Friday, June 01, 2007

Friday Random Simpsons

As both of our regular readers will recall, last week I was out of town on a fact-finding mission and asked Thrillhous to take over the reins for the Friday Random Ten.

Never one to stand by tradition or his man, Thrillhous shook things up and launched a brand new feature which we're calling the Friday Random Simpsons. Frankly, after two years of iPod shuffling, I've maxed out my interest in the FRT, and will happily let other bloggers take charge of that duty. From now on, it'll be Simpsonsapalooza here.

Let's do this thing.

1. "Treehouse of Horror XII" -- The Halloween episodes are often classics, but this one from the unlucky thirteenth season wasn't that great. The three stories were "Hex and the City," where a gypsy curses Homer and he has to get a leprechaun to lift it; "House of Whacks," where the family gets an automated home with the voice of Pierce Brosnan and the attitude of Charles Manson; and "Wiz Kids," a spoof of the Harry Potter franchise. Eh. 3/10

2. "Brother from the Same Planet" -- Alright, now this is a classic episode. The main plot involves Bart and Homer each manipulating the Bigger Brother program ("What's your reason for volunteering?" "Uh, revenge?"), but the subplot is a nice story about Lisa's addiction to the Corey Hotline ("Here are some other words that rhyme with Corey..."). This episode is full of terrific quotes: "Look, we could spend all day arguing about who forgot to pick up who...." "It's pronounced learn'd, Pepsi." "Bart, I could kiss you, if the Bigger Brothers hadn't made me sign a form promising not to." "Marge, when kids these days say 'bad', they mean 'good'. And to 'shake your booty' means to wiggle one's butt. Permit me to demonstrate." One of their best. 10/10

3. "Marge and Homer Turn a Couple Play" -- I didn't even remember this one until I read the synopsis. It's from last season, an episode in which Marge and Homer try to patch things up between a ballplayer for the Springfield Isotopes and his trampy singer wife, voiced by Mandy Moore. There's one classic Moe line -- "Hey Buck! How does it feel that your wife is turning on a creep like me? Weird, I bet. Heh heh" -- but that's about it. 1/10

4. "Cape Feare" -- I'm sensing a pattern here, as we swing back to a classic episode featuring Sideshow Bob. It's crammed full of classic quotes: "Ja? Maybe you are all ho-mo-sexuals!" "Roman numeral three: surprise boy in bed... [sips his tea] ...and, er, disembowel him! No, I don't like that 'bowel' in there. [erases it] Gut him! Ah, le
mot juste
." "Oh, no one who speaks German could be an evil man!" "Hello, Mr. Thompson. ... I think he's talking to you." "It's a good thing you drifted by this brothel." I hate to become Paul Abdul here, but this is another perfect one. 10/10

5. "Bart Has Two Mommies" -- Aaaaand, we're back. Another fairly mediocre episode from last season, one in which Marge teaches Rod and Todd Flanders to be a little more adventurous. There are a couple decent Ned Flanders lines -- "Hey, Marge, I don't, I don't really want a computer. Y'know, all those complete strangers Googling each other makes my flesh crawl" -- but not much more. 3/10

6. "The Otto Show" -- Yes, this came up on the randomizer. This is an old one, from the third season, in which Otto winds up living in the Simpsons' garage. It contains most of the Otto quotes in my profile, including "I stand on my record. Fifteen crashes and not a single fatality!" and "You got anything from the vampire's point of view?" and, of course, "I've never been called an adult before, but I've been tried as one." It also features one of the few worthwhile guest star appearances, by the boys in Spïnäl Täp, and Bart's dream of becoming a rock star. I'm biased, given my namesake's centrality to the episode, but this is a keeper. 8/11

7. "Mother Simpson" -- Alright, two good ones in a row. This one focuses on the return of Homer's long-lost mother, complete with a lot of nice flashbacks to the '60s, when she disappeared. Lots of nice moments there, including the comparisons of Unitas and Namath's haircuts, Mr. Burns and his biological warfare, an asthmatic Clancy Wiggum and a young reporter named Kenny Brockelstein. Plus, a classic Homerism: "Do I know what rhetorical means?" Nicely done. 8/10

8. "I Am Furious Yellow" -- A fairly recent episode in which Bart turns Homer into a comic strip called "Angry Dad." There are some nice lines in the scenes where we see the world making Homer so angry -- the TV canceling his favorite show for "The Boring World of Niels Bohr," the Flanders singing "God Said to Noah," and his transformation into the Hulk -- as well as a great cameo by Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee, whose mind is said to be no longer in "mint condition." 5/10

