Posts Tagged ‘The PTA Disbands

17
Apr
19

Makeup Quote of the Day

“Alright, the battlefield is just a half mile ahead. Begin braking procedure!” – Principal Skinner

03
Sep
18

Quote of the Day

“Lousy teachers, trying to palm off our kids on us.” – Homer Simpson
“But, Dad, by striking they’re trying to affect a change in management so that they can be happier and more productive.” – Lisa Simpson
“Lisa, if you don’t like your job, you don’t strike. You just go in every day and do it really half-assed. That’s the American way!” – Homer Simpson

16
Apr
18

Quote of the Day

“Otto, why don’t you get some more gas. Here’s the ‘credit card’.” – Principal Skinner
“Ugh.” – Otto
“And a mint for afterwards!” – Principal Skinner

16
Apr
17

Quote of the Day

“Simpson, I always thought you were sneaky and manipulative. But now I see you’re really a very sensitive little boy.” – Principal Skinner
“Thank you, sir.” – Bart Simpson
“Aww.” – Principal Skinner

16
Apr
16

Quote of the Day

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“Five dollars a child? Last year it was free!” – Principal Skinner
“Enh. New ownership.” – Fort Springfield Ticket Lady

16
Apr
15

Quote of the Day

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“Ow! My bones are so brittle, but I always drink plenty of . . . Malk?” – Bart Simpson

Happy 20th Anniversary to “The PTA Disbands”! Original airdate 16 April 1995.

19
Nov
14

Compare & Contrast: Pranking the New Teacher

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“Kids have been doing that one since my day.” – Marge Simpson

Rather than get into the nonsensical pageant of the transmundane that was the last third of “Blazed and Confused”, I’d like to take a look at a small moment from the beginning that illustrates the general shallowness of this episode.  Specifically, the way that Bart’s closet/skeleton “prank” fails as both a prank, a joke, and as a part of the rest of the episode, especially when compared with Bart’s similar actions in “The PTA Disbands”.

While the backstories differ considerably, the immediate situation in both episodes is remarkably similar.  In each one, the kids have a new teacher about whom they know basically nothing other than, as Bart says, “They’re trying to teach”.  Also in each, Bart has prepared an elaborate booby trap to welcome the newly unfortunate teacher.  This is where the two episodes diverge.

In “Blazed and Confused”, Bart has hidden a remote control car and a skeleton in the closet at the back of the room.  His plan is to bump the car into the door a couple of times to get the teacher to investigate; when the door is opened, the skeleton drops from the ceiling, presumably frightening the teacher.

JustConfusing

This is, to put it mildly, a very pedestrian prank.  It wouldn’t be all that hard to set up in real life.  Unless the person involved was very high strung or this was being done late at night on Halloween or something, it probably wouldn’t frighten anyone so much as briefly puzzle them.  For proof, look no further than “Bart Carney”, which did the exact same thing as an example of something that was indefensibly lame.

Bart Carny5

“That was just confusing.”

To be fair to Zombie Simpsons, upon seeing Bart’s hapless skeleton trick, Milhouse says that it’s only kinda scary.  So they’re aware that this is not one of Bart’s masterpieces.  But they still have him go through with it, thinking it’ll work.  It’s Bart doing what so many characters do in Zombie Simpsons: act contrary to who he is.  Similarly, later in the episode, Marge will blindly trust Homer to do something that the Marge of Season 6 would never blindly trust Homer to do.  The situations and story requirements are so dumb that they require the characters to act like lifeless versions of themselves just to get from scene to scene.

Bart’s prank, which they show us twice, is something the Bart of “The PTA Disbands” would scoff at.  He’s the kid who hung a giant log from the ceiling to smash some unsuspecting teacher back into the blackboard.  It would probably be fatal in real life, but that doesn’t matter because this is a cartoon and nothing bad actually happens.  Bart leaps to his mother’s rescue, and she, having nearly just killed, fondly intones that kids have been attacking their teachers Ewok-style since she was in school.

This is one of those multi-layer jokes that made this show so damned funny.  There’s 1) the over the top violence of it, 2) the fact that little 10-year-olds are vicious enough to plan it, 3) that 10-year-olds have always been doing that, and 4) that all of this is considered so normal that nobody is even upset.  And none of that even takes in the context: Bart having to be reminded of them by Milhouse, the list of already dispatched teachers, and Bart suffering the beginnings of the perpetual embarrassment of being one of his earnestly uncool mother’s students.

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And Milhouse didn’t even have to stick his nose through the hole.

