Reading Digest: The Late 80s/Early 90s Strike Back Edition

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“It all happened in 1990.  Back then, the artist formerly known as Prince was currently known as Prince, Tracy Ullman was entertaining America with songs, sketches, and crudely drawn filler material.” – Homer Simpson

This week we’ve got several links to blasts from the past, everything from a great bootleg t-shirt, fake grunge in Tampa, and old political controversies to some moonlighting Groening once did for Apple.  There’s even a story that involves a fax machine.  How quaint things used to be.  There’s also several kinds of usage, a cool looking show coming up in New York City, and some very technical audio information.


Infographic: The Complete History Of Video Games On “The Simpsons” – Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week is this chart (there’s also a slideshow) depicting the fake games that have been on the show.  You may notice that things start to get a little thin in Zombie Simpsons.

Duplex Cabaret Theatre Presents WE PUT THE SPRING IN SPRINGFIELD, 6/23 – This advertisement for an Off Off Broadway show about music from The Simpsons is bursting with win.  Not only are there no songs from Zombie Simpsons (not that there are many to choose from in the first place), but it is chock full of references:

The only cure for Simpsons fever is to take two tickets and call us in the morning. Tickets should not be taken internally.

I, for one, welcome our new leviathan overlords. – Ha.  This is cool.  Someone sat down and actually figured out if all the excess blubber in the country really would fill the Grand Canyon 2/5 of the way up.  Even using a definition of “healthy” that would make us a nation of twig people, there just isn’t that much fat.  Having been to the Grand Canyon, this does not surprise me.  It is, indeed, a very big canyon.  (Oh, and because I must nitpick, the quote there is slightly off.  Brockman says “American adults”, not “Americans”.  Other than that it’s spot on.)

Cinemart – Awesome fan made image of Charlie Brown giving Homer a haircut.

Here’s To The Sun – Bart Simpson – A fan made image of a relaxed looking Bart.  Instead of trying to describe it further, I’ll just copy and paste the tags on the post:

This entry was posted on June 8, 2011. It was filed under Art and was tagged with Art, Weed, Marijuana, High, Faded, Shrooms, The Simpsons, Bart Simpson.

Seems about right.

Concert-goers embrace nostalgia at Monkees show – The Monkees are on tour this summer:

“The Monkees weren’t about music,” Marge’s psychiatrist tells her in an episode of “The Simpsons.” “They were about rebellion, about political and social upheaval!”

Excellent usage.

It’s 1989. The Simpsons creator Matt Groening is drawing for Apple Computer. – Right about the time The Simpsons were moving to the production of full episodes, Groening drew some Life in Hell style cartoons for a brochure trying to sell Macintosh computers to college students.  Of the different types of people he describes (“The Procrastinator”, “The Imperfectionist”), I’ll admit to being the very Milhouse looking “Technoid”.

The Most 1991 T-Shirt Of All Time Has Surfaced – Bart Simpson as Michael Jordan quoting M.C. Hammer.  You’ve been warned.

The Novels of John Swartzwelder, the Most Prolific Simpsons Writer Ever – Reviews of all of those self published novels Swartzwelder likes to write.

Anthony Weiner’s Sex Scandal…In 10 Words – To be fair, one of those images is of Homer’s butt, not Bart’s.

Simpsons Zombimation – A YouTube video of zombie clips from “Treehouse of Horror III” with music from what sounds like Resident Evil 1.  It’s not that impressive, but it’s about Simpsons and zombies and that’s enough for a link.

It hurts, but I’m on the road to physical fitness – A newspaper man makes a summer resolution to get back in shape:

I can’t help but think of the episode of The Simpsons where Homer put on a ridiculous amount of weight in order to go on worker’s compensation — “Marge, the thin, lazy Homer Simpson you knew is no more. Now, I’m a big fat dynamo!”

He got the second sentence right, but the first part is actually, “The slim, lazy Homer you knew is dead.”  Moderate usage.

Audio Implementation Greats #2: Audio Toolsets [Part 2] – This is pretty much for audiophiles only, but if you scroll to the bottom here you can see some screen grabs from a presentation EA games gave about the sound design of The Simpsons Game.  There’s even a link to download their actual Power Point file.

“I didn’t think it was physically possible, but this both sucks *and* blows. -Bart Simpson – Freakoutville FTW.

