Posts Tagged ‘Itchy and Scratchy Land


Quote of the Day

“It must be wonderful to ring in the New Year over and over and over.” – Marge Simpson
“Please, kill me.” – T.G.I. McScratchy’s Waiter


Quote of the Day

“Mom! Dad! Bart’s dead!” – Lisa Simpson
“Ah!” – Homer & Marge Simpson
“That’s right! Dead serious about going to Itchy & Scratchy Land!” – Bart Simpson


Makeup Quote of the Day

“Now to absorb some local color through the magic of AM radio.” – Homer Simpson
“The Book of Revelations tells us to watch for the seven signs of evil!” – Radio Hustler #1
“Sign of evil number four . . . ” – Radio Hustler #2
“Continuing our sign of evil countdown, here’s Vanessa Williams.” – Not Casey Kasem


Quote of the Day

“Back, you robots! Nobody ruins my family vacation but me! And maybe the boy!” – Homer Simpson


Makeup Quote of the Day

“We’re now approaching our final destination, Itchy & Scratchy Land, the amusement park of the future, where nothing can possib-ply go wrong. Uh, possibly go wrong. . . . That’s the first thing that’s ever gone wrong.” – Unsuspecting Helicopter Pilot


Quote of the Day

“Oh, everything’s too damn expensive these days. Look at this Bible I just got, fifteen bucks! And talk about a preachy book, everybody’s a sinner! . . . Except for this guy.” – Homer Simpson


Quote of the Day

“Embarrassed? What are you talking about?” – Homer Simpson
“Well, there was our trip to the Amish country.” – Marge Simpson
“Oh, yes . . . Hey, look, Marge! They’re still not fighting back! I can be a jerk and no one can stop me!” – Homer Simpson


Quote of the Day

“We need more Bort license plates in the gift shop! I repeat: we are sold out of Bort license plates!”


Quote of the Day


“For this week only, we’re cutting ticket prices in half!” – Scratchy


Quote of the Day

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“I’ve already planned our vacation.  We’re going to the Highway 9 bird sanctuary.  I understand they’ve installed a new bird feeder this year. . . . It’s shaped like a diner! . . . And it’s on this really tall pole!” – Marge Simpson


Quote of the Day

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“Oh, haven’t we stood in five different states long enough?” – Lisa Simpson
“No.” – Homer Simpson


Quote of the Day

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“I’m so embarrassed, I wish there was a hole I could just crawl into and die.” – Marge Simpson
“Okay, throw her in the hole.” – Itchy & Scratchy Land Trooper
“Oh, please, it was just a figure of speech!” – Marge Simpson


Free San Diego Swag and Summer Guest Posts

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“As Roger Meyers Jr., the owner of the park, I’d like to thank you for stopping the killer robots.  And to show my appreciation, here are two free passes.” – Roger Meyers Jr.
“But there are five of us.” – Homer Simpson
“Here are two free passes.” – Roger Meyers Jr.
“That’s better.” – Homer Simpson

Last week I mentioned that Simpsons singing group from New York that will be performing in San Diego this Saturday.  Well, they’ve been very generous and offered us two free tickets to their performance.  Like last year with the Mr. Burns play in D.C., none of us can go, but we’ll be giving those tickets to the first person who offers to see it and write us a quickie review for it.  You pick, 5:30pm or 9:30pm on Saturday the 20th at the C3 Performing Arts Center.  (You can watch the trailer video here.)  If you want to see the show but don’t want to write a review, you can always toil in our underground sugar caves or work the lima bean harvest for the first 100,000 years, but we’d rather have a few hundred words about whether or not you liked what you saw.  

I’ve also been reminded via e-mail that it is now summer, which means that it’s also the season for guest posts.  I’ve got a couple in the hopper, but if you have a Simpsons related rant/theory/favorite episode/personal story/editorial reply, we’d love to read it.  Pictures and images are welcome, and we’re happy to link back to your blog, Twitter account, or other on-line haunt.  As always, no money and (very) minor internet fame can be yours! 

Please e-mail us if you want the tickets or if you have a guest post or post idea.


