If you read only one blog full of ranting and raving about sports (local and otherwise), movies, TV shows, miscellaneous pop culture, life and other assorted flotsam and jetsam, make it this one!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

#EverySimpsonsEver -- Day Twelve

The end. Or is it? FXX is going to air four- or six-hour blocks of episodes five days a week starting Tuesday, the day after the Every Simpsons Ever marathon finally ends. If FXX is smart they won't go too overboard on the later seasons. As you can see from the list below, and the last couple of posts, the pickings are really slim.

MUST-SEE!

9/1 1:30 AM ET “Lisa Goes Gaga” -- The Lady Gaga Express is roaring across the country until she sees some sad billboards for Springfield ("sister city with no one"), so she has the train stop there so she can build up the town's self-esteem. It's just in time for Lisa, whose unpopularity with her schoolmates is at an all-time high. The numerous jokes and jabs at everything Gaga are mitigated by the fact that she's in on them.

9/1 9:30 AM ET “Dark Knight Court” -- At an Easter celebration a prank sends eggs flying into the crowd. Bart is accused but he denies it, and is granted a trial with schoolmates as the jury and Janet Reno presiding as judge (because she plays chess by mail -- snail mail -- with Grampa). The same egg attack and its aftermath leads Burns to become "Fruitbat Man," thwarting "crimes" (townspeople are playing criminals, paid off by Smithers).

9/1 5:00 PM ET “Steal This Episode” -- Tired of hearing spoilers for movies he hasn't seen, as well as today's multiplex experience (such as pre-movie commercials), Homer begins illegally downloading movies...and then starts showing them in his backyard.

9/1 10:30 PM ET “Brick Like Me” -- The LEGO episode. Fun, very well-done, but would have been better had it arrived before The LEGO Movie.

MEH. M-E-H, MEH.

9/1 3:00 AM ET “Adventures in Baby-Getting”
9/1 3:30 AM ET “Gone Abie Gone”
9/1 4:00 AM ET “Penny-Wiseguys”
9/1 7:00 AM ET “Changing of the Guardian”
9/1 8:30 AM ET “Gorgeous Grampa “
9/1 9:00 AM ET “Black-eyed Please”
9/1 11:00 AM ET “Whiskey Business”
9/1 12:00 PM ET “The Saga of Carl”
9/1 2:30 PM ET “YOLO" -- Yo, no.
9/1 4:00 PM ET “Yellow Subterfuge”
9/1 4:30 PM ET “White Christmas Blues”
9/1 9:30 PM ET “Days of Future Future”

Saturday, August 30, 2014

#EverySimpsonsEver -- Day Eleven

Really. It's almost over. One more day after this. (I repeat: stop applauding!)

MUST-SEE!

8/31 12:00 AM ET “The Greatest Story Ever D’ohed” -- The Simpsons join the Flanderseseses on a trip to Jerusalem. Guest stars Sacha Baron Cohen, but not as Borat or Bruno or Ali G.

8/31 5:00 AM ET “MoneyBART” -- Lisa becomes the coach of Bart's Little League team and, using sabermetrics, the team starts winning. Notable for a very unusual opening couch gag from the artist known as Banksy.

8/31 7:30 AM ET “The Fight Before Christmas” -- Formatted more like a Halloween special, with four different Christmas-related dreams, including one with Martha Stewart and another with Katy Perry in a live-action segment featuring the Simpsons characters as Muppet-esque puppets.

8/31 9:00 AM ET “Flaming Moe” -- Not to be confused with "Flaming Moe's," this is one more super-gay-gay-gay episode. With the help of Waylon Smithers, Moe's Tavern becomes Mo's, a trendy gay bar. If you've ever wanted to see Homer and Marge voguing, this is your episode.

8/31 8:00 PM ET “The D’oh-cial Network” -- Lisa creates SpringFace, a social networking site. Featuring a couch gag with David Letterman and a brief bit at the end with Armie Hammer as the Winklevoss twins (just like in "The Social Network"). They're competing in a rowing event at the 2012 London Olympics...against the Bouvier twins, Patty and Selma.

8/31 9:30 PM ET “At Long Last Leave” -- The 500th episode, in which the residents of Springfield vote to evict the Simpsons from the town.

MEH. M-E-H, MEH.

8/31 1:00 AM ET “Chief of Hearts”
8/31 4:00 AM ET “Elementary School Musical”
8/31 4:30 AM ET “Loan-a Lisa”
8/31 6:30 AM ET “The Fool Monty”
8/31 7:00 AM ET “How Munched Is That Birdie in the Window?”
8/31 8:00 AM ET “Donnie Fatso”
8/31 8:30 AM ET “Moms I’d Like to Forget”
8/31 9:30 AM ET “Homer the Father”
8/31 1:00 PM ET “The Real Housewives of Fat Tony” -- Fat Tony marries Selma, making her Selma Bouvier-Terwilliger-Hutz-McClure-Stu-Simpson-D'Amico.
8/31 4:30 PM ET “Replaceable You” -- I can't, for the life of me, remember anything about this episode. Even after reading the Wikipedia entry, reading that Jane Lynch appeared in it, I can't remember it at all. Hey, maybe it's a brilliant episode. But I'm gonna say...no.
8/31 7:00 PM ET “Holidays of Future Passed”
8/31 7:30 PM ET “Politically Inept, with Homer Simpson” -- With the utterly repugnant Ted Nugent.

Friday, August 29, 2014

#EverySimpsonsEver -- Day Ten

We are coming to the end. (Stop applauding.)

MUST-SEE!

8/30 12:00 AM ET “Eternal Moonshine of the Simpson Mind” -- A Simpsonic take on "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" as Homer can't recall the events of the previous day.

8/30 12:30 AM ET “E. Pluribus Wiggum” -- Springfield moves up its election date (because Homer destroyed the town's fast-food restaurants) and it's now the first primary in the nation. Here come the presidential candidates and the media! And a new candidate: Ralph Wiggum! Pick a winner!

8/30 4:30 AM ET “Any Given Sundance” -- Lisa's school project is a short film about her family. Aspiring film producers Skinner and Chalmers enter it into the Sundance Film Festival. The Simpsons are going to Utah!

8/30 12:00 PM ET “Gone Maggie Gone” -- Not a bad episode, but to be honest I probably wouldn't include it here except for the brief, unexpected appearance of none other than the Phillie Phanatic.

8/30 1:30 PM ET “Eeny Teeny Maya Moe “ -- Moe hits it off with a woman he meets over the Internet. When they meet in person, he learns she's a little person. Will he screw it up? Well, yes. But it's surprisingly sweet.

8/30 9:00 PM ET “Once Upon a Time in Springfield” -- Krusty is forced by the network to add a female character to his show. Princess Penelope (Anne Hathaway) is a hit, which infuriates Krusty until he learns she's a longtime fan, and they fall in love. Anne Hathaway won an Emmy for this.

8/30 10:00 PM ET “Boy Meets Curl” -- Homer and Marge, along with Agnes and Seymour Skinner, compete in a new demonstration sport, mixed curling, at the Vancouver Winter Olympics. (Not surprisingly, the episode aired during the Olympics.) Lisa becomes addicted to collecting Olympic pins. Wikipedia says it was well-received by curlers and Canadians. Also, there's a sighting of a character from The Simpsons Movie...the movie only, not a character that has previously been in the series. And it's not Spider-Pig.

MEH. M-E-H, MEH.

8/30 2:30 AM ET “Dial “N” for Nerder”
8/30 3:00 AM ET “Smoke on the Daughter”
8/30 4:00 AM ET “Apocalypse Cow”
8/30 5:00 AM ET “Mona Leaves-a”
8/30 6:30 AM ET “Lost Verizon”
8/30 7:00 AM ET “Double, Double, Boy in Trouble”
8/30 9:00 AM ET “Mypods and Boomsticks” (The spoofing of Apple was okay. The Homer-fears-new-Muslim-neighbors-are-terrorists plot, not okay.)
8/30 11:30 AM ET “No Loan Again, Naturally”
8/30 2:00 PM ET “The Good, the Sad and the Drugly “
8/30 4:00 PM ET “Coming to Homerica “
8/30 5:30 PM ET “The Great Wife Hope”
8/30 10:30 PM ET “The Color Yellow”

Thursday, August 28, 2014

#EverySimpsonsEver -- Day Nine

This, the ninth day of the FXX marathon, features the end of the 17th season, all of the 18th and the start of the 19th. The 18th was pretty weak. Maybe it was affected by a divided attention span, as there was a little movie of note that came out following that season...

