Archive for the 'Living Life to Its Fullest' Category



17
Dec
11

Season 1 Marathon: 13 Episodes, 13 Beers, 4h:59m:07s

Homer's Odyssey6

“Beer.  Now there’s a temporary solution.” – Homer Simpson

Good morning and welcome to a special, unannounced, Simpsons Day Beer-Simpsons marathon!  For the last two years I’ve been stuck at work on Simpsons Day.  That resulted in a lot of YouTube and regular posts.  Of those, the 1989 Groening interview on Letterman is probably my favorite.  He’s wretchedly adorable in his nervous, pre-fame earnestness.  (The embedding’s been disabled in the two years since I posted it, but you can click through to YouTube to see it.)  For Simpsons Day this year my butt is planted right where it belongs: squarely in front of my television.

As with previous marathons, I’ll be drinking one delicious, cheap domestic beer per episode and posting updates along the way.  The pause and reverse buttons will be employed so I can get quotes or screen grabs, but the fast forward button will not be touched.  I’ll try to keep an eye on the comments, but I make no promises on that score.  Let’s get started, and happy Simpsons Day!

1. Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire

  • Having witnessed and performed in a number of craptacular grade school Christmas pageants, I can attest that this is far and away the most accurate portrayal I’ve ever seen on television.  (Parental boredom most definitely included.)
  • Among the many things about this season that were horrifying at the time but now seem quaint is the way they repeatedly deny the existence of Santa Claus.  People actually thought this was a show for little kids. 
  • As far as great character introductions go, it doesn’t get much better than having Flanders unwittingly humiliate Homer with a Christmas display.
  • “One ‘Mother’, please.”  “Wait a minute, how old are you?”  “Twenty-one, sir.” “Get in the chair.”
  • I don’t have anything to add to this, but Homer stands in for pretty much every Christmas themed hero in the history of American pop culture in this episode. 
  • Homer’s shiver on the way up the stairs when Marge says her sisters are here should be in some kind of in-law hall of fame.
  • There is nothing to dislike about this episode’s total contempt for Christmas television.
  • I love the way Lisa destroys Patty & Selma over Homer.  It’s especially awesome when you remember that we (the audience) don’t really know who she is yet.
  • I make much of this in the post from last year I linked above, but it is essential to Homer that he takes in the dog out of sympathy instead of as a way to save Christmas.  Homer sucks at everything here, and it wouldn’t work if he consciously saved Christmas. 

2. Bart the Genius

  • Aww, it’s the first time we see the opening, compete with bus stop.
  • This probably puts me in the minority, but I always liked the story problems in math.  Once you got the numbers out of the text they were always really easy.
  • I have no idea if George Meyer had a hand in the scene with Bart and his parents in Skinner’s office, but this oft quoted article sums it up perfectly:
    “Once, I was sent to the principal’s office, and when I went in my parents were sitting there. They had been summoned somehow. God, that was scary; I would have been very unhappy, but not particularly surprised, if they had said, ‘This time you have gone too far. Now you must die.’”
  • All these years later, I remain in awe of the contempt for school authority this show had. 
  • Animation question for those more knowledgeable than myself: what is with all the backgrounds in Season 1 with gradient colors?  So many walls are a color on one end and dissolve into white in the middle or at the other end.
  • There is an insane genius to having fourth graders debate free will vs. fate. 
  • Words I learned from The Simpsons: cuspidor.
  • An underrated aspect of this episode is the fact that the genius school never catches on to Bart’s scam.  They’re just as full of shit as the regular school.
  • The control hamster gets away!

3. Homer’s Odyssey

  • Lost in the mists of time is the way that having an admittedly hungover bus driver was kind of offensive in 1990. 
  • Black Smithers.
  • This filmstrip is the precursor of all the Troy McClure bits.  You can tell because he literally sweeps nuclear waste under the rug. 
  • Hey, there’s Blinky!
  • Sherri & Terri’s dad is an asshole.
  • “There, there, Homer, you’ll find a job.  You’ve caused plenty of industrial accidents and you’ve always bounced back.”
  • Marge Simpson: roller-skate MILF before there was such a term.
  • This show makes a (serious) suicide note funny.  Nothing else need be said.
  • I don’t think Marge’s vocal but non-verbal description of what the “Dip Sign” describes can be improved upon.  That’s exactly what it feels like. 
  • This episode really demonstrates how much of the later show was present in the beginning.  Even the serious/sad/important moments are frivolous and cynical. 
  • Yes, Homer dismisses the possibility of a serious nuclear accident with a silent “Nah”. 
  • This episode has two morals.  First, that industrial safety is the least of management’s concerns.  Second, that the appearance of such can be bought cheaply. 

4. There’s No Disgrace Like Home

  • The initial establishing shot of Burns Manor includes a sign that says “Poachers Will Be Shot”.
  • Yet another topic that didn’t get made fun of much before The Simpsons: wifely competition.  Also, drunk Marge is awesome.
  • One of us, one of us, one of us.
  • “Dear Lord, thank you for this microwaved bounty.”
  • Subtle Season 1 joke: Homer saying he wants to be alone with his “thought”, singular. 
  • That’s right, Springfield cops extort drinks on the job.  Bless ’em.
  • The pawn shop guy is appropriately sleazy.
  • Marvin Monroe: total swindler.  I love this show.
  • Openly denigrating the idea of the nuclear family is just one more of many civic contributions of  The Simpsons.
  • Realistic flesh tones! 

5. Bart the General

  • “Bart!  You’re saying ‘butt kisser’ like it’s a bad thing.”
  • Homer gives a wonderful ton of awful fatherly advice this season. 
  • That’s right, Bart considers “honor student” to be pejorative. 
  • It’s great that, in his imagining of his own funeral, Bart figures that Homer would care more about missing work than the death of his first born. 
  • Homer’s “code of the school yard” speech should be thought in upper level sociology classes. 
  • Scratch that, this entire episode should be taught in upper level sociology classes.
  • C’mon Grampa, you can be a vibrant, sex loving maniac and a bitter, resentful individual.
  • Google seems to think that there is not, repeat not, a large type edition of Soldier of Fortune.
  • They made a lot of movies about World War II, Patton is one of the best.
  • Gorgeous animation much?:
    Bart the General6
  • Grampa’s nostalgia for the horrors of combat is one of those things you probably couldn’t get away with these days.
  • This episode has a child say “We were only following orders”. 

6. Moaning Lisa

  • Grade school band practice is so inherently awful as to be beyond mockery, right until Lisa starts talking.  That’s good mockery.
  • There’s no way to watch Bart and Homer play the B-plot without wanting to fire up an emulator and play the Mike Tyson game.
  • Maggie picking the TV over both of her siblings is a joke that can only be seen, but is no less great for being so.
  • It’s sad, but the original Bleeding Gums died in 2002.  Still awesome.
  • “Oh, so that’s it, this is some kind of underwear thing.”  Homer’s cluelessness and Marge’s resigned competence are perfect here. 
  • Marge’s horrible advice to Lisa about dimwittedly smiling, and her subsequent recantation of said advice, is yet another thing for which this show should be canonized.  Here’s what many parents tell their kids, and here’s why that’s stupid beyond belief. 
  • Speaking of excellent animation: the jazz club and everything afterwards.  There are things in Season 1 that don’t look right.  This is not one of them. 

7. The Call of the Simpsons

  • Albert Brooks, RV salesman. 
  • “You ever known a siren to be good?”
  • I’m not trying to make this a theme or anything, but the RV falling off the cliff and blowing up is  animated really well.
  • The ballistic failure of Homer’s rabbit trap is one of the best visual jokes this show has ever done.
  • People say the news media sucks these days, and they’re right.  But remember that it sucked in 1990 too.

8. The Telltale Head

  • Ever been to church?  This episode will let you giggle through that awful waste of time.
  • “You don’t need an introduction, you’re the worst kid in school.” “Thanks.”
  • Gotta love the school bus on fire going off a cliff.
  • There are a lot of shows that will use a distressed cat’s meow as a punchline.  There aren’t a lot of shows that will use it twice by starting and stopping it.
  • Gotta love the murderous, vigilante rage of Krusty.
  • There is also a disturbing “why so serious” vibe to Krusty in this episode. 

9. Life on the Fast Lane

  • Even in Season 1 animation, Lisa’s insane macaroni birthday card is hilarious.
  • “The Springfield Mall is now open for your spending needs.”
  • The singing waiters sing “Nearer My God”.  And it’s during a birthday celebration.  Once again, I love this show. 
  • God bless sleazy horn music.
  • Helen Lovejoy is a great television villain.  Let’s hope something runs over her.
  • There are a lot of genuinely sad moments in this episode, but everyone one has some gags to let you know that they aren’t really serious.

10. Homer’s Night Out

  • Almost all of the time, bachelor’s parties are wretched.
  • Hey, look!  They’re developing photos with chemicals instead of Mac OX X.
  • Research indicates that over fifty-percent of power is used by women.  The gall!
  • This is another episode that has a brutal hilarity to its conclusion.  Yes, women are pathetic drooling objects, but men are salivatory jackasses.  

