Posts Tagged ‘A Star Is Burns


Quote of the Day

“Listen, Spielbergo, Schindler and I are like peas in a pod. We’re both factory owners, we both made shells for the Nazis! But mine worked, damn it!” – C.M. Burns


Quote of the Day

“Oh, boy, this is gonna get worse before it gets better.” – Chief Wiggum


Quote of the Day

“Nice to meet you, Marge. I saw your hair from the plane. And you must be the man who didn’t know if he had a pimple or a boil.” – Jay Sherman
“It was a gummy bear.” – Homer Simpson


Quote of the Day

“I’ve learned that I have a gift to share with the world. From now on, there’ll be a new Barnard Gumble! I’m working clean and sober!” – Barney Gumble
“Congratulations, Barney. And enjoy your grand prize, a lifetime supply of Duff Beer.” – Mayor Quimby
“Just hook it to my veins!” – Barney Gumble


Quote of the Day

“Action!” – Lisa Simpson
“Hello, I’m Bart Simpson. In the past, I’ve brought you such classic films as Homer in the Shower and Homer on the Toilet. And now, I give you: The Eternal Struggle.” – Bart Simpson
“Relaxed fit my Aunt Fanny! Stupid Dockers! Oh, the belt is buckled . . .” – Homer Simpson


Quote of the Day


“In culture, dead last…” – Kent Brockman
“Eleanor, we’ve got to do something about this Depression. So I propose . . . oh, that’s right, I’m crippled.” – Krusty the Klown


Quote of the Day

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“Tonight, we review an aging Charles Bronson in Death Wish 9.” – Jay Sherman
“I wish I was dead. Oy.” – Charles Bronson


Reading Digest: Open Audition Edition

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“Sir, the actors are here to audition for the part of you.” – Mr. Smithers
“Excellent.” – C.M. Burns

It’s a short Reading Digest this week because I’m still behind the eight-ball, and the Dead Homer Society inbox still has rainbow wigs and floppy shoes everywhere, but some Reading Digest is better than no Reading Digest (right?).  Since the announcement of the (possible, still very unconfirmed) departure of Harry Shearer, plenty of people have been throwing their voices into the ring.  This week, we’ve got three of them (kinda).  We’ve also got some excellent usage, another Simpsons recasting, globetrotting Nancy Cartwright, (Britain, hurt feelings of), and a free silent movie starring Weird Al.


I Hate the Sea and Everything In It: JAWS – Our friends at FLIM Springfield have done another of their .gif-tastic recastings, and this one is maybe their best yet.  Here’s some chum to get you swimming their way:


Prof. Frink as Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss)
Elementary chaos theory tells us that all Great White Sharks will eventually turn against humans and run amok in an orgy of blood!

Here’s What The Opening of “The Simpsons” Looks Like Recreated With Stock Footage – This was making the rounds last week.  It’s impressive, but pretty uneven.  Some of the shorts are really good and pretty close to the intro.  Others are a bit tenuous.

This dude could easily replace Harry Shearer on ‘The Simpsons’ – This guy is very good (though some of the voices are a lot better than others), but it’s not hard to tell the difference, either.

▶ 28 Simpsons Impressions! Comedy Brian’s tribute to the Simpsons. – This is more than just Shearer voices, and again there are some very good ones in here (Burns and Patty & Selma, particularly).  (Thanks for sending this in, Brian!)

Harry Shearer Replacements for Mr. Burns – Reader Gary Lee sent in this compilation of clips with celebrities doing Burns lines.  Way more Zombie Simpsons than I would’ve used, but some of them are very good.

Michiana man aims to break world record for largest Simpsons collection – That is a lot of Simpsons stuff.

What If The Simpsons Became Our Post-Apocalyptic Mythology? – A nice writeup of the play in Portland.

‘The Simpsons’ Nancy Cartwright Interview: Cannes Film Festival – Cartwright went to France to promote a small movie she did based on a one-woman show she did twenty years ago called “In Search of Fellini”.  She does talk a bit about doing French for “The Crepes of Wrath” and artfully dodges a question about Shearer leaving.

Nancy Cartwright Added To Supanova Perth & Sydney – And then she’s off to Australia.

The Moving Picture Co. 1914 – Remember that silent movie with Weird Al that Mark Kirkland made?  Well, now you can watch it.

Movie review: Even the cast is too familiar with the plot to be scared by ‘Poltergeist’ – Excellent reference:

The 1982 Tobe Hooper-Steven Spielberg film is an oft-telecast classic. But generations have been exposed to the plot and its loopiness, thanks to reruns of “The Simpsons.” Hard to get too worked up about a “Treehouse of Horror” tale.

Skyler: Parents, foster the success of dealing with failure – Another excellent reference:

Eighty percent of the baby boys continued to pull on the string, yanking harder and harder, some even getting a foot into the pulling action, until they were exhausted with anger and frustration.

Eighty percent of the baby girls tried the string once or twice, realized immediately it no longer worked, then began to cry.

I was reminded of the “Simpsons” episode in which Lisa devised an experiment called “Is my brother dumber than a hamster?” Every time Bart reached for a cupcake, his hand was shocked. Despite this pain, he reached for the cupcake over and over and over.

