Posts Tagged ‘The Springfield Files


Quote of the Day

Great Story

“Oh, it was awful.  They set me on a cold metal table and prodded me with humiliating probes.  And th-oh, wait, that was my physical.” – Homer Simpson
“Great story, Homer.  Really.” – Karl


Quote of the Day

The Springfield Files15

“Thank God it’s Wednesday.” – Jasper
“It’s Friday.” – Mrs. Glick
“Uh-oh, wrong pills. . . . Uh, little help?” – Jasper


Compare & Contrast: Suspense Show Takeoffs

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“For the love of God, help me!  I’ve been here for four days and a turtle’s got a hold of my teeth.  There he is!  Come back here, you.  Slow down!  I’ll get yeh!” – Abe “Grampa” Simpson
“This is the worst assignment we’ve ever had.” – Agent Scully
“Worse than the time we were attacked by the flesh eating virus?” – Agent Mulder
“Ow!  He bit me with my own teeth!” – Abe “Grampa” Simpson
“No, this is much more irritating.” – Agent Scully

Whether it’s shadowy terrorist networks and shady politicians, a government conspiracy to collude with aliens, or any other formula for dramatic mystery, people like to be in suspense about what’s going to happen next.  What nefarious plots will the heroes uncover?  What dastardly twists do the villains have up their sleeves?  Will the leads fall in love and kiss (or possibly get naked) on screen?

All of these things are a rather far cry from the reasons people watch animated comedies.  So when it comes time for a parody, it helps tremendously to know that you’re here to poke fun at your source material and not merely repeat it.  For a good example of the former, there’s “The Springfield Files”.

The X-Files became a parody of itself toward the end as the conspiracy kept getting strung out and strung out (and strung out) because it was one of FOX’s few hit shows and they couldn’t bear to let it die.  (When Troy McClure shows the FOX “Programming Chart” later in Season 8, they weren’t kidding when it was just that, The Simpsons and Melrose Place.)  But in its prime, The X-Files was a popular critical darling that kept audiences’ rapt attention with inventive monsters of the week and a nefarious global conspiracy that unfolded ever so slowly.

The Simpsons took The X-Files and made fun of all of it: the inherent goofiness of the FBI investigating “paranormal” crimes and creatures, the endless breadth of conspiracy theories, and the unusually drop dead sexiness of that pair of agents.  It wasn’t mean about any of it, a show as silly and relentlessly serious about itself as The X-Files isn’t exactly a hard target for satire, and the two lead voices were happy to show up and have a little fun at the expense of their meal ticket.

But “The Springfield Files” never feels like an X-Files episode or even tries to copy one.  Mulder and Scully are there, of course, but they’re hardly the protagonists and they basically disappear as soon as they ascertain that Homer’s a drunken idiot who shouldn’t be taken seriously, which doesn’t take long at all.  The “alien” turns out to be Mr. Burns, which the Springfield mob understandably tries to kill anyway.

Even the quick departure of Mulder and Scully laughs at The X-Files.  Scully tells Mulder that they have to go since this is obviously not an alien, and then she gets annoyed and just walks off in boredom as he launches into his elaborately insane “truth is out there” speech.  Meanwhile, real crime, Moe smuggling exotic animals, is happening right in front of the FBI.  Along the way they have time to throw in Leonard Nimoy parodying himself and his lesser television accomplishments, FOX, and Friday nights.

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That’s not Leonard Nimoy!

“Homerland” manages none of that, and instead seeks to recreate, more or less as closely as possible, scenes and characters from Homeland.  For starters, there’s the opening, which like their Dexter parody from a couple of seasons ago, basically requires you to have seen a relatively obscure cable show to get what’s going on since it’s little more than a remake with Simpson characters substituted for the regulars.  The plot and even the musical cues are more or less direct copies, and poor Kristen Wiig is asked to do little more than alternate between being crazy and being suspicious in a Claire Danes role that has just that one joke that they repeat over and over again.

They’re so concerned with faithful reproduction that the scene where Lisa catches Homer “praying” is practically a shot-for-shot duplicate of one on Showtime, except that Homeland didn’t have the daughter exposit needlessly.  You don’t need to be a fan of Homeland, or even really know anything about the show, to know that’s a bad idea.  This is some of Lisa’s actual dialogue:

Lisa:  It looks like he’s praying . . . to the East.  The Middle East!  Mecca.

As a feat of bad writing that’s kind of impressive.  It’s quadruple expositive, including explaining one thing thrice over, and for that extra special Zombie Simpsons kick it involves Lisa acting uncharacteristically suspicious of Muslims.

