12
Jun
15

Reading Digest: Fucking CNN Edition

Homer Defined14

“Forget the hair, just give me the blush!  Oh, we’re on.” – Kent Brockman

Fucking CNN.  This one is bad even by their impressive standards of idiocy and misinformation.  Thanks to their sloppiness, the internet went briefly nuts this week over the supposed “revelation” that Homer and Marge were going to permanently separate in the upcoming season.  Here’s what happened.

On Sunday, Variety published a bog standard publicity interview with Jean about the upcoming season.  The penetrating and hard hitting questions included, “How does it feel to reach season 27?” and “How do you still manage to keep it fresh and timely?”.  Articles like this are the reason Variety exists, so the entertainment industry can let the public know about its new stuff.  (Know how you can tell it’s straight PR?  The word “Shearer” does not appear.)  The headline was “‘Simpsons’ EP Al Jean on Homer’s 2016 Vote, Another Movie & the Star He Still Wants”.

Here is the relevant section:

What’s ahead this season?

In the premiere, it’s discovered after all these years Homer has narcolepsy and it’s an incredible strain on the marriage. Homer and Marge legally separate, and Homer falls in love with his pharmacist, who’s voiced by Lena Dunham. We’ll have cameos from the other women from “Girls.” We have an episode coming up where Lisa befriends a homeless woman who turns out to be an incredible singer. The woman’s voiced by Kate McKinnon, but the singing is done by Natalie Maines. In another episode, Spider Pig makes his return. Sideshow Bob appears in a segment, and we finally see him do something he’s wanted to do for 25 years. And we have an episode based on the film “Boyhood.” It’s a flashback/flashforward about Bart. We go to various points in his life and his life to come which I think came out really well.

Jean rattles off a few episode plots, one of which is about Homer and Marge legally separating.  This wasn’t considered big news, and most of the follow on articles I saw were about Sideshow Bob finally killing Bart in the Halloween episode.  For three days, that was the biggest piece of information anyone cared about in this article.

Then, on Wednesday morning, CNN got around to writing it up:

(CNN) – We already knew that it can be hard to make a marriage work in Hollywood, but it looks like it’s also tough to keep things afloat in Springfield.

According to an executive producer for “The Simpsons,” Homer and Marge will legally separate in the upcoming season.

The animated series is heading into its 27th season, and the show plans on keeping fans intrigued. Executive producer Al Jean told Variety that one of the plot points for the new season is Springfield’s supercouple splitting and the appearance of a surprising other woman.

In terms of whether or not Homer and Marge are permanently separating, those four sentences are pretty vague.  Since four whole sentences in three whole paragraphs is way too erudite for the modern internet media company on the go, there’s also a “Story highlights” box for people who are really pressed for time:

CNN'sFinest

The “Story highlights” read, “A producer says the longtime couple will split in new season” and “‘Girls’ star Lena Dunham will appear on the show”.  The first one greatly lessens the ambiguity by strongly implying that the “split” will last for a whole season.  The second one introduces a currently popular and reliably controversial celebrity.

That alone might have done it.  But what to do when even the misleading “Story highlights” take too long to read?  That’s what seriously misleading headlines are for!  Behold:

CNN'sStupidHeadline

Combine “‘D’oh! Homer and Marge set to split on ‘The Simpsons'” as a headline with the “Story highlights”, add in the internet’s notoriously poor reading comprehension skills, and you get a completely untrue viral story echoing around the internet, radio, and teevee.  It got out of hand enough that the show’s official Twitter account felt the need to rebut it.

Now, sometimes I get it when mainstream publications completely misunderstand a long running franchise, like a couple of years ago when they did the hapless “Nedna” thing.  Anyone still bothering to watch knew it wouldn’t matter in the least if they stayed a couple, but news from Springfield equals pageviews, so everyone wrote it up anyway.  But to think that Homer and Marge are permanently divorcing on a show like Zombie Simpsons is a whole other matter, especially when one or two clicks is all it takes to get to the original that clearly states that it’s just for a single episode.

Partly this is due to the Lena Dunham Effect.  She causes all kinds of people to flip out and yell at each other for reasons that I cannot fathom.  (I’ve never understood square dancing either.  Some things in life are mysteries.)  If this had been just about anybody else, I doubt it would’ve blown up this big.

But Dunham wasn’t the cause.  The cause was CNN writing up three day old news with a headline and teaser that strongly implied something that the article itself was basically silent on.  So, thanks for wasting everybody’s time.

On the bright side, and even though it was unintentional, the sheer reach of this easily debunked rumor might be the most biting satire of the media the show has done in fifteen years.  The links below are by no means an exhaustive list of the major publications, old and new, that apparently consider two clicks to be too much fact checking.

