Posts Tagged ‘Homer’s Phobia


Quote of the Day

“Aww, Moe, we were saved by a sissy.” – Barney Gumble
“Yeah, yeah, we’ll never live it down. Oh, boy, it looks like it’s suicide again for me.” – Moe


Double Secret Makeup Quote of the Day

“Marge, the boy was wearing a Hawaiian shirt.” – Homer Simpson
“So?” – Marge Simpson
“There’s only two kinds of guys who wear those shirts: gay guys and big fat party animals. And Bart doesn’t look like a big fat party animal to me.” – Homer Simpson
“So if you wore a Hawaiian shirt it wouldn’t be gay?” – Marge Simpson
“Right. Thank you!” – Homer Simpson


Quote of the Day

“You’re being ridiculous.” – Marge Simpson
“Am I, Marge? Am I? Think of the property values! Now we can never say only straight people have been in this house.” – Homer Simpson


Quote of the Day

“How’d you know that thing would work?” – Bart Simpson
“Well, the sound is just brutal. And I figured reindeer would naturally be afraid of their cruel master, Santa Claus.” – John


Quote of the Day

“Wow, an actual robot from the movie ‘Clank, Clank, You’re Dead’. Think of awful it’d be for the poor midget inside.” – Lisa Simpson
“Aww boo-hoo. That’s what they get paid for.” – Bart Simpson


Quote of the Day

“Aw, we shoulda just stayed at the bar and shot some rats.” – Barney Gumble
“Hey! Those ain’t your rats, Barn.” – Moe


Quote of the Day


“You know me, Marge. I like my beer cold, my TV loud, and my homosexuals flaming!” – Homer Simpson

Happy 20th Anniversary to “Homer’s Phobia”! Original airdate 16 February, 1997.


Quote of the Day


“Hey, where’d that cool, creepy Santa come from?” – Bart Simpson
“Japan. Except over there he’s called Annual Gift Man and he lives on the moon.” – John


Quote of the Day


“But I mean more like inflatable furniture, or Last Supper TV trays, or even this bowling shirt. Can you believe somebody gave this to Goodwill?” – John


Quote of the Day


“What am I supposed to do here?” – Bart Simpson
“Nothing.  Just sit.  I’ll be back. . . . Well, it’s been two hours, how do you feel?” – Homer Simpson
“I don’t know, I kinda want a cigarette.” – Bart Simpson
“That’s a good start, let’s get you a pack, what’s your brand?” – Homer Simpson
“Anything slim!” – Bart Simpson
“Okay, that didn’t work.” – Homer Simpson


Quote of the Day

Homer's Phobia11

“Dad, it’s barbaric.  How does killing a deer make you more of a man?” – Lisa Simpson
“It just does.  Name me one gay Indian.” – Homer Simpsonee


Quote of the Day

Homer's Phobia10

“Fifty bucks for a toy?  No kid is worth that!” – Homer Simpson


Quote of the Day

Homer's Phobia9

“I hope you all saved room, because I made your favorite dessert: store bought snake cakes, both kinds.” – Marge Simpson


Quote of the Day

Homer's Phobia8

“And Helen Lovejoy, sure, she looks blonde, but I’ve heard cuffs and collar don’t match, if you get my drift.” – John
“I don’t, but I loved hearing it.” – Marge Simpson


Crazy Noises: Lisa Goes Gaga

Homer's Phobia7

“Come on, Homer, join the party.” – John

As part of our tireless efforts to demonstrate the many ways Zombie Simpsons fails to entertain, Season 23 will be subjected to the kind of rigorous examination that can only be produced by people typing short messages at one another.  More dedicated or modern individuals might use Twitter for this, but that’s got graphics and short links and little windows that pop up when you put your cursor over things.  The only kind of on-line communications we like are the kind that could once be done at 2400 baud.  So disable your call waiting, plug in your modem, and join us for another year of Crazy Noises.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (especially on “sappiness”).

We discuss the pathetically lame Marge/Gaga kiss below, and the fact that this isn’t the first time Zombie Simpsons has employed this cheap attention stunt.  (And there’s the way it apparently turned Marge on so much that she immediately needed to fuck Homer like they’d never fucked before, which adds to the stupidity and incoherence.)  But more generally, it’s further evidence of just how far behind the times Zombie Simpsons has fallen, especially compared to The Simpsons.

Gay characters were basically non-existent on television in 1990, and yet The Simpsons hinted that Smithers was gay and had Karl (who self evidently was gay) kiss Homer full on the lips.  In 1994, Homer visits a lesbian bar and thinks the only thing wrong is the lack of a fire exit.  Three years after that, they did “Homer’s Phobia”, which was broadcast two months before the famous “Ellen comes out” episode.  However important or not important those things were or weren’t, there’s no denying that The Simpsons was way ahead of its time in terms of portraying gay characters and stories.

Fast forward to today, and Zombie Simpsons is lagging behind on the exact same things.  There was Patty’s it’s-not-really-a-woman marriage, Marge kissing Lindsey Naegle (in a Homer fantasy, no less), those pathetic gay bars, and now this hapless stab at relevance.  It’s remarkable not only for how culturally tone deaf it is, but for how far they’ve regressed from where they used to be.

[Note: Our old friend Zombies Rise from the Sea joined us again this week, and we got into what may be the longest Crazy Noises ever.]

Charlie Sweatpants: Okay, we’ve got everybody. Shall we begin?

Zombies Rise from the Sea: Let’s do this!

Charlie Sweatpants: So, this episode, memorably bad or just regular bad?

