Posts Tagged ‘Marge Gets a Job

25
Nov
13

Behind Us Forever: The Kid Is All Right

Chalkboard - The Kid's All Right

“Worked for the Carter Administration?” – Marge Simpson
“Well, you voted for him, twice.” – Lisa Simpson
“Lisa, shh, someone might be listening.” – Marge Simpson

It’s never been all that hard to poke fun at Republicans and Democrats, but doing so would require Zombie Simpsons to make some jokes instead of spending all their time expositing an inane and nonsensical story.  And when I say inane, I mean in-fucking-ane.  Lisa meets the new kid in her class outside of class, for some reason, they do a project on FDR together without, it seems, ever talking to one another about the subject, and all that’s before Burns and a real life vampire get involved.  Oddly enough, the episode did have a singular bright spot, a Simpsonization of an eighty-year-old Disney cartoon called “Silly Symphony: Music Land” where people are musical instruments and there is great conflict between different genres.  Burns tries to stop Lisa from playing jazz, which is made retroactively funnier as the actual episode involves Burns trying to rig a second grade election for some reason.

- I know it’s just them redoing an old Disney cartoon, but the opening was entertaining.  It’s not quite “The Longest Daycare”, but it’s pretty cool.  They really are at their best when they don’t have to write dialogue.

- For further evidence, see Lisa singing a song for the first minute of the episode.

- Another case in point, why did they have Bart say “And the best part is, I’m bombarding her with her own homework”?  You could’ve just showed that to us.

- I’m not going to transcribe the whole episode or anything, but they are seriously bad at this:

Lisa: “That’s a reference to the Bronte sisters!”
Isabel: “You got my reference to the Bronte sisters?”

We just saw that, less than two seconds ago!  Please to not be explaining everything as it happens.

- Oh, hello there, silent Mr. Bergstrom fan-service.

- I guess it’s nice that they bothered to include a conflict in this plot, but when they do things like have Lisa not realize this girl’s politics until they’re both on stage together it sucks the life so completely out of this that I’m not even sure why they bothered.  (And, as if on cue, Skinner walks on to tell us what we just saw again.)

- This 1980s party in the attic is almost existentially sad.  Remember cassettes and VHS?  Remember?  We said remember, damn it!

- Republican Headquarters keeps getting less inventive and fun.

- Why, Nelson, so kind of you to appear out of nowhere and then disappear again.

- There are a lot of things wrong with this ice cream parlor scene, but having the squeaky voiced teen first remove the wheelbarrow of ice cream and then drive another giant thing of ice cream into the scene thirty seconds later is illustrative of them all.  It makes no sense, is all exposition, and indicates that they, once again, seem to think things that just happened have no bearing on what’s about to happen.

- Uh, what was with Pig Pen from Peanuts showing up and then disappearing?

- Lisa is smacking, punching and kicking Bart.  I don’t even know what to file that under.

- That scene with Lisa pretending to be drunk was so good they repeated it with Bart.

- I could say something about the empty-headed time wasting that was Lisa’s “liberal” speech, but Harold Ramis said it better.

- This scene with Clinton and the Democratic losers sure takes a long time.

- And a pointless flash forward ends with a call back to the musical opening.  That on repeat ten times would’ve been a lot more fun than this episode, and it even has a better Burns plot.

Anyway, the ratings are in and they remain embarrassingly bad.  Just 6.65 million people were glad this isn’t an election year last night.  That’s the highest all season; in fact, it’s the highest since last January.  But it was with a football overrun, will probably come down when the final numbers are released, and is well below what the show was averaging just three seasons ago.  That’s as good as they can do these days, and it’d be historically bad if it weren’t for all the other historically bad numbers they’ve been putting up the last couple of years.

08
Nov
13

Quote of the Day

Bedtime

“I won’t sleep in the same bed with a woman who thinks I’m lazy!  I’m gonna go right downstairs, unfold the couch, unroll the sleeping bag . . . eh, good night.” – Homer Simpson

05
Mar
13

Quote of the Day

Marge Gets a Job12

“Maybe I should apply for that job.” – Marge Simpson
“Forget it, Marge, we already live together, we shouldn’t work together.  As the Bible says, ‘Thou shalt not horn in on thy husband’s racket’.” – Homer Simpson
“Where does the Bible say racket?” – Marge Simpson
“It’s in there!” – Homer Simpson

