Posts Tagged ‘The Itchy and Scratchy and Poochie Show

10
Feb
20

Makeup Quote of the Day

“Once in a great while we are privileged to experience a television event so extraordinary it becomes part of our shared heritage . . . 1969, man walks on the Moon . . . 1971, man walks on the Moon, again. Then for a long time nothing happened.” – Krusty the Klown

13
Jul
19

Quote of the Day

“You folks ready to begin?” – Roger Meyers Jr.
“Uh, I guess. Is this episode going on the air live?” – Homer Simpson
“No, Homer. Very few cartoons are broadcast live. It’s a terrible strain on the animators’ wrists.” – June Bellamy

09
Feb
19

Quote of the Day

“I’m not gonna let ’em treat Poochie like dirt anymore just because he’s the new guy!” – Homer Simpson
“Right on, Mr. S.” – Roy
“Put a sock in it, Roy.” – Homer Simpson

14
Aug
18

Double Secret Probation Makeup Quote of the Day

“Ruff, ruff! I’m Poochie the rockin’ dog! Hi, I’m Troy McClure, you may remember me from such cartoons as Christmas Ape, and Christmas Ape Goes to Summer Camp.” – Troy McClure

15
Jun
18

Quote of the Day

“You each have a knob in front of you. When you like what you see, turn the knob to the right. When you don’t like what you see, turn it left.” – Focus Group Guy
“My knob tastes funny.” – Ralph Wiggum
“Please refrain from tasting the knob.” – Focus Group Guy

09
Feb
18

Quote of the Day

“When are they gonna get to the fireworks factory?” – Milhouse van Houten

13
Jul
17

Quote of the Day

“Adding a new character is often a desperate attempt to boost low ratings.” – Lisa Simpson
“Yo yo, how’s it hanging, everybody?” – Roy
“Morning, Roy.” – Marge Simpson
“Yeah, hi, Roy.” – Homer Simpson

Happy birthday to David S/X Cohen!

09
Feb
17

Quote of the Day

the-itchy-scratchy-poochie-show14

“The animal chain of command goes mouse, cat, dog. D-O-G.” – Roger Meyers Jr.
“A dog? Isn’t that a tad predictable?” – Not Josh Weinstein
“In your dreams! We’re talking the original dog from Hell!” – Executive
“You mean Cerberus?” – Not Bill Oakley

Happy 20th Anniversary to “The Itchy and Scratchy and Poochie Show”! Original airdate 9 February, 1997. (Sorry for the late post. I apparently cannot count.)

09
Aug
16

Quote of the Day

The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show13

“I need to purchase a brassiere. You kids wait over here in the credit department.” – Marge Simpson

06
May
16

Reading Digest: Hardcore Fans Edition

WithdrawMyQuestion

“I’ll field this one. Let me ask you a question: Why would a man whose shirt says ‘Genius at Work’ spend all of his time watching a children’s cartoon show?”
“I withdraw my question.” – Fat Nerd 

Mark Kirkland had the above experience more or less exactly on Reddit this week. It’s funny, but probably not for the reasons the Redditors think. In other news, we have a grotesque Bart mask, cheese eating, transparent Zombie Simpsons agitprop, and more.

Enjoy.

How Homer Simpson, 64 slices of American cheese and a stomach of steel led to #Cheesefest – Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week is this epic account of a contest to see if anyone really could eat sixty-four slices of American cheese. Bravo, gentlemen.

Hi Reddit! It’s Simpsons Director and filmmaker Mark Kirkland – here for my first AMA. – Via @StoryOfAhQ on Twitter, Kirkland is not as up on his Simpsons references as the Reddit horde. Things start bad with the “Genius At Work” quote and get worse:

KirklandAMA

Reddit being Reddit, some of them even get pissed when he tells them something interesting. Heh.

The Simpsons: The GIF That Keeps GIFfing – Apparently Giphy is creating a back catalog of Simpsons .gifs. Will this make me the John Henry of Simpsons .gifs, driven out by superior machines?

5 Important Life Lessons ‘The Simpsons’ Taught Us – This is a great list, including “Sometimes life rewards people who do not deserve it” and “You can try your hardest at something and still fail”. Needless to say, it includes no Zombie Simpsons.

How the Simpsons Won Our Hearts, Made Billions and Stayed on the Air for 27 Years – Zombie Simpsons has a new publicity stunt this week, some part of the episode is going to be “live” or some such nonsense, which is why articles like this get written. But even Ad Week, a publication that is literally dedicated to selling out and hawking shit no matter how dumb or worthless, has to include this:

It begs the question: Is there such a thing as too much Simpsons? Most fans will say no—though there are some who grouse that the show’s best days blew past in the mid-1990s. “For the love of god, they’ve told every conceivable story these people could have gone through. It’s all been beaten to death,” said TV expert Ray Richmond, co-author with Groening of The Simpsons: A Complete Guide to Our Favorite Family. And yet, he added, “The Simpsons is still better than 90 percent of the shows on TV—27 years on.”

Everyone knows Zombie Simpsons sucks. We just have to pretend otherwise when promoting it.

Bingeing is bad and Apu wasn’t meant to be Indian: ‘The Simpsons’ co-creator Mike Reiss – Hadn’t hear this before:

Apu, who is voiced by Hank Azaria, became an Indian quite by accident, Reiss revealed.

“The first time he (Apu) appeared in the script, he was just called ‘clerk’,” Resis said. “I actually wrote in the script in capital letters ‘He is not an Indian’ and when we got to the reading, when the cast got together, the actor read the line with an Indian accent and everyone laughed. And that’s how Apu became an Indian.”

The Secret To Preparing Fugu, The Fish That Nearly Killed Homer Simpson – YouTube video of an actual Fugu chef. I don’t even like fish and I gotta admit, that looks delicious.

Hell no, we won’t go! [pinback button featuring Bart Simpson] – This is for sale from antiquarians, damn it!

Please enjoy this grim visage from Twitter:

WeirdBartHead

Cool, a big ugly head.

shopgoodwill.com – #29512922 – The Simpsons- 12 Wonderful Seasons – The people selling stuff on Goodwill are not dumb. If you want those Simpsons DVDs to move (and they are already sold), don’t include Zombie Simpsons.

