Posts Tagged ‘Homer Badman


Quote of the Day

♫”Under the sea!
Under the sea!
There’ll be no accusations
Just friendly crustaceans!
Under the sea!”♫


Quote of the Day

“Hurry, Marge, if we get there early we can get our pictures taken with the two surviving Musketeers!” – Homer Simpson


Makeup Quote of the Day

“Of course, there’s no way to see into the Simpson home without some kind of infrared heat-sensitive camera. So, let’s turn it on. Now, this technology is new to me, but I’m pretty sure that’s Homer Simpson in the oven, rotating slowly. His body temperature has risen to over four hundred degrees. He’s literally stewing in his own juices!” – Kent Brockman


Quote of the Day

“Uh, you’re gonna have to put some sugar on that celery or get out, ma’am.” – Candy Convention Security Guy


Behind Us Forever: Looking for Mr. Goodbart

“Mr. Goodbar to the front desk. The front desk is looking for Mr. Goodbar.” – Candy Convention PA

Season 28 has only a few episodes left, and the most distinct thing I can say about “Looking for Mr. Goodbart” is that it is one of them. They once again switched to a voiceover narration for (some of) the exposition, there was a subplot about Homer and Lisa playing a barely renamed Pokemon Go thing, and Bart spent much of the episode being nice to old ladies before he learned a lesson about it, or something. As usual, none of it makes sense, characters appear out of nowhere frequently, and what passes for the plot is too incoherent to really wrap up.

(No, I have no idea what’s with the title. It worked as a throwaway joke in Season 6, here it’s just part of their sick need to make every episode title a pun.)

– Since Zombie Simpsons never misses an opportunity to celebrate a meaningless milestone, this one opens with the first Ullman short (that was also in the “138th Episode Spectacular”) because it just passed its thirtieth anniversary (two weeks ago, but who’s counting?). There’s also a song.

– The first scene is Bart getting gussied up in the bathroom before he goes out into a fancy restaurant and gives a table of old ladies a cup of tea. It then lurches right into voiceover narration:

“I know what you’re thinking, this must be some kind of prank. Is there laxative in the punch bowl? Well, there is, but they’re doctors prescribed that. I’ve changed. I’ve become pinchable. You look confused. Why don’t I start from the beginning?”

After that we go to the school with a “Two Months Earlier” subtitle. This is gonna be really dumb, isn’t it?

– At grandparents day, Skinner and Chalmers are mad at Bart for adding some lyrics to some song. I’m glad they retired Krabappel after Marcia Wallace died (like they should’ve done for Lunchlady Doris), but it speaks to the creative bankruptcy of the show now that they don’t bother coming up with a replacement. This looks to be a very ordinary day in the fourth grade classroom, yet it’s being headed by Skinner and Chalmers. The nominal superintendent then yells at the nominal principal via text messages because Zombie Simpsons will cling to the rotting skeleton of The Simpsons and repeat jokes no matter what. Later, in Skinner’s office, Agnes shows up for no reason and Skinner makes Bart walk her to the bus stop because that’s totally in character for everyone.

– Meanwhile, and in a highly timely parody, Lenny is playing “Peekymon Go”. (Ripped from the headlines!) He walks into the reactor core. Then Homer starts playing and does the same thing.

– On their way out of the school, Bart and Agnes bond by messing with Martin’s grandma for some reason. In a completely believable and not at all inhuman turn of events, Martin’s grandma then gets mad at her grandson because she was lightly taunted by them.

– Later, in a graveyard, the show has a parade of characters walk over Frank Grimes’s tombstone playing their very insightful Pokemon misnaming. I think this counts as fan service because at the end Gil shows up to tell us that he didn’t catch the monster.

– After some more Pokemon scenes, Homer gets sprayed by a skunk. We then see him sitting in a tomato juice bath in the garage with Marge.

