Posts Tagged ‘Burns’ Heir

17
Aug
19

Quote of the Day

“Mr. and Mrs. Simpson, your son has clearly been brainwashed by the evil and charismatic Mr. Burns.” – Conformco Guy
“Are you sure you can get him back for us?” – Marge Simpson
“Absolutely.  I’m the one who successfully deprogrammed Jane Fonda, you know.” – Conformco Guy
“What about Peter Fonda?” – Marge Simpson
“Ohh, that was a heartbreaker. But I did get Paul McCartney out of Wings.” – Conformco Guy
“You idiot! He was the most talented one!” – Homer Simpson

RIP Peter Fonda.

11
Aug
19

Quote of the Day

“Alright! We’re finally gonna stop those corporate pigs from dumping that nuclear waste!” – Greenpeace Guy #1
“Oh, no, our boat is sinking.” – Greenpeace Guy #2
“It was I, you fools! The man you trusted isn’t Wavy Gravy at all! And all this time I’ve been smoking harmless tobacco!” – C.M. Burns

14
Apr
19

Quote of the Day

“Sir! Try to land on Leonard’s carcass!” – Mr. Smithers

14
Apr
18

Quote of the Day

“I think Bart and Lisa are feeling a little upset right now. Isn’t there something you’d like to say?” – Marge Simpson
“There sure is: kids, you tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is: never try.” – Homer Simpson

27
Jul
17

Quote of the Day

“Well, I’m sure you’d like to be alone with your possessions.” – Milhouse van Houten
“Milhouse, if you stay a little while longer, you can have this blazer. It’s a Bob Mackie original.” – Bart Simpson
“Wow! A Bob Mackie!” – Milhouse van Houten

12
Apr
17

Quote of the Day

“I got a mink shammy, sir, I hope it-…Oh, my god, Mr. Burns is dead! Oh, why do the good always die so young?” – Mr. Smithers

12
Apr
16

Quote of the Day

Burns' Heir15

“Bart, I know you children see me as some sort of “booger” man, but I’m really not such a bad “dude”. Oh, your milk’s gone cold, I’ll ring for the maid. Oh, sorry, wrong button.” – C.M. Burns

14
Apr
15

Quote of the Day

Burns' Heir14

“Careful, Smithers, that sponge has corners, you know.” – C.M. Burns
“I’ll go find a spherical one.” – Mr. Smithers

07
Apr
15

Zombie Simpsons Renewal Goes to Overtime

Burns' Heir13

“Hey, you know we’re getting into golden time?” – Estonian Actor
“Yes, well just get it right or you’ll all be back doing ‘Come Blow Your Horn’ at the Westport dinner theater!” – C.M. Burns

Six months ago, we got word from Al Jean himself that the current TABF production run was indeed a full twenty-two episode order.  The most recent episode was TABF10, which means that they have twelve more episodes to broadcast under the current contract.

Last night, commenter Mr. Incognito e-mailed me to let me know that Erika Isabel Vega, who’s been with the show since 2006, tweeted this yesterday:

VegaTweet

Today’s a good day for contract/renewal news. We’re past the ultimatum & it’s the start of a week. Who will report first? #TheSimpsons

 

What’s this ultimatum?  Going back a couple of days, we find this exchange between her and Matthew Schofield, who’s been with the show since 1999:

VegaTweet1

No joke-I just got an email for our mtg on the last episode on contract. If we don’t get renewed this will be the final one. #TheSimpsons / @eiVega you need to calm down / @Mr_Schofield Hahaha…I honestly think I’m more calm than most of the crew. I do think we’ll be renewed. I’m just more dramatic online. ;)

 

What does that mean?  It means that we’ve reached the deadline I mentioned six months ago when I noted that the renewal notice was overdue.  Production is at its contractual end, and, since there’s no way to keep that quiet in this day and age, we are officially into overtime on whether or not Zombie Simpsons will be renewed for a full Season 27.

[Please note that sites like IGN and TV By the Numbers list the show as “renewed” because one way or another there is going to be a Season 27.  The current contract will still have episodes (probably seven of them) left on it after the Season 26 finale.  What we’re talking about is a renewal beyond the current TABF production run.]

