Tuesday, October 31, 2017

22 Short Pieces About Springfield: Extra Credit 1 - Treehouse of Horror (1)

Flay-dies and rend-lemen, welcome to your nightmares!  Yes, it is I, GORERETH F. HORRORONS, back from the pits of terror to be your guide to the ghastliest, most soul-scorchingly terrifying tales of...

(What do you mean, we're doing The Simpsons?  I was talking about "Zombie Flesh Eaters: Extreme Version!!" last time, isn't this a bit of a step down?  Sigh...  Yes, contractual obligations...  Yes, yes, massive financial penalty...  OK.  OK, let's carry on.)

Well if I'm here, it must be time for a Halloween special - and with The Simpsons, that can only mean Treehouse of Horror!

Courtesy 20th Century Fox, via Frinkiac.
Halloween is still catching on over here in the UK, but it's huge, huge news in the US.  I credit The Simpsons with at least some of the holiday's increased momentum in this country; aside from the odd Blue Peter about pumpkin carving, our eyes had usually been on Guy Fawkes' Night a week later, until these horror compendia started raising awareness on these shores.

Presented in three segments, traditionally with different writers (but increasingly these days just having the one), Treehouse of Horror episodes are non-canon, horror-themed segments, generally more violent than the show's usual fare - and therefore cut to shit by Channel 4, cheers guys - and often in homage to a classic horror or sci-fi show or movie.

Freed of the need for maintaining even the thin sheath of continuity the series exists in, the writers tend to revel in their liberation and pull out moments that are right up there with the show's best.  So, since 'tis the season, let me take you through the Scary Door and be your guide through the much-lampooned Twilight Zone that is Atomic Sourpuss' ten favourite Treehouse of Horror segments!

NUMBER 10: "If I Only Had A Brain"
Season 3, Episode 7
“Treehouse of Horror II”
First Broadcast: October 31, 1991

GHOULISH GOINGS-ON: Mr Burns and Smithers have a terrifying singular vision – improve the American worker…  By putting his brain into a ROBOT BODY!!!

When Homer is sacked from the power plant and takes a job as a gravedigger, he is accidentally ensnared in their plan!  Can he get safely back into his human body, or will Mr Burns win a can of Coke?

INVASION OF THE PLOT-SNATCHERS: Mary Shelley’s classic “Frankenstein” is the first thing that springs to mind when considering brain-in-a-golem life after death, though “Robocop” and “Robocop 2” would have been more contemporary examples.

(BLACK) MAGIC MOMENT: "You're right, Smithers - I guess owe you a Coke” - Mr Burns, betting a single can of soda on life and death.  (I’m not sure if this is related to OSW Review’s “can of Coke for you!” catchphrase, but I’d say the chances are good.)

HORROR RATING: A Coke, of course.

NUMBER 9: "Clown Without Pity"
Season 4, Episode 5
“Treehouse of Horror III”
First Broadcast: October 29, 1992
GHOULISH GOINGS-ON: A father under pressure.  A mysterious shop full of cursed items.  An impending birthday...  It all adds up to a doll that's PURE EVIL!!!
But when the doll gets Homer in his sight, it's kill or be killed - and Homer's in a whole host of trouble!  Can Marge save the day?  And will Grandpa ever get the attention he so sorely craves?
INVASION OF THE PLOT-SNATCHERS: "Child's Play" will echo uncomfortably for our UK readers, but like many ToH segments, this also has its roots in a "Twilight Zone" episode called, surprisingly enough, "Living Doll".
(BLACK) MAGIC MOMENT: "The froghurt is also cursed!"

Courtesy 20th Century Fix, via Frinkiac.
HORROR RATING: 8 out of 10 toppings (that contain potassium benzoate).

NUMBER 8: "Homer3"
Season 7, Episode 6
“Treehouse of Horror VI”
First Broadcast: October 29, 1995
GHOULISH GOINGS-ON: Whilst trying to escape an interminable afternoon with his sisters-in-law, Homer falls into a rift, and finds himself rendered in a mysterious THIRD DIMENSION!!!
Things get a little hairy when the universe collapses in on itself.  Can Homer escape this confusing place and become flat again?  Or will his idiocy cause a further dimensional rift cause him to experience – shudder – real life?
INVASION OF THE PLOT-SNATCHERS: This could be taken as an inversion of “Flatland”, but it's actually - surprise! - thought to be based on a "Twilight Zone" episode.  So that's, er, unexpected.
(BLACK) MAGIC MOMENT: “I’m somewhere where I don’t know where I am!”
HORROR RATING: 69 erotic cakes.

