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America's Favorite Non-prehistoric Cartoon Family - The Simpsons Thread

Lokii

It's always time for burgers
(He/Him)
Staff member
Moderator
"Homer, organized labour has been called a lumbering dinosaur."
*Scream*
"My producer has told me not to talk to you anymore."
"Woo-Hoo"
It's wild comedy peaked in whatever year this came out in.

---

 
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Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Despite being the focus of the episode, Homer has, like, three lines in the last act. And two of them are Yelps
 

Ghost from Spelunker

BAG
(They/Him)
Selma's Choice
I'm late to this, but I wanted to applaud Selma's Choice for really going off the beaten path.
If this episode were done by any other sitcom at the time Selma would fall in love at first sight at Duff Gardens, there would be an entire episode on the huge wedding (because it's a crime to have a small wedding), and then during sweeps Selma would announce she's pregnant.

But this episode says phooey to all that. Even though Selma continues to look for a partner in future episodes, she decides not to have children on TV, which was huge to me. If this were Full House, the music would play, Michelle would pout at Selma, the audience would go "awwwww" and Selma would decide to adopt some orphans.
 
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Tegan

dirtbag lesbian
(She/Her)
And then in 2005 they said "actually fuck that" and gave her an adoptive daughter.
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
So It's Come To This: A Simpsons Clip Show

As a kid, clip show's didn't bother me. I watched Siskel and Ebert largely for the movie clips and I could probably just enjoy watching best moments from my best shows. But now I don't have the patience. I don't begrudge a show if they can get off a little easy for a few months with a show made of 37% new footage but the problem is that often a lot of these gags work better in context and what they hang it off of is usually pretty flimsy. The most awkward one I've seen is the season finale to the second (ONLY THE SECOND) season of Star Trek: The Next Generation that was necessitated by a writer's strike apparently. But for many reasons, clip shows seem relegated to... I'm assuming relatively TV has a lot of retrospectives. Anime still has recap episodes but while a clips show feels designed to be a victory lap and maybe an advertisement for the show you are watching, recaps are just there to catch you up with a serialized narrative. The era of the clips show has ended. I think even the "meta" clip shows like the kind that appeared in South Park and Clerks: the Animated Series are done now that what they are parodying is a thing of the past.

In this episode, Bart pranks Homer on April fools and Homer winds up in the hospital. With Homer possibly never being able to walk again, the Simpson's recollect old times.

Like, I thought I wouldn't mind seeing my old favourite jokes again. But I did. This was surprisingly dull, even for what the show had to do. I'm not sure if there was a specific reason the Simpsons decided to do a clips show. I don't feel like looking it up. I do know the writer didn't want to do it. And it feels like it. There are definitely some decent jokes but over all after a streak of classics, this clips show is rather dull. I feel like a character going to the hospital has been the basis for a clip show before and this one doesn't really do anything with that except follow suit. This is a weak episode with a few good jokes. Even the first act, which is almost exclusively new footage save for a re-used shot of the Frying Dutchman's exterior, doesn't have any particularly strong jokes. Nothing cringey or eye rolling, mind you, just... there. Its all servicable jokes. Also, I feel I can pinpoint as this being an episode where Homer shrugging and saying "What are ya gonna do." becomes a placeholder for an actual witty line. Its not quite a catchphrase but there are certain phrases Homer re-uses and the beat is a gag but it just washes over you at this point. In closing, this is a good episode to make a sandwich during.

Other good jokes:

"Me lose brain? Uh-oh. HAHAHAHAHA. Why I laugh?"

Other notes:

Why is Marge remembering a story Bart told Lisa?

This episode has the longer, nastier second time Homer fell down the cliff.

I do like the choice that Burns' Homer memory (oh, so this is non-canon then) that spells out how Homer put Burns through stuff was a mild inconveniencing as he asked for money for his sick dog.
 

MetManMas

DNM-123
(He, him)
Considering all the times Homer nearly died in the previous seasons it's pretty messed up that he ends up comatose by the final act of The Simpsons' first clip show.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
To the episodes credit, there’s a sizeable chunk of new footage in the episode; clips don’t even start until midway through. Now the second clip show, that’s a rough one.