09
Feb
16

Quote of the Day

The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show12

“Hey, Krusty, you look great!  You get your teeth bleached?” – Roger Meyers Jr.
“Yeah, it’s a new kind of polymer treatment-hey, shut up!” – Krusty the Klown

29
Jul
15

Some Examples of Jerkass Homer From More Recent Seasons

The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show11

“Hey, kids?  Always recycle . . . to the extreme!” – Poochie

Johnny Sugar, who once wrote a guest post for us titled “Where Al Jean Went Wrong”, has made it to what passes for the big time if you’re a blogger, Uproxx. There, he’s been the driving force behind their expanded number of Simpsons posts (you know, the ones that keep showing up in Reading Digest). On Sunday, he put up another one:

Homer Simpson’s Changing Ways On ‘The Simpsons’

It’s a rundown of things which will be sadly familiar. In order, they are:

He’s More Of A Jerk

Zany Homer Is Now The Norm

There Are Way Fewer Consequences for His Actions Now

He’s Good At Everything Now

Shortly after the article was published, Al Jean took to Twitter to belittle it:

JeanUproxx

“Article how Homer is “now” w eps from seasons 9,11.12.15.  All 10+ years old.  Is Homer the researcher?”

Jean is, of course, correct. All of the examples are from episodes that are now themselves more than a decade old. But his implication, that these traits are not present in more “now” episodes, is demonstrably incorrect.  Here are examples of each from just the last three seasons:

He’s More of a Jerk:

Season 24 – “Moonshine River” – The family goes back to New York City (Bart is investigating his many, many past loves).  Homer doesn’t do well in the “not being a jerk” department:

Jerk0

Season 25 – “Yellow Subterfuge” – Homer helps Bart get revenge on Skinner by pretending to murder Skinner’s mother:

Jerk2

Season 24 – “A Test Before Trying” – Homer scams the entire town with a broken parking meter:

Jerk1

 

Zany Homer Is Now the Norm:

Season 25 – “The Winter of His Content” – Homer becomes a zany old person:

Zany2

Season 26 – “Bart’s New Friend” – Having done him as an old person, they went the other way and had Homer spend an entire episode thinking he’s 10-years-old.  Here he is playing tag with children on the school playground:

Zany0

Season 25 – “Steal This Episode” – Homer opens a bootleg movie theater, gets arrested, breaks out of prison, hides in an embassy, then goes on trial, all in one episode:

Zany1

This is the lame Fugitive scene, and, yes, they did it a million times better back in Season 7.

Season 24 – “The Day the Earth Stood Cool” – Homer changes his whole life around and becomes a hipster, so it’s zany, but in an ironically un-ironic way:

Zany3

 

There Are Way Fewer Consequences for His Actions Now:

Season 24 – “Homer Goes to Prep School” – Homer gets obsessed with the apocalypse, becomes a doomsday prepper, then releases an “EMP” that wipes out the town, whereupon the Simpsons flee, only to return and find out that everything is fine:

FewerConsequences2

In this scene, Marge and the kids think Springfield has just been destroyed.  Of course, it wasn’t.

Season 26 – “Waiting for Duffman” – Homer becomes Duffman, feels bad about being a corporate shill, then everything goes back to normal.  The picture speaks for itself:

FewerConsequences0

Season 26 – “The Wreck of the Relationship” – Homer and Bart go on a father son cruise where Homer repeatedly falls overboard to no noticeable effect:

FewerConsequences1

 

He’s Good At Everything Now:

Season 26 – “Covercraft” – Homer picks up guitar, gets immediately good, and ends up replacing a real band on stage in a stadium:

GoodAtEverything0

That’s Homer with Apu, Reverend Lovejoy, Dr. Hibbert, and Kirk van Houten.  The crowd loves them.

Season 26 – “The Musk Who Fell to Earth” – Homer goes into successful business with Elon fucking Musk of all people.  They basically destroy society, but it all gets wrapped up before the credits:

GoodAtEverything1

Season 25 – “Labor Pains” – Homer delivers a baby in an elevator and becomes a great father to the kid:

GoodAtEverything2

Season 25 – “You Don’t Have to Live Like a Referee” – Homer becomes a frickin’ World Cup referee:

GoodAtEverything3

Season 24 – “Pulpit Fiction” – Homer becomes a hugely popular deacon at the church:

GoodAtEverything4

They are still capable of a good sign gag on occasions.  Don’t say I never write anything nice.

I could cite a lot more examples, or keep going through Seasons 23, 22, etcetera, but the record is pretty clear.  And lots of these episodes could easily fit into more than one category.  When Homer delivers that woman’s baby and starts being a super parent to the kid, he neglects his own family and almost gets Maggie eaten by zoo animals (seriously), that’d certainly qualify him as a jerk in addition to being instantly good at something he’s always been terrible at.  Or when he goes into business with Elon Musk, they wreck society, but there’s no real consequences or fallout and everything gets wrapped up quickly.

The problems that Homer developed as the show slid into senility and Zombie Simpsons haven’t gone away.  They haven’t even changed much.  Any way you slice it, old examples or new, Homer’s been a successful, zany, consequence free jackass for fifteen years running.  And if FOX decides to exercise that option of theirs and take the show through Season 30-31, he’s going to keep being the same jerkass he’s been since Season 10 or so.

13
Jul
15

Quote of the Day

The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show9

“Whoa, a talking dog!  What were you guys smoking when you came up with that?” – Otto
“We were eating rotisserie chicken.  Can you just read the line, please?” – Not David S. Cohen

Happy birthday David S/X Cohen!  

