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subego May 5, 2013 04:01 PM
Zombie Simpsons
Zombie Simpsons: How the Best Show Ever Became the Broadcasting Undead | Dead Homer Society

Interesting (but long) article on the history of the Simpsons. Good stuff on the early days of FOX, too.

He presents a convincing case it's almost impossible to get good writers for an 8+ year old show. It's a far more difficult job than writing for a younger show, and it's at a time when a show is past its rating peak, and hence doesn't have the money to throw around they once did.

Via r/truereddit.
 
Doc HM May 6, 2013 09:41 AM
Very good article. I agreed with almost everything it said. The author did mention the animation once briefly but glossed over it after that. To me that's also an important part of when the Simpsons died.
Initially the S1 animation was very slapdash but it got much better very quickly and from season 3 to 6/7 it's really excellent with some lovely free form art and great characterisation. It's really almost a character in itself and certainly adds immensely to the actual characters.

The current blando cgi aided art is just shocking. You can see that the budgets hit the floor. The art is almost like bad fan art and the cgi jars badly.
 
ort888 May 6, 2013 01:40 PM
I just read the whole thing. Great work. It perfectly and thoroughly summed up exactly what went wrong.

The show really did hit a wall. I think I fall into the camp that still considers seasons 7-9 some grade A stuff, but it is true that you can see the show changing in those years.

It's too bad they more or less stopped the discussion before the current years, which are actually a little better. Well, not a lot better, just better in contrast to seasons 11-19 or whatever. I'm not sure when they got better, because I don't watch regularly anymore.

Part of the problem is that there really is nowhere to go with these characters and this world. It's all been done before... 5 or 6 times at this point.

I also would like to hear what this guy would have to say about the movie. God, I hated... HATED... that movie. HATED IT. It was like watching one of the worst episodes stretched out over an hour and a half with bad looking super glossy animation. Everything that was wrong about Zombie Simpsons was magnified and put right out in front for that horrible movie. Barf.
 
subego May 6, 2013 01:52 PM
I know I'm going against the grain here, but I kinda like the zombie Simpsons.

I like brutal satire, but I also like wacky escapism.


For example, I recall liking the movie. Can't for the life of me recall anything else about it though...

Okay. I remember the rock and a hard place gag and Spider Pig, but I couldn't give you an analysis of why I was entertained.
 
The Final Dakar May 6, 2013 01:55 PM
I can't wait for the day the sales finally die off and I can watch them on Netflix.

Fox should just rub it in and release the double-digit seasons on Instant.
 
subego May 6, 2013 02:33 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by Doc HM (Post 4229257)
Very good article. I agreed with almost everything it said. The author did mention the animation once briefly but glossed over it after that. To me that's also an important part of when the Simpsons died.
Initially the S1 animation was very slapdash but it got much better very quickly and from season 3 to 6/7 it's really excellent with some lovely free form art and great characterisation. It's really almost a character in itself and certainly adds immensely to the actual characters.

The current blando cgi aided art is just shocking. You can see that the budgets hit the floor. The art is almost like bad fan art and the cgi jars badly.
I specifically remember the episode where I realized how good the animation had become. It was the episode where Bart wins an elephant. For half of it, the elephant was just standing there, with these perfectly timed blinks.

Simple, but by no means simplistic.
 
Uncle Skeleton May 6, 2013 02:37 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by ort888 (Post 4229280)
It's too bad they more or less stopped the discussion before the current years, which are actually a little better. Well, not a lot better, just better in contrast to seasons 11-19 or whatever. I'm not sure when they got better, because I don't watch regularly anymore.
My impression was that there was a big downward spiral leading up to the movie, at which point the show rebounded and started creeping back up. I attributed this to the writers putting whatever talent they had into the movie at the expense of the show, and once the movie was out the door, the show started getting some attention again. I felt the same phenomenon with the Family Guy (resurrection) when American Dad was first starting -- the creative attention to Family Guy had clearly left the room.


