Posts Tagged ‘Lisa’s Date with Density


Quote of the Day

“Now we just sit by the mailbox and watch the money roll in.” – Homer Simpson
“But you’re going to annoy thousands of people just make a few measly dollars. It’s nothing but panhandling!” – Marge Simpson
“Tele-panhandling.” – Homer Simpson


Quote of the Day

“You think this stolen H is a laugh riot, don’t you? Well, I’ll tell you something that’s not so funny! Right now, Superintendent Chalmers is at home crying like a little girl! . . . I guess it is a little funny.” – Principal Skinner


Quote of the Day

“Guess who likes you?” – Nelson Muntz
“Milhouse, I’m so sorry.” – Lisa Simpson
“He can’t hear you now. We had to pack his ears with gauze.” – EMT


Quote of the Day


“Holy jumping Caesar’s catfish! My H has been stolen! Oh, that’s how people know it’s a Honda! What’s the point of having a Honda if you can’t show it off?” – Superintendent Chalmers

Happy 20th Anniversary to “Lisa’s Date with Density”! Original airdate: 15 December 1996.


Quote of the Day

Lisa's Date with Density18

“And, should there be a request for an encore, we will reprise Pop Goes the Weasel. Otherwise, we will file out quietly.” – Mr. Largo

Happy birthday Danny Elfman! 


Quote of the Day

Lisa's Date with Density17

“You got anybody in mind for your next crush?” – Milhouse van Houten
“Well, I’m really not thinking about that now.  I suppose it could be almost anybody.” – Lisa Simpson
“Yes!” – Milhouse van Houten


Quote of the Day

Lisa's Date with Density16

“Lisa!  The cops are chasing me, I need a place to hide!” – Nelson Muntz
“Lisa’s window is the next one.” – Homer Simpson


Quote of the Day

Lisa's Date with Density15

“What do you feel?  What’s inside you right now?” – Lisa Simpson
“Guts.  And black stuff.  And about fifty Slim Jims.” – Nelson Muntz


Quote of the Day

Lisa's Date with Density14

“I’ve always admired car owners, and I hope to be one myself as soon as I finish paying off Mother.  She insists I pay her retroactively for the food I ate as a child.” – Principal Skinner
“Yeah, yeah, uh, unfortunate.  Well, Seymour, I make superintendent money, which amply covers both food and car.” – Superintendent Chalmers


Quote of the Day

Lisa's Date with Density13

“An automatic dialer?  Is that legal?  I don’t want you getting arrested, Homer.” – Marge Simpson
“I won’t.” – Homer Simpson
“Or swindling our neighbors.” – Marge Simpson
“Let me show you how it works.” – Homer Simpson


Quote of the Day

Lisa's Date with Density11

“Please don’t ruin this for me, Bart.  I think he’s starting to like me.” – Lisa Simpson
“Milhouse likes you.” – Bart Simpson
“Oh, please, Milhouse likes Vaseline on toast.” – Lisa Simpson


Quote of the Day

Lisa's Date with Density10

“I like you too, Milhouse, but not in that way.  You’re more like a big sister.” – Lisa Simpson
“No, I’m not.  Why does everybody keep saying that?” – Milhouse van Houten
“Would you do me a favor?  When you get back to class, just give him this note.” – Lisa Simpson
“Ohhh.” – Milhouse van Houten
“Please.” – Lisa Simpson
“When she sees you’ll do anything she says, she’s bound to respect you.” – Milhouse’s Brain
“Sure, what’s a big sister for?” – Milhouse van Houten

Happy birthday Pamela Hayden!


Quote of the Day

Lisa's Date with Density9

“Oh, man, you kissed a girl!” – Dolph
“That is so gay.” – Jimbo

Happy birthday Mike Scully!


