“Ever since I called for the rescue of that Simpson lad, I have taken a lot of heat. So, I am flip-flopping! I say: let him stay down there!” – Mayor Quimby
“Yay!” – Crowd
Posts Tagged ‘Radio Bart
“Grasping the child firmly in his talons, Socrates here will fly him to safety. Just watch . . . I don’t think he’s coming back.” – Falconry Guy
First we got a nice long break from Zombie Simpsons, and then they made their triumphant return by dropping two great big steaming piles back-to-back. The first one, “Diggs”, is among the more tone deaf episodes I can recall in a while. It’s about a mentally ill kid who likes falcons and then gets hauled off to a loony bin for the rest of his life. They play it for sad, but it’s so stupid and nonsensical that I couldn’t register anything more than bemusement.
The second was a Sideshow Bob episode where he’s a scientist. In a turn that nobody could or should have seen coming, he’s also a genetically enhanced superman who throws himself off a dam for some reason. Plus there were a bunch of teenagers in a church abstinence program that made no sense for them to be in. They also briefly fought Sideshow Bob for some other reason.
- The couch gag, by Sylvain Chomet (a/k/a the Triplets of Belleville guy), was kinda interesting and managed to eat 60 seconds. It’s all gonna be downhill from here.
- They should’ve made the couch gag longer. The first two scenes, one in church the other a montage of Homer asking Bart to repay his $20, were pure filler.
- And now Bart is eating things for money, including a dead frog that Jimbo just happened to have on the playground. Does any of this make sense? Of course not! It doesn’t even make sense within this scene, as Jimbo comes along offering Bart the full $20 he needs, making the rest of it pointless.
- Okay, having the Potter boy says “Habemus Papam” after the falcon craps was kinda funny.
- But is immediately followed by a Quahog style quick cut to Homer yelling at the dog to sit.
- “I wasn’t drinking, I was learning that nature isn’t a complete waste of space”, “That doesn’t sound like you”, “But it does sound like the kind of lie you’d make up after the first time you got blitzed”. Telling us what we just saw, then telling us what we already know, and then returning to a joke that had already gone on way too long. It’s hard to imagine how the writing on this should could get any worse.
- And how about some falconry montage? Hey, at least there’s no dialogue!
- That’s right, Krusty’s just standing out in a field without his nose. Carry on.
- Nice of the kid to just leap off the tree and get the plot moving.
- Why is Homer caring for the bird? Better question: why am I asking?
- “I never heard of this new hospital, so I looked it up and printed it out” – Ah, there’s the pointless exposition that had been absent for almost twenty seconds.
- They’re really being weird about the fact that the kid is going to a mental hospital. Like, that’s where their story is sending them, but they won’t even mention what it is at this dinner table scene. It’s idiocy through a weird combination of sensitivity and insensitivity.
- “I obtained the pass to enter the Springfield falconry contest, which is what Freedom and I were training for when we first met you.” – This one sentence neatly encapsulates the entire mess that is this episode. This comes with less than three minutes to go, but is the first mention of the “falconry contest” that makes up the ending. It requires a nonsensical “one day pass” from the mental institute to which they haphazardly committed this (apparently parent-less) kid. And it negates pretty much everything we’ve seen with this kid up to this point since none of it had any bearing on what he wanted to do.
- The falcons are free. And now he’s going back to the mental institute . . . on his bike which he has for some reason.
- And then Milhouse appears from nowhere to try and salvage the uber-downer of an ending.
What a complete and utter mess of an episode, and even they knew it. (Why else would they dump it at 7:30?) They got themselves in way over their heads with the lonesome schizophrenic kid, sent him to a nut house, then had to walk back their own story to wrap things up. Meanwhile, Bart went through a wide range of short term emotions that also made no sense. Then it ends with the family at dinner eating duck as the big pre-credits joke . . . which leads back to the sad piano music they played over the doomed and now incarcerated kid. I don’t know what that was supposed to be, and I’m not sure they did either. Whatever, it’s time for round two:
- A short couch gag, haven’t seen that in a while.
- So Taco Tuesday comes every week but kills Willie? Remember when the stampede was just for PE signup day?
- This is the last episode with Marcia Wallace’s voice. They give her a nice send off at the end, showing her happy with Ned. I can’t be the only one who finds that completely spoiled by having Lunchlady Doris voice some utterly unnecessary lines at the beginning.
- “Helen Lovejoy is posting the spring volunteer sign up sheet, in five minutes every good task will be taken.” – Maybe they did remember PE signup day. They certainly remembered “tell the audience what’s happening” day.
- Thrill to the crossing the street scene!
- There is no plausible reason for these kids to be in a church abstinence program. But these are the teenagers they have in the cast, so in the abstinence program they shall be.
- Since we’re apparently feeling the loss of dead cast members in this one, this fake YouTube video really could’ve used Phil Hartman. It’d still probably be bad, but it wouldn’t be this bad.
- It really is too much to ask for a single scene to make sense. After the video, Lisa wants to run off to do research on a topic that she knew enough to call a PTA meeting about? The mind reels.
- That GMO buffet went nice and quick.
- I don’t remember which episode it was that had people’s faces falling off, but it sure deserved a callback.
- Why would Marge think finger puppets(!) would help explain things to teenagers?
- Now Homer’s at the abstinence meeting for some reason.
- Hey, a plot point just literally fell on Lisa only to have Sideshow Bob demonstrate his superhuman strength by saving her.
- Bob tossed off his concrete block now instead of earlier because . . .?
- “And we’re scared of that because . . . “, then Bob explains. Whew.
- They’re on top of a dam now. No idea why, but they are.
- “We’re here to stop you” is Marge’s line right as she and the teens pull up from nowhere to confront Bob. (Well, Marge pulls up in the car, the teens just appear.) It’s expository and nonsensical, so at least that fits with the rest of the episode. Everything else about the ending? Not so much.
- Bob just jumped off the dam, remembered he had gills, and stepped on a rake underwater. I’ve said this before and I’ll probably say it again, but this is fan service at the lowest common denominator.
In that interview with Jean I linked on Friday, he mentioned why they don’t do more Sideshow Bob episodes:
“I’m really, really careful about approving new Sideshow Bob episodes, because I think every one of them is so special, and I never want to feel like we’re burning the character out,”
You made him a genetic superman with fucking gills! Could some reporter on his next conference call ask him what “burning the character out” would look like? Would he have to become a cyborg? Travel to another dimension? What’s left?
Anyway, the ratings are in and they are the worst ever, both of them. The awkward and unwatchable mental kid episode at 7:30 had just 2.65 million viewers wonder why he didn’t have any parents. The Sideshow-Bob-Has-Superpowers-Now episode made just 3.73 million viewers wonder what they hell they just watched. That’s good for places #1 and #2 on the all time least watched list.
“Don’t worry, son. Just cause you’re trapped in a hole doesn’t mean you can’t live a rich and full life. I brought you your Krusty doll.” – Homer Simpson
“Ow! Knock it off you bald boob!” – Bart Simpson
“Hey, don’t make me come down there!” – Homer Simpson
“I’d like to see you fit!” – Bart Simpson
“But this isn’t about show business, this is about some kid down a hole, or something. And we’ve all got to do what we can.” – Sting
Dead Homer Society is coming at you live from my new and pointlessly overpowered PC; the laptop is dead, long live the laptop. (Windows 8 is not nearly as terrible as advertised once you install Classic Shell so it can actually work with a mouse and keyboard. Jebus, Microsoft, do you enjoy creating headaches for yourselves and everyone else?) This week we’ve got two Simpsons mainstays both being their naturally awesome selves, one by being nice to a fan, the other by cross dressing. Try to guess which, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. We’ve also got three links to long and thoughtful articles about the show. There’s one about the “Terror at 5 1/2 Feet” Halloween segment, one about “Marge Be Not Proud”, and one about how the show can’t string a story together anymore. In addition to all that, we’ve got some awesome fan made Bart shoes, a newfangled bootleg t-shirt, a fantastic rendition of the theme song, and some excellent usage.
