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Monday, February 20, 2012

Deadspin: The Making Of “Homer At The Bat”

How big was this episode:

On Feb. 20, 1992, more American homes tuned into The Simpsons than they did The Cosby Show or the Winter Olympics from Albertville, France. A foul-mouthed cartoon on a fourth-place network bested the Huxtables and the world’s best amateur athletes. Fox over NBC and CBS—its first-ever victory in prime time. New over old.

And how were the players who were on the show:

Showrunner Al Jean has said the players who committed were more than happy to do the show. Well, almost of all of them. “They were all really nice,” Jean said on the DVD commentary, “except for one whose name rhymes with Manseco.”

Mark S. is bored Posted: February 20, 2012 at 08:30 PM | 1075 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: television

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   101. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 21, 2012 at 06:49 PM (#4065776)
Fair point, but why should that even be seen as a necessary goal? If they can effectively mix some of it in, great, but many/most shows can't. So instead of going for those "bonus points," they'd be much better off just focusing on the funny.
   102. Bourbon Samurai in Asia Posted: February 21, 2012 at 07:00 PM (#4065779)

TOS and TNG has more iconic characters, but I agree that DS9 matches up very well as far as having good characters. Not to mention the fact that the acting of the total ensemble was a full grade better on DS9 than TNG, which had the saving grace of Patrick Stewart carrying the load.


DS9 was crammed full of wonderful theatre actors. Colm Meaney, Rene Auberjonois, Avery Brooks (who I was in a play with once, and who can drink more than any man alive). An embarrasment of riches there.

Agree with all the Community love. To my surprise I've really been enjoying Happy Endings. Caught an episode on a plane and its quite fun.
   103. Greg K Posted: February 21, 2012 at 07:04 PM (#4065781)
Fair point, but why should that even be seen as a necessary goal? If they can effectively mix some of it in, great, but many/most shows can't. So instead of going for those "bonus points," they'd be much better off just focusing on the funny.

Oh I certainly agree. I'm not entirely familiar with Family Guy, but you're take of them as biting off a bit more than they can chew certainly doesn't surprise me.

It's delicate work, comedy. I imagine it's awfully tempting for someone who's been moderately successful at crafting a comedy to think they have the talent to get cute with it. The results aren't always great.
   104. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 21, 2012 at 07:06 PM (#4065784)

Fair point, but why should that even be seen as a necessary goal? If they can effectively mix some of it in, great, but many/most shows can't. So instead of going for those "bonus points," they'd be much better off just focusing on the funny.


Because once you watch a show long enough you invariably start caring about the characters a little bit, even if you're just there for the ha-has. Otherwise, why even watch a sitcom structured around a plot? Plots just get in the way. Go see a stand up comic where you can enjoy rapid fire jokes without unnecessary plots and character developments.
   105. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 21, 2012 at 07:06 PM (#4065785)
@ Greg: Indeed. Kind of like the Peter (Griffin) Principle of comedy, I suppose.

@AG: I disagree - plots are integral to the comedy. I just like it better when they contribute to the comedy rather than detracting from it. Seinfeld is a great example - it had plots that both enabled and enhanced the characters' quirks and jokes, but didn't feel the need to also provide emotional attachment.
   106. Karl from NY Posted: February 21, 2012 at 07:06 PM (#4065786)
Just. Be. Funny. It's a comedy - no need for "characters we genuinely sentimentally care about" or "touching moments." When comedies try to provide those, the comedy almost always suffers.

Bingo. A comedy *can* have such characters, viewers can naturally come to empathize with and root for them, and we have for the Simpsons. But they can't be designed and provided that way, audiences resist manipulation.

For example, Friends actually was a pretty funny show until it started focusing on the (usually romantic) relationships between the characters.

2001 Friends = 2011 Big Bang Theory.
   107. Bad Doctor Posted: February 21, 2012 at 07:18 PM (#4065789)
Agree with all the Community love.

Am I the only one on this board who doesn't get Community? My wife and I got the first season on Netflix, and after four or five episodes passed without either of us coming anywhere close to laughing, we decided it was time to wave the white flag and move on. Did the humor change after the early going? Otherwise, I don't get it ... I love The Simpsons, been loving 30 Rock, though the second season of Parks and Recreation was really good ... but Community just struck me as being a precocious kid shy of being some meh sitcom like Home Improvement or Two and a Half Men.
   108. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 21, 2012 at 07:21 PM (#4065791)
I gave Community three episodes and didn't care for it. I'll give it another shot on Netflix.
   109. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 21, 2012 at 07:23 PM (#4065792)
Yeah, I can't really get into Community either, although I've tried a couple times. However, I wouldn't libel it by comparing it to the vile, loathsome fare you mention at the end of your post.
   110. PepTech Posted: February 21, 2012 at 08:17 PM (#4065809)
I'm trying to decide if I should invest in the Babylon 5 DVDs. I remember being blown away in realtime, after (here's a running theme) a shaky season one. Anyone ever rewatched it? I'd love to sit through it with the kids at some point... or maybe I should leave my memories well enough alone.
   111. McCoy Posted: February 21, 2012 at 08:21 PM (#4065811)
The one trend I absolutely cannot stand is how everything on cable now is a reality show. How in the hell can a pawn shop and truckers be historical?

Whatever happened to documentaries?
   112. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 21, 2012 at 08:25 PM (#4065817)
A lot of the items discussed on Pawn Stars (I'm admittedly a fan) do have historical significance, and I think it's a nice complement to the broader narrative of much historical programming to have little thumbnail sketches in the form of various objects that were there, so to speak. As for truckers...yeah, no idea.
   113. Karl from NY Posted: February 21, 2012 at 08:34 PM (#4065822)
I'll second the ambivalence for Community. It's harmless enough, but I haven't seen anything compelling in several episodes. More than once I've started it, flipped somewhere else during a commercial, and forgot I was even watching it in the first place to ever switch back.

