“I’m coming with you. I got you fired, it’s the least I can do. Well, the least I can do is absolutely nothing, but I’ll go you one better and come along.” – Homer Simpson
Archive for June, 2012
“See? The Southern Hemisphere is made up of everything below the Equa- . . . this line.” – Lisa Simpson
“So down there in, say, Argentina or Rand McNally, all their water runs backwards?” – Bart Simpson
“Uh-huh. In fact, in Rand McNally, they wear hats on their feet and hamburgers eat people.” – Lisa Simpson
“Cool.” – Bart Simpson
I don’t know if it’s a holiday there or what, but we’ve got lots of links from our friends down in the penal colony this week. There’s charity and Simpsons bitching, and the greatest waste of perfectly good beer since prohibition. There’s even a town vs. town fight! Back here on the side of the world where people eat hamburgers, there’s plenty of usage, some crappy merchandise, and two early reviews of the Maggie short that’s premiering before Ice Age 4.
Cairns v Townsville: ‘We’re bigger than you’ – Awesome:
Townsville claims Cairns is fudging its population figures.
And if The Simpsons taught us anything, it’s this: when two towns go to war, it generally leads to someone stealing a lemon tree.
In which town can I marry someone’s attractive cousin, Cairns or Townsville?
Movie Review: Madea’s Witness Protection; or, Tyler Perry’s Diminishing Returns – Excellent reference:
Aside from that episode of The Simpsons where the family has to go into hiding with assumed identities after Sideshow Bob threatens to kill Bart, comedy still hasn’t quite cracked the code on witness protection, despite many tries. (My Blue Heaven, written by the late Nora Ephron, came close, while the Larry the Cable Guy opus Witless Protection and the Hugh Grant travesty Did You Hear about the Morgans?, uh, didn’t.)
How is the Simpsons still airing? – Someone actually posted this on Yahoo Answers:
It is not funny anymore. At all. I’ve watched so many Simpsons episodes and I really enjoy the earlier episodes up until around 2008ish. They started going downhill and is like…not even funny. I’m not saying they should cancel they show because it has lots of fans, just wondering how it is continuing to stay strong without being funny?
Best Answer: Merchandising, merchandising.
MUSIC: XV – Be There, Be Square Prod. by Xaphoon – Here’s how you know The Simpsons had a bigger cultural impact than anything else in the last twenty odd years. This drawing has pop culture staples from Marilyn Monroe and Darth Vader to Dwight Schrute, the Doc and Marty, and Michael Jordan. But it’s in the Simpsons’ living room.
Radical Becomes the Latest in a Series of Disheartening Studio Closures – The studio that made “The Simpsons: Hit & Run” game is being closed down. Activision sucks.
The Simpsons, the Muppets and Hello Kitty spoof aliens! – Not sure of the original source here, but that is a damn good Simpsons/Alien, Homer/John Hurt image. Nice touch on the Yaphet Kotto headband on Carl. (Also, this is a blog dedicated to Alien and Terminator movies, with an author who claims to be one of them and calls herself Ripley Connor. Awesome.)
D’oh! Duff deal costs $2m – You bastards:
A Perth businessman was forced to throw out hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of beer made famous in The Simpsons television show after 20th Century Fox took legal action against him over copyright.
A big pile of the distinctive red cans could be seen being emptied and crushed at Mr Da Silva’s company Bell-Vista Fruit and Veg in South Fremantle last week.
Fucking FOX, ruining everyone’s good time over a piddling two million bucks.
Elizabeth fights for beds – These people could’ve certainly used the two million, and they’re in Australia too:
ONE of everyone’s favourite episodes of ‘The Simpsons" is when Homer is bedridden in hospital and discovers the control for the electronically adjustable bed.
"Bed goes up, bed goes down – bed goes up – bed goes down," Homer yells excitedly as he works the controls.
Unfortunately, patients at Murwillumbah District Hospital’s rehabilitation ward rarely get the opportunity to "do a Homer" with the bed controls – there’s only a small number of such beds available.
Review: Maggie Simpson in The Longest Daycare – The short won’t be released for another two weeks, but the first reviews are very positive:
After twenty-three years on the air, The Simpsons is far from being the fresh show it once was.
