Thursday, December 27, 2012

Fanholes Sidecast #25 - What's Wrong With Your Face?

Fanholes regulars Derek (derekwc), Justin (Grimlock), Brian (Breakdown) and Mike (Thunderwing) give commentary on comic books "I, Vampire", Amethyst, Rawhide Kid and Deathstroke.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Bouv's RPG Reviews #3: Robotech Book 3 - The Zentraedi

Robotech Book 3: The Zentraedi

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The third book in Palladium’s initial Robotech RPG, the Zentraedi goes into more detail about the Zentraedi, specially, their ships and a lot of deck plans. For a while, this would finish off the Macross-era books as Books 4 and 5 would get into the other two series.

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Arrangement: The Zentraedi book starts out with a quick introduction and tells players how to create and play Zentraedi characters, OCC’s, Zentraedi in the RDF, along with some optional rules and different tables. Some of this was presented in Book 1 but most of it is new or expanded, including “quick villain” tables and some character sheets and a missile log. Following that, the book gets into mecha. The basics (battlepods, etc.,) are reprinted but some new material is presented, a lot of it only seen once or twice in the series. The bulk of the book then follows which on the Zentraedi fleet. The book does a quick rundown on the weapons (to save on space so they don’t have to reprint them every single ship), engaging ships in combat, how to deal with fleet on fleet combat and other information. Then it details each ship AND includes deck plans (except for the last two ships, the Destroyer and Scout). This is followed up by some quick info on the Robotech Factory Satellite and Dolza’s command ship and finished off by NPC stats.

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Artwork: Most of the artwork is pretty good and detailed. I felt that some of it has too much shading, which can lead to fewer details on the artwork. There is artwork reprinted from books One and Two but most is new. The best pieces of art, in my opinion, are all the details given inside the ships and the layout of the battlepod cockpits.

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The front cover is pretty basic, with some of the characters from the show along with a fleet of ships, soldiers, and some mecha (which works well for a cover) and back cover are also pretty good, showing an officer’s battlepod fighting a M.A.C. II.

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Mecha/Equipment: As mentioned, a lot of this is reprinted and maybe just contains a little bit of additional information from Book One although they don’t reprint the RPG stats for those vehicles, just descriptions. They add in information on the Recovery Pod, Cyclops Reconnaissance Craft, shuttlecraft and some other small items, some of which is only seen shortly in the series. Like Book Two, it also details their underwater capabilities and gives a speed chart for all major mