Archive for the 'Living Life to Its Fullest' Category


Ad Hoc Beer Marathon

“Hey, Homer, you busy?” – Lenny
“Yes.” – Homer Simpson

I used to do these with more preparation, but it’s Saturday, I’m sick and tired of being responsible, and my fridge has a lot of beer in it. May the Lord bless and keep the VLC random play function…

The Last Temptation of Homer

– Bart’s parking line prank is one of his best. Especially since the punchline is the psychological frailty of the faculty.

– Look how bored Burns is when Charlie describes the fake emergency exit. He’s not even mad yet, and he’s always kinda mad.

– That plane crashed on his property!

– “Your appearance is comical to me.”

– “Hey, Joey Joe Joe!” Great throwaway joke.

– There’s such wonderful layers to Homer’s “Foul temptress! I’ll bet she thinks Ziggy’s gotten too preachy too!” It’s eleven words, moves the plot, and there’s like three jokes.

– God I miss Phil Hartman. He has one line in this whole episode, and it’s perfect.

– Fucking Season 5, I could write a whole post about almost every scene.

– Stewart callback!

– There’s no way to do the porter’s many sex sounds in text. You can’t even really quote it well. But it’s awesome.

– “Hey, kids, did anyone pray for giant shoes?”

– Simpsons Did It

– I love the immediate and unbridled hostility of the energy convention MC’s “No” when Homer asks if he can get out of dinner with Mindy.

– The ending of this episode is a great example of how the show handled real conflict and emotion with speed and humor. We get right up to Homer thinking he might cheat on Marge with Minday (who’s in the room), which cuts immediately to the reveal that it’s actually Marge in his room, which cuts immediately to her noticing that there’s a turkey behind the bed. On Zombie Simpsons that would take a minute and a half and Homer would explain how he’d been thinking about cheating on her.

Home Sweet Homediddly-Dum-Doodily

– Love the 1960s Batman sound when Marge wraps the sandwiches. #RIPAdamWest

– Count Homer’s test drive would be so much worse on Zombie Simpsons. They’d probably make it a montage instead of just using “gently massages your buttocks” as a punchline.

– “See you in hell, you wingless bloodsuckers!” (Also more great sound effects with the lice squeaking pathetically as they’re incinerated.)

– Stupid baby

– Now that’s a quick sign gag.

– The “turn tape over” gag is a piece of history now.

– “I don’t judge Homer and Marge. That’s for a vengeful God to do.” Maude Flanders was really an awful human being and it made her a great foil for Ned.

– This isn’t the goriest Itchy & Scratchy, but it is one of the most straight up horrifying. “Why? Why? My only son.”

– Homer in front of the judge is hilarious. He actually does love his kids, but way, way less than he’s annoyed by them. His unthinking default is that he doesn’t want to be around them.

– “I want wintergreen!”, “Unflavored for me.”. On a related topic, I’ve been watching “The Handmaid’s Tale” on Mrs. Mad Jon’s Hulu login.

– “Put your garbage in a garbage can, people. I can’t stress that enough.”

– The scene where Bart and Lisa watch the Flandereses put Maggie to bed is another example of how ruthlessly efficient the storytelling used to be. It sets up Maggie as the one Simpson who might like it next door, has several jokes, and shows us how much Bart and Lisa both hate it there and miss home. It takes like ten seconds.

– The Vulgate of Saint Jerome! That’s The Simpsons, an obscure, fourth century bible translation as a punchline.

– “Ned, have you thought about one of the other major religions? They’re all pretty much the same.”

– More great storytelling, the way Maggie instantly bails on the pond soaked Homer, Bart, and Lisa for the Flandereses, only turning aside when Marge shows up. It’s perfectly in character and fast.


In Marge We Trust

– Late 90s French nuclear weapons test were a gift from God to the Simpsons writers room

– “In that case, he should’ve made the week an hour longer. Lousy God.”

– As someone who spent far too many weekend hours in un-air conditioned churches, I really identify with Lovejoy’s constancy sermon.

– “No, no, I don’t feel like going to a trash pile today.”
“It’s your life.”

– Season 8 isn’t the first time we see A and B plots that are completely unrelated, but it does seem like where it becomes kinda standard.

– “Do you know thanks to you I’ve rediscovered a form of shame that’s gone unused for 700 years?”

– Lovejoy’s decades long irritation with Flanders is a pretty solid foundation for an episode. “I think I may be coveting my own wife.”

– “Hi, it’s me again. I got another problem. This one’s about my cat.”

– Great fourth wall joke with Marge insisting that nobody is watching them right now.

– Gotta love the librarian as Homer starts clearly dialing Japan.

– I don’t know if “You’re just lucky God isn’t here” is a George Meyer line, but it feels like one.


– “Awesome power”

– I love Season 8, but it has a bad tic of weird endings, the ape fight in this one definitely included. (See also: fan man, phony kidnapping, rocket house, The Eliminator…)

– “She taught me that there’s more to being a minister than not caring about people.”

– And then it ends on a much more entertaining, but completely a-religious sermon. It’s the little things that make this show so rewatchable. (Eat me, spellcheck, “rewatchable” is too a word.)


The Springfield Connection

– Upper lower middle class types. Heh.

– “You’re giving three card monty a bad name!”, mumbled punchlines are a great way to say something really stupid and make it even funnier than it otherwise would be. The finger thing means the taxes.

– Homer just assuming Marge is a hysterical woman saved by the police is typical of how the show made fun of sexism without getting preachy like Ziggy. At it’s most basic, sexism is stupid, and Homer is it’s perfect unthinking adherent. Look at her face here!

– Ditto the cops laughing when she says she wants to be a police officer.

– “Forget about the badge, when do we get the freakin’ guns?!”

– I think I mentioned this on the Season 6 beer marathon, but I’ve never been able to get those Magic Eye things to work.

– I watched Zootopia recently. Great movie co-directed by Simpsons alum Rich Moore. The police briefing scene there is a lot like the one here. I mean, police briefing scenes are pretty well trod ground (and this whole thing is a Hill Street Blues parody), but the way the jokes flow is very similar here.

– “This padding’s so easy on the knuckles, I could punch all day.”

– Homer and the police tape. It builds and builds and builds right up to Flanders nearly cracking as Homer wallows in his own crapulence.

– The extremely bleak politics of the show shines through when Lisa asks Marge about the police enforcing the status quo for the wealthy elite. That’s “woke”.

– Love the light flicker after Moleman gets executed.

– Poor Antoine Bugelboy

– Homer’s reflexive sexism pops up again when he tells Herman to “leave the girl out of this!”.

– The show even sneaks in a quick parody of the end of all those detective and mystery shows when Homer asks Marge how she figured it out.


Brush With Greatness

– Minor point, but Bart and Lisa holding hands about what a “great week” it’s been is pitch perfect in the way networks/channels try and get people to believe they were there for something.

– I wanna go to Mount Splashmore. Take me take me take me take me now! Now! Now! Now! Now! Now!

– Another wonderful Homer moment when his first reaction to Marge’s heartfelt tale of quitting painting and going to art class is, “Do I have to do anything?”.

– Only 35 calories . . .

– Jon Lovitz never had a Troy McClure or Lionel Hutz, but he was one of the greatest recurring guest stars. He nailed every voice.

– Case in point: “Marge, please, I don’t take praise very well!”

– “And as the wife of an employee she’ll be easily intimidated.”

– Carl with Lenny’s voice, ah, Season 2.

– Ringo on “Gear!”, remember when the show gave celebrities fun things to say?

– “Thank goodness. Another day in this suburban nightmare and I would’ve needed half a white Valium.”

– Marge’s brief painting montage is another little moment of character display. We see her painting, but we also see 1) the whole family watching, then 2) only Lisa and Maggie watching (and Lisa yawns), and finally 3) just Maggie there, asleep in the background.

– He’s no art critic, but he knows what he hates.


Season 8 Marathon: 9h:31m:19s

Homer vs. The 18th Amendment8

“Listen, rummy, I’m going to say it plain and simple: where’d you pinch the hooch?  Is some blind tiger jerking suds on the side?” – Rex Banner
“Yes?” – Barney Gumble

Good morning and welcome to the Season 8 Simpsons-Beer Marathon.  Thanks to everyone who voted, because I do love me some Season 8 and this is going to be a lot of fun.  As with previous marathons, I’ll be pausing or reversing a little to get a quote right or take a screen grab, but I won’t be touching the fast-forward button, even for credits and openings.  This is also the first time I’ve done this since the demise of my beloved old laptop, so we’ll see if this new fangled fancy one (Snowball II) is up to the task of its predecessor. 

The comment section is open and the plan is to put a few things on Twitter as well (the kids seem to like that), but I’ll be busy and drunk, so don’t be miffed when I don’t respond with anything but further updates.  And so, acknowledging that an episode about excessive drunkenness is waiting for me eighteen beers ahead at around 3pm, let’s get going.

1. Treehouse of Horror VII

  • Treehouse of Horror VII7
  • I would read Homer’s autobiography.
  • Gotta love the misdirection of them hiding in the closet instead of the vases.
  • “So we did the only humane thing.”  “We chained Hugo up in the attic like an animal and fed him a bucket of fish heads once a week.”  “It saved our marriage!”
  • It’s the second smack on the head that really makes the pigeon-rat.
  • The narrative economy of the Halloween episodes is amazing.  The Hugo segment has time for a full backstory and a twist ending, and it doesn’t get in the way of the jokes.
  • “Mold! That’s science fair paydirt.”  Yup. 
  • Smith’s grumbling delivery about the waffle iron being “in the shop forever” is why she’s so good.  It’s sincere and silly all at the same time.
  • The animation when the ships fly out and attack Bart is great, especially that one that flies through his ears.
  • He lives in the Clark building.  Heh.
  • The tiny, super brief and clever references, like the woman with her baby as the little people run from Bart or the way the alien claw behaves like one of those crappy games when it picks Homer up, are what we won’t be getting next Sunday with Zombie Simpsons.
  • “Oh my God, space aliens!  Don’t eat me!  I have a wife and kids, eat them!” – Homer Simpson
  • Phil Hartman’s Clinton is the best Presidential imitation that ever came out of SNL, including Ferrell’s Bush the Younger and Carvey’s Bush the Elder.
  • That’s right, the DNC rides around in a cargo van, what of it?
  • Only The Simpsons could have a campaign satire where the sitting President and his challenger both show their butts, right before being killed.

2. You Only Move Twice

  • You don’t need me to tell you how great this episode is, but what I maybe love most about it is the simplicity of the concept.  The entire thing, right from the start with the job offer and benefits, is predicted on a Bond villain who cares about his henchmen.  That’s it.  If there’s one thing that unifies all Bond villains it is a complete disregard for their underlings, so they came up with a perfectly plausible Bond villain and made him the most employee friendly boss ever.  The word “genius” gets used way too much these days, but that is stone cold genius. 
  • The Simpson family: early pioneers of jingle mail.
  • Never before has the enormity and majesty of Redwoods been described so poetically. 
  • Other Simpson innovations: robot vacuum cleaner.
  • And even though Scorpio is the best boss ever: he’s still a jerk who doesn’t want you to call him the boss. 
  • “Matter of fact, I didn’t even give you my coat!”
  • You Only Move Twice11 
  • Albert Brooks is just amazing here.  Everything he says is quotable.  (And his reprise of this role was – by far – the best thing about the movie.)
  • Anyone besides me ever notice the slight nasal note to Bart’s voice when he talks about cursive?  Did he have the allergies in an earlier draft of the script or something?
  • Oh, the kids in the Leg Up Program.
  • I use “case of the sposedas” all the time.
  • Someday I want to open a hammock store called Put Your Butt There.
  • Nobody every says Italy.
  • The animation for Lisa’s allergies and the chipmunk is just phenomenal.
  • I don’t remember precisely, but I laughed so hard I may have peed a little when Homer tackles Bund and they do what no Bond villain ever does and just shoot him. 
  • Kill it with fire!
  • And, because this episode wasn’t awesome enough already, we get the song at the end.

3. The Homer They Fall

  • Weren’t there three Indians last year?
  • “A fat, sarcastic Star Trek fan, you must be a devil with the ladies.”  And you know they know their Trek because Comic Book Guy calls it “illogical”. 
  • The Homer They Fall5 
  • I’m gonna regret it around 5pm when I’m courting a genuinely unhealthy BAC, but so far I’m glad you guys made me include this one.  I’m also gonna regret it during the fight at the end, but the first 2/3 of this one are fantastic.
  • “That’s what we get for living in a state founded by circus freaks.”
  • It’s not just a surgical 2×4, it’s a sterile surgical 2×4.
  • All hobos must have bindles, it is Simpsons law.
  • Paul Winfield’s Don King take has everything: gibberish, fake dignity, completely amoral deal making. 
  • Tasteful Attire Prohibited
  • The fake tension at the end drags this out and makes it feel so much longer than it is.  It just keeps going . . . and then there’s the oddity of Moe with the fan . . . and then everyone they just left is waiting for them outside.  As many great things as this episode has, the end is a terrible preview of Zombie Simpsons.
  • “Due to popular demand, we will forego our national anthem.”

4. Burns, Baby Burns

  • Just like the previous one, the first two acts here are very solid before everything goes to hell.  This was about when people I knew, both kids and adults, really started to bitch about the decline in quality.
  • Homer’s brain leaving Flanders’ cider lecture is perfect, right up to and including his nodding and collapse.
  • Burns, Baby Burns3 
  • This episode did give us “keen on Jesus”, though, and for that I am very grateful.
  • Dangerfield at the snooty cotillion (or whatever) is his best part here.  Very Caddyshack
  • Gotta love the deadpan from the Yale guy on “Semper Fudge”.  All credit to Azaria.
  • I really need a “Gone Drinkin” sign.
  • No regard or esteem.
  • Oh, shit, here we go with the phony kidnapping.
  • The little points, like Too Many Grandmas, Brockman in the chopper, and the theoretical deaths of Homer are good, but this and the heavyweight fight are the kind of filler with which we’ve become all too familiar.
  • “It doesn’t have to make sense.” It used to.

5. Bart After Dark

  • Ah, the V-chip.  It was stupid at the time and is even stupider in hindsight.
  • More great delivery from Smith, “Playing on my peach tree, Mom!”
  • “Cat in the furnace.”  “You know, I think I’ll take Maggie.”
  • I would pay to see the World Series of Bumper Cars, and I would pay a lot to see it in a European ballroom.
  • And speaking of great deliveries: Cartwright as Bart laughs at his impending death.
  • “Are you wearing a grocery bag?” “I have misplaced my pants.”
  • Bart After Dark1 
  • Yet more great delivery, that little yip Castellaneta does when Grampa sees Bart as he walks in and turns around. 
  • “Not pictured, Mrs. Eisenhower.”
  • Ha, never noticed Swartzwelder in the audience when Homer shows up at the, uh, back house before.
  • Among the many, many reasons it sucked when they killed Maude: her, Flanders and the Lovejoys were great as the resident squares (here as the Citizens Committee on Moral Hygiene).
  • Eugene and Rusty are just perfect.
  • Even with his eyes blacked out, it’s great how sad and dejected Smithers is in that photo of him leaving. 
  • And then Grampa and Jasper vote because it isn’t the bordello.  It’s the little things.
  • There’s no way to name a best song from The Simpsons (or even in Season 8), but The Spring in Springfield is one for the ages.  It’s got all the characters in character and it’s funny as hell to boot.

6. A Milhouse Divided

  • Homer is reading Hot Lotto Picks magazine.  This show hated many things, but it really hated the lottery.  (And with good cause!)
  • If I could make .gifs easily while I’m drinking and watching TV, I would make one of Maggie in the non-stick wok.
  • “The only thing I asked you to do for this party was put on clothes, and you didn’t do it.”
  • A Milhouse Divided12 
  • Table Time and Allied Biscuit!  I’d love to know what other things they had before they settled on those. 
  • Casa Nova: A Transitional Place for Singles
  • “I don’t recall saying good luck.”
  • Kirk sets the bar for pathetic divorcees.  The apartment (race car bed included), the clothes (with gold chain), and Starla, it’s a masterpiece of male failure.
  • Yeardley Smith has a lot of great Lisa deliveries, but her deadpan, as in “buns in the cabinet”, is maybe the one with the most depth.  She’s an 8-year-old who has seen it all, and it wouldn’t work without that mix of resignation, contempt and pity.
  • This episode is nigh flawless, but you can already see the absence of Doris Grau with the clerk who files Homer for divorce.  It’s funny, but it’s not Grau. 
  • “Poorness is underlined.”
  • Man there are a lot of good songs in this season.  There’s already been “Spring in Springfield”, now we get “Can I Borrow a Feeling” and we’re still a ways away from the Shary Bobbins episode.

7. Lisa’s Date with Density

  • Great reversal with Kearney yelling at those punk school officials messing with his car.
  • “A Jolly Rancher is not a sprinkle, sir.  Perhaps in Shangri-la they are, but not here!”
  • Lisa's Date with Density12 
  • Jimbo has a chain mace in his locker.
  • “But you’re going to annoy thousands of people just to make a few measly dollars.” – Replace thousands with millions and you’ve got Zombie Simpsons.
  • Nobody likes Milhouse!
  • Milhouse has always been pathetic, but he really takes it to a new level here.  Especially once they pack his ears with gauze.
  • My high school girlfriend once told me how she had to cringe her way through the part where Lisa tries to impress Nelson with the cat.  There really is nothing quite as deeply horrifying as noob romantic fumblings.
  • Nuke the Whales is funny, the look on the whales faces is funnier.
  • “You kissed a girl!” “That is so gay!” – As usual, the show was ahead of the times.
  • I gotta start using “assbutt” more often.
  • That is exactly the kind of dog Milhouse would have.

8. Hurricane Neddy

  • Fire?  Earthquake?  Hippies?
  • Attention to detail: when the National Guard guy gets Grampa to evacuate the nursing home, he does a perfect heel turn.
  • Topwise!  Always topwise.
  • Gotta love not only a town that has a harpsichord store, but one that is destroyed in a hurricane.
  • If you’re going to have a business teetering precariously on top of a mountain, it might as well be a bowling alley.
  • Most textual Biblical scholars do believe that Job was right handed.
  • Short answer, long answer.
  • “You ugly, hate filled man!” “Hey, hey, I may be ugly and hate filled but I, um, . . . what was the third things you said?”
  • Hurricane Neddy10 
  • “Most of those books haven’t been discredited yet!”
  • Poor Jay Sherman.  Got his show cancelled and ended up at Calmwood.
  • “I engaged in intercourse with your spouse or significant other . . . now that’s psychiatry!”
  • The little mono-blink from Flanders at the end is a nice touch.

9. El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer (The Mysterious Voyage of Homer)

  • I have completely copied Marge’s pronunciation of oregano.
  • Jungle primeval.
  • Homer’s insanity pepper trip is one of the most gorgeous things they ever put pen to paper for. 
  • There should be a .gif of the tortoise nodding in the dictionary next to “smug”.
  • If you’re gonna have a drug induced space coyote, it couldn’t be anyone but Johnny Cash, a man who knew from drugs and had a voice for the ages. 
  • “And I bet that crazy pyramid was just the pro shop.”
  • El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer11
  • So I says to Mabel, I says . . .
  • “I’m a lonely insignificant speck on a half bit planet orbited by a cold, indifferent sun.”
  • Aye, the hot pants.

10. The Springfield Files

  • No one is going to catch Takei for Trek Veteran Who Best Understands 21st Century Pop Culture, but Nimoy is uncontested in second place. 
  • Hey, I’m on the same beer number that Homer was! 
  • Let’s all take a moment to enjoy Mulder’s man-thong ID photo.
  • “His jiggling is almost hypnotic.” “Yes, it’s like a lava lamp.”
  • The Springfield Files12 
  • Tibetan numerologists of Appalachia!
  • “Now, son, you don’t want to drink beer.  That’s for daddies and kids with fake IDs.”
  • For those of you too young to remember some of the lowlights of Nimoy’s TV career, this was a thing.  TV was really awful back then.  This shit was rerun on cable well into the 1990s.
  • The green glow, both on Burns and on the rest of them looks great. 

11. The Twisted World of Marge Simpson

  • When are the pancakes coming in the mail?
  • That Moon money is mine!
  • “Scientists say 40% of America’s pictures are hanging crooked.”
  • Gotta love the Travolta painting behind Disco Stu, who is doing his people’s native dance.
  • I don’t know if it’s real words or just mumbling, but the chef’s bitching as the franchise lady closes the window on him is hilarious.
  • Can’t beat Jack Lemmon’s disgusted but professional delivery on “check for millipedes”. 
  • More easy usage: “shoulda but didna”.
  • “And here come the pretzels!”
  • “A barrage of pretzels now knocking Whitey unconscious.”
  • The Twisted World of Marge Simpson9 
  • Only Fat Tony’s mob would leave the Girl Scouts out at the county line.
  • What husband wouldn’t reach out to violent mobsters?
  • Mantegna’s pretzel money speech also has it all: threats of violence, domestic tension, and good, old fashioned extortion.  Also: “C’mere you little squirt.”
  • Forgiveness please.

12. Mountain of Madness

  • Not only does Homer barricade the door so no one else can get out, but later all the windows are broken, the wall is smashed, and yet Homer’s blocked door is intact.
  • All the points to Azaria for the park ranger.  It’s Adam West-y when he says “Budget cutbacks have forced us to eliminate anything the least bit entertaining.”
  • “If you can take advantage of a situation in some way, it’s your duty as an American to do it.”
  • Marge has such wonderfully insane earmuffs.
  • “From the mightiest pharaoh to the lowliest peasant, who doesn’t enjoy a good sit?” – Shearer’s so good at Burns that you almost don’t notice it because the excellence is utterly consistent. 
  • Humor the children.  Ouch.
  • “Something’s wrong with it’s brakes.”
  • Mountain of Madness3 
  • No one ever learns anything about teamwork, which is why that glum, collective “Yes” when Burns asks is so good.

13. Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(Annoyed Grunt)cious

  • Not only are Carl and Apu Confederates in the re-enactment society, but Barney(!) is Abe.  Awesome.
  • “I hide a bottle of Schnapps in the baby’s crib.”
  • Is it a minor animation goof on “anyone but him” in the first song where Bart and Lisa start pointing before they get to that line, or am I just missing something?
  • Text can’t do it justice; Willie’s Flashdance is beyond description.
  • I watched a documentary about the Sherman brothers, who composed many of the classic Disney songs, and they used to play “Feed the Birds” for Walt Disney all the time.  He’d just walk into their office and ask them to “play the song”.  The Simpson version may be the most touching thing about destructive alcoholism ever put to music.
  • Between the animation and Maggie Roswell, original creation Shary Bobbins is one of the best parodies ever.
  • If you’re going to end a satire of a movie about magic and fun competing in a technological age, why not have the hero sucked into an airplane engine and diced into confetti? 

14. The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show

  • This episode may be about crappy Itchy & Scratchy, but it does have some great I&S moments.  Pouring gasoline into the disemboweled intestines of a cat dangling over an active volcano, case in point.
  • Focus groups: significant to idiots.
  • “Please refrain from tasting the knob.”  Dirty.
  • To this day I try never to use the word ‘paradigm’.
  • Homer’s tryout for Poochie is a tour-de-force from Castellaneta. 
  • “Very few cartoons are broadcast live.  It’s a terrible strain on the animator’s wrist.”
  • “Rest assured that I was on the internet within minutes registering my disgust throughout the world.”
  •  The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show8
  • Alex Rocco doesn’t even get a line when he gets frustrated that the actors won’t read Poochie’s death line, but his wretched wails of frustration say plenty. 
  • The sworn affidavit is on a scroll!
  • So long, Roy.
  • What else is on?

15. Homer’s Phobia

  • Bart would have the presence of mind to put a legal disclaimer on the back of a ticket for a lottery he’s running out of a dryer.
  • John Waters!  John Waters!  John Waters!
  • John is a ho-mo-sexual!
  • “I like my beer cold, my TV loud, and my homosexuals flaming!”
  • Homer's Enemy12 
  • Castellaneta’s delivery on “I don’t know” at The Anvil should be in the Smithsonian or something.
  • “Just my bones and organs.”
  • Keep reaching for that rainbow!

