“You see me as a god, right, Smithers?” – C.M. Burns
“Absolutely, sir.” – Mr. Smithers
“You’d kneel before me.” – C.M. Burns
“Boy, would I.” – Mr. Smithers
“Yes.” – C.M. Burns
Posts Tagged ‘The Joy of Sect
“This so called ‘new religion’ is nothing but a pack of weird rituals and chants designed to take away the money of fools. Let us say the Lord’s Prayer forty times, but first let’s pass the collection plate.” – Reverend Lovejoy
“Smithers, why haven’t I heard of this ‘The Leader’? He’s as rich and wicked as I, but he seems to enjoy tax exempt status.” – C.M. Burns
“Actually, sir, with our creative bookkeeping and corporate loopholes, we only pay three dollars a year.” – Mr. Smithers
“You’re right, we’re getting screwed!” – C.M. Burns
“A new and better life awaits you on our distant home plant Blisstonia.” – Movementarian
Speaking as someone with experience in setting up and maintaining websites, perhaps the greatest compliment I can give to WordPress is that I almost never notice it. For a cost of precisely zero dollars, they provide professional grade web publishing tools that allow me, the crank with a few things on his mind, to spout my gibberish without worrying that the amateurishness of the presentation will detract from the amateurishness of the content. It’s really a fantastic system, and the “rah-rah, yay! blogging” attitude of their official pronouncements never crosses the line from enthusiastic to cloying.
Along those lines, at the dawn of 2011 they started a campaign to get people to blog more, part of which is based around the idea of posting once a day no matter what. The result of that is several links this week to other WordPress blogs that ruminate on posting, writing and watching the Simpsons. We’ve also got the usual assortment of excellent usage and random Simpsons stuff, including a new Lisa themed Tumblr site, plenty of YouTube, and board games.
Intertextuality and the Study of Texts – Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week is this academic discussion of one of the Tracey Ullman shorts.
The 10 funniest fictional drugs from TV and movies – Flintstones Chewable Morphine is on here.
Brad Bird Claims To Be Much Happier Doing Live Action Movies – I love me some Brad Bird, but this seems like a stretch:
Brad Bird has already left a substantial mark on the film world (his departure from The Simpsons led to the show’s downfall, but that’s a whole other thing entirely).
Talk up live action all you want, I bet his license plate reads A1134EV.
A Tree in the Forest – A rather long post about writing and the nature of . . . well, here:
Most people would like something they made, either written, painted, filmed, et cetera, to be viewed, read, and have some sort of feedback or give someone some catharsis. Yet this is seldom happens… brings me back to the tree in the forest. I know it’s not cliché, it’s a zen parable that was on The Simpsons. If creating art is the tree, than when it falls, the creator has the pleasure/satisfaction/transcendence of the moment of creation, yet it exists in a vacuum. Only to one person is there a noise.
This is a little all over the place.
I am clapping with one hand.
Should I be posting more often? – That’s up to you. But you can’t go wrong with this:
I will probably open my evening with “Old World Underground, Where Are You Now?” because Emily Haines was who. I. wanted. to. be. freshman year of college. And proceed to watch several episodes of The Simpsons.
When it doubt, watch The Simpsons.
I put on makeup today because I was so bored – See the previous link:
Hopefully it equals an hour or so because instead of reading yesterday or today, I did things like watch The Simpsons and eat chocolate-covered pretzels.
Kev’s Life For Sale – Framed Simpsons posters will always have resale value (scroll to the bottom for the picture). Also, nice Lebowski reference.
Lisa Simpson Gets Book Club on Tumblr – There’s some unavoidable Zombie Simpsons, but except for the fact that Lisa says “New Republic for Kids” not “The New Republic for Kids”, this is excellent usage:
Here is a particularly funny quote from the show: “Well, I think we should invest in a set of The Great Books Of Western Civilization. Look at this ad from The New Republic For Kids: Each month, a new classic will be delivered to our door. Paradise Regained, Martin Cheselwitt or Herman Melville’s twin-classics Omoo and Typee.”
