The Simpsons Index: Bart the General

Longtime Simpsons fans put a lot of energy into cataloguing a definitive ranking of best-to-worst episodes and finding the point at which the show drove off a cliff (ala Marge on the Lam, which itself is a great episode). Some superfans create blogs and podcasts dedicated to their study. Check our links page to see a roll call of some that’ve caught our attention.

The Simpsons Index is one such site, based in Australia. On each episode of The Simpsons Index podcast, host Elliot Jay O’Neill and his guests study three episodes: one from the current HD era, another from the Teens, as well as one from the agreed upon classic years. The resulting votes are worked onto a master list on their website.

A couple months back they put out the call to their followers for review suggestions on twitter (@SimpsonsIndex). As is the case whenever I get a chance to do so, I encourage people to take a close look at season one’s “Bart the General” which I’ve long contended is the Rosetta Stone for understanding how The Simpsons would meld their influences and deploy minor characters to become the well-oiled comedy and satire machine it was for so long. Well, The Index took up my challenge, and they gave it high marks…


(Review of Bart the General starts at about the 1:20:00 mark)

Not only did FLIM Springfield get a shoutout on the show, but The Index also mailed us a gift box of surprises, halfway around the globe, to say thanks!

the box! the box!

Our very own “What’s in the box” surprise!

Which was full of keen goodies…

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Genuinely cool stuff (Simpsons figures are our own) touching on a whole bunch of other cool pop culture icons and fads.

The Simpsons Index podcast and website are great resources for people looking to explore The Simpsons in a deeper and different way. Each episode is of the show is over an hour, so if you’ve a long commute, or are working around the house alone, it is a great companion. If you haven’t really given the cartoon a try, or stopped watching ages ago and want to hear how it has evolved, you will get a lot of good feedback from Elliot and his contributing community of co-hosts.

In addition to all the above, The Simpsons Index crew were also nice enough to spend time filling out our fan questionnaire, and there’s a solid crew of contributors who provided a lot to read. After formatting and editing, we’ll be adding it later this week, as separate  blog post.

 

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Soul Mates:February Trivia Recap

Hello everyone! Usually JRC writes these, but he was unfortunately ill with the Osaka Flu for February’s trivia, so I, Diana hosted and will recap. I shouldn’t have bought him that Juice Loosener!

We had a full house on the Coronado patio for the Soul Mates edition, and the weather wasn’t as blisteringly cold as January’s, so that was nice. I was joined by Alex as co-host, thankfully, because I don’t think I’m charismatic enough to carry the weight of hosting Simpsons Trivia by myself.

trivia1.jpg

Alex is the king of all he surveys

Sample questions (Highlight to see the answers):

  • In “A Fish Called Selma,” Troy McClure is seen driving this very distinctive car. (DeLorean)
  • Apu says that, before he joined the Pin Pals, this other bowling team begged him to join. Also: what other members were on that team? (The Stereo Types. Luigi, Cletus, Willie, Sea Captain.)
  • From the episode “The Principal and the Pauper,” what artistic activity do Principal Skinner and his mom do every Friday night? (Silhouette night)
  • When Mulder and Scully knock on the Simpsons’ door to ask about Homer’s alien sighting, Marge thinks they are there for her and confesses to this accidental theft. (Taking a pen from the post office)
  • Who is this supposed to be?(Lisa)

    baby.jpg

    “Baby.”

Our first-place winners for the night, with 79 out of 100 points, were Dead White Male Bashing PC Thugs. They chose THE BOX and got some candy hearts, sadly without rude slogans painted on.

Coming in a close second were The Mayor Quimby For Mayor Mayoral Committee with 77 points. They chose the $25 Coronado gift card.

And our third place winners, choosing the $15 Coronado gift card and ribbon candy (BOYS LOVE RIBBON CANDY!) were Ow! My Freakin’ Ears! with 64 points.

The clear winner of the Best Team Name contest were Put Your Sperm in Our Hands.

