Huffington Post has an article about some Buzzfeed guy’s article about some reddit guy’s theory about the later seasons of The Simpsons all taking place inside Homer’s imagination during a coma. Where have I heard that crazy theory before??? Oh yeah, from me, in a footnote from this article I wrote in 2011, and while I’d love to take credit for that stupid theory, it’s been floating around since at least 2002 as this posting to the alt.tv.simpsons newsgroup by a “Dr Music” shows. Everybody is aggregating everybody else’s content, the end.
While there’s a million Simpsons blogs on Tumblr now, the community of general-purpose Simpsons fansites has diminished greatly over the past few years. Long-time heavyweights like Simpsons Folder and Simpsons Channel have abdicated their thrones, as have smaller sites like The Springfield Connection, Simpsons Zip, Go Simpsonic!, and the listserv Simpsons-L. Clearly, this is because they were all too weak to compete against the likes of rubbercat.net/simpsons, cyberspace’s #1 Simpsons fansite in the world and undisputed champion of the Bortosphere.
Now, in a “Man Bites Dog”-style change of pace, a new fansite has risen: Drink Duff, a throwback to fansites of yore boasting “the latest news, great archives and original content.”
One of its latest posts is the discovery of an alternate ending to The Telltale Head, featuring a few lines that were cut in its second airing and thought to be lost forever (check The Simpsons Archive’s Syndication Cuts Guide). Oh wow… unearthed Simpsons arcana… that’s cool… I’m not scared of this new threat at all…
Twitter user @Homer_Marijuana‘s gripping Simpsons weedpunk saga that took cyberspace by storm has come to an end, and is a must-read for anyone who’s a fan of The Simpsons, irony, millennial angst, and/or illicit activity.
First, a little backstory: after allegedly losing some sort of bet with internet mogul vrunt, the Twitter user formerly known as collatingbones was forced to reconfigure his brand around the concept of “what if homer simpson smokes weed.” For the first couple of weeks, @Homer_Marijuana posted musings about the concept of beloved cartoon icon Homer Simpson smoking the marijuana drug and unrelated tweets.
Then on June 29th it shifted gears and settled into a narrative, told almost solely in short bursts of dialogue one tweet at a time, about the Simpsons and their unliked son Ken smoking weed on a gazebo known as the “Herb Fortress.” The stakes grew higher the next day: after America is attacked on 9/11, Bart (age 19) is deployed to Iraq and becomes a remorseless killer. As Homer tries to stop the war, the Simpson men become mixed up with Al Qaeda and international drug lord Circus Bob. The family becomes torn apart, and Lisa temporarily moves in with the twin aunts Thelma and Selma. Sonic the Hedgehog grapples with the death of his father and rival dealer Bender moving into his territory. Nelson searches for a surrogate father. Apu is discovered to be very valuable. Flanders tries to learn how to be like Homer, but ends up draining the Simpsons’s gravity bong by mistake. Maggie is briefly disowned for accidentally feeding thirty years of kief to the dog.
Later, Bart returns home and has trouble re-assimilating back into society. Maggie becomes obsessed with megabats. Moe’s efforts to get a family has tragic consequences. Global drug magnate Mr. Burns plans something shady, and his former ally Officer Wiggum becomes determined to crack down on the drugs that have turned Simpson City into a den of iniquity. Throughout the story, characters lament their fate, Lenny, Carl, and Moe (later, Bumblebee Man) comment on story developments like a Greek chorus, and it becomes a musical towards the end.
Sound intriguing??? The whole story has been collected and reformatted into screenplay format on Scribd for your perusal.
The internet’s most notorious site for illegally watching The Simpsons online, WatchTheSimpsonsOnline, has unexpectedly shut down after at least four years of operation.
Here’s an outdated Wikisimpsons article about the site. Currently, visitors are greeted with this vague goodbye message:
Hello, The website you’re trying to reach has been permenantly shut down.
If you wish to watch new episodes of the simpsons online please visit hulu.com or fox.com.
Thanks for your understanding.
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If you’ve been using the internet for the past five years, mayhaps you’ve noticed a growing trend of episode-by-episode recaps and reviews of television shows. Virtually every major blog does a recap of Mad Men, Girls is considered “fantastically popular” to those within that New York media bubble, and even The Gray Lady has gotten in on the action. The epicenter for the TV recap industry is of course The A.V. Club, which greatly expanded its television section in an insane quest to review every episode of every TV show, with a (self-admitted) tendency to lapse into “pretentious twaddle” in the course of explaining what episode 702 of The Big Bang Theory says about the human condition.
Who’s responsible for all this? Slate places the blame squarely on alt.tv.simpsons, the infamous nerdy Simpsons newsgroup personified by the Comic Book Guy:
Long before the rise of TV recap culture, its best and worst elements commingled in the alt.tv.simpsons laboratory. The content ranged from meticulous (a list of the show’s blackboard and couch gags) to smart (a later-proven theory that Maggie shot Mr. Burns) to overcritical (in the middle the unimpeachably great Season 4, somebody started the thread “Simpsons in decline?” in which one poster claimed that “Marge vs. the Monorail,” a classic episode, “had 0 good quotes”) to offensive (e.g., “Lisa has a proto-dyke Marxist Jew agenda”).
Yep, sounds the internet all right. I’m sure whatever the big Star Trek newsgroup was at the time also played a big role – Trekkies are responsible for slash fiction and fandoms, mind you – but here it merits only a throwaway reference.
The rest of the article talks about the Simpsons producers’ relationship to the alt.tv.simpsons, which is mildly interesting. It doesn’t mention this, but there’s a Life in Hell strip I’d very much like to see that pretty much just quotes a scathing review of the Republican-bashing episode “Sideshow Bob Roberts” verbatim (there’s a transcript in this episode capsule; Control+F “Galvanek”), including this choice quote:
I would get such a kick right about now in seeing Groening writhing in pain as he dangled by a section of his intestine from a tree. At the very least I’m hoping for a sloooooow painful death via some horrible illness of his nervous system, on that allows him to remain fully aware until his very last breath.
Hmm, kinda makes you wonder why Matt Groening isn’t on Twitter.
Also, not that it was ever in any doubt, but Slate links to irrefutable proof that Alan Sepinwall, king of the TV recap industry, is a wiener: a post on alt.tv.simpsons where he complains about a continuity error. Haw, haw!
*pantomimes swinging a golf club* Looks like I’ve knocked off yet another competitor!
For years, Simpsons Channel was the main news source for the Simpsons fansite community, and one of the few sites dedicated solely to Simpsons news. It provided a script to allow other Simpsons fansites to put its headlines on their own pages. Bam, instant news section.
I can’t say it was particularly interesting – it was mostly just press releases and that sort of thing – but it did what it did well, always had a nice, clean design and, unlike a lot of its peers, kept going long after site owner Adam Wolf lost interest in the show. It did, however, have something of a Walter Cronkite moment back in 2010 when Wolf slammed the cheap, cash-in Season 20 DVD set and even encouraged people to torrent the season instead.
Not to sound overly self-serving, but IN THE NEWS would not exist if not for Simpsons Channel. I used to find “quirky” Simpsons news articles and submit them to Simpsons Channel, but they would never run them. So, I figured if I had my own news blog I could run all the weird overlooked Simpsons news items I wanted. Furthermore, I decided that if Simpsons Channel was the Simpsons fansite equivalent of The New York Times (authoritative, trustworthy, dry), then IN THE NEWS should be its Drudge Report/Gawker equivalent (gossipy, opinionated, snarky). I’d like to think of it as an unrequited Batman/Joker relationship.
And so, after a long 16 years, we bid adieu to Simpsons Channel, which joins Simpsons Zip, Simpsons-L, Simpsons Folder, Go Simpsonic!, and The Springfield Connection in the big web server in the sky.
What do white supremacists think about The Simpsons? It’s the question that’s been on everybody’s mind. Well, okay, maybe just one person’s. About four years ago, a former member of the No Homers Club message board decided to “infiltrate” the white supremacist board Stormfront and ask the posters there directly for their take on the long-running show. The resulting thread (click at your own risk) is very informative.
After some initial questioning of whether the yellow-skinned characters are actually white, the conversation gets into full swing. Karl Lueger took a hard stance, calling the show “jewish subversion… simply designed to create self-loathing and hatred for anything White.” Others weren’t so sure. After all, says White Pride Warrior, “[t]hey did an episode once where they made fun of feminist, white male hating, liberal college professors.” Plus, the Jewish characters aren’t shown “in a good light either;” Marge’s prom date Artie Ziff “is shallow, self centered, greedy, and weaker than Lisa.” bill kwacker posted a photo of show creator Matt Groening, mentioning “he looks kind of Jewy.” However, self-proclaimed Nazi punk MisanthroPunk disagreed with that assertion, saying “[Stormfront] members see jews everywhere.” Oh, those guys and their anti-Semitism! WastedPunk laments the show’s decline, calling it “utterly pointless nowadays” while Seasons 3-10 “were golden.” It seems discussing what constitutes The Simpsons‘s “golden era” is a universal constant.
[Stormfront.org via No Homers Club]
Three big Simpsons fansites have gone offline just in the past month or so. Normally, I’d be ecstatic that three of my competitors have been knocked off in one fell swoop, but instead I’m perturbed. Is someone picking off Simpsons fansites? Who could it be? Why are they doing this? And who’s next?
Back in the late 90s, Simpsons fansites were a dime a dozen. Some, like the character sites, had their niches, but most were pretty generalized, meaning they had a little bit of everything: some character bios, episode guides, some .WAV files, some grainy framegrabs that would occasionally rouse Fox lawyers into sending threatening letters to teenagers, maybe some fanart and reviews, and ever-popular “grabpics,” which were framegrabs that were traced over in Illustrator or something and put on white backgrounds. But as time went on, webmasters grew up and moved on, the show got steadily worse, the dynamics of the internet changed, and the number of sites dwindled. That number dwindled even further this month as three Simpsons fansite fixtures met their frosty fate.
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Like 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]