Category Archives: TV

The Top Simpsons Episodes

If you are now in your mid-20s to mid-30s that means you grew up, at least partially, in the 90s–you know, that decade Buzzfeed won’t let us forget about.

The 90s produced a lot of terrible things, but the decade did produce the best Simpsons episodes ever made. Believe me, I know it’s kind of hackey to rag on the show’s newer episodes. I’ve heard from people who say the newest episodes have improved, but I wouldn’t know. I stopped watching 10 years ago.

Maybe it makes me a curmudgeon or a snob, but I firmly believe of the Simpsons as seasons two through 10.  The first season was still working out some of the kinks and, for me, things just started to fall apart after season 10. But, in between, lie some of the cleverest TV ever broadcast.

WFLD, the Chicago FOX affliate, played The Simpsons three times a day–twice around dinner time and then a late episode around 10 p.m. As a kid, I saw pretty much every episode from the golden era…multiple times. It was difficult to choose, but here are my favorite episodes from each season.

Season 2 – “Lisa’s Substitute”

Initially, I was going to select another episode–possibly “The Way We Was,” “Simpson and Delilah,” “Homer vs. Lisa and the 8th Commandment” or “Three Men and A Comic Book”–because I laughed more. I thought about it and realized that, even though this episode has less laughs, it’s better overall. It also has possibly the best cameo of the series: Dustin Hoffman playing Mr. Bergstrom, the substitute.

When Miss Hoover gets Lyme disease, Mr. Bergstrom takes over the class. He’s engaging and interesting and basically the antithesis of all the other teachers at Springfield Elementary. Lisa is immediately taken with the new substitute. Shortly thereafter, she runs into him at a local museum and is embarrassed by Homer’s graceless behavior.

Miss Hoover’s Lyme disease turns out to be psychosomatic, and she comes back to class. Thus, Mr. Bergstrom will be leaving town. Lisa panics and rushes to the catch him before he leaves town for another job, admitting she won’t know what to do without him. Mr. Bergstrom writes her a note and tells her it’s all she’ll need if she’s feeling alone. The note simply says “You are Lisa Simpson.”

Upset by his departure, Lisa takes it out on Homer, calling him a baboon. Homer, in his own clumsy way, is able to console Lisa. He expresses, again clumsily, that he’s never lost anyone like Mr. Bergstrom because all the people he truly cares about and loves are living under the same roof as him.

This episode is great and unique because it doesn’t really follow the conventional path of a sitcom. The story arch is more like a drama with a few laughs thrown in here and there. It didn’t need a bunch of Homer or Bart’s shenanigans or goofball one-off characters to make a memorable TV. It was done in a way that only The Simpsons (or possibly Futurama) could have pulled off.

If you were exactly the right age to see this episode when it aired (pre-teen/teenager) or even in reruns, I can’t help but think it would be extremely comforting to see someone like Lisa–smart and resourceful but not necessarily popular–on  a popular TV show go through many of the same things you might be feeling.

Perhaps The Simpsons wasn’t the menace to society that talking heads in the media depicted it as.

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Songs That Should Be TV Themes

Even though it’s an unrealistic, even absurd, notion, sometimes I wonder what it would be like if I had my own TV show. I have no idea what it would be like–whether it would be a comedy or drama–but the dream remains. Naturally, I started thinking about what the theme song would be to my hypothetical show.

You see, the theme is an important, but often overlooked, component of a show. It sets the tone and gives the audience a taste of what they’re in for. Some shows opt for a wholly original theme like New Girl, and countless other sitcoms from the 70s, 80s and 90s, while others, like 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation and The Americans, opt for entirely instrumental themes.

I, however, would prefer an honest-to-goodness track from an artist.

Comedies 

“Stupid Kid” – Alkaline Trio

“Stupid Kid” would be perfect for a show kind of like Freaks and Geeks, a comedy with a strong point of view and value on reminiscence. It’s short, fast and almost everyone can relate to it.

“Trouble in River City” – The Ergs 

I want this to be a theme song strictly because its brevity will allow it to be heard in full.

“Fix My Brain” – The Marked Men

Whadya know? Another punk song! Anyway, I see this as an update to Weird Science, well,  a better update

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Casting Call: Preacher

If you’ve been reading my site for any amount of time (which you probably haven’t because you’re not my mom), you might be aware that Hollywood has taken my advice and is finally adapting Preacher. Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, longtime fans of the comic, will produce a TV show for AMC.

