Posts Tagged ‘A Star Is Burns


Reading Digest: Children’s Art & Crossover Edition

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“Coming up next, ‘The Flintstones Meet The Jetsons’.” – TV Announcer
“Uh-oh, I smell another cheap cartoon crossover.” – Bart Simpson

There is a larger than usual list of links this week, we’ve got everything from lawn mowers and Lithuanian comic books to Homer cakes and another rebuttal of the idea that pop culture necessarily ages badly.  As for the title, well, there are two of them.  First someone pines for a crossover, and then an art teacher talks about how the interests of kids have changed over time.  Then someone gets a crossover, and we discover a way to infiltrate the very young.  Plus there’s the usual assortment of excellent usage, lists, and people who agree with us. 


Malibu Stacy lives on. – Smooth Charlie’s Click of the Week comes from our friend and commenter lennyburnham as she takes a look at some modern examples of the timelessly horrible things Talking Malibu Stacy says.  This is my favorite, referring to a chemistry set marketed to 9-year-old girls:

If your box says “Wrap your hair SPA STYLE with the cool hair wrap”, maybe it’s time to stop marketing your product as educational.


A quotable cake. – A delectable looking Homer cake, complete with lots of quotes and photos.

Homer Simpson’s Duff beer gives Lithuanian publisher a headache – I don’t know much about Lithuania, but this seems pretty dumb.  Lithuania has rules against advertising alcohol in comics.  Some genius, or shakedown artist take your pick, decided that even though Duff is fictional, because there are bootleg versions of it available in places like Mexico and Spain that depicting it requires a shutdown in publishing and a nearly $4,000 fine (via). 

INTERVIEW | Werner Herzog on 3D, “The Simpsons,” and Nicolas Cage – In an interview with Werner Herzog, someone pointed out to him that Zombie Simpsons sucks.  He didn’t care:

How did your voice acting on “The Simpsons” come about?

Well, the crazy thing that I have to confess was that I did not know it was an animated show. I had never seen it. However, I knew what it looked like because I had seen it in print media. I thought it was a comic strip, like Charlie Brown or something. When they approached me, I said, “What do you mean by speaking a guest part? Do they speak?” And they couldn’t believe it. They thought I was pulling their legs. But I really didn’t know, and I asked them to send me a DVD with some samples of the animated show, so I would understand how cartoonish the voices were. Still today, I think they believe I’m joking.

Well, that is pretty hard to believe. It’s “The Simpsons.”

Yes, I was told it has existed for more than twenty years, and they have been moving and speaking for more than 20 years. But I didn’t know. I watched a DVD of two or three excerpts from the last few episodes.

You should know, then, that the earlier seasons are a lot better.

I think these ones are still quite good. There’s some wonderful, vitriolic, subversive humor in it. I really liked working with these people and I think it is a wonderful step for me as an actor. Whatever I’ve done, I’ve done well, but of course my scope as an actor is limited. I’m always really good when it comes to violent, hostile, debased characters.

DUFF UNLOADS – This is a story about longtime Guns N Roses bassist Duff McKagan.  But I’m suspicious of this:

Yep, that’s right; the man whose legendary alcohol consumption allegedly inspired The Simpsons’ beer-mascot Duff Man now wants his peers to trust him with their royalties.

I, uh, never heard that Duff beer was based on him.  Nor do I think it was. 

Simpsons fan turns living room into model of cartoon town Springfield – A Daily Mail story (with lots of pictures) about Forty Square Feet of Awesome (via @springfieldx2). 

Nazi zombie simpsons – This is just a video of a Call of Duty mod someone made of the Simpsons house where the bad guys are zombies dressed like Homer.  You can watch 15 seconds of it and get the flavor, but there’s no way I’m not linking something called “Nazi zombie simpsons”. 

Waiting for someone else – Excellent usage from the University of Virginia’s student paper:

CAN’T SOMEONE else do it?” For “The Simpsons” aficionados, this slogan conjures up the episode in which Homer ran for sanitation commissioner and sang a parody of “The Candy Man” called “The Garbage Man.”

DVD Review: The Simpsons – Season 8 – I don’t think 8 is “the best” season, but I wholeheartedly agree with this:

Anyone who disputes the brilliance of The Simpsons needs to be hit over the head with this season.

You Are Lisa Simpson – That remains one of the most bittersweet moments in the entire show.  Also this is a blog titled “What I’m With Isn’t It. . .”.  Nice. 

Weed…In 10 Words – The hover text is from the only decent segment (notice I did not say “episode”) in Season 13. 

On pop culture references – That Matt Zoller Seitz article about the longevity of pop culture continues to echo through the internet.  This nice summation includes everything from Arrested Development to Jane Austen. 

quote of the day. 04/17/11 – The quote is missing a “just” between “you” and “go”, but that’s nitpicking, not the American way. 

Mr. Harper for PM, I mean, Mr. Burns. – Excellent Hulu YouTube of the Burns for Governor campaign team. 

The Lead Taker: Advice, advice, it’s all very nice – Excellent usage:

This month’s article begins with Bart Simpson lamenting “you’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t”. How very true!

Spring Has Sprung, the Grass is Riz… – A post about the old fashioned push mower:

Whenever I do this, I think of Homer Simpson at the end of “Dead Putting Society” (from Season Two, at least eight seasons before the show began to head downhill). He and Ned entered into a wager about the miniature golf competition their sons were in. Because the contract was poorly written, both fathers lost the bet and each had to mow the other’s lawn in his wife’s Sunday dress.

Homer’s mower is like ours and the animators have him push-push-pushing the mower when it gets caught up on the grass. I wasn’t wearing a churchy dress (I was wearing jeans and a nursing top with lace on it), but I always picture Homer when I’m mowing.

I, too, have a push mower and, yes, it is impossible to use that thing without thinking of that episode.

Simpsons Sign WIN – The political wisdom of Kang and Kodos will be with us always. 

Harry Plopper WIN – Someone gave the recently released Harry Potter DVDs a nice sign. 

America Fun Fact of the Day 4/18- Insane American Patents – Some old, enjoyably wackaloon patents that I hope never got made, with bonus reference to “Deep Space Homer”. 

“When will I learn? The answer to life’s problems aren’t at the bottom of a bottle, they’re on TV!” -Homer Simpson – God bless Season 1 quotes from Freakoutville. 

