Archive for October, 2012


Halloween Playlists

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“Now, children, you can have one piece of candy tonight and save the rest for-” – Marge Simpson

Ah, after weeks of waiting Halloween is finally here with costumes, candy and, of course, lots of “Treehouse of Horror”.  In Chicago tonight there will be a Classic Simpsons Trivia night, but it will also include:

3 classic TREEHOUSE OF HORROR episodes on the big screen!

On Twitter, our old friend @dailysimpsons has been taking votes for which episodes will get shown, but it looks like you’ll have to show up to find out.  Along similar lines, Kaplan Test Prep Daily had an article about good Halloween playlists:

After 23 years of Halloween themed-episodes — the most recent one aired earlier this month — Bart, Marge, Kang, Kodos and the rest of the “ghoulish” Groening gang have given us plenty of options from which to choose. Of course, the easiest thing to do is simply view the first five or six “Treehouse of Horrors” in a row since those are clearly the best ones. But I believe it’s possible to mix it up a bit more to come up with eight devilishly d’oh-y installments that make the perfect complement to a night of jack-o’ lantern carving or, if you’ve lost power courtesy of Sandy, to watch on a battery/generator-powered DVD player.

I’d forgo the crap from Season 20, which the article tactfully calls “a bit uneven”, but they don’t have a terrible list there (even if it does incomprehensibly not include “Treehouse of Horror II”). 

Finally, the other day we got an e-mail from reader L who put together a couple of Halloween playlists that go beyond just “Treehouse of Horror”:

Playlist 1
Treehouse of Horror
Bart Sells His Soul
Treehouse of Horror II
Cape Feare
Treehouse of Horror VII
Who Shot Mr. Burns? Part 1
Who Shot Mr. Burns? Part 2
Treehouse of Horror VI

Playlist 2
Treehouse of Horror V
Bart of Darkness
The Mysterious Voyage of Homer
Treehouse of Horror IV
Some Enchanted Evening
The Springfield Files
Treehouse of Horror III

There are some good additions in there, “Bart Sells His Soul”, “Cape Feare” and “The Springfield Files” especially have some creepy, Halloween-esque elements to them. 

Personally, I tend to just watch the Treehouse of Horror episodes in order through “Treehouse of Horror VIII”.  After that I’m usually bordering on insulin shock from all the deliciously processed sugar and cocoa, so I just skip ahead to:

  • “Starship Poopers” from Season 10 which contains “I absolutely refuse to go along with this, but since I have no choice, I’ll take the alley”.  I’ve always thought that was a very subtle abortion joke, and those are damn near impossible to sneak onto American television. 
  • “Desperately Xeeking Xena” from Season 11, which gave us “a wizard did it” and “best death ever”. 
  • And even “Night of the Dolphin” from Season 12, which has “alcohol and night swimming” as well as “we’re all frightened and horny”, and it uses “glory hole” on network television, another one of those things the censors are too square to possibly catch. 

Feel free to leave your own Halloween favorites, episodes or segments, in the comments.  And if you’re in or around Chicago, Classic Simpsons Trivia night sounds like a lot of fun:

Come dressed up … perhaps as popular cartoon characters!


Quote of the Day

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“Homer?  It’s Moe.  Uh, look, some of the ghouls and I are a little concerned the project isn’t moving forward.” – Moe
“Can’t murder now, eating.” – Homer Simpson
“Oh, for cryin’ out loud.” – Moe


Quote of the Day

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“I suppose you want to probe me.  Well, might as well get it over with.” – Homer Simpson
“Stop!  We have reached the limits of what rectal probing can teach us.” – Kang


Bonus Quote of the Day

What Pressure

“Homer, what’s wrong?” – Marge Simpson
“That doll tried to kill me.” – Homer Simpson
“I’d say that the pressure’s finally gotten to Dad, but, what pressure?” – Bart Simpson

Happy birthday Dan Castellaneta! 


Quote of the Day

Wreck the Car, Raise the Dead

“Dad, we did something very bad.” – Lisa Simpson
“Did you wreck the car?” – Homer Simpson
“No.” – Bart Simpson
“Did you raise the dead?” – Homer Simpson
“Yes.” – Lisa Simpson
“But the car’s okay?” – Homer Simpson
“Uh-huh.” – Bart & Lisa Simpson
“Alright then.” – Homer Simpson

Happy 20th Anniversary to “Treehouse of Horror III”!  Original airdate 29 October 1992.


