Posts Tagged ‘Itchy and Scratchy the Movie


Quote of the Day

“The Itchy and Scratchy movie is the defining event of our generation. How would you have liked it if someone told you that you couldn’t watch the moon landing?” – Lisa Simpson
“That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” – Neil Armstrong
♫“Yummy yummy yummy I got love in my tummy and I feel like loving you.”♫ – Homer Simpson


Quote of the Day

“I’m thinking of a number between one and fifty.” – Homer Simpson
“Is it thirty-seven?” – Marge Simpson
“D’oh! . . . I mean, no.” – Homer Simpson


Makeup Quote of the Day

“Bart, are you pulling up the carpet?” – Marge Simpson
“Yuh-hunh.” – Bart Simpson
“Why are you letting him do this?” – Marge Simpson
“I dunno.” – Homer Simpson
“Well, punish him!” – Marge Simpson
“Alright, alright: Bart, go to your room.” – Homer Simpson
“See you in the funny pages.” – Bart Simpson
“How could you let this happen?” – Marge Simpson
“How could you let this happen?” – Homer Simpson
“I wasn’t here!” – Marge Simpson
“Oh, how convenient.” – Homer Simpson


Quote of the Day

“Tonight on Eye on Springfield, we meet a man who’s been hiccuping for forty-five years.” – Kent Brockman
“Hic – Kill me – hic – kill me…” – Hiccup Guy


Quote of the Day

“Well, well, if it isn’t the tooth fairy.” – Jasper


Quote of the Day

“Bart, did you take out the garbage like I asked?” – Homer Simpson
“Indeed I did.” – Bart Simpson
“D’oh! Hey, you goats! Get out of here!” – Homer Simpson


Quote of the Day


“But first, let’s take a look back at the year 1928. The year when you might’ve seen Al Capone dancing the Charleston on top of a flagpole.” – Kent Brockman


Quote of the Day

Itchy and Scratchy - The Movie8

“I really don’t see how this helps Bart.” – Marge Simpson
“Just do it!” – Mrs. Krabappel


Quote of the Day


“We don’t usually do this, but we have some witnesses.  Come in, Arthur.  Now, where did Bart stick the fireworks.” – Mrs. Krabappel


Reading Digest: Everybody Else Went to the Show Edition

Itchy and Scratchy - The Movie7

“How was it?” – Bart Simpson
“It wasn’t that great.” – Lisa Simpson
“Be honest.” – Bart Simpson
“It was the greatest movie I’ve ever seen in my life!” – Lisa Simpson

This week we’ve got lots of links to those lucky bastards who got to see the Hollywood Bowl show last week, many of them with cool pictures.  Sure, YouTube is better than nothing, but it’s a poor substitute for the real thing.  In addition to that, we’ve got a bunch of .gifs, Duffman in the big leagues, a couple of disappointing lists, and a huge Sam Simon profile.


D’OH! Eat my shorts! Ha-ha! Don’t have a cow, man! Ay, caramba! – Looking at the long history of the show and its influences on subsequent cartoons.

How The Simpsons Co-Creator Sam Simon Is Facing His Own Tragedy – A full blown writeup of Sam Simon’s life in Vanity Fair.  It’s chock full of stuff like this:

“I’m the best contract negotiator in the world,” he says. “But I had help. I had lawyers and stuff. Relative to the average person Don King negotiates with, I think we were bringing somewhat of an advantage to the situation.” Sam laughs as he recalls a memorable dinner with Don King at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills. “So, I call the lawyer in, and we start talking about a contract to join the stable of fighters that Don King promotes and hopefully to get a shot at the heavyweight championship of the world. We negotiated for three and a half hours, running back and forth, making Xerox copies in the lobby. I just remember how thick the thing was; even though it was only about eight or nine pages, there’s so much sweat from people handing it back and forth and all the scribbling and initialing. Anyway, Don King says, ‘O.K., we have a deal. And I’m going to have my lawyers type up everything that we’ve discussed. So: Here. Sign the bottom of this blank piece of paper. And let me get all three of your signatures. And then I will have everything else typed in above it.’ ”

Sam laughs. Hard.

Graphs of every word used on The Simpsons (Also: all other TV and movies) – There is a link at the bottom to a tool dedicated to just The Simpsons.

