Crazy Noises: Thursdays with Abie

Grampa vs. Sexual Inadequacy5

“You want me to spend more time with Dad?  What about my New Year’s resolution?” – Homer Simpson

In our continuing mission to bring you only the finest in low class, low brow, and low tech internet Simpsons commentary we’re bringing back our “Crazy Noises” series and applying it to Season 21.  Because doing a podcast smacks of effort we’re still using this “chatroom” thing that all the middle schoolers and undercover cops seem to think is so cool.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (especially on “anesthesia”).

Mitch Albom voiced himself in this episode.  He’s sort of the Cory of sports writing: bland, non-threatening, and old people like him because he’s got such a great attitude.  He is also a massive, well documented hack.  In short, he is the epitome of an entire genre of writing that is crying out to be satirized.  But did Zombie Simpsons do that?  Nope.  They fluffed him and his medium for twenty-two minutes with nary a joke at the expense of the cheap, pre-packaged emotion Albom and others like him shamelessly exploit. 

I guess it’s understandable, making hay out of formulaic, paint-by-number style writing might hit a little close to home. 

Charlie Sweatpants: Is it time to wade into this mess of an episode?

Mad Jon: Yep I suppose it is

Dave: Let’s do it

  I’m playing a bit of catch up

  5 minutes left

  Not impressed

Mad Jon: Let me sum the ending up for you…. THHHHHHBBBBBTTTT

Charlie Sweatpants: You mean you haven’t even finished it? I’d stop now.

Dave: On that sound advice… I’m clicking close

Charlie Sweatpants: Although, the only thing I thought was funny was right near the end.

Dave: What bit was that?

Charlie Sweatpants: Have you gotten to the part where Lenny and Carl are on top of the train for some reason?

Mad Jon: What on earth was funny about that?

Dave: Yep

Mad Jon: I must’ve missed something

Charlie Sweatpants: I laughed at their exchange about yoga class.

Dave: I stopped a bit after they had that conversation

  But didn’t stick around long enough to see the result of the fight

Charlie Sweatpants: And please remember that I hate Lenny and Carl’s weird relationship, and I know there was no reason for them to be on top of the train, but when Lenny said as he was being carried away "As long as it’s not a dude!". I laughed.

Mad Jon: Ahh, well, that wasn’t super terrible, but the yoga exchange was a classic Zombie attack on their friendship

  The only smile I had was at the expensive of "The Yangtze swallows all secrets."

Not the whole situation, just Burns’ line

Charlie Sweatpants: That was probably my #2. Though again, why the fuck was Homer at Burns’ house?

Mad Jon: To try and get stories from him since he couldn’t get any from Abe

Charlie Sweatpants: Similar structure: the scene sucks, it makes no sense, but there was one decent line of dialog.

Mad Jon: And it would have been way funnier if Monty just released all the hounds instead of just one. That was pretty stupid.

Charlie Sweatpants: It speaks to a larger problem with Zombie Simpsons though, doesn’t it? You get that many people in a room and sure they’ll come up with a decent joke or two. But the rest of the episode is stochastic to the extreme.

Dave: Why does Homer chase after the train in a Segway?

Mad Jon: For the same reason they made jokes about the housing crisis, the fall of newspapers, etc… Because they think current pop culture has a place on the Simpsons.

Charlie Sweatpants: But again it was reference not satire.

Mad Jon: That wasn’t actually Mitch Albom’s voice was it? I fucking hate that plagiaristic chicken head.

Charlie Sweatpants: Oh, it was him: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1572119/

Mad Jon: I don’t care that he got caught reusing other people’s works, I just hate everything he has and will ever stand for.

  Jesus, why would he want to do that? It wasn’t funny and it pointed out how much of a douche bag he is.

  God I hate Mitch Albom

Charlie Sweatpants: But that’s exactly why he would do it.

Mad Jon: I hate everything he is. When his voice comes on the car radio it makes be want to turn into oncoming traffic.

Dave: Don’t do that, FYI.