We hope to see you next month on March 18, for the Hooray For Everything edition!

mar2017trivia.jpg

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Ringers: January 2017 Trivia

We didn’t do a trivia show in December. As usual, there was just so much to do at the end of the year … and to be honest, we were all more than a little emotionally drained from the results of the Mary Bailey v Mr. Burns election.

Anyway, January was special, because it’s also trivia co-host, and FLIM Springfield co-founder Diana’s birthday! This year, more than anything else she wanted to be a contestant at our show, and it was my job to make it happen. So I did what any loving husband would do, I reached out to some violent mobsters … no actually, FLIM Springfield Classic Trivia at The Coronado is supported by a bunch of super cool and helpful people. I was able to call on our trio of excellent co-co-hosts, Alex, Miguel, and The Klute to craft questions in secret, and Alex and Miguel did all the MCing themselves.

Miguel did notice at one point everyone seemed a little more quiet than usual, but we think everyone was just hunkered down sweating over their brain busting trivia questions. By the time of the mid-show solo contest, everyone had loosened up.

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Sample questions (highlight between the parenthesis to see the answer):

  • The Hungry Hun is know for what food? (Sauerbraten)
  • When Krusty is busy delivering pizza to Mr. Burns estate, he puts a rerun on, which includes news about this 1980’s event? (Invasion of the Falkland Islands)
  • Gil attempts to unload this brand of computer to Springfield Elementary? Bonus, what does he try adding onto the sale? (Coleco / rust-proofing)
  • These are the aliens that FBI agents Mulder & Scully bring for Homer to identify in a lineup? (Chewbacca, Marvin Martain, Alf, Gort, and Kang or Kodos)
  • The Leader of the Movementarians promises to take his followers to this alien world? (Blisstonia)

First Place winners, with 83 points out of 100 were
Wrinkly Gibberish!

Second Place was The Well Wishers with 79 points!

Followed by Kodos 2020 with a total of 69.

Best Team Name went to
The Frinkahedrons
(we think, sorry, it was too chaotic to take good notes this time)

and Chunky Lovers got the Academic Alert
for their 16 point score.

It was really fun to be on the other side of the questions this month, and I think Diana and I learned from the experience too. We’ll be back very soon, on Saturday February 25th to apply that knowledge…

february-2017-trivia-flyer

What’s the matter, ain’t you ever seen a naked chick
ridin’ a clam before?

for the
Soulmates Edition of Classic Simpsons Trivia
hosted by Flim Springfield at The Coronado!

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Fall Foilage: Last Trivia Show of 2016!

If it's clear and yella, you've got juice there fella!

If it’s tangy and brown,
you’re in cider town!

There wasn’t a December 2016 Trivia show at The Coronado, and to make matters worse, I never got around to recapping the November edition, and for that I am very very sorry.

Here’s a quick rundown of the last winners in 2106:

first prize, first prize, first prize

1st place with 91 points went to
The Mayor Quimby for Mayor Committee
They chose the $25 gift certificate

instead of…

LISA, WE GOT ANOTHER POSTCARD FROM YOUR FATHER.

THE BOX, THE BOX!
Which went to 2nd place team
Never Stop in the Middle of a Hoedown
with 86.5 points.

if only this 3rd prize were as sweet as you

and Cesspool on the Potomac
were nipping at Hodown‘s tail
with 86 points and 3rd place!

They got a $15 gift certificate, and were happy to have it!

all the best teams are affiliated with Satan

Best team name went to
GLOWER POWER
due in part to their awesome grindcore font.

and Dental Plant got the Academic Alter for earning 50 points.

Our special Guest for the evening were Rick Larsen and Jeff Cadello of the podcast Wednesday Morning Surf Report. We were lucky enough to be on their show in November the year prior, and thought it was time to return the favor!

except these two are funny.

Phoenix’s answer to
Bill & Marty

They were on the lookout for a new tagline for their show, and took suggestions from the audience! And…I’ll be honest, I forgot to write down the winning suggestion, but that person got a OKILLY DOKILLY prize pack, with the band’s new CD, and other goodies…

Merch!

Merch!

Finally, contestant and sometimes co-host The Klute discovered he has a near doppelganger in Rick Larsen, from Wednesday Morning Surf Report.