Zombies Rise from the Sea: Terrible.

Charlie Sweatpants: (i.e. is this so bad that it stands out by their standards)

Mad Jon: This was so bad it stood out.

Dave: It was tremendously obnoxious. End-to-end.

Mad Jon: This was mega bad, I was in serious danger of doing some damage to the TV on Sunday night.

Zombies Rise from the Sea: Who’s idea was it to put Lady Gaga on the show?

Charlie Sweatpants: At this point, they seem to regard guest voices as sort of awards that they give out to people they like or admire.

Mad Jon: I dunno, but I imagine it was the same person who agreed to let her have 51% of the lines in the episode too.

Dave: And superpowers.

Zombies Rise from the Sea: Tim Long?

Mad Jon: I don’t even know where to really begin.

Charlie Sweatpants: Think of Jebediah, and the words will come.

Zombies Rise from the Sea: Well… I think we should.

Wait, hold on!

I think a psychic force is telling me something.

Mad Jon: I am not even sure I could coherently describe the INTENDED plot.

Zombies Rise from the Sea: That’s what my psychic force is telling me, the plot.

The Lisa plot that tries so hard to be emotional but ends up sappy.

Charlie Sweatpants: The psychic force was certainly terrible (and there was even less need for it twice), but since the whole thing was apparently some kind of off-season, no-rules-apply, Halloween episode, I don’t know that it was even in the Top 5 bad things here.

Zombies Rise from the Sea: How did they think it was a good idea?

Charlie Sweatpants: I’d say it was part of their overall “exaggerate everything about Gaga” theme.

Zombies Rise from the Sea: Gaga is clearly going to Springfield, why have some unexplainable force that isn’t even satirized or joke about tell her about Lisa?

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, the whole she has to cheer up the town AND cheer up Lisa thing seemed very redundant.

Dave: I think the Halloween episode parallel is pretty apt; they more or less threw their own minor rules out the window and went for it.

Zombies Rise from the Sea: Agreed Dave.

Cheering up the entire town she did easily because Springfield has basically turned into a bunch of people who would cheer at any celebrity coming their way.

Especially Lady Gaga.

Mad Jon: And even when they were trying to have a progression, they just fast forwarded it. I cite how quickly Lisa dropped the notebook that outed her as the Truth Teller.

Zombies Rise from the Sea: My god the town of Springfield has lost their personality.

That scene pissed me off Jon.

I mean why do they have people suddenly become clumsy to serve the plot? Hell, why even have the notebook with her.

Charlie Sweatpants: Agreed, Jon, the plot was very stop and start. It would move rapidly, then pause so Gaga could interact with random people, then zoom forward again (Lisa’s angry outburst and instant reconciliation come to mind).

Mad Jon: It should.

Zombies Rise from the Sea: If I were Lisa I would have held onto the notepad or even just left it at home hidden or even stored the information on a computer.

Mad Jon: I would have done anything but what happened.

Charlie Sweatpants: What’s more, and this may be attributable to the overall Halloween vibe, they had people acting weird and out of character even by their standards.

Zombies Rise from the Sea: More then usual?

Charlie Sweatpants: The school actually doing these awards, Flanders talking with Gaga out of the blue, all those people who shouldn’t have been there at the concert (Grampa in particular).

And yeah, I think it was more than usual. Think about Skinner and Hoover here. They’re both aiding and abetting the children taunting Lisa mercilessly.

Zombies Rise from the Sea: Who else has to be at the concert, without someone they wouldn’t be able to showcase how super big Lady Gaga is?

Mad Jon: Agreed. CBG wipes his face with Superman #1, Flanders was anyone but Flanders.

Zombies Rise from the Sea: And yeah, Skinner was unusually mean.

Charlie Sweatpants: Marge and Homer were the same way. It was like neither of them had ever dealt with Lisa before.

Zombies Rise from the Sea: Well it’s a consequence of trying to have an emotional sappy plot.

You know, Lisa moping, acting sad, isolated…

It isn’t even done in a way that’s substantial but people ate it up anyway.

Mad Jon: Back to Marge real quick, why was she afraid to be touched?

Zombies Rise from the Sea: I don’t know, I instantly blocked that scene out when I saw Gaga kissing Marge.

Charlie Sweatpants: I kind of felt bad for Lisa after a while. I mean, she’s basically being stalked and harassed by a celebrity with the active complicity of her parents and all she wants to be is left alone. It was creepy.

Zombies Rise from the Sea: Terrible!

Charlie Sweatpants: The kiss was atrocious.

Dave: So they could work in a lesbian kiss. Duh.

Zombies Rise from the Sea: And don’t forget the twitter hashtag the network put up to showcase the scene.

Charlie Sweatpants: What’s worse, they did the same thing like three seasons ago.

Zombies Rise from the Sea: Not the show, but the FOX network.

This isn’t even funny.

Charlie Sweatpants: Really? I didn’t know that.

Zombies Rise from the Sea: I recorded the episode, it was clearly from the network.

Dave: What was the hashtag?

Zombies Rise from the Sea: #GagaKissesMarge

I mean WTF?

Charlie Sweatpants: That’s really desperate.

Zombies Rise from the Sea: The network must want it’s now super low rated show to succeed.

Charlie Sweatpants: I mean, using an always heterosexual female character kissing another woman as publicity? That’s so low and old that it’s actually a cliche:

Dave: Huh. The twitterverse ate it up.!/search/%23gagakissesmarge

No surprise there, I guess.

Zombies Rise from the Sea: The internet in general is stupid.