Hank Azaria: Simpsons, Ray Donovan Star on His First Time in Variety – An interesting little interview with Azaria about his career.  The drawing of him at the top is also pretty cool.

90s Cartoon Party by Makomali – Cool fan made drawing of various 90s cartoon characters.

Possibly The Best Simpsons GIF – I don’t know if it’s the best, but an old tape of Homer, Lenny and Carl working is pretty good.

The Simpsooooons – Pictures and an account of the Hollywood Bowl show.

The Simpsons Take the Bowl at the Hollywood Bowl last night was so amazing – Lots of pictures and video and one gigantic donut.

Highlights – Great picture of the start of the show, even getting the sign in the background.

Guest Post – The Simpsons Hollywood Bowl Show! – Another write up by some lucky person.

The 6 most memorable moments from ‘The Simpsons’ Hollywood Bowl concert – And the official write up from Entertainment Weekly.

My Absolute Favorite Video on Youtube of All Time – Heh:

There’s just so much purity in this moment. It’s my ‘plastic bag flowing in the wind’


Tee 452 – Clever Homer/Jaws shirt.

Lisa Simpson Loses Out in Mensa Poll – Bart is the favorite of people who belong to Mensa, the group for people with low self esteem.

The NFL Simpsonized – Some NFL players in yellow.  Nice of them to have Jay Cutler smoking.

Dear Baby: You Need To Sleep Now – Heh:

I guess you just have to do your best in making your baby comfortable. Unfortunately, sometimes that means being awake at all hours of the night. Remember that episode of the Simpson’s where Homer’s brother (did you remember he had a brother?) invents that machine that can translate baby talk into English? Someone needs to get on making that a reality. Now.

New trending GIF on Giphy – Milhouse being literally labeled “Fat”.

New trending GIF on Giphy – Homer thinking.

New trending GIF on Giphy – Ha ha, you love me.

Crazy Cat Lady Begin – Fan poem that ends with the beginning of Crazy Cat Lady.  Neat.

Matt Duffy of the Giants Has Duffman on the Ends of His Bats – Cool:


5 Things The Simpsons Predicted – The Yard Work Simulator has come terrifyingly true.

‘The Simpsons’ star Yeardley Smith heads to ‘The Mindy Project’ – Everything there is to know is in the headline.

Return To The Idiotbox! – Four Cartoons That Are Great To Revisit As An Adult – The show comes in at a mere #3.

The Top 10 Lists: Top 10 Cartoons (Part 1) – And #6 here.


Quote of the Day

Itchy and Scratchy - The Movie6

“If you don’t start making more sense we’re gonna have to put you in a home.” – Homer Simpson
“You already put me in a home!” – Abe “Grampa” Simpson
“Then we’ll put you in the crooked home we saw on 60 Minutes.” – Homer Simpson
“I’ll be good.” – Abe “Grampa” Simpson


Behind Us Forever: Four Regrettings And A Funeral

Itchy and Scratchy - The Movie5

“I regret nothing!” – Doomed Guy in Movie Ticket Line

If any of us had been wondering what it would be like if Zombie Simpsons took the unrelated tales from one of their four-part storytelling episodes, jammed them together with a bunch of expository and often unrelated flashbacks, and dropped in a self voiced celebrity, we need wonder no more.  Proving that Season 25 can employ all the same flat out lazy shortcuts as Seasons 24, 23 and so on, we had characters telling us exactly how they feel, people wandering in and out of scenes seemingly at random, and a self voiced celebrity introduced by name so we know just who they are.  This show has a lot of chronic problems, and this episode featured most of them.  Here we go:

– The chalkboard and the sad look on Bart’s face is a nice gesture.

– The Hobbit opening is kinda fun and all (Irish not welcome at the elf inn), but it doesn’t speak well of the status of the show or the quality of the writing when silent, minute long shorts that retell other people’s stories are the most talked about aspect of the program.

– To the surprise of no one, the “major character” to die was a red herring.

– And the funeral scene is off to a typically slow start whereby Selma and Marge get into an out loud argument in church that’s mostly exposition and some Family Guy flashbacks, complete with giant Gene Simmons tongue.

