Reading Digest: Theater Appreciation Edition

A Streetcar Named Marge8

“Everybody was cheering for you!” – Lisa Simpson
“Almost everybody.” – Marge Simpson
“Kids, wait in the car.  I want to talk to your mother about this play thing.” – Homer Simpson
“Looking for a spot of fun with the missus, eh, govenor?” – Bart Simpson
“Shutup, boy.” – Homer Simpson

The Simpsons apocalypse play has officially opened and this week we got a ton of reviews for it.  They are mostly positive, with the main complaint being that it’s a bit too shallow to move as slow as it does.  (Here’s our review from last year’s run in D.C.)  But it’s not all bright lights, big city, there’s also a local theater group that’s doing a bunch of one act plays with the show as their theme. 

In addition to all the theater stuff, we’ve got a writeup of the amusement park area with an eye on geek appeal, modern gibberish art, a couple of new blogs, and a pair of Simpsons related musical releases. 


Tom C. Hunley Reads a Poem for Simpsons Bus Driver Otto – I put Smooth Charlie’s link of the week up on Twitter yesterday, and it easily rates another mention.  It’s a poem of what lessons Otto would teach the kids if he had the vocabulary of a professor of English.  It’s short, much easier to follow than most poems and quite funny in places. 

How to Write A "Simpsons" Episode, According to Original Show Writer Al Jean – I’d say this speaks for itself:

Whenever you put something into a script, no matter how funny, consider if it is something the character would actually do. When The Simpsons works, it is because people believe these animated characters are "real."

I could cite examples, but Season 25 starts next Sunday, and it’ll do that for me plenty. 

‘The Simpsons’ deconstructed, reconstructed, and turned into pop art – Somebody took “Mom and Pop Art” and went art school on it:

In "Realigning My Thoughts On Jasper Johns," a video piece by experimental artist JK Keller, he becomes an eerie cubist figure in a nearly silent landscape. Keller took apart each frame of the 20-minute episode, turned them into vector shapes, and ran them through a battery of Adobe Illustrator auto-alignment tools, then ran the audio through a similar filtering system.

You can see the video at the link.  I’ll confess I didn’t make it very far.  It’s kinda interesting at first, but it gets boring and repetitive very quickly.  This comes via reader Gabe, who accurately described it in his e-mail:

The result is nightmarish.

Review Roundup: MR. BURNS, A POST-ELECTRIC PLAY – Let the reviews begin!  This one is a collection of reviews that are generally, though not hugely, positive. 

Watch Clips Of Mr. Burns, A Post Electric Play – Re-Enacting The Simpsons In The Apocalypse – An interview and video clips from the apocalyptic Burns play. 

Off Broadway Review: ‘Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play’ – Apparently Variety reviews plays now, and they liked but didn’t love this one. 

Homer, Marge Simpson Survive World’s End in ‘Mr. Burns’: Stage – Ditto BusinessWeek.  I get it’s a New York publication and all, but still, play reviews?

Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play – Another review, one that puts particular shine on the third act. 

LISTEN: The Spills – Spooky Roller Disco – Great title:

The band, who consist of Rob, Joe, Chad and Sam have just released a new EP on Philophobia Music titled ‘Spooky Roller Disco’. The four-track EP is a fantastic 16 minutes of music and also a brilliant Simpsons reference.

I look forward to the Abandoned Amusement Park LP.

Complex.com Premiere: Black Dave – Black Bart (Mixtape) – In more musical news, check out the cover for this mixtape. 

HBO Porn Spoof Applauded By Network CEO – Excellent usage:

It’s Not Porn, It’s HBO is a short film directed by Alberto Belli. The clip pokes plenty of fun at the sort of overt sexual content that can be found in a number of the network’s offerings. In the words of Homer Simpson: It’s funny because it’s true.

The clip, while not Simpsons related, is pretty funny. 

449. O Brother, Where Bart Thou? – Mike is back to the grind over at Me Blog Write Good:

A lot of these episodes feel so thin and unmemorable so far. At least the horrible Marge/Flanders thing from “Nada” will stick with me. These last few shows, what is there? The horrible South Park “parody”? Five seconds of the Plow King for nostalgia points? No dice.

All but the very sloppiest fade into an indistinguishable hash very fast. 

Don’t send in the clowns – we’re too scared – Excellent usage:

Finding his young son resistant to this move, Homer constructed a special bed inspired by Bart’s affection for Krusty the Clown. Alas, Homer’s bed-building skills left much to be desired, and the clown of Bart’s new bedroom was a grotesque, maniacal interpretation of Krusty. Unable to sleep, young Bart spent much of the next day curled in the living room uttering the troubling catchphrase: "Can’t sleep, clown will eat me."

