Posts Tagged ‘Miracle on Evergreen Terrace



16
Dec
13

Behind Us Forever: White Christmas Blues

Chalkboard - White Christmas Blues

“I know this has been a stressful holiday, but, in a way, having nothing reminds us how lucky we really are.” – Marge Simpson
“What?” – Lisa Simpson
“We still have each other.  And isn’t that the best gift of all?” – Marge Simpson
“But we would’ve had each other anyway.” – Lisa Simpson
“Yeah, plus lots of other stuff.” – Bart Simpson

I’m on record as saying that the sign gags are one of the few things Zombie Simpsons can still manage to do well.  But if there’s one thing Zombie Simpsons knows how to do, it’s take something decent and destroy it completely through repetition and overuse, and thus “White Christmas Blues” was born.  That video game scene where they spent half a minute throwing jokey titles at the screen was a masterpiece of taking something that kinda works and totally obliterating it.  By the third or fourth batch, it became apparent that, yup, they were going to empty that whole shelf, and who cares if it amounts to pausing the episode for thirty seconds to give us all a reading test?

What passed for the story wasn’t any better.  Sure, there might be something decent with “other family spends Christmas with the Simpsons”, but instead of that they crammed in an excess of character-less characters and had Marge patiently explain everything that was happening while it was happening.  Also, there were weird, one-off scenes with Milhouse and Lovejoy and Lisa, who apparently forgot who her brother was.  I’ve said this before, but sketch comedy shows often have better inter-scene continuity than Zombie Simpsons.

– Once again, the opening is rather good.  Sure it’s yet another transparent attempt to kill clock (checking in at 90 seconds will do that), but it’s cute in several places and even has a couple of decent sign gags.

– The Itchy & Scratchy wasn’t bad, right up until Krusty started telling us what’s going on.

– It’s the only town with snow . . . which they’ve now told us three times.

– Marge’s listing of the out of state license plates wasn’t terrible, except for the fact that she was listing them instead of the show, you know, showing them to us.

– Okay, so they get paid three hundred bucks a night to let these people in their house because they can’t afford Christmas.  That’s fine.  Why, one fucking scene later, does Marge have to say this, “This is a great thing.  We’re helping people celebrate Christmas and we’ll be able to afford Christmas.”  Do we get to see them spend the money?  Or see how having that extra cash lets them celebrate Christmas?  Nope.  We just get told.

– The hotel Jesus montage was a thing.

– Some of the Christmas movie titles were good, but twenty+ was Hedonism-bot excessive.

– Oh, man, this Lovejoy sermon scene is just awful.  Remember when he asked people not to shout things out in the church?  Long time ago, that.

– And the bed and breakfast thing has gotten quickly out of hand, with apparently multiple families having shown up for no discernible reason.

– What was with this? “Nothing is easy to wrap!  I have trouble with scissors!”  Does Yeardley Smith wince inside when they have Lisa say things like that?

– And then Flanders is there to explain the true meaning of Christmas before wandering off.

– The carols going on after the credits was repetitive and pointless.

– And there’s the license plates, because decent jokes must be overused.  It’s the law.

Anyway, the ratings are in and they don’t suck for once because of a late football game that went down to the wire (Dear Dallas Cowboys, Thanks for all the laughs.  Sincerely, Everyone Else).  The preliminary numbers indicate that 8.38 million people wished they were watching one of the show’s other Christmas episodes last night.  That’s by far the highest of the season, and will probably remain so even after that number is inevitably revised down to reflect all the people who turned their sets off right after Dallas finished imploding.

18
Jan
13

Reading Digest: Imaginary People Edition

Miracle on Evergreen Terrace3

“Any words for the Christmas thief, if he’s watching?” – Kent Brockman
“Uh, yes, Kent.  Hello, jerk, we may never find you, and we should probably all stop looking.  But one thing’s for sure, you do exist.” – Homer Simpson
“Strong words.  Strong, bewildering words.” – Kent Brockman

The American media is having a small meltdown at the moment over the fact that it got rolled by one or possibly two not very bright football players at well documented bullshit factory Notre Dame.  As usual when something bizarre happens, there’s a way to connect it to The Simpsons, in this case the time that Bart, long before the internet, Te’o-ed Mrs. Krabappel, and we have two people who did just that.  In addition, there is a cornucopia of great links this week, with lists, YouTube, some excellent fan art, a behind the scenes look at “The Longest Daycare”, another site embarking on a “watch them all project”, and lots more.  There’s also your chance to voice your opinion on which episode of the last three seasons has been the most wretched. 

