Archive for May, 2014

31
May
14

Quote of the Day

Hurricane Neddy12

“Hey!  Hey!  Get down from that bookshelf, please.  Most of those books haven’t been discredited yet.” – Dr. Foster

30
May
14

Reading Digest: Call for Guest Posts Edition

Itchy and Scratchy and Marge18

Between the holiday, the end of the television season, and the fact that it’s now basically summertime, the Simpsons had a pretty sparse week on-line.  All those things also mean that it’s time for my annual solicitation for guest posts.  If you’ve got something you’d like to say about the show, send it in.  We accept rants, cranky letters to the editor that end with “I am not a nut”, well thought out analyses, and just about anything else.  Pictures and images are welcome, and we’ll be happy to link back to your Twitter account, blog, or what have you.  String a few sentences together, and a tiny slice of internet fame can be yours.  You’re certainly welcome to send in something completed, but if all you’ve got is an idea, I’m happy to help you think it through and flesh it out a little.

As for this week’s actual links, we’ve got a beaded Bart, memories of Phil Hartman, a Lisa inspired music video, a couple of lists, and one of the junior Murdochs being such a ridiculously callous business executive that I could almost believe he was just trolling poor, hapless Variety.  Almost.

Anyway, enjoy, and get thee to a keyboard if you want to publish a guest post.

What HiFi stereo system is in The Simpsons house? – Stereo geeks take a guess at what kind of system the Simpsons have.  Perhaps a Pioneer C-5600?

Dear Phil – A nice remembrance for Hartman:

I still hear your voice, you know. It’s one of the most soothing sounds in life. Seriously!!! Hahahaha and not disembodied as I go through my day – though it does happen from time to time. Picture it: I’ll see something funny on the subway, and you’re narrating it like Troy McClure. It just takes the hilarity to a whole new level.

WWLSR – What Would Lisa Simpson Read Project – Now this is a project idea:

since I have been so involved in book clubs recently I thought it would be fun to read the books that Lisa reads on the show, in the order that she reads them. There is a Lisa Simpson book club out there in Tumblr land, but their reading list is missing a few titles, and is also not in chronological order. I’m a little OCD, so I’m rewatching all the episodes from se01ep01 to the current season so I can make a complete list of books read or referenced by Lisa Simpson. I’ve created a group on the Goodreads website (find it here!) but will also post about it and include my screenshots (Yes, I am ridiculously thorough). This post covers seasons 1, 2 and most of season 3.

That’s gonna be a lot of reading, and don’t forget that at the end of Season 3 she finally gets a copy of Ethan Frome to call her own.

: in remembrance : – Aw:

That’s my dog, his name was Bart. Together, we were Bart and Lisa. You know, The Simpsons?
He was one of the world’s great dogs and we were inseparable.

Sniffle.

Sexism in Springfield – On the less than stellar dialogue of Tapped Out.

D is for diorama – Pretty sure I learned that word from the show, too:

but it is only down to The Simpsons that I knew what was expected when Child 3 came home announcing she needed to make a diorama. I first heard the word in this context in the episode Lisa’s Rival (1994), where Lisa fears another girl’s diorama will be better than hers and plans to sabotage it.

James Murdoch on Cord-Cutting, ‘Fault in Our Stars’ and ‘Simpsons’ Syndication – I forget which one of Murdoch’s kids he is, but he has certainly mastered the content-free timbre of corporate speak:

“We are in an environment of really extreme plurality for customers … you have to have things that are differentiated,”

What does that even mean?

“Over the next three-to-five years we see a lot of really attractive filmic product coming through,”

Ooh, I love “filmic product”!

“The challenge for us is how do we monetize that video?”

Fry, get back to the office, shift some paradigms, revolutionize outside the box!

Classic Album Covers Get The Pop-Culture Parody Treatment – You’ll have to scroll through a few, but the Homer/Radiohead one is pretty good.

Family guy the quest for stuff – Uh-oh, dedicated Tapped Out players are migrating to Quahog.

The Simpsons: 10 Best Episodes Focusing On Minor Characters – Serious pageview whoring on this list, but at least there’s no Zombie Simpsons.

The Simpsons: 10 Greatest Movie Spoofs – Same as above, except there is some Zombie Simpsons.

Simpsons casting director chosen Expat Finn of the Year – Awesome:

Bonita Pietila, a name familiar to every Simpsons fan, was in Finland this week to accept an award for Expatriate Finn of the Year from the Finland Society.

Congratulations!  I always assumed that name was Spanish of some extract, guess not.

