Posts Tagged ‘The Ned-liest Catch

30
Sep
11

Reading Digest: Deafening Silence Edition

Grade School Confidential5

“Willie hears ya.  Willie don’t care.” – Groundskeeper Willie

After the Season 22 finale, I wrote a post noting the vast difference between the marketing of the Flanders-Krabappel cliffhanger and the one for “Who Shot Mr. Burns?”.  Where once there was a national advertising campaign and genuine fan interest, now there were a couple of lame internet downloads and the sound of crickets.  I was curious to see how FOX would handle the inevitable Season 23 promotional stuff, however.  In theory, people cared about the fate of “Nedna”.  In practice, even the marketing department thought otherwise.

I watched a lot of football last Sunday, much of it on FOX.  Consequently I saw a lot of promos for “Animation Domination” in general and Zombie Simpsons in particular.  I’m not 100% sure “Nedna” wasn’t mentioned at all, but if it was mentioned it was only as an afterthought.  In general, they were plain old regular promos with a voiceover and a few clips.  (The one of Homer complaining about being in the middle seat was their runaway favorite.)  It’s hard to overstate the difference with “Who Shot Mr. Burns”, which was mentioned by FOX in every promo for Season 7 and around which they based a half hour special starring John Walsh from America’s Most Wanted.  One also suspects that this failed stunt isn’t going to show up in a future episode the way “Who Shot Mr. Burns?” did in the “138th Episode Spectacular”. 

One of our links this week is to someone else who noted the same glaring attention deficit.  In addition to that we’ve got lots of good video this week, an art festival in Australia, two best episode lists, a Simpsons studio tour, some excellent usage, and a huge Futurama fan who loves Simpsons and does a good job of explaining the two while agreeing with us. 

Enjoy.

The Simpsons Season 23 Starts Today, and I Heard a Preview – The two women who wrote that book about using Simpsons in the classroom took a tour of the studio and the writeup is Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week.  There are a few pictures, including one of a David Silverman drawing which may be the greatest studio tour memento in the history of studio tour mementos.  It should always be remembered that while Zombie Simpsons is terrible and beyond redemption, the people behind the show are pretty much universally praised as super nice and generally fantastic. 

Monorail! See Simpsons Songs Performed Live: Gothamist – I’ve mentioned this Simpsons song performance before, but now there’s a trailer:

All promotion is good promotion:

On Thursday, October 13, 3 Geeks and a Girl will be performing 69 songs from the beloved cartoon in 60 minutes for an actual live audience. They’re promising "all your favorites from Chimpan A to Chimpan Z."

Tickets for We Put The Spring In Springfield run $15 with a two drink minimum and are available here. And when they say all your favorites, they mean it. Expect everything from "Baby on Board," "Oh Streetcar!," "Monorail," "See My Vest," and the titular song.

If they were really feeling it they’d have a four drink minimum, but life can only imitate The Simpsons so much.  Also, check out who got quoted in the video:

August Endorsement

Cool.

The Simpsons opening in Minecraft – YouTube – This is great and was pretty much everywhere this week:

Wrenches with embedded LEDs make light of dimly lit fixit jobs – Excellent usage:

Homer Simpson’s advice when his brother Herb shows him the baby translator he has invented is that Herb "should have just taken an existing product and put a clock in it or something." These days the "or something" could easily be a light or, more specifically, an LED as their tiny size, low cost and low power needs has seen them wedged inside a plethora of devices

Homer actually doesn’t say “just”, but still. 

The Simpsons: Who Shot Nedna? – I don’t have much to add to this:

In short, “The Falcon and the D’ohman” was a disappointment after a summer of hype. But come to think of it, the hype itself was a bit of a disappointment. I actually went to thesimpsons.com and thought about voting before I realized that I just didn’t care. In contrast, I remember people discussing and trying to solve the Mr. Burns mystery. For the record, I thought it was the dog.

I still do, kind of.

Ten Best Simpsons Episodes – This is a fantastic list, no Zombie Simpsons and lots of YouTube.

Good Morning! This Horrifying Simpsons Cosplay Will Give You Nightmares – Feh.  The eyes are a little disturbing, but it’s not that bad. 