Chevy Chase in it was a horrible decision IMO. Every second he's on screen reeks of contrived stunt; it completely breaks immersion to see him hanging around with these kids in college, and he does absolutely nothing funny to make it worthwhile anyway.
   114. BDC Posted: February 21, 2012 at 08:38 PM (#4065823)
I have found very few animated series in the wake of The Simpsons funny at all. (The exception is King of the Hill, which I didn't laugh at so much as find eerily realistic). Most (Family Guy, e.g.) try to develop nuance and ideas. The thing I actually love(d) about The Simpsons is that they did lots of slapstick and stupid, stupid, throwaway jokes. To each his own idea of humor: I think Airplane! is among the handful of best films ever made.
   115. Karl from NY Posted: February 21, 2012 at 08:49 PM (#4065827)
they stuck 30 Rock in Community's old timeslot and it did as bad or worse in the ratings. ... There's nothing on NBC that's going to do well in that time slot, up against American Idol and Big Bang Theory.

Exactly. NBC needs to concede 8 PM to Big Bang, and put 30 Rock at 8:30 to pick up the cerebral-comedy audience then. 30 Rock is great, but can't beat Big Bang on its own turf.

If anything, they should put The Office at 8; that probably has the least audience overlap with BBT and Idol out of the options.
   116. Yonder Alonso in misguided trousers (cardinal) Posted: February 21, 2012 at 08:49 PM (#4065828)
American Dad was mentioned a few times. I'm a big fan of it; at this point (even a few seasons ago) it was the pinnacle of the Seth Macfarlane stable of shows. The absurdism of it (and its fearlessness about going completely bonkers) really hits the spot for me.
   117. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: February 21, 2012 at 08:59 PM (#4065834)
I'm trying to decide if I should invest in the Babylon 5 DVDs. I remember being blown away in realtime, after (here's a running theme) a shaky season one. Anyone ever rewatched it? I'd love to sit through it with the kids at some point... or maybe I should leave my memories well enough alone.


Recently watched it, mostly for the first time. Very enjoyable. Much traditional sci-fi in the Star Trek mold, but very well done.
   118. Cowboy Popup Posted: February 21, 2012 at 09:06 PM (#4065835)
"The Venture Brothers" is legitimately one of the great shows on TV right now; not one of the great cartoons, one of the great shows, period. The season three episode "The Invisible Hand of Fate" (where they reveal Billy Quizboy's backstory) is particularly outstanding

That episode is outstanding, easily the best of the third season. It was my favorite for a while, before "Welcome to Hank's" happened and blew my mind.
   119. McCoy Posted: February 21, 2012 at 09:19 PM (#4065837)
Venture Bros is great as well but it has been so long that I can't recall where exactly but I remember a bit of a low point in the show at one time. That and the fact that it seems like it takes a decade for a new season to come out are the only two negatives I can recall about it.

Justified is on tonight!
   120. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: February 21, 2012 at 09:22 PM (#4065839)

I like good slapstick as much as anyone, but there's something exhausting about watching shows where every character (even the supposedly smart ones) is an irredeemable idiot or worse. I don't care whether there's a moral but I do like to see the characters actually have character, even in a comedy. By that, I mean that I like some continuity and consistency from one episode to the next, and to have some ability to empathize with the characters. A show where everyone is indistinguishably selfish and stupid just isn't very interesting--I can enjoy an episode, but I rarely want more. Likewise, when the Simpsons just started repeating the "Homer does something terrible to a person he loves, but makes up for it in the end" plotline, I got bored.

I'm curious whether there has ever been a cartoon series where the characters aged. It seems like this would prevent things from getting stale, but it would also amount to tinkering with something that works, which people don't like to do.
   121. Home Run Teal & Black Black Black Gone! Posted: February 21, 2012 at 09:34 PM (#4065843)
OK, I can honestly say I don't at all get how overly complicated TV writers and some posters here want to make comedies. Just. Be. Funny. It's a comedy - no need for "characters we genuinely sentimentally care about" or "touching moments." When comedies try to provide those, the comedy almost always suffers. For example, Friends actually was a pretty funny show until it started focusing on the (usually romantic) relationships between the characters. A good comedy needs quirky characters, situations that are themselves funny and bring out the characters' funny quirks, or even just funny jokes, a la Family Guy cutaways. That's it - just funny. How I Met Your Mother has some nice sentimentality in some episodes, but does that make it a better comedy? No, because that's not comedy. And when it goes too far in that direction, the comedy suffers. Family Guy has declined precipitously lately because Seth MacFarlane has apparently decided he needs to prove he can be dark, artsy and philosophical (the Brian & Stewie episode, or the murder mystery). Also, that show now likes to show off that it can animate much more complex visuals and action than before. Well and good, but is it funny? Yes, MacFarlane, we know you enjoy big musical production numbers and can sing quite well. But are they funny? It's a comedy. Just. Be. Funny.


You're missing the point.
   122. zenbitz Posted: February 21, 2012 at 10:10 PM (#4065857)
30 Rock Rocks and The Spirit of Comedy is alive in Portland(ia)
   123. Bourbon Samurai in Asia Posted: February 21, 2012 at 10:24 PM (#4065862)
Am I the only one on this board who doesn't get Community? My wife and I got the first season on Netflix, and after four or five episodes passed without either of us coming anywhere close to laughing, we decided it was time to wave the white flag and move on. Did the humor change after the early going? Otherwise, I don't get it ... I love The Simpsons, been loving 30 Rock, though the second season of Parks and Recreation was really good ... but Community just struck me as being a precocious kid shy of being some meh sitcom like Home Improvement or Two and a Half Men.


