Posts Tagged ‘This Little Wiggy


Quote of the Day

“Now, whose calculator can tell me what seven times eight is?” – Mrs. Krabappel
“Ooh, ooh, ooooh! Low battery?” – Milhouse van Houten
“Whatever.” – Mrs. Krabappel


Quote of the Day

“Video taping this crime spree is the best idea we ever had.” – Jimbo Jones


Quote of the Day

“You’ve done grand, laddy! Now you know what you have to do: burn the house down. Burn ’em all!” – The Leprechaun

Happy 20th Anniversary to “This Little Wiggy”!


Quote of the Day

“Here, here, have some riot gear! It’s on the house. . . . Ah, that takes me back to the 60s.” – Chief Wiggum


Quote of the Day

“What a whimsical building. Who says science can’t be fun?” – Lisa Simpson
“Me. I smell a museum.” – Bart Simpson
“Yeah, good things don’t end with -eum. They end with -mania. Or -teria.” – Homer Simpson


Quote of the Day


“You boys should go play outside.” – Marge Simpson
“But people will see me paired up with a doofus.  You have no idea what that’s like.” – Bart Simpson
“Uh-oh.” – Homer Simpson


Quote of the Day

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“You know you’re not supposed to go in there.  What is your fascination with my forbidden closet of mystery?” – Chief Wiggum


Quote of the Day

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“Slow down, Bart, my legs don’t know how to be as long as yours.” – Ralph Wiggum


Behind Us Forever: Bart’s New Friend

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“Then me and my friend were about to press it, but the man said not to press it, but we pressed it anyway!  And we ran and we hid in a giant tire, oh yeah, and my other friend was already there!” – Homer Simpson

In yet another desperate bid for attention, Zombie Simpsons has once again hitched its cart to a more currently successful person.  In this case, it’s Judd Apatow (who wrote a couple of good episodes of The Critic back in the day), who dusted off an old spec script he wrote twenty odd years ago.  The premise is that Homer gets hypnotized and thinks he’s Bart’s age.  I’ll just say this: there’s a reason this didn’t get made when the show was good, and it’s not because Apatow wasn’t famous then.

– Oof, that couch gag took an awful long time.

– And we get an early start on this week’s unnecessary exposition with Homer singing to himself about walking.

– So there’s another safety inspector?  I’m sure glad he and Homer repeated who he was and what he did several times.  I never would’ve caught it in one.

– The book titles are pretty good, “The Core: Mistress of Death”.  As usual, the sign gags are the best thing here.

– Lenny and Carl were there, then they weren’t.

– Now Lenny’s back.

– Ah, that’s good exposition, unneeded, nonsensical, the whole megillah: “You need to relax.  So, I got us all tickets to see the circus on Saturday.”

– Homer is ranting about parking now.  It’s like they believe that the famous phrase is “tell, don’t show” instead of the other way around.

– I get that the sideshow signs are Apatow references, but reminding the audience about the existence of Funny People isn’t a good idea.  I gave up on that movie halfway through and have never talked to a single person who liked it.

– So, Marge needed to explain to Homer that she had to use the port-a-potty, why, exactly?

– “No, I’m not”/”Yes you are” just keeps going, doesn’t it?

– “Mom, Dad’s been hypnotized to think he was ten.” – Thanks, Exposition Lisa!

– “Buddy Ebsen Died Here” on the hospital sign is pretty good.  Sadly, this episode would probably be funnier on mute.

– Hey, a briefly popped eyeball.

– I’ll give them this, 10-year-old Homer is at least a novel take on Jerkass Homer.  It’s not funny or entertaining or anything, but he’s never been an asshole quite like this.

– Culottes were funny that one time; here, not so much,

– Uh, why is Homer at the school?

– Naturally, Chalmers is there.  Remember when he was the superintendent?  Good times.

– They’re reusing the happy music from “Treehouse of Horror II” when Bart and Homer bond.  It was ironic then.  It’s kinda ironic now, but in a different way.

– Also, Chalmers and Skinner are back.

– Speaking of re-used music, Lisa’s playing “Baker Street“.

– “Lis, you know how Dad thinks he’s a ten-year-old?”/”I’ve been emotionally dealing with that all week, so, yes.” We just saw Lisa have fun with Homer.  Also too, unnecessary exposition.

