Posts Tagged ‘Summer of 4 Ft. 2


Quote of the Day

“My Dad’s all stoked cause today’s the ‘Fourth of July’. He woke me up at dawn to take a loyalty oath.” – Sarcastic Cool Kid


Makeup Quote of the Day

“It must be exciting to make a different set of beds.” – Lisa Simpson
“I know you’re joking…but it is!” – Marge Simpson


Quote of the Day

“Any red blooded, flag feeling American would love the M-320. Celebrate the Independence of your nation by blowing up a small part of it.” – Not Apu
“Alright.” – Homer Simpson


Quote of the Day

“Mom, I’m gonna tighten Milhouse’s straps. He’s fidgeting again.” – Bart Simpson


Monday Evening Cartoons


“Hey, Lisa! Make friends with this!” – Bart Simpson
“Hey! . . . Help! . . . Help!” – Milhouse van Houten

I just finished my traditional Fourth of July watching of “Summer of 4Ft 2”, and I wanted to note just how awful it is when Milhouse gets spat on in that spinning ride. He takes a lot of abuse in this episode (even by his standards), and this might be the worst part. It’s Milhouse at his most Milhouse: caught up in other people’s problems and helpless to do anything but suffer horribly for it.

When the episode cuts back to the outside shot and all we can hear is him screaming “Help!”, it’s a testament to Pamela Hayden’s delivery that it’s both blood curdling and hilarious. He’s in agony, but since he’s Milhouse, there’s nothing he can do but take it. On a lesser show it would be uncomfortable, here it’s so perfectly in character that it can only be funny.


(Sorry about the lack of Reading Digest’s lately. As many of you probably guessed, my stupid real job is once again sucking up all my free time and productivity. Oh, and happy 4th of July!)


Quote of the Day

“Hey, Bart, summer’s almost here. Which kind of sprinkler do you like? The one that goes like this…


Or the one that goes like this…


Oh, and there’s this one!” – Milhouse van Houten



Bonus Quote of the Day


“Wel-diddily-elcome, Simpsons. Oh, jeeze, he actually wrote diddily.” – Homer Simpson
“That was thoughtful.” – Marge Simpson
“I left a few helpful notes around the house.” – Homer Simpson

Happy 20th Anniversary to “Summer of 4 Ft. 2”! Original airdate 19 May 1996.


Quote of the Day

Summer of 4 Ft 2(16)

“When the hell are we gonna get to . . . where the hell are we going?” – Bart Simpson
“It’s called Little Pwagmattasquarmsettport, it’s known as America’s Scrod Basket.” – Marge Simpson
“I thought Springfield was America’s Scrod Basket.” – Bart Simpson
“No, Springfield is America’s Crud Bucket, at least according to Newsweek.” – Marge Simpson


Compare & Contrast: Homer and 4th of July Fireworks Disasters

Summer of 4 Ft 2(15)

“This baby’s sure to kill something!” – Homer Simpson

There is little doubt that a man who famously likes his beer cold, his teevee loud, and his homosexuals flaming, is a big fan of the thundering light show that is Fourth of July fireworks.  Of course, Homer is also the exact opposite person who should ever actually be involved with them.  He is thoughtless, careless and impulsive, and those are not traits that mix well with gunpowder.  In “The Yellow Badge of Cowardage”, Zombie Simpsons played with that combustible mixture and blew itself up.  In “Summer of 4 Ft. 2”, The Simpsons used the same ingredients to put on a masterful display.

To see the difference between that crowd pleasing spectacle and the kind of disaster that makes people run away screaming, there’s only really two things we need to consider: 1) getting the fireworks and 2) using them.  For the first, Zombie Simpsons makes things easy because they barely bother to show us anything.  Homer and Not Don Vittorio initially go to Cletus’s farm (why? who cares?) where they fail to buy anything.  The very next scene with the two of them is this:

Homer: Okay, let’s make some fireworks.


Uh, I guess they found some?

