Posts Tagged ‘Lisa the Vegetarian


Quote of the Day

“Uh-oh, two Independent Thought Alarms in one day! The students are over stimulated. Willie, remove all the colored chalk from the classrooms.” – Principal Skinner
“I warned you! Didn’t I warn you? That colored chalk was forged by Lucifer himself!” – Groundskeeper Willie


Quote of the Day

“It’s just a little dirty, it’s still good! It’s still good! . . . It’s just a little slimy, it’s still good! It’s still good! . . . It’s just a little airborne, it’s still good! It’s still good!” – Homer Simpson
“It’s gone.” – Bart Simpson
“I know.” – Homer Simpson


Quote of the Day

“Just ask this scientician.” – Troy McClure


Quote of the Day

“When I grow up, I’m going to Bovine University!” – Ralph Wiggum


Quote of the Day

“You know, Smithers, I think I’ll donate a million dollars to the local orphanage . . . when pigs fly!” – C.M. Burns
“Will you be donating that million dollars now, sir?” – Mr. Smithers
“No, I’d still prefer not.” – C.M. Burns


Quote of the Day

“This is where the wolf blows down the pig’s house.” – Marge Simpson
“He blows alright. He blows big time.” – Bart Simpson
“That’s it, honey! Get into the spirit!” – Marge Simpson


Quote of the Day

“Uh, Mr. McClure, I have a crazy friend who says it’s wrong to eat meat. Is he crazy?” – Jimmy
“No, just ignorant. You see, your crazy friend never heard of the food chain.” – Troy McClure


Quote of the Day

“Good morning, class. A certain agitator, for privacy’s sake let’s call her Lisa S., no, that’s too obvious. Let’s say L. Simpson.” – Principal Skinner


Quote of the Day


“Alright, Lisa, if you don’t want lamb chops, there’s lots of other things I can make, chicken breast, rump roast, hot dogs…” – Marge Simpson


Quote of the Day


“Hi! I’m Troy McClure! You might remember me from such educational films as Two Minus Three Equals Negative Fun, and Firecrackers: The Silent Killer.” – Troy McClure

Phil Hartman would’ve been sixty-eight today. Happy birthday, Phil.


Quote of the Day

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“Are you saying you’re never going to eat any animal again?  What about bacon?” – Homer Simpson
“No!” – Lisa Simpson
“Ham?” – Homer Simpson
“No!” – Lisa Simpson
“Pork chops?” – Homer Simpson
“Dad, those all come from the same animal!” – Lisa Simpson
“Yeah, right, Lisa, a wonderful, magical animal.” – Homer Simpson

Happy 20th Anniversary to “Lisa the Vegetarian”! Original airdate 15 October 1995.


Reading Digest: Music and Food Edition

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“In fact, if you play ‘Maybe I’m Amazed’ backwards, you’ll hear a recipe for a really ripping lentil soup!” – Paul McCartney 

We’ve got a whale of a Reading Digest this week, including two elaborate links to music from before rock achieved perfection in 1974 and two people making food from the show, out of this world space age moon waffles and little meat loaf men.  In addition, we’ve got quite a bit of fan art, some of it very elaborate, a Groening interview from 1990,  a very creepy old Micky Mouse that kind looks like Homer, and much more.


The Coasters = The Simpsons – Now here’s a novel fan theory:

I was listening to a compilation of the beloved R&B group the Coasters, and wondered what draws me to these songs. Then the thought hit me: The Coasters’ hits are basically templates for classic episodes of The Simpsons, decades before that show existed. Don’t believe my theory? Behold the startling evidence below:

She’s got a ton of examples, though the simpler explanation would be that topics that are cause for blues songs are also good fodder for comedy.  Still, that’s a great list.

This Simpsons-Pink Floyd Mashup Of ‘Comfortably Numb’ Is Incredible – And speaking of old music:

Die-hard Simpsons fan Raymond Stephens has taken the time to source old clips of the show, editing them together in this cool video as the iconic Pink Floyd track plays over the top.

