Archive for the 'Crazy Noises' Category


Crazy Noises: Missionary Impossible

Missionary Impossible1

“Oh, save me, Jebus!” – Homer Simpson

For the fourth summer in a row, we here at the Dead Homer Society will be spending some time discussing twelve year old Simpsons episodes.  This year we’re doing Season 11.  Why Season 11?  Because we’ve done Seasons 8, 9 and 10 already, and it’s time to take an unflinching look at the end of the show.  Since Skype and podcasts didn’t exist in 1999, and we want to discuss these episodes the way the internet intended, we’re sticking with the UTF-8 world of chat rooms and instant messaging.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (especially on “amalgamation”).

Today’s episode is 1115, “Missionary Impossible”.  Tomorrow will be 1116, “Pygmoelian”.

A Brief Note on “Jebus”: As discussed below, this episode is illogical, racist, and really terrible in a lot of ways, but it did give the world “Jebus”, a fantastic term that has spread far and wide in the years since it first appeared.  I’ve seen it used in more publications and by more people than perhaps any other creation of the show outside of “D’oh” and “Worst/Best. [Blank]. Ever.”.  That said, I am mystified as to why it is sometimes spelled with two “e”s, “Jeebus”.  There’s even a guy quoted in this episode’s Wikipedia article spelling it that way.  I’m not king of words or anything, and my own spelling is atrocious enough that I am in no position to cast stones or point at the mote in my brother’s eye (as it were), I just don’t see why you’d spell it that way when it’s pronounced exactly like the original word. 

Charlie Sweatpants: Shall we get to it, then?

Mad Jon: Let’s.

Dave: Yes, let’s.

Mad Jon: Missionary Impossible?

Charlie Sweatpants: I have a very simple opinion on this episode: it sucks . . . but it gave the word "Jebus", and that is worth the rest of it.

Dave: Jebus is a wonderful thing

  Otherwise this episode doesn’t register at all

Mad Jon: It’s like a travel episode where they forgot to bring the rest of the family.

That’s two strikes right there.

  Although I thought the PBS pledge drive had a few ups.

Charlie Sweatpants: Structurally, it is a complete mess, and the weirdness ebbs and flows like a toilet tank that hasn’t been given enough time to properly refill between flushes.

Mad Jon: But for me, the rest was kind of a random amalgamation of events loosely structured around Homer teaching the natives to be Homer.

…So I basically agree with you.

Charlie Sweatpants: You’re just relaxing after the whole Bart-as-Homer thing, and then it’s time for a giant earthquake/volcano/whatever.

Mad Jon: You mean the end?

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah.

Mad Jon: Where everyone died but Betty White?

Charlie Sweatpants: What I mean is that this one goes back and forth between being kinda calm and then turning into something approximating a Halloween episode, and it does this like every thirty seconds.

One minute, Homer and the non-denominational-"microasians" are working together to build a chapel . . . then Homer rings a bell so loud it opens up the earth beneath them.

Dave: I find "microasians" offensive, btw.

Charlie Sweatpants: I don’t blame you. About halfway through I was trying to figure out if this episode was more or less racist because they invented the least inventive fictional place ever.

Dave: I think that makes it more racist.

  They couldn’t be bothered to be creative.

Charlie Sweatpants: It almost feels like one of those Bugs Bunny cartoons they can’t show on TV anymore. Like, here’s all the stereotypes at once, but it’s okay because we’re the Simpsons and so it’s not serious.

There’s no way they would’ve done something that clumsy two or three seasons before this.

Mad Jon: So, does that bother you more or less than the "B" microplot?

  You know, the one that started and that’s all.

Charlie Sweatpants: You mean Bart becoming Homer and then nothing happening except one of the worst Burns scenes up to this point?

Mad Jon: That’s it all right.

  I was pretty unhappy with that whole thing.

It made me look not lazy. And that is a feat, my friend.

Charlie Sweatpants: It was astonishing that it was what they went with to give the rest of the family something to do. I thought it was just a little joke to be tossed off by Homer on the radio, but they actually made it a plot. I guess the toaster going to daycare was cut for time.

  In between blundering from one "wait, what the fuck is going on?" moment to another, it also stretches a lot of jokes.

The PBS thing at the beginning is the perfect example, and that’s before you get to all the characters chasing Homer down the street.

  Just that opening with the fake PBS show tacks on way longer than what amounts to the exact same joke at the beginning of "Marge on the Lam".

Mad Jon: Agreed.

Charlie Sweatpants: Crude British sitcoms, okay fine, but it’s not a good enough idea to take up all that time.

Mad Jon: But I did kind of like the pledge enforcement van.

Charlie Sweatpants: Perfect example. Pledge enforcement is kinda funny.

Mad Jon: I could have done without everyone that was ever born chasing homer however, as you have pointed out.

Charlie Sweatpants: Right. And even then it doesn’t make sense.

Homer gets chased by magical and fictional characters . . . who for some reason lose track of him in the church . . . even though we saw Oscar and Elmo chase him into the fucking church.

  Even if you grant that scene all of its fantastic characters, it still doesn’t make sense.

Mad Jon: At that point it was just moving the plot along, but whatever. We have to get Homer somewhere that he can lick toads and corrupt recently Christianized natives somehow.

Charlie Sweatpants: But it did give us Jebus.

Mad Jon: But it did give us Jebus, that is correct.

Dave: Jebus, woo!

Charlie Sweatpants: And there are a couple of other decent little jokes scattered about, "the gift of shame", and I’ve always kinda liked the no-nonsense brutality of the pelican just falling over, but Jebus is so wonderfully versatile that it blows everything else away here.

