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Amph The Simpsons

Discussion in 'Community' started by Baron-Noir, Apr 1, 2005.

  1. timmoishere

    timmoishere Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 2, 2007
    For those who don't know, there's a fantastic Simpsons podcast called Four Finger Discount: http://www.fourfingerdiscount.com.au
    Feat
    They dedicate each week's podcast episode to reviewing one Simpsons episode at a time. They're midway through season 5 now ($pringfield).
     
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  2. jp-30

    jp-30 Manager Emeritus star 10 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Dec 14, 2000
    Is anyone else puzzled by the way LEGO handled the Simpsons license? Two sets of Collectible Minifigures, and 2 very expensive adult collector sets (and later a couple of Dimensions video game toys-to-life sets).



    There are so many classic scenes / vehicles that could have been done (most using the existing CMF minifig head molds) at the usual LEGO price points: Mr Plow. Marge's car, Homer's Nuclear Plant Office. The Comic Book Shop. The Homermobile. Town Square. Moe's (I know, I know, taverns are only OK in the Star Wars universe)...

    Anyone got any other suggestions as to (well) under $300+ sets they'd have like to have seen?

    Oh, and the license is still active, there is a Homer & Krusty Brick Headz set forthcoming (ugly, blocky Pop Vinyl type things)

    [​IMG]
     
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  3. grd4

    grd4 Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 11, 2013
    This is the best encapsulation I've encountered on how The Simpsons descended.

     
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  4. Ramza

    Ramza Administrator Emeritus star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA VIP

    Registered:
    Jul 13, 2008
    I love Super Eyepatch Wolf but the Dead Homers-inspired theory put forward in that video (Ironically the very video that got me into his stuff) is... incomplete at best.

    For starters, he proposes that "Simpsonsmania" began around season 3, which is demonstrably false - Season 3 witnessed some of the sharpest declines in the overall ratings to date, as the initial burst of enthusiasm that accompanied the first two seasons wore off and the show slid into its more comfortable position as an edgy children's program (i.e. you could never openly acknowledge it was a kids' show but it was an open secret that that was effectively the case). This was probably a combination of going up against Cosby and the end of a faddish trend, rather than the decline of quality (indeed I suspect nearly everyone would agree that S3 marks something like a beginning of a golden age).

    Next, he correctly diagnoses the problem of writer exodus but fails to account for the fact that there were really two - one at the end of S4 (which is why "Cape Feare," the last S4 production episode, was sometimes cited as a shark jumping point in circa-2000s articles) for general projects, and another at the end of S8 (which ironically means that the oft-derided "The Principal and the Pauper," an S8 production episode, was very much the product of the "good" writing team in such a theory) largely for Futurama. I think the distinction is actually important here - you get some carryover of Sam Simon's (often underrated) influence surviving the first exodus, but the second exodus holdovers weren't around for S3 and then that's lost.

    Third, and maybe most critically, while the Scully years are usually seen as weaker - and I agree! - the tone shifts aren't quite as radical as Wolf makes them out to be. If anything, it's a logical continuation of the Merkin era, which then only stands out in contrast to Oakley & Weinstein. Merkin's run is key, as it demonstrates that rather than broad caricatures ("Jerkass Homer" and the like) being purely unsustainable they require the harsh pessimism of his approach, which Scully was never going to bring to the table (just check out interviews with the guy - he's a big ol' TV show writing teddy bear). While I'm rarely itching to revisit anything from S9-S12 other than the highlights - and the existence of said highlights at all says wonders considering how long the show had been running - I don't think it's an unsustainable fall. If the show had ended with Scully's departure I suspect we would view the 12 season The Simpsons as a triumph with something of an on ramp and an off ramp.

