Archive for August, 2012


Reading Digest: Yet More Foreign Art Edition

Bart vs Australia10

“Bart, I’m sorry I’m going to miss your public humiliation, but the Wolumbaloo Dirt Monument is just too exciting to pass up!” – Lisa Simpson

This week we’ve got two art items from the Southern Hemisphere, an Australian art show and some excellent Argentine graffiti.  There’s also a ton of usage, a good example of how not to invoke Sideshow Bob, and absolutely nothing about upcoming guest voices or episodes from Season 24.  It’ll be here soon enough, no point in hastening it. 

ARThive: Artists wanted for THIS IS NOT BART : MONEY’S 2 TIGHT FOR STEAK – Last year’s Simpsons themed art exhibition in Australia was popular enough that they’re bringing it back for a second year, and it’s Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week.  Grant Hunter, one of the artists involved, was kind enough to e-mail me and let me know about it, and if you’re in or around Newcastle in New South Wales, you can not only attend, but participate:

You *must* email to register. Spaces are extremely limited, though we will try to include everybody.
All submissions due at ARThive by SEPTEMBER 19 with $10 entry fee. Submissions may be rejected at the discretion of our curatorial overlords, so if you’re going to stuff us around heaps make sure your work is really really super good and worth it or else.

Cool.  The show doesn’t open until the end of September, but until then there’s an excellent slideshow of pieces from last year. 

Awesome Bart Simpson Tattoo Art and More by Logan Morrison – Pretty much what it says.  The tattoo design in question is of a shirtless and heavily tattooed Bart.  Great idea, except that Bart’s arm really should have a “Mother” or at least a “Moth” tattoo. 

Life Imitates Art – A real life Herschel Krustofsky.  Keep at it, kid! 

There’s no link for this one, but in response to all of last week’s foreign graffiti, reader Catherine sent in this image all the way from Buenos Aires:

Terms and Conditions

The text reads “I accept the terms and conditions”.  Ha!  Thanks, Catherine! 

10 of the Greatest ‘Simpsons’ Movie References – Lots of animated .gifs here and not even a whiff of Zombie Simpsons. 

Hurricane Isaac…In 10 Words – Somehow the animals are always the first to know. 

Lawless…In 10 Words – Well, you all know what laughter sounds like.  (This, by the way, will be reviewed at the new site this afternoon at 4pm.) 

Whatever Happened To The Simpsons? – The title isn’t referring to the show, but rather to the fact that they haven’t put out any new Simpsons trading cards in a decade.  There is a great image gallery of the old Simpsons trading cards too. 

Chick-Fil-Gay: The Inevitability of Marriage Equality – Excellent usage:

What the clip doesn’t include is Bart and Lisa rushing in trying to retrieve the pink elephant.  Once they have the balloon back, the head gay republican hands Lisa a bumper sticker.

“A gay president for 2084?” she reads.

“We’re realistic” he states simply.

I’ve always liked that joke, but have we really forgotten the Buchanan administration already?

Procrastinating – Well done:

I should have read more of The Merchant of Venice today, but instead I took walks and did some food shopping and organized my home a bit.

Oh, and I watched a few episodes of The Simpsons. From 5:00 – 8:00 pm you can catch, like, five episodes, easily.

One of my favorite parts of the Ortved book was when someone remembered that George Meyer and company had attempted to calculate the ideal ratio of goofing off to real work for maximum productivity, and it was like 2:1 in favor of goofing off. 

louisiana saturday night – Excellent usage:

Once we were finally settled into our cozy abode near the heart of the French Quarter everything began to come up Milhouse.

Bye bye Hippie Wall – A Simpson painting done for a kid’s bedroom is finally going to have to come down, but it will live forever on the internet. 

Neil Armstrong…In 10 Words – I don’t think this contest is over yet, Buzz, if that is your real name.

Unscripted ‘violence:’ Simpsons’ Itchy and Scratchy Show cut from Russian broadcasts – Something tells me that cartoons (South Park is mentioned as well) aren’t the main motivation behind this:

The law was written with a view to protecting children and young adults from “information detrimental to their health and development,” and calls for anything screened on television to have a clear-cut age restriction policy.


Popular American animated series the Simpsons, for example, will have to say goodbye to The Itchy and Scratchy show – an integral show-within-the-show piece turning the traditional triumph of good over evil on its head.

