Reading Digest: Question Mark in the Headline Edition

Lisa the Greek9

“Money comes and money goes, but what I have with my daughter can go on for eight more years!” – Homer Simpson

Since the renewal news dropped late on Friday evening last week, just about any time someone typed “the Simpsons” into the internet this week it was about there being two more years of Zombie Simpsons.  Those get tedious after a while, but there was a pleasant trend to it: articles asking if the show really should have been renewed or if it was maybe better to let it die.  Lots of them.  I’ve linked a few below, and in addition to that the renewal news also gave us one very informative industry insider piece, two interviews with Al Jean that I think he might have done in his sleep, and two YouTube heavy flashbacks to the dawn of FOX.  There’s some non-renewal stuff too, including vintage TV Guides, an awesome sculpture from banana artisans who work exclusively in the medium of banana, and the usual assortment of excellent usage and random stuff.


The Lost Art of TV Guide Advertising, Vol. 8 of 265,890 – Many thanks to reader Eric for sending in Smooth Charlie’s Click of the Week, twenty-four pages of Simpsons ads (and an article) scanned from TV Guide in 1989-1991.  These are a great taste of what the atmosphere around the show was like in those years.  I’d particularly like to point to the ads for “Lisa’s Substitute” and “The War of the Simpsons”, which feature Bart despite the fact that he is anything but the main attraction in those episodes.  Remember, “Bartmania” was real, but the show itself was never Bart centered.

Marge Simpson in Banana – Someone carved Marge into a banana.  Yes.  Ten thousand times yes. 

Polone: Why the Simpsons Salary Standoff Was a Sign of the New Hollywood Economy – A deconstruction of the negotiations from a true Hollywood insider.  Of all the summation pieces I’ve read this week, this is far and away the best.  It’s also worth noting that he has slightly different numbers than the other ones that get bounced around, which doesn’t mean that his are closer to the truth, just that all public salary numbers for Zombie Simpsons are to be regarded as suspect, no matter how many times they are repeated. 

Flashback: The Simpsons Are Born — And So Is a Vast, Right-Wing Conspiracy – A YouTube heavy retrospective on the birth of FOX and the birth of The Simpsons

Did a pop song bring ‘The Simpsons’ to life? – And here’s some very old video of Tracy Ullman pre-The Tracy Ullman Show, including on the Johnny Carson show in full pop star mode.

Top 10 Potential Simpsons Spin-Offs – Here’s a neat list of some potential spin-offs for once Zombie Simpsons finally does end. 

Like Father, Like Daughter – Reminisces about growing up with a movie and Simpsons obsessed father.  Aww. 

Harry Shearer discusses his comedy inspirations and why he doesn’t really go to movies anymore – Not much in here Simpsons-wise, but it’s an interesting read nonetheless. 

The Simpsons is a way of life – The author here was born in 1994 and can’t quite imagine a world without new Zombie Simpsons.  However, s/he puts up a bunch of screen grabs, one of which is from Season 11, one of which is from Season 10, and the rest of which are from single digit seasons.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the kids are always alright. 

Famous cartoon characters’ eyes – Neat poster of nothing but the eyes of cartoon characters; the Simpsons pair is easy to spot.  The animated cheat sheet is damn cool in its own right, it lists the Simpson eyes as belonging to Bart, but they could just as easily be Homer, Marge or anyone else.

Do we still care about the Simpsons? – Even when it gets renewed Zombie Simpsons gets no respect:

The recent salary disputes sound very much like hyenas fighting over a rotten corpse, rats leaving a sinking ship, like a cast trying to secure merchandising rights in anticipation of their show finally getting cancelled.

If “The Simpsons” were cancelled, would anybody care? – This one was written before the deal but says basically the same thing:

Fox would be fine if they cancelled The Simpsons. The network won’t fall to fourth place, the Sunday night lineup wont tank in the ratings, and the world wont end.

If The Simpsons were to be cancelled by Fox at the end of the season, would it be a big deal?

We lose Simpsons? That unpossible! Is it, though? – Our third question mark headline worked in a comparison to the declining fortunes of Terminator franchise.  Nice.   

Should The Simpsons Call It Quits? – Et tu, IGN?  

Simpsons Might Be Ending – This one doesn’t have a question mark in the title, but it boils down to the same thing:

When I would talk about the old episodes, they wouldn’t know them. They thought the show was great because they didn’t know the show when it truly was great. So for these reasons and more, I sadly decided that I should stop watching.

Last Man Standing…In 10 Words – I can’t help but nitpick, he actually says “Oh no, I’ve killed Wilson!”.  The rest is dead on, and someone should tell Tim Allen that it isn’t 1992 anymore.  Come to think of it, he had a promo during Monday Night Football this week that made fun of fantasy football, so someone should probably start by telling him it’s not 2004.   

