Archive for September, 2009



28
Sep
09

Quote of the Day

cash

“Oh brilliant, a cash settlement. I could have figured that out, you buttoned-down maggot!” – C. Montgomery Burns

cream

“You have any cream?” – Lawyer

manners

“Oh yes, of course, where are my manners?” – C. Montgomery Burns

27
Sep
09

Picked Up Right Where It Left Off

bloody21

“Go ahead, try and grab some flab.” – Homer Simpson

Season 21 picked up pretty much where Season 20 left off, in the darkest center of a comedy black hole from which nothing can escape.  It hit all the usual Zombie Simpson notes: recycling plots and jokes, filling time with humor free “action” sequences, giving Homer a new job, and having him act bipolar.  In this particular instance it was a wretched cross of “Radioactive Man” and “King of the Hill”, only it was actually worse than that because it was so openly aping Entourage that it mentioned  one of the characters.

There’s lots to pick on here, but for tonight I just want to highlight this little nugget of smug, baseless self satisfaction:

Zombie Bart: That was awesome!

Zombie Lisa:  Although there were a few holes in the story.

Movie Guy: That’s the problem when you have seventeen writers.  But don’t worry, we have two fresh ones working on it.

(Cut to Maggie and Mr. Teeny baning on laptops.)

Clearly the Season 12 commentaries are not an anomaly.  Going by previous season premiers, plus the heavily advertised debut of the newest Family Guy spinoff, I’m setting the over/under on the ratings at 9.5 million viewers.  As always, I’m hoping for the under.

Update: The numbers are in and the under has it.  Last night’s Zombie Simpsons was endured by a mere 8.21 million viewers.  Pointless gloating here.

27
Sep
09

Then and Now

“Cesspool!  Cesspool! Cesspool!  Cesspool! Cesspool!” – Bart Simpson

Yesterday, all-star commenter D.N. said:

I mean, in the show’s golden age, Homer’s wackiness was channelled through displays of infantile happiness – giddily chasing the dog with the puffy tail, joyously fetching his giant foam cowboy hat and airhorn, caressing his half-eaten, mould-ridden giant hoagie even after it made him deathly ill, etc. There was a definite sense of sweetness about Homer back then – you really did gain affection for him in spite of his offensive characteristics. Alas, for about a decade now, Homer’s default “wacky” setting has been rage – flying off the handle, threatening others and bringing violence upon himself, and generally being an angry and obnoxious sociopath. Homer’s been crude from day one, but he wasn’t always a bastard.

That is dead on.  I was going to write something similar for today but he did it for me.  Now all I have to do is illustrate his point with the two Homer quotes I was already planning on using.

#1 – Homer’s Night Out (Season 1) – After being tossed out by Marge (the first time), Homer does what any man would do: goes to his favorite bar, plants his ass on a stool, and speaks of his woes.  At Moe’s, and full of melancholy, he says:

“Oh Moe, my wife gave me the old heave-ho because of some lousy picture.”

(Since The Simpsons always knew how to handle its feelings with humor, even the sad ones, Moe immediately points to the picture of Homer with Princess Cashmere and says, “What, this one?”)

#2 – The Simpsons Movie – Jerkass Homer walks out on Marge and the kids in a petulant huff for almost no reason.  He goes to Eski Moe’s (because he’s in Alaska, natch) and fires up a video game aimed at people half his age that a guy like him would never play.  Finished, he says:

“Well, I guess I’ve let her worry about me long enough.”

One of these men is a relatable guy who screws up in hilarious ways.  The other is self absorbed dickwad you wouldn’t even want dating, much less married to, any woman you care about.

It’s time to wade into the cesspool of Season 21.

27
Sep
09

Quote of the Day

Dog of Death4

“Now here’s a film that will turn you into a vicious, soulless killer.  Enjoy.” – C.M. Burns

Season 21 starts tonight, find your happy place and remember: there are still good and decent things in the world, just not on FOX Sundays at 8.

26
Sep
09

“Insane Clown Poppy” Makes Baby Jesus Cry

Bart the Murderer4
“Sorry Fat Tony, I used to think your game was cool.  But now I’ve learned that crime doesn’t pay.” – Bart Simpson
“Yeah, you’re right.” – Fat Tony

This is a terrible episode.  As is often the case in Season 12 there’s a mildly coherent idea, Krusty has a daughter he didn’t know about, that degenerates into incoherence when Homer and Krusty have to break into a mob summit meeting to steal back a violin that they mob had because . . . ah hell, you can’t even summarize this episode without babbling on like an idiot.  You know what the least bad parts of this episode are though?  The Fat Tony parts.  And do you know why?  It’s because Joe Mantegna is awesome.  This was also far an away the best of the Season 12 commentaries to which I’ve subjected myself for the same reason.  Joe Mantegna was in the booth with them and he is a one man show.