19
Feb
13

Quote of the Day

Marge Gets a Job11

“Good news, boy, I found a pharmacy that carries leeches.  Well, it wasn’t exactly a pharmacy, more of a bait shop.” – Abe “Grampa” Simpson

11
Nov
12

Quote of the Day

Marge Gets a Job10

“Here we have an Alaskan timberwolf.  He weighs two-hundred and forty pounds and his jaws can bite through a parking meter.  He does get spooked by loud noises.” – Zoo Lady
“Loud?  That’s our secret word for the day!” – Krusty the Klown

Happy (belated) 20th Anniversary to “Marge Gets a Job”!  Original airdate 5 November 1992.  (Also got lost in the craziness and confusion and mishegoss of the election.)

06
Oct
12

Quote of the Day

The Jazz Singer 1927 Poster

Image yoinked from Wikipedia.

“Smithers, I want you to arrange a party for two at my estate, Marge, me, and do you think you could dig up Al Jolson?” – C.M. Burns
“Uh, do you remember we did that once before?” – Mr. Smithers
“Oh, that’s right, he’s dead, and rather pungent, the rest of that night is something I’d like to forget.” – C.M. Burns

22
Jun
12

Reading Digest: Groening Retires Edition

Retirement

“Please don’t make me retire.  My job is the only thing that keeps me alive.  I never married and my dog is dead. . . . I’m not finished!” – Jack Marley
“Oh, yes, you are.” – C.M. Burns

Matt Groening quit two things this week, his long running “Life in Hell” comic, and a gag charity band he was in with a bunch of other famous people.  As a retirement gift, may I strongly recommend the first YouTube video embedded below?  I’m warning you now: it’s 5m:44s.  It’s also worth watching.  In addition to that we have non-Zombie Simpsons D.C. dating advice, a list that matches the characters with (what I assume are) well known perfumes, a fan made Homer guitar, the Simpsons as X-Men, and some leftover Father’s Day links. 

Enjoy.

How many main characters are there in The Simpsons? – You don’t need to click through to Smooth Charlie’s Click of the Week, just watch it:

This ought to have a lot more than 21k views.  I don’t usually make it all the way through a lot of five minute YouTube videos, but I did here, and the artist asks for it to be forwarded to Groening.  I don’t know if that’s happened yet (the video is a year old), but if anyone reading this has the ability to bring it to his attention (he quit a band and retired his comic strip, he’s got time), please do.  That drawing is amazing. 

Making of Homer Simpson Guitar – Speaking of excellent fan made projects:

Cool.  The Homer slippers at the end are a nice touch. 

South American Bart Simpson – Fantastically detailed writeup of early Simpsons merchandise from South America.  They made Bart a ninja (or something)! 

Matt Groening: "It’s pretty obvious that I ran out of jokes a couple of decades ago" – As has been noted pretty much everywhere, Groening is hanging up his pen.  The always reliable rubbercat.net/simpsons caught a doozy:

Why pull the plug on Life in Hell now? Did you simply run out of jokes?
It’s pretty obvious that I ran out of jokes a couple of decades ago – but that doesn’t stop any cartoonist!

Indeed it does not.  Sincere thanks, though, Groening.  “Life in Hell” had some damn funny stuff. 

BrightestYoungThings: The Simpsons Guide To Dating In DC – A shockingly excellent dating advice guide.  I can’t speak to the specific locations it mentions, but it has lots of YouTube, animated .gifs, and doesn’t reference a single episode past Season 10.  It even recommends going to the Simpsons apocalypse play.  Bravo.

Of a Kind – In Character: Lisa Simpson – Deconstructing Lisa’s outfit in the most fashionable way possible.

Showcase XII – Giant-Size X-Men Simpsons – Awesome fan made drawing of the Simpson family as X-Men.

Another bit of Simpsons gold: Homer Simpson on God – Great quote.

We are working to improve your The Simpsons: Tapped Out experience – EA customer support responds to questions they made up. 

What We Want From a Muppets Videogame – Excellent paraphrase:

Video games based on movies suck. Or more accurately, to quote from the Bart Simpson Book of Wisdom, "we didn’t think it was physically possible, but they both suck and blow".

A brief update on the #Facebook and the #Tumblr – Weaseling out of things is important to learn:

Thus, it’s with almost complete indifference that I now announce the semi-retirement of both.

And it comes with moderate usage:

“It was supposed to be a thing of beauty, not this monstrosity!”