– And now Bart’s explaining what we just saw.

– Now they’re at Itchy & Scratchy Land for some reason.  That was unexpected.

– The MST3K robots on the amusement park ride are a nice touch, though once again the best parts of this episode have nothing to do with its story and work fine without any sound whatsoever.

– Incidentally, if you ever do get suckered into going to Disney’s California Adventure park, the Soarin’ Over California ride is one of the few things really worth doing.  It’s a lot more entertaining in person than as filler in Zombie Simpsons.

– Marge, Chief Wiggum, Lou, and the hypnotist just showed up out of nowhere.  How did they find Bart and Homer?  Enh. At least Wiggum re-explained things.

– And Homer’s back to normal now, though he also recapped things.

– I guess the “Je Suis Charlie” thing is a nice gesture, but why was it in between the end of the story and this weird Marvel thing they needed to fill the contractually obligated runtime?

– Huh, that was Stacy Keach at the beginning.

Anyway, the numbers aren’t in for some reason, but given the lack of late football on FOX and competition from yet another awards show, I wouldn’t expect much.  I’ll update after TV By the Numbers does.

Update: Here they are, just 4.39 million.


Quote of the Day

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“Kids, this is Robbie the Automaton.” – Principal Skinner
“Greetings, Earth children.” – Robbie the Automaton
“Where are you from?” – Lewis
“Earth.” – Robbie the Automaton


Quote of the Day

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“This is my swing set.  This is my sandbox.  I’m not allowed to go in the deep end.  That’s where I saw the leprechaun.” – Ralph Wiggum
“Right, a leprechaun.” – Bart Simpson
“He told me to burn things.” – Ralph Wiggum


Reading Digest: McClure Poster Edition

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“Welcome to the Knowledgeum, I’m Troy McClure.  You may remember me from such automated information kiosks as Welcome to Springfield Airport and Where’s Nordstrom?” – Troy McClure 

A new Tumblr hit the internet this week, dedicated to fake posters for Troy McClure movie titles.  We have three links about it, and deservedly so.  It’s got everything from Hydro, The Man With the Hydraulic Arms to Let’s Save Tony Orlando’s House.  In addition to that, we’ve got a bunch of links about the Tapped Out game, interviews with Reiss, Azaria and Ken Levine, a new rendition of the theme song, Milhouse in the British Labour Party, and another Simpsons quote list. 


The Weekly Homer Simpson Quote Idea – Before this site existed, there was this:

Exactly ten years ago today, I had an idea. I was going to share a quote from Homer Simpson every week.


I kept it up for years, posting my final Homer Simpson quote on February 2, 2008. I was so used to posting a Homer quote first thing Saturday morning that it took a while to shake the habit. It’s a slippery slope my friends.

His quote archive is linked here.  There’s some Zombie Simpsons, but it’s mostly good and while I didn’t check all of them, the quotes appear to be very accurate.  Well done.  (But beware, it’s long and a serious timesuck). 

Our Favorite Queer Characters of All Time – Our old friend Lenny discusses queer TV characters, very much including Patty and Smithers, on her TV podcast. 

25 Troy McClure Fan-Made Movie Posters Inspired By The Simpsons – That’s to a compilation, here’s the direct Tumblr link.

You Might Remember Me From… – And Alice’s Adventures Through the Windshield Glass

Hi, I’m Actor Troy McClure – Another one of those fantastic fake Troy McClure posters, this one for The Erotic Adventures of Hercules.  Just a reminder, this is the main Tumblr.

The five most exciting film happening events this week – Now. Here. This. – There are a lot of fan versions of the theme song on-line, many with millions of views on YouTube and all kinds of musical devices and instruments.  So far, however, I have never seen one using classical Indian instruments:


Just a few notes about this site – This is from that same new Tapped Out blog I linked last week, and it contains some very sensible blogging policies and guidelines. 

My View of the Tapped Out World: Pt. 1 – An enjoyable rant about what happened to the previous Tapped Out blog, part the first.

My View of the Tapped Out World: Pt. 2 – An enjoyable rant about what happened to the previous Tapped Out blog, part the second.

