Archive for May, 2010



21
May
10

Quote of the Day

Bart After Dark3

“I’m gonna rescue a baby seal, and then I’m gonna save an otter.” – Lisa Simpson
“Whoa, whoa, whoa, I’m sorry, but all the animals have already been reserved for celebrities.” – Eco-Hippie
“There, that’s one hundred four pounds of sandpipers.” – Rainier Wolfcastle

Happy birthday Richard Appel!

20
May
10

Crazy Noises: The Bob Next Door

 New Kid on the Block3

“Set sail for the Frying Dutchman!” – Captain McAllister
“Aye-aye, captain!” – 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  “camouflaged”).

The above quote and image have almost nothing to do with the discussion below.  I just wanted to put it next to this:

Dumb Sign

And, of course, I could’ve also put it next to Gulp-n-Blow, the Buzzing Sign Diner, the Who’s To Know Motel, or any of the other funny and clever establishment names the The Simpsons came up with when it was still on the air.  The low give-a-shit level is one of the few constants of Zombie Simpsons, and it shines through in every single episode.

Mad Jon: Let’s do this so I can kill the taste with beer and Halo.

Charlie Sweatpants: Can I point something horrible out?

Mad Jon: You sure can

Charlie Sweatpants: "I’m the real Walt Warren", was I the only one who got a massive flashback to perhaps the most famous Zombie Simpsons moment ever, the Armin Tamzarian reveal?

Mad Jon: Every moment of that episode was a direct ripoff of another episode.

It wasn’t even camouflaged

Charlie Sweatpants: Of all the horrible plot twists and stupidities you’d think they’d never bring back . . .

Dave: I’ve long since repressed Armin Tamzarian, but I see your point

Charlie Sweatpants: Half of this episode was recycled.

Mad Jon: I would say more than that.

Charlie Sweatpants: That was just the one part that was recycled from a shitty episode.

Dave: Recycled, repurposed, and incredibly dull.

Mad Jon: Everything from the Flanders family to the five corners to the feet revelation and everything in between was already done.

  AND

Mad Jon: They had the gall to mention the writer’s creativity.

Charlie Sweatpants: When did they do that?

Mad Jon: There was a joke that made reference to crushing creativity that made me choke, but I think I have blocked out the actual quote…

Charlie Sweatpants: I’ll take your word for it, verifying it would mean watching this again and that would retard my efforts to forget it completely.

Mad Jon: You’re better off not trying to figure it out.

Charlie Sweatpants: I agree completely. I’m also not going to try to figure out how they thought the face coming off thing was funny twice.

Mad Jon: The only thing that made me crack a smile other than the occasional thought of suicide was the joke in the beginning about another family moving to Detroit.

And when did Ruth Powers move?

Charlie Sweatpants: Enh.

  Got me, but since when would that matter anyway?

Mad Jon: I guess it doesn’t.

Charlie Sweatpants: Dave, did you laugh at anything?

Mad Jon: But my point remains as valid as any other point I would make about this or any Zombiesode.

Dave: Nah…

Charlie Sweatpants: Good man.

Mad Jon: I also didn’t say that I laughed. Only that I cracked a smile.

It wasn’t that funny, just less painful.

Charlie Sweatpants: Fair enough.

Dave: I did squirm a bit.

Charlie Sweatpants: Or, should I say, "cheerfully withdrawn"?

  Nah.

Mad Jon: I don’t understand how Bob had figured out he could kill Bart at the 5 corners and escape justice. I think he tried to explain it, but my public school education may not have covered interstate murder laws…

Charlie Sweatpants: But he explained it twice, then he acted it out when getting arrested.

Mad Jon: Hmmm…

Charlie Sweatpants: It didn’t make any sense and wasn’t suspenseful, but they played it straight and acted like it was.

  Then he gets arrested and they walk across all the lines.

Mad Jon: Ah, closure.

Dave: And then it goes on for a few minutes.

Charlie Sweatpants: You can’t have it both ways, you’ve got to pick one.

You can be zany, you can be straight, but you can’t be both, and especially not in the same scene.

Dave: And then Bob’s back in prison and Bart’s free until next season.

Mad Jon: Also, was anyone grossed out by all the face surgery and removal?

Dave: Yes Jon. That’s when I squirmed.

  Even animated it was kind of gross.

Mad Jon: It was pretty bad.

Charlie Sweatpants: Well, lip-less teeth always look kinda freaky, but what gets me more is that they thought it would be funny several times.

You want to do something for shock value? Fine. It’s not really the "Simpsons" way, but fine. But you can’t do shock value on the same thing four times.

By the time "Walt" got his thread pulled, I mean, why even bother?

  At that point aren’t you better off with a head fake? Having it really be a loose thread on his collar?

Mad Jon: I don’t think "reason" made it to the white board during the initial brain storm session.

Charlie Sweatpants: I ought to be numb to it by now, but the complete lack of creativity still surprises me.

Mad Jon: This was even more completely lacking though, EVERY single thing done in this episode was a repeat or at the very least repeatish.

This could have been done by a computer that was turned on by a monkey missing one paw.

Charlie Sweatpants: But what if he has to reboot? Can he hit Ctrl-Alt-Del with only the one paw?

Mad Jon: He has a tail you know. He is just lazy and doesn’t want it to come to that.

Charlie Sweatpants: Any other low points we ought to discuss?

Mad Jon: The opening couch scene, did homer really have to ask Harold to draw the beer? You think that would have been automatic.

Charlie Sweatpants: Well, it did take forever, so at least it was consistent.

Mad Jon: True that.

Dave: Yep. I was just going to say it was a time suck.

Charlie Sweatpants: Everything in this episode was a time suck, even the recycled stuff.

  The Gilbert & Sullivan with Bart & Milhouse went on forever.

Mad Jon: As did the taco translation scene.

Charlie Sweatpants: Oh man, was that ever a reach.

It was like "Who’s On First" except that the word only had one meaning.

Mad Jon: Excellent analogy.

Dave: So million dollar question

Mad Jon: oh god what.

Charlie Sweatpants: Cash or check?

Dave: When we see Bob next season, will he have his face or Walt’s?

Charlie Sweatpants: That ain’t worth $3.50. Of course not.

Mad Jon: Three fiddy

Charlie Sweatpants: True.

If they’re really feeling conscientious they might mention it, but other than that, no.

Mad Jon: ugh, they even used Bob’s foot size to pin him down as the actual bad guy.

Dave: But we’re all sort of tacitly agreeing that there will be another Bob episode, and that it’ll likely dig a deeper hole. I’m happy with that.

Charlie Sweatpants: I’m happy that we’re in agreement, I’m not happy that it’s going to happen.