Without a single line of dialogue over its four-and-a-half minutes, we go on an epic odyssey with one of the family’s least outspoken characters. Maggie stories don’t often get much light in the television show, simply because she is difficult to sustain over 20 minutes, but in the abbreviated format of the short film, Maggie becomes the cinema star she was always destined to be. Like the silent movies of yesteryear, 2011′s The Artist notwithstanding, Silverman recognises the inherent comedy in action rather than words. The focus on a single character is reminiscent of the classic Disney or Looney Toons shorts, and we hope this means more Maggie, Homer or even Bart ‘toons to come.
Maggie Simpson’s Book of Animals – Speaking of Maggie, here’s a nice collection of high resolution photos of the book Groening’s sister did way back when at least some of the merchandise was good. I found a used copy of this book a few years ago and gave it to a friend’s kid for his birthday. He seemed to like it.
Time – Once again, The Simpsons shows the way:
Significantly, I noticed that the less smiley clock on the wall struck a similar pose when The Simpsons came on.
The Simpsons provided incentive for me to learn to tell the time.
It was during this episode of The Simpsons that I learned what “sarcastic” means.
The Simpsons also taught me that one way to tell a story is to start completely off topic, and then transition into the key story.
So I’m sharing how I learned to tell the time to say that I’ve given up TV for a month.
Good luck with your TV fast.
Homer and Marge Simpson: A LEGO® creation by Travis Kirby – Homer and Marge in the medium of Lego.
All my life I’ve had one dream, to achieve my many goals. – This is a two part link, here’s the description:
I’ve picked one episode from each of the first 10 seasons of the show that best display Homer’s quality as either a father or a husband.
The first five are at the link above, the second five . . .
Stupider than a fox! – . . . are right here. As he said, no Zombie Simpsons. Bravo.
Summer TV Series: A Barren Wasteland or A Lost Treasure Trove – More from the Southern Hemisphere:
In Australia over the Christmas holidays TV really couldn’t be worse. The TV series that usually screen over the summer in the US actually tend to screen in Australia over the second ratings season beginning in August so once it gets to Australian summer their really is absolutely nothing on except for ‘Carols By Candlelight’ which is so terrible, I’ve been known to god forbid, read a book to avoid it. The only good thing about summer TV in Australia is that broadcasters replace their usual painful news shows like ‘A Current Affair’ and ‘Today Tonight’ with reruns of ‘The Nanny’ and ‘The Simpsons’.
That does sound bad.
9GAG – Marge Simpson – A marijuana bud that kinda looks like Marge’s hair.
A Very Electric Connectivity Round-Up – The Simpsons-apocalypse play closes this weekend, so if you’re in D.C. this is your last chance. This is a look at some of the pre/post-show extras they’ve got.
The F*cket List – More nice usage:
I noticed recently that Bucket Lists have become all the rage in the blogosphere as well. Many bloggers have a separate tab for their Bucket Lists, where they keeping a running tally of all the items they’ve completed and blog about each experience. It started to feel like every second blog I read featured someone running a marathon, or swimming with dolphins, or climbing mount Everest, or becoming a Monorail conductor, or eating the world’s biggest hoagie, or living in the woods while keeping a journal of their thoughts, or bowling a perfect game.
……….Ok, so at least half of those were actually Homer Simpson’s lifelong dreams. But you get the picture.
Click through for the definition of a “Fucket” list, a concept of which I wholeheartedly approve.
Sweet, Sweet Beer – This is an article about beer brewing in Mississippi, and it contains excellent usage:
“I’d kill everyone in this room for one drop of sweet, sweet beer.” —Homer Simpson
Homer actually says “I would kill everyone in this room for a drop of sweet beer”, but that’s close enough and apt, so it’s still excellent usage.
Scent a Celebrity Series: Spritzing Springfield – Scenting The Simpsons Part 2 – Following up on last week, here are more (apparently) famous fragrances matched with Simpsons characters.
Just a little bit ridiculous… – Comic Book Guy gets cited and used a lot, but rarely with this much care. It’s just a post about a class, but it ends oh so well. (And the Jack Nicholson/Michael Keaton Batman remains awesome and has aged incredibly well.)