The show doesn't become what it is until halfway through season one. Season two and three are where it really shines. If you've only done the first couple episodes of season one, you haven't really seen what it becomes. Try the paintball episode.
   124. McCoy Posted: February 21, 2012 at 10:37 PM (#4065864)
Well, that is like saying to someone they should watch Empire Strikes Back because because they watched Phantom Menace and thought Star Wars sucked. The paintball episode was clearly the best episode of community and really nothing else is close.
   125. Squash Posted: February 21, 2012 at 10:51 PM (#4065868)
Have we really come this far an nobody's commented on the revelation that Steve Sax is a life coach now?
   126. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: February 21, 2012 at 11:00 PM (#4065875)
What I'd like to see is a DVD that puts together all the Itchy and Scratchy cartoons in a continual stream.
   127. Dale Sams Posted: February 21, 2012 at 11:05 PM (#4065877)
And to bring it all together, I just watched "Deep Space Homer". Classic.
   128. Something Other Posted: February 21, 2012 at 11:21 PM (#4065886)
Here's where I come out and admit how uncool I am, but Big Bang was very funny for its first couple of years. And Jim Parsons is a one-man acting clinic.

You are not alone Bob, you are not alone.
Yup. It and Parsons were very good for a while.

I'm also uncool enough to be really enjoying The Walking Dead. It could be a lot better. It's still gripping.

I've watched one episode of The Simpsons all the way through. It was pretty good. This makes me a bad person, right?
   129. McCoy Posted: February 22, 2012 at 12:48 AM (#4065908)
The first half of the second season of The Walking Dead was simply horrendous. If I hadn't read the comic book I probably would have dropped it but the second half is getting better and better with each episode.


PS: Community will be coming back in March at 8pm on Thursday which will bump 30 Rock to 8:30. Parks and Rec will then come back at 9:30.
   130. AJMcCringleberry Posted: February 22, 2012 at 01:09 AM (#4065912)
The Walking Dead is terrible. I watch it to laugh.
   131. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: February 22, 2012 at 01:19 AM (#4065914)
I was really surprised "The Boondocks" didn't find more of an audience, the first season was very funny.
   132. Mark S. is bored Posted: February 22, 2012 at 01:23 AM (#4065915)
I was really surprised "The Boondocks" didn't find more of an audience, the first season was very funny.


I've been reading the back strips of The Boondocks in the newspaper (actually the newspaper's web site), but haven't started watching the show yet. It's a truly funny strip.
   133. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: February 22, 2012 at 02:46 AM (#4065929)
I got really tired of Community last season when it seemed like every other episode was a gimmick episode. I loved the entire cast during the first season and part of the second season, but it resorted to using gimmicks a crutch so relatively early into its run. And the degree of animosity that seems to exist within the study group has intensified so much that it reminds me of the marriage between the principle characters on King of Queens: A bit rough in the early going, but they clearly cared about each other. Compare that with later seasons where the conflicts and personal attacks got so heated that you wondered why they didn't just divorce already.

Oh, and I know I'm in the minority here, but I find the Jeff-Annie sexual tension a bit... weird. He's supposed to be nearly twice her age and while that sort of thing is more accepted now, the writers address the huge age difference so often that the "will they or won't they" vibe seems more sleazy than anything else.
   134. UCCF Posted: February 22, 2012 at 02:46 AM (#4065930)
The show doesn't become what it is until halfway through season one. Season two and three are where it really shines. If you've only done the first couple episodes of season one, you haven't really seen what it becomes. Try the paintball episode.

Yeah, the show really does morph about halfway through season 1. When I look back at the list of Season 1 episodes, it's very hit and miss up to about episode 15 (Romantic Expressionism). Which isn't to say it's not good (there are some great moments in some of those early episodes), but it's not at the level that's driven the internet to go crazy over it. If you start there and watch through the end of Season 1, you'll be hooked.
   135. Ryan Lind Posted: February 22, 2012 at 03:16 AM (#4065934)
I don't know why I keep watching the Walking Dead. The second season has been incredibly boring and the acting is laughably bad, yet I keep watching every episode. I will probably give up on it soon, much like I did with Community.
   136. Dan Szymborski Posted: February 22, 2012 at 03:42 AM (#4065937)
I may be in a minority in seeing it this way, but that's why I love It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. It's impossible not to empathize with Charlie and when he invariably loses my investment in his character just makes it all the more hilarious/soul wrenching.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, but I find Mac to be one of the most complex characters on television.
   137. Ron J Posted: February 22, 2012 at 03:57 AM (#4065939)
#91 There are some quietly subversive moments in a lot of the Looney Tunes.
   138. CrosbyBird Posted: February 22, 2012 at 03:58 AM (#4065940)
That said, I prefer my comedies to NOT have a studio audience, as it slows down the comedic timing and layering.

I basically can't watch TV with a studio audience, or worse, a laugh track.

The only shows with a studio audience that would be in my top 10 comedies would be "Seinfeld" and "WKRP". In both cases, the ensembles were so strong (and in Seinfeld's case, the writing so amazing), they still were great, even with the laughter interruption.

I think you just showed me why Seinfeld was a great show that I didn't watch as much as I should have. The laughter really throws me off.
   139. Greg K Posted: February 22, 2012 at 04:07 AM (#4065941)
I've said it before and I'll say it again, but I find Mac to be one of the most complex characters on television.

I was contemplating including Mac in that assessment as well. Initially he appears quite similar to Dennis, but as the show progresses he hits some subtle, and disturbing, depths.

The commentary on Mac and Dennis Break Up has the doctor for Celebrity Rehab (for some reason) analyzing the nature of these guy's relationship. It's enlightening.
   140. CrosbyBird Posted: February 22, 2012 at 04:17 AM (#4065944)
Yes, MacFarlane, we know you enjoy big musical production numbers and can sing quite well. But are they funny?

