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Author Topic: Dental plan (The Simpsons)  (Read 15170 times)
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DannyJC13

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« Reply #280 on: 05-16-2016 18:40 »

Posting this here, too:

This happened during the live Q&A segment of last night's new episode of The Simpsons:


cyber_turnip

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« Reply #281 on: 05-27-2016 11:49 »

That live episode was bizarre. But I suppose, at very least, it's an interesting experiment similar to stuff they did in their classic years like when Homer visited a CGI world in "Treehouse of Horror VI".

The finale where they just remade "Marge Goes to Jail" was more bizarre. They didn't even acknowledge that Marge has already been to jail and why on Earth would they opt to simply remake that episode when they haven't done "Homer Goes to Jail" or "Bart Goes to Juvie" or even "Lisa Goes to Juvie" yet? I suppose the answer is because they wanted to reference Orange Is the New Black, but even then, I didn't see any actual references to that show beyond the episode's title.
tyraniak

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« Reply #282 on: 05-28-2016 02:24 »

Yeah, I caught the finale, which was actually the only episode I've seen this season and I barely remember anything from it
JoshTheater

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« Reply #283 on: 05-29-2016 00:07 »

They have definitely done "Bart Goes To Juvie". You just forgot because it was a terrible episode with a pointless guest star.
tyraniak

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« Reply #284 on: 05-29-2016 15:22 »

Yeah, I remember that one. I think it was season eighteen or nineteen
Gorky

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« Reply #285 on: 05-30-2016 06:28 »

Y'all are talking about "The Wandering Juvie," which is from season 15. I actually quite like season 15--I know I've said elsewhere that it's probably the last half-decent season of the show--and I remember being quite fond of that particular episode when it first aired, but Josh is right that the guest star du jour (Sarah Michelle Gellar) is really bland; however, the episode does also feature Charles Napier, who is awesome, so maybe it balances out. Though "The Wandering Juvie" is also a Bart Gets a New Love Interest episode, a genre of episode I find particularly loathsome (with the exception of "Bart's Girlfriend"), so maybe Josh is in fact right that it is crap: in any event, it's not the best thing that particular season has to offer.

And speaking of season 15, they also did a Homer Goes to Jail episode that year, if you count "The Ziff Who Came to Dinner" (also a meh-ish outing). And, hell, if you want to get technical--which, I mean, who doesn't?--"One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish" is the original Family Member Goes to Jail episode, what with Homer needing to be bailed out by Barney's usually-unacceptable rusty money.

I mean, I didn't see this apparently lousy rehash of "Marge in Chains," so I can't speak to that episode specifically--I just figured this was a good opportunity to be all pedantic about Simpsons miscellany, which I need to do once in a while to maintain my dorky street cred. wink
Beamer

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« Reply #286 on: 06-01-2016 03:31 »

They've also done a "Homer goes to prison" episode before, too (not to mention the multiple times he's been jailed/arrested/detained in the series and it hasn't been the primary narrative).

Also, the rest of this season was pretty mediocre overall.
cyber_turnip

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« Reply #287 on: 06-06-2016 11:34 »

There's still Maggie goes to jail.
Gorky

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« Reply #288 on: 06-06-2016 22:33 »

Are we forgetting "A Streetcar Named Marge?" tongue


Otis P Jivefunk

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« Reply #289 on: 07-06-2016 10:16 »

I can't believe that this show is still going, I really can't. If someone told me when I joined Peel in 2001 that in 2016 The Simpsons is still going and that I'd be posting in a thread on Peel about that fact I'd have thought they were totally mad.


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Tachyon

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« Reply #290 on: 07-06-2016 15:50 »


I never watched the show back in the day, but I find myself watching 1-2 episodes per week, now.  Mostly when the older ones are shown.

Gorky

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« Reply #291 on: 09-05-2017 04:10 »

Not that I've watched the Simpsons regularly in at least thirteen years, but the firing of Alf Clausen strikes me as a big pile of bullshit. I never quite appreciated how important a full orchestra was to Futurama until they got rid of it in the DVD movies and the Comedy Central run, and I suspect its absence on The Simpsons will be similarly conspicuous.

I am reminded of Troy McClure's quip about the show only lasting until it becomes unprofitable: this move strikes me as a particularly crass, budget-conscious attempt to keep the show cheap enough to produce that it can keep going indefinitely, whether its overall quality warrants keeping it on Fox's schedule or not.
FishyJoe

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« Reply #292 on: 09-05-2017 15:36 »

Yeah, that is complete bullshit. The lack of an orchestra on Futurama was unfortunate, but it made sense--they were moving to cable, and budget cuts had to be made. The Simpsons is still incredibly profitable. Alf's been doing a good job for all these years...why mess with that?
tyraniak

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« Reply #293 on: 09-05-2017 18:19 »

Honestly it's probably not as profitable as it was 5-10 years ago, but this is still a bad idea and maybe a hint that they should wrap things up
cyber_turnip

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« Reply #294 on: 09-06-2017 20:23 »

The show's been really weird with its music in the last season or two. There have been various extended sequences that are just bizarrely devoid of background music.

