Archive for June, 2012


Quote of the Day

Homer and Apu9

“I’m coming with you.  I got you fired, it’s the least I can do.  Well, the least I can do is absolutely nothing, but I’ll go you one better and come along.” – Homer Simpson


Reading Digest: Aussie Edition

Bart vs Australia9

“See?  The Southern Hemisphere is made up of everything below the Equa- . . . this line.” – Lisa Simpson
“So down there in, say, Argentina or Rand McNally, all their water runs backwards?” – Bart Simpson
“Uh-huh.  In fact, in Rand McNally, they wear hats on their feet and hamburgers eat people.” – Lisa Simpson
“Cool.” – Bart Simpson

I don’t know if it’s a holiday there or what, but we’ve got lots of links from our friends down in the penal colony this week.  There’s charity and Simpsons bitching, and the greatest waste of perfectly good beer since prohibition.  There’s even a town vs. town fight!  Back here on the side of the world where people eat hamburgers, there’s plenty of usage, some crappy merchandise, and two early reviews of the Maggie short that’s premiering before Ice Age 4


Cairns v Townsville: ‘We’re bigger than you’ – Awesome:

Townsville claims Cairns is fudging its population figures.

And if The Simpsons taught us anything, it’s this: when two towns go to war, it generally leads to someone stealing a lemon tree.

In which town can I marry someone’s attractive cousin, Cairns or Townsville?

Movie Review: Madea’s Witness Protection; or, Tyler Perry’s Diminishing Returns – Excellent reference:

Aside from that episode of The Simpsons where the family has to go into hiding with assumed identities after Sideshow Bob threatens to kill Bart, comedy still hasn’t quite cracked the code on witness protection, despite many tries. (My Blue Heaven, written by the late Nora Ephron, came close, while the Larry the Cable Guy opus Witless Protection and the Hugh Grant travesty Did You Hear about the Morgans?, uh, didn’t.)


How is the Simpsons still airing? – Someone actually posted this on Yahoo Answers:

It is not funny anymore. At all. I’ve watched so many Simpsons episodes and I really enjoy the earlier episodes up until around 2008ish. They started going downhill and is like…not even funny. I’m not saying they should cancel they show because it has lots of fans, just wondering how it is continuing to stay strong without being funny?

Best Answer: Merchandising, merchandising.

MUSIC: XV – Be There, Be Square Prod. by Xaphoon – Here’s how you know The Simpsons had a bigger cultural impact than anything else in the last twenty odd years.  This drawing has pop culture staples from Marilyn Monroe and Darth Vader to Dwight Schrute, the Doc and Marty, and Michael Jordan.  But it’s in the Simpsons’ living room.

Radical Becomes the Latest in a Series of Disheartening Studio Closures – The studio that made “The Simpsons: Hit & Run” game is being closed down.  Activision sucks. 

The Simpsons, the Muppets and Hello Kitty spoof aliens! – Not sure of the original source here, but that is a damn good Simpsons/Alien, Homer/John Hurt image.  Nice touch on the Yaphet Kotto headband on Carl.  (Also, this is a blog dedicated to Alien and Terminator movies, with an author who claims to be one of them and calls herself Ripley Connor.  Awesome.)

D’oh! Duff deal costs $2m – You bastards:

A Perth businessman was forced to throw out hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of beer made famous in The Simpsons television show after 20th Century Fox took legal action against him over copyright.


A big pile of the distinctive red cans could be seen being emptied and crushed at Mr Da Silva’s company Bell-Vista Fruit and Veg in South Fremantle last week.

Fucking FOX, ruining everyone’s good time over a piddling two million bucks.

Elizabeth fights for beds – These people could’ve certainly used the two million, and they’re in Australia too:

ONE of everyone’s favourite episodes of ‘The Simpsons" is when Homer is bedridden in hospital and discovers the control for the electronically adjustable bed.

"Bed goes up, bed goes down – bed goes up – bed goes down," Homer yells excitedly as he works the controls.

Unfortunately, patients at Murwillumbah District Hospital’s rehabilitation ward rarely get the opportunity to "do a Homer" with the bed controls – there’s only a small number of such beds available.

Review: Maggie Simpson in The Longest Daycare – The short won’t be released for another two weeks, but the first reviews are very positive:

After twenty-three years on the air, The Simpsons is far from being the fresh show it once was.


Without a single line of dialogue over its four-and-a-half minutes, we go on an epic odyssey with one of the family’s least outspoken characters. Maggie stories don’t often get much light in the television show, simply because she is difficult to sustain over 20 minutes, but in the abbreviated format of the short film, Maggie becomes the cinema star she was always destined to be. Like the silent movies of yesteryear, 2011′s The Artist notwithstanding, Silverman recognises the inherent comedy in action rather than words. The focus on a single character is reminiscent of the classic Disney or Looney Toons shorts, and we hope this means more Maggie, Homer or even Bart ‘toons to come.

Maggie Simpson’s Book of Animals – Speaking of Maggie, here’s a nice collection of high resolution photos of the book Groening’s sister did way back when at least some of the merchandise was good.  I found a used copy of this book a few years ago and gave it to a friend’s kid for his birthday.  He seemed to like it. 

Time – Once again, The Simpsons shows the way:

Significantly, I noticed that the less smiley clock on the wall struck a similar pose when The Simpsons came on.

The Simpsons provided incentive for me to learn to tell the time.
It was during this episode of The Simpsons that I learned what “sarcastic” means.
The Simpsons also taught me that one way to tell a story is to start completely off topic, and then transition into the key story.

So I’m sharing how I learned to tell the time to say that I’ve given up TV for a month.

Good luck with your TV fast.

Homer and Marge Simpson: A LEGO® creation by Travis Kirby – Homer and Marge in the medium of Lego. 

All my life I’ve had one dream, to achieve my many goals. – This is a two part link, here’s the description:

I’ve picked one episode from each of the first 10 seasons of the show that best display Homer’s quality as either a father or a husband.

The first five are at the link above, the second five . . .

Stupider than a fox! – . . . are right here.  As he said, no Zombie Simpsons.  Bravo.

Summer TV Series: A Barren Wasteland or A Lost Treasure Trove – More from the Southern Hemisphere:

In Australia over the Christmas holidays TV really couldn’t be worse. The TV series that usually screen over the summer in the US actually tend to screen in Australia over the second ratings season beginning in August so once it gets to Australian summer their really is absolutely nothing on except for ‘Carols By Candlelight’ which is so terrible, I’ve been known to god forbid, read a book to avoid it. The only good thing about summer TV in Australia is that broadcasters replace their usual painful news shows like ‘A Current Affair’ and ‘Today Tonight’ with reruns of ‘The Nanny’ and ‘The Simpsons’.

That does sound bad.   

9GAG – Marge Simpson – A marijuana bud that kinda looks like Marge’s hair.

A Very Electric Connectivity Round-Up – The Simpsons-apocalypse play closes this weekend, so if you’re in D.C. this is your last chance.  This is a look at some of the pre/post-show extras they’ve got.

