“Bart, why’d you take the blame?” – Lisa Simpson
“Cause, I didn’t want to wreck your life. You got the brains and the talent to go as far as you want, and when you do, I’ll be right there to borrow money.” – Bart Simpson
Posts Tagged ‘Separate Vocations
“Looks like you just bought yourself a lottery ticket, to jail!” – Chief Wiggum
“He’s unconscious, sir.” – Lou
“Ah, they can still hear things.” – Chief Wiggum
This post was originally going to go up yesterday for the 20th anniversary of this episode’s first broadcast, but about halfway through I noticed that there was a “hidden” audio track that turned out to be a one man commentary from Al Jean. (Side note: Dear DVD people, drop the “easter egg” crap, will ya? Just like hidden tracks on CDs, the game is up. You can’t hide anything from modern media software.) Apparently Jean’s basement flooded and he missed the original recording, so he came back in for a solo make up session. I didn’t have time to do the second commentary track yesterday, so I figured, it’s already been 7,305 days, what’s a 7,306th?
Jean says some interesting things, but through a lot of it he just sounds crushingly lonely. The whole time he was talking all I could picture was this:
Not pictured: Mike Reiss
Just four guys here, Groening, Vitti, Reiss and Silverman. Jean’s comments from the other track are interspersed in bold.
1:30 – Lots of praise for George Meyer, who didn’t want to do commentary here. Mostly it’s the usual stuff about how he doesn’t write many episodes because they needed him in the rewrite room. This episode was all but final when he turned in his script. The whole testing sequence is apparently there pretty much as is.
1:50 – Jean points out that most of the writers were pretty good test takers, and this kind of thing was something they were used to doing.
2:30 – Jean mentions how Iowa was where these standardized tests came from, and I can vouch for that. I was taking tests like this at the time this episode was made, and all of them were from “Iowa Testing” or whatever. We all thought it was weird, but I loved that it was made fun of in this episode.
3:20 – The sight of Dr. J Loren Pryor prompts them to credit Vitti with the name.
3:50 – Someone took a vocational test that said he was going to be a librarian. Couldn’t tell who, but I think it was Reiss.
4:40 – The little piece of music Lisa plays for the devastating music teacher was apparently an Alf Clausen original.
5:15 – Everyone laughs at “you know, devastating”.
5:15 – Jean mentions that they’ve had to resort to using tapes of actual crappy school bands to get the effect right sometimes because the pros just can’t play that poorly.
5:45 – Joking that they never know which one is Lou or Eddie leads to someone mentioning that Lou’s voice was sort of a Sylvester Stallone impression.
6:15 – Everyone’s pleased they got away with “polling the electorate” as a “nice dirty joke”.
7:00 – As Snake goes speeding by, Silverman mentions how they aren’t just parodying one movie here, they’re going for every action movie cliche they can.
7:40 – Apparently Clausen actually worked on some cop shows in the 1970s and 80s, so the chase music was something he knew.
7:45 – People have always loved the milk truck exploding.
7:55 – And “Damn boxes!”. As someone says, it’s “always empty boxes”.
8:00 – Jean mentions that if they’d done this episode today (circa Season 15), they’d have Wiggum in the car and give him a lot of lines. But at this point, “We were still trying to maintain the fiction that the chief of police didn’t go out on every call, and you didn’t see him in every shot where you’d have the cops.”
8:20 – Generic compliments for the angles and lighting as the cops search for Snake.
8:40 – When we come back for “Death drives a stick”, someone compliments Shearer on his “Quinn Martin voice”. This sends me to Wikipedia where I found out that Quinn Martin:
I learned something today.
8:45 – Jean’s making fun of all the old Quinn Martin shows, and how “pompous” and repetitive they were.
9:05 – Saying that Wiggum’s voice isn’t quite the one we know. I’d disagree with that. It’s pretty well Edward G. Robinson by now.
9:40 – Mentioning how the layout artists had some fun with Bart and Lisa switching roles and doing things they normally don’t do.
10:20 – Everyone chuckles at the pictures of Homer stuffing himself into the cake.
10:45 – Talking about how cute flashback astronaut Marge is, how she really does look and pose like a little girl.
11:20 – The flashback leads Groening to mention how he pitched a show to FOX about doing Homer at various ages. They didn’t bite, which leads to some quick jokes about how all they do are crappy reality shows which someone mocks as “how many midgets they can fit inside an elephant”.
11:30 – Jean mentions how the Skinner-Vietnam thing got started here as a throwaway. They didn’t sit down and plan things out for characters, things just sort of evolved based on what worked. Again, I would like to point out that this isn’t something Zombie Simpsons does. When was the last time they added to what we know about a character without it being some horrible retcon?
12:10 – Compliments for the shot of Skinner with the desecrated puma. Someone wonders if this was the line that set him up as a traumatized Vietnam vet.
13:20 – Groening recalls that a lot of the older writers were really geeked to have Steve Allen on as a guest voice, Swartzwelder in particular. Apparently it took nine takes to get “Ay Carumba” out of him. He kept making it sound Spanish.
13:20 – Apparently before he died Steve Allen went on a bit of a crusade against television crudity, and cited The Simpsons specifically. I couldn’t find any details with a quick search though.
14:15 – Apparently the blue dot over his face was taken from a rape trial one of the Kennedys was involved with.
15:00 – Someone’s trying to remember if the bad girls in the bathroom reoccurred. They don’t think so (I can’t think of anything either).
15:20 – They’re chuckling at “Laramie Jr.” cigarettes, and how they always get letters when they show smoking.
16:00 – Laughing at all the crap in the seized property room.
16:50 – Laughing at Mr. Glasscock when Reiss fails to explain the joke.
16:50 – Jean thinks Mr. Glasscock was a teacher Reiss had, and that’s how they got it by the censor, by telling them that it was a real name.
17:30 – Neat story here about Ralph and how he wasn’t quite the world beating moron that he’d later become. Reiss then mentions that it wasn’t until the next season in “I Love Lisa” that they made Ralph Chief Wiggum’s kid, and they only did it to flesh out the story a little because it was running short. That leads to a longer discussion of Ralph and how he’s dumb, but he’s also got that blissful enthusiasm about things. They don’t say this, but little evolutions in the characters like that are one of the things that helped the show. These days everyone’s a caricature of a caricature of something they used to be.