The Simpsons Theme Song – Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week is this epically excellent one-man, multi-instrument rendition of the theme song:
He even did the elongated circus version complete with whistle! Well done.
The One Where Bart Sells His Soul – Self examination through The Simpsons:
In the past few years there has been a rekindling of the relationship I once had with my spirit. One of my treasured activities is going on long walks where I find peace in my thoughts. I also enjoy time spent with friends and family. When I caught The Simpsons re-run it was an epiphany. “That was it,” I thought, “that was exactly how it felt”.
Comic collage – Exactly what it says. There’s quite a few Simpsons characters mixed in with everything from the Smurfs and Peanuts to stuff I don’t recognize at all.
Games Go To Hollywood: The Simpsons, “Marge Be Not Proud” – An article about how “Marge Be Not Proud” showcases something new in Bart, from which I’d like to highlight two things:
Bart Simpson is the quintessential bad kid. He talks back to his teachers, picks on his sister, and (at least in early seasons of The Simpsons) he’s quick to tell any figure of authority, “Don’t have a cow, man.”
Among the many, many things Zombie Simpsons has lost is Bart’s reflexive disdain for authority. It just isn’t something they do anymore because Bart, like Homer and many others, seems to understand now that there are no consequences and that he can get away with anything. Which leads to this:
Bart realizes that he’s capable of stealing—capable of carrying out a bad act. And of all the things to take, he chooses a video game. He’s using his newfound nefarious powers to grasp desperately for an escape. The powers work, but the escape doesn’t happen. For a minute, this bad kid realizes he’s bad.
And while that’s all well and good for character development and hugging, it’s a real departure from what the show used to be. The whole thing’s worth a read.
pale division: bart simpson – More high fashion clothes with Bart on them.
In Character: Krusty the Clown – Speaking of fashion, here are the high end clothes you’d need to dress just like Krusty. Presumably the nicotine patch is sold separately.
Terror At 5 1/2 Feet – Discussing “Treehouse of Horror IV”’s middle segment:
I love the role of Principal Skinner in this Treehouse of Horror piece as well – he borders humourously on Nurse Ratched territory at times. “I’ve gotten word that a child’s using his imagination, and I’ve come to put a stop to it,” is one select quote. “Right or wrong, young man, your behaviour was disruptive. Perhaps spending the remainder of your life in a mad house will teach you some manners,” is another one that hits the spot particularly well.
And perhaps that’s the most chilling thing about this story. Firstly, that Bart’s apparent madness was in fact rational, revealing everybody else’s sane desire to remain calm as totally irrational given the circumstances. That’s ultimately what he gets sent to a mental institution for as well: disturbing the routine way of things rather than actually being mentally ill. Oh, how the mental health care sector has a chequered past in that regard which The Simpsons, as ever, satirises brilliantly.
Classic Halloween segments tend to get more disturbing the more you think about them.
Dan Castellaneta – Good dude, that Dan Castellaneta:
I mailed a drawing (with stamped return envelope and request letter) to Dan Castellaneta on December 13, 2012.
It was signed and mailed back to me on Saturday, February 2, 2013; 51 days later.
Click through for a picture of the (now signed) drawing.
February 4 – Lounge Lizard #2 – A list of great fictional bars includes Moe’s.
36/365 – Fantastic fan photo of three Homer figurines all lined up and lit well.
Universal and IOA Update for February! – More information about the construction being done around the Simpsons ride down in America’s wang (emphasis in original):
Last September, I started seeing rumor mill about The International Food and Wine Festival restaurant closing to make way for a new Simpsons themed eatery. Well rumor turned to truth and then grew to rumor…AND EXPLODED!!! Now we sit at beginning of February and all sorts of construction is going on. Rumor mill says you have this to look forward to: The Krusty Burger, Moe’s Tavern, Kentucky Fried Panda, New Simpsons Flat Ride near MIB, and Other Facades.
Springfield, here I come – Man decides to rewatch the whole series:
The Simpsons has always been one of my favorite shows, and I know I’ve missed a ton of the more recent ones. I’m especially excited because there are so many pop-culture references in the show that I’m sure I didn’t get the first time through as a kid. I really think watching through them again is going to be a blast.
Sounds fun, though my strong advice would be to quit sometime early in the double digit seasons. Nobody needs to torment themselves like that.
My Rejected Scripts #3: Deadli-er Catch – A fake show pitch ends with a related Simpsons reference to poor Pinchy the lobster.
How to draw Krusty the Clown from The S – A step by step tutorial for MS Paint (or something similar).
Album Review: Alice Russell/To Dust – Not that we needed any, but further proof that Harry Shearer is as fantastic as it is humanely possible to be:
(Check the video for the single on YOUtube. It stars long-time Russell fan Harry Shearer from The Simpsons and Spinal Tap, and is a beautifully touching little vignette/short story. Worth a watch all the way through, you ADHD kidz).
I have now seen Mr. Burns put on makeup and pad his bra. The look on his face when room service shows up is hilarious.
Broadcasters take The Simpsons short film – “The Longest Daycare” is coming to TVs in Britain, France and here in the States.
The Simpsons: Tapped Out finally available in Google Play – The Tapped Out game is now available for Android. That is all.
El Barto sneakerz – Fan made El Barto shoes. Bravo.
[News] Jung Yonghwa’s Playful Homer Simpson Impression Selca – This is a fan site for a Korean band that I’ve never heard of, but their lead singer apparently likes him some Homer.
D’oh!: Driver with parking boot apparently asks, ‘What would Homer Simpson do?’ – Yeah, there’s a reason you’re not supposed to drive with the boot on.
Play game Lisa Simpson Dress Up Flash online free games at Y8.com – I can’t entirely recommend you click on this as it is a hacktacular flash “game” where all you do is click through different outfits and accessories for a completely static image of Lisa. I just find it amusing because the background music is the piano song from the old Incredible Hulk TV show. It’s such an odd confluence of unlicensed pop culture.
Movie Review: No 74. Cinema Paradiso – Excellent reference:
To me, however, the job of the filmmaker is to effectively tell a story, and I really feel like we were let down on that one. Fundamentally, it’s a great story, but there is so much going on (much of which is irrelevant to the story) that it loses its cohesion and starts seeming less like a good film and more like an “onion on my belt” rant.
2 meals 1 Chicken – Excellent usage:
So what do you do when you open your fridge and all you see is -
- 2 limes
- half an onion, 1 jalapeño
- and a delicious local organic chicken from Richardson Farms Rockdale, Tx (purchased at in.gredients my fav grocery store)
I’ll tell you what – you MacGyver 2 delicious paleo meals *no need for paper clip, ballpoint pen, or tweezers
“Don’t thank me. Thank the moon’s gravitational pull”
Editor’s Chair: Let’s Destroy the Sun – A Simpsons based cure for writer’s block:
A friend of mine–and one of my favorite pessimists–has said that she cures writer’s block by placing one simple sentence at the top of her page and going from there. So here goes:
Since the dawn of time, man has yearned to destroy the sun.
There. Maybe that will help…
Sleaze Factor – Most of the “black Bart” bootleg t-shirts are from the dawn of the show, but this is brand new. Cool.
Super Bowl XLVII…In 10 Words – What you got riding on this game? My daughter. Whew, what a gambler.
RuPaul’s Drag Race…In 10 Words – At last, an excuse to wear makeup!
Bullet To The Head…In 10 Words – If you want results, you’ve got to go to the Schwarzeneggers, the Stallones, and, to a lesser extent, the Van Dammes.
Why being a Vegetarian DOES NOT mean you are Healthy – We’ll never know just how many real life vegetarians were influenced by “Lisa the Vegetarian”, but it’s lot:
I’m 31 years old now and I’ve been a vegetarian since I was in 6th grade or so. There were certainly different degrees of vegetarianism as I got older and as I learned more about what that really meant.
