Reading Digest: Specious Speculation (Swartzwelder) Edition

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This is a much shorter than usual Reading Digest, entirely due to the fact that just about anytime someone punched “Simpsons” into a keyboard this week it was right next to the word “Oregon”, and all of them were equally worthless.  It’s the internet, so I guess you’ve got to take the bad with the good, but that an awful lot of concentrated stupid.  There is still some good, though, including cool fan made stuff (mmm, cupcakes), a fantastically meta YouTube video, and Superintendent Chalmers on the DC Metro.  There’s also two links about John Swartzwelder, one of which debunked a cool but untrue idea about him and Ron Swanson from Parks and Recreation, and another that’s just a general fan letter.


[Updated at 1:13pm because I got my drafts confused and left out Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week in the one I originally published.]

Kirk’s Movie Blog: Listorama! My Top 10 Simpsons Episodes (Part One) – Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week is a two parter that came in via e-mail.  It’s a great list, partly because it’s got no Zombie Simpsons, partly because each entry contains an explanation as well as quotes and a picture, and partly because of this:

Some Simpsons fans have queried whether the second season belongs to the ‘Classic Era’ of the Simpsons, but for me, there can be no question about it.


Kirk’s Movie Blog: Listorama! My Top 10 Simpsons Episodes (Part Two) – Just as good.

Too bad they don’t make a Radiation Queen – This is pure YouTube brilliance:

I don’t miss the crappy picture or the tinny sound, but those old televisions definitely had more personality than the generic black rectangle that most of them are today. 

Is Ron Swanson Based On John Swartzwelder, Legendary ‘Simpsons’ Writer? – Bill Oakley tweeted this yesterday, and there are at least some superficial similarities.  Unfortunately, Oakley also quashed it a few hours later:

Swanson-Swartzwelder Tweet

Oh, well.  It was fun while it lasted. 

Cupcake the Simpson Family – SELLY – This is not in English, and I have no idea what it says.  But these are some of the coolest Simpsons cupcakes I’ve ever seen. 

mattachinereview: [Sideshow Bob, from The… – You’re going to need to be aware of relatively uncommon gender pronouns to get this joke, but I chuckled. 

Laura E. Enriquez: How DREAMers Made Me Reconceptualize My Citizenship – Excellent usage:

To encourage participation we say that every voice counts but we also tend to re-frame the event — Get Out the Vote rallies become concerts, social justice rallies have bands, feature celebrity speakers, or offer food. On The Simpsons, they tried to make jury duty more interesting by framing it as joining the "justice squadron" at the "Municipal Fortress of Vengeance." So maybe citizenship itself is in need of some re-framing so we can increase civic participation and get citizens like myself to appreciate the privileges we are afforded.

I’ve been called for jury duty three times and had to serve on a jury once, and that scene had a smile on my face all the way through orientation. 

Just when you think it can’t get weirder, it does. – Simpsons characters (and others) on parade during a fair in France.

The consolations of poetry: If the foolish call them flowers – Excellent Emily Dickinson usage:

I was first introduced to Emily by way of watching the Simpsons (the same medium by which I discovered Walt Whitman). Lisa follows Bart to military camp and, being the only girl, finds herself in her only lonely quarters: “Solitude never hurt anyone. Emily Dickinson lived alone, and she wrote some of the most beautiful poetry the world has ever known… then went crazy as a loon.”

Perfectly quoted, well done.

Appointment Viewing: April 9-April 15 – There’s new Zombie Simpsons this Sunday, and Lenny’s got us covered:

8:00 – The Simpsons (Fox): Jimbo’s girlfriend falls for Bart after he’s forced to chaperone her to a movie. School bullies notice, and that’s bad for Bart. Meanwhile, Homer is persuaded to buy an exercise machine, but doesn’t have to be persuaded to use the TV that comes with it. Why would anyone go for Bart over a good-looking rebel who plays by his own rules?

Oh good, another girl falls for Bart.  This needs to stop happening so much. 

Distorted Marge Simpson t-shirt at Red Bubble – That is a fantastic idea, but do you get $2 off because it got smeared?

Alex Rocco talks about Magic City, The Godfather and more – Heh:

The Simpsons (1990-1997)—“Roger Meyers Jr.”
AR: Yeah, what’d I do, about six or seven of those? I did a series for Jim Brooks, for Gracie Films, called Sibs. That was a really good show. Marsha Mason was my wife. And because I’m with that family, pretty soon Jim Brooks says, “Play this.” And it’s kind of fun being the owner of Itchy and Scratchy.

AVC: Do you enjoy the opportunity to do voice work on occasion?

