Reading Digest: Quantifying Zombie Simpsons Edition

Lisa's Sax9

“Lisa, if I have five apples and I take away three apples, how many apples do I have left?” – Dr. J. Loren Pryor
“Two apples.” – Lisa Simpson
“Wait a minute . . . she’s right!” – Homer Simpson

This week we’ve got several links that note just how bad Zombie Simpsons is, including one that basically confirms the analysis I did for the mini-book.  There’s also lots of lists with little to no Zombie Simpsons, countdowns that penalize the show for Zombie Simpsons, and even Zombie Simpsons making a list it isn’t even on!  In addition to all that, we’ve got several excellent pieces of fan art (including two cool posters and a potential T-shirt that could use some votes), a Marge skateboard, Hitchcock, and plenty of substance abuse. 


Kalkalash! Pinpointing the Moments “The Simpsons” became less Cromulent – Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week is someone who agrees with us so completely that s/he may be my long lost twin or something:

For me, and most others, the latter episodes bear little resemblance to older ones. The current incarnation of the show is stale, and has been for a long time. I haven’t watched a new episode in over ten years, and don’t intend to any time soon. When did this decline begin? Was it part of a slow secular trend, or was there a sudden drop in the quality, from which there was no recovery?

To answer these questions I use the Global Episode Opinion Survey (GEOS) episode ratings data, which are published online.

I’ve never heard of GEOS, but it’d make a nice addition to Chapter 1, because it confirms pretty much everything we’ve been saying here for the last four years, right down to the stages of decline.  Click through for the full data, which is presented in easy to understand graphical form. 

5 Fitness Lessons I Learned from The Simpsons – A personal trainer discusses her profession through her love of the show.  Plus you can see her kickass “Homer Defined” tattoo! 

Olly Moss Pays Homage To The Simpsons With His “Stop The Planet of The Apes, I Want To Get Off” Musical Poster – Click this.  It is awesome. 

Simpsons Army of Darkness – Not sure of the original source here, but it is only slightly less awesome than the above.  The tagline is perfect: “Trapped in Time.  Surrounded by Evil.  Low on Duff.”.  Well done, somebody. 

A Pocket Companion to Books from The Simpsons, by O. Lebrun – The things you find in Museum shops these days.

Score Marge Simpson – A Threadless T-shirt vote with six days left for Marge as a smoking, pissed off looking middle-aged woman. 

Dial H For Hitchcock: An In-Depth Discussion About ‘The Master of Suspense’ – Someone who knows more about Hitchcock than I do has a list:

The Simpsons have constantly paid homage to Hitchcock over the years with references to The Birds, Rear Window, Sabateur, Psycho, Spellbound, North by Northwest and most recently, Strangers on a Train for their Halloween special, “Treehouse of Horror XX”. The segment was called “Dial M for Murder or Press # To Return To Main Menu” but had a plot that parodied Strangers on a Train and pushed a Hitchcock looking character off Mt. Rushmore, where Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint scramble for freedom in the film, North by Northwest‘s final scene.

That first link leads to Category:Hitchcock references in The Simpsons at a Hitchcock wiki.  Warning: bit of a time suck. 

The Simpsons’ Craziest Example of Drug Abuse – Hmm, I’m not really sure what would happen to a grown man taking estrogen pills, but I can’t imagine it would be fun:

The Simpsons’ Season 4 episode the “New Kid on the Block” contains what has to be the most insanely casual depiction of drug abuse in television history.  In the episode, Homer goes through the neighbors’ trash, steals prescription medication, and binges on it while relaxing on the couch. Zero repercussions, repeat none, are shown or even implied by this unbelievably irresponsible behavior. All that happens is Marge barely registering her concern with Homer’s behavior and Homer remarking that he is not getting enough Estrogen.

I dunno, Fry’s “So I stayed home and got trashed on Listerine” in Futurama’s “A Head in the Polls” has always struck me as pretty casual. 

Top Ten Alcohol Moments in Media- A Mexican Standoff – And while we’re on the subject of substance abuse, a list of TV drinking that, by necessity, includes Moe’s.

10 of some of the best classic Simpsons episodes (According to me). Emphasise on the word ‘SOME’, I know most have an episode that you hold dear in your heart, but considering the structure of most lists, I had to choose 10, which was a daunting task for me. It’s a daunting task for any kid who grew up with this legendary show. – Yes, that is the whole link, but it is a perfectly cromulent list, with nothing past Season 9.

The Top 9 ‘Treehouse of Horror’ Segments – There’s one from Zombie Simpsons (Season 13) here, but overall it’s a very solid list.

Top 10 Cameos in ‘The Simpsons’ (Round 1) – There’s also one from Zombie Simpsons here, but just one and there’s shakycam YouTube of Bette Midler’s aggressive environmentalism. 

