Posts Tagged ‘The Front


Quote of the Day

The Front4“According to this book the first thing we need is a setting.” – Lisa Simpson

Happy Birthday, John Swartzwelder! 



The Front3

We had a minor Dead Homer Society conclave this evening and I noticed something peculiar while we were watching “The Front”.  Homer and Marge attend their 20th high school reunion in 1994.  The episode ends with a flash forward to them at their 50th reunion in 2024.  2009 is the midpoint between 1994 and 2024; it’s been fifteen years since then and it’ll be fifteen more until we get there.  There’s nothing at all profound or interesting about that, I just thought it deserved mentioning.


Friday Link Dump – Burning Donuts Edition

Burning Donuts

“The bright blue flame indicates this was a particularly sweet donut.” – Principal Dondelinger

The right half the image above is taken from our first link this week about a donut fire in New Zealand.  There’s also a couple of cromulent lists, some excellent usage and a Japanese gymnast who made a perfect dismount on what was later revealed to be a broken leg.  Seriously.


D’oh! Springfield’s giant Simpsons doughnut gets toasted – The town of Springfield on the South Island of New Zealand received a 4.5 meter donut as a promotion for the movie.  They were debating whether or not to keep it permanently when some asshole set fire to it.  Bummer.

Michelangelo, Dante, Da Vinci, and Homer Simpson – Duff Beer for sale in Florence, Italy.  Also for sale, a bunch of t-shirts and the usual assortment of Simpsons crap.

The Simpsons, “Homer the Whopper” [season premiere] – A much more gentle takedown of “Homer the Whopper” than ours.  Also, permit me to answer this question:

I remember when this show had true moments of emotion between the characters. Moments of love, or fear or … something. This was all just so over the top, it was even more out there than the “Treehouse of Horror” specials. Was this a one-off anomaly, or has The Simpsons lost its heart?

This was not an anomaly.

How Worrisome Is the Philadelphia Bullpen? – Quotes Smooth Jimmy Apollo.  Excellent usage.

Big-Screen Geek Girls – Lisa makes the list, though I’ve always thought of her more as a nerd than a geek.

Passing the 2016 Olympic Torch: Tokyo – Discussing a Japanese gymnast who actually performed on a broken leg, blogger Dan Levy cites “Lisa’s First Word”.  It was Korean gymnast in the Simpsons, but the YouTube video about the Japanese guy was pretty interesting regardless.

Video Fun Friday: Homer Celebrates the Postseason – Celebrating the Rockies making the playoffs with a little “Wild Barts Can’t Be Broken”.

Cool! – It’s a “Last supper” style painting with various famous clowns, including Krusty, three Jokers (even the one from the campy 60s teevee show) and Bozo as Jesus.  Neat.

A fish which looks like Homer Simpson – I put this up on the Twitter feed on Wednesday, but it’s creepy and accurate enough to merit mentioning again.  That fish does kinda look like Homer.

To Beer or not to Beer: Rick Miller’s MacHomer – A glowing review of MacHomer.  I seriously need to see this thing.

Fantastic 5 on Friday -Simpsons quotes – Some of the quotes are slightly off, but who cares?  Hooray for pointless Simpsons quoting (and nothing past Season 10)!

Goregirl’s Five Favorite Simpson’s Treehouse of Horror Episodes – It’s not so much episodes as it is the individual segments.  It’s a pretty solid list (i.e. nothing from after Season 7).

Sideshow Bob – A cool looking Sideshow Bob sculpture done by, “trained Kenyan artisans”.

Fall under the spell of Portico – More about the UK Jazz quartet that’s going to be in Spurlock’s special.

The Simpsons – Rare indeed is the person who is funnier when not quoting Simpsons than when quoting Simpsons.

Who Remembers?: When the Simpsons Was Funny – And finally, this week I get to end with someone who agrees with us.  In fact this guy went so far as to spend some time on Hulu and put together a series of clips depicting the difference between The Simpsons and Zombie Simpsons.  Here’s the intro:

The Simpsons has been around waaaay too long. Let’s face it, this show has over stayed it’s welcome as America’s favorite family. To illustrate this point I’ll show a good Simpsons clip then a bad Simpsons clip much like Animaniacs’ popular segment “Good Idea” “Bad Idea”.

He then proceeds to alternate clips and the choices of which old clips to pair with which new clips are spot on.  Bravo.


Quote of the Day


“Grampa, how’d you take off your underwear without taking off your pants?” – Lisa Simpson
“I don’t know…” – Abraham Simpson


Quote of the Day

The Front2

“Yo, Grandpa, time for the awards.” – Bart Simpson

“Did you call the girl from the escort service?” – Abe “Grandpa” Simpson

“They said their insurance won’t cover you.” – Lisa Simpson

“Ohhh, that’s an onion in the ointment.” – Abe “Grandpa” Simpson


Animating the Fourth Wall

I was poking around for items for tomorrow’s link dump when I came across this from a blog called “Art Brut(e)”:

See I was going to be really clever and somehow link “Mom and Pop Art” with “Duck Amuk” to Larry Johnson and it was going to be really clever, but the conceit doesn’t work anymore so– eh, why don’t you pick up an Art Forum or something.

“Duck Amuck” is one of the most memorable Merrie Melodies ever and, prior to clicking that link, I hadn’t actually watched the whole thing (~7 min) in years.  It’s still very clever and quite funny.  I cracked up when Daffy’s parachute was replaced with an anvil (William Faulkner could write an anvil gag that would really make you think).  

In terms of “Duck Amuck” and The Simpsons the first thing that sprang to mind was Snowball II after Bart makes it more interesting in the second Treehouse of Horror:  

The Simpsons honors its ancestors.