Wolf Alice – ‘Moaning Lisa Smile’ – Musical usage:

The video stars Ellie Roswell, who explained the video in a statement: “‘Moaning Lisa Smile’ was inspired by our favorite 8 year old girl, Lisa Simpson. We wanted to create a Lisa-type character and follow her in a pursuit to happiness. Although faced with obstacles in the shape of some nasty bitches, Lisa soon finds the group who make her feel like she belongs.”

The video’s pretty good, and certainly has a more coherent story than any episode in the last decade.

Perler Beads : Bart Simpson – Just what it says.  Well done (and the skateboard is a nice touch).

WATCH: Wisconsin police officer escorts ducks across busy road – Excellent usage:

You may remember a scene from “The Simpsons”, when Apu (in his role as a volunteer firefighter) is racing to the scene of a fire – only to be halted by a mother duck and her ducklings, lazily strolling across the road.

“You ducks are really trying my patience!” Apu complains. “But you’re SO cute!”

There are likely a few commuters in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, who can appreciate that sentiment.

Dining to the Oldies at Stewart’s Busy Apron – I’m not quite sure what it means in context, but it’s a great reference:

The blinds are always down at Stewart’s Busy Apron in Anaheim, but not to keep out the sun. This is the diner version of that sign on The Simpsons outside the retirement home announcing to visitors, “Thank You for Not Discussing the Outside World,” for here is a museum piece.

Duff beer labelled dangerous by Australian Medical Association – Expect more like this as Duff spreads around the globe.

Variety bash team takes on Dave’s obession with The Simpsons – While we’re on the subject of Australia, remember that Simpsons car from a couple of weeks ago?  Here’s the team, complete with Duffman and Duffwoman costumes.

Aaaah, so that’s how you ruin The Simpsons. #PicOfTheDay – Still of what I assume is some kind of Korean game or lottery show with people dressed as Bart, Marge and Homer.  I’d say the weird french fry looking thing on Bart’s head is the oddest part, but the white circles around Homer and Marge’s eyes aren’t far behind.

Music From The Simpsons – Spinal Tap – Lotta good YouTube, here, including the immortal, “These go to eleven.”.

Round 115: Trilogy of Error vs. The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show – “Trilogy of Error” is possibly the best episode in Season 12, it just happens to not really be funny at all, which is a bit of a handicap if you’re going up against Season 8.

de kooning – groening – Can you see Bart with “woman lips” in that?  I kinda can.

D’OH Boy – I think there’s like four puns in there, and I maybe get two of them.

Best Summer Vacation TV Episodes – “Summer of 4 Ft. 2” naturally makes the grade.

Bacon Bourbon Pecan Pie & Maple Bacon Ice Cream – Yet more good food with Simpsons YouTube and a .gif of Homer trying to eat pie with his eyes closed.

Memorial Day: Which pop culture cookout would you crash? – And speaking of summer themes lists desperate for pageviews, here’s one that manages to list both “Lisa the Vegetarian” and Bad Boys 2.

 

30
May
14

Quote of the Day

Three Men and a Comic Book11

“I want you to clear out all the weeds.  You do know which ones are weeds?” – Mrs. Glick
“All of ’em?” – Bart Simpson
“Good boy.” – Mrs. Glick

29
May
14

Quote of the Day

Mirror

“The mirror . . . the mirror!” – Lisa Simpson

Happy birthday Danny Elfman!

28
May
14

Quote of the Day

Bart Gets Hit By a Car13

“I think the boy’s hurt.” – Mr. Smithers
“Oh, for crying out loud! Just give him a nickel and let’s get going.” – C.M. Burns

27
May
14

Quote of the Day

Lisa's Substitute9

“I think he’s taking the next train to Capital City.” – Apartment Woman
“The train, how like him: traditional yet environmentally sound.” – Lisa Simpson
“Yes, and it’s been the backbone of our country since Leland Stanford drove that golden spike at Promontory Point!” – Apartment Woman
“I see he touched you too.” – Lisa Simpson

Happy birthday Jo Ann Harris!  
26
May
14

Quote of the Day

Simpson and Delilah13

“Hello, Homie, how’s my big, important executive?” – Marge Simpson
“Oh, Marge, every woman I interview for the secretary job makes kissy faces at me.” – Homer Simpson
“Hmmm.” – Marge Simpson
“Hello, Mr. Simpson, I’m Karl.” – Karl
“He sounds good.  Hire him.” – Marge Simpson

25
May
14

Quote of the Day

The War of the Simpsons13

“Now, this is a trust exercise.  You fall backwards and rely on your spouse to catch you.” – Helen Lovejoy
“Do I have to do this?” – Marge Simpson
“No.  Even if your husband were here I wouldn’t recommend it.” – Reverend Lovejoy

