Archive for August, 2012


Reading Digest: Yet More Foreign Art Edition

Bart vs Australia10

“Bart, I’m sorry I’m going to miss your public humiliation, but the Wolumbaloo Dirt Monument is just too exciting to pass up!” – Lisa Simpson

This week we’ve got two art items from the Southern Hemisphere, an Australian art show and some excellent Argentine graffiti.  There’s also a ton of usage, a good example of how not to invoke Sideshow Bob, and absolutely nothing about upcoming guest voices or episodes from Season 24.  It’ll be here soon enough, no point in hastening it. 

ARThive: Artists wanted for THIS IS NOT BART : MONEY’S 2 TIGHT FOR STEAK – Last year’s Simpsons themed art exhibition in Australia was popular enough that they’re bringing it back for a second year, and it’s Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week.  Grant Hunter, one of the artists involved, was kind enough to e-mail me and let me know about it, and if you’re in or around Newcastle in New South Wales, you can not only attend, but participate:

You *must* email to register. Spaces are extremely limited, though we will try to include everybody.
All submissions due at ARThive by SEPTEMBER 19 with $10 entry fee. Submissions may be rejected at the discretion of our curatorial overlords, so if you’re going to stuff us around heaps make sure your work is really really super good and worth it or else.

Cool.  The show doesn’t open until the end of September, but until then there’s an excellent slideshow of pieces from last year. 

Awesome Bart Simpson Tattoo Art and More by Logan Morrison – Pretty much what it says.  The tattoo design in question is of a shirtless and heavily tattooed Bart.  Great idea, except that Bart’s arm really should have a “Mother” or at least a “Moth” tattoo. 

Life Imitates Art – A real life Herschel Krustofsky.  Keep at it, kid! 

There’s no link for this one, but in response to all of last week’s foreign graffiti, reader Catherine sent in this image all the way from Buenos Aires:

Terms and Conditions

The text reads “I accept the terms and conditions”.  Ha!  Thanks, Catherine! 

10 of the Greatest ‘Simpsons’ Movie References – Lots of animated .gifs here and not even a whiff of Zombie Simpsons. 

Hurricane Isaac…In 10 Words – Somehow the animals are always the first to know. 

Lawless…In 10 Words – Well, you all know what laughter sounds like.  (This, by the way, will be reviewed at the new site this afternoon at 4pm.) 

Whatever Happened To The Simpsons? – The title isn’t referring to the show, but rather to the fact that they haven’t put out any new Simpsons trading cards in a decade.  There is a great image gallery of the old Simpsons trading cards too. 

Chick-Fil-Gay: The Inevitability of Marriage Equality – Excellent usage:

What the clip doesn’t include is Bart and Lisa rushing in trying to retrieve the pink elephant.  Once they have the balloon back, the head gay republican hands Lisa a bumper sticker.

“A gay president for 2084?” she reads.

“We’re realistic” he states simply.

I’ve always liked that joke, but have we really forgotten the Buchanan administration already?

Procrastinating – Well done:

I should have read more of The Merchant of Venice today, but instead I took walks and did some food shopping and organized my home a bit.

Oh, and I watched a few episodes of The Simpsons. From 5:00 – 8:00 pm you can catch, like, five episodes, easily.

One of my favorite parts of the Ortved book was when someone remembered that George Meyer and company had attempted to calculate the ideal ratio of goofing off to real work for maximum productivity, and it was like 2:1 in favor of goofing off. 

louisiana saturday night – Excellent usage:

Once we were finally settled into our cozy abode near the heart of the French Quarter everything began to come up Milhouse.

Bye bye Hippie Wall – A Simpson painting done for a kid’s bedroom is finally going to have to come down, but it will live forever on the internet. 

Neil Armstrong…In 10 Words – I don’t think this contest is over yet, Buzz, if that is your real name.

Unscripted ‘violence:’ Simpsons’ Itchy and Scratchy Show cut from Russian broadcasts – Something tells me that cartoons (South Park is mentioned as well) aren’t the main motivation behind this:

The law was written with a view to protecting children and young adults from “information detrimental to their health and development,” and calls for anything screened on television to have a clear-cut age restriction policy.


Popular American animated series the Simpsons, for example, will have to say goodbye to The Itchy and Scratchy show – an integral show-within-the-show piece turning the traditional triumph of good over evil on its head.

BBH Challenges You to Restore Your Own ‘Ecce Homo’ – That painting of Jesus that was restored a bit too enthusiastically is now being used by advertisers, including a Homer example. 

English Composition Syllabus or Comp So Hard The Registrar Wanna Fine Me – There are some lucky students at the University of Indianapolis:

Wednesday October 24

The Simpsons “Marge vs. Itchy and Scratchy”
Exercise M

The actual episode title is “Itchy & Scratchy & Marge”, but that is a fantastic piece of writing, and probably older than most of the students, so I’m glad someone is forcing them to watch it.  The irony of the last scene will hopefully not be lost on them. 

Venetians Turn Down Fashion Mogul Pierre Cardin’s $3-Billion “Palace of Light” Skyscraper – Excellent reference:

In an early episode of the Simpsons, Homer Simpson presents a bowling ball to his wife Marge for her birthday. It is made comically obvious to the show’s budding audience that the bowling ball — engraved with the name “Homer” — is intended to return right back to the hand of its giver. Just as Homer’s self-reflexive generosity enrages Marge, in Venice, where Italian-born French fashion designer Pierre Cardin has proposed an 800-foot-tall luxury skyscraper of his own design to bolster the local economy, the intended beneficiaries have voiced immediate skepticism.

Simpsons5: Ned Flanders Cubee by ~TheFlyingDachshund on deviantART – Just what it says. 

Lisa Simpson by ~Mister-Darkness on deviantART – Again, just what it says. 

Breaking Down the Origin of Minor League Baseball’s 7 Strangest Team Names – Lots of Simpsons baseball references are used as the hook on this otherwise unremarkable internet list.