18:00 – Jean’s very complimentary about chalk dust and cigarette smoke as transparency effects that look really good and were much better than they could do in Season 1.
19:20 – They’re enjoying the battering ram here.
19:40 – Groening says the headshot of Bart (where it looks like a logo and zooms in and out) looks very “video-y”. Apparently they pulled a frame of Bart’s head on and spun a picture of a police car to get the effect.
20:00 – Noting all the dramatic angles (and ripped off Beverly Hills Cop theme) as they search the lockers.
20:20 – Interesting animation note here. You know how in cartoons if you’ve got a lot of one object (say, lockers) and one of them is going to move, it’s always a different color? Apparently that’s an artifact of cell depth. The one that’s going to move is on a different layer when they film it, and even though the cell is transparent, there’s a very slight color to it, so things that are on different layers, even if they’re painted with the exact same color, appear differently. You can compensate by mixing the paint differently, but it still happens, apparently more with darker colors than lighter ones.
21:50 – Happy to have the nice ending that’s both sweet (Bart sticking up for Lisa) and a joke (mooching money).
22:30 – Groening rhetorically asks what Meyer would’ve thought. Someone replies that he would’ve said, “If this made one child hate the police, it was worth doing”. Ha.
“Good thing this alley got so narrow in the middle.” – Lou
Since I don’t know much about animation, I submit this with my usual caution. But can anyone tell me what the fuck is going on with the hallway through which temporarily crazy Joan Rivers drives a golf cart? First image:
Right here this already doesn’t scan. I think they’re trying to go for some kind of fisheye type shot, except that the scale is all out of whack. The door on the right is bowed like it would be, but the closer door on the left is only a little distorted, and the one in the back appears to be straight. On top of that, if the perspective is supposed to be warped, then the Squeaky Voiced Teen has got to be roughly double the size of the woman on the right holding the glass. There’s more:
This is one second after the first image. Note that the woman on the right and the water cooler are totally static from the previous image. Now, if the perspective of the first image is to be believed, the cart has to be well past the water cooler and all but past the woman. Here’s a couple of frames later:
Despite the fact that it was well behind the cart and that the two never even overlap in the image, the water cooler is now falling. You’ll also note that the camera is pulling back to reveal the turn in the hallway to the left side of the image. The problem is that the warped not-quite-fisheye angle doesn’t track:
The hallway to the left is curving up at an angle that makes it look like that space station from 2001: A Space Odyssey, and it completely doesn’t match the cart or the original hallway. Also, please note that the teenager she was chasing is nowhere to be seen. Until:
Oh, there he is; but how the hell did he get there? From the angle he’s running he would’ve had to run deep into the corner below where the camera would be, except he wasn’t running that way when we last saw him. If he’d kept going the way he was going in the first image, he’d be way up that distorted left hallway by now. Speaking of the distorted hallway, what the hell? The not-quite-fisheye effect seems to fade in and out at random, and there’s no way that the teenager is standing on the same floor as that panicked looking guy holding the papers. The right side and the left side of the image have two wildly different depths, and all the angles and lines in between are fudged to make them kinda, sorta meet in the middle. Because the two hallways are drawn so incongruously, the effect worsens as the shot moves down the left hall:
Blah! Now the right hall appears to be sliding down and shrinking. You can see the difference in the two perspectives if you look at the top of the line that marks the corner of the wall (running straight up from the filing cabinet). See how the ceiling-wall line from the first hallway changes its angle radically when it makes the turn? Look at what happens next:
Whoops, this is what happens when you animate things that can’t possible exist. In the above shot you can see all the tricks that had been used to minimize the impossibility of this hallway fail at once. Look at that wall on the right, it goes up, and up, and up, except it’s not supposed to do that. That at least is away from the action, but see how the hallway narrows near the top? The chase continues into an unfortunate clash of optical illusions:
The cart, which just a second prior looked like it was at most half the width of the hallway, now basically fills it. And, based on the way it’s drawn, the cart is clearly going to come to a screeching halt in just a few more feet when the hall becomes even narrower. They’ve kinda restored the ceiling, except that the not-quite-fisheye perspective means that the ceiling is lopsided. And not only do the walls not match each other, they look like they change height. Look at the guy on the left, now look at the door on the same side of the wall. He looks like he’s standing under a ceiling that’s twice as high as the one by the door.
Even as just a single image instead of one in a sequence these frames look weird. When you actually watch the thing at full speed all of these clashing elements give the hallways a crooked, billowing impression that’s both distracting and disorienting.
I suppose we should commend them for trying something interesting here, but wow did it not turn out well. The shifting angles, the warped perspective, the variable sizes of things, the entire sequence is nothing but elements that don’t match.
“I’ve got to get out of here . . . calm blue ocean, calm blue ocean, calm blue ocean, calm blue ocean.” – Ms. Hoover
WordPress suffered a rather large DDoS attack this week which I hadn’t even noticed until I went through the WordPress tags for “The Simpsons” and “Simpsons” looking for interesting links. The number of posts with those two tags was about a fifth of what it usually is, and there are gaps of whole days, so I’m betting that got screwed up. As a result, there’s a much shorter than usual Reading Digest this week. But we do have a love note to Milhouse and all those like him, Harry Shearer bringing the pain, a compilation of all the stores in Springfield mall, and the love-hate relationship Knoxville has with The Simpsons.
Re: The Adventures of Game Progress Topic 3 – Reader Eric made Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week easy by editing together and e-mailing in this message board discussion about the precipitous decline in the show. They’re listed here in chronological order:
- 135813 – This starts things off by discussing the Futurama episode “A Head in the Polls”.
- 136503 – Here’s the same guy now comparing Futurama’s funny but somewhat predictable joke structure to the way The Simpsons would have a punchline just sneak up on you.
- 136539 – Here he’s pointing out how Zombie Simpsons beats jokes into your skull instead of trusting the audience, citing an example from the gay bar episode.
- 136577 – In reply to the author of the above comes one of the big reasons why The Simpsons was so damn good:
The commentaries often comment on the writing process, and how they went through rewrite after rewrite pretty much up until the day before it aired, and there were some jokes they cut because they were "only" funny the first thirty times, but stopped being funny the 31st time.
