“Daddy has to go to a beer drinking contest today.” – Homer Simpson
“Think you’ll win?” – Bart Simpson
“Son, when you participate in sporting events it’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how drunk you get.” – Homer Simpson
“Gotcha.” – Bart Simpson
Good morning everybody and welcome to the Simpsons/Beer marathon! I’m planning on updating this whenever the hell I feel like it (the idea of adhering to a schedule on this most relaxing of Saturdays makes me nauseous). I might do six updates for three hundred words, I might do fifty updates for six thousand words, nothing would surprise me. Typos and screwed up grammar are to be expected. I’ve listed all the episode titles below and comments will be entered next to the one that I’m currently watching. If I don’t comment on an episode please don’t construe that as a slight against it, I just might not have had anything update worthy on my alcohol soaked mind. I love everything in here and I look at it as a big puffy cloud of pure joy that I get to float through.
In general I have a very “hands off” approach to the pause button. The ending/opening credits provide ample time for bathroom and kitchen trips so there’s no need to miss anything. However, I am not above pausing or skipping back a few seconds if I need to get a quote right for an update. The fast-forward command will absolutely, positively not be used.
The comments section is open. I will try to read whatever may (or may not) show up, but I make no promises and thoughtful replies are probably not in the cards. Brevity is your friend. But enough of my preamble bullshit, let’s watch some Simpsons!
1. Homer’s Barbershop Quartet
- We begin with literally three couch gags, they’re all funny, and combined they take less time than most of the ones you see on Zombie Simpsons.
- The Be-Sharps existed eight years before the time of this episode, and this episode is now almost seventeen years old. I don’t have a point, I just wanted to test the update system.
- Love baby Lisa dressed like Maggie, except in orange and with pearls.
- True story: I bought this album in about 1997 specifically because they were called the B Sharp Jazz Quartet. I heard their name on the radio and pretty much drove right to the record store. I still listen to it today, track 11 (“Church Bells”) owns.
- The scene at the end where Bart and Lisa point out how none of this makes sense is funny, quick, and makes you care not in the least that it’s all wildly improbable. Fantastically deft. Also, this episode is so wall-to-wall with pop culture references I’m certain there are still things I’m not noticing seventeen years later.
2. Cape Feare
- “That is some outfit Skoey, it makes you look like a homosexual.” – Rainier Wolfcastle
- “Boo!” – Crowd
- “Oh-ho, maybe you all are homosexuals too!” – Rainier Wolfcastle
- What terrible thing(s) did Linda Lavin do? I’ve never been able to figure that out.
- Also, Terror Lake Salutes Hannibal Crossing The Alps. (I love that there’s a whole elephant for “The”.)
3. Homer Goes to College
- All places of work should have nap time.
- The Jade Monkey joke almost killed me the first time I saw it.
- I love how they invented a Cory for “School of Hard Knockers”.
- Just another example of how completely different this is than Zombie Simpsons: when Bart accuses Homer of hanging with nerds Homer threatens him with a steak knife. It takes less than a second and is completely unacknowledged by the soundtrack. It’s hilarious precisely because it’s not emphasized for five seconds. You can do horrible things like have a father threaten his son with a knife, but they become less funny the more you focus on them.
- “Oh dean, this is what your new hip is going to look like.” – Dr. Hibbert
- Addendum to the above: this episode handles physical violence and the threat of said violence really, really, really fucking well. It’s quick, it’s brutal, and it’s still funny even when it’s not a surprise because you’ve seen it eight dozen times.
- Oh yeah, this season has shortened intros. Must . . . pee . . . faster.
- The fact that Burns is always watching his employees on his wall of monitors is the perfect illustration of this show’s complete and utter disdain for Authority of any kind.
- Two episodes in a row with Nixon! One of the best things Futurama ever did was bring him back as the President. I wonder if, twenty years from now when the wounds aren’t as fresh, Bush the Younger will make an equally hilarious villain. Probably.
- “That rare first draft of the Constitution with the word ‘suckers’ in it.” There are alumni of first tier law schools who’ve never said anything that perceptive about the law.
- I’ve been watching the DVD versions for so long now that I’ve mostly forgotten where the syndication cuts were. I could look it up on SNPP, but I’m pretty sure the “Homer’s recording studio” thing used to get cut out and I know the “you too huh?” thing from Jimmy Carter used to get cut out.
- Why – why – didn’t I buy slices of American cheese when I was at the store yesterday?