Five Great Adult CartoonsThe Simpsons actually isn’t on the list here, just acknowledged as the forerunner of the ones that are.  And it’s nice to see some love for The Boondocks, Season 4 of which needs to start airing as soon as possible. 

Lucky there’s a family guyyyyy… – Cupcakes with Bart, Maggie, Pikachu, Stewie Griffin and Patrick from Spongebob.  Excellent variety. 

The Inaccuracies of the IQ – Excellent usage:

There is, though, something else people have to understand about I.Q. tests. If you’re a Simpsons fan, you’ll remember the second full episode of the Simpsons, “Bart the Genius.” Remember how the kids take an I.Q. test in school and Mrs. Krabappel tells them, “They… determine your future social status and financial success.”

The full quote is “They merely determine your future social status and financial success . . . if any.” 

Will The Ignorance Ever Stop? – Probably not anytime soon:

Let me share with you what sparked this post….

A guy that I have worked with on and off for at least 6 years now, who has only ever known me with natural hair says to me last week “So I see you  rocking that Side Show Bob today?” I ponder… Is this a real question? Does he want a real answer?*akward pause* When I don’t respond or laugh, he nervously laughs and asks “You do know who Side Show Bob is right? With a half-smile/smirk, blank stare, and a tinge of annoyance on my face, I shake my head yes barely looking up from my phone. I was not insulted. I was  more annoyed by the ignorance of it all. I mean really here you have a 30 something year old man making references from “The Simpsons” about my hair….REALLY!!!!!!

I have a Google Alert set up for “Sideshow Bob”, and any time anyone has even the tiniest bit of fro, someone on-line (often a professional at a real publication) will break out Sideshow Bob, even when it looks nothing like him. 

Ask Sideshow Bob! by ~PlanetHannah on deviantART – It almost looks like he’s hosting a new segment dedicated to pre-adolescent turmoil.  Bravo.

Top 5 TV Series (and Seasons) – Season 4 makes the cut.

The Simpsons Homer Buddha Toy by Kidrobot – That’s mildly clever, mildly blasphemous, and not worth even half of the $50 asking price.

The Simpsons 500th Episode Review – The craptacular 500th episode finally made it (legally) to Britain, which prompted this enjoyable negative review:

The point of this episode? Nothing really. How realistic is this episode? As realistic as Batman. Does it indirectly cover important affairs that affect normal peoples lives? Not at all.

That also agrees with us:

The Simpsons as we know it are not the same any more. There has been a mammoth decline in quality over the years but you would have expected that the 500th episode would be slightly better. Unfortunately, after watching the episode, I found myself thinking ‘What the hell?’, putting it in a nice way.

No need to be nice.  It just sucks. 


Quote of the Day

Last Exit to Springfield7

“Now, stay tuned for professional wrestling live from the Springfield grapplearium.  Tonight, a Texas death match, Dr. Hillbilly versus the Iron Yuppie!  One man will actually be unmasked and killed in the ring!” – Wrestling Announcer
“I hope they kill that iron yuppie, thinks he’s so big.” – Homer Simpson


Quote of the Day

Surprise Witnesses

“Keep the trial going, I’ll be right back.” – Bart Simpson
“Your honor, I’d like to call all of my surprise witnesses again.” – Lionel Hutz


’Round Springfield Spews Truth

'Round Springfield10

“Two hundred and fifty dollars?  But I need that album to honor the memory of Bleeding Gums Murphy.” – Lisa Simpson
“He’s dead?  Well, why didn’t you say so?” – Comic Book Guy

It doesn’t come up in individual statements, but when you listen to the commentary for this episode right after you listen to the commentary for “Alone Again Natura-Diddily”, the most striking thing is the absence of feeling the need to explain things. Instead of anyone getting defensive or saying something about, “no really, this was a good idea”, it’s all just trivia about the episode, the occasional short tangent, and backstory on this or that. The Season 11 commentary is just this side of an apology. The Season 6 commentary is a regular DVD commentary track.

Five guys on this one: Jean and Reiss, Steven Dean Moore (who directed), and Joshua Sternin and Jeffrey Ventimilia, who wrote the script.

0:20 – Jean starts out by noting that this is the non-“A Star Is Burns” episode that was done with a lot of the staff from The Critic, and they figured that at this point in the show’s run a major character hadn’t been killed, so why not? Importantly, he notes that the episode is actually about “Lisa’s grief”, which is much better than “Flanders’ dating”, but he doesn’t say that last part.

1:00 – Reiss originally wanted to kill Marge’s mother.

1:30 – The first episode Steven Dean Moore worked on was “Moaning Lisa” and this was the first one he directed, so it was a nice bookend for him.

1:50 – Jean notes that Ron Taylor, Steve Allen, Phil Hartman and Doris Grau all did voices on this episode and all of them have since died. That causes Reiss to crack, “It’s a real blood bath, folks, so sit back and enjoy”.

2:25 – Reiss and Jean took credit on the story, but Sternin and Ventimilia got the “teleplay” credit. Reiss notes that show runners don’t usually take story credits like that, but they thought it was going to win a bunch of awards “it’s death and a black guy and jazz” . . . and then it didn’t. But they did get paid.

3:30 – Jean says that they don’t remember for sure who came up with “cheese eating surrender monkeys”, but that it might have been Ken Keeler. Then they joke around about how people took it awfully seriously when it was just a throwaway joke for them.

5:15 – There’s a backlighting effect on the operating table lights to make it look more like old hospital shows.

6:00 – The little glints on the jagged metal-Os are done post production.

6:15 – Reiss’ father is a doctor, and no matter how many times they asked him, he wouldn’t tell them that you could get appendicitis from eating a piece of metal. Jean then jokes that more people saw this than know him, so they won.

6:45 – Writers and directors love flashbacks because they don’t have to do anything.

8:00 – Jean makes the obligatory note that Steve Allen had done a voice before and later harshly criticized the show.

8:30 – Laughing at the Faberge egg habit. Reiss says that Joan Rivers was collecting them and that’s where he got the idea.

9:00 – It’s Castellaneta doing the great Cosby impression here, but they’d gone back to Sunday by now and Cosby was off the air, so Reiss calls it “residual malice”, which would be an awesome band name.

10:15 – Josh Sternin really did have appendicitis once.

10:20 – It took awhile to get Lisa’s un-brushed teeth “gross but clear”.

10:40 – One of the reasons they wanted to pitch this was to let Lisa sing “Jazzman”.

10:50 – Jean then notes that this was when the show was longer so they could take their time and do things like show the song.

11:40 – Jean can’t tell the difference between a tenor and a baritone saxophone. Moore comes on to say that she’s normally supposed to play tenor, but for this they downsized the sax a little. Jean’s brother plays the saxophone, but that doesn’t help, which leads Reiss to crack, “We ignore our families, that’s why we’re comedy writers”.

12:50 – The scene where Lisa wins over the crowd prompts Jean to compare it to the movie Ray where the same thing happens.

13:00 – Reiss comes on to note that Lisa finding out Bleeding Gums is dead should’ve been the act break. I probably haven’t seen this episode with commercials in the better part of a decade, so I really have no idea where the act breaks are.

13:45 – This was only the second script Sternin and Ventimilia had done. The only other one they’d done was an episode of The Critic. They talk about how cool it was to be a fan of the show and then be able to put words in the mouths of the characters. Jean, feeling wistful, says he felt the same way when the cast of Gilligan’s Island came on Alf while he was writing there.

14:50 – Interesting directing note here, David Silverman told Moore that when Grampa is pointing and yelling at various things being “Death!”, they shouldn’t pull the frame out too quickly. They originally had the camera pulling very fast, but the joke is that Grampa is overreacting, so the camera should under-react to show how senile he’s being.

15:15 – Jean jokes that the Starland Vocal Band tattoo would’ve been a great act break which prompts Reiss to say, “Don’t tell that to FOX, they’ll be giving us eight act breaks now”. Just an observation, but Jean always seems to be having way more fun on commentaries where Reiss is around as opposed to when he isn’t.

16:05 – Everyone laughs at the hot dog cart at the funeral.

16:55 – It is indeed a white Bronco in which Hutz and OJ’s attorney’s speed away.

17:10 – That causes Jean to recall that they were working on The Critic right by the freeway during the OJ chase (Wikipedia and YouTube for those of you too young to remember 1994) when they saw all the helicopters. He jokes that they should’ve run to an overpass with a sign reading “Watch The Critic” among all the signs that said Go, OJ Go.

18:00 – Moore was told that the laid back DJ was based on David Mirkin, but nobody seems to know if that’s true or not.

18:30 – Jean and Reiss explain how odd and puzzling Pogs were, even at the time.

19:45 – Just in case you were wondering, this episode gets its title from a 1986 movie called ’Round Midnight.

20:00 – Wes Archer’s brother Martin did most of the animation on the scene where the clouds come together.

20:20 – Everyone laughs at Wiggum getting poisoned.

20:45 – The “Kimba, I mean Simba” joke is a reference to a 1960s cartoon about a lion named Kimba whose father died. There was even a baboon.

21:30 – Reiss asks Sternin and Ventimilia how it was to write this. Predictably they say it was a lot of fun, then one of them jokes, “It was back when we were young and full of hope”. Heh.

21:50 – Moore jokes that after he worked a long time to get a directing slot on the show, he wasn’t sure how many he’d get because, really, how long could it go on after six seasons already?


Quote of the Day

Happy Terminator Day

“Question: Is your name Ridley Scott or James Cameron?” – Comic Book Guy
“No, it’s Homer.” – Homer Simpson
“Then I will thank you to stop peering at my screenplay, Homer.  And if I see a movie where computers threaten our personal liberties, I will know that you stole my idea.” – Comic Book Guy
“I’m just waiting for my kid.” – Homer Simpson
“Mental note, steal his idea.” – Homer’s Brain


Alone Again Natura-Diddily Makes Baby Jesus Cry

Bart of Darkness8

“But I distinctly heard you say that Maude was with God.” – Bart Simpson
“Oh, that’s right, I was at Bible camp. I was learning how to be more judgmental.” – Maude Flanders

Much like the commentary for the Jockey Elves episode, the commentary for the death of Maude Flanders mostly dances around the actual events on screen and their larger implications for the overall history and health of the show. Also like the commentary for the Jockey Elves, George Meyer is here quietly commenting on things without doing any of the stammering defense/non-defense of the indefensible crap that’s occurring on screen.

What’s most interesting here is that they actually do acknowledge that Flanders starting to date people might have been premature, that Rod and Todd were too much of a bummer to do much with, and that death is awfully difficult to handle on a show like this. They don’t really say much beyond that, and it’s cold comfort knowing that they’re aware of the problems here, but it’s something.

Six guys on this one, though Jim Reardon recorded from Oakland, where he was working on WALL-E.

1:20 – Here’s an artful elision: “Maggie Roswell, the actress who played Maude Flanders had decided to leave the show for awhile.” Well, that’s one way of putting it, and I don’t even blame them. FOX really, really doesn’t like people talking about salaries, and that the subject was a no-go on a commentary doesn’t surprise me in the least.

2:15 – Scully chuckles as Homer sprays his crotch with bug repellent.

2:30 – The NASCAR drivers all turned them down for voices.

3:20 – Maxtone-Graham denies that it was supposed to be his name in giant letters, says he originally wrote it as Reardon.

4:30 – Long silence here broken by someone asking if that was another actress doing Maude, which, of course it was.

5:30 – FOX, which was broadcasting NASCAR, didn’t care about their crash heavy portrayal.

6:30 – Scully’s rambling about how they got to the death scene and how they didn’t want it to be “horrifying”. He seems nervously defensive, which I suppose is understandable.

7:00 – Reardon complains that the camera was supposed to pan right to show Maude as she went off the edge but instead it went left and cut her out of the shot. Calls it a “clerical error” that never got retaken.

7:30 – Meyer jumps on to try and explain what they were going for on the act break and admits that it didn’t work out and “just seemed grim”. As usual, I’m glad he’s here. As soon as he’s done, Scully, Maxtone-Graham and the rest of them go back to nervously laughing and explaining things.

