Archive for May, 2014



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!




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