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September 22, 2007 1:42 PM   Subscribe

72 scenes from various episodes of The Simpsons, each one beside the movie scene to which they refer (By The Accordion Guy)
posted by growabrain (76 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
I had no idea that the Simpsons was so... unoriginal.
posted by three blind mice at 1:51 PM on September 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


You got it. It's a "reference-fest" - which gets very old very fast.

I'm still dumbfounded that this series is still on the air.
posted by wfc123 at 1:54 PM on September 22, 2007


Seeing as we are unfamiliar with cinematic terminology, I shall not waste my time attempting to describe the distinction between a frame, a shot and a scene, and only state for the record that there are a mere 29 scenes in the linked site, thank you very much.
/Comic Book Guy

cool post, though!
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 1:58 PM on September 22, 2007 [6 favorites]


You got it. It's a "reference-fest" - which gets very old very fast.

There's a Family Guy thread somewhere with your name on it.

It's called parody, people. Geez.
posted by Cyrano at 2:03 PM on September 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


(For the record, and not that anybody should care, but I have actually never seen any of The Simpsons episodes myself, even though I heard that they are pretty good - I am just reporting here what's happening elsewhere on the web. Basically I am just the messenger)
posted by growabrain at 2:07 PM on September 22, 2007


Simpsons did it!
posted by psmealey at 2:07 PM on September 22, 2007


Funny. That's not how I remember Rashomon.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 2:11 PM on September 22, 2007 [8 favorites]


There was a Cosby Show movie?
posted by box at 2:14 PM on September 22, 2007


Boooooo urns.
posted by Mach3avelli at 2:22 PM on September 22, 2007


The Cosbys had a fireplace in their kitchen? Heh.
posted by Big_B at 2:25 PM on September 22, 2007


far from complete, but still cool. I'd love to see video clip comparisons, or at least a more complete list, but still, this is cool
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 2:29 PM on September 22, 2007


Wow, this is so the tip of the iceberg...
I haven't watched the show in years, but I used to love how easily the earlier episodes slipped in and out of parodies. After all these years (and Family Guys, and a thousand other primetime animated series) the movie references really have gotten stale. Well, to be fair, so have a lot of the new movies they're referencing.
posted by maryh at 2:29 PM on September 22, 2007


The Simpsons was really the first show to do this sort of thing, though. It's not just another show that made lots of references to movies- it's the show that made lots of references to movies.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:42 PM on September 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


Yeah, what made the earlier Simpsons seasons more brilliant was that the reference was slipped in in a way that didn't hit you over the head with it, and wouldn't strike you as out of place if you hadn't seen the movie. They didn't, for example, make Edna Krabapple act in any way out of character just so they could reference The Graduate.
posted by Space Coyote at 2:44 PM on September 22, 2007


See, this is what makes the Simpsons so much better than Family Guy, in my view. (And I am, somewhat unfairly, comparing the best of the Simpsons to all of what I've seen of Family Guy. There are certainly some stinky Simpsons episodes out there.) When there's a scene in Family Guy that references a movie or show I haven't seen, it's usually dead air to me. The characters suddenly start talking differently, props appear out of nowhere, and it all builds to an awkward punchline that doesn't have a trace of humor to me, because I don't have that "Hey, that's a REFERENCE" experience. And then it just stops and heads back into the story.

On the other hand, I didn't even know that a lot of these Simpsons scenes were references to movies I hadn't seen. They fit seamlessly into the overall story and provided humor and interest in and of themselves. People who get the references get a little extra boost of gratification, but you don't have that "It's funny because I've seen this movie" effect.
posted by L. Fitzgerald Sjoberg at 2:46 PM on September 22, 2007 [17 favorites]


My first thought, after looking at a couple of those, was that there were a bunch where it was just different shots of the same scene, even sometimes of the same character in the same scene. So, I'd say that they "cheated" to reach 72, and some of then are actually duplicated toward the bottom, but it's still neat.
posted by Godbert at 2:47 PM on September 22, 2007


Yeah, that struck me too--they 'cheated' to reach 72, but they certainly didn't have to.
posted by box at 2:58 PM on September 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


Oh my gosh! I liked the Simpsons... until I saw this. Now I see what a bunch of copycats the writers are! Didn't the creator, director, or producers notice? Or were they in on it all along too?

