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March 27, 2007 8:50 AM   Subscribe

The Evolution of Homer Simpson Best. (and Longest.) Couch gag. Evar.
posted by miss lynnster (84 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
Single link youtube post! Wooo hooooo!
posted by miss lynnster at 8:50 AM on March 27, 2007


I stopped watching the Simpsons several years ago and even I say that was pretty great. And holy crap, they use up 5% of their total airtime on the intro in a normal show?
posted by DU at 8:58 AM on March 27, 2007


I LOLed. :)
posted by Malor at 8:58 AM on March 27, 2007


Yeah. It was good. And the episode wasn't THAT bad. But it's a sad state of affairs when the couch gag is better than the episode itself.
posted by veggieboy at 8:59 AM on March 27, 2007


neat!
posted by clockzero at 9:03 AM on March 27, 2007


When did this air? It's hilarious.
posted by Mister_A at 9:03 AM on March 27, 2007


I think it was the most recent episode.
posted by miss lynnster at 9:05 AM on March 27, 2007


Nice!
posted by Merlyn at 9:05 AM on March 27, 2007


That was great. And it's amazing they can suggest Mr. Burns in a prehistoric creature with so little effort. Thanks for the post!
posted by languagehat at 9:12 AM on March 27, 2007


Best ever? It was good... but what about this one?
posted by moonmilk at 9:12 AM on March 27, 2007


I don't know if I like the precedent of just posting a funny youtubed simpsons gag. I mean, can I next just post a link to that time on Family guy when stewie went off on the frat guy who was dating his babysitter about playing hackey sack and how everyone knows the lyrics to the mister plow song? Cause I thought that was pretty funny, too.

Eh, but maybe I'm being too negative. That was pretty funny.
posted by shmegegge at 9:12 AM on March 27, 2007


D'oh! I meant this one. Sorry, previous link was a duplicate of Miss Lynster's.
posted by moonmilk at 9:13 AM on March 27, 2007


moonmilk:
OMG MIND IS BLOWED!
posted by Mister_A at 9:16 AM on March 27, 2007


That one was great too, moonmilk.

And now someone's going to come in and say that the Simpsons has sucked has sucked for ten years or somesuch. And I just don't get it. As far as I can tell, it didn't really get funny until 2001 or so.
posted by roll truck roll at 9:19 AM on March 27, 2007


Maybe it's a generational thing , RTR. I personally think that any episode of Futurama is funnier than any episode of the Simpsons from the last 10 years. I still watch The Simpsons though, it's still relatively funny. But in early 2008, there will be new Futurama on Comedy Central!
posted by Mister_A at 9:23 AM on March 27, 2007


And now someone's going to come in and say that the Simpsons has sucked has sucked for ten years or somesuch.

Okay: The Simpsons jumped the megalodon eons ago.
posted by hal9k at 9:23 AM on March 27, 2007


They should do a whole episode that's just a couch gag.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 9:30 AM on March 27, 2007


roll truck roll:

I gotta say, I think that the whole "Simpsons jumped the shark in 1995" (or whatever year) meme is overplayed. It's popular to rip on it, but its still a pretty damn good show. As with any show its had its ups and downs. I think it was around season 8 or 9 that nearly every episode was a musical episode, and they were just terrible. And while I don't watch the show that often anymore (it usually conflicts with my favorite HBO drama), whenever I do catch it, I gotta say its usually still pretty funny. Is it as inventive and cutting edge as it was at its height about 10-12 years ago? No, it isn't, but I don't think there's any show that's managed to keep the same overall level of quality for even 1/3 of the time that the Simpsons has been around, and that includes the other hit animated TV shows. So, suck it Simpsons haters.
posted by papakwanz at 9:34 AM on March 27, 2007


It would have been smarter if he'd evolved through the various drawing styles as well. But that might have been too clever for the people who think that the Simpsons has been "better than ever" since they started increasingly dumbing the shit out of it ten years ago.
posted by interrobang at 9:34 AM on March 27, 2007


After all these years, the Simpsons are more funny than Saturday Night Live, but that's not really saying a whole lot. It seems like they're just going through the motions.
posted by Dave Faris at 9:38 AM on March 27, 2007


Yeah, that couch gag was pretty good, but isn't it basically Fatboy Slim's "Right Here Right Now"?
posted by soundofsuburbia at 9:40 AM on March 27, 2007


This year's graduating high school students cannot remember a time when The Simpsons was not on the air. I get these students next year.