Someone got a Drake as Bart Simpson tattoo (Photo) – The headline says it all.  Well done, someone.

The myth of bad British teeth – The BBC takes exception to a stereotype:

Having bad teeth is one of the stock American jokes about British people. In the world of film, spoof super-spy Austin Powers cavorts around London as a would-be sex symbol, not realising that his discoloured, crooked grin is being mocked.
In one episode of the Simpsons, a dentist scares a young patient into better oral hygiene by exposing him to a horrific publication called The Big Book of British Smiles. It features mocked-up pictures of gappy, unaligned teeth belonging, among others, to Buckingham Palace guards, the Prince of Wales and Sherlock Holmes.
Chris van Tulleken, a British doctor and TV presenter, has joined the criticism by telling Radio Times magazine that British dental standards are globally infamous and having “brown, foul teeth doesn’t really bother us”.
But are British mouths really in such a state and is there such a lack of vanity?

Oinkster Burger Week 2015 is here! Get ready for seven days of burgers – Heh:

Also, for the first time, the folks at Oinkster have collaborated with their neighbors at Highland Park Brewing to create a Burger Week beer. Red Tick ale is a sessionable red ale, the name for which is an obscure “Simpsons” reference (one episode from the eighth season).

Here’s what it sounds like when Generation X runs for president – The Washington Post – Weak reference:

Declaring Tupac Shakur superior to The Notorious B.I.G. Listing off favorite Clinton-era episodes of The Simpsons. A romantic epiphany that involved a foam party and a pay phone.
It could all be late-night chatter in a mid-1990s dorm room – or the recent musings of Republican men vying to be the leader of the free world.
Generation X has hit the campaign trail.

[Rant]There is no such thing as “Generation X”.  There is no such thing as “The Greatest Generation” or “The Silent Generation” or “Millennials” or “Generation Y” or (and I have seen this) “Generation Z”.  There was a “Baby Boom“, it was the result of a unique set of historical circumstances, the big one being that it was a lot harder to have and raise kids from 1929-1945 than it was after that.  Once those circumstances faded, population growth went back to normal.  The only demographic bulge is the post-WWII one, everything else is just lazy shorthand for trend piece writers that means nothing.[/rant]


Quote of the Day

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“The metric system is the tool of the Devil!  My car gets forty rods to the hogshead, and that’s the way I likes it!” – Abe “Grampa” Simpson

Happy 20th Anniversary to “A Star Is Burns”!  Original airdate: 5 March 1995.


On the Family Guy Thing

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“And if you ever want to visit my show…” – Jay Sherman
“Nah, we’re not gonna be doing that.” – Bart Simpson

Family Guy has been a raw nerved subject for Simpsons fans pretty much since it began.  This owes in part to the fact that no less a person than Harry Shearer has said that it was cooked up by FOX for the express purposes of squeezing the underpaid voice actors on The Simpsons.  (I don’t know if that’s actually true or not, but it certainly sounds like something FOX would do and Shearer is orders of magnitude more trustworthy than they are.)  Whatever the initial motivation, however, the fact remains that Family Guy came on air right as The Simpsons was crumbling, on the same network, and with the same basic setup, and that’s more than enough to put the word “rip-off” on the tip of people’s tongues.

Chasing the white rabbit of “who copied who” and “how closely” can be fun, but questions of creative influence and credit slip down bottomless holes when you try to pin them down.  There’s no doubt that Family Guy wouldn’t have existed without the success of The Simpsons, but there’s also no doubt that Family Guy is a different show with a different sense of humor and a different creative core.  Flame wars and exhausting discussions can rage in the borderlands between those two certainties, but, like most rabbit chases, they rarely produce any tangible insights or results.

Further complicating matters is the way that Family Guy itself has fallen into the same kind of comedic mediocrity as Zombie Simpsons.  It fell from a much (much) lower height, but, like it’s elder, it’s been reduced to going through the motions for years now.

Being cartoons, both shows are immunized against the inevitable aging that kills even successful live action comedies after a few years.  But critical attention and media interest have mostly moved on, and here in 2014, both shows are kept alive by habit and routine, on the part of the audiences and the staffs.  The people watching know what they want to see (Homer get hurt, Stewie say something evil, etc.), and the people making the show know how to meet those minimal expectations.  Both have become rote and safe entertainment, the kind of dull monotone that keeps enough people tuning in not because they want to see something new and exciting, but because they want something familiar and predicable.

That is the context in which the crossover episode must be understood, and the irony that a show long criticized for mindlessly copying The Simpsons has blithely followed it into senility is easily the most amusing thing about its bloated, double-episode runtime.  Family Guy, long a show that will happily acknowledge criticism even as it ignores the substance of said criticism, basically said so itself on Sunday:

Chris: Yay!  A crossover always brings out the best in each show!  It certainly doesn’t smack of desperation.  The priorities are always creative and not driven by marketing or-
Stewie: Okay, that’s enough.

As a one off joke or deflection, that’s not bad.  But the rest of the episode is a long, drawn out exercise in proving Chris’s sarcasm right.  The episode is laden with one-note crossover jokes about how this or that is slightly different on one show or the other.  Each character gets matched up with their rough equivalent (Peter and Homer, Lois and Marge, Lisa and Meg, Bart and Stewie), and things plow forward from there.  Homer and Peter are both irresponsible jerks, so let’s watch them be so in their slightly different ways: animate, rinse, repeat.