I’m going to transcribe it because it neatly illustrates several of this show’s repetitive problems:

Marge: Sprayed by a sunk. Homey, that game is too dangerous.
Homer: The game was fine. Reality was dangerous. Now could you move a little to your left, there’s a stumblebee right behind you.
Marge: Is there any fad you don’t take too far?
Homer: The aerobics ones.
Lisa (Out of nowhere): Mom, what dad could use is a co-layer who’ll make sure he doesn’t get hurt, because the game is good for him. You can see that he’s lost weight from the walking.
Homer: I’m using the factory holes on my belt.
Marge: Wow! Wow! Lisa, why are you interested?
Lisa: Because it’s the greatest game ever! In this world, I can throw a ball!

Let us count the terribleness here: first, Marge exposits what we just saw. Then Homer acts like an invincible jerk. Then Lisa, who could’ve plausibly been there anyway, walks in from nowhere like she’s been a part of the conversation the whole time. (At this point, they’re so used to having people walk up to conversations that they do it even when they don’t have to.) Then Homer repeats a joke from “Brush with Greatness” (nearly word for word). Then Marge invites Lisa to exposit, and Lisa promptly does so. The scene is hacktacular in so many ways that it’s almost impressive.

– Speaking of hacktacular, we get Bart narrating more now and he explains that kissing up to Agnes got him free sneakers, so now he’s going to kiss up to other old ladies too. This is promptly followed by a montage of grandma nicknames.

– There’s an Itchy & Scratchy that ends with a human character killing himself with a revolver. It has nothing to do with the rest of the episode (we see Bart laugh at it while watching with an old lady, but that’s it) and seems, well, a little out of place.

This is TOH level gore and is very far from the violent but cartoon-y antics of Tom & Jerry. 

It’s not the violence or the gore that bothers me. It’s the fact that it’s random, pointless, and unconnected to everything else in the episode. A chef killing himself can be funny, but it’s not funny when that’s all there is to it.

– As usual, the only good part is the occasional sign gag.

Gotta admit: Curl Up And Dye is a pretty good name for a hair salon full of old ladies.

– But whatever good I was feeling is immediately blown away by more pointless exposition and random character appearances. In this one we meet Phoebe, an old lady who yells at Bart and then exposits his scam. She will be the focus of Bart’s story for the rest of the episode. As much as I don’t like to play Monday Morning Screenwriter here, I dunno, maybe it would be good to introduce the main character of the A-plot before the halfway mark.

– I don’t feel like explaining it, but the weird Cybill Shepherd thing is just bizarre.

– Sometimes my bare notes don’t need to be elaborated upon: “Comic Book Guy wanders by”

– I guess Phoebe is British because her presence let Bart frequently repeat the phrase “taking the piss”.

– Skinner’s in bed expositing about his life.

– Phoebe paid Bart to check her out of her nursing home. Now Bart’s worried she’s going to kill herself and goes back. The receptionist there neatly explains a bunch of things we didn’t see.

– And now there’s a flashback to what we saw two minutes ago. These episodes have the structural consistency of playdoh that’s been left out in the sun.

– Homer and Lisa playing Pokemon is still going on. They decided to buy cheat codes or something, which Homer is now burning, and then Homer starts talking about knives and cakes for some reason. No, it didn’t make any sense on screen either.

– Bart is looking for the supposedly suicidal old lady, and out of nowhere a bunch of Pokemon players show up to help, which leads to the . . .

– Searching montage! (In which a Pokemon rendered version of Maggie is told to “stab and kill and maim”. Lotta weird bloodshed in this one.)

– Phoebe is found, and exposits that it was all pointless anyway, “I’ll admit I had some dark thoughts, and I used you to escape form the home. But once I got out here by myself, completely free, I realized there’s so much to live for.” Thanks for wrapping up the plot, exposition lady!

– Homer now meta-expositing to run out the clock.

– And since event that couldn’t kill the last of the time, we have a Skinner sketch to end things, including Milhouse expositing.

Last night, a scant 2.26 million viewers sat through that doughy mess of an episode. Near as I can tell, the networks are taking another (well deserved) overall beating this year, so I have no idea how the drop in the absolute ratings for Zombie Simpsons compares the rest of the schedule. Still: incredibly low ratings are incredibly low ratings.