BBH Challenges You to Restore Your Own ‘Ecce Homo’ – That painting of Jesus that was restored a bit too enthusiastically is now being used by advertisers, including a Homer example. 

English Composition Syllabus or Comp So Hard The Registrar Wanna Fine Me – There are some lucky students at the University of Indianapolis:

Wednesday October 24

The Simpsons “Marge vs. Itchy and Scratchy”
Exercise M

The actual episode title is “Itchy & Scratchy & Marge”, but that is a fantastic piece of writing, and probably older than most of the students, so I’m glad someone is forcing them to watch it.  The irony of the last scene will hopefully not be lost on them. 

Venetians Turn Down Fashion Mogul Pierre Cardin’s $3-Billion “Palace of Light” Skyscraper – Excellent reference:

In an early episode of the Simpsons, Homer Simpson presents a bowling ball to his wife Marge for her birthday. It is made comically obvious to the show’s budding audience that the bowling ball — engraved with the name “Homer” — is intended to return right back to the hand of its giver. Just as Homer’s self-reflexive generosity enrages Marge, in Venice, where Italian-born French fashion designer Pierre Cardin has proposed an 800-foot-tall luxury skyscraper of his own design to bolster the local economy, the intended beneficiaries have voiced immediate skepticism.

Simpsons5: Ned Flanders Cubee by ~TheFlyingDachshund on deviantART – Just what it says. 

Lisa Simpson by ~Mister-Darkness on deviantART – Again, just what it says. 

Breaking Down the Origin of Minor League Baseball’s 7 Strangest Team Names – Lots of Simpsons baseball references are used as the hook on this otherwise unremarkable internet list.

Five Great Adult CartoonsThe Simpsons actually isn’t on the list here, just acknowledged as the forerunner of the ones that are.  And it’s nice to see some love for The Boondocks, Season 4 of which needs to start airing as soon as possible. 

Lucky there’s a family guyyyyy… – Cupcakes with Bart, Maggie, Pikachu, Stewie Griffin and Patrick from Spongebob.  Excellent variety. 

The Inaccuracies of the IQ – Excellent usage:

There is, though, something else people have to understand about I.Q. tests. If you’re a Simpsons fan, you’ll remember the second full episode of the Simpsons, “Bart the Genius.” Remember how the kids take an I.Q. test in school and Mrs. Krabappel tells them, “They… determine your future social status and financial success.”

The full quote is “They merely determine your future social status and financial success . . . if any.” 

Will The Ignorance Ever Stop? – Probably not anytime soon:

Let me share with you what sparked this post….

A guy that I have worked with on and off for at least 6 years now, who has only ever known me with natural hair says to me last week “So I see you  rocking that Side Show Bob today?” I ponder… Is this a real question? Does he want a real answer?*akward pause* When I don’t respond or laugh, he nervously laughs and asks “You do know who Side Show Bob is right? With a half-smile/smirk, blank stare, and a tinge of annoyance on my face, I shake my head yes barely looking up from my phone. I was not insulted. I was  more annoyed by the ignorance of it all. I mean really here you have a 30 something year old man making references from “The Simpsons” about my hair….REALLY!!!!!!

I have a Google Alert set up for “Sideshow Bob”, and any time anyone has even the tiniest bit of fro, someone on-line (often a professional at a real publication) will break out Sideshow Bob, even when it looks nothing like him. 

Ask Sideshow Bob! by ~PlanetHannah on deviantART – It almost looks like he’s hosting a new segment dedicated to pre-adolescent turmoil.  Bravo.

Top 5 TV Series (and Seasons) – Season 4 makes the cut.

The Simpsons Homer Buddha Toy by Kidrobot – That’s mildly clever, mildly blasphemous, and not worth even half of the $50 asking price.

The Simpsons 500th Episode Review – The craptacular 500th episode finally made it (legally) to Britain, which prompted this enjoyable negative review:

The point of this episode? Nothing really. How realistic is this episode? As realistic as Batman. Does it indirectly cover important affairs that affect normal peoples lives? Not at all.

That also agrees with us:

The Simpsons as we know it are not the same any more. There has been a mammoth decline in quality over the years but you would have expected that the 500th episode would be slightly better. Unfortunately, after watching the episode, I found myself thinking ‘What the hell?’, putting it in a nice way.