The F*cket List – More nice usage:

I noticed recently that Bucket Lists have become all the rage in the blogosphere as well.  Many bloggers have a separate tab for their Bucket Lists, where they keeping a running tally of all the items they’ve completed and blog about each experience. It started to feel like every second blog I read featured someone running a marathon,  or swimming with dolphins, or climbing mount Everest,  or becoming a Monorail conductor, or eating the world’s biggest hoagie, or living in the woods while keeping a journal of their thoughts, or bowling a perfect game.

……….Ok, so at least half of those were actually Homer Simpson’s lifelong dreams. But you get the picture.

Click through for the definition of a “Fucket” list, a concept of which I wholeheartedly approve.

Sweet, Sweet Beer – This is an article about beer brewing in Mississippi, and it contains excellent usage:

“I’d kill everyone in this room for one drop of sweet, sweet beer.” —Homer Simpson

Homer actually says “I would kill everyone in this room for a drop of sweet beer”, but that’s close enough and apt, so it’s still excellent usage.

Scent a Celebrity Series: Spritzing Springfield – Scenting The Simpsons Part 2 – Following up on last week, here are more (apparently) famous fragrances matched with Simpsons characters.

Just a little bit ridiculous… – Comic Book Guy gets cited and used a lot, but rarely with this much care.  It’s just a post about a class, but it ends oh so well.  (And the Jack Nicholson/Michael Keaton Batman remains awesome and has aged incredibly well.)

When Harry Met Sally…In 10 Words – Mmm, fake orgasm scene.

Simpsons Khlav Kalash: The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson – WordPress search terms can be very amusing, especially if the monkey god that runs Google somehow associates you with an old episode of The Simpsons

Simpsons – You have my undivided attention (gif) – Animated .gif of Homer thinking.

Nobody likes Milhouse – the simpsons – A nice .jpg of nobody liking Milhouse. 

You’ll Warm to This: Ice Age 4 – Another early and positive review for “The Longest Daycare”:

AND HERE’S A BONUS: the film is preceded by a hilarious and heart-warming 3-D Simpsons cartoon, which stars a largely overlooked character; Maggie, the youngest member of that celebrated TV family. This pre-feature surprise is worth the price of admission alone!

Best Episode of the Season: The Simpsons Season 23 – I’d basically forgotten that book episode, but somebody liked it.  I remain extremely bored, but that’s just my opinion.

Beth Kassab: Maglev train brings reasons for skepticism – Employing “Marge vs. the Monorail” as a column hook about a possible commuter train in Orlando, Florida. 

Why Am I So Crap At Clothes? – No idea, but this is nice usage:

I’m like Marge Simpson when she finds that Chanel suit in an op-shop and it is all she wears for a while, when trying to fit in with new rich friends.

“Sparkle sparkle” – More clothes related usage.

When I’m at work – You better be dying.  One of Homer’s most poignant moments is also hilarious.

Lemony shortbread. – Need something to bring to a friend’s house for breakfast?  How about shortbread and YouTube of Homer’s magical animal speech.

The Simpsons Bart Simpson Figure Style USB 2.0 Flash Drive – Yellow (16GB) – Definite Krusty Brand Seal of Approval alert on this warped looking Bart thumb drive. 

Opposition to Free Speech – Time to brush up on your American history:

Dr. Taylor conjectured that Matt Groening, writer of the Simpsons, most likely is a Federalist.  To support this statement, nothing good happens in Springfield during the times that the mob rules.

I blame the tariff. 

Romance is Not Dead – Whatever you say, Mr. Billboard.

Summer 2012 Moodboard / Lisa Simpson Brooch – A small, heart shaped Lisa pin.

Kill Zinesters – Well, I learned something today:

On the other hand, “Bunnyhop” received the negative attention of Matt Groenig’s lawyers after Tolentino sent a copy of “Bunnyhop’s” Geeks vs. Jocks issue, the cover of which featured Groenig’s Life in Hell character Binky knocking the Trix out of the Trix Rabbit, to the creator of The Simpsons. Tolentino expected Groenig to be amused and flattered, but received a “cease and desist” letter ordering him to destroy all copies of the cover and print a pre-approved apology. Tolentino was surprised not only by the response from a man who uses parody to such an extent as Groenig does, but moreover by the fact that it was the cartoonist, not the cereal company that balked.

Aww, Matt, just because the misspelled your name doesn’t mean you should sue them.

a blog post with no title, but which is vaguely to do with cooking and having a good time – Yet more from Australia:

My new friends trusted me with the task of doing the grocery shopping for this adventure. I took it seriously, I’d hate to have let them down. I knew I would be right with things like celery and potato. I was optimistic that I would find some sort of tofu (I actually found two separate tofu products. Incredible!), but the hitherto unheard of ketjap was a sauce of some concern for me (did you see what I did there?) After some extended discussion and googling and sharing of The Simpsons quotes, we managed to clarify that I was not looking for ketchup, or catsup, but a sweet soy sauce.

That does sound confusing.

Derpy’s Hook – My Little Brony – Bart finds the heart of My Little Pony.

Jesus on a tortilla? I present to you – Homer Simpson on a snake. – That snake’s head does indeed kinda look like Homer. (via)

pinklabcoats – They were a colorful bunch.

Teen joins Homer Simpson in soda machine rescue history – On the plus side, no lumber yards burned down.

Fiona SMASH- a Fan Rant – From a Fiona Apple review:

Barney belching and her saying #9 over and over again. That’s what The Idler Wheel... reminds me of. Garbled nonsense intended on taking music to dangerous new places but really it just polarize new fans and old fans. Also, this is coming from the girl who listens to RadioHead.

It’s actually #8, but that’s still a nice comparison.

Tea With Chris: Disorienting Pleasures – Every good scientist is half B.F. Skinner and half P.T. Barnum (with dog in the vents YouTube).

TV REVIEW: Futurama Season 7 – I’ve generally thought that this summer’s Futurama episodes have been noticeably better than last summer’s.  Seems I’m not the only one:

After the Planet Express crew discover an ancient Martian prophecy about the world ending in the year 3012, everyone rushes to get a spot on the planet’s only functional space ship captained by none other than the incompetent Zapp Brannigan. This is a great episode that is clever as it is funny and satirical as well as surprisingly relevant. After getting sick of The Simpsons parodying something about 2 years after it’s in the media its nice to see Futurama having a slightly quicker response time, although it’s still got nothing on South Park‘s timeliness.

Fair point.  (via)

Stop! Stop! The Simpsons is already dead! – And finally, I get to end the way I like, with someone who agrees with us:

Axing The Simpsons would have been the kindest thing for it. It has become almost like an elderly uncle at the wedding who doesn’t quite realise that the more he dances the Macarena, the more everyone else cringes.



Quote of the Day

Grade School Confidential7

“I don’t entertain much.  Usually it’s just soup for one, salad for one, wine for three.” – Mrs. Krabappel


Compare & Contrast: Celebrity Game Shows and Homer Simpson

Krusty Gets Kancelled12

“Hurry, Charley, there is not much time.” – Rainier Wolfcastle
“I ain’t goin’ nowhere.  I’ve been in this square fer near thirty seasons, and I ain’t a leavin’ now.  Aaaahhhh!” – Not Charley Weaver
“He’s dead now.” – Homer Simpson

Without drawing too broad a conclusion from just one example, there aren’t many clearer comparisons for how the show’s sense of humor deteriorated than to look at the two times they poked fun at The Hollywood Squares, first in Season 4’s masterful “Krusty Gets Kancelled”, and then again in Season 11’s pathetic “Hello Gutter, Hello Fadder”.  What makes these two so revealing isn’t just the way Season 11 did a rote copy and paste job from Season 4, it’s also the way the two episodes make use of Homer.