Interesting how the left--or sinister twin--is invariably the evil one

I’ms seeing double
4 Krustys trivia contestants!

All in all, it was a grand evening! A great way to ring out 2016. I’ll be back soon, to recap January 2017’s “Ringers Edition” and announce our next live trivia show!

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A Flimsy Hodge-Podge of Fan Art, Factoids & “News”

An accumulation of Simpsons fan art, graffiti, articles, and things that just don’t fit anywhere else…

driven mad after being denied those Breakfast Balls

“Falling Down” starring Frank Grimes
by Mark Chilcott

Mark Chilcott is a prolific illustrator based in Wales UK and posts his amazing pop culture-themed illustrations on Instagram here: instagram.com/markchilcottart. In addition to his Simpsons tribute to the 1993 film “Falling Down,” starring Frank Grimes in the Michael Douglas role, Mark has also done awesome art based on Batman the Animated Series, a collection of fictional law enforcement officers, and some really beautiful foxes. Check out his work, you won’t be disappointed.

FLIM Springfield will probably never get around to doing a complete recasting of Falling Down, and we’re glad Mark thought up this perfect fit for the title role.

Closer to home, Phoenix has been hit by a mysterious graffiti artist:

homer-graffiti-art

photo by Diana.

homer-tag-photo-by-jose

Homer inspired street mural by Lived 1904.
photo by Jose Gonzales.

And in more traditional art, this piece hanging at LUX Coffee

I'm an Art

by Randy Slack

Randy Slack is a standout of the Phoenix art community, with a long resume of exhibits to his credit, whose work is collected far and wide. I recently saw this piece for the first time, which I think is a few years old, at a hip coffee shop on Central Ave.

Starting the New Year off right, Sally Forth, by cartoonists Greg Howard, Francesco Marciuliano, and Jim Keefe, put Milhouse’s signature catch phrase into Sally’s husband Ted’s mouth.

new year, old jokes

Sally Forth
January 1st 2017

FLIM Springfield also weeps for a generation not fluent in Simpsons, Ted, we understand. There’s nothing cooler and more relevant in the newspapers today than 18 year old cartoon references (Really, I mean that, sorry if it sounded sarcastic).

Online, Jalopnik’s Jason Torchinsky has done amazing detective work tracking down the overlooked origin of the Simpson family’s pink car.

Recently dubbed with the name brand “Junkerolla” on the cartoon, Homer’s vehicle seems to be based on a Chinese knockoff of the 1986 Dodge 600. The article is well worth a read, illustrating how real world objects are streamlined for cartoons, and where references are employed. In 2014 Jason also did a list of every real car from The Simpsons, it is also wonderfully thorough. He also wrote to let us know his fav’ Simpsons’ vehicle is Patty and Selma’s VW Thing…

no really, that's its name.

the Thing, military surplus.

Finally–I’ve had this in my file for ages–fellow Simpson fan Steve Kochersperger, of the Woo-Hoo: Classic Simpsons Trivia CHICAGO Facebook group, spotted this…

floating-mcdonalds

And I couldn’t agree with his deduction more. The Vintage News has a great collection of pictures from the ship in its heyday…

http://www.barnorama.com/mcbarge/

(From Barnorama.com)

30 years is a long time to sit abandoned–if only they’d kept it going a little longer…

do you want fries with that?

Give me 700 Krusty Burgers!

If you spot some Simpsons in the wild, send us a picture, maybe we’ll include it in our next roundup. Thanks for reading, everyone!

Update, Monday January 16th…

He's also got a prescription plan for Frigid Falls, Mount Seldom, Lake Flaccid...

(read the “quote” under the photo credit)

Someone at The Daily Intelligencer is a fan. Spotted by Jose Gonzales.

