Wednesday, August 17, 2011

John Swartzwelder: The Simpsons Retrospective Day 3

We still got thirty-five more episodes to cover in this John Swartzwelder Simpsons retrospective! Today we cover episodes 35-24

35) King of the Hill (Season 9)

You got a lot of great jokes in here including the ‘Commi-Nazi’s’ and the old-timey flashback of Grandpa climbing The Murderhorn. But my favorite moment comes from Homer discovering a late night’ Gyme in Springfield:

   Homer: “Gyme”? What’s a “gyme” (Enter’s Gym and see’s people working out) Ohhhh…A “Gyme”.

34) I Am Furious (Yellow) (Season 13)

Maybe it’s because I’m a nerd, but Stan Lee should be in more Simpsons episodes. Hell you could take out most of this episode, leave only the Stan Lee moments, and I’d be satisfied. However you get some great, pretty crappy to be honest, look into Internet flash shows with Angry Dad. But this moment involving Snowball II always makes me laugh:

      Marge:   Homer you have an anger problem. Look your punching the cat right now!
      Homer:   I am not--(Pull out to reveal he is punching the cat) Oh my gosh!

33) Mountain of Madness (Season 8)

Yet another Burns episode, this time with Burns and Homer going crazy after an avalanche. All I have to say is read this exchange involving ‘Smokey’ the Bear. It’s one of Swartzwelder’s finest:

   Smokey: Only who can prevent forest fires? [Bart chooses the "You" button over the "Me"] You pressed "you," referring to me. That is incorrect. The correct answer is "you".

32) Rosebud (Season 5)

This is the time where I think Swartzwelder started to get wilder with his episodes. I mean you have Mr. Burns going from channel to channel, which can’t be easy, tracking Homer. Plus you have one of the first big mob scenes which as the writers are quick to point out, happens frequently.

   Homer: Mmm...sixty four slices of American cheese. [Takes the stack to the table and sits downSixty four...[eats itSixty three...[eats it[Next morningTwo...[eats it really slowlyOne...[eats it[Marge walks in]
   Marge: [incredulous] Have you been up all night eating cheese?
   Homer: [slurred] I think I'm blind...

31) Bart Gets Famous (Season 5)

Conan O’Brien cameo aside, the highlight of the episode is the trip to the box factory. I love that it’s next to the Fireworks factory and the man who runs the Box factory is as boring as you can imagine. Following a line around a man’s office is a great visual treat from the show.

   Lisa: This biography of Bart came out awfully quickly.  It's not even about him!
   Bart: Sure it is!  Look at the cover.
   Lisa: But inside it's mostly about Ross Perot, and the last two chapters are excerpts from the Oliver North trial.
   Homer: Ah, Oliver North.  He was just _poured_ into that uniform.

30) Homer at the Bat (Season 3)

Yet another episode where the focus is on the guest stars first and the story second. But I do like this episode because Swartzwelder is a fan of baseball and he does some nice jokes throughout. My favorite, apart from this quote, is the sideburns joke that Harry Shearer even admits he doesn’t get.

   Hynpotist: You are all very good players...
   Team:      [entranced] We are all very good players...
   Hypnotist: You will beat Shelbyville...
   Team:      We will beat Shelbyville...
   Hypnotist: You will give one hundred and ten percent...
   Team:      That's impossible.  No one can give more than one hundred percent. By definition that is the most anyone can give...

29) You Only Movie Twice (Season 8)

Ah Hank Scorpio, the greatest of all Albert Brooks characters. It’s also yet another instance where Brooks adlibbed most of his material instead of following the script. But even if the episode is more remembered for Brooks then of Swartzwelder, there is a great scripted moment to finish Scorpio’s time with the Simpsons:

 Hank:  If you need anything, you call me.
 Homer: All right. What's the number?
 Hank:  I've never had to call my own company. Someone will tell you upstairs. But, Homer, on your way out, if you wanna kill somebody, it would help a lot.

28) The Computer Wore Menace Shoes (Season 11)

Basically if you never saw The Prisoner (even the mediocre remake involving Ian McKellen) you won’t get a lot of these jokes in the third act. The first two acts with Homer getting a computer and becoming Mr. X are funny, but it’s all about the third act for me.

 Homer:        Umm ... I guess I'll take that one.
 Salesman:     Well, do you need a paperweight?  'Cause if you buy that machine, that's all you're going to have, an expensive paperweight.
 Homer:        Well, a paperweight would be nice, but what I really need is a computer.  How about that one?  [points to a second machine]
 Salesman:     That technology is three months old.  Only suckers buy out-of-date machines.  You're not a sucker, are you sir?
 Homer:        Heavens no!
 Salesman:     Oh good, because if you were, I'd have to ask you to leave the store.

27) Kill the Alligator and Run (Season 11)

This is simply the craziest John Swartzwelder episode in the history of the series. Note that doesn’t make this the funniest, but simply it has a completely different plot every act. There’s absolutely no motivation either to go from set piece to set piece but it doesn’t bother me as much as other episodes. I do like Homer calling Robert Evans memories as ‘gibberish’, but it’s this bizarre ending that takes the cake for me:

 Judge:        Well, looks like you folks are free to go. But don't you set foot in the state of Florida again.
 Homer:        Fine.  There are plenty of other states that are happy to have us. [cut to the Simpsons' living room.  A map of the United States is set on an easel.  There is a black "X" drawn through all the states except Arizona, Florida, and North Dakota]
 Marge:        [draws an "X" on the map through Florida] Well we're still welcome in North Dakota, and Arizona.
 Homer:        Arizona smells funny.
 Marge:        [grumbles, and draws an "X" through Arizona]
 Lisa:         North Dakota, here we come!
 Bart:         I always wanted to see Mount Rushmore!
 Marge:        That's South Dakota.
 Bart:         [disappointed] Ohh.

26) Krusty Gets Kancelled (Season 4)

It’s funny I never think much of this as a Swartzwelder episode except for the first act. Gabbo just screams like a Swartzwelder idea but I’m not sure why. Even though it feels that the script that to be rewritten heavily for the guest stars, I still like the episode even if a lot of Swartzwelder material was cut out. Although Johnny Carson as a squatter could’ve been a great moment in Simpsons history.

   Krusty: All right, here's the deal.  Every time you watch my show, I will send you... [holds up a check] forty dollars!
   Voice:  [fine print]  Checks will not be honored.

25) Treehouse of Horror VI: Attack of the 50ft. Eyesores (Season 7)

Swartzwelder used to work in advertisting, so writing a Treehouse segment of big advertisements attacking the city seems perfect for him. I especially love Homer’s attitude when the Lard Lad mascot comes to his door (“He came back to life, good for him.”) Or when Homer finally calls on Marge for being wrong all the time.

   Marge: [walking in] Homer!  Where did you get that?
   Homer: [pause] Get what?
   Marge: That giant donut.
   Homer: Well, I acquired it legally.  You can be sure of that.

24) The Day the Violence Died (Season 7)

While not the first he ever wrote, this is the first Itchy and Scratchy themed episode on the list. I basically love this episode because they got Kurt Douglas to provide the voice of Chester (yet again another hobo). The fact that he gets most of the best lines and moments in the episode easily makes this a favorite of mine.

   Grampa: I thought I recognized you. I gave you a plate of corn muffins back in 1947 to paint my chicken coop. And you never did it.
   Chester: Those corn muffins were lousy.
   Grampa: Paint my chicken coop!
   Chester: Make me!

Well we only have twenty three more episodes till the finale! Come back for Part four of this retrospective on Thursday

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