I have to admit that when I saw the episode of the Simpsons when Lisa became a vegetarian I felt her pain.
I came from a household that was strictly meat and potatoes. And that may be why I became the type of “vegetarian” that I did at an early age.
What is the Appeal of The Simpsons? – This is dead-on correct, and it’s no coincidence that all the examples she cites are Zombie Simpsons:
I mean, it’s not the inconsistencies of characters (In ‘Please Homer Don’t Hammer ‘Em’, Bart is revealed allergic to shrimp. Who knew?) or the amount of injuries sustained over the years that are never mentioned. The writers probably do this to mock one thing or another, as is often good about The Simpsons.
It’s the fact that, as writers, it promotes flimsy plotting and a ‘happy ending’ that real life cannot give. It gives watchers the wrong idea that something can be fixed like that *clicks fingers* and gives non-writers the idea that all stories must end on a high note.
When The Simpsons was still itself, they always had a way of ending that was both happy and still mean and/or cynical, like Bart and Homer taunting Nelson after the soap box derby race, Selma describing Jub Jub as a “little version of me”, and Maggie calling Homer “Daddy” when he’s out of the room and can’t hear her. These days? Not so much.
Looking Ahead To A Fourth Season Of Community – And finally, an aside about Community agrees with us:
I’ve written before about 30 Rock, Parks & Rec, and Community. For a while there, I had a real hard time distinguishing between the three which one was my favorite. Usually, it was whatever show I’d seen most recently. But, with less-than-stellar 6th and 7th seasons, I’d say 30 Rock has diminished in my eyes (much the same way the Simpsons fell from grace after season 9).
Fell from grace, I like that.
“You know, Bart, I don’t think this is such a bad present. Maybe you just shouldn’t talk into it as loud as your father does.” – Marge Simpson
As part of our tireless efforts to demonstrate the many ways Zombie Simpsons fails to entertain, Season 23 will be subjected to the kind of rigorous examination that can only be produced by people typing short messages at one another. More dedicated or modern individuals might use Twitter for this, but that’s got graphics and short links and little windows that pop up when you put your cursor over things. The only kind of on-line communications we like are the kind that could once be done at 2400 baud. So disable your call waiting, plug in your modem, and join us for another year of Crazy Noises. This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (especially on “nightmarish”).
I’ve mentioned already, and do so again below, that this episode was thick with wretchedly unneeded exposition. There were plenty of examples, but one that struck me as both particularly illustrative of Zombie Simpsons and especially pointless came near the beginning when Homer was wrapping up his stupid apology party. Here’s Homer asking the crowd if they forgive him:
The crowd cheers, and then they cut to Carl who says, “Ain’t no problem that free food and free booze won’t fix.” They immediately cut back to Homer:
Standing right next to the microphone, Homer says, out loud, “Free? Uh . . .”. Naturally, no one hears this. The next time Homer speaks . . .
. . . everyone can hear him again. Homer’s next line is yet another expository word evacuation about his sheets being dry now, though at least for this last one they bothered to get rid of the microphone:
Not only is this another example of Zombie Simpsons forgetting that people who aren’t in a shot are still in a scene, but both of the lines no one managed to hear didn’t tell the audience anything we didn’t already know. Zombie Simpsons: making scenes unbelievable for lines that don’t need to be there.
Mad Jon: Do you want to get started on this?
Charlie Sweatpants: No point delaying things.
Mad Jon: I guess not.
Charlie Sweatpants: I’d like to begin by asking a simple question. When did they start treating Frink’s insane inventions seriously?
Mad Jon: I suppose when it became convenient.
I couldn’t tell you the exact point in time however.
Charlie Sweatpants: Like everything else, I assume it was a slow process.
Mad Jon: It happened so gradually, I didn’t even notice.
Charlie Sweatpants: The Death Ray prototype was funny, the Gamble-Tron was funny. Then at some point it was self tapping shoes, and from there it’s just gotten worse.
In Season 9 he invented a teleporter, but that was a Halloween episode.
By my count, this was the second time he’s invented a machine that let Homer probe the depths of his unconscious.
But without actually looking things up, I guess I’d have to go with the self tapping shoes. Though at least in that episode they took a stab at it making sense that he would run into Lisa. Here he literally fell from the sky.
Mad Jon: Literally.
Charlie Sweatpants: Greek myths make more sense than that.
Mad Jon: The thing that bothered me the most was that Marge wasn’t really surprised. Here’s Frink, out of nowhere, and now he’s got an idea to solve a problem he already knows about that is affecting her sex life, and they go right to it. There wasn’t any attempt at a decent plot progression. They went right for the gratification.
Charlie Sweatpants: I didn’t even notice that, but you’re right.
Mad Jon: But that kind of story telling has been the norm for a while, so meh. I believe there are worse problems here.
Charlie Sweatpants: Many.
Hell, in that same vein, why in the name of Christopher Nolan did the cops show up and break into the Simpson house?
Mad Jon: That was a big problem. Not only is it apparently illegal (for some un-disclosed reason) to use a machine on willing subjects to probe their dreams, it is also immediately detectable by all three local police officers.
Charlie Sweatpants: It was one of those things that was so blatant that I sat up and noticed even through my usual Zombie Simpsons stupor.
Mad Jon: I even stopped playing on my phone!
Charlie Sweatpants: And that was before he and Frink got into a fight which mattered for a second before being dropped entirely.
Mad Jon: A slow motion fist fight.
Charlie Sweatpants: We’ll just add that to the list of shit that made no sense. I think they had an "Inception" bingo card they were trying to fill out.
Mad Jon: Hopefully somebody won a beating.
Charlie Sweatpants: Not likely.
Though, to be fair, there were plenty of things that had nothing to do with anything. For example, why was Death normal, and then it had a jetpack, and then it was Homer’s mom?
Mad Jon: Is that how she got there?
Charlie Sweatpants: Well, that’s what I’m confused about. If she was there the whole time, why did nothing happen earlier. But if she wasn’t there the whole time, then how did she get there?
Even if it was just Homer’s mom in that final dream, why was she dressed as Death?
And, yes, I realize I’m asking questions that no one bothered to come up with an answer for.
Mad Jon: I suppose we could find this answer along with a real explanation of why all that crap had anything to do with Homer wetting the bed.
Absolutely no foreshadowing at all. All of the sudden he’s wetting the bed. And after a nightmarish (for me) adventure through everyone’s dreams or something, we find out he wants his parents to be together?
Charlie Sweatpants: Oh no, that has an answer. It was about fish and a marriage and Cletus and possibly the Alan Parson’s Project, which I think was some sort of hovercraft.
But even that didn’t make sense, since going fishing was apparently what triggered everything.
I’ll include my usual I-don’t-care-about-inter-episode-continuity disclaimer, but it’s not like we’ve only ever seen Homer go fishing once or something. The man likes fishing.
Mad Jon: Was it? I never really understood the trigger.
Charlie Sweatpants: I was also unclear, because it didn’t make any sense even within this episode, but they did at least say that was the reason.
Mad Jon: I though at the end they were going to switch from the Inception type episode to the end scene from that Leonardo DiCaprio movie where he was an insane guy who thought he was a cop.
Charlie Sweatpants: J. Edgar?
Mad Jon: No, it was about an island or something.
Charlie Sweatpants: Sorry. Couldn’t resist.
Mad Jon: The thread that would bind that episode would be Leonardo DiCaprio, which is more of a thread than usual.
Charlie Sweatpants: True enough.
Changing the subject slightly, this is a direct quote from the middle of the episode, and might not even be in the top five for most grotesque exposition:
"Deep down I must be feeling guilty about getting my friends in trouble."
And that wasn’t even the time Homer exposited while standing in front of a live microphone in front of all of his co workers.
Mad Jon: I have a note on my paper when that quote happened:
- Possibly worst plot forwarding dialogue this season.