Charlie Sweatpants: Doesn’t surprise me, though I wouldn’t take it as an indictment of the internet generally. The kind of people who are going to care enough to add that to their Twitter feeds are probably going to be enthusiastic rather than bored.

Remember, we’re the weirdos, not them. Most the people who watch this show probably actually like it.

It’s only the real die hards who watch it in spite of never finding it good.

Zombies Rise from the Sea: Getting back on topic, just how sappy was that emotional content?

Charlie Sweatpants:  Honestly, the emotions were so clumsy that I’m not sure they even qualified as sappy.

Zombies Rise from the Sea: It’s like Tim Long read a book about how to write and read a chapter that described how a character can be emotional.

Charlie Sweatpants: Other than my sympathy for Lisa wanting to be left alone, barely any of this was coherent enough to even get at where they were coming from.

Mad Jon: I didn’t see as much of what I would call emotion as I did what I would call manic reactions.

Charlie Sweatpants: Gaga at the end is exactly that.

Zombies Rise from the Sea: I mean they force her into a situation that is contrived (Lisa telling lies about herself, being popular) then they have the parents try to sympathize with her, the bullies tease her and even Lady Gaga try to cheer her up all while she acts mopey, lies down in bed, cries without tears, says stuff a teenager would say.

For me to emote with a person, the situation has to matter and the moments during that situation have to be involving.

None of these moments were involving.

Mad Jon: Nobody was really ‘feeling’ anything. Almost every situation makes me think that any doctor nearby would be handing out bottles of Xanax.

Zombies Rise from the Sea: Most people who voted 3/5 on NoHomers felt something.

They actually fell for the whole “Lisa” shtick.

Charlie Sweatpants: Again, that doesn’t entirely surprise me.

Mad Jon: Neither I.

Dave: Ok guys, hate to do this but I gotta run. Enjoy the rest of your chat.

Charlie Sweatpants: Okay Dave, have a good evening.

Mad Jon: Peace Dave.

Zombies Rise from the Sea: Sad to see you go Dave, but have a good evening.

Nice to meet you.

Dave: Likewise. Later guys.

Charlie Sweatpants: The kind of sappiness that they went for was real lowest common denominator stuff. That will always play with fans.

“Friends” stayed on the air for like four seasons longer than it should have on that alone.

Zombies Rise from the Sea: But the way it’s portrayed, it seemed like it was trying to go for that 8-year old being sad but failed.

The acting of Yeardley Smith is better then usual but I don’t want to emote based on acting, I want to emote based on the situation.

Charlie Sweatpants: But that’s part of the problem with how sloppy it was.

Zombies Rise from the Sea: It annoys me because if people keep falling for this then people are going to do the same thing over and over.

Charlie Sweatpants: Literally no one in that situation (sad little girl having minor, childish crisis) would make as big a deal out of cheering her up as they did.

Zombies Rise from the Sea: Agreed.

But still, who needs an emotional moment with proper buildup and proper investment when you can just have someone act sad? And I’m talking about all of the series here.

Charlie Sweatpants: Right, pretty much everyone harasses Lisa at some point (they eve had Maggie do it for fuck’s sake) and they have their little sad moment. There is no buildup, it starts with her depressed and stays at a flat line for most of the episode.

Zombies Rise from the Sea: All while Gaga tries to be Michael Jackson.

Charlie Sweatpants: Even the end was like that. Lisa actually gives two different reasons why she’s suddenly fine.

Zombies Rise from the Sea: It just sets a poor standard for the production of TV series everywhere, Zombie Simpsons I mean.

Charlie Sweatpants: Was it because Homer’s incompetence as a parent is now endearing to her, or was it because she had a “great sneeze”?

Mad Jon: How does one define “little monster”?

Zombies Rise from the Sea: I couldn’t understand a single word Homer said.

Nor could I understand what Homer had to do with Lisa’s revelation.

Charlie Sweatpants: Jon: Gaga fans call themselves “little monsters”.

Mad Jon: Ah.

Charlie Sweatpants: Exactly, Homer’s chat with Lisa didn’t do anything.

Mad Jon: So Gaga keeps telling people they can be little monsters, meaning they are allowed to be her fan?

Charlie Sweatpants: Meaning they’re allowed to let their true, weird selves fly free. Concurrent album purchases are not required, but not discouraged either.

Zombies Rise from the Sea: No, I’m not a superfan of hers but I’m guessing it all sort of has to do with the inner beauty and desire they hold inside.

I’ve listened to ‘The Fame”, I have yet to listen to her recent work.

Maybe that’s a good thing…

Mad Jon: I see. So it’s like an apathetic version of music scientology. I have heard plenty of Gaga, but I know almost nothing of the culture.

Not that it really matters.

Zombies Rise from the Sea: So let’s talk about what Lady Gaga is trying to be, “Michael Jackson”.

Anybody remember “Stark Raving Dad”?

Charlie Sweatpants: The fact that they had Lisa saying “I denounce thee” like it was musical scientology was just part of the overall “fluff Lady Gaga” thing.

Then she comes back and is a superfan at the end. It was practically a commercial.

Zombies Rise from the Sea: Or their interpretation of who Gaga is, trying to inspire people, achieve dreams they cannot achieve.

Mad Jon: The end was horrific.

Charlie Sweatpants: And yeah, they really didn’t leave me with any choice but “Stark Raving Dad” for today’s Compare & Contrast.

Zombies Rise from the Sea: I don’t associate that with Gaga but I can understand why other people would.

Mad Jon: I associate it with hilarity.

Zombies Rise from the Sea: Just imagine Gaga and her terrible voice acting trying to bond with Lisa.

Charlie Sweatpants: That was something that bugged me right from the start. She cannot act for shit.

Zombies Rise from the Sea: She isn’t even aware she’s on an animated show, it’s more like one of those cheesy PSA’s from the 80’s.

Mad Jon: Is that what her actual voice sounds like? I’ve never heard her talk before.

Zombies Rise from the Sea: Well maybe but she’s trying to “act” so any normalcy is thrown out the window.

I imagine that when she talks she’s good.

Acting, not so much.

Charlie Sweatpants: Her delivery on “We’ve got to cheer up a whole town. Where’s the dress I wore when I met . . . the Pope” was solid wood from end to end.

And yeah, the required skill sets of “singer” and “actress” don’t actually have much overlap.

Some people can do both, but most of them can’t.

Zombies Rise from the Sea: It doesn’t seem like she knows what to do or is willing to portray herself as a character, she sounds as if she’s trying to make a voice and emote it but ends up with the opposite effect for lack of better words.

Charlie Sweatpants: It’s like Lisa’s story line, her readings were just flat.

Zombies Rise from the Sea: Maybe she’s unable to immerse herself in the character or something, I don’t know.

Heh, the irony of it.

Charlie Sweatpants: Whatever the reason, it was bad.

Zombies Rise from the Sea: Maybe she should have sung her lines, it wouldn’t have been acting but it would have been better then what we got.

Charlie Sweatpants: I’d say there was more than enough singing.

Mad Jon: Yep, more than plenty.

Zombies Rise from the Sea: Speaking of songs, is Tim Long even trying with these songs anymore?

Charlie Sweatpants: I don’t know, but some of those lyrics wouldn’t have been out of place in an elementary school production that doesn’t have a lot of help from the teachers.

Zombies Rise from the Sea: The song she sang in the beginning felt like it came off from one of her studio albums.

It didn’t even feel like it was created for a Simpsons episode, it actually felt like a song written for one of her albums.

Charlie Sweatpants: The credits had both big songs with lyrics by Tim Long and music by Rex Promise.

Zombies Rise from the Sea: Ah.

Charlie Sweatpants: A quick Google search is unclear as to who or what “Rex Promise” is.

Zombies Rise from the Sea: Possibly someone hired off the street to produce these songs.

It’s funny, this is like the first time a song on the Simpsons felt like a promotional effort.

It wasn’t satirical, it was subconsciously promoting an upcoming album from her even though it was written for this episode.

Charlie Sweatpants: I don’t know about first time, but it was definitely a promotional event.

Zombies Rise from the Sea: I will admit that the lyrics are decent, if Tim Long leaves The Simpsons then he could easily join up with Lady Gaga’s entourage and write songs for her.

The lyrics are not decent for the Simpsons however…

Charlie Sweatpants: Yes, the lyrics weren’t even trying to be funny.

Mad Jon: I wasn’t even paying attention to them.

Charlie Sweatpants: I mean, “When they’re young, all little monsters learn that they are scary/ Ugly, stupid, shunned by cupid, overweight, and hairy.

“But every monster needs to find that secret deep inside.

“That transforms doctor Jekyll into sexy mister Hyde.

Zombies Rise from the Sea: That song could easily fit onto “Born this Way 2”

Charlie Sweatpants: Christ that’s bad. That sounds like Up With People modernized so they could use the word “sexy”.

Mad Jon: That’s pretty bad.

Zombies Rise from the Sea: Agreed.

The fact that it can be placed into a Gaga album makes it worse.

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, but at this point we’re pretty close to the bottom anyway.

Zombies Rise from the Sea: At this point they should just sell the show to Pixar since they praise it so damn much.

Mad Jon: “It can’t possibly be bottomless” – “Well, for all intents and purposes….”

Zombies Rise from the Sea: Including in this episode, with the terrible mention of Cars.

Charlie Sweatpants: Forgot about that.

Zombies Rise from the Sea: The Simpsons tries so hard to be Pixar material but it’s not Pixar, it will never be Pixar.

Mad Jon: Yeah, I missed that too, but I’m not surprised by myself for that.

Charlie Sweatpants: Well, Brad Bird left, what do you expect?

Zombies Rise from the Sea: You do have a point there.

Mad Jon: Meh, I think they are just trying to get by, one profitable day at a time.

Charlie Sweatpants: Pretty much. Any final thoughts about this episode in particular?

Zombies Rise from the Sea: There’s still so much about this episode to talk about.

We haven’t even got to how shallow the satire is.

Charlie Sweatpants: There was satire?

Mad Jon: There may be more to talk about, that doesn’t mean that it’s worth talking about.

Zombies Rise from the Sea: Well, the only satire in this episode was how extravagant she was, how many costumes she was in and how she’s a superstar.

Charlie Sweatpants: I wouldn’t call what they did satire.

Mad Jon: I dunno, I got nothing productive to bring up.

Charlie Sweatpants: It’s exaggeration. Like things Lady Gaga would have if physics, chemistry, and biology didn’t apply.

Birds won’t actually fly around you (well, outside of Hitchcock movies, anyway), but in here you can have anything your heart desires.

Zombies Rise from the Sea: I know it’s common but it just seems like they’re honoring her rather then truly mocking her.

Even that scene where Homer eats Gaga’s meat suit seems like it’s honoring it rather then mocking it.

God how I hate scenes like those.

Charlie Sweatpants: Exactly. Though I’d go with “sucking up to” instead of “honor”.

Zombies Rise from the Sea: If your meat suit gets eaten by Homer, it’s instantly an institution.

