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The Simpsons Has A New Opening Sequence
February 16, 2009 7:33 PM   Subscribe

After 20 years and 429 episodes, The Simpsons has updated its opening title sequence. Here it is.

This marks the second time that The Simpsons has changed its opening sequence. Here's the original (sorta) opening from Season One. Season Two started the more familiar opening titles which ran until now.

There has, of course, also been a few other one-off opening sequence changes, such as the real-life opening sequence (previously), the first TV opening sequence after the movie premiered and the shortened version (and that's not even including all the couch gags and blackboard jokes) but this one is apparently permanent.
posted by Effigy2000 (216 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
I used to be with it. But then they changed what it was. Now what I'm with isn't it, and what it is seems scary and weird. It'll happen to you!
posted by arcanecrowbar at 7:35 PM on February 16, 2009 [65 favorites]


Did I just hear some deck chairs being rearranged somewhere?
posted by logicpunk at 7:42 PM on February 16, 2009 [12 favorites]


And with that, change has come to America.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 7:44 PM on February 16, 2009 [5 favorites]


Ahh a blast from the past. They were great.
posted by mattoxic at 7:48 PM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


I feel like I should think this is cool, but instead it makes me deeply sad. Some things, once left alone for long enough, should never be changed. And I hate the softer edges - where's Homer's scream upon being almost hit by the car? Something is rotten in the state of Springfield. I'm really starting to look forward to the day the show ends. And that is sad too.
posted by agregoli at 7:49 PM on February 16, 2009 [3 favorites]


I'm not sure about this new Poochy character.
posted by Artw at 7:49 PM on February 16, 2009 [22 favorites]


Finally, with this new high-def intro, we can see Bart's thetans!
posted by turgid dahlia at 7:49 PM on February 16, 2009 [13 favorites]


So now the old, charming intro is replaced with the new, over animated, over gag'd, over new-character'd, with all the charm and humor drained out like so much puss in a bum knee.

Fitting, I suppose.
posted by paisley henosis at 7:52 PM on February 16, 2009 [14 favorites]


This just made me more sure that it's time for the Simpsons to die.

I wanted to find joy in any part of it, any part...but it's all just too smooth, too new, too smooth and emotionless.

Too saddening, because that's my childhood dying along with this show...
posted by rollbiz at 7:54 PM on February 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


Did I just hear some deck chairs being rearranged somewhere?

I don't think that reference means what you think it means.
posted by Cyrano at 7:54 PM on February 16, 2009


What's really sad about the Simpsons now (and allow me to preempt the inevitable, "it's not that bad now, you're all just trying to sounds cool and snarky": it IS that bad now. it has gone from the best comedy show in television history to one of the worst) is that there is a whole younger generation who hasn't even SEEN the great episodes.

I tell them I love the Simpsons and quote it all the time and they look at me blankly like, "really? why?"
posted by drjimmy11 at 7:56 PM on February 16, 2009 [8 favorites]


"The grass has grown thick over the grave of my youth." - Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
posted by Joe Beese at 7:56 PM on February 16, 2009 [24 favorites]


Did I just hear some deck chairs being rearranged somewhere?

I don't think that reference means what you think it means.


What? I think it means exactly what he thinks it means: the attempt to correct a fundamental, overwhelming problem that spells impending disaster through a tiny, superficial change.
posted by drjimmy11 at 7:59 PM on February 16, 2009 [8 favorites]


I'll admit it, I watch a stupid amount of The Simpsons. I fall asleep watching it every night, I have for years. My husband is starting one up in the bedroom right now, actually.

I don't like the new opening sequence and I'm trying to decide if it's because I don't like change, because it's the final sign the show is done or because it's just bad. All three, I guess.
posted by MaritaCov at 8:01 PM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Is the show changing its name to G?
posted by raysmj at 8:02 PM on February 16, 2009


Well, whether you like the new intro or not, fact is that it has got people talking about the show. It was top 10 on Digg the other day.
posted by wastelands at 8:02 PM on February 16, 2009


This just made me more sure that it's time for the Simpsons to die.

Welcome to my feelings, c. 1999.
posted by drjimmy11 at 8:03 PM on February 16, 2009 [4 favorites]


I liked the old one better. The hand-drawn animation had so much more life to it: The new animation is done with cel-shaded 3D models.

And even South Park is starting to run out of ideas. The future sucks.
posted by dunkadunc at 8:05 PM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


And today in the top 10 on Digg? "69 really useful OS X timesavers".
posted by Jimbob at 8:05 PM on February 16, 2009 [6 favorites]


Ugh, but to just pick a character randomly to be the final Cylon is such sloppy storytelling!

Oh wait, am I in the wrong Show Hating Thread?
posted by greekphilosophy at 8:06 PM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


You know what would rock? The Simpsons shouldn't have some big gala grand finale episode. It should just stop. Like it was hastily canceled.
posted by SinisterPurpose at 8:06 PM on February 16, 2009 [4 favorites]


I haven't been able to watch the show since about 2001. :(
posted by Nattie at 8:06 PM on February 16, 2009


Too saddening, because that's my childhood dying along with this show...

Tch. You didn't immunize, did you?
posted by turgid dahlia at 8:07 PM on February 16, 2009 [6 favorites]


Talking about the show doesn't mean we'll watch again. They did a 'Powers of 10' intro a year or so ago, that I'm sure was also linked here.

I bought the most recent season released on DVD, 11. Sadly, I think I carried my impulse to collect past the point of quality, which is a shame. The first 10 (well, first 9 at least) were fantastic collections, and the commentaries are some of the best I've heard. I miss the show I used to love.
posted by graventy at 8:08 PM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


The car actually hitting Homer and the subsequent Homer-shaped hole in the wall is what drove home the awfulness for me. It exemplifies what has made the show so unwatchable for nigh on a decade now: going for the obvious, slapstick-y, cartoon-y joke rather than crafting real characters.
posted by TPIRman at 8:09 PM on February 16, 2009 [6 favorites]


Dear Mr. Groening,

Please eliminate all of the stuff that is boring in the new title sequence. Which is pretty much all of it.

P.S. I am not a crackpot.
posted by digsrus at 8:09 PM on February 16, 2009 [4 favorites]


"The future sucks."
posted by dunkadunc at 2:05 PM on February 17

Not true. Family Guy did a great bit of comedy/animation last night.
posted by Effigy2000 at 8:11 PM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Jesus Christ, people. They're making the show in HD and had to redo it anyway; before clicking the link I thought they completely redid it or changed the theme song or something. You'll stop caring by next week when the fucking thing is cut to 15 seconds anyway to allow space for one extra commercial.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:13 PM on February 16, 2009 [24 favorites]


Shit, ya'll make me wanna pull a Faze (TM) but I'll refrain. It's still a cartoon. Bitching about the Simpsons sucking since 199x is like bitching about Metafilter sucking shortly after I finally ponied up five bucks: true but tired, and more tired than your observation to boot. Flag and move on. Also: your favorite 90s meme sucks.
posted by joe lisboa at 8:15 PM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


What XQUZYPHYR said.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:16 PM on February 16, 2009


It makes me ever so sad that there are now more bad seasons of the simpsons than good ones. I mean, jesus. That's depressing.
posted by ORthey at 8:16 PM on February 16, 2009 [6 favorites]


Guess I didn't refrain. If you really give a shit, bring it up at the convention. Oh, what? Exactly.
posted by joe lisboa at 8:16 PM on February 16, 2009


I miss the spastic movements in all the old animation. I remember me and my siblings used to run out and see which opening segment they would use, if it was a new one, and would always curse together when it was the same, played-too-often sequence where the family runs out to the couch and see themselves already sitting there.

I was watching the Simpsons when I was four, and I'm alright. I actually learned a lot from that show--good and bad, but that's how life should go. Now I wouldn't let a four-year-old watch the Simpsons.
posted by mmmleaf at 8:17 PM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't get all the hate for the new episodes for The Simpons. I admit that its lost some of the originality that it had, but I would rather watch the new episodes of the Simpsons then the new episodes of Family Guy or American Dad. In my opinion when Family Guy got resigned they sold out a lot quicker then the Simpons did.
posted by lilkeith07 at 8:17 PM on February 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


... I still enjoy watching the Simpsons.



My sense of humor is suspect.
posted by jabberjaw at 8:18 PM on February 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


Marge buying some Mr. Sparkle dish detergent was pretty cool, neat to see they snuck that in. I wonder how long till a list of all the references is posted.
posted by mge at 8:18 PM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


The future sucks.

I hope Roger Daltry dies before he starts talking like that.
posted by The World Famous at 8:19 PM on February 16, 2009


In case the Simpson's need some more inspiration.
posted by Samuel Farrow at 8:20 PM on February 16, 2009


The only observation I made was that the cashier in the supermarket is now black.
posted by godisdad at 8:21 PM on February 16, 2009



And even South Park is starting to run out of ideas. The future sucks.