NUMBER 7: "The Genesis Tub"
Season 8, Episode 1
“Treehouse of Horror VIII”
First Broadcast: October 27, 1996

GHOULISH GOINGS-ON: A meeting of school science projects turns into something so much more, when Lisa and Bart’s experiments combine to create LIFE ITSELF!!!

When Bart unwittingly commits genocide, the people of this strange new land decide to turn to their God: Lisa herself!  Can she escape the life she created, or will she be trapped forever, sockless in the Genesis Tub?

INVASION OF THE PLOT-SNATCHERS: ANOTHER "Twilight Zone" episode - but what's odd about this is that I know that from the "South Park" episode "Simpsons Already Did It"!

(BLACK) MAGIC MOMENT: The sight of poor, unfortunate Martin, whose milk carton ukulele is the stiffest competition the science fair can offer against Bart's entire race of self-created miniature people.

HORROR RATING: 6 baby teeth out of a mouth full of cola.

NUMBER 6: "The Devil And Homer Simpson"
Season 5, Episode 5
“Treehouse of Horror IV”
First Broadcast: October 28, 1993

GHOULISH GOINGS-ON: What price the human soul?  Meet Homer Simpson, who sold his for a single doughnut – and when hunger strikes, he gets DRAGGED TO HELL!!!

Forced into a bizarre trial for his very mortal existence with only Lionel Hutz for his defence, he’s going to need all the help he can get!  Can Marge prove a wife owns her husband’s soul?  And did we mention the Devil is Ned Flanders?

INVASION OF THE PLOT-SNATCHERS: Not necessarily any particular lift here, but the concept of selling one's soul to the devil goes right back to Theophilus, Faust, Robert Johnson and most famously, Vic Reeves in the final episode of "Vic Reeves' Big Night Out".
(BLACK) MAGIC MOMENT: Actually, Mr Engine Blood here likes a deleted scene the best - where Bart is vexing Devil Flanders by offering to sell his soul for a number of items, including...
Courtesy 20th Century Fox, via Frinkiac.
HORROR RATING: 5 pentagrams out of 666.

Join us tomorrow - if you daaaaaaare! - for the top frightening five of this terrifying ten.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

22 Short Pieces About Springfield: Number Twenty-Seven - "Of all the crazy ideas you've had, this one ranks somewhere in the middle."

Season 8, Episode 3
“The Homer They Fall”
First Broadcast: November 10, 1996

Courtesy 20th Century Fox, via Frinkiac.


In a great example of an almost unrelated opening, Bart winds up in possession of a quote-unquote Ultimate Belt, thanks to Comic Book Guy’s corpulence.  The belt proves utterly ineffective in stopping its own theft by The Bullies, leading to Homer getting repeatedly punched when he attempts to reason with their fathers at Moe’s Tavern – but he appears to be invulnerable, and his terrified assailants flee.
Moe, as luck would have it, has previous in the boxing game, and when Homer discovers he has a unique condition that gives him greater brain protection, the two team up to get Homer to the very peak of the Springfield Amateur Boxing Association (ASSBOX), dispatching many hobos along the way by not fighting back and pushing them over when they tire.
When Don King approaches Moe to have Homer be the sacrificial first opponent for a just-paroled Mike Tyson – sorry, I mean Lucius Sweet and Drederick Tatum, of course – Moe’s conscience eventually trumps his lust for cash, and he flies in thanks to a giant fan to save Homer from probable death, before disappearing to perform various humanitarian acts worldwide.
Tatum’s performance at his circus of a parole hearing, in which he compliments Homer’s skill and integrity but states that he “will definitely make orphans of his children”.

Courtesy 20th Century Fox, via Frinkiac.
The advert for the pay-per-view spectacular "Tatum vs. Simpson: PAYBACK", featuring Tatum stalking out of a prison cell and punching Homer so hard that his head explodes.
Moe’s speech about his boxing career: “…They called me Kid Gorgeous.  Later on, it was Kid Presentable.  Then Kid Gruesome.  And finally, Kid Moe."  We can all relate.

“Why Can’t We Be Friends?” by War is used to great effect here to play up Homer’s seeming lack of understanding about the ordeal he is about to suffer...

...whilst Tatum has the more demonstrative, but clearly not as good.  "Time 4 Sum Aksion" by Redman.  Remember kids: it's not cool to spell things wrong for the sake of it.  I blame Slade.