Mad Jon: Assuming Kelsey Grammer is still living… Well I guess even that doesn’t stop the Zombie writers now does it…

Charlie Sweatpants: Hasn’t yet.

20
May
10

Quote of the Day

“There. I hope the children enjoy my special fruit punch.” – Marge Simpson
“We got the recipe from the Fruit Punch Advisory Board.” – Lisa Simpson
“Oh gosh, I’m sorry. Our boys don’t eat sugar.” – Maude Flanders
“But why would the Advisory Board give us bad advice?” – Marge Simpson
“No sugar!” – Maude Flanders

19
May
10

Synergy Develops Stockholm Syndrome

The Simpsons Spin-off Showcase1

“Ahh, the boy is fine, so far.  I taught him to play the spoons.” – Charles “Big” Daddy

I think IGN is beginning to yearn for the freedom of summer.  This week’s corporate fanboy rant is really a stunner, even by their standards.  It’s not just high praise, it’s a justification, a plea that yes, Zombie Simpsons is indeed good.  Most of these reviews eagerly lap up whatever Zombie Simpsons left on the rug, but this wants to argue that it’s a good thing to shit on said rug:

A lot of the best moments from "The Bob Next Door" came from our familiarity with the character, his love of operettas being just one.

For IGN, it’s not enough to say that all the drawn out and recycled jokes were great, it’s that the very act of drawing out and recycling jokes makes them great.

Anyway, I had to do some serious synergy exorcising on this one, but I think I got it all.  Enjoy.

Now this is the Bob we’ve know and love come to expect. His last two major appearances, 2005’s "The Italian Bob" and 2007’s "Funeral for a Fiend" did not live up to the standard set by so many other great Sideshow Bob episodes. "The Bob Next Door" was a funny obliterated those standards in a black hole of suck that proves that this show will never return to form and that proved there’s still a lot to enjoy when new ways for The Simpsons Zombie Simpsons to pit exploit the once awesome idea of Bob and Bart against each other.

The episode, of course, didn’t come right out at the beginning and make it all about Bob advertise just how bottom dredgingly awful it would be. The majority of the first act gave us the Simpson typically lifeless Zombie Simpson spin on the current economic crisis. Like many local governments, Springfield was in major financial difficulty. Homer’s vision of Mayor Quimby’s "cooked books" and "fudge numbers" was the best misrepresentation of what he heard since kind of drawn out, clock eating “joke” that’s replaced quick lines like his take on Mr. Burns’ "open-faced club, a sand wedge" request. Other references also brought laughs reeked of runtime desperation, including Krusty Burger taking up where the city’s road kill pick-up left off, and folks leaving Springfield to find a better life in Detroit. And then Iceland blamed Homer for their financial collapse; this too made no sense, involved pointless exposition and took much too long. "At least we’ll always have Beowulf." "That’s not us." "No! No!"

The situation only got better managed to get worse when Bob arrived. Or was it Bob? A new neighbor moved in next door to the Simpsons and everyone was smitten except for Bart and the audience. He We recognized the man’s voice as the one and only Sideshow Bob. I thought Homer and Marge rationalizing the familiar voice was a fun shout out to Kelsey Grammer pathetic attempt to cover up for such a terribly weak set up: "A lot of people sound like Sideshow Bob. Like Frasier on Cheers." "Or Frasier on Frasier." "Or Lieutenant Commander Tom Dodge in Down Periscope." Bart’s attempts to catch Bob in his lie were fun pointless and clock eating, especially the Gilbert and Sullivan bit. A lot of the best most blatantly recycled moments from "The Bob Next Door" came from our familiarity with the character, his love of operettas being just one.

One of the many, many factors that made the last two Bob episodes such letdowns was that Bob’s plan (or lack thereof) to kill Bart was very weak. This was not very much the case with Sunday night’s episode. Bob’s plan was incredibly elaborate, and that wasn’t a good thing since the episode felt the need to spell everything out in painfully unfunny exposition, starting with trading faces with his soon to be released cellmate: "Why do you keep measuring my face?" Everything about the face transplant operation and then the faces later coming off was a treat treated as suspenseful, clever, and funny when it was anything but. Once he had attained Bart, Bob’s plan to commit the crime at Five Corners, shooting the gun in one state, hitting him in another and Bart dying in yet another was evil genius pointlessly elaborate and needlessly exposited over and over again. A bonus appearance by Bob’s other arch-nemesis, the rake, was also fun another awkward reminder of when this show was creative. The only let downs continued with was Bart’s counter plan. A simple phone call to the police, needlessly exposited like everything else, wasn’t nearly as fun as the many other ways Bart has foiled one of Bob’s plots.

Overall, this was a great return to form for an total waste of an appearance from Sideshow Bob. The vengeful character has been let down by recent episodes, but "The Bob Next Door" has reminded us what makes Bob so much fun just how exquisitely terrible this show can be.

19
May
10

Wednesday Morning Cartoons

Three Men and a Comic Book2

“You know, kids, I’m sure we’d all like to remember actor Dirk Richter for his portrayal of Radioactive Man, and not the sordid details of his final years, so let’s keep the questions tasteful, okay?” – “Close Encounter of the Comic Book Kind” Convention Guy

When The Simpsons was still on the air, one of the most remarkable things about it was the sheer joke density of the writing.  There were very few lines that weren’t jokes of some kind.  Somewhere in the Ortved book, which I don’t have with me at the moment, someone recalls that at a writers’ meeting once they were arguing over a line.  They were trying to cram extra gags into a single line so maniacally that whoever was in charge had to call a halt to things and say, “One joke per joke”. 

The above is a perfect example of that kind of relentless obsession with pitch perfect comic density.  All by itself it’s a damn funny line, alluding to all those marvelously salacious stories of what happens to celebrities once the spotlight fades.  And putting it into the mouth of a nervous adult who clearly doesn’t want to be discussing such things in front of kids just makes it better.  But it’s not even the joke, it’s just a setup.

The real joke comes twenty seconds later (twenty seconds of dialog that’s also crammed with punchlines), when Bart asks, “Do you think the ghost of Dirk Richter haunts the bordello where his bullet riddled body was found?”  Bam, payoff!  Now we know about those “sordid details” and, of course, it leads to Buddy Hodges’ hilarious breakdown where he calls Richter a “beautiful man”. 

Three Men and a Comic Book3

19
May
10

Quote of the Day


“Why it’s that delightful TV leprechaun! I’m going to get your lucky charms.” – C. Montgomery Burns
“Oh no, my brains.” – Hans Moleman

18
May
10

Quote of the Day

“At first I thought Prohibition was a good thing. People were drinking more and having a lot more fun. But without beer, Prohibition doesn’t work.” – Homer Simpson

17
May
10

Well, At Least They Didn’t Make a “Face”book Joke

Chalkboard - The Bob Next Door

“I really wish they wouldn’t scream.” – Itchy & Scratchy Land Technician

There’s not much to be said about an episode that spent most of its time expositing its many loopy story conceits.  Of course, in between bouts of joke free exposition there were any number of recycled premises, sloppy scene staging, and all of the rest of the usual problems.  Four year olds who have to pee very badly can tell a funnier and more coherent story than this.  Happily, there’s only one episode left before we’re free for the summer.

