Archive for September, 2013

30
Sep
13

Quote of the Day

Homer's Barbershop Quartet11

“The B-Sharps.” – Homer Simpson
“The B-Sharps.” – Principal Skinner
“The B-Sharps.” – Apu Nahasapeemapetilon & Barney Gumble
“The B-Sharps. . . . Well, you can’t blame a guy for trying. . . . Ah, you’re all under arrest.” – Chief Wiggum

Happy 20th anniversary to “Homer’s Barbershop Quartet”!  Original airdate 30 September 1993.

29
Sep
13

Sunday Preview: Homerland

simpsons1

 

An FBI agent helps Lisa find out why Homer suddenly becomes polite after attending a nuclear power convention.

Welcome to a new season of Zombie Simpsons.  I hope you enjoyed your time off, but now it’s time to again sit down to a Simpsons takeoff of a show that is much better.  Kristen Wiig will guest start tonight.

29
Sep
13

Quote of the Day

Bart's Girlfriend12

“With the way you’re treating me, why should I protect you?” – Bart Simpson
“Because, if you tell, no one will believe you.  Remember, I’m the sweet, perfect minister’s daughter, and you’re just yellow trash.” – Jessica Lovejoy

Happy birthday Gabor Csupo! 

28
Sep
13

Season 8 Marathon: 9h:31m:19s

Homer vs. The 18th Amendment8

“Listen, rummy, I’m going to say it plain and simple: where’d you pinch the hooch?  Is some blind tiger jerking suds on the side?” – Rex Banner
“Yes?” – Barney Gumble

Good morning and welcome to the Season 8 Simpsons-Beer Marathon.  Thanks to everyone who voted, because I do love me some Season 8 and this is going to be a lot of fun.  As with previous marathons, I’ll be pausing or reversing a little to get a quote right or take a screen grab, but I won’t be touching the fast-forward button, even for credits and openings.  This is also the first time I’ve done this since the demise of my beloved old laptop, so we’ll see if this new fangled fancy one (Snowball II) is up to the task of its predecessor. 

The comment section is open and the plan is to put a few things on Twitter as well (the kids seem to like that), but I’ll be busy and drunk, so don’t be miffed when I don’t respond with anything but further updates.  And so, acknowledging that an episode about excessive drunkenness is waiting for me eighteen beers ahead at around 3pm, let’s get going.

1. Treehouse of Horror VII

  • Treehouse of Horror VII7
  • I would read Homer’s autobiography.
  • Gotta love the misdirection of them hiding in the closet instead of the vases.
  • “So we did the only humane thing.”  “We chained Hugo up in the attic like an animal and fed him a bucket of fish heads once a week.”  “It saved our marriage!”
  • It’s the second smack on the head that really makes the pigeon-rat.
  • The narrative economy of the Halloween episodes is amazing.  The Hugo segment has time for a full backstory and a twist ending, and it doesn’t get in the way of the jokes.
  • “Mold! That’s science fair paydirt.”  Yup. 
  • Smith’s grumbling delivery about the waffle iron being “in the shop forever” is why she’s so good.  It’s sincere and silly all at the same time.
  • The animation when the ships fly out and attack Bart is great, especially that one that flies through his ears.
  • He lives in the Clark building.  Heh.
  • The tiny, super brief and clever references, like the woman with her baby as the little people run from Bart or the way the alien claw behaves like one of those crappy games when it picks Homer up, are what we won’t be getting next Sunday with Zombie Simpsons.
  • “Oh my God, space aliens!  Don’t eat me!  I have a wife and kids, eat them!” – Homer Simpson
  • Phil Hartman’s Clinton is the best Presidential imitation that ever came out of SNL, including Ferrell’s Bush the Younger and Carvey’s Bush the Elder.
  • That’s right, the DNC rides around in a cargo van, what of it?
  • Only The Simpsons could have a campaign satire where the sitting President and his challenger both show their butts, right before being killed.

2. You Only Move Twice

  • You don’t need me to tell you how great this episode is, but what I maybe love most about it is the simplicity of the concept.  The entire thing, right from the start with the job offer and benefits, is predicted on a Bond villain who cares about his henchmen.  That’s it.  If there’s one thing that unifies all Bond villains it is a complete disregard for their underlings, so they came up with a perfectly plausible Bond villain and made him the most employee friendly boss ever.  The word “genius” gets used way too much these days, but that is stone cold genius. 
  • The Simpson family: early pioneers of jingle mail.
  • Never before has the enormity and majesty of Redwoods been described so poetically. 
  • Other Simpson innovations: robot vacuum cleaner.
  • And even though Scorpio is the best boss ever: he’s still a jerk who doesn’t want you to call him the boss. 
  • “Matter of fact, I didn’t even give you my coat!”
  • You Only Move Twice11 
  • Albert Brooks is just amazing here.  Everything he says is quotable.  (And his reprise of this role was – by far – the best thing about the movie.)
  • Anyone besides me ever notice the slight nasal note to Bart’s voice when he talks about cursive?  Did he have the allergies in an earlier draft of the script or something?
  • Oh, the kids in the Leg Up Program.
  • I use “case of the sposedas” all the time.
  • Someday I want to open a hammock store called Put Your Butt There.
  • Nobody every says Italy.
  • The animation for Lisa’s allergies and the chipmunk is just phenomenal.
  • I don’t remember precisely, but I laughed so hard I may have peed a little when Homer tackles Bund and they do what no Bond villain ever does and just shoot him. 
  • Kill it with fire!
  • And, because this episode wasn’t awesome enough already, we get the song at the end.

