Reading Digest: Backhanded Season 25 Preview Edition

Brother From the Same Planet13

“Tonight on Wings . . . Ah, who cares?” – TV Announcer

The FOX marketing blitz for the new season (and all their other shows) is in full swing, so this week there were a ton of “Hey, remember The Simpsons?” type articles on blogs, magazines and newspapers.  Most of them are worthless, but we’ve got a couple below and what’s really amusing is how very little they say about the season that’s about to start.  Oh, sure, they’ll note that the premier is a Homeland take off or that the Halloween episode is coming soon, but in general the preview articles are mostly about how long the show has been on and its status as a pop culture behemoth.  

Partly that’s just the daily grind of the media: you’ve got to do a lot of stories about new seasons of television shows, and it’s easiest to just grab the first hook about a show and build the article around that.  But that’s not all it is, because, as you’ll see with the link from The New York Daily News below, nobody cares about Zombie Simpsons.  You can say polite things about how it’s still going strong, but when it comes time to discuss favorite moments or enduring appeal, nothing past the early seasons ever gets mentioned.  The continued quality of the show really is a Soviet fiction.  In addition to that we’ve got some more video game news, two pieces of show history, a couple of instances of excellent image usage, and a YouTube heavy obituary for the Pillsbury Doughboy. 


bootlegbart on Instagram – Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week is this outstanding achievement in the field of excellence: a collection of bootleg Bart shirts/images, most from the height of Bartmania.  There’s black Bart, stoner Bart, tons of anti-Iraqi/Saddam Hussein ones, and even just t-shirts people had made up for trips or parties.  There’s even a BDSM one! 

[Note: Season 8 remains well ahead, but if you haven’t voted for tomorrow’s marathon yet, there’s still time at right.]

The history of Simpsons message board alt.tv.simpsons. – Not a ton of new information here, but it’s a nice writeup of what made that thing so impossible to resist and how it foreshadowed pretty much everything the internet now does about television.  Plus it agrees with us (“the show is indisputably not as hilarious or groundbreaking as it was in its magical early years”) and has this great quote from Oakley:

“There’s people who really take the show seriously and really know a lot about it,” Oakley says. “Many of their critiques are correct. That was the thing. You had to be able to sort out the valid criticism from the insane blather."

Black Girl Dangerous and Julio Salgado radicalize childhood cartoon characters – A couple of weeks ago I linked to some high fashion drawings of characters like Lisa and Daria and joked that they looked terribly out of place.  Well, I wasn’t the only one who thought so.  Here’s Lisa and Daria not waltzing around in high fashion, which seems much more appropriate for both of them. 

Lay off Apu . . . and Hank! – I’ll agree with pretty much everything our old friend Denise says here in defense of Apu as an Indian character on television, with one addendum.  Apu debuted on television just six years after Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, which an Indian buddy of mine always describes as “the most racist movie ever made”, was #3 at the box office.  If you were creating an Indian television character for a network show in 2013 (or 2012, when the video she’s rebutting was recorded), you’d never in a million years make him a convenience store owner.  But in 1989/90?  That was different, and they didn’t just leave him in the background to do nothing but say “Thank you, come again”.  In just the first three seasons we see him on the cover of a gun magazine, dating Princess Cashmere, and hanging out at Homer’s with all the other guys to watch a heavyweight championship fight; not to mention he’s there every time Springfield has a meeting or a riot.  This is (yet another) thing that pisses me off about Zombie Simpsons: the show used to be way ahead of the curve on stuff like this, and now it are far, far behind.

How "The Simpsons" Fixed Apple’s iPhone Keyboard – Do you like the nice, responsive touch keyboard on your phone/tablet?  Thank “Lisa on Ice”.  Seriously:

"In the hallways [at Apple] and while we were talking about the keyboard, you would always hear the words ‘Eat Up Martha,’" Ganatra recalls. "If you heard people talking and they used the words ‘Eat Up Martha,’ it was basically a reference to the fact that we needed to nail the keyboard. We needed to make sure the text input works on this thing, otherwise, ‘Here comes the Eat Up Marthas.’"