Yeah...Obama's stimulus package had about 70 million for new ideas in it, but the Republicans cut it out and that fucker Reid just rolled over and said 'well, the old ideas are pretty good'. So, this is what we get.
posted by spicynuts at 8:23 PM on February 16, 2009 [3 favorites]


After 19 years, did they really need to change anything? I mean, it's not going to bring in new viewers and it might upset some long-term purist fans.

However, if they really had to change anything, they did it pretty tastefully.
posted by cmgonzalez at 8:23 PM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Is the Sean J. Connolly who coined the phrase "jump the shark" the same Sean J. Connolly who authored History of the Catholic Diocese of Dublin?

Cuz that would be so awesome.
posted by Joe Beese at 8:25 PM on February 16, 2009


Yeah, piling on is lame so I should state: I'm thankful for the enjoyment The Simpsons gave me and do not begrudge them continuing without me.

But I do find it interesting pinpointing what took it from being a pivotal must-see to something I completely ignore. Was it just me aging/tastes changing? Did the scripts really decline? I knee-jerk agreed with what TPIRman said. I'm pretty sure I gave up around when the badger cut Homer's stomach open and it was just a one-off joke. I seem to remember there being a lot more "impossible" cartoony gags around that time.

I just went to look for that Jump the Shark website and I guess it's been bought by TV Guide and made weird so I have no data to back me up.
posted by frenetic at 8:25 PM on February 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


In case the Simpson's need some more inspiration.

Damn self-aware shows.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:27 PM on February 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


I think what made me saddest was the bullies cutting off Jebediah Springfield's head. Remember the episode where Bart cuts off his head and they end up being as horrified as everyone else, despite having suggested it?

To be honest, I like a lot of the absurd humor the show uses now. But I think it'd be better with stories and character actions that made a lick of sense.
posted by Nomiconic at 8:28 PM on February 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


Say what you will about the new intro, the link for "all the couch gags" is a thing of beauty.
posted by grouse at 8:29 PM on February 16, 2009


I'm pretty sure I gave up around when the badger cut Homer's stomach open and it was just a one-off joke. I seem to remember there being a lot more "impossible" cartoony gags around that time.

People always say that, but I don't really buy it. "Marge vs. the Monorail" from the 4th season is considered one of the Best Episodes Ever — but it ends with Leonard Nimoy being beamed away Star Trek style and a sight gag about an "escalator to nowhere." The show has always had a lot of cartoony wackiness.
posted by Bizurke at 8:34 PM on February 16, 2009 [9 favorites]


You know what's really saddening? The loss of one's ability to appreciate consistently good humor, as one get's older.

It's sad to see so many simply lose the ability to recognize what is funny from what isn't, especially when the stricken begin to mis-evaluate shows that they used to correctly esteem.
posted by oddman at 8:34 PM on February 16, 2009 [10 favorites]


The Family Guy is just way funnier. Simpsons may have paved the way, but cmon. I have never laughed harder than with The Bird is the Word.
posted by plexi at 8:35 PM on February 16, 2009 [5 favorites]


there is a whole younger generation who hasn't even SEEN the great episodes.

Sadly, I was part of the generation that could have seen the great ones, but wasn't allowed to (my parents thought it would be a bad influence - I was cheeky enough). If I want to watch the best seasons now, what should I watch?
posted by Dasein at 8:37 PM on February 16, 2009


Seasons one through nine.
posted by dhammond at 8:39 PM on February 16, 2009


Fine, have your bloody lawn.
posted by pompomtom at 8:42 PM on February 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


This is going to diverge into a Family Guy vs Simpsons fight. And it shouldn't. They are two completely different shows that are funny because of how they skew pop culture.

Family Guy is your friend who shows you random YouTube videos. It completely lifts pop culture in order to spoof it, and that's fine. But you have to admit the humor does not come from the main plotline. It's a cartoon sketch comedy show.

The Simpsons is a sitcom. The family is thrown in situations, funny things happen. It references pop culture constantly through quotes, familiar situations, and characters that remind you of other characters.

Dasein: Season 4 is classic: Monorail, Duffless, I Choo-Choo-Choose You, Camp Krusty.
posted by ALongDecember at 8:42 PM on February 16, 2009 [11 favorites]


frenetic: "But I do find it interesting pinpointing what took it from being a pivotal must-see to something I completely ignore."

In my case: this.
posted by Joe Beese at 8:45 PM on February 16, 2009


I'm trying so hard to feel something...

but after everything that's happened last year and this year... I just don't have any reaction to this... it's difficult for me to feel passionate about-










WTF that pan before the Simpson's house?! That was poor, and fanservicey. I've been watching the junx out of some old simpsons episodes, and I really think that this self referential mush called a 'new opening' is sludge. It is a bad sign that the simpsons writers feel the need to pander, and that couch gag? please.

Worst. Opening. EVER.
posted by fuq at 8:47 PM on February 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


Poor mole man.

No one's gay for mole man.
posted by Curry at 8:47 PM on February 16, 2009 [3 favorites]


If I want to watch the best seasons now, what should I watch?

Anything from seasons 2 through 8 are safe. 9 and 10 are the debatable "shark jumping" seasons. 11 onwards still have some great episodes mixed in, but the magic is gone.

ALongDecember makes a good pick with season 4 though. Even the clip show that season had a couple good moments.
posted by Gary at 8:48 PM on February 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


But I do find it interesting pinpointing what took it from being a pivotal must-see to something I completely ignore.

I usually say around when Phil Hartman was killed in 1998, but things were already slipping by that 10th season. Seasons 7, maybe 8 is my cut-off, and 4 and 5 are some of the best things evar broadcast evar.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:56 PM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Gary: "9 and 10 are the debatable "shark jumping" seasons."

The season 9 opener is the best episode they ever made, IMHO. By the time you get to season 10, here be dragons.
posted by Joe Beese at 8:58 PM on February 16, 2009


You know, I think Simpsons has been too slick and overproduced ever since it got off the Tracey Ullman show - the wiggly lines really gave the humor an immediacy that I feel steady frames drain from a scene. And honestly, even those shorts were a little bourgeoisie when you get right down to it. I mean, inbetween Married With Children and In Living Color? Seriously now.

No - pure, unadulterated, real Simpsons hasn't been available since they were cameo characters from Life in Hell. The really lost something when they were given lines. And even that amounts to pale imitation of the original, original, Simpsons, which is a series of sketches Matt Groening did under the swivel desks in Lecture Halls 1 and 3 at Evergreen State College.

I enrolled there just so I could gaze upon the One True Simpsons, the only one that are really funny. Whenever there's not a class in these rooms, I swivel the desks out, crawl underneath them and lay on my back to stare at my favorite episodes, the only good ones ever made.
posted by EatTheWeak at 9:04 PM on February 16, 2009 [60 favorites]


That episode is an interesting one to watch post 9/11 Joe. I think I like it more now. But, best ever? I'm somewhat partial to "You Only Move Twice" from season 8. But I like Bond.
posted by graventy at 9:05 PM on February 16, 2009


Thanks, dhammond, ALongDecember, Gary, Alvy and Joe. Seasons 1-9 are on my to-watch list.
posted by Dasein at 9:12 PM on February 16, 2009


It's sad to see so many simply lose the ability to recognize what is funny from what isn't, especially when the stricken begin to mis-evaluate shows that they used to correctly esteem.

You're talking about the Simpsons writers. right?
posted by dead cousin ted at 9:13 PM on February 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


Joe Beese -- Funny, that was also the last one I remember watching.
posted by TwelveTwo at 9:14 PM on February 16, 2009


1 is okay, 2 and 3 are better than most TV, and 4-8 are quite possibly the best comedy ever to air on television, with season 5 being my personal favorite. In 8 you can see it start to go downhill, with crap like "Hurricane Neddy", "Homer's Phobia", "In Marge We Trust", and "The Secret War of Lisa Simpson". Season 9 has a handful of good episodes (notably "The Principal and the Pauper", "Lisa the Skeptic", "Trash of the Titans", and "The Last Temptation of Krust"). After that, I am unaware of any decent episodes.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:15 PM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


You know, I think Simpsons has been too slick and overproduced ever since it got off the Tracey Ullman show

This comment is about as timely as The Simpsons Movie.
posted by Cyrano at 9:16 PM on February 16, 2009 [3 favorites]


There was a Simpsons Movie?!
posted by TwelveTwo at 9:16 PM on February 16, 2009


For me, best ever is The Day The Violence Died. Filled from start to finish with great jokes, inside and outside references to the animation industry, an awesome spoof on Schoolhouse Rock!'s "I'm Just a Bill" segment and one of the funniest, self-referential endings ever, how can it be considered to be anything but the best work they ever did?