Reading Digest: Pre-San Diego Edition

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“Lobster hat, fishnet speedo junior, wheelie shoes, invisible dog leash . . . well, I’m packed.” – Homer Simpson

This week we’ve got a couple of links to a singing troupe that’s headed – at FOX’s expense – to sunny California next weekend for Comic Con.  They’ve got two shows coming up, plus they’re performing at the convention itself.  In addition to that, we’ve got several great pieces of non-musical fan art, plenty of usage and references, the ongoing saga of the Simpsons bracket, and a couple of great episode write ups.


We Put The Spring In SpringfieldTwo years ago we linked to a New York City based group that was putting on renditions of Simpsons songs.  Well, they are back and they are going to San Diego next weekend.  Per their press release e-mail:

I wanted to let you guys know that FOX is flying us out to San Diego to perform on the official The Simpsons panel (with Al Jean, Matt Groening, etc.) at ComicCon 2013! We’re doing a show that night too.

There’s a show tomorrow night in New York at the Duplex Cabaret Theater in Manhattan, and then it’s off to California for two shows next Saturday.  Here’s the preview video.

Comic-Con 2013 schedule: See what’s happening Saturday – And here’s what else is going on next weekend:

12:45p.m.-1:30p.m., Ballroom 20, The Simpsons: Celebrate The Simpsons’ 25th year on the air with creator Matt Groening, executive producer Al Jean, supervising director Mike Anderson, and consulting producer David Silverman, enjoy never-before seen footage from guest director Guillermo del Toro, and hear musical guests perform “We Put The Spring In Springfield!”

We all know who the musical guests are now.

Maine Hospital Honors The Simpsons In Unique Manner – A hospital in Maine refers to unknown patients, many of them hunters who weren’t carrying ID with them, as John and Jane “D’Ohs”.  Someone on the show heard about this, and now they’ve got all manner of Simpsons swag:

A recent John D’Oh at WMMC happened to be a friend of one of the program’s producers.  After the hospital’s ER doctors saved his life, he promised them he would show his thanks in a unique way.

Shortly thereafter, sets of Simpsons scrubs arrived for the entire staff.  Now, when anyone calls WMMC, they are greeted by the voice of a Simpsons character on the hospital’s automated phone system.

Click through for the full story, it’s awesome. 

Game Of Thrones Simpsonized – This was everywhere this week, and deservedly so.  Here’s a link to the original Tumblr.  Well done.

Watching the Neighbourhood Watch – Good job, people of Toronto:

On a walk through the Roncesvalles area I stumbled across a neighbourhood watch sign that was a tad unusual. In place of the usual blue faces it prominently displayed Adam West era Batman and Robin. I thought it was hilarious and kind of a one off thing…..until I discovered another one with Robocop!
So far the mysterious artist was 2 for 2 in terms of my favourite fictional law enforcers.
However, that turned into a tri-fecta the other day when I looked up and saw Chief Wiggum tucking little Ralph into bed.

Click through for the picture. 

5 For Friday: TV’s Best Birthday Moments – Stan Marsh’s adult level hatred as a ten-year-old is on this list, but Lisa’s birthday song is number one.  Also, there’s quite a bit of good YouTube here.

D’oh! adventures in the DSM – Ah, science:

For my part, I’ve decided to set aside valuable critique of the psychiatric establishment and put the DSM to a stronger test: How well does it diagnose classic side characters from one of TV’s greatest accomplishments, The Simpsons?

Now that’s psychiatry! 

Bart Simpson – Make your own yarn Bart Simpson.  Bravo. 

Television shows I’ve never seen – Wow:

The Simpsons (1989-Present)

I have no aversion to animation or comedy and satire of society interests me greatly, but again, for whatever reason, I’ve yet to see this show. Not one episode and besides a few gifs and momentary clips, I’ve not seen much footage either. If asked, I’d be hard pressed to name more than four characters. Quick: Bart, Homer, Lisa, Marge? And I’m done. I just Googled Marge now to make sure that actually is one. It is, okay. Four and I’m tapped out.

