Archive for November, 2009


Stochastic Simpsons Imagery

A couple of different users mentioned this on ye olde Twitteree, but in my estimation it’s worth the forty-five seconds of effort necessary for a blog post because it’s just too damned enjoyable.  This:

Simpson Mania: 35 wonderful pictures

is a gallery of . . . well, a lot of things.  There’s Simpsons tattoos.  There’s promotional stuff from the movie.  There’s food of various kinds.  There’s things we’ve talked about here before and things I’ve never seen.  It’s cool. 


High Art Simpsons

“Indeed.  Marge you find the inner beauty of your subject and bring it out for all to see!” -  Professor Lombardo 

Check out these fan-fugu-tastic Simpsons renditions by David Barton.  He’s done them in the styles of famous artists.  Here’s Marge in Vermeer’s “Girl with Pearl Earring”:

Vermeer Marge The necklace instead of the earring really makes it.

Then there’s Groundskeeper Willie, van Gogh style:

Willie Van Groundskeeper When a man this intense says ‘Ach! Keep off the grass’, man, you’d better keep off the grass.

There are two more at the site, one of Apu as Salvador Dali and a Rembrandt style Homer.  Check both of them out, they’re just as awesome as these two. 

(found via Web Designer Depot)


People Like Witches (Sort of)

Chalkboard - Rednecks and Boomsticks

The numbers are in and last night’s gruel-thin effort at witch humor managed to entice 8.99 million viewers.  That’s the third highest all year and brings the Season 21 average up to 8.39 million.  In addition to that small triumph, Zombie Simpsons not only managed to out draw The Cleveland Show (giving it a commanding 5-2 lead in their increasingly lopsided ratings duel), but also beat Family Guy by more than half a million viewers.  That’s the first time in a long time a first run Zombie Simpsons has done that.  Oh well.


Quote of the Day

The PTA Disbands1

“And Bart isn’t doing very well either.  He needs boundaries and structure.  There’s something about flying a kite at night that’s so unwholesome.” – Marge Simpson
“Hello, mother dear.” – Bart Simpson


“We’re 13 minutes short, does anyone have any ideas on how to make this longer?”

Let’s start with the good stuff.  Dave and I both laughed when the car hit Bambi.  That was funny.  Um, then there was the “nipple slip hotline” on Flanders’ speed dial, that was . . . okay.  The rest of the episode was so thin on ideas and humor as to be transparent.  Clock eating, comedy free sequences include:

  • Long ass traffic scene at the beginning
  • The “suspense” sequences surrounding the witches
  • The “Sideways” moonshine/wine-tasting montage
  • The pointless, yet exposition heavy, trial in the courtroom
  • Moe’s two bizarre scenes, especially the mob one that pushed this tired thing over the finish line

Classic Simpsons could’ve crammed every one of tonight’s plot points into about a five minute B-story (plus it probably would’ve had, you know, jokes). 

There is one other thing that bears mentioning.  I don’t know if it was a national spot or just on the local affiliate, but there was an honest to Jebus detergent commercial.  A woman in a hospital bed sees an astonishingly handsome doctor (bathed in angelic light) who tells her about the benefits of some liquid detergent.  At first I thought it was one of those ads that takes a well worn stereotype and uses it for another purpose.  Nope, straight up detergent ad.  If there’s one thing that marks formulaic, crappy television it’s ads that are usually broadcast during daytime soap operas. 


Multicultural Sunday Morning

I’m posting this strictly because it cracked me up just now:

Batman científico. 

(via Twitter)


Sunday Preview: “Rednecks and Broomsticks”

Another Sunday is upon us, which of course means there’s a new episode of Zombie Simpsons waiting in the wings to ruin our evening. There’s no promo picture for me to bloody up, but there is a description (courtesy of Simpsons Channel) that we can all point and laugh at:

Just as Lisa is about to become involved with a group of practicing Wiccans, they get arrested for witchcraft and Lisa becomes the star witness in their trial.