It’s great, and the Futurama clips are dead on.  (Though I could’ve done without all the clips from that awful Zombie Simpsons episode where Homer has a grunge band.)  Doesn’t seem to be working on regular YouTube so I can’t embed, but you can see it at the link.

Matt Groening on Whad’ya Know 2-10-90 – A Groening NPR interview from the early days of Bartmania.  I always find these old Groening interviews fascinating because you can hear how inexperienced he is at doing interviews.  These days he’s way more polished, then he was really raw.  It gets really good at about the 10:30 mark as they get into some of the controversies around the early days of the show.  The nuclear industry was unhappy.

“Pretty clever!” – I think we can all relate to this:

Sometimes a free-floating line will just snag onto an existing feeling and crystalize it, and along with Seinfeld, The Simpsons has been responsible for more such epiphanies than any other series. Elsewhere, I’ve compared the repository of Simpsons quotes that we all seem to carry in our heads to the metaphorical language that Picard encountered in “Darmok,” and there’s no question that it influences the way many of us think about ourselves.

Take “Hurricane Neddy,” which first aired during the show’s eighth season. It probably wouldn’t even make it onto a list of my fifty favorite episodes, but there’s one particular line from it that has been rattling around in my brain ever since. After a hurricane destroys Flanders’s house, the neighborhood joins forces to rebuild it, only to do a spectacularly crappy job. It all leads to the following exchange:

Ned: “The floor feels a little gritty here.”
Moe: “Yeah, we ran out of floorboards there, so we painted the dirt. Pretty clever!”

Those last two words, which Moe delivers with a nudge to Ned’s ribs and an air of self-satisfaction, are ones that I’ve never forgotten. At least once a week, I’ll say to myself, in Moe’s voice: “Pretty clever!”

Eye On Springfield with Head Ned of Okilly Dokilly – The suddenly famous give an interview to xtapolapometal.

Homer Simpson’s Patented Space-Age Out of This World Moon Waffles – Real life recipe for waffles that are mmm, fattening.

Cooking The Simpsons: Little Meatloaf Men – And in other Simpsons cooking news, that magazine has ideas for everything.  Also, this:

My exception to this is The Simpsons. When someone asks me what my favorite TV show of all time is, I quickly answer “The Simpsons,” with the caveat “specifically, seasons 3 through 8.”

Ay Caramba! Calgary couple spends d’oh to recreate Simpsons kitchen in their home – This story finally made it to Canadian national news.  I just want to know whether or not they are deathly afraid of scorpions.

Al Jean’s Office: Behind the Lair of ‘The Simpsons’ Showrunner – Want to see some pictures from inside Jean’s office?  Here you go.

19 Fake Craft Beers Inspired By The Simpsons, Ranked – There could be some good ones in there.

Ken Jennings on The Simpsons’ Springfield and Other Common City Names – Jeopardy overlord Ken Jennings sez:

According to a common factoid, there’s a community called Springfield in all 50 states, but the U.S. Board on Geographic Names says that’s not true: only 34 states have a Springfield. The real champ is Riverside. Unless you live in Alaska, Hawaii, Louisiana, or Oklahoma, there’s at least one Riverside in your state.

Simpsons Theme 4 Hands Arrangement – Sheet music of the theme song, and video of it in action:


Flying Hellfish Hockey Jersey Design – That would be a pretty sweet hockey sweater.

LISTEN: The Simpsons – ‘Some Enchanted Evening’ Review – It’s a podcast reviewing the episodes in order.

New Dr. Colossus Song! – A band called Dr. Colossus has a song called “Stupid Sexy Flanders”.  Some of the lyrics:

Stupid Sexy Flanders,
Republican at best
Politically to the right
Dexterity to the left


What a horrible day – Some great little Simpsons drawings/potential tattoos.  I’m partial to the Mr. Burns one.

Amateur Doodles – The Simpsons – Fan made sketches of Marge and Milhouse.  He thinks she’s hot!

Daily Drawing 220 – Fan sketch of a whole bunch of characters.  Bart and Lisa look agreeably pissed at each other.

