Reading Digest: The Joys of Picture Phones Edition

Lisa's Wedding14

“Oh, this?  No, I’ve just got a touch of the rheumatis.” – Marge Simpson
“Oh.” – Lisa Simpson
“Whew.” – Marge Simpson 
“Mom, picture phone.” – Lisa Simpson

Our first link this week is to a YouTube/Google+/Google Hangout/Google Whatever interview with Al Jean.  In it he briefly mentions a non-existent video game (which in turn begets tens of thousands of words of empty, pageview chasing speculation) and discusses a number of other topics, some well trod, some not.  What makes this more fun than most Jean interviews where he repeats the same few statements over and over again (no I don’t know how long the show will go on, no we’re not working on another movie, yes we like having guest voices) is that instead of some properly lit studio, he’s sitting in front of a webcam at such an angle that you can practically see up his nose. 

It’s a very different format, and while it’s still prone to the usual pitfalls, a live, unedited chat is far more interesting than some cleverly edited clip or hopelessly intercut sit down interview.  In addition to that, we’ve got cranky Lego fans, calligraphy, excellent usage, two posts about the enduring quality of the show, a new blog dedicated to the freemium money fountain that is Tapped Out, and some handy advice on parenting with The Simpsons.


8-time Emmy winner Al Jean talks ‘The Simpsons’ – Smooth Charlie’s link of the week is this video interview with Al Jean by a site that tracks entertainment awards:

It’s nineteen minutes long, which is an eternity in YouTube time, and the kid doing the interviewing has mastered the Hollywood art of asking hopelessly easy and leading questions that allow both subject and interviewer to promote themselves harmlessly, but there are some things worth your time:

  • 3:25 – Jean talks about the ratings with the kind of perspective and detail that I don’t and can’t.  Long story short: the overall numbers remain down, but that doesn’t mean it’s not attractive to advertisers and it anchors that whole bloc on Sundays, so don’t expect a ratings related cancellation anytime soon. 
  • 11:40 – This is actually interesting, and I say that as someone who can’t be roused to give a five cent fuck about Emmys, Oscars, and all the other marketing gimmicks the entertainment industry hands out as awards.  Jean points out how silly it is for people to talk about Emmy “snubs” and the like: “When people go, ‘Why did the Emmys do this?’ I go, ‘Because the Emmys isn’t something you can talk to like a person.  It’s a big, unwieldy group of people.” 
  • 13:35 – Some love for The Critic, including the fact that they successfully predicted NBC’s slide to fifth place way back in 1994.
  • 17:00 – There’s a link below about this specific comment, but they have in the past talked about writing a Simpsons RPG video game.  That’s it.  He mentions it in passing, not as an active project, so the hundred or so links I saw about it really need to cool their jets. 
  • 17:40 – In a genuinely nice moment, Jean gets a little choked up talking about Sam Simon.  If you’re going to watch just one part of this video, I’d recommend this.

(Incidentally, despite the shit I gave the interviewer above, this is still a much more informative format than the heavily edited interview copy pasta that is the bread and butter of big entertainment media.) 

The Simpsons RPG has been considered – This is the most sober writeup of that comment I could find.  Overreactions like this are why famous people speak mostly/exclusively in banalities.  One wrong word can launch a thousand blog posts and then you have to keep talking about it. 

The Simpsons: FOX Prez Expects Long Future – We should be hearing about the renewal sometime in the next couple of months:

At today’s FOX session at the TCA Summer Press Tour, FOX president Kevin Reilly offered some encouraging words about the futrue of The Simpsons.

The show hasn’t been renewed yet but he said, “I would anticipate The Simpsons to be on our air for a very long time.”

Oh, we do, but please, “I would anticipate Zombie Simpsons to be on our air for a very long time”. 

Everyone’s favourite yellow family – This is a calligraphy site with the Simpsons name and address written out in really gorgeous script.  Bravo. 

Welcome to TSTO Game – A new blog:

The purpose of this blog is to help users navigate their way through the game. Some of the information will help newcomers, while other information will help those who have been playing the game for some time. Each post will be dedicated to a specific topic within the game, such as characters, buildings, or special in-game events.

My hope is to provide a safe space for fans of the game to interact with each other.