16. Brother from Another Series

  • “He explained his reasons for trying to kill us all, and I assure you: they were perfectly sane.”
  • Brother From Another Series7 
  • Nice dissolve from Cecil’s flashback back to his face at dinner with his brother.
  • Why The Simpsons is The Simpsons: there’s a great joke about a dead dog (the old smell hound).  Dead dogs are comedy poison, and they pulled it off.
  • Nice animation/music/directing when Bob and the kids slide into the grate.
  • Brother From Another Series8 
  • “I think I wet my bed.”

17. My Sister, My Sitter

  • Allied tradespeople.  Heh.
  • They make no sense out of context, but both Quimby’s “Stop you idiot” and Homer’s “I was once like you” fit perfectly where they are.
  • “Hey, this isn’t faux dive, this is a dive.” “You’re a long way from home, yuppie boy.  I’ll start a tab.”
  • My Sister, My Sitter10 
  • Hey look, it’s the NASA guy who doesn’t have to give Lisa the amnesia shot for seeing a UFO.
  • Everyone in the waiting room at the ghetto clinic is great: Snake with his lies, Smithers with his shame, and, of course, the nurse who just doesn’t care.
  • The end of this episode is way too serious, but there is Maggie’s innocent wave when the adults finally discover Lisa.
  • And we end on the perpetual desperation of parents for babysitting, because if there’s one thing that’s worth risking your children for, it’s getting away from them.

18. Homer vs. the 18th Amendment

  • Cheapskates.
  • “Everybody, everybody get naked!  Come on, don’t be stuck up, it’s going to be great!”
  • “Ladies, please, all our Founding Fathers, astronauts, and World Series heroes have been either drunk or on cocaine.”
  • It’s so great that Bernice is a drunk and Hibbert doesn’t even know.  I wonder if Phylicia Rashad drank.
  • Dave Thomas, who did the voice for Rex Banner, doesn’t get near enough credit.  He was also on Oakley and Weinstein’s Mission Hill and he was Doug McKenzie.  Thanks again, Canada.
  • I’d like a bathtub mint julep.
  • “Go to your room, Lisa!” – Homer, Marge & Bart Simpson
  • “Hey, Banner, how’s it hanging?” “None of your business.”
  • It’s true, if there’s one group of people who don’t know what laughter sounds like, it’s vice squad killjoys who are against fun.
  • “On behalf of the city, I’d like to apologize and ask how long it will take for you to flood this town with booze again?”
  • Here it is: “To alcohol, the cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems!”.
  •  Homer vs Lisa and the 8th Commandment12

19. Grade School Confidential

  • I don’t remember Nixon, but my Dad can’t let go of “let me say this about that”.
  • “Is this how you imagined your life, Edna?” “Well, yes, but then, I was a very depressed child.”
  • What kind of total horror must it be to get puke out of a bouncy castle?  Well done, Milhouse.
  • Good lesson.
  • Nice callback to have Skinner humming Beethoven when he calls Bart to give Krabappel the note.
  • Agnes forcing Bart to look at her cake book would be bad enough on its own.  It’s so much worse because by Season 8 we all know that if there is one group for which this show has zero pity, it’s old people.
  • “Willie hears ya, Willie don’t care.”
  • Grade School Confidential10 
  • But I am a public servant and not permitted to use my own judgment in any way.
  • Sex Cauldron!
  • Long before there was the 40-year-old virgin, there was Skinner.

20. The Canine Mutiny

  • It isn’t even spoken, but “Covet House” is basically Sky Mall except with more taste and discretion.
  • You a winner, ha ha ha!  You a winner, ha ha ha!  You a winner, ha ha ha! 
  • I have won so many truth telling contests two towns over that I barely remember them all.
  • Why did Milhouse have the bowl?
  • Yup, the Taco Bell dog is among those who get shoveled into the ship’s furnace with Santa’s Little Helper.
  • Be sure: Baby Gerald not only kills butterflies, but he also blinks one eye at a time.
  • “There, there, shut up boy.”
  • The Canine Mutiny9 
  • He un-holied the holy water!
  • Cops who like weed?  Once again, The Simpsons was way ahead of the times.
  • Jammin

21. The Old Man and the Lisa

  • Are there any real questions? 
  • “We collected enough paper to save one whole tree.”
  • The Old Man and the Lisa11 
  • “And I’m sure a pro wrestler such as yourself will appreciate all the closet space, Hit Man.”
  • Yeah, those dairy cases are death traps.
  • “We’re not allowed to read newspapers, they angry up the blood.”
  • Burns multi-movie montage with Lisa is already smart as hell, and then they end it with a doorbell ding-dong that fits the music. Jebus, this show cared about the little things.
  • The local news is and always has been a vicious little creature, and they knew it when they wrote lines like Brockman taunting Burns about smelling terrible.
  • There’s such a comedy viciousness to the spikes, blades and other industrial dismemberment tools in Burns’ new plant.  Horror can be funny.
  • Code Blue

22. In Marge We Trust

  • Lousy God, should’ve made the week an hour longer.
  • “I don’t feel like going to a trash pile today.” “It’s your life.”
  • Contestant for greatest Flanders quote ever: “I’m meek, but I could probably stand to be meeker.”  And, of course, it’s better because Harry Shearer.
  • “That’s ridiculous, nobody is watching us right now.”
  • Gotta love the timid yet horrified look on the librarian’s face when Homer starts dialing.
  • “Hello Chief, let’s talk, why not?”
  • Eleutherius Nicomedia is almost wearing a Captain Picard suit.
  • Home prefecture.  I could type more, but why?
  • “Come on, kids, let’s go home.” “We are home.” “That was fast.”
  • The end of this episode is awful dumb, but it doesn’t drag like the boxing one or the Dangerfield one.  There’s some useless danger tension, but it takes less time and there’s much less of it. 
  • Also, we get Lovejoy telling the “heathen baboons” to say their prayers. 

23. Homer’s Enemy

  • In the context of this show it barely qualifies as a joke, but Brockman’s Horatio Alger enthusiasm for the doomed Grimes is really mean.
  • And then he gets shelved by Burns on his first day.
  • If you’re going to murder an otherwise sympathetic guy, you could just do it, or you can make him a real person by doing things like make him always wipe his palm on his pants before he shakes hands.  The pitch black conclusion works better that way.
  • Grimes also does the one eyed blink; they really liked that in this season.
  • Another nice callback, with Lenny talking about pencils and erasers.
  • And great rotating animation as Grimes is at his desk plotting Homer’s demise.
  • Yeah, and Homer beat their brains out.

24. The Simpsons Spin-off Showcase

  • Want to make fun of and reinforce dumb TV conventions?  The head turn on McClure at “spinoff” .
  • “Daddy, these rubber pants are hot.” “You wear ‘em until you learn, son.”
  • You want 80s cop show verisimilitude?  It’s Wiggum kicking the airboat guy into the water for no reason. 
  • This may just be my innate hatred of laughtracks talking, but the hoots, hollers and laughs of fake laughtracks like this always get me.
  • “I’ve suffered so long, why can’t I die?” – This counts as hopeful on this show.  It’s great.
  • “Daisy Daisy” from broken Grampa has to rank as one of this show’s subtler Kubrick references.
  • “As you may have guessed, it’s inhabited by the ghost of my friend’s dead father.”
  • “He’s haunted” – a nice little sotto voce joke from Moe at the end.
  • McClure’s remote sparkles before he puts on the variety show.
  • “Preppy blonde and stunning”, if you’re going to pretend to ditch Lisa, that’s how it’s gotta go.
  • “Well, I know one thing in this world that’s still pure and good.” “Christian love?” “No.  Candy!”
  • The whole Osmond thing is a nice preview of what they were going for three seasons later in “Behind the Laughter”:  Death by pop culture cheese.

25. The Secret War of Lisa Simpson

  • Not only is Wiggum incompetent, but his brakes squeak like hell because he isn’t the hero Springfield needs, but he is the one they deserve right now.
  • There are always behavior modifying drugs. 
  • I don’t know how deliberate it was, but casting the good sergeant from Platoon as the commandant and making him bang his shin on someone’s foot locker is funny as hell.
  • “A challenge I could do!”
  • “That’s more cursing than I like to hear from a cadet in peacetime.”
  • And that’s it.  You may or may not have noticed a slowdown in updates for the last few episodes, but I can assure you that it was entirely alcohol based. 

Thanks for reading, I’m gonna go take a nap.  Season 8 is wonderful, and while Zombie Simpsons lurks in many of its moments, it wasn’t there then; and Scorpio, Belle and Rex Banner can’t be any better than they are, so we win. 


Idiot to Damage Perfectly Good Liver For Your Amusement Again [Updated Thursday]

Liver Escape

“I just got a bunch of fruity Easter eggs.” – Kearney
“Eww, another liver transplant!” – Dolph
“Oh, no, not again! . . . You’re not getting away that easy, little fella.” – Barney Gumble

It’s been almost a year since the last time I sat down for an extended Simpsons-Beer marathon, and it’s about time I did so again.  Having already done every Season through 7, it’s time I got to the last two single digit Seasons: 8 and 9.  As we’ve done in the past, there is now a poll in the sidebar at right so you can vote on which season I get to watch.  Voting will be closed at 9pm Eastern (US) time on Friday.

As with previous marathons, I will watch the season from start to finish, drinking one beer per episode.  I’ll start at 8:00am Eastern time, and drunkenly finish up around 5:00pm.  (The episodes total about 8h:30m, plus pauses for typing and bathroom breaks.)  While I reserve the right to pause or reverse a little to get a screen grab or a quote, the fast forward button absolutely, positively will not be pressed.

When I did the Season 7 marathon, I didn’t include “Marge Be Not Proud” because these are supposed to be about relaxing and just enjoying the show, and I find “Marge Be Not Proud” to be far from enjoyable.  In that vein, I’ll also be skipping two episodes on Saturday, regardless of which season gets chosen.  If it’s Season 8, I’m going to pass over “The Homer They Fall” and “Burns, Baby Burns”; if it’s Season 9, I’ll excise “The Principal and the Pauper” (obviously) and “Lost Our Lisa”.

Season 25 is just four days away.  If one thing can fortify me for another year of forgettable mediocrity, it’ll be revisiting a year that was neither.

[Update 26 September 9:00pm EDT:  I’ve been taking some well justified flack in the comments for wussing out on not doing the entire season.  Having given it some thought, I can’t come up with a good counterargument, so, point taken.  Season 8’s well ahead at the moment, which means that Larry and Lucius are back on Saturday morning’s course.  I left them off because they are the only episodes in Season 8 that I rarely ever watch, but plenty of you seemed surprised by my choices, so maybe that’s just me.  Besides, I actually like both of them better than “Marge Be Not Proud”, so screw it.  And, yes, if Season 9 stages a comeback, I’ll do both Tamzarian and Risk Homer.] 


Season 7 Marathon: 25 Episodes, 25 beers, 9h:32m:18s


“Anyway, get ready beer belly, we’re gonna show Springfield what we’re made of!” – Homer Simpson

Good morning and welcome to the seventh and final Simpsons-Beer Marathon.  Today I get to spend my whole Saturday watching Season 7, and it is going to be awesome.  As with previous marathons, I will be using the pause and reverse buttons to get a quote down or take a screen grab, but the fast-forward button is strictly verboten.  Since I was way too drunk by the end of the Season 6 marathon (I blame Dave) to comment intelligently on “Who Shot Mr. Burns?”, I’m going to start with Part 1 instead of Part 2.  And with that, let’s get going.

1. Who Shot Mr. Burns? (Part One)

  • “Ah, poor fellow, crushed by his own water bottle.”
  • I really need to start using the word “dunderpate”.
  • The whole candy box scene, where Burns remembers Maggie, Bart, and Santa’s Little Helper, is another exhibit for why this show should’ve ended not too long after this. 
  • The statues outside the animal hospital are a nice touch.
  • Great animation when Homer’s pupils contract as he realizes Burns didn’t thank him.
  • “Hey, if you guys are getting loaded off them fumes, I’m gonna have to charge you.”
  • Not sure if it counts as animation or directing, but the way Grampa falls out of the shot during the earthquake is really well done.
  • They just don’t write Burns dialogue this evil and insane anymore: “Since the beginning of time, man has yearned to destroy the Sun.”  That’s batshit crazy and completely hilarious. 
  • Heh, “blubberpot”, lotta good words in this episode. 
  • There may never be a funnier delivery of “You bastard” than the one by Old Jewish Guy at the meeting. 
  • I screwed up with my VCR when this one was first broadcast so I couldn’t rewatch it to figure out who did it (my guess was the dog), but it is always fun to see the little clues they left: Smithers pointing to the sundial, Maggie being the only one who doesn’t look away, the rolled down window on the car.  Even by the Himalayan standards of The Simpsons, this episode is crafted with outstanding care for detail. 

2. Who Shot Mr. Burns? (Part Two)

  • Fantastic delivery by (I think) Azaria on “Speedway Squad, in color!”
  • Great subtle joke, the crappy hospital is the Veterans one.
  • There aren’t a lot of shows where a father can lovingly say that he considers his children potential murderers.
  • Speaking of great Azaria delivery, Dr. Colossus everybody.  “When is my lawyer coming?”
  • “And with the prime suspect cleared and found completely innocent, we must now ask ourselves: Who could possibly be as bloodthirsty as Waylon Smithers?”
  • The Tito Puente song alone was worth buying that CD.
  • The oyster guy and the guy at the condom machine are great.
  • This episode is rife with great little scenes, especially Moe and the lie detector. 
  • Only on The Simpsons can you bribe lab techs with cigarettes.
  • I haven’t seen The Fugitive in a long time, so I’m not sure how well it’s aged, but that escape scene was cool as hell in 1993. 
  • “You chose fruit, you live with fruit.”

3. Radioactive Man

  • It’s partly just, but this show was way ahead of the times on internet movie fans.
  • The Scoutmaster!  If you’ve never actually bothered to watch any of the Adam West Batman show, this is exactly what it was like.  It was on in reruns constantly when I was a little kid and even then I knew it was terrible. 
  • Great sign at the hospital: “Our Extra Patients Make Patient Extras”.
  • Another sign this show should’ve ended soon after this: Nelson “ha ha”ing himself in the mirror.  It’s great here, but it’s also what you do when something is starting to get played out.  This will happen again in seven hours or so when we get to “22 Short Films About Springfield”.
  • “You’re right, Lis, I can suck up to him, like the religious people suck up to God.”
  • Fantastic animation on the full power X-ray machine.
  • It’s great that the town is scamming the movie so hard that even Quimby is ashamed of it.
  • Goggles, people!
  • Also, the whole acid scene is beautifully drawn.
  • The spirograph guy is great.
  • Great guest voice by Mickey Rooney.  Every line.  He bounces back and forth between pathetic Hollywood shill and wise old  man beautifully.

4. Home Sweet Homediddly-Dum-Doodily

  • Homer’s monocle is a fantastic double gag.  It’s a terrible prop, one that only Homer would think makes him look rich . . . and it works! 
  • “See ya in hell, you wingless bloodsuckers!”
  • The shrieking of the lice and showing Bart’s ass for no reason other than just to do it are yet more nice touches.
  • Speaking of which: the child welfare van crushing that bike.
  • I can’t put a fresh roll of toiler paper in without thinking about “improper overhand fashion”.
  • The kids being taken from Homer and Marge is a genuinely wrenching scene, and they move it along at the perfect pace.
  • Rod and Todd aren’t just traumatized by Itchy & Scratchy, they’re actually paler. 
  • “The number you have dialed can no longer be reached from this phone.  You.  Negligent.  Monster.”
  • Brilliant character touch to have Flanders not quite be able to say “Jesus” as he goes back and forth between blasphemy and being incredulous at Bart’s answer. 
  • Lovejoy’s exasperation with Flanders never gets old.
  • Homer falling down the hill is them still knowing how to hurt him without it being overdone or stupid.
  • The Godfather musical cues during the baptism are pitch perfect.
  • Maggie may be an almost entirely silent baby, but they use her really well here by having her want to stay with the Flandersesses until she sees Marge. 

5. Bart Sells His Soul

  • Iron Butterfly sounds pretty good on an organ.  Just sayin’.
  • Milhouse’s idea of what a soul is and can do feels appropriately kid like. 
  • Great animation on the “natural light” as Hibbert and company come into Moe’s.
  • More great animation on Bart’s imagining of the giant sponge dinosaur.  It’s exactly as blocky as it should be.
  • And again on Bart’s face getting squished on the automatic door.  Man, this one has a ton of great animation.  Never noticed that before.
  • The way the Space Needle crashes into Scratchy’s eyeball always cracks me up.
  • Ditto Homer getting stuck in the stairs. 
  • “Why isn’t anybody helping?”
  • Never understood what’s with Moe’s gap tooth look in this one.  It’s not bad or anything, just kinda odd.
  • Crazy crap on the walls remains the best description of all those mid-range chain restaurants.
  • “Aw, look at all the cute little minors.” – He’ll always be a sleazy bartender.
  • Moe’s hapless attempt at a real haircut also adds to the way he’s plainly uncomfortable doing anything but handing out booze to alcoholics. 
  • Cartwright shines in this one.  Nothing really specific, but Bart goes through a lot of shit here, and she knocks it out of the park every time, whether he’s excited, scared, sad, whatever.
  • Milhouse’s grandma’s apartment is dead on perfect.
  • When did Comic Book Guy become a Red Sox fan?  He is a self absorbed douchebag, I just never noticed that before.

6. Lisa the Vegetarian

  • The sound effects at Story Town Village (the broken speaker on Mama Bear, the creaking cottage with the three little pigs, the way mother goose gets decapitated) are outstanding.
  • Lord Thistlewick Flanders.  I wish that was my XBox gamertag.
  • “You might say the extra ingredient is salt.”
  • The Independent Thought Alarm is straight genius.  As a man who went to an incompetent and authoritarian school, I will always love that joke.
  • Great work when Scratchy’s headless torso falls onto the table.
  • Scientician.
  • Lisa the Vegetarian8
  • “Go back to Russia!”
  • “It’s still good, it’s still good!” is a wonderfully useful quote.
  • Lisa admitting she’s going to marry a carrot is another perfectly kid type moment.
  • It’s a very good thing that they got through all three (at the time) surviving Beatles when the show was still awesome.  Can you imagine the shitshow it would’ve been if they’d had McCartney on in Season 14 or something?
  • “Then you must think I’m a monster.”  “Yes, indeed I do think that.”
  • Has anyone ever run the credits backwards to see if there is a lentil soup recipe there?  I can hear the odd sounds, I’ve just never tried it.

7. Treehouse of Horror VI

  • “Dude, you’re huge!”  No idea why, but that gets me each time.
  • Gotta love the malevolent glee on Lard Lad’s face when he gets the donut and then proceeds to smash stuff and kick that dog.
  • “Remember the story, we’re newlyweds on our way to Earth Capital.”
  • Skinner is great in the second segment.  He couldn’t help “monitoring” their conversation. 
  • Two spaghetti meals in one day. 
  • Skeleton Willie is awesomely creepy.
  • All the dream sequences are animated with just the right amount of shine compared to the usual.
  • Movies, teevee and such started getting crazy with computer graphics in the very early 1990s (Terminator 2 had a lot to do with it).  Most of them looked like shit immediately or very shortly thereafter.  Well done, they can still look great even years later, and this segment does exactly that.
  • There’s a wonderfully simple terror to Frink’s chalk drawing of the “doomed individual”.

8. King-Size Homer

  • Smithers and the hired goons dragging Homer out of the john is wonderful misdirection. 
  • “Hey, where’s Charlie, how’d he get out of this?”  I stayed home all day drinking beer, thank you very much.
  • Assal horizontology.
  • In the annals of Shakespeare gags that take less than one second, Much Ado About Stuffing has to be up there.
  • Is “the subway ran over my hat” a Superman joke?  I’ve never been clear on that.
  • Of all Smithers’ descriptions of Homer, “chair moistener” might be the best.
  • “Oh no, the corn, Paul Newman’s gonna have my legs broke.”
  • Castellaneta’s reading of “Flanders?” when Homer knows things are fucked it brilliant.
  • Gotta love the fear in the ice cream man when Homer hijacks his truck.
  • Burns’ Yale sweater is a nice touch.
  • Though Homer driving on the side of the cooling tower is an ill omen.

9. Mother Simpson

  • “The Profit People”
  • The quick shot of the empty hammock is perfectly funerary.
  • Glenn Close fucking rules.  That is all.
  • I inherited a lot of 60s/70s toys from my older siblings, and Homer’s room is full of them.  We had a flip open kid record player that looked exactly like the one in his room.
  • That the Super Bowl once needed support is just hilarious.
  • The Spiro Agnew clock is excellent.
  • Kenny Brockelstein.
  • Phrenology, add that to list of things I found out about because of this show.
  • “Do I know what rhetorical means?”
  • Nothing’s quite like Bart(!) reciting right wing slogans in a tie-dyed t-shirt.
  • ABBA and Wagner, hells yeah.
  • The image at the end is great, but the music is just as gutting. 

10. Sideshow Bob’s Last Gleaming

  • So far we’ve had Homer’s mom, Bart selling his soul, Lisa becoming a vegetarian, Burns getting shot, on and on and on, and now it’s time for a Sideshow Bob episode.  The consistent genius of this show is unbelievable. 
  • Remember when this show actually made fun of Rupert Murdoch and FOX? 
  • “dollar intensive ordinance delivery vector”
  • “Sweet Enola Gay, son!” – R. Lee Ermey is also awesome. 
  • When I used to have to watch these on syndication, the part where Bob hits the bump with the bomb always got cut off.  Thank Jebus for DVD (and ripping all the DVDs to .avi).
  • Tyrannovision.
  • Gotta love Frink in the Strangelove glasses.
  • Only Brockman and Channel 6 could lump together the end of the Soviet Union and premium ice cream price wars.
  • The static-y look of Krusty’s emergency broadcast is just right.
  • Chattering cyclops, that’s every inch as good as “vast wasteland”.
  • Krusty jumping back after he drops the scorpion takes a tiny fraction of a second.  That’s the kind of attention they put into this show.

11. The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular

  • “America’s favorite non-prehistoric cartoon family.”
  • If they tried to do a montage of modern couch gags like the opening of this one, it’d take an hour and a half.
  • 138th Episode Spectacular4 
  • It’s relatively gentile satire, but Groening as a tequila swilling lunatic is a great joke.
  • The unused clips are hilarious: “I can ride a bike again!”
  • The robotic Richard Simmons, it’s a testament to how densely awesome “Burns’ Heir” is that this didn’t make it.
  • Old time video technology alert: on the alternate ending where Smithers shot Burns, you can see the VCR distortion at the bottom of the frame.
  • Hard core nudity!

12. Team Homer

  • That’s right, Lunchlady Doris is the Squeaky Voiced Teen’s mom.
  • Skinner’s ’Nam flashbacks and remembrances saw the show toeing a very fine line, and it was great.
  • Even Ether Burns is more evil than Zombie Simpsons Burns.
  • As a storytelling move, not showing Otto pick up the 7-10 split while the rest of them are cheering is brilliant.  We already know what’s going to happen, so why bother showing it?
  • Springfield Police Framers, fantastic team name.
  • “They were the suckiest bunch of sucks that ever sucked.”
  • Love the one gay “Home-Wrecker”.
  • The shots where the bowling ball is right on the edge of the gutter are very well drawn.