The show also features the rootin', tootin' theme from Bonanza, and a version of "People" from the Streisand-fronted musical "Funny Girl", though I'm not sure if it is that version or not.

Worth noting that by popular demand, we forwent the national anthem.  Ooh, topical!  (NOTE: was topical at time of writing.  Future topicality may vary.)

Drederick Tatum is the most bare-faced parody of Mike Tyson this side of the Street Fighter series' M. Bison.  First seen in "Homer vs Lisa and The 8th Commandment" as one half of the greatest heavyweight boxing bout in (fictional) history, Tatum has appeared sporadically since, usually to highlight Tyson's antisocial behaviour, as seen in this episode after his incarceration for pushing his mother down the stairs, or to poke fun at boxing or sports in general.

Moe Szyzlak, on the other hand, has had a plethora of appearances and a ton of character development since this episode...  Though little of the latter is pleasant.  A career criminal and a suicidal pervert who is more than happy to sell his friends out for any price (see "Flaming Homer"), he was briefly socialised by the love of a good woman in "Dumbbell Indemnity", and more recently redeemed by his bond with Maggie in "Moe Baby Blues".


I see this episode as a great inversion of the standard sporting underdog story, swapping as it does the standard poor, plucky scrapper for a talentless yet unbeatable hack, who is instantly found out on the big stage.  It does include the usual redemption angle though, as Moe eventually just about chooses friendship over a fortune, making for narrative satisfaction.
This is also a great lampooning of the woeful heavyweight boxing scene of the time, notable for its lack of classic bouts; nobody is in any doubt about the result to come, which for legal reasons I’m told doesn’t remind me of any recent multi-trillion-dollar one-sided fights between boxers and mixed martial artists that everyone wasted their money on a few weeks back. *cough*

Add in the pomp and circumstance of the fight, including Michael Buffer's great introduction of Homer, and episode MVP Moe's struggle with himself and his exchanges with a bewildered Homer, and we have a fantastic 'event' episode that remains watchable long after the irrelevance of the public figures being skewered here.
Join us next time for more sporting action, as we as we settle, once and for all, the burning question: who was England's greatest prime minister?

Thursday, October 19, 2017

22 Short Pieces About Springfield: Number Twenty-Eight - “We’re gonna grease ourselves up *real good*, and trash that place with a baseball bat!”

Season 7, Episode 16
“Lisa The Iconoclast”
Broadcast: February 18, 1996
Courtesy 20th Century Fox, via Frinkiac.

As Springfield's perfectly cromulent bicentennial approaches, Lisa attempts to embiggen an essay on Springfield’s founder by learning more about him at Springfield Historical Society.  In the course of her research she discovers that the character of Jebediah was merely an alias for murderous pirate Hans Sprungfeld, and decides to reveal this in her essay.

Labelled a “greasy thug” by the townsfolk for her besmirching of their hero, Lisa is aided in her quest for the truth by Homer, who has taking the ceremonial position of town crier in the related celebratory parade by sheer volume and obnoxiousness.  He uses his clout to have Jebediah’s coffin exhumed; when the skull inside does not contain the silver tongue Sprungfeld used after his own was bitten off in a bar fight, Lisa is discredited and Homer loses his criership.

Lisa eventually discovers that Hollis Hurlbut, the chairman of the Historical Society, saw the tongue at the disinterment and snatched it while the dust was clearing.  He has an epiphany and rushes Lisa to the parade to present the evidence.  On viewing the crowds she decides that the idea of Jebediah is of utmost importance to the town, opts not to shatter their happy illusion, and reunites with Homer, who has assaulted and replaced his successor as town crier, the hapless Ned Flanders.


A throwaway conversation between Miss Hoover and Mrs Krabappel that actually embiggens the English language.  They gift us not only “embiggen” (a verb meaning to grow or expand), but also “croumulent” (an adjective meaning valid or acceptable).
Courtesy 20th Century Fox, via Frinkiac.
A classic slice of Jerk-Ass Homer (before that was even properly a thing), as he wrests the position of crier from Ned Flanders not once but twice, including damaging the antique hat that Ned actually owns.  Ned, of course, takes it like a champ.
Hans Sprungfeld’s brutal brawl with George Washington, including the most painful employment of wooden dentures imaginable.

"The Ballad of Jebediah Springfield" is played over the closing credits.  This country-fried style seems to suit The Simpsons' songsmiths, as the same basic template would later be used for the classic "Canyonero" and had previously powered Lurleen Lumpkin to what passes for fame for a country singer.