In a tweet from last week, Vega noted that she and the rest of the staff usually find out about renewals through the news media, so she’s as in the dark as the rest of us.  Just to be thorough, I poked around a few other Simpsons staff Twitter accounts, including Jean and Brooks, and didn’t see anything.  (Although Jean did say that Hugh Jass from Flaming Moe’s was originally going to be Hugh G. Rection, heh.)

So, is there going to be a full Season 27?  As always with renewal, it’s safest to bet on “Yes”.  These negotiations have gone down to the wire several times over the (sigh) decades, and they always find a way to pull through because everyone involved keeps making money that way.  Yes, the ratings get lower every year, but that’s true for network teevee in general; and for all its many (many) problems, Zombie Simpsons is still strong among the youthful demographics that advertisers pay top dollar to reach.  (Those unoriginal AAA video games and Liam Neeson movies aren’t going to sell themselves, you know.)

All this means is that, one way or another, we should be getting word very soon.  As has been true for years now, there are only a few possible scenarios:

1.  The talks fail, they halt production, and Season 27 will be a short one.

2.  There is a partial renewal that brings the show a full Season 27 but not a full production run and it ends in May of next year.

3.  There is a full renewal for one (or more) 22 episode production run(s), and we go through this again.

If there is a renewal announcement this week (or sometime soon), the important thing to note (which most of the entertainment press will ignore because they are awful at their jobs) is how many episodes.  That’s the difference between #2 and #3 above.

Whatever happens, I just hope it’s definitive.  It’s annoying as hell when half-sourced rumors start ricocheting around the internet and I have to sort through them.

One final note, people like Vega and Schofield make the show go.  As I’ve said before, most of the folks who work on it aren’t rich or famous, and neither, for that matter, are they the reason it became Zombie Simpsons.  If there is any anger at FOX or elsewhere over this post, please direct it at me and not them.  They didn’t do anything wrong; it’s their bosses who are screwing things up, not them.

23
Aug
14

Saturday Marathon Open Thread

Burns' Heir12

Per IGN, here’s the schedule for the next 24 hours:

8/23 11:00 AM ET – “Burns’ Heir”
8/23 11:30 AM ET – “Sweet Seymour Skinner’s Baadasssss Song”
8/23 12:00 PM ET – “The Boy Who Knew Too Much”
8/23 12:30 PM ET – “Lady Bouvier’s Lover”
8/23 1:00 PM ET – “Secrets of a Successful Marriage”

Season 6

8/23 1:30 PM ET – “Bart of Darkness”
8/23 2:00 PM ET – “Lisa’s Rival”
8/23 2:30 PM ET – “Another Simpsons Clip Show”
8/23 3:00 PM ET – “Itchy & Scratchy Land”
8/23 3:30 PM ET – “Sideshow Bob Roberts”
8/23 4:00 PM ET – “Treehouse of Horror V”
8/23 4:30 PM ET – “Bart’s Girlfriend”
8/23 5:00 PM ET – “Lisa on Ice”
8/23 5:30 PM ET – “Homer Badman”
8/23 6:00 PM ET – “Grampa vs. Sexual Inadequacy”
8/23 6:30 PM ET – “Fear of Flying”
8/23 7:00 PM ET – “Homer the Great”
8/23 7:30 PM ET – “And Maggie Makes Three”
8/23 8:00 PM ET – “Bart’s Comet”
8/23 8:30 PM ET – “Homie the Clown”
8/23 9:00 PM ET – “Bart vs. Australia”
8/23 9:30 PM ET – “Homer vs. Patty and Selma”
8/23 10:00 PM ET – “A Star is Burns”
8/23 10:30 PM ET – “Lisa’s Wedding”
8/23 11:00 PM ET – “Two Dozen and One Greyhounds”
8/23 11:30 PM ET – “The PTA Disbands”
8/24 12:00 AM ET – “‘Round Springfield”
8/24 12:30 AM ET – “The Springfield Connection”
8/24 1:00 AM ET – “Lemon of Troy”
8/24 1:30 AM ET – “Who Shot Mr. Burns? Pt. 1″