Charlie Sweatpants: I made a note as well, "Hello, exposition police, there’s been a homicide."
Mad Jon: …. it made more sense to me when it happened.
Charlie Sweatpants: So did mine.
Mad Jon: There has been some serious explanatory dialogue this season, but this may be the most obvious piece of evidence that the writers either don’t care or really think that their remaining viewers are complete idiots.
Charlie Sweatpants: I’d vote both. I mean, despite all the "let us tell you what’s happening while you watch it", there were still a bunch of things that wouldn’t have made sense if you hadn’t seen Inception or at least knew a little about it.
Mad Jon: That’s usually a bad thing.
Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah. Here it was more of a lateral move.
Mad Jon: I guess they felt the need to go deeper.
Charlie Sweatpants: I felt I needed a stronger sedative.
Mad Jon: Touche salesman.
Overall, however, I feel the most bothersome part was that the plot as a whole was devoted to Homer as a bedwetter. I think he even mentions towards the beginning that this is the last embarrassing thing he had never done or something. When I read the description on my DVR, it elicited a "Sigh…. Ok."
This is what it’s come to. This.
Charlie Sweatpants: There is a steep and undeniable decline between relatively oblique references to Milhouse and Ralph being bedwetters and it being the main element in a plot about Homer.
Mad Jon: In the way there is a steep and undeniable decline between a can of Pringles, and an empty can of Pringles that your brother has shit in, yes.
Charlie Sweatpants: Ha.
Can I assume you have some equally feculent vitriol stored up about the brief but wholly dumb scenes at the power plant?
Mad Jon: I dunno, that took a lot of effort.
However, I do have thoughts.
I thought the only serviceable line happened there. When Carl stated that he was pretty sure the referee they beat up was actually a kid who works at Foot Locker.
I didn’t necessarily laugh, but it was short and sweet.
Charlie Sweatpants: I did like that line, but it felt like the kind of thing that could’ve been done better.
Mad Jon: Of course, but the hindsight of the last few years tells me that it could have been much, much worse.
Charlie Sweatpants: Also true. It just bugs me when the best things are those cheap setup-setup-punchline type gags.
Mad Jon: True enough.
Other than that, I was a little bothered that Homer’s first trip to that particular employer in sometime was only a lead-in to part of the plot about bedwetting that made him think he has wronged his ‘friends’.
And didn’t another car get out before Homer did?
Charlie Sweatpants: It looked like it. But it also looked like Burns was staring right the fuck at Homer when he was getting pissed off, and they dropped that like it never happened.
Mad Jon: Oh well.
Charlie Sweatpants: The fact that Burns had him up on the stage was also particularly annoying. I know Burns is incompetent now, but after having him watch Homer steal stuff, putting him up there as an example was particularly galling.
Mad Jon: And how does he know Barney doesn’t work there?
Charlie Sweatpants: And why would Barney think he does work there?
Mad Jon: Equally valid question.
Charlie Sweatpants: Anything else here? As usual, I have a small list of little things that sucked but were so unrelated to anything that they can only qualify as minor: Bart dancing in the sky, the way Marge didn’t notice the bed wetting, the ending that hailed for no reason. But I don’t have much to say about them other than that they made no sense and weren’t funny, which isn’t the world’s most insightful commentary.
Mad Jon: Yeah, there were a bunch of little things, but as you have stated, most do not warrant discussion, even from someone as petty as I.
I don’t have anything else constructive or otherwise to add.
Charlie Sweatpants: That, at least, is in keeping with the spirit of the episode.
“I’m here for my free birthday sundae.” – Bart Simpson
“Eat it and get out.” – Phineas Q. Butterfat Clerk
As part of our tireless efforts to demonstrate the many ways Zombie Simpsons fails to entertain, Season 23 will be subjected to the kind of rigorous examination that can only be produced by people typing short messages at one another. More dedicated or modern individuals might use Twitter for this, but that’s got graphics and short links and little windows that pop up when you put your cursor over things. The only kind of on-line communications we like are the kind that could once be done at 2400 baud. So disable your call waiting, plug in your modem, and join us for another year of Crazy Noises. This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (especially on “Jeeves”).
It wasn’t worth doing an entire post about, but there was one scene in “The D’oh-cial Network” that I thought perfectly illustrated the gaping philosophical and humor differences between The Simpsons and Zombie Simpsons. During that extended bunch of set pieces at the mall, Homer takes a gift card into “Cinnabun”. Note that, per standard Zombie Simpsons operating procedure, this is just a slight misspelling of a real place, not an actual parody.
I hope they got some complimentary pastries in exchange for that kind of free advertising.
Once inside, Homer walks up to the Squeaky Voiced Teen, hands him the card, and tells him to just start rolling the giant confection into his mouth. The kid complies, drawing the blinds and closing down the entire store while Homer sucks this thing down.
I never get service like this when I redeem a gift card.
Set aside the fact that The Simpsons did this exact thing with the Ironic Punishment Division in “Treehouse of Horror IV”, it’s also eerily reminiscent of Bart’s free birthday sundae in “Radio Bart”. Both scenes have the character come in and expect free goodies. What makes it eerie is the way you almost couldn’t draw up a better example of the world spanning differences between the philosophy and humor of The Simpsons and Zombie Simpsons.
Zombie Simpsons has Homer go to a thinly veiled real store and get treated like a VIP. Not only does he get exactly what he asks for, but the clerk even closes the store so he can gorge himself in private. (Remember, this is the man who once exhorted his wife to not be ashamed while he was being used as a freak show attraction for an all you can eat seafood buffet.) The only joke is that Homer is fat.
The Simpsons has Bart go to a store they made up whole cloth. It isn’t an advertisement for a real chain, it’s a rather mean satire about the fake nostalgia and dishonest advertising real ice cream stores employ.
Everything implied or stated is either misleading or an outright lie. That’s funny.
When Bart gets there, he isn’t treated like a star; he’s treated like an unwanted moocher. The birthday sundae is pitifully tiny, the guy behind the counter is a jerk to him, and there isn’t so much as a whiff of the old time whimsy the coupon promised. Phineas Q. Butterfat and his brand of wholesome fun are all lies. It’s just a crappy ice cream place with surly employees and tiny portions.
The Simpsons sees a world that kinda sucks, in which you will get lied to and yelled at and are treated poorly. Zombie Simpsons sees a world that’s awesome, in which perfect strangers will treat you like royalty and carry out your every desire, and if they can throw in a nice mention for a real store in the process, why not? It’s not like they’re here to satirize anything.
Charlie Sweatpants: Shall we get to the depressing task at hand?
Mad Jon: Yeah, I was hoping you would forget that we had to do this, but let’s go for it.
Charlie Sweatpants: I haven’t been drinking that much.
Mad Jon: Maybe a slight electrocution or something, I dunno.
Not enough to kill you, just to kill some of your short term memory
Charlie Sweatpants: If my short term memory had been injured, I might have enjoyed this episode.
Mad Jon: Doubtful.
Charlie Sweatpants: Well, some kind of brain damage anyway.
Mad Jon: Was this the first time that there was a nameable person actually in the couch gag?
Charlie Sweatpants: Maybe?
One wonder’s why Letterman went for it. Boredom, I suppose.
Mad Jon: I haven’t watched Letterman in years, has it gotten that hard to get late night ratings that he needs the ~ 4 million Zombie Simpson viewers to help him out?
Also, it seemed like this episode decided to forgo the normal activity that leads to the plot line, and just dove right into it.
And by ‘it’ I mean the 4/5ths of the episode that was a flashback.
Charlie Sweatpants: I don’t know if I should give them credit for having the lawyer make that joke about the opening being unrelated, or if it should aggravate me because it means they’re perfectly content to waste their time and mine.
Mad Jon: Why bother sugar coating it if you don’t care how the person feels about the taste?
Charlie Sweatpants: Something like that. I’d add that the outdoor mall thing is yet another example of the wealthy-Southern-California setting they seem intent on inserting into every third episode or so.
