Archive for February, 2011


Compare & Contrast: Mocking Awards Shows

Black Widower3

“You know the rules, awards for excellence in entertainment are contraband, no Emmys, no Oscars, not even a Golden Globe.” – Prison Guard

One of the more revealing ineptitudes of “Angry Dad: The Movie” is the way it fails to copy not one, but two different Simpsons episodes that did the exact same thing it did.  (This is particularly stunning coming from a show that loves repeating jokes and unabashedly lives off of fan nostalgia.)  Of course, both of those older episodes did things much quicker, and managed to actually mock the kidding-but-serious way awards shows take themselves and their participants.  I am speaking of both the Emmys in “Black Widower” and the generic (but Emmy statue lookalike) Annual Cartoon Awards in “The Front” (which are awarded at the Springfield Civic Center the night before it’s closed for roach spraying).

In “Black Widower”, Krusty comes out to present the award for “Best Supporting Performer in a Children’s Program”.  Right there, the show is already making fun of the uselessness of the Daytime Emmys by creating a nonexistent, but not implausible, category for sidekicks.  Taking the whole enterprise one level further into satiric silliness, Krusty reads a list of the enjoyably wacky nominees:

Daytime Emmy Nominees

Clockwise from top left: Droopy Drawers, Colonel Coward, Pepito (the Biggest Cat in the Whole Wide World), and Suck Up the Vacuum

None of those four characters merit too much attention, but each gets his (its?) own little moment of personality.  We see the improbably hot companion of Droopy Drawers reassuringly pat him on the hand.  Colonel Coward freaks out from nerves just a little bit, and Pepito waves like the good natured mascot he is.  Suck Up, who looks more than a little terrifying and can’t possibly be human, is too good to attend this complete sham.  The entire thing takes only ten seconds before the main plot resumes.

Despite not containing much more content than a vacuum cleaner in Spain, none of the plodding parodies in “Angry Dad: The Movie”  move nearly as quickly.  It’s not even close:

  • “The Triplets of Belleville” takes about forty seconds.
  • “Persepolis” is also forty seconds.
  • “Toy Story” managed to be only thirty seconds (but certainly felt longer).
  • “Wallace & Gromit” was sixty-five seconds (as in more than a minute!).
  • “Angry Dad” was a comparatively tame twenty seconds. 

That’s five clips, totaling well over three minutes of screen time, in an episode that’s barely twenty minutes long.  And that doesn’t even count Halle Berry’s part.  For comparison’s sake, please note that the College Humor video of the McBain clips, which the killjoys at FOX legal have already taken down (shhh, reverse Spanish version), was only slightly longer, and it was from five separate episodes over three seasons.

In “The Front” almost the exact same thing – awards show presentation with clips and a celebrity voice – is done in a small fraction of the time.  Brooke Shields and Krusty come out so Krusty can read the terrible joke about his hair, the kind of thing that awards shows still trot out to this day.  He instantly goes off script and starts bitching while Shields gamely plays it straight.  Once he storms off the episode goes right to the parodies.  First is “Strondar: Master of Akom”, the “wedding episode”:

The Front9

Does it takes forty seconds to parody He-Man?  No, no it does not.  It requires less than five seconds and gives us Not He-Man, in his formal S&M gear, tugging nervously at his Chippendales-style bowtie choker.  That goes immediately to “Action Figure Man”, the “How to Buy Action Figure Man” episode:

The Front10

This one is really amazing, because it takes only a few words and a couple of seconds but manages to send up pretty much the entire genre of children’s cartoons, including the incessant merchandising that makes them so very lucrative and the way shameless marketing is used to get kids to basically extort their own parents.  The final “clip” is the only one they didn’t make up themselves but, once again, they didn’t need half a minute to make a quick joke about the fact that new episodes of The Ren & Stimpy Show were less than forthcoming at the time.

From the time Shields introduces the first clip until we get to “Barbershop of Horrors” takes less than thirty seconds.  The whole sequence, from Krusty and Shields walking on stage to Grampa winning the award, is only ninety seconds.  Zombie Simpsons takes three and a half minutes to complete the same thing, and that’s before you get to the respective acceptance speeches.  In “The Front”, Grampa immediately launches into his anti-cartoon tirade without a moment of hesitation.  For his candor he is pelted with fruit thrown by people in formalwear.  In “Angry Dad: The Movie”, Bart launches into a tedious monologue about how many people he needs to thank, and is then joined on stage by Homer for some wrap up exposition.

Parodying famous cartoons like “Toy Story” and “Wallace & Gromit” is a fine thing for a show like Zombie Simpsons to try to do.  But trotting out so many of them for so very long means they’re going to feel like filler, even if they had been packed with insightful humor.  “The Front” could’ve dragged its parodies out, but instead it kept them short and funny, and in doing so left itself time for its own little short, “The Adventures of Ned Flanders”.

[Edited 1 March 2010 to change “Vacom” to “Akom”, see comments for details.]


Quote of the Day

Itchy and Scratchy and Marge6

“In preparing for this debate I did a little research, and I discovered a startling thing.  There was violence in the past, long before cartoons were invented.” – Roger Meyers Jr.
“I see, fascinating.” – Kent Brockman
“And there was something called The Crusades, for instance, tremendous violence, many people killed, the darn thing went on for thirty years!” – Roger Meyers Jr.
“And this was before cartoons were invented?” – Kent Brockman

Happy birthday Alex Rocco!  (Well, technically it’s not until Leap Day 2012, but I’m sure he’s learned to make do.)


Quote of the Day

Sweet Seymour Skinner's Baadasssss Song5

“Ned Flanders actually eliminated detention and put the whole school on the honor system?” – Seymour Skinner
“Yeah, and the teachers are afraid to leave the faculty lounge!” – Bart Simpson

Happy birthday Bill Oakley!


Saturday Morning Cartoons

Separate Vocations7

“Well, that was a waste of time.” – Janey
“Janey, school is never a waste of time.” – Lisa Simpson
“Since we have fifteen minutes until recess, please put down your pencils and stare at the front of the room.” – Ms. Hoover

Doctoral theses could be written about this episode, but let me just add this.  The following things are mocked in this brief, twenty-two minutes of television:

  • Elementary education
  • Standardized testing
  • Post grad education
  • Law enforcement
  • The army
  • Hope
  • Sexual bondage
  • Cop shows
  • Action movies
  • Oedipal complexes
  • The space program
  • The Wild One (1953)
  • Handwriting analysis
  • Hippies
  • Law
  • Beverly Hills Cop (1984)
  • Fascism
  • Aspiration and authority of any kind, stripe or variety

And I’ve omitted far more than I’ve listed.  Ladies and gentlemen, The Simpsons


Quote of the Day

Bart Sells His Soul3

“Cover me sarge, I’m going after Bart’s soul! . . . If the ayatollah can’t have it, no one can!” – Milhouse van Houten


Reading Digest: Spectacular Links Edition

Homer Badman5

“I feel like a kid in some kind of a store.” – Homer Simpson

Some weeks the internet just gives and gives; like this week, where we have an embarrassment of really cool stuff.  I had several contenders for Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week, and ultimately I couldn’t decide on one, but the first four links are all worth your time, though only the Rolling Stone thing will actually take more than a few seconds of it.  In addition to that, we’ve got some great YouTube, the usual assortment of excellent usage, three links from our pal Galileo, and, what we all came here to see, hard core nudity! 


Burger #284 – Lisa Simpson – It’s the Lisa burger, and it’s vegetarian. 

The Simpsons: America’s favorite yellow family – Highly stylized fan made drawing of the family Simpson.  I especially like the blue swirls for both Marge’s hair and Maggie’s pacifier. 

The Simpsons, the Only Real People on T.V.: Rolling Stone’s 1990 Cover Story – A Rolling Stone cover article about the show from June 1990, i.e. after the first season when Bartmania was at its absolute apex.  It’s a nice little time capsule, and it’s always good to remember when the show was rebellious.  I’m particularly fond of this quote from Groening:

"I like it because [the Simpsons] are not glamorous. So much in our culture is designed to make you feel envious. The Simpsons definitely do not."

“Glamorous”, there’s a word that pretty neatly describes Zombie Simpsons.  I’m going to add that one to my regular repertoire. 

Milhaus Shirt – Milhouse/Bauhaus mashup shirt – I put this up on Twitter earlier this week, but it’s worth mentioning again.  Unfortunately they appear to have sold out in the meantime, so you can’t get the t-shirt at the moment, but you can gaze upon its nerdy majesty:


But my mom says I’m cool (via).

BoC Gameday: It’s OUR Vertigo – Excellent usage:

I feel bad for Hiller, but I admit that I’d probably giggle if the Ducks literally killed their goaltender with their shitty defense. Are the Ducks drinking chlorinated water or something? Lydman’s seeing double, Hiller can’t stand up, and Ryan Getzlaf’s bones are brittle. The Getzlaf one is especially weird since he always drinks plenty of… malk?

I feel like Ned Flanders! – More excellent usage:

So, I was driving home from work yesterday and as I left Abbotsford and grew closer to Chilliwack, the snow started to fall.  Well, not fall, exactly.  More like, um, assault my car. 


I thought of Ned Flanders, when his house was torn away by a tornado and the town pulled together to build a new house for him.  The work they did was done “Shoddilly-iddily-iddily-diddly” and Ned tries to “diddly” his way out of his rage, but then finally explodes in “aaaw hell diddly ding dong crap!”

Every time I see this episode I think that someday that’ll be me.

There is also a rather nice photo to go with that, in both regular and old timey versions. 

This General has a major thing for the Globetrotters – This is the rare example of a botched quote that indisputable qualifies as excellent usage.  Observe:

The Generals, my newly adopted teammates, had lost 13,561 in a row. As "The Simpsons’ " Krusty the Clown once noted, "The Generals are so due."

That’s not an exact quote, more of a paraphrase. But you get the idea.

Well done.  For the record, the exact quote is “I thought the Generals were due!”

Why America Hates Arcade Fire, and Why That’s Sort of Hilarious – Because this week is all about how The Simpsons had such justifiable contempt for awards shows, please read this paragraph from an article that defends the Grammys even while acknowledging how stupid they are:

In a year where self-identified indie bands permeated all layers of mainstream culture, and in a year where no single album emerged as a talisman for what 2010 was about, Arcade Fire was absolutely the best choice of the five, and music observers in the know shouldn’t be surprised that the band took home the little gold statue derided by The Simpsons all the way back in 1993.

