Archive for October, 2013



26
Oct
13

Quote of the Day

Treehouse of Horror I9

“You . . . you speak English?” – Marge Simpson
“I am actually speaking Rigellian.  By an astonishing coincidence both of our languages are exactly the same.” – Kang

25
Oct
13

Reading Digest: Math Class Edition

Bart the Genius10

“So Y equals R cubed over three.  And if you determine the rate of change in this curve correctly, I think you will be pleasanelty surprised. . . . Well, don’t you get it Bart?  Derivitive DY equals 3R squared DR over three, or R squared DR, or RDRR . . . harde-har-har.  Get it?” – Miss Milan
“Oh, yeah.” – Bart Simpson

This week we’ve got three links to that new Simpsons math book, including one upcoming author appearance and a writeup of a just completed author appearance.  In addition to that we’ve got some FCC complains, lots of YouTube, more Halloween stuff because we’re inside a week now, and plenty of usage and fan made items.  Enjoy.
Top 10 Songs from the Simpsons. Again I must stress that these aren’t in any order what so ever, because it is was too stressful to put any of these songs in order. – Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week has lots of great YouTube, and the only entry from the Zombie Simpsons era is Spider-Pig, which I can’t really complain about.
The Comic Book Gal – Not that we really need further proof or anything, but The Simpsons was never a show you needed to see as a kid to get into:

When I was in college at the University of Florida in Gainesville in 1990, we had heard of this super funny bunch of shows on this network called Fox that we didn’t have.  But this deli that was frequented by the student body called Joe’s Deli had a satellite, and every Sunday night it was SRO to watch The Simpsons, followed by In Living Color, followed by Married With Children.  My cousin/sorority sister Stephanie and I would go early to grab a table, and I would quietly and without judgment eat an entire 9-inch-long turkey sub all by myself, plus a beer I somehow managed to order despite the fact that I was only 20, because those servers at Joe’s were the fucking shit.
Week after week we did this, and our minds were blown.  This was a show for us.

Indeed.  The author is a writer who later worked with Greg Daniels and some other Simpsons-alums, and she’s got a couple of tidbits at the link.
The Raven and The Simpsons – It’s the time of the year for appreciations of Poe and “Treehouse of Horror I”.  This one comes from someone who knows all about it:

My students love this poem even though the language is initially foreign to them. What helps them is viewing this poem told by Lisa Simpson. Yes, THE Lisa Simpson. This first aired in The Simpsons’ Treehouse of Horror on Oct. 24, 1990.

The one thing I wondered about was how the author would sustain such a long book when mathematics is essentially simple and elegant. And the answer is that the second half of the book on Futurama. This was mildly interesting, but I didn’t read it all – it didn’t resonate in the same way The Simpsons had through my life, exploding as it did anarchic and yellow into my schooldays, following me through Friday evenings and the beginning of the weekend with my friends at Uni, and then into entertaining my own children when they were young.

Notorious Baldies – Cool fan made images of famously bald pop culture dudes, including Homer, Yoda, and – awesomely – Mr. Miyagi.
Homer Pumpkin – by Manny Pavao – Exactly what it says.  Click through for all the elaborate Halloween awesomeness.
Around the Water Cooler: “The Simpsons,” Season 25 and Imminent Death – They’re talking about that announcement of an impending character death, but it’s most revealing that this is the pertinent question:

3) Who still watches the show, and how was the Treehouse this year?

10 Changes In A Springfield Without Homer – Speaking of the dead character publicity stunt, what might it do to Springfield if they did the “unthinkable” and killed Homer?  The possibilities are endless, but here’s ten of them.
Is ‘The Simpsons’ A Show For Children? FCC Complaints Leaked – Zombie Simpsons can’t do much, but it can still piss of Grampa Simpson types who like to write letters to the editor.

 On Monday, Mother Jones asked Al Jean, a longtime Simpsons executive producer, what he thought about this archive of complaints against his show. Jean sent along the following statement:
Well, at least they weren’t complaining about us being on too long.