It’s nice that you get to shop at places that take their decor from Disneyland’s Main Street USA, but the rest of us don’t give a fuck.
Mad Jon: Yeah, we got one of those around here, but I can tell you that there aren’t any upper-lower middle class families shopping there with gift cards.
And the condos there cost more than my house.
Charlie Sweatpants: Exactly. I pine for a day when Lenny, a blue collar bachelor if ever there was one, begged Marge not to tell people how he lived.
Mad Jon: I was just about to ask if you remember the difference between a Lenny begging Marge not to tell people how he lives and a Lenny begging the Simpson family to spend time with him.
Charlie Sweatpants: Oh, I do. And scenes like that weird and kinda Pedobear thing with Lenny and the dolls make it impossible not to remember.
Mad Jon: That was tragic if nothing else.
Charlie Sweatpants: And creepy.
Mad Jon: Very much so.
Charlie Sweatpants: Though that was before Otto rode a greased up Bart like a skateboard.
Mad Jon: Also, did you feel as depressed as I did watching the McBain scene? That was bad even for a character that hasn’t had a meaningful presence in a decade.
Charlie Sweatpants: That was terrible. It’s a mark of how low the show has fallen that they can’t even kick Schwarzenegger when he’s down.
Mad Jon: Well, luckily this scene led to Lisa being shunned by her friends so the writers could copy a movie that I’ve never seen.
Charlie Sweatpants: A copy would’ve been an improvement.
Mad Jon: I just assumed. Like I said, I didn’t see the movie, so I have no idea.
Charlie Sweatpants: Oh, they tried to copy it. But nobody told them that just recreating a scene or two and putting in the same music wouldn’t get them all the way home.
I bitched about this in Compare & Contrast, but I don’t think a single plot point in this episode actually made sense.
Mad Jon: Yes indeed.
Most of the rest of my notes are things like "nothings happening, nothings happening" "Homer and Grandpa argue for a while", "Skinner and Chalmers are talking" and "It’s over, everyone looks pissed"
Charlie Sweatpants: Lisa signs on to a Springfield school chat site that already fucking exists, and that . . . what? . . . inspires her to create a Facebook clone because huh?
Mad Jon: Yeah the using the social site to make a social site was a quick way in.
Charlie Sweatpants: And apparently she doesn’t have a computer, and Facebook doesn’t exist there, and smart phones are all new, and no one’s ever used text messaging before.
The episode assumes that you both get the reference and have no idea what it is. It’s really annoying.
Mad Jon: I think what gets me the most is that, again, 4/5 of the episode is a flashback that leads to the last 1/5 which is pretty much just a reason to play the bad Radiohead cover that is, I assume, related to the movie whose preview I saw that had the same music. Then it ends 2 minutes early.
Charlie Sweatpants: Not a bad summation.
Mad Jon: You were willing to stuff the first 20 minutes with crap that was not only non-relative, but on-running and not funny, are you telling me you couldn’t keep going for another 120 seconds? Did you not cut anything out of this episode?
Charlie Sweatpants: That was another thing I bitched about in Compare & Contrast. They jump from one item to another with no connection whatsoever, and that was after they took until nine minutes into the episode to start the A-plot.
Mad Jon: Again indeed.
Charlie Sweatpants: At least show us why this thing is so popular, or why Lisa created it after seemingly being happy on an already existing site. They do none of that.
I mean, they couldn’t even squeeze in a joke about why "SpringFace" was so popular only in Springfield.
Mad Jon: Well, I assume that just like their TV stations, the Springfield internet only works in Springfield.
Charlie Sweatpants: I suspect that’s more thought than the writers put into it.
Mad Jon: I am sure you are right.
I guess 1000 friends for Lisa is equivalent to 500 million for Zuckerberg.
Charlie Sweatpants: She would know, she talked to him last season.
Mad Jon: Jebus I forgot about that.
Then again, I don’t think I could give you more than 2 or 3 coherent recaps of last season, let alone a list of guest stars.
Charlie Sweatpants: That’s the kind of short term memory loss I’m envious of.
Mad Jon: Drink more, my friend. Drink more.
Charlie Sweatpants: Oh, indeed.
What bugged me more here was the way that people glommed onto "SpringFace" for no reason. Skinner got upset that Bart – BART! – unfriended him. Marge was totally cool with Homer driving and looking at his phone. Lovejoy just threw in the towel and starting using his phone during church.
Lovejoy actually says "If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em", and then goes all random internet. At the very least he could’ve used "SpringFace" to connect with the people who weren’t looking at him.
What is the point of having a website that everyone in town is using to communicate with one another if you never – not once – use it to show people communicating with one another?
Mad Jon: Yep, good point.
Lovejoy could have posted his sermon, or you know, been Lovejoy and hit the "Bird Button" to get people to listen to him.
I am sure that not having anything resemble Facebook was part of the deal or something.
Charlie Sweatpants: That’d have been better, but, again, that would require far more thought than they put into this.
Any other specific lowlights?
Mad Jon: I didn’t understand the Olympic crew scene, but I assume that was because I didn’t watch the movie.
I didn’t understand the strangely animated short at the end, but that should have never happened anyway.
So specifically, no.
Charlie Sweatpants: The rowing thing was indeed from the movie. Zuckerberg got sued by a couple of crew team blue bloods who thought he stole their idea. The guy who played them in the movie did the voice.
Mad Jon: Oh wait.
I was going to point out that the "Ask Jeeves" thing made me chuckle as he walked out of the court pew, until they kept going of course.
Charlie Sweatpants: I thought the same thing.
Mad Jon: Ok, the crew thing makes slightly more sense then. Did they actually get $65 million or whatever to add to their already existent fortune?
Nevermind, I don’t care.
Charlie Sweatpants: I think so. I don’t care enough to know the actual history of Facebook, and while the movie was better than I was expecting, I don’t think it had all that much to do with the actual history of Facebook either.
Mad Jon: Fair enough.
Charlie Sweatpants: For specific lowlights, I’ve got three. In no particular order, there was the Homer-hitting-Moleman-with-his-car thing, which was really dumb, but actually better on the commercials that were airing during the Giants-Packers game because there they cut out the extended car crash that piles up behind Homer. It took longer and was dumber in the episode.
Mad Jon: When that happened I thought that was why they were in court….
Charlie Sweatpants: There was also Brandine lighting up her meth pipe in court. Is that even a joke? If a bailiff had looked at her and shrugged, then maybe it’s a joke. As it happened, I don’t know what that was supposed to be other than "Methamphetamine, hurr hurr".
Mad Jon: So it’s come to this….
Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah.
Mad Jon: The third?
Charlie Sweatpants: The Nelson/Angry Birds thing. They made the exact same joke outside of the electronics show earlier this season. They repeated a joke from about five episodes ago, and the first time wasn’t that good to start with.
Mad Jon: Excellent.
In fact it was so unmemorable the first time that I don’t remember it.
Charlie Sweatpants: I’d forgotten about it until this. Upon seeing it, I almost didn’t believe it. That’s some seriously hacktacular crap right there. That joke was two years out of date the first time.
Mad Jon: …Probably should have said unmemorable or something. But I am several beers past caring about my grammar in this chat room.
But you are right. I think I finished that game about 18 months ago, and they have so many ‘holiday versions’ that I don’t even bother playing anymore.
Charlie Sweatpants: Anything else? I’m perfectly content to end on video game apathy.
Mad Jon: Apathetic is our calling card.
Charlie Sweatpants: This site’s word count would argue against that, but in general, yes.
Mad Jon: Touche Pants. But that is mainly your fault.
Charlie Sweatpants: Meh.