The Simpsons: Original Sky1 Artwork! – It’s apparently been twenty years since the show came to Sky, and there are a bunch of links to old stuff to celebrate.

Meet the ‘Simpsons’ writer who named the Dodgers-affiliated Albuquerque Isotopes – An interview with Ken Levine about “Dancin’ Homer”.  It’s not that different than what’s on the DVD commentary, but it’s pretty cool.

Nursery Crimes – Why, yes, most nursery rhymes are horrifying, and this is also true:

I’ve heard that grown men have gone insane trying to put into words the genius of early episodes of The Simpsons. But if I could highlight just one thing the Greatest TV Show of All Time ™ does brilliantly, it would have to be its almost child-like ability to articulate those tiny little nuances of our culture that we’ve always known were there, but had never really devoted any conscious thought to.

In one of the earliest ever Simpsons moments – while it was still a Tracey Ullman sideshow, and the characters looked weird – Marge croons Maggie to sleep with the most famous lullaby of all time: Rock a Bye Baby. As Marge sings, Maggie visualizes the song’s words: when the wind blows/the cradle will rock/when the bough breaks/the cradle will fall/down will come baby/cradle and all. She kisses Maggie softly on the forehead and exits the room, leaving her baby alone, in the dark, eyes out on stalks and the fear of god in her face*.

Rock-a-Bye Baby may not technically be a nursery rhyme, but it shares with them the fact that the sheer violence and horror of it seems to have been lost on the entire human race.

The Last of Springfield by ~Raqos on deviantART – Fan art of Homer, Lisa and Bart drawn like The Last of Us.  It got linked a lot of places this week, and with good reason.

If we cast a live-action The Simpsons movie – These come up every once and a while, and this one is less blatant pageview whoring than most.  (Patton Oswalt as Chief Wiggum is pretty good, too.) 

Recreating An Accurate Springfield in ‘The Simpsons: Tapped Out’ – Part 1 – This is for you compulsive types who just have to tap.

Best. Episode. Ever. (Round 55) – Look, kids, Batman!

Best. Episode. Ever. (Round 56) – Run along, Quimby.  I think they’re dedicating a phone booth somewhere.

Best. Episode. Ever. (Round 57) – I told you she was soft on full frontal nudity. 

The – A Blogging Challenge – A perfectly cromulent blogging task.

Disney’s Planes…In 10 Words – That’s just the engine struggling.

Blackfish…In 10 Words – I don’t like this new director’s cut.

The Hyperloop…In 10 Words – I’ve built hyperloops for Brockway, Ogdenville and North Haverbrook, and, by gum, it put them on the map!

Soda Shaq…In 10 Words – Here comes the Shaq attack.

Starship Troopers…In 10 Words – Where do you want it, Skinner? 

Milhouse!! – Hooray for flood pants!

Money Woes #30 – Animated .gif of the above.

Loud Silence witness Mayer Hawthorne and visit Springfield – More pictures from the new Simpsons area at Universal Studios Orlando.  The Seven Duffs shrubbery is pretty impressive.

New England Clam Chowder & Crab Cakes – A discussion of chowder leads to YouTube, and scroll down for a cool soup of the day sign.

List O’ The Week: Top 25 episodes of The Simpsons (Post Season 8) – There are a few good episodes on here, but I find most of these unwatchable.  (Though “Trilogy of Error” is entertaining even if it isn’t very funny.)

Marge, is that you? – Marge’s hair built from bottle caps.  Cool.

The Best Video Game Adaptations of TV & Movies, Period – The arcade game makes the list here.

Universal Studios Springfield ride Simpsons – A newspaper writer recounts the new “Twirl & Hurl” ride in Florida. 

Fans Vote For Homer Simpson For Sixers Head Coach – He’d certainly be good at doing the cuts. 

Hank Azaria, "The Simpsons" voice actor, "just born doing" impressions – Azaria did a publicity interview for Lovelace with some CBS morning show.  There’s video of the interview at the top and clips of some of Azaria’s roles at the bottom.  (His scene in Dodgeball was easily the highlight of that movie.) 