Quote, Originally Posted by subego (Post 4229282)
I know I'm going against the grain here, but I kinda like the zombie Simpsons.
...
For example, I recall liking the movie.
Me too. It's probably more about nostalgia than talent at this point, but I'm ok with that.
 
subego May 6, 2013 02:48 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by Uncle Skeleton (Post 4229294)
My impression was that there was a big downward spiral leading up to the movie, at which point the show rebounded and started creeping back up. I attributed this to the writers putting whatever talent they had into the movie at the expense of the show, and once the movie was out the door, the show started getting some attention again. I felt the same phenomenon with the Family Guy (resurrection) when American Dad was first starting -- the creative attention to Family Guy had clearly left the room.
Though not explicitly mentioned in the article, going off of the insight it gives on how the system works, they may have hired old writers who had burnt out and quit. I would imagine they'd get a nice salary for a closed-ended amount of work, they have experience (both as writers, and as writers for The Simpsons), and have recovered most of their mojo for working with this property again.

That's just a guess though.
 
Eug May 6, 2013 03:19 PM
Yeah, I stopped watching consistently about half a dozen years ago. Still, I'd rather watch Zombie Simpsons than the various "reality" shows or soap operas like Grey's Anatomy.
 
subego May 6, 2013 03:24 PM
That's the thing. For all the appropriateness of title "zombie" for the show, as of the last time I watched (5 years ago?) it didn't exactly suck or anything. I'm willing to cut it some slack for not being groundbreaking some 15 years in.
 
The Final Dakar May 6, 2013 03:55 PM
That last time I watched, which was probably a decade ago, I might have managed one or two laughs. Its terrible.
 
subego May 6, 2013 04:05 PM
I felt it was more half a good show. Taken as a whole, they were incoherent. They would have three separate stories which they barely tried to link in a linear fashion. One of them would be good, and that one was usually the longest.
 
The Final Dakar May 6, 2013 04:17 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by subego (Post 4229315)
I felt it was more half a good show. Taken as a whole, they were incoherent. They would have three separate stories which they barely tried to link in a linear fashion. One of them would be good, and that one was usually the longest.
I remember that being one of my criticisms. Homer will have idea A, which fails causing B, and at some point they'll just wander into C. Awful.
 
subego May 6, 2013 05:37 PM
Depends on the context. I'm not sure what you expect from an old show.

Should it have been canceled? Or is it okay for the people who are okay with it? It's not like they were destroying canon.
 
Uncle Skeleton May 6, 2013 05:38 PM
Yeah, I keep feeling like Milhouse's "when are they going to get to the fireworks factory?" <cries>. The classic, well-crafted episodes would bring back the plot from the beginning into the end somehow, and they never do that anymore. Of course, they realize they're doing this, and they just don't care. After I came to terms with that fact, it doesn't bother me as much. Now it's more of a surprise if they do it, instead of a disappointment when they don't.
 
Uncle Skeleton May 6, 2013 05:41 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by subego (Post 4229342)
Should it have been canceled? Or is it okay for the people who are okay with it? It's not like they were destroying canon.
Agree, and also I'm pretty sure they're not displacing any new show that would be better. In fact I suspect that they create some kind of conceptual stability off of which other new shows can bud. I don't think the other various animated shows aired on Fox Sunday would have lasted as long as they have without the Simpsons as a lead-in, even the crappy version of the Simpsons.
 
subego May 6, 2013 05:47 PM
The article hypothesizes the same thing. The Sunday lineup is hugely successful for FOX, and the Simpsons has always been the anchor. No interest in rocking the boat.
 
subego May 6, 2013 05:50 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by Uncle Skeleton (Post 4229343)
Yeah, I keep feeling like Milhouse's "when are they going to get to the fireworks factory?" <cries>. The classic, well-crafted episodes would bring back the plot from the beginning into the end somehow, and they never do that anymore. Of course, they realize they're doing this, and they just don't care. After I came to terms with that fact, it doesn't bother me as much. Now it's more of a surprise if they do it, instead of a disappointment when they don't.
Exactly. That's the wavelength they're on. Take it or leave it. You're not going to get far if you refuse to sync up with that.
 
andi*pandi May 6, 2013 06:27 PM
A lot of good points. More cute /less sarcastic. Simpsons is no longer must watch tv for us... the dvr records it, but we frequently end up watching a month or so later when there's nothing else we've recorded we like better. Same with family guy or american dad. I actually more actively dislike those shows though.
 
subego May 6, 2013 11:47 PM
I laugh more at Family Guy, but it's pretty lowbrow.

I do always fall for the gag of Brian suddenly acting like a dog, or Stewie acting like an infant.
 
Doc HM May 7, 2013 09:25 AM
Quote, Originally Posted by subego (Post 4229380)
I laugh more at Family Guy, but it's pretty lowbrow.

I do always fall for the gag of Brian suddenly acting like a dog, or Stewie acting like an infant.
Family guy always goes for the cheap/easy laughs. Sure you may chuckle, but 20 seconds later you can't remember why.

Even years later, just thinking about the 7 rakes gag makes me laugh out loud.
Simpsons - Sideshow bob steps on rakes - YouTube

I guess the point of the article isn't if the Simpsons should be cancelled/allowed to die, but more that whatever we have now it isn't the Simpsons of old. Of course while FOX are still in the black with it it will carry on and on and on and on...
 
The Final Dakar May 7, 2013 10:20 AM
Quote, Originally Posted by subego (Post 4229342)
Should it have been canceled? Or is it okay for the people who are okay with it? It's not like they were destroying canon.
Yes. People point out how Homer has become a parody of himself.

Case in point - Futurama. I went through the last season on Netflix barely cracking a smile some episodes. Then they announced the cancellation. Fine by me. I'd rather see it go away that just drag on being unfunny.
 
Doc HM May 7, 2013 10:38 AM
Quote, Originally Posted by The Final Dakar (Post 4229415)
Yes. People point out how Homer has become a parody of himself.

Case in point - Futurama. I went through the last season on Netflix barely cracking a smile some episodes. Then they announced the cancellation. Fine by me. I'd rather see it go away that just drag on being unfunny.
I agree. Far better to finish a show at it's peak rather than let it limp along. But then I don't actually own a show that makes money hand over fist, so I don't get a say in it. This is one of the best things about the BBC, they are happy to pull the plug on stuff when it's done artistically, rather than when it dies commercially. Even if that usually leaves fans wanting more.
 
subego May 7, 2013 12:33 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by The Final Dakar (Post 4229415)
Yes. People point out how Homer has become a parody of himself.

Case in point - Futurama. I went through the last season on Netflix barely cracking a smile some episodes. Then they announced the cancellation. Fine by me. I'd rather see it go away that just drag on being unfunny.
Doesn't Futurama have canon after a fashion?

Is The Simpsons that bad (honest question)?
 
The Final Dakar May 7, 2013 12:53 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by subego (Post 4229458)
Is The Simpsons that bad (honest question)?
C'mon dude. This question was answered long before you started the thread.
 
subego May 7, 2013 12:56 PM
Maybe you were using hyperbole, but you said you struggled to crack a smile with Futurama. Last time I watched The Simpsons, it just wasn't that bad. I actually laughed a few times without effort.
 
The Final Dakar May 7, 2013 12:59 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by subego (Post 4229465)
Maybe you were using hyperbole, but you said you struggled to crack a smile with Futurama. Last time I watched The Simpsons, it just wasn't that bad. I actually laughed a few times without effort.
Dead Homer Society Manifesto | Dead Homer Society
Quote
The program on Fox that bills itself as “The Simpsons” bears only the faintest resemblance to our favorite television show of all time. Today it is a hollow shell, over animated, under thought out, and thoroughly mediocre. The sooner it ends the better off we’ll all be.
How bad does a TV show have to be to inspire this?
 
subego May 7, 2013 01:02 PM
It's a relative statement.

