“Seymour, you are truly incompetent.” – Superintendent Chalmers
“Well, I hardly think it’s fair-” – Principal Skinner
“Dummy up, you! Listen to those passing motorists who support the teachers!” – Superintendent Chalmers
Posts Tagged ‘The PTA Disbands
“But we don’t have that kind of money. In fact, no school could afford-” – Principal Skinner
“Here’s the admission, plus something for you. See that they get a little extra education, would you?” – Principal Valiant
“Yes, sir, Principal Valiant!” – Fort Springfield Ticket Taker
“He thinks he’s so hot ever since he swept the Princy Awards. Well, those things are rigged.” – Principal Skinner
“It took the children forty minutes to locate Canada on the map.” – Marge Simpson
“Marge, anyone can miss Canada, all tucked away down there.” – Homer Simpson
Whenever Zombie Simpsons hitches its fading star to a currently popular celebrity, your Katys Perry and Ladys Gaga, the internet throws a brief but mild fit wherein huge numbers of pop culture sites that normally couldn’t give a fuck about the show write about how Celebrity X is gonna be Simpsonized. That very thing happened this week in regards to Justin Bieber’s brief and pointless cameo, so it’s a bit of a clipped Reading Digest. Bieber clogged the tubes, and once you’ve read one blog post lamenting the brevity of his appearance, you’ve read all several thousand of them. Besides that deliberate omission, we’ve got some cool fan art, a statistical analysis of other celebrity guests, some excellent usage, several people who agree with us, some (possibly dubious) statistics about Duff, and a plastic donut.
Oh, and this is basically obligatory today:
The Curse of the Simpsons! – Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week is this statistical look at whether or not guest voicing on The Simpsons is bad for your health. Short answer, no:
So there is no curse, celebrities who appear on the Simpsons live about an extra 3 years (on average at least). If we look at the ages Simpson guests have been dying, the average is 76 years, with some folks pushing 100.
No wonder they keep having pointless cameos like Bieber and Captain Picard, it makes people live longer. Jean’s probably got a lucrative, off the books sideline in selling guest spots. (At this rate, Bieber’s going to be alive until 2130.)
Went to get my oil changed and found this… – This is a reddit link to a positively amazing set of images of styrofoam cups with elaborate drawings, including the Simpson family on the inside of one.
Bizarro Baseball: the Isotopes – Merchandising, merchandising, where the real money from the movie is made:
Perhaps the strangest, most incredible part of this origin story lies in the annals (or lack thereof) of subsidiary rights:
In the three months after the team’s name was announced in September 2002, before the team ever took the field, the team sold more merchandise than the Albuquerque Dukes sold in any single season, and led minor league baseball in merchandising revenue in 2003.
The real life Simpsons: The Groening family tree – This is what happens when you have to come up with characters in the waiting cubicle at 1987 FOX.
Canadian ‘couch gag’ a dream come true for ‘Simpsons’ fan – So that couch gag contest they’re running isn’t just a desperate ploy for attention, it’s an internationally desperate ploy for attention:
Savaya, 22, earned the trip to Hollywood by coming up with a “couch gag” for the opening credits of the season 24 finale of The Simpsons. It airs Sunday at 8:30 p.m. on Global.
Savaya’s couch gag will air only on the Canadian broadcast of the show.
“I’ve never seen a Canadian couch gag before so I figured I might as well make it as Canadian as possible,” he says of his decision to include Sir John A. MacDonald, a hockey player, a loon and a beaver — and Maggie replacing her pacifier with a hockey puck.
Not now, Ralph.
Top 8½ Overlooked Games – Video game nostalgia that agrees with us:
lots of people bought it but many dismissed it as another crappy licensed game. And those who did so were wrong. Sure, it’s a GTA clone without the violence, but it’s also some of the best ones out there. Good gameplay, good Simpsons-esque humor (not nearly as good or daring as in the golden age of Simpsons, but still), voice acting by the original cast and so on.
The Simpsons writer hails North West talent – More about that new British show Weinstein is doing.
Voice to Vexed – Perfectly quoted excellent usage:
This is a verbatim message I recently spoke to my brother’s Voice-to-Text service, quoting Chief Clancy Wiggum from The Simpsons: “This is Papa Bear. Put out an APB for a male suspect, driving a . . . car of some sort, heading in the direction of, uh, you know, that place that sells chili. Suspect is hatless. Repeat: hatless.”