- “Excuse me, we wanted to see the geek who valued the happiness of his children more than money.” – Power Plant Guy
- The third act of this episode is 1/63rd as long as Season 20 and I would rather watch it on a loop than all of that piece of shit.
5. Treehouse of Horror IV
- I don’t know if it was intentional or not, probably it wasn’t, but the Donut Demon sounds so much like Moe that I can’t help but think they were making some kind of an addiction joke.
- Three in a row with Nixon (and second of the season with Lizzie Borden)! Also, Benedict Arnold had a tiny penis.
- “Marge, look at all this great stuff I found at the marina. It was just sitting in some guy’s boat.” – Homer Simpson
- Mit Iodine!
- This is an off topic tangent, but the whole Dracula segment reminded me of Keanu Reeves, who was the main, though by no means the only, so-bad-it’s-good attraction of Point Break. If Kathryn Bigelow doesn’t win an Oscar tomorrow night and someone you know complains about it, just point them to this Wikipedia article and rest your case.
6. Marge on the Lam
- “Mr. Simpson you do realize this may result in hair loss, giddiness, and the loss of equilibrium?” – Army Doctor
- This episode isn’t as famous as the preceding ones, but it’s a testament to the merciless quality of Season 5 that it’s no worse. I’m five minutes in and we’ve had a stolen power sander, trapped inside vending machines, the bear in the little car, an Army serum to avoid dinner with Patty & Selma, and Edward the Penitent. Holy shit, that’s a murderer’s row and we’re three plus minutes from the first commercial.
- If you have never shot at cans I can assure you that you are missing one of life’s great pleasures.
- I’ve never smashed a weather station, but I imagine the same applies.
- Miguel Sanchez!
- Classic car chase music.
- “I’m directly under the Earth’s sun . . . now”, I use that all the time.
- And it’s immediately followed by Brockman’s insane sermon. Jebus I love this episode.
7. Bart’s Inner Child
- Brad Goodman was funny at the time, but if anything the kind of idiotic woo that people like him pitch has gotten worse since this was first broadcast.
- “Troy, this circle is you.” – Brad Goodman
- Gotta love the nonsensical, self-help bullshit phrases like, “life script” and “shame spiral”. Clearly anyone capable of such seemingly clever diction (and a turtleneck) can solve your problems for $24.95.
- Going off something we were talking about here a few weeks ago, it’s amazing how much of the crowd at the seminar is made up of anonymous nobodies. It’s not populated by stock characters and that definitely makes it work better.
- Smithers’ teal tank top is adorable.
- Love the Brad Goodman Idol.
- It’s our first McGonigle reference, but there will be another.
8. Boy-Scoutz ‘N the Hood
- I fell asleep twenty or so minutes in to “My Dinner with Andre” and never went back to finish it.
- There was a squishy machine in my high school cafeteria but the lunch ladies would never let us make one entirely out of syrup. We gave them like $5 one time too.
- I’ve never seen “New York, New York”, and I even like musicals.
- “Weaseling out of things is important to learn! It’s what separates us from the animals . . . except the weasel.” – Homer Simpson
- Seven and a half beers in I’ve attained the rank of “Pussywillow”.
- Floor pie!
- I know Ernest Borgnine best as Dominic Santini from Airwolf, but that’s just me. Also, Borgnine rules.
- Love how Bart imagines Homer making a hat out of the map, and then Homer actually makes a hat out of the map.
- I don’t know if one person just thought it up, or if there was a discussion of “what’s the most wasteful thing Homer could do with the water?”, but washing his socks is perfect.
- I haven’t watched enough Zombie Simpsons to know the real answer, but when was the last time Patty and/or Selma openly wished for Homer’s death?
- Excellent way to end things with Homer and Bart reconciling and Homer telling him to “Go away, eating.”
9. The Last Temptation of Homer
- If I ever have a desk people can stand in front of I want a button to push. It doesn’t have to suck them into a tube or open a trap door, but it has to do something.
- Equal employment people dressed as ninjas. Need I say more?
- “Colonel Klink, why have you forsaken me?” – Homer Simpson
- Even in the darkest moment of temptation for his marriage, one inspired by something as mundane as a fortune cookie, Homer still hates Bart. Bravo.
10. $pringfield (Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Legalized Gambling)
- It takes a great deal of historical awareness and comedy genius to make people cower in terror as a train comes at them on their 10” TV screen.
- It’s a hundred years later and we’re back to McKinley-nomics.