“And our new number one hit, ‘I Do Believe We’re Naked’ by Funky See Funky Do, replaces ‘We’re Sending Our Love Down the Well’ which plunges all the way down to number ninety-seven.” – Not Casey Kasem
Rankings are based on the volume of related Twitter and blog activity. Only future events are included (movies, for instance, fall off the list after their opening day.) Flames and arrows appear when an event has jumped or fallen at least ten spots in the past 24 hours.
Basically, it’s a daily aggregation of what the twitchiest internet users are talking about. The current #1 and #2 are the Glee and Gossip Girl season premiers, respectively.
Two weeks ago, during Gaga-quake 1, New York’s Jillian Goodman posted an update titled “Who Got a Bigger Buzz Bump This Week, the Muppets or The Simpsons?”:
On Tuesday, two aging franchises — one long-dormant (The Muppets) and one still active but no longer culturally imperative (The Simpsons) — sparked web chatter with items tied to two of-the-moment stars: The Muppets released a video of the classic Muppet Show theme as reimagined by viral mainstays OK Go, while The Simpsons announced that Lady Gaga would be doing a voice for a spring episode. Both resulted in a cavalcade of excited commentary, aggregation, tweets, and retweets, and propelled the Thanksgiving movie The Muppets and the September 25 premiere of The Simpsons up Vulture’s Anticipation Index
How far up, you may ask? Not far, actually:
Meanwhile, before the Gaga news, The Simpsons wasn’t even in the top 100. Unlike the Muppets, the 23-year-old cartoon family has never gone away, so there’s never much new to jolt people into commenting. It’s only when someone fresh and newsy (or, in the case of Banksy, bomb-throwing) enters their orbit that things come alive, like when the show aired its racy Katy Perry cameo in rare live action. And now, Gaga: The news that she’d recorded a voice brought the show back onto the list at 63. It’s now back off the list: Even Gaga can only keep its name out there for so long. But The Muppets still hovers at 59 today.
17 – Supernatural
19 – Mad Men (which isn’t premiering until 2012!)
30 – Chuck
38 – Two and a Half Men
50 – Criminal Minds
64 – Suburgatory (series premier!)
75 – Gray’s Anatomy
82 – The Big Bang Theory
87 – NCIS
95 – CSI: New York
99 – Desperate Housewives
120 – Nikita
123 – Up All Night
125 – The Office
At this point I’d like to remind everyone that FOX has, theoretically at least, been running a rather large on-line promotion to get people to vote on the nauseating concept of “Fledna” (or whatever). But despite Gaga and the “Fledna” contest, Zombie Simpsons is below The Office, another show long in terminal decline. Goodman concludes:
To shoot up the Anticipation Index they need to do one of two things: bring in buzzier stars, or go off the air and come back in fifteen years announcing a return to the Simpsons’ George Meyer glory days.
I would submit that a “buzzier” star than Lady Gaga is pretty difficult to imagine. I guess, if Obama got desperate and went on the show next year (like Gore choose not to do in 2000), that would command more media attention than Gaga. But that seems farfetched, so I guess they’ll just have to announce they’re going off the air.
“Krusty, what are your plans for the royalties?” – Kent Brockman
“Well, we gotta pay for promotion, shipping, distribution, you know those limos out back? They aren’t free. Whatever’s left we throw down the well.” – Krusty the Klown
Lots of creative, fan made takes on pop culture this week, including nesting dolls, desktop images, and a ton of artwork. In addition to that, both Yeardley Smith and Julie Kavner are lending their considerable talents to charitable causes. Plus we’ve got the usual assortment of YouTube and usage, some rock climbers, a poorly forged petition signature, and Shakespeare in Northern California.
Rogue Android Apps Secretly Grab User Data – Some wallpaper apps for Android, including at least one with a Simpsons theme, were sending user data to China.
Popcap reveal new Disco Zombie – Click through for a zombie from the “Plants vs. Zombies” people that looks suspiciously like Zombie Disco Stu.
“Lisa’s Wedding” comes full circle – Somebody else noticed that we’re now living in the year of “Lisa’s Wedding” and went through all the various things they got right and wrong. And, don’t forget, her actual wedding date is Sunday.
Pop Icons In A Different Light Part 2 – These are fantastic, and they include that sweet “Springfield Still Life” thing we’ve linked to a couple of times. Here’s part one, which doesn’t have any Simpsons, but does have a cool Conan O’Brien. (Thanks Monstermike!)
Muhammad Yunus on the Simpsons – Yeardley Smith’s involvement with microfinance has landed the concept’s originator a guest spot on Season 22.
Couch Joke – The family on the couch in what looks like a screen grab from a badly frozen NES game.
Reality TV and the Secret Rejection of Neoliberalism – I really wish we had something to call it besides “reality”, but oh well. Regardless, this is excellent usage:
Encouraging alcoholism? Well, yes, but this can be turned into a plot point as well. A Tool Academy contestant was forced off the show when it was revealed he had alcohol problems, something the producers displayed with dramatic slow-motion clips of the man holding the beer the show gave to him in endless quantities. The show then took credit for this intervention into the contestant’s addiction that it had enabled. To paraphrase Homer Simpson, reality TV, the cause of and solution to all of life’s problems.
Comic-Con – I don’t know if this picture is of the same guy who was there last year, but that’s a pretty sweet Dancin’ Homer costume.
Simpsons Sunday – More YouTube from Leah:
Halle Berry on The Simpsons – The title tells you pretty much what you need to know. And if you cynically assume she’ll be playing herself, you would be correct:
The actress will play herself in a storyline which will see her present an Academy Award to both Bart Simpson and his dad Homer, Simpsons producer Al Jean told reporters during the Comic Con Convention in San Diego last weekend.
“It’s a bit of a satire of the different Oscar acceptances where two people clearly race to the stage to get there first, and Homer and Bart are fighting to be the one that accepts.”
The episode is scheduled to air in early 2011.
Well, that certainly sounds unpleasant and boring. Many upcoming guest voices were announced at Comic-Con, including Dr. House and Wallace and Gromit, but I don’t care and I suspect that you don’t either.
Mayor, DMC take stand on caregiver abuse – Julie Kavner has been lending her voice to some PSAs in New York City.
Wood Village casino initiative fails to make November ballot – This will not help your cause:
For the exemption initiative, 61 percent of the 172,136 signatures turned in were valid — the second lowest validity rate of any petition in the past decade. The average rate is 73 percent.
Moe Szyslak, the fictional bartender from "The Simpsons" TV show, turned up on one petition sheet. So did Satan, said Brown’s spokesman Don Hamilton. He said the secretary of state’s office took extra care when checking the signatures.
Fatherly, er Homerly Advice – This is a new site called “Daily Funny Quotes”, and their second post is two perfectly quoted lines from “Boy Scoutz ‘N the Hood”:
Homer: Marge, don’t discourage the boy. Weaseling out of things is important to learn. It’s what separates us from the animals…except the weasel.
There’s also Homer’s encounter with poetic justice at the hands of poor quality furniture.
My 50 Favourite TV Characters – Part 2 – This is numbers 40-31, and Burns is right there are #31:
I’ll be honest; I’ve decided to limit myself to only 3 Simpsons characters for this list. I didn’t want to overwhelm it with all the colourful characters of the greatest TV show ever.
If the remaining 30 (which aren’t posted yet) contain only two more Simpsons characters, which will they be? Homer’s probably a lock, but will the other one be Bart, Lisa, someone else?
Lisa Simpson Wallpaper – Very cool fan made Lisa wallpaper. There are versions for the rest of the family too.
The Mall – I loathe malls, it’s nice to know I’m not alone. Also, excellent usage:
I’m reminded of a surprisingly cheery moment in the Halloween special of one of my favorite series: the Simpsons. After the advertisements of Springfield gain their sentience and begin ransacking the city, Lisa and Paul Anka team up to set things right. They begin singing a (wonderfully catchy) chorus of, “Just don’t look / just don’t look,” for all the residents of Springfield. Their idea is, if no one pays attention to the advertisements, they’ll lose their power.