I can’t wait till they throw his hatless butt in jail.
Huzzah! – Because all dictionary entries should reference The Simpsons and be written on bar napkins.
“Mad Men” accidentally includes anachronism, sets Internet ablaze – Quoted at length because, yeah:
As aforementioned, “The Simpsons” provides an excellent send up of this. But Comic Book Guy does not only pick apart fictional TV shows and comic books of the “Simpsons” universe. In thinly veiled moments of meta-commentary, he pokes fun at the “Simpsons’” devoted fan base. This is done beautifully in an old episode when the Simpson family obtains a pet horse. Comic Book Guy references a previous “Simpsons” episode with a similar plotline. To a crowd of surrounding people, he cattily insinuates the series’ laziness. The “Simpsons” writers proceed to throw shade at obsessive fans such as Comic Book Guy, as Homer asks aloud: “Anybody care what this guy thinks?” The crowd resoundingly replies: “No!”
In the past weeks, some voices in the media have played Comic Book Guy to “Mad Men’s” “The Simpsons.” In a recent episode of “Mad Men,” Joan Holloway referenced eating at New York restaurant Le Cirque. Upon fact checking, people discovered that there was no Le Cirque in 1968 New York. Ostensibly, this quibble seems reasonable; historical authenticity is a vital part of “Mad Men’s” mojo, and to let if fall by the wayside seems a disregard for what the viewers love about the show.
Joan has the Wizard Key, I knew it!
Childhood Nostalgia: Mmm Donuts. – Eat it, Freeman and Nicholson:
Around the time the Simpsons Movie came out, 7-11 came out with these pink sprinkled donuts, identical to the one from the character. Of course I immediately bought it when it came out and man did I fell in love with it. It wasn’t the best donut I have ever eaten, overload on sugar and frosting and mediocre dough. But the fact that I accomplished a childhood dream (to eat that little pink donut), the taste didn’t really matter to me. Besides that feeling where you eat that little pink donut alongside the POP! Homer Simpsons figurine that has the same little pink donut in his hand, priceless.
Bucket List: Eat a Homer Simpsons donut – CHECK
Your childhood dream was to run out onto the field during a baseball game, and you did it last year, remember?
Dag 097 – Yet more t-shirt.
Best. Episode. Ever. (Round 25) – In a competition between “Homer the Heretic” and “Lost Our Lisa”, I must respectfully disagree.
7 Pensamentos de Homer Simpson – You know it’s a good joke when you can recognize it even in a foreign language:
5. Lisa, vampiros são faz-de-conta, como elfos, gremlins e esquimós.
♫♫ I don’t care, I love it ♫♫ – Speaking of languages I don’t speak, I have no idea what’s going on here, but there are two ladies painting Homer on a wall. Cool.
The Great Gatsby…In 10 Words – And then I saw the lighthouse, and I remembered how you love blinking lights.
Doctor Who Monday: Nightmare in Silver…In 10 Words – Oh, I forgot to, uh, carry the one.
Randy Jackson Leaving American Idol…In 10 Words – I wouldn’t.
The Office (US)…In 10 Words – Determined or not, that cat is long dead by now.
You’re Wrong about the Worst Draft Pick in Packers History – Excellent usage:
Everyone is feeling pretty good about the prospects picked. We’re in that afterglow period where we can imagine all the good things that our team can do without being pestered by the reality of games played, injuries suffered, potentials not reached.
As Homer Simpson would say, “that Bart is a little miracle … he reminds me of me before the weight of the world crushed my spirit.”
Homer actually says “that Bart of ours”, but close enough.
I lack direction – The show has always provided a roundabout introduction to pop culture:
I also realized that, though I had not really heard of or seen Doctor Who before then, I had glimpsed Doctor Who out of the corner of my eye; I started watching The Simpsons maybe in 2000, or thereabouts, both the new shows on Sundays and the reruns that played in the afternoons, and there was that Halloween episode where the Comic Book Guy turned into a Comic Book Villain, The Collector, and started collecting famous people, including ‘Doctor Who’ or the Fourth Doctor.
Duff Beer | Beer Of The World – Not entirely sure that this is trustworthy, but five percent seems about right:
- Name: Duff Beer
- Brewery: Duff Breweries
- City: Springfield
- Country: USA
- Produced since: 1989
- Style: Pilsener
- ABV: 5%
- Ingredients: water, malted barley, maize, hops
TV – The Top 15 episodes of The Simpsons (Part 2) – An otherwise fine list spoiled by an entry from Season 19.