The 10 best Simpsons TV episodes – This one is from the Telegraph in the UK and, as per usual, contains nothing past Season 9.

Simpsons – Independent Thought Alarm – Just a couple of screen grabs with the subtitles turned on.  I love the look on Hoover’s face there. 

Art for Bart’s sake – If you happen to be in or around Newcastle, Australia this sounds pretty cool:

Bart Simpson will make an appearance at the weekend’s This Is Not Art Festival, with 20 artists paying tribute to the cartoon character and the rest of his whacky Simpsons family in an exhibition at ARThive Newcastle.

The exhibition is called This Is Not Bart (especially if Matt Groening happens to ask).

‘‘We thought it would be dumb/funny to have a group art show called This Is Not Bart on the This Is Not Art weekend. So that’s what we’re doing,’’ ARThive director Grant Hunter said.

It runs through October 22nd and any pictures e-mailed in will be gladly published.  If the mug shot Krusty at the link is anything to go by, there should be some neat stuff. 

I Love That Episode of The Simpsons! Oh Wait-You Were Talking About Real-Life Immigration Policy – This gets excellent usage points for bringing up “Homer and Apu”, but loses some for also mentioning something from Season 20.  Though it should be pointed out that even in Forbes most of the reference is to Season 7 and Season 20 only merits a perfunctory mention (via @dailysimpsons).

Into Darkness: Remembering Poet, Musician, and Community Activist David Blair – YouTube of a slam poem about Carl and the rest of the power plant’s reaction to someone spray painting an “N” on his locker.  This is so much better than the weird Lenny and Carl of Zombie Simpsons.

Simpsons Stylized | Absurdly Nerdly – I’ve linked at least some of these before, but I didn’t recognize the Lenny and Carl one, which I think goes nicely with the poem above.

Lisa Simpson by ~iloveegir on deviantART – Fan drawing of Lisa on what looks like a wall. 

The Simpsons Drinking Game – This is a good idea with way too many rules.  In my experience drinking games need to be at least kinda simple, for obvious reasons.

Premieres: Terra Nova, Gossip Girl and More. – In addition to being quoted in YouTube promotional videos, our old friend Lenny gives Zombie Simpsons 2.14 out of 10. 

A Complete List of Queer Girl Inclusive Shows (And Why I Hate All of Them) – Lenny killing it again:

The Simpsons: Patty Bouvier gets to sit in the background being a lesbian.

Why I Hate It: With almost every attempt this show makes at a joke these days, I just feel kind of confused and embarrassed for them. The storytelling makes no sense; this is the only show besides Glee that manages to regularly have continuity errors within a single scene.

"Simpsons" Writer Pens New Play for Connecticut Rep – Connecticut native Mike Reiss wrote a play about Connecticut called “I’m Connecticut” which you can see at the University of Connecticut campus from December 1 – 10.  Connecticut. 

Playboy Club…In 10 Words – I nitpick because I care (1 of 2): “Thinking too much gives you wrinkles.”

Andy Rooney…In 10 Words – I nitpick because I care (2 of 2): “Now, to take the ferry cost a nickel, and in those days nickels had pictures of bumblebees on them.  ‘Give me five bees for a quarter’, you’d say.”

411mania.com: Movies – Ten Deep 09.29.11: Top Ten Astronauts – Homer checks in at #6 here, but it seems a tad unfair to include Tom Hanks as Jim Lovell and Ed Harris as John Glenn since they were, you know, real astronauts. 

Good news, everyone! Toronto has Futurama trivia – And finally, one of the original participants in Classic Simpsons Trivia is now setting up a Futurama trivia night.  Interviewer and interviewee heartily agree with us:

AVC: In a way, Futurama seems a lot less universal than The Simpsons, which basically shaped the attitudes of post-Gen X kids growing up in the ’90s. But there are loads of people, like you, who prefer it to The Simpsons. What is it about Futurama that you connect to?

JM: I will start by saying that I do think that seasons three to seven of The Simpsons are the best things created by anyone ever. But that’s more of a technical judgment. Futurama is more the show of my heart. It’s my show. From cover to cover, there’s nothing about it that I don’t like, where The Simpsons has kind of petered off. The last 10 years have not been that great, in my opinion.

