Posts Tagged ‘The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase



11
May
15

Quote of the Day

AfterMannix

“Hi, I’m Troy McClure.  You may remember me form such TV-spin-offs as ‘Son of Sanford and Son’, and ‘After Mannix’.” – Troy McClure

03
Mar
15

Quote of the Day

The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase8

“He’s gradually getting away, Chief.” – Skinny Boy
“Ah, let him go.  I have a feeling we’ll meet again, each and every week, always in more sexy and exciting ways.” – Wiggum P.I.

03
Jan
13

Quote of the Day

The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase6

“You know what’s great about you, Betty, is, you’re letting your looks go gracefully.  You’re not all hung up on looking attractive and desirable, it’s just so rare and refreshing.” – Moe

05
Jun
12

Summer Schedule, Guest Posts, and Free Swag

“Not long ago, the FOX Network approached the producers of The Simpsons with a simple request: thirty-five new shows to fill a few holes in their programming lineup.  That’s a pretty daunting task, and the producers weren’t up to it.  Instead, they churned out three Simpsons spin-offs, transplanting already popular characters into new locales and situations.” – Troy McClure

With Season 23 now rapidly fading into the indistinct blob that is Zombie Simpsons, it’s time for us to get started on our summer schedule.  As you can see from the chart below, there are some blank spots on it. 

DHS Schedule

We will be doing Crazy Noises for Season 11, and the first of those should be along later this week.  I’m also going to do some more commentary posts from earlier seasons.  But even that will leave lots of days around here that can only be filled by exploiting other people’s time and labor.

So, just like last summer, we’re going to pass the days by not paying other people to write blog posts for us.  Last year we had a bunch of great entries (check out out Company Eating Rules category), including several lists, personal essays, and analyses of different show eras.  If you’ve got a blog or other website, we’ll not only link to it, but you can cross post your article there as well.  Pictures and images are welcome, and just about any topic that’s Simpsons related is okay by us.

As a special incentive for anyone in the Washington D.C. area, we’re giving away free tickets to “Mr. Burns, A Post Electric Play”.  Thanks to my relentless linking to their blog the last few weeks, the theater’s social media person got in contact with us last Friday.  Neither Dave, Mad Jon, nor myself are in D.C. or are going to be there before the play closes, but rather than turn down free stuff, we thought it better to give the tickets to the first person who offers to see it and write a review for us.  So if you can make it down to the Woolly Mammoth theater in the next couple of weeks, and you’ve got a 500-1500 word review in you, e-mail me and we’ll talk. 

Anyone else who wants to write a guest post for us should e-mail me as well, though your only compensation will be the enjoyable pride of a job well done.  That’s not as cool as free tickets, but we have always depended on the kindness of strangers.

18
Feb
12

Quote of the Day

The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase5

“I was just in a car accident, can I use your phone?” – Betty
“Uh, using the phone’s a four drink minimum.” – Moe

15
Oct
11

Quote of the Day

The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase3

“Daddy, these rubber pants are hot.” – Ralph Wiggum
“You wear ’em until you learn, son.” – Clancy Wiggum

13
Oct
11

Destroying Zombie Simpsons to Save It

The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase4

“We’re like this all the time.” – Marge Simpson

In response to the renewal news, Split Sider published a list of six ways to improve Zombie Simpsons.  They’re willing to acknowledge that the show is a shadow of itself, but they’re still operating under the illusion that it is capable of getting better.  It isn’t.  Moreover, of the six suggestions they offer, only two of them could result in any real changes, and those would both basically end the show. 

Before we get to that, however, we should first note that nothing like this is ever going to happen.  Zombie Simpsons has been stuck in a creative rut for for a decade and change, but the rut pays the bills and then some.  If the recent contract extension is proof of anything it’s that the show, as flat, lifeless and fan displeasing as it is, remains profitable.  But even if we set aside the practical and business considerations and focus exclusively on the creative side, the changes are doomed to fail.  Here are the six suggestions:

1. Less Bart-Centric Episodes

2. Get Rid of the Fourth Act

3. Age the Show

4. No More “THE SIMPSONS ARE GOING TO…”

5. Unconventional, High Concept Episodes

6. A Season-Long Arc

I’ll agree that #2 is just a bad way to run a television show, but Zombie Simpsons sucked long before the addition of the third commercial break, so I don’t think that one is going to help much.  Three of them, #1, #4, and #5, are all variations on a theme.  The fifth one is a call for more of a certain kind of episode, the other two are calls for less of other kinds.  These seem unlikely to help much for the same reason dropping the fourth act wouldn’t help: Zombie Simpsons has long been terrible across all of these kinds of episodes.  Even if they did drop the annual travel episode in favor of more flashback/flashforward type episodes, it wouldn’t make much difference. 