8:00 – They wrote a scene where Ned talks to the boys about Maude being dead, but it was too sad so they cut it.

8:40 – That’s followed by more rambling defense of this as having a lot of “heart”.

9:20 – Selman brings up how dumb FOX’s promotional material was for this episode, where they teased characters like Homer or Bart dying when everyone knew it was going to be Maude.

9:35 – Meyer comes on to explain that death is really tricky to do, whether you’re doing a one off character like Frank Grimes or a long running one like Maude. He concludes, again without really defending the episode, by saying that “People just don’t like death, and I’m going to remember that.”

10:50 – After the scene with Bart and the Flanders boys playing video games, someone says, “So they’re over it, that’s good”.

11:00 – Selman’s just rambling along here for no real reason.

11:30 – Still going. Meanwhile, Homer just kissed Flanders on the forehead.

11:45 – Someone finally comes on and asks, “Are you waiting for us to get you out of this?”

12:30 – After some banter with Reardon, Selman actually asks him if he gets free iPhones working for Pixar.

13:00 – Wondering why they went right to Flanders dating and if that might seem like it was too sudden. That’s followed by an awkward silence before someone finally says it’s okay because it’s Homer doing it.

14:15 – Actually interesting trivia: Flanders ATM code is 5316, which is short of John 3:16 (the J being on the 5 on a nine digit keypad).

14:20 – Scully asks Reardon about how far they should go with Flanders’ pixilated horse cock, Reardon doesn’t miss a beat: “Yes, you guys seemed to have a real interest in looking at those model shoots.”

15:15 – A long silence leads to the generic “Shearer did a great job in this episode” comment.

15:35 – Smattering of laughter as Homer’s in the mailbox for some reason.

16:30 – Mostly silence, some commentary that they should check with the Bob Hope and Charles Nelson Riley estates before doing those “grr” growls.

17:10 – More long silence.

17:30 – Quickly noting that Flanders apparently took the park swan boat all the way home, then more silence.

18:15 – The framed picture of God that Flanders turns around had to be approved by the writers. Not much else is going on here.

19:00 – Oh, hell, Selman’s off on a rant again. This time it’s about how Ned is like Job. Mercifully, someone cuts him off after only twenty seconds or so.

20:00 – Reardon points out that when you have a long song you can’t just park the camera somewhere, you’ve got to move things.

21:05 – Now they’re discussing the fact that, yes, Hot Christian Singer Babe (whose name they couldn’t remember either) did come back in a later episode.

22:10 – Maxtone-Graham: “Let me just say that I’m a little sorry we killed her and I’ve been trying to think of ways to bring her back and think of what she’s been doing all this time and hiding out, but then we did an episode where we showed her up in Heaven with God, so I guess she’s really dead.”

22:20 – And we close with them chuckling about having Ned remarry someone a lot like her with the same name. Ugh.


Quote of the Day

Brother from the Same Planet9

“The start of the game will be delayed so we can introduce the recruiter for the Springfield Communist Party.” – Baseball Announcer
“Boo!” – Crowd
“This is better than dart day.” – Community Party Recruiter


Quote of the Day

Brother Can You Spare Two Dimes12

“Well, why did this have to happen now, during primetime, when TV’s brightest stars come out to shine?” – Homer Simpson

Happy 20th Anniversary “Brother Can You Spare Two Dimes?”!  Original airdate 27 August 1992.


Quote of the Day

Armstrong's Defining Moment

“Dad, I agree that Bart should be punished, but the Itchy and Scratchy movie is the defining event of our generation.  How would you have liked it if someone told you that you couldn’t watch the moon landing?” – Lisa Simpson
“That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” – Neil Armstrong
“Yummy yummy yummy I got love in my tummy and I feel like loving you.” – Homer Simpson


Quote of the Day

Bart the Murderer14

“Chief Wiggum, you honor us with your presence.” – Fat Tony
“Baloney!  I’m not going to rest until one of us is behind bars . . . you.” – Chief Wiggum


Reading Digest: New Stuff on the Road Edition

The Cartridge Family5

“I’d like to order a wake up call, please . . . three am . . . uh, for every room except this one . . . that’s right.  Good night.  Always love trying out new material on the road.” – Bart Simpson

This week we’ve got three links to brand new Simpsons graffiti in foreign countries (and only one of them is Canadian).  There’s also a British newspaper that agrees with us, two kickass YouTube videos of Simpsons music, the rarely seen poor usage, and a never before published Bill Oakley interview from England, which you should probably read instead of the rest of this.


Intermission of long-outdated content: An interview with Bill Oakley – Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week is this long, detailed and awesome interview with Bill Oakley conducted by none other than our old friend Gran2 (who somehow becomes Troy McClure for periods late in the interview).  Don’t finish reading this post (well, maybe watch the YouTube video right below this), just click the link and start reading.

Watch Megan Washington Mashup Beck & The Simpsons – Seriously, watch it:

Excellent (especially that little Kwik-E-Mart line at the end).

Artistic Spotlight : Alfred Steiner – Absolutely stunning, if somewhat disturbing, fan made paintings of Spongebob, Burns, Maggie, and, oddly enough, Terry Schiavo.

Joey Joe Joe! Our top 10 favourite obscure Simpsons characters – Hot on the heels of last week’s Zombie Simpsons infested list from unnamed Simpsons writers, the Herald Sun (which is Australian) has their own list, and it is much better.  There’s no Zombie Simpsons at all, which is more than enough to make up for calling Shelbyville Manhattan “Manhattan Shelbyville”.  Well done, Herald Sun.  (via @dailysimpsons)

Colombians fight to keep Simpsons beer – As usual, FOX hates fun, but this is amusing:

The company has since been forced to change its name to DuH Beer, as the pair of stylised “f”s on the bottle label could also be interpreted as a capital “h”.

I also didn’t know just how many different countries had tried this:

Sales of the beer in Argentina, Australia, Mexico, Chile, Brazil and New Zealand have also been halted, though Duff Sudamerica attorney Santiago Mora will appeal the decision.