Some of them are.

I really thought the musical number in the pot legalization episode was fantastic, and the FCC song, and Prom Night Dumpster Baby. The barbershop can do no wrong after "You've Got AIDS" and "Vasectomy."

Here's a link to IGN's top 10 song moments. It has almost all of those, so it's worth a watch even if I wouldn't even put their #1 in the top 10.
   141. Greg K Posted: February 22, 2012 at 08:09 AM (#4065952)
Also, they are not quite as liberal with their songs, but Simpons standards such as "Monorail" and "See My Vest" are surely evidence that cartoon songs can be great comedy.
   142. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: February 22, 2012 at 08:22 AM (#4065954)
Ah, the waiting game sucks. Let's play hungry hungry hippos!
   143. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: February 22, 2012 at 08:23 AM (#4065955)
Also, they are not quite as liberal with their songs, but Simpons standards such as "Monorail" and "See My Vest" are surely evidence that cartoon songs can be great comedy.

The entire Planet of the Apes musical is one of the greatest things in the history of comedy. Has there ever been a better line of comedic song written in English than "I hate every Ape I see from Chimpan-A to Chimpanzee?"
   144. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: February 22, 2012 at 08:25 AM (#4065956)
I also think the songs are probably the best part of South Park (I am not a huge fan). Sometimes I will randomly find myself singing "Shut your ####### face, Uncle-######\" when I'm puttering around the house.
   145. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: February 22, 2012 at 08:28 AM (#4065957)
Oh, and as far as funny cartoons with real heart...first of all, Futurama wipes the floor with them all in terms of memorable characters. But "Jurassic Bark" is the only prime time television comedy that ever made me weep real tears. "Luck of the Fryish" also got me choked up too. Sentimental drivel? Maybe. But the characters of Futurama were a lot more human that robots, cyclopses, giant squids, and developmentally arrested millenials had any right to be.
   146. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: February 22, 2012 at 08:38 AM (#4065958)
The entire Planet of the Apes musical is one of the greatest things in the history of comedy. Has there ever been a better line of comedic song written in English than "I hate every Ape I see from Chimpan-A to Chimpanzee?"

I believe that episode contained another one of my all time favorite Simpsons jokes; Troy McClure's celebrity fragrance: "Smellin' of Troy"

EDIT: the loss of Phil Hartman really hurt the show.
   147. Cowboy Popup Posted: February 22, 2012 at 08:50 AM (#4065960)
But "Jurassic Bark" is the only prime time television comedy that ever made me weep real tears. "Luck of the Fryish" also got me choked up too. Sentimental drivel? Maybe.

Anyone who thinks those two episodes are sentimental drivel has no heart. I can't even watch "Jurassic Bark" again, it's heartbreaking.
   148. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: February 22, 2012 at 09:02 AM (#4065962)
Amen Cowboy.
   149. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 22, 2012 at 09:07 AM (#4065964)
I'm curious whether there has ever been a cartoon series where the characters aged


Well, there's The Venture Bros.

Both of the boys are older and significantly more mature now than they were when the show started.
   150. Dan The Mediocre Posted: February 22, 2012 at 09:16 AM (#4065965)
But "Jurassic Bark" is the only prime time television comedy that ever made me weep real tears. "Luck of the Fryish" also got me choked up too. Sentimental drivel? Maybe.

Anyone who thinks those two episodes are sentimental drivel has no heart. I can't even watch "Jurassic Bark" again, it's heartbreaking.


"Jurassic Bark" is the second saddest thing I've seen in a cartoon behind the opening montage of "Up".
   151. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: February 22, 2012 at 09:21 AM (#4065967)
Well, that is like saying to someone they should watch Empire Strikes Back because because they watched Phantom Menace and thought Star Wars sucked. The paintball episode was clearly the best episode of community and really nothing else is close.


Disagree - 'Advanced Dungeons and Dragons', 'Cooperative Calligraphy' and 'Remedial Chaos Theory' are superior, particularly if you've been watching the show from the beginning. Paintball was great, but it's character-free, pretty much.

I have found very few animated series in the wake of The Simpsons funny at all. (The exception is King of the Hill, which I didn't laugh at so much as find eerily realistic). Most (Family Guy, e.g.) try to develop nuance and ideas. The thing I actually love(d) about The Simpsons is that they did lots of slapstick and stupid, stupid, throwaway jokes. To each his own idea of humor: I think Airplane! is among the handful of best films ever made.


You might really, really like 'Archer', then.
   152. Random Transaction Generator Posted: February 22, 2012 at 09:46 AM (#4065969)
EDIT: the loss of Phil Hartman really hurt the show.


The loss of Phil Hartman hurt ALL of comedy. He was the best thing on "News Radio", "SNL", and Troy McClure/Lionel Hutz were the best two secondary characters on the Simpsons.
The "what might have been" tragedy is that the Simpsons writers were all gung-ho for creating a live-action Troy McClure television show starring Phil Hartman, but then he was murdered.

   153. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: February 22, 2012 at 09:49 AM (#4065971)
Phil was also lined up to play Zap Brannigan on Futurama, although Billy West does an admirable job.
   154. Gamingboy Posted: February 22, 2012 at 10:33 AM (#4065980)
#91 There are some quietly subversive moments in a lot of the Looney Tunes


Yes, although those were not "prime-time" cartoons. They were shown in theaters and then Saturday-Morning syndication.



By the way, IGN once did a list of greatest Cartoons, the Top 3 were Looney Tunes, Batman:The Animated Series and The Simpsons. I can't argue with that, although I can argue with the fact that they had the Flintstones way back at number 9!
   155. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 22, 2012 at 10:33 AM (#4065982)
Archer is also good for those that don't want to care about the characters. I guess Lana is the only one you even remotely sympathetic.

