All posts tagged: The Simpsons

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You’re Dead To Us…Wacky and Explicitly Descriptive TV Theme Songs

In which we look at once common curiosities of pop culture that don’t exist anymore, be it because of changing tastes, the fragmentation of culture, or merely the fickle nature of fads.  Like most people who have taste and are also pretentious, I loathe The Big Bang Theory. There’s so much innovative comedy going right now, so much breathtaking work—30 Rock, Parks and Recreation, Veep, Girls, Family Tree, Arrested Development—and yet this show with the broad characters and the easy jokes and the braying laugh track is the most popular comedy on TV, by far, is The Big Bang Theory. Even two-hour blocks of repeats on cable bring in more viewers than Parks and Recreation. In my city, reruns come on after The Simpsons every night. Whenever my son and I watch that, he always wants to stay on for the first few minutes of The Big Bang Theory. I was worried he actually liked the show (but at least he’s seven – what’s your excuse, AMERICA?). He doesn’t. He just really likes the theme …

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PopSmarts: Let Nothing Come Between Us

One of the most anticipated television events of the summer is Under the Dome, a 13-week summer series adapted from the Stephen King novel of the same name. Under the Dome, which premieres June 24 on CBS, has a high-concept sci-fi hook; an entire town is unexpectedly encased in a semi-permeable force field, cutting the whole place off from the rest of the world. While a small group of citizens look for a way to escape their confinement, life inside quickly degenerates into a reign of terror as a nefarious local wheeler-dealer seizes power in the absence of any outside authority. In short, Under the Dome looks like the kind of small-town-under-siege thriller you’d expect from Stephen King. If the premise sounds vaguely familiar, well, it’s probably because you’ve seen it in another Stephen King story. It’s a dependable formula that’s worked well in Salem’s Lot, It, and Needful Things, among other works. The transparent dome, as the characters themselves note, functions like a terrarium or a fishbowl — and the characters are specimens under …

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You’re Dead To Us…Cop Movies

The other day on the Popdose email thread, as one is wont to do, we started spouting off old cop movie cliches for some reason—”I don’t play by the rules!” “Chief is gonna have your ass!” “Turn in your badge and gun!” That sort of thing. These are extremely familiar, instantly recognizable cultural touchstones, so much so that The Simpsons was able to milk it for years with its series of fake McBain movie clips. But you know what we don’t really have any more? Cop movies. These used to be a common, subgenre at the movie theater. More or less B-movies, they were predictable and formulaic, usually invovled a super-evil drug dealer, were shot in an especially seedy or dirty looking part of Los Angeles or New York, had a synth-heavy dramatic soundtrack, cops dressed in bad suits, and lots and lots and lots of superfluous, bloody violence and property-damaging car chases. A bunch of these came out every year as quick and easy vehicles for action stars, many of whom spoke poor English, …

White Label Wednesday: This Is Halloween

While Mr. Dunphy’s upcoming Friday Mixtape is one of the most esoteric tributes to All Hallow’s Eve that you will ever see, I chose a more commercial (read: lazier) path to celebrating my second-favorite holiday of the year. Now dance, you fuckers. Ministry – Everyday Is Halloween I hope your dancing shoes are comfortable, because this puppy is ten and a half minutes long. I couldn’t believe it when I moved to Chicago and people told me that “Halloween” was used locally to promote Miller Lite or something else anathema to everything Alain Jourgenson later stood for. Jourgenson has since dismissed this song, along with everything that came before Twitch, but I’m sure he doesn’t dismiss it enough to send back the royalty checks.