Tumblr link goes here.
Monorail! – YouTube of exactly what you think it is. That song never gets old.
Report Smokes Out Tobacco Use on TV Shows Popular Among Kids – This is beyond stupid, but it does give me a chance to link back to this, which remains applicable.
Where half-assed knowledge is further diluted into nothingness… – Excellent image usage, and check out the first and third comments.
Krustyland! – A neat bunch of photos from the Simpsons ride at Universal Studios. That rack of Homer slippers is going to replace the whale in my nightmares.
Don’t get bored, get BOARD games! – They made a Simpsons version of Clue? Of course they did. This post also contains two other fantastic things: cheap used stuff and Bill Nye.
Day 56 – February 3rd, 2011 – I’ve never played that Simpsons game, but you can never get enough Ham Ahoy.
Go Banana! (and Seahawks) – There was an ad during the Super Bowl where the NFL edited a bunch of clips from old and current teevee shows so that all our favorite characters were wearing officially license apparel. This link has the video, as well as a still of the Simpsons part, and this excellent observation in the comments:
Maude Flanders loves the Bucs so much that she came back from the dead to cheer for them.
Gym class was never really my thing – An animated .gif (from our friends at Eye On Springfield) of Lisa’s very athletic ability to dribble a basketball with her face.
Homer’s Night Out – Animated .gif of Homer’s night out. Also, nice WordPress theme.
Ruthless aliens probe Shepherd’s Pie – An excellent use of Kang and Kodos dolls.
New Promotional Image Released for Season 22 – Our friends over at Everything Simpsons have a promo image for Sunday’s upcoming clusterfuck. I think the Kwik-E-Mart ran out of Blue Dye #52.
Snowmageddon was a bust – Shotgun full of snow YouTube.
The Simpsons – Hand In Toaster – More YouTube? More YouTube.
Thomas Edison…In 10 words – Now let’s all visit Edison’s boyhood gift shop.
Fischer’s Friday Five – And finally, I get to end the way I like to, with someone who agrees with us:
The Gay Steel Mill
Classic Simpsons episode where Homer worries that Bart is gay so he takes him to a steel mill to show him what real men are like. Amazing how great The Simpsons used to be before Family Guy came around. Watch the video and enjoy!
Work hard, play hard.
“Church cult, cult church, so we get bored someplace else every Sunday. Does this really change our day to day lives?” – Bart Simpson
There’s no new Zombie Simpsons until September at the earliest (October? fingers crossed!), so we’re going to spend the summer overthinking Season 9. Why Season 9? Because we did Season 8 last summer, and Season 9 was when the show started becoming more Zombie than Simpsons. Since we’re too lazy to do audio and too ugly to do video, we’ve booked a “chatroom” (ours is right between the one with the sexy seventh graders and the one with the bored federal agents pretending to be sexy seventh graders). So log on to your dial-up AOL and join us. This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (especially on “nonchalantly”).
Today’s episode is 913 “The Joy of Sect”, tomorrow’s will be 924 “Lost our Lisa”.
Charlie Sweatpants: Shall we begin with the thinly veiled Scientologists or the most boring museum trip ever?
Mad Jon: Scientologists.
Charlie Sweatpants: Very well.
This episode is not without its flaws, but on the whole it’s pretty good.
Mad Jon: I find it pretty boring
Dave: It’s the better of the two, but falls into the whole Season 9 meh for me.
Mad Jon: There are a few good jokes, a couple of funny insights, but it was a shitty version of "Homer’s Enemy" in my book.
Charlie Sweatpants: How is this like Homer’s Enemy?
Mad Jon: Ok.
In Homer’s Enemy, Homer walks around being Proto-Zombie Homer, while another agency tries to reconcile the situation with their own deal. All the while he is beat up or almost drinks acid, and the rest of the town or power plant goes on with life sometimes nonchalantly recognizing Homer’s idiocy.
Just like in this episode.