The Simpsons is now OFF of my Tifaux series recording list.
posted by The Deej at 3:21 PM on September 22, 2007


They didn't even include my favorite reference, the Ribwich/Requiem for a Dream episode.
posted by arcticwoman at 3:27 PM on September 22, 2007


There was also an amusing one recently, when Marge got mugged, then hid out in her basement for a few months. She worked out until she had grown buff & had the guts to leave her home, at which point she ran into her mugger, and beat him up in a shot for shot copy of Sonny beating up Carlo in The Godfather. Marge biting the guy's hand was priceless.
posted by papakwanz at 3:43 PM on September 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


wfc123 writes "You got it. It's a 'reference-fest' - which gets very old very fast.

"I'm still dumbfounded that this series is still on the air."


I haven't seen it in years, so if you're referring to current stuff, then, yeah, perhaps a fair call, I dunno. But if you're implying "it was always bad, because it was always a reference-fest", then L. Fitzgerald Sjoberg is on the money. As is the South Park episode which makes fun of Family Guy. In Family Guy, the references are all there is. If you don't get the reference, you know you're missing a joke, but you don't get the joke. And if you don't get any of the references, there's nothing left. The Simpsons, on the other hand, was subtle. Sure, you're probably thinking "they were about as subtle as a brick to the head", but that's only if you got the reference. If you didn't, you wouldn't even notice that there was something you didn't get. I said subtle, after all, not cryptic. I watched the Simpsons with my parents. They got maybe 0.1% of the referential jokes, but they still found the show funny, and never realized that there were jokes they were missing. You could remove all the referential humour, and it would still be a funny show.

(Er, back in the day. Again, haven't seen it since 1996 or so.)
posted by Bugbread at 3:49 PM on September 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


(And, looking through that page, I realized that I didn't even notice half of those, though I remember the episodes they were from, and yet I still found those episodes funny, which I guess just proves my point to myself)
posted by Bugbread at 3:54 PM on September 22, 2007


I dunno, I thought that Pulp Fiction Simpsons that aired in the mid-90s was incredibly unsubtle and overplayed. Some of their references are more subtle, though, like the one where Grandpa is being chased by birds and takes refuge in a phone booth.
posted by Tuwa at 3:56 PM on September 22, 2007


And what movie is this, anyway? That one and the bottom two pairs here are the only two I didn't recognize.
posted by Tuwa at 3:57 PM on September 22, 2007


Accordion Guy is also famous for bringing a ray of sunshine into our lives.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:01 PM on September 22, 2007


Miss Fipe Lele has been very good to us. I usually don't cruise the pictures area, so this was a nice find.
posted by maudlin at 4:04 PM on September 22, 2007


Tuwa: The first one is from An Officer and a Gentleman (as any gurl kno).
posted by The corpse in the library at 4:10 PM on September 22, 2007


Oh, and your second one is Tom Jones, I believe.
posted by The corpse in the library at 4:11 PM on September 22, 2007


D'oh! It seems to have disappeared.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:12 PM on September 22, 2007


Thanks, The corpse in the library. I've never seen An Officer and a Gentleman and it's been years since I saw Tom Jones.
posted by Tuwa at 4:19 PM on September 22, 2007


The Simpsons, on the other hand, was subtle. Sure, you're probably thinking "they were about as subtle as a brick to the head", but that's only if you got the reference. If you didn't, you wouldn't even notice that there was something you didn't get. I said subtle, after all, not cryptic.

For example, when Sideshow Bob is sent to prison (one of the times?) his prison outfit bears the prisoner number that belonged to the character in Papillon. If you didn't get the reference, it would just be a cliched prison outfit.