I’d also like to point out the irony in defending a Grammy win by pointing out shitty Grammy wins.  And then this:













Gadhafi In Popular Culture – I also put this on Twitter earlier.  It’s a YouTube video of all the ways American pop culture has been making fun of Gaddafi for a quarter century.  Another famous Indian was Crazy Horse. 

Libya…In 10 Words – Speaking of Gaddafi and The Simpsons

Wisconsin’s Union Issue…In 10 Words – YouTube of Lisa’s union strike song. 

Scott Walker’s Prank Call…In 10 Words – And one more. 

AEBN Streams ‘Simpsons: The XXX Parody’ in HD – Looks like the porn parody is ready to roll.  I might get in trouble with WordPress for this, but screw it: here’s the link.  Lots of payment options, including pay-per-minute (ha!), a 48-hour rental for eight bucks, and an mp4 download (specifically marked “DRM Free”) for twenty-five.  Say what you want about the porn industry, but their distribution methods are years ahead of mainstream entertainment. 

The beginning of an era, where the Knicks may even be good – Discussing the Carmelo Anthony trade:

Also coming to New York is Shelden Williams and his larger-than-life head, which is presumably a result of drinking the same tonic Ken Griffey Jr. was hooked on in the greatest Simpsons episode of all-time.

Tee hee. 

Gif Collection (23/02/2011) – There’s a couple of Simpsons .gifs here, Ralph at the focus group in “The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show” and Bart pulling down the shade in “Bart of Darkness”.  Plus there’s Hermione making fun of Bella, which is always win. 

Health Care Gone Wrong – Hibbert treating some of the Warner Brothers gang. 

Ice Cream & Bagels -OR- HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! – Happy birthday:

Yes, yours truly’s birthday clock just hit the top of the hour today.  I’m off to celebrate with free goods and/or services.

Nice reference.  Click through for YouTube of the Ramones. 

Presidents’ Day – Awesome YouTube video of various Simpsons songs. 

Girl on Girl on TV: Week of February 13 – Television review:

In this episode they reveal that the grey in Patty and Selma’s hair is just ash—when she shakes it out, it’s red. She also threatens to beat up Homer, saying, “I could bend him like Beckham.” That’s what passes for comedy these days?

Sadly, yes, at least as far as Zombie Simpsons is concerned. 


Quote of the Day

Vodka & Jerky

Image shamelessly yoinked from Well Preserved.

“Poor Mister Homer, could it be that my snack treats are responsible for his wretched health?” – Apu Nahasapeemapetilon
“Gimme some jerky.” – Customer
“Would you like some vodka with that?” – Apu Nahasapeemapetilon
“Oh what the hell, sure.” – Customer


Crazy Noises: Angry Dad: The Movie

Hurricane Neddy5

“Yes, Mr. Sherman, everything stinks.” – Calmwood Mental Hospital Doctor

In our ongoing mission to bring you only the shallowest and laziest analysis of Zombie Simpsons, we’re keeping up our Crazy Noises series for Season 22.  Since a podcast is so 2004, and video would require a flag, a fern and some folding chairs from the garage, we’ve elected to use the technology that brought the word “emoticon” to the masses: the chatroom.  Star Trek image macros are strictly forbidden, unless you have a really good reason why Captain Picard is better than Captain Kirk.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (especially on “jowl”).

Among the shorter of the many long (long, long) skits during “Angry Dad: The Movie”, Zombie Simpsons had Homer stick a deck of playing cards (he happened to be carrying) down the back of his pants and shuffle them with his ass. The cards eventually emerge (unstained) fanned out from his waistline. Then they make a big show of him opening a bottle with his butt. That last concept is so inventive that I was only able to find three videos of people doing the same thing after one search on YouTube (plus a deer). But the butt-shuffling sent my mind instantly to the episode of The Critic where Marty’s in the talent show. Skip to the 4:25 mark here, and listen to Jay Sherman, in response to his son smoking a pipe with his belly button, say:

“You know, my butt can deal blackjack, but this is Marty’s night.”

The Critic was a show that never got the chance it deserved, and since it was funny as hell it makes sense that Jean and company would raid it for material, but inherently goofy things like this work much better when alluded to rather than spelled out.

Charlie Sweatpants: Ready to get this over with?

Mad Jon: Yep

Charlie Sweatpants: I am not at a complete loss for words about this episode, but the only three that come to mind are "what", "the", and "fuck".

Mad Jon: Yeah, once again it was quite the effort to watch. I turned it on right when I got home from work, and I still feel exhausted.

Charlie Sweatpants: There were so many things that were a minute or longer when they could’ve been two seconds.

  The Ricky Gervais thing might not have even been worth two seconds.

Mad Jon: I know the idea was to piggy back on the "Angry Dad" episode all those season ago, but I really felt it had to be thought of in the light of "The Front". A goal that was exponentially more difficult.

  I can’t figure out why Gervais is in everything. I really don’t find him funny.

  Also I am not British.

Charlie Sweatpants: I don’t have anything against him, I’ve seen him be pretty funny, but this was a trainwreck.

Mad Jon: It took me a few minutes of the tip scene to even figure out who he was. It really didn’t look anything like him.

Charlie Sweatpants: I swear I could almost see him turn to the camera and say "That’s it. That’s the joke."