Quote of the Day

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“Look, Smithers, a twitch!  It’s moving, it’s alive!  Oh, that fellow at Radio Shack said I was mad, well who’s mad now?” – C.M. Burns


Quote of the Day


“You are all hereby found guilty of the crime of witchcraft.  I sentence you hags to be burned at the stake until you are deemed fit to reenter society.” – Sprynge-Fielde Mayor Quimby


Reading Digest: Halloween Traditions Edition

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“Hello, everyone.  You know, Halloween is a very strange holiday.  Personally, I don’t understand it.  Kids worshipping ghosts, pretending to be devils, things on TV that are completely inappropriate for younger viewers, things like the following half-hour.  Nothing seems to bother my kids, but tonight’s show, which I totally wash my hands of, is really scary.  So if you have sensitive children, maybe you should tuck them in to bed early tonight instead of writing us angry letters tomorrow.  Thanks for your attention.” – Marge Simpson

As you’d expect, we’ve got lots of great Halloween links this week, including multiple people who make time to watch Treehouse of Horror episodes every year and who’ve noticed that there’s no point in adding the newer ones to those viewing sessions.  On the downside, though, it seems that Zombie Simpsons sells some of the most expensive commercials in all of television, so don’t get your hopes up that it’s going to end anytime soon.  In addition to that we’ve got fan made art, fan made costumes, lots of animated .gifs, and a review of a terrible Roger Corman movie starring Doug McClure, one of the guys who donated half his name to Troy McClure.


The Twenty Greatest “The Simpsons” Episodes EVAH – Part 1 – This is the first half of Smooth Charlie’s Link of the week.  And this . . .

The Twenty Greatest “The Simpsons” Episodes EVAH – Part 2 – . . . is the second half.  Both are chock full of awesome YouTube and the only episode past Season 9 is “Behind the Laughter”, which includes this sentiment that I think many of us share:

I have wished more than once that the show had opted to end the series with this episode, because it really is the perfect way to wrap things up. It is funny, it is family driven, it has throwbacks to earlier episodes – it’s just a great episode for a fan of “The Simpsons”. I love the ridiculous over-the-top, vaguely ominous metaphors that they throw in (which are a staple of “Behind the Music”). I love that the family falls apart but, as always, come back together in the end. I think that this episode will always be the “finale” in my heart because it closed out what I think were really the best years of the show.

That’s certainly how I think about it.

Random Idea – Holy shit, that explains everything:

Whenever a show gets cancelled, the Grim Viewer (a douchebag in a hoodie) comes to take them away to the TV underworld. In it, tv shows live out the rest of their days either enjoying paradise in Re-run heaven, or get tortured in attic DVD box hell. If a cancelled show makes a deal with the Viewer, they are allowed a trip back up to earth. Some shows have had to also make deals in order to stay alive. The Simpsons, long ago, made a pact with the Grim Viewer to stay on forever in exchange for its soul (quality). The Viewer also required a pure virgin (firefly) for sacrifice in exchange for the Simpsons duration

Well, that and our next link . . .

TV Ad Prices: ‘Idol’ No Match for Football – According to Advertising Age, Zombie Simpsons is the sixth most expensive primetime show on which to buy a 30-second ad:

And they are finding them in Bart and Stewie. Veteran Fox sitcoms “The Simpsons” and “Family Guy” take the sixth and seventh spots (the Thursday edition of “Idol” ranks fifth). The average cost of a 30-second ad in “The Simpsons” jumps to $286,131, up from $254,260 last season. The average cost of a 30-second spot in “Family Guy” rises to $276,690, up from last season’s $264,912, according to Ad Age’s calculations.

This is why I see no reason to conclude that Season 25 will be the end.  Even with all the production costs that is a shitload of reliable revenue, and I don’t see FOX giving that up until somebody dies or they decide to blow up the whole Sunday animation bloc.  (via)

Say hello to “Simpsonizing” – Cool fan made self portrait painted in a Simpsons style because:

the reason why the skin is yellow is because there wasn’t any fleshy color in my medium that I could use and I forgot how to make flesh with 2 colors (am such a noob I know)  but once I painted yellow on the canvas I liked the way it looked, in fact I decided to call it “simpsonizing” after the Simpsons

Always remember, if it’s stupid but it works, then it isn’t stupid.  Well done.

