Reading Digest: Global Calls for Cancellation Edition

The Boy Who Knew Too Much12

“First of all, his accuser is a very shady character.  That waiter, Mr. LaCoste, not only wasn’t born in Springfield, he wasn’t even born in this country!” – Blue Haired Lawyer
“From now on, you tell me everything!” – Lionel Hutz

This week we’ve got two different foreigners calling for the show to be sent to a farm upstate, and both are agreeably brutal towards Zombie Simpsons.  In addition to that, we’ve got reports from that LA art show, the play has expanded its reach again, there’s some excellent fan art, another person’s going to try and watch them all, and more.


Curated by Be Street :: The Unofficial Bootleg Bart Art Show – Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week is this interview with the guy behind that highfalutin art show in Los Angeles.  Groening himself even showed up:

The show also included a 10-foot tall piñata of Bart mooning the crowd, and a 26-foot-long wall on which attendees were able to draw their own Bootleg Bart (Matt Groening even came out and left his mark on the wall). Next month, Be Street will host its first Be Street Weeknd in Los Angeles, and in October, the Bootleg Bart art show will travel to Paris,

And, if they have time, Chicago, Boston and Springfield.

The Simpsons kitchen comes to life in Calgary home – A Canadian couple redid their kitchen to look like 742 Evergreen Terrace, right down to the corn cob curtains.  There’s even video.

A Lifetime of Simpsons – Another person is attempting to watch them all and blog about it:

A combination of the show dipping in quality, and me expanding my horizons to new shows and movies led me to gradually stop watching the show. Where I used to watch the show religiously and tape the episodes each Sunday night, now I would go weeks without catching and episode, then when I would, I’d feel disappointed. I briefly came back when the movie came out in 2007, but by then the spark was gone. In college I met some friends who had similar stories, and we bonded watching the classic seasons together, but once again, the Simpsons faded out of my life.

Now, on the eve of my 26th birthday, I have a plan. I want to reconnect with the show that meant so much to me. So, for the foreseeable future, I’m going to watch every episode of the show. The good, the bad, and the painful. Every week day I’ll be posting my thoughts on the episodes. An episode a day. For 574 days and counting. It’ll be a hell of a journey, but I feel like I owe it to the show that meant so much to me, and honestly shaped me into the man I am today. So please join me as I travel through a Life Time of the Simpsons.

Good luck!  I’d certainly quit after Season 11, but that’s just me.  Right now he’s up to “The Telltale Head“:

As time has gone on, I’ve gotten very comfortable with my atheism, and who knows, the cynicism that the Simpsons always portrays organized religion, may have had something to do with it. When they’re listening to the sermon, they’re always bored, and when they’re in Sunday school they’re miserable. And that’s kind of what I’ve always associated church with. And really, on the rare occasions I have to sit through a sermon now, it’s pretty much the same. But I love church scenes on the show. They’re always so hilarious, especially the Sunday school scenes. And this one was a great one, we get to hear the exasperated Sunday School teacher tell the kids the heaven is only for people (which I always thought was bullshit) and then have to deal with Bart’s ridiculous follow up. I can’t tell if the best Bart question is whether a gangrenous leg that gets amputated goes to heaven, or if a ventriloquist dummy gets to go with the ventriloquist. I also love the defeated teacher asking “is a little blind faith too much to ask?” That pretty sums up my feelings about religion to a tee.

Simpsons part of the ‘Topes family – The story of how Homer and Marge statues came to a baseball stadium in New Mexico:

There, sitting on a couch outside the entrance to Nick Metropolis Collectible Furniture – “the coolest junk yard of weird, cool and collectible stuff you can imagine,” Traub said – were Homer and Marge.

Animation representation – I have no real disagreements with this:

Consider The Simpsons. The award-winning sitcom has some of the biggest brains in the business writing for it and has created some of America’s best comedy. However, with its vast cast of characters, The Simpsons is also able to draw the starkest contrast. A quick scan of Wikipedia’s character page for the show reveals that about 88 recurring characters are male. Female representation trails at approximately 26 recurring characters.

The show was way ahead of its time when it started.  Now?  Not so much.  (via)

Letting Academic Things Go – I would’ve read this:

Kelly J. Baker just posted an article called “Goodbye to All That,” about abandoning her recently-contracted plan to write an academic book on the cultural history of zombies. I have very similar feelings about my work on music in The Simpsons, including my proposed academic book, related possible journal articles, and already-presented conference papers (e.g., 20062013).

Round 1, Battle 40 – (S. 5, Ep. 7) Bart’s Inner Child vs.U (S.9 Ep.20) The Trouble with Trillions – Agreed:

McGonigle flags fly forever. Bart’s Inner Child Moves on.

The story behind that Simpsons street art on downtown Houston’s east side – Sure, it’s a publicity stunt.  But it’s a neat one, and there’s lot of pictures in the slideshow.  (via @DailySimpsons)

5 Fandom Friday: I NEED THESE PETS! – Snowball II makes a list of pets we’d all like to have, along with Stitch and R2D2.