When Harry Met Sally…In 10 Words – Mmm, fake orgasm scene.
Simpsons Khlav Kalash: The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson – WordPress search terms can be very amusing, especially if the monkey god that runs Google somehow associates you with an old episode of The Simpsons.
Simpsons – You have my undivided attention (gif) – Animated .gif of Homer thinking.
Nobody likes Milhouse – the simpsons – A nice .jpg of nobody liking Milhouse.
You’ll Warm to This: Ice Age 4 – Another early and positive review for “The Longest Daycare”:
AND HERE’S A BONUS: the film is preceded by a hilarious and heart-warming 3-D Simpsons cartoon, which stars a largely overlooked character; Maggie, the youngest member of that celebrated TV family. This pre-feature surprise is worth the price of admission alone!
Best Episode of the Season: The Simpsons Season 23 – I’d basically forgotten that book episode, but somebody liked it. I remain extremely bored, but that’s just my opinion.
Beth Kassab: Maglev train brings reasons for skepticism – Employing “Marge vs. the Monorail” as a column hook about a possible commuter train in Orlando, Florida.
Why Am I So Crap At Clothes? – No idea, but this is nice usage:
I’m like Marge Simpson when she finds that Chanel suit in an op-shop and it is all she wears for a while, when trying to fit in with new rich friends.
“Sparkle sparkle” – More clothes related usage.
When I’m at work – You better be dying. One of Homer’s most poignant moments is also hilarious.
Lemony shortbread. – Need something to bring to a friend’s house for breakfast? How about shortbread and YouTube of Homer’s magical animal speech.
The Simpsons Bart Simpson Figure Style USB 2.0 Flash Drive – Yellow (16GB) – Definite Krusty Brand Seal of Approval alert on this warped looking Bart thumb drive.
Opposition to Free Speech – Time to brush up on your American history:
Dr. Taylor conjectured that Matt Groening, writer of the Simpsons, most likely is a Federalist. To support this statement, nothing good happens in Springfield during the times that the mob rules.
I blame the tariff.
Romance is Not Dead – Whatever you say, Mr. Billboard.
Summer 2012 Moodboard / Lisa Simpson Brooch – A small, heart shaped Lisa pin.
Kill Zinesters – Well, I learned something today:
On the other hand, “Bunnyhop” received the negative attention of Matt Groenig’s lawyers after Tolentino sent a copy of “Bunnyhop’s” Geeks vs. Jocks issue, the cover of which featured Groenig’s Life in Hell character Binky knocking the Trix out of the Trix Rabbit, to the creator of The Simpsons. Tolentino expected Groenig to be amused and flattered, but received a “cease and desist” letter ordering him to destroy all copies of the cover and print a pre-approved apology. Tolentino was surprised not only by the response from a man who uses parody to such an extent as Groenig does, but moreover by the fact that it was the cartoonist, not the cereal company that balked.
Aww, Matt, just because the misspelled your name doesn’t mean you should sue them.
a blog post with no title, but which is vaguely to do with cooking and having a good time – Yet more from Australia:
My new friends trusted me with the task of doing the grocery shopping for this adventure. I took it seriously, I’d hate to have let them down. I knew I would be right with things like celery and potato. I was optimistic that I would find some sort of tofu (I actually found two separate tofu products. Incredible!), but the hitherto unheard of ketjap was a sauce of some concern for me (did you see what I did there?) After some extended discussion and googling and sharing of The Simpsons quotes, we managed to clarify that I was not looking for ketchup, or catsup, but a sweet soy sauce.
That does sound confusing.
Derpy’s Hook – My Little Brony – Bart finds the heart of My Little Pony.
Jesus on a tortilla? I present to you – Homer Simpson on a snake. – That snake’s head does indeed kinda look like Homer. (via)
pinklabcoats – They were a colorful bunch.
Teen joins Homer Simpson in soda machine rescue history – On the plus side, no lumber yards burned down.
Fiona SMASH- a Fan Rant – From a Fiona Apple review:
Barney belching and her saying #9 over and over again. That’s what The Idler Wheel... reminds me of. Garbled nonsense intended on taking music to dangerous new places but really it just polarize new fans and old fans. Also, this is coming from the girl who listens to RadioHead.