Charlie Sweatpants: I don’t see it. This is the original "jerkass" episode, you’re right – and that sucks. But on the whole I’d liken it more to the "destination" episodes, a la City of New York vs. Homer Simpson. In this case the "destination" isn’t so much a place as it is cults, but it’s basically them finding a way to get the family into a certain situation so that they can then make fun of a subject they haven’t touched on before.
Mad Jon: But I guess we will have to disagree on this point. This was just an episode to showcase Homer’s burgeoning invincibility, and everyone had to go along for the ride. There was more involvement from the family in this one as opposed to Homer’s Enemy, but he was still completely the centerpiece.
But that’s just like, my opinion man.
Charlie Sweatpants: When they beat Homer with bats, it sucks. But the recruitment scenes at the retreat don’t bother me as much. There’s some Jerkass Homer there, but I like the movie scene (how no one can leave), I like the circle of shame (or whatever) for Homer’s joke when he raises his hand, and I like the gruel scene because Batman.
They also get a lot more of the supporting characters beyond the family involved. Burns and Smithers have a good set piece, Brockman has a couple of funny bits, and this is a Lovejoy episode for the ages.
I mean, he’s about to burn down his own church!
Mad Jon: I am glad you garnered some enjoyment from this episode. Before this afternoon I was thinking to myself. "Self, you’ve only watched this episode like twice. What’s the deal?" Then I watched it. And I was bored and cringed a lot. I laughed at some jokes – this isn’t a terrible episode. I especially like the reverend in this one.
And Flanders is classic as well. He offered the Cult’s Lawyers beer after they broke into his rumpus room.
Charlie Sweatpants: Stop calling it that!
Dave: Well, let me chime in quickly – all those bits you mentioned, Charlie: they’re funny, but I’m with Jon in that they somehow don’t come together and I’m reluctant to give this episode anything more than a pass.
Mad Jon: Also the line when the Christian in the airport is pitching his religion is great.
Charlie Sweatpants: Like I said at the beginning, it’s got some problems. Marge’s getaway scene from the camp is a lowlight, but even that doesn’t drag overly long.
(And the evil "The Prisoner" bubble makes a small cameo. It’s not nearly as bad this time as it is three seasons from now when it’s almost the entire end of an episode.)
Mad Jon: I agree, the crap was shorter crap than it will be in a few seasons. But that’s a pretty thin blanket to keep you warm.
Also I liked "the prisoner" bubble. That was a classic-type Simpsons joke.
Charlie Sweatpants: I stand by my "destination" episode comparison. I like this better than the New York one, for instance. Both have a main plot that’s a little heavy on Jerkass Homer, but this one has more going on outside of that.
Dave: New York’s better in my book, and the presence of stuff does not a better episode make.
Charlie Sweatpants: Even the airport scene at the beginning is okay. The bookstore clerk saying "Get Out" when Moleman asks for anything by Robert Ludlum is funny.
Mad Jon: I actually think this episode started pretty well. It just leaped off a small cliff around 5 minutes in.
Nobody died, maybe a twisted ankle and some bruised pride, but a small cliff nonetheless.
Dave: I do chuckle every time I see that plane go down.
Charlie Sweatpants: There’s also a lot of good crosstalk in this episode, where there’s thing in the background like Lisa’s "twice as much" about loving hoverbikes and Homer’s "why" when he can’t be knocked out (the only good part of that sequence).
Mad Jon: I did catch that, and I did laugh at that.
Charlie Sweatpants: I guess the reason I give this episode a pass is that while it does have some Jerkass Homer moments, it’s also not drowning in filler. It’s clear that they have a lot of ideas to cram in, and most of them are good.
Mad Jon: Maybe I’m just too low-brow for this type of humor. There are some good jokes, and I always love a good cult, but I guess the finer points must have just been lost on me.
Charlie Sweatpants: Fair enough.
Mad Jon: Call me a traditionalist, but I want to see Homer wallow in his own depression with work and family and a few well wishing neighbors, not stopping a con-man from stealing the town’s money because someone reminded him about beer.