– This is Homer’s mental dialogue: “I made the worst financial decision of all time.  I can’t think about it.  I won’t think about it.  I don’t want to think about it.  Oh, I’m thinking about it.”  Castellaneta is a very funny man, but saving that is impossible.

– Here’s how you can tell even they know that “Mapple” is weak sauce: they don’t want to use it.

– Okay, using Milhouse’s nose as a dick was at least clever.

– But now Flanders is trying to put money into tithe baskets that the boys are using as sticks because . . . nevermind.

– Burns being nice and incompetent?  Never seen that before.

– Lazy celebrity introduction alert: “Well, well, well, Rachel Maddow”.

– And now, Krusty’s in the woods.

– Ralph is there too, of course.

– Even the FOX News parodies are basically expository, and they’re mega easy to make fun of.

– As if to prove that they can no longer help but repeat themselves, they’re doing a montage of Homer set to “Memories“.  The first time they did this it was for Homer’s stomach before he started subliminal weight loss tapes.  Now it’s for a bowling ball we’ve never seen before.

– Bart, previously way away from Evergreen Terrace, is now floating over the Flanders house.

– If Burns’ sweetheart going to die without getting to do much of anything, why did they bother to make her a Buddhist monk?

– At least Jean can still make fun of himself with that Brockman “no regrets” line right before his name comes up.

Anyway, the numbers are in and they are just as atrocious as we’ve come to expect.  Sunday’s exercise in poor plotting and worse “regretting” was regretted by a mere 5.46 million people.  That’s actually one point below the record low average for all of Season 24, and we’re just three episodes into the season.  CBS has the late national NFL game again next week, so don’t expect much of an improvement.


Reading Digest: New Year Edition

Itchy and Scratchy - The Movie4

“Now this is exactly what Bart’s teacher was talking about.  Our son did something wrong and you look the other way.” – Marge Simpson
“But Marge, look at that hang dog expression; he’s learned his lesson. . . . Lets’ get him a present.” – Homer Simpson

As expected, another short week on the internet led to another short Reading Digest.  For some reason, people just didn’t want to spend a lot of time between Christmas and New Year’s putting meaningless crap on-line.  (Weirdos.)  Anyway, we do have some people quoting the show, and talking about the show, and making animated .gifs about the show.  We even have two links that agree with us.  But first, it’s time for the programming note:


Seeing has how next week will be the first regular week in the better part of a month, including new Zombie Simpsons on Sunday, I wanted to highlight a couple of comments from the New Year’s Eve post:


31 December 2012 at 9:51 pm

Bring back compare and contrast! Or atleast post some sort of content examining the new episodes.



1 January 2013 at 2:01 am

What happened here? Lightning hit the transmitter?

My original plan for Season 24 was to do Compare & Contrasts for about half the episodes, but Zombie Simpsons has been through eight episodes so far and I’ve only managed to mock two of them.  That simply will not do.  I wouldn’t call this a New Year’s resolution or anything, but those should be cropping up with more frequency here in 2013.  The spinoff took way more of my time last year than I thought it would, but now that it looks like a site you wouldn’t be embarrassed to take your family (it’s even got a Quote of the Day), it should be easier for me to get Compare & Contrasts done. 

Anyway, here’s to less neglect in the new year. 



Eight Awesome Voice Actors and What They Actually Look Like – This is mostly Futurama and other non-Simpsons shows, but Castellaneta makes an appearance and there is a ton of great YouTube.  Maurice LaMarche’s in particular is awesome, in no small part because making fun of William Shatner never gets old. 

Jokealong: HAMMOCKS – It is possible that Scorpio’s riff on hammocks is the best hammock joke in the English language. 

The Simpsons and a Dance Party at the 2013 Tucson International Jewish Film Festival – Mike Reiss is going to be in Arizona:

Opening night of the festival kicks off at The Loft and features special guest, Mike Reiss, longtime writer/producer of The Simpsons. Reiss will share rare clips and inside stories from one of the longest running shows in T.V. history.

He’ll be at the Loft Cinemas next Thursday, January 10th.

My boyfriend is an animator on The Simpsons. This is his attempt to entertain future plane-sick passegers on Southwest Airlines. – Heh.