It’s actually #8, but that’s still a nice comparison.
Tea With Chris: Disorienting Pleasures – Every good scientist is half B.F. Skinner and half P.T. Barnum (with dog in the vents YouTube).
TV REVIEW: Futurama Season 7 – I’ve generally thought that this summer’s Futurama episodes have been noticeably better than last summer’s. Seems I’m not the only one:
After the Planet Express crew discover an ancient Martian prophecy about the world ending in the year 3012, everyone rushes to get a spot on the planet’s only functional space ship captained by none other than the incompetent Zapp Brannigan. This is a great episode that is clever as it is funny and satirical as well as surprisingly relevant. After getting sick of The Simpsons parodying something about 2 years after it’s in the media its nice to see Futurama having a slightly quicker response time, although it’s still got nothing on South Park‘s timeliness.
Fair point. (via)
Stop! Stop! The Simpsons is already dead! – And finally, I get to end the way I like, with someone who agrees with us:
Axing The Simpsons would have been the kindest thing for it. It has become almost like an elderly uncle at the wedding who doesn’t quite realise that the more he dances the Macarena, the more everyone else cringes.
“Hurry, Charley, there is not much time.” – Rainier Wolfcastle
“I ain’t goin’ nowhere. I’ve been in this square fer near thirty seasons, and I ain’t a leavin’ now. Aaaahhhh!” – Not Charley Weaver
“He’s dead now.” – Homer Simpson
Without drawing too broad a conclusion from just one example, there aren’t many clearer comparisons for how the show’s sense of humor deteriorated than to look at the two times they poked fun at The Hollywood Squares, first in Season 4’s masterful “Krusty Gets Kancelled”, and then again in Season 11’s pathetic “Hello Gutter, Hello Fadder”. What makes these two so revealing isn’t just the way Season 11 did a rote copy and paste job from Season 4, it’s also the way the two episodes make use of Homer.
First, though, remember what The Hollywood Squares is. Tic-tac-toe with minor or fading celebrities has been around, on and off, since the 1960s. As you’d expect, Wikipedia has an entertainingly thorough article on it, including exhaustive write ups of all four (4!) times it’s been resurrected from cancellation. But through all its iterations, including the new one that’s built around rappers, the basic concept has remained the same.
Pimpin’ ain’t easy. (Image shamelessly yoinked from here.)
It’s a show that’s cheap to produce and cheap to market because it relies on cobbling together the renown of nine low wattage and low pay stars to take the place of one big, expensive star. Given the public’s insatiable appetite for famous people (however generously defined) and the entertainment industry’s constant bestowing of mild fame on new people (as well as pushing previously big celebrities further down its guest lists), the show’s durability is no surprise.
Any institution that sticks around that long will eventually become ripe for parody, but The Hollywood Squares was born ripe. Its entire reason for existing is to wring a few coins from the leftover scrapings at the bottom of the fame barrel; taste, thought, and embarrassment be damned. Worse, not only is it trashy entertainment; it isn’t even popular trashy entertainment. After once being a hit network show, it now bounces around as cable and syndication filler, just another undistinguished part of the background noise of television. There’s a reason that all the versions are big on scripted jokes and having everyone over-laugh at them: literally none of the “celebrities” really want to be there. That’s pretty sad when you think about it, and distracting the audience from that fact is vital to the show’s appeal.
“Live from Springfield Harbor, where the sewage meets the sand!”
The Simpsons fully understood that inherent patheticness, which is why the show itself is the target of the jokes. Zombie Simpsons, which “Hello Gutter, Hello Fadder” epitomizes, can’t be bothered with that much thought, so they make Homer acting like a dick the focus of their attempt. For example, consider the way each handles the fact that The Hollywood Squares writes jokes for the celebrities who are supposedly just hanging out and being super nice and approachable.
On Zombie Simpsons, Homer just holds up two pieces of paper and asks which one he reads from. It’s a semi-clever way to acknowledge that the whole thing is a sad farce, but it’s just telling the audience what’s going on instead of showing us by making an actual joke. On The Simpsons, Kent Brockman and Rainier Wolfcastle botch the same idea:
Brockman: Oh, Rainier Wolfcastle, star of McBain and the upcoming film ‘Help, My Son Is a Nerd’.