(and, for the record, a greater trivia nerd than i spotted that one - i came across it in the near-definitive Simpsons Archive)
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:19 PM on September 22, 2007


The corpse in the library: Yeah. And HOLY CRAP, was that a Molesworth reference? I've seen a lot of stuff on MeFi in my time but I would never have expected that.
posted by The Bellman at 4:20 PM on September 22, 2007


What movie is the frame of the kids on the playgound/jungle gym from? [Its the one right after the Psycho frames].
posted by Dr. Zira at 4:21 PM on September 22, 2007


More examples - chose *one* random episode from the Simpsons Archive:

> Movie (and other) references
==============================================================================
~ "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" (TV series) {jc}
- calling someone a moe [see "Comments" section for more -- Ed.]

- "Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior" (movie) {jc}
- a bad guy calling himself Humungous

+ "The Time Machine" (novel)
- Homer mentions the Morlocks from this classic H. G. Wells novel

+ Swarthmore College {dj}
- Swigmore College a parody

+ "Ironweed" (movie) {jg2}
- this inspired Moe to become a bartender

- Virginia Woolf (writer) {ts}
- committed suicide in much the same way as Moe's professor

- "The Awakening" (movie) {js}
- a woman walks off into the ocean and kills herself

+ "Coyote Ugly" (movie)
- Homer and the gang dance on top of the bar counter

+ "Happy Days" (TV series)
- Homer imitates the Fonz, including rapping the jukebox to repair it,
and using "-mundo" to emphasize words

- Formica (building material) {jc}
- interior decorator Formico

+ M&Ms (candy) {cl}
- Moe's new logo looks like the "m" printed on this candy's shell
- the similarity is reinforced when two searchlights project two m's
next to each other in the sky

+ "Mystery Science Theater 3000" (TV series) {jg2}
- Carl says M is like something from the "not-too-distant future",
quoting this show's theme song

+ "I Love Rock and Roll" by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts (song)
- Homer sings his anti-Moe song to the Joan Jett tune

+ "The Munsters" (TV series) {jg2}
- Homer mentions Herman Munster in his alternate lyrics to "It's the End
of the World as We Know It"
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:23 PM on September 22, 2007


I guess I'll be the guy defending Family Guy here, though I love The Simpsons.

The two tropes that people use to discredit Family Guy are (1) that it's just a rip-off of the Simpsons, and (2) that they prefer the way that the Simpson's humor is executed, and the way that jokes are structured, and characters developed, etc. Al of which is perfectly valid, except for that it completely negates the second point.

By the same logic, I could use All in the Family as a way to shit on Roseanne. After all, they were both live-action sit-coms set in believably working class settings when it wasn't the norm to do so. They both featured brash humor and a generally unsympathetic hero, and so forth. Then I could bitch that the social satire in All in the Family worked so much better because Carrol O'Conner's Archie was more horribly acerbic than Barr's Roseanne, and question whether a female in that role could possibly fulfill the same needs as having a man in that role, and then claim that it was a direct rip-off to have the family in Rosanne be named the Conners. I mean, come on, right! WTF, Roseanne?

Except that it's a bullshit dichotomy, and all that The Simpsons and Family Guy have in similarity is that their both cartoons, centered around a dysfunctional family patriarch. They're both very funny, effective shows with completely different approaches to their humor. The Simpsons melds in it's references better, to be sure, but who cares? Family Guy goes to pains to bring theirs out in the forefront because their humor is absurdist. When it isn't just relying on shock value for laughs (which it admittedly does too often) Family Guy's humor comes from mixing the completely ridiculous with the very realistic, and stretching both to their limit. Two examples that show the two extremes, but general structure:

1. A flashback to "the time Dad hit that deer." Instead of seeing a dead deer underneath the car, we see Peter and a very human deer step out of their cars, and Peter trying to weasel out of giving the deer his insurance information. By the way, Peter talks and acts exactly as he normally would here, and it gives us further insight into his character.

2. In a continuing storyline, 1800's slave Peter is trying to woo 1800's plantation-daughter Lois (both fitting into the relationship we've seen between them in present day.) He tosses some pebbles at her window, and when that fails to wake her up, we see a horse get thrown through the window. But at this point, while we're still wondering how anyone could throw a horse through a window, the horse acts EXACTLY as a horse in that situation would act - scared, disoriented, smashing everything in sight in search for an exit.