Best. Episode. Ever. (Round 18) – The elimination bracket continues.  This one is “Treehouse of Horror IV” versus “Marge on the Lam”, which is a good example of why I will never do a favorite episodes list.  How the hell do you pick between Homer selling his soul for a donut and Lionel Hutz babysitting?  I feel conflicted just asking the question.

My Favorite Episodes of The Simpsons Part V: 20-16 – Still clean of Zombie Simpsons . . .

My Favorite Episodes of The Simpsons Part VI: 15-11 – . . . and this one has an animated .gif of Grimes killing himself. 

Stuart’s Top 30 Sitcoms of All Time: Part 4 (#15 – #11) – The show checks in at #11 here, with Zombie Simpsons being an explicit penalty:

If they’d stopped around the 200 mark it would have been a strong contender for the top 5.

Futurama Canceled. Again. Along With Ugly Americans and The Cleveland Show. – I missed this:

Ugh. Comedy Central did it again. I’m sure most people know by now, but Futurama is canceled. Again. By Comedy Central.

So is Ugly Americans.

I liked Ugly Americans.  It never seemed to quite find it’s footing, but it could produce some pretty funny episodes. 

Remember the (Awesome TV Day That Is) The Sabbath and Keep It Holy – In which an intrepid blogger describes how The Simpsons got him started on a lifelong habit of watching TV on Sunday. 

The Simpsons: Tapped Out – Sadly, since I now almost exclusively watch ripped DVD copies on my computer, I’ve gotten pretty rusty at this:

Anyone who knows me will know I’m a pretty big Simpsons fan. I’m one of those people that will randomly quote it and crack myself up doing so and I can pretty much tell you which episode is playing after watching the first 30 seconds.

Back when only first few seasons were in syndication I could get a lot of them on the opening establishing shot alone.  Ah, memories. 

THE SIMPSONS – Hmm, art project or cassette release of “Do the Bartman”?  I don’t know.

Marge Simpson Skateboard Deck – Pretty much what it says, and she’s definitely got the hair for it.  I’m not a skateboarder, but it does look a little odd that the thing follows the shape of her head and hair rather than being the usual skateboard shape with an image. 

Reverse product placement? whats that? – Some examples of fictional products that became real, including the license challenged Duff. 

I Know It When I See It: Scrimshaw and Whale Bone Porn – Seems someone went Helen Lovejoy over some mildly racy ye olde tyme drawings, ignoring the real problem with scrimshaw: Sideshow Bob wants to revive it.  And he’s an evil genius.

Burgos…. – Your 2010 World Cup champions drawn Simpsons style. 

Pain & Gain…In 10 Words – Now step over to the abdominator and I will shout slogans at you.  (On a related note, that movie was – to my complete surprise – rather good.)

A Talking Cat?!…In 10 Words – The cat?  What’s the point? 

Candy Crush Saga…In 10 Words – Because, a lot of workers really like candy.

Yeardley Smith On Comfort, Style and Reinventing Women’s Shoes – An interview with Smith about her shoe line. 

Universal Orlando Transformers readies to open as Summer approaches – There’s a Flickr slideshow here of the Simpsons area under construction.  That is all.

‘Under the Dome’ to give ‘Simpsons’ shout-out – CBS is making a mini-series based on the Stephen King book about the town that gets trapped like carrots.  It will contain a brief mention of the movie.

Style Inspiration: Marge Simpson – How to dress like Marge without it being a Halloween costume.

Found this so COOL.=) – A drawing of famous fictional female haircuts. 

Moleman In The Morning. – I have no idea what this is or is going to be, but the subtitle is “A Simpsons blog about the agonizing pain in which I live every day.”.  It’s got a good title, that’s for sure. 

Cod aren’t coming back — yet – Moderate usage:

Under the sea

there’ll be no accusations,

Just tasty crustaceans.

— Homer Simpson

The baldheaded buffoon of the popular cartoon (The Simpsons) could have been talking about the Northwest Atlantic.

Homer actually calls them “friendly” crustaceans, but other than that it’s dead on.

5 Cancelled TV Shows That Got Given A Reprieve – Just another reminder that, fan wise, people don’t care about the continuation of Zombie Simpsons:

You know, I find it kind of humorous that Matt Groening has two shows that will appear on two separate lists on these kinds of websites. The Simpsons will frequently pop up on people’s lists of shows which need to be mercifully killed off. Then there will be Futurama, which will pop on lists like the one I’m writing here, about shows which were killed off and eventually brought back to life.

That’s how low Zombie Simpsons’ reputation has sunk, it’s cancellation gets mentioned even on lists it isn’t on. 