What’s going on around all that crappy dialogue isn’t helping.  Shows like Homeland and The X-Files, which rely on twists and discoveries and secrets, set up those kind of scenes carefully.  Zombie Simpsons just tossed this one in with no explanation because, hey, there was one like that on Homeland.

Making matters yet more incoherent, Zombie Simpsons asks scenes like this to be treated as part of a serious mystery – hence Lisa’s shocked reaction to seeing Homer “pray” – but doesn’t treat anything else with even a scrap of care.  Things are whispered to and around Homer in scenes where other characters are standing right next to him, he keeps muttering his plot in case anyone had forgotten (the audience included), and the ending – which falls well short of the full runtime despite all the repetitive flashbacks – is unironically happy and just, with Burns being a complete idiot and getting arrested.

Burns Oopsie

He actually says “Oopsie” here, like he’s a toddler in a paper towel commercial.

In “The Springfield Files”, the big Burns reveal matches the rest of the mystery in deliberate silliness and contains lines like “The most rewarding part was when he gave me my money”.  In “Homerland”, it’s Burns expositing himself into jail for no reason whatsoever and has lines like “Wait a minute, Burns.  You don’t have a functioning AC system at a nuclear plant?  That’s against the law!”.  As usual, where The Simpsons made sense and kept things fun, Zombie Simpsons produces an intermittently serious mess.


Quote of the Day

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“Now we’re going to run a few tests.  This is a simple lie detector.  I’ll ask you a few yes or no questions and you just answer truthfully.  Do you understand?” – Agent Scully
“Yes.” – Homer Simpson


Quote of the Day

The Springfield Files10

“Leonard Nimoy, what are you doing here?” – Bart Simpson
“Wherever there is mystery and the unexplained, cosmic forces shall draw me near.” – Leonard Nimoy
“Uh-huh.” – Bart Simpson
“Hey, Spock, what do you want on your hot dog?” – Hot Dog Guy
“Surprise me.” – Leonard Nimoy


Reading Digest: Overpriced Video Game Edition

Waterworld Game

“Thirty-eight, thirty-nine, forty quarters, this better be good.” – Milhouse van Houten
“Game over.  Please deposit forty quarters.” – Waterworld Game
“What a rip!” – Milhouse van Houten

This week we’ve got four different links about the Tapped Out game.  Three of them are about how damned annoying and greedy it is when it comes to squeezing you to keep putting in virtual quarters after a minute or two of gameplay.  We’ve also got a couple of great pieces of fan made photography, the Bill Plympton opening from this Sunday’s episode of Zombie Simpsons, a boss Bart tattoo, two different respectable media outlets mocking the show for their Harlem Shake entry, a rather obscene car decal, and a truncated Wall Street Journal article that says the Simpsons are about to go Lego.


House of Simpson family – Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week is this fan made drawing of the Simpson home.  Reader Sam, who sent this in, described it as “lovingly detailed”, and that it is.  The attention to detail is just wonderful, and you can buy prints.  Thanks, Sam! 

60/365 – Close up artsy picture of Lisa and Bleeding Gums figurines jamming under a starry sky.  The musical notes in the air are a nice touch.

Be Who You Feel You Are – From a different photographer (assuming that’s not photoshop) comes this picture of Homer imagining himself with Herb’s hair and Flanders’ stomach.  Damn well done.

Mega Homer – Fan made drawing of Homer as Mega Man riding Santa’s Little Helper as Rush.  Cool.

Exclusive Sneak Preview: The Simpsons Go Noir – Sunday’s episode of Zombie Simpsons is getting a nicely stylish opening courtesy of Bill Plympton.  You can watch it here on-line so you don’t have to watch in on TV.  The future!

Matt Groening’s Artwork for Apple – Groening’s Life in Hell style brochure for Apple from 1989.  (I’ve linked it before, but it makes the rounds every now and again, so why not link it when it does?)  (via)

Dag 030 – A joke t-shirt with Homer sitting on a chair captioned “Perseverance” with the punchline “If something is hard it’s not worth doing”.  The actual quote, of course, is “If something’s hard to do, then it’s not worth doing”, but it’s still a cool shirt.

Missed Opportunities: Freemium Subtlety – A less than enthusiastic report from the Tapped Out game:

When creating a freemium app game, where you need to encourage players to spend money, it’s important not to beat them over the head. The Simpsons Tapped Out doesn’t seem to get this, and constantly badgers the player to cough up some dough.