The Simpsons honors its ancestors.

But then I got to thinking about all the other times the show broke the fourth wall with animation.  (Note: this is not meant to be an exhaustive list.) 

First up is “Brush with Greatness” and it’s never ending MC Escher line for the “H2WHOA!” ride:

A water/amusement park moment we've all felt at one time or another.

A water/amusement park moment we've all felt at one time or another.


Next is “The Front” and it’s fantastically crappy reused background of water cooler/nondescript door/cleaning lady:

It takes a smart show to effectively mock itself for cutting corners.

It takes a smart show to effectively mock itself for cutting corners.


In Boy Scoutz N the Hood we learn that cartoons don’t need to be 100% realistic and, lo and behold, there are two Homers:

That's not Guy Incognito in the recently installed window.

That's not Guy Incognito in that recently installed window.


Finally, there are a lot of couch gags that play around with how the Simpsons are animated, but two in particular seem genuinely “fourth-wall-ish”.  The one in “Lisa the Beauty Queen” and “Duffless” has the family running literally out of frame:  

Watchout for large erasers and brushes.

Watch out for large erasers and brushes.


And then there’s the infinitely receding couch from “Homer Badman” and “Two Dozen and One Greyhounds”:

Keep running!  We're almost there!

Keep running! We're almost there!

I always thought that one must have been fun to animate, just keep drawing the family smaller and smaller until they’re basically dots.


Take this episode, please!

“It’ll be great to see the old gang again, Potsie, Ralph Malph, the Fonz.” – Homer Simpson
“That was ‘Happy Days’.” – Marge Simpson
“No, they weren’t all happy days, like the time Pinky Tuscadero crashed her motorcycle, or the night I lost all my money to those card sharks and my dad Tom Bosley had to get it back.” – Homer Simpson

The next new Zombie Simpsons episode is less than a week away. The buzz seems to revolve around the fact that it will be in HD, but I don’t care about that. I, like everyone else who is fortunate enough not to work for FOX, have not seen the episode yet, but I have read the summary and am confidant in saying that it will be as awful as anything else they’ve had the guts to air as of late. I am sure true Simpson’s fans will not argue with me on this. Since the preview says this will be a flashback to flashforward episode I will, in a two part series, describe the reasons for my hatred of Zombie Simpsons episodes involving flash-anything.

The first part will focus on the flashback aspect of this on-screen defecation. There are four main reasons I take issue with the episodes that have used flashbacks in the last, say, 10 years. (ugh)

1. Unnecessary auxiliary character involvement.
All of the Zombie Simpsons episodes that involve flashbacks contain characters that have no place in Homer’s life until adulthood. Lenny, Carl and Moe, I am looking at you. Get out of Homer’s past and stay out. Barney, you can stay.

2. Unnecessary Homer info.
In high school, as well as before and after that, Homer was a loser and a slacker. He has no business running for class president, having a future in any sort of job, or anything else requiring forethought and competence. If you think back to his foray into the debate team, you will remember he mooned for rebuttal. The fact that he had any idea of the concept of the word ‘rebuttal’ almost stretches too far. (Even though I wouldn’t change that scene for all the doughnuts in Springfield)

3. Unnecessary relationship drama.
In the episode “The Way We Was”, Homer and Marge had some drama as they were starting their love life. Fine. That was hilarious. There is no need to further test their relationship with childhood kisses and near breakups in other flashback episodes. If you want to do that crap, do it in present time like a real man would.

4. History.
Every flashback episode since season 6’s “And Maggie Makes Three” has been terrible. I don’t know how many there are as I am not willing to do the research and I am sure that I have repressed the memory of most of them. But I assume they are as terrible as the ones I have seen. That’s right “The Blunder Years”, “The Way We Weren’t” and “That 90’s Show” were all terrible and anyone who says otherwise is a communist. There I said it.

The list will probably not look much different in part two of this series, but I feel better as creating it has been something of a cathartic exercise.

Only because I didn’t mention it earlier, I would ask you all to watch “Lisa’s First Word” and enjoy proper flashback usage.

End The Simpsons #1 – The Less Than Seamless Opening

“Wow, it must be expensive to produce all these cartoons.” – Lisa Simpson  
“Well, we cut corners; sometimes to save money our animators will reuse the same backgrounds over and over and over again.” – Roger Myers Jr.

There are often jarring incongruities in Zombie Simpsons.  Stories twist and turn, characters jump in and out of scenes, exposition and repetition destroy anything that could be called flow.  You never know what you’re going to get, you just know that it’s probably going to be shitty.  However, there is one jarring incongruity that is as reliable and neverending as the renewal of the show.    
The opening sequence, panning over the nuclear plant, into the school, and then all over town, hasn’t changed since about 1990.  Unfortunately, the couch gag has to be produced anew all the time and it looks nothing like rest of the opening.  (Bart’s chalkboard message is a little out of place as well, but it’s not nearly as bad.)  The opening is old school from “The Simpsons” chorus through Homer’s scream as he escapes the car hole and then – bang – it’s semi-CGI time for the latest couch gag.  As if that weren’t off putting enough, it goes back to being old school during the television credits for Groening, Brooks and Simon (praise be their names).
I’ve seen that opening sequence (and heard that song) many thousands of times by now; I’m conditioned like one of Pavlov’s dogs to expect excellence when it ends.  Then the couch gag pops up and I’m ripped back into the harsh, clumsy reality of Zombie Simpsons.  It’s like being the Memento guy; right when I wake up I don’t remember that my wife is gone, but the cost of those precious seconds of hopeful naivete is having the pain always be as sharp as if it were still fresh.  


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