Reading Digest: Unasked Replacement Edition

Boy Scoutz 'N the Hood7

“Aw, c’mon kid, quit cryin’, it’ll be fun.  I promise!” – Ernest Borgnine

This week’s Reading Digest contains at least two important concepts.  The first is that Ernest Borgnine was fucking awesome and beloved by all the peoples of the world.  We’ve got a lot of links to Borgnine memorials below (and a couple of them are chalk full of cool videos).  The second is that things can always get worse, as demonstrated by today’s final link.  In addition to those, we have a bunch of awesome fan made artwork this week, including a partial skateboard, an oil painting, and a drawing of the Simpson clan as characters from Watchmen.  There’s also two links to Batman stuff, someone who thinks Matt Selman can actually write, a 7-11 YouTube video, and a Briton who likes American theme parks.


Semi-original news anybody! – Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week is a new blog from an old friend.  Gran2/generalsherman67 has begun watching all the Futurama episodes.  He’s following the Me Blog Write Good template and writing reviews followed by highlights (or lowlights).  He’s about halfway through Season 1 so far, and it’s very much on par with Mike Amato’s thorough Simpsons reviews.  (Personally, I tend to skip the synopsis and read the bullet points.  I’ve seen the old episodes, of both The Simpsons and Futurama, so many times that my eyes tend to glaze at reading another rendition of stories I know by heart, but the opinionated observations are always worth reading.)  Good luck!

The Simpsons: What Matt Selman’s Potential Takeover as Showrunner Could Mean – I disagree with pretty much all of this for two basic reasons.  First, it attributes way too much credit/blame to the showrunner.  Second, the episodes Selman produced this year were just awful, see here, and here, and here.  (via)

To prove he was the only God, Caligula had all the pilots killed and still made the people take their flights – Wow, check out the Mr. Burns head in the upper left of this oil painting.  There’s a zoomed in view if you scroll down.  He looks appropriately malevolent, twisted and powerful.

I’m Cold and there are Wolves after Me PAGE 1 – Awesome fan made drawing featuring one of Grampa’s most pathetic quotes.  Bravo.

Detention in the ’90s – A (borderline) professionally inked school desk with about two dozen 1990s cartoon characters expertly drawn on it.  That’s a lot of detention, methinks someone was a rogue hall monitor. 

Quotes -Homer Simpson – This link has a ton of well formatting Homer quotes, and while I don’t have any personal experience with how Pinterest works, if it spreads the word about hitting referees with whiskey bottles, then all is well.

The Simpsons Art – A Tumblr site dedicated to art on the show.  I didn’t see any Zombie Simpsons, and there are some neat juxtapositions.  I never noticed that Salvador Dali painting in the background of “Homer the Vigilante” before. 

Monetary policy isn’t helping ‘The Simpsons’ – The president of the Dallas Fed said this:

“We’re not helping, as I put it, the Homers and the Marges,” Fisher continued in a session moderated by CNBC’s Maria Bartiromo. “We’re helping the Mr. Burnses.”

But what about the Flanderseses?

Who Watches The Simpsons? – Cool fan made drawing of the family as characters from Watchmen.  Maggie as Rorschach is a nice touch. 

The Dark Knight Rises – the Simpsons by ~MOROTEO56 on deviantART – Batman and Bain both get Simpsonized.  (via)

A 10 Word Tribute to Ernest Borgnine – For me he’ll always be the wise cracking Russian in Ice Station Zebra, Dominic Santini in Airwolf, or possibly the narrator in that weird Merlin movie on Mystery Science Theater 3000.  Damn, Borgnine was in a lot of stuff.

12 True Stories About Guest Stars On ‘The Simpsons’ – Inspired by Borgnine, here’s a slideshow of tidbits taken from Wikipedia.  Except for that awful episode with ‘Nsync, there isn’t any Zombie Simpsons.

Ernest Borgnine: Remembering the legendary actor’s best roles – Lots of YouTube here, including Borgnine’s introduction of himself in “Boy Scoutz ‘N the Hood”.

R.I.P. Ernest Borgnine (1917-2012) – Another video heavy Borgnine tribute includes the whole episode and this excellent usage:

"Hiya! I’m sure you kids know me best as Sergeant Fatso Judson in ‘From Here to Eternity,’ " Ernest Borgnine once quipped on a memorable guest turn on "The Simpsons." But he was that and so much more.