Other funny shows that are just about being funny, not redeemable characters - "Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia" and I found "Workaholics" to be surprisingly funny although I don't know if it was renewed. You could also probably toss in "The League" although Andre is a bit sympathetic and I thought the show really went downhill in the "lost" season.
   156. The Good Face Posted: February 22, 2012 at 10:46 AM (#4065992)
But "Jurassic Bark" is the only prime time television comedy that ever made me weep real tears. "Luck of the Fryish" also got me choked up too. Sentimental drivel? Maybe.

Anyone who thinks those two episodes are sentimental drivel has no heart. I can't even watch "Jurassic Bark" again, it's heartbreaking.


Yes. I'd add the ending of "Leela's Homeworld" to the list as well.

I was really surprised "The Boondocks" didn't find more of an audience, the first season was very funny.


Good show, probably deserved more love than it got.

Archer is also good for those that don't want to care about the characters. I guess Lana is the only one you even remotely sympathetic.


I always thought either Gillette or Pam were the most sympathetic characters. Lana is a better person than Archer, but she's still vindictive, vengeful, and prone to explosive acts of violence when annoyed.
   157. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 22, 2012 at 10:51 AM (#4065997)
Gillette is just a background character, we don't know much about him at all other than his "alternate lifestyle." Pam isn't sympathetic at all, she's just as morally-depraved as anyone.

I thought Cyril was a bit sympathetic until he started banging everyone while dating Lana.

I do want Krieger to find love with his anime holograph.
   158. zonk Posted: February 22, 2012 at 10:52 AM (#4065998)
My understanding is that the Boondocks dude was pretty notorious for missing deadlines and such, so I'm not sure it was ultimately fandom that cancelled his deal...

And while it's not quite a tearjerker (the description, not the fine American Dad episode) -- my vote for Futurama episode would be "Godfellas" (Bender grows a civilization while hurtling through space alone).
   159. Bourbon Samurai in Asia Posted: February 22, 2012 at 10:55 AM (#4066002)
Well, that is like saying to someone they should watch Empire Strikes Back because because they watched Phantom Menace and thought Star Wars sucked. The paintball episode was clearly the best episode of community and really nothing else is close.



Disagree - 'Advanced Dungeons and Dragons', 'Cooperative Calligraphy' and 'Remedial Chaos Theory' are superior, particularly if you've been watching the show from the beginning. Paintball was great, but it's character-free, pretty much.


Yeah, I'd agree with that. Paintball is a good entry point, as it'll be funny without too much knowledge of the characters. Remedial Chaos Theory might be my favorite episode of a half hour comedy ever (partly because my wife loves those tiny Norwegian trolls and had them on the tables at our wedding).

Also, someone who watched Phantom Menace and said they hated Star Wars probably should watch Empire Strikes Back before they judge people for loving wookies.
   160. Graham & the 15-win "ARod Vortex of suck" Posted: February 22, 2012 at 10:56 AM (#4066003)
#155

As others have mentioned, I believe that Charlie on It's Always Sunny is a "redeemable" character. Sure, he's immature and has no direction, but he is actually a pretty decent person who is in over his emotional head with the rest of the Gang. Dan mentioned Mac as a complex character, and I would also agree with that. It's harder to sympathize with Mac, but I still one can become emotionally invested in his character.
   161. Graham & the 15-win "ARod Vortex of suck" Posted: February 22, 2012 at 11:04 AM (#4066009)
C'mon folks, Phantom Menace is not that bad. Jar-Jar Binks is really annoying, but the rest of the movie is enjoyable. The only Star Wars movie that was really below average was Attack of the Clones. The dialogue in that movie was just atrocious.

As someone who hasn't dabbled in the Star Wars expanded universe, I wish there was more material covering the events before the end of the Old Republic. I feel like there is such an opportunity to explore the backstories on characters like Qui-Gon Jinn and Yoda in addition to unmentioned (and yet-to-be-invented Sith-Jedi conflicts).
   162. aleskel Posted: February 22, 2012 at 11:07 AM (#4066012)
But "Jurassic Bark" is the only prime time television comedy that ever made me weep real tears. "Luck of the Fryish" also got me choked up too.

The ending of "Lisa's First Word" gets me every time. Every. Damn. Time.
   163. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 22, 2012 at 11:12 AM (#4066017)

As others have mentioned, I believe that Charlie on It's Always Sunny is a "redeemable" character. Sure, he's immature and has no direction


I just see him as a wild card. YEEEEEE-HAWWWW!
   164. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: February 22, 2012 at 11:16 AM (#4066021)
I got really tired of Community last season when it seemed like every other episode was a gimmick episode.


I don't see them as gimmicks as much as tributes.
   165. The Good Face Posted: February 22, 2012 at 11:22 AM (#4066026)
Gillette is just a background character, we don't know much about him at all other than his "alternate lifestyle." Pam isn't sympathetic at all, she's just as morally-depraved as anyone.


Oh come on, we know Gillette was a former minister who tried to "pray the gay away," we know he was a bronze medalist Olympic skier, we know he was married once, and we know he's not so gay that he wouldn't bang Lana. Other than maybe Archer and Mallory, we don't know any more than that about any of the characters.

Anyway, Pam is morally depraved, but she's also cheerful and friendly and doesn't go out of her way to be a jerk to anyone. She's just a promiscuous, gluttonous drunk who can't keep a secret to save her life. If you had to go out for drinks with any Archer character, I can't see how you'd pick anybody but Pam or maybe Gillette.
   166. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 22, 2012 at 11:33 AM (#4066042)
C'mon folks, Phantom Menace is not that bad.


