Archive for November, 2013

30
Nov
13

Quote of the Day

Brother Can You Spare Two Dimes17

“Now, Bart, I know you’re too young for that machine gun you wanted, but I’m gonna give you something that’ll make sure when you’re old enough, you can still buy one: a membership in the National Rifle Association.” – Herb Powell
“Wow, the NRA!  Can I get armor piercing cyanide tipped bullets too?” – Bart Simpson
“It’s in the Constitution, son.” – Herb Powell

29
Nov
13

Quote of the Day

Hurricane Neddy11

“And the weather service has warned us to brace ourselves for the onslaught of Hurricane Barbara.  And if you think naming a destructive storm after a woman is sexist, you obviously have never seen the gals grabbing for items at a clearance sale.” – Kent Brockman
“It’s true, but he shouldn’t say it.” – Marge Simpson

28
Nov
13

Quote of the Day

Bart vs Thanksgiving12

“Mom, you made it!  How are you?” – Marge Simpson
“I have laryngitis and it hurts to talk, so I’ll just say one thing: you never do anything right.” – Jacqueline Bouvier

27
Nov
13

Quote of the Day

$pringfield13

“The economic slump began last spring when the government closed Fort Springfield, devastating the city’s liquor and prostitution industries.” – Kent Brockman

26
Nov
13

Quote of the Day

Two Cars in Every Garage and Three Eyes on Every Fish10

“Have you found any dirt on Mary Bailey?” – C.M. Burns
“Well, we’ve gone through her garbage.” – Garbologist
“We’ve talked to her maid.” – Mudslinger
“And so far the only negative thing we have found is from some guy who dated her when she was sixteen.” – Garbologist
“Ah, and?” – C.M. Burns
“He felt her up.” – Muckraker
“Bah, not good enough!” – C.M. Burns

Happy birthday Wes Archer!

25
Nov
13

Behind Us Forever: The Kid Is All Right

Chalkboard - The Kid's All Right

“Worked for the Carter Administration?” – Marge Simpson
“Well, you voted for him, twice.” – Lisa Simpson
“Lisa, shh, someone might be listening.” – Marge Simpson

It’s never been all that hard to poke fun at Republicans and Democrats, but doing so would require Zombie Simpsons to make some jokes instead of spending all their time expositing an inane and nonsensical story.  And when I say inane, I mean in-fucking-ane.  Lisa meets the new kid in her class outside of class, for some reason, they do a project on FDR together without, it seems, ever talking to one another about the subject, and all that’s before Burns and a real life vampire get involved.  Oddly enough, the episode did have a singular bright spot, a Simpsonization of an eighty-year-old Disney cartoon called “Silly Symphony: Music Land” where people are musical instruments and there is great conflict between different genres.  Burns tries to stop Lisa from playing jazz, which is made retroactively funnier as the actual episode involves Burns trying to rig a second grade election for some reason.

– I know it’s just them redoing an old Disney cartoon, but the opening was entertaining.  It’s not quite “The Longest Daycare”, but it’s pretty cool.  They really are at their best when they don’t have to write dialogue.

– For further evidence, see Lisa singing a song for the first minute of the episode.

– Another case in point, why did they have Bart say “And the best part is, I’m bombarding her with her own homework”?  You could’ve just showed that to us.

– I’m not going to transcribe the whole episode or anything, but they are seriously bad at this:

Lisa: “That’s a reference to the Bronte sisters!”
Isabel: “You got my reference to the Bronte sisters?”

We just saw that, less than two seconds ago!  Please to not be explaining everything as it happens.

– Oh, hello there, silent Mr. Bergstrom fan-service.

– I guess it’s nice that they bothered to include a conflict in this plot, but when they do things like have Lisa not realize this girl’s politics until they’re both on stage together it sucks the life so completely out of this that I’m not even sure why they bothered.  (And, as if on cue, Skinner walks on to tell us what we just saw again.)

– This 1980s party in the attic is almost existentially sad.  Remember cassettes and VHS?  Remember?  We said remember, damn it!