Season 7

8/24 2:00 AM ET – “Who Shot Mr. Burns? Pt. 2″
8/24 2:30 AM ET – “Radioactive Man”
8/24 3:00 AM ET – “Home Sweet Homediddly-Dum-Doodily”
8/24 3:30 AM ET – “Bart Sells His Soul”
8/24 4:00 AM ET – “Lisa the Vegetarian”
8/24 4:30 AM ET – “Treehouse of Horror VI”
8/24 5:00 AM ET – “King-Size Homer”
8/24 5:30 AM ET – “Mother Simpson”
8/24 6:00 AM ET – “Sideshow Bob’s Last Gleaming”
8/24 6:30 AM ET – “The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular”
8/24 7:00 AM ET – “Marge Be Not Proud”
8/24 7:30 AM ET – “Team Homer”
8/24 8:00 AM ET – “Two Bad Neighbors”
8/24 8:30 AM ET – “Scenes from the Class Struggle in Springfield”
8/24 9:00 AM ET – “Bart the Fink”
8/24 9:30 AM ET – “Lisa the Iconoclast”
8/24 10:00 AM ET – “Homer the Smithers”
8/24 10:30 AM ET – “The Day the Violence Died”

Looks like it’s gonna be a Season 6 kinda afternoon.  I will be dipping in and out on the Twitter machine, since this is the kind of event at which it excels.

14
Apr
14

Quote of the Day

Burns' Heir11

“Okay, let’s make this sporting, Leonard.  If you can tell me why I shouldn’t fire you without using the letter e, you can keep your job.” – C.M. Burns
“Uh, okay, um, I’m a good work . . . guy.” – Lenny
“You’re fired.” – C.M. Burns
“But I didn’t say-” – Lenny
“You will.” – C.M. Burns
“Eeeeeeee!” – Lenny

Happy 20th anniversary to “Burns’ Heir”!  Original airdate: 14 April 1994.

20
Feb
14

Quote of the Day

Burns' Heir10

“I have nothing to offer you but my love.” – Milhouse van Houten
“I specifically said no geeks!” – C.M. Burns
“But my mom says I’m cool.” – Milhouse van Houten

28
Jan
14

Behind Us Forever: Specs and the City

Chalkboard - Specs and the City

“This is my pride and joy: I’ve had hidden cameras planted in every home in Springfield.  I got the idea from that movie ‘Sliver’, what a delightful romp.” – C.M. Burns

If there’s one thing Zombie Simpsons has perfected, it’s taking familiar elements of The Simpsons, blasting away everything that made them wonderful, and then propping up the barely recognizable remains as though they weren’t decrepit garbage.  In its own ass backwards way, “Specs and the City” was a tour-de-force of that.  Homer actually spent time at the nuclear plant and stopped for a beer at Moe’s when he was done.  Marge was running the house.  The kids even managed to go to school.  There weren’t any magic powers or post-apocalyptic hellscapes, there was nary a drawn out chase scene nor even a bizarre celebrity cameo.  But even within those relatively calm confines, Zombie Simpsons still managed to create a husk of an episode with few to no jokes, nothing that could be called a coherent story (or ending), and lots of expository filler.

To take just one particularly wretched scene, Nelson is for some reason obsessed with the Valentine’s Day cards he gets from the other kids.  (Did I mention that it was Valentine’s Day?  Well it was, until it wasn’t anymore, and then it was again.  Yeah.)  Not only is the entire classroom set up as a line to Nelson’s desk (there was a notable and distinctly awkward absence of Mrs. Krabappel), but for some other reason Dolph and Jimbo(!) are acting as fourth grade muscle to punish kids whose cards don’t meet with Nelson’s approval.

And they weren’t the only ones who were just slapped into scenes with no regard for who they are (or were).  Incompetent Burns was back, letting Homer easily break into his office, stay there for several hours, and then allowing Homer kick him out.  Marge got mad at Homer for wearing his Google Glass thing while they were fooling around, but didn’t notice until Homer told her he was wearing them even though they were glowing through the damn sheets.  Moe gave Homer atrociously terrible advice, which wouldn’t have been bad in and of itself, except that it worked like a charm.