Many thanks to Eric for sending this in, and to Crawl and 1OOO and Captain Ladd Spencer for knowing good Simpsons when they see it.
The Simpsons Springfield Mall Directory – Jeff over at good old Pleated Jeans has compiled a map for the Springfield Mall. There’s quite a bit of Zombie Simpsons here, but it’s damned clever nevertheless (via).
David Brooks’ dream world for the trust-fund set – Professional sycophant David Brooks wrote a novel. PZ Myers reviewed it, and since he mentions Homer I’m allowed to link to this even though my primary purpose is to further the humiliation of David Brooks. This critical writing at its best.
Milhouse-ian Characters: An Appreciation – An essay about Milhouse and the various other loveable losers who are like him. And it’s only slightly tainted by Zombie Simpsons.
Comic Harry Shearer to Accuse National Media of Mythmaking at National Press Club – On Monday Shearer is going to tell the National Press Club what for. They should probably listen to him, but I doubt they will.
DVD Review: The Simpsons – Season 5 – I don’t need to add anything to this:
Listing its best episodes is a bit redundant as each and everyone one of them is great. That’s not hyperbole, the product description alone rhymes off 13 classics and doesn’t even get to “Homer Goes to College,” “Secrets of a Successful Marriage,” or “Homer the Vigilante.” Even the Marge and Lisa episodes were great back then with “Marge on the Lam” and “Lisa vs. Malibu Stacey.”
Simpson theme to grace Truro Cathedral – If you’re going to be in or around Truro, England this weekend, you can hear the themes from The Simpsons, Star Wars, and, oddly enough, Thunderbirds on an organ.
March 4th, 2011 – Once something was on The Simpsons, it became irrevocably linked with it:
On the way to the train station, my desire to get out of the city for a while was reinforced by the actions of a pregnant lady. Transport For London now give ‘Baby On Board’ badges to mothers-to-be, so they can pop them on for tube journeys and everyone will know they’re fertile and would appreciate a little sit down. Aside from getting that song from The Simpsons in my head every time I see one of these badges, I think they’re a great idea. In theory.
The link is YouTube of the song, by the way.
DONNIE BASEBALL – It’s a Don Mattingly rookie card and some YouTube to go with it.
Funny How: A Quick, Exhaustive Analysis of Why “Family Guy” Has Not Made Anyone Laugh In Years – Someone making the case, with copious Simpsons references, for why Family Guy should’ve stayed dead.
The Sunsphere’s Grand Reopening Successfully Wigs Out – You can now rent out a couple of floors of the fabulous Sunsphere for special events, and to commemorate the opening, they had a wig themed party and band. Awesome.
The Sunsphere Is Not a Wig Shop – The link above pointed me to this local Knoxville blog. The title says it all.
The Way-Back Machine Presents: 10 TV Shows That Wore Out Their Welcome! – Zombie Simpsons only checks in at #4, but it does contain this:
But mostly, The Simpsons seems more mean spirited than I remember and definitely has much more -ism fail than I can tolerate. It’s not awful like say – Family Guy, but I definitely find myself going, “Really? oh c’mon!”
Gob Bluth, for the win.
“Well, that was a waste of time.” – Janey
“Janey, school is never a waste of time.” – Lisa Simpson
“Since we have fifteen minutes until recess, please put down your pencils and stare at the front of the room.” – Ms. Hoover
Doctoral theses could be written about this episode, but let me just add this. The following things are mocked in this brief, twenty-two minutes of television:
- Elementary education
- Standardized testing
- Post grad education
- Law enforcement
- The army
- Sexual bondage
- Cop shows
- Action movies
- Oedipal complexes
- The space program
- The Wild One (1953)
- Handwriting analysis
- Beverly Hills Cop (1984)
- Aspiration and authority of any kind, stripe or variety
And I’ve omitted far more than I’ve listed. Ladies and gentlemen, The Simpsons.
“Lisa, there are a lot of people in world who like to tell you what you can’t do. But they don’t always know what they’re talking about.” – Marge Simpson
In both “Lisa Simpson, This Isn’t Your Life” and “Separate Vocations”, Lisa becomes afraid that, despite all her ambition, talent and drive, she’s going to end up like her mother. The two setups are as close to identical as can be expected given that they were broadcast nineteen seasons apart. But they take radically different directions once Marge learns of Lisa’s fears. In The Simpsons, Marge reacts like a loving parent, albeit somewhat naive and misguided; in Zombie Simpsons, Marge reacts like a butthurt child herself.
The differences are immediately apparent in the scenes where Marge finds out how Lisa feels. In “Separate Vocations”, the family is sitting at the dinner table. Marge gives a defensive but understandable “It’s not that bad” when Lisa expresses her contempt for Marge’s lot in life. It’s one line, and the very next thing out of Marge’s mouth is her desire to help Lisa realize her dream of becoming a jazz musician. Both things, Marge’s (extremely) mild disappointment and her immediate recovery into being a supportive parent work into the larger scene, which sees both Bart and Lisa’s plot lines advanced as well as both Marge and Homer realize that their kids want to be nothing like them. And, it goes almost without saying, the dialogue is rife with jokes, including Homer’s inability to join the army or the police and Lisa’s wonderfully elaborate musician fantasy.
In order to reveal the exact same information, that Lisa doesn’t want to become Marge, Zombie Simpsons has a scene with Marge and Homer in which that is the only topic of conversation. Marge immediately reacts like a spoiled kid, and most of the scene is her (very out of character) wallowing in self pity while Homer acts manic to try and distract her. No other plot points are advanced (or even mentioned), and it takes longer too.
Following those scenes, Zombie Marge and regular Marge follow radically different paths. But they both end up at the breakfast table with Lisa, and here the massive differences between the two become crystal clear. In “Separate Vocations”, Marge tries to reassure Lisa that homemaking provides plenty of opportunities for creativity. (This is after Marge’s plan to show Lisa that she can be a jazz musician hilariously backfires with the immortal line, “You’ve inherited a finger condition known as ‘Stubbiness’.”) Here’s the dialogue:
Marge: This morning, I turned bacon, eggs and toast into a nice smiley face for Bart and Homer.
Lisa: What’s the point, they’ll never notice.
Marge: Oh, well you’d be surprised.
