Reading Digest: Forgotten Stuff Edition

The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show5

“Look Scratchy, it’s our new friend, Poochie.” – Itchy
“What’s that name again?  I forgot.” – Scratchy

Thanks to its relentless insistence on being both bland and repetitive, Zombie Simpsons manages to be incredibly forgettable despite its long run on television.  Earlier in the week, I joked about “Them, Robot” swarming with magic robots, but I’d completely forgotten that they already did an episode swarming magic robots this season, “Replaceable You”.  In case you also forgot (though not everyone did), that was the one where Bart and Martin build an army of robot seals who turn evil and then good again. 

If Zombie Simpsons has a virtue, it is that it is easy to forget most of it, and this week we’ve got two links about exactly that, one with great imagery.  In addition to that, we’ve got an excellent variety of fan made stuff in mediums as diverse as sand and yarn, an interview with Alf Clausen, some Lego ads, a YouTube video that makes me want to sit down, and several people who agree with us.


Noiseless Chatter Spotlight: “AWESOM-O,” South Park season 8, episode 5 (2004) – Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week is this thorough look at the “AWESOM-O” episode of South Park, the process that created it, and how that stacks up against The Simpsons and Zombie Simpsons.  He makes one point in particular that I want to agree with: 

If you think I’m going to bring up The Simpsons again as a point of comparison, you’re right. After all, there’s no better reference point for either of the two shows than each other, and whereas The Simpsons has been recycling plots and echoing itself in gradually deteriorating whispers for the sake of remaining familiar to whatever small audience still chooses to follow it, South Park has been ditching characters and ideas since season two, scrambling up core dynamics and introducing new regular characters in order to explore avenues that they previously couldn’t reach without stretching characters beyond their scope of believability.

South Park has benefitted tremendously from its ability to shift its format and focus between different characters.  Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, but they aren’t stuck repeating things because they’re wedded to a specific template.  The only thing I’d add is that they can do that because Parker and Stone have all the leverage vis-a-vis them and Comedy Central.  That show is the two of them, including the bulk of the voices.  On Zombie Simpsons, no one person has the ability to say “That sucked, we’ve got to try something new”.  Even if Brooks, Jean and Groening all walked off the show, you know what would happen?  FOX would keep making episodes with whoever stayed.  On South Park, Parker and Stone have the kill switch; on Zombie Simpsons, FOX has it.

I highly recommend the whole thing.

Drinks’ On Simpsons – A nicely photo-documented project to create customized, homemade Simpsons coasters.  If I had any furniture that needed coasters used, I would want those.  They’re fantastic. 

Homer Simpson Crochet Toy – Check out this amazing foot tall, fan made Homer doll.  All the details are there, right down to the eyelids. 

Watching 130 Episodes of “The Simpsons” Simultaneously – That guy who put up all the Itchy & Scratchy videos also did this:

Here’s what you’re watching:

-Top to bottom: each row shows a season (from season 1 to season 10)
-Left to right: each column shows an episode (from episode 1 to episode 13)

A total of 130 episodes is displayed, framerate is 25fps, thumbnails have been captured at 80x60px

That’s fun and all, and bonus points for no Zombie Simpsons, but I kind of feel like Chief Wiggum watching the monorail race around the city.

All Kids out of the Pool: The Best Adult Cartoons – A look at some adult animation going all the way back to 1943, with lots of YouTube.  And it agrees with us:

The Simpsons is a classic cartoon, and it is extremely unlikely that anyone hasn’t heard of it. It has severely declined in quality since the first few seasons, and the jokes most people remember as hilarious are actually from the first few seasons.

In all the times I come across poor, moderate and excellent usage (not all of which I post about), it is amazing how infrequently people mention anything from Zombie Simpsons.  Whether it’s someone writing a blog post about being pregnant or going on vacation, a reporter opening a story, or anything else, it feels like I see a hundred or more references to The Simpsons for every one I see for Zombie Simpsons.  I don’t keep count or anything, but it’s overwhelming.  Speaking of remembering jokes . . .

Simpsons then and now – This is from Springfield Springfield on Twitter (click to embiggen):

Simpsons Then and Now1

That image has been kicking around on-line for a while now, and obviously the right hand side is nothing but crappy celebrity appearances and desperate cries for attention like Marge kissing Lindsey Naegle.  Here’s the second one (again, click to embiggen):

Simpsons Then and Now2

They called this one “Fixed”, and I agree.  Unless you’re a particular fan of this or that celebrity or band, they’ve had so many people on as themselves now that they all just fade into one incoherent fog.  I’m not sure who created the first one or fixed the second one, but if you want credit just let me know.  Kudos to both. 

