Posts Tagged ‘The Front


Quote of the Day

“Hey, Mel, bring me another nicotine patch! Uh, I think there’s some space on my butt.” – Krusty the Klown


Makeup Quote of the Day

“It’s so sad that Krusty is ashamed of his roots.” – Lisa Simpson
“Marge, it happened again.” – Homer Simpson
“What are you gonna change your name to when you grow up?” – Bart Simpson
“Lois Sandborne.” – Lisa Simpson
“Steve Bennett.” – Bart Simpson


Quote of the Day

“Hello, Dondelinger.” – Old Homer Simpson
“Simpson, is that a plunger stuck on your head?” – Old Dondelinger
“D’oh!” – Old Homer Simpson


Makeup Quote of the Day Part Deux

“Third notice . . . Final notice . . . Some guys are coming?” – Marge Simpson


Quote of the Day

“Welcome to Remedial Science 1A. My wife recently passed away, I thought teaching might ease my loneliness.” – Dondelinger
“Will this be on the test?” – Homer Simpson
“No!” – Dondelinger
“Oh.” – Homer Simpson


Quote of the Day

The Front17

“Hello, Principal Dondelinger.” – Marge Simpson
“Oh, Marge Bouvier, it’s so good to see you. Sorry, sir, we’re not letting vagrants sleep in the gym tonight. But we will be putting some scraps by the back door.” – Principal Dondelinger


Quote of the Day


“So, this patch steadily releases nicotine into my body, eliminating my need for cigarettes!” – Krusty the Klown


Quote of the Day

The Front16

“Maybe he just didn’t take us seriously cause we’re kids.  Let’s put a grown-up’s name on it.” – Lisa Simpson
“How about Grampa?  He’s pretty out of it.  He let those guys use his checkbook for a whole year.” – Bart Simpson


So Long, Sam Simon


“You’re a comedy writer?  My God, you’re so old!” – Roger Meyers Jr.
“I want my check!” – Abe “Grampa” Simpson
“Haha, you’re a writer alright!” – Roger Meyers Jr.

Sam Simon, one of the three godfathers of The Simpsons, died today at the age of 59.  It was almost exactly two years ago that he announced that he had been diagnosed with cancer, and from that moment until his death today he handled it with grace, generosity, and, befitting Simon, a lot of humor.  They gave him three-to-six months; he lasted nearly two and a half years, laughing about it all the way.

The tributes to him are pouring in from people who knew him and those who just knew his work.  I’ll only say this, the show he did so much to create treated life and death with a mirthful contempt that resonated with hundreds of millions of people throughout the world.  He’s gone, but he’ll still be making people smile for a long time to come.

Sayonara, Sam.


Reading Digest: High School Matt Groening Edition

The Front15
“Ah, my high school yearbook.  You handsome devil . . . ‘I can’t believe I ate the whole thing’.” – Homer Simpsonr
This week we’ve got two links to pictures of Groening, one from just a few years ago, and one from way back when he was a squeaky voiced teen.  In addition to that, we’ve got a lot of cool YouTube this week (including a couple of clever Simpsons/Lego ones), some excellent usage, a couple of good lists, and a True Detective/Simpsons drawing from a kid.
A tale of two Springfields – Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week is this article about a bar that may or may not be the inspiration for Moe’s.  The link is worth the click just for the gawky pictures of high school Matt Groening.  
LEGO® CUUSOO | The Simpsons | Kwik-E-Mart – Cool fan made Kwik-E-Mart, complete with squishee machine.
Simpsons: Evil Monk – This is a site with a bunch of comics that updates daily.  There are a lot of Simpsons ones, and the McBain part at the link is quite funny.
The Simpsons’ Couch Gag in Lego Form | Graphic Policy – It’s the opening with heads and bodies mismatched from the Lego movie and the Simpsons Lego set.  Cool:
Lego The Simpsons Short Film 60 Subscribers Special – On a similar theme, this came from our old friend Friz:
It could use better audio clip selection (happy to help!), but if they made a longer one I’d probably watch it. Video: St. Judes Recreate Classic Simpsons Moment – While I’m embedding YouTube videos, here’s some Irish people doing a hell of a live-action recreation of the garbage man song:
Watch This: ‘The Simpsons’ Couch Gag à la Française – Those episodes this week were awful, but the Chomet opening was pretty cool.
Couple of good .gifs, too.
The 8 Best Simpsons References In Hip-Hop – Fantastic list with a lot of great rhymes, especially the song at #1.
Harriet M. Welsch, Scout Finch, and How to Be a Good Bad American Girl – Excellent references in The New Yorker about Lisa invoking both To Kill a Mockingbird and Harriet the Spy as meta-invocation of American girlhood.
The Simpsons: Krabappel of my eye – A nice encomium for Marcia Wallace.