Are the new episodes of the simpsons not as funny as the older episodes? – Yahoo Answers has this as a “Resolved Question”:

Resolved Quesiton

The rest of the answers aren’t any kinder to Zombie Simpsons:

I’ve seen a few new episodes, they aren’t that funny anymore :(


Been watching Simpsons for years!


Definately the old episodes are better.
Once you’ve seen Homer fall over or bash himself so many times, it just isnt funny anymore.

Siblings – Animated .gif of Bart sharing his ice cream from the end of “Lisa on Ice”.

Seems legit – Save that for court.

Poor Milhouse – A big, subtitled .jpg of nobody liking Milhouse.

[News] Sky Ferreira Has A Video For “Lost In My Bedroom” That I Found While Lying In Bed – Excellent reference:

Any video that opens with an epilepsy warning has got to be a winner, am I right? When the message first appeared I immediately thought of The Simpsons episode where the family visits Tokyo and seizes on the floor every time the flashing Japanese television shows come on.

Ned Flanders Soundboard – An Android app that appears to do little besides play Flanders sounds.  Seems neat, if quickly tiresome.

Stupid Risks – Quoting Homer’s admonition to take risks in “Lost Our Lisa”.  I’ve never really liked that episode, but Marge being the “stable type, and that’s fine in small doses” is a pretty good line.

Doctor Who Monday: The Snowmen…In 10 Words – No, we’ll make real men out of snow.

2012…In 10 Words – Somewhere, Flanders gets started on his income taxes.

Django Unchained…In 10 Words – What I’m trying to say with this cartoon is that violence is everywhere in our society, man, it’s like even in breakfast cereals.

2012 Year-End Roundup – Some Top 5 Lists – And finally, I get to end the way I like, with someone who agrees with us, in this case, our old friend ilmozart.  Zombie Simpsons came in #1 for “Things that Disappointed Me”, and justifiably so:

I feel like this is a given. Considering how important this show has been to me during my life, some of the worst episodes the series has ever done aired this year – notably “Lisa Goes Gaga” the season 23 finale. Pair that with “Moonshine River”, the season 24 premiere, and it is a wonder I still watch the show at all. It has totally forgotten its heritage and has turned its back on what made the show great in the first place. A constant and continued disappointment.

Amen, sister.  Amen.


Quote of the Day

Star Trek XII

“Captain’s log, stardate sixty-fifty-one, had trouble sleeping last night.  My hiatal hernia is acting up.  The ship is drafty and damp.  I complain but, nobody listens.” – Captain Kirk
“Star Trek XII: So Very Tired.  See the original cast in their latest, greatest adventure.” – TV Announcer
“Captain, Klingons off the starboard bow.” – Mr. Sulu
“Again with the Klingons.  Mr. Scott, give me full power.” – Captain Kirk
“It’s no good, captain, I canna reach the control panel.” – Mr. Scott

Happy (belated) 20th Anniversary to “Itchy & Scratchy: The Movie”.  Original airdate 3 November 1992.  (Got lost in the craziness and confusion and mishegoss of the election.)  


Quote of the Day

Armstrong's Defining Moment

“Dad, I agree that Bart should be punished, but the Itchy and Scratchy movie is the defining event of our generation.  How would you have liked it if someone told you that you couldn’t watch the moon landing?” – Lisa Simpson
“That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” – Neil Armstrong
“Yummy yummy yummy I got love in my tummy and I feel like loving you.” – Homer Simpson


Internet History

“But the following year Scratchy was teamed up with a psychotic young mouse named Itchy, and cartoon history was made.” – Kent Brockman

A few weeks ago, David Silverman tweeted the following:

Silverman Worst Episode Ever Tweet

In case you can’t see the image, it says “Came across first known sighting of "worst episode ever" 11/3/92. This guy HATES ep 9F03 – just hilarious.”  Indeed it is.  Here’s the wonderfully archaic post from 4 November 1992 (the “>” on the top two lines are where he’s quoting a previous post):

>Wow, what an intense episode.  … I didn’t know it was
>going to be so cool so I didn’t take notes.  Anyway……

Intense?  I thought this was easily the worst episode ever.  Simply not
funny.   "Where did he put the firecracker?"  I can’t imagine child abuse
being funny.  Now, somebody being eaten by a gorilla, somebody being hit
by lightning, that’s funny.  Child abuse is not.  The way I interpreted it,
this was a reference to a standard technique of using dolls to get physically/
sexually abused children to talk about the abuse incidents.