Mad Jon: Agreed, Also I forgot about the gift of shame, which is hilarious. Mainly because of my Catholic wife’s constant handwringings.

Charlie Sweatpants: Betty White also gets in a couple of decent lines when she’s talking about how much she hates thieves. But the chase scene, and the collection scene, and even that bit at the end with the FOX telethon drag on, so even she doesn’t come out ahead.

Anything else here, or should we move on to Moe’s new face?

Mad Jon: I got nothing else, let’s get while the gettin’s good.

Charlie Sweatpants: Thank Jebus.


Crazy Noises: Alone Again Natura-Diddily

Alone Again, Natura-Diddly1

“While our organist is on a much needed vacation, we thought we’d try something new, so get down and put your knees together for the Christian rock stylings of . . . Kovenant!” – Reverend Lovejoy

For the fourth summer in a row, we here at the Dead Homer Society will be spending some time discussing twelve year old Simpsons episodes.  This year we’re doing Season 11.  Why Season 11?  Because we’ve done Seasons 8, 9 and 10 already, and it’s time to take an unflinching look at the end of the show.  Since Skype and podcasts didn’t exist in 1999, and we want to discuss these episodes the way the internet intended, we’re sticking with the UTF-8 world of chat rooms and instant messaging.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (especially on “solemn”).

Today’s episode is 1114, “Alone Again Natura-Diddily”.  Yesterday was 1113, “Saddlesore Galactica”. 

[Note: Dave couldn’t make it again this week.  I’m beginning to think this “job” of his is just an excuse not to watch Season 11.]

Mad Jon: I know we always talk about how off Maude’s voice is this season, but this is the most standout to me.

Charlie Sweatpants: Well, yeah, they’re sending off a character in a very serious way – and they’re doing it because they were too cheap to pay the actress they’d been paying for more than a decade at that point.

  If ever there was a clear indicator that FOX didn’t give a fuck about the quality of the show, that was it.

Mad Jon: I am not a fan of the character change episodes, but man, I am really not a fan of the ones that require an unemployed Homer to get things on track.

  Especially when he has to hide in a mailbox for some reason.

Charlie Sweatpants: No arguments here. Homer is such a crutch in this episode that Flanders comes home from a date straight to the Simpsons house.

Mad Jon: This one feels like a repeat of the Vegas wife one. Except, you know, someone dies.

Charlie Sweatpants: Good call.

  It’s got all the problems that one does, plus several more.  I mean, Homer actually promises not to be a jerk, and then proceeds to be a jerk, and we’re still supposed to sympathize with him.

And Jerkass Homer is especially bad here because the rest of the episode is so damned solemn and serious.

Mad Jon: It really is. We have to support Ned through his loss, as well as his realization that he needs to move on, through the trials of that, and finally to the point that he learns he can be himself and still find love, I guess. And all the while all I can hear in the back of my head is "And that’s my queue to exit."

So I am supposed to feel bad and slapstick-y at the same time? Homey don’t play that.

Charlie Sweatpants: I know how you feel.

This one is a hot mess all over, though I’ll again say that there are a couple of good jokes and lines.

Mad Jon: I like the sign in the park at the beginning "Outdoor Sex By Permit Only".

Charlie Sweatpants:   I’m partial to "War Rocks", even though it’s very dumb. But overall it’s just unwatchable because it jumps back and forth between maudlin and profound and dumb and loud so fast that you don’t know whether to turn off the television or punch it.

Mad Jon: "This isn’t a war, it’s a murder…" "This isn’t a war, is a mudah!"

I also am partial to war rocks, but at the same time I shame myself for it.

  If it was anyone but Homer, fine. But not Homer.

Charlie Sweatpants: Like "horny" on the Scrabble board is funny, but is also instantly cut off as Flanders does the incredibly un-him, unbelievable, and stupid thing and mails Homer’s stupid dating video in.

And then it ends with a despicable meet cute between Flanders and the Christian singer babe.

Mad Jon: Yep, I couldn’t feel that scene either. The idea of him playing scrabble with himself is one thing, but the words on the board made him feel too much like "The Simpsons Movie" Flanders that I hate so, so very much.

Charlie Sweatpants: Like, Maude’s been dead for ten minutes, and we’ve already given Apu kids this season, so if there’s one thing we need, it’s to make sure Flanders has a woman waiting for him.

Mad Jon: A hot Christian musician at that.

Charlie Sweatpants: It’s the cheapest possible emotional resolution, which is fitting with the rest of this thing, but still pretty awful when you think about it.

Between that unwatchably poorly paced story and some of the worst Jerkass Homer ever, the few good lines and ideas just can’t compete.

Mad Jon: There really weren’t that many of them anyway.

  Although I did like the fax machine strapped to Lindsay’s leg.

Charlie Sweatpants: She was an early text message adopter.

A Pentecostal ska band is an awesome idea, and it’s funny that Flanders’ cock hangs past his knees, but the rest is way too nauseating to stomach.

Mad Jon: Why have hamburger when you can have steak? I probably say that almost daily.

  Again though, one line against a thousand.

  No competition here.

Charlie Sweatpants: Starwipe is excellent, but as you said, it’s heavily outnumbered.

  I feel like I’m saying this a lot lately, but I really hate this episode.

Mad Jon: You have been saying that a lot, but it has been justified, so don’t feel bad.

Charlie Sweatpants: It’s Season 11, my expectations are pretty low by this point, and this one still stands out for being both awful, and a preview of equally dumb things to come.