To this day, I’m not sure if “Oh Nuts” is supposed to be Homer disappointed that he just crushed himself, or him being happy because he’s eating something with peanuts
 

Tegan

dirtbag lesbian
(She/Her)
The second clip show is godawful but I at least like the April Fool's story arc in this one.
 

zonetrope

(he/him)
At the time, the "D'oh!" montage really felt like the catchphrase being canonized. There was a point when people didn't just say that!
 

Lokii

It's always time for burgers
(He/Him)
Staff member
Moderator
^

"What are ya gonna do" is a punchline in this episode, and pretty funny too IMO. It's sad that later it became a stand-in for actual jokes.
 

Ghost from Spelunker

BAG
(They/Him)
The DVD commentary for So It's Come to This... said that Fox forced them make the clip shows, and they tried their darndest to make them more like real episodes.


Except that clip show about love, I didn't enjoy that much and I forget the commentary on it.
 
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Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
They couldn't even bring themselves to talk about that episode, and were mostly just making small talk through it, IIRC
 

yama

the room is full of ghosts
And then in 2005 they said "actually fuck that" and gave her an adoptive daughter.
With wacky hijinx in China!

Except that clip show about love, I didn't enjoy that much and I forget the commentary on it.
To me, the worst one is All Singing, All Dancing, and I say this because all but one of the songs is on Songs in the Key of Springfield. Also, Paint Your Wagon deserved to be in a better episode.
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
All Singing, All Dancing at least is remembered because of Paint Your Wagon. When people were saying "the second clip show was shit" I was like "the Troy McClure one? No. The one with Homer as Forrest Gump? Mmmmmaybe? I mean, 'You'll Never Stop the Simpsons' is still good." I completely forgot that the Love Clips Show was a thing.
 

yama

the room is full of ghosts
The one thing I remember from that clip show is they showed a scene from an earlier episode that was cut in syndication and then when they started showing that episode in syndication, they cut out that scene.
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
The Front

I long wanted to be in the creative arts. Its not too late. It never is. Well, except when you die or something. But I wanted that to be my career. As a kid, I would draw maps of video game levels I'd like to make. Later, I liked to make up plot lines for my favourite comic books. I took English in university with plans to be a writer. But I was busy with the hard work of being a student I didn't do any writing. OK, that's not true, I wrote a couple articles a week for the student paper. This, however, was not the kind of writing I wanted to do. And I think for any kid who wants to be a writer, the lesson is not to wait for an educational system to tell you when you are ready, just start ASAP and make all the (non-problematic) mistakes and grow from there. If my niece and nephew become even the slightest bit interested, that's what I would tell them.

In this episode, Bart and Lisa decide to write their own Itchy and Scratchy episode and send in a spec script. After its rejected, they decide to put Grandpa's name on it and it is not only accepted, it is lauded by the producer. Soon, Bart and Lisa strike a deal with grandpa: Abe gets the cheques and the kids live their dream job of writing the show. Meanwhile, Homer decides to finally earn his high school diploma.

The Front is a good episode but I don't know if I could tell you what it is trying to say. My best guess is to be wary of what you attach your name to but for whatever reason, it kinda didn't FEEL that was what it was about. From a structure standpoint, it makes sense: both the kids and grandpa are happy with their arrangement until he sees what he's been party to and he feels he must speak up. And there's nothing wrong with that as its a good concept to mine but for whatever reason it feels a little thrown in. Not every show needs a message or a lesson. It can be a stellar series of jokes. But I feel like the ending it loaded but I'm not entirely sure in what way. It could also be mocking the animation industry in general and considering what it was in the preceding decade its hard to blame them. But even that seems mostly whittled to a joke about "Action Figure Man". The He-Man jokes was mostly about him getting nervous at a wedding, I guess.