The two interesting suggestions are #3 and #6.  Unfortunately, doing either one of them would mark a permanent break with The Simpsons, which is the last thing a show staggering along on nostalgia wants to do.  First, consider #6, having a season long plot arc.  Here’s the explanation:

Even after 10 years of supposedly subpar episodes, The Simpsons will still go down as the greatest comedy, possibly show, of all-time. There’s nothing the writers can do to hurt the show’s legacy, so why not do something extreme? For instance, why not have a season-long arc? Do the high concept episodes in season 24, and have season 25 be focused on a single topic. Maybe Mr. Burns can die and the Germans come back to take over the plant and fire everyone, and all of the episodes could be about Homer looking for a job? That’s not the greatest idea in the world, I’ll admit, but a season-long arc would require viewers to tune in every week and solve the inconsistency problems many fans and critics have complained about for years.

Zombie Simpsons can’t sustain a plot across twenty minutes, much less twenty episodes.  A season long plot would have to make sense across weeks and weeks of episodes.  Zombie Simpsons has a hard time making sense within individual scenes.  Far more devastatingly, it would require change and progress from the characters.  Bart and Lisa would have to grow up a little, Homer and Marge would have to go through some kind of crisis, even the supporting characters would be expected to find themselves in at least somewhat changed circumstances.  All of that would leave the show looking nothing like The Simpsons, and looking like The Simpsons is the only thing that keeps Zombie Simpsons going. 

Making Bart and Lisa older, as suggested in #3 “Age the Show”, would also damage the resemblance to The Simpsons.  Beyond that, moving the characters forward a few years wouldn’t change things much, if at all.  Here’s the full text:

Next season, have Bart and Lisa inexplicably graduate from second and fourth grade, and have them in fifth and seventh, respectively. Why so far in advance? Because Miss Hoover and Mrs. Krabappel have both gone as far (if not further) as their characters will allow, and they’ve become tired and boring. (They’re, of course, not the only ones on the show, but they’re a necessary reduction.) There’s a HUGE difference between being in elementary and middle school (I still shudder thinking about it), and this would allow a whole new setting for the writers to create, something the new guys haven’t been able to do for years. Skinner can "graduate," too, in a Mr. Fenny from Boy Meets World-like situation.

I’ll agree that the worlds of seventh and fifth grade are a lot different than those of fourth and second, but Zombie Simpsons came untethered from grade school reality a long time ago.  Bart being in the fourth grade hasn’t stopped them from giving him a new girlfriend every other season.  Lisa being in the second grade didn’t keep her from entering a movie at the Sundance Film Festival or protect her from more adolescent problems like that time she got an eating disorder.  And if you’re dropping Hoover and Krabappel, why are you keeping Skinner?  He’s just as played out as they are. 

Instituting a season long plot arc would sever whatever connection remains between Zombie Simpsons and The Simpsons, but merely tinkering with the formula by pushing ahead a couple of years wouldn’t change the worn out format they’re stuck with.  It’s a catch-22, if they changed the show enough to make it genuinely fresh, it wouldn’t be anything like The Simpsons, but if they just tinkered with things, it wouldn’t change things enough to make a difference. 

This (plus the profitability of the rut) is why any ideas to revitalize the show are dead on arrival.  Whether you’re talking about shifting it forward in time, season long plot arcs, going spin-off showcase style and concentrating on other characters, all of them have one thing in common: they abandon the essential Homer, Marge and their small kids setup.  Zombie Simpsons can be about them as they are, or it can be about something else and drop everything from The Simpsons except the setting.  It can’t be both.




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