I generally agree that the show was essentially over post season 10. When you start getting plots which reveal Principal Skinner isn't actually Principal Skinner, that a colony of elves (actually murderous jockeys) live under the Springfield race-track, that see The Simpson family aducted to a Dr. Moreau style island or, more shamefully, rewrites Simpsons history, that's when you know that the show is well past its use-by date.
posted by Effigy2000 at 9:18 PM on February 16, 2009


a colony of elves (actually murderous jockeys) live under the Springfield race-track

Oh god, I had blocked that one out - the sheer shittiness of that episode and the meta-commentary and 'sly' acknowledgment of how crap it was was what killed it for me.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:37 PM on February 16, 2009


I'm not sure about this new Poochy character.

When are they gonna get to the fireworks factory?
posted by gompa at 9:38 PM on February 16, 2009 [7 favorites]


And even South Park is starting to run out of ideas.


You mean repeated episodes denying global warming and making fun of Al Gore weren't signs they were out of ideas?
posted by Saxon Kane at 9:42 PM on February 16, 2009 [8 favorites]


Pope Guilty: "Season 9 has a handful of good episodes.. After that, I am unaware of any decent episodes."

Now that I look, I see some fair-to-good episodes in season 12 - inlcuding "HOMЯ", which Mrs. Beese finds heartbreaking. And the "Frinkenstein" segment of "Treehouse of Horror XIV" (season 15) is worthy of the canon. But the signal-to-noise ratio was virtually zero by then.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:49 PM on February 16, 2009


notably "The Principal and the Pauper"

Wow, seriously? You liked that one? It's pretty much universally acknowledged as the Worst Episode Ever and the point where the show jumped the shark. Everything was downhill from there. Seasons 10 and 11 have precious few good episodes, and everything after that isn't really worth anyone's time.
posted by DecemberBoy at 9:49 PM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


a colony of elves (actually murderous jockeys) live under the Springfield race-track

Oh god, I had blocked that one out - the sheer shittiness of that episode and the meta-commentary and 'sly' acknowledgment of how crap it was was what killed it for me.


Yeah, I kinda quit watching before this one, but it's the first one i remember seeing and realizing, oh, crap, The Simpsons suck now.
posted by Bookhouse at 9:49 PM on February 16, 2009


Dammit. I didn't *really* want to know how much Maggie costs. Sellouts. Literally. And metaphorically.
posted by iamkimiam at 9:52 PM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Seasons two through four were the absolute pinnacle (my favorite episode ever is still Season Two's "Blood Feud.") Five was a slight slip, then six was a big slide. I might even suggest that the "Who Shot Mr. Burns" cliff-hanger was the real shark jumping moment. Now, before you get all up in my grill, let me say that there have been moments of genius sprinkled through. But the show that is on today is basically a completely different show from the genius that aired in the early 1990s.
posted by evilcolonel at 9:54 PM on February 16, 2009


What I want to know is, is there a viking in that opening sequence?
posted by chinston at 9:54 PM on February 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


Lisa on Ice (season 6). There's your apex of the show.
posted by Christ, what an asshole at 9:56 PM on February 16, 2009


If it bends, it's funny. If it breaks, it isn't.
posted by mazola at 9:56 PM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Did anyone watch the episode? They un-retconned all that grunge bullshit!

It was actually a refreshingly not-total-shit episode, obviously written by someone who had actually, like, seen the show before--which I'm not sure could be said of most of the last few seasons.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:58 PM on February 16, 2009


DecemberBoy: "Wow, seriously? You liked ["The Principal and the Pauper"]? It's pretty much universally acknowledged as the Worst Episode Ever and the point where the show jumped the shark."

The scriptwriter observes:

This [episode] is about a community of people who like things just the way they are. Skinner's not really close to these people—you know, he's a minor character—but they get upset when someone comes in and says, "This is not really the way things are," and they run the messenger out of town on the rail. When the episode aired, lo and behold, a community of people who like things just the way they are got mad. It never seems to have occurred to anyone that this episode is about the people who hate it.
posted by Joe Beese at 10:02 PM on February 16, 2009 [6 favorites]


This just in: minor changes in deeply-cherished object of nerdlove cause sky to fall, nerds to forswear ever enjoying object again. News at eleven.
posted by Amanojaku at 10:04 PM on February 16, 2009 [7 favorites]


This just in: minor changes in deeply-cherished object of nerdlove cause sky to fall, nerds to forswear ever enjoying object again. News at eleven.

Well, y- you're a bad person.
posted by evilcolonel at 10:07 PM on February 16, 2009 [4 favorites]


is that there is a whole younger generation who hasn't even SEEN the great episodes.

I still see them in reruns around here. In fact, sometimes they show the first-season, 1990 episodes, some of which are as awful as any in the series.
posted by smackfu at 10:09 PM on February 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


Also, I never really understood the Simpsons nerd fury over the Principal's alter ego. It was like they took it personally that the show had been lying to them for 10 years or something. I thought it was a clever little idea for an episode.
posted by smackfu at 10:11 PM on February 16, 2009


Ok, I don't really watch the Simpsons anymore... it's not really because I haate what it's become, since the show's been laboring under the weight of impossible expectations (mine included) since like season six or something.

It's because of this. You know those little flashbacks they have to When Homer and Marge met or whatever? It's when those flashbacks started to overlap with times when the Simpsons was on the air.

This little brain of mine can't deal with that. Not function. No... work.
posted by furiousthought at 10:18 PM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


UTOPIA DINER. CORNER BOOTH. EVENING.

HOWARD:
SHE"S NICE, OVERALL. BUT SHE HAS THESE MOMENTS, PASS THE KETCHUP, MOMENTS WHEN SHE'S IMPOSSIBLE. YELLING AND SCREAMING AND THEN NOTHING. AND THEN SHE'LL FORGET ABOUT IT-

JOHN:
"JUST DON'T LOOK! JUST DON'T LOOK!"

HOWARD:
WHAT?

JOHN:
FROM THE SIMPSONS. IT'S LIKE THAT, YOU KNOW, "JUST DON'T LOOK! JUST DON'T LOOK!" IF YOU DON'T LOOK AT -

HOWARD:
I-UM

JOHN:
WHAT?

HOWARD:
YOU SEE, THIS IS A BIG BLIND SPOT FOR ME. I NEVER CAUGHT UP ON THE SIMPSONS

JOHN:
WHAT?

HOWARD:
I-REALLY! I MISSED IT AND I CAN'T NOW, WITH 17 SEASONS AND-

JOHN:
OH GOD, NO. DON'T WORRY. JUST SEASONS TWO THRU SEVEN ARE ANY GOOD. I'LL MAKE YOU A DISC

HOWARD:

5 SEASONS, IT'S A LOT TO-


JOHN:
NO. I"LL MAKE YOU A BEST OF. THERE ARE THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW. SERIOUS THINGS PASS THE MUSTARD.
posted by The Whelk at 10:41 PM on February 16, 2009


It was actually a refreshingly not-total-shit episode, obviously written by someone who had actually, like, seen the show before--which I'm not sure could be said of most of the last few seasons.

I caught the show for the first time in ages, and thought that too. There was a tenderness there around the characters that's been lacking in almost every episode I've seen in the last, oh, five years or so. (Though I did like the Peanuts send up on the last treehouse of horror, even if every other segment sucked donkey balls).

Also, is it just me or does Otto sound just like Yoshi when he swallows the stick of radioactive whatever?
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:41 PM on February 16, 2009


It's because of this. You know those little flashbacks they have to When Homer and Marge met or whatever? It's when those flashbacks started to overlap with times when the Simpsons was on the air.

Please don't make me use the blink tag again.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:49 PM on February 16, 2009


There was a time when the show was still new enough that it had some history, but not too much. They could make a few references to keep it interesting for the faithful viewers, but that was a small part of the humor. The problem with the show now is the same that the new opener illustrates. It's become too baroque, too self-referential. There are too many inside jokes. The jokes used to be about something, to derive from the characters and plot, and now not as much.

A friend once said what distinguished it was that it was sick but sweet, for instance that Homer was impossibly dumb but still managed to do the right thing often enough to be sympathetic and even endearing. Now Homer is sort of a patchwork of all his crazy adventures, and he's sort of blasé, and he's still goofy but less endearing these days, more of a cutout than a character. "Deep Space Homer" is still my favorite episode, because the 2001 reference is superbly done, and because Homer has some excellent, subtle lines - the team of writers back then was incredible. OK, juvenile but still ... the silly things he says fit with his character somehow. Lately, he seems too clever and self-aware.

It's lost its innocence. It's more about itself than anything else anymore, although I still half watch it to catch the occasional moment of brilliance. Sometimes it still happens, but season 12 is where it stopped being the best show on television for me, not a clear line but that's when it started to look a bit hackneyed and typical, where it felt more like a sitcom going through the paces. More like Family Guy, and while Stewie does have his moments, I agree that Seth's sense of humor is him regurgitating jokes he heard somewhere, kind of funny for a while, but kind of lame after a while, too. The best moments are the truly unexpected ones, if we can't hope for character development, and it's hard to find those anymore.