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Non-Giving Up Future Robot Guy 2: Judgment Day

judgmentdayposter-copy

Movies are self-contained environments. Everything you need to know for the story in a film to work should be revealed over the course of its running time. The Terminator, made in 1984, is a pretty simple sci-fi story: Bad guy robot comes from future to kill lady, good guy follows, lady is saved, and we learn that maybe the real Terminator was inside of us all along. It isn’t complicated, but it’s well told. The Terminator was a somewhat surprising hit, so of course there had to be a sequel, and that’s where the story starts to require context, and gets pretty self-referential. (essay continues after GIF set)

ruth-powers-as-sarah-connor

Ruth Powers as Sarah Connor
(Linda Hamilton)
Sarah Conner would never turn a gun on a human being. A Terminator, on the other hand…Smart, angry, and utterly fearless, Ruth Powers is the perfect fit for a woman stripped bare by her burden in life.

On closer inspection, these are loafers

Ranier Wolfcastle as
The Terminator
(Arnold Schwarzenegger)
We’re not patting ourselves on the back for noticing the similarities here. It’s the role he was born to play!

Beer ‘n’ Brawl as The Corral
The bikers in this movie are shocked, SHOCKED that a fully nude man would enter their establishment and demand clothes, boots, and a motorcycle without so much as a “please.” I’ll bet that’s a weekly occurrence at Beer ‘n’ Brawl, the bar where Lurleen Lumpkin works.

But when he barks, does he shoot bees at you?

Robotic Richard Simmons as the T-1000 (Robert Patrick)
Like Ranier Wolfcastle, it’s a direct parody, but we just had fun imagining Mr. Burns’ most fearsome playing the bad Terminator role for the whole movie.

dolph-as-john-connor

Dolph as John Connor (Edward Furlong) 
A snotty little brat with criminal tendencies, John could have been played by any of the bullies, or even Bart. But Dolph has John’s exact hairstyle, so he was the clear choice.

milhouse-as-tim

Milhouse as Tim
(Danny Cooksey)
Tim is John Connor’s mulleted sidekick who is clearly not the brains of the operation. Though he does do a convincing job of pretending to not recognize the photo of John that T-1000 is showing around, and I don’t think I could give Milhouse that kind of credit.

flanders-as-voights

Ned and Maude Flanders as Todd and Janelle Voight (Xander Berkeley and
Jenette Goldstein)
The Flanders have experience fostering little neglectarinos! But I guess they are more like a genuine version of the fake sweet version of Janelle that the T-1000 played on the phone.

He was never popular.

Dr. Marvin Monroe as Dr. Silberman (Earl Boen)
The mean and unhelpful psychologist at the mental hospital where Sarah Connor is being kept at the start of the film. Boy, was his face red when the man that he thinks Sarah is making up shows up at the hospital!

Gross.

Springfield Retirement Castle Administrator as Douglas (Ken Gibbel)
This guy offers Abe cash-based lifestyle upgrades when he finds out Abe inherited a fortune from Bea. Douglas was the ultra-sleazy hospital employee who licks Sarah Connor on the face. There are tongue baths, and there are tongue baths, amirite?

INTRUDER ALERT! INTRUDER ALERT!

Gary the Nerd as Miles Dyson (Joe Morton)
One of Homer’s brainy tutors in college could well have grown up to invent the technology that became Skynet.

herman-as-enrique-salceda

Herman as Enrique Salceda (Castulo Guerra)
Herman’s not Hispanic (to my knowledge) but there’s no one else whose interests and lifestyle coincide quite so well with Sarah’s gun-hoarding survivalist friend.

vp-dog-as-max

Burns’ Executive Vice President dog as Max
He pulled a toddler from the path of a speeding car, and pushed a Terminator in front of it!

zaxxar-as-kyle-reese

Zaxxar as Kyle Reese
(Michael Biehn)

Hero from an alternate timeline that may never have existed.

TV shows are almost always serialized, by design, in order to draw the viewers back each week. It isn’t hard to figure out Homer, Bart, Lisa, Marge, and Maggie after their opening credit introduction, but we get a much fuller picture of who they are and their relationships after seeing… oh lets say 226 episodes and a handful of shorts. The trick of being a sitcom is that at the end of each episode things always snap back to where they were at the beginning. Even when Lisa became a vegetarian, it didn’t require a weekly reminder that she did so. Similarly, you don’t need to know Homer failed remedial science in high school, or that Maggie shot Mr. Burns. It makes the evolving world of the show richer to remember these things in the back of your mind, and you might catch a couple more jokes if you do, but even in highly self-referential episodes, such as “Homer’s Enemy” where Homer tries to endear himself to Frank Grimes by pointing out highlights from his charmed life, like winning a Grammy and traveling into space, don’t require you to know the details—it is funny enough just hearing him rattle of his absurd list of achievements as Grimy’s blood boils.