Anyway, I did manage to pick out a few fun regular links from all that nonsense.  This week, we’ve got a donut sensation, a metal band that uses Simpsons quotes in their lyrics, a fan made hat, a great story about “Who Shot Mr. Burns”, and more.

Enjoy.

The making of “Who Shot Mr. Burns?” – Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week is this great article from the A.V. Club about the show’s famous cliffhanger.

Eye On Springfield with Jono Colliver of Dr. Colossus – Awesome:

There is a fine line a band has to walk when writing songs based on TV shows or movies. Do you full on quote from the source material or do you try to compose your own lyrics? Do you try to make your band funny or keep it serious? Add to that something as serious as heavy metal and it seems like an impossible task. Enter Australian doom metal/rock band, Dr. Colossus. Consisting of Nathan Johnston on drums and Jono Colliver on guitar and vocals, the two piece manages to meld some seriously good doom with lyrics all based off episodes of The Simpsons. Combining original lyrics with classic lines taken straight from the show, the lyrics paint a cryptic picture while also adding a fun feel any time you recognize a quote from the show.

What if The Simpsons Had Only Lasted One Season? – The world would be a dark and terrible place and even newscasts would have laughtracks (via @DailySimpsons).

7 Times Marge Simpson Should Have Divorced Homer – And here we go with the divorce links.  Uproxx at least realized it was a joke, but then went ahead with a very Zombie Simpsons heavy list.

Worst. Idea. Ever. Marge and Homer will ‘legally separate’ on ‘The Simpsons’ – First up on our list of total shame, The USA Today:

In the equivalent of The Brady Bunch adding Cousin Oliver, The Cosby Show adding Olivia or any other aging sitcom adding a new character (usually under six years old) that doesn’t have a Oliv- prefix in order to spice up plot lines and stories that have become stale, The Simpsons will have Homer and Marge “legally separate” in the 479th season premiere of the Fox animated show. Or maybe it’s the 27th season — does it really matter anymore?

Simpsons producer Al Jean described this desperate attempt at relevancy interesting twist to Variety.

While it agrees with us that the show is garbage now, it’s not exactly helping the cause.  The whole thing is very sarcastic, which is not a tone you want to deploy when you’re being this gullible.

The Simpsons: Homer and Marge Split Will Join Other Famous TV Breakups – While we’re in the “Print Publications No One Will Miss” category, Time magazine, everybody:

What’s surprising about The Simpsons returning to this well is that the show hardly needs to; it’s not as though Homer or Marge is going to be written off the show. With few exceptions, the show resets back to where it began at the end of every episode.
But perhaps that makes The Simpsons ideally placed to feature divorce; so few comedies deal with the end of a marriage as something other than a way to expediently get someone out of your life forever that The Simpsons‘s reconciliation plotline will, at least, be novel.

I read this article twice, looking for any sign that they understood that this wasn’t permanent.  Zilch.

After 35 years, Homer and Marge Simpson are breaking up – But let’s not limit ourselves to old media, here’s new media darling Vox going all in on it.

Homer, Marge separated (or not) when new season of ‘The Simpsons’ begins – After using the word “revelation” un-ironically, Canada’s Global News at least had the decency to add that, “Jean took to Twitter to seemingly suggest he was playing the media for fools.”.  Seemingly?  What about this is so hard for people to get?

Marge and Homer Simpson to call it quits (thanks, Lena Dunham) – This one’s a twofer, as it’s Canada’s National Post unthinkingly reprinting a writeup in the Washington Post: 

Yes, Marge will be as blue as her towering hair, because Homer seeks a cure for his narcolepsy, and soon “falls in love” with the woman who can treat what ails him: a pharmacist voiced by Girls actress-writer Lena Dunham.
[…]
Homer and Marge have physically split before — such as when Alaska beckons in The Simpsons Movie — but have never legally separated.

Simpsons bosses set the record straight on Homer and Marge’s ‘separation’ – Metro UK bought it hook, line and sinker, even after the correction.

‘View’s’ Whoopi Goldberg on Homer Simpson Leaving Marge for Lena Dunham: ‘What About a Sister?’ – This is another twofer, with an uncritical writeup from entertainment industry rag The Wrap about the ladies on The View complaining about this.  It’s also evidence for my Dunham Effect theory, when Whoopi Goldberg says it’s Dunham, they put up this graphic and the crowd gives one of those “Ooohs” of disapproval:

BooLenaDunhamBooThisWoman

I could do twenty more of these, but I think I’ve made my point.  Fuck you, CNN.