Tweetly-tweet – Now this is how you announce your new Twitter account:
So anyway, you can follow me on Twitter now. I am just as funny and insightful there as I am everywhere else, which is to say, mildly so.
My twitter name is courtesy of my husband, but more accurately, courtesy of The Simpsons. And my profile picture is a shot of me doing a cartwheel in front of the U.S. Capitol. Because you know, yay America.
Well what about that tattoo on your chest? Doesn’t it say Die Claire, Die?
secret garden – Check out the Homer cutout that silently watches over this rather elaborate San Francisco backyard.
Hangin’ Out – In Southern Oregon people climb a rock formation known as “Marge’s Navel” that looks like a certain teevee mom. Sadly I was unable to find any pictures, but here’s a little more information about it, and it’s companion “Marge’s Backside”.
How many people in the United States are named Maggie Simpson? – According to this website I’ve never heard of, the answer is 46.
Have Aliens Visited the Earth – Short answer: no, as this post makes clear:
There are a few major flaws with these theories, some scientific, some psychological. The paramount one from the Misanthrope’s POV is that the people who claim to have been abducted etc. are generally non-descript nobodies desperate for attention. As the great sage Lisa Simpson said, the people that see aliens are “all pathetic low-lifes with boring jobs.” Well said Lisa. When someone like Bill Gates or Barack Obama claims to have been abducted let me know.
That’s slightly off, she actually says “It’s just that the people who claim they’ve seen aliens are always pathetic low-lifes with boring jobs.” But it’s very close and quite apt so I’m still calling it excellent usage.
In My Brain While Sleeping… The Simpsons Of The Futurama – A dream (literally) episode of the show, and it’s about on par with the real thing. Also, there’s this:
Every joke that’s attempted throughout the episode falls flat, and a beat following every punchline, Milhouse sobs over what the show has become…
…just like all the old fans
We don’t cry . . . well, not much.
American History with Grandpa Simpson – And finally, this is a link to that promotional video FOX put up last year, which gives me another excuse to point out that there’s nothing in it past Season 9.
“Funky-See Funky-Do will back to lip-sync another one of their hits right after this.” – “Soul Mass Transit System” Host
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 “Kesha”, from which, as an editorial decision, we’ve decided to leave out the dollar sign).
I would like you to imagine two hypothetical people. The first is a critically acclaimed and widely respected comedian who’s been popular for well over a decade. The second is a pop star who has so far put out one hit song. Now, imagine a hypothetical television comedy program. Which of these two people would you expect to get top billing on an episode?
If you answered “the comedian”, then you would be hypothetically correct, unfortunately, Zombie Simpsons is only hypothetically comedic.
Charlie Sweatpants: Shall we get started?
Mad Jon: Sure, I want to tell you guys that after the couch scene I had to stop myself from calling you both to say I’m out.
I refrained from any rash decisions, but it was close
Dave: I felt the same way. Anyone associated with the making of that clusterfuck should be embarrassed.
Charlie Sweatpants: I don’t know, the couch "thing" didn’t bother me that much. This show’s been dead for a long time, dumping perhaps the only remaining connection it had to its former self doesn’t bother me.
(Especially since they went to the HD opening last year.)
Mad Jon: My god. That really was a commercial. I don’t know what this Kesha chick has on what must be several members of various media outlets, but she doesn’t have good music and she is not attractive.
Dave: It was an affront to society, Charlie.
Charlie Sweatpants: Zombie Simpsons is an affront to society. Forgettable pop commercial or not.
Dave: Giving a animated stage to a trampy nobody sets a bad precedent for Americans.
Mad Jon: I am still angry and I watched it almost 3 hours ago.
Charlie Sweatpants: Sorry guys, I really can’t summon any anger over this.
Yes it’s cheap, crass, and completely against everything "Simpsons", but how is that different from any other episode?
Mad Jon: It has offended me so much more than a normal zombie opening, I guess that’s all I was trying to say. It was quite visceral.
Dave: This was a concentrated dose of egregiousness, a swift kick to the nuts.
Mad Jon: But anyway I guess we can only kick that ugly horse for so long.
Dave: Yeah let’s move on. There’s plenty more to bitch about.
Charlie Sweatpants: Hang on, isn’t there at least a chance that something this openly desperate turns off a few more people?
Dave: Or there’s the greater possibility that a new generation of idiots suddenly think the show is hot shit.
Mad Jon: Odds are the people who like Zombie Simpsons also like shitty pop music sung by girls that look like my scrotum stretched out.
Charlie Sweatpants: I see your point. So you guys think this is just part of the plan to hang on to whatever tiny amount of pop culture relevance sustains this show?
Dave: In a very tangible way, yeah.
Mad Jon: I think that as bad as they are at making funny cartoons, they know how easy it is to shoot the fish already in their retard barrel.
Charlie Sweatpants: Wait, the barrel is retarded?
Mad Jon: Probably based on the contents, I’m sure it rubs off.
Now, based on my anger from the opening, I don’t actually have a good memory of the bomb threat that leads to Ned becoming the camera guy.
Charlie Sweatpants: Burns and Smithers have become considerably less creative and less evil in the way they dispose of nuclear waste.
Mad Jon: Not surprised there…
Charlie Sweatpants: Homer leaves the plutonium in a train station and then the bomb squad blows it up.
Mad Jon: Oh yeah that’s right.
Charlie Sweatpants: I’m not surprised you don’t remember because they never mentioned it once for the rest of the episode.
Mad Jon: Unattended luggage
Charlie Sweatpants: Also, Duffman was there for a second, but he gave no reason for being there and left quickly.
Mad Jon: Didn’t he give out swag? Didn’t Barney win a day with Duffman in an earlier pre-zombie/zombie episode?
Charlie Sweatpants: When Homer goes to New York it’s because Barney sent in all the Duff points, is that what you’re thinking of?
Mad Jon: Yep, that’s the ticket
Charlie Sweatpants: But Duffman at least had a reason for being there.
Dave: Aren’t there multiple Duffmen?
Mad Jon: I dispute your previous reasoning not, I was merely pointing out the fact that once again they weren’t even trying.
Charlie Sweatpants: Dave, I think they mentioned there being multiple Duffmen, but I don’t care enough to take the .8 seconds required to Google it.
Dave: I don’t either and furthermore, it’s not really relevant.
Charlie Sweatpants: So they bring in all these cameras, right?
Only, Eddie Izzard basically isn’t in the rest of the episode.
Dave: Yes sir. After they bring in the British stereotype.
So much for that guest role.
Mad Jon: Is that who that was guest voicing?
Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah. For some reason Seth Rogen gets to write his own episode with himself in the starring role, but "cake or death" wasn’t good enough.
Mad Jon: Do you think that guest voices just do it over the phone nowadays? I bet he got the script moments before they started recording.
Charlie Sweatpants: Wouldn’t surprise me.
But once the cameras do turn on, it becomes another one of those awful Homer and Ned are friends episodes.
Mad Jon: And very much a Ned as Not-Ned episode.
Ned would have just taken his children to the armageddon bomb shelter or something
That was clearly a job for Mrs. Lovejoy
Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, but that would require them to a) write a female character that isn’t Bart’s love interest, b) give a shit about their characters, and c) pass up all the easy-as-pie Flanders jokes.
At this point he’s as one dimensional as Ralph and Comic Book Guy.
Mad Jon: That’s really heartbreaking. But I guess it’s that kind of heartbreaking you feel when your drunken wife beating uncle you hate starts doing heroin. You know you should feel bad, but you are so bitter you just wish Flanders was dead.
Dave: Much like the rest of Zombie Springfield, I suppose.
Charlie Sweatpants: But even if they’d kept Flanders for the main crux of the plot, they didn’t have any of the other characters even talk.
Marge was the only one, but she never did anything but start to worry.
Mad Jon: And they said "not pervy" right? Why was Smithers there? The man has the largest collection of Malibu Stacey dolls in the world!