When they announced this ploy last summer, my official reaction was “meh“.  Having now sat through the thing, I don’t have much more to add.  The godmother of this kind of crossover is The Jetsons Meet the Flintsones, where, you guessed it, George and company go back in time to Bedrock while Fred and his family go into the future.  Each family member has to deal with living their life in the other time, fish out of water hilarity ensues (<- not really), and then everyone gets back at the end.  “The Simpsons Guy” is pretty much that.

It’ll be a curious little footnote in the history of both shows, but nothing that happened in the episode was particularly memorable or even really risque (at least by Family Guy standards).  Meg cuts herself, there’s a pointless rape threat (shock comedy is weak and often not even comedy), a waste of time music video, cameos from other FOX shows, and then Peter and Homer engage in one of Family Guy‘s trademark “chicken fights” before it ends.

The repetitiveness and lack of imagination on display are the real reason so many people said this was a bad idea.  Both sets of characters are long since played out, and watching them go through their motions with each other isn’t any more entertaining than when they do it a half hour apart.  Mostly, it’s just boring.


Quote of the Day

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“I like him.  He’s smart, he’s sensitive, he’s clearly not obsessed with his physical appearance.” – Lisa Simpson
“My ears are burning.” – Homer Simpson
“Uh, I wasn’t talking about you, Dad.” – Lisa Simpson
“No, my ears are really burning.  I wanted to see inside so I lit a q-tip.” – Homer Simpson


Quote of the Day

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“Bart Simpson, meet Jay Sherman the critic.” – Homer Simpson
“Hello.” – Jay Sherman
“Hey, man, I really love your show.  I think all kids should watch it!  Ew, I suddenly feel so dirty.” – Bart Simpson

Happy birthday Mike Reiss!  


Quote of the Day

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“’I’m looking for a film critic to help judge our festival.  Did you know there are over six-hundred critics on teevee and Leonard Maltin is the best looking of them all?” – Marge Simpson
“Eww.” – Lisa Simpson


Quote of the Day

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“I don’t know what’s happening.  It seems our profits have dropped thirty-seven percent.” – C.M. Burns
“I’m afraid we have a bad image, sir.  Market research shows people see you as something of an ogre.” – Mr. Smithers
“I ought to club them and eat their bones!” – C.M. Burns


Reading Digest: Movie Reviews Edition

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“You know something, Marge?  It’s not that tough being a film cricket.” – Homer Simpson

This week we both start and finish with Simpsons related movie reviews.  In between we’ve got the two big stories that were all over the place, Elvis’s wife disliking the show, a couple of pieces of “aww”-type remembrances of the show (including the first time I’ve ever heard of someone named Julian watching “Homer’s Phobia”), some fan art, a great piece of New York City graffiti, the barest possible mention of the Season 15 DVDs, and a fantastic (and practical) Marge Simpson costume.


[Spinoff Site Note: Hate, love or hate-love something you routinely see on or in books, magazines, video games, television, the internet or other media?  The Ann Arbor Review of Books is looking for a few good bloggers.  Click here for more information.]

The Simpsons Movie – Our old friend Mike Amato has reached the movie in his review series and it is Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week:

Part of this whole blog’s purpose was to rip off the nostalgia goggles and take a look at the series from my current-day point-of-view. As I’ve seen, it’s astonishing how absolutely dreadful the show has been for the last ten years, and the movie definitely reflects that to a degree. It makes so little an impact, and the commentary definitely has reasons that point to why… but I just can’t hate it like I do the rest of the series. It’s largely disappointing, and irritating in hearing the writers’ almost terrified relationship with its audience, but I can’t tear part of myself away from the fact that I finally, after so many years of waiting, got to see a Simpsons movie. It looked great, it sounded great… the script was clunky and all over the place… but at least it finally happened. I guess you can consider this the most apathetic recommendation ever. And I’d barely even call it a recommendation.

He really goes into the whole thing, commentary and all.  For a single summation of the whole great big bloated blockbuster, you aren’t going to do much better. 

Amazon Instant Video Users Beware! – Just a reminder that DRM sucks, has always sucked, and will always suck:

I love the Simpsons, specifically the Treehouse of Horror episodes around Halloween.

I own many of them on DVD, but Amazon has fortunately been able to fill in the gaps for me so this year was the first I could do a full marathon of every single episode. Since streaming (even with “high speed internet”) can be a drag I downloaded the Amazon episodes to my laptop using the “Unbox Video Player”. Each episode gives me two licenses for downloads to devices like my laptop, and two more for portable devices (like my Fire).


In a nutshell, you have to UNINSTALL Amazon Unbox Video in order to release the license for an individual video.

This has been your reminder that DRM sucks, has always sucked, and will always suck.  Thank you.