The Simpsons Nancy Cartwright Is Working On Her Own Animated Series ♫ theMusic.com.au – Hey, look, actual news that got swamped by panicky idiocy:

In an interview with theMusic.com.au’s Daniel Cribb, Cartwright – who you probably know as the voice of Bart Simpson, Ralph Wiggum, and wealth of other Springfield characters – revealed she has been developing an animated comedy series called Unassisted Living.
“We’re in development and pitching, but it is fully fleshed out and ready to go,” Cartwright revealed.
“It takes place in a retirement facility and everybody thinks they’re dying and somebody comes in to run the place that is only 22 years old and she gets them all working and contributing.

I’d give that a shot.

Sideshow Bob to finally get his boy – Enh.  Even the Halloween episodes are lifeless these days.

Here Are 10 Times ‘The Simpsons’ Predicted the Future – Some of these are a bit of a stretch, but if you’ve got six minutes to kill, you could do worse.

The 5 Worst Sitcom Doctors Of All-Time – Needless to say Dr. Nick makes the list.  There’s also a lot of good YouTube (Simpsons and otherwise).

DIY Painted Sun Hat – Turning a sun hat into a fan made Simpsons masterpiece.  Bravo!

Donutella-uva bomb: the experience – Excellent real life reference:

He couldn’t bloody believe it. Neither did I. I made him re-tell several parts of his story bit by bit. “And this is the milkbar I used to hang out at? Corner Vic Drive and Carrington?” I was still in disbelief.
“Yes.”
He said it was crazy like the ‘Flaming Moe’s’ fad from that popular Simpsons episode. Everyone was going there, everyone wanted one, and it was making the people mad. A little place, turned into a sensation, just because of a simple variation on a regular food item. Nothing extraordinary. Just Nutella on a doughnut.

90s Bart Simpson Radical Dude Don’t Have a Cow Original 1989 White Vintage t-shirt Youth Large – Everything old is new again.

Ralph Wiggum T-Shirt | Ralph Laurel – Heh.

Sounds of the City: Springfield! Springfield! – An appreciation of the music of the city, with some excellent YouTube.

New trending GIF tagged food the simpsons eating… – Well, well, well, finishing something?

New trending GIF tagged dancing the simpsons eating… – At the Copa, Copacabana!

New trending GIF tagged reaction sexy the simpsons… – Oh, what the heck, give me your number.

It’s time to finally end The Simpsons – And finally, I get to end the way I like, with someone who agrees with us:

Dear Al Jean, Matt Groening, Jebus, and anyone else who might be listening:
It’s time for The Simpsons to end.
Year after year, I watch the venerable cultural monolith that helped shape me as a person wither and twist in the wind – and I wish that it hadn’t come to this.
A show that was once defined by unparalleled writing, topical humour and brilliant voice acting has been reduced to a gimmicky, one-note shadow of itself that exists more as a merchandising vessel than as the greatest sitcom of our time.

He then calls the Dunhan thing as an “obvious gimmick”.  Amen, sir.  (Click through for the bitchin’ Blinky tattoo, as well.)


21 Responses to “Reading Digest: Fucking CNN Edition”


  1. 12 June 2015 at 1:45 pm

    Homer and Marge separating is another season premiere gimmick. This has been pulled for years, long before Zombie Simpsons shambled in. Hey, remember when the Simpsons moved? Remember when Homer was going to get committed and meet Michael Jackson? Homer going to New York? Who Shot Mr. Burns? The hook gets thrown out. There are TV spots and possible headlines. Things dramatically shift in Springfield, but everything returns to normal by episode’s end. This plot point should not surprise anyone.

  2. 12 June 2015 at 1:46 pm

    Why didn’t you put You Tube link of the song Hello brain how are you ?

  3. 4 spiderterry84
    12 June 2015 at 3:03 pm

    Homer and Marge are having marital problems? Wow, Al Jean, I’ll bet that’ll really surprise the audience… y’know, assuming they haven’t seen “Some Enchanted Evening,” “The War of the Simpsons,” “Colonel Homer,” “Secrets of a Successful Marriage,” “Brawl in the Family,” “Three Gays of the Condo,” “Brake My Wife, Please,” “Diatribe of a Mad Housewife,” “Co-Dependent’s Day,” “My Big Fat Geek Wedding,” “The Way We Weren’t,” “Mommie Beerest,” “Mobile Homer,” “Bonfire of the Manatees,” “Regarding Margie,” “Marge and Homer Turn a Couple Play,” “Ice Cream of Margie (With the Light Blue Hair),” the movie, “Eternal Moonshine of the Simpson Mind,” “Dangerous Curves,” “Wedding For Disaster,” “Postcards From the Wedge,” “Moe Letter Blues,” “Dangers On A Train,” “I Won’t Be Home for Christmas,” and a number of other episodes that have run their relationship into the ground. (‘Course, to be fair, I wouldn’t blame the audience if they didn’t see any of the episodes listed after “Secrets of a Successful Marriage.”)