–C. Montgomery Burns

Burns says “abomination” not “monstrosity”, but the sentiment is perfect.

RetroGirl – The Simpsons Arcade – YouTube review/playthrough of the arcade game.  Also, “GirlBandicoot” is a fantastic user name. 

COFFEE TABLE the seventh – You can buy a collector’s doll of Comic Book Guy as The Collector?  Of course you can.

‘The Simpsons’ Co-Creator is Buying Sea Shepherd a New Ship – Sam Simon promised to buy the Whale Wars guys a new boat. 

Rockland Needs A Monorail – YouTube of the monorail song.

Simpsons – Me fail english (gif) – Animated .gif of exactly what it says.

Simpsons – Homer Tripping out (gif) – Same as above, but from “El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer”.

Gay Steel Worker from The Simpsons – There are some pretty awesome mustaches at The Anvil.

Top Ten Favorite TV Dads – Homer checks in at #1 here, and there’s YouTube of a famous scene from the first episode of The Cosby Show.

Homer is Sweet – You better be dying.

FRANKEN-DAD – Combining TV Dads into one.

Scent a Celebrity Series: Spritzing Springfield – Scenting The Simpsons Part 1 – One guy’s attempt to match each family member with a perfume fragrance.  I don’t know enough about perfume to comment on his choices, but I will say that this is the most original Simpsons list I’ve seen in a long time, and I see a lot of them.

The Emmys Needs to Change Eligibility Rules For Animated Shows – Speaking of things I neither know nor care about, the Emmys.  I’ll just support whatever Jean said:

On Monday, Simpsons writer Al Jean wrote a letter to The  Academy of Television Arts and Sciences asking them to consider reworking the organization of Emmy nominations. In it, he criticized the lack of recognition for the individual achievements in animation.

There’s more here, but I just can’t get too worked up over one of the biggest farces I’ve ever seen.

Seeking A Friend For The End of The World…In 10 Words – Maybe that extra layer of pollution will finally come in handy.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter…In 10 Words – But did he sell poisoned milk to school children?

D’oh! Homer wins favourite film dad – Legitimately better than an Emmy:

FECKLESS family man Homer Simpson has topped a poll of favourite film dads.

The cartoon star, voiced by Dan Castellaneta and star of ‘The Simpsons Movie’, was also named most embarrassing dad, funniest film dad and best role model dad in Empire Cinemas’ ‘Fathers In Film Awards’, which polled more than 2,000 film fans.

Sacrilicious The Simpsons Tin Tote – This one earned its Krusty Brand Seal of Approval.  It’s a lunchbox, that says “Sacrilicious”, so far so good.  But it has Homer dreaming of a donut instead of the waffle Bart threw on the ceiling.  Would it kill them to run the merchandise past at least one insane geek before they approve it? 

Saturday, June 23 – Even boilerplate descriptions in newspapers can’t hide how boring Zombie Simpsons is:

The most innovative aspect is the opening ”couch scene”, which was handed over entirely to Ren & Stimpy’s John Kricfalusi, who turned in something characteristically bizarre.

The rest of it is so forgettable that they don’t even bother describing it. 

Stephen King and Matt Groening Retire Their Rock Band After Learning Almost Four Chords – Groening’s semi-fake band is calling it quits. 

Fans meet stars at Saugatuck film festival’s first park party – Yeardley Smith made an unannounced stop at a film festival in Michigan. 

Interview: Billy West (Fry) of ‘Futurama’ – This isn’t strictly Simpsons related, but here’s something to at least acknowledge that Futurama came back this week.

Six Things That I Would Do If I Had A Time Machine – Wow, someone even harsher than us:

There’s exactly ten things that I would do if I had a time machine.  Most of us would just go back to the early 90′s and invest in Google.  Other people would go back and try to stop the Simpsons from having more than 3 Seasons.

FOX Announces Fall Premiere Dates – I hate to spoil anyone’s summer, but Zombie Simpsons will be returning on September 30th.  That is all.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery ;) – Fan made cartoon features the fish versions of Bart, Stewie Griffin, and Shrek.

Best TV Channel Tournament Primer: FOX – This is more lenient on Zombie Simpsons than I am, but it’s in the ballpark:

Many will argue that the show is now one of the worst shows on television, but I would argue that they simply haven’t watched the show in ten years.  It’s not a bad show, it’s just a reasonably decent one that is half as good as it was during it’s run as probably the best written television show of all-time.