Quote of the Day


“Wait a minute.  These are not sprinkles, sir.” – Apu Nahasapeemapetilon
“What do you mean?” – Homer Simpson
“You’ve clearly taken items from the candy rack and placed them on top of the donut in an attempt to pass them off as sprinkles.” – Apu Nahasapeemapetilon
“Well, it was like that when I got here, it really was!” – Homer Simpson
“A Mounds bar is not a sprinkle!  A Twizzler is not a sprinkle!  A Jolly Rancher is not a sprinkle, sir.  Perhaps in Shangri-la they are, but not here!” – Apu Nahasapeemapetilon


Compare & Contrast: Lisa’s Romances

Lisa's Date with Density8

“Well, I guess this is it.” – Lisa Simpson
“You mean, like, goodbye?” – Nelson Muntz
“Let’s just call it, smell you later.” – Lisa Simpson

Around the edges of “Lisa’s Date with Density” you can see the problems that, given a few years, would swoop in and eat the show from the inside out.  The emotions are a bit contrived in places, Nelson’s not quite the bully we know, and the plot has to cheat a few times to wrap itself up.  But in Season 8 those things are peripheral, the core of the story and the episode fit in with the place we know as Springfield and the characters who inhabit it.  Just as importantly, while there’s no denying that Lisa and Nelson are acting a bit more adolescent and less kid like than they should, there’s still a recognizable childishness and humanity to them that makes the story work.

Lisa doesn’t, for example, develop her crush on Nelson because of some cliched contrivance.  He doesn’t save her from something; nor does she glimpse him in a candid moment of tenderness when he thought no one was looking.  She just laughs at him being him, in this case tormenting Groundskeeper Willie.  This is one of those things that just works in The Simpsons.  We in the audience get to laugh at Groundskeeper Willie; Nelson (in detention) and Lisa (in band practice) are being themselves (and so are the other kids with their “x likes y” refrains); and the main story moves along without resorting to nonsense.

Lisa's Date with Density6

“And that’s how Willie waters.”

By contrast, in “The Daughter Also Rises” Zombie Simpsons employs a “meet cute”, one of the more hacktacular ideas ever to come out of the entertainment industry.  (It’s a concept so durably overused that it has its own article on TV Tropes and Wikipedia.)  That they call it a “meet cute” isn’t a joke, it’s just them describing what’s happening.  Where’s the joke in Lisa gushing and her new beau throwing a fork in the air?  Or their stilted flirting as they instantly anticipate a love for the ages?  There isn’t one, the whole thing is dead-eyed, paint-by-numbers crap.  Hollywood is littered with writers and actors who can do this scene in their sleep, because it’s not just a trope, it’s an adult trope for adult performers and adult characters.

Things just get worse from there.  Lisa and Nick go through three goofy set pieces, each one the same kind of sly, fake-clever horseshit.  First they’re at an outdoor cafe, where this supposed kid is looking all charming and suave in a gray suit.  Then they’re in a montage where they hang out a balcony, on top of a climbing wall, and Moe’s (of all places) as they go through a few vaguely Hemingway type situations.  And finally, Nick shows up at the Simpson home with a bottle of wine before he charms both Marge and Maggie (we’ll get to the after-dinner fiasco in a second).  None of these scenes make any sense for them as kids, for them as characters, or for Springfield as a location.


I think this kid’s dad is Andre from “Homer’s Triple Bypass”.

In Season 8, Lisa and Nelson go through a much more believable childhood flirtation.  Lisa likes Nelson despite herself, and Nelson eventually finds himself doing the same.  They don’t have that instant and nauseating sense of destiny that you get in formulaic romantic comedies.  Instead, we see them move through it believably, with Nelson initially just going with the flow while Lisa does the “getting to know you” stuff.  It’s funny because of what happens (the cat, “Nuke the Whales”, Milhouse getting brained), but it’s also genuinely plausible.  Nelson’s not exactly boyfriend material, and Lisa has a hard time seeing that her caring for him isn’t going to magically turn him into boyfriend material.  And none of it requires anyone to look right at the camera and say “meet cute” as a way to shrug their shoulders at mediocrity.

The endings work (or don’t) in similar ways.  After Nick (who I keep wanting to call Colin since he’s just as non-descript) comes over for dinner with his bottle of wine, impeccably tasteful suit, and robotically precise manners, he has nowhere to go as a character.  He’s confident, handsome, and oh so perfect, and all as (apparently) a little kid.  Which is why the next time we see him he’s a completely different person.