Yeah, the writers love poking at the frustrated, disenchanted viewers like me, but there are more than a few of us, and the show isn't memorable for a lot of its current fanbase. Which is fine, it's just a cartoon, but it's too bad. I knew it couldn't last forever as such a brilliant production, but I did hope they'd kill it before it got too played out. I think the time has passed, but it keeps making money, so that settles it.
posted by krinklyfig at 11:01 PM on February 16, 2009


I liked The Principal and the Pauper for its examination of identity as socially-constructed. Skinner is a fraud, but only by who he used to be- he's assumed upon himself the role that he is known for, and he has become someone upon whom people depend and for whom people care. While people are upset when it turns out that he lied, they come to realize that the person he'd made of himself is far preferable to the "reality".

It's a fairly deep episode that doesn't club you over the head with its ideas and meaning, and I like it for that.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:10 PM on February 16, 2009 [5 favorites]


Matt Groening is starting to remind me a lot of George Lucas. There should be a law against people that created these national treasures continuing to diddle with them long after they've lost all perspective.
posted by GleepGlop at 11:12 PM on February 16, 2009


Oh, and "Deep Space Homer" was the origin of the "I, for one, welcome our new xxx overlords." If that doesn't count for something, I don't know what does.
posted by krinklyfig at 11:14 PM on February 16, 2009 [5 favorites]


Also, I think the first really bad episode, the first hint of where the show was going, was season six's "Bart vs. Australia", the first of the "The Simpsons go to ________" episodes, each of which has been painfully unfunny. It's a black mark on an otherwise exemplary season. Then seven ended with "Homerpalooza" and "Summer of 4 Ft. 2", and season eight had even more bad episodes... it's a slow slide into mediocrity.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:15 PM on February 16, 2009


"Then seven ended with 'Homerpalooza'"

Actually, yeah. That one wasn't so great. But I hadn't given up until season 12. That was finally when I didn't feel so bad missing a new episode. Used to plan the whole Sunday around it ...
posted by krinklyfig at 11:25 PM on February 16, 2009


To their credit, the Simpson's TV channel-changing knob stayed on longer than our family's did.
posted by Tube at 11:28 PM on February 16, 2009


you who don't find it funny anymore, maybe you just got a lil smarter with age. some parts of childhood are worth gettin over.
posted by sidr at 11:31 PM on February 16, 2009


Count me among the Simpsons lovers-turned-haters, though these days I can't be bothered to complain any more because the Family Guy and has kept me entertained.

9 and 10 are the debatable "shark jumping" seasons

No way... the fairly-well agreed-upon date for the Simpsons' shark-jump was Feb. 13, 2000, when they killed Maude Flanders by NASCAR debris. But there are still solid episodes well into season 12. HOMR, as mentioned above, The Computer Wore Menace Shoes was surreal and fun, Skinner's Sense of Snow reminds me of the lightheartedness of their first couple of seasons. But you could already feel the stupid had taken over the funny down at Simpsons HQ.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:34 PM on February 16, 2009


you who don't find it funny anymore, maybe you just got a lil smarter with age.

Yeah, but no. The funny ones are still funny.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:36 PM on February 16, 2009


I think the one where they went to Africa, and not a single joke couldn't have been dropped in any random cartoon where people went to Africa and not been equally good, was the last straw. The Australia episode was almost as bad about it, and the Africa one was the last time for years that I bothered to even look at the show; Ned Flanders having premarital sex and being totally flip about it was when I said "fuck this" and stopped forever.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:37 PM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wow, it's been a long time since I even thought about discussing whether, when and how the Simpsons passed its prime. I think the last episode I watched in the regular seasons was that one where Homer takes Ned to Las Vegas and they end up banging some skanks. Or, uh, something like that. Still haven't seen the movie.
posted by nanojath at 11:56 PM on February 16, 2009


Ned Flanders having premarital sex and being totally flip about it was when I said "fuck this" and stopped forever.

When was that?
posted by delmoi at 12:13 AM on February 17, 2009


When was that?

A Star Is Born-Again. It was completely against character and not funny enough to warrant it.
posted by Gary at 12:47 AM on February 17, 2009


Is it just me or does it feel like they leave gaps for laughter nowadays? It feels like they don't know how to edit a good joke anymore.
posted by minifigs at 12:48 AM on February 17, 2009


Still haven't seen the movie.

Saw it in the theater, fucking loaded and blitzed with a few friends and thought it was a nice love letter to the fans (the Gay Steel Mill!) but really, the show's been dead for years. The movie was a nice last blowout, but I know some of the writers and voice actors (HI Julie!), and ...well they don't feel as excited as they used to, you know?

I think it's a telling sign that the "I'm leaving you" take in the movie took a couple hundred takes because the director really wanted it to stick and that the actress and the producers let it happen. And they did it cause they used to want to hit actual, if satirical, emotional
notes.

Everyone forgets how earnest and sappy the Simpsons started out. Or how sneakily sentimental The Simpsons was in it's best episodes. Do another take. Make the drawing a person. Make someone give a damn. But really, what it told me was that this was the last gasp. The last attempt at playing the character with any kind of complexity. The Movie was it. It's Over. We're Done.

C'mon Homie, turn it off.
posted by The Whelk at 12:57 AM on February 17, 2009 [5 favorites]


This is going to diverge into a Family Guy vs Simpsons fight.

Oo! Let me help.

The Simpsons have been hit or miss for a while now (although I love just about everything Ian Maxtone-Graham wrote, including The Seemingly Never-Ending Story, for its repeated flashback abuse, and E-I-E-I-(Annoyed Grunt), for the duel with the southern colonel, and tomacco). Family Guy, on the other hand, was never funny. It's been said before, but it's basically got one gag - the non-sequitur. ("Peter, you left the toilet seat up again." - "Oh boy, this is just like that time I [lol random non-sequitur]" - Flashback of event in question - Repeat.) Peripherally, the pervy guy does something pervy, the stupid kid does something stupid, the guy in the wheelchair yells, and some ham-fisted, bland, superficial challenge to "political correctness" is tossed in there somewhere. I know The Simpsons is trope-heavy, but at least they color outside the lines from time to time.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:03 AM on February 17, 2009 [12 favorites]


The hard thing is how the true stars of the series have degenerated under the pressure and money of stardom. Bart was a cute kid when the Simpsons first aired. A little troubled, maybe, but basically a good kid. Lisa was an ordinary little girl during Season 1; not overburdened with weighty responsibility and pathos. Homer started as a perfectly normal, if slightly stupid, father and morphed into an immoral idiot.

Success has not been good to the Simpsons. They were everyone's darling, but became simple caricatures of themselves.
posted by twoleftfeet at 2:08 AM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


In the UK super-blando general knowledge quiz prog Eggheads now beats The Simpsons for viewers...
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:40 AM on February 17, 2009


"The grass has grown thick over the grave of my youth." - Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Then we shall play in the mud.
posted by turgid dahlia at 4:27 AM on February 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


It's intriguing, but I think I agree with the consensus that 10 was around when it went sour. I didn't stop watching it 'til about 14 I think, when I downloaded two or three episodes and then realised I hadn't even smiled once through an episode, and it just wasn't worth it anymore.
But, add me to the list of people who far prefer Family Guy. Even when it manages a weak episode, there's something in it that makes me laugh too much to be right.
posted by opsin at 4:53 AM on February 17, 2009


And am I the last person on earth to find American Dad funny?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:02 AM on February 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


And am I the last person on earth to find American Dad funny?

Yes. I'm sorry. We've set a special room up just for you.
posted by turgid dahlia at 5:13 AM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


I still like The Simpsons. There, I said it. It is, of course, nowhere near as good as it was over the course of the first six-nine-whatever seasons, but I'd argue that it's better *now* than it was during the '99-'00 season (which I believe included the elves/jockeys, Maude Gets Killed*, Homer becomes a missionary, etc. episodes), which is the closest I came to quitting the show altogether.

* although that one had some good gags; the "Let 'er RIP" shirts, Ned's swan parked in the driveway, the game of Scrabble...
posted by The Card Cheat at 5:17 AM on February 17, 2009


> And am I the last person on earth to find American Dad funny?

> Yes. I'm sorry. We've set a special room up just for you.


I'll grab a seat in that room. I'm not a huge fan of either show, but A.D. is less needlessly mean and not an endless parade of random cutaway gags. I mean, if that's all you want, watch Robot Chicken.
posted by The Card Cheat at 5:20 AM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wow. I actually really dug the new opening. Why is everyone so histrionic?
YES, the show needs to end. On the other hand, each season provides a good handful of solid laughs, which, of course, doesn't justify the sea of shittiness on which they float.
But chill out and lighten up, people.
posted by ghastlyfop at 5:21 AM on February 17, 2009


Wow. I actually really dug the new opening. Why is everyone so histrionic?

Because the opening didn't matter. They would have posted the same tired comments regardless.
posted by smackfu at 5:37 AM on February 17, 2009 [8 favorites]


Maybe I'll get around to seeing a few episodes some day. Maybe I even did a long time ago. Twenty years?
posted by pracowity at 5:48 AM on February 17, 2009


You might want to set up a couple of benches in that room. I think American Dad is much better than the new seasons of Family Guy.
posted by minifigs at 5:57 AM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


But I think it'd be better with stories and character actions that made a lick of sense.

They still do those. Check out "Homer and Lisa Exchange Cross Words" from the current season (it's on Hulu!); the characters behave in character, there's family tenderness, it's actually funny, and a guest spot from Will Shortz!

And am I the last person on earth to find American Dad funny?

American Dad is great! It solved the central problem of Family Guy, which is that Seth MacFarlane actually has a pretty good sense of how comedy works, but Peter Griffin is fucking annoying. You get the baby without the bathwater. Win-win!
posted by kittyprecious at 6:19 AM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


As long as The Simpsons continues to run I can pretend I'm still in High School.
posted by Rarebit Fiend at 6:19 AM on February 17, 2009


And even South Park is starting to run out of ideas. The future sucks.

Just got the Venture Brothers Season 2 on DVD over the weekend. There isn't a bad episode in the bunch, and it's laugh-out-loud-and-scare-the-neighbors funny, and as quotable as the early episodes of the Simpsons and Southpark. Plus it has a running story-arc across the entire series, permanent changes can and do happen to the characters, and the deep-geek nerd references are awe-inspiring.

The future's just fine.
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:27 AM on February 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


I'll take Futurama over the Simpsons or Family Guy any day....
posted by Pendragon at 6:33 AM on February 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm loving Frisky Dingo. Just because The Simpsons is a rotting corpse at this point doesn't mean that animation is alive, well and—above all else—funny.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:35 AM on February 17, 2009


Holy shit that's true about Futurama, a much better outlet for the outlandish. The thing that made the Simpsons truly great was that, at its heart, it was about a family that looked an awful lot like mine, living in a neighborhood that looked an awful lot like mine, dealing with the same situations that all of us deal with. It was about being an American, for all that is horrifically absurd, and all that is sentimentally sweet.

Then Homer went to space.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 6:56 AM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah, it seems that Family Guy is so angry, in the sense that as most of their jokes revolve around violence or being offensive. It's like the writers have some anger issues against women or minorities (especially Jewish people and Irish people - but it's OK right, since the writers are Jewish and Irish? I never bought that and I hate this comedic style that everyone seems to love using now - "It's OK for him to make jokes about that culture , because he/she is of that culture" - one or two jokes fine, but not the whole damn set! ).

Anyways, I don't think Matt Groening has much say anymore - I think Fox owns the rights and all Matt can do unfortunately is watch. This is why his official title is now "Creative Consultant". So I don't think it's Matt's fault. In fact he learned his lesson and seems to be handling Futurama differently. Now that's a great show!

The new Simpsons seems to be written for a different crowd - not the Simpsons base, but for the general populace, the mainstream - those who couldn't care less if they are watching the Simpsons or Two and a Half Men (shudder). Heck the title of the show should be changed to "Homer Becomes A..." or "The Adventures of Homer..." or "Uh Oh Spaghettios".

My Favourite episodes: Bart Sells His Soul, Lisa's Substitute, Mother Simpson
posted by bitteroldman at 6:57 AM on February 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


This new intro highlights exactly what's been wrong with the show for, oh, this entire century. They've got a bunch of old gags on file, established in the first few years, and they just keep strapping them onto a stick and pounding us over the head with them, screaming "What's wrong? That's funny! You laughed at it in 1995!"

Sigh.
posted by steambadger at 6:58 AM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh and I'd pay good money to see an episode where Maggie kicks Stewie's ass.
posted by bitteroldman at 6:58 AM on February 17, 2009


Do all of you, as loyal fans, feel The Simpsons owes you?
posted by jon_kill at 7:04 AM on February 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


Oh and stop with the stupid celebrity cameos. If you're a celebrity who wants to voice on the Simpsons, fine, but play a fictional character.

Best celebrity voice overs:
Sam Etic (Dustin Hoffman): Mr Bergstron
Glenn Close: Mona Simpson (but only the first two - I don't know what happened in the third)
Donald Sutherland: Curator - Springfield Historical Society - the best voiceover, in my opinion
posted by bitteroldman at 7:06 AM on February 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


I was Bart's age when the Simpsons started, and if it goes on for another 6 seasons I'll be Homer's age.

I liked the jokes in the new opening but I miss Bleeding Gums Murphy on the sidewalk.
posted by Space Coyote at 7:08 AM on February 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


I don't think I'll ever stop appreciating the Simpsons as characters, but the show itself is a little different. Much like my own family, I can appreciate them as people, but I don't want to see pictures of every vacation they go on.

I now casually watch the new episodes, but I do love all of the DVD collections and like the fact that I can see all of the episodes whenever I like. There are few other shows from my childhood I could or would do that with.

The new sequence was meh, but a cute way to start off the HD-era of the show. I'm sure there was a lot of pressure from Fox to go big for this episode, and Groening doesn't seem like he as intimately involved with the show as he used to be. It's bigger now than one person, and he's made all the cash he'll ever need. I wouldn't compare him to Lucas, mostly because The Simpsons is not the empire (excuse the pun) that Star Wars is or ever will be.

And props to Slap*Happy and Blazecock for recognizing that animation is still alive, although I believe FD is done since 70-30 has shut down. Long live Team Venture.
posted by snapped at 7:12 AM on February 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


I realized the Simpsons were dead to me when they included a shot of Bart's penis in the movie. I just cant understand why in the loving fuck they would do that. Can someone explain it to me?
posted by autodidact at 7:13 AM on February 17, 2009


I think the Simpsons isn't as good as it once was, but still has some quality. I still laugh at many parts in the episodes. I also don't care if Homer goes to space or anywhere else as long as it is amusing.
posted by josher71 at 7:28 AM on February 17, 2009


That being said, the movie was merely ok.
posted by josher71 at 7:29 AM on February 17, 2009


Because it was kind of funny.
posted by ghastlyfop at 7:31 AM on February 17, 2009


some parts of childhood are worth gettin over

Hahaha. I didn't start watching The Simpsons until 1998 - it didn't come on UK terrestrial until then. Channel 4 repeat the same episodes endlessly, but for every millionth repeat of Treehouse-of-bleedin'-Horror or Sideshow-goddamn-Bob, i get to see 20 Short Stories About Springfield again, so I can't complain.

And as I see them in mixed-up order, I have no idea which ones are later and which earlier without looking them up, but I did like the Tomacco episode and Run Lisa Run.

They should show more King of the Hill and Futurama on Normal Telly, though. Family Guy is okay, but I'm growing weary of their attempts to shock. South Park seems to me now as nineties as TFI Friday, and why would I want to watch TFI Friday in 2009?
posted by mippy at 7:38 AM on February 17, 2009


By the way - is this the new sequence for every episode, or just a special one for this HD startoff>?
posted by mippy at 7:39 AM on February 17, 2009


Can someone explain it to me?

Well...it was pretty funny.....

I'm amazed that the past few seasons of The Simpsons have yielded ANY funny at all. I mean, 20+ years of these characters, how many new jokes, etc., can they come up with (without changing the nature of the show fundamentally)? The current season is not as abysmally bad as a few of the previous ones. The writers seem to have figured out how to get the first third or so of an episode to be pretty clever, but then it usually falls apart.

I will never hate The Simpsons. The show started when I was in high school, hit its stride when I was in college and became such a central part of my young-adult-culture that it is in my DNA. (Now, I may never actually watch much of the later seasons, but I will never not love the show.)
posted by LooseFilter at 7:40 AM on February 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


My understanding is that it's the new, permanent intro (in HD, for the new high-definition broadcast of a low-definition cartoon!).
posted by LooseFilter at 7:42 AM on February 17, 2009


you who don't find it funny anymore, maybe you just got a lil smarter with age. some parts of childhood are worth gettin over.
posted by sidr at 1:31 AM on February 17 [+] [!]


You REALLY do not understand the show.

(By the way, when are we going to discuss King of the Hill's new HD open?)
posted by evilcolonel at 7:45 AM on February 17, 2009


Did I just hear some deck chairs being rearranged somewhere?

I don't think that reference means what you think it means.

I don't think "I don't think that means what you think it means" means what you think it means.
posted by The Bellman at 7:50 AM on February 17, 2009 [8 favorites]


People bitch about how it's not as good as it used to be. And you wish it were cancelled? Whatever. It's still a hell of a lot funnier than just about anything else you can find on TV. I hope it stays.
posted by Liquidwolf at 7:55 AM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Darnit! It doesn't say "NRA4EVR" on the checkout scanner during the grocery store sequence. Suck!
posted by slogger at 8:54 AM on February 17, 2009


Results 1 - 10 of about 1,390 for simpsons "frank grimes" "jump the shark"

Just sayin'.
posted by Joe Beese at 8:55 AM on February 17, 2009


Yeah, it's not as good as it used to be, but even Saddlesore Galactica had its moments.