– Republican Headquarters keeps getting less inventive and fun.

– Why, Nelson, so kind of you to appear out of nowhere and then disappear again.

– There are a lot of things wrong with this ice cream parlor scene, but having the squeaky voiced teen first remove the wheelbarrow of ice cream and then drive another giant thing of ice cream into the scene thirty seconds later is illustrative of them all.  It makes no sense, is all exposition, and indicates that they, once again, seem to think things that just happened have no bearing on what’s about to happen.

– Uh, what was with Pig Pen from Peanuts showing up and then disappearing?

– Lisa is smacking, punching and kicking Bart.  I don’t even know what to file that under.

– That scene with Lisa pretending to be drunk was so good they repeated it with Bart.

– I could say something about the empty-headed time wasting that was Lisa’s “liberal” speech, but Harold Ramis said it better.

– This scene with Clinton and the Democratic losers sure takes a long time.

– And a pointless flash forward ends with a call back to the musical opening.  That on repeat ten times would’ve been a lot more fun than this episode, and it even has a better Burns plot.

Anyway, the ratings are in and they remain embarrassingly bad.  Just 6.65 million people were glad this isn’t an election year last night.  That’s the highest all season; in fact, it’s the highest since last January.  But it was with a football overrun, will probably come down when the final numbers are released, and is well below what the show was averaging just three seasons ago.  That’s as good as they can do these days, and it’d be historically bad if it weren’t for all the other historically bad numbers they’ve been putting up the last couple of years.

25
Nov
13

Quote of the Day

A Fish Called Selma11

“Tonight, Seventies leading man Troy McClure has finally met the woman of his dreams.  We may remem-. . . woman?  Huh.  Okay.  We may remember Troy from such films as The Verdict Was Mail Fraud and Leper in the Backfield.” – Not John Tesh

24
Nov
13

Sunday Preview: The Kid Is All Right

The_Kid_is_All_Right_Promo_1

Lisa’s new best friend turns out to not only be a Republican, but her opponent in their second-grade class election.

Eva Longoria will guest start tonight as Isabelle, who is Lisa’s classmate/friend/opponent.  Isabelle is also the first name of the character Longoria played on The Young And The Restless. Not that I or anyone else cares; I just don’t have anything else to say about this plot line.  Anderson Cooper also stars as himself, so if you didn’t have a reason not to watch before, there you go.

 

 

24
Nov
13

Reading Digest Supplemental: Tournament Links

Dead Putting Society8

Our old friend Nebel was nice enough to remind me on Twitter that I had forgotten to link his best episode ever tournament.  And, he’s not even the only one with an episode tournament I missed this week.  I may need to carve out a special section in Reading Digest while these things go on, but for today here are some links that I should’ve but didn’t include on Friday:

Round 86: The Secret War of Lisa Simpson vs. Homer’s Triple Bypass – The old directors (Silverman, Archer, etc.) really did give the show a distinctive look even beyond the yellow skin.

Round 87: The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular vs. Bart the General – Bart getting his eyeballs dried always looked painful.

Round 88: Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes? vs. Blood Feud – Always love the story of Hercules and the lion. 

Round 89: Lisa the Beauty Queen vs. Bart Gets Famous – You’ll have to speak up, he’s wearing a towel.

THE BEST EPISODE THINGY THERE EVER WAS ROUND 1 Moaning Lisa vs. Lisa’s Substitute – Great breakdown of “Lisa’s Substitute” here.

