Zack Handlen's review of 'Marge Be Not Proud' is superb

I’ve never got into episode reviews for TV series, especially for shows like the Simpsons (mostly because I don’t watch new episodes and why would I want to read someone else’s opinion on a show I already love?) Except there’s good reason—you can learn something new. And I did when I read Zack Handlen’s review of ‘Marge Be Not Proud’, the 11th episode from Season 7 (aired in 1995). In a nutshell, Bart wants a video game, can’t get it, sees his friends steal it, gives into peer pressure, does the same, gets caught and tries to hide it from his parents. The main theme of the episode was the love of a mother for her son and examining what could possibly break it (or at least damage it a little). We also saw the effects of Bart wanting something so badly that he did something unthinkable, even for him. Where Handlen excels is digging into those themes further from each stage of the episode:

“Marge Be Not Proud” is, at heart, about being a kid, and about how something you want so desperately, so badly that it’s killing you, no really, it is honest to god killing you right now how much you want this—how that sort of wanting isn’t the same as needing. And how easy it is to take for granted that your parents will always treat you the same way, no matter what; how corny and annoying and, gah, lame Moms can be, right up until they aren’t there anymore. There’s a fundamental stasis to the core relationships of The Simpsons. Homer and Marge will always be married; Maggie will always be the baby; Lisa and Bart will always be in grade school; and so on. Bart’s never going to hit his teenage years, find drugs, maybe dabble around in punk for a while, date someone with lip-piercings, or lose his driver’s license. But this episode, however briefly, gives a sense of what it make be like for him to get older and break his mother’s heart, when he’s still young enough to feel that loss.

I’ve been in this situation before and, although it was fleeting, it hurt like hell. It’s a stereotypical notion that mothers love their children unconditionally (emphasis on ‘stereotype’ as this is not an unbreakable rule). Kids test their parents and get away with a lot but that one time you don’t is the worst.

While some fans felt the shoplifting element was too pointed and “more of an afterschool special” (I literally saw two comments like that and I don’t get it), it made sense. Bart’s character is based around being bad and getting in with some of the baddest kids in the school who steal and use fake IDs. Of course he’d find himself in that position and cross the line he’d toed for years (that’s human years, not Simpsons years). We always knew there’d be a happy ending because bad times never last longer than an episode (not including ‘Who Shot Montgomery Burns?‘) but the journey towards that resolution was the interesting part. And there were plenty of jokes in there, my favourite being Homer’s meandering diatribe at Bart for stealing.

Stealing, how could you?! Haven’t you learned anything from that guy who gives sermons at church, Captain what’s his name? We live in a society of laws! Why do you think I took you to all those Police Academy movies? For fun? Well, I didn’t hear anybody laughing! Did you? Except at that guy who made sound effects. Where was I? Oh yeah, stay outta my booze!

And I’ll leave it there.

Simpsons video game related: Play 3 Video Games Featured On The Simpsons

My brain made a monkey out of me

Simpsons - Monkey Out of Me

Back story – while listening to Gabriel Garzón-Montano’s Bombo Fabrika yesterday and one of the lines reminded me of something:

Oh my God, prophecy upon the bones

It was the “oh my god” part. But I couldn’t remember exactly what it reminded me of. The problem was the last time I heard it, I knew what it was. All I could muster from the depths of my memory was that it came from a song and it was something funny. Then it hit me 5 minutes ago:

“Oh my God, I was wrong!”

So I Googled that line and… I found it—Troy McClure’s rendition of Monkey Out of Me from his role in Stop the Planet of the Apes, I Want to Get Off! in S07E19 of The Simpsons. This won’t mean anything to anyone else but I wanted to put it on the site for posterity and in case I forgot again.

'And if we can all be more like little Rudiger...'

Brad Goodman's Inner Child Workshop

Taken from The Simpsons episode, “Bart’s Inner Child” (S05E07)

This short clip distills everything I love about The Simpsons:

  • Simple one-liners (“There’s no trick to it, it’s just a simple trick!”)
  • Comedic timing and spot-on satirical observations (“And as soon as you’re not human being, you’re a human doing. Then what comes next?” “A human going!”)
  • Off-ball silliness (Bart pretending to be called “Rudiger”)
  • Albert Brooks guest appearances

Steamed Hams but its an oral history

Originally called “Chalmers vs. Skinner,” the two-minute-and-48-second piece was part of an unusual episode of The Simpsons that aired during the show’s seventh season, on April 14, 1996. While most episodes of The Simpsons focus on the show’s titular family, “22 Short Films About Springfield” was different, as it was broken up into a series of short segments focusing on Springfield’s supporting characters. “Steamed Hams” — as “Chalmers vs. Skinner” would later come to be known — was simply one of those segments. 

(via MEL)

See also: Steamed Hams but there’s a different animator every 13 seconds, in the style of Seinfeld, and in the style of Dragonball Z.

Binging with Babish makes Homer Simpson's Patented Space Age Out-Of-This-World Moon Waffles

Binging with Babish makes Homer Simpson's Patented Space Age Out-Of-This-World Moon Waffles

Despite the inedible qualities of Homer’s moon waffles, they never failed to make hungry. So I was thrilled when I found Binging with Babish had attempted to make them—the “official” way and the Babish way.

