The Simpsons debut, GI Joe Saves America and Hot Fuzz Fights the Greater Good – Apr 14-20

30 years ago this week the Simpsons debuted on the Tracy Ullman show as GI Joe’s big movie goes straight to VHS. This week in ’97 brought us Angry Beavers and two hitman-y films, while 2007 saw Simon Pegg save the day.


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30 thoughts on “The Simpsons debut, GI Joe Saves America and Hot Fuzz Fights the Greater Good – Apr 14-20

  1. Arctic Monkeys *are* like a massive stadium-filling crossover act, in the UK. Their popularity is probably dwindling by now, but I think most normies could still identify them. I’m thankful that never happened in the U.S., since they suck!

  2. Christ but I love the insane GI Joe movie, wish I hadn’t been working Monday night. Its not good, but i love the insane organic vehicles and the sheer weirdness and grossness of Cobra-La.. A little background on the Sarge:

    Robert Remus had already been playing Sgt Slaughter for a decade by this point. Originally he was a heel, coming out to do his drill sergeant shtick and telling the audience how fat and worthless they are. Then when Hulk Hogan took over the world, he turned face to feud with the Iron Sheik. He actually jumped from WWF to AWA because WWF demanded a cut of his Joe money. Also, writer Buzz Dixon wrote a long piece on usenet in the 90s about how insane it was working for Hasbro. Their original movie plan was “the guy who wrote the book Cobra’s fascist ideology is based on renounced it and they want to kill him.” Then Hasbro brings them the Serpentor design and asks for a backstory. “Well, either Cobra Commander comes from a secret society that wants to replace him, or Cobra gets sick of their inept leader and builds the perfect military leader in a lab.” “Great, we’ll do both!” And then they got the insane Cobra-LA figures sprung on them and we’re told to introduce them I’m the movie, so this is what we got.

  3. I’m so glad you played “Fluorescent Adolescent”. I remember a friend who lived in England for a few years getting me into Arctic Monkeys and the album Favorite Worst Nightmare specifically. I learned this song on guitar and recently the tune popped back into my head but I couldn’t remember the song or who did it. Just that opening riff over and over again. But you opened the 2007 section with it and it was like magic as it all flooded back to me. Love the show!

  4. I can’t find clips anywhere online. But my copy of GI Joe the Movie was taped off a local TV station in Philadelphia, possibly PHL17. Obviously they had to add commercials to air it on TV. But they made this even better with bumpers featuring Sgt. Slaughter himself. Before cutting to commerical he would tell you to “STAY TUNED! THE GI JOE MOVIE WILL BE BACK IN MOMENT!” before being barraged with commercials for GI Joe toys. I’m pretty sure he also did an introduction to the film. I’ll have to go dig up the old VHS from my mom’s house at some point.

  5. I’m so glad you played “Fluorescent Adolescent” as it’s a song that has jumped into my head at least once a year but I could never remember the name or who did it. You playing it transported me back to high school where I had a friend who lived in England for a good portion of his life. He introduced me to Top Gear, Bill Bryson, and the Arctic Monkeys, specifically the album Favourite Worst Nightmare (which features “Brianstorm” and “Fluorescent Adolescent”). Love the show and thanks for helping me win an almost decade long self inflicted game of Name That Tune.

  6. I’ve rolled the weather dominator search episodes, Arise Serpentor, and the GI Joe movie into one thing that I thought was the movie in the 30 years since I saw them all. I would have sworn Serpentor came from Cobra-La, and came in a set with Golobulus and Nemesis Enforcer.

  7. Sgt. Slaughter isn’t a WWE character. The guy who plays him owns his character. He left the WWF at the time in 1985 right before his GI Joe Figure came out because Meek Mahon didn’t want him licensing out his name and likeness outside of wrestling in a way Mahon won’t control it and get a cut. So he went to Minnesota based AWA and because of that AWA was able to get an ESPN deal due to how big Slaughter was right before he left the WWF and the GI Joe thing.

  8. The 1987 Project X movie was nothing like the trailer suggested. While the trailer suggested Ferris Buller monkeying around with chimps in the Air Force (while “Shock the Monkey” plays in the background) the actual movie was really dark. ***SPOILER*** The Air Force is teaching monkeys to fly using Atari 5200 simulators, and once they learn enough, they have them fly one last mission, expose them to lethal amounts of radiation, testing to see if pilots will complete their final mission during World War III.

  9. Depeche Mode’s “Ultra” is the first album after three important events.

    1. 1993’s Devotional Tour and 1994’s Exotic Tour (promoting the album after Violator) had over 150 dates around the world in a 14-month period.
    Because of the tour, lead guitarist and songwriter Martin Gore excessively drank and had many seizures; keyboardist Andy Fletcher sunk into a depression and had to be replaced near the end of the tour; lead singer David Gahan increased his heroin use. In addition, fans would also throw bags of drugs on stage.

    2. The concert and the resulting vices that come with rock star touring led to Alan Wilder quitting the band. Many intricate, poppy melodies you hear in popular Depeche Mode songs came from Wilder. He was the key to Depeche Mode’s success.

    3. After the tour, the lead singer attempted suicide, overdosed on speedball, and recovered from his heroin addiction.

    Ultra’s mix of alt rock and melancholy was by far the biggest departure for the electronic pop group.

    With love,

    Depeche Mode Fan 69

  10. I fucking love Hot Fuzz. I didn’t see it in theatres, but I watched it and Shaun of the Dead for the first time when Fuzz came out on DVD. The whole trilogy is excellent, excellent stuff, but like Dave I think Shaun is my favourite just because of how much horror and zombie content I have ingested so it’s the most natural language to me. That being said, having gone back and seen movies like POINT BREAK and BAD BOYS/II since watching Hot Fuzz, it does make it even more enjoyable, and it’s a damn great film in its own right. Here’s hoping Baby Driver is a fitting return after too many years without an Edgar Wright movie (and I really hope he does that spy parody with Pegg & Frost that had been discussed at one time).

    1. Me too! I rarely get excited about modern day action movies, but Hot Fuzz is a ripping good time. I’ve only seen parts of Point Break and Bad Boys, and even though I’ve yet to watch them in full.

  11. I couldn’t commit to the GIJOE movie when I was a kid, it ruined Cobra by making them basically founded by an alien proto civilization. That intro really is the best part. the worst part of the movie?… the black character Big Lob, who my little sister and I thought was a fun character had NO TOY. not until many MANY years later in 2010. booooo hasbro. his 2010 toy can go for around $300 because it’s such a rarity

    you guys’ disconnect from things like gijoe is baffling. I mean, that none of you are fans of the series, comics or toys NONE OF YOU, makes my head spin. you guys had very strange and very similar childhoods apparently. maybe that’s why y’all are such good friends? I’m not trying to be insulting I’m just trying to wrap my head around how you guys GUSH over Tansformers but when you talk about GIJOE no one has hardly anything to say. The animated series, toys and comics were a powerhouse for years. I wish y’all had talked a bit more about Bionic Six as well, especially Chris the “animation aficionado” who I think would have enjoyed watching the intro of the cartoon as it was animated by the proto Ghibli staff of TMS. ah well… I can get my animation appreciation other places, you guys are mostly video games.
    Also, I need more Diana on TTT. she hasn’t had a whole lot to talk about lately. I hope she isn’t getting bored with the show.

  12. To correct Chris on the Arctic Monkeys, They finally did find their mainstream breakthrough with their 2013 album, AM. Though they did take a hiatus in 2015. Great Band, all great albums.

  13. I really liked Hot Fuzz a whole lot when I saw it the first time, in a theater with maybe two other people. But my appreciation grew massively once I finally saw The Wicker Man (the original Christopher Lee one) and realized that the basic plot of Hot Fuzz is a long, extended homage to The Wicker Man. They’re both about an uptight London police officer who is sent to small, sleepy village where he doesn’t fit in. He eventually starts to realize that everyone in the village is part of a creepy cult and there’s a massive conspiracy going on. The difference, of course, is that in The Wicker Man, they’re a pagan cult that wants to perform a human sacrifice. But in Hot Fuzz, they make you THINK it’s a pagan cult, only to find out it’s just a bunch of town elders who really want to win the Village of the Year award. It’s such an amazing payoff if you watch it again keeping The Wicker Man in mind.