Mad Jon: Ha ha, yeah that’s about right.

Charlie Sweatpants: Then I can yell "You suck, McBain!" and all would be well.

Mad Jon: Did you notice how long the guest voice credit roll went? I was only aware that there were like 2 or 3. Boy, was I wrong.

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, it was like six deep.

  And everyone got to do the same thing: voice themselves and pretend to make fun of themselves.

Remember when this show loathed the rest of the entertainment industry? Good times.

Mad Jon: Yes, once again it was their turn to ride the bike.

  Yes, Yes I remember, back when travel was done on Blimps and Taco Bell used meat.

Charlie Sweatpants: There were the Pixar parts, and the Wallace & Gromit part, and the Triplets of Belleville part . . . these aren’t parodies, they’re more like love letters that lack even a hint of originality.

  Dear Pixar, we love you, signed Zombie Simpsons.

Mad Jon: Also the clips went on for fucking ever.

Charlie Sweatpants: Oh, I know.

Mad Jon: The clips from "The Front" look so much better in comparison than they already are.

  "Clip not done yet"

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, they used to actually create stuff. Now it really is like those "Epic Movie" pieces of crap where they photocopy something and expect me to slap my fins together for understanding the reference.

Mad Jon: Well, the references were topical. -ish.

Charlie Sweatpants: I’m sure they were very proud of themselves for that little photo of Gervais that said not to allow him to host.

  I didn’t even watch the Golden Globes and I got that one. Savvy.

Mad Jon: Oh yeah, I probably should have picked up on that while I was struggling to figure out who he was.

  I also didn’t watch the Golden Globes.

Charlie Sweatpants: Well, we kinda just did. There are few things ugly in deeper ways than when big budget entertainment pretends to satirize itself for its foibles.

  While we’re on the topic of things that went on way too long, how about that Itchy & Scratchy thing?

Or Bart’s ride around the house?

  Or the awards receiving montage.

Mad Jon: Yeah I was hoping you’d bring that up. There wasn’t one last week right? That’s good, this weeks was bad enough for both.

Charlie Sweatpants: Someone on the staff has a lot of kung fu movies with five star ratings on Netflix.

Mad Jon: I remember a few weeks ago I tried to defend a few of the new I&S. Man I look even stupider than that time I burned my eyebrow off with a flaming shot of Yukon Jack.

Charlie Sweatpants: That was pretty bad, but this is worse.

Mad Jon: Why does everything have to take soooo long?

Charlie Sweatpants: The training montage alone was longer than many classic I&S skits.

Mad Jon: probably twofold as long.

Also, how many more episodes this season do you think will have a Banksy reference?

Charlie Sweatpants: Well, they like him. He did more for them publicity wise than anyone else recently. And that’s despite episodes like this one where they cram in guest stars cheek by jowl.

Mad Jon: Soon enough they will run out of A-listers to throw 3 or 4 in each week.

Charlie Sweatpants: There are always new celebrities.

Mad Jon: Yeah, but this seems like a locust swarm to me as of late.

Charlie Sweatpants: There does seem to have been an inordinate number of episodes with two or more guest voices this season.

Mad Jon: Like most Zombie recurrences, it kills a bit of time and can be crammed in pretty much anywhere.

Charlie Sweatpants: Very true. This one displayed an unusual level of apathy towards storytelling, even by their standards. The Pixar guys don’t get defeated, the chair guy vanishes halfway through the episode, Lisa’s at the table read with Bart for some reason. They really can’t be bothered.

It’s impressive in a way, like when a three year old tells a story and begins every sentence with "And".

Mad Jon: Yes sir. The difference being that I would applaud a three year old for being excited to tell me a story.

I really did forget about the Aero chair guy until you just mentioned him.

Charlie Sweatpants: That’s exactly my point. He vanishes like a puff of smoke halfway through.

Mad Jon: It’s a good point.

Charlie Sweatpants: Anything else here? Normally I ask if there’s anything good, but I can’t think of a single decent thing that I saw that wasn’t immediately ruined by going on ten times longer than it should. Homer’s Taco Day line at the power plant comes to mind.

Mad Jon: Yeah, it turns out he still has a job after all.

  I really can’t think of anything else good, or really bad that we haven’t mentioned.

The only time I smiled was when Lisa mentioned that she saw all the Pixar movies and slipped in "except for Cars".

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, that was at least decent.

  And true. Cars sucked.

Mad Jon: Notice how the decent things in the last few years are always two seconds long.

  But that’s all I got. Like I said, I had to struggle even more than usual to pay attention.

Charlie Sweatpants: This was less of an episode and more a series of YouTube ready videos that someone, someday will figure out how to – excuse me I have to use a bad word here – "monetize" on Hulu.

Mad Jon: Think about the future.


Quote of the Day

Grade School Confidential3

“Bart, if life has taught me one lesson repeatedly, it’s to know when I’m beaten.” – Principal Skinner


Twitter Has No Use for Zombie Simpsons

Somehow word got around Twitter yesterday that it was Bart’s birthday.  Since we only follow like ten people and only half of them ever tweet anything I have no idea how this happened.  However, Daily Simpsons got in on the trend and asked their teeming horde of over nine thousand followers to tweet their favorite Bart quotes.  The results are below in picture form (remember, it’s Twitter so the newest messages are at the top):

Twitter Doesn't Like Zombie Simpsons

There are two quotes on there from Season 11, and nothing past that.  Not one.  Now, this isn’t exactly scientific, but it is overwhelming.  Twitter, or at least the nine thousand people who follow one of the most popular Simpsons centered Twitter accounts, don’t have any use for Zombie Simpsons. 