    So let me propose a slight counter narrative - the problem is Al Jean and Fox. Or, more specifically, the problem is Al Jean developing a decidedly non-Simpsons approach during his extended absence, and what Fox makes him do. The cracks are most obvious during his guest episodes, which you can play off the context to see just what's going wrong - "'Round Springfield" is maudlin crap, something the regular writers were well aware of, and while the others are better they're very... Critic-y, and while I love The Critic the style is different and it always felt second-guessed. So Jean's now coming to the table circa-S13 (really S10 but he's only formally empowered from 13 on) and he's not really thinking Simpsons qua Simpsons these days and the glory days are long gone and Fox just happens to start noticing that the best viewed episodes all seem to involve bankable guest stars. So Fox wants more guest stars, Jean has to oblige because even though the show makes bank relative to other Fox TV shows it's never... perfectly tenable, only just enough. And this is maybe my ultimate issue with Wolf's argument - The Simpsons didn't keep going because the people working on it all want to make more money (I mean, they do, but who doesn't? If I offered you $500 to eat a mediocre burger or you personally had to pay $200 for a nice steak, you'll probably take the burger), The Simpsons kept going because Fox makes a lot of money on The Simpsons and would happily continue with other people in key positions if necessary (as demonstrated by threats made during multiple contract disputes over the years). People still watch The Simpsons in the sort of numbers that, these days, seem like television gold - a king's ransom of guarantee millions in an era where shows struggle to survive. The adjective Wolf uses - zombie - is perfect, because the show's dead and propped up by the "magic" of the market.

    So... I dunno where I was going with all of this. Wolf's video is good, but also read Mike Reiss' new book and check out the podcast Talking Simpsons? Think critically about the media you consume? Respect the hustle?

    Edit: And, now, seriously, because I just wrote something long and pointless disagreeing with SEW, please check out his other videos, he's really good at offering a fresh perspective on things he enjoys and generally manages to reasonably articulate why he doesn't like the things he dislikes. Even if he doesn't know what "deconstruction" means.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2018
  5. The2ndQuest

    The2ndQuest Tri-Mod With a Mouth star 10 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jan 27, 2000
    I can't watch the videos at the moment, but were there any BTS shifts around the time of the movie's production? Because when I got my Tivo and started recording the Simpsons again (after probably half a decade away from the show) about 2 years before the movie came out, the show seemed to have a very high dud-to-funny episode ratio. Yet, after the film, it seemed rejuvenated and bounced back pretty strongly.
     
  6. Ramza

    Ramza Administrator Emeritus star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA VIP

    Registered:
    Jul 13, 2008
    Yes, but not in the way you think - the movie started production all the way back in 2001, so right at the switch from Scully to Jean. :p

    Also in 2007 Mike Reiss came back and infamous "bad guy writer" Ian Maxtone-Graham began taking a back seat. So maybe that's related. But there's not the big, obvious blinking sign the way a mass writer exodus or a showrunner change would indicate, although there is something of a rolling writer staff turnover in the S15-S20 range that could account for the change.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2018
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  7. TiniTinyTony

    TiniTinyTony JCC Game Winner star 6 VIP - Game Winner

    Registered:
    Mar 9, 2003
    I do recall that The Simpsons episodes had that stigma early on of the anti-family as my mom wouldn't let me watch it (or Married with Children or Nickelodeon's You Can't Do that on Television), but of course I would still sneak and attempt to watch an episode here or there, but if I got caught, I had to change the channel and missed the rest of the episode. So as a result, I never got into the Simpsons and was more of a Family Guy fan. I wonder if the author of the video above did a "Fall of Family Guy" because the decline of that show seems fairly obvious as well.
     
  8. Drac39

    Drac39 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 9, 2002
    I never felt as if Ian Maxton Graham had a more consistent reputation of writing clunkers. His early work on the show is really good. I think 'The City of New York vs Homer Simpson' is one of the last true home run classics
     
  9. SuperWatto

    SuperWatto Manager Emeritus star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 19, 2000
    That sounds as quixotic on here as my huffing about celeb and movie culture.
     
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  10. Chancellor_Ewok

    Chancellor_Ewok Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Nov 8, 2004
    @jp-30 Some other well-duh! Lego Simpsons kits would be the school, Burns’ manor, Burns’ office, Bart’s treehouse, Flander’s house and Reverend Lovejoy’s church.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2018
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  11. Ramza

    Ramza Administrator Emeritus star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA VIP

    Registered:
    Jul 13, 2008
    It's more that he's perceived (rightly or wrongly) as somewhat hostile towards the show and fans, and consequently some attribute the more mean-spirited jokes that put people off later seasons to him. All I'm convinced of is he definitely has a writing credit on some of the worst stuff in S13 and S14 and that's where I tapped out.

    I think Wolf's gone on record saying Family Guy doesn't mean very much to him so he's not especially interested in that story. Like, he did "The Fall of Bleach" instead, guy definitely does what he wants. :p
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2018
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  12. cerealbox

    cerealbox Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    May 5, 2016
    YCDTOT, MWC and early Simpsons are 3 of my top 7 favorite shows growing up.