Schlocktoberfest II – Day 21: Humanoids From The Deep – Before there was Troy McClure, there was Doug McClure:

Even if you’re not a fan of Roger Corman, I’d advice you to think twice. Its a fun and entertaining monster movie. It reeks of late 70′s slasher/animals run-amok horror tones. And the star is non other than Doug McClure, who is one-half the basis of Troy McClure from The Simpsons!

Top 10 Halloween Specials – The various Treehouses of Horror come in at #2 with this perfect summation:

the first 8 or so installments of Tree House of Horror feature some of the wittiest, most inventive writing on what is one of the best sitcoms of all time. Halloween brings out the best in every one!

Halloween Watch: The Treehouse of Horror – This is a blog run by a public library, and even the keepers of the books acknowledge the literary quality of the early years:

Besides, in the early days, The Simpsons had truly brilliant writing.  Since the yearly Halloween episode usually gave more creative freedom to the writers and animators, Treehouse of Horror could always be counted on to deliver strong writing, creepy visuals, and dark humor, as well as to be among the best episodes of any given season.

Got that right.  It being a library and all, they go on to discuss “The Raven”.

TV Shows Survey – An interesting way to compare your favorite television shows, and this example includes The Simpsons.

Know your fright: Scary ‘Simpsons’ episodes – A guide to some of the best quotes and source material from some of the best Treehouse of Horror segments ever.  (via @dailysimpsons)

Simpsons Halloween Countdown: Bart Simpson’s Dracula – A run down of various Treehouse of Horror segments includes this:

It’s classic bumbling Springfield at it’s finest. Where it should be clear that a vampire is the town’s villain Wiggum is confident in his completely wrong assumption, and apparently so is the rest of Springfield, except Lisa, who is the only human left at the end when everyone ends up being a vampire.

It makes no narrative sense, of course, that EVERYONE would be a vampire and simultaneously claim to be head vampire. So the segment breaks completely into a rendition of the dance number from the Peanuts cartoons. The whole thing is a classic example of The Simpsons poking fun at a genre trope then, proving that there is no point to it beside making fun of it, breaking down completely and enjoying the openness of being a cartoon.

Marge does have a life outside the house, you know.

Don’t Blame Me, I Voted for Kodos – A great rundown of some of the political gags in “Citizen Kang” with lots of YouTube.

Happy Birthday, Nancy Cartwright! – We wished Cartwright the same back on her actual day, but this one comes with a Bart toy professionally Instagramed into looking like a piece of art.

Alex Cross…In 10 Words – Oh, man, Tyler Perry in front of a brick wall for ninety minutes would’ve been much better than Alex Cross.

The iPad Mini…In 10 Words – I dunno, Herb, people are afraid of new things.  You should’ve taken an existing product and made it slightly smaller or something.

Chogokin King Robo Mickey & Friends (aka Disney Voltron)…In 10 Words – Roger Meyers Sr was beloved by all the peoples of the world, except in 2012 when he released his controversial movie Giant Fighting Robots Will Kill Us All.

Skating Like Bart Simpson – Understand that this blog is titled “A Day in the Life of a High School Culinary Arts Teacher”:

J: Man my skateboard broke.
Mr. C: Oh yeah?
J: Either that or I need to tighten a screw.
Mr. C: Okay.
J: It’s cause I went off the roof onto a car.
Mr. C: (Thinking he is joking) What like Bart Simpson? In the opening of the show?
J: Yeah but I did it for real. And I didn’t fall. I went off the roof and rode down the windshield and then went down the hill in my neighborhood.
Mr. C: Wow.


aimless introspection #6 – Moving always sucks:

We purchased a floor mat for our apartment and it smells like a goddamn tire. The entire living room smells like the Springfield Tire Fire from the Simpsons. Do I look like a damn mechanic? Someone tell me how to get rid of this god forsaken smell. I don’t like waking up to the smell of the Michelin Man’s nutsack.

My recommendation is to find an overly nice neighbor and steal his welcome mat, TV tray and weather vane.

