Archive for May, 2013

31
May
13

Reading Digest: Theme Park Edition

Itchy & Scratchy Land Map

“Torture Land, Explosion Land, Searing Gas Pain Land, Unnecessary Surgery Land . . . hmmm.” – Marge Simpson

Universal Studios down in America’s Wang is getting ready to unveil their new and expanded Simpsons area.  This caused half the people on the internet to link to it this week, so it’s a shorter than average Reading Digest.  We do have a video of it under construction, as well as something much cooler: a fan made map of Disney Land crossed with Itchy & Scratchy Land.  In addition to that we’ve got a bunch of other excellent fan made stuff, an interview with Harry Shearer, some sly Simpsons references Blizzard inserted into World of Warcraft, some Australian street art, more evidence that Zombie Simpsons can’t construct a decent parody to save its life, and a couple of people who either wrote or wanted to write about the show in college.

Enjoy.

Nyima – Duffwoman – A Hungarian cosplay enthusiast has created a rather awesome Duffwoman costume.  The beer can laden skirt really makes it.

GTO – Lenny and Carl – by `DanLuVisiArt on deviantART – Fan made art of Homer, Carl and Otto in a Grand Theft Auto style.  Excellent.  (via Kotaku)

Glen Brogan – Itchy and Scratchy Land – More excellent fan art:

Itchy and Scratchy Land
16 x 20
Edition of 50
Glen says: “This piece is an excuse for me to combine two things I love: the design of old Disney theme park maps and The Simpsons. I went through the Itchy and Scratchy Land episode and took lots of screen captures and notes to get the map as accurate to the show as possible.”

Bravo.

INTERVIEW: Harry Shearer, on SNL, The Simpsons, and Spinal Tap – Nothing really new here, but well worth a read because Shearer:

HS: Talk to myself, what do you think I am, nuts?   Actually, C Montgomery Burns is the favorite, because he doesn’t fall prey to the temptation to dilute his evil with even a scintilla of good.   Fox owns the voices, so if I did slip into one, I’d owe them money.

There are a lot of great things about Harry Shearer, but his more or less open loathing of FOX has to be near the top. 

phil hartman – This week was the 15th anniversary of Phil Hartman’s death.  This is a remembrance, with a great Troy McClure mashup YouTube.

The Simpsons as a Narratively Complex Show – This is a rather serious college essay that I freely admit I have not had time to read all the way through.  But I plan to because a quick skim shows it talking about not just the show, but the environment in which it was created and how those things influenced it.

Bartkira! – More fan art for the Bartkira project.

Watch a Tour of the Simpsons Theme Park Construction – This isn’t so much a tour as it is a series of slow camera pans on YouTube, but if you’re interested in what they’re doing down in Orlando, here you go:

The Simpsons! | Pat-A-Cakes of Woolton – Excellent Simpsons birthday cake.

The greatest moments of Troy McClure and Lionel Hutz – This is a grandiose title, but there’s some good YouTube here.

Best. Episode. Ever. (Round 28) – Ha ha, Season 13 goes down in a heap before “The Call of the Simpsons”.  You ever known a siren to be good?

The stage comedy ‘I’m Connecticut’ by ‘Simpsons’ writer Mike Reiss plays Ivoryton – If you live in the Nutmeg State, you can see Reiss and his play next week:

Now, a new production of "I’m Connecticut" opens Wednesday at the Ivoryton Playhouse. Reiss will be there on June 6, 7 and 8 to participate in talk-backs with the audience.

Also, a brief reminder that Mike Reiss is very funny:

"I’m Connecticut" is a romantic comedy, yes, but it has an extra element, too:

"There’s so much Connecticut color in there, so much trivia about the state, legends and lore. There’s a joke about Windsor Locks in there. You know, David Mamet is never going to write a joke about Windsor Locks, no matter how long he lives."

Pray for Mojo: top 10 coolest monkeys (part 1) – Mojo comes in at #6 here, and deservedly so:

BUT how does Mojo beat Mr Teeny? (Krusty’s stage monkey?) when Mr Teeny can rollerskate and chomp cigars? Well, Mojo wears a nappy so he doesn’t need to be toilet trained. He can make orange juice. He drinks Duff Beer. And he can do a happy dance! Even when he’s not happy!

The Simpsons Top Ten – Number 8 The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show – Heh:

Also am i the only guy who wants to watch Christmas Ape 1 + 2?

No.  I’ve always wondered just what Christmas Ape would be like.

Trillhouse – Milhouse street art from Australia.

Cool Cop – And, from the same site, Wiggum.  Also:

has anyone noticed the influx of Simpsons characters going on around town in the passed 6 months? It’s all good though, because The Simpsons are the best thing since TV was invented.

Damn right. 

Verizon FiOS unlimited data limit: 77TB per month – Excellent reference:

Simpsons fans will likely recall the classic episode in which Homer Simpson gets tossed out of an “all-you-can-eat” seafood restaurant after he devours not only its entire supply of shrimp but two of its decorative plastic lobsters. Ars Technica reports that an IT professional in California did something similar with his unlimited FiOS plan after he used up a whopping 77TB of data over the span of just one month.

This is the most blatant case of false advertising since my suit against the movie The Neverending Story.

Bart the Philosopher – Not tormenting the emotionally frail is an important life lesson.

The Hangover Part III…In 10 Words – Hangover III: So Very Tired.

Behind The Candleabra…In 10 Words – In battle he downed a full length ball down covered in sequins. 

