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Author Topic: The Old Man and the Simpsons Thread  (Read 17739 times)
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SpaceGoldfish fromWazn

Urban Legend
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« Reply #680 on: 12-19-2011 21:59 »

God do they ever have an episode that doesn't have a celebrity guest of some sort?  When I was younger I dreamed of being so famous I appeared on the Simpsons.  But then I realised how shitty the constant guest appearances where, and changed my ambition to being a talking head on Futurama.

I mean seriously, Lady fucking Gaga?   That's even worse then the stupid Kesha opening.   What's annoying, is when they have a genuinely interesting/talented guest, it gets waisted in a pointless role (Emily Blunt in Lisa the Beauty Queen, for example.)

Seriously, you know a show is way past the U Bend when they start to try and parody Heavenly Creatures, of all things.
cyber_turnip

Urban Legend
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« Reply #681 on: 12-19-2011 22:56 »

The most recent episode (the one I've been proclaiming as the first good episode in 6 years) didn't have any guest stars.

Coincidence?
Dorsal Axe

Bending Unit
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« Reply #682 on: 12-20-2011 00:09 »
« Last Edit on: 12-20-2011 00:10 »

I've wondered the same thing, although IMO I think it just depends on whether the guest star is shoehorned into the episode or not.

I think "The Book Job" is a good episode, which happens to feature a prominent guest star. I think Neil Gaiman only works so well in that episode because of how well integrated he is. It's the random and nonsensical cameos or poorly defined roles that are irritating.

But yeah, there's a pattern. And if an episode is chock full of guest stars, then usually you can expect to see each one crammed into the episode with a lame cameo, which just adds nothing and drags the whole episode down.
SpaceGoldfish fromWazn

Urban Legend
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« Reply #683 on: 12-20-2011 00:11 »

The one which had Ellen Degeneres and Simon Cowell/American Idol judges comes to mind.   That one was truly awful.  It was like a val-u-pak of lame pointless cameos. 
cyber_turnip

Urban Legend
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« Reply #684 on: 12-20-2011 05:20 »

I've wondered the same thing, although IMO I think it just depends on whether the guest star is shoehorned into the episode or not.

I think "The Book Job" is a good episode, which happens to feature a prominent guest star. I think Neil Gaiman only works so well in that episode because of how well integrated he is. It's the random and nonsensical cameos or poorly defined roles that are irritating.
I wouldn't go so far as to call it good, but it was certainly the least awful episode in a long, long while, but Neil Garman still stuck out like a sore thumb to me. The main reason being that he isn't an actor and his vocal performance - whilst better than most non-actor guest stars on the show, wasn't great. But also, he was fairly unnecessary - it felt as if they went into the episode thinking "we have to write a famous author into the plot" and so it still didn't feel natural to me although it was a better job than the show normally does of crow-barring people in.
winna

Avatar Czar
DOOP Ubersecretary
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« Reply #685 on: 12-20-2011 14:08 »

This isn't a new trend though.  For over a decade the Simpsons has been padding their episodes with cameos from various celebrities, and although they can do a poor job with it, there are also times where the episodes are elevated by the guest appearance.

They don't bother me so much, because it's new material regardless, and I don't expect them to be able to pull 40 years of genuine material out of a whole in the wall.

This is definitely Simpsons territory though, and the suggestion that they might be copying off of another's shows formula is preposterous.  As South Park suggested, and it's very true, the Simpsons did it, and it's major influence into the fact that mainstream animation has become more prevalent, especially at the adult level, since the 1990s.
SpaceGoldfish fromWazn

Urban Legend
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« Reply #686 on: 12-20-2011 15:26 »

Well the last decade or so (give or take a year or two) has been during the show's decline.  The 90s was the golden age of the show after all.   I mean if you pick up the Simpsons episode guide for that era and compare it to now, Special Guest voices for characters go from Tress MacNeille to Simon Cowell.   
winna

Avatar Czar
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« Reply #687 on: 12-20-2011 15:28 »

I don't think it was such a sudden change as that.  The early Simpsons had its own set of guest stars in the earlier years too, and they were filler in the same way, and a vehicle to make the show up to date with culture at the time.  I mean, as another example, videogames have always been portrayed in the series, and they themselves have evolved with the times too.
SpaceGoldfish fromWazn

Urban Legend
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« Reply #688 on: 12-20-2011 15:55 »

Well they've always had celebrity guests, but they were rarer and usually MUCH better intergrated into the show, like Danny Dvito as Herb.   If it was today, it would probably just be Bart going: "Look mom, it's Danny Dvito!" and him strolling over to talk to them for a bit.  The episodes are usually much better when the celebrities play a character rather then themselves (which is why I really am dreading the Gaga episode.  Sure Matt Groening says he's very impressed by her performance in the recording studio, but he's hardly going to say she's terrible.)