I was reminded of those words when I heard about Northampton’s clown mystery. "A spooky clown has been scaring Northampton residents in full costume and makeup," reported the Northampton Herald & Post. "According to reports it has knocked on someone’s door and offered to paint their sills despite having no painting equipment." The clown has quickly acquired its own dedicated Facebook page and a fevered Twitter discussion has ensued.

15 ways the Simpsons come to life in Springfield attraction – Local newspaper writer and Simpsons fan visits Universal Studios and rates the various attractions on geek factor. 

Wordy Wednesday: tmesis – Explaining words like “Wel-diddly-elcome” and “Unbe-fucking-lievably” with Flanders. 

Simpsons Roasting On An Open Fire – Episode #001 – And thus, a blog was born:

It has been 26 years since The Simpsons first aired on our screens. Since I am a huge fan, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to speak about the plot and my opinion on (hopefully) every episode that I have so far.

It all began with a Christmas Special.

S/he’s up to “The Call of The Simpsons” so far:

I need to stress why I love these next scenes when Homer is taken in for testing to find out if he is a man or a beast. The test results come back inconclusive.

How would you explain that to the wife? “I’m terribly sorry to tell you this Mrs Simpson but your husband is neither man or beast. He’s a thing. We haven’t got a name for it yet.” I would like to see that.

Guillermo Del Toro Working On “The Simpsons: Treehouse Of Horror” – It looks like we’re getting the Halloween episode of Zombie Simpsons the week after the premier, which is three and a half weeks before actual Halloween.  And as high as I am on Del Toro after Pacific Rim, Zombie Simpsons is well beyond saving.  This, however, is very sly usage:

In what has now become an annual tradition, The Simpsons likes to give viewers a creepy tale each October.

Heh, it is something of a yearly custom.

Happy Grand Theft Auto V release day everyone – With a great animated .gif of Ashley Grant running Bart into a wall with a copy of the game. 

An Appropriate Representation Of How I Felt Today – It’s Barney and his rose from the unfortunately titled Pukeahontas

The 10 Subtle Burns of The New Yorker’s Bustle Profile – Well done, New Yorker:

On Goldberg’s understanding of women: “When Goldberg talks about his entry into women’s publishing, he can bring to mind an episode of The Simpsons, in which Homer, discovering that bacon, ham, and pork chops all come from pigs, calls them a ‘wonderful, magical animal.’”

The best Simpsons-themed Mayo banner you’ll see before Sunday – Click through for a sweet Milhouse banner for an Irish soccer team. 

Top Ten Television Shows – Another list where Zombie Simpsons hurts the score:

I have a deep appreciation for it as it was entertaining for children due to its style and animation but also for adults with its intelligent writing, social commentary and loveable, everlasting characters. Though, I’ll admit that the show isn’t as sharp as it used to be, I can still sit down and watch an episode and enjoy it like I always have. Even if I’ve seen it more than twenty times.

Strange Phenomena – Everyone learns stuff from The Simpsons:

Apparently Polar Nights are the best time to see the Aurora Borealis. Despite Jon’s best efforts at Abisko here, we didn’t get to see the luminescent green streaks across the sky. We have resolved to try for Aurora Australis from the south coast of Tasmania instead. I could lie and say I learnt about the Aurora on the trip, but The Simpsons got there first (‘at this time of day, at this time of year, localised entirely within your kitchen?’) Gold.

SCOOP: Confirmed LEGO Simpsons sets for 2014 – LEGO TV, not Zombie Simpsons, is going to produce some kind of special for the upcoming Simpsons Lego sets. 

Nelson’s Odyssey – The Flanderization of Nelson:

“Lisa’s Date with Density” was the start of Nelson 2.0

It sure was.

White House Down (film review) – Heh:

Having said all that, some readers may still be nurturing a morbid curiosity. To satisfy those among you who also happen to be fans of The Simpsons, the best way to understand White House Down is to imagine Mel Gibson’s grotesque action remake of Mr. Smith Goes To Washington with Channing Tatum in the lead.

Sadly, the only thing it lacks is a shifty-eyed evil dog.

1 star out of 5

All in favor, say die! 

BARTKIRA – Someone got a tattoo based on the Bartkira project.  Neat.  It’s just an outline right now, but it’d probably look even better with some color. 