AR: Yeah. It really is fun, because you can go in shorts and a beard, you read off a piece of paper, and you’re done. It’s like stealing money. [Laughs.]

There’s another reason Zombie Simpsons sucks, no Roger Meyers Jr. 

Simpsons Runway Style Fashion Shopping Guide – To call this pageview whoring would be a gross understatement, but some people at GQ went through a ton of episodes and found real life men’s fashions that look like things on the show.  I clicked through all 36 of them (18 Simpsons screen grabs, each followed by some blank faced, real life model), and while I make no claim as to the clothes, they at least had relatively good taste in episodes.  I didn’t see anything past Season 10. 

The Three Stooges Movie…In 10 Words – Moe is their leader. 

marge simpson – Cool, minimalist fan made image for Marge. 

SQ Drawings: Bart Simpson & Family – Fan made pencil/colored pencil poster of Bart done by a guy for his son’s bedroom.  Cool, though Bart does appear to have five fingers. 

Metro Confirms That the Resurrection Is ‘Not a Standard Announcement’ – An employee of the DC Metro got on the PA on Sunday and delivered a little Easter sermon, which prompted this:

But Flanders quickly runs afoul of public-school decorum when he attempts to "thank the Lord" over the public-address system. Superintendent Chalmers becomes irate, fuming that in a public school, "God has no place in these walls, just as facts have no place in organized religion." Flanders is fired on the spot.

It’s wonderfully apt, though Chalmers actually says “within these walls, just like facts have no place within organized religion.”  Still, those are minor, so I’m still calling it excellent usage.

Bart Simpson Rag Doll (NEW) – Old school crappy merchandise still in its original packaging. 

WHO WOULDN’T? – Animated .gif of Homer showing off his new chainsaw and hockey mask.

From Duluth to the world – Hopefully this will be on a Behind the Music type show one day:

They also reminisced about the band’s early days just up the hill from the auditorium. Like their very first official band rehearsal in 2003.

"It was a Sunday, and we were supposed to meet at 7 p.m.," Carroll recalled. "We called each other and were like, ‘Dude, "The Simpsons" are on, so … 7:30?’"

Who’s Awesome #6 – Some love for John Swartzwelder that is unrelated to the brief Ran Swanson speculation agrees with us:

The period of the Simpsons that I pay attention to is seasons 3-9. Other than those seasons, very rarely keep watching. Swartzwelder was in his prime then.

Amen.  And . . . charge!

6 Responses to “Reading Digest: Specious Speculation (Swartzwelder) Edition”

  1. 1 HMS pinafore
    13 April 2012 at 7:36 pm

    I think I recall in a interview with one of the current writers that next year they are doing a episode about Roger Meyers Jr.

    • 14 April 2012 at 6:34 pm

      Roger Meyers Jr. is pretty similar to Superintendent Chalmers, in that he seems to be well-grounded and aware of the craziness of the characters around him (“…the screwballs have spoken”). Although he’s more exaggerated than Chalmers (to parody cutthroat, no-bullshit entertainment executives, I suppose), that awareness still makes for an interesting character in the hyper-exaggerated Simpsons universe.

      If this is true, I don’t have high hopes. Hopefully he’ll be voiced by Alex Rocco, at least.

      • 3 D.N.
        15 April 2012 at 5:11 am

        Chalmers has been pretty much ruined by Zombie Simpsons. Now he’s as wacky and fickle as everyone else in Springfield.

        On the subject of Roger Meyers, I think it’s kind of a pity that they didn’t get Alex Rocco to overdub Hank Azaria in “The Front,” “Lady Bouvier’s Lover,” and “Itchy & Scratchy Land.” Like how they re-filmed scenes of the Seinfeld episode in which Frank Costanza first appeared, replacing the original actor with Jerry Stiller.

        • 16 April 2012 at 7:31 am

          I always found it weird that they re-filmed George’s dad’s scenes, replaced Larry David’s suicidal Newman voice with Wayne Knight’s, and other shit like that….. yet they never re-filmed scenes involving Jerry’s dad, who used to be played by a really REALLY terrible actor before they found the right one.

          • 5 D.N.
            18 April 2012 at 6:42 pm

            My memory might be faulty, but I think original Morty Seinfeld was in his episode much more than original Frank Costanza was in his episode (and obviously more than Larry David voiced Newman for). It would have taken longer and more expensive to re-film the Morty stuff.

  2. 16 April 2012 at 7:30 am

    I got a tv kinda like that, I’ve had it for 26 years, it looks great and still works fine. Meanwhile I know people who’ve went through a brand new HDTV nearly every year for 5 or more years, spending anywhere between $600 and $1600 a pop for a new TV that will burn up if they play XBOX too long.

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