The Disappearing Colin

Left, At Lisa’s house (12:50); center, on screen but silent (16:40); right, next time he speaks (17:40).

After the scene in the family living room, he literally doesn’t say a word for two commercial breaks.  He does find himself in a senior shuttle with Lisa and Grampa, where – for the first time ever – he’s nervous and jerky.  What the hell happened?  It’s so out of the blue as to be disorienting.  The last thing he says at the Simpsons’ house is:

Nick: Mrs. Simpson, I’d like your permission to take your daughter to the Doritos Nutrition Fair at the school gym.

He’s still Mr. Smooth.  After he thanks Cletus, it’s this:

Nick: I don’t know, this water’s a little choppy.
Lisa: I thought you rode up the Zambezi without a guide.
Nick: Right.  Right.

After that he complains about her cold hands, that his lips are cold, and then just walks away because he’s suddenly sad.  This is supposed to be the same kid who confidently flirted with Lisa, took her lots of places, and aced the dreaded first meeting with her parents?   They could, of course, have shown us why this change came about.  They even had a chance to do it when he was sitting in the living room and Marge demanded that Lisa stop spending so much time with him.  That could’ve given him the jitters or something.  But, by longstanding Zombie Simpsons convention, he simply wasn’t in that scene even though he was sitting right there.  So not only do we get a kid who doesn’t make any sense when we first meet him, he manages to change into a completely different – but equally nonsensical – character before the end.

“Lisa’s Date with Density” doesn’t have anything remotely that clumsy.  On the contrary, Lisa and Nelson’s little relationship implodes when it becomes obvious to both of them that they aren’t right for each other.  Lisa can’t change Nelson completely and he’s not willing to change enough; so they part on good terms because that’s all there is to it.  It’s not the world’s most original idea, but it follows nicely both from who they are outside of this episode and how they act during this particular story.

Of course, I haven’t yet mentioned the elephant in the room, which is that in Season 8 it’s the first time we see Lisa really become involved with someone.  From all those Corys to the boy at the library to Langdon Alger, we know she develops the occasional childhood crush, but “Lisa’s Date with Density” was the first time we saw her go after someone.  It was also . . . drum roll please . . . her first kiss.

Lisa's Date with Density7

A moment with actual emotional relevance!  Careful, Zombie Simpsons might be allergic.

By Season 23, Lisa’s been through four or five relationships.  There was the time she fell in love with the environmentalist guy, there was the dude ranch thing, there was the movie, and I think I’m missing a couple.  So when she spouts hopelessly naive, romantic comedy gibberish like “The person you kiss under a mulberry tree is someone you’ll love for the rest of your life”, it falls even flatter than it otherwise would.  It’s a dumb statement to begin with, but it just doesn’t do coming from someone who used to be mature enough to let Ralph Wiggum down gently and have a successful breakup with Nelson Muntz.  “Smell you later”, on the other hand, is great.


Quote of the Day

Lisa's Date with Density5

“Well, most women will tell you that you’re a fool to think you can change a man.  But those women are quitters!” – Marge Simpson
“What?” – Lisa Simpson
“When I first met your father, he was loud, crude, and piggish.  But I worked hard on him, and now he’s a whole new person.” – Marge Simpson
“Mom?” – Lisa Simpson
“He’s a whole new person, Lisa.” – Marge Simpson
“Oh, I know.” – Lisa Simpson


Quote of the Day

Lisa's Date with Density4

“Then I’m sentencing you to one week of the lowest, most degrading work known to man: janitorial work!” – Principal Skinner
“Ah, I’m standing right here, sir.” – Groundskeeper Willie


Quote of the Day

Lisa's Date with Density3

“Well, looks like we put the kibosh on another two bit telephone swindle, boys.  Frankly, I would’ve expected better from Jimmy the Scumbag.” – Chief Wiggum


Reading Digest: Nobody Likes Zombie Simpsons Edition

Lisa's Date with Density2

“Nobody likes Milhouse!” – Mr. Largo

Most weeks I’m content if I find one link where someone mentions how much worse Zombie Simpsons is than The Simpsons.  This week I found four!  It was a good week for it too, because I had to ignore about thirty links to posts of the “Simpsons mentioned South Park . . . durrrr” variety.  There’s also a very old commercial for the show, more graffiti than the “Graffiti Edition”, real life Duff Beer, and a guy who looks like Dr. Nick. 