Something that needs to happen… – First, the picture:

Homer & Bender


I always love watching the old re-runs on Sky 1 but never the new episodes. The older ones bring back so many memories; the ‘monorail’ episode from season 4 sticks in my mind constantly. It seriously needs a new direction. The picture above is a hint to what I am thinking of…

The Simpsons Futurama Crossover Crisis (2010) – And ye shall receive:

The conceit behind these stories is that Fry reads Simpsons comics and he can be sent into their fictional world (a great way to avoid any “timeline conflicts,” should anyone care about that sorta thing.

In the first part, the brains that terrorize everyone in New New York (except Fry who is immune to their brain waves) make fictional characters come alive (much fun is had with that).  And since Fry has a Simpsons comic, all of the Springfield residents come to New New York and mayhem ensues.

Social Networks Are ‘Huge Boondoggle for Bad Guys’ – Still more excellent usage, this of the non-quote variety:

"The social media world has been a huge boondoggle for bad guys, not just in digging up information about you, but also in the vector of attack," said Stuart McClure, general manager, SVP and CTO of the risk and compliance unit at McAfee. "Bart Simpson used to put 10 megaphones together and whisper so it became a huge cacophony of sound. Much the same thing is happening with social media."

Back in the Day: meet the Simpsons – Nice picture of Groening and some people in costumes with the dead eyes. 

Middle school show returns to celebrate young artists – Aww:

Layne said when he began teaching art all of his students wanted to do projects featuring Bart Simpson, and later they wanted to do Spongebob Squarepants.
“Betty Boop has made a comeback, and this year it’s been Sesame Street,” he said. “I’ve got Cookie Monster and Oscar and several Elmos.
“For the first time ever I’ve had ‘Wizard of Oz,’” he added. “After all these years of teaching someone’s finally done ‘Wizard of Oz’ characters.”

Damn kids, not fawning over Bart like it’s 1990.  If only there was a way to correct that . . .

Coloring Pages maggie simpson – . . . how about some printable coloring book images for toddlers?  Get ’em young, I say. 

Handsome Pete – The Haiku. 

Homer – The Kindle screensaver.

The Top 5 Simpsons Episodes – This list is from our friends over at Stay Tooned In.  Good on them for having nothing past Season 7. 

Catch TV’s Greatest Hits The Concert in Sydney – On May 5th this is happening in Sydney:

Visitors can expect to hear addictive themes from programmes including Skippy, The Brady Bunch, I Dream of Jeannie, The Simpsons and many more.

It will be performed by Brady Bunch Singers and Gilligan’s Island Orchestra, with the organisers also promising special appearances from a number of secret guests.

Joe Montegna Honoured With Walk Of Fame Star – Watch out, Laszlo Panaflex. 

Maggie Roswell is wanted dead or alive by folks on "Simpsons" – A rather fawning interview with Maggie Roswell in The Denver Post.  Interesting tidbit, she rarely watches Zombie Simpsons. 

Ed Helms Totally Looks Like Frank Grimes – In that picture he does. 

Paper Pezzy- Ned Flanders by ~CyberDrone – Printable papercraft Ned Flanders. 

Teenage Maggie Simpson by ~Kenny-The-O – Fan made sketch of teenage Maggie from “Lisa’s Wedding”. 

Homer Simpson – Amazingly intricate (look at the hands!) balloon hat version of Homer from the 2010 Rose parade (via @springfieldx2)

Divorce Papers – This is from 2007, but it’s new to me (via @keymakerFD)

Scorpio, Wherefore Art Thou? – Same site as the above, but of a more recent vintage. 

2011: Armageddon Comes Early To Hopeless Film Geeks – Inspired by Werner Herzog’s recent guest turn on Zombie Simpsons, here’s a list and description of some other wacky projects that could involve cult directors.  Before it gets to that, we get this:

Well past its twentieth season, the once brilliant show has wrung itself painfully dry of laughs, and has only to be retired in physical fact as well as in attitude and spirit.

Got that right.


All Glory Is Fleeting

George C. Scott

Image used under Creative Commons License from Flickr user cliff1066™.

“Arggh, my groin!” – George C. Scott

There’s new Zombie Simpsons in about an hour.  It’s gonna be bad:

Bart’s cartoon about an angry dad is turned into Angry Dad: The Movie and quickly becomes a critics’ favorite. When Russell Brand (guest-voicing as himself) presents the Golden Globe to Bart’s film, Homer usurps the podium and gives his own acceptance speech. The film’s winning streak continues with Homer taking credit at each ceremony, so when Angry Dad receives an Oscar nomination, Bart keeps it a secret.

With the help of DJ Kwanzaa (guest voice Smoove), Homer and Marge arrive at the ceremony just as Halle Berry (guest-voicing as herself) presents the award. Bart’s fellow nominee, Nick Park (guest-voicing as himself), helps him realize that creating a film is a team effort, and Bart gives credit where credit is due.

The Oscars are essentially a three-and-a-half-hour self promotion scheme.  The whole point is to remind people that they believe in the essential decency of movie stars and the magic of talking pictures.  The Simpsons made fun of that.  Zombie Simpsons is helping with the marketing.

Courtesy of Dave:



“The Sweetest Apu” Makes Baby Jesus Cry

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“But first we have a special guest: Rainer Wolfcastle, star of the reprehensible McBain movies.” – Jay Sherman

I have very little memory of this episode. Turns out that’s a good thing, because it’s bad. And since the commentators didn’t bother to comment on it much, I’m not going to either. I will say that, unlike most of the times they just completely ignore the episode, this one could have been very entertaining. Unfortunately, I’m not a big fan of Inside the Actors Studio. If I were, I would have found this fascinating. There’s a lot of information from Lipton about the beginning of the show, how it works, and even a story he’s never told before! You could footnote half a Wikipedia article from this commentary alone.

So, if you like Inside the Actors Studio, I can wholeheartedly recommend this. If, like me, you’re pretty meh about Inside the Actors Studio, I would find something else to do with your twenty-two minutes.

Seven guys on this one, including James Lipton (again) and Castellaneta.

0:30 – And we start off with Jean asking Lipton about how he got on Inside the Actors Studio. Lipton tries to demur, but everyone laughs and they go ahead with the story.

1:30 – Jean keeps the Lipton biography going with this probing question, “When did you realize you would be getting so many amazing actors to come into the show?”

