Posts Tagged ‘Marge Gets a Job



27
Feb
12

Bonus Quote of the Day

Marge Gets a Job7

“Now, Marge, just remember, if something goes wrong at the plant, blame the guy who can’t speak English.  Ah, Tibor, how many times have you saved my butt?” – Homer Simpson

Happy birthday Bill Oakley!

16
Sep
11

Quote of the Day

Marge Gets a Job6

“Marge, it’ll cost eighty-five hundred dollars.  We only have five hundred in the bank and that leaves . . . eighty hundred we need.” – Homer Simpson

18
Jul
11

A Hunka Hunka Burns in Love Makes Baby Jesus Cry

Marge Gets a Job5

“That woman, she’s so captivating! Smithers, my heart’s pounding like a jackhammer.” – C.M. Burns

I occasionally see people make the argument that the show recovered somewhat once Al Jean took over as show runner from Mike Scully, but I’ve never agreed with that. This episode was one of the very last of the Scully era, and it’s wall-to-wall with things that have become tropes during Al Jean’s now decade long run with Zombie Simpsons. You have the totally unrelated Act 1, the complete wussification of Burns, Homer getting hurt worse than Daffy Duck ever did, and characters inexplicably appearing and disappearing from scenes. Except for the HD, you could drop this episode into Season 15 or 22 or anywhere else and no one would notice.

Seven guys on this one.

1:00 – And we open with playful banter between Jean and Scully as Jean is heaping praise on Julia Louis-Dreyfus who plays Burns’ girlfriend in this one.

2:15 – We’re still talking about Louis-Dreyfus.

2:40 – Fun tidbit from Selman, George Takei lives on his street and will come out in his Star Trek uniform on Halloween.

3:05 – Jean recounts a time Takei was on a UK documentary about the show. Jean does a Takei impression and says, “They are seditious, malicious, all of the icious except delicious.” It’s funny.

3:30 – Following that enjoyable (and semi-related to the episode) tangent, we’re off on our first unrelated tangent about what Bob Hope used to give out for Halloween.

4:15 – Now we’re off on a Woody Allen tangent. Newsflash, he hasn’t been on the show.

5:50 – Here’s a fun Zombie Simpsons note. They’re discussing how the character model for Burns is shaped like a vulture, but in this episode he’s often smiling and worried so they had to redraw the way he looks to make him more friendly. “He’s designed to look evil all the time and we had to kind of wing it when he’s always supposed to be happy through the whole show.” Eat it, Zombie Simpsons.

6:30 – A long time dictum of from Groening is to keep the number of lines on each face down.

7:30 – Fun animation note, when drawing facial expressions or left handed things a lot of the artists will look in a mirror to get it right. In the episode, which they’ve been studiously ignoring as per usual, Burns has just fallen in love with a meter maid and is now at the carnival with her.

8:30 – Burns and his girlfriend are talking on a Ferris wheel, and that was both a) hard to do and b) would be easier now with the computer machines.

9:30 – The meter maid used to drive some kind of food truck before it got changed. No one remembers why, but on screen Homer just went chasing a dog past Burns’ mansion and is now having a private conversation with Burns while whats-her-face waits patiently. I don’t know the precise scene or moment when this show stopped caring about who was in what scene, but they’ve clearing done it by now.

10:50 – Someone mentions how the first thing they do when they have a supporting character episode is think how to get the family involved. Here it means Burns has decided to take Homer with him as a third wheel on all his dates. Brilliant.

12:35 – Quick aside to note that Carl just got fired but that he’ll be working there again next week.

12:50 – There’s a montage of Homer going on dates with them, and occasionally reviving Burns with a needle several times. They seem to think this is hilarious.

13:10 – Wondering if this one had a different third act before the “jailbird” one. The response: “Perhaps”.

13:40 – Long silence here.

14:05 – Someone, can’t tell who, “I love when Homer acts like a teenage girl.” When was the first time he did that, I wonder? Season 9? 10?

15:05 – Discussing how man times they’ve had Gloria back on as Snake’s girlfriend.

15:50 – Lots of silence here, broken by the occasional bout of real laughter and nervous laughter.

16:50 – See above comment.

17:50 – See above above comment. Homer’s getting hit by Snake while we get lame relationship dialogue.

18:00 – Jean points out how Homer just got smashed in the jaw with a gun, which would be the worst thing that’s happened to most of them, but he’ll be fine in the next scene. I can’t quite tell if they know stuff like that detracts from the show (especially when it’s paired with the string music of suspense like it is here) and don’t care, or if they just don’t know.

