Category Archives: Nostalgia

Treehouse of Horror Roundup 26-27

Like most other Americans, I spent the last couple of days consumed with a different sort of nightmarish joke. But life and the days of November march on, and now that it’s ten days past Halloween, we need to wrap this up.

It felt good to laugh and get one last sweet taste of Halloween for the year. I even ate some candy — gummy bears — to mark the occasion. And The Simpsons managed to let me end on happy note by providing two mostly solid episodes. I’m glad I took this ride with you all.

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Treehouse of Horror Roundup 19-21

It only just occurred to me tonight (10 and a half hours into this roundup) that I could have made things interesting by collecting and crunching some Simpsons data as I watched. What percentage of Halloween segments focus on each character? How often are Kang and Kudos central to a plot rather than mere background? How many times does each character actually die onscreen? What a missed opportunity!

Well, I guess I could just start over.

Yeah, no.

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Treehouse of Horror Roundup 11-16

We’ve hit a bit of a rough patch. What say you, Groundskeeper Willie?

Picture of Groundskeeper Willie

We’re wasting more energy than Ricky Martin’s girlfriend.

Harsh, but probably accurate. This was not a great group of episodes, although it wasn’t a complete comedic dead space.

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Treehouse of Horror Roundup 7-10

A shorter batch tonight. My stamina is already waning. And yet so far I feel really engaged with this exercise. This is fun. This group reminded me that for such a topical show, The Simpsons can also feel extraordinarily fresh and relevant even two decades later. I tend to roll my eyes a little when people say stuff like that because I’ve never been quite the Simpsons devotee that many other people are. But sometimes a particular joke will reach out and shake you by the throat until you acknowledge the truth.

Not a single chuckle-worthy tombstone or framing device to be found tonight. I guess those are well and truly dead.

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Treehouse of Horror Roundup 1-6

In honor of All Hallows Eve 2016, I intend to revisit every single Simpsons Halloween special. Many I’ve seen countless times before, but many I’ve never seen at all. So this should be an interesting experiment… at least for me. However, because The Simpsons has been in continuous production for the majority of the years I’ve walked this planet and because I have a day job, I won’t really be able to dig deep with a lot of substantive commentary. And it will still take me most of this week anyway. I hope you enjoy this quick-and-dirty nostalgia trip anyway.

Opening title from the first Simpsons Halloween Special

Wait, are these not actually called Treehouse of Horror? Everything I know is a lie.

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Hello, Mr. King

Tomorrow night I will attend a Q&A event with Stephen King. He will perform a reading from his latest novel, Revival, and, if I’m very lucky, I will go home with a signed copy.

I’m terribly excited. In anticipation, I’ve been re-reading King’s autobiography (which is also a brilliant guide for aspiring authors), On Writing. I’ve also been thinking about my favorite movies based on his works. I’ve collected the following list. Keep in mind these are simply the titles for which I feel the greatest amount of affection, not necessarily the best examples of high-quality cinema.

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Still nothing to see

My newly-in-residence partner’s job required him to travel all this last week.  This provided me with my first opportunity to veg solo in front of the Roku in two months. And we all know that’s the genesis of this blog, so it definitely got me in the mood to get back in action. Nothing particularly remarkable came out of it, but it’s probably a good idea to pace myself after such a long break. Wouldn’t want to sprain something.

I did try out Crackle for the first time. People who complain about Netflix’s selection need to peruse these offerings and then get back to me. However, it is free, and I did manage to find a couple choice nuggets. Of course, as night follows day, free inevitably means commercials. But that doesn’t really bother me much given that the movies are still completely unedited and uncensored. It makes the Crackle experience feel extremely similar to watching IFC. Except instead of trying to shove Comedy Bang! Bang! at me as hard as possible, it was BMW vehicles. That strikes me as a weird ad buy. If I could actually afford a BMW, couldn’t I afford pay video content? Just a thought.

I watched Stripes for quite possibly the millionth time. I guess this was at least slightly revelatory because I have, in fact, watched it so often over the course of my entire life that I have every aspect of it memorized, and yet this was the first time it occurred to me that I’m not sure I actually like it. Granted, there are some scenes that always make me laugh. Always. But some other scenes are quite dated in some potentially troubling ways. And Bill Murray’s natural charm and charisma have to work overtime to invest us in his character. Really, John Winger might be his least likeable protagonist. *

Meanwhile, back on good old Netflix, I discovered Mike Birbiglia. That’s an awesome addition to my life. A while back my Best Girl Friend (aka “Bestie”) mentioned how much she loved his stuff. But I dragged my feet on investigating this a little because there isn’t always a lot of crossover in our media preferences. A fairly typical exchange between us will go:

Bestie: [flipping channels] Ooh… Legally Blonde! Love it! Hollis, how many times have you watched this movie?!!**
Holly: Zero.

However, we can agree about Birbiglia. I loved his My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend special. It was one of the best things that happened all week.

 

* I haven’t put any research into this question or really even given it much thought before throwing it out there, so please don’t hold me to this assertion. In fact, feel free to debate the point with me in the comments.

** I find it endearing how she tries her best to create interesting nicknames for me even though my name has no cute permutations.

Quote of the day

Moving day is at hand. Prepare to move your very, very odd family.

Tonight I’m rolling with the animated flashback theme and watching The Secret of NIMH (available on Netflix Instant). This viewing is in honor of my impending move tomorrow because every time I change apartments, I’m heavily reminded of the scene with the Shrew. And I toss this quote at anyone who will listen (repeatedly) while I’m packing and cleaning and preparing, even though it’s not especially clever, most people have no idea what I’m referencing, and also it makes no sense in context. No matter how odd I am, I am still only one person.

It’s been 13 years since the last major Don Bluth release. I find that bittersweet because I have appreciated his work my whole life even if it never moved me in quite the same way as the Disney movies of my youth. The stories were always just slightly off, like a beautiful gem with a flaw. The movies never quite hit all the right notes at exactly the correct times, and the result was an indefinable lacking. That special Disney je ne sais quoi was missing. And yet — revisiting NIMH I’m struck by how amazingly gorgeous the visuals are with all the moody intricacy and the uniquely ripe texture displayed in all his projects. The artwork is so special, and in the case of NIMH, there’s also a lush Jerry Goldsmith score.

Huh. You know, I’ve never questioned it before, but why do super-intelligent science-experiment-gone-awry rats also happen to have a magic necklace just lying around? Also, with or without courage of the heart, I think I could totally rock a red and gold amulet just like that.

By the way, I feel obligated to mention that last summer I had just recently launched a promising new blog when I interrupted my flow to move into DC. What with all the associated hassle and bother and needing to shop for new lamps and trying to unpack after work when I was already tired and then the stockpiling of procrastination-related guilt… Yeah, that all pretty much killed it dead. And, here we go again, only eleven months later. I should warn you that I’m jeopardizing the welfare of this blog to move back to Virginia, solely out of a selfish desire to once again share a residence with my boyfriend and our cat now that the Army has seen fit to bring him to this area after two looong years stationed over 900 miles away.

Anyway, we’ll now be taking a short break from our regularly scheduled programming. I’ll see y’all again on the flip side. Probably. Maybe?

Things I used to love: Disney Channel

I do not have children, and therefore I (gratefully) have very little conception of what airs on the Disney Channel these days. However, every so often I’m confronted with what passes for modern kids-oriented programming. Usually when I’m somehow a captive audience. For instance, I’ve been subjected to such things on the television in front of my treadmill at the gym on a Saturday morning. Or sometimes when I’m in the waiting room at Jiffy Lube. And frankly I’m horrified.

This makes...

This makes…

...THIS seem epic.

…THIS seem epic.

I’m not even making that up. I know someone with a middle-school-age daughter who became obsessed with Full House on DVD because it was so much more “genuine” and “realistic.” Oh my God, Becky.

Anyway, to my mind the real travesty is not that these sitcoms are so shitty. It’s that sitcoms are even on the Disney Channel in the first place. But you might ask, how would Disney rake in money hand-over-fist without celebritzing crop after crop of living kewpie dolls? I don’t really care. Bring back cartoons.

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