Teevee shows either get worse as they go along, or they get cancelled too soon (to quote Krusty, 'This ain't art--it's business'). There are exceptions to this rule, but not many.

Besides, it's still much better than the average television show.
posted by box at 9:19 AM on February 17, 2009


bitteroldman: " I don't think Matt Groening has much say anymore - I think Fox owns the rights and all Matt can do unfortunately is watch."

True, I suspect. But Groening likes the current show...

I honestly don't see any end in sight. I think it's possible that the show will become too financially cumbersome... but right now, the show is creatively, I think, as good or better than it's ever been. The animation is incredibly detailed and imaginative, and the stories do things that we haven't done before. So creatively there's no reason to quit. - April 2006
posted by Joe Beese at 9:41 AM on February 17, 2009


Results 1 - 10 of about 1,390 for simpsons "frank grimes" "jump the shark"

Just sayin'.


Now that's crazy talk! That episode had one of the best endings ever:


Exterior: Funeral

LOVEJOY : "Frank Grimes, or 'Grimey', as he liked to be called, taught us that a man can triumph over adversity. And even though Frank's agonizing struggle through life was tragically cut short, I'm sure he's looking down on this right now..."

Lovejoy's voice fades as the camera pans to a sleeping Homer.

HOMER : [snoring] "Change the channel, Marge!"

The mourners laugh.

LENNY : "That's our Homer!"

Everybody laughs as Grimes' coffin is lowered into the ground. Fade to credits.

posted by Atom Eyes at 9:42 AM on February 17, 2009


I kind of liked the Frank Grimes episode- it's tragic elements somehow remind me of Green Eggs and Ham.
I'm being serious.
posted by dunkadunc at 9:48 AM on February 17, 2009


Does anyone want to talk about the sexy new 16x9 (or whatever HD is) format? I really liked it, and I can't wait till they can really commit to it. Right now it seems they are still trying to satisfy the old TVs as well, so they really don't frame the scenes much differently.

Also, comparing The Simpsons to The Family Guy seems really naive. The only way I can even compare them is with regard to consistency. The Simpsons can be inconsistent from episode to episode, while The Family Guy can't even maintain it's pace for a single episode. As if their interminability gags weren't bad enough, this week they actually stacked 2 back to back. I was actually in pain till I realized I was on a DVR.

Family Guy fosters a love-hate relationship for me. Because when it isn't just making simple references, or dragging something out with NO sense of timing, or being overtly racist, or abusing the shit out of Meg, or making you want to slap the hell out of Peter (Simpsons is guilty of this as well), it still has hysterical moments. Those moments almost always feature the comic duo of Brian and Stewie. They have that very, very RIGHT.

Anyways, all you haters should be watching The Venture Brothers and The Boondocks.
posted by butterstick at 10:03 AM on February 17, 2009


I have a profound and deep love for Venture Brothers. You have no idea.
posted by dunkadunc at 10:05 AM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Darnit! It doesn't say "NRA4EVR" on the checkout scanner during the grocery store sequence. Suck!
I was wondering if they were going to do that, just to give a nod to that clips episode. You all realize that the original credits sequence didn't actually feature that detail, right?
posted by ghastlyfop at 10:14 AM on February 17, 2009


If I were a Simpson, I would totally be Frank Grimes, sad to say.
Heck a lot of people would be Frank Grimes.

Actually, I think the rationale behind Grimey was just that - what if we took a "real" person and put him/her into the Simpsons world? How would they react to Homer?

On another note, I remember reading an article where a majority of respondents indicated that they would rather have Ned Flanders as a neighbour than Homer Simpson, but I guess that goes without saying.

You know what totally would have made for a good intro? When Bart is skateboarding through the city and passes by the TV store, instead of Krusty the Klown, there be an episode of Opal on with a Tom Cruise-like character jumping up and down on a couch - just as a nod to Nancy Cartwright using Bart's voice to shill her Scientology.

I also would like to see CM Burns release the hounds on a cartoon Karl Rove, Dick Cheney and their ilk. Even though I hate celebrities being themselves, I would make an exception to see those guys get what's coming to them - and CM Burns would be the man to do it.
posted by bitteroldman at 10:15 AM on February 17, 2009


IT'S FAMILY GUY JUST FAMILY GUY THERE IS NO THE IN THE TITLE GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH

...sorry, I 'm okay now.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:17 AM on February 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


I still enjoy The Simpsons. I feel sad for those of you who don't, especially the half of you that only seem to dislike it because the Comic Book Guys of the other half told you to.
posted by Brocktoon at 10:21 AM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


You all realize that the original credits sequence didn't actually feature that detail, right?

Wait, that was a joke?

Oh, I get it! I get jokes! Hee hee hee!!
posted by Atom Eyes at 10:23 AM on February 17, 2009


Those moments almost always feature the comic duo of Brian and Stewie. They have that very, very RIGHT

That they do.
What they also do well are the singing and dancing routines - especially the one where Stewie is dancing in the 50's-era movie in Road to Rupert (YouTube) in order to rent the helicopter. sorry couldn't find a better link
posted by bitteroldman at 10:24 AM on February 17, 2009


Stewie and Brian are a pretty solid comedy team, and I love some of the bits they've been used for, like the episode where Brian owes Stewie money ("I'm getting REAL tired of you duckin' me, man!") and the one where Brian works for Stewie in an office environment. It's a classic pairing of straight man and funny man, and I think the show is strongest when they're being played off each other.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:41 AM on February 17, 2009


(upon investigation, it appears that Wikipedia acknowledges Brian and Stewie as the constiuents of a double act)
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:43 AM on February 17, 2009


props to bitteroldman and mippy. 'bart sells his soul,' 'lisa's substitute,' and '20 short films about springfield' represent the show at it's baddest-assed.
posted by barrett caulk at 10:55 AM on February 17, 2009


Those moments almost always feature the comic duo of Brian and Stewie.

That, and the instances where bits of Brian being a dog come out.

No! No, I don't want to visit Mr. Hoover! Lois, don't do this!
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:00 AM on February 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


I remember discussing simpsons episodes on usenet.

Some people were convinced the writers were stealing ideas from us, and/or sending us special messages with certain in-jokes. Friendship ending feuds would break out over "this gag is a direct reference to X", "no, it's a direct ref to Y, who made the direct ref to X".

ah the good old days.
posted by nomisxid at 11:28 AM on February 17, 2009


Heck a lot of people would be Frank Grimes.

Wasn't Grimey based on Michael Douglas' character in Falling Down?
posted by porn in the woods at 11:54 AM on February 17, 2009


Wasn't Grimey based on Michael Douglas' character in Falling Down


Skittlebrau for the both of us:

From Wikipedia:
In an interview with Simpsons fan site NoHomers.net, Josh Weinstein said:

“ We wanted to do an episode where the thinking was "What if a real life, normal person had to enter Homer's universe and deal with him?" I know this episode is controversial and divisive, but I just love it. It really feels like what would happen if a real, somewhat humorless human had to deal with Homer. There was some talk [on NoHomers.net] about the ending—we just did that because (a) it’s really funny and shocking, (2) we like the lesson of "sometimes, you just can't win"—the whole Frank Grimes episode is a study in frustration and hence Homer has the last laugh and (3) we wanted to show that in real life, being Homer Simpson could be really dangerous and life threatening, as Frank Grimes sadly learned. ”

Frank Grimes was originally designed as a "burly ex-marine guy with a crew cut",but he would later be modeled after Michael Douglas in the movie Falling Down and director Jim Reardon's college roommate

posted by bitteroldman at 12:02 PM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


I realized the Simpsons were dead to me when they included a shot of Bart's penis in the movie. I just cant understand why in the loving fuck they would do that. Can someone explain it to me?

It was immediately after several minutes of a cunningly-animated section where Bart had to get across town naked, during which they went to great lengths not to show his penis. The point of the scene was to say: That previous scene was done because it's funny, and as an homage to other people that have done it. It was not to be prudish. Here, we'll prove it by explicitly doing the thing we just bent over backwards in order to avoid doing.

That's the local reason. Of course, they could have just avoided the joke to begin with, but then they'd have to have an entirely different sequence in that part of the movie. If you did that then arguably you're not talking about THE Simpsons Movie anymore, just some hypothetical other Simpsons Movie they could have made.
posted by JHarris at 12:49 PM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Can someone explain it to me?

Because it was funny?
posted by dirtdirt at 12:52 PM on February 17, 2009


Can someone explain it to me?

Fan service.
posted by oddman at 1:27 PM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


People always say that, but I don't really buy it. "Marge vs. the Monorail" from the 4th season is considered one of the Best Episodes Ever — but it ends with Leonard Nimoy being beamed away Star Trek style and a sight gag about an "escalator to nowhere." The show has always had a lot of cartoony wackiness.

It's funny you mention that, I was thinking about it too - except in a different way. I remember an interview with Conan talking about how much they had to fight to get that scene included, because of how strong the "reality" convention in the early Simpsons was.
posted by absalom at 1:52 PM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Just got the Venture Brothers Season 2 on DVD over the weekend. There isn't a bad episode in the bunch, and it's laugh-out-loud-and-scare-the-neighbors funny, and as quotable as the early episodes of the Simpsons and Southpark. Plus it has a running story-arc across the entire series, permanent changes can and do happen to the characters, and the deep-geek nerd references are awe-inspiring.

The future's just fine.


Have you seen season 3 yet? It gets better. The Venture Bros. is the funniest, most cleverly written show on TV in my opinion. The last two episodes of season 3 are pretty much the most awesome hour of television you'll ever see, in any number of ways. The way it's written, you can either watch any individual show without having seen the rest and still enjoy it, follow the overall story casually, or watch every show obsessively and there'll be little references just for you too. In one of the last episodes of season 3, there's a really clever and well-executed reference all the way back to the very first episode that only the hardcores would get ("Let me tell you a story about a little henchman named Speedy..."). I love that kind of shit, and it's what I used to love about The Simpsons too.
posted by DecemberBoy at 1:56 PM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Too long.
The couch gag isn't funny after a couple viewings.
I think they will shorten it.
posted by Rashomon at 2:08 PM on February 17, 2009


The, uh, couch gag changes from week to week.
posted by ghastlyfop at 2:35 PM on February 17, 2009


...A.D. is less needlessly mean and not an endless parade of random cutaway gags...

I dunno. I accidentally a couple of episodes and all I saw was the main dude beating his wife.
posted by turgid dahlia at 2:38 PM on February 17, 2009


I have a profound and deep love for Venture Brothers. You have no idea.

A lot of people have been recommending this show. I shall have to investigate!

I like Brak.
posted by turgid dahlia at 2:40 PM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


The couch gag wasn't funny after one viewing.
posted by davros42 at 2:57 PM on February 17, 2009


American Dad, for my money, went for a season as "Like Family Guy, but somehow worse, like some sort of off-brand version" and then came back for a second season with a new haircut and a twelve-step program. All of a sudden it was legitimately funny, and unlike FG it did so through character-driven humor.

Also echoing "I still like The Simpsons, even if it isn't as good as it used to be" and "they show you Bart's penis because it deliberately subverts convention and releases built-up comedic tension."

As well as "omg futurama" and "also omg venture brothers"
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:09 PM on February 17, 2009


Just got the Venture Brothers Season 2 on DVD over the weekend. There isn't a bad episode in the bunch

Oh, and despite my fanboyism for the show, I must admit that the Col. Lance Manstrong episode from season 2 was pretty weak. The creators have named it as their least favorite they've done. However, even a weak Venture Bros. episode is still better than anything The Simpsons, South Park or Family Guy are putting out these days.
posted by DecemberBoy at 3:10 PM on February 17, 2009


Armin Tamzarian! I liked The Principal and the Pauper and Frank Grimes as well. Two of my favorites. In fact, I think the early seasons (I hated Bleeding Gums Murphy) are the least funny.

I still find The Simpsons pretty funny, although I don't make a point of watching it every Sunday, since my wife likes Big Love/Deadwood/Suck My Blood/other random HBO crap, and there's usually something new on at 8.

I thought The Simpsons movie was entertaining, but I was glad I waited to watch it on cable.

(All my stodgy nerd cartoon friends agree that the show jumped the shark after season 5, as a point of anecdata.)

The new opening? I missed it Sunday, but it's OK. I liked the Tomacco Juice but I would have preferred an entirely new opening altogether, rather than a revamped old version...
posted by mrgrimm at 3:23 PM on February 17, 2009


And yeah, Venture Brothers is pretty excellent.

(Shout out for Home Movies? Is H. Jon Benjamin resigned to play bit parts on Family Guy?)
posted by mrgrimm at 3:26 PM on February 17, 2009


The last two episodes of season 3 are pretty much the most awesome hour of television you'll ever see, in any number of ways.

ONLY IF BY "AWESOME" YOU MEAN EVIL AND HURTFUL AND WRONG AND IT DIDN'T HAPPEN LA LA LA I CAN'T HEEEEEAAAAAAAR YOOOUUUUU
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 3:29 PM on February 17, 2009


Stewie and Brian are a pretty solid comedy team, and I love some of the bits they've been used for, like the episode where Brian owes Stewie money ("I'm getting REAL tired of you duckin' me, man!")

Alright, this is certainly true. Brian's a great character. Stewie's a bit one-dimensional. Together, they play off each other really well.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:39 PM on February 17, 2009


Shout out for Home Movies?

All those Squigglevision/Soup2Nuts shows (Dr. Katz, Home Movies, Hey Monie, and that high school one I forget the name of) are all pretty excellent, in their own peculiar little way.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:44 PM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


ONLY IF BY "AWESOME" YOU MEAN EVIL AND HURTFUL AND WRONG AND IT DIDN'T HAPPEN LA LA LA I CAN'T HEEEEEAAAAAAAR YOOOUUUUU

I've blocked the incident to which you refer out of my mind, so I refer only to everything else in the last two episodes. For example, the whole scene with Le Teuer, Hank and Brock. "Sometimes I go to ze top of ze building and pretend zat I am ze Bat-Man. So cool." and "DUDE! You call yourself a Batman fan? Batman would never kill anyone!" Just so perfect on every level. Or the "reformed homosexual" born-again ex-OSI members. The Col. Hunter Gathers reveal at the end. Awesome, awesome, awesome.
posted by DecemberBoy at 4:12 PM on February 17, 2009


I like Metalocalypse, but if you don't like metal, the jokes aren't really going to make sense a lot of the time.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:28 PM on February 17, 2009


Like how the whole band went out to eat at Burzum Burger? classic.
posted by dunkadunc at 5:30 PM on February 17, 2009


A panorama of the quick scan of the all the residents in Springfield.
posted by lilkeith07 at 5:52 PM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


The old panorama. I remember when that was published in Simpsons Illustrated. Blew my little mind.

I like the new opening. I think they should have updated it every few years, it always bugged me to see one time characters like Ms. Botz, or even complete nobodys in the opening credits. One of the things that sets The Simpsons apart from other cartoons is it's huge population of characters. To see many of them in the opening gave me much joy. It's fan service, but I feel well served.

Only watch the show these days if I hear of something stupid like the grunge retcon. I've seen some episodes from the last 8 or so seasons in syndication though. I find some to be entertaining, and some horrifying. When it's good it's still among the best cartoons out there, but it rarely has the spark, pace or wit it did in the golden years.
posted by yellowbinder at 8:07 PM on February 17, 2009


Actually, I guess a fair number of the jokes aren't really metal. But there's a very specific sense of humour going, and I know a lot of people whose senses of humour are almost identical to mine who simply don't get it at all.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:32 PM on February 17, 2009


Watching "The Simpsons" these days is kind of like the way it would be if every episode were a Sideshow Bob episode.

I hate the Sideshow Bob episodes.
posted by blucevalo at 8:37 PM on February 17, 2009


Thanks, lilkeith07. At first I thought Ralph Wiggum was playing on Maude's grave, which seems a little crass. On Grimey's grave it's much better.

The opening sequence on a whole is funny enough. A bit too much patting themselves on the back, but after 20 years I guess they deserve it. The extended couch gag dragged on, but that should be fixed by next week.
posted by Gary at 1:20 AM on February 18, 2009


Family Guy fosters a love-hate relationship for me. Because when it isn't just making simple references, or dragging something out with NO sense of timing, or being overtly racist, or abusing the shit out of Meg, or making you want to slap the hell out of Peter

you know what, Family Guy makes me feel uncomfortable precisely because they are trying so hard to make the audience uncomfortable. And I hate the way I find myself falling for it.
posted by mippy at 1:48 AM on February 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


What, the whole idea that being "politically incorrect" is funny, and if you don't think it's funny then there's something wrong with you?

Family guy is funny only if you're either too drunk or stupid to know better, and those Peter Griffin as Che shirts make me want to kick the wearers in the shins.
posted by dunkadunc at 4:31 AM on February 18, 2009


Family guy is funny only if you're either too drunk or stupid to know better

Ipecac race.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:13 AM on February 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


Ipecac race.

If you people don't stop coming up with examples of Family Guy that contradict my previous complaint, and actually make me starting laughing to myself just by remembering them, I'm going to have to remove this thread from activity.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:18 AM on February 18, 2009


Family guy is funny only if you're either too drunk or stupid to know better

How's that novel coming?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:47 AM on February 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


Oh man, I forgot all about the Ipecac race!
posted by bitteroldman at 6:26 AM on February 18, 2009


and those Peter Griffin as Che shirts make me want to kick the wearers in the shins.

Why?
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:25 AM on February 18, 2009


Peter Griffin is Homer Simpson for people too morally stunted to realize that cruelty isn't funny.
posted by oddman at 11:48 AM on February 18, 2009


Peter Griffin is Homer Simpson for people too morally stunted to realize that cruelty isn't funny.

