BUM-bah-bah-bah…’ ” he says. “I drove home really fast because I didn’t want to lose it. I ran down the steps of my studio and I made a cassette, and sent it out the same day. That demo was, essentially, The Simpsons theme. There is some great cosmic irony that it’s the quickest and most easily conceived job of my life, and it became probably the most famous thing I ever wrote.”
Growing Up with Bart Simpson – Yet another appreciation of the show, this one at Newsweek Jr., that walks right up to the line of saying the show sucks now before backing off. Of course, all examples cited are from early seasons.
Homer Simpson’s 10 Most Memorable Non-Power Plant Jobs On ‘The Simpsons’ – Our old friend John Hugar cites no examples from past Season 10. Bravo.
Favorite “Simpsons” episodes – One from Season 12 makes the cut, but nothing after. It’s almost like nobody likes Zombie Simpsons.
Repost: In honor of the Every Simpsons Ever Marathon my list of the Best.Episodes.Ever – There are 126 episodes on here, and almost no Zombie Simpsons.
Infographic: A Statistical Break-d’oh-n Of The 25 Types of “Simpsons” Episodes – That’s a pretty cool graphic, but since it basically shows that there never were any “Bart” years, you’d think the intro wouldn’t repeat that fallacy. (See what I did there?)
The Glue – There’s only a small bit in this Phil Hartman article about the show, but it is a great read. I didn’t know he was the oldest rookie cast member of SNL ever.
D’oh! It’s Throwback Thursday. – There’s a lot of stuff this week, I know, but this picture of a girl with her precious Maggie doll in 1990 and of her still with it in 2014 is pretty damned cool. Excellent.
10 Facts About The Best ‘Simpsons’ Writer Ever, John Swartzwelder – Mostly culled from Twitter, but are pretty good.
(b)Art Critic – The Simpsons Class it up With Art Show – There is some great stuff here, especially the Itchy & Scratchy Land movie poster.
It was the best of times, it was the blurst of times: Celebrating ‘The Simpsons’ at 25 – Yet another retrospective with plenty of reasons why the show was great.
[I thought], “We’ve arrived.” You get to do The Simpsons, man. Let me tell you what. I get to do speaking, right. I speak at different places all over the country. When the question-and-answer period comes up, it’s not about, “Hey, what was it like hitting against Clemens?,” or, “What was it like in the World Series?” It’s like, “Hey, man, was it fun on The Simpsons?” That’s what everybody asks me still. I get more acclaim for The Simpsons than anything.
The Simpsons… – Simpson family heads done in Lego. Maggie and Homer are great.
WWLSR: Seasons 10-12 – Lisa’s books from the last good years.
A Bomb in the Lasagna: How Will We Remember “The Simpsons?” – An interesting question:
Will The Simpsons be a show defined by specific eras, or will it be taken as a whole; as one massive, culture satirizing and culture defining megalith?
My guess would be that as long as Zombie Simpsons is still on the air, it will be thought of as a contemporary show, for the simple reason that they can always plug in the latest pop culture fad/star/whatever. Once the show finally ends, however, much of that will fade as the references become stale and all we’ll be left with are the ones that don’t lean on contemporary pop culture (you know, The Simpsons).
11 ‘Simpsons’ marathon episodes you should watch this week – These episodes are atrocious and not worth watching, but the existence of a list like this in Entertainment Weekly is yet another piece of evidence that they are two vastly different shows.
I Caught Yellow Fever: My 12 Days Through FXX’s Simpson’s Marathon – I suppose burnout is one reason to stop paying attention as the marathon got into double digit seasons. Of course, that there really weren’t any old favorites left to view might have had something to do with it as well.
DJ and His Every Simpsons Ever Marathon – Good point:
And one of my biggest fears was watching those older episodes, but FXX’s promo for this, and accompanying commercial extensions catering to the series and their supporting cast of characters (like this amazing piece of work) drew me towards breaking my old episode trepidations. One of the underrated, yet important occurrences found during this was the how much I laughed. I wasn’t expecting to get as many laughs as I did, perhaps given I’m watching at the age of 24 compared to watching a lot of these episodes (seen before or not) at 12, 13 or 14. There are a plethora of moments I literally laugh out loud at by myself when I’m either walking around at work or at the the grocery store, like this absolute gem.
A few characters from The Simpsons – Cool fan made CGI renderings of some characters, with great tented fingers on Burns.
The Simpsons: The 10 Simpsons episodes worth tuning in for – And no Zombie Simpsons, because why would there be?
Couch Potato: My Favorite “The Simpsons” Episodes! – Also contains no Zombie Simpsons, and puts “Homer Badman” as the all time favorite.
20 Mr. Burns-Centric ‘Simpsons’ Episodes Everyone Should Know – No Zombie Simpsons? Why? Because Zombie Burns is an incompetent softie.
A Blind Spot the size of “The Simpsons” – Of all the Simpsons reminisces I’ve read the last couple of weeks, this one might be the most dense in terms of references. Well done. Also, co-sign:
About ten years ago I stopped watching The Simpsons. I think it was the episode where they went to Africa and a giraffe was hiding in a prairie dog hole where I realized that they’d gone way off the rails.
Correlation Does Not Imply Causation – Excellent usage, tiger repelling rock and all.
How I am watching #EverySimpsonsEver without cable – God bless DVDs (or DVD rips, whatever).
Thoughts on Barkira – High praise from someone who loves the original Akira.
Springfield, USA: A Part of us All – Some thoughts on what makes Springfield so relatable.
The Simpsons 1987 Styley – A fan made wheel of Simpsons family members, done in the old way.
6 Things I Learned From The Simpsons Marathon | The Further Adventures of Douchebag Batman – And finally, I not only get to end with one of the many people who agrees with us, but who points out what is often overlooked, it happened quick:
The Downfall in Quality Was Fast
So what I’ve been doing is picking and choosing which episodes to DVR and watch later. I’m sure plenty people are using the same method of watching the show. What’s I find interesting is how quickly I lost interest in the series. By season 10 I’ve only been recording the Treehouse of Horrors and the occasional episode. This is a sharp contrast compared to Saturday when I would record hours of the show and still miss some I wanted to see. Given I knew that by season 11 I had lost interest in the show; I’m hardly the only person to feel this way. I thought it was because I was heading into high school but no, it’s just kind of boring.