11. The Crepes of Wrath

  • “The boy.  Bring me the boy.”  If there has ever been a better expression of parental frustration I have yet to encounter it.
  • Marge looking through the peep-hole to see Skinner is great.  It makes him seem as odd for them as he naturally would be.  Also, he wants to deport an American citizen. 
  • “Don’t mess up France the way you messed up your room.”
  • Skinner’s jingoistic love of that duplicitous Albanian is great. 
  • 5% of the people controlling 95% of the wealth, Adil was ahead of the curve. 
  • Even when his son has been replaced by a Commie spy, Homer still has to be baited into thinking his own kid isn’t worthless.
  • Yup:
    The Crepes of Wrath5
     
  • It probably won’t even blind him.
  • The child spy exchange is awesome.

12. Krusty Gets Busted

Krusty Gets Busted3

  • Character wise, the repressed valet parking of Sideshow Bob comes through wonderfully.  
  • Sideshow Bob: proof that homicidal maniacs can also be authoritarian.
  • An invocation of “meddling kids” can also serve as a reminder that children are oft smarter than we give them credit for.

13. Some Enchanted Evening

  • Harsh reality time: Homer’s a boob and Dr. Marvin is as useless as those guys on Oprah.
  • “We’re all pigs.”
  • I can’t do Homer’s mispronunciations in this episode.  But that it involves babysitting, work, and nominal child abandonment is good enough for me.
  • “Video library”, there’s one of the 1980s worst innovations.
  • And we end on Homer giving cash to an armed fugitive. 
28
May
11

Season 3 Marathon: 24 Episodes, 24 Beers, 9h:12m:06s

Dog of Death7

“Marge, I’ve figured out an alternative to giving up my beer.  Basically, we become a family of traveling acrobats.” – Homer Simpson
“I don’t think you’ve thought this through.” – Marge Simpson

Good morning everyone, and welcome to the Season 3 Simpsons-Beer marathon!  Season 7 tightened the gap a little yesterday afternoon, and had been ahead earlier in the week, but Season 3 stayed on top of the poll, and so Season 3 it shall be.  Just like the previous marathons, I’m not above using the pause and reverse buttons to get a quote or a screen shot, but there will be absolutely no use of the fast forward button.  I’ll update this post at the end of each episode, and you can probably expect the ones later in the day to be a bit more . . . enthusiastic.  And now, that first delicious breakfast beer calls.

1. Stark Raving Dad

  • “Marge, I can’t wear a pink shirt to work, everybody wears white shirts.  I’m not popular enough to be different.” 
  • I love that the power plant has a bare light bulb interrogation room and performs body cavity searches, and then they end up talking about Gilbert & Sullivan.  That’s high quality absurdity right there.
  • That’s a really gratuitous crotch grab from Leon on “Billy Jean”.  Baseball players would have a hard time getting away with that on network TV.
  • Nice touch: Homer’s wearing the pink shirt in Bart’s lobotomy fantasy.
  • For those of you too young to remember 1991, it’s hard to describe just how huge Michael Jackson was.  Imagine if Lady Gaga, Kanye West and Justine Timberlake were the same person, and then quadruple that, I was a kid who wasn’t yet into popular music and I knew who he was.  It actually wasn’t that implausible that an entire town would drop what it was doing to go see him.  I get that it’s a joke, but still.
  • Bart gets a pretty good sound out of that trash can. 
  • And wow is this a great song.

2. Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington

  • Homer’s job specifies an illiterate. 
  • The Reading Digest sex tips are great. 
  • Nice touch: the eagle in the park has the arrow and the olive branch.
  • “Jingoism” is one of the score categories for the essays. 
  • “Brevity Is . . . Wit”
  • Love Barbara Bush’s “damn badges” line.
  • Unlike so many of Zombie Simpsons’ “destination” episodes, the sights the family sees here (VIP badges excepted for comedy) are things that really are right next to each other in D.C.  These days they skip from landmark to landmark regardless of sense and it’s really disorienting.  Here you never feel like they’ve left reality.
  • We’ve got a lot more than two women Senators now.  Good work, Lisa.
  • I’ve only been sightseeing in D.C. once, but I giggled when, sure enough, the Jefferson Memorial was deserted while the Lincoln Memorial had people crawling all over it.  Lincoln’s got a more convenient spot, but the contrast is huge.
  • I use Bart’s “Cool, a ruckus” all the time.
  • The swift justice accorded to Bob Arnold is such a wonderfully Simpsons touch, they’re willing to go cynical exaggeration on anything.
  • “Imprisoned Congressman becomes born again Christian.”
  • I forget his name, but otherwise intelligent people thought that piano guy (who was a real guy) was funny.  He wasn’t. 

3. When Flanders Failed

  • Every time a Zombie Simpsons writer turns in a script with a ton of Jerkass Homer running around and acting like a lunatic, s/he (probably he), should be strapped into a chair, Clockwork Orange style, and forced to watch this episode.  Homer’s an ass this entire episode, but it’s because he’s jealous of Flanders, not just because.  Better yet, his asshole behavior is mostly passive.  When he’s laughing with the food in his mouth, and Maude and Ned are kinda grossed out, he’s 1/100th of Jerkass Homer . . . and then he chokes. 
  • Akira’s karate commercial is fantastic, especially his swollen eye after he breaks the board with his head.
  • Castellaneta’s delivery of “No, I do not know what Schadenfreude is, please tell me because I’m dying to know” should be in some kind of sarcasm hall of fame.
  • Small point: when Homer’s talking to Chuck Ellis the collection agent, he was going to tell him about the store, he just got interrupted.  It’s a subtle thing, but it makes the eventual change less melodramatic and displays that respect for the audience Zombie Simpsons doesn’t have.
  • “Sold it to you for seven cents”, Homer having Ned’s monogrammed handkerchief, the Libertarian Party headquarters, even in this episode’s most emotional scene they never let things get heavy. 
  • “Ah, the worm has turned has it not, my tin plated friend?”
  • Maude wearing Donna Reed’s dress from It’s a Wonderful Life is one of those things I didn’t notice for the first, oh, forty viewings.

4. Bart the Murderer

  • Great animation on the close up of Bart’s parched tongue licking envelopes.
  • There really was a “Fat Tony”.  According to Wikipedia, he died less than a year after this was broadcast.
  • Small animation note: the cocktail chart is listed below the radio when the Phil Hartman gangster announces the call for the third race.  That’s a hell of an attention to detail.
  • Oh how I miss themed Itchy & Scratchy episodes.
  • I love the panicked yell of the smoker, “How do we know that?”. 
  • Fat Tony’s self serving description of hijacking is one for the ages.
  • Flowers By Irene!
  • The unreserved joy of the kids at hearing that Skinner is missing is one of those great multi-layered moments of the show at its best.  Not only do the students hate the principal, they’re fine with showing it openly, and it underlines the plot by showing Bart being nervous. 
  • Even Bart’s nightmare about being executed is treated lightly.
  • “Chinese guy with a moustache?” – Oh yeah, Fat Tony murders people.
  • The cartoon of Bart with tentacles in every part of town is another brilliant little touch.
  • Skinner’s recollection of the police search, complete with the cops eating his food and drinking his beer, is great.  The whole story hinges on the fact that the cops are too incompetent to look in the basement.
  • Is this the first inkling the world got of the comedic potential of the dry delivery of Neil Patrick Harris?

5. Homer Defined

  • “The little touches are what made it enduring.”  Well said, Martin.  Well said.
  • I’ve asked around, I’ve checked the closed captioning, I’ve Googled, does anyone have any idea what Otto says when they pull up to the school?  “I’d like to say thanks and a ??????? applause to birthday boy  Milhouse”?  It sounds like “plose” or something.  Was it an early 90s stoner word?  I have no idea. 
  • Project Bootstrap!
  • Thank you, President Ford.
  • You see episodes like this one enough times and you take it for granted, but they are talking about killing an entire town with radiation and yet everything, even the strings of suspense, are pasted over with gags and jokes. 
  • Case in point: Frink’s Strangelove glasses, which aren’t even the main joke of the scene he’s in.
  • Enjoyably quick nod to “Goldfinger” with the 007 count on the timer.
  • They did like their wine spritzers this season.
  • The wall of Smithers photos is such a great payoff for his earlier bitching about Homer winning Employee of the Month.
  • Gotta enjoy the terrible parenting that is Homer’s indifference to Lisa’s newfound admiration for him.
  • “Behold the glory that is Homer Simpson!”

6. Like Father, Like Clown

  • Gotta love Cpl. Punishment holding Mel’s unconscious self.
  • “I always suspected that nothing in life mattered, now I know for sure.”
  • That the seltzer young Krusty is playing with in the bathroom hits him in the face like a money shot is another one of those things that’s so dirty the censors never had a chance.
  • Someday I will have a “Gabbin’ About God” t-shirt made. 
  • The deli setup is the kind of thing a lesser show would’ve used as a third act.  Not only is Krusty humming “La Marseillaise”, he put on a tuxedo!
  • God bless Sammy Davis Jr.
  • If you want to see filler that doesn’t feel like filler, check out the quick cutaway to Moe and Barney.

7. Treehouse of Horror II

  • I promise I’ll stop talking about Zombie Simpsons soon, but nothing they’ve done in the last ten years comes close to the self awareness on display here in the Monkey’s Paw segment.  They’re really laying into themselves for being overexposed and for having shitty stuff for sale, and they did it all the time.  Nowadays they have to farm anything remotely that true out to Banksy.
  • “He’s got a board with a nail in it!”
  • I always laugh when Snowball II sets the curtains on fire.  Every single time.
  • Ditto Otto saying “This is fun isn’t it?  We’re gonna die, aren’t we?” and then laying hard on the accelerator with his hand.
  • The conditional emphasis Dr. Marvin Monroe places on “maybe even love him” is fantastic. 
  • Burns’ Frankenstein laboratory is fantastically drawn.
  • Burns humming “If I Only Had a Brain” while he removes Homer’s with an ice cream scoop is just too damn perfect.  Did they have to pay a royalty on that?