“We’re not going to let ourselves be frightened by a multinational. We’re going to fight a battle that is just starting. We will defend our rights,” said Mora.

Alvaro Ballesteros insists they are not copying 20th Century Fox’s brand.

“It appears only in cartoons, in a fictional world. Here in Colombia we trademarked it and produced it first,” he said.

In 2007 the brothers founded Duff Sudamerica in Bogota, registering the trademark in 2008.

Good luck, fellas.

Why Moe, WHY – Fantastic mural of Homer wailing at the sight of a closed Moe’s in what the caption says is Spain.

Postal Service Stuck With Glut of ‘Simpsons’ Stamps – They overprinted $1.2 million worth of stamps.  Meh.

TV GIFs Of The Week (And The Best Of Sideshow Bob) – There are an impressive amount of Sideshow Bob .gifs here.  They start at #17 on the slideshow.

Page 2: Alien, Pixar, Terminator, Fight Club, Akira, The Simpsons, West Wing, Sharktopus, Michael Dorn, The Royal Tenenbaums, Ryan Gosling, Breaking Bad, Lawless – There’s a great looking monorail t-shirt here.  Sadly, I couldn’t find it on the site that actually sells the shirt.

25 Best Supporting Characters From The Simpsons – This is  gargantuan pageview whoring (some of the pages only have one(!) character on them) for a pretty unremarkable list, but there isn’t a trace of Zombie Simpsons.  That may just be because Zombie Simpsons hasn’t created a character in pretty much ever, but it’s still a good list. 

August 18, 2012: Peru 21 – Apparently:

The Simpsons are apparently so well-known that an editorial cartoonist in El Otorongo, Peru 21′s Friday humor pull-out section, can use one of Groening’s characters and make the assumption that the audience will catch the reference.

There’s even an example with Otto.

MLB: Describing Each 2012 Team with 90’s Songs – Excellent usage:

"Why do you need new bands? Everyone knows rock attained perfection in 1974. It’s a scientific fact."

Ned Flanders by *OliviaWhyteART on deviantART – All color marker drawing of Flanders.

5 "Unfilmable" Novels That Became Movies & 5 More That Are On The Way – Excellent usage:

Like a red rag to a bull, the term "unfilmable novel" elicits about the same reaction for filmmakers as it does for Chief Wiggum in "The Simpsons" when he tells Ralph not to go into "the forbidden closet of mystery."

Wiggum actually calls it “my forbidden closet of mystery”, but that’s close enough for excellent usage.

Bart Simpson: Favorite of Rome’s Graffiti Writers – Picture of a large, happy looking Bart with spray paint in hand in Rome.

Meandering In Lotus Land: Sideshow Bob – Speaking of foreign graffiti, here’s Sideshow Bob on the side of a dumpster in Vancouver.

Op-Ed: NRO wants Romney to flaunt his wealth, because we love rich folks – Poor usage:

We’re reminded of Homer Simpson sitting in the audience at a Krusty the Klown comeback, staring blankly as the rest of the audience laughs and applauds. "I don’t get it," Homer says. the kids try to explain it to him.
Finally, Lisa tells Homer, "It’s a joke, Dad!"
"Oh! A JOKE! I get JOKES! Ha ha ha ha ha!"

The quote actually goes:

Homer: I don’t get it.
Lisa: Dad, the zebra didn’t do it.  It’s just a word at the end of the dictionary.
Homer: I still don’t get it.
Lisa: It’s just a joke.
Homer: Oh, I get it!  I get jokes.

And not only is the quote badly mangled, but it’s actually from Season 9 not Season 4.  I rarely award poor usage, but there’s no way around this one.

Lucifur Loves Marge Simpson by *Alvyna on deviantART – Cat lounges ominously over a fan made Marge Simpson drawing.

Stark raving dad – I’m pretty sure I’ve posted this before, but it’s too cool not to post again:

Welcome Back, Kotter…In 10 Words – That Travolta joke is getting funny again.

Here Comes Honey Boo Boo…In 10 Words – Remember last week when I said these posts sometimes inform me about things I’d rather not know about?

D’Oh! I Forgot My Lunch! – Cool looking Homer food.  Unfortunately, the Japanese term for these kinds of things escapes me at the moment.

Word of the Week – I learned something today:

Anencephalous – Absence of a brain

There’s a picture of Homer and Bart from “Deep Space Homer” to illustrate.

D’oh! Dissident Xstrata shareholders resist Glasenberg’s reverse psychology – Excellent usage:

"Don’t you get it? You’ve gotta use reverse psychology," Homer Simpson’s brain says to its owner during one episode of The Simpsons. Homer resists his inner voice’s argument, causing it to retort: "OK, don’t use reverse psychology". "All right," Homer fires back, "I will."

Anatomy Of A Playboy Cover – Well, for whatever it was worth, the Playboy cover gimmick worked (at least relative to the time):

SB: What’s the best-selling issue? I’m guessing it’s not Marge Simpson, November 2009.

DB: Actually, the Marge Simpson issue was a best-seller! When doing the book I consciously didn’t make it a numbers game, though, because a best-seller is relative to how Playboy was selling overall. For example, Playboy was selling more than seven million copies monthly in the ’70s, but doing only a few million today, so it wouldn’t be possible for a Playboy issue today to sell more than an issue in the ’70s because there literally wouldn’t be enough copies printed to do so.

How Electronic Arts resurrected its DOA Simpsons game – The Simpsons city building game is now live again after having been taken down months ago.  The subtext of all this is that EA sucks and rushed it out the door to try and coincide with the 500th episode crap.

08/19/2012 Sunday Search Terms and Project 365 – Random Facts: 226 – 232 – Well done:

Random Fact #229 – I collect seasons of The Simpsons on DVD.

I’ve been collecting The Simpsons for about 1o years and have seasons 1-9 (I think).  I break them out and do marathons once in a while.

You have just the right seasons.