24
Nov
13

Quote of the Day

Cape Feare9

“But who’d want to hurt me?  I’m this century’s Dennis the Menace.” – Bart Simpson
“It’s probably the person you least suspect.” – Homer Simpson
“That’s good, Dad.” – Lisa Simpson

23
Nov
13

Compare & Contrast: Strikes and Strikebreakers

Last Exit to Springfield11

“Goodbye, Springfield, from Hell’s heart, I stab at thee!” – C.M. Burns

The line everyone knows from 1987’s Wall Street is, “Greed is good”.  Of course, Michael Douglas doesn’t quite say that; his actual line is “Greed, for lack of a better word, is good”.  Either way it’s not the best line in the movie.  That honor goes to Martin Sheen, playing the skeptical head of an airline mechanics union.  Sitting in Gordon Gekko’s excessively 1980s penthouse as the iconic bankster of the time licks his chops over wage cuts now for theoretical profit sharing tomorrow, Sheen sagely notes:

“The rich been doing it to the poor since the beginning of time.  The only difference between the Pyramids and the Empire State Building is the Egyptians didn’t allow unions.”

The fight between labor and management is as old as the hills, and labor has only one weapon: organizing.  Not that unions are all smiles and sunshine.  They can be every bit as corrupt, short sighted, and greedy as their opponents, and the conflict between the two are often complicated, messy and painful.  In other words, the whole thing is fertile territory for satire, parody and general yuk-yuks.

Like many rich comedy veins, whether fart jokes or mocking those clowns in Congress, taking a swing at employers, employees and their eternal struggle against one another can be done with verve, insight and wit, or it can be done quickly and cheaply with the barest minimum of thought or humor.  Not being particularly fond of either thought or humor, Zombie Simpsons went with the second option.

Lisa’s cheerleader union plot begins after she is twice magically transformed by the cheerleaders into and out of a cheerleader outfit, so things don’t exactly get off to a good start, but they do manage to cover the bare minimum of "strike" plot points.  Basically these:

1.  The need to strike

2.  The decision to strike

3.  The strike itself

4.  Management’s counter moves

5.  The resolution

All of these have been done by The Simpsons, of course, most completely in "Last Exit to Springfield".  Obviously the B-plot for “Labor Pains” has much less screen time than the A-plot of “Last Exit to Springfield”, so instead of comparing them in whole, just consider those five scenes that they have in common. 

1.  In Zombie Simpsons, Lisa discovers how poorly compensated the “Atomettes” are when the Rich Texan walks over to them and pays them their meager wages, helpfully expositing the amount just in case anyone wasn’t paying attention.  It’s perfectly hacktacular, with characters walking on and off as needed, repeated explanation, and no real connection to anything we’ve seen so far.  (And nevermind pulling a theoretically 8-year-old girl out of the crowd and putting her in a skimpy costume to dance around in front of a bunch of drunken dudes.)

In The Simpsons, Burns decides he wants to cancel dental insurance for his workers more or less out of spite.  He remembers the good old days when you could wall up impudent employees and wants to get back to that.  He doesn’t specifically target the dental plan because it’s expensive or he needs the money, he just wants to screw his workers on the principle that workers should be screwed.  This being The Simpsons, the union doesn’t come off any better.  They almost accepted a keg of beer in exchange for dental coverage and then elected Homer as their leader.  Not only does all this mesh with the B-plot of Lisa needing braces, but it’s a lot more interesting and involved that some simple and heavily exposited pay dispute.  The conflict flows directly from the evil of Burns, Homer gets naturally caught up (instead of just happening to be there), and things can proceed.

Last Exit to Springfield10

“Unless you’re crooked.” “Woo-hoo!”

2.  From there, we see our two opponents, Burns and Homer, hilariously misunderstand each other, starting with Burns trying to bribe Homer and Homer thinking Burns is hitting on him.  Homer hates his new position so much that he goes to resign, but the hotheads in the union cut him off and assume he wants to go to war with Burns instead.  The whole strike is a farce, built on one comic misperception after another.  In "Labor Pains", Lisa and the Rich Texan both wander to cheerleading practice for another exposition and coincidence filled meeting that sees both of them going through the motions.

Cheerleader Padyday

I’m sure Jerry Jones has done some terrible things to Cowboys cheerleaders over the decades, but even he doesn’t pay their pittance  personally.