Perhaps (and this is coming to me as I write this sentence) there is something ambitious going on. Thematically, the kids and grandpa are the same characters. The kids are the young writers who don't even care about money, they just want to do a thing. Grandpa is the old writer, now disillusioned with an entire industry and perhaps his own work. It might also be reflective of the push and pull within the show itself. I rewatched Conan talking with other Simpsons writers of the era for an hour and a half and he noted the younger writers wanted to push the show further with outlandish jokes and the producers (and previous writers) tried to rein in the more human element that marked the show early on. So maybe its just a broad examination of what it is like to work in animation: start with passion and become a cynical crank with serious opinions on things.

This is definitely an episode for animation buffs and Simpsons buffs. Tons of jokes about the Simpsons writers, we see Lisa and Bart "break" a story (in the kind of quick smooth way it happens in fiction), and lots of references to things like recycling backgrounds. Apparently the episode's plot was sparked by three teens who sent in a spec script for Tiny Toons that actually got made (I vaguely remember that one). I feel like spec scripts for ongoing TV shows aren't really things that happen much any more due to changes in the industry (if I'm wrong let me know) but we definitely live in a time were people regardless of age can do their own thing and attract some big attention. Granted, often it helps also to have the income to do these things but with communication technology now so advanced, there are new avenues to success for creative types. I don't think we'll see anything like a thirteen year old getting a job at DC Comics again (and growing up to be a somewhat tyrannical figure) but at least there are, in theory, fewer barriers between an artist and their audience.

Homer's subplot actually takes a lot of the first act before being made much smaller. Its a fun bit of business where Homer goes to his high school reunion and earns a ton of "prizes" and loses them when it is revealed he didn't graduate.. Its got some funny jokes and helps fill the show a bit. But only a bit. This is an episode so short, they had to include "The Adventures of Ned Flanders", a wonderful bit I wish they would have done more frequently. Though it did evolve into 22 Short Stories About Springfield, which is a classic.

Jokes I missed before:

Not a joke but this is the first time I noticed they couldn't get Alex Rocco in for Roger Meyers Jr. I was like "he sounds wrong" and it turned out it was Hank Azaria. He does a good job but lacks that lived in voice.

Other great jokes:


"How did you take off your underwear without taking off your pants."
*extreme existential confusion* "I don't know!"

"That's right, I did the Iggy!"

Activities: None
Sports: None
Honors: None
I feel seen.

Grandpa's little song when Homer wheelbarrows him to the nut house.


Other notes:

Also, Jon Lovitz is replaced in the role of Artie Ziff. Dan Castellaneta sounds NOTHING like Lovitz, though his pronunciation of the word jealous is perfect in tone is not is voice.

This is the second Ren and Stimpy reference this season. Not sure what to say beyond that.
 

Lokii

It's always time for burgers
(He/Him)
Staff member
Moderator
Ren and Stimpy was a big deal at the time
 

MetManMas

DNM-123
(He, him)
The Ren & Stimpy reference earlier in the season felt like it came from a team that really liked the show. The animation was pretty much exactly Ren & Stimpy, even if the voices weren't.

The Ren & Stimpy reference in this episode is more taking a jab at John K. for the notoriously long episode development times that would be one of the reasons why he was fired.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Not only did The Adventures of Ned Flanders spin-out into one of the best episodes of the series, but so did Homer Goes Back to School! Purely in terms of legacy this may be the single greatest episode in the series!

Been 25 years and I still have no bloody idea what the title refers to.
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
Whacking Day

I miss being a teacher. I guess I do teaching as a nanny but its not organized. There's a real joy seeing a student start to get something. While I enjoyed teaching in Korea, it was actually pretty hard to gauge my efficacy there: I was only to give my students a very short test and each class numbered around 40 students. In such circumstances, it is definitely hard to guarantee that each student gets the attention they need. I've personally found that the magic number is between four and six. Everyone is likely going to get attention then, which is basically what happened when I was teaching in China with smaller classes (and much younger students). Sometimes I wish I could go back and try to do some of my lessons better and find ways to optimize my students getting the attention they need. With public schools being so crowded, its hard for everyone to get what they deserve in terms of an education.