The blackboard shattering impact of the log isn’t any kind of stand alone joke or punchline.  It’s a fast and necessary part of a complete scene where each element complements and exaggerates every other.  The last line before it comes crashing down is Milhouse’s, “I meant the other bobby trap!”, a statement that wouldn’t make sense if we hadn’t already seen Bart brush the thumb tack off Marge’s chair, or rush up there in a panic, or the rest of the scene that explains what they’re doing.

By contrast, the last line before Season 26 Bart starts his effort at teacher warfare, is Bart saying, “I will not.  Anything to delay a spelling test”.  What spelling test?  What is Bart hoping this hapless thing he once saw in a broken down carnival ride is going to accomplish?  Cause this guy to run off screaming?  Prime him for the most traumatic hose soaking of his life?  We sure don’t know.  He’s trying to get out of something the audience neither knows nor cares about, and what he’s doing wouldn’t work anyway.  In and of itself, the prank is dumber and weaker, and outside of that it dangles (literally) in the middle of the scene with hardly a connection to outside events.

You can see this same isolation and lack of connection throughout “Blazed and Confused”.  The scene where Jason shows up to murder the park ranger was just a random thing dropped into the middle of the episode.  There are literally no characters at “Blazing Guy” other than Lassen.  Everyone else in attendance is just a one note blip, on and off the screen for whatever reason they happened to be there.  Lassen introducing himself in Skinner’s office hardly needed to be there.  And, given that his face cutting was probably the creepiest thing he did, the episode likely would’ve been better off without that entire scene.

Zombie Simpsons never bothers to weave a joke or a scene together with everything else.  They just stack a few things up and hope a couple of them land.  And if Bart’s prank doesn’t work, who cares?  Maybe the next thing will.  The Simpsons didn’t do that.  It made each part of the script, down to individual lines and words, aspects of a coherent whole that builds on itself.  That intrinsic context and support can make a murderous “prank” hilarious, just as not having context and support can drain the fun from great ideas, and leave bad ones hanging lifelessly from a thread.

22
Sep
14

Quote of the Day

PencilSharpener

“My teacher’s a nightmare!  Three kids got sick from inhaling his ointment fumes, he confiscated everything made of tin, and then he sent us home early because he got his beard caught in the pencil sharpener.” – Lisa Simpson
“Oh, okay, um, here . . . Oh!, uh, okay, let’s see, um, what if I did this? . . . You’re on your own!” – Abe “Grampa” Simpson

08
Aug
14

Reading Digest: Spreading Stupidity Edition

Purple Monkey Dishwasher

“Now for operation Strike Make Go Longer. . . . You know, I heard Skinner say the teachers will crack any minute.” – Bart Simpson
“Skinner said the teachers will crack any minute, purple monkey dishwasher.” – Teacher
“Well, we’ll show him!  Especially for that purple monkey dishwasher remark.” – Mrs. Krabappel 

Sorry for the later than usual posting, but that Uproxx/Warming Glow thing was just too damn dumb to be dealt with in a snarky sentence or two.  (That it came on a blog named after a Simpsons joke is just aggravazing.)  As you’ll see, the stupid has already spread to the A.V. Club, though they were at least a little circumspect, and from there it’ll just keep going, giving rhetorical ammunition to all kinds of shallow arguments and internet trolls.  Feh.  Anywho, this week we’ve got two more people cracking wise about the looming catastrophe that is the Family Guy crossover, a sweet Lego Springfield, several cool pieces of fan art (including some mashup posters), two political links (one from Alabama, the other from Russia/Ukraine), and a new officially licensed book.

Enjoy.

The Most Iconic Buildings in Springfield From ‘The Simpsons’ Rebuilt in LEGO – Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week has already been up for a while, but is damned impressive.  The tire fire is just superb.

Minimalistic Poster by Karl Bembridge – Excellent fan made poster featuring nothing but Marge’s hair.

The Simpsons get political in art pieces – The same guy who had Marge and other cartoon characters as beaten up wives now has several of them asking to free Gaza.  Say this for the guy, he knows how to attract attention.

How Bart Simpson was dragged into the war of words against Putin – Someone photoshopped the opening sequence to call Vladimir Putin a “dickhead”.  Heh.

Simpsons Mash Ups – Some of these I’ve seen before, some of them I haven’t, and there are some very good ones.

Conan to perform The Simpsons ‘Monorail’ song with gay choir – That show at the Hollywood Bowl looks increasingly impressive.  Maybe they’ll end up putting it on YouTube for the rest of us?