Wolfcastle: My son returns from a fancy East Coast college, and I’m horrified to find he’s a nerd.
Brockman: Ha ha ha ha, I’m laughing already.
Wolfcastle: It’s not a comedy.
Not only is this yet another multi-layer gag where the setups are just as funny as the punchlines, but it perfectly illustrates how depressingly lame the whole ‘Hollywood Squares’ idea really is. Brockman and Wolfcastle are following the joke-laugh-answer formula exactly, but they’re so apathetic toward what they’re doing that they can’t even accomplish a simple thing like mindlessly plugging Wolfcastle’s hilariously terrible movie. This is what The Hollywood Squares actually is: bored entertainers phoning it in because they’d rather be doing almost anything else.
By contrast, when Homer shows up to the show in Season 11, he gets in a fight with Ron Howard (which he’d already done just one season earlier), and is actually pitied by him and Kent Brockman:
Brockman: We’ve got to stop putting these flavors of the month on.
Homer: Flavor of the month? Me?
Howard: Yeah, Homer, you can’t just ride one accomplishment forever.
Homer acting out and other characters responding to him is the only thing that’s going on. The show itself is assumed to be something decent and worthwhile that Homer is ruining with his brutish behavior. It’s one note comedy compared to the symphony of ideas and jokes in “Krusty Gets Kancelled”, but that’s only the half of it.
In Season 4, Homer isn’t involved in the show; he’s watching it. This is crucial because it perfectly illustrates just how demeaning The Hollywood Squares really is. He and Bart are exactly the kind of viewer the lowest rung of television is pitched at: bored flyover state residents who tune in to leer at the last glimmers of fame. That he is their audience is part of what’s so humiliating about the show. Entertainers who were once at or near the top of their game have been reduced to trading on whatever recognition they have for a (probably not very generous) paycheck. Worst of all, they have been reduced from stars to replaceable cogs so easily dismissed that when one of them is crushed (and presumably killed) by a tidal wave, their target audience thinks only to laugh.
“Krusty Gets Kancelled” sees through the forced laughter and glittering lights to the cheap sets and career desperation because it understands that no one has ever gotten into show business to be on The Hollywood Squares. “Hello Gutter, Hello Fadder”, on the other hand, buys into all that lame self promotion that The Hollywood Squares uses to distract the audience from just how sad it really is.
“Scott, things aren’t as happy as they used to be down here at the unemployment office. Joblessness is no longer just for philosophy majors; useful people are starting to feel the pinch.” – Kent Brockman
“I haven’t been able to find a job in six years.” – Barney Gumble
“And what training do you have?” – Kent Brockman
“Five years of modern dance; six years of tap.” – Barney Gumble
“There is no escape from the fortress of the moles! . . . Well, except that.” – Moleman
For the fourth summer in a row, we here at the Dead Homer Society will be spending some time discussing twelve year old Simpsons episodes. This year we’re doing Season 11. Why Season 11? Because we’ve done Seasons 8, 9 and 10 already, and it’s time to take an unflinching look at the end of the show. Since Skype and podcasts didn’t exist in 1999, and we want to discuss these episodes the way the internet intended, we’re sticking with the UTF-8 world of chat rooms and instant messaging. This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (especially on “hantavirus”).
Today’s episode is 1106, “Hello Gutter, Hello Fadder”. Yesterday was 1105, “E-I-E-I-(Annoyed Grunt)”.
Charlie Sweatpants: This one is, if anything, worse overall than the Tomacco one.
Mad Jon: As an episode whole, I think I agree.
Charlie Sweatpants: Tomacco has a few good ideas and jokes if you feel like waiting through all the crap. This one, pretty much just crap.
Mad Jon: I am not a TV writer, or a professional critic, but this episode wasn’t coherent at all.
Dave: This is a thousand monkeys typing on a thousand typewriters and completely botching it.
Mad Jon: The lows were not as low as the Tomacco one in my opinion, but it seemed like the whole thing was one solid low point.
Dave: Yeah, what few highs were in Tomacco were nonexistent here.