Yeah, it really is.
   167. Graham & the 15-win "ARod Vortex of suck" Posted: February 22, 2012 at 11:40 AM (#4066048)
#166

If you compare it to all movies (and especially all action/adventure/Sci-Fi movies) it's at least average.
   168. Blubaldo Jimenez (OMJ) Posted: February 22, 2012 at 11:41 AM (#4066050)
I'd like to nominate the episode of Cowboy Bebop where Radical Edward and Ein leave to be with Ed's father for Heartbreaking Moments in Adult Cartoons.

Really the whole end of the series is pretty deep and jarring.
   169. Greg K Posted: February 22, 2012 at 11:44 AM (#4066053)
Other funny shows that are just about being funny, not redeemable characters - "Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia"

I was about to argue this point but Dick Groat beat me to it.

There's actually only a few situations in which Charlie's motives are anything but pure.

Off the top of my head...
Lying about having cancer to get the waitress' sympathy
Using the black girl to prove to the waitress he's not racist
Orchestrating the "Dennis banging Mac's mom" fiasco to convince the waitress to drop him

Maybe you could add reneging on his promise to leave the waitress alone if she'd just come to the musical. (Though to be fair that's just love! Come to think of it, there seems to be a running theme of when Charlie does morally dubious things.)
   170. Bourbon Samurai in Asia Posted: February 22, 2012 at 11:47 AM (#4066054)
I wish there was more material covering the events before the end of the Old Republic. I feel like there is such an opportunity to explore the backstories on characters like Qui-Gon Jinn and Yoda in addition to unmentioned (and yet-to-be-invented Sith-Jedi conflicts).


George Lucas? Is that you?
   171. Greg K Posted: February 22, 2012 at 11:55 AM (#4066062)
As far as precursors to today's cartoon environment...where does Ren and Stimpy stand? I loved it as a 13 year old...but then again I loved a lot of stupid things as a 13 year old.
   172. zonk Posted: February 22, 2012 at 11:59 AM (#4066068)
#166

If you compare it to all movies (and especially all action/adventure/Sci-Fi movies) it's at least average.


It's technical aspects alone make it average, but strip away half the production budget and it's... I don't know... Ice Pirates without the laughs.

There are at least 5 mortal sins to PM --

- Mean as it may be, young Annakin has to be the worst child acting in the history of movies... nice that he found work after being rejected for that guest shot on Full House, I guess

- Enough has been said about the comic foil with the flappy ears

- Turning the 'force' into a supervirus

- You pretty much had the plot for the remaining movies figured out the moment we meet Palpatine

- Deciding halfway through PM would be an intergalactic political thriller... then changing your mind again

PM is total drek... it's watchable with the sound off and a FF available to skip ahead to the best effects though.

   173. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: February 22, 2012 at 12:01 PM (#4066069)

Here's a link to IGN's top 10 song moments. It has almost all of those, so it's worth a watch even if I wouldn't even put their #1 in the top 10.


How could they not have "Give Up the Toad Now" on that list? That's insane.


The entire Planet of the Apes musical is one of the greatest things in the history of comedy.


Don't forget the musical version of A Streetcar Named Desire.
   174. Der-K thinks the Essex Green were a good band. Posted: February 22, 2012 at 12:04 PM (#4066072)
Louie, Parks and Rec, Always Sunny, and Community are my favorite current comedies.

That plus Archer is my Tivo queue.
(Note on Community: I did not like Remedial Chaos Theory. Go figure.)

Boondocks was a great show. So is Venture Brothers - not sure why I don't actively seek it out more.

I found Fry a bit annoying in Jurassic Bark - but I don't want to take away from its power ... really, really strong television. I've argued before that Futurama had a higher peak than the Simpsons (no knock on either show, believe me), though I no longer watch either.

Ren and Stimpy - not my cup of tea, but there's a lot of there there.
   175. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 22, 2012 at 12:05 PM (#4066073)

Don't forget the musical version of A Streetcar Named Desire.


And the Sherry Bobbins episode.

Homer: Around the house, I never lift a finger,
As a husband and a father, I'm sub-par.
I'd rather drink a beer
Than win father of the year,
I'm happy with things the way they are.

Lisa: I'm getting used to never getting noticed,

Bart: I'm stuck here till I can steal a car.

Marge: The house is still a mess,
And I'm going bald from stress,
Bart, Marge, & Lisa: But we're happy, just the way we are.

Ned: They're not perfect,
But the Lord says "Love thy neighbour."

Homer: Shut up, Flanders.
Ned: Okely-dokely-do.
Shery: Don't think it's sour grapes,
But you're all a bunch of apes,
And so I must be leaving you!
   176. AndrewJ Posted: February 22, 2012 at 12:05 PM (#4066074)
The ending of "Lisa's First Word" gets me every time. Every. Damn. Time.

The last shot of 'Mother Simpson' with Homer sitting silently looking out at the stars is poignant, too.
   177. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: February 22, 2012 at 12:09 PM (#4066079)
C'mon folks, Phantom Menace is not that bad.

Yeah, it really is.


It's worth watching just for the bad acting. "But mom, didn't you say the problem with the universe is that nobody helps anybody anymore?"
   178. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: February 22, 2012 at 12:10 PM (#4066080)
PM is total drek...


The amazing thing to me is *not* that Plinkett (Red Letter Media) could find 70 minutes of material to eviscerate tPM with, it's that he could have easily added another 30-40 minutes of plot issues, character issues, acting issues and structural faults to his take down without breaking a sweat.
   179. Graham & the 15-win "ARod Vortex of suck" Posted: February 22, 2012 at 12:21 PM (#4066091)
#169

While Charlie has done some questionable things in pursuit of the waitress I chalk those up to: a) Charlie being desperately infatuated and not having the emotional intelligence required to express it properly, and b) the waitress being pretty manipulative herself. The interplay between those two characters is even funnier when you learn that Charlie Day is married to the waitress in real life.