First, though, remember what The Hollywood Squares is.  Tic-tac-toe with minor or fading celebrities has been around, on and off, since the 1960s.  As you’d expect, Wikipedia has an entertainingly thorough article on it, including exhaustive write ups of all four (4!) times it’s been resurrected from cancellation.  But through all its iterations, including the new one that’s built around rappers, the basic concept has remained the same.

Hollywood Squares 5 - Square Harder

Pimpin’ ain’t easy.  (Image shamelessly yoinked from here.)

It’s a show that’s cheap to produce and cheap to market because it relies on cobbling together the renown of nine low wattage and low pay stars to take the place of one big, expensive star.  Given the public’s insatiable appetite for famous people (however generously defined) and the entertainment industry’s constant bestowing of mild fame on new people (as well as pushing previously big celebrities further down its guest lists), the show’s durability is no surprise.

Any institution that sticks around that long will eventually become ripe for parody, but The Hollywood Squares was born ripe.  Its entire reason for existing is to wring a few coins from the leftover scrapings at the bottom of the fame barrel; taste, thought, and embarrassment be damned.  Worse, not only is it trashy entertainment; it isn’t even popular trashy entertainment.  After once being a hit network show, it now bounces around as cable and syndication filler, just another undistinguished part of the background noise of television.  There’s a reason that all the versions are big on scripted jokes and having everyone over-laugh at them: literally none of the “celebrities” really want to be there.  That’s pretty sad when you think about it, and distracting the audience from that fact is vital to the show’s appeal.

Krusty Gets Kancelled13

“Live from Springfield Harbor, where the sewage meets the sand!”

The Simpsons fully understood that inherent patheticness, which is why the show itself is the target of the jokes.  Zombie Simpsons, which “Hello Gutter, Hello Fadder” epitomizes, can’t be bothered with that much thought, so they make Homer acting like a dick the focus of their attempt.  For example, consider the way each handles the fact that The Hollywood Squares writes jokes for the celebrities who are supposedly just hanging out and being super nice and approachable.

On Zombie Simpsons, Homer just holds up two pieces of paper and asks which one he reads from.  It’s a semi-clever way to acknowledge that the whole thing is a sad farce, but it’s just telling the audience what’s going on instead of showing us by making an actual joke.  On The Simpsons, Kent Brockman and Rainier Wolfcastle botch the same idea:

Brockman: Oh, Rainier Wolfcastle, star of McBain and the upcoming film ‘Help, My Son Is a Nerd’.
Wolfcastle: My son returns from a fancy East Coast college, and I’m horrified to find he’s a nerd.
Brockman:  Ha ha ha ha, I’m laughing already.
Wolfcastle:  It’s not a comedy.

Not only is this yet another multi-layer gag where the setups are just as funny as the punchlines, but it perfectly illustrates how depressingly lame the whole ‘Hollywood Squares’ idea really is.  Brockman and Wolfcastle are following the joke-laugh-answer formula exactly, but they’re so apathetic toward what they’re doing that they can’t even accomplish a simple thing like mindlessly plugging Wolfcastle’s hilariously terrible movie.  This is what The Hollywood Squares actually is: bored entertainers phoning it in because they’d rather be doing almost anything else.

By contrast, when Homer shows up to the show in Season 11, he gets in a fight with Ron Howard (which he’d already done just one season earlier), and is actually pitied by him and Kent Brockman:

Brockman: We’ve got to stop putting these flavors of the month on.
Homer: Flavor of the month?  Me? 
Howard: Yeah, Homer, you can’t just ride one accomplishment forever.

Homer acting out and other characters responding to him is the only thing that’s going on.  The show itself is assumed to be something decent and worthwhile that Homer is ruining with his brutish behavior.  It’s one note comedy compared to the symphony of ideas and jokes in “Krusty Gets Kancelled”, but that’s only the half of it.

In Season 4, Homer isn’t involved in the show; he’s watching it.  This is crucial because it perfectly illustrates just how demeaning The Hollywood Squares really is.  He and Bart are exactly the kind of viewer the lowest rung of television is pitched at: bored flyover state residents who tune in to leer at the last glimmers of fame.  That he is their audience is part of what’s so humiliating about the show.  Entertainers who were once at or near the top of their game have been reduced to trading on whatever recognition they have for a (probably not very generous) paycheck.  Worst of all, they have been reduced from stars to replaceable cogs so easily dismissed that when one of them is crushed (and presumably killed) by a tidal wave, their target audience thinks only to laugh. 

“Krusty Gets Kancelled” sees through the forced laughter and glittering lights to the cheap sets and career desperation because it understands that no one has ever gotten into show business to be on The Hollywood Squares.  “Hello Gutter, Hello Fadder”, on the other hand, buys into all that lame self promotion that The Hollywood Squares uses to distract the audience from just how sad it really is.


Quote of the Day


“Scott, things aren’t as happy as they used to be down here at the unemployment office.  Joblessness is no longer just for philosophy majors; useful people are starting to feel the pinch.” – Kent Brockman
“I haven’t been able to find a job in six years.” – Barney Gumble
“And what training do you have?” – Kent Brockman
“Five years of modern dance; six years of tap.” – Barney Gumble


Crazy Noises: Hello Gutter Hello Fadder

Hello Gutter, Hello Fadder2

“There is no escape from the fortress of the moles! . . . Well, except that.” – Moleman

For the fourth summer in a row, we here at the Dead Homer Society will be spending some time discussing twelve year old Simpsons episodes.  This year we’re doing Season 11.  Why Season 11?  Because we’ve done Seasons 8, 9 and 10 already, and it’s time to take an unflinching look at the end of the show.  Since Skype and podcasts didn’t exist in 1999, and we want to discuss these episodes the way the internet intended, we’re sticking with the UTF-8 world of chat rooms and instant messaging.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (especially on “hantavirus”).

Today’s episode is 1106, “Hello Gutter, Hello Fadder”.  Yesterday was 1105, “E-I-E-I-(Annoyed Grunt)”.

Charlie Sweatpants: This one is, if anything, worse overall than the Tomacco one.

Mad Jon: As an episode whole, I think I agree.

Charlie Sweatpants: Tomacco has a few good ideas and jokes if you feel like waiting through all the crap. This one, pretty much just crap.

Mad Jon: I am not a TV writer, or a professional critic, but this episode wasn’t coherent at all.

Dave: This is a thousand monkeys typing on a thousand typewriters and completely botching it.

Mad Jon: The lows were not as low as the Tomacco one in my opinion, but it seemed like the whole thing was one solid low point.

Dave: Yeah, what few highs were in Tomacco were nonexistent here.

Charlie Sweatpants: What bugs me, and this is a general Season 11 complaint though it’s in evidence in spades here, is the way the show yo-yos back and forth between a kinda serious/obeying some rules mentality to completely weird/Halloween episode, sometimes within the same scene.