PIXIE and PIXIER: Lisa Simpson Girl Gang – A snazzy Lisa hat for the fashionable Simpsons fan.
Homer Simpson Listening to Ned Flanders – An animated .gif of Homer not caring about that rowboat of decorative geraniums.
The Simpsons/Robot Chicken Couch Gag – In case you missed it, here’s the YouTube. (It took too long and it was still the best part of the episode.)
Analog 365 Project Day 133 – Good enough:
I found this giant plastic doughnut my boyfriend has from a Simpson’s game and couldn’t resist taking a goofy self portrait with it.
Everyone loves plastic donuts.
You Don’t Make Friends with Salad! – Weight loss sucks:
Homer Simpson was right; you don’t make friends with salad.
1-800-COLLECT – I’d forgotten that the show did collect call ads. Why collect call numbers were ever worth advertising on television I will never know.
When my blog gets foreign visits: – Animated .gif of the shifty eyed dog from “Beyond Blunderdome”.
lenny loves carl – This is a new blog with the fantastic title you see at left. Also: just one week until Arrested Development!
The Simpsons Season 7 Review – Yup:
After re-watching The Simpsons Season 7 it made me realise how good the show was and how much it has gone downhill.
My Hero: Lisa Simpson – And finally, I get to end the way I like, with someone who agrees with us. And besides, who doesn’t love Lisa?:
Now, right off the bat, I have to admit that I haven’t been as much of a Simpson’s fanatic as I was as a child. When I talk about The Simpsons, I’m talking about post-the-three-eyed-crow-opening, the old school Simpsons that had obscure literary references, sexual innuendos and morally thematic episodes. It was in these early years that I first fell in love with Lisa Lionheart, the girl who never backed down from a fight.
Amen. (Also, lotta good screen grabs and YouTube there.)
“You have to start putting money back into the school. You’ve cut back on everything, salaries, supplies, the food! I don’t care what you say, I can taste the newspaper.” – Mrs. Krabappel
“Bosh, shredded newspapers add much needed roughage and essential inks. Besides, you didn’t notice the old gym mats.” – Principal Skinner
“There’s very little meat in these gym mats.” – Lunchlady Doris
“Well, I guess this is a case where we’ll have to agree to disagree.” – Ned Flanders
“I don’t agree to that.” – Principal Skinner
“Neither do I.” – Mrs. Krabappel
Most weeks I come across at least one person who, in talking about The Simpsons, will mention its precipitous decline in quality. This week I came across four – count ’em four! – such people. (One of them even used the term “Zombie Simpsons”.) So the end of this week’s Reading Digest is pure catnip, but there’s a bunch of other fun stuff as well. There’s a crazy fun Simpsons mural, a nice little anecdote about the show’s global ability to teach English to the youth, plenty of usage, and even an interview with the woman who played Marge in the Simpsons porn parody.
Five and Alive: Simpsons Melos – Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week is a breakdown of some excellent quotes from “Homerpalooza” and how they apply to music and the music business today. Example:
Lisa Simpson: "It may be bleak, but this music is really getting to the crowd."
Bart Simpson: "Eh, making teenagers depressed is like shooting fish in a barrel."
Why is this funny now? The term "emo kid" and how ’90s mainstream alt rock was as depressing as its underground parallel.
Nick’s commentary: Bummed out teenagers don’t want to listen to lame, happy-sounding music- they want to sink even deeper into their own heads and listen to bleak, depressing music. for some reason that’s just a psychological thing and it always has been. I’m sure that scientific studies can trace it back to fucking Joy Division.
Like “Homer at the Bat”, it’s amazing that an episode so obviously of its time has aged so well. That episode was first broadcast fifteen years ago, hip-hop and rock have been through like ten phases each since then.
Jordan J Weber: Molly Free and I killin a mural outside Best Place Ever in Dogstown Des Moines (24th and University) – Several pictures of an amazing, surreal and enormous Simpsons mural in Iowa (via).
If the Republican frontrunners were Simpson characters – This is all images and is pretty good, though I might have gone with Helen Lovejoy or Lindsey Naegle for Michele Bachmann.
Film News In Brief 08/15: Edgar Wright, Alex Pardee, Kevin Smith, AMC Sucks, Film Quotes, Simpsons – Scroll to the bottom for an indisputably awesome cosplay picture that has been making the rounds all week. I wonder if these people were the same ones referenced in the article about Classic Simpsons trivia night I linked last week:
Another woman came dressed as “Floreda,” the awful state costume Homer made for Lisa.