Charlie Sweatpants: Something like that.

Zombies Rise from the Sea: Honestly, I felt weirded out listening to the Gaga music, seeing the Gaga train, the black guy…

It felt like an episode of “The Cleveland Show” rather then The Simpsons.

Charlie Sweatpants: There’s no denying that Zombie Simpsons has taken more than a few cues from MacFarlane (especially since his triumphant comeback) of late, but this was extreme even for them.

That opening and closing narration is the real giveaway.

Zombies Rise from the Sea: I forgot about that; what did that have to do with the episode anyway?

Charlie Sweatpants: They know they can’t just do it crazy, so they include this disclaimer.

Zombies Rise from the Sea: I was a dancer for Lady Gaga, bleh.

Did we already mention Lisa’s “Elementary School Musical” like song or is that not worth talking about?

Charlie Sweatpants: I don’t think it’s worth examining in detail or anything. Every complaint I have about the first song applies to the second.

Especially the “Up With People” part.

Zombies Rise from the Sea: I feel the same, but I will say that Yeardley Smith’s vocals felt auto-tuned.

And the way it ended the episode undermined everything it tried to do.

Charlie Sweatpants: No arguments here. Anything else just on the episode? After that, I’d like to get a quick opinion from each of you about Season 23 overall.

The only thing I’ll say is that the couch gag wasn’t terrible. It was five years later than it should’ve been (struggles with Wii-motes are so 2007), but it was short.

Zombies Rise from the Sea: There were some decent gags like Lady ZhaZha (for the reference) but then again, “Trash of the Titans” had decent jokes and that episode is terrible.

Charlie Sweatpants: Jon? Anything else?

Mad Jon: Nothing else about this episode.

As far as season 23, I can’t say that I could distinguish it from any of the last few.

Not that this is a surprise to anyone, but what can you say? There is nothing relevant or intelligent about the show. Again, this isn’t new.

I don’t see any point in trying to sparse out what went more wrong this year as opposed to last year. What does it matter if the splattered mass of carbon on the road was a squirrel or a raccoon?

Zombies Rise from the Sea: Season 23 is by far the worst modern Simpsons season yet. It only has like two really good and memorable episodes compared to the other episodes which are either bad or bland, hell even Season 22 had some episodes I enjoyed; Season 23 doesn’t even seem like they’re trying anymore, they’re just parodying movies, sticking Simpsons characters into situations that they think are funny and let’s not forget about the terrible ToH episode this season.

The only thing exciting was Matt Selman show running a few episodes, but only one of them turned out good, the rest were just an alternate version of what would happen had he show ran rather then Jean.

Charlie Sweatpants: I don’t think 23 felt much different than the last few. The lowlights are always a little memorable (the bar rag this year, Katy Perry last year, I think that slavery episode was Season 21), but you could have broadcast pretty much anything after the HD switch and it would probably take me until the first commercial to figure out it was a rerun.

Mad Jon: Good call.

Charlie Sweatpants: The one thing I have noticed in the last two years, and even more this year, is that the number of voices that have moved past “off” and into” barely recognizable” is increasing.

There have been multiple times the last season where I was astonished at how much even characters like Marge and Lisa have changed recently.

But that’s about the only thing change I can really say seemed to pick up this year.

Mad Jon: That’s probably enough thinking for this season anyway.

Zombies Rise from the Sea: I may dig more into this into my review of it, but Season 23 proves to the writers themselves that they don’t need to put in the extra effort as long as they have some way to gain publicity or appease the Simpsons fans that they have. They can stick Bart together with Chalmers and no matter how unbelievable and undeveloped it is, people will still eat it up. They can put Lisa Simpson in a Facebook like situation and it’ll get publicity all because it has Lisa Simpson with Facebook. I can’t say I’m surprised about the critic sites but these sites and the fans are influencing the behavior of The Simpsons, making them think that this is acceptable. They tried to do an emotional episode and have a “Stark Raving Dad” like plot but they got caught up in their own world and they thought that the script they had was good when in actuality it wasn’t.

I know it’s commonplace and I’m not getting anywhere with this but this proves that they’re not going to get out of their world anytime soon, as long as they have the media, internet, and the people who still manage to trick themselves into thinking this episode is good; they’ll keep making Simpsons.

Mad Jon: Ok, well, if there isn’t anything else, I have been traveling for most of the last two weeks, and this is my first night home since last Thursday. I am going to bed.

Thanks Taylor, Thanks Pants,

Charlie Sweatpants: Okay Jon, sleep well.

Mad Jon: Good night.

Charlie Sweatpants: You’re largely right about them slipping into their own little world.

Springfield doesn’t really resemble much of anywhere anymore.

And they seem fine with that.

Zombies Rise from the Sea: People should really demand more from The Simpsons.

And going even further, everything really…

Springfield resembles LA more then anything else.

Charlie Sweatpants: More than anything else, I’d agree, but it’s too weird to be any place anymore. Witness that scene last week when the whole town and the camera crew barged into Flanders’ hospital room to report on him and Krabappel.

Zombies Rise from the Sea: I witnessed, you’re right about that.

Charlie Sweatpants: The show has fallen a long, long way from a time when Grampa and Homer could gossip about Brockman dating the weather lady or Flanders was just a well liked guy.

Zombies Rise from the Sea: I miss the days of characters, decent plots, decent satire, hand-drawn cell animation.

Charlie Sweatpants: You and me both.

Zombies Rise from the Sea: Hell I miss the days we didn’t have Facebook.

Charlie Sweatpants: Given the way their stock offering went, those days may be coming again.