S02 E04 – Two Cars in Every Garage and Three Eyes on Every Fish – I think it’s on the commentary for this one where they mention how after they did this one, all anyone wanted to do was write Mr. Burns scripts:

This was a pretty great episode, not only for it’s great jokes and political satire, but because this was really the first episode that been primarily about an ancillary character. The Simpsons are certainly in the episode and they end up being integral in the start and inevitable end of Mr. Burns’ political career, but this is really an episode about Mr. Burns.

S02 E05 – Dancin’ Homer – I’ve always loved that scene with Lisa and the other girls:

Homer manages to convince the family to move and after Bart and Milhouse become “spit brothers” and Lisa realizes that she doesn’t have any friends who would miss her, they head off to Homer’s last game with the Isotopes.

My Lego-tastic, Simpsons-tacular Reward Weekend – A detailed look at the Kwik-E-Mart Lego set, including the roof garden.  (Oh, and keep it up, David!)

Eat My Shorts 2 Coming Soon – There is a Simpsons art show coming to Fresno next month.

8.19.15 – No idea where this is, but it’d make a good submission for Fresno.

What a character: Why Hans Moleman from The Simpsons is a TV great – Just some Moleman love with plenty of .gifs.

Digital Audience Ratings: ‘Simpsons’ Surge Thanks to Fan-Sourced Post – People were apparently quite keen on the show on Facebook because someone snapped a picture of one of those English guards who can’t move or smile or anything, but with Marge’s face.  The internet is weird.

Francois Dourlen uses iPhone to capture movie characters in everyday settings – And here’s the original.

‘The Simpsons’ memorabilia, art collection from Sam Simon heading to auction – Simon is giving his money away from beyond the grave!

Quote of the Day- August 15, 2015 – Heh.

Vintage Cast Iron BOBO Homer Simpson // Mickey Mouse Wall Hook – That’s . . . . kind of horrifying.


Bart Simpson Patch – Just what it says.

New trending GIF tagged the simpsons adult principal… – The quote is slightly mangled, but I may have to start doing that font with more .gifs.  That looks highly cromulent.

New trending GIF tagged 90s dancing cartoon the… – Those depressed teenagers seem to be dancing a bit fast.

Kidrobot x The Simpsons Coming Soon! – The Kidrobot people have run out of characters to sell at inflated prices.  There are apparently three versions of Mr. Sparkle coming in the next batch.

Huge folk art billboard of Homer Simpson – This a craigslist entry, and the pictures are craigslist quality, but someone made something neat.

The inevitability of decline: why t.v shows need to jump the ship before they jump the shark – And finally, I get to end with someone who agrees with us:

Anyway, I want to talk a bit about the lifespan of television and why its imperative for the memory and enjoyment of a show that they leave as close to their peak as possible. Now, it might get tricky here, some of the examples I’m going to use to illustrate the shark-jumping may be deemed as thoroughly consistent television shows, conversely some I may see as worth continuing on with, other viewers may have jumped ship from long ago (I refuse to adhere to your stringent regulation of phrases)


Simpsons is an obvious example, and while I could discuss it at length, I think we all feel the same way about what has become of the once great show.



Quote of the Day

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“Look, kids, I just got my party invitations back from the printer’s!” – Homer Simpson
“Come to Homer’s B-B-B-Q.  The extra B is for B-Y-O-B-B.” – Lisa Simpson
“What’s that extra B for?” – Bart Simpson
“That’s a typo.” – Homer Simpson


Reading Digest: Fun for All Ages Edition

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“I think it’s nice we’re doing something Maggie will enjoy for once.  Besides, I’m sure Storytown Village is also fun for everyone, from eight to . . . God only knows.” – Marge Simpson

There are more than a few things that make The Simpsons unique, even when compared to other hit programs.  Close to the top of that list, and this is borne out more and more with each passing year, is the damned near agelessness of it.  At some point, the world is going to tire of the Simpsons family and it’ll become a part of history, but that point seems to keep receding into the future rather than coming closer.  This week we’ve got a couple more links about that very adult play positing that the culture of the show would survive the apocalypse, and in a nice contrast to that we’ve also got glowing write ups of old episodes from a teenager (who wasn’t even born when the episodes he’s watching were made) and even younger kids who dress up and act out the show.  We take that persistent interest for granted, but it’s pretty damned mind blowing when you take a second to think about it.