– So the couch gag has stopped even being a couch gag and just become another way they can kill a minute before they have to start the actual episode.

– The stress ball was dumb the first time someone swallowed it.

– “You wear them like eyeglasses, but inside the lens you see information about the people and places around you”, thanks Exposition Smithers!

– So Burns had a wall of TV screens installed behind his wall of TV screens?

– And he spent too much money on them?  Here’s a mini-compare & contrast for you, this dialogue . . .

Burns: Smithers, how much did this company lose to office supply theft last year?
Smithers: Seven thousand, forth-three dollars.
Burns: Yes, well, no more of that thanks to this twenty-six million dollar surveillance system.

. . . and this quote about the same thing from Season 3.  Notice how in one Burns is evil and competent and in the other he’s hapless and costing himself money.  These are two very different Mr. Burnses.

– And we’re supposed to be surprised that he’s spying on his employees when he’s been doing that since the start of the show?  Not to mention the whole town?  And why is Smithers shocked?

– Apparently this is also a Valentine’s Day episode.  Huh.

– Frontline/Firstline, comedy gold!

– “right after I decide if these videos are funny or die” – ah, a preview of the exact thing you’re about to do.

– Why is Marge surprised he’s wearing the glasses in bed?  He was already doing that and she can clearly see them.  And they could’ve handled his getting caught wearing them during sex well if they were so inclined.  Homer could sneak the glasses on, whisper something to them to get some information, turn on a sex app, anything but having him just wearing them and Marge somehow not noticing would’ve shown at least some care toward what they’re doing here.

– “Burns gave us those glasses so he could spy on us”, for the sweet, uncompromising love of Jebus, please just give us one scene where something happens without you telling us what it is.  Just one!

– And then he tells us exactly what we’re seeing on the monitors.

– The floating head Moe scene certainly took up some time.  Well done.

– Apparently the Valentine’s Day plot is going to drag on past actual Valentine’s Day.  (And let’s not even get into the weirdness of having an A-plot where Marge and Homer are fighting and a B-plot where it’s Valentines Day and yet the holiday never comes up in the A-plot.)

– We see the happiness (Wednesday) and sadness (Tuesday) montages, and then Homer explains what we just saw in case nobody noticed the several times they put the day on screen.  Six-year-olds don’t need things explained to them this many times.

– That ending was . . . unexpected.  This episode basically had three things going on, Burns spying on everyone with Google Glass, Homer spying on Marge’s therapy sessions, and that bizarre, unconnected Valentine’s Day plot with the kids.  Not a single one of them had an ending, or even really a conflict, and they wrapped it up with a completely unrelated scene with Ralph drawing on his face.  I was actually surprised when the credits rolled.

Anyway, the ratings are in and we have a new champion for least watched episode ever.  On Sunday, just 3.91 million people wished they were playing around with Google Glass.  That easily breaks the previous record of 4.00 million people set back in Season 23.  We’ve still got half the season to go, but it looks like Season 25 is going to easily break Season 24’s recently set record for least watched ever.  But hey, there’s Legos and Mr. Potatohead now, so we’ve got those.

09
Aug
13

Quote of the Day

Burns' Heir9

“It’s a little tight.” – Bart Simpson
“Yes, that’s to correct your posture.  Soon you’ll have a mighty hump.” – C.M. Burns

19
Jul
12

Compare & Contrast: Children Perform for Burns

Audition Rejection

“Ow!” – Bart Simpson
“Excellent.” – C.M. Burns

To say that the evil and charismatic Mr. Burns enjoys having people perform for him is something of an understatement.  This is a man who has crippled an Irishman for his own amusement and tied a bundle of cash to a string to taunt an eight-year-old girl.  He kidnapped Tom Jones and made him sing while shackled to the stage.  The Burns we all know and love to hate likes to see people squirm under duress, preferably duress that he’s causing.

