“A lot of you would think I was crazy if I did this.” – Homer Simpson
“He’s crazy!” – C.M. Burns
Posts Tagged ‘Simpson and Delilah
“Hello, Homie, how’s my big, important executive?” – Marge Simpson
“Oh, Marge, every woman I interview for the secretary job makes kissy faces at me.” – Homer Simpson
“Hmmm.” – Marge Simpson
“Hello, Mr. Simpson, I’m Karl.” – Karl
“He sounds good. Hire him.” – Marge Simpson
“Our first issue, sir, is our low productivity and record high worker accident rate.” – Mr. Smithers
“Any suggestions?” – C.M. Burns
“A round of layoffs might wake up the idiots.” – Male Executive
“We could put caffeine in the water cooler.” – Female Executive
“Those are my ideas! You people don’t think, you regurgitate!” – C.M. Burns
“Attention, Homer Simpson, you have been promoted. You are now an executive. Take three minutes to say goodbye to your former friends and report to room 503 for reassignment to a better life.” – Mr. Smithers
Even in the freewheeling world of animation, where it’s just as easy to send Homer to space as it is to send him to the supermarket, every character on screen has a few well established traits that make them who they are. Burns is evil; Bart is a troublemaker; Barney is a drunk, etcetera. Messing with those traits, like having Burns try not to be evil in “The Old Man and the Lisa”, is one of the oldest tricks in the comedy playbook, and it often works quite well. You get to see the other side of a character and laugh as they are put in situations that make them react in ways that are anathema to who they usually are. Of course, this sort of switch doesn’t always have to be about someone’s personality. Physically changing a character can have much the same effect, which is exactly what the show did to Homer, in “Simpson and Delilah”, and Moe, in “Pygmoelian”.
By default, neither Homer nor Moe are what you’d call handsome, and neither is, to borrow Moe’s words from another episode, “fending off movie starlets with a pointy stick”. But, by giving Homer hair and giving Moe plastic surgery, both of them can be transformed into men who makes the ladies turn their heads and the gentlemen respectfully defer.
As is to be expected with any comparison between Season 2 and Season 11, not only is the latter repeating an idea, but it’s also shot through with plot holes, Jerkass Homer, and general nonsense. Homer’s new executive job makes sense, Moe’s soap opera gig does not. The secretary applicants all make “kissy faces” at Homer because they want the job, that odd assortment of hot babes at Moe’s just seems to be hanging out for no reason. Homer losing his looks flows from the first act, Moe losing his new look doesn’t have anything to do with the first act, or the second, or really even the third. Setting those aside, there is another enormous, glaring neon difference between how Season 2 and Season 11 employed the same concept.
In “Simpson and Delilah”, the story is about Homer, but the satire and jokes are mostly at the expense of the people around him. With his new hair, we see Homer impress Patty & Selma, we see him get promoted and succeed in the boardroom, we even see him go through with the big speech that could’ve turned him into one of the most powerful executives at the nuclear plant. That he fails in the end isn’t his fault, it’s because the social stigma of baldness caught up with him. In another of those evilly subversive endings The Simpsons tossed off regularly, we see the executives scoff at his presentation not because he screws it up or mispronounces the big words, but because:
Male Executive #1: This bald man has no ideas.
Male Executive #2: If this is a joke, I’m not laughing.
Female Executive: Some nerve, telling us how to run the plant. He doesn’t even have hair.
The joke here isn’t just Homer failing again, though there is that. The joke here is on the superficial people who can’t see past Homer’s hairless dome to the millions of dollars of savings he’s offering them. They don’t know that these are all really Karl’s ideas, they just know that no one who looks like Homer can possibly have anything to offer to people like them. It isn’t just Homer who fails here, it’s the power plant too.
By contrast, the soap opera in “Pygmoelian” isn’t really wrong about anything. After all, it’s a soap opera. They were right not to hire Moe before he was pretty; their operation didn’t skip a beat replacing Dr. Tad Winslow the first time, so it’s not like they can’t do it again; and if Moe hadn’t been dumb enough to listen to Homer, everything would’ve been fine. There’s nothing deeper going on in “Pygmoelian”, it’s just a (wacky) story about a guy who gets plastic surgery and then has a wall fall on his face.
