Archive for January, 2013

31
Jan
13

Quote of the Day

The Springfield Connection9

“The ‘garage’?  Hey fellas, the ‘garage’!  Well ohh-la-di-da, mister Frenchman.” – Moe
“Well, what do you call it?” – Homer Simpson
“A car hole.” – Moe

30
Jan
13

Compare & Contrast: Parental Substitutes

Home Sweet Homediddly-Dum-Doodily10

“Who wants to be the first to enter God’s good graces?” – Ned Flanders

Zombie Simpsons has a well established track record for wild plot twists, nonsensical stories, and characters behaving so strangely that one wonders whether or not they’re still supposed to be human.  “The Changing of the Guardian”  valiantly upheld that reputation, particularly in the way it took its main conflict, scrambled it beyond even a semblance of coherence, and then awkwardly jammed it into just the last two minutes of the episode.

Consider, for a second, the enormous inhumanity this episode expects you, the audience member, to swallow.  Set aside the oddity of Mav, the millionaire surfer, and his wife Portia, the ultra-liberal lawyer, deciding to basically steal the Simpson children for no reason.  Or Homer and (especially) Marge trusting their kids to these people they barely know.  Set aside even the brain dead way they all met.  Just think about the ending from Bart, Lisa and Maggie’s perspective. 

The kids go off with their new guardians for what the episode explicitly describes as “a weekend”.  At some point during that “weekend”, Marge and Homer see a picture of the kids with Mav and Portia under the heading “Our Family” in the window of a portrait studio.  After a meandering car ride, Homer and Marge finally get to Mav and Portia’s ski chalet, where (after he of course crashes the car) Homer gets out and starts yelling at Mav with Bart standing right there:

Homer Yelling (Part 44,591b)

Oh.  Look.  Homer’s angry.

Notice that Bart doesn’t say anything.  Cut to the next scene where Homer, Marge, Mav and Portia have a discussion about Mav and Portia taking the kids.  This is the finale of the episode, and it is as confused and sloppy as anything Zombie Simpsons has ever broadcast.  Here we go:

Mav: Honestly, we fell in love with ’em.  And it just seemed like you guys didn’t really want ’em.
Homer: Sure, you wanted the fun parts.  But do you want to go their little league games and recitals.
Mav: Totally have.
Portia: Like clockwork.
Homer: Well, I’m glad someone has.

Wait a second, weren’t the kids just there for a weekend?  And do they have baseball games and music recitals up there in the mountains? 

Marge: Look, before anyone says anything else, how could you possibly think you could get our kids?
Portia: It happens more than you know, Marge.  I’m a lawyer, he’s a surfer, that combination’s pretty unstoppable. 

This is just amazingly hacktacular.  Marge asks a sensible question, to which Portia gives a nonsense response.  This is Zombie Simpsons directly telling us that they do not give a shit.  But it’s about to get worse, because we’re finally about to hear from the kids:

Bart: Well I’m afraid that we don’t want to be with anyone but Mom and whoever she chooses to be with.
Lisa: Portia, you’re the woman I dream of becoming, but Mom is my mom.

Where the hell have these two been?  Whether they’ve been up there in the mountains for a weekend or longer, is this the first they’re hearing of it?  Were they going along and changed their mind, or had they already objected?  Either way (or any way, really), one cannot follow from the other.  At that, the scene concludes:

Portia: Fine, but you’re leaving a gap in our lives that can only be filled by foreign travel, sleeping late, and gourmet food.
Mav: You guys lock up.  We’re going to Bali.

So . . . they just give up?  Mav and Portia, whom the episode has been portraying as the most hyper-competent and pulled together people on Earth, thought they could just take the kids and then they just abandon the whole idea at the first objection?  Nobody’s actions here, not Marge or Homer, Mav or Portia, or Bart and Lisa fit with even just the preceding scenes, much less who they’re supposed to be in general. 

Compare that unsalvageable mess to the solid brilliance at the end of “Home Sweet Homediddly-Dum-Doodily”.  Both episodes have the Simpson kids in the custody of other parents, but that’s really where the similarities end.  “Home Sweet Homediddly-Dum-Doodily” shows us all the things that “The Changing of the Guardian” either doesn’t or can’t because it’s too incoherent:

  • The kids actually spending time with their new family (“Well, children, it’s Saturday night, so what say we let our hair down and play bombardment-” / “yay!” / “-of Bible questions!”)
  • How they react (“It seems like our house, but everything’s got a creepy Pat Boone-ish quality to it.”)
  • How the new parents come to want the Simpson kids (“Until this I never thought Homer and Marge were bad parents, but now I know you kids need a less Hell-bound family.”)
  • Why (Maggie, at least) would want to stay (“When was the last time Dad gave her that kind of attention?”)
  • Why (Maggie, again) rejects her new parents and wants to stay with her original family (“Oh, Maggie, you’re a Simpson again!”)
     