Mad Jon: I don’t get the plot at all. Maggie wants attention from Homer, who won’t give it to her, then he wants to give her attention but she doesn’t want it, then he eats shark eggs and she pulls him out of the rip tide?

Charlie Sweatpants: Homer’s worried about Burns firing him, okay, kinda normal there, but then Homer feels up Burns’ face, pulls out his teeth, and starts eating radioactive goo.

Mad Jon: yeah, the face grab/reactor core beating/waste eating bloc was a tough one to swallow.

  Get it?

Charlie Sweatpants: Right, it’s nominally about Homer and Maggie drifting apart, then he spends time with her, then she saves him. The events aren’t connected in the least.

  Got it. Are you sure you’re not a professional TV writer?

Mad Jon: I know, can you believe it?

Dave: Jon, quit your day job.

Charlie Sweatpants: But this episode is full of things like that. Homer’s bowling a perfect game, but then his family shows up in the last two frames all the way from home.

Homer’s sad, and then he’s instantly suicidal, and then he’s not again. There’s no connection to any of it.

  For example, Penn and Teller. Where the hell did that come from?

Mad Jon: I dunno. Why are Disco Stu and Skinner’s Mom on the game show?

A game show where the guest stars are Ron Howard, Homer, and Princess Kashmir.

Charlie Sweatpants: That part didn’t make any sense either, like, is he supposed to be a local celebrity?

And Ron Howard, I get why they had him back on because he’s very funny (and we all know that a crap narrator would’ve sunk Arrested Development), but he’s just pointless here.

Mad Jon: Nothing against Ron Howard here. Just like Mel a few episodes back, he did as well as anyone could with the given situation.

But why is he on a local Springfield game show? That’s all.

Charlie Sweatpants: Well, this was right about the time when they just gave up on doing anything interesting with celebrities instead of just trading off their existing fame.

Mad Jon: Ah Yes.

Charlie Sweatpants: Penn and Teller are funny enough that they can have their little moment, but it has nothing to do with The Simpsons. It’s just them writing a sketch for Penn and Teller.

And stuff like that is all this episode is, a series of sketches that mostly aren’t funny. (I do chuckle a bit at the hantavirus joke, but then spiders explode out of Bart’s gum, and they’ve taken it too far.)

Mad Jon: I also like the hantavirus joke.

Charlie Sweatpants: What, for example, was the point of Homer and Maggie in the swimming pool? Setting up the ending? Why bother when it’s so transparently insane anyway.

  Why does Homer get electrocuted? Oh right, they wanted to make a weak Teletubbies joke.

Mad Jon: Yeah, probably could have had the same effect without the pool scene.

Charlie Sweatpants: Why does Homer choke on the 300 game balloon?

Dave: So we can watch him choke.

For the lulz.

Charlie Sweatpants: What’s with that shtick laden scene where Lenny distracts Homer?

  There’s so many of these pointless scenes here, it’s amazing that they managed to be that consistently mediocre.

Dave: Just a preview of things to come, when they play off that "strength" at the expense of everything else

Charlie Sweatpants: True enough. The mole people thing here is definitely a precursor to the Jockey Elves, but we’ll get to that soon enough.

Mad Jon: Ugh.

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, it’s coming, but really, is it any less fantastical that what happens here?

Mad Jon: No, I guess not. It is just a different type of fantastical.

Charlie Sweatpants: And in the meantime, we get to see Marge vanish for the whole episode here while Homer flails about with Maggie, Bart sit quietly with Nelson in his room, and Homer pops out of a manhole cover just in time to have Ron Howard drive by.

Mad Jon: I almost forgot about Nelson.

Charlie Sweatpants: They needed him for a second, so he appeared. Standard Zombie Simpsons.

Anything else here?

I really dislike this episode, and if we can just all agree to forget about it forever now, I’d be cool with that.

Mad Jon: I got nothing. I don’t like either of these. Not at all.

Charlie Sweatpants: But if there are any other lowlights you feel need discussing, we can do that.

Dave: Nothing from me. Let’s never speak of these again.


Quote of the Day

Family Food

“You’re letting me go?” – Kirk van Houten
“Kirk, crackers are a family food.  Happy families.  Maybe single people eat crackers, we don’t know.  Frankly, we don’t want to know.  It’s a market we can do without.” – Southern Cracker Executive


Crazy Noises: E-I-E-I-(Annoyed Grunt)

E-I-E-I-(Annoyed Grunt)1

“You’re not gonna grow nothin’ on the old Simpson place.  That’s why your Daddy abandoned it.” – Chuck Sneed
“Aw, what do you know?” – Homer Simpson
“Well, I know your soil pH is up around 9.6, and you need it 7 to 8, max.” – Chuck Sneed
“Oh, that’s just superstition.” – Homer Simpson

For the fourth summer in a row, we here at the Dead Homer Society will be spending some time discussing twelve year old Simpsons episodes.  This year we’re doing Season 11.  Why Season 11?  Because we’ve done Seasons 8, 9 and 10 already, and it’s time to take an unflinching look at the end of the show.  Since Skype and podcasts didn’t exist in 1999, and we want to discuss these episodes the way the internet intended, we’re sticking with the UTF-8 world of chat rooms and instant messaging.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (shockingly enough, not on “Grasshopperus”).

Today’s episode is 1105, “E-I-E-I-(Annoyed Grunt)”.  Tomorrow will be 1106, “Hello Gutter, Hello Fadder”.

Mad Jon: Sometimes, like tonight, I watch something I don’t want.

Charlie Sweatpants: If that’s your way of saying we should get started, I’m game.

Mad Jon: No rush, just a convenient entry and phrasing opportunity.

But I accept your challenge

Let us begin with E-I-E- Doh.

I think I forgot an ‘I’

Charlie Sweatpants: Enh. This one is just the Tomacco one.

Mad Jon: Tomacco it is.

Whenever I watch this one, and it is probably because I smoked so many years, I can taste the Tomacco.

It’s pretty bad y’all.

Dave: Your smoking habit, the episode, or both?

Charlie Sweatpants: The inherent disgustingness of Tomacco doesn’t help, that’s for sure.

Mad Jon: Well, the flavor I assume the Tomacco has is to what I was referring.

But all the rest fall in there as well.

Charlie Sweatpants: This episode has a couple of decent gags in it, but man, between the plutonium, the Tomacco, the farm animals, the dueling, it’s way too much of a mess.

Dave: Don’t forget the B52s.

Charlie Sweatpants: It’s classic Zombie Simpsons in that it leaps ahead plot wise so many times you aren’t sure what’s happening, then it slows way the fuck down and you get time killing scenes like that thing with the Christmas tree, or Lenny sending the mail.

The song is one of the few redeeming parts here.

Mad Jon: The only ‘+’ I have on my sheet is from the credits of the Zorro movie, where James Earl Jones is credited as the “Voice of Magic Taco”

Charlie Sweatpants: The credits for Zorro are pretty good in general, and the fake movie titles at the beginning are the same way.

Mad Jon: They still had a .700 slugging average with signs in this season.

Charlie Sweatpants: “My Dinner with Jar Jar” is hilarious, ditto “Shakespeare in Heat”.

And, of course, this one has “Sneed’s Feed & Seed (Formerly Chuck’s)”, which should be in some kind of sign gag hall of fame.