Now do one about how Tom and Jerry teaches children that violence against animals is okay.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:08 PM on February 18, 2009


Ipecac race

I can't think of anything short of a Terry Pratchet pun, that has the chuckle-to-myself-even-though-I-know-it's-coming-ness of this bit.

Peter, I need you to hold my ears back

yeah, so he can puke in your eyes!
posted by nomisxid at 12:45 PM on February 18, 2009


A word to the wise: if you paint a tunnel entrance on a brick wall, do not get a head start and run into it. Apparently that doesn't work the way it should.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:57 PM on February 18, 2009


I think I speak for all of me when I say that change is bad and nostalgia trumps all.
posted by tehloki at 2:38 PM on February 18, 2009


PG, What a great strawman, you've got there. Really good, A+ (and that's not just grade inflation.)
posted by oddman at 4:15 PM on February 18, 2009


"you who don't find it funny anymore, maybe you just got a lil smarter with age. some parts of childhood are worth gettin over."

No, I was already an adult when the first season aired. And the early episodes still totally crack me up.

But, yeah, there is still great animation being created today. "Superjail!" is excellent, and not Flash-based or CGI. I like some CGI, but a lot of the new Flash stuff is often a bit cheaply done.
posted by krinklyfig at 5:52 PM on February 18, 2009


I like The Simpsons. I think its as funny today as when I first watched it circa Gulf War I. I like the new intro. I liked the movie. I enjoy the new animation style. I think HD is cool. I also like Family Guy and American Dad. I just like watching cartoons and laughing a bit and not thinking too hard about it. I recommend some of you try it.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 6:01 PM on February 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


"I like Metalocalypse, but if you don't like metal, the jokes aren't really going to make sense a lot of the time."

It's a great show, but my interest in metal never ventured too far into black or death metal, so the satire is a bit alien to me. Still, really funny and the music is great, even though it's not really my style of metal. Hard to believe it's the same guy who helped create "Home Movies," but he also writes music for his fictional band (and has an impressive musical background).
posted by krinklyfig at 6:02 PM on February 18, 2009


"I recommend some of you try it."

To each his own. I recommend you take it to heart.
posted by krinklyfig at 6:05 PM on February 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


"A word to the wise: if you paint a tunnel entrance on a brick wall, do not get a head start and run into it. Apparently that doesn't work the way it should."

You should know by now not to trust ACME Brand Instant Tunnel paint. It's a front company set up by the Road Runner.
posted by krinklyfig at 6:08 PM on February 18, 2009



I like Metalocalypse, but if you don't like metal, the jokes aren't really going to make sense a lot of the time.


I don't really like metal, but I know enough about music to get the references like Nathan's nightmare of being a fast food employee at "Dimmu Burger". However, those kinds of references are a pretty minor element and more of just a little treat for people who can pick up on them. I see it more as about the ridiculousness of the idea of celebrity in general than heavy metal musicians in particular, and most of the humor comes from the interactions between the band members. You don't have to know anything about metal to laugh your ass off at the autofellatio subplot in the season 2 finale. "I just want you to know... I did it. *sob* I sucked my own dick last night. *sniff* I can die now." That's just good comedy. And you can catch a lot of the references with just cursory musical knowledge: pretty much anyone can pick up that Dr. Roxxo is a parody of David Lee Roth or Paul Stanley or (insert your favorite outrageous butt-rocker here).
posted by DecemberBoy at 8:53 PM on February 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


"Look, you know that we get really excited over really stupid ideas when we're drunk, and it's your job to talk us out of them."
"I know, I tried- believe me, I tried- but you threatened to kill me, if you don't remember."
"Big deal! Those threats aren't new!"
"Noted."
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:55 PM on February 18, 2009


Well, no one is reading this thread anymore, but I thought I'd put in my 2c for posterity.

Here's the thing about the Simpsons, or Family Guy, or any other show that you like, or don't like, or once loved and now hate:

It doesn't belong to you. The show is the show, you enjoy it or not. You watch it and love it, or you don't. What do belong to you are your memories. If you loved seasons 3-9 but hate it now, well, seasons 3-9 are still there for you to love. That the current seasons are not good (in your opinion) doesn't affect them. I love the original Star Wars trilogy; I hate the prequels and I'm none too fond of the altered trilogy. But, they don't affect my enjoyment of the original trilogy. I can still watch them and love them, and just ignore Anakin building C3PO and the pod racers and the midicholorians and all that crap. They don't affect the deep love I have for the originals; if they did, if I got all bent out of shape about George Lucas "raping my childhood" or the current Simpsons writers "ruining the show," well, then there'd probably be something mildly wrong with me -- I'd be like Kathy Bates in Misery, obsessed over something that I don't need to be obsessed over, losing my grip not only on the difference between reality and fiction but also on my own mind and my own memories and enjoyment of art.

Anyway, regarding my opinions on the various shows: I enjoyed the new intro; I think The Simpsons is still funny, although I rarely catch the new episodes -- it isn't must-see-TV for me anymore, but when I do watch it, I laugh. It doesn't hold the same power for me as it did in its heyday, but that was a completely different cultural landscape, and the show functioned very differently in that landscape than it does in the current one. And, just for the record, I find the first season of the show almost unwatchable -- it's like a badly animated version of Roseanne.

I happen to love both Family Guy and American Dad, although for both (especially FG) I find the early episodes tedious now. And, I don't think FG is just humor for drunk idiots -- it certainly has its fair share of mindless and crude gags, which are part of its charms, but it can be a pretty sharp satire of contemporary pop culture.

South Park jumped the shark for me a while ago, back when they started taking their own press seriously. People kept saying what a brilliant and hilarious commentary it was on contemporary America, and Matt & Trey started to believe it, and the humor of the show suffered. Also, when they started inserting their Libertarian/Moderate Republican politics more overtly into the show, well, it just got preachy. And their episodes devoted to showing how much better they are than Family Guy are just pathetic and reek of sour grapes. But, again, if an episode comes on that I like, I can watch and love it.

King of the Hill and Futurama are among the few long running (3+ seasons) cartoons that I think were almost uniformly high quality from the start. Duckman was also a brilliant and underrated show, and I'm so glad they finally released it on DVD -- rewatching it I see how it really set the stage for many current cartoons just as much, and in some ways more than, The Simpson did.

Adult Swim has some of the best and some of the worst shows. Metalocalypse and Venture Brothers are brilliant, and their overarching storylines make them among the strongest new shows. The Boondocks is the sharpest satire on politics and race on TV. Robot Chicken can be pretty amusing, although at times tedious. Superjail and Squidbillies, though, suck balls, as do Assy McGee and Stroker and Hooch or whatever its called (actually, the last one seemed to have had some promise). Frisky Dingo is/was great, and Aqua Teen Hunger Force still has some mileage in it.
posted by Saxon Kane at 1:24 PM on February 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well, no one is reading this thread anymore

Except for the large number of people who commented in it or favorited it and still follow it via Recent Activity.
posted by grouse at 1:31 PM on February 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


I think what made me saddest was the bullies cutting off Jebediah Springfield's head. Remember the episode where Bart cuts off his head and they end up being as horrified as everyone else, despite having suggested it?

Yes. Also, seconds later, in the new intro's couch gag, the couch hides behind a fully intact Jebediah Springfield statue.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:48 PM on February 21, 2009


grouse: WELL, EXCUUUUUUUSE ME for thinking that people had moved on after 3 days of no comments.
:p
posted by Saxon Kane at 1:31 PM on February 22, 2009


Just wanted to throw out props for everybody here recommending Venture Bros. - checked out the first two seasons on the weekend and I am well impressed and now consider myself a fan. Glad stuff like that can still be found.
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:38 PM on February 22, 2009


Nerd recommendations on Adult Swim cartoons are often not to be trusted, but Venture Brothers is fucking gold.
posted by Artw at 4:55 PM on February 22, 2009


I think what made me saddest was the bullies cutting off Jebediah Springfield's head. Remember the episode where Bart cuts off his head and they end up being as horrified as everyone else, despite having suggested it?

Yes. Also, seconds later, in the new intro's couch gag, the couch hides behind a fully intact Jebediah Springfield statue.


"In episode 2F09, when Itchy plays Scratchy's skeleton like a xylophone, he strikes the same rib twice in succession, yet he produces two clearly different tones. I mean, what are we to believe, that this is some sort of a magic xylophone or something? Boy, I really hope somebody got fired for that blunder."
posted by Saxon Kane at 9:35 PM on February 22, 2009 [4 favorites]


Matt Groening gives an interview with CNN about Futurerama and The Simpsons.

He sums up why the Simpsons is still on the air:

CNN: Let me finish with the traditional "Simpsons" question: Is it going to continue for the foreseeable future?

Groening: Yes. I'll be surprised if we close up anytime soon. I don't see it. The popularity of the show all over the world continues and it is gratifying, and the show's still fun to do. That's always been my ultimate deciding factor: Is it still fun? And it is

posted by lilkeith07 at 7:03 AM on February 26, 2009


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