Homer and Bart immediately appear to demolish Marge’s carefully constructed breakfast without so much as a thank you, though Homer does manage a satisfied belch. Just as with the outing to the music store, Marge acts perfectly in character, and the comedy comes from the utter failure of her earnest attempts.
In Zombie Simpsons, Marge also cooks breakfast. Only this time, she’s not trying to reassure or encourage her daughter. She’s attacking her daughter in a way that’s petty, venomous, passive-aggressive, and very un-Marge:
Lisa: Mom, is something wrong?
Marge: Would it be so bad to turn out like me?
Lisa: Mom, I admire everything you do!
Marge: But it’s not good enough, is it?
Yikes. And Lisa didn’t even do anything to Marge. All Lisa did was mention to Homer that Marge’s grades declined when the two started dating. Lisa never said anything to Homer about not wanting to become like Marge but, thanks to Zombie Simpsons’ inimitable contempt for storytelling, that doesn’t matter. Marge lays into her daughter as though Lisa had deliberately and maliciously set out to personally insult her.
Nor does Marge redeem herself with her laundry scheme. She goes right on laying the serious guilt trip on her daughter:
Lisa, honey, I insist, because it’s important to you that you don’t turn out like me.
It works, and Lisa gives up the school so Marge’s feelings won’t be hurt any longer. This is the diametric opposite of Marge’s behavior in “Separate Vocations”, when she goes out of her way to encourage and support Lisa.
In a final bit of what is either sloppy editing or simple meanness (Zombie Simpsons often makes it hard to tell the difference), the last shot of Lisa is of her looking regretful about her decision as she hugs Marge. This is different than a funny-sad ending where a comedy character loses or gets thwarted, this is just sad.
The Simpsons kids have been embarrassed, stifled, or just plain let down by their parents many times, but not intentionally. Even some of the most traumatic moments caused by Homer’s awful parenting, such as his failure in “Lisa’s Pony” (which this episode also apes more than a little bit), are accidental. Here, Marge is intentionally harming her kid, and that isn’t so much funny as it is cruel and tragic.
But let’s not end on a sad note. Let’s remember that in “Separate Vocations”, not only does Marge support Lisa, but Lisa eventually regains her self confidence after Bart acts like more of a decent human being that Marge does in all of “Lisa Simpson, This Isn’t Your Life”:
You got the brains and the talent to go as far as you want, and when you do, I’ll be right there to borrow money.
“A homemaker? I might as well be dead.” – Lisa Simpson
“Lisa, it’s not that bad.” – Marge Simpson
For all those who have ever wondered what would happen if Zombie Simpsons took “Lisa’s Sax”, “Separate Vocations”, and “Lisa’s Pony” and added in a hash of “Bart the General” as a B-plot, wonder no more. It lasts about twenty-two minutes, moving glacially from one overwrought plot point to another, pausing occasionally for a bizarre aside that the writers think is clever. In that last category, we have the interminable gas station scene at the beginning, Willie’s bizarre floor-waxer conniption fit, Bart’s kite-boarding montage, and Homer’s clock eating slow motion dive out of a window.
To my surprise, there were a couple of decent ideas here. But, as usual, they shied away from anything that could be called insightful. Case in point, concealing from the consumer which toy they’re actually buying. It’s a good concept, especially because the toy is supposed to be an apology from an oil company. But instead of doing anything clever with it, they use it as an excuse for more of their usual crazy Homer antics, including having him spray himself with gasoline for some reason.
The numbers are in, and while they are up from last week, they are also probably going to get revised down on account of football overrun. Right now Zombie Simpsons is rocking a 8.97 million viewers, but that is almost certain to come down significantly once the final numbers are posted. When the revised figure gets to TV By the Numbers, I’ll take another look. Here’s hoping it plummets.
“Madre de dios, the legends were true!” – Bart Simpson
“Yes, Bart, whenever a teacher confiscates something, it ends up here: salacious halter tops, complete collections of Mad, Cracked and the occasional issue of Crazy.” – Principal Skinner
[Quote edited to correct my latest idiocy. See comments for details.]
Movie titles don’t tell you much. If all you had to go on was the name, you might think Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark was a blacksploitation sequel, American Graffiti was Exit Through the Gift Shop, and Exit Through the Gift Shop was a porn they had to shoot when the Radison Inn double booked.
We asked you to show us what some Hollywood blockbusters might have been called if they really told you what you were getting.
You get nicely photoshopped posters where “The Blind Side” gets re-titled "White Guilt” and “Toy Story 3” becomes “Cry Like a Baby 3”. It’s mildly amusing. #22 was the poster for “The Simpsons Movie”. Here’s the original:
Here is the version improved by Cracked member popcornmonster:
That is vastly better, but something’s still not quite right:
Ah, there we go. It’s the little things.
(While looking for an original copy of the poster, I found this. Let’s just say I agree.)
“Well, I’m gonna be a famous jazz musician! I’ve got it all figured out. I’ll be unappreciated in my own country, but my gutsy blues stylings will electrify the French. I’ll avoid the horrors of drug abuse, but I do plan to have several torrid love affairs. And I may or may not die young, I haven’t decided.” – Lisa Simpson
Yeardley Smith, whom the AP Style guide apparently requires be referred to as “the voice of Lisa Simpson” in all articles, popped up twice this week. She’s still doing the microfinance thing, and will be speaking at a convention at the end of the month. And she’s co-producing a movie. Go Yeardley. In addition to that we’ve got lots (and lots) of usage, an old Flash game, and quite possibly the coolest (literally) Milhouse poster you will ever see.
Who Says Martha Doesn’t Have A Sense of Humor? – We mentioned this on Twitter yesterday, but it deserves mentioning again: Martha Stewart will be on a Christmas episode this December as part of Season . . . ugh . . . 22.
How to Add New Product Features – I always like my generic business advice mixed in with Simpsons:
Make sure it’s in-line with the product — every new feature must make sense. If a new feature does not make sense to the target audience, it could ultimately damage products sales. In a classic episode of the Simpsons, Homer is charged with the task of adding new features to a car for the “everyday man.” At the end of the day, Homer created a monstrosity of an auto that was completely out of line with the current product offering. It obviously failed because a tail-fin or a bubble dome are not new features are not natural features to the “everyday man” car.