There’s no explanation of where it came from or how they got it, and certainly not because of time constraints.  After this we get the interminable and mechanically narrated “drive around with gunpowder” scene, which is nothing but the two of them telling us what they’re about to do and then doing it: cobblestone streets, a rickety bridge, gaslights . . . it just keeps going.  So not only did they skip over something important, but they did so with forty-five seconds of filler.

Compare that to Homer’s immortal attempt to act casual like he buys illegal fireworks all the time.  Text is a weak excuse for Castellaneta’s exquisite delivery, and can never hope to reproduce that blithely misplaced confidence that he’s being smooth, but here it is anyway:

Homer: Hi, um, let me have one of those porno magazines, large box of condoms, bottle of Old Harper, couple of those panty shields, and some illegal fireworks . . . and one of those disposable enemas.  Nah, make it two.

This is lunatic insanity of the absolute best kind.  Homer is precisely himself: clueless and utterly incompetent.  The items he thinks are innocuous are the kind of thing that might get a real convenience store owner to tip the police off to this weirdo in his store.  Better yet, the Apu stand-in doesn’t even flinch, calmly explaining that he has no fireworks right up until the coast is clear, whereupon he instantly takes Homer back to his storeroom/arsenal:

Summer of 4 Ft 2(14)

Hey, look, multiple sign gags in just one shot.  I’m particularly fond of “Tang Tse Doodle”.

Once there we get to the M-320 (“Celebrate the independence of your nation by blowing up a small part of it.”) and Homer’s quick and happy response: “Alright”. Coincidentally, the entire scene, from the time Homer walks into the store until he purchases the M-320, takes almost exactly the same amount of time as the pointless gunpowder driving scene in “The Yellow Badge of Cowardage”.  This is the entirety of the dialogue from that fiasco:

Not Don Vittorio: Now drive slowly and carefully to my workshop.  It’s in the cobblestone district.
Homer: Oh, thank God, a rickety bridge.
Not Don Vittorio: Don’t worry, we’ll be safe in the gaslamp district.

That’s it.  In the time The Simpsons showed us Homer’s hilariously moronic attempt to be smooth and gave the world the M-320, Zombie Simpsons managed three lines of hapless exposition. The comparison doesn’t get any better for Zombie Simpsons when we move along to the actual using of the fireworks.

Befitting the sudden nonsense that got Homer and Not Don Vittorio the gunpowder in the first place, we see the two of them get into an argument on the fireworks barge over whether July 2nd or July 4th is the right day to celebrate.  The barge then instantly tilts over somehow and points its fireworks at the crowd. This is yet another example of the complete apathy Zombie Simpsons has for even the tiniest bit of story cohesion.  Not Don Vittorio is supposed to be a retired fireworks expert, so it’s not like it would’ve been hard for him to have shown just a little impatience with Homer leading up to this part.  Instead, the two of them just start battling it out over nothing with no warning whatsoever.

Compounding matters, the barge they’re on manages to (again with no warning, no foreshadowing, no nothing) conveniently tip over in way that barges like that are physically incapable of doing.  It’s one thing to have a rubber band reality where things can be stretched a bit from what physics allows here in the real world.  It’s quite another to toss weird, unexpected and just plain stupid events into scenes because you need to cut a very big corner.  This particular one is even worse than usual because this odd break with the audience’s expectations is immediately followed by people screaming in fear, as if we’re meant to take the danger posed by the fireworks seriously.


Somehow it manages to stay like this, and we’re supposed to be worried.

You can have physically impossible craziness, or you can have serious physical danger; you can’t have both.  The Simpsons, of course, understood that, and that understanding is crucial to making Homer’s disastrous attempt to light the M-320 pitch perfect.

Having purchased all of his fake items anyway despite not needing or wanting them (because he really is that dumb), Homer heads back to the Flanderses beach house, excited to play with his new toy.  Bart not having any matches, Homer heads into the kitchen for another scene that cannot be described in text.  What’s important to remember is that from the time he lights the middle of the fuse all the way through his casually walking away from the grotesque, brackish sewage that comes burbling up from the sink, there’s never any attempt to treat the danger seriously. Instead, we’re treated to Homer’s panic:


A .gif, is a poor imitation, I know, but you get the idea. 

