Archive for January, 2015

31
Jan
15

Quote of the Day

Sunday, Cruddy Sunday3

“Counterfeit?” – Homer Simpson
“Yeah, see the hologram’s missing, and there’s no such team as the Spungos, and, finally, these seem to be printed on some sort of cracker.” – Super Bowl Ticket Guy
“Stop eating our tickets!” – Homer Simpson

30
Jan
15

Reading Digest: Suggested Search Edition

Deep Space Homer11

“I suggest a lengthy, inefficient search, at the taxpayers’ expense, of course.” – NASA Scientist
“I wish there was an easier way.” – NASA Director

It’s a very short Reading Digest this week.  The WordPress “Simpsons” tag wasn’t working, those Auschwitz images I linked last week went kinda big, plus all the chatter about Elon Musk meant the signal to noise ratio went to hell again.  We’ve got some usage, some more play reviews, a couple of cool fan doodles, and the first few instances of Bacon Day cards, so it’s not like it’s completely barren.  Things should smooth out by next week.  But first, in the silly fun category, reader Feodor sent in this search suggestion:

ZombieSuggestion

Heh.  Thanks, Feodor!

Enjoy.

Definitive proof that The Simpsons is getting worse – This is just the IMDb ratings put into a nice graphic.  It’s been done before (here and elsewhere), but it’s nice to see people paying attention to how clearly different The Simpsons and Zombie Simpsons are.

Simpsons Star Wars Doodles… – The one of Homer in the famous Episode I poster is great.

The Avocado is the Hipster of Vegetables! – Scroll down for a printable Choo-Choo-Choose You image.

New Valentine’s Day Cards! – And here’s a fan made Etsy version for all your Bacon Day needs.

The I, Omnibus Top Ten (US) Cartoons of the 1990’s – A short history of why cartoons became much better in the 90s:

There were three major factors that brought US animation out of its “Ghetto Age” that lasted throughout the 1960’s, 70’s, and 80’s, and into its “Golden Age” of the 90’s. One was the Disney Renaissance – its rebirth of motion picture animation, which funnelled over to the television side. The second was the success of The Simpsons, which brought animation back to “Prime Time.” And the third was the success Ren and Stimpy, which reminded network executives that cartoons were once catered towards adults, and could be once again.

Reviews: Theater for thought and laughter – The play in Chicago gets some more critical love.

THEATER REVIEW Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play – Oh, hell, one more.

The Minimalists – Excellent usage:

The rigidity of minimalism’s reductionism has been parodied in mass entertainment, from Absolutely Fabulous (which taught us that if you make your home a white cube, there’s nowhere to stash the booze) to The Simpsons – think of the early 1990s episode in which a Yoko Ono-esque character sits at Moe’s bar and orders “A single plum, floating in perfume, served in a man’s hat”.

New trending GIF tagged happy the simpsons excited… – Here’s an appealing fellow.  They’re a-peeling him off the pavement.

The Full McBain – YouTube of all those McBain clips stitched together.

A kid-filled day – Adorable 4-year-old discovers Simpsons arcade game at a roller rink.  Aww, the kids love it too.

Boo-Urns Night. – Heh:

Nonetheless, Burns Nicht is celebrated all over Scotland (and indeed in many other places worldwide) and the celebration typically features more outlandishly Scottish stereotypes than a heroin-fueled Caber-Toss between Groundskeeper Willie and Ewan McGregor.

Excellent reference.

Rod McKuen, Prolific Poet and Lyricist, Dies at 81 – And finally, this is Critic rather than Simpsons, but this scene always cracks me up:

30
Jan
15

Quote of the Day

The Way We Was21

“This year’s topic is, Resolved: The national speed limit should be lowered to fifty-five miles per hour.” – Mrs. Blumenstein
“Fifty-five?  That’s ridiculous!  Sure, it’ll save a few lives.  But millions will be late!” – Homer Simpson
“Why don’t you take con.” – Mrs. Blumenstein

29
Jan
15

Quote of the Day

A Streetcar Named Marge11

“I haven’t been in a play since high school, and I thought it would be a good chance to meet some other adults.” – Marge Simpson
“Sounds interesting.” – Homer Simpson
“You know, I spend all day alone with Maggie, and sometimes it’s like I don’t even exist.” – Marge Simpson
“Sounds interesting.” – Homer Simpson