Epic Movie…In 10 Words – Why do you think I took you to see all those Police Academy movies?

NPC – Groundskeeper Wyllithen and Mayor Quimby – A couple of Simpsons references in World of Warcraft.

Marge Vs. Itchy and Scratchy – Not entirely sure what this is, but the sign Marge carries at the protest is always great.

Did I Do That?! Top TV Teen Nerds – Lisa obviously makes the list, and bonus points for a blog called “cookies + sangria”.

May 24th 2013 | An artist’s day to day – This is about cats:

I’m a huge fan of the Simpsons but there isn’t really much I can take away from this for me. Its well done and suits the program perfectly but its too simple for what I want. Can’t think what this cat is called, I could look it up but I can’t be bothered, its Friday and I’m tired. Was it something to do with Snow or something?

The cat on The Simpsons is Snowball II.  Zombie Simpsons has ratcheted it up to like Snowball XLVI or something, but they suck, so don’t worry about it.  However, the most famous cat on The Simpsons is definitely Scratchy, because Itchy’s a jerk.

After episode of ‘The Simpsons,’ Marge Simpson helps boost traffic for ashleymadison.com, the notorious website for cheaters – Pretty much just what the headline says.  Further evidence that Zombie Simpsons doesn’t so much parody brands as offer free advertising for them.

Who knew The Simpsons could be so deep? – YouTube of Marge showing Lenny’s house and the fact that pretty much no one wants people to come over unexpectedly.

A Blanc Slate – You gotta plow ahead on that one:

The first six years of The Simpsons coincide with the last six years of my public education. Matt Groening unleashed an honestly dysfunctional family in a pretentiously dysfunctional world, and before we were asked to care who shot Mr. Burns, the show threw nothing but heat and break-neck change-ups, to chance a baseball analogy. Fast and unrelenting. Like the tire fire in the opening credits, the comedy was timeless, eternal. Great writing made every line a quote, but every quote could be ruined when repeated by we mere mortals when the cast delivered them perfectly. I was talked out of writing my college essay on Hank Azaria because applications were serious business, and no one had the internet to cross-reference the importance of trivialities.

Also, click through for the picture of the “Jerrold” cable box.  We had a box exactly like that when I was a kid, and since there was no remote I learned how to work it with my toes so I wouldn’t have to get up to change the channel.  The 80s sucked.

31
May
13

Quote of the Day

Old Money5

“Outta my way, I got a date with an angel.” – Abe “Grampa” Simpson
“You don’t know how right you are, Abe.” – Jasper
“What?” – Abe “Grampa” Simpson
“I’m sorry to be the one to tell you this, but Bea passed away last night.  It was her ticker.  The doc said her left ventrical burst.” – Jasper
“Oh, no Jasper, they may say she died of a burst ventrical, but I know she died of a broken heart.” – Abe “Grampa” Simpson

30
May
13

Quote of the Day

In Marge We Trust9

“But you can’t let a few bad experiences sour you on helping people.” – Marge Simpson
“Oh, sure I can.” – Reverend Lovejoy

29
May
13

Quote of the Day

Saddlesore Galactica2

“Very well, Lisa, what rousing Sousa march would you have us play?” – Mr. Largo
“Well, I thought maybe for once we could play a song that wasn’t written by Sousa.” – Lisa Simpson
“You mean something just arranged by Sousa?” – Mr. Largo

Happy birthday Danny Elfman! 

28
May
13

Quote of the Day

Dead Putting Society7

“Homer, I couldn’t help overhearing you warp Bart’s mind.” – Marge Simpson
“And?” – Homer Simpson

27
May
13

Quote of the Day

When Flanders Failed6

“The Flanders are having a beef-a-thon, incredible Nedibles, Maudacious vittles.” – Lisa Simpson
“Hmm, I think it means he’s having a barbeque.” – Marge Simpson
“Well why didn’t he just say so?” – Homer Simpson

26
May
13

Quote of the Day

Rebirth

“You see, the law business is a little slow, and since most of my clients wind up losing their houses, this was a natural move for me.” – Lionel Hutz

25
May
13

Quote of the Day

Separate Vocations13

“Bart, why’d you take the blame?” – Lisa Simpson
“Cause, I didn’t want to wreck your life.  You got the brains and the talent to go as far as you want, and when you do, I’ll be right there to borrow money.” – Bart Simpson

24
May
13

Reading Digest: Crack Smoking Mayor Edition

The Curse of the Flying Hellfish6

“Fernando, it’s M.B.” – C.M. Burns
“Ah, Marion Barry, is it time for another shipment already?” – Fernando Vidal
This is Montgomery Burns!” – C.M. Burns
Oh, caramba.” – Fernando Vidal

The weather has turned nice, people are having fun outdoors, and Zombie Simpsons won’t blight anyone’s television for months; it must be Memorial Day weekend, the semi-official start of summer time.  To celebrate, albeit a bit early, Toronto’s mayor smoked rock and got filmed doing it.  But, oh, Canada, we were ahead of you on that, and The Simpsons made fun of it to boot.  In addition, we’ve got a wonderfully random assortment of links this week, with a great new Tumblr (don’t fuck this up like you fuck everything else up, Yahoo), an official update to the Simpsons ride in Floreda, some more links about the money pit game, and a great variety of fan made stuff, from nail art to a web comic to some good, old fashioned photoshop. 