    Last year, they made a big deal about killing off a character, and it was just Rabbi Krustofski. This year, it’s “ooh, Homer and Marge are gonna get separated… but try to ignore how the status quo will be reset before the executive producer credits roll.” What’s in store for next year’s season premiere? Moe getting a cellphone? Bart owning a bear? A crazy wedding?

  4. 8 FireFlower
    12 June 2015 at 3:46 pm

    What is the point of Homer getting a girllfriend….when we all know he will get back with Marge by the end of the episode?

    It is just a cheap and easy way to shoehorn Lena Dunham into the show. i would not be surprised if Bart gets–yet another–girlfriend next season as well.

  5. 9 Joe
    12 June 2015 at 4:06 pm

    To be fair, at this stage in the show I would not blame Marge if she just got sick of Homer’s shit and left him. The few times I have seen Zombie Simpsons Homer has acted beyond Jerkass and has become a reprehensible human being. The two examples I can think of that show him at his absolute worst are “Co-dependents day” and “Bonfire of the Manatees”. Those episodes really make him into an absolute abusive, selfish shithead and not the lovable oaf he used to be. The longer the show goes on the more depressing Homer and Marge’s relationship becomes.

    • 10 Disenchanted Viewer
      12 June 2015 at 4:52 pm

      I absolutely agree with what you say, but I think this episode idea also screws up one of the basic premise of the show. Even if we all know next episode will end up with Homer and Marge in bed screaming at the viewers how good marital sex is, for all these years they’ve been telling us how Marge is the only woman Homer is interested in, how much he depends on her and she is the only woman he wants to be with. And also Marge is the only woman that can accept Homer and tolerate and appreciate him. They made such a big deal out of it and now, since they run out of ideas, Homer has a love story with a young woman. WTF?

      • 11 Sarah J
        15 June 2015 at 2:11 pm

        Eh, but there was an early episode where Marge gets a crush on her bowling instructor, and Homer seems to seriously consider cheating on Marge with Mindy.

        • 12 Disenchanted Viewer
          15 June 2015 at 3:16 pm

          Yes, I’d also add “Colonel Homer” as an example. But in all those episodes Homer and Marge prove their loyalty to each other. If anything, Homer tries hard all the episode not to get involved emotionally with any of those women. And also Marge’s attraction to the bowling teacher is more because of Homer neglecting her rather than love.
          I know Al Jean is just promoting his show and his words can not be taken seriously but he said “Homer falls in love with his pharmacist”, which is a completely different thing.

  6. 12 June 2015 at 4:22 pm

    Lena Dunham…in The Simpsons.

    Who’s next? Anita fucking sarkeesian?!

    Whatever I stopped watching this thing long time ago.

  7. 16 Stan
    12 June 2015 at 4:41 pm

    It’s separation, Charlie, not divorce. Two different things. Well, in Quebec at least.
    As for the whole brou-ha-ha, this is the reason I never follow first source news. There are blogs like yours for that. Anybody writing the news today is a formally soulless individual, with the devil’s shadow standing right behind them. And a lot of them look like the Jew producer from ”Drawn Together” too (think Donald Trump).
    I think horribly disfiguring Jean would be better than killing him. He deserves to linger the rest of his filthy life as a cripple.

  8. 12 June 2015 at 6:24 pm

    Reblogged this on Flim Springfield and commented:
    Dead Honer Society does an awesome job running down the week’s worth of panicky rumors about Homer and Marge separating, and also does great work pointing to the news folks who’re still watching the show should be interested in.

  9. 18 Concerned DHS Reader
    12 June 2015 at 6:35 pm

    I can’t help but thinking this whole story was just a promo campaign for the upcoming season.

  10. 19 Noah P
    12 June 2015 at 7:27 pm

    For the past week, everyone who knows I’m a Simpsons fan (which is everyone I know) has been coming up to me, telling me the news of the “legal separation”.
    Never in my life have I used the phrase, “it’s just for an episode” this much.
    It’s honestly gotten to the point where people say, “Hey, Noah! Did you hear—” “…It’s just for an episode.” “Oh, okay.”
    If I hear it again, to quote Treehouse of Horror, I will “something something”…

  11. 20 Cute... but evil
    14 June 2015 at 7:56 pm

    Modern journalism is misleading and incompetent. In other news, water is wet.

  12. 21 Sarah J
    15 June 2015 at 2:10 pm

    Stuff like this is proof that hardly anyone watches Zombie Simpsons, otherwise they’d know the show wouldn’t have a permanent change like that.


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