8. Lisa’s Pony

  • Another nice, detailed touch: adding the letterbox bars for the 2001 “Dawn of Man” segment.
  • Funny and appropriate character touches: Lisa not wanting to call her father until after she checked with a ton of people and the “nice man who caught the snake in our basement”, and Homer, after trying to get out of it, being touched anyway.
  • Words I learned from The Simpsons: trenchant.
  • More great character moments: Skinner hating the talent contest backstage, then praising it on stage.
  • Between Homer ignoring Lisa’s first steps for Fantasy Island and ignoring her calling him “dada” to strangle Bart, this show once again displays its mastery of emotional moments that remain very funny.
  • “No, you were right the first time with that quick fix idea.”
  • The scene where Burns loans Homer the money is perfect, everyone’s in character, it’s joke laden from start to finish, and it allows the overall plot to move on quickly.
  • Grampa flailing around at the video game is every time I ever tried to get my parents or grandparents to pick up a controller.  As a kid, this was one of those scenes that just sung to me.
  • Nice callbacks to Season 1: not only does Apu live at Fiesta Terrace, he’s dating April Flowers/Princess Cashmere.
  • Homer’s sleep montage is so, so great.
  • “Homer sleep now” is another one of those things I use all the time.
  • “Although there is no change in my patrician facade, I can assure you, my heart is breaking.”

9. Saturdays of Thunder

  • On TV: Mr. Sugar Cube creates perfectly square sugar cubes.  On Evergreen Terrace: Cubes are lumpy and misshapen. 
  • The Poe tombstone thing, up to and including “you’ll think the body’s still warm”, is like eleven jokes in ten seconds.  It’s cruel.
  • Speaking of tons of things crammed into almost no screen time: McBain in the diner.
  • Thank Jebus for YouTube, now no one has to miss Joe Theismann.
  • Saturdays of Thunder8
  • “He reminds me of me before the weight of the world crushed my spirit.”
  • Trusting the audience: no exposition is necessary for the first race, they just show us the “Time Trials” banner for about a second.
  • Nelson going Ben Hur on on Bart is great.
  • When Martin offers to let Bart drive his car, Bart doesn’t agonize, he just agrees in a single sentence that makes fun of the cliched setup and moves the plot to its next step. 
  • And then Homer calls Martin a “Home wrecker” and Martin replies with the standard teevee mistress rebuttal that the betraying party “still loves you”.  God this season is genius.
  • And then they stand the usual “sore loser” teevee message on its head, but only after Homer and Bart are forced to ignore the fact that Martin was the real winner. 

10. Flaming Moe’s

  • “It’s a dustpan.”  “The wax never lies.”
  • I’ve already not noted at least a dozen of them, but Castellaneta again deserves special mention for “That’s it, I’m outta here.”  It’s the perfect combination of resignation and an excuse to escape.
  • That’s right, Moe accepts food stamps.
  • Tipsy McStagger – It’s a joke, and then Moe thinking he’s real makes it another one, which they can then use for a callback.  Beautiful use of a good idea without running it into the ground.
  • There’s such a wonderful naivete to Bart thinking it’s okay to bring booze to class if he brings enough for everybody, and then Krabappel letting him have whatever the teacher’s lounge doesn’t finish compounds it.  The layers children, the layers.
  • The song, the song!
  • The secret ingredient is always love, isn’t it?
  • Even when Eye on Springfield comes back from commercial there’s a hot girl shaking her ass.  Local news uber alles.
  • On any other program, Hutz’s whole scene, including his citation of the “Frank Wallbanger” case, would be the highlight of the entire episode.  Here we’ve grown so spoiled we expect it.
  • I type really fast, but I can’t type nearly fast enough to keep up with the memorable scenes here.
  • Krabappel rocks that bra sized tube top.
  • And one final Cheers/Shelly Long joke, leaving to pursue her movie career.

11. Burns Verkaufen der Kraftwerk

  • We’re at the German episode already?  Fuck’s sake, we’ve been through ten episodes that contain things even casual fans love, and now we’re at the German episode?  Holy fuck this season is solid. 
  • Everyone talks about Hutz and McClure, but Homer’s stockbroker saying “Ah, there, now we trust each other” is as good as Hartman ever did, and that’s a bar most comedians can’t even see, much less reach.
  • There’s a ton of great Itchy & Scratchy this season.  They can take a simple thing, like a mouse hammering a nail into a cat’s skull, and make it funny. 
  • Buying the Cleveland Browns was funny, then they moved, now they’re back and as terrible and ever, and it’s funny again. 
  • With the exception of Bobo, and that was more subdued, $100,000,000 may be the only thing Burns ever loves. 
  • Another small point for those of you who don’t remember 1991, there was a real (and really stupid) panic that the Germans and the Japanese were taking everything over at the time.  Fortunately, America has Mr. Burns.
  • I may have raised my hand when Horst asked if there were any alcoholics among us. 
  • “Also, we cannot overemphasize the importance of employee safety.”:

Burns Verkaufen der Kraftwerk3

  • Like the Browns, Battlestar Galactica was funny at the time, and is now funny for a different reason.
  • “Mmmm, the land of chocolate.”  This, this right here, this is how you do a montage.  The pure joy on his face, the pain of the dog, the fact that he’s excited about half off chocolate. 
  • And then he has to come crashing back to reality, ten minutes ago.
  • Yet more nice character points, Lisa responds to poverty by actually saving for the family, Bart responds by using it as an excuse to do shit he wanted to do anyway.
  • Burns contempt for the “blue collar bar” is perfect him.  He calls it “slumming”, has to hold his nose, and, of course, there’s “the mirthless laugh of the damned”. 
  • Again they undermine the usual television conventions.  Money does make him happy, but only when it makes people afraid of him.  Oh how I miss evil Burns.
  • And then we get a United States of God Bless American back in charge, and what does he do?  Cancel all repairs. 
  • And, yes, there was a dagger in his drawer the whole time his office was a daycare center.

12. I Married Marge

  • Not a lot of programs can compare John Anderson to Supertramp.  Just saying. 
  • More little touches: one of the light bulbs is out at the impregnable castle. 
  • I don’t think this is what they were going for, and I am twelve beers in, but you could interpret this as an example of the way boorish, lazy males use cultural norms about pregnancy to trap women with otherwise better options into dead end marriages that overwhelming benefit said boorish males.  
  • Kool Moe Dee Simpson.
  • It always has kinda bothered me that Homer never hit on “fart” as something that rhymes with “Bart”.  Meh.
  • Hibbert’s haircuts through time are always fantastic.
  • Speaking of well done montages: Homer to “9 to 5”.  The gummy scream of the old woman as Homer reminds himself “handle first” cracks me up every time.  And that’s only part of it.
  • “Repossessing stuff is the hardest part of my job.”
  • Lotta good Bouvier family jokes about Homer going bald in this one.
  • “Gulp ’n Blow”, almost really dirty, but not quite.  Still kinda dirty.
  • “Pour vous”, nice callback to Season 2.
  • “Homer, do you know why I married you?” “Cause I knocked you up?”
  • Burns’ sadistic glee at eating the ghosts in Ms. Pacman is fantastic. 
  • I didn’t note it earlier, but Smithers’ old school haircut, while not as good as Hibbert’s, is pretty good.
  • Best job interview ever.
  • Another great ending: Homer can express his life affirming joy at having kids, only to leap off the couch, spilling all three of them onto the floor in the process, to high five Marge that they won’t have to endure another.

13. Radio Bart

  • It’s great of Homer to be susceptible to cheap marketing phrases like “supply is limited”.
  • And then Bart pays $8 to see his name for about a sixteenth of a second on TV.
  • “When I was a kid we had compact discs, and I don’t recall no one complaining.”  Yet another example of the show seeing into the future.
  • The suspicious, bordering on hostile, eyes of the guy in the Wall E. costume are fantastic.
  • Animatronic pizza animals, ten thousand years from now archeologists will argue over whether or not we worshipped them.
  • Yet another thing that cracks me up every time: “We have captured your president, he was delicious.”
  • Love the guy with Socrates the falcon.
  • This episode is based of a Kirk Douglas movie called “Ace in the Hole”, rather than babble about it drunkenly, I’ll link to this, which I’m pretty sure I wrote sober.
  • Here’s where we get our first look at Willie’s epic abdominals.
  • The Lincoln squirrel has been assassinated!
  • I love the way Homer yanks Sting back after he breaks through.

14. Lisa the Greek

  • If the NFL doesn’t have a season this year, I shall be very put out.  Lousy owners.
  • Great setup for Season 5, Lisa making the shoe box apartment where Malibu Stacey(!) prints a feminist newsletter. 
  • Since I’m apparently big on linked YouTube this week, here’s a video that will explain to anyone too young or foreign to get Smooth Jimmy Apollo.  The real Jimmy the Greek was so over the top he was almost impossible to parody. 
  • The clothes shopping subplot only lasts for the beginning of the episode, but it fits with the rest of it, and is exactly how tortuous shopping for clothes really is when you’re a kid.
  • It’s all but impossible not to think of Lisa’s “He’ll lose” speech whenever you see some guy in a pre-game interview.
  • One more little touch: the way Homer’s eyes narrow as he gets confused at Lisa’s explanation of  the ins and outs of away turf and conference games.
  • Moe saying “Just gimme the best, Lisa” after she explains to Homer why she’s making her picks is a great example of not using a montage.  Could’ve done one, didn’t need to, didn’t.
  • In the category of great deliveries, Smith’s disgusted, bordering on giving up, “Put me down”, has to be mentioned. 
  • It’s great that Moe pours the free beer he mistakenly gave Barney down the sink.  He’d rather see it wasted than unpaid for.
  • Twenty years on and, with rare exceptions (cough, Prince, cough), the Super Bowl halftime show has only gotten worse.
  • Not a lot of shows can end with intergenerational bonding over a tire fire.

15. Homer Alone

  • Even for animation, the way Marge’s face hardens into about an 8.3 on the Mohs scale as her family hassles her all at once is fantastic.
  • Really nice animation on the overhead shots of the river flowing under the bridge.
  • Good party gag: yellow police/caution tape that reads “Distressed Mother – Please Stay Back”
  • After Wiggum and Quimby have their backroom fight, it’s great to see Wiggum’s resentful look as Quimby lets her go.
  • I love how reassured Homer is once Marge swears she’s coming back.  That’s all he needed to know.
  • Such a nice and brief contrast between the wide eyed discomfort of Lisa and Bart in bed at Patty & Selma’s, and Marge realizing she can spread out at Rancho Relaxo.
  • Cutting the joke off while it’s still funny: Barney spraying water into the house.
  • Also, the woman horrified to have Marge’s haircut in the salon.
  • Excellent absurdity: what kind of movie is titled “Calling all Quakers” AND contains the words, “Have it your way, baby.”? 

16. Bart the Lover

  • The Zinc filmstrip is so dead on it’s almost not a parody.
  • Not all that long after this episode and its yo-yo group, my school was visited by a bunch of people who did the same thing, but for jump rope instead of yo-yos.  Other than laughing at it with my friends, the only thing I remember is that they had a bootleg copy of “Partyman” by Prince that was so cheap it still had the ambient sounds and dialog from Batman in it.  (Second Prince mention of the day!)
  • I love that the teacher’s lounge has “happy hour”.
  • A photo that’ll get your pencil moving:
    Bart the Lover6
    I do love it when this show got away with shit.
  • Much love for Lovejoy thinking Flanders was complaining about the vegetables and not the swearing.
  • “Look, Homer, all of us pull a few boners now and then, go off half cocked, make asses of ourselves.”
  • That’s right, Marge gives Homer a swear jar exception for when they’re snuggling.  Hell yeah.
  • Homer’s emotional clumsiness at a) wanting to tell Krabappel the truth, and then b) his break up ideas, are a great way for him to be a terrible person without hurting people.  This way we don’t have to feel weird when he acts like a mean spirited fucktard.

17. Homer at the Bat

  • The softball episode: it begins.
  • Somebody scare him / That’s for the hiccups.
  • Just once I would like to play a softball game with Simpsons rules: can’t leave first until you chug a beer, anyone scoring has to chug a beer, you have to chug a beer at the top of all odd numbered innings, and we’ll figure something out for the fourth inning being the beer inning.  And yes, we will have a keg by first base.
  • Burns’ “I disagree” wins forever.
  • Known to cause gigantism.
  • Smithers asks Burns what he’s going to do with his million dollars, and Burns, offhandedly, says he’s going to throw it on the pile.  Right there they basically resolve the million-dollar-bet plot so they can focus on just winning the championship and Homer getting to play.  You hardly notice it when it happens, but it makes the entire episode run smoothly.
  • The entire sequence where the ringers fall victim to misfortune is perfectly done.  It’s not a montage, it’s not done strictly in order, it’s just little pieces told well together, even the ones that take more than one scene. 
  • The end is such a great way for Homer to win without actually winning. 
  • And, another song.

18. Separate Vocations

  • I went to a terrible school that was staffed by incompetents; I love this episode.  Everyone’s hopes and dreams, starting with Krabappel and her masters from Bryn Mawr, are tarnished. 
  • “No, the army said I was too heavy, the police said I was too dumb.”  That’s a great joke, making fun of two usually sacrosanct institutions by implying that the soldiers are dumb and the cops are fat.
  • “You’ve inherited a finger condition known as ‘stubbiness’.”  It’s impossible not to say that whenever I drop something.  At this point it’s a reflex.
  • Eggplant Xerxes Criminy Overbite Narwhal
  • Mr. Glasscock.
  • I love the panic in the teacher’s longue after they realize the kids are on the same footing that they are.
  • Only Wiggum would send in the battering ram on the library.
  • The locker searching scene sounds like, but is legally distinct from, Beverly Hills Cop.
  • “In your pre-fascist days you knew the giddy thrill of futile rebellion.”

19. Dog of Death

  • Deceptive lottery ads: still the same twenty years later.
  • 380,000,000:50
  • There’s an enjoyably ironic cruelty to making the poor Simpsons watch the rich Kent Brockman get even richer.
  • “What makes a man endanger his job and, yes, even his life, by asking me for money?”  Burns finger on, then off, then quickly back on the security button is a great way to make an otherwise not funny scene funny.
  • Burns contempt for even the idea of recycling is awesome.  He just doesn’t want to have to paw through garbage like a starving raccoon, that’s all.
  • Smithers in the Girl Scout uniform!
  • Rich Kent Brockman: tan, gold draped, and nearly naked, is exactly what a guy like him would do with money. 
  • No dogs were harmed in the drunken watching of this episode.  A cat got sick, and somebody shot a duck, but that’s it.

20. Colonel Homer

  • There really should’ve been a movie called “Honey, I Hit a School Bus”.
  • The pig that gets tossed on stage always makes be laugh. 
  • Beverly D’Angelo nails everything about this part.
  • Moe casually mentioning that Fudd made all those hillbillies blind is a great call back.  Again, they took the time to not run a good idea into the ground.
  • Homer’s complete sexual innocence makes this episode.  He genuinely doesn’t understand that Lurleen wants to fuck.  He’s just too stupid and loyal to get it.
  • Though he’s not above failing to placate his wife, “Marge, it takes two to lie.  One to lie, and one to listen.”
  • All of which makes the scene in the trailer, with Beverly D’Angelo and the soundtrack turning the sexy to 11,  so damn great.  “Oh, that’s hot, there isn’t a man alive who wouldn’t get turned on by that . . . well, goodbye.”
  • Fiberglass hay.
  • And when he does finally understand what Lurleen wants, all he can think about is Marge, though not without “You would’ve gone all the way with me, wouldn’t you?”  They never play it for tension, and that crucial question is resolved for Homer only after he’s walked out and has no chance with her.  This is another one of those minor things that demonstrates how delicately they used to handle things.  They’ll make the jokes, but they won’t ask us to pretend that Homer’s going to cheat on Marge, which we know he won’t. 

21. Black Widower

  • Even before they change the shot to just his face, it’s great watching Bart’s eyes as he follows Homer’s imaginary stabbing motions.
  • And then there’s Homer’s denial that he’s forgetting the first two Noble Truths of the Buddha.  “I am not” is too general to quote in conversation, but damn it’s funny.
  • We’ve been doing this blog long enough that in many places I can just link to things like Homer’s inimitable rant about cocktail weenies.
  • They were probably already going to cancel MacGyver, but if they weren’t, this episode sealed it. 
  • The 8pm timeslot is the supposed “family hour”, the defiling of which makes morons clutch their pearls and head for the nearest fainting couch, and Homer is literally advocating drunkenness, “stumble home in the mood for love”, as a marital aide.  Even today that’d be tough to pull.
  • Love Lisa’s bitterness at not being flower girl.
  • Great off color animation on Bob’s pre-commercial confession in the car.
  • And having him already confess to the audience, the show gets to have fun with his reluctance to actually be Selma’s husband.
  • The mockery of the usual Murder She Wrote style ending is great, especially Homer and Wiggum’s failure to understand.
  • It’s true, you can’t keep the Democrats out of the White House forever.  Palin 2012 bitches!

22. The Otto Show

  • The t-shirt of Spinal Tap kicking Libya’s unspellable leader in the butt was a timeless classic in 1992.
  • Count me among the many and increasing number of people who saw the actual Spinal Tap movie long after they saw this episode.  It made much more sense after.
  • “We salute you, our half inflated dark lord.”
  • I love the petty, knee jerk censorship of Brockman wanting to “ban all music”.
  • “Slag off!” 
  • Skinner’s five o’clock shadow failure to drive the bus works so much better because of his earlier, clean cut confidence that he could. 
  • I love Patty’s instant love of Otto once she realizes he too hates Homer.  It’s like the only time we ever get to see her genuinely happy, and it’s awesome.