Mad Jon: This is going to get worse before it get’s better…

Charlie Sweatpants: Indeed it is. But not tonight.


Crazy Noises: Saddlesore Galactica

Saddlesore Galactica1

“Okay, we’ll do a different song.  Who cares?  They all end up sounding the same anyway.” – Mr. Largo

For the fourth summer in a row, we here at the Dead Homer Society will be spending some time discussing twelve year old Simpsons episodes.  This year we’re doing Season 11.  Why Season 11?  Because we’ve done Seasons 8, 9 and 10 already, and it’s time to take an unflinching look at the end of the show.  Since Skype and podcasts didn’t exist in 1999, and we want to discuss these episodes the way the internet intended, we’re sticking with the UTF-8 world of chat rooms and instant messaging.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (especially on “hemorrhagic”).

Today’s episode is 1113, “Saddlesore Galactica”.  Tomorrow will be 1114, “Alone Again Natura-Diddily”. 

[Note: Dave couldn’t make it again this week.  I’m beginning to think this “job” of his is just an excuse not to watch Season 11.]

Charlie Sweatpants: Ready to begin?

Mad Jon: I am


Charlie Sweatpants: Very sore.

The best part of this episode is the beginning, and even then it’s all things that have been done better in earlier episodes.

Mad Jon: Agreed. This is a straight downhill episode. Shaun White would love it.

Charlie Sweatpants: That’s Winter Olympics, man.

Mad Jon: Yeah I know, but I don’t know any summer athletes who would enjoy a downhill…

That being said, Homer started at the bottom.

Charlie Sweatpants: Even the best parts at the beginning are retreads. Largo only wanting to play the same old standbys, the Simpsons at a fair, Homer making 1970s rock references. They were all things that had been done by the show not that long before.

Mad Jon: The Vietnam vet crap was a prelude to a Jerkass-ness that just, wouldn’t, stop.

Charlie Sweatpants: Case in point, the OmniGogs, which are one of the better jokes in the episode, feel like leftovers from "Twisted World of Marge Simpson".

Mad Jon: Agreed again, that would have been a great franchise in that episode.

Charlie Sweatpants: The Jerkass levels here are head splitting, almost literally when Homer imagines himself eating pearls.

Mad Jon: This man deep fries his shirt within minutes of the beginning.

Charlie Sweatpants: And screams at the band, which naturally makes them do whatever he says.

Mad Jon: Of course.

Charlie Sweatpants: And that’s before things really get going once they get the horse.

Homer’s various money making schemes are all dumb, then it gets ratcheted up even higher with them racing against professional jockeys, and then it gets even worse with the jockey elves, and then it gets even worst with the jockey elves firing a cannon and chasing Homer through the fucking streets.

Mad Jon: Disclaimer that I should have probably given before we started:

Once they went to Jockyland, I quit.

Charlie Sweatpants: Really?

Mad Jon: I left the episode on in the background, so that I wouldn’t be lost, but I left to clean the kitchen.

I just can’t stand that part.

  I just can’t stand it.

  It is so awful.

Charlie Sweatpants: So you didn’t get to experience the hemorrhagic joys of the chase scene and the super soaker ending?

Mad Jon: I remember that part, but the only note I have after the suicide note I wrote when Homer went into the jockey locker room is a question about how any sanctioning body would allow a 10-year-old to compete professionally.

  Oh, and something about Clinton being the worst.

  This episode could have fit in 5 or 6 seasons later.

Charlie Sweatpants: Agreed.

Mad Jon: I think my heart rate is up 20 bpm right now just thinking about the end.

  And I watched it several days ago.

Charlie Sweatpants: It keeps asking us to overlook more and more inane crap, and then it ends.

There’s no payoff for all that crap, you get the feeling that if it’d gone on another five minutes the jockeys would’ve become zombies and then Homer would need to visit a wizard to stop them. It was on a very sharp upward curve.

  It just ran out of time.

Mad Jon: Good call. I shudder to think about where this could have been if they let it go a littler longer.

I wonder if they would have ran out of horse related Jerkass-ness with Homer…

Charlie Sweatpants: Well, the horses all seemed to be sentient as well, so why not have them start talking?

Mad Jon: That was probably the last part to miss the cut.

Charlie Sweatpants: "Duncan" in this episode is basically like Air Bud, only without any of the intelligence.

Mad Jon: At least a golden retriever is cute. This thing had a nose ring.

Charlie Sweatpants: Like I said, things kept getting zanier and zanier.

  At first he was just racing fast, then he started beating other horses, then they stopped even running after him.

Mad Jon: But then they did, and there was a fight where Duncan stole their whips and hit them, or something.

Charlie Sweatpants: Always gets worse. There is a kind of geometric perfection to it, albeit one that is increasingly boring to watch.

This is an episode where, very late into it, you’re not even sure how it’s going to end, you just want it to end as quickly as possible.

Mad Jon: I feel like I am at a movie I didn’t want to go to anyway, and I am super drunk so I just keep telling myself it’s almost over and someone will take me home.

Charlie Sweatpants: It is an unpleasant feeling.

Mad Jon: That being said there are a couple of good lines. Not as many as even a poor episode would have, but there are a few.

Charlie Sweatpants: I do like the one jockey asking the other if he’d like to race clockwise.

Mad Jon: I particularly like the rich guy who has broken his third monocle this week.

  Also the jockey who wants to race clockwise, agreed.

Charlie Sweatpants: The rich guy is good. I also like Largo’s "fuck it" statement when he storms off saying they all sound the same anyway.

  It’s a pity the episode didn’t follow that up and actually have the school band sound like, you know, a school band instead of professional musicians during the competition.

Mad Jon: I am particular to Wiggum’s "I just want the horse to have a good home or be food" as well. Mainly because of how lazily he delivers it.

Charlie Sweatpants: Wiggum is great in that scene. His "I’d rather let a thousand guilty men go free than chase after them" is classic him.

Unfortunately, all of these lines are just speed bumps on ever increasing suck pit that is this episode.

Mad Jon: Yeah, the good lines aren’t even an apology. This is an episode that twice breaks the 3 1/2 wall.

  Stupid CBG.

Charlie Sweatpants: I actually like the second time he shows up.

Mad Jon: Meh.

Charlie Sweatpants: When Lisa thinks Marge is getting a gambling problem, and he says "I’m watching you". I dunno. I’ve always liked that.

Mad Jon: I hate the whole "We know we’re out of ideas, so we beat you to pointing it out" crap.

Charlie Sweatpants: I do too. The first time he shows up is very revealing.

It’s kinda funny, but it’s also clearly lost its bite. They made that joke, with Comic Book Guy himself, the first time in "Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie". It kinda worked in Season 8, when things were still strong. But by Season 11, there weren’t too many people left who were still saying it’s as good as it’s ever been.

They’re hiding behind Comic Book Guy, and in doing so are also showing just how out of ideas they really are.

Mad Jon: Yep.

Can’t really describe that any better.

Charlie Sweatpants: And don’t forget the Jerkass Homer, which also kept getting worse.

  Ready to bury Maude Flanders?

Mad Jon: I am.


Crazy Noises: The Mansion Family

The Mansion Family1

“You won a Grammy.” – Lisa Simpson
“I mean an award that’s worth winning.” – Homer Simpson
“LEGAL DISCLAIMER:  Mr. Simpson’s opinions do not reflect those of the producers, who don’t consider the Grammy an award at all.” – Subtitle Crawl

For the fourth summer in a row, we here at the Dead Homer Society will be spending some time discussing twelve year old Simpsons episodes.  This year we’re doing Season 11.  Why Season 11?  Because we’ve done Seasons 8, 9 and 10 already, and it’s time to take an unflinching look at the end of the show.  Since Skype and podcasts didn’t exist in 1999, and we want to discuss these episodes the way the internet intended, we’re sticking with the UTF-8 world of chat rooms and instant messaging.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (sadly enough, not on “drowning”).

Today’s episode is 1112, “The Mansion Family”.  Yesterday was 1111, “Faith Off”.

[Note: Dave couldn’t make it this week, Mad Jon and I are jealous he didn’t have to watch these.]

Charlie Sweatpants: This episode is just wretched beyond belief.

Mad Jon: This is pretty bad. I liked a few lines but other than that, I got nothing positive to say.

Charlie Sweatpants: It features pretty much everything I hate about Zombie Simpsons, and that was before I remembered that they had Britney Spears(!) on when she was at the peak of her peak.

  Trendy, self voiced celebrities are just awful in general, and this one they didn’t even write any jokes for her, just normal dialogue.

Mad Jon: There were lots of Zombie issues here. Most notably for me were the constant, CONSTANT Jerkass Homer things (I made a big list actually), and the fact that there were only 5 or 6 characters used in the entire episode.

Charlie Sweatpants: That must be a long list.

Mad Jon: If it were a quotation, I would have to use block quotes:

Drags statue out of award show, Saws his workstation in half for no reason, gets ripped up in the auto dresser, puts his ass through a painting while pretending to be a billionaire, drives the lawn mower through the house, idiot at dinner, swirls the liquor on the ground, swirls more on Lisa and everything else then passes out drunk, makes long distance call to Thailand, throws blowout party because he is leaving tomorrow, steals Burns’ boat, gets into stupid fight with pirates and their parrots, also argues with Coast Guard, and is at peace with his friends drowning, sobs because he is no billionaire, faces no repercussions for losing a multi-million dollar yacht

Also, I think this episode uses Lenny’s name more than any other episode ever.

Charlie Sweatpants: There is Marge being worried about Lenny at the beginning of "Hello Gutter, Hello Fadder".

But the Jerkass Homer quotient here is tediously high. It’s also one of my least favorite kinds because Marge and Lisa get dragged along to basically alternate between not stopping him and not caring.

The low comes when Burns decides to let Homer be the house sitter. Not only is it dumb, weak, nice Burns (which always sucks), but the stupidity of it all makes them basically admit that even they think Burns remembers Homer’s antics now.

Mad Jon: Oh, I refer to that scene as the softball moment.

Charlie Sweatpants: The day when you have to stop playing baseball and start playing softball?

Mad Jon: No, it is because Burns lobs the scene over the plate so Homer can spend the rest of the episode being Zombie Homer.

Charlie Sweatpants: Ah. He does that.

Mad Jon: It makes sense in my head, although not so much when I read what I’ve typed.

Charlie Sweatpants: Well, Homer spends the rest of the episode bouncing around Burns’ house and boat, so I’d say it’s fair to say that Burns gave him a nice fat one here.

It doesn’t make sense, and half the episode is just Homer being a dick in various wealthy locations, but if you like seeing Homer scream and wail, then you’ve just seen a towering home run.

Mad Jon: It was very much bipolar Zombie Homer

And most everyone else spends the rest of the episode not being themselves.

Charlie Sweatpants: Pretty much.

