Reading Digest: The Popularity of Others Edition

Popularity Name Change

“The easiest way to be popular, is to leech of the popularity of others.” – Patty Bouvier
“So we propose changing our name from ‘Springfield’, to ‘Seinfeld’.” – Selma Bouvier

As expected, the word “Simpsons” appeared near the word “Gaga” an awful lot this week; there were links about seeing her behind the scenes, about what she thought of doing the voice, and just about any other bit of non-news that can be used to put the words “Lady Gaga” in a headline and generate some pageviews.  As there is no need to worry about any of that until Sunday, none of those links are below.  Instead, we’ve got an internet ton of more interesting Simpsons content.

This week there are several awesome fan made items (including some cartoon sculptures that change depending on how you look at them), a bunch of people who agree with us, a brief history of “embiggen”, coffee mugs, and even Mitt Romney citing the show.  As an odd coincidence, there are also three pieces of otherwise excellent usage that are just a single word off. 


[Note: You may have noticed that the URL for this site is now “www.deadhomersociety.com” instead of “www.deadhomersociety.wordpress.com”.  For reasons that will be apparent in a few hours (in a post which should be up around 1pm Eastern), we’ve finally purchased our domain name.  WordPress tells me that all the old links will redirect automatically, and any RSS or other feeds should continue to work as well.  Please e-mail me if you experience any problems.] 

Just an Illusion # 26 – Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week are these fantastic optical illusion cartoon sculptures.  The Itchy & Scratchy one is just amazing. 

The Civilians and the Development of Mr. Burns, a post-electric play – Background on how that play came together:

They did many different kinds of improvisation exercises, one of which was focused on recreating the Cape Feare episode of The Simpsons from memory (and as it turns out, our Associate Artist Matt Maher was incredibly good at this). Anne Washburn then took her notes and audio recordings and started writing what is now Mr. Burns, a post-electric play. The Act 1 recollection of the Simpsons episode is pulled almost verbatim from these exercises.

Just a reminder, it opens in D.C. on May 28th and runs until July 1st. 

Skittlebrau – Yes:

People add slices of fruit to beer all the time, so why not add fruit candy? Skittlebrau works best with lagers; IPAs and Ales are too hoppy to taste the rainbow. I don’t float the Skittles in the beer, that would be a waste of Skittles and beer. Instead I pop a few Skittles in my mouth and wash it down with a swig or two. It gives the beer a fruity flavor. It actually improves the taste if you are drinking a swill beer or a forty. Skittles and beer go hand in hand. Skittles are good. Beer is great. Good + Great = Amazing.

Note to self: do this. 

Bart Simpson custom graffiti cans and more!! – Cool as hell spray pain cans with a smirking picture of Bart on them.

Cruisers – Santa Cruz x The Simpsons – Four new Simpsons skateboards, including a bloodshot and very scared looking Homer, a creepy looking one with a Krusty doll, and my personal favorite, a straight up Krusty one that’s so much like actual Krusty stuff that it’s endearing. 

Simpsons + Bread = Awesomeness – A picture of lots and lots of loaves of bread in a Homer Simpson bag.  Going solely by the fact that the currency is abbreviated as “kr”, I’m guessing Denmark or Sweden. 

Mugshots (dedicated to coffee) – Lots of coffee mugs, including two Simpsons ones. 

lisa simpson feminist patch by nastynasty on Etsy – Exactly what it says.

Appointment Viewing: May 14-May 20 – It’s gonna suck, but just remember that it’s the last one before summer vacation:

In the Season 23 finale, Lisa tries to boost her popularity by ghostwriting positive things about herself on the school blog. The effort fails miserably—until a psychic force tells Lady Gaga (who provides her own voice) that Lisa needs her help. So, I guess there will be a couple scenes of Lisa being sad until Lady Gaga shows up and they can do a rundown of every memorable thing Lady Gaga has done. Also, I think even people who don’t give a shit about continuity will have trouble making this episode jive with the one where Lisa invents Springface.

Almost there.  Almost there. 

Inside Pitch – Crashing the K market – Mostly excellent usage:

According to Homer Simpson, when it comes to compliments, "women are like ravenous, bloodsucking monsters, always wanting more, more, more!" That pretty much describes fantasy owners with strikeouts.

Homer doesn’t actually say “like”, but other than that it’s dead on.

Doctor Who: The Eternity Clock Set For May 23rd on PSN – Video game fluffing contains mostly excellent usage:

As Grandpa Simpson once said, "If you ever travel back in time, don’t step on anything. Because even the slightest change can alter the future in ways you can’t imagine." You hear that, Doctor Who companions? Quit wandering off!

Grampa actually says “tiniest” not “slightest”, but other than that it’s dead on.

Occasions When Cow Bells Aren’t Good Enough lisa simpson tattoo cropped – Sweet tattoo of Lisa meditating.

Shawarma…In 10 Words – I love me some specialty foods. 

The Dictator…In 10 Words – To be fair, Burns was thinking about making himself a god, not a dictator, but the sentiment certainly applies. 

Battleship (movie)…In 10 Words – I don’t like to pre-judge a movie, but being deaf and senile would probably help one’s enjoyment of Battleship

Is ‘all-you-can-eat’ an opportunity or a challenge? – Pretty much everyone and their webmaster referenced “New Kid on the Block” in regards to this story about a guy in Wisconsin who didn’t get all he could eat.  I don’t use the word hero very often, but Bill Wisth is the greatest hero in American history.

Bartzers – I chuckled.

Young Mitt Romney, odd man out – Color me surprised:

He insisted to me that he had always found a way to fit in with his friends as a teenager.

“My faith was not a burden for me. I didn’t smoke and drink, and that was about it,” in terms of distinguishing him from his classmates, he said. Romney did allow that there had been some “boyhood indiscretions,” but when I pressed him, he laughed: “I won’t elaborate.”

Then he started recounting — of all things — a episode of “The Simpsons” that had struck a chord with him. It was one where brainy, earnest Lisa Simpson was feeling like an outcast, until her mom, Marge, explains that being different is also being special.

“It’s a helpful thing for the development of the character of a young person to be different from their peers,” Romney told me. “It’s a blessing to be different, to stand up for that.”

That description is vague and second hand enough that it could be about a dozen different episodes from The Simpsons and Zombie Simpsons. 

Simpsons (1993 – Cut Off The Supply) – Butterfinger – YouTube of the Butterfinger ad that weirdly anticipated “Grade School Confidential”. 

Woo Candy Candy – Animated .gif of Homer’s “Sugar Sugar” hallucination from “Boy Scoutz ‘N the Hood”. 

Adulthood Has Snuck Up On Me At Last – Excellent usage:

7. Wanting to say ‘back in my day’: I have half-siblings significantly younger than me. I found myself almost saying to them ‘back in my day, we had this thing called dial-up, and I would set my computer up to download music videos and it would take me two days and stopping and starting to get one’. Thankfully I caught myself in time before I suffered their blank looks. I realized my comment was along the lines of old man Simpson rambling about how back in the day ‘So then I tied an onion to my belt, which was the style at the time’.

Grampa doesn’t actually says “then”, but other than that it’s dead on.  Moreover, I love that Grampa’s inanity is so ingrained in our culture now that it’s something even young people think of when dealing with someone younger. 

No Words Forum: Homer Simpson (Pictorial) – The only way to make one of those rubber Homer masks even creepier is to hang it from the ceiling.

The Shinnin’ – This post opens up with excellent usage in the form of an extended quote from Willie and Bart.  It then earns my love by continuing thusly:

Why am I quoting a Treehouse of Horrors episode of The Simpsons, you ask?
Well first of all, a Simpsons reference will only ever improve a situation.
And second of all, shut up.


May 17, 2012 The 11th 24 Hours – Some interesting history about “embiggen”:

“Embiggen” was actually born in 1884, in a British journal entitled Notes and Queries: A Medium of Intercommunication for Literary Men, General Readers, Etc.  It sounds official enough, doesn’t it?  Just wait until you read the sentence that introduced the world to this new verb–”but the people magnified them, to make great or embiggen, if we may invent an English parallel as ugly. After all, use is nearly everything.”  So, there we are.  Embiggen=make great.

The 22nd Edition of the St. Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival – Excellent usage:

Last Monday, I nervously twitched my way through an hour of traffic as Homer Simpson’s quotable, "Oh my God, I’m missing the chili cook-off! I’m missing the cook-off, it’s going on right now, and I’m missing it!" ran its whiny loop through my mind. MainLine Theatre’s chili cook-off press conference was unfolding at Les Katacombes and come Hell, high water or a turtle pace commute, I was not going to miss it.

Perfectly quoted and very apt.  No word on whether or not she got as drunk as a poet on payday when she got there.

The Weekly Feed: Mad About Mango Edition – More food related excellent usage:

In the immortal words of Marge Simpson, "Fruit is nature’s candy," and few things are sweeter than ripe mango over a bed of sticky coconut milk-laced rice.

