Morgan Spurlock Doesn’t Like Zombie Simpsons

“Look Bart, it almost killed me but I handcrafted all seventy-five characters from ‘Oliver Twist’.  And now, the coup-de-grace, a bitter snowstorm.” – Lisa Simpson

They say it is best to judge a man not by his words but by his actions.  By that criteria I would like to thank Morgan Spurlock for publicly disparaging Zombie Simpsons – on FOX itself.  To the untrained eye it looked like he was just eating an orange, but to the eye that has brains he was making a guerilla point about Zombie Simpsons.  It took a disturbing amount of my (admittedly not very valuable) time yesterday, but I went through the entire special and identified the episode titles for all but five clips.  The results are below and Zombie Simpsons has once again been shown to be horribly inadequate, this time in a nationally televised special paid for by FOX itself.

One “clip” is counted as a continuous sequence from a single episode.  For example, shots from several episodes in a row are separate clips for each episode, but multiple shots from a single episode without returning to “real people” footage is only one clip.  Total number of “clips” shown:

  Simpsons (Season 1-10) Zombie Simpsons (Season 11+)
Total # of Clips 101 13
Total # of Episodes 58 12

(See after the jump for my complete count as well as screen grabs and a discussion of the five clips I couldn’t identify.)

As you can see, clips from The Simpsons outnumber clips from Zombie Simpsons by nearly 8-1.  (These numbers do not include any clips from “Mr. Plow” or “Blame It on Lisa”, because there were whole segments on those two episodes.)  Moreover, if we look at the numbers in more detail we see that the 8-1 ratio is – content wise – actually generous to Zombie Simpsons.  Three of the Zombie Simpsons clips (23% of the total) come at the very end when they’re doing a simple chronological overview that has nothing to do with the content of the clips.  If we subtract that section out (for both The Simpsons and Zombie Simpsons) we’d have a ratio of almost 10-1.

Numerically it’s not even a contest, but if we look at the context of each clip Zombie Simpsons comes off even worse.  The opening quarter of the special is about how great and awesome The Simpsons is; it’s just people talking about their favorite characters and places in Springfield.  During that entire stretch there is only one clip from Zombie Simpsons (of Kent Brockman from “You Kent Always Say What You Want”).  In the entire presentation about what makes The Simpsons so special, what makes the characters so great, what makes the town so relatable, that was the only mention of Zombie Simpsons.

In fact, an outright majority of the Zombie Simpson clips come from mentions about things foreign, be it Rio de Janeiro, London, Paris or China.  Zombie Simpsons has so thoroughly exhausted its ideas that it’s usually only worth mentioning when it concocts yet another way for the family to visit some exotic place.

Finally, I’d like to draw your attention to the section about nuclear power.  Spurlock interspersed clips from the show with interviews and shots of the real nuclear plant he visited.  Those clips came from six episodes, see if you can spot the one that doesn’t belong:

  • Last Exit to Springfield (Season 4)
  • Two Cars in Every Garage, Three Eyes on Every Fish (Season 2)
  • Homer’s Enemy (Season 8)
  • Homer Defined (Season 3)
  • I Married Marge (Season 3)
  • Bonfire of the Manatees (Season 17)

The clips from the first five listed above have to do with Homer working at the nuclear plant.  The clip from the last one comes about because one of the nuclear power representatives mentioned that manatees often live near real nuke plants.  In other words, all the humor about nuclear power comes from The Simpsons, the Zombie Simpson one is there just because someone said the word “manatee”.

(I don’t like doing jump pages, but in this case I’m making an exception because it’s a huge amount of text and I don’t want to distort the main page.  After the jump is the complete count identifying every clip along with screen grabs of the five I couldn’t place.)

There were five clips I couldn’t identify.  Feel free to leave any suggested episodes in the comments, though I don’t think it’s going to change the overall numbers much if at all.  I’ve placed the rough time the clip starts, no commercials, in parentheses.

The first is when they’re showing all the different languages of the show (7:00).  Spurlock is narrating when the dialogue is in English and I don’t speak any of the other languages:


I think this one is old (the level of the detail on the books and the general shape of things makes me think it’s hand drawn), but I can’t place it and so I didn’t count it in either total.

This is the establishing shot of the school that dissolves into the real life school (12:45):


Again this one certainly looks older and hand drawn, but I didn’t count it either way.

This one is the kids showing surprise (31:15).  (You can see Maggie’s pacifier falling out of her mouth.)  The black bars on the side are there because this image wasn’t cropped like #2 above:


This one doesn’t quite have that “hand drawn” feel to it, but again it’s not counted in either of the totals.