For those unaware of Homer Simpson’s “Patented Space Age Out-Of-This-World Moon Waffles”, they appeared in the episode “Homer the Heretic” (S4E03) when Homer skips church and discovers the freedom of a Sunday morning. On one Sunday morning, he makes some waffles with the following ingredients:

  • 1 waffle iron (which will be ruined by the end)
  • 1 bag of waffle batter
  • 1 bag of caramel cubes
  • 1 bottle of liquid smoke
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 wooden skewer

When Babish tried it, it didn’t turn out so well for his tastebuds or his waffle iron (RIP). But he did make a Babish variant which looked significantly better.

Stream it below and check out the recipe on the Binging with Babish website.

Binging with Babish: Homer Simpson's Patented Space Age Out-Of-This-World Moon Waffles

Babish related: The $5 milkshake from Pulp Fiction

Oh Mindy: In defence of a Simpsons "Home Wrecker"

Homer and Mindy

It comprised of 4 members: Jacques, Princess Kashmir, Lurlene Lumpkin, and Mindy Simmons. The reason for the name is simple: each person had a tête-à-tête with either Marge or Homer Simpson. While three of them lay a strong claim to the name, Mindy’s inclusion is questionable.

(This article may contain spoilers if you’ve not seen Season 5 Episode 9)

The last temptation of Homer

Her first episode, “The Last Temptation of Homer”, starts with Homer’s involvement in a nuclear gas leak. Along with the hiring of an illegal immigrant, Mr Burns is told to hire at least one woman: Mindy Simmons (v0iced by Michelle Pfeiffer). This was after he hired Marge in Season 4 Episode 7, who became the apple of Burns’ eye so if anything, he should have taken Mindy’s place in the Home Wrecker’s team but I digress.

Homer becomes instantly attracted to his new colleague, although he remains in denial, blaming it on a “packet of powdered gravy he found in the parking lot”. Ah, classic Homer. As the episode progresses, the attraction grows between them. He confides in Barney about his troubled feelings and, via a philosophical bar napkin, suggests Homer talk to Mindy and find out they have nothing in common. This only fuels the fire between them as he discovers they both love beer, donuts, and naps at work.

What if…

Coming home one day does little to dissuade his emotions. Marge is ill, Bart looks like a goofy nerd with big boots and greasy hair, and Lisa manages to burn fish sticks whilst they remain frozen inside (did she blow torch them?). That all makes perfect sense. Colonel Klink from Hogan’s Heroes comes in the form of Homer’s guardian angel to show him what life would be like if Homer chose Mindy instead of Marge. While Homer appears to be rich and happy, it’s suggested that Marge becomes president (like Lisa in another future alternate reality).

The episode nears its climax ahem when Homer and Mindy are chosen to represent the plant at an energy conference in Capital City – The Windy Apple. Even the hotel porter gets in on the innuendos, to which Homer stops him immediately. They win a three-course dinner at the sexiest restaurant in town. A fortune cookie suggests Homer give in to his temptation and they both go back to the hotel. Homer finally addresses the elephant in the room (which isn’t actually an elephant as this isn’t Family Guy) and admits his feelings. Mindy says the decision is up to him.

Did Homer cheat on Marge with Mindy?

In an ambiguous ending, the scene fades to one with Marge in the room with Homer, in the same red dress. She finds a turkey behind the bed, the lights go out, he sings, the hotel porter finds his way in and gets a black eye for his troubles. The end.

Now, between that synopsis and watching the episode in full, I don’t think Mindy did anything wrong. The idea of a homewrecker is bias towards the person outside the proverbial home. 99% of the time, it’s a woman and sexism reigns supreme in a lack of reproach for the adulterous man. Earlier, I suggested the ending to the episode was ambiguous because Homer and Mindy kiss then Marge appears in the same dress as Mindy. Was Marge there or did he imagine Mindy as Marge to make himself feel better? Did they do the deed? These questions remain unanswered.

But between the two of them, Homer is more explicit with his temptations – or at least voicing them. It’s implied that Mindy had expressed hers but other than that, Mindy minds her own business. The episode is set up to pair the couple in situations rather than either of them pursuing an affair.

The misconceptions of Mindy Simmons

Another reason I don’t think Mindy is a homewrecker is that Marge seems to know nothing about what happened. In the case of Jacques, Homer knew what was going on. Marge knew about Lurlene. And Marge caught Homer dancing with Princess Kashmir. But there was no awareness of Mindy from Marge. The closest we got was when Homer rang a crisis hotline, only for Ned Flanders to receive the call and attempt to conference Marge.

Let’s say Homer DID have sex with Mindy that night in Capital City. In a later episode, it’s suggested she was fired after “hitting the bottle”. She later made brief appearances in a couple of other episodes. Homer is notorious for his inability to lie. Marge would have picked up on it. He would have admitted to it and we’d have a follow-up episode on our hands. But we didn’t. Because nothing happened. Homer fancied another woman, and then she left.

Nothing more than a crush

Writer David Mirkin did not like the idea of Mindy being flirtatious. He said the two characters had “so much in common” that it was “not just a physical relationship, but a mental connection as well”. Most importantly, he claimed Mindy wasn’t “a seductress but rather a woman just as nervous as Homer”. This was nothing more than a work crush between two people with similar interests and personalities that built up through “unfortunate” circumstances.

Have I taken this too far? Probably. But if you read this far, you probably didn’t think so.

Oh Mindy, you came and you gave without flaking,
But I sent you Ben-gay,
Oh Andy, you kissed me and stopped me from something,
And I…

Homer's Brain

Homer's brain, as shown by Dr Hibbert

“Uh oh. Did I say that or just think it?”

In the episode entitled HOMR, Homer finds out the reason for his low IQ is a crayon lodged in his brain from when he was 6. Once removed, his IQ increases but his intelligence ostracises him from his friends and family.

Who knew sticking a crayon up his nose could create such hilarious Homer moments? Homer’s brain is quite something. My dad doesn’t like TV shows or cartoons much but he loves Homer’s utterances so I guess we have his brain to thank for that.

Homer: It’s a pornography store. I was buying pornography.
Homer’s brain: Ha ha, I never would have thought of that.

Steamed Hams but there's a different animator every 13 seconds

Steamed Hams but there's a different animator every 13 seconds

And to honour that, YouTube uploader TmsT created this video in collaboration with 13 animators (including himself). To call each animation surreal would be an understatement but so would saying each one was “good”. It’s all very trippy and pushes Steamed Hams past its boundaries, like many of the homages and “remixes” on YouTube.

Steam the video below and make sure to check out the animators underneath.

Steamed Hams but There's a Different Animator Every 13 Seconds

Animators, in order of segment:

Steamed Hams but it's edited like Dragon Ball Z

Steamed Hams, edited like the original series of Dragon Ball Z

I can’t get enough of these things. You might have seen the Steamed Hams video with multiple animators or the one in the style of Seinfeld. But how about a DBZ mashup?

That’s exactly what we have here and it works so well. Everything starts normally until Seymour realises his “roast is ruined” and the DBZ music kicks in. It’s cleverly done and I’d love to see more Simpsons/DBZ mashup episodes. They’ve got to be better than the awfulness of the newer Simpsons episodes, right?

Stream it below.

Steamed Hams but it's edited like Dragon Ball Z

Steamed Hams but in the style of Seinfeld

The "Steamed Hams" Simpsons episode in the style of Seinfeld

As Simpsons memes go, Steamed Hams is the most popular. It never seems to lose traction and I’ve recently discovered a host of them on YouTube. My favourite is this rendition, stylised as a Seinfeld episode complete with canned laughter. They even changed the mention of Krusty Burgers to “Skinner Burgers” for added authenticity. I want more of these episodes, to be honest.

I cannot get enough of these. Who knew something so simple could produce so many hilarious memes?

Steamed Hams but it's Seinfeld

The Simpsons - The One At the Bottom (Remix)

The Simpsons - The One At the Bottom

I don’t know who created this but it’s the perfect marriage (lol) of good music (pun intended) and classic Simpsons quotes. The title comes from S2 episode War of the Simpsons where Homer gets very drunk and asks Maud to get him some peanuts from the bottom of the dish so he can see her cleavage. Of course, Marge was watching in shock and disgust and they had to work on their marriage at a retreat. How their marriage is still together I don’t know.

And if you didn’t already know, the backing music comes from Gorillaz’s Feel Good Inc. A true animation mashup.

Stream “The One At the Bottom” below.

Update: Sorry, they’ve taken the video down. There’s a version on Facebook though. (sorry about that too)

13 year old boy meets Bart Simpson IRL

Thirteen-year-old Boy meets Bart Simpson

But that’s exactly what happened when a teenager met Nancy Cartwright. The American voice actress is best known for voicing Bart Simpson but she also voices Maggie, Nelson Muntz, Ralph Wiggum, Todd Flanders, Kearney, and Database.

In the video, the 13 year old is selling cookies for his high school. Nancy kindly buys his sixth box (he wins a prize if he can sell seven) and goes into character. But he doesn’t realise it’s actually the voice actor of Bart. Instead, he commends her “impression” before he realises just who he’s talking to.

It’s great to see after all these years, there’s still an element of mystery and wonder behind The Simpsons. Also, how is he only 13?

Related: 3 video games featured on The Simpsons, Vox’s analysis of Homer Simpson’s economics, and emotional Simpsons scenes.

Emotional Simpsons Scenes

Top 10 Simpsons Moments That Will Make You Cry

If there’s one quote or moment in The Simpsons that really gets to me, it’s that. Along with Bart crying because he failed his social studies test and Homer sitting on his car watching the stars. But Bart crying makes me cry the most.

Amongst all the jokes and pop culture references, The Simpsons have had some really poignant moments. The fact the comedy takes precedent means when the sad parts come, you know what they are and stop accordingly. The mark of a great show (until it stopped being funny after like 2000).

Anyway, you can watch nearly 13 minutes of emotional Simpsons scenes below and cry too.