Charlie Sweatpants: The bite went out of Zombie Simpsons a long time ago. Proof: Mitch Albom, as ripe a target for devastating satire as has ever walked the earth, felt safe enough to come on the show.

Mad Jon: I hate him even more than I hate Reilly.

Sorry. That had to happen

Charlie Sweatpants: No worries.

All I’m saying is that Albom is one of the most eminently mockable people on Earth, and he works in an industry – sports schlock – that is just as bad. But there was no attempt to make fun of him, or satirize the crap he peddles.

One of the best things Ortved wrote in his book, and I don’t remember exactly where it is, was when he pointed out that the show has become such a part of mainstream culture that no one finds it threatening any more.

Mad Jon: Good point.

Charlie Sweatpants: He cited that episode where they basically did a commercial for Kiefer Sutherland’s meal ticket (24).

Dave: No Charlie, that was synergy

  Didn’t you get the memo?

Mad Jon: Oh yea, I remember that one.

Charlie Sweatpants: I set my gmail to "Memo-block".

Mad Jon: Funny story, I watched Thursday’s with Abie on Hulu, and the commercials were for an ABC show.

Charlie Sweatpants: It’s all one big circle jerk.

Mad Jon: Fair enough.

Was there anything even close to resembling entertainment in the other plot?

Dave: Slimu was hilarious

Charlie Sweatpants: Dave, tell me you’re kidding. Do they make an emoticon for sarcasm?

Dave: They don’t, which is why my online attempts at it seem to regularly fail.

Mad Jon: Was I supposed to get something out of the lamb deal?

Charlie Sweatpants: The stuffed animal thing, I don’t even know where to begin.

Mad Jon: Nelson gets worse every episode. If I see that kid have one more psycho nervous breakdown I’m gonna have one of my own.

Dave: Nelson’s on his way to becoming an ineffable nutjob for some reason

Charlie Sweatpants: Nelson, like Moe, Barney and many of the other basically unlikeable characters went to shit a long, long time ago.

Mad Jon: I know, but I choose to still complain about it.

Charlie Sweatpants: More power to you.

Nelson in this episode is basically acting the way he is because the writers were flipping through "Plot Motivations for Dummies" and found that Bart needed a reason to care about the stuffed lamb.

  That it made no sense for Nelson to care about it didn’t register.

Mad Jon: I guess I understand.

  As far as insanity can be understood by the sane.

Charlie Sweatpants: Insanity would be preferable, this was just lazy. Say what you want about the certifiable, but they tend to be motivated. At this point Zombie Simpson scripts read like Mad Libs.

Dave: That’s pretty fair, I’d say

Charlie Sweatpants: Homer is worried over a (Noun), meanwhile Bart tries to (Verb) a way for his (Adjective) (Noun).

Mad Jon: I must have missed it but, was there a reason for Homer getting jealous over Grandpa telling the writer stories? I understand it was a convenient plot point, but what was his motivation?

Charlie Sweatpants: Convenience?

Mad Jon: Well then

I just figured they may have given a half-assed reason for it, that’s all.

Charlie Sweatpants: Remember what Dave said about the emoticon for sarcasm? Well I couldn’t find it either. I have no idea what his "motivation" was, but neither does anyone else.

It kinda fits in with Jerkass Homer, jealousy over not being the center of attention would be one of his character traits if he had any.

Dave: Would motivation have made a difference? Probably not. There’s no grounding to the characters anymore, primary or background.

Mad Jon: I guess I understand….

Charlie Sweatpants: Not true, they’re grounded in the need to fill up 22 minutes of screen time.

Dave: Touché

Mad Jon: Damn it. There isn’t an emoticon for quoting Cartman either. Which in itself would have been an emoticon for sarcasm before beating a boy an inch from his life.

Charlie Sweatpants: While I’m on the subject of filling screen time, did Homer’s various freakouts seem unusually drawn out?

The thing in the mirror took forever and a day.

Mad Jon: It sure did.

Dave: Everyone seemed to be a little, um, more emotional this time around

Mad Jon: Kinda of like a temper tantrum wasn’t it.