Poorly made micro-transactions are killing gaming. – More in that vein:

To speed this up, they include the use of “doughnuts” a form of premium currency in the game and the thing that irks me the most has to be the fact that they don’t even state a price before you buy it, the game pushes you to buy them through impulsive purchases because they know that people will buy them because the game takes so long for everything to even happen you’re forced to through pure impatience, this means less gameplay and more sitting around and waiting unless you choose to buy their premium currency, what’s the point in that? I’d rather you not let the game go free-to-play if you’re just going to cover that up through a horrible form of in game currency which we are forced to buy.

The future of gaming, micro-transactions – And why they do it:

Star Trek Online, Lord of Ultima, Dungeons and Dragons online and The simpsons What’s the common thread? You can play them but if you want to see the closing credits you’re going to need to peel off some green.

It’s become a very lucrative space with $25 million made by EA in the last quarter of 2012 just on their  Simpsons mobile  game alone.


Of course you don’t have to purchase the extra content but your experience will be diminished compared to those that do.  EA’s Blake J. Jorgensen thinks that’s where the money is.

“The next and much bigger piece is micro transactions within games…  we’re building into all of our games the ability to pay for things along the way, either to get to a higher level to buy a new character, to buy a truck, a gun, whatever… and consumers are enjoying and embracing that way of the business“

I’m not so sure consumers are “enjoying “micro-transactions as much as they’re just tolerating them at this point.  The model  can work if your upfront investment is minimal but the future may not be so certain if we’re still paying triple-A prices.

Indeed.  And let’s not forget that EA’s SimCity release is going about as poorly as it is possible for something to go.  (Also, nice WordPress theme.)

The Simpsons Tapped Out Android Hack | Unlimited Money & Doughnuts – Should ye be as frustrated as the above three, I present this without comment as I do not own an Android device on which to test it.

Lego Eyes Tie-Up With ‘The Simpsons’ – Speaking of merchandising money, this is behind one of Murdoch’s idiotic paywalls, so you can’t read the whole thing, but here’s the opening:

COPENHAGEN – Lego, looking to expand its string of partnerships with media franchises, is in talks with 20th Century Fox about making a toy set based on TV show The Simpsons, a spokesman said on Thursday.

A deal would pair the fast-growing Danish toy maker with what is believed to be the longest running scripted show in U.S. TV history.  The Simpsons has a cult following and appeals to younger audiences as well as adults who have followed the show since they were children.

We’re getting ever closer to Simpsons the flame thrower.

Homer Simpson’s Poker Face – A nice little writeup of a small talk Simon gave to some students at Old Dominion last week.

Talk of the Town: These folks love animals! – A retired school teacher named Sue Simpson has dogs named Bart and Ralph.  Ha!

100 More Simpsons Quotes, In Order Of Importance – Lotta good quotes here.

Quick Reviews: Oscar Nominated Shorts – Well, the Oscars are gone, but how about one more review:

Filled with visual gags and recognisable faces, Maggie Simpson in “The Longest Daycare” manages to impressively entertain audiences even whilst feeling no more original than an episode of The Simpsons. The choice to create the film from Maggie’s point of view with no dialogue is a respectable one, and the film’s plot is solid and witty enough to maintain laughter. The ending is surprising and you root for Maggie throughout, but this film ultimately falls flat and one can’t help but feel that a webisode is a more suitable format (legitimacy of web videos for this category aside) and one where the film would fit in with it’s peers much better.

Homer Simpson Bape Character – Just what it says.

“Die Bart Die” from the Tattoo Shooting Gallery – Awesomely grotesques tattoo of Bart with a knife through his head.

BOO-URNS – It’s another Simpsons Tumblr with lots of images and .gifs (and very little Zombie Simpsons).  It’s maintained by this young lady:

When I was younger I could relate to it because my family was pretty similar. I was the (pardon my lack of modesty) smarty-pants little sister, my brother was more similar to Bart than anyone I had ever met, my mother was super-maternal and maybe a little traditional-housewifey. I can’t stress how different my Dad is from Homer, but you get the point.

I do.  Well done.

Andy Wilson: Rich Moore: From The Simpsons to Wreck-It Ralph – Jebus, the Huffington Post sucks.  This should’ve been an interview with Rich Moore, instead it’s mostly filler.

Homer Simpson: Trolling Jesus – I don’t think this really counts as trolling, it’s just a subtitled screen grab of Homer’s joke about Jesus needing better arch support.  Still cracks me up every time.

Top 5 Best Beatle Album Covers – Includes the Simpsons parody of Sgt. Pepper’s.