When it comes to sourcing our security software, the great analyst Marge Simpson was right: “We can’t afford to shop at any store that has a philosophy” — whether that philosophy is about being designed by Apple in California, or many eyes, or freedom, or whatever hand-waving feelpinions people might proffer.
No, we don’t need a philosophy so much as need need science — or, more accurately, engineering.

Ay Caramba! Sawtelle Shop Black Market Salutes The Simpsons – Simpsons clothing on prominent display in Los Angeles. 
TSTO Tricks – Official Launch! – One of the main writers over at has launched a second site that takes you through the entire game.  That’s a hell of a lot of work, but looks very comprehensive.
Here We Grow Again – Speaking of, they’re looking for a few more writers.  If you play the game and want to talk about it on-line, drop them a line.
5 Shows Everyone Would Like to See on Netflix – FOX will never allow that (at least not for years and years), but it would be pretty damned awesome.
The Simpsons 25th Anniversary Limited Edition Mega Set – Two hundred and twenty bucks ought to get you a lot of bendable Simpsons toys.
Simpsons Pewter Diorama – You can’t buy it or nothing, but that is pretty damned cool.  (via @woohootriviaCHI)

No TV and No Beer Make Homer Something Something – A blog where the author gives up something each month.  She’s on TV for March:

Reflection so far: Giving up TV is good. I find plenty of ways to entertain myself, and to be honest the only TV shows I’m hanging for once this month is up is Game of Thrones, and Supernatural (which I’m already a season behind on, and am waiting for the DVD…) That’s it. I think I want to keep our growing habit of having the radio on during dinner (and actually eating at the dining table instead of on the couch, for that matter) because we TALK now. Which is good. As much as I enjoy the Simpsons, I don’t need to watch it every day.

I try to watch one every day.  Don’t always succeed, but that’s just how I was raised, damn it!

Homer-Apple – That always was a cool iPhone skin/case/whatever.

Enter GIFGIF – Lisa dancing to the Soul Mass Transit System.

I believe I can fly – We can all relate to this:

I haven’t been able to blog often because of work and, like I said earlier, gym time. Also, from now on please read gym as gime (Homer Simpson style) it’ll make all the times I mention the gym slightly more interesting (did you do it?).

I pretty much always read it as “gime” now.  Once it’s in your head there’s no getting rid of it.

Rotisserie Chicken – they see me rollin’; they hatin’ – Jebus, that looks good, and bonus points for the .gif of Homer rotating his head with the spit.

With Matt Groening, Creator of The Simpsons – Groening has mastered the non-committal-famous-person-in-picture face.

Fashion Spotlight: Moe’s Where Everyone in Springfield Knows Your Name – I might buy one of those if they actually made them.

Homer Simpson is the ‘Yellow King!’ – I’ve still got a few episodes to go, but I will be very surprised if the bad guy turns out to be Dan Castellaneta.

Glennis Presents “The Simpsons Classics” On Facebook! – That San Francisco TV station that agrees with us by deliberately separating out Zombie Simpsons from their rerun pool has a “Programming Coordinator” who looks like she’s got a pretty Simpson heavy office.  They would also like you to like them on Facebook, if that’s your thing.