Quintessential Quintuplets of Television – From a list of great television moments comes this little slice of awesome:

The glory days of The Simpsons were a big deal in my family. It was the one show we’d watch as a family. My spot was on the floor of the living room, in the thicket of the beige shag carpet – which could absorb any liquid and have it not seen as stain. Ma was a little nervous at this one. She did to a lot to keep homo – or for that matter heterosexual – mentions out of the house. But this was the Simpsons, so it was okay. She was in no position to teach the birds and the birds, so it was up to special guest voice John Waters. The big crescendo is the line where Homer complains about gay culture stealing all of the great hetero names like Bruce, Lance and Julian. My brother is named Julian. Well the whole house just lost it.


Character Break – Zombie Simpsons released another YouTube video of Burns being topical, this time about the fiscal slope.  It’s as pointless and desperate for attention as the one from before the election.  That it’s better than most Zombie Simpsons episodes doesn’t mean it’s actually good, but unlike them it is short enough to at least be worth watching.

Marge Simpson Runner – Awesome (and practical) Marge costume.

Top 5 Christmas specials – “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire” comes in third here behind two British shows I’ve never heard of.

DVD Releases – Week of 12/4/12 – This is a long post with quite a bit of commentary about various home video releases this week.  I just want to cite it as further evidence that nobody cares about Zombie Simpsons, because after a thousand words on nine other titles, this is all Zombie Simpsons gets:

Also available -  Simpsons: Season 15

Hey kids, let’s all go out for frosty chocolate milkshakes! – A rewatching of the first season:

But wow, has the show changed over the years. The original episodes were quite bleak, not really aimed at a younger audience. Instead focusing on the efforts of Homer, struggling to financially keep afloat whilst dealing with his difficult son and sometimes tenuous marriage, drinking his problems away at Moe’s Tavern. He even attempts suicide in the 3rd episode in!
Yehp and this is what my childhood was built upon.

What I’d like to note here is that he’s saying that the first episodes weren’t all about Bart, a myth that really needs to die.

It’s not Batman! – It’s a brand new blog about “TV, Jokes, Simpsons references and other pop culture nonsense” and it’s called . . . drum roll please . . . “Batman’s a Scientist”.  Great title.  Good luck.

A Somewhat Comprehensive Guide to Boston Sports Stars on The Simpsons – Happily, this is almost exclusively non-Zombie Simpsons.

Amazing Sand Art! – Pretty sure I’ve linked this before, but that is a damned amazing Simpsons sand sculpture.  Marge’s hair is particularly impressive when you think about it.

Turkish TV authority that fined the broadcaster for The Simpsons – This story was everywhere this week, though the specific episode often got left out.  It would appear that it’s last year’s craptacular “Treehouse of Horror XXII” and it’s lame, weak-ass God vs. Satan throwaway scene.

The Simpsons Offer Seth Guest Spot Cross-Over – Speaking of stories that were over covered this week, MacFarlane will indeed be doing a guest voice next season.  Yes, it will be dumber than a box of rocks, he’ll:

feature as new character ‘Ben’ in ‘Dangers on a Train’, an episode likely to air in September 2013. His role will be that of a married man who begins a romantic pursuit of Marge Simpson after she accidently meets him on a dating website, though the man is forced to also deal with his ‘overbearing wife’ (to be played by Lisa Lampanelli).

Oh good, more marital trouble.  Haven’t seen that in a while.  Though MacFarlane does have a valid point here:

In addition, MacFarlane also announced this week his intention to make a feature film for Family Guy in the coming years, but claimed that it would differ from the format that The Simpsons Movie took, noting: “The Simpsons Movie, I thought, was hilarious, but the one criticism I would have is that it’s a story they probably could’ve done on TV. There could’ve been an episode that had that plotline. That’s the challenge with animation. You pretty much can do any story you want, so what is the reason for the movie? We finally hit on the answer to that question, and it will be something that would be impossible to do on TV.”

I’m not sure what that means in terms of animation, but for all its geographic roaming, the movie plot was actually pretty small.

Priscilla Presley would ban The Simpsons if she could – Someone should think about looking for acting gigs in Turkey.

25 Things We All Learned From Watching The Simpsons – Who says the show isn’t all moral and shit?  There’s some Zombie Simpsons on this list, but it’s mostly good.

Canadian ‘Simpsons’ Fans! Got A Good Couch Gag? – Zombie Simpsons has run out of ideas again, you can submit a 50 word or less suggestion to them before December 24th.  Here’s mine:

The family sits down on the couch, Homer raises the remote, and the screen goes black forever.

Lamp. – On the durability of quotes:

Kinky Afro once said that the two most quoted things of our generation were probably The Simpsons and Anchorman, and I think he’s right.

I mean, some things are quoted in fads, like Borat – I couldn’t go anywhere without that being quoted. However, like a cool front passing overhead, it eventually moves on. The Simpsons, however, is constantly quoted; essentially each new episode brought a new quote or two (most of them are terrible now , but it’s still true).

I’m obviously the furthest thing from impartial, but I’d say Anchorman is fading badly in that category.  It’s a great movie with a ton of great quotes, but you just don’t see it referenced as much anymore.  (At least I don’t.)

Meditations on Fools – True enough:

It seems that every comedy has a fool of some sort. In sitcoms, there’s usually the idiot character. Friends had Joey, Seinfeld had George Castanza, and The Simpsons may have the greatest fool of all time, Homer. In film, we’ll watch whole stories about Forrest Gump, Everette McGill, and Don Quixote.