- Predicting tiger attacks on gay lion tamers years before it actually happened. Life truly does imitate The Simpsons.
- Speaking of syndication cuts, I’m pretty sure the Rainman thing wasn’t syndicated.
- The Bogy Man sequence is . . . well, you know. They should have sent a poet.
- “I’m Idaho!”
11. Homer the Vigilante
- I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: nobody gets it worse on this show than old people. It’s beautiful that even they get their revenge in this episode.
- World domination! “Mental note, the girl knows too much.” – Homer’s Brain
- Not unlike “You Only Move Twice” where there’s a Bond Villain who, in defiance of all convention, cares about his employees, this episode is based on a single yet perfectly absurd twist: a burglar who only steals things with sentimental value. To call it genius is to fall well short of the mark.
- I saw “It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World” once when I was a kid and I remember liking parts of it.
- “Dig up, stupid.” – Chief Wiggum
12. Bart Gets Famous
- The empty beer cans are beginning to take up an alarming large portion of my teevee table. Feels odd that I’m already half done.
- Unpredictable Mexican sitcoms are made by gentlemen with proper British accents. Isn’t that obvious?
- This is the second time Quimby has admitted to, and gotten away with, cheating on his wife this season. It’s almost like he’s a serial adulterer. Awesome.
- Oh for Conan O’Brien to take over the show and end it in a year and a half.
- I love how you can see the seeds of Futurama in all the Simpsons glimpses of the future (e.g. Match Game 2034).
- Gotta love any Pavlov joke that doesn’t involve the word “Pavlov”.
13. Homer and Apu
- I buy the cheap/old meat all the time, haven’t been to the hospital yet.
- “I can see through time!” – Lisa Simpson
- James Woods is an excellent example of a well done celebrity cameo. He’s playing himself, but it’s okay because the reason he’s playing himself is semi-plausible and, more than that, incisively funny.
- Though I enjoy chit chat, as a pathetic single man I can assure you that I am keen to clear the checkout lane as quickly as possible.
- Seriously, Woods has like twelve punch lines in fourteen lines of dialogue and he nails them all. If it wasn’t so funny it would be terrifying.
14. Lisa vs. Malibu Stacy
- The Buzz Cola ad should be mandatorily shown before all the YouTube clips of the Zombie Simpsons Super Bowl Coke ad.
- Aw crap, hiccups.
- For all the dumbass Zombie Simpsons fans who bitch whenever their precious fraud of a show does a Lisa/Marge episode, I submit this as Exhibit A in support of You Are Fucktard.
- Nuts and Gum!
- Speaking of all time classic guest voices: Kathleen Turner.
- I would buy Hortense the Mule-Face Doll.
15. Deep Space Homer
- Bring me the head of Colonel Montoya!
- NASA is the perfect target for The Simpsons, they’re utterly earnest and uncompromisingly focused on substance over style. It’s a recipe for disaster.
- One of the dirtiest things the show ever slipped past the censors: “How come I can’t get no tang round here?” And then they compound it by asking Clinton (pre-Lewinsky) if knows where to get some.
- Everybody loves the music from when Kirk fought Spock.
- I, for one, totally believe that Art Garfunkel would have an industrial strength compressor.
- Hail Ants!
16. Homer Loves Flanders
- This is the warmest weather we’ve had all year. Happiness with my decision to spend the whole day indoors watching sixteen-year-old cartoons I can recite from memory? 100%.
- Why don’t we have robot cars yet? I’m serious.
- “I used to party all night and sleep with lingerie models until Ned and his Bible group showed me that I could have more.” – Stan “The Boy” Taylor
- Pixie Stix : Child Cocaine
- Just having got through the Terminator 2 part where Homer hangs on the car, it dawns on me that this is about the twelfth (probably more) explicit yet unstated movie parody this season. They aren’t spelled out, they aren’t drawn out, they’re just there. Pop culture usage doesn’t get any better.
17. Bart Gets an Elephant
- “Push her down, son.” – This is what I’m talking about when I say that the implication or light/quick implementation of violence is far funnier than the genuine article.
- At KBBL, what’s with Homer walking away with a record and then standing in the sound booth with headphones on? Was that on the DVDs and I didn’t watch it?
- All current politics aside, you know how I know that current fears of terrorism are overblown? This episode came out when the Unabomber was at large and yet there’s a (very good) letter bomb joke and nobody cared.
- Did anyone else ever notice that right as he’s walking out Mr. Blackheart sounds like Skinner?