The Decline and Fall of The Simpsons: Rape jokes in Springfield – There was too much criticism of the Family Guy crossover for just one week to contain, so here’s some more:

I’m not being holier-than-thou. “The Simpsons” has never shied away from dark subjects – Moe himself is a case in point. He is a violent man with a history of criminal activities. He has variously been depicted as homicidal, syphilitic and even as a stalker who is also a registered sex offender. And yet the character has been allowed many moments of nuance and tenderness too. Although an especially-ugly yellow-skinned cartoon character, Moe Szyslak is a recognisably-human character who has clearly known love and loss.

Yup.

Trailer Talk- The Simpsons Guy – And along similar lines:

What bothers me most about this crossover is that “Family Guy” and “The Simpsons” have very different cultures and senses of humor. The first being a “Simpsons Knock-Off” and a “frat boy” show that later evolved into satirical name dropping, left winged shout outs, cultural riffs, and senseless violence. That freedom and willingness to make people mad, groan, and complain, and then still get great viewership is what has set it apart from everything else on TV. “The Simpsons” on the other hand was built on family values, not swearing as much, nothing superficial like excessive violence (unless its a springfield riot). The stories were all “everyman” stories as well. More relatable to the original older audience the show was targeted for, before the YA crowd elevated it to current popularity. On paper you would not think two shows like this could really do a crossover.

In addition to on paper, I don’t think they can do it on a television screen either.

The Simpsons Archive dredges up some vintage Internet scorn from the show’s golden age – See, this is why I write lengthy replies to crap like that Uproxx post this morning.  On the internet, dumb ideas just ripple into the infinite future.

The Simpsons – Fan made drawing of the family on the couch.  Has a nice Season 1 feel to it, well done.

Celebrate 25 Years of The Simpsons™ With An Excerpt and Giveaway of ‘C. Montgomery Burns’ Handbook of World Domination’ – The merchandising parade continues, with a new book that you can win a copy of.

Governor or Simpson’s character? Democrat Parker Griffith enjoys laugh at opponent’s expense – Someone backing the Democrat in the Alabama governor’s race send them these:

Fire Bently

10 Badass Cartoon Characters Who’d Be Feminists In Real Life – Lisa, needless to say, makes the list.

What Happens When You Grow Up – Going back to old episodes, (of the show and others):

It’s all very surreal; you say the words that you’ve had memorised for this long out loud, but the meaning becomes warped and morphs into something new. Jokes take on new meaning due to new-found wisdom that however many years have brought you since you heard them as a kid, but they still work.

It is a very odd feeling, but there’s lots to catch.

Springfield @ Universal Studios – Some more pictures from the Springfield area, including several things I hadn’t seen before.

London actors present stories of The Simpsons after the end of the world – The Mr. Burns play is moving from London, England to London, Ontario for a week starting August 29th.

The War Of The Simpsons – Episode #033 – And his eyes were like steel, cold and hard.

The longest drawing in the world… – Awesome:

I bought a giant roll of drawing paper and wax crayons and felt tip pens.
My brothers and sisters and I are now attempting to make a really long drawing. We were inspired by the movie ‘Ramona and Beezus’.
It’s been a lot of fun so far. We started off by drawing trees and buildings, but then moved on to cartoon characters such as The Simpsons.

There’s plenty of pictures at the link.

Artistic Brain Freeze – Creativity and the lack thereof explained in comic form with an analogy to “The Mansion Family”.

100 Greatest TV Episodes: Homer the Heretic (s4 ep3) – And finally, I get to end with someone who agrees with us during this writeup of all time great episodes (“Homer the Heretic makes The Simpsons the first series to have two separate entries into our list!”):

What’s more, he asks genuinely insightful questions of society through his actions and even his words – famously and poignantly asking God:

“I’m not a bad guy, I work hard, and I love my kids. So why should I spend half my Sunday hearing about how I’m going to hell?”

Who knew he could say something that wasn’t entirely stupid, eh, current Simpsons writing team?

They certainly don’t, but we knew that already.

19
Feb
14

Quote of the Day

The PTA Disbands14

“Seymour, you are truly incompetent.” – Superintendent Chalmers
“Well, I hardly think it’s fair-” – Principal Skinner
“Dummy up, you!  Listen to those passing motorists who support the teachers!” – Superintendent Chalmers

05
Nov
13

Quote of the Day

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“But we don’t have that kind of money.  In fact, no school could afford-” – Principal Skinner
“Here’s the admission, plus something for you.  See that they get a little extra education, would you?” – Principal Valiant
“Yes, sir, Principal Valiant!” – Fort Springfield Ticket Taker
“He thinks he’s so hot ever since he swept the Princy Awards.  Well, those things are rigged.” – Principal Skinner