But the main parts of this episode can’t even begin to live up to that standard.

Mad Jon: Yeah, I am sure, as you said, there are a couple of gags here and there, but they are drowned out by constant crushings via tractor, glove slap montages, and an invisible plant dance.

I also hated the “just one man” speech. Because it couldn’t have been less Homer than that.

Frankly these things along are enough to make me forget anything positive worth mentioning.

Dave: Basically right. A good few tidbits here and there can’t make up for the whole.

Charlie Sweatpants: Agreed. I essentially never watch this one because there are just way too many annoying scenes, several of which Jon mentioned. The tractor thing gets old real fast.

Mad Jon: And it just, doesn’t, stop.

Charlie Sweatpants: And, of course, there are the insanely addicted animals, which resolve the plot (sort of), but don’t show up until the fucking nineteen minute mark.

This one hits a really aggravating sweet spot where it’s both nonsensical, and moving so fast that you have no idea what’s even supposed to be happening.

And there’s lots of Jerkass Homer. Lots.

Dave: It wouldn’t be Zombie Simpsons without.

Mad Jon: That’s fer sure.

Charlie Sweatpants: I will say, for some reason the line about Chad Everett and “Grasshopperus” always gets a laugh out of me.

But I could’ve done without 90% of Homer’s dialogue and actions here, and it’s made even worse as the rest of the family (with the occasional objection) just goes along with it.

Mad Jon: The Everett and “Grasshopperus” is lost on my simple mind. But I’ll take your word for it.

Charlie Sweatpants: I’d never even heard of Everett before I saw this episode (he’s your standard 1960s-70s TV leading man), I just like the obviousness of Castellaneta’s delivery on “Only cause he tried to reason with him.”

Mad Jon: Ah.

Charlie Sweatpants: Anything else here?

This one is just such formulaic Zombie Simpsons that I’m not sure there’s much to say.

Dave: I’m fine with moving on.

Mad Jon: Not much else here to complain about. I agree.

Charlie Sweatpants: The plot makes no sense, there’s lots of filler, Homer’s an ass, and the pacing is schizophrenic.

To end on a positive, I do kinda like Homer getting butter on his milk duds.

Never tried it, but I bet I’d like it.

Mad Jon: It looked pretty nauseating, but actually seemed like something Homer might do.


Quote of the Day

Selma's Choice8

“I’m Lionel Hutz, executor of Miss Bouvier’s estate.  She left a video will, so I earn my fee simply by pressing this play button.  Pretty sweet, eh?” – Lionel Hutz


Quote of the Day

The Wizard of Evergreen Terrace2

“Authorities say the phony Pope can be recognized by his high top sneakers and incredibly foul mouth.” – Kent Brockman


Quote of the Day

The Boy Who Knew Too Much7

“Oh my God, someone’s taken a bite out of the big rice krispie square! . . . Oh yeah, and the waiter’s been brutally beaten.” – Chief Wiggum


Quote of the Day

TS for Them

“This gets uglier every year.  Any sign of Bart and Milhouse?” – Richard
“No, and if they don’t get here soon, it’ll be TS for them.” – Lewis
“I don’t feel right.” – Ralph Wiggum


Reading Digest: Groening Retires Edition


“Please don’t make me retire.  My job is the only thing that keeps me alive.  I never married and my dog is dead. . . . I’m not finished!” – Jack Marley
“Oh, yes, you are.” – C.M. Burns

Matt Groening quit two things this week, his long running “Life in Hell” comic, and a gag charity band he was in with a bunch of other famous people.  As a retirement gift, may I strongly recommend the first YouTube video embedded below?  I’m warning you now: it’s 5m:44s.  It’s also worth watching.  In addition to that we have non-Zombie Simpsons D.C. dating advice, a list that matches the characters with (what I assume are) well known perfumes, a fan made Homer guitar, the Simpsons as X-Men, and some leftover Father’s Day links. 


How many main characters are there in The Simpsons? – You don’t need to click through to Smooth Charlie’s Click of the Week, just watch it:

This ought to have a lot more than 21k views.  I don’t usually make it all the way through a lot of five minute YouTube videos, but I did here, and the artist asks for it to be forwarded to Groening.  I don’t know if that’s happened yet (the video is a year old), but if anyone reading this has the ability to bring it to his attention (he quit a band and retired his comic strip, he’s got time), please do.  That drawing is amazing. 

Making of Homer Simpson Guitar – Speaking of excellent fan made projects:

Cool.  The Homer slippers at the end are a nice touch. 

South American Bart Simpson – Fantastically detailed writeup of early Simpsons merchandise from South America.  They made Bart a ninja (or something)! 

Matt Groening: "It’s pretty obvious that I ran out of jokes a couple of decades ago" – As has been noted pretty much everywhere, Groening is hanging up his pen.  The always reliable caught a doozy:

Why pull the plug on Life in Hell now? Did you simply run out of jokes?
It’s pretty obvious that I ran out of jokes a couple of decades ago – but that doesn’t stop any cartoonist!

Indeed it does not.  Sincere thanks, though, Groening.  “Life in Hell” had some damn funny stuff. 

BrightestYoungThings: The Simpsons Guide To Dating In DC – A shockingly excellent dating advice guide.  I can’t speak to the specific locations it mentions, but it has lots of YouTube, animated .gifs, and doesn’t reference a single episode past Season 10.  It even recommends going to the Simpsons apocalypse play.  Bravo.

Of a Kind – In Character: Lisa Simpson – Deconstructing Lisa’s outfit in the most fashionable way possible.

Showcase XII – Giant-Size X-Men Simpsons – Awesome fan made drawing of the Simpson family as X-Men.

Another bit of Simpsons gold: Homer Simpson on God – Great quote.

We are working to improve your The Simpsons: Tapped Out experience – EA customer support responds to questions they made up. 

What We Want From a Muppets Videogame – Excellent paraphrase:

Video games based on movies suck. Or more accurately, to quote from the Bart Simpson Book of Wisdom, "we didn’t think it was physically possible, but they both suck and blow".

A brief update on the #Facebook and the #Tumblr – Weaseling out of things is important to learn:

Thus, it’s with almost complete indifference that I now announce the semi-retirement of both.

And it comes with moderate usage:

“It was supposed to be a thing of beauty, not this monstrosity!”

–C. Montgomery Burns

Burns says “abomination” not “monstrosity”, but the sentiment is perfect.

RetroGirl – The Simpsons Arcade – YouTube review/playthrough of the arcade game.  Also, “GirlBandicoot” is a fantastic user name. 

COFFEE TABLE the seventh – You can buy a collector’s doll of Comic Book Guy as The Collector?  Of course you can.

‘The Simpsons’ Co-Creator is Buying Sea Shepherd a New Ship – Sam Simon promised to buy the Whale Wars guys a new boat. 

Rockland Needs A Monorail – YouTube of the monorail song.

Simpsons – Me fail english (gif) – Animated .gif of exactly what it says.

Simpsons – Homer Tripping out (gif) – Same as above, but from “El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer”.

Gay Steel Worker from The Simpsons – There are some pretty awesome mustaches at The Anvil.

Top Ten Favorite TV Dads – Homer checks in at #1 here, and there’s YouTube of a famous scene from the first episode of The Cosby Show.