The Simpsons – Ha Ha (Nelson Muntz Duck Sauce remix) – YouTube of exactly what it says it is.

slingshot – A pill slinging (literally) Bart graffiti image from New York City.  Cool.

Mister Burns and the Fiscal Cliff – This is another link to that cry for attention Burns video.  I’m only linking it again because this is some impressive Zombie Simpsons hate:

I fell out of love with the Simpsons awhile back. Now it’s more like that friendship where you continue to hangout because you’ve known one another for so long; but the only pleasure you get is reminiscing about the good old days. I call these days Seasons 1-3.

Wow.  Even I don’t think the show went to shit after Season 3.  

RUN! – Animated .gif of Milhouse getting ready to explode.

My Mojo… – Lovingly discussing an old friend:

The most apt cartoon character to symbolise the old Gertie would be Mojo – the helper-monkey from The Simpsons. Back in the day, the mere thought of exercise – or sweating under any circumstances, for that matter – was enough to send my Mojo scampering back to the couch to hide under her putrid nanny-rug.

I’m not 100% sure what a nanny-rug is, but heh.

Christmas Homer – Cool fan art:

Watercolour on fabric. Homer Simpson dressed up as Santa Claus, Modigliani style.

Worth a click.

10 Facts About Grampa Simpson of “The Simpsons” – He also spent forty years as a night watchman at a cranberry silo.

You Don’t Win Friends With Salad – A brief IM conversation about what salad does and does not win you.  Also, YouTube.

“Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair” – Fan made posters for various things, including a Homer and Marge ad for

Hitchcock…In 10 Words – Good evening.

Les Miserables…In 10 Word – Nobody ever says Italy.

The Grammy Nominations Concert…In 10 Words – Hey, don’t throw your garbage down here!

Side Quest: Wreck-It Ralph – And finally, I get to end the way I like, with someone who not only agrees with us, but does so in a movie review:

This is no surprise when you consider the film’s director, Rich Moore, was the guiding hand behind some of the most perfect Simpsons episodes (and thus, most perfect episodes of television) of all time. Wreck-It Ralph is more openly the work of a Simpsons veteran than, say, Brad Bird’s feature output; there are the expert pop culture riffs, obviously, but also a similar push and pull between sarcasm and big, dumb open-heartedness. (Two of Moore’s best episodes — the breakneck, anarchic “Marge Versus the Monrail” and subtle, character-driven “Lisa’s Substitute” — are perhaps most emblematic of this yin and  yang dynamic.) I was never surprised by where Wreck-It Ralph took me emotionally, but every beat rang true for the characters and built nicely on everything that preceded it.

Ah, for the days when the show was that well constructed.


“A Star Is Burns” Spews Truth

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“The film is just me in front of a brick wall for an hour and a half.  It cost eighty million dollars.” – Rainier Wolfcastle
“How do you sleep at night?” – Jay Sherman
“On top of a pile of money, with many beautiful ladies.” – Rainier Wolfcastle

If these meta-commentary posts are ever enlightening, this one promises to be minimally so.  I don’t think I’ve ever heard one that is just this straight up funny.  It’s basically twenty minutes of Lovitz, Jean, Castellaneta and company ragging on each other personally and professionally in sometimes really mean ways while they all laugh their assess off.  It doesn’t translate well to text on the internet, but it’s hilarious.

Seven people here, an all-star lineup of Al Jean, Jim Brooks, Mike Reiss, Jon Lovitz, Dan Castellaneta, Susie Dietter (director), and Ken Keeler (writer).

0:40 – Jean explains the backstory of how they got cancelled on ABC and Brooks came up with the idea of having them do a film festival to launch The Critic on FOX.  I maintain that the fact that The Critic got cancelled twice is one of the great unacknowledged cultural losses of the 1990s. 

1:20 – Talking about how they knew they’d “made cult” when The Critic went to Comedy Central.  Allow me to simply say that I was one of the members.  As I recall, when it first came to Comedy Central it was on at some ungodly timeslot, like 11:30pm on Sunday.  I nearly died the first time I ever saw “Hee Haw: The Next Generation” (I laughed uncontrollably through the entire commercial break), and it was everything I remembered it was the first time I got to see it on syndication. 

1:45 – Lovitz talking about how nice it was of them to write the script for him, which causes someone to crack on him for having his career go downhill.  Lovitz, of course, can give as good as he gets.  This is funny.

2:30 – They’re cracking up about A League of Their Own now and how Lovitz’s part was too small.  Sample of banter: “The masturbation scene never would’ve worked, man, I saw that rough cut.” 

3:00 – Lovitz just said “Al and Jean” trying to say “Al and Mike”.  Apparently this has been a tic of his for a long time.  They’re still just cracking up making fun of each other.  I can’t really make it work as text, but it’s really funny. 

3:40 – See above.  They really seem like a) they like each other, and b) they’re having a good time.  Note to Zombie Simpsons: this is much more fun to listen to than awkward silences and people politely complimenting each other. 

4:15 – Tip from Keeler, Bart introducing “The Eternal Struggle” is a riff on Plan 9 From Outer Space.