09
Feb
15

Quote of the Day

The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show10

“Is this seat taken, little girl?” – Jasper
“I’m not a girl!  Are you blind?” – Bart Simpson
“Yes.” – Jasper

22
Dec
12

Quote of the Day

The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show7

“Excuse me, Mr. Simpson, on the Itchy & Scratchy CD-ROM, is there a way to get out of the dungeon without using the wizard key?” – Database
“What the hell are you talking about?” – Homer Simpson

06
Jul
12

Reading Digest: YouTube Voice Over Edition

The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show6

“It really is you!  How’d you get to be so good?” – Homer Simpson
“Oh, just experience I suppose.  I started out as Road Runner.  Meep!” – June Bellamy
“You mean, “meep-meep”?” – Homer Simpson
“No, they only paid me to say it once, then they doubled it up on the soundtrack.  Cheap bastards.” – June Bellamy

With the Fourth of July sitting right smack dab in the middle of the week, the Simpson pickings on the internet were slimmer than usual.  However, we do have several links from places that don’t celebrate the Fourth, as well as two links to videos that feature guest voices, one directly Simpsons related, the other indirectly related.  There’s also the usual array of excellent usage, sweet fan made stuff (the life size Homer cutout in particular), and a soccer related reason to agree with us. 

Enjoy.

I Know That Voice or That’s What Spongebob Looks Like? – Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week comes from our old friend ilmozart, who found a trailer for an upcoming documentary about voice actors.  There isn’t anyone specifically from The Simpsons in the trailer, but there are a lot of recognizable voices and names, including several from Futurama.  Nice find.

Canterbury township unveils new donut – A Springfield in New Zealand that had its giant Simpsons donut put to the torch by some asshole has rebuilt it out of steel and concrete.  Awesome.  The video is great, including an old tire (painted pink and with a bite missing) that was used as a temporary replacement.  They even found someone named “Simpson” to comment during the report.  

The Simpsons visit the NFL on FOX 1995 Week 1 Pregame Opening – I’m pretty sure I’ve linked this before, but I couldn’t find it just now and the opening (“A Married with Children Easter”) is actually kinda funny.  Note that all the supplementary voices are provided by Castellaneta and Cartwright, that way they only had to pay two members of the voice cast:

Thanks to reader Toad for sending this in!

(If you watch to the end you can see Jimmy Johnson laugh at Howie Long after James Brown calls Long a “big movie star”.  I thought he was talking about Long’s only star turn, in the catastrophically bad Firestorm, but IMDb tells me that movie came out in 1998 and this was 1995, so I have no idea was Brown is talking about.) 

The Sketchpad: Homer Simpson – Awesome:

We produced this life-size Homer Simpson for non-profit purposes.

You’ll have to speak up, he’s wearing a towel.

All Right, I’m Pretty Sure it’s Not Just Me – Apparently there’s some debate over Ralph’s “I’m a Viking” line:

Perhaps needless to say, my coworker’s suggestion that Ralph simply meant that he was literally a viking in his dreams was deeply troubling to me.It was like at the end of Sixth Sense where all of Bruce Willis’s memories instantly metamorph as he realizes he was (spoiler) dead the entire time. Had I had it wrong for the last sixteen years?

Everybody in the vicinity chimed in to assure me that I was wrong and that everything I’d known or believed for the bulk of my life was a bitter lie. I lost some two weeks of sleep trying to figure out why I would assume “I’m a viking” was an expression meaning “I excel at.”

After the first two incidents given in this blog and a handful of other ones in which I found myself inexplicably at odds with everyone around me, the viking thing started bothering me all over again and I looked it up. Turns out there’s a whole ongoing debate about it on the internet. That is to say, many people had the same interpretation as me. There have even been online polls, which all seem to lean heavily toward the literal interpretation that Ralph is in fact a viking, but at least I know I’m not totally alone.

I’m going to cop out on answering this by simply saying that there are a lot of things on The Simpsons that can have two (or more) meanings.  That’s one of the things that makes them great.

Jaret Reddick of Bowling for Soup is the new Chuck E.Cheese mascot – Wow:

In a move which seems to bring The Simpsons satirical The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie show to life – minus the self-aware irony – long-running kids pizza chain Chuck E. Cheese is rebranding their iconic New Jersey rat mascot as a "hip, electric-guitar-playing rock star."

That’s followed by excellent usage that replaces the word “dog” with the word “mouse”.  (Thanks to reader Robin via e-mail!) 

“Bloom’s Taxonomy (Revised) According to Homer Simpson” – It’s not on YouTube, so I can’t embed it, but there’s a video that uses examples from The Simpsons (no Zombie Simpsons) to illustrate educational concepts. 

Homer Simpson: Ode to an American Oaf. – A character appraisal of one Homer J. Simpson.

Beautiful time-lapse video of the Aurora Borealis – Commenter P. Piggly Hogswine sends in this link to a video about the actual Northern Lights in which the comments go Simpsons:

Brendan Wareheim Posted at 2:14 PM June 26, 2012

    The Aurora Borealis? At this time of year? At this time of day? In this part of the country? Localized entirely within your kitchen?

Three comments later:

sideshow of bigtop Posted at 10:16 PM June 26, 2012

    sorry but speilberg could never come up with something that is so natural but so amazing at the same time. Brendan, im sure not ven you understand your comment.

Ah, comment threads, the only place where a person who doesn’t bother to spell, punctuate, or put the “e” in “even” can complain about not understanding what someone else wrote.  Thanks P. Piggly! 

Sideswipe: July 6: A Marge Simpson moment – Excellent usage:

Visiting the parents in Wellington a couple of weeks ago, I walked down to the local inner-city supermarket only to find this. I’m a bit of a Simpsons‘ nut and the first thing that came to mind was Marge Simpson’s line when she was a cop, "[thinking] Everywhere I look, someone is breaking the law. Dog, no leash. Man, littering. Horse not wearing diaper. Car parked across THREE handicap spaces … "

There’s even a picture of the car in question.

Black Bart Simpson Is A Thing – Three old t-shirts with black Bart on them.  I can’t recall seeing the Nelson Mandela one before. 

How Extremely Successful People (And Even Homer Simpson) Turn Obstacles Into Assets – Mealy mouthed business advice is rarely enlightening, though this one at least cites Season 10 to liven things up. 

Today’s Pink Stroke of Genius: Marcia Wallace – Voice of “Edna Krabappel” on The Simpsons – is “Tickled Pink” Keynote Speaker – Marcia Wallace will be speaking at a breast cancer fundraiser in Rochester, New York in October.

