Archive for October, 2017

31
Oct
17

Quote of the Day

 

“Paintings, lifeless images rendered in colorful goop. But at night, they take on a life of their own. They become portals to Hell so scary and horrible and gruesome that-” – Bart Simpson
“Bart, you should warn people this episode is very frightening, and maybe they’d rather listen to that old War of the Worlds broadcast on NPR.” – Marge Simpson
“Yes, mother.” – Bart Simpson
“Good. Now, you hold Maggie. I’m going to buy some earrings from the gift shop.” – Marge Simpson

30
Oct
17

Quote of the Day

“That’s odd, usually the blood gets off at the second floor.” – C.M. Burns

29
Oct
17

Bonus Quote of the Day

“What I’d like to say is: we’re still looking for the real killers. Anyway, in conclusion, a man cannot be forced to testify against his wife.” – Homer Simpson
“Stop winking!” – Marge Simpson

Happy Birthday Dan Castellaneta! 

29
Oct
17

Quote of the Day

“Ah, they’re not so tough.” – Chief Wiggum
“Uh, Chief, that wasn’t a monster. That was the captain of the high school basketball team.” – Lou
“Yeah, well, uh, he was turning into a monster, though.” – Chief Wiggum

28
Oct
17

Quote of the Day

“Hear ye, hear ye, the court of Infernal affairs is now in session.” – Skeleton Judge
“Very well, but first, some ground rules. Number one, we get bathroom breaks every half hour.” – Lionel Hutz
“Agreed. Number two, the jury will be chosen by me.” – The Devil
“Agreed. No, wait.” – Lionel Hutz
“Silence!” – The Devil

27
Oct
17

Behind Us Forever: Treehouse of Horror XXVIII (Oh, and Morgan Spurlock returns)

“Oh, dear!” – Marge Simpson
“No, Mom, it counts as a hit. Dad just won the game.” – Lisa Simpson
“Well, I guess he’ll be happy when he comes to.” – Marge Simpson

A few quick breakdowns:

  • I finally watched that “Springfield of Dreams” special that FOX Sports paid Morgan Spurlock to produce to commemorate Homer’s induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame. It’s fine. Not great. Not terrible. Maybe a little too long and uneven, but watchable.Spurlock put his rolodex to work and brought in a crapton of famous people, some of whom work out better than others. Joe Buck, Bob Costas, George Will, and Dr. Oz(?) seem to only barely be in on the joke. Whereas Don Mattingly, Ozzie Smith, Mike Scioscia, and that baseball historian all made me at least chuckle. I have no idea why Russel Brand or Neil DeGrasse Tyson were there, I guess maybe the producers hoped they would tweet about it or something? Nick Offerman got to pretend to be Brad Pitt, Bush the Younger, and John Swartzwelder. That last one was a nice touch, though I’m guessing 95% of the people watching have never heard of him.

    Mostly it’s a retelling of “Homer at the Bat” in a Ken Burns style where clips from the episode are interspliced with talking heads or occasional Simpsons characters talking (Spurlock and two guys he work with wrote it). It spends more time than I’d have liked explaining jokes from twenty-five years ago (did you know it’s dangerous to put sheet metal over your head in a thunderstorm?), but overall it’s fine. And, hey, I got to use the Morgan Spurlock tag on this blog again. Been ages.

  • On to Treehouse of Horror XXVIII(!). It opens with an extended couch gag that’s the family as candy sitting in someone’s trick or treat bowl. There’s a decent joke when a leftover chocolate Easter bunny begs to die, which then gets run into the ground as the family slowly eats him. This needed to be a lot bleaker and have a lot less joke explanations.
  • The first segment is an Exorcist thingie that mostly involves Maggie killing characters at a dinner party in gruesome ways. It gets off to a bad start when Agnes and Helen walk into Maggie’s room suddenly to declare the party started. Eventually a priest comes in and the demon jumps into Bart, who likes it. The end.
  • The second segment started out semi-not-un-promising by being based on Coraline, which was awesome. Lisa goes through a small door to an alternate reality where things are animated in 3D and everyone has buttons for eyes. Pretty soon the whole family is there, but then they all come back to the usual universe. It ends with everyone there, including Other Mother Marge as a spider, and rip roaring dialogue like this:

    Button Homer: “Bart drew this picture of his family. Now we’re getting visits from a social worker and an exterminator.”
    Spider-Button Marge: “I’ll be ready!” [Shoots pistol, starts chainsaw]
    Lisa: “And I’ve learned no matter how bad things are, they could get much, much worse.”

    At that, Nelson walks in from nowhere so Lisa can zip and unzip his lips.

  • The third segment opens with Lisa in a tuxedo in front of a curtain, reminiscent of Treehouses of Horror past (sigh), warning us that, “What you’re about to see is so disgusting, you’ll watch Game of Thrones to calm down. You have been warned.” Turns out it’s about Homer eating himself piece by piece until there’s nothing left. It’s basically one joke over and over again and includes a montage and a self voiced celebrity chef who pulls the classic Zombie Simpsons intro of walking in unannounced and telling us his name.

Anyway, the numbers are in, and they’re up slightly but about the same. A self-consuming 3.66 million people watched this year’s Halloween episode when they could’ve been watching Coraline on DVD.

27
Oct
17

Quote of the Day

“We’ve got to find Hugo.” – Dr. Hibbert
“We’ll search out every place a sick, twisted, solitary misfit might run to!” – Homer Simpson
“I’ll start with Radio Shack!” – Lisa Simpson

26
Oct
17

Quote of the Day

“Oh, Spade, why did you put Farley in charge of the bees?” – Homer Simpson

25
Oct
17

Quote of the Day

“Your son Bart sounds very bad.” – Pepe
“Oh, he is. . . . Son, I just want you to know I love you very much.” – Homer Simpson
“Shut up!” – Bart Simpson

Happy birthday Nancy Cartwright! 

24
Oct
17

Quote of the Day

“Do you know that my son Herschel was first in his Yeshiva class? As a matter of fact, he was voted the most likely to hear God.” – Rabbi Hyman Krustofsky
“Oh, go on, Hyman, you’re exaggerating again, you’re so proud of your son.” – Other Rabbi
“A rabbi would never exaggerate! A rabbi composes, he creates thoughts, he tells stories that may never have happened, but he does not exaggerate!” – Rabbi Hyman Krustofsky

23
Oct
17

Quote of the Day

“Happy birthday, Bart!” – Abe “Grampa” Simpson
“Thanks, Grampa!” – Bart Simpson
“Where’d you get all the money?” – Marge Simpson
“The government. I didn’t earn it. I don’t need it. But if they miss one payment I’ll raise hell!” – Abe “Grampa” Simpson

22
Oct
17

Quote of the Day

“I hope you all enjoy your ride to and tour of the Springfield Shopper newspaper. Groundskeeper Willie and I will stay behind to remove all traces of asbestos and the word ‘evolution’ from our school.” – Principal Skinner
“Next stop: Margaritaville! . . . Oh, they’re still here.” – Groundskeeper Willie

21
Oct
17

Quote of the Day

“Remember, Smithers: in and out in eighteen seconds.” – C.M. Burns

20
Oct
17

Behind Us Forever: Whistler’s Father

“Look at those silk pillows! It’s like the set of some high class porno film.” – Marge Simpson
“No, no, it’s just our basement” – Homer Simpson
“Hold on, that’s our basement?” – Marge Simpson
“Yes, so? Come on, more kissing.” – Homer Simpson
“It looks so elegant! And all it takes are some lace curtains and a beaded lampshade. You’ve got to show me exactly what you did!” – Marge Simpson
“But I was gonna score!” – Homer Simpson
“No, you weren’t.” – Marge Simpson

NOTE: Sorry this is so late. Been one of those weeks. (And I just noticed I didn’t put up a quote for today, ugh.)

I’ve listened to enough of the DVD commentaries over the years to know how many different people work on these scripts and how many iterations they go through before they reach my TV. And while I have never worked on a TV show, there are times when I (or anyone else, for that matter) can plainly see that a script maybe went through the wringer a few too many times.

