Reading Digest: Still Waiting For Renewal Edition

New Kid on the Block23

“You’ve been flushing for twenty minutes.  Is there a problem?” – Principal Skinner
“Uh, no, Principal Skinner.” – Jimbo Jones
“Very well.  I’ll continue to wait.” – Principal Skinner

As near as anyone can tell, the show remains without an official renewal.  Eika Isabel Vega, who’s been a real good sport about me using her Twitter feed to track the potential death of her job, tweeted this an hour ago:

VegaTweet2My guess is still that it’ll be renewed, but it looks like production is beginning to shut down, so we’ll see what happens.  In regular link news, this week we’ve got some great fan art, the death of DVDs, emoji Simpsons, a look back at when the show knew how to inject culture into its episodes, and more.


11 Minimalist Simpsons Posters – Oh, wow, some of these are outstanding.  And you can download them as wallpapers if you like.

And now for something completely silly – Classic Simpsons quotes told through emojis.  A sample:


There’s a few more at the link.  The dogs with bees in their mouths in inspired.

The Similarities Between Saul Goodman And Lionel Hutz – Pretty much the same guy.

Jerkface – The Donut Mobile – Someone painted a small truck with Homer and donuts.  Excellent.

The Simpsons Outlives DVD Market – Darn, I guess I’ll never get to own all those great Season 18 episodes.  Then I will hug and kiss some poisonous snakes.

No More Simpsons Seasons Released on DVD – Reader John H. sends in this IGN link, with a picture/headline juxtaposition that doesn’t quite convey the sadness the article presumes to be occurring among fans:



Pixar’s Brad Bird Talks French Food, Animated Rats And New Film ‘Tomorrowland’ – Bird was on some NPR show and they gave him a truly dumb Simpsons quiz near the end.  He missed one, but the impression he was supposed to be guessing was terrible.

128th-Final, Round 6: Itchy & Scratchy Land vs. Bart Sells His Soul – That’s a tough one.

11 best uses of bad grammar from The Simpsons – There are about three Zombie Simpsons entries on here, which is three too many considering they left out “perfectly cromulent”, “no more apples in the vending machine please”, and Lionel Hutz not working on contingency.

iOS 8.3 Emoji with ‘Simpsons’ complaints – Definitely a bit of resemblance there.

Locating Springfield, A Simpsons Theory. – Enjoyably pointless.  Heh.

The Simpsons and King Arthur – Ah, for when the show made pointed little cultural insights a habit:

During its second season, The Simpsons aired an episode entitled “Dead Putting Society,” about a miniature-golf match between Bart Simpson and his neighbor Todd. What qualifies this episode as a “medieval afterlife” is the miniature-golf setting itself. On Bart’s first visit, it’s introduced by a sign at the entrance: “Sir Putt-a-Lot’s Merrie Olde Fun Center,” with a cartoon icon of a jousting knight; further attractions listed include “Her Majesty’s Batting Cage” and “Merlin’s Video Dungeon.” The “Merrie Olde Fun Center” itself, shown in the background, is a pseudo-medieval castle, and throughout the episode attentive viewers may catch sight of signs for “Ye Olde” everything: “Ye Olde End of Course,” etc.
I’m always charmed by this episode because these post-medieval features are treated as throwaways: they’re not necessary to the plot, and no one calls attention to them; indeed, the viewer has to slo-mo through the entrance sign if s/he is to appreciate the Fun Center’s features. It’s all just part of the lower-middle-class decor, and thus reflects an important aspect of the medieval Arthurian afterlife in the USA: its association with class aspirations. Everyone has seen a trailer park or motel named “King Arthur’s Court,” and the creators of The Simpsons clearly understood this phenomenon as widespread enough to be satirized for the TV audience.

Welcome to Springfield, U.S.A!!! – Having a few of the Seven Duffs as shrubbery is pretty cool.

My New Favorite Cardigan – One of those Hello Kitty/Simpsons sweaters out in the wild on a real person.  Looking good.

this makes me really want donuts – Animated .gif of Homer in Hell, eating all the donuts in the world.

New trending GIF tagged tv dancing the simpsons… – Homer wants candy.

New trending GIF tagged dancing the simpsons martin… – Finland, let’s see that native dance.