    Heck, I'm the one that GOT my parents watching Married With Children.
     
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  13. icqfreak

    icqfreak Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 7, 1999
    I don't mind seasons 9-12 as much as some fans. It's going downhill, but most of the episodes are still enjoyable, and there's still some classics as well.

    Season 13 is the dropping off point for me probably. From then on it just gets worse and worse.

    Movie was great though.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2018
  14. Artoo-Dion

    Artoo-Dion Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Jun 9, 2009
    9-12 just feel... hollow. It feels less grounded in the characters and more about using them as props. At its peak, it combined really sharp satire with genuinely poignant character arcs; seasons 9-12 just didn't really put the effort in on either front.

    The Spin-Off Showcase would have been the perfect final episode. It was a very blunt acknowledgement that the future of the show was pretty bleak.
     
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  15. Drac39

    Drac39 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 9, 2002
    Yeah it's a very smart self aware episode. I used to use Phil Hartman's death as kind of the pinpoint of where the show took it's steep decline although I'm finding that I'm less hard on 10-11.
     
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  16. BigAl6ft6

    BigAl6ft6 Force Ghost star 7

    Registered:
    Nov 12, 2012
    I try to catch as can any new ones from the last two years, I think there's still a solid laugh in there somewhere. But basically I think you can end it with Bart to the Future in Season 11 (which it almost did!) and then watch the movie as a capper.

    I straight up love the movie, I think it holds up really well with some of the classic stuff. Only gripe is it could have used more Mr. Burns but what he is in there is great. Also, factoid, the EPA main lead in one draft of the story was actually supposed to be Hank Scorpio! Which I would have loved but, still, it's Albert Brooks in the Simpsons, he can do anything.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2018
  17. Boba_Fett_2001

    Boba_Fett_2001 Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Dec 11, 2000
    I've always thought Season 11 would've been the best season to end it. Behind The Laughter would've been a great series finale.
     
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  18. Drac39

    Drac39 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 9, 2002
    I really don't know how you could do a series finale that had a sense of finality to it. The characters seem impervious to any sort of meaningful change in their patterns or motivations.
     
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  19. WriterMan

    WriterMan Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 26, 2012
    I think "Last Exit to Springfield" if put at the end of Season 8, probably would've been the closest we got to a satisfying ending.
     
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  20. BigAl6ft6

    BigAl6ft6 Force Ghost star 7

    Registered:
    Nov 12, 2012
    Al Jean has said a few times that he has considered that the last scene of The Simpsons should be the first scene of The Simpsons, which would go with the "nothing ever changes" angle.

    https://news.avclub.com/heres-how-al-jean-thinks-the-simpsons-should-end-1827898425

    The Simpsons will never end, even if a super-intelligent computer has to keep generating episodes long after humanity has been eradicated, but showrunner Al Jean has an ending in mind anyway. Speaking with Geek Tyrant, Jean reiterated an idea he first pitched on Twitter back in 2014, suggesting that the final episode should end with the family going to the same Christmas pageant they attended in the very first episode. As he says, this would create a perfect loop that allows the show to continue on “without a beginning or an end”—as long as you can ignore the changes in animation quality. Jean also acknowledged that simply bringing up this idea in public means it probably won’t happen now, especially since he’s done it twice, but it is a clever idea that would create an interesting hook for the ending.
     
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  21. Leoluca Randisi

    Leoluca Randisi Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 24, 2014
    wasn't the first scene in the Simpsons we ever see In "Simpsons Roasting On An Open Fire" the Simpsons family traveling to Springfield Elementary in the snow at Christmas for Bart and Lisa's Christmas pageant?
     
  22. Chancellor_Ewok

    Chancellor_Ewok Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Nov 8, 2004
    Yes, The Simpsons pilot episode was a Christmas special.
     
  23. Leoluca Randisi

    Leoluca Randisi Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 24, 2014
    so Al Jean is hinting the last episode ever will be a Christmas episode? I would love that may be in the Future!
     
  24. EHT

    EHT Anthology Manager star 7 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Sep 13, 2007
    Yes, agreed. I wish they’d already found a way, though, and maybe they still can (even though it feels like it’ll be too little too late). I used to love it, but for quite a while now I’ve tended to forget it’s even still an active show.
     
  25. Drac39

    Drac39 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 9, 2002
    I think 'The Simpsons' are destined to become something like the Warner Brothers cartoons where they can take long breaks from them but still come back and do more should the mood (or the need for money) strike
     
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