There’s no attempt to make this serious, it’s just pure, uncut fun.  And while Homer is scared, he’s still Homer; so he’s willing to risk life and limb to save the beer once he realizes it’s in the fridge with his gargantuan firecracker.  Having destroyed the dishwasher and trashed the kitchen, he calmly walks away.  After all, it was like that when he got there.  (And, of course, the episode later shows them using broken dishes and Marge cleaning up Homer’s mess, because unlike on Zombie Simpsons, events on The Simpsons are actually connected to one another.)

In “The Yellow Badge of Cowardage”, Bart eventually saves the day by driving a bus in front of the fireworks Homer and Not Don Vittorio have managed to fire at the crowd.  It’s a cheap ending for the same reason so many of the stories on Zombie Simpsons are cheap: it comes out of nowhere.  Bart conveniently sees the bus, conveniently finds the keys, conveniently drags Milhouse (who’s supposedly furious with him) along, and conveniently wraps everything up with some more of their oh, so helpful exposition.

Homer’s fireworks disaster wasn’t his own doing, it was just a thing that happened because the story needed to be wrapped up.  It was dumb; it was weird; and it was ultimately hollow since the Homer we know and love, the doofus who adores fireworks but it far too dimwitted to know how to use them, didn’t have anything to do with it.  By contrast, the Homer who destroys his neighbor’s kitchen and leaves his wife an unholy mess to clean is the destructive but malice free idiot who can make us laugh with nothing more than a frantic flailing of his limbs.


Quote of the Day

Summer of 4 Ft 2(13)

“Put food in me.” – Marge Simpson
“I’ll take that.” – Homer Simpson


Wednesday Morning Cartoons

Summer of 4 Ft 2(12)

“And, so, as Abraham Lincoln sat in Ford’s Theater that night, John Wilkes Booth entered, drew his gun, and- . . . well, that’s it.  Have a nice summer everyone.” – Miss Hoover
“But what happened in Ford’s Theater?” – Kid
“Was President Lincoln okay?” – Ralph Wiggum
“He was fine . . . go home, Ralph.” – Miss Hoover

This episode is a Fourth of July favorite for a lot of reasons, but there is a certain bittersweet feeling to it.  This is the show near it’s end; so while it’s great, you know it doesn’t have much time left.  Take, for example, Skinner wanting Bart to sign his yearbook.  The whole joke here is that Bart is popular and Lisa isn’t. 

However, I can’t help but see this scene as a precursor to Homer’s “Would you like to see my Grammy award?” scene with Grimes in “Homer’s Enemy”.  Bart being popular, Skinner being in awe of him, these are serious character developments.  They work here as one-time-use developments because the only full-on Skinner episode left before the smoking rubble that is “The Principal and the Pauper” is “Grade School Confidential”, where Skinner falls in love for the second time.  At this point, through one hundred and fifty-three (153!) episodes, Skinner has been completely used as a plausible human being, so why not have him do something out of character like beg Bart for a personalized greeting? 

This is the show still on that amazing plateau of quality that starts with “Bart Gets and F”.  Who else could have come up with a “porno magazine” called American Breast Enthusiast?  But the terrible plummet is right around the corner, and you can’t help but see that in scenes like Skinner lying to Bart over something as trivial as a yearbook signature.  This story doesn’t have a happy ending.

[Note: This would’ve been up in the actual morning, but Comcast is as technically incompetent as they are ethically repugnant.  All together now: Fuck Comcast.] 


Quote of the Day

Summer of 4 Ft 2(11)

“Okay, okay, okay, not your fault, it’s a bird thing.  You don’t control the birds.  You will someday, but not now.” – Lisa Simpson


Quote of the Day

Summer of 4 Ft 2(10)

“Friends?  Ha!  These are my only friends, grown up nerds like Gore Vidal, and even he’s kissed more boys than I ever will.” – Lisa Simpson
“Girls, Lisa, boys kiss girls.” – Marge Simpson


Season 7 Sunsets: Has Anyone Else Noticed This?