AVC: Yeah. No good at all.

JM: Right, at least the last 10 years. There’s still nothing funnier than classic Simpsons under the sun.

Amen.

26
May
11

Compare & Contrast: Cliffhangers & Cultural Relevance

“This past summer, all of America was trying to solve the mystery of who shot Mr. Burns, then they found out it was the baby.” – Troy McClure

Twas the summer of 1980, and America was atwitter over a television cliffhanger about who had shot a character named J.R. on a primetime soap opera called Dallas.  T-shirts were produced, bets were placed, and, if the Wikipedia article titled simply “Who shot J.R.?” is to be believed, that year’s presidential contest even got into the act with jokes and buttons.  When the shooter was revealed that autumn, it became one of the highest rated events in television history.  Dallas was already a hit, but after the shooting stunt it would reach new heights, becoming the #1 show in America for three of the next four seasons.

I Married Marge6

Fifteen years later, The Simpsons ran a parody cliffhanger, replacing J.R. with their own Charles Montgomery Burns.  The summer of 1995 saw the country flooded with advertising sporting the image of Mr. Burns and his potential assailants, though the ads themselves had basically nothing to do with who had shot him.  (The late 1990s advertising boom for collect calling services remains puzzling to me.  I’ve never been able to figure out who was making so many collect calls that national ad campaigns were worth the expense.)  The parody, though just an echo of the original, was big enough to merit its own exhaustively footnoted Wikipedia page

Sixteen years later, Zombie Simpsons has brought us a different kind of cliffhanger, one that doesn’t manage to parody anything and is altogether more boring, more hapless, and less interesting.  Instead of cooking up a satire or turning the whole endeavor into a joke, they plopped down an improbable romance and a half assed web page (which I will not link).  Their marketing tie in isn’t a series of nationwide commercials, it’s a handful of downloadable images that a few people will put on their Facebook pages for a day or two.  How the mighty have fallen.

Worse, Zombie Simpsons has bumbled into the desperate trap of so many flailing comedies: manufactured romance.  Teasing audiences with unresolved sexual tension, even the comedic kind, has been a survival instinct of television shows since the days of vacuum tubes and Newton Minnow.  Vicarious frisson and suggestive endings are trotted out in the hope that they’ll create the kind of curiosity that can withstand an entire summer’s worth of commercial interruptions.  So what Zombie Simpsons has done is take two worn concepts and attempted to rub them together, hoping for a little spark of attention, or at least a fleeting second of pop culture relevance.  But the cliffhanger and the contrived love story they’ve produced are too threadbare to do anything but disintegrate against one another. 

The problem isn’t that Zombie Simpsons is engaging in a publicity stunt.  The shootings of J.R. and Mr. Burns were just as shameless.  The problem is that Zombie Simpsons is engaging in a publicity stunt that’s doomed to fail and be instantly forgotten.  The people who cooked up “Who shot J.R.” succeeded beyond their wildest dreams, and the parody of it on The Simpsons is probably remembered by even more people than the original here in 2011.  Both were noticed, and commented on, and talked about by people far outside the scope of the usual audience.  In these nosier times, this far more timid and cliched stunt doesn’t stand a chance.  There will never be an – ugh – “Nedna” Wikipedia article, at least not one that isn’t swiftly nominated for deletion for falling pathetically short of even the most generous definition of notability. 

25
May
11

Crazy Noises: The Ned-Liest Catch

“I’m surprised you don’t remember, son. It was only eight years ago.” – Homer Simpson
“Dad, thanks to television I can’t remember what happened eight minutes ago.” – Bart Simpson

In our ongoing mission to bring you only the shallowest and laziest analysis of Zombie Simpsons, we’re keeping up our Crazy Noises series for Season 22.  Since a podcast is so 2004, and video would require a flag, a fern and some folding chairs from the garage, we’ve elected to use the technology that brought the word “emoticon” to the masses: the chatroom.  Star Trek image macros are strictly forbidden, unless you have a really good reason why Captain Picard is better than Captain Kirk.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (surprisingly enough, not on “aneurystic”, which I just made up and therefore can’t be spelled wrong).

