Posts Tagged ‘They Saved Lisa’s Brain

09
Sep
17

Quote of the Day

“You want me to join Mensa? Oh, that’s wonderful! But don’t I have to take some sort of IQ test?” – Lisa Simpson
“No, Lisa, you’re more than qualified. I’ve shared all your standardized test scores with the other members.” – Principal Skinner
“Aren’t those supposed to be confidential?” – Lisa Simpson
“Welcome to Mensa!” – Principal Skinner

06
Sep
16

Yahoo Is Looking for a “SuperFan”

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“You have robbed us of our dignity!” – Lenny

As usual, I am way behind on everything, but a couple of weeks ago I got an e-mail from a producer at Yahoo SuperFan:

With the Simpsons 600th episode coming up this fall, we’re looking for a Simpsons fan with the wildest collection of memorabilia. The ideal person would have amazing cosplay costumes, possibly Simpsons tattoos, maybe a child who they named Homer or Marge, and of course, a massive collection of toys and other memorabilia.

If you or someone you know fits this bill, drop it in comments.

09
May
16

Quote of the Day

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“The winner is: me, for being seen with you freaks.” – Rainier Wolfcastle

Happy birthday James L. Brooks! 

25
Apr
16

Quote of the Day

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“Booo!” – Crowd
“But it’s me: Moe! Wearing a sailor suit! Moe, with a lolly! It’s so out of character! Ain’t that worth nothing?” – Moe
“Booo! Next!” – Crowd

Happy birthday, Hank Azaria!

29
Sep
15

Quote of the Day

StayYellow!

“We studied traffic patterns and found that drivers move the fastest through yellow lights.  So, now, we just have the red and yellow lights.” – Professor Frink
“C’mon, stay yellow!  Stay yellow!  Man, I’m making record time!  If only I had someplace to be.” – Lenny

Happy birthday Gabor Csupo!  

28
Jan
15

Compare & Contrast: Famously Smart Guest Stars

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“I wanted to see your utopia, but now I see it is more of a Fruitopia.” – Stephen Hawking
“I’m sure what Dr. Hawking means is-” – Principal Skinner
“Silence!  I don’t need anyone to talk for me, except this voice box.” – Stephen Hawking

Celebrities voicing themselves has long been one of the most widely acknowledged hallmarks of Zombie Simpsons.  In truth, of course, the show had been using self voiced celebrities almost since the beginning.  What changed was the way those voices were used.  In Season 2, Ringo Starr voices himself, but responding to decades old fan mail, not arriving on the Simpsons’ doorstep.  In Season 3, an entire baseball team of Major League players voiced themselves, but that’s because they were all getting paid by Burns, not because they all suddenly decided to go to Springfield.  Self-voiced celebrities themselves aren’t inherently a problem, how they’re used is more important.

On The Simpsons, not only was there always a reason for some famous person to be there, but what they were doing was always a takeoff on who they were and/or why they were famous.  On Zombie Simpsons (in addition to being used far more often), the self voiced celebrities usually appear out of nowhere.  And once they are on screen, frequently don’t do much more than be their normal selves.  This is how famous street artists repeat their names and do nothing else and the entire cast of American Idol pops up just because.  It’s straightforwardly uncreative and almost always looks and feels like nothing more than a plea for attention.

All of those negatives apply to Elon Musk’s episode.  He literally drops out of the sky at random, and (like Lady Gaga) once he’s in Springfield he just kinda acts like an even more exaggerated version of himself.  Look, there’s drones and electric cars and friggin’ hyperloops!  Aren’t they funny?

LandingCraft

Too bad Kang and Kodos weren’t in there.

Even the episode’s attempts to show how his crazy ideas backfire falls apart.  Everything he does works, and Springfield becomes a futuristic utopia right up until Burns fires everyone.  Does Musk react to this?  Nope.  He disappears entirely as Springfield falls apart, showing up only at the end to act hurt that Homer doesn’t want to be his friend anymore.

They could’ve shown Musk as Shary Bobbins, a noble creature whose best efforts are eventually overwhelmed by the inherent crappiness of Springfield.  Or they could’ve shown Musk as an evil, Hank Scorpio-esque nutbar who loves his inventions more than people.  Or, with just a few tweaks, they could’ve shown a Musk vs. Burns battle for the soul of Springfield.  (Burns would triumph, of course, because good is dumb.)  But they didn’t do any of that.  They had Musk show up, then they drew some of his stuff into Springfield, then he vanished while everything fell apart.  This is about as shallow and pointless as it is possible to be given the enormous amount of screentime he got.

DisappearingAct

The episode manages to find him again, but only with binoculars.  He is apparently unaware that all of his improvements to the town have become failures.

Compare that with Stephen Hawking’s brief appearance at the end of Season 10’s “They Saved Lisa’s Brain”.  Now, by Season 10 the show was already falling apart, and Hawking’s sudden arrival isn’t without its share of problems.  Not only does he drive up with no warning whatsoever, but after he scoops Lisa up in his flying chair to save her from the mob, they land all of thirty feet away while the episode forgets completely that a riot was going on.

But Hawking still has both 1) a reason to show up and 2) is given some things to do.  He’s there because eggheads have taken over the town and he wants to check it out.  This still being The Simpsons, their efforts were doomed from the get go and he finds nothing of value in their little experiment.  Moreover, only on The Simpsons would Hawking be a bullying and arrogant dick who insults everyone and uses an extend-o-glove built into his chair to punch Skinner.  Yes, he is smarter than everyone else, but he’s a jerk about it, and that’s what makes it work.

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Stephen Hawking: Face Puncher

Of course, The Simpsons also knew enough not to try and string that out for an entire episode.  Hawking is only in two scenes, one of which is an epilogue that doesn’t affect the story.  They don’t build the whole thing around him because even in Season 10 the show could still recognize the limits of a guest star.  In the filler laden wasteland of Season 26, weak guest ideas are asked to carry the entire runtime, and even a world famous inventor and entrepreneur can’t make that work.

03
Jul
13

Quote of the Day

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“Oh, Dad, I just spent the day with the most wonderful people.” – Lisa Simpson
“Aw, that’s great, honey.  You tell me everything you can before the commercial’s over.” – Homer Simpson

Happy birthday Yeardley Smith!




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