Summer of 4 Ft 2(9)

“Well, get a last look at the beautiful ocean scenery, kids.” – Homer Simpson

A few weeks ago I noticed something peculiar about Season 7: half the episodes end with a sunset or something similar, often with someone heading off into it.  As near as I can tell, it’s not like that in any other season.  Even Season 8, which was run and written by most of the same people as Season 7, features a more typically random assortment of endings.  These are the endings of the Season 7 episodes that were done under Oakley and Weinstein:

Radioactive Man – Movie safely back in Hollywood.
Home Sweet Homediddly-Dum-Doodily – The family walks into the sunset.
Bart Sells His Soul – Bart and his soul row into a sunset like gleaming emerald city.
Lisa the Vegetarian – Homer and Lisa walk into the sunset.
Treehouse of Horror VI – Erotic cakes.
King-Size Homer – Homer doing sit ups at night.
Mother Simpson – Homer watches his mom drive into the sunset.
Sideshow Bob’s Last Gleaming – The ending happens at sunset (which Grampa drives off into). 
The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular – Hard core nudity!
Marge Be Not Proud – Marge and Bart hugging.
Team Homer – Homer stealing the bowling trophy.
Two Bad Neighbors – Gerald Ford and Homer walk off to Ford’s house . . . at sunset.
Scenes From the Class Struggle in Springfield – Family eating at Krusty Burger.
Bart the Fink – Krusty, Bart and Lisa walk along the beach at sunset.
Lisa the Iconoclast – Homer marching in the parade.
Homer the Smithers – Family eating Smithers’ gift basket.
The Day the Violence Died – Bart staring down Lester.
A Fish Called Selma – Selma walking into a moonrise. 
Bart on the Road – Homer giggling in bed as Marge keeps getting weird phone calls.
22 Short Films About Springfield – Frink complaining.
Raging Abe Simpson and His Grumbling Grandson in "The Curse of the Flying Hellfish" – German guy drives into the sunrise.
Much Apu About Nothing – Willie is deported.
Homerpalooza – Family in the car discussing being cool.
Summer of 4 Ft. 2 – Crab with Homer’s Buzz can walks off into the sunset.

Now, look at this:

Season 7 Sunsets

There are twenty-three Oakley & Weinstein episodes in Season 7, and that’s ten of them.  Now, as tempting as it is to work this into a metaphor about the sunset of the show’s good years, I don’t think there’s anything profound or insightful here.  I have no idea if it was intentional, and it wouldn’t surprise me if they didn’t even notice they were doing it at the time.  But when you line them all up like that, and all those sunsets are staring you in the face, it does seem like they were on a bit of a theme. 

I’m just curious as to whether or not anyone’s ever noticed that before.  I’ve been watching these episodes for years and years and never put it together before now.


Quote of the Day

Summer of 4 Ft 2(8)

“This is the worst Fourth of July ever!  I hate America.” – Bart Simpson


Quote of the Day

Summer of 4 Ft 2(7)

“School’s out, up yours Krabappel!” – Milhouse van Houten

No new Zombie Simpsons for at least four months!  Viva summer vacation! 


Reading Digest: Retrospective Edition

Summer of 4 Ft 2(6)

“Ah, the reward for a year’s worth of toil and sacrifice: Retrospecticus.” – Lisa Simpson 

It being the end of the year and all, people are taking stock and looking back.  This week that includes one long generalize look back at the show and two people who did what I did and looked back at “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire”.  In addition to that we’ve got lots of usage, retrospectives on other Christmas specials, David Silverman’s New Year’s card, old t-shirts, and a couple of people finding inner peace through The Simpsons.


Review of Daft Puck’s album Tron: Legacy Original Soundtrack released through EMI – It opens with excellent usage in the form of a paraphrase of Milhouse:

They started out like Romeo and Juliet, but it ended up in tragedy.