13. Two Bad Neighbors

  • No Parcheesi Sets, Please.
  • SCUBA squishy machine repair!
  • Oh, Disco Stu, why couldn’t you have remained as a one or two off character?
  • Mrs. Glick’s old person insistence that her candy dish be used for nothing else is one of those things that seems like it came from real world old people experience.
  • Great aside joke with the guy who says “yes” to the Ayatollah.
  • We used to laugh at the Bushes, then it was less funny for awhile, and now it’s funny again.  Things are better when it’s funny.
  • “Just happy to be here among good, average people, with no particular hopes or dreams.”
  • Homer’s “my taxes paid for that horn” line is wonderfully layered.  It’s not just wrong, it’s also a stereotypically dumb complaint about anything. 
  • “And since I’d achieved all my goals as President in one term, there was no need for a second.”
  • Two Bad Neighbors6
  • “Grover Cleveland spanked me on two non-consecutive occasions.”
  • The green, CNN-Live-From-Baghdad glow to the fireworks explosion is wonderfully subtle.
  • Ah, if only Bush the Younger had stayed a cardboard cutout, not that Zombie Simpsons had anything to say about that.
  • Blowback!
  • Gerald Ford, president of football and nachos.  Fuck and yes.

14. 1Scenes From the Class Struggle in Springfield

  • “We can’t afford to shop at any store that has a philosophy.”
  • Sorny! 
  • The rich women are awesomely over dressed, under brained (except for Sus-an), and generally clueless.
  • “We microwaved our own soup!”
  • Tom Kite is another well used, unobtrusive, sensible, and still awesome guest voice.  “You can keep the shoes."
  • You can tell they’re paying exquisite attention to story here because while Lisa bugs Marge before she fucks up the Chanel, that isn’t why it get ruined.  Marge can’t and doesn’t need to blame Lisa, it’s entirely her fault because it’s entirely Marge’s story. 
  • “Peppery” is the nicest possible way to describe that atrocious dress
  • Gotta love that the rich people really were going to let the Simpsons in before they walked away.

15. Bart the Fink

  • I doubt that Castellaneta’s fake-sad delivery while mourning for Aunt Hortense could be done any better.
  • Cayman Islands Offshore Holding Corporation! 
  • Leave it to Krusty to think that his legal problems might be about popcorn that wasn’t bought “fair and square”.
  • “Avoison, it’s a crime, look it up.”
  • Thirty-two cartons of pornography, ah the days before internet porn.
  • The side shadows on the scene where Bart and Krusty talk on the sidewalk are really well done.  They’re consistent, and Krusty really looks like a blossoming degenerate drunk.
  • Great that Sideshow Raheem and Luke Perry are at the funeral.
  • There’s no getting around a headstone that says “See Ya Real Soon Kids!”.  Not a lot of shows will put up a message that basically says: Children, You Will Die.
  • Newhart’s eulogy denigrates Krusty and fails to praise him.  It’s awesome.
  • Call me back, Ishmael.
  • Handsome Pete!
  • Scrap iron has never seemed so romantic.

16. Lisa the Iconoclast

  • Cromulent, embiggens, land cow?  This episode rules.
  • “Here’s Johnny Cakes!”
  • Donald Sutherland owns this episode from start to finish.  It takes a rare talent to read the term “Emancipation Retraction” with the requisite old-white-guy gravity. 
  • “I support most any prejudice you can name, but your hero-phobia sickens me.”
  • All good meetings end with someone digging up a corpse.
  • In Springfield, George Washington strangles men with his bare feet.  Hell yeah!
  • Sutherland wins forever: “I’m an antiquarian, damn it!”
  • Only in Springfield would there be a police sniper who comes *this close* to killing a little girl before the mayor decides to see what she has to say.
  • And then we let the lie continue.  This show is the best.

17. Homer the Smithers

  • For anyone who’s never been to a drag race, this is a fair approximation.
  • Well, except for the funny way the drivers eye each other after Burns tells them to slow down. 
  • Casually letting the water out of the water cooler is a great Burns move.  He won’t let Smithers drown, but he’s not going to expend any emotion or energy saving him either.
  • This episode is very good in general, but it’s also the beginning of the Burns who’s incompetent and useless instead of evil and effective.
  • Great delivery from Kavner on “If he’s alive.”
  • “We’re going to have to put a steel rod where your spine was.”
  • Burns’ Mom has a wicker wheel chair.
  • Great ending:

18. The Day the Violence Died

  • “hilarious atrocity” – awesome.
  • Kirk Douglas, for the win.
  • Manhattan Madness is fantastic, as is Milhouse’s bloodlust.
  • The first scene with Lampwick in the kitchen is just him poking through every cabinet and then the cat fucks off at light speed.  It’s wonderful.
  • This is one of the last great Hutz episodes: “If I hear ‘objection’ and ‘sustained’ one more time today, I think I’m going to scream.”
  • Roger Meyer Jr’s rant is awesome.
  • And it ends in Ghost Mutt.
  • Amendment to be!

19. A Fish Called Selma

  • “People don’t do that type of thing with fish.”
  • Hartman totally channels his inner Heston with “you wouldn’t ask a handsome man like me to wear glasses?” rant.
  • Patty’s disgust at Selma’s infatuation is almost too funny for words. 
  • “Jury duty is work”, well done, Jeff Goldblum.
  • Leper in the Backfield
  • Stop the Planet of the Apes, say what you will about Hollywood’s insistence on remaking and rebooting everything, but it does make a lot of old Simpsons jokes contemporary again.
  • “Gay?  I wish!” Jebus, I miss Hartman.
  • McBain 4: Fatal Discharge, heh.
  • “Like how we built that snowman together in that Newport ad?  Remember how alive with pleasure they said we were?” Seriously, Hartman was uniquely fucking good at everything.

20. Bart on the Road

  • Hell yeah, cracker factory. 
  • They did like staplers spewing staples this season.
  • Despite my current inebriation, I do like the way Bart, Milhouse and Nelson quietly push away their beers when Barney, of all people, tells them to join the party, exposing the basic patheticness of drinking this much.
  • “That’s it, back to Winnipeg!”
  • “Well, I didn’t think I was rehabilitated, but I guess they needed the extra bed.” – Drifter
  • Andy Williams!

21. 22 Short Films About Springfield

  • “Don’t worry, I’ll tell everybody you were untouchable.”
  • “If I remember my Heloise, the trick to getting out gum is peanut butter.”
  • “Now pump those scrawny chicken legs, you stupors funker!”
  • “Holy smokes, you need booze!”
  • “Goodbye student loan payments!” – Snake
  • “Good Lord, what is happening in there? . . . Aurora borealis. . . . Aurora borealis, at this time of year, at this time of day, in this part of the country, localized entirely within your kitchen? . . . Yes. . . May I see it? . . . No.”
  • Cheesy Does It
  • “McDonald’s restaurant, I never heard of it either, but they have over two thousand locations in this state alone.”
  • “Ay, naranjas en la cabeza!”
  • “We gotta swap insurance info!
  • “Do your dirty, sinful business.”
  • “Hey, what’s going on on this side?”
  • “You may purchase this charming Hamburgler adventure, a child has already solved the jumble using crayons, the answer is ‘fries’.”
  • “Oh my gosh, sorry, mister.”
  • “You keep squirming, there’s going to be a little bald girl with no lollipop.”
  • “Everyone needs to drive a vehicle, even the very tall.” (Like I said back during “Radioactive Man”, this is how a joke ends.)
  • “That monkey is going to pay.”

22. Raging Abe Simpson and His Grumbling Grandson in "The Curse of the Flying Hellfish"

  • A Low-Cost Outing for Seniors
  • Damned Kaiser.
  • Burns’ rolodex is fantastic.  Who else would have an entry for Zoroastrians?
  • Nod to continuity: the senior home has the same big screen TV bought in “Old Money”.
  • It is best not to “obstruct” “probes” from J. Edgar Hoover.
  • No way around it, this episode is a bit weak.  There’s just too much poorly handled weirdness.
  • Grampa and Bart at the cemetery is really well animated, though.  There’s even a fresh grave for Asa.
  • Flanders giving up his boat is hilarious, though.  
  • Plot goofiness aside, it is funny when Bart won’t take the rebreather from Grampa.
  • The German baron is fantastic.  Body-control.

23. Much Apu About Nothing

  • Stupid “Impson” family.
  • Mustache parades tend to offer a lot of catchy slogans.
  • No one shall argue against the essentiality of the Bear Patrol B-2.
  • Grandpa’s insane immigrant remembrance contains approximately fifty immigration cliches in just thirty seconds or so, and it includes a statue head full of garbage to boot.
  • Charles Norwood is awesome (if somewhat painful for Buffalo Bills fans); also, “adultivity”.
  • “Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman staring at me from Entertainment Weekly with their dead eyes!” – The “dead eyes” quote makes crappy supermarket tabloids so much easier to mock.
  • “From now on I’m only marrying for love, and possibly once more for money.”
  • Bear Patrol Steps up Bombing Campaign
  • Just say slavery.
  • When Homer’s giving his soliloquy at the picnic, Lovejoy has Buzz instead of Duff.  Well done. 

24. Homerpalooza

  • “In perpetuity throughout the universe” – The Simpsons, saving lawyers time since 1996.
  • For an episode that gave us the best ever generational quote “weird and scary”, it’s funny to see their “new bands” be horribly out of date. 
  • Homer’s rejection in strobe light is awesome.
  • “For authentic refreshment, eat Clark bars.”
  • Register Not to Vote does need to be next to Bungee Jump Against Racism.
  • Peter Frampton is a great guest voice: self parodying and game for lines that involve Pink Floyd’s yard sale.
  • “Are you being sarcastic, dude?” “I don’t even know anymore.”
  • Rover Hendrix!
  • Pretty sure I’ve said this before, but I’d pay decent money for an album authored by Cypress Hill and the London Symphony Orchestra.
  • “It’s a policy that ensures a healthy mix of the rich and the ignorant, sir.”
  • There’s nothing better than youth oriented product positioning.

25. Summer of 4 Ft. 2

  • “Was President Lincoln okay?”
  • In terms of being believably kid-like, this episode is as good as it gets.  Lisa, for all her adult capacity, is a real kid in this episode.
  • “He actually wrote ‘diddly’.”
  • Gotta love how suspicious Christina Ricci is when she says “Are you in to books?”, like it’s some kind of plague. 
  • “Hey, he looks just like you, poindexter!”
  • I’m not going to even try to describe Homer trying to buy fireworks.  Text does it no justice. 
  • It is awesome the way Marge just turns around with the rice crispy squares and tang.
  • Speaking of things that are indescribable, Homer panicking after lighting the M-320.
  • At the Grammar Rodeo, Lisa’s holding a sign that just says “Gerund”.  I hate grammar, but that’s funny.
  • A hermit crab in a Buzz cola can, that’s a great out. 

And that’s it, folks.  Thanks for reading, try not to watch Season 24.  Barring a level of miraculous improbability equal (or greater) to the meteor the killed the dinosaurs, it’s gonna suck. 


Reading Digest: End of an Era Edition

D'Oh-in' in the Wind3

“We used to have a bus.  In a way, the Sixties ended the day we sold it, December 31st, 1969.” – Munchie

Before we get to today’s links, a brief site announcement:

Season 24 starts on Sunday.  There is no reason to expect that it will be any different than Seasons 23, 22, 21 or any other Zombie Simpsons run.  In just the first episode, they’re spamming retread celebrity guests, getting Bart romantically involved yet again, and having the Simpson family take a trip to a place they’ve already been.  You couldn’t design a more stereotypically pathetic episode if you deliberately set out to do so.

As announced back in May, we aren’t going to bother with minute analyses of these episodes anymore.  Quite frankly, they’re just not worth it.  The writing and creativity of this show bled out a long time ago, and it has shown no signs of life since.  At some point you have to declare the autopsy over and send the carcass to the medical board.

Of course, this particular corpse won’t be zipped up that easily.  The shambling zombie of the greatest show ever is currently signed for two more seasons, and it’s unlikely we’ll have any news about whether or not Season 25 will be the end until at least this time next year.

In the meantime, the two mainstay posts of this blog, Reading Digest and Quote of the Day, will continue indefinitely.  And there will probably still be the occasional post about DVD commentaries, random episodes, and other little stuff.  What there won’t be is a Monday morning wrap up or Crazy Noises for new episodes.  Those two are kaput.

On days with new episodes of Zombie Simpsons, we’re going to put up a preview/open thread post.  My personal goal is to watch no more than half the season, so while I make no promises to cover specific episodes, I am planning to do Compare & Contrasts for at least some of them.

Before Season 24 arrives to waste everyone’s time, however, I’ll be wasting my own doing my final Simpsons/beer marathon tomorrow.  Season 7 (minus “Marge Be Not Proud”) is the only one I haven’t done yet, so there’s no need to vote this time.  Check back tomorrow morning at 8:00am Eastern (US) and then throughout the day for all the drunken fun.

As for today’s actual links, we’ve got two pieces of great fan art, several instances of moderate usage, some fantastic YouTube collections, Apu graffiti in Vegas, true life Hollywood, and a great Simpsons analysis that agrees with us.


New Book on Lupe Velez Debunks the Myths of “Hollywood Babylon” – Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week contains everything you’ll ever need to know about the false story behind this:

Ask the average person about Lupe Vélez and you’ll probably be met with a blank stare. But query those same folks as to whether or not they’ve heard of the classic film star who “drowned in the toilet,” and they’ll likely perk up with smirking recognition.

We have Kenneth Anger’s book Hollywood Babylon to thank for that.

Of course, there are other (perhaps unwitting) accomplices: The Simpsons, wherein guest John Waters joked about the store where Vélez bought her toilet in the 1997 episode Homer’s Phobia;

Old Hollywood was weirder than current Hollywood.

Simpsons’ Al Jean On Season 24, ‘Treehouse’ and the Show’s End – There’s two things worth noting here.  First, there remains no reason to expect Season 25 to be the end:

The Simpsons has been renewed through its 25th season, but Jean said he doesn’t see any reason to stop there. He gave the sense that he’ll keep writing as long as Fox keeps letting him.

“The pickup was definitely open-ended. Nobody ever said we’re going to stop the show after we produce these episodes,” he said. “So, you know, at the beginning I was hoping for five years, much less 25. I wouldn’t even guess where we’d end up.”

And second, when I say that many of the items in a given episode are completely unconnected to anything and could easily be swapped out, Al Jean may agree with me:

Fans might have noticed the promo ad for the 24th season that follows Homer Simpson as he casts his vote for president. That scene isn’t in any specific episode, but Jean said they might find a home for it yet. After the good response to the scene in which Homer voted in 2008, Jean knew he wanted to try to tie in the 2012 election.

We’ll see if it turns up in an episode or not.  (via @dailysimpsons)

Breaking Bad – The Simpsons Mash-Up – Awesome fan made drawing of Walt and Jesse in a stylized Simpsons way.

My Top 3 Favourite Simpsons Loops – Fantastic YouTube.

The Simpsons Funny Moments – More fantastic YouTube, and nothing from Zombie Simpsons.

Edinburgh Fringe Festival – An American in Britain offers a Simpsons based warning:

Another word of warning. Avoid comedy shows.  This mostly applies to those of us not from the UK. I wish I could find video of this, but there was an episode of the Simpsons where Groundskeeper Willie did some comedy. He said something like  “Did you ever notice that people from Aberdeen hold their golf clubs like this, and people from Glasgow hold their golf clubs like this…” with accompanying motions.  Get it? Me neither.  That’s rather the point.

Excellent reference, though only moderate usage, Willie actually says, “So, have you noticed how north Edinburgh golfers putt like this, and south Edinburgh golfers putt like this”.

The Simpsons in the Classroom – Our old friends Denise and Karma’s book gets a nice writeup from a real teacher.

VIDEO: Wake Forest WR Michael Campanaro song parody, Simpsons-style – The Canyonero song adopted for college football.

Lisa Simpson tinta by ~GuverFourElements on deviantART – Black and white fan made drawing of Lisa that looks like it might be how she imagined herself in the Tango de la Muerte.

Sabbath, bloody Sabbath – A lament about British Sundays that includes a .jpg of Homer’s “picked the wrong religion” joke from “Homer the Heretic”:

Incorrect Homer Quote

Sadly, the quote is pretty badly mangled here.  It actually goes:

And what if we picked the wrong religion?  Every week we’re just making God madder and madder.

Jazz Hands? – A Krusty t-shirt the author bought.

Last Night – A collage of Homer’s “Scene Missing” night.

The Simpsons Pasta for kiddies – Cooking with Simpsons pasta.

Vintage Chanel? – A jacket that looks oh so much like Marge’s Chanel suit.

TV dinner art recalls the ’60s – Moderate usage:

I thought of Homer recently, however, when I decided to try my latest crafty project because there’s an episode of The Simpsons in which he becomes an outsider artist. He is hitting a lump of clay, trying to create work for a new exhibit. I haven’t seen this one in a while, but I think he yells something like, “Come on, be art!”

Homer actually yells “Why won’t you be art?” while sticking a chainsaw into something, but that’s pretty close.

Escaping the horror of a boring Halloween night – Live in Vancouver?  There a Simpsons Halloween party you can attend:

Better yet, Glory Days at the Biltmore Cabaret will host a Simpsons Halloween Party on Wednesday, Oct. 31. Dress as Krusty, Bart, Lisa or whatever Springfield resident you can think of to join the fun. Tickets are $30 and details available at It may sound cartoonish but it’s definitely not for children.

Hey, speaking of drinking next month . . .

When is the Octoberfest? – More moderate usage:

If you nodded in agreement and applauded his profound wisdom when Homer Simpson shared his unique insight on beer with his son (“Bart, a woman is like beer. They look good, they smell good and you’d step over your own mother just to get one!”), then Kingfisher’s Great Indian Octoberfest is the right event for you to meet fellow beer-lovers and celebrate the golden elixir.

Homer actually says, “A woman is more like a beer.  They smell good, they look good, you’d step over your own mother just to get one!”  Again, though, that’s pretty close.

GRAFFITI-Las Vegas Baby! – Scroll down from some awesome Vegas graffiti, including a cool Apu with squishy machine.

Alf Clausen | Scoring The Simpsons – A nice little profile of Clausen in the News Corp owned Wall Street Journal.

Phil Hartman’s Greatest Hits – It was indeed Phil Hartman’s birthday on Monday, this is a nice writeup of his career with plenty of YouTube.

The Simpsons: the 10 best supporting characters – This is just pageview whoring, but the comments are great for how many people got upset that this or that person wasn’t included.

An Adventure Game That Should Have Been Called Milhouse: The Later Years – The grandfather here really does look like an aged Milhouse:

Countdown to Bacon…3 – Why, indeed?:

Only three more days until Call Me Stormy’s marathon — A DAY OF BACON — a full-throttled, non-stop, 24-hour salute to bacon. Why bacon and why now?

In the words of Homer Simpson, “You know that feeling you get when a thousand knives of fire are stabbing you in the heart? I’m having that right now…Ooh, bacon!”

Excellent usage.  Homer actually says “I got that right now”, not “I’m having that”, but that’s close enough for bacon related excellent usage.

NFL Week 4 – Excellent usage:

To quote one of the best Simpsons episodes ever, “Well folks, when you’re right 52% of the time,you’re wrong 48% of the time.”  I didn’t exactly bring the heat last week, going 8-8. But since I picked the Packers, I’m taking the win. 9-7!

I don’t know that Smooth Jimmy’s associates would accept not paying on the Packers-Seahawks, but you never know.

Letters: Our cartoonish campaign – A letter to the Los Angeles Times contains excellent usage:

Here is Lisa, for example: “I will iron your sheets when you iron out the inequities in your labor laws.” And here is Mr. Burns, after being told he’s very wealthy: “Yes, but I’d trade it all for a little more.”

Both quotes are dead on.  Well done to Ona Russell of Solana Beach.

Doctor Who Monday: The Power of Three…In 10 Words – A third dimension?  Slow down, egghead.

NFL Replacement Refs…In 10 Words – I would’ve gone with “like that day I hit the referee with a whisky bottle”, but that’s just me.

The 2012 Emmys…In 10 Words – This concludes our exhaustive Emmy coverage here at Dead Homer Society.

How to draw: Bart Simpson – A step-by-step Instructables guide.

Photos of the Day – You can click through for the photo, but this is the caption:

A man dressed as cartoon character Bart Simpson passes a billboard as he leaves the underground passage in central Kiev September 26, 2012.

Top 5: Television Spin-offs – Sadly the show comes in at a lowly 4th.

30 Day Television Challenge: Day Eleven – And finally, I get to end the way I like to, with someone who not only agrees with us, but really gets into the decline and fall of the show.  The whole thing is recommended:

There are few  works – literature, music, film, television, etc. – that have influenced me in the way The Simpsons has. Not only did I inherit my sense of  humor from The Simpsons, my entire stance towards the world was sharpened on its whetstone.

The first 8 seasons of The Simpsons are unimpeachable. They are the pinnacle of comedy and television.



Season 2 Marathon: 22 Episodes, 22 Beers, 8h:23m:51s

Dancin' Homer7

“I can’t think of a better place to spend a balmy summer’s night than the old ball yard.  There’s just the green grass of the outfield, the crushed brick of the infield, and the white chalk lines that divide the man from the little boy.” – Lisa Simpson
“Lisa, honey, you’re forgetting the beer.  It comes in seventy-two ounce tubs here.” – Homer Simpson

Good morning and welcome to the sixth Simpsons-Beer Marathon.  Today we’re doing Season 2.  As with previous efforts, I will make use of the pause and reverse buttons to get a quote right or take a screen grab, but the fast-forward button will go totally unused. 

Since I’ll be in no condition to do it later in the day, Chapters 11 & 12 of the book are on-line right now.  That gets us through the bulk of the text.  Most of the appendices are short, and I’ll put them up sometime next week.  Serious thanks once again to everyone who has read the book, found one of my mistakes, linked it somewhere, or actually bought it.  And now, it’s been Simpsons-Beer Marathon day for hours and I’m still not drunk yet, so let’s get going.

1.    Bart Gets an F

  • And we start off with Martin’s book report, which is simultaneously flattering to Hemmingway and making fun of people who take him too damn seriously. 
  • “I will not fake my way through life”
  • They made all those crappy video games based on this show, and yet they never made Escape from Grandma’s House in real life.  For shame.
  • This show that jokes about school bus crashes.  That is all.
  • Ah, faking sick to leave school. 
  • “As a result, Bart is an underachiever, and yet he seems to be, how should I put this, proud of it?” – Less than ten minutes into Season 2, and they’re already making fun of “Bartmania”. 
  • The defeat in Martin’s voice as he retreats to the “forecastle of the Pequod” is just awesome. 
  • Speaking as someone who was the same age as Martin and Bart when this episode was first broadcast, I can’t say enough about how recognizable the two of them were to me and my friends.  We didn’t get into as much shit, but they felt like real kids to us. 
  • Case in point for the above: waiting for the radio guys to announce if school was closed.  These days they do it by e-mail and there’s no suspense, but at the time that’s exactly how it happened.
  • It actually says “Diamond” on Quimby’s podium. 
  • “John Hancock’s writing his name in the snow!”  Yet another great example of how they snuck things past the censors.  Joking about bodily functions is right at the top on the list of things that aren’t allowed, and they did it with the Declaration of Independence. 