As always, my recommendation is to start with Season 2. 

what are your “favorite” weasel words? – Excellent usage:

As Homer Simpson once said, “Weaselling outta things is important to learn. It’s what separates us from the animals. Except the weasel.” Of course, this is unfair to the weasel, which is a very nice and very smart little creature indeed.

Apt and perfectly quoted.

Mike Johnson: Soglin right, council wrong on disclosing donations – Excellent reference:

A recent Madison City Council vote left me pondering a line from "The Simpsons" TV show: “Y’know, a town with good legislation is like a mule with a spinning wheel. No one knows how he got it and danged if he knows how to use it!”

My version of “THAT Legendary series!” – Another personal best TV show list that naturally includes The Simpsons

Scenes from Amsterdam – It’s not the best photo, but here’s Marge and Lisa hanging out on a balcony in the Netherlands.

Best. Episode. Ever. (Round 44) – Another Hobson’s Choice between “Radio Bart” and “The Springfield Files”, but worth the click for the great image compilation of the tunnel, and the YouTube video of the real life radio microphone commercial.  My god, someone actually did the “Hey, good looking thing”. 

Best. Episode. Ever. (Round 45) – Up and at them! 

Best. Episode. Ever. (Round 46) – Image compilation of the “Meat and You” filmstrip.

Best. Episode. Ever. (Round 47) – Season 3 versus Season 2, that’s horrible. 

Dag 155 – Simple. Elegant. Duff t-shirt. 

It’s all in your head, so… – Animated .gif of Lisa dancing to the Soul Mass Transit System.

Kang! – A great looking graffiti Kang (or is it Kodos?) in Vancouver. 

Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Show…In 10 Words – Marge, we’ve got all the fireworks we need right here.

The Fosters…In 10 Words – Do you have ’em in blonde?

Drunk History…In 10 Words – Now let us party, like twas 1799! 

Sharknado…In 10 Words – And now, for a real element of danger, one drop of human blood.

oops – Work and drinking explained through a few Simpsons videos. 

Simpsons Classics: “Summer of 4 Ft. 2″ – And finally, Smooth Charlie’s Link of the week got displaced to the bottom because of the singing and all, but our old friends at No Pun Intended have one of the best write ups of “Summer of 4 Ft. 2” ever.  Lots of screen grabs, good looks at plenty of scenes, and a .gif of Homer’s face when he realizes the dud looks like Milhouse.  Really a great read. 


Reading Digest: Theme Park Edition

Itchy & Scratchy Land Map

“Torture Land, Explosion Land, Searing Gas Pain Land, Unnecessary Surgery Land . . . hmmm.” – Marge Simpson

Universal Studios down in America’s Wang is getting ready to unveil their new and expanded Simpsons area.  This caused half the people on the internet to link to it this week, so it’s a shorter than average Reading Digest.  We do have a video of it under construction, as well as something much cooler: a fan made map of Disney Land crossed with Itchy & Scratchy Land.  In addition to that we’ve got a bunch of other excellent fan made stuff, an interview with Harry Shearer, some sly Simpsons references Blizzard inserted into World of Warcraft, some Australian street art, more evidence that Zombie Simpsons can’t construct a decent parody to save its life, and a couple of people who either wrote or wanted to write about the show in college.


Nyima – Duffwoman – A Hungarian cosplay enthusiast has created a rather awesome Duffwoman costume.  The beer can laden skirt really makes it.

GTO – Lenny and Carl – by `DanLuVisiArt on deviantART – Fan made art of Homer, Carl and Otto in a Grand Theft Auto style.  Excellent.  (via Kotaku)

Glen Brogan – Itchy and Scratchy Land – More excellent fan art:

Itchy and Scratchy Land
16 x 20
Edition of 50
Glen says: “This piece is an excuse for me to combine two things I love: the design of old Disney theme park maps and The Simpsons. I went through the Itchy and Scratchy Land episode and took lots of screen captures and notes to get the map as accurate to the show as possible.”


INTERVIEW: Harry Shearer, on SNL, The Simpsons, and Spinal Tap – Nothing really new here, but well worth a read because Shearer:

HS: Talk to myself, what do you think I am, nuts?   Actually, C Montgomery Burns is the favorite, because he doesn’t fall prey to the temptation to dilute his evil with even a scintilla of good.   Fox owns the voices, so if I did slip into one, I’d owe them money.

