Reading Digest: Fictional Fiction Edition

Mr Lisa Goes to Washington7

“We now return to Troy McClure and Dolores Montenegro in ‘Preacher with a Shovel’.” – TV Announcer
“But irrigation can save your people, Chief Smiling Bear!” – White Man

This week we’ve got a couple of links elaborating on the many fake books, movies and products that cropped up on The Simpsons.  Before we get to those, however, that stupid quote from a News Corp executive about a “Simpsons channel” I mentioned last week spun itself to new levels of internet fame this week and needs to be knocked down.  If you don’t care, skip to the second set of dashes:


The story: News Corp’s Chief Operating Officer, a man with a moustache more often seen on guys who tie damsels to railroad tracks, made an offhand comment at a media conference in Beverly Hills two weeks ago.  A Los Angeles Times blog reported that he said they were having a lot of meetings about how to make as much money as possible off the Simpsons franchise, and that one of the ideas they were kicking around was a channel that was all Simpsons.  It wasn’t an announcement, it wasn’t a plan, it wasn’t even a trial balloon.  It was just one of the things they’d mentioned and it wouldn’t be possible for years due to syndication rules and the show would have to stop broadcasting new episodes first but there’s no plans to do that. 

In other words, News Corp and FOX are about as close to launching a “Simpsons channel” as they are to landing James Murdoch on Mars.  The idea was floated along with a bunch of others as ways to get the Simpsons-related money spigot to gush just a little bit harder.  There was no real news, there wasn’t even a rumor. 

Then a site called Slice of SciFi picked it up (Could We See An All “Simpsons” Channel?), and from there it went to /Film last Friday (Fox Considering an All-‘Simpsons’ TV Channel).  That sent it all over the place, from humble little blogs to big, established sites like Cinema Blend (Could The Simpsons Be Getting Their Own Channel?) and the A.V. Club (Fox considering TV channel that plays nothing but The Simpsons).  Now, I understand the need for sites like /Film, the A.V. Club, and Cinema Blend to write things like this up.  They pay their bills with pageviews and a story like this, easy to write and with an eminently clickable headline, is basically free money for them.  I also understand that I see more of these stories than most people and that my perspective is the furthest thing from common.  At the same time, useless repetition like this is one of the constant aggravations and real weaknesses of on-line media. 

All of these stories eventually get around to noting that even if this ever does happen it won’t be for a very long time.  In the meantime they troll for comments, put question marks in their headlines (always a bad sign if you’re looking for actual information), and add their own spin as they rewrite the same non-story over and over again.  The result is that people become misinformed about how serious this is through nothing more than repetition.  I’m not saying don’t write a few hundred words and goose your traffic stats.  By all means, do that.  But please, while you’re doing that drop the sensational speculation and point out just how little there is to the story. 


Okay, my street corner harangue is over.  If you skipped all that, the short version is that rumors on the internet are annoying and misleading and can easily be made less so without anyone having to stop being a traffic whore.  As for the actual links, in addition to the fictional stuff from the show we’ve got an awesome tribute to Phil Hartman, a great movie trailer mashup, crappy merchandise, excellent usage, and donuts.  Oh, the donuts.


He Had Hart, Man: The 11 Best Phil Hartman Characters – Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week is this awesome list that comes with plenty of YouTube.  Three of them are Simpsons characters.

Visiting Huell Howser’s donut at Stan’s Donuts – A visit to a Westwood, California donut shop with plenty of food porn images of awesome donuts, including the famous Homer donut with pink frosting and sprinkles:

By the way, they also have a donut named after The Simpsons. Why? Apparently, they were the official donut makers for Fox when the movie came out and they were sending donuts to various people to promote the film.

Invisible Library Catalog Entry #1: How to Cook Humans – There are a lot of Simpsons titles in the invisible library, don’t forget “Will There Ever Be a Rainbow?”.   

Fictional Movies I Want to See Most – Instead of an invisible library for fictional books, this is about the invisible multiplex for fictional movies.  Either way The Simpsons is well represented. 

Translating the Simpsons: A Case Study – An extensive examination of the subtleties of translating the show into German. 

The Simpsons – Apollo 13 Trailer (via) – I put this up on Twitter on Tuesday, but it works too well not to post:

Letters of Note: With great respect, Marge Simpson – The fake letter the show wrote to then First Lady Barbara Bush in 1990.  This has made the rounds on-line before, but it was going around again this week so I thought I’d post it. 

Drawing Tips (via) – We’ve linked this guy’s Simpsons art before, but here are some wonderfully batshit tips for drawing the Simpsons.  It’s a Facebook link, but don’t be alarmed, you don’t need to be logged in to view it. 

Did It Get Less Funny, Or Did I Get More Mature? – It got less funny.  I have no idea whether or not you got more mature. 

Homer Hamburger Pillow – That’s kinda creepy.  Why is his mouth wider than his head?

Lisa Simpson – Fan made drawing of Lisa.

Voice of Homer Simpson, Dan Castellaneta, sells Palisades home – Hank Azaria bought Dan Castellaneta’s house for $5,500,000.  

Best. Simpsons Clips. Ever. – Via @dailysimpsons comes this Wired list of people’s favorite clips.  There are a couple of token Zombie Simpsons entries at the end, though even that doesn’t speak well for them.  Both are from Season 22, one is the Banksy opening, the other is the Koyaanisqatsi Itchy & Scratchy.  Basically, no one likes anything the Simpsons themselves created past Season 9. 

