09
Jan
15

Reading Digest: Roots Edition

Treehouse of Horror VI11

“I am the wondrous wizard of Latin!  I am a dervish of declension, and a conjurer of conjugation, with a million hit points and maximum charisma!” – Martin Prince 

This seems to be the week for rare, higher quality stuff, and while there are fewer links than usual below, what we lack in quantity we make up for in quality.  There are three or four that would be a Link of the Week most of the time, including the Latin language link, the six eras of the Simpsons link, the 9 minute video about Homer, and the one about movie plots.  And that’s not all!  We’ve got the family made out of snow, a great fan painting, a couple of looks at Season 1, and more.

Enjoy.

Latin on “The Simpsons” – An impressively thorough recounting of the many ways Latin has been used and abused on the show.  Also, there could even be a Latin root for cromulent:

The most famous coinage on “The Simpsons” is “cromulent,” which has become a perfectly cromulent word meaning “authentic” or “legitimate,” ever since its initial appearance in “Lisa the Iconoclast” (3F13, 1996). I’m sure writer David X. Cohen coined it with no thought for its possible etymology, but given that adjectives ending in “-lent” are usually derived from Latin, I propose an etymology from the Latin word “croma,” a first declension noun defined by the 1982 Oxford Latin Dictionary as a “surveying instrument for taking bearings to fix lines of orientation.” The noun’s diminutive form would notionally be “cromula.” I know no other Latin word with the root “crom-,” and it’s easy to imagine that a small instrument whose purpose is to measure straight, accurate lines could yield an adjective meaning “legitimate” or “authentic.”

Watch S2E17 – Homer Simpson – This is a 9 minute video with a talking cardboard box describing the rise and fall of Homer as a character.  The premise gets a little wobbly near the end (I only buy one shift in Homer, not two; and I don’t think According to Jim and various other terrible shows influenced Zombie Simpsons much, if at all), but overall it’s very well done and uses big words in addition to simpler ones:

“The Homer of today is very different from the Homer the show started out with.”

Bristles Babbles #22: The Simpsons Season 1 Review (1989-1990) (SPOILERS) – I got the above link from this thoughtful dissection of Season 1, including this which I’d never noticed before:

Yet another slip-up in episode 8 that I managed to catch on to just by being lucky enough to pause at the right moment comes when the chalkboard gag “I DID NOT SEE ELVIS” changes for a frame before it goes off screen to “I WILL NOT WASTE CHALK”, which was the gag from episode 2.

It really was just a single frame:

The Telltale Head16

Good eye.

Season One: In Retrospect | You Don’t Win Friends With Simpsons – And speaking of Season 1, our old friend Noah P has started a rewatch them all blog.  Here’s his Season 1 retrospecticus with links to each episode.

Saturdays Of Thunder – Episode #044 – And speaking of watching every episode, Ash is up to the National Fatherhood Institute.

Movie plots I have pieced together from The Simpsons – We’ve all had the experience of seeing a movie and thinking, “Wait, I saw that on Simpsons”.  And there’s nary a trace of Zombie Simpsons.  Well done.

Review: The Simpsons: “The Man Who Came To Be Dinner” – I rarely read other reviews of Zombie Simpsons, but this being kind of a weird week, I did read this one.  I am unimpressed.  The author has given a “B-” or higher to every episode so far this season, then he writes stuff like this:

It would be a lot easier to make the case that The Simpsons still has value if the people behind the show seemed to give a damn. But an episode like “The Man Who Came To Be Dinner” is a product of such slapdash, breezy disregard for what makes The Simpsons The Simpsons that it functions as a dispiriting signpost to the show’s hastening irrelevance.

And this:

The Simpsons has survived because of that world and the characters in it—that’s why it can stretch itself into ludicrous shapes for an episode and spring back to its original shape unharmed by the next. The show has rules, the characters have integrity, and actions and emotions have consequences. When “The Man Who Came To Be Dinner” just says, “fuck it” and throws the show’s reality out into space, The Simpsons is left just drifting there, unmoored from what makes it itself.

