Archive for April, 2013

30
Apr
13

Quote of the Day

Radioactive Man9

“Mom, don’t make me do this.  I don’t want to be an actor.” – Milhouse van Houten
“Nonsense, you’re going to be great!  Now, take off those glasses so they can see your beautiful eyes.” – Luann van Houten

29
Apr
13

Behind Us Forever: Pulpit Friction

Bart vs Australia13

“Hey, look, those frogs are eating all their crops!” – Homer Simpson

  • Marge has to yell in church to get everyone to sit down, and meanwhile Lovejoy was just standing at the pulpit waiting patiently?  I know they don’t care about this stuff, but it really destroys scenes. 
  • And the new guy is also just standing there before he starts describing Lovejoy for no reason. 
  • Color me surprised, they remembered the bed bug thing for one brief scene after the first segment.  Usually they just drop it all together.
  • And Homer electrocutes himself because of course he does.
  • Why is Lovejoy playing the guitar?
  • And why is Homer on stage without Lovejoy knowing?
  • Montage!
  • Is that it for the wedding dress subplot?  That was thin even for them.
  • Homer singing his deacon song was extremely pointless. 
  • Lovejoy’s got a new job that we didn’t see and we’re supposed to care about this?
  • “First we got every dead bedbug in town” – Thanks exposition fairy!
  • Was that drunk Barney in the Frogger game after sober Barney was in church?  Video review says that yes it was. 
  • And the new reverend is back after disappearing for a while because he’s not a real character.
  • And now Lovejoy back for no reason and has gained the ability to subdue amphibians. 
  • That was certainly a necessary Lunchlady Doris appearance. 

Zombie Simpsons may have lost the capacity to surprise long ago, but having a bunch of frogs come streaming out of the swamp to humiliate a one-dimensional character for some reason is still pretty weird, even for them.  (Not popped-eyeball weird, but pretty weird.)  The rest of the episode was just as much of a mess, and I have no idea what was with that wedding dress subplot about Lisa not wanting to get married.  Was that pasted in from another script?  Homer and Marge’s wedding/past has been retconned a lot, but they usually don’t do so unless they’re going to spend more then forty-seconds of screen time on it. 

It’s also worth noting the sheer number of things that were repeated from previous episodes: Lovejoy feeling displaced, froggie apocalypse, the Simpsons getting a new couch, taking prank inspiration from Biblical plagues, the list goes on.  Zombie Simpsons may have run out of original ideas many years ago, but they’re usually more economical with their copying. 

Anyway, the ratings are in and they are bad again.  Just 4.48 million people wondered why there were suddenly all those frogs.  That puts it sixth on the all time least watched list, which is now dominated by episodes from Season 23 and 24. 

Sometime later this year FOX is going to have to make a call on renewing the show again, and while the numbers they’ll use will be a lot more involved than just the overnights that I track (and the 18-49 numbers continue to be more solid than the overall ones), there’s no getting around the fact that the ratings are down significantly, even from just two years ago.

29
Apr
13

Quote of the Day

Whacking Day10

“Now, we give ’em the bikes, no one sues.” – Principal Skinner
“What if they’re dead, sir?” – Groundskeeper Willie
“Then we ride these bikes to Mexico, and freedom, Willie, freedom!” – Principal Skinner
“Freedom?  Yeah, I’ll turn you in at the first toll booth.” – Groundskeeper Willie

Happy 20th anniversary to “Whacking Day”!  Original airdate 29 April 1993.

28
Apr
13

Sunday Preview: Pulpit Friction

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Homer heeds the call when he is recruited to be a deacon by the cutting-edge new pastor, but Bart wants to bring back Rev. Lovejoy after Homer embraces the faith a little too zealously. Meanwhile, it is no laughing matter when the dry cleaner mistakenly switches Marge’s wedding dress for one of Krusty’s costumes.

A bit of a contrast from the time Homer was a minister to profit off of gay marriage, but hey, it’s 2013.  Apparently there is also a bedbug infestation during this episode, so we got that going for us too!

28
Apr
13

Quote of the Day

Lisa's First Word12

“According to Fretful Mother magazine, if Maggie doesn’t talk by age one we should consider a corrective tongue extender.” – Marge Simpson

27
Apr
13

Quote of the Day

Bart's Girlfriend10

“I guess we could get more involved in Bart’s activities, but then I’d be afraid of smothering him.” – Marge Simpson
“Yeah, and then we’d get the chair.” – Homer Simpson
“That’s not what I meant.” – Marge Simpson
“It was, Marge, admit it.” – Homer Simpson

26
Apr
13

Reading Digest: Futurama Gets Cancelled Again Edition

Bart Gets Famous9

“What’s gonna happen to me?” – Bart Simpson
“And now it’s time for Match Game 2034!  With Billy Crystal, Farrah Fawcett Majors O’Neil Varney, the ‘I Didn’t Do It’ boy, ventriloquist Loni Anderson, Spike Lee, and the always lovely and vivacious head of Kitty Carlisle.” – TV Announcer
“Hi, everybody!  Let’s start the game.” – Head of Kitty Carlisle

Since you’re reading this Simpsons website, you’ve probably already heard that Futurama got the ax (for a second time) this week.  It wasn’t entirely unexpected news since Comedy Central clearly wasn’t putting much into the show in terms of scheduling or promotion, but it’s a bit of a bummer nevertheless.  I thought last summer’s episodes were a noticeable improvement over the other “new” episodes, and it’s too bad that this summer will be the last of them.  (For now.)  But this does mean that we have lots of links about the second death of the quirky and much beloved spin-off. 