  • Home Sweet Homediddly-Dum-Doodily9

The story in Season 24 is so dumb that the kids basically have to be airbrushed out of it because their presence at any part of the ending would cause the entire flimsy thing to come crashing down around itself.  By contrast, the story in Season 7 involves them at every step, not only because that way it makes sense, but because there’s a lot of humor and comedy to be had from Bart, Lisa and Maggie living with people other than Marge and Homer.  Zombie Simpsons thinks having Homer rant is the be all and end all of comedy; The Simpsons knew better.

30
Jan
13

Quote of the Day

Selma's Choice9

“To my sister Jackie, I leave my pet iguana, Jub-Jub.” – Gladys Bouvier
“Why didn’t she just leave me the bowel obstruction that killed her?” – Jacqueline Bouvier

29
Jan
13

Quote of the Day

Homer Loves Flanders7

“Watch this, Ned, they don’t call me Springfield Fats just because I’m morbidly obese.” – Homer Simpson

28
Jan
13

Permanent Record: Burns Manor

There's No Disgrace Like Home13

“There it is, kids, stately Burns Manor, heaven on earth.” – Homer Simpson

Watching Season 1 episodes with the knowledge of what the show was going to become can often blur out just how well formed many of the show’s ideas were, even before the voices and the animation had developed.  Burns, and the palatial estate on which he lives, illustrate that well.  “There’s No Disgrace Like Home” is the first time we get to see Burns Manor, and while it would be revised and updated in Season 2 and later, the fundamental ideas of it are all right here.

The image at the top of this post is the establishing shot, and right away we know that a) it’s luxurious to the point of absurdity (note the string music in the background when the family walks in), and b) the Simpsons (and by extension, you) are not the least bit welcome.  On only one day per year does Burns allow regular people into his perfect world (the warning sign doesn’t say that “Trespassers” will be shot, it says “Poachers”), and even then it’s only so his employees can bow and scrape before him.  The sack race is mandatory (and Burns must be allowed to win), the father whose kid didn’t want to be there is not only getting promptly ejected from the party, he’s being fired permanently.

But the mansion itself is just as important, particularly vis-a-vis the rest of Springfield.  Besides the Simpson home, there are only three other real settings in this episode.  There’s Moe’s, a dingy bar that doesn’t even have a color television, the pawn shop, and Dr. Monroe’s clinic, which is hardly a top notch medical facility since, as Lisa points out, he advertises it during boxing:

Dumpy Springfield

The bar is dirty and dingy, the pawnshop is a pawnshop (and has cracks in its walls and ceiling), and the rather grandly named “Family Therapy Center” is just some rented office with a dumpster right where you can see it on your way in.  Burns Manor, on the other hand, is the only really nice place in the entire town:

Opulent Burns Manor

It’s got a foyer worthy of Versailles, classical architecture, and enormous grounds decorated with fountains and gazebos.  Unlike Springfield, which is kind of a mess, Burns Manor is polished and perfect.

We’re still years away from Bart having the train that disappears for hours and one time came back with snow on it, or the band shell where a captive Tom Jones performs for Marge and Homer, or the guards who sing that all they own they owe, but Burns Manor is already recognizable as a place that is both very rich and very cruel.  Moreover, it’s already a place that highlights all the things the Simpsons don’t have, and really can never have.  Homer’s place is at Moe’s with the passed out drunk on the bar; Marge has the house that Bart describes as a “dump” when he thinks its someone else’s.  Even the perfect family Homer sees leaving Burns Manor at the beginning is stuck at Dr. Marvin Monroe’s run down clinic.  Burns Manor, on the other hand, stands literally up on a hill, looking down on them all.