In addition to that we’ve got a couple of people who agree with us, the most detailed Lego breakdown yet, Lego Gorilla the Conqueror, shameless Buddha merchandise, and some excellent usage.  Enjoy.

The Simpsons Lego House – I’ve linked a few people assembling the Simpsons Lego set before, but nobody’s taken this many pictures and gone into this much detail.  If you want an up close look at what’s in that box, this is the link for you.

The Simpsons: “Dog of Death” – Young, soon to be college student takes a look at some of Season 3 that he’s never seen before and comes away impressed . . .

The Simpsons: “Colonel Homer” – . . . particularly with this one:

Hilarious, emotional, and wonderfully paced, it doesn’t get more classic The Simpsons than “Colonel Homer.”

The Simpsons: “Black Widower” – These episodes were made before he was born, hard to see anyone doing the same for Season 23 in two decades or so.

Truro school celebrate end of summer term with unusual school production – And speaking of the kids being alright, here’s some even younger ones dressed up as the “Sampsons” for a play.

Producers Endorse New Fox Presidents: ‘They Really Know What They’re Doing’ – Al Jean knows where his bread is buttered:

“I’ve worked with them both for a while, and they really know what they’re doing,” said “The Simpsons” executive producer Al Jean, who pointed to their long string of successes with comedies like “How I Met Your Mother.” “I think of the 23 network presidents ‘The Simpsons’ have had, they’ll be the best.”

Meet the new monkey bosses, same as the old monkey bosses.

ELEVEN PARIS x The Simpsons x colette – Promoting the high fashion merchandise means opening up a Simpsons themed something or other in Paris for a little while:

If you are a Simpsons fan and in Paris over the coming weeks, do try and make the effort to go and see the fun and loud Simpsons lair lurking under the super chic glass, chrome interior of colette. It’s the closest you may get to Springfield on this side of the Atlantic, until they open a Euro Universal Studios

Hello? Euro Universal Studios open for business!

The Simpson Family & the Respective Strains of Weed That Match Their Characters (You’re Welcome!) – The weirdness of the Homer_Marijuana twitter account continue to echo.

WWLSR: Seasons 7-9 – The Lisa reading project rolls on, including through the book heavy “Summer of 4 Ft. 2”.

Bunch of bloody clowns… – Fan made collage that includes a rather Mr. Sparkle looking Homer.

The Simpsons – The “25 Years Comic Con” poster.

Flashback: ‘The Simpsons’ Turn ‘Planet of the Apes’ Into a Musical – Video – There’s video, and there’s this:

As awesome as Dawn of the Planet of the Apes may be, it’s definitely not the best resurrection of the franchise. That honor still goes to the 1996 Simpsons episode “A Fish Called Selma,” which featured Troy McClure (voiced by the legendary Phil Hartman) reviving his stalled career by appearing in a musical adaptation of The Planet of the Apes entitled “Stop the Planet of the Apes. I Want To Get Off!”

And he’s starring as . . . the human!

Celebrate 25 Years of The Simpsons with 7″ Silver Homer Buddha – He is not forgetting the first two Noble Truths!

Tritone-Based Songs: The Devil’s Music – I did not know this:

It’s the very first notes you hear: “The Siiiiiimmmm-” form a tritone, before “-mmpsons” resolves back to a perfect fifth. The bass notes you can hear poking through now and again also follow a pattern that’s based around the Devil’s interval.

If you play the close credits backwards, there’s a recipe for a really ripping lentil soup.

Brilliant and Bonkers… ‘Mr Burns’ at The Almeida Theatre – The play’s got just over a week left in London, so here’s another happy review.

Review – Mr Burns by Anne Washburn at the Almeida Theatre – And here’s another “good, but…” review:

As a result, I’m not sure whether I’d recommend Mr Burns or not! If you prefer your theatre to be safe and comfortingly familiar, stay away. However if you’re willing to embrace something bravely different and take a risk, then give it a go. Although you have been warned about that third Act!