The story-ish substance of this one is twofold: 1) Homer is pushing Maggie to be a professional child entertainer because Maggie can whistle really well, and 2) Marge is working as an interior decorator for Fat Tony. So far, so ho-hum. The weird part is that both of them are apparently hiding their plotlines from one another. Why? No explanation is ever given or hinted at. It feels like an artifact. Homer and Marge keep secrets from each other was the concept, and, seventeen drafts later, that part has been forgotten except for a couple of scenes where they explicitly tell us they’re doing that.

– We open on Marge pacing the bedroom while, for the second week in a row, they do a Homer-can-talk-while-he’s-asleep bit. She eventually wakes him up to key us into the plot and get in the first shovel fulls of this episode’s metric tons of exposition:

Marge: Homer, wake up, please. I can’t sleep. I’m having friends over tomorrow. Luann van Houten…
Homer: …Backstabber.
Marge: Bernice Hibbert…
Homer: …Snob.
Marge: And Helen Lovejoy…
Homer: Okay, she’s pretty hot. I mean, hot for a reverend’s wife, but so judgmental.

Thanks to this, Homer gets stuck watching Maggie.

– Homer watches Maggie and very little happens (“what to do? what to do?” is a repeated line/joke/time filler).

– We see Marge with the gals and they are exceptionally hostile, right from the bat. They just insult Marge out of blue. No disagreement, no escalation, just straight to open insults. It’s really weird.

– Upstairs, Homer spends thirty seconds or so looking for a whistling sound before he discovers it’s coming from Maggie. This leads to a dream sequence where Homer is professionally whistling in an Uncle Sam costume.

– Her taste insulted by the other women, Marge resolves to decorate the “pick up waiting room” at the school the best she can. She’s gonna need a montage! Montage!

– At the newly decorated room, Fat Tony shows up out of nowhere to declare the room perfectly decorated and hires Marge as his decorator for an old post office he purchased. That was timely, unexpected, and hacktacular, all in one.

– At Moe’s, Homer has Maggie in a backpack and is pretending to whistle for the guys when Grampa walks in out of nowhere to exposit about how he used to be a professional whistler. He opens the door and says:

“Well, well, well, it looks like my no talent son can suddenly whistle. Tell me Homer, how’d you trill that high C with your lips in second position?”

It is then revealed that Maggie is whistling and that Grampa used to be a professional whistler, which leads to a narrated flashback. For those keeping score at home, we’re at the 7:30 mark and we’ve had a montage, a flashback, a dream sequence, and two characters bursting through doors to advance the plot.

– Grampa’s flashback ends badly when he tries to whistle three notes at once, which they animated thusly:

This isn’t quite popped eyeballs. But it’s not far off, either.

– That stunt broke Grampa’s lips, which leads to another flashback where he has to pay other guys to kiss his girlfriend:

I have no response to this.

– Grampa then declares that Maggie is gonna go into show business, which leads to him whistling with five holes in his mouth instead of three. Didn’t they just say he couldn’t do that? I am confused.

– Hey, look, a good sign joke:

– And we’re back to exposition with Grampa explaining that he and Maggie are there to hear songbirds.

– Over in Marge’s plot, Fat Tony is introducing Marge to the post office. Legs and Louie are there for some limp banter.

– At a talent tryout for kids, Grampa tells a bored looking guy that Maggie whistles. He replies by expositing how he feels and expositing what he’s going to do:

“This I gotta hear. Not because I am looking forward to it, but because it is my job.” [He smokes a whole cigarette. Maggie whistles.] “Fantastic talent. Now, move along. I have a heart attack at four o’clock. And here it comes.” [Has heart attack.]

Hacktacular!

– Marge is at a hardware store with Fat Tony and the gang. She is now dressed as an “interior decorator” which means a brown suit dress and sunglasses. This is another one of those scenes where the writers seem to think its relateable when interior decorators pitch expensive indoor fountains at you. They must hate that almost as much as when their butlers wash their sock garters but they’re still covered in schmutz.

– Next scene, Homer and Marge are in bed and Marge wonders what that whistling is. They then both ask how the other would feel if they kept a secret from each other. This forces me to wonder why in the hell (or how, for that matter) either of them is keeping their plot lines a secret. This is the first we see of it and we’re well past halfway. Even by Zombie Simpsons standards it feels dropped in.