2.    Simpson and Delilah

  • “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader” was/is (not sure if it’s still on) yet another case of life imitating The Simpsons.  Hitler, North Dakota?
  • I love how the doctor is willing to sell him the Hair in a Drum even though he knows it doesn’t work.
  • “It’s in the union contract, sir.  One token promotion from within per year.”
  • It’s great how Marge tells Homer to hire Karl without realizing that he’s much more of a sexual threat than any of those bubbly women who make kissy faces at her husband.
  • Homer in a suit with a real haircut looks just like Herb Powell. 
  • “Management Caves In To Condiment Outcry”
  • The transition from the executive bathroom floor (with the ultra-deferential towel guy) to the office tower is gorgeous.
  • The scene in the back yard where Marge worries about a rainy day always used to get cut in syndication.  I’d completely forgotten it existed by the time Season 2 finally came out on DVD.
  • Great callback on the ivory backscratcher, which is itself two jokes in two words.
  • Homer calls it a “dirty trick” when Bart says he loves him.  It’s just fantastic.
  • Hey, Zombie Simpsons, you’re twenty-two years behind the times:
    Simpson and Delilah8

3.    Treehouse of Horror

  • Marge’s intro to this, about telling people not to write letters, is a really fantastic piece of satire.  They take a character who would very likely hate their show if she were real, and use her to preemptively respond to the arguments actual critics make. 
  • The entire Bad Dream House segment is them flexing their new animation capabilities.  It’s lit and colored wonderfully, and still looks creepy by today’s standards.
  • The house’s voice is exhibit four and a half thousand or so of Shearer doing brilliant, original work on this show. 
  • And they snuck in a quick “Bitchin!”.  You’re watching FOX.
  • The first appearance of Kang and Kodos! 
  • I am physically incapable of thinking about “If you wanted to make Sarak the Preparer cry, mission accomplished” without giggling.
  • It’s been said before, but the James Earl Jones rendition of “The Raven” has made more kids get this poem than thousands of English teachers.
  • The shadow effects as Homer investigates his chamber door are really well done.  They even fade as they get further from their source.
  • As great as Jones is, Castellaneta totally holds his own: “Take thy beak from out my heart, and take they form from off my door!”. 
  • Clausen deserves a lot of credit here as well.  The music as Homer’s chasing the raven is pitch perfect.

4.    Two Cars in Every Garage and Three Eyes on Every Fish

  • Speaking of Clausen, the music in this episode goes through an enormous range of emotion and feeling with aplomb. 
  • Love the inspection team and the bribe. 
  • “Why are my teeth showing like that?” “Because you’re smiling.”  “Ah, excellent, this is exactly the kind of trickery I’m paying you for.”  It takes a real villain to be unfamiliar with smiling as anything other than a trick.
  • An actor portraying Charles Darwin!
  • “So far the only negative thing we have found is from some guy who dated her when she was sixteen.”  “Ah, and?”  “He, uh, he felt her up.”  “Bah, not good enough!”
  • “I love dogs, babies too.” 
  • Burns’ barely concealed contempt for regular people, voters, and everything else he has to do to be governor is perfectly him.  He sees the whole thing as an inconvenience.
  • It’s great how Lisa gets up and leaves the table before Burns is even done answering her question with his well worn catchphrases. 
  • I always thought it was kind of unfair for Marge to serve him the head, but it does make for a great visual.
  • And now, a first tier, hall of fame, etch-it-in-stone Burns quote: “Ironic, isn’t it Smithers?  This anonymous clan of slack jawed troglodytes has cost me the election.  And yet if I were to have them killed, I would be the one to go to jail.  That’s democracy for you.”

5.    Dancin’ Homer

  • The comedy density of these episodes cannot be overstated.  They’re starting a flashback with a bus arriving at a stadium, and they turn it into Otto escaping from the cops and skid marks on the parking lot.  If they’d actually shown the chase it would’ve sucked, but just referring to it makes it hilarious and takes less time.
  • “Springfield Savings, Safe from 1890-1986, 1988-”
  • The digitizing effect on “Jumbo-vision” is another subtle piece of animation that does a lot to make things feel more realistic and recognizable than they otherwise would. 
  • “I felt an intoxication that had nothing to do with alcohol.  It was the intoxication of being a public spectacle!”
  • The blink-and-you-miss-it look of annoyance on Big Bill McClosky’s face when the PA guy calls him “mediocre” shows once again how much they paid attention to every frame and detail.
  • Yet another little touch: the beefcake posters on the walls where Helen the organist plays. 
  • Hey look, Homer asked to leave the plant before taking a new job.  That doesn’t happen much these days.
  • Tony Bennett!  And it isn’t contrived or dumb!
  • Great guest voice from Tom Poston.
  • And the player’s ex-wife sitting right behind Bart sounds suspiciously like he does.

6.    Dead Putting Society

  • God I love old Flanders.  He’s just as much of an unwitting tormentor to Homer, but he’s also a recognizable human being. 
  • The first call to Reverend Lovejoy.  That was a tremendous running gag.  Damn Flanders.
  • Lovejoy’s sleeping mask (frilly pink trim!) is just fantastic.
  • Bosom.
  • “Homer, I couldn’t help overhearing you warp Bart’s mind.”
  • That is exactly the sound that one hand clapping makes.
  • Bart doing the Crane on top of the trash can is a great little joke.  Incidentally, The Karate Kid has aged really well. 
  • It’s great how terrified Bart is when Homer wakes him.
  • Words fail to describe how hilarious the British announcer guy is.  Half of his lines aren’t even jokes, and yet everything he says is funny because golf announcers are masters of unintentional self parody.
  • After the boys declare their draw, the way they cut to a reaction shot of the Lincoln robot while it makes that little noise is another deft touch of genius. 
  • And I have finished my first 72oz tub.  Only two and two-thirds more to go.

7.    Bart vs. Thanksgiving

  • Ah, the inanity of parade announcers.
  • On my .avi rip, the Bart Thanksgiving parade balloon lasts only 27 frames.  Not seconds, or even tenths of a seconds.  Frames.  That is quick comedy.
  • I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: nobody got it worse on this show than old people.  The joy on Mrs. Spencer’s face because her family sent her a fax is cruel, heartbreaking and hilarious.
  • Nice touch having Bart sing the FOX fanfare as he comes in to destroy Lisa’s centerpiece.
  • The “ruined Thanksgiving” line is devastating but as brief as it could possibly be.  It’s masterful storytelling.
  • “Things like that always happen in this family.”  “I’ve noticed that too.”  Meta jokes before anyone knew what the word “meta” meant. 
  • Ah, the corner of Croesus and Mammon.
  • The security guard is reading Les Miserables!  This show viewed wasted screen space as a grievous sin. 
  • Support for the above, there’s scare quotes around “Massage” parlor and the liquor store has a sign that says “Yes!  We have rot gut!”. 
  • Hey, it’s Lou sounding like Eddie! 
  • “Children need discipline!  You can ask any syndicated advice columnist.” 
  • I love the happy endings of Season 2.  They set the bar for family success so low that seeing the Simpsons struggle to cross over it really is both sweet and funny. 

8.    Bart the Daredevil

  • The dirt riding dunk masters always get me.
  • Skinner’s casual drop that it’s the start of a series of concerts, and Homer’s moaning “series?”, are just more wood for the pyre of Homer’s life being something he hates.  Miserable Homer is and always will be funnier than happy Jerkass Homer.
  • “Sunday: Bear Baiting”
  • I laugh every time the lion pops up to pull him back into the tank.  Every time. 
  • Love the scrawl:Bart the Daredevil5
  • “But the fact of the matter is, bones heal, chicks dig scars, and the United States of America has the best doctor to daredevil ratio in the world.”
  • The Homer-gorge scene is the best argument for how you can do insane things with these characters so long as you do it well.  The ambulance hitting the tree is such a great joke that the callback to it in the movie is one of the two or three funniest things in that whole bloated film.

9.    Itchy & Scratchy & Marge

  • This is about the part in the marathon where I get amazed at the unrelenting excellence of these episodes.  This is a famous classic, there hasn’t been an even vaguely weak episode yet, and the next few introduce Troy McClure and Lionel Hutz.  I have loved many television shows other than this one, but I don’t think anything can compete with The Simpsons in terms of an unbroken streak of consistent excellence.
  • Ah, the way Scratchy’s limp body falls into the crater just before they pile onto him.
  • Psycho is a famous enough movie that I got that reference even though I hadn’t seen the movie the first time I saw this episode.
  • The one that’s cut off at the top is “Cats Blown Up” with three checkmarks next to it:Itchy and Scratchy and Marge10
  • “And the horse I rode in on?”  That’s as close as you can come to saying “fuck” on network television.  Fuck yeah.
  • Bring Back “Wagon Train”
  • More great work from Clausen and company in this one.
  • Gotta love the dry, understated execu-speak for “drop an anvil on her” and the like.
  • Smartline!
  • Marvin Monroe is in Vienna!  Of course he is.
  • Alex Rocco for the win in this one: “It’s different, I’ll give you that”. 
  • “It’s a tool that every home handyman needs.  It’s a jigsaw, it’s a power drill, it’s a wood turning lathe, it’s an asphalt spreader.  It’s sixty-seven tools in one!”
  • More small notes of care: the massive pupils on Itchy and Scratchy for the opening of their “love and share” episode.
  • Well done, Ludwig
  • Also, the marbles animation is spectacular.
  • “It’s filth!  It graphically portrays parts of the human body, which, practical as they may be, are evil.”
  • More subtle touches, the sign that says “Kancel David” at the house is the same one that had “Kancel Krusty” at the studio.  The Simpsons is in the details.
  • The ever more gigantic pistols are great.

10.    Bart Gets Hit by a Car

  • Hartman!
  • Satan uses a Mac.  Just sayin’.
  • Love the quick sight gag of the guy who looks like Jacques getting nervous while the doctor puts on the rubber glove.
  • And we have a Wizard of Oz joke, because why not?
  • It’s the second season, and they’re already making little jokes at their own expense for never letting Burns remember Homer.
  • Aww, Grau and Hartman in the same scene.
  • Dr. Nick’s degrees are hilarious.  “I went to medical school for four years and all I got was this lousy diploma”.
  • Credit to Azaria for nailing Dr. Nick’s voice right from the get go.  It never changed from this one and didn’t need to.
  • Love the quick look Bart gives to Hutz as he says he sometimes wishes he had been killed.
  • “What are you looking at me like that for?  You believed his cock and bull story.”
  • Marge on the stand could’ve easily been heavy handed and boring, but they pulled it off.
  • Homer trying to keep himself mad at Marge in Moe’s is the same way.

11.    One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish

  • This episode is a useful reminder that it wasn’t that long ago that karaoke was considered weird and insane.
  • Takei!
  • “No need to panic, there’s a map to the hospital on the back of the menu.”
  • “Well, if there’s one consolation, it’s that you’ll feel no pain at all until sometime tomorrow evening when your heart suddenly explodes.” 
  • Homer’s progression through the stages of acceptance needs no further praise from me, but . . . damn, that’s funny.
  • Those three little sentences of father-son advice have definitely helped at times.
  • On the other hand, I’ve never had any luck with toilet paper to stanch shave related bleeding.
  • Homer loves “When the Saints Go Marching In” but doesn’t even know the chorus. 
  • This episode has an emotional dexterity that borders on surgical.  Homer goes from not caring about his Dad to wanting to make up with him and back to being sick of him in no time flat.
  • The “atmosphere” harmonica guy also always gets me.
  • I know I said this last Saturday, as well as two bullet points above, but the way this episode handles sadness and death is amazing.  Even Marge’s desperation can be funny when Bart asks why they’re really waiting for Homer.  And it’s not just a matter of making a joke for the sake of making a joke, the comedy is totally in character and part of the story.
  • And then there’s the bowling announcers, who are just dead on, “Well, he’s an erratic bowler”.

12.    The Way We Was

  • The first McBain clip: “I don’t want to hear it, McBain!”
  • This is also the first time we get a look at one of Hibbert’s period haircuts, in this case a giant, late 70s afro.
  • There’s no way not to enjoy the petty authoritarianism of Dondelinger, especially since I’m not in high school any more and I never had to be there in the 1970s, when it was probably even worse.
  • Marge takes a stand about not taking a stand. 
  • Among the many great firsts of this episode, we get to see that Grampa was just as terrible a father to Homer as Homer is to his kids.
  • More attention to detail, check out the outfit on the debate teacher.  That is 1970s chic:The Way We Was11
  • Kavner does a really great job in this episode of making Marge’s voice sound younger even though it’s basically a rasp.
  • Artie says “Aachem!” (or however it is you spell Jay Sherman’s catchphrase/catchhack).
  • The sarcastic limo driver is such a great part that the same voice became a recurring character.  His “okay, but I’m only paid to drive” never gets old.

13.    Homer vs. Lisa and the 8th Commandment

  • “Good evening, Zohar the adulterer, my wife sends her warmest regards.”
  • And then Zohar starts hitting on that woman as soon as Homer tells everyone to look busy because Moses is there.
  • Cable companies are big faceless corporations, which makes it okay.
  • And there’s Troy McClure, today he’d like to talk to you about a pleasant tasting candy that actually cleans and straightens your teeth.
  • Hey, it’s also the first time we get to see the shopping cart rolling backwards into the street.
  • When Homer stands up at the ad for Watson-Tatum 2, Lisa gets dumped on the ground.  It’s funny precisely because it’s understated.  If they’d made a big show of him being such a jerk to his daughter it would’ve been creepy and bad, instead it’s just funny.
  • “You haven’t lost the common touch, sir.”:Homer vs Lisa and the 8th Commandment7
  • Gotta say, if I ever caught my son charging admission for other kids to see soft core porn, I might have to act mad for the other parents, but I’d likely be proud of him.  That’s enterprising as hell. 
  • Even the police don’t care that the cable hookup is illegal.

14.   Principal Charming

  • One of the all time great wedding welcomes, “Friends, relatives, work related acquaintances”. 
  • Another great if subtle piece of animation, see how the cross line on the “A” bleeds into the “R”:Principal Charming8
  • Selma cutting out the coupon for “Muffins” while complaining about Patty having “bosoms till Tuesday” is another time when the background makes the whole thing better.
  • Schnapps?
  • Barney is such a wonderful disaster of a person in this one.  He’s a complete failure, and yet doesn’t mind in the least.

15.    Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?

  • So many 1980s action movies, so many evil drug kingpins, so many exploding tanker trucks.
  • I mentioned this idea earlier, but Grampa’s contempt for Homer is not only funny on its own, but also a great explanation for why Homer is such a terrible father in his own right.
  • Herb’s boardroom meeting, complete with pomegranates, is awesome.  DeVito hits every note, pissed off, sad, exasperated, everything.
  • “All born in wedlock?”  “Yeah, though the boy was a close call.”
  • More things that are funnier for not being on screen, Bart spitting on a guy from the hot air balloon.
  • Herb making Homer say “Sort of!” with self confidence is magnificent contradiction. 
  • No further comment necessary:
  • “To think I wasted my life in boardrooms and stockholder’s meetings, when I could’ve been watching cartoons!  This old fool has wasted his life.”

16.    Bart’s Dog Gets an F

  • Nice dig at the Cosby clan with that shot of Hibbert at home.
  • Gotta love the quilt square of the woman shooting the buffalo while ridding side-saddle.
  • “How many of these guys are named Corey?”
  • Like DeVito, Ullman owns every line she has.  Even the ones that aren’t explicit jokes, she makes funny.
  • “I just dip in and out.  I’m only watching today because Brandy is coming out of her coma and she knows the phony prince’s body is hidden in the boathouse.”  A better description of soap operas may never be written.  “Father McGrath!  I thought you were dead.”  “I was!”
  • The shoe store has a section called “Street Crime”.
  • It takes a special kind of show to turn a little girl defending her dog into a joke about end of life care. 

17.    Old Money

  • As bad as the old people usually get it on this show, this episode shows us how much they old people hate the young as well.  No one and nothing escaped this show’s attention.
  • “Nothing says ‘I love you’ better than a military antique.  Let’s take a look at the bayonet case.”
  • The second line after the announcement of Bea’s death is a gag.  This show never lets up.
  • The ordinariness of the unlimitedly sleazy guy who tells Grampa that money will buy him better care is yet another example of something that’s sad, cruel and hilarious. 
  • The scene where people ask Grampa for money is great both because of all the insane, stupid, greedy and inhumane requests (“I need the money to buy a baby”), and because Grampa considers all of them.  It isn’t random, it makes sense because Grampa just wants to make people a little better off.
  • To be honest, the ray only has evil applications.
  • Funny to see the old people watching Itchy & Scratchy, even after they got upgraded.

18.    Brush with Greatness

  • After asking the kids not to make him a liar, “I want to go to Mount Splashmore.  Take me, take me, take me, take me now!  Now!  Now!  Now!  Now!  Now!”
  • Ah, for the days when TV promos for upcoming episodes could use lines like, “This is a rather shameless promotion”.
  • When they’ve got the pipe with Homer in it in the air, the clouds behind it are supposed to make it look like the pipe is moving, but it actually looks like the clouds are moving since there’s no fixed point of reference.  One of the rare animation notes that bug me in Seasons 1-8 or so.
  • It’s great the way Smithers’ first analysis of having Marge do the portrait is to note that she’ll be easily intimidated.
  • “Beatles, eh?  Oh, yes, I seem to remember their off key caterwauling on the old Sullivan show.  What as Ed thinking?"
  • Harvard, Yale, Oxford, the Sorbonne, the Louvre, this should hang in all of them:Brush with Greatness9
  • “He’s bad, but he’ll die, so I like it.”

19.    Lisa’s Substitute

  • A great Skinner moment is his absentminded meanness describing Lyme disease in front of Hoover.
  • “Three, you seem to be of the Jewish faith.”  “Are you sure I’m Jewish?”  “Or Italian?”  “I’m Jewish.”
  • “And for the record there were a few Jewish cowboys, ladies and gentlemen, big guys who were great shots and spent money freely."
  • Great shot:Lisa's Substitute6
  • More asbestos!  More asbestos!
  • Hey, Zombie Simpsons, I want you to watch this scene with Lisa, Homer and Bergstrom at the museum.  See how it’s relevant to the plot, character driven, and funny?  Do at least one of those and you’ll only suck two thirds of the time.
  • “That’s the problem with being middle class.  Anybody who really cares will abandon you for those who need it more.”
  • The “You are Lisa Simpson” note is great, but it would be weird and half-empty if Bergstrom didn’t already understand that Lisa needs Homer more than him, which we saw at the museum and which forms the end of the episode. 
  • By the way, all four family members give excellent voice performances at the dinner table for the baboon scene.  There’s something that doesn’t happen much (if ever) on Zombie Simpsons.

20.    The War of the Simpsons

  • Moe resenting Flanders by dismissively saying ‘college boy’ always gets me.  It’s one of those great double jokes, where the resentment is funny, but the fact that Moe doesn’t get it that no one actually gives Ph.D.s in “mixology” makes it even better.
  • “Remember last year at the Winfield’s party when you threw up in the laundry hamper?”  “No.”
  • And Barney has his shirttail hanging out of his fly again. 
  • “You stink!  You and your whole lousy operation stinks!  I quit!” 
  • How I see myself doing these marathons (especially this late into one):The War of the Simpsons8
  • How it probably looks:The War of the Simpsons7
  • Queen of the harpies!
  • And right after Lovejoy’s greatest success, he tips his hand with “Remember my saving your lives and bringing you happiness when we pass the collection plate next week”.
  • One more McBain clip, “I don’t want to hear it McBain!”
  • Another entry for the bulging file on I-can’t-believe-they-got-away-with-it: “Cherry party, Bart.  Any chicks over eight?”
  • You vile burlesque of irrepressible youth!
  • “That’s right, you heard me, pretending to cry!”
  • “I’ll never trust another old person.”
  • For completeness:
    Store Guy: Yeah, General Sherman.  They say he’s five-hundred pounds of bottom dwelling fury, don’t you know?  No one knows how old he is, but if you ask me, and most people do, he’s a hundred years if he’s a day.
    Customer:  And no one’s ever caught him?
    Store Guy:  Well, one fella came close.  Went by the name of Homer.  Seven feet tall, he was, with arms like tree trunks, and his eyes were like steel, cold and hard.  Had a shock of hair, red, like the fires of hell.

21.    Three Men and a Comic Book

  • Yet more attention to detail, how “12th” is pasted over all the previous numbers.
  • “I’m Bartman”.  Gotta say, the original Keaton/Nicholson Batman movie has also held up remarkably well.
  • Comic Book Guy when he was actually, you know, a comic book guy.
  • Fucking Wonder Years.
  • Nothing like a ten-year-old bribing police with alcohol. 
  • Ribbon candy is disgusting.  It’s from a time when sugar was precious, which it isn’t now. 
  • Gotta love Mrs. Glick being genuinely aroused while she goes back and forth in her rocking chair. 
  • Great the way they have the narration pronounce “(choke)” as it’s being read.
  • Ah, having a fight interrupted by somebody’s mom, like I said all the way back during “Bart Gets an F”, these kids were very recognizable to people who were kids at the time.
  • Gotta love how the usual message of “sharing” is deliberately undercut by the ending here.

22.    Blood Feud

  • Core Explosion, Repent Sins
  • I can’t usefully convey it, but the story of Hercules and the Lion is as great as something is possible to be.  “How did a lion get rich?”  “It was the olden days.”
  • That Burns has hired goons is funny.  That said hired goons are regular, if overly loyal, men makes it even better.  “Yeah, nice guy, play poker with him once and a while.”
  • And the plot turns on Smithers actually being a person instead of a cartoonish outline of one.
  • Final animation note: Burns and Smithers going up the escalator with the mirrors behind them looks great.
  • Love the Triceratops skull at Plunderer Pete’s.
  • But no, it’s Xtapolapocetl!
  • This seems a fitting way to end:
    Lisa: Perhaps there is no moral to this story.
    Homer: Exactly; it’s just a bunch of stuff that happened.

Strange New Places

Homer's Barbershop Quartet10

“And where’s Barney?” – Homer Simpson
“Oh, he’s with his new girlfriend, the Japanese conceptual artist.” – Principal Skinner
“Barbershop is in danger of growing stale. I’m taking it to strange new places.” – Barney Gumble

In the interest of not burying the lead: mocking Season 23 has been fun, but it’s also the last time we’re going to go full tilt for a new Zombie Simpsons season around here. Don’t worry, we’re not taking the site down or anything; in fact, for the next few months you shouldn’t notice much difference. Quotes of the Day will continue as normal, and, just like the last three summers, we’ll be doing Crazy Noises for old episodes. This year it’s going to be Season 11, the last one the Manifesto lists before Zombie Simpsons.

After that, the Magic 8-ball becomes less clear. Season 24 (ugh) will likely start sometime in late September, but we won’t be doing our full Preview-Ratings-Crazy Noises-Compare & Contrast schedule. I’m sure we’ll do something (and suggestions are welcome), but whatever it is will be much less comprehensive.

As for why we’re doing this, there’s only one real reason and it is not intended ironically. We think it best to stop before we get dull and do nothing but repeat ourselves.

For all its manic bumbling and endless stream of pointless cameos, the only enduring characteristic about Zombie Simpsons is how blandly repetitive it is. Episodes consistently have no coherent story, few jokes, fewer funny jokes, wasted guest voices, hacktacular pop culture references, and all manner of things poorly lifted from old episodes. And then every once in a while the animation goes off the rails too, though that’s usually because the writers have once again managed to string together something too dumb to convey.

In Crazy Noises and elsewhere, I’ve begun to get the sense that we’re often doing little more than citing examples of the same kinds of things each week: it sucked when they made Homer do this, that joke went on too long, that’s not even a joke, this voice sounds terrible, that was done better years ago, this made no sense, etcetera etcetera. We are trying to put a tiny thrill into these gray little episodes, but they rarely give us something novel enough to make criticisms we haven’t already made dozens of times before. Whatever points we’ve tried to articulate over the past few years here, another few thousand words per episode are unlikely to change them. In short, it seems very unlikely that most of the episodes in Season 24 (or Season 25, or Season 26, or Season Whatever) are going to be worth a close examination and serious criticism.

On a related personal note, I simply find Zombie Simpsons boring. I stopped watching regularly sometime in Season 13, and didn’t catch more than a handful in total from Seasons 14-19. When Dave, Mad Jon and I started getting serious about this site in early 2009, I picked up at the beginning of Season 20, and very little had changed. I’ve seen every episode since, four full seasons, and I can honestly say that’s enough. Apart from its vague resemblance to my favorite show ever, Zombie Simpsons just isn’t that interesting; and I’d rather not spend my time watching it.

Long story short:

  • No change to Quotes of the Day
  • Still doing Crazy Noises for Season 11 this summer
  • Greatly reduced schedule for Season 24 this fall

On two happier notes, Chapters 7 & 8 of the book are now on-line, and to celebrate the end of Season 23, I’m going to do another Simpsons-Beer Marathon this Saturday.