Create The Itchy and Scratchy Show Retro Version on Illustrator – Extremely detailed instructions for drawing an authentic looking retro-1950s Itchy & Scratchy title card.
Walkers crisps is top children’s brand in the UK – The Simpsons are the second most recognized brand among British children age 7-15. Here’s the top ten:
1. Walkers Crisps
2. The Simpsons
5. Nintendo Wii
9. Nintendo DS
10. Wii Sports
Keep that crappy merchandise coming.
America through Travelers’ Eyes – Awesome:
The other day I had a family from France who I served pancakes with maple syrup, and omelets with white toast. The three children spoke English better than most other French kids I had met. I asked the parents why their English was so good. They said it was because they watch T.V. in English.
“Great! What’s your favorite T.V. show?” I asked the kids.
“Zee Simpsons!” each child declared in a lilting French accent.
What a way to learn English.
I’d go so far as to say that it’s a perfectly cromulent way to learn English. I learned a boatload of words from the show when I was a kid.
‘The Last Circus,’ ‘It,’ ‘The Simpsons’: 13 Terrifying Killer Clowns – A pageview whoring slideshow of some of pop culture’s most famous scary clowns. The link is to the Evil Krusty Doll from “Treehouse of Horror III” with a short YouTube of Homer in the tub.
Happy Fatties: Phil Hartman’s Influence – As if we needed more evidence that Phil Hartman was unconquerably awesome, here’s a letter he took the time to write to an aspiring comedian back in 1997 (via).
Sideshow Bob – Phenomenal fan made painting of Sideshow Bob complete with crazy eyes and bloody knife.
Andy San Dimas Shows Range as Leading Lady – An interview/article with the woman who played Marge in the Simpsons porn movie:
In the “Simpsons” porn, San Dimas wore a giant blue wig and yellow body paint for the entire one-day shoot.
“That’s probably like the weirdest movie that I’ve been in,” she says. “And of every movie that I’ve done it’s the one that people in my hometown have recognized me the most from which blows my mind.
Ha. That’s hilarious. She’s been in adult parodies of Tron, Superman, and Charlie’s Angles, but apparently even in porn The Simpsons is more powerful than other franchises.
Will evicting rioters be a bear patrol? – Excellent post-riot UK reference usage:
In a 1996 episode of The Simpsons, a bear frightens residents of Springfield by strolling down from the mountains. Homer rallies an unruly mob and convinces the town mayor to create a state of the art Bear Patrol, including branded stealth bombers. All is well until Homer receives his pay cheque, which includes an additional $5 “bear tax”.
Which of the proposed responses to this month’s rioting and looting will be a bear patrol, that is a disproportionate and expensive response prompted by an unruly mob of citizens demanding action?
The Fittest TV Cartoon Characters – Flanders makes the list here, along with some other choices I did not see coming, like April from the old Ninja Turtles cartoon.
Frank Grimes’s Speech From The Simpsons – Some epic love for when Grimes chews out Homer after getting invited to dinner.
30 DAY SONG CHALLENGE: 08 – A Song That You Know All the Words To – The Flaming Lips, “Bad Days” – If you’re feeling like listening to the songs from “A Streetcar Named Marge” today, you’re in luck.
Top 100 Favorite TV Opening Theme Songs (#20-1) « Inside My Head – Lots of good, nostalgic YouTube here, and the #1 spot goes to The Simpsons.
10 Best Comedies of All Time – However, the show only manages #6 here.
Geeky Bento Boxes – The Simpsons one is quite awesome, but the Bioshock one is even more impressive.
Elvis Presley’s Legacy…In 10 Words – I thought the mouse-over text was going to be the three TVs for sure.
He does have a heart – Some love for “Bart vs. Thanksgiving” and Simpsons in general.
Best Birthday Song Ever … – YouTube of Bart’s birthday song from the ultra-flammable animatronic animal band.
Costco Sydney – My Experience – Oh sure, Costco is like Monstromart, but where is the love?
“A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man.” -the Springfield town motto (The Simpsons) – This week’s Freakoutville quote comes with a nice little Simpsons graphic for “d’oh-nuts”.