Quote of the Day

The Front14

“Hey, Mel, bring me another nicotine patch.  Uh, I think there’s some space on my butt.” – Krusty the Klown


O’Brien, Jean, Reiss, Kogen and Martin

Cartoon Writers

“Cartoons have writers?” – Bart Simpson
“Enh, sort of.” – Lisa Simpson

The 81 minute roundtable discussion Conan O’Brien hosted with Al Jean, Mike Reiss, Jay Kogen, and Jeff Martin is now live on O’Brien’s website.  (I couldn’t get the embedding to work here on WordPress.)  I must warn you: it is very addictive.  I started it thinking I’d watch a few minutes and then come back to it tonight when I had more time.  Nope.  Watched it straight through my lunch. 

As a Simpsons fan, it’s a must-see.  They talk about the origins of the show, joke about specific memories and episodes, and generally just crack each other up.  It’s funny from start to finish, and at one point O’Brien puts this picture up:

Simpsons Writers Clockwise from lower left: John Swartzwelder, David M. Stern, Mike Reiss, Conan O’Brien, Jeff Martin, Jon Vitti, Matt Groening, George Meyer, Al Jean (facing away from camera). Jean joked that this was a Potemkin village photo in that they brought in all the cutouts and cleaned the place up. 

There’s a lot of great stuff in here, but for now just let me note that at the 28:00 minute mark, Kogen says, “I remember when the show was at it’s, well, it’s still at it’s height.”  Heh.  Caught himself midsentence.


Quote of the Day

The Front13

“Alright, brain, you don’t like me and I don’t like you.  But let’s just do this and I can get back to killing you with beer.” – Homer Simpson
“It’s a deal.” – Homer’s Brain

Happy 20th anniversary to “The Front”!  Original airdate 15 April 1993.


Quote of the Day

The Front12

“Abe, tell ’em about your amazing life.” – Roger Meyers Jr.
“I spent forty years as a night watchman at a cranberry silo.” – Abe “Grampa” Simpson
“Wow!” – Roger Meyers Jr.


Quote of the Day

The Remains of Modern Bride Magazine

Image captured from the website of Brides magazine (the successor to Modern Bride).

“When I read your magazine, I don’t see one wrinkled face or single toothless grin.  For shame.  To the sickos at ‘Modern Bride’ magazine.” – Abe “Grampa” Simpson


Crazy Noises: Homer Scissorhands

A Milhouse Divided5

“Homer, what are you doing?” – Marge Simpson
“I wanted to surprise you with a kinky summer ’do. How many husbands would do that for their wives?” – Homer Simpson
“None, they’d have more sense than that.” – Marge Simpson

In our ongoing mission to bring you only the shallowest and laziest analysis of Zombie Simpsons, we’re keeping up our Crazy Noises series for Season 22.  Since a podcast is so 2004, and video would require a flag, a fern and some folding chairs from the garage, we’ve elected to use the technology that brought the word “emoticon” to the masses: the chatroom.  Star Trek image macros are strictly forbidden, unless you have a really good reason why Captain Picard is better than Captain Kirk.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (surprisingly enough, not on “Esquilax”).

Matthew brought this up in comments on Tuesday, but the idea of Homer as a hairdresser is really scraping the bottom of the barrel for ideas and/or jobs he hasn’t had yet. There’s the whole “instant professional” thing, but even setting that aside, we’ve already seen Homer attempt – and fail at – cutting women’s hair, and in a salon no less.

I try not to care about inter-episode continuity, I really do. After all, this is a comedy where each episode is its own self contained story. It’s not like 30 Rock or Arrested Development where there are subplots and overarching stories that unfold over many weeks. There you need things to make sense from one episode to the next, here you don’t. And it’s just not fair to expect the writers to labor under years of accumulated personal developments and backstories when the show was never designed to evolve like that. But when Zombie Simpsons does shit like this, when they show Homer wildly succeed at things we’ve already seen him spectacularly botch, they do make it hard. 