Simpsons GIFs Explain ObamaCare Ruling – More movie/Zombie Simpsons here than I care for, but the idea is relatively solid.

Fresh vegetable gazpacho (You can win friends with salad!) – This ““It’s too damn hot to cook” Gazpacho:” recipe comes with two Simpsons YouTubes from “Lisa the Vegetarian”.  Bravo.

Shakespeare versus the Simpsons – An interesting question:

When I was having one of my goodbye dinners with a friend, he mentioned a survey he had read about. The survey showed that most people would prefer to watch The Simpsons over reading Shakespeare after coming home from work. However, when forced to save one of the two from a burning house, those same people would almost always choose to save their copies of Hamlet and MacBeth, rather than their collection of Simpsons DVDs.

[…]

My question is, why don’t more people choose to read Shakespeare on normal days?

I’d guess that it’s because you don’t have to think while you watch The Simpsons, you’ll catch more stuff if you do, but it’s not mandatory, whereas Shakespeare pretty much requires thought.

Lisa – Fan made drawing of three Lisas in three stages, outline, color, and finally complete.  I do indeed, like you[r art].

GPOY No Internet – That was me for at least part of Wednesday.

Homer Busting Out – Cool double sided Homer tattoo.

Sideshow bob (speedpaint) – YouTube:

Could’ve done without the Zombie Simpsons on the soundtrack (though not all of it), but that’s pretty impressive as far as drawing something in Paint goes. 

What am I Missing with ‘A Separate Peace”? – I never read it, so I have no opinion:

I value Lisa Simpson’s opinion on literature, after all, this is a character who has been seen clutching copies of  The Bell Jar, Ethan Frome, Man and Superman, The Corrections, and the more age appropriate Pippi Longstocking. So when she says she hates John Knowles, I feel validated. I have always disliked John Knowles’s A Separate Peace.

Nimoy – This is done Quote of the Day style, though there is no way to capture Nimoy’s self satisfied chuckle in print.

My Wisdom Teeth Hurt – Same as above, but more of a paraphrase and from “Bart Gets an Elephant”.  Homer is well matched with the teeth diagram.

please? – Still with subtitles from “Homer the Smithers”.

Spain join Britney Spears & The Simpsons on the list of things we have fallen out of love with – And finally, I get to end with someone who agrees with us, albeit through the lens of Euro 2012:

Detractors of La Roja claim that their passing football is becoming aimless just four years after they gained great popularity, emulating many figures in losing fans en masse

[…]

It all started so well. When The Simpsons burst onto TV screens in 1989, it garnered catchphrases, merchandise and popularity like no other animated show had ever known.

With a subtle mix of family appeal and innuendo, the adventures of Homer J. Simpson and his dysfunctional clan became the first cartoon to ever really capture the imagination of multiple generations.

But after 23 seasons, the popularity of the show has waned, with even a smash-hit 2007 film unable to arrest the slide in viewing figures. The freshness has seemingly slipped away, with episodes becoming more and more random, losing much of the core fanbase the writers had developed in the early days.

Indeed.

23
Mar
12

Reading Digest: Forgotten Stuff Edition

The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show5

“Look Scratchy, it’s our new friend, Poochie.” – Itchy
“What’s that name again?  I forgot.” – Scratchy

Thanks to its relentless insistence on being both bland and repetitive, Zombie Simpsons manages to be incredibly forgettable despite its long run on television.  Earlier in the week, I joked about “Them, Robot” swarming with magic robots, but I’d completely forgotten that they already did an episode swarming magic robots this season, “Replaceable You”.  In case you also forgot (though not everyone did), that was the one where Bart and Martin build an army of robot seals who turn evil and then good again. 

If Zombie Simpsons has a virtue, it is that it is easy to forget most of it, and this week we’ve got two links about exactly that, one with great imagery.  In addition to that, we’ve got an excellent variety of fan made stuff in mediums as diverse as sand and yarn, an interview with Alf Clausen, some Lego ads, a YouTube video that makes me want to sit down, and several people who agree with us.

Enjoy.

Noiseless Chatter Spotlight: “AWESOM-O,” South Park season 8, episode 5 (2004) – Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week is this thorough look at the “AWESOM-O” episode of South Park, the process that created it, and how that stacks up against The Simpsons and Zombie Simpsons.  He makes one point in particular that I want to agree with: 

If you think I’m going to bring up The Simpsons again as a point of comparison, you’re right. After all, there’s no better reference point for either of the two shows than each other, and whereas The Simpsons has been recycling plots and echoing itself in gradually deteriorating whispers for the sake of remaining familiar to whatever small audience still chooses to follow it, South Park has been ditching characters and ideas since season two, scrambling up core dynamics and introducing new regular characters in order to explore avenues that they previously couldn’t reach without stretching characters beyond their scope of believability.

South Park has benefitted tremendously from its ability to shift its format and focus between different characters.  Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, but they aren’t stuck repeating things because they’re wedded to a specific template.  The only thing I’d add is that they can do that because Parker and Stone have all the leverage vis-a-vis them and Comedy Central.  That show is the two of them, including the bulk of the voices.  On Zombie Simpsons, no one person has the ability to say “That sucked, we’ve got to try something new”.  Even if Brooks, Jean and Groening all walked off the show, you know what would happen?  FOX would keep making episodes with whoever stayed.  On South Park, Parker and Stone have the kill switch; on Zombie Simpsons, FOX has it.

I highly recommend the whole thing.

Drinks’ On Simpsons – A nicely photo-documented project to create customized, homemade Simpsons coasters.  If I had any furniture that needed coasters used, I would want those.  They’re fantastic. 

Homer Simpson Crochet Toy – Check out this amazing foot tall, fan made Homer doll.  All the details are there, right down to the eyelids. 

Watching 130 Episodes of “The Simpsons” Simultaneously – That guy who put up all the Itchy & Scratchy videos also did this:

Here’s what you’re watching:

-Top to bottom: each row shows a season (from season 1 to season 10)
-Left to right: each column shows an episode (from episode 1 to episode 13)

A total of 130 episodes is displayed, framerate is 25fps, thumbnails have been captured at 80x60px

That’s fun and all, and bonus points for no Zombie Simpsons, but I kind of feel like Chief Wiggum watching the monorail race around the city.

