Thursday, May 10, 2018

22 Short Pieces About Springfield: - G.F. Hirons And His Heavy Friends Present "Simpsons Roundtable" 3

Phil Catterall: a stupid moron with an ugly face and big butt and his butt smells and… He likes to kiss his own butt.

Favourite Episode: You Only Move Twice
I know, this is probably an obvious pick, but even twenty two years after it's initial broadcast this one still makes me howl. The central premise of Homer getting a job working for a supervillain is such a strong core to build the episode around (especially as he only gets the job by dint of having worked at the nuclear plant for longer than anyone except Smithers), but it's all the quick gags that make it for me.

The panhandler in the Cypress Creek promotional video that turns into a mailbox, the UN's response to the destruction of the 59th Street Bridge ("Maybe it just collapsed on it's own"), Hank Scorpio's apparent habit of keeping loose sugar in his pockets, Grampa's plaintive cries ("I'm cold and there are wolves after me!") - it's full of genuine laugh out loud moments.

It also has those character beats that I think lie at the heart of all the really good Simpsons episodes - in particular, the fact that Homer is actually good at his new job and it's heartbreaking when he has to abandon it (even though he's doing it in the middle of a military assault on Scorpio's facility) and go back to the drudgery of working for Mr Burns. But abandon it he does because his family are desperately unhappy, and I honestly find that more moving than the "Do It For Her" moment of "And Maggie Makes Three", because he's giving up a better job, home, salary and his happiness to give them back theirs.

Courtesy 20th Century Fox, via Frinkiac.
And all of this is before we even get to Hank Scorpio himself, a Bond style supervillain who is also the best boss you could ever hope to have. Sure, he's power crazed and bent on world domination, but he knows where to get the best business hammocks (the hammock district, naturally) and he'll pay for them. He looks after his people, and even though he sends Homer the wrong NFL team, you know he’d give him that job back in a second.

Favourite Moment:

This is significantly tougher, so I’m going to cheat a bit - every second there’s a Phil Hartman character on screen. Troy McClure’s filmography never fails to make me smile (I remember him from such films as “P is for Psycho” and “The President’s Neck Is Missing”), I totally get why the people of Springfield bought Lyle Lanley’s monorail (it WAS a strong song), and basically everything that comes out of Lionel Hutz’ mouth is golden.

I don’t know how much of it is Hartman’s distinctive voice and how much of it is the writers knowing exactly what they can get from him and tailoring the lines accordingly, but it all just works. I don’t think there’s a bad episode with Hartman in. Well, maybe Bart Vs. Australia.

Drew Steiner, 'the guy the audience goes mad for when he walks in the room'.

EPISODE: "Bart On The Road" - classic moment followed by classic moment.  The 'can we stop for ice cream?' bit, the cruise control bit, the wig shop in the Sunosphere bit, the Al Gore doll, just class from start to end.

CHARACTER: I think I'd have to go for Bart.  But to narrow it down to one is really difficult.  If I can have a fave 5 I'd have Disco Stu, Moe, Hitler, Mr Teenie and Chief Wiggum.T: t

MOMENT: Carl (with big obvious pyramid hat on): So er, ain't anyone gonna ask about the hat?

Lenny: Hmm, hey Carl, what's with the hat?

Courtesy 20th Century Fox, via Frinkiac.
Drew is chief beard coordinator for The Liverbeards, Liverpool's premier club for the facially hirsute.

Tom Williamson, skeptic, flag enthusiast, Internet wrangler and ex-scientist.

EPISODE: The Summer of 4 ft 2. It’s got everything. Homer is on top form, it’s got some great moments of fine animation, and it’s the source of the “You got the dud” meme. But most importantly the story revolving around Lisa has a warm and fuzzy ending.

CHARACTER: Lisa Simpson. I really empathised with her when I was a kid. A smart fish out of water
who subscribes to Junior Skeptic magazine, what’s not to love?

Courtesy 20th Century Fox, via Frinkiac.
MOMENT: the bit where Homer is in the cinema and he taps his drink to get the last few drops but instead gets a mouthful of ice, then pops up as if nothing happened. The craft and timing of that bit is top notch!

You can find Tom’s site at And, you can find me and Tom's new podcast RETROSPECTICUS - a Simpsons/modern history podcast - at

Join us next week when - FINALLY - you will get to see what Atomic Sourpuss thinks the best episode of The Simpsons is!

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