24
May
14

Quote of the Day

Hello Gutter, Hello Fadder3

“You know, kids, my teachers said I would never amount to anything, and until last week they were dead right.” – Homer Simpson

23
May
14

Reading Digest: Lots of Clothing Edition

Scenes from the Class Struggle in Springfield9

“I need a formal dress for tonight!” – Marge Simpson
“You’ve come to the right place.” – Patty Bouvier
“We’ve got classy duds up the yinyang. . . . I call this one, ‘Fantasy in Maroon’.” – Selma Bouvier
“It’s got some cigarette burns, but we can patch ’em up with new vinyl.” – Patty Bouvier
“It’s a bit peppery for me.  Why don’t we put this in the maybe pile?” – Marge Simpson

Season 25 rolled unmourned into the past this week with hardly a peep from the internet.  I was sort of hoping for a few more stories about how the ratings are historically low, but Zombie Simpsons has become such a dull and ordinary thing that even that didn’t rate.  But we do have the usual smattering of fun stuff, including three links to officially licensed clothing and one to a (far superior) fan made jacket.  In addition to that, we’ve got two pieces of Australian usage, some love for Lisa, great Lego pictures, a couple of people who agree with us, and more sand Simpsons from England.

Enjoy.

A Hypothetical Aside and Round 113: Homer Badman vs. The Wandering Juvie – Smooth Charlie’s link of the week is our old friend Nebel asking what if the show had gone off the air after Season 9?  I agree that they probably would have rebooted it by now.  I wonder if that would’ve been worse or better than Zombie Simpsons?

I am the Lizard Queen – Homemade punk Lisa jacket.  Yes.  Ten thousand times, yes.

The Simpsons™ LEGO® Minifigure Series – Excellent series of fan photos, including such notable pairings and Nelson and Milhouse, Burns and Maggie, and, of course, Homer and Flanders.

I used to be with ‘it’… – Excellent .gif of one of Grampa’s greatest lines.

Round 111: El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer (The Mysterious Voyage of Homer) vs. Home Sweet Homediddly-Dum-Doodily – Oh, bitch, bitch, bitch.

Round 112: In the Name of the Grandfather vs. Beyond Blunderdome – Nice that “winner” is in quotes for Season 20 vs. Season 11.

How Do You Solve a Problem like Animation? – Nice catch on the Chomet couch gag:

Even the light switch is French, guys.

So it is.

Simpsons character leering over Tweed Heads motorists – An enterprising Australian graffiti artist has a mostly complete Burns-as-Dracula done on an embankment overlooking a highway.  Fresh victims for his ever growing army of the undead, no doubt.

WA’s ‘Flanders’ jokes amid budget gloom – And speaking of Australia, our old friend D.N. sent this in a couple of weeks ago (and I completely forgot about it):

Western Australia’s state government has just announced the 2014-15 budget, hiking up prices, hitting families, and selling off billions of dollars’ worth of assets to regain the state’s AAA credit rating. The announcement is not going down well. What does this have to do with The Simpsons? Well… Take a look at the attached photographs. The first is of the front page of the state’s leading daily newspaper, The West Australian (Friday 9 May); the second is from the inside. Both pictures were drawn by cartoonist Dean Alston.

StupidBudgetFlanders01

And:

StupidBudgetFlanders02

Thanks, D.N.!  (And good luck with Budget Flanders.)

Family Guy Review: Toast House – A sad, but I think accurate, observation:

Fifteen years ago – when I was a devoted Simpsons fanatic who dismissed this show as knock-off claptrap – I certainly never would have dreamed that I’d be looking forward to Family Guy each week, while I haven’t caught an episode of the Simpsons in years.

But Family Guy’s joke machinery – rather than The Simpsons’ warm character development – has better weathered the test of time. I’m shocked to hear myself say it, but I really think the Griffins are the ones doing the Simpsons a favor with this crossover.

Outside of post-football, I can’t recall the last time I saw Zombie Simpsons with higher ratings than Family Guy.

Burps Sea Doodles! – Neat fan sketch of Bart and Homer.

How To Start Planning My Creative Future While Watching The Simpsons – I’m envious:

Anywho…recently, my retail job and watching early seasons of The Simpsons have taken up most, if not all, of my time. I had never seen an episode of the Simpsons until this year and now I’m addicted. It’s like a meteor of stupid and relevant humor landed in my lap and I can’t get rid of the stains, no matter how hard I try. So far, my favorite seasons are 3, 5, 6, and 8 and I go on amazon a lot to find others.

I’d stop around 9.