All Kids out of the Pool: The Best Adult Cartoons – A look at some adult animation going all the way back to 1943, with lots of YouTube.  And it agrees with us:

The Simpsons is a classic cartoon, and it is extremely unlikely that anyone hasn’t heard of it. It has severely declined in quality since the first few seasons, and the jokes most people remember as hilarious are actually from the first few seasons.

In all the times I come across poor, moderate and excellent usage (not all of which I post about), it is amazing how infrequently people mention anything from Zombie Simpsons.  Whether it’s someone writing a blog post about being pregnant or going on vacation, a reporter opening a story, or anything else, it feels like I see a hundred or more references to The Simpsons for every one I see for Zombie Simpsons.  I don’t keep count or anything, but it’s overwhelming.  Speaking of remembering jokes . . .

Simpsons then and now – This is from Springfield Springfield on Twitter (click to embiggen):

Simpsons Then and Now1

That image has been kicking around on-line for a while now, and obviously the right hand side is nothing but crappy celebrity appearances and desperate cries for attention like Marge kissing Lindsey Naegle.  Here’s the second one (again, click to embiggen):

Simpsons Then and Now2

They called this one “Fixed”, and I agree.  Unless you’re a particular fan of this or that celebrity or band, they’ve had so many people on as themselves now that they all just fade into one incoherent fog.  I’m not sure who created the first one or fixed the second one, but if you want credit just let me know.  Kudos to both. 

National Treasure Director Jon Turteltaub, The Simpsons former Producer Jay Kogen, and New York Times Bestselling Author of Midwives Chris Bohjalian, and Pulitzer Prize winning author James B. Stewart are among the headliners for the SCCE’s 11th Annual Co – As you can tell from this monstrous (yet cutoff) headline, Jay Kogen will be speaking to a group called SCCE, which stands for the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics.  The conference isn’t until October, and there’s no real news here, I just thought it was amusing that they put “Compliance” ahead of “Ethics”.

Santa Cruz X The Simpsons 500th Episode Slasher Deck – An eyes-out, wheels-off Bart skateboard design. 

¡Ay Caramba! Interview with “The Simpsons” composer Alf Clausen – There’s not a lot of new information in here, but Alf seems like he’s having a good time, and this is cool as hell:

At the 500th session, you took time to make special mention of some musicians with whom you’ve worked for decades. In what other capacities have you worked together?
“Trombonist Bob Payne, trumpet player Gary Grant and recently retired percussionist Jules Greenberg were all part of my ‘Donny & Marie Show’ band in 1976. They have been an integral part of every show I’ve recorded since then. Many other members of my ‘Simpsons’ orchestra have worked for me for over 25 years.”

250. Lego Imagination – Much was made this week about these new Lego ads that are minimalist renditions of famous cartoon characters.  Here they are all scrunched together. 

‘Hunger Games’ Characters as ‘Simpsons’ Stars – Speaking of things that were linked all over the place this week, these Hunger Games characters done in yellow with no chins (via). 

Writers for "The Simpsons," "M*A*S*H" among panelists for Aspen Shortsfest – Mike Reiss will be judging a short film festival that runs April 10th-15th in Colorado. 

Deciphering opposition to health care reform – Excellent usage:

One of my all-time favorite episodes of "The Simpsons" was aired way back in 1992. It was called "Homer the Heretic," and towards the end of the episode, there’s a serious fire in the Simpsons’ home.

After everyone is safe and the fire is put out, an insurance agent asks Homer, "Any valuables in the house?" He replied, "Well, the Picasso, my collection of classic cars…"

The agent replies, "Sorry, this policy only covers actual losses, not made-up stuff."

“Well that’s just great.”

100 Best Comedy Characters Currently On Television (40-31) – Continuing the list from last week, here we have Flanders checking in at #40. 

The Rebooted ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ Will Be Aliens, According To Michael Bay – Excellent usage:

I’m suddenly having flashes of the network executive from the “Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie” episode of The Simpsons: “We at the network want a dog with attitude. He’s edgy, he’s ‘in your face.’ You’ve heard the expression, ‘let’s get busy’? Well, this is a dog who gets ‘biz-zay!’ Consistently and thoroughly.”

I’m beginning to think Michael Bay is the greatest troll in the history of the internet (at least the pop culture part of it).  There’s an alternate universe where he’s the assistant manager of a surf shop who spends most of his time posting inane comments on blogs and message boards. 

Marge and Maggie Simpson on Mothers Day 2012 – I’ve linked to this guy’s sand drawings before, and his Flickr page has plenty more.  Cheers to Martin Artman. 

Jason Reitman to stage The Big Lebowski – They’re doing a live reading of The Big Lebowski, which is challenging because there are a ton of small, one or two scene characters.  Enter Azaria:

Luckily, three actors known for their diverse voices have signed on to ensure that worries about the size of the cast don’t drag any negative energy into this tournament.

From the Jesus to pornographer Jackie Treehorn to the irate neighbor who “kills” the Dude’s car, most of the small-but-memorable roles will be handled by a versatile trio. Nick Kroll and Patton Oswalt, two veterans of the live-reads, will be joined by The Simpsons’ Hank Azaria to “cover the field” of different characters in The Big Lebowski, Reitman says. “There will be a moment when the three nihilist will be played by Patton, Nick, and Hank, and we’ll be getting each of their German accents,” he laughs.

I mean, say what you want about the tenets of Zombie Simpsons, Dude, at least its an ethos. 

Muppets return to the big screen with family fun, laughs – The Clarksdale Press Register is one of those self defeating local papers that requires a subscription to read it; fortunately, the excellent usage is right in the first sentence:

When asked what a “Muppet” was, Homer Simpson once said, “Well, it’s not quite a mop and it’s not quite a puppet, but maaaaan! (laughs) So to answer your question, I don’t know.”

Homer and Marge Simpson Beer Bottle Cozies via Flickr – Nice. 

Custom of the Week: Ralph – Last week we had some ponies redone as the Simpsons clan.  Here’s one of Ralph Wiggum. 