Charlie Sweatpants: I always thought temper tantrums had a purpose (e.g. I want that, no I won’t go to Grandma’s house), this just kinda flailed around out of pique. I cite the stuff in the sewer.

Mad Jon: Like an autistic temper tantrum?

Charlie Sweatpants: You lost me there.

Mad Jon: Meh, failed joke. Hey, I should write for The Simpsons!

Charlie Sweatpants: Please, The Simpsons went off the air ten years ago.

Mad Jon: Don’t I know it.

Charlie Sweatpants: Dave, since you just finished watching this turd, any immediate reactions?

Dave: I didn’t finish, remember?

Charlie Sweatpants: Can you describe the foul taste in the back of your throat?

Mad Jon: Salty isn’t it.

Dave: It tastes like burning.

Charlie Sweatpants: Oh, I figured you still had it on.

Dave: No I actually stopped. I had two experts telling me not to finish.

Charlie Sweatpants: Okay then – spoiler alert – everything works out fine and all the "action" and "suspense" sequences were just filler.

Mad Jon: No, that’s a lie. The last thing that happens is that Homer goes on is very first ‘old guy’ rant.

Dave: You should see the look of surprise on my face.

  He does what now?

Charlie Sweatpants: Oh fuck, I forgot about that.

Mad Jon: No, you’re brain blocked the pain out. Just like when you have surgery without anesthesia.

Charlie Sweatpants: Basically, out of gratitude for Homer saving him from the "Scooby Doo"-esque "villain", Grandpa invited Homer to ramble. Godzilla was involved but it had none of the wit and sparkle of one of Grandpa’s rants.

Mad Jon: I vomited in my mouth a bit

Charlie Sweatpants: Also, it went on for about thirty seconds.

Dave: I dodged a bullet then

Charlie Sweatpants: You did.

  Anything else?

Mad Jon: No, I’m all out of vomit.

Dave: Dig deep friend, there might be a tiny bit left.

7 Responses to “Crazy Noises: Thursdays with Abie”

  1. 1 P. Piggly Hogswine
    6 January 2010 at 6:49 am

    After reading the post the other day with the ratings of this episode, I took some time at work to read the wiki entry on the episode. Without having seen it, that subplot sounds like one of the worst things I’ve ever set eyes on. They’re completely out of ideas.

  2. 2 Celia
    6 January 2010 at 7:34 am

    The people on TWOP (http://forums.televisionwithoutpity.com/index.php?showtopic=3191932&st=0) seem to think the subplot was the best bit. Poster DownsideUp says:

    I would have much preferred the A-plot have been the Bart/Lisa adventure down the sewer instead.

    “Who is this Larry? Give him my number and I’ll teach him something.” Ha! Love Agnes.

    (I wasn’t sure what to make of the Agnes parts. I suppose she’s been a brassy old tart for a while, but those scenes were still odd in ways it would take too long to articulate)

    As for Mitch Albom, I wasn’t sure who he was, so I went to Wikipedia (that font of truth and knowledge). Turns out he was the guy who wrote The Five People You Meet in Heaven, which I have actually read. That’s an odd book. Anyway, the writers would probably say that they totally did make fun of him, what with him acting a bit arrogant when Grandpa says he’s never heard of him, and with him following Ralph about. But I wouldn’t call that any kind of satire myself.

  3. 6 January 2010 at 8:46 am

    Speaking of guest stars, in a Yahoo article I read yesterday, it was stated that Simon Cowell is set to make his third guest appearance on The Simpsons. Third?? I didn’t know he had appeared a second time! I saw him on one episode (Maggie was auditioning for something?) and it was total balls. Is Simon Cowell the calibre of guest star Zombie Simpsons deems worthy of repeat appearances?

    That being said, in a way I’m glad when shitty celebrity guests appear on Zombie Simpsons. It makes more sense and it’s much less disspiriting than when genuinely good guests demean themselves by showing up. I was pretty sad seeing the likes of David Byrne, Alan Moore, Jon Stewart and Jim Jarmusch guesting in horrible episodes.