The 2013 Groom Expo’s Creative Styling Tournament wows dog lovers in Hershey, Pa. – There is a poodle groomed and dyed to look like Marge in the front and Homer in the back.  It’s both pretty and terrifying. 

#fbf: The Be Sharps (The Simpsons) – People discover even famous pieces of culture through The Simpsons:

Over the years, I’ve grown to appreciate this episode even more so as I became a fan of The Beatles. You know, as a kid, I was never a fan of The Beatles. I thought they were some outdated band I was forced to listen to on long car rides, thanks to my dad’s incessant request to play The Beatles’s “1″ album.

I got basically none of the Beatles references the first time I saw that episode, and I don’t think I’m alone.

EA: AAA franchises on mobile will not cannibalize console counterpartsTapped Out is responsible for, wait for it, nearly a quarter of all of EA’s mobile profits:

“We’ve seen this phenomenon manifest itself with the success of some of our biggest titles; The Simpsons: Tapped Out generated $23 million in digital net revenue last quarter alone and our overall mobile business last quarter generated about $100 million, which was a substantial increase over the prior year’s performance,” he said.

It’s A Nice Normal Show – Excellent usage:

The mother blows up a grocery store because of contentious flak from the French owner. The father blows up a turbine to purify his tap water, and the daughter and son come to blows with their schoolmates. That’s how seriously you should take the Blakes’ claim for normalcy, as the film’s title We’re A Nice Normal Family intimates.

Then again, since Homer Simpson, the bumbling father in long-running cartoon series, The Simpsons, said, “Remember, as far as anyone knows, we’re a nice normal family.” that’s been code for the exact opposite.


Stage Review: Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play – Full circle at Time magazine:

I go way back with The Simpsons. Back to the very start, in fact, when I gave the show a decidedly mixed review in TIME during its first season (I complained about the crude animation). I saw the error of my ways soon enough and have followed the show avidly ever since.


But I never thought the show could save the world — as it does, at least ostensibly, in Anne Washburn’s odd and fascinating new off-Broadway piece, Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play, which opened last week to some rave reviews, a few equally passionate dissents and sellout crowds.

In Performance: Matthew Maher of ‘Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play’ – And here you can watch one of the actors perform an early scene for The New York Times.

Phil Hartman Remembered On 65th Birthday – A nice tribute to Hartman, including YouTube of many of Troy McClure’s self introductions.

Jon Lovitz on Obama, The Simpsons and playing likable jerks – Not too much new here, but I remain steamed about this nearly two decades later:

Westword: Straight off, I want to say that I was a huge fan of The Critic in the early ’90s. I really wish it had been given more of a chance. Do you think it was cancelled because audiences couldn’t sympathize with a film critic?

Jon Lovitz: Thanks. The thing is, the show was actually making fun of critics, and at the time the show was a hit with audiences. But for whatever reason, the network didn’t like it. Jim Brooks was like, "They’re canceling a hit, what are they doing?" Al Jean and Mike Reiss didn’t have a clue. It was disappointing. It held 90 percent of The Simpsons audience at the time, which was at its peak.

FOX: Making terrible decisions for coming up on three decades!  

The Cheers Legacy: Season 4 – Well, I certainly didn’t know this:

But there it all was in the strangely titled “2 Good 2 Be 4 Real” season 4 episode of Cheers, staring me in the face and assaulting me in the eyes and ears–a plot that I had seen before on The Simpsons.

But long before The Simpsons did it.

South Park famously proved that every comedy in some way or the other has ripped off The Simpsons, a theory summed up in the line, “Simpsons did it!”


So when “2 Good 2 Be 4 Real”’s plot was that the men of the bar decide to cheer up Carla by inventing a perfect man for her to correspond with after placing an unpopular personal ad in the local rag, it shook me to the core. Of course, there were differences to this and “Bart the Lover”: the picture the guys used was of some unseen male model found in wallets, and not Gordie Howe. Carla finds out about the deception when Sam feels guilty, while Bart, with some counseling from his family, decides to take the high road and let her down easy by way of a touching letter (spoiler?).

It’s true what Mr. Garrison and Chef say in that South Park episode:

Garrison: Every idea’s been done, Butters, even before The Simpsons.
Chef: Yeah, in fact, that episode was a ripoff of a Twilight Zone episodes.