Our baby does a great Homer Simpson impersonation – And now, the first of our four ending posts. This one is about the remarkable ability of a newborn to sleep for Homer-esque lengths of time and includes this:
On a side note, one crazy thing is that the Simpsons will probably still be on the air by the time Zachary is old enough to watch. And, by then the number of terrible seasons of the Simpsons will outnumber greatly the number of good seasons. The Simpsons had a golden age when it was the funniest show on television. Now, it is mediocre crappy show that should have been cancelled over ten years ago. I wish Conan O’Brien would give up his late night gig and go back to writing for the Simpsons.
If Zombie Simpsons is still on the air in ten years or so, the number of terrible seasons will be approximately three times the number of good ones.
NFL Players That Remind Me of TV Characters This Season – Our second ending comes from the world of professional football:
Donovan McNabb/Homer Simpson (The Simpsons) – D’Oh! That is what these two say when they make mistakes and they both make them often. It is amazing that both are still around considering neither is that great anymore. At one time they both had potential and got very close to fulfilling it but now they are just living on reputation.
I’d say Homer did fulfill his potential, and McNabb could’ve been a champion if Terrell Owens hadn’t gotten hurt that one year the two of them were unstoppable. But both of them are clearly shadows of their former selves at this point, no arguments there.
Breaking News: Fabregas to Join Mascherano on Barca Bench! – Part three is from the other kind of football. And while I don’t follow international soccer closely enough to understand most of this, I do understand this:
It’s like being one of the creators of the Simpsons versus being one of the people who now contribute to the production. Sure, you can tell your grandkids that you were part of one of the most successful TV shows of all time, but deep down you’ll know that you were never more than a passenger along for the ride as opposed to one of the stars that rocketed that show into comedic heaven.
Half the time when I come across a news item that says Channel X has ordered a pilot from writer/producer Y who worked on “The Simpsons”, it’s a guy who was there from Seasons 14-18 or something like that. Technically it’s true, but it’s like saying that Michael Caine and Dennis Quaid were stars of the “Jaws” franchise.
Saturn Valley: Simpsons and Sports – And finally, the fourth and final “agrees with us” link not only ends by saying, “Writing this list has made me sad, because good Simpsons is long dead. Only Zombie Simpsons exists”, but includes this appropriately stomach churning description of Zombie Simpsons:
Well, it used to be like that. The Simpsons post-season 10 isn’t exactly something that is watchable. It’s like sticking your hand into a blender, pulling your hand out, noticing that you are missing your hand, and being asked if you would like another go-around with the blender.
“Okay, when I call your name, uh, you say ‘present’ or ‘here’. No, say ‘present’.” – Moe
If there’s one scene that’s been played over and over again in Zombie Simpsons, it’s the listing of the celebrity names. Once upon a time even celebrities playing themselves (James Woods, Tito Puente, everybody from “Homer at the Bat” and “Krusty Gets Kancelled”) got actual introductions. Now they appear and have their names read aloud. This is actual dialogue spoken by Lisa in “The Great Simpsina”:
Ricky Jay. David Copperfield. Penn. Teller.
It sounds like she’s reading roll call at a talent agency picnic. Once all of them had shouted “present”, we got the usual self serving celebrity dialogue of feeble jokes at their own expense. It’s marketing masquerading as satire, and it’s the kind of humorless comedy that used to be restricted to award shows and The Hollywood Squares.
That sad conclusion, the fight scene felt like watching someone play a bad Final Fantasy clone, came at the end of your standard sitcom “child meets old person guest star, learns stuff” story. These have been around forever, and this wasn’t a particularly well done version. Along the way, Lisa got to be the instant professional, Jack McBrayer got to play Kenneth on a show other than 30 Rock, and there was a harmless “parody” of Criss Angel.
The numbers are in and they are atrocious. For the sake of decimal consistency, I have to round off last night’s numbers and use my standard two decimal places, which gives a number of 5.00 million viewers. However, it’s worth nothing that TV By the Numbers goes to three decimal places, and last night’s came in just a shade under 5 million at 4.996. Even the rounded number makes this the lowest rated episode of all time, coming in well below last year’s “Million Dollar Maybe”, and the third decimal place makes it the first episode to ever come in under five million viewers. Two more episodes at roughly this level will drag Season 22 into a virtual tie with Season 20 for lowest rated ever, and three will put it over the top, so to speak.
