Reading Digest: Guest Voice Apathy Edition

Itchy and Scratchy - The Movie2

“And you wouldn’t believe the celebrities who did cameos, Dustin Hoffman, Michael Jackson, of course, they didn’t use their real names, but you could tell it was them.” – Lisa Simpson 

This week it came out that Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg (who has a movie coming out) and Mad Men’s Jon Hamm (fourth season starts this weekend) will be guest voicing on the next season of Zombie Simpsons.  I care so little about this that I didn’t even find a link worth linking.  On the plus side, there’s some excellent usage, a “think of the children” moment, a preacher who knows his Simpsons, and black and white YouTube.


List-Mania: More Simpsons! – A list of five favorite Simpsons characters with quotes, nary a one from Zombie Simpsons.  Bravo. 

News Media an Exclusive Playground for Pro-Police Lobby – My quest for the widespread acceptance of forfty continues:

Oh, people can come up with statistics to prove anything, 14 percent of all people know that.

Forfty!  (Also, he says “Kent” before “forfty”.)  Towards the end of the article, it’s about trumped up crime statistics in Calgary, is a mostly correct citation of Lisa and Homer’s exchange about the rock that keeps tigers away.  Moderate usage all around. 

Episcopal minister knows his ‘Simpsons’ – A Simpsons quiz in Sioux City, Iowa was won by Torey Lightcap, who not only is an Episcopal minister but uses them in his sermons:

"’The Simpsons’ are so universally and instantly identifiable that I can refer to them and feel confident that people will know who I’m talking about," Lightcap, who received a $10 Hy-Vee gift certificate for his win, said.

Congratulations, reverend. 

[Visual] James Hopkins – Perspective Sculptures – This is really cool.  These are sculptures that only look right when viewed from a specific angle.  There’s one of the family on the couch (with the kids and adults reversed in size) and one of Itchy & Scratchy. 

Alanah Throop’s “Top 10 Worst Fictional Bosses” – Mr. Burns checks in at #3.  Hard to argue with Darth Vader at #1, he goes through subordinates awfully quickly. 

Happy Birthday, Edward Hopper! – Hopper was the guy who originally painted that famous scene of the people sitting at the diner.  It’s accompanied here by it’s possibly even more famous derivation with dead celebrities, and a Simpsons version.

So how do you stop the ferris wheel again? – Remembering a job at the carnival, and first hand proof that real life Carnies are just like Cooder and Spud. 

Media literacy and why Homer matters – Remember that guy in England who thought his kid’s school was leaning too heavily on The Simpsons.  Now he’s getting plunked by everyone and their mother on Twitter. 

BP Ad/Well-Cap Visuals: Out of Sight, Out of Mind – BP’s desire to not be seen as the bad guys despite being the bad guys makes for dishonest visuals and excellent usage:

This visual sleight (slight)-of-hand ties in neatly with the intuitive intelligence of people who live on and make their living from the Gulf, as pictures of the capped well replace the recursive loop of spewing oil on the nightly news. Brian Williams even leads his network’s reports on the well-cap with the fear the natives (justifiably) have that viewers will simply forget the 180,000+ gallons? barrels? spilled into the ecosystem when it appears (on TV) that the bleeding of the Earth has been stanched. (cf. ‘Sherry Bobbins,’ leading a Simpsons singalong: “If nobody sees it, nobody gets mad!”)

The actual lyric has a “then” in front of the second “nobody”, but that’s still excellent usage.

The Rule of Three: Part 2 of 3 – A discussion of extra long gags on television that is accompanied by Sideshow Bob’s encounter with the rakes from Cape Feare.  The special bonus is YouTube of the scene, but black and white and in German.  The side of the truck and Homer’s shirt were animated in German. 

Generation X: Clueless Teachers with an Appetite for Destruction – Amidst a lament about how long ago some things really are, I’d like to disagree with this:

When we were young, you could see the Van Halen videos, all day, on a TV screen — TV! What they had before you watched shows on your laptop or mobile phone or blender, for Chrissakes!

Hmm, that reminds me, they grew up with The Simpsons –  all twenty years of it — so maybe they had better TV than us. But still, not better rock’n’roll.

For college kids today (roughly born between 1988-1992), they had to find good Simpsons on syndication, and even that’s awfully hard nowadays.  By the time they were old enough to appreciate it, the show had pretty much turned to shit. 

Breitbart employs the "dig up, stupid" strategy – This is excellent usage:

Back in the series’ heyday, there was an episode of The Simpsons in which the people of Springfield go on a frantic search for millions of dollars in buried treasure, only to find out after they’ve started digging that the treasure does not exist. Undaunted, they continue digging until eventually they’re trapped at the bottom of a very large hole. Faced with the question of how they will escape, Homer enthusiastically says: "We’ll dig our way out!" They resume digging, only to have Chief Wiggum nonsensically chastise one of his fellow excavators: "No, no, dig up, stupid."

I can’t help but think of this when I see Andrew Breitbart desperately try to spin his way out of the Shirley Sherrod fiasco, which was entirely of his making and has blown up squarely in his own face. On Good Morning America, Breitbart tried to convince everyone that this whole affair was never about Shirley Sherrod being a racist, even though George Stephanopoulos was right there with Breitbart’s original post in hand, quoting the several instances in which he attacked Sherrod as a racist.

