Archive for October, 2017



14
Oct
17

Quote of the Day

“You’re in big trouble, Burns! Homer Simpson’s job requires college training in nuclear physics. Now, you get your man up to speed or we’ll be forced to take legal action.” – Nuclear Inspector
“Is that so? Well, I have the feeling you’ll be ‘dropping’ the charges. . . . Oh.” – C.M. Burns
“The painters moved your desk, sir.” – Mr. Smithers
“Ah, yes.” – C.M. Burns

13
Oct
17

Quote of the Day

“Ahhhhhh!” – Moe
“Kneel before my slingshot, puny Earthling!” – Kodos
“Well, I guess my first wish is to get rid of those awful aliens.” – Ned Flanders
“Ahhhhh! He’s got a board with a nail in it!” – Kodos
“Enslave humanity, will ya?” – Moe

12
Oct
17

Quote of the Day

“Now I’d like to introduce you to Lunchlady Doris who will serve you healthy, nutritious meals.” – Principal Skinner
“Yeah, right.” – Lunchlady Doris

Doris Grau would’ve been 93 today. Happy birthday.

11
Oct
17

Behind Us Forever: Springfield Splendor

“She doesn’t look sad. I don’t see any tears in her eyes.” – Homer Simpson
“It’s not that kind of sad. I’m sorry, Dad, but you wouldn’t understand.” – Lisa

After last week’s little experiment, it’s back to regular Zombie Simpsons this week, including plots that don’t make sense, two clock eating montages, several unnecessarily self-voiced celebrities, the standard hacktacular ending, and plenty of characters telling us exactly how they’re feeling. As a sort of bonus, some of this week’s exposition is written down rather than spoken.

The story here is – and stop me if you’ve seen this one a dozen times before – Lisa is sad. She goes to a therapist who tells her to do “art therapy”, which turns into a comic book that she writes and Marge draws, which turns into a Broadway musical, which turns (at long last) into the end credits. There isn’t really a b-plot this week, so they tossed in some random scenes of Bart and Homer doing brief sketch pieces.

– No couch gag or title sequence, which means this one ran long, which is not a good sign, especially when the opening is Lisa having a dream that she narrates to us.

– Waking up, Lisa runs into Homer and Marge’s room where, in the span of just thirty seconds, they manage to do the “Homer wakes up instantly” joke twice.

– The family ends up at Springfield community college so Lisa can get discount therapy. Since this episode is mostly filler, they encounter Lenny on the front steps:

Lenny: I only paid a student dentist twelve dollars for this brand new crown. [He pulls out his tooth.] See?
Marge: I don’t think it’s supposed to come out.
Lenny: That’s why I paid a student para-legal to sue him. I lost! [He tosses the tooth aside and walks off.]

After this scintillating exchange, Homer looks at the family, then smiles and nods vigorously. This is funny, but not for the reasons the show wants.

– They walk by Dan Harmon teaching a class. He gets pelted with spitballs and falls down. This is the first of many useless self voiced celebrities.

– Homer tosses Bart into a dog grooming class because, hey, that’s funny.

– We finally get to the therapist, who is clearly pregnant but who also tells us she’s pregnant. I swear they sometimes read the stage directions out loud and nobody notices.

– Effort alert: there are a couple of book titles in the counselor’s office, the only one of which I liked was “The Social Psychology of Student Loan Debt”. But, hey, they’re kinda trying. Right?

– The Bart-as-dog thing is still going on as Lisa struggles to draw her feelings. Then Marge comes in and draws Lisa’s feeling for her. This leads to our first montage as Marge’s drawings of Lisa’s life are animated. This includes thought bubbles for this week’s distinguishing feature: written exposition.

– Lisa goes back to the community college therapist to show off her drawings and, dun dun dun, they’re not in her backpack. Outside we see Comic Book Guy and that wife they gave him finding the pages and deciding to publish them as a “Sad Girl” comic. This leads to more exposition from Lisa, who says, “It’s been a week and I still can’t find my therapy comic. I’d be just mortified if even one person saw my private thoughts.” They then walk by the comic book shop which has them in the window. [sad rimshot]

– This leads to a minute long scene that involves YouTube, exposition, a bear costume, more exposition, and then even more exposition until Lisa agrees to let them sell the book. Jebus, that took a while.

– Lisa becomes famous, with random people in the supermarket asking for her autograph and Mel shouting out the word “zeitgeist”. This leads to our second montage, which is accompanied by a one-word substitution “parody” of the old Rod Stewart song “Infatuation“. The credits will later inform me it was sung by Kipp Lenon, a/k/a the guy who did the singing for Michael Jackson back in Season 3. There’s your trivia moment for this one.

– After the montage, there’s a Homer and Bart sketch that uses the Andy Griffith Show theme song. That is all.