  Marge and Lisa, in particular, seem to alternately look the other way and then yell at Homer for trashing Burns Manor.

They don’t make any sense as characters here. They just sort of orbit Homer. Though I suppose that’s true of everyone.

Mad Jon: Especially Lenny, Carl, Moe, Grandpa, Krusty, and the others that DROWNED in the net at the end.

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, the drowning thing has always been a lowlight. Like, we know this isn’t serious, but what the fuck?

Mad Jon: A tad too nuts for me.

Charlie Sweatpants: Indeed. Like "Faith Off", the ending skips and jumps so many times that I’m not even sure what I’m watching by the end.

  I mean, Marge tells us that Burns will be home tomorrow, and in the scene after that, he has his first exam with the doctor. That is remarkably shitty editing.

Mad Jon: The scene continuity was indeed lacking.

I did enjoy the scene at the doctors with the Pope and Castro.

Charlie Sweatpants: The Castro thing seemed to be stretching it, but it was okay.

I like the pirate captain saying that "for liability purposes" the ocean will kill them.

Mad Jon: However, the good lines were very few and far between. So that sucked.

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, there are a few, but this one is mostly herky-jerky weirdness and Homer fighting pirates and a bunch of other stuff.

  Like Homer wailing over the end credits, which would’ve been funny if it hadn’t gone all the way to the damned Gracie logo.

  That shit got old fast.

Mad Jon: Yep. I wasn’t a huge fan of the wailing over the credits. Mainly because of how it got there.

Homer is depressed, even though he just cost his boss more money than he will ever make in his career and still faces no consequences. Then he starts crying about not being a billionaire, and then it is over.

Charlie Sweatpants: It’s Jerkass Homer.

Mad Jon: Oh, I know.

Charlie Sweatpants: He isn’t funny and is an asshole.

Mad Jon: I know that too.

Charlie Sweatpants: Anything else here?

Mad Jon: Nothing worth pointing out.

It is all crap, and I don’t like to pick through crap in that much detail.

Charlie Sweatpants: Even if it’s sloppy as hell getting there, Homer describing the MLB retransmit ship ("or so the legend goes") is kinda amusing.

Mad Jon: I was already broken by that point.

Charlie Sweatpants: Not worth picking through the crap, of course, but still gets a little smile.

Okay, I say let’s retreat to hidden blogger island and never speak of this again.

Mad Jon: Can we gamble there?

Charlie Sweatpants: Sure.

Mad Jon: Ok then. But I get to be the one with more parrots on his shoulder.

Charlie Sweatpants: Fine. You deal with the bird shit.


Crazy Noises: Faith Off

Faith Off1

“You’re playing days are over, my friend.  But you can always fall back on your degree in Communications!  Oh, dear Lord.” – Dr. Hibbert
“I know.  Is phony major.  Lubchenko learn nothing!  Nothing!” – Anton Lubchenko

For the fourth summer in a row, we here at the Dead Homer Society will be spending some time discussing twelve year old Simpsons episodes.  This year we’re doing Season 11.  Why Season 11?  Because we’ve done Seasons 8, 9 and 10 already, and it’s time to take an unflinching look at the end of the show.  Since Skype and podcasts didn’t exist in 1999, and we want to discuss these episodes the way the internet intended, we’re sticking with the UTF-8 world of chat rooms and instant messaging.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (surprisingly enough, not on “Lubchenko”).

Today’s episode is 1111, “Faith Off”.  Tomorrow will be 1112, “The Mansion Family”.

[Note: Dave couldn’t make it this week, Mad Jon and I are jealous he didn’t have to watch these.]

Charlie Sweatpants: Ready to get started?

Mad Jon: I am.

Charlie Sweatpants: Bart as the healer/preacher it is, then.

Like “Little Big Mom”, I think there could’ve been a good episode here. And like “Little Big Mom”, I want to like this episode but just can’t.

Mad Jon: Agreed, I was telling my wife that I wasn’t not looking forward to watching this one, but then I realized why I never watch it.

Charlie Sweatpants: Which is?

Mad Jon: Well it is a rich tapestry.

  I am sure it will fall along the same lines why you want to like it, but can’t get your head around it.

The common Zombie characteristics are here, and it really could have been a good one. There are lots of good lines, and some solid ideas, but always something is lying around the corner to cut off the potential for sustained enjoyment.

Charlie Sweatpants: The “potential for sustained enjoyment” is a good way to put it.

I can buy Bart becomes a faith healer among the students at the school. He can exploit people’s faith for his own benefit, learn a lesson (but not really) and there you go. But I can’t buy Bart taking all of Lovejoy’s flock, then letting Milhouse get hurt, then seeing Homer crippling a kicker to have Fat Tony show up and all the other crap that makes the ending a swirling mess.

  No sooner is there something decent than things get bizarre and out of hand again. And in so many different ways.

This is also one of the few times I can recall wishing the opening wasn’t related to the rest of the episode.

Mad Jon: Why is that?

Do you feel the opening would have been better on its own, or t’other way round?

Charlie Sweatpants: The football game/float subplot was a great source of how bad the ending got. If they had dropped that for a straight Bart-as-preacher angle, the ending might not have ended with Fat Tony and flying legs.

And the opening, which is the best part of the episode, would have been better off, particularly if they transported Lubchenko’s immortal “Is phony major! Lubchenko learn nothing!” to the banquet.

Mad Jon: Oooh, that would have been better.

Charlie Sweatpants: Right?

Though I’ll never get why they replaced Dean Peterson with that weak Dean Wormer knock-off.