On Humour as Ideology – A long post about when and why laughter is appropriate and just what comedy is that, naturally, takes off from The Simpsons.

Weekend Words #29: The popcorn incident – Well, what Simpsons quote would you think of for the time you accidentally snorted an un-popped popcorn kernel as a child?:

Moe: Yeah, hey, I’ve got a gift. As a child, I was bitten by the acting bug. Then it burrowed under my skin and laid eggs in my heart. Now those eggs are hatching and I…the feeling is indescribable.
Homer: I know what you mean. Our dog had that.

Perfectly quoted, excellent usage.

How Costco Made And Ruined my Day – Excellent usage:

You could almost say it was a warehouse, but I think the term bewarehouse is more fitting.

Stacks and stacks of products, bigger than your face could be found wherever you turned. I felt like I was in this episode of the Simpsons:

She’s got Barney accidentally decapitating the giant Mrs. Butterworth there, and really, if that’s not Costco, what is?  The actual quote is, “Oh, no, I’ve killed her.  It’s all happening again!”.

Rise of the Novella? – More excellent image usage:

It’s the difference between Monty Python ending a scene abruptly vs. SNL stretching one out to fill up 90 minutes of airtime on a thin week. How many times have authors, plugging away to get to some arbitrary minimum that their traditional publisher demands, felt like Krusty in the Big Ear Family?

A Robo-Desk for Weary Office Workers – Desk goes up:

There’s an old episode of The Simpsons in which Homer lies in a hospital bed while waiting for heart surgery, raising and lowering the bed while saying, “Bed goes up, bed goes down.” That’s the first thing that came to mind when I checked out the Stir Kinetic desk, a “smart” height-adjustable desk with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and a built-in touch screen that aims to get you moving around while you work, instead of just sitting at your desk all day.

Desk goes down.

TV’s longest-running sitcom family, voiced by Dan Castellaneta, Yeardley Smith and other vets, greets new season on ‘The Simpsons’The New York Daily News has a nice little puff piece about the show being on for so long.  There’s nothing terribly new, but I think they need to update their file photo of Jean.  It’s not as out of date as Jasper’s picture when he goes on that date with Mrs. Krabappel, but it’s gotta be fifteen years old.  He’s wearing a tie!  Oh, and at the end there’s this:

With more than 500 episodes to choose from and thousands of hysterical moments — some subtle, most not — it’s impossible to even attempt “The Simpsons” top five jokes. So we’ll just settle for some of our favorites instead.

None of them come from after Season 6, and that comes right after they do the obligatory “it’s still funny!” section. 

“Mountain Dew mouth” rots teeth, costs taxpayers – Excellent usage:

“Blecch! Ew! Sheesh! I’ll take a crab juice,” replied a thirsty Homer Simpson to a vendor’s alternative offer of Mountain Dew. I side with Homer on most issues, including this one.

3D 101/Basics Part 2 – Want to create an illusory but very convincing parking structure in Tapped Out?  Here’s your guide.

Cotton Candy Grapes available in Newton in Newton, Iowa – As usual, life imitates the show:

Marge Simpson once famously said, “Fruit is nature’s candy” in a classic episode of The Simpsons. Little did she know that modern day growers would take those sentiments to heart and thus Cotton Candy Grapes were created.

The grapes were created by the Grapery, a company based out of Bakersfield, Calif., that specializes in unique and high flavor grapes, such as Cotton Candy Grapes.

Fernando Award goes to Nancy Cartwright, the voice of Bart Simpson – Congrats:

Cartwright’s long-running career has provided her the time and financial resources to help others, and on Friday night she was named the 55th recipient of the Fernando Award, considered the Oscar of volunteerism in the San Fernando Valley. She won on her third nomination.

“Wow, thank you so very much,” Cartwright told about 300 people attending the annual award dinner at the Warner Center Marriott. “Bart might say about volunteering, ‘It’s a kick in the butt.’ I am not Bart Simpson. I’m Nancy Cartwright.”