Quote of the Day

“Are you hugging the TV?” – Homer Simpson
“No!” – Bart & Lisa Simpson


Quote of the Day


“There are only forty-nine stars on that flag.” – Marge Simpson
“I’ll be deep in the cold, cold ground before I recognize Missoura!” – Abe “Grampa” Simpson


Quote of the Day

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“I don’t know Homer Simpson, I never met Homer Simpson, or had any contact with him, but . . . I’m sorry, I can’t go on” – Crying Woman
“That’s okay, your tears say more than real evidence ever could.” – Talk Show Host


Quote of the Day


“C’mon, I’m a decent guy!” – Homer Simpson


Quote of the Day

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“This is hour fifty-seven of our live, round-the-clock coverage outside the Simpson estate.  Remember, by the way, to tune in tonight at eight o’clock for highlights of today’s vigil, including when the garbage man came, and when Marge Simpson put the cat out.  Possibly because it was harassed, we don’t know.” – Kent Brockman


Reading Digest: Fan Made Treats Edition

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“My only hope is this homemade Prozac . . . Hmm, needs more ice cream.” – Homer Simpson

I’ve long been of the belief that the stuff ordinary fans come up with is far, far superior to all that crappy merchandise FOX allows to be pumped out.  This week we have several kick ass examples, including two that you can eat, a cake and a chocolate Homer.  In addition to that, we’ve got a couple of election related links, the original Monkey’s Paw, a couple of lists and a Lego Flanders.


The Simpson’s Ralph Wiggum Cut-Out Cake – Pictures of that Ralph Wiggum cake that went slightly viral this week in all phases of its construction.  Excellent.

“You call that a knife”: Knifey Spoony now a real game…kinda – I put this up on Twitter earlier this week, but you really need to see it for yourself.  Someone went way above and beyond.  It’s fantastic.

Chalkboard Drawings: The “All Treehouse of Horror” edition – A teacher drew himself into Simpsons Halloween moments in chalk.  Cool.

Photo by henry_hargreaves_photo – Homer Simpson, frozen in chocolate carbonite.  Bravo!

Heroes of Cult: John Swartzwelder – He got a whole county named after him!

The Simpsons’ Halloween: Top 5 – There’s always a few stragglers, and there’s no Zombie Simpsons here.

Pic: This Ralph Wiggum protest banner from La Liga is just great – Indeed it is.  And there’s even a point to it!

Torcida faz protesto na Espanha fantasiada de Simpsons – And speaking of Spanish soccer and the show, this YouTube video from which I do not understand one word.  Lots of effort appears to have gone into both the banners and the costumes, though.

Blackney Spears – Heh.

You won’t believe how much these phone games make per day… – Sure I would.  Though according to these numbers, TSTO is way down in revenue.  A mere 157 ivory back-scratchers per day?  This time last year they were doing double that.

MATURE Cumming up Milhouse Bart Pinback Button Limited Edition – It’s just a button, but it involves Bart having a vagina and googly eyes, plus the birth of Milhouse.  You have been warned/intrigued.

The Monkey’s Paw by W.W. Jacobs – Want to read the original?  Here you go.

The Best Things About the 90’s – Of course the show is on here.  It couldn’t not be.

The Sea Captain syndrome – How is writer’s block like a casino pitch?  Find out!

Magnificent 7 – TV Kids – The Simpson kids make the cut.

5-sentence review of ‘The Simpsons: Opposites A-Frack’ – I really like these:

Anyway, I was, as usual, bored by an episode that feels like a lecture from somebody who listens to NPR than actual satire or comedy.

New trending GIF tagged black and white halloween… – The couch gag where they all run in as skeletons.

New trending GIF tagged the simpsons time driving… – If only Lenny had someplace to be.

New trending GIF tagged the simpsons jumping trampoline… – Bart will never get tired of this, and Lisa’s gonna have her wedding there.

Could You Go a Month without Social Media? – As explained with a couple of .gifs.