Right, because we’re all looking forward to what sounds like a 22-minute ToH segment gone bad. I’m also quite certain that making fun of Wiccans stopped being relevant or enjoyable years ago. Androgynous teenage vampires are the new Wiccans, idiots. But wait, there’s more! Here’s the B-plot from SNPP:

Homer becomes friends with Cletus when he discovers Cletus and his friends make their own moonshine.

Why do Homer and Cletus need to be friends? Their relationship is best summed up in “Home Sweet Home-Diddily-Dum-Doodily” and anything further is both a flagrant lie and superfluous. But this is Zombie Simpsons, so I should stop asking questions and just accept that our favorite characters are now soulless proxies for a peculiar brand of un-humor.

By the way, now would be a good time to start drinking yourselves into lucidity in advance of tonight’s clusterfuck. Whiskey counts as beer if it’s a boilermaker.


Quote of the Day

Radio Bart2

“But order now, supply is limited.” – Superstar Celebrity Microphone TV Commercial
“Limited!? . . . Do you have any of those microphones left?” – Homer Simpson
“Yeah, a couple.” – Warehouse Guy


Simpsons Sand Couch

“That’s right, Dick.  You know this year everyone’s abuzz about one thing, the absence of Mark Rodkin . . . oh wait, there he is.” – TV Announcer

Awhile ago we found a guy who’d done elaborate sand renderings of the Simpson family.  Now, at a sand sculpting competition in Portugal someone drew the entire family on the couch (via):

Simpsons Sand Couch

You can see a few more images at this gallery link for the 2008 festival (when the theme was Hollywood).  Awesome.


Crazy noises: Pranks and Greens

Separate Vocations2

“You know before I saw these test results I had you pegged as a drifter.” – Dr. J. Loren Pryor
“Wow, a drifter . . .” – Bart Simpson
“Lousy sheriff, run me out of town, he’s lost my vote.” – Drifter Bart
“Cool.” – Bart Simpson

In our continuing mission to bring you only the finest in low class, low brow, and low tech internet Simpsons commentary we’re bringing back our “Crazy Noises” series and applying it to Season 21.  Because doing a podcast smacks of effort we’re still using this “chatroom” thing that all the middle schoolers and undercover cops seem to think is so cool.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (surprisingly enough not on “antithetical”).

We’re once again getting this up at the expiration date but here’s me and Dave carping about “Pranks and Greens”. (Mad Jon didn’t come in this week, he is presumed dead or on vacation.) Since this episode was utterly terrible and it’s just the two of us, it didn’t take very long at all. Hooray for half-assing things.

Charlie Sweatpants: Are we still on that awful prank episode? Thanks to the holiday it feels like a lot longer than just last Sunday.

Dave: Yeah, what’s on your mind?

Charlie Sweatpants: Oh, all kinds of shit.

Dave: I’ve successfully pushed it out my consciousness since watching it with you

Charlie Sweatpants: Well, like most of Zombie Simpsons, much as I hate it at the time it always gets worse the more I think about it.

Why did Bart care about this kid again?

Dave: Some misplaced notion about being outdone?

Charlie Sweatpants: And since when does he not think it’d be cool to be a drifter, or test dangerous food additives, or be a 19th century cockney boot black when he grows up?

Dave: That Bart died a long time ago.

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah he died a long time ago, but this wasn’t just out of character, this was antithetical to everything he stands for.

The very core, the absolute heart of hearts of what makes Bart Simpson Bart Simpson (and what made him popular in the first place) is "underachiever and proud of it".

Dave: Absolutely. Sunday’s Bart spat in the face of that, and then turned into a soft, yielding reformist pushover in what seemed like three seconds

Charlie Sweatpants: Exactly.

Dave: It could’ve been any other character honestly.

They chose Bart so that we could get unnecessary Skinner/Groundskeeper Willie backstory as a bonus

Charlie Sweatpants: Oh yeah, that was terrible.

  I’m a big advocate of the fact that the show doesn’t need to make sense from episode to episode, but how many times are we going to find out about Skinner’s background?