You can see this trait in spades in “Burns’ Heir”.  In this episode alone, we see Burns fire a pistol at a man’s feet to make him dance, laugh as Homer is plunged into an industrial smokestack, and drop Lenny into a pit while he was pleading for his job.  In keeping with his cruel and callous nature, Burns summons many of the town’s children to his mansion so that they can try to impress him and win his money.  Since he doesn’t really tell them what he’s looking for (other than no girls and no geeks), the entire idea is borderline sadistic.  Young kids have to stand on a stage so that all of their insecurities and shortcomings can be picked apart by an old man who plainly despises most of them.  True to form, Burns proceeds to humiliate the ones he doesn’t like and either applauds or instigates physical violence against the ones who really displease him.

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Give the bully an extra point.

The entire scene is exactly what we expect from Burns.  He’s evil, in charge, and taking out his frustrations and fears on people who are hopelessly weaker than he is.  The only kid who even kind of impresses him is Nelson, and that’s because Nelson’s the one who shares Burns’ contempt for the rest of them.  This is Burns wallowing in his own crapulence with no one to stop him or even mitigate his actions.

The opposite of that scene occurs in “Grift of the Magi” when Skinner takes some of the kids to Burns Manor to beg for help for the school.  In both cases, the kids are there because their adults want money from Burns, but that’s where the similarities end.  Consider, just for a minute, how everyone got there.  In “Burns’ Heir”, it’s made explicitly clear that these children are there only on the sufferance of Burns.

Burns' Heir7

See, Zombie Simpsons?  Sign gags can be in service to the plot.

By contrast, in “Grift of the Magi”, the kids just show up and start putting on a show which Burns, for some unexplained reason, sits patiently and watches.  Having the episode skip over the how and why of Skinner and his charges getting into Burns Manor, as well as the how and why of Burns paying attention instead of instantly releasing the hounds, is yet another example of the declining give-a-shit level of the show as it became Zombie Simpsons. 

It wouldn’t have been hard for them to come up with some kind of excuse or joke for how they all got into Burns Manor or why Burns is listening to them.  Maybe they poisoned the hounds, maybe the security guards are all illiterate, who knows?  Anything would’ve been better than the nothing they actually did.  No sooner has this episode said that it’s impossible to get into Burns Manor than Skinner and the kids just appear, and Burns is fine with it.  They don’t even care enough to give us a single line (from Burns, Skinner, anyone) that makes light of the fact that they just skipped over a gaping plot chasm and contradicted one of the most well established traits of one of their best known characters.

Somewhat impressively, things manage to get even worse once the little production actually starts.  Skinner’s play is predictably stupid and cut rate, nothing wrong with that, but then Burns falls for it, not realizing it’s for charity until the very end.  This is a man who wanted to drive on after he hit Bart with his car, a man who kidnapped a Brazilian soccer team to work in his nuclear plant, a man who was once accurately described by Judge Snyder as having an, “unbelievable contempt for human life”.  No part of the real Burns would ever be so gullible as to find Skinner’s toddling morality play plausible or so empathetic to care that someone might be served rat poison:

Nelson:  Hmm, which one of these is the salt?  Too bad I’m an idiot cause my school closed.  Oh, well.
Burns: No, that’s the rat poison!

It actually goes downhill from there, but in just that single exchange we can tell that Burns simply isn’t who he’s supposed to be anymore.  The smart and unlimitedly cruel Burns is gone, and in his place is a doddering fool who is dumb and caring.  As Bart and Ralph(!) get their turns on stage, this new Burns continues to lap up their transparent bullshit:

Skinner:  Now, who in Springfield will eat the poisoned broth?  It could be anyone, even Mr. Burns.
Burns: This play really speaks to me.

[…]

Ralph Wiggum: Hello, I’m Dr. Stupid.  I’m going to take out your liver bones.  Oops, you’re dead.
Burns: I never liked that Dr. Stupid.
Skinner: Mr. Burns, I’ll be honest.  We had a hidden agenda tonight. 
Burns: [gasps] No!