#170

I'm serious though. It seems to my uninformed self that most of the novels and whatnot focus on events following the original trilogy (Han & Leia's children and whatnot). I don't understand that. Han, Leia, Luke, etc. are already well formed in our minds. We don't need anything more about them. It's not going to rate with or add to the original trilogy. I'd much rather writers take a crack at redeeming some of the weak character development of the prequel trilogy and giving us a better glimpse of the Old Republic.

#171

I think it's aged well. Granted, I didn't see too many episodes when it first aired (my family was very late to get cable/satellite TV). Rocko's Modern Life is the other Nicktoon that is still funny. Whenever I catch an episode of Rocko I find myself laughing out loud a couple times per episode, minimum. I don't know how the writers/producers crammed so much material for adults into those episodes. Doug and Rugrats have aged horribly. I wouldn't recommend revisiting those shows.

#172

- I agree that child acting was terrible.
- Check.
- I agree.
- I agree, but that's the danger with any prequel. You could argue we had figured out the plot of the prequels whenever people discovered they were going to focus on Anakin.
- That's probably a fair criticism, too.

I personally enjoy learning more about Obi-Wan, and I like the Qui-Gon Jinn character, too. I like the pod race (loved the spinoff N64 game). The action sequences were neat. The planet-scapes were amazing. I thought Darth Maul was great, and I still don't see why they killed him off so quickly. He would have been a much more interesting villain in Attack of the Clones than Count Dooku proved to be.

I really do understand why people don't like the Phantom Menace. It's not one of my favorite movies or anything, but once I stopped comparing it to the Empire Strikes Back I've come to enjoy it for what it is. It's a decent enough summer blockbuster with cool action sequences. The plot and character development are weak, but they tie into the original trilogy enough to keep me interested.
   180. Graham & the 15-win "ARod Vortex of suck" Posted: February 22, 2012 at 12:24 PM (#4066095)
#177

As bad as Jake Lloyd (was that his name?), Hayden Christensen, and Natalie Portman were in those movies, a lot of the blame still has to fall on the writers. They absolutely left the actors out to dry with some of that sentimental drivel.
   181. Der-K thinks the Essex Green were a good band. Posted: February 22, 2012 at 12:24 PM (#4066096)
I watched the Phantom Menace with someone who'd never seen a Star Wars movie. Together, we discovered that your frame of reference can be independent of how and why you hate the thing.
   182. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: February 22, 2012 at 12:25 PM (#4066097)
"Who Needs the Kwik-E Mart" is one of my favorite Simpsons musical numbers. Especially the very end

Has there ever been a better line of comedic song written in English than "I hate every Ape I see from Chimpan-A to Chimpanzee?"

Between that and "You've finally made a monkey out of me," that really is an all-time classic.
   183. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: February 22, 2012 at 12:29 PM (#4066100)
As bad as Jake Lloyd (was that his name?), Hayden Christensen, and Natalie Portman were in those movies, a lot of the blame still has to fall on the writers. They absolutely left the actors out to dry with some of that sentimental drivel.


Uh, you mean George Lucas?

Like Harrison Ford told Lucas during the filming of Star Wars, "You can type this ####, but you can't say it."

[edit] Which is only partially true, a quality actor can sell a badly written script in many cases. Of course, since Lucas ALSO was responsible for the awful CASTING of the prequels and the awful DIRECTING of those actors, that doesn't hold true in this case ...
   184. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: February 22, 2012 at 12:33 PM (#4066106)
Don't forget the musical version of A Streetcar Named Desire.


My wife (The Yankee Belle) is a Williams scholar and gave a talk on this episode at a conference in New Orleans. I served as her Simpsons-ologist in developing the themes while she did the real work, it was surprisingly well-received. I say "surprisingly" because I thought serious Williams scholars would be sick to death about the episode and find the very idea frivolous and beneath consideration; in fact, perhaps half the professorial contingent in the audience had never heard of it before (all the grad students had, of course) and judging from the feedback she received everyone thought it was funny and worthy of discussion.
   185. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 22, 2012 at 12:37 PM (#4066108)
If you compare it to all movies (and especially all action/adventure/Sci-Fi movies) it's at least average.


No, it's not.

The special effects are technically impressive, though they're utilized ineffectively within the film. The plot is nonsensical, the pace is uneven (and in general, glacially slow), the dialogue is awkward, the characters are two-dimensional cutouts punctuated by the occasional uncomfortable ethnic stereotype, the acting exists on a continuum stretching from "tepid" to "embarrassingly amateurish", and the big digital action set pieces are too confusing and crowded to easily follow.

There was not a single moment of the film when I was emotionally engaged in what was happening on screen, unless a vague sense of unease and growing disappointment counts as emotional engagement.
   186. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: February 22, 2012 at 12:38 PM (#4066110)

New Orleeeans...
Home of pirates, drunks, and whores...
New Orleeeans...
Tacky, overpriced, souvenir stores!
If you want to go to Hell, you should make that trip
to the Sodom and Gomorrah on the Mississipp'!

New Orleeeans...
Stinking, rotten, vomiting, vile!
New Orleaaans...
Putrid, brackish, maggoty, foul!
New Orleeeans...
Crummy, lousy, rancid, and rank!

New Orleeeans!
   187. BDC Posted: February 22, 2012 at 12:39 PM (#4066114)
left the actors out to dry

One of the best things on the Internet is the sequence in the Plinkett review of The Phantom Menace where they ask people to describe characters without mentioning their jobs/titles/roles or their appearance. Very easy, even exciting, for the original Star Wars characters, utterly impossible for The Phantom Menace.
   188. Dale Sams Posted: February 22, 2012 at 12:41 PM (#4066116)
Like Harrison Ford told Lucas during the filming of Star Wars, "You can type this ####, but you can't say it."