Dave: No shit.

Charlie Sweatpants: He was always a dork, no he was a rebel, no he was always a dork, at some point you can’t help but go numb.

Dave: Bingo. The idea of a "cool" Skinner is beyond preposterous

Charlie Sweatpants: And then there was the B-plot which even by the standards of B-plots was time filler. I mean, health food jokes? Ohh, take that Whole Foods.

Dave: I think we talked about that on Sunday – that’s easy comic fodder, but even they managed to fuck that up

  There was no biting insight, just hackneyed cliches. Ohhh, parents concerned about BPA, take that yuppies

It makes me long for "Scenes from the Class Struggle in Springfield"

Charlie Sweatpants: Pretty much, I mean it’s one thing to take a topic that’s easily mocked and fail to mock it, but it’s another to include a little message at the end.

That’s a topic for another time, but the fact that the Simpsons really aren’t poor any more detracts from a lot of things.

Dave: There was a message?

Charlie Sweatpants: Well, the whole "I guess doing the best I can is alright" thing. I don’t know, maybe I was reading too much into it.

Dave: You’re right. They aren’t poor anymore…

  That’s a pretty shit message. "I like me just the way I am"

Charlie Sweatpants: Anyway, is there anything we’ve missed on this one?

Dave: Nah, I don’t think so

We’ve got tried and true characters acting not like themselves for 20-some, laughter-devoid minutes

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, do we need to discuss the ending? With the worm tank and the "suspense" of whether or not Bart can save Krusty?

Dave: I think the less said about that the better.

Charlie Sweatpants: Good because the whole Bart doesn’t know it’s a stunt (lots of string music), but then it is, and then there’s a happy ending for everyone thing was just excruciating to watch.

Dave: Well look on the bright side, no new episodes for 2 whole weeks

Charlie Sweatpants: Really?


Dave: That’s my Black Friday gift to you.

  I willed it so.

Charlie Sweatpants: Oh, you meant after this Sunday.

  Damn you for getting my hopes up.

Dave: Oh yes, sorry.

  I got my own hopes up too.

Charlie Sweatpants: Your cruelty has boomeranged on you.

Dave: And how!


Quote of the Day


“I might go mad with fear out there, so Todd, I want you to shoot Daddy if tries to get back in.” – Ned Flanders
“(sniffles) Okay, Dad.” – Todd Flanders
“Okay.” – Ned Flanders


Reading Digest: The People Have Spoken! Edition

Protest1 Image modified under Creative Commons license from original by Flickr user Takver.

“Now I’m just an ordinary blue collar slob, but I know what I likes on teevee!” – Homer Simpson

We have two links this week to long, long lists of ordinary people quoting Simpsons.  One was prompted, the other just broke out in a message board.  Both of them are heavy on ye olde Simpsons quotes with hardly a mention of Zombie Simpsons.  We’ve also got hilarious write-in candidates, Homer’s prayer of thanks, an undergraduate introduction to Simpsons, and lots of excellent usage. 


Write-ins go beyond none of the above – A list of humorous write in votes in the recent election in New Jersey.  Our favorite mayor got one (1).

Ned Flanders, I mock your value system. You Also Appear Foolish In The Eyes of Others – This is just a discussion thread at RottenTomatoes that’s nothing but ye olde Simpsons quotes. 

20 Classic TV Shows: The Season We Pick As Each Show’s Peak – This list is on Entertainment Weekly’s website.  Like most magazines groping blindly in the brave new world of the internet they’re so ravenously desperate for pageviews that you have to click to a new page for each separate entry in a list of twenty.  Needless to say I didn’t bother doing that.  They picked Season 4 from The Simpsons.  (via Twitter)

Edward Fitzpatrick: Giving thanks on more than one day a year – This is a column about the positive effects of being grateful for things.  It makes some cromulent use of Simpsons before falling into the 14% fallacy.  Forfty

Less like The Waltons and more like The Simpsons – This is for a class at James Madison University and is basically a discussion of political humor on the Simpsons for people who’ve never watched the show.