T-Shirt Shows The Simpson’s Springfield In 3D – Don’t be mislead, it’s really just an outline drawing of various Simpsons characters with Homer’s head overlaid (wearing 3D glasses). Mildly amusing.
Bart Simpson’s Naked Skate – This is a Flash game that looks like it was made to hype the movie. I’d never seen it before though. It’s kinda fun.
It Was Like That When I Got Here – Discussing how our financial betters got us into the present economic mess, we get double excellent usage. First:
The headlines in the financial press lately sound like a litany of Homer Simpson’s three little sentences that will get you through life:
Number 1: Cover for me. (Citigroup to – allegedly – Oliver Wyman for recommending it enter into structured finance).
Number 2: Oh, good idea, Boss! (Alan Greenspan on how Congress would not have let him put the brakes on the housing bubble.)
Number 3: It was like that when I got here. (Robert Rubin testifying to Congress about his time at Citigroup. )
Nailed all three of them. That’s excellent usage all by itself, but then at the end we get even more:
BTW, Goldman Sachs is channelling Lisa Simpson instead of Homer. Accused of ‘betting against its own clients’ it stood firm in its annual report by defending what it did as normal trading practices and hedging. Which is true. But a few clients might have stepped in the way when they shouldn’t have and got burnt.
As Lisa said: "You can’t create a monster, then whine when it stomps on a few buildings."
Lisa has an “and” before “then”, and says “he” instead of “it”, but other than that it’s dead on. Combined with the one above, that’s the rare double excellent usage. Bravo.
Lauren’s Little Moment of Win – We’ve mentioned this before, but I don’t care. I like that there’s a Simpsons mole at whatever company writes the program descriptions:
Today my digital cable guide described "Matlock" as "Grampa Simpson’s favorite show". IMMD.
Facebook Fun Default Pics – Not sure where these came from, but the Homer and Marge outline is kinda neat.
Column: Don’t Mess with March Madness – I 100% agree with the point of this article, expanding the NCAA tournament to 96 teams is really fucking stupid. But this quote, while perfectly apt, isn’t quite kosher:
But $700 million is not enough. Why? Because, to the NCAA, it is never enough. It reminds me of an exchange between Homer Simpson and his boss, Monty Burns. When Homer says, “You’re the richest man I know.” Burns says. “Yes. But you know, I’d trade it all for just a little more.”
Here’s the actual exchange:
Homer: You’re the richest guy I know, way richer than Lenny.
Burns: Ah yes, but I’d trade it all for a little more.
Moderate usage, excellent point.
2nd Annual San Diego Microfinance Summit – This is pretty much all you need to know:
The 2nd Annual San Diego Microfinance Summit will be held on April 28th at the University Of San Diego. The event is put on by the San Diego Microfinance Summit, a collaborative group of microfinance organizations, volunteers, students, and the public of San Diego who are committed to educating and involving people in microfinance. The event will feature keynote speaker Yeardley Smith, avid microfinance supporter and more commonly know as the voice of Lisa Simpson on the hit TV show “The Simpsons”.
Friday Slide: Should The ESRB Come To The App Store? – Homer actually says “everyone”, not “everybody”, but this is still excellent usage:
Homer Simpson once said, "Everybody is stupid except me" shortly before falling asleep with a cigar in his mouth and setting his house on fire.
Arizona Rattlers channel their inner Bill Veeck, give tickets away for free – The Arizona Rattlers of the reborn Arena Football League are giving away tickets to their home opener:
The Arizona Rattlers have decided to make quite a splash for their first home game in almost two years and it immediately conjured up a quote from the Simpsons in my mind–although pretty much everything in life can be connected to a Simpsons quote.
Marge:Do you really think we can afford this?
Homer: Nothing a month? Yeah, I think we can afford it.
The actual exchange is:
Marge: Do you really think we can afford it?
Homer: Nothing a month? Yeah, I think we can swing that.
Still, it’s apt and mostly correct so I’m calling it moderate usage.
josh’s top 10 sitcoms – I think we all know what’s #1, what I was puzzled by was Wings at #4. Different strokes for different folks, I guess.
Wear It Like a Badge – Sweet Milhouse poster/image from circa Season 5.
Simpsons Valentines Day – This is a dream blog recounting a dream the author had involving the Simpsons. It’s better constructed than most Zombie Simpsons episodes.
Father and son back onstage – I know very little about Czech culture, but now I know slightly more. Also, there’s this:
Spejbl’s family adventures will doubtless remind Americans of another comedic family, the Simpsons. Spejbl and Hurvínek are much older than Homer and Bart, of course, but the connection is apt. Helena Štáchová, the voice of Mánička and Mrs. Kateřina, as well as the director of the theater, also plays the voice of Lisa Simpson in the Czech-language version of the American cartoon.
"To be honest, it is really difficult to describe how I do it, but I think it is not too different from my own voice," Štáchová said. "It’s the kind of voice that could be considered a falsetto."
This Pig has had a Good Life – Mercifully this is not about Spider Pig, it’s rather a thoughtful post about why you should know a little more about where your meat comes from. Unfortunately, it has a completely slaughtered quote at the end:
Remember Homer and Lisa Simpson’s poignant conversation:
“(Lisa) “I’m going to become a vegetarian” (Homer) “Does that mean you’re not going to eat any pork?” “Yes” “Bacon?” “Yes Dad” Ham?” “Dad all those meats come from the same animal” “Right Lisa, some wonderful, magical animal!””
That is . . . not close:
Homer: Lisa, honey, are you saying you’re never going eat any animal again? What about bacon?
Homer: Pork chops?
Lisa: Dad! Those all come from the same animal!
Homer: Yeah right, Lisa, a wonderful, magical animal.
They got the ending kinda right, but that’s still poor usage.
We Can’t Wait: WHAT’S WRONG WITH VIRGINIA – Yeardley Smith is an executive produce and has a supporting role in the upcoming movie “What’s Wrong with Virginia”. The synopsis:
A drama in which a psychologically disturbed woman (Connelly) who has engaged in a 20-year illicit love affair with a sheriff (Harris), who is running for the state senate, is tested when her son begins a relationship with his daughter (Roberts).
By the way, that would be Jennifer Connelly, Ed Harris, and Emma Roberts.