Hank Azaria Shares Favorite ‘Simpsons’ Voice And Episode On ‘Watch What Happens: Live’ – Another publicity interview, including this little tidbit:

“I think Professor Frink is my personal favorite of the characters," Azaria said in Frink’s voice.

Legendary Simpsons Scribe Mike Reiss on Rubble, FringeNYC, and the Upcoming Simpsons/Family Guy Crossover – Reiss is doing (much lower scale) publicity for his next play, and got asked the usual questions, including:

Does the "it’s not as good as it used to be" talk about The Simpsons anger you?
The biggest thing with The Simpsons is, if the show gets weirder, it might get too self-referential, because we’re desperately trying not to repeat ourselves. Tell us somebody who Lisa can get a crush on that hasn’t happened. We’ve done every single member of the Simpson family has gone to jail. The show has to get a little weirder and faster-paced. We go "Here’s an episode like the old days" and we get comments like "Oh, that’s boring." There’s no model for us. There’s no template for what a series should be like in its twenty-fifth year.

That’s pretty much his stock answer to that.  He’s too honest to “It’s still great!”, so he just points out that it had to get really bizarre to keep going and move along. 

5 ways that Ed Miliband and Milhouse may also be the same person – Heh.

Can Fruit Kick Candy to the Curb? – Excellent usage:

"Fruit is nature’s candy," Marge Simpson once said after serving apples and oranges during a Halloween party. Screams from Bart and the other children at the party followed her offer of healthy snacks.

That and a hurled ashtray.

Get Simpsonized… like the Belgian Royal family – I know nothing about the Belgian royal family, and this isn’t in English to explain it to me, but here they are.

Last piece of Springfield falls into place as Kang&Kodos opens at Universal Studios Florida – Just what it says.  You can control the little ships to some extent.

Designer Olly Moss Talks Movie Posters, Comics and ‘The Simpsons’ – Licensing is a bitch and the fun police at FOX hate fun:

Are there any great ideas for posters you’ve had that you haven’t been able to execute because of licensing issues?

Not films, but I want to do Simpsons stuff. I want to do Simpsons stuff so bad!


What sort of Simpsons stuff do you want to do?

I can’t say! ‘Cause I sorta may be working on something a little bit … But I want to do some Simpsons stuff that doesn’t perhaps look like Simpsons stuff. I think that series has so many amazing niche references that everybody gets that you don’t need to do it in the Simpsons style. You can have things that speak to how influential and affecting it was throughout the first nine seasons or whatever. You can throw those little references into something that perhaps isn’t their traditional style.

That’d be cool; doubly so since he’s not going to bother with Zombie Simpsons.


Quote of the Day

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“Maybe he needs some real friends.” – Marge Simpson
“Sure, we’d all love some real friends, Marge.  But what are the odds of that happening?” – Chief Wiggum


Crazy Noises: 500 Keys

“What’s that weird key for?” – Bart Simpson
“That’s Daddy’s magic key.  It opens every door in town.” – Ralph Wiggum

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 (gag inducingly enough, not on “Pooter”).

You could throw darts at the storyboards for this episode and pick out a scene that didn’t make sense, so it almost seems cruel to pick on one in particular.  However, there is one that stands out.  Generally speaking, even if what Zombie Simpsons is doing doesn’t make any sense, they’re usually competent enough to clearly convey what’s happening.  When Bart, standing by the school, tossed away the key to the city, it didn’t make any sense for it to land in the presumably rural yard of Cletus, but you knew what was happening. Similarly, the meandering, city spanning path of “The Pooter Toot Express” had no regard for anything but the cheapest grope at a laugh, but when it moved along on screen you could see where it was headed and anticipate that it was going to escape once again.

The same bargain basement level of competence cannot be attributed to the scene with the floating mannequins.  Observe:

Floating Without Problem

Homer and Lisa talking with each other and floating easily with the mannequins.

At first, Homer and Lisa float pleasantly; they even manage a conversation.  But that’s instantly followed by the two of them, for no reason either on screen or implied, panicking and slipping under the surface.  One second they’re holding on just fine, the next they’re not:

Unprompted Panic and Drowning

Plenty of floatation aids usually help people float, on Zombie Simpsons though . . .