Enjoy.

springfeeled – Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week is this relatively short Tumblr with nothing but weird Simpsons .gifs.  Skinner demanding the kids knock it off from “Bart the Lover” and the listless teenagers from “Homerpalooza” are my favorites, but to each their shimmery own.  (Thanks to reader y o for sending this in.)

The Simpsons | PixlBurger – This is a webcomic, one of the panes says “everything you need to know about western popular culture is contained entirely in these sacred volumes”.  Yup.

The Simpsons Monorail Song meets the Walt Disney World’s Monorail System – YouTube of exactly what it says.  Great idea.

The Internet – Simpsons Did It! – How totally has the show won pop culture?  It’s the title of this rather awesome meme drawing.  All will kneel trembling before The Simpsons

U.K.’s Miliband Likens RBS Fallout to Simpsons’ Nuclear Villain – Aw, he wants to be Prime Minister so bad:

The leader of the U.K. opposition Labour Party, Ed Miliband, compared Royal Bank of Scotland Plc to the Simpsons’ nuclear-plant owning Montgomery Burns, saying the bank practiced “irresponsible capitalism.”

Speaking today at a conference organized by Google Inc. north of London, Miliband showed a picture of the cartoon villain to illustrate a speech about business practices.

“He’s not such a good guy, he leaves radioactive nuggets lying around,” Miliband said of Burns. “Of course, he is a cartoon character, but I could have substituted him with RBS or some of the other big banks before the financial crash.”

‘Angry Birds’ Movie Gets ‘Simpsons’ & ‘King of the Hill’ Screenwriter – Jon Vitti has been tapped to write the script for the Angry Birds movie.  That is all.

The Simpsons Review: Doubly Dull – This is a pretty scathing review (“Season 24 comes to close not with a bang, but a very long whimper”) of the double episode finale on Sunday, and yet . . .

Editor Rating: 3.0 / 5.0

One wonders what Zombie Simpsons would have to do to earn a 1.0 (or, more appropriately, a 0.0). 

Indeed a Disturbing Universe: My Time with The Simpsons Tapped Out – A very detailed breakdown of the new cash cow, that contains this trenchant insight:

Normal people hate freemium games because they have a basic understanding of what constitutes “evil” in our modern world, and also because getting six requests a day to build fake burger restaurants with your aunt is a torture no human being should ever have to experience again.

That’s about the size of it.

The Simpsons Heads Nails – Excellent Simpsons nail art, with instructions.  Homer and Maggie are especially good.

Weekly Inspiration 5/19 + Updates – Great fan art of Flanders at the Leftorium. 

Inflation secrets of the TV families – BBC tries to calculate how much inflation would’ve affected certain TV families:

In Call of the Simpsons we learn that he earns $27 a week less than Ned Flanders does in his job in the pharmaceutical industry, but that is little help.

Quoting a specific dollar amount from a 1990 episode, at the very least they did their research.

Movie References You Didn’t Get On Simpsons – There’s only one from Zombie Simpsons on here.  (Thanks to the Nostalgia Blog!)

Rob Ford, crack cocaine: Simpsons mayor Diamond Joe Quimby or Toronto mayor Rob Ford: Who said it? – Ah, RF, time for another shipment already? 

How the IRS scandal is like ‘The Simpsons’ – Basically because, you know, everyone is saying “I didn’t do it”.  That’s the kind of hard hitting analysis I expect from Kaplan Test Prep Daily.

THE HANGOVER PART III (15, 100 mins) – Speaking of apt if somewhat obvious usage:

In a 1997 episode of The Simpsons, rotund patriarch Homer stood before the residents of Springfield with a glass of cold beer and encouraged his neighbours to join him in a toast.

“To alcohol: the cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems,” he professed.

Director Todd Phillips has been drinking from the same barrel as Homer since 2009 when his booze-fuelled bender The Hangover became an unexpected smash hit and snagged a coveted Golden Globe as Best Comedy.

Universal Orlando Springfield: Universal Orlando to add restaurants and shops based on The Simpsons – Well, it’s official, all that construction is exactly what people thought it was going to be:

The area, which will be named "Springfield" after the town in which "The Simpsons" is set, is being built alongside the existing Simpsons Ride in Universal Studios Florida. It will feature roughly a half-dozen settings from the famously satirical TV show.

Among them: Krusty Burger, a restaurant serving a "Krusty-certified meat sandwich," and Moe’s Tavern, which will sell "Duff Beer," a fictional alcoholic brew that Universal says will be created exclusively for the theme park. Others will include Lard Lad’s Donuts, The Frying Dutchman, Luigi’s Pizza, The Android’s Dungeon & Baseball Card Shop, and Duff Gardens.

Universal will also add a second Simpsons-themed ride: Kang & Kodos’ Twirl ‘n’ Hurl, an outdoor spinner.

Twirl ’n Hurl is pretty good.

Homer Simpson look-alike found buried in the ground in China – With a picture.

Homer Simpson vs. Captain America – This is just a message board discussion that brings up the relevant point that by now, Homer has demonstrated as many super powers as an actual super hero, and s/he mostly cites things that came late in the show before Zombie Simpsons even got started.

5 ways that Family Guy and the Simpsons are the same – With the exception of #2 (“The basic formula”), I maintain that this is on Zombie Simpsons rather than The Simpsons.

Maggie Simpson’s Book of Animals (1991-c2c-getfreedregs) – I bought this book second hand a few years ago for a friend’s kid’s birthday.