Rare Television Commercials – There are a number of neat, old timey commercials at the link, including this:

It’s remarkable what you can do with the rights to so much of 20th Century Fox’s back catalog.

B-Real Of Cypress Hill Talks Metalhead Roots, The Simpsons And Non-Medical Marijuana – There’s YouTube, and at the six minute mark the interviewer mentions their turn on the show and asks what the craziest thing they ever ordered was.  B-Real thinks it was crocodile meat in Brazil rather than the London Symphony Orchestra. 

Things I Love – I had trouble with the images here, but there is this:

2. Old Simpsons episodes

The quote’s off, but I don’t care.

Homer Simpson Postage Stamp Groom’s Cake – Click for a picture of a spectacular cake made to look like the Homer postage stamp. 

Nice try, Bart, but you miss the point…. – At least one other person thought Zombie Simpsons missed the point with their chalkboard thing.  It’s not quite the same take I had, but it’s in the same ballpark. 

more adventures in corporate Hollywood totally misunderstanding the Internet – I didn’t think the fake movie opening from last week’s episode was anything other than an excuse to use some terrible puns.  And it doesn’t surprise me that Zombie Simpsons failed to register the URL for their fake movie.  Doing that would indicate that they care in the least about the quality of what they do.   

Harrisburg’s Waste To Energy To Insolvency – Harrisburg, Pennsylvania would’ve been better off with a monorail.  (Bonus points for mentioning the escalator to nowhere.) 

The Simpsons Street Art – Graffiti Comes To Life – I know the graffiti edition was last week, but here’s a bunch of cool images anyway.  I particularly like the chalkboard one that says “I must not copy what I see on the Simpsons”.

Yellow? – A list of ten awesome things that are yellow.  Simpsons is on here, right next to “The Magic School Bus”, man, I loved that book.  There’s also a list of ten bad yellow things.

Top 10 Musical Episodes: ‘Buffy,’ ‘Scrubs,’ ‘The Simpsons’ and More! – I haven’t seen most of the episodes on this list, but if you’re picking musical episodes, why ring in with the awesome but relatively brief musical number from the otherwise non-musical “A Fish Called Selma” when “Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(Annoyed Grunt)cious” was all awesome musical numbers?

Conchords land Simpson’s gig! – The guys from “Flight of the Conchords” will be guest starring on Zombie Simpsons.  Enh.

Found footage: Are you ready to get DUFFED? – More Duff beer spotted in the wild.  This time it’s in Germany. 

You suffer, because Hans Moleman suffers. – Short and funny YouTube, accompanied by this excellent sentiment:

I am a huge Simpsons fan (well, all but that shite they call the Simpsons nowadays)

That’s two!  Everyone hates Zombie Simpsons! 

Psych Guy (Raj Sen) From Grey’s Anatomy Totally Looks Like Dr. Nick Riviera – He does. 

Some bits and bobs – This is a YouTube of all the Simpsons couch gags (seemingly in order):

At about the 2:00 minute mark you can see them getting much longer and more elaborate, and it goes downhill from there. 

Top TV Couples – Many TV couples with lots of YouTube.  Homer and Marge are at the bottom.

Phil Hartmann considered for Canadian Walk of Fame – I mentioned this on Twitter, but it deserves as wide an audience as it can get.  Here’s the Facebook page, and here’s the nomination form.  Deadline is today. 

It’s Like the C. Montgomery Burns Chair in Business Administration – The University of Missouri has an economics position named after Ken Lay, and other embarrassing tidbits. 

Brand NEW Bart Simpson Mug ‘The I Didn’t Do It’ Boy – An Irish eBay listed for Mugs calling Bart the “I Didn’t Do It” Boy.  Worth clicking for the image. 

Where did The Simpsons go wrong. – Now to finish off with two more people who agree with us.  First:

So I guess what I really hate is the inconsequential nature of later seasons.  But wait, I also hate the shallow character development (Think: sober Barney, married father Apu).  So I’m left just a confused as I was before.