Any further thoughts, Simpsons wise?

Zombies Rise from the Sea: Though this may go against your mission, I think that The Simpsons with some fresh blood can go on, though that is increasingly becoming a pipe dream because there is barely anybody who can both make it fresh and not be susceptible to being sucked into a fantasy world like the one the writers are currently in.

Charlie Sweatpants: I gave up hope a long time ago.

Zombies Rise from the Sea: This show really needs to end.

The declining numbers will make it more certain that Fox will cancel it by Season 25, I mean what purpose would Fox have to continue making the show when the episodes that are already produced will make them millions.

It’s becoming an ever increasing reality day by day, The Simpsons time is finally coming to a close.

Even though a lot of the episodes in the modern era suck, they’re still worth something to Fox.

Charlie Sweatpants: Well, the financial incentives for FOX are very complicated, and FOX doesn’t do anything to make them clear to the public.

This show anchors a major (and profitable) Sunday night lineup for them, they’ve got the syndication rights to consider, and there’s the merchandise. All of these things are inextricably tied up with the continuation of the show. If low quality and critical apathy were going to cancel it, it would’ve happened by now. To some extent the same is true of the ratings. They go down every year, sure, but they’ve been going down every year for a decade now.

Zombies Rise from the Sea: This is the lowest that they’ve gone.

Charlie Sweatpants: True, but I don’t know nearly enough about the television business or FOX’s internal thinking to even be able to guess if it’s close to low enough.

Zombies Rise from the Sea: And there is only so much they can do to cheapen the show before Fox decides to pull the plug and just make the money off the cable rights which they gain when the show ends.

Charlie Sweatpants: I guess all I’m trying to say is, it wouldn’t surprise me if 25 is it, and it wouldn’t surprise me if it’s still going at 30.

Zombies Rise from the Sea: Though there are people who don’t want to see it go away because it’s been a part of their lives for so long but we’ll get over the loss sooner then we think.

I guess you have a point Charlie, all we can seemingly do is just point out the flaws.


Charlie Sweatpants: Pretty much.

I want to thank you again for joining us this evening (even if Dave and Jon conked out early).

Zombies Rise from the Sea: Always appreciated.

Even though I’m hotheaded at times, it’s always nice to let out the flaws an episode has.

Charlie Sweatpants: It is cathartic, I’ll give it that.


Crazy Noises: A Totally Fun That Thing Bart Will Never Do Again

Homer's Phobia6

“Well, I never thought it would come to this, but I guess we’ll have to sell Grandma’s Civil War doll.” – Marge Simpson
“Oh, Mom, are you sure you want to sell a family heirloom to pay the gas bill?  I mean, what would your Grandma say?” – Lisa Simpson
“I’m sure she’d be proud that her descendant’s had piping hot tap water and plenty of warm, dry underwear.” – Marge Simpson

As part of our tireless efforts to demonstrate the many ways Zombie Simpsons fails to entertain, Season 23 will be subjected to the kind of rigorous examination that can only be produced by people typing short messages at one another.  More dedicated or modern individuals might use Twitter for this, but that’s got graphics and short links and little windows that pop up when you put your cursor over things.  The only kind of on-line communications we like are the kind that could once be done at 2400 baud.  So disable your call waiting, plug in your modem, and join us for another year of Crazy Noises.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (especially on “Antarctica”).

When Zombie Simpsons sets the stupid as high as they did with “A Totally Fun Thing That Bart Will Never Do Again”, one of the side effects is often scenes that don’t make any sense in and of themselves, much less in the wider context of the episode.  To take but one example, before the episode gets to its main topic of showing off how awesome cruises are, Bart sells all of his worldly possessions to earn enough money to go on the cruise.  Here he is with his meager proceeds:

I Miss the Swear Jar

Good thing it says “Cruise” on there or I’d be lost.

After the scene at the dinner table, Bart goes up to his room and sleeps on his illogically bare floor.  Marge comes up and sees him.  In the next scene, which the show explicitly tells us is the following morning, Bart comes running into the living room with a jar full of money.  What follows is astonishingly hacktacular, even for this episode.

Starting with Bart and then moving to Lisa, Marge and finally Homer, each Simpson family member gets to monologue some terribly overwrought gag while the others stand by patiently.  The following transcript is complete, I’ve included everything they say:

Bart:  Mom, Dad!  I woke up and the money jar was full!  That means the Devil accepted my bargain, now to uphold my end of the deal.  Snowball II?

With Bart’s name safely marked off on the checklist, Marge exposits what’s going on (because showing us is counter to the Zombie Simpsons style guide):

Marge:  No.  We saw how much this cruise means to you, so we all sold something special.  And we made just enough for an economy cabin.

Everybody got that?  Good.  Now, the “jokes”:

Lisa:  I sold a couple of my rare jazz records.  After a while they all start to sound the same.  Still love the genre, of course, not even close to getting sick of it.

Thanks, Yeardley.  Julie, you’re next:

Marge:  And I sold our good china.
Bart:  Really?  But that’s been in your family for generations.
Marge:  Yeah.  Actually, my Mom stole it from a woman she cleaned for.  Took her years to get the whole set.

Rim shot!  Okay, there’s only one family member left.  Dan, if you please:

Lisa:  And Dad donated something too.
Homer [Entering from off screen]:  What happened to my mini-pool table?  I was training to be a mini-pool hustler!

At this point you can almost hear the whistling and hooting as Homer bursts into the scene and hits his mark.  Everyone got their line, so it must be time for more exposition:

Marge:  We sold it to pay for a family cruise.