2:30 – Lipton still droning on. If you’re really into Inside the Actors studio, this might be interesting to you. Remember, I said “If”.

3:00 – Lipton says that the two most popular episodes of his show were the one with the Simpsons people and Robin Williams. Jean thinks it was probably the only time the whole voice cast was interviewed together.

3:25 – Jean startles Castellaneta by asking him what it was like being on Lipton’s show. He wasn’t paying attention.

3:35 – Castellaneta liked being on.

4:15 – Someone else asks Lipton another question about his show. Now they’re talking about the various parodies.

5:20 – After Frink shows up with his giant mechanical spider, Jean helpfully points out that this is a “reference” to Wild Wild West.

5:45 – Still talking about Inside the Actors Studio, people ask all the time about why Julie Kavner disappeared in the middle. She had to catch a ferry.

6:45 – More celebrity stories about Inside the Actors Studio.

7:10 – Jean breaks in briefly to say that the long joke where Homer walks backwards was Swartzwelder’s idea. Then back to Lipton.

8:10 – Lipton still talking.

8:50 – Lipton’s at least talking about The Simpsons instead.

9:00 – Jean’s telling a story about Taxi.

10:00 – Lipton’s praising the show some more.

10:20 – Jean says that the sign humor, basically written stuff in the background, is the thing that takes the most time compared to the amount of time on screen. That must be why things like this happen.

10:55 – It impresses Lipton that the show has “fornication” in it.

11:35 – When Lipton was a kid he had to get his pornography in the form of outlaw comic books. Someone then pipes in that when he was a kid he jerked off to breast self exam advertisements.

12:00 – Jean’s describing how they got cracked down on for nudity after Janet Jackson again.

13:00 – Everyone gets quiet as the actual Lipton parts are on.

13:40 – Jean’s asking his standard question about how people reacted after they were on the show. Lipton got a lot of voicemails.

14:00 – Jean wants Lipton to reveal something about Inside the Actors Studio again. This time, he wants a story Lipton’s never told before. Have you ever heard the one about the priest and Charliez Theron’s mom? It’s a lot less dirty than I just made it sound and the story ends with “and nothing happened”.

15:45 – Lipton’s telling stories again.

16:45 – They’re actually talking about the episode here. They like the divorce lawyer.

17:30 – Jean always thinks the animators do a good job whenever they have to animate snow for a winter episode.

18:20 – Long silence.

19:00 – Hey, an actual piece of information. After Apu breaks up with his mistress on her doorstep, they were going to show that she had Chief Wiggum inside and was also having an affair with him. But they thought all that marital infidelity was too sad.

19:40 – Jean’s telling an unrelated story again, but this one is funny. When he was at National Lampoon they had a cartoonist who submitted a cartoon to The New Yorker with some erudite caption like “I say, it’s raining outside.” He then submitted the same exact cartoon to the Lampoon, the caption was “Blow me.”

20:30 – Jean explains that they didn’t set out to hire all Harvard guys, it just sort of happened. You need something written, and one Harvard guy calls a friend who’s funny. This is the real value of a first class education.

21:10 – After another long silence, Lipton’s yelling about how much he loves the show again.

21:35 – And it ends with a round of applause.


Reading Digest: Favre Instead of Banksy Edition

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“And the Oscar goes to . . .” – Rainier Wolfcastle
“I’ve got to win this one, I bribed everyone in Hollywood.” – C.M. Burns
“. . . George C. Scott in ‘Man Getting Hit by Football’.” – Rainier Wolfcastle

As you can tell, we’ve been running behind this week.  It was one of those weeks where lots of little things seem to be conspiring against you, but it’s over now.  On the plus side, there is no new Zombie Simpsons for three weeks!  Woo-hoo! 

The Banksy opening was all over the internet, and having said my piece about that already I’ve all but ignored it here.  In place of that, we have two links to Brett Favre things.  We also got two excellent links from readers, some YouTube, lots of love for Treehouse of Horror, and a Simpsons crossword. 


I Fought the Lawyers and the Lawyers won – This is Smooth Charlie’s Click of the Week, a drawing of Brett Favre as Grampa Simpson that was going to be used for a cartoon before ESPN pulled the plug.  It sounds like it would’ve been funny.   

Author of the Month – Edgar A. Poe – Audio YouTube of “The Raven” from the first Treehouse of Horror. 

"Best. Episode. Ever!" Toonzone Talks "The Simpsons" – Reader Eric, who sent in the link for the Banksy post, also sent in this excellent list of people’s favorite Simpsons episodes.  It will not shock you to see that everything is from Season 7 or earlier.  Things get even funnier in the comments thread.  One of the staff writes:

There’s a definite preference for the first seven seasons here (22 Short Films About Springfield is the latest episode, and four are from Season 6 alone). That shouldn’t be interpreted as a knock on later seasons, however.

That comment is then completely ignored as people keep talking about their favorite episodes and nothing past Season 9 comes up.  Thanks Eric!

Treehouses Of Horror – Some love for the Treehouse of Horror specials, including this lovely bit at the end:

It’s hard for anything to break into my long-established Halloween special canon of It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, The Legend of Sleepy Hallow, and Disney’s Halloween Treat, those specials that I watch every Halloween, that help me savor this season and that have in fact become a part of this season. But the Treehouses of Horror have done it, at least the first 8 (Treehouse of Horror I-VIII) have anyway. And I’m so glad they did.

Yeah, they’re not so good anymore, but that doesn’t make the old ones any less great. 

Squirrel nests in Homer Simpson slippers – It looks quite content in there. 

Favre does his best Hans Moleman – Every once and a while, life gives you a little moment:

Dental Plan Lisa Needs Therapy – Reader Mike sends in this YouTube video he made for a homework assignment:

The 20/20 return at the end really makes it.  Thanks Mike! 

Itemized: African Apparel – Neat t-shirt where Homer has marijuana plants for hands.  What were you guys smoking?  We were eating rotisserie chicken.  Also, there’s an author signature for one “Matt Stoning”. 

The Most Powerful Bald Men in America – GQ put out a list of 100 bald men.  Homer was on it at #31, though it doesn’t seem to be in any kind of order. 

A perfect world? – YouTube of Homer in the Land of Chocolate from “So It’s Come to This” along with musings on food and chocolate in culture. 

