“Moe, have you ever felt unattractive?” – Homer Simpson
“No.” – Moe
“How about you, Barney?” – Homer Simpson
“Not for a second.” – Barney Gumble
Posts Tagged ‘Lisa the Beauty Queen
“What a feeling! I’m as happy as a smoker taking that first puff in the morning.” – Pageant Girl
“That could be Lisa!” – Homer Simpson
As usual with these early season commentaries, there are a small enough number of people that they can have an actual conversation, the topic never strays far from the episode, there’s lots of genuine laughter, and Jean sounds like he’s actually having fun instead of watching the clock and trying to fill time while everyone else sits silently as some horrible Zombie Simpsons crap parades across the screen. Plus this one has a Bob Hope story.
Just four guys here, Groening, Mark Kirkland, Jean, and Jeff Martin.
0:20 – Groening asks Jean about the origin of this episode. Apparently, Jean and Reiss were among the few people still under contract when this was getting going, and they came up with it hoping guys like Jeff Martin would come back, which they did
1:30 – Noting that they were ahead of the curve on making fun of little girl beauty pageants, but that they didn’t realize the seedier side of it at the time.
1:45 – Disney never complained, so they just kept making Disney jokes.
2:15 – Jean jokes that the lawyer is based on Roy Cohn, “which the kids always find hilarious”.
2:20 – Nelson spraying Martin was based off of something that a National Lampoon writer once did to Jean.
3:40 – Martin used to draw caricatures when he was a teenager at Astro-World, the amusement park next to the Astrodome in Houston. He drew the Lisa one, and the regular artists were nice enough to use it.
5:00 – The big raffle prize at Martin’s school really was a ride on the blimp.
5:30 – Lots of praise here for Yeardley Smith as always putting a lot of emotion into Lisa.
6:00 – Groening notes that Lisa is a character who isn’t completely ruled by her impulses, which causes Martin to joke, “Yes, and as a result she’s in pain a lot of the time.”
6:45 – Krusty’s “heartily endorse” came from the old board game Life which had a picture of Art Linkletter on the front saying he “heartily endorsed” it. Reiss knew exactly where it was from the first time he read the script.
7:45 – Lona Williams, who did the voice of Amber Dempsey, was an assistant on the show at the time. She actually had been in beauty pageants and gave Martin a tape of one of them if he promised not to show it to anyone else.
8:50 – Everyone cracks up as Homer cries while singing the blimp song and holding a pickle.
9:30 – They just made up the Jack Nicklaus thing, none of them are sure whether or not he was actually considered handsome.
11:00 – Jean’s not sure if Homer’s fantasy of Marge mowing the lawn while he lies in a hammock is based off of it, but there did used to be a Flintstones cigarette commercial where Fred and Barney were lying in hammocks smoking while Wilma and Betty mowed the lawn. (Though Jean accidentally called Fred “Homer”. Groening cracks on him for it.)
11:30 – Grau plays the ice cream parlor lady, which leads to everyone talking about how great she was to have around. Groening then confirms my suspicion that losing her wasn’t just losing Lunchlady Doris: “Also, she was a little bit of a voice of reason because she would actually comment on things. That was good, that was no good.” I can think of many places where a voice of reason definitely could’ve come in handy post Season 7.
12:40 – As the pageant starts, Kirkland comes on to note that this is the part where the director starts to feel faint at all the crowd shots and action.
13:15 – Krusty’s seldom seen assistant Miss Pennycandy helps him with his jacket before he goes on here. That causes Jean to note that her first appearance was the one where Krusty reconciles with his father, but he couldn’t remember the title right away. He just remembered that Jay Kogen and Wallace Wolodarsky called it “Krusty the Jew”.
14:10 – Speaking of Wolodarsky, he pitched the line where Lisa calls loving your country “real Melvin”.
16:20 – According to Groening, Brockman switching instantly from “Oh, the humanity!” to “Anyway” got a big laugh.
17:25 – Martin went to a hall of Presidents wax museum in Boulder, Colorado that had obviously mismatched bodies, and that’s where Lisa getting Dr. Ruth’s body came from.
18:00 – Conan O’Brien and Martin went over to Bob Hope’s house to record his lines. Groening then mentions that O’Brien wrote about Hope for The New York Times. Thanks to the miracle of the internet, you can read that here.
19:50 – Everyone laughs at Azaria’s Santa wanting to know what the hold up is. He’s got a real flair for those cranky old guy parts.