The Top 10 Simpsons Episodes – No Zombie Simpsons here, though you don’t often see “Simpsons Tide” on lists like these.

Hey-Diddly-Ho! – Flanders made out of Lego bricks.

Homer Simpson on Politics – Just like that rainforest scare . . .

Bart Simpson on Voting – The 2014 electorate wasn’t dead.  Getting there?  Sure.  But not yet.

Today on the tray: Vinegar – Heh.

Story of My Life – I think this almost every morning.

Evil Says “Excellent” – Burns on Tuesday’s results.

How many treehouses of horror do we need? – And finally, our old friend Stefen agrees with us:

In the older seasons, they’re the one time where the Simpsons universe gets to reject reality in the spirit of sending up various horror clichés and films. As the series wore on, however, the actual show began to lose touch with reality, becoming yet another cartoon, and in the same manner, the Treehouse of Horror specials became even more redundant.

Pretty much.


Reading Digest: FXX Is *Really* Bad At TV Edition

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“But those shows all look so crummy.” – Homer Simpson
“We could dress it up a bit.  We could bring a fern, and a folding chair from the garage, and the most decorative thing of all: the truth.” – Marge Simpson

FXX got a lot of good press out of this Simpsons marathon thing.  Then they went and stretched the image in a way so dumb that I initially didn’t even consider it a possibility:

FXX Stretch

Oof.  As plenty of people on Twitter have pointed out, that looks atrocious.  Maybe you don’t want to just have black bars on either side, but there are ways to do that without making the entire run of The Simpsons (and a lot of Zombie Simpsons) look like that bad old early days of HD when people wanted to use the whole screen regardless of how it looked.  Put a backdrop around the sides, maybe add some running info about the episodes or the marathon itself, do that thing where there’s an extra blurred out edge . . . something, anything but stretching the image.  Shit like this is why I’m glad I don’t have cable anymore.

(Incidentally, that image came from our old friend Sebastian Nebel’s Twitter feed.  He’s tweeting great images from each episode as they air.  Highly recommended.)

Anyway, this week’s Reading Digest is incomplete for the simple reason that there is lots of Simpsons chatter on-line right now because of the marathon, but the marathon is itself has only just begun.  (They’re in the middle of Season 3 as I type this.)  So there are marathon links below, as well as the more usual stuff.  I’ll cull some of the best marathon stuff I find into it’s own post next week.


The Greatest Line Every ‘Simpsons’ Character Ever Delivered – Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week is this great list (with lots of video).  I saw one quote from Season 12, but everything else was from earlier.

The Simpsons said it: 9 times ‘The Simpsons’ embiggened the American lexicon – The FXX marathon has prompted a lot of retrospective type articles and posts, most of which are kinda similar.  This one, however, takes a good long look at several of the show’s new words and has a healthy list of honorable mentions to boot.

My Favorite Frames from Homer Defined – Nebel couldn’t pick just one from “Homer Defined”, and it’s easy to see why.

The Best. Show. Ever. Zings Libraries – Some non-Zombie Simpsons library moments.

See the world’s magazine covers from the day ‘The Simpsons’ premiered – Sting was on the cover of GQ.  

Moe Szyslak is The Simpsons’ best character, and the heart of its comedy. – This is so perfectly a #SlatePitch that it’s almost painful.  I stopped reading after this:

The most important decision The Simpsons ever made in its early years was to reimagine itself out of being a show about Bart Simpson into being a show about Homer Simpson. Through this transition—which happened so seamlessly that it was barely even noticeable—The Simpsons moved from being a show about a mischievous kid and his genially dysfunctional family to being a show about an idiotic everyman let loose on the world

Sigh.  It was “barely even noticeable” because it never happened.  At all.  Ever.

‘Revenge’ taps ‘Simpsons’ star Yeardley Smith for season 4 – Pretty much everything you need to know is in the headline there.

My Favorite Episodes of The Simpsons – “Cape Feare” gets the top spot and there’s not a drop of Zombie Simpsons.