7 years after making him a star, Arnold Schwarzenegger and James Cameron resurrected the T-800, this time a franchise-minted hero! But how? At the end of the first Terminator, the bad robot was destroyed, failing in its mission to kill the future savior of humanity, thereby eliminating the very timeline it came from, from ever existing—right? That’s where T2 uses the scraps of the previous movie to build some great continuity on. It turns out, the trashed skeleton of the T-800 have been scooped up by the Cyberdyne company, who exploit the future-tech, and wind up causing the disaster that creates the whole robot-overrun dystopian future to begin with. It’s best if you don’t think about it too hard.

Intricate references to previous episodes isn’t something The Simpsons does much. In fact, the show regularly contradicts itself with multiple versions of Marge & Homer’s wedding, Mr. Burn’s age and childhood, and countless other small incidents. (We won’t mention a certain pointless retcon from season 9, under penalty of torture.) Television shows are created by dozens or hundreds of writers over years, it makes sense that some plot points, important for just a few seconds in one episode, get lost in the shuffle over time. As long as the stories stay true to the series’ premise, and the characters remain moderately consistent, the show keeps working. The Simpsons’ creators have even had fun at the expense of obsessive fans by “lampshading” intentional contradictions and retcons. For long-running shows, though, time causes bigger problems: each season becomes another layer of bricks in the show’s structure—the house gets bigger, but the pile of raw materials gets smaller. There are fewer new stories to be told, and the variations available get sliced thinner to the point were emotional beats and plot points feel rehashed.

The same problem of diminishing returns has effected the Terminator franchise. T2 told the definitive story its world was meant to tell, but when they drive a dump truck of money up to your door, even an unstoppable killing machine is only human. There have been three additional sequels to the Terminator, plus a TV show on FOX. There’s not much for audiences to come back for except increasingly convoluted time travel schemes, bonkers excuses to explain why the apocalypse is still happening, and an entire CGI industry built around making an aging action star the perpetual hero in Sarah Connor’s story. As long as the brand keeps making money, though, and as long as we keep buying it, there’ll be more. Who knows what adventures the Terminator will have between now and the time the franchise becomes unprofitable.

This recasting was something Diana picked out. Diana had a really weird upbringing, and was not allowed to watch certain things, such as Saturday morning cartoons. But when her drunk, neglectful, Homer-like father was around, anything went. If he was watching TV, and he likely was, there was a good chance that what was on the screen was either The Simpsons or a video of Terminator 2. Even as a 7-year old that probably shouldn’t have been watching it, she loved this movie. The combination of a cool female protagonist, a kid protagonist, and rad fighting robots, made this an action movie even a little girl could love.

A few months ago, local cult movie concern Cult Classics showed Terminator 2 at a theater in Tempe. We went to see it, of course -the first time we’d seen it on the big screen. We had a great time, and of course we had to recast it. It’s a no-brainer; besides Diana’s history with the movie, The Simpsons paid homage to Terminator 2 several times in the show – the famous scene of Homer melting into the bushes, Homer chasing down Flanders’ car, Principal Skinner tailing Bart through a river, and of course the Robotic Richard Simmons that we chose for this film’s antagonist. Hope you enjoyed it!

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We Got Scooped on a Recasting: Presidential Edition

Over on twitter, Marc Debiak recently posted his take on the forthcoming Presidential Administration of Donald Trump. I recognize almost all the characters picked, there’s one or two that come from post season 10 episodes, but he did a great job anyway…

Democracy just doesn't work

2017, translated for Simpsons fans (by Marc Debiak)

Marc runs Paper Tiger, a fancy design firm. Look them up if you need some work done, and thanks for letting us share this.

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