Homer is Sweet – You better be dying.

FRANKEN-DAD – Combining TV Dads into one.

Scent a Celebrity Series: Spritzing Springfield – Scenting The Simpsons Part 1 – One guy’s attempt to match each family member with a perfume fragrance.  I don’t know enough about perfume to comment on his choices, but I will say that this is the most original Simpsons list I’ve seen in a long time, and I see a lot of them.

The Emmys Needs to Change Eligibility Rules For Animated Shows – Speaking of things I neither know nor care about, the Emmys.  I’ll just support whatever Jean said:

On Monday, Simpsons writer Al Jean wrote a letter to The  Academy of Television Arts and Sciences asking them to consider reworking the organization of Emmy nominations. In it, he criticized the lack of recognition for the individual achievements in animation.

There’s more here, but I just can’t get too worked up over one of the biggest farces I’ve ever seen.

Seeking A Friend For The End of The World…In 10 Words – Maybe that extra layer of pollution will finally come in handy.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter…In 10 Words – But did he sell poisoned milk to school children?

D’oh! Homer wins favourite film dad – Legitimately better than an Emmy:

FECKLESS family man Homer Simpson has topped a poll of favourite film dads.

The cartoon star, voiced by Dan Castellaneta and star of ‘The Simpsons Movie’, was also named most embarrassing dad, funniest film dad and best role model dad in Empire Cinemas’ ‘Fathers In Film Awards’, which polled more than 2,000 film fans.

Sacrilicious The Simpsons Tin Tote – This one earned its Krusty Brand Seal of Approval.  It’s a lunchbox, that says “Sacrilicious”, so far so good.  But it has Homer dreaming of a donut instead of the waffle Bart threw on the ceiling.  Would it kill them to run the merchandise past at least one insane geek before they approve it? 

Saturday, June 23 – Even boilerplate descriptions in newspapers can’t hide how boring Zombie Simpsons is:

The most innovative aspect is the opening ”couch scene”, which was handed over entirely to Ren & Stimpy’s John Kricfalusi, who turned in something characteristically bizarre.

The rest of it is so forgettable that they don’t even bother describing it. 

Stephen King and Matt Groening Retire Their Rock Band After Learning Almost Four Chords – Groening’s semi-fake band is calling it quits. 

Fans meet stars at Saugatuck film festival’s first park party – Yeardley Smith made an unannounced stop at a film festival in Michigan. 

Interview: Billy West (Fry) of ‘Futurama’ – This isn’t strictly Simpsons related, but here’s something to at least acknowledge that Futurama came back this week.

Six Things That I Would Do If I Had A Time Machine – Wow, someone even harsher than us:

There’s exactly ten things that I would do if I had a time machine.  Most of us would just go back to the early 90′s and invest in Google.  Other people would go back and try to stop the Simpsons from having more than 3 Seasons.

FOX Announces Fall Premiere Dates – I hate to spoil anyone’s summer, but Zombie Simpsons will be returning on September 30th.  That is all.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery ;) – Fan made cartoon features the fish versions of Bart, Stewie Griffin, and Shrek.

Best TV Channel Tournament Primer: FOX – This is more lenient on Zombie Simpsons than I am, but it’s in the ballpark:

Many will argue that the show is now one of the worst shows on television, but I would argue that they simply haven’t watched the show in ten years.  It’s not a bad show, it’s just a reasonably decent one that is half as good as it was during it’s run as probably the best written television show of all-time.

I do watch, and I’d say it’s more like 3% as good as the original, but Zombie Simpsons isn’t the worst show on television.

Critic’s Notebook: Has Pixar Gone the Way of ‘The Simpsons’? – And finally, I get to end the way I like, with someone who agrees with us (and neatly reviews Brave at the same time):

Watching "Brave" and waiting for something more original or inspiring than an underdeveloped kids movie, I realized that Pixar’s apparent downfall mirrors that of "The Simpsons," a show largely seen as one of the freshest, insightful and widely accessible pop culture achievement during its initial five or six seasons.

In the last 15 or so, however, "The Simpsons" has suffered from any number of factors that have lowered its quality: overexposure, commercial demands, and a dearth of good ideas, not to mention the diminished presence of creator Matt Groening.

I’m not sure about “overexposure”, but other than that, yeah. 


Quote of the Day


“Wait a minute.  These are not sprinkles, sir.” – Apu Nahasapeemapetilon
“What do you mean?” – Homer Simpson
“You’ve clearly taken items from the candy rack and placed them on top of the donut in an attempt to pass them off as sprinkles.” – Apu Nahasapeemapetilon
“Well, it was like that when I got here, it really was!” – Homer Simpson
“A Mounds bar is not a sprinkle!  A Twizzler is not a sprinkle!  A Jolly Rancher is not a sprinkle, sir.  Perhaps in Shangri-la they are, but not here!” – Apu Nahasapeemapetilon


“Zombie Simpsons” Update

Bart's Friend Falls in Love10

“To those who doubt the power of the magic 8-ball, I say: behold my F!” – Bart Simpson

You may have noticed that since last weekend the “Zombie Simpsons: How the Best Show Ever Became the Broadcasting Undead” pages have undergone some revisions.  The text of the book here at the site is now completely updated to the official 1.1 version of the text.  In addition to that, the main page has been revised to account for the fact that the book is now completely up at the site and not being parceled out chapter by chapter. 

The Kindle version has similarly been updated.  If you are one of the wonderful human beings who has already purchased it, you should be able to update to the 1.1 version by downloading the book again.  You already own the book, so you won’t be charged again, it’ll just replace the old version with the new one.  Amazon warned me it might take up to 48 hours for the update to fully propagate, but by this weekend it should be there.  If you experience any problems with this, please let me know. 

(For those of you waiting on the ePub and PDF versions, I must ask a little more patience.  It’s a bit of pain to update the text across different formats, so I’d like to give 1.1 a little time to see whether or not any other mistakes shake loose before I put it into two more formats.) 

Most of the revisions in version 1.1 are minor, correcting stray punctuation and the occasional overlooked error like referring to “A Streetcar Named Marge” as “A Streetcar Named Desire”.  However, there are now three additional footnotes, all of which are the direct result of feedback from you guys.  The smallest is a quick aside in Chapter 12, noting that Hank Azaria has not, in fact, been in every episode.  That was just a simple oversight on my part.  I knew that he hadn’t been, it just never occurred to me during all the times I looked at Chapter 12.  The other two are a bit more substantial, and I want to credit the three people who made them possible. 

The first comes at the beginning of Chapter 2, where I finally acknowledged the existence of Wait Till Your Father Gets Home, a syndicated Hanna-Barbera sitcom that ran in the early 1970s.  This one is wholly due to generalsherman67’s comment on the original book post.  There are quite a few episodes up on YouTube, and it’s about as forgettable as you’d expect.  It’s a standard mom-dad-kids setup, there’s lots of canned laughter, and the animation is much less detailed than The Flintstones or The Jetsons.  But it does exist, and now the book reflects that. 

The second is in Chapter 4.  On the original, Residents Fan mentioned that The Simpsons had been a big part of Sky One becoming a mainstream channel in the UK.  No sooner had I made a note to look into that than Wesley Mead came through with his remarkable guest post about the whole history.  Since that’s a vastly better job than I would have even considered doing, it’s now referenced directly in a footnote. 