30 Day Challenge: Day 3 – a picture of you and your friends – I love that I live in a world where a man can wear a Homer Simpson tie to his daughter’s wedding. 

Recent Obsessions: Nicki Minaj, ‘The Simpsons’ – I really wanted to be done with last week’s opening, but this is too stupid to pass up:

Complaining that “The Simpsons” has lost its edge has been a common pastime of fans at least since Season 7, but can you imagine any other show nibbling the hand that feeds it like that?

I don’t need to imagine it, because it happens all the fucking time.  Seinfeld had an entire meta-season story arc that made fun of NBC, pretty much every animated show on FOX has done it at one time or another, South Park has openly gone to war against Comedy Central twice, and 30 Rock is a show that is predicated on making fun of its corporate owner.  The days when David Letterman got in semi-serious trouble for sending a camera crew to GE headquarters are long gone. 

The Shining…In 10 Words – I wasn’t sure where this one was going, but the caption on frozen Jack Nicholson is great.  If only Tyne Daly and Hal Linden had gotten to him in time! 

Tuesday Test: The Simpsons – A Simpsons crossword.  A few of the clues are Zombie-ish, but it looks mostly clean. 

Rerun: Halloween Countdown – Reminiscing about Halloween favorites, including you know what:

I come from a Simpsons lovin’ family, and quite frankly I can’t imagine what my childhood would have been like if I hadn’t seen these episodes a million times each. The last few years’ haven’t been too memorable, but the earlier years were all classics that were consistantly hilarious, memorable, and all around awesome.

Comic museum draws fans to festival – Groening will be in Columbus, Ohio for the 2010 Festival of Cartoon Art this weekend. 

And finally, we have a show in ruins being used to describe one that’s well on its way (via):

Can’t blame @dannychun, but The Office has done a Simpsons. Too sweet on its own characters, gone from satire to absurdity. Boring and safe.

“Boring and safe” is a good way to put it.


Crazy Noises: Loan-a-Lisa

Original Concept Art

Original concept art for Itchy & Scratchy “Up” parody in “Loan-a-Lisa”.

The Itchy & Scratchy bit at the beginning of “Loan-a-Lisa” was, to put it mildly, creatively bankrupt.  It starts by spending forty-five seconds re-enacting “Up” with nary a joke in sight; that would be bad enough, but Zombie Simpsons then makes things even worse.  Instead of ending with some kind of “Up” inspired violence (a balloon house falling on them, a giant blimp attack, a pack of remotely controlled dogs tearing them to pieces)  it ends by repeating not one, not two, but three (3) scenes from previous Itchy & Scratchy episodes.  In other words, they faithfully recreated “Up” until they could no longer directly copy the source material, then they copied something else.  They couldn’t be bothered to come up with their own ideas, even derivative ones. 

I know I said this last week, but it really does seem like they think developing new ideas is beneath them. 

Mad Jon: You guys ready?

Charlie Sweatpants: Sure am, let’s get this over with so I can never think about this episode again.

Dave: Word.

Mad Jon: This was pretty bad.

How many inheritances does Grandpa have to give out?

Charlie Sweatpants: As many as need be between now and the time the show becomes unprofitable.

Dave: Two so far and it was only funny the first time.

Mad Jon: It pains me that we are now to the point they don’t even try to avoid re-doing premises.

Dave: No they sort of revel in it.

  Faded glory and all that.

Charlie Sweatpants: Pretty much. That joke way back in Season 11 where Comic Book Guy comes on and says they did this already is looking better and better in hindsight. Now we don’t even get that.

Dave: They must think we’re stupid

Mad Jon: It’s probably more that they don’t care what we think or if we are stupid.

Dave: Well, that too.

Charlie Sweatpants: While we’re on the opening though, there are two excellent examples of painful joke stretching here. The small one is Bart mentioning how that won’t pay his vig, and then, because that line was so hard to come up with and didn’t last long enough, they cut to a shot of Jimbo in a conveniently placed window.

The second and much larger one was the whole deck of cards thing.

  That Grampa’s hands shake so bad he can’t play cards is kinda funny, but then they ruin it by having Marge extend the gag for another ten seconds of tortuous screen time.

Mad Jon: I actually was physically embarrassed when that kept going.

  That’s pretty rare for me with Zombie episodes, I usually just boil in anger.

Dave: You have a range of emotions as a human being.

Mad Jon: So I’ve been told.

Charlie Sweatpants: My "sympathy embarrassment" feelings for this show are pretty well numbed at this point.

Dave: Perhaps you will experience love next. But it sure as hell won’t be with Zombie Simpsons.

Charlie Sweatpants: He is married, you know.

Mad Jon: True, but in all fairness Teevee was my first love.

  My wife was 15 years or so too late.

Charlie Sweatpants: Speaking of marriages, did you enjoy the condensed 45-second version of Up? I sure didn’t.

Dave: Ha.

  No, that was miserable.

  It just kept going and the payoff was nonexistent.

Pretty much like every other I&S in recent memory.

Charlie Sweatpants: No, it existed. It was just a rehash of about three other Itchy & Scratchys.

Mad Jon: That was really bad. Up made me feel things and stuff, the never ending I & S made me want to cry.

  But not for the same reasons.

Charlie Sweatpants: There was another one like last year, albeit with a far more obscure film.

Mad Jon: Not that I cried at the opening of Up. No matter what any multiplex employee tells you.

Charlie Sweatpants: They are liars.

Dave: Jon, I share your secret shame.

Mad Jon: Not so secret anymore is it.

Dave: As long as we’re not flying to Holland and eating tulips.

Charlie Sweatpants: Now that was a movie parody. And I didn’t even need to suffer through "Sliver" to get the joke.

Mad Jon: What a delightful romp.

Charlie Sweatpants: In the spirit of good conversational transitions, Milhouse’s overly long rendition of "Hot Cross Buns" was another example of something that could’ve been funny if it had taken up about 10% of the screen time it actually did.

The first three words of that song was the joke, the next forty or so were just filler.

Mad Jon: Indeed, Milhouse’s girly behaviors can be wielded well, or poorly.

  This was poorly.

Charlie Sweatpants: There was also Skinner’s whole 11-dollars-an-hour thing.

It was funny at first.

  Then he ripped off his sleeves.

Mad Jon: Yeah, I was kind of checked out by then.

Charlie Sweatpants: Then Chalmers showed up.