I'm scared. Hold me.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:43 AM on March 27, 2007 [3 favorites]


They should do a whole episode that's just a couch gag.

In an interview, David X. Cohen swears up and down that the returning Futurama will have an episode that consists entirely of Everybody Loves Hypnotoad.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:46 AM on March 27, 2007 [4 favorites]


It would have been smarter if he'd evolved through the various drawing styles as well. But that might have been too clever for the people who think that the Simpsons has been "better than ever" since they started increasingly dumbing the shit out of it ten years ago.

Actually, in the same episode that featured this couch gag they did do a joke about the older character designs. The family ends up trying to recreate old family photos after their photo album burned, and one of the photos they're restaging is a "Happy 1987" party. Homer, Bart, and Lisa are drawn as they were way back then so Marge can take the photo. After she takes it they wipe their faces and return to their modern designs.
posted by Servo5678 at 9:46 AM on March 27, 2007


The Simpsons shook the world.
posted by Cyrano at 9:48 AM on March 27, 2007


I wish I had a dime for every dime Matt Groening has.
Cool post, Miss L!
posted by Dizzy at 9:49 AM on March 27, 2007


This video reminds me that I want to play Spore as soon as possible. Now I'm very depressed.
posted by darkripper at 9:50 AM on March 27, 2007


I liked this. But, uh, the title of this post is sort of the punchline.
posted by teleskiving at 9:51 AM on March 27, 2007


You know who else shook the world?

Muhammad Ali, that's who.
posted by psmealey at 9:51 AM on March 27, 2007


Homer, Bart, and Lisa are drawn as they were way back then so Marge can take the photo. After she takes it they wipe their faces and return to their modern designs.

But see, that kind of magical reality was one of the things that turned me off to the show around 2000 or so--Maggie rescuing Homer from drowning, Homer having a swordfight with motorcycles, Kang and Kodos being "real". That sort of thing is fine in Halloween episodes and couch gags, but inserting it into the show itself destroys the believability of it.

And then there was that Kid Rock cameo.
posted by interrobang at 9:52 AM on March 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


Wait... you mean people actually read the titles of posts?
posted by miss lynnster at 9:55 AM on March 27, 2007 [2 favorites]


can I next just post a link to that time on Family guy when stewie went off on the frat guy who was dating his babysitter about playing hackey sack and how everyone knows the lyrics to the mister plow song?

OMFG how can I fav a post that hasn't been made yet? Anyone know?
posted by iconomy at 9:57 AM on March 27, 2007 [4 favorites]


interrobang has it nailed in terms of the show dumbing things down over the years.

Formerly a huge fan, I got turned off around the turn of the century by new episodes because they outright did away with subtlety. It felt like each gag was summarily followed by a "huh, huh? get it?" gesture.

I come back every now and again to check out a new episode, and while it's not necessarily bad or unfunny, it definitely doesn't match the brilliance of past years. For example, watch this clip and find something as palatable that's come out in recent years.

Yes, this is a cozy bandwagon.
posted by Mach3avelli at 9:58 AM on March 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


OMFG how can I fav a post that hasn't been made yet? Anyone know?

Click the little plus sign at the bottom right of this comment. While it may seem you are just favoriting my comment, really that + has been treated to transcend time and space to favorite the future post of your choosing that you thought of when you clicked it.

Give it a try.
posted by drezdn at 10:09 AM on March 27, 2007 [6 favorites]


maybe it doesn't suck these days, but the peak was definitely seasons 3-7.

I try to watch it every now and again for old times sake and it just doesn't have the same wit.
posted by slapshot57 at 10:10 AM on March 27, 2007


destroys the believability of it.

*cough*

dude. it's a cartoon.
posted by quonsar at 10:11 AM on March 27, 2007 [4 favorites]


While I haven't watched the show in a while, it is possible that some of us just weren't as sophisticated when we watched the show early on, and so it seemed beyond brilliant at the time. With each new episode now it's compared to its past triumphs and our own personal nostalgia, watermarks that often are impossible to reachieve.
posted by drezdn at 10:12 AM on March 27, 2007 [2 favorites]


Matt Groening has said on the commentaries he always wanted to do a "Simpstasia." I think this intro may be the closest they've gotten, I recognize most of the shots from the Rites of Spring section. Very cool.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 10:14 AM on March 27, 2007


The show collapsed under its own weight. There is really only so many standard sitcom premises one can do without evolving the characters. It really isn't the same show anymore, there are several, only tangentially related, story-archs every episode. It became too referential as of late, but the writing has improved. At least with Futurama Matt Groening got the idea that there are only so many basic plots, and with a sci-fi theme you can get as far from reality as you want and not break the premise of the show.