No need to be nice.  It just sucks. 


Quote of the Day

Last Exit to Springfield7

“Now, stay tuned for professional wrestling live from the Springfield grapplearium.  Tonight, a Texas death match, Dr. Hillbilly versus the Iron Yuppie!  One man will actually be unmasked and killed in the ring!” – Wrestling Announcer
“I hope they kill that iron yuppie, thinks he’s so big.” – Homer Simpson


Quote of the Day

Surprise Witnesses

“Keep the trial going, I’ll be right back.” – Bart Simpson
“Your honor, I’d like to call all of my surprise witnesses again.” – Lionel Hutz


’Round Springfield Spews Truth

'Round Springfield10

“Two hundred and fifty dollars?  But I need that album to honor the memory of Bleeding Gums Murphy.” – Lisa Simpson
“He’s dead?  Well, why didn’t you say so?” – Comic Book Guy

It doesn’t come up in individual statements, but when you listen to the commentary for this episode right after you listen to the commentary for “Alone Again Natura-Diddily”, the most striking thing is the absence of feeling the need to explain things. Instead of anyone getting defensive or saying something about, “no really, this was a good idea”, it’s all just trivia about the episode, the occasional short tangent, and backstory on this or that. The Season 11 commentary is just this side of an apology. The Season 6 commentary is a regular DVD commentary track.

Five guys on this one: Jean and Reiss, Steven Dean Moore (who directed), and Joshua Sternin and Jeffrey Ventimilia, who wrote the script.

0:20 – Jean starts out by noting that this is the non-“A Star Is Burns” episode that was done with a lot of the staff from The Critic, and they figured that at this point in the show’s run a major character hadn’t been killed, so why not? Importantly, he notes that the episode is actually about “Lisa’s grief”, which is much better than “Flanders’ dating”, but he doesn’t say that last part.

1:00 – Reiss originally wanted to kill Marge’s mother.

1:30 – The first episode Steven Dean Moore worked on was “Moaning Lisa” and this was the first one he directed, so it was a nice bookend for him.

1:50 – Jean notes that Ron Taylor, Steve Allen, Phil Hartman and Doris Grau all did voices on this episode and all of them have since died. That causes Reiss to crack, “It’s a real blood bath, folks, so sit back and enjoy”.

2:25 – Reiss and Jean took credit on the story, but Sternin and Ventimilia got the “teleplay” credit. Reiss notes that show runners don’t usually take story credits like that, but they thought it was going to win a bunch of awards “it’s death and a black guy and jazz” . . . and then it didn’t. But they did get paid.

3:30 – Jean says that they don’t remember for sure who came up with “cheese eating surrender monkeys”, but that it might have been Ken Keeler. Then they joke around about how people took it awfully seriously when it was just a throwaway joke for them.

5:15 – There’s a backlighting effect on the operating table lights to make it look more like old hospital shows.

6:00 – The little glints on the jagged metal-Os are done post production.

6:15 – Reiss’ father is a doctor, and no matter how many times they asked him, he wouldn’t tell them that you could get appendicitis from eating a piece of metal. Jean then jokes that more people saw this than know him, so they won.

6:45 – Writers and directors love flashbacks because they don’t have to do anything.

8:00 – Jean makes the obligatory note that Steve Allen had done a voice before and later harshly criticized the show.

8:30 – Laughing at the Faberge egg habit. Reiss says that Joan Rivers was collecting them and that’s where he got the idea.

9:00 – It’s Castellaneta doing the great Cosby impression here, but they’d gone back to Sunday by now and Cosby was off the air, so Reiss calls it “residual malice”, which would be an awesome band name.

10:15 – Josh Sternin really did have appendicitis once.

10:20 – It took awhile to get Lisa’s un-brushed teeth “gross but clear”.

10:40 – One of the reasons they wanted to pitch this was to let Lisa sing “Jazzman”.

10:50 – Jean then notes that this was when the show was longer so they could take their time and do things like show the song.

11:40 – Jean can’t tell the difference between a tenor and a baritone saxophone. Moore comes on to say that she’s normally supposed to play tenor, but for this they downsized the sax a little. Jean’s brother plays the saxophone, but that doesn’t help, which leads Reiss to crack, “We ignore our families, that’s why we’re comedy writers”.