28
Jan
13

Quote of the Day

There's No Disgrace Like Home12

“But now it’s time to say good bye.  Please get off my property until next year.  I suggest you don’t dawdle!  The hounds will be released in ten minutes.” – C.M. Burns

27
Jan
13

Sunday Preview: The Changing of the Guardian

The-Simpsons-Season-24-Episode-11-Changing-of-the-Guardian-3

After surviving a tornado, Marge and Homer seek out guardians for the kids, in case the worst should happen. They first turn to friends and family, including Homer’s half-brother, Herb Powell with whom to entrust their kids, but when Bart and Lisa fall in love with a super-cool couple, Mav and Portia, Marge starts to question their potential guardians’ true motivations.

Rashida Jones is a guest voice tonight.  I guess she must be Portia.  I also guess I’ll never find out because I am going to catch up on Justified instead.

 

 

27
Jan
13

Quote of the Day

Lisa the Vegetarian9

“Lisa, come back before everyone finds out what a horrible father I am!” – Homer Simpson

26
Jan
13

Quote of the Day

Homer and Apu10

“Well, sir, Homer’s illness is either caused by ingesting spoiled food or by some sort of voodoo curse.” – Dr. Hibbert
“Hey, we’ve just been working the eyes.” – Patty Bouvier

25
Jan
13

Reading Digest: Personal Inspiration Edition

Lisa's Substitute8

“You’ll never go broke appealing to the lowest common denominator.” – Lisa Simpson
“You’re going to miss your brother’s antics.” – Mr. Bergstrom
“When?” – Lisa Simpson
“When?  When your life takes you places the rest of us have only heard about.” – Mr. Bergstrom
“Places where my intelligence will be an asset and not a liability?” – Lisa Simpson
“Yes, there is such a place.” – Mr. Bergstrom

[Quick Note: Sorry for the erratic posting this week.  I actually have three concurrent excuses: work, weather and illness, feel free to accept or disregard any or all of them.  I’m just glad it’s over.]

This week we’ve got two links to young women who love them some Lisa Simpson for all the usual reasons that everyone loves Lisa, plus we’ve got another way in which life has imitated The Simpsons, a revisit with the fake dead girlfriend story, an awesome Simpsons sculpture made out of snow, some love for the Simpsons comics, a couple of people who agree with us, and a new Simpsons podcast.

Enjoy.

Snapshot Into My Childhood: Simpsons Quizzo at Drinker’s – Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week is this Q&A with some guys who put together a Simpsons podcast by a guy lady [note to self: always check your gendered pronouns] they met at yet another classic Simpsons trivia night, this one in Philadelphia:

Circling back, a friend who works at Drinker’s sent out the official Facebook invite in November for an impending Simpsons Quizzo event. The questions would be from seasons one through 10, and it. was. on.

The podcast, which is called “The Jerks from Tower One” and of which there are so far five episodes (none of which I’ve listened to due to above mentioned excuses) can be found here.

My 5 Favorite Simpsons Episodes – A great list from a blog that’s almost named after an episode:

I am absolutely obsessed with The Simpsons. I have been for about five months straight. Usually I’ll become bored with a show after maybe a month of hardcore obsession, but I truly believe Homer and the clan are here (I’m pointing to my heart) to stay. No characters are more perfect, well-developed, hilarious, or yellow than these guys. By no means are these five episodes my only favorites: I have so many more, but it’s almost 1 a.m. on this side of the world and I’m a tad delirious.

No shame in that, and no Zombie Simpsons episodes make the list.  Well done.

Welshman’s stunning snow sculptures of The Simpsons and Gandalf draw the crowds – He made the whole family on the couch out of snow.  That’s damned impressive.

Lisa Simpson: Teacher’s Pet Icon [Saturday Flashback] – Everybody loves “Summer of 4ft 2”:

The episode is one of my favorites now, because it’s presents an always timely question about any generation’s youth: Why is acting indifferent toward everything cool? It was my favorite at seven years old because, although I wasn’t a teacher’s pet, I was quite the overachiever and knowing “big words,” having cultural references and trivial knowledge wasn’t exactly winning over my peers who were  more interested in Barbie dolls than writing horror stories.

How Lisa Simpson Taught Me To Be Myself – More love for Lisa:

But she’s also cripplingly self-conscious, shy, and unsure of herself. The fact that she can be both sure of herself and terribly insecure shows that she is just a little girl. But the point is, she inspired me. She literally gave me the courage to say that I wouldn’t ever fit in but never mind. She made me sure that voicing my opinion might not make me popular, but that if it was necessary, I should do it anyway. She taught me to find my principles and stand on them no matter what people say, she taught me that something you believe in is something worth fighting for. All this from a little cartoon girl in an orange dress. That’s a lot to absorb. But Lisa Simpsons, thank you for making my life a little easier every day.