I have to admit, I'd love an episode where Helena Bonham Carter guest stars, if she hasn't yet.
winna

Avatar Czar
DOOP Ubersecretary
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« Reply #689 on: 12-20-2011 16:10 »

To my recollection their guest appearances included people who just showed up as themselves, as well as the playing new guest characters.  I also believe they were doing guest appearances as new guest characters in seasons past 10.. not absolutely certain about the last five years though, but it would surprise me if that didn't happen.  Also, if Danny Devito showed up now, Bart would probably exclaim about how he's Frank on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.  Now that you bring it up, they should do that.
JoshTheater

Space Pope
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« Reply #690 on: 12-20-2011 18:06 »
« Last Edit on: 12-20-2011 18:13 »

If it was today, it would probably just be Bart going: "Look mom, it's Danny Dvito!" and him strolling over to talk to them for a bit.

Actually, if you go back and watch some golden era Simpsons, this exact thing happened ALL THE TIME with their guest appearances...almost every other episode, even. For every guest appearance they had where the guest played someone other than themselves, they also had a "Hey look, it's *insert guest here*!" appearance that lasted less than a minute.

The reason those appearances worked back then and were less noticeable is that they still were able to make them funny with good writing. Nowadays...not so much.
Spacedal11

Space Pope
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« Reply #691 on: 12-20-2011 19:03 »

I want them to bring back Herb.
SpaceGoldfish fromWazn

Urban Legend
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« Reply #692 on: 12-20-2011 19:03 »

I really can't think of many where that was the case, or if it was, it wasn't anywhere near as common as it is now.  The only golden age episode where I can think of where that happened to the extent it was today is Krusty gets Kancelled, but having loads of celebrities supporting Krusty pretty much was the point of the episode.  It certainly wasn't every other episode at least (which seems to be the case now.)

And yeah, Herb coming back would be awesome.  I mean they brought back Lurleen Lumpkin, of all people.
winna

Avatar Czar
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« Reply #693 on: 12-20-2011 19:31 »

I didn't mean bringing back Herb.  I meant having Danny DeVito guest star on the show as himself because Danny DeVito is awesome!
JoshTheater

Space Pope
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« Reply #694 on: 12-20-2011 20:32 »

I really can't think of many where that was the case

I only say this because I've been watching some golden era Simpsons lately, and yes...it's true. Perhaps I'll compile a list for you at some point.
SpaceGoldfish fromWazn

Urban Legend
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« Reply #695 on: 12-20-2011 21:11 »
« Last Edit on: 12-20-2011 21:13 »

Seriously, 1992 -96 Simpsons?
Bend-err

DOOP Secretary
*
« Reply #696 on: 12-20-2011 21:14 »

List of guest stars on The Simpsons

Simpsons Guest Stars


Yeah, there have been lots in all seasons.
SpaceGoldfish fromWazn

Urban Legend
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« Reply #697 on: 12-20-2011 21:41 »
« Last Edit on: 12-20-2011 21:48 »

 A guest star is not the same as a celebrity guest star.  I think TressMacNeille and Phil Hartman are awesome people and i love it when they turn up, but most people aren't going to get excited about them the way they might over say Lady Gaga or Aerosmith or Simon Cowell or Ricky Gervais or Anne Hathaway.   Even if they did have a celebrity guest star, that doesn't mean they are playing themselves.    Lauren Tom and Maurice LeMarche were always listed as guest stars in the original run of Futurama, but again, I wouldn't put them as A list celebrities.

Simpsons has always had a few guest stars in the original run, (right now all I can think of as the Mcartneys in Lisa the Vegetarian) but they were NOWHERE near as numerous or gratituous as they are now, or used to mask inferior quality writing.  I'm sure when Lisa's First Word came out huge deals where made about its celebrity guest, but for most people my age, most people are pretty shocked when they found out Maggie's voice actress in that episode was Elizabeth Taylor. Still some celebrity cameos work (I really enjoyed Eartha Kitt's little video speech in Once Upon a Time in Springfield.)   I also liked Hathaway's performance (it's a lot less in your face then the "Hey! Its ______!".  I also quite liked Emily Blunt in Lisa the Beauty Queen and Sarah Michelle Geller in that episode where Bart goes to borstal.)   I just think that so many famous people actually manage to fly under the radar (Susan Sarandon as the ballet teacher) shows how well done a lot of them were. 




JoshTheater

Space Pope
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« Reply #698 on: 12-20-2011 22:20 »
« Last Edit on: 12-20-2011 22:45 »

Time for some Wikipedia action...celebrities who have played themselves on The Simpsons:


That's just through season 10. I suppose I did exaggerate when I said almost every other episode (tongue), but still, they did it quite a lot more than you probably remember. And the reason you don't remember many of them is because most of them were such bit parts...a simple "Hey look it's that person!" appearance. Adam West's appearance is probably the best example of that.

I agree that they do it a bit more often now, and I didn't mean to say that they don't...but they definitely did it a fair amount back then as well.
cyber_turnip

Urban Legend
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« Reply #699 on: 12-20-2011 23:12 »

Time for some Wikipedia action...celebrities who have played themselves on The Simpsons:


That's just through season 10. I suppose I did exaggerate when I said almost every other episode (tongue), but still, they did it quite a lot more than you probably remember. And the reason you don't remember many of them is because most of them were such bit parts...a simple "Hey look it's that person!" appearance. Adam West's appearance is probably the best example of that.

I agree that they do it a bit more often now, and I didn't mean to say that they don't...but they definitely did it a fair amount back then as well.

To be fair as well, that list gives no context. For example, Neil Patrick Harris had one line in his episode and was only "on TV" in the episode. It's not like his car broke down outside and he had to stay at the Simpsons' house until it could be fixed and then he fell in love with Selma and they got married in spite of him being gay because Selma was just mannish enough to make it work.

And almost all of those season 3/season 4 stars come from one, single episode in the season: Homer at the Bat and Krusty Gets Cancelled respectively.

It just felt as if guest stars were utilised better on the whole back in the day. Take Michael Jackson for instance, appearing as a big, fat, white man in a mental institution who believes that he's Michael Jackson. That's a stroke of meta-genius.

Paul and Linda McCartney appearing on the Kwik-E-Mark roof top because they just so happen to be friends with Apu, despite us never hearing of them before or after, because they're tenuously linked to the plot by vegetarianism on the other hand is considerably weaker... and that was still when the show tried to make it fit for the most part.
SpaceGoldfish fromWazn

Urban Legend
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« Reply #700 on: 12-21-2011 01:43 »

You know for years I actually wasn't sure whether the baseball players in Homer at the Bat were real people or made up celebrities.  That's being British for you.  

Agreed on the MJ one.  I really wish they would utilize the celebrities better.  I can't figure out what annoys me more: gratituous ones that slap as many currently relevant celebrities as possible

I have to admit Cyber turnip, I actually rather like the plot for the episode you made up.  The writers would probably kill it, but it actually doesnt sound half bad. Take the celebrity out of it, or have Neil Patrick Harris not play himself, and it could be pretty well done.

JoshTheater

Space Pope
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« Reply #701 on: 12-21-2011 02:19 »

I have to admit Cyber turnip, I actually rather like the plot for the episode you made up.  The writers would probably kill it, but it actually doesnt sound half bad.

Probably because it's strikingly similar to the plot of the episode A Fish Called Selma? Just replace "broke down in front of their house" with "met at the DMV" and "gay" with "gay for fish".
SpaceGoldfish fromWazn

Urban Legend
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« Reply #702 on: 12-21-2011 02:21 »

There's no Planet of the Apes musical or aquatic zoophilia.   So no.

Maybe if Derek Stephen King voiced a guy who wasn't gay, but into banging deceased crocodiles and was trying to revive his singing career tainted by allegations of necrophiliac reptile porn, then yes.
JoshTheater

Space Pope
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« Reply #703 on: 12-21-2011 02:30 »

That should never be a Simpsons episodes.