Bart dropping his pants.  How many times is this funny?  Well, it was
funny when we saw it in a previous episode.  But I don’t think that
Bart’s butt is inherintly funny.  Also, we have never actually seen
Homer spank Bart, have we?  So why does Bart expect it so readily?

Bart as a stripper.  Really more repulsive than funny.  The bad thing about
things like this is that I used to disagree with parents who didn’t let
their children watch the Simpsons – I no longer disagre with them.  I
would not have wanted my children (if I had any) to watch that scene.

Star Trek.  In Living Color has done it.  Saturday Night Live has done it.
Mad magazine has done it.  Local high school talent shows have done it.
Now, the Simpsons have done it, and they didn’t do it any better than anyone
else.  Should have left it alone, and come up with something original.

Homer being very familiar with Chief Justices.  (BTW, the title is ‘Chief
Justice of the United States’, not ‘Chief Justice of the Supreme Court’ –
don’t know if this error was intentional or not, it’s not really important.)
Once in a while, when Homer throws out something like that, it is funny.
Yes, it is out of character for Homer to say anything too intellectual, but
I admit one of my favorite Simpson’s moment is when Homer is intervening
in an argument between Lisa and the Albanian kid (Adil?) and he says
something about ‘the blood of the workers oiling the machinery of
capitalism’.  But that was just a one time thing.  maybe it was something
that Homer heard once, and it got stuck somewhere in his brain.  But
we know that this is an aberration, Homer is simply not a bright guy.
I can’t believe he is that familiar with the names of the Supreme
court justices.  (However, I did laugh at ‘Warren Burger…Mmmmm….Burger…’)
It would have been more in character if Lisa had recited the names…

And I didn’t like the bit about 40 years from now, although I don’t really
have an argument against it.  I just didn’t like it.

This episode was an appeal to the lowest common denominator.  It exploited
cliches instead of exposing them.  It twisted character traits in order to
go after laughs.  It relied on gimmicks that got a laugh in the past.  It
became a parody of itself.  I repeat, this was by far the worst episode ever.
I hope it was an aberration – I don’t think I have seen these trends in
other recent episodes, so I am hopeful.


"Good Idea, Boss."    – Homer Simpson

That’s right, he drops “worst episode ever” twice!  Upon first reading this I thought I’d fisk it, and point out how the kind of counterexample rich criticism we do here is much different than “I don’t really have an argument against it.  I just didn’t like it.”  But then it occurred to me that, despite the vast technical changes in the interceding twenty years (the first web browser didn’t even exist then), internet arguments really aren’t all that different in 2012 than they were in 1992.  So I read the rest of the thread and the overwhelming majority of the comments on “Itchy & Scratchy: The Movie” from 1992 are so positive as to border on glowing (deservedly so).

The first post in the thread is from a guy who liked the episode but “couldn’t find a suitable tape to record it on in time” so he couldn’t offer a very detailed analysis.  Here’s the second post:

God, I can’t say how much I loved Steamboat Itchy.  It moved me.

And the third post:

BTW, I loved `Steamboat Itchy’ too…  Every one of the early I&S
shorts were great!

And the fourth:

It certainly was a thing of beauty.

And the sixth:

I think Kent Brock man said it was 1928, the year you could see Al
Capone (is that who it was?) doin the Charleston (is that what it was)
on a flagpole (I KNOW it was a flagpole ;-).  I thought ti was great
that they took 3 unrelated things from the 20’s and said you could see
them together!  :-)

The post Silverman linked was the fifth in the thread; and just two posts later someone did a detailed, point by point rebuttal of the “worst episode ever” guy.  The thread goes on from there with the kind of internet back-and-forth that will be familiar to anyone reading this site.  Things got to the point that the “worst episode ever” guy actually had to defend his sense of humor.  After that there was some discussion about whether or not Disney could or would sue over “Steamboat Itchy”, and whether or not the original “Steamboat Willie” was still under copyright (an actual lawyer eventually weighed in to explain how copyright law worked). 