Real Life Imitates The Simpsons – First it was the trillion dollar coin, now it’s Whacking Day down in America’s Wang.  Next week Tom Jones will probably disappear and then the world’s largest cubic zirconia will vanish.

Duffman Runner – A guy running a marathon in a kick ass homemade Duffman costume complete with Duff Beer cans.  Bravo.

More Simpsons – More recreations of Simpsons frames as animation practice, including a link through to Reddit where they’re all stored.

Top Ten Thursday #2: Simpsons Episodes That Spring To Mind – Good list:

I’ve been watching The Simpsons for as long as I can remember, and am STILL planning to one day write the biggest blog post in the history of the world about what it means to me/what it’s taught me etc. :)

I can’t decide on ten definitive episodes that summarise the show (not attempting it today, anyway), but I’d like to have a think about the top ten episodes that spring to mind…because there are some that definitely just pop up in my brain (whether because of frequency of broadcast, frequency of viewing, funniest jokes etc).

And there’s nothing past Season 11.  Bravo.

GeekIt! Top 5 Defining Kids’ Shows – I watched a lot of TV and I turned out TV:

The writers of the show continuously pokes fun at the American lifestyle, culture and human condition, and this is mainly epitomized via the Simpsons family and the Springfield neighbourhood. According to Harry Potter‘s Daniel Radcliffe, we learn approximately 90% about life from just watching Simpsons.

She’s a little easier on Zombie Simpsons than we are, but that’s okay.

Top 5 Cartoons On TV – The show comes in at #5 here, more or less entirely because of what it used to do rather than what it does now.  Sounds about right.

comics: yeah! – Nice reference:

I love Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns. It was the first comic I ever read. Like millions of others I was sucked in when Batman Begins came out. This was followed by Year One, Killing Joke, Long Halloween and all the other Batman collected edition listed on Amazon’s top 100 graphic novels.

After I finished TDR I felt like I had unlocked a new media, comics! Before then, comics were things that cartoon characters talked about. I’m thinking of Bart and Milhouse reading Radioactive Man in the treehouse before Samantha Stanky came along to ignite Milhouse’s interest in girls (remember that episode? It’s the one that starts with the amazing Raiders of the Lost Ark parody).

I never got past issue two of Bonnie Crane: Girl Attorney.

Snowy Pentlands – Scroll to the bottom for a look at a Mr. Plow windshield cover.  I’m honestly not sure if it’s homemade or not.

Downton Abbey Review: “Episode Three” (Episode 3.03) – A little aside that agrees with us:

In a long-running American show, it’s usually a treat when an old supporting character returns and we get to see how they’re doing with their lives. Sideshow Bob was a longtime favorite until he went the way of the rest of The Simpsons, and it’s easy to see why.

It was pretty depressing when even the Sideshow Bob episodes weren’t any fun any longer.

COFFEE TABLE fourth fix – Want to see some Simpsons soccer figurines and the Comic Book Guy comic book cover that’s the same as the first one for the Fantastic Four?   Here you go.

The Simpsons @ Universal Studios Hollywood – Just some pictures of exactly what the title says.

Death of a Saleswoman – Interviewing for jobs sucks:

I thought all of the best things to say as I was driving away. It’s like I was insulted and 10 minutes later I came up with a comeback. I hate being nervous, but once on the floor, I can sell.

I know they’re hesitant because I am a girl, but I’ve sold everything but cars. I’ve been Al Bundy, climbed up ladders in skirts, and now it seems like I’m gonna be ol Gil from the Simpsons.

This will be the death of me.

Congratulations.  Don’t forget to push the rust proofing.

Is That You, Martin? – MLK clip art that kinda looks like Lisa Simpson is standing behind him.

DVD: Simpsons Season 15 – This is much more generous to Zombie Simpsons than we are here, but it’s pointed in the right direction:

I think by this point in the seasons DVD releases only the truly obsessed fans will still be buying, so of course I received it as a Christmas gift. While the series began to decline a few seasons back it still has its moments, and is generally funnier than Family Guy.

Not exactly a ringing endorsement.

Friday 11th January 2013 – A nice reference for an image where the feet don’t quite fit the slippers:

This just reminds me of the Simpsons episode where Lisa and Bart figure out that Krusty was framed by Sideshow Bob

At least you’ve got little feet like all good hearted people.