There are a lot of great things about Harry Shearer, but his more or less open loathing of FOX has to be near the top. 

phil hartman – This week was the 15th anniversary of Phil Hartman’s death.  This is a remembrance, with a great Troy McClure mashup YouTube.

The Simpsons as a Narratively Complex Show – This is a rather serious college essay that I freely admit I have not had time to read all the way through.  But I plan to because a quick skim shows it talking about not just the show, but the environment in which it was created and how those things influenced it.

Bartkira! – More fan art for the Bartkira project.

Watch a Tour of the Simpsons Theme Park Construction – This isn’t so much a tour as it is a series of slow camera pans on YouTube, but if you’re interested in what they’re doing down in Orlando, here you go:

The Simpsons! | Pat-A-Cakes of Woolton – Excellent Simpsons birthday cake.

The greatest moments of Troy McClure and Lionel Hutz – This is a grandiose title, but there’s some good YouTube here.

Best. Episode. Ever. (Round 28) – Ha ha, Season 13 goes down in a heap before “The Call of the Simpsons”.  You ever known a siren to be good?

The stage comedy ‘I’m Connecticut’ by ‘Simpsons’ writer Mike Reiss plays Ivoryton – If you live in the Nutmeg State, you can see Reiss and his play next week:

Now, a new production of "I’m Connecticut" opens Wednesday at the Ivoryton Playhouse. Reiss will be there on June 6, 7 and 8 to participate in talk-backs with the audience.

Also, a brief reminder that Mike Reiss is very funny:

"I’m Connecticut" is a romantic comedy, yes, but it has an extra element, too:

"There’s so much Connecticut color in there, so much trivia about the state, legends and lore. There’s a joke about Windsor Locks in there. You know, David Mamet is never going to write a joke about Windsor Locks, no matter how long he lives."

Pray for Mojo: top 10 coolest monkeys (part 1) – Mojo comes in at #6 here, and deservedly so:

BUT how does Mojo beat Mr Teeny? (Krusty’s stage monkey?) when Mr Teeny can rollerskate and chomp cigars? Well, Mojo wears a nappy so he doesn’t need to be toilet trained. He can make orange juice. He drinks Duff Beer. And he can do a happy dance! Even when he’s not happy!

The Simpsons Top Ten – Number 8 The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show – Heh:

Also am i the only guy who wants to watch Christmas Ape 1 + 2?

No.  I’ve always wondered just what Christmas Ape would be like.

Trillhouse – Milhouse street art from Australia.

Cool Cop – And, from the same site, Wiggum.  Also:

has anyone noticed the influx of Simpsons characters going on around town in the passed 6 months? It’s all good though, because The Simpsons are the best thing since TV was invented.

Damn right. 

Verizon FiOS unlimited data limit: 77TB per month – Excellent reference:

Simpsons fans will likely recall the classic episode in which Homer Simpson gets tossed out of an “all-you-can-eat” seafood restaurant after he devours not only its entire supply of shrimp but two of its decorative plastic lobsters. Ars Technica reports that an IT professional in California did something similar with his unlimited FiOS plan after he used up a whopping 77TB of data over the span of just one month.

This is the most blatant case of false advertising since my suit against the movie The Neverending Story.

Bart the Philosopher – Not tormenting the emotionally frail is an important life lesson.

The Hangover Part III…In 10 Words – Hangover III: So Very Tired.

Behind The Candleabra…In 10 Words – In battle he downed a full length ball down covered in sequins. 

Epic Movie…In 10 Words – Why do you think I took you to see all those Police Academy movies?

NPC – Groundskeeper Wyllithen and Mayor Quimby – A couple of Simpsons references in World of Warcraft.

Marge Vs. Itchy and Scratchy – Not entirely sure what this is, but the sign Marge carries at the protest is always great.

Did I Do That?! Top TV Teen Nerds – Lisa obviously makes the list, and bonus points for a blog called “cookies + sangria”.