4:40 – Noting the similarity of Homer struggling into his pants with Mr. Incredible doing the same thing before he gets back in shape in The Incredibles

5:00 – Laughing about the fact that Shearer does God, the Devil, Hitler and Jesus.  Shearer is amazing.

5:45 – Reiss has a friend with the Salvation Army, and apparently they love Flanders.  He then relates a cop telling him how he thought they must have a cop on staff because Wiggum is so “true to life”.

6:30 – Talking about how they tried to draw Sherman more sympathetically (shorter, bigger eyes) for this and the second season. 

6:45 – Again, I can’t do this justice in print, so I’ll merely say that Lovitz just made a great dick joke.

7:30 – Castellaneta improvised Wolfcastle’s “On closer inspection, these are loafers.” 

9:00 – Jebus, Lovitz is really funny.  As Senor Spielbergo comes on screen for the first time, he (with just the right hint of sarcasm) jokes that this was the inspiration for Spanglish, “coming out on DVD! . . . Thanks for the check, Jim”. 

9:45 – And they’re back to just cracking on Lovitz and each other. 

10:20 – Huh, the giant belch is Maurice LaMarche.  I didn’t know that.  Chalk one up for LaMarche.  Apparently he also does a perfectly dead-on Lovitz impression.  He once called Jean, as Lovitz, and demanded that he (LaMarche) be fired.  Jean says it took him a minute to figure it out.

11:50 – Lovitz: “But I worked very hard on The Critic.”  Someone else (maybe Reiss) who’s already laughing from the previous joke: “I don’t know about that.”  They’re all just losing it.  This is one of the stand out funniest commentaries I’ve ever heard.

12:15 – A long story here about how The Critic got cancelled by turnover among FOX executives.

14:00 – And they’re back to ragging on each other.  Apparently Lovitz insinuating that Jean and Reiss are gay is a joke that’s been going on for over a decade. 

14:40 – As we see Barney’s movie, Jean throws it to Dietter who says it was one of her favorite things she ever did on The Simpsons.

15:00 – Jean points out that it’s a bit like both a Calvin Klein commercial and Koyaanisqatsi, which puts it well ahead of that time killing Itchy & Scratchy from a couple of years ago.

15:20 – Dietter talking about the transparency effect on the curtains makes the customary animation note that this would be very different on a computer.  Meanwhile, Reiss (I think) cracks up in the background as Barney attends the Girl Scout meeting.

16:30 – Lovitz gets into it with Dietter, which leads, once again, to everyone cracking on him.  Again, these people are both very funny and seem to genuinely like each other enough not to pull any punches.

17:15 – Castellaneta and Lovitz are joking about Hartman now.  In the background, Jean sounds like he’s struggling to breathe he’s laughing so hard.

18:35 – After a pause as they just laugh at the episode, the show cuts to the two monkeys grooming each other inside Homer’s head.  Lovitz deadpans: “There’s Al and Mike”.  And we’re off again.

20:30 – Castellaneta recalling Lovitz telling him to screw around while they were recording and then denying his involvement when it died in the room.

21:45 – As soon as the “Al Jean & Mike Reiss” credit appears, Lovitz is on them again, “Who’s that?”.

22:00 – “Brad Bird?  Never met him.”

22:25 – And we end with Lovitz talking about how Swartzwelder, Vitti and Meyer were all writers at Saturday Night Live while he was there, which prompts Jean to try to compliment him by calling that his favorite era of SNL, Lovitz getting in one more dig by telling him “check’s in the mail” right as the Gracie logo rolls, and the last sound being Jean cracking up once more. 


Reading Digest: The Popularity of Others Edition

Popularity Name Change

“The easiest way to be popular, is to leech of the popularity of others.” – Patty Bouvier
“So we propose changing our name from ‘Springfield’, to ‘Seinfeld’.” – Selma Bouvier

As expected, the word “Simpsons” appeared near the word “Gaga” an awful lot this week; there were links about seeing her behind the scenes, about what she thought of doing the voice, and just about any other bit of non-news that can be used to put the words “Lady Gaga” in a headline and generate some pageviews.  As there is no need to worry about any of that until Sunday, none of those links are below.  Instead, we’ve got an internet ton of more interesting Simpsons content.

This week there are several awesome fan made items (including some cartoon sculptures that change depending on how you look at them), a bunch of people who agree with us, a brief history of “embiggen”, coffee mugs, and even Mitt Romney citing the show.  As an odd coincidence, there are also three pieces of otherwise excellent usage that are just a single word off. 


[Note: You may have noticed that the URL for this site is now “” instead of “”.  For reasons that will be apparent in a few hours (in a post which should be up around 1pm Eastern), we’ve finally purchased our domain name.  WordPress tells me that all the old links will redirect automatically, and any RSS or other feeds should continue to work as well.  Please e-mail me if you experience any problems.] 

Just an Illusion # 26 – Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week are these fantastic optical illusion cartoon sculptures.  The Itchy & Scratchy one is just amazing. 

The Civilians and the Development of Mr. Burns, a post-electric play – Background on how that play came together:

They did many different kinds of improvisation exercises, one of which was focused on recreating the Cape Feare episode of The Simpsons from memory (and as it turns out, our Associate Artist Matt Maher was incredibly good at this). Anne Washburn then took her notes and audio recordings and started writing what is now Mr. Burns, a post-electric play. The Act 1 recollection of the Simpsons episode is pulled almost verbatim from these exercises.