How The Simpsons Disproves Everything I Believe About Economics – There isn’t much here, just some guy complaining that old episodes of The Simpsons aren’t available on-line, but he writes for Forbes not Maxim, so it’s mostly a money complaint rather than an availability complaint.

Baseball All-Star Game Preview for Non-Fans – Using “Homer at the Bat” to explain baseball’s All-Star game.

This just in: SHIRTS! – Cool image of a character that I’m sure is legally distinct from both Ralph Wiggum and a Wookiee.

Homeroom is 101 – Cool fan made painting of Lisa on part of a broken skateboard.  Well done.

Fantasy Floorplan™ for The Simpsons/Residence of Marge & Homer Simpson – $36 seems a little steep, but for that price you can own detailed floor plans of the Simpson home.  (via)

Matt Groening and David Silverman Talk About the Birth of ‘The Simpsons’ – This is a writeup of a panel discussion Groening and Silverman did back in 1992.  Unfortunately, it’s just the writeup, no video.

Photo a Day: July 1st-7th – Austere picture of a Duff bottle in Germany.  I’ll bet the German courts would never order two million dollars worth of it destroyed like that Australian one did.

Whose hair is this? – Pretty sure I’ve linked these before, but they’re minimalist outlines of famous haircuts, including Marge, and they are wonderful. 

What TV, Movies, and Video Games Taught Me – Heh:

I wasn’t allowed to watch “The Simpsons” because according to my mom, “The Simpsons” were “insoportable y malcriados.”  For those of you who don’t understand Spanish, she’s saying they were annoying and incredibly rude.

Top 5 best sitcoms – A brand new blog starts out with a list on which the show comes in a measly fifth out of five.  I blame Zombie Simpsons.

Created by Matt Groaning – Not sure what country it’s from, but it’s a none too subtle knockoff called “Los Stivenson”.

STEP ONE – Man, I’d forgotten about “dick in a box”.  Heh.

Excellent…. Official Simpsons and Family Guy USB Flash Drives – These actually don’t look too subpar, and $15 for an 8GB flash drive isn’t hideous. 

Florida – Okay, Fourth of July was last week, but, suck it Britain:

5. Last but not least, The Simpsons Ride.  First ride we went on in Orlando and the first of many motion simulators.  My experience up to this point had been in British-equivalent simulators where you’re meant to feel like you’re in a Red Arrow aeroplane.  US simulators take this concept so much further and shit on any simulator you’ll ever ride in a British theme park.  The effects blew my mind & this ride was only beaten by Spider-Man by virtue of SM being 4D.

America, fuck yeah.

The real icon of America – Discussing 7-11 inevitably leads to discussing the Kwik-E-Mart.  That leads to a YouTube video I don’t think I’ve ever seen before of one of those 7-11s that got a Simpsons makeover for the movie:

The lack of Zombie Simpsons on the soundtrack is appreciated.

The Simpsons will end in 2014 hints Mr Burns actor Harry Shearer – This came up on Twitter yesterday, but it’s just your typically desperate tabloid headline.  Shearer neither said not hinted at any such thing (said so himself). 

The Dark Knight Rises Character Posters – I have a feeling the amount of Batman stuff in my inbox is only going to increase next week.  I did chuckle at this.

Spinoff! – And finally, I get to end with someone who agrees with us (though in this case it’s because I’m astroturfing):

Welcome to The Ann Arbor Review of Books (beta).  This site is a spinoff of the Dead Homer Society, a website two friends and I started as a way to help distinguish The Simpsons, one of the finest and most popular cultural institutions of our time, from Zombie Simpsons, the merchandising fueled franchise that is immune to widespread criticism about declining quality because it generates more than a billion ($1,000,000,000) dollars per year.  The Ann Arbor Review of Books aims to take that kind of criticism (skeptical, reality based, easily ignored) and apply it to modern commercial media generally.

The Simpsons is beautiful, funny and profound; Zombie Simpsons is ugly, boring and disposable.  Those two ideas are, more or less, the entire point of this site.  The linked post is the beginning of my pitiful (and like to fail) attempt at broadening that concept.  I don’t know how many of this site’s readers will be interested in Dead Homer Society-style critiques of things other than Zombie Simpsons, but this is your chance to find out (though I do plan to continue inserting my radical right wing messages into every post).  My review of The Longest Daycare (and Ice Age 4) will post there at 4pm Eastern (US) today.