I Was Mint For You – Me too:

It also reminds me of a fantastic visual gag from The Simpsons where Homer strides into his kitchen and declares to Lisa, who is lamenting her lack of power as an eight-year-old girl, that as part of the coveted 18 to 49 white male demographic, everyone listens to his ideas, upon which he promptly pulls a can out of the cupboard bearing a label for “Nuts and Gum, Together at Last!” and starts chowing down.  Slays me every time.

Things we love: Drop Dead Clothing – High fashion clothing embraces Itchy & Scratchy.  Never thought I’d see the day.

Cartoon Feminists – Lisa naturally headlines the list, but there’s more, including a good Bob’s Burgers .gif.

DeadstocksVA Conceptual Art Collection – I don’t think they’ve ever done a merchandising tie in with Nike, but if they did, that’s probably what it would look like.

The Top 25 Simpsons Episodes Of All Time – From Paste magazine.  There’s only one pick from Zombie Simpsons, and it’s #24.  You also don’t see the Poochie episode take #1 on these very often.

Beer and bacon – together at last! – Wow, that looks good.  Also, there’s a .gif of Homer’s epic escape from the candy convention.

Let’s get this started – YouTube of a couple of girls taking that quiz where you call the episode based on a single screen grab.  Excellent guesswork on the last one.

simpsonized game of thrones – Sure, stick Jaime with all the ladies.  He’s pretty enough.  (Also: well done.)

Weekly Photo Challenge: Works of Art? – Bart, Maggie and Santa’s Little Helper painted on an East German car long, long ago.  Bravo.  (I think that’s Homer on the roof.)

Weekly Photo Challenge: Work of Art – More beach Simpsons in England.  I wonder if this was our old friend Martin Artman?

Our students met The Simpsons writers & creator! – Groening and company may not be able to turn out a decent episode anymore, but they remain comprehensively nice people.

Maureen Lipman and The Simpsons’ Harry Shearer Will Star in West End Transfer of Oliver Cotton’s Daytona – Is the title of Hardest Working Man in Show Business currently vacant?  Because Shearer is making a serious run at it.

Ralph Wiggum amigurumi – Cool:

This is an amigurumi doll I made for a friend two years ago at her request. Her boyfriend’s favorite character from The Simpsons was Ralph Wiggum, and I think this was a gift for his birthday or Christmas, I cannot recall!

This is the kind of project I love, fan art. It’s always fun to re-create characters using a crochet hook and yarn, you never know what you are going to end up with, but the challenge makes it fun.

And it looks great.

ELEVENPARIS x The Simpsons x colette Capsule Collection – Officially licensed t-shirts tend to suck, but this one is pretty clever.

The Simpsons x New Era x PORTER 25th Anniversary Collection – Case in point of the above.

Good Beer Week kicks off – Excellent usage:

WHILE Homer Simpson’s beverage of choice is Duff – “the beer that makes the day fly” – Bendigo’s beer connoisseurs, it seems, prefer more sophisticated malts.

The commercial actually calls it, “the beer that makes the days fly by”, but that’s close enough.  (Plus it gets bonus points for being from Season 1.)

Now they’ve apparently just stopped trying – And finally, I get to end with someone who agrees with us, this time a for real newspaper writer:

I still watch “The Simpsons.” I don’t know why. I think I’ll be relieved when I finally just stop, and then watch the highlights or check out the show when social media makes a fuss. Right now, I’m one of the people who posts on those rare instances when the show is creative or clever.
But every once in a while, “The Simpsons” pushes things with me a little too much.

He’s upset about that dumb and pointlessly gory Itchy & Scratchy cartoon from a couple of weeks ago, and justifiably so.

23
May
14

Quote of the Day

Burns Verkaufen der Kraftwerk11

“What’s wrong, sir?  Did I get some in your eyes?  The shampoo specifically said ‘No More Tears’.” – Mr. Smithers
“Ah, a lovely promise, but one beyond the powers of a mere shampoo.” – C.M. Burns

22
May
14

Compare & Contrast: Homer and 4th of July Fireworks Disasters

Summer of 4 Ft 2(15)

“This baby’s sure to kill something!” – Homer Simpson

There is little doubt that a man who famously likes his beer cold, his teevee loud, and his homosexuals flaming, is a big fan of the thundering light show that is Fourth of July fireworks.  Of course, Homer is also the exact opposite person who should ever actually be involved with them.  He is thoughtless, careless and impulsive, and those are not traits that mix well with gunpowder.  In “The Yellow Badge of Cowardage”, Zombie Simpsons played with that combustible mixture and blew itself up.  In “Summer of 4 Ft. 2”, The Simpsons used the same ingredients to put on a masterful display.