Simpsons Video of the Week: Space Chips. – Lenny Tunes continues to find excellent YouTube week in, week out.  And:

“Careful, they’re ruffled!” has to be the best line delivery by a non-actor in the history of television.


Quote of the Day: Animation Domination Week – Lenny Tunes also brings us quotations with excellent stage direction of Bart’s epidermis related mishap.

How do you balance a top tech education with advertising in schools? – Panasonic put a bunch of fancy electronics in a school in Australia, but they also put up a ton of signs with their logo on it and renamed part of the library the “Panasonic Interactive Learning Common”.  This prompted a mention and a picture of Troy McClure teaching “Pepsi presents Addition and Subtraction”.  Excellent usage.

Chilli cook-off will be hot stuff – Awesome:

A passion for chilli con carne and cult cartoon The Simpsons has prompted a Reading man to launch a culinary first in the town.

Jon Doody is organising the First Annual Reading Chilli Cook-Off and seven teams threw their toques into the ring as soon as entries were invited.


Mr Doody has been a committed chilli fan and cook for more than 25 years. A classic episode of The Simpsons, where Homer hallucinates after eating Chief Wiggum’s chilli at the Springfield cook-off, fired his enthusiasm even further.

But a search for a cook-off to attend and perhaps enter here proved fruitless – and the idea for the Reading event was born.

MGM to Develop ‘Punk Farm’ Animated Movie – Longtime Simpsons director David Silverman is going to direct a computer animated adaptation of a novel about a bunch of farm animals who form a punk band.  It’s co-written by a guy named “David Stern”, but he appears not to be the David Stern who worked on The Simpsons.

Great mistakes in politics (No22) – Bush and Quayle attack sitcoms – A brief recounting, with YouTube, of Bush the Elder’s fight with The Simpsons and Dan Quayle’s fight with Murphy Brown.

Cupcake set the simpson and family – Some rather Gumby looking Simpsons cupcakes.

Cake Simpsons – From the same site as the link above, a cake in which Homer’s body is a donut.

Who Inspired Duff Beer? – Slightly more information on that Duff Beer/Duff McKagan (former bassist for Guns N’ Roses) thing:

In a recent interview he said,  ”Our management for GN’R got a fax but it was from like an adult cartoon.  Now there wasn’t any adult cartoons in 1988.  There just wasn’t and like, ‘an adult cartoon?’  They want to use your name as the name of the beer on the thing and they just want your blessing.  It’s not like I own the name Duff, I should’ve trademarked that thing on up if I would’ve known but yeah, that think took off, that Simpsons deal.”

A fax?  How delightfully 1988.  I remain skeptical about the “inspired” part, but that is kinda funny.

Hallmark Unveils Plans for Comic-Con 2011 – Hallmark will be selling shitty little Comic Book Guy figurines at Comic-Con.  Feel the excitement.

Somehow, Jethro Tull Toppled Metallica for a Grammy Upset – This is an excellent reference:

One of the best moments on The Simpsons was in a 1993 episode in which we learned that Homer, Principal Skinner, Barney, and Apu were in a barbershop quartet called The Be Sharps. The group was so good that they won a Grammy award for best “Barbershop Quartet Album.” At one point, Homer doesn’t have change to tip a bellboy, so he offers him his Grammy statue. The bellboy, after seeing it’s a Grammy, throws it off a balcony, and an off-screen voice yells, “Hey, don’t throw your garbage down here.” Yeah, it was a sick burn.

The story goes on to recount the time Jethro Tull won the “Best Hard Rock/Metal” Grammy over Metallica, but it doesn’t mention the other Simpsons reference to that incident in Season 11’s “Behind the Laughter”.

F—ed Up Mark ‘Last Chapter of This Era’ With ‘David Comes to Life’ Rock Opera – Nice reference:

“We’re ready to talk about our feelings now.” In theory F—ed Up guitarist Josh Zucker’s explanation of why they aren’t making so many songs like ‘Police’ anymore makes perfect sense. But in terms of whether he’s being ironic, like the kid in ‘The Simpsons’ episode about Lollapalooza, dude, we don’t even know anymore.