3.  Both episodes feature quick strike scenes and little montages, but all you really need to know is that The Simpsons wrote a strike song and had Lisa sing it whereas Zombie Simpsons grabbed an old Woody Guthrie song called “What Are We Waiting On”.  That’s pretty lazy, but it’s even worse than it first seems because while the song does contain the word “union”, Guthrie isn’t referring to a labor union, but rather the Union (as in the United States of America).  The song is about fighting Hitler, not fighting management.  So not only did Zombie Simpsons just buy a song, they picked a song by Woody Guthrie, most famous for singing about the lives of working people, that isn’t actually about working people.  Jebus.

Weak Scabs

Oh, Patty & Selma, remember when you were awesome and didn’t take shit from people?

4.  When Burns counterattacks the union, he goes with head busting strikebreakers, fire hoses, and robot workers.  His ideas are very Burns like: outdated and/or insane, but ruthless and at least theoretically effective.  The Rich Texan, on the other hand, makes just a single countermove: hiring Patty, Selma, Nelson’s mom, and the Crazy Cat Lady to replace the hardbodied twenty-somethings who make up his usual cheer squad.  Say what you want about the robot workers, but the box did say they’d be “100% Loyal”.  It could have worked.  Crazy Cat Lady in spandex, on the other hand, is weak tea gross out humor that nicely demonstrates just how empty this conflict really is.

Last Exit to Springfield12

The kind they had in the 30s . . .

5.  And what happens at the end?  Well, the Rich Texan goes to the Simpson house (which is where the strike is being organized because shut up that’s why) and concedes because apparently it never occurred to him to hire more hardbodied twenty-somethings.  Compare that meek surrender to Burns, who deliberately blacks out all of Springfield (even the red light district and the fake vomit factory) while quoting Captain Ahab’s speech from the end of “Moby Dick”.  Having tried to destroy the entire town rather than surrender, Burns finally admits defeat.  The Rich Texan went down with hardly a peep.

Tried Nothing and I'm All Out of Ideas

Ladies, I’m here to wrap up this B-plot because the A-plot has scenes even worse than this coming right up.

The Simpsons mocked both labor and management to within an inch of reality and let the good guys win only because the bad guy is irredeemably insane.  Zombie Simpsons had some cheerleaders giggle and shake their stuff.

The tragedy of all this is that “cheerleader union” is a fantastic idea.  Real NFL cheerleaders are basically paid in pompoms, and an actual Simpsons episode about them unionizing or just getting something more than a token salary (most make well under $100 per game, and they have to do lots of uncompensated non-game stuff as well) could be hilarious.  Instead we got this.  Oh well.

23
Nov
13

Quote of the Day

Bart Sells His Soul10

“Come to Uncle Moe’s for family fun, it’s good good good good, good good good.” – Uncle Moe’s Commercial
“Hmm, sounds good.” – Homer Simpson

22
Nov
13

Reading Digest: Thanks Chicago Edition

Chicago

Image shamelessly yoinked from Wikipedia

“Wow, Capital City, the Windy Apple!” – Mindy Simmons 

Before we get to this week’s links, I’d like to say thank you to everyone at classic Simpsons trivia in Chicago on Monday at Pizzeria Serio.  There was Neil Arsenty and his two man cadre of fanatics, who ran the show and graded our poorly scrawled answers while the rest of us laughed at “Bart’s Friend Falls in Love” and “The PTA Disbands”.  There was the nice bartender dude who gave us the list of cheap bottle beer they were trying to get rid of.  There was the cool but semi-bewildered manager guy who couldn’t quite believe that there were more than enough Simpsons fans to pack his place on an off night and wolf down pizza and drinks like it was the weekend.  There were the fine members of the upstairs staff who gave me a free shot of whisky and toasted it with me.  And, of course, there were all the other Simpsons fans, that shushed conversation when the episodes were on, answered some very tricky questions, and laughed and laughed and laughed.