Homer Simpson turning into more and more of an @$$hole – And finally, I get to end the way I like to, with other people who agree with us. Check out this thread at digitalspy.co.uk, some choice highlights:
I think you’re over 10 years late with this post. Homer started becoming an asshole around the time of the gay episode- which was way back in 1997. That episode was around the same time the show’s quality started to decline- they should have axed it then rather than keep dragging it on.
Homer used to be the best thing about The Simpsons for me. But he’s just so over-the-top now that he gives me a headache having to listen to him.
The only good thing to come out of it is that I enjoy watching the old Simpson episodes even more now, knowing how bad the new ones are.
I like that attitude.
Image taken from Wikimedia commons.
“It’s true, and we’ll all live in cities on the moon!” – Marge Simpson
IGN was in mid-season form this week, slobbering all over lame jokes and unabashedly praising the repetitive nature of the plot. But let’s set aside the fussin’ and the feudin’ and talk about something we can agree upon. The opening of the Zombie Simpsons episode was a reference to old Tex Avery cartoons and IGN thinks that if you’re a young whippersnapper you ought to look them up on your fancy YouTube machine. But IGN doesn’t provide a link, I’ll provide two. Here’s a link to a search with lots of videos, and here’s one about futuristic televisions that I just watched. Ah, memories I used to watch these when I was a wee lad, and that was thirty odd years after they were broadcast. All hail old cartoons!
Other than that this review sucks, but it sucks less with the synergy edited out.
March 15, 2010 –
Though Sunday night’s episode of The Simpsons Zombie Simpsons was your basic Bart-takes-part-in-stupidly-conceived-because-they-ran-out-of-ideas-long-ago-mischief storylines , I quite enjoyed it. The writers are still unable to work a little something new any life at all into this tried tired and true trite staple, and "Postcards from the Wedge" was no exception. From the stylized clock killing opening to Bart’s ham fisted manipulation of his parents’ marriage, the episode delivered laughs yawns along with its tediously unfunny familiarity.
The "Springfield of Tomorrow" opening
was fantastic had potential. I absolutely loved Tex Avery’s "..Of Tomorrow" shorts as a kid and this segment brought me right back to that joy. The voiceover and art style was a great nod (with hints of The Jetsons) to those classics, and the bits were equally funny unfortunately the jokes were clumsy, obvious and drawn out. If you’re unfamiliar with those shorts from the ’50s, I hope the opening to this Simpsons Zombie Simpsons episode encourages you to check them out on YouTube. The transition out of this opening was also funny repetitive and obvious as it was revealed we were watching a film in Bart’s class and Mrs. Krabappel stated, "Well, that concludes… I don’t really know what that was." Neither did we.
From there we learned that Bart is a full month behind on his homework assignments, which he suddenly cared about for some reason. Also bringing back memories from childhood was Principal Skinner’s joke free list of undone assignments: "worksheets, math jumbles, dioramas, topic sentences, conclusions…and one Thanksgiving hand turkey. This led Homer to get strict on Bart for some other reason and force him to do nothing but catch up on his assignments. Marge started to feel like this might turn Bart off of school and wanted to go easy on him. Homer’s sarcastic response: "Oh, my! A child who doesn’t like school? Hello? Hollywood! You want to buy the movie rights to this incredible story?!" This was the best moment in the show as for one brief moment Homer was as bored as we were. I could’ve liked that Homer and Marge’s viewpoints were the opposite of what we might have expected if it had been handled with even a little bit of care instead of having both of them start acting weird. Surely Homer would have been more laid back about it, and Marge stricter, but the episode mixed it up and assumed no one would notice because these characters were destroyed years ago. This
was could have been a refreshing take on their dynamic and a very welcome one but instead it was as lazy as everything else.
realized was told through pointless exposition that he could play his parents against each other to get out of doing any homework at all. This led to the pair arguing to the point of putting their marriage in fake, unbelievable danger. When Marge threatened to withhold sex from Homer, his obvious angry and less than clever response was, "You can’t sex fire me! I sex quit!" Being so much in love under contract, the fighting didn’t last and the duo decided to let Bart be Bart for the sake of their marriage. Heeding Nelson’s advice — "If no one’s getting mad, are you really being bad?" — Bart decided to pull one large prank that would bring Springfield Elementary tumbling down for some reason. This is where the seemingly stand-alone "Springfield of Tomorrow" opening tried to tie d in with the rest of the episode. In the film, the voiceover mentioned Springfield’s cramped subway system which it then dragged out for twenty seconds, and which Milhouse and Bart had stumbled upon for one off plot purposes. Running the subway cars around the ancient tracks was causing the school to crumble for some final reason and Bart was set to send the train around one more time to finish the place off.
Overall, there was nothing
too surprising the least bit interesting about the story itself. We’ve seen Bart cause trouble and Marge and Homer fight numerous times before. But even those tired ideas couldn’t fill a whole 22 minutes and so the jokes were good drawn out as long as possible, including some standout epically long bits. There was Martin’s over-the-top Hopi Indian pueblo. The "gets an A" sight gag was stellar coming a full thirty seconds after it started. I also loved the The House-referencing "Itchy and Scratchy" cartoon, which ended with Scratchy giving birth to his own head, took so long that I felt bad for the cat. Patty and Selma depressing Marge and Maggie was great also went forever. And being the parent of a toddler, I also thought the Sir Topham Hatt joke was pretty funny more pointless, humor free referencing. Again, the story was nothing entirely new, but the and what passed for jokes were smart and fun overly long and painfully unfunny and worth sitting on the couch for a half-hour.
There are two links to the collected wisdom of Bart’s chalkboard writings this week; I like one, the other less so. Also, for some odd reason there’s lots of correctly quoted but bizarre usage this week, including from a chiropractor and a global warming denier. We’ve also got YouTube clips, some excellent usage and some always apt swipes at the Grammy Awards.
Marge Simpson Sexy Calendar Pin-up Pics, "The Devil Wears Nada" – I suppose this was inevitable. Someone has created a little slideshow of all the “sexy” drawings of Marge from that horrible France episode.
Dr. Hibbert (from The Simpsons) Talks About Chiropractic Care – I don’t know what kind of chiropractor this guy is. I do know that chiropractors in general tend to make rather outsize claims for what they can do (though maybe not this guy, I don’t know). Were I misguided enough to be chiropractor, however, I wouldn’t cite that awful Season 12 episode where my entire profession is shown as replaceable by a garbage can. He does get the quote almost dead-on though, so I guess this is good usage.
