Archive for October, 2009


Hitting the Wall

Interrupted only by the occasional group of neighborhood kids looking for free candy I’ve been plowing through the Halloween episodes this evening.  I started at “Treehouse of Horror I” and just kept going.  They’re a very accurate microcosm of the show at large in that they get a little bit weaker, but still outstanding in general, around Season 7 or 8 and go downhill from there.  By Season 9 (where Homer’s the last man alive, Bart turns into a giant fly, and they do the story of the witches) things are undeniably different for the worse, and beyond that they’re more Zombie than Simpsons. 

None of this is exactly news.  But even after all these years I continue to be struck by just how quickly things went to hell.  There you are in Season 8 laughing your ass off with “The Genesis Tub” and “Citizen Kang” and just two years later – barely the blink of an eye in the long history of the show – and you’re looking around for something else to do during the drawn out action sequences in “Hell Toupee”.  That one’s got some good lines, but you’ve got to pick them out between all the meandering exposition and “action”.  The endings get less clever, the parodies get thinner and just like that you’re on your way to that awful fake musical they broadcast two weeks ago.

Like I said, this isn’t news, hell, it’s the entire premise of this blog.  But having it happen right before your eyes in just an hour or so is always jarring. 


Season 20 Releasing on January 12th

Per Season 20 won’t be here in time for Xmas.  Instead, in what is sure to be a promotional shit storm that you won’t be able to escape, they’re releasing it two days before the big 20th anniversary special on January 14th.  Which I just noticed is a Thursday, so steel yourselves for that cloyingly enthusiastic FOX announcer to say something like “Get ready for The Simpsons triumphant return to Thursday!”

FOX is also putting the squeeze on Zombie Simpson fanboys to buy this things the day it comes out.  From the

In the past, season set DVD releases of The Simpsons are always chock-full of bonus material, including commentaries and featurettes and other items, including hidden gems.  However, this time the only extra supplement that Fox is mentioning – at least so far – is the Featurette "The 20th Anniversary Special Sneak Peek by Morgan Spurlock".

They’re putting a “Sneak Peek” of Spurlock’s special on a home video package that comes out two days before the special is broadcast.  Presumably the actual special will either be part of the Season 21 release or else be given its own stand alone package. 


Quote of the Day


“Mmmm, forbidden donut.” – Homer Simpson

Happy Halloween, everybody!


Reading Digest – Title Change Edition

Mr Lisa Goes to Washington2 “Hey Einstein, put down your reading, it’s lunch time!” – Lenny

Much like Sideshow Bob didn’t like that “bowel” thing, I’ve grown tired of this “dump” thing.  In line with our general policy to name everything after something from The Simpsons the Friday Link Dump will be henceforth be known as Reading Digest, where we take all the Simpsons content on the internet, filter out the crap, and leave you with something that fits right in your front pocket.  Today we’ve got math, some decent usage, a t-shirt I would totally buy if it existed, a non-stupid tidbit on Marge in Playboy, and a couple of people besides us and Harvey Fierstein who dislike Zombie Simpsons. 


Top 50 Cartoon Characters – What’s that, a pointless list designed to generate page views?  I’m shocked.  Homer checks in at #2, Bart is #4.  That is all.  (via Decent Community)

Chicago Bears as Simpsons Characters – Players and staff from the Bears matched up with Simpsons characters and created by a frustrated Bears fan.  Mildly amusing. 

P vs. NP – This is close to the upper bound of what I can understand in terms of math, but it’s interesting, clearly written and cites a Halloween Simpsons. 

Dead Simpsons Characters – A list of seven Simpsons characters who’ve died.  I had no idea they brought back Homer’s mom a couple of times; I was happier not knowing.  (via Norwegianity)

Krusty the Clown is God – I don’t think I can explain the background to this one, you’ll have to click the link.  Supposedly this is a letter Groening sent to a guy who had found some blasphemous knockoff Simpsons merchandise in 1990.  It doesn’t look fake, but even if it is it’s still amusing. 

Springfield Still Life – Speaking of bootleg Simpsons merchandise, this is one of the cleverest Simpsons t-shirt designs I’ve seen in years, too bad it doesn’t seem to exist (yet).  (via Twitter)

A week’s worth of beaches – This is a series of pictures at a beach in Scotland, scroll all the way down for a beach hut with Bart Simpson on it. 

Darine Stern: First Black Woman to Grace Playboy Cover in 1971 – This is exactly what I’m talking about when I complain about the explosion of “Marge in Playboy” crap.  It turns out Marge’s cover image was based off Darine Stern’s, the first black woman to be the cover girl, in October of 1971.  I’m glad I caught this because it’s mildly interesting, but it almost got lost amidst the deluge of “Hurr, Marge Playboy, chuckle chuckle [crappy Simpsons reference]”.  (via Prison Photography).