So while “Pygmoelian” does a decent job of satirizing soap operas, that kind of thing had been done many times before (“Father McGrath, I thought you were dead!” / “I was!”), and it has nothing to do with Moe becoming pretty. The cosmetic prejudice that runs through every scene in “Simpson and Delilah” is totally absent in “Pygmoelian”, which leaves it with little more to do in most scenes than have Jerkass Homer act out as Moe’s newfound sidekick. Gone is Burns repeatedly mistaking Homer for brilliant (he promotes Homer completely because of his hair), gone is the life altering power of a minor appearance upgrade, gone is Homer traumatizing Bart by informing his son that one day he’ll be bald too.
By the standards of Season 11, “Pygmoelian” is pretty decent. The plot isn’t completely batshit, there are quite a few entertaining scenes, Azaria is fantastic, and, best of all, it’s got several memorable and useful quotes (“with sexy results” cracks me up any time I see a commercial for a TV show that teases a plot or an upcoming segment). But it can’t hope to stack up to Season 2, not only because it’s repeating an idea that had already been done, but because it repeats it in a thoroughly hollow way.
“Happy anniversary, Homer.” – Marge Simpson
“What? Our anniversary, are you sure?” – Homer Simpson
I lost count of the number of generic blog posts, newspaper articles, magazine profiles, and other such things that crossed my screen this week. The funny part isn’t how similar they are to one another, it’s how similar they are to articles that come out whenever the show hits a milestone or gets renewed yet again. Here is an accurate summary of all of them in Mad Libs form:
Can you believe [common phrase from the show]? That’s right, it’s been on since 1989, and this Sunday is the [three digit positive integer ending in zero]th episode!
We asked [longtime show personality] if he thought it would ever last this long. [Personality’s last name] said, “We never thought it would go this long, but now there’s no stopping us!” This week’s episode features a special guest appearance by [famous person] as the family [wacky adventure premise]. [Personality’s last name] said that [famous person] was great to work with, “S/he’s such a [positive adjective] person. We [generic anecdote about recording].”
And when will the show end? [Personality’s last name] said, “When we got to [smaller three digit positive integer ending in zero], I didn’t think we’d get this far. But we love doing it, so we’ll keep at it [cute description for an indefinite amount of time].”
In all of those kind of articles I read, I came across one – just one – new fact. Had the negotiations failed last fall, that wretched future Christmas episode would’ve been the last one. Other than that, those thousands and thousands of words are a complete waste of time.
There were a few diamonds in the rough, however, mostly of the variety where people talk about how great the show is and then cite little or nothing from Zombie Simpsons. There are a lot of those, and while some are better than others (and one even comes from people on the show), they all point to the same conclusion, Zombie Simpsons is a pale shadow of The Simpsons. This may be the longest Reading Digest ever, and I didn’t find a single article, link or otherwise that went the other way. Crammed in among all those anniversary links is some usage, some fan art, a couple more video game reviews, real homemade Prozac, and a dynamite Alf Clausen interview.
The Simpsons hits 500 episodes: Matt Groening… – Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week is this article Groening, Brooks, Jean, Reiss, Mirkin, Weinstein, Scully list some favorite episodes. As you’d expect, there’s some token Zombie Simpsons, but even these guys can’t bring themselves to anything approaching equal representation. Brooks didn’t list anything past Season 7.
"Simpsons" maestro Alf Clausen shares stories behind Springfield’s greatest hits – Fantastic interview with Alf Clausen, featuring plenty of YouTube and detail. (Also, you may notice a certain trend in which years the songs they discuss first aired.) It’s a crowded week, but this has a lot of great information in it. Big hat tip to our old friend Denise. Hey, speaking of Denise . . .
Fans Say the Darndest Things–To ‘Simpsons’ Creators – . . . she got some of the people behind the show to share the strange things people ask them and say to them. My favorite:
Michael Price, Bill Oakley, and Marc Wilmore say that the writers are often asked which characters they write for. "We all get that all the time," Mike Price says.
One assumes that would be impractical.
The Simpsons at 500: your top 10 episodes – The Guardian’s readers and editors came up with a list, on which there is nothing past Season 8. (And a special thanks to “jpmb” for linking to us in the comments.)
As ‘The Simpsons’ approaches 500 episodes, we pick a baker’s dozen favorite moments – The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette picks some favorite Simpsons moments. There are a couple of Halloween moments from Zombie Simpsons, but not much. Their picks are overwhelmingly from the before time, the long long ago.
‘THE SIMPSONS’ HITS 500th EPISODE: The Top-15 Episodes Ever (*And Top-5 Moments) – Kaplan Test Prep Daily asked “Andrew Farago, curator at the esteemed Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco” for his top 15 episodes. He listed thirteen, nothing from past Season 8, then tossed in two from Zombie Simpsons. I’m sensing a pattern. (via)
It’s pretty much impossible for any show to continue to be good after this long. Every idea has been tried out, every character has been developed, and just about every vacation destination has been visited.