Once they’ve gone under, things get even more confusing.  They’re supposed to be trapped under the water, as though they had fallen through ice or something.  But there’s a shitload of open water all around them:

Go Two Feet In Any Direction!

If they were supposed to be hiding from someone this might make sense.

They could swim left or right or forward or backward just a few inches and get their heads above water.  Their hands are on some of the only places where the mannequins are.  Just looking at it is baffling.  It’s equally glaring from above:

How Can Anyone Be Trapped Under This

There’s open water everywhere! 

The disconnect between what the story is trying to do and what the animation is displaying is so great that I was honestly befuddled while watching it.  I kept expecting something else to change the situation.  As discussed below, I know why this happened, they wanted a reason to have their C-plot knock over that tree.  But it was executed so sloppily that the gulf between what they were showing and what was supposed to be happening was genuinely disorienting.

Charlie Sweatpants: Anyway, I’m ready to go if you guys are.

Mad Jon: I guess we should start at the beginning, with the Scorpio appearance.

Charlie Sweatpants: Is it worth discussing? I was surprised that it was Brooks doing the voice.

Mad Jon: No I guess it isn’t. But it was pretty early in the episode for me to be so outraged. That usually takes an entire act.

Dave: Heh.

Charlie Sweatpants: C’mon man, you’ve got to pace yourself. I didn’t think it was outrage worthy, but even if I did, you must conserve your precious hatred for the actual episode.

Mad Jon: I am probably making too big a deal about the Scorpio thing, but c’mon, he was possibly the greatest TV villain in decades, and that is what they’re using him for now?

Charlie Sweatpants: Enh.

Mad Jon: Fine.

Charlie Sweatpants: If there’s one thing I don’t hate about the new opening it’s that they’ve given themselves places to insert new stuff. It’s cheap, but it’s something.

Mad Jon: Moving on.

Dave: Mercifully the couch gag was super short. Dare I say almost clever?

Mad Jon: I am ok with clever.

Charlie Sweatpants: As for the couch gag, best one in a while, both for being kind of clever and for being mercifully short.

Mad Jon: I agree on both counts.

Dave: As do I.

Mad Jon: Well, score one for the couch gag.

Charlie Sweatpants: Let’s move on to the one other thing I did enjoy, the cake store.

Mad Jon: Ok, I didn’t mind that scene, what did you enjoy about it?

Charlie Sweatpants: Honestly, there’s not much to complain about, the store had a good title "I Don’t", a good premise, and the reasons for the wedding cancellations were quick.

Mad Jon: I really did like the title, and the premise was a pretty classic Springfield-type store.

  Of course, having purchased the cake, one must drive a dare-devil route home.

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, there was no way it could last.

Mad Jon: I was thinking about that. I can definitely see Homer taking that kind of short cut, but Homer would have been just as anxious about the ride as the other passengers, and also the cake spilling wouldn’t even be part of the scene . . . but that would be a drive home on the Simpsons, not Zombie Simpsons.

Charlie Sweatpants: I said my piece on this in Compare & Contrast, it was really a total waste of a scene. Just filler from start to finish.

Mad Jon: Yes yes.

Charlie Sweatpants: And after that they introduced the keys, and from there on out it was a lame repeat of Trilogy of Error.

Everybody’s doing different things, at the same time, and they interact in weird ways! Except that while Trilogy of Error at least was impressive from a plotting point of view (if not a joke point of view), this was just crappy.

Mad Jon: A more naive Jon would have had some promise when they dug out the keys, it seemed like it was leading up to flashback episode, but then it lead to what could either be three plots, or three sub-plots, depending on which drama student you ask.

  Was the Trilogy of Error the one with the grammar robot?

Dave: Indeed.

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, and Homer getting his thumb cut off, and Bart running around town. Weird, weird episode.

Here, this is the only reason I remember it so well.

Mad Jon: Yeah, didn’t really care for it. But you are right, the plotting was pretty intertwined and at least the characters were reacting to the situation more than Marge just aimlessly following a Pooter-Toot into coincidental situations until it leads to a dead tree-day saving hand of God scene.

Charlie Sweatpants: Guh.

The fact that she couldn’t catch it over and over was really aggravating. The "hate crime" joke was okay, but I had to put up with an awful lot to get to it, and it was so out of the blue that it didn’t fit anyway.