17
May
13

Reading Digest: Missing Canadian Edition

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“It took the children forty minutes to locate Canada on the map.” – Marge Simpson
“Marge, anyone can miss Canada, all tucked away down there.” – Homer Simpson

Whenever Zombie Simpsons hitches its fading star to a currently popular celebrity, your Katys Perry and Ladys Gaga, the internet throws a brief but mild fit wherein huge numbers of pop culture sites that normally couldn’t give a fuck about the show write about how Celebrity X is gonna be Simpsonized.  That very thing happened this week in regards to Justin Bieber’s brief and pointless cameo, so it’s a bit of a clipped Reading Digest.  Bieber clogged the tubes, and once you’ve read one blog post lamenting the brevity of his appearance, you’ve read all several thousand of them.   Besides that deliberate omission, we’ve got some cool fan art, a statistical analysis of other celebrity guests, some excellent usage, several people who agree with us, some (possibly dubious) statistics about Duff, and a plastic donut.

Enjoy.

Oh, and this is basically obligatory today:

The Curse of the Simpsons! – Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week is this statistical look at whether or not guest voicing on The Simpsons is bad for your health.  Short answer, no:

So there is no curse, celebrities who appear on the Simpsons live about an extra 3 years (on average at least).  If we look at the ages Simpson guests have been dying, the average is 76 years, with some folks pushing 100.

No wonder they keep having pointless cameos like Bieber and Captain Picard, it makes people live longer.  Jean’s probably got a lucrative, off the books sideline in selling guest spots.  (At this rate, Bieber’s going to be alive until 2130.) 

Went to get my oil changed and found this… – This is a reddit link to a positively amazing set of images of styrofoam cups with elaborate drawings, including the Simpson family on the inside of one.

Bizarro Baseball: the Isotopes – Merchandising, merchandising, where the real money from the movie is made:

Perhaps the strangest, most incredible part of this origin story lies in the annals (or lack thereof) of subsidiary rights:

In the three months after the team’s name was announced in September 2002, before the team ever took the field, the team sold more merchandise than the Albuquerque Dukes sold in any single season, and led minor league baseball in merchandising revenue in 2003.

The real life Simpsons: The Groening family tree – This is what happens when you have to come up with characters in the waiting cubicle at 1987 FOX.

Canadian ‘couch gag’ a dream come true for ‘Simpsons’ fan – So that couch gag contest they’re running isn’t just a desperate ploy for attention, it’s an internationally desperate ploy for attention:

Savaya, 22, earned the trip to Hollywood by coming up with a “couch gag” for the opening credits of the season 24 finale of The Simpsons. It airs Sunday at 8:30 p.m. on Global.

Savaya’s couch gag will air only on the Canadian broadcast of the show.

“I’ve never seen a Canadian couch gag before so I figured I might as well make it as Canadian as possible,” he says of his decision to include Sir John A. MacDonald, a hockey player, a loon and a beaver — and Maggie replacing her pacifier with a hockey puck.

Not now, Ralph. 

Top 8½ Overlooked Games – Video game nostalgia that agrees with us:

lots of people bought it but many dismissed it as another crappy licensed game. And those who did so were wrong. Sure, it’s a GTA clone without the violence, but it’s also some of the best ones out there. Good gameplay, good Simpsons-esque humor (not nearly as good or daring as in the golden age of Simpsons, but still), voice acting by the original cast and so on.

The Simpsons writer hails North West talent – More about that new British show Weinstein is doing.

Voice to Vexed – Perfectly quoted excellent usage:

This is a verbatim message I recently spoke to my brother’s Voice-to-Text service, quoting Chief Clancy Wiggum from The Simpsons: “This is Papa Bear. Put out an APB for a male suspect, driving a . . . car of some sort, heading in the direction of, uh, you know, that place that sells chili. Suspect is hatless. Repeat: hatless.”

I can’t wait till they throw his hatless butt in jail.

Huzzah! – Because all dictionary entries should reference The Simpsons and be written on bar napkins. 

“Mad Men” accidentally includes anachronism, sets Internet ablaze – Quoted at length because, yeah:

As aforementioned, “The Simpsons” provides an excellent send up of this. But Comic Book Guy does not only pick apart fictional TV shows and comic books of the “Simpsons” universe. In thinly veiled moments of meta-commentary, he pokes fun at the “Simpsons’” devoted fan base. This is done beautifully in an old episode when the Simpson family obtains a pet horse. Comic Book Guy references a previous “Simpsons” episode with a similar plotline. To a crowd of surrounding people, he cattily insinuates the series’ laziness. The “Simpsons” writers proceed to throw shade at obsessive fans such as Comic Book Guy, as Homer asks aloud: “Anybody care what this guy thinks?” The crowd resoundingly replies: “No!”