Check this out, for example. It's so weird that there's no background music. They later re-used this couch-gag with some library music slapped over the top, but this sort of thing is really common in later episodes. I wonder if it's got something to do with all this.

But yeah, this is a load of bull. It's like how they didn't give Alf Clausen the opportunity to score the movie. They don't seem to treat him as well as they ought to to say that he's perhaps the one guy working on the show who still provides consistently quality output.
winna

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« Reply #295 on: 09-06-2017 21:12 »

Are you still watching the simpsons?
FishyJoe

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« Reply #296 on: 09-07-2017 16:55 »

Check this out, for example. It's so weird that there's no background music. They later re-used this couch-gag with some library music slapped over the top, but this sort of thing is really common in later episodes. I wonder if it's got something to do with all this.

Yeah, that IS weird. That is a pretty cute sequence, but it feels unfinished without any background music.
winna

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« Reply #297 on: 10-28-2017 19:07 »

winna

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« Reply #298 on: 11-03-2017 17:09 »

So Homer went full Me-gan.  That was neat, eh?
AdrenalinDragon

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« Reply #299 on: 12-03-2017 20:56 »

Gorky

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« Reply #300 on: 12-04-2017 03:49 »

This all seems pretty legit--in particular, I would say season six is indeed the show's very best--but that drop between season six and seasons seven and eight seems more precipitous than it should be. Oh, and I would actually put the movie more on-par with season nine in terms of quality.

I know that someday I probably want to sit down and watch every episode--I guess because I'm a masochist completionist--and this chart so vividly illustrates just how goddamn painful that experience will ultimately be. Sigh...
winna

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« Reply #301 on: 12-04-2017 06:49 »

I would enjoy it honestly.  I don't watch Simpsons religiously since like 2002, but I'd enjoy such fan favorites as Bart Gets a Bear and Selma Marries Grandpa.  I watched the last 10 THoH episodes a month ago, and although I don't remember any of it, I think I enjoyed myself.  smile
DannyJC13

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« Reply #302 on: 12-05-2017 00:57 »

*Simpsons graph*

Fun fact: this graph was made by PEEL's very own cyber_turnip. smile
winna

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« Reply #303 on: 12-05-2017 02:45 »

Subconsciously, that's who I thought about.  I definitely lol'd, great work!
cyber_turnip

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« Reply #304 on: 12-16-2017 01:10 »

Nice. And thanks guys!

Season 29 has been a huge step up in quality so far compared to 28.

I mean, it's still terrible, but it's so much less terrible, it feels like someone on the staff is really trying to do a good job. The most recent episode (with Sideshow Bob) was the best one in years. Still only a 6/10 at best, but that's great by the show's current standards.
Gorky

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« Reply #305 on: 12-17-2017 03:31 »

So apparently Mike Reiss has written a book about his time on the show (he's being billed as the "longest-serving writer and producer" in the show's history, which seems patently untrue, but whatever) and it's coming out next June: Springfield Confidential: Jokes, Secrets, and Outright Lies From a Lifetime Writing for The Simpsons.

Though it was mean-spiritedly gossipy and inordinately Conan O'Brien-obsessed, I was a big fan of John Ortved's oral history of the show that came out a few years ago, and I've also listened to every DVD commentary from the first eight seasons at least a dozen times, but I'll definitely pick up Reiss's book to see if I can learn anything new. I always found him particularly delightful on the commentary tracks (nice balance between wisecracks and genuine insight), and of course he is responsible for some of my all-time favorite episodes, so it should be a good read.   

...Or it'll just be a 300-page fluff piece about a once-brilliant, now-godawful show that his best bud Al Jean still executive produces. That's just a chance I'll have to take!
Tedward

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« Reply #306 on: 09-28-2018 17:45 »
« Last Edit on: 09-28-2018 17:47 »

At one point in the memoirs Gorky brings up in the above post, Mike Reiss briefly describes a certain Simpsons-related play he saw at its off-Broadway premiere in 2013. He says that he had been excited to see it at first but that he found it to be "grim, pretentious, and dull," that he spoke to the playwright afterwards and also found her to be grim, pretentious, and dull, that he was angry that the New York critics praised it, and that he was vindicated when it got terrible reviews when it opened in London.