Guess Which Firm ‘Simpsons Superfan’ Andrew Blumberg Is Going To? – Some law student won a baking contest with a Bart cake.  I haven’t linked it before because without the cake it is nothing.  But finally, we have art. 

Scientologist Bart Simpson Lady Would Like to Sell You Her Sons Bed [Nancy Cartwright] – Nancy Cartwright’s son’s bedroom furniture is for sale. 

Bart Simpson clock widget from Widgipedia – It’s like regular crappy Simpsons merchandise, only now it’s in widget form.  There’s a Homer one too.

Holidays for everyone – This is about having the freedom to celebrate religious holidays without being religious.  Here’s the quote:

And we are even free to recite Bart Simpson’s Thanksgiving prayer, "Dear God, we paid for all this stuff ourselves, so thanks for nothing."

On the one hand, he gets the quote right.  On the other hand he misidentifies the episode, it’s not Thanksgiving when Bart says that, but rather when Burns comes over for his gubernatorial campaign publicity stunt.  I don’t think I can call that outright excellent usage, but it is very good usage.

Homer Simpson’s Thanksgiving Prayer – Exactly what it says it is and properly quoted.  This is excellent usage. 

Ode to a "Homer Simpson Donut": – It’s a poem about a Homer donut. 

New Heights for Young Love – Two people in Sydney, Australia got it on in a clock tower in full view of crowds below.  That made one blogger think of Wiggum’s famous dictum, “If it feels good, do it.” Excellent usage. 

Thanksgiving Makes For Some Great TV – This is a list of seven great Thanksgiving themed television episodes.  Of the seven the only ones I’ve even seen are “Bart vs. Thanksgiving” (#6) and South Park’s “Helen Keller! The Musical” (#1).

Favourite Under-Quoted Simpsons Quote? – Needless to say most of the quotes listed are from the before time, the long long ago. 

Grandma Simpson – One is never too old to begin appreciating The Simpsons

Wilton Baking Pan: Bart Simpson (1990, 2105-9002) – Krusty Brand Seal of Approval Alert: Just in time for the holiday baking season it’s a Bart Simpson shaped cake pan.

Life Imitates the Simpsons… again. – This “Christian Side Hug” thing is beyond parody (especially sampling the Darth Vader theme from “Star Wars”).  Also, excellent usage. 

Homemade Marge Simpson Costume – One more homemade Marge Simpsons costume?  Why not.


Quote of the Day


“Wow.  You must love this country more than I love a cold beer on a hot Christmas morning.” – Homer Simpson


Get the Money

The numbers in this Fast Company article (via) are the same ones from that hideous USA Today article we linked to a few months ago.  None of them are the least bit encouraging for those of us who want to finally see Zombie Simpsons halted.  Here are the numbers (that aren’t as down for Zombie Simpsons as they appear):

The Simpsons finished the 1989-90 season at #28 in the Nielsen ratings, the first Fox show ever to break into the top 30.

Last season, it ranked 83rd.

Today the show averages 6.7 million viewers — although it’s the 7th most watched show on Hulu.

Last year, companies spent $314.8 million to advertise during Simpsons first-runs and prime-time repeats, down 16.8% from 2007.

Yes the ratings are down, that’s no secret, they’ve been going down steadily for years.  I’m not sure how one could differentiate whether those numbers are down because of the general decline in television viewership or because the show hasn’t been worth watching in a decade.  It’s some combination of both, although the fact that it was once ranked in the top 30 of network shows and is now in the 80s suggests that the decrease in quality has had a significant effect.  But $314.8 million just for first run and primetime reruns on FOX covers twenty $5,000,000 episodes three times over.*  Even if we give ourselves a big fudge factor (which we probably should because this data isn’t exactly straight from the horse’s mouth) there’s no way they aren’t still making enormous amounts of money just off the broadcast of the new episodes.  And that’s before you factor in three quarters of a billion dollars for merchandising. 