Mad Jon: I liked the opening, but I was also a fan of the scene when Bart meets Don Cheadle.


  Why on earth was Dean Peterson not the same guy?!?

  He didn’t do any of the things that the typical Dean Wormer knock-offs normally do.

Charlie Sweatpants: Well, he was mean, old and crotchety. Though he does get some good lines.

Mad Jon: Not the same. Take for example the Futurama version.

  That was good.

  This was weak.

Charlie Sweatpants: “A 7-5 football team doesn’t come cheap” and “Professor Rocko and Chancellor Knuckles” being my two favorites.

Mad Jon: I was about to point out that he did have some of the best lines.

Charlie Sweatpants: Agreed on the guy from Mars University. What he loves about being dean of students is the peace and quiet and the respect he receives.

But the opening quickly leads to the bucket thing, which leads to the revival for some reason, which does give Don Cheadle a couple of good lines but makes no sense all the same.

Mad Jon: Yeah, I know. The random event machine didn’t skip a beat this time.

Charlie Sweatpants: I’d forgotten that they got to the revival meeting by just crash landing there.

Mad Jon: Me too.

Charlie Sweatpants: I mean, Jebus, I know this episode has no transitions whatsoever, but that was abrupt, even for a car crash.

Mad Jon: I couldn’t figure out what was going on, I thought it was the circus or something and I just didn’t remember.

Charlie Sweatpants: Nope, they just drop it out of nowhere.

The story priorities here are just weird. Like, they spend that whole seen showing Bart acquiring that tent, and then they skip over just about anything that would lead Lovejoy’s entire congregation to it.

It’s the same with Homer at the game. He’s got a BBQ in the stands, he jumps onto the field, and all this other crap, but they never explain why he’d want to build a float, or why he’d be able to build a float.

Mad Jon: He went from BBQ in the aisle to drunk in the seat, to aware of the fact he isn’t on the field, to drunk driving his float.

Charlie Sweatpants: Yup.

Mad Jon: In addition to your valid float related items. There were 3 floats, and Homer, by himself, makes one.

Charlie Sweatpants: And don’t forget that he just shows up in the locker room with Hibbert (who is the team doctor for some reason) to heal Lubchenko.

Mad Jon: Also true.

Charlie Sweatpants: Or that Fat Tony materializes out of nowhere.

Mad Jon: Yeah, just had to throw that in I guess. Couldn’t let Bart try to heal Lubchenko without Homer being threatened by a laser guided ice pick.

Charlie Sweatpants: There still are good jokes though. The Keith Jackson impersonator is okay (like his “an overdue salute to halftime itself”), and this is where “Lubchenko learn nothing!” landed, but at this point in the episode I have so little idea what’s going on that I’m not even sure if Fat Tony is serious or an apparition.

Mad Jon: The associations are pretty loose here.

  But again I think that there is really too much going on to allow a simple mind such as mine to focus on the two major plot lines.

Charlie Sweatpants: Neither of them makes a half lick of sense, is the problem.

And that’s before Fat Tony shows up out of nowhere for one of them.

The whole thing is just a giant mess, and yet we’re supposed to take the ending seriously?

Mad Jon: Yeah whateves.

  I do have to ask, why did Lenny blink 3 times after the cow college comment preceding what I assume was the commercial break?

Charlie Sweatpants: I’ve always liked that. Well, not the blinking, but that stern nod he gives. Like it’d be fighting words to contradict him.

I’m also a fan of Brockman getting pissed at “fever”, though I could’ve done without the pan off camera for his nerdy nephew writer.

Mad Jon: The nephew was probably too much.

Charlie Sweatpants: Any other standouts for you here?

Mad Jon: I enjoyed the preacher and Bart’s discussion of religion as full coverage against accidental death.

But other than that, not really.

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, Cheadle’s delivery on “wow, that’s a good angle” is a definite highlight.

  But this one remains basically unwatchable in my book. There’s just way too much stupid.

Mad Jon: Agreed.

  But I have an easy solution for us, we can continue not watching it.

Charlie Sweatpants: Good. Onto Burns Manor, then?

Mad Jon: Yep.


Crazy Noises: Little Big Mom

Little Big Mom1

“That suit’s a little revealing, isn’t it?” – Homer Simpson
“Well, it allows for maximum mobility.  Feels like I’m wearing nothing at all.” – Ned Flanders

For the fourth summer in a row, we here at the Dead Homer Society will be spending some time discussing twelve year old Simpsons episodes.  This year we’re doing Season 11.  Why Season 11?  Because we’ve done Seasons 8, 9 and 10 already, and it’s time to take an unflinching look at the end of the show.  Since Skype and podcasts didn’t exist in 1999, and we want to discuss these episodes the way the internet intended, we’re sticking with the UTF-8 world of chat rooms and instant messaging.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (especially on “vacuum”).

Today’s episode is 1110, “Little Big Mom”.  Yesterday’s was 1109, “Grift of the Magi”. 

Charlie Sweatpants: I want to like this episode, I really do, but it’s got too many problems for me to want to watch it much.

Dave: Why do you want to like it, out of curiosity?

Charlie Sweatpants: I’m willing to set aside the weirdness of Lisa being the mom who takes care of Bart and Homer. I’m even willing to set aside Homer and Bart being best friends.

  As a role-reversal setup, that’s not terrible.

However, they take everything way too damn far. Did they have to actually go to Hawaii? Did the fucking ghost of Lucy have to appear before Lisa?

  Did the "practice" chore hat thing have to take that long?