    And that’s why I love Edgar Wright so much. Like Chris pointed out, he loves to work references and homages to the films he loves in his own movies, but the difference between him and Tarantino is Wright lovingly weaves them into the fabric of his own work so they can reinforce the themes he’s dealing with, whereas Tarantino’s movies come across as pastiches of other, much better movies, like a collage he assembled from the cut up pieces of things he loves. It leaves his movies feeling hollow and lifeless, and Wright’s movies feeling incredibly deep. It’s the difference between a classical or literary allusion and a Family Guy-esque “hey, remember this?” reference. Sorry,, I REALLY don’t like Tarantino…

  14. 1987: 9 years old. I remember Project X being on HBO all the time and initially going, “YAY! It’s a fun happy monkey movie.” It was not a fun happy monkey movie. I remember crying. But I also remember crying at Joe’s death in GI JOE the movie (I had no idea what a coma was and remember thinking he was dead).
    1997: 19 years old. In college. Spending most of my time with my first serious girlfriend. A different dorm used to have “Friends” night where everybody would gather to watch it there, but I don’t remember the Duck episode at all. I really remember watching the X-files episode. I wasn’t into the show but there was some “best of marathon” and I remember watching it and really liking all of the episodes and considering really getting into the show but . . . then I never did. Probably a good thing from what I hear. Now I’m tempted though to watch the ten best episodes (or whatever) and see how they hold up. The tail episode though; remember being surprised that Mulder was a looser (I only knew the gist of the show through nerd osmosis).
    2007: 29 years old. Newly engaged but I’m pretty sure I saw Hot Fuzz with my future best-man rather than my future wife. Hot Fuzz is a fantastic movie. Pitch perfect, gets everything right. Made me a life long fan of the film-makers and I really thought World’s End was awesome.

    You guys are always bringing up Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films, and rightly so. It’s a fantastic film and you guys bringing it up (again and again and again) in 2016 was why I watched it and I’m happy I did. But can you branch out a little? Are there any other documentaries about pop culture you can plug?

    Love the show!
    JR Ralls
    Writer/Producer of the film Dark Dungeons (Hope you all will coverit in 2024!)

  15. That Imogen Heap clip, dude…

    Back in the day, my favorite TF2 server was crazy modded. One of their most popular​ mods made it so that every single time you died, you got MMM WHATCHA SAY. Every single time. And it wasn’t just you. Everyone in a radius would hear it too. Do I hear Imogen faintly over there? I guess somebody got shanked around the corner. The only exception came when someone got shot by the sniper’s bow. Then you got Strongbad shouting ARROW’D.

  16. I’m amazed that the movie Wild Thing was brought up, and I must be one of the few people that has seen it. When I was a kid it would air sometimes on syndicated TV, and it was largely unmemorable. The only thing I really remember is that his calling card was hanging tennis shoes off of power lines. So whenever I saw tennis shoes hanging off of powerlines I would think it was a reference to the movie and not drug deals/gangs like everyone else thought.

  17. The Simpsons “The Old Man And The Lisa” has my Line of the Series:

    Mr. Burns: Well, let’s get out the old stock ticker and have a look. Here’s where I stopped checking it last time, September 1929-Oh no, OH NO! Smithers, why didn’t you tell me about this market crash?
    Smithers: Um, well sir, it happened 25 years before I was born.
    Mr. Burns: Oh, that’s your excuse for everything!

    Also love Angry Beavers and Hot Fuzz

  18. Funny story about Angry Beavers: it was originally scheduled to end around 65 episodes, as many cable animated children’s show do unless they’re extremely popular (like Rugrats or Spongebob Squarepants). The creators of the show were very unhappy about this, so they made the last episode center around how terrible they thought Nickelodeon was, even blatantly stating that the show was being cancelled. Nickelodeon was furious about this, never aired the final episode in the United States, and in retaliation didn’t even air Angry Beavers in reruns for something like a decade. That final episode aired in other countries, since it was part of the syndication package, so it’s not impossible to find. But if you were ever wondering why Nickelodeon barely even acknowledges the show, that’s why!