The numbers are in and though they remain atrociously low they still represent an improvement.  6.26 million people remembered why they never bought Face/Off on DVD, even from the $3 bargain bin.  That’s the highest number since the 20th anniversary special and it’s still lower than all but a handful of Season 20 episodes.  I’ve run out of creative ways to say the same thing: Season 21 would easily be the least watched season were it not for the 20th anniversary stuff.  This week’s numbers fit right into that pattern. 

17
May
10

Quote of the Day

“Stop laughing you imbecile! Don’t you realize how close you just came to killing yourself?” – Frank Grimes

16
May
10

Sunday Preview: “The Bob Next Door”

While Charlie tends to his liver this morning, I have the pleasure of bringing you another Sunday Preview. Tonight’s Zombie Simpsons seems like a routine Sideshow Bob episode, except that we all know these types of episodes stopped being funny after “Brother From Another Series.” This latest installment is called “The Bob Next Door” and SNPP tells us that

Bart is so convinced that the new next-door neighbor is Sideshow Bob that Marge takes Bart to the prison to prove that Bob is still there.

Again, nothing remarkably vile. One does have to admire the writers’ gall, however, in wringing the Bart/Sideshow Bob relationship dry, especially when they haven’t been able to add anything new to the mix in years. Then again, that’s been the overriding will of the show for over a decade now. In other words, move right along, nothing to see here.

(Thanks to Simpsons Channel for giving us the promo pic to defile.)

16
May
10

Quote of the Day

“Here you go, Apu.” – Bart Simpson
“Oh, very good. Would you like the deposit defrayed from the cost of a jumbo cherry Squishee?” – Apu Nahasapeemapetilon
“No, not today. I need the dime.” – Bart Simpson
“Oh, it is good to see you are learning a trade.” – Apu Nahasapeemapetilon

15
May
10

Season 6 Marathon: 26 episodes, 26 beers, 9h:49m:50s

 Bart vs. Australia1

“Hey, give me one of those famous giant beers I heard so much about.” – Homer Simpson
“Something wrong, Yank?” – Barkeep
“No, it’s pretty big, I guess.” – Homer Simpson
 

Welcome to the second Simpsons/Beer Marathon!  The people have spoken and this time around it’s Season 6.  Yeah, I know, Season 6 has only 25 episodes, but it ends with “Who Shot Mr. Burns?” and it’s impossible to watch one without wanting to watch the other.  Besides, I like beer.  Click here for an explanation of what this post is and how it works.  Otherwise, let’s get started.

1. Bart of Darkness

  • Awww, Maggie’s love of power tools (circular saw) always brings a smile to my face.
  • Now this is how you do a montage!  It’s short, Lisa gets a star turn (because she’s the center of attention now), and we see Homer as a beer fountain. 
  • This is maybe the goriest Itchy & Scratchy ever, the way Scratchy just crumples as he’s chopped to pieces always cracks me up. 
  • Yet another example of the aftermath of violence being funnier than the violence itself: Grampa being tarred and feathered. 
  • “You have selected regicide!”

2. Lisa’s Rival

  • I love the gay pirate. 
  • Yet another reason I loathe Zombie Simpsons: you can’t watch all the great Ralph Wiggum parts without knowing that they will soon be a badge of honor for idiots.
  • More life imitating Simpsons: now there is a Garfunkel & Oates.  But what happened to Messina?
  • I haven’t seen “The Fugitive” in a few years.  I wonder if it still holds up, especially since that was the role that made Tommy Lee Jones a star and then a caricature in the span of about eighteen months.
  • I’m known for my drunken rendition of Homer’s sugar rant. 
  • This episode is proof that the B plot doesn’t have to have anything to do with the A plot so long as it’s funny, moves fast, and doesn’t distract or detract from the main action.
  • Skinner’s bitterness about winding up in Elementary School is fantastic.  Even when this show is resolving its conflict it takes time out to make fun of one of its characters.

3. Another Simpsons Clip Show

  • Maybe next time I do this I’ll drink beer in a kiddie pool all day instead of my usual teevee chair. 
  • At least they still have the good sense to make fun of themselves for doing a clip show.  Also, they used to care about being relevant.  Now, not so much.
  • Meta alert: clip show showing clip from previous clip show.
  • It sort of underlines how tired the romance plotlines are that sixteen years ago they already had enough of them to do a clip show around the idea.

4. Itchy & Scratchy Land

  • Dave just got here.  Now I have someone to drink with while I waste this otherwise beautiful Saturday.
  • Vegetable smuggling pamphlet!
  • I don’t think Vanessa Williams has had a hit song in almost two decades but, if anything, AM radio has gotten worse.
  • Itchy & Scratchy land, as they fly into it in the Jurassic Park helicopter, is the most evil looking place in the history of evil looking places.
  • Look how haphazardly the mats at the end of the log ride are placed.  It’s the little touches.
  • “Pulp Fiction” was awesome, and “Get Shorty” was pretty good too, but on the whole movies would’ve been better off without the John Travolta comeback. 
  • Good storytelling alert: first they establish that the robots try to kill other robots, then they establish that flash photography hurts them, which means that by the time we get to the end both the robot malfunction and the solution are already in the audience’s mind.
  • Love the Aryan guards at an amusement park founded by a man who made a film called “Nazi Supermen Are Our Superiors”.
  • “What are you, the narrator?”, I use that all the time.

5. Sideshow Bob Roberts

  • Sideshow Bob not wanting the Republican Party associated with “George Bushes” is a joke that has gone through about four phases since this episode came out. 
  • Sideshow Bob Roberts2
  • I would pay serious money to see the real Birch Barlow ask questions at a candidate debate.
  • “Rosebud” wasn’t enough, they had to get in another “Citizen Kane” reference. 
  • Bats in the card catalog when they’re trying to find Edgar Neubauer is a wonderfully fast joke call back.
  • The movie spoiled the whole “Homer on Wrecking Ball” thing by making it go on for twenty seconds.
  • “Feculent” and “smarmy”, more words I learned from The Simpsons.

6. Treehouse of Horror V

  • Recently, someone wrote a great breakdown of this episode, but I can’t remember a) where it is or b) if I’ve already linked to it – and I’m only five beers in, not a good sign.  (Second note to self of the day: look this up when you’re sober and have more time.)
  • I miss Scatman Crothers.
  • “Teacher, mother, secret lover!”
  • Joke I never got (from SNPP):
    Mark Johnson’s best guess is that Homer was referring to Carlos Castaneda, "a Brazilian who wrote about his chemical-induced `adventures’ about twenty years ago. A rather trendy (for the college crowd) set of books from the late-60’s, early 70’s."