John Waters on The Simpsons – A moustache salute to not only real John Waters, but Simpsons John Waters.

Coolest Marge Simpson Costume – The hair is always the tricky part:

I took a knee high pair of pantyhose, with the sticky part that is supposed to attach to leg, and shoved as much cotton as I could fit into one of the legs. Then I ran a wire through it for support. I also added an elastic circle to the wire when I realized that the sticky stuff was not enough to keep the wig on my head. Finally, I spray painted my creation blue.


my brain’s all broken but I’m feelin’ alright….. – Animated .gif of Lisa dancing from “Flaming Moe’s”.

Ukraine wants to ban cartoon Spongebob Squarepants… as it ‘promotes homosexuality’ – And finally, Britain’s Daily Mail tacitly agrees with us.  In a story about the Ukraine’s “National Expert Commission for Protecting Public Morality” (whatever the hell that is), they put up a screen grab from Zombie Simpsons with this caption:

The Simpsons: Despite more than a decade of relatively trouble-free episodes, popular Fox TV show has also come under Ukrainian criticism

Zombie Simpsons has indeed been toothless and trouble-free for a decade now.  (via)


Quote of the Day

Lisa's Rival9

“Lisa, will you keep it down?  I’m making a crank phone call to Principal Skinner.” – Bart Simpson
“Well, as a matter of fact, my refrigerator wasn’t running.  You spared me quite a bit of spoilage.  Thank you anonymous young man.” – Principal Skinner
“D’oh!” – Bart Simpson


Compare & Contrast: Hey There, Handsome

Simpson and Delilah10

“Attention, Homer Simpson, you have been promoted.  You are now an executive.  Take three minutes to say goodbye to your former friends and report to room 503 for reassignment to a better life.” – Mr. Smithers

Even in the freewheeling world of animation, where it’s just as easy to send Homer to space as it is to send him to the supermarket, every character on screen has a few well established traits that make them who they are.  Burns is evil; Bart is a troublemaker; Barney is a drunk, etcetera.  Messing with those traits, like having Burns try not to be evil in “The Old Man and the Lisa”, is one of the oldest tricks in the comedy playbook, and it often works quite well.  You get to see the other side of a character and laugh as they are put in situations that make them react in ways that are anathema to who they usually are.  Of course, this sort of switch doesn’t always have to be about someone’s personality.  Physically changing a character can have much the same effect, which is exactly what the show did to Homer, in “Simpson and Delilah”, and Moe, in “Pygmoelian”. 

By default, neither Homer nor Moe are what you’d call handsome, and neither is, to borrow Moe’s words from another episode, “fending off movie starlets with a pointy stick”.  But, by giving Homer hair and giving Moe plastic surgery, both of them can be transformed into men who makes the ladies turn their heads and the gentlemen respectfully defer. 

As is to be expected with any comparison between Season 2 and Season 11, not only is the latter repeating an idea, but it’s also shot through with plot holes, Jerkass Homer, and general nonsense.  Homer’s new executive job makes sense, Moe’s soap opera gig does not.  The secretary applicants all make “kissy faces” at Homer because they want the job, that odd assortment of hot babes at Moe’s just seems to be hanging out for no reason.  Homer losing his looks flows from the first act, Moe losing his new look doesn’t have anything to do with the first act, or the second, or really even the third.  Setting those aside, there is another enormous, glaring neon difference between how Season 2 and Season 11 employed the same concept. 

In “Simpson and Delilah”, the story is about Homer, but the satire and jokes are mostly at the expense of the people around him.  With his new hair, we see Homer impress Patty & Selma, we see him get promoted and succeed in the boardroom, we even see him go through with the big speech that could’ve turned him into one of the most powerful executives at the nuclear plant.  That he fails in the end isn’t his fault, it’s because the social stigma of baldness caught up with him.  In another of those evilly subversive endings The Simpsons tossed off regularly, we see the executives scoff at his presentation not because he screws it up or mispronounces the big words, but because:

Full Haired Executives

Male Executive #1: This bald man has no ideas.
Male Executive #2: If this is a joke, I’m not laughing.
Female Executive: Some nerve, telling us how to run the plant.  He doesn’t even have hair.

The joke here isn’t just Homer failing again, though there is that.  The joke here is on the superficial people who can’t see past Homer’s hairless dome to the millions of dollars of savings he’s offering them.  They don’t know that these are all really Karl’s ideas, they just know that no one who looks like Homer can possibly have anything to offer to people like them.  It isn’t just Homer who fails here, it’s the power plant too. 

By contrast, the soap opera in “Pygmoelian” isn’t really wrong about anything.  After all, it’s a soap opera.  They were right not to hire Moe before he was pretty; their operation didn’t skip a beat replacing Dr. Tad Winslow the first time, so it’s not like they can’t do it again; and if Moe hadn’t been dumb enough to listen to Homer, everything would’ve been fine.  There’s nothing deeper going on in “Pygmoelian”, it’s just a (wacky) story about a guy who gets plastic surgery and then has a wall fall on his face. 

So while “Pygmoelian” does a decent job of satirizing soap operas, that kind of thing had been done many times before (“Father McGrath, I thought you were dead!” / “I was!”), and it has nothing to do with Moe becoming pretty.  The cosmetic prejudice that runs through every scene in “Simpson and Delilah” is totally absent in “Pygmoelian”, which leaves it with little more to do in most scenes than have Jerkass Homer act out as Moe’s newfound sidekick.  Gone is Burns repeatedly mistaking Homer for brilliant (he promotes Homer completely because of his hair), gone is the life altering power of a minor appearance upgrade, gone is Homer traumatizing Bart by informing his son that one day he’ll be bald too. 

By the standards of Season 11, “Pygmoelian” is pretty decent.  The plot isn’t completely batshit, there are quite a few entertaining scenes, Azaria is fantastic, and, best of all, it’s got several memorable and useful quotes (“with sexy results” cracks me up any time I see a commercial for a TV show that teases a plot or an upcoming segment).  But it can’t hope to stack up to Season 2, not only because it’s repeating an idea that had already been done, but because it repeats it in a thoroughly hollow way.