28
Jan
15

Compare & Contrast: Famously Smart Guest Stars

They Saved Lisa's Brain8

“I wanted to see your utopia, but now I see it is more of a Fruitopia.” – Stephen Hawking
“I’m sure what Dr. Hawking means is-” – Principal Skinner
“Silence!  I don’t need anyone to talk for me, except this voice box.” – Stephen Hawking

Celebrities voicing themselves has long been one of the most widely acknowledged hallmarks of Zombie Simpsons.  In truth, of course, the show had been using self voiced celebrities almost since the beginning.  What changed was the way those voices were used.  In Season 2, Ringo Starr voices himself, but responding to decades old fan mail, not arriving on the Simpsons’ doorstep.  In Season 3, an entire baseball team of Major League players voiced themselves, but that’s because they were all getting paid by Burns, not because they all suddenly decided to go to Springfield.  Self-voiced celebrities themselves aren’t inherently a problem, how they’re used is more important.

On The Simpsons, not only was there always a reason for some famous person to be there, but what they were doing was always a takeoff on who they were and/or why they were famous.  On Zombie Simpsons (in addition to being used far more often), the self voiced celebrities usually appear out of nowhere.  And once they are on screen, frequently don’t do much more than be their normal selves.  This is how famous street artists repeat their names and do nothing else and the entire cast of American Idol pops up just because.  It’s straightforwardly uncreative and almost always looks and feels like nothing more than a plea for attention.

All of those negatives apply to Elon Musk’s episode.  He literally drops out of the sky at random, and (like Lady Gaga) once he’s in Springfield he just kinda acts like an even more exaggerated version of himself.  Look, there’s drones and electric cars and friggin’ hyperloops!  Aren’t they funny?

LandingCraft

Too bad Kang and Kodos weren’t in there.

Even the episode’s attempts to show how his crazy ideas backfire falls apart.  Everything he does works, and Springfield becomes a futuristic utopia right up until Burns fires everyone.  Does Musk react to this?  Nope.  He disappears entirely as Springfield falls apart, showing up only at the end to act hurt that Homer doesn’t want to be his friend anymore.

They could’ve shown Musk as Shary Bobbins, a noble creature whose best efforts are eventually overwhelmed by the inherent crappiness of Springfield.  Or they could’ve shown Musk as an evil, Hank Scorpio-esque nutbar who loves his inventions more than people.  Or, with just a few tweaks, they could’ve shown a Musk vs. Burns battle for the soul of Springfield.  (Burns would triumph, of course, because good is dumb.)  But they didn’t do any of that.  They had Musk show up, then they drew some of his stuff into Springfield, then he vanished while everything fell apart.  This is about as shallow and pointless as it is possible to be given the enormous amount of screentime he got.

DisappearingAct

The episode manages to find him again, but only with binoculars.  He is apparently unaware that all of his improvements to the town have become failures.

Compare that with Stephen Hawking’s brief appearance at the end of Season 10’s “They Saved Lisa’s Brain”.  Now, by Season 10 the show was already falling apart, and Hawking’s sudden arrival isn’t without its share of problems.  Not only does he drive up with no warning whatsoever, but after he scoops Lisa up in his flying chair to save her from the mob, they land all of thirty feet away while the episode forgets completely that a riot was going on.

But Hawking still has both 1) a reason to show up and 2) is given some things to do.  He’s there because eggheads have taken over the town and he wants to check it out.  This still being The Simpsons, their efforts were doomed from the get go and he finds nothing of value in their little experiment.  Moreover, only on The Simpsons would Hawking be a bullying and arrogant dick who insults everyone and uses an extend-o-glove built into his chair to punch Skinner.  Yes, he is smarter than everyone else, but he’s a jerk about it, and that’s what makes it work.

They Saved Lisa's Brain7

Stephen Hawking: Face Puncher

Of course, The Simpsons also knew enough not to try and string that out for an entire episode.  Hawking is only in two scenes, one of which is an epilogue that doesn’t affect the story.  They don’t build the whole thing around him because even in Season 10 the show could still recognize the limits of a guest star.  In the filler laden wasteland of Season 26, weak guest ideas are asked to carry the entire runtime, and even a world famous inventor and entrepreneur can’t make that work.