“Damn, I shouldn’t have eaten the mint first.” – Otto
Like so many Zombie Simpsons episodes, “The Scorpion’s Tale” is a creaking mess of unconnected segments, many of which have little or nothing to do with one another. Also like so many Zombie Simpsons episodes, many of these segments are ideas and concepts that have already been done years before. For example, at one point in this episode Grampa moves in and acts cranky. “Raging Abe Simpson and His Grumbling Grandson in "The Curse of the Flying Hellfish"”, anyone? Then the family visits a pharmaceutical lab where they make a few industry jokes and, wouldn’t you know it, Homer gets accidentally dosed with something (“Brother’s Little Helper”). Then the old people go on the generational warpath much as they do in “Wild Barts Can’t be Broken”.
Those are all inexact in at least some way; however, there is one segment that lines up nearly perfectly with a vastly better forerunner. At the opening of “The Scorpion’s Tale”, the kids from Springfield Elementary (though curiously none of their teachers), go on a field trip. At the opening of “The PTA Disbands”, the kids from Springfield Elementary (with their teacher), also go on a field trip.
First of all, as Mike Russo pointed out in comments yesterday, there’s the issue of just who is on this field trip:
I only watched the first couple of minutes but why were Skinner, Chalmers and bits and pieces of Hoover’s and Krabapple’s class on a field trip together? I love how no one has any care at all about how things are supposed to logically work as long as Skinner, Chalmers and Ralph Wiggum can be a scene together.
We like to bitch around here about the fact that Chalmers is in every school related scene now, he’s less of a superintendent than a sidekick these days, but the absence of either Hoover or Krabappel is just as telling. Instead of making this a class field trip for Lisa’s grade (so she can find the scorpions and the flowers), they make this a Zombie Simpsons field trip, with only the most prominent characters from Springfield Elementary allowed to attend. In “The PTA Disbands”, on the other hand, the trip to the Civil War fort is very clearly one that Bart’s class is taking. Neither Lisa nor Hoover is there, but Uter and Krabappel are. Skinner is there but, and here’s something we haven’t seen in a long time, Chalmers isn’t.
Beyond the participants, the real difference between these two field trips is in what goes on during each of them, both within the scene and in relation to the rest of the episode. For starters, consider the conversation Skinner has with Chalmers in “The Scorpion’s Tale” versus the ones he has with Krabappel in “The PTA Disbands”. In “The Scorpion’s Tale”, Chalmers shows up to exchange a single scene of sitcom-y insult humor with Skinner. Other than that his presence is completely superfluous, but they needed him for this skit and so he’s here. The first time we see Skinner and Krabappel in “The PTA Disbands”, they’re discussing the dilapidated state of the school bus and the dire straits of the school district’s budget. Literally their first lines of dialogue introduce the conflict of the episode and set them up as the main protagonists.
The action at each field trip is just as indicative of the massive disparity in quality. In “The Scorpion’s Tale”, the events at the state park are a random assortment of set pieces, none of which make a lick of sense even on their own, much less as part of a field trip. Martin stumbles upon the trailer of the right wing isolationists, who apparently live in a state park within walking distance of the ranger station. This leads to a long set piece the punchline of which is . . . a guy shooting junk with a shotgun.
Here’s how things went in the actual episode . . .
The episode next spends half a minute having one guy climb another guy before moving over to Bart, Milhouse and Nelson at the (strangely child sized) entrance to an abandoned mine. Did the boys sneak away? We have no way of knowing, they’re just there all of a sudden. But the writers had a dynamite joke about old porn and Nelson masturbating, and so that’s where things go next. Once that completely unrelated sketch is over, we move on to one with Lisa, who is also all by herself in the middle of the desert. Excluding the lame repetition of the Road Runner/Wile E. Coyote joke from “Homer Alone” and them getting off the bus, there are six scenes before the first commercial break (Skinner/Chalmers, Martin/Isolationists, Climbing Ranger, Abandoned Mine, Lisa with scorpions, Milhouse/hippie arm), none of which have anything to do with one another, and only one of which has anything to do with the rest of the episode.
. . . but this works too; in fact, this might even make more sense. Randomization would work just as well.