– Moving the plot along to a comic book festival, we get a women-in-art panel discussion with Marge, Lisa, and three self voiced celebrity writers/cartoonists. This takes a while and ends with Marge being jealous because all the questions are for Lisa. No, it doesn’t make any sense.

– Later, Marge wants to write her own comic, gets in a fight with Lisa, and then Martin Short shows up doing a half hearted impression of the voice he does on the PBS version of Cat in the Hat. He’s playing an “impish genius” who wants to turn the comic into a musical. I know he’s an “impish genius” because they tell us twice.

– A big part of what they think works here is recitations of previous shows this guy did. Lisa says he did a “Waiting for Godot” where Godot showed up, and an all dogs version of “Cats”. There’s gonna be like four more of these, all recounted seemingly out of nowhere.

– The Homer-Bart sketch interludes continue with Homer now thinking he’s going to be rich. I will update you as necessary.

– The next minute and a half is Martin Short rambling and Lisa getting jealous of Marge because the show is so off beat that “Sad Girl” is barely in it. This is conveyed to the audience via Lisa’s explicitly saying it, “Mom, he’s ignoring my story and making this all about your drawings.”

– Lisa flees back to the therapist, who now has a crib that she’s gently rocking. Remember, she was pregnant and they told us so. Now she obviously has a kid and they will tell us that as well. The need to make even the most obvious things explicit is among the seven or eight most annoying tics of this show.

– Homer is now planning to get a sail boat.

– The show finally starts and it’s basically montage #3, with lots of music and crazy stuff happening because wordless musicals are a good way to eat time.

– After one final scene of Martin Short yelling and explaining things, the music devolves into chaos and the audience flees.

– And we end at a bar where everyone is drinking and Marge and Lisa exposit their reconciliation.

The numbers are in, and thanks to a late Packers-Cowboys game, 5.25 million people saw Lisa be sad and felt the same way. Remember, ratings are meaningless and no one in charge of anything knows what they’re doing.

11
Oct
17

Quote of the Day

“Alright, let’s have a look see at your study area.” – Martin Prince
“Study area?” – Bart Simpson
“Yes, your sanctuary from the hurly-burly of modern life.” – Martin Prince
“Well, there’s a desk under that junk over there.” – Bart Simpson
“Oh, no, no, no, no, this won’t do at all. We’re going to have to clean up this room. And we’ll clearly need a few ferns in here. No study area is complete without adequate plant life.” – Martin Prince

10
Oct
17

Quote of the Day

“Relax, Chief, you seem tense. You know, the boy here makes an excellent Manhattan.” – Fat Tony
“I’m still gonna put you away, you know.” – Chief Wiggum
“Good for you.” – Fat Tony

09
Oct
17

Quote of the Day

“You know, there are three things we’re never going to get rid of here in Springfield: one, the bats in the public library; two, Mrs. McFearly’s compost heap; and, three, our six term mayor, the illiterate, tax cheating, wife swapping, pot smoking, spend-o-crat Diamond Joe Quimby.” – Birch Barlow
“Hey! I am no longer illiterate.” – Mayor Quimby

08
Oct
17

Quote of the Day

“C’mon, TV, gimme some of that sweet, sweet pep…” – Homer Simpson
“Let’s define our terms, gentlemen. Are we talking about redistricting or are we talking about reapportionment?” – Municipal Roundtable Guy
“Oh, well. Can’t win ’em all.” – Homer Simpson
“We interrupt this public affairs program to bring you a football game.” – TV Announcer
“Yes!” – Homer Simpson

07
Oct
17

Saturday Morning Cartoons

“Young lady, cow hearts belong in a butcher’s window, not the classroom. Well, maybe in an older student’s biology classroom. But that’s none of my business. Elementary school is where I wound up and it’s too late to do anything about that!” – Principal Skinner

The above is yet another example of how The Simpsons was able to cram jokes into every conceivable place in its episodes. It comes right as Lisa has set up Allison for failure at Diorama-Rama. For the middle of it, the sound even fades out on Skinner as the camera pushes in on Lisa, revealing her growing horror at what she’s done.

The music darkens as Lisa is racked with guilt and Allison begins to crack, but we can still hear Skinner’s latest rant, again revealing the bitterness and rage that he barely masks with his store bought haircut and excellent posture. It’s a hilarious self-own, with Skinner revealing how desperately unhappy he is, just as he does when he flashes back to Vietnam, or laments how awful the talent show is backstage before instantly switching gears and praising it on-stage.

At the same time, the episode itself is chugging along toward its emotional climax, which is also a running Edgar Allen Poe parody. That’s a lot of elements to have going on all at once, and The Simpsons handles them so deftly that you can enjoy each one without stopping any of the others. And, of course, the whole thing is simultaneously acting as setup for the bigger punchline when both Lisa and Allison lose to Ralph because the diorama contest they care so much about is less important to the adults than Miss Hoover’s desire to go to lunch.