Best of all, “L’il Bandits”, the team that came in dead last (32nd out of 32), answered every question and stayed for the whole thing.  A team had to be 90% correct or better to place in the top five, so competition was fierce, but whether people had the answers or not, everyone had a good time: watching episodes (“Homer at the Bat” started the evening), quoting lines, and laughing at answers, questions and quotes.  So, thanks again to all involved, participants, organizers and hosts; let’s do it again sometime.

In terms of actual Simpsons news, we’ve got quite a few links to video games old a new this week, including some great suggestions for making Tapped Out less crappy and exploitative than it is.   There’s still no word on what the FXX cable syndication deal will actually mean for us lowly fans, but someone got’s a great suggestion, plus there’s some usage, a couple of great fan made items, an interesting tidbit about Bono, and all the Krusty Brand Seal of Approval merchandise you can shake an upscale clothing store at.

Enjoy.

“Distroy” by PEZ Λrtwork – Smooth Charlie’s link of the week is this collection of awesomely elaborate drawings of famous cartoon characters, including Homer and a very creepy Bart.  Excellent.

So It’s Come To This: The Case for the Simpsons Clip Database – Harrumph:

So here’s my pitch to FX and FXX: Work with 20th Century Fox to create the Simpsons Clip Database. Launch it in Summer 2014. At the end of every clip created through the database, append a brief reminder that all episodes of The Simpsons will be available streaming on FXNow, and on the FXX linear channel starting in August. Rather than having to promote the launch yourself, let the show itself do the work for you, and weaponize the series’ cultural capital to let the show’s fans spread the word of the show’s new home.

The meager collection of legal clips on Hulu and YouTube is an insult to the show.  Three cheers for the Simpsons Clip Database!

A Hierarchy of Quoting ‘Simpsons’ Characters – This was making the rounds this week, it’s a list of what I guess are supposed to be the coolest or dorkiest Simpsons characters you can quote.  So quoting Ralph is lame but quoting Sideshow Bob is cool.  Meh.

‘The Simpsons’ Sam Simon to Receive WGA Award – Last night he got a lifetime achievement award. 

Converse x XLarge ‘The Simpsons’ Pro Leather Canvas Hi – More sneakers with Bart on the side.

UK’s first The Simpsons ice cream on way for 2014 – They are running out of things to license.  Clown college, ho!

Twentieth Century Fox signs fashion labels for The Simpsons – And from the same site as the above link:

“It’s clear that The Simpsons is more relevant than ever and the 25th anniversary next year is set to be an even more exciting year in the history of the brand.”
Additionally, new collections will be introduced for existing global partners such as Bershka, Pull and Bear, H&M, C&A, Zara Kids and Original Marines.
The Simpsons collections have launched in the UK this year across high street fashion outlets including, Topshop, Topman, Pull and Bear, Bershka, H&M, C&A, New Look, river Island and Urban Outfitters.

Merchandising, merchandising, where the real money from the teevee show is made.

How to make friends: Wear a Simpsons Shirt – And here’s why they’re doing it:

Yo looking for friends? Just hop on over to the mall, grab yourself this Simpsons sweatshirt at Forever 21 and walk outside your apartment. Seriously never have I seen people more excited or interested in talking to me than when I wear this. It’s like a love connection, but weirdly I’m into it. Although, if you don’t like compliments and avoid people at all costs, DO NOT wear this. You will probably go rogue bitch on everyone and no one wants that. So be warned: wear Simpson apparel with caution.

Marge Simpson AleXsandro Palombo Iconic Dresses – Someone drew Marge wearing a bunch of dresses.  That is all.

Marge Simpson Felt finger puppet – Cool fan made Marge puppet to go with a previously made Homer one.

Eight of our favourite Mayor Quimby moments in The Simpsons – Plenty of good YouTube here.

Homer Simpson beer moments. – More good YouTube here.

Copyright? – A hair salon in Seoul using a little unauthorized marketing.

As New Jersey Prepares To Launch Internet Gambling, Congress Has Plan To Tax The Industry – Excellent usage starts an article about on-line gambling:

Gambling is the finest thing a person can do; IF he is good at it.”