Just a reminder, it opens in D.C. on May 28th and runs until July 1st. 

Skittlebrau – Yes:

People add slices of fruit to beer all the time, so why not add fruit candy? Skittlebrau works best with lagers; IPAs and Ales are too hoppy to taste the rainbow. I don’t float the Skittles in the beer, that would be a waste of Skittles and beer. Instead I pop a few Skittles in my mouth and wash it down with a swig or two. It gives the beer a fruity flavor. It actually improves the taste if you are drinking a swill beer or a forty. Skittles and beer go hand in hand. Skittles are good. Beer is great. Good + Great = Amazing.

Note to self: do this. 

Bart Simpson custom graffiti cans and more!! – Cool as hell spray pain cans with a smirking picture of Bart on them.

Cruisers – Santa Cruz x The Simpsons – Four new Simpsons skateboards, including a bloodshot and very scared looking Homer, a creepy looking one with a Krusty doll, and my personal favorite, a straight up Krusty one that’s so much like actual Krusty stuff that it’s endearing. 

Simpsons + Bread = Awesomeness – A picture of lots and lots of loaves of bread in a Homer Simpson bag.  Going solely by the fact that the currency is abbreviated as “kr”, I’m guessing Denmark or Sweden. 

Mugshots (dedicated to coffee) – Lots of coffee mugs, including two Simpsons ones. 

lisa simpson feminist patch by nastynasty on Etsy – Exactly what it says.

Appointment Viewing: May 14-May 20 – It’s gonna suck, but just remember that it’s the last one before summer vacation:

In the Season 23 finale, Lisa tries to boost her popularity by ghostwriting positive things about herself on the school blog. The effort fails miserably—until a psychic force tells Lady Gaga (who provides her own voice) that Lisa needs her help. So, I guess there will be a couple scenes of Lisa being sad until Lady Gaga shows up and they can do a rundown of every memorable thing Lady Gaga has done. Also, I think even people who don’t give a shit about continuity will have trouble making this episode jive with the one where Lisa invents Springface.

Almost there.  Almost there. 

Inside Pitch – Crashing the K market – Mostly excellent usage:

According to Homer Simpson, when it comes to compliments, "women are like ravenous, bloodsucking monsters, always wanting more, more, more!" That pretty much describes fantasy owners with strikeouts.

Homer doesn’t actually say “like”, but other than that it’s dead on.

Doctor Who: The Eternity Clock Set For May 23rd on PSN – Video game fluffing contains mostly excellent usage:

As Grandpa Simpson once said, "If you ever travel back in time, don’t step on anything. Because even the slightest change can alter the future in ways you can’t imagine." You hear that, Doctor Who companions? Quit wandering off!

Grampa actually says “tiniest” not “slightest”, but other than that it’s dead on.

Occasions When Cow Bells Aren’t Good Enough lisa simpson tattoo cropped – Sweet tattoo of Lisa meditating.

Shawarma…In 10 Words – I love me some specialty foods. 

The Dictator…In 10 Words – To be fair, Burns was thinking about making himself a god, not a dictator, but the sentiment certainly applies. 

Battleship (movie)…In 10 Words – I don’t like to pre-judge a movie, but being deaf and senile would probably help one’s enjoyment of Battleship

Is ‘all-you-can-eat’ an opportunity or a challenge? – Pretty much everyone and their webmaster referenced “New Kid on the Block” in regards to this story about a guy in Wisconsin who didn’t get all he could eat.  I don’t use the word hero very often, but Bill Wisth is the greatest hero in American history.

Bartzers – I chuckled.

Young Mitt Romney, odd man out – Color me surprised:

He insisted to me that he had always found a way to fit in with his friends as a teenager.

“My faith was not a burden for me. I didn’t smoke and drink, and that was about it,” in terms of distinguishing him from his classmates, he said. Romney did allow that there had been some “boyhood indiscretions,” but when I pressed him, he laughed: “I won’t elaborate.”

Then he started recounting — of all things — a episode of “The Simpsons” that had struck a chord with him. It was one where brainy, earnest Lisa Simpson was feeling like an outcast, until her mom, Marge, explains that being different is also being special.

“It’s a helpful thing for the development of the character of a young person to be different from their peers,” Romney told me. “It’s a blessing to be different, to stand up for that.”

That description is vague and second hand enough that it could be about a dozen different episodes from The Simpsons and Zombie Simpsons. 

Simpsons (1993 – Cut Off The Supply) – Butterfinger – YouTube of the Butterfinger ad that weirdly anticipated “Grade School Confidential”. 

Woo Candy Candy – Animated .gif of Homer’s “Sugar Sugar” hallucination from “Boy Scoutz ‘N the Hood”. 

Adulthood Has Snuck Up On Me At Last – Excellent usage:

7. Wanting to say ‘back in my day’: I have half-siblings significantly younger than me. I found myself almost saying to them ‘back in my day, we had this thing called dial-up, and I would set my computer up to download music videos and it would take me two days and stopping and starting to get one’. Thankfully I caught myself in time before I suffered their blank looks. I realized my comment was along the lines of old man Simpson rambling about how back in the day ‘So then I tied an onion to my belt, which was the style at the time’.