May 24th 2013 | An artist’s day to day – This is about cats:

I’m a huge fan of the Simpsons but there isn’t really much I can take away from this for me. Its well done and suits the program perfectly but its too simple for what I want. Can’t think what this cat is called, I could look it up but I can’t be bothered, its Friday and I’m tired. Was it something to do with Snow or something?

The cat on The Simpsons is Snowball II.  Zombie Simpsons has ratcheted it up to like Snowball XLVI or something, but they suck, so don’t worry about it.  However, the most famous cat on The Simpsons is definitely Scratchy, because Itchy’s a jerk.

After episode of ‘The Simpsons,’ Marge Simpson helps boost traffic for, the notorious website for cheaters – Pretty much just what the headline says.  Further evidence that Zombie Simpsons doesn’t so much parody brands as offer free advertising for them.

Who knew The Simpsons could be so deep? – YouTube of Marge showing Lenny’s house and the fact that pretty much no one wants people to come over unexpectedly.

A Blanc Slate – You gotta plow ahead on that one:

The first six years of The Simpsons coincide with the last six years of my public education. Matt Groening unleashed an honestly dysfunctional family in a pretentiously dysfunctional world, and before we were asked to care who shot Mr. Burns, the show threw nothing but heat and break-neck change-ups, to chance a baseball analogy. Fast and unrelenting. Like the tire fire in the opening credits, the comedy was timeless, eternal. Great writing made every line a quote, but every quote could be ruined when repeated by we mere mortals when the cast delivered them perfectly. I was talked out of writing my college essay on Hank Azaria because applications were serious business, and no one had the internet to cross-reference the importance of trivialities.

Also, click through for the picture of the “Jerrold” cable box.  We had a box exactly like that when I was a kid, and since there was no remote I learned how to work it with my toes so I wouldn’t have to get up to change the channel.  The 80s sucked.


Behind Us Forever: Fabulous Faker Boy

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“My hair!  You chopped off my hair!  Oh, God, I’m ugly!” – Homer Simpson 

  • Well, it was certainly nice of the Robot Chicken guys to eat up ninety seconds of screentime with that opening. 
  • And it’s a good thing they did, because if this scene with Marge and Skinner is any indication, we’re mostly in for filler here.  Skinner is now playing a guitar he pulled from behind his desk as surely as if it was a rabbit from a hat, and this goes on until well after Marge had left the building.
  • Sideshow Mel is now giving Bart music lessons, why?
  • And then Frink and Comic Book Guy because . . . oh, the hell with it.
  • What’s with the licorice thing?
  • “Let’s drink vodka” – Good advice for anyone watching this episode.
  • The scene where Bart walks across the playground to deliberately run into the bullies made very little sense, then they topped themselves by having Marge and this Russian guy sitting in her car in her driveway.  Impressive.
  • I’m confused by the Russian Makin’ Whoopee montage, though I really shouldn’t be.  It’s 30 seconds long, the entire episode (credits to credits) is only 18:30, so that ate almost 3% of the runtime right there.  And it was only the first of two montages.
  • Krusty and Captain McAllister sure had valid reasons for being at that recital we never learned anything about.  Someone in comments pointed out that this one was heavy on people just showing up for no reason, and they were correct.
  • Uh, is that going to be the whole Patrick Stewart thing?  [End of episode note: Yes, yes it was.]
  • Whoa, Helen Lovejoy really doesn’t sound like herself anymore.
  • Hey the Russian guy is back to exposit the end for us.  That was nice of him.
  • “It was wrong of me to force my dreams on you”, where did that come from?  Marge made Bart take up music because Skinner suggested it, not because she wanted to be a piano player.  Is it possible that by the end of these they’re phoning it in so badly that no one remembers the beginning?

The incoherence of this episode cannot be overstated, and yet I also cannot use any extreme superlatives because, let’s face it, it’s no more or less incoherent than most episodes these days.  Characters appear out of thin air, stories are dropped for no reason whatsoever, the plots (such as they are) get resolved with single scene twists instead of having anything to do with what came before. 