I’ve said this before and I’m sure I’ll say it again: the quality of the show has little to no effect on FOX’s bottom line. 

*The USA Today article said the $314.8 million was for local station repeats as well, I’m not sure which is true but I don’t think it changes the general conclusion.


Quote of the Day

Cowboys Thanksgiving

Image used under Creative Commons license from Flickr user brandonink2001.

“See Maggie, those silver and blue guys are the Dallas Cowboys.  They’re Daddy’s favorite team, and he wants ’em to lose by less than five and a half points.  Understand?” – Homer Simpson

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!  Incidentally, the Cowboys are 12 point favorites over the Raiders this afternoon. 


More Simpsons Stained Glass

A while back we posted about an artist named Joseph Cavalieri who makes these surreal and very cool stained glass images with Simpsons motifs.  He was nice enough to send us an email with pictures of two new pieces he’s created.  If you want to see them up close and personal (and you’re in New York City) there’s a gallery show running until December 20th, directions here

Here’s the first piece, “Funerale di un’Amica (Funeral for a Friend)”:

“But you know, my mom says god never closes a door without opening a window.” – Bart Simpson
”No offense kid, but your mom’s a dingbat.” – Krusty the Klown

It’s tough to make out on that image, but that’s Springfield in the windows in the background, complete with power plant cooling towers. 

Then there’s this one, “The Countryman and the Serpent”:

 “And the Lord said, whack ye all the serpents which crawl on their bellies and thy town shall be a beacon unto others.” – Reverend Lovejoy

Once again I’m totally blown away by the detail and the skill it must take to create something like this, and that’s even without the freakishly cool imagery.  If you’re a Simpsons fan in New York you’ve got until December 20th to check them out in person. 


Quote of the Day

Bart vs Thanksgiving2"C’mon Dad, let’s get out of here." – Homer Simpson
"Slow down boy, what’s your hurry?" – Abe "Grandpa" Simpson
"This place is depressing!" – Homer Simpson
"Hey, I live here!" – Abe "Grandpa" Simpson
"Oh, well, I’m sure it’s a blast once you get used to it." – Homer Simpson


Spurlock Update: Schedule Announced

FOX announced their midseason schedule today and the Spurlock special will be airing after a new Zombie Simpsons on Sunday January 10th.  (It’s got a whole hour devoted to it from 8:30 to 9:30.)  Previously the schedule had been announced (or just assumed) as being January 14th, which is a Thursday.  I thought they might be doing a one night only return to Thursday to hit the 20th anniversary on the dot, but I guess not. 

Incidentally, I’ve never fully understood why, in television circles at least, the premier of “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire” doesn’t seem to count.  It was broadcast on 17 December 1989 but was technically a “special”, and apparently that still matters to people all these years later.  Anyway, 14 January 1990 saw the first regular broadcast episode, “Bart the Genius”, which I would strongly recommend watching instead of this:

Sunday, Jan. 10, will be devoted to "The Simpsons," beginning with the animated series’ milestone 450th episode, “Once Upon a Time in Springfield” (8-8:30 p.m.), in which Bart and Milhouse try to help Krusty regain his popularity after network executives force him to restructure the format of his TV show by hiring a female sidekick, Princess Penelope (guest voice Anne Hathaway).

(I’m going to guess that the guest voice information there is wrong, Hathaway was Bart’s girlfriend in that execrable one last year where Lisa kept hallucinating to kill time.  Her IMDB page lists that one, but nothing for next year so until I hear otherwise I’ll just assume that it’ll be some other actress.)

I’m kinda excited to see Spurlock’s thing.  While I’m sure there will be some irritating Zombie Simpsons fellatio, there might also be some neat stuff and it can’t possibly be more boring than the average Zombie Simpsons episode. 