My favorite TV shows, pt. 1: The Simpsons. – A fan of Zombie Simpsons writes:

The Simpsons will always have a special place in my heart. It is one of the most impressive shows on the air. It is in its 24th season with no end in sight. It isn’t quite as popular as it was during the first 10 or so seasons, but with its ability to poke fun at any current event without being quite as offensive as a show like South Park (love it, but it offends many), it is able to appeal to adults who want a bit more grown-up humor, as well as to their teenage kids. As such, it’s one of few shows that are still on the air that are viewed by the whole family together.

Obviously, I don’t agree, but that’s okay, everybody gets their own opinions.  Here comes the funny part: the blog is titled “Zombie Love is Forever”.  Oh, the irony.

Feeling Old? Ages of 90s T.V. Characters Today – They’ve got everything from Friends to Full House on here, and they’ve got the Simpsons at:

This doesn’t work so well, because the characters ages are constant, but as with Rugrats, I’ll act like everyone has aged in real time since season one. Bart: 33, Lisa: 31, Maggie: 24, Homer and Marge: 58-ish.

Seems about right.

21 & Over…In 10 Words – What better way to spread beer fueled mayhem?

Dallas…In 10 Words – That’s right, I shot JR.

The 2013 Sequester…In 10 Words – Looks like those clowns in Congress are at it again.  What a bunch of clowns.

Fare thee well gym! – Quitting the gym with help from YouTube of Homer discovering what a gym is.  I don’t know about the rest of you, but ever since that episode I mentally pronounce gym “gime” pretty much every time.

Introducing the blog to IE business school… – Well done:

Also check out my twitter @chizwozla

The word ‘chizwozla’ came from an episode of The Simpsons when I was 10 years old and making my first email account. Now that I have 5 email addresses, a twitter, a facebook page, (previously myspace and bebo and even more previously an Angelfire blog), a fantasy football team, 2 wordpress blogs, a flipboard account, a skype account, etc etc it has come in very handy in using one, common word that is never previously taken. I’ve never had to use Roboconnor123456 or similar because I was a visionary 10 year old…

The Simpsons – It’s a car decal on a gas tank cover of, I am not making this up, Maggie sucking Bart’s dick.  The hell of it is, it looks like a real picture, as in that’s actually on the side of somebody’s car and they drive around with it like that in public.  Huh.

‘The Simpsons’ voted Britain’s favourite TV family – This is about as meaningless as it’s possible for something to be, but it’s nice, I suppose:

The Simpsons have been voted Britain’s favourite TV family in a new survey from Channel 4.

Homer, Marge, Maggie, Bart and Lisa collected 45% of the vote, finishing above The Flintstones and The Royle Family.

So it’s come to this: The Simpsons do "The Harlem Shake" – The A.V. Club has it about right:

It seems like everybody short of the Vatican is sharing their take on the ubiquitous dance sensation that’s sweeping the nation. That now includes The Simpsons, who have entered into the fray with an exuberant clip that will undoubtedly age like a fine wine and not be something that everyone involved will be embarrassed by a week from now.

The Simpsons Attempt The Harlem Shake, Fail Miserably – The Mary Sue piles on as well:

I guess this means this whole thing is done now, right?

Heh, they wish they were relevant enough to make something uncool.  Regardless, I’m confident something else will be along shortly.

SimpFail – And finally, I get to end the way I prefer, with someone who agrees with us:

Recently the Simpsons, my beloved and favorite show of all time, has been making me upset and disappointed. Since about season 10 the quality of the show has gone down. However within the last 5 seasons I will say it has really sunk quickly and I don’t know how much longer they can keep it up. Last Sunday’s episode featured an opening scene of the Simpsons doing the Harlem Shake, A fad that has really gone way overboard allowing people to go full retard for a minute.

Sadly, they’re not going to run out of hapless stabs at relevance anytime soon.


Quote of the Day

The Springfield Files9

“This is my cause!  I’m like the man who singlehandedly built the rocket and went to the moon.  What was his name, Apollo Creed?” – Homer Simpson


Quote of the Day

The Springfield Files8

“Well, it’s 1 am, better go home and spend some quality time with the kids.” – Homer Simpson


A Glossy Victory Lap

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To celebrate the 300th or so episode of Zombie Simpsons, The Hollywood Reporter interviewed some of the more illustrious members of the staff and put together a couple of photo streams.  They talked to Groening, Brooks, Jean, O’Brien, Scully, Cartwright, Castellaneta, Kavner, Smith, and Azaria; and they got pictures from inside the production offices.  The main article is here, and the behind the scenes pictures are here.  In an artful attempt to dredge some pageviews out of their archived content, there are also some links to older articles and photo collections as well.  Those aren’t as interesting.  In fact, the one called “Meet the Cast” is just a collection of generic red carpet photos that they slapped together last fall after the renewal was announced. 