30 Responses to “Reading Digest: Still Waiting For Renewal Edition”

  1. 1 Stan
    10 April 2015 at 6:43 pm

    “Dying DVD market”… Damn, I still own a VHS and don’t give a single fuck.

    • 10 April 2015 at 7:53 pm

      Good news for once and in soviet Russia DVD player own you!! 80’s stand up comedy aside, someone in 50 years from now will see this website and post the exact date the Simpsons died

      • 3 Stan
        10 April 2015 at 9:09 pm

        In Soviet Russia people had to drive 5 km to see a movie. But that was in Soviet Russia. In Soviet Moscow, every 1 out of 10 citizens owned a tape recorder. And every 3 owned a Volga. And there was this store called “Leipzig” when you could buy European goods at European prices although the foreign market economy was nonexistent.
        Then came the 1990s and a broadcasting chain RenTV started airing The Simpsons in Russian. The dubbing cast was terrible, half the original jokes were absent and translation didn’t make sense. But I wasn’t watching them at the time because my mom said “stupid yellow freaks are drawn my Americans and look like them, with stupid American humor”. Actually, I didn’t care much. My favorite cartoons were Sailor Moon and Darkwing Duck. But I’m just saying I remember this time and am very glad to have been just a child back then, because that decade took a very heavy toll on Russia.

        • 10 April 2015 at 9:52 pm

          Wow Stan that is something to think about. I didn’t know that! I am familiar with Russia’s history mainly during Stalin’s years in thanks to Alexander Solzhenitsyn and I think many Russians suffered terribly between Hitler and Stalin as well. I like Darkwing Duck as well and my friend Sam Tysrilin told me how to pronounce Russian names as he is a Russian Jew, now an American.

          • 5 Stan
            11 April 2015 at 1:01 am

            Beware of Solzhenitsyn’s works, some of them are misleading. Solzhenitsyn had a personal account against Stalin because his family was repressed, but that doesn’t mean that every family lived the same fate. I suggest you read Viktor Suvorov’s ‘Icebreaker’ instead, if you want to fully understand the latter years of Stalinist regime.

            • 11 April 2015 at 2:09 pm

              Thanks Stan, will add that to my goodreads list. I consider myself an amateur Historian, social psychologist and such

              Reading about the Holocausts’ in Germany and Russia during WWII is another interest of mine.

              I started reading about Gulags in the book Gulag (2000?) by an American female author. She traveled to Russia but many Russians would either deny, change the subject or not even speak about the Gulags

    • 8 youngandmattproductions
      18 April 2015 at 3:10 am

      Wow. Reading shit like this makes me really glad nobody cares what geeks think.

  2. 9 Joe H
    10 April 2015 at 6:59 pm

    As the rubbercat.net article noted, Matt Groening actually predicted that the series might outlive the the DVD format. Though I’m sure Matt really only wanted the first 10 or so on DVD anyway.

    Though it’s a bit of a misnomer since the format itself is still widely used for new releases. It’s just that Fox doesn’t want to spend the extra money releasing the DVDs anymore.

    Lastly, if my life depended on it, I couldn’t remember a single Season 18 cartoon and I watched all of them.

  3. 11 maztuhmind
    10 April 2015 at 7:19 pm

    I might as well buy the season sets of 15 – 17 to just to have a “complete” set of the series. I personally stopped at season 14 and at least for the past few years, I was kind of wondering if there would be any chance of them stopping the production of them. It really does suck though that this pretty much kills any chances of having pre season 13 episodes on bd.

  4. 10 April 2015 at 8:08 pm

    If they released Blu-Ray versions of the good seasons (restored from the original film elements like CBS did with Star Trek: TNG) a lot of people would buy them. People just don’t want to buy the crappy seasons on any format.

    • 13 Joe H
      10 April 2015 at 10:14 pm

      As luck would have it, all the good seasons were made on film stock.

      The SD ZS episodes that were animated digitally are stuck as SD forever. Fake upconverts are all they can do on those.

      • 14 Matthew
        11 April 2015 at 12:16 am

        A lot of studios are going to end up paying dearly for their short-term cost-cutting if they want to make their catalog available for HD broadcast.

