Archive for August, 2009


“New Kids on the Blecch” Makes Baby Jesus Cry

A Fish Called Selma2
“That took a lot of class.” – Troy McClure

I had genuinely forgotten just how bad some of these Season 12 episodes are.  I remember when this boy band episode was first broadcast, and I remember hating it, but I’d forgotten how painfully long it is.  And I know it clocks in at the usual amount of time, but the third act of this one is terribly boring, even by the standards of Zombie Simpsons.  There’s a concert on the ship, then it sails to New York, then they blow up the Mad Magazine building for some reason and it just keeps on going to the point that it feels like it’s never going to end.  Oh yeah, and “‘N Sync” shows up to be fawned over instead of mocked.  Just a truly awful spectacle.

Anyway, there are a whopping eleven people commenting on this one, including one from ‘N Sync.

1:15:  Mike Scully had to yell at the writers for not coming up with any good ideas and this piece of shit was the result.

3:15:  Discussing how star struck everyone was to have ‘N Sync around.

4:45:  Still talking about how popular ‘N Sync was.

5:20:  Laughing at the stupidity of their band notification joke.

6:30:  Now they’re discussing how all of the ‘N Sync songs sounded the same.

7:45:  Discussing how the guy they got to produce the crappy songs was an asshole to the singers they brought in.  The purpose, of course, was to get that authentic boy band sound that really made this episode oh so special.

8:20:  Discussing how faithfully their crappy fake boy band singing imitates actual crappy boy band singing.  Seriously.

9:30:  In keeping with the other Season 12 DVD commentaries, this is the part where they laugh about how strange and bizarre the plot of this episode is.

11:40:  Discussing the fact that they had no ending for this episode, somebody says, “It was during a period when a lot of conspiracies were afoot on the show.  When people weren’t what they seemed.”  Basically that means that they didn’t have an ending for this half-cooked story and just pulled something out of their asses.  What’s more, they did that a lot.  Yet again, the apathy towards the quality of their own show is really telling.

12:40:  Talking about an ‘N Sync concert.

13:10:  Someone mockingly calls the story “airtight” to general laughter.  They just don’t care.

13:20:  Discussing whether or not the Village People were an inspiration for this insane Navy conspiracy ploy, “That’s way more thought than we put into it.”  Yup.

15:40:  “Another great song”.  Seriously, half this episode is bad imitations of worse songs, and these guys are thoroughly entertained by it.

18:00:  Long story from ‘N Sync guy about the perils of lip syncing.

19:30:  Lip syncing story still going on.

19:50:  Laughing at the wild stupidity of having ‘N Sync show up for no reason.

20:35:  Mildly interesting note in that they had to pull this episode from syndication for a while after the 2001 terrorist attacks because they blew up a building in New York.

21:12:  Laughing at the Irish cop and what they’re doing on a moving boat.  I’ll say it again: utter apathy towards their work, just the textbook definition of phoning something in.


Quote of the Day


“Oh go eat some flowers!” – Bart Simpson


“(shrieks) My secret shame!” – Homer Simpson


Quote of the Day


“And you see that queen over there?  Her name is Smithers.” – C. Montgomery Burns


“Tennis the Menace” Makes Baby Jesus Cry

“I don’t want to judge the rightness of your ego orientation, but my inner critic says you should have done your job.” – Marge Simpson

There is a definite theme on the Season 12 commentaries so far.  That theme is an almost complete indifference to telling a coherent story.  I say “almost complete” because when the commentators do acknowledge the lack of story they seem kinda pleased with themselves.  It’s like a mechanic telling you, “Yeah, I didn’t fix your transmission, but who really needs one of those, amirite?”

Anyway, this episode sucks ass.

1:00:  There are eight guys commenting, including the guy who created “Everybody Loves Raymond” who apparently just happened to be in the building.  Granting that the people behind terrible sitcoms are often a lot funnier than the sitcoms themselves, “Everybody Loves Raymond” is the apotheosis of formulaic television.  You know, the thing The Simpsons used to be the opposite of.  “Raymond” guy immediately makes a joke about this actually being an episode of his crappy show.  This will not be the last time he does this.  (It’s his job to be repetitive, his job, his job, repetitiveness is his job . . .)