Now let’s take a look at the trip to Civil War era Fort Springfield. Before the kids even get there we’re informed that things deemed unnecessary in the heavily cut school budget include working brakes on the bus. Once they arrive, the main thrust of the plot is reinforced again as the “Diz-Nee” corporation’s takeover of the park means that the Springfield kids can’t even go inside. (And then Principal Valiant from Shelbyville shows up to rub Skinner’s nose in it.) We get a brief set piece where we see something that actually goes on at a place like this: a Civil War re-enactment, albeit a hilariously bloodthirsty one. When a re-enactor (with an ax in his head) spots the Springfield kids “trying to learn for free”, the “Diz-Nee” employees fly into a rage and chase them from the park. The last time we see them they’re viciously beating a ten year old child. And all of this is interspersed with Skinner and Krabappel bickering over money and Otto siphoning gas. Every single line, scene and joke is related, to one another and to the ultimate plot of the bankrupt school district.
In “The Scorpion’s Tale”, you could randomize those six set pieces and it wouldn’t matter in the least. If the abandoned mine had come before the shotgun guy, would anyone have noticed? Very little (if any) of the dialogue would even need to be changed. They’re just sketches that start with the words “EXT. DESERT” on a script. Try doing something like with the Fort Springfield trip where each individual scene moves directly into the next. Removing just one would screw up the entire act, and rearranging them would render the whole thing nonsensical.
This is the only order in which this works, and while I included every scene from “The Scorpion’s Tale” above, I left out several from “The PTA Disbands” because there’s just too much going on to tell with stills.
“Milhouse, I found a hive of killer bees. You want to go throw rocks at it?” – Bart Simpson
“Sorry Bart, I’m deeply immersed in the Teapot Dome Scandal.” – Milhouse van Houten
“Huh?” – Bart Simpson
“However, it might be feasible in a fortnight.” – Milhouse van Houten
“Wha?” – Bart Simpson
“I can play in two weeks.” – Milhouse van Houten
“Juh?” – Bart Simpson
Apologies in advance for the vagueness of this, but posting is going to be random and light for the next couple of weeks (quotes of the day will continue as usual, of course). I was hoping to stick to something resembling a regular schedule, but it looks like that’s not in the cards. In addition to a few other things, there should be a some more “Lies Make Baby Jesus Cry” though. Those trailed off after that six week stretch of new Zombie Simpsons, and I very much want to send Disc 4 of Season 13 back to Netflix so it can blight someone else’s DVD player.
Many thanks to all our commenters and the many more silent readers.
“Can I play with it?” – Kindergartener
“No you can’t play with it! You won’t enjoy it on as many levels as I do.” – Professor Frink
Denise Du Vernay and the awesomely named Karma Waltonen recently came out with a book about how you can use The Simpsons in the classroom. We’ve mentioned it a few times around here but, since I haven’t read it, those mentions have been kinda brief (see: yesterday’s Reading Digest). Well, I still haven’t read the book, but Du Vernay, subbing in at USA Today’s Pop Candy blog, published a Simpsons syllabus (via) she uses for a college composition course titled “The Simpsons: Satire and Postmodernism”.
The syllabus contains a week by week schedule of the topics to be covered and the relevant episodes to watch. Here’s a sample:
Week 3: The Simpsons & Politics: View: Much Apu About Nothing (1996, Season 7); Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington (1991, Season 3); Citizen Kang (1996, Season 8); Sideshow Bob Roberts (1994, Season 6). Have read: Aeon J. Skoble’s "Lisa and American Anti-Intellectualism." (Recommended Home Viewing: Bart-Mangled Banner (2004, Season 15); Two Cars in Every Garage and Three Eyes on Every Fish (1989, Season 2)). Journals 3 & 4 due.
As you can see, there are two classes of episodes here, “View”, and the less imperative “Recommended Home Viewing”. Over the ten weeks of the course, the students are required to view thirty-three episodes (plus the movie, shudder), and recommended to view twenty-seven episodes. Complete list goes here:
You can tell just by scanning the list that there’s something noticeably missing from the “Required” column: Zombie Simpsons. There are two episodes from Season 10, and nothing from Seasons 11+. This is wise. Of the sixty total episodes, just fourteen (23%) are from Zombie Simpsons, and all of them are optional (presumably because teachers are not supposed to abuse their students).
We can now add accredited academics to the list of people who know that Zombie Simpsons is vapid, intellectually hollow tripe. Or, to use one of their erudite, ivory tower book learnin’ words, Zombie Simpsons “sucks”.