3. The Homer They Fall

  • Weren’t there three Indians last year?
  • “A fat, sarcastic Star Trek fan, you must be a devil with the ladies.”  And you know they know their Trek because Comic Book Guy calls it “illogical”. 
  • The Homer They Fall5 
  • I’m gonna regret it around 5pm when I’m courting a genuinely unhealthy BAC, but so far I’m glad you guys made me include this one.  I’m also gonna regret it during the fight at the end, but the first 2/3 of this one are fantastic.
  • “That’s what we get for living in a state founded by circus freaks.”
  • It’s not just a surgical 2×4, it’s a sterile surgical 2×4.
  • All hobos must have bindles, it is Simpsons law.
  • Paul Winfield’s Don King take has everything: gibberish, fake dignity, completely amoral deal making. 
  • Tasteful Attire Prohibited
  • The fake tension at the end drags this out and makes it feel so much longer than it is.  It just keeps going . . . and then there’s the oddity of Moe with the fan . . . and then everyone they just left is waiting for them outside.  As many great things as this episode has, the end is a terrible preview of Zombie Simpsons.
  • “Due to popular demand, we will forego our national anthem.”

4. Burns, Baby Burns

  • Just like the previous one, the first two acts here are very solid before everything goes to hell.  This was about when people I knew, both kids and adults, really started to bitch about the decline in quality.
  • Homer’s brain leaving Flanders’ cider lecture is perfect, right up to and including his nodding and collapse.
  • Burns, Baby Burns3 
  • This episode did give us “keen on Jesus”, though, and for that I am very grateful.
  • Dangerfield at the snooty cotillion (or whatever) is his best part here.  Very Caddyshack
  • Gotta love the deadpan from the Yale guy on “Semper Fudge”.  All credit to Azaria.
  • I really need a “Gone Drinkin” sign.
  • No regard or esteem.
  • Oh, shit, here we go with the phony kidnapping.
  • The little points, like Too Many Grandmas, Brockman in the chopper, and the theoretical deaths of Homer are good, but this and the heavyweight fight are the kind of filler with which we’ve become all too familiar.
  • “It doesn’t have to make sense.” It used to.

5. Bart After Dark

  • Ah, the V-chip.  It was stupid at the time and is even stupider in hindsight.
  • More great delivery from Smith, “Playing on my peach tree, Mom!”
  • “Cat in the furnace.”  “You know, I think I’ll take Maggie.”
  • I would pay to see the World Series of Bumper Cars, and I would pay a lot to see it in a European ballroom.
  • And speaking of great deliveries: Cartwright as Bart laughs at his impending death.
  • “Are you wearing a grocery bag?” “I have misplaced my pants.”
  • Bart After Dark1 
  • Yet more great delivery, that little yip Castellaneta does when Grampa sees Bart as he walks in and turns around. 
  • “Not pictured, Mrs. Eisenhower.”
  • Ha, never noticed Swartzwelder in the audience when Homer shows up at the, uh, back house before.
  • Among the many, many reasons it sucked when they killed Maude: her, Flanders and the Lovejoys were great as the resident squares (here as the Citizens Committee on Moral Hygiene).
  • Eugene and Rusty are just perfect.
  • Even with his eyes blacked out, it’s great how sad and dejected Smithers is in that photo of him leaving. 
  • And then Grampa and Jasper vote because it isn’t the bordello.  It’s the little things.
  • There’s no way to name a best song from The Simpsons (or even in Season 8), but The Spring in Springfield is one for the ages.  It’s got all the characters in character and it’s funny as hell to boot.

6. A Milhouse Divided

  • Homer is reading Hot Lotto Picks magazine.  This show hated many things, but it really hated the lottery.  (And with good cause!)
  • If I could make .gifs easily while I’m drinking and watching TV, I would make one of Maggie in the non-stick wok.
  • “The only thing I asked you to do for this party was put on clothes, and you didn’t do it.”
  • A Milhouse Divided12 
  • Table Time and Allied Biscuit!  I’d love to know what other things they had before they settled on those. 
  • Casa Nova: A Transitional Place for Singles
  • “I don’t recall saying good luck.”
  • Kirk sets the bar for pathetic divorcees.  The apartment (race car bed included), the clothes (with gold chain), and Starla, it’s a masterpiece of male failure.
  • Yeardley Smith has a lot of great Lisa deliveries, but her deadpan, as in “buns in the cabinet”, is maybe the one with the most depth.  She’s an 8-year-old who has seen it all, and it wouldn’t work without that mix of resignation, contempt and pity.
  • This episode is nigh flawless, but you can already see the absence of Doris Grau with the clerk who files Homer for divorce.  It’s funny, but it’s not Grau. 
  • “Poorness is underlined.”
  • Man there are a lot of good songs in this season.  There’s already been “Spring in Springfield”, now we get “Can I Borrow a Feeling” and we’re still a ways away from the Shary Bobbins episode.