Dem feels! I’ve seen them before… – This is just YouTube of Stacy Lavelle begging off Lisa’s demand that she do something, but the YouTube follows this:

My current motivation to get a job.

Well played.

My life – Heh.  (From same as above.)

Best. Episode. Ever. (Round 26) – Season 4 beats Season 8, and . . .

Best. Episode. Ever. (Round 27) – . . . Season 7 crushes Season 11.

I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords. – Good plan:

I’ve also been re-watching The Simpsons. Seasons 4 and 8 so far, with 5 waiting for me tonight. I won’t be going farther than season 9, but I’m definitely going to enjoy all 9 of the first seasons over the next few months.

Season 9 is an utterly fair place to stop.

Star Trek Into Darkness…In 10 Words – Let’s remake the best Star Trek movie with no villains, no plot, and barely passable CGI.  That movie was Zombie Simpsons bad, and I don’t use that lightly.

Pac-Man…In 10 Words – Ms. Pac-Man struck a blow for women’s rights . . .

(A)Lisa Simpson – Rather excellent fan made drawing of Lisa in Photoshop. 

Bart Simpson Runway Swag [Fashion] – Just in case anyone was curious, they make those haute couture Bart stuff in shirts, underwear, leggings and, apparently, hair.

trishna87 – Heh.

Save Water Drink Beer – I sort of doubt that’s officially licensed, but I also don’t care.

The Simpsons Tapped Out – Complete Squidport Layout! – For Tapped Out fans.

Tapped Out – And for Tapped Out fans who want to engage their inner nine-year-old.  (Also, and I’m not linking it because it looks scam-y as hell, I did find a link this week to people gold farming that game.) 

What Certain Shows Need to Do to Save Themselves! – I maintain that there is no way to save or renew the show, but this is excellent advice:

If you decide to continue on, then PLEASE stop with the multiple Grandpa Simpson back stories (one of the 2 this season was just plain awful) because we’ve have had more than enough of them.  Also, don’t recycle older stories (Moe’s bar has become popular and then dropped back down to squalor at least 3 or 4 times by my count).  Perhaps consider re-watching and analyzing older episodes to remind yourselves of what used to work and what used to make the show utterly hysterical and popular.

Hope springs eternal.

24
May
13

Quote of the Day

Rosebud13

“Who needs his money?  We’re getting by okay.” – Homer Simpson
“Son, you gotta help me!  I hit three people on the way over here, and I don’t have any insurance!  So, how’s by you?” – Abe “Grampa” Simpson

23
May
13

Behind Us Forever: The Saga of Carl & Dangers on a Train (And Season 24!)

Lisa the Vegetarian11

“So long, suck-ahhh!” – Bart Simpson

Because FOX sucks at scheduling, how about a two episode season finale?  Why not!:

  • After a clumsy introduction they’ve convinced themselves that repeating the phrase “Ki Ya” over and over again is funny.  Also, why is Marge bathing Bart?
  • This video with Pascal, in a voice that sounds like Azaria trying to keep himself awake, is just as boring as a real museum exhibit.  I miss the zinc filmstrip.
  • “Because people always laugh when you say sixty-nine.  No one knows why.” – I bet this line got a big laugh in the screenwriting elective at Hollywood Upstairs Film College.  
  • Even before the show fell apart, Marge was usually a secondary character to Homer, but this is ridiculous.  Here are her lines, in order, from the dinner table scene:
    – “I still can’t believe it was Carl who took your winnings.  I thought it would’ve been you, or you, or you.”
    – “Maybe he had a reason to give you the ultimate screw over.”
    – “You don’t know where Carl is from?”
    – “Maybe if you talked less about guy stuff you’d know more about your so-called friend.” – She just repeats the crappy jokes as exposition in case anyone who was dozing missed them the first time.
  • Homer and Marge are discussing him going to Iceland (just in case anyone in the audience needed to be told a third time).  At first, it’s just the two of them.  And then, just like that, Bart and Lisa are sitting in their parents room . . . right until six seconds later when they aren’t.
  • Okay, “Hodor’s Travel Guide” is pretty good. 
  • Ooh, the exciting Sigur Ros background music scene!  That needed to be there.
  • Now comes the exciting foot chase component to the car chase we just sat through. 
  • They catch Carl, and are immediately transported to a restaurant without having discussed anything in the interim.  Seamless! 
  • Carl’s little soliloquy on friendship is about the third time they’ve discussed this so far.  It won’t be the last.
  • Um, are they on a bus now?
  • Yes, they are.  Also: more pointless montaging!  It was almost three minutes since the last one.
  • “I know Carl did you wrong, but is destroying something he cares that much about really going to make you feel good?”  It goes on like this.
  • Now it’s an exposition flashback.  Jebus, this episode is a mess.
  • Naturally, a learning Icelandic montage needed to be here. 
  • And now it’s multiple exposition flashbacks to finish the episode. 
  • “That’s for teaching me the true meaning of male friendship.”  Surprisingly enough, this is not an episode of the G.I. Joe cartoon from the 1980s.
  • And now you know not to use beer kegs as swimming pools . . . and knowing is half the battle.