5 Responses to “Reading Digest: Unasked Replacement Edition”

  1. 1 Chris
    13 July 2012 at 1:11 pm

    I feel like I’ve seen Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster. Someone who actually thinks Matt Selman is a GOOD writer. Never thought I’d see the day. My opinion would be that the show is irreparable at this point, but if they do change show-runners it should either be someone from the way-before time like George Meyer, or someone who has no connection to the show whatsoever. Switching from Jean to Matt Selman (who hardly has any connection to the classic seasons) is simply running in place.

    I also like how the author of that post thinks Matt Selman represents “new TV.” He’s been with the show since season 8, which by the way was 15 years ago. Futurama and Family Guy were started, cancelled and restarted in that time. South Park was in its infancy. In TV terms, 15 years ago is ancient history.

    • 2 Charlie Sweatpants
      13 July 2012 at 6:48 pm

      “I feel like I’ve seen Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster. Someone who actually thinks Matt Selman is a GOOD writer.”

      It’s not a common opinion, that’s for sure. Honestly though, I can’t tell if he’s a good writer or not. Look at this IMDb page:


      It’s a wasteland. Almost his entire career is Zombie Simpsons. He’s only got credits on two other shows, Seinfeld and The Office. His Seinfeld work is five episodes as a “program consultant” in 1995, and a lone “story” credit in 1996. His sole credit from The Office is as an actor playing “Blogger” in 2010. Everything else on there is Simpsons from the Scully years or later.

      He’s never done any significant writing to which we can compare his Simpsons stuff. Every other showrunner (even Scully) has gone on to create a new show, sometimes with success, sometimes not. Selman just sits in that safe, well compensated cocoon and cranks out dreck. I honestly have no idea if he could do better because, as far as I can tell, he’s never tried.

      • 3 Chris
        14 July 2012 at 12:48 am

        My God, he’s the credited writer for That ’90s Show. That shouldn’t get someone promoted to show runner, that should get someone banned for eternity from ever writing for television again.

        • 14 July 2012 at 11:10 pm

          Well, if you’re involved in Seinfeld and the Office, you probably get a free pass, but I do agree that being credited with THE WORST EPISODE EVER (by a wide margin) should probably end your career. But you know, Bill Odenkirk writes for the Simpsons, doesn’t he? He’s a GREAT writer, having written some good Futurama episodes, and he wrote for one of the best comedy shows ever (up there with The State, Hardcore TV, Mighty Boosh, Look Around You, Excel Saga, and Sifl & Olly as making me laugh my ass off so consistently)… MR. SHOW. And, uh, his episodes still suck. Okay, “The Seven-Beer Snitch” is probably one of the best episodes of Zombie Simpsons, but that’s not saying much (gotta love the Oz “Adabesie’s hat” reference!)….. Anyway, point is, I dunno if I trust any “Written By” credits on the Simpsons. There might be one great writer, but the writing staff and team in general is going to shape the script into crap, irregardless (look at Swartzwelder’s late scripts). “WRITTEN BY” always seemed to suggest the guy who came up with the concept and/or maybe the most gags on the episode.

          “SHOWRUNNER” has a lot of responsibilities, but I do agree that they get too much blame (or credit, really) for the quality of the show. Or lack thereof. I mean, Al Jean is awesome, he wrote some of the best episodes ever and he’s been there since the beginning, yet his run on the show has been boring. Since the show will probably end with season 25, why not have Matt… GROENING.. give it a shot?

          Also, thanks for pointng me to the Futrama review blog, Charlie. I LOVE MeBlogWriteGood; I read it and this site every day. I’ll be reading the Futarama blog all the time, too, even though I think the show is vastly overrated. Maybe the most overrated show ever, actually. There’s another blog around that resembles MBWG that does South Park reviews, not sure if he still does it… I hate South Park so I never check…

  2. 15 July 2012 at 2:19 pm

    This was fun to go through. Thanks for the mention of my Duff beer picture. And no, I don’t imagine German courts would ever have the bottles destroyed, or they’d at least wait until after they were empty.

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