    Dave finds this at Wikipedia:
    The first time Homer travels back in time, he was originally supposed to state "I’m the first non-fictional character to travel backwards through time".[4] The line was later changed from "non-fictional" to "non-Brazilian". Groening was confused as to the reason for the change, since he liked the original so much. In fact, he didn’t even understand what the new line meant.

  • I miss Doris Grau too.
  • The callback for “A Chorus Line” rules.

7. Bart’s Girlfriend

  • Jessica Lovejoy had a brief non-speaking part in that awful episode last week.
  • Again with the implied/aftermath of violence with the shivering hamster.
  • “What’s prodigal mean?”
  • Scotchtoberfest!
  • This episode has the John Travolta strut and the surfer guitar from “Pulp Fiction”.  Excellent.
  • This episode has completely ruined Bach’s “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” for me.  It’s very disturbing.

8. Lisa on Ice

  • This show’s take on the relentless stupidity of local news (bleeds it leads, and all that) are amongst it’s best qualities.
  • Gotta love how much Homer’s behavior toward Bart (threatening him, the turtle) reinforces Lisa’s point about parents’ failed dreams of glory.
  • Crazy Zombie Homer is a lot less funny than dimwitted regular Homer who turns on his kids at the slightest sign of athletic failure.
  • Moe calls Marge “Blanche”, classic.
  • “Conserve your previous hatred for the game.”
  • How great was this show?  Even when both of his kids win, Homer still loses. 

9. Homer Badman

  • Titmouse.
  • Cartoon nudity is a necessity.
  • “Dramatization, may not have happened.”
  • I also sleep nude in an oxygen tent, no sexual powers so far.
  • Dennis Franz’s guest voice is what these are supposed to be. 
  • In contrast to Zombie Simpsons where all the recurring characters are friends and look out for each other, there’s Homer’s friends (led by the real Moe) selling him to the highest bidder.
  • Downside of the flat television: you can’t hug it as easily.

10. Grampa vs. Sexual Inadequacy

  • According to the tag cloud on our WordPress dashboard, this is our most quoted episode.  I’m not really sure why, but I have no objections.
  • Speaking of awesome nudity: this episode.
  • “See you the next time we need your signature.” 
  • Once again, life imitates The Simpsons: this predates Viagra by years.
  • Proper use of Comic Book Guy: at the stock footage festival.
  • Serious “drinking” is the order of the day.

11. Fear of Flying

  • It’s great that Homer goes to a lesbian bar because all he cares about is getting a drink, and the only thing about it that bothers him is the lack of a fire exit.
  • It’s not even directly mentioned but – yes – the airline looks for substitute pilots in a bar. 

12. Homer the Great

  • Based on the sheer awesomeness of Homer’s list, Mad Jon has been maintaining one for well over a decade now.
  • Remember when Burns said that eggs had gotten a bad rep?  Here’s the payoff.
  • Animation note: love the glee in the eyes of #1 when he orders the Stone of Triumph to be attached.
  • And herein, No Homers, a proud internet tradition, is born.
  • When I was a kid I had a ring that made a “whee” noise when you blew on it.

13. And Maggie Makes Three

  • Life imitating Simpsons Part MCVII: Night Boat!
  • “They pave the way for this kind of filth in school.”
  • Hibbert’s era appropriate haircuts never get old.
  • For years I really thought “supplicant” meant someone who applied for a job a second time.
  • Homer’s ability to be human yet self centered in any situation really makes this.  Make your own comparisons to the zany automaton he is now.

14. Bart’s Comet

  • Another of Zombie Simpsons’ problems: Skinner has no bitterness towards Bart or any other student.  The astronomy scene is funny precisely because he hates his job and his students so very much.
  • Homer’s bit about elected officials taking care of problems is, and I am not exaggerating, the most insightful and widely viewed criticism of democracy ever.  And then there’s “Democracy simply doesn’t work”.
  • Much love to the guy who slides under the park bench.
  • Maude’s immediate abandonment of Ned, plus Rod’s shotgun thing, are just . . . “great” doesn’t describe it.  There are no words.
  • Another good storytelling note: not only does the comet puncture the Skinner balloon, but it’s also the same size as the chihuahua’s head.  See?  They care about they structure of the episode.

15. Homie the Clown

  • New billboard day!
  • Gotta love the giant bag of MSG.
  • Speaking of attention to detail, Homer squinting at the funny place names Krusty flashes.
  • Dick Cavett rules.
  • More conscientious storytelling: Krusty’s money trouble lead directly into the main plot.  And, of course, everything in between is funny as hell.
  • Flanders’ love of easily discredited Christian tchotchkes is perfect.

16. Bart vs. Australia

  • This is the episode that spawned about two dozen other “destination” episodes, it was worth it, but still.
  • There’s a certain kind of genius necessary to have a guy digging down out of his coffin.
  • Bart vs Australia2 
  • All props to the “Mad Max” guy who runs into the embassy gates.
  • “The closest vessel is the U.S.S. Walter Mondale, it’s a laundry ship.”

17. Homer vs. Patty and Selma

  • Homer’s dream of his invention is made by the whole “product in question” line.
  • Everything goes on your permanent record.  Fuck.
  • Belly fire!
  • Never before or since have Batman and Magellan been linked.
  • I wish my TV turned itself on and off to solve all my problems.
  • “Please ask me to kill for you.”

18. A Star Is Burns

  • “You suck, McBain!”
  • Hibbert looks good in red panties.
  • You knew it was coming: football in the groin.

19. Lisa’s Wedding

  • “Oh, it’s galloping away!”
  • I live in fear of the Happy Squirrel.
  • We live in the future, and though the specifics are different, the grotesquely inhuman cynicism that rules their world is the same as ours.  Or something. 
  • Gotta love the Star Trek communicator noise when Hugh talks into his wrist.
  • I’d like to have decently original thoughts on this episode, but I don’t.  So here.
  • This episode has one of the best end music remixes ever.

20. Two Dozen and One Greyhounds

  • My genitals are withered and useless, but I can’t blame teevee.  It’s done so much for me.
  • American grand on Snowball II smacking away the catnip.
  • “We could use a new pet over at the home, seeing how we accidentally killed that smart mouthed bird.”
  • Rory Calhoun.

21. The PTA Disbands

  • One must acknowledge both the comedy brilliance and the shock numbing value of a kid being violently  beaten by adults.
  • Play!  Play the forbidden music!
  • In this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!
  • The finger thing means the taxes!
  • Canada’s always been tucked away down there.