Mad Jon: Oh yeah, then they argued about who saw it first.

  That just kept going.

Charlie Sweatpants: It did provide them with a way to explain the bad epoxy to Nelson. Though why Skinner didn’t mention it sooner was left like a turd on a buffet table.

Continuing my transitional efforts, the Wiggum buffet scene also sucked, as did the whole "bag in danger" . . . motif? Action sequence? I’m not even sure what that was, but it lasted for a very long time and had a lot of string music of suspense.

Mad Jon: I was a bit confused as to what to call the returning items thing, was that just one extra mini-plot or are we talking B-plot sub a and sub b?

Because there was the bag thing, and the Homer stuff.

But I guess that is relatively unimportant.

Dave: Classification in this case is superfluous, yes.

Charlie Sweatpants: Well, it was unusual in that the b-plot started off as the a-plot, then it took a drastic left turn and became the b-plot.

  Really, the guilty party here is us, because we’re using the word "plot" to describe things that have no resolution.

Dave: Also true.

Mad Jon: Bad student. Uh-uh-uh, bad principal.

Charlie Sweatpants: The "returning things" story was premised on the idea that Homer couldn’t afford these things, and at the end he got stuck with the bill (sort of) and nothing happened.

Mad Jon: And Chris Hhhaaaannnsooon was there too.

Charlie Sweatpants: Again, sort of.

  Also, didn’t "To Catch a Predator" jokes get old about three years ago?

Mad Jon: Yep. Back when South Park did an episode about it.

Charlie Sweatpants: Sounds about right.

  Pop quiz: which guest voice was more pointless, Yunus or Zuckerberg?

Dave: Both?

Charlie Sweatpants: Nice try, but it’s a trick question. There is nothing colder than absolute zero.

Mad Jon: Nice.

Dave: It’s cute that Zombie Simpsons wanted to tackle microfinance. But it’s way, way out of their league.

Charlie Sweatpants: Does that mean that there are still some things in their league?

Mad Jon: Play-dough?

  Matchbox cars?

  Finger painting?

  …. that’s all I got.

Charlie Sweatpants: Jokes about when your lazy butler washes your sock garters and they’re still covered with schmutz?

Dave: Sure, that.

Mad Jon: Look at that waxy buildup.

Charlie Sweatpants: So this thing has totally wasted guest voices, stretches jokes way too long (the couch gag was interminable), and repeats shit from old episodes.

  Is that about it?

Dave: Wasted implies value. I’d call them pointless.

Charlie Sweatpants: Well put.

Mad Jon: Yep, potentially two or three shitty episodes cut short, except for where it would have helped, rolled into one 22 minute puke fest, sprinkled with old events redone, cook for 20 minutes at 150 and everyone dies from e-coli.


Crazy Noises: Chief of Hearts

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“At last, an excuse to wear makeup!” – Chief Wiggum

In our continuing mission to bring you only the finest in low class, low brow, and low tech internet Simpsons commentary we’re bringing back our “Crazy Noises” series and applying it to Season 21.  Because doing a podcast smacks of effort we’re still using this “chatroom” thing that all the middle schoolers and undercover cops seem to think is so cool.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (though, for comedy purposes, “cumly” has been left alone).

Zombie Simpsons likes to graft hackneyed plot ideas and story structures onto its one dimensional characters.  Unfortunately, when groping blindly for concepts that have only been done a dozen or so times before, they don’t consider what kind of baggage comes along with them.  Cheap comedy plots often have pointless “danger” sequences at the end that give the characters a modicum of cover to come to terms with whatever has been driving the plot forward.  (If you’re familiar with the lesser works of Adam Sandler you know exactly what I’m talking about.)  Take “Chief of Hearts”, which spends the last 20% or so of its runtime forcing Homer and Wiggum to re-bond because of gangsters.  Why were gangsters hanging out in the woods?  Why were Wiggum and Homer there in the first place?  If they’re already in the woods why do they have to go for a drive?  It’s best if you don’t ask those kinds of questions since there are no answers that don’t include the phrase “it’s because . . .”.

Anyway, we had a good time last night picking at some of the more obvious problems with this episode.  The complete lack of jokes or satire were only the beginning.

Mad Jon: Anywho, you guys ready?

Dave: I’m a couple beers in. Let’s rock

Charlie Sweatpants: Initial thoughts?

Mad Jon: Mr. Burns I believe you asked for an opening tirade.

Charlie Sweatpants: Yes I did Kent.

Charlie Sweatpants: The fundamental problem with this episode is that it’s using a concept of romantic comedy that was tired in about 1985, and yet they believe that by grafting it onto Chief Wiggum it will be funny.

Mad Jon: I especially hate episodes that humanize characters known for only one thing.

Charlie Sweatpants: I would dispute your use of the word "humanize".

Mad Jon: Next there will be an episode about how lonely Disco Stu is or something.

Dave: Wiggum as an emotional trainwreck was special.

Charlie Sweatpants: Wiggum is eminently human, he’s massively corrupt and completely oblivious to the harm he causes other people.

Mad Jon: But seriously, Wiggum is a cop. A terrible, terrible cop. And that is why we love him. The only family or emotional stuff he should be responsible for is the occasional post Ralph comment-comment.

Moe tends bar, Krabappel teaches, Lovejoy preaches, and that’s that.

Dave: Completely agree. The insecurities he expressed in this episode were out of hand and not funny, which goes without saying

Mad Jon: And to top it all off, he gets shot.

Charlie Sweatpants: The only time he was ever – ever – sad while the show was still on the air was when he lost his job. Now he’s sad because . . . why?

Mad Jon: Because he lost the only friend he had or something.

Dave: Sarah won’t play ball?

Charlie Sweatpants: That would make sense if only we hadn’t seen him enjoying himself over and over again with the other cops.

Mad Jon: Sarah, get me Superintendent Chalmers.

Thank you Sarah.

Yes, which would also make sense if he was something other than a cop.

Charlie Sweatpants: I cite his love of pretzels in "So It’s Come to This", his burger conversation in "22 Short Stories", watching Itchy & Scratchy in "Krusty Gets Busted", and a bunch of others.

Mad Jon: Wiggum is supposed to only be around the two other cops, Lou and the guys whose name the beer has made me forget.

Charlie Sweatpants: Eddie?

Mad Jon: Yep, That’s it.