For those of you who’ve started reading this site since the last time I did this, you can find a full explanation of how this works here. Basically, I watch an entire season of the show, drinking one beer per episode, and post updates along the way. I’ve done marathons for Seasons 1, 3, 4, 5, and 6 already, and you can check them out by clicking on our “Living Life to Its Fullest” category.

You can vote for which season you’d like me to watch on Saturday in the poll at right. And, no, if Season 7 is selected, I won’t be including “Marge Be Not Proud”. I dislike that episode, even if it does have some very funny parts (see the freshly posted Chapter 7 for details).  The marathon begins at 8:00am Eastern Daylight Time (US), which is 12:00 UTC, Saturday May 26th.  The poll closes at midnight Eastern Time tomorrow.

Update 26 May: It’s Season 2 in a landslide:

Season 2 Beerathon Poll

Thanks to everyone who voted.


Season 1 Marathon: 13 Episodes, 13 Beers, 4h:59m:07s

Homer's Odyssey6

“Beer.  Now there’s a temporary solution.” – Homer Simpson

Good morning and welcome to a special, unannounced, Simpsons Day Beer-Simpsons marathon!  For the last two years I’ve been stuck at work on Simpsons Day.  That resulted in a lot of YouTube and regular posts.  Of those, the 1989 Groening interview on Letterman is probably my favorite.  He’s wretchedly adorable in his nervous, pre-fame earnestness.  (The embedding’s been disabled in the two years since I posted it, but you can click through to YouTube to see it.)  For Simpsons Day this year my butt is planted right where it belongs: squarely in front of my television.

As with previous marathons, I’ll be drinking one delicious, cheap domestic beer per episode and posting updates along the way.  The pause and reverse buttons will be employed so I can get quotes or screen grabs, but the fast forward button will not be touched.  I’ll try to keep an eye on the comments, but I make no promises on that score.  Let’s get started, and happy Simpsons Day!

1. Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire

  • Having witnessed and performed in a number of craptacular grade school Christmas pageants, I can attest that this is far and away the most accurate portrayal I’ve ever seen on television.  (Parental boredom most definitely included.)
  • Among the many things about this season that were horrifying at the time but now seem quaint is the way they repeatedly deny the existence of Santa Claus.  People actually thought this was a show for little kids. 
  • As far as great character introductions go, it doesn’t get much better than having Flanders unwittingly humiliate Homer with a Christmas display.
  • “One ‘Mother’, please.”  “Wait a minute, how old are you?”  “Twenty-one, sir.” “Get in the chair.”
  • I don’t have anything to add to this, but Homer stands in for pretty much every Christmas themed hero in the history of American pop culture in this episode. 
  • Homer’s shiver on the way up the stairs when Marge says her sisters are here should be in some kind of in-law hall of fame.
  • There is nothing to dislike about this episode’s total contempt for Christmas television.
  • I love the way Lisa destroys Patty & Selma over Homer.  It’s especially awesome when you remember that we (the audience) don’t really know who she is yet.
  • I make much of this in the post from last year I linked above, but it is essential to Homer that he takes in the dog out of sympathy instead of as a way to save Christmas.  Homer sucks at everything here, and it wouldn’t work if he consciously saved Christmas. 

2. Bart the Genius

  • Aww, it’s the first time we see the opening, compete with bus stop.
  • This probably puts me in the minority, but I always liked the story problems in math.  Once you got the numbers out of the text they were always really easy.
  • I have no idea if George Meyer had a hand in the scene with Bart and his parents in Skinner’s office, but this oft quoted article sums it up perfectly:
    “Once, I was sent to the principal’s office, and when I went in my parents were sitting there. They had been summoned somehow. God, that was scary; I would have been very unhappy, but not particularly surprised, if they had said, ‘This time you have gone too far. Now you must die.’”
  • All these years later, I remain in awe of the contempt for school authority this show had. 
  • Animation question for those more knowledgeable than myself: what is with all the backgrounds in Season 1 with gradient colors?  So many walls are a color on one end and dissolve into white in the middle or at the other end.
  • There is an insane genius to having fourth graders debate free will vs. fate. 
  • Words I learned from The Simpsons: cuspidor.
  • An underrated aspect of this episode is the fact that the genius school never catches on to Bart’s scam.  They’re just as full of shit as the regular school.
  • The control hamster gets away!

3. Homer’s Odyssey

  • Lost in the mists of time is the way that having an admittedly hungover bus driver was kind of offensive in 1990. 
  • Black Smithers.
  • This filmstrip is the precursor of all the Troy McClure bits.  You can tell because he literally sweeps nuclear waste under the rug. 
  • Hey, there’s Blinky!
  • Sherri & Terri’s dad is an asshole.
  • “There, there, Homer, you’ll find a job.  You’ve caused plenty of industrial accidents and you’ve always bounced back.”
  • Marge Simpson: roller-skate MILF before there was such a term.
  • This show makes a (serious) suicide note funny.  Nothing else need be said.
  • I don’t think Marge’s vocal but non-verbal description of what the “Dip Sign” describes can be improved upon.  That’s exactly what it feels like. 
  • This episode really demonstrates how much of the later show was present in the beginning.  Even the serious/sad/important moments are frivolous and cynical. 
  • Yes, Homer dismisses the possibility of a serious nuclear accident with a silent “Nah”. 
  • This episode has two morals.  First, that industrial safety is the least of management’s concerns.  Second, that the appearance of such can be bought cheaply. 

4. There’s No Disgrace Like Home

  • The initial establishing shot of Burns Manor includes a sign that says “Poachers Will Be Shot”.
  • Yet another topic that didn’t get made fun of much before The Simpsons: wifely competition.  Also, drunk Marge is awesome.
  • One of us, one of us, one of us.
  • “Dear Lord, thank you for this microwaved bounty.”
  • Subtle Season 1 joke: Homer saying he wants to be alone with his “thought”, singular. 
  • That’s right, Springfield cops extort drinks on the job.  Bless ’em.
  • The pawn shop guy is appropriately sleazy.
  • Marvin Monroe: total swindler.  I love this show.
  • Openly denigrating the idea of the nuclear family is just one more of many civic contributions of  The Simpsons.
  • Realistic flesh tones! 

5. Bart the General

  • “Bart!  You’re saying ‘butt kisser’ like it’s a bad thing.”
  • Homer gives a wonderful ton of awful fatherly advice this season. 
  • That’s right, Bart considers “honor student” to be pejorative. 
  • It’s great that, in his imagining of his own funeral, Bart figures that Homer would care more about missing work than the death of his first born. 
  • Homer’s “code of the school yard” speech should be thought in upper level sociology classes. 
  • Scratch that, this entire episode should be taught in upper level sociology classes.
  • C’mon Grampa, you can be a vibrant, sex loving maniac and a bitter, resentful individual.
  • Google seems to think that there is not, repeat not, a large type edition of Soldier of Fortune.
  • They made a lot of movies about World War II, Patton is one of the best.
  • Gorgeous animation much?:
    Bart the General6
  • Grampa’s nostalgia for the horrors of combat is one of those things you probably couldn’t get away with these days.
  • This episode has a child say “We were only following orders”. 

6. Moaning Lisa

  • Grade school band practice is so inherently awful as to be beyond mockery, right until Lisa starts talking.  That’s good mockery.
  • There’s no way to watch Bart and Homer play the B-plot without wanting to fire up an emulator and play the Mike Tyson game.
  • Maggie picking the TV over both of her siblings is a joke that can only be seen, but is no less great for being so.
  • It’s sad, but the original Bleeding Gums died in 2002.  Still awesome.
  • “Oh, so that’s it, this is some kind of underwear thing.”  Homer’s cluelessness and Marge’s resigned competence are perfect here. 
  • Marge’s horrible advice to Lisa about dimwittedly smiling, and her subsequent recantation of said advice, is yet another thing for which this show should be canonized.  Here’s what many parents tell their kids, and here’s why that’s stupid beyond belief. 
  • Speaking of excellent animation: the jazz club and everything afterwards.  There are things in Season 1 that don’t look right.  This is not one of them. 

7. The Call of the Simpsons

  • Albert Brooks, RV salesman. 
  • “You ever known a siren to be good?”
  • I’m not trying to make this a theme or anything, but the RV falling off the cliff and blowing up is  animated really well.
  • The ballistic failure of Homer’s rabbit trap is one of the best visual jokes this show has ever done.
  • People say the news media sucks these days, and they’re right.  But remember that it sucked in 1990 too.

8. The Telltale Head

  • Ever been to church?  This episode will let you giggle through that awful waste of time.
  • “You don’t need an introduction, you’re the worst kid in school.” “Thanks.”
  • Gotta love the school bus on fire going off a cliff.
  • There are a lot of shows that will use a distressed cat’s meow as a punchline.  There aren’t a lot of shows that will use it twice by starting and stopping it.
  • Gotta love the murderous, vigilante rage of Krusty.
  • There is also a disturbing “why so serious” vibe to Krusty in this episode. 

9. Life on the Fast Lane

  • Even in Season 1 animation, Lisa’s insane macaroni birthday card is hilarious.
  • “The Springfield Mall is now open for your spending needs.”
  • The singing waiters sing “Nearer My God”.  And it’s during a birthday celebration.  Once again, I love this show. 
  • God bless sleazy horn music.
  • Helen Lovejoy is a great television villain.  Let’s hope something runs over her.
  • There are a lot of genuinely sad moments in this episode, but everyone one has some gags to let you know that they aren’t really serious.

10. Homer’s Night Out

  • Almost all of the time, bachelor’s parties are wretched.
  • Hey, look!  They’re developing photos with chemicals instead of Mac OX X.
  • Research indicates that over fifty-percent of power is used by women.  The gall!
  • This is another episode that has a brutal hilarity to its conclusion.  Yes, women are pathetic drooling objects, but men are salivatory jackasses.  

11. The Crepes of Wrath

  • “The boy.  Bring me the boy.”  If there has ever been a better expression of parental frustration I have yet to encounter it.
  • Marge looking through the peep-hole to see Skinner is great.  It makes him seem as odd for them as he naturally would be.  Also, he wants to deport an American citizen. 
  • “Don’t mess up France the way you messed up your room.”
  • Skinner’s jingoistic love of that duplicitous Albanian is great. 
  • 5% of the people controlling 95% of the wealth, Adil was ahead of the curve. 
  • Even when his son has been replaced by a Commie spy, Homer still has to be baited into thinking his own kid isn’t worthless.
  • Yup:
    The Crepes of Wrath5
  • It probably won’t even blind him.
  • The child spy exchange is awesome.

12. Krusty Gets Busted

Krusty Gets Busted3

  • Character wise, the repressed valet parking of Sideshow Bob comes through wonderfully.  
  • Sideshow Bob: proof that homicidal maniacs can also be authoritarian.
  • An invocation of “meddling kids” can also serve as a reminder that children are oft smarter than we give them credit for.

13. Some Enchanted Evening

  • Harsh reality time: Homer’s a boob and Dr. Marvin is as useless as those guys on Oprah.
  • “We’re all pigs.”
  • I can’t do Homer’s mispronunciations in this episode.  But that it involves babysitting, work, and nominal child abandonment is good enough for me.
  • “Video library”, there’s one of the 1980s worst innovations.
  • And we end on Homer giving cash to an armed fugitive. 

Season 3 Marathon: 24 Episodes, 24 Beers, 9h:12m:06s

Dog of Death7

“Marge, I’ve figured out an alternative to giving up my beer.  Basically, we become a family of traveling acrobats.” – Homer Simpson
“I don’t think you’ve thought this through.” – Marge Simpson

Good morning everyone, and welcome to the Season 3 Simpsons-Beer marathon!  Season 7 tightened the gap a little yesterday afternoon, and had been ahead earlier in the week, but Season 3 stayed on top of the poll, and so Season 3 it shall be.  Just like the previous marathons, I’m not above using the pause and reverse buttons to get a quote or a screen shot, but there will be absolutely no use of the fast forward button.  I’ll update this post at the end of each episode, and you can probably expect the ones later in the day to be a bit more . . . enthusiastic.  And now, that first delicious breakfast beer calls.

1. Stark Raving Dad

  • “Marge, I can’t wear a pink shirt to work, everybody wears white shirts.  I’m not popular enough to be different.” 
  • I love that the power plant has a bare light bulb interrogation room and performs body cavity searches, and then they end up talking about Gilbert & Sullivan.  That’s high quality absurdity right there.
  • That’s a really gratuitous crotch grab from Leon on “Billy Jean”.  Baseball players would have a hard time getting away with that on network TV.
  • Nice touch: Homer’s wearing the pink shirt in Bart’s lobotomy fantasy.
  • For those of you too young to remember 1991, it’s hard to describe just how huge Michael Jackson was.  Imagine if Lady Gaga, Kanye West and Justine Timberlake were the same person, and then quadruple that, I was a kid who wasn’t yet into popular music and I knew who he was.  It actually wasn’t that implausible that an entire town would drop what it was doing to go see him.  I get that it’s a joke, but still.
  • Bart gets a pretty good sound out of that trash can. 
  • And wow is this a great song.

2. Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington

  • Homer’s job specifies an illiterate. 
  • The Reading Digest sex tips are great. 
  • Nice touch: the eagle in the park has the arrow and the olive branch.
  • “Jingoism” is one of the score categories for the essays. 
  • “Brevity Is . . . Wit”
  • Love Barbara Bush’s “damn badges” line.
  • Unlike so many of Zombie Simpsons’ “destination” episodes, the sights the family sees here (VIP badges excepted for comedy) are things that really are right next to each other in D.C.  These days they skip from landmark to landmark regardless of sense and it’s really disorienting.  Here you never feel like they’ve left reality.
  • We’ve got a lot more than two women Senators now.  Good work, Lisa.
  • I’ve only been sightseeing in D.C. once, but I giggled when, sure enough, the Jefferson Memorial was deserted while the Lincoln Memorial had people crawling all over it.  Lincoln’s got a more convenient spot, but the contrast is huge.
  • I use Bart’s “Cool, a ruckus” all the time.
  • The swift justice accorded to Bob Arnold is such a wonderfully Simpsons touch, they’re willing to go cynical exaggeration on anything.
  • “Imprisoned Congressman becomes born again Christian.”
  • I forget his name, but otherwise intelligent people thought that piano guy (who was a real guy) was funny.  He wasn’t. 

3. When Flanders Failed

  • Every time a Zombie Simpsons writer turns in a script with a ton of Jerkass Homer running around and acting like a lunatic, s/he (probably he), should be strapped into a chair, Clockwork Orange style, and forced to watch this episode.  Homer’s an ass this entire episode, but it’s because he’s jealous of Flanders, not just because.  Better yet, his asshole behavior is mostly passive.  When he’s laughing with the food in his mouth, and Maude and Ned are kinda grossed out, he’s 1/100th of Jerkass Homer . . . and then he chokes. 
  • Akira’s karate commercial is fantastic, especially his swollen eye after he breaks the board with his head.
  • Castellaneta’s delivery of “No, I do not know what Schadenfreude is, please tell me because I’m dying to know” should be in some kind of sarcasm hall of fame.
  • Small point: when Homer’s talking to Chuck Ellis the collection agent, he was going to tell him about the store, he just got interrupted.  It’s a subtle thing, but it makes the eventual change less melodramatic and displays that respect for the audience Zombie Simpsons doesn’t have.
  • “Sold it to you for seven cents”, Homer having Ned’s monogrammed handkerchief, the Libertarian Party headquarters, even in this episode’s most emotional scene they never let things get heavy. 
  • “Ah, the worm has turned has it not, my tin plated friend?”
  • Maude wearing Donna Reed’s dress from It’s a Wonderful Life is one of those things I didn’t notice for the first, oh, forty viewings.

4. Bart the Murderer

  • Great animation on the close up of Bart’s parched tongue licking envelopes.
  • There really was a “Fat Tony”.  According to Wikipedia, he died less than a year after this was broadcast.
  • Small animation note: the cocktail chart is listed below the radio when the Phil Hartman gangster announces the call for the third race.  That’s a hell of an attention to detail.
  • Oh how I miss themed Itchy & Scratchy episodes.
  • I love the panicked yell of the smoker, “How do we know that?”. 
  • Fat Tony’s self serving description of hijacking is one for the ages.
  • Flowers By Irene!
  • The unreserved joy of the kids at hearing that Skinner is missing is one of those great multi-layered moments of the show at its best.  Not only do the students hate the principal, they’re fine with showing it openly, and it underlines the plot by showing Bart being nervous. 
  • Even Bart’s nightmare about being executed is treated lightly.
  • “Chinese guy with a moustache?” – Oh yeah, Fat Tony murders people.
  • The cartoon of Bart with tentacles in every part of town is another brilliant little touch.
  • Skinner’s recollection of the police search, complete with the cops eating his food and drinking his beer, is great.  The whole story hinges on the fact that the cops are too incompetent to look in the basement.
  • Is this the first inkling the world got of the comedic potential of the dry delivery of Neil Patrick Harris?

5. Homer Defined

  • “The little touches are what made it enduring.”  Well said, Martin.  Well said.
  • I’ve asked around, I’ve checked the closed captioning, I’ve Googled, does anyone have any idea what Otto says when they pull up to the school?  “I’d like to say thanks and a ??????? applause to birthday boy  Milhouse”?  It sounds like “plose” or something.  Was it an early 90s stoner word?  I have no idea. 
  • Project Bootstrap!
  • Thank you, President Ford.
  • You see episodes like this one enough times and you take it for granted, but they are talking about killing an entire town with radiation and yet everything, even the strings of suspense, are pasted over with gags and jokes. 
  • Case in point: Frink’s Strangelove glasses, which aren’t even the main joke of the scene he’s in.
  • Enjoyably quick nod to “Goldfinger” with the 007 count on the timer.
  • They did like their wine spritzers this season.
  • The wall of Smithers photos is such a great payoff for his earlier bitching about Homer winning Employee of the Month.
  • Gotta enjoy the terrible parenting that is Homer’s indifference to Lisa’s newfound admiration for him.
  • “Behold the glory that is Homer Simpson!”

6. Like Father, Like Clown

  • Gotta love Cpl. Punishment holding Mel’s unconscious self.
  • “I always suspected that nothing in life mattered, now I know for sure.”
  • That the seltzer young Krusty is playing with in the bathroom hits him in the face like a money shot is another one of those things that’s so dirty the censors never had a chance.
  • Someday I will have a “Gabbin’ About God” t-shirt made. 
  • The deli setup is the kind of thing a lesser show would’ve used as a third act.  Not only is Krusty humming “La Marseillaise”, he put on a tuxedo!
  • God bless Sammy Davis Jr.
  • If you want to see filler that doesn’t feel like filler, check out the quick cutaway to Moe and Barney.

7. Treehouse of Horror II

  • I promise I’ll stop talking about Zombie Simpsons soon, but nothing they’ve done in the last ten years comes close to the self awareness on display here in the Monkey’s Paw segment.  They’re really laying into themselves for being overexposed and for having shitty stuff for sale, and they did it all the time.  Nowadays they have to farm anything remotely that true out to Banksy.
  • “He’s got a board with a nail in it!”
  • I always laugh when Snowball II sets the curtains on fire.  Every single time.
  • Ditto Otto saying “This is fun isn’t it?  We’re gonna die, aren’t we?” and then laying hard on the accelerator with his hand.
  • The conditional emphasis Dr. Marvin Monroe places on “maybe even love him” is fantastic. 
  • Burns’ Frankenstein laboratory is fantastically drawn.
  • Burns humming “If I Only Had a Brain” while he removes Homer’s with an ice cream scoop is just too damn perfect.  Did they have to pay a royalty on that?

8. Lisa’s Pony

  • Another nice, detailed touch: adding the letterbox bars for the 2001 “Dawn of Man” segment.
  • Funny and appropriate character touches: Lisa not wanting to call her father until after she checked with a ton of people and the “nice man who caught the snake in our basement”, and Homer, after trying to get out of it, being touched anyway.
  • Words I learned from The Simpsons: trenchant.
  • More great character moments: Skinner hating the talent contest backstage, then praising it on stage.
  • Between Homer ignoring Lisa’s first steps for Fantasy Island and ignoring her calling him “dada” to strangle Bart, this show once again displays its mastery of emotional moments that remain very funny.
  • “No, you were right the first time with that quick fix idea.”
  • The scene where Burns loans Homer the money is perfect, everyone’s in character, it’s joke laden from start to finish, and it allows the overall plot to move on quickly.
  • Grampa flailing around at the video game is every time I ever tried to get my parents or grandparents to pick up a controller.  As a kid, this was one of those scenes that just sung to me.
  • Nice callbacks to Season 1: not only does Apu live at Fiesta Terrace, he’s dating April Flowers/Princess Cashmere.
  • Homer’s sleep montage is so, so great.
  • “Homer sleep now” is another one of those things I use all the time.
  • “Although there is no change in my patrician facade, I can assure you, my heart is breaking.”

9. Saturdays of Thunder

  • On TV: Mr. Sugar Cube creates perfectly square sugar cubes.  On Evergreen Terrace: Cubes are lumpy and misshapen. 
  • The Poe tombstone thing, up to and including “you’ll think the body’s still warm”, is like eleven jokes in ten seconds.  It’s cruel.
  • Speaking of tons of things crammed into almost no screen time: McBain in the diner.
  • Thank Jebus for YouTube, now no one has to miss Joe Theismann.
  • Saturdays of Thunder8
  • “He reminds me of me before the weight of the world crushed my spirit.”
  • Trusting the audience: no exposition is necessary for the first race, they just show us the “Time Trials” banner for about a second.
  • Nelson going Ben Hur on on Bart is great.
  • When Martin offers to let Bart drive his car, Bart doesn’t agonize, he just agrees in a single sentence that makes fun of the cliched setup and moves the plot to its next step. 
  • And then Homer calls Martin a “Home wrecker” and Martin replies with the standard teevee mistress rebuttal that the betraying party “still loves you”.  God this season is genius.
  • And then they stand the usual “sore loser” teevee message on its head, but only after Homer and Bart are forced to ignore the fact that Martin was the real winner. 

10. Flaming Moe’s

  • “It’s a dustpan.”  “The wax never lies.”
  • I’ve already not noted at least a dozen of them, but Castellaneta again deserves special mention for “That’s it, I’m outta here.”  It’s the perfect combination of resignation and an excuse to escape.
  • That’s right, Moe accepts food stamps.
  • Tipsy McStagger – It’s a joke, and then Moe thinking he’s real makes it another one, which they can then use for a callback.  Beautiful use of a good idea without running it into the ground.
  • There’s such a wonderful naivete to Bart thinking it’s okay to bring booze to class if he brings enough for everybody, and then Krabappel letting him have whatever the teacher’s lounge doesn’t finish compounds it.  The layers children, the layers.
  • The song, the song!
  • The secret ingredient is always love, isn’t it?
  • Even when Eye on Springfield comes back from commercial there’s a hot girl shaking her ass.  Local news uber alles.
  • On any other program, Hutz’s whole scene, including his citation of the “Frank Wallbanger” case, would be the highlight of the entire episode.  Here we’ve grown so spoiled we expect it.
  • I type really fast, but I can’t type nearly fast enough to keep up with the memorable scenes here.
  • Krabappel rocks that bra sized tube top.
  • And one final Cheers/Shelly Long joke, leaving to pursue her movie career.

