Reading Digest: High Horse Edition

I laugh at you pitiful, low-life commoners

Image used under Creative Commons license from Flickr user FaceMePLS.

“Get to work!  I want to see my face in that horse’s ass!” – Cadet Leader

I tend to think of myself as a pretty cheerful guy.  It’s certainly possible that I’m actually a bitter, resentful individual, though I genuinely don’t think so.  However, this week’s links lend some credence to the bitter/resentful argument.  This week I make fun of not one, but two Zombie Simpsons writers, look down my nose at Lost, strenuously object to a passing mention of Simpsons on a blog I linked to last Sunday, and publicly shame someone for plagiarizing.  On the happier side of the ledger we’ve got some excellent usage, several short and enjoyable video clips, and a great fan art link.  So it’s not all me being a sourpuss. 


Pilot season: First look at ABC’s 2010 comedy pilots – Remember Dana Gould, the bitter Zombie Simpsons writer who couldn’t form a coherent sentence?  He wrote a pilot, and if he’s really lucky it might get canceled after a few episodes next season:

"The Simpsons" scribe Dana Gould has written an untitled multi-camera comedy he will star in. He plays a high school guidance counselor and father of two who is caught between his conservative upbringing and his progressive wife’s ideals. One plus: Brian Dennehy plays his father.

Obviously I object to him being called a Simpsons “scribe” when he never wrote a damn thing before Season 12, but the more interesting thing here is the utter banality of the premise.  Ohhh, a high school guidance counselor with a liberal wife and a right wing dad, it’s Political Mismatch Comedy #644!  And think of how topical they can be!  I hope it has all the wit and sparkle of Murphy Brown

Retro Review: War of the Simpsons – Someone else is reviewing old Simpsons episodes too.  It’s an epidemic! 

First Time. – Sigh.  This seems to happen every few months; I come across some new blog that’s talking about a Simpsons episode or something similar and just by reading it I can tell: it’s been plagiarized from Wikipedia.  I hate doing this because I’m 100% in favor of people going on line to express themselves and all that technovangelist jazz, yet I can’t very well let plagiarizing Wikipedia slide, can I? 

In this case we have a new blog called “Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Sam”.  Here’s the earnest introductory post that makes the second post all the sadder:

Hi Blogosphere.

My name is XXXXXXXXXX and this is a blog for philosophy Units 1 & 2

My main goal is to post about “Metaphysics regarding Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind”

(If you want to see the name you can just click over to the site.  I’ve left it out here in case s/he either deletes this blog or, hopefully, elects to see the error of his/her ways and continue without plagiarizing Wikipedia.  In either case I don’t want our archives shaming him/her for Google to see forever.) 

Here’s the opening of the second post:

I was first introduced to “Eternal Sunshine” via The Simpsons parody, “Eternal Moonshine Of The Simpson Mind”

I found the episode to be thoroughly entertaining, despite it’s deviation from normal Simpson protocol.

The plot (of the episode) is as follows:

From there on out it’s virtually word for word from the Wikipedia article about that Zombie Simpsons episode.  There’s no link, no indication that it’s anything other than the author’s work.  Wikipedia:

During winter, Homer wakes up in a pile of snow and does not remember the events of the previous day, commenting that he must have drunk heavily the night before. Homer goes home and finds his family absent. Santa’s Little Helper attacks him. Homer travels to Moe’s, where Moe informs him that he was there the previous night and wanted to forget an unpleasant memory.

Blog post:

During winter, Homer wakes up in a pile of snow and does not remember the events of the previous day, commenting that he must have drunk heavily the night before. Homer goes home and finds his family absent. Santa’s Little Helper attacks him. Homer travels to Moe’s, where Moe informs him that he was there the previous night and wanted to forget an unpleasant memory.