Well, Tapped Out fans, there you go.  There’s advice for newbies, polls for experienced players, and social tips and tricks

Simpson’s Most Talked About Show on Internet, Walking Dead 2nd – The headline here is more than a little hyperbolic since all it counts is Facebook, Twitter and Wikipedia, and it seems that a lot of the traffic is due to Tapped Out and not Zombie Simpsons.

Did Peanuts and The Simpsons get their box score details right? – Why yes, The Simpsons was always careful about attention to detail, even in baseball. 

Some oppose Simpsons-themed LEGOs – There were a huge number of stories and articles about what amounts to a few angry message board posts, so this whole thing is more than a little silly.  However, since I’m sure it’ll pop up again let’s just deal with it once and then we never have to talk about it again:

Earlier this year, some took to LEGO’s online message board, creating a petition calling on the company to avoid making any Simpsons-themed toys.

“I say no to Simpsons. It is not appropriate at all for LEGO’s age group. It’s not really appropriate for anyone,” wrote one contributor.

As a long time Lego fan, let me point out that they have always had blocks for different ages.  Just because Technic stuff shouldn’t be used by two-year-olds like Duplo doesn’t mean you cancel the Technic line. 

Split! Splat! – Another of the Threadless entries, this one a pretty picture of Maggie.

James Deen Doesn’t Care About You Unless You Were On ‘The Simpsons’ – Porn/regular movie star is a dedicated fan of the show. 

To infinity and beyond with 4G – Excellent usage:

‘D’oh! Isn’t there anything faster than a microwave?" whined Homer Simpson 20 years ago, in a perfect demonstration of the human race’s impatient quest for quicker technology.

Best. Episode. Ever. (Round 53) – Let’s get some margaritas, I’m buying.

Best. Episode. Ever. (Round 54) – The intrinsic horror is only going to get worse:

I really, really like ”Mountain of Madness.” It’s such a funny episode. Why couldn’t it have squared off against some double-digit season piece of dreck? Why did it have to be “Kamp Krusty”?

23 Things You Need To Know About The ’90s – Infotainment includes the show.

Book review: Discount Armageddon. – A novel review touches on the old Family Guy comparison:

Another issue are the references. I’m a big fan of pop culture references in books, since I’m a sponge of the stuff myself. But something about the way this book used them seemed a tad bit off to me. I’ll touch on more of this in a future post, but I like to compare it to The Simpsons vs Family Guy.

The Simpsons is framed around thoughtful plots, funny stories, and other shenanigans that end up flavored by a topical pop culture reference here and there that almost always score a LOL. But it’s done in a way that gives the impression that most of the references used will at least be accessible to people watching the show decades from now. Sure, some of the jokes will fall flat over time, but it’s done in a way where it’ll be classical at best, and only a slight bump at worst.

Family Guy goes straight for your throat with casual, random asides (Like that time when…. *reference here*) that typically slant toward the 80s/90s crowds. It’s bombastic, hilarious, and I’ve laughed really hard at some of them. But that’s because I am their demographic. 20 years from now, I can see middle aged people showing it to their kids and telling them it’s hilarious, and their kids just sort of saying “Um… who is the Kool Aid Man, and why is him busting through a wall supposed to be funny?” It will date itself very quickly.


Favorites and Tmesis – And on a further note of timelessness:

My favorite show of all time is The Simpsons. Of this there can be no question. Even though my favorite show at the moment is Family Guy, Simpsons will always be number 1 overall.

The Homer Unseats Evoque Convertible As the Most Incredible Car of All Time – Remember that real Homer car from a few weeks ago?  Well, here’s some dashboard cam video of it in action. 


This is why Arby’s occupies that third rung of the fast food ladder, down among Blimpie’s and AM/PM. This is why the best-known thing ever uttered about Arby’s was during an episode of the Simpsons when a starving child said, “I’m so hungry I could eat at Arby’s.”

Hank Azaria, Voice of Simpsons and Movie Star Next Door, Steals His Scenes in Lovelace – Nice little puff piece on Azaria:

The other film featuring Mr. Azaria this month is a slightly less lurid offering called The Smurfs 2.

