Reading Digest: Presidential Heads Edition

Two Bad Neighbors5
“Okay, son, give him the glue!” – Homer Simpson
If you were reading about American television on the internet this week, you likely encountered the uber-stupid nontroversy over ex-President Bush the Younger and HBO media darling Game of Thrones.  It’s not worth tracking down in full, but the basic story is that someone was watching the DVD commentary for the final episode of Season 1.  On it, the two guys who run the show noted that in a shot where there are a bunch of heads on spikes, one of the anonymous ones in the background was a George W. Bush replica head.  The person watching the commentary made a note of it on Reddit, and since Reddit and politics are far more explosive than pop rocks and Coke, here you are still reading about it several days later even though nobody should’ve cared in the first place. 
Topless Robot had one of the calmer write ups I saw:

• This was not done as any kind of political statement at all.

• Indeed, production just needed severed heads, and the prop department had a Bush head laying about.

• As you can tell from the pic — which is a severe close-up of part of the shot where Joffrey makes Sansa look at her dad’s head on a pike and not an actual shot in the show — they put a wig on it and turned it away from the camera to minimize the chance anyone could tell it was Bush.

• In fact, no one would have even know it was Bush except that showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss mentioned that it’s Bush in episode 10 director’s commentary track.

Here is the picture that was making the rounds:
Bush Head on Game of Thrones (Close Up)
First of all, I would pay several dollars to see Bush the Younger grow his hair out like that.  More importantly, here’s what the actual shot looked like:
Bush Head on Game of Thrones (Normal)
The old woman’s head in the middle is the actual focus of the shot, Bush’s head is incidental and likely would’ve gone noticed by precisely no one if it hadn’t been on the commentary, which was itself released months ago.  This is the very definition of unimportant, so naturally everyone panicked, HBO apologized, the Game of Thrones people apologized, and by this time next week no one’s going to remember it except the occasional Game of Thrones fan who a) cares enough to figure out where it is, b) rewatches the first season, and c) still remembers that this is the shot by the time they get all the way to the end of Season 1. 
The only reason I care enough about this to write it up is because I think Game of Thrones should be ashamed of itself.  Not for putting Bush’s head on a spike, but for being so foolishly coy about it.  If you’re going to put a divisive, right-wing President’s head on a spike, just go ahead and fucking do it:
Lisa the Beauty Queen6
As usual, Simpsons did it and did it better (and nearly twenty years before HBO to boot).  Anyway, now that we’ve got wax sculpture heads out of the way, we’ve got lots of great stuff this week, including a Lisa Simpson costume wardrobe malfunction, lots of excellent usage, several fan made pictures, a Flanders cake, a couple people who agree with us, and plenty of cheap laughs. 
A Perfectly Cromulent Trivia Night – Via the guy who organized it (thanks Andrew!), comes this article about Classic Simpsons Trivia night in Toronto.  The best part is this YouTube video of everyone (and I mean everyone) in a big room singing along to the Monorail Song:
Lisa Simpson Looking Good – Someone in a Lisa costume jumped into the arms of what looks like some kind of television host guy.  Unfortunately, the costume isn’t exactly well made (the heads are just hideous) and has no bottom.  Whoops.
Bart Simpson called… – Some old school Krusty Brand Seal of Approval:

A phone call from Bart Simpson huh? Thats pretty exciting
I found this inside a Simpsons gaming manual for the NES and thought that it’d be worth sharing.

Click through for the image, but the thrust of it is that for $10 (~$17.50 in 2012 dollars), "Bart" will call your house and wish the child of your choice "happy birthday".  All I can think of is Senor Beaverotti and company. 
thesimpsons « superstickmen – Cool fan made drawing of the family and the pets. 
Bart Simpson, Stained Glass and a Three-Day Workshop with Master Artist Joseph Cavalieri – The guy who did those awesome stained glass Simpsons scenes is teaching a three day workshop in Connecticut. 
Lisa Simpson, the Simpsons clan smart girl. by ~Jojocoso on deviantART – Fan made pencil drawing of an anime-style Lisa. 
Principal dyes hair blue after students surpass fundraising goal – An elementary school principal dyed her hair Marge Simpson blue.  There’s two pictures, one of the principal, and one of the fundraising chart with her hair drawn as Marge’s. 
Television: Griffin enters talk-and-comment fray – Kathy Griffin is getting a talk show, which prompted this:

Homer described “Calvin Klein, Gloria Vanderbilt and Antoine Bugleboy” as “people who saw an overcrowded market and said, ‘Me, too!’ ”

Well, Kathy Griffin is nothing if not brave. She saw an overcrowded talk-and-comment market and said, “Me, too!”