Charlie Sweatpants: But the beer thing did make sense, didn’t it?
Mad Jon: Probably not the way you think it did. I don’t see the deep meaning behind it.
Charlie Sweatpants: It was the same with the kids, maybe Bart goes down a little easy, but I love the fact that they co-opt Lisa with her need for approval.
Mad Jon: Well I understand that much
Charlie Sweatpants: The way they got into things wasn’t that bizarre, is my point.
Mad Jon: Fair enough.
Charlie Sweatpants: Certainly not compared to what we’ve seen in subsequent seasons.
Anything else here? There are a few other good things (lawyers, "dustier than thou") and bad things (the ending is a little too long) I could point out, but I think we’re kinda done.
One of these is not like the others.
“Wait, I’m confused about the movie. So the cops knew that internal affairs was setting them up?” – Homer Simpson
“What are you talking about? There’s nothing like that in there.” – Movementarian Guy
“Oh, you see when I get bored I make up my own movie. I have a very short attention span.” – Homer Simpson
This week, IGN pulled its usual stunt of disparaging Zombie Simpsons while still giving it a ridiculously high numerical score (6.9). I had to make a surprisingly small number of changes to edit out the synergy, and many of those were me replacing faint praise with no praise. There were quite a few whole sentences that came synergy free.
Entertainingly, the one part of the episode IGN genuinely enjoyed never actually happened: the riot. Moe and Marge both use the word “riot”, but no riot ever broke out. When Springfield riots you see torches and pitchforks; cars are turned over, fires are lit, and stores are looted. All that happened here was some people throwing fruit at Burns, and even that we mostly didn’t get to see. No riot occurred, and yet IGN specifically praises the riot scene. High comedy.
April 12, 2010 – There really hasn’t been a memorable Mr. Burns-centric episode of The Simpsons during the last few seasons. Nothing immediately comes to mind.
Unfortunately Fortunately, "American History X-cellent" will quickly fade from memory as well. It could have had potential ten years ago, but that all faded away the deeper into the episode we got long ago.
Any episode focusing on Burns
has used to have potential. He’s the billionaire curmudgeon we love to hate. When the episode opened showing Burns locked away in Springfield Penitentiary, and then flashbacked to show us how we got there, the field was wide open for what could be coming. It was good sad to see Burns characteristically wielding his power and exploiting his nuclear plant employees by making their Fourth of July picnic solely about him instead of something actually evil. I also enjoyed how wondered why Burns was carted away in an actual donkey-drawn cart when he was arrested for stealing a painting. The nonchalance of the town riot was also very could have been funny if there had actually been a riot. The folks in Springfield used to riot a lot, so it was would’ve been smart and funny to see Moe selling "stuff to throw" and Marge taking advantage of the empty malls if one had taken place.
The main plot of the episode, however, was tired and
mostly unfunny. C. Montgomery Burns was finally thrown in prison ("After all my years of stockjobbing, gun running, attempted murder, successful murder and tom peepery, they get me on a petty, multi-million dollar art theft."), but instead of watching him become the power hungry king of the yard, we got old references to The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile. Burns’ narration was inconsistent, unfunny and unnecessary. In a week, there will be little you’ll remember of Burns’ time in prison because there really wasn’t anything to it. Had a better story been developed, things could have been much funnier. Instead, the episode was filled out with two other underdeveloped ideas.
The first was a complete waste, as Bart and Lisa bonded over their failure to raise an ant farm. There’s little to say about it because it was as exciting and funny as actually raising an ant farm. The other storyline would have been served better with more screen time. With Burns in the big house, Smithers was left to run the power plant. His transition from good boss– introducing a medical plan that covers illness– to worse than Burns– instead of releasing the hounds, he released wolverines– was a
very fun decent idea. Cutting the ant story and expanding on this could have made the episode a hundred times better slightly less intolerable. Though the potential was there, "American History X-cellent" failed to deliver a would-be classic a decent Mr. Burns episode. His time in prison was too mundane. Evil Mr. Burns is always more fun than a kindhearted Mr. Burns, and new and original ideas are always better than tired Shawshank references. Maybe we’ll get an old school Mr. Burns episode next season in the parallel universe where this show doesn’t suck.