To see the difference between that crowd pleasing spectacle and the kind of disaster that makes people run away screaming, there’s only really two things we need to consider: 1) getting the fireworks and 2) using them.  For the first, Zombie Simpsons makes things easy because they barely bother to show us anything.  Homer and Not Don Vittorio initially go to Cletus’s farm (why? who cares?) where they fail to buy anything.  The very next scene with the two of them is this:

Homer: Okay, let’s make some fireworks.

InstandGunpowder

Uh, I guess they found some?

There’s no explanation of where it came from or how they got it, and certainly not because of time constraints.  After this we get the interminable and mechanically narrated “drive around with gunpowder” scene, which is nothing but the two of them telling us what they’re about to do and then doing it: cobblestone streets, a rickety bridge, gaslights . . . it just keeps going.  So not only did they skip over something important, but they did so with forty-five seconds of filler.

Compare that to Homer’s immortal attempt to act casual like he buys illegal fireworks all the time.  Text is a weak excuse for Castellaneta’s exquisite delivery, and can never hope to reproduce that blithely misplaced confidence that he’s being smooth, but here it is anyway:

Homer: Hi, um, let me have one of those porno magazines, large box of condoms, bottle of Old Harper, couple of those panty shields, and some illegal fireworks . . . and one of those disposable enemas.  Nah, make it two.

This is lunatic insanity of the absolute best kind.  Homer is precisely himself: clueless and utterly incompetent.  The items he thinks are innocuous are the kind of thing that might get a real convenience store owner to tip the police off to this weirdo in his store.  Better yet, the Apu stand-in doesn’t even flinch, calmly explaining that he has no fireworks right up until the coast is clear, whereupon he instantly takes Homer back to his storeroom/arsenal:

Summer of 4 Ft 2(14)

Hey, look, multiple sign gags in just one shot.  I’m particularly fond of “Tang Tse Doodle”.

Once there we get to the M-320 (“Celebrate the independence of your nation by blowing up a small part of it.”) and Homer’s quick and happy response: “Alright”. Coincidentally, the entire scene, from the time Homer walks into the store until he purchases the M-320, takes almost exactly the same amount of time as the pointless gunpowder driving scene in “The Yellow Badge of Cowardage”.  This is the entirety of the dialogue from that fiasco:

Not Don Vittorio: Now drive slowly and carefully to my workshop.  It’s in the cobblestone district.
Homer: Oh, thank God, a rickety bridge.
Not Don Vittorio: Don’t worry, we’ll be safe in the gaslamp district.

That’s it.  In the time The Simpsons showed us Homer’s hilariously moronic attempt to be smooth and gave the world the M-320, Zombie Simpsons managed three lines of hapless exposition. The comparison doesn’t get any better for Zombie Simpsons when we move along to the actual using of the fireworks.

Befitting the sudden nonsense that got Homer and Not Don Vittorio the gunpowder in the first place, we see the two of them get into an argument on the fireworks barge over whether July 2nd or July 4th is the right day to celebrate.  The barge then instantly tilts over somehow and points its fireworks at the crowd. This is yet another example of the complete apathy Zombie Simpsons has for even the tiniest bit of story cohesion.  Not Don Vittorio is supposed to be a retired fireworks expert, so it’s not like it would’ve been hard for him to have shown just a little impatience with Homer leading up to this part.  Instead, the two of them just start battling it out over nothing with no warning whatsoever.

Compounding matters, the barge they’re on manages to (again with no warning, no foreshadowing, no nothing) conveniently tip over in way that barges like that are physically incapable of doing.  It’s one thing to have a rubber band reality where things can be stretched a bit from what physics allows here in the real world.  It’s quite another to toss weird, unexpected and just plain stupid events into scenes because you need to cut a very big corner.  This particular one is even worse than usual because this odd break with the audience’s expectations is immediately followed by people screaming in fear, as if we’re meant to take the danger posed by the fireworks seriously.

BargeoftheImagination

Somehow it manages to stay like this, and we’re supposed to be worried.

You can have physically impossible craziness, or you can have serious physical danger; you can’t have both.  The Simpsons, of course, understood that, and that understanding is crucial to making Homer’s disastrous attempt to light the M-320 pitch perfect.

Having purchased all of his fake items anyway despite not needing or wanting them (because he really is that dumb), Homer heads back to the Flanderses beach house, excited to play with his new toy.  Bart not having any matches, Homer heads into the kitchen for another scene that cannot be described in text.  What’s important to remember is that from the time he lights the middle of the fuse all the way through his casually walking away from the grotesque, brackish sewage that comes burbling up from the sink, there’s never any attempt to treat the danger seriously. Instead, we’re treated to Homer’s panic:

M-320

A .gif, is a poor imitation, I know, but you get the idea. 