MUST-SEE!

8/29 1:30 AM ET “My Fair Laddy” -- More singing. In this episode Lisa is attempting to turn Groundskeeper Willie into Eliza Doolittle...I mean, into a proper gentleman.

8/29 2:00 AM ET “The Seemingly Never-Ending Story” -- Although it's a bit ludicrous, I liked the clever way the story Lisa is telling turns into Mr. Burns' story, then Moe's story, then Edna Krabappel's, then, for a moment, a bighorn sheep's story. (Yes, really. Just go with it.) And they're all connected.

8/29 3:00 AM ET “Homer Simpson, This Is Your Wife” -- Written by Ricky Gervais. Homer signs the family up to appear on a wife-swap show.

8/29 4:00 AM ET “Kiss Kiss Bang Bangalore” -- Listed here only because the subplot (Patty and Selma kidnap Richard Dean Anderson - MacGyver!) outdoes the main plot (Homer is chosen to be the boss when Burns outsources his plant to India?).

8/29 11:00 AM ET “Kill Gil: Vols. 1 & 2″ -- The latest temporary guest staying with the Simpsons is Gil, the guy who can't keep a job. It actually serves as a holiday episode, spanning an entire year from Christmas season to Christmas season.

8/29 1:00 PM ET “Springfield Up” -- Modeled after the British documentary "Up" Series (starting with "Seven Up," featuring a group of children, and revisiting them every seven years), a director returns to Springfield to update his series of films, done at eight-year intervals.

8/29 5:00 PM ET “24 Minutes” -- I never watched "24" so I don't know exactly how on target this episode was, but I enjoyed it anyway.

8/29 6:00 ET The Simpsons Movie -- Yes, yes, yes. So good from start to finish. But I'm wondering how they'll edit this, since they're showing episodes without the cuts made for syndication. Will they show the full-frontal nudity or add the little "European version only" black box? Will they leave in Marge's full quote to "throw the goddamn bomb!" or cut out the G-word?

I'm sure this won't be cut from the movie. They're coming after you, Homer!

8/29 11:00 PM ET “Husbands and Knives” -- A new comic book store opens (smart casting: Jack Black as the store's owner) and easily takes business away from Comic Book Guy. A fave moment: Milhouse asks Alan Moore to sign a DVD of "Watchmen Babies in 'V for Vacation.'"

8/29 11:30 PM ET “Funeral for a Fiend” -- It's a "Frasier" reunion. Kelsey Grammer as Sideshow Bob, David Hyde Pierce as his brother Cecil...and John Mahoney as their father. Oh, and they all take part in a plan to kill Bart.

MEH. M-E-H, MEH.

8/29 1:00 AM ET “We’re on the Road to D’oh-where”
8/29 3:30 AM ET “Million Dollar Abie”
8/29 6:00 AM ET “The Monkey Suit”
8/29 12:30 PM ET “Little Big Girl”
8/29 2:00 PM ET “Rome-Old and Julie-Eh” -- Grampa and Selma in love. Ew. Ew. Ew.
8/29 3:00 PM ET “Marge Gamer”
8/29 3:30 PM ET “The Boys of Bummer”
8/29 4:00 PM ET “Crook and Ladder”
8/29 4:30 PM ET “Stop or My Dog Will Shoot!”
8/29 9:00 PM ET “Midnight Towboy”
8/29 9:30 PM ET “I Don’t Wanna Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

#EverySimpsonsEver -- Day Eight

We're getting to the point where the pickings are getting slimmer. Even the best episodes are rather uneven (although the same-sex wedding one stands out).

MUST-SEE!

8/28 12:00 AM ET “The Regina Monologues” -- The Simpsons go to...London!

8/28 6:30 AM ET “My Big Fat Geek Wedding” -- Edna Krabappel leaves Seymour Skinner at the altar on their wedding day and rebounds with...Comic Book Guy!?!