18:20 – More of the nervous laughter, and now Lisa is at the hostage scene for no reason. They acknowledge this, but just laugh at it.

19:10 – Long silence here as the world’s most boring hostage stand off continues.

19:25 – Total silence continues as Homer’s crotch catches on fire.

19:45 – First noise from the commenters in quite a while is one (1) guy nervously laughing.

20:00 – They’re complimenting the backgrounds now. Not much in the way of commentary about Burns breaking into a flaming cabin.

21:00 – Wondering about Burns sudden strength, Jean asks if they had Burns accidentally taking his medicine from earlier. They think so, but no one can remember why they took it out. Thrilling insights like that one make me glad I got this disc from Netflix instead of paying for it.

21:40 – And now the whole family is at this random cabin way out in the woods. This merits a brief mention on the commentary, but that’s all.

22:00 – We close on someone plugging Swartzwelder’s novels and then praising Julia Louis-Dreyfus again.

08
Jun
11

Wednesday Evening Cartoons

Marge Gets a Job4

“Hello, Marge.” – Tom Jones
“That’s it, big smile, everybody’s happy.” – Mr. Smithers

There’s a lot to love about “Marge Gets a Job”, but two things in particular show the kind of care and skill that made excellence typical on The Simpsons.  The first is the way everyone in this episode, regardless of the size of their part, acts perfectly in character.  The second is the many callbacks that build from one to another, often involving those minor characters.

Consider Surly Joe, the only foundation repairman in town.  He’s only in two scenes, and in both cases he manages to irritate Homer by telling him the truth.  Smithers, true to his unwavering dedication to Burns, not only ruins poor Jack Marley’s retirement party, but dutifully and unquestioningly commits several felonies against Tom Jones, even after being demoted to urinal cleaning duty.  Speaking of Jones, he’s in three scenes, and in each his troubles deepen.  He gets gassed, hit on the head, threatened with a gun, and shackled to the floor, but it’s never drawn out and, unlike so many later celebrity cameos, he doesn’t just pop up out of nowhere.

Like the ever worsening plight of Jones, there are a number of other small jokes that add up over the course of the episode.  There’s the plants newly instituted theme and funny hat days, which allow us to see that the place is staffed by depressives, alcoholics and mass murderers.  When Lisa is writing Marge’s resume, we see her invent some things that can be called stretching the truth, but those also act as setups for the pack of outright lies about Marge being a songwriter, speaking Swahili, and having invented nuclear equipment.  Cramming all of that into a single scene would’ve been gratuitous and tedious, so they spread it out.  The same is true of Grampa’s old fashioned medical quackery.  It gets started when he can’t figure out that all Maggie wants is her bottle, and while his list of crazy ailments is funny enough on its own, it also primes the audience for his later use of leeches and a rectal thermometer on Bart.  And, of course, there’s Tibor, who manages to be one of the greatest minor characters ever without even appearing on screen.

Zombie Simpsons has a tendency to hit on something clever and then drive it immediately into the ground.  When The Simpsons came up with meaty concepts like Grampa’s home remedies or Tom Jones being kidnapped, they drew them out slowly, even when they had a bunch of them

[Programming Note: Due to extreme laziness, we had a schedule conflict this week and couldn’t do Crazy Noises.  We’re pretty sure they’ll be back next week, prob-probably.]

07
Apr
11

Cutting Digital Corners

“Don’t worry, baby, the tube’ll know what to do.” – Homer Simpson

I’ve never worked as an animator, nor even been able to draw decently, so feel free to take the following with a grain of salt.  Having said that, I’ve sat through every single one of the HD episodes of Zombie Simpsons, and I think all their digital tools have made it increasingly easy for them to cut corners.  Take the image below from “Love Is a Many Strangled Thing”:

Generic School

There’s nothing terribly remarkable, it’s just an establishing shot of the school.  (You can see Bart’s stupid tractor ride starting in the lower left corner.)  Compare it to basically the same shot from “The Last Temptation of Homer”:

The Last Temptation of Homer3

The things I’m about to point out aren’t a big deal, and my ignorance of the working trade of animation may make the next few dozen sentences completely worthless, but to my eye the hand drawn one looks like it had a lot more care put into it.  Specifically, there are three items I noticed upon close inspection: the windows, the flag pole, and the sidewalks.