23. Bart’s Friend Falls in Love

  • Bart's Friend Falls in Love3 
  • There’s lot of copies of the Fluffy Bunny video online, but the surrounding scenes are just as good, especially Krabappel’s bitterness.  Also, I would pay serious money for a copy of the sex ed video they made us come into school and watch on a Wednesday night in fourth grade.  It was dumb at the time, I can only imagine that it would be hilarious now.
  • “But in real life, Santa would be suffering from gall stones, hypertension, impotence, and diabetes.”
  • We’re twenty-three episodes in at this point, and it’s just staggering how many jokes and punchlines they put into each episode.  Even more impressive, they all at least kinda work.  Not everything lands equally, but there aren’t any lines or subplots that thud disastrously or feel crammed in for the sake of cramming. 
  • I can neither paint nor draw, nor do I know enough about either to competently criticize either.  But, I think a cromulent representation of Milhouse standing forlornly on the jungle gym with the trees in the background could, given a century or so, hang in a Louvre level museum:
    Bart's Friend Falls in Love4
    How is that not the saddest (non-fatal) thing a kid can feel?
  • Yet, yet yet another nice point: Milhouse has an uneaten meal on a tray by his bed.
  • I use that metal dealy to dig food all the time.
  • Ne pas de boys.
  • Though I’m already two images in on this episode, it would be derelict of me not to include this:
    Bart's Friend Falls in Love5

24. Brother, C.an You Spare Two Dimes?

  • I defy anyone not to crack up at the perfect formation of the “normal” sample of Smithers sperm.  It looks like an aerial stun squadron. 
  • I can’t transcribe it, but I’m pretty sure you know what I’m talking about when I say that Burns’ scene with his lawyers is a kind of angry poetry. 
  • Great fourth wall scene as Homer says he life can’t get any worse. 
  • Smokin’ Joe : Great Cameo
  • Krusty Brand Sulfuric Acid
  • My brother has a drinking bird.  The bastard.
  • “This leash demeans us both.”
  • “Alright, but I never really hugged a man before”:
    Brother Can You Spare Two Dimes8
  • And that’s it folks, thanks for reading.  I’m gonna take a nap.  Windows Live Writer tells me that this is at about 5,200 words.  But even granting 1,000 words per picture, I’ve still fallen haplessly short.  These can only be watched, and I’m glad I did. 
  • For good measure (the bottles came first):
    Season 3 Aftermath
24
May
11

Idiot to Drunkenly Watch Teevee Again

Duffless5

“Do you ever drink to escape from reality?” – Marge Simpson

Ladies and gentlemen, we made it.  Season 22 is over, and the only confirmed casualties were humor, plot and enjoyable comedy.  In celebration, I’ll be undertaking another Simpsons-beer marathon this Saturday, the 28th of May.  For those who’ve found this blog since the last time I did this, the basic concept is that, starting at about 8:00am Eastern Time (US), I’m going to watch an entire season of The Simpsons and drink one beer per episode.  I’ll post running updates after each episode finishes, (a more detailed description can be found here).

Just like the previous times, the season I watch will be decided by the Simpsons fans with the good taste and penchant for self torture who deign to visit this site.  Seasons 4, 5, and 6 have been done, so the poll at right contains Seasons 1, 2, 3, and 7.  The poll will be open until midnight Friday (04:00 GMT Saturday), and I’ll watch whichever season comes out ahead. 

Update May 28: Season 7 put up a hell of a fight, but Season 3 prevailed.  Thanks to everyone who voted.

Season 3 Poll

23
Oct
10

Season 4 Marathon: 22 Episode, 22 Beers, 8h:25m:44s

Duffless3

“Well, well, look who it is.  Mister ‘I don’t need alcohol to enjoy life’.” – Moe

Good morning everyone and welcome to the third Simpsons-Beer marathon!  The mob has spoken and has acclaimed Season 4 as its champion.  I am looking forward, at 2:30ish this afternoon, to watching Homer struggle with his drinking problem after I’ve downed 16 beers alone.  Click here for an explanation of how this all works, and let’s get started.  Beer and Simpsons, hurrah!

1. Kamp Krusty

  • It was years after I first saw this episode that I got Bart’s 36-24-36 locker combination joke.
  • Homer is such an awesomely terrible father in this episode, what with the hard work/lottery speech and, of course, having Bart reach for the roller skate in the running lawnmower. 
  • “Spare me your euphemisms, it’s fat camp for daddy’s chubby little secret.”
  • Can you actually bake jelly beans?  Google Image search says you can.
  • I love Homer’s picnic hat. 
  • Rather than say this same thing over and over all day, I’ll just say it now.  It remains amazing just how many jokes they manage in each line.  Even lines that are basically plot points, Bart’s rant against Krusty, Mr. Black yelling at the bullies, everything has jokes.  There is nary a wasted word. 

2. A Streetcar Named Marge

  • Gotta give it up for Meryl Streep, they made that joke about her fragrance “Versatility” in 1992, and she’s just kept it up for twenty more years.
  • “Tonight, my reign as Miss American Girl comes to an end, and I’d like to apologize one last time for my unfortunate remarks at the United Nations.”
  • Oh how I adore the Ayn Rand School for Tots.  “Helping Is Futile” always gets me.  I’m still too sober to be able to blot Zombie Simpsons from my mind, but compare this to that execrable and bizarre speech they had Maggie give a couple of years ago.  This is satire, that was hapless. 
  • The bloody bandage on Ned’s chest is just another example of how much thought and care they put into everything.  We never see Marge draw blood, but we don’t need to.  It works much better by just alluding to the violence.
  • The music from “The Great Escape” is perfect here. 
  • This episode is exquisitely plotted, Marge and Homer’s troubles are neatly done through Blanche and Stanley.  Even the resolution, where they make it explicit, never feels heavy handed. 

3. Homer the Heretic

  • Lovejoy’s line about the badly damaged card table was written by someone with a lot of familiarity with church bulletins.  
  • For all our non-American readers out there, the little “D” on the (1991!) penny Homer finds means that the penny was made at the mint in Denver.
  • This episode is Exhibit A for why religious people should never praise this show.  The Simpsons had unlimited respect for faith, but did nothing but brutally mock organized religion. 
  • I love Ned’s resigned “Okay”, after Homer bounces back into the house.  It’s such a great moment for his character, he’s instantly both unhappy and determined to continue. 
  • “Hindu.  There are seven hundred million of us.”  “Aw, that’s super.”
  • I also love that Jimi Hendrix is in heaven.  Choke on that, hidebound religious people. 

4. Lisa the Beauty Queen

  • Skinner’s repressed badass, nice. 
  • They were really on about beauty pageants this year, and that’s good because the sooner those things are ridiculed into oblivion the better. 
  • Homer’s awful parenting works because it comes from well meaning stupidity.  He doesn’t realize that what he’s doing is terrible.
  • “Eyelash implants.”  “I thought those were illegal.”  “Not in Paraguay.”
  • When I was a kid I thought Jack Nicholson and Jack Nicklaus were the same guy.  I was amazed that a man that acted that well was also a pro golfer.
  • Sigh.  I miss Doris Grau.  Not just for Lunchlady Doris, but because if there’s one thing Zombie Simpsons needs, it’s a good script supervisor.

5. Treehouse of Horror III

  • Exhibit B: “You see, there are some crybabies out there, religious types mostly, who might be offended.”
  • The sharpened teeth on the evil Krusty doll are a nice touch.
  • “Grampa, why don’t you tell us a story.  You’ve led an interesting life.”  “That’s a lie and you know it!”
  • You don’t really notice it, but it’s better that the “King Kong” segment is in black and white.  And this was before the latest mediocre remake.
  • The thrown ashtray, when Marge is trying to serve fruit, is exactly how every kid feels when something other than candy is on offer on Halloween.
  • The “Thriller” album cover on Bart’s head is another one of those understated touches that lets you know this is genius.  No comedy opportunity is left unexplored. 
  • In the “Maybe The Simpsons does pervert the youth” category, I did learn an awful lot of condom brands from this episode.  Granted, I didn’t get it until after I hit puberty, but still.
  • And, for good measure, we close on a joke about television. 

6. Itchy & Scratchy: The Movie

  • The doll with the knife for a neck is a nice callback to “Kamp Krusty”.
  • It would be awesome if Earl Warren really was a stripper.
  • I wonder if more people under the age of about 30 have seen “Steamboat Willie” or “Steamboat Itchy”. 
  • “Homer, we’d like to talk to you.”  “But then I won’t be watching teevee, you can see the bind I’m in.”
  • The barber college joke takes, what, about half a second?  Wall to wall jokes, every episode.

7. Marge Gets a Job

  • I use “Hand me my patching trowel, boy” all the time.  It works both when you need a tool and when you have no idea what to do.
  • Again, the implications of terrible things often work better than the things themselves.  Here it’s a picture of the White House on fire and Brockman saying that the Vice President is in charge.  By the way, this episode was two years before that nutjob crashed that Cessna on the south lawn
  • Citizen Kane has so many iconic scenes that they could reference it in about five different episodes without repeating anything.
  • Another nice callback, with the photo of Burns and Elvis on the wall in Smithers’ office.
  • There are three Tibor jokes in this episode and each one builds on the last.
  • This is a perfect example of nicely complementary A & B plots.
  • The Tom Jones guest appearance is the way celebrities playing themselves should be done.  It makes sense in context, isn’t overdone, and isn’t unadulterated self promotion.
  • Burns’ imagining of Homer is fantastic.  It’s everything that Homer, a man he’s met multiple times, isn’t.
  • “Care to join me in a belt of scotch?”  “It’s nine-thirty in the morning.”  “Yeah, but I haven’t slept in days.”
  • For the record, it’s only 11:30 here.