The interviews and the behind the scenes photos are pretty cool though.  Some highlights:

“In every half hour of every day, an episode of The Simpsons is broadcasting somewhere around the globe.”

I doubt that.  I’d doubt that if it was in The New Yorker, and The Hollywood Reporter is a long way from The New Yorker.  Then there’s this:

So I started drawing my comic, Life in Hell, and sold it as a zine at the record store. Production designer Polly Platt showed it to James L. Brooks. He was curious and called me for a meeting at Paramount. My 1962 Ford Fairlane had just bitten the dust. Luckily I was living right across the street from Paramount. They wouldn’t let me in because I didn’t have a car. I said, "But I have a meeting with James L. Brooks!" That was 1985. Nothing came of the meeting until a couple years later when James asked me to come over to the Fox lot to meet again.

I didn’t know Groening and Brooks had a meeting two years before the shorts started.  I’ve also never heard this story before:

"The Simpsons series began like many things begin: with an animator getting drunk at a Christmas party. We were already doing Tracey Ullman, and David Silverman, who was with us then and would go on to direct The Simpsons Movie, cornered me and poured out his heart about what having a primetime Simpsons show would mean to animators.

Granting that memories of parties from a quarter of a century ago might not be the most reliable information in the world, I do like the image of David Silverman cornering Brooks and demanding he do a half hour show for the sake of animators everywhere.  Viva la animación!

Here’s Conan O’Brien describing something that has gone by the wayside:

When I got there, they told me, first and foremost, "The Simpsons characters are a family who love each other. They need to exist in that reality. Bart can’t take out a gun and shoot Homer in the face; it’s not the Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote."

There are a lot of Zombie Simpsons counterexamples of that, but right now I’m just thinking of that episode they did last year with all the popped eyeballs.

Anyway, the article and the slideshow are worth seeing, particularly for the picture at the top of the first page of Brooks, Groening and Jean.  Brooks is the only one who looks even remotely comfortable, Groening and Jean look like they’d rather be anywhere else.  Jean especially has a look on his face that’s a mixture of “who farted?” and “I just sat on something sharp”. 


A Brief Note on Fake Brands

The Springfield Files6

“Another Duff, Homer?” – Moe
“Nah, it’s Friday night, Moe.  I want to try something special.” – Homer Simpson
“Ah, sure, sure, here you go: Düff, from Sweden.” – Moe
Skoal!” – Homer Simpson

After the spastic fit of fake brands that was the opening to “The Food Wife”, I and several others pointed out how weak the brand parodies are on Zombie Simpsons.  As was brought up in comments, not only were many of them repeats, but they mostly aren’t even creative.  Partly this is the same problem that plagues newer Treehouse of Horror episodes: weak source material.  The more fundamental reason though is that Zombie Simpsons parodies brands and products, whereas The Simpsons parodied ideas and trends.

Take, for example, some of the most famous fake brands on the show: Buzz, Duff and Laramie.  None of those are direct parodies of any single brand.  Buzz isn’t a joke aimed at Coke or Pepsi or anything else, it’s aimed at all of them in one piercingly descriptive word.  The same is true of Duff.  Duff isn’t Miller or Coors or Budweiser, it’s every one of them and then some.  (Duff is such a strong concept that they were even able to play off it with Fudd and Düff.)  Similarly, Laramie tobacco isn’t Philip Morris or any specific cigarette brand, it’s a stand in for all those wretched tobacco companies.

The Simpsons certainly did its share of direct parodies.  Dr. Hibbert is Bill Cosby, Drederick Tatum is Mike Tyson, Malibu Stacey is Barbie.  But even the direct ones went beyond their narrow niches.  Consider Rainier Wolfcastle, their stand in for Arnold Schwarzenegger.  The McBain movies aren’t simply Schwarzenegger films, they use them to parody everything from Dirty Harry movies to Lethal Weapon movies to James Bond movies.

“Mapple” can never be that versatile.  Hell, it’s just Apple with an M stapled to the front.  You can’t use it to mock anything except Apple.  And it’s not like Apple is such a distinct company that it has to be treated uniquely.  If they had come up with a genuinely broad parody of Apple they could’ve used it on any trendy tech firm, from Google to Amazon to Facebook.  (Of course, that would require them to actually want to make fun of Facebook instead of having the founder on for his two minutes of yellow fellatio.)  Things like “Grand Theft Scratchy” and “Funtendo” aren’t just lazy parodies, they’re also self limiting.