Very apt, and perfectly quoted. 

Splitsville Gets Smaller – In the comments on last week’s Reading Digest, Lovejoy Fan was wondering why Helen Lovejoy’s “think of the children” thing is quoted so often.  I can’t speak for other countries, but here in America “think of the children” gets trotted out to justify pretty much everything, pretty much all the time.  Here’s another example:

I had to engage in a bit of uproarious guffawing upon reading this brain-dead take on New York’s long-awaited shift to no-fault divorce. The writer pleads for Governor David Patterson to veto the bill, using that tried-and-true "won’t somebody please think of the children!" logic lampooned so memorably on The Simpsons.

It is the go to American political argument for just about anything (and it’s so vague that it can usually be used by either side).  Oh, and that’s excellent usage. 

We Feel Obligated To Share This Video Of Carl Crawford Getting Hit In The Groin – Speaking of things The Simpsons nailed so well that it’s almost impossible to avoid, here’s a video of a guy taking a baseball in the nuts.  Nut shot videos are inherently funny, but they’re even funnier during live sports because the announcers have to not laugh and describe it with polite language.  Oh yes, there’s Hulu of Hans Moleman as well.  

The Simpsons Skateboarding – A modern review of an old PS2 game:

I have been hearing bad things about this game for a long time now, and have shunned them and said "Well, I love the Simpsons. And skateboarding games are fun. So Simpsons and skateboarding should be fun right?" Well, I picked this game up last week expecting the game to be really fun, but very unfortunately, it’s not. Not even close. This game sucks in nearly every possible way.

Remember, things like this are why the show is still on the air.  Also, I love the conclusion:

So to shut down, this game is awful. Do not waste your 7 bucks on this like I did.

It’s not worth seven dollars!  Ha. 

Simpsons Sunday – And finally, the weekend is starting and courtesy of our friend Leah at Cromulent Words comes Homer’s night out:

5 Responses to “Reading Digest: Guest Voice Apathy Edition”

  1. 23 July 2010 at 4:48 pm

    Well you could have actually disagreed with me in a comment instead of a ping and run. Though I’d actually agree with you that the show sucks now, and has for a long time.

  2. 2 Cassidy
    23 July 2010 at 6:03 pm

    “A list of five favorite Simpsons characters with quotes, nary a one from Zombie Simpsons. Bravo.”

    Crazy Cat Lady isn’t from Zombie Simpsons?

    • 3 P. Piggly Hogswine
      23 July 2010 at 9:42 pm

      Cat Lady’s first appearance was in Season 9, so it’s kind of borderline, but probably sneaks in the “Simpsons” side as opposed to the “Zombie Simpsons” abyss, although the majority of her appearances are in the latter.

      That “Homer’s Night Out” video is classic, I lost it laughing when the GIF was posted here some months back. One of my favourite moments which I frequently refer to in conversation when trying to recall details of a drunken night just passed.

  3. 4 D.N.
    23 July 2010 at 7:28 pm

    “This week it came out that Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg (who has a movie coming out) and Mad Men’s Jon Hamm (fourth season starts this weekend) will be guest voicing on the next season of Zombie Simpsons. I care so little about this that I didn’t even find a link worth linking.”

    I’m going to dirty my hands and provide a link to The A.V. Club’s report of the Jon Hamm thing: http://www.avclub.com/articles/jon-hamm-to-guest-star-on-the-simpsons,43361/ and reproduce the excerpt of Al Jean detailing an exchange between Homer and Hamm’s “gruff FBI man” character: “Homer asks if he can pick his undercover name and finally Jon just says, ‘Your name will be Nicky Blue Pants Altosaxophony.’ Homer says, ‘Do I get to keep the name when I’m done with it?’ and Jon says, ‘No, it’s the property of the government.’ He has no patience for Homer.”

    Firstly, that’s not funny at all, and secondly, even if it was, I can’t think of anything that could undermine the comedic value of a gag more than Al Jean reciting it verbatim beforehand. It’s almost like Jean is so unenthusiastic, all he can do is read the script out loud in lieu of actually having to talk about the story. Not only that, but we’ve seen a boneheaded Homer interacting with gruff and impatient FBI men before – “Cape Feare” and “The Trouble with Trillions” to name two examples, and on both occasions, Harry Shearer was perfectly capable of voicing said FBI men. So we have lame dialogue, Homer acting like a boob, a gratuitous celebrity in a role a regular could play, and oh yes, a shitty episode title (“Donnie Fatso”). This is Zombie Simpsons wanking itself to death.

    On a far less nauseating note, a few days ago The A.V. Club also reported (http://www.avclub.com/articles/script-uncovered-of-secret-snl-movie-that-never-wa,43235/) that a 1990 screenplay for an unmade “Saturday Night Live” sketch-comedy film has surfaced, which I mention because the script’s co-writers include several stout yeomen of Simpsons past, namely Conan O’Brien, Greg Daniels, and George Meyer.

  4. 5 Lovejoy Fan
    24 July 2010 at 8:40 am

    You’re absolutely right; “think of the children” can be trotted out for absolutely anything. I just love how this line is used more to make fun of politicians than it is in the actual show.

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