Posts Tagged ‘Saturdays of Thunder



10
Nov
13

Quote of the Day

Saturdays of Thunder14

“Attention everyone, I say to those who question the value of the space program: behold!” – Martin Prince

30
Mar
13

Quote of the Day

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“Whoa, where’s your helmet, son?” – Soapbox Derby Racing Official
“Helmets are for wusses, sir.” – Bart Simpson
“No, I don’t think I can let you go without a safety helmet.” – Soapbox Derby Official
“This is my son, and if he doesn’t want to wear one, you can’t make him.” – Homer Simpson
“Okay, fine, I want to get out of here sometime today.” – Soapbox Derby Official

31
Dec
12

A Little Unintentional Meta-Blogging Humor for New Year’s Eve

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“Good morning, everybody, and welcome to an event that harkens back to the carefree days of the Great Depression: the soap box derby.” – TV Announcer

Every once and a while I am moved to briefly praise the people up at WordPress HQ.  They do a regularly excellent job of making sure that everything works, the new features that they add tend far more toward “useful” than “bloat”, and their customer support, even for people who aren’t paying jack, is responsive, friendly and informative.  Sometimes, though, things go awry.

In this case it’s a very harmless awry, and it’s far more my fault than theirs, but I laughed when I saw it.  Unexpectedly, I got an e-mail from them yesterday, subject “Your Annual Report from WordPress.com”.  A quick search of my inbox reveals that in four years of blogging with them, this is the first time I’ve gotten an “Annual Report”.  Turns out it’s a new thing this year, a cutesy little flash graphic with your site’s stats that’s a way to encourage people to blog more.  This is part of the one for Dead Homer Society:

2012 Blogging Report

In case you can’t see the image, it’s titled “Crunchy numbers” and reads:

About 55,000 tourists visit Liechtenstein every year.  This blog was viewed about 970,000 times in 2012.  If it were Liechtenstein, it would take bout 18 years for that many people to see it.  Your blog had more visits than a small country in Europe! 

So this is some script that takes a look at your pageview stats, matches that with a predetermined list of numbers and figures, and then writes this paragraph into the e-mail.  If we’d had 50,000 pageviews this year, it’d probably say something like “About 12,000 tourists vomit on the Nauseator every year.  This blog was viewed about 50,000 times in 2012.  If it were the Nauseator, it would take about 4 years for that many people to vomit.  Your blog caused more people to vomit than a ride at Disney Land!”. They’re being a little disingenuous because that 970,000 number is pageviews, not unique visitors, so comparing it to tourists in Europe is like counting the number of visitors a country has by the number of people who request a brochure on their website. 

But those little idiosyncrasies aside, it’s the image at the right that cracked me up.  Unlike the cheery site stats and graphics that are supposed to make you the blogger feel good about all the time you spend complaining on the internet, it’s a chart that’s plummeting like a stone and has a distinctly depressing appearance to it.  They grabbed that particular image because the Zombie Simpsons page was by far our most popular this year (just north of 27,000 views), and if you include the child pages (which it obviously does), that graph is the first image.  It’s the average Amazon stars for the DVDs from Chapter 1, and the reason it’s dropping like a rock is because it’s about Zombie Simpsons.  Heh.

See you all in 2013. 

31
Dec
12

Quote of the Day

June, 2012

“Expiration date?  June, Nineteen Eighty Ni-uh, Two Thousand Twelve . . . yeah.” – Homer Simpson
“Homer, are you ordering junk of the TV again?” – Marge Simpson
“Shh, they’ll hear you!” – Homer Simpson

24
Sep
12

Bonus Quote of the Day

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“I’m actor Troy McClure.  You might remember me from such TV series as Buck Henderson: Union Buster, and Troy and Company’s Summertime Smile Factory.” – Troy McClure

Phil Hartman would’ve been sixty-four today.  Happy birthday.

14
Nov
11

Quote of the Day

Saturdays of Thunder10

“Unfortunately, a century of neglect has turned this tombstone into a depressing eyesore.” – Dr. Nick Riviera
“So, what?  I guess we’re gonna have to throw it away.” – Troy McClure
“Not so fast, Troy!  With one application of Spiffy, you’ll think the body’s still warm.” – Dr. Nick Riviera

Happy 20th Anniversary to “Saturdays of Thunder”!  Original airdate: 14 November 1991.

27
Jul
11

“Saturdays of Thunder” Spews Truth

Saturdays of Thunder9

“Dear God, not again!” – Dave from the National Fatherhood Institute

Toward the end of this commentary, right after Martin slaps Bart to get him to pay attention, Jean comments on how much violence there is in this one.  He laughs as he recalls that it might have been a reaction to how stressed out everyone was while they were doing this.  I can’t comment on that, but he’s right that there are a lot of violent images in here (Nelson whipping Bart as they race, Martin crashing and getting set on fire, even the unfortunate shark attack).  The difference is that none of it is drawn out or gratuitous.  The things Jean notes as violent wouldn’t even rate as such past Season 10 or so, even the shark attack.  It lasts less than two seconds, is completely bloodless, and is funny not just for being violent, but also for being completely absurd (made even better by the cry of “not again!”). 