“The Springfield Files” Spews Truth

The Springfield Files5

“Wait a minute, Scully, what’s the point of this test?” – Fox Mulder
“No point.  I just thought he could stand to lose a little weight.” – Dana Scully
“His jiggling is almost hypnotic.” – Fox Mulder
“Yes.  It’s like a lava lamp.” – Dana Scully

There’s an interesting flow to this commentary.  There’s a hefty enough catch of guest stars and X-Files stuff that they start out talking about what sparked the idea and how things finally got going.  Then, about halfway, they’ve filled in most of the details there and start paying closer attention to what’s on the screen that moment.  This leads to some minor trivia and a lot of laughing. 

Six guys on this one.

0:30 – Jean mentions that this is one of the four episodes he and Reiss were able to do on the side while working at Disney (on The Critic).

1:00 – Reiss is joking around that they came up with the idea for this way back when The X-Files was brand new. Jean says he found a copy of TV Guide in the bathroom with the show on the cover and thought, “Oh, this is a good idea”. But it didn’t go anywhere until many years later.

1:45 – Reid Harrison, the credited writer, had been hired by Jean and Reiss to do an episode of The Critic for a season that never got aired.

3:00 – Jean theorizes that one of the reasons FOX cancelled The Critic was that they didn’t own the show, saw it was doing well after The Simpsons, and plugged in King of the Hill, which they did own, to fill the slot. Bastards.

4:00 – The board artist who did Act 2, with David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, was Kevin O’Brien, a big fan of The X-Files who went on to Pixar. Lots of people on the show were fans. That’s where they got many of the details from the show, such as the smoking man.

5:20 – Reiss laughingly plugs the Queer Duck movie by mentioning that Duchovny is in it playing Tiny Jesus. No qualms from me: Queer Duck – The Movie (2006).

6:00 – Jean mentions that because this was one of those split off episodes he and Reiss did, the writers room was only a handful of people and the whole thing got no laughs.

7:30 – They had to try quite a few things to get the glow on the Burns alien to look right. That comment is followed by the obligatory mention that it would be a lot different on computers.

8:00 – Some love for Leonard Nimoy as a nice guy who does funny reads. Reiss mentions that Nimoy doesn’t get used enough for comedy, which reminds me of this music video (which now has a healthy 4.5 million views on YouTube).

8:45 – Jean asks if this is the first episode Steven Dean Moore directed, and it wasn’t. His first episode was “Marge Be Not Proud”, which prompts someone in the background (can’t tell who) to say “What was ‘Marge Be Not Proud’”? Ha.

9:40 – Groening mentions that he hadn’t seen The X-Files when they did this and had wondered why their voices sounded so flat, which causes some deserved laughter.

10:15 – Reiss jokes that the lineup of aliens (Marvin the Martian, Gort, Chewbacca, Alf, and Kang/Kodos) was their “most illegal shot in history”. He and Jean had worked on Alf and they got a call from the Alf guy a couple of weeks later. He said if they ever do Alf again to let him do the voice.

10:50 – Appreciating, and laughing at, the shot of Homer running on the treadmill reflected in the glass as Mulder and Scully look on.

11:45 – Moore thinks it was a writers note to add Duchovny in his speedo on his ID photo. That always cracked me up.

12:00 – Laughing at Moe’s habit of smuggling animals.

12:20 – Jean mentions that this was the second time they had an animal steal Grampa’s teeth, but this was episode 167 and how much longer was it really going to go?

12:50 – Laughing at Duchovny’s goofy speech and Anderson’s eye-rolling reaction.

13:20 – Reiss and Jean are trying to remember how much they fiddled with this one after the script was completed. Consensus is: not much.

14:20 – Another animation note: shadows (Bart and Homer are talking in the kitchen at night) were much harder to do before computers.

15:40 – Laughing about how they don’t have cels to sell anymore, but that there are so many of them left over that paying a bunch of money for one isn’t the brightest idea.

16:20 – Laughing at Nimoy’s fake signoff.

17:10 – Jean always likes goofy file photos of Homer on the news. This is the one where Homer’s tongue is stuck to the frozen pole.

17:40 – Remembering that this was around the time FOX actually broadcast their “alien autopsy” special and how dumb that was.

18:15 – Reiss jokes that the reason they have commentaries is so that they can explain all of the dated jokes like the Budweiser frogs and Steve Urkel.

18:30 – They didn’t get the music rights for the Close Encounters of the Third Kind theme.

18:40 – Laughing at Nimoy’s “Surprise me.” That always gets me.

19:10 – They always had to be careful with lettering on things because the Koreans doing the animation weren’t native English speakers.