The Simpsons has definitely suffered in this regard. Countless new episodes are retreads of older episodes, and they just don’t have the same impact. Just look at last Sunday’s episode. It involved Lisa falling in love with a faux-intellectual played by Michael Cera (because no one told the writers that Juno is already 4 years old, and the kid is already past his prime), and then dumping him because it turned out he wasn’t as cool as she thought. In this episode’s 22-minute run-time, we learned absolutely nothing about either character. It had no emotional resonance to speak of, and just felt like a perfunctory, by-the-numbers plot, for a show that used to be capable of doing much better.
Fun With Mock Drafts: Simpsons Quotations – Of the twenty five quotes selected by the five main authors here, I only counted two from Zombie Simpsons. The comment thread is at about four hundred as I write this, and a quick scan says that Zombie Simpsons quotes are few and far between.
‘The Simpsons': A soundtrack to our laughter – A pick of some favorite songs from the entire run of the show. There is a token Zombie Simpsons entry, but only one.
Top Fifty Simpsons Episodes (# 40 – 31) – This link and the next one are both from the same blog. There’s one episode from Season 12 here, but it’s “Trilogy of Error”, which was one of the last really clever things they ever did.
Top Fifty Simpsons Episodes (# 50 – 41) – This part of the list is completely free of Zombie Simpsons.
The Simpsons at 500 – A great retrospective on the show:
It may have been that very Friday night, or the Friday night a week later when I saw my first episode, “Bart The General”. It rang out to me especially as a victim of bullying. In this classic piece of American television, Bart teams up with his grandfather, local military antique dealer Herman and other neighbourhood kids to rail against bully Nelson Muntz.
In the following few Fridays I would see several more episodes of Season 1. I was hooked and entertained. The Simpsons were at the beginning of something really amazing. This was a revolutionary show that would push the edges of humour to a whole new level. Shirts started turning up in stores along with other merchandise.
You could only imagine my disappointment when suddenly the show was not on a channel we could get at the time. My theory is that the CBC received a ton of complaints from parents and religious nuts who completely failed at realizing it was comedy, so they yanked any airing of the show completely.
It would be quite a few years before anyone in Nova Scotia (and perhaps Canada) without a satellite dish could see more episodes.
That is both awesome and sad. He couldn’t watch them again until they came on in syndication. Man I miss when The Simpsons was good enough to be thought that dangerous. He’s also got a Top 5 episodes list, and, naturally, none of them are from past Season 9.
Meet the two brave souls who watched 86 hours and 37 minutes of ‘The Simpsons’ in a row – FOX turned it off after they broke the record, and they don’t say which episode they were on when it happened. By my count 86 hours and 37 minutes is somewhere around the beginning of Season 11. They got a ten minute break every two hours, so if they were stopped for those breaks then it’s more like the middle of Season 10. Either way, the important thing is that they didn’t have to sit through Zombie Simpsons.
Red Velvet Cupcakes with Creamy Vanilla Frosting – There’s cupcakes here, but if you scroll down you’ll get a sweet fan drawing of Homer as Lady Gaga.
That Donut Looks Delicious – An excellent knitted Homer . . . with donut! Well done.
Here’s Stuff on Jeremy Lin You’ll Read Because I Had You at “Jeremy Lin” – Excellent usage:
-Remember that Simpsons episode, “Lisa’s Rival,” where Lisa, the new kid at school, and the new kid’s pretentious, snooty professor father discuss how they play the anagram game? I’ll let the seven-year-old inexplicably voiced by a fully grown Winona Ryder explain: “We take proper names and rearrange the letters to form a description of that person.”
Lisa stumbles when given the name of Academy Award winner Jeremy Irons, only being able to muster up “Jeremy’s Iron.”
Well, since the name of the man of the hour also happens to be Jeremy, I say we try it again.
Jeremy Lin: J In My Reel
Fictional cartoon character: Zero
Pants Anyone? – Don’t you hate pants?:
By purchasing pants we are just playing into the buttoned-down role that society has placed on us. Pants have kept us into a tightly folded, well pressed culture, where we fear the consequences of not wearing pants.
There is a certain kind of pants that never need to be folded or pressed, and that never feel confining. Just sayin’.
It’s Valentime’s Day OR “Getting Tail” – Valentine’s Day explored through “I Love Lisa” (with YouTube).
Game review: ‘The Simpsons Arcade Game’ – I know there were a lot of these last week, but here’s one more review of the game.