In the past weeks, some voices in the media have played Comic Book Guy to “Mad Men’s” “The Simpsons.” In a recent episode of “Mad Men,” Joan Holloway referenced eating at New York restaurant Le Cirque. Upon fact checking, people discovered that there was no Le Cirque in 1968 New York. Ostensibly, this quibble seems reasonable; historical authenticity is a vital part of “Mad Men’s” mojo, and to let if fall by the wayside seems a disregard for what the viewers love about the show.

Joan has the Wizard Key, I knew it! 

Childhood Nostalgia: Mmm Donuts. – Eat it, Freeman and Nicholson:

Around the time the Simpsons Movie came out, 7-11 came out with these pink sprinkled donuts, identical to the one from the character. Of course I immediately bought it when it came out and man did I fell in love with it. It wasn’t the best donut I have ever eaten, overload on sugar and frosting and mediocre dough. But the fact that I accomplished a childhood dream (to eat that little pink donut), the taste didn’t really matter to me. Besides that feeling where you eat that little pink donut alongside the POP! Homer Simpsons figurine that has the same little pink donut in his hand, priceless.

Bucket List: Eat a Homer Simpsons donut – CHECK

Your childhood dream was to run out onto the field during a baseball game, and you did it last year, remember?

Dag 097 – Yet more t-shirt. 

Best. Episode. Ever. (Round 25) – In a competition between “Homer the Heretic” and “Lost Our Lisa”, I must respectfully disagree.

7 Pensamentos de Homer Simpson – You know it’s a good joke when you can recognize it even in a foreign language:

5. Lisa, vampiros são faz-de-conta, como elfos, gremlins e esquimós.

♫♫ I don’t care, I love it ♫♫ – Speaking of languages I don’t speak, I have no idea what’s going on here, but there are two ladies painting Homer on a wall.  Cool. 

The Great Gatsby…In 10 Words – And then I saw the lighthouse, and I remembered how you love blinking lights.

Doctor Who Monday: Nightmare in Silver…In 10 Words – Oh, I forgot to, uh, carry the one.

Randy Jackson Leaving American Idol…In 10 Words – I wouldn’t. 

The Office (US)…In 10 Words – Determined or not, that cat is long dead by now.

You’re Wrong about the Worst Draft Pick in Packers History – Excellent usage:

Everyone is feeling pretty good about the prospects picked. We’re in that afterglow period where we can imagine all the good things that our team can do without being pestered by the reality of games played, injuries suffered, potentials not reached.

As Homer Simpson would say, “that Bart is a little miracle … he reminds me of me before the weight of the world crushed my spirit.”

Homer actually says “that Bart of ours”, but close enough.

I lack direction – The show has always provided a roundabout introduction to pop culture:

I also realized that, though I had not really heard of or seen Doctor Who before then, I had glimpsed Doctor Who out of the corner of my eye; I started watching The Simpsons maybe in 2000, or thereabouts, both the new shows on Sundays and the reruns that played in the afternoons, and there was that Halloween episode where the Comic Book Guy turned into a Comic Book Villain, The Collector, and started collecting famous people, including ‘Doctor Who’ or the Fourth Doctor.

Duff Beer | Beer Of The World – Not entirely sure that this is trustworthy, but five percent seems about right:

BEER DETAILS

  • Name: Duff Beer
  • Brewery: Duff Breweries
  • City: Springfield
  • Country: USA
  • Produced since: 1989
  • Style: Pilsener
  • ABV: 5%
  • Ingredients: water, malted barley, maize, hops

TV – The Top 15 episodes of The Simpsons (Part 2) – An otherwise fine list spoiled by an entry from Season 19. 

PIXIE and PIXIER: Lisa Simpson Girl Gang – A snazzy Lisa hat for the fashionable Simpsons fan.

Homer Simpson Listening to Ned Flanders – An animated .gif of Homer not caring about that rowboat of decorative geraniums. 

The Simpsons/Robot Chicken Couch Gag – In case you missed it, here’s the YouTube.  (It took too long and it was still the best part of the episode.) 

Analog 365 Project Day 133 – Good enough:

I found this giant plastic doughnut my boyfriend has from a Simpson’s game and couldn’t resist taking a goofy self portrait with it.

Everyone loves plastic donuts. 

You Don’t Make Friends with Salad! – Weight loss sucks:

Homer Simpson was right; you don’t make friends with salad.

1-800-COLLECT – I’d forgotten that the show did collect call ads.  Why collect call numbers were ever worth advertising on television I will never know.

