Reading Digest: Outsourcing Edition

Trash of the Titans5

“Can’t someone else do it?” – Homer Simpson

This week we’ve got two links to reviews of “Lisa Goes Gaga” that use my favored technique of pointing out how crappy Zombie Simpsons is compared to The Simpsons.  If this keeps up, maybe I can just outsource all of the criticism next season.  In addition to that, we’ve got a great new Tumblr, a couple of longer reads about The Simpsons and other comedies, some fresh information about the Maggie short that’ll be in theaters this summer, an old video game review, two people who agree with us, and lots more about that post-apocalyptic Simpsons play that’s opening this weekend.

Also, Chapters 9 & 10 of the book are now on-line for your Friday afternoon distraction.  And don’t forget to vote for tomorrow’s Simpsons-Beer Marathon.  Season 2 is ahead right now, but Season 7 is still very much in the running. 


MOVIE SIMPSONS – Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week is my new favorite Tumblr.  (via)

Sunset for the Animated Giants – A thoughtful (albeit somewhat soft on Zombie Simpsons) discourse on how old so many of the original generation of animated comedies have become.  Between Zombie Simpsons, Futurama, Family Guy (and it’s various spinoffs), and South Park, pretty much every big animated series that’s still running was started a long time ago. 

SNEAK PREVIEW: Mr Burns Goes to Washington – Feature – May 23, 2012 – Lots more detail about the play that’s opening this weekend in Washington D.C.:

The second act of Mr. Burns, set seven years later, finds the same group of survivors readying themselves for a live reenactment of "Cape Feare," complete with staged commercials, and vying for audience members with rival troupes of sometimes violent fellow reenactors.

And in the third act, set 75 years in the future, the actors — now dressed in yellow face paint and four-fingered gloves to approximate the Simpson look — are now enmeshed within what Washburn calls "an institutionalized Simpsons theater that produces the Simpsons legend." In their play-within-a-play, Sideshow Bob has been replaced by a version of Mr. Burns, the proprietor of the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant, who serves, according to Washburn, as an "amalgam of a lot of figures…but has become the [personified] fear without a name or face."

See, Zombie Simpsons?  This isn’t that hard.  You make each act build upon the one before it.  If you’re in or around D.C., you can get tickets here.

‘The Simpsons’: Exclusive details on Maggie’s (short) big-screen adventure – Jean gave out a few tidbits about the animated short, most notably that it’s four minutes long, has no dialogue, and will feature a return to Ayn Rand School for Tots as well as the baby with the one eyebrow.  More on this next week. 

Worst Simpsons Episode Ever – The first of two epic takedowns of “Lisa Goes Gaga”.  This one explicitly compares it to several episodes (including “Stark Raving Dad”:

I went in thinking to myself that this was going to be a half hour advertisement for her and I even considered not watching, but you know what, I gave the episode the benefit of the doubt. I went ahead and sat down to watch, I chuckled at the couch gag thinking this might not be that bad. That chuckle was the only positive response I made towards the episode, the rest was just too unbearable to watch (at least that one Ke$ha opening sequence a few seasons back was relegated just to the credits). I honestly do not know whose idea it was to base an ENTIRE episode around Lady Gaga, but it was exactly what I thought it was going to be, just a half hour promotion for her. It seems as having  Lisa depressed that she was the most unpopular girl in school (which was already done to better effect in Season 8′s  “Summer of 4 Ft. 2″) was the best reason to work Lady Gaga into the “story”, what followed was stupid costume changes, dance and music sequences, and a kiss between Gaga and Marge (what the %*$# was that about!?) that only seemed to serve the purpose as to cater to Gaga fans.

There’s more at the link. 

Lady Gaga, Lisa Simpson, and Self Esteem – And this one basically is a Compare & Contrast, with “Lisa’s Substitute” as the good side of the Force:

All in all, “Lisa’s Substitute” achieves the same goals that “Lisa Goes Gaga” does, making Lisa feel better about herself. But it does so in a larger context, with more complexity, and in a sweeter and far more realistic way, highlighting how far this show has fallen.

So, I have a summer to decide if I really want to keep watching The Simpsons. I’m not a quitter, but there is only so much I can take before I start forgetting that the show had episodes like “Lisa’s Substitute”, and begin thinking that this is the show that brought us 22 minutes devoted to glorifying Gaga.

I say go ahead and quit, it feels great.  There’s also YouTube of Ralph’s Lyme disease report, which never gets old. 

Fandemonium: Super Fans and Building Communities – Yet more stuff from the play, specifically about what fandom, now so associated with being on-line, would look like after the lights went out. 

Eulogy: Remembering the 2011-12 Phoenix Coyotes – Excellent reference:

But it all came to an end, as the Homer Simpson boxing approach to hockey finally ran out of luck when the Coyotes came up against the Drederick Tatum of the Western Conference in the Kings. The extra fluid padding the brain — known as Mike Smith — that let the rest of the Yotes pretty much get pummeled for large portions of the playoffs without a knockout finally succumbed.

Anonymous Works: Early Bart Simpson – That is kind of creepy looking. 

More Simpsons Cat Humor – A single image with all the signs outside Burns Manor from “Rosebud”.

Wiz Khalifa, ‘Work Hard, Play Hard’ – A couple of people have determined that this video was at least partially inspired by “Homer’s Phobia”.  Can’t say I disagree.  Some women finally show up toward the end, but . . . yeah. 