8/28 7:30 AM ET “Simple Simpson” -- Homer becomes a masked hero, Pie Man, as in a pie to the face of those who do wrong. Then Mr. Burns (who often does wrong) discovers Pie Man's secret identity.

8/28 12:30 PM ET “Mommie Beerest” -- One of many times Moe's bar has been transformed into something else. This time it becomes an English pub, the Nag and Weasel, on the "suggestion" of Marge (because Homer took out a second mortgage and loaned the money to Moe, she insisted on a say in running things).

8/28 1:00 PM ET “Homer and Ned’s Hail Mary Pass” -- Homer teaches athletes to showboat, and then gets the gig of creating the Super Bowl halftime show.

8/28 2:00 PM ET – “There’s Something About Marrying” -- The one where Springfield legalizes same-sex marriage...and Patty comes out of the closet!

8/28 6:30 PM ET – “A Star Is Torn” -- Krusty hosts a singing competition for kids, and Lisa advances thanks to songwriter/manager Homer.

MEH. M-E-H, MEH.

8/28 12:30 AM ET – “The Fat and the Furriest”
8/28 8:30 AM ET – “Bart-Mangled Banner” -- Wayyyyyyyyy over-the-top commentary on current-day "patriotism."
8/28 12:00 PM ET – “Midnight Rx”
8/28 1:30 PM ET – “Pranksta Rap” -- One of my more-disliked episodes. Bart sneaks out to a rap concert and fakes his own kidnapping to avoid being discovered sneaking into the house.
8/28 3:30 PM ET – “Mobile Homer”
8/28 10:00 PM ET – “Marge’s Son Poisoning”

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

#EverySimpsonsEver -- Day Seven

And on the seventh day, the marathon continues. A few of the episodes I've chosen are probably not entirely must-see, but within the episodes are enough moments of greatness that I don't feel they should be missed. Your mileage may vary.

And while it's not listed below, the Season 13 finale, "Poppa's Got a Brand New Badge," airing at 11:30 am, features one of my favorite all-time lines, one that is just impossible for me to quote in person. In the episode Homer opens his own security firm, leading to this remark to Marge: "You know, I've had a lot of jobs -- boxer, mascot, astronaut, imitation Krusty, baby-proofer, trucker, hippie, plow driver, food critic, conceptual artist, grease salesman, carny, mayor, grifter, bodyguard for the mayor, country/western manager, garbage commissioner, mountain climber, farmer, inventor, Smithers, Poochie, celebrity assistant, power plant worker, fortune cookie writer, beer baron, Kwik-E-Mart clerk, homophobe and missionary -- but protecting Springfield, that gives me the best feeling of all."

MUST-SEE!

8/27 2:00 AM ET “A Hunka Hunka Burns in Love” -- Mr. Burns, responding to a fortune cookie written by Homer (one of the jobs listed above), falls in love with a meter maid played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Burns wants Homer's help in winning her heart.

8/27 3:00 AM ET “She of Little Faith” -- An accident that wrecks the church leads to Burns paying for its repair in exchange for things like ads and vibrating recliners. This leads to Lisa becoming a Buddhist.

8/27 5:00 AM ET “Half-Decent Proposal” -- Artie Ziff is now wealthy but still obsessed with Marge. You can sort of guess from the title what happens. And the ending features an adaptation of Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)."

8/27 5:30 AM ET “The Bart Wants What It Wants” -- The Simpsons are going to Toronto! (Marge: "It's so clean and bland...I'm home!")

8/27 7:30 AM ET “Blame It on Lisa” -- The Simpsons are going to Brazil!

8/27 9:00 AM ET “I Am Furious Yellow” -- The Simpsons are going to...oh, sorry. Bart creates Angry Dad, a comic book character (based on Homer, duh) that is turned into an Internet cartoon.

8/27 12:00 PM ET “How I Spent My Strummer Vacation” -- Would you go to a rock-and-roll fantasy camp with instructors Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Lenny Kravitz, Brian Setzer, Tom Petty and Elvis Costello? I would. And so would Homer.