21:15 – It took them a long time to figure out the ending, but Jean thinks it was Frank Mula who came up with the thing about Homer writing “OK” on the application. I did that for years on standardized tests.
21:30 – Everybody cracks up again when Lisa says “Possibly” after Homer asks her if he was drunk.
“This year Laramie is sponsoring the Little Miss Springfield pageant. You see, government regulations prohibit us from advertising on TV . . . ah, that sweet Carolina smoke . . . but they can’t prohibit us from holding a beauty pageant for little girls age seven to nine.” – Jack Larson
Happy 20th Anniversary to “Lisa the Beauty Queen”! Original airdate 15 October 1992.
“Hey, Barney, will you give me two-hundred-and-fifty bucks for this blimp ticket?” – Homer Simpson
“Sure!” – Barney Gumble
“Where’d you get all the money?” – Homer Simpson
“From some scientist. Since they stopped testing on animals, a guy like me can really clean up.” – Barney Gumble
“Hey, can I drive?” – Barney Gumble
“Well, I can’t see the harm.” – Duff Blimp Pilot
There is one thing I completely enjoyed about “500 Keys”, the closing credits. Not just because it meant the episode was over, but for that violin rendition of the theme song. It was nicely done and will make a decent addition to the ever expanding catalog of different versions of the Simpsons theme.
There were a couple of other things I didn’t completely loathe, but as is typical of such things, the episode promptly ran most of them into the ground. Skinner telling his mother that it was his birthday not their anniversary comes to mind, but then it dragged on. A quick joke about a “key party” was funny and made sense before getting stretched past the breaking point with a flashback. The cake store at the beginning was one of the better scenes they’ve done all season. Unfortunately, whatever little smile it put on my face was wiped out by the completely unnecessary and unbelievably stupid drive home. That’s one of those things that’s so obviously filler it’s genuinely hard to imagine anyone who isn’t heavily sedated laughing at it.
Overall, the tiny sparks of life were crushed beneath the huge number of Family Guy style flashbacks and asides, pointless danger and suspense (why were the mannequins drowning them?), and a mystery that was as dull as it was long. The keys of the title served to give them a paper thin excuse to take a bunch of random sketches and throw them all together, and they ran with it, all the way up to the blimp. And we mustn’t forget the blimp, which Homer can learn to fly, forget to fly, and then learn to fly again all within the span of a single scene.
Anyway, the numbers are in and they are bad, but not as bad as I was hoping. An even 6.00 million viewers wondered what was up with Otto’s voice last night. That’s lower than all but a handful of episodes this season, but it’s a bit higher than last week. If next week’s season finale comes in at 5.57 million viewers or less, Season 22 will displace Season 20 as the lowest watched ever. Slightly higher than that will tie it with Season 20.
Images shamelessly yoinked from SimpsonsChannel.
“Oh, Lisa, this isn’t real. It’s just how you might look if you were a cartoon character.” – Homer Simpson
Despite it’s football inflated numbers the last couple of weeks, Season 22 is still on pace to set a record for the lowest ratings. But that’s not the only record it’s on pace to break. Through eight episodes, Season 22 has managed to cram in an astonishing eighteen (18) different guest voices. That’s the most since way back in Season 11 (which had a record breaking 23 through eight episodes), and in terms of people playing themselves, it’s an all time high.
Note: All data from Wikipedia, numbers reflect only the first eight episodes per season. I am counting the Glee people as “themselves” for reasons that are obvious to anyone who watched that episode, though I’ll grudgingly accept that the Conchords were playing characters.
Total # Guest Voices
# Playing Themselves
% Playing Themselves
Standard small sample statistical skepticism should be applied, but it’s pretty obvious that Season 22 has relied far more heavily on celebrities playing themselves, even when compared only to other Zombie Simpsons seasons. The only season to ever have a greater portion of its guest stars play themselves (through eight episodes) was Season 16. But Season 16 had only half as many guest voices, and an outright majority came from just one episode (“Homer and Ned’s Hail Mary Pass”).
There are, to be sure, some bumps in this data. Wikipedia counts bands as one voice instead of several, and people who are repeat guests, like Maurice LaMarche and Jan Hooks, are counted for each appearance instead of just once. But those things actually make this list look better than it should since people like them are always playing characters, and bands pretty much always play themselves.
I don’t know if this is going to keep up for the rest of Season 22 or if it’s just a coincidence. I do know that anyone who’s gotten the sense that Season 22 has been unusually rife with cameos and cross promotion isn’t imagining things.