Just for good measure:

The Front11

Mad Jon: Well, are you guys ready to get this going?

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, let’s do it.

As we seem to like to start with the couch gag recently, was that some kind of record?

  For length, I mean.

Mad Jon: It may have been. It was quite over the top. Also there wasn’t a TV in the exhibit for them to watch. So all that for nothing.

Dave: It sure felt that way.

Mad Jon: I wasn’t even sure if it was a new one or not.

Charlie Sweatpants: I think it was new, I kept being surprised when they found new ways to stretch it out.

Mad Jon: I wasn’t going to be surprised either way

Dave: It was also humorless and not really all that clever. That they kept it going was quite a feat.

Charlie Sweatpants: Someone’s been the museum recently.

Mad Jon: Or broken into one. Maybe those t-shirts aren’t selling like they used to.

Charlie Sweatpants: Always possible.

Speaking of going on too long, I thought the idea of Milhouse not knowing that Nemo’s mom died at the beginning was kinda clever. Half a minute later I was less impressed.

Mad Jon: I’ve never actually seen that movie, so I had to think about it for a second. Having assumed that his Mom was sheltering him, it was actually kind of clever. But then it forced Milhouse to fall in Love with Lisa or something, so….

  …that happened again.

Does having a guest star voice someone in a recurring theme make it a new plot?

Dave: No, I don’t think that counts.

Charlie Sweatpants: That depends on how you count.

Mad Jon: Please explain

Because I am pretty certain that the Milhouse loves Lisa, yet Lisa may actually like Milhouse, but maybe not because you have to embrace life because Nemo’s mom died, was the B-plot.

Charlie Sweatpants: I don’t entirely follow you, but it’s still more thought than the show put into it.

Mad Jon: And the plot was based on the recurring theme of Milhouse’s love for Lisa

But whatever, I just watched the episode like an hour ago, so it may be my anger speaking. But even with the Kristen Schaal guest voice-love interest twist, I feel like that was the least original B-plot in a while. And that’s poor, even for this season.

Charlie Sweatpants: I’m pretty sure this whole episode was fan service. The Lisa-Milhouse kiss was the exact kind of thing long running shows do to gin up fan interest once they’ve run out of things to say. I cite every NBC comedy ever.

Mad Jon: Touche Salesman.

Charlie Sweatpants: The A-plot was the same thing. At first I wasn’t sure if they had Homer using gardening shears to cut hair at the beginning on purpose, but after the rest of the episode, including Martin playing the lute, it was definitely a call back.

Mad Jon: That would explain a couple other things too, such as "Everything’s coming up Milhouse"

Charlie Sweatpants: Guh.

Dave: Right. That stuck out like a sore thumb.

Charlie Sweatpants: I thought I was numb to this show. I really did.

Mad Jon: That was the best line of season 10, so its not that I really care that much.

Charlie Sweatpants: I’d need some time to ponder if I agree completely with that, but it’s definitely up there.

Mad Jon: Yes, well, that would be a colossal waste of time.

Charlie Sweatpants: Summer’s almost here, remember. Season 10 is very much on your horizon.

Dave: Oh boy!


Charlie Sweatpants: I got it. The sarcasm sensor on my desktop spiked.

Mad Jon: Which is why we don’t need to worry about it right now. We’ll be there soon enough

Charlie Sweatpants: Good point.

There were two other gluttonous time wasters here, the first being Milhouse’s song and the other being Wiggum’s, I don’t know, whale song? What was that?

Mad Jon: Oh god, the thirty seconds of Azaria making the most annoying sound in the world?

This is the same man who makes me piss my pants when I think of the scene in "Lisa’s Wedding" when Wiggum explains the beasts of lore.

  Yeah, Esquilax!

Charlie Sweatpants: A horse with the head of a rabbit, and the body (perfect beat pause) of a rabbit.

  Gets me every time.

Mad Jon: Also I am too lazy to look up what a Theremin is? Can you please explain it to me?