Charlie Sweatpants: Maybe it’s cheaper to use his character model for whatever reason?
Mad Jon: Valid observation
We still haven’t discussed the hair deal
Charlie Sweatpants: Ugh, that pitiful excuse for a B-plot?
Mad Jon: It’s been 20 years and I think this is the first mention that Lisa is blonde.
Dave: It was game over at the intro for me, guys. I’m just observing and nodding.
Mad Jon: I know your pain.
Charlie Sweatpants: Remember what I said earlier about not being able to write female characters? I submit the one-line debate teacher as Exhibit A, and the three line debate opponent as Exhibit B.
Dave: They were enablers.
Charlie Sweatpants: They were barely props.
And where did this debate team come from? Does it meet in the same room as the other fourth grade?
Mad Jon: That would explain the new brainy student we have never met before.
Charlie Sweatpants: The teacher especially, I don’t think she was even drawn into any of the other scenes.
Mad Jon: Not that I would dream of wasting energy explaining anything Zombie.
Dave: Look, the show had to inject a false sense of outrage and drama. How else were they going to do that without lifeless female characters?
Mad Jon: Couldn’t they have just given Lisa an eating disorder again?
Charlie Sweatpants: They already did that?
Mad Jon: It’s not like they are against doing things over and over.
Charlie Sweatpants: I assume we don’t consider them clever enough to have deliberately paired the music video opening with jokes about airheaded blondes?
Mad Jon: No, that is not the case.
That would be what we used to call subtle humor. That left this show more than 10 years ago.
Dave: That smacks of effort.
Charlie Sweatpants: Believe me, I didn’t think they did it intentionally. I just wanted to confirm your concurrence.
Mad Jon: That is something South Park would do, and then cover Kesha in a bucket of shit or something in the end, to remind everyone they are capable of all types of humor.
No, Someone at FOX said, "Make all the characters lip sync to this song sung by the ugly daughter of our CFO or we’re all fired."
Dave: Preach on, Jon.
Mad Jon: Preaching is for intangible ideas, I spout facts from my soapbox
Sorry, this is still really bothering me.
Dave: Truth bombs hurt.
Charlie Sweatpants: Okay, so we’re agreed that the music video was a horrible publicity stunt, the guest voice was wasted, the main plot was lazy and repetitive, and the sub plot was even lazier.
Mad Jon: The end credits music?
At least match the songs up. That was sooooo lazy.
Charlie Sweatpants: What are you talking about?
Mad Jon: The music over the end credits was not the Simpsons theme, or related to anything in the episode, or the opening music. Someone hit random on their complimentary iPod from last season and let it fly.
also Chalmers in a dress like Dave said.
Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, the Chalmers thing was bad, but it was that same jock jams song that Duffman was using at the beginning. I agree it was bad, and there really was not one note of the theme song, but it did come from somewhere in the episode.
And the Chalmers thing wasn’t nearly as bad as the Not Lunchlady Doris thing.
Mad Jon: Well, I stand corrected.
Dave: The jello bit?
Charlie Sweatpants: "Night Court" did a subtler job of replacing its little old ladies.
The jello bit wasn’t funny on its own, attaching it to Not Lunchlady Doris was even worse.
Mad Jon: Good catch, I forgot about that.
Charlie Sweatpants: And she wasn’t even being her normal, ultra apathetic self.
She was yelling at the kids to hurry up. The real Lunchlady Doris wouldn’t care.
Mad Jon: She really, really wouldn’t.
Charlie Sweatpants: Also, for reasons of unbelievably lazy staging and scene design, Nelson and Lisa were sitting at the same lunch table for some reason.
Dave: There was a lot wrong with the episode. There, I said it.
Mad Jon: Well that gave Lisa the opportunity to use her reason in front of the debate club person
Charlie Sweatpants: There, I agreed with it.
Mad Jon: or something….
Charlie Sweatpants: But it goes to laziness.
Mad Jon: Fair enough
Charlie Sweatpants: She could’ve still been in the cafeteria, she could’ve been walking by, or at the next table over. But instead they put her at the same table because they just don’t give a shit.
Setting a scene isn’t something they do any more.
Dave: To your point earlier, Charlie, they’re props. Logic doesn’t have to apply. Just drop and animate, repeat.
Charlie Sweatpants: Pretty much.
Dave: There’s no craft, this is just mass-produced bullshit.
Charlie Sweatpants: Can’t it be both?
Mad Jon: Testify!
“It’s an old fashioned hole diggin’! By gar it’s been a while!” – Jasper
To put it extremely mildly, “Radio Bart” is one of the most exquisitely produced and hilarious 22 minutes of television ever created. But you already knew that. What you may not know is the rich history of people falling down holes. PopMatters is here to enlighten you with a two part article that’s heavy on two things: “Radio Bart” and people falling down holes. This, from part one, sucked me in:
The referential glee dissipated somewhat as the years passed and the show’s quality and intellectual heft plummeted. The cultural references became strained and unconvincing as the once vibrant Simpsons suddenly faced the mundane chore of existence that comes with the promise of immortality (it’s currently at 21 seasons and not likely to vanish any time soon). What was once a passing glimpse in the midst of the fun, a giddy moment of recognition and free-association, simultaneously irrelevant and insightful, became an uninspired and superficial image stretched out to fill half an hour (Simpsons writer #1: ‘Mr Burns dresses as Dracula. Here’s my bill.’)
Ain’t that the truth. The whole thing, including part two, is well worth your time. It goes into the history of people in holes, including a couple of incidents I’d never heard of, and it’s absolutely fascinating. Of course it also includes discussion of the 1951 movie Ace in the Hole (in which you get to see Kirk Douglas’ chin pit do some if its finest work) from which “Radio Bart” takes many of its cues. (Ace in the Hole has aged superbly, by the way.)
One of the reasons I find this so fascinating is the speed with which these things get forgotten. I’m old enough to remember the “Baby Jessica” incident but Dave, the youngest of our happy trio here, is not. We were watching “Radio Bart” a while back and I don’t think he completely believed me when I told him what a genuinely national obsession it was. For those of you out there who are also too young (or too non-American) to remember it allow me a Grandpa Simpson moment to enlighten you.
The story is pretty simple, 18 month old girl falls down unmarked well, two days later they get her out. But it went beyond merely being national news, it was the news. While she was down there it was as if nothing else was even happening. “Baby Jessica” (who was really more of a toddler, but for marketing purposes “baby” worked much better) was all people talked about. The local news would run scare stories about how any yard or field could be pockmarked with unmarked wells just waiting to swallow your children. Updates from the site came in constantly (about how she was doing, what they were trying and why). And it was all capped off in made-for-teevee fashion (literally) when she was rescued on live national television . . . in primetime.
Every channel was carrying the scene live from the well for hours. Imagine that, the bulk of the civilian television system of the wealthiest, most technically advanced country on Earth was, all at once, broadcasting live from some field in Texas on account of one little girl. When “Radio Bart” first came out that was the only “trapped in hole” story I’d ever heard, and until I saw Ace in the Hole I just assumed it was the only one. It was so huge it didn’t occur to me that there had ever been anything similar.
“Baby Jessica” was a shooting star of a story, huge national news for less than a week and then . . . nothing. Jessica went back to being a little girl and it gets talked about so rarely that even if you’re just a little too young to remember when it happened you’ve probably never heard of it. Which is why the final joke from that episode always cracks me up. Because the only aftermath to the sensation, and even it didn’t last long, was this goofy talk about how America needed to protect kids from unmarked wells. There really were people who thought this incident heralded a rash of well trappings and that something had to be done (Think of the children! etcetera, etcetera). Too rich.
“The circumference of the well is thirty-four inches, so unfortunately not one member of our city’s police force is slender enough to rescue the boy.” – Kent Brockman
“By god men, you’re a bunch of marshmallows!” – Chief Wiggum
“Why don’t you go chief?” – Cop
“Well I’m too . . . important.” – Chief Wiggum