The first decade of The Simpsons literally rewrote television. Futurama was just a funny show with nerd appeal.
 
The Final Dakar May 7, 2013 01:06 PM
FFS. Accept the answer.
 
subego May 7, 2013 01:06 PM
And I'll note the "Matt Groening" style animated show wasn't exactly a groundbreaking idea when Futurama came along.
 
subego May 7, 2013 01:07 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by The Final Dakar (Post 4229469)
FFS. Accept the answer.
I have no problem accepting the answer from someone who's actually watched the show in the last five years.

Fair?
 
The Final Dakar May 7, 2013 01:20 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by subego (Post 4229471)
I have no problem accepting the answer from someone who's actually watched the show in the last five years.

Fair?
Think about why this situation exists in the first place.
 
subego May 7, 2013 01:24 PM
I didn't stop because it was agonizingly bad, force a smile. It just wasn't great.

I don't have cable anymore. What does that say about everything else on TV?
 
The Final Dakar May 7, 2013 01:26 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by subego (Post 4229476)
I didn't stop because it was agonizingly bad, force a smile. It just wasn't great.

I don't have cable anymore. What does that say about everything else on TV?
Or other forms of entertainment? or your priorities?
 
subego May 7, 2013 01:38 PM
Tiny sample is tiny.
 
subego May 7, 2013 01:40 PM
Was The Simpsons part of your childhood? I'm trying to divine what's making you flip your shit about this.
 
The Final Dakar May 7, 2013 01:41 PM
Flip my shit?
 
subego May 7, 2013 01:42 PM
Yes. Flip your shit.
 
The Final Dakar May 7, 2013 01:47 PM
Where?
 
subego May 7, 2013 01:47 PM
In my book, if someone makes a request as inoffensive as asking for an opinion from within the last half-decade, the person trying to shoot that down is flipping their shit.
 
The Final Dakar May 7, 2013 01:55 PM
 
subego May 7, 2013 01:57 PM
Now post Futurama, and we'll be somewhere.
 
The Final Dakar May 7, 2013 01:58 PM
What does Futurama have to do with the Simpsons sucking?
 
The Final Dakar May 7, 2013 02:05 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by subego (Post 4229485)
In my book, if someone makes a request as inoffensive as asking for an opinion from within the last half-decade, the person trying to shoot that down is flipping their shit.
http://www.reactiongifs.com/wp-conte...delusional.gif
 
subego May 7, 2013 02:05 PM
Ummm...

It's because this whole tangent has been about whether The Simpsons currently sucks as bad as Futurama.

You described how awful the experience was of watching Futurama. I asked "is The Simpsons that bad?"

This is a direct request for comparison and contrast.

Just what do you think we were talking about?
 
The Final Dakar May 7, 2013 02:11 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by subego (Post 4229494)
Just what do you think we were talking about?
...
Quote, Originally Posted by subego (Post 4229342)
Should it have been canceled?
 
subego May 7, 2013 02:22 PM
And you used Futurama as evidence for your position.

I challenge(d) the validity of that evidence.

Shall I repeat my challenge?
 
The Final Dakar May 7, 2013 02:39 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by subego (Post 4229499)
And you used Futurama as evidence for your position.
The Futurama note wasn't evidence; It was a situation where my opinion mirrored my regard for The Simpsons. Remove that line if you find it distracting – the overall point of that post doesn't change.
 
subego May 7, 2013 02:53 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by The Final Dakar (Post 4229501)
Remove that line if you find it distracting – the overall point of that post doesn't change.
Except for the part where that's what I've been discussing over the last dozen posts. Thanks for your permission to ignore it. You're swell.
 
The Final Dakar May 7, 2013 03:02 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by subego (Post 4229503)
Except for the part where that's what I've been discussing over the last dozen posts. Thanks for your permission to ignore it. You're swell.
Well I didn't realize you somehow saw it as evidence for some reason. You kept brining it up and I kept ignoring it because it has nothing to do with The Simpsons sucking.

I thought I was pretty clear here too

So what now?
 
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