This is precisely the kind of weak, stupid, and generally helpless Burns that never existed during The Simpsons.  Compare that to the way Burns reacts to the kids who are auditioning to become his heir:

Milhouse: I have nothing to offer you but my love.
Burns: I specifically said no geeks!
Milhouse: But my Mom says I’m cool.
Burns: Next.
Nelson: Gimme your fortune or I’ll pound your withered old face in!
Burns: Oh, I like his energy.  Put him on the callback list.

This is the real Burns: mean, evil and with no patience for those who aren’t.  When he eventually settles on Bart for being “a creature of pure malevolence”, he does so because Bart is smashing his windows and decapitating his statues, actions that would presumably shock and horrify the feeble man in “Grift of the Magi”. 

On top of all that (of course), is the fact that in “Burns’ Heir” the scene with the performing kids is crucial to the overall story, whereas in “Grift of the Magi” it’s an unnecessary and time filling detour that has almost nothing to do with the main plot.  But plot irrelevance is par for the course in Zombie Simpsons.  The real damage here is to Burns, and by extension to the show, since turning him into a husk of himself destroys all the fun that comes with having a wealthy man who revels in the misery of others.

08
Jun
12

Quote of the Day

Burns' Heir6

“Due to my hectic schedule and lethargic sperm, I never fathered an heir.  Now, I have no one to leave my enormous fortune to, no one.” – C.M. Burns
“Ah-hem.” – Mr. Smithers
“You, Smithers?  Oh, no, my dear friend.  I’ve planned a far greater reward for you.  When I pass on, you shall be buried alive with me.” – C.M. Burns
“Oh.  Goody.” – Mr. Smithers

19
Mar
12

Old Dogs, Old Tricks

Chalkboard - Them, Robot

“I suggest you leave immediately.” – C.M. Burns
“Or what?  You’ll release the dogs, or the bees, or the dogs with bees in their mouths and when they bark they shoot bees at you?  Well, go ahead.  Do your worst! . . . He locked the door!” – Homer Simpson

Zombie Simpsons frequently repeats things from The Simpsons, but every once and a while they come up with a perfect confluence of failure, where all of the show’s many flaws combine into a single, memorable scene.  The most recent one I can think of came last year, when they tossed Milhouse off a cliff to have a giant magic eagle save him so they could have him repeat, word for word, his declaration from “Mom and Pop Art”.  Yesterday, Zombie Simpsons put together another one, as it managed to bungle Burns releasing the hounds.

We’ve seen lots of people come to the doors of Burns Manor over the years, and just as many have turned right around and fled to avoid becoming dog food.  Burns does not like other people, and he hates dealing with them so much that he trains his dogs to attack Girl Scouts.  He’s released the hounds on do gooders, on small children, and even on his own employees after the company picnic.  It’s a perfect character trait for him because it is every inch of his contempt and cruelty wrapped up into one casual gesture he orders without a second thought.

Near the monotonously boring end of “Them, Robot”, Homer runs to Burns Manor while being chased by killer robots.  Burns opens the door without even looking, he then tries – and fails – to release the hounds before having them turn on him instead.  Then, against everything Burns used to stand for, he helps Homer escape.  Now, this isn’t the first time they’ve made Burns incompetent and kind.  But it is the first time they’ve had him fail so utterly at what was once one of his signature moves. 

On top of that, and this goes almost without saying, none of the story that led Homer, the killer robots, or the unemployed people who eventually save the day to his door made any sense.  Burns hires all these robot workers, and then ignores them while Homer runs amok, and none of the workers would know to go help there.  And let’s not even get started on the extended segments of town wide destruction and robot car crashes. 

I did actually laugh out loud at the robot fart joke, which is the first time Zombie Simpsons has gotten that out of me in a long while.  Of course, I’m a long time fan of robot fart jokes, dating back at least to that Futurama episode where Bender and the rest of the robots save the Earth by “venting”.  Other than that, this episode can rot in a burning pile of corpses . . . oh, wait.  They did that too, didn’t they?

Anyway, the numbers are in and they continue to be humiliatingly low.  Last night’s remarkably dull apocalypse was mechanically endured by just 5.24 million viewers.  That’s up slightly from last week, but still good for tenth on the all time least watched list.  There have been eight new episodes of Zombie Simpsons since New Year’s, six of them are among the ten least watched ever.  Yes, Zombie Simpsons has more lucrative demographics than most shows so lowly rated, and yes those are overnight numbers, not the ones that include a couple of days of DVR viewers.  But there’s no escaping the fact that Season 23 is notably lower than any previous year.