“Oh I feel for you my child and, I’d like you help you . . . ahem.” – Rev. Lovejoy
There was some hubbub over the long holiday weekend because L’Osservatore Romano, an official Vatican newspaper, said some nice things about The Simpsons. This doesn’t particularly surprise me, Zombie Simpsons has become so institutionalized that even the world’s oldest surviving organization no longer finds it threatening. That kind of approval is a pretty damning indictment for a program that found its original popularity in an explicitly anti-authority message.
But I was curious as to what exactly the Catholic Church found praiseworthy and so I tried to find the original article. It wasn’t on the hilariously primitive (and incomplete) official website, but there was an e-mail link to request articles. So I wrote a very polite and friendly e-mail requesting either the text of the article or just a link to where the text was found. I figured that they had it easily available and would probably send it to me and that I’d have to say something nice about the Catholic Church for a change. My cynicism doesn’t fail me very often, but I do enjoy it when it does.
Instead of the article or a link I received . . . an order form – literally. The e-mail I got back told me that the article in question was only published in Italian, but if I would like a copy I could have one for the low price of just eight Euros (Visa and MasterCard most definitely accepted). Setting aside the fact that they want to charge me eight Euros for an article in a language I don’t read, there’s the bigger rip off of asking eight Euros for a copy and paste job. It’s not like some hooded figure will have to descend into the archives by torchlight to retrieve this, it was published (electronically!) a week ago. Pointing me to the article would’ve taken the exact same amount of time as copying and pasting the order form. And they’re not asking for some trivial amount of money either, eight Euros is half a week’s earnings for half of humanity.
I don’t care in the least whether or not anyone wants to believe in a higher power, but organized religion is humanity’s longest running scam and they give themselves away through sheer pettiness.
“Outsiders have kidnapped some of our property. We must respond with our deadliest weapon.” – Male Movementarian
“The lawyers.” – Female Movementarian
Those mysterious bottles of Duff beer that have been showing up in Europe have been traced to an entrepreneur in Mexico:
That is exactly what Rodrigo Contreras, the real-life producer of Duff Beer, wanted to hear. A marketing man, Mr Contreras has always had an eye for a gimmick. The $140,000 (€93,000, £84,000) investment to establish Duff, his company, came from the proceeds of a book he wrote about Vicente Fox, a former president of Mexico, who is remembered for everything he failed to do in office. T he book consists of 136 blank pages.
A book with 136 blank pages? That’s funny. Bravo Mr. Contreras, and I wish you all the luck in the world fighting the vile horde of lawyers 20th Century Fox is certain to send at you eventually.
“Ladies and gentlemen, behold your new god!” – Mr. Smithers
The internet has been producing a mind numbing amount of Season 21 agitprop this week, you will find none of that drivel here. Instead we’ve got fan tributes, Wolf Blitzer exposing himself on national television, a neat compilation of real life actors who might play Simpsons characters, one piece of excellent usage/citation, and an upcoming gossip book about The Simpsons that an editor desperately needs to revise. Enjoy.
The 7 Creepiest Simpsons Fan Tributes – I don’t think creepy is really the right word here, though some of them are kinda weird. For example, if one happens to be musically inclined how on earth does it qualify as creepy to play the theme song? On the other hand, some of the videos seem to have been created by people with an excess of . . . uh, enthusiasm. Sadly, blogging obsessively about a show you want cancelled does not make the list. Very much worth watching (via).
CNN rots your brains. Especially if you work for them. – Perhaps you’ve heard, perhaps you haven’t, but Wolf Blitzer, one of the Keystone Kops CNN trots out in place of actual journalists, got demolished Saturday Night Live style on Celebrity Jeopardy:
What does this have to do with Simpsons? Well, the original link above also embedded the video where Homer burns his GED, and Andy Richter, sidekick to Simpsons alum Conan O’Brien, was the one who humiliated Blitzer. Celebrity Jeopardy final score? What is:
Wolf Blitzer: –4,600
Andy Richter: 68,000
This man has his own show, on a highly rated cable network, in a nation full of Flanderseseses, for sixteen hours each week, and he doesn’t know what city Jesus was from. In any other country on earth he would’ve starved to death long ago. U-S-A! U-S-A!