  19. Loving your show. Its always fascinating to reflect on this stuff.

    The Imogen Heap SNL skit is great. It isn’t referencing the O.C. series finale but actually the Season 3 finale from May 2006 when Marissa dies. So its even more impressive that its funny more than a year after the O.C. episode aired and is still funny ten more years later.

  20. On the subject of the premiere of The Simpsons shorts, check out a recent episode of the Nickelodeon Animation Podcast where they interviewer Paul Germain. Paul Germain was a longtime production assistant of James L. Brooks that was put in charge of developing animated shorts as interstitials for the Tracy Ullman Show, and he was the one that picked Klasky-Csupo as the animation studio that would produce those shorts. Klasky-Csupo, with Germain, would then become even better known for creating Rugrats and really shaping Nicktoons and cable animation into what it is today.

  21. This is more of a personal reflection, but 10 years ago I was in college, and part of the University of New Hampshire’s student cable access channel, SCAN-TV. It was basically “what if you gave a bunch of college kids an obscene budget to make original programming that no one would watch?”. Needless to say, my friends and I made a ton of super dumb videos as part of this group, but none can touch Quimby Bass. The basic gist is a sleazy car salesman selling random cars in parking lots. It was all improvised on the spot, and is STILL on the SCAN-TV youtube channel, where it has over 4,000 views, and has become the cultist of cult things among some of my closest friends. Here’s the link if you guys want to watch.

  22. Hey everyone! Love the show. This may be an alarming statement coming from a diehard OG NIN fan, but the album Year Zero is one of my favorite albums of all time. With the crazy ARG that puts just about every other ARG to shame (See: &, the album story arch which covers politics, religion and resistance culminating in an alien invasion (the grey kind), and the sound variety featured in the album all really hit me hard when it came out. It became the only thing I listened to for about two months straight. It was also one of the last CDs I listened to a bunch before going mostly digital with my music. This is somewhat noteworthy because it was also the last time I really remember a band doing something really cool with the physical release. In addition to having really cool art the disc does this cool thing in that when the disc is warmed up by the CD player the top of the disc goes from pure black to white exposing some text. So basically you’ll pop the black disc into your CD player and it’ll come out white once you eject it.

    Trent wrote the album while on the “Live: With Teeth” tour (2005-2006). NIN then went on the Performance 2007 tour which was almost exclusively in Europe. Between legs of that tour a group of fans received phone calls inviting them to a “resistance meeting” in LA. When they arrived they received “resistance kits” which contained cellphones with this being how they would get further instructions. This culminated in a meeting called “Art is Resistance” (couldn’t find full version which featured a live NIN performance. In addition to this performance being in the Year Zero canon (yup) it’s noteworthy for being one of the first and very few times the band played the song “We’re in this Together” (from The Fragile) live. Also worth mentioning is that Trent was at one point in talks with (I believe) HBO to make a Year Zero TV show and he was in talks with Activision to make a Year Zero game both of which got killed probably due to Trent’s relationship with Interscope falling apart.

    The next year Trent released the double disc experimental instrumental album titled “Ghosts I-IV” and a the more traditional (and free!) album titled “The Slip”, so they went on tour again to promote those albums. My first NIN show was on August 22 2008 at the Q in Cleveland, Ohio (,_OH). I went with my older brother which was important to me as he introduced me to the band with Pretty Hate Machine at the tender age of 5. The show was incredible. Never have I been to a concert that was such an audio and visual tour de force… well except for when I saw them again with a friend on October 5th 2013 (,_OH) and with my brother on November 8th 2013 (,_CA & They put on an amazing live show and I intend to see them again with my brother at the FYF festival this summer. Anyways, sorry for this massive message I’ve been lurking around Laser Time since 2014 and with me being a massive NIN fan I felt the need to comment. Keep up the great work!

  23. If somebody is turning 30 on flag day, will they get a thirty twenty ten shout out in the birthday segment? Asking for a friend…


    -Cory Newberry aka Rudd Fucker aka Cory Newberry of the LTC.

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