The premise of the play, which is titled Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play, is that civilization has collapsed after an unspecified disaster involving all nuclear plants. In the first act, a small group of survivors gather around a fire and try to pass the time by trying to recount the episode "Cape Feare" from memory. In the second act, which takes place seven years later, they have formed a troupe that travels the ravaged countryside, performing this and other Simpsons episodes--along with recreations of commercial breaks for extinct products and music videos--in exchange for food and supplies, and having to deal with rival groups who also do the same thing. In the third act, which takes place another seventy-five years later, their show has become a musical pageant hobbled together from pieces of those earlier pop culture artifacts, and the "Cape Feare" story has been warped--partly due to several generations' worth of mis-remembering, and partly due to intentional changes to better reflect the post-apocalyptic worldview; Sideshow Bob has morphed into Mr. Burns, and Itchy and Scratchy are his minions, and Edna Krabappel leads a "chorus of the Shades of Springfield," and the whole thing is creepily presented as if this were a foundational Greek myth of the new society.

I mention all this because my alma mater's theatre department will be putting on this play in November (not too far after the 25th anniversary of "Cape Feare," as it happens), and I find myself doing dramaturgical work for the production; essentially, I am their go-to Simpsons reference person, which seems especially useful since most of the students involved are not particular Simpsons fans, nor did they necessarily have an appreciation of the series' once-mighty cultural significance (by the way, the characters seem to stick to the Golden Era in their recollections; the latest direct reference the script makes is to Season 8's "The Springfield Files"). Mr. Reiss' views on the play notwithstanding, I can only hope that this production will elicit a "play enjoyed by ALL" response which speaks for itself.

For what it's worth, it does appear that Jon Vitti saw the play at its off-Broadway premiere and actually enjoyed it, though he found it to be a very surreal experience seeing something he had written twenty years prior presented back to him on a stage and in such a manner.  
Tedward

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« Reply #307 on: 09-30-2018 18:15 »

Relating to my researching for the above, a mildly interesting discovery I've made:

On the DVD commentaries, I believe they claim at some point that the music cue that becomes Sideshow Bob's theme is ripped directly from the 1991 Cape Fear movie soundtrack (which is in turn an arrangement of the 1962 version's soundtrack). At several times in the play, the characters sing what is supposed to be those iconic first four notes, but it's not quite what is used on The Simpsons; I had assumed that this was a situation where the play's music was similar-but-legally-distinct. However, because the characters also briefly talk about the 1991 movie we also watched that for reference (it's not a very pleasant experience, in my opinion), and how about that--the play uses exactly what's in the movie. It appears, then, that the "Sideshow Bob theme" on the series is what is reminiscent-but-original (and that would make sense, as Alf Clausen got an Emmy nomination for the score of the "Cape Feare" episode, yes?).
Gorky

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« Reply #308 on: 09-30-2018 19:20 »

At one point in the memoirs Gorky brings up in the above post, Mike Reiss briefly describes a certain Simpsons-related play he saw at its off-Broadway premiere in 2013. He says that he had been excited to see it at first but that he found it to be "grim, pretentious, and dull," that he spoke to the playwright afterwards and also found her to be grim, pretentious, and dull, that he was angry that the New York critics praised it, and that he was vindicated when it got terrible reviews when it opened in London.

I haven't gotten around to reading his book yet, and at this rate I possibly never will. I actually think I need to turn in my Mike Reiss Fangirl Card; I follow him on Twitter, where I find him deeply unpleasant, and he's been especially shitty about the recent controversy surrounding Apu and cultural appropriation/insensitivity, all of which adds up to a sort of Old Man Yells At Cloud vibe that I find more exhausting (if not actually toxic) than endearing. That said, it does not surprise me that Jon Vitti liked the play--he's always struck me as a very mild-mannered, humble sort of fella.

As for the play itself: I was completely unaware of its existence (not surprising, cretin that I am), and in general I have mixed feelings about literary (or other) allusions to the Simpsons; I feel like the level of interest in a TV show that leads one to write a play about it differs fundamentally from the level of interest in a TV show that leads one to, say, join a message board devoted to it, and that the former is somehow less legitimate than the latter (that is, one is an academic interest whereas the other is a "purer" interest or something: I know those two categories can obviously overlap--I feel like that's the case for me, personally--and all my distinction-drawing does not make much sense, but there you have it).

My own cloud-yelling aside, this actually sounds like an interesting project (and the premise reminds me a bit of this book, which I also have not read but which has been recommended to me by any number of people). In any case, I'd probably sooner read the play than read Mike Reiss's book, so at least there's that!