7. Lisa’s Date with Density

  • Great reversal with Kearney yelling at those punk school officials messing with his car.
  • “A Jolly Rancher is not a sprinkle, sir.  Perhaps in Shangri-la they are, but not here!”
  • Lisa's Date with Density12 
  • Jimbo has a chain mace in his locker.
  • “But you’re going to annoy thousands of people just to make a few measly dollars.” – Replace thousands with millions and you’ve got Zombie Simpsons.
  • Nobody likes Milhouse!
  • Milhouse has always been pathetic, but he really takes it to a new level here.  Especially once they pack his ears with gauze.
  • My high school girlfriend once told me how she had to cringe her way through the part where Lisa tries to impress Nelson with the cat.  There really is nothing quite as deeply horrifying as noob romantic fumblings.
  • Nuke the Whales is funny, the look on the whales faces is funnier.
  • “You kissed a girl!” “That is so gay!” – As usual, the show was ahead of the times.
  • I gotta start using “assbutt” more often.
  • That is exactly the kind of dog Milhouse would have.

8. Hurricane Neddy

  • Fire?  Earthquake?  Hippies?
  • Attention to detail: when the National Guard guy gets Grampa to evacuate the nursing home, he does a perfect heel turn.
  • Topwise!  Always topwise.
  • Gotta love not only a town that has a harpsichord store, but one that is destroyed in a hurricane.
  • If you’re going to have a business teetering precariously on top of a mountain, it might as well be a bowling alley.
  • Most textual Biblical scholars do believe that Job was right handed.
  • Short answer, long answer.
  • “You ugly, hate filled man!” “Hey, hey, I may be ugly and hate filled but I, um, . . . what was the third things you said?”
  • Hurricane Neddy10 
  • “Most of those books haven’t been discredited yet!”
  • Poor Jay Sherman.  Got his show cancelled and ended up at Calmwood.
  • “I engaged in intercourse with your spouse or significant other . . . now that’s psychiatry!”
  • The little mono-blink from Flanders at the end is a nice touch.

9. El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer (The Mysterious Voyage of Homer)

  • I have completely copied Marge’s pronunciation of oregano.
  • Jungle primeval.
  • Homer’s insanity pepper trip is one of the most gorgeous things they ever put pen to paper for. 
  • There should be a .gif of the tortoise nodding in the dictionary next to “smug”.
  • If you’re gonna have a drug induced space coyote, it couldn’t be anyone but Johnny Cash, a man who knew from drugs and had a voice for the ages. 
  • “And I bet that crazy pyramid was just the pro shop.”
  • El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer11
  • So I says to Mabel, I says . . .
  • “I’m a lonely insignificant speck on a half bit planet orbited by a cold, indifferent sun.”
  • Aye, the hot pants.

10. The Springfield Files

  • No one is going to catch Takei for Trek Veteran Who Best Understands 21st Century Pop Culture, but Nimoy is uncontested in second place. 
  • Hey, I’m on the same beer number that Homer was! 
  • Let’s all take a moment to enjoy Mulder’s man-thong ID photo.
  • “His jiggling is almost hypnotic.” “Yes, it’s like a lava lamp.”
  • The Springfield Files12 
  • Tibetan numerologists of Appalachia!
  • “Now, son, you don’t want to drink beer.  That’s for daddies and kids with fake IDs.”
  • For those of you too young to remember some of the lowlights of Nimoy’s TV career, this was a thing.  TV was really awful back then.  This shit was rerun on cable well into the 1990s.
  • The green glow, both on Burns and on the rest of them looks great. 

11. The Twisted World of Marge Simpson

  • When are the pancakes coming in the mail?
  • That Moon money is mine!
  • “Scientists say 40% of America’s pictures are hanging crooked.”
  • Gotta love the Travolta painting behind Disco Stu, who is doing his people’s native dance.
  • I don’t know if it’s real words or just mumbling, but the chef’s bitching as the franchise lady closes the window on him is hilarious.
  • Can’t beat Jack Lemmon’s disgusted but professional delivery on “check for millipedes”. 
  • More easy usage: “shoulda but didna”.
  • “And here come the pretzels!”
  • “A barrage of pretzels now knocking Whitey unconscious.”
  • The Twisted World of Marge Simpson9 
  • Only Fat Tony’s mob would leave the Girl Scouts out at the county line.
  • What husband wouldn’t reach out to violent mobsters?
  • Mantegna’s pretzel money speech also has it all: threats of violence, domestic tension, and good, old fashioned extortion.  Also: “C’mere you little squirt.”
  • Forgiveness please.

12. Mountain of Madness

  • Not only does Homer barricade the door so no one else can get out, but later all the windows are broken, the wall is smashed, and yet Homer’s blocked door is intact.
  • All the points to Azaria for the park ranger.  It’s Adam West-y when he says “Budget cutbacks have forced us to eliminate anything the least bit entertaining.”
  • “If you can take advantage of a situation in some way, it’s your duty as an American to do it.”
  • Marge has such wonderfully insane earmuffs.
  • “From the mightiest pharaoh to the lowliest peasant, who doesn’t enjoy a good sit?” – Shearer’s so good at Burns that you almost don’t notice it because the excellence is utterly consistent. 
  • Humor the children.  Ouch.
  • “Something’s wrong with it’s brakes.”
  • Mountain of Madness3 
  • No one ever learns anything about teamwork, which is why that glum, collective “Yes” when Burns asks is so good.

13. Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(Annoyed Grunt)cious

  • Not only are Carl and Apu Confederates in the re-enactment society, but Barney(!) is Abe.  Awesome.
  • “I hide a bottle of Schnapps in the baby’s crib.”
  • Is it a minor animation goof on “anyone but him” in the first song where Bart and Lisa start pointing before they get to that line, or am I just missing something?
  • Text can’t do it justice; Willie’s Flashdance is beyond description.
  • I watched a documentary about the Sherman brothers, who composed many of the classic Disney songs, and they used to play “Feed the Birds” for Walt Disney all the time.  He’d just walk into their office and ask them to “play the song”.  The Simpson version may be the most touching thing about destructive alcoholism ever put to music.
  • Between the animation and Maggie Roswell, original creation Shary Bobbins is one of the best parodies ever.
  • If you’re going to end a satire of a movie about magic and fun competing in a technological age, why not have the hero sucked into an airplane engine and diced into confetti? 

14. The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show

  • This episode may be about crappy Itchy & Scratchy, but it does have some great I&S moments.  Pouring gasoline into the disemboweled intestines of a cat dangling over an active volcano, case in point.
  • Focus groups: significant to idiots.
  • “Please refrain from tasting the knob.”  Dirty.
  • To this day I try never to use the word ‘paradigm’.
  • Homer’s tryout for Poochie is a tour-de-force from Castellaneta. 
  • “Very few cartoons are broadcast live.  It’s a terrible strain on the animator’s wrist.”
  • “Rest assured that I was on the internet within minutes registering my disgust throughout the world.”
  •  The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show8
  • Alex Rocco doesn’t even get a line when he gets frustrated that the actors won’t read Poochie’s death line, but his wretched wails of frustration say plenty. 
  • The sworn affidavit is on a scroll!
  • So long, Roy.
  • What else is on?

15. Homer’s Phobia

  • Bart would have the presence of mind to put a legal disclaimer on the back of a ticket for a lottery he’s running out of a dryer.
  • John Waters!  John Waters!  John Waters!
  • John is a ho-mo-sexual!
  • “I like my beer cold, my TV loud, and my homosexuals flaming!”
  • Homer's Enemy12 
  • Castellaneta’s delivery on “I don’t know” at The Anvil should be in the Smithsonian or something.
  • “Just my bones and organs.”
  • Keep reaching for that rainbow!

16. Brother from Another Series

  • “He explained his reasons for trying to kill us all, and I assure you: they were perfectly sane.”
  • Brother From Another Series7 
  • Nice dissolve from Cecil’s flashback back to his face at dinner with his brother.
  • Why The Simpsons is The Simpsons: there’s a great joke about a dead dog (the old smell hound).  Dead dogs are comedy poison, and they pulled it off.
  • Nice animation/music/directing when Bob and the kids slide into the grate.
  • Brother From Another Series8 
  • “I think I wet my bed.”

17. My Sister, My Sitter

  • Allied tradespeople.  Heh.
  • They make no sense out of context, but both Quimby’s “Stop you idiot” and Homer’s “I was once like you” fit perfectly where they are.
  • “Hey, this isn’t faux dive, this is a dive.” “You’re a long way from home, yuppie boy.  I’ll start a tab.”
  • My Sister, My Sitter10 
  • Hey look, it’s the NASA guy who doesn’t have to give Lisa the amnesia shot for seeing a UFO.
  • Everyone in the waiting room at the ghetto clinic is great: Snake with his lies, Smithers with his shame, and, of course, the nurse who just doesn’t care.
  • The end of this episode is way too serious, but there is Maggie’s innocent wave when the adults finally discover Lisa.
  • And we end on the perpetual desperation of parents for babysitting, because if there’s one thing that’s worth risking your children for, it’s getting away from them.

18. Homer vs. the 18th Amendment

  • Cheapskates.
  • “Everybody, everybody get naked!  Come on, don’t be stuck up, it’s going to be great!”
  • “Ladies, please, all our Founding Fathers, astronauts, and World Series heroes have been either drunk or on cocaine.”
  • It’s so great that Bernice is a drunk and Hibbert doesn’t even know.  I wonder if Phylicia Rashad drank.
  • Dave Thomas, who did the voice for Rex Banner, doesn’t get near enough credit.  He was also on Oakley and Weinstein’s Mission Hill and he was Doug McKenzie.  Thanks again, Canada.
  • I’d like a bathtub mint julep.
  • “Go to your room, Lisa!” – Homer, Marge & Bart Simpson
  • “Hey, Banner, how’s it hanging?” “None of your business.”
  • It’s true, if there’s one group of people who don’t know what laughter sounds like, it’s vice squad killjoys who are against fun.
  • “On behalf of the city, I’d like to apologize and ask how long it will take for you to flood this town with booze again?”
  • Here it is: “To alcohol, the cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems!”.
  •  Homer vs Lisa and the 8th Commandment12