        The credits and some of the visual effects like sparkles were done in post-production. Thus, they would have to go back to the negatives, re-scan them and recreate all the post stuff in HD. This will be profitable in the long-run and it will generate more interest in the show. But it will probably already reinforce what is already consensus by now, and rightly so: the old episodes were better not because they were old, but because they had more believable scripts, funnier jokes, cultural references that serve the plot rather than the other way around, and more fluid animation.

        The DVDs are still the best way to watch the episodes uncut and commercial-free, but on large screens, they reveal the limitations of analog tape.

        • 15 Kevin Martinez
          11 April 2015 at 11:52 am

          It’s not even a given that the film elements on the older seasons even exist anymore. Especially for the Klasky-Csupo era.

          Apparently, FOX is doing new 16: 9 masters for older episodes for SimpsonsWorld, and that entails cropping off the top and bottom of the frame and applying digital noise reduction. I saw a screenshot of it on Facebook, and the result is a waxy image with less visual information than before.

          • 16 Kevin Martinez
            11 April 2015 at 12:14 pm

            And even if the negatives exist, they won’t necessarily have retakes edited in to fix animation mistakes. This was a big problem Rhino had with Transformers and GI Joe.

            Notorious problem episodes like Some Enchanted Evening and When Flanders Failed would likely need a lot of work for HD.

          • 17 Joe H
            11 April 2015 at 4:15 pm

            That’s what’s known as taking the cheap way out. Widescreen cropping + throwing the episodes into a filter? That’s the sort of thing low-rent public domain companies do. Really doesn’t sound like they’re doing anything resembling a true remastering of the series.

            Seems like FX spent so much money acquiring the show, that they didn’t have the budget left over to truly bring the classic seasons remastered in HD.

            Though my point still stands that the SD digital ZS episodes are screwed. All they can to to attempt to pass them off as HD is to do fake upconverting. And cropping because these days TV is apparently unwatchable unless you can fool yourself into thinking the sitcom you’re watching is a movie.

          • 18 Bleeding Gums Murphy
            11 April 2015 at 9:54 pm

            I have heard in a non-Simpsons forum (originaltrilogy.com, which is the best online community for original Star Wars trilogy preservation stuff) that for the FXX marathon FOX just upscaled the digital SD masters they already used for the DVDs, and then they made the cropping (and DNR I guess), so I suppose SimpsonsWorld will use the FXX copies.

            Will the non-Zombie episodes include the DVD extras anyway? Or at least the commentaries?

    • 19 Sarah J
      11 April 2015 at 1:12 am

      Yep. At Half Price Books, I used to always check for Simpsons season DVDs. Used book and movie stores can sometimes be a good way to check the popularity of something, if lots of people own a book or DVD, it’s going to show up more in the store. (for instance, there are always multiple copies of all of the Lord of the Rings movies, and a few years back, you could get a copy of Twilight for two bucks because they had so many) I’ve never seen anything past season 12 in there.

      While purchasing a set, I struck up a conversation with the cashier and he said that Simpson DVDs came in all the time, and when I asked, he also said that they sold out very very quickly. People still have love for the classic episodes. And what’s more, most of the classics aren’t available to purchase digitally. In my current residence, and my parent’s place, the local TV networks that air Simpsons reruns favor episodes from the past few years, so you’re not likely to see classic episodes outside of the ones aired for special events like Halloween or Christmas. (and even then, it doesn’t seem that as many networks do this now)

      Season DVD sets are pretty expensive for most TV shows, at least if you’re buying new. You either have to have lots of disposable income or be a pretty dedicated Zombie Simpsons fan to justify dropping thirty or forty bucks. Considering the ease of illegal streaming, not many people will want to spend that much unless it’s a show they REALLY like.

  5. 21 Stan
    10 April 2015 at 9:18 pm

    I think it’s easier to release them as DLC.

  6. 22 Captain Wacky
    11 April 2015 at 5:08 am

    Does this mean I’ll never get The Boys of Bummer on DVD? :’ (

    • 23 Matthew
      11 April 2015 at 1:12 pm

      Normally I’m up in arms when a TV show gets stalled part of the way on DVD. But if these weren’t worth watching for “free” on network TV, they’re certainly not worth spending money to own. I know there are people who want to own them, but are there enough of them to justify the costs of production? Can they really not even sell enough to justify the costs of feature-free sets like the Season 20 one?