That job is taken.
How Nancy Cartwright (and Bart Simpson) Mind Their Bodies – It’s Cartwright’s birthday today, and Parade magazine asked her how she takes care of herself:

If you could undo one bad health habit, what would that be?
Stop licking my plate.
How do you take care of your brain and your mental health?
My brain takes care of itself. As for mental health, laughter is the best medicine!

The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets with Simon Singh – Nov 6, 2013 – If you’re in D.C. on November 6th, you can attend an event with the guy who wrote that new Simpsons math book.
Review: Simon Singh talks The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets – And here’s a writeup of a talk he gave on the book in Ireland last week.
Video: Lunatic backflips over 72ft canyon gap on mountain bike – There was a video making the rounds earlier this week from the helmet cam of a guy who ran a dirt bike down half a mountain.  That video is here, as well as Homer’s attempt at something similar in “Bart the Daredevil”.
Enough of the heavy! Watch The Simpsons :) – Another video making the rounds this week is this one with ten Simpsons facts.  There’s nothing new here, but it’s got 1.7 million views in two days, so I figured I’d mention it.

Could it be getting worse? Could we, like Milhouse Van Houten once soberly stated, be “through the looking glass” at this point? All conspiracies aside.
Though at this point, I’d take some reverse-vampire theorizing if it made sense as to how the Bears lost yesterday’s game and how on top of that we now have to deal with losing both Jay Cutler and Lance Briggs for a significant amount of time.

Diary of a Nerdy Kid: Life. Well. Spent. – The Tapped Out game has spawned an enormous number of websites and online activity generally.  This is a write up of everyone’s favorite geek curmudgeon built around his actions in the game.
The Simpsons Tapped Out- Halloween Update – It’s also worth noting that plenty of people who play the game don’t watch Zombie Simpsons:

When I clicked on the Simpsons house a few days into this update it asked me a question ‘what item of Moe’s does Homer Covet in this year’s Treehouse of Horror’s episode’ if you don’t live in America then you probably won’t know the answer – it is An Emerald Ring. This will give you Homer’s Strongman Costume!

The Smithers Test: How TV fails to depict gay characters – This is what I’m talking about when I say the show used to be way ahead of the curve and is now just as far behind it:

Much like Apu, his South Asian costar on “The Simpsons,” Smithers elicits guilty giggles but feels somehow retrograde. He’s funny because he’s a desperately lonely, effeminate gay man who collects dolls. He’s a gay character on television, but he’s more gay than character. It’s an open question as to whether or not the character would be put on “The Simpsons” were the show debuting in 2013, but as antique as the assumptions underpinning Smithers are, he’s hardly out of place on TV.

If the show had gone off the air after Season 11, Smithers and Apu would probably be remembered fondly as groundbreaking characters.  Instead they’ve hung on as outdated stereotypes that stopped being funny a long time ago.
462. Moe Letter Blues – Mike’s one good thing is sometimes hard to find:

One good line/moment: The boat smashing into the dock at Weasel Island and exploding. Random and stupid, but it was the only thing I smirked at the whole show. Also, it was a moment where something actually happened.

464. Judge Me Tender – Like, impossible to find:

One good line/moment: Nothing. Fuck this episode, and this show.

That American Idol episode was unbelievably bad.
Best. Episode. Ever. (Round 70) – Season 2 vs. Season 8.
Best. Episode. Ever. (Round 71) – Season 15 vs. Season 19 when so many better episodes go down in flames?  That randomized Excel sheet sucks.
Best. Episode. Ever. (Round 72) – Season 2 slaughters Season 15:

The writers love torturing Homer, and sometimes, with a little restraint and focus, that can make a good episode (“The Homer They Fall,” “Homerpalooza“), but this is season 15, and restraint and focus are long gone.

Ah, that’s more like it.
Best. Episode. Ever. (Round 73) – Season 5 easily handles Season 19.
Business as Usual Notebook-Paper – A paper design with sad little Bart.  I’d write on that.