Mad Jon: I did like the "wind-up hate crime". But that was all. The Wiggum scene may have been the worst part. It. Just. Wouldn’t. End.

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, the tree was equally stupid, but at least it wasn’t nearly as long.

  Man’s pants fall down. Audience laugh.

Mad Jon: So, based on our discussion last week I have a question…

Charlie Sweatpants: Shoot.

[Editor’s note: Dave had to leave at this point, so he’s blameless for the rest of this.]

Mad Jon: Do you consider the following to be more fan service or just extreme laziness: Rod and Todd admonish Flanders with a Jesus is crying joke – Mystery wrapped in a riddle in the basement of a lousy school – Bart wandering around town with keys to everything.?

Charlie Sweatpants: I think it’s laziness masquerading as fan service.

They’ve got keys to do anything, so they can have Bart open a mail box and have someone reference blood feud.

  They have Flanders make up a really stupid lie so they can reference "Homer Loves Flanders".

Half the people writing this show grew up with it, they know a lot of the stories, and I could see getting your head locked into those and just smearing whatever came to mind on the page.

Mad Jon: Oh, I am sure there is more, but I was only un-lazy enough to write down those three examples while watching the episode.

Charlie Sweatpants: Skinner not having a secretary was kinda the same thing.

Mad Jon: Yes yes. Also I ‘enjoyed’ that Chalmers mentioned he oversees 14 schools.

Sorry for the digression.

Charlie Sweatpants: No, it’s part of what makes this so dumb. It’s mostly fan service leavened with a few flashbacks.

Mad Jon: Ok, you lost me, what is the "this" that is so dumb?

Charlie Sweatpants: Well, take the "Jesus cries blood" thing.

Mad Jon: Ok

Charlie Sweatpants: First of all, that’s not a saying, not the way "Lies make baby Jesus cry" is. Second of all, it wasn’t actually a lie. Third the setup was stupid. Fourth, Flanders had no motive for doing it. Fifth, the stupid train escaped into a hole in the fence that just so happened to be there.

Mad Jon: Oh, I saw "so dumb" and my ego assumed you were referencing me.

Charlie Sweatpants: The original, when Flanders promises a trip to Grandma’s works on all of those counts. This one doesn’t. They thought having Flanders kinda lie to his kids and them mention Jesus is what made it funny, they completely missed everything else.

Mad Jon: I am obviously in complete agreement. This is why I asked my question. It seems like someone could defend fan service, but I am pretty sure they just happened to be reusing whatever jokes they land on when they flip through old episodes.

Charlie Sweatpants: The entire Duff Blimp thing was like that. Hey, what if Homer finally does get to ride the blimp?

Mad Jon: I was just about to mention that we have, up to this point, not mentioned the blimp incident. Frankly that was a lot of what I hate about Zombie Simpsons wrapped up into one (or three or four since it just kept popping up until it was other-plot necessary) dirty little package(s).

  I may actually be more disgruntled than before, and I’ve kind of been in a plateau for most of this season.

Charlie Sweatpants: It just kept going. He’s in the blimp, he can fly the blimp, he can’t fly the blimp, he can outrun the police, he’s there just in time to pick up his kids, Lisa falls out of the blimp, Homer falls out of the blimp. It was almost too hyperactive to be nonsensical.

Mad Jon: Once I saw the hole in the blimp bottom (?) I knew that man was getting stuck.

Charlie Sweatpants: That was not hard to see coming. And I think the thing on the blimp is called a gondola.

Mad Jon: The hole?

Charlie Sweatpants: No the carriage that had the hole in it.

  I guess the hole would be a hatch.

Mad Jon: Ah, that makes a bit more sense.

Charlie Sweatpants: But either way you could tell instantly that Homer was gonna get stuck.

Mad Jon: I think I actually sighed.

Then Bart got to use a fire extinguisher!

Charlie Sweatpants: The whole last act was wretched. Why the hell did they get trapped under the mannequins? They were floating comfortably and then all of a sudden they were swamped. I actually wasn’t sure what they were trying to do.

Mad Jon: Yeah I thought there was some kind of trapped under the ice deal, but nah, I just think they needed a reason for Marge and the Pooter to show up.