Ten guys on this one, including Castellaneta and the above mentioned Mantegna.  Also, when introducing himself, the director seemed kinda down.  Not sure why.  Regret, remorse, shame, could be anything.

1:30 – Long discussion from Mantegna about how much he likes doing the show.

3:00 – Talking about how this one was written the previous year but didn’t get all the way produced.  They refer to episodes like that, jokingly of course, as “holdover, or bad episodes”.  Everyone laughs.  Again.  Sigh.  By the way, Homer and Bart have been blowing up the house for no reason whatsoever for about two minutes now and not one of the commentators has mentioned what’s actually going on in the episode.

3:30 – Mildly interesting note that the “illegitimate child” idea was originally a spec for an episode of “The Critic”.

4:05 – They forget that Tom Wolfe wasn’t actually in this one, he was in a later episode.

4:45 – Trivia about Stephen King filming Maximum Overdrive.  Still haven’t said a word about what’s going on except for the celebrity guest voices.

5:40 – Story about Christopher Walken at a party.  Jebus, this is like listening to a gossip show.

7:00 – Celebrity story about John Updike now.

7:40 – “Krusty’s daughter has been in many many episodes since this episode, right?  We wouldn’t bring something like that up and then just drop it.”  Laughter.

(A brief aside on continuity and the reaction to it: It doesn’t matter.  I’ve mentioned this before, but you can start poking continuity holes in this show in Season 1, it isn’t a problem because it isn’t a serial drama.  But whenever defenders of Zombie Simpsons feel like scoring a cheap point against critics of Zombie Simpsons they’ll erect the strawman of, “Oh those nerds on the internet, they want everything to make sense, blah blah blah, a wizard did it.”  On behalf of rational internet nerds, let me just say that we don’t care about continuity between episodes, but it would be nice if you a) didn’t recycle whole plots and b) had the story make sense within a single episode, which, by the way, this one doesn’t.)

8:00 – Time for the Drew Barrymore story, she’s a celebrity who likes dogs!  OMG!!!!  Sooooo cute!!!1!!!!1

10:00 – Talking about how Krusty’s daughter looks like him.  Low bar for success these days, eh?

11:40 – Ah, more discussion of the outfits.  Fashion faux pas have always been central to the show’s appeal.

12:15 – Discussing how they can’t remember what changes were made to this episode during rewrites, “I do remember we used to keep more story back in those days.”  Shocking.

12:30 – Talking about Homer walking along the beach with a truly ridiculous amount of shit (flippers, a kite) and children hanging on him, they cite that as scene that grounds him as a normal father.  Then they talk about how they often don’t do that anymore, though they apparently think it takes only one token scene to ground all the crazy shit.  I think most of these guys know the show is a pale imitation of itself, they’d just be fired and sued into bankruptcy by FOX if they ever admitted it.

15:00 – Mildly interesting note, Mantegna based Fat Tony off of an uncle of his.

15:30 – Reminiscing about salad days in Chicago and ignoring the stupidity of the poker/violin/etcetera.

17:00 – More Mantegna stories.  They’re far more interesting than either this episode or the usual commentaries.  I’m glad he’s here.

18:20 – Once again ignoring what’s going on as the plot goes into its lunatic tailspin.

19:00 – Seriously, Mantegna is great.  I can’t do it justice in print.

20:45 – Laughing at the conceit that is the gunfight that breaks out after Krusty and Homer (who has no business being there) carry out all the violin cases (for some reason), right past all the mob guys (for some other reason), and then the guns go off (for some final reason).  This leads to one of the worst parts of Zombie Simpsons: the clock eating “action” sequence.

21:00 – Long silence at the pointless ending.

22:00 – Uproarious laughter at the pointless Homer scene at the end.  And we’re done.

26
Sep
09

Quote of the Day

underwear1
underwear2

“Grampa, how’d you take off your underwear without taking off your pants?” – Lisa Simpson
“I don’t know…” – Abraham Simpson

25
Sep
09

Friday Link Dump – Screw Season 21 Edition

The Joy of Sect2

“Ladies and gentlemen, behold your new god!” – Mr. Smithers

The internet has been producing a mind numbing amount of Season 21 agitprop this week, you will find none of that drivel here.  Instead we’ve got fan tributes, Wolf Blitzer exposing himself on national television, a neat compilation of real life actors who might play Simpsons characters, one piece of excellent usage/citation, and an upcoming gossip book about The Simpsons that an editor desperately needs to revise.  Enjoy.