Zombie Simpsons (which often struggles to handle one thing at a time) doesn’t even attempt densely layered jokes and storytelling like this. The Simpsons did it routinely.

07
Oct
17

Quote of the Day

“Well, what about that tattoo on your chest? Doesn’t it say ‘Die Bart Die’?” – Blue Haired Lawyer
“No, that’s German for ‘The Bart, The’.” – Sideshow Bob
“No one who speaks German could be an evil man.” – Parole Board Lady
“Parole granted!” – Parole Board Chair

06
Oct
17

Behind Us Forever: The Serfsons

“I’ll go to the first aid tent and tell them to plug in ye olde stomach pump.” – Lisa Simpson

NOTE: Sorry this took all week to post. I was traveling.

I should start out by saying that I appreciate that they at least tried to get creative here. “The Serfsons” is basically an episode length Halloween segment that gets the tiresome antics of Zombie Simpsons out of Springfield without the family having to win another contest or something. The good news is that you can tell they actually put some effort into this one; there are a couple of clever ideas and while most of the sign gags are meh, there are a few funny ones.

The bad news is that this is still Zombie Simpsons. An awful lot of the dialog is unnecessary expositions and joke explanations, characters randomly show up and vanish when needed, and the couple of good non-sign jokes get run into the ground. And, of course, the overall story is a meandering mess that resolves itself so poorly that it actually retcons its own ending twenty seconds after it happens.

If you haven’t seen it, the basic idea is that all the denizens of Springfield are in a fantasy realm that’s sort of Lord of the Rings, sort of Game of Thrones, sort of Generic Fantasy IP Project #644. Jacqueline is slowly dying and Homer needs gold to buy an amulet to cure her. Lisa, it turns out, has magic powers and can turn lead into gold. This leads to the Ministry of Magic (or whatever) kidnapping her for her abilities, and that in turn leads to a weird battle. There’s also a gelatinous cube whose super power is explaining jokes about itself.

– Gotta give them this: the Game of Thrones-y version of the theme song is kinda good. (Given the timeframe, I would assume Alf Clausen wrote it, but I really don’t know. He’s credited here as “Composer Emeritus”, which is a pretty sleazy way of saying “Fired”.)

– The actual episode starts off with, wait for it, a bunch of exposition. We see the family in their home and then this happens:

Homer: Water soup again?
[A crow lands on the windowsill. Marge bashes it with her ladle.]
Marge: Now it’s crow soup!
Homer: Ooh, I call an eye!
Lisa: Me too!
Bart: Me three!
Marge: And Maggie gets the beak.
[She then gives Maggie the beak.]

– After this, Rainier Wolfcastle, dressed as a knight, bursts in through the wall, makes Homer kiss his horse’s hooves for fifteen seconds, and then bursts out through a different wall. I am not going to transcribe all the random sketch comedy crap like this that happens. Just know that there’s a lot of it.

– Shortly thereafter, Homer yells at Lisa for “anti-feudalist” talk. Had this been brief and/or the only example, it might’ve been funny. But it goes on for quite a while and gets recited about three more times.

– Milhouse is a gremlin of some kind. And Jacqueline is in an exposited retirement home manned by giant spiders.

– At the row of severed heads we get more feudalism exposition.

– Jacqueline has been standing there for all of the above exposition, then breaks in unexpectedly by walking in from out of frame. Even when they have a character in a scene they feel the need to drop them in out of nowhere. If you wrote each line on a 3×5 card and shuffled them thoroughly it might actually improve the flow of this dialog.

– Speaking of jokes that would’ve worked once, Hibbert diagnoses Krusty with “genital smurfs”, which sing and frequently throw hats whenever Krusty looks down his pants. Once, this could’ve been fine. We’ll get several more.

– Jacqueline is turning to ice because an “ice walker” bit her on their date. Said ice walker then walks up to the window to apologize from nowhere before more exposition about how he’s a thousand years old and likes “young” women like Marge’s mom. This too will be repeated.

– Now the family needs gold to buy an amulet to cure Marge’s mom. This is stated explicitly and will be exposited several more times.

– So, in what I guess is supposed to be a Game of Thrones twincest thing, Marge’s creepy twin brother walks up out of nowhere to hit on Marge.

– The first of the two really good sign gags is George R.R. Martin wearing a sandwich board that reads, “The End Is Not Nigh” on the front and “I’ll Tell You When It’s Nigh” on the back.

– They try to cram in a Moe-prank-call with a scroll tied to a raven’s leg. It works about as well as you’d expect.