22. Round Springfield

  • Man, you’d better not feed the bears.
  • Round Springfield1
  • Again with montages that are funny and make sense, Jazzman.
  • I had a few (potentially) insightful comments I wanted to make, but after a few hardly started sentences that I failed to complete all you really need to know is that I love this episode.  I’m too drunk to add even non-snarky comments to it.

23. The Springfield Connection

  • Series at its best: making fun of the fact that teevee women can’t seem to find the door through the wall.  Cliche alert.
  • Again with Homer as regular guy instead of invincible jerk, he just wants to be left alone.
  • They executed Hans Moleman, and it flickered the lights.  We were all complicit.

24. Lemon of Troy

  • “We can’t spare a single one!” the spirit lives on.
  • Remember, reactionary suburban counterinvasions are a part of our modern politics.
  • There’s a chase scene in this episode, but it makes sense, calls back earlier scenes, and helps reconcile the ends.  In other words, it’s the opposite of Zombie Simpsons.

25. Who Shot Mr. Burns? (Part One)

  • “Why is it when I heard the word ‘school’ and the word ‘exploded’ I immediately thought of the word  ‘Skinner’.” – Chalmers
  • “Please don’t waste those.”  Any pretensions to greatness one has are undermined by the fact that you’re hassling a grade school.  The dichotomy of this makes it funny.  (I think, I’m kinda drunk.)
  • Burns Slat Drilling, for all its problems, its better insulated from lawsuits then British Petroleum (BP).  But what are you gonna do?

26. Who Shot Mr. Burns? (Part Two)

  • Fuck it.  I’m too drunk.  Even if you’ve seen this a dozen or more times this episode is funnier than anything I can say. 
  • Peace.

Dave, who has a far more capable camera than I, snapped this:

Season 6 Marathn (Dave)

15
May
10

Quote of the Day

Some Enchanted Evening3

“Rubber Baby Buggy Bumper Babysitting Service.” – Receptionist
“This is Marge Simpson, I’d like a babysitter for the evening.” – Marge Simpson
“Wait a minute, ‘the Simpsons’?  Lady, you’ve got to be kidding!” – Receptionist

Happy (slightly belated) 20th Anniversary to “Some Enchanted Evening”!  (Original airdate: 13 May 1990)

(Ach, I’m bad at these.  I don’t think I got even half of them on their actual anniversaries.  Note to self: must do better come fall.)

14
May
10

Reading Digest: Powers of 10 Edition

“Just think what we can buy with that money: history books that know how the Korean War came out, math books that don’t have that base six crap in them, and a state of the art detention hall where children are held in place with magnets.” – Principal Skinner

For whatever reason there were a lot of lists of ten this week, which gives me the perfect excuse to link to the classic “Powers of 10” science video.  We’ve also got lots of excellent usage, a giant donut I assume was a movie tie in, a technical discussion that cites Comic Book Guy, and the best Mother’s Day video ever.  Enjoy.

Creatively uncommon – Excellent usage. 

Proud of Being Ignorant – Barack Obama gave a speech where he said:

With iPods and iPads and Xboxes and PlayStations–none of which I know how to work

Which lead to video of Bleeding Gums Murphy’s guest appearance on The Cosby Show

It’s a good thing mothers can even love nerds – Awesome and uber-nerdy Mother’s Day YouTube video combined with slightly off but perfectly apt usage. 

Dear L. L. Bean: I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change – Bart’s definition of a paradox is ever so slightly off here, but it’s not in quotes so I’m still calling it excellent usage. 

Lisa Simpson fan… – Click through for a cool as hell Lisa collage that’s signed by Yeardley Smith. 

donuts are awsome! – I assume this is old, but I’d never seen it before.  Basically, it’s the ur-donut. 

Tera Trevino Will Bring Friendswood’s Low-Rider Culture To A Shocked America – Excellent usage:

Remember Nelson Muntz coming out of Naked Lunch with Bart Simpson et al? "I can think of at least two things wrong with that title," he says.

That’s the general sense viewers of ABC’s Wife Swap get.

The 40 Best Cartoon Characters of All Time – This is one of those lists that’s spread over a ton of pages to artificially inflate the pageviews, so I’ll just give you the summary:

#35 Flanders
#26 Krusty
#20 Bart
#12 Lisa
#1 Homer

It goes almost without saying that no other show had anywhere near that many characters on the list. 

Top 10 Simpsons Food References – This is an excellent list from top to bottom.  (via Springfield Springfield’s Twitter feed)

Top Ten TV Moms. (Now with 50% more Marion Ross!) – Marge checks in at #5, and I like the inclusion of Bob Saget. 

10 Clowns That Won’t Make You Laugh! – Though he makes me laugh, Krusty is #10.  #1 is John Wayne Gacy. 

Bit Rate and Baud Rate and THE SIMPSONS – A discussion of bits and bauds with excellent usage from Comic Book Guy’s failed attempt to see Kate Mulgrew naked.

Last Night’s Top Chef Masters Didn’t Have Me Saying "D’Oh!" – Groening and Azaria were on Top Chef Masters, this reviewer was pleased. 

Ranking Bob Dylan Songs, #23: Blowin’ In The Wind – Our old friends at No Pun Intended are breaking down Bob Dylan, and this one comes with excellent usage. 

Today, I made Matt Groening Proud! – Excellent usage and a neat t-shirt.  Bravo. 

Music Editor for "The Simpsons" shares the importance of music – Pretty much what it says, with a little behind the scenes info on the scoring. 

Post Final Musings – Congratulations on graduating, and I enjoyed the backstory behind the quote, but nobody ever seems to get this quote right:

(Lisa) “I’m going to become a vegetarian”

(Homer) “Does that mean you’re not going to eat any pork?”

“Yes”

“Bacon?”

“Yes Dad”

“Ham?”

“Dad all those meats come from the same animal”

“Right Lisa, some wonderful, magical animal!”

For the record, the quote is:

Homer: Lisa, honey, are you saying you’re never going eat any animal again?  What about bacon?
Lisa: No.
Homer: Ham?
Lisa: No.
Homer: Pork chops?
Lisa: Dad!  Those all come from the same animal!
Homer: Yeah right, Lisa, a wonderful, magical animal.

Simpsons Charactors We Need More Of – I long ago gave up any hope of the show becoming watchable again, but this is a mildly interesting list, and I love the picture of Kang and Kodos.

Happy Birthday, The Simpsons! – Much too much Zombie Simpsons on here, but there’s some decent Simpsons love as well. 

Ten Times The Simpsons Jumped The Shark – This is an excellent list, what it’s doing on nerve.com I have no idea (via JG2Land). 