On another, related note: It is interesting (odd?) to me that "Cape Feare" apparently occupies such space in people's popular consciousness/awareness of the show (at the very least, the Sideshow Bob rake bit has become a big ol' meme). I daresay it's not even in my Top 50 episodes--and it's definitely not my favorite Sideshow Bob episode (hi there, "Sideshow Bob Roberts"). I do wonder what might account for that.
Tedward

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« Reply #309 on: 10-01-2018 18:04 »
« Last Edit on: 10-09-2018 19:12 »

I haven't gotten around to reading his book yet

In that case:

I've also listened to every DVD commentary from the first eight seasons at least a dozen times, but I'll definitely pick up Reiss's book to see if I can learn anything new. I always found him particularly delightful on the commentary tracks (nice balance between wisecracks and genuine insight), and of course he is responsible for some of my all-time favorite episodes, so it should be a good read.  

...Or it'll just be a 300-page fluff piece about a once-brilliant, now-godawful show that his best bud Al Jean still executive produces.

Sadly, I’d say it’s mostly the latter. I certainly did learn a few new and interesting things here and there, but most of the best anecdotes are already documented on the commentaries, and more entertainingly so. In the book he seems to have a compulsion to give everything a punch line of some sort, and while this may just be me being needlessly crotchety—he is a humor writer, after all, and presumably other people could be reading his book more for the humor than for just seeking pure insight about one person’s experience of the writing process on the show—his writing style comes off as annoying to me.

the premise reminds me a bit of this book, which I also have not read but which has been recommended to me by any number of people

I also haven’t read that book but it has been brought to my attention in regard to the play, and yes, the premise is so strikingly similar and they came out close enough together that I do wonder if it’s more than a coincidence. It is my understanding that the play has perhaps a more pessimistic outlook than the book does, at any rate.

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I feel like the level of interest in a TV show that leads one to write a play about it differs fundamentally from the level of interest in a TV show that leads one to, say, join a message board devoted to it, and that the former is somehow less legitimate than the latter

Your thinking may be quite apt in this case. As part of his dissing, Mike Reiss writes that when he spoke to the playwright he asked her “You’re not a Simpsons fan, are you?” and that she answered “No, not really.”

What makes this all the more awkward is that he must have been much more polite in person than he lets on in his book, because I found an interview with the playwright from around the time of the New York premiere where she mentions that she met Mike Reiss and that he was very supportive of the project.

She has stated in other interviews that her interest had not been not to write something about The Simpsons specifically but rather to explore how pop culture in general might be reinterpreted and repurposed over time, especially when pushed past an apocalyptic event.

On that note, it does seem like this play’s best audience might be casual Simpsons fans. I can see how it could be alienating for people who don’t know the show at all (or haven’t seen the “Cape Feare” episode) because they might get very lost, but I also see how it could be alienating for major Simpsons nerds who know the show very well and might be thrown by how “wrong,” or at least “off,” the play’s version of The Simpsons ends up being by the third act.

Whatever one thinks of the Simpsons-related material, though, I really do admire how the exposition for the play’s first and second acts is worked so organically into the dialogue, and gives just enough information while still leaving much to the imagination.

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It is interesting (odd?) to me that "Cape Feare" apparently occupies such space in people's popular consciousness/awareness of the show

Yeah, I don’t really know. One of the biggest questions I’ve grappled with about understanding the play is why “Cape Feare” is its central episode, when there are plenty of other episodes to choose from which would have plot points and themes more obviously related to the play’s subject matter. The immediate answer is that in the initial stages of creating the play, the playwright did a workshop with several of the actors and had them try to recount a Simpsons episode—and much of the first act’s dialogue was formed from the transcript of this workshop—and “Cape Feare” just so happened to be the first episode they agreed they could try to re-create from memory.

She says that she found the deeper concept of the episode—the idea that you are a child, and there’s someone or something out to get you and kill you, and your parents can’t protect you, and even if you run far away this figure will still follow you anyway, and there’s nothing you can actually do to fight it off other than use your wits and rely on pure luck—to be a kind of primal fear that, given their circumstances, the characters in the play would certainly relate to and thus use in their own storytelling (with the Sideshow Bob/Burns figure being a representation of, say, their ongoing fear of radiation poisoning eventually catching up to them). I do find this compelling, but I still can’t shake the feeling that she kind of shoehorned this episode into the story she already wanted to tell (it is odd and perhaps telling, for example, that Mr. Burns is made the villain of the piece and is even the title character when he doesn’t even appear in the “Cape Feare” episode at all!).

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I daresay it's not even in my Top 50 episodes

I’m not all that fond of the episode myself either (though I must mention that the family singing “Three Little Maids” is absolutely delightful), I suppose mainly because it’s too “cartoony” for my tastes (it certainly stretches the series’ “rubber band reality” / “flexible reality” further than most other episodes typically do). And as it happens, in the second act of the play two characters actually argue about whether their performance of the episode, and their performances in general, should be more about presenting a sense of realism or about providing cartoonish consequence-free escapism.

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