1:45:  The censors forbid them from showing Homer’s ass after Season 14?  Figures.  Also I’d forgotten this episode starts off with a joke ripped straight from “Bart vs Australia”.

2:45:  Laughing at the fact that they need radical story shifts to get to the main plot.  Once again I’m kinda amazed by the callousness of it, especially since they then pat themselves on the back for having Homer reference it.

3:10:  The “Raymond” guy makes the exact same joke he did two minutes ago.  Remember what I said above about the people behind a crappy sitcom being funnier than the sitcom?  Nevermind.

3:30:  Mildly interesting note: this was the first time the whole thing is digitally colored.  Now that’s all they do, this one was a test.

4:15:  More laughing at the fact that Homer had to pause awkwardly at the names of the deodorants.  Again, really callous towards their own inability to tell a story smoothly.

6:00:  Discussing the Tom Hanks cameo from the movie and ignoring the crappiness of what’s going on.

6:50:  Talking about how it’s kinda lame to wait until the second act to get to the main story they mention that it’s okay if they “anchor” things emotionally.  Huh?

8:00:  Apparently they couldn’t figure out a way to squeeze in John McEnroe amongst all the tennis celebrities.  I am less sorry about this than they are.

9:00:  Still talking about McEnroe

10:00:  Long silence at tennis zaniness.

10:45:  Mindless laughter at super wide supermarket aisles.

11:20:  The “Raymond” guy just said that “Simpsons” influenced all the shows that came after it by lowering the bar for “how stupid can we make the dad” and then says that Homer’s about as far as one can go.  I really don’t think that’s a compliment.

11:50:  Still talking about how dumb Homer can be and how they had a rule that he could never forget who he is.  Then someone else notes that they’ve violated that rule a lot, and everyone laughs.  I’m getting tired of typing it, but their indifference toward the show is really telling.

13:00:  Oh goody, more inside information on “Everybody Loves Raymond”.  What DVD set am I watching again?

14:30:  Long silence at Homer’s weirdness is finally broken by a broken car window.  That’s about right.

17:30:  Speaking of low bars . . . for some reason they’re very pleased with themselves for setting this ludicrous conflict within the family instead of outside of it.

18:35:  Defending the Krusty “racket-earring” joke.  Seriously.

19:00:  Long silence as the episode devolves into irretrievable stupidity with the Williams sisters.

21:00:  Again, quite pleased with themselves for the improbability of their ending.

22:00:  Admitting that the ending sucks, nonplussed about it.

22:10:  “Raymond” guy makes his same joke for the third and final time.  Ugh.


Quote of the Day


“More friends!  More allies!  More I say!  Hang those who talk of less!” – Martin Prince


Friday Link Dump – Skepticism Edition

A Star is Burns3

“I’m telling you people, the Earth revolves around the Sun!” – Principal Skinner
“Burn him!” – Abe “Grandpa” Simpson

There’s a nice menagerie this week.  We’ve got the usual random internet crap, a spectacular usage fail, me hating on astrology, Simpsonized skeptics, and an oblique reference to the Miss Universe pageant.

10 Best Father/Son Wisdom Exchanges from TV and Movies – Bart and Homer make the list for Homer’s awesome “You’re not talking about killing anyone, are you?” speech.

Miss Kosovo vs Marge Simpson – You be the judge. – Miss Kosovo (it’s a country now!) lost the Miss Universe pageant to Miss Venezuela last Sunday.  In this photo she has a bit of a “up” hair-do.  Enh.  If you ask me, they’re all winners.

No Grand Slam, but a Triple Crown, maybe – Reviewing the new movie “Bandslam”, Daniel Carey gets a silver star for this almost excellent usage:

THERE’S a great scene in ‘The Simpsons’ where Ralph Wiggum, interviewed by Krusty the Klown on live television, reveals that he loves Lisa Simpson and plans to marry her. A horrified Lisa screams ‘No!’ and admits that she only gave him a Valentine’s Day card because nobody else would. Afterwards, Lisa’s brother Bart plays her back the tape of the show in slow motion, and reveals that ‘you can actually pinpoint the exact second where his heart rips in two!’

