ANNOYED GRUNTS

mad marge

As the 12-day FXX marathon enters into The Modern Age and all the goodwill turns into apathy and anger, let’s take a brief look at people and entities who are mad at The Simpsons this week.

The Parents Television Council recently sent Matt Groening an open letter shaming him for the rape joke(s…?) in the upcoming Family Guy/Simpsons crossover, which the Simpsons team apparently had little say over. President Tim Winter claims he’s been a fan of Groening’s work “as far back as the mid-1980s when [Life in Hell] appeared in the LA Weekly.” Yes, I can totally picture the head of the PTC picking up an alt-weekly and laughing at the antics of the frequently-nude gay twins Akbar & Jeff next to ads for escort services. [Parents Television Council]

Tapped Out players are getting fed up with the game and EA’s slowness in addressing the problems. “Gil cannot save Tapped Out,” a blogger dramatically proclaims. It’s always Gil’s fault, isn’t it? [TSTO game via Dead Homer Society]

Hologram USA claims the Homer hologram shown at Comic-Con violated their patent on a variation of the stage trick “Pepper’s Ghost,” which is also the title of my Blue’s Clues creepypasta. [The Hollywood Reporter]

Simpsons purists are annoyed because the “Every Simpsons Ever” marathon is being broadcast in a widescreen 16:9 aspect ratio, cropping out some funny visual gags and crucial murder mystery clues. Boy, sounds like FXX is really FXXing things up. Eh? Eh? No? Sorry. [The Verge]

ANNOYED GRUNTS

Crossover! Is there any word more thrilling to the human soul? Family Guy has listened to your 1999-era fan fiction and is going full steam-ahead on a crossover episode where the Griffins meet the Simpsons, and wackiness is sure to ensue. Just think of the possibilities: maybe Homer and Peter will argue over which cartoon beer is better?? Maybe Stewie and Maggie will try to kill someone?? Maybe the talking dog will sniff the other dog’s butt?? Unfortunately you’ll have to wait more than a year to see all your amazing Animation Domination crossover fantasies brought to life on the silver screen.

Anyway, Brad Bird, who’s now a big-time director about to start production on a sci-fi movie called Tomorrowland and needn’t concern himself with piddley new developments in the field of long-running run-into-the-ground TV cartoons, weighed in on Twitter by saying he agrees with his former boss, 1995 Matt Groening.

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ANNOYED GRUNTS, WEB-WATCH

I have given upLike I said a couple posts ago, Dead Homer Society is the finest source of Simpsons criticism on the internet, but apparently even they have their breaking point. If you’re unfamiliar with their process, here’s how it goes: after a new episode airs, they parcel out a week’s worth of features including “Ratings FAIL” (which could really use a less-memeish name), where frontman Charlie Sweatpants talks about one particular aspect that bugged him; Crazy Noises, which is basically just a chatlog of the team and sometimes odds & ends; and my favorite feature, the incomparable Compare & Contrast, a comprehensive Glenn Greenwaldian takedown of the episode by simply comparing it to a good episode. It’s a good process that runs the gamut between formal and informal, snap judgments and prudent deliberation.

Well, Mr. Sweatpants has announced next season will get a much less comprehensive treatment, because (shocker) the show is really bad:

For all its manic bumbling and endless stream of pointless cameos, the only enduring characteristic about Zombie Simpsons is how blandly repetitive it is. Episodes consistently have no coherent story, few jokes, fewer funny jokes, wasted guest voices, hacktacular pop culture references, and all manner of things poorly lifted from old episodes. […] I’ve begun to get the sense that we’re often doing little more than citing examples of the same kinds of things each week: it sucked when they made Homer do this, that joke went on too long, that’s not even a joke, this voice sounds terrible, that was done better years ago, this made no sense, etcetera etcetera. […] In short, it seems very unlikely that most of the episodes in Season 24 (or Season 25, or Season 26, or Season Whatever) are going to be worth a close examination and serious criticism.

The rationale is pretty meta – we’re talking about the repetitiveness and general quality of reviews – but it’s true. You could go to any Simpsons forum, click on an episode review from ten years ago, and the complaints would still be applicable to the current season. My guess is there’ll still be Crazy Noises, because it seems easy to do, but no (or a heavily reduced amount of) Compare & Contrasts, which is a shame but understandable for the sake of Charlie’s mental sanity.

[Dead Homer Society]

ANNOYED GRUNTS

rag timeAfter failing to come up with any new ideas for Simpsons episodes, the writers decided to call it quits and throw in the towel… then, as they gazed upon the towel they threw, suddenly became struck with inspiration and wrote a whole episode around it. At least, that’s how I imagine this rag episode came about.

I didn’t see it, but I read the Wikisimpsons article about it, which is chock full of insane plot details like “Moe is part yeti,” “Moe has a magical talking bar rag from the Middle Ages voiced by Jeremy Irons,” “Milhouse’s mom chokes on a rock and refuses the Heimlich maneuver,” and “Moe is part yeti.”

Judging from the feedback on the internet, “the rag episode” represents yet another low point for the series, like jockey gnomes, “the Israel episode,” and whatever that Ke$ha thing was.

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ANNOYED GRUNTS, MEANINGLESS MILESTONES

Twenty-two years ago today, America got its first taste of The Simpsons stretched out to 22 minutes with the premiere of the show’s Christmas special, “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire.”

I was going to post some reviews from the time, but the only one I could find (that wasn’t behind a paywall) was this one from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

The Simpsons is supposed to be hip in a post-industrial sort of way. It is not particularly funny, and is likely to appeal most to fans of the 'eat their young' school of contemporary comedy, which believes in nothing that doesn't ooze with sarcasm toward the mainstream. In other words, The Simpsons is not for everyone. It is definitely an acquired taste. I'm just not sure I want to acquire it.

A mighty Simpsons Day to you all.

ANNOYED GRUNTS

pardon my zingerFormer The Simpsons writer Greg Daniels explained why his current show, The Office, has decided to soldier on without its lead star Steve Carrell:

This is kind of the situation we were in when we started, because a lot of people were like, “How could you possibly do the show without Ricky Gervais?” These guys had built this toy — the British Office — and they played with it for 12 episodes and a special, and then they stopped playing with it. I was like, “Hey, I want to play with that! There’s a lot of fun left in that toy.” The writing staff and the other actors are feeling a little bit the same way now: “This is only season 7; it’s not like we’re in season 22. We want to tell stories with this toy and play with it.”

WERE THERE ANY SURVIVORS AFTER THAT MASSIVE BURN??? I DOUBT IT [Entertainment Weekly]

ANNOYED GRUNTS

homer rockstarA music critic at Drowned in Sound has a beef with The Simpsons: for some inexplicable reason, that integrity-lacking coward sellout Matt Groening won’t let Jackie-O Motherfucker be on his 8 o’clock sitcom.

He claims to be a fan, having booked them when curating ATP, yet asked recently by The Guardian if he’d consider having them on his show, he replied, “That would be pushing it”. Given that Groening purports to have taste, it would make a refreshing change from the conveyer belt of populist, soft-rock cameo appearances from the dinosaur likes of U2, REM, Metallica, Aerosmith, The Rolling Stones, and Green Day.

Fair enough – Groening used to brag about inviting Spinal Tap and The Ramones over the objections of the Fox network back in the day; it’s hard to imagine network bigwigs objecting to U2, Coldplay, and Katy Perry. But what about the controversial name? Jackie O died just seventeen short years ago, and America still needs time to grieve.

The needlessly provocative band name could be bleeped out, or they could abbreviate it to ‘JOMF’, as the group’s more recent record sleeves have done. They could perform an impromptu gig at Moe’s, with Lisa providing the free-sax solos.

AND MAYBE THEY CAN DRAW ME IN THE AUDIENCE, AND I’LL BE NEXT TO HOMER AND HANK SCORPIO, AND EVA SALENS WILL SEE ME, AND SHE’LL WINK AT ME, AND HOMER WILL GIVE ME A HIGH FIVE [Drowned in Sound]

ANNOYED GRUNTS

tik tokI have no energy to comment on The Simpsons‘s Poochiesque stab at relevancy, so here’s a roundup of what the rest of the Internet had to say about it:

Warming Glow pronounced The Simpsons dead:

Add me to the long list of hacks who have declared the Simpsons “dead.” We have declared it dead upwards of a dozen times since the September 28, 1997 Seymour Skinner episode, but until the show finally dies, this descriptor has not and will not be any more appropriate than it is in the wake of last night’s opening credits.

PopCrunch enjoyed it:

Even if you hate Tik Tok, you’ve got to admit The Simpsons intro is pretty clever.

Twitter user stevend, not so much:

wow that was the most disgraceful couch gag ever on the simpsons. seeing springfield sing a ke$ha song has got me to reconsider suicide.

Gawker said, “What the more recent seasons of The Simpsons have lacked in terms of comedic creativity, they’ve made up for with wacky intros.” What???

New York was delighted but perplexed:

Despite the music, it’s pretty delightful. As far as we can tell, though, this is the first time Danny Elfman’s theme has been replaced with a contemporary pop song, so it’s slightly baffling that would have chosen this one to make history with.

TwentyFourBit declared it an epic winz0r FTW:

The Simpsons brought the lulz tonight with a lip dub of Ke$ha’s “Tik Tok” as their intro theme song, and though I’ll admit to not LOLing IRL until Nelson Muntz belts out the ridiculous chorus, this is the one time you won’t regret revisiting a song from the reigning poet laureate (sarcasm!) of pop.

Videogum officially declared itself done with The Simpsons:

I’m pretty sure this means we are done with The Simpsons. Bye, The Simpsons! I will continue to not have watched you in years!

The creator of iCarly loved it!!!

Twitter user ACHkris laid down an ultimatum:

Dear simpsons- NEVER USE A KESHA SONG IN PLACE OF THE INTRO EVER AGAIN OR WE ARE THROUGH.

Finally, andPOP won Headline of the Year with Tik Tok: The countdown Until ‘The Simpsons’ are Cancelled:

Either Matt Groening has finally run out of ideas for America’s longest running show or Ke$ha broke into his house and offered to blow him. Either way, the choice to use ‘Tik Tok’ as a substitute for the Simpsons theme song was a scary indication that no one is safe. Even an American institution, with over two decades of immense popularity, is vulnerable to Ke$ha’s infectious auto-tuned pop hooks.

ANNOYED GRUNTS, THOSE CLOWNS IN CONGRESS

annoyed gruntThis one guy, Representative Mike Honda (D-CA), is real mad because the Post Office rolled out some stamps with The Simpsons on them, instead of some stamps honoring Japanese-American WWII veterans. Money quote: “I question the direction USPS is headed when it pays homage to Homer Simpson over the sacrifice of our venerable Nisei veterans.” BURN!!! The Stamp Police are all like, whoa, hey, we’re not supposed to honor specific military units, because all veterans are equal in the eyes of The Lord Almighty or whatever. According to them, stamps are supposed to be “a reflection of our culture,” which entails making literally a billion stamps with little pictures of cartoon characters plastered on them. These stamps are vitally important to America in order to “raise awareness about the show,” because apparently slapping Homer’s face onto every conceivable tacky piece of junk produced since 1990 just hasn’t been raising enough awareness of The Simpsons these days (it’s still on TV, you know!). Why does the Post Office, and by extension President Barack Obama, hate our veterans???

Also, ha ha, some nerd at Roll Call got a chance to show off his Simpsons knowledge by “incidentally” noting that Bart Simpson is a stamp collector, as mentioned in the fifth season episode “Homer the Vigilante” (episode 93, 5X12, original airdate 1/7/94, production code 1F10) [Roll Call]