Reading Digest: A Tale of Two Cultural Uses

Treehouse of Horror I5

“You know what would’ve been scarier than nothing?” – Bart Simpson
“What?” – Lisa Simpson
“Anything!” – Bart Simpson

It’s a shorter than average Reading Digest this week because two different Simpsons related things were clogging the tubes.  The first is the release of this new John Cusack movie where he plays Edgar Allen Poe and has to solve mysteries.  The second is the use of songs from Hot Chip and Animal Collective in last week’s Zombie Simpsons.  In the case of the movie, I lost count of the number of reviews that mentioned “Treehouse of Horror”; and in the case of the songs, I lost count of the number of blogs and websites (from very small to very large) that mentioned Zombie Simpsons.

There is one link to each below, but what was so funny about it was the way each was used.  When mentioning James Earl Jones and Homer Simpson doing Poe, the tenor of the articles was very much hey-remember-how-and-popular-it-was.  Whereas with Zombie Simpsons it was much more, so-that-happened.  It’s just another example of Zombie Simpsons being content with simply employing or referencing something where The Simpsons gave everything it used a unique and memorable twist.

There’s also the usual smattering of usage and fan made stuff.  And we’ve got a couple of way above average animated .gifs, a proper academic Simpsons citation, and a cool Homer Simpson workout t-shirt.


mmmm, beer – An animated .gif of Homer thinking about the time the beer truck crashed.  It’s in black & white, which makes it oddly more profound.

Existentialism – a return to the child? – A short article on existentialism through the lens of American Beauty and “Bart’s Inner Child”.  I enjoy the precision of the citation:

Meyer, G. (Writer) & Anderson, B. (Director) (1993). Bart’s Inner Child. In D. Merkin, The Simpsons. Los Angeles, CA: 20th Century Fox Television.

If you’re going to take The Simpsons seriously, that’s how to do it.

Lenny & Steve’s Excellent Adventure Through the 100 Best TV Episodes of the Past 20 Years: Part 7 – “Lisa’s Wedding” and “22 Short Films About Springfield” are on here along with “War Is the H-Word” from Futurama.  Looking like that he talked his way into Jill St. John’s bed.  ’Nuff said.

Buy a ticket to ‘The Avengers’ and see old friends – Excellent usage:

“Last night’s ‘Itchy & Scratchy’ was, without a doubt, the worst episode ever. Rest assured that I was on the Internet within minutes, registering my disgust throughout the world.”

That line, spoken by Comic Book Guy on “The Simpsons,” comes to mind for a couple of reasons.

First, it’s just a funny, well-written line delivered by Hank Azaria’s comic book shop owner character. Secondly, it hits just close enough to home that it’s one of the first things I think of when a big comic book movie, such as “The Avengers,” comes out.

Early Sketches of 11 Famous Cartoon Characters – I’m pretty sure I’ve linked the Simpsons one on here before, but there’s quite a few other cool sketches as well (Simba from The Lion King in particular).

Movie Review: The Raven – There were a lot of these this week:

I should begin by stating that I am not an expert in the works, life, or personality of Edgar Allan Poe. However, I have seen both the Lisa’s Rival and the original Treehouse of Horror episodes of The Simpsons at least 10 times.

The movie is apparently not very good.  (It’s sporting a 22% on Rotten Tomatoes as of this morning.)

Warning! Five classic shocker endings – Excellent usage:

“Planet of the Apes” (1968): The planet is actually Earth. As Charlton Heston laments, we’re maniacs, we blew it all up. Or as “The Simpsons” so brilliantly phrased it in the Troy McClure musical parody, “Oh my god, I was wrong/It was Earth all along.”

I love you, Dr. Zaius!

Pony Time: The Simpsons – Lenny goes Pony on the Simpsons.  But where’s Maggie?

Simpsons Sums Up: Desperate Housewives – Give that show credit, it started crazy and stayed that way.

Well Played, Simpsons – The late stages of “Homer’s Barbershop Quartet” and the Beatles picture that inspired it.

On “Proactive” – The origins of a word with excellent usage.

Fun Facts About The Simpsons – From the blog of the theater that’s putting on the post-apocalyptic Simpsons play:

The play opens soon after the apocalypse hits—there’s no TV, no radio, no Internet.  A group of survivors sit around a campfire and recall an episode of The Simpsons to escape from despair. From their collective memories, a new industry struggles to be born: a crude theatrical re-creation of the digital culture we can’t possibly live without.

Their Twitter feed is here, the hashtag is #WoollyBurns.

Mmmmmmmm! CFL DRAFT DAY! – Apparently the Roughriders were terrible last years:

Way back in 1992 during Season 3 of the long-running Fox series, The Simpsons, there was a CFL draft gag in the memorable episode when Ned Flanders briefly opens a store exclusively for left-handers, The Leftorium.

As a bored-looking Homer Simpson looks on from his couch, a crude graphic of a football emblazoned with a maple leaf and the words ‘CFL draft’ appears on his television, dissolving into a shot of two announcers seated in front of a CFL draft board divided into Eastern and Western Divisions.

Welcoming viewers to more “exciting 15th-round action at the Canadian Football League draft,” the announcers go on to note with some concern that “the Saskatchewan Roughriders only had four rouges all last year.”

The Roughriders can only wish their biggest problem heading into the 2012 draft was their lack of singles production in a disastrous 5-13 season in 2011 in which they were dead-last by a mile in points scored (51 points behind seventh-place Toronto and 169 points behind first-place Montreal).

He actually says “the Saskatchewan Roughriders who scored only four rouges all last season”, but I’m still calling it excellent usage because the front of the quote is right and for actually knowing about Canadian football.

A Homer Simpson t-shirt I’d wear to the gym from 80sTees – Heh.

Sideshow Bob by ~Rufina72 on deviantART – Two Sideshow Bobs, one popping out of a birthday cake.

Alucard, Sideshow Bob and kitties by =jesterry on deviantART – More Sideshow Bob, this time in more of a Japanese style.

Crabby Golightly: Chicago Silkscreen Artist Seeks ‘Kickstart’ For Gig Poster Gallery – Scroll down for a cool looking off color Marge.

FYI – YouTube of Maggie axing Willie in the back.  It is indeed disturbing.

Simpsons – Mr Sparkle (gif) – Exactly what it says.  I like the way only the background changes, makes it look like a street sign or something.

Newt Gingrich…In 10 Words – And kudos for bringing the public back to the Republican Party.

Animal Collective and Hot Chip appear on The Simpsons – And finally, the only link about last week’s pair of songs agrees with us:

Like most people in this day and age, you probably don’t watch the wacky hijinks of the Simpsons anymore, mostly due to the unerring fact that the show just isn’t very good.

Indeed it is not.  There’s video of the songs there, if you’re so inclined.

3 Responses to “Reading Digest: A Tale of Two Cultural Uses”

  1. 1 Anonymous
    4 May 2012 at 5:57 pm

    I think you mean ‘Animal Collective’ not Animal Crossing. ZS played Winter’s Love by Animal Collective at the end of last week’s episode.

    • 2 Charlie Sweatpants
      4 May 2012 at 6:30 pm

      Ha, yeah. Mixed up my bands and my video games there. Fixed, thanks.

  2. 5 May 2012 at 8:39 am

    “Meyer, G. (Writer) & Anderson, B. (Director) (1993). Bart’s Inner Child. In D. Merkin, The Simpsons. Los Angeles, CA: 20th Century Fox Television.”

    Except they spelt Mirkin incorrectly. A-

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