I do watch, and I’d say it’s more like 3% as good as the original, but Zombie Simpsons isn’t the worst show on television.

Critic’s Notebook: Has Pixar Gone the Way of ‘The Simpsons’? – And finally, I get to end the way I like, with someone who agrees with us (and neatly reviews Brave at the same time):

Watching "Brave" and waiting for something more original or inspiring than an underdeveloped kids movie, I realized that Pixar’s apparent downfall mirrors that of "The Simpsons," a show largely seen as one of the freshest, insightful and widely accessible pop culture achievement during its initial five or six seasons.

In the last 15 or so, however, "The Simpsons" has suffered from any number of factors that have lowered its quality: overexposure, commercial demands, and a dearth of good ideas, not to mention the diminished presence of creator Matt Groening.

I’m not sure about “overexposure”, but other than that, yeah. 

20
May
12

“Zombie Simpsons” Update

Marge Gets a Job9

“Bart, have you ever read ‘The Boy Who Cried Wolf’?” – Mrs. Krabappel
“I’m halfway through it, I swear!” – Bart Simpson

Before we return to our regularly scheduled programming tonight, I want to highlight a few comments from the original book post:

Anonymous

19 May 2012 at 6:12 pm

Awesome! But I must ask… do you have any plans to publish this in ePub format, so it can be read on every single e-reader in the world that isn’t a Kindle?

Yes?  I’m very new to this whole eBook/e-reader/e-words thing.  (I don’t even own a Kindle, I had to borrow Dave’s to test the book.)  So if there’s desire for an ePub version, then I will make an ePub version.  Those of you with e-readers and the like, please let me know (comments or e-mail) what I should be doing.  There’s a bewildering amount of digital publishing information, tips, guides, etcetera on-line, and I lack the relevant experience to reliably sort the wheat from the chaff.

Next:

25generalsherman67

19 May 2012 at 8:25 am

Puts on super-nerd voice: Er, Charlie, in Chapter 2 you state The Simpsons was the first primetime animated show since The Flintstones; actually it was the first (or, specifically, the first to run for more than 1 season) since Wait Till Your Father Gets Home, which lasted three seasons before ending in 1974.

And in Chapter 6, the character in “Bart vs. Australia” is Evan Conover – you have his name down as Everett.

I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that I’d never heard of Wait Till Your Father Gets Home, but that will certainly require a bit of revision in the text.  Not sure how I missed the “Everett” Conover thing, but that’s why the software gods gave us version numbers.  Many thanks.

Next:

The Entire Score of the H.M.S. Pinafore

18 May 2012 at 5:02 pm

Well, I had two quid to spare and I really enjoy this site even if I am a chronic lurker, so I went ahead and bought the Kindle version. Just a note that in the table of contents the first chapter just says ‘Putting the Spring in Spring’ instead of ‘Springfield’ (I’m in the UK if there are different versions). Thanks & keep on keepin’ on.

It’s not a UK version problem, it’s just me screwing up.  This too will be corrected in version 1.1, which should be along sometime later this week.  You’ll then be able to update the one on your Kindle if you are so inclined.

Next:

Frostillicus

18 May 2012 at 8:47 pm

I can now gaze at my Kindle library and see the immortal works of Shakespeare, Dickens, Poe, and Sweatpants.

In the immortal words of Dr. Nick Riviera, “Stop, you’re embarrassing me”.  Thanks to you wonderful people out there though, “Zombie Simpsons: How the Best Show Ever Became the Broadcasting Undead” is now the #26 book on Amazon (well, #26 in “Television”, which is itself a sub category of “Humor & Entertainment”, but still):

Take That Avatar The Last Airbender (The Art of the Animated Series)

That’s pretty good company, though the amateur cover image and having only a single review (thanks Conor!) does make it look a bit out of place.  My thanks to everyone who’s read along, spotted my errors, linked it on Twitter or Facebook, and/or actually purchased it.  Every little bit helps.

Chapters 5 and 6 are now on-line, with more to come after we get done with “Lisa Goes Gaga”.

16
Mar
12

Quote of the Day

Marge Gets a Job8

“I could get a job.” – Marge Simpson
“Hey, then I could follow my dream, living in the woods and keeping a journal of my thoughts.” – Homer Simpson
“March 15th, I wish I brought a TV.  Oh God, how I miss TV!” – Dream Homer

27
Feb
12

Bonus Quote of the Day

Marge Gets a Job7

“Now, Marge, just remember, if something goes wrong at the plant, blame the guy who can’t speak English.  Ah, Tibor, how many times have you saved my butt?” – Homer Simpson

Happy birthday Bill Oakley!