Thanks, writing staff.  I hadn’t been reminded of that in almost thirty seconds.  It goes on from there, with Homer doubling down on the mini-pool idea and more exposition from Bart.

This is writing so blandly dutiful it hardly qualifies as bad.  It’s similar to those songs on a commercial pop album that have no chance of becoming singles, but have to be there because no one’s going to buy the whole album if it’s only got three tracks.  The hooks are weak and the lyrics are forgettable, but nobody cares because everyone knows that they aren’t really that important.  And this episode is full of scenes like this one: Bart’s garage sale, the upgrade lady, pretty much every scene with Lisa and the other smart kids, the list goes on and on.

[Note: This may be even less coherent than usual as we had some technical problems toward the end.]

Charlie Sweatpants: Ready to set sail?

Dave: We are.

Mad Jon: My DVR spared me the couch gag and skipped to Bart being bored. I assume I didn’t miss much…

Charlie Sweatpants: No, the couch gag was mercifully short.

Dave: To my bitter self, it was one of the least offensive couch gags in memory

Just some text

Some font variety

5 seconds, done.

Charlie Sweatpants: But it was also a repeat.

Mad Jon: Oh, well, I might have enjoyed that.

Dave: Oh, didn’t know that.

Also that was followed by Hot Chip

So for about 1.5 minutes I wasn’t so grumpy with the show

Charlie Sweatpants: I’ll grant that was cleverer than most of their montages, but it went on much longer than it needed to.

The commercial for the cruise line was kind of the same way, not terrible.

Dave: Yep, bingo.

Mad Jon: Agreed

Dave: It was almost reasonable.

Mad Jon: Unlike the following Mr. Steak discussion.

Charlie Sweatpants: But then they took it seriously. I thought having it say that the visuals of the commercial “if anything underplay” the actual experience was a joke. Turns out they were serious.

Dave: Prior to that nonsense I will admit to chuckling at the Magazine Hater magazine

Mad Jon: I didn’t catch the Mila Kunis tag line.

Dave: and I do have a soft spot for Homer’s reading glasses. Other than that, it was bloody awful.

Dave: something about her being America’s sexiest magazine hater

Mad Jon: Good for her!

Charlie Sweatpants: From there the episode went into Bart freaking out and selling stuff, and from there he freaked out some more and the rest of the family sold stuff.

All on its own, that doesn’t sound too terrible, but they only know how to take things to extremes.

Mad Jon: There was some good Xanax product placement spots there…

Charlie Sweatpants: So Bart’s whole room gets emptied without anyone noticing, and then the next morning the rest of them have sold something and stuffed cash in his jar. It’s childishly simplistic storytelling.

Mad Jon: Cut to the chase and all that.

Charlie Sweatpants: Something like that. Either make them all selling stuff a real plot point or don’t. Instead they dither with it for a long time and still end up doing nothing but having them exposit about what they sold.

Dave: It’s an effective strategy when you have nothing to write about.

Charlie Sweatpants: True enough. This episode had a lot of filler.

The single-double-triple upgrade thing comes to mind.

Dave: Um yeah.

I was convinced they were going to steal home.

Charlie Sweatpants: So much of the middle of the episode was just them saying “Look how cool we made this ship! Don’t you want to go on a cruise like this?”

There are a lot of shots that are basically brochure porn.

Brochure Porn

Our courteous staff, gorgeous views, and convenient shopping are there for you 24-hours a day.

Mad Jon: Yeah, but I did like the line about having “before you were born fun.”

Dave: There was that “Life Aquatic” ripoff too.

Mad Jon: Was the cruise director someone famous or something?

Charlie Sweatpants: It was Steve Coogan. He’s much more famous in Britain than he is here, but you’d probably know him if you saw him.

Mad Jon: Meh.

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, like most guest spots it was a waste. His lines were pretty much all descriptions of what was going on at the time, combined with the word “fun”.

Even the song was crappy.

But pretty much the entire thing on the ship was like that. We’ve got some idea that’s almost a joke, and we’re going to run it into the ground.

Lisa’s little elite playgroup, Marge and Homer’s canoodling, even all the cool stuff Bart did, for all the bright colors it was all one note gags repeated over and over.

Mad Jon: Yep.

Jokes aside, the plot was basically Bart trying to worm out of his panic attacks. Which may or may not actually start at 10 nowadays. I can’t be sure.

However, realistic or not, panic attacks aren’t really that entertaining.

Dave: That didn’t stop them from trying though, did it?

Mad Jon: Never does.

Charlie Sweatpants: And don’t forget that Bart, for whatever reason, is basically immune to noticing how crappy the ship got all of a sudden.

Mad Jon: Especially for 12 extra days.

Dave: Yeah, he’s still having a blast.

Charlie Sweatpants: If they’d included something about how he was in denial or whatever, that would’ve been a sop to making sense. But instead he’s happy as a clam even though all the things he loved about the ship are suddenly gone.

Mad Jon: But the best is still that in the -30 degree weather, when everyone was walking about in their normal clothes, Bart explained that he did it for everyone else, and then they played with penguins and learned a lesson.

Charlie Sweatpants: Did you notice that they suddenly were back in their regular clothes after no being in them for the rest of the episode? That doesn’t even make page one of the list of things that were weird about it, but I thought it was telling.

The scenes really are barely connected to one another.

Mad Jon: True, they were in boatware before that, Homer in the Hawaiian shirt, Bart was wearing a suit or something, and then they are in Antarctica, next to a sign denoting the research station was 3 miles away, wearing their everyday clothes and sledding.