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, but still. What the fuck?

Mad Jon: Good thing Marge and Maggie were leisurely strolling after Marge’s anniversary present.

  Also Homer started manically bawling . . . Got to throw that in there.

Otherwise he wouldn’t have met his episode crying quota.

Charlie Sweatpants: Can’t have that.

  Also, Otto’s voice? It’s not even close to being close. I’ve heard people do a better Otto.

Mad Jon: That was pretty unnerving.

Charlie Sweatpants: I don’t think Shearer gives a shit about the show these days, but that was really jarring.

Mad Jon: Or the ole’ larynx just can’t do it anymore.

Charlie Sweatpants: Either way, yikes.

Mad Jon: Yep.

Charlie Sweatpants: Anything else? Between things that went on too long, quarter-assed fan service, and shit that never should’ve been put on screen in the first place, I haven’t got much left.

Mad Jon: Nah, I don’t have anything else relevant to add. We didn’t really cover Lisa’s key-related plot, but I’m not really inclined to. Unless it is due to my dislike of non-prorated rental services. Scoundrels….

Charlie Sweatpants: Seeing as how these were prorated plots with prorated endings, that was at least ironic.


Crazy Noises: This Little Wiggy

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“Alright, alright, now, you’re over stimulated.  Let’s get some beer in you and then it’s right to bed.” – Marge Simpson
“Woo-hoo!  Beer beer beer!  Bed bed bed!” – Homer Simpson

There’s new Zombie Simpsons Sunday, so this is the last of our summer series overthinking Season 9.  Why Season 9?  Because we did Season 8 last summer, and Season 9 was when the show started becoming more Zombie than Simpsons.  Since we’re too lazy to do audio and too ugly to do video, we’ve booked a “chatroom” (ours is right between the one with the sexy seventh graders and the one with the bored federal agents pretending to be sexy seventh graders).  So log on to your dial-up AOL and join us.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (especially on “conceding”).

Today’s episode is 918 “This Little Wiggy”, tomorrow’s will be 902 “The Principal and the Pauper”.  In a return visit, Bob Mackey joined us this week.

Charlie Sweatpants: Okay, I figure we should start with "This Little Wiggy" in case we vent spleens on "Principal and the Pauper". Any objections?

bobservo: Sounds fine.

Mad Jon: none from me.

bobservo: I have opinions that may shock and disturb you!

Dave: Let’s go.

Charlie Sweatpants: Go for it. This is the first time I’ve watched all of Season 9 since it was on the air. I’m pretty numb to shocked and disturbed, but possibly not completely numb.

bobservo: Well, more on Principal and the Pauper.

I’m kind of lukewarm on this Ralph episode.

Dave: The episode certainly answers the question of "is there such a thing as too much Ralph?"

Mad Jon: I enjoy the beginning and the end of this episode. It’s that pesky middle where Bart learns something about himself and what his actions mean to other people that really sucks.

Charlie Sweatpants: The Knowledgeum is easily the best part of this one.

Mad Jon: For sure.

bobservo: I think Ralph over-saturation hit its peak with this episode.

Dave: No objections on that point.

bobservo: To the point where after this, any sort of random gibberish could pass as a "Ralph line."

Charlie Sweatpants: Definitely.

bobservo: Does he do something different in the opening credits every week now, or something?

Mad Jon: Couldn’t tell you.

Charlie Sweatpants: Sort of.

  Sometimes it’s different, sometimes it’s not.

Mad Jon: Yeah, I guess I’ve seen that, now that I am un-repressing memories of last fall…

bobservo: But I think at some point the writers decided that wheeling out Ralph was a cheap way to get laughs, so they kept doing it without much thought.

Charlie Sweatpants: The problem isn’t so much the total amount of Ralph here – it can’t be much more than "I Love Lisa" – so much as it is that it’s all Ralph punchlines.

bobservo: You hear Jean talk about this philosophy a lot with his idea that some people are satisfied just to see certain characters.

Charlie Sweatpants: That was all over the movie commentary.

bobservo: Right.

Dave: So what we have then is proof in action.

Charlie Sweatpants: They really did think just showing a character is enough.

bobservo: Well I think Ralph was a little different in "I Love Lisa;" more oblivious than retarded.