Krusty the Klown’s lawyer, lamenting his client’s decision to bet on the Washington Generals against the Harlem Globetrotters because, as Krusty put it, they were “due.”

Bart Simpson and the cone of ignorance – The 3D map is just devastating.

scribble #41 – Heh, clever.

5 Shocking Revelations About U2’s ‘Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark’ Broadway Musical – I’d kinda like to see this:

5. Bono does a killer impersonation of Mr. Burns on The Simpsons.
During one meeting, Bono turns to Berger and says, “How long have you been with us, Smithers?”

The link between Bart Simpson and the Irish Language. – The etymology of the word “brat”.

Gamecube Review: The Simpsons Hit & Run – A video game review:

Overall, it’s not great, but it’s better than most other Simpsons games out there, and that in itself is an accomplishment because most Simpsons games are terrible.

Indeed they are.

Top 10 Most Requested Features for Tapped Out – Speaking of which, I wholeheartedly endorse #3 and #1 here, but let’s be clear about one thing:

#4 – Voices for the Regular Cast

Due to some legalese, only characters voiced by the main cast are permitted to have voices in the game. At the very least a deal to add-in characters voiced by Tress MacNeille and Pamela Hayden would be welcomed, as each of those two women voice a dozen different characters in the show.

Their absence, and that of many other voices, has nothing to do with legalese and everything to do with FOX and EA being a bunch of cheap bastards.

Dag 289 – T-shirt of Homer asleep on the couch.

Whatever you say, Mr. Billboard! – Heh.

The Best Episode Thingy There Ever Was Round 1 Homer’s Odyssey vs. Homer’s Night Out – Amen to this:

I like how Princess Kashmir, aka April Flowers, is portrayed in this scene. Despite her wings and halo, she is neither an angel nor a sinner. She neither loves nor hates what she does for a living. She’s just a woman doing her job. A lot of shows back then, and even today, would have gone down the road of having her be some poor lost soul who needs to be saved from an industry she hates.

Fish koozies and Bart’s Comet: Pre-class overheads (November 4 – 8) – A science teacher employs “Bart’s Comet” in class:

In the Thursday class, we used one of my favourite Simpsons clips, taken from the “Bart’s Comet” episode. This clip connects to energy and somewhat bridges to the topic of electricity via the bike light generator Bart uses. In the clip, Principal Skinner has a fun quote: “Ah, there’s nothing more exciting than science. You get all the fun of sitting still, being quiet, writing down numbers, paying attention… Science has it all.”

S1E7 “The Call of the Simpsons” – I always like this joke:

The Bigfoot message on television interrupting the presidential address is pretty silly, and easily missed if you aren’t listening.

Brockman’s clipped and hurried delivery makes it.

Halloween Art – The Homer Devil jack-o-lantern is great.

WedNESday: The Simpsons’ Video Games – A detailed look back at the earliest of the Simpsons games.

22
Nov
13

Quote of the Day

Homer the Great12

“Lenny and Carl are never around on Wednesdays and they don’t tell me where they go.  It’s like a conspiracy.” – Homer Simpson
“A conspiracy, eh?  Do you think they might be involved in the Kennedy Assassination in some way?” – Bart Simpson
“I do . . . now.” – Homer Simpson

21
Nov
13

Quote of the Day

The Springfield Connection11

“Alright, you scrawny beanpoles, becoming a cop is not something that happens overnight.  It takes one solid weekend of training to get that badge.” – Chief Wiggum

20
Nov
13

Behind Us Forever: Labor Pains

Chalkboard - Labor Pains

“Step aside, I’ll deliver this baby.” – Homer Simpson
“Uh, why don’t you let me handle it, Homer?” – Dr. Hibbert
“Oh, college boy, eh?” – Homer Simpson
“Homer, for God sakes, let him deliver the baby!” – Marge Simpson