11. Burns Verkaufen der Kraftwerk

  • We’re at the German episode already?  Fuck’s sake, we’ve been through ten episodes that contain things even casual fans love, and now we’re at the German episode?  Holy fuck this season is solid. 
  • Everyone talks about Hutz and McClure, but Homer’s stockbroker saying “Ah, there, now we trust each other” is as good as Hartman ever did, and that’s a bar most comedians can’t even see, much less reach.
  • There’s a ton of great Itchy & Scratchy this season.  They can take a simple thing, like a mouse hammering a nail into a cat’s skull, and make it funny. 
  • Buying the Cleveland Browns was funny, then they moved, now they’re back and as terrible and ever, and it’s funny again. 
  • With the exception of Bobo, and that was more subdued, $100,000,000 may be the only thing Burns ever loves. 
  • Another small point for those of you who don’t remember 1991, there was a real (and really stupid) panic that the Germans and the Japanese were taking everything over at the time.  Fortunately, America has Mr. Burns.
  • I may have raised my hand when Horst asked if there were any alcoholics among us. 
  • “Also, we cannot overemphasize the importance of employee safety.”:

Burns Verkaufen der Kraftwerk3

  • Like the Browns, Battlestar Galactica was funny at the time, and is now funny for a different reason.
  • “Mmmm, the land of chocolate.”  This, this right here, this is how you do a montage.  The pure joy on his face, the pain of the dog, the fact that he’s excited about half off chocolate. 
  • And then he has to come crashing back to reality, ten minutes ago.
  • Yet more nice character points, Lisa responds to poverty by actually saving for the family, Bart responds by using it as an excuse to do shit he wanted to do anyway.
  • Burns contempt for the “blue collar bar” is perfect him.  He calls it “slumming”, has to hold his nose, and, of course, there’s “the mirthless laugh of the damned”. 
  • Again they undermine the usual television conventions.  Money does make him happy, but only when it makes people afraid of him.  Oh how I miss evil Burns.
  • And then we get a United States of God Bless American back in charge, and what does he do?  Cancel all repairs. 
  • And, yes, there was a dagger in his drawer the whole time his office was a daycare center.

12. I Married Marge

  • Not a lot of programs can compare John Anderson to Supertramp.  Just saying. 
  • More little touches: one of the light bulbs is out at the impregnable castle. 
  • I don’t think this is what they were going for, and I am twelve beers in, but you could interpret this as an example of the way boorish, lazy males use cultural norms about pregnancy to trap women with otherwise better options into dead end marriages that overwhelming benefit said boorish males.  
  • Kool Moe Dee Simpson.
  • It always has kinda bothered me that Homer never hit on “fart” as something that rhymes with “Bart”.  Meh.
  • Hibbert’s haircuts through time are always fantastic.
  • Speaking of well done montages: Homer to “9 to 5”.  The gummy scream of the old woman as Homer reminds himself “handle first” cracks me up every time.  And that’s only part of it.
  • “Repossessing stuff is the hardest part of my job.”
  • Lotta good Bouvier family jokes about Homer going bald in this one.
  • “Gulp ’n Blow”, almost really dirty, but not quite.  Still kinda dirty.
  • “Pour vous”, nice callback to Season 2.
  • “Homer, do you know why I married you?” “Cause I knocked you up?”
  • Burns’ sadistic glee at eating the ghosts in Ms. Pacman is fantastic. 
  • I didn’t note it earlier, but Smithers’ old school haircut, while not as good as Hibbert’s, is pretty good.
  • Best job interview ever.
  • Another great ending: Homer can express his life affirming joy at having kids, only to leap off the couch, spilling all three of them onto the floor in the process, to high five Marge that they won’t have to endure another.

13. Radio Bart

  • It’s great of Homer to be susceptible to cheap marketing phrases like “supply is limited”.
  • And then Bart pays $8 to see his name for about a sixteenth of a second on TV.
  • “When I was a kid we had compact discs, and I don’t recall no one complaining.”  Yet another example of the show seeing into the future.
  • The suspicious, bordering on hostile, eyes of the guy in the Wall E. costume are fantastic.
  • Animatronic pizza animals, ten thousand years from now archeologists will argue over whether or not we worshipped them.
  • Yet another thing that cracks me up every time: “We have captured your president, he was delicious.”
  • Love the guy with Socrates the falcon.
  • This episode is based of a Kirk Douglas movie called “Ace in the Hole”, rather than babble about it drunkenly, I’ll link to this, which I’m pretty sure I wrote sober.
  • Here’s where we get our first look at Willie’s epic abdominals.
  • The Lincoln squirrel has been assassinated!
  • I love the way Homer yanks Sting back after he breaks through.

14. Lisa the Greek

  • If the NFL doesn’t have a season this year, I shall be very put out.  Lousy owners.
  • Great setup for Season 5, Lisa making the shoe box apartment where Malibu Stacey(!) prints a feminist newsletter. 
  • Since I’m apparently big on linked YouTube this week, here’s a video that will explain to anyone too young or foreign to get Smooth Jimmy Apollo.  The real Jimmy the Greek was so over the top he was almost impossible to parody. 
  • The clothes shopping subplot only lasts for the beginning of the episode, but it fits with the rest of it, and is exactly how tortuous shopping for clothes really is when you’re a kid.
  • It’s all but impossible not to think of Lisa’s “He’ll lose” speech whenever you see some guy in a pre-game interview.
  • One more little touch: the way Homer’s eyes narrow as he gets confused at Lisa’s explanation of  the ins and outs of away turf and conference games.
  • Moe saying “Just gimme the best, Lisa” after she explains to Homer why she’s making her picks is a great example of not using a montage.  Could’ve done one, didn’t need to, didn’t.
  • In the category of great deliveries, Smith’s disgusted, bordering on giving up, “Put me down”, has to be mentioned. 
  • It’s great that Moe pours the free beer he mistakenly gave Barney down the sink.  He’d rather see it wasted than unpaid for.
  • Twenty years on and, with rare exceptions (cough, Prince, cough), the Super Bowl halftime show has only gotten worse.
  • Not a lot of shows can end with intergenerational bonding over a tire fire.

15. Homer Alone

  • Even for animation, the way Marge’s face hardens into about an 8.3 on the Mohs scale as her family hassles her all at once is fantastic.
  • Really nice animation on the overhead shots of the river flowing under the bridge.
  • Good party gag: yellow police/caution tape that reads “Distressed Mother – Please Stay Back”
  • After Wiggum and Quimby have their backroom fight, it’s great to see Wiggum’s resentful look as Quimby lets her go.
  • I love how reassured Homer is once Marge swears she’s coming back.  That’s all he needed to know.
  • Such a nice and brief contrast between the wide eyed discomfort of Lisa and Bart in bed at Patty & Selma’s, and Marge realizing she can spread out at Rancho Relaxo.
  • Cutting the joke off while it’s still funny: Barney spraying water into the house.
  • Also, the woman horrified to have Marge’s haircut in the salon.
  • Excellent absurdity: what kind of movie is titled “Calling all Quakers” AND contains the words, “Have it your way, baby.”? 

16. Bart the Lover

  • The Zinc filmstrip is so dead on it’s almost not a parody.
  • Not all that long after this episode and its yo-yo group, my school was visited by a bunch of people who did the same thing, but for jump rope instead of yo-yos.  Other than laughing at it with my friends, the only thing I remember is that they had a bootleg copy of “Partyman” by Prince that was so cheap it still had the ambient sounds and dialog from Batman in it.  (Second Prince mention of the day!)
  • I love that the teacher’s lounge has “happy hour”.
  • A photo that’ll get your pencil moving:
    Bart the Lover6
    I do love it when this show got away with shit.
  • Much love for Lovejoy thinking Flanders was complaining about the vegetables and not the swearing.
  • “Look, Homer, all of us pull a few boners now and then, go off half cocked, make asses of ourselves.”
  • That’s right, Marge gives Homer a swear jar exception for when they’re snuggling.  Hell yeah.
  • Homer’s emotional clumsiness at a) wanting to tell Krabappel the truth, and then b) his break up ideas, are a great way for him to be a terrible person without hurting people.  This way we don’t have to feel weird when he acts like a mean spirited fucktard.

17. Homer at the Bat

  • The softball episode: it begins.
  • Somebody scare him / That’s for the hiccups.
  • Just once I would like to play a softball game with Simpsons rules: can’t leave first until you chug a beer, anyone scoring has to chug a beer, you have to chug a beer at the top of all odd numbered innings, and we’ll figure something out for the fourth inning being the beer inning.  And yes, we will have a keg by first base.
  • Burns’ “I disagree” wins forever.
  • Known to cause gigantism.
  • Smithers asks Burns what he’s going to do with his million dollars, and Burns, offhandedly, says he’s going to throw it on the pile.  Right there they basically resolve the million-dollar-bet plot so they can focus on just winning the championship and Homer getting to play.  You hardly notice it when it happens, but it makes the entire episode run smoothly.
  • The entire sequence where the ringers fall victim to misfortune is perfectly done.  It’s not a montage, it’s not done strictly in order, it’s just little pieces told well together, even the ones that take more than one scene. 
  • The end is such a great way for Homer to win without actually winning. 
  • And, another song.

18. Separate Vocations

  • I went to a terrible school that was staffed by incompetents; I love this episode.  Everyone’s hopes and dreams, starting with Krabappel and her masters from Bryn Mawr, are tarnished. 
  • “No, the army said I was too heavy, the police said I was too dumb.”  That’s a great joke, making fun of two usually sacrosanct institutions by implying that the soldiers are dumb and the cops are fat.
  • “You’ve inherited a finger condition known as ‘stubbiness’.”  It’s impossible not to say that whenever I drop something.  At this point it’s a reflex.
  • Eggplant Xerxes Criminy Overbite Narwhal
  • Mr. Glasscock.
  • I love the panic in the teacher’s longue after they realize the kids are on the same footing that they are.
  • Only Wiggum would send in the battering ram on the library.
  • The locker searching scene sounds like, but is legally distinct from, Beverly Hills Cop.
  • “In your pre-fascist days you knew the giddy thrill of futile rebellion.”

19. Dog of Death

  • Deceptive lottery ads: still the same twenty years later.
  • 380,000,000:50
  • There’s an enjoyably ironic cruelty to making the poor Simpsons watch the rich Kent Brockman get even richer.
  • “What makes a man endanger his job and, yes, even his life, by asking me for money?”  Burns finger on, then off, then quickly back on the security button is a great way to make an otherwise not funny scene funny.
  • Burns contempt for even the idea of recycling is awesome.  He just doesn’t want to have to paw through garbage like a starving raccoon, that’s all.
  • Smithers in the Girl Scout uniform!
  • Rich Kent Brockman: tan, gold draped, and nearly naked, is exactly what a guy like him would do with money. 
  • No dogs were harmed in the drunken watching of this episode.  A cat got sick, and somebody shot a duck, but that’s it.

20. Colonel Homer

  • There really should’ve been a movie called “Honey, I Hit a School Bus”.
  • The pig that gets tossed on stage always makes be laugh. 
  • Beverly D’Angelo nails everything about this part.
  • Moe casually mentioning that Fudd made all those hillbillies blind is a great call back.  Again, they took the time to not run a good idea into the ground.
  • Homer’s complete sexual innocence makes this episode.  He genuinely doesn’t understand that Lurleen wants to fuck.  He’s just too stupid and loyal to get it.
  • Though he’s not above failing to placate his wife, “Marge, it takes two to lie.  One to lie, and one to listen.”
  • All of which makes the scene in the trailer, with Beverly D’Angelo and the soundtrack turning the sexy to 11,  so damn great.  “Oh, that’s hot, there isn’t a man alive who wouldn’t get turned on by that . . . well, goodbye.”
  • Fiberglass hay.
  • And when he does finally understand what Lurleen wants, all he can think about is Marge, though not without “You would’ve gone all the way with me, wouldn’t you?”  They never play it for tension, and that crucial question is resolved for Homer only after he’s walked out and has no chance with her.  This is another one of those minor things that demonstrates how delicately they used to handle things.  They’ll make the jokes, but they won’t ask us to pretend that Homer’s going to cheat on Marge, which we know he won’t. 

21. Black Widower

  • Even before they change the shot to just his face, it’s great watching Bart’s eyes as he follows Homer’s imaginary stabbing motions.
  • And then there’s Homer’s denial that he’s forgetting the first two Noble Truths of the Buddha.  “I am not” is too general to quote in conversation, but damn it’s funny.
  • We’ve been doing this blog long enough that in many places I can just link to things like Homer’s inimitable rant about cocktail weenies.
  • They were probably already going to cancel MacGyver, but if they weren’t, this episode sealed it. 
  • The 8pm timeslot is the supposed “family hour”, the defiling of which makes morons clutch their pearls and head for the nearest fainting couch, and Homer is literally advocating drunkenness, “stumble home in the mood for love”, as a marital aide.  Even today that’d be tough to pull.
  • Love Lisa’s bitterness at not being flower girl.
  • Great off color animation on Bob’s pre-commercial confession in the car.
  • And having him already confess to the audience, the show gets to have fun with his reluctance to actually be Selma’s husband.
  • The mockery of the usual Murder She Wrote style ending is great, especially Homer and Wiggum’s failure to understand.
  • It’s true, you can’t keep the Democrats out of the White House forever.  Palin 2012 bitches!

22. The Otto Show

  • The t-shirt of Spinal Tap kicking Libya’s unspellable leader in the butt was a timeless classic in 1992.
  • Count me among the many and increasing number of people who saw the actual Spinal Tap movie long after they saw this episode.  It made much more sense after.
  • “We salute you, our half inflated dark lord.”
  • I love the petty, knee jerk censorship of Brockman wanting to “ban all music”.
  • “Slag off!” 
  • Skinner’s five o’clock shadow failure to drive the bus works so much better because of his earlier, clean cut confidence that he could. 
  • I love Patty’s instant love of Otto once she realizes he too hates Homer.  It’s like the only time we ever get to see her genuinely happy, and it’s awesome.

23. Bart’s Friend Falls in Love

  • Bart's Friend Falls in Love3 
  • There’s lot of copies of the Fluffy Bunny video online, but the surrounding scenes are just as good, especially Krabappel’s bitterness.  Also, I would pay serious money for a copy of the sex ed video they made us come into school and watch on a Wednesday night in fourth grade.  It was dumb at the time, I can only imagine that it would be hilarious now.
  • “But in real life, Santa would be suffering from gall stones, hypertension, impotence, and diabetes.”
  • We’re twenty-three episodes in at this point, and it’s just staggering how many jokes and punchlines they put into each episode.  Even more impressive, they all at least kinda work.  Not everything lands equally, but there aren’t any lines or subplots that thud disastrously or feel crammed in for the sake of cramming. 
  • I can neither paint nor draw, nor do I know enough about either to competently criticize either.  But, I think a cromulent representation of Milhouse standing forlornly on the jungle gym with the trees in the background could, given a century or so, hang in a Louvre level museum:
    Bart's Friend Falls in Love4
    How is that not the saddest (non-fatal) thing a kid can feel?
  • Yet, yet yet another nice point: Milhouse has an uneaten meal on a tray by his bed.
  • I use that metal dealy to dig food all the time.
  • Ne pas de boys.
  • Though I’m already two images in on this episode, it would be derelict of me not to include this:
    Bart's Friend Falls in Love5

24. Brother, You Spare Two Dimes?

  • I defy anyone not to crack up at the perfect formation of the “normal” sample of Smithers sperm.  It looks like an aerial stun squadron. 
  • I can’t transcribe it, but I’m pretty sure you know what I’m talking about when I say that Burns’ scene with his lawyers is a kind of angry poetry. 
  • Great fourth wall scene as Homer says he life can’t get any worse. 
  • Smokin’ Joe : Great Cameo
  • Krusty Brand Sulfuric Acid
  • My brother has a drinking bird.  The bastard.
  • “This leash demeans us both.”
  • “Alright, but I never really hugged a man before”:
    Brother Can You Spare Two Dimes8
  • And that’s it folks, thanks for reading.  I’m gonna take a nap.  Windows Live Writer tells me that this is at about 5,200 words.  But even granting 1,000 words per picture, I’ve still fallen haplessly short.  These can only be watched, and I’m glad I did. 
  • For good measure (the bottles came first):
    Season 3 Aftermath

Idiot to Drunkenly Watch Teevee Again


“Do you ever drink to escape from reality?” – Marge Simpson

Ladies and gentlemen, we made it.  Season 22 is over, and the only confirmed casualties were humor, plot and enjoyable comedy.  In celebration, I’ll be undertaking another Simpsons-beer marathon this Saturday, the 28th of May.  For those who’ve found this blog since the last time I did this, the basic concept is that, starting at about 8:00am Eastern Time (US), I’m going to watch an entire season of The Simpsons and drink one beer per episode.  I’ll post running updates after each episode finishes, (a more detailed description can be found here).

Just like the previous times, the season I watch will be decided by the Simpsons fans with the good taste and penchant for self torture who deign to visit this site.  Seasons 4, 5, and 6 have been done, so the poll at right contains Seasons 1, 2, 3, and 7.  The poll will be open until midnight Friday (04:00 GMT Saturday), and I’ll watch whichever season comes out ahead. 

Update May 28: Season 7 put up a hell of a fight, but Season 3 prevailed.  Thanks to everyone who voted.

Season 3 Poll


Season 4 Marathon: 22 Episode, 22 Beers, 8h:25m:44s


“Well, well, look who it is.  Mister ‘I don’t need alcohol to enjoy life’.” – Moe

Good morning everyone and welcome to the third Simpsons-Beer marathon!  The mob has spoken and has acclaimed Season 4 as its champion.  I am looking forward, at 2:30ish this afternoon, to watching Homer struggle with his drinking problem after I’ve downed 16 beers alone.  Click here for an explanation of how this all works, and let’s get started.  Beer and Simpsons, hurrah!

1. Kamp Krusty

  • It was years after I first saw this episode that I got Bart’s 36-24-36 locker combination joke.
  • Homer is such an awesomely terrible father in this episode, what with the hard work/lottery speech and, of course, having Bart reach for the roller skate in the running lawnmower. 
  • “Spare me your euphemisms, it’s fat camp for daddy’s chubby little secret.”
  • Can you actually bake jelly beans?  Google Image search says you can.
  • I love Homer’s picnic hat. 
  • Rather than say this same thing over and over all day, I’ll just say it now.  It remains amazing just how many jokes they manage in each line.  Even lines that are basically plot points, Bart’s rant against Krusty, Mr. Black yelling at the bullies, everything has jokes.  There is nary a wasted word. 

2. A Streetcar Named Marge

  • Gotta give it up for Meryl Streep, they made that joke about her fragrance “Versatility” in 1992, and she’s just kept it up for twenty more years.
  • “Tonight, my reign as Miss American Girl comes to an end, and I’d like to apologize one last time for my unfortunate remarks at the United Nations.”
  • Oh how I adore the Ayn Rand School for Tots.  “Helping Is Futile” always gets me.  I’m still too sober to be able to blot Zombie Simpsons from my mind, but compare this to that execrable and bizarre speech they had Maggie give a couple of years ago.  This is satire, that was hapless. 
  • The bloody bandage on Ned’s chest is just another example of how much thought and care they put into everything.  We never see Marge draw blood, but we don’t need to.  It works much better by just alluding to the violence.
  • The music from “The Great Escape” is perfect here. 
  • This episode is exquisitely plotted, Marge and Homer’s troubles are neatly done through Blanche and Stanley.  Even the resolution, where they make it explicit, never feels heavy handed. 

3. Homer the Heretic

  • Lovejoy’s line about the badly damaged card table was written by someone with a lot of familiarity with church bulletins.  
  • For all our non-American readers out there, the little “D” on the (1991!) penny Homer finds means that the penny was made at the mint in Denver.
  • This episode is Exhibit A for why religious people should never praise this show.  The Simpsons had unlimited respect for faith, but did nothing but brutally mock organized religion. 
  • I love Ned’s resigned “Okay”, after Homer bounces back into the house.  It’s such a great moment for his character, he’s instantly both unhappy and determined to continue. 
  • “Hindu.  There are seven hundred million of us.”  “Aw, that’s super.”
  • I also love that Jimi Hendrix is in heaven.  Choke on that, hidebound religious people. 

4. Lisa the Beauty Queen

  • Skinner’s repressed badass, nice. 
  • They were really on about beauty pageants this year, and that’s good because the sooner those things are ridiculed into oblivion the better. 
  • Homer’s awful parenting works because it comes from well meaning stupidity.  He doesn’t realize that what he’s doing is terrible.
  • “Eyelash implants.”  “I thought those were illegal.”  “Not in Paraguay.”
  • When I was a kid I thought Jack Nicholson and Jack Nicklaus were the same guy.  I was amazed that a man that acted that well was also a pro golfer.
  • Sigh.  I miss Doris Grau.  Not just for Lunchlady Doris, but because if there’s one thing Zombie Simpsons needs, it’s a good script supervisor.

5. Treehouse of Horror III

  • Exhibit B: “You see, there are some crybabies out there, religious types mostly, who might be offended.”
  • The sharpened teeth on the evil Krusty doll are a nice touch.
  • “Grampa, why don’t you tell us a story.  You’ve led an interesting life.”  “That’s a lie and you know it!”
  • You don’t really notice it, but it’s better that the “King Kong” segment is in black and white.  And this was before the latest mediocre remake.
  • The thrown ashtray, when Marge is trying to serve fruit, is exactly how every kid feels when something other than candy is on offer on Halloween.
  • The “Thriller” album cover on Bart’s head is another one of those understated touches that lets you know this is genius.  No comedy opportunity is left unexplored. 
  • In the “Maybe The Simpsons does pervert the youth” category, I did learn an awful lot of condom brands from this episode.  Granted, I didn’t get it until after I hit puberty, but still.
  • And, for good measure, we close on a joke about television. 

6. Itchy & Scratchy: The Movie

  • The doll with the knife for a neck is a nice callback to “Kamp Krusty”.
  • It would be awesome if Earl Warren really was a stripper.
  • I wonder if more people under the age of about 30 have seen “Steamboat Willie” or “Steamboat Itchy”. 
  • “Homer, we’d like to talk to you.”  “But then I won’t be watching teevee, you can see the bind I’m in.”
  • The barber college joke takes, what, about half a second?  Wall to wall jokes, every episode.

7. Marge Gets a Job

  • I use “Hand me my patching trowel, boy” all the time.  It works both when you need a tool and when you have no idea what to do.
  • Again, the implications of terrible things often work better than the things themselves.  Here it’s a picture of the White House on fire and Brockman saying that the Vice President is in charge.  By the way, this episode was two years before that nutjob crashed that Cessna on the south lawn
  • Citizen Kane has so many iconic scenes that they could reference it in about five different episodes without repeating anything.
  • Another nice callback, with the photo of Burns and Elvis on the wall in Smithers’ office.
  • There are three Tibor jokes in this episode and each one builds on the last.
  • This is a perfect example of nicely complementary A & B plots.
  • The Tom Jones guest appearance is the way celebrities playing themselves should be done.  It makes sense in context, isn’t overdone, and isn’t unadulterated self promotion.
  • Burns’ imagining of Homer is fantastic.  It’s everything that Homer, a man he’s met multiple times, isn’t.
  • “Care to join me in a belt of scotch?”  “It’s nine-thirty in the morning.”  “Yeah, but I haven’t slept in days.”
  • For the record, it’s only 11:30 here.

8. The New Kid on the Block

  • I’ve said this before, but even for all its accolades the show still doesn’t get enough credit for stepping over lines that, at the time, were pretty hard and fast on network television.  This is a scene with an interracial couple and a gay real estate agent, and none of the jokes are about who they are.  The jokes are about a young couple’s naivete and the frustrations of selling real estate.  It’s presented as completely normal life, which it is, but which you wouldn’t have known from teevee at the time.
    New Kid on the Block4
  • “My upbringing was painfully strict, ma’am.”  “That’s sweet.”
  • I watched this episode with my nieces and nephews at a family thing three years ago.  When the zookeeper stage whispers to Homer than the monkeys are having sex they all burst into laughter.  I’ve never been more proud.
  • Even when Laura is gushing over Jimbo there’s a joke or more in every line.  The body is “behind the mayor’s house” and all Jimbo did was poke him with a stick.
  • Yes, the court is in session at night.  No, no one cares because this is hilarious and works story-wise.
  • I love Moe’s lasciviously violet hip waggle as he anticipates his vengeance when he gets to the window.

9. Mr. Plow

  • Guh, Battle of the Network Stars was so, so horrible.
  • My dad loves the joke with the model repelling the dumb guys asking if she comes with the car.  He used to go to auto and trade shows all the time and he’s described that scene as eerily accurate.
  • Speaking of great celebrity cameos: Adam West. 
  • Hey look, it’s a President Bush.  Haven’t seen that in a while.
  • Lovejoy’s Christian goons are great.
  • The Flogging Song!
  • Linda Ronstadt has a long and glorious history with cartoons.
  • “You know those radio ads where two people with annoying voices yammer back and forth?  I invented those.”  A format that has haunted humanity to this very day.
  • Even when god is melting things there are jokes. 