16
Sep
11

Quote of the Day

Marge Gets a Job6

“Marge, it’ll cost eighty-five hundred dollars.  We only have five hundred in the bank and that leaves . . . eighty hundred we need.” – Homer Simpson

18
Jul
11

A Hunka Hunka Burns in Love Makes Baby Jesus Cry

Marge Gets a Job5

“That woman, she’s so captivating! Smithers, my heart’s pounding like a jackhammer.” – C.M. Burns

I occasionally see people make the argument that the show recovered somewhat once Al Jean took over as show runner from Mike Scully, but I’ve never agreed with that. This episode was one of the very last of the Scully era, and it’s wall-to-wall with things that have become tropes during Al Jean’s now decade long run with Zombie Simpsons. You have the totally unrelated Act 1, the complete wussification of Burns, Homer getting hurt worse than Daffy Duck ever did, and characters inexplicably appearing and disappearing from scenes. Except for the HD, you could drop this episode into Season 15 or 22 or anywhere else and no one would notice.

Seven guys on this one.

1:00 – And we open with playful banter between Jean and Scully as Jean is heaping praise on Julia Louis-Dreyfus who plays Burns’ girlfriend in this one.

2:15 – We’re still talking about Louis-Dreyfus.

2:40 – Fun tidbit from Selman, George Takei lives on his street and will come out in his Star Trek uniform on Halloween.

3:05 – Jean recounts a time Takei was on a UK documentary about the show. Jean does a Takei impression and says, “They are seditious, malicious, all of the icious except delicious.” It’s funny.

3:30 – Following that enjoyable (and semi-related to the episode) tangent, we’re off on our first unrelated tangent about what Bob Hope used to give out for Halloween.

4:15 – Now we’re off on a Woody Allen tangent. Newsflash, he hasn’t been on the show.

5:50 – Here’s a fun Zombie Simpsons note. They’re discussing how the character model for Burns is shaped like a vulture, but in this episode he’s often smiling and worried so they had to redraw the way he looks to make him more friendly. “He’s designed to look evil all the time and we had to kind of wing it when he’s always supposed to be happy through the whole show.” Eat it, Zombie Simpsons.

6:30 – A long time dictum of from Groening is to keep the number of lines on each face down.

7:30 – Fun animation note, when drawing facial expressions or left handed things a lot of the artists will look in a mirror to get it right. In the episode, which they’ve been studiously ignoring as per usual, Burns has just fallen in love with a meter maid and is now at the carnival with her.

8:30 – Burns and his girlfriend are talking on a Ferris wheel, and that was both a) hard to do and b) would be easier now with the computer machines.

9:30 – The meter maid used to drive some kind of food truck before it got changed. No one remembers why, but on screen Homer just went chasing a dog past Burns’ mansion and is now having a private conversation with Burns while whats-her-face waits patiently. I don’t know the precise scene or moment when this show stopped caring about who was in what scene, but they’ve clearing done it by now.

10:50 – Someone mentions how the first thing they do when they have a supporting character episode is think how to get the family involved. Here it means Burns has decided to take Homer with him as a third wheel on all his dates. Brilliant.

12:35 – Quick aside to note that Carl just got fired but that he’ll be working there again next week.

12:50 – There’s a montage of Homer going on dates with them, and occasionally reviving Burns with a needle several times. They seem to think this is hilarious.

13:10 – Wondering if this one had a different third act before the “jailbird” one. The response: “Perhaps”.

13:40 – Long silence here.

14:05 – Someone, can’t tell who, “I love when Homer acts like a teenage girl.” When was the first time he did that, I wonder? Season 9? 10?

15:05 – Discussing how man times they’ve had Gloria back on as Snake’s girlfriend.

15:50 – Lots of silence here, broken by the occasional bout of real laughter and nervous laughter.

16:50 – See above comment.

17:50 – See above above comment. Homer’s getting hit by Snake while we get lame relationship dialogue.

18:00 – Jean points out how Homer just got smashed in the jaw with a gun, which would be the worst thing that’s happened to most of them, but he’ll be fine in the next scene. I can’t quite tell if they know stuff like that detracts from the show (especially when it’s paired with the string music of suspense like it is here) and don’t care, or if they just don’t know.