In the next sentence Wikipedia describes the various alcohols that are in the shot (Jager, gin, Absolut) while the blog omits them, which makes me think this was written either by a high school student or by someone at a Jebus college that frowns on booze.  In any case the copy and paste goes on from there for four paragraphs.  Where something does get left out it’s glaringly ham handed.  Wikipedia:

When Moe offers the Forget-Me-Shot (Which Moe spat in), Homer predicts exactly what is going to happen

Blog post:

Moe then offers Homer the Forget-Me-Shot.   Homer predicts exactly what is going to happen

Notice the extra spaces where “(Which Moe spat in)” has been cut out.  This is plagiarism. 

And if you’re reading this, author of this post, please don’t get discouraged.  You fucked up, it happens.  Keep going (it’s not a bad project idea), just don’t do this again. 

ART – Misc Stuff – On a vastly more pleasant topic, here’s some really cool fan art.  You’re going to have to click your mouse twice to see what I’m linking here (and I know that’s a lot to ask), but it’s worth it.  First you’ve got to click the link, then you’ll see two images, click the one on the right (it’s in color).  There’re fan made drawings of Homer & Marge, the kids, Burns & Smithers, Lenny & Carl and Sideshow Bob and they’re really well done.  (There’s also some Futurama stuff.)

LOST Provides a Catchphrase to Replace “A Wizard Did It” – This is patently absurd.  There was another plot twist on Lost recently and somebody thinks that it will replace “A wizard did it” as the catchall for lazy storytelling.  I think not.  Lost has more plot twists than it does characters, in a year nobody’s going to remember this one. 

LOST SEASON 6, EPISODE 5 RECAP: Clairey Monsters – This says it contains spoilers if you give a shit about Lost, but I think I can quote the Simpsons part without spoiling anything:

Jacob instructs him to write a novel’s worth of instructions on his arm — I couldn’t think of how to shoehorn-in the Simpsons joke “I am tired of these jokes about my giant hand. The first such incident occurred in 1956 when…” so I just wrote this sentence

That’s perfectly quoted, excellent usage. 

Bart Simpson Monkey – Bali – A real life tale of a monkey trying to eat someone’s shorts. 

Wallflower Words: Koan (n.) – Want to explain an obscure word?  Let The Simpsons do it for you.  The quote is very slightly off but this is still powerfully excellent usage. 

The Simpsons: Accident In Class – This is just a Hulu clip of Homer’s encounter with the proton accelerator in “Homer Goes to College”. 

Cheaters Everywhere – This is a list of people who cheated on their spouse and/or girl/boyfriend on television or in movies.  There’s a Simpsons part that is further proof that Zombie Simpsons sucks ass:

Homer and Marge have had some ups and downs in their relationship.  Some mentions of cheating are fun, like Homer taking a ham (dressed up like a woman) to a hotel room to eat it.  He was on a diet.  Don’t judge.  But others, like Marge being wooed by someone who definitely looks better on paper than Homer or Apu cheating on his wife and getting kicked out of the house, are too much to bear.  Read the episode summaries before watching.  If there are any doubts, catch the episode by yourself on Hulu.

Marge being “wooed” in this case doesn’t sound like Jacques, I’ve never heard of the ham thing, and there was an episode where Apu got thrown out of the house?  Glad I haven’t seen that one. 

Beloved Mosi Tatupu left indelible imprint – Mosi Tatupu was an NFL player who died this week.  He also had a very quick mention in “Treehouse of Horror III” and at least one obituary noted it. 

Best of The Simpsons Season Four Quotes – A bunch of quotes from Season 4. 

Recapturing Greatness – This is from the same No Pun Intended blog that’s reviewing the occasional Simpsons classic.  In this post (by a different guy than the one who writes the Simpsons reviews) we learn that Will Arnett (a/k/a Gob Bluth) may star in a pilot for FOX produced by some other Arrested Development alums.  His character is “a right Beverly Hills jackass”.  Sounds good, right? 

The point of the post is that it’s hard to, as the title says, recapture greatness and that we might not want to get our hopes up.  This was all well and good until I got near the end.  In discussing how in different contexts people go from fantastically funny to utterly boring he drops this piece of dumb:

The writers of the early episodes of The Simpsons are often the same as the writers of the later episodes of The Simpsons.