Charlie Sweatpants: No, but Wikipedia can:

Mad Jon: Ah, Thank you.

It is similar to what I thought it might be.

Charlie Sweatpants: That was another one of this episode’s jokes that I didn’t hate until it was burned into my ear drums and retinas by going on far longer than it had any right to.

Mad Jon: I liked the beginning of the scene in the bar when Homer complains that he has to listen to people complaining, and Moe smiles. That was funny. And very short.

  The Moe part, not the rest.

Charlie Sweatpants: Agreed, and then it went on too long, just every other damn thing in this episode.

Mad Jon: Agreed.

Dave: It seems that this episode had a greater number of almost okay moments.

Mad Jon: That were all stretched out as long as the couch gag.

Dave: Relative to the rest of the trash this season. That still doesn’t make it good.

Charlie Sweatpants: No, no it does not.

Mad Jon: As per usual, I get the feeling that they found a couple of things and then just kept molding them in front of our faces as if to say "You still laughing? How about now?"

Charlie Sweatpants: It had three or four things that I didn’t hate straight away, but then they ran those things into the ground. And when you combine that with shit like magic eagles, Homer running through the streets crying and chopping things, and Milhouse’s song, well it does not for an entertaining half hour of television make.

  Also, what Jon just said.

Mad Jon: It is a recurring theme in the last few seasons.

Charlie Sweatpants: Oh yeah, and in their lust for nostalgia they brought back Lunchlady Doris in a completely meaningless scene that could’ve been done by anyone. They weren’t even in the fucking school!

They would never pull shit like that with Hutz or McClure, and the double standard of that always pisses me off.

Mad Jon: She gets two paychecks this way. Sometimes I wonder if there are some guys out there who have a blog that rags on our blog for complaining about the same things each week….

Charlie Sweatpants: Okay, I’ve only got two things left. First, I don’t think they replaced Azaria, but whoa did Captain McAllister sound off.

Mad Jon: I didn’t really notice, but he was coming out of a bee store or something, and not a boat or a seafood restaurant, so I wasn’t listening.

Charlie Sweatpants: Probably for the best. The second thing was just funny, though not intentionally. Did you notice Chalmers in the school, just standing there as Milhouse and Taffy walked by? He didn’t say anything this time, but I think they’re incapable of having a school scene without him.

Mad Jon: Maybe it’s in his contract or something.

  Chalmers finally has tenure

Dave: Whatever the reason, I liked him more as an infrequent character.

Charlie Sweatpants: Didn’t everyone?

Dave: Sure. As a regular, he’s tedious.

Charlie Sweatpants: Yes, he is.

Mad Jon: Well, this has been a point of emphasis for us this season.

Charlie Sweatpants: Jebus, don’t say that. We sound like referees.

Dave: Aren’t we?

Charlie Sweatpants: No.

Mad Jon: Hmmm, I meant it in a partisan commentator type style, but I guess I see your point.

Charlie Sweatpants: Like I said, Chalmers and Captain McAllister were the last things I had. Anything else here?

Dave: Nada from me. Jon?

Mad Jon: I have nothing else even remotely constructive to add.

But thanks for asking.

Charlie Sweatpants: Well aren’t you the happiest man in town.

Mad Jon: I will be as soon as we are done thinking about this episode.


Meta and Morbid

Chalkboard - A Midsummer’s Nice Dream

“The guy’s so high he doesn’t even know that’s Dave!” – Homer Simpson
“Homer?  Homer?” – Bobby Mindich
“Homer’s not here, man.” – Homer Simpson
“Okay, very good.” – Bobby Mindich

No sooner do we poke fun at Zombie Simpsons for its complete reliance on jamming the same few characters into any situation than they have Chong audition every third person in Springfield to replace Cheech.  There are about five hundred different things they could’ve done there: they could’ve invented new acts, pulled some other old ones out of retirement, created thinly veiled jabs at comedians who’ve long since faded from view and gone batshit crazy (paging Mr. Gallagher).  But they didn’t do any of that, instead they went with the shallowest and laziest possible option by dragging their usual characters across the stage to do the same tired old things they always do.  In this case it was made even more uncomfortable as they nervously tap danced around concepts like stale comedy and being long past your prime. 