Neither of these are direct references to anything, and if they are, well, I didn't catch them and the joke worked anyway. They're simply gags that work for that particular show which wouldn't work in The Simpsons, because they're different shows with different sensibilities. Hate Family Guy for all you like, if you want, but to hate it in comparison to The Simpsons doesn't make a lot of sense.

And for one final example of how the humor works, take the reference to Benjamin Disraeli, which then cuts to a shot of Disraeli looking up from his work and accusing, "You don't know who I am."
posted by Navelgazer at 4:28 PM on September 22, 2007 [10 favorites]


Navelgazer writes "The two tropes that people use to discredit Family Guy are (1) that it's just a rip-off of the Simpsons, and (2) that they prefer the way that the Simpson's humor is executed, and the way that jokes are structured, and characters developed, etc. Al of which is perfectly valid, except for that it completely negates the second point."

I only dislike it for the second reason, not the first, so there's no conflict. Is that kosher?

Navelgazer writes "And for one final example of how the humor works, take the reference to Benjamin Disraeli, which then cuts to a shot of Disraeli looking up from his work and accusing, 'You don't know who I am.'"

Ok, that's funny.
posted by Bugbread at 4:35 PM on September 22, 2007


Bugbread: It's all kosher, it just reminds me of the Mitch Hedberg/Dmitri Martin debate from a few months back. Can't both of them be funny at the same time?
posted by Navelgazer at 4:38 PM on September 22, 2007


MetaFilter: It's a "reference-fest" which gets very old very fast.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 4:39 PM on September 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


Also, I should add that The Simpsons uses it's references (primarily) to call to mind similarities between the situations. Family guy generally uses theirs to poke fun at the absurdity or hypocrisy of whatever their referring to. The two needs require different approaches.
posted by Navelgazer at 4:43 PM on September 22, 2007


Navelgazer writes "Can't both of them be funny at the same time?"

Yeah, they can. I don't like Family Guy, but I don't believe in some absolute funny-meter. If people find it funny, it's funny. I don't, but I'm not God.
posted by Bugbread at 4:45 PM on September 22, 2007


Agreed, Sjoberg; my favorite is in the episode where Lisa conditions Bart to fear cupcakes for her science project. Bart is later sent into the kitchen to get dessert - cupcakes - and as he slowly reaches up the shot is a matches Alex reaching for the model's breasts in A Clockwork Orange. It's funny enough with Bart collapsing into a shuddering, fetal mass on the floor, but it's even funnier with the reference.

The abandonment of older references, particularly Kubrick ones, in favor of current/flash in the pan films (Run, Lola, Run? Come on.) is yet another nail in The Simpson's coffin, IMO.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 4:47 PM on September 22, 2007


Crap, ".... shot is a matches... ". Gotta stop changing tenses in midcomment and posting without rereading.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 4:51 PM on September 22, 2007


A succinct summary (and I don't mean this in opposition to Family Guy, just as a statement on its own):

What made the Simpsons' handling of references good is that it uses references in jokes, not references as jokes.
posted by Bugbread at 4:56 PM on September 22, 2007


I don't think there's a contradiction between "Family Guy is a Simpsons rip-off" and "Family Guy isn't as funny as the Simpsons." Put them together and you get "Family Guy is a poor rip-off of the Simpsons." Nearly every major pop culture phenomenon is followed by imitators who manage to imitate the surface while missing the substance.

Having said that, I'm not sure I'd call Family Guy a rip-off. I don't think it would have ever existed if the Simpsons hadn't paved the way, but that's how art and entertainment work. Someone had to create the first talk show, the first soap opera, and the first sitcom about a family with a big dumb dad.

Family Guy has many similarities with the Simpsons aside from "animated big dumb dad," but I'd forgive them if it was a better show. As it is, it's a somewhat-similar, occasionally funny program.