Jebediah Springfield sort-of first appears back in Season One's "The Telltale Head", albeit in statue form.  The founder of Springfield, a town stemming from a disagreement over cousin marriage between Springfield and his good friend Shelbyville Manhattan (as revealed in "Lemon Of Troy"), he was either a buffalo-taming, bear-killing inspiration or a murderous pirate killed by said bear - or, more complicatedly, both.
Some legacy opportunities seem to have been passed by, however: I don’t recall “embiggen”, “cromulent” or the character of Hollis Hurlbut ever making repeat appearances.  That means this bit will be shorter than usual, so...  Er.  Yeah.

“Lisa episodes” have a bad rap with the world in general.  Whereas Bart or Homer’s name in an episode title usually means a mischievous romp is ahead, and Marge’s often alerts us to genuine emotion and adult issues, Lisa’s is usually shorthand for an episode dealing heavy-handedly with an issue around the environment or political and social issues, which is a hard sell for a half-hour comedy.

This one is an exception though.  It deals very deftly with the notion that the idea of a person and the stories around them can be more important than the truth around the person themselves, and that the inspiration taken from these stories can be positive even if the person themselves was no angel, which was recently tackled in a much more on-the-nose fashion by "Rick and Morty", via a paedophilic anthropomorphic jellybean.  As you do.

It’s also a rare episode where we’re entirely on Lisa’s side; she’s not nagging or hectoring, not smug or superior, and the issue at hand is one that is genuinely of a lot of importance, both historically and for her present community.  This time it’s nice to be rooting for the little guy – and she’s the littlest guy we know.
Atomic Sourpuss would like to apologise for the brevity of the "History/Legacy" section in this post.  The author is believed to be too drunk to properly complete his research.  In compensation, we present this picture of a weasel:

Join us next time for part one of a sporting double header, at the blog where I dispense the insults, rather than receive them.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

22 Short Pieces About Springfield: Number Twenty-Nine - "Shh, Lisa! The dog is barking!"

Season 5, Episode 13
"Homer And Apu"
First broadcast: February 10, 1994

Courtesy 20th Century Fox, via Frinkiac.

We establish that Apu, the manager and usually sole worker at the Kwik-E-Mart. is willing to go to immoral lengths to gouge his customers.  Enter Homer, one of the few hungry and dense enough to gorge on spoiled meat.  Homer decides to take his revenge by exposing Apu on the local consumer rights show, "Bite Back with Kent Brockman and his Channel 6 Consumer Watchdog Unit".

Sacked by the Kwik-E-Mart, Apu attempts to find meaning by atoning for his indirect poisoning of Homer.  He achieves this by becoming the then-latest in an ever-lengthening list of people to move in with The Simpsons, following in the footsteps of Mr Burns, Leon Kompowski, Otto Mann and Herb Simpson, and himself followed by...  No.  I'm not going to list them all.

After lying to The Simpsons through song, Apu vows to get his job back.  When Homer accompanies him to the head office in India and thoroughly ruins his chances of forgiveness there, he eventually gets rehired by taking a bullet for his replacement - a pre-"Family Guy" James Woods.


Basically anything related to the hat:

Courtesy 20th Century Fox, via Frinkiac.
...In fact, all of Kent Brockman's involvement.  "Coming up next: the case of the cantankerous old geezer!"

"I'm selling only the concept of karmic realignment."  "You can't sell that! Karma can only be portioned out by the cosmos!"  "He's got me there."

A classic Grandpa Simpson story - "Ah, there's an interesting story behind this nickel. In 1957, I remember it was, I got up in the morning and made myself a piece of toast. I set the toaster to three - medium brown..."


"Who Needs The Kwik-E-Mart?" is probably the first thing you thought of when you realised what episode this was.  Nothing wrong with that; The Simpsons' original, plot-related songs were things of beauty back in the day, and this won't be the last we see of them.

I'm particularly keen on Grandpa's misfortunes and Homer's failure to keep up with the song - a subtle callback to the previous season's "Monorail".


As an immigrant store clerk with a non-Christian religion, Apu Nahasapeemapetilon is a character that is not without potential execution problems in an American sitcom - or a British one, for that matter - and could easily be nothing more than an unfortunate stereotype.

To their credit, the Simpsons' writing staff have handled the character with a deft touch for most of his appearances, and he has largely been used either to positively showcase Indian culture or simply as a character unbound by his ethnicity.