8. The New Kid on the Block

  • I’ve said this before, but even for all its accolades the show still doesn’t get enough credit for stepping over lines that, at the time, were pretty hard and fast on network television.  This is a scene with an interracial couple and a gay real estate agent, and none of the jokes are about who they are.  The jokes are about a young couple’s naivete and the frustrations of selling real estate.  It’s presented as completely normal life, which it is, but which you wouldn’t have known from teevee at the time.
    New Kid on the Block4
  • “My upbringing was painfully strict, ma’am.”  “That’s sweet.”
  • I watched this episode with my nieces and nephews at a family thing three years ago.  When the zookeeper stage whispers to Homer than the monkeys are having sex they all burst into laughter.  I’ve never been more proud.
  • Even when Laura is gushing over Jimbo there’s a joke or more in every line.  The body is “behind the mayor’s house” and all Jimbo did was poke him with a stick.
  • Yes, the court is in session at night.  No, no one cares because this is hilarious and works story-wise.
  • I love Moe’s lasciviously violet hip waggle as he anticipates his vengeance when he gets to the window.

9. Mr. Plow

  • Guh, Battle of the Network Stars was so, so horrible.
  • My dad loves the joke with the model repelling the dumb guys asking if she comes with the car.  He used to go to auto and trade shows all the time and he’s described that scene as eerily accurate.
  • Speaking of great celebrity cameos: Adam West. 
  • Hey look, it’s a President Bush.  Haven’t seen that in a while.
  • Lovejoy’s Christian goons are great.
  • The Flogging Song!
  • Linda Ronstadt has a long and glorious history with cartoons.
  • “You know those radio ads where two people with annoying voices yammer back and forth?  I invented those.”  A format that has haunted humanity to this very day.
  • Even when god is melting things there are jokes. 

10. Lisa’s First Word

  • The stickball arcade game is great, but it’s made even better by the fact that there are two more of them.
  • It’s typical of the show’s a) relentless humor and b) excellent storytelling how the sweetness of Grampa helping them buy the house is used as a set up for shipping him off to the old folks home. 
  • Oh Webster, you were the worst show ever.
  • $44 Million was a lot more in 1984 dollars.
  • Hibbert’s past haircuts are always fantastic.

11. Homer’s Triple Bypass

  • “You know that feeling you get when a thousand knives of fire are stabbing you in the heart?  I got that right now.”
  • The Poe house bursting into flames as it goes off the cliff is yet another example of how much funnier over-the-top, batshit crazy stuff is when you don’t beat it into the audience’s face.
  • Eighteen years later, and health care in America is still all fucked up.  God, I love this country.
  • I wonder if there really is anything different about “Sweatin’ to the Oldies Vol. 3”. 
  • This is a television episode where the main character is undergoing life threatening surgery.  But it never gets serious and doesn’t go more than five seconds between gags.  Despite that it never turns into a Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker parody thing where nothing matters.  That is not easy to do.  

12. Marge vs. the Monorail

  • The squirrel with laser eyes is perhaps more difficult to describe than any other gag on the show. 
  • The Genghis Khan thing is much easier to quote out of context.
  • I’ve never seen “The Music Man”, in any incarnation.  I know some of the songs, and I like musicals, I’ve just never seen it.  I don’t think that ignorance takes anything away from the monorail song, though I could be wrong.
  • Lanley flattering Lisa out of her criticism is the eleventy billionth example of the precision with which this show was made.  Everyone is mocked for believing his crap.
  • As another example of the above, see Lanley’s apathy about who gets to be conductor.
  • “He’s cool, he’s sexy, he’s thirty-four years old!”  Has anyone mentioned that most of the cast of Glee are in their mid-20s?  That guy who was on that Zombie Simpsons episode is nearly 30!
  • I’m almost getting tired of mentioning these, but here’s another celebrity cameo that actually makes sense.  Tom Jones was roped in by a billionaire’s henchman, and Adam West and Leonard Nimoy appear as guys on the sad, down slope of fame.  No one is there just because, nor getting a free pass to hawk themselves. 
  • The Quimby-Wiggum argument is a parody of about eight million things and you still know exactly what it’s about.
  • “Hey, according to the charter, as chief constable I’m supposed to get a pig every month.  And two comely lasses of virtue true.”  “Keep the pig, how many broads do I get?”
  • Batman científico.
  • This whole ending with “how do we stop the train” is great.  It is never played for tension.

13. Selma’s Choice

  • Heh: “To be completed in 1994”.  Now it’s funny for a different reason.
  • Homer’s ultra dignified “please” when asked for another placemat is fantastic. 
  • Low Expectations Dating Service.  I need say no more.
  • I will never tire of the enforced racial harmony of Hooray for Everything.
  • “Put Your Sperm in Our Hands”
  • The sandwich!  Oh the sandwich!
  • I went to Disneyland in 2004 and saw the animatronic Abe Lincoln.  It was better than I was expecting, but did not rap or talk about beer. 
  • The Small World ride really was about this terrifying though.  Technically proficient without a shred of humanity.  It’s the Skynet of rides.

14. Brother From the Same Planet

  • This show really should’ve ended when Phil Hartman died.  It did so much with pompously idiotic characters that his loss went well beyond Hutz and McClure, and those two alone were huge. 
  • Bart’s vision of Homer’s melted, nose-less face remains kinda horrifying.
  • If you’re ever watching SNL and the first joke of skit dies, it’s time to mention the Big Ear Family.
  • Mocking those who would exploit your insecurities for fun and profit:
    Brother from the Same Planet3 So. Many. Stuffed. Animals.
  • Eight year military build up?  Ha.  Twenty years later and we have an honest-to-jebus Pain Ray. 
  • Speaking of the Pain Ray, the way Skinner goes about cutting his budget, resigned but with an enthusiasm for whatever horrors the system makes him perpetrate, is hilarious. 
  • Not only does Homer’s brain abandon him for saying “Revenge”, it was wrong to do so:
     Brother from the Same Planet4
  • Attention to detail #1729: Bart’s luxurious bathroom in Homer’s tale of his cruelty.
  • Kids, there really did used to be a phone number you could call that would recite the time over and over again.  There was a tone every ten seconds so you could set your clocks.  I would not be surprised if, someday in the future, we revamp the calendar so that it’s based on internet instead of carpentry.
  • “Dad, remember when Tom had you in that headlock and you screamed, ‘I’m a hemophiliac’, and when he let you go you kicked him in the back?”  “Heh, heh, heh, yeah?”  “Will you teach me how to do that?”

15. I Love Lisa

  • We are sure it’s not Bacon Day, right?
  • “Isn’t that just pointless busywork?”  “Bullseye.  Get cracking.”
  • I love Skinner’s “Some student, possibly Bart Simpson . . .” delivery.
  • Homer Simpson, the kind of man who would exploit a love struck second grader to re-tar his roof. 
  • Sideshow Raheem.
  • Question: the Caretaker Presidents song, responsible for more or less than 35% of America’s total knowledge about obscure presidents? 
  • Ladies and gentlemen, the Monster Mash.

16. Duffless

  • I once quoted Homer’s conversation with himself well.  There it is.
  • Tartar control Duff! 
  • I went to the Miller brewery tour in Milwaukee one time.  It ends in an old fashioned beer hall where they make you drink three beers in ten minutes so the next group can come through.  Then they’re like, “Drive home safe!” 
  • Yeah, it’s a Kubrick reference, but this is still an awfully sexually implicit image to put on network television:
    Duffless3
  • It not shocking or anything, but it is still kinda remarkable how little beer ads have changed in eighteen years. 
  • Also, baseball is still boring as shit sober.
  • One look at those mumbling barflies, and I feel reassured about every terrible decision I’ve ever made.

17. Last Exit to Springfield

  • Three minutes into the episode and Burns has already laughed at the death of two men, the window washer and the guy who got walled up in the abandoned coke oven.
  • Dental Plan.
  • Lisa Needs Braces.
  • Dental Plan.
  • Lisa Needs Braces.
  • Dental Plan.
  • Lisa Needs Braces.
  • Dental Plan.
  • Lisa Needs Braces.
  • Dental Plan.
  • Lisa Needs Braces.
  • Dental Plan.
  • Lisa Needs Braces.
  • “Bullseye.”  “Thanks a lot Carl, now I’ve lost my train of thought.”
  • Dental Plan.
  • Lisa Needs Braces.
  • Dental Plan.
  • Lisa Needs Braces.
  • The unremitting horror of the dentist’s office pre-surgery is tremendous, and then it leads to a Batman parody.  Incidentally, however much the sequels sucked, the 1989 Batman has held up remarkably well.
  • If they kept records for most piss jokes in a single scene, the brief conversation in Burns’ basement would have set a record.
  • The song, the world loves the song.
  • And just past that is possibly the greatest Grampa rant of all time.  “They didn’t have white onions, because of the war, the only thing you could get was those big yellow ones.”
  • And then there’s Burns’ imitation of the Grinch.  Damns, this episode is good.

18. So It’s Come to This: A Simpsons Clip Show

  • I don’t know if it’s because Sam Simon was still in charge or what, but this is far and away better than the every other clip show for the simple reason that it’s easily 53% new footage.  Even the one in Season 6, when they were still completely on their game, doesn’t compare. 
  • The first time I saw Bart get exploded as he’s trying to yell “April Fools”, I think I may have laughed through the entire commercial break.  My stomach hurt afterward.
  • Barney’s “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” thing and Moe’s reaction are both stellar. 
  • The other nice thing about this episode is that it has an actual resolution, with Bart confessing and Homer’s hatred bringing him back from the coma.

