James L. Brooks FTW

“What about me?  You didn’t thank me.” – Homer Simpson
“You didn’t do anything.” – Bart Simpson
“I like being thanked.” – Homer Simpson

Sure enough the one thing about Spurlock’s special I didn’t like was the casual defense of the quality of Zombie Simpsons.  I suppose it had to be in there, but it was no less galling for being obligatory.  However, much like the overwhelming preponderance of clips from the early years I thought the kiss off was a little revealing.  It basically consisted of three people, two guys who worked only on Zombie Simpsons and James Brooks.  Let’s compare and contrast, shall we?

  • Dana Gould (earliest credit: Season 12): “The people who say ‘It was never as good as it was five years ago’, it’s like well, neither are you, that’s the problem.”
  • Matt Warburton (earliest credit: Season 13): “I think the internet message boards used to be a lot funnier ten years ago, and I’ve sort of stopped reading their new posts.”

Gould’s quote doesn’t even make sense.  From the context it is clear what he means, but “it was never as good as it was five years ago” is a contradiction in terms.  It’s impossible for something to “never” be what it used to be.  If that’s what he’s sporting in terms of verbal ability it’s no wonder he never contributed to a decent episode. 

Warburton at least manages to form a coherent sentence.  But what he’s saying wouldn’t pass muster as witty anywhere outside of a grade school playground.  “I am rubber you are glue, whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you!”  Nice try kid, call us back when you work your way up to “yo momma” jokes. 

In between those rather limp attempts to hurt the internet’s feelings was a much more intelligent quote from a guy who, unlike those two, actually contributed to The Simpsons.  James L. Brooks said:

“There’s nobody who ever went on-line to read comments about anything they’ve done that doesn’t come away with one sullen fuckhead someplace who says a thing that you’d have to have surgically removed from your brain.”

(Note: I’m pretty sure he said “fuckhead” but they both bleeped it and blurred his mouth so it might be something else.  Sounded like “fuckhead” though.)  I’d like to point out two things about this quote.  The first is that it is not a defense of Zombie Simpsons.  All he’s saying is that internet critics say things that will stick in your head forever. 

Second, and more telling, is the fact that Brooks is laughing when he says this.  He clearly doesn’t give a shit and thinks the whole concept is amusing.  Brooks is secure in what he’s done and confident enough in his work to roll with the punches.  Contrast that with the other two.  Gould seems genuinely irritated, bordering on actually angry.  Warburton affects the passive aggressive sullenness you’d expect from a spoiled child.  The truth hurts, doesn’t it fellas?

6 Responses to “James L. Brooks FTW”

  1. 17 January 2010 at 11:21 pm

    Obviously the Zombie Simpsons writers feel obliged to defend themselves against criticism, but why do they have to make themselves sound like whiny pissy children as they do so? I thought Ken Keeler sounded pretty obnoxious during his defence of “The Principal and the Pauper” on that episode’s audio commentary, but he’s damn near polite compared to the sullen, snarky utterings of Gould and Warburton.

  2. 2 Celia
    19 January 2010 at 10:18 am

    Dana Gould’s quote is a perfect “NO U” and shows levels of butthurt that wouldn’t have shamed some of the crazier Harry Potter fans a couple of years ago (because they have no shame). I suppose it’s reasonable that people would get defensive over their work and want to support it no matter what (as I’ve said before, like a very badly-behaved but coddled child), but it seems to me that if one wants to work in the entertainment industry, one needs a skin like two rhino hides stuck together because no matter how awesome you are, some people are going to be ghastly. Of course, creative people (or people with pretentions towards creativity) are often going to be huge flouncing drama llamas too, so you’ll find a lot of butthurt about critics going around.

  3. 19 January 2010 at 9:07 pm

    The paucity of intelligence and wit in Gould and Warburton’s rejoinders shouldn’t be surprising, given that they are hack writers. Quite a contrast, as Charlie has pointed out, to the comments made by James L. Brooks.

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