When my blog gets foreign visits: – Animated .gif of the shifty eyed dog from “Beyond Blunderdome”.

lenny loves carl – This is a new blog with the fantastic title you see at left.  Also: just one week until Arrested Development

The Simpsons Season 7 Review – Yup:

After re-watching The Simpsons Season 7 it made me realise how good the show was and how much it has gone downhill.

My Hero: Lisa Simpson – And finally, I get to end the way I like, with someone who agrees with us.  And besides, who doesn’t love Lisa?:

Now, right off the bat, I have to admit that I haven’t been as much of a Simpson’s fanatic as I was as a child. When I talk about The Simpsons, I’m talking about post-the-three-eyed-crow-opening, the old school Simpsons that had obscure literary references, sexual innuendos and morally thematic episodes. It was in these early years that I first fell in love with Lisa Lionheart, the girl who never backed down from a fight.

Amen.  (Also, lotta good screen grabs and YouTube there.)

14
May
13

Quote of the Day

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“You have to start putting money back into the school.  You’ve cut back on everything, salaries, supplies, the food!  I don’t care what you say, I can taste the newspaper.” – Mrs. Krabappel
“Bosh, shredded newspapers add much needed roughage and essential inks.  Besides, you didn’t notice the old gym mats.” – Principal Skinner
“There’s very little meat in these gym mats.” – Lunchlady Doris

14
Mar
13

Quote of the Day

The PTA Disbands10

“Lisa, get in here. . . . In this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!” – Homer Simpson

28
Sep
12

Quote of the Day

The PTA Disbands9

“Talking out of turn, that’s a paddling.  Looking out the window, that’s a paddling.  Staring at my sandals, that’s a paddling.  Paddling the school canoe?  Oh, you better believe that’s a paddling.” – Jasper

29
May
12

Quote of the Day

“Hey, now that Largo’s gone we can play the forbidden music.” – Database

Happy birthday Danny Elfman!

08
Feb
12

Quote of the Day

The PTA Disbands8

“We do have an emergency plan in case of a prolonged strike right here.  Let’s see, replace teachers with super intelligent cyborgs.  Or, if cyborgs aren’t invented yet, use people from the neighborhood.” – Ned Flanders

10
Sep
11

Quote of the Day

The PTA Disbands7

“The only books we have are ones that were banned by other schools.” – Mrs. Krabappel
“Well, the kids have to learn about TekWar sooner or later.” – Principal Skinner

19
Aug
11

Reading Digest: Quadruple Agreement Edition

The PTA Disbands6

“Well, I guess this is a case where we’ll have to agree to disagree.” – Ned Flanders
“I don’t agree to that.” – Principal Skinner
“Neither do I.” – Mrs. Krabappel

Most weeks I come across at least one person who, in talking about The Simpsons, will mention its precipitous decline in quality.  This week I came across four – count ’em four! – such people.  (One of them even used the term “Zombie Simpsons”.)  So the end of this week’s Reading Digest is pure catnip, but there’s a bunch of other fun stuff as well.  There’s a crazy fun Simpsons mural, a nice little anecdote about the show’s global ability to teach English to the youth, plenty of usage, and even an interview with the woman who played Marge in the Simpsons porn parody.

Enjoy.

Five and Alive: Simpsons Melos – Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week is a breakdown of some excellent quotes from “Homerpalooza” and how they apply to music and the music business today.  Example:

Lisa Simpson: "It may be bleak, but this music is really getting to the crowd."
Bart Simpson: "Eh, making teenagers depressed is like shooting fish in a barrel."

Why is this funny now? The term "emo kid" and how ’90s mainstream alt rock was as depressing as its underground parallel.

Nick’s commentary: Bummed out teenagers don’t want to listen to lame, happy-sounding music- they want to sink even deeper into their own heads and listen to bleak, depressing music. for some reason that’s just a psychological thing and it always has been. I’m sure that scientific studies can trace it back to fucking Joy Division.

Like “Homer at the Bat”, it’s amazing that an episode so obviously of its time has aged so well.  That episode was first broadcast fifteen years ago, hip-hop and rock have been through like ten phases each since then.

Jordan J Weber: Molly Free and I killin a mural outside Best Place Ever in Dogstown Des Moines (24th and University) – Several pictures of an amazing, surreal and enormous Simpsons mural in Iowa (via).

If the Republican frontrunners were Simpson characters – This is all images and is pretty good, though I might have gone with Helen Lovejoy or Lindsey Naegle for Michele Bachmann.