Horns are blaring and Khan’s repenting—self-flagellation aplenty: “There is darkness in every inch of my veins”—but he can’t help backsliding to boasts: “I got two ladies on each arm and it ain’t doin’ me no harm.” It’s a collision between Brother Faith’s Revival and the “Twist And Shout” scene from Ferris Bueller.

The music video is . . . interesting.

As Homer Simpson once pondered: “What is mind? No matter. What is matter? Never mind”.
Debate of a more thoughtful nature takes place at Swedenborg Hall, Bloomsbury on 6 November.

   A mysterious love heart hanging from a Brighton bridge has had drivers craning their necks in curiosity.
The object, modelled on the retro Lovehearts sweets, current carries the message Eat My Shorts.
The Simpsons cartoon reference has replaced an earlier inscription which read Heartbreaker.

Cool, they broke his brain.  Click through for a picture.
Funny _____ of the Week: October 23rd, 2013 – Just some funny TV screen grabs, including Marge and Ruth Powers at Shot Kickers.
How is the Worst Show on Television Still on the Air? – This is about Dads, but this is a horribly frightening thought:

More importantly, Family Guy is a hit with audiences in a broadcast television landscape feeling the effects of lower ratings and quick cancellations. The show is in its 12th season, and the network has little impetus to cancel the momentum of one of their few hits. Factor in syndication deals with nearly every network that shows comedy, and it’s not inconceivable that Family Guy could challenge The Simpsons’ 25-year (and counting) record for longest-running television series.

UNSCRIPTED: It’s time to say ‘farewell’ to fading ‘Simpsons’ – And finally, I get to end with a Pennsylvania newspaper columnist who agrees with us:

It’s gone from something I used to plan my Sunday nights around to something I barely even remember to watch anymore. And when I do catch an episode, I’m inevitably disappointed.

Indeed.
25
Oct
13

Quote of the Day

Treehouse of Horror VII7

“Wait a minute, Hugo’s scar is on the wrong side.  He couldn’t have been the evil left twin.  That means the evil left twin is, and always has been, Bart.” – Dr. Hibbert
“Oh, don’t look so shocked.” – Bart Simpson

Happy Birthday Nancy Cartwright! 

24
Oct
13

Animation Alley: Treehouse of Horror V

tohv-01(this episode was directed by Jim Reardon)
I love the very few times the show utilizes live action, here where Marge discovers tonight’s episode was banned by Congress, and instead the classic film 200 Miles to Oregon. Funny how this movie is fake, while Paint Your Wagon turns out to be real. Anyway, no wraparounds anymore, we go to our title sequence, which has been getting more and more gruesome over time. You don’t see many cartoons where a boy chops the head off his school principal, who authorizes it with a gleeful thumbs up.

tohv-02The first segment is, of course, a parody of The Shining, and many moments and shots from the film are recreated here, all looking fantastic, be it from the establishing shots of the mansion and hedge maze, the blood escaping the elevator, or the awesome wraparound of the room scrawled with Homer’s maddening message. What makes it all work is the aim of the humor: the joke isn’t that they’re doing The Shining, it’s just the story they’ve decided to tell, and the jokes come from their twisting of the source material, combined with the personality of our characters within it.

tohv-03If you didn’t already have enough Shining references, here’s yet another, with Maggie spelling ‘Redrum’ with blocks. Not exactly a freeze frame moment since it’s pretty clear in the shot, but still a nice touch.

tohv-04David Silverman comes back with a vengeance, outdoing himself from the dogs playing poker bit from last year’s special. Homer going mad here is one of my favorite animation moments in the entire series; between the amazing drawings and Castellaneta’s hilarious performance, it’s a wonderful marvel to behold. If this were attempted by an artist now, it would all be thrown away for being too off-model. This would never make it to air.

tohv-05I love that for no discernible reason, we have cameos by franchise monsters like Freddy Kreuger, Pinhead and Jason Vorhees as Moe’s fellow ghouls who want to see Homer waste his family. I guess Homer’s sloth-like nature and love for food could only be dissuaded with the help of all the famous movie monsters at once.