The Tampa Bay Rays Do Grunge All Wrong – The Tampa Bay Rays apparently like to get dressed up together.  In this case they’re trying to look like Seattle area rock stars circa 1991.  Of more importance is excellent dig at Zombie Simpsons:

This is embarrassing. Not quite as embarrassing as “The Simpsons” episode in which the tale of Homer and Marge’s college romance is set in the ’90s, and Homer lives a life much like Kurt Cobain’s, but it’s close.

5 TV Shows I Used to Watch, and Why I Stopped Watching Them – And finally, I get to end with someone who agrees with us:

Speaking of The Simpsons, this one really hurt. I was a Simpsons fanatic. I still am, but just for their earlier seasons. They were funny, dramatic, heartfelt, had subtle pop culture references, and had great storylines. But I think that’s where they went wrong. In more recent seasons they have started to get away from storyline development and are trying to be like a South Park/Family Guy type show where the jokes are extremely non sequitur, like this one. I miss when I actually cared about The Simpsons, because that was some of the best TV ever.

Indeed it was.

7 Responses to “Reading Digest: The Late 80s/Early 90s Strike Back Edition”

  1. 1 PR
    10 June 2011 at 7:15 pm

    *Chock* full of references!

    I nitpick because I love.

  2. 2 Joe C.
    11 June 2011 at 2:55 am

    Great links, especially the last two which take stabs at ZS.

    I just watched the new South Park episode and, boy, talk about the parallels between what’s going on with Trey and Matt and Simpsons fans. The SP episode is self-aware of the shortcomings that recent seasons have, but at least the creators are honest enough to not beat around the bush. Now if ZS had an episode where it was aware that they do the same shitty things over again each week without consequences, then maybe the writing and production staff would actually have second thoughts about the continuing efforts of ZS to drive us to madness. However, Jean, Groening, and whoever else is responsible for the production of ZS don’t want to come clean and admit that they fucked up.

  3. 3 Charlie Sweatpants
    11 June 2011 at 11:59 am

    @PR – Fixed, thanks. Damn homophones.

    @Joe C. – I thought the same thing about this week’s South Park. I’ve seen more than a few people speculate that this is going to be the last season, and that definitely felt like the beginning of a send off.

  4. 4 Nick
    11 June 2011 at 1:20 pm

    In regards to the rumors about South Park going off the air, I think it’s for the best. With the exception of the last episode, this season seems particularly dry for ideas (with some episodes feeling rather Zombie-ish IMO), but I have faith that Matt and Trey will know when to quit rather than continue to run their show further into the ground. Besides, they are both very talented, and I’m sure they’ll put it to good use in their future works.

    Now, if only The Simpsons could have realized that when they started to slip.

  5. 5 Mr. Incognito
    11 June 2011 at 6:59 pm

    I couldn’t agree more, Nick. The bell now tolls for South Park, and the sooner it goes off the air, the better. At least Parker and Stone admit that they can’t be good all the time, and I’d trust them to end it when the time comes…which may be at the end of this year (2011). I can’t say the same for Zombie Simpsons or even Seth MacFarlane*.

    However, they are under contract at Comedy Central until 2013, or so Wikipedia tells me. In essence they saved that station in the late 1990s, and they seem to have more control over South Park than Greoning has had with The Simpsons/Zombie Simpsons. Hopefully, Comedy Central may let them end their show the way they want and get out and do a short 2-season series, or something.

    South Park has remained relatively consistent and funny with the current-event approach that started around Seasons 6-7, and until recently, there haven’t been an appreciable ratio of bad episodes to good. But like I said before, P & S seem to know when it’s time to put away the scissors and construction paper^, unlike those at ZS who can’t seem to do the same thing with their pencils^.

    *Who, to his credit, did say that he doesn’t want Family Guy to go as long as Zombie Simpsons (it’s posted somewhere around DHS), though I can’t say I’d trust him when discussing the Almighty Dollar; that’s my opinion, at least. He’s even planning a reboot of The Flintstones around 2013!

    ^Saying this, knowing that both Zombie Simpsons and South Park have long since converted over to digital animation.

  6. 6 fudge
    17 July 2011 at 8:43 am

    South Park would be better as 11 minute [AS] shorts anyway. They just take any random forgettable pop culture thing and beat it to death. Pretty boring. It takes them 5 seconds to make an episode, and all the episodes are essentially the same.

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