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. 

2 Responses to “Reading Digest: Robot Apocalypse Edition”

  1. 20 February 2011 at 10:33 am

    I’m very impressed with the car commercial. Even though it is clearly very recent, it’s still very funny.

    Talking of surprisingly funny but recent Simpsons bits, have you seen the excellent advert featuring nothing-but-Azaria voices as they discuss prostate cancer? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQawLIjlymw

  2. 20 February 2011 at 2:51 pm

    Thanks for the pingback DHS. Nice site.

    The Simpsons were a big influence on the Greenygrey, and it was delighted to meet them in Springfield, Ohio on its original Rambles across North America.

    Have a fun week!

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