The 29 Best Chalkboard Gags In "Simpsons" History (PICTURES) – I’m not a big fan of The Huffington Post for other reasons, but this list is about 1/3 Zombie Simpsons and that’s 1/3 too much.
Social : Learn the truth about fruit…is it the diabolical diet-killer it’s sometimes made out to be or is it just fruit and actually pr – Are there really people who think eating fruit can make you fat? I’m no dietician, but I’m going to guess that if you’re having a hard time losing weight the apples are not to blame. Then there’s this mildly good usage:
In the words of Homer Simpson…"This jelly donut has purple stuff in it. Purple is a fruit."
The actual quote is:
Lisa: No thanks. Do you have any fruit?
Homer: This has purple stuff inside. Purple is a fruit.
So he’s close but not on. Out of recognition for the fact that he’s dealing with very confused people, and that’s never easy, I’ll still call it good usage.
Jesus Christ Dumped From Jury Pool For Disruption – A woman in Alabama who changed her name to “Jesus Christ” was called for jury duty and then dismissed for being disruptive. Comes with shaky-cam YouTube of the origin of Jebus from “Missionary: Impossible”.
Cartoon smut law to make life sucky for Olympic organisers – The idea that the 2012 London logo looks like Lisa Simpson giving a blowjob is not new. According to the Register though, a recently passed law in the UK may mean that the logo may be illegal if a jury held that it did indeed look like an eight-year-old going down on someone. Fun.
Is that you? yes its me? me? no you? so you? – This is a complaint about ultra-dense people that cities a shaky-cam YouTube of the classic “Hello Mr. Thompson” scene. I was chuckling along until I got to this:
this world is overpopulated with people that Darwinism’s theory of evolution failed to get rid of…
Mad Jon is our resident expert on evolutionary theory (seriously), I’ll just point out that “Darwinism” isn’t a concept anymore than gravity is “Newtonism” or relativity is “Einsteinism”. This word, I do not think it means what you think it means.
THE SIMPSONS – DO THE BARTMAN – Just because. Also, someone is up on their 80s/early-90s pop culture. Ninja Turtles and the Fresh Prince everyone knows about, but “Mysterious Cities of Gold”? That takes me back.
Freezin’ – Famed science blogger PZ Myers got his doors replaced. He lives in Minnesota. It’s December. His update upon warmth returning is excellent usage:
No worries. Doors installed; house warming up. Urge to kill… fading… fading… fading — rising! Fading… fading… gone.
Bartholomew JoJo “Bart” Simpson – One man’s collection of Bart Simpson t-shirts.
Simpsons still life – Someone else linked to that kickass (but sadly still non-existent) threadless design. I may be forgetting the first two Noble Truths of the Buddha here, but man, I desire that on a t-shirt.
One man’s baggy pants is another man’s well fitted trousers – The law of unintended consequences comes to marketing and it’s accompanied by excellent usage.
All-American Rejects, Taking Back Sunday fire up crowd with dynamic show at Palladium – The All-American Rejects covered Grand Funk Railroad’s “We’re an American Band” which prompted this reviewer to cite Homer’s description of Grand Funk. For some reason he skipped the middle (no “The bong rattling bass of Mel Schacher”) but other than that it’s all there. With good context and applicability I’m going to declare this excellent usage even with the missing passage (he’s writing in a newspaper in Dallas, they might still think “bongs” are unspeakably evil or something).
Bart’s Blackboard – This is a relatively new Simpsons site that’s been making the rounds lately. It’s a list, with screen grabs, of Bart’s chalkboard gags. They’re doing one per day and have just crossed into Season 7.
FUCK YOU, SHE’S AWESOME – Somebody loves Lisa and Leela. Hooray!
As much as man achieves, he can do nothing without God – I understand that some people take quoting things like Deuteronomy and Corinthians more seriously than quoting things like “Two Cars in Every Garage and Three Eyes on Every Fish”. I think they’ve got their priorities mixed up, but it’s not really any of my business. However, if you’re going to open an article that quotes the Bible (New International Version, near as I can tell) with a quote from the Simpsons, shouldn’t quote accuracy be applied equally? In fact, it should be easier to quote from the Simpsons since, unlike the Bible, we actually have access to the original material. He does get the Bart quote mostly right though, so I’ll call this decent usage.
Why do so many believe in fake conspiracies yet ignore the real global warming fraud? – I couldn’t make this up, and, in terms of wildly missing the point of a Simpsons quote, this blows away the chiropractor above. After correctly quoting Lisa’s skepticism about Homer having seen an alien in “The Springfield Files” this guy attacks the Houston Chronicle over those recently stolen emails for naively believing the “experts” (his quotes) who made up global warming as a kind of hoax. The nefarious purpose of this conspiracy? The monetary boondoggle that is scientific employment, natch. (Again, I am not making this up.) In the process he makes fun of people who believe in JFK and 9/11 conspiracies (pot this is kettle, kettle I’d like you to meet pot) before proceeding to quote the endlessly discredited Ann Coulter in defense of the idea that global warming is a massive conspiracy. The head of the Spaceology Department at the Correspondence College of Tampa thinks that’s far fetched.
In other news, the RAND corporation is working with the saucer people and the reverse vampires to wrest control of the country from the Free Masons and the Stonecutters. Also, Ted Koppel is a robot.
Healthy holiday tips and time savers – This isn’t even close:
When Marge Simpson was fed up with the kids fighting in the car, she pulled over, got out and left. She checked in to a spa. From her bubble bath she called room service. “I’d like a bottle of tequila and a hot fudge sundae please?”
However, it was written by a yoga instructor just trying to give out some holiday recipes so quote accuracy isn’t exactly at a premium here. Besides she remembered two of the most important parts (hot fudge sundae & tequila) and I think she got her point across so I’ll call it decent usage. For the record, Marge calls room service from her bed and says:
“Hello, room service? This is Marge Simpson. I’d like a hot fudge sundae, with whip cream, and some chocolate chip cheesecake . . . and a bottle of tequila!”