The Homer/Apu combo would be revisited in future episodes "Much Apu About Nothing", which also makes a valid point about immigration and its place in American culture, and "The Two Mrs. Nahasapeemapetilons", which does the same for arranged marriage whilst introducing his wife,  Manjula.

Another Homer and Apu episode is "Eight Misbehavin'", which unfortunately also introduced Apu's octuplets, in one of the seemingly desperate twists thrown in post-Season 10.  Most Apu and/or Manjula sightings since have revolved around the logistical problems in having eight babies.

Finally, Homer returns to India in a later episode, "Kiss Kiss, Bang Bangalore" in Season 17.  He goes as he mistakes it for Indiana.  Don't ask.  The whole thing reads like they realised they didn't put a Bollywood sequence in this episode and wanted a second swing.


This is a rare example of a great episode that bears the crosses of later seasons: it's both an episode where a side character moves in with 'hilarious' consequences, and a "The Simpsons Are Going To..." episode - two tropes we have probably seen enough of post-2000.
It's also a supremely well-balanced episode, admittedly one that takes many odd twists and even takes its protagonist to the other side of the world, but ramps the stakes up so evenly that even the more off-the-wall elements seem more earned than in later, less well-realised offerings.

The story manages to establish a new friendship that would provide the crux of future classics and fully flesh out a supporting character for later use, and as such is a pivotal episode, as well as a damn good one.

Join us next time when we’ll be embiggening your day with a perfectly cromulent blog post.

Thursday, October 05, 2017

22 Short Pieces About Springfield: Number Thirty - "I think I hate Ted Koppel!"

Season 5, Episode 16
"Homer Loves Flanders"
First broadcast: March 17, 1994

Courtesy 20th Century Fox, via Frinkiac.

We kick off with an episode that heavily features a Simpsons side character mainstay, Ned Flanders.  This zealously Christian man of moderation occupies the house next door to The Simpsons, casting their less pious lifestyles in stark relief and vexing Homer with his every move...

...Until a radio phone-in competition (Christ, that really ages it) brings Ned two tickets to the big football game, and he takes Homer as his guest.  Homer and Ned strike up a healthy friendship, which Homer naturally takes too far, ending in a disastrous camping trip.

Like most human beings forced to spend too much time with Homer Simpson, Flanders eventually snaps, soiling his reputation in the community in the process.  But Homer implores the congregation to give Ned another chance, and all signs point to a massive sea change in the ongoing series - perhaps Ned and Homer will remain friends after all?


The sequence that launched a thousand gifs - Homer disappearing into a hedge.  These days it's easy to forget that it leads directly to an on-point "Terminator 2: Judgement Day" homage, with Homer spearing Ned's car with putters and hanging on, dead-eyed, for as long as possible.

Courtesy 20th Century Fox, via Giphy.

The opening speech by Kent Brockman, playing on the perception that the news was over-dramatizing stories to create a climate of fear - how times change, eh? - by branding the US Army "The Killbot Factory".

Lisa's prediction that everything will return to normal, which turns out to be entirely correct in the last ten or so seconds of the episode.


Eddie Money, responsible for Time Life Rock Classics deep cut "People Hold On", is featured heavily with his almost-as-good offering "Two Tickets To Paradise"...

...Excellent refrain.

That's not to mention Homer's spirited rendition of The Village People's seminal "Macho Man", offered here as "Nacho Man" as he wears a nacho hat, an invention that I would say I wish someone had made, were I not 100% certain, without having to Google it, that some damn fool has probably not only made a very flimsy hat out of a toasted corn dough, but also worn it like it's somehow an achievement.

And even after all that, I still have to pause to mention Rappin' Ronnie Reagan.  He DID say "well" a lot.


For most of the first couple of seasons Ned Flanders had been little more than a one-note joke, pointedly placed next door to the Simpsons family to provide an all-too-pure contrast to their chaos.

He would eventually become a full blown antagonist, albeit a somewhat gentle one, in "Dead Putting Society", before "When Flanders Failed" laid the foundations for a Homer-Ned friendship, as seen in this episode.

I think there's enough affection for both characters that their alliance, though temporary, is a treat for the audience, and would be explored again in such episodes as "Viva Ned Flanders" and the awfully-titled (but actually pretty good) "Sex, Pies And Idiot Scrapes", where the two are unlikely bounty hunters.

Wow, that last one really does sound rubbish on paper.  Give it a go though!