In its never ending desperation to come up with something – anything – that hasn’t specifically been done before, Zombie Simpsons will try everything from relatively mundane stories to outlandish fantasies.  This episode had two of the former.  In the A-plot, Homer helps deliver a baby after getting stuck in an elevator.  In the B-plot, Lisa tries to help professional football cheerleaders unionize.  (And, yes, they’ve done both “strike” and “Homer loves other kids more than his own” before, just not exactly like this, which is good enough for them.)  But even these stories, which don’t involve popped eyeballs or magic wingsuits, can be poorly told, and “Labor Pains” does exactly that.  You can maybe overlook the fact that Homer delivers this kid in all of thirty seconds and then calmly goes home the same way you can maybe overlook Lisa getting pulled out of the stands to help with a cheer routine.  But those are just the tip of the iceberg.

From there, Homer never mentions the elevator and sneaks around Marge for no discernible reason other than plot necessity.  He also takes the kids to the zoo, gets in a fight with monkeys, and has one of the weirdest goodbye scenes the show has ever done.  Lisa’s story fares no better.  She easily gets into the stadium a couple of times, runs a union out of the treehouse for some reason, and has her nominal opponent, the Rich Texan, hire scab cheerleaders who not only lack what you’d call cheerleading skills, but would never in a million years want to be cheerleaders (especially Patty and Selma).  Crammed in along all that nonsense are the usual collection of time killing montages, pointless dream sequences and asides, characters mysteriously appearing and disappearing, and even a shockingly boring Itchy & Scratchy.

– They’ve got another mildly clever and very long couch gag, this one involving the Mayflower and Thanksgiving.  These twenty minutes aren’t going to fill themselves, people.

– So Lenny is using the same cheating glasses Bender used back in Season 2 of Futurama?  That’s the kind of fresh concept we’ve come to expect from this show.

– Well, it sure didn’t take long to go from this woman in labor to her lying on the floor.

– That Lamaze flashback certainly didn’t need to be there.

– And there’s another guy in the elevator.  Their need to drop people into scenes for no reason is bordering on pathological at this point.

– As if to prove my point, there’s Kirk as a peanut vendor where he wasn’t half a second before.

– Also as usual, the sign gags are by far the best thing here: “We Covered the Over !!!”.

– There is no point in even trying to write down every one of their sitcom-y, laughtrack primed jokes, but here’s a typically brainless example: “Wow, now there are two things named after me, a baby and a law banning airhorns after three am”, beat, laughs, next scene.

– Continuing the point above, after the commercial break Homer goes to the new mom’s apartment.  As he’s doing that, we hear conversation through the door of the poker game and then, in the next scene, Lenny walks out the door so Moe can cripple/kill him by throwing cards at his back.  Moe then steps into the hall, drops another turd punchline, and walks away without noticing Homer.

– Now it’s time for a montage!

– And we pick up from that with an Itchy & Scratchy montage.  Back to back!

– This is how they advance the story, with Homer expositing everything we’ve seen . . . in a daydream sequence: “I’m shopping for Homer Junior, a baby I delivered in an elevator the night I pretended to go to work but was really playing poker.”  Real life Marge is then forced to ask why he’s saying that.  Good question.

– I could overlook things like Lisa just walking into the giant football stadium during cheerleader practice, knowing more about what’s going on than the actual cheerleaders, and them acting consecutively dumb, super power enabled, and smart, if the jokes or the dialogue were strong or interesting.  But they aren’t.  They just move from one dumb thing to another, and the scene concludes with the cheerleaders shaking their heads back and forth so their hair sounds like salt shakers or something.

– Further evidence of the generally low give-a-shit level, after Marge walks in on Carl doing his massage training (or whatever), neither he nor she closes the door to his apartment afterwards.  He leaves it open to get back to what he’s doing, and she leaves it open as she walks down the hall.  Out of sight out of mind as usual.

– Guh, this scene with Marge finding Homer and the baby takes forever.  This is classical crappy sitcom: either one of them could straighten this out with one sentence, but they’ll just keep spewing hammy lines at each other instead because they stopped even vaguely resembling real people long ago.

– Holy shit, we’re on our third montage of the episode for the cheerleader strike.