The 7 Creepiest Simpsons Fan Tributes – I don’t think creepy is really the right word here, though some of them are kinda weird.  For example, if one happens to be musically inclined how on earth does it qualify as creepy to play the theme song?  On the other hand, some of the videos seem to have been created by people with an excess of . . . uh, enthusiasm.  Sadly, blogging obsessively about a show you want cancelled does not make the list.  Very much worth watching (via).

CNN rots your brains. Especially if you work for them. – Perhaps you’ve heard, perhaps you haven’t, but Wolf Blitzer, one of the Keystone Kops CNN trots out in place of actual journalists, got demolished Saturday Night Live style on Celebrity Jeopardy:

What does this have to do with Simpsons?  Well, the original link above also embedded the video where Homer burns his GED, and Andy Richter, sidekick to Simpsons alum Conan O’Brien, was the one who humiliated Blitzer.  Celebrity Jeopardy final score?  What is:

Wolf Blitzer: –4,600

Andy Richter: 68,000

This man has his own show, on a highly rated cable network, in a nation full of Flanderseseses, for sixteen hours each week, and he doesn’t know what city Jesus was from.  In any other country on earth he would’ve starved to death long ago.  U-S-A!  U-S-A!

Crash blossoms up the garden path – This is a blog about the English language.  Normally I’d steer clear of this because my knowledge of grammar is so negligible that I don’t even know the terms to use when describing how bad my grammar is.  However, this qualifies as excellent citation at least:

New examples emerge constantly. Yesterday, Language Log brought my attention to a glorious new crash blossom in an Associated Press headline: “McDonald’s fries the holy grail for potato farmers”. My immediate reaction was to burst out laughing. The images evoked were as silly as they were sacrilegious – or as Homer Simpson might put it, sacrilicious. Mmm… deep-fried holy grail… Then I was baffled by how such an obviously ambiguous line could have slipped by an editor (or a series of them).

I like to think that pestering people about the crappiness of Zombie Simpsons is a hopeless and thankless hobby.  But people who care about proper language are living in a darker time than even the most dedicated hater of Zombie Simpsons.

Revealed: The Real Smithers! – Here’s some writing even I can recognize as shitty.  There’s an “unauthorized” tell all Simpsons book coming out next month.  Apparently Smithers was based off of noted anesthesiologist Richie Sakai.  Okay, that’s at least plausible, but it doesn’t help your credibility when you misspell the character’s name (quoting from the book itself):

Later Simpsons writers would model the behavior of the sycophantic Wayland Smithers — with his undying adulation of his boss, Mr. Burns — on Sakai, one of the most important figures in The Simpsons’ history.

Smithers first name is Waylon (like Waylon Jennings), not Wayland.  That’s a quote from a blog post that was quoting the book, so it’s possible it was transcribed incorrectly, but that whole sentence is a mess (is Sakai or Smithers “one of the most important figures”?) so I’m inclined to believe that the misspelling is in the original.  For their sake let’s hope that was just a galley and not the final edit (via).

ch, ch, ch, changes… – This is kinda about ants and kinda about this guy’s blog, but it’s got the Brockman clip and that makes it cromulent.

If The Simpsons Played Real Actors – This is an extensive list of real life actors next to the Simpsons characters they might play.  Kevin Smith as Comic Book Guy is a great pick, so is Orlando Jones as Carl and, of course, they have the obligatory William H. Macy as Flanders.  Problem is, they aren’t labeled and I don’t recognize a few of them, I have no idea who the kids next to Bart and Lisa are (Bart at least gets a kid, Lisa’s looks more like a teenager), nor do I know who’s next to Burns or Marge.  Paul Giamatti as Homer?  I could buy that.

First Look: THE SIMPSONS “Treehouse of Horror XX” – Want to see bunch of what looks like concept art for this year’s Halloween episode?  I didn’t, but hey, I’m not you.

Green Is New Face Of Butterfinger Candy – Seth Green, the guy who voices Chris on Family Guy, is now going to do Butterfinger commercials with the same tag line Bart used to use.  There’s something fitting about that.

Religion across the board – This guy created a board game where deities fight each other.  The only reason you should care is this:

Mike Reiss, writer and producer for the hit TV series “The Simpsons,” praised the game’s wit and design.

“It’s smart and funny and so handsomely mounted,” he said in a review on the game’s Web site.

“handsomely mounted”, tee hee.

Does Big Tide offer up big tastes? – There is a brewery in St. John, New Brunswick that has tables postered with teevee shows, movies, etcetera.  There may or may not bee a Homer table, but who cares?  It’s a brewery.  Mmmm, beer.

‘Squarepants’ is 38 hours of F.U.N. – And finally, this is more about SpongeBob than Simpsons, but it’s still right on target:

“Spongebob Squarepants” was never part of that, and these days, like “Family Guy” and “The Simpsons,” the show is just something that’s still on.

Pretty much.




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