He muffs the quote from Bart just a bit (“you can actually pinpoint the second when his heart rips in half!”), but it’s still pretty good.

OFFBEAT: Readers respond to Rick Springfield, along with Paul Anka question – I didn’t know Paul Anka wrote Johnny Carson’s tonight show theme.

Simpsons Top Trumps: Skeptics EditionTop Trumps is a card game.  This is a mockup set with prominent skeptics drawn Simpsons style.  I know who about half of these people are, but I’m still damn impressed.

TV’s Homer Simpson to lead Cincinnati dance – This is pretty much what the headline says:

Homer Simpson — or someone dressed like the patriarch of TV’s popular cartoon family — will be out in front of what they call the World’s Largest Chicken Dance, part of the city’s annual Oktoberfest celebration on Sept. 20.

The Fox Network sought the invitation to promote the 20th anniversary of ”The Simpsons.”

Doesn’t this family know any songs that aren’t commercials?

Astro-Homer – It’s an astrological breakdown of the Simpson family.  Fun astrology fact: in addition to being complete hokum in general, astrology can’t even get its own signs correct.  The calendar dates used to determine what “sign” you are don’t actually correspond with the constellations because of a silly little thing called precession.

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Johnny Unitas – Now here’s something Morgan Spurlock should look into.  A commenter attributes Grandpa’s line about setting your watch to his haircut to Hank Hill and is immediately corrected by three different people.  Then somebody busts out Unitas’ turn as a spokesman for the Lady Krusty line.  That is the pervasiveness of Simpsons.

Minaya has his faults, but shouldn’t be fired – This isn’t so much usage as it is a reference, but it’s a good one:

However, Minaya couldn’t have foreseen a plague of injuries the likes of which hasn’t befallen a team since the “Homer at the Bat” episode of The Simpsons.

Murphy opens up 8pm Sky 1 slot as Simpsons moves – There will be less Simpsons on Sky 1.  This is what DVDs and .avi files are for.

Sex Offenders and the Simpsons – Massive usage FAIL here.  He’s talking about the fact that sex offender databases are often chock full of people who aren’t really predators.  Fine.  Then he drops this non-sequitur:

That recent Economist issue argues:

“In fact its (the USA’s) sex-offender laws have grown self-defeatingly harsh … They have been driven by a ratchet effect … Stricter curbs on (pedophiles) win votes. And to sound severe, such curbs must be stronger than the laws in place, which in turn were imposed by politicians who wished to appear tough themselves. Few politicians dare to vote against such laws, because if they do, the attack ads practically write themselves.”

The problem on one level is that it’s mixing in the young and foolish — the Bart Simpsons — with the really bad guys, the dangerous offenders.

The Bart Simpsons? Bart is many things, but a sex offender? Even by the prurient standards of craven state legislatures? No. (Okay, maybe with Arthur and the fireworks.) But wait, there’s more!

Once more, the challenge is close to home. It is not a good image to visualize parents complaining to schools or law enforcement about sex offenders while, perhaps, nobody watches their youngsters on the playground or ensures that persons watching their children at home can be trusted to be alone with them. Usually, it’s not the strangers who are the predators.

In my favorite Simpsons episode may lie part of the answer to how community involvement might help bring the proper focus to this issue. In this episode, Lisa is being bullied at school and Marge at first just basically says, “be a good girl and put up with it.” Then mother-bear Marge reconsiders, and with righteous anger drives to school and strongly urges Lisa to stand up for herself.

First of all, the Simspon citation doesn’t make any sense in context.  Second, and as always take this with the caveat that there are Zombie Simpsons episodes I haven’t suffered through, I’m guessing he’s referring to “Moaning Lisa” here.  But that is a pretty poor description of the plot.  Lisa isn’t exactly “bullied” and when Marge snaps and picks Lisa up she tells her to be herself, not stand up for herself.

I don’t see how anything in this piece has anything to do with The Simpsons, other than as an ingenious way to drive pageviews, which I just aided.