Film News In Brief 08/15: Edgar Wright, Alex Pardee, Kevin Smith, AMC Sucks, Film Quotes, Simpsons – Scroll to the bottom for an indisputably awesome cosplay picture that has been making the rounds all week.  I wonder if these people were the same ones referenced in the article about Classic Simpsons trivia night I linked last week:

Another woman came dressed as “Floreda,” the awful state costume Homer made for Lisa.

Create The Itchy and Scratchy Show Retro Version on Illustrator – Extremely detailed instructions for drawing an authentic looking retro-1950s Itchy & Scratchy title card.

Walkers crisps is top children’s brand in the UK – The Simpsons are the second most recognized brand among British children age 7-15.  Here’s the top ten:

1. Walkers Crisps
2. The Simpsons
3. McDonald’s
4. Coca-Cola
5. Nintendo Wii
6. YouTube
7. Maltesers
8. Haribo
9. Nintendo DS
10. Wii Sports

Keep that crappy merchandise coming.

America through Travelers’ Eyes – Awesome:

The other day I had a family from France who I served pancakes with maple syrup, and omelets with white toast. The three children spoke English better than most other French kids I had met. I asked the parents why their English was so good. They said it was because they watch T.V. in English.

“Great! What’s your favorite T.V. show?” I asked the kids.

“Zee Simpsons!” each child declared in a lilting French accent.

What a way to learn English.

I’d go so far as to say that it’s a perfectly cromulent way to learn English.  I learned a boatload of words from the show when I was a kid.

Ned Flanders Totally Looks Like Eddie Murphy as a white guy on SNL – Wow, yeah.

‘The Last Circus,’ ‘It,’ ‘The Simpsons’: 13 Terrifying Killer Clowns – A pageview whoring slideshow of some of pop culture’s most famous scary clowns.  The link is to the Evil Krusty Doll from “Treehouse of Horror III” with a short YouTube of Homer in the tub.

Happy Fatties: Phil Hartman’s Influence – As if we needed more evidence that Phil Hartman was unconquerably awesome, here’s a letter he took the time to write to an aspiring comedian back in 1997 (via).

Sideshow Bob – Phenomenal fan made painting of Sideshow Bob complete with crazy eyes and bloody knife.

Andy San Dimas Shows Range as Leading Lady – An interview/article with the woman who played Marge in the Simpsons porn movie:

In the “Simpsons” porn, San Dimas wore a giant blue wig and yellow body paint for the entire one-day shoot.

“That’s probably like the weirdest movie that I’ve been in,” she says. “And of every movie that I’ve done it’s the one that people in my hometown have recognized me the most from which blows my mind.

Ha.  That’s hilarious.  She’s been in adult parodies of Tron, Superman, and Charlie’s Angles, but apparently even in porn The Simpsons is more powerful than other franchises.

Will evicting rioters be a bear patrol? – Excellent post-riot UK reference usage:

In a 1996 episode of The Simpsons, a bear frightens residents of Springfield by strolling down from the mountains. Homer rallies an unruly mob and convinces the town mayor to create a state of the art Bear Patrol, including branded stealth bombers. All is well until Homer receives his pay cheque, which includes an additional $5 “bear tax”.

Which of the proposed responses to this month’s rioting and looting will be a bear patrol, that is a disproportionate and expensive response prompted by an unruly mob of citizens demanding action?

The Fittest TV Cartoon Characters – Flanders makes the list here, along with some other choices I did not see coming, like April from the old Ninja Turtles cartoon.

Frank Grimes’s Speech From The Simpsons – Some epic love for when Grimes chews out Homer after getting invited to dinner. 

30 DAY SONG CHALLENGE: 08 – A Song That You Know All the Words To – The Flaming Lips, “Bad Days” – If you’re feeling like listening to the songs from “A Streetcar Named Marge” today, you’re in luck.

Top 100 Favorite TV Opening Theme Songs (#20-1) « Inside My Head – Lots of good, nostalgic YouTube here, and the #1 spot goes to The Simpsons.

10 Best Comedies of All Time – However, the show only manages #6 here.

Geeky Bento Boxes – The Simpsons one is quite awesome, but the Bioshock one is even more impressive.

Elvis Presley’s Legacy…In 10 Words – I thought the mouse-over text was going to be the three TVs for sure.

He does have a heart – Some love for “Bart vs. Thanksgiving” and Simpsons in general.

Best Birthday Song Ever … – YouTube of Bart’s birthday song from the ultra-flammable animatronic animal band.

Costco Sydney – My Experience – Oh sure, Costco is like Monstromart, but where is the love?

“A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man.” -the Springfield town motto (The Simpsons) – This week’s Freakoutville quote comes with a nice little Simpsons graphic for “d’oh-nuts”.