12:50 – The scene where Lisa wins over the crowd prompts Jean to compare it to the movie Ray where the same thing happens.

13:00 – Reiss comes on to note that Lisa finding out Bleeding Gums is dead should’ve been the act break. I probably haven’t seen this episode with commercials in the better part of a decade, so I really have no idea where the act breaks are.

13:45 – This was only the second script Sternin and Ventimilia had done. The only other one they’d done was an episode of The Critic. They talk about how cool it was to be a fan of the show and then be able to put words in the mouths of the characters. Jean, feeling wistful, says he felt the same way when the cast of Gilligan’s Island came on Alf while he was writing there.

14:50 – Interesting directing note here, David Silverman told Moore that when Grampa is pointing and yelling at various things being “Death!”, they shouldn’t pull the frame out too quickly. They originally had the camera pulling very fast, but the joke is that Grampa is overreacting, so the camera should under-react to show how senile he’s being.

15:15 – Jean jokes that the Starland Vocal Band tattoo would’ve been a great act break which prompts Reiss to say, “Don’t tell that to FOX, they’ll be giving us eight act breaks now”. Just an observation, but Jean always seems to be having way more fun on commentaries where Reiss is around as opposed to when he isn’t.

16:05 – Everyone laughs at the hot dog cart at the funeral.

16:55 – It is indeed a white Bronco in which Hutz and OJ’s attorney’s speed away.

17:10 – That causes Jean to recall that they were working on The Critic right by the freeway during the OJ chase (Wikipedia and YouTube for those of you too young to remember 1994) when they saw all the helicopters. He jokes that they should’ve run to an overpass with a sign reading “Watch The Critic” among all the signs that said Go, OJ Go.

18:00 – Moore was told that the laid back DJ was based on David Mirkin, but nobody seems to know if that’s true or not.

18:30 – Jean and Reiss explain how odd and puzzling Pogs were, even at the time.

19:45 – Just in case you were wondering, this episode gets its title from a 1986 movie called ’Round Midnight.

20:00 – Wes Archer’s brother Martin did most of the animation on the scene where the clouds come together.

20:20 – Everyone laughs at Wiggum getting poisoned.

20:45 – The “Kimba, I mean Simba” joke is a reference to a 1960s cartoon about a lion named Kimba whose father died. There was even a baboon.

21:30 – Reiss asks Sternin and Ventimilia how it was to write this. Predictably they say it was a lot of fun, then one of them jokes, “It was back when we were young and full of hope”. Heh.

21:50 – Moore jokes that after he worked a long time to get a directing slot on the show, he wasn’t sure how many he’d get because, really, how long could it go on after six seasons already?


Quote of the Day

Happy Terminator Day

“Question: Is your name Ridley Scott or James Cameron?” – Comic Book Guy
“No, it’s Homer.” – Homer Simpson
“Then I will thank you to stop peering at my screenplay, Homer.  And if I see a movie where computers threaten our personal liberties, I will know that you stole my idea.” – Comic Book Guy
“I’m just waiting for my kid.” – Homer Simpson
“Mental note, steal his idea.” – Homer’s Brain


Alone Again Natura-Diddily Makes Baby Jesus Cry

Bart of Darkness8

“But I distinctly heard you say that Maude was with God.” – Bart Simpson
“Oh, that’s right, I was at Bible camp. I was learning how to be more judgmental.” – Maude Flanders

Much like the commentary for the Jockey Elves episode, the commentary for the death of Maude Flanders mostly dances around the actual events on screen and their larger implications for the overall history and health of the show. Also like the commentary for the Jockey Elves, George Meyer is here quietly commenting on things without doing any of the stammering defense/non-defense of the indefensible crap that’s occurring on screen.

What’s most interesting here is that they actually do acknowledge that Flanders starting to date people might have been premature, that Rod and Todd were too much of a bummer to do much with, and that death is awfully difficult to handle on a show like this. They don’t really say much beyond that, and it’s cold comfort knowing that they’re aware of the problems here, but it’s something.

Six guys on this one, though Jim Reardon recorded from Oakland, where he was working on WALL-E.

1:20 – Here’s an artful elision: “Maggie Roswell, the actress who played Maude Flanders had decided to leave the show for awhile.” Well, that’s one way of putting it, and I don’t even blame them. FOX really, really doesn’t like people talking about salaries, and that the subject was a no-go on a commentary doesn’t surprise me in the least.