Enjoy.

Maggie Simpson Takes a Bow – Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week is this article about the long and somewhat tangled creation process for “The Longest Daycare”.  It was worth the effort; they did a great job.

Illustrator practice – Learning computer drawing techniques by imitating scenes from “Kamp Krusty”, “Last Exit to Springfield”, and “Selma’s Choice”.  Well done. 

100 Greatest TV Episodes: You Only Move Twice (s8 ep2) – Praise for Hank Scorpio as perhaps the greatest episode of television ever broadcast.

Monday Funday: The Simpsons and NBA Players – Comparing Simpsons characters to NBA players.  Russell Westbrook to Milhouse is genius. 

The Simpsons Did It First – Going beyond the trillion dollar coin and looking at some other events that the show mocked even before they happened.

Google Translate: English to Ned Flanders – Heh.

Something I wrote for Sound on Sight for Christmas 2012 – A list of twelve awesome pieces of Christmas television that rightly puts “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire” at the top.  And it agrees with us:

This is a good one to watch as many people may have lost hope with The Simpsons (as they move onto season 25 next year) and forgotten how excellent the old episodes are. It is also great to notice how not much has actually changed in terms of locations, and dynamics, just the writing now is pretty weak.

It is very weak these days.  Not so much then.

Inkbot TV — Zombie Simpsons: A Book Review – Aww, somebody said something nice about my extended internet ramblings.  Bonus points for the awesome fan made Zombie Homer, which appears to have originally come from an artist named Jared Wright.

Simpson Says Safe – We’re not the only ones going through Season 1 right now:

The Simpsons was deliberately written as the antithesis of the All-American Family seen in the 1980s. Homer losing his job and considering suicide is not only dark subject matter for prime-time animation, it is also quite dark for a sitcom.

When the old people laugh at him, in particular, strikes me as something that was really out of bounds for the time.  And here’s “Bart the Genius”.

Geek Pic 1/15/13 – Anime style fan made drawings of everyone from Marge and homer to Lenny, Carl and Sideshow Bob.  I’m pretty sure I’ve linked this before, but it’s cool enough to merit a second go round.

Some Of What I’ve Been Eyeballing From My Spot On Makeout Point – Reading the Ortved book:

The Simpsons book was, objectively, a bad book. It was littered with typos and grammatical cock-ups, it was scattershot storytelling at it’s worst, and it got bogged down in very mundane details in numerous places. Despite all that, I ate it up. I couldn’t resist all the Simpsonian goodness. I would recommend reading the chapter that focuses on George Meyer and John Swartzwelder, two staff writers who really defined the comedic tone of the show. I was laughing out loud reading that chapter, and I normally read books with a stony gaze filled with sorrow and thinly-veiled anger.

I liked it overall, but it’s definitely uneven.  And the chapters about the writers during the good times are indeed laugh out loud funny in places. 

2013 TV Predictions Roundtable: The Biggest Story of the Year – Sadly, this is very unlikely:

Fox’s combo of few hours, early orders for animation, and major hours for singing reality series leave few bubble shows, but final season news would not be shocking for Bones (which was just renewed) and The Simpsons (which, after a major contractual dispute, is renewed for last season).

I don’t see anyway they don’t get to Season 26 at the minimum.

Psycho: A retrospective – Seeing the movie the first time having seen plenty of it in The Simpsons  and other sources, complete with side by side pictures. 

I hate the metric system – Moderate usage:

Perhaps I am already crotchety and set in my ways:  In the immortal words of Grampa Simpson, “My car gets thirty rods to the hogshead..and that’s the way I like it!!”

