Thursday, May 03, 2018

22 Short Pieces About Springfield: - G.F. Hirons And His Heavy Friends Present "Simpsons Roundtable" 2

Kat Alvarado, transplant from Obama’s America (all subsequent Americas are declared null and void). Beer swiller. Less annoying but somehow angrier feminist. Unrepentant lifestyle deviant. Addicted to dumplings.

Favourite Episode:

Lisa vs Malibu Stacey. This aired when I was about 8 and it wouldn’t have been long after that I managed to first watch it. This was a very important episode for me as I was struggling with those same issues - infuriating double standards, getting the shit choices in toys and basically everything else, and not only experiencing the pressures to be A Girl™ but also the active discouragement of being anything else (like a science-loving tomboy). I saw that it wasn’t just me that thought it was bullshit!

Courtesy 20th Century Fox, via Frinkiac.
Favourite Character:

From the above, it will likely be no surprise that Lisa was always my favourite character. I saw a lot of myself in her growing up, which was a double edged sword really. Her storylines gave me hope that my crazy progressive and egalitarian ideas were maybe not so crazy after all, and she helped show that it was ok to be a big nerd as a girl. Her philosophical and moral struggles were also echoed however (think Lisa the Iconoclast), which only reenforced the frustration and sometimes hopelessness that come with having to exist in society and in a reality with very few “right” answers.

Favourite Moment:

I’m veeeeery tempted by “stupid sexy Flanders!”...

Courtesy 20th Century Fox, via Frinkiac.

...But I'm going to have to go with:

Willy: Yea I bought yer mutt. And I ‘ate him!
Bart: (Gasp!)
Willy: I ‘ate his little face, I ‘ate his guts, and I 'ate the way he's always barkin’. So, I gave him to the church.
Bart: Oh, I see. You hate him, so you gave him to the church.
Willy: Aye. I also ‘ate the mess he left on me rug. Ya ‘eard me!

Find Kat @girlsgamesgrog on FB, Twitter, Meetup, and Instagram. Thank you, I owe you some dumplings x

Rich Dorries, lover AND fighter, Cheap Beer Enthusiast, destroyer of the environment one petrol tank and set of tyres at a time.

EPISODE: Very difficult for me this.  I love so many.  After wrestling with Two Bad Neighbours, Homer Goes to College and Bart vs. Australia I think it's the latter.  I'll never forgive myself for casting the other two aside like a parent choosing to keep the one child they love just a bit more than the rest.

But anyhoo, this child has Prime Minister Andy, Big Beer, definitely no Coffee (B, E . . .) Chazwozzers, Knifey Spooney, a giant Boot, and 900 Dollarydoos.  I particularly like how Homer gets behind Bart regardless of how bad he behaves through pure blind patriotism and completely in defiance and against the advice of both governments.

CHARACTER: Oh this is easy.  Let me give you the 411 on this. Like Miller said, it's Moe.  I love how horrible he is, yet loveable.  His constant social faux pas, and his passive criminality with the whales and the pandas and such.  I look forward to a Moe episode.

“Man, you go through life, you try to be nice to people, you struggle to resist the urge to punch 'em in the face, and for what?”

Courtesy 20th Century Fox, via Frinkiac.
MOMENT: Has to be in Two Bad Neighbours where it cuts to Homer at the breakfast table reading an encyclopaedia section on U.S. Presidents and then grumbling 'his story checks out' about George Bush only to immediately recognise Gerald Ford at the episodes conclusion.  As a lover of history it gets me every time that Homer wouldn't know one but would know the other.

Rich didn't give me a link, but he loves a bit of the ol' motorcycle racing, so... Er... Go and watch some?

Ben Baker, author, podcaster and ineffective goggles supplier

Favourite Episode: The 138th Episode Spectacular

It’s to the credit of show-runners and official Simpsons history geeks Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein that when faced with the grey uninvolving task of compiling a clip show to save on animation costs and increase the number of episodes Fox had for syndicating around the world they created this beautiful stew of repurposed classic moments from the series' already rich back catalogue, early scenes from when the family existed in short interstitials breaking up the sketches on "the nation's showcase for psychiatrist jokes and musical comedy numbers" "The Tracey Ullman Show" (the entirety of which have never been released despite the obvious demand, possibly due to an unpleasant court case Ullman had with the creators over getting a cut of royalties) and deleted scenes from a time where such things were discussed only in whispers and the internet or DVD had yet to make the mainstream.

As for the "twenty-three percent new footage" promised by host Troy McClure - who we may remember from "Alien Nose Job" and Five Fabulous Weeks Of "The Chevy Chase Show" - it is of a perfect vintage, half in love and half openly mocking the series and its creators.

The "early drawings" of Abe and Krusty being little more than children's scribbles alone always makes me weep laughing along with the line "they were never popular!" and the interpretation of Matt Groening as an embittered right-wing drunk. And of course it ends with what we've all come here to see - Hardcore Nudity! 

Courtesy 20th Century Fox, via Frinkiac.
Favourite Character: While Homer, Burns and Lisa are undoubtedly at the top of my favourites pile, I think my love for Krusty the Clown just pips the lot. A truly awful, perverse and immoral man with no qualms about endorsing a product or service and yet, over the course of the first ten years, we get to see the range of Krusty's back catalogue of television which has seemingly taken in everything from an erudite talk show to huge budget celebrity spectacular.

In fact, is it too late to change my favourite episode to "Krusty Gets Kancelled"? It is? Lousy half-brother Luke Perry. If you need me, I'll be at the Sex Cauldron…

Courtesy 20th Century Fox, via Frinkiac.
Favourite Moment: The first ever episode finally airing after months of hyping. My family were fortunate, depending on how you look at it, to get a second hand Sky dish at a time when a subscription for regular channels wasn't needed and I learnt - out of sheer boredom, very much the theme of this article - that if you waggled the card around just right, you could also unscramble the movie channels too.

In my older much more aware years, I take pride in this little spit in the general direction of Rupert Murdoch and his, let’s be honest, bloody awful satellite service which now is full of new dramas and a big investment in comedy but prior to a certain yellow family moving in - more on which shortly - it was thin gruel of the old US sitcoms Channel 4 didn't want, very cheap game shows and imports from Fox TV in the States. Oh and “Lonesome Dove”.

When the Springfield five made their long awaited arrival in September 1990, I would happily watch the first Sunday showing at 6:30pm - a timeslot tradition that seems to have pleasingly held all these years - AND the same week repeats on Thursdays. Sky even had a “Simpsons week” once they'd reached enough episodes to fill five days in a row. And I'd have been there watching them all again.

It’s not even like season one is especially that good compared to what followed but it became an instant (and rare) family-centring ritual which was upheld until the end of the decade and my moving out in our household.

You can find my books including several quiz compilations and a bulging retrospective of classic British Christmas TV at

Also: Krusty saying "what the hell was that?" which is the funniest take on any line ever recorded in the history of TV.

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