Charlie Sweatpants: Good way to put it. He also actually had a story arc, here he just kind of wanders around.

Mad Jon: I do like the visual when Marge opens the door and Ralph is just standing there with the melting fudgicle and the Chinese finger trap.

bobservo: Yeah, he really only dispenses punchlines throughout this story.

There are some good moments; I think it’s some good observational humor about having to hang out with messy/annoying kids growing up.

  And befriending those same annoying kids once you realize how much cool stuff they have.

Charlie Sweatpants: That’s the kernel of this episode, but it’s barely mentioned later.

Once Bart and Ralph go on their adventure that whole aspect of the story gets dropped in favor of a standard After School Special morality tale.

Mad Jon: Ugh, it’s really not good.

bobservo: That aspect really felt forced in a non-Simpsons kind of way.

Mad Jon: Knowing that part is coming up ruins what may have been a passable adventure with the key.

Charlie Sweatpants: That scene where Bart takes the key was written in about 1973 and all they did was change the nouns.

Dave: Yeah the morality bit is unsubtle to say the least.

Charlie Sweatpants: Jimbo and company are also much weaker here than they were previously. In "Telltale Head" you can buy a) why they hang out with Bart and b) why Bart misreads them.

Here it’s just straight up Bart does something he’s uncomfortable with and immediately feels guilty.

bobservo: And the show basically admits that the third act is garbage, but that doesn’t make it better.

Charlie Sweatpants:  You’re right about that, Quimby gives not one but two speeches about how improbable the ending is.

And those were just the final ones, there’s also the security guard giving them a chance to run, the bullies throwing away they key to "pick huckleberries" when they damn well would’ve kept it.

And the whole Lisa part at the end. It’s kinda funny that she doesn’t get credit, but they’re once again conceding that the whole thing makes no sense.

bobservo: Well that seems to me to be part of a trend that eventually made the show unwatchable: meta-jokes about how lazy the writers are being.

Charlie Sweatpants: It got old a lot faster than they thought it would.

bobservo: Actually if you watch some of the post-season-8 commentaries, the writers mostly make fun of the horrible logic of the episodes themselves — so that seems to be something they enjoy.

Charlie Sweatpants: They’re still doing it in Seasons 12 and 13, I can assure you.

bobservo: Where in older episodes they would subvert TV writing cliches, but not out of laziness alone.

Charlie Sweatpants: This is definitely one of those episodes where self awareness crosses the line from clever to lazy.

bobservo: There would usually be some commentary to go along with the subversion, back when they cared.


Charlie Sweatpants: There’s still some spark here, Chief Wiggum’s "forbidden closet of mystery" and much of the beginning work well (I’m especially fond of McClure’s disclaimer about your care being repeatedly broken into and Homer’s excited state coming out of Knowledgeum), but this is another one where it feels like they have some good jokes but have just given up on even trying to fit them into a story.

bobservo: The story does meander a bit before giving up on saying anything about anything.

Charlie Sweatpants: It has that coasting feeling, like some artist or musician who’s read too much of their own good press and thinks they can do no wrong.

Mad Jon: Yeah, there are once again several good lines. But I don’t really have a problem with good jokes being part of a beginning that doesn’t particularly relate to the plot.

Charlie Sweatpants: But the beginning didn’t force the rest of the plot to suck. I mean, why did they go to an abandoned prison?

  There had to be easier ways to let Ralph have a little triumph at the end.

Mad Jon: Well, you will receive no argument there, the episode slid down a giant hill once Marge set up the ‘play date’.

bobservo: A plot rat led them to an ending?

Charlie Sweatpants: Literally.

Dave: Convenient, no?

bobservo: When I was watching it, I forgot how finding the key led to the electric chair.

  And then I was very sad.

Charlie Sweatpants: And it was a corner they didn’t need to put themselves in in the first place. The Teevee Gods didn’t make them go to the prison.

Mad Jon: No, no they probably didn’t.

Charlie Sweatpants: Anything else here before we move on to the bitter heart of Season 9?

bobservo: I’m ready to go.

Mad Jon: Yep

Charlie Sweatpants: Very well. Steel yourselves; we’re going in.


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