My Ten Favorite Episodes of The Simpsons – Only one episode of Zombie Simpsons makes the list.

FilmOn’s Alki David: Comic-Con’s Homer Simpson hologram violated my patent – The Homer hologram they used at ComicCon has generated a lawsuit.  Meh.

Simpsons Marathon Weekend: 10 Episodes to DVR – Those are some pretty good suggestions.

The 3 Biggest Problems Plaguing TSTO – Surprising no one who has played the game, the fact that it crashes a lot is #1.

Harry Shearer, ‘Bob’s Burgers’ win first Emmys – Shearer won an Emmy of some kind.

The Simpsons: I Got Smashed At Wimbledon – I’ve always kinda wanted a shirt like that, but I don’t think most people would get it as a Simpsons reference.

Welcome back to Springfield! *Duh* – More Simpsons memories and some YouTube.

16 Classic Episodes from The Simpsons, season 6 (and 9 memorable ones!) – Season 6 is that good.

‘The Simpsons,’ a Guide to Outlasting the FXX, All-Episode Marathon – Some very good .gifs here.

Homer Simpson on Decisions – All he sees are “Esk”, “C-tarl”, and “Pig Up”.

The 15 Lisa Simpson Episodes Every ‘Simpsons’ Fan Should Like – I’d probably include “Lisa’s Sax”, but if you want to stop at Season 8, I’m not going to argue too hard.

Laughing at Hitler – for credit – You can’t talk about Hitler jokes without The Simpsons:

The idea first occurred to me as a whimsical and convenient way of feeding my near-obsession with The Simpsons, but I’m still convinced that there is value to this prolonged exercise beyond entertainment. The nature of Simpsons humour is that it is enhanced by revision; apparently zany and throwaway, reflection aids the understanding of a deeper, more subtle comedy.
As such, the cursory cutaways to Hitler – and their insignificance to the problematics of the narrative – have to be important to this study. The Simpsons has had an extraordinary impact on a generation’s cultural and political understanding, so there is an importance to its representations. The image of Hitler we get from the Simpsons – nearly assassinated after seduction by a transvestite Abe, raving at an inanimate bear, and possibly still alive and untroubled in South America – is a deliberate construction.

Robyn Urback: Does Toronto need air and ground raccoon surveillance? – Excellent usage:

“I’m sick of these constant bear attacks,” Homer says as he watches animal control haul away the beast. “It’s like a freakin’ Country Bear-Jamboroo around here.”

“Well, now, realistically Homer, I’ve lived here some 30-odd years,” Ned Flanders says. “This is the first and only bear I’ve ever seen.”

“Hey, if you want wild bears eating your children and scaring away your salmon, that’s your business,” Homer replies. “But I’m not gonna take it. Who’s with me?”

Best gifts 2014: Simpsons Bart Cruzer Skateboard by Santa Cruz – The graffiti stencil on the bottom is a nice touch.

25 ‘The Simpsons’ Facts You Didn’t Know – There’s nothing terribly new here, but at least it ends before getting too deep into Zombie Simpsons.

Miss Fickle Reader’s Boring-Ass Beach Blog! Part 1: Why I Haven’t Been Blogging – You can get garbage bags of popcorn in New Jersey:

Now, when you say “open,” the teenager sticks your tub and lid inside a clear plastic garbage bag and shovel as much popcorn as could be expected to fit in or around your tub.
Anyone see the Simpsons reference here? “King-Sized Homer,” when Homer decides to make himself “hyper-obese”? He goes to a matinee of “Honk If You’re Horny,” and the manager says they don’t have wide enough seats for him, but if he leaves quietly they’ll offer him–you guessed it!–“a garbage bag full of popcorn.” Matt Groening, give yourself a gold star. “The Simpsons” has now become completely enmeshed with reality.

Indeed it has.