To take but one example from this episode, here is the entirety of Homer’s plot:

1.  Homer’s last two hairs fall out (note that this has happened before).

2.  Homer goes to the Kwik-E-Mart where he gets atrocious jokes spat at him by Apu, Flanders’ Dad (for some reason), and the Rich Texan.

3. Homer goes to Moe’s where Moe rips off his own hair and gives some to Homer.

4. Homer goes to work where he talks to Patrick Stewart, who tells him being bald is okay.

5. Homer reveals his baldness to Marge, who doesn’t care, which in turn causes his hair to grow back.

That’s it.  That’s the entire story.  Homer doesn’t do anything, he isn’t in any way affected by his brief loss of hair, and then it’s over.  And this was – by far – the most put together of the various goings on here.  It certainly made more sense than the Russian guy learning to drive, or Bart’s story, which started with him wanting to impress his teacher and then abruptly switched gears mid-episode to him being afraid to disappoint Marge. 

Anyway, the ratings are in and they are just as bad as the episode itself.  On Sunday, just 4.05 million viewers wished they had bootleg Russian vodka to make the time go faster.  That dismal total is good for second worst on the all time list.  Next week is the two episode season finale, which appears to be just two random episodes crammed together and not an actual two-parter, though the descriptions FOX has released are so vague and pointless that I really can’t tell.  Oh well, we’ll find out soon enough.


Quote of the Day

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“Roger Meyers senior, the gentle genius behind Itchy and Scratchy, loved and cared about almost all the peoples of the world.  And he, in return, was beloved by the world, except in 1938 when he was criticized for his controversial cartoon Nazi Supermen Are Our Superiors.” – Roger Meyers Story Narrator


Quote of the Day

Happy New Year 2013

“We have another jumper on the roof of T.G.I. McScratchy’s.” – I&S Control Technician


Quote of the Day

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“But, Marge, I was a political prisoner.” – Homer Simpson
“How were you a political prisoner?” – Marge Simpson
“I kicked a giant mouse in the butt, do I have to draw you a diagram?” – Homer Simpson


Compare & Contrast: Hostile Robots

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“Wow, this is so much like my dreams, it’s scary.” – Bart Simpson

The robot apocalypse has been a staple of fiction literally since “robots” were first imagined.  According to Wikipedia, the word “robot” was first coined for a Czech play about robots who, you guessed it, rise up and defeat us squishy humans.  (Apparently, it’s a translation of the Czech word for “slave”.  I learned something today.)  That idea has been the foundation for who knows how many works of fiction, and has so thoroughly penetrated mainstream culture that making jokes about it is more or less obligatory every time some new advance in actual electronics is announced.

Most stories about robot uprisings occur in the realm of science fiction for the obvious reason that, as Linda Hamilton so eloquently put it back in 1984, “They cannot make things like that yet.”.  Indeed, they cannot.  This presents a problem for shows like The Simpsons and Zombie Simpsons, which have contemporary settings but still want to have some fun at the expense of our would be overlords.

Since this is fiction (and animated fiction at that), no problem is really insoluble.  Whether you’re broadcasting in 1994 or 2012, if you want to have rebelling robots, you can have rebelling robots.  The important question is how you go about it.  You can work the robots into the larger framework of the episode, making them and their characteristics part of the setting and satire.  Or you can just conjure them out of nowhere, strip them of all characteristics save the most grossly basic outline of a “robot”, and have them traipse around with no discernable rhyme or reason.  The former is what The Simpsons did in “Itchy & Scratchy Land”, the latter is a roughly accurate description of whatever the hell it was Zombie Simpsons did in “Them, Robot”.

The Simpsons always had its share of improbable plots, but murderous robots was pretty far out there, even by their standards.  Consequently, the episode is very deliberate about how it introduces the concept that will eventually be crucial to its ending.  The first act is all about the family going on vacation, and doing so in very familiar terms: marketing gets kids to pester their parents, the parents eventually cave, and there’s a long and not terribly pleasant car ride.  All of it is given that specially ludicrous Simpsons touch (Homer having a trunk full of fruits and vegetables, AM radio’s love of “signs of evil”, the shortcut), but there’s nothing that isn’t relatable to anyone who’s ever spent slow hours in the front or back seat on a family road trip.