Krusty’s Super Crap House – A video review of “Krusty’s Super Fun House” for Sega Genesis.  The game is not very good, though since it has basically nothing to do with the show or any of its characters, it is a perfect example of Simpsons merchandise.  (Thanks to reader Toad Titan for sending in the link.) 

How well do you know Mr. Burns? Find out at Simpsons trivia night – There are still quite a few upcoming D.C. area trivia nights if you want free tickets to the play. 

Girl on Girl on TV: Week of May 13-May 20 – I still like “Are you even left handed?”, but this would’ve been good:

The Simpsons: This week Edna walked in on Ned when he was in the middle of his LGBT meeting. “Left-gifted, bidextrous and trans-handed.” My first thought was that the acronym was an unbelievable stretch. Not a single part of that is something that people actually say. My second thought was that in the bickering that followed they missed out on an opportunity to have one of the left-handed people say that “ambidextrous” isn’t a real thing and those are just right-handed people who want attention.


Remix: The Combining of Genres in The Simpsons – Student paper on exactly what the title says.

Homer Simpson, eat your heart out – Shh, do you want to get sued?

Jury Duty…In 10 Words – That’s right, I think words I would never say.

Chernobyl Diaries…In 10 Words – This reporter promises to be more trusting and less vigilant in the future. 

Woo-Hoo – Neck-to-shoulder body paint advertising the Simpsons game.  The rest of the site is in a similar vein, though you may want to wait until you get home to view some of them.  There are quite a few Homer face labias. 

Bud Selig and the Homer Simpson Approach – Criticizing baseball’s long time commissioner with excellent usage:

Nerd 2: What are you going to do, Mr. Simpson?

Homer: Actually, I’ve been working on a plan. During the exam, I’ll hide under some coats, and hope that somehow everything will work out.

The preceding quote is from one of my favorite episodes of The Simpsons entitled “Homer Goes To College.” Not only is it a classic Homer moment, it also perfectly sums up the way Bud Selig has handled the A’s stadium situation.

Well done.

An interview with David Mitchell – Refined British sophisticates agree with us:

And do you think it’s still as good?

No, I think probably it isn’t but I think, to be fair, it’s been going on so long that it’s had an up and down graph and I only have a vague sense of what’s more recent. I believe it’s had a better patch of late than it did a few years ago but it’ll probably never return to being as good as it was in the late 90s. But I love those characters so much that I’ll watch them even in the slightly less good episodes. And still, there’s got to be 150 amazing episodes which is a huge achievement.

It’s still mind blowing that there are so many that are so damned good.

A good show dies, and it turns out that’s sometimes alright – And finally, a spectacular agreement with us:

The reason I’m happy, then, is — well, how do I put this kindly? I don’t want to see 30 Rock turn into the Simpsons. Or as I like to call them anymore, the Zombies.

Yet again, don’t misunderstand and murder me. I think The Simpsons was a great show in its prime, a show that was easily the best animated sitcom for years, and arguably the best show on air altogether. But the problem is, The Simpsons hasn’t been in its prime for over a decade.

He basically called it Zombie Simpsons!  Awesome. 

6 Responses to “Reading Digest: Outsourcing Edition”

  1. 1 Anonymous
    25 May 2012 at 1:20 pm

    “Left-gifted, bidextrous and trans-handed.”

    You know, the first time I read this I thought it was semi-clever, but the more I think about it, the less I like it. For instance, if you use “gifted” to get the G, don’t you have to use “handed” as well? Both come after a hyphen, after all. But more than that, the words themselves just don’t make sense. As the person above says, no one actually uses these words. They’re essentially made up to get LGBT out of it. Compare that to the test in Separate Vocations, the Career Aptitude Normalcy Test, or CANT. Those are real words that make sense in the context of the test they’re giving. In other words, it’s a brilliant acronym. Just another example of how great the show used to be; even the acronyms were brillant.

  2. 25 May 2012 at 1:36 pm

    Bahahaha, ninja quoting. I can dig it. And I didn’t even know someone else called it Zombie Simpsons! So I see we are kindred spirits…

  3. 25 May 2012 at 4:48 pm

    ” If this keeps up, maybe I can just outsource all of the criticism next season”

    Y’know, if you’re seriously quitting the crazy noises thing, that might be the next best thing to do. Find the next harshest tear-ZS-a-new-asshole review. If there’s points you disagree with in their review, you could always respond to em before you link it. Might be fun, no?

  4. 4 Josh
    25 May 2012 at 6:14 pm

    That first review of ‘Lisa Goes Gaga’ raises a good point; Matt Groening asked to have his name removed from ‘A Star is Burns’ because of how it shelled out for ‘The Critic’. ‘A Star is Burns’ is comparatively a pretty decent episode compared to ‘Gaga’ which Groening thinks is good enough for his name.

    “I heartily endorse this event or product!”

    I can’t be too judgmental though, if he took his name off every episode that gave a self-congratulatory voice role to a flavor of the month celebrity his name wouldn’t be in any episode this season.

    • 26 May 2012 at 4:10 am

      I doubt Groening has even seen this episode. “A Star is Burns” is when he actually had some involvement with the show and even cared a bit.

      I never understood his deal really. The Critic is loaded with Simpsons collaborators (including Jon Lovitz, who has appeared as different characters in many many Simpsons/ZS episodes). It was a great episode to boot. I figured he’d take his name off of about the last 200 or so episodes because they were so bad.

  5. 6 D.N.
    25 May 2012 at 10:25 pm

    David Mitchell is awesome. For the uninitiated, “Peep Show,” “That Mitchell & Webb Look” and “David Mitchell’s Soapbox” are well-worth seeking out.

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