For a good guide on how to run a show once all the inter-character drama is played out, one only needs to turn to South Park. It was a markedly different show before they went mainly topical. Of course by going topical alienates viewers as it forces the show to take a political viewpoint. It does allow the characters to become a vehicle for whatever event is occurring in the news, and thus free the writers from having to do the "Homer gets a new job", "Marge leaves homer" trite plot-lines.

Cartoons are unique in that an inherent property is that everything might stay ceteris paribas. It would be interesting to read a study on the various ways one can keep the genre fresh and avoid the triteness and largesses that became the Simpsons for an extended period of time.
posted by geoff. at 10:15 AM on March 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


Hey wait a minute, it's taken me 17 odd years but... when Homer gets the green blob on his back he's wearing a protective suit, yet later in the car he's in street clothes, but the blob is still there.
What's up with that?!

But yes, great intro... Homer's final comment is perfect. And I love too how it defies the Christian fundamentalist myth.
posted by Flashman at 10:15 AM on March 27, 2007



But yes, great intro... Homer's final comment is perfect. And I love too how it defies the Christian fundamentalist myth.


Or from the fundamentalist perspective, shows how ridiculous the idea of evolution is.

Anyway, I remember when I was much younger and couldn't understand why there was such a differentiation made between young Elvis and old Elvis. And now, here I am, fervently in the early Simpsons camp, staring incredulously at seemingly normal, intelligent people who assert that the Simpsons just started to get good in 2001?!??
posted by bluejayk at 10:37 AM on March 27, 2007


While I haven't watched the show in a while, it is possible that some of us just weren't as sophisticated when we watched the show early on, and so it seemed beyond brilliant at the time. With each new episode now it's compared to its past triumphs and our own personal nostalgia, watermarks that often are impossible to reachieve.

No, it's just not as good as it used to be.
posted by me & my monkey at 10:58 AM on March 27, 2007


That video just goes to show the absurdity behind the concept of 'intelligent design.'
posted by ericb at 11:05 AM on March 27, 2007


I still like it.
posted by brundlefly at 11:06 AM on March 27, 2007


Metafilter: get these fat Simpsons off my lawn!
posted by miss lynnster at 11:11 AM on March 27, 2007


but isn't it basically Fatboy Slim's "Right Here Right Now"?

Oh YouTube... related videos: "Right Here Waiting - Richard Marx"
posted by smackfu at 11:21 AM on March 27, 2007


Moonmilk

Doesn't your link suggest that the Simpsons live in Indiana? I thought that was supposed to be secret?
posted by underdog at 11:27 AM on March 27, 2007


Well, with Homer Simpson at least no-one will resort to the Intelligent Design argument.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 11:39 AM on March 27, 2007


The preview instinct is rudimentary in my genus.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 11:40 AM on March 27, 2007


underdog, I thought the same thing too. In many seasons (I am thinking post-9 or so) they started becoming a lot more loose with the actual location. By this I mean it is within walking distance of a major ocean, a desert and a large mountain range. Most telling, the radio call signs seem to go from K to W at whim.
posted by geoff. at 12:04 PM on March 27, 2007


I still watch every Simpsons episode. I have since they first aired my junior year of high-school, and to my knowledge, I've seen every single episode.

I can safely be called a fan.

I think there is some merit to the discussion going on here. The fact is, there there were a couple of seasons that sucked. But then, you could just take the good episodes from the entire series run, and have more television than any three other TV shows can produce.

That said, I think that other shows have stepped up to the plate and are showing innovation in ways that Homer and crew just can't do anymore; Futurama, South Park, even Family Guy has it's moments.

But then, the Simpsons have defied expectations before, so they may fool us all yet.
posted by quin at 12:04 PM on March 27, 2007


Doesn't your link suggest that the Simpsons live in Indiana?

Springfields' Simpsons battle.

Where Is The Simpsons' Springfield?
posted by ericb at 12:05 PM on March 27, 2007


Thanks for the post, I love the simpsons still.

Cool post, Miss L!