Charlie Sweatpants: What bugs me, and this is a general Season 11 complaint though it’s in evidence in spades here, is the way the show yo-yos back and forth between a kinda serious/obeying some rules mentality to completely weird/Halloween episode, sometimes within the same scene.
Mad Jon: I don’t get the plot at all. Maggie wants attention from Homer, who won’t give it to her, then he wants to give her attention but she doesn’t want it, then he eats shark eggs and she pulls him out of the rip tide?
Charlie Sweatpants: Homer’s worried about Burns firing him, okay, kinda normal there, but then Homer feels up Burns’ face, pulls out his teeth, and starts eating radioactive goo.
Mad Jon: yeah, the face grab/reactor core beating/waste eating bloc was a tough one to swallow.
Charlie Sweatpants: Right, it’s nominally about Homer and Maggie drifting apart, then he spends time with her, then she saves him. The events aren’t connected in the least.
Got it. Are you sure you’re not a professional TV writer?
Mad Jon: I know, can you believe it?
Dave: Jon, quit your day job.
Charlie Sweatpants: But this episode is full of things like that. Homer’s bowling a perfect game, but then his family shows up in the last two frames all the way from home.
Homer’s sad, and then he’s instantly suicidal, and then he’s not again. There’s no connection to any of it.
For example, Penn and Teller. Where the hell did that come from?
Mad Jon: I dunno. Why are Disco Stu and Skinner’s Mom on the game show?
A game show where the guest stars are Ron Howard, Homer, and Princess Kashmir.
Charlie Sweatpants: That part didn’t make any sense either, like, is he supposed to be a local celebrity?
And Ron Howard, I get why they had him back on because he’s very funny (and we all know that a crap narrator would’ve sunk Arrested Development), but he’s just pointless here.
Mad Jon: Nothing against Ron Howard here. Just like Mel a few episodes back, he did as well as anyone could with the given situation.
But why is he on a local Springfield game show? That’s all.
Charlie Sweatpants: Well, this was right about the time when they just gave up on doing anything interesting with celebrities instead of just trading off their existing fame.
Mad Jon: Ah Yes.
Charlie Sweatpants: Penn and Teller are funny enough that they can have their little moment, but it has nothing to do with The Simpsons. It’s just them writing a sketch for Penn and Teller.
And stuff like that is all this episode is, a series of sketches that mostly aren’t funny. (I do chuckle a bit at the hantavirus joke, but then spiders explode out of Bart’s gum, and they’ve taken it too far.)
Mad Jon: I also like the hantavirus joke.
Charlie Sweatpants: What, for example, was the point of Homer and Maggie in the swimming pool? Setting up the ending? Why bother when it’s so transparently insane anyway.
Why does Homer get electrocuted? Oh right, they wanted to make a weak Teletubbies joke.
Mad Jon: Yeah, probably could have had the same effect without the pool scene.
Charlie Sweatpants: Why does Homer choke on the 300 game balloon?
Dave: So we can watch him choke.
For the lulz.
Charlie Sweatpants: What’s with that shtick laden scene where Lenny distracts Homer?
There’s so many of these pointless scenes here, it’s amazing that they managed to be that consistently mediocre.
Dave: Just a preview of things to come, when they play off that "strength" at the expense of everything else
Charlie Sweatpants: True enough. The mole people thing here is definitely a precursor to the Jockey Elves, but we’ll get to that soon enough.
Mad Jon: Ugh.
Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, it’s coming, but really, is it any less fantastical that what happens here?
Mad Jon: No, I guess not. It is just a different type of fantastical.
Charlie Sweatpants: And in the meantime, we get to see Marge vanish for the whole episode here while Homer flails about with Maggie, Bart sit quietly with Nelson in his room, and Homer pops out of a manhole cover just in time to have Ron Howard drive by.
Mad Jon: I almost forgot about Nelson.
Charlie Sweatpants: They needed him for a second, so he appeared. Standard Zombie Simpsons.
Anything else here?
I really dislike this episode, and if we can just all agree to forget about it forever now, I’d be cool with that.
Mad Jon: I got nothing. I don’t like either of these. Not at all.
Charlie Sweatpants: But if there are any other lowlights you feel need discussing, we can do that.
Dave: Nothing from me. Let’s never speak of these again.