The Simpsons

Following Homer's Lead

I've written extensively about how much I loved The Simpsons. I've probably seen every episode from the first six seasons 20-30 times each by now. I watched them when they first aired, on VHS, in syndication, on DVD, streamed from the web, with my kids and by myself.

This weekend, the kids and I revisited season five. That's a tremendous season, possibly the best of all. It includes Homer Goes to College, which includes this shot of Homer's cinder block bookshelf.

homer

I first watched Homer Goes to College on ‎October 14, 1993. A couple of years later, when I was living off campus at Charles Street and Yonge, I followed Homer's lead and built a similar bookshelf. Below is a photo of the only photo I have of this bookcase that served me well in university.

bookshelf

I've still got that Pulp Fiction poster hanging in my basement.

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Let's Talk About The Simpsons

It's hard to believe they're still making new episodes of The Simpsons. The Simpsons was my favourite show when I was a teenager. Those first six seasons were so good, I still revisit them often.

The first episode ever aired was "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire", the Christmas episode where they get Santa's Little Helper. It's so old, it aired in the 80s. For me, it was love at first sight.

I own the first ten seasons on DVD and still watched on Sunday nights until about six years ago. These days, I prefer to do deep dives, usually after listening to an episode of Talking Simpsons, a podcast fellow Simpsons fans will love. We're currently revisiting season three which gave us such gems as "Flaming Moe's" and "Like Father, Like Clown."

As I watch these episodes I've seen dozens of times the past 27 years, I'm still amazed at the perfect blend of humour and sweetness struck by this cartoon. When The Simpsons got it right, the writing was on point, the acting was stellar the laughs were plentiful and the eyes were moist, and during the first six season, they almost always got it right.

Friends?

Although the show is now a shadow of its former self, I look forward to one day, as an old man, settling in to binge watch the many seasons I've missed. That, in a nutshell, is my exit strategy.

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Movie References in The Simpsons

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My Thoughts on The Simpsons Without Harry Shearer

They recently renewed The Simpsons for two more seasons, which will bring them to 28. But the big news is that Harry Shearer will not be a part of the cast. Shearer voiced Ned Flanders, Charles Montgomery Burns, Waylon Smithers, Seymour Skinner, Dr. Hibbert, Lenny Leonard, Kent Brockman, Scratchy, Kang, Eddie, Otto Mann, Rev. Lovejoy, Rainier Wolfcastle, Jasper, Dr. Marvin Monroe and many, many others. It's a rather significant loss.

At this point, The Simpsons has gone on so long, there's a whole generation of people like me who grew up worshipping the show and have grown incredibly indifferent over time. I was a fan since day one (literally!) and collected the first ten seasons on DVD. I can watch those early episodes over and over and over again. I loved that show.

Then, during the show's second decade, I loved it less, but I still watched. After all, even when The Simpsons aren't at their best, they're often better than whatever else is out there.

But then there's the last several seasons. I never tune in on Sunday nights anymore, and only catch up on interesting episodes that entice me, like the Lego episode. I've completely lost touch with what's going on in Springfield, but I'll still sit down and watch an early episode and laugh out loud.

I would be really upset at the show for going on without Harry Shearer if this was 15 years ago. But it's not, and I've already moved on.

End the damn show and let the tributes flow in already!

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Sam Simon, Dead at 59

Sam SimonSam Simon was 59. He developed “The Simpsons” with Matt Groening and James L. Brooks, and he subsequently co-wrote nearly a dozen “Simpsons” episodes during his tenure on the animated comedy, also serving as co-showrunner, character designer, creative consultant, creative supervisor, developer, and writer.

2UV2gKU

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The Key to a Good Crossover is Subtlety

The Key to a Good Crossover is SubtletyI watched The Simpsons / Family Guy crossover episode yesterday. It was okay, but not nearly as clever and funny as any episode during the first six seasons of The Simpsons. It was a full throttle crossover with the entire Griffin family ending up in Springfield and will likely result in a ratings spike.

The key to a good crossover is subtlety, and The Simpsons / Family Guy crossover was as subtle as a sledge hammer. I far prefer how The Wire and Homicide: Life on the Street crossed over with an appearance by Richard Belzer's John Munch.

Here's 30 seconds of Detective John Munch on Homicide followed by 30 seconds of Detective John Munch on The Wire. I have no idea why this footage is so dark.

John Munch, by the way, has appeared on 10 different shows, which is surely a record.

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SNPP: Long May You Run

SNPP: Long May You RunI was just reading about how Television Without Pity has been shuttered by NBCUniversal. The origins of Television Without Pity go back to 1998, a long time ago in the land of websites.

That got me thinking about one of my favourite television websites from the 90s: SNPP. SNPP stood for Springfield Nuclear Power Plant and was (is) where I read Simpsons episodes recaps and learned about all the stuff I missed after my initial viewing. This recap of the very awesome season four episode A Streetcar Named Marge, for example, was converted to HTML on Saturday, September 10, 1994.

At some point simpsonsarchive.com moved to SimpsonsArchive.com but it still looks exactly as I remember it. Despite being last updated in 2012, the amazing episode guide hasn't had a redesign in a very long time.

Screen shot 2014-03-27 at 2.07.04 PM

SNPP: Long may you run!

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21 Years Later, I Just Had a Simpsons Epiphany

21 Years Later, I Have a Simpsons EpiphanyWhile shovelling snow this morning, I started thinking about The Simpsons episode "The Front", the 19th episode of season four in which Homer attends his Class of 1974 high school reunion.

In this episode, Homer wins several awards, including one for travelling the least distance to be there.

And the person who traveled the least distance to be here-- Well, kiss my grits! - Homer Simpson!

While shovelling snow, I thought this would be far easier to determine today. A program could easily take everyone's home address and determine who lived closest to the high school. But then, it hit me.

Why didn't Homer have to share that award with Marge? Don't they live together? Didn't they travel the identical distance to be at their reunion?

I originally saw this episode on April 15, 1993. That means it took me almost 21 years to have this epiphany. That's got to be some kind of record.

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Marcia Wallace, Dead at 70

In MemoriumMarcia Wallace was 70. She was the actress best known for her roles as receptionist Carol Kester on The Bob Newhart Show and the voice of Edna Krabappel on The Simpsons.

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The Weekly Homer Simpson Quote Idea

The Weekly Homer Simpson Quote IdeaExactly ten years ago today, I had an idea. I was going to share a quote from Homer Simpson every week. I started collecting the quotes at http://www.torontomike.com/homer.html, starting with this one on August 8, 2003.

Well, crying isn't gonna bring him back... unless your tears smell like dog food. So you can either sit there crying and eating can after can of dog food until your tears smell enough like dog food to make your dog come back or you can go out there and find your dog.

I kept it up for years, posting my final Homer Simpson quote on February 2, 2008. I was so used to posting a Homer quote first thing Saturday morning that it took a while to shake the habit. It's a slippery slope my friends.

One Big Happy Family

So if you're looking for a good Homer Simpson quotation, http://www.torontomike.com/homer.html remains preserved for all eternity.

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