National Treasure Director Jon Turteltaub, The Simpsons former Producer Jay Kogen, and New York Times Bestselling Author of Midwives Chris Bohjalian, and Pulitzer Prize winning author James B. Stewart are among the headliners for the SCCE’s 11th Annual Co – As you can tell from this monstrous (yet cutoff) headline, Jay Kogen will be speaking to a group called SCCE, which stands for the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics.  The conference isn’t until October, and there’s no real news here, I just thought it was amusing that they put “Compliance” ahead of “Ethics”.

Santa Cruz X The Simpsons 500th Episode Slasher Deck – An eyes-out, wheels-off Bart skateboard design. 

¡Ay Caramba! Interview with “The Simpsons” composer Alf Clausen – There’s not a lot of new information in here, but Alf seems like he’s having a good time, and this is cool as hell:

At the 500th session, you took time to make special mention of some musicians with whom you’ve worked for decades. In what other capacities have you worked together?
“Trombonist Bob Payne, trumpet player Gary Grant and recently retired percussionist Jules Greenberg were all part of my ‘Donny & Marie Show’ band in 1976. They have been an integral part of every show I’ve recorded since then. Many other members of my ‘Simpsons’ orchestra have worked for me for over 25 years.”

250. Lego Imagination – Much was made this week about these new Lego ads that are minimalist renditions of famous cartoon characters.  Here they are all scrunched together. 

‘Hunger Games’ Characters as ‘Simpsons’ Stars – Speaking of things that were linked all over the place this week, these Hunger Games characters done in yellow with no chins (via). 

Writers for "The Simpsons," "M*A*S*H" among panelists for Aspen Shortsfest – Mike Reiss will be judging a short film festival that runs April 10th-15th in Colorado. 

Deciphering opposition to health care reform – Excellent usage:

One of my all-time favorite episodes of "The Simpsons" was aired way back in 1992. It was called "Homer the Heretic," and towards the end of the episode, there’s a serious fire in the Simpsons’ home.

After everyone is safe and the fire is put out, an insurance agent asks Homer, "Any valuables in the house?" He replied, "Well, the Picasso, my collection of classic cars…"

The agent replies, "Sorry, this policy only covers actual losses, not made-up stuff."

“Well that’s just great.”

100 Best Comedy Characters Currently On Television (40-31) – Continuing the list from last week, here we have Flanders checking in at #40. 

The Rebooted ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ Will Be Aliens, According To Michael Bay – Excellent usage:

I’m suddenly having flashes of the network executive from the “Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie” episode of The Simpsons: “We at the network want a dog with attitude. He’s edgy, he’s ‘in your face.’ You’ve heard the expression, ‘let’s get busy’? Well, this is a dog who gets ‘biz-zay!’ Consistently and thoroughly.”

I’m beginning to think Michael Bay is the greatest troll in the history of the internet (at least the pop culture part of it).  There’s an alternate universe where he’s the assistant manager of a surf shop who spends most of his time posting inane comments on blogs and message boards. 

Marge and Maggie Simpson on Mothers Day 2012 – I’ve linked to this guy’s sand drawings before, and his Flickr page has plenty more.  Cheers to Martin Artman. 

Jason Reitman to stage The Big Lebowski – They’re doing a live reading of The Big Lebowski, which is challenging because there are a ton of small, one or two scene characters.  Enter Azaria:

Luckily, three actors known for their diverse voices have signed on to ensure that worries about the size of the cast don’t drag any negative energy into this tournament.

From the Jesus to pornographer Jackie Treehorn to the irate neighbor who “kills” the Dude’s car, most of the small-but-memorable roles will be handled by a versatile trio. Nick Kroll and Patton Oswalt, two veterans of the live-reads, will be joined by The Simpsons’ Hank Azaria to “cover the field” of different characters in The Big Lebowski, Reitman says. “There will be a moment when the three nihilist will be played by Patton, Nick, and Hank, and we’ll be getting each of their German accents,” he laughs.

I mean, say what you want about the tenets of Zombie Simpsons, Dude, at least its an ethos. 

Muppets return to the big screen with family fun, laughs – The Clarksdale Press Register is one of those self defeating local papers that requires a subscription to read it; fortunately, the excellent usage is right in the first sentence:

When asked what a “Muppet” was, Homer Simpson once said, “Well, it’s not quite a mop and it’s not quite a puppet, but maaaaan! (laughs) So to answer your question, I don’t know.”

Homer and Marge Simpson Beer Bottle Cozies via Flickr – Nice. 

Custom of the Week: Ralph – Last week we had some ponies redone as the Simpsons clan.  Here’s one of Ralph Wiggum. 