8/27 2:00 PM ET “The Great Louse Detective” -- Someone is trying to kill Homer. Chief Wiggum decides that in order to catch the criminal he needs someone who thinks like a criminal. Hence, Sideshow Bob moves in with the Simpsons. Bob to Homer: "How can one man have so many enemies?" Homer: "I'm a people person!...who...drinks."

8/27 2:30 PM ET “Special Edna” -- Probably my favorite from the latter half of the series' history. Skinner's ineptness at romancing Krabappel leads to Bart nominating her for the Teacher of the Year awards in Orlando, and the Simpsons get to go along. So many good lines.

8/27 5:00 PM ET “I’m Spelling as Fast as I Can” -- Lisa wins the school spelling bee and works her way up to the Spell-lympics, a national contest. Unfortunately, she's asked to lose on purpose.

8/27 6:00 PM ET “Mr. Spritz Goes to Washington” -- Krusty runs for Congress. Not really a realistic episode but the depictions of Fox News are perfect.

8/27 7:30 PM ET “Three Gays of the Condo” -- Going gay again. After a fight with Marge, Homer moves out of the house -- and into Springfield's gayborhood.

8/27 8:00 PM ET “Dude, Where’s My Ranch?” -- More for the beginning, which features Homer trying to write a new Christmas carol (the one Usher stole), which turns into "Everybody Hates Ned Flanders," which -- with David Byrne's production -- becomes a hit so big even Flanders and his boys are singing along.

8/27 11:30 PM ET “The President Wore Pearls” -- A takeoff on "Evita," despite the closing on-screen disclaimer.

MEH. M-E-H, MEH.

8/27 3:30 AM ET “Brawl in the Family”
8/27 4:00 AM ET “Sweets and Sour Marge”
8/27 6:00 AM ET “The Lastest Gun in the West”
8/27 8:30 AM ET “Gump Roast” -- Another clip show...although it does include the song "They'll Never Stop the Simpsons."
8/27 10:30 AM ET “The Frying Game”
8/27 1:30 PM ET “Helter Shelter”
8/27 3:00 PM ET “The Dad Who Knew Too Little”

8/27 8:30 PM ET “Old Yeller-Belly”

Monday, August 25, 2014

#EverySimpsonsEver -- Day Six

So you know how I said I've been DVRing some of the episodes during this marathon? As we get to the end of the week the DVR has a lot fewer episodes set to be recorded. That will tell you how the number of episodes in these posts should decline.

At this moment, I'm watching live (although this will actually be posted mid-day, not when I'm typing) and they're showing "The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson," in which the World Trade Center figures in the plot. After the 9/11 attacks this episode disappeared from syndication for a while.

MUST-SEE!

8/26 12:30 AM ET “Mom and Pop Art” -- Homer's failure to build a barbecue pit leads to his being discovered as a hot new artist.

8/26 3:00 AM ET “Beyond Blunderdome” -- Mel Gibson (as Mel Gibson, before he went all crazy) hires Homer to help him finish his new film, a remake of "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington."

8/26 4:30 AM ET “Treehouse of Horror X” -- One of the more consistently funny Halloween specials. In recent years they haven't been the same. I guess you can say that about the series in general...

8/26 7:30 AM ET “Little Big Mom” -- If for nothing more than the line "Stupid sexy Flanders!"

8/26 9:30 AM ET “Alone Again, Natura-Diddily” -- The death of Maude Flanders.

8/26 10:00 AM ET “Missionary: Impossible” -- Highlighted by the spoofing of PBS, a guest appearance by Betty White and Homer's first time referring to "Jebus."

8/26 1:30 PM ET "Behind the Laughter" -- Genius spoof of VH1's "Behind the Music."

8/26 4:30 PM ET “The Computer Wore Menace Shoes” -- This is really must-see only if you're a fan of "The Prisoner" (series star Patrick McGoohan appears in the episode). Otherwise you may be really put off by it.

8/26 7:00 PM ET “Worst Episode Ever” -- Comic Book Guy has a heart attack and has to stop working at his store for a while.

8/26 8:30 PM ET “New Kids on the Blecch” -- Spoof of boy bands with guest stars 'NSync.