    • 4 Celia
      6 January 2010 at 9:13 am

      Maggie was being auditioned for a genius baby school, as I remember. But I don’t know when Simon’s other appearance was. Perhaps it was that one where Lisa goes on Krusty’s Not!American Idol thing. The only guest I remember from that was Fantasia whatserface doing some singing, followed by some of the least funny fawning over a celebrity you can possibly picture.

      I think a lot of the guest stars don’t really think “oh, the show’s shit now”. They just want to be on “The Simpsons”. I was kind of touched by how fanboyish members of Coldplay were about it, even though Coldplay’s music is almost entirely duller than ditchwater and their episode (next week, an important anniversary!) sounds at a similar level of excitement. Similarly, Seth Rogen was excited to write an episode, even though that was boring as well. But If I were offered to write an episode, I would probably say yes (even though it’d be rejected for being “not funny” and “too gay”) for the experience. And the money. Actually, the money is probably very important too.

  4. 6 January 2010 at 7:38 pm

    It would be nice if someone cool was asked to appear on The Simpsons and they declined because of how shit the show has become. Maybe it’s happened but it’s been kept quiet. I guess there was that revelation that Harvey Fierstein declined the chance to appear as Karl again because the episode he was offered was crap.

    • 6 Mad Jon
      7 January 2010 at 8:30 am

      I would suspect there have been several guest appearance offers that were turned down. I have to assume there are still some *actual* Simpsons fans in Hollywood. Also, compare the caliber of stars from then and now.

      Let’s Look at some sample starting lineups.

      First 10 Years:
      Michael Jackson,Dustin Hoffman, Tony Bennett, John Lovitz, Danny DeVito, Ringo Starr, Neil Patrick Harris, Johnny Cash, Magic Johnson, Paul and Linda McCartney, Mickey Rooney, James Earl Jones, James Woods, Michelle Pfiffer, George Harrison, Hugh Hefner, Johnny Carson, Joe Namath, Barry White, and Lenorn Nimoy


      Last 10 Years:
      Jerry Springer, Ed Bagely Jr, Parker Posey, The Williams Sisters, Gary Coleman, Carmen Electra, Tony Hawk, Weird Al Yankovic, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, The Olsen Sisters, Gary Busey, Ray Romano, Ricky Gervais, Rudy Guliani, Kurt Loder, Mark Cuban, Chuck Lidell, Anne Hathaway, and Marv Albert.

      I’m not saying there weren’t some very famous or successful people to end up in the later episodes, and in general most of the guests in the last 10 years are either people I am indifferent to or am a fan of, but seriously, which team do you think is going to win this one? Also, if you look at a list of credits, the actors in the last decade are waaayyy more likely to come on the show as themselves instead of as the voice of a character. I think that also says a lot.

      • 7 Cassidy
        7 January 2010 at 5:16 pm

        “Also, if you look at a list of credits, the actors in the last decade are waaayyy more likely to come on the show as themselves instead of as the voice of a character. I think that also says a lot.”

        Agreed. And even when the golden years Simpsons had guest actors portraying themselves they still managed to do it in a way that was 1) funny and 2) relevant to the story (or scene if it was just a brief appearance). Two that spring immediately to mind are Leonard Nimoy and James Woods.

Comments are currently closed.


deadhomersociety (at) gmail

Run a Simpsons site or Twitter account? Let us know!

Twitter Updates

Subscribe to Our Newsletter


Useful Legal Tidbit

Even though it’s obvious to anyone with a functional frontal lobe and a shred of morality, we feel the need to include this disclaimer. This website (which openly advocates for the cancellation of a beloved television series) is in no way, shape or form affiliated with the FOX Network, the News Corporation, subsidiaries thereof, or any of Rupert Murdoch’s wives or children. “The Simpsons” is (unfortunately) the intellectual property of FOX. We and our crack team of one (1) lawyer believe that everything on this site falls under the definition of Fair Use and is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. No revenue is generated from this endeavor; we’re here because we love “The Simpsons”. And besides, you can’t like, own a potato, man, it’s one of Mother Earth’s creatures.