Quote of the Day


“As you can see, I have created a lemon ball so sour it can only be safely contained in a magnetic field.  The candy, known as 77X42 – where the hell is the candy?” – Professor Frink
“I don’t know.” – Homer Simpson


Quote of the Day

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“What’s that?” – Homer Simpson
“That is the rarest Gummy of them all: the Gummy Venus de Milo, carved by Gummy artisans who work exclusively in the medium of Gummy.” – Candy Convention Guy


Quote of the Day

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“Tonight on Rock Bottom, we go undercover at a sex farm for sex hookers.” – Godfrey Jones
“I keep tellin’ ya, I just grow sorghum here.” – Farmer
“Uh-huh, and where are the hookers?” – Reporter
“Round back. . . . Oops.” – Farmer


Quote of the Day

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“Hey, kids, lots of candy left for breakfast!” – Homer Simpson
“Ugh.” – Bart & Lisa Simpson
“Why don’t we give it to some needy children then?” – Marge Simpson
“Unh-ugh.” – Bart & Lisa Simpson


Quote of the Day

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“Now, here are some results from our phone-in poll.  Ninety-five percent of the people believe Homer Simpson is guilty.  Now, of course, this is just a television poll, which is not legally binding, unless Proposition 304 passes, and we all pray it will.” – Kent Brockman


Oh Hell, Let’s Move the Town Again

Chalkboard - At Long Last Leave

“Homer, that’s your solution to everything, to move under the sea.  It’s not going to happen!” – Marge Simpson
“Not with that attitude.” – Homer Simpson

Give Zombie Simpsons credit for consistency, for the 500th episode they served up a perfectly banal rendition of their usual hacktacular schlock.  They recycled two old ideas (family leaves Springfield, rebuild the town), had an illogical, meaningless and irrelevant celebrity voicing himself, and left plot threads hanging all over the place.  No real reason is given for why the town suddenly decides they miss the Simpsons, nothing about the “Outlands” makes sense, either as a post-apocalyptic environment or as a modern “off the grid” community, and what few jokes there were leaned heavily on Homer getting hurt and bizarre asides.  To top it all off, they had a lot of filler in the form of an ultra long couch gag, a second opening in the middle of the episode, and a bunch of set pieces that dragged on interminably (e.g. Wiggum and the cat thing, parading the family out of town).

For examples of all of these problems we need look no further than the sudden u-turn the episode took after its clock killing “The Outlands” opening.  They had just reached their destination, but after talking to the wildly out of place Julian Assange for no reason, Marge says she misses Springfield and then – wham – they’re back in Springfield.  The first scene is them already in the heart of the city before they decamp for a couple of quick stops at the Lard Lad sign, the Bowlarama, and their house.  None of these are related in the least aside from being in Springfield. 

To get them back out of Springfield (after the bullies mysteriously disappear from the house), they essentially rerun the earlier scene from the town hall.  This one occurs at night and six minutes deeper into the episode, but basically nothing has happened in that time other than some disjointed set pieces.  Compounding the problem, there isn’t anything in the second expulsion that even so much as hints at, much less actually sets up, the eventual ending where – for no discernable reason – the rest of the town decides that they all want out of Springfield. 

Apart from the couch gag and the passive aggressive title card at the end (and, for the record, I’ve been outside several times already today) there wasn’t much in the way of celebratory fireworks here.  Abandoning the town to build a shanty one a few miles down the road sounds epic, until you remember that in just the last few years they’ve had Springfield fenced off from immigrants, descend into chaos from Lisa’s social network, and irradiated by a nuclear bomb.  Abandoning or destroying Springfield is unexceptional these days.

Anyway, the numbers are in and they are wretched, despite all the hype.  Last night just 5.79 million viewers wondered why this thing hadn’t ended hundreds of episodes ago.  That’s an improvement from last week’s nadir, but it’s still embarrassingly low and continues to sink Season 23’s overall viewer average. 