Trolling the media down under: Can’t you hear, can’t you hear the thunder? – This is that picture with monorail comments from The Newcastle Herald I linked a few weeks ago.  This one comes with bonus quotes:

And that was the only folly the people of Sydney ever took on… Except for the popsicle stick skyscraper, and that 50 ft magnifying glass, and the escalator to nowhere.

Double bonus points because the tagline of the blog is “You know me, and I’m a superstar at the cracker factory”.  Well done.

The Last Stand…In 10 Words – Maria, my mighty heart is breaking.  I’ll be in the Humvee.

Manti Te’o’s Imaginary Girlfriend…In 10 Words – When I read your tweets, I feel as if you are right here watching me.

The Simpsons is Weird Now – And finally, I get to end the way I like, with someone who agrees with us:

I don’t really watch The Simpsons any more. I have it favorited on Hulu, so the episodes pop into my queue, and generally they pop out again when they expire without me having watched them. I think I watched a couple episodes last season. I haven’t watched it regularly since I was in college, probably, in the early aughts.

Yet, I had a spare 20 minutes recently, and so I watched an episode called “The Day the Earth Stood Cool.” It was the episode that had the cameo from The Onion and Onion AV Club in it, and featured hipster characters voiced by Portlandia’s Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein. I watched the episode and I was so creeped out by it that it sent shivers down my spine.

Zombie Simpsons will do that.  The whole thing is worth a look.

25
Jan
13

Quote of the Day

Bart the Murderer15

“Welcome to the chocolate factory, I’m Troy McClure.  You probably remember me from such films as The Revenge of Abe Lincoln and The Wackiest Covered Wagon in the West.” – Troy McClure

24
Jan
13

Animation Alley: Homer’s Odyssey

Make no mistake, there’s a lot of really weird and wonky animation in the first season. I used to find it really off-putting, but now I’ve learned to accept it, and it actually makes these shows all the more charming to me. Just as the show was trying to find its footing with the writing, the same could be said about the animation. There’s a lot of weird shit in this show, a few moments in particular I want to highlight.

animodyssey01
I love the execution of Nuclear Energy: Our Misunderstood Friend; the designs, the limited, jerky animation, the scratched up film, it’s fantastic. Also it’s the first and only time we’ve seen Smilin’ Joe Fission, though he may have showed up on a logo somewhere, we’ve never seen another filmstrip featuring him. Pity.

animodyssey02
Much focus is made on black Smithers, but here’s a pretty glaring animation gaffe. Wes Archer brought this up in the commentary and everyone laughed about it.

animodyssey03
Nice quick door slamming montage of Homer’s failed job interviews. I love the shitty drawing of this guy, with dot eyes like Akbar and Jeff in Life in Hell. I also like the implication that Homer went up to the drive-thru window to ask for a job.

animodyssey04

Another quality background. There were a lot of washed out gradient walls like this early on, they look pretty terrible. The exclamation point on the sign is great, though. Must Be 21!

animodyssey05

I love how when Homer signs Bart’s report card, he’s not even looking at it. Then when the kids walk away, his arms just falls to the ground and the pencil rolls out of it, his expression never changing and his vacant stare never diverting from the ceiling. By moving as little as possible, we see that he’s a truly broken man. Also, more great portraits, this time one for Marge, and another for her hair.

animodyssey06

There’s so many insane background characters in this show, especially toward the end at the power plant rally. I love the guy with the red superhero mask, and the really fat guy with the humungous smile. How come those guys never took off?

animodyssey07

One strange but lovable piece of animation that sticks with me is during Homer’s internal monologue of whether to take Burns’ deal, as he goes back and forth with being able to support the family and stick to his principles… then notices how big Burns’ desk is and his clean shirt. He’s at the verge of a meltdown when Burns urges him to make a decision, to which Homer calmly responds, “What the hey, I’ll take the job.” Fantastic.

24
Jan
13

Quote of the Day

Homie the Clown12

“Ah, there’s nothing better than a cigarette . . . unless it’s a cigarette lit with a hundred dollar bill!” – Krusty the Klown

[Note: Sorry for the late QotD.]