Homer Simpson – A fan made drawing of a very touched looking Homer getting a tear in his eye as he contemplates the donut to come.  There’s far more emotion on his face than you get in most of Zombie Simpsons. 

How to Capture Pips with the Humble Triangle – I generally steer clear of lottery tips, but this one agrees with us:

Back in the 1990s, when Homer Simpson was still funny and new retail traders were first discovering technical analysis, there was a greater focus on price action alone without the use of indicators.

Well, I like the first part of that sentence.

Renewals Bitchezzzz – The season numbers are off here, but the sentiment is dead on:

American Dad as mentioned before takes the tally to three leaving me with the gout infested leg that is The Simpsons. 2012-13 will see The Simpsons go into its 26th season, a mammoth achievement and something which will probably never be matched again. Having watched some of the 25th season however, I have come to the decision that enough is enough. It is still an amusing show, in the same way that if one was stranded on a desert island, counting the grains of sand would amuse you for a period of time. What I’m trying to get at is, The Simpsons used to be funny, there were parts in every episode which would be genuinely spit-your-drink-out hilarious. Not any more.

Definitely not. 

Whatever happened to The Simpsons? – An epic rant from someone deeply disappointed in Zombie Simpsons:

The series started to decline (ever so slightly) from the 9th season onwards – it bottomed out in the 13th season and has settled on the bottom of the ocean after repeated torpedo attacks.
But why Groening? We used to love you so and your yellow-skinned creations. You used to make me laugh, no other  tv show could make me laugh like you could. You charmed me, and I fell in love with your characters. But then something changed – you tried to be like the other shows on Fox and suddenly you didn’t have any more time for me and the audience. You were so busy trying to bring in celebrities and to be like Family Guy that you forgot about what I loved you to start with.

The Simpsons – Season One – And finally, I get to end with someone who picked up Season 1 on DVD to relive the old episodes and agrees with us:

As for me, I guess I’m in the middle when it comes to that debate regarding the current quality of The Simpsons, but I lean towards the side that says the show is well past its prime.  I really don’t watch it anymore and haven’t for years.  When I do catch an episode I’m usually left underwhelmed.  Rarely do I hate it, but I forget about them pretty fast.  The only one I’ll go out of my way to watch is the annual “Treehouse of Horror,” and that’s mostly just out of tradition.

They are indeed very forgettable. 

6 Responses to “Reading Digest: The Popularity of Others Edition”

  1. 1 SharoKham
    18 May 2012 at 10:51 am

    Not Simpsons related, but if you like Skittlebrau, I’ve been told that soaking Skittles in vodka works very, very well, as long as you separate the colors (no one wants grey vodka).

    • 18 May 2012 at 11:37 am

      re: “But why Groening?”

      I know he technically “created” The Simpsons but isn’t it kinda common knowledge that he’s had fuck-all to do with the actual content of the show, especially lately? He’s kinda only written one episode by himself and there are episodes he hasn’t even SEEN. I get why people blame him, because his signature is everywhere — which serves a dual purpose, as its my understanding that he DOES “sign off” on most of the bullshit they do — and since he takes so much credit for the show, he has to face the backlash too.. I get all that, but is it really fair to only blame him? Why not blame the shit writers sometime… eh. Just wondering what others’ opinions are on this…

    • 18 May 2012 at 11:38 am

      Sorry, didn’t mean to reply to your post with my reply, SharoKham.

      But I will reply with… skittles plus vodka can be pretty awesome.. back in the day, I used to put sour patch kids in my vodka too… wasn’t bad.

  2. 4 Anonymous
    18 May 2012 at 1:19 pm

    “The effort fails miserably—until a psychic force tells Lady Gaga (who provides her own voice) that Lisa needs her help.”

    You know…every week I read the episode synopsis and think “my God this is horrible.” But this storyline is the lamest thing I have ever heard. What an absolutely pathetic way to cram Lady Gaga into the story. A “psychic force?” A psychic force?! Was Ozmodiar not available? Horrible horrible horrible. I had low expectations for this episode to begin with, and somehow I still managed to undersell it. Note to self; never underestimate how absolutely stupid this show can be. Talking rags, Ned and Edna together, now psychic forces. Why am I surprised?

    • 5 Thrillho
      19 May 2012 at 7:39 pm

      God, I’m hating this Lady Gaga episode the more I learn about it. I can only imagine how I’ll feel when I actually get around to watching it.

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