The Friday Mixtape: 9/18/09

Remember that mixtape from last week? One hundred Beatles covers? That thing was EPIC! It was freaking magnificent! Yup… That was… really something. Well, then. Midnight Oil – Under The Overpass from Capricornia (2002) fun. – Benson Hedges from Aim and Ignite (2009) The 77s – The Treasure In You from More Miserable Than You’ll Ever Be (1990) Roland Orzabal – Dandelion from Tomcats Screaming Outside (2001) Porcupine Tree – Black Dahlia from The Incident (2009) Velvet Crush – Hold Me Up from Teenage Symphonies to God (1994) Elton John – Something About The Way You Look Tonight from The Big Picture (1997) Gin Blossoms – Till I Hear It From You from Outside Looking In: The Best Of Gin Blossoms (1999) Yngwie Malmsteen – I’m My Own Enemy from Fire & Ice (1992) Toto – Drag Him To The Roof from Tambu (1996) The Smithereens – Behind The Wall Of Sleep from Especially for You (1986) Elvis Costello And The Imposters – American Gangster Time from Momofuku (2008) The Balls Of France – Message …

DVD Review: “Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder”

Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder (2009, 20th Century Fox) purchase this DVD (Amazon) Anyone even remotely familiar with science fiction knows that the Star Trek films suffered from a quality curse. It seemed that every odd-numbered film (especially Star Trek V) was absolutely horrible, while the even-numbered movies (in particular Star Trek II) were great. It wasn’t until the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation began making their own films that the curse was broken, albeit in the worst way: Each of their films (especially Star Trek: Insurrection, which makes Trek V look like Apocalypse Now) –with the exception of First Contact–was exponentially worse than that which came before. All of this is a roundabout way of stating that the original direct-to-DVD episodes of Futurama have become the equivalent of reverse Trek: The odd-numbered episodes are good, while the even-numbered episodes suck. Unfortunately, the latest (and potentially last) installment, Futurama: Into The Wild Green Yonder, is unlucky number four. As viewers of the last installment, Futurama: Bender’s Game will recall, that episode ended …

Popdose Interview: Duckman creator Everett Peck

Animation fans rejoice, for Duckman, the irreverent animated show that aired on USA in the ’90s has finally arrived on DVD. CBS/Paramount has released all four seasons of the groundbreaking television series on two excellent box sets that are available now. Anyone who is a fan of Family Guy or Adult Swim should rush out and purchase these beautifully made DVDs — they include all 70 episodes of the cult show that starred Jason Alexander as Duckman, a lazy, sarcastic, obnoxious private eye who lives with his dead wife’s sister, his two kids, and his flatulent, mute mother-in-law. Duckman premiered in March of 1994, and although it was never able to achieve the type of fame The Simpsons did (due in part to having its time slot changed several times), it did last for four seasons and was nominated for three Emmys. Controversial at the time for its dark, adult themes and overt sexual references, Duckman was a show that broke new ground in television animation. Never intended for children, it instead was an attempt …

The Friday Mixtape: 8/29/08

Michael Jackson turns 50 today. Fifty! Jacko is five-oh! Hard to believe, probably because the man hasn’t acted his age — or looked his age, for that matter — in years, but ever since he was a preteen he’s created timeless music, first with his brothers in the Jackson 5, then on his own as the biggest pop star of the ’80s. If you don’t own Off the Wall or Thriller, buy them right this instant. (Seriously, Jackson could probably use the royalty checks these days.) The former is a perfect combination of pop, soul, and disco, every track a winner, while the latter lives up to its title, a greatest-hits factory that cranked out one monster smash after another. Below is a mix of singles, album cuts, and demos by Jackson, plus covers by other artists, hip-hop songs that sample his work, a pair of songs that employ his backing vocals, and a remix/update that lights a fire under the one weak track from Thriller. There’s even a special birthday wish from a 1991 …

Dw. Dunphy On… “The Simpsons”

Okay, who hasn’t thought America’s favorite family has jumped the shark by now? Even with the success of last year’s movie (which I found quite funny) still fresh in the audience’s mind, the actual show has become something not so much unfunny as it is unfriendly. Allow me to back up here. This assertion has been going on for a decade now, ever since a particularly harsh mean streak started to creep up on good old dullard Homer Simpson. His callous nature and general ignorance to all but his own personal needs cataloged deaths, a desire to get a friend back off the wagon ’cause he needed a drinking buddy, framing his wife for a DUI to save his own ass, and many a faux pas resulting in the viewing public crowning the character “Jerk-Ass Homer.” If there was an upside, it was that the rest of the characters seemed to be coping, uh, in character. The other saving grace was that, often, the show was still funny and still, dare I say it, human. …