Destination episodes sometimes provide a little humor here and there, if for no other reason than the writers finally have something to talk about that hasn’t already been done half a dozen times.  “The Saga of Carl” managed to nullify even that small advantage by making the whole thing about a drama-free discourse on friendship from four well known characters.  (And that’s before we get into the weird flashbacks.)  That’s a tough act to follow in terms of sheer Zombie Simpsons failure; let’s see if “Dangers on a Train” is up to the task:

  • And we open on a flashback to nine years ago when Bart is in a stroller and Homer has hair.  I continue to not care about inter-episode continuity too much, but this is atrocious.  They want to have the backdrop of Homer knocking Marge up accidentally, which we know happened in 1980, but change a bunch of other stuff.  It’s really disorienting. 
  • Flanders is there, because of course.
  • Okay, “Bikini Atoll” is pretty good.
  • I realize they have to set up the episode somehow, but is Marge really supposed to be unable to tell the word “Dolly” from the word “Sassy” when they’re in forty-point font in the middle of the screen?  (And she’s been to the site before?) 
  • So, Lovejoy is helping them because . . . what, the faulty database program that wrote this for them saw the word “train” on his character bio? 
  • I complain a lot about exposition that is useless at everything except killing time, but what else am I supposed to do with things like Homer saying this after he runs out of the kitchen away from Marge, “The surprise is safe.  The expression on her face will be priceless”?  We just fucking saw that! 
  • The phone rings, Marge answers it, and it’s Homer talking to Moe because they thought Marge didn’t have enough reason to continue talking with MacFarlane, or something?  It’s a twofer: it’s unnecessary and doesn’t make sense.
  • They can’t even have Homer talk to his brain without it breaking into screaming anymore.
  • Marge having coffee with MacFarlane is about the third time she’s shut down conversation with him and then immediately lapsed.  I sure enjoy watching someone repeat their actions over and over for twenty minutes. 
  • During their conversation, Marge mentions that her 11th anniversary coming up.  Head, please meet desk.  The opening titles told us, “Almost nine years ago . . .”, which introduced a scene showing their first anniversary.  That would make the current events their 10th anniversary since 9 + 1 = 10.  We’re not even halfway through this, so there’s no way those two things could be more than about fifteen pages apart in the script.  This is unconscionably lazy editing.  Two dozen professional writers are responsible for this script and have the better part of a year to work on it, and it contains the kind of sloppy mistake you’d expect on a high school paper that was begun a 3am the day it was due.  That’s amazing.
  • Honestly, I’m starting to think the exposition, especially Marge’s, is some kind of involuntary tic.  As soon as the obviously wealthy old lady comes on their slightly renamed Downton Abbey thing, they cut to Marge to say “The dowager grandmum!”.  People who watch that show obviously know who she is, and everyone else can figure out who she is by, you know, watching her.  This one barely even counts as filler since it was so short.  It makes no sense.
  • Does it count as fan service if they stop MacFarlane from singing?  Follow up question: whose fans?
  • “Do you think we’ll last twenty-five years?”  “Nothing should.”  Well, that was thoughtful.
  • Hey, look, they decided to have MacFarlane burst in at the end because the A-plot, even with all the exposition, fell woefully short of filling the prescribed runtime. 
  • And we end on two different dumbass musical numbers.

This episode is a prime example of why it’s not a good thing when the A-plot is barely B-plot in scope.  This is theoretically about Marge thinking about cheating on Homer with Peter Griffin, but every time we see Marge interact with MacFarlane, she shuts it out as inconceivable.  (Nevermind that just three seasons ago they had her all but fall in love with Flanders.)  So Marge’s story in this episode basically goes like this: Homer makes me mad, I’ll spend some time with this guy, I’ll never cheat (repeat 3-5x).  Her attraction to him doesn’t build on itself or deepen, it’s just the same damn thing over and over.

Meanwhile, Homer’s friends from Moe’s (and Reverend Lovejoy, because fuck it) are all working (apparently around the clock) on his big anniversary gift for her.  For a split second, when they cut to the train being demolished accidentally, I thought something might be happening.  Would Homer’s gift be destroyed and Marge’s suspicions about his forgetting get a little bit interesting?  Of course not!  The next time we see the train it’s all refurbished and good as new. 

So, this story has two potential points of conflict: Marge cheating, and Homer’s anniversary gift failing.  Neither one is ever seriously presented, and at the end – surprise, surprise – neither happens. 

If funny stuff was happening along the way, you could maybe overlook some of that.  Instead we get drawn out Downton Abbey scenes like “Bless it all, Polly, I love you.  And we shall be wed by Boxing Day Eve, aka Christmas”.  And the regular dialogue is no better, it’s godawful sitcom banter:

“Homey, I bet you’re wondering why I stayed on the computer until four am.”
“Hey, those Yelp reviews don’t write themselves.  Did you know a well placed one-star can destroy a mom and pop hardware in nothing flat?”

Nothing says sparkling writing like naturally flowing setup-punchline combos that end with mildly topical references!  It’s just like how me and my friends talk.

All told, both of these episodes have stories that don’t go anywhere and don’t make sense, feature wretched writing from start to finish, and seem to be comprised mostly of time wasting filler.  If nothing else, it’s a fitting send off for yet another forgettable season.

23
May
13

Quote of the Day

Scenes from the Class Struggle in Springfield6

“I thought it was so opulent, like the Playboy Mansion, but non-sexual.” – Marge Simpson
“That place is weird.  A man in the bathroom kept handing me towels till I paid him to stop.” – Bart Simpson
“Shoulda held out longer, boy.” – Homer Simpson

22
May
13

Quote of the Day

My Sister, My Sitter9

“Now put your left leg into the left side of the pants, and you’re done.” – Lisa Simpson
“I dress myself.” – Ralph Wiggum

21
May
13

Hey, Everybody, Season 24 Is Over

Itchy and Scratchy and Marge13

“Hi, kids! . . . What the . . . is this Saturday?” – Krusty the Klown

I’m still going to do Behind Us Forever for this week’s episodes, but the last two days have not been kind in terms of free time.  In the interim, how about a little ratings schadenfreude?