Cool Party Trick – Animated .gif of that Irish bartender from “Pygmoelian”.

Scooby Doo Fan Art # 3 (Mash-Ups) – Drawings of the Scooby Doo gang in other franchises, including Simpsons.  The Ghostbusters and Ghost World ones are particularly good. 

Handheld Classics: Bart Simpson’s Escape From Camp Deadly – A review of a Gameboy game I had completely forgotten about. 

Eat More Bikes: Post Apocalyptic Bart Simpson. – A four pane comic.  I chuckled. 

17 reasons to feel proud today – A St. Patrick’s Day list for Irish pride messes up this quote slightly:

The place of Ireland’s national day in popular culture was neatly summed up by that great sage Homer Simpson: "It’s been St Patrick’s Day for hours, and I’m not drunk yet."

It’s actually “I’m still not drunk yet”, but that’s close enough for excellent usage.

Canada News, Commentary, Analysis, Blogs – Excellent YouTube usage about the amount of food that gets thrown away every year. 

Big Data won’t solve your company’s problems – Sigh:

FORTUNE — "Oh, people can come up with statistics to prove anything. Fourteen percent of people know that." – Homer Simpson

Forfty.

… He’s Real! – Herschel, pie is for noshing, not for throwing.

Inside The Simpsons’ "Life on the Fast Lane" – Splitsider apparently now has a regular feature where they watch old commentaries.  Huh. 

Need a Hangover Cure? Try Itchy and Scratchy! – Another link to that huge YouTube video of Itchy & Scratchy from last week contains this nice piece of Zombie Simpsons snark:

P.S.  If you’re not a fan of The Simpsons in their halcyon salad days of consistent greatness, (roughly Seasons 1-10, before a team of writers who sound like snooty grad students fresh out of college started working for the show) then I’m not sure we can stay friends.

Simpsons: Them Robots, Them Robots – We weren’t the only ones who didn’t like last week’s episode of Zombie Simpsons either:

At this point, I wonder if the current writers have seen the previous seasons of the show.  Maybe it should be required viewing so that they can be reminded of how great things used to be and what our expectations are, instead of just trotting out the same ideas in lesser forms.  But clearly that is expecting too much.

Dylan Plays The Simpsons: Tapped Out, Dies Inside – And finally, I get to end with someone who agrees with us, and does so in an enjoyably harsh review of that new game:

Long ago, the show had stripped away the humanity of everybody living in Springfield, and The Simpsons: Tapped Out is just another reflection of this trend. The show’s not going anywhere soon, and if the success of the app is any indication, neither is Tapped Out. The characters no longer feel human; they feel like work mules. In the show, they’re plodding through the same tired storylines (oh, the Simpsons are being kicked out of Springfield again?) with none of the same heart. In the game, it doesn’t matter that Milhouse spends his entire day flying the same model airplane in four hour intervals, or that Krusty spends eight hours “Inflating His Own Importance.”

These characters are happy to recycle the same actions again and again without question. Maybe utilizing these things for their money-producing powers is for the best. I have nine levels until I reach level twenty, and these pretend friends won’t impress themselves.

Just Don’t Forget, Citizens of Springfield: You’re Here Forever.

Got that right.

22
Nov
11

Crazy Noises: The Book Job

The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show4

“It’s not your fault, Homer, it’s those lousy writers.  They make me madder than a, um. . . yak in heat.” – Marge Simpson

As part of our tireless efforts to demonstrate the many ways Zombie Simpsons fails to entertain, Season 23 will be subjected to the kind of rigorous examination that can only be produced by people typing short messages at one another.  More dedicated or modern individuals might use Twitter for this, but that’s got graphics and short links and little windows that pop up when you put your cursor over things.  The only kind of on-line communications we like are the kind that could once be done at 2400 baud.  So disable your call waiting, plug in your modem, and join us for another year of Crazy Noises.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (shockingly enough, not on “pastiche”).

In comments and on Twitter there have been more generous appraisals of “The Book Job” than is usual for Zombie Simpsons, as well as some eye rolling at my typically harsh appraisal of it.  And while I don’t want to speak for anyone else, I do think I understand that.  “The Book Job” had a bit more life to it than most Zombie Simpsons episodes, but I’m also of the opinion that most of that was the same kind of cheap pandering that we got last week, the only difference is that it was fiction books in place of video games and celebrity chefs.  In other words, the package here is a little shinier than usual, but there’s still a turd under the wrapper.

Consider this exchange near the end between the gang and Neil Gaiman (who, let us not forget, is voicing himself and just showed up out of thin air):

Patty: How could they do this to our book?
Skinner: It was the singular vision of seven people.
Moe: No way!
Gaiman: What you’re feeling is called ‘pride of authorship’.  You thought you only cared about money, but you actually care more about what you’ve created together.
Homer: British Fonzie is right, our story is actually more important than money.

This is them literally restating the plot and telling us (not showing us, but telling us) how they’re feeling and why they’re feeling it.  This is exactly the kind of hacktacular crap they were mocking in “The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show” when Marge says that those lousy writers make her feel madder than “a yak in heat”.  Or, to grab from another show for a moment, this is what the Robot Devil was talking about when he told Fry his opera sucked because “You can’t just have your characters announce how they feel!”.

And that is far from the only example.  Here’s the scene where they plot out their book:

Patty: The heroes are all orphans.
Skinner: And they’re set in a place kids relate to, say, a school, but it’s actually magic.
Frink: And, the protagonist always discovers that he is supernatural.
Homer: Okay, our book will be about an orphan who goes to a magical school where he discovers he’s a vampire.

From there they repeat the word “vampire” about seventeen times, with Frink actually saying “So many vampires!”.  This is the book equivalent of “Gamestation” and “Guts of War”, they’re not poking fun at anything, they’re just restating things.  From there we’re treated to their exposition-tastic creation of their troll idea, which is basically the exact same thing as the above.  This includes the poorly animated thought bubble background which is just to make super-duper-sure that the audience gets it:

Creative Failure

I’m so glad they were able to find clipart of bridges and trolls.

Nor was the shoddy animation limited to their shared dream sequences.  Check out Homer in the bookstore, here:

Strange Wallpaper

So many blank books!