[Note: Crazy Noises and Compare & Contrast should be on the way tomorrow, been a busy week.]


Quote of the Day

Mother Simpson4

“Excuse me, sir, I think there’s been a mistake.” – Marge Simpson
“Oh no, no mistake.  Your electricity’s in the name of Homer J. Simpson, deceased.  The juice stays off ’til you get a job or a generator . . . oh and, uh, my deepest sympathies.” – Sympathetic Utility Guy


Quote of the Day

Lady Bouvier's Lover5

“Homey, you know it’s funny, both my mother and your father seem pretty lonely.” – Marge Simpson
“Heh, heh, heh, heh, heh, that is funny.” – Homer Simpson


Knowing Your Audience

Chalkboard - Angry Dad The Movie

“Thank god we’re back in Hollywood, where people treat each other right.” – Movie Guy

No sooner do I make fun of Zombie Simpsons for its relentless Hollywood navel gazing than they spend an entire episode navel gazing in Hollywood.  Starting with that interminable Itchy & Scratchy thing and running through awards ceremony cliches and a stunning number of glacially slow short films, this thing was one long exercise in entertainment industry self congratulations.  (I’m sure these sorts of things will get people at L.A. area cocktail parties to praise them, but for the rest of us it’s a little less fun.)  In between all that we were treated to some truly bizarre set pieces that had nothing to do with anything.  Was Lisa hallucinating when the Pixar lamp attacked her?  Was that the theme music for Jurassic Park and, if so, why?  What ever happened to the chair guy? 

This episode was like watching one of Michael Bay’s more impatient films.  Characters and storylines appear and disappear at random, most scenes have nothing to do with the ones before or after them, and all the pyrotechnics can’t conceal how poorly constructed the whole thing is.  You’ve got twenty minutes to fill, you shouldn’t be worried that people are going to click to a different browser tab every ninety seconds.  These are not YouTube videos or, at least, they’re not supposed to be. 

Anyway, the numbers are in and while they’re up from last week they’re still bad.  Last night’s unintentional warning about the dangers of attention deficit disorder was left on by 6.35 million people while they clicked around Twitter and Facebook.  That’s the second lowest number all season, though it’s going to need to get worse if Season 22 is going to take Season 20’s crown for least watched.


Quote of the Day

Oh Brother, Where Art Thou6

“His life was an unbridled success, until he found out he was a Simpson.” – Lisa Simpson

Happy 20th Anniversary to “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?”!  Original airdate 21 February 1991.


All Glory Is Fleeting

George C. Scott

Image used under Creative Commons License from Flickr user cliff1066™.

“Arggh, my groin!” – George C. Scott

There’s new Zombie Simpsons in about an hour.  It’s gonna be bad:

Bart’s cartoon about an angry dad is turned into Angry Dad: The Movie and quickly becomes a critics’ favorite. When Russell Brand (guest-voicing as himself) presents the Golden Globe to Bart’s film, Homer usurps the podium and gives his own acceptance speech. The film’s winning streak continues with Homer taking credit at each ceremony, so when Angry Dad receives an Oscar nomination, Bart keeps it a secret.

With the help of DJ Kwanzaa (guest voice Smoove), Homer and Marge arrive at the ceremony just as Halle Berry (guest-voicing as herself) presents the award. Bart’s fellow nominee, Nick Park (guest-voicing as himself), helps him realize that creating a film is a team effort, and Bart gives credit where credit is due.

The Oscars are essentially a three-and-a-half-hour self promotion scheme.  The whole point is to remind people that they believe in the essential decency of movie stars and the magic of talking pictures.  The Simpsons made fun of that.  Zombie Simpsons is helping with the marketing.

Courtesy of Dave:



Quote of the Day

King Size Homer4

“Now, there are many options available for dangerously underweight individuals like yourself.  I recommend a slow, steady gorging process combined with assal horizontology.” – Dr. Nick Riviera


Quote of the Day


Image used under Creative Commons license from the awesomely named ilovebutter.

“Mrs. Simpson, isn’t it true your husband once consumed a ten pound bag of flour when no other food was available?” – Lawyer
“Yes, but it was-” – Marge Simpson
“Your witness!” – Lawyer


Reading Digest: Robot Apocalypse Edition

Itchy and Scratchy Land4

“Die bad robots, die!” – Homer Simpson

The internet had a minor conniption this week because a computer beat the living snot out of a couple of meatbags at Jeopardy!.  One of the meatbags made a Simpsons joke during the final round, and so we have two links about it.  The first is highbrow and long, the second is the opposite of those two things, but does have a picture.  There’s also lots of links to other meatbag endeavors, like writing about television shows, creating animated .gif files, and bitching about the commercialization of Bacon Day.  Attention Scottish readers: Harry Shearer is going to be in Glasgow with his Katrina movie on Sunday. 


Homer Simpson by Mori – Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week is this awesome papercraft Homer. 