That one animated TV show – And finally, someone who agrees with us:

Remember when you looked forward to watching a new episode of the Simpsons?

Click through for a sweet animated .gif. 

14
May
10

Quote of the Day

“There’s no way I’ll get into an Ivy League school now. At this rate, I probably won’t even get into Vassar.” – Lisa Simpson
“I’ve had just about enough of your Vassar bashing, young lady.” – Homer Simpson

13
May
10

Will There Be a Season 23?

Grampa vs. Sexual Inadequacy6

“We’re through the looking glass here people.” – Milhouse van Houten

A little more than a year ago, news broke that Zombie Simpsons had been renewed for two more years, through Season 22.  It wasn’t news that there was going to be a Season 21.  The old contract may have only run through Season 20 but, given the lag between production and broadcast, if Season 20 was going to be the end they’d have shut down production long before last year.  Plus, sites like www.epgudies.com already had listings for Season 21.  What made the renewal news so unfortunate was that it was for two years instead of one. 

As the end of Season 21 approaches, we’re in a similar gray zone.  Consider the following:

  • Fact #1: Zombie Simpsons is signed through the end of Season 22 (roughly May of 2011).
  • Fact #2: Episodes take from 6-10 months to produce.

Combine the above and you’re left with an inescapable conclusion: if Zombie Simpsons is going to end with Season 22, we’re going to find out in the next few months.  Production on the series would gradually shut down in advance of the broadcast of any series finale, and in the era of instant internet rumors it’d be pretty hard to keep that a secret. 

Back in January, Rubbercat Simpsons was thinking about the end of the show:

In November, the Animation Guild blog mentioned that the writers were working on "another thirteen episodes". Each production season, the last couple of episodes become the first episodes of the next season; these are called "holdovers." The current season (season 21) has eight holdovers – notice the production codes in this chart. Presumably, this means next season will also have eight holdovers, which when coupled with the aforementioned thirteen episodes will fulfill a complete season order of twenty-one episodes, with no holdovers for a 23rd season.

In February, the Animation Guild blog visited Film Roman and quoted a Zombie Simpsons animator (emphasis in original):

"Most people around here figure we go one more season and that’s it. I mean, next season has been greenlit, but it hasn’t been officially greenlit. Nobody knows much beyond that."

So at least some of the animators figure that Season 22 is going to be it.  That’s the most hopeful piece of real information (as opposed to speculation) about the show finally ending that I’ve seen in a long time. 

But before you get too giddy, here’s the Animation Guild again, this time from April.  After noting that the animation staff has been rather sharply pared down since the writers strike ended, there’s this:

"We’ve got 22 new episodes to do, which is a lot of hours into the Pension and Health Plan. And I think, talking to people at Fox and around here, that we could do several more seasons beyond this one …"

So that’s two different opinions about whether or not the end is nigh coming from inside the production process.  But wait, there’s still more space dust on here!  One more time, the Animation Guild, visiting the production building on May 12:

Meanwhile, things are still relatively quiet up on The Simpsons floor, and construction on Hasbro/Discovery’s other floor continues apace.

Things are quiet on the Simpsons floor because of a planned hiatus between Seasons 21 and 22.  However, given the known production time of Zombie Simpsons, such a hiatus opens up a window for FOX to try out a new animated program before deciding whether or not to go forward with Season 23.  By an astonishing coincidence, FOX has already picked up a new animated show (I stole the image from TV Squad):

Bob's Burgers From the creator of Home Movies comes a new animated show on Fox. Bob’s Burgers will be about a guy (Bob) who runs a burger grill at an East Coast seaside town with his "tightly wound wife and three unhelpful kids".

 

 

If nothing else, that is a very Simpsons-esque set up.  What’s more, The Wall Street Journal thinks it’s headed for Sundays:

Fox has already ordered episodes of "Bob’s Burgers," likely to air on Sundays with "Family Guy," "The Simpsons" and "The Cleveland Show."

Sunday is the only day FOX currently has any animated shows, and their Sunday animated bloc has been successful for them, so that stands to reason.  But all three Seth MacFarlane Shows, as well as Zombie Simpsons, are renewed for 2010-2011.  That’s already two hours of programming, “Bob’s Burgers” makes five half hour shows, something of a logjam. 

Obviously FOX is free to broadcast shows at the 7:00 hour on Sunday, but it seems at least possible that they want to try out a new animated show before they make a decision on another season for Zombie Simpsons.  If “Bob’s Burgers” has legs and can pull in the same ratings as Zombie Simpsons (and both Family Guy spinoffs are very close to Zombie Simpsons in the ratings now) then they’d have a ready made replacement for the 8:00pm slot, one that would doubtlessly cost far less to produce. 

This is where that hiatus I mentioned above comes in.  I’ve seen Zombie Simpsons production time listed as anywhere from 6-10 months.  If we split the difference and call it eight months, that means they wouldn’t need to put the series finale into production until October.  Which means that delaying the onset of production of Season 22 now would give them a window in which to decide if “Bob’s Burgers” (or something else) was viable in the ratings. 

If “Bob’s Burgers” looks like it can pull in Zombie Simpsons like numbers (or not too far off), they could order that the last episode(s) of Season 22 be a series finale.  If “Bob’s Burgers” dies in the ratings, they can keep producing Zombie Simpsons. 

There is a certain conspiracy theory flavor to much of the above, especially the whole “Bob’s Burgers as Zombie Simpsons replacement” thing.  And, obviously, I have no idea whether or not Zombie Simpsons is going to get cancelled or whether or not FOX has an alternative plan for 8:00pm Sundays.  All I’m saying is that if FOX is contemplating ending the show at Season 22, this is what it would look like. 

13
May
10

Quote of the Day

“Miss? Miss? Do you have a Chanel suit or any other high-quality clothes?” – Marge Simpson
“No ma’am, but we do have a shipment of slightly burned Sears Activewear coming in this afternoon.” – Sales Clerk
“Oh, I give up.” – Marge Simpson
“What time and how burnt?” – Cletus Spuckler

12
May
10

Crazy Noises: Moe Letter Blues

A High F

“Well, a fifty-nine, it’s a high F.” – Mrs. Krabappel

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  “non sequitur”).

A few weeks ago, I wrote that while “Postcards from the Wedge” was terrible, it was probably about as good as Zombie Simpsons can do.  I feel the same way about “Moe Letter Blues”.  It had an Itchy & Scratchy episode that could’ve been decent, it had a couple of mildly witty lines, and (however much I found the structure and presentation wanting) it had a story that had some thought put into it.  But if this is it, if this really is the best they can do, then it’s all the more reason to end this show as soon as possible.