19:35 – Laughing at Lenny saying “It’s bringing love, don’t let it get away!”

20:00 – The explanation of the alien came along toward the end.

21:00 – Cracking up at Nimoy’s singing.

22:30 – And we close on someone having to go to a dentist’s appointment.


Quote of the Day

ET Easter

“I remember another gentle visitor from the heavens.  He came in peace, and then died, only to come back to life.  And his name was . . . E.T., the Extra Terrestrial.  I love that little guy.” – Reverend Lovejoy


Quote of the Day

The Springfield Files3

“Hello, I’m Leonard Nimoy.  The following tale of alien encounters is true, and by true I mean false.  It’s all lies, but they’re entertaining lies, and in the end, isn’t that the real truth?  The answer is no.” – Leonard Nimoy

Happy birthday Leonard Nimoy!


Reading Digest: Coincident Birthdays Edition

The Springfield Files4

“I can’t believe it, I’m being mocked, by my own children, on my birthday.” – Homer Simpson
“It’s your birthday?” – Bart Simpson
“Yes, remember?  It’s the same day as the dog’s.” – Homer Simpson
“Santa’s Little Helper, it’s your birthday?  We gotta get you a present, yes we do, yes we do.” – Lisa Simpson
“We love you, boy.” – Bart Simpson
“Good doggie, good doggie.” – Marge Simpson
“Lousy loveable dog.” – Homer Simpson

Our friend Steve at “In 10 Words” put up a post to celebrate his 24th birthday on Wednesday . . . the same day long time Simpsons animator David Silverman tweeted this:

Silverman Tweets the Birth of The Simpsons

Assuming Steve isn’t making this up, that’s damn cool.  I wish I was born on the same day as the Simpsons.  In addition to that, we’ve got some Elizabeth Taylor related YouTube, a couple of fan made drawings, a real life sun blocking machine, another new Simpsons Tumblr, and an epic video about the comedy influence of many things, including The Simpsons


“The Simpsons” Celebrate an Anniversary Today – Smooth Charlie’s Links of the Week are these images from David Silverman of some of the very earliest Simpsons drawings.  Here’s Bart belching, Bart and Lisa sitting on an invisible couch (from the second week of production), and Maggie sticking a fork into an electrical outlet.  Silverman thinks that last one may have only aired once.  Given how paranoid television can be about giving kids bad ideas, I’m amazed it even did that. 

The 55 Best ‘Simpsons’ Headlines – Via everyone on Twitter, Funny or Die posted a list of newspaper headlines from the show last weekend.  It’s content farming link bait at its finest, most of the images were just grabbed from Simpson Crazy, but it’s worth a chuckle or two.  There’s more Zombie Simpsons here than normal, but it’s still heavily tilted towards when the show was itself. 

Remembering Elizabeth Taylor as Maggie Simpson – For the reason explained here I’ve never been clear on whether or not that really is Taylor’s voice at the end of “Lisa’s First Word”, but this has YouTube of it. 

homie brown. – Fan made drawing of Homer as Charlie Brown, or Charlie Brown as Homer.  I’m not really sure. 

Lisa Simpson Hat – Even if you don’t have a toddler in your life or live in Britain (where this was made), click on this.  That is excellent, and I kinda want one. 

My 24th Birthday…In 10 Words – Happy birthday, Steve.  Do you really have a stamp collection?

#1 The Simpsons vs. #4 The Family Guy – Lots of good Simpsons love here. 

‘Simpsons’ Vs. ‘Family Guy’: Who Stole Which Jokes? – Speaking of comparisons, here’s a list of some jokes Family Guy stole from The Simpsons and Zombie Simpsons, and some jokes Zombie Simpsons stole from Family Guy (via @springfieldx2). 

DYMO Plug and play Label maker: To label me isn’t to negate me – This is a review of an office supply product and it is yet more evidence that once something has been on The Simpsons, it will never be the same:

If, like most people of my generation, you use the first ten seasons of the Simpsons as a reference guide for life, you will hear the phrase “label maker” and instantly think of the Radio Bart episode in season three, where Bart is given a label maker as an awful gift and, in a fit of boredom ends up pretending to trapped down a well.

Before we got this I was always finding Mad Jon’s stubble in my leg razor. 

From the Yellow Kid to Zippy, The Comics Salutes Historic Strips – The Bart Simpson of the 1890s?  Meh.

PERSONALIZED BART SIMPSON TOWEL – Get your kid’s name embroidered on a Bart towel from Australia.  They really should’ve used “Bort” instead of “Brock” for the example though.