28
Jan
15

Quote of the Day

There's No Disgrace Like Home15

“Evening, Moe.” – Eddie
“Want some pretzels?” – Moe
“No, thanks, we’re on duty.  Couple beers’d be nice, though.” – Eddie
“That’ll be two bucks, boys. . . . Just kidding.” – Moe

27
Jan
15

Quote of the Day

Bart Sells His Soul13

“If you like good food, good fun, and a whole lot of crazy crap on the walls, then come on down to Uncle Moe’s Family Feedbag.” – Moe

26
Jan
15

Behind Us Forever: The Musk Who Fell to Earth

The Old Man and the Lisa15

“Eww, this place has got old man stink!” – Hitman
“Oh.” – C.M. Burns
“Don’t listen to him, sir.  You’ve got an enchanting musk.” – Mr. Smithers

I never bothered to watch the Lady Gaga episode a second time, so this comparison may be a little looser than I think it is, but the Elon Musk episode sure felt a lot like it.  A mega famous person arrives out of nowhere in Springfield (Gaga in a giant train, Musk in a spaceship that lands in the Simpsons backyard), crazy shit happens for a little while, then the mega famous person leaves.  There isn’t anything that remotely resembles story, conflict or satire, and the jokes, for whatever little they’re worth, are mostly just exaggerated plays on that mega famous person.  Lady Gaga had a crazy bra, Elon Musk has self packing luggage, har har.

Even by Zombie Simpsons standards, this one was disorganized and scatterbrained, so buckle up.

– No couch gag.

– Homer just showed up to hold up a quarter against an eagle.

– Marge is here now too.

– The Eagle has Maggie, and now Homer is punching it.

– “Ha ha, stupid eagle, it wasn’t the mouse we were after, it was you!”

– Oh, good, the broom vs. eagle fight is continuing.

– Homer’s eyeball popped out.

– So, Homer trained the eagle for four weeks?

– And now Elon Musk is descending in a space pod.

– Homer is weeping and bowing now.  This is more schizo than usual.

– Lisa is now explaining who Musk is.

– “So, what brings you to Springfield, Mr. Musk?”  Exposition Marge is here for us.

– After Musk explains why he’s here, Homer asks him if he’s interested in visiting him at the plant.  Musk replies, “I am, and I will”.

– Lisa just read out loud what Musk wrote on a piece of paper.  This is also going slower than usual.

– I was going to try to explain what’s happening now, but Lisa did it for me, “He’s taking your Homerisms and turning them into his own great ideas.”  This will go on for a while.

– Musk and Homer drove by Lou and Wiggum.  There were gunshots.

– Burns is reading suggestions out loud.

– Burns is being happy and nice, always his best traits.

– This Imaginer(sp?) guy interlude was bizarre.

– But it got weirder as Homer and Musk sit on top of the cooling towers.

– Then they hugged.

– “I don’t trust Musk.”  Exposition Smithers is trying to move the plot along.  I do like that he simply told us how he was feeling instead of us getting to see why he thinks that way, though.  It saves time for all the great stuff they’ve got here.

– Smithers just woke Burns up in the middle of the night for some reason.  Then the hounds were released indoors.

– So, everyone has self driving cars now.  That was unexpected.

– I didn’t see this musical interlude coming.

– Burns just informed us that he’s going to have Musk killed.

– Marge and Homer are in bed.  Marge reminded everyone of what’s going on, then Homer described Musk again.

– A bunch of old guys just shot at Musk and Homer.  Then Homer told us what just happened.

– Musk is apparently going back to his home planet now.

– But first he built Bart a real lightsaber.  Okay.

– And, after some zero-g tears, it’s over.  Huh.

Anyway, the numbers are in and they’re about what we expect with no football on.  Last night just 3.40 million people wondered why Elon Musk wasn’t doing something more interesting with his time.  That’s good for #4 on the all time least watched list and doesn’t auger well for the remaining ten or so episodes this season.

26
Jan
15

Quote of the Day

Lisa the Beauty Queen12

“There’s no way I can beat this girl.  She’s the Jack Nicklaus of the pageant circuit.” – Lisa Simpson
“Oh, I don’t know that she’s as attractive as Jack Nicklaus.” – Marge Simpson
“I meant because they both win all the time, Mom.” – Lisa Simpson
“Oh, well, yes, that’s what I meant too.” – Marge Simpson

25
Jan
15

Sunday Preview: The Musk Who Fell To Earth

musk1

When inventor Elon Musk  arrives in Springfield and befriends Homer, the two revolutionize the nuclear plant. But the ambitious Musk soon has Mr. Burns seething and Burns tries to have him removed, forcing Homer to make a tough decision.