Other than Al Jean (and to a lesser extent Mike Reiss) when was the last time you recall seeing someone from the good years with their name on the credits?  The epically prolific John Swartzwelder slowed way, way down before he finally called it quits, Jon Vitti stopped in 1995 and only worked on the bad seasons a handful of times, Bill Oakley, Jay Kogen, David M. Stern, Greg Daniels, David S/X. Cohen all left either before things went to hell or as they were going to hell, never to return.  I could go on; I could also list the numerous current writers that have no credits from the early years (paging Dana Gould), but I think I’ve proved my point.  So no, the writers of Zombie Simpsons are not “often the same” as from The Simpsons

On the (H1) wagon – No discussion of the demise of the Hummer is complete without The Simpsons and the Canyonero. 

Why Not Professor Frink… – It’s a defense of nerdiness as it relates to image projection.  But forget all that because there’s YouTube of Frink teaching kindergarten in “The PTA Disbands”!

“Hello My Name Is Mr Snrub…” – More YouTube!  (Also, this blog is called “All My Friends are Dead Because I Shot Them”.  Cool.) 

Nuclear association learns from Homer – Joel H. Cohen (first listed credit: Season 13) gave a talk to a bunch of nuclear industry people in Canada.  According to the story he was very funny and charming.  However, he also apparently did this:

He [Cohen] had real advice for the audience, like the lesson learned from the episode in which Homer gets so fat he goes on disability leave from the nuclear plant and, presumably, sits around the house being miserable — a prospect that didn’t thrill the writing team. "Then somebody says, ‘what if he loves it? What if he enjoys being fat and is loving every minute of it?’ And you could feel the energy spread across the room, because that is a much more creative, much more fun, more exciting way to go."

Shenanigans!  I call Shenanigans!  That episode is from Season 7, Cohen didn’t start working on the show until six years later.  This is second hand information, so there are some plausible explanations (maybe he was an intern during Season 7, maybe he was relating a story someone else told him), but as the story is written he’s presenting it like he was there. 

(Note: Some of the text at that link repeats, but I think the whole story is there.)

20 Years of The Simpsons – This guy was laughing at a top ten episode list we’ve mentioned before.  It’s a very good list because it has nothing past Season 7.  Though he gets confused in places (Homer’s fat guy dress is from a different episode than the the subliminal weight loss tapes) he outrights praises the show without ever once mentioning Zombie Simpsons or citing any Zombie Simpson episodes.  Well done.

4 Responses to “Reading Digest: High Horse Edition”

  1. 26 February 2010 at 3:54 pm

    Hey, John S from NPI here. Good catch on my “Recapturing Greatness” error. I meant more that there is some overlap on writers of The Simpsons and The Zombie Simpsons (which there is, as you admit), not that the writers were the same. Either way, I could have been clearer.

    • 2 Charlie Sweatpants
      26 February 2010 at 6:11 pm

      It’s the joys of on-line writing, the one sentence you don’t completely polish is the one somebody notices. Other than that I liked your piece.

  2. 26 February 2010 at 7:31 pm

    Thanks for the link. I honestly think the Canyonero spot was the most successful marketing campaign of the 90s.

  3. 27 February 2010 at 10:39 am

    People use stuff we write for Wikipedia all the time without crediting it, although admittedly only really in blogs. Saying that, several of the flashback reviews of The Simpsons on IGN ‘borrow’ screenshots I myself captured for use on Wikipedia (for example, the image used on their review of “The Springfield Files” – http://uk.tv.ign.com/articles/892/892294p1.html). Hell even Jon Ortved’s book seemingly (although perhaps it’s just my own warped interpretation) was influenced by articles I’ve written (especially his section on the movie). Yet, unsuprisingly, he doesn’t mention Wikipedia at all.

    P.S. I am not a crackpot.

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