Charlie Sweatpants: The ending was impressively batshit, even by their standards.

The penguin thing came completely out of nowhere, and then all of a sudden everything was okay with a flashforward to Bart’s death many decades from now.

Mad Jon: Yeah, that happened

Charlie Sweatpants: If this was a video installation at a modern art museum it’d be so confusing that people might think it’s good.

As a half hour of supposed comedy, however . . .

Mad Jon: My DVR ended at that, but I assume nothing much happened after the pictures from the future part.

Charlie Sweatpants: No, that was it.

There were a lot of things that could’ve been funny, but none of it was thought through enough to pan out.

A lifeguard as a cult leader, for example, isn’t terrible, but just saying that and then repeating it leaves it half formed.

Mad Jon: Minus the stupid incongruities, such as the clothing from the end, this one was one of the “more boring than stupid, but still pretty stupid” zombiesodes.

I probably would have liked the lifeguard thing if a lifeguard thing hadn’t just happened a few weeks ago.

Charlie Sweatpants: There’s that. But what I meant is, they had this weird post apocalyptic society on the ship and having a lifeguard in charge of a cult there could’ve been funny if they’d developed it a little. Instead, they just race through it as nothing more than a punchline.

They could’ve done more with that idea, but they had to get to Antarctica, so they just leave it there, not quite part of the plot, but also not small enough to just be a joke.

The pacing on this show is non-existent. Things seems to slow down and speed up with no discernable logic.

Mad Jon: I didn’t really notice that, but I wasn’t paying that close of attention.

Charlie Sweatpants: It’s not that important.

Mad Jon: I just saw a panicked Bart start some shit, and then watched that shit fall apart and end up at the south pole.

Charlie Sweatpants: Bet that’s not something you were expecting to type at this time yesterday.


Quote of the Day

Homer's Phobia5

“Deer?  Ha!  Not around here!  They all migrated north when the state park converted to astroturf.” – John


Quote of the Day

Warren Christopher

Image yoinked from Wikipedia.

“But what would turn Bart into a man fast?  You have to think for me.” – Homer Simpson
“Well, let’s see now, time was you send a boy off to war.  Shooting a man fix ’em right up.  But there’s not even any wars no more, thank you very much Warren Christopher.” – Moe


Compare & Contrast: Gay Bars

“We work hard.  We play hard.” – Roscoe

In everything but similarity of title, “Homer’s Phobia” is the obvious choice for a comparison episode to “Flaming Moe”.  But rather than stacking up the plot structures, characters, and jokes and marveling at how greatly Season 8 towers over Season 22, I want to focus on one small aspect of these two episodes that I think goes a long way toward illustrating the point I was trying to make yesterday.  Specifically, it’s easy to see how much more tame and thoughtless Zombie Simpsons is when you compare their gay club, “The League of Extra-Horny Gentlemen”, to “The Anvil” from The Simpsons.  The two clubs/bars/whatever are relatively small parts of their respective episodes, but in them we can see a much larger reflection of the comedy sensibilities behind The Simpsons and Zombie Simpsons.

In “Flaming Moe”, the only thing about “The League of Extra-Horny Gentlemen” that’s even trying to be funny is the name of the place.  Other than that it’s just a yellow approximation of a trendy gay club.  The bouncer’s keen on tall, statuesque guys who wear revealing clothes and look like they do a lot of sit-ups.  Homely, ill clad Smithers is unwelcome.  Later, we get a quick peek inside and see another tall sit-up enthusiast, this time dressed as a shirtless fireman.  There’s nothing at all creative about any of this, it’s the standard Hollywood version of what a gay club looks like.  You could see the exact same thing in an episode of Sex in the City or Entourage or just about any movie where straight characters accidentally stumble into a gay bar.

Generic Gay Bar LineEven with Safe Mode on, you’d see more creativity by searching Google Images for “Gay Bars”. 

Of course, “The Anvil” is also filled with tight clothes and big muscles, but it’s not some forgettable, anonymous club.  Nor is it just another bar with a line out front and a selective bouncer.  It, the entire thing, is the joke, because “The Anvil” is built into a working steel mill that is staffed entirely with flaming, hunky gay guys.  The mere existence of the bar is a gag, and its hard working, hard playing clientele are the icing on the cake.

Homer's Phobia3 Nothing like this has ever existed . . . but it should.  Do you think they’d make you work a shift to get in?

Both bars traffic in well known stereotypes, the difference is in how they use them.  “Flaming Moe” expects the audience to guffaw upon recognizing the stereotype: ‘That is so what gay bars are really like, I saw one on How I Met Your Mother!’.  “Homer’s Phobia”, on the other hand, takes the stereotype of the gay club and puts it in the last place the audience would ever expect it to be.  It’s the kind of deep seated silliness that The Simpsons was always really good at, like making the head of the Kwik-E-Mart a mountain dwelling swami or having the highly sophisticated machine that scores the Career Aptitude Normalizing Test be operated by a rocking chair bound hayseed who calls it “Emma” and hits it with a broom.

Zombie Simpsons has a gay bar that’s exactly like every gay bar you’ve ever seen on television, just with a cute name.  The Simpsons has a gay bar that’s nothing like anything anyone’s ever done before or since.  One is reductive, the other is creative, and it’s just another way Zombie Simpsons falls hopelessly short of the real thing. 


Quote of the Day

Homer's Phobia4

“It’s camp!  The tragically ludicrous?  The ludicrously tragic?” – John
“Oh yeah, like when a clown dies.” – Homer Simpson
“Well, sort of.” – John


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