Archive for September, 2010


Getting Colder

Chalkboard - Elementary School Musical

“It was an unusually warm February 14th, so the children walked home without jackets.” – Lisa Simpson

In all its manic motion – to Europe!, to camp!, to Not Brooklyn! – Zombie Simpsons never stops to develop a character, tell a story or, heaven forbid, make sense from one scene to the next.  To take just one example, Lisa rides her bike to hang out with the Conchords in what she imagines is their cool artist abode.  She’s wearing just her usual red dress.  Once she gets inside, they have her shiver and complain that it’s cold (because they have no heat), but she’s wearing the same thing she had on outside. 

Obviously this is not a huge problem (this episode has many far larger ones), and careless things like it are par for the course for Zombie Simpsons.  But it shows how lightly the people behind the show regard their own work.  No one, writer or animator, thought to put a jacket on Lisa; no one thought that a girl leaving home in the dead of night on a bicycle might be cold, even though her being cold is on the next page of the script. 

In his oral history of The Simpsons, John Ortved recounts a scene in the parking lot of the studio during the early years of the show.  One of the writers, frustrated with an episode that they couldn’t quite get right, actually drop kicked the script and sent the pages flying all over the place.  I’ll bet you anything no one kicked the script for “Elementary School Musical”. 

Anyway, the numbers are in and they are historically bad.  Even the interior demographics, long the silent strength of the dismal top line numbers, were weak:

The Simpson’s 3.7 adults 18-49 rating was down 14% from last season’s premiere (9/27/09).

Overall, last night’s poorly plotted excuse for cross promotion was endured by a mere 7.76 million viewers.  That’s the lowest rating for a season premier ever.  But wait, it gets better.  The Season 21 premier, “Homer the Whopper” was watched by 8.21 million people, and while that too was an all-time low for a season premier, it was also the fifth highest rated episode of the entire season.  And Season 21 was massively aided by the “20th Anniversary!” and “Live Nude Marge!” things, advantages Season 22 will not have.  If 7.76 million is the best Zombie Simpsons can do with a heavily promoted season premier and all the star power of Glee behind it, Season 22 is going to be embarrassingly terrible, ratings wise. 


Quote of the Day

Whacking Day4

“Any experience?” – Olde Springfield Towne Casting Director
“Yes, I played Panicky Idiot Number Two in The Poseidon Adventure.” – Actor
“Sorry, we’re looking for more of a ‘duh duh’ idiot.” – Olde Springfield Towne Casting Director


Sunday Preview: “Elementary School Musical”

Look at the children, they're so happy.

As I conjure up this post on a beautiful Sunday morning, I am filled with a sense of loathing and revulsion. This isn’t “The Simpsons.” This is a tired, miserable, train wreck of a television series grasping at straws that don’t exist to stay relevant to people who don’t care. The description of the Season 22’s opener, “Elementary School Musical,” isn’t pretty:

When Krusty the Clown is announced as the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, Homer invites Bart to accompany him on a trip to Oslo for the ceremony. Sensing that Lisa would feel left out, Marge surprises her with a week-long retreat at performing arts camp, where she is greeted by her artsy counselors Ethan and Kurt  and fellow musically inclined campers, who inspire her to embrace her creative side. After she returns to Springfield, Lisa becomes restless with her ho-hum suburban lifestyle and sneaks off to Sprooklyn in hopes of connecting with her inner hipster, but she soon realizes that the city is not the same as camp. [Editor’s note: Guest staring some shitheads from “Glee” and a couple Kiwis.]

Glossing over the fact the chain of events leading to Krusty’s Nobel Peace Prize will, in fact, be contrived and ludicrous, we can consider “Elementary School Musical” from a few perspectives. There’s synergy: no doubt FOX is hoping that some of the rabid, misguided, juvenile “Glee” fanbase will flock to the season opener in spades, temporarily propping up viewership and ad dollars. There’s cross-promotion, though the much loved “Flight of the Conchords” hasn’t had a show in well over a year. And finally there’s precedent: pseudo-rival “South Park” already did it. It was even called… wait for it… “Elementary School Musical.” Zombie Simpsons has had nary an original idea in years and it was only a matter of time before it caught up to the competition, figuratively and literally.

I actually prefer a less analytical approach. The onus is on Zombie Simpsons not to suck. They haven’t had a winner in years and no amount of singing or neologisms (seriously, Sprooklyn?) will reverse that course. Why on Earth would the show’s producers and writers want to make something good when they’ve committed bloody murder for thirteen years straight?


Quote of the Day

I Love Lisa5

“Go ahead, water it down some more.” – Principal Skinner

Tonight on FOX, the stagnant backwash of the greatest show in history.  Animation Domination!