Homer actually says “or” not “and” before “Antoine Bugleboy” and “marketplace” instead of “market”, but those are minor quibbles.  Excellent usage. 
Photo of homer simpson bong – There’s also a Krusty pencil holder. 
Nancy Cartwright Goes Into Dayton Hall – Nancy Cartwright was inducted into the Dayton Broadcasters’ Hall of Fame.  In other news, there is a Dayton Broadcasters’ Hall of Fame. 
It’s like having my own Card Shop – In further Cartwright news, she signed a Simpsons bookmark for a fan who sent her a postcard.  That was nice.
marge simpson by =TovioRogers on deviantART – Great fan made color drawing of a busty Marge with her hair down. 
Shhhh! – Subtitled picture of Lisa when she didn’t need her brain anymore.
I’ll keep that in mind haha – Same as above, but with some of Homer’s more memorable advice from "The Otto Show".
Damn! – Three in a row; can’t win, don’t try. 
23 SEASONS – Picture of a couple dressed as Homer and Marge, not bad.  Having a balloon-animal Maggie, very clever. 
San Diego Comic-Con 2012: FOX Announces Shows to Attend – The Simpsons panel will be on Saturday,  July 14 with Groening, Jean and Yeardley Smith.  (The Futurama panel is the same day with Groening and Simpsons alum-David X. Cohen.) 
The Simpsons as Spoofs of Art Work – I’ve seen most of these before, but this is a nice collection of them, both of things from the show and fan made stuff. 
Why ‘The Simpsons’? – This guy uses Simpsons clips to teach students how to speak in public, and he’s got good taste:

most of my clips are from the first eight seasons when the show was focused on the characters much more than the newer episodes are.

Good move.  Clips from Zombie Simpsons would just teach people to scream at random intervals and then disappear from the stage.
Big Feet, Creepy Fruit, and Ugly Things for your Lawn – You’ll have to click through for the picture, but this description is pretty accurate:

Speaking of body parts, welcome to the strangest fruit that I have ever encountered–the Buddha’s Hand (a clever segue, even if I do say so myself).  This citrus fruit is kind of creepy looking–like the hands of a Simpsons  character that has hung out at Mr. Burns Nuclear Power plant a little too long.

“I’ve wanted to do something to you for years…” – This is a brand spanking new blog the idea of which is quite simple and rather innovative:

Just take a photo of whatever is on your TV. it could be a funny moment in your favourite show, an advert that annoys you, or a cool scene from a video game you’re playing. Whatever really, as long as it’s a photo and not a screen grab. Keep it pure people.

One of the first posts, and part of the header image, is Homer as Burns sees him during his ether induced hallucination.  He’s got the quote there right, but the title quote should be “There’s something I’ve wanted to do to you for years”.  Sorry, nits must be picked.  (Good luck with the blog.) 
RSFans’ Favorite TV Theme Songs Pictures – ‘The Simpsons’ – Rolling Stone asked its Twitter fans for their favorite theme songs.  Needless to say, Elfman’s made the cut. 
Dialogue from an episode of The Simpsons tells us the kind of image the shirts have today. Homer: "Marge, our son was wearing a Hawaiian shirt today! There’s only two kinds of guys who wear Hawaiian shirts: gay guys or big fat party animals! And Bart doesn’t look like a big fat party animal to me!" Marge: "So if you wore a Hawaiian shirt, it wouldn’t be gay?" Homer: "Right! Thank you."
There are few little things off about the quote, but it’s too apt not to be excellent.  The actual quote:
Homer:  Marge, the boy was wearing a Hawaiian shirt.
Marge:  So?
Homer:  There’s only two kinds of guys who wear those shirts, gay guys and big fat party animals.  And Bart doesn’t look like a big fat party animal to me.
Marge:  So if you wore a Hawaiian shirt it wouldn’t be gay.
Homer:  Right.  Thank you.
Artist Turns New Twitter Logo Into Pop Culture Icons – Krusty the Klown (and others) as the Twitter logo.
Trailer for Disney’s ‘Wreck-It Ralph’ – Starring John C. Reilly – Simpsons alum Rich Moore directed this, and it doesn’t look half bad. 
New Music: Frank Ocean “Pyramids” – I couldn’t find the actual video on-line, but there is a decidedly Springfield feel to the preview image. 
Deixis and Performance – I learned a new word today:

The key to this fine example of deixis is of course (17-year-old spoiler alert) that we assume that “it” is a gun and “you” is a would-be murderer, but in fact Mr. Burns has come upon baby Maggie Simpson with a piece of candy that he decides to take (after having earlier declared an interest in taking candy from a baby). He only gets shot when the gun accidentally goes off in the struggle for the lollipop. Performance– or an imagined performance– is therefore the key to interpreting deictic language. We begin by imagining one version of events, only to see an entirely different one unfold through the same dialogue.

Sadly, no video.
Model Citizens: The Creative Adaptation – Discussing "Treehouse of Horror" and "The Raven":

A true classic of literature made into a classic of television and pop culture.
It is through ideas like this that The Simpsons have cemented itself as THE best show in television history.

No arguments here.  There’s video of the segment at the link, if you feel like watching.
Hip Hop Squares…In 10 Words – Hurry, Ghostface, there is not much time.
The Rock of Ages Movie…In 10 Words – Hey, I think they liked us.
‘The Gold Rush’ review: a wonderful and charming classic – Ever wondered about why the lawyer shows up to halt Abe Simpson’s dinner roll theater?  Now you can see the original on a new Criterion release:
The comedy is where the references come in. The "dance of the dinner rolls" is probably the most recognizable as Abe Simpson did the same thing on "The Simpsons" while the show was in its prime.
Toys at work – Some Mickey & Minnie and Bart & Homer dolls looking at me with their dead eyes.
Simpson’s and Hey Arnold! Get a Mix – I chuckled, and that "Springfield Motel" is just wonderfully horrible. 
The mournful sound of a musical exiting stage left – Apparently they made a musical version of An Officer and a Gentlemen and it didn’t go well:

For those, like me, who haven’t ventured down the "five weeklies for $5" aisle of a Civic Video store lately, just think of that episode of The Simpsons when Homer carries Marge out of the nuclear power plant and declares: "I’m going to the back seat of my car with the woman I love and I won’t be back for 10 minutes!"

The man has a way with romance, it’s true, and if your film hasn’t been referenced in The Simpsons, you haven’t really made it in Hollywood.

But just because a film was once popular doesn’t mean it will be a hit on stage.

Perfectly quoted, excellent usage.
They’ve Jumped the Shark. Now What? – Zombie Simpsons (unsurprisingly) makes a list of shows that need to end:
The Simpsons. The longest-running primetime television sitcom of all time, in its 23rd season with two more secured, The Simpsons has simply run its course. No longer as funny, edgy or interesting as it was in its first 10 seasons it’s time to get out of Dodge, er Springfield.
Homer Simpson: King Idiot – And finally, I get to end with someone who agrees with us:

After more than 500 episodes and 23 seasons, however, it’s the staggering stupidity of this character that is contributing to the series’ decline in quality.
Season after season, Homer Simpson has abandoned what little sarcasm and irony he had, to become a simple ignoramus which, along with his other more ordinary vices – gluttony, laziness, envy and anger – makes him almost unbearable.

It has.

4 Responses to “Reading Digest: Presidential Heads Edition”

  1. 1 Cyberen
    15 June 2012 at 12:52 pm

    Apparently calling our president a communist socialist Nazi is okay but randomly using their likeness for a head on a pike that isn’t even noticeable unless you’re a producer is too far.

  2. 16 June 2012 at 8:21 pm

    As a fellow Simpsons-addict, I love your blog. Thank you for the Pingback too, by the way!! I’ll keep those Simpsons references coming.

  3. 3 FireFlower
    18 June 2012 at 10:16 am

    Thanks for that first look at Wreck-It Ralph. I never heard of it before…and it looks so COOL! I am totally going to see it when it comes out!

    My username comes from Super Mario so I loved seeing Bowser in the trailer.

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