      This and Fox taking their sweet time on deciding whether or not to even keep the damn thing going speaks volumes about how a once-beloved show could crash and burn so badly.

      • 24 Sarah J
        11 April 2015 at 3:07 pm

        Even lots of good shows fail to get DVD releases. I’m rather surprised that ZS was able to get DVD releases for so long.

        And now that we live in the days of digital downloads, home releases just don’t feel necessary unless the show is popular.

        • 25 torbiecat
          11 April 2015 at 6:48 pm

          For example, it took forever for all of “Barney Miller” to be released on DVD. I know this for a fact because I spent years checking in on its status so that I could buy the set as a present for my mother. More often than not, shows that are shitty but well-known get DVD releases over those that are actually good.

          • 26 Sarah J
            12 April 2015 at 4:24 am

            Many older TV shows have a harder time getting DVD (and sometimes streaming) releases. Sometimes the rights to a show may get moved around a lot and no one gets a chance to release a DVD set, or the DVD only has a short run. Sailor Moon has had a lot of problems with home releases in the US (I don’t know about other countries) for a number of reasons. Certain DVDs had short runs, and as a result, can be rare and run you a lot of money.

            Music is a common problem. Prior to DVDs, home media releases weren’t that much of a thing, (a single season of a TV show would require several VHS tapes, taking up lots of space and cost lots of money) so when studios purchased music rights, they only bought the rights to use it on TV airings, not home releases. This kept Daria from being released on DVD for almost ten years after the show ended. Buying the rights to the original music would’ve cost a ton of money, so MTV compromised by releasing the series on DVD with new, generic music put in. A lot of people weren’t really happy about it, but hey, it’s better than not having the show at all.

            And sometimes, the material for a show just no longer exists, or is in too poor shape, in a way that can be released on streams or DVD.

            For a long time, King of the Hill only had up to season 6 on DVD, but stopped, apparently due to low DVD sales. The later seasons only got released in the past few years. It was on Netflix streaming for quite a while, I was disappointed when it left, but Adult Swim plays episodes every night so I won’t complain.

            Pretty much any older show doesn’t have much chance at being released on DVD unless it’s very popular and considered a classic, like Star Trek. Even getting a show on streaming can take a lot of time, effort, and money. The DiC English dub of Sailor Moon that so many fans grew up with is probably doomed to be available only on bootleg streaming and downloads. (one or two movies, and a few of the episodes, got released on VHS)

            Personally I have a fascination with “rare” TV shows and movies. So much stuff that’s lost forever, or mysteriously hidden away. Going back to Sailor Moon, so many fans would like to get their hands on the ToonMakers Sailor Moon pilot that never got released. Everything we know about it is from a two minute clip and a handful of animation cels.

            • 27 torbiecat
              18 April 2015 at 1:18 pm

              Sailor Moon’s a pretty odd licensing and releasing case all around. I actually read the recent international re-release of the older anime series and manga was only permitted because Naoko Takeuchi and Toei Animation had struck a deal with the creation of Sailor Moon Crystal. I knew that Takeuchi didn’t care much for the original anime series and also was displeased with how Mixx/Tokyopop/Stu Levy had handled the first U.S. release of the manga, but I didn’t know that she directly held the rights to the properties and thus prevented the re-release of her materials in the international markets for a number of years.

              And the recent Viz Media releases of Sailor Moon don’t have the DiC and Cloverway dubs as a language option? I thought that they did. I do know that a lot of people aren’t pleased with the video quality of these DVDs, though…

              And that ToonMakers promo of Sailor Moon is odd (and to think that what is available online is a handcam recording of a TV set projection, not a direct rip of the promo). The whole handling of foreign media properties is very interesting subject all-around.

    • 28 Aoifa U. Szeckme
      15 April 2015 at 10:06 pm

      Yes, but that episode sucked, so who cares? Besides, it’s all about digital downloads (legal and otherwise) and streaming on Netflix, Hulu (regular and Plus), Amazon Prime, iTunes, and a bunch of other places these days. Hell, even YouTube is starting to put up a lot of old TV shows and movies (and not just by people who do it for free).

  7. 12 April 2015 at 7:42 am

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