- The peanut factory manager is brilliant absurdity.
- You know that you’re amongst true hearted Simpsons people when you can ram your head into their shoulders and have them laugh because you might just be a jerk.
18. Burns’ Heir
- When you think about it, it’s really surprising you don’t see more people on message boards with Burns holding the bong as their avatar.
- Burns with a sweater knotted around his shoulders is too perfect.
- “We’ll see what the lab has to say about that.” – C.M. Burns
- Burns wants to give his money to the Egg Advisory Council, and it’s not until next season that we get the Egg as a Stonecutter member. Conspiracy!
- Love the menorah at the end of Bart’s Christmas themed joy ride.
- Burns’ trapdoor gets a wonderful amount of use this season.
19. Sweet Seymour Skinner’s Baadasssss Song
- Going all the way back to “The Old Man and the Sea”, I always enjoy Martin’s class presentations.
- Not that this was a surprise, but add Aliens to the list of brilliantly used movies.
- Billy and the Cloneasaurus!
- Pre-derangement Agnes Skinner is hilarious. Post-derangement Agnes, not so much.
- Here’s another Simpsons thing that’s sadly missing from modern discourse: mockery of the military. The actual troops make personal sacrifices that are as ill appreciated as they are misunderstood, but the institution itself has gone far too long without sufficient mockery.
- Also, it won’t be much longer that you can get out by hitting on your commanding officer.
- “Just like facts have no place within organized religion!” – Superintendent Chalmers And just like that I fall in love with this show all over again.
20. The Boy Who Knew Too Much
- I spent nine years in ultra-hard, posture-ific chairs and I can assure you, despite what the manufacturer may claim, that I still slouch.
- Gotta love Homer and Bart passing each other on the street, each unwilling to admit their casual dishonesty to the other.
- Reporters dashing to pay phones, there’s a cute anachronism.
21. Lady Bouvier’s Lover
- I love the horror at what a first birthday looks like from the kid’s perspective. When you think about it, from the point of view of a twenty-five pound person, flaming candles and flash photography do kinda seem like torture.
- “Each Matlock could be our last!”
- “You remind me of a poem I can’t remember, and a song that may never have existed, and a place I’m not sure I’ve ever been to.” – Abe “Grandpa” Simpson I feel that way about so many things . . .
- When this first came out I thought the idea of selling an animation cel was farce, but then it turns out they actually did this and the show’s mockery of it takes on a whole new meaning.
- Jasper’s stripper-cake failure – “call the nurse” – set the bar for “jumping out of cake” humor for a decade and more.
- “Hello Grandpa my old friend . . .” – Simon and Garfunkel (second mention this season) are easy to mock, but this is sublime, funny and yet appreciative, just the way the elderly would’ve wanted.
22. Secrets of a Successful Marriage
- I’m pretty sure I could type out a long ass rant about this episode but it would basically boil down to this: outside approval cannot save your fundamentally crappy relationship. I could teach a class.
- Speaking personally, I would flunk the orange eating class.
- I’ve mentioned this before, and I’m sure I’ll do so again, but this show had an unprecedented ability to take an emotionally grotesque situation like a woman throwing a man out of the house and acknowledge the sad parts while emphasizing the funny ones without seeming patronizing or formulaic. Were I any kind of sober I could elaborate on that, but I don’t think it would matter. You either know what I’m talking about or you don’t.
- This episode features the Moe I know and love: not the epically wussy love struck cartoon he’s become.
- Ten million Cynicism Points to this episode for “complete and utter dependence” as a romantic idea.
That’s all folks! Even in my drunken state I can’t gin up anything super profound about all this. I got drunk, I watched a cartoon show. It’s silly and stupid and easily mockable, and without denying any of those descriptions I’d point out one more thing: it was worth doing. This show never focused on passing situations or hypocritical fad mockery; rather, it chose to make fun of the world we live in instead of the ways we live in it. Maybe that’s a distinction without a difference, and I’m in no shape to contest it right now, but I don’t think so. The reason it’s still worth watching all these years later is the same reason it’s still quoted endlessly: it made fun of us, not just our times. Much as we might like to pretend otherwise we don’t really change that much in a mere twenty years.
Update: My phone is old, its connection software is older still, and my laptop predates them both. Getting all three of them to cooperate for the simple purpose of uploading a picture is an adventure even when I’m sober. But I got it, so for any internet doubters out there, here’s the beer: