“Stole, made up, what’s the difference?” Bojack Horseman and The Simpsons, Part 2

Let’s get this out of the way before I start: I love Bojack Horseman, and I’m not accusing the show of being a Simpsons ripoff. You don’t need to point out that some of these jokes are older than The Simpsons, and might possibly be inspired by something other than the Simpsons. I know. I’m just having fun looking at the similarities between two of my favorite shows. Bojack Horseman creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg is clearly a fan of the Simpsons, though, so I’d wager that some of this isn’t a coincidence.

Season 4 of Bojack Horseman was amazing! Rather than devouring it in one night like we did with season 3, J and I watched two episodes a night until we had seen all 12. And, because I see Simpsons references everywhere, I couldn’t help but catalog the scenes that may have been inspired by the Simpsons.

  1. Season 4, episode 1: “See Mr. Peanut Butter Run”
    In this episode, Mr. Peanut Butter’s unscrupulous and ambitious ex-wife/campaign manager runs an amendment to the California constitution that lets a challenger win the governorship by beating the sitting governor at a ski race. The way she gets this to happen is illustrated this way, shown side by side with The Simpsons’ version from Season 7’s The Day the Violence Died:

    Yes, yes, I know that this is based on a Schoolhouse Rock parody! This information is not news! Maybe other shows do Schoolhouse Rock parodies? We don’t know, frankly we don’t want to know, it’s a market we can do without*. Anyway, what are the odds that two shows I watch would parody the same segment? Maybe it was just a campy 70’s throwback to appeal to Generation Xers.

  2. Season 4, episode 5: “Thoughts and Prayers”
    In this episode, Diane develops a love of handguns after Courtney Portnoy, a starlet she interviews, uses one to stop a predatory and racist harasser from “badgering” them.badgering
    Sound familiar?

    It’s a similar setup to The Simpsons, Season 9’s The Cartridge Family, but what comes next really hits the reference home. As you recall, in The Cartridge Family, when Homer enters the Kwik-E-Mart with his gun, Apu thinks he is being robbed. Homer imagines the life of wealth and success he would lead if he robbed the Kwik-E-Mart, but when he comes out of his fantasy, he is disappointed to realize that he has bought a hot dog and left without harming anyone.
    hotdog copy
    In Thoughts and Prayers, Diane gets home and is shocked to realize that she has been holding a gun for a long time without meaning to, and that she probably robbed a convenience store by accident.

    redvines
    Well, she is married to a handsome movie star who lives in a mansion, so maybe Homer’s fantasy was accurate!

  3. Season 4, episode 8: “The Judge”
    This one is really straightforward. Bojack agreed to be a guest judge on a booty-themed court show. On his way to the taping, he gets into character by shouting at another driver from his yellow Tesla Model S convertible (Oscar Nominee gifts must be pretty special, because Tesla doesn’t make a convertible, anyway, never mind):
    bojackjudge
    Bojack is clearly an aggressive driver. Is it possible that he was forced to watch the same driving school video that Marge did in Season 10’s Screaming Yellow Honkers?kissmyass

Were those all the crossover Simpson jokes from season four of Bojack Horseman? Probably not, but those are the ones I caught. Thank you Simpsons for helping inspire eclectic cross-referential humor, and thank you Raphael Bob-Waksberg for taking it to the next level and creating a show that earns its laugh out loud jokes by bringing along soul scorching emotional depth.

 

*Actually, we do know, there have been plenty of Schoolhouse Rock parodies.
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Simpsons Peaks: The Rock Bottom Interview

from SIMPSONS PEAKS by Joel Day

This is the third in Flim Springfield’s series covering the return of Twin Peaks, and its connections to The Simpsons, and Simpsons fandom.

awe crap.

Tonight on Rock Bottom

Tonight we’re speaking to Tricia Bogumill: Simpsons fan, Twin Peaks fan, and founder of Simpsons Peaks on Facebook, the biggest and best Simpsons + Twin Peaks mashup group on the internet. She’s one of the most enthusiastic people we know, about both shows. Tricia can nail a trivia question like a living, breathing wiki site. She can also look at the shows she loves critically, but not let that take away the fun of just being a fan.

that's not LATIN!

“I won’t tell you what I searched to get it”

Flim Springfield: “Who are you, and what are you doing in my house?” …Tell us who you are, and what your Simpsons Project is about?

Tricia Bogumill: Oh hi there! I’m Tricia Bogumill. You may remember me from such joint Simpsons efforts as Simpsons Peaks on Facebook (a mashup page of The Simpsons and Twin Peaks that weirdly works and amazingly has thousands of members) and totally owning your trivia nights*. I also love music, mostly old pop punk and newer folk punk and of course The Smiths. I like to play pool and enjoy shooting breeze, I also have cats who are cooler than yours.

Tulpa

by Tricia Bogumill

FS:  “It happened at the beginning of that turbulent decade known as the 80s” …When did you first watch The Simpsons? What early episode/joke do you remember?

TB: Ok so I was raised by some cool people. These cool people went and saw a film called War of The Roses, produced by James L Brooks in December of 1989:

It was released a week before the premier of a side animation project Brooks had procured for his show The Tracey Ullman show so a short cartoon about a family at Christmas was shown before the film. These cool people went on to watch that show every week. In December 1989 I would have been 3, it wasn’t until (according to wikipedia) 2 years later in January of 1992 that I remember seeing Radio Bart. I just remembered being so worried cause he was crying in his big sweater. And the convoy song. But the clearest joke I remember I will always count as a Simpsons joke even though it’s from the movie Broadcast News, but it’s words written by James L. Brooks, said by Albert Brooks (Hank Scorpio himself) *while very drunk* I can sing while I read. I am singing. And reading. Both.” Or his supreme court justice line “there’s only 9″.

LEVEL TWO ANTAGONISM

By Diana Welsch

FS:  “Gee, I never realized TV was such a dangerous influence” …How has The Simpsons been an influence in your life or creativity?

TB: Aside from referencing the show all the time? These weird yellow people have been in my life for 28 years, so let’s just break it down.
-Lisa= If you aren’t offended, you aren’t paying attention. But accept that people are flawed.
-Bart= Be your biggest fan.
-Marge= Know what you deserve (she taught me that by the show not always showing her knowing that)
-Homer= Be tolerant and accepting.
-Patty and Selma= Bitter is better.
We didn’t live in an era where we gather around a campfire and Aesop told us fables about animals to disguise life lessons. We sat around a TV and watched The Simpsons.

Milhouse Goes to College

Mashup Band Merch

FS:  “$18 bucks for this? What a rip-off!” …Do you or have you ever owned any Simpsons tchotchkes? Shirts, trading cards, DVDs, action figures, ‘hand-drawn animation cels guaranteed to increase in value’, etc… what’s your favorite legit or bootleg stuff?

TB: I’m not animation cel level but yeah growing up we had Simpsons everything. I just got a Marge smudgeface dress last week, to hopefully stop me from kissing coworkers who I share bed Turkey with. But bootleg I live for are Simpsons + band logo mashups. There’s one of the Descendents Album “Everything Sucks” except it’s homer in the square glasses and the book says Everything Duffs.

Bloody Guts Palmer

by Tricia Bogumill

FS: “Here’s a phone, call somebody who cares” …Is there a Simpsons joke or line that works as shorthand or ‘code’ among your friends/family?

TB: I dated my last boyfriend because he sent me Homer’s love letter as a text. Zero context, just out of nowhere, I was like ok. Then Diana helped me reel him in by saying I hate yo-yos. True story, Flim Springfield readers. These people and the Simpsons will get you laid.

True story, Flim Springfield readers. These people and the Simpsons will get you laid.

But really there’s just so many with friends: “Duffman says a lot of things”, “he called me sir, without adding you’re causing a scene”, “best wishes. See you in the car”, too many.
Man I didn’t read that question right at all, don’t care. I guess the real answer is doesn’t everyone say “so I says to Mabel” when they want to steer away from an awkward convo?

localized entirely in your kitchen?!

By David Keonig

FS: “We should thank our lucky stars they’re still putting on a program of this caliber after so many years” … Do you have a favorite season or episode, what makes it especially memorable for you?

TB: I feel a strong connection with Lisa and that is because I feel like my dating history is condensed to “Lisa’s date with Density” and “I love Lisa” I’m perpetually in a cycle of either dudes playing joy to the world or me saying 6 simple words.

FS: “There were script problems from day one” …Do you ever watch Simpsons with commentary on, or read interviews/news about the show? What’s the neatest thing you’ve learned from the crew?

TB: How much they hated Tracey Ullman.

worse than leland palmer

Flavor Country
by Craig Evans

FS: “Cartoons have the power to make us laugh and to make us cry” … Hypothetical Situation: Society is ending! You have to preserve the culture by rocketing 5 episodes of The Simpsons into space, what would they be? How would you make your decisions? Do the episodes have anything in common?

TB: To preserve culture?! Is this some psychological assessment in disguise. Jeez. Well so

I guess you’re asking what defines culture, or at least what parts I want preserved. Ok so the five are:

Laura is The One

by Aaron Dunbar

Homer at the Bat
Homer vs. The 18th amendment
Bart Vs. Australia 
Treehouse of Horror 1
The Lemon of Troy

Know I originally had “The Way we Was” in the last slot, but I selflessly switched it because I’m invested in this post apocalyptic future, and I’m a realist who knows when her emotions have no place. Oh man see I just quoted three men and a comic and that’s a good one too. But yeah so let’s see, future society, culture: Baseball, billionaires, cheating, little guys, scenarios, prohibition, adults, alcohol, clever, diplomacy, family, physics, James Earle Jones reading The Raven over Homer and Bart living it is such a beautiful however many minutes, it’s just needed and maybe it becomes historical that the Simpsons not trusting K&K was why there was no other records of earth, and Lemon of Troy will help teach what every civil war ever has. I obviously am just on a mission of diplomacy.

FS: “Worst Episode Ever” …You get to be the guest star on the first episode of the next season! What’s your character, what’s the story?

TB: I don’t know what my character would be, but someone who is in some position to explain away the recent retconning of Kamp Krusty. I swear that made me more upset than SADGASM. Maybe I could be a lawyer trying to avoid a lawsuit but explaining that some product or something my company did caused a year long fugue state and I read a long list of symptoms that say “hallucinations: up to and including any ideas of new found memories of little people posing as campers who you thought were dead replacing the very real memory of your fun trip to Mexico”.

A funny episode...um, of Season 3

Clip Show by Nick Rogers

FS: “Well, that’s the end of me” …You’re going to write the last Simpsons episode. What happens, how does it end?

TB: It’s the intro right up to the couch gag then switches to live film with Matt coming into the drawing room and saying “What are you all still doing here? Show’s over” or maybe like Dan or Hank practicing their most popular voices in the mirror and get the call but we just see their reaction and they both end with “Thank You”. I need that drastic cut to the reality of The Simpsons being an idea in brilliant people’s heads, so that way I can know it’s never really over.

A sample of some of the best of Simpsons Peaks

wince

The Film is the Talking
Quote by David Lynch, mashup by JRC

Posted in Classic, Classic Simpsons, Cultural Impact, fan art, fan art, simpsons in the news,, interview, The Simpsons, TV | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Simpsons in Mourning: Gregory, Lewis, and Campbell

These are turbulent times, in the real world, just as in Springfield, we look to our heroes for inspiration and strength even as they pass on. This week The Simpsons and their neighbors are mourning the loss of two comedy legends, Dick Gregory and Jerry Lewis, as well as country western singer Glen Campbell.

where were you when I sang at FarmAide!?

send in … the clowns

Krusty the Clown was crushed to hear about the death of Jerry Lewis, his peer, friend, and rival. There’s no one else in Springfield whose life and career so closely parallels the highs and lows of Lewis. The two met as young clowns, perfecting their acts at Catskills Mountain resorts in NY.  When Lewis had a falling out with Dean Martin, Krusty took his spot in the Rat Pack for a spell. Over the years both built empires based on their similar public brands.

Starting in 1966 Lewis helped created the annual Labor Day Telethon to fight Muscular Dystrophy which he hosted for 44 years straight. The charity raised billions of dollars dedicated to finding a way to cure the disease—much more than Krusty’s similar Motion Sickness charity fundraiser. It was one of the many ways Krusty challenged his friend for prominence and public adoration.

Like Krusty, Lewis battled drug addiction and ill health for years, and was irritable and angry towards friends and coworkers. During rehab stays, Jerry and Herschel would talk over the phone for hours, lending a sympathetic ear or arguing viciously about who was the better comic. The mutual competition kept them going.

Krusty will likely cue up a screening of The Bellboy, or the Nutty Professor and chain-smoke his way through them for a chuckle. Maybe he’ll have his secretary Ms. Pennycandy invite Bart and Homer over (along with Professor Frink for some reason) to laugh along with. If Herschel Krustofsky is in a darker mood he might watch Martin Scorsese’s vicious “The King of Comedy” instead, or even his rare bootleg copy of “The Day The Clown Cried”.  RIP Jerry Lewis, yet another challenger to the Krusty the Clown crown, who he has outlasted.

I wouldn't

“If they took all the drugs, nicotine, alcohol and caffeine off the market for six days, they’d have to bring out the tanks to control you.” ~Dick Gregory

Krusty won’t be the only person in town feeling the loss of African American standup comedian Dick Gregory. Gregory got his start performing in the army, then in the early 1960s he became a standout on the Playboy Club circuit, and legendary venues like San Francisco’s Hungry i. It is said that once, at Moe’s Brew Ha Ha! he eviscerated a lesser comic for their hacky joke about the differences in driving styles of white and black persons. Gregory’s talent was a tool that enabled him to step across segregation barriers, and he used that ability to push for equality.

In 1964 he write the story of his early life, “N*gger” which has solid over a million copies, including a couple well-read editions owned by Sideshow Raheem and Lisa Simpson, respectively. It was his first of many books, chronicling the life of a black man in America from a street and stage level perspective. Gregory’s work lives on through a series of stand-up comedy albums. Tonight Raheem, Bleeding Gums Murphy, Krusty, Comic Book Guy will gather together to listen attentively and laugh uproariously at “Dick Gregory Live at the Village Gate” and other albums.

Nashville Knight

RIP Rhinestone Cowboy

Glen Campbell began his career as a session musician and songwriter in Los Angeles in the 1960s. He performed and wrote for all the stars of the era, Elvis, Nat King Cole, the Beach Boys, both Nancy and Frank Sinatra, and Merle Haggard, among many more. Lurleen Lumpkin first heard him perform on reruns of The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour.

Captivated by his stage presence and glitzy pop take on country music, she picked up guitar and taught herself to play his hits, and eventually create her own tunes. The jukebox at the Beer-n-Brawl is still stocked with his catalogue.

Peppy anthems like “Southern Nights” and “Rhinestone Cowboy” brought urban audiences back to country music and kept Campbell popular through the 1970s. While disco ruled most towns, square dancing became trend in Springfield, with Waylon Smithers and his friends becoming lifelong fans thanks to Campbell’s music.

In 2010 Glen Campbell was diagnosed with Alzheimers. Rather than giving in to the disease, Campbell spent his time recording a final album and performing as much as he could. Tonight “Ya Hoo” will host a tribute to Glen Campbell, with country stars covering his tunes. Lurleen Lumpkin–inspired by Campbell’s own battles with substance abuse has cleaned up her act for good–and will perform I’ll Never Pass This Way Again to close the show.

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Twin Peaks: The 1990s Return

No Homers!

Stonecutters as Bookhouse Boys

TWIN PEAKS is probably the most important television show of the 1990s, its byzantine exposition and use of dream logic made it the most watched TV show week-after-week for the better part of a year. Even after the series’ decline and demise its dark tone and mysterious aesthetic helped create the idea of Event Television, and birthed copycats for years. But for all of Twin Peaks’ lauded experimentalism and high-art aspirations, the public—and even some hardcore aficionados—forget that a big part of its formula is borrowed from the basest broadcast trash: soap operas.

Twin Peaks is the child of Dallas and General Hospital, with The Twilight Zone as its wary but encouraging stepfather. If you pay attention too intently, too seriously, Twin Peaks is a nightmare full of monsters and unfathomable imagery, where inscrutable gods rain mayhem upon a small town, leaving misery in their path. If you put the show in context as an ongoing serial drama with an ensemble cast of impeccable beauties, though, its oversized characters and tangle of quick-changing wacky plots, the [original] series adds up to a pretty frothy but conventional soap opera. There isn’t a plot that Twin Peaks used that hasn’t been done by some network or premium drama.

I thought you were dead?!

Search for the Sun as
Invitation to Love

When asked by The Guardian if his show was a parody Lynch obstinately replied, “No, no, no, no, no. It is a soap opera. Soap operas grow out of life and because they’re continuing stories you get to go deeper into the characters’ lives.”

Similarly, The Simpsons, for all its vaunted skewering of cliché TV tropes, works very well as a conventional family sitcom. What made the FOX show stand out in 1989 was the high quality of the writing, with the novelty of animation sprinkled atop. Matt Groening has said on episode commentaries that he didn’t want to exploit the latitude offered by cartoons in a way that’d prevent viewers from identifying with the family and their world. As bright and colorful as The Simpsons is, there isn’t much Looney Tunes-style reality defying, or Flintstones-esque anachronistic mise-en-scene (at least, not much of that at the height of the series run).

trembling

Life in Hell
Matt Groening 1990

Fans of Groening’s LIFE IN HELL comics know he’s an astute observer of parent-child dynamics and the stress of modern life. Simpsons stories and humor come from observations of a very contemporary family (based loosely on Groening’s own home) and the community they live in, instead of recycling the bland jokes found on Family Matters, or the sunny platitudes of The Cosby Show.

Twin Peaks and The Simpsons seem wildly different from each other, as certainly as they were different from anything else on television in the early 1990s. Where the two

Brillant habe ich keine Ahnung, was los ist

Smither’s Sycophantic German tapes
as Cooper’s tape recorder

programs grow together though, are their well rendered casts. The leads in Twin Peaks and The Simpsons are compelling and iconic, they’re designed to be understood quickly. We can identify Bart’s spiky silhouette and Cooper’s mannequin-like beauty, Marge’s beehive hairdo and Audrey’s classic glamour on sight. It’s the minor cast members though who carry the weight of bringing their small towns to life, making an impact and remaining memorable after just a few appearances. Springfield would feel barren if Moe’s Bar didn’t have a constant handful of worn down patrons, or if Grandpa Simpson didn’t have a Jasper to gripe with. Bit players, like Disco Stu, Prof. Frink or Hans Moleman, make Springfield come alive when they kick in a punchline and fill out the scene backgrounds. Similarly, the malevolence acting upon Twin Peaks wouldn’t stab with such intensity if the cast didn’t feel not just quirky, but like real people you might know.

Both David Lynch and Matt Groening come from “Small Town America.” Lynch was

pie and coffee

Jittery Joe’s as
The Double R Diner

born in Missoula, Montana, but moved around the Midwest a lot due to his father’s job with the Federal Department of Agriculture. He went to college in Philadelphia, PA, a culturally rich city with deep working class roots, where he lived in a rough industrial part of town. Groening grew up in Portland, Oregon when it was still a sleepy burg surrounded by the logging industry. His father, a graphic designer, and mother, a teacher, exemplified the practical application of creativity for their era. Matt didn’t leave home until after college, relocating at age 23 to Los Angeles.

Lynch’s public persona is that of a wide-eyed innocent, affecting a strong midwestern accent that contrasts the tropes associated with a contemporary artist or Hollywood elite. He dresses with cartoon-character-like consistency in a neat but drab black suit, hair puffed in a dated pompadour. Lynch is reluctant to talk about the personal meaning of his films, and once famously stalled an interview after declaring “Eraserhead is my most spiritual film,” then refused to elaborate why.

pained grimace

David Lynch, biography: “Born Missoula, Mont. Eagle Scout.”

Aside from their very different aesthetics, Groening and Lynch really aren’t that different. Both were Boy Scouts. Their art is grounded in an affectionate recollection of the small town America they grew up in—and both critical of it too, the shows share a core interest in examining the values and failings of the family in community life. Both creators never stop working. They are auteurs able to wield tremendous power over their projects even with creative partners and within the cautious Hollywood system. They’re clearly the force behind what we see after their name comes on screen.

paralyzed with rage

The Angriest Dog in the World
David Lynch’s alt comic strip

It’s 2017, and this year Twin Peaks has returned to television as a premium event with David Lynch still the central creative force and final word. Interestingly, it is competing against other prestige television such as Game of Thrones and Mr. Robot,

Just yooooou aaaannnd Iiiiii

Ned Flanders & The Larry Davis Experience
as Julie Cruz & Angelo Badalamenti

the very kind of must-see event shows he laid the groundwork for 25 years ago. Matt Groening is also creating new television, having spent the past year developing DISENCHANTMENT, a cartoon that sounds like a richer take on Rocky & Bullwinkle’s Fractured Fairy Tales. It will premiere on Netflix late next year. He’ll be reentering a field now filled with a generation of creators who were inspired by him, like Bob Wakberg’s Bojack Horseman, Rebecca Sugar’s Steven Universe, and Pendleton Ward’s Adventure Time. Goening and Lynch’s strong personal vision, and restless creative energy suggests that both are still innovative, and that they’re going to be well suited to the contemporary landscape they helped create.

Laura, clue, Laura, clue, Laura, clue . . .

Clue Pigeon as Waldo

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Simpsons Joke Origins: Superstar Celebrity Microphone

CONVOY!

Do you have any of those microphones left?!
A couple.

The episode Radio Bart centers around Bart being given a toy microphone for his birthday, and the pranks he uses it for. These start innocently enough with him tricking Homer into believing an alien invasion is happening, or ordering the Flanders children around in God’s voice, but he gets in real trouble when he drops it down a well and pretends to be a trapped boy.

I created the universe!

What do you mean how did I get on the radio!?

But did you know that his Superstar Celebrity microphone was based on a real product called Mr. Microphone? And the ad Homer sees showing a man using it to obnoxiously catcall women from his car was straight from the real-life commercial? But don’t take my word for it – see for yourself.

These toys were readily available at through magazine ad mailorder and Radioshack stores for decades. Like those shopping options, Mr. Microphone is sadly hard to find today, but the fun lives on in spirit through karaoke.

destroy the radio industry

Classic

Hey good lookin', I'll be back for you later!

1970s glory days

Now, this piece of crap probably has a range of only several yards at best, so I doubt that Bart could realistically speak into the mic at home and have it audible from the radio in the well blocks away, but I’m more than willing to believe a wizard did it.

Posted in Classic Simpsons, Cultural Impact, joke origins, TV | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wide & Tall: The Rock Bottom Interview

awe crap.

Tonight on Rock Bottom

It’s time for another patented Flim Springfield hard hitting Rock Bottom investigative interview!

♪ I AM THE VERY MODEL OF A MODERN MAJOR GENERAL ♪

from Wide and Tall Simpsons Caps, from “Deep Space Homer” (S5, Ep15)

“Who are you, and what are you doing in my house?” …Tell us who you are, and what you do?

♪ HE'S HARDLY EVER SICK AT SEA... ♪

Steven, he’s English!

I’m Steven, English, 26 years old and I run “Wide and Tall Simpsons Caps” a site that specializes in self stitched together tall and wide frames. (I also have a Futurama side blog that does the same.)

“It happened at the beginning of that turbulent decade known as the 80s” …When did you first watch The Simpsons? What early episode/joke do you remember?

Steven: Wow, a long time ago now that I think about it. The mid 90’s, somewhere from 95-96, we had access to ‘Sky’ and then it started showing on the BBC. A first episode is tough to pin down, I more remember that it was something I watched than the specific episodes but it would have been one from the ‘Classic’ era. I have a recall of watching ‘Marge in Chains’, that ‘Mad’ fold in joke I found very creepy at the time, aside from that, Bart dancing in that bright red dress!

“I’m not a bloody jukebox!” …What’s your favorite musical moment from The Simpsons (either original song, or ‘real’ tune used on the show) what makes it memorable?

Steven: The song I took my blog name from! Lisa’s folksy protest tune in ‘Last Exit to Springfield’.  I’ve always loved that she sits there to support her dad who’s doing it she so can have proper braces, the bond between them is so sweet. It’s perhaps the least complex song they ever did, a few chords, repeated chorus but it’s as powerful as the rest because of the depth of feeling behind it.

“$18 bucks for this? What a rip-off!” …Do you or have you ever owned any Simpsons tchotchkes? Shirts, trading cards, DVDs, action figures, ‘hand-drawn animation cells guaranteed to increase in value’, etc… what’s your favorite legit or bootleg stuff?

SHADDUP!

(Office locked, Harvard mug denied.)

Steven: It’s funny you ask, as it’s the Easter period my Simpson’s mug has just turned 13 years old! It came with an Easter egg and I’ve used it almost every single day for tea. Amazingly I’ve never owned any Simpson’s DVD’s (bar the movie, that’s floating around somewhere), it’s to my eternal shame really but there on TV so often it’s not a pressing need. I’ve owned a few of the console games, ‘Hit and Run’ and the like but the most infamous and infuriating has to be ‘Simpson’s Wrestling’, stupid Flanders….

“We should thank our lucky stars they’re still putting on a program of this caliber after so many years” …Which season of Classic Simpsons is the best? In your opinion, when did the classic era end or what was the last good episode?

Steven: Interestingly I’ve just finished putting together my ‘Perfect Season’ by ranking the episodes of each season against one another, Season Six had most episode’s in the Season but statistically Season Three had the best average result and I’m nothing but a slave to numbers so I’ll go with Season Three. Most people will agree that Eight was the last ‘Classic’ season but it had its fair share of bad episodes (and a few classics), even during Seven signs of decay kicking in can be seen. The last good episode post Eight is Season Nine’s ‘Lisa’s Sax’ which had in fact been held over from Eight, beyond that, Season Nine and Ten’s episodes are incredibly hit and miss. I’ve only watched a handful past that.

“There were script problems from day one” …Do you ever watch Simpsons with commentary on? What’s the neatest thing you’ve learned from the crew…

Steven: As mentioned no commentaries because no DVD’s, however I read an awful lot. During the period just after Sam Simon’s passing I read an interesting quote from David Silverman, he claimed that originally directors weren’t going to be credited prominently for their work as Simon didn’t think they made much of a difference but he wanted his work acknowledged, so Simon asked him to prove why it should be.

Silverman offers a balanced view of Simon. “He was a hard guy. He was a really tough guy,” Silverman tells Comic Riffs. “He gave me a dismissive hand at first.”

Silverman’s first episode was ‘Bart the General’, an episode littered with excellent direction. He got his credit. I always think this was what helped make the show so great, the fact they had to work so hard on what they did, because success wasn’t a given, it’s the main component the show lacks now. I mean where’s the drive when you when know you won’t ever be cancelled?

Thanks for letting us interview you Steven–and for not attacking our reporter! Simpsons fans, do yourself a favor and check our bythebigcoolingtower.tumblr.com for his very interesting look at background cell artwork, an overlooked aspect of classic animation.

Posted in Classic Simpsons, Contemporary, Cultural Impact, fan art, interview, The Simpsons | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

June Trivia Recap & A Visit to LA’s Stonecutters!

June has been a long hot month here in Arizona, and we just managed to eke out one more Trivia contest before Mr. Sun arrived in Phoenix to do its job on us.

mmmm, free goo

IT BLOWS…
the air conditioner store

Unfortunately . . . at the last minute co-host Diana and I had to go to Los Angeles for a fantastic offer we couldn’t turn down…

sounds like you're working for your car man

A vehicle that doesn’t hurt mother Earth.

More on that down the road.

What’s important is that we didn’t have to cancel the Bi-Mon-Sci-Fi-Con edition of Classic Simpsons Trivia at The Coronado! Diana and I want to give a heartfelt thank you to the Coronado’s Stephen Chevalier, The Klute, and our longtime tri-host Alex Cardwell, who all agreed at the last minute to fill in so we could road-trip to Knoxville Los Angeles!

Before we regale you with our thrilling adventure in the City of Broken Dreams though, let’s recap Sun City’s Simpsons contest: By all accounts the show was fun, everyone had a great time, and there was an AWESOME drink special…

A joint venture of Matsumura Fishworks and Tamaribuchi Heavy Manufacturing Concern.

The Fishbulb!
from The Coronado bar!

Winners…

 

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Here’s some sample questions from the contest, for you to test yourself against (Highlight between the parentheses to discover the answers):

  • Whose mother said, “We’ve tried nothing, and we’re all out of ideas!”
    (Mona Flanders, Ned’s Mom)
  • Adam West feels that these three actresses are the only true Catwoman.
    (Julie Newmar, Lee Meriwether, Eartha Kitt)
  • This person has a Starland Vocal Band on their upper arm. (Homer)
  • This is Comic Book Guy’s car’s license plate number as seen in the episode “Viva
  • Ned Flanders.” It is also the registration number of the original USS Enterprise.
    (NCC-1701)
  • What phone number do you call if you want to hire Mr. Plow? (Klondike 5-3226)
  • What movie did this robot star in:
that poor midget

(CLANK CLANK YOU’RE DEAD)

Simpsons Trivia is now on hiatus for a Summer break! We’ll have updates on that soon, but first…Los Angeles! Diana and I love to explore new cities together, we’ve been to Brockway, Ogdenville, North Haverbrook, as well as Portland OR, Lake Havasu AZ (home of London Bridge), San Francisco, and South Korea among other fun places! We can’t help but keep an eye open for Simpsons-related fun on these trips.

LA and Hollywood are ripe with places and people who’ve been joked about on the show. We got to see the former location of the Brown Derby, Lupe Velez’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and stumbled across this along the way…

all this plus a belching contest award

Future tour guide: “Who were The Simpsons
and what did they do to deserve a star
on the Hollywood Walk of Fame?”

We also…

 

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But the highlight of the trip was attending Stonecutters LA Trivia at MELTDOWN Comics, hosted by the funny folks from Nerdist! Stonecutters Trivia LA is similar to our Simpsons trivia show. It has three co-hosts, it’s free, designed for teams, has multiple rounds, and awards are given for the best team name in addition to 1st-2nd-3rd place. It’s different in that Stonecutters show cartoons between each round while the quizmasters tally the scores themselves, and it’s held in a makeshift theater instead of a restaurant.

 

 

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Diana and I teamed with our good friend Erica, who moved to LA a couple years ago. We turned her onto The Simpsons, and now she’d helping us navigate Tinseltown. We arrived at Meltdown, a friendly and brightly-lit comic shop (no Comic Book Guy in sight), and I got to browse around the place where I’ll probably be spending a lot of future Wednesdays.

The hosts are very entertaining, there’s good-natured back-and-forth between them, and the crowd too. Everyone who comes is there to have fun and share in the camaraderie of our favorite TV institution. Winning is a second place concern.

In fact, we came in second place, taking home some great swag: the complete first season of MacGyver, an Iron Giant figurine, and of course the respect and admiration of our social betters. We highly recommend attending the show if you ever find yourself in Los Angeles.

* * *

I’ve been swamped with work, and am behind on updates and posts. I’ll be working over July to get caught up though. We’ve got another Rock Bottom Profile, a new Joke Origin, and if I can finish it, the second part of my look back at Twin Peaks and the interesting ways it compares to The Simpsons. Thanks for reading and sharing what we do at Flim Springfield. ~JRC

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