The book is out now, and I shamelessly stole this list of places you can buy it from the official website:
“Good news people! I’m happy to announce that another union has joined us in a sympathy strike, the Piano Tuners Local Four-Twelve!” – Mrs. Krabappel
It won’t matter, and I probably shouldn’t tamper with forces I don’t understand, but my boycott of Entertainment Weekly’s stupid “best character” list continues. It combines things I truly hate: arguing over specific placements on pop culture lists, mindless Zombie Simpsons rah-rah (“twenty years and going strong!”), and Entertainment Weekly. (I do not consider it a coincidence that their website’s URL is best pronounced “eww”.) However, their pageview ploy worked so well that I did find two links that are worth a look. Helpfully, both of them go to other blogs, so I don’t feel too dirty. We’ve also got two YouTube versions of the “Talkin’ Softball” song, a Simpsons/Rule 34 image that’s funny and non-pornographic, some excellent usage, and a couple of different people ragging on Zombie Simpsons.
…Woo Hoo! – Getting the best character stuff out of the way early, here’s a defense of Homer that gets linked because it comes with YouTube from “Marge on the Lam”.
Is Homer Simpson Really the Top TV Character of All Time? – This link makes the argument for Bart over Homer as #1.
Homer Simpson vs. The Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man – Shut up and eat your pinecone!
The Simpsons Did It…Twice – Just a few more examples of recycled ideas in Zombie Simpsons.
Homer And Bart Simpson Electronic Dart Board Game – Krusty Brand Seal of Approval on this one. Homer and Bart’s faces cover much of the board, and it doesn’t even look like it has numbers on it. You want to stick Homer and Bart on a dart board? Fine. But at least make it playable. (via)
The Real Life Ned Flanders – Wow, that guy does look like Flanders.
Old school – This is just a screen grab of Bart reading about Whacking Day, the quote is slightly off:
“Don’t bother the snakes.
Leave the snakes alone.”
Barry White’s actual lyric is “Leave all the snakes alone.” That nit picked, the blog it came from, “Inverted Soapbox”, gets an overall gold star for excellent usage. It not only uses Mr. Burns to help explain the hidden pitfalls of vegetarianism, but the about page is titled “Guh?” and includes this:
My mom thinks it’s cool.
This isn’t about show business. This is about some kid down a hole or something. – Low grade YouTube is still funny.
Glove Box Fun – Speaking of pointless YouTube, I cracked a smile at this:
Well I guess there a little Homer Simpson in all of us.
It would’ve been better with “Box goes open/box goes closed”.
Lisa Simpson, saxophone player – This is just a nicely written piece about Lisa, including some glancing but sincere Zombie Simpsons hate. Then there’s this:
So you’ll excuse me if I get snotty and say that Lisa has no business lip-syncing Ke$ha’s butt-stupid “Tik Tok.”
You do not need to be excused at all. You are 100% correct, snottiness is completely justified.
When One-Trick Ponies Attack – Does it still count as excellent usage when you get the quotes right but snip out a couple of lines in the middle? Nah. You can’t drop, “Wait, don’t be fooled! She’s just a regular Malibu Stacy with a stupid cheap hat!” without going down to moderate usage.
Even a good movie spin-off doesn’t do a lot to help a show’s cultural currency, and may actually hurt it: the Simpsons movie was a hit, but it re-enforced the idea that the show was more of an institution re-visiting its past glories — since the movie was just a larger-budget version of everything we’d seen before.
That’s about the size of it.
RULE 34 – Tee-hee.
America’s Pastime – Softball song: yes. Even one image from Zombie Simpsons during the YouTube: No.
Simpsons Sunday – Softball song: yes. Subtitles in what might be Italian: why not?
So there are BP employees not trying to stop the MASSIVE OIL LEAK RIGHT NOW? Curious – Someone finally made the connection between BP and a the psychotic Texans. It was only a matter of time.
21 Realistic X-Rays and Skeletons of Fictional Characters (PICS) – This has the usual picture of Homer’s peanut brain, but it also has a comparative anatomy lesson (internal only. . . boo) with him and Marge. There are also a bunch of other neat images on here, including the Planet Express Ship. (via)
Crappy Thing #996: The Simpsons, Post 1990′s – The title says it all, but here’s some good hate:
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. In the first decade of The Simpsons, it seemed like sheer genius. In the proceeding decade, not so much.
Tellingly, season 12 includes an episode entitled Worst Episode Ever.
The Simpsons + The New Millennium = Crappy
“Seymour, the children are playing in the hole again. Shouldn’t you get that fixed?” – Mrs. Krabappel
“Edna, you know they just cut the school’s budget. Besides, if I had the money I’d fix the exhaust leak in the back. Frankly, I think it’s causing some of our low test scores.” – Principal Skinner