23
Jan
13

Quote of the Day

Homer Defined9

“She says you’re a bad influence.” – Milhouse van Houten
“Bad influence my butt!  How many times have I told you?  Never listen to your mother!” – Bart Simpson

22
Jan
13

Permanent Record: Sherri & Terri

Homer's Odyssey9

“We’re gonna make you sing, Bart Simpson.” – Sherri
“Yeah, Bart Simpson, we’re gonna make you sing.” – Terri

When “Homer’s  Odyssey” was first broadcast, and The Simpsons was considered just this side of Satanic cults by much of mainstream culture, one of the best things about it was the way it mocked success.  People who did well in Springfield didn’t always deserve it, and even the ones who did were often portrayed as insufferable jackasses.  The most glaring example of that is easily Flanders, who is a genuinely nice guy but who is also grotesquely inhuman in the way he is immune to the humdrum failures and humiliations of ordinary people.

Sherri and Terri, though much less prominent than Flanders, fill a similar role.  They are goody two shoes; teacher’s pets who are plenty willing to abuse their favored status among the adults to torment Bart Simpson.  They are proof that the kids who get good grades, do their homework on time, and never get detention can be just as mean and troublemaking as anyone else.

Just as bad, both they and their father, who’s one of Homer’s bosses at the nuclear plant, aren’t above using their favored status to shame and taunt people below them.  In short, it isn’t enough for their family to be better, they have to rub it in.  Society’s betters are just as bad as you are.

Homer's Odyssey8

Like Milk Duds, they’re poison on the inside.

This idea of universal mockery is one of the things that differentiates The Simpsons from regular comedy, then and now.  Just having Homer crash his cart and get fired in front of his son is funny.  But even in Season 1, that wasn’t enough.  Homer and Bart losing is much better when we not only see other people looking down on them for their failure, but also the way that the people looking down on them are selfish jerks too.

From the time they deliberately misinform Bart about US history to when they narc on Milhouse’s secret birthday party all the way up to trying to make Moe sing the million dollar birthday fries song twice, Sherri and Terri enjoy picking on people who aren’t as competent and put together as they are.  They have a mean streak, and they’re perfectly willing to exploit the fact that they’re twins to express it.

Homer's Odyssey10

The twins enjoy the suffering and humiliation of others.  Just like the rest of us.

Unlike Zombie Simpsons, which frequently has characters show up in a scene for no reason other than to spout some piece of hacktacular dialogue, The Simpsons made even very minor characters like Sherri and Terri into real people.  It understood that even characters who only get a few lines can be recognizable people, and that no one is too minor to have some funny flaws.

22
Jan
13

Quote of the Day

Bart Sells His Soul7

“Oh, these look good, guilt free steak-fish fillets.” – Marge Simpson
“Nah, nah, lemme level with you, Marge.  That’s just our name for bottom feeding suction eel.  You don’t want that.” – Moe

21
Jan
13

Quote of the Day

Homer's Odyssey7

“Any new tattoo’s Otto?” – Bart Simpson
“Oh, funny you should ask, man.  This morning I woke up with this one.” – Otto
“Cool.  I want one.” – Bart Simpson
“Not till you’re fourteen, my little friend.” – Otto

20
Jan
13

Quote of the Day

Boy Scoutz 'N the Hood9

“I keep telling you, lady, your husband and son have to be missing for a week before we can start searching.  I’d like to help sooner, I would, but we’re very, very busy down here.  Yeesh.  King me.” –Chief Wiggum

19
Jan
13

Quote of the Day

The Springfield Connection8

“Uh, excuse me?” – Marge Simpson
“What, what, what, what, what, what what?  This better be about pizza.” – Chief Wiggum

18
Jan
13

Reading Digest: Imaginary People Edition

Miracle on Evergreen Terrace3

“Any words for the Christmas thief, if he’s watching?” – Kent Brockman
“Uh, yes, Kent.  Hello, jerk, we may never find you, and we should probably all stop looking.  But one thing’s for sure, you do exist.” – Homer Simpson
“Strong words.  Strong, bewildering words.” – Kent Brockman

The American media is having a small meltdown at the moment over the fact that it got rolled by one or possibly two not very bright football players at well documented bullshit factory Notre Dame.  As usual when something bizarre happens, there’s a way to connect it to The Simpsons, in this case the time that Bart, long before the internet, Te’o-ed Mrs. Krabappel, and we have two people who did just that.  In addition, there is a cornucopia of great links this week, with lists, YouTube, some excellent fan art, a behind the scenes look at “The Longest Daycare”, another site embarking on a “watch them all project”, and lots more.  There’s also your chance to voice your opinion on which episode of the last three seasons has been the most wretched. 