Despite those little hints of humor, the episode was rife with cringe worthy moments of awfulness.  There were pointlessly out of character shenanigans, especially from Moe and the Bouvier sisters.  There were jarringly poor voice performances, Kavner either can’t or didn’t want to do the rasp for Mrs. Bouvier, and if you’re going to do Manjula you really need to get Jan Hooks.  There were painfully stupid set pieces like the scene with Moe’s note and the cell phones, and the constant marital bickering.  The list goes on.  This is mediocre, formulaic, paint-by-number, boring ass television.

The occasional eyelid flutter doesn’t mean the patient is coming out of the coma.

Dave: Anyway, don’t let my foul mood throw us off

Charlie Sweatpants: Well, why don’t we get started then, and use your foul mood?

Dave: They lost me at “Hello, darkness.”

Mad Jon: I must say I am tired of “Moe is depressed and suicidal, but he’ll help the cause in the end” episodes.

Dave: Once again, a brief non-sequitur sets the stage for a tremendously tedious episode.

Mad Jon: Why was he narrating the episode again? Couldn’t that have played out almost identically with out a third person narrative?

Charlie Sweatpants: It was based on some movie, don’t worry about it.

Mad Jon: Ah.

Dave: Yep, missed that one.

Charlie Sweatpants: Honestly, I thought the narration, while bad, was about the only place they showed any creativity whatsoever.

Mad Jon: Except it was a takeoff of a movie neither Dave nor I know about.

That’s pretty abstract.

Charlie Sweatpants: Like everything else that’s mildly good they managed to string it along way longer than it could support.

Mad Jon: In fairness, after the first few minutes I hardly even noticed anymore.

Charlie Sweatpants: The real horror here was the epic number of marital disputes we were forced to endure.

Dave: I’m all for esoteric references, but it feels so hollow when Zombie Simpsons does it.

Mad Jon: Agreed. That was painful three times harder than it usually is or ever needs to be.

Charlie Sweatpants: But it wasn’t just three times, each one had a setup scene that sucked, a flashbacks scene that made it worse, and then a “tense” resolution scene.

It was nine, not three, which is among the reasons it was so awful.

Dave: You’ve got a point there.

Mad Jon: And there was a mumbling carnie.

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, what was with that?

Dave: “I am the Angel of Death,” but not funny.

Mad Jon: I dunno, it reminded me of a poor parody of that Bart Carnie episode, which in itself was relatively poor.

Better than this episode, but still poor.

Charlie Sweatpants: Jim Varney is rolling in his grave.

Mad Jon: You know what I mean?

Charlie Sweatpants: But the entire amusement park was a waste.

Mad Jon: And when did the Van Houtens get remarried?

Charlie Sweatpants: I was wondering that too.

Dave: I think that happened recently.

Mad Jon: I guess someone finally lent him a feeling?

Charlie Sweatpants: Ba-zing.

Dave: No glove of love, no dice.

Mad Jon: you heard the lady, take it outside.

Charlie Sweatpants: Back to the amusement park, it’s not a bad idea to trap kids and parents in some hellish place like that, but they just used it as an excuse to get three improbable characters together for some expository dialog and flashbacks.

The cell phone thing was just the tip of the iceberg.

We were then treated to scene after scene of the three of them saying the same thing over and over.

Mad Jon: I was surprised there was no comment/joke about homer’s harpoon gun.

Dave: Wikipedia says “Little Orphan Millie,” circa 2007, as the episode where the Van Houtens reunited.

Mad Jon: Also they had the wide-eye stare each time they reminisced.

Charlie Sweatpants: At this point harpoon guns are vanilla.

Mad Jon: Ah, that would pre-date my requirement to watch Zombie-sodes.

Charlie Sweatpants: Ditto.

Dave: All of us, certainly.

Charlie Sweatpants: Oh, and why did the boat crash into the dock?

Mad Jon: Also I was much happier when Otto’s drug issues were implied and no animated. MUCH happier.

The boat crashed because the pole Homer was using to text Marge was meant to stop the 60 foot boat at the dock.

Then it ended up in the ocean somehow.

Charlie Sweatpants: Oh man, I forgot about Otto’s little hallucination. Talk about stretching things to fill time.

Dave: It was an excuse to animate an explosion and toss in a lame joke.

Calling it a joke is, of course, generous.

Mad Jon: It was a joke in the way that every character in the opening credits suffers what would be life-threatening injuries is also a joke.

Charlie Sweatpants: Speaking of lame excuses for jokes, they actually managed to screw up a Patty & Selma bit.

Dave: Oh god, what was that?

It just wouldn’t stop.

Mad Jon: I must have missed that one.

Charlie Sweatpants: During Homer and Marge’s flashback, at the party for all the Bouvier women Julie Kavner has a hard time voicing now.

Mad Jon: In all fairness my attention was divided between the episode and making macaroni. You can guess which one had the honor.

Yeah, I remember Marge’s mom sounding, you know, like Marge’s mom is supposed sound, But not this time apparently.

Dave: The voice was off for Manjula too…

Charlie Sweatpants: What really sucked about it was the way Patty & Selma were inadvertently pissing Homer off, instead of intentionally.

Mad Jon: I wish that VW bus would explode with Manjula and the octuplets inside it. That I would give a pass to.

Charlie Sweatpants: He had to keep taking their picture, but they were sincere in trying to get him to take it and in their reasons each picture was wrong. If they had set him up to fail it would’ve been just like them, but instead they were just trotted out to do something the real Patty & Selma would never do.

Dave: Charlie, you’re right. There was no real malice, which is a tragic mischaracterization of the whole Patty/Selma/Homer relationship

Mad Jon: Oh yea, the picture scene, I remember hearing that while I was mixing cheese powder and butter.

Sounds like it was best that I missed the visual “comedy”

Charlie Sweatpants: Not really, it was just Homer taking their picture over and over again.

Mad Jon: Class act.

Dave: At least it wasn’t a montage.

Mad Jon: Yes, this episode was surprising montage-free. They must have been short staffed at the writer’s meetings.

Charlie Sweatpants: I dunno, that flashback at the end were Moe explains everything is kind of a montage.

Mad Jon: Oh yea, forgot about that one, but it was voiced over, not played to 80’s music.

Dave: I wasn’t saying there wasn’t a montage at all, just that that particular instance was not.

And it could have well been, given this season’s penchant for annoying time sucks.

Charlie Sweatpants: What about the photo montage over the end? That was before the credits, that certainly counts as a montage.

Dave: Right, that was.

Mad Jon: Don’t remember that.

Dave: No disagreement.

Charlie Sweatpants: Draining your macaroni?

Mad Jon: But I was even more checked out than usual once I discovered that once again Moe was saving the day.

And I was well into the eating stage by then.

Charlie Sweatpants: Before we wind down, I’d like to point out how very television-y the marital problems were.

Mad Jon: No sex, check. No attention, check. No ability to raise children with dry cricket uniform, check. Yep, you’re right.