10. Lisa’s First Word

  • The stickball arcade game is great, but it’s made even better by the fact that there are two more of them.
  • It’s typical of the show’s a) relentless humor and b) excellent storytelling how the sweetness of Grampa helping them buy the house is used as a set up for shipping him off to the old folks home. 
  • Oh Webster, you were the worst show ever.
  • $44 Million was a lot more in 1984 dollars.
  • Hibbert’s past haircuts are always fantastic.

11. Homer’s Triple Bypass

  • “You know that feeling you get when a thousand knives of fire are stabbing you in the heart?  I got that right now.”
  • The Poe house bursting into flames as it goes off the cliff is yet another example of how much funnier over-the-top, batshit crazy stuff is when you don’t beat it into the audience’s face.
  • Eighteen years later, and health care in America is still all fucked up.  God, I love this country.
  • I wonder if there really is anything different about “Sweatin’ to the Oldies Vol. 3”. 
  • This is a television episode where the main character is undergoing life threatening surgery.  But it never gets serious and doesn’t go more than five seconds between gags.  Despite that it never turns into a Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker parody thing where nothing matters.  That is not easy to do.  

12. Marge vs. the Monorail

  • The squirrel with laser eyes is perhaps more difficult to describe than any other gag on the show. 
  • The Genghis Khan thing is much easier to quote out of context.
  • I’ve never seen “The Music Man”, in any incarnation.  I know some of the songs, and I like musicals, I’ve just never seen it.  I don’t think that ignorance takes anything away from the monorail song, though I could be wrong.
  • Lanley flattering Lisa out of her criticism is the eleventy billionth example of the precision with which this show was made.  Everyone is mocked for believing his crap.
  • As another example of the above, see Lanley’s apathy about who gets to be conductor.
  • “He’s cool, he’s sexy, he’s thirty-four years old!”  Has anyone mentioned that most of the cast of Glee are in their mid-20s?  That guy who was on that Zombie Simpsons episode is nearly 30!
  • I’m almost getting tired of mentioning these, but here’s another celebrity cameo that actually makes sense.  Tom Jones was roped in by a billionaire’s henchman, and Adam West and Leonard Nimoy appear as guys on the sad, down slope of fame.  No one is there just because, nor getting a free pass to hawk themselves. 
  • The Quimby-Wiggum argument is a parody of about eight million things and you still know exactly what it’s about.
  • “Hey, according to the charter, as chief constable I’m supposed to get a pig every month.  And two comely lasses of virtue true.”  “Keep the pig, how many broads do I get?”
  • Batman científico.
  • This whole ending with “how do we stop the train” is great.  It is never played for tension.

13. Selma’s Choice

  • Heh: “To be completed in 1994”.  Now it’s funny for a different reason.
  • Homer’s ultra dignified “please” when asked for another placemat is fantastic. 
  • Low Expectations Dating Service.  I need say no more.
  • I will never tire of the enforced racial harmony of Hooray for Everything.
  • “Put Your Sperm in Our Hands”
  • The sandwich!  Oh the sandwich!
  • I went to Disneyland in 2004 and saw the animatronic Abe Lincoln.  It was better than I was expecting, but did not rap or talk about beer. 
  • The Small World ride really was about this terrifying though.  Technically proficient without a shred of humanity.  It’s the Skynet of rides.

14. Brother From the Same Planet

  • This show really should’ve ended when Phil Hartman died.  It did so much with pompously idiotic characters that his loss went well beyond Hutz and McClure, and those two alone were huge. 
  • Bart’s vision of Homer’s melted, nose-less face remains kinda horrifying.
  • If you’re ever watching SNL and the first joke of skit dies, it’s time to mention the Big Ear Family.
  • Mocking those who would exploit your insecurities for fun and profit:
    Brother from the Same Planet3 So. Many. Stuffed. Animals.
  • Eight year military build up?  Ha.  Twenty years later and we have an honest-to-jebus Pain Ray. 
  • Speaking of the Pain Ray, the way Skinner goes about cutting his budget, resigned but with an enthusiasm for whatever horrors the system makes him perpetrate, is hilarious. 
  • Not only does Homer’s brain abandon him for saying “Revenge”, it was wrong to do so:
     Brother from the Same Planet4
  • Attention to detail #1729: Bart’s luxurious bathroom in Homer’s tale of his cruelty.
  • Kids, there really did used to be a phone number you could call that would recite the time over and over again.  There was a tone every ten seconds so you could set your clocks.  I would not be surprised if, someday in the future, we revamp the calendar so that it’s based on internet instead of carpentry.
  • “Dad, remember when Tom had you in that headlock and you screamed, ‘I’m a hemophiliac’, and when he let you go you kicked him in the back?”  “Heh, heh, heh, yeah?”  “Will you teach me how to do that?”

15. I Love Lisa

  • We are sure it’s not Bacon Day, right?
  • “Isn’t that just pointless busywork?”  “Bullseye.  Get cracking.”
  • I love Skinner’s “Some student, possibly Bart Simpson . . .” delivery.
  • Homer Simpson, the kind of man who would exploit a love struck second grader to re-tar his roof. 
  • Sideshow Raheem.
  • Question: the Caretaker Presidents song, responsible for more or less than 35% of America’s total knowledge about obscure presidents? 
  • Ladies and gentlemen, the Monster Mash.

16. Duffless

  • I once quoted Homer’s conversation with himself well.  There it is.
  • Tartar control Duff! 
  • I went to the Miller brewery tour in Milwaukee one time.  It ends in an old fashioned beer hall where they make you drink three beers in ten minutes so the next group can come through.  Then they’re like, “Drive home safe!” 
  • Yeah, it’s a Kubrick reference, but this is still an awfully sexually implicit image to put on network television:
  • It not shocking or anything, but it is still kinda remarkable how little beer ads have changed in eighteen years. 
  • Also, baseball is still boring as shit sober.
  • One look at those mumbling barflies, and I feel reassured about every terrible decision I’ve ever made.

17. Last Exit to Springfield

  • Three minutes into the episode and Burns has already laughed at the death of two men, the window washer and the guy who got walled up in the abandoned coke oven.
  • Dental Plan.
  • Lisa Needs Braces.
  • Dental Plan.
  • Lisa Needs Braces.
  • Dental Plan.
  • Lisa Needs Braces.
  • Dental Plan.
  • Lisa Needs Braces.
  • Dental Plan.
  • Lisa Needs Braces.
  • Dental Plan.
  • Lisa Needs Braces.
  • “Bullseye.”  “Thanks a lot Carl, now I’ve lost my train of thought.”
  • Dental Plan.
  • Lisa Needs Braces.
  • Dental Plan.
  • Lisa Needs Braces.
  • The unremitting horror of the dentist’s office pre-surgery is tremendous, and then it leads to a Batman parody.  Incidentally, however much the sequels sucked, the 1989 Batman has held up remarkably well.
  • If they kept records for most piss jokes in a single scene, the brief conversation in Burns’ basement would have set a record.
  • The song, the world loves the song.
  • And just past that is possibly the greatest Grampa rant of all time.  “They didn’t have white onions, because of the war, the only thing you could get was those big yellow ones.”
  • And then there’s Burns’ imitation of the Grinch.  Damns, this episode is good.

18. So It’s Come to This: A Simpsons Clip Show

  • I don’t know if it’s because Sam Simon was still in charge or what, but this is far and away better than the every other clip show for the simple reason that it’s easily 53% new footage.  Even the one in Season 6, when they were still completely on their game, doesn’t compare. 
  • The first time I saw Bart get exploded as he’s trying to yell “April Fools”, I think I may have laughed through the entire commercial break.  My stomach hurt afterward.
  • Barney’s “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” thing and Moe’s reaction are both stellar. 
  • The other nice thing about this episode is that it has an actual resolution, with Bart confessing and Homer’s hatred bringing him back from the coma.

19. The Front

  • I still can’t take off my underwear without taking off my pants, but despite many setbacks I think success is at hand.
  • Aw, Tom Bosley died this week.
  • Hey look, it’s a throwaway joke that Zombie Simpsons would later stretch a whole episode over.  Lovitz isn’t even in this one.   
  • “Alright brain, you don’t like me, and I don’t like you.  But let’s just do this and I can get back to killing you with beer.”
  • Gotta love The Adventures of Ned Flanders.

20. Whacking Day

  • I love that Principal Skinner contemplates leaving his most troublesome students to die in a basement, only to be talked out of it.
  • We Put the Fun in Fundamentalist Dogma
  • “Pleasing taste, some monsterism.”
  • More less than subtle sex imagery, Marge sliding the sleeve off Homer’s whacking stick and telling him to go “slow, then fast”.  Rawr. 
  • Barry White, here for a reason and actually being funny. 
  • “Gentlemen, start your whacking.” 
  • I guess I’ve always used Zombie Simpsons criticism as a way of getting attention.

21. Marge in Chains

  • I wish I could make my immune system surrender to non-life threatening infections. 
  • Just when you think you know what Scratchy’s going to do, he get impaled on a cactus.
  • “Oh, the network slogan is true: ‘Watch Fox and Be Damned for All Eternity’.”  Hey, remember when people thought Zombie Simpsons cracking on FOX was novel? 
  • “No offense, but, we’re putting that bitch on ice!”
  • Has anyone ever checked the books for Northrop and Boeing, are we sure they don’t operate convenience stores?  And if so, do they prosecute shoplifters?
  • With many years of hindsight, we now know that both Tom Cruise and Mel Gibson are fucking crazy, super-hunks though they may be. 
  • Hutz has sock garters, but no pants.
  • What are the most probable misspellings of “guilty”?  Gillty?  Giltey? 
  • There are only so many possible iterations of a Jimmy Carter statue, and this episode has all of them.

22. Krusty Gets Kancelled

  • Krusty’s horrifying doll just keep getting better every time those children scream.
  • Worker and Parasite
  • Mr. Teeny takes a healthy swig and shivers, that’s good background comedy.
  • That thing Michael Bay does all the time, where he twirls the camera around someone as they stand up?  They do it here on Bette Midler.  I’m not saying this is the original, I’m just saying. 
  • Most of a season later, it’s Luke Perry, one of those guys who played a high schooler until he was old enough to have fathered one. 
  • The Chili Peppers do well here.  And – no to belabor a point – but it makes sense because it’s part of Krusty’s thing. 
  • It also takes a certain kind of perverted humor to have Hugh Hefner play “Peter and the Wolf” on water glasses.
  • And, absent any t-shirt sales, that it’s folks.  Twenty-two straight episodes of the best show ever and, once again, I can’t think of anything else I’d have rather done.  Assuming I can get my phone to cooperate, there should be a trophy picture coming shortly.   

Simpsons Season 4, Fuck Yeah


Idiot to Again Set Bad Example for the Children

Saturdays of Thunder4

“It’s my dad, lying there on the couch, drinking a beer, staring at the TV.  I’ve never seen him like that.” – Bart Simpson

It turns out I have nothing to do this Saturday other than celebrate Mole Day.  It also turns out that it’s been five months since I set aside some time for a serious day of drinking and Simpsons watching.  That means I can celebrate Mole Day by conducting one of my favorite bio-chemistry experiments: my liver, brain and blood oxygen levels versus my old friend ethanol in another Simpsons-Beer Marathon.

As with the previous two times I’ve done this on-line, I’ll be starting around 8:00am Eastern Time (12:00 GMT) this Saturday.  For those who are new to this site, the background details are here.  All you really need to know is that I’m going to watch an entire season of The Simpsons while downing one beer per episode, and I’ll post (increasingly inebriated) updates all day.

The poll at right is active, and I’ll watch whichever season you fine individuals select.  I’ve already done Seasons 5 and 6, so they aren’t included.  For the protection of my good time, Season 7 will not include “Marge Be Not Proud”.  Since I’m not giving nearly as much notice this time around, I’ll leave the poll open until Saturday morning.

Update 23 October: And it’s Season 4!  Thanks to everyone who voted. 

Season 4 Poll


Season 6 Marathon: 26 episodes, 26 beers, 9h:49m:50s

 Bart vs. Australia1

“Hey, give me one of those famous giant beers I heard so much about.” – Homer Simpson
“Something wrong, Yank?” – Barkeep
“No, it’s pretty big, I guess.” – Homer Simpson

Welcome to the second Simpsons/Beer Marathon!  The people have spoken and this time around it’s Season 6.  Yeah, I know, Season 6 has only 25 episodes, but it ends with “Who Shot Mr. Burns?” and it’s impossible to watch one without wanting to watch the other.  Besides, I like beer.  Click here for an explanation of what this post is and how it works.  Otherwise, let’s get started.

1. Bart of Darkness

  • Awww, Maggie’s love of power tools (circular saw) always brings a smile to my face.
  • Now this is how you do a montage!  It’s short, Lisa gets a star turn (because she’s the center of attention now), and we see Homer as a beer fountain. 
  • This is maybe the goriest Itchy & Scratchy ever, the way Scratchy just crumples as he’s chopped to pieces always cracks me up. 
  • Yet another example of the aftermath of violence being funnier than the violence itself: Grampa being tarred and feathered. 
  • “You have selected regicide!”

2. Lisa’s Rival

  • I love the gay pirate. 
  • Yet another reason I loathe Zombie Simpsons: you can’t watch all the great Ralph Wiggum parts without knowing that they will soon be a badge of honor for idiots.
  • More life imitating Simpsons: now there is a Garfunkel & Oates.  But what happened to Messina?
  • I haven’t seen “The Fugitive” in a few years.  I wonder if it still holds up, especially since that was the role that made Tommy Lee Jones a star and then a caricature in the span of about eighteen months.
  • I’m known for my drunken rendition of Homer’s sugar rant. 
  • This episode is proof that the B plot doesn’t have to have anything to do with the A plot so long as it’s funny, moves fast, and doesn’t distract or detract from the main action.
  • Skinner’s bitterness about winding up in Elementary School is fantastic.  Even when this show is resolving its conflict it takes time out to make fun of one of its characters.

3. Another Simpsons Clip Show

  • Maybe next time I do this I’ll drink beer in a kiddie pool all day instead of my usual teevee chair. 
  • At least they still have the good sense to make fun of themselves for doing a clip show.  Also, they used to care about being relevant.  Now, not so much.
  • Meta alert: clip show showing clip from previous clip show.
  • It sort of underlines how tired the romance plotlines are that sixteen years ago they already had enough of them to do a clip show around the idea.

4. Itchy & Scratchy Land

  • Dave just got here.  Now I have someone to drink with while I waste this otherwise beautiful Saturday.
  • Vegetable smuggling pamphlet!
  • I don’t think Vanessa Williams has had a hit song in almost two decades but, if anything, AM radio has gotten worse.
  • Itchy & Scratchy land, as they fly into it in the Jurassic Park helicopter, is the most evil looking place in the history of evil looking places.
  • Look how haphazardly the mats at the end of the log ride are placed.  It’s the little touches.
  • “Pulp Fiction” was awesome, and “Get Shorty” was pretty good too, but on the whole movies would’ve been better off without the John Travolta comeback. 
  • Good storytelling alert: first they establish that the robots try to kill other robots, then they establish that flash photography hurts them, which means that by the time we get to the end both the robot malfunction and the solution are already in the audience’s mind.
  • Love the Aryan guards at an amusement park founded by a man who made a film called “Nazi Supermen Are Our Superiors”.
  • “What are you, the narrator?”, I use that all the time.

5. Sideshow Bob Roberts

  • Sideshow Bob not wanting the Republican Party associated with “George Bushes” is a joke that has gone through about four phases since this episode came out. 
  • Sideshow Bob Roberts2
  • I would pay serious money to see the real Birch Barlow ask questions at a candidate debate.
  • “Rosebud” wasn’t enough, they had to get in another “Citizen Kane” reference. 
  • Bats in the card catalog when they’re trying to find Edgar Neubauer is a wonderfully fast joke call back.
  • The movie spoiled the whole “Homer on Wrecking Ball” thing by making it go on for twenty seconds.
  • “Feculent” and “smarmy”, more words I learned from The Simpsons.

6. Treehouse of Horror V

  • Recently, someone wrote a great breakdown of this episode, but I can’t remember a) where it is or b) if I’ve already linked to it – and I’m only five beers in, not a good sign.  (Second note to self of the day: look this up when you’re sober and have more time.)
  • I miss Scatman Crothers.
  • “Teacher, mother, secret lover!”
  • Joke I never got (from SNPP):
    Mark Johnson’s best guess is that Homer was referring to Carlos Castaneda, "a Brazilian who wrote about his chemical-induced `adventures’ about twenty years ago. A rather trendy (for the college crowd) set of books from the late-60’s, early 70’s."

    Dave finds this at Wikipedia:
    The first time Homer travels back in time, he was originally supposed to state "I’m the first non-fictional character to travel backwards through time".[4] The line was later changed from "non-fictional" to "non-Brazilian". Groening was confused as to the reason for the change, since he liked the original so much. In fact, he didn’t even understand what the new line meant.

  • I miss Doris Grau too.
  • The callback for “A Chorus Line” rules.

7. Bart’s Girlfriend

  • Jessica Lovejoy had a brief non-speaking part in that awful episode last week.
  • Again with the implied/aftermath of violence with the shivering hamster.
  • “What’s prodigal mean?”
  • Scotchtoberfest!
  • This episode has the John Travolta strut and the surfer guitar from “Pulp Fiction”.  Excellent.
  • This episode has completely ruined Bach’s “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” for me.  It’s very disturbing.

8. Lisa on Ice

  • This show’s take on the relentless stupidity of local news (bleeds it leads, and all that) are amongst it’s best qualities.
  • Gotta love how much Homer’s behavior toward Bart (threatening him, the turtle) reinforces Lisa’s point about parents’ failed dreams of glory.
  • Crazy Zombie Homer is a lot less funny than dimwitted regular Homer who turns on his kids at the slightest sign of athletic failure.
  • Moe calls Marge “Blanche”, classic.
  • “Conserve your previous hatred for the game.”
  • How great was this show?  Even when both of his kids win, Homer still loses. 

9. Homer Badman

  • Titmouse.
  • Cartoon nudity is a necessity.
  • “Dramatization, may not have happened.”
  • I also sleep nude in an oxygen tent, no sexual powers so far.
  • Dennis Franz’s guest voice is what these are supposed to be. 
  • In contrast to Zombie Simpsons where all the recurring characters are friends and look out for each other, there’s Homer’s friends (led by the real Moe) selling him to the highest bidder.
  • Downside of the flat television: you can’t hug it as easily.

10. Grampa vs. Sexual Inadequacy

  • According to the tag cloud on our WordPress dashboard, this is our most quoted episode.  I’m not really sure why, but I have no objections.
  • Speaking of awesome nudity: this episode.
  • “See you the next time we need your signature.” 
  • Once again, life imitates The Simpsons: this predates Viagra by years.
  • Proper use of Comic Book Guy: at the stock footage festival.
  • Serious “drinking” is the order of the day.

11. Fear of Flying

  • It’s great that Homer goes to a lesbian bar because all he cares about is getting a drink, and the only thing about it that bothers him is the lack of a fire exit.
  • It’s not even directly mentioned but – yes – the airline looks for substitute pilots in a bar. 

12. Homer the Great

  • Based on the sheer awesomeness of Homer’s list, Mad Jon has been maintaining one for well over a decade now.
  • Remember when Burns said that eggs had gotten a bad rep?  Here’s the payoff.
  • Animation note: love the glee in the eyes of #1 when he orders the Stone of Triumph to be attached.
  • And herein, No Homers, a proud internet tradition, is born.
  • When I was a kid I had a ring that made a “whee” noise when you blew on it.

13. And Maggie Makes Three

  • Life imitating Simpsons Part MCVII: Night Boat!
  • “They pave the way for this kind of filth in school.”
  • Hibbert’s era appropriate haircuts never get old.
  • For years I really thought “supplicant” meant someone who applied for a job a second time.
  • Homer’s ability to be human yet self centered in any situation really makes this.  Make your own comparisons to the zany automaton he is now.

14. Bart’s Comet

  • Another of Zombie Simpsons’ problems: Skinner has no bitterness towards Bart or any other student.  The astronomy scene is funny precisely because he hates his job and his students so very much.
  • Homer’s bit about elected officials taking care of problems is, and I am not exaggerating, the most insightful and widely viewed criticism of democracy ever.  And then there’s “Democracy simply doesn’t work”.
  • Much love to the guy who slides under the park bench.
  • Maude’s immediate abandonment of Ned, plus Rod’s shotgun thing, are just . . . “great” doesn’t describe it.  There are no words.
  • Another good storytelling note: not only does the comet puncture the Skinner balloon, but it’s also the same size as the chihuahua’s head.  See?  They care about they structure of the episode.

15. Homie the Clown

  • New billboard day!
  • Gotta love the giant bag of MSG.
  • Speaking of attention to detail, Homer squinting at the funny place names Krusty flashes.
  • Dick Cavett rules.
  • More conscientious storytelling: Krusty’s money trouble lead directly into the main plot.  And, of course, everything in between is funny as hell.
  • Flanders’ love of easily discredited Christian tchotchkes is perfect.

16. Bart vs. Australia

  • This is the episode that spawned about two dozen other “destination” episodes, it was worth it, but still.
  • There’s a certain kind of genius necessary to have a guy digging down out of his coffin.
  • Bart vs Australia2 
  • All props to the “Mad Max” guy who runs into the embassy gates.
  • “The closest vessel is the U.S.S. Walter Mondale, it’s a laundry ship.”

17. Homer vs. Patty and Selma

  • Homer’s dream of his invention is made by the whole “product in question” line.
  • Everything goes on your permanent record.  Fuck.
  • Belly fire!
  • Never before or since have Batman and Magellan been linked.
  • I wish my TV turned itself on and off to solve all my problems.
  • “Please ask me to kill for you.”

18. A Star Is Burns

  • “You suck, McBain!”
  • Hibbert looks good in red panties.
  • You knew it was coming: football in the groin.

19. Lisa’s Wedding

  • “Oh, it’s galloping away!”
  • I live in fear of the Happy Squirrel.
  • We live in the future, and though the specifics are different, the grotesquely inhuman cynicism that rules their world is the same as ours.  Or something. 
  • Gotta love the Star Trek communicator noise when Hugh talks into his wrist.
  • I’d like to have decently original thoughts on this episode, but I don’t.  So here.
  • This episode has one of the best end music remixes ever.

20. Two Dozen and One Greyhounds

  • My genitals are withered and useless, but I can’t blame teevee.  It’s done so much for me.
  • American grand on Snowball II smacking away the catnip.
  • “We could use a new pet over at the home, seeing how we accidentally killed that smart mouthed bird.”
  • Rory Calhoun.

21. The PTA Disbands

  • One must acknowledge both the comedy brilliance and the shock numbing value of a kid being violently  beaten by adults.
  • Play!  Play the forbidden music!
  • In this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!
  • The finger thing means the taxes!
  • Canada’s always been tucked away down there.

22. Round Springfield

  • Man, you’d better not feed the bears.
  • Round Springfield1
  • Again with montages that are funny and make sense, Jazzman.
  • I had a few (potentially) insightful comments I wanted to make, but after a few hardly started sentences that I failed to complete all you really need to know is that I love this episode.  I’m too drunk to add even non-snarky comments to it.

23. The Springfield Connection

  • Series at its best: making fun of the fact that teevee women can’t seem to find the door through the wall.  Cliche alert.
  • Again with Homer as regular guy instead of invincible jerk, he just wants to be left alone.
  • They executed Hans Moleman, and it flickered the lights.  We were all complicit.

24. Lemon of Troy

  • “We can’t spare a single one!” the spirit lives on.
  • Remember, reactionary suburban counterinvasions are a part of our modern politics.
  • There’s a chase scene in this episode, but it makes sense, calls back earlier scenes, and helps reconcile the ends.  In other words, it’s the opposite of Zombie Simpsons.