Not to derail, but has anyone watched reruns of "The Critic" lately? I thought I remembered it being okay but not as good as The Simpsons, but man! Corner stinkpile! That's a cartoon show that took pains to be different from The Simpsons, but it didn't help it none.
posted by L. Fitzgerald Sjoberg at 5:10 PM on September 22, 2007


While I certainly agree with the notion that the Simpsons' artfully inserted references reflect better craftsmanship than Family Guy's tendency to reference for reference's sake, I can't help think of an episode of Family Guy I watched recently wherein Peter ends up playing football for the Patriots. After being warned not to engage in any showboating, Peter scores a touchdown, and for his touchdown celebration, he, the players, the cheerleaders, and the fans in the stands perform "Shipoopi" from The Music Man.

The. entire. freaking. song.

It takes 2 and a half minutes, fully 10% of the show's running time, and encountering it for the first time produced a reaction in me that I am not often given to: helpless, uncontrollable, paralyzing laughter, mixed with pure joy and astonishment.

Was it subtle? Did it advance the plot? Did it mean anything if you didn't get the reference? Hell no. But it just might be the single greatest thing I've ever seen on television.

As soon as the episode was over, I immediately went out and bought The Music Man on DVD. I am not making this up.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 5:22 PM on September 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


YouTube link for the curious.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 5:41 PM on September 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


I like both the Family Guy and the Simpsons, and I like King of the Hill, and when I was a kid I watched Wait 'till Your Father Gets Home and liked it then (no idea about now) and I like GiTS as well.

Don't care for South Park much but that's just me.

And I like Moby Dick, the novel, even though it references Shakespeare, Milton, Dante, and others. Yes, even though it does.
posted by juiceCake at 5:52 PM on September 22, 2007


Navelgazer,
Not that I hate Family Guy, but what's frustrating is not that its concept hews so close to what The Simpsons doees. It's what that South Park episode about it accuses it of: Family Guy is essentially a rapid-fire string of absurdist, nonsensical clips strung together by some pretense of a plot. Peter takes two steps, which reminds him of something, takes two more steps, which reminds him of something, etc. That can be funny, but it gets really old because there's little originality to it other than shock or absurdity or nostalgia. It seems that Robot Chicken would be what Family Guy aspires towards: just clip after clip of crazy, silly shorts.
posted by Sangermaine at 6:05 PM on September 22, 2007


You guys talk about Simpsons making pop references as if that's a bad thing. Parody. Satire. Comedy. Look them up. That's what they do. If you don't like what they do, stop watching.

I didn't stop liking Simpsons, although I've purposefully stopped watching it and I don't think I've seen a full episode since some time after the cancellation of Firefly and before the cancellation of Tru Calling.

FOX is evil. Anyone who still tunes in to see new episodes of Simpsons or any first-run television series is a part of the problem. Please stop. You are only encouraging them. If it weren't for you, FOX TV woulda gone the way of UPN & the WB network by now.

In fact, I haven't had my TV on for months. If it weren't for Heroes and Lost I'd have no reason to ever turn it back on. Last year those two shows were the only shows (still around) which were in my opinion worthy of my time. Even those shows are losing me. I might turn my TV on to see the second season of Heroes, but NBC cancelled Raines. I'm seriously considering just throwing my TV away.
posted by ZachsMind at 6:17 PM on September 22, 2007


UbuRoivas - For example, when Sideshow Bob is sent to prison (one of the times?) his prison outfit bears the prisoner number that belonged to the character in Papillon. If you didn't get the reference, it would just be a cliched prison outfit.

(and, for the record, a greater trivia nerd than i spotted that one - i came across it in the near-definitive Simpsons Archive)


Oh god I can't believe I'm doing this.

As I recall, Sideshow Bob was prisoner #24601. That's Jean Valjean's number from Les Miserables, not Papillon.

Please shoot me.
posted by Justinian at 6:19 PM on September 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


ZachsMind,
Don't know how you feel about cable, but Showtime's Dexter is amazingly good. It's probably one of the best series I've seen in at least 5 years, though admittedly I didn't watch it on TV but rather obtained the first season via torrent (along with the leaked first 2 episodes of the second season). Although now I will have to wait a long time for the show to start airing again....::sigh::
posted by Sangermaine at 6:34 PM on September 22, 2007


There's a Family Guy thread somewhere with your name on it.

It's called parody, people. Geez.


..like there's a difference.