Enjoy.

Maggie Simpson Takes a Bow – Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week is this article about the long and somewhat tangled creation process for “The Longest Daycare”.  It was worth the effort; they did a great job.

Illustrator practice – Learning computer drawing techniques by imitating scenes from “Kamp Krusty”, “Last Exit to Springfield”, and “Selma’s Choice”.  Well done. 

100 Greatest TV Episodes: You Only Move Twice (s8 ep2) – Praise for Hank Scorpio as perhaps the greatest episode of television ever broadcast.

Monday Funday: The Simpsons and NBA Players – Comparing Simpsons characters to NBA players.  Russell Westbrook to Milhouse is genius. 

The Simpsons Did It First – Going beyond the trillion dollar coin and looking at some other events that the show mocked even before they happened.

Google Translate: English to Ned Flanders – Heh.

Something I wrote for Sound on Sight for Christmas 2012 – A list of twelve awesome pieces of Christmas television that rightly puts “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire” at the top.  And it agrees with us:

This is a good one to watch as many people may have lost hope with The Simpsons (as they move onto season 25 next year) and forgotten how excellent the old episodes are. It is also great to notice how not much has actually changed in terms of locations, and dynamics, just the writing now is pretty weak.

It is very weak these days.  Not so much then.

Inkbot TV — Zombie Simpsons: A Book Review – Aww, somebody said something nice about my extended internet ramblings.  Bonus points for the awesome fan made Zombie Homer, which appears to have originally come from an artist named Jared Wright.

Simpson Says Safe – We’re not the only ones going through Season 1 right now:

The Simpsons was deliberately written as the antithesis of the All-American Family seen in the 1980s. Homer losing his job and considering suicide is not only dark subject matter for prime-time animation, it is also quite dark for a sitcom.

When the old people laugh at him, in particular, strikes me as something that was really out of bounds for the time.  And here’s “Bart the Genius”.

Geek Pic 1/15/13 – Anime style fan made drawings of everyone from Marge and homer to Lenny, Carl and Sideshow Bob.  I’m pretty sure I’ve linked this before, but it’s cool enough to merit a second go round.

Some Of What I’ve Been Eyeballing From My Spot On Makeout Point – Reading the Ortved book:

The Simpsons book was, objectively, a bad book. It was littered with typos and grammatical cock-ups, it was scattershot storytelling at it’s worst, and it got bogged down in very mundane details in numerous places. Despite all that, I ate it up. I couldn’t resist all the Simpsonian goodness. I would recommend reading the chapter that focuses on George Meyer and John Swartzwelder, two staff writers who really defined the comedic tone of the show. I was laughing out loud reading that chapter, and I normally read books with a stony gaze filled with sorrow and thinly-veiled anger.

I liked it overall, but it’s definitely uneven.  And the chapters about the writers during the good times are indeed laugh out loud funny in places. 

2013 TV Predictions Roundtable: The Biggest Story of the Year – Sadly, this is very unlikely:

Fox’s combo of few hours, early orders for animation, and major hours for singing reality series leave few bubble shows, but final season news would not be shocking for Bones (which was just renewed) and The Simpsons (which, after a major contractual dispute, is renewed for last season).

I don’t see anyway they don’t get to Season 26 at the minimum.

Psycho: A retrospective – Seeing the movie the first time having seen plenty of it in The Simpsons  and other sources, complete with side by side pictures. 

I hate the metric system – Moderate usage:

Perhaps I am already crotchety and set in my ways:  In the immortal words of Grampa Simpson, “My car gets thirty rods to the hogshead..and that’s the way I like it!!”

Grampa actually says “forty rods” and “likes” not “like”, but that’s close enough.

Best Supporting Characters in TV Shows – Moe and Hans Moleman make the list here, even if the Moe YouTube is from Zombie Simpsons. 

The 365: Jan 15th “Yeah Yeah Mmm.. Okay Then” – Nice reference:

Some have said they’re happy that CDs are becoming obsolete as they don’t have to see it when they purchase it. Others are wondering where they could get some of the stuff the band have been smoking so they could also go on a “trip to the desert” (PG blog but you know what I mean, they will be a talking coyote and everything! Simpson reference! Boom!).

Now look at her records, they stink!

Guy N. Cognito – Homer Simpson’s Doppelgänger – In praise of Guy’s moustache.