Grampa actually says “forty rods” and “likes” not “like”, but that’s close enough.

Best Supporting Characters in TV Shows – Moe and Hans Moleman make the list here, even if the Moe YouTube is from Zombie Simpsons. 

The 365: Jan 15th “Yeah Yeah Mmm.. Okay Then” – Nice reference:

Some have said they’re happy that CDs are becoming obsolete as they don’t have to see it when they purchase it. Others are wondering where they could get some of the stuff the band have been smoking so they could also go on a “trip to the desert” (PG blog but you know what I mean, they will be a talking coyote and everything! Simpson reference! Boom!).

Now look at her records, they stink!

Guy N. Cognito – Homer Simpson’s Doppelgänger – In praise of Guy’s moustache.

Why I don’t like bubbles – Citing Burns from “The Old Man and the Lisa” as an example of how not to run an organization.

Cosmo’s Story Within a Story by George MacDonald – Great usage:

I am not certain why—perhaps because of my years watching Itchy and Scratchy on The Simpsons—but I have always been attracted to the Story Within a Story technique.

That leads to Melville and Dostoyevsky.

My saviour, Mr Plow – A salute to the real life Mr. Plows.

Another One Of Those Days – Excellent reference [BOA is Bank of America]:

So, if you’re a BOA customer, it’s kind of like that old Eagles song “Hotel California” in that you can check out any time you want, but you can never leave.  Or that episode of The Simpsons were they join a cult, but when someone wants to leave, they get a spotlight thrown on them and tell them they are free to leave if they divulge why they want to.

Credit unions, people, they exist for a reason.

LISA SIMPSON – From a Tumblr about fictional characters reading books, it’s Lisa enjoying the copy of Ethan Frome she can finally call her own.

The Simpsons Episode That Scared The Crap Out Of Me – Further proof that Zombie Simpsons is terrible, the endlessly awful episode with NSYNC permanently traumatized this young man.

She Just Got That Marge Simpson Weave – A serious Marge Simpson bun.

What Homer Simpson Can Teach Oncologists About Math – Here’s your interesting neurological tidbit for the day:

In future posts, I will show you some of the work I have done to make this math easier to understand.  But meanwhile, let me leave you with another quote from Brain Bugs:

    “We may have an inherent sense of the quantities one through three, but beyond that things get hazy—you may be able to tell at a glance whether Homer Simpson has two or three strands of hair, but you’ll probably have to count to find out whether he has four or five fingers.”

Obama’s Death Star…In 10 Words – I’d say this vessel could do at least Warp 5.

Gangster Squad…In 10 Words – A better title would’ve been Rex Banner: The Movie.

‘The Simpsons’ Creator and Director Highlight Thirty-Seventh Annual UCLA Entertainment Symposium – For the low price of just $350 you can see Groening and Silverman at UCLA in March.  Why is it that expensive?  It’s being run by the UCLA law school.

Oingo Boingo, “Reptiles and Samurai” – Wanna see Danny Elfman dressed up with horns from 1982?  Of course you do.

[Couch Potato Quotes] The Simpsons (Season 09 Episode 24 – Lost Our Lisa) – This is just a screen grab of Homer praying to Superman, but it’s from a blog called “Lace the Unleashed Zen Jar”, which is enjoyably nonsensical.

Top Five: iTunes Apps (Games) – The Tapped Out game makes the list and is the only one that’s free.

How ‘The Simpsons’ Explains the Manti Te’o Fake-Girlfriend Saga – A nice comparison of the most recent Notre Dame scandal and “Bart the Lover” agrees with us:

Part of the genius of The Simpsons is (well, was) its almost Dickensian ability to impart humanity and psychological depth to what lesser shows would have treated as throwaway characters.

Was, indeed.  Along those lines, reader Hender tweeted the same.