Futurama 3D – The Forrest Gump song is a little out of place, but that is very impressive visually:

The ad for Mom’s robot oil is a nice touch.

VIDEO: See The World ‘Futurama’ Rendered In 3-D – Some more stills and some extra video from the above.

Max’s Tavern named “best bar in the world” by Bar and Restaurant Magazine – It does bear a little resemblance to Moe’s, at least from the outside.  Not sure how that would help in a ranking, Moe’s is a dump, after all, but I’m not in charge of “Bar and Restaurant Magazine”, so what do I know?

People, like animals, are sometimes just jerks – Excellent usage:

Eventually, for everyone’s sake he was moved on to an animal reserve where he immediately picked up where he left off in Evergreen Terrace.

“Why is he attacking all those other elephants?” Marge asked the head ranger.

“Animals are a lot like people, Mrs. Simpson,” he replied. “Some of them act badly because they’ve had a hard life or have been mistreated. But, like people, some of them are just jerks.”

Mick Malthouse was moved onto the game reserve we know as Princes Park at the end of 2012 and picked up where he left off at Collingwood.

The game preserve guy actually says “Well” before “Animals”, but that’s nitpicking.

My Top 10 Favourite Television Opening Credits – The show comes in at #4 here.

Marge Attacks – Not sure of the source here (comic book, maybe?), but it’s Marge as the victim of a Kang & Kodos experiment.

Gorilla the conqueror! – The granddaddy of them all in simple Lego form.

Who Still Watches The Simpsons? – And finally, I get to end the way I like, with some people who agree with us.  A local sports radio guy in Kentucky asks:

Half a dozen of us would spend entire weekends watching episodes old and new on TV or DVD or VHS(!), bickering over which ones were funnier, cobbling together conversations entirely from Simpsons quotes. We played Simpsons boardgames. We destroyed local Simpsons-themed bar trivia nights. Yet all of us, every single one, stopped watching almost a decade ago. Come to think of it, literally not a single person I regularly speak with watches The Simpsons anymore.

No one in the comments watches it either.


Behind Us Forever: Pay Pal

Chalkboard - Pay Pal

“And this is Lord Thistlewick Flanders.” – Ned Flanders
“Charmed . . . Uh, googily doogily.” – Lord Thistlewick Flanders

Every once and a while we get episodes like “Pay Pal” that seem to be made up of B-plots that got discarded from other episodes and were found lying on the writers’ room floor.  The first thing that happens is that there’s an Evergreen Terrace block party, then John Oliver shows up as a new British neighbor.  Then he gets into a fight with Homer and vanishes completely from the episode.  With the “British neighbor” story concluded, there’s a new (more or less unrelated) story about Marge paying a kid to be friends with Lisa.  Neither story underpins or overlaps with the other and you could easily see either one being the subplot to some larger and wackier A-plot.

Despite the fact that the zaniness is about a low as Zombie Simpsons is capable of setting it (no magic powers, no fantasy worlds, not even any nuclear explosions), things still manage to make absolutely no sense.  Marge and Homer throw a giant party for Lisa but cover it up before she can arrive because none of the other kids showed up.  Grampa tells a story about paying Lenny and Carl to be friends with Homer that falls apart as it’s happening.  There’s an elementary school gym square dancing scene that has so little to do with anything else that it might have been accidentally copied and pasted in from another script.  But, hey, next weak is the season finale and then we can all forget about Zombie Simpsons for four months, so as silver linings go that’s a pretty good one.

– Couch gag is the usual excessive filler, clocking in at  forty seconds.

– This Itchy and Scratchy episode takes way too long, but the real problem is the competely pointless amounts of gore: cats drowning in their own barf, skinned corpses, lots of popped eyeballs.  They do know that a big part of what makes cartoon violence fun is that the coyote’s blood and guts don’t splash out when the boulder lands on him, right?

– What’s with Bart watching TV on a massive and ancient looking portable television, anyway?

– Shauna and Gil are not what you’d call a strong comedic pairing.

– And  now Gil is singing.

– “Now let me taste some of Ned Flanders no alarm chili”.  Ah, for the days when it was two or two and a half alarm chili.