HS Day 7: Three Things To Get You In The Halloween Spirit – Agreed:

I’m probably not telling you anything new, but The Simpsons’ Halloween specials are amazing.  Well, the first 10 or so anyways.

iPhone 4S, The Malibu Stacy Doll Of The Apple World – Comparing iPhones to new hats, and it comes with foreign language shaky cam YouTube of the end of “Lisa vs. Malibu Stacy”.

The Funniest Fictional Commercials – Lots of YouTube here for some famous fake television commercials, including two from The Simpsons and a smattering of others from shows like 30 Rock and Arrested Development

The Simpsons are Saved – This is a blog by a guy who does local news in Connecticut.  It contains this nice indirect Zombie Simpsons criticism:

Honestly, I didn’t even know the show was still on until news of a possible cancellation starting making headlines.  Back in the day I watched it religiously, and then lost interest.

But what you really want to click through for is the picture of him and two other people from a television station in Rockford, Illinois dressing up as Homer, Marge and Bart for Halloween 1989. 

Frisco Flea Markets – Scroll to the bottom for a picture of a well used looking Bart skateboard. 

I Am So Smart! I Am So Smart! S.M.R.T. – Celebrating a return to college with YouTube of Homer burning his diploma.  Well done.

Proof of Ned Flanders’ Association With Whores – Apparently Truman Capote once used the name “Neddie Flanders” in a book.  Great catch. 

Buy The Simpsons Homer Talking Wall Clock Black Friday – This rather annoying looking clock easily earns its Krusty Brand Seal of Approval, but I especially like the text, which was hilariously translated by computer:

CC Hoo! Homer Simpson Talking Wall hodinyVypočujte Homer the hour, every hour All I can say about Homer Simpson says! Watches, Woo hoo! Woo hoo fact, the local cultural icon, which is responsible for the addition of D’oh! Oxford English for an hour slovník.Každú decorating color analog clock expired with one of the 13 immortal Homerisms, including: First time, maybe someone tell me sir, nothing, “You have a scene.”

COMME des GARÇONS PLAY x Matt Groening Tee Shirt Runs – A few non-Simpsons Groening t-shirts. 

"The Simpsons" renewal: Exec producer Al Jean speaks – Not much in the way of news here.

The Simpsons Executive Producer Al Jean on How the Show Was Saved – Same as above.  If the show ever does end, Jean could make a ton of money on the lecture circuit teaching PR people, pro athletes, coaches and politicians how to creatively answer the same questions over and over again.  He’s really good at it. 

The Evolution of a footballing philosophy – Close:

Noted philosopher Marge Simpson once said “we can’t afford to shop at a store which has a philosophy”. Philosophy is nice, but, like everything, subject to the dreaded Cost/Benefit analysis.

Marge actually says, “We can’t afford to shop at any store that has a philosophy”, but that’s close enough to still be excellent usage.

Marge Simpson in Chanel – Speaking of “Scenes from the Class Struggle in Springfield”, here’s Marge in Chanel right next to pictures of real Chanel. 

How will we speak The Simpsons when there’s no more The Simpsons? – And finally, thanks to readers Adam and Eric I get to end with someone who agrees directly with us, including a link and everything.  A.V. Club Toronto has picked up the term Zombie Simpsons:

The Simpsons blog Dead Homer Society has coined the term “Zombie Simpsons” to describe the general tenor of post-season 12 episodes. It’s a nice catchall, which reflects the show’s protracted decomposition.

Got that right.  Join the conspiracy. 

7 Responses to “Reading Digest: Question Mark in the Headline Edition”

  1. 14 October 2011 at 1:59 pm

    subparcoffee thanks you for including us in this list!

  2. 14 October 2011 at 3:25 pm

    Awesome! Thanks for the link!

  3. 14 October 2011 at 5:42 pm

    … Awesomeness, nice link :P

  4. 5 D.N.
    15 October 2011 at 12:32 am

    Not sure if these links have been posted here already, but anyway… On his blog, John K. posted some info and pics re: his recent Simpsons couch gag spot:

    Part 1: http://johnkstuff.blogspot.com/2011/10/simpsons-amid-interview-longwinded.html

    Part 2: http://johnkstuff.blogspot.com/2011/10/simpsons-interview-pt-2-models-and.html

  5. 15 October 2011 at 3:53 pm

    Hey There! Thanks for linking up Marge in Chanel!!!! Hope you are having a great day!!!! Love the blog! :)

  6. 7 jordangkessler
    16 October 2011 at 10:52 pm

    Great read. Thanks for the link.

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