There’s no attempt to make this serious, it’s just pure, uncut fun.  And while Homer is scared, he’s still Homer; so he’s willing to risk life and limb to save the beer once he realizes it’s in the fridge with his gargantuan firecracker.  Having destroyed the dishwasher and trashed the kitchen, he calmly walks away.  After all, it was like that when he got there.  (And, of course, the episode later shows them using broken dishes and Marge cleaning up Homer’s mess, because unlike on Zombie Simpsons, events on The Simpsons are actually connected to one another.)

In “The Yellow Badge of Cowardage”, Bart eventually saves the day by driving a bus in front of the fireworks Homer and Not Don Vittorio have managed to fire at the crowd.  It’s a cheap ending for the same reason so many of the stories on Zombie Simpsons are cheap: it comes out of nowhere.  Bart conveniently sees the bus, conveniently finds the keys, conveniently drags Milhouse (who’s supposedly furious with him) along, and conveniently wraps everything up with some more of their oh, so helpful exposition.

Homer’s fireworks disaster wasn’t his own doing, it was just a thing that happened because the story needed to be wrapped up.  It was dumb; it was weird; and it was ultimately hollow since the Homer we know and love, the doofus who adores fireworks but it far too dimwitted to know how to use them, didn’t have anything to do with it.  By contrast, the Homer who destroys his neighbor’s kitchen and leaves his wife an unholy mess to clean is the destructive but malice free idiot who can make us laugh with nothing more than a frantic flailing of his limbs.

22
May
14

Quote of the Day

Bart Gets Famous12

“There’s cheese in this sandwich!  Surely you know I’m lactose intolerant?” – Sideshow Mel
“Sorry.” – Bart Simpson
“Sorry?  Do you know how sick this is going to make me?  Oh, boy . . . come stand next to the bathroom door, I want to yell at you some more.” – Sideshow Mel

21
May
14

Last Night, On Twitter . . .

Homer's Barbershop Quartet12

“I can’t remember the last time we were all together.” – Principal Skinner
“Last year, on that stupid Dame Edna special.” – Apu Nahasapeemapetilon

Al Jean continues to ever so gingerly dip his toes into the never ending torrent of love, hate and general bullshit that is Twitter.  Last night, he tweeted out this undated picture of some of the old staff:

JeanWritersPic

I wasn’t sure who everybody was, so I asked him, and he was kind enough to reply.  From left to right it’s him, Mike Reiss, Wallace Wolodarsky, Jay Kogen, Jon Vitti, and Jeff Martin.  He also said this:

Aren’t you the guys that trash us every week? Peace and love, man.

I’d quibble with “trash” and substitute “criticize”, but I don’t begrudge him his point of view on that.  Al, we love you all the same, and thanks for the picture!

21
May
14

Quote of the Day

Bart After Dark13

“All in favor of demolishing our beloved burlesque house, raise your hands.” – Mayor Quimby
“Are they talking about the bordello?” – Jasper
“No!  The burlesque house, so just keep your mouth shut.” – Abe “Grampa” Simpson

Happy birthday Richard Appel!  

20
May
14

Quote of the Day

The Way We Was19

“Hey, Estelle, will you go to the prom with me?” – Barney Gumble
“I wouldn’t go to the prom with you if you were Elliot Gould!” – Estelle
“Oh, shot down again.” – Barney Gumble
“Hey, don’t worry, Barney, it’s a big school.  There’s got to be a girl nobody else wants to take to the prom.” – Homer Simpson

19
May
14

Behind Us Forever: The Yellow Badge of Cowardge

Chalkboard - The Yellow Badge of Cowardage
“Gratzi, gratzi, you have brought great joy to this old Italian stereotype.” – Don Vittorio DiMaggio
“No, no, Don Vittorio, you’re not-” – Legs
“Yes, I am.  I know it, I am.” – Don Vittorio DiMaggio

If nothing else, “The Yellow Badge of Cowardge” capped off Season 25 with the same brand of forgettable and lackluster nonsense that we’ve come to expect.  (Points for consistency, if literally nothing else.)  Jokes and childishly simple plot points are explained ad nauseam while the overall story staggers around in a world of dull nonsense.  So, for example, near the middle of the episode Homer and the guy who looks and sounds like Don Vittorio DiMaggio but isn’t Don Vittorio DiMaggio drive around with barrels of gunpowder strapped to their car.  Despite the fact that we know nothing of consequence is going to happen, the show insists on driving them through a bunch of neighborhoods where everything might explode.  It goes on for the better part of a minute and they explain every place they go before they get there.  It’s Season 25 (and really all of Zombie Simpsons) in a nutshell: a bad joke that’s explained ahead of time and then run into the ground.