And that’s not true of pretty much all Zombie Simpsons . . . how, exactly?  Everyone gets their own opinions on the internet, but if you’re willing to swallow – just so far this season – Moe coming down the chimney, an Itchy & Scratchy cartoon without Itchy, Homer getting repeatedly washed overboard during a hurricane, a giant & secret drilling rig in the middle of Evergreen Terrace, and all that weird, magical shit at Burning Man, how does Kang and Kodos cross a line?  The show lost all of its dignity and rules a long, long, long time ago, lamenting that this episode somehow damaged something is illogical and inconsistent at the very least.

The Way They Was: Six Totally Different Shows The Simpsons Has Been – Thanks to reader Cory F. for e-mailing this in, and thanks to the at least two people who linked us in the comments.  I don’t think you can chop up the early seasons with quite that much granularity, but this is one of the more inventive takes on the show I’ve read in a while.

The Simpsons Go Original Star Trek – A rundown of some of the Star Trek references from last week’s closing credits.

In the veganning: Part 1 – A conversion to veganism explained (partially) through the medium of Simpsons references:

When I figured out that lamb chops came from lambs (my Lisa Simpson moment), I refused to eat them anymore.

In Tune With The Drip by Duane Gavins Jr. – Absolutely excellent fan made painting(?) of Lisa and her sax.

Making the Best of Snow – Among other things, there’s a guy next to the entire Simpson family on a snow couch.  Bravo, good sir.

The ‘Mythbusters’/’Simpsons’ Crossover Finally Has A Trailer – Crossover seems like the wrong word here, anonymous headline writer person.

Characters tackle post-apocalyptic challenges in Simpsons play – The play is headed to Albuquerque.

TV Legends Revealed | What Famous Guest Wouldn’t Let ‘The Simpsons’ Make Fun of Him? – But that’s because he was the greatest entertainer in the world.

New trending GIF tagged tv the simpsons pizza… – We got everything we need on you.

‘Bartman’ Outsells ‘Batman’ In France, And So Do These Other Comics – Not much to this more than the headline, but it’s kind of interesting.


10 Responses to “Reading Digest: Roots Edition”


  1. 9 January 2015 at 1:28 pm

    Thanks for the plug, guys! Good to know I’m an “old friend”!

  2. 2 Al Jean
    9 January 2015 at 2:47 pm

    Yes! Tear into the AV Club! This is my best birthday ever.

  3. 3 Sarah J
    9 January 2015 at 6:07 pm

    On her Facebook page, Jane Goodall made a post about Simpson’s Safari. Not a popular episode here, but Goodall seems to enjoy it.

  4. 4 Dick Steele
    9 January 2015 at 8:14 pm

    Wow that’s a good catch on The Telltale Head. Anything to save a buck, right?

  5. 5 Cesar Underpants
    9 January 2015 at 8:57 pm

    tl;dr of that stupid puppet video ” simpsons ruined modern culture”

    • 6 RaikoLives
      10 January 2015 at 4:13 am

      I actually quite liked that video, and the puppet. I’m watching more of his vids now. And it wasn’t “simpsons ruined modern culture” it was “simpsons changed modern popular culture through satire into a landscape it found itself unable to satirise, forcing itself to adapt to maintain its position, though sadly it was unable to do so convincingly and suffered as a result, leading to a qualitative decline which is documented thoroughly on this website”.

  6. 7 Joe H
    10 January 2015 at 5:05 pm

    “When “The Man Who Came To Be Dinner” just says, “fuck it” and throws the show’s reality out into space, The Simpsons is left just drifting there, unmoored from what makes it itself.”

    That has been a feeling in the majority of ZS episodes for over 10 years, since the Scully era.

    • 8 Sarah J
      10 January 2015 at 5:12 pm

      I maintain that this is probably the biggest problem of ZS; stuff just happens whether it makes sense or not.

  7. 9 Anonymous
    10 January 2015 at 10:41 pm

    Huh, no QotD today, Charlie? You OK there, buddy?

  8. 15 January 2015 at 9:27 pm

    Thanks a lot for the share. When I can get my hands on Season 2 and later seasons I think I’ll go through them as well.


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