“Hey brush-head, you’ve been nursing that thing for an hour.” – Ice Cream Lady
“You know, I was just wondering how someone who works in an ice cream store keeps such a trim
figure.” – Bart Simpson
“I’ve misjudged you.” – Ice Cream Lady
Doris Grau would’ve been 86 today, happy birthday.
“Before I sing the national anthem, I’d like to say that college football diverts funds badly needed for education and the arts.” – Lisa Simpson
The first football Saturday is finally here, praise Jebus!
“You’ve really done it this time, dum-dum.” – Ozmodiar
Read our manifesto. Time and time again we hear people say that because Zombie Simpsons is better than “most” TV today, it’s still worth watching. It’s an impossibly tired and empty argument that we’ve discussed at length and beaten to a bloody pulp. And yet, I feel compelled to revisit this premise once again.
Like my colleague Mr. Sweatpants, I too have been watching the Season 12 DVDs with a combination of dread and revulsion. I haven’t the stomach to sit through the commentaries, but I did transfer “HOMЯ” onto my iPod yesterday so that I could listen to it during my daily run. Y’know, just for shits and giggles. The run was great but listening to the episode was, quite simply, insufferable.
- The idiotic and pointless exchange between Homer, himself, and the bank teller involving candy.
- Moe talking into the functional ears on Barney’s chest as a result of being a medical guinea pig. Barney’s predisposition for making a quick buck by subjecting his body to science was handled more elegantly (and I daresay more realistically) in “Lisa the Beauty Queen,” with electrodes and wires taped to the back of his half-shaven head.
- Dr. Hibbert’s ridiculous cop-out regarding why he repeatedly neglected to notice the crayon in Homer’s brain along with his immediate, unfunny departure.
- The fulfillment of the threat of introducing Ozmodiar from “The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase.” That asshole shows up twice in this episode, no less.
- The hackneyed, deus ex machina note Smart Homer leaves for Lisa after his devolution to Normal Zombie Homer, followed by the perfunctory horns of happiness.
I doubt actually watching the episode would have made it any more tolerable. While I won’t waste more time picking apart the flimsy gags, I would like to ask two questions of the most ardent and occasionally nonsensical defenders of Zombie Simpsons: this shit is better than regular TV how, exactly? Two, do you genuinely find any of the above lowlights funny?
The only safe conclusion I can come to after yesterday’s experiment is that either fans of Zombie Simpsons have really low standards or mine are just unreasonably high. You don’t even need to actually watch Zombie Simpsons to realize how awful it is. As for my run today, I’ll be switching back to NPR, thanks. Kai Ryssdal has a dreamy voice.
I was poking around for items for tomorrow’s link dump when I came across this from a blog called “Art Brut(e)”:
See I was going to be really clever and somehow link “Mom and Pop Art” with “Duck Amuk” to Larry Johnson and it was going to be really clever, but the conceit doesn’t work anymore so– eh, why don’t you pick up an Art Forum or something.
“Duck Amuck” is one of the most memorable Merrie Melodies ever and, prior to clicking that link, I hadn’t actually watched the whole thing (~7 min) in years. It’s still very clever and quite funny. I cracked up when Daffy’s parachute was replaced with an anvil (William Faulkner could write an anvil gag that would really make you think).
In terms of “Duck Amuck” and The Simpsons the first thing that sprang to mind was Snowball II after Bart makes it more interesting in the second Treehouse of Horror:
But then I got to thinking about all the other times the show broke the fourth wall with animation. (Note: this is not meant to be an exhaustive list.)
First up is “Brush with Greatness” and it’s never ending MC Escher line for the “H2WHOA!” ride:
Next is “The Front” and it’s fantastically crappy reused background of water cooler/nondescript door/cleaning lady:
In Boy Scoutz N the Hood we learn that cartoons don’t need to be 100% realistic and, lo and behold, there are two Homers:
Finally, there are a lot of couch gags that play around with how the Simpsons are animated, but two in particular seem genuinely “fourth-wall-ish”. The one in “Lisa the Beauty Queen” and “Duffless” has the family running literally out of frame:
And then there’s the infinitely receding couch from “Homer Badman” and “Two Dozen and One Greyhounds”:
I always thought that one must have been fun to animate, just keep drawing the family smaller and smaller until they’re basically dots.
When The Simpsons started going downhill, one of the most noticeable changes was the way jokes would be stretched. Instead of moving on from a funny line or exchange, the show would milk it for screen time. The examples of this over the years are far too numerous to catalog, but here’s one anyway.