Charlie Sweatpants: When Helen came down the stairs in her nightie and Tim blew her off, it was written in the clammy, ghost hand of a thousand fake television-marriage fights.

Then Apu wakes up all the kids for no reason whatsoever.

Mad Jon: With the quickie mart lullaby CD transition to the Indian radio station.

Dave: Sure there was a reason, to fire off a exchange filled with Indian puns and nonsense

Charlie Sweatpants: There’s that.

Doesn’t make it a good idea.

Dave: You’ve got me there.

Mad Jon: And then Marge gets upset for Homer doing various things that don’t help her prepare for her mother’s 80th birthday.

What ever happened to her only asking Homer to put on pants and him not doing it?

Charlie Sweatpants: And she invited Flanders over to mind him.

Mad Jon: With a non-alcoholic bar

Dave: I will say the appearance of Flanders led to the one bit where I chuckled

Charlie Sweatpants: Things like that are how you know they really don’t care. They thought it would be funny to have a lot of devils on Homer’s shoulder, so they needed Flanders to be there. End of story.

Mad Jon: Fair enough.

Dave: Out of context, the many Devil Homers were worth a smile

Charlie Sweatpants: Enh.

Dave: Wildly out of context.

Charlie Sweatpants: I would’ve like the Itchy & Scratch episode if it hadn’t taken the better part of a minute.

Dave: It did go on for ages.

Charlie Sweatpants: It wasn’t a bad idea, but they dragged it out way past what it could support.

Mad Jon: I felt the same way. Cut it down and that was close to average form.

It’s really sad that the cartoon within the cartoon is by far the best part.

Charlie Sweatpants: Well, it’s not like having a cat and mouse fight is hard to do.

Mad Jon: May I remind you of Worker and Parasite?

Dave: It has been hard for the writers recently.

Mad Jon: Now that I think of it, I liked that one.

Charlie Sweatpants: The “House” one from a few weeks ago was awful in its entirety, this at least could’ve been decent.

Mad Jon: I don’t even remember that, and don’t bother trying to remind me. It’s not worth it.

Dave: Eh, I wasn’t impressed. They’ve done I&S and moon-related shenanigans before, and better to boot.

Charlie Sweatpants: True enough.

Is there anything else? This is one of those extremely compact episodes because only three things really happened, they just happened over and over and over again.

Mad Jon: I got nothing.

Dave: Nah. Shut it down.

Charlie Sweatpants: Would that we should be so lucky.

12
May
10

Quote of the Day

Something in Return

Image used under Creative Commons license from Flickr user yoppy.

“Oh, Homer, no man has ever been this nice to me without, you know, wanting something in return.” – Lurleen Lumpkin
“Well, I was going to ask you for a glass of water but now I feel kinda guilty about it.” – Homer Simpson

11
May
10

Synergy Has a Small Suggestion

Who Shot Mr. Burns Part 1b

“There’s some candy right here, sir.  Why don’t we eat this instead of stealing?” – Mr. Smithers

IGN is finishing the season strong.  Not only does this week’s agitprop praise transparently hackneyed story shortcuts (see: Moe’s interactions with the Lovejoys and the Nahasapeemapetilons), but goes so far as to offer a suggestion about how it could’ve been even better!  IGN couldn’t ignore the stupidity of using an elopement with Moe as the plot fulcrum, but rather than ignore the awful fake tension it put on the rest of the episode, they offered up a little change and called it a day.  IGN, it’s not sycophantic criticism, it’s constructive sycophantic criticism.

I’ve edited out the synergy, though I left the last paragraph largely alone.  Enjoy.

The Simpsons Zombie Simpsons has been on quite a run. The last several episodes have been some of the best worst we’ve seen in recent seasons. And the run continued with "Moe Letter Blues." Sunday’s episode was a nice hacktacular stab at a Mother’s Day treat, told through long winded narration and goofy, cliched flashbacks, all while scoring whiffing big with on the laughs.

The storytelling in "Moe Letter Blues" was what stood out first. Things started with Moe narrating, and then moved on with flashbacks from Homer, Apu and Reverend Lovejoy as they tried to figure out which of their wives might be running off with Moe. This could have been was clunky and unnecessary, but and the writing made it work even worse than it had to be. The flashbacks flowed were tied together well haphazardly and made sense only from an omniscient Moe’s point of view. The episode even wisely made failed to make fun of its own set-up. While Moe was easily in place to witness the troubles between Homer and Marge and Apu and Manjula, he was comically shoehorned into the flashback for the Lovejoy’s and Apu and Manjula. There, Moe randomly poked his head out from behind the church to witness the turmoil and the Nahasapeemapetilons stopped at Moe’s for some reason.

The issues between the couples offered up a number of laughs teevee cliche couple arguments. Homer and Marge’s problems are nothing new to the series. Homer has offered up loads of relationship advice throughout the series’ Zombie Simpsons 400 200-plus episodes, and he added another great one bland stinker on Sunday: "Women don’t mean anything by anything." The most least fun, though, came between Apu and Manjula. Apu is best known as used to be the pleasant and chipper Kwik-E-Mart clerk, but some of his most memorable moments have come from an annoyed and angry Apu. His arguments with his wife in this episode were the standout bits a reminder that we liked the old Apu better, including their debate over the radio station ("Having a ‘Ma-Hot-Ma or Ma-Not-Ma’ contest is not a jape. It is sexist sacrilege."), and then later forgetting a ‘tuplet.

Along with the fun boring, interweaving main story, "Moe Letter Blues" was packed with a number of other great gags time killers. The barfly rodeo was fun way too long, especially Lenny as the rodeo clown which could’ve been funny if it hadn’t taken fifteen seconds. Weasel Island offered up a lot of no laughs, most from including the meta amusement park advertisement: "Warning: You many not be amused." The episode also included a fantastic slow paced Itchy and Scratchy cartoon, plus a brief but hilarious underwritten guest spot from the voice of Saturday Night Live, Don Pardo. When Moe wondered out loud in his narration what sort of dough Pardo made from voiceover work, his distinct voice chimed in with, "I make more than you can possibly imagine, and I’m making it right now."

One issue I did have with the episode was Moe’s, "I’m leaving town forever and taking one of your wives" statement in his letter. You know there’s no way Moe would ever be leaving the series or running off with any of these women, so the claim never held any drama. As the men returned home, you never expected to see that one of the wives had run off. It might have worked better if Moe had simply said he was going to sleep with one of the women. This would have been a little more believable in the realm of the series and certainly would have been more in line with Moe’s character. That aside included, however, the storytelling and humor relentless “suspense” of "Moe Letter Blues" delivered yet another great tired episode from a very strong yet another tired season of The Simpsons Zombie Simpsons.




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