A Triple-Shot of Simpsons Weekend Weirdness

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For a show that’s a quarter of a century old, The Simpsons still knows how to grab headlines. Several emerged over the weekend and -SPOILER!- None of them involved the show’s cancellation!

BE WARNED: I’m gonna go off on a rant, but I’ve clearly labeled the important items in question, so feel free to skip over my drivel.

Don’t ask me why, but I’ve been rewatching The Simpsons Third Season throughout the last week for whatever reason, so I’m absolutely filled with love for the show. While I understand the simple act of writing about The Simpsons is essentially a call for people to yell about how the show hasn’t been good in years, but I’m feeling the absolute opposite. Perhaps its just that season 3 has me filled with so much appreciation, but my current state of emotion is to NOT root against one of the greatest shows ever made just because it doesn’t resemble the exact same program I watched long before High Definition, widescreen televisions, hybrid cars, the internet, Jesus Christ this show is OLD!

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Having pictures like this ready for no reason is the best perk of unemployment/medical marijuana

SO YES: I know about every episode coming to FXX, the ensuing 12-day marathon, and whatever app that’ll stream every episode to all our stupid smart devices. To the sweet folks messaging me about it, thank you. I know. It was announced months ago, and we’ve mentioned it several time on the air. Welcome to the party. So my current favorite piece of Simpsons news is the wonderful trailer FXX whipped up to unveil the notion to the world who doesn’t check the internet every day.

1. Trailer for every episode of The Simpsons coming to FXX/Streaming

This is splendid news indeed, and a great spot to boot. More importantly, I honestly feel like this is the perfect thing for people who want to hate on everything that happened after Season 10. “The show’s not funny anymore.” I can’t speak for everybody making that remark, but you’re probably wrong, and you almost definitely haven’t watched the show enough to be able to make that call. Now, it’s certainly okay to not like the show, but blaming the writers, Matt Greonig, or anybody other than yourself, is 90% of your problem. What’s important to remember you’re watching a show that founds its voice early 90s (1989, LET’S NOT ARGUE!) and what most of the Negative Nancies claim about The Simpsons’ quality is, let’s be honest, obviously viewed via a healthy helping of rose-tintery. But one thing no one can really ever argue is that The Simpsons was essentially everything television, at that time, was not. There were incredibly flawed characters, there was a lot of heart yet very few lessons, and it was penned with a nasty satirical wit that one could argue was bordering on dangerously cynical (that’s a compliment.) Before cable had anything to serve us, it was the anti-TGIF, which was reflective of basically everything on network TV that wasn’t Roseanne. Quite simply, there was nothing else like The Simpsons back then. But then there was. A lot of stuff like it actually, and to beautifully illustrate that point, here’s a lengthy five minute peek at Fox’s upcoming Family Guy/Simpsons crossover.

2. Five Minute Preview of Simpsons/Family Crossover

Now, it should be apparent to any true Simpsons fans that the Family Guys team is handling the writing duties here. And before you start calling for the head of Seth McFarlane, I actually think it serves as a beautiful example of how The Simpsons have remained remarkably true to itself over the years. I recently finished reading Zombie Simpsons, a book that seeks to posit that The Simpsons have been the walking dead of television, a brainless corpse of its former self that can’t die, forced to mindlessly roam the earth since season 10 or 12. Or more accurately, IMO, a very thoughtfully expose written by a butt hurt generation of pop culture consumers who seem to have zero understanding that as the Simpsons evolved over a decade or so, they too have aged at least ten years. If my math is correct…

simpsons-family-guy-homer-peter-griffen-comic-con-laser-timeDoes anyone else actually feel bad for Homer?!

One of the biggest complaint in the whole book is how the writers ramp up Homer’s threshold for pain. Pratfalls, head bonk gags, please don’t make me explain further. Yet, am I the only one who felt genuinely bad for Homer in the fight scene snippet with Peter Griffin? We’ve seen the guy get his head stuck in a fucking drawbridge, but the only time Homer took a beating this severe, Moe pulled him out of the ring, and even then it wasn’t nearly as physical. However much you feel The Simpsons’ has made Homer an indestructible jerk, it doesn’t really hold a candle to the animated possibilities in Peter Griffen’s universe.

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Then there’s a scene with Stewie and Bart. Not only should Bart’s return to prank calling Moe’s Tavern emphasize The Simpsons’ age (Who doesn’t have caller ID/what 10-year-old in 2014 has a fucking landline in their room in 2014?) Stewie involving Bart in a rape joke does feel a little icky. Kinda like making your grandmother watch 2 Girls 1 Cup. But whether you like it or not, Family Guy represents a more modern comedic sensibility (because it’s only been on for only 15 YEARS.) And before anyone starts, shut the fuck up, Family Guy IS funny even if you don’t respect the way it’s funny. The Simpsons has largely stuck to its guns, and that all kind of hit me when I noticed how quaint it appears standing directly next to Family Guy. How antiquated do you think The Simpsons would look if they traveled down to South Park, or whatever universe Rick & Morty happen to be inhabiting? Animation’s come a long way since 1989, kids.

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Seriously: WHY THE FUCK NOT?!

I LOVE watching old Simpsons with my Nostalgia Hat amped up all the way to 11, however, I also love looking at it as a 20+ year old show through the eyes of someone my current age. If you think the show, even during whatever you refer to as its heyday, wasn’t subject to the occasional flat joke, groan-worthy reference, or low brow slapstick, you’re absolutely fucking kidding yourself. If Warner Bros. were to relaunch Bugs Bunny in a series of shorts where he’s shoving dynamite in people’s pants, whacking old ladies with a giant mallet, and tricking Elmer Fudd into shooting himself in the face I’d be bouncing up and down like a retarded circus seal, but I’ll bet you the criticism would sound a lot more like “This feels a bit old, haven’t we seen this already?” rather than “Bugs Bunny isn’t funny anymore!” (And FYI: The Simpsons has been in active production for longer than Bugs Bunny.)

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I don’t know why this exists but I’m glad it does

The Simpsons was funny, and while I certainly prefer the older episodes, it still is funny and at about the same ratio. But you know what? It doesn’t really matter what you think. The Simpsons continues to find an audience of people who do find it entertaining, so your participation is irrelevant and I think that’s kinda beautiful. Why? Because they’re animated characters; that’s what they’re supposed to do. Stand beyond the test of time. To dutifully be inserted into any scenario imaginable and act as kinetic catalysts of mayhem and satire. At the very least, something you couldn’t do with Tim Allen. The Simpsons should continue to work for many more years to come, and I honestly hope it never gets canceled. I want nothing more than for every generation, for as long as possible, to get the same enjoyment I did out of The Simpsons. Even if it’s not the Mr Plow episode, you selfish pricks!

After over 1000 words, we’ve come to our third and final item of the weekend, which really spurred this whole tirade that I sincerely hope you’ve all ignored. So… Homer pulled a Tupac at Comic-Con and I found the reaction of the audience, the internet, and myself to be pretty fucking irritating. Why do we call upon ourselves to over scrutinize every stupid thing The Simpsons do? Why does everything The Simpsons does have to be so fucking perfect? I mean, obviously, the hologram was a little bizarre and just a tad awkward, but it was certainly was something… neat? Fuck it, it was absolutely something cool! Yet every new adventure Homer embarks on seems to sound an arrogant horn somewhere beckoning a righteous defense force to appear and tell folks why they don’t and/or why others shouldn’t be entertained by a fucking cartoon. Where does that come from?!

3. Homer Hologram chats with Matt Greoning at Comic-Con

“Just let it die already” should also apply to every dipshit faction of internet trolls who think someone shouldn’t enjoy The Simpsons just because its easier for them to watch anime nowadays. Oh, but that Spongebob… DON’T EVEN GET ME STARTED ON HOW BAD THAT PILE OF SHIT’s GOTTEN! See how stupid that sounds?

GET SOME SIMPSONS AND SUPPORT LASER TIME!!

31 thoughts on “A Triple-Shot of Simpsons Weekend Weirdness

  1. Its nice to read somthing about new episodes of the simpsons that isn’t completely cynical and dismissive. When somthing is consistently produced for as long as this of course not every thing will be at the same level as the monorail, it doesn’t mean its bad its just different. The writers are just coming from a different point of view then they previously were. I also couldn’t agree more about the hologram, holograms are always fucking cool .

  2. I heard about that Family Guy crossover, and did what everyone else
    did. presumed the worst and pronounced it dead. but I watched the clips, and against my better judgment, I’m actually kinda looking forward it. neither one of these shows in their current state demands too much of my attention or respect, I guess there isn’t much to lose. let’s see how it goes.

    this coming from a guy who’s been watching 20 yr old Fresh Prince episodes on netflix all weekend. grain of salt, n’am sayin’

    1. Worse case scenario, it’ll be an interesting look at how the characters work in each others universes and comedy styles

          1. Stewie looking up to Bart as a role model is pretty wonderful. not how I thought that would go down

    2. I personally loved Peter trying to tempt Homer into doing a manatee gag. And then that manatee gag with Cleveland crashing and burning was hilarious.

  3. I’m with you Chris about being tired of this “Simpsons sucks now” nonsense.

    I was doing a thread in the forums for awhile(which is gone now because your forums are still fucking terrible) where I’d watch modern episodes on TV and give my brief thoughts, and it’s just not the case.

    Well there was definitely a lull, I think the series improved noticably after the movie came out.

  4. I can picture the Lisa / Meg scene now.

    Lisa: I know how you feel. I’ve always felt like the outcast of this family.
    Meg: ya but they punch me in the face sometimes.

  5. The “Let it die already!” thing is going waaay overboard these days. A good example is Community. Whatever your thoughts on the current show, does it really have to die exactly now? Good luck letting your show last more than 3 seasons with any kind of change, the internet will eat you alive (people call season 4 “the gas leak” air, but somehow miss Dan himself addressing the fact that it was him that started moving things in a different direction). Anyway, rant over.

    Also, Chris, slow down with the medicine, it’s Matt Groening! Sheez, Laser Time was SO much better on seasons 2-3. Just let it die already!

    1. Also, is it just me or are the new articles just coming up on the “Features” tab and not on the main site? Someone forgot to check a box, uh? 😛

  6. I never understood the infatuation people have for the Simpson’s, but I could quote Futurama for day. I find it to be the stronger show and reruns don’t feel dated

  7. This article makes me realize my hatred for later Simpsons episodes is an unnecessary crusade to champion nostalgia. There was a season (probably 12) where the episodes were so bad it was offensive (and I’m especially looking at you Armin Tanzarian). The episodes released in the past couple years have surprised me with how entertaining they are. Of course, they will never hold a candle to the past, but we mustn’t become the internet hooligans who completely dismiss something when it goes through a rough period.

    1. Agreed 100%. The show didn’t lose me because I outgrew it, it’s because seasons 11-16 got slowly worse and worse. I vividly remember (my reaction, not the episode) watching one particular episode and not laughing even once. THAT was the episode where I decided never to watch it again.

      However, LOVED the movie, and I gave seasons 19-22 a chance (post movie) and they had far more good, funny episodes than bad ones.

      If you doubt Simpsons can still be good, watch Season 21’s “Homer The Whopper”.

  8. Fun read Chris, makes me want to watch more Simpsons. I do love what I’ve seen of it, but unfortunately haven’t seen a lot of the earlier seasons, save for the Holiday Specials. Also, sometimes it’s hard to admit, but I don’t think Family Guy is a bad show. I have a lot of small complaints about it at times, but there are just as many bad things to say about it as anything else that’s been on for 10+ years and the show has some genuinely funny moments at times.

    Reguarding your Looney Tunes comment, I would like to say that The Looney Tunes Show that came out a few years ago I found quite hilarious. I actually think that setting it up where Bugs and Daffy are roommates sitcom style somehow works really well and i kind of loved it. A lot of people don’t seem to like how it’s set up because it’s not like the old stuff but I’m fine with that. I’m just glad that the characters remain with the same personalities. It’s too easy for people to say that something is crap for not doing the same things it used to do anymore.

  9. The animation has gotten worse. It’s all done in digital now, it looks extremely ugly. And CGI works well for futurama because it fits the tone of the world but whenever it pops up in simpsons it’s an eyesore.

    You’re comments about loving the old episodes out of nostalgia… that may be the case for you but by any chanvce in your rewatch did you come across a joke you didn’t remember and laugh so hard you have no idea how you ever forgot it? This happens to me nearly every time I go back. (this is the most recent one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9ALqhgVK9M remember when disco stu was a new character )

    On a side note, it’s hard to know if you actually believe what you write when you have so frequently in the past claimed to just be arguing devil’s advocate. I blame myself for not believing anyone could find merit the current episodes of simpsons.

    1. I completely agree that the CG looks completely out of place and bad. It’s always painfully obvious when something is CG and definitely becomes a distraction.

      From my experience with anime there are ways to have it blend and not be horrible, but even then there are still some that use it and it looks worse than ever.

  10. Holographic Homer is fine, but seriously could we not make holographic puppets of dead people who died in the last 100 years. I feel like this needs to become a clause in the anti-human cloning law….

    I hope the Simpson’s endure. They are so many great shows from when I was younger that I know kids in particular will never get to watch, and I find that to be a shame.

  11. All this and people always forget that South Park has been on the air nearly as long as The Simpsons and while a little bit weaker in the last few seasons has been more consistently amazingly funny in its time on air. Their movie is probably better than The Simpsons’ (and I love both), and the recent few episodes were some of the best they’ve ever done.

    1. Probably thanks to South Park having the same two writers since the very beginning, unlike the Simpsons where writers come and go.

  12. Wasn’t aware of holographic Homer till just now, found it funny myself, actually that’s how I feel about the Simpsons in general, when it’s branching out into anything that isn’t the TV show you still see flashes of greatness.

    I don’t know, every time I come across a newer episode I ask myself if this wasn’t The Simpsons, if every joke was exactly the same but a different cartoon family, would it be approved by anyone, and I honestly can’t answer that question.

    As an aside, I honestly think you could get a damn funny Lasertime Quiz out of the late season episode synopsis. When I read “Homer takes a page from 50 Shades of Grey and decides that a sadomasochistic relationship with Marge is the way to go. Meanwhile, Milhouse uses Marlon Brando’s ghost to get advice on how to impress Lisa” I can actually hear Brett groan.

  13. Since becoming a Simpsons fan around 1999, I have stayed with the Simpsons through all seasons. I have my DVR set to record new episodes of the Simpsons and I will keep watching it until the series finale episode airs (which is hopefully never).

    As someone said above, after the movie, the Simpsons TV series got a boost, there were episodes that were funny and pleasing (one of my favorites is when Bart forces a cruise ship to remain in the ocean so he can have a perfect vacation forever and the Lego episode).

    With the Simpsons/Family Guy crossover, I will watch it being a Simpsons fan. However, I just don’t find Seth MacFarlane funny. I dislike Family Guy, American Dad, Ted. The one and only thing I liked him in was his voice for a character in Hellboy II: The Golden Army and that is it.

    Now, the Simpsons/Futurama crossover, I’m looking forward to that. Especially since I was one of the few who saw the new Futurama seasons on Comedy Central/Netflix.

  14. Excellent write up Chris and I agree. I was a kid in the 90s but somehow missed being a Simpsons regular and only recently (last Thanksgiving to be exact) discovered my love of the show. I bought a season on black friday and it steamrolled into getting more seasons for xmas and my birthday soon after. I now own 2-10 and love the show. Since I’ve watched it this way, I don’t have nostalgia for the show and therefore can enjoy the newer episodes/seasons without taking offense to it. That Principal and the Pauper episode didn’t bother me at all. The guys who actually created the episode on the commentary made excellent points. People get too caught up in their own thing and god forbid you do anything to change it.

    You hit the nail on the head with the hate. It’s ridiculous and unfortunately the internet loves to hate more than it loves to love. EVerywhere on reddit and such you see people bitching and saying “oh that sucks now” or “that is overrated” when 9 times out of 10 it’s a damn fine thing they just like to bash. People want to seem so smart and super intelligent and try so hard to be a critic that they can’t distance themselves from it and just enjoy something. People who say “just let the Simpsons die already” are incredibly short-sighted. They’ve already left the show behind but there are millions of new fans out there who love what it is now. So they should suffer just so those stuck in their own nostalgia can get their way? That’s not right at all.

    I’m with you, I hope the show never stops and I’m excited for the new simpsons thing so I can go through and watch all the episodes from season 11 to now. I’m glad you voiced your opinion which was a brave move considering many of the podcasting cohort seem to be in disagreement with your views but stick to your guns.

  15. It’s a testament to Chris how much I enjoyed reading this despite disagreeing with about 90% of it!

    What I’ve never understood through all the hate new Simpsons and Family Guy get (for the record I’m in the usual love 1-10/the others range from okay to terrible, and Family Guy is just fine) is that South Park always seems to get a free pass. That show used to be wonderful up until around season 8 2004-ish.

    The last decade where everyone claims it’s gotten so smart has been terrible. I guess smart means taking a current event, writing one joke about it and repeating it 7-8 times per episode is “genius”.

  16. Yes! Love this and could not agree more. There are some definite later season clunkers (the Spring Break/Crocodile/run from the law episode is painfully unfunny) but there are fantastic episodes mixed in (the episode where Krusty becomes a senator, for instance). I’ve certainly had enough of listening to people telling me what to hate.

    (Except Nintendo stuff, if you still like the Nintendos after the first ten years you’re bad and wrong)

  17. I actually thought that the Homer hologram was cute. The reality is that we gen-xers are getting into middle age. I watched the Simpsons in my teens and now I’m 36. At some point the next generation isn’t going to care what we like. We are turning into what our parents were when we were growing up and it’s time to realize that we should just enjoy our entertainment. We don’t need to justify that entertainment anymore. You like the current Simpsons. Great. Don’t bother explaining it to anyone. They don’t deserve an answer.

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