Ironicly, Ford, and the very young Carrie Fisher do a great job with their lines. It wasn't until ROTJ, that Solo becomes an emasculated, ####-eating grin wearing eunuch.
   189. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 22, 2012 at 12:41 PM (#4066118)
I personally enjoy learning more about Obi-Wan...


What new information did we learn about Obi-Wan during The Phantom Menace? I can't think of anything.

It's a decent enough summer blockbuster with cool action sequences. The plot and character development are weak...


I agree that it looked like something Michael Bay would have made. The problem is that I loathe, loathe, loathe those kinds of movies. As such, your point doesn't really do anything to redeem it for me.
   190. Graham & the 15-win "ARod Vortex of suck" Posted: February 22, 2012 at 12:43 PM (#4066119)
#185

Let's define an average action movie. What do you think an average action movie is?
   191. BDC Posted: February 22, 2012 at 12:43 PM (#4066120)
What new information did we learn about Obi-Wan during The Phantom Menace?

That he was a crashing bore in his youth.
   192. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: February 22, 2012 at 12:46 PM (#4066124)
My understanding is that the Boondocks dude was pretty notorious for missing deadlines and such, so I'm not sure it was ultimately fandom that cancelled his deal...


I wasn't really referring to the cancellation of the series, but more along the lines of the popularity and cultural impact of the show being far less than I would have anticipated based on the quality of the first season. Yeah, I know it airs at midnight but you can find episodes on Cartoon Network's website and elsewhere and I'd have thought the internet word-of-mouth just from "The Trial of R. Kelly" alone would have been enough to make it must-watch TV. The Martin Luther King Jr episode is still required viewing every year.
   193. McCoy Posted: February 22, 2012 at 12:47 PM (#4066126)
Let's define an average action movie. What do you think an average action movie is?

A third or fourth Steven Seagal, Van Damme, Chuck Norris movie might just be replacement level.

But the problem with PM is that it didn't aim to be an action movie nor was it an action movie. It was a drama that was done very badly. As far as Sci-Fi goes The Last Starfighter was more engaging than PM.
   194. Booey Posted: February 22, 2012 at 12:48 PM (#4066128)
I'm curious whether there has ever been a cartoon series where the characters aged.

Do you mean all characters, or just any characters? Lisa was 7 in the Simpsons first season, had her birthday in the second, and has been 8 ever since. Joseph from King of the Hill went through puberty sometime during the shows run, grew half a foot or so and was very noticeably older. Cleveland Jr aged (and gained a lot of weight) from when he was a bit character on early Family Guy episodes compared to how he is now on The Cleveland Show.


Don't forget the musical version of A Streetcar Named Desire.

And the Sherry Bobbins episode.


The Stonecutters song is just awesome. That's still probably my favorite episode. Patrick Stewart's seemingly serious character calling out, "Now let's all get drunk and play ping-pong!" cracks me up every time.
   195. Dale Sams Posted: February 22, 2012 at 12:49 PM (#4066131)
No one ever mentions soundtracks. am I the only one who gets off on those things? If so, studios could save a crapload of money by not pandering to...me.

It's nice to know that John Williams still had it after all those years. "Duel of the Fates" and "Battle of the Heroes" are just as well-done as "Imperial March".

I don't know if anyone else played The Force Unleashed, but I nearly crapped my pants when half-way through the game, "Duel of the Fates" started playing.
   196. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: February 22, 2012 at 12:49 PM (#4066132)
It wasn't until ROTJ, that Solo becomes an emasculated, ####-eating grin wearing eunuch.


I read somewhere (probably in one of the recent Onion AV, George Lucas related threads) that Ford was upset that Lucas didn't kill off Han Solo after the carbonite freezing in tESB and therefore essentially mailed in his performance in RotJ. I hadn't seen that related anywhere before, so who knows, but it certainly isn't out of character from what we know of Ford around that time (cough, cough, theatrical release Blade Runner voice over, cough, cough).
   197. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 22, 2012 at 12:50 PM (#4066133)
Let's define an average action movie. What do you think an average action movie is?


Average quality?

I dunno. The third "Die Hard", maybe?
   198. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: February 22, 2012 at 12:51 PM (#4066136)
#91 There are some quietly subversive moments in a lot of the Looney Tunes


I find many of the infamous "Censored 11" episodes to be absolutely brilliant, especially in terms of the musical accompaniment. These were works from the giants of 20th century animation - Bob Clampett, Chuck Jones, Friz Freleng, and Tex Avery, and whatever aspects of their comedic representations may clash with contemporary mores shouldn't overshadow the cultural value of the work itself.

In addition to those 11, the now-controversial WW2-themed episodes "Herr Meets Hare" and "Bugs Bunny Rips the Nips" are still damn funny.
   199. Graham & the 15-win "ARod Vortex of suck" Posted: February 22, 2012 at 12:51 PM (#4066139)
#189

You don't think learning about Obi-Wan's apprenticeship with Qui-Gon was the least bit interesting? Or that Obi-Wan was so brash as an apprentice? Is it great character development, not by any stretch of the imagination, but it keeps me occupied enough between the action sequences. That's really the weakest part of the Phantom Menace. In the original trilogy, the action sequences supported the plot and character development whereas the plot only served to link action sequences together in the Phantom Menace.

Michael Bay is terrible, I agree. I think Phantom Menace is a step up from that. I'm not saying Phantom Menace is great. It's about a 2 or 2.5 star action movie.
   200. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 22, 2012 at 12:53 PM (#4066140)
That he was a crashing bore in his youth.


OK, I'll give you that one.

No one ever mentions soundtracks. am I the only one who gets off on those things?


I like soundtracks - I'm just not a huge John Williams guy.

But if you show me one like Basil Poledouris's soundtrack for "Conan the Barbarian"? Or some good Morricone? Yeah, I'm all over that.
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