How American culture went nuclear — without us realizing it – Heh:

Back in the 1960s, Weart says, a psychologist gave people a word-association test as part of a study. The tester said “nuclear,” and the subjects answered with words like “bomb,” “laboratory” and “war.” The question was asked again in the 1990s, with subjects repeating many of the same words, except adding a new term: “The Simpsons.”

bort – Fan made zombie Bart with a crow bar, presumably for prying and jimmying.

Crazy Bart Simpson by Alexandrov Oleg – Awesome stylized Bart.  I’d guess that’s steam coming out of his ears (if we’re lucky).

TheaterJones | Q&A: Anne Washburn – The play comes to Texas.

‘Simpsons’ episode drives plot of new play – And Indiana.

LEGO Dimensions: Worlds Feature Trailer – So, Lego pretty much has all of the licenses now, and they would like you to buy them too.

Doug Camilli: Hey Snoop, how are you liking Europe? – I love craptacular:

Last week I told you about Greg Poehler using the term “craptastically” about the brutal ratings that killed his sitcom. Along the way I said he had coined this “memorable, useful new word.”

Not so fast, says reader Amy Lord, who tells me she and her friends have used the word for years.

She added that all this reminded her a classic bit from The Simpsons:

Mrs. Krabappel: “Embiggens? I never heard that word before moving to Spingfield.”

Miss Hoover: “I don’t know why, it’s a perfectly cromulent word.”

And an article at cracked.com claims that “craptacular” – first cousin to craptastic, obviously – is, like cromulent, a Simpsons coinage.

Thanks, Ms. Lord.

The Reason Why Teaching Children to Count Just Got Harder – Excellent usage:

Sylvester Stallone, the creator of the successful Rocky movie franchise has his own unique method of counting to 10, although it’s possibly due to not being able to understand him, or his lack of trying that I haven’t found out exactly how and when we’ll reach ten with his method.

His method goes like this…

Rocky, II, III, IV, V, Balboa, Creed

The Rocky method of counting was noted in the Simpsons episode Lemon of Troy. During a class lesson, Bart’s teacher Mrs Krabappel tries to teach the class Roman Numerals. Her class is disrupted when Nelson announces to the class that something has happened (the Springfield lemon tree had been stolen) yet there was no time to explain.

Summer Camp Shakedown – Kamp Krusty ties for worst camp with the one from a horror movie called Sleepaway Camp that sounds just awesome.

Sexy Marge is Sexy – That’s a very elaborate Marge wig.  Bravo, somebody.

New trending GIF tagged the simpsons simpsons maggie… – Tracy Ullman Maggie belching.

New trending GIF tagged the simpsons simpsons bart… – Bart reacting to the all syrup super Squishee.

New trending GIF tagged the simpsons car pig… – Old Zeke rides up front.

10 Best Season Finales Of A Comedy Series – “Who Shot Mr. Burns? Part One” makes the list at #4.

My 5 Favorite TV Title Sequences – The show comes in #2 to Kimmy Schmidt, which does have a great opening.

‘Simpsons’ Lawsuit From ‘Goodfellas’ Actor Dismissed – Remember that lawsuit that never had any chance?  Now you can go back to never thinking about it.

Here’s why The Simpsons deserves to be cancelled – The first excellent article that agrees with us comes all the way from Ireland, and doesn’t mince words:

What began as an alternative to the mainstream trash – creator Matt Groening’s own words, by the way – has crossed over and become just that. Trash.


In 2001, longtime producer / showrunner Al Jean said that “the hardest thing at this point is just thinking of fresh ideas. People are so on top of things that we’ve done before, so the challenge now is to think of an idea that’s good, but hasn’t been seen.” That’s fourteen years ago. We’ve had fourteen years of tired, hackneyed ideas and couch gags and references to jokes that show a writing team and showrunners who aren’t leading popular culture so much as desperately following it to stay relevant.


How is The Simpsons still on the air? – And now, from Canada:

Today I find The Simpsons virtually unwatchable. It feels baggy and lumpen, stilted with dead air; the characters and locations are recognizable, but put to use in a way that strikes me as closer to fan-fiction than a continuation of a once-beloved thing.

Preach, brother.  Preach.


10 Responses to “Reading Digest: Global Calls for Cancellation Edition”

  1. 1 Name
    7 August 2015 at 5:01 pm

    Funny thing is, in Russia, the show made its debut in 1992-93, and many deemed it unwatchable from the start. I always wanted to write about this and ask Charlie to post it here. But the cultural phenomenon there was so hard during the first years of Soviet rupture that anyone simply seeing The Simpsons run on their screens would already think of them being “funny” as being “foreign”. That kind of mentality kept on until approx 2000.
    Another problem constituted that awful translation. It wasn’t dubbed, it was plain voiceover. Many jokes sounded stupid. Hence the reason, why in Russia The Simpsons were primarily enjoyed by ages 10 to 18, while the young adult trench found it weird and stupid, mostly due to the horrible translation and to being completely unfamiliar with all the quirks of American society.
    So, what I’m initially trying to say, it that in today’s Russia, people don’t really complain about The Simpsons having become Zombie Simpsons. There are opinions (!), but they’re mostly unpopular. The populace either thinks that the show is the same freshness it was in the 1990s, or that it sucks all the same it sucked before (because it isn’t produced by Soyuzmultfilm).
    Anyway, this is just my rant adding to those two above, and also, something I find quite peculiar.