My thanks to everyone who spotted something, and everyone who linked to the book.  We got a lot of traffic not only from blogs and the like, but just from people mentioning it on message boards and other places where people talk about pop culture.  Every link is appreciated. 

Finally, I can’t help but post this, which I grabbed a few days ago when I was first getting ready to write this post:

Screech and Cybill

Yup, that’s “Zombie Simpsons” wedged between the guy who played Screech and the woman whose formulaic show gave the world the “moment of shit”.  I’m not sure how to feel about that, but it’s too odd not to mention. 


Quote of the Day

The Twisted World of Marge Simpson6

“Children are so fat today!  Isn’t there some way we can make money off that?” – Agnes Skinner

Happy (one day late) birthday Tress MacNeille!


Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play: Enjoyed By All

By Hank Pumpkins

Let me start out by saying this: I both love to pretend, and am horrible at, being a journalist, a profession where my egocentrism is at odds with my sheer obliviousness. Which explains why I showed up to the Wooly Mammoth Theatre haughty with lofty perceptions of how I would craft my review-de-resistance—and also why I showed up looking like a sweaty bum, wearing a White Sox cap, my trusty Toms loafers, and a t-shirt of Boba Fett if he were a dog (“Boba Fetch”, a bartender explained to me later—like I said, oblivious). Were I a more conscious human being, I probably would have given half a thought to bringing a date, and dining with her there at the theatre (they had delicious looking food, surprise surprise), but I didn’t. So, instead, I pretended to be a journalist all night; which is to say, I grabbed beer as fast as possible and hid my awkwardness under the veil of "fly on the wall" integrity, to try and catch a slice of both play-house Americana as well as Simpson-neck-beard-fandom in the surprisingly funny and poignant Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play.

There was much less of the latter group than the former; I was a bit disappointed I didn’t spot any Geniuses At Work, as it were, though there were several people in the audience that had that decisive “I remember this episode and quote it fondly” loud laugh (which matched my own). The rest of the audience were the seasoned play-goers, people who were “down on the scene”, “with the haps”, and whatever other 60’s slang I can think of. The kind of people that don’t come in buzzed off their ass, whipping out their camera phone and snapping pictures until a friendly, though scared, attendant begs me to stop taking photos. Alas, I lost my only chance of someone saying “sir” without adding, “You’re making a scene.”

During intermission, the various different play-going demographics—suits, the elderly, cute girls in sun-dresses—parsed out the play with various success: they chattered about the meaning of The Simpsons in our society, pop-culture’s place in the future, and sometimes, rather simply, “Side-what Bob?”  I found it cute. 

The playwright, Anne Washburn, mentions in the booklet that The Simpsons was a serendipitous, though later obvious, symbolic pop-culture choice which the survivors of an unnamed apocalypse cobble together as a means of bonding and survival. Her play is at once hilarious and a bitter pill, as Washburn’s characters find light and grace in possibly the only piece of pop-culture that would survive a nuclear holocaust. Dear God, I can’t believe I’m saying this, but it’s likely The Simpsons may be the cockroach that shakes off the radiation and survives us all.

It’s clear as the play progresses, however, that time changes us all, and particularly our memories. For Post-Electric is not just an excuse for actors to quote Homer, but also a rumination on memory and story-telling, and a thought-provoking perspective of a future where the hand-me-down stories of each generation were given to us from a boob-tube.

In the first act, the characters, days out of said apocalypse, hilariously string together “Cape Feare” as best as they can, and I have to admit, it was hard not to join in with these people palling about onstage sorting out the episode’s first sequence like a bunch of drunk friends on a couch. The writer mentions that these bits were fleshed out from bull sessions between the cast—and the light-hearted, real conversation shows. What made Act I such a draw for me was the genius in the simplicity of it all.  Of course, this is how I would react if the Apocalypse happened.

All The Simpsons talk works in great contrast with the dire circumstances of the world around the characters, which grows even more desperate and doomed as the play progresses. The characters’ understanding of The Simpsons—and television, and pop-culture, and, well, the past—all starts to fall apart, and the melting-pot of pop-culture references is a hilarious, but dark, game of roulette.  There’s a very prevalent sense that not even The Simpsons might be able to carry on to the next generation—at least in the form that we know it. As no TV and no beer make society something-something, the earlier “Cape Feare” bull-sessions whisk away into something unfamiliar: purple-monkey-dish-washer territory.

The show takes a turn for the melodic in the strange third act, which works as a giant equals sign to the thoughts and build-up beforehand. The play shoots forward several decades, where The Simpsons as we know it has been deconstructed and smelted together with other lingering fragments of pop humanity, baked under the context of a world barely breathing after 80-some years of devastation and ruin. The final act was my least favorite, as we’re shoved down the rabbit-hole in this dream-like Simpsons facsimile. The whole thing is pretty much set to song, and deftly presented, but didn’t have the gritty punch the earlier acts did. Still, the steady dilution of “Cape Feare” into its end-of-the-world futuristic counterpart is an amazing trick to nail, and all hands on deck of the Pinafore do a remarkable job (as far as my understanding of critiquing plays go). I was clapping pretty hard at the end, and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t because I had been drinking.

What’s most surprising to me, though, is that it seemingly took as long as it did for someone to use The Simpsons in such a clever way. Directors like Quentin Tarantino are known for their ironic use of cotton-candy pop-culture conversations that belie the amorality and violence that bubbles around the chatter. Finally there’s a similar conversation happening with something so near and dear to me, a Gen-X variant on the ol’ post-apocalyptic “what makes us human” yarn—and a sci-fi future that accepts that The Simpsons is really effin’ important, damn it. After all, when the grids do go down, what’s humanity going to talk about? The Denver Broncos? Feh.

NOTE: I want to send a very hearty thanks to Charlie and especially the Wooly Mammoth, who all so graciously decided that me entering a place of culture and writing about it would be a good thing. I had an amazing time—if you’re in the DC area, check it out. If you’re not, be jealous, chummmmmmm…p.

Hank Pumpkins doesn’t just have the best nom-de-plume on the planet, he also writes miserable fiction and even more miserable personal accounts of his shlubby life over at Love in the Time of Sausage ( Love, Hank Pumpkins.


Quote of the Day

Bart of Darkness7

“Oh, I’m gonna miss the whole summer.” – Bart Simpson
“Don’t worry, boy, when you get a job, like me, you’ll miss every summer.” – Homer Simpson


Crazy Noises: Treehouse of Horror X

Treehouse of Horror X1

“Bart, just let me drop and save yourself!” – Clobber Girl
“What do you think I’ve been trying to do?” – Stretch Dude

For the fourth summer in a row, we here at the Dead Homer Society will be spending some time discussing twelve year old Simpsons episodes.  This year we’re doing Season 11.  Why Season 11?  Because we’ve done Seasons 8, 9 and 10 already, and it’s time to take an unflinching look at the end of the show.  Since Skype and podcasts didn’t exist in 1999, and we want to discuss these episodes the way the internet intended, we’re sticking with the UTF-8 world of chat rooms and instant messaging.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (especially on “inadvertently”).