TOOT TOOT! I have a list of my favourite pop culture road trips and I’m not afraid to use it – Young man acquires driver’s license, writes blog post to celebrate, includes this:

This is Bart’s episode through and through. My favourite moment (off-topic alert) is when Bart reads the title of a pamphlet outloud in class: ‘Go to Work With Your Parents Day?’ Suddenly, Principal Skinner answers him over the PA: ‘Yes, Go to Work With Your Parents Day.’ Gets me every time.

Excellent usage.

Simpsons-style hover-clouds ‘to block out sun at Qatar World Cup in 2022′ – Awarding a massive, summertime athletic event to Qatar means that the engineers have been tasked with blocking out the sun:

The mechanical clouds proposed would be made from lightweight carbon and hover high above an open-air stadium, shielding the sun’s rays in an attempt to control ground temperature.

Getting Richer, Not Poorer – The point, you have missed it:

On an ancient episode of The Simpsons, Lisa sets out to write an essay about what made America great. “What would Ben Franklin say if he were alive today?” she writes. “He’d say … find a better opening.”

Lisa’s edited effort did win the regional essay contest, but maybe she missed an opportunity. In a new book, “Poorer Richard’s America: What Would Ben Say” author Tom Blair channels Franklin and imagines the eldest Founding Father observing and commenting on our world.

Thank You Very Much Warren Christopher – Heh:

Former Secretary of State Warren Christopher died. While he has a long and important personal biography, for me he will always be the man who put an end to all wars and thus turned America’s youth gay.

There’s YouTube of Moe’s quote at the link.

Lisa Simpson by *xddx – Fan made drawing of Lisa, all grown up and looking like she’s either about to head out for a night on the town or just got back from one. 

‘Simpsonize me’…the best of the bunch – Burger King has apparently parted ways with the advertising agency that brought the world the (now sadly defunct) Simpsonize Me site. 

HOMER CAKES – I have no trouble believing that Tumblr is growing by two-hundred-fifty million pageviews per week because these Simpsons themed ones keep popping up (via @rubbrcatsimp).  As you can probably guess from the title, this one is about cakes of Homer Simpson, including some very elaborate ones. 

Top Comedic Influences – PLUS: Next Con Appearances – Serial tipster Sean sent in this video of That Guy With Glasses discussing his comedic influences.  The whole thing is nearly an hour long; the Simpsons part comes at about the 38:30 mark.  (Tip: You may want to let the whole thing buffer before you try to skip ahead.  It got all tied up when I tried to just move it along.)  He’s one of us:

“Like everyone I’m not a huge fan of the Simpsons now, I don’t really even watch it much anymore.  Sometimes you’ll get a laugh, but it’s mostly what are just sort of throwaway jokes.  It mostly just makes you remember the older Simpsons.”

Got that right.  Thanks Sean! 


Quote of the Day

The Springfield Files2

“There’s been another unsubstantiated UFO sighting in the heartland of America.  We’ve got to get there right away.” – Agent Mulder
“Well, gee Mulder, there’s also this report of a shipment of drugs and illegal weapons coming into New Jersey tonight.” – Agent Scully
“I hardly think the FBI is concerned with matters like that.” – Agent Mulder


Quote of the Day

The Springfield Files1

“Have you been drinking?” – Marge Simpson
“No.  Well, ten beers.” – Homer Simpson


Quote of the Day


“All right, they’re onto us.  Get him back to Sea World!” – Moe Szyslak


Sunday Preview: “Father Knows Worst”

Father Knows Worst

For those keeping count at home, tonight’s episode is one of four left this season to ridicule and summarily reject on the basis of mediocrity. Usually Fox trots out a promo image for new Zombie Simpsons episodes, but they opted not to this time around. No matter, ours is way better. In fact, Fox might as well save themselves the trouble and borrow our format: screengrabs from old episodes magically repurposed into something new and daring.

Anyway, gazing into SNPP’s crystal ball, we get the following synopsis about “Father Knows Worst,” which is guaranteed to be forgettable:

Homer tries to solve Bart and Lisa’s academic and social problems with a bit of overparenting; meanwhile, if anybody is looking for Marge, she’s probably in the sauna in the basement

Are the writers even trying anymore? Even the shoddy premise signals that they’ve thrown their arms up like so many cheese-eating surrender monkeys.


Quote of the Day

“The evening began at the gentlemen’s club where we were discussing Wittgenstein over a game of backgammon.” – Homer Simpson
“Mr. Simpson, it’s a felony to lie to the FBI.” – Agent Scully
“We were sitting in Barney’s car eating packets of mustard, you happy?” – Homer Simpson


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