I’ll do a more detailed analysis after the season finale, but for now just know that from Season 20 through Season 22, Zombie Simpsons was on a ratings plateau, averaging slightly above 7 million viewers per episode, and only declining a little from year to year.  Season 23 is currently just above 6.5 million per episode; and unless it scores some unusually big numbers in the next few episodes, it’s going to end up well below that for the season. 

28
Dec
11

Quote of the Day

Burns' Heir5

“Wow, Bart, Mr. Burns gives you everything you could ever want.  My parents use that old love excuse to screw me out of toys.” – Milhouse van Houten

05
Jul
11

“Burns’ Heir” Spews Truth

Wings

Image yoinked from Wikipedia.

“But I did get Paul McCartney out of Wings.” – Conformco Guy
“You idiot!  He was the most talented one!” – Homer Simpson

Even with twenty years of viewings under my belt, I am continually amazed at the sheer number of cultural references and allusions in The Simpsons.  There isn’t a guest voice and the focus of the episode is a story about Burns and Bart, but they bring up or crib from about five different movies and make fun of half a dozen celebrities.  They toss them off with remarkable speed so that things never slow down or feel heavy handed.  You the view just have this steady stream of moments of where cultural awareness is rewarded. 

Five guys on this one.

0:40 – Jace Richdale recounts how David Mirkin told him on his first day that he had to pitch stories, and he came up with this one without putting much thought into it. 

1:20 – Mirkin’s talking about the exodus of writers after Season 4 and how he brought on Richdale. It’s very complementary in an anodyne, DVD commentary sort of way.

3:00 – Groening recounts how they did a promotion with Burger King with an environmental message. They were going to give some of the money to an environmental group, but no one would take their money because they were making plastic cups and other landfill fodder.

3:50 – The THX sound joke earned them a call from George Lucas and company who then used it in actual movie theaters.

5:10 – Still discussing the THX thing, they had a big argument for whether or not a person’s head could explode. They came down in favor.

5:40 – Joking about the prevalence of head explosions in Jane Austen novels.

7:10 – Laughing about the boot kicking Bart and Homer’s reaction bleeds into Homer’s lesson about never trying.

8:30 – Laughing at Bart’s destruction of Burns property.

9:00 – Still laughing.

9:20 – I know I’ve said this every time I’ve written up one of these older commentaries, but the contrast with the commentaries from Seasons 12 and 13 couldn’t be more stark. They’re clearly proud of this episode (justifiably), and they really like watching it and talking about it. There’s never a moment where they’re thinking “Well, what do we talk about now?” because they’re having such a good time.

11:20 – Apparently people ask about the Homer eating flowers thing a lot.

12:15 – They’ve been giggling for the last forty seconds or so.

13:15 – Discussing the robotic Richard Simmons that got cut from here. Apparently Simmons turned them down because he didn’t want to be a robot.

15:45 – The whole Bart driving thing, hitting the Christmas village, was a rewrite after the original idea involving a car and a train was deemed pointlessly hard to animate.

17:00 – Getting back to the Richard Simmons robot, they cut it because it always died when they were reviewing it. But it killed whenever one of them would show it when they were giving a talk at a comedy festival or the like.

18:30 – The James Woods part in “Homer and Apu” was originally written for Michael Caine, but he turned them down so they put him in here playing Homer.

20:00 – Marveling and laughing at Lenny both a) not saying the letter “e” until after the trap door opens and b) just going right into it, like he’s accustomed to completely insane orders from Burns.

21:50 – And we end on them laughing at Hans Moleman.

08
Mar
11

Quote of the Day

Phallocentrism

“I propose to you that your heir need not be a boy.  In this phallocentric society of ours –” – Lisa Simpson
“I don’t know what phallocentric means, but no girls!” – C.M. Burns
“So much for Plan B.” – Milhouse van Houten




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