Things started in that vein quickly as Marge (for some reason) convinced Homer to go up on stage (for some other reason) and the crowd (for some final reason) quickly assented.  It was all downhill from there, including the above mentioned audition, a couple of parodies that were as lifeless as they were long, and the B-plot that reminded me of nothing so much as when Krusty was trying to improvise comedy with a cracked portrait of Eisenhower.  Here, laugh at these random objects!  The difference being that when Krusty was doing it, it wasn’t supposed to be funny.  It was supposed to show what a desperate hack he was.  Hmmm. 

Anyway, the numbers are in and they are wretchedly atrocious.  A piffling 5.45 million viewers wondered if there’s enough weed in all the world to make that funny.  That’s the lowest of the season, and the fourth lowest of all time.  A few more numbers in this range and we may get our moral victory of seeing Season 22 be the lowest rated ever. 


Compare & Contrast: Mocking Awards Shows

Black Widower3

“You know the rules, awards for excellence in entertainment are contraband, no Emmys, no Oscars, not even a Golden Globe.” – Prison Guard

One of the more revealing ineptitudes of “Angry Dad: The Movie” is the way it fails to copy not one, but two different Simpsons episodes that did the exact same thing it did.  (This is particularly stunning coming from a show that loves repeating jokes and unabashedly lives off of fan nostalgia.)  Of course, both of those older episodes did things much quicker, and managed to actually mock the kidding-but-serious way awards shows take themselves and their participants.  I am speaking of both the Emmys in “Black Widower” and the generic (but Emmy statue lookalike) Annual Cartoon Awards in “The Front” (which are awarded at the Springfield Civic Center the night before it’s closed for roach spraying).

In “Black Widower”, Krusty comes out to present the award for “Best Supporting Performer in a Children’s Program”.  Right there, the show is already making fun of the uselessness of the Daytime Emmys by creating a nonexistent, but not implausible, category for sidekicks.  Taking the whole enterprise one level further into satiric silliness, Krusty reads a list of the enjoyably wacky nominees:

Daytime Emmy Nominees

Clockwise from top left: Droopy Drawers, Colonel Coward, Pepito (the Biggest Cat in the Whole Wide World), and Suck Up the Vacuum

None of those four characters merit too much attention, but each gets his (its?) own little moment of personality.  We see the improbably hot companion of Droopy Drawers reassuringly pat him on the hand.  Colonel Coward freaks out from nerves just a little bit, and Pepito waves like the good natured mascot he is.  Suck Up, who looks more than a little terrifying and can’t possibly be human, is too good to attend this complete sham.  The entire thing takes only ten seconds before the main plot resumes.

Despite not containing much more content than a vacuum cleaner in Spain, none of the plodding parodies in “Angry Dad: The Movie”  move nearly as quickly.  It’s not even close:

  • “The Triplets of Belleville” takes about forty seconds.
  • “Persepolis” is also forty seconds.
  • “Toy Story” managed to be only thirty seconds (but certainly felt longer).
  • “Wallace & Gromit” was sixty-five seconds (as in more than a minute!).
  • “Angry Dad” was a comparatively tame twenty seconds. 

That’s five clips, totaling well over three minutes of screen time, in an episode that’s barely twenty minutes long.  And that doesn’t even count Halle Berry’s part.  For comparison’s sake, please note that the College Humor video of the McBain clips, which the killjoys at FOX legal have already taken down (shhh, reverse Spanish version), was only slightly longer, and it was from five separate episodes over three seasons.