For a single sequence of events that epitomizes the sloppiness of “The Ned-Liest Catch”, we need look no further than Edna’s escape from the rubber room. First, Bart magically enters the building and shows up to help her escape. It’s not explained why he would care or how he got there. He then climbs through the ceiling to allow himself to be attacked by a possum. Once that’s over we find them in the bathroom for a series of scenes that make the possum look downright brilliant.

First, Bart has replaced Edna with a dummy. We never see him do this, nor did Krabappel notice it when she was just in the same room, it simply appears (whatever). Second, after Bart climbs out the window, we see this:

Where Are the Other Two Stories

Edna Krabappel: not that far off the ground.

Bart’s next line describes this as a “three story drop”. This is another one of those pieces of apathy or contempt that would make Michael Bay proud. They could’ve drawn a three story shot, they could’ve changed the dialogue, they did neither (whatever 2x). Third, the ladder breaks with Edna on it. Despite the fact that the previous shot made it look like she’d be about six inches off the ground if the ladder broke like that, it’s played for suspense before we see:

Oh, There They Are

(Whatever 3x)

Fourth, without saying a word, Bart runs off. This is the same Bart who, just a second before, cared so much about Krabappel that he broke into this building, left a dummy of her, and showed her the exit. All of a sudden, without so much as a stab at a joke, he abandons her completely (whatever 4x).

Fifth, Flanders arrives out of nowhere. He wasn’t summoned by Bart; he wasn’t introduced into the scene in any way. He was just there (whatever 5x).

Finally, once the impromptu date is over and Edna is back in the bathroom comes the scene that ignores everything that just happened. Bart left a dummy of Krabappel in the main room so she could sneak out, but once she’s back in the bathroom the other teachers yell at her for being in the bathroom for three hours. Well, which was it? Was there a dummy so they all thought she was still there, or did they think she was in the can? This isn’t a continuity error that requires retconning of decades old episodes or events, this is a continuity error that requires a short term memory with a capacity of less than three minutes (whatever 6x).

[Note: Dave ditched us again this week. I’m beginning to think he doesn’t like watching Zombie Simpsons.]

Charlie Sweatpants: Ready to get to it?

Mad Jon: I think that is best.

  The sooner we start, the sooner this season is in the books.

Charlie Sweatpants: Got that right.

  Where to begin?

  The poorly teased romance, the obstacle courses, the scene with all the hallucinated faces?

Mad Jon: My biggest problem, and this isn’t the first time that Zombie Simpsons has done this, although it is the worst offense, is that Ned Flanders is not a man in the sense necessary to start picking up woman on the street.

It is super convenient that the Ned’s super conservative views on relationships completely contrasts with Edna’s history, but that doesn’t mean you get to completely change both characters, especially Ned, to make the plot work.

Charlie Sweatpants: Ned’s dating life has always been something they’ve had trouble dealing with. In this case they solved that by having her literally fall into his arms . . . in that alley . . . that he just happened to be walking down.

Mad Jon: That he just happened to be walking down.

Charlie Sweatpants: The stranger thing is, Flanders and Krabappel know each other! I’ve seen them in scenes before, Rod and Todd are students at the school!

Mad Jon: Yeah, Ned is the president of the PTA or something.

Charlie Sweatpants: Well, that was a long time ago, and the writers have a, shall we say, selective memory about the past of the show.

Mad Jon: He wants to put the pal back in principal.

Charlie Sweatpants: That too.

But they made a huge scene of the introduction, and yet we know they know each other, not as a one off story in some past episode, but just based on the general structure of the show and who each of them are.

Mad Jon: All very true.

Charlie Sweatpants: I could see Ned and Krabappel hooking up. I mean, why not? They’re both single. But to pretend that they don’t know each other so you can jam in a meet-cute that wouldn’t pass muster in a January romantic comedy was pissing right in the audience’s face.

Mad Jon: Couldn’t agree more. Even if you ignore the chance encounter that rewrites what we obviously know about them, and even if you ignore the ex-husband/soccer dad manner in which Ned picks up Edna, you can’t ignore the fact that every scene with Ned and Edna was more uncomfortable and embarrassing than the one before it.