9. "Secrets Of A Successful Marriage" -- This one starts with Homer getting called slow at a poker game ("Something said ... not good ... ") and Marge telling him to take adult education classes to improve his mind. (Homer: Oh, and how is "education" supposed to make me feel smarter? Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain. Remember when I took that home wine-making course and I forgot how to drive? Marge: That's because you were drunk! Homer: And how!) Homer winds up teaching a course on marriage, which leads to his marital secrets and others' coming out, and then Homer living in the treehouse. As a bonus, it features my favorite line from the Squeaky-Voiced Teen: "Wait! I need closure on that anecdote!" Very nice. 7/10

10. "Lisa's Substitute" -- A classic episode, where Miss Hoover gets lyme disease and is replaced by a substitute teacher named Mr. Bergstrom. The character clearly sounded like Dustin Hoffman, but for some reason Hoffman had it put into his contract that his name couldn't be used on the episode or in the promotional tools, and they listed the voice of the kindly Jewish teacher as "Sam Etic" instead. (I guess "Jewy McJew" was too obvious.) The main plot is solid and actually very sweet, but the side one about Bart and Martin running for class president is chocked full of funny as well. ("Well I say that's not enough. We demand more asbestos!") 9/10

Alright, that's all I've got. There's plenty more to talk about here, so feel free to look the episodes up -- is a good bet, if you can handle the alt.nerd.obsessive vibe they have going over there -- and add in your own favorite moments and quotes in the comments below.


sideshow bob said...

Otto, that list was just oozing with rake-stepping-on goodness...kudos!

InanimateCarbonRod said...

My favorite moment from the Successful Marriage episode is Homer erasing the words "Dead Wife" from his notepad.

norbizness said...

#2 was quite possibly my favorite episode, although Last Exit to Springfield (DENNAL PLAN!) is a close second. According to the audio commentary, they wanted to get Tom Cruise to play the "Big Brother." A shame they had to settle on Phil Hartman.

"His father, the drunken gambler?"

"That's right. And who might you be?"

Also, the fantasy scene with Bart as James Cagney with the grapefruit makes me crack up every time.

Otto Man said...

Another great one from "Brother ..."

Marge: Homer, do you have an explanation for this bill?

Homer: Oh, it's that record club. The first nine were only a penny. Then they jacked up the price!
[breaks down crying] It's not fair! It's not fair, I tells ya!"

Mike said...

I think I saw the Otto episode back when it was originally on. Nice to see that show up.

Oh, and thanks for the shout-out, though I'm pretty bummed to see you shuffle along with your standard Friday thing.

(Shuffle along, get it? Because when you put your I-pod on shuf--

Oh, never mind.)

Andrea said...

I love this new Friday feature- kudos for sticking with it for a while.

Otto Man said...

Thanks, Andrea (and sorry, Mike). The credit (and blame) goes to Thrillhous.

I think we'll be doing this for a while. We've got 400 episodes to sort through, so we can run with this for another 38 weeks.

norbizness said...

Oh, and The Otto Show stunk... badly. (Once again, according to the audio commentary, nobody involved in its creation had that much good to say about it... but they did slag off on Christopher Guest, who they said was difficult and part of the reason they had the Spinal Tap bus explode later in the episode). Nowhere near the level of quality of Mother Simpson, with the apocalyptic playing of ABBA's Waterloo.

Thrillhous said...

Secrets of a successful marriage has one of my favorite Homer lines: "Marge, we've been separated for a day, and I'm already as dirty as a Frenchman!"

Otto Man said...

I'm going to stand by "The Otto Show" anyway, just for the choice bits of wisdom it gave us like this:

Homer: Of course I'm not mad. If something's hard to do, then it's not worth doing!

Otto Man said...

Another one:

Kent Brockman: "Tonight, the city weeps, as for the first time ever, a hockey arena becomes the scene of violence."

peb said...

The Otto Show is a classic as any episode with Spinal Tap guest starring would be. Interesting info on Christopher Guest though. He has a reputation as being difficult. Of course, he has a reputation as being awesome as well.

InanimateCarbonRod said...

I think any man who gets to have sex with Jaime Lee Curtis has license to be annoying.