While I find the real life Elon Musk to be a relatively interesting person, I have absolutely zero desire to see him interact with zombie Homer.  At least they didn’t try to rope him and SpaceX into the insane Kang and Kodos episode from a few weeks back.

25
Jan
15

Quote of the Day

The Mansion Family4

“Look at those poor saps back on land with their laws and ethics.  They’ll never know the simple joys of a monkey knife fight.” – Homer Simpson

24
Jan
15

Quote of the Day

One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish11

“That’s sorta nice.  What are you in for?” – Homer Simpson
“Atmosphere.” – Harmonica Prisoner

23
Jan
15

Reading Digest: Cranky with the Media Edition

Bustling Newsroom

“Wow, a bustling metropolitan newsroom, funneling scoops from all over the globe.” – Lisa Simpson
“Hi, are you interested in a subscription to the Shopper?” – Sales Dude
“Low introductory rates.” – Sales Lady
“No, please, you gotta help old Gil.  What’s it gonna take to keep you on the phone?  Dance for you?  But you wouldn’t even see it.  Alright, I’m a dancin’!” – Gil

This week, I make only tangentially relevant complaints about several linked articles: lazy sourcing, inappropriate pageview whoring, and two instances of recycled content that sort of, somehow had something to do with the show.  Happily, we’ve got a lot more stuff as well, including more Season 2 breakdowns, a couple of great pieces of fan art, Lego Grampa, and a real life electric hammer.

Enjoy.

Snowpiercer: “Sorry Mom, the Mob has spoken!” – How would you cast a dystopian train movie with Simpsons characters?  Start with Mr. Burns taking Ed Harris’s part and work backwards.  (Thanks to JRC & Diana for e-mailing their post in.)

Bart Vs. Thanksgiving – Our buddy Noah continues his adventures through Season 2.

Dead Putting Society – This is the episode that really turned Flanders into Flanders.  It’s not just that he’s richer, nicer, and more popular than Homer, there’s a real guy under there, one who can get pissed off but who’s still relaxed enough to not care about mowing the lawn in his wife’s Sunday dress.

Dancin’ Homer – The original story of degradation and humiliation.

Two Cars In Every Garage And Three Eyes On Every Fish – Heh:

The first time I saw this episode, I honestly thought Mary Bailey was a real governor (I was young, OK?), and I was wondering why the show was kissing this person’s butt so much.

But it’s “Not Just Another State”.

Abe Simpson – Click this.  It’s Grampa made out of Legos.

Gr8at: The Simpsons Jokes – Just some gags from the show.

29 Jokes Only “Simpsons” Fans Will Find Funny – This is a Buzzfeed link, so the headline is misleading clickbait and the actual post is mostly a rehash of stuff that’s been floating around forever.  That said, there were a couple I’d never seen before.

‘The Simpsons’ creator Matt Groening will attend Saturday screening of his father Homer’s films – The headline tells you pretty much what you need to know.  If you’re in or around Portland, tickets are $15.

My Favorite Simpsons Quotes – It’s a twofer, with YouTube.

The Top 5 Best Movie-Inspired Theme Park Rides – The Simpsons ride comes in at #3, but it’s worth the click for the aerial photo of the Harry Potter ride.  The castle the visitors see is dwarfed by the warehouse that actually has the ride.

One Image Shows Just How Talented The Simpsons’ Voice Actors Are – This old chart of who does the Simpsons voices was making the rounds this week.

TV’s best shows mostly exist because of crappy sitcom reruns – How reruns of The Simpsons and other shows pay for all those critical darlings.  I have no real objection to the article, but I must object to this:

FXX paid so much money — $750 million — for The Simpsons because it knew this, and because The Simpsons was one of the few remaining cash cows without a cable deal.

That link takes you to this:

The deal also is set to make TV history as the priciest off-network pact ever, expected to fetch at least $750 million, and the first one to include full digital rights. The enormous size of the deal — which some say could potentially reach $1 billion if the series keeps producing new seasons — stems from the staggering volume of Simpsons episodes available

Not only is the $750,000,000 number just “expected”, but it also doesn’t have a source.  It’s like numbers for how much each cast member makes per episode of Zombie Simpsons: a rumor repeated so many times that people take it as fact.  The reality is that nobody outside of News Corp really knows what’s in that deal or how much it’s worth.  I get that writers need to cite facts and stuff, but the entertainment press is really sloppy and lazy and publishing these numbers again doesn’t make them any more trustworthy.