The Patriot Act: Looking back to 2001 – This is a point/counterpoint type debate about the execrable Patriot Act.  DHS gives the win to Julian Sanchez of the Cato Institute for using Lisa’s tiger repellant rock as an illustration.

Susan J. Demas: Bishop-Granholm mutual assured destruction for schools – Decent usage. 

Seven Jokes That Came TrueThe Simpsons and The Critic with video?  Oh yeah, this gets linked. 

Family Guy Meets The Simpsons – This is a fan drawing of Marge leading Lois Griffin around in BDSM gear.  You read all that correctly. 

Sheldon Williams has been hitting the nerve tonic – Does Boston Celtics big man Shelden Williams look like Ken Griffey Jr. after his overdose of Brain & Nerve Tonic?  At least two people on the internet think so. 

Cartoon cronies: ‘Simpsons’ creator and pal coming to Chicago – Groening will be at the Chicago Humanities Festival on November 5th.

Things I Hate: The Simpsons – This would more accurately be titled “Things I Hate: Zombie Simpsons”. 

Fighting H1N1 with Spider-Pig – This is a sign that uses the Simpsons to tell people to chill out about swine flu already, and it was apparently made by The American University in Cairo Office of Student Development.  Neat.

Where Has The Simpsons Gone Wrong? – And finally I get to end the way I like, with another person who thinks Zombie Simpsons is shit.  There’s a lot of Zombie Simpsons hatred at that link, but this is my favorite part:

2: Try to pander to viewers – With the likes of Family Guy, American Dad & Southpark providing animated humour for adults, the Simpsons has had to change to try and keep up, except that without an adult twist, its unrepentant wackiness (Tomacco anyone?) has made it look like a middle age man trying to prove how cool he is (or once was).

Maybe we should call it Grandpa Simpsons instead of Zombie Simpsons?


Quote of the Day

“This is all the Simpsons’ fault.” – Woman

“Before I was just bored with their antics and their merchandise, now I wish they were dead.” – Man


Harvey Fierstein – Springfield Hero

Karl Book promotion seems to involve taking excepts from the book and repackaging them into headlines as a way to interest people in purchasing the thing.  In that vein I wanted to highlight one of my absolute favorite parts of Ortved’s book.  (Which you should think about buying, or at least getting from your local library where you can “borrow” books for free.)

Harvey Fierstein has solid Simpsons credentials.  He was the voice of Karl in Season 2’s “Simpson and Delilah” and Patty and Selma were stunned to learn that he was gay in Season 6’s “A Star Is Burns”.  Harvey Fierstein also thinks Zombie Simpsons is shit.  Well, he doesn’t say that in quite so many words, but he did say this to Ortved:

“Years later they contacted me when they wanted Carl to return.  But I didn’t really like their approach.  It had nothing to do with my character.  Homer and Marge have a fight, and she throws him out and he has no place to stay, and he runs into Carl, who sets him up with a pair of gay men.  All they needed me for was to introduce him to these gay guys.  But the script was basically just a lot of very clever gay jokes, and there wasn’t that Simpsons twist.  Jim Brooks and Matt Groening and those writers have always added that extra something beneath the surface, and it just wasn’t there.  Basically, Homer just had a lot of fun hanging out with gay men, and drinking in bars, and dancing at discos, and all that, and there was nothing – there was no commentary there.  Every restaurant had a silly gay name.  They gym had a silly gay name.  They were all double entendres, obviously.  And I said, “Anybody could do this.  You’re the fucking Simpsons.  Do something we have never seen before.”

And let me say that it was very flattering that they asked me to do it.  Jim Brooks said, “You know, you’re the very first voice we ever asked to come back and do it again.”  I was surprised.  I asked, “Why do they need me to introduce them to this gay couple?  Why wouldn’t he move in with Carl and his partner?”  Then I started thinking, Maybe [sic] they just wanted my stamp of approval on it because it was just a bunch of clichés.”

There’s more in the book, but the point is that Harvey Fierstein refused to be on Zombie Simpsons because it sucks.  Harvey Fierstein, you are my new hero.

[Edited to fix transcription errors on my part.]


Spurlock Update: Celebrity Checklist

Even by our low standards there isn’t much point in posting things from Spurlock’s Twitter feed, but I’m going to do it anyway:

had another Simptastic day – spoke to Mike Reiss, Hank Azaria and Fat Tony himself, Joe Montagnea – tomorrow: Hef at the mansion. Crazy.

Other than misspelling Mantegna’s last name there isn’t much of note here.  Reiss was there for all the good stuff and has been back lately to no real effect.  Azaria is, well, Azaria.  Mantegna is fucking awesome and Hefner guest voiced back in the before time, in the long long ago.  Will the Hefner interview center more on the worthless publicity stunt of “Marge in Playboy” or on his awesome guest appearance with scientist Playmates and his failure at the love tester machine? 


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