Preach it brother!  There are more of us than you know.

The Declining Quality of Animation on FOX – And second:

What can I say that hasn’t already been said ever since Principal Skinner was outed by Martin Sheen as an impostor. The quality of the show has clearly fallen since the heady days of the 90s and some people have been actively campaigning for the show’s cancellation in recent times (shoutout to the Dead Homers Society).

While it is clear that the show will be around for a wee while yet, it is unclear just how much farther it can fall. For example, last Sunday night’s episode was about a beached whale and not much else. If it wasn’t for the combination of a thunderstorm and some ice-cream, I may well have nodded off.

The Simpsons continues to hobble along being a mere ghost of it’s former self.

Co-sign and shoutout back to Animation Anomaly. 


Crazy Noises: Lisa’s Date with Density

Lisa's Date with Density1

“‘Nuke the Whales’?  You don’t really believe that, do you?” – Lisa Simpson

“I dunno, gotta nuke something.” – Nelson Muntz

In an attempt to fill the summer with love, hate and pointless Simpsons commentary we at the Dead Homer Society are going to spend some time overthinking Season 8.  Why Season 8?  Because Season 8 is when The Simpsons really began to deteriorate into Zombie Simpsons.  That’s why.  Because we’re cutting edge and ultra-modern we’re using a newfangled, information-superhighway fad called a “chatroom” to conduct our conversation.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (especially on “Skittle-brau”).

Today’s episode is 807, “Lisa’s Date with Density“, and we’ll be back tomorrow with 808, “Hurricane Neddy“.

Mad Jon: I saw “Walk the Line” there a few years back. Stupid Phoenix brothers.

One’s dead and the other should probably be dead, although I hear he is retiring from making films to ahem focus on his music career. Dogstar you better watch your step!

Charlie Sweatpants: Hehe, feel like channeling any of that rage towards Lisa’s Date with Density?

Mad Jon: oh sure

Dave: heh

Charlie Sweatpants: Any initial thoughts on the whole Lisa gets a crush on Nelson thing?

Mad Jon: It’s a character growth episode. And for that matter it is sort of an secondary character growth episode, so it’s got one strike from the get go

Charlie Sweatpants: I’m probably going to sound like a broken record before we get through all of Season 8, but again this struck me as a very TVish plot.

Good girl falls for the bad boy who actually has a sweet side, learns a lesson about life and love and then everything goes back to normal. It felt like every 80s and 90s family sitcom had an episode like that.

Mad Jon: Your observation is valid

Dave: the setup was completely contrived – and then we got 15 minutes of a formulaic relationship

bingo, Charlie

Charlie Sweatpants: And normally when the Simpsons did something like that they would undermine it, here they just play it straight ahead.

Mad Jon: yep, but I feel the pre-plot part of the episode was pretty funny

Dave: it was not without its charm, I admit. also, we got “smell you later” from this episode

Mad Jon: I always love a quick banter with Supernintendo Chalmers

Charlie Sweatpants: Skittle-brau is hilarious.

Dave: did I ever send you guys the link to skittles-infused vodka?

it instantly made me think of Skittle-brau

Mad Jon: Probably, but I drink

“I’m troubled”

Charlie Sweatpants: Oh wait, nevermind, this isn’t the Skittle-brau episode, this is the one where Homer puts the candy on the donut.

Mad Jon: A jolly rancher is not a sprinkle sir

Dave: maybe in Shangri-la it is

Charlie Sweatpants: That’s what I was thinking of.

Though it’s a good example of Season 8 level comedy, where many if not most of the individual gags are still funny and it’s the main plot that just disappoints and eats time.

Think of all the clock that gets wasted by Lisa and Nelson’s awkward bonding.

Mad Jon: My wife and I were arguing about the sub-plot. She thinks it is was pretty good, and I would agree except it is kind of like watching an alcoholic in the beginning stages. I can see Homer progressing from stupid, drunk and irresponsible to just stupid and invincible, but I know it gets much, much worse

Charlie Sweatpants: You mean the auto-dialer thing?

Mad Jon: Yeah

That being said I might be pre-judging him as I have had to watch so much Zombie Simpsons lately

Dave: I think I enjoyed the b-plot more than the main plot. I agree Mrs. Jon – it was decently solid

Mad Jon: Although it does provide the awesome soliloquy from Chief Wiggum.

Charlie Sweatpants: I’ve always been kinda +/- on that one. It’s got its moments, but you’re right that it so heavily foreshadows the rampant criminal Homer is going to become that it takes some of the joy out of it.

Telemarketing scam is just a little too close to phony kidnapping. And we all know how that turned out.

Mad Jon: Yes. I do however like that in the message he asks if they want to look as happy as he does.

Dave: I see your point, but I enjoy it for what it is. If I think of it as foreshadowing, then yes, it’s an infinitely worse representation of homer

maybe we should start charging a dollar for DHS

Charlie Sweatpants: Good one, Dave.

Mad Jon: it reminds me of the forfty percent quote

Charlie Sweatpants: How so?

Mad Jon: Because its one of those little things he says or does that most people wouldn’t notice that points out the stupidity of what he is saying or doing with out going overboard. I mean he says “Do you wish to look as happy as me…” in a phone message.

Charlie Sweatpants: I could see that, comedy that doesn’t explain itself.

Mad Jon: I know it doesn’t exactly relate but I was just saying it reminds me of that.

Charlie Sweatpants: I guess I’m down on the b-plot because, and this is very much a recurring theme in Season 8, these were the episodes when the spell of Simpsons was really broken for me.

There was just no way to defend them as being of the same quality as what had come before and so it bums me out, even though it has things like “Nuke the Whales” which are hilarious.

Mad Jon: How much time did homer spend at the plant? not much. He was too busy being stupid on some stupid thing he decided would change his life forever.

Charlie Sweatpants: Yup.

Dave: the nuke the whales bit is classic

Mad Jon: Still, I can see some parts that would have been much much worse if it were 10 seasons later.

Charlie Sweatpants: Most definitely. Milhouse getting beaten up springs to mind.

Dave: yes – that was handled rather gracefully

Mad Jon: side note- I never noticed the “nuke the arabs and take their oil” sticker until yesterday

Charlie Sweatpants: Eerily prescient, isn’t it?

Mad Jon: I also feel that Nelson throwing the beehive would have been much different.

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, that would’ve gone on a lot longer.

Mad Jon: I always laugh out loud when I see Nelson swinging the rake, but nowadays Homer would have showed up to pick Lisa up or something and accidently walked in front of said hive which would lead to 24 seconds of screaming and random bumping into things.

Charlie Sweatpants: Any final parts that stand out as highs or lows?

Mad Jon: The lunch room scene with Lisa and Milhouse

“Why does everyone keep saying that?!?”

Dave: the word “crumb-bum”

Charlie Sweatpants: For a high I’ve gotta go with Marge and Lisa in the car, as Marge is trying to explain to Lisa that she can change a man and Lisa sees that Marge is really just in denial.

Mad Jon: that is funny

Dave: very funny

Charlie Sweatpants: For a low it’s easy: Lisa putting the cat in the basket. It’s awkward, it has no jokes and it goes on and on.

“Crumb-bum” is a very good word for an angry man who can’t bring himself to swear.

Mad Jon: I like when Willy takes a crowbar to the locker, and then it pans out across all the lockers having been pried open

Dave: one out of character moment that was a high for me was one of the bullies screaming “charlatan”

Charlie Sweatpants: As they’re walking away? Yeah, it has that winking at the audience for no reason feel to it.

Dave: exactly, the audio equivalent of a blink and you’ll miss it sight gag

Charlie Sweatpants: Anything else, or are we ready to move on?

Mad Jon: Yeah, I’m done with that. It was an episode that meant well, but the whole life lesson thing for Lisa and Nelson really did keep the random humor at bay.

Dave: I’d sum it up as well-intentioned, but ultimately soulless

Mad Jon: I wouldn’t turn it off, unless it ate crackers in bed.

Tune in tomorrow for the, uh, thrilling conclusion of this high minded and totally not pointless discussion.


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