There’s no point digging into a nearly twenty year old flame war, but the thread is more than a time capsule.  It’s also a great piece of evidence against the contention, which I still see from time to time, that the internet has always been filled with mindless, vitriolic hatred of the show.  That just isn’t the case.  There have always been dumb things on the internet, but, at least as represented in this thread (which is not on SNPP), the on-line opinion of Season 4 at the time of broadcast was overwhelmingly supportive. 

When the real grumbling about the show started, it wasn’t because disliking the show was cool, or because the most involved fans all have mean streaks.  It was because the show got worse, a gradual process that had precisely nothing to do with the internet and everything to do with the show itself. 


Quote of the Day

Itchy and Scratchy - The Movie3

“I’m here live in Korea to give you a first hand look at how American cartoons are made.” – Kent Brockman

Happy birthday Phil Roman!


Quote of the Day

Jury Duty

Image used under Creative Commons license from Flickr user denverkid.

“Now, what were we talking about, boy?” – Homer Simpson
“Uh, we were talking about the time you beat jury duty.” – Bart Simpson
“Oh yeah, the trick is to say you’re prejudiced against all races.” – Homer Simpson


Quote of the Day

Itchy & Scratchy Movie Promo

“Bart, come quick, there’s an Itchy & Scratchy movie!” – Lisa Simpson
“If you want suspense . . . romance . . . you’ll find it at the Itchy & Scratchy movie, coming soon to a theater near you.  Fifty-three percent new footage.” – TV Announcer

Happy Birthday Phil Roman!


Compare & Contrast: Disney, The Simpsons, & Zombie Simpsons

“Yeah, I used to be rich.  I owned Mickey Mouse Massage Parlors, then those Disney sleazeballs shut me down.  I said, ‘Look, I’ll change the logo, put Mickey’s pants back on!’  Pfft, some guys you just can’t reason with.” – Railroad Bridge Bum

Walter Elias Disney is an inescapable presence in American animation.  Whether or not you like him, his work, or the giant company he spawned, when it comes to animation you are living in a world he did a great deal to shape.  The Simpsons always had some fun with this, enough that SNPP has an entire page dedicated to the show’s various Disney references and parodies.  Zombie Simpsons occasionally attempts to do this as well and, as with so much of Zombie Simpsons, falls haplessly short.

In “How Munched Is That Birdie in the Window”, Zombie Simpsons had what passed for an Itchy & Scratchy segment that was loosely based off of an old Disney cartoon called “Pluto’s Judgement Day”.  I mentioned this in Crazy Noises, but the animation here is really peculiar and I wanted to highlight it with examples.  Look at the startling contrast between Itchy and the background here:

Zombie Simpsons Judge

The two things that jump out are the coloring and the crispness.  The cave walls in the background and the podium in the foreground are both colored in various hues and shades.  The background especially gets darker to give the impression of a deep recess in the cave.  By contrast, Itchy is flat and monochromatic.  Every part of his face is the same color; his gavel, clothes and gloves also remain the exact same color and shade no matter what he does:

Zombie Simpsons Judge2

Itchy has gone from far away from the camera to right into the lens, and yet the only thing that changes is the shape of his various parts and objects, nothing in the coloring gives any hint that he’s moved at all.  The dramatic lighting of the background is similarly ignored.  Itchy got bigger, but there’s nothing other than size to indicate that he’s actually gestured forward. 

The precision of the lines on Itchy compared with the background is even more jarring.  Look at the awkward juxtaposition of his sharp hand against the fuzzy podium.  Now compare that to the gavel and the background behind it.  The two are identical – sharp lines vs fuzzy ones – which makes the overall image even more awkward because his hand is supposed to be physically on the podium and the gavel is supposed to be far in front of the cave walls.  The entire image is muddled because all of the tricks that give depth to the podium and the walls are ignored for Itchy. 

Now take a look at the Disney original (please forgive the lower resolution, I had to grab this from YouTube):

Disney Judge

The backgrounds are very similar in that they’re a little fuzzy and make a lot of use of color to both make the podium look tall and the walls look deep.  Now watch what happens when the Disney judge leans forward:

Disney Judge2

The lighting on every part of him, from his robe to his gavel to his mortar board, has shifted to give the impression that he has moved.  And there are touches beyond those as well.  The lines on his forehead are thicker since they are closer to the camera, the fur on his arm is standing up, the claw on his thumb is visible.  And look at where his robe meets the podium.  There’s no incongruous clashing of styles.  Despite the fact that he’s moving and the background is not, the judge looks for all the world as though he really is behind that podium.  Itchy, on the other hand, looks clumsily superimposed. 