The turn comes right before the first commercial break, when they go from the Itchy Lot to a helicopter that has a Jurassic Park style logo on the side and a pilot who confidently informs them that nothing can “possi-ply” go wrong as the Simpsons nervously glance at one another.  It’s an obvious allusion to a massively popular science fiction movie, and the last shot before the ads is a rather terrifying looking island.  Those last few scenes not only foreshadow the rest of the episode, they also subtly prepare the audience for the kind of events that are more often found in big budget science fiction.

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I think Dr. Wily might be in there somewhere. 

As an amusement park, Itchy & Scratchy Land is another great example of the way the show parodied ideas rather than brands.  There’s plenty of Disney in the place (and Homer saying that he “kicked a giant mouse in the butt” remains a great dig), but it’s also mocking amusement parks more generally and the way that they have a narrowly controlled idea of what fun is.  Disney World, Universal Studios and the like bill themselves has happy places, but underneath the gaudy surface are miserable employees, command systems that make them more like police states than parks, and a never ending hustle to make sure that there is no money left in your pocket when you leave the place.  Anybody who has ever been to one can easily recognize all of these things, which makes suspension of disbelief about animatronic robots (another well known amusement park staple) that can walk upright and brutally attack each other that much easier.

When the audience is first introduced to the robots as part of a typical amusement park parade, we’re already primed to accept them as part of a recognizable (albeit exaggerated) landscape.  And the show doesn’t waste any time either.  Right in that first scene, we learn everything we need to about the robots: they’re armed, they don’t react well to flash photography, and they are programmed only to attack each other.  These three characteristics remain constant throughout the episode, so when the revolt comes and they override their safety features (part of the ongoing Jurassic Park theme), no further explanation or exposition is necessary.  The rules of this strange but familiar place have already been laid down, and the ending works within them.

You can draw a straight line from those first hints of danger right through to the end.  As the story progresses, additional elements are seamlessly picked up so that when it does come time for a robot to go after Homer with an ax, there are no questions in the audience’s mind about why the robot is attacking or why it has an ax.  The whole thing is so well constructed that they can actually have Homer make an exposition joke (“What are you, the narrator?”) without even slowing things down.

To compare with that intricate and comprehensive build up, Zombie Simpsons has some generic robots from somewhere, a power drill, and nothing else.  The robots simply appear from behind a curtain with no reason or explanation given for how they came to be or how they got there.  For the better part of the episode they stand idly by while Homer kills them in rather gruesome ways, forces them to play baseball, kills some more of them, and then sets a big pile of their twisted remains on fire.  During all this, the robots alternate between being super strong and being incredibly fragile.  The effect of all those manic actions, unannounced  changes, and empty carnage not only undermines each scene, but the story as a whole.

For most of the episode, Homer’s been able to destroy individual robots with little more than a hard shove.  The very first one he kills simply collapses to the ground after he bumped into it.  Then he sticks a power drill into their heads and all of a sudden not only have their hands changed shape, but they’ve become frightfully capable of violence, including breaking through doors and windows and swatting away guard dogs with ease.  The episode proceeds as though they are now all but invincible killing machines . . .

Killing Machines (Killing Version)

. . . right up until . . .

Killing Machines (Killed Version)

. . . they’re easily defeated by things which they would’ve torn through in the previous scene.  The rampage ends just two minutes after it began by abruptly changing – yet again – the nature and capabilities of the robots. 

Zombie Simpsons is no stranger to weak, illogical, or outright non-existent plots, of course.  But it hurts them worse than usual in this context because the entire plot, as opposed to a scene or two, is predicated on something so strange and unbelievable that it kills any kind of flow or humor.  All they’re left with is cheap silliness like corn dogs and squeegees.  There’s nothing wrong with silliness, of course, but Homer didn’t defeat the robots when he threw his underwear at them.

The Simpsons pulled off their robot apocalypse because they treated it carefully, building up to what would’ve been head-exploding, laugh-killing nonsense had they introduced it earlier.  Zombie Simpsons dove head first into that nonsense and never came up.


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