Today’s episode is 1104, “Treehouse of Horror X”.  Yesterday was 1103, “Guess Who’s Coming to Criticize Dinner?”.

Charlie Sweatpants: Ready to move on to Halloween?

Mad Jon: Let’s.

Charlie Sweatpants: Shall we just do these in the order in which the appeared, or shall we do them in terms of quality?

Mad Jon: Order they appeared.

Unless you guys disagree.

Charlie Sweatpants: Fine by me.

Dave: Order they appeared please.

Charlie Sweatpants: I ask because I’m of the opinion that one of these is vastly better than the other two.

Mad Jon: I really have a hard time ranking THOH skits by quality, at least within the same episode.

Charlie Sweatpants: But if we’re going by order, then let us discuss Dead Flanders.

Mad Jon: Ok.

Charlie Sweatpants: This is not the one I think is good. There’s way too much Homer acting overly dumb, characters not making any sense (even within this Halloween sketch), and then there’s a lot of off voice Maude Flanders, which just bugs me no end.

Dave: Yeah. It was pretty irritating to watch through and through.

Mad Jon: I was hoping this wasn’t your top skit. As a THOH bit, it’s pretty standard, but I just don’t see enough of the family in this one as they are. It is just them being panicked and scared.

The plot is very THOH, but since, as Charlie pointed out with Homer’s overacting, nobody is themselves, I sort of just wait for it to end.

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah.

  Like Homer’s long ass whispering scene to Flanders corpse.

Mad Jon: Exactly.

Dave: I’d nearly forgotten.

Charlie Sweatpants: There’s just no need for it. Ditto all those long scenes where people stare at them accusingly and Homer and Flanders’s corpse on the roof.

  The whole thing is just a few minutes long, they shouldn’t need that much filler.

Mad Jon: Well put.

Dave: So we agree this was pretty weak.

Charlie Sweatpants: Very week.

Mad Jon: I feel the second weakest, but that is till pretty week.

Charlie Sweatpants: The only scene in this one I really like is Homer’s description of all the cliched horror locations.

Mad Jon: There is that.

Charlie Sweatpants: Of course, a couple years after this, "South Park" did it better when they had the old man describe the haunted ski mountain and then the evil road Butters has to travel down.

Mad Jon: Lot of history down that road…

Charlie Sweatpants: But it’s still the highlight of the sketch.

  And with that, I’m ready for Xena.

Any objections?

Mad Jon: Nope.

Dave: Nope.

Mad Jon: I am going to go out on a limb and hope this was your favorite.

Charlie Sweatpants: We have indeed reached the segment I think is easily the best of this one.

Mad Jon: Whew.

I guess I am not an idiot. I like this one.

  The idea of CBG as a villain could have gone either way.

Charlie Sweatpants: It could’ve, but thankfully this is a Halloween episode so they just made all the uber-geek jokes they could, and most of them are funny.

Mad Jon: Swing for the fences I guess.

Dave: Yep, it generally worked for me.

  As a one off flight of fancy.

Charlie Sweatpants: Comic Book Guy dying in the "classic, Lorne Greene pose" gets me every time.

Mad Jon: I thought Lucy Lawless did a very good job.

Charlie Sweatpants: And it’s a joke that’s aged well since they rebooted Battlestar Galactica.

Mad Jon: Yep.

Charlie Sweatpants: I agree though, Lawless does a fantastic job of both playing herself and not playing herself.

Mad Jon: I like the ending

Charlie Sweatpants: I’m not Xena. I’m Lucy Lawless.

Mad Jon: Yep, That’s the one.

Charlie Sweatpants: This whole segment is like that, there’s lots of in jokes, but at the same time, Bart and Lisa are kind of acting like they really would if they had super powers. I’m never bored.

Dave: Yup.

Charlie Sweatpants: Like when Lisa tells Bart to let her drop.

Mad Jon: That was funny

Charlie Sweatpants: Or when he stretches his eyes into the adult section.

Mad Jon: So, we agree. This is the A team in this THOH.

Charlie Sweatpants: Easily.

The Halloween episodes were the last ones to really go to shit, and segments like this are why.

Mad Jon: I think there is more breathing room in these. You can go wild, as long as you can wrap it up in 6 or 7 minutes.

Charlie Sweatpants: Exactly. They have the freedom to just crack jokes about Star Wars, William Shatner, and nerds (A wizard did it!).

Azaria’s delivery on, "Oh please, I’m not insane, I simply wish to take you back to my lair and make you my bride" is just perfect, but it’s also a line that could never have worked in a regular episode.

Dave: How these have managed to turn dull is surprising, given that they’ve historically been the opportunity for the writers to let loose.

Charlie Sweatpants: Well, even with all the rules off, you can still phone it in or just fuck up and not care.

Dave: That’s kinda my point. There’s no need to phone it in, and yet they do. But I digress.

Charlie Sweatpants: Well yeah, Exhibit A for that is the final segment here.

  It’s a pastiche of lame celebrity jokes, and they’re like: ta da!

Dave: There’s one thing I genuinely like about this segment, Homer’s quip about remembering him filled with murderous rage

  That’s it.

Charlie Sweatpants: I’d only add to that the way he inadvertently taunts Bart by saying they’ve both lived long, full lives.

It should’ve ended without him reacting remorseful, but it’s good.

Lisa’s instant response of "Mom" when asked who gets to come is good too. But for the most part this one is unimaginative Y2K bullshit and jokes that basically boil down to, "Hey, don’t you people dislike Rosie O’Donnell/Tom Arnold/Pauly Shore? Remember how lame they are?"

Mad Jon: Yeah, just wasn’t that entertaining. I agree, there were a few good lines, such as the ones you’ve pointed out, but I didn’t really get into it. Pretty much after the point we find out Homer is the Y2K compliance guy, I checked out.

Charlie Sweatpants: Right. It’s an excuse for them to wind up Jerkass Homer and let him spin, and then it’s a bunch of cheap celebrity jokes.

Dave: Bingo.

Charlie Sweatpants: Even Dick Clark as a robot is kinda that.

Anything else here?

Mad Jon: Meh, not a fan of this skit, and I don’t really have anything else to say about the episode.

Dave: In retrospect, it was predictably bland.

Mad Jon: The pinnacle of my THOH viewing career came in 1994(?) when they had the first three lead up to the new one that year. That was cool.

Charlie Sweatpants: I still recall getting home from trick or treating to see what I think was TOH II.

Dave: Aww, memories.

Charlie Sweatpants: But these late season Halloween episodes are all really uneven.

Mad Jon: That is true.

Charlie Sweatpants: And the hell of it is, I really do like the Xena part, but I almost never watch it because I don’t want to sit through the others.

Mad Jon: That would be a bit of waiting for a few minutes of entertainment.

Charlie Sweatpants: Right.

  Well, if it’s all the same to you two, I’m going to remove my breastplate and fly home.

Dave: No one wants to see your boobs.

Charlie Sweatpants: And yet many have.


Quote of the Day

The Old Man and the Lisa8

“Let’s have a look at my stock portfolio, hmm? . . . Confederated Slave Holdings, how’s that doing?” – C.M. Burns
“It’s, uh . . . uh, steady.” – Bowtied Yes Man


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