Keep it up and you’ll make sergeant one day.

Charlie Sweatpants: But only if you don’t put squirrels down your pants for the purposes of gambling.

Mad Jon: Knock it off boys..

Dave: Ok, so we’ve established that Wiggum sucked donkey balls in this episode.

Mad Jon: Oh jeez, now I just feel like reminiscing about Wiggum quotes.

"Get his license and registration."

Charlie Sweatpants: Okay, I think we’re agreed on the fact that Wiggum was acting like a love struck teenager because the writers couldn’t think of anyone else to act like a love struck teenager. Damn you, Dave, for taking my segue.

Dave: It felt right.

Charlie Sweatpants: Fat Tony was also out of place here.

Mad Jon: So plot B then? A tired concept that was actually meaningful almost 10 years ago?

Charlie Sweatpants: I would say "almost meaningful" not "meaningful almost".

And besides that, a drug suspicion plot? Really?

Mad Jon: Ah, but to the rest of the world the Pokemon thing was quite the craze.

The drug thing was pretty retarded. And not in cute funny way.

Dave: Wikipedia says this wasn’t a riff on Pokemon.

Charlie Sweatpants: It’s like they’re channeling the most cliched parts of every family sitcom ever, only they’re not satirizing them, they’re using them.

Mad Jon: Perhaps the writers edited it before the Japanese could.

Charlie Sweatpants: Dave, what was it a reference of?

Dave: This is what they were "satirizing:"

Mad Jon: They all look the same to me.

No offense Dave.

Dave: None taken. They’re a blur to me too.

Charlie Sweatpants: Wait, I’ve just spent 10 seconds skimming the Wikipedia article and I still don’t get it. Are there little toy robots that you play cards with?

Mad Jon: 10 seconds, you got me beat two fold.

Dave: There are cards of some sort.

Charlie Sweatpants: Oh wait, there it is, near the bottom.

Dave: Regardless, stupid.

Mad Jon: So no snowmen shooting carrots?

Charlie Sweatpants: "The game uses spherical, spring-loaded miniature figures, representing the Bakugan, which pop open when rolled onto special metal Gate cards."

Mad Jon: So maybe snowmen. And maybe carrots.

Charlie Sweatpants: Either way it’s getting shot onto Marge’s face, that ought to make some people happy.

Mad Jon: I didn’t think of it that way… neato. At least that should drive up search engine hits

So many people looking for Simpsons porn. It really is amazing.

Charlie Sweatpants: So we’ve established that they’re able to cite something that exists on Wikipedia. That doesn’t change the fact that the entire plot was based on the idea that Bart was dealing drugs, even though it was based on the kind of latent eavesdropping that only occurs on soap operas when shit needs to go down.

Mad Jon: That is true, and also I can’t believe Martin wasn’t in on the battle balls

Dave: How was the drug stuff resolved? I can’t remember.

Mad Jon: Marge found out it wasn’t drugs.

Charlie Sweatpants: Then it ended.

Mad Jon: Pretty much.

Dave: Hooray.

Charlie Sweatpants: Actually, "ended" might be too strong a word. "End" implies that there was a conflict. Then it "ceased" is neutral enough to actually describe what happened.

Mad Jon: It wasn’t alive anymore.

Dave: Wise conclusion.

Charlie Sweatpants: Speaking of "ceased", the whole locked in the trunk thing . . . um, huh?

Mad Jon: It was a reason to make a tire iron penis joke.

Charlie Sweatpants: There’s a marker of how far the show has degraded, penis jokes are beyond their powers.

Mad Jon: Yeah, that was pretty bad.

Charlie Sweatpants: While we’re here, can we rag on that awful "coma" thing?

Mad Jon: I guarantee it is the "Joke of the Day" or something on the Zombie forums.

Dave: What of the coma, Charlie?

Charlie Sweatpants: Well, it took up a shitload of time, and yet nothing but a montage happened.

Mad Jon: That actually happened? I thought I was in a coma or had gone to hell for 10 minutes only to be resurrected or something.

Charlie Sweatpants: No, it happened.

Mad Jon: That’s too bad.

It says here I’m supposed to get a pig every month…

And two cumly lasses of virtue true…

Ha, cum

Charlie Sweatpants: It’s another mark of how un-creative the show has become that they had a coma montage, and all they could think to do was have Homer act stupid. I mean, they didn’t even use Ralph! Ralph-fucking-Wiggum was ignored because all they know how to do is make Homer act like a jerk.

Dave: Ralph had a forgettable line early on

Mad Jon: That is an excellent point. A Wiggum episode with like 2 lines for Ralph.

Swing and a miss. Strike 4

Charlie Sweatpants: And he’s the go-to character for Zombie Simpsons.

Mad Jon: Maybe they were feeling adventurous.

Charlie Sweatpants: Ralph could say "bucka-bucka" or "wuzzle-wuzzel" and the Zombie Simpsons fans would cheer, and yet, nothing.

Anyway, anything else here?

Mad Jon: Not from me.

Dave: I don’t ever want to hear "At Seventeen" used in a TV show ever again.

Charlie Sweatpants: It was a bad romantic comedy with an unconnected b-plot that made no sense. Is there anything else?

Dave: I think we’ve covered everything.

Mad Jon: Ok then. Now that’s out of our way and we can go back to enjoying our evening.


Quote of the Day

“My name is Barney and I’m an alcoholic.” – Barney Gumble
“Mr. Gumble, this is a Girl Scout meeting.” – Lisa Simpson
“Is it? Or is it that you girls can’t admit you have a problem?” – Barney Gumble


Quote of the Day

“Oh, I thought they were playing ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’ tonight.” – Dr. Julius Hibbert


Friday Link Dump – Skepticism Edition

A Star is Burns3

“I’m telling you people, the Earth revolves around the Sun!” – Principal Skinner
“Burn him!” – Abe “Grandpa” Simpson

There’s a nice menagerie this week.  We’ve got the usual random internet crap, a spectacular usage fail, me hating on astrology, Simpsonized skeptics, and an oblique reference to the Miss Universe pageant.

10 Best Father/Son Wisdom Exchanges from TV and Movies – Bart and Homer make the list for Homer’s awesome “You’re not talking about killing anyone, are you?” speech.