Compare & Contrast: Conventioneering

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“Sorry kids, but this is the one event I want my darling wife by my side.” – Homer Simpson
“Oh, well thank you, Homer.  But take one of the kids.” – Marge Simpson
“Marge, they can’t carry enough candy!  They have puny little muscles, not big ropey ones like you.” – Homer Simpson

Like last week, there are quite a few aspects of “The Food Wife” which were done better on actual episodes of The Simpsons.  There was the family trying out ethnic food, which made more sense and had more to do with the rest of the episode in “One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish”.  There was Homer’s now advanced woodworking skills, which were probably intended as a callback of some kind but which only reminded me how little Zombie Simpsons is like its predecessor.  There was especially the way Marge becomes afraid that she’s no fun, which was infinitely funnier and more believable in “Bart’s Inner Child”.  For sheer simplicity though, nothing really beats the way “The Food Wife” and “Homer Badman” both open: with the family going to a convention.

The differences in the things Zombie Simpsons cares about and the things The Simpsons cared about are massively apparent right in the opening scenes.  As “The Food Wife” begins, Lisa and Bart have earned a reward of some kind and are going to get a “Saturday Surprise Dad Day”.  As soon as Marge announces that, the kids cheer and Homer lets us know that this is something that happens quite often.  In just this one scene we can see how much the family has degenerated into characterless, one dimensional nobodies.

Family Bliss

Nothing says “The Simpsons” like a prosperous family that loves spending time together!

Homer, the man who used to routinely avoid doing anything with his kids, is excited to take them somewhere on his precious Saturday.  Bart and Lisa are thrilled at the prospect of some of Homer’s half assed over-parenting (and Bart has somehow been behaving well).  And Marge, despite the jealousy that the audience will repeatedly see her go through for the rest of the episode, is just peachy keen on all of this.  Not only do none of these things fit with who these people are supposed to be, but since Homer rattles off two things he’s done before it means that it’s been going on like this for a while.  This is particularly jarring when it comes to Marge, since “cemetery paintball” and “go karts on real roads” don’t sound like activities she’d want her ten-year-old son or eight-year-old daughter doing.  The entire scene is pure Zombie Simpsons, apathetic towards the characters and generally nonsensical (and we haven’t even gotten to the convention yet).

Compare that with the opening scene from “Homer Badman”, which also takes place at the kitchen table.  This one opens with Bart picking the non-marshmallow pieces out of his cereal, Lisa calling him on it (revealing her own hatred of the non-marshmallow pieces in the process), and then Homer talking about the candy convention to which he’s gotten tickets.  But he doesn’t give his mouth watering description of the convention because he’s planning to take his kids, though they immediately beg him to do just that.  Instead, he wants to take Marge.  She’s flattered by this but doesn’t really want to go, and it’s only then that it comes out that he actually wants to take her because Bart or Lisa won’t be able to carry as much candy as she can.

Everyone in this scene is perfectly in character.  Bart and Lisa are acting like kids who just want sugar, with Lisa being the less lazy and more conscientious of the two.  Marge is acting like the responsible adult.  And Homer is at his best: unthinkingly disappointing his entire family (the kids because they can’t go with him, Marge because she’s being used as a pack mule), but only doing so because of his well established love of candy.  And, of course, every part of the setup is a joke, from Bart picking at the cereal to Homer’s reasons for wanting to bring Marge.  You’d need a transcript to include all the gags (and even that wouldn’t do it justice).  The Simpsons cares about its story and its characters, Zombie Simpsons just plunges ahead into nonsense.

You can see that directly once the respective kitchen scenes are over.  Zombie Simpsons jumps immediately to the video game convention, where Homer has somehow acquired VIP tickets.  How did that happen?  Well, they don’t say, but my immediate guess would be that the writers are so used to being VIPs that they’ve forgotten that Homer isn’t one.  By contrast, The Simpsons shows us Homer getting his regular tickets by taking advantage of Apu.

More than that, “Homer Badman” also shows us a second scene at the house that sets up the rest of the episode.  First we see Marge reluctantly getting sewn into the many pocketed trenchcoat that Homer’s going to use to smuggle candy out of the convention.  Then our main guest character, graduate student Ashley Grant, arrives to babysit.  She doesn’t just pop into the episode for no reason, she shows up because Marge can’t find anyone else to sit for her kids.

