Posts Tagged ‘homer simpson’

Simpsons Classics: “Summer of 4 Ft. 2”

Simpsons Summer of 4Ft2

The calendar has turned to July, which can only mean one thing: Time to celebrate the greatest summer episode in the history of television.

The television season, like the school year, pretty much runs from September to May, meaning that most shows never explore the summer as in-depth as the other seasons. For The Simpsons, “Summer of 4 Ft. 2” is a rare episode that dives into what goes on between one season’s finale and the next’s premiere, and it does so with near perfect execution.

Season One
Life on the Fast Lane
Bart Gets an F
Lisa the Iconoclast
Mr. Plow
22 Short Films about Springfield
Treehouse of Horror

The finale of the seventh season — originally airing May 19, 1996 — is centered on Lisa’s often quixotic quest to find friends. The final day of school reveals that overseeing the layouts and fonts of Retrospecticus, the Springfield Elementary yearbook that excels in “immortalizing your awkward phase,” doesn’t make Lisa the most popular girl in school. The family’s trip to the Flanders’ beach house in Little Pwagmattasquarmsettport offers her a chance to try on a new personality and win over friends, which she does for a time. It’s a sweet episode.

Yes, I know I’m prone to the charm and realism of Lisa episodes. But what makes “Summer of 4 Ft. 2” so groin-grabbingly transcendent is its absolute embrace of its setting—both the Independence Day time and the Little Pwagmattasquarmsettport place.

It does this through sensational animation throughout the episode. Maybe it’s because I’ve been on like a six-month Simspons hiatus—probably the longest I’ve had since 1992 or something—but “Summer of 4 Ft. 2” jumps out as a landmark of animation excellence. So much of the humor in “Summer of 4 Ft. 2” is derived from subtlety and precise execution. Take the scene in which Flanders offers up his beach house to Homer. Homer’s posture at the beginning of the scene—hand on hips, legs crossed, his eyes half-closed*—transfers a wealth of information about his relationship to Flanders. If you’ve never seen an episode of The Simpsons, this posture alone would communicate how Homer feels about his neighbor. Continue reading

Monday Medley

What we read while celebrating the independence of our nation by blowing up a small part of it…

  • We had endless fun with the worst sentences of the year, but our personal favorite might have to be the following: “As Holmes, who had a nose for danger, quietly fingered the bloody knife and eyed the various body parts strewn along the dark, deserted highway, he placed his ear to the ground and, with his heart in his throat, silently mouthed to his companion, ‘Arm yourself, Watson, there is an evil hand afoot ahead.'”
  • The answer appears to be “No,” but the question in the subhead–“Could a brain parasite found in cats help soccer teams win at the World Cup?”–is undeniably intriguing.

Simpsons Classics: Mr. Plow

As the northeast continues to get pummeled by snow, it’s hard not to think about the infamous snow plow wars waged between Homer and Barney Gumble in “Mr. Plow,” a fourth-season episode of The Simpsons.

The episode starts with a common premise: Homer does something really stupid. In fact, it’s a series of stupid things: He stays out late at Moe’s during a snowstorm, wrecks both the family’s cars in a driveway crash, and then buys a snow plow to compensate—largely because the salesman questioned his manhood. We’ve even seen this last sales tactic hook Homer on an impractical auto purchase before in “The Call of the Simpsons.” To be fair, Homer is smart enough not to admit that Moe’s is a bar to the insurance agent: Continue reading

On To-Do Lists

Recently, Slate’s John Dickerson solicited readers’ advice in how to most effectively and efficiently follow a to-do list. I did not send in my own counsel regarding to-do lists, reproduced below.

1. Every night, write down everything that you can conceivably accomplish the next day in a large, ringed notebook kept on your nightstand. Included on this list should be basic human activities, such as “Wake Up” and “Shower,” and simple tasks, like “Tomorrow’s To-Do List.” In-between, be ambitious. The last thing you want is to finish your to-do list early, so don’t be afraid to include both “Finish Dostoevsky novel” AND “War and Peace, Volumes I-II.”

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