I love the "Simpsons" fans who think "Family Guy" is somehow a second-rate rip-off.

Both are annoying.

Parody is fine, but it's so rapid-fire and non-stop that it's just not funny. Reference for the sake of reference.

"Oh look, Homer is being Emeril Lagasse and he's saying 'Bam!'-- just like the real Emeril! But the twist is that he's says 'd'oh!' right after!"
posted by wfc123 at 6:55 PM on September 22, 2007


The way any Simpsons thread seems to go down on Metafilter these days is something like this;

COMMENT#1: "Hey isn't The Simpsons great how it does [FPP subject matter]?"

COMMENT#2: "Yeah but it dosen't do [FPP subject matter] as well as it used to. The earlier seasons were way better at [FPP subject matter]."

COMMENT#3: "Yeah, The Simpsons suck now, but at least it dosen't suck as much as Family Guy! AMIRITE?"

COMMENT#4: "Family Guy dosen't suck, and here's why."

I'm kind of late to the party because we've already reached COMMENT#4 a bit up-thread but here's my 2c anyway.

As navelgazer excellently points out, most people can't seem to help but say Family Guy is a rip off of The Simpsons because its an animated show about a dysfunctional family. And as navelgazer also said, that's a bullshit strawman argument. But I'd like to say if we're going to argue that Show B is a rip off of Show A, then it seems to me as though in its later years, The Simpsons has really started to rip off Family Guy, to its own detriment. And here's why.

When The Simpsons first began, it was essentially a traditional sitcom based largely in reality except for the fact that it was animated and the characters had yellow skin and four fingers. The situations these characters would find themselves in, however, were largely based in reality. Homer & Marge have marriage problems. Bart has a birthday. Lisa has a crush on a teacher. Maggie says her first word. When a movie reference was thrown in, the reality was sometimes stretched for the sake of the gag, but it didn't matter because it worked and the shows were still riotously funny.

Around The Simpsons eighth season, the show started to decline in quality of writing. It was still good, but it started to feel old and tired. By the ninth season, the show was in its death throes. But people didn't notice it yet. There had been eight seasons of excellent shows up until this point, and if any given episode of the ninth season was terrible, they'd discount it and say "yeah, that wasn't great, but the next one will be better because this is The Simpsons and this is a great TV show." Basically, the show was trading in on its past credibility, and it wasn't until later years, indeed, under the light of Family Guy, that people would come to realise this in its entirety.

And so this vicious cycle continued until Season 10. It was now 1999 and by now, The Simpsons' credit account was starting to run dry, and people were starting to say the show had jumped the shark and that it wasn't as good as it once was.

And then, in that same year, Family Guy debuted.

Family Guy was a bizzare show. Right from its first episode, we were introduced to a family that had a talking dog that the other family members could hear, a talking evil baby that the others may or may not be able to hear, and a world where Black Knights tried to invade neighborhood homes and the Kool Aid guy would suddenly, inexplicably, break through a wall with an "Oh yeah!" This world was anything but the same as the world the Simpson family had inhabited up until this point. It was a surreal world where anything could happen, and often did.

To those people still feverishly loyal to The Simpsons, this style of humor was akin to being hit in the head with a sledgehammer. The Simpsons, they maintained, could do humor and movie references subtly and Family Guy's seemingly blunt approach to references was simply not funny. But what they did not foresee was that The Simpsons, all of a sudden, would start doing exactly what The Family Guy was doing, only worse.

Starting slowly in Season 10 with bible themed episodes and a front and center parody of Maximum Overdrive, The Simpsons would start doing slapstick and front and center movie and TV references just like Family Guy. Bizzare things started happening in Springfield, things that would not happen in reality. Essentially, The Simpsons had begun to rip off the same kind of crazy, surreal and often slapstick situations that the Family Guy employed on a weekly basis. But whereas it worked and worked well in Family Guy, it did not work in The Simpsons and this was for one very simple reason that I pointed out earlier.

Family Guy had established from its first episode that its world was surreal whereas The Simpsons had heretofore always inhabited a world that existed, by and large, within the confines of reality.