Grampa doesn’t actually says “then”, but other than that it’s dead on.  Moreover, I love that Grampa’s inanity is so ingrained in our culture now that it’s something even young people think of when dealing with someone younger. 

No Words Forum: Homer Simpson (Pictorial) – The only way to make one of those rubber Homer masks even creepier is to hang it from the ceiling.

The Shinnin’ – This post opens up with excellent usage in the form of an extended quote from Willie and Bart.  It then earns my love by continuing thusly:

Why am I quoting a Treehouse of Horrors episode of The Simpsons, you ask?
Well first of all, a Simpsons reference will only ever improve a situation.
And second of all, shut up.


May 17, 2012 The 11th 24 Hours – Some interesting history about “embiggen”:

“Embiggen” was actually born in 1884, in a British journal entitled Notes and Queries: A Medium of Intercommunication for Literary Men, General Readers, Etc.  It sounds official enough, doesn’t it?  Just wait until you read the sentence that introduced the world to this new verb–”but the people magnified them, to make great or embiggen, if we may invent an English parallel as ugly. After all, use is nearly everything.”  So, there we are.  Embiggen=make great.

The 22nd Edition of the St. Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival – Excellent usage:

Last Monday, I nervously twitched my way through an hour of traffic as Homer Simpson’s quotable, "Oh my God, I’m missing the chili cook-off! I’m missing the cook-off, it’s going on right now, and I’m missing it!" ran its whiny loop through my mind. MainLine Theatre’s chili cook-off press conference was unfolding at Les Katacombes and come Hell, high water or a turtle pace commute, I was not going to miss it.

Perfectly quoted and very apt.  No word on whether or not she got as drunk as a poet on payday when she got there.

The Weekly Feed: Mad About Mango Edition – More food related excellent usage:

In the immortal words of Marge Simpson, "Fruit is nature’s candy," and few things are sweeter than ripe mango over a bed of sticky coconut milk-laced rice.

Homer Simpson – A fan made drawing of a very touched looking Homer getting a tear in his eye as he contemplates the donut to come.  There’s far more emotion on his face than you get in most of Zombie Simpsons. 

How to Capture Pips with the Humble Triangle – I generally steer clear of lottery tips, but this one agrees with us:

Back in the 1990s, when Homer Simpson was still funny and new retail traders were first discovering technical analysis, there was a greater focus on price action alone without the use of indicators.

Well, I like the first part of that sentence.

Renewals Bitchezzzz – The season numbers are off here, but the sentiment is dead on:

American Dad as mentioned before takes the tally to three leaving me with the gout infested leg that is The Simpsons. 2012-13 will see The Simpsons go into its 26th season, a mammoth achievement and something which will probably never be matched again. Having watched some of the 25th season however, I have come to the decision that enough is enough. It is still an amusing show, in the same way that if one was stranded on a desert island, counting the grains of sand would amuse you for a period of time. What I’m trying to get at is, The Simpsons used to be funny, there were parts in every episode which would be genuinely spit-your-drink-out hilarious. Not any more.

Definitely not. 

Whatever happened to The Simpsons? – An epic rant from someone deeply disappointed in Zombie Simpsons:

The series started to decline (ever so slightly) from the 9th season onwards – it bottomed out in the 13th season and has settled on the bottom of the ocean after repeated torpedo attacks.
But why Groening? We used to love you so and your yellow-skinned creations. You used to make me laugh, no other  tv show could make me laugh like you could. You charmed me, and I fell in love with your characters. But then something changed – you tried to be like the other shows on Fox and suddenly you didn’t have any more time for me and the audience. You were so busy trying to bring in celebrities and to be like Family Guy that you forgot about what I loved you to start with.

The Simpsons – Season One – And finally, I get to end with someone who picked up Season 1 on DVD to relive the old episodes and agrees with us:

As for me, I guess I’m in the middle when it comes to that debate regarding the current quality of The Simpsons, but I lean towards the side that says the show is well past its prime.  I really don’t watch it anymore and haven’t for years.  When I do catch an episode I’m usually left underwhelmed.  Rarely do I hate it, but I forget about them pretty fast.  The only one I’ll go out of my way to watch is the annual “Treehouse of Horror,” and that’s mostly just out of tradition.

They are indeed very forgettable. 


Quote of the Day

A Star is Burns10

“Tonight we’ll visit Springfield’s answer to the Benedictine monks, the Rappin’ Rabbis.” – Kent Brockman
“Don’t eat pork, not even with a fork!  Can’t touch this!” – The Rappin’ Rabbis
“Marge, are we Jewish?” – Homer Simpson
“No, Homer.” – Marge Simpson
“Woo-hoo!” – Homer Simpson

A Star is Burns11


Quote of the Day

A Star is Burns9

“Excellent.  Bribing those two judges has paid off, just as it did during the Miss Teen America pageant.” – C.M. Burns


Quote of the Day

A Star is Burns8

“I have every right to be on that jury, even though I got there because I’m sleeping with the head of the festival.” – Homer Simpson
“How many times have I heard Rex Reed say that?” – Jay Sherman

Happy birthday Jon Lovitz!


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