– At least the couch gag was short.  Didn’t have a couch, but it was short.

– Why is Lisa narrating when the first time we see her she’s asleep?

– Bart banging pots and pans . . . feels like I’ve seen that before.  Also, he explained what he was doing while he was doing it.

– “That’s a prison road crew” – Marge, telling us what we’re looking at.

– Having had a couple of jokes explained while they were happening, here’s Marge to pre-explain the fire department delivering pizza in a pointless, Family Guy aside.

– Narration Lisa is now also pre-explaining the jokes “and run with your leg tied to someone who wouldn’t talk to you all year”.

– Cletus, doing the same.

– Skinner is getting pelted with eggs.  He used to be good at his job.

– As is sometimes the case, the sign gags are at least okay.  Lewis’s out of office text message was kinda funny.  It couldn’t save that extended bit with Chalmers just yelling and mumbling, but it wasn’t terrible.

– This whole field day is an excuse for them to jump from one bad idea to another.

– Okay, Edwin Moses contemptuously saying that all hurdles are the same size was funny.

– The cheese grater abs on Milhouse are kinda gross.

– I think Chalmers reciting all the kids names is supposed to be fan service.  Getting hard to tell.

– Aaaaand, proving once again that they will overuse anything decent, they have Moses jump off a cliff (literally).

– Nelson’s here to punch Milhouse.  Supposedly he’s there because the bullies don’t want to pay off a bet to Martin (which they would do why, exactly?), but maybe he just wanted Milhouse to stop expositing while he ran.

– Speaking of exposition, Narration Lisa is now helpfully explaining his dilemma to us: “Bart faced a terrible choice, take a beating with his friend or slither off like a coward.”

– “Mom, I’m narrating!” <- actual line

– Hibbert, having explained what we just saw happen to Milhouse, now pre-explains the joke about kids having ice cream headaches.

– Time for a Bart dream sequence that re-explains the scene we saw less than two minutes ago.

– Bart is now re-re-re-explaining what happened . . . to Maggie: “You must have figured out I chickened out during the race.”  Shit like this is unforgivably lazy writing.  Could Maggie handing Bart a chicken feather kinda work?  Sure.  But it doesn’t work when she wanders into his room in the middle of the night and then, after the fact, instead of making a joke or even just showing us Bart feeling ashamed, they have him repeat what’s going on.

– Case in point of the above: Narration Lisa is explaining that when Homer was a kid, he liked fireworks because then he couldn’t hear his parents yelling.  Fine.  But instead of showing us that, and maybe even trying to make it funny while it happens, they tell us what’s going on explicitly, “It was the one night of every year that he couldn’t hear his parents argue.  He figured it was because they loved the fireworks just as much as he did.”.

– More of same: “With his mother gone, Homer needed a hero, and no one was more of a hero than the magical little man behind the controls.”  Stop. Explaining. Everything. Please?

– After Homer and the old fireworks guy who looks and talks like Don Vittorio DiMaggio spit one liners at each other, the A-plot returns to once again remind us that Bart is feeling guilty.  This will not be the last time.

– Homer and the repeat old Italian stereotype are now buying fireworks from Cletus.  It ends with an exploding Spider-Pig.

– Bart is now sharing a stage with Drederick Tatum for winning that race.  One of Tatum’s actual lines, “What’s going on?  Seriously, what’s transpiring?”  They’re actually asking themselves for more exposition.

– After some more expositions (“Bart’s a coward”, “He lied to us”), Tatum tells the tattoo guy (what, you didn’t think there’d be a tattoo guy there?) to change his tattoo of Bart.

– Another decent sign gag with “Fruit Tree Sale, Grow a Pear!”.

– Old people saying they’re all cowards is a decent enough idea, but once again they manage to stretch things too long, re-re-re-explain themselves several times, and generally screw things up.

– After Bart wakes up with Milhouse in his bed, we get yet more nonsense exposition, “This is an angry sleepover, I’m only doing it because it was on the books.”.  It’s one thing to have quick aside scenes, it’s another to have them involve both of the main characters in the A-plot in a way that doesn’t fit in with what we’re seeing and then having one of them say why.

– The Homer driving montage would’ve been much funnier if they hadn’t pre-explained every joke and then have it go on for forty-five seconds.