Top 5 Funniest Simpsons Commercials – There are some Simpsons commercials here, but the French car commercial is the clear winner. 

funny commercials – There’s some other Simpsons commercials here, but this round goes to the Ikea ad with the toddler (it’s second from the top). 

A new project: Literature in “The Simpsons” – Cool:

Over the next two and a half m… onths, I intend to watch at least the first four seasons (since these are the ones I have on DVD) of an unparalleled TV series as closely as possible, in order to detect ALL (and I mean ‘most’) references to literary works in The Simpsons I can find.

Is It Time to Welcome Our New Computer Overlords? – A rather nice piece about that Jeopardy! computer, The Simpsons, and how even our most advanced machines still misses the point quite frequently.  Elementary chaos theory tells me that we’re all gonna die anyway (via). 

Ken Jennings Is Awesome – Here’s a screen grab of the pathetic human’s futile gag.  Taunting the machines like this is a big part of why the computers are eventually going to kill us all. 

HuffPost Review: I Am – I was all set to praise this as an excellent reference, then I got to the last word:

In one of my favorite second-season episodes of The Simpsons, titled "One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish," Homer thinks he has eaten poisonous blowfish sushi and has only hours to live. He crams all the things he will miss most into that last few hours, savoring every second he has left on Earth.

The next morning, Homer wakes up, glad to be alive after having obviously not been poisoned after all. But his newfound appreciation for the joys of life is short-lived: The show ends with the image of Homer on the couch that afternoon, zoned out while watching golf.

Oh, come on!  Golf?  He’s an erratic bowler! 

Mad about you, and here’s the evidence – If you’ve read one anti-Valentine’s Day rant, you’ve read them all.  But this is better than average for the genre and comes with excellent usage:

To quote Lisa from The Simpsons: "Romance is dead. It was acquired in a hostile takeover by Hallmark and Disney, homogenised and sold off piece by piece."

Gif collection (12/02/2011) – About half of these are Simpsons, including one of Homer looking up “stupid” in the dictionary that I don’t think I’ve ever seen. 

South Australia in the Back of a Trailor – There’s a Simpson Desert in Australia and I’m finding out about it now?  My knowledge of geography sucks. 

Wordless Wednesday: Simpsons Swag! – Duff beer and a Marge pin from Germany. 

Last Print Preview – Professionally fan made drawing of robot Simpsons.

The Things I Remember – An awesome sketch of Batman as a scientist, plus French(?) YouTube. 

Looking for something to study? Try something more unusual – From UC Berkeley:

By taking this class, students will come to appreciate how The Simpsons can lead to better understanding of, well, pretty much everything.’

I don’t need your class to appreciate that.  Time for a teach in. 

Being Erica to end after Season 4 – I am unfamiliar with Being Erica, but live would be better had Zombie Simpsons never existed:

However, while this isn’t always happy news for devoted fans, it can be looked back upon as a finely polished product, rather than a show which was flogged to death or jumped the shark.

Think the Simpsons during the past ten years and how many people lament the passing of the golden years.

#Artist Watch: #Numskull – Simpson-esque warehouse art. 

Apus Real Kwik-E-Mart – Pictures of one of those temporary Kwik-E-Mart remakes they did to promote the movie. 

Putting on a serious voice for the sake of New Orleans – Harry Shearer is taking his Katrina movie to Scotland.  If you’re in Glasgow on Sunday at 6:30 you can see the movie and participate in a Q&A with him.  As with all articles about Shearer and his movie, The Simpsons comes up:

Favourite character? “C Montgomery Burns, because he is pure evil. So many evil people try to dilute their evil with random acts of goodness from time to time. That’s just wrong.”

Tilda Swinton Totally Looks Like Glowing Mr. Burns – Yeah, kinda. 

Ketchup or Catsup? – The animated .gif version.

Filler: Family Guy – This is what Zombie Simpsons has wrought:

But The Simpsons and Family Guy are pretty much on the same page at this point. Matt Groening may be able to hide behind Futurama and its cult-y reboot when it comes to how sick we all are of Homer and Marge’s ever-dumbfounding monogamy, but The Simpsons treats plot as dumbly as Family Guy does, only the former revels in its boundless character quirks while the latter most gets a kick out of casually offending easy targets.

Narrative and Plot in The Simpsons S22 E13 – Speaking of what Zombie Simpsons has wrought, this is as well written a defense of Zombie Simpsons as you’re likely to ever see.  I disagree, of course, but it’s far above the keyboard mashing level of places like the comment section at Simpsons Channel.  Here’s the opening:

If you’re an occasional blog reader like me, you’ll no doubt have encountered a specific type of post or comment about The Simpsons. It goes something like this (key words bolded): Aww man, classic Simpsons episodes are the best! Everything started to suck after Season 8. I don’t know why this show is still on the air. It hasn’t been good for years.

I suppose I have to plead guilty to that (though I do know why the show is still on the air).  Specifically I’d like to disagree with this:

The Simpsons has been running for over 20 years now (in fact, we’re about the same age!) and it’s natural that viewers might tire of some of the reworked storylines, but multi-use plots and sometimes predictable narratives are not indicative of the show’s overall quality.

I’ve certainly seen enough episodes where Bart does something bad, realizes he can’t live with the ensuing guilt, and eventually does the right thing by minute 19. I’ve also seen enough episodes where Lisa does something precocious that distances her from her average family, but everyone has reconciled by the end.