19. Grade School Confidential

  • I don’t remember Nixon, but my Dad can’t let go of “let me say this about that”.
  • “Is this how you imagined your life, Edna?” “Well, yes, but then, I was a very depressed child.”
  • What kind of total horror must it be to get puke out of a bouncy castle?  Well done, Milhouse.
  • Good lesson.
  • Nice callback to have Skinner humming Beethoven when he calls Bart to give Krabappel the note.
  • Agnes forcing Bart to look at her cake book would be bad enough on its own.  It’s so much worse because by Season 8 we all know that if there is one group for which this show has zero pity, it’s old people.
  • “Willie hears ya, Willie don’t care.”
  • Grade School Confidential10 
  • But I am a public servant and not permitted to use my own judgment in any way.
  • Sex Cauldron!
  • Long before there was the 40-year-old virgin, there was Skinner.

20. The Canine Mutiny

  • It isn’t even spoken, but “Covet House” is basically Sky Mall except with more taste and discretion.
  • You a winner, ha ha ha!  You a winner, ha ha ha!  You a winner, ha ha ha! 
  • I have won so many truth telling contests two towns over that I barely remember them all.
  • Why did Milhouse have the bowl?
  • Yup, the Taco Bell dog is among those who get shoveled into the ship’s furnace with Santa’s Little Helper.
  • Be sure: Baby Gerald not only kills butterflies, but he also blinks one eye at a time.
  • “There, there, shut up boy.”
  • The Canine Mutiny9 
  • He un-holied the holy water!
  • Cops who like weed?  Once again, The Simpsons was way ahead of the times.
  • Jammin

21. The Old Man and the Lisa

  • Are there any real questions? 
  • “We collected enough paper to save one whole tree.”
  • The Old Man and the Lisa11 
  • “And I’m sure a pro wrestler such as yourself will appreciate all the closet space, Hit Man.”
  • Yeah, those dairy cases are death traps.
  • “We’re not allowed to read newspapers, they angry up the blood.”
  • Burns multi-movie montage with Lisa is already smart as hell, and then they end it with a doorbell ding-dong that fits the music. Jebus, this show cared about the little things.
  • The local news is and always has been a vicious little creature, and they knew it when they wrote lines like Brockman taunting Burns about smelling terrible.
  • There’s such a comedy viciousness to the spikes, blades and other industrial dismemberment tools in Burns’ new plant.  Horror can be funny.
  • Code Blue

22. In Marge We Trust

  • Lousy God, should’ve made the week an hour longer.
  • “I don’t feel like going to a trash pile today.” “It’s your life.”
  • Contestant for greatest Flanders quote ever: “I’m meek, but I could probably stand to be meeker.”  And, of course, it’s better because Harry Shearer.
  • “That’s ridiculous, nobody is watching us right now.”
  • Gotta love the timid yet horrified look on the librarian’s face when Homer starts dialing.
  • “Hello Chief, let’s talk, why not?”
  • Eleutherius Nicomedia is almost wearing a Captain Picard suit.
  • Home prefecture.  I could type more, but why?
  • “Come on, kids, let’s go home.” “We are home.” “That was fast.”
  • The end of this episode is awful dumb, but it doesn’t drag like the boxing one or the Dangerfield one.  There’s some useless danger tension, but it takes less time and there’s much less of it. 
  • Also, we get Lovejoy telling the “heathen baboons” to say their prayers. 

23. Homer’s Enemy

  • In the context of this show it barely qualifies as a joke, but Brockman’s Horatio Alger enthusiasm for the doomed Grimes is really mean.
  • And then he gets shelved by Burns on his first day.
  • If you’re going to murder an otherwise sympathetic guy, you could just do it, or you can make him a real person by doing things like make him always wipe his palm on his pants before he shakes hands.  The pitch black conclusion works better that way.
  • Grimes also does the one eyed blink; they really liked that in this season.
  • Another nice callback, with Lenny talking about pencils and erasers.
  • And great rotating animation as Grimes is at his desk plotting Homer’s demise.
  • Yeah, and Homer beat their brains out.

24. The Simpsons Spin-off Showcase

  • Want to make fun of and reinforce dumb TV conventions?  The head turn on McClure at “spinoff” .
  • “Daddy, these rubber pants are hot.” “You wear ‘em until you learn, son.”
  • You want 80s cop show verisimilitude?  It’s Wiggum kicking the airboat guy into the water for no reason. 
  • This may just be my innate hatred of laughtracks talking, but the hoots, hollers and laughs of fake laughtracks like this always get me.
  • “I’ve suffered so long, why can’t I die?” – This counts as hopeful on this show.  It’s great.
  • “Daisy Daisy” from broken Grampa has to rank as one of this show’s subtler Kubrick references.
  • “As you may have guessed, it’s inhabited by the ghost of my friend’s dead father.”
  • “He’s haunted” – a nice little sotto voce joke from Moe at the end.
  • McClure’s remote sparkles before he puts on the variety show.
  • “Preppy blonde and stunning”, if you’re going to pretend to ditch Lisa, that’s how it’s gotta go.
  • “Well, I know one thing in this world that’s still pure and good.” “Christian love?” “No.  Candy!”
  • The whole Osmond thing is a nice preview of what they were going for three seasons later in “Behind the Laughter”:  Death by pop culture cheese.