Believe It Or Not, Here’s An Amazing Season 20 Simpsons Episode – “Best Week Ever” is shallow and pointless even by the inch deep standards of popular culture.  Their website, believe it or not, is even worse.  Nevertheless, this cannot go without vehement disagreement:

As a diehard Simpsons fan and occasional masochist, I take it upon myself to try to keep up with recent Simpsons seasons because, contrary to popular widespread lazy anger, like SNL, the Simpsons doesn’t just “suck” now; granted, about 40% of the episodes do straight-up suck (especially any “three stories” episodes or “travel to some country” episodes), while about 40% are funny but have absurd plots, and a select handful of episodes each year really do earn the right to be called “great episodes.”

Where to begin?  Our anger is indeed popular and widespread, but it certainly isn’t lazy.  SNL is and always has been cyclical.  It’s funny for a while, the funny people leave, it sucks for a while, a new core of funny people comes in and the circle is complete.  This has happened to SNL like five times now.  The Simpsons, on the other hand, was great and now sucks.  It’s sucked for about a decade and hasn’t shown any signs of life in the meantime.  And no the absurd plots do not make things funny.  And no, nothing in Season 20 has earned the right to be called anything other than flaming donkey shit.

If you care, and I suspect you don’t, the two episodes he thought were good were “The Good, The Sad, and the Drugly” (the one where Bart is nice for the fifth grade girl and Lisa’s subplot consists almost entirely of smiley faces covering the screen, kind of like a screen saver from 1993) and “Eeny Teeny Maya Moe” (the one where Moe dates the dwarf lady and Maggie has the bizarre playground subplot).  Maybe he just likes episodes that are transparent retellings of older episodes?

Liveblogging “One Life To Live”: The Fish hits the fan – People live blog soap operas?  I love the internet.  Here’s why this is semi-relevant:

It looks to be a busy episode for Oliver, as he and MCBAAAAAAAAIN! (please tell me I’m not the only one who automatically thinks of The Simpsons when they see John‘s last name) get closer to the secret of the drug ring, and Layla finally puts all of the pieces of Oliver’s secret together.

I just can’t believe Stark would stoop to that, and right in the middle of Montana and Dakota’s wedding.

6 Bullshit Facts About Psychology That Everyone Believes – This is a long, actually kinda interesting article though it suffers from “Myth Busters” syndrome in that about half of these are things I didn’t think anyone actually believed.

You always hear people talk about how “cathartic” an experience was and how much better they feel, or you’ll hear them say things like, “If you keep your anger bottled up, one day you’ll just snap!”

In fact the “about to go crazy because he can’t express anger” character is a mainstay in television and movies (see that Simpsons episode where Ned Flanders finally loses it, and every movie where a renegade cop fires his gun into the air instead of unloading on the bad guy who just killed his wife).

I can’t speak for anyone else, but I find releasing my Zombie Simpsons anger on this blog to be extremely cathartic.  And that is going to be doubly true once Zombie Simpsons starts back up in a month.

Hugh Hefner Makes Disturbing Announcement – This has been kicking around the internet for a couple of days now and much as I think it’s going to be a complete waste of time I suppose we have to mention it.  From Hugh Hefner’s Twitter feed:

Marge Simpson has a surprise for her fans in the November issue of Playboy.

Meh.  Thanks to Jezebel for the direct twitter link.

The Bacon Mile – This is about a guy who jogs and likes bacon.  (I like one of those two things, see if you can guess which.)  It has almost nothing to do with The Simpsons except that he quotes Homer at the beginning.  Excellent usage.


Homer Guitar!

Something told me this was a very special, very magical piece of wood, that I could make a guitar out of.

Something told me this was a very special, very magical piece of wood, that I could make a guitar out of.

“Hey, cherry ax, Bart dude.” – Otto

This Homer guitar is simply too cool to be part of today’s link dump.  Instructables user captainserious created it from a leftover guitar neck and some wood.  (The full list of the steps to create it are here.)  What makes this thing really impressive is the fact that it’s a dead-on Homer drawing.  I’d be impressed if someone just drew that freehand, much less made it out of wood and painted it.

Mad Jon is the resident musician around here, but would it even matter what this guitar sounded like?  I mean, you haul this one up on stage and everybody’s gonna go nuts regardless, right?

(found via Daily DIY)


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