– And speaking of weak jokes that take too long: Wiggum and Lou trying to fire their Revolutionary War muskets.

– Homer has gotten into an unexpected fight for the second week in a row.  This time it’s on a barge full of fireworks that will end up pointing directly at the crowd for a few moments of fake tension.

– Still more evidence of how hacktacular all of this is.  The fireworks are pointed at the crowd.  Bart spies the Retirement Castle bus, then looks at the keys hanging off the back of the driver’s belt.  Fine.  Overly convenient and kinda dumb, but not beyond rescue.  Then Bart says this, “Milhouse, this is my chance to make things right.”.  Ugh.

– Grampa fleeing by saying “Don’t worry, boys, I’ll be with you all the way to Berlin” was kinda funny.  As per standard Zombie Simpsons procedure, however, they have to stretch it by having him jump in a nearby boat that we’d never seen before.

– Carl just made a Twitter joke . . . then he explained it and told us what we were looking at.

– Actual line: “Quit explaining everything!”.  Make of that what you will.

– And we end the season with Grampa playing piano and an unrelated epilogue where Bart brushes his teeth and Maggie squeaks like a chicken.

Anyway, the numbers are in and . . . they did it!  Last night just 3.28 million people wished the writing staff had the courage to let the show die.  That is good for #2 on the all time least watched list (only the 7:30pm, sad-kid-mental-patient “Diggs” remains lower) and it pushes the average overnight rating for Season 25 down to 4.99 million viewers.  Back in March and April, when they were pulling in low 4 and high 3 million numbers, I didn’t think they’d stink out loud enough to get down under 5 for the season, but the last few weeks have gone a long way towards showing just how unloved this show has become.

I’m planning on doing a longer ratings post this week or next, but in the meantime, here is the current list of least watched episodes.  Note that all but #10 are from this season:

(Season-Ep/Date/Viewers in Millions/Title)

  1. 25-12 / 9-Mar-14 / 2.65 / Diggs
  2. 25-22 / 18-May-14 / 3.28 / The Yellow Badge of Cowardage
  3. 25-19 / 27-Apr-14 / 3.38 / What to Expect When Bart’s Expecting
  4. 25-18 / 13-Apr-14 / 3.59 / Days of Future Future
  5. 25-21 / 11-May-14 / 3.61 / Pay Pal
  6. 25-13 / 9-Mar-14 / 3.73 / The Man Who Grew Too Much
  7. 25-11 / 26-Jan-14 / 3.91 / Specs and the City
  8. 25-15 / 23-Mar-14 / 3.93 / The War of Art
  9. 25-16 / 30-Mar-14 / 3.94 / You Don’t Have to Live Like a Referee
  10. 23-21 / 13-May-12 / 4.00 / Ned ‘N Edna’s Blend

Those are not the numbers of a healthy show.  Then again, undead things don’t have pulses anyway.

19
May
14

Quote of the Day

Secrets of a Successful Marriage9

“Oh, good, Reverend Lovejoy will make Marge take me back.  He has to push the sanctity of marriage or his God will punish him.” – Homer Simpson
“Get a divorce.” – Reverend Lovejoy
“Mmm-hmm.” – Helen Lovejoy
“But isn’t that a sin?” – Marge Simpson
“Marge, just about everything is a sin.  You ever sat down and read this thing?  Technically we’re not allowed to go to the bathroom.” – Reverend Lovejoy

Happy 20th Anniversary to “Secrets of a Successful Marriage”!  Original airdate: 19 May 1994.

18
May
14

Sunday Preview: The Yellow Badge Of Cowardge

 

The_Yellow_Badge_of_Cowardge_Promo_4 (2)

Bart is plagued with guilt when he wins the annual “last day of school” race around Springfield Elementary, with an assist from Nelson, who beats up frontrunner Milhouse. Meanwhile, Homer tries to bring back the annual 4th of July fireworks display after it’s canceled for budget reasons.

 

This is the season finale, so we got that going for us. However, based on the description, there will most likely be lost of guilt horns, so that sucks.  I also read that Glenn Close will be voicing Mona Simpson tonight. I am almost certain she is dead, unless they brought her back in one of the many ZS episodes I neglected to watch,  so maybe its in a dream sequence. Whateves,  I am less interested in solving that mystery than I am in figuring out why Bart gives a crap about winning a race around the school in the first place.

18
May
14

Quote of the Day

This Little Wiggy4

“This is my swing set.  This is my sandbox.  I’m not allowed to go in the deep end.  That’s where I saw the leprechaun.” – Ralph Wiggum
“Right, a leprechaun.” – Bart Simpson
“He told me to burn things.” – Ralph Wiggum




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