Crash blossoms up the garden path – This is a blog about the English language. Normally I’d steer clear of this because my knowledge of grammar is so negligible that I don’t even know the terms to use when describing how bad my grammar is. However, this qualifies as excellent citation at least:
New examples emerge constantly. Yesterday, Language Log brought my attention to a glorious new crash blossom in an Associated Press headline: “McDonald’s fries the holy grail for potato farmers”. My immediate reaction was to burst out laughing. The images evoked were as silly as they were sacrilegious – or as Homer Simpson might put it, sacrilicious. Mmm… deep-fried holy grail… Then I was baffled by how such an obviously ambiguous line could have slipped by an editor (or a series of them).
I like to think that pestering people about the crappiness of Zombie Simpsons is a hopeless and thankless hobby. But people who care about proper language are living in a darker time than even the most dedicated hater of Zombie Simpsons.
Revealed: The Real Smithers! – Here’s some writing even I can recognize as shitty. There’s an “unauthorized” tell all Simpsons book coming out next month. Apparently Smithers was based off of noted anesthesiologist Richie Sakai. Okay, that’s at least plausible, but it doesn’t help your credibility when you misspell the character’s name (quoting from the book itself):
Later Simpsons writers would model the behavior of the sycophantic Wayland Smithers — with his undying adulation of his boss, Mr. Burns — on Sakai, one of the most important figures in The Simpsons’ history.
Smithers first name is Waylon (like Waylon Jennings), not Wayland. That’s a quote from a blog post that was quoting the book, so it’s possible it was transcribed incorrectly, but that whole sentence is a mess (is Sakai or Smithers “one of the most important figures”?) so I’m inclined to believe that the misspelling is in the original. For their sake let’s hope that was just a galley and not the final edit (via).
ch, ch, ch, changes… – This is kinda about ants and kinda about this guy’s blog, but it’s got the Brockman clip and that makes it cromulent.
If The Simpsons Played Real Actors – This is an extensive list of real life actors next to the Simpsons characters they might play. Kevin Smith as Comic Book Guy is a great pick, so is Orlando Jones as Carl and, of course, they have the obligatory William H. Macy as Flanders. Problem is, they aren’t labeled and I don’t recognize a few of them, I have no idea who the kids next to Bart and Lisa are (Bart at least gets a kid, Lisa’s looks more like a teenager), nor do I know who’s next to Burns or Marge. Paul Giamatti as Homer? I could buy that.
First Look: THE SIMPSONS “Treehouse of Horror XX” – Want to see bunch of what looks like concept art for this year’s Halloween episode? I didn’t, but hey, I’m not you.
Green Is New Face Of Butterfinger Candy – Seth Green, the guy who voices Chris on Family Guy, is now going to do Butterfinger commercials with the same tag line Bart used to use. There’s something fitting about that.
Religion across the board – This guy created a board game where deities fight each other. The only reason you should care is this:
Mike Reiss, writer and producer for the hit TV series “The Simpsons,” praised the game’s wit and design.
“It’s smart and funny and so handsomely mounted,” he said in a review on the game’s Web site.
“handsomely mounted”, tee hee.
Does Big Tide offer up big tastes? – There is a brewery in St. John, New Brunswick that has tables postered with teevee shows, movies, etcetera. There may or may not bee a Homer table, but who cares? It’s a brewery. Mmmm, beer.
‘Squarepants’ is 38 hours of F.U.N. – And finally, this is more about SpongeBob than Simpsons, but it’s still right on target:
“Spongebob Squarepants” was never part of that, and these days, like “Family Guy” and “The Simpsons,” the show is just something that’s still on.