Sunday’s episodes both scored dismal ratings, with the first one (“The Saga of Carl”) coming in at just 4.01 million viewers, and “Dangers on a Train” bumping up a bit to 4.52 million.  The former is good for #2 on the all time least watched list, with even the higher rated second episode coming in at #10.  Here is the current bottom twenty in terms of viewers:

#

S-Ep

Airdate

Viewers
(millions)

Episode Title

1 23-21 13-May-12 4.00 Ned ‘N Edna’s Blend
2 24-21 19-May-13 4.01 The Saga of Carl
3 24-20 12-May-13 4.05 Fabulous Faker Boy
4 24-17 14-Apr-13 4.07 What Animated Women Want
5 24-12 10-Feb-13 4.19 Love Is a Many-Splintered Thing
6 23-13 12-Feb-12 4.33 The Daughter Also Rises
7 24-8 16-Dec-12 4.41 To Cur With Love
8 24-19 6-May-13 4.43 Whiskey Business
9 24-18 28-Apr-13 4.48 Pulpit Friction
10 24-22 19-May-13 4.52 Dangers on a Train
11 24-13 17-Feb-13 4.57 Hardly Kirk-Ing
12 24-14 3-Mar-13 4.66 Gorgeous Grampa
13 23-20 6-May-12 4.75 The Spy Who Learned Me
14 23-22 20-May-12 4.79 Lisa Goes Gaga
15 24-15 10-Mar-13 4.85 Black-Eyed Please
16 23-18 15-Apr-12 4.86 Beware My Cheating Bart
17 24-16 17-Mar-13 4.89 Dark Knight Court
18 23-16 11-Mar-12 4.96 How I Wet Your Mother
19 22-18 10-Apr-11 5.00 The Great Simpsina
20 23-19 29-Apr-12 5.00 A Totally Fun Thing That Bart Will Never Do Again

Of those twenty, nineteen are from Seasons 23 or 24, with the lone exception being from Season 22.  Every single episode broadcast since February of this year has made the list.  And not a single episode in all of Season 24 was viewed by more than 10 million people, the first time that’s ever happened.  (The only one even close came after an NFL playoff game.)

In terms of average viewership, Season 24 ran away with the title of least viewed ever.  After bumping along in the low seven million range from Season 20 through 22, last season fell down to just 6.13 million viewers on average.  Season 24 sunk even further, averaging just 5.47 million viewers over its twenty-two episodes.

Now, the usual caveat about these ratings: these are just the overnight numbers.  When there are significant changes to them (usually because a sporting event runs long), I make those updates, but these are not the fancy pants final numbers that take into account demographics, DVR viewers, and whatever else advertisers complain about.  Nielsen only makes very limited data available to the public (at least, as far as I can tell), so these are the numbers I use, but don’t try reading anything into these in terms of “Will the show get cancelled?”.

The thousand monkeys at a thousand Blackberries who run FOX will be looking at those more detailed ratings as well as factoring in all kinds of things like whether or not a replacement would provide the same lead-in numbers for the rest of the Sunday lineup, how expensive said replacement would be, and how much Jean and company react when feces are thrown at them during meetings.  (MacFarlane doesn’t even flinch.)  Given the production lead time, we should be hearing something about a renewal beyond the current contract (on which there are 29 episodes left) sometime in calendar 2013, but that’s about all that can be said right now.

[Update 6:45pm EDT: Just saw this: CBS Takes Key Ratings Crown for First Time in 21 Years.  FOX lost the battle for the nuts and gum people to CBS this year and their overall viewers were third at 7.0 million.  No idea what the monkeys will think of losing to the old people network and having Zombie Simpsons dragging down their overall number, but it seemed worth mentioning.]

21
May
13

Quote of the Day

Mother Simpson11

“Mom, there’s nothing to be alarmed about . . . but could you take one last look at the family and join me in the kitchen?” – Homer Simpson

Happy birthday Richard Appel!

20
May
13

Quote of the Day

Secrets of a Successful Marriage7

“Keep up the roughhousing, son.  Without a strong male presence in the house, you could turn sissy overnight!  Oh, these stubborn grass stains.” – Homer Simpson

19
May
13

Sunday Preview(s): The Saga Of Carl and Dangers On A Train

promo-carl

In “The Saga of Carl”, Homer, Moe, Lenny and Carl win the Springfield Lottery. But when Carl takes off to Iceland – his Homeland – with all the winnings, the guys embark on a Nordic adventure to rescue the cash.

In “Dangers on a Train”, looking for a cupcake website, Marge mistakenly ends up an online dating site for married people to arrange affairs. There she encounters Ben, who tries to seduce her based on their mutual love of TV series Upton Rectory, mostly over the phone.

Oooohh!  Double Feature!!  I can’t recall The Simpsons ever trying to end a season as fast as possible like this before, so that’s new.  Also Seth MacFarlane and Lisa Lampanelli are both guests tonight. I wonder if Fox realizes that the people who still enjoy this show are either too young or too out of it to know who Lisa lampanelli is? Not that I care, although now I may spend my time from 8-9 pm tonight listening to her standup instead of watching this 60 minute void.