Quote of the Day

“On this spot Richard Nixon bowled back to back 300 games.” – Bart Simpson
“Yeah, right.” – Homer Simpson


Crazy Noises: Pygmoelian


“First, we must install buttocks.” – Plastic Surgeon
“Nah, nah, nah, no luxury items, just the face.” – Moe
“Okay, I’m gonna move this up . . . this, wider . . . I’m gonna lose that . . . I’ve never even seen one of these.” – Plastic Surgeon

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 (surprisingly enough, not on “animatronic”).

Today’s episode is 1116, “Pygmoelian”.  Yesterday was 1115, “Missionary Impossible”.

Charlie Sweatpants: This episode also manages to feature a half a B-plot.

Mad Jon: Yep.

Charlie Sweatpants: Though, in this case, it’s all because they wanted to make gay Republican jokes, which weren’t all bad.

Mad Jon: No they weren’t.

Charlie Sweatpants: The setup was incredibly long, but “We’re realistic” about 2084 is funny.

Mad Jon: I have not seen this episode in forever, but I still remembered some of the gay Republican lines. So that’s saying something.

Dave: Yeah, still worth a chuckle today.

Charlie Sweatpants: The main plot, though, is a bit of a mess.

It admits it at the end in mercifully quick fashion, but once Moe starts working in soap operas, things just go from dumb to dumber.

Mad Jon: Yeah, and Homer is there to tag along every step of the way. Especially if that step involves throwing a brick or lighting a TV set on fire.

…In one of two scenes where he is apparently allowed on set and nobody stops him.

Charlie Sweatpants: That was even dumber when Moe just walked on set to demand the job that just happened to be open.

Mad Jon: And why did Homer have to be the one to deliver the calendars?

Dave: I found that really obnoxious, and I’m not sure why.

Mad Jon: Other than the B plot, is there a scene he is not in?

Dave: Maybe it was that moment of pointless pacing around before Homer (why?) shows up.

Charlie Sweatpants: At this point in the show, whenever Homer’s not on screen all the other characters are looking around and asking “Where’s Homer?”, so you’ve just kinda go numb to a lot of it.

In between Jerkass Homer, Azaria gets in some great lines as both Moe and the plastic surgeon.

Mad Jon: The surgeon was pretty good.

Charlie Sweatpants: He was, and Moe got in some good ones too, like “diseases of the head holes”.

Mad Jon: Funny indeed.

I also liked the drunk simulator, especially “Now you’re charming!”

Charlie Sweatpants: I like the animatronic robots. You think you’re better than me?

Of course, all that stuff has to be carefully observed while Homer is throwing bricks and walking onto what are apparently live soap opera shows.

Mad Jon: Yeah, didn’t mind Duff Days too much. Just how they got there. They could have just gone.

That’s right, it was indeed a live soap opera, onto which any old idiot can walk while wearing a homemade angel costume.

Also, I get that Homer doesn’t really have a job anymore, but do the kids still go to school?

Dave: Maybe?

Charlie Sweatpants: Not that I can tell, and at this point Lisa was basically only ever at school to interact with Skinner or Ralph or someone. Miss Hoover’s actual class is gone at this point.

There’s also no distinction between events and actions that I, the audience member, am supposed to think are real and those that aren’t.

Moe and Homer eventually get taken by soap opera security, right? But since there hadn’t been any security at all up to that point, it leaves the entire thing feeling not just goofy and improbable, but flat out impossible.

Mad Jon: Yeah, and like you mentioned earlier, they point it out at the end. But in my opinion that was more of a cop for the lack of an ending again.

Charlie Sweatpants: It was, but at least it was short.

Mad Jon: True enough.

Charlie Sweatpants: The other thing that bugs me here is that Springfield is now apparently host to a wildly popular soap opera, Duffman, and a high rise with gay Republicans in it.

Springfield increasingly feels like no place in these episodes.

That said, “It Never Ends” with the tagline “Like the cleaning of a house” is a damn funny soap opera title.

Mad Jon: I also liked the sign at Duff Days “A lost weekend for the Family”

They were still pretty solid with things like signs and titles and what not at this point.

Charlie Sweatpants: There were some good toss off jokes too, “Daddy I’m stealing” and “TV-ugly, not ugly ugly”.

Dave: Those were cute.

Mad Jon: Yeah, I liked the TV ugly thing.

Charlie Sweatpants: Things like that keep me from hating this episode too much. It doesn’t make sense, but it’s not a giant volcano racist lava pit or whatever.

Mad Jon: I liked this one more than the missionary one. But perhaps like is the wrong word. I hated this one less.

Dave: I was going to say, “like” seems a bit strong.

Mad Jon: I still won’t be putting it in the queue anytime soon.

Dave: Truth.

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, I can’t say that this one gets watched with any frequency by me, but at the same time, I get slightly less nauseous when I think about it the way I do with many of these other ones.

Between Azaria’s deliveries (I’ve been meaning to get that updated, for this state, and real) and some good one offs and signs, this is definitely above average for Season 11.

Mad Jon: Yeah, It probably would have been even better if they wouldn’t have insisted on shoving Homer into every damn scene. But overall I am in agreement, better than average, some good things, some things not so good, some things very angering.

Charlie Sweatpants: Well put, Lrrr from Omicron Persei 8.


Quote of the Day

Das Bus6

“Ugh, this high speed modem is intolerably slow.  Hey, what the, huh, the Internet King?  I wonder if he can provide faster nudity.” – Comic Book Guy


Crazy Noises: Missionary Impossible

Missionary Impossible1

“Oh, save me, Jebus!” – 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 (especially on “amalgamation”).

Today’s episode is 1115, “Missionary Impossible”.  Tomorrow will be 1116, “Pygmoelian”.