Before Season 8, none of the storylines had been reworked.  This is the cost of Zombie Simpsons.

Job Hunting 101 – I assure you, watching The Simpsons is better than paying someone for easy answers:

Then I came across this article about some lady who has all the answers on landing your dream job. Of course you have to pay to go to her seminar to actually learn anything. Luckily the Chicago Tribune had an article that briefly touched on the topics she will cover.

Reading the article probably would have been a good idea, but I got distracted because the Monorail episode of The Simpsons was on TV.

The real lesson here is that you need to write a song like that guy. 

I choo-choo-choose you. – Well deserved love for “I Love Lisa” (with YouTube). 

February 15th DTV: Dogs, Dave and The Simpsons – Um, why is that Lisa costume sporting visible underwear?

The book Lisa wishes she had never read – We didn’t get a link out of it, but it’s nice to see my crappy photoshop skills being enjoyed by other people. 

Itchy and Scratchy versus Tom and Jerry – No box of flesh eating ants?  For shame. 

Porn Industry Finally Goes Too Far – Click for a picture of the press kit for that Simpsons porn movie.  I must disagree with this, however:

C’mon. Is nothing sacred anymore? For real. And besides, real or not, who wants to see Edna Krabappel giving Ned Flanders a mustache ride?

I’m pretty sure Ned would be the one giving the mustache ride. 

Bart gone funky reggae mon – Bootleg Simpsons t-shirts will always be linked. 

The 10 Best Cartoon Dogs in TV History – A rather awesome list that includes Santa’s Little Helper and also mentions Hong Kong Phooey and Mission Hill

Classic EBI #77: Days of Bile and Venom – Though long and rant-y, this is a cut above the usual carping about comic books.  Plus there’s this:

You know the character from The Simpsons, the fat, balding loser who runs the comic book store. He’s a funny character, but he perpetuates a stereotype that cripples comic books. Whenever anyone starts any of the crap I’ve mentioned in this thread, I hear Comic Book Guy’s voice in my mind intoning “Worst issue ever.” A lot of people who don’t read comic books honestly do believe that all retailers, fans and creators are like that guy. And when you start spewing nastiness, all you’re doing is reinforcing that idea.

So go ahead and talk about comics. Critique them. Debate them. And for Heaven’s sake — disagree.

But be an adult about it, because no matter how much you complain about comic books being looked down upon as a children’s medium, that is never going to change unless we all grow up.

Good luck with that.  Really, I mean that.  Sorry if it sounded sarcastic. 

Decades of Vassar cameos in mass media – I think you can guess who’s on the cover. 

In rod we trust – The actual space program history of inanimate rods.  Seriously. 

On the (Rest of the) Net. – Marge says “call” not “invite”, but other than that this Lisa image is dead on.  Oh, and the anti-vaccine people need to go away. 

Randall wins. – Insomnia leads to excellent cartoon analysis, including this:

And please understand that I’m not talking about the Simpsons as they are today. Our favorite American family isn’t at their peak now. The best episodes are in the first decade, back when I would sit with my sister and watch the show while my mom yelled at us from the other room to do something more productive with our time.

Life according to The Simpsons – And finally, I get to end with someone who agrees with us:

But even if you don’t particularly empathise with the characters, there’s bound to be at least one episode that can relate to almost any life scenario you’re confronted with.

And sure, you could spoil my fun by saying that’s because the show has been running forever, but that’s not at all the point. Besides, you don’t even have to look to the slightly disappointing later series for your life reference – it’s all there in the earlier stuff.

I’d change “slightly” to “planet shatteringly”, but other than that spot on. 


Quote of the Day

Boy Scoutz 'N the Hood3

“Marge, don’t discourage the boy.  Weaseling out of things is important to learn.  It’s what separates us from the animals . . . except the weasel.” – Homer Simpson


Crazy Noises: The Blue and the Gray


Image used under Creative Commons license from Flickr user Sarah_Ackerman.

“Well, I guess it’s back to good old Springfield.” – Bart Simpson
“But I can’t go back, not after I’ve seen the bright lights of Capital City.  I’ll wither and die like a hothouse flower!” – Lisa Simpson

In our ongoing mission to bring you only the shallowest and laziest analysis of Zombie Simpsons, we’re keeping up our Crazy Noises series for Season 22.  Since a podcast is so 2004, and video would require a flag, a fern and some folding chairs from the garage, we’ve elected to use the technology that brought the word “emoticon” to the masses: the chatroom.  Star Trek image macros are strictly forbidden, unless you have a really good reason why Captain Picard is better than Captain Kirk.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (disturbingly enough, not on  “Pedobear”).

One of the things I’ve noticed about Season 22 so far is that Springfield resembles Hollywood more and more with each passing episode.  Just this season we’ve seen this humble Midwestern town acquire a massive private school, a big budget production of Wicked, and a seemingly endless supply of hopelessly trendy restaurants and upscale nightclubs.  It’s almost like Springfield is exclusively inhabited by a bunch of highly paid writers who think civilization ceases to exist south of Wilshire. 

[Note: Dave couldn’t join us again this week. He swears he’s going to have time for us soon, but we know better. It’s okay, we love him anyway.]