That should be a full-length feature film.
SpaceGoldfish fromWazn

Urban Legend
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« Reply #704 on: 12-21-2011 02:32 »

BRB.  Thinking of titles for necrophiliac reptiile porn.
JoshTheater

Space Pope
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« Reply #705 on: 12-21-2011 02:57 »

Crocophile.
SpaceGoldfish fromWazn

Urban Legend
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« Reply #706 on: 12-21-2011 03:10 »

Good one.

I've got:

Night in the Iguana
Crocodile Amputee
The Death Aquatic with Jenna Jameson

JoshTheater

Space Pope
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« Reply #707 on: 12-21-2011 03:13 »

Pee On Ya Later, Alligator
SpaceGoldfish fromWazn

Urban Legend
***
« Reply #708 on: 12-21-2011 03:15 »
« Last Edit on: 12-21-2011 03:17 »

Skink Skanks 3: Just Skink About it
Came On a Caimen
Necrophile Crocodile
JoshTheater

Space Pope
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« Reply #709 on: 12-21-2011 03:17 »

This thread just got interesting.
JoshTheater

Space Pope
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« Reply #710 on: 12-27-2011 21:46 »

A great video explaining why The Simpsons' humor has changed completely since the golden era: The Simpsons Is Still Funny, Part 2
DannyJC13

DOOP Secretary
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« Reply #711 on: 12-27-2011 22:28 »

That's where Futurama is starting to go wrong. Trying to make jokes based on stuff from our time and what's big in the news at the time the episode is made. The show is set in the future, it shouldn't keep coming back to the past...

Futurama should be able to last as long as the Simpsons without going downhill, if it stays away from the pop culture and the constant references to the past (I mean 2000 onwards, before Fry got frozen makes sense)... There are more than enough crazy stories they can create with the power of the time period and the setting(s).
cyber_turnip

Urban Legend
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« Reply #712 on: 12-28-2011 01:28 »

A great video explaining why The Simpsons' humor has changed completely since the golden era: The Simpsons Is Still Funny, Part 2

It seems that the video has been taken down, but my God, if it's anything like the arguments he makes in part 1, it's complete bunk.

I can go back and watch seasons 3-9 and they're ever bit as incredibly hilarious and incredibly well-written as they ever were. I've revisited a lot of childhood favourites and this is not the case. I still appreciate shows like 'SpongeBob SquarePants' and 'The Fairly OddParents' but I don't find them as funny or inspired or original or well-written as I used to think that they were. Why is it that my tastes have matured and I can recognise that with every show/film except for 'The Simpsons'.

I got into the show right at the start of season 3 due to a selection of episodes from the first three seasons so by all logic, I should hold seasons 1-3 in the highest regard because those episodes hold the most 'nostalgia' for me, surely?

And it was after the first few season 13 episodes that I gave up following the show religiously but that wasn't because I 'grew up and went to college'. Hell, I was only 11. I simply recognised that the show wasn't really very good any more and that I didn't enjoy it as much. I also now had 'Futurama' to ease the blow on giving up on a show that was, at the time, such a huge part of my life. That didn't take away from how much I loved the older episodes.
(For the record, I have since, this year - for no real reason - watched every single episode of the show from seasons 13-23 - more than anything out of morbid curiosity just in case anybody was wondering why I claimed to have stopped watching the show when I still comment on the newer episodes in this thread).
Beanoz4

Liquid Emperor
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« Reply #713 on: 12-28-2011 01:34 »

Don't worry you didn't miss much in the video, all he did was complement on how The Simpsons spoofs the family sit-com tradition, how he got the references and how The Simpsons is evolving with the world.

I know the show has gone crap but for some reason I can't stop watching it I guess that's partly why the show is still on, half the viewers are watching to see if the episode is decent.
JoshTheater

Space Pope
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« Reply #714 on: 12-28-2011 05:50 »
« Last Edit on: 12-28-2011 05:56 »

A great video explaining why The Simpsons' humor has changed completely since the golden era: The Simpsons Is Still Funny, Part 2

It seems that the video has been taken down, but my God, if it's anything like the arguments he makes in part 1, it's complete bunk.

It's actually nothing like what he says in Part 1, and I actually agree with you about Part 1, which is why I didn't link it. I had a lot of problems with what he said in Part 1. Even though some of what he says holds wate, his overall point is just plain wrong. I think after seeing some of the comments on Part 1, he mellowed out a little bit for Part 2.