A Brief Note on “Jebus”: As discussed below, this episode is illogical, racist, and really terrible in a lot of ways, but it did give the world “Jebus”, a fantastic term that has spread far and wide in the years since it first appeared.  I’ve seen it used in more publications and by more people than perhaps any other creation of the show outside of “D’oh” and “Worst/Best. [Blank]. Ever.”.  That said, I am mystified as to why it is sometimes spelled with two “e”s, “Jeebus”.  There’s even a guy quoted in this episode’s Wikipedia article spelling it that way.  I’m not king of words or anything, and my own spelling is atrocious enough that I am in no position to cast stones or point at the mote in my brother’s eye (as it were), I just don’t see why you’d spell it that way when it’s pronounced exactly like the original word. 

Charlie Sweatpants: Shall we get to it, then?

Mad Jon: Let’s.

Dave: Yes, let’s.

Mad Jon: Missionary Impossible?

Charlie Sweatpants: I have a very simple opinion on this episode: it sucks . . . but it gave the word "Jebus", and that is worth the rest of it.

Dave: Jebus is a wonderful thing

  Otherwise this episode doesn’t register at all

Mad Jon: It’s like a travel episode where they forgot to bring the rest of the family.

That’s two strikes right there.

  Although I thought the PBS pledge drive had a few ups.

Charlie Sweatpants: Structurally, it is a complete mess, and the weirdness ebbs and flows like a toilet tank that hasn’t been given enough time to properly refill between flushes.

Mad Jon: But for me, the rest was kind of a random amalgamation of events loosely structured around Homer teaching the natives to be Homer.

…So I basically agree with you.

Charlie Sweatpants: You’re just relaxing after the whole Bart-as-Homer thing, and then it’s time for a giant earthquake/volcano/whatever.

Mad Jon: You mean the end?

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah.

Mad Jon: Where everyone died but Betty White?

Charlie Sweatpants: What I mean is that this one goes back and forth between being kinda calm and then turning into something approximating a Halloween episode, and it does this like every thirty seconds.

One minute, Homer and the non-denominational-"microasians" are working together to build a chapel . . . then Homer rings a bell so loud it opens up the earth beneath them.

Dave: I find "microasians" offensive, btw.

Charlie Sweatpants: I don’t blame you. About halfway through I was trying to figure out if this episode was more or less racist because they invented the least inventive fictional place ever.

Dave: I think that makes it more racist.

  They couldn’t be bothered to be creative.

Charlie Sweatpants: It almost feels like one of those Bugs Bunny cartoons they can’t show on TV anymore. Like, here’s all the stereotypes at once, but it’s okay because we’re the Simpsons and so it’s not serious.

There’s no way they would’ve done something that clumsy two or three seasons before this.

Mad Jon: So, does that bother you more or less than the "B" microplot?

  You know, the one that started and that’s all.

Charlie Sweatpants: You mean Bart becoming Homer and then nothing happening except one of the worst Burns scenes up to this point?

Mad Jon: That’s it all right.

  I was pretty unhappy with that whole thing.

It made me look not lazy. And that is a feat, my friend.

Charlie Sweatpants: It was astonishing that it was what they went with to give the rest of the family something to do. I thought it was just a little joke to be tossed off by Homer on the radio, but they actually made it a plot. I guess the toaster going to daycare was cut for time.

  In between blundering from one "wait, what the fuck is going on?" moment to another, it also stretches a lot of jokes.

The PBS thing at the beginning is the perfect example, and that’s before you get to all the characters chasing Homer down the street.

  Just that opening with the fake PBS show tacks on way longer than what amounts to the exact same joke at the beginning of "Marge on the Lam".

Mad Jon: Agreed.

Charlie Sweatpants: Crude British sitcoms, okay fine, but it’s not a good enough idea to take up all that time.

Mad Jon: But I did kind of like the pledge enforcement van.

Charlie Sweatpants: Perfect example. Pledge enforcement is kinda funny.

Mad Jon: I could have done without everyone that was ever born chasing homer however, as you have pointed out.

Charlie Sweatpants: Right. And even then it doesn’t make sense.

Homer gets chased by magical and fictional characters . . . who for some reason lose track of him in the church . . . even though we saw Oscar and Elmo chase him into the fucking church.

  Even if you grant that scene all of its fantastic characters, it still doesn’t make sense.

Mad Jon: At that point it was just moving the plot along, but whatever. We have to get Homer somewhere that he can lick toads and corrupt recently Christianized natives somehow.

Charlie Sweatpants: But it did give us Jebus.

Mad Jon: But it did give us Jebus, that is correct.

Dave: Jebus, woo!

Charlie Sweatpants: And there are a couple of other decent little jokes scattered about, "the gift of shame", and I’ve always kinda liked the no-nonsense brutality of the pelican just falling over, but Jebus is so wonderfully versatile that it blows everything else away here.

Mad Jon: Agreed, Also I forgot about the gift of shame, which is hilarious. Mainly because of my Catholic wife’s constant handwringings.

Charlie Sweatpants: Betty White also gets in a couple of decent lines when she’s talking about how much she hates thieves. But the chase scene, and the collection scene, and even that bit at the end with the FOX telethon drag on, so even she doesn’t come out ahead.

Anything else here, or should we move on to Moe’s new face?

Mad Jon: I got nothing else, let’s get while the gettin’s good.

Charlie Sweatpants: Thank Jebus.


Quote of the Day

Homer's Triple Bypass7

“Mr. Burns, I think he’s dead.” – Mr. Smithers
“Oh, dear, send a ham to his widow.” – C.M. Burns
“Mmm, ham.” – Ghost of Homer
“No, wait, he’s alive!” – Mr. Smithers
“Oh, good, cancel the ham.” – C.M. Burns
“D’oh!” – Homer Simpson

[Whoops, mis-scheduled this one.]


Quote of the Day

Mayored to the Mob4

“People!  People!  This man has actually been in outer space!” – Agent
“Ha!  Nobody cares.” – Mrs. Krabappel
“This is one small step towards firing your ass!” – Neil Armstrong


Quote of the Day

Who Shot Mr. Burns Part 2f

“You accuse me of everything around here!  Who put slippers in the dishwasher?  Who threw a cane at the TV?  Who fell into the china hutch?” – Abe “Grampa” Simpson


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