I gotta say, I’m pretty excited. Per usual, I have some ideas on who I would like to see in the series.

Jesse Custer

Jesse is the titular preacher, who has been imbued with the voice of God after the Genesis (the unholy result of an affair between an angel and demon) enters him. He needs to have a little swagger and a wry wit. Additionally, he needs to be able to handle himself in a fight.

Basically, Timothy Olyphant and Walton Goggins have both been playing similar characters to Jesse on the excellent FX show Justified. They have mastered the sly banter between their characters, and Goggins is especially adept at delivering engrossing monologues.

With the show’s end in sight, it’s reasonable to assume either one could be available.

However, I appreciate that AMC might want to go younger with Jesse. I’m a big proponent of Boardwalk Empire and Jack Huston in particular. Combine the swagger of his character from American Hustle and the grit of Harrow from Boardwalk Empire, and you have a pretty decent Jesse Custer.

Tulip O’Hare

Tulip is Jesse’s partner in crime, so to speak, and love interest. She’s also a crack shot who often covers Jesse when the two get into trouble. She needs to be able to keep with Jesse and look comfortable handling weapons and action sequences.

I think everyone would love to see Jennifer Lawrence’s take on the character, but, if we’re being realistic, that’s not going to happen. I’m also a big fan of Emma Roberts (especially in American Horror Story: Coven and Scream 4), but she seems a bit young for the role.

I think Katie Sackhoff embodies the character of Tulip. After playing a badass like Starbuck in Battlestar Galactica, the role wouldn’t be much of a stretch.

Cassidy

Cassidy is a hard-drinking Irish vampire (yup), who also happens to be friends with Jesse and Tulip. Michael Fassbender would be perfect, but that’s probably not going to happen. I think Ewan McGregor would also be great, but that’s doubtful as well.

Although he might skew a little young, Richard Madden (AKA Robb Starke) has the potential to be great as Cassidy. Recently, he was on the Nerdist podcast and seemed like a genuinely funny, charming dude. It would be nice to see him in something where he doesn’t have to be so serious.

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Futurama Jack-o’-Lantern

It’s been a long time since I carved a pumpkin, but this year I decided to enter a pumpkin carving contest at work. I had some trouble deciding on what to carve, but the final two themes were Futurama and Batman.

I decided to go with Futurama–Bender specifically. I couldn’t find a good bender pattern online, so I had to freestyle it. But I think the result was pretty good:

Bender Bending Rodriguez.

Bender Bending Rodriguez.

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Casting Video Game Adaptations

Video game films, generally, are terrible. Hollywood has been swinging and missing on them for decades. I think a lot of it comes down to not understanding both video games and movies. Of course they’re going to be terrible if the people making them have no context or comprehension of the source material.

Luckily, I rabidly consume both video games and films. So, Hollywood, I’m going to do you a favor. I’m going to cast a few adaptations that would kill at the box office if they were done right.

Castlevania 

Vampires and the supernatural are hot right now. But why not make them bad ass again? Castlevania is the perfect series to do so. The Belmont clan–generations of vampire hunters–facing off against Dracula could be a great horror-action film.

Obviously, the main characters would be Simon Belmont and Dracula. I see Viggo Mortensen as Simon. He’s getting older but he would be perfect. Lord of the Rings, A History of Violence and Eastern Promises already proved he can fill dramatic and action roles simultaneously.

Vampire killer.

Mads Mikkelson should play Dracula. He’s got the European thing going, and he played Le Chiffre in Casino Royale,  one of the most memorable villains in the last 10 years.

He just looks evil.

Clearly, Guillermo del Toro, a boundlessly creative director with a penchant for the supernatural, would helm the film.

Metroid

Metroid is one of Nintendo’s most atmospheric and creative franchises. It’s filled with alien worlds, great music and variety of unsettling enemies. It’s just begging to be adapted.

Plus, the series focuses on heroine Samus Aran, a galactic bounty hunter who spends her time terminating Space Pirates. Bounty hunter! Pirates! Space! What more could you want?

We’re halfway there already.

After her performance in Prometheus, and resemblance to the character, Charlize Theron is the obvious choice to play Samus.

The original game on NES was inspired by Alien, so it’s only fitting that Ridley Scott should direct. It’s exciting to think how he would interpret Samus’ power suit, the planet of Zebes, space pirates, metroids and Mother Brain. Continue reading

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