The Simpsons


I Choo-Choo-Choose You

HeartLast Valentine's Day, I spouted off about how contrived I think this artificial Hallmark holiday is. This year, I'm going to celebrate one exceptional thing that has come from this date on the calendar: I Love Lisa.

Originally airing on February 11, 1993, The Simpsons episode "I Love Lisa" is a true gem. There are classic lines from Ralph, his very public humiliation at the Krusty the Clown anniversary special, his exceptional performance as George Washington in his school's Presidents Day show and Groundskeeper Willie's famous proclamation, "I didn't cry when me own father was hung for stealing a pig, but I'll cry now."

To my Valentines, and you know who you are, I Choo-Choo-Choose You.

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Behind the Scenes of an Episode

HomerYou learn a great deal about what goes on behind the scenes at "The Simpsons" by listening to the commentaries on the DVDs. When I get a season of "The Simpsons" on DVD, the first thing I do is watch each episode once with the commentary on, which irks James but pleases his father. There's a great deal of insight into how a concept evolves into an episode and I find it fascinating.

I just read an article by Mark I. Pinsky entitled ""The Simpsons": Behind the scenes of an episode" which fellow Simpson fans will want to read as well. Lots of neat tidbits and even some jokes from a future episode.

The table reads sound amazing.

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The Tradition Continues

GiftFor the second Christmas in a row, Steve and I exchanged the exact same gift. Last year we gave each other The Simpsons Season Five on DVD. This year, keeping with tradition, we exchanged The Simpsons Season Seven on DVD.

It's exactly what he wanted and it's exactly what I wanted. The end result is two happy Simpsons fans enjoying "Bart Sells His Soul", "Lisa the Vegetarian", "Team Homer", "A Fish Called Selma", "22 Short Films About Springfield" and more.

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The Canadian Flag On Your Back Pack

CanadaWhen Americans travel in Europe, do they really stitch a Canadian flag into their back pack and pose as Canucks? I've often heard about this and yesterday on "The Simpsons" Lisa did just that before their trip to Italy. Is this practice merely an urban legend or does it actually happen?

A little Googling proves this is very common advice given to Americans who are worried they'll be mistreated because they're American. Many give this advice and speak of people they know who did this with much success, but there are few first hand reports from people who have done this. Now that the sewing of a Canadian flag on one's back pack has been immortalized by the Simpsons, I want proof that people actually do it and I want to know if it actually makes a difference.

During the Dubya years, you'd think this would be commonplace.

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What Would Homer Do?

HouseEarlier today I was invited to a holiday luncheon featuring a bunch of sushi. I'm not really a sushi guy, but I immediately thought of Homer. Homer wasn't a sushi guy either, but he tried it for Lisa and ended up loving it. Of course, it almost killed him, but that's not the point. The point is he didn't think he'd enjoy eating raw fish but he did.

Earlier today I reminisced about my U of T days living in a bachelor apartment, even though I wasn't a bachelor. We were really poor but we scored this great rent near the heart of the city and within walking distance of the university. We needed a place to put our books and my thoughts immediately turned to Homer. When Homer went back to college, he altered his room at home so it was more college-student-like. He made a makeshift bookshelf from four planks and six cinder blocks which he stole from a construction site. I had the answer. I would do what Homer did.

I found some suitable planks and, instead of stealing them from a construction site, I purchased eight cinder blocks from Home Depot and built a highly functional, very Homer-esque bookshelf that served us well for years. I intend to dig up, scan and share an old photo of this bookshelf I built in 1996.

Homer was right about the planks and cinder blocks and I'll bet he's right about sushi too. Whenever I'm in need of answers, I wonder to myself "What would Homer do?".

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Like The Archies and Banana Splitz

HomerThere was a great exchange between Marge and Bart last night on "The Simpsons". While riding a bicycle built for two, they begin singing Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama" together. We witness them singing the following verse about our very own Neil Young.

Well, I heard Mister Young sing about her
Well, I heard ole Neil put her down.
Well, I hope Neil Young will remember
a southern man don't need him around anyhow.

At this point, Bart asks his mother, "Who's Neil Young?". Marge's answer is classic. "He's a singer from the 60s, like The Archies and Banana Splitz".

Beauty, eh?

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Guest Blog Entry

Ink StainAnyone is welcome to submit a Guest Blog Entry to torontomike.com. I received the following entry earlier today.

A question struck me last night while watching an episode of The Simpsons, and I of course thought of you. I would be curious to know what episode of The Simpsons featured the most guest voices. For this purpose, let's count band members as a single unit rather than individual members. You have 30 seconds. And.....go!

      Mike H.

Without cheating, I immediately think about the Krusty comeback special with Bette Midler, Johnny Carson and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Then I think about the Mick Jagger episode where Homer goes to rock camp. Of course, the logical guess is the softball episode with Darryl Strawberry and the gang.

Hitting the web I see there's a great Wikipedia page called List of celebrities on The Simpsons. It's quite the list, but it doesn't answer your question. Twelve seconds of Googling didn't help either. "Homer At The Bat" is a good guess...

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A Streetcar Named Marge

HomerFollowing the Katrina disaster in New Orleans, a great deal was made about fact The Tragically Hip's "New Orleans is Sinking" was removed from playlists out of respect for those victimized by Katrina's wrath. It was a sensible move and I remember thinking at the time that "A Streetcar Named Marge" should temporarily be removed from syndication as well. This episode of The Simpsons contains the lyric "New Orleans, stinking, rotten, vomiting, vile" as well as several other nasty swipes at the city of New Orleans.

It turns out that Channel 4 in the United Kingdom aired "A Streetcar Named Marge" on September 7th and has just apologized for doing so. I wonder when local stations will feel comfortable airing that excellent episode again? I wonder when radio stations will pick up "New Orleans Is Sinking" again?

Time will tell...

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My Link of the Day

Mike's Link of the DayMade-up words in The Simpsons - The Simpsons has coined some new words and phrases, popularized some existing words and phrases, and also used some existing words and phrases in new ways. This page lists all three.

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Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week Turns Two

A picture of Homer Jay SimpsonI just realized the date of the first quote posted on my Homer Jay Simpson's Quote of the Week page is October 8, 2003. That means I've been posting a quote from my cartoon hero every Saturday morning for over two years.

Back in the days before the blog I would post a quote from Homer each week but I wouldn't archive the quote. So, every week I simply overwrote what was there until I got smart about it a couple of years ago. I gave Homer his own page, archived and date stamped older quotes and moved the blog to the home page.

Here was the very first quote posted on October 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."

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