Is the unfortunate pronunciation of that diminutive 'Missle'?

posted by YoBananaBoy at 12:07 PM on March 27, 2007


SIMPSONS DID IT!
posted by fungible at 12:08 PM on March 27, 2007


Awesome.
posted by IronLizard at 12:31 PM on March 27, 2007


interrobang:
"It would have been smarter if he'd evolved through the various drawing styles as well."
They actually did that gag in the same episode, when they were retaking old family photos lost in a fire. Can't find a clip on the 'Tube though.
posted by howling fantods at 1:03 PM on March 27, 2007


Err... what Servo5678 said.
posted by howling fantods at 1:08 PM on March 27, 2007


The thing that blew me away about the Simpsons was the satire. When they were making fun of Homer, they were making fun of *my* dad in *my suburb*. When Principal Skinner was portrayed as an anal-retentive momma's boy, they had the average American elementary school principal nailed.

Yeah, once they brought U2 on and sent Homer to space the show seemed much less interesting.

Although I, for one, welcome our new ant overlords.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 1:29 PM on March 27, 2007


So...this Groening fellow, not a creationist I take it?
posted by juv3nal at 1:30 PM on March 27, 2007


It's not hugely relevant I guess, but I can't believe no-one's posted Noitulove
posted by twine42 at 1:35 PM on March 27, 2007


slapshot57 writes "maybe it doesn't suck these days, but the peak was definitely seasons 3-7. "

Yeah, exactly. The pinnacle, IMO, was Deep Space Homer (season five). After about 2001, the writing never seemed as good; too self-referential, too clever without being funny, the characters lack their former depth, etc.
posted by krinklyfig at 1:38 PM on March 27, 2007


Actually twine42, I had that commercial in my head when I first saw this intro but I couldn't remember where I'd seen it or what it was a commercial for. Thanks!
posted by miss lynnster at 1:41 PM on March 27, 2007


Slarty Bartfast writes "The thing that blew me away about the Simpsons was the satire. ... Yeah, once they brought U2 on and sent Homer to space the show seemed much less interesting."

Except Deep Space Homer had brilliant parodies of several great films, including 2001 and Planet of the Apes. And some of the best lines of any episode ... "Hello, is this President Clinton? Good! I figured if anyone knew where to get some Tang, it'd be you. ... Shut up!"
posted by krinklyfig at 1:43 PM on March 27, 2007


I liked the live-action version.
posted by mattbucher at 2:32 PM on March 27, 2007


It's on Fox. I don't watch Fox. Maybe someday I'll think about watching it on DVD. I want to see Fox go the way UPN & WB did. Down the tubes.
posted by ZachsMind at 3:21 PM on March 27, 2007


Next week they will do a 4-second version for Republicans.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 6:01 PM on March 27, 2007


dude. it's a cartoon.

Yeah, but that's kinda besides the point. I mean, the professor made radios out of coconut shells on Gilligan's Island, too. Every work of fiction creates its own constraints and in order for the audience to "buy it," it can't go outside them. It doesn't matter how crazy the universe it creates is: talking babies, dancing horses, getting repeatedly blown up by ACME rockets... whatever it is, once the place is created, it has to abide by those limitations.

What's annoyed a lot of Simpsons fans, myself included, has been the steady moronification of Homer, the increasing lack of continuity between shows, and the tendency to rely on completely outlandish throwaway gags to carry the entire half-hour. It used to be a show about a family (a severely dysfunctional one, sure...) with the problems real families have. Homer drinks, and can get pretty violent. Marge tries to keep the house in order despite this. Bart is a fuckup with a good heart. Lisa is an overachiever seeking confirmation from her not-so-peers.

After about ten seasons it felt like they ran out of ideas and figured, hell, might as well appeal to the least common denominator for some cheap laughs. The cleverness of the random throwaway gags or freeze-frame fun wears thin when it feels so forced, like the writers are desperately trying to calculate just what sort of KaRAYZee antics will be enough to satisfy the laugh factor while they carelessly write an episode around it without any regard to the personalities of the players involved.

I've clearly thought about this too much, so I leave you with Eastern Europe's Favorite Cat and Mouse Team: Worker and Parasite!
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:26 PM on March 27, 2007


I'm a die hard Simpsons fan and though I, too, think it's not quite as good now as it ever was, I maintain that if you took any episode from, say, this season and broadcast it in 1988, it would outshine 99.999% of anything else on TV. We're jaded, and it's too familar be appreciated anymore.
posted by tristeza at 6:27 PM on March 27, 2007


"It would have been smarter if he'd evolved through the various drawing styles as well."

I think they did this a couple of weeks ago. There was kind of a cross hatched, olde timey scene, but I can't remember exactly what it was about.
posted by Frank Grimes at 6:39 PM on March 27, 2007


What ever happened to Tracy Ullman?
posted by snsranch at 7:30 PM on March 27, 2007


To me, there is one big problem with the Simpsons the last 6 or so years...the lack of plot development. If you watch the old episodes, it was a fully developed story from beginning to end, sometimes with multiple character plot lines, but developed none-the-less. Now it is more like Family Guy with all kinds of quick visual jokes. It's like the writers are afraid of losing the audience.

Futurama, however, never made that mistake IMO. Groening had a chance to start over and get it right with Futurama and created a wonderful show. Not to say he doesn't love the Simpsons (movie coming out this summer!).
posted by UseyurBrain at 7:35 PM on March 27, 2007


snsranch, I can't believe anyone here hasn't said "Oh, it's been downhill since the Tracey Ullman Show". I loved those little bits in the Tracey Ullman Show. I also think it's funny that Groening came up with the Simpsons Characters because he didn't want to lose his good ones with Bongo the one eared rabbit et al. That Life In Hell strip was teh awesome!!!
posted by Eekacat at 8:49 PM on March 27, 2007


That Life In Hell strip was teh awesome!!!

Lest we forget 'Akbar and Jeff!'
posted by ericb at 9:03 PM on March 27, 2007


Matt Groening: from Portland (OR) to L.A.
posted by ericb at 9:08 PM on March 27, 2007


snsranch, I can't believe anyone here hasn't said "Oh, it's been downhill since the Tracey Ullman Show".

Fuck that. It's been downhill since I came up with the idea in 1985 and sent it to Groening in a series of dreams.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:43 PM on March 27, 2007


OMFG how can I fav a post that hasn't been made yet? Anyone know?

I would just like to point out that, despite being abhorrently shitfaced at the moment, I am not currently crafting (nor do I intend to craft) a single link fpp to a youtube video of that family guy bit. You're all welcome.
posted by shmegegge at 10:18 PM on March 27, 2007


smegegge... shitfaced kinda regularly lately, aren't we? ;)
posted by miss lynnster at 10:55 PM on March 27, 2007


This was an awesome clip.

I, too, don't find the Simpsons as good as I did in seasons 3-9(ish)... But I still find the current episodes much more watchable than reruns from seasons 1-2. Perhaps it's just that I've seen those first seasons so many times, I can't stand them anymore... But I still have no problem watching most episodes from season three, which I've certainly seen almost, if not as many times.

And moonmilk: that scene is classic! That "damn Flanders" bit from Reverend Lovejoy was new to me... One thing I've found over the years is that watching the shows up in Canada, there were certain bits of episodes cut out. Often there will be a small, few-second scene that I've never seen before. It makes watching the old seasons on DVD that much better!
posted by antifuse at 4:27 AM on March 28, 2007


Family Guy "Best Opening Sequence Ever"... I don't know about that, but it's pretty good with a surprise appearance from Homer.
posted by sluglicker at 6:31 AM on March 28, 2007


shitfaced kinda regularly lately, aren't we?

this is true, and i've been trying to maintain a "no drunk posting" policy for a little while. I am thankful, at the least, that I've managed to cut back from posting every night and that when I do post it hasn't, so far, been vile or flammable.
posted by shmegegge at 8:11 AM on March 28, 2007


When I watched that "Family Guy" opening, the best part of it for me was the reference to Police Squad/Naked Gun. And rather than liking Family Guy, I got nostalgic for the early Zucker brothers stuff. But then I pictured O.J. Simpson as Nordberg & remembered that those days are loooong gone. A full range of emotions, there.

Well shmegegge, so far you've been a fun drunk. I'll keep and eye out and let you know if I think it's time to hide the car keys, though. :)
posted by miss lynnster at 8:27 AM on March 28, 2007


shmeg--
At least you're not covered in babyfood and haven't lost your pants hours ago...


(I've got a 7-month-old. Honest.)
posted by Dizzy at 9:54 AM on March 28, 2007


What's annoyed a lot of Simpsons fans, myself included, has been the steady moronification of Homer, the increasing lack of continuity between shows, and the tendency to rely on completely outlandish throwaway gags to carry the entire half-hour. It used to be a show about a family (a severely dysfunctional one, sure...) with the problems real families have. Homer drinks, and can get pretty violent. Marge tries to keep the house in order despite this. Bart is a fuckup with a good heart. Lisa is an overachiever seeking confirmation from her not-so-peers.
QFMFT. I have nothing more to add.
posted by Critical_Beatdown at 12:56 PM on March 28, 2007




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