19
May
13

Quote of the day

Lisa's Rival11

“I don’t need a card, you live in the room next to me.” – Lisa Simpson
“Note: next year, order fewer cards.” – Bart Simpson

18
May
13

Quote of the Day

Homer at the Bat7

“Okay, Homer, bases loaded and you’re up.  Where’s that secret weapon?” – Carl
“Check it out, boys, my magic bat.” – Homer Simpson
“That’s it?” – Carl
“Yeah, I got a magic bat, too.” – Lenny
“And I got an enchanted jockstrap.” – Carl

17
May
13

Reading Digest: Missing Canadian Edition

The PTA Disbands12

“It took the children forty minutes to locate Canada on the map.” – Marge Simpson
“Marge, anyone can miss Canada, all tucked away down there.” – Homer Simpson

Whenever Zombie Simpsons hitches its fading star to a currently popular celebrity, your Katys Perry and Ladys Gaga, the internet throws a brief but mild fit wherein huge numbers of pop culture sites that normally couldn’t give a fuck about the show write about how Celebrity X is gonna be Simpsonized.  That very thing happened this week in regards to Justin Bieber’s brief and pointless cameo, so it’s a bit of a clipped Reading Digest.  Bieber clogged the tubes, and once you’ve read one blog post lamenting the brevity of his appearance, you’ve read all several thousand of them.   Besides that deliberate omission, we’ve got some cool fan art, a statistical analysis of other celebrity guests, some excellent usage, several people who agree with us, some (possibly dubious) statistics about Duff, and a plastic donut.

Enjoy.

Oh, and this is basically obligatory today:

The Curse of the Simpsons! – Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week is this statistical look at whether or not guest voicing on The Simpsons is bad for your health.  Short answer, no:

So there is no curse, celebrities who appear on the Simpsons live about an extra 3 years (on average at least).  If we look at the ages Simpson guests have been dying, the average is 76 years, with some folks pushing 100.

No wonder they keep having pointless cameos like Bieber and Captain Picard, it makes people live longer.  Jean’s probably got a lucrative, off the books sideline in selling guest spots.  (At this rate, Bieber’s going to be alive until 2130.) 

Went to get my oil changed and found this… – This is a reddit link to a positively amazing set of images of styrofoam cups with elaborate drawings, including the Simpson family on the inside of one.

Bizarro Baseball: the Isotopes – Merchandising, merchandising, where the real money from the movie is made:

Perhaps the strangest, most incredible part of this origin story lies in the annals (or lack thereof) of subsidiary rights:

In the three months after the team’s name was announced in September 2002, before the team ever took the field, the team sold more merchandise than the Albuquerque Dukes sold in any single season, and led minor league baseball in merchandising revenue in 2003.

The real life Simpsons: The Groening family tree – This is what happens when you have to come up with characters in the waiting cubicle at 1987 FOX.

Canadian ‘couch gag’ a dream come true for ‘Simpsons’ fan – So that couch gag contest they’re running isn’t just a desperate ploy for attention, it’s an internationally desperate ploy for attention:

Savaya, 22, earned the trip to Hollywood by coming up with a “couch gag” for the opening credits of the season 24 finale of The Simpsons. It airs Sunday at 8:30 p.m. on Global.

Savaya’s couch gag will air only on the Canadian broadcast of the show.

“I’ve never seen a Canadian couch gag before so I figured I might as well make it as Canadian as possible,” he says of his decision to include Sir John A. MacDonald, a hockey player, a loon and a beaver — and Maggie replacing her pacifier with a hockey puck.

Not now, Ralph. 

Top 8½ Overlooked Games – Video game nostalgia that agrees with us:

lots of people bought it but many dismissed it as another crappy licensed game. And those who did so were wrong. Sure, it’s a GTA clone without the violence, but it’s also some of the best ones out there. Good gameplay, good Simpsons-esque humor (not nearly as good or daring as in the golden age of Simpsons, but still), voice acting by the original cast and so on.

The Simpsons writer hails North West talent – More about that new British show Weinstein is doing.

Voice to Vexed – Perfectly quoted excellent usage:

This is a verbatim message I recently spoke to my brother’s Voice-to-Text service, quoting Chief Clancy Wiggum from The Simpsons: “This is Papa Bear. Put out an APB for a male suspect, driving a . . . car of some sort, heading in the direction of, uh, you know, that place that sells chili. Suspect is hatless. Repeat: hatless.”

I can’t wait till they throw his hatless butt in jail.

Huzzah! – Because all dictionary entries should reference The Simpsons and be written on bar napkins. 

“Mad Men” accidentally includes anachronism, sets Internet ablaze – Quoted at length because, yeah:

As aforementioned, “The Simpsons” provides an excellent send up of this. But Comic Book Guy does not only pick apart fictional TV shows and comic books of the “Simpsons” universe. In thinly veiled moments of meta-commentary, he pokes fun at the “Simpsons’” devoted fan base. This is done beautifully in an old episode when the Simpson family obtains a pet horse. Comic Book Guy references a previous “Simpsons” episode with a similar plotline. To a crowd of surrounding people, he cattily insinuates the series’ laziness. The “Simpsons” writers proceed to throw shade at obsessive fans such as Comic Book Guy, as Homer asks aloud: “Anybody care what this guy thinks?” The crowd resoundingly replies: “No!”