tohv-06I love the look of Willie’s room, this nice calming green after all the shots before it of the gloomy blue mansion. The beguiling Scottish lass with bagpipes above the headboard is a great touch.

tohv-07I’ve always loved this shot, a low angle up at Homer, looking truly possessed, lumbering through the snow to murder his entire family. The Halloween shows’ greatest triumph is being able to make us feel real tension amidst the stupidest of situations. Mere scenes ago we had Homer optioning to stuff his face rather than follow the orders of the Mummy and Dracula, but now, thanks to the great drawings, music, performances, everything coming together to make us really believe that our favorite dumb lovable oaf is capable of doing something so horrible. Weaving from dumb jokes to believable tension… it ain’t easy, but the show in its heyday did it in spades every year.

tohv-09The first reality Homer returns to being ruled by Flanders has so many great moments. You have the floor morphing to a monitoring screen, a la Terminator 2, and the hooks forcing all the citizens to smile, such a wonderfully grotesque image. And I’ll mention again, despite the silliness of a Flanders-run universe, the show still makes us feel uncomfortable. The totalitarian nature of this world, as well as the far-gone looks of Marge and the kids post-lobotomy (Kavner’s dead reading of “It’s bliiiiisss” is so disconcerting), you really do feel uneasy.

tohv-11One of my favorite moments in the whole series (I’m sure I say that a lot… but this time I mean it) is when Homer finally snaps and wreaks as much havoc upon the prehistoric land as he wants. After smashing a few things with his club, he squashes a lizard two times, kicks up some dirt for whatever reason, then flat out cold cocks a giant dragonfly and starts bashing it with his club. There’s just something about this scene… the rhythm of the animation, it all seems to happen so quick, Homer’s squishing foot feeling somewhat delicate for some reason, the follow-through of Homer going from kicking dirt to his left, then turning and just decking that insect to his right, and the loud sound effect accompanying… it’s moments like these where screencaps just do no justice whatsoever.

tohv-13Great bit of a stircrazy Martin, just violently pulsating in his cramped little cage. You can’t help but feel bad for him.

tohv-14This may be the creepiest segment to me, for this ending alone, of the faculty just having completely lost it, becoming insatiable cannibals. It starts with Lunchlady Doris, unable to speak a word but letting out a guttural growl, seemingly having gone mad from killing so many children. Skinner is absolutely intimidating in the bit where he considers where he will begin devouring his arch nemesis. Which then leads to…

tohv-15…the giant blender. I mean, just look at that fucking thing. The vat to the side of it just splattered in blood, the innards of all of their former classmates. You don’t need anything more than that, that image is horrifying enough. Then afterwards, we get Milhouse falling to his death; his terrified expression, and then the brief churning noise after we cut back to Bart and Lisa… so, so upsetting,

tohv-16And if all that wasn’t traumatizing enough, we have our finale, where the family gets their skin turned inside out in a truly violent fashion. What else is there to do than to end with a big musical number! And just when you let your guard down, we have Santa’s Little Helper gnawing at Bart’s innards and dragging him off screen, leaving a wet pool of blood trailing behind him. Happy Halloween, everybody! Pleasant dreams!

24
Oct
13

Quote of the Day

Treehouse of Horror V10

“Now look, boy, if your Dad goes gaga, you just use that ‘Shin’ of yours to call me and I’ll come a running.  But don’t be reading my mind between four and five.  That’s Willie’s time!” – Caretaker Willie

23
Oct
13

Quote of the Day

Treehouse of Horror III9

“Do you sell toys?” – Homer Simpson
“We sell forbidden objects from places men fear to tread.  We also sell frozen yogurt, which I call frogurt.” – House of Evil Owner

22
Oct
13

Quote of the Day

Treehouse of Horror II12

“Hey, here’s a good job, Dad.  Oh, wait, you have to know how to operate an ultra-sonic lithotripter.” – Lisa Simpson
“How hard can it be?” – Homer Simpson




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