– Homer and Marge are talking in bed and Lisa appears in the door to make an observation about not having any friends.  That’s exposition fairy!

– “That’s the saddest thing I can imagine my daughter saying to me”, characters should always tell you exactly what they’re feeling said no screenwriter ever.

– Now it’s Bart’s turn to appear mysteriously outside of his parents bedroom.  They really make it hard to tell if they just don’t care about constructing scenes or if they drop characters in and out just because they can.

– Did Homer just look directly at the camera?  Yes, yes he did.  That was odd.

– Well, at least this couples party didn’t take long to get to its perfectly silly fighting between Homer and this dull British guy.

– On the walk home, Homer climbs across people’s roofs.  Weird.

– Hey, a partying montage!

– So Homer and Marge threw a party for Lisa but then tore it down before she could get there, so the whole thing was completely pointless.  Also, they seem to think “Gus Hubner” is a really funny name and worth repeating as a punchline several times.

– Lotta scenes that really drag their feet this week.  First the gym teacher had to explain why there was a wall in the gym, then we had to wait for it to open.  Only then did we get to the exciting square dancing scene.

– Okay, this was kinda funny: “Nobody likes jazz that much, even the guy playing it had to take drugs.”

– This girl Lisa is friends with is the very definition of characterless.  She’s so bland I’m surprised she got a name.

– Bart had a nice “pace and exposit” scene until Milhouse showed up from nowhere.

– And then Lisa explains what’s happening, because we didn’t just see it ourselves or anything.

– Hey, another montage.  That ate up some time.

– Lisa’s confrontation with Marge is hacktacular from start to finish.  The two of them just explain stuff past each other, and it’s made all the worse because they’re both being weird and serious.  They really have no idea how to let characters act like people anymore.  Everyone sounds like their reading cue cards: “I would’ve found a friend eventually.  You couldn’t wait a damn decade until I got into college.”  Who talks like that?

– At least they acknowledge at the end of Grampa’s weird flashback that it doesn’t make any sense.

– And now Marge and Lisa are confronting each other again.  This time Lisa is mentally expositing just to us instead of out loud, though.

– And now also out loud: “It’s funny, but hurting your feelings made me feel better.”

Thank goodness that’s over.  I kept expecting John Oliver’s character to briefly show up sometime in the second half of the episode, but he just vanished completely after his fight with Homer.  He wasn’t really all that wacky and kinda seemed like he might have a bigger story purpose that “eat time in Act 1”, but I guess not.  On any other show that’d be weird, but on Zombie Simpsons its just a regular week.

Anyway, the numbers are in and they remain in the same sorry state that they’ve been since January.  Last night just 3.61 million people wondered what happened to John Oliver’s character.  That’s good for #4 on the all time least watched list and has dragged Season 25’s average viewership down to 5.07 million per episode.  Next week is the season finale, and if it comes in at 3.40 million or less, Season 25’s average will slip below five million.  That number doesn’t hold any real significance, it’s just easy to remember.  Either way, Season 25 is already the least watched season ever.


Quote of the Day

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“I take it from your yelling that you like my tofu dogs.” – Apu Nahasapeemapetilon
“Tofu?” – Lisa Simpson
“Oh, yes, no meat whatsoever, and only thrice the fat of a normal hot dog.  I made the switch and nobody noticed.” – Apu Nahasapeemapetilon


Quote of the Day

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“They can’t seriously expect us to swallow that tripe!” – Lisa Simpson
“Now, as a special treat courtesy of our friends at the meat council, please help yourselves to this tripe.” – Principal Skinner

Happy birthday David S./X. Cohen


Quote of the Day

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“Attention families, this is Mother Goose, the following cars have been broken into.” – Mother Goose

Happy birthday Tress MacNeille!


Behind Us Forever: The Saga of Carl & Dangers on a Train (And Season 24!)