19. The Front

  • I still can’t take off my underwear without taking off my pants, but despite many setbacks I think success is at hand.
  • Aw, Tom Bosley died this week.
  • Hey look, it’s a throwaway joke that Zombie Simpsons would later stretch a whole episode over.  Lovitz isn’t even in this one.   
  • “Alright brain, you don’t like me, and I don’t like you.  But let’s just do this and I can get back to killing you with beer.”
  • Gotta love The Adventures of Ned Flanders.

20. Whacking Day

  • I love that Principal Skinner contemplates leaving his most troublesome students to die in a basement, only to be talked out of it.
  • We Put the Fun in Fundamentalist Dogma
  • “Pleasing taste, some monsterism.”
  • More less than subtle sex imagery, Marge sliding the sleeve off Homer’s whacking stick and telling him to go “slow, then fast”.  Rawr. 
  • Barry White, here for a reason and actually being funny. 
  • “Gentlemen, start your whacking.” 
  • I guess I’ve always used Zombie Simpsons criticism as a way of getting attention.

21. Marge in Chains

  • I wish I could make my immune system surrender to non-life threatening infections. 
  • Just when you think you know what Scratchy’s going to do, he get impaled on a cactus.
  • “Oh, the network slogan is true: ‘Watch Fox and Be Damned for All Eternity’.”  Hey, remember when people thought Zombie Simpsons cracking on FOX was novel? 
  • “No offense, but, we’re putting that bitch on ice!”
  • Has anyone ever checked the books for Northrop and Boeing, are we sure they don’t operate convenience stores?  And if so, do they prosecute shoplifters?
  • With many years of hindsight, we now know that both Tom Cruise and Mel Gibson are fucking crazy, super-hunks though they may be. 
  • Hutz has sock garters, but no pants.
  • What are the most probable misspellings of “guilty”?  Gillty?  Giltey? 
  • There are only so many possible iterations of a Jimmy Carter statue, and this episode has all of them.

22. Krusty Gets Kancelled

  • Krusty’s horrifying doll just keep getting better every time those children scream.
  • Worker and Parasite
  • Mr. Teeny takes a healthy swig and shivers, that’s good background comedy.
  • That thing Michael Bay does all the time, where he twirls the camera around someone as they stand up?  They do it here on Bette Midler.  I’m not saying this is the original, I’m just saying. 
  • Most of a season later, it’s Luke Perry, one of those guys who played a high schooler until he was old enough to have fathered one. 
  • The Chili Peppers do well here.  And – no to belabor a point – but it makes sense because it’s part of Krusty’s thing. 
  • It also takes a certain kind of perverted humor to have Hugh Hefner play “Peter and the Wolf” on water glasses.
  • And, absent any t-shirt sales, that it’s folks.  Twenty-two straight episodes of the best show ever and, once again, I can’t think of anything else I’d have rather done.  Assuming I can get my phone to cooperate, there should be a trophy picture coming shortly.   

Simpsons Season 4, Fuck Yeah

21
Oct
10

Idiot to Again Set Bad Example for the Children

Saturdays of Thunder4

“It’s my dad, lying there on the couch, drinking a beer, staring at the TV.  I’ve never seen him like that.” – Bart Simpson

It turns out I have nothing to do this Saturday other than celebrate Mole Day.  It also turns out that it’s been five months since I set aside some time for a serious day of drinking and Simpsons watching.  That means I can celebrate Mole Day by conducting one of my favorite bio-chemistry experiments: my liver, brain and blood oxygen levels versus my old friend ethanol in another Simpsons-Beer Marathon.

As with the previous two times I’ve done this on-line, I’ll be starting around 8:00am Eastern Time (12:00 GMT) this Saturday.  For those who are new to this site, the background details are here.  All you really need to know is that I’m going to watch an entire season of The Simpsons while downing one beer per episode, and I’ll post (increasingly inebriated) updates all day.

The poll at right is active, and I’ll watch whichever season you fine individuals select.  I’ve already done Seasons 5 and 6, so they aren’t included.  For the protection of my good time, Season 7 will not include “Marge Be Not Proud”.  Since I’m not giving nearly as much notice this time around, I’ll leave the poll open until Saturday morning.

Update 23 October: And it’s Season 4!  Thanks to everyone who voted. 

Season 4 Poll

15
May
10

Season 6 Marathon: 26 episodes, 26 beers, 9h:49m:50s

 Bart vs. Australia1

“Hey, give me one of those famous giant beers I heard so much about.” – Homer Simpson
“Something wrong, Yank?” – Barkeep
“No, it’s pretty big, I guess.” – Homer Simpson
 

Welcome to the second Simpsons/Beer Marathon!  The people have spoken and this time around it’s Season 6.  Yeah, I know, Season 6 has only 25 episodes, but it ends with “Who Shot Mr. Burns?” and it’s impossible to watch one without wanting to watch the other.  Besides, I like beer.  Click here for an explanation of what this post is and how it works.  Otherwise, let’s get started.

1. Bart of Darkness

  • Awww, Maggie’s love of power tools (circular saw) always brings a smile to my face.
  • Now this is how you do a montage!  It’s short, Lisa gets a star turn (because she’s the center of attention now), and we see Homer as a beer fountain. 
  • This is maybe the goriest Itchy & Scratchy ever, the way Scratchy just crumples as he’s chopped to pieces always cracks me up. 
  • Yet another example of the aftermath of violence being funnier than the violence itself: Grampa being tarred and feathered. 
  • “You have selected regicide!”

2. Lisa’s Rival

  • I love the gay pirate. 
  • Yet another reason I loathe Zombie Simpsons: you can’t watch all the great Ralph Wiggum parts without knowing that they will soon be a badge of honor for idiots.
  • More life imitating Simpsons: now there is a Garfunkel & Oates.  But what happened to Messina?
  • I haven’t seen “The Fugitive” in a few years.  I wonder if it still holds up, especially since that was the role that made Tommy Lee Jones a star and then a caricature in the span of about eighteen months.
  • I’m known for my drunken rendition of Homer’s sugar rant. 
  • This episode is proof that the B plot doesn’t have to have anything to do with the A plot so long as it’s funny, moves fast, and doesn’t distract or detract from the main action.
  • Skinner’s bitterness about winding up in Elementary School is fantastic.  Even when this show is resolving its conflict it takes time out to make fun of one of its characters.

3. Another Simpsons Clip Show

  • Maybe next time I do this I’ll drink beer in a kiddie pool all day instead of my usual teevee chair. 
  • At least they still have the good sense to make fun of themselves for doing a clip show.  Also, they used to care about being relevant.  Now, not so much.
  • Meta alert: clip show showing clip from previous clip show.
  • It sort of underlines how tired the romance plotlines are that sixteen years ago they already had enough of them to do a clip show around the idea.

4. Itchy & Scratchy Land

  • Dave just got here.  Now I have someone to drink with while I waste this otherwise beautiful Saturday.
  • Vegetable smuggling pamphlet!
  • I don’t think Vanessa Williams has had a hit song in almost two decades but, if anything, AM radio has gotten worse.
  • Itchy & Scratchy land, as they fly into it in the Jurassic Park helicopter, is the most evil looking place in the history of evil looking places.
  • Look how haphazardly the mats at the end of the log ride are placed.  It’s the little touches.
  • “Pulp Fiction” was awesome, and “Get Shorty” was pretty good too, but on the whole movies would’ve been better off without the John Travolta comeback. 
  • Good storytelling alert: first they establish that the robots try to kill other robots, then they establish that flash photography hurts them, which means that by the time we get to the end both the robot malfunction and the solution are already in the audience’s mind.
  • Love the Aryan guards at an amusement park founded by a man who made a film called “Nazi Supermen Are Our Superiors”.
  • “What are you, the narrator?”, I use that all the time.

5. Sideshow Bob Roberts

  • Sideshow Bob not wanting the Republican Party associated with “George Bushes” is a joke that has gone through about four phases since this episode came out. 
  • Sideshow Bob Roberts2
  • I would pay serious money to see the real Birch Barlow ask questions at a candidate debate.
  • “Rosebud” wasn’t enough, they had to get in another “Citizen Kane” reference. 
  • Bats in the card catalog when they’re trying to find Edgar Neubauer is a wonderfully fast joke call back.
  • The movie spoiled the whole “Homer on Wrecking Ball” thing by making it go on for twenty seconds.
  • “Feculent” and “smarmy”, more words I learned from The Simpsons.

6. Treehouse of Horror V

  • Recently, someone wrote a great breakdown of this episode, but I can’t remember a) where it is or b) if I’ve already linked to it – and I’m only five beers in, not a good sign.  (Second note to self of the day: look this up when you’re sober and have more time.)
  • I miss Scatman Crothers.
  • “Teacher, mother, secret lover!”
  • Joke I never got (from SNPP):
    Mark Johnson’s best guess is that Homer was referring to Carlos Castaneda, "a Brazilian who wrote about his chemical-induced `adventures’ about twenty years ago. A rather trendy (for the college crowd) set of books from the late-60’s, early 70’s."

    Dave finds this at Wikipedia:
    The first time Homer travels back in time, he was originally supposed to state "I’m the first non-fictional character to travel backwards through time".[4] The line was later changed from "non-fictional" to "non-Brazilian". Groening was confused as to the reason for the change, since he liked the original so much. In fact, he didn’t even understand what the new line meant.