For an episode that clearly took a lot of pride in its background stuff, making all the books single color with no evidence of writing on them is all the more revealing.  They don’t even look like books, more like kids play blocks.  Then there’s the mysteriously appearing printer.  Here’s Lisa in front of her desk:

Mystery Laptop

Nice laptop, shame it’s about to be sucked into another dimension.

And here’s Lisa just a few seconds later:

Mystery Printer1

Is fifteen seconds of object permanence too much to ask?

The laptop is gone, the printer has appeared, Lisa managed to move to the other side of the desk, and the entire room shifted.  This isn’t one or two small mistakes, this is them drawing the room completely differently for shots that are only a few seconds apart.  But wait, there’s more!  Note the pages streaming off the printer:

Mystery Printer2

Ctrl-C and Ctrl-V are everyone’s friend.

Notice that not only do the pages behave nothing like actual paper, but they are also identical to one another.  They couldn’t be bothered to move the text around or even just rotate the damn images.

The entire episode is filled with bland, expository dialogue and wildly uneven animation like this.  And that’s before you even get to things like the story not making sense, the characters acting nothing like themselves, and all the usual Zombie Simpsons crap.  That Dan Castellaneta and Nancy Cartwright were doing decent impressions of George Clooney and Brad Pitt’s repartee isn’t nearly enough to save this.

Charlie Sweatpants: Where do you want to start?

Dave: Near as makes no difference. It was a haze of mediocrity.

Charlie Sweatpants: Indeed it was. And while there were a lot of small problems, the overarching one is that this was just so damn gimmicky.

Dave: Yeah. Just a pastiche of dumb shit. Though I did chuckle at Ralph wanting to go back into Sarah’s womb.

Charlie Sweatpants: I was okay with the Ralph thing until he actually, you know, climbed under her dress.

Dave: Well yeah.

Charlie Sweatpants: The whole dinosaur opening was annoying. Did we need to get to the screaming and the running so fast?

Dave: No, we did not. But they didn’t waste a second.

Charlie Sweatpants: It’s just another example of how they can’t go even a few seconds without not making any sense.

And that was before Homer and the kids just walked backstage like they owned the damn place.

Dave: Yeah. But how else could they have started the whole crime heist nonsense?

Logically started, anyway.

Charlie Sweatpants: That’s my overarching problem that spoiled the whole thing for me. Maybe I’m overreacting, but after last week’s food blogger thing and now this Ocean’s Eleven thing I’m sick and tired of one-note episodes.

Not only are they unimaginative, but they’re so transparently pandering. Food blogging, people like that right? Ooh, teen lit, there’s something that’s been in the New York Times style section lately.

Dave: The alternative is 2-3 plots that collectively don’t make any sense. Pick your poison. In this case teaming up Homer, Bart, Skinner, Moe, etc. and tossing in a celebrity felt just about right.

But teen lit is so topical. And werewolves, c’mon.

Charlie Sweatpants: That’s the problem. They’re so completely bereft of actual ideas that they’re leaning on cheap topicality. Except it takes them a year to make an episode so by the time they get around to something it’s usually already played out.

South Park does a lot of topical episodes, and they tend to be the ones that don’t age very well because they’re only really funny in that moment. But for South Park you at least get that moment. Making fun of Harry Potter-Twilight-Etcetera was current, what? Three years ago when the first Twilight movie came out?

Dave: Something like that. I tend not to pay attention to those sorts of things.

Charlie Sweatpants: Look at it this way, they can’t figure a way to just do something with the Simpson family or with Lisa loving a series of books. So they have to set everything to 11, make a boring and predictable caper plot, and end up having Homer break into some heavily defended skyscraper.

Dave: Are you sure you’re not secretly moonlighting for them?

Charlie Sweatpants: Ouch. What did I do to deserve that accusation?

Dave: That was harsh and unnecessary. I take it back.

Your summary was just very on point.

Charlie Sweatpants: Like I said, I may be overreacting because they’ve done two of these in a row now, but all of the annoying things that were there last week are here this week in spades.

Characters acting unlike themselves, lame “parodies” that amount to little more than misspelling things, a story that doesn’t make any sense, all they want to do is make some bad pop culture jokes and the rest of the episode is poorly done window dressing around that.

They actually had Moe say he didn’t want to get involved with another of Homer’s “hare brained schemes”. If that’s not an admission of, like you said, mediocrity, I don’t know what is.

Dave: So what’s to be done?

They could stop. But they won’t.

Charlie Sweatpants: Well, bitching on the internet is something, isn’t it?

Dave: Better than the alternative, which is pretending the show’s still good and/or relevant.

Charlie Sweatpants: Better than nothing, I suppose.

As for individual problems this one had, where to begin?

I was sick of that music and title card thing by about the third one, and then they kept on coming.

There was an excess of their usual pointless and boring bloodshed.

Homer being super slick and competent all of a sudden. Props and characters appearing and disappearing at random.

There were also a couple of times where the animation really seemed phoned in. Like last week they had a lot of background stuff in some scenes (though most of them were lame for the previously discussed reasons), but when they weren’t showing a bunch of book titles, everything was really stale and repetitive.

When the printer in Lisa’s room starts spitting out pages, all of them are identical. The books in the bookstore are just flat, monochromatic rectangles.

Dave: I didn’t even notice that, honestly.

I was more put off by the poorly done homages to the Oceans movies.

Charlie Sweatpants: I generally only notice the animation if it’s really bad or really good, and this was really bad.

It really was Homer Simpson and the Springfield Variety Players bring you Oceans 15 or whatever.

Dave: They may as well have had Duck President.

Charlie Sweatpants: Did you notice that Marge didn’t have a role in the caper, so she basically disappeared right after the opening?

Dave: Now that you mention it, yeah.

Charlie Sweatpants: There just wasn’t any space for her, I guess.

Dave: Well, last week we had too much of her. Maybe they thought a break was in order.

Charlie Sweatpants: It’s also possible they just ran out of time with all of the flashbacks and thought bubble expositions.

They had to keep explaining what things were going on and illustrating the story with crappy animated icons.

Dave: The show is layered beast, too dense for the average television viewer. Be glad we had our hands held.