Synergy Pines for Its Lost Youth and Innocence

“There has been a shocking decline in the quality and quantity of your toadying, Waylon!” – C.M. Burns

Much like last week, this week’s IGN Simpsons “review” was surprisingly long on criticism within the text before giving it a good number anyway.  I don’t want to repeat myself too much, but this episode scored a 6.9 when the actual review was mostly negative even before I edited out the synergy.  What would it have needed to do to score less than that?  True, the tone is still that of a gently cowed subordinate, but the substance of this review is pretty damning. 

November 23, 2009 – "Pranks and Greens" was the tale of two stories. The first was an entertaining  a hacktacular mystery about a boy who was once better at pulling off pranks than Bart Simpson. The second was a boring, unfunny tale about Bart helping that boy become a better person. Guest voice Jonah Hill (Superbad) added little to the loser character.

The episode had a fun start. Bart and sidekick Milhouse were spending their time pulling off pranks around the school. Upcoming pranks they were working on in their brainstorming session included stunts they called "Night of a Thousand Skunks," "Tora, Tora, Toilet," and "Untitled Skateboard Project." It was goofy and fun and ended with Skinner’s balloon-elevated engine crashing back to earth onto the top of his car. Bart’s nonsensical punishment was cleaning the playground, which led to a snortingly funny bit with Ralph being launched off the very slippery slide a bunch of clock eating physical “comedy”. Bart’s bragging led prompted Skinner for some reason to reveal that the boy may be the best prankster of his era, but not of all time.

This set Bart off on a quest to learn the identity of this mysterious prankster, for some other reason. This, too, was quite entertaining. In a piece of unnecessary retconning Bart discovered that Skinner had once been a hip and happy young principal, only to become the Skinner we know today after an undisclosed incident. After some research, Bart approached Groundskeeper Willie who, for yet another reason, retold the tale of "The Night of the Wigglers." The prank got Skinner caught in a pool full of worms for three days and the retelling revealed the prankster to be… Andy Hamilton some guy.

Jonah Hill voiced Andy Hamilton some guy and it was basically straightforward stuff. Lisa rightfully characterized the character — now 19, not in school, unemployed and living with his parents — as a loser. Seeing that he was on a similar path, and giving a shit for yet another unfathomably out-of-character reason, Bart tried to help Andy turn his life around. Bart went to Krusty for help., and Krusty’s list of things he wouldn’t do was a good laugh: "I won’t read screenplays, that’s for your protection. Oh, and you can’t ride on my private jet. And I won’t give a struggling young comic his first chance. I won’t give a broken down hack his last chance…" But the storyline itself was short on funny. There was little to like about the character of Andy, and Hill’s voice work was too unexceptional to lift the character above the weak dialogue. The twist of Andy using his old worm prank to write a bit for the Krusty show was none too surprising, but I did enjoy roll my eyes at the phony self deprecation of Lisa’s continued use of the "loser" title now that Andy was a television writer.

Filling out the episode contractually obligated running time was a silly plot about Marge making the extra effort to buy healthier foods for her family and her Midday Mommies play group. The thing I most enjoyed here were the songs played for the kids in the group was the brief relief from watching Bart act like Marge.  "I’m not gonna poop in the tub" was a nice lesson, and we also learned that "doggies and kitties don’t last forever, but they do a lot better than fish." But the The food jokes felt too were 100% generic. Healthy food is expensive and tastes bad, we know. The only other standout line came from Homer telling Marge that "Lard Glug" contains neither lard nor glug.

The episode had a good start, but veered into a less than impressive direction more or less immediately. Marge’s storyline, while cute less nauseating than the main one in parts, was really just filler more than anything else. The pranks and the mystery at the beginning of the half hour seemed to be trying to setting up something, but twas all a waste better than Bart trying to help a kid we just met who didn’t really have any redeeming qualities. A few bits had their moments, including Milhouse imagining Andy’s sidekick and Willie as Swim Coach Willie, but it wasn’t enough to save the second half doldrums.


Quote of the Day


“Smithers had thwarted my earlier attempt to take candy from a baby, but with him out of the picture, I was free to wallow in my own crapulence.” – C. Montgomery Burns


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