By the 12th season, when Moe had radical face surgery to become a soap star, or where the Simpsons were sent to a mysterious island where people who know too much are imprisoned and the city of Springfield plays a giant prank on Homer and Bart in revenge for conning them, I, and many others, had stopped watching. This sort of stuff would probably have been very, very funny in Family Guy, but in the world that the Simpson family had lived in prior to this, it simply wasn't funny at all because we couldn't imagine that this would happen to them. The writers were asking us to suspend our disbelief and in the universe of The Simpsons, this was something we simply couldn't do.

And besides, we were all too busy laughing are arses off at situations that Family Guy was portraying in its second and third seasons.

The Simpsons was a great show once. To many people, it still is. Family Guy, to me and to many others is still a great show, and I'm really, really looking forward to its new season premiere in a day or so. And the fact that I now realize that this is something I can't say I've felt for The Simpsons in over ten years really saddens me.
posted by Effigy2000 at 6:59 PM on September 22, 2007 [9 favorites]


Initially I loathed Family Guy with a fiery burning passion, But as I kept watching it I started to see a kind of genius in its badness, in how it would push almost every single gag beyond the point of funniness into discomfort, disgust, anxiety--by having it continue twice as long as was funny, or by taking the slapstick "someone got hurt, so it's funny" and pushing it into blood and guts territory. At best, it's a show that makes you very self-conscious, very aware of your own reaction to it.

I don't know if I'd say I like it, but it's a lot smarter than I first thought.
posted by Jeanne at 7:44 PM on September 22, 2007


I'm assuming that that's a reference to goodfella's in there about halfway down but if I remember correctly (okay fine the DVD commentary's told me) the mob episode of the simpsons was made before goodfellas ever came out.
posted by TwoWordReview at 8:32 PM on September 22, 2007


In fact, I haven't had my TV on for months... I'm seriously considering just throwing my TV away.

*Smiles, nods, finds someone else at the party to stand next to*
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:34 PM on September 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


*Smiles, nods, finds someone else at the party to stand next to*

<me>siddles up to ZachsMind - hey!, so what're you reading these days? How was that walk in the rain last night?</me>
posted by porpoise at 9:45 PM on September 22, 2007


People who don't watch TV are cool. People who make it a point to mention they don't watch TV because TV sucks are usually tiresome boors.
posted by Justinian at 9:47 PM on September 22, 2007 [3 favorites]


Metafilter Calendar reminder: The season premiere of Saturday Night Live is next weekend. We will temporarily suspend the ongoing "Simpsons has been going downhill since season x" and "Simpsons v. (other animated cartoon show)" discussions in order to dedicate full snarkiness towards the ongoing "SNL has been going downhill since ____ left" discussion. People without cable are encouraged to attend and remind everyone you have no idea who Janeane Garofalo is.
posted by Gary at 11:06 PM on September 22, 2007


I love The Simpsons. I enjoyed the movie, and I think the new episodes, when I happen to catch them, are still sometimes quite funny, and certainly far funnier than a show with an 18 year run deserves to be.

I also enjoy Family Guy and even American Dad.

I used to love South Park, but then they started to believe their own press about how they were a brilliant social satire, and started getting pretensions about being important. They still have the occasional brilliant episode, but then they do shit like mock Al Gore for searching after the ManBearPig and do multiple episodes in a row claiming global warming is a hoax, and I turn off the TV in boredom and disgust.

That is all.
posted by papakwanz at 11:30 PM on September 22, 2007


From South Park:

"I like Family Guy. Sure, maybe it's just joke-joke-jole, but I like that. At least it's not all preachy and up its own ass with messages."

-Brilliant.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:44 PM on September 22, 2007


Excellent comment by Effigy2000.

I'd say one other advantage that Family Guy has over Simpsons is the lack of sentimentality. All those Homer-pisses-off-Marge-but-woos-her-back storylines get pretty glutinously unfunny after a while. In Family Guy the characters are free to be much crueller.