Charlie Sweatpants: Maybe you’re right and I should be grateful they only explain things three or four times instead of five or six.

Dave: That’s what they’ll resort to next season.

Charlie Sweatpants: I can’t wait.

Anything else here?

Dave: Nope. I can’t believe we’re only 6 episodes in. Feels like an eternity already.

Charlie Sweatpants: I know the feeling.

23
May
11

If a Show Falls in the Woods and Nobody Watches It, Does It make a Sound?

Chalkboard - The Ned-liest Catch

“That crater is where your lousy cartoon crash landed.  It’s ratings poison!” – Krusty the Klown

You’ve got to give Zombie Simpsons one thing, when they want to really put on a tour de force of crappiness, they can still do it.  They had Bart and Homer acting manic and inserting themselves into other people’s lives just because.  They had plenty of pointless filler, including two different scenes with characters clambering over obstacles for no discernable purpose.  (And the second one wasn’t even a call back!)  They took characters appearing and disappearing from scenes to new heights.  And the story managed to be overwrought and nonsensical while still being tedious and needing tons of exposition.  On the absolute scale of dull and boring this is worthy of being their season finale, and I haven’t even mentioned the gimmick at the end.

I’m not sure if the conclusion, with Homer and Marge addressing the camera, actually qualifies as breaking the fourth wall; it’s more like shrugging at the fourth wall.  Breaking the fourth wall is when you address the fact that you’re in a teevee show, preferably with something clever.  This was the show saying, “Meh”.

Happily, the numbers are in and the audience replied with equal apathy.  Last night’s petty excuse for a bad date movie was not called back by just 5.29 million viewers.  That is the fifth lowest number in history, and pushed Season 22 below Season 20 for the title of least watched season ever.  As recently as March, Season 22 looked like it would avoid this fate; but where Season 20 averaged 7.12 million viewers per episode, Season 22 only made it to 7.10 million.

As much fun as that is to type, it’s worth mentioning that those numbers aren’t the kind of thing that can doom the show.  I use the quick and dirty overnights from TV By the Numbers, but advertising rates are calculated using not only live viewers, but anyone who watches it on DVR within three days.  Nor do my numbers account for demographics, and Zombie Simpsons does better among the impressionable youth that advertisers lust after.  So while it’s certainly embarrassing when your highly promoted, internet gimmick season finale loses in the ratings to a Family Guy special that was released on DVD last December, it isn’t fatal.

However, that doesn’t mean the low numbers aren’t fun to laugh at.  Season 22 managed only one episode with more than ten million viewers, and that was thanks to a generous lead in from the NFL playoffs.  Of the ten lowest rated episodes in the show’s twenty-two year history, one is from Season 20, four are from Season 21, and five are from Season 22.  Of the fifty lowest, all but one of them came in the last four seasons; and compared to just five years ago, when Season 17 averaged 9.46 million viewers, the show has lost a quarter of its audience.  So whenever you see someone talk about how the show’s still got it after all these years, you can truthfully say that the numbers don’t agree.

[Edited because I can’t count to five, I originally thought it was the fourth lowest rated episode.]

04
Apr
11

Still Got the Magic

Chalkboard - Lisa's First Word

“It’s back to the basics, classic Itchy & Scratchy!” – Bart Simpson
“We should thank our lucky stars they’re still putting out a program of this caliber after so many years.” – Lisa Simpson

From time to time, people ask us what we would do if Zombie Simpsons ever broadcast a good episode.  Would we kick it just because it’s Zombie Simpsons, or are we open minded enough to say that, yeah, even here in 2011 the show can still be good?  Well, I’m here to tell you that last night’s episode on FOX was outstanding from end to end, with a great story, fantastic writing, and more quotable lines than we usually see in a whole season of Zombie Simpsons.  Let it never be said that we at the Dead Homer Society doesn’t know quality television when we see it. 

“Lisa’s First Word” was another flashback episode, in this case to the events surrounding Lisa’s birth during the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.  As you’d expect, there were a lot of jokes at the expense of the 80s and 80s culture, but it never felt like a “destination” episode where they go someplace and just make a string of unrelated gags about it.  Instead we got delightfully silly period pieces, such as having the immigrant kids’ stickball game be played in a video arcade instead of the street, and quick, knowing laughs at everything from David Hasselhoff and Carl Lewis to Walter Mondale, Cyndi Lauper and M*A*S*H. 

The story itself was just as great.  Seeing how Lisa was born, how Homer met Flanders, and even how the Simpson family came to live on Evergreen Terrace is the kind of elegant, revealing and downright funny fan service that has been so sorely lacking in recent years.  After Flanders introduces himself in a very Flanders-esque way (“The handle’s Flanders, but my friends call me Ned”), Homer dislikes him immediately without any overwrought histrionics or cliched backstory (“Hi, Flanders”).  And when Homer has to ask Grampa for a loan to buy a house, the show never lets the bittersweet emotion of a family transitioning from one generation to another overwhelm the fun.  Not only did Grampa win the house “on a crooked 50s game show”, but the touching moment when Homer invites Grampa to share their new home is used as the setup for a punchline about how quickly and callously Homer sent his father to the dreary Springfield Retirement Castle.  The whole thing was fantastic from start to finish.   

Anyway, the numbers are in and they are eye-poppingly awesome.  “Lisa’s First Word” was watched by 15.5 million U.S. households, making it the most watched episode in six years, since that one that came on right after the Super Bowl.  Curiously, this excellent new episode is not available yet on Hulu.com. 

There’s no guarantee that they’ll be able to return consistently to this stratospheric level of quality.  And the description of next week’s episode, in which Marge becomes obsessed with peaches, Lisa becomes a magician’s assistant, and a number of famous people guest voice themselves, isn’t encouraging.  But if they can routinely put on something as beautifully animated (the spaghetti slurping scene was gorgeously drawn), fast paced (they covered a ton of topics in just twenty-two minutes), and laugh ’til you cry funny (“I think his name is Mother Shabubu now”) as they did last night, then we’ll have no choice but close up shop on this here blog because there will no longer be any need for it.  Here’s hoping. 




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