Homer Simpson’s Electric Hammer Created In Real Life (video) – Good idea, but sadly it doesn’t appear to actually hammer nails very well.

Dudeoir Photography – Remember when Homer got Homerotic for that boudoir photo shoot?  Turns out there’s actually a term for that:

Dudeoir is Boudoir for men wrapped up in the “macho” phrase to make it more appealing to men who are insecure of their masculinity.

The Simpsons: three notes that pay composer Danny Elfman’s health insurance – Heh:

“Those are the three notes that kept me in health insurance for 25 years,” composer Danny Elfman says of the opening to The Simpsons theme music.

REVIEW: Mr. Burns a Post-Electric Play at Theater Wit – The Chicago version of the play gets a nice review.

Artist aleXsandro Palombo depicts The Simpsons as Jews in a concentration camp to mark 70th anniversay of Auschwitz liberation – This is that same Italian guy who’s been on a roll with these lately.  (Pro tip: if the word “Auschwitz” appears in the headline, maybe don’t make the related stories sexy celebrities and a bikini model so emaciated I can count her ribs.)

Mr Sparkle – Homer Simpson by Lucas Jubb – Fan made Homer, complete with sunshine, stars and those creepy eyes.

Five Questions For A Blogger. (3) – Including some Simpsons love and a .gif of Milhouse petting that nice doggy on the beach.

What I Watched: Week 2 (Jan 11- Jan 17) – This is wise:

The Simpsons is by far my favourite TV show of all time. I own the first 12 seasons and they’re definitely the most watched discs in my collection because I often grab a season and put in whatever disc. This week I was watching some of season 8 which features Homer’s best buddy Frank Grimes (or Grimey, as he liked to be called).

Monday has spoken… – Heh.

Simpsons at its finest – Heh.

Osteology everywhere: Graffiti – Explaining the lack of graffiti in Kazakhstan with “Lemon of Troy”.

That’s a Coconut Cake! Part 1 | You Can’t Have That One, That’s a Coconut Cake – Trying to recreate Agnes’ inviolable cake on a blog named after it.  Good luck.

An Open Letter to Great Indian Litterbugs – Never having been to India, I can’t comment much on the main subject here, but there is a .gif of Homer and Bart making garbage angels.

23
Jan
15

Quote of the Day

Lisa the Greek18

“Uh, Mom, could you loosen my blanket a little?  Dad tucked me in too tight and it’s cutting off the circulation in my arms and legs.” – Lisa Simpson

22
Jan
15

Quote of the Day

And Maggie Makes Three14

“I’ll stay here, but I’m gonna think about products I might like to purchase.  Ooh . . . Mmm . . . Ooh, I don’t have that.” – Marge Simpson

21
Jan
15

Quote of the Day

Homer's Odyssey11

“There, there, Homer, you’ll find a job.  You’ve caused plenty of industrial accidents, and you’ve always bounced back.” – Marge Simpson

20
Jan
15

Quote of the Day

Selma's Choice14

“Patty, Selma, I’m sorry.” – Homer Simpson
“He’s hugging us, what do we do?” – Selma Bouvier
“Just close your eyes, and think of MacGyver.” – Patty Bouvier

19
Jan
15

Quote of the Day

The Twisted World of Marge Simpson16

“You’re my last hope.  I’ve never reached out to you before, but my wife is in your hour of need.  Your help could make all the difference in the world.” – Homer Simpson
“Okay.” – Fat Tony
“See, boss?  I told you that ad in the church bulletin would pay off.” – Louie

18
Jan
15

Quote of the Day

And Maggie Makes Three13

“Homer, did you polish your head in the Shine-O-Ball-O?” – Al
“No.” – Homer Simpson
“Okay, then.” – Al

17
Jan
15

Quote of the Day

Faith Off5

“You’re the miracle boy with the healing hands, arghhn’t ya?” – Captain McAllister
“Nah, I don’t do that anymore.” – Bart Simpson
“So I guess I’ll have to see someone else about my crippling depression.” – Captain McAllister




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