The Simpsons – Lisa & Ralph cosplay – I’m almost positive I linked this around last Halloween, but who cares?  That is one of the greatest Simpsons costumes ever.

Ralph Wiggum speaks for the Internet – Heh.  I never thought of that before.

HA – Or that.  Ha.

There’s only one Homer Simpson – Animated .gif of Homer conversing with his brain about the difference between twenty dollars and a peanut.

The Simpsons demonstrate how to do Halloween properly – Animated .gif of the Simpson family wolfing down their haul from “Treehouse of Horror II”.

Say some “gangster” is dissin’ your “fly girl”. You just give ‘em one of these.. – Animated .gif of Moe’s adult education course.

Changing Plans, Trivial Pursuits And The Color Yellow – Victory in a Simpsons trivia contest:

I sat in Buckley’s in Belltown on 2nd Avenue in Seattle with two of my children, a niece, a nephew and a close family friend where we participated in a Simpson’s trivia contest. We blew away the competition and went home with a cash prize.


A few questions at the contest, most having to do with those later seasons, stumped us. But we came away victorious in our general knowledge of nothing important to mankind, and were paid for our efforts.

For my two sons, it was also a moral victory because they won the competition last time, and were looking to retain the crown. These boys are ringers. They know The Simpsons well, obscure details and all.

Congratulations.  Sounds like Seattle could support a Classic Simpsons Trivia night, too.

Top 5 Cartoons – The show comes in at #2 here, but #1 is Tom and Jerry, which I obviously don’t agree with, but is a pretty decent choice.

“Thank you, come again.” “No, thanks.” – And finally, I get to end with two someones who agrees with us.  First:

The ironic thing now, is that whenever I watch the more recent episodes of The Simpsons, I can’t help but see aspects of Family Guy: the underdeveloped, aimless and disassociated jokes, completely straying away from the storyline, whilst being dragged out pointlessly, almost as if the creators of the show are trying their best to fill up airing-time because they’ve run out of ideas. The other day I watched an episode where Milhouse’s parents get back together again (I’m sure a similar thing has happened before?), and besides the boring, repetitive storyline, there was little humour.

Preach it!

Longest Running Halloween Traditional – And second, yet another person using Halloween to talk about how bad the show has become:

I don’t think I’ve seen the latest episodes and the last one I watched was just an anthology of movie parodies.  Not horror movies, not even a scary cartoon, just a funny parody.

I think it was Treehouse XXI where I lost the will to follow the series.

You held out longer than most of us.


Quote of the Day

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“Over here, Simpson.  The detention room is dangerously overcrowded, so you’ll be serving your time in the cafeteria.” – Principal Skinner
“Oxygen, running out.” – Detention Kid
“Yes, you should’ve thought of that before you made that paper airplane.” – Principal Skinner


Quote of the Day

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“I’d sell my soul for a Formula One racing car.” – Bart Simpson
“That can be arranged.” – Satan
“Changed my mind, sorry. . . . Cool.” – Bart Simpson
“Bart, stop pestering Satan!” – Marge Simpson

Happy birthday Nancy Cartwright!


Quote of the Day

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“Marge, look at all this great stuff I found at the marina.  It was just sitting in some guy’s boat.” – Homer Simpson


Quote of the Day

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“Mom, Dad, help!  He’s trying to kill me!” – Lisa Simpson
“Nobody likes a tattle-tale, honey.” – Homer Simpson


Quote of the Day

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“Well, class, the history of our country has been changed again to correspond with Bart’s answers on yesterday’s test.  America was now discovered in 1942 by ‘some guy’, and our country isn’t called America anymore, it’s ‘bonerland’.” – Mrs. Krabappel


Quote of the Day

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“And that’s how an heroic hippo became a deputy.” – Kent Brockman
“Stupid hippo.” – Homer Simpson


Quote of the Day

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“Science has already proven the dangers of smoking, alcohol and Chinese food, but I can still ruin soft drinks for everyone.” – Lisa Simpson


Reading Digest: Groening Appreciation Edition

Groening and His Work

“The Simpsons began as the brain child of cartoonist Matt Groening, the already famous creator of such comics as Damnation, Johnny Reb, and True Murder Stories.” – Troy McClure

This week we’ve got three links to articles about Groening, two of which are tied for Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week.  First there’s an old magazine article that’s a really nice time capsule of Groening perched on the cusp of worldwide fame, and then there’s a bunch of other cartoonists celebrating the rich bastard he became.  In addition to that we’ve got some cool fan made art, some evidence that rock may indeed have achieved perfection in 1974, an inventive and specific Bart costume, and English as a second language students learning from the show.