The Simpsons is a very different show now to the family portrait it was for the first couple of seasons,  and this list will likely bear out my affection for the wider rogue's gallery of Springfieldians.

Episodes with a focus on non-Simpson recurring characters help to flesh out the world of The Simpsons, and stupid sexy Flanders is key in that; as the sober yin to Homer's raging yang, he provides a balance that would otherwise be lacking, and even though we're meant to root for Homer - and do, most of the time - it's impossible for me to want anything but the best for Ned, a character who is going to go through an awful lot both as Homer's neighbour, and Springfield's moral compass.

This was the episode that first established Ned as a go-to character; from here on in, if you were watching a Flanders-heavy episode, you were unlikely to be disappointed.

Join us next time when, in stark contrast to today's entry, we'll learn that life is one crushing defeat after another until you just wish Flanders was dead.

Sunday, October 01, 2017

22 Short Pieces About Springfield: Zero - Starts and Beginnings

The first episode of The Simpsons I ever saw was "Call Of The Simpsons", and it was terrible.

Courtesy 20th Century Fox, via Frinkiac.
I was aware that The Simpsons was a thing, but as a stranger to Sky TV in its early years, was not swept along on the wave.  A show about an annoying, essentially unsupportable kid, with poor animation, moral lessons by the back door and gentle (if any) humour, I honestly thought the hype was due to the relatively low take-up of Sky TV, and the social stock that came from being someone who could view the show in this country.

The third episode I ever saw was "Bart Gets Hit By A Car", and I still wasn't convinced.

However, this was nowhere near as unengaging as the first season offerings, but it still seemed to be a show that would not be able to appeal to me; the comedy was definitely connecting better with me though, and I did make a mental note to check back later and see how it was coming along.

So what hooked me?

Courtesy 20th Century Fox, via Frinkiac.

Truckasaurus, of course.  The fifth episode I ever saw was "Bart The Daredevil".

Now here was an episode I could get behind: less mawkish, more relatable and with the ultimate swerve at the end, a happy ending realistically denied, albeit in arguably the most cartoonish sequence the show would offer up for some time.  So I can get human drama AND Wile E Coyote-style slapstick?  Sold.

Since then, thanks in no small part to a) getting cable TV in 1996 and b) The Simpsons coming to terrestrial television in the UK, I have become a fully paid-up Simpsons obsessive.

Quite simply put, and despite my love of "Doctor Who", "House", "Father Ted" and a plethora of other shows, I believe that seasons four to nine (inclusive) of The Simpsons is the greatest television ever made - comedy, animation or otherwise.

I quote The Simpsons every day, with bonus points for doing it in meetings; usually the bit about "weaselling out of things", although - and this was a stretch - I did once manage "this is worse than your song about Mr. T!"  I've promoted a Simpsons-themed punk rock and quiz night, at which I appeared dressed as Troy McClure, and recently won a different Simpsons quiz thanks to the able help of TV's Clangers expert, Tim Worthington.

A bootleg DVD of Season Fifteen got me through the choppy early weeks of my 'adventure' at university - though like all of my kind, I am legally obliged not to like anything after Season 10 (but I do still secretly love seeing new episodes - as will be borne out by my upcoming list).  I once bonded with a stranger in Bristol over my Globex Industries t-shirt.  I made a point of looking for "BORT" licence plates on a recent trip to Texas.

My favourite though is this little doozy: on an early date, my girlfriend impressed me greatly by making a Simpsons reference I didn't recognise, and I adored her even more for it - though it is with great regret that I must refute her accusation (note to self: possible cologne idea).

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox, via Frinkiac.
Lately I've been at a creative low ebb, in part due to laziness, but also due to some genuine personal inconveniences.  I've therefore decided to mine my deep vein of Simpsons knowledge and appreciation and present my top 30 episodes, in hope that it will spark me to greater writing and/or musical highs.  It probably won't, though.

So every Thursday for the next 30 weeks, you'll go where I've gone!  Defile what I've defiled!  Eat who I've eaten!...  Oh, wait, no: that was Genghis Khan.  But if you tune in here each Thursday, I'll try and tell you why I like each of the episodes I've chosen.  And you might even stumble across a couple of very special bonus blog posts along the way!

But come not to judge, friend; these are merely opinions.  Creating debate is good, but slating others for their views on a television show is not.  Remember: everybody has a favourite Simpsons episode - and everyone is right.

How can you afford to miss this cavalcade of fun?  Colour yourself tickled pink to join us on Thursday for number 30, or we'll have to give your noggin a-floggin'!