In “The Front” almost the exact same thing – awards show presentation with clips and a celebrity voice – is done in a small fraction of the time.  Brooke Shields and Krusty come out so Krusty can read the terrible joke about his hair, the kind of thing that awards shows still trot out to this day.  He instantly goes off script and starts bitching while Shields gamely plays it straight.  Once he storms off the episode goes right to the parodies.  First is “Strondar: Master of Akom”, the “wedding episode”:

The Front9

Does it takes forty seconds to parody He-Man?  No, no it does not.  It requires less than five seconds and gives us Not He-Man, in his formal S&M gear, tugging nervously at his Chippendales-style bowtie choker.  That goes immediately to “Action Figure Man”, the “How to Buy Action Figure Man” episode:

The Front10

This one is really amazing, because it takes only a few words and a couple of seconds but manages to send up pretty much the entire genre of children’s cartoons, including the incessant merchandising that makes them so very lucrative and the way shameless marketing is used to get kids to basically extort their own parents.  The final “clip” is the only one they didn’t make up themselves but, once again, they didn’t need half a minute to make a quick joke about the fact that new episodes of The Ren & Stimpy Show were less than forthcoming at the time.

From the time Shields introduces the first clip until we get to “Barbershop of Horrors” takes less than thirty seconds.  The whole sequence, from Krusty and Shields walking on stage to Grampa winning the award, is only ninety seconds.  Zombie Simpsons takes three and a half minutes to complete the same thing, and that’s before you get to the respective acceptance speeches.  In “The Front”, Grampa immediately launches into his anti-cartoon tirade without a moment of hesitation.  For his candor he is pelted with fruit thrown by people in formalwear.  In “Angry Dad: The Movie”, Bart launches into a tedious monologue about how many people he needs to thank, and is then joined on stage by Homer for some wrap up exposition.

Parodying famous cartoons like “Toy Story” and “Wallace & Gromit” is a fine thing for a show like Zombie Simpsons to try to do.  But trotting out so many of them for so very long means they’re going to feel like filler, even if they had been packed with insightful humor.  “The Front” could’ve dragged its parodies out, but instead it kept them short and funny, and in doing so left itself time for its own little short, “The Adventures of Ned Flanders”.

[Edited 1 March 2010 to change “Vacom” to “Akom”, see comments for details.]


Quote of the Day

The Front7

“Bart, are you thinking what I’m thinking?” – Lisa Simpson
“Probably not . . . Lie in the snow and count to sixty! . . . Hi-yah! . . . Merry Christmas, suckers!” – Bart Simpson

The Front8


“Half-Decent Proposal” Makes Baby Jesus Cry

The Front6

“Oh my god, it’s my old boyfriend, Artie Ziff.” – Marge Simpson
“Hello Marge, have you heard? I’m stinking rich. Jealous?” – Artie Ziff
“I’ll bet you’d trade it all for one night with my wife.” – Homer Simpson
“I would.” – Artie Ziff
“Homer!” – Marge Simpson

The crazy Act 3 plot swerve was one of the things that finally convinced me to give up on the show ever being good again. Once you get into the double digit seasons, crazier and crazier things began happening at the end of episodes. What had been a bizarre, albeit short and at least slightly self-referential, party ending in Season 8 became fighting rhinos and capturing the Loch Ness Monster in Season 10. By Season 12, the episodes are ending on remote island prisons or with naval ships attacking New York.

Here in Season 13 things got even more untethered. There’s the one that ends with Homer as an international smuggler, the one that turns into a Christmas episode with no warning, and the one that ends with Homer and Smithers using the corpse of Mr. Burns as a marionette. Other than being utterly bizarre, the one thing those endings have in common is that they all came straight out of left field and had little to no connection to what was going on in the episode before they happened.

“Half-Decent Proposal” does much the same. Just when you think it’s a tale about Marge risking a weekend with her old boyfriend, and with only about three minutes to go, Homer runs away to work on an oil derrick which promptly catches fire, prompting him (and Lenny, who’s also there for some reason) to need to be rescued by helicopter. As an audience member, you’re left scratching your head because it’s jarring as hell and the show never used to do that.