Cool Party Trick – Animated .gif of that Irish bartender from “Pygmoelian”.

Scooby Doo Fan Art # 3 (Mash-Ups) – Drawings of the Scooby Doo gang in other franchises, including Simpsons.  The Ghostbusters and Ghost World ones are particularly good. 

Handheld Classics: Bart Simpson’s Escape From Camp Deadly – A review of a Gameboy game I had completely forgotten about. 

Eat More Bikes: Post Apocalyptic Bart Simpson. – A four pane comic.  I chuckled. 

17 reasons to feel proud today – A St. Patrick’s Day list for Irish pride messes up this quote slightly:

The place of Ireland’s national day in popular culture was neatly summed up by that great sage Homer Simpson: "It’s been St Patrick’s Day for hours, and I’m not drunk yet."

It’s actually “I’m still not drunk yet”, but that’s close enough for excellent usage.

Canada News, Commentary, Analysis, Blogs – Excellent YouTube usage about the amount of food that gets thrown away every year. 

Big Data won’t solve your company’s problems – Sigh:

FORTUNE — "Oh, people can come up with statistics to prove anything. Fourteen percent of people know that." – Homer Simpson


… He’s Real! – Herschel, pie is for noshing, not for throwing.

Inside The Simpsons’ "Life on the Fast Lane" – Splitsider apparently now has a regular feature where they watch old commentaries.  Huh. 

Need a Hangover Cure? Try Itchy and Scratchy! – Another link to that huge YouTube video of Itchy & Scratchy from last week contains this nice piece of Zombie Simpsons snark:

P.S.  If you’re not a fan of The Simpsons in their halcyon salad days of consistent greatness, (roughly Seasons 1-10, before a team of writers who sound like snooty grad students fresh out of college started working for the show) then I’m not sure we can stay friends.

Simpsons: Them Robots, Them Robots – We weren’t the only ones who didn’t like last week’s episode of Zombie Simpsons either:

At this point, I wonder if the current writers have seen the previous seasons of the show.  Maybe it should be required viewing so that they can be reminded of how great things used to be and what our expectations are, instead of just trotting out the same ideas in lesser forms.  But clearly that is expecting too much.

Dylan Plays The Simpsons: Tapped Out, Dies Inside – And finally, I get to end with someone who agrees with us, and does so in an enjoyably harsh review of that new game:

Long ago, the show had stripped away the humanity of everybody living in Springfield, and The Simpsons: Tapped Out is just another reflection of this trend. The show’s not going anywhere soon, and if the success of the app is any indication, neither is Tapped Out. The characters no longer feel human; they feel like work mules. In the show, they’re plodding through the same tired storylines (oh, the Simpsons are being kicked out of Springfield again?) with none of the same heart. In the game, it doesn’t matter that Milhouse spends his entire day flying the same model airplane in four hour intervals, or that Krusty spends eight hours “Inflating His Own Importance.”

These characters are happy to recycle the same actions again and again without question. Maybe utilizing these things for their money-producing powers is for the best. I have nine levels until I reach level twenty, and these pretend friends won’t impress themselves.

Just Don’t Forget, Citizens of Springfield: You’re Here Forever.

Got that right.

9 Responses to “Reading Digest: Forgotten Stuff Edition”

  1. 1 Philip J Reed
    23 March 2012 at 2:34 pm

    Wow…what a pleasant surprise to be Link of the Week! I’m genuinely honored. And you make an excellent point about the South Park creators having more leverage than anyone individually has on The Simpsons. Great point, and thanks for reading and linking!

    • 2 Charlie Sweatpants
      23 March 2012 at 3:11 pm

      Glad to hear it. Apologies for not replying to your e-mail sooner. I didn’t get a chance to read it until yesterday.

  2. 24 March 2012 at 9:38 am

    Nice of you to link my blog =)
    Have you already seen these Simpsons style movie posters? http://9gag.com/gag/3443775

  3. 24 March 2012 at 10:31 am

    Thanks for linking to my blog! I’m always happy to see the custom pony love spread :)

  4. 7 Thrillho
    25 March 2012 at 10:29 pm

    It’s pretty telling that I’m a huge fan of The Daily Show, and I completely forgot that Jon Stewart did a guest voice.

  5. 27 March 2012 at 12:18 am

    South Park is just as forgettable, if not more so, than Zombie Simpsons. Despite early seasons of SP having some interesting moments — and despite the show still occasionally having clever moments — let’s face it, every plot boils down to “Take some news item of the week and beat it to death until whatever might have been funny is no longer even watchable.”

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