18:20 – More of the nervous laughter, and now Lisa is at the hostage scene for no reason. They acknowledge this, but just laugh at it.

19:10 – Long silence here as the world’s most boring hostage stand off continues.

19:25 – Total silence continues as Homer’s crotch catches on fire.

19:45 – First noise from the commenters in quite a while is one (1) guy nervously laughing.

20:00 – They’re complimenting the backgrounds now. Not much in the way of commentary about Burns breaking into a flaming cabin.

21:00 – Wondering about Burns sudden strength, Jean asks if they had Burns accidentally taking his medicine from earlier. They think so, but no one can remember why they took it out. Thrilling insights like that one make me glad I got this disc from Netflix instead of paying for it.

21:40 – And now the whole family is at this random cabin way out in the woods. This merits a brief mention on the commentary, but that’s all.

22:00 – We close on someone plugging Swartzwelder’s novels and then praising Julia Louis-Dreyfus again.

08
Jun
11

Wednesday Evening Cartoons

Marge Gets a Job4

“Hello, Marge.” – Tom Jones
“That’s it, big smile, everybody’s happy.” – Mr. Smithers

There’s a lot to love about “Marge Gets a Job”, but two things in particular show the kind of care and skill that made excellence typical on The Simpsons.  The first is the way everyone in this episode, regardless of the size of their part, acts perfectly in character.  The second is the many callbacks that build from one to another, often involving those minor characters.

Consider Surly Joe, the only foundation repairman in town.  He’s only in two scenes, and in both cases he manages to irritate Homer by telling him the truth.  Smithers, true to his unwavering dedication to Burns, not only ruins poor Jack Marley’s retirement party, but dutifully and unquestioningly commits several felonies against Tom Jones, even after being demoted to urinal cleaning duty.  Speaking of Jones, he’s in three scenes, and in each his troubles deepen.  He gets gassed, hit on the head, threatened with a gun, and shackled to the floor, but it’s never drawn out and, unlike so many later celebrity cameos, he doesn’t just pop up out of nowhere.

Like the ever worsening plight of Jones, there are a number of other small jokes that add up over the course of the episode.  There’s the plants newly instituted theme and funny hat days, which allow us to see that the place is staffed by depressives, alcoholics and mass murderers.  When Lisa is writing Marge’s resume, we see her invent some things that can be called stretching the truth, but those also act as setups for the pack of outright lies about Marge being a songwriter, speaking Swahili, and having invented nuclear equipment.  Cramming all of that into a single scene would’ve been gratuitous and tedious, so they spread it out.  The same is true of Grampa’s old fashioned medical quackery.  It gets started when he can’t figure out that all Maggie wants is her bottle, and while his list of crazy ailments is funny enough on its own, it also primes the audience for his later use of leeches and a rectal thermometer on Bart.  And, of course, there’s Tibor, who manages to be one of the greatest minor characters ever without even appearing on screen.

Zombie Simpsons has a tendency to hit on something clever and then drive it immediately into the ground.  When The Simpsons came up with meaty concepts like Grampa’s home remedies or Tom Jones being kidnapped, they drew them out slowly, even when they had a bunch of them

[Programming Note: Due to extreme laziness, we had a schedule conflict this week and couldn’t do Crazy Noises.  We’re pretty sure they’ll be back next week, prob-probably.]

07
Apr
11

Cutting Digital Corners

“Don’t worry, baby, the tube’ll know what to do.” – Homer Simpson

I’ve never worked as an animator, nor even been able to draw decently, so feel free to take the following with a grain of salt.  Having said that, I’ve sat through every single one of the HD episodes of Zombie Simpsons, and I think all their digital tools have made it increasingly easy for them to cut corners.  Take the image below from “Love Is a Many Strangled Thing”:

Generic School

There’s nothing terribly remarkable, it’s just an establishing shot of the school.  (You can see Bart’s stupid tractor ride starting in the lower left corner.)  Compare it to basically the same shot from “The Last Temptation of Homer”:

The Last Temptation of Homer3

The things I’m about to point out aren’t a big deal, and my ignorance of the working trade of animation may make the next few dozen sentences completely worthless, but to my eye the hand drawn one looks like it had a lot more care put into it.  Specifically, there are three items I noticed upon close inspection: the windows, the flag pole, and the sidewalks.