Even better, she immediately joins the joke parade while we find out who she is.  She’s smart, capable, and, crucial to the sexual harassment plot, believes that women don’t have to be second class citizens.  Bart objects (“How can you leave us with this maniac?”) and prepares to destroy yet another babysitter, but Grant is unfazed and instantly disarms him with “Disemboweler IV”.

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“The game where condemned criminals dig at each other with rusty hooks.”

On Zombie Simpsons they don’t have anything like those scenes and just cut instantly to Homer and the kids breezing into the video game convention with their VIP badges:

Blissful VIPs

Come right in, Mr. Selman. 

There’s a superficially similar scene when Homer and Marge arrive at the candy convention but, like Zombie Simpsons and The Simpsons more broadly, the similarities are only cosmetic:

Homer Badman8

Homer?  Excited.  Marge?  Nervous.  Story?  Progressing.

In the scene from “The Food Wife”, Homer and the kids walk past a nice orderly line that looks like a pretty decent recreation of the entrance at something like E3.  It is neither funny nor creative, and they’re doing so with VIP badges that Homer got from nowhere.  Whereas in “Homer Badman”, we saw Homer get the tickets and the candy convention is so desirable that it hilariously requires a dozen police officers to guard its entrance.  It makes more sense in terms of the story, it’s a joke, and it takes only a second; the arrival in Zombie Simpsons is nothing more than a reenactment of how nice it must be to have private security kiss your ass, but includes lots of exposition in case the audience didn’t understand.  

Part of the reason Zombie Simpsons skips right into the video game convention is because, unlike the candy convention, the video game expo has nothing to do with the rest of the episode.  More than that, however, is the way the vast majority of “The Food Wife”’s attempts at humor are pop culture riffs, and they want to get to those quickly.  Even then most of them are references not jokes; “Guts of War” isn’t a parody of “God of War”, it’s just a wink and a nod to let you know that they’re hip and cool enough to know who Kratos is.  The same is true of “YBox”, “Electronic Crafts”, “Medal of Duty”, and “Gamestation 3”.

Free Advertising

It sure was nice of them to essentially repeat Apple’s slogan for them.

By contrast, the candy convention is filled not just with candy jokes, but with the kind of absurdist exaggerations that The Simpsons reveled in creating.  Instead of a bunch of signs that are misspelled versions of “Hershey” or “M&M”, we get a sour ball so sour that it must be contained in a magnetic field.  It’s not only funny, but it’s a hell of a lot more creative than replacing the word “Rock” with the word “Marching”.  We also get “The front desk is looking for Mr. Goodbar”, the wax lips guy, and the security guard who insists that Marge put some sugar on her celery or get out.  And, of course, there’s the precious gummy Venus de Milo, which is giddily insane, and which will soon drive the main plot forward and give us Homer’s Pop Rocks/Coke bomb.

At the video game convention, Homer goes into a lame first person shooter mode and beats up a bunch of people to get to another non-joke reference, the “Funtendo Zii”.  After that, the “Funtendo” crap just ends; there isn’t so much as a callback after Homer and the kids go hopping over the fence.  The Gummi de Milo, of course, is what gets Homer in trouble with Ashley Grant, what gets him looking like a drooling pervert on Rock Bottom, and what eventually exonerates him.  It’s not just absurdly funny as an idea, it’s the lynchpin of the plot. 

Zombie Simpsons puts its characters in a place they have no business being and likely wouldn’t want to be anyway if they were still even remotely themselves.  Once there, they decorate it with a few cute signs and a couple of semi-clever takes on real video games before dropping the whole thing.  The Simpsons keeps everyone in character, takes a few familiar notions and uses them to create a whole world of ludicrous candy inventions, and uses all of it to keep the plot moving and entertaining.  The yellow hue is misleading, these two shows have nothing in common except it. 


Quote of the Day

Homer Badman7

“Homer, are all these pockets necessary?” – Marge Simpson
“They wouldn’t be if you were willing to sit in a hollowed out wheelchair.” – Homer Simpson


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