In the Season 22 image, the little bend marks in the windows are barely visible, but the ones you can make out all look the same: two parallel lines of slightly lighter blue to give the glass panes a little more substance than if they were monochrome.  In the one from Season 5, the lines in the windows are black (making them much more visible), and no two are the same.  The different windows give the drawing a less generic feel, making it easier for you to imagine that each window conceals an actual room.  After all, real window panes aren’t perfectly uniform; from the day they’re cut they get scuffed and scratched in different ways. The Zombie Simpsons windows are so perfectly alike that it subtracts the feeling of life from the image, whereas the windows in The Simpsons were all clearly done one by one, giving them a unique feel that makes the whole thing look more like a real building, even if the lines aren’t aligned down to the millimeter.

Now look at the flag poles.  On the digital one, the flag pole is utterly boring.  It’s just two precisely parallel lines that someone has used a fill command to make grey.  The hand drawn one has a lot more personality.  It doesn’t just disappear into a tuft of grass; it has a base so you can actually see what’s holding it steady.  Moreover, the pole itself appears to taper toward the top the way real flag poles do.  Someone took the time to draw and inspect it, instead of just plopping it down with a couple of clicks. 

It’s the sidewalks are where you can really see the difference though.  Because while both sidewalks contain mistakes, they are of a vastly different character.

Sidewalks

I’ve circled portions of each above.  First, consider the one from Zombie Simpsons and note the perpendicular lines in the grass.  These are clearly the outlines of sidewalk slabs and they don’t belong on a lawn.  You can see a line between the two sections as well as a line where the grey is supposed to meet the green.  Those lines wouldn’t be there if it had been originally drawn as grass, but this is self evidently an existing image that was modified.  And while the original had concrete where someone wanted chlorophyll, whoever made the change never bothered to remove the lines after clicking the paint bucket icon.  Nor is this some unnoticeable thing, the existence of the line where the sidewalk pieces meet indicates that “fill” had to be clicked twice.  They may have been careless, they may have been rushed, but whoever grabbed the existing template image couldn’t be bothered to take six seconds to correct an obvious (albeit minor) problem.

The same cannot be said for the image from The Simpsons.  The sidewalk leading to the school is filled in to the right of the stairs but not to the left.  Whether the sidewalk or the building was done first is irrelevant, someone drew both from scratch and then realized that they made a mistake lining them up.  Lacking a six second option, they covered for it as best they could.  Nobody’s expecting perfection, and not a single viewer decided to love or hate either of these episodes based on such trivial goofs.  But where Zombie Simpsons ignored an easily corrected mistake, The Simpsons took the time to carefully camouflage one that was as harmless as it was difficult to correct.

Again, all this may just be my lack of knowledge about animation processes talking.  But the impression a close viewer gets is that the convenience of digital tools makes it so easy for Zombie Simpsons to get things like windows and flag poles to “acceptable” that they don’t take the time (or aren’t budgeted for the time) to push them past that.  When The Simpsons drew by hand, they had to put enormous care into every little detail because not doing so would make the entire thing look slipshod.  And while we can’t fault the show for technological changes in the entire industry, we can say with great confidence that minute attention to detail is no longer one of their concerns.

29
Mar
11

Quote of the Day

Marge Gets a Job3

“She must think you’re after her eggs!” – Not Joan Embery
“I only ate one!” – Krusty the Klown

13
Dec
10

Quote of the Day

Marge Gets a Job2

“Marge, what can we do?” – C.M. Burns
“Well, you could give them healthier snacks, theme days . . .” – Marge Simpson
“You mean like, Child Labor Day?” – C.M. Burns
“Actually, I was thinking of funny hat day.” – Marge Simpson

21
Apr
10

Quote of the Day

Jehovahs Witnesses

Image used under Creative Commons from Wikimedia Commons.

“We need the money, and my life is pretty boring.  Last week, some Jehovah’s Witnesses came to the door and I wouldn’t let them leave.  They snuck away when I went in the kitchen to get more lemonade.” – Marge Simpson

08
Sep
09

Quote of the Day

retire

“I wish I could retire. Boy, that’d be sweet.” – Homer Simpson

25
May
09

Quote of the Day

scotch

“Mrs. Simpson, you’re in luck.  Your sexual harassment suit is just the thing I need to rebuild my shattered practice.  Care to join me in a belt of scotch?” – Lionel Hutz

29
Apr
09

Quote of the Day

marge-gets-a-job1

“Oral thermometer my eye!  Think warm thoughts boy, cause this is mighty cold.” – Abe “Grandpa” Simpson




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