Quote of the Day


“Back then we didn’t care what anyone thought, and the chicks found that irresistible.” – Homer Simpson
“I think you’re cool, Homer Simpson.” – Sandra
“Sandra, that was mean.” – Sandra’s Hot Friend


Reading Digest: “Season 22? What Season 22?” Edition

The Springfield Connection3

“I’ll just be a second, Marge.  I’m going to get some beer for those kids over there.” – Homer Simpson
“I’m gonna pretend that I didn’t hear that.” – Marge Simpson

Lots of good links this week, we’ve got some Simpsons love from both a vegetarian site and a vegan site, scientists with cunning marketing skills, someone who’s never actually watched the show, some excellent usage, and a couple of musical links.  Oh, is there some worthless cross-promotional stunt happening on Sunday?  I hadn’t noticed. 


The Simpsons: Saying a lot with a little – Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week is this interesting take on the show, especially the opening sequence, from someone who never watched it growing up and is coming to it fresh: 

And then I met my husband.  If I’m a total Star Wars fanatic, he’s a total Simpsons fanatic (and I’ve got a giant X-Wing tattooed on my leg).  We’ve made it through two seasons of the show so far, and are working our way through the third.

I love it.  It’s smart, funny, socially conscious, emotionally touching and self-aware.  Of course me liking it makes my husband happy and gives us something to do when we want to relax.  And there are like, 37,589,042 million seasons, so we’ll probably never run out of episodes.

Unfortunately, you will.  All those things (funny, socially conscious, etc.) are going to come crashing down around you.  A little further down is one of the many reasons why:

The show doesn’t rub anything in the viewer’s face or shout “HEY LOOK AT ME I’M SELF-AWARE!” or judge the viewer for watching TV.  It says what it needs to say, and that’s that.

“HEY LOOK AT ME I’M SELF-AWARE!” is a great deal of what Zombie Simpsons passes off as humor.  The whole thing is worth a read. 

Powerglove – The Simpsons (Feat Tony Kakko) – Your speed-metalish musical accompaniment for the rest of this week’s Reading Digest (via):

Back in the Day, Sept. 19, 2010: ‘Whacking Day’ – This is kind of like “Man Bites Dog”, but more “People Kill Snake” in its particulars. 

Free Ice Cream Around NYC All Weekend! – I’m not recommending you watch Zombie Simpsons, but free ice cream is free ice cream. 

Matt Groening, The Simpsons, spoken by the character Homer Simpson – Homer’s preamble to not winning friends with salad perfectly quoted but accompanied by an image from “Lisa the Simpson”.  Still, excellent usage. 

Doh! Scientists uncover Homer Simpson gene – Removing a gene that primarily affects the CA2 region of the hippocampus gave mice a greater ability to recognize objections that had been previously placed in their cages.  Okay, Homer’s stupid, but unless removing this gene also increases the mice’s lust for donuts and beer I think we can hold off on officially recognizing the name.  Points to the scientists for a clever bit of marketing gimmickry though. 

‘The Simpsons’ named top TV brand – Simpsons sells more shit than any other teevee show.  This concludes this week’s edition of Shit You Already Knew.

Is this the Devil in a fire – or Disco Stu from The Simpsons? – Pareidolia can be used for good as well as evil.  The photoshop with Stu really makes it. 

Bart Simpson statue stolen – A restaurant in Boston had a Bart statue sitting on a bench, and someone yoinked it.  I searched around a little bit, but I couldn’t find a picture of it before it got stolen.  I’ll just assume it was one of those movie promo ones

Nancy Cartwright, the Voice of Bart Simpson, Sued for More Than $260,000 – Yeah, there’s nothing good about this story. 

Obesity Focus of Latest Blackwell Talks – Not much by way of Simpsons content here, but I’m pretty sure this counts as excellent usage:

Roy, in her twelfth year at Longwood, began her presentation with a video from the popular television program "The Simpsons." The clip featured Homer Simpson, the overweight main character, at the doctor’s office receiving a body fat check. To administer the test, the doctor jiggled Simpson’s belly, a humorous scene that continued until the end of the clip and received laughs from faculty and staff in attendance.

Woo-hoo, look at that blubber fly! 

The Simpsons – ten snapshots of Season 6 – A bunch of Season 6 quotes and images (I didn’t check the quotes, but they look okay at a glance), with a nod to our friends at Eye on Springfield

Apu is a Vegan — So Where’s the Love? – Is Apu the world’s most famous Vegan?  I don’t know, maybe? 

The Simpsons Songwriting Appreciation Post. – Links to many Simpsons songs. 

supernintendo chalmers – Simple photoshop is often the best photoshop. 

Homer Simpson – So this is, like, a Homer wall sticker or something?  I can’t read Cyrillic characters. 

Analyzing Adam Brown’s TV ad – And finally, one more person who speaks the truth and expects to get flack for it:

I don’t get TV. Not as in “I don’t understand TV,” but I literally don’t get TV at my apartment. The Simpsons stopped being good when I was in middle school (direct your comments below), so what else is there?

That’ll do. 


Bonus Quote of the Day

Brad Bird

Image shamelessly stolen from his IMDb page.

“Krusty, I’m man enough to admit I was wrong, and I’m sorry I fingered you in court.  I sincerely hope that the horrible stories I heard about what goes on in prison are exaggerated.” – Homer Simpson

Happy Birthday to longtime Simpsons director/animator/whatever Brad Bird!


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