13 Responses to “Reading Digest: Quantifying Zombie Simpsons Edition”

  1. 3 May 2013 at 12:14 pm

    Hey Charlie, regarding that first link and also your own analysis, what is the most common rebuttal you’ve heard from people about it? I’m trying to find out what the other side of the coin someone would present to invalidate a chart like that. Something like a self fulfilling prophecy, or…

    Obviously IMDB rankings are probably most skewed towards 1 or 10, with people being inclined to vote one on new episodes just to show dissatisfaction. But perhaps the altogether lack of rankings is the most damning sign of an audience’s lack of enthusiasm.

    • 2 Al Gore Doll
      3 May 2013 at 1:08 pm

      The defense is probably that the audience/polls/rankings are wrong since the show is still perfect. Well, not perfect, but it’s better than any other average sitcom. Well, in my subjective opinion that’s the case. Also, I don’t watch any other sitcoms.

      • 3 Sarah J
        4 May 2013 at 8:36 pm

        I never buy that defense myself. I think Zombie Simpsons is just an extremely generic and average sitcom, reduced to only using stock sitcom plots and playing them straight, when the original Simpsons would’ve subverted them. Like, that episode where Milhouse tries to attract Lisa by being a “bad boy”. It’s a generic plot done by many sitcoms, crammed into Zombie Simpsons. Lisa is not the type to be attracted to someone who is mean to her, but the writers probably wanted to do it because it’s such a standard sitcom plot, especially these days. If the original Simpsons did it, it would’ve subverted the plot by having Lisa be less attracted to him than ever, and deconstruct the idea of “girls love being treated like crap”.

  2. 4 Steamed Hams
    3 May 2013 at 3:09 pm

    Actually, if you ‘have’ 5 apples, and ‘take away’ 3 of them, you technically still ‘have’ all 5 apples, because they’re all in your possession! Now, if he said, ‘and YOU (Lisa) take 3 away’ then her answer would be correct. So, too, would it be correct if he said, ‘YOU have 5 apples’ and ‘how many apples do YOU have left?’.

  3. 8 Maize & Brew
    3 May 2013 at 5:21 pm

    Who is Charlie Sweatpants?

  4. 4 May 2013 at 6:39 pm

    Calling it: when Star Trek Into Darkness (AKA Star Trek 12) comes out, there will be tons of references to this:

  5. 4 May 2013 at 10:33 pm

    I’m flattered Dead Homer Society linked me on their blog, I guess, but their constant claim of this “zombie Simpsons” thing is bullshit. Another classic case where it’s each to his own, but MY own says that these people can’t just freaking ENJOY something that is not TOTALLY bad, without whining about it.

    • 11 RaikoLives
      5 May 2013 at 8:46 am

      But it IS totally bad. Sitting through an entire episode and not laughing. Once. At a comedy. Not even once. That makes it pretty damn awful. I even laughed at a joke on Two-and-a-Half Men a couple of nights ago. AND ZS’s badness degrades the goodness that came before it. People now seem to have this odd delusion that The Simpsons wasn’t as good as it really was because of the absolute detritus that is the current episodes. Really, if the first 3 courses of a meal were great but the last one made you vomit it all up, wouldn’t you rally a cry to have that last course erased from the menu? Well now its the first 8 or 9 courses that were amazing, and the last 15 that have made you vomit up all that came before. Eventually you’re just dry heaving and you’re begging… BEGGING THEM to stop. Now consider those first courses to be your childhood memories. Sure you can go back and re-watch old episodes, but they’ve been forever tainted by the new ones. It’d be like Leonardo da Vinci continuing to paint an ever enlarging surrounding picture around the Mona Lisa, but his work slowly deteriorating until the whole mess just cannot be looked at. “Stop it! Stop! He’s already dead!”

      • 12 ThisCannotBeTheFuture
        5 May 2013 at 12:40 pm

        Well said.

        It’s not even that the show is just not as funny. I too–out of habit–will give ZS a trial–and I almost always sit through the episode without as much as a chuckle. In fact, a third of the jokes aren’t just flat, they’re cringe-worthy.

        It seems every “Homer-joke” is either: 1) rehashed from the first 10 seasons 2) the “loud whisper” 3) Homer yelling some nonsense 4) or Homer being “jerkass Homer”

        One of my favorite jokes from Seasons 3 is the exchange:

        Marge: ” Remember? Doggy-heaven?! ”
        Homer: “Oh, Marge! There is no such place!”
        Marge: *Clears throat*
        Homer: “Or…to put it another way…there…is”

        Homer was dimwitted but good natured. And the funniest part is the subtlety mix of his slowness and innocence. I don’t think you find anything like that whatsoever in ZS. And if ZS is really decent I’d love to hear some funny quotes.

  6. 13 abra cadaver
    6 May 2013 at 7:57 am

    “So I stayed home and got trashed on Listerine”


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