  • I miss Doris Grau too.
  • The callback for “A Chorus Line” rules.

7. Bart’s Girlfriend

  • Jessica Lovejoy had a brief non-speaking part in that awful episode last week.
  • Again with the implied/aftermath of violence with the shivering hamster.
  • “What’s prodigal mean?”
  • Scotchtoberfest!
  • This episode has the John Travolta strut and the surfer guitar from “Pulp Fiction”.  Excellent.
  • This episode has completely ruined Bach’s “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” for me.  It’s very disturbing.

8. Lisa on Ice

  • This show’s take on the relentless stupidity of local news (bleeds it leads, and all that) are amongst it’s best qualities.
  • Gotta love how much Homer’s behavior toward Bart (threatening him, the turtle) reinforces Lisa’s point about parents’ failed dreams of glory.
  • Crazy Zombie Homer is a lot less funny than dimwitted regular Homer who turns on his kids at the slightest sign of athletic failure.
  • Moe calls Marge “Blanche”, classic.
  • “Conserve your previous hatred for the game.”
  • How great was this show?  Even when both of his kids win, Homer still loses. 

9. Homer Badman

  • Titmouse.
  • Cartoon nudity is a necessity.
  • “Dramatization, may not have happened.”
  • I also sleep nude in an oxygen tent, no sexual powers so far.
  • Dennis Franz’s guest voice is what these are supposed to be. 
  • In contrast to Zombie Simpsons where all the recurring characters are friends and look out for each other, there’s Homer’s friends (led by the real Moe) selling him to the highest bidder.
  • Downside of the flat television: you can’t hug it as easily.

10. Grampa vs. Sexual Inadequacy

  • According to the tag cloud on our WordPress dashboard, this is our most quoted episode.  I’m not really sure why, but I have no objections.
  • Speaking of awesome nudity: this episode.
  • “See you the next time we need your signature.” 
  • Once again, life imitates The Simpsons: this predates Viagra by years.
  • Proper use of Comic Book Guy: at the stock footage festival.
  • Serious “drinking” is the order of the day.

11. Fear of Flying

  • It’s great that Homer goes to a lesbian bar because all he cares about is getting a drink, and the only thing about it that bothers him is the lack of a fire exit.
  • It’s not even directly mentioned but – yes – the airline looks for substitute pilots in a bar. 

12. Homer the Great

  • Based on the sheer awesomeness of Homer’s list, Mad Jon has been maintaining one for well over a decade now.
  • Remember when Burns said that eggs had gotten a bad rep?  Here’s the payoff.
  • Animation note: love the glee in the eyes of #1 when he orders the Stone of Triumph to be attached.
  • And herein, No Homers, a proud internet tradition, is born.
  • When I was a kid I had a ring that made a “whee” noise when you blew on it.

13. And Maggie Makes Three

  • Life imitating Simpsons Part MCVII: Night Boat!
  • “They pave the way for this kind of filth in school.”
  • Hibbert’s era appropriate haircuts never get old.
  • For years I really thought “supplicant” meant someone who applied for a job a second time.
  • Homer’s ability to be human yet self centered in any situation really makes this.  Make your own comparisons to the zany automaton he is now.

14. Bart’s Comet

  • Another of Zombie Simpsons’ problems: Skinner has no bitterness towards Bart or any other student.  The astronomy scene is funny precisely because he hates his job and his students so very much.
  • Homer’s bit about elected officials taking care of problems is, and I am not exaggerating, the most insightful and widely viewed criticism of democracy ever.  And then there’s “Democracy simply doesn’t work”.
  • Much love to the guy who slides under the park bench.
  • Maude’s immediate abandonment of Ned, plus Rod’s shotgun thing, are just . . . “great” doesn’t describe it.  There are no words.
  • Another good storytelling note: not only does the comet puncture the Skinner balloon, but it’s also the same size as the chihuahua’s head.  See?  They care about they structure of the episode.

15. Homie the Clown

  • New billboard day!
  • Gotta love the giant bag of MSG.
  • Speaking of attention to detail, Homer squinting at the funny place names Krusty flashes.
  • Dick Cavett rules.
  • More conscientious storytelling: Krusty’s money trouble lead directly into the main plot.  And, of course, everything in between is funny as hell.
  • Flanders’ love of easily discredited Christian tchotchkes is perfect.

16. Bart vs. Australia

  • This is the episode that spawned about two dozen other “destination” episodes, it was worth it, but still.
  • There’s a certain kind of genius necessary to have a guy digging down out of his coffin.
  • Bart vs Australia2 
  • All props to the “Mad Max” guy who runs into the embassy gates.
  • “The closest vessel is the U.S.S. Walter Mondale, it’s a laundry ship.”

17. Homer vs. Patty and Selma

  • Homer’s dream of his invention is made by the whole “product in question” line.
  • Everything goes on your permanent record.  Fuck.
  • Belly fire!
  • Never before or since have Batman and Magellan been linked.
  • I wish my TV turned itself on and off to solve all my problems.
  • “Please ask me to kill for you.”

18. A Star Is Burns

  • “You suck, McBain!”
  • Hibbert looks good in red panties.
  • You knew it was coming: football in the groin.

19. Lisa’s Wedding

  • “Oh, it’s galloping away!”
  • I live in fear of the Happy Squirrel.
  • We live in the future, and though the specifics are different, the grotesquely inhuman cynicism that rules their world is the same as ours.  Or something. 
  • Gotta love the Star Trek communicator noise when Hugh talks into his wrist.
  • I’d like to have decently original thoughts on this episode, but I don’t.  So here.
  • This episode has one of the best end music remixes ever.

20. Two Dozen and One Greyhounds

  • My genitals are withered and useless, but I can’t blame teevee.  It’s done so much for me.
  • American grand on Snowball II smacking away the catnip.
  • “We could use a new pet over at the home, seeing how we accidentally killed that smart mouthed bird.”
  • Rory Calhoun.

21. The PTA Disbands

  • One must acknowledge both the comedy brilliance and the shock numbing value of a kid being violently  beaten by adults.
  • Play!  Play the forbidden music!
  • In this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!
  • The finger thing means the taxes!
  • Canada’s always been tucked away down there.

22. Round Springfield

  • Man, you’d better not feed the bears.
  • Round Springfield1
  • Again with montages that are funny and make sense, Jazzman.
  • I had a few (potentially) insightful comments I wanted to make, but after a few hardly started sentences that I failed to complete all you really need to know is that I love this episode.  I’m too drunk to add even non-snarky comments to it.

23. The Springfield Connection

  • Series at its best: making fun of the fact that teevee women can’t seem to find the door through the wall.  Cliche alert.
  • Again with Homer as regular guy instead of invincible jerk, he just wants to be left alone.
  • They executed Hans Moleman, and it flickered the lights.  We were all complicit.

24. Lemon of Troy

  • “We can’t spare a single one!” the spirit lives on.
  • Remember, reactionary suburban counterinvasions are a part of our modern politics.
  • There’s a chase scene in this episode, but it makes sense, calls back earlier scenes, and helps reconcile the ends.  In other words, it’s the opposite of Zombie Simpsons.

25. Who Shot Mr. Burns? (Part One)

  • “Why is it when I heard the word ‘school’ and the word ‘exploded’ I immediately thought of the word  ‘Skinner’.” – Chalmers
  • “Please don’t waste those.”  Any pretensions to greatness one has are undermined by the fact that you’re hassling a grade school.  The dichotomy of this makes it funny.  (I think, I’m kinda drunk.)
  • Burns Slat Drilling, for all its problems, its better insulated from lawsuits then British Petroleum (BP).  But what are you gonna do?

26. Who Shot Mr. Burns? (Part Two)

  • Fuck it.  I’m too drunk.  Even if you’ve seen this a dozen or more times this episode is funnier than anything I can say. 
  • Peace.

Dave, who has a far more capable camera than I, snapped this:

Season 6 Marathn (Dave)

10
May
10

Idiot to Continue Poisoning Liver with Simpsons Episodes

“Asleep at the switch!  I wasn’t asleep, I was drunk!” – Homer Simpson

Counting last night’s, there’s been a new Zombie Simpsons for five consecutive weeks.  There are two more weeks to go before the season ends.  It’s the longest streak of new episodes since I started watching Zombie Simpsons when we began this blog last year, and it’s getting to me.  Fortunately, there’s a sure fire pick me up. 

It’s time for another Simpsons-Beer marathon.  Just like last time I’ve put a poll at right.  Since I already did Season 5, I’ve replaced it in the poll with Season 7.  Before anyone asks, should Season 7 win, I will only be watching 24 of the 25 episodes.  I will not let “Marge Be Not Proud” spoil my good time.  If you’re new around here, those two links will give you all the background you need. 

The poll will be open all week and will close at midnight on Friday night here in the States (04:00 Saturday the 15th GMT).  A short list of episode titles in each season is here, a more detailed list is here.  Just like last time, the marathon should start around 8:00am Eastern time (12:00 GMT) on Saturday, and I’ll post increasingly intoxicated updates as the awesome, awesome day progresses. 

Update 15 May: And it’s Season 6 in a landslide!  Thanks to everyone who voted and, once again, a special thanks to the lone Season 2 voter.  Don’t worry Joey, we’ll make it to California someday.

Season 6 Poll




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