HOPKINS: Albany cuts but still doesn’t get it – This guy’s complaining about the New York State budget and he nails the quote about Bart’s uncle Arthur listening to the voices inside his head. Excellent usage (albeit a strange argument, sure people are pissed but I don’t think they’re ready to start gunning down legislators but for “the consequences”).
Simpsons in Avatar – I don’t know squat about “Avatar: The Last Airbender”, but this is a list of scenes from it that reminded the author of the Simpsons. Best part? No Zombie Simpsons.
Armchair quarterbacking the 2010 Grammy nominations broadcast – And now we’ll conclude with something that all Simpsons fans (Buddhists, Christians, chiropractors, climate deniers and fans of the All-American Rejects) can agree upon. Even all these years later . . .
Among the many, many insults lobbed at the Grammy Awards over the years, few have been as winningly on-point as those articulated by that great bastion of American cultural criticism, “The Simpsons.” In the classic Beatles-parodying episode “Homer’s Barbershop Quartet,” a dispirited Homer Simpson hands his recently won award to the show’s ubiquitous pimply faced teenager, who throws it to the ground after realizing it’s a Grammy.
That episode aired in 1993. 16 years later the criticism of the Grammy Awards as irrelevant and out-of-touch has only grown more trenchant.
Read the rest if you think the Grammys suck. Personally, I don’t care enough about them.
Bonus YouTube via the LA Times:
Apologies for getting this up much later than usual. Work had the temerity to demand the great bulk of my time today. Now it’s drinking time.
“You know before I saw these test results I had you pegged as a drifter.” – Dr. J. Loren Pryor
“Wow, a drifter . . .” – Bart Simpson
“Lousy sheriff, run me out of town, he’s lost my vote.” – Drifter Bart
“Cool.” – Bart Simpson
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 (surprisingly enough not on “antithetical”).
We’re once again getting this up at the expiration date but here’s me and Dave carping about “Pranks and Greens”. (Mad Jon didn’t come in this week, he is presumed dead or on vacation.) Since this episode was utterly terrible and it’s just the two of us, it didn’t take very long at all. Hooray for half-assing things.
Charlie Sweatpants: Are we still on that awful prank episode? Thanks to the holiday it feels like a lot longer than just last Sunday.
Dave: Yeah, what’s on your mind?
Charlie Sweatpants: Oh, all kinds of shit.
Dave: I’ve successfully pushed it out my consciousness since watching it with you
Charlie Sweatpants: Well, like most of Zombie Simpsons, much as I hate it at the time it always gets worse the more I think about it.
Why did Bart care about this kid again?
Dave: Some misplaced notion about being outdone?
Charlie Sweatpants: And since when does he not think it’d be cool to be a drifter, or test dangerous food additives, or be a 19th century cockney boot black when he grows up?
Dave: That Bart died a long time ago.
Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah he died a long time ago, but this wasn’t just out of character, this was antithetical to everything he stands for.
The very core, the absolute heart of hearts of what makes Bart Simpson Bart Simpson (and what made him popular in the first place) is "underachiever and proud of it".
Dave: Absolutely. Sunday’s Bart spat in the face of that, and then turned into a soft, yielding reformist pushover in what seemed like three seconds
Charlie Sweatpants: Exactly.
Dave: It could’ve been any other character honestly.
They chose Bart so that we could get unnecessary Skinner/Groundskeeper Willie backstory as a bonus
Charlie Sweatpants: Oh yeah, that was terrible.
I’m a big advocate of the fact that the show doesn’t need to make sense from episode to episode, but how many times are we going to find out about Skinner’s background?
Dave: No shit.
Charlie Sweatpants: He was always a dork, no he was a rebel, no he was always a dork, at some point you can’t help but go numb.
Dave: Bingo. The idea of a "cool" Skinner is beyond preposterous
Charlie Sweatpants: And then there was the B-plot which even by the standards of B-plots was time filler. I mean, health food jokes? Ohh, take that Whole Foods.
Dave: I think we talked about that on Sunday – that’s easy comic fodder, but even they managed to fuck that up
There was no biting insight, just hackneyed cliches. Ohhh, parents concerned about BPA, take that yuppies
It makes me long for "Scenes from the Class Struggle in Springfield"
Charlie Sweatpants: Pretty much, I mean it’s one thing to take a topic that’s easily mocked and fail to mock it, but it’s another to include a little message at the end.
That’s a topic for another time, but the fact that the Simpsons really aren’t poor any more detracts from a lot of things.
Dave: There was a message?
Charlie Sweatpants: Well, the whole "I guess doing the best I can is alright" thing. I don’t know, maybe I was reading too much into it.
Dave: You’re right. They aren’t poor anymore…
That’s a pretty shit message. "I like me just the way I am"
Charlie Sweatpants: Anyway, is there anything we’ve missed on this one?
Dave: Nah, I don’t think so
We’ve got tried and true characters acting not like themselves for 20-some, laughter-devoid minutes
Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, do we need to discuss the ending? With the worm tank and the "suspense" of whether or not Bart can save Krusty?
Dave: I think the less said about that the better.
Charlie Sweatpants: Good because the whole Bart doesn’t know it’s a stunt (lots of string music), but then it is, and then there’s a happy ending for everyone thing was just excruciating to watch.
Dave: Well look on the bright side, no new episodes for 2 whole weeks
Charlie Sweatpants: Really?
Dave: That’s my Black Friday gift to you.
I willed it so.
Charlie Sweatpants: Oh, you meant after this Sunday.
Damn you for getting my hopes up.
Dave: Oh yes, sorry.
I got my own hopes up too.
Charlie Sweatpants: Your cruelty has boomeranged on you.
Dave: And how!
“Some of you may discover a wonderful vocation you never even imagined. Others may find out life isn’t fair. In spite of your masters from Bryn Mawr you might end up a glorified babysitter to a bunch of dead eyed fourth graders while your husband runs naked on a beach with your marriage counselor!” – Mrs. Krabappel
Happy Birthday Marcia Wallace!
“Lisa, what nineteenth century figure was nicknamed ‘Old Hickory?’” – Ms. Hoover
“I don’t know. You?” – Lisa Simpson
“Lisa, if you’d bothered to do the assignment, you’d know the answer is… ‘The Battle of New Orleans.’ I mean, ‘Andrew Jackson.’” – Ms. Hoover
“Well, you’re earning your eighteen grand a year.” – Lisa Simpson