#4 is Homer choking Bart (32:00).  This one does give me that “hand drawn” vibe, but I couldn’t place it precisely:


Obviously something similar to this has been in a lot of episodes, but I’m sure there’s one that’s exactly this.  As per usual this one wasn’t counted in either column.

Finally, there’s this rather pedestrian Zombie Simpsons clip (39:15):


They give you the year (though not the season).  Since this one is obviously from Zombie Simpsons it’s the only one of the “unknown” clips I counted (as both a clip and an episode, though it may be from the same episode as one of the other clips).

Those are the five I couldn’t identify.  They are marked with (unknown) in the notes that follow.  This is every clip in chronological order starting with the beginning of the special.  The only thing I didn’t count was a couch gag montage at the beginning.  I’m posting it for the sake of completeness.

Sting – “Radio Bart”

John Waters – “Homer’s Phobia”

Dan Rather (shows Brockman) – “Radio Bart”

Global Simpsons – (unknown)

In the Simpsons class they’re watching “Lisa vs. Homer and the 8th Commandment”

“D’oh” montage ends with “And Maggie Makes Three”

Talking about non-family characters:

– Apu in “Homer and Apu”

– Police in “Bart the Murderer”

– Quimby in “Much Apu About Nothing”

– Everyone in “Bart’s Comet”

Talking about locations:

– Bart & Milhouse on the bridge in “22 Short Stories About Springfield”

– Barney’s Bowlarama from “Life on the Fast Lane”

– Civic Center from “Brother Can You Spare Two Dimes”

– Krusty Burger from “Lisa vs. Malibu Stacy”

– Springfield Dog Track from “Two Dozen and One Greyhounds”

– Aztec Theater from “A Star Is Burns”

– Sleep-Eazy (Sle-azy) Motel from “The Cartridge Family”

– Springfield Sign & Overlook from “Marge on the Lam”

Talking about Apu:

– Apu signing in “Homer and Apu”

– Apu with t-shirt in “Lisa the Vegetarian”

– With expensive penny candy in “Homer and Apu”

Talking about Moe:

– At his restaurant in “Bart Sells His Soul”

– Buying Marge posies in “Secrets of a Successful Marriage”

– Taking what he thinks is a crank call from Burns in “Homer the Smithers”

Talking about Quimby:

– Taking key to the city from Homer in “Mr. Plow”

– Ducking an issue in “Much Apu About Nothing”

– Describing himself as a bad little boy in “Krusty Gets Kancelled”

– Making out with a redhead in his car on Willie’s videotape in “Homer Badman”

– At his nephew’s birthday party in “The Boy Who Knew Too Much”

Talking about Mr. Burns:

– Burns Manor from “Two Dozen and One Greyhounds”

– Burns in vest from “Two Dozen and One Greyhounds”

– Homer caring for Burns in “Homer the Smithers”

Talking about Smithers:

– Smithers’ Malibu Stacy collection from “Lisa vs. Malibu Stacy”

– Smithers napping during “Homer Goes to College”

Talking about Brockman:

– Eye on Springfield opening from “A Star Is Burns”

– With “Hail Ants” sign from “Deep Space Homer”

– Pictures of him interviewing celebrities is from Season 18’s “Kent Always Say What you Want” – First Zombie Simpsons clip (at 12:10)

There’s an establishing shot of Springfield Elementary before they talk to the real life principal (unknown).

Skinner and Krabappel making out in the closet from “Grade School Confidential”

Talking about Krusty:

– When introducing Rusty Nails they show Krusty during his 29th Anniversary special in “I Love Lisa”

– Krusty’s Staff Meeting from “Krusty Gets Kancelled”

– Krusty’s commercial taping during “Lisa’s First Word”

Homer marveling at donuts from “Marge vs. the Monorail”

Homer being tortured with donuts in “Treehouse of Horror IV”

The guy with the sweet Milhouse tattoo leads to clips from “The President Wore Pearls” (second Zombie Simpsons clip, 15:10), then “Bart Sells His Soul”, “A Milhouse Divided” and “Bart Sells His Soul” again.

Clip of London from “The Regina Monologues”

Moby clips are from “Mr. Plow” (duh)

Itchy & Scratchy clip from “Treehouse of Horror IX”

Bart mooning from “Bart vs. Australia”

Chinese Fire Drill from “The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson”

Ethnic Mismatch Comedy from “They Saved Lisa’s Brain”

Bart and Homer from “Kamp Krusty”

Catholic joke in “Lisa Gets an A”

Catholic joke (actually one of the few I liked) in that awful Super Bowl episode “Sunday, Cruddy Sunday”

Methodist joke in “She of Little Faith”

Clip of cooling towers putting out smoke in “Last Exit to Springfield”

Two non-consecutive clips from “Two Cars in Every Garage, Three Eyes on Every Fish”

Smithers and Burns working in “Last Exit to Springfield”