Charlie Sweatpants: Shall we get this unpleasantness over with?

Mad Jon: Yes.  Let’s begin

Charlie Sweatpants: Where to begin? There’s so much suck here.

Mad Jon: Was that Pie Man flying next to Bartman in the opening?

Charlie Sweatpants: I think so. I’ve never forced myself to watch that one.

Mad Jon: That was the eye opener for me.

Charlie Sweatpants: While I applaud their efforts to stock the opening with lots of changes each week, all they ever seem to do is reference older crap.

Mad Jon: That must have been season 13 or 14, I don’t know, but I remember I watched like half of it and it was like coming out of a coma.

I knew the Simpsons was no longer what it was, but I was most assuredly in a "It’ll get better right?" mode.

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, that never happened.

Mad Jon: I know that now, but back in the early 2000’s when I was no longer watching first runs regularly, I figured it was like boiling water.

Charlie Sweatpants: You just ignore it long enough and it’ll get there?

Mad Jon: Something like that.

Charlie Sweatpants: There were a lot of things that needed to be ignored for a long time in this one. I doubt it set any kind of record, but man there were a ton of jokes that took way too long.

Mad Jon: Yeah, that seems to keep happening

Charlie Sweatpants: The Cat Lady opening comes to mind, Homer repeatedly walking back into Moe’s, Homer tying his foot to the bed, the little cupids at the end, the kids freaking out about their hairlines, all of them and more just kept going.

Mad Jon: Remember that email I sent you last week? The one that said I could hear Moe crying already? 2:35.

  That’s how long it took.

Charlie Sweatpants: You were right in your e-mail.

  Dead right.

Mad Jon: Also the Pedobear.

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, the whole Bart freakout thing, what was that?

  It wasn’t even a plot, it was like two scenes!

Mad Jon: When Bart was looking for the nanny cam in Pedobear? I don’t know why the therapy with J Loren Pryor’s new voice was there.

  Although it did provide a second opportunity for us to see Supernintendo Chalmers.

Charlie Sweatpants: He lives at the school, I swear it.

Mad Jon: Well, he went to that pick up seminar as well. I have a note that says simply "Chalmers not in school!!’

Although Skinner and his conversation did involve the faculty in a way.

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, they have a real hard time having one without the other.

Mad Jon: I smell a spinoff!!!

Charlie Sweatpants: Anything but that.

Mad Jon: Seconded.

Charlie Sweatpants: That seminar scene was where the show went to plaid. It was bad before, but then seeing Homer and Moe succeed, and Marge go completely insane, guh, it was tough to take.

Mad Jon: I checked out when Bart and Lisa freaked out about the lack of hairlines.

  Which was another of your too long jokes, one that probably needs some discussion.

Charlie Sweatpants: Good move. It took them nearly a minute to turn Marge into the wicked witch.

Mad Jon: I thought they were going hillbilly the way they blacked out her tooth, but then, what do you know!

Charlie Sweatpants: But it didn’t stop there, they even got her a broom, and set it on fire! Hilarious!

Mad Jon: And the flying monkey.

There was a flying monkey. Mr. Teeny XIXIV I think…

Charlie Sweatpants: Well Burns used to have flying monkeys, of course that whole joke took about four seconds.

  But that was a very long time ago.

Mad Jon: I guess they actually did continue the research…

Charlie Sweatpants: While we’re on the subject of the painful nightclub scene . . . did Moe even say anything?

Mad Jon: Not the second time… I think he just smiled and nodded.

  The first time he had a pickup line that didn’t contain the line "I want to do you."

Which is a line that Moe would use. The real Moe at least.

Charlie Sweatpants: Real Moe’s been dead for a very long time.

Mad Jon: I know. I know.

Charlie Sweatpants: Did you want to discuss the hairline thing? I kinda rolled you on that.

Mad Jon: I think we have to at least address it a bit, I don’t have anything mind blowing to say about it.

Charlie Sweatpants: There’s nothing mind blowing about it.

Mad Jon: But c’mon, the hair has never been mentioned, and all of the sudden it’s a 25 second throwaway joke.

  Baby and the bath water I guess.

Charlie Sweatpants: Well, they’ve made jokes about the hair before, and I wasn’t immediately sour on it. But I’ve learned that whenever I find myself thinking "that’s kinda funny" to wait and see how long they go at it. This one was excruciating. Any time you end up with Lisa looking like Baby Gerald that’s not good.

Mad Jon: Pretty bad. Pretty bad.

Charlie Sweatpants: This is minor, but it really bugged me. Twice we get the exterior shot of the grocery store, right? But did you notice what wasn’t there?

Mad Jon: Cars?

Charlie Sweatpants: The shopping cart rolling into the street!

Mad Jon: Ahhhh.

Yeah, I was looking up side boob pics at the same time the show was on. Sorry.

Charlie Sweatpants: I always liked that as a running joke, and for a show that loves naked nostalgia and fan service as much as Zombie Simpsons, I thought I could at least count on that.

Okay, anything else here? The only thing we haven’t really talked too much about was that vile self help guy, but I’ve said my piece about that.

Mad Jon: Nah, we would do Brad Goodman disservice by the mere discussion of what’s his name.

Charlie Sweatpants: In that case, I’ll be a human going.

Mad Jon: Do what you feel.

  We like Roy.


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