“They are very similar in tone!” he cracked as joggers whizzed by the park’s entrance. “In both movies there’s lots of sexual abuse. I disagreed with it, but the filmmakers of Smurfs, they insisted.”

2 Guns…In 10 Words – You’re off the case, Marky Washington! 

Shark Week 2013…In 10 Words – I wonder if it was a mysteriously non-extinct megalodon that broke through that glass bottomed boat?

Broadchurch…In 10 Words – Is this about a hard drinking but loving family of soccer hooligans? 

Elysium…In 10 Words – Cough – cyborgs!

5 Shows that went horribly wrong. – The verdict on Zombie Simpsons:

CRIME: Loss of direction

Not a bad way to put it.

It’s The Simpson’s – A whole bunch of pictures from in and around the new Simpsons area at Universal Studios Florida. 

The Simpsons – Just a quote from “Secrets of a Successful Marriage”, but it’s perfectly done:

It’s those TV networks, Marge. They won’t let me– one quality show after another, each one fresher and more brilliant than the last. If they only stumbled once, just gave us 30 minutes to ourselves. But they won’t! They won’t let me live!

Gino’s East (Or: Homer Simpson and pizza) – There’s a very cool looking Homer poster in a pizzeria in Illinois and this link has a picture of it.

D’ohmer! – Fan made photoshop Homer image.

How Shows Like The Simpsons Can Make Your Children Smarter – TV gives so much and asks so little. 

So, it’s come to this: A Simpson’s meme – If you’re going to procrastinate, you could do a lot worse than Season 8.

‘Breaking Bad’ – Simpsonized Characters – The whole crew in one poster. 

Umbilical cord v Homer J. Simpson – Microscope slide that looks like Homer.  (And there’s another in a link at the bottom.)

Dag 180 – A Simpsons/Skyrim shirt. 

(Late) July Etsy Finds. – And some Simpsons jean shorts.

Homerpalooza Revisited: 10 New Musical Guests for The Simpsons – This list of potentially fun guests for Zombie Simpsons also agrees with us:

Like brain synapses dulled over time, The Simpsons is not as sharp as it once was. Seasons three through eight are still a fabled goldmine of pre-internet parody and witty subversion. The Springfield residents had not yet become parodies of themselves and the guests performers – especially the musical ones – did not feel shoehorned. Over the last 15 – perhaps due to the success of Family Guy and the fleeting window of viral fame – far too many acts pop in to advance a single throw away joke rather than weave their presence cleverly throughout the story-arc. What was once crucial to the outcome – see Michael Jackson’s engaging, uncredited role as a mental patient in “Stark Raving Dad” – has now devolved into Katy Perry inexplicably dropping by to sing cheeky Christmas Carols.

But, crotchety cynicism aside, the staff at CoS would be remiss if we didn’t extend our own salute to one of the funniest shows to ever grace the small screen, especially now during music festival season. Thus, in honor of Lollapalooza, Homerpalooza, and The Us Festival, we present our own wish list of musical acts who have yet to appear on The Simpsons. Are we being sarcastic dudes? I don’t even know anymore.

Excellent reference.

7 Responses to “Reading Digest: The Joys of Picture Phones Edition”

  1. 9 August 2013 at 2:05 pm

    Thanks for including a link to my post! Long live the Simpsons! :)

  2. 2 feelingblind
    9 August 2013 at 3:29 pm

    Thanks for linking to my site, I appreciate it. :)

  3. 3 Dr Nguyen Van Phuoc
    9 August 2013 at 6:47 pm

    Regarding the likely renewal, what, realistically will it take at this point will kill this crap off once and for all?

  4. 9 August 2013 at 11:53 pm

    The post about The Simpsons at Universal was my favorite….

  5. 5 Lionel McClure
    10 August 2013 at 12:55 am

    The messages on the Lego forum are so infuriating! They don’t know anything about Seasons 1-8 of “The Simpsons”. I blame “Zombie Simpsons” for this horrible and sordid catastrophe.

  6. 10 August 2013 at 4:08 am

    The Simpsons are yellow, Lego guys are yellow, seems like a match made in heaven to me.

  7. 7 FireFlower
    10 August 2013 at 12:17 pm


    You can have the show end AND still make millions of dollars on the merchandise for many years!

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