  Ned doesn’t think and feel these things, he praises Jesus and raises his kids like happy little Mormons. Even though they aren’t Mormons.

Sorry, that’s been eating me up all day.

Charlie Sweatpants: Right. Their scenes together were painfully awkward because they never really gave us a reason why they’d get together.

They moved immediately into a montage, like that’s going to explain things.

  But that wasn’t even the most absurd pairing in the episode. Why the hell did Flanders go to Moe’s with Homer? Why was Bart – BART! – alone at the house with Rod and Todd?

Mad Jon: Both excellent questions.

Charlie Sweatpants: This episode was filled with moments like that, where Bart and Homer were just instantly involved in other people’s shit. Not only was there no reason for that to happen, it’s completely against both of their characters.

Mad Jon:  Homer went out of his way to help Flanders, he even wrestled a fucking octopus.

Charlie Sweatpants: Precisely, why did Bart show up to get his enemy out of the rubber room? Why did Flanders and Krabappel knock on Homer’s door for no reason?

Why the hell were Comic Book Guy and Skinner (not to mention Joey from Aerosmith) just hanging out at Moe’s?

Mad Jon: Oh god, the Joey Kramer thing was death. He must have finally got his drumsticks back.

Charlie Sweatpants: Which led to the face hallucination thing which went on for forever and a day. Sometimes you can pull off one of those jokes where something that isn’t funny becomes funny when it goes on for a long time, but this wasn’t even trying. It was a rehash of a scene at Moe’s that shouldn’t have happened in the first place.

Mad Jon: Right, but they have to keep going or they can’t get CBG in the episode like ten times.

Also Santa’s Little Helper can do triple digit subtraction.

Charlie Sweatpants: And the jack-in-the-box thing.

So few bad ideas, so much time . . .

Mad Jon: Well put.

Also, Bart’s face, is um, indifferent to possum attacks. So he’s got that going for him too!

Charlie Sweatpants: Alright, I think the only thing I think we haven’t mentioned yet is the aneurystic way they started the episode.

  Remember when Bart used to torment the teachers by painting the parking lines close together, or creating fake candy hearts? What the hell was all that about?

Mad Jon: How much damage can one boy do in 35 seconds? Let’s find out!

Charlie Sweatpants: Plus the whole Lisa comes out, Skinner calls things off, Lisa starts talking . . . the small riot was one of the least nonsensical things in the entire scene.

Mad Jon: Riots do seem to just start themselves, even in Classic Simpsons. That doesn’t mean they are funny when they end up with children doing impromptu floor routines.

Charlie Sweatpants: Ugh. Though that scene did lead to the only joke I liked in the whole episode, Chalmers saying that they had a zero tolerance policy when things occur in front of witnesses. That I laughed at.

Mad Jon: Yes, I almost forgot that. That was a good line.

Charlie Sweatpants: Do we have to talk about the bullshit cliffhanger, or can we do what they did and just call a halt to the season unfinished?

Mad Jon: I don’t want to address that at all. I think the voting is actually a government conspiracy to locate the IP addresses of idiots so that they can use their homes for UAV target practice.

Charlie Sweatpants: That’s how they got me to vote for Lyndon LaRouche!

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.]

22
May
11

Sunday Preview: “The Ned-liest Catch”


At long last, we’re two hours away from the end of Season 22 of Zombie Simpsons with a miserably titled finale, “The Ned-liest Catch.” I don’t even know what that means. Is Ned some of crab? Is Ms. Krabappel some sort of captain? Does anyone care? Here’s the description from Simpsons Channel, in case you do:

Feeling guilty for getting Mrs. Krabappel suspended after one of his school pranks, Bart helps her escape detention, and Ned Flanders winds up saving her life in the process. When Edna and Ned start dating, he is surprised to learn she’s been with many of Springfield’s men, including Homer and Aerosmith drummer Joey Kramer (guest-voicing as himself).

Ned’s a good samaritan and Edna’s a slut. Oh and there’s a guest star. Whatever. Moving on.




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