  Couldn’t they have done something other than beat the shit out of Homer in a lot of these scenes?

When I say I want to like this one, what I mean is that there’s the germ of a good episode somewhere beneath all the crotch hits and Homer and Bart screaming about leprosy.

Mad Jon: It’s a Lisa Learns a Lesson episode, which tend to shift focus and allow for different types of stories. That has often worked in the past, but as most of my notes are just a list of Jerky things done by Homer and Bart, it is easy to see that shifting the focus didn’t get rid of any of those zombie problems.

Charlie Sweatpants: The Funzo one is just nuts, this one could’ve easily been something decent.

  For example, Otto is teaching the snowboard class which is all about lingo rather than snowboarding.

It’s kinda funny, and I like "duke on!", but there was no reason for that to be Otto. Would it have killed them to create a snowboard instructor character?

Mad Jon: An actual instructor would have been nice.

  Although I guess Otto isn’t that much of a stretch.

Charlie Sweatpants: No, he’s not, but there are so many things that could’ve been better in this episode. Like the scene where Homer and Bart go over to the Flanders house. Seeing the Flanders get guilted into something is enjoyable, having it take that long, including (off voice) Maude setting the vacuum cleaner on fire and Flanders getting his moustache ripped off, not so much.

Mad Jon: Imagination Christmas was good.

  But I more or less agree with you.

Charlie Sweatpants: Getting there was too much of a pain.

Mad Jon: That being said I have never looked at this episode in that manner, like there is something good at the roots, but it got dug up with dynamite.

Charlie Sweatpants: How about the Itchy & Scratchy at the beginning?

  No need for Scratchy to have a voice there. It’s filler.

He could’ve just invented the cloning and killing machines like a regular episode. (And I love it when he hits Scratchy in the face with the mace.)

Mad Jon: I do enjoy the cloning/killing machine idea. But you are right, took way to long to get to the funny.

Charlie Sweatpants: I really do try to avoid playing Monday Morning Screenwriter, but fuck, this episode really could’ve been a standout in Season 11 if it had just pulled itself back into some vaguely recognizable boundaries, and I find that frustrating to watch.

Mad Jon: Well put.

Charlie Sweatpants: For all that, though, I actually think this is one of the more quotable episodes in Season 11.

Mad Jon: Agreed on that as well.

Charlie Sweatpants: There’s Moe’s call to Lisa, Lisa’s cross country skiing admission, Homer and Bart watching the Lucy show, this one isn’t a comedy desert unlike so many others this season.

Dave: It’s all a nauseous blur to me.

Mad Jon: Flanders and Homer at the top of the mountain.

  I use the "feels like I’m wearing nothing at all" line all the time.

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, "stupid sexy Flanders" is great, and then immediately pissed on by Homer getting hit in the groin with snow mounds over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over.

Mad Jon: and over and over and over.

Charlie Sweatpants: Exactly.

  Still, by Season 11 standards, I think of this one as above average even if it is still mostly unwatchable.

"You’ve got . . . leprosy".

Mad Jon: I would agree with that rating. Of course it is disqualified in general by the fact that the ending is overlain by Homer’s screams.

  That’s a deal breaker for me.

Charlie Sweatpants: It is a wretched way to end an episode.

Especially one where Homer has already spent so much time getting the shit kicked out of him.

Any other particular high or low points here?

Mad Jon: Meh. There are a lot of mostly low points. Just not worth the effort to type. Especially in complete sentences.

Charlie Sweatpants: I’m fond of the Jesus joke where Homer says, "I think we’re on the outs with him", and I’m going to mention Moe’s phone call again, because the way he says "don’t hang up on me" gets me every time.

Mad Jon: Some good quotes and lines, but not enough to pull it out.

  I also like Moe’s call.

Dave: Yep.

  Better than the more overt suicide neediness he often displays.

Mad Jon: Just a standard desperate loneliness here, eh?

Charlie Sweatpants: Right.

  I don’t mind him being bitter and suicidal if it’s because one of his customers didn’t come in for an eye opener. I do mind him being heartsick and lovelorn over no one loving him.

It is a fine line between stupid and clever, and that’s it, right there.

Anything else here, or can I head for the electric needle room?

Mad Jon: I got nothing. Enjoy your view.

Dave: Let’s all go.

Charlie Sweatpants: Okay, but I get to go first.


Crazy Noises: Grift of the Magi

Grift of the Magi1

“So have a merry Christmas, happy Chanukah, kwazy Kwanza, a tip-top Tet, and a solemn, dignified Ramadan.  Now a word from my god: our sponsor.” – Krusty the Klown

For the fourth summer in a row, we here at the Dead Homer Society will be spending some time discussing twelve year old Simpsons episodes.  This year we’re doing Season 11.  Why Season 11?  Because we’ve done Seasons 8, 9 and 10 already, and it’s time to take an unflinching look at the end of the show.  Since Skype and podcasts didn’t exist in 1999, and we want to discuss these episodes the way the internet intended, we’re sticking with the UTF-8 world of chat rooms and instant messaging.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (especially on “coccyx”).

Today’s episode is 1109, “Grift of the Magi”.  Tomorrow will be 1110, “Little Big Mom”.

Charlie Sweatpants: Shall we get started?

Mad Jon: Let’s go.

Grift of the Magi?

Dave: Blech. Yes

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, this episode is all over the place.

Mad Jon: And right out of the gate too.

  It really didn’t screw around.

Dave: Pretty schizophrenic. And not particularly enjoyable either.