COMMENTING NOTE: For whatever reason, WordPress has been getting bombarded with spam comments of late.  It’s been ticking up for a couple of months, but just this week the number of comments in the spam queue went from around ten each morning to several hundred.  I usually sort through them in case something legitimate got flagged, which I know has happened to a few of you, but now there’s just too many for me to do that.  If you’re having trouble getting a comment posted, please e-mail me. 


1989 Matt Groening Profile in Mother Jones – Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week (A) is this old article about Groening from right before the show premiered.  There’s a ton of great stuff in there, but I particularly like this description of the opening:

In the title sequence of The Simpsons, the camera descends into an animated American Anytown, meeting the family members at the close of their working day, sort of like The Flintstones.  This is not, however, the end of a Yabba-Dabba-Doo day.  Homer finishes his shift in a nuclear plant by accidentally carrying out of a bit of glowing nuclear waste; Marge the mom waits in a checkout line while the clerk unintentionally passes baby Maggie over the electronic product-code reader; sister Lisa stops band practice cold with her free-bop sax playing; and son Bart has been kept after school, forced to write various messages on the blackboard.  I WILL NOT WASTE CHALK, he writes at the beginning of one episode, and in another, I WILL NOT INSTIGATE REVOLUTION.  Finally the family converges at home, gathering before the TV set to watch, yes, The Simpsons.

It’s neat to read someone describe that extremely familiar sequence to an audience who had never seen it.  We’ve gotten inured to it over the years, but it really was unlike any other opening at the time, so much so that it takes an entire paragraph to explain.

PICKS OF THE WEEK: To celebrate ‘Life in Hell,’ cartoonists collaborate on a gift for Groening – Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week (1) is this collection of cartoons by other cartoonists celebrating Life in Hell after Groening retired it.  Some of them are damn funny.

INK2012 Day 2: When Groening met Barry – And we’ve got a nice little writeup of Groening and his old cartoonist friend Lynda Barry at a conference together.

Reverend Lovejoy on Religion – Lovejoy has some good ones, including this.

What is the best Treehouse of Horror short? – The verdict here is “The Shinning”, but there are a lot of contenders.

Day 110: Global Handwashing Day – The woman who had that sweet Surly costume a while back today has dressed up like Bart Simpson, as he appears after Laura spits in his hand.  Awesome.

Top 100 Favorite Shows of All Time – 20-11 – The show comes in at #16 on this list, but you get the feeling that it’d be higher if not for Zombie Simpsons:

I’ll start by saying I don’t often watch The Simpsons anymore, and haven’t done so for years.

So How Much Would You Pay For This? – Does the middle of this very expensive painting look like Bart Simpson?  Enh, kinda.

Starbucks gives away Simpsons’ ‘Treehouse’ – Cool:

Starbucks, which has been offering free downloads of music, ebooks and apps at its coffee shops, has started giving away the original episode of "The Simpson’s’ "Treehouse of Horror," that originally aired in 1990 on Fox.

Episode will be available as a free iTunes download as Starbucks’ in-store "Pick of the Week" through through Oct. 23, according to a store manager in New York City. The cards started appearing in Starbucks stores today across the U.S. and Canada.

That’s certainly nice of them.  I wonder how much FOX charged?  (via)

Breaking Amish…In 10 Words – They’re still not fighting back!

Obama and Romney’s Second Debate…In 10 Words – No, dear, the card question’ll be fine.

THE WORLD’S BEST JACKET – It’s debatable, but it’s hard to beat Elvis and Marilyn.

The Simpsons: Tapped Out- Unlocking Witch Marge – Apparently there’s an expansion pack for that iOS game, and this is how you get some of it.

Everyone knows rock attained perfection in 1974. It’s a scientific fact. – In support of Homer’s point, a list, rather long, of all the great rock albums that came out in 1974. 