In the Season 22 image, the little bend marks in the windows are barely visible, but the ones you can make out all look the same: two parallel lines of slightly lighter blue to give the glass panes a little more substance than if they were monochrome.  In the one from Season 5, the lines in the windows are black (making them much more visible), and no two are the same.  The different windows give the drawing a less generic feel, making it easier for you to imagine that each window conceals an actual room.  After all, real window panes aren’t perfectly uniform; from the day they’re cut they get scuffed and scratched in different ways. The Zombie Simpsons windows are so perfectly alike that it subtracts the feeling of life from the image, whereas the windows in The Simpsons were all clearly done one by one, giving them a unique feel that makes the whole thing look more like a real building, even if the lines aren’t aligned down to the millimeter.

Now look at the flag poles.  On the digital one, the flag pole is utterly boring.  It’s just two precisely parallel lines that someone has used a fill command to make grey.  The hand drawn one has a lot more personality.  It doesn’t just disappear into a tuft of grass; it has a base so you can actually see what’s holding it steady.  Moreover, the pole itself appears to taper toward the top the way real flag poles do.  Someone took the time to draw and inspect it, instead of just plopping it down with a couple of clicks. 

It’s the sidewalks are where you can really see the difference though.  Because while both sidewalks contain mistakes, they are of a vastly different character.

Sidewalks

I’ve circled portions of each above.  First, consider the one from Zombie Simpsons and note the perpendicular lines in the grass.  These are clearly the outlines of sidewalk slabs and they don’t belong on a lawn.  You can see a line between the two sections as well as a line where the grey is supposed to meet the green.  Those lines wouldn’t be there if it had been originally drawn as grass, but this is self evidently an existing image that was modified.  And while the original had concrete where someone wanted chlorophyll, whoever made the change never bothered to remove the lines after clicking the paint bucket icon.  Nor is this some unnoticeable thing, the existence of the line where the sidewalk pieces meet indicates that “fill” had to be clicked twice.  They may have been careless, they may have been rushed, but whoever grabbed the existing template image couldn’t be bothered to take six seconds to correct an obvious (albeit minor) problem.

The same cannot be said for the image from The Simpsons.  The sidewalk leading to the school is filled in to the right of the stairs but not to the left.  Whether the sidewalk or the building was done first is irrelevant, someone drew both from scratch and then realized that they made a mistake lining them up.  Lacking a six second option, they covered for it as best they could.  Nobody’s expecting perfection, and not a single viewer decided to love or hate either of these episodes based on such trivial goofs.  But where Zombie Simpsons ignored an easily corrected mistake, The Simpsons took the time to carefully camouflage one that was as harmless as it was difficult to correct.

Again, all this may just be my lack of knowledge about animation processes talking.  But the impression a close viewer gets is that the convenience of digital tools makes it so easy for Zombie Simpsons to get things like windows and flag poles to “acceptable” that they don’t take the time (or aren’t budgeted for the time) to push them past that.  When The Simpsons drew by hand, they had to put enormous care into every little detail because not doing so would make the entire thing look slipshod.  And while we can’t fault the show for technological changes in the entire industry, we can say with great confidence that minute attention to detail is no longer one of their concerns.

29
Mar
11

Quote of the Day

Marge Gets a Job3

“She must think you’re after her eggs!” – Not Joan Embery
“I only ate one!” – Krusty the Klown

13
Dec
10

Quote of the Day

Marge Gets a Job2

“Marge, what can we do?” – C.M. Burns
“Well, you could give them healthier snacks, theme days . . .” – Marge Simpson
“You mean like, Child Labor Day?” – C.M. Burns
“Actually, I was thinking of funny hat day.” – Marge Simpson

21
Apr
10

Quote of the Day

Jehovahs Witnesses

Image used under Creative Commons from Wikimedia Commons.

“We need the money, and my life is pretty boring.  Last week, some Jehovah’s Witnesses came to the door and I wouldn’t let them leave.  They snuck away when I went in the kitchen to get more lemonade.” – Marge Simpson

08
Sep
09

Quote of the Day

retire

“I wish I could retire. Boy, that’d be sweet.” – Homer Simpson

25
May
09

Quote of the Day

scotch

“Mrs. Simpson, you’re in luck.  Your sexual harassment suit is just the thing I need to rebuild my shattered practice.  Care to join me in a belt of scotch?” – Lionel Hutz

29
Apr
09

Quote of the Day

marge-gets-a-job1

“Oral thermometer my eye!  Think warm thoughts boy, cause this is mighty cold.” – Abe “Grandpa” Simpson




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