In the past weeks, some voices in the media have played Comic Book Guy to “Mad Men’s” “The Simpsons.” In a recent episode of “Mad Men,” Joan Holloway referenced eating at New York restaurant Le Cirque. Upon fact checking, people discovered that there was no Le Cirque in 1968 New York. Ostensibly, this quibble seems reasonable; historical authenticity is a vital part of “Mad Men’s” mojo, and to let if fall by the wayside seems a disregard for what the viewers love about the show.

Joan has the Wizard Key, I knew it! 

Childhood Nostalgia: Mmm Donuts. – Eat it, Freeman and Nicholson:

Around the time the Simpsons Movie came out, 7-11 came out with these pink sprinkled donuts, identical to the one from the character. Of course I immediately bought it when it came out and man did I fell in love with it. It wasn’t the best donut I have ever eaten, overload on sugar and frosting and mediocre dough. But the fact that I accomplished a childhood dream (to eat that little pink donut), the taste didn’t really matter to me. Besides that feeling where you eat that little pink donut alongside the POP! Homer Simpsons figurine that has the same little pink donut in his hand, priceless.

Bucket List: Eat a Homer Simpsons donut – CHECK

Your childhood dream was to run out onto the field during a baseball game, and you did it last year, remember?

Dag 097 – Yet more t-shirt. 

Best. Episode. Ever. (Round 25) – In a competition between “Homer the Heretic” and “Lost Our Lisa”, I must respectfully disagree.

7 Pensamentos de Homer Simpson – You know it’s a good joke when you can recognize it even in a foreign language:

5. Lisa, vampiros são faz-de-conta, como elfos, gremlins e esquimós.

♫♫ I don’t care, I love it ♫♫ – Speaking of languages I don’t speak, I have no idea what’s going on here, but there are two ladies painting Homer on a wall.  Cool. 

The Great Gatsby…In 10 Words – And then I saw the lighthouse, and I remembered how you love blinking lights.

Doctor Who Monday: Nightmare in Silver…In 10 Words – Oh, I forgot to, uh, carry the one.

Randy Jackson Leaving American Idol…In 10 Words – I wouldn’t. 

The Office (US)…In 10 Words – Determined or not, that cat is long dead by now.

You’re Wrong about the Worst Draft Pick in Packers History – Excellent usage:

Everyone is feeling pretty good about the prospects picked. We’re in that afterglow period where we can imagine all the good things that our team can do without being pestered by the reality of games played, injuries suffered, potentials not reached.

As Homer Simpson would say, “that Bart is a little miracle … he reminds me of me before the weight of the world crushed my spirit.”

Homer actually says “that Bart of ours”, but close enough.

I lack direction – The show has always provided a roundabout introduction to pop culture:

I also realized that, though I had not really heard of or seen Doctor Who before then, I had glimpsed Doctor Who out of the corner of my eye; I started watching The Simpsons maybe in 2000, or thereabouts, both the new shows on Sundays and the reruns that played in the afternoons, and there was that Halloween episode where the Comic Book Guy turned into a Comic Book Villain, The Collector, and started collecting famous people, including ‘Doctor Who’ or the Fourth Doctor.

Duff Beer | Beer Of The World – Not entirely sure that this is trustworthy, but five percent seems about right:

BEER DETAILS

  • Name: Duff Beer
  • Brewery: Duff Breweries
  • City: Springfield
  • Country: USA
  • Produced since: 1989
  • Style: Pilsener
  • ABV: 5%
  • Ingredients: water, malted barley, maize, hops

TV – The Top 15 episodes of The Simpsons (Part 2) – An otherwise fine list spoiled by an entry from Season 19. 

PIXIE and PIXIER: Lisa Simpson Girl Gang – A snazzy Lisa hat for the fashionable Simpsons fan.

Homer Simpson Listening to Ned Flanders – An animated .gif of Homer not caring about that rowboat of decorative geraniums. 

The Simpsons/Robot Chicken Couch Gag – In case you missed it, here’s the YouTube.  (It took too long and it was still the best part of the episode.) 

Analog 365 Project Day 133 – Good enough:

I found this giant plastic doughnut my boyfriend has from a Simpson’s game and couldn’t resist taking a goofy self portrait with it.

Everyone loves plastic donuts. 

You Don’t Make Friends with Salad! – Weight loss sucks:

Homer Simpson was right; you don’t make friends with salad.

1-800-COLLECT – I’d forgotten that the show did collect call ads.  Why collect call numbers were ever worth advertising on television I will never know.

When my blog gets foreign visits: – Animated .gif of the shifty eyed dog from “Beyond Blunderdome”.

lenny loves carl – This is a new blog with the fantastic title you see at left.  Also: just one week until Arrested Development

The Simpsons Season 7 Review – Yup:

After re-watching The Simpsons Season 7 it made me realise how good the show was and how much it has gone downhill.

My Hero: Lisa Simpson – And finally, I get to end the way I like, with someone who agrees with us.  And besides, who doesn’t love Lisa?:

Now, right off the bat, I have to admit that I haven’t been as much of a Simpson’s fanatic as I was as a child. When I talk about The Simpsons, I’m talking about post-the-three-eyed-crow-opening, the old school Simpsons that had obscure literary references, sexual innuendos and morally thematic episodes. It was in these early years that I first fell in love with Lisa Lionheart, the girl who never backed down from a fight.

Amen.  (Also, lotta good screen grabs and YouTube there.)




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