Friday The 13th Part 2…In 10 Words – Still pretty tame by today’s standards.

Sleepy Hollow…In 10 Words – But this season . . .

Grand Theft Auto 5…In 10 Words – If Larry the Looter had been a real game, it’d probably be on 10 by now. 

Brooklyn Nine-Nine…In 10 Words – And that’s the end of that chapter. 

Friends having the talk: “Do you even lift…long boxes?” – A new blog called Nerd Swole leads off with a discussion of friendship, nerdiness, and an animated .gif of Homer yelling at that one on campus. 

“Simpson, Homer Simpson, he’s the greatest guy in history!” – It’s up to you, but I’d consider quitting while I’m ahead:

I’ve been on a recent Simpsons kick lately – and by “recent” kick, I mean I’m working my way through all the episodes ever made – so far, I’ve watched Seasons 1-12 of 24 (25 starts in less than a month!)

Simpsons Art. – Most of these are old, but I don’t think I’d ever seen the one of Homer falling down the stairs by Wes Archer before. 

Dag 223 – A Bart t-shirt with flaming Bart-skull.

Dag 227 – And Spider-Pig acting like Spider-Man.

Retroactive Day 21: The Simpsons Movie – A middling review of the movie contains this more interesting exercise:

So for a little while now, every few months, I direct a one act play for a local production. In each production, the between six or seven one act plays are written, acted, and directed by local people. Each round has their own theme; for example the last one was Science Fiction Blockbusters. The next set starts in a couple of weeks and takes it’s theme from the ever popular cartoon, The Simpsons.

You just can’t keep the show of the stage these days. 

Exercising for the Musician – What better way to explain exercise than with a couple of animated .gifs of Homer doing things completely wrong? 

A Writer’s ‘Most Enjoyable’ TV Shows List – The show checks in at #3, and as usual it’s Zombie Simpsons’ fault that it isn’t #1:

I did a list like this many years ago and The Simpsons was number one — it says a lot that I watch it much less now and yet it still looms so large.

Indeed it does.

The Simpsons – Iconic TV Shows – And finally, I get to end the way I like, with someone who agrees with us in an epic writeup of the show:

While that may have been when the “show got stupid”, as Guardian critic Ian Jones noted, episodes would continue to falter, before season 11 when it all got consistently poor and with few to any saving graces. As the quality has dropped, so the number of celebrity voices has grown and animation become more computerised. The less said about later storylines about Marge’s boob job, Homer as a Kurt Cobain style grunge rocker, Ricky Gervais’ attempt to write a wife-swapping episode and a device that means lorries can drive themselves, the better. Joking about how bad an episode is (“Worst show ever” t-shirt”) was neither cute or clever and just insulting to a far too loyal audience.

Amen, brother.  Amen.

12 Responses to “Reading Digest: Theater Appreciation Edition”

  1. 1 D.N.
    21 September 2013 at 1:03 am

    “In the words of Homer Simpson: It’s funny because it’s true.”

    Did Homer ever say this? Maybe he did and I forgot. I can remember Fat Tony saying “It’s funny because it’s true” in “Bart the Murderer,” and I can remember Homer saying “It’s funny ’cause I don’t know him” in “Duffless”…

    • 2 ian premise
      22 September 2013 at 2:48 am

      Yes he did, in Homer Vs Lisa Vs the 8th Commandment.

      TV comedian: Don’t you hate it when you go to the bathroom and there’s no toilet paper?

      Homer: Hehehehehe. It’s funny ’cause it’s true.

  2. 21 September 2013 at 7:53 am

    Thanks for the mention :) Great to know there are others who feel like I do. Reading your site has inspired me to write more Simpsons articles.

  3. 7 FireFlower
    21 September 2013 at 9:41 am

    Del Toro is going to do a Dr. Seuss parody…in a Halloween episode?

    What does Dr. Seuss have to do with Halloween?!

  4. 23 September 2013 at 2:40 pm

    Many thanks for the mention! Great site!

  5. 27 September 2013 at 4:17 am

    Holy cow, thank you very much for posting this! Grand Theft Auto 5 looks So Fab! Is everyone going to wait to play online until after you complete the story? Or are you gonna rip into it and not even bother?

  6. 29 September 2013 at 1:07 pm

    normally appreciate your web-site nevertheless you should analyze the punctuational in some of your content regularly. A lot of them usually are rife by using transliteration challenges and i also locating that quite disturbing to see reality even so certainly will come back once more.

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