8/26 9:00 PM ET “Hungry, Hungry Homer” -- Homer discovers a plot by the owner of the Springfield Isotopes to move the team to Albuquerque. His hunger-strike song is classic. And now there's an actual minor league baseball team called the Albuquerque Isotopes.

8/26 10:30 PM ET “Trilogy of Error” -- A clever takeoff on the film "Run, Lola, Run" featuring three interconnected tales.

8/26 11:00 PM ET “I’m Goin’ to Praiseland” -- Ned Flanders opens a religious-themed amusement park after finding his late wife's sketch book.

MEH. M-E-H, MEH.

8/26 1:30 AM ET “Monty Can’t Buy Me Love”
8/26 6:00 AM ET “Eight Misbehavin'”
8/26 6:30 AM ET “Take My Wife, Sleaze”
8/26 12:00 PM ET “Kill the Alligator and Run”
8/26 3:00 PM ET “Insane Clown Poppy”
8/26 10:00 PM ET “Simpson Safari”

Sunday, August 24, 2014

#EverySimpsonsEver -- Day Five

It's funny. I own the DVD sets for the first sixteen seasons (plus season 20, which they released very early -- without any deleted scenes or commentaries or such -- just to take advantage of it being the 20th season). Still, I'm DVRing episodes during this marathon. I want to see certain episodes again but I don't feel like pulling out the DVD sets, and if I'm not home or I've gone to bed...anyway, here's what I recommend for Monday:

MUST-SEE!

8/25 1:00 AM ET “In Marge We Trust” -- With a burned-out Rev. Lovejoy, advice-giver Marge and, of course, Mr. Sparkle.

8/25 1:30 AM ET “Homer’s Enemy” -- I can't say that this is one of the best, but it's unusual because of how it ended. It really shocked me.

8/25 2:00 AM ET “The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase” -- Mainly for the brilliant lampooning of the Brady Bunch Variety Hour.

8/25 6:30 AM ET “Lisa the Skeptic” -- The show's take on religion has always been interesting, and more nuanced than you'd expect. Here, Lisa discovers a skeleton of what appears to be an angel.

8/25 9:00 AM ET “The Joy of Sect” -- Members of a cult hit Springfield for recruits, but have a little trouble getting through to Homer.

8/25 11:00 AM ET “Lisa the Simpson” -- Lisa is suddenly not quite as smart as in the past, and she's really worried after Grampa tells her it's because of the "Simpson gene" that causes everyone to lose their intelligence.

8/25 12:00 PM ET “Simpson Tide” -- Homer joins the Naval Reserve and ends up in charge of a submarine during war games, which leads to an international incident.

8/25 2:30 PM ET “Lost Our Lisa” -- The premise is a bit illogical. If Lisa is so intelligent why isn't she able to take a bus to the museum by herself without getting lost? But I really love the episodes where Homer and Lisa bond.

8/25 7:30 PM ET “Mayored to the Mob” -- Homer becomes the mayor's bodyguard and gets on the bad side of Fat Tony.

8/25 8:00 PM ET “Viva Ned Flanders” -- In which we learn that Ned Flanders is 60 years old. Homer persuades him to go to Vegas, where they get drunk and marry a couple of barmaids.

8/25 10:00 PM ET “I’m with Cupid” -- Apu's multiple Valentine's Day gifts to his wife made the rest of Springfield's husbands look bad, so they try to sabotage his last gift

MEH. M-E-H, MEH.

8/25 5:00 AM ET “The Cartridge Family” -- This episode, in which Homer bought a gun and Marge was not happy, was one of the first episodes I rather disliked.
8/25 4:30 PM ET “Bart the Mother”
8/25 6:00 PM ET “D’oh-in’ in the Wind”

Saturday, August 23, 2014

#EverySimpsonsEver -- Day Four

The good thing about the FXX marathon: the episodes are being shown in full, with none of the cuts made to allow for more commercials in syndication. The not-so-good thing: it's been altered to fit the HD widescreen. That whole aspect ration thing. Sometimes it doesn't matter, but sometimes it can ruin a sight gag.

Again, I had to leave out many episodes still worth watching.

MUST-SEE!