What he says in Part 2 is actually much more agreeable, well thought-out, researched, and less upfront opinion-wise. Don't listen to Beanoz, even though the video isn't going to make you change your mind (it didn't change mine) he's not really trying to in this one, and rather just gives some nice insight on what made the series so good in the golden era that I hadn't thought of before. A nice watch, even if not a mind-blower.

Also, the video is totally still there and my link works. Not really sure what problem you ran into, but you should try again.
DotheBartman

Liquid Emperor
**
« Reply #715 on: 12-28-2011 06:28 »

That video is interesting, but too monolithic in the way it describes the early seasons. It's true that The Simpsons were in part a parody of and certainly a reaction to other sitcoms...however, it was a lot more than that. It satirized pretty much everything in American society, and was initially meant to be (in some respects) a more "realistic" version of American family life than other sitcoms were doing, rather than just being a straightforward parody. And it had character-driven stories along with the spoofs. More could be said, but suffice to say, trying to boil The Simpsons down to being just a spoof of other sitcoms is just as foolhardy as suggesting that Futurama is strictly a parody of The Jetsons.

That said, I actually do agree with the author that the world around The Simpsons itself has changed, and this has effected its relevance to the modern age. However, generally speaking, this would tend to be a pretty reasonable argument for a show going off the air.
JoshTheater

Space Pope
****
« Reply #716 on: 12-28-2011 07:01 »

More could be said, but suffice to say, trying to boil The Simpsons down to being just a spoof of other sitcoms is just as foolhardy as suggesting that Futurama is strictly a parody of The Jetsons.

I don't really feel that's what he was saying at all. Though he pointed out that they were a parody of other sitcom families, he never said anything to imply he thought that's ALL they parodied or made fun of. His point was more that back in the day, anything they parodied was likely something that everybody knew about, and that now culture is so varied and the entertainment people watch is so fragmented that when they try to parody something, it's not going to be understood by as many people...so instead they've gone for just making fun of the big pop culture phenomenons that the majority of people know about, and exaggerating the characters to be parodies of themselves.
DotheBartman

Liquid Emperor
**
« Reply #717 on: 12-28-2011 23:25 »

See I think he was also oversimplifying with that. He's correct that niche culture is on better standing now and fewer things were ever truly universal, but to say that everyone was aware of what everyone else was aware of isn't really true. Even by the 90s, the culture had fragmented quite a bit, and it's never really been true that all the same things are known by everyone. Every piece of culture has it's niche; even figures like Michael Jackson and the Beatles were never quite as universal as they're made out to be, and few other things in American (yeah yeah, I know the Beatles are British) pop culture have ever come close to those. The Simpsons certainly didn't.

Plus (even in current episodes) so many of the references on The Simpsons were actually quite subtle and obscure. The bigger problem is that fewer of them now are actually FUNNY, and the characters are simply less appealing and funny as parodies of themselves (which I also don't think happened for the reasons he described; they became parodies of themselves because that's what always happens when a show goes on too long, certainly when it goes on more than a decade too long). I do still agree with him that the world around The Simpsons has changed a lot, and they don't fit in in a modern context as well as they used to, but to me that seems like an argument for the people involved to move on to other projects.
Beanoz4

Liquid Emperor
**
« Reply #718 on: 12-28-2011 23:30 »

I used to hate post season 8 simpsons, then one day I thought I'd give one of the more modern Treehouse Of Horror's another try, and I really enjoyed it, then I started watching all the between stuff that I've missed, and season 18-present has been really good, not as good as seasons 1-6, but very good on the whole. I guess the movie made them get better writers or something.
I hate the newer Treehouse of Horrors they've taken out the "Horror" part and replaced it with more 'humor' but I don't really laugh at the jokes so they've failed to make me laugh.
I think this is slightly on topic to what Bartman is saying.
SpaceGoldfish fromWazn

Urban Legend
***
« Reply #719 on: 12-29-2011 22:26 »

Just out of curiosity,  has the Simpsons added any good new characters over the last few years?  I can't think of any besides Lyndsay Naegle (who really needs to be used better I think, she seems to end up in situations where her brand of humor doesn't work). Still she makes me laugh a lot, and I like to think of her as being Mom's distant ancestor.

The "Uhhh yessssssssssssssss" guy needs to die.  That was really funny in his first episode, but they quickly killed that joke. 
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