Previewing the 2012-13 Denver Nuggets – Extended excellent usage:

One of my favorite lines from episodes of The Simpsons is when Montgomery Burns opens up a Casino in Springfield – Homer Simpson gets a job there and Marge Simpson soon becomes attached to the gambling lifestyle. At the end of the episode, Homer and Marge have a heart-to-heart about Marge’s issue.

Homer, "You have a gambling problem."

Marge, "That’s true. Will you forgive me?"

Homer, "Sure. Remember when I got caught stealing all those watches from Sears? Well, that’s nothing because you have a gambling problem. And remember when I let that escaped lunatic in the house because he was dressed like Santa Claus? Well, you have a gambling problem."

It’s a long quote, and while Homer does have an “Oh” in front of “Sure”, that’s a long quote that’s done right.  Excellent. 

My best pick-up line – Heh.

Deja Vu? – More heh, this time with jagged metal cereal.

Dying for a BBQ? – Fugu for real:

Despite the reputation, a small number of poisoning cases are recorded every year (Up to 40 cases, and very few of these are from restaurants, but rather fishermen eating their own catch) and the fatality rate is actually very low, at about 7%.  And despite the famous Simpsons episode in which Homer is told he will die from fugu poisoning, the effects would take hold and kill you quickly without the intervention of a respirator.  So, the Simpsons lied to me about fugu and Annual Gift Man, and I have yet to see Homer’s face on the box of a household cleaning product for Mr. Sparkle.  Is there no end to the lies TV will tell you?

I know it doesn’t seem possible, but I guess TV can betray you.

Day 12: A song that you want played at your wedding(or was played) – A cut off of Simpsons Sing the Blues, with YouTube.

And Now for Something Completely Different – A Simpson chess set that, sadly, got stolen.

1- I LEARNED FROM ‘THE SIMPSONS’ SERIES… – There are four of these, and they’re being reblogged by a Brazilian English language school.  Cool.

Just ‘Cause 5 – Animated .gif of Bart riding the pig from “They Saved Lisa’s Brain”.

Athletic Misadventures – Moderate usage:

There is an episode of The Simpsons where Lisa enrolls at a military school.  After a few weeks of pushups, obstacles courses, and formation drills, she finds herself intimidated by the physicality required of the students.  Lisa bemoans her situation to Bart who questions “I thought you wanted a challenge?”  Lisa responds with “Duh, a challenge I could DO.”

That is precisely how I felt yesterday attempting to complete the Flagstaff Extreme course.

Bart actually says, “I thought you came here looking for a challenge”, but the Lisa half is dead on.

Transformations 18 – Fan made crossover drawings, including one of Lisa.

Journey Through the Past: The 1990s – And finally, our old friend Philip J. Reed has written an appreciation of some 1990s cultural artifacts, including this excellent take on “22 Short Films About Springfield”:

Coming at a time when The Simpsons could genuinely do no wrong, “22 Short Films About Springfield” reads like a time-capsule today. It’s a relic — and a loving, fascinating, and clever one — of a time when Springfield was more than just a sea of caricatures and types; it was a place, fully functional in and of itself. One operating under its own logic and impossible to mistake for the real world, but real in its own way all the same.

It was nice when Springfield was a place that was real enough to be funny instead of the bottomless prop closet they have now.


Quote of the Day

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“Bart, don’t you realize what this means?  The next time we fall asleep we could die.” – Lisa Simpson
“Enh, welcome to my world.” – Abe “Grampa” Simpson


Quote of the Day

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“Milhouse, wake up!  Quick, look out the window!” – Bart Simpson
“No way, Bart.  If I lean over, I leave myself open to wedgies, wet willies, or even the dreaded rear admiral.” – Milhouse van Houten


Quote of the Day

Team Homer8

“I was wondering if you’d like to sponsor my bowling team for five hundred dollars?” – Homer Simpson
“Why certainly Poppin’ Fresh!  I owe my robust physique to your tubes of triple bleached goo.” – C.M. Burns


Lisa the Beauty Queen Spews Truth

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“What a feeling!  I’m as happy as a smoker taking that first puff in the morning.” – Pageant Girl
“That could be Lisa!” – Homer Simpson

As usual with these early season commentaries, there are a small enough number of people that they can have an actual conversation, the topic never strays far from the episode, there’s lots of genuine laughter, and Jean sounds like he’s actually having fun instead of watching the clock and trying to fill time while everyone else sits silently as some horrible Zombie Simpsons crap parades across the screen.  Plus this one has a Bob Hope story.