In addition to the Futurama eulogies, we’ve got two different Simpsons alums starting new shows, a new Simpsons best episode countdown to add to the tournament one, Harry Shearer remaining funny in the face of radio cancellation, an update on the Simpsons/Akira project, some more Bart themed clothing, and another scientific study involving the show.

Enjoy.

TV Guide – Watch My Show: Wendell & Vinnie’s Jay Kogen Answers Our Showrunner Survey – Kogen knocks these dull questions out of the park.  Some examples:

TV Guide Magazine: Who should be watching Wendell & Vinnie?
Kogen: Our show is mainly designed for prison inmates and their children.

And:

TV Guide Magazine: Tell us something fun about your cast.
Kogen:
They can survive in the forest with only a buck knife, a rope, and a team of hair & makeup artists. Jerry Trainor, who plays Uncle Vinnie, is not only the most gifted comic actor working today, but he’s also one of America’s foremost clog dancers. For him it’s not dancing unless there are wooden shoes pounding the ground. Buddy Handleson plays 12-year-old Wendell and he’s insanely talented for his age, which is a very young 63. He keeps his skin so young by never chewing his food. Haley Strode, who plays Taryn, was at one time going to become a heavy weight boxer but during her road to the Olympics, fell in love with both acting and not being punched unconscious. Nicole Sullivan plays Aunt Wilma and she’s famous for being able to communicate with the dead. She has the "voice from above" which allows her to talk to the deceased relatives of our cast and crew. She says mostly they complain about the weather and wish Lena Dunham would cover herself, for heaven’s sake.

The Learning Days’ 1 year anniversary – A look back, track by track – pt. 3 – It seems “Summer of 4Ft. 2” inspired a song:

Sometimes the genesis of a song will be a single freeze frame in my mind’s eye. Either one I make up or one I’ve experienced. In the case of “The Fair’s in Town Tonight” it was a sad one I had seen…..from The Simpsons:

This poignant moment of cartoon gravity came after a scene at a carnival/fair thus planting the seed of a song whose theme was the deception of appearances: sad people can be at fair, adult males can watch cartoons…

Futurama cancelled for the second time – Our first Futurama link contains this helpful reminder about how poorly that show’s network overlords treated it:

It never got the same love from the network as it did for Groening’s more famous creation; being subjected to that awful American habit of “let’s just show this whenever” – usually being dropped from its Sunday night schedule when a sporting event overran its allotted time, or moved to Tuesdays then quickly moved back and pre-empted by sport again. This happened so often that at one point, the time between completion of an episode and its airdate was a whole year.

It still mystifies me that Futurama was still broadcasting new episodes in 2003.  It sure seemed like FOX cancelled it in 2001.

No More Futurama, Halle Berry’s Back, and North Dakota TV Cussin’ – Yup, it’s over again, and even Simpsons alum David S/X Cohen wasn’t surprised:

I felt like we were already in the bonus round on these last couple of seasons, so I can’t say I was devastated by the news. It was what I had expected two years earlier. At this point I keep a suitcase by my office door so I can be cancelled at a moment’s notice.

Farewell Futurama: Here are 5 Reasons we’ll miss Zapp Brannigan – Yeah, it’s sad and all, but nothing cheers me up faster than some Zapp Brannigan YouTube. 

My Favorite Episodes of The Simpsons Part I: 40-36 – It’s a countdown . . .

My Favorite Episodes of The Simpsons Part II: 35-31 – . . . so far, so good, no Zombie Simpsons . . .

My Favorite Episodes of The Simpsons Part III: 30-26 . . . still clean . . .

My Favorite Episodes of The Simpsons Part IV: 25-21 . . . and we’re clear.  Lotta good animated .gifs in these posts, by the way.

Best. Episode. Ever. (Round 12) – In which “Bart Sells His Soul” crushes some piece of crap from Season 20.

KCRW gets ‘Le Show’ off the road as part of new strategy – Harry Shearer remains the Earth’s greatest living human being:

As for "Le Show," "I’m changing nothing, except it won’t be on the radio in Los Angeles. People in any city other than L.A. won’t notice any difference."

Heh. 

IT Crowd star for Simpsons writer’s show – Josh Weinstein has a new show in Britain:

The show has been created with ‘hypervynorama’, a new animation technique that combines Japanese vinyl toy design and puppetry with stop-motion animation and CGI.

Strange Gill High is based at an "all-but-forgotten inner-city school filled with fantastical secrets and outlandish mysteries" and will centre on the quick-witted and street smart Mitchell Tanner (Doc Brown) and his friends Becky Butters (Emma Kennedy) and class nerd Templeton (Richard Ayoade).

I’d give that a shot.