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“So long, suck-ahhh!” – Bart Simpson

Because FOX sucks at scheduling, how about a two episode season finale?  Why not!:

  • After a clumsy introduction they’ve convinced themselves that repeating the phrase “Ki Ya” over and over again is funny.  Also, why is Marge bathing Bart?
  • This video with Pascal, in a voice that sounds like Azaria trying to keep himself awake, is just as boring as a real museum exhibit.  I miss the zinc filmstrip.
  • “Because people always laugh when you say sixty-nine.  No one knows why.” – I bet this line got a big laugh in the screenwriting elective at Hollywood Upstairs Film College.  
  • Even before the show fell apart, Marge was usually a secondary character to Homer, but this is ridiculous.  Here are her lines, in order, from the dinner table scene:
    – “I still can’t believe it was Carl who took your winnings.  I thought it would’ve been you, or you, or you.”
    – “Maybe he had a reason to give you the ultimate screw over.”
    – “You don’t know where Carl is from?”
    – “Maybe if you talked less about guy stuff you’d know more about your so-called friend.” – She just repeats the crappy jokes as exposition in case anyone who was dozing missed them the first time.
  • Homer and Marge are discussing him going to Iceland (just in case anyone in the audience needed to be told a third time).  At first, it’s just the two of them.  And then, just like that, Bart and Lisa are sitting in their parents room . . . right until six seconds later when they aren’t.
  • Okay, “Hodor’s Travel Guide” is pretty good. 
  • Ooh, the exciting Sigur Ros background music scene!  That needed to be there.
  • Now comes the exciting foot chase component to the car chase we just sat through. 
  • They catch Carl, and are immediately transported to a restaurant without having discussed anything in the interim.  Seamless! 
  • Carl’s little soliloquy on friendship is about the third time they’ve discussed this so far.  It won’t be the last.
  • Um, are they on a bus now?
  • Yes, they are.  Also: more pointless montaging!  It was almost three minutes since the last one.
  • “I know Carl did you wrong, but is destroying something he cares that much about really going to make you feel good?”  It goes on like this.
  • Now it’s an exposition flashback.  Jebus, this episode is a mess.
  • Naturally, a learning Icelandic montage needed to be here. 
  • And now it’s multiple exposition flashbacks to finish the episode. 
  • “That’s for teaching me the true meaning of male friendship.”  Surprisingly enough, this is not an episode of the G.I. Joe cartoon from the 1980s.
  • And now you know not to use beer kegs as swimming pools . . . and knowing is half the battle.

Destination episodes sometimes provide a little humor here and there, if for no other reason than the writers finally have something to talk about that hasn’t already been done half a dozen times.  “The Saga of Carl” managed to nullify even that small advantage by making the whole thing about a drama-free discourse on friendship from four well known characters.  (And that’s before we get into the weird flashbacks.)  That’s a tough act to follow in terms of sheer Zombie Simpsons failure; let’s see if “Dangers on a Train” is up to the task:

  • And we open on a flashback to nine years ago when Bart is in a stroller and Homer has hair.  I continue to not care about inter-episode continuity too much, but this is atrocious.  They want to have the backdrop of Homer knocking Marge up accidentally, which we know happened in 1980, but change a bunch of other stuff.  It’s really disorienting. 
  • Flanders is there, because of course.
  • Okay, “Bikini Atoll” is pretty good.
  • I realize they have to set up the episode somehow, but is Marge really supposed to be unable to tell the word “Dolly” from the word “Sassy” when they’re in forty-point font in the middle of the screen?  (And she’s been to the site before?) 
  • So, Lovejoy is helping them because . . . what, the faulty database program that wrote this for them saw the word “train” on his character bio? 
  • I complain a lot about exposition that is useless at everything except killing time, but what else am I supposed to do with things like Homer saying this after he runs out of the kitchen away from Marge, “The surprise is safe.  The expression on her face will be priceless”?  We just fucking saw that! 
  • The phone rings, Marge answers it, and it’s Homer talking to Moe because they thought Marge didn’t have enough reason to continue talking with MacFarlane, or something?  It’s a twofer: it’s unnecessary and doesn’t make sense.
  • They can’t even have Homer talk to his brain without it breaking into screaming anymore.
  • Marge having coffee with MacFarlane is about the third time she’s shut down conversation with him and then immediately lapsed.  I sure enjoy watching someone repeat their actions over and over for twenty minutes. 
  • During their conversation, Marge mentions that her 11th anniversary coming up.  Head, please meet desk.  The opening titles told us, “Almost nine years ago . . .”, which introduced a scene showing their first anniversary.  That would make the current events their 10th anniversary since 9 + 1 = 10.  We’re not even halfway through this, so there’s no way those two things could be more than about fifteen pages apart in the script.  This is unconscionably lazy editing.  Two dozen professional writers are responsible for this script and have the better part of a year to work on it, and it contains the kind of sloppy mistake you’d expect on a high school paper that was begun a 3am the day it was due.  That’s amazing.
  • Honestly, I’m starting to think the exposition, especially Marge’s, is some kind of involuntary tic.  As soon as the obviously wealthy old lady comes on their slightly renamed Downton Abbey thing, they cut to Marge to say “The dowager grandmum!”.  People who watch that show obviously know who she is, and everyone else can figure out who she is by, you know, watching her.  This one barely even counts as filler since it was so short.  It makes no sense.
  • Does it count as fan service if they stop MacFarlane from singing?  Follow up question: whose fans?
  • “Do you think we’ll last twenty-five years?”  “Nothing should.”  Well, that was thoughtful.
  • Hey, look, they decided to have MacFarlane burst in at the end because the A-plot, even with all the exposition, fell woefully short of filling the prescribed runtime. 
  • And we end on two different dumbass musical numbers.

This episode is a prime example of why it’s not a good thing when the A-plot is barely B-plot in scope.  This is theoretically about Marge thinking about cheating on Homer with Peter Griffin, but every time we see Marge interact with MacFarlane, she shuts it out as inconceivable.  (Nevermind that just three seasons ago they had her all but fall in love with Flanders.)  So Marge’s story in this episode basically goes like this: Homer makes me mad, I’ll spend some time with this guy, I’ll never cheat (repeat 3-5x).  Her attraction to him doesn’t build on itself or deepen, it’s just the same damn thing over and over.

Meanwhile, Homer’s friends from Moe’s (and Reverend Lovejoy, because fuck it) are all working (apparently around the clock) on his big anniversary gift for her.  For a split second, when they cut to the train being demolished accidentally, I thought something might be happening.  Would Homer’s gift be destroyed and Marge’s suspicions about his forgetting get a little bit interesting?  Of course not!  The next time we see the train it’s all refurbished and good as new. 

So, this story has two potential points of conflict: Marge cheating, and Homer’s anniversary gift failing.  Neither one is ever seriously presented, and at the end – surprise, surprise – neither happens. 

If funny stuff was happening along the way, you could maybe overlook some of that.  Instead we get drawn out Downton Abbey scenes like “Bless it all, Polly, I love you.  And we shall be wed by Boxing Day Eve, aka Christmas”.  And the regular dialogue is no better, it’s godawful sitcom banter:

“Homey, I bet you’re wondering why I stayed on the computer until four am.”
“Hey, those Yelp reviews don’t write themselves.  Did you know a well placed one-star can destroy a mom and pop hardware in nothing flat?”

Nothing says sparkling writing like naturally flowing setup-punchline combos that end with mildly topical references!  It’s just like how me and my friends talk.

All told, both of these episodes have stories that don’t go anywhere and don’t make sense, feature wretched writing from start to finish, and seem to be comprised mostly of time wasting filler.  If nothing else, it’s a fitting send off for yet another forgettable season.


Quote of the Day

Lisa the Vegetarian10

“Are we there yet?” – Abe “Grampa” Simpson
“No.” – Homer Simpson
“Are we there yet?” – Abe “Grampa” Simpson
“No.” – Homer Simpson
“Are we there yet?” – Abe “Grampa” Simpson
“No.” – Homer Simpson
“Where are we going?” – Abe “Grampa” Simpson
“We’re going to Storytown Village, Grampa.  It’s an amusement park for babies.” – Lisa Simpson
“Oh, just leave me in the car with the window open a crack.” – Abe “Grampa” Simpson
“That’s the plan!” – Homer Simpson


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