Why I don’t like bubbles – Citing Burns from “The Old Man and the Lisa” as an example of how not to run an organization.

Cosmo’s Story Within a Story by George MacDonald – Great usage:

I am not certain why—perhaps because of my years watching Itchy and Scratchy on The Simpsons—but I have always been attracted to the Story Within a Story technique.

That leads to Melville and Dostoyevsky.

My saviour, Mr Plow – A salute to the real life Mr. Plows.

Another One Of Those Days – Excellent reference [BOA is Bank of America]:

So, if you’re a BOA customer, it’s kind of like that old Eagles song “Hotel California” in that you can check out any time you want, but you can never leave.  Or that episode of The Simpsons were they join a cult, but when someone wants to leave, they get a spotlight thrown on them and tell them they are free to leave if they divulge why they want to.

Credit unions, people, they exist for a reason.

LISA SIMPSON – From a Tumblr about fictional characters reading books, it’s Lisa enjoying the copy of Ethan Frome she can finally call her own.

The Simpsons Episode That Scared The Crap Out Of Me – Further proof that Zombie Simpsons is terrible, the endlessly awful episode with NSYNC permanently traumatized this young man.

She Just Got That Marge Simpson Weave – A serious Marge Simpson bun.

What Homer Simpson Can Teach Oncologists About Math – Here’s your interesting neurological tidbit for the day:

In future posts, I will show you some of the work I have done to make this math easier to understand.  But meanwhile, let me leave you with another quote from Brain Bugs:

    “We may have an inherent sense of the quantities one through three, but beyond that things get hazy—you may be able to tell at a glance whether Homer Simpson has two or three strands of hair, but you’ll probably have to count to find out whether he has four or five fingers.”

Obama’s Death Star…In 10 Words – I’d say this vessel could do at least Warp 5.

Gangster Squad…In 10 Words – A better title would’ve been Rex Banner: The Movie.

‘The Simpsons’ Creator and Director Highlight Thirty-Seventh Annual UCLA Entertainment Symposium – For the low price of just $350 you can see Groening and Silverman at UCLA in March.  Why is it that expensive?  It’s being run by the UCLA law school.

Oingo Boingo, “Reptiles and Samurai” – Wanna see Danny Elfman dressed up with horns from 1982?  Of course you do.

[Couch Potato Quotes] The Simpsons (Season 09 Episode 24 – Lost Our Lisa) – This is just a screen grab of Homer praying to Superman, but it’s from a blog called “Lace the Unleashed Zen Jar”, which is enjoyably nonsensical.

Top Five: iTunes Apps (Games) – The Tapped Out game makes the list and is the only one that’s free.

How ‘The Simpsons’ Explains the Manti Te’o Fake-Girlfriend Saga – A nice comparison of the most recent Notre Dame scandal and “Bart the Lover” agrees with us:

Part of the genius of The Simpsons is (well, was) its almost Dickensian ability to impart humanity and psychological depth to what lesser shows would have treated as throwaway characters.

Was, indeed.  Along those lines, reader Hender tweeted the same.

Now, because I hate myself… – And finally, our old friend (and new contributor) Mike Amato has finished his run through the show and wants to know which episodes from the last three seasons he should put himself through.  This is by no means a comprehensive or well thought out list, but just looking back through the a list of the last couple of seasons, these struck me as memorable lows:

  • 21-13 – The Color Yellow – Wherein Zombie Simpsons takes a cringe-inducingly juvenile look at slavery.
  • 21-23 – Judge Me Tender – Basically an advertisement for American Idol.  In terms of sheer pop culture embarrassment, this one is tough to beat . . .
  • 22-08 – The Fight Before Christmas – . . . though if it can be beat, the Katy Perry episode would be the one.  In its crass, unthinking stupidity I think this was even worse than the Lady Gaga episode.
  • 22-11 – Flaming Moe – Wall to wall with gay jokes that would’ve been considered dated in 1985. 
  • 22-15 – The Scorpion’s Tale – Fairly hum-drum until the eyeballs start falling out, but that’s an epic fail for the ages. 
  • 23-12 – Moe Goes from Rags to Riches – Three words: talking bar rag. 
  • 23-18 – Beware My Cheating Bart – Bart gets it on with a girl much older than him.  Very creepy.

Hit the link to offer your own suggestions.  For once, there truly are no wrong answers. 




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