8/24 1:30 AM ET “Who Shot Mr. Burns? Pt. 1″
8/24 2:00 AM ET “Who Shot Mr. Burns? Pt. 2″ -- Better than "Who Shot J.R.?" You tell me. Dallas didn't have the advantage of making jokes that led to... (continued three episodes down)

8/24 2:30 AM ET “Radioactive Man” -- The movie based on the comic book is filming in Springfield. With Rainier Wolfcastle in the title role. "Up and atom!" "Up and at them!"

8/24 3:30 AM ET “Bart Sells His Soul” -- I love this so much, especially the beginning, with Bart at the door of the church, handing out sheet music to "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" disguised as a religious song, "In The Garden Of Eden, by I. Ron Butterfly" (Homer to Marge: "Remember when we used to make out to this hymn?")

8/24 6:30 AM ET “The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular” -- (continued from above) ...a line about an alternate ending of "Who Shot Mr. Burns" in which "you would have to ignore all the Simpson DNA evidence...and that would be downright nutty." (This is the way to do a clip show, by the way.)

8/24 8:00 AM ET “Two Bad Neighbors” -- In which George H.W. and Barbra Bush move to Springfield, across the street from the Simpsons. The jokes at George's expense...

8/24 10:30 AM ET “The Day the Violence Died” -- More trouble for Itchy & Scratchy thanks to the Simpson family. Bart meets the guy who actually created Itchy (but was cheated out of the royalties and is now homeless) and helps him win a lawsuit that bankrupts the studio.

8/24 11:00 AM ET “A Fish Called Selma” -- Troy McClure needs to get married to resurrect his career. Enter Selma Bouvier.

8/24 7:00 PM ET “The Springfield Files “ -- Homer claims to have seen an alien and FBI agents Mulder and Scully from "The X-Files" investigate.

8/24 8:30 PM ET “Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(Annoyed Grunt)cious” -- Marge's stressed and Homer agrees to hire a nanny... Shary: “Hello, I’m Shary Bobbins.” Homer: “Did you say Mary Pop-“ Shary: “No! I definitely did not. I’m an original creation, like Rickey Rouse and Monald Muck.” It gets weirder from there, and Shary's farewell is a precursor to an ending to an episode later in the series that stunned me when I first saw it.

8/24 9:30 PM ET “Homer’s Phobia” -- The first time they really dealt with the gay issue. Fabulous. I really want to go to work at the gay steel mill, by the way.

MEH. M-E-H, MEH.

8/24 12:30 AM ET “The Springfield Connection”
8/24 3:00 AM ET “Home Sweet Homediddly-Dum-Doodily”
8/24 7:30 AM ET “Team Homer”
8/24 12:30 PM ET “Raging Abe Simpson and His Grumbling Grandson in “The Curse of the Flying Hellfish””

Friday, August 22, 2014

Quick Review: The Giver

We interrupt #EverySimpsonsEver for a movie. Okay, I actually saw it on Wednesday, before the Simpsons marathon began, so technically I didn't interrupt it. Anyway, "The Giver" is based on a novel that was published in 1993, which means all of the "Divergent/Hunger Games" young-adult books and their film adaptations followed, but still beat this film to theaters. So much of it seems like it's been done before: futuristic society, manipulated by leaders, a young hero. But "The Giver" is still kind of worth watching.

In this future world, there is sameness. Any differences are quite minor. Everyone seems pleasant enough, but it's very muted and bland. There's no music, no bright colors, no warmth or cold thanks to climate controls. Everything is controlled by the Elders, with the chief Elder portrayed by Meryl Streep. (And far be it from me to criticize Meryl Streep, but she did seem a little out of place in a film like this.) Anyway, at age 16 all children are assigned to the jobs they will hold for the rest of their lives, and one such child, Jonas (Brenton Thwaites) is designated to be the Receiver of Memory, because no one in this society has any memory of the past that led to the Community's current state. Jonas receives those memories -- the wars, pain and death as well as the love and joy (not to mention snow) from the current memory holder, or Giver (Jeff Bridges). During the process of receiving memories Jonas feels that what has happened to the Community isn't right, and...well, it goes from there. By the way, Thwaites, playing a 16-year-old, is actually 25, so feel free to ogle. My grade: B-minus.