25. Who Shot Mr. Burns? (Part One)

  • “Why is it when I heard the word ‘school’ and the word ‘exploded’ I immediately thought of the word  ‘Skinner’.” – Chalmers
  • “Please don’t waste those.”  Any pretensions to greatness one has are undermined by the fact that you’re hassling a grade school.  The dichotomy of this makes it funny.  (I think, I’m kinda drunk.)
  • Burns Slat Drilling, for all its problems, its better insulated from lawsuits then British Petroleum (BP).  But what are you gonna do?

26. Who Shot Mr. Burns? (Part Two)

  • Fuck it.  I’m too drunk.  Even if you’ve seen this a dozen or more times this episode is funnier than anything I can say. 
  • Peace.

Dave, who has a far more capable camera than I, snapped this:

Season 6 Marathn (Dave)


Idiot to Continue Poisoning Liver with Simpsons Episodes

“Asleep at the switch!  I wasn’t asleep, I was drunk!” – Homer Simpson

Counting last night’s, there’s been a new Zombie Simpsons for five consecutive weeks.  There are two more weeks to go before the season ends.  It’s the longest streak of new episodes since I started watching Zombie Simpsons when we began this blog last year, and it’s getting to me.  Fortunately, there’s a sure fire pick me up. 

It’s time for another Simpsons-Beer marathon.  Just like last time I’ve put a poll at right.  Since I already did Season 5, I’ve replaced it in the poll with Season 7.  Before anyone asks, should Season 7 win, I will only be watching 24 of the 25 episodes.  I will not let “Marge Be Not Proud” spoil my good time.  If you’re new around here, those two links will give you all the background you need. 

The poll will be open all week and will close at midnight on Friday night here in the States (04:00 Saturday the 15th GMT).  A short list of episode titles in each season is here, a more detailed list is here.  Just like last time, the marathon should start around 8:00am Eastern time (12:00 GMT) on Saturday, and I’ll post increasingly intoxicated updates as the awesome, awesome day progresses. 

Update 15 May: And it’s Season 6 in a landslide!  Thanks to everyone who voted and, once again, a special thanks to the lone Season 2 voter.  Don’t worry Joey, we’ll make it to California someday.

Season 6 Poll


Season 5 Marathon: 22 episodes, 22 beers, 8h:24m:50s

Homer's Dream

Image used under Creative Commons license from Flickr user rodricg.

“Daddy has to go to a beer drinking contest today.” – Homer Simpson
“Think you’ll win?” – Bart Simpson
“Son, when you participate in sporting events it’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how drunk you get.” – Homer Simpson
“Gotcha.” – Bart Simpson

Good morning everybody and welcome to the Simpsons/Beer marathon!  I’m planning on updating this whenever the hell I feel like it (the idea of adhering to a schedule on this most relaxing of Saturdays makes me nauseous).  I might do six updates for three hundred words, I might do fifty updates for six thousand words, nothing would surprise me.  Typos and screwed up grammar are to be expected.  I’ve listed all the episode titles below and comments will be entered next to the one that I’m currently watching.  If I don’t comment on an episode please don’t construe that as a slight against it, I just might not have had anything update worthy on my alcohol soaked mind.  I love everything in here and I look at it as a big puffy cloud of pure joy that I get to float through.

In general I have a very “hands off” approach to the pause button.  The ending/opening credits provide ample time for bathroom and kitchen trips so there’s no need to miss anything.  However, I am not above pausing or skipping back a few seconds if I need to get a quote right for an update.  The fast-forward command will absolutely, positively not be used.

The comments section is open.  I will try to read whatever may (or may not) show up, but I make no promises and thoughtful replies are probably not in the cards.  Brevity is your friend.  But enough of my preamble bullshit, let’s watch some Simpsons!

1. Homer’s Barbershop Quartet

  • We begin with literally three couch gags, they’re all funny, and combined they take less time than most of the ones you see on Zombie Simpsons. 
  • The Be-Sharps existed eight years before the time of this episode, and this episode is now almost seventeen years old.  I don’t have a point, I just wanted to test the update system. 
  • Love baby Lisa dressed like Maggie, except in orange and with pearls.
  • True story: I bought this album in about 1997 specifically because they were called the B Sharp Jazz Quartet.  I heard their name on the radio and pretty much drove right to the record store.  I still listen to it today, track 11 (“Church Bells”) owns.
  • The scene at the end where Bart and Lisa point out how none of this makes sense is funny, quick, and makes you care not in the least that it’s all wildly improbable.  Fantastically deft.  Also, this episode is so wall-to-wall with pop culture references I’m certain there are still things I’m not noticing seventeen years later. 

2. Cape Feare

  • “That is some outfit Skoey, it makes you look like a homosexual.” – Rainier Wolfcastle
  • “Boo!” – Crowd
  • “Oh-ho, maybe you all are homosexuals too!” – Rainier Wolfcastle
  • What terrible thing(s) did Linda Lavin do?  I’ve never been able to figure that out. 
  • Cape Feare1 
  • Also, Terror Lake Salutes Hannibal Crossing The Alps.  (I love that there’s a whole elephant for “The”.)

3. Homer Goes to College

  • All places of work should have nap time. 
  • The Jade Monkey joke almost killed me the first time I saw it. 
  • I love how they invented a Cory for “School of Hard Knockers”.
  • Just another example of how completely different this is than Zombie Simpsons: when Bart accuses Homer of hanging with nerds Homer threatens him with a steak knife.  It takes less than a second and is completely unacknowledged by the soundtrack.  It’s hilarious precisely because it’s not emphasized for five seconds.  You can do horrible things like have a father threaten his son with a knife, but they become less funny the more you focus on them. 
  • “Oh dean, this is what your new hip is going to look like.” – Dr. Hibbert
  • Addendum to the above: this episode handles physical violence and the threat of said violence really, really, really fucking well.  It’s quick, it’s brutal, and it’s still funny even when it’s not a surprise because you’ve seen it eight dozen times.

4. Rosebud

  • Oh yeah, this season has shortened intros.  Must . . . pee . . . faster.
  • The fact that Burns is always watching his employees on his wall of monitors is the perfect illustration of this show’s complete and utter disdain for Authority of any kind. 
  • Two episodes in a row with Nixon!  One of the best things Futurama ever did was bring him back as the President.  I wonder if, twenty years from now when the wounds aren’t as fresh, Bush the Younger will make an equally hilarious villain.  Probably. 
  • “That rare first draft of the Constitution with the word ‘suckers’ in it.” There are alumni of first tier law schools who’ve never said anything that perceptive about the law. 
  • I’ve been watching the DVD versions for so long now that I’ve mostly forgotten where the syndication cuts were.  I could look it up on SNPP, but I’m pretty sure the “Homer’s recording studio” thing used to get cut out and I know the “you too huh?” thing from Jimmy Carter used to get cut out. 
  • Why – why – didn’t I buy slices of American cheese when I was at the store yesterday? 
  • “Excuse me, we wanted to see the geek who valued the happiness of his children more than money.” – Power Plant Guy
  • The third act of this episode is 1/63rd as long as Season 20 and I would rather watch it on a loop than all of that piece of shit. 

5. Treehouse of Horror IV

  • I don’t know if it was intentional or not, probably it wasn’t, but the Donut Demon sounds so much like Moe that I can’t help but think they were making some kind of an addiction joke.
  • Three in a row with Nixon (and second of the season with Lizzie Borden)!  Also, Benedict Arnold had a tiny penis.
  • “Marge, look at all this great stuff I found at the marina.  It was just sitting in some guy’s boat.” – Homer Simpson
  • Mit Iodine!
  • This is an off topic tangent, but the whole Dracula segment reminded me of Keanu Reeves, who was the main, though by no means the only, so-bad-it’s-good attraction of Point Break.  If Kathryn Bigelow doesn’t win an Oscar tomorrow night and someone you know complains about it, just point them to this Wikipedia article and rest your case. 

6. Marge on the Lam

  • “Mr. Simpson you do realize this may result in hair loss, giddiness, and the loss of equilibrium?” – Army Doctor
  • This episode isn’t as famous as the preceding ones, but it’s a testament to the merciless quality of Season 5 that it’s no worse.  I’m five minutes in and we’ve had a stolen power sander, trapped inside vending machines, the bear in the little car, an Army serum to avoid dinner with Patty & Selma, and Edward the Penitent.  Holy shit, that’s a murderer’s row and we’re three plus minutes from the first commercial. 
  • If you have never shot at cans I can assure you that you are missing one of life’s great pleasures. 
  • I’ve never smashed a weather station, but I imagine the same applies.
  • Miguel Sanchez!
  • Classic car chase music.
  • “I’m directly under the Earth’s sun . . . now”, I use that all the time. 
  • And it’s immediately followed by Brockman’s insane sermon.  Jebus I love this episode. 

7. Bart’s Inner Child

  • Brad Goodman was funny at the time, but if anything the kind of idiotic woo that people like him pitch has gotten worse since this was first broadcast. 
  • “Troy, this circle is you.” – Brad Goodman
  • Gotta love the nonsensical, self-help bullshit phrases like, “life script” and “shame spiral”.  Clearly anyone capable of such seemingly clever diction (and a turtleneck) can solve your problems for $24.95. 
  • Going off something we were talking about here a few weeks ago, it’s amazing how much of the crowd at the seminar is made up of anonymous nobodies.  It’s not populated by stock characters and that definitely makes it work better.
  • Smithers’ teal tank top is adorable.
  • Love the Brad Goodman Idol. 
  • It’s our first McGonigle reference, but there will be another.

8. Boy-Scoutz ‘N the Hood

  • I fell asleep twenty or so minutes in to “My Dinner with Andre” and never went back to finish it.
  • There was a squishy machine in my high school cafeteria but the lunch ladies would never let us make one entirely out of syrup.  We gave them like $5 one time too.
  • I’ve never seen “New York, New York”, and I even like musicals. 
  • “Weaseling out of things is important to learn!  It’s what separates us from the animals . . . except the weasel.” – Homer Simpson
  • Seven and a half beers in I’ve attained the rank of “Pussywillow”.
  • Floor pie! 
  • I know Ernest Borgnine best as Dominic Santini from Airwolf, but that’s just me.  Also, Borgnine rules.
  • Love how Bart imagines Homer making a hat out of the map, and then Homer actually makes a hat out of the map.
  • I don’t know if one person just thought it up, or if there was a discussion of “what’s the most wasteful thing Homer could do with the water?”, but washing his socks is perfect. 
  • I haven’t watched enough Zombie Simpsons to know the real answer, but when was the last time Patty and/or Selma openly wished for Homer’s death? 
  • Excellent way to end things with Homer and Bart reconciling and Homer telling him to “Go away, eating.”

9. The Last Temptation of Homer

  • If I ever have a desk people can stand in front of I want a button to push.  It doesn’t have to suck them into a tube or open a trap door, but it has to do something. 
  • Equal employment people dressed as ninjas.  Need I say more?
  • “Colonel Klink, why have you forsaken me?” – Homer Simpson
  • Even in the darkest moment of temptation for his marriage, one inspired by something as mundane as a fortune cookie, Homer still hates Bart.  Bravo.

10. $pringfield (Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Legalized Gambling)

  • It takes a great deal of historical awareness and comedy genius to make people cower in terror as a train comes at them on their 10” TV screen. 
  • It’s a hundred years later and we’re back to McKinley-nomics. 
  • Predicting tiger attacks on gay lion tamers years before it actually happened.  Life truly does imitate The Simpsons.
  • Speaking of syndication cuts, I’m pretty sure the Rainman thing wasn’t syndicated.   
  • The Bogy Man sequence is . . . well, you know.  They should have sent a poet.
  • I’m Idaho!”

11. Homer the Vigilante

  • I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: nobody gets it worse on this show than old people.  It’s beautiful that even they get their revenge in this episode. 
  • World domination!  “Mental note, the girl knows too much.” – Homer’s Brain
  • Forfty!
  • Not unlike “You Only Move Twice” where there’s a Bond Villain who, in defiance of all convention, cares about his employees, this episode is based on a single yet perfectly absurd twist: a burglar who only steals things with sentimental value.  To call it genius is to fall well short of the mark.
  • I saw “It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World” once when I was a kid and I remember liking parts of it. 
  • “Dig up, stupid.” – Chief Wiggum

12. Bart Gets Famous

  • The empty beer cans are beginning to take up an alarming large portion of my teevee table.  Feels odd that I’m already half done.
  • Unpredictable Mexican sitcoms are made by gentlemen with proper British accents.  Isn’t that obvious?
  • This is the second time Quimby has admitted to, and gotten away with, cheating on his wife this season.  It’s almost like he’s a serial adulterer.  Awesome.
  • Oh for Conan O’Brien to take over the show and end it in a year and a half.
  • I love how you can see the seeds of Futurama in all the Simpsons glimpses of the future (e.g. Match Game 2034).
  • Gotta love any Pavlov joke that doesn’t involve the word “Pavlov”.

13. Homer and Apu

  • I buy the cheap/old meat all the time, haven’t been to the hospital yet.
  • “I can see through time!” – Lisa Simpson
  • James Woods is an excellent example of a well done celebrity cameo.  He’s playing himself, but it’s okay because the reason he’s playing himself is semi-plausible and, more than that, incisively funny.
  • Though I enjoy chit chat, as a pathetic single man I can assure you that I am keen to clear the checkout lane as quickly as possible.
  • Seriously, Woods has like twelve punch lines in fourteen lines of dialogue and he nails them all.  If it wasn’t so funny it would be terrifying. 

14. Lisa vs. Malibu Stacy

  • The Buzz Cola ad should be mandatorily shown before all the YouTube clips of the Zombie Simpsons Super Bowl Coke ad. 
  • Aw crap, hiccups.
  • For all the dumbass Zombie Simpsons fans who bitch whenever their precious fraud of a show does a Lisa/Marge episode, I submit this as Exhibit A in support of You Are Fucktard.
  • Nuts and Gum!
  • Speaking of all time classic guest voices: Kathleen Turner.
  • I would buy Hortense the Mule-Face Doll.

15. Deep Space Homer

  • Bring me the head of Colonel Montoya!
  • NASA is the perfect target for The Simpsons, they’re utterly earnest and uncompromisingly focused on substance over style.  It’s a recipe for disaster. 
  • One of the dirtiest things the show ever slipped past the censors: “How come I can’t get no tang round here?”  And then they compound it by asking Clinton (pre-Lewinsky) if knows where to get some. 
  • Everybody loves the music from when Kirk fought Spock.
  • I, for one, totally believe that Art Garfunkel would have an industrial strength compressor.
  • Hail Ants!

16. Homer Loves Flanders

  • This is the warmest weather we’ve had all year.  Happiness with my decision to spend the whole day indoors watching sixteen-year-old cartoons I can recite from memory?  100%.
  • Sacrilicious!
  • Why don’t we have robot cars yet?  I’m serious.
  • “I used to party all night and sleep with lingerie models until Ned and his Bible group showed me that I could have more.” – Stan “The Boy” Taylor
  • Pixie Stix : Child Cocaine
  • Just having got through the Terminator 2 part where Homer hangs on the car, it dawns on me that this is about the twelfth (probably more) explicit yet unstated movie parody this season.  They aren’t spelled out, they aren’t drawn out, they’re just there.  Pop culture usage doesn’t get any better.

17. Bart Gets an Elephant

  • “Push her down, son.” – This is what I’m talking about when I say that the implication or light/quick implementation of violence is far funnier than the genuine article.
  • At KBBL, what’s with Homer walking away with a record and then standing in the sound booth with headphones on?  Was that on the DVDs and I didn’t watch it?
  • All current politics aside, you know how I know that current fears of terrorism are overblown?  This episode came out when the Unabomber was at large and yet there’s a (very good) letter bomb joke and nobody cared. 
  • Did anyone else ever notice that right as he’s walking out Mr. Blackheart sounds like Skinner?
  • The peanut factory manager is brilliant absurdity. 
  • You know that you’re amongst true hearted Simpsons people when you can ram your head into their shoulders and have them laugh because you might just be a jerk.

18. Burns’ Heir

  • When you think about it, it’s really surprising you don’t see more people on message boards with Burns holding the bong as their avatar. 
  • Burns with a sweater knotted around his shoulders is too perfect.
  • “We’ll see what the lab has to say about that.” – C.M. Burns
  • Burns wants to give his money to the Egg Advisory Council, and it’s not until next season that we get the Egg as a Stonecutter member.  Conspiracy!
  • Love the menorah at the end of Bart’s Christmas themed joy ride.
  • Burns’ trapdoor gets a wonderful amount of use this season.

19. Sweet Seymour Skinner’s Baadasssss Song

  • Going all the way back to “The Old Man and the Sea”, I always enjoy Martin’s class presentations.
  • Not that this was a surprise, but add Aliens to the list of brilliantly used movies.
  • Billy and the Cloneasaurus! 
  • Pre-derangement Agnes Skinner is hilarious.  Post-derangement Agnes, not so much.
  • Here’s another Simpsons thing that’s sadly missing from modern discourse: mockery of the military.  The actual troops make personal sacrifices that are as ill appreciated as they are misunderstood, but the institution itself has gone far too long without sufficient mockery. 
  • Also, it won’t be much longer that you can get out by hitting on your commanding officer.
  • “Just like facts have no place within organized religion!” – Superintendent Chalmers  And just like that I fall in love with this show all over again. 

20. The Boy Who Knew Too Much

  • I spent nine years in ultra-hard, posture-ific chairs and I can assure you, despite what the manufacturer may claim, that I still slouch.
  • Gotta love Homer and Bart passing each other on the street, each unwilling to admit their casual dishonesty to the other. 
  • Reporters dashing to pay phones, there’s a cute anachronism.

21. Lady Bouvier’s Lover

  • I love the horror at what a first birthday looks like from the kid’s perspective.  When you think about it, from the point of view of a twenty-five pound person, flaming candles and flash photography do kinda seem like torture. 
  • “Each Matlock could be our last!” 
  • “You remind me of a poem I can’t remember, and a song that may never have existed, and a place I’m not sure I’ve ever been to.” – Abe “Grandpa” Simpson  I feel that way about so many things . . .
  • When this first came out I thought the idea of selling an animation cel was farce, but then it turns out they actually did this and the show’s mockery of it takes on a whole new meaning. 
  • Jasper’s stripper-cake failure – “call the nurse” – set the bar for “jumping out of cake” humor for a decade and more. 
  • “Hello Grandpa my old friend . . .” – Simon and Garfunkel (second mention this season) are easy to mock, but this is sublime, funny and yet appreciative, just the way the elderly would’ve wanted.

22. Secrets of a Successful Marriage

  • I’m pretty sure I could type out a long ass rant about this episode but it would basically boil down to this: outside approval cannot save your fundamentally crappy relationship.  I could teach a class.
  • Speaking personally, I would flunk the orange eating class.
  • I’ve mentioned this before, and I’m sure I’ll do so again, but this show had an unprecedented ability to take an emotionally grotesque situation like a woman throwing a man out of the house and acknowledge the sad parts while emphasizing the funny ones without seeming patronizing or formulaic.  Were I any kind of sober I could elaborate on that, but I don’t think it would matter.  You either know what I’m talking about or you don’t.
  • This episode features the Moe I know and love: not the epically wussy love struck cartoon he’s become. 
  • Ten million Cynicism Points to this episode for “complete and utter dependence” as a romantic idea. 

That’s all folks!  Even in my drunken state I can’t gin up anything super profound about all this.   I got drunk, I watched a cartoon show.  It’s silly and stupid and easily mockable, and without denying any of those descriptions I’d point out one more thing: it was worth doing.  This show never focused on passing situations or hypocritical fad mockery; rather, it chose to make fun of the world we live in instead of the ways we live in it.  Maybe that’s a distinction without a difference, and I’m in no shape to contest it right now, but I don’t think so.  The reason it’s still worth watching all these years later is the same reason it’s still quoted endlessly: it made fun of us, not just our times.  Much as we might like to pretend otherwise we don’t really change that much in a mere twenty years.

Update: My phone is old, its connection software is older still, and my laptop predates them both.  Getting all three of them to cooperate for the simple purpose of uploading a picture is an adventure even when I’m sober.  But I got it, so for any internet doubters out there, here’s the beer:

Dead Soldiers - Season 5 Marathon


Voting Reminder

“I didn’t vote, voting’s for geeks.” – Nelson Muntz

You’ve got a little less than a day and a half to vote in our drinking/Simpsons marathon poll.  As of right now Season 5 is leading Season 3 by just one vote.  Remember, if you’re not sure which episodes are in which seasons you can check out epguides for a complete list or SNPP for season by season breakdowns with descriptions.  The poll will be open until midnight tomorrow US Eastern time (0500 Saturday 6 March GMT).


Idiot to Enjoy Simpsons/Beer Marathon (Updated)

“My English is not perfect, but I have to tell you, your beer is like swill to us.  Do I have that right?  I am saying that only a swine would drink this beer.” – Fritz
“Yeah, but thank you anyway.” – Hans

The Olympics are over, the new football season is still six months away, and nothing really pops out at me from my Netflix list.  But I need something to feed my television addled mind this weekend so I have decided to revisit one of my favorite customs, one I mentioned a few weeks ago.

Step 1 – Plug laptop into television.

Step 2 – Queue up one (1) entire season of The Simpsons.

Step 3 – Watch, drink one beer per episode.*

Step 3.5 – Laugh to the point of tears on multiple occasions.

Step 3.75 – Do not die from laughter related asphyxiation.

Step 4 – Pass out upon seeing the credits roll on the last episode.

Step 5 – Wake up refreshed, relaxed, and a better human being.

*Our non-American readers can, if they so choose, insert their joke of choice about weak, American beer here.  I won’t do it for you because I happen to like American beer.  And besides, are you really going to do better than Hans and Fritz?

In the sidebar at right is a poll listing Seasons 2-6.  The poll will be open until Friday night and I will watch whichever season you marvelous people select.  I’m not including Season 1 because it’s only thirteen episodes and I’m not including Season 7 because I’ve been watching it a lot lately.  We may do this again and include them, but for right now those are the choices.

Furthermore, I am going to attempt (no promises) to post running updates here on the site.  (I will not be using Twitter because I get verbose when I drink and shoehorning things into 140 characters is not something I want to attempt while I’m trying to pay attention to my teevee.)  One of the pleasures of watching the show like this, in addition to the inflated sense of self esteem, is the way drunkenness and concentration help me appreciate it in different lights, new and old.  Something gets lost when you just have it on in the background, or leave it on while you fall asleep.  It’s also fun to plow through a season like this because the little themes that the writers were on about at the time become more readily apparent.

I expect to be made fun of for this and I look forward to it.  It also wouldn’t surprise me if someone shows up in comments or e-mail to chastise me for how unhealthy and/or irresponsible this is.  To the “unhealthy” charge my reply is, “I don’t care”, and to “irresponsible” I say “That’s sort of the point.”

So, please vote for your season of choice at right (and remember this is a low traffic blog so one vote might actually matter).  Note that Seasons 2, 4 and 5 are all twenty-two episodes, Season 3 is twenty-four episodes, and Season 6 is twenty-five episodes.  Which one you guys choose does not matter to me in the least.  I love them all and trust me when I say that once you’re twenty-two beers and eight-and-a-half hours in, three more beers and another hour doesn’t even register as a problem.  This little marathon should begin around 8:00am EST (13:00 GMT) Saturday, March 6th.

The poll will be open all week and will close at midnight on Friday night here in the States (05:00 Saturday the 6th GMT).  If you’re not sure which episodes are in which seasons has a handy list with just the episode titles all on one page.  For a little more detail the invaluable SNPP has a season by season breakdown that include descriptions of each episode.

Saturday can’t get here fast enough.

Update 6 March: And it’s Season 5!  Thanks to everyone who voted, and a special thanks to the lone Season 2 voter.  I suspected 2 would come in last, but I didn’t think it’d be that lopsided. 

Season 5 Poll


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