R.I.P. Pillsbury Doughboy – Remembering the gooey little guy with his many pop culture appearances, including The Simpsons and The Critic.

The Simpsons’ secret formula: it’s written by maths geeks – Haven’t read the book, but pretty much all the nice things you can say about math in Zombie Simpsons can be said more about Futurama.

Quenneville used to dislike cutting guys, but now he’s cool with it – You can’t have a headline like that and not mention Homer:

While normally the toughest part of any coach’s job (save Homer Simpson), Joel Quenneville has become more comfortable with the idea of giving someone the axe.

Excellent reference.

REVIEW: “Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play” Pushes The Simpsons Beyond the Apocalypse – A very positive review of the play that agrees with us:

I’m sure it will come as no surprise if we tell you that the 24th season of The Simpsons will not stand the test of time. In fact, if Anne Washburn’s Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play, is any indication, not much will be remembered beyond season six.


Two for the Price of None – And finally, I get to end the way I like, with someone who agrees with us:

And now, we move onto a matter which has also been highly thought of (couldn’t think of the world I was supposed to write down) in the last few years – The Simpsons’ downhill-ism. (Probably not a word, but meh.) In the last few years, the plots have gone downhill and it seems the writers are scraping the bottom of the barrel. Take season 25′s premiere, “Homerland”, to be aired in a few days. Terrorists brainwash Homer Simpson into blowing up the town. Wow. To be honest, without an interesting wraparound, it’s not that exciting.

I’m certainly not looking forward to it.  Tomorrow should be fun, though, so don’t forget to vote at right if you haven’t already.

6 Responses to “Reading Digest: Backhanded Season 25 Preview Edition”

  1. 27 September 2013 at 3:28 pm

    Hey, thanks for quoting me! I’m actually excited for the season premier. I love “Homeland”, and I can’t wait to see “The Simpsons” take on it. Love your blog by the way!

  2. 27 September 2013 at 9:16 pm

    What, no linkage from me? I still referenced the Simpsons all the time this week.

    And what, no reference to The Genesis Tub in that Mountain Dew article? Someone managed to ruin soda for everyone WITHOUT getting shrunk down?

    • 4 Charlie Sweatpants
      28 September 2013 at 8:14 am

      “What, no linkage from me? I still referenced the Simpsons all the time this week.”

      Sorry, WordPress changed the way they do their tags this week, and the new one looked like it wasn’t picking up all the tagged posts. I should have time to look at it more carefully next week.

  3. 5 Jeff
    29 September 2013 at 10:48 am

    Not Simpsons related, but Weird Al makes a comment about recent spoof movies that applies to Zombie Simpsons in this article: http://thedissolve.com/features/compulsory-viewing/173-weird-al-yankovics-vote-for-funniest-movie-ever-to/

    “A parody should be funny even if you’re not familiar with the original source material. That’s one of the big reasons a lot of the more recent spoof movies fail to be funny: They’re really just “reference movies.” “Oh, do you remember this pop-culture thing? Remember this pop-culture thing?” And if you don’t happen to remember that thing, it’s not particularly funny. Top Secret! and the other early ZAZ films were funny without any caveats. Even if you didn’t know specifically what they were lampooning, you still got the joke.”

    I’m guessing that since I have no idea what “Homeland” is, I’m probably not going to get any of the “jokes” in this episode.

  4. 6 Leave it to the Democrats to let the Spaniards back in the pantry.
    29 September 2013 at 4:02 pm

    Hey I love your blog, just found it last week. Question: When, in your opinion did Zombie Simpsons begin? Or to put it another way, when did you stop enjoying the show. I agree it has been hit and miss for a long time, but I have enjoyed many of the episodes from the last 15 years. I particularly enjoyed the protest episodes during the Bush era 2001 – 08, and have enjoyed many of the episodes since the movie, and the conversion to HD. I agree, it is not possible for the creators to match the consistent quality and overall hilarity of the first 8 or so seasons, but I still think it is a good show, and will continue to have something to offer the viewing public until they decide to call it quits (prob not until they reach 30 seasons I am guessing.)

    Thanks keep up the great work.

    PS. Advil, poweraide, and hot dogs will feel great after your season 8 marathon.

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