Mad Jon: No, I felt like Milhouse when he was being chased by the Christmas time ozone layer hole sunbeam thingy.

Charlie Sweatpants: The sunbeam from space is a little lame, but at least it doesn’t take long. And the kids hanging out around the house isn’t too bad. But once we head for the hospital, and then the school, and then Fat Tony walks out from behind the tree, things go to shit and stay there.

Mad Jon: Ditto the butt bone problem.

Charlie Sweatpants: The whole Fat Tony (what, 2 minutes or so?) is just a waste of time and space.

Mad Jon: Although I did enjoy when everyone chuckled at "coccyx"

Charlie Sweatpants: From a story point of view, all they need to do is get the school poor so that the evil company can come in. They didn’t need to go through all the histrionics to get there.

Mad Jon: Agreed

Charlie Sweatpants: The play for Burns, for example, is particularly stupid, especially in that it has Weak/Stupid Burns instead of the always funnier Evil/Smart Burns.

Mad Jon: I can’t stand that scene.

How the hell did they get in?

Dave: Yeah. Excruciating.

Charlie Sweatpants: The "Rat Poison" one is the worst. This is a man who actually consulted his lawyers about whether or not he could poison a lazy employee with a donut.

Mad Jon: That is such a Simpsons joke. Charity, children, old people, nobody gets into Burns’ mansion.

But Zombie Simpsons? We’ll just let that go I guess.

Charlie Sweatpants: And then they have this emergency meeting about closing the school, because apparently no one noticed all the construction.

Mad Jon: A catered meeting at that


Charlie Sweatpants: And why the hell is Moe there?

Mad Jon: Gutsy question.

  You’re a shark.

Charlie Sweatpants: Then allow me to revolutionize outside the box for a second. As a "huh?" type moment, it’s pretty minor for this episode, but it’s still too weird not to be noticeable.

Furthermore, it’s part of the show’s overall devolution into Zombie Simpsons, where characters who have no business being places be there because . . . well, because we had a joke we kinda liked and were too lazy/apathetic to come up with something that fit in with the story, the characters, or Springfield as we know it.

Dave: That more or less sums it up.

Mad Jon: But the scene did give Homer a chance to stuff his pants full of free appetizers.

  So we got that going for us.

Dave: Lindsay Naegle, in her various incarnations, shows up way too much in this and in future episodes.

Mad Jon: She does show up a bunch in this epoch of seasons…

Charlie Sweatpants: I’ve always thought she’d have been a great character if she’d been introduced in Season 6 or 7. As it is, she came along too late. She’s got some decent lines in a few episodes, but she never had that one killer introductory episode where she became a real part of the show.

  More specifically to this episode, there’s just too damn much going on here.

Mad Jon: I know, look at all the insanity to this point, and we aren’t even to Gary Coleman.

Charlie Sweatpants: You could have a toy company that infiltrates the school, fine. You could have a for-profit school, fine. You could have a must-have robot toy, that’s okay. But to have all those things, plus killer robots, Gary Coleman, Homer breaking into houses, the list goes on.

Things just keep getting further and further out of hand until they actually have to have a narrator come on to squeeze everything in.

Mad Jon: If Funzo is designed to kill other toys, why don’t the Funzos try to kill each other?

  Then we could have a Funzo fight club or something.

Charlie Sweatpants: Don’t give them any ideas.

Funzo could’ve been a decent idea if all it did was suggest to kids that they buy more Funzo crap.

Mad Jon: I am just saying. There were 30 of them in the bag that Homer had….

Charlie Sweatpants: Instead they stretched it long past the breaking point by having it snap Malibu Stacey in half and toss her into the fire.

Mad Jon: Don’t forget the two heads on pencils.

  That was creepy.

Charlie Sweatpants: Well, the burning, melted kinda gross one that Coleman fights was my personal "wow this is really not like Simpsons at all" moment.

Mad Jon: Just couldn’t help themselves, I guess. Had to throw one more visual gag in there.

  Also it got Gary out of the shot, so he could stand by himself before the dinner invite.

Charlie Sweatpants: Stuffing this one with anything and everything with little to no regard for editorial control did seem to be the order of the day here.

I do like Krusty’s non-denominational holiday special, especially his "Now a word from my god, our sponsor" as he bows down.

That’s some enjoyably old school Krusty shilling, right there.

Mad Jon: That was funny. I also liked the court room show. "Donde Esta Justice" was a good name.

Dave: Donde esta justice was the highlight of the show for me

Charlie Sweatpants: Right. But for everyone one of those, there were five total wastes of time, like that odd discussion Homer and the kids have with Coleman, or Lenny for some reason wanting a Funzo even though he doesn’t have kids.

Take the end, for example. It’s kinda funny that Burns went through "A Christmas Carol" and Moe did "It’s a Wonderful Life" (the "No Funeral" sign on his back is good). But why did they have to rush over to the Simpsons house?

Mad Jon: Yeah, agreed.

  Forcing more wrap up style stuff.

Dave: Yep, they found a loose thread and had to either snip it or put it back in place

Charlie Sweatpants: I like the idea that Fat Tony’s construction company is called Valdazo Brothers Olive Oil, but that doesn’t mean I needed to see him work on the school right away.

Dave: Yeah that happened absurdly quickly

  Not that the benefit of additional time would’ve improved things

Charlie Sweatpants: Same old. For every thing that’s good here, there’s a lot more that’s bad, and many of the good things get stretched much too far.

Shall we move on to fake leprosy? (There’s something I never thought I’d have to say again.)


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