Now, because I hate myself… – And finally, our old friend (and new contributor) Mike Amato has finished his run through the show and wants to know which episodes from the last three seasons he should put himself through.  This is by no means a comprehensive or well thought out list, but just looking back through the a list of the last couple of seasons, these struck me as memorable lows:

  • 21-13 – The Color Yellow – Wherein Zombie Simpsons takes a cringe-inducingly juvenile look at slavery.
  • 21-23 – Judge Me Tender – Basically an advertisement for American Idol.  In terms of sheer pop culture embarrassment, this one is tough to beat . . .
  • 22-08 – The Fight Before Christmas – . . . though if it can be beat, the Katy Perry episode would be the one.  In its crass, unthinking stupidity I think this was even worse than the Lady Gaga episode.
  • 22-11 – Flaming Moe – Wall to wall with gay jokes that would’ve been considered dated in 1985. 
  • 22-15 – The Scorpion’s Tale – Fairly hum-drum until the eyeballs start falling out, but that’s an epic fail for the ages. 
  • 23-12 – Moe Goes from Rags to Riches – Three words: talking bar rag. 
  • 23-18 – Beware My Cheating Bart – Bart gets it on with a girl much older than him.  Very creepy.

Hit the link to offer your own suggestions.  For once, there truly are no wrong answers. 

24
Dec
12

Quote of the Day

Miracle on Evergreen Terrace2

“This year’s tree is just perfect.  That old aluminum one was so fake.” – Lisa Simpson
“I couldn’t agree more.  From now on, it’s plastic all the way.” – Marge Simpson

27
Jul
10

Crazy Noises: Miracle on Evergreen Terrace

Miracle on Evergreen Terrace1

“Bart, this is Patches.  And what was your name?” – Lisa Simpson
“Poor Violet.” – Poor Violet
“Oh, I don’t like where this is going.” – Bart Simpson

There’s no new Zombie Simpsons until September, so we’re going to spend the summer overthinking Season 9.  Why Season 9?  Because we did Season 8 last summer, and Season 9 was when the show started becoming more Zombie than Simpsons.  Since we’re too lazy to do audio and too ugly to do video, we’ve booked a “chatroom” (ours is right between the one with the sexy seventh graders and the one with the bored federal agents pretending to be sexy seventh graders).  So log on to your dial-up AOL and join us.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (surprisingly enough, not on “akimbo”).

Today’s episode is 910 “Miracle on Evergreen Terrace”.  Tomorrow’s will be 904 “Treehouse of Horror VIII”.

Note: Dave was called away due to a half-witted oaf shortly after we started, so this is mostly a two man affair.

Mad Jon: Well then, shall we pick an episode to discuss?

Dave: Why don’t you do the honors?

Mad Jon: Fair enough, I would say the one I didn’t like, but it would be more accurate to say we should start with the one I liked the least, which would be Miracle on Evergreen Terrace. Unless of course, there are any objections.

Charlie Sweatpants: How I loathe Miracle on Evergreen Terrace.

Mad Jon: It is most loathsome.

Dave: It’s a bit of a trainwreck.

Cloying and sitcom-y to the core.

Charlie Sweatpants: Good way to put it.

Mad Jon: Miracle on Evergreen Terrace is to the unnamable “One Bad Episode” what your stepdad beating you with a brick is to him beating you with a wrench.

Although I am feeling a bit dramatic this evening.

Charlie Sweatpants: I wouldn’t go quite that far. Masonry and metal are about as painful as each, and I don’t think we reach either one this early in the long, sad decline of the show.

Mad Jon: I was more or less making the statement that one reminds me of the other in a “different” kind of pain.

Charlie Sweatpants: “Marge Be Not Proud” which, I agree, it is impossible not to be reminded of while watching this one, is more like getting whomped on in a non-life threatening way by someone you thought was your friend.

Mad Jon: Well put.

Charlie Sweatpants: It’s got some good/excellent individual jokes, but everything is smothered by a plot that doesn’t make a lick of sense, doesn’t care about not making a lick of sense, and yet forces you to play along if you want to enjoy what there is here to enjoy.

Mad Jon: And it is abound with horns.

Charlie Sweatpants: And string music. So much pointless suspense.

The car crash scene is particularly egregious.

Mad Jon: The writers must have again felt we would have to be prompted for emotional response.