In this episode, Bart's mischief gets him expelled from Springfield Elementary. With no other school willing to take him in, Marge is forced to home school Bart and she ends up doing a good job of it too. Meanwhile, Lisa is sickened by a Springfield holiday: Whacking Day, in which the towns citizens beat snakes with sticks. When Bart comes across the suspect origins of the holiday, he and Lisa team up to stop the snake massacre and set the town straight.

Its funny, I don't think I forgot any jokes from this one but its been so long since I've seen it, I forgot they come together to make a strong episode and one with some good stuff to say about education as a concept, even if it is unendingly suspicious about educators in systems. For example, the entire first act is Skinner showing Superintendent Chalmers (in his first appearance) around the school while it sets up Bart for monkeyshines. Both characters come off quite bad and it paints a terrible picture of the educational system. Skinner plays the role of bootlick trying to appease Chalmers by lying while Chalmers informs us that geography education is halted due to poor testing and there are going to be "two 'r's come October." Outside the school is worse: Colonial Fort Springfield perpetuates pleasing historical propaganda and kicks Bart out when he points out a historical inaccuracy. Marge is easily the best teacher in the episode. She doesn't have to please any higher ups and genuinely wants her son to be well-taught. She finds ways to make him interested in classic literature like Johnny Deformed and when Bart likes it, follows it up with further related lessons.

The education Bart receives gives him some good critical thinking skills and allows him to help Lisa win the day against Whacking Day. And lets talk about the Whacking Day half of the plot. Not all of The Simpsons has aged well but this plot feels evergreen; taking a hard look at traditions and established norms that may be in some way harmful and deciding they need to go or be changed. Here, a real education is given to Bart and he can see past even what his teacher cannot: what a sham the holiday is. I feel like there's a scene missing where Bart and Lisa actually decide to team up but probably they 1) ran out of time and 2) assumed the audience wouldn't bat an eye if a foregone team up just went all mise en scene. Bart is never actually shown that he particularly wants or needs to help his sister after spending most of it separate from her. Doing that makes sense but it would also probably needlessly slow down a quick, fun episode. And it still does a great job showing how education can inspire people to change the world for the better.

Lets also talk about Superintendent Chalmers. From the jump he's a great character and his chemistry with Skinner is top notch. Chalmers is prickly and constantly grills Skinner but rarely seems to lower the boom on his obvious lies (a formula which culminates perfectly in Steamed Hams, where Chalmers probes like a perfect detective, giving Skinner so much rope to hang himself and then letting it slide completely). I imagine he was intended to be a one off character but Harry Shearer and Hank Azaria bounce off each other so wonderfully, particularly during the "r"s as "b"s mumbling finish which sounds very improvised. It actually makes little sense when you break down the fact that Skinner's "cold" makes him mishear letters and it really shouldn't satisfy Chalmers the way it does but I feel like within the internal logic of improv, it works.

Jokes I missed before:

Not a particularly strong joke, but I missed that "The Truth About Whacking Day" was written by Bob Woodward.

Other Great Jokes:

Man, this one is packed. Pretty much anything with Chalmers.

The "where are they now" joke is top notch stuff.

"Is Whacking Day over?"
*Boo!*
"Thank you. Thanks for coming out."

"Pleasing taste, some monsterism."

"That is not ein booby."

I love Itchy and Scratchy completely foregoing comedy for a historical murder re-enactment.

"That's why they call it Fort Sensible."

"You people make me sick!"
"YAY!"
"Were they even listening to me?"
"I don't think so, no."

"I took many a lump... BUT TWAS ALL IN GOOD FUN!"

"You people are just a pack of fickle mushheads."
"He's right!"
"Give us Hell Quimby!"

Other notes:
Nice touches: Skinner dropping from the ceiling for no reason other than effect. Also, Kearney getting a five o'clock shadow, which will lead into the recurring joke that he is much older than he appears.



Weirdly drawn character or is the show inclusive enough to have a background character with marfan syndrome.

The show continues my favourite running gag through this season: that Bart wants nothing more than to be a 19th century orphan in the streets of London.

I love Marge being way too pleased with herself for buying a bell, then it turning out to be annoying AF. This feels weirdly real.
 
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