25. The Secret War of Lisa Simpson

  • Not only is Wiggum incompetent, but his brakes squeak like hell because he isn’t the hero Springfield needs, but he is the one they deserve right now.
  • There are always behavior modifying drugs. 
  • I don’t know how deliberate it was, but casting the good sergeant from Platoon as the commandant and making him bang his shin on someone’s foot locker is funny as hell.
  • “A challenge I could do!”
  • “That’s more cursing than I like to hear from a cadet in peacetime.”
  • And that’s it.  You may or may not have noticed a slowdown in updates for the last few episodes, but I can assure you that it was entirely alcohol based. 

Thanks for reading, I’m gonna go take a nap.  Season 8 is wonderful, and while Zombie Simpsons lurks in many of its moments, it wasn’t there then; and Scorpio, Belle and Rex Banner can’t be any better than they are, so we win. 

28
Sep
13

Quote of the Day

Marge Simpson in 'Screaming Yellow Honkers'8

“I didn’t think it was physically possible, but this both sucks and blows.” – Bart Simpson

It’s our last day free of Season 25, make the most of it!

27
Sep
13

Reading Digest: Backhanded Season 25 Preview Edition

Brother From the Same Planet13

“Tonight on Wings . . . Ah, who cares?” – TV Announcer

The FOX marketing blitz for the new season (and all their other shows) is in full swing, so this week there were a ton of “Hey, remember The Simpsons?” type articles on blogs, magazines and newspapers.  Most of them are worthless, but we’ve got a couple below and what’s really amusing is how very little they say about the season that’s about to start.  Oh, sure, they’ll note that the premier is a Homeland take off or that the Halloween episode is coming soon, but in general the preview articles are mostly about how long the show has been on and its status as a pop culture behemoth.  

Partly that’s just the daily grind of the media: you’ve got to do a lot of stories about new seasons of television shows, and it’s easiest to just grab the first hook about a show and build the article around that.  But that’s not all it is, because, as you’ll see with the link from The New York Daily News below, nobody cares about Zombie Simpsons.  You can say polite things about how it’s still going strong, but when it comes time to discuss favorite moments or enduring appeal, nothing past the early seasons ever gets mentioned.  The continued quality of the show really is a Soviet fiction.  In addition to that we’ve got some more video game news, two pieces of show history, a couple of instances of excellent image usage, and a YouTube heavy obituary for the Pillsbury Doughboy. 

Enjoy.

bootlegbart on Instagram – Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week is this outstanding achievement in the field of excellence: a collection of bootleg Bart shirts/images, most from the height of Bartmania.  There’s black Bart, stoner Bart, tons of anti-Iraqi/Saddam Hussein ones, and even just t-shirts people had made up for trips or parties.  There’s even a BDSM one! 

[Note: Season 8 remains well ahead, but if you haven’t voted for tomorrow’s marathon yet, there’s still time at right.]

The history of Simpsons message board alt.tv.simpsons. – Not a ton of new information here, but it’s a nice writeup of what made that thing so impossible to resist and how it foreshadowed pretty much everything the internet now does about television.  Plus it agrees with us (“the show is indisputably not as hilarious or groundbreaking as it was in its magical early years”) and has this great quote from Oakley:

“There’s people who really take the show seriously and really know a lot about it,” Oakley says. “Many of their critiques are correct. That was the thing. You had to be able to sort out the valid criticism from the insane blather."

Black Girl Dangerous and Julio Salgado radicalize childhood cartoon characters – A couple of weeks ago I linked to some high fashion drawings of characters like Lisa and Daria and joked that they looked terribly out of place.  Well, I wasn’t the only one who thought so.  Here’s Lisa and Daria not waltzing around in high fashion, which seems much more appropriate for both of them. 

Lay off Apu . . . and Hank! – I’ll agree with pretty much everything our old friend Denise says here in defense of Apu as an Indian character on television, with one addendum.  Apu debuted on television just six years after Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, which an Indian buddy of mine always describes as “the most racist movie ever made”, was #3 at the box office.  If you were creating an Indian television character for a network show in 2013 (or 2012, when the video she’s rebutting was recorded), you’d never in a million years make him a convenience store owner.  But in 1989/90?  That was different, and they didn’t just leave him in the background to do nothing but say “Thank you, come again”.  In just the first three seasons we see him on the cover of a gun magazine, dating Princess Cashmere, and hanging out at Homer’s with all the other guys to watch a heavyweight championship fight; not to mention he’s there every time Springfield has a meeting or a riot.  This is (yet another) thing that pisses me off about Zombie Simpsons: the show used to be way ahead of the curve on stuff like this, and now it are far, far behind.