    • 2 The Anti-Stan
      7 August 2015 at 11:23 pm

      Didn’t Russia ban this show because of its Western influence…or was that the Ukraine?

      And if Aqua Teen Hunger Force/Unit Patrol/Something Something You Know Whatever/Forever can end after years of not being relevant, then surely The Simpsons can do the same.

      • 3 Name
        8 August 2015 at 1:44 am

        LOL none of them banned it. But in case you’re wondering, it’s Ukraine that bans everything Russian nowadays (and its citizens are still watching those shows thanks to pirated cable).
        Also, fuck Poroshenko.

  2. 7 August 2015 at 7:54 pm

    Thanks so much for linking to my blog post! Because of you I have my first Canadian reader to my blog! Great site you have here yourself!

  3. 5 RaikoLives
    8 August 2015 at 7:52 am

    The replies to those “Cancel The Simpsons” articles are just the worst. “Other stuff is worse!” “People have been saying this for years!” “It’s just a little airborn. It’s still good, it’s still good!” And most of them are barely even readable, so I’m not surprised they find the show funny. But the best ones are the “you just wrote this as clickbait” ones, who are proving themselves to be worse, since they clicked the clickbait and are now commenting on it, giving it more likelihood of appearing more in the future. I mean, fuck them all, ZS sucks, but the ones who THINK they’re unveiling some Secret Conspiracy when all their doing is perpetuating the system make me really sad.

    They’d all really hate this site. lol

    • 6 Matthew
      9 August 2015 at 2:43 pm

      There aren’t even any straws left to grasp at, so the Hooray For Everything contingent keeps recycling the same talking points from the show’s initial decline:

      —”Other stuff is worse.” Debatable. This may have been true in 1999 when live-action American network TV was at its most dismal, but since then numerous shows have come on the air that have been better than Zombie Simpsons by a wide margin. Almost none of them were on network TV. There is worse stuff on the air, but not that much and not by a lot. Any sitcom, past or present, live-action or animated, that maintains at least a baseline level of competence in writing and acting and has actually funny dialogue is automatically better than ZS.

      —”People have been saying this for years.” That’s because the problems with the show have existed for years and they’ve only gotten worse. Compare any episode from 1991 to a current episode. There is no comparison. The older one is likely to be better, not because it’s older, but because it’s better written, better acted, and a bit more visually interesting as well. Compare the two episodes with Krusty the Klown’s father. In the first one, “Like Father Like Clown” the writers actually consulted Jewish religious texts so Bart and Lisa could debate them with Rabbi Krustofsky. In the second one, “Today I Am A Clown,” where Krusty decides to become a Bar Mitzvah, the writers seemed to consult the same pop culture tropes about American Jews that anyone could have gleamed from a week’s worth of SEINFELD or THE NANNY reruns, plus it has to share air time with the B-plot about Homer hosting a talk show that goes south when he becomes a maudlin mouthpiece for Lisa’s political views.

      —”It’s just a little airborne, it’s still good, it’s still good.” A “defense” based on a quote from 1995. Notice how nobody ever uses Zombie Simpsons quotes to defend Zombie Simpsons? I rest my case.

      —”You just wrote this as clickbait.” Everyone who posted something like that took the bait.

      BTW, a better point of comparison to the zombification of THE SIMPSONS would be THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW, another James L. Brooks production, and a sitcom that actually deserved the accolades it received; the producers voluntarily ended after 7 seasons because they were afraid that what is happening to THE SIMPSONS would happen to them.

      • 7 Sarah J
        9 August 2015 at 10:12 pm

        I hate the “it’s better than other stuff on right now” argument. Cause it’s not. ZS is terrible. Not mediocre, terrible. It’s not just unfunny, every aspect of the writing is bad. I consider The Cleveland Show to be a better program. OH YEAH I WENT THERE

        • 8 Name
          10 August 2015 at 12:12 am

          LOL the reason TCS was even produced is ’cause some Black guy once complained about the lack of Black-oriented “comedy” on the teevee. Now the news became comedy (“White dude shot black people at church”). Hey assholes, don’t want your country being mocked by the rest of the world? Don’t badmouth Russia and don’t meddle your arrogant nose into foreign affairs that don’t regard you. Or Barry will end up being the next Kennedy.

          • 9 Sarah J
            11 August 2015 at 10:13 pm

            I doubt the show was made because black people complained, I think Fox just wanted a show to attract black audiences, and making a spinoff of one of their most popular shows seemed like a safe way to go about it. The show did last for like, five seasons, so I guess it wasn’t a complete ratings failure. It was still a pretty crappy show, I’ve watched some episodes and it seems like nobody working on it gave a crap. Kind of like ZS, but not as insultingly bad.

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