I do enjoy Brockman’s reports.

Charlie Sweatpants: I think I get what they were going for, there are at least three or four times in this episode where they attempt to turn Christmas show cliches back on themselves, but getting to those cliches required such use of them as to make it seem half-hearted.

Brockman in this episode is a good example of that, especially when he turns on them and then thanks them.

We get it, he’s a soulless reporter who doesn’t care, but to get to that punchline about it being a good story requires an enormous amount of joke free, cliche ridden horseshit and it’s just not worth it.

Mad Jon: I am once again impressed with your ability to put so much critical thinking towards an episode that is so absolutely off-putting.

But I also agree.

I wasn’t so offput by Brockman, but that may be because I didn’t view him as a cliche the same way I did with a lot of the other crap in this crappy crapfest.

Charlie Sweatpants: Well there are a lot of decent jokes here.

Mad Jon: There are some.

Charlie Sweatpants: There’s Lisa’s thing about “nothing could be as fun as that looks”, Apu responding to “You only live once” with, “speak for yourself” and the orphans.

Mad Jon: All good.

I especially like the snowmobile line.

Charlie Sweatpants: Also, this is the episode that gave the English language “craptacular”. And that’s the gift that keeps on giving.

On the other hand, that whole scene with Homer trying to decorate the house is a pale imitation of the one from “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire”.

Dave: “Craptacular” is, in fact, one of my most frequently used words.

Mad Jon: That was truly terrible.

Especially the falling off the roof and get tangled in the cords.

Charlie Sweatpants: There, Homer fails and is humiliated. Here they’ve got to hurt him before making the joke . . . what, exactly? That the lights are all akimbo?

Mad Jon: Also there was more moaning in this scene.

Charlie Sweatpants: Homer falls off the roof in Season 1 too, but it’s done very briefly. Here it’s a whole punchline. There it’s something they know is funny so they just pass over.

Mad Jon: I remember the original fall. This one was, as you have pointed out, much different.

Charlie Sweatpants: Speaking of scenes and jokes that had been done better before, Bart’s dream about needing to pee isn’t nearly as good as Flushing Meadows from “City of New York vs. Homer Simpson”, and neither of them is even remotely on a level with Burns’ cliche ridden speech to Homer in “Last Exit to Springfield”.

Mad Jon: Agreed.

Excellent timeline by the way.

Charlie Sweatpants: Well, this was about when the show began taking jokes it had done already and pretending that they were new.

Mad Jon: You can only make so many episodes without running into the need for pee jokes. And they are all quite similar. But this just points to the fact that this dog was about ready to be taken out back and shot anyway.

Charlie Sweatpants: Indeed.

And while there are several things in this episode that are great, there’s also a lot that falls flat. The whole Jeopardy! thing is utterly bizarre, ditto Homer’s – excuse me – Jerkass Homer’s fight with the car heater and stunt at the cash register.

Mad Jon: Those were all bad, but this is when the Zombie Homer Fish crawled out of the sea and started growing legs. The heater fight, (wow I never realized I would ever use those two words in that order) and the cash register stunt were very much proto-zombie. And Alex Trebek is in the early stages of the Simpsons throwing on celebrities for 20 seconds every single week.

Charlie Sweatpants: Trebek at least got one decent gag, I always wondered what happened to people who ended up negative on Jeopardy! (brief aside: fuck you, Wolf Blitzer). But the cash register thing in particular always bothered me because it really is Homer being maliciously selfish.

Mad Jon: And why would snow come through the heat vents? Wouldn’t black smoke have been better?

Charlie Sweatpants: Nothing would’ve been better.

Mad Jon: Touche Salesman.

The cash register scene was also led to by the parking on multiple handicapped spots (again).

Charlie Sweatpants: I knew there was another repeated joke here, I just couldn’t think of it.

Well, I’m about done. The only other thing I’ll say is that the ending sucks. There’s no conflict or resolution, the story just sort of peters out. The Simpsons are despised! Okay, now they’re not. The end.

Mad Jon: And there is a dishrag.

Or something.




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