Now let’s take a look at how something similar was handled by The Simpsons.  Way back in Season 4, in “Itchy & Scratchy: The Movie”, the animation is almost a direct copy of its famous predecessor:


Itchy, like Mickey in the original, is animated in the same style as the background.  The same shades are being used, and the lines are all in the same layer of focus.  Both Itchy and Mickey look like they are standing on a boat.  This similarity in style is necessary for the parody to work.  The gag is the gruesome violence presented in that wriggly, wholesome 1920s style.  (Not that “Steamboat Willie” is exactly pacific.  Mickey tortures the fuck out of a bunch of animals in his lust for the perfect rendition of “Turkey in the Straw”.)  When we see Scratchy’s knees shot away to reveal naked bone underneath, it fits in with the animation style.  Ditto for when Scratchy’s head is locked into the furnace and his body writhes uncontrollably as he’s roasted alive.  Even the blood is cute. 

Of course, “Steamboat Willie” is much simpler than “Pluto’s Judgement Day”.  Disney and company were busy between 1928 and 1935: the animation is much more lush, it’s in color, and it makes use of all that implied lighting.  But, of course, “Steamboat Itchy” wasn’t the only classic Disney parody The Simpsons ever did.  For an even more damning comparison to Zombie Simpsons, let’s skip ahead to Season 6’s “Itchy & Scratchy Land”.

Fantasia, Disney’s great contribution to drug culture before there was such a thing, came out in 1940.  To call the animation superb is an understatement, and it would be nuts to try to parody it in all its particulars.  Instead, amidst many digs at Disney himself in the guise of Roger Meyers Sr., The Simpsons showed us “Scratchtasia”, a parody of the famous “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” segment.  They didn’t try to match the original visually, but their parody clearly demonstrates that they understand the elements that made it so iconic. 

Here’s Mickey’s first whack with the ax.  Note the lighting and shading (again, this is from YouTube, so the image quality is very suboptimal):


We know that the source of the light and the action are in the next room, and we can see the door through which the shadows are being cast.  But leaving the action alone in shadow would lessen the ferocity of Mickey’s attack.  To increase the impact on the audience without directly showing the violence, the Disney gang alter the coloring and the lighting radically (and boy does this YouTube copy not handle red well):


Mickey’s final swings dice up the straw bristles until nothing remains.  The broom is splintered into tiny pieces and there is no doubt in the audience’s mind that something brutal and violent just took place.  “Scratchtasia” uses the same techniques to convey the same message, but doesn’t try to mimic all the details.  Here we can see the first blow ready to fall:


Just as in the original Fantasia, the gory part of the violence occurs in shadow.  But when the ax does start making contact, it alters the entire scene:


The shapes and outlines are all still there, but the color and lighting have almost inverted themselves.  Without any explicit, on-screen blood and guts, or even a change in perspective, we know exactly what happened.  It’s not as colorful or as detailed as the original, but it doesn’t need to be.  The animation is clearly reminiscent of the source material without being at odds with itself. 

To be sure, there is an obvious technical difference between the classics and Zombie Simpsons: computer animation.  Despite the decades between “Steamboat Willie”, “Fantasia” and The Simpsons, all were drawn by hand with inks and dyes.  “How Munched Is That Birdie in the Window” wasn’t, but that doesn’t forgive the sloppiness on display above.  The soft focus, static background, for example, is rendered pretty well in ones and zeros.  It’s the motion where things fall apart, where characters are flat and monochrome, and no thought is given to lighting them at all.  Instead of doing the whole thing in the Disney style, or the whole thing in their own style, they did a mash of both and the result is off putting and ugly. 

It’s possible they just didn’t have the time to put in lighting and match the focus; it’s also possible that they just didn’t care.  Either way it’s poorly animated, and it’s unworthy of both The Simpsons and of Disney. 

Special thanks to No Homers user zartok-35 and commenter Shane for posting the video of “Pluto’s Judgement Day”.  Even without Zombie Simpsons, that was fun to watch again.  I don’t think I’d seen it since I was about seven years old. 


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