EGM Review: The Simpsons Arcade Game – Okay, two (and I get to keep this old birdcage).
Now & Then: The Simpsons Arcade Game – Alright, three. This one is a very thoughtful comparison, of what the arcade game was like back then (I do remember the Bart and Homer consoles often having the most wear) and what it brings to your television now.
The 2012 Grammy Awards…In 10 Words – Who likes the Beach Boys?
Appointment Viewing: February 13-February 19 – Lenny sums up this week’s big nth episode:
8:00 – The Simpsons (Fox): In the series’ 500th episode, the Simpsons are banished from Springfield, thanks to Homer’s drunken antics, Bart’s shenanigans and Lisa’s annoying environmental activism, and end up in an off-the-grid, post-apocalyptic encampment called “The Outlands.” Alison Krauss performs the series’ theme song. Well, that sounds like The Simpsons Movie but more terrible and with Alison Krauss performing. Which cancels out to the same level of quality. Seriously, that Alison Krauss thing makes me more delighted than this show has made me in years. They could get anyone and that’s what they went with.
7 Essential TV Show Hangouts – Moe’s makes the list here, along with things like the banana stand.
To me, The Simpsons stopped being funny in the late 1990s. A quick look at an Episode Guide and I find that the last episode I truly found amusing was Episode 197 – Simpson Tide – and that one was the only beacon of light in amongst a mostly underwhelming Ninth Season. By
the fifth episode of the following season – When You Dish Upon A Star – I made the decision to give up on a show that I had fallen out of love with.
Don’t feel bad, it happened to all of us.
Bart Simpson’s Chalkboard Quotes – This was linked in a lot of places this week. It’s every quote in a single image. Well done (though a version that ends before Zombie Simpsons would be cool too).
Doh! The Simpsons celebrate 500th episode – Click through for a couple of images of the designs of that Zoolander guy from last week. There’s a Bartman shirt that’s just a picture of Bart in costume with a logo. Fashion!
A Five-Day Recipe for Antidepressant Yogurt – This isn’t just excellent usage, it’s also life imitating The Simpsons:
Years ago, Homer Simpson stood in the family’s kitchen and showed Marge his latest creation: a big bowl of homemade Prozac. Homer dug his wooden spoon in, plucked out a mound of the purply goop, and downed it. “Mmm, needs more ice cream,” Homer said.
As is so often the case, it seems Homer was well ahead of his time. Tuur Van Balen, a Belgian designer, has been making the speaking-circuit rounds, showing audiences how to inject yogurt bacteria with antidepressant qualities, making it possible for anyone to have a feel-good breakfast treat.
20 Most Cromulent ‘Simpsons’ GIFs – Pretty much what it says. And, no, there’s nothing from past Season 10.
Flights from reality – In discussing the recent mostly-non-issue between Britain and Argentina, comes this excellent usage:
Homer Simpson anticipated the key issue in the South Atlantic dispute at the start of the week in the sketch where he says: “Didn’t you hear, Marge, they have no bananas” (his reaction to that inane Broadway ditty of 90 years ago “Yes, we have no bananas”). The lack of bananas on the Malvinas gave most of the edge to the build-up to President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s Tuesday announcement — great expectations of a major escalation in the economic blockade of the islands rather than either war or peace.
And then nothing happened.
Sideshow Bob by *SilverWolve on deviantART – Cool fan art of Sideshow Bob sitting in a cell with the shadow of bars on him. Bravo.
maggie simpson – One of those “persona” add-ons for Firefox with Maggie holding a gun.
Mellow yellow – And finally, a columnist for the Winnipeg Free Press writes a column about the 500th episode that does nothing but agree with us:
It has been a long time since the cartoon created by Matt Groening regularly made headlines (other than for celebrations of its various century-mark achievements), and there’s now an entire generation of TV viewers who have no memory whatsoever of the hell-in-a-handbasket fuss its early episodes and Bart’s rude-boy catchphrases caused.
The Simpsons is, in 2012, something of a perpetual-motion machine, an efficiently run enterprise that cranks out episodes on time, on budget and of an acceptable quality, requires very little network oversight, and continues to generate decent ratings and mind-boggling revenue streams.
That’s about the size of things. Lots and lots of discussion of 500, and even when people don’t outright say Zombie Simpsons sucks, you can tell by what they aren’t talking about that no one cares about anything broadcast in the last ten years or so. Enjoy your party on Sunday Zombie Simpsons. We’ll all be laughing at you, but not for the reason you’d like.