– At the “Human Power Plant” we see all the SNPP guys pushing a big wheel while Ogre Willy whips them. This leads to an extended scene where Burns explains that pushing the wheel doesn’t actually power anything and that their suffering is used to give rich people tiny, decorative wings. It doesn’t hook into the rest of the episode. It’s a one-off sketch that isn’t the least bit funny since it takes a full minute of explanation to get to the punchline, which is then repeated several times in case we missed it. I’m hard pressed to think of how the writing here could be any worse. It’s disconnected, mostly setup, and has a weak payoff. What else could it screw up?

– From there we see Aslan, wearing a big wooden cross, “come to offer solace in this difficult time”. Marge accuses him of wanting to take advantage of her while she’s vulnerable. Had this been left here, it’d be funny. Aslan as pushy missionary is a great idea. Instead, it goes on for twenty more seconds.

– Lisa turns some lead into gold to get the amulet for her grandmother. Then exposits that she didn’t do magic before because she doesn’t want to go work for the king. Also, Aslan shows up again. It won’t be the last time.

– Jacqueline gets cured, Bart shows up out of nowhere to exposit about how it happened.

– [siren emoji]Good Joke Alert[siren emoji]:

Jacqueline: I watched my daughter marry an ogre.
Homer: I am not an ogre. My father married an ogre after my mother was eaten by a different ogre.

Castellaneta nails this as Homer patiently but exasperatedly explaining something to an in-law he genuinely doesn’t like.

– Marge then decides to cook a hobbit to celebrate her mother’s newfound health. This leads to the second of the two really good sign gags in the episodes:

Is this self serving and kind of a low blow? Sure. But I laughed.

– And my joy is instantly ruined as we travel over to the hobbit cage where three hobbits exposit about which of them is to be eaten for far too long. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: these people know good jokes when they see them. They just can’t resist running them into the ground to fill time.

– There are some good fake store signs in this one, of which “Banana Monarchy” is my favorite and “David’s Merkins” is the dirtiest.

– At the town square things start to get really weird in preparation for the bizarro ending that’s coming. Homer and a bunch of other characters get into an argument about what the afterlife is like. Much exposition ensues. Also more smurf crabs or whatever.

– And Lisa gets kidnapped because “Sorcererintendent Chalmers” saw her using magic. Here are my notes from this:

As Lisa gets taken, more exposition

More feudalism exposition

“How are we going to get over these walls?”

As you may have guessed from that last part, they have to get over some walls. In transcription form, tell-don’t-show does kinda work.

– That last line leads to a bunch of Ents showing up. Homer, holding an ax, thanks them for their “sacrifice” and we then see them being made into ladders. Had this been it, great. Instead, the Ent has to exposit the joke (“We could’ve torn down the castle walls in five minutes”) before getting his face cut off with more exposition from Homer.

– During the battle, Mel literally dies explaining a joke.

– As the battle winds down, Homer declares, “Now we’re losing!” before declaring “Now we won!”. They’ve been over-using this kind of “here’s something so obvious it has to be funny” humor for a long time, but this is the worst example I can recall. Yeesh.

– And, after a dragon dies then gets resurrected, we end on Lisa expositing the end of the world.

Anyway, the numbers are (long since) in and they’re about what you’d expect. The season premier of the show that used to be The Simpsons was watched by 3.26 million viewers. That’s down a teensy bit from last year and the exact same as Season 27. As stated over the summer, though, bad numbers are fine so long as they’re not falling-into-a-bottomless-pit bad. So the mediocrity will continue. Welcome to Season 29, everyone. We can check out, but they’ll never leave.

06
Oct
17

Quote of the Day

“An alligator with sunglasses? Now I’ve seen everything!” – Marge Simpson

05
Oct
17

Quote of the Day

“Any questions?” – Buddy “Fallout Boy” Hodges
“When Radioactive Man got injected with shrinking serum in issue two-thirty-four, how come his costume shrinks too?” – Milhouse van Houten
“I am sure I don’t know. But I did just finish playing Rum Tum Tugger in the second national touring company of Cats. Anybody see it?” – Buddy “Fallout Boy” Hodges

04
Oct
17

Quote of the Day

“Yo, sensei, can I go to the bathroom?” – Bart Simpson
“You can if you believe you can.” – Akira

03
Oct
17

Quote of the Day

“I take hormones to lower my voice. Now all I want to do is fight! What are you looking at?” – Martin Prince

02
Oct
17

Quote of the Day

“Look! He’s headed back to the greyhound racing track where we found him.” – Bart Simpson
“Don’t worry. As soon as they find out he doesn’t have any money, they’ll throw him out. Believe me, I know.” – Homer Simpson

Happy birthday, Mike Scully!

01
Oct
17

Quote of the Day

“Cool, she can fly!” – Bart Simpson
“I think it’s supposed to symbolize her descent into madness.” – Lisa Simpson

New Zombie Simpsons tonight. I cannot fly.




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