– They do remain competent at unconnected sign gags.  Marge reading a book called “Kicking the Advice Book Habit” is pretty good.  The actual scene is godawful, with Marge, seemingly having forgotten her two most recent scenes with Homer, being surprised that he was spending time with the other baby.

– After one of the dumbest strikes in history, the Rich Texan concedes only to have Kirk show up for no reason to get beaten by him.

– Now Jerkass Homer is fighting monkeys . . . Maggie is in pretend danger . . . and Marge shows up for no reason.  I’ve had fever dreams that were more coherent than this.  (Funnier, too.)

– Oh, man, this reconciliation scene the with the suddenly returned father is jokeless, emotionally empty, and facepalm level stupid.  On the bright side, it’s a completely appropriate way to end this thing.

– Further proof that signs gags are all they’re good at: the cheerleader books over the end credits.  Sure some of them are hard to read because of the, you know, credits, but they are there.

Anyway, the ratings are in and they are getting embarrassingly bad.  FOX bumped Zombie Simpsons back to 9:00pm so they could use their NFL overrun to premier Almost Human, (it does not appear to have worked), and the show brought in just 4.13 million viewers.  That’s fifth on the all time least watched list and more than a million viewers down from this same time last season.

20
Nov
13

Quote of the Day

Viva Ned Flanders2

“This is Kent Brockman live at the Monty Burns casino.  Moments from now, the house that Social Security checks built will be demolished to make way for a casino themed family hotel.” – Kent Brockman
“This must be heartbreaking for you, sir.” – Mr. Smithers
“I’m just thinking of my employees.  All the card sharps, bottom dealers, and shills, where will they go?” – C.M. Burns
“They’re managing your chain of nursing homes, sir.” – Mr. Smithers
“Excellent.” – C.M. Burns

19
Nov
13

Quote of the Day

Team Homer11

“Mom, my slingshot doesn’t fit in these pockets, and these shorts leave nothing to the imagination, these uniforms suck.” – Bart Simpson
“Bart!  Where do you pick up words like that?” – Marge Simpson
“Yeah, Moe, that team sure did suck last night.  They just plain sucked.  I’ve seen teams suck before, but they were the suckiest bunch of sucks that ever sucked.” – Homer Simpson
“Homer, watch your mouth!” – Marge Simpson
“I gotta go, my damn wiener kids are listening.” – Homer Simpson

18
Nov
13

Open Complaint Thread: Labor Pains

LaborPainsPromo

We didn’t get a preview up yesterday, so I shudder think what kind of volcanic build up there is about last night’s almost certainly forgettable “Labor Pains”.  I haven’t watched it yet, but it certainly sounds dull:

While trapped in an elevator Homer helps a woman deliver her baby who she gratefully names Homer Jr. Homer then gets emotionally attached to the little guy. Meanwhile Lisa is recruited to be a cheerleader.

As I am on the road in Chicago today without access to my usual array of electronics, “Behind Us Forever” will have to wait until tomorrow or possibly Wednesday.  (Any of you in Chicago, I’ll be at Classic Simpsons Trivia tonight.  I expect to lose badly but have a great time doing it.)  Consider this an open thread and vent accordingly.  

18
Nov
13

Quote of the Day

Boy Scoutz 'N the Hood11

“Look, Homer won’t want to go, so just ask him and he’ll say no.  Then it’ll be his fault.” – Bart Simpson
“I don’t want to go, so if he asks me to go I’ll just say yes.” – Homer Simpson
“Wait!  Are you sure that’s how this sort of thing works?” – Homer’s Brain
“Shut up, brain, or I’ll stab you with a Q-tip.” – Homer Simpson
“Dad, I really want you to come on this trip with me.” – Bart Simpson
“Bart, I’d be delighted to go on your trip with you.” – Homer Simpson
“D’oh!” – Homer and Bart Simpson

Happy 20th anniversary to “Boy Scoutz ‘N the Hood”!  Original airdate 18 November 1993.




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