How "The Simpsons" Fixed Apple’s iPhone Keyboard – Do you like the nice, responsive touch keyboard on your phone/tablet?  Thank “Lisa on Ice”.  Seriously:

"In the hallways [at Apple] and while we were talking about the keyboard, you would always hear the words ‘Eat Up Martha,’" Ganatra recalls. "If you heard people talking and they used the words ‘Eat Up Martha,’ it was basically a reference to the fact that we needed to nail the keyboard. We needed to make sure the text input works on this thing, otherwise, ‘Here comes the Eat Up Marthas.’"

The 2013 Groom Expo’s Creative Styling Tournament wows dog lovers in Hershey, Pa. – There is a poodle groomed and dyed to look like Marge in the front and Homer in the back.  It’s both pretty and terrifying. 

#fbf: The Be Sharps (The Simpsons) – People discover even famous pieces of culture through The Simpsons:

Over the years, I’ve grown to appreciate this episode even more so as I became a fan of The Beatles. You know, as a kid, I was never a fan of The Beatles. I thought they were some outdated band I was forced to listen to on long car rides, thanks to my dad’s incessant request to play The Beatles’s “1″ album.

I got basically none of the Beatles references the first time I saw that episode, and I don’t think I’m alone.

EA: AAA franchises on mobile will not cannibalize console counterpartsTapped Out is responsible for, wait for it, nearly a quarter of all of EA’s mobile profits:

“We’ve seen this phenomenon manifest itself with the success of some of our biggest titles; The Simpsons: Tapped Out generated $23 million in digital net revenue last quarter alone and our overall mobile business last quarter generated about $100 million, which was a substantial increase over the prior year’s performance,” he said.

It’s A Nice Normal Show – Excellent usage:

The mother blows up a grocery store because of contentious flak from the French owner. The father blows up a turbine to purify his tap water, and the daughter and son come to blows with their schoolmates. That’s how seriously you should take the Blakes’ claim for normalcy, as the film’s title We’re A Nice Normal Family intimates.

Then again, since Homer Simpson, the bumbling father in long-running cartoon series, The Simpsons, said, “Remember, as far as anyone knows, we’re a nice normal family.” that’s been code for the exact opposite.

Indeed.

Stage Review: Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play – Full circle at Time magazine:

I go way back with The Simpsons. Back to the very start, in fact, when I gave the show a decidedly mixed review in TIME during its first season (I complained about the crude animation). I saw the error of my ways soon enough and have followed the show avidly ever since.

[…]

But I never thought the show could save the world — as it does, at least ostensibly, in Anne Washburn’s odd and fascinating new off-Broadway piece, Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play, which opened last week to some rave reviews, a few equally passionate dissents and sellout crowds.

In Performance: Matthew Maher of ‘Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play’ – And here you can watch one of the actors perform an early scene for The New York Times.

Phil Hartman Remembered On 65th Birthday – A nice tribute to Hartman, including YouTube of many of Troy McClure’s self introductions.

Jon Lovitz on Obama, The Simpsons and playing likable jerks – Not too much new here, but I remain steamed about this nearly two decades later:

Westword: Straight off, I want to say that I was a huge fan of The Critic in the early ’90s. I really wish it had been given more of a chance. Do you think it was cancelled because audiences couldn’t sympathize with a film critic?

Jon Lovitz: Thanks. The thing is, the show was actually making fun of critics, and at the time the show was a hit with audiences. But for whatever reason, the network didn’t like it. Jim Brooks was like, "They’re canceling a hit, what are they doing?" Al Jean and Mike Reiss didn’t have a clue. It was disappointing. It held 90 percent of The Simpsons audience at the time, which was at its peak.

FOX: Making terrible decisions for coming up on three decades!  

The Cheers Legacy: Season 4 – Well, I certainly didn’t know this:

But there it all was in the strangely titled “2 Good 2 Be 4 Real” season 4 episode of Cheers, staring me in the face and assaulting me in the eyes and ears–a plot that I had seen before on The Simpsons.

But long before The Simpsons did it.

South Park famously proved that every comedy in some way or the other has ripped off The Simpsons, a theory summed up in the line, “Simpsons did it!”

[…]

So when “2 Good 2 Be 4 Real”’s plot was that the men of the bar decide to cheer up Carla by inventing a perfect man for her to correspond with after placing an unpopular personal ad in the local rag, it shook me to the core. Of course, there were differences to this and “Bart the Lover”: the picture the guys used was of some unseen male model found in wallets, and not Gordie Howe. Carla finds out about the deception when Sam feels guilty, while Bart, with some counseling from his family, decides to take the high road and let her down easy by way of a touching letter (spoiler?).

It’s true what Mr. Garrison and Chef say in that South Park episode:

Garrison: Every idea’s been done, Butters, even before The Simpsons.
Chef: Yeah, in fact, that episode was a ripoff of a Twilight Zone episodes.

On Humour as Ideology – A long post about when and why laughter is appropriate and just what comedy is that, naturally, takes off from The Simpsons.

Weekend Words #29: The popcorn incident – Well, what Simpsons quote would you think of for the time you accidentally snorted an un-popped popcorn kernel as a child?:

Moe: Yeah, hey, I’ve got a gift. As a child, I was bitten by the acting bug. Then it burrowed under my skin and laid eggs in my heart. Now those eggs are hatching and I…the feeling is indescribable.
Homer: I know what you mean. Our dog had that.