Homer spinning in his chair from “Homer’s Enemy”

Warning in Sector 7-G from “Homer Defined”

Homer scratching his ass from “Two Cars in Every Garage, Three Eyes on Every Fish”

Putting out the 513 from “Homer’s Enemy”

Homer wouldn’t make it through the psychology (“There’s a problem with the reactor!”) from “I Married Marge”

Blinky from “Two Cars in Every Garage, Three Eyes on Every Fish”

Clip from “Bonfire of the Manatees”

Blinky as dinner in “Two Cars in Every Garage, Three Eyes on Every Fish”

Homer threatens his brain in “Boy Scoutz ’n the Hood”

Homer running from the Pop Rocks explosion in “Homer Badman”

Homer spikes his beer in “Homer the Heretic”

Homer tells the judge to shutup in “Home Sweet Homediddly-Dum-Doodily”

Homer tucks Maggie in at the end of “Lisa’s First Word”

Homer refuses to talk to Lisa in “Lisa the Vegetarian”

Homer goes for floor pie in “Boy Scoutz ’n the Hood”

Homer makes his patented, Space Age, out of this world, moon waffle in “Homer the Heretic”

Homer eats all the snacks at once in “Lisa the Greek”

Homer tells the TV to “be more funny” in “Marge on the Lam”

Homer honks the horn and does the U-S-A chant in “Itchy & Scratchy the Movie”

Duffman introduction from “The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson”

Homer’s birthmark from “Homer the Great”

Kids and pets in the living room, mouths agape (unknown)

Homer falls down the cliff “Bart the Daredevil”

Maggie’s collapsing play set from “Saturdays of Thunder”

Homer choking Bart (unknown).

Bart explaining that TV has spent so much more time raising them from “Homer Badman”, followed shortly by Homer needing a hug from the same episode.

“Caramia” from “Natural Born Kissers.”

Homer calling himself “a wonderful man” from “The Cartridge Family”

Marge muttering to Homer in bed in “Radio Bart”

Homer being “this close to having a comb over” in “Kamp Krusty”

Train scene from “Homer and Apu”

Geisha scene from “Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo”

Eiffel Tower meal is from “Bart-Mangled Banner”

Flying Dragons are from “Goo Goo Gai Pan”

Expensive coleslaw from “Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo”

Lisa plays didgeridoo “Bart vs. Australia”

Homer chokes baby panda also from “Goo Goo Gai Pan”

Lots of clips from “Blame It on Lisa” in Rio de Janeiro segment (again, duh)

Willie sits in the rain and then says his own name from “My Fair Laddy”

Scotchtoberfest from “Bart’s Girlfriend”

Two clips from “Simpsoncalifragilisticexpialad’ohcious” for support for Willie being from Glasgow

Willie wakes up and shouts “Go Aberdeen” in “‘Scuse Me While I Miss the Sky”

More Scotchtoberfest from “Bart’s Girlfriend”

Chronological montage:

Tracy Ullman clip (not counted in The Simpsons total)

Clip from “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire”

Clip from “Bart’s Comet”

Clip from “Lisa Gets an A”

Clip from “The Regina Monologues”

A clip from 2006 of Homer sitting on the couch (unknown but counted for Zombie Simpsons)

Clip from “Take My Life, Please”

Marge gets out of her car in North Haverbrook in “Marge vs. the Monorail”

Rocket hits the only bridge out of town in “Bart’s Comet”

3 clips from “Secrets of a Successful Marriage”

8 Responses to “Morgan Spurlock Doesn’t Like Zombie Simpsons”

  1. 1 David
    15 January 2010 at 3:36 am

    The “Global Simpsons” clip appears to be from Mr. Lisa Goes To Washington, all the way back in season 3.

    Don’t know about the rest, though.

    • 2 Charlie Sweatpants
      15 January 2010 at 8:15 am

      I had the same thought, unfortunately it isn’t from that episode. Homer looks at the Reading Digest twice on the couch, the first time when he’s looking at the sexist cartoon and the second time when he’s reading the inspiring story of wilderness survival. But neither of those have anything like that shot in them.

  2. 27 February 2010 at 10:22 am

    The first one is from “Sunday, Cruddy Sunday”, it’s Homer with the coupon book.

  3. 5 Jared
    17 March 2010 at 3:37 pm

    This one: “A clip from 2006 of Homer sitting on the couch (unknown but counted for Zombie Simpsons)” is from “You Kent Always Say What You Want,” when Homer, Lisa and Kent Brockman are flipping back and forth between Fox & Fox News, with Homer alternating between “WooHoo!” and “Liberals!” … that screengrab happens after the TV gets unpaused and homer repeats his two exclamations, more puzzled this time because everyone has disappeared.

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