Our baby does a great Homer Simpson impersonation – And now, the first of our four ending posts.  This one is about the remarkable ability of a newborn to sleep for Homer-esque lengths of time and includes this:

On a side note, one crazy thing is that the Simpsons will probably still be on the air by the time Zachary is old enough to watch. And, by then the number of terrible seasons of the Simpsons will outnumber greatly the number of good seasons. The Simpsons had a golden age when it was the funniest show on television. Now, it is mediocre crappy show that should have been cancelled over ten years ago. I wish Conan O’Brien would give up his late night gig and go back to writing for the Simpsons.

If Zombie Simpsons is still on the air in ten years or so, the number of terrible seasons will be approximately three times the number of good ones. 

NFL Players That Remind Me of TV Characters This Season – Our second ending comes from the world of professional football:

Donovan McNabb/Homer Simpson (The Simpsons) – D’Oh! That is what these two say when they make mistakes and they both make them often. It is amazing that both are still around considering neither is that great anymore. At one time they both had potential and got very close to fulfilling it but now they are just living on reputation.

I’d say Homer did fulfill his potential, and McNabb could’ve been a champion if Terrell Owens hadn’t gotten hurt that one year the two of them were unstoppable.  But both of them are clearly shadows of their former selves at this point, no arguments there.

Breaking News: Fabregas to Join Mascherano on Barca Bench! – Part three is from the other kind of football.  And while I don’t follow international soccer closely enough to understand most of this, I do understand this:

It’s like being one of the creators of the Simpsons versus being one of the people who now contribute to the production. Sure, you can tell your grandkids that you were part of one of the most successful TV shows of all time, but deep down you’ll know that you were never more than a passenger along for the ride as opposed to one of the stars that rocketed that show into comedic heaven.

Half the time when I come across a news item that says Channel X has ordered a pilot from writer/producer Y who worked on “The Simpsons”, it’s a guy who was there from Seasons 14-18 or something like that.  Technically it’s true, but it’s like saying that Michael Caine and Dennis Quaid were stars of the “Jaws” franchise. 

Saturn Valley: Simpsons and Sports – And finally, the fourth and final “agrees with us” link not only ends by saying, “Writing this list has made me sad, because good Simpsons is long dead. Only Zombie Simpsons exists”, but includes this appropriately stomach churning description of Zombie Simpsons:

Well, it used to be like that. The Simpsons post-season 10 isn’t exactly something that is watchable. It’s like sticking your hand into a blender, pulling your hand out, noticing that you are missing your hand, and being asked if you would like another go-around with the blender.

Preach it!

11
Apr
11

Taking Attendance

Chalkboard - The Great Simpsina

“Okay, when I call your name, uh, you say ‘present’ or ‘here’.  No, say ‘present’.” – Moe

If there’s one scene that’s been played over and over again in Zombie Simpsons, it’s the listing of the celebrity names.  Once upon a time even celebrities playing themselves (James Woods, Tito Puente, everybody from “Homer at the Bat” and “Krusty Gets Kancelled”) got actual introductions.  Now they appear and have their names read aloud.  This is actual dialogue spoken by Lisa in “The Great Simpsina”:

Ricky Jay.  David Copperfield.  Penn.  Teller.

It sounds like she’s reading roll call at a talent agency picnic.  Once all of them had shouted “present”, we got the usual self serving celebrity dialogue of feeble jokes at their own expense.  It’s marketing masquerading as satire, and it’s the kind of humorless comedy that used to be restricted to award shows and The Hollywood Squares

That sad conclusion, the fight scene felt like watching someone play a bad Final Fantasy clone, came at the end of your standard sitcom “child meets old person guest star, learns stuff” story.  These have been around forever, and this wasn’t a particularly well done version.  Along the way, Lisa got to be the instant professional, Jack McBrayer got to play Kenneth on a show other than 30 Rock, and there was a harmless “parody” of Criss Angel. 

The numbers are in and they are atrocious.  For the sake of decimal consistency, I have to round off last night’s numbers and use my standard two decimal places, which gives a number of 5.00 million viewers.  However, it’s worth nothing that TV By the Numbers goes to three decimal places, and last night’s came in just a shade under 5 million at 4.996.  Even the rounded number makes this the lowest rated episode of all time, coming in well below last year’s “Million Dollar Maybe”, and the third decimal place makes it the first episode to ever come in under five million viewers.  Two more episodes at roughly this level will drag Season 22 into a virtual tie with Season 20 for lowest rated ever, and three will put it over the top, so to speak. 




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