Perfectly quoted, excellent usage.

How Costco Made And Ruined my Day – Excellent usage:

You could almost say it was a warehouse, but I think the term bewarehouse is more fitting.

Stacks and stacks of products, bigger than your face could be found wherever you turned. I felt like I was in this episode of the Simpsons:

She’s got Barney accidentally decapitating the giant Mrs. Butterworth there, and really, if that’s not Costco, what is?  The actual quote is, “Oh, no, I’ve killed her.  It’s all happening again!”.

Rise of the Novella? – More excellent image usage:

It’s the difference between Monty Python ending a scene abruptly vs. SNL stretching one out to fill up 90 minutes of airtime on a thin week. How many times have authors, plugging away to get to some arbitrary minimum that their traditional publisher demands, felt like Krusty in the Big Ear Family?

A Robo-Desk for Weary Office Workers – Desk goes up:

There’s an old episode of The Simpsons in which Homer lies in a hospital bed while waiting for heart surgery, raising and lowering the bed while saying, “Bed goes up, bed goes down.” That’s the first thing that came to mind when I checked out the Stir Kinetic desk, a “smart” height-adjustable desk with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and a built-in touch screen that aims to get you moving around while you work, instead of just sitting at your desk all day.

Desk goes down.

TV’s longest-running sitcom family, voiced by Dan Castellaneta, Yeardley Smith and other vets, greets new season on ‘The Simpsons’The New York Daily News has a nice little puff piece about the show being on for so long.  There’s nothing terribly new, but I think they need to update their file photo of Jean.  It’s not as out of date as Jasper’s picture when he goes on that date with Mrs. Krabappel, but it’s gotta be fifteen years old.  He’s wearing a tie!  Oh, and at the end there’s this:

With more than 500 episodes to choose from and thousands of hysterical moments — some subtle, most not — it’s impossible to even attempt “The Simpsons” top five jokes. So we’ll just settle for some of our favorites instead.

None of them come from after Season 6, and that comes right after they do the obligatory “it’s still funny!” section. 

“Mountain Dew mouth” rots teeth, costs taxpayers – Excellent usage:

“Blecch! Ew! Sheesh! I’ll take a crab juice,” replied a thirsty Homer Simpson to a vendor’s alternative offer of Mountain Dew. I side with Homer on most issues, including this one.

3D 101/Basics Part 2 – Want to create an illusory but very convincing parking structure in Tapped Out?  Here’s your guide.

Cotton Candy Grapes available in Newton in Newton, Iowa – As usual, life imitates the show:

Marge Simpson once famously said, “Fruit is nature’s candy” in a classic episode of The Simpsons. Little did she know that modern day growers would take those sentiments to heart and thus Cotton Candy Grapes were created.

The grapes were created by the Grapery, a company based out of Bakersfield, Calif., that specializes in unique and high flavor grapes, such as Cotton Candy Grapes.

Fernando Award goes to Nancy Cartwright, the voice of Bart Simpson – Congrats:

Cartwright’s long-running career has provided her the time and financial resources to help others, and on Friday night she was named the 55th recipient of the Fernando Award, considered the Oscar of volunteerism in the San Fernando Valley. She won on her third nomination.

“Wow, thank you so very much,” Cartwright told about 300 people attending the annual award dinner at the Warner Center Marriott. “Bart might say about volunteering, ‘It’s a kick in the butt.’ I am not Bart Simpson. I’m Nancy Cartwright.”

R.I.P. Pillsbury Doughboy – Remembering the gooey little guy with his many pop culture appearances, including The Simpsons and The Critic.

The Simpsons’ secret formula: it’s written by maths geeks – Haven’t read the book, but pretty much all the nice things you can say about math in Zombie Simpsons can be said more about Futurama.

Quenneville used to dislike cutting guys, but now he’s cool with it – You can’t have a headline like that and not mention Homer:

While normally the toughest part of any coach’s job (save Homer Simpson), Joel Quenneville has become more comfortable with the idea of giving someone the axe.

Excellent reference.

REVIEW: “Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play” Pushes The Simpsons Beyond the Apocalypse – A very positive review of the play that agrees with us:

I’m sure it will come as no surprise if we tell you that the 24th season of The Simpsons will not stand the test of time. In fact, if Anne Washburn’s Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play, is any indication, not much will be remembered beyond season six.

Heh.

Two for the Price of None – And finally, I get to end the way I like, with someone who agrees with us:

And now, we move onto a matter which has also been highly thought of (couldn’t think of the world I was supposed to write down) in the last few years – The Simpsons’ downhill-ism. (Probably not a word, but meh.) In the last few years, the plots have gone downhill and it seems the writers are scraping the bottom of the barrel. Take season 25′s premiere, “Homerland”, to be aired in a few days. Terrorists brainwash Homer Simpson into blowing up the town. Wow. To be honest, without an interesting wraparound, it’s not that exciting.

I’m certainly not looking forward to it.  Tomorrow should be fun, though, so don’t forget to vote at right if you haven’t already.

27
Sep
13

Quote of the Day

Das Bus7

“Good luck, Ralphie!  If your nose starts bleeding, it means you’re picking it too much, or not enough.” – Chief Wiggum




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