Posts Tagged ‘Does Whiskey Count as Beer?


Monday Evening Cartoons

Bart the Murderer9

“Hey, I like this kid.  I can’t believe we we’re gonna shoot him.” – Fat Tony

As part of the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day that opens this episode, Bart eventually falls down some concrete stairs, only to have a halo of guns surround his head.  His ultimate fate is decided in court, on charges of murder; in between he is in various forms of serious jeopardy.  But no matter how many times guns are jammed in his face or adults scheme his false conviction, the story is never played for tension or suspense.

This extends to Bart’s nightmare, where he’s haunted by grim, black-and-white imaginings of the many ways his new compatriots may have gruesomely disposed of his principal.  But even that turns into less The Seventh Seal and more Young Frankenstein once Reverend Lovejoy and Homer show up to, respectively, tacitly condone and enthusiastically encourage the execution of a ten-year-old.  Even in the protected confines of a network comedy, an audience would be expected to blanche at a child contemplating wrongful execution.  Yet The Simpsons not only hung their entire ending off of it and made it funny the whole way, they let the real bad guys get away in the end.


Thursday Evening Cartoons

There's No Disgrace Like Home6

“When will I learn?  The answer to life’s problems aren’t at the bottom of a bottle.  They’re on teevee!” – Homer Simpson

In “There’s No Disgrace Like Home”, Homer attempts to prove to his family that they are, in fact, terrible.  In the process, they peep in on some other households to see whether or not everyone lives in the same misery they do.  After he fails, Homer wallows in the sorry state of the family he heads.  Being Homer, he does so with a beer at Moe’s. 

Eddie and Lou walk in with a police German Shepherd.  After drinking on the job, they say to Moe that they’re looking for a family of peeping toms.  Homer immediately realizes it’s him.  The dog begins growling, but the clueless Springfield PD ignores it and believes Homer’s lame excuse that he has hot dogs in his pants.  There’s no attempt to mine such absurdity for tension, there’s no string music of suspense; the whole thing is played completely for laughs. 

No matter how outlandish, Zombie Simpsons would never let Homer find himself under police suspicion without milking a minute or two of fake drama.  For them it’s too good a concept to waste on a few seconds of screen time; for The Simpsons it was a throwaway scene that reinforced the rest of the episode. 


Thou Shalt Not Doubt the Comprehensiveness of SNPP

Earlier today, when I was writing the post about the Al Jean quote, I watched the “hard core nudity” credits from “The 138th Episode Spectacular”.  I was trying to get a quick overview of nudity in the show and while I was aware that most of it would be nudity of the “male’s ass” variety (the go to nudity for comedy), I knew that wasn’t all of it.  One of the few that isn’t is this screen shot, ostensibly from Season 6’s “Grampa vs. Sexual Inadequacy”:

Grampa vs. Sexual Inadequacy4

But when I considered it for a moment I thought it looked a bit more nude than I expected.  So I went to the actual part from “Grampa vs. Sexual Inadequacy” and, lo and behold, here’s what I saw:

Grampa vs. Sexual Inadequacy2

First and foremost, way-to-go to Simpsons (from the before time, the long long ago) for sneaking that one past the censors.  Secondly, I suck for never noticing that before.  Thirdly, SNPP does not suck:

Benjamin Robinson writes, "If you look carefully, you’ll notice that another outtake slipped into the nudie montage at the end. The scene where Bart interrupts Homer and Marge’s is from `Grampa vs. Sexual Inadequacy (2F07),’ right? Wrong! I checked my tape of the original airing, and — yowsa! — we got to see a lot more of her this time. In fact, the scene that did air looks comparatively crude, as if the censors balked at the last minute and ordered a re- do. Well, I guess this makes up for dropping the `doggy leapfrog’ scene from `Two Dozen & One Greyhounds (2F18).’"

I remain in awe of SNPP. Also, Benjamin Robinson noticed this and had to check it on tape, I was able to verify it in less than 10 seconds on my laptop. Living in the future rules. 

Edited to fix the fact that the quote was in tiny font.



The Front3

We had a minor Dead Homer Society conclave this evening and I noticed something peculiar while we were watching “The Front”.  Homer and Marge attend their 20th high school reunion in 1994.  The episode ends with a flash forward to them at their 50th reunion in 2024.  2009 is the midpoint between 1994 and 2024; it’s been fifteen years since then and it’ll be fifteen more until we get there.  There’s nothing at all profound or interesting about that, I just thought it deserved mentioning.


How to Put Homer Simpson Properly Out of Character

Homer Simpson is an ill educated moron.  He is a loser of the first caliber and is locked into a perpetual cycle of stupidity and defeat.  Then again, all his best lines were written by rich, over-educated nerds, which made the task of putting trenchant insights into his mouth that much more difficult.  That’s why this little exchange from “The Spingfield Connection” is so great:

“This police radio entertains me with other people’s miseries.  We get a free funeral for Marge, God forbid.  And I can run backround checks on whomever I want! . . . Mohmar.” – Homer Simspon

I’m never one who is 100% sure of his grammar, but it sounds to me like Homer used the according-to-Hoyle version of who/whom there.  It’s subtle, it takes less than a second, and it’s never mentioned again.


Humiliations Galore

There is a moment in “Bart’s Dog Gets an F” (Season 2) that perfectly illustrates the real Homer Simpson.  Through nothing more than stupidity, and the relentless confidence that comes with such stupidity, Homer is utterly certain that his dog is in his back yard.  Of course, he is wrong:

Bart's Dog Gets an F2

Homer, as is his way, makes a tremendous ass of himself before he is indisputably proved wrong.  That is the kind of grueling suburban humiliation that made Homer an America hero.


Wednesday Evening Cartoons

Mother Simpson1

“Mother Simpson” is an excellent episode for any number of reasons, primarily because it is terribly funny.  But considering it in the context of the writhing horror show that is Zombie Simpsons there are two salient points:

  • The first is that it has an ending (pictured above).  Despite its many plot twists* there’s a reason Wiggum calls the Simpsons to warn them.  It doesn’t just happen apropos of nothing as so many Zombie Simpsons endings do.
  • Second, it doesn’t draw out its suspenseful/emotional moments.  When Bart and Lisa figure out that Grandma’s story is fishy there’s no montage of them spying on her in wacky ways.  When Homer and his mom share an “Awwww” type moment there’s no extended use of the string music of sadness.  When Burns & Co. find out who she is there isn’t a drawn out chase scene.

*They still had the good sense to make fun of themselves for all the drama with the Dickens/Melrose Place line.


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