Just four guys here, Groening, Mark Kirkland, Jean, and Jeff Martin.

0:20 – Groening asks Jean about the origin of this episode.  Apparently, Jean and Reiss were among the few people still under contract when this was getting going, and they came up with it hoping guys like Jeff Martin would come back, which they did

1:30 – Noting that they were ahead of the curve on making fun of little girl beauty pageants, but that they didn’t realize the seedier side of it at the time.

1:45 – Disney never complained, so they just kept making Disney jokes.

2:15 – Jean jokes that the lawyer is based on Roy Cohn, “which the kids always find hilarious”.

2:20 – Nelson spraying Martin was based off of something that a National Lampoon writer once did to Jean.

3:40 – Martin used to draw caricatures when he was a teenager at Astro-World, the amusement park next to the Astrodome in Houston.  He drew the Lisa one, and the regular artists were nice enough to use it.

5:00 – The big raffle prize at Martin’s school really was a ride on the blimp.

5:30 – Lots of praise here for Yeardley Smith as always putting a lot of emotion into Lisa.

6:00 – Groening notes that Lisa is a character who isn’t completely ruled by her impulses, which causes Martin to joke, “Yes, and as a result she’s in pain a lot of the time.”

6:45 – Krusty’s “heartily endorse” came from the old board game Life which had a picture of Art Linkletter on the front saying he “heartily endorsed” it.  Reiss knew exactly where it was from the first time he read the script.

7:45 – Lona Williams, who did the voice of Amber Dempsey, was an assistant on the show at the time.  She actually had been in beauty pageants and gave Martin a tape of one of them if he promised not to show it to anyone else.

8:50 – Everyone cracks up as Homer cries while singing the blimp song and holding a pickle.

9:30 – They just made up the Jack Nicklaus thing, none of them are sure whether or not he was actually considered handsome.

11:00 – Jean’s not sure if Homer’s fantasy of Marge mowing the lawn while he lies in a hammock is based off of it, but there did used to be a Flintstones cigarette commercial where Fred and Barney were lying in hammocks smoking while Wilma and Betty mowed the lawn.  (Though Jean accidentally called Fred “Homer”.  Groening cracks on him for it.)

11:30 – Grau plays the ice cream parlor lady, which leads to everyone talking about how great she was to have around.  Groening then confirms my suspicion that losing her wasn’t just losing Lunchlady Doris:  “Also, she was a little bit of a voice of reason because she would actually comment on things.  That was good, that was no good.”  I can think of many places where a voice of reason definitely could’ve come in handy post Season 7.

12:40 – As the pageant starts, Kirkland comes on to note that this is the part where the director starts to feel faint at all the crowd shots and action.

13:15 – Krusty’s seldom seen assistant Miss Pennycandy helps him with his jacket before he goes on here.  That causes Jean to note that her first appearance was the one where Krusty reconciles with his father, but he couldn’t remember the title right away.  He just remembered that Jay Kogen and Wallace Wolodarsky called it “Krusty the Jew”.

14:10 – Speaking of Wolodarsky, he pitched the line where Lisa calls loving your country “real Melvin”.

16:20 – According to Groening, Brockman switching instantly from “Oh, the humanity!” to “Anyway” got a big laugh.

17:25 – Martin went to a hall of Presidents wax museum in Boulder, Colorado that had obviously mismatched bodies, and that’s where Lisa getting Dr. Ruth’s body came from.

18:00 – Conan O’Brien and Martin went over to Bob Hope’s house to record his lines.  Groening then mentions that O’Brien wrote about Hope for The New York Times.  Thanks to the miracle of the internet, you can read that here.

19:50 – Everyone laughs at Azaria’s Santa wanting to know what the hold up is.  He’s got a real flair for those cranky old guy parts.

21:15 – It took them a long time to figure out the ending, but Jean thinks it was Frank Mula who came up with the thing about Homer writing “OK” on the application.  I did that for years on standardized tests.

21:30 – Everybody cracks up again when Lisa says “Possibly” after Homer asks her if he was drunk.


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