Product Development Co-ordinator (Maternity Cover) – A job posting:

Working for Twentieth Century Fox means working on some of the biggest brands in the business; “The Simpsons”, “Ice Age”, “Family Guy” and “Rio” to name but a few. Keeping track of European-wide product development of these brands requires a commitment to the very highest standards.

Ha! 

Crunchyroll – Project Aims to Redraw "Akira" Manga Using "Simpsons" Characters – Some more art from the Bartkira project.

Discussion is over: We are ‘The Simpsons’ Springfield – Springfield, IL – Local columnist looks at that Yeardley Smith video I linked a couple of weeks ago and determines that the real Springfield is in Illinois. 

Stanley Chow Illustration of Manchester England – A great fan made drawing titled “Marge Simpson Barbra Streisand Mash-up”.  Oh, Yentl, I might have known. 

Inspiration for cartoonists? – Does this tree look like Marge?  Enh, kinda.

On Conan O’Brien’s 50th birthday, here are his best episodes of The Simpsons – Lots of good YouTube here.

Clown of Steel – I don’t know Spanish, but this would appear to be about the idea that, based on the third Man of Steel trailer, Krusty may in fact be Superman. 

One Shot: Street Art Inspired By The Simpsons: Chicagoist – I don’t get it either, maybe it’s a Hunger Games thing? 

Trip to Springfield’s Kwik-E-Mart | July 2007 – Scrapbooking that time when 7-11s became Kwik-E-Marts. 

Guys and Dolls…In 10 Words – The important thing is that Luke Skywalker was electric as Nathan Detroit.

Writer Wednesday: Book Apocalypse? – Excellent usage:

“Won’t somebody please think of the children?!”

I couldn’t resist quoting Helen Lovejoy; partly because it’s also the title of my latest publication to appear in the mail (yay) but also because of this bizarre advertisement James Patterson placed in the New York Times Book Review and Publishers Weekly recently.

Pinky Promise: Yellow Bart Simpson – Young lady models her Bart Simpson shirt and excellently matching yellow skirt. 

The Bart Trend – Yet more fancy Bart threads. 

Answering The Simpsons public telephone at Universal Studios Florida – There’s apparently a fake payphone outside of the fake Kwik-E-Mart at the Florida theme park.  This is a YouTube video of some of the things it says. 

Chocolate and Ginger Muffins – Ah, childhood:

This has happened for as long as I can remember and when I was a child, Fridays after school went as follows: tennis practice from 5 until 6, then home to eat spaghetti and sausages on toast while watching The Simpsons, followed by a chocolate muffin. (I miss those days!!) Now I just eat the ‘Friday cake’ (I gave up tennis when I was about 15 to concentrate on music, I never get home in time from work to watch The SImpsons, and I’m probably now too health conscious to eat spaghetti and sausages out of a tin on a regular basis.)

What David Lynch And Tylenol Can Tell You About The Brain – Research is always about how you write it up:

About a half-hour after receiving either 1,000 milligrams of Tylenol or a sugar pill, volunteers were asked to watch a couple of minutes of a Donald Duck cartoon to loosen up.

Then they got to see one of two very different clips. One group watched a clip from Rabbits, a 2002 Lynch film that IMDb "a story of a group of humanoid rabbits and their depressive, daily life." Yep. The others watched a clip from The Simpsons.

Both groups then watched a few minutes of a Snoopy cartoon to distract them.

Still with me? The researchers then asked the volunteers to pass judgment on after the Vancouver Canucks lost to the Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup in 2011.

The people who got a placebo and watched Rabbits meted out greater punishment than those who’d kicked back with The Simpsons (Tylenol or not) and those who’d had the benefit of Tylenol while squirming to the surreal Lynchian clip.

Screw the Tylenol, it may just be that The Simpsons makes people nicer. 

John C. Moyer, 50, musician-hairdresser – A useful reminder that lots of unknown people do the grunt work:

John C. Moyer, 50, of Mount Airy, a piano player and recording engineer who later became a hairdresser, died Thursday, April 4, of liver disease at his home.

After playing in local pop bands in the early 1980s, Mr. Moyer shifted his focus to recording and opened Warehouse/J.E.M. Sound Recording Studios on Delaware Avenue in Northern Liberties.

He worked with such artists as Bon Jovi and DJ Jazzy Jeff, said his brother, Don. He also recorded works for an album, The Simpsons Sing the Blues, featuring the cartoon family.

Condolences. 

House of Cards indeed: does the ‘Netflix model’ diminish television as art? – I can’t say I agree with the basic idea here, that House of Cards (which is fantastic, if dumb, fun) is somehow diminished because people on the internet don’t write about it enough, but this is certainly true:

One of the reasons The Simpsons will prove to be, in this writer’s haughty, look-at-me-I’m-a-TV-blogger opinion, television’s greatest achievement is because it’s almost impossibly enduring. Those classic seasons just don’t age; even a generally under-appreciated episode like “A Streetcar Named Marge” only increases in stature the more I revisit it (if you don’t cackle hysterically at this The Birds reference at The Ayn Rand School for Tots — genius in itself — then I can nought but pity you).

The really don’t age.  It’s amazing. 




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