Also, the big-dumb-dad thing is a pretty old trope, certainly goes at least as far back as Fred Flintstone.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 12:28 AM on September 23, 2007


Ah, a metafilter-simpsons-snark-fest... that's where I'm a....
posted by blue_beetle at 12:40 AM on September 23, 2007


Ah,

I never caught the sabateur reference... Great movie and great show.
posted by subaruwrx at 1:07 AM on September 23, 2007


The clockwork orange reference was the first one I looked for, and it wasn't there. Then there's the extras and duplicates for, woohoo, 72.
This idea has potential, but maybe the author didn't realize what an undertaking it really is.
I think only the show's writers really know how many nods they've given.
posted by hypersloth at 1:23 AM on September 23, 2007


so it's a nice list for a start.
Meanwhile, roffles at the calendar reminder
posted by hypersloth at 1:29 AM on September 23, 2007


True, Horace Rumpole, but Family Guy was certainly not the first to do it.

Actually, the week the episode that included the above clip came out, The Simpson, Freakazoid, and Earthworm Jim all had extended musical numbers (in the case of The Simpsons, "We Put the Spring in Springfield"). It was uncanny.
posted by darksasami at 3:08 AM on September 23, 2007


Horace Rumpole, see that's exactly why Family guy drives me crazy these days. Putting Stewie in the Jerry and Gene Kelly dance routine? Playing ENTIRE songs from musicals? Look, I grew up on plenty of musical theater, and I love it. I don't mind the idea of people breaking into song to express themseves. But Family guy doing it is just the writers being lazy. It;s like they realize they;re 3 minutes short, so ther either do a scene with minimal frame animation (like the thirty to fo second pauses with just noise in the background) or Seth MacFarlane decided to put a song in from the Music man, because he thinks he can make musicals popular with his otherwise uninclined fans.

I know I sound like a crank, it just gets tiresome.
posted by piratebowling at 4:53 AM on September 23, 2007


If it weren't for Heroes and Lost I'd have no reason to ever turn it back on.

For me, they'd be two reasons for keeping the television off.
posted by crossoverman at 5:02 AM on September 23, 2007


Family Guy Steals From Simpsons, parts one and two.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:49 AM on September 23, 2007


I love the "Simpsons" fans who think "Family Guy" is somehow a second-rate rip-off.

I love Family Guy (and American Dad.) And I still watch the Simpsons, although more as I'm Cooking Sunday Dinner Backround Noise these days.

My comment wasn't a fanboy thing, just a dig at the most common Family Guy complaints that I hear 'round these parts.
posted by Cyrano at 8:09 AM on September 23, 2007


I agree with much of Effigy2000's analysis, up until the point where Family Guy is a great show, but that's all subjective and personal anyway. This is going to sound smug and curmudgeonly, but I saw it coming in the fourth season, during the episode about Whacking Day. There's a single scene where Homer is suddenly doing flips like a ninja and destroying mechanical pop-up snakes that came out of nowhere. It was a point where the writers seemed to say "Screw character, we like this joke," and I might have gone alone with it if it had been a better joke. (Maybe it was a movie reference? I know it was a reference to a common martial arts movie trope, but I don't know if it was a specific movie.)

I really don't think it's a matter of complacent Simpsons viewers not being able to handle the wacky surrealism of Family Guy, though. I mean, Monty Python was coming up with equally surreal stuff thirty-five years ago and the Goon Show was doing it twenty years before that. Surrealistic comedy is like oral sex: every generation thinks they invented it.
posted by L. Fitzgerald Sjoberg at 8:58 AM on September 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


Putting Stewie in the Jerry and Gene Kelly dance routine?

Are you nuts? Did you see Gene Kelly's ASS? You don't have to be gay to appreciate that sort of artistic decision.

Good Lord, his ass was the most beautiful thing I've seen on TV for years. It re-awakened my love for the dance.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 10:55 AM on September 23, 2007


ethnomethodologist, I get upset about lazy animation and Family Guy's overse of it. Amazingly, that overpowered the beauty of Gene Kelly's ass for me. That's how much the passion burned.
posted by piratebowling at 11:19 AM on September 23, 2007


I like Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Babylon 5.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 11:54 AM on September 24, 2007


Digg just killed it.
posted by empath at 2:58 PM on September 24, 2007


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