Miss Kosovo vs Marge Simpson – You be the judge. – Miss Kosovo (it’s a country now!) lost the Miss Universe pageant to Miss Venezuela last Sunday.  In this photo she has a bit of a “up” hair-do.  Enh.  If you ask me, they’re all winners.

No Grand Slam, but a Triple Crown, maybe – Reviewing the new movie “Bandslam”, Daniel Carey gets a silver star for this almost excellent usage:

THERE’S a great scene in ‘The Simpsons’ where Ralph Wiggum, interviewed by Krusty the Klown on live television, reveals that he loves Lisa Simpson and plans to marry her. A horrified Lisa screams ‘No!’ and admits that she only gave him a Valentine’s Day card because nobody else would. Afterwards, Lisa’s brother Bart plays her back the tape of the show in slow motion, and reveals that ‘you can actually pinpoint the exact second where his heart rips in two!’

He muffs the quote from Bart just a bit (“you can actually pinpoint the second when his heart rips in half!”), but it’s still pretty good.

OFFBEAT: Readers respond to Rick Springfield, along with Paul Anka question – I didn’t know Paul Anka wrote Johnny Carson’s tonight show theme.

Simpsons Top Trumps: Skeptics EditionTop Trumps is a card game.  This is a mockup set with prominent skeptics drawn Simpsons style.  I know who about half of these people are, but I’m still damn impressed.

TV’s Homer Simpson to lead Cincinnati dance – This is pretty much what the headline says:

Homer Simpson — or someone dressed like the patriarch of TV’s popular cartoon family — will be out in front of what they call the World’s Largest Chicken Dance, part of the city’s annual Oktoberfest celebration on Sept. 20.

The Fox Network sought the invitation to promote the 20th anniversary of ”The Simpsons.”

Doesn’t this family know any songs that aren’t commercials?

Astro-Homer – It’s an astrological breakdown of the Simpson family.  Fun astrology fact: in addition to being complete hokum in general, astrology can’t even get its own signs correct.  The calendar dates used to determine what “sign” you are don’t actually correspond with the constellations because of a silly little thing called precession.

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Johnny Unitas – Now here’s something Morgan Spurlock should look into.  A commenter attributes Grandpa’s line about setting your watch to his haircut to Hank Hill and is immediately corrected by three different people.  Then somebody busts out Unitas’ turn as a spokesman for the Lady Krusty line.  That is the pervasiveness of Simpsons.

Minaya has his faults, but shouldn’t be fired – This isn’t so much usage as it is a reference, but it’s a good one:

However, Minaya couldn’t have foreseen a plague of injuries the likes of which hasn’t befallen a team since the “Homer at the Bat” episode of The Simpsons.

Murphy opens up 8pm Sky 1 slot as Simpsons moves – There will be less Simpsons on Sky 1.  This is what DVDs and .avi files are for.

Sex Offenders and the Simpsons – Massive usage FAIL here.  He’s talking about the fact that sex offender databases are often chock full of people who aren’t really predators.  Fine.  Then he drops this non-sequitur:

That recent Economist issue argues:

“In fact its (the USA’s) sex-offender laws have grown self-defeatingly harsh … They have been driven by a ratchet effect … Stricter curbs on (pedophiles) win votes. And to sound severe, such curbs must be stronger than the laws in place, which in turn were imposed by politicians who wished to appear tough themselves. Few politicians dare to vote against such laws, because if they do, the attack ads practically write themselves.”

The problem on one level is that it’s mixing in the young and foolish — the Bart Simpsons — with the really bad guys, the dangerous offenders.

The Bart Simpsons? Bart is many things, but a sex offender? Even by the prurient standards of craven state legislatures? No. (Okay, maybe with Arthur and the fireworks.) But wait, there’s more!

Once more, the challenge is close to home. It is not a good image to visualize parents complaining to schools or law enforcement about sex offenders while, perhaps, nobody watches their youngsters on the playground or ensures that persons watching their children at home can be trusted to be alone with them. Usually, it’s not the strangers who are the predators.

In my favorite Simpsons episode may lie part of the answer to how community involvement might help bring the proper focus to this issue. In this episode, Lisa is being bullied at school and Marge at first just basically says, “be a good girl and put up with it.” Then mother-bear Marge reconsiders, and with righteous anger drives to school and strongly urges Lisa to stand up for herself.

First of all, the Simspon citation doesn’t make any sense in context.  Second, and as always take this with the caveat that there are Zombie Simpsons episodes I haven’t suffered through, I’m guessing he’s referring to “Moaning Lisa” here.  But that is a pretty poor description of the plot.  Lisa isn’t exactly “bullied” and when Marge snaps and picks Lisa up she tells her to be herself, not stand up for herself.

I don’t see how anything in this piece has anything to do with The Simpsons, other than as an ingenious way to drive pageviews, which I just aided.

Believe It Or Not, Here’s An Amazing Season 20 Simpsons Episode – “Best Week Ever” is shallow and pointless even by the inch deep standards of popular culture.  Their website, believe it or not, is even worse.  Nevertheless, this cannot go without vehement disagreement:

As a diehard Simpsons fan and occasional masochist, I take it upon myself to try to keep up with recent Simpsons seasons because, contrary to popular widespread lazy anger, like SNL, the Simpsons doesn’t just “suck” now; granted, about 40% of the episodes do straight-up suck (especially any “three stories” episodes or “travel to some country” episodes), while about 40% are funny but have absurd plots, and a select handful of episodes each year really do earn the right to be called “great episodes.”

Where to begin?  Our anger is indeed popular and widespread, but it certainly isn’t lazy.  SNL is and always has been cyclical.  It’s funny for a while, the funny people leave, it sucks for a while, a new core of funny people comes in and the circle is complete.  This has happened to SNL like five times now.  The Simpsons, on the other hand, was great and now sucks.  It’s sucked for about a decade and hasn’t shown any signs of life in the meantime.  And no the absurd plots do not make things funny.  And no, nothing in Season 20 has earned the right to be called anything other than flaming donkey shit.

If you care, and I suspect you don’t, the two episodes he thought were good were “The Good, The Sad, and the Drugly” (the one where Bart is nice for the fifth grade girl and Lisa’s subplot consists almost entirely of smiley faces covering the screen, kind of like a screen saver from 1993) and “Eeny Teeny Maya Moe” (the one where Moe dates the dwarf lady and Maggie has the bizarre playground subplot).  Maybe he just likes episodes that are transparent retellings of older episodes?

