New Kids On The Blech: Simpson\'s Spectacular Countdown Week 3

Mike’s Soapbox- Spaced ended tonight on Trio! Only fourteen episodes. I’m bummed out about it. I learned to love these characters like they were own friends (I saw them more, anyway), and it sucks to see them go so soon. This show was leaps and bounds above the clichéd crap that is Friends and Will and Grace (Which, lets face it, this show is to gays what Amos and Andy was to blacks).

Saw two movies this week, the first being First Daughter. Begin heckling now”¦.Ok, we’re done? It’s safe? So yeah, after class Christine and I decided to go to the first movie that was playing (that’s me being adventurous) and it was either this or Cellular, and I chose this, because I have a majority unhealthy disgust of cell-phones (Cantstandsem), so much so that I refuse to see a movie where they’re prominently featured. That and it looked like crap. Not to say that First Daughter wasn’t, but you get to see the delectable Katie Holmes in a menagerie of outfits, including a purple dress and a bikini. And Michael Keaton’s the president, with Margaret Colin who always makes a great mom (look her up!) as the first lady. Considering these tumultuous times, it’s really strange to see a movie about a president, with no politics. He has minorities boo him at a rally which made me think he was a republican, but then he spoke complete sentences, so I’d have to say he’s a democrat. And the strangest thing about the movie: It’s directed by Forest Whitaker. When I think of big black men with twitchy eyes, bland romantic comedies usually don’t come to mind. I guess we’ve all got to eat.

The second film was Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow which was a beautiful thirty minutes of film. Too bad the movie lasts 107 minutes. I liked that it reminded me of the incomparable 1940’s Fleischer Bros. Superman cartoons (Down to the numbered robots) and it offered a truly unique film experience, which is commendable. The problem was that it seemed rushed, as if all the time was spent on the first half, and little attention was given to the rest. It was anti-climactic and uninspiring, plot-wise, plus Gwenyth Paltrow’s performance as Polly Perkins was paltry. If your going to see it, see it in the theaters or not at all. This is a technical innovation that will get much more credit down the road.

One last thought-Remember the Dancing Homer episode of the Simpsons, where Homer is a big hit as the minor league Springfield Isotopes mascot, but then tanks when he moves to the majors in Capital City? That’s exactly what’s going to happen to Conan O’Brien on the Tonight Show in 2009. Enjoy it as it is while it lasts.

On the Soapbox, off the soapbox.

We’re on our third week, counting down what I consider the seven best Simpson episodes. Number #7 was “A Star is Burns”, and number #6. Moving right along this week I present number five. Now before I reveal it I‘d like to mention how I had almost left it off entirely. I‘ve always loved the episode, but figured it was so old, and that there were funnier and perhaps more meaningful episodes out there. Until some bitch showed up in the drive-thru today this morning. She proceeded to chew me out for about a half a minute on the grounds that I‘ve never smiled when I‘ve taken her order. I didn‘t argue or anything, I just sat there and let her verbally berate me. “Why don‘t you smile, it‘s so rude, like you don‘t care or anything. You could say hi or nod, or even tell me to go to hell, just smile”!! And that‘s when I remembered why I liked this particular episode I‘m about to present so much. Because it taught me that you shouldn‘t smile. Not if you don‘t feel like it anyway. But upon recalling the personal importance of this episode, I watched it again, for the first time in a few years. And I‘ll tell you this much, it was something worth smiling about. Without further ado I give you.”¦.

“Moaning Lisa” from Season 1, Originally aired 2/11/1990

Favorite moments- The video boxing matches are definitely up there. Maggie’s choice, Bleeding Gum’s origin, Lisa’s jamming, Home’s attempts at parenting, Marge’s speech.

What flat out sucked- The animation certainly was sloppy at best, but since was the first season, I’m rather lenient on judging the visual qualities. The same goes with the choppy voices, since the actors hadn’t really found the definitive voices for each character yet. It’s rough around the edges, but hey, they had to start somewhere.

Thoughts- The first truly great episode of the series, this one was able to juggle two plots and do it well, tying them together succinctly at the end. Bart is bratty, Marge is worried but practical, Homer is stupid but connecting with his kids, Lisa has emotions no one should experience before the age of forty, and Maggie’s love for TV shows no bounds. This is the Simpson family to a T, and the episode gives them all ample screen time. This episode defined the characters more than any other in the first season, and was able to show a meaningful moment between parent and child without being too sappy. It really goes against everything that maudlin sitcoms of the day such as Full House and the Cosby Show and for that alone it belongs on this list. Homer and Marge care about there kids as much as TV parents like Danny Tanner and the Winslows, the only difference being that they don’t always like them, which is realistic. I remember first seeing this episode when I was seven years old, and I instantly fell in love with it. Back then it was the Bart and Homer boxing plot that amused me since I was always that competitive with my brother and dad in videogames, and now it means as much to me because of the Lisa plot. I get very depressed at least once a month, and the episode’s message of accepting your sadness rather than trying to hide it is one I can relate to. It’s an inspiring one that I couldn’t imagine being tackled on most shows.

M.V.C (Most Valuable Character)- Mr. Largo. A perfect prick who does his snobby best to keep Lisa down. He doesn’t get much exposure in the Simpson universe, and I don’t know why. There’s a lot you could do with the character and I wish they’d have him interact with the other members of the Springfield Elementary. He says a lot about the way adults view kids, and they could get a lot of satire out of him.

Since emotions had a lot to do with this week’s pick, my top three is the top three truly touching moments of the Simpsons-

3.Home’s note to Lisa, from “HOMR” from Season 12- An episode that narrowly missed the list, but needed to be included somehow. Homer gets a crayon lodged out of his brain, thus becoming a genius (with a 105 IQ). He decides that being an intellectual is hard stuff, and jams the crayon back into his brain, but not before writing Lisa a letter about how much he appreciated her while being intelligent.

2. Lisa backs down from “Lisa the Iconoclast”, from Season 7- Lisa finds the sinister truth about town hero Jebediah Springfield and is about to reveal at the big parade celebrating him, but keeps it to herself when she realizes how happy everyone is. A lie can be safer than the truth, and some people are probably better of living in one.

1. Home’s goodbye, from “Mother Simpson”, Season 7- With the help of Chief Wiggum, Homer gets his fugitive mom to safety, only to say goodbye to her again, after over twenty-years of being apart. For all the times we laugh at Homer, it’s hard not feel sorry for him. And the scene at the end where he looks up at the stars as the credits roll? Heart-wrenching. Yeah, the music was manipulative, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t crying.

Another week, another posting. Hope the readership is growing. I’m trying my best, and I guess that’s all I can do. Send me some feedback please. I got my first e-mail last week, and I can’t begin to tell you how good it felt. This week’s question: Is there a Simpson moment that means something special to you? Let me know. Damn, I really am sensitive this week. Oh well. See you next time.

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