– Because Lisa hasn’t really been in this episode, we get a thirty second filler scene where she freaks out about Maggie being talented. No, I don’t know why. Maybe that’s a secret too.

– Homer and Maggie are now watching a TV special about an entertainment baby that went to prison. I guess it’s supposed to be a “Behind the Music” type thing, but it’s mostly just narration. It leads to Homer expositing out loud about his motivations for pushing Maggie to be a whistling star. Nothing about it needing to be a secret, or why Marge might care. I guess it’s nice that they are neither showing nor telling, but since they’re expositing something unrelated instead, I don’t think it qualifies as an improvement.

– Marge has finished decorating the post office for Fat Tony. Turns out it’s a brothel, which we learn when Quimby appears from nowhere to ask if he can bang Marge. Kent Brockman then bursts into the hall to tell Fat Tony and Marge that they didn’t see him. The door was closed. He wasn’t being seen. Even by cartoon standards this is dumb.

– At the baby talent show, Homer explains that he is disturbed by what the other showbiz parents do to their kids. At the post office/brothel, Marge is ashamed of what she’s done. No sooner has she told us this than Helen, Luann, and Bernice walk in from outside – once again for no damn reason – to start attacking Marge again. The brothel ends up getting burned for insurance money after Marge exposits that Fat Tony’s mom used to have a PO box there. Remember what I said above about this script going through the wringer too many times? Weird crap like this is why.

– At the talent show, Maggie fails because she can’t whistle anymore with a tooth coming in. (Actual dialog: “Look she’s got a tooth coming in!”, which is said by Bart who has just wandered on stage.) Mel then exposits all of this from the audience because they like having Mel yell shit. God I’m bored.

– Homer concludes the scene and the plot by telling us, “The only thing that’s been worth it about this experience is that I got to spend time with this little girl. And that’s the tooth.” Please, someone, take me to a dentist’s office and leave the gas on.

– And we end on Marge and Homer in bed recounting each other’s storylines and promising “no more secrets”, which, again, has nothing to do with anything we’ve just seen.

– Small bonus: End theme is a whistle version by what I assume is a professional whistler named Nick Fascitelli. It’s not worth sitting through this, but I am a sucker for versions of the theme song.

– Other credit note: regular “Music By” credit for Clausen.

Anyway, the numbers are in, and with no late FOX NFL game this week, they’re back to the darkest corner of the basement. Last Sunday, just 2.90 million people didn’t tell anyone they watched Zombie Simpsons.

20
Oct
17

Quote of the Day

♫”Bart was feeling mighty blue.” – Homer Simpson
“It’s a shame what school can do.” – Marge Simpson
“For no reason, here’s Apu.” – Apu Nahasapeemapetilon
“Those were the days!”♫ – Homer, Marge, & Apu

19
Oct
17

Quote of the Day

“Ensign Kodos, set coordinates for the obscure, t-shirt producing planet known as Earth.” – Kang

18
Oct
17

Quote of the Day

“You know, some women find bald men quite virile.” – Marge Simpson
“Marge, weren’t you listening? This is a ‘miracle breakthrough’, not one of these cheapo sucker deals.” – Homer Simpson

17
Oct
17

Quote of the Day

“On the line with us now is plant owner C. Montgomery Burns. Mr. Burns?” – Kent Brockman
“Oh, hello, Kent. Right now, skilled nuclear energy technicians are calmly correcting a minor piffling malfunction.” – C.M. Burns

16
Oct
17

Quote of the Day

“This is where the wolf blows down the pig’s house.” – Marge Simpson
“He blows alright. He blows big time.” – Bart Simpson
“That’s it, honey! Get into the spirit!” – Marge Simpson

15
Oct
17

Quote of the Day

“Lisa, I know a song that will cheer you up. . . . There once was an ugly duckling…” – Marge Simpson
“So you think I’m ugly?” – Lisa Simpson
“No! No, I meant you were one of the good looking ducks . . . that makes fun of the ugly one. Hmm.” – Marge Simpson




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