2:15 – Scully chuckles as Homer sprays his crotch with bug repellent.

2:30 – The NASCAR drivers all turned them down for voices.

3:20 – Maxtone-Graham denies that it was supposed to be his name in giant letters, says he originally wrote it as Reardon.

4:30 – Long silence here broken by someone asking if that was another actress doing Maude, which, of course it was.

5:30 – FOX, which was broadcasting NASCAR, didn’t care about their crash heavy portrayal.

6:30 – Scully’s rambling about how they got to the death scene and how they didn’t want it to be “horrifying”. He seems nervously defensive, which I suppose is understandable.

7:00 – Reardon complains that the camera was supposed to pan right to show Maude as she went off the edge but instead it went left and cut her out of the shot. Calls it a “clerical error” that never got retaken.

7:30 – Meyer jumps on to try and explain what they were going for on the act break and admits that it didn’t work out and “just seemed grim”. As usual, I’m glad he’s here. As soon as he’s done, Scully, Maxtone-Graham and the rest of them go back to nervously laughing and explaining things.

8:00 – They wrote a scene where Ned talks to the boys about Maude being dead, but it was too sad so they cut it.

8:40 – That’s followed by more rambling defense of this as having a lot of “heart”.

9:20 – Selman brings up how dumb FOX’s promotional material was for this episode, where they teased characters like Homer or Bart dying when everyone knew it was going to be Maude.

9:35 – Meyer comes on to explain that death is really tricky to do, whether you’re doing a one off character like Frank Grimes or a long running one like Maude. He concludes, again without really defending the episode, by saying that “People just don’t like death, and I’m going to remember that.”

10:50 – After the scene with Bart and the Flanders boys playing video games, someone says, “So they’re over it, that’s good”.

11:00 – Selman’s just rambling along here for no real reason.

11:30 – Still going. Meanwhile, Homer just kissed Flanders on the forehead.

11:45 – Someone finally comes on and asks, “Are you waiting for us to get you out of this?”

12:30 – After some banter with Reardon, Selman actually asks him if he gets free iPhones working for Pixar.

13:00 – Wondering why they went right to Flanders dating and if that might seem like it was too sudden. That’s followed by an awkward silence before someone finally says it’s okay because it’s Homer doing it.

14:15 – Actually interesting trivia: Flanders ATM code is 5316, which is short of John 3:16 (the J being on the 5 on a nine digit keypad).

14:20 – Scully asks Reardon about how far they should go with Flanders’ pixilated horse cock, Reardon doesn’t miss a beat: “Yes, you guys seemed to have a real interest in looking at those model shoots.”

15:15 – A long silence leads to the generic “Shearer did a great job in this episode” comment.

15:35 – Smattering of laughter as Homer’s in the mailbox for some reason.

16:30 – Mostly silence, some commentary that they should check with the Bob Hope and Charles Nelson Riley estates before doing those “grr” growls.

17:10 – More long silence.

17:30 – Quickly noting that Flanders apparently took the park swan boat all the way home, then more silence.

18:15 – The framed picture of God that Flanders turns around had to be approved by the writers. Not much else is going on here.

19:00 – Oh, hell, Selman’s off on a rant again. This time it’s about how Ned is like Job. Mercifully, someone cuts him off after only twenty seconds or so.

20:00 – Reardon points out that when you have a long song you can’t just park the camera somewhere, you’ve got to move things.

21:05 – Now they’re discussing the fact that, yes, Hot Christian Singer Babe (whose name they couldn’t remember either) did come back in a later episode.

22:10 – Maxtone-Graham: “Let me just say that I’m a little sorry we killed her and I’ve been trying to think of ways to bring her back and think of what she’s been doing all this time and hiding out, but then we did an episode where we showed her up in Heaven with God, so I guess she’s really dead.”

22:20 – And we close with them chuckling about having Ned remarry someone a lot like her with the same name. Ugh.


Quote of the Day

Brother from the Same Planet9

“The start of the game will be delayed so we can introduce the recruiter for the Springfield Communist Party.” – Baseball Announcer
“Boo!” – Crowd
“This is better than dart day.” – Community Party Recruiter


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