The end is nigh… – The final installment of the Simpsons comics that were drawn when the author was ten-years-old.

4′ Authentic Bart Simpson Stuffed Toy – Click through for the two larger images to really see how crappy this thing looks. 

The 2011 Emmys…In 10 Words – Note to self: continue never watching awards shows. 

Spurlock’s newest is good, not the "greatest" – Excellent usage in a review of Morgan Spurlock’s latest real movie:

So no one has to necessarily pay attention to any advertising.  It’s like Lisa Simpson and Paul Anka sang in an episode of The Simpsons Tree House of Horror:  "Just dont’ look".

The Best Show on Television – This post makes the case for Parks and Recreation as the current champion.  Along the way, he lists some of his favorite shows and agrees with us:

1996 – 2002: The Simpsons (I hung on about two seasons too long.)

Yeah, I’d say two years is about right.

The Ten Greatest ‘Simpsons’ Characters Who Appear in Only One Episode – As usual, there’s not a hint of Zombie Simpsons here.  (Thanks to Andreas for the tip.) 

Tattoo WIN (?) – Yes, win.  It’s a tattoo of Homer wearing David Bowie makeup. 

Review: “The Simpsons Movie” – This is more positive than I am toward the movie, but does acknowledge that the show has declined. 

New Simpsons Sucks! – And finally, I get to end the best way possible, with someone who doesn’t mince words stating the obvious:

Why isn’t the Simpsons funny anymore? Who’s behind this!? The Simpsons used to be deviously clever, it never tried to hard to make jokes, and a lot of the jokes blew right past me as a kid, but made me fall over as an adult.

He’s even got compare and contrast YouTube clips.  The hitchhiker in “Bart on the Road” always cracks me up.  Oh, and don’t miss the link to classic clips at the bottom. 

9 Responses to “Reading Digest: Fictional Fiction Edition”

  1. 1 Thrillho
    23 September 2011 at 1:49 pm

    Wow, they really got Marge’s character down in that letter. I would have loved to see Barbara Bush’s face when she opened that up.

  2. 2 CJ Stewart
    23 September 2011 at 6:11 pm

    Dude, thanks for linking to my Simpsons movie review. I’m just starting out and appreciate it! Personally, while the show has declined over the years, and I agree that a “Simpsons-only” channel is a ridiculous idea, I have enjoyed the HD episodes in their own way. It’s a series that really has become something like the Looney Tunes as far as becoming an institution in society – they’ll always be there, regardless of quality, for better or for worse, and somehow, I think the writing has gotten a bit better (except for that awful magician episode this past season) with the higher definition image. Maybe my standards are a bit too low, but while I agree that it’s a faint shadow of its former self, The Simpsons 3.0 (because seasons 11-20 were 2.0) has been passably enjoyable. I might not agree with you, but I’ll defend to the death your right to believe it! And thanks again!

  3. 24 September 2011 at 11:13 am

    “You fool, now we may never know if ants can be trained to sort tiny screws in space!” Haha, thanks for linking my post to your post, that was nice of you. Also thanks for the link to that facebook drawing tips album, I haven’t laughed that hard in a while! It’s good to know that sites like this exist, you’ve got a pretty good shrine to the Simpsons going on here! I agree that it’s time to pull the plug on it though, the Simpsons jumped the a while ago now, I mean imagine if Seinfeld were still on TV? *cringes* Good TV shows, like Seinfeld, need to know when to quit. Personally I lost hope in the show after watching the very disappointing movie, and the first terrible episode I remember watching had Tony Hawk in it… I try not to think about it! By the way, do you mind if I link your site on my site?

    • 4 Charlie Sweatpants
      24 September 2011 at 7:19 pm

      “By the way, do you mind if I link your site on my site?”

      Don’t mind in the least. Though it should be noted that we limit outgoing blogroll links to other exclusive Simpsons sites. Thanks.

  4. 24 September 2011 at 9:53 pm

    Yeah I figured that by taking one look at your blogroll!

  5. 6 Mr. Incognito
    27 September 2011 at 3:44 pm

    A bit late, but I’ve had time to cook up this theory…with Zombie Simpsons (or UnSimpsons, or or Family Guy Lite™ or whatever it is anymore) reaching its lowest ratings ever, maybe production has stopped and Fox fears damage to the Simpsons brand. It would take a lot of time for a “Simpsons Channel” to get up and running, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Fox suits are starting to seriously consider it then set the wheels in motion.

    I haven’t heard anything about a renewal for Season 24 and beyond yet, and we’re almost into October. The last renewal was announced earlier in the year (around July or August or so). Perhaps we get through Season 23 and then we hear over next summer that The Simpsons Zombie Simpsons will end after a shortened Season 24. With Seth MacFarlane’s reboot of The Flintstones slated to begin in 2013, that show’s (re)launch could become the mid-season replacement for Zombie Simpsons.

    After a few years off the air, letting all the syndication runs end and all, the “Simpsons Channel” is launched and becomes Fox’s final grasp at profiting off of the Simpsons name.

    It’s a thought, not really founded on knowledge of syndication or renewal announcements and all, but that’s one way things may play out.

    • 7 Mr. Incognito
      27 September 2011 at 3:45 pm

      Oops…meant to stroke through “The Simpsons” before “Zombie Simpsons” in the middle paragraph. :P

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