Nine people on this one, including Castellaneta, James Lipton, and lone female Lauren MacMullan, who directed this one.

1:20 – The concept of Marge going off with Artie originated with James L. Brooks.

2:00 – The snoring thing came about because one of the writers was keeping his girlfriend up with his snoring.

2:20 – MacMullan is in another room, and hasn’t seen this in forever, but seems to recall that this one ran very long. Apparently we were spared a section in Las Vegas.

3:30 – More banter with MacMullan. She drew one of the act storyboards for this one.

4:40 – MacMullan recalls that Jean wanted a lot of close ups during the Sex and the City bit. Jean then wins the unintentional irony award by saying, “The way the show was, you’d just try to milk the laugh ridiculously.” Pot, this is kettle; kettle, I’d like you to meet pot.

5:05 – General laughter at their own laziness, their word, at calling their HBO parody BHO.

5:40 – A guy Selman went to college with liked this episode. Now you know.

6:30 – Long bit from MacMullan about how many unusual shots there are in this episode (Marge’s flashback and panning over all the computer wires).

7:15 – Castellaneta isn’t sure if he’s mentioned this before, but Artie Ziff was the only character he ever designed. He was doodling on his script, and drew a guy from high school, and David Silverman was there while they were recording and liked it.

8:00 – When Castellaneta finishes, someone jokes about that being “actual useful information” on a DVD commentary. That was nice.

8:05 – Jean, trying to keep the useful information coming, says that “Sam”, presumably Sam Simon, named Ziff. But Jean wasn’t sure if it was someone he knew or if he just liked it because the initials were AZ.

8:45 – According to Jean, in real life people think Lovitz is short and bald, but in fact he’s neither.

9:30 – Jean makes a decent point that there’s nothing wrong with them parodying a movie that, at the time, was already eight years old.

10:30 – Movie trivia tip, MacMullan directed many of the Alaska scenes, including the Disney style foreplay scene, for which they brought in some old Disney animators.

11:00 – That leads to a discussion of how animators always seem to live a long time.

12:05 – Jean: “I always like in this, and in the movie, that they don’t realize the consequences ’til right after they make the deal.” That certainly helps explain why storytelling isn’t much of concern any more.

13:30 – Things have kinda slowed down now that we’re at the fake prom. There’s some chuckling.

14:40 – Still not much going on. Someone’s making note of how odd it is when Marge wears lipstick on account of none of the characters really have lips. Also, the characters are wearing clothes.

15:25 – Artie Ziff is break dancing and everyone is still wearing 70s clothes.

16:00 – At one point, Homer was going to fly to Silicon Valley in the wheel well of a jet because someone had done that on the news.

16:30 – The writers really love Baron von Kissalot.

16:50 – Ah, now that we’ve reached the latest bizarre turn, it’s time to start asking MacMullan random questions about Pixar (where she works).

17:20 – Someone’s jokingly ragging on Up for not making sense.

17:55 – Well, at least someone mentioned that this is the episode that turned Lenny and Carl into . . . whatever the hell it is they are now. Jean notes that this made “the internet” angry. I’m going to go with “confused”, but that’s just me.

18:30 – Laughing about an explosion that didn’t make it into the final episode.

19:20 – Chuckling at the idea of “friends with privileges”.

19:40 – A mixture of stunned silence and nervous laughter as ants catch fire. There was a debate about whether or not the ants could talk.

20:30 – They’re still talking about talking ants. On screen there’s the world’s slowest helicopter rescue and some kind of emotional closure, and wow, I had forgotten what a giant mess this one is.

20:55 – “That’s where we lost the internet’s sympathy.” No, it was a while ago.

21:30 – Lipton (I think), apropos of nothing, asks the assembled company how many episodes are about Marge’s “nether regions”. That was . . . odd.

21:55 – Lipton (again, I think): “Do you think Marge is sexy? I do.” Again, kinda odd.

22:05 – Every thanks Lipton and MacMullan and we can get out of here.


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