Six guys on this one.

0:30 – This one premiered before the first televised showing of Michael Jackson’s “Black or White” video, and included the second part where he smashed up a car, which caused a lot of controversy.  On the plus side, the episode got great ratings.

2:20 – They were trying to come up with a name for a fake detergent, and the first eight or so they came up with were already real detergents before they got to Spiffy.

2:45 – When they were first designing Dr. Nick, they’d heard Azaria’s voice and thought he was doing an impression of Gabor Csupo, so they did a caricature of him. Azaria was actually doing Ricky Ricardo.

3:30 – Vlada from The Critic was also designed after Csupo.

3:45 – Ken Levine (who’s on the commentary) and his writing partner David Isaacs (who isn’t) worked on a show with Mary Tyler Moore for a year, so they thought the Mary Tyler Moore haircuts on Patty & Selma were hilarious. Jean cracks that Levine said “worked with Mary Tyler Moore” the same way other people say “I served in Vietnam for two years”. It was funny.

4:30 – They had a censor battle over Bart welding in horribly unsafe ways. Their reply was that it was hard for kids to get access to welding equipment so they wouldn’t really do it. I guess that worked.

4:50 – They only had one report of a kid ever getting hurt imitating the Simpsons. He was trying to skateboard down some stairs, but they were skeptical of the story.

5:40 – Discussing the avalanche of cliches they parodied in the scene where McBain’s black partner gets shot right before retirement.

6:00 – Someone, I think it’s Reiss but it’s hard to tell, was thrilled that they used the “Mendoza!” line on MST3K like a year after this.

6:20 – Jean thinks the fatherhood test was a real thing Sam Simon found.

7:20 – Reiss jokes that the years he and Jean were running the show were the years when people on the show were always watching TV.

7:30 – Jean discussing how they used that TV watching to do cutaways, which they did a ton of on The Critic, and which now has become the hallmark of Family Guy. Then Groening says what he thought was “great” about The Critic was that they got to do all the parodies they wanted to do.

8:10 – Jean’s discussing how making the family the center of the show makes it really tough for other shows to make relatable characters without being compared to The Simpsons. This brings up King of the Hill, which Reiss (again, I think) cracks has “Homer with glasses”, which leads to Groening kinda laughing and Reiss replying “Yes, I said it.” Ha.

8:40 – Jean recalls the irony of editing this episode at three in the morning instead of being home with his kid.

9:10 – They think “Ronny Beck” was a friend of David Isaacs.

9:50 – Jean describes the fatherhood institute guy’s voice as Harry Shearer doing Casey Kasem/Mason Adams.

10:20 – Laughing about Cosby’s dislike for the show.

11:00 – The design of the soapbox derby racer was based on some real life failures.

11:15 – Jim Reardon jokes that bad carpentry is a theme of his life.

11:20 – The Cosby book quotes are actually from the book.

12:00 – The censors also didn’t like Homer putting the welding torch in the gasoline.

12:40 – Laughing about Homer’s inability to construct a decent racer.

13:00 – Discussing the scandal that rocked soap box derby racing when one kid had a magnet in his car, which I assume is this

13:30 – Talking about how the idea for this one came from the throwaway line in “Itchy & Scratchy & Marge” when Bart describes building a soap box derby racer after the cartoons become lame and nonviolent.

14:00 – Joking that they did three father/child type plots in a row and nobody noticed or cared.

14:30 – The censors had no complaints about Martin being on fire, but they did get a lot of complaints, especially from Jean’s mother.

15:30 – Mentioning how the lettering on the shirts (“Team Simpson”) would probably be printed now instead of looking miserable and hand drawn, which leads to the usual discussion of how animating has changed thanks to computers. Nobody mentions that if Bart and Homer had nicely printed shirts it wouldn’t work as well. The fact that the shirts are just as crappy looking at the racer is what makes them funny.

16:40 – Laughing (for the second time) at the Honor Roller and the neat little sound it makes when it goes by.

17:00 – Russi Taylor does Martin, as well as Minnie Mouse, which lead to a digression about her husband who does Mickey but is actually a great big biker looking guy.

17:50 – The derby announcers, and their love of superlatives and exaggerated historical significance, come from Olympic announcers who do the same thing.

18:35 – Laughing at Homer blowing off Flanders.

19:10 – Laughing at their love of gratuitous violence here when Martin just slaps Bart.

19:25 – As usual Groening remains unimpressed at the crowd scene.

19:50 – Groening was told by someone at 20/20 that Ted Kennedy hates Quimby. Groening then gets in his little disclaimer that he supports Kennedy and donates to him, but that he does have a funny voice.  (Of course, this was recorded before Kennedy died.) 

20:50 – Laughing at the unexpected smallness of Ronny Beck and another strange character in the crowd.

21:30 – Everyone cracking up at Homer and Bart celebrating Bart being a bad winner.

22:20 – And we close on them jokingly complaining that they didn’t win any awards for this episode.




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