Liveblogging “One Life To Live”: The Fish hits the fan – People live blog soap operas?  I love the internet.  Here’s why this is semi-relevant:

It looks to be a busy episode for Oliver, as he and MCBAAAAAAAAIN! (please tell me I’m not the only one who automatically thinks of The Simpsons when they see John‘s last name) get closer to the secret of the drug ring, and Layla finally puts all of the pieces of Oliver’s secret together.

I just can’t believe Stark would stoop to that, and right in the middle of Montana and Dakota’s wedding.

6 Bullshit Facts About Psychology That Everyone Believes – This is a long, actually kinda interesting article though it suffers from “Myth Busters” syndrome in that about half of these are things I didn’t think anyone actually believed.

You always hear people talk about how “cathartic” an experience was and how much better they feel, or you’ll hear them say things like, “If you keep your anger bottled up, one day you’ll just snap!”

In fact the “about to go crazy because he can’t express anger” character is a mainstay in television and movies (see that Simpsons episode where Ned Flanders finally loses it, and every movie where a renegade cop fires his gun into the air instead of unloading on the bad guy who just killed his wife).

I can’t speak for anyone else, but I find releasing my Zombie Simpsons anger on this blog to be extremely cathartic.  And that is going to be doubly true once Zombie Simpsons starts back up in a month.

Hugh Hefner Makes Disturbing Announcement – This has been kicking around the internet for a couple of days now and much as I think it’s going to be a complete waste of time I suppose we have to mention it.  From Hugh Hefner’s Twitter feed:

Marge Simpson has a surprise for her fans in the November issue of Playboy.

Meh.  Thanks to Jezebel for the direct twitter link.

The Bacon Mile – This is about a guy who jogs and likes bacon.  (I like one of those two things, see if you can guess which.)  It has almost nothing to do with The Simpsons except that he quotes Homer at the beginning.  Excellent usage.


And It’s Not Even Close

It did have the good sense to go off the air.  I'll give it that.

It did have the good sense to go off the air. I'll give it that.

Apparently Jerry Seinfeld is coming to Ottawa.  This prompted a columnist in The Ottawa Citizen to praise Seinfeld and his show for being second only to Shakespeare in terms of adding “catchphrases” to the language.  That’s all well and good, but this paragraph cannot go unremarked upon:

Most catchphrases are pure confection and essentially hollow: think of the greatest hits of Seinfeld’s closest competitor in numbers, The Simpsons: “D’oh!” or “don’t have a cow” or “eat my shorts” are memorable, but they don’t really say anything that we didn’t already know how to say ourselves, though perhaps not so memorably. Even Bart Simpson’s “meh,” which has had a recent buzz, really only means “whatever.” Seinfeld’s catchphrases crystallized things that we all had noticed and felt, but not effectively verbalized.

In the immortal words of C. Montgomery Burns, I disagree.  The quotability of The Simpsons is second to none, and it, of course, goes far beyond Homer and Bart (to say nothing of four whiney New Yorkers).  We can start with “cromulent” and “embiggen”, which aren’t so much catchphrases as they are words with widely understood meanings.  “Smell you later” is decent way to say goodbye.  And, of course, in addition to “D’oh” Homer gave us the distinct inflections of “Woo hoo!” and “Mmmm donuts/beer/whatever”.

As we broaden our horizon to the secondary characters it’s an embarrassment of riches.  Flanders doesn’t so much have a catchphrase as he has a catch modification, “doodily”, “doakely”, “diddily” and variations thereof can be used or added to just about anything.  I’m a big fan of Dr. Nick’s “Hi everybody!” as a way to greet a bunch of people.  Then there’s Nelson’s “Ha ha” which works in any situation.  Ask a lawyer or aspiring lawyer about Lionel Hutz (“law taking guy” seems to be a particular favorite).  And if you want to talk about something that has penetrated pretty much every part of modern culture, it’s Comic Book Guy’s “Worst/Best. [noun]. Ever.”

Then there’s Chief Wiggum (wahhh), Apu (Thank you, come again), Krusty (Hey hey kids!), Troy McClure (You might remember me from such films as . . .) and, of course, Mr. Burns.  He turned a single word into a declarative sentence (Excellent) that lets everyone know exactly what you’re talking about.  Then there’s the end of “Bart Gets Famous”, a self mocking spoof of the very concept of catchphrases.

Seinfeld adding more to the language than The Simpsons?  Release the hounds.


FOX Plans Self Fellatio for January

A Star is Burns1
“Listen Senor Spielbergo, I want you to do for me what Spielberg did for Oskar Schindler.” – C.M. Burns
“Uh, Schindler es bueno, senor Burns es el diablo.” – Senor Spielbergo
“Listen Spielbergo, Schindler and I are like peas in a pod.  We’re both factory owners, we both made shells for the Nazis, but mine worked, dammit!  Now go out there and win me that festival!” – C.M. Burns

Morgan Spurlock, of Super Size Me fame (and Where in the World is Osama bin Laden? mild notoriety), will be producing and directing a FOX special called “The Simpsons 20th Anniversary Special in 3-D on Ice”.  Assuming the title is a joke on just how ridiculous it is to celebrate such a meaningless milestone, this could be almost anything:

The documentary special, celebrating the 20th anniversary of the animated program, will air Thursday, Jan. 14 on Fox. According to FX, the documentary will focus on the “cultural phenomenon of The Simpsons.”

January 14th, by the way, is the date the series “officially” started with the airing of “Bart the Genius” in 1990.  I’ll assume the network has its own programming reasons for choosing that date instead of December 17th, which is the date that “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire” first aired.

The question on my mind is how it’s going to handle the widely acknowledged quality gap between real Simpsons and Zombie Simpsons.  If it’s pure “aren’t we great and funny and look how long we’ve been great and funny” propaganda there probably won’t be much in the way of jokes or references to the glaring inadequacy of the later seasons.  But when people talk about the Simpsons and quote the Simpsons (the “cultural phenomenon” aspect) it’s almost exclusively something from the before time, the long long ago (Spiderpig notwithstanding).  In short, can you fellate the show without overtly ignoring all of its crappiness?  We’ll find out in six months.


Quote of the Day

“Barney’s movie had heart, but ‘Football in the Groin’ had a football in the groin.” – Homer Simpson’s Brain


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