Ralphie Parker vs. Ralph Wiggum – Comparing the Ralphs from “A Christmas Story” and The Simpsons

I start to see The Simpsons – A guy from northern Iran is just getting started with The Simpsons.  This is awesome:

I knew that this cartoon may have copy right but something that you might knew that is in my country we don’t have any sales with this products and the other side we don’t have lows for stop the copyright brokers. So to this time I download 3 seasons of Simpsons but see 4 episode of it and I can tell you that were amazing and I enjoy it and tell you that you might see it!

Cheers to Amin in Iran.

2. The Simpsons – A well written retrospective that doesn’t dance around the sad existence of Zombie Simpsons. 


A fantastic quote from an otherwise sub-par episode.

Whats hot on the street: Vintage Black Bart Simpson t-shirts – Sweet old Simpsons t-shirts.  In the irony department, the only one actually being worn appears to be on a white guy. 

My Favorite Movie – Animated .gif of man getting hit by football. 

Week 21 Review: The Satisfaction of Pop-Culture Exegesis, or The Unexamined Simpsons Episode is Not Worth Watching – An examination of “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire”, including an in depth examination of Lisa’s gentle but thorough evisceration of Patty for thoughtlessly bashing Homer:

And then the way that Aunt Patty dismisses Lisa is compelling to me. She pauses, considers what Lisa just said, and then just tells her to watch her cartoon. Does she do this because she feels embarrassed that she’s been called out by her niece? Does she not fully understand what Lisa’s just said? Or perhaps she’s just decided she’d rather not think too deeply about the implications of Lisa’s statements?

If I may take a stab at answering that, I’ve always loved Patty’s dismissal of Lisa.  The Simpsons had that wonderful anti-authority streak to it, and this is just one of the many subtle forms it takes.  Even though Lisa won the argument hands down, Patty, by dint of her senior position in the family pecking order, is able to just blow her off.  The kid is right, but the adult wins. 

My Favourite Christmas TV Specials – Our old friend Charles at Animation Anomaly takes a look some Matt Groening Christmas specials. 

Excellent – Adorable picture of an infant doing the Mr. Burns thing with his/her fingers.  There’s even excellent usage beneath it. 

Simpsons Wedding Cake – A sweet Simpsons cake complete with excellent usage from “Secrets of a Successful Marriage”. 

Simpson cupcake set – Fredy – Pretty much what it says, Simpsons cupcakes. 

Yes, I AM making fun of The Simpsons. – An eight pane comic that ends with Lisa’s nightmare future from “Lisa the Simpson”. 

So this is the New Year… – Welcoming the new year with a sense of inner calm thanks to the meditative effect of a ten minute YouTube video of “Dental Plan-Lisa Needs Braces”. 

No More Emotional Pink Bellies – Vowing not to beat oneself up because, as Bart says, “That belly ain’t gonna get any pinker.” 

David Silverman – Simpson alum David Silverman’s New Year’s card for this year. 

25 Days of Christmas Episodes Day 16: The Simpsons – “Simpsons Roasting on an Open fire” – Another long look at the first episode.  It’s worth reading in full, but I’m going to end with this:

The problem with writing about The Simpsons is that there’s so much to say. Despite its current state as a shell of its former self, this is a show that sustained a level of brilliance for a length of time that I don’t think has ever been achieved before in this medium.

Damn right.


Quote of the Day

Summer of 4 Ft 2(5)

“Somebody’s traveling light.” – Homer Simpson
“Meh.  Maybe you’re getting stronger.” – Lisa Simpson
“Well, I have been eating more.” – Homer Simpson


Quote of the Day

Summer of 4 Ft 2(4)

“Aww, a gift from my favorite crustacean.” – Lisa Simpson
“Um, did you learn that word from a teacher or something?” – Beach Kid
“No.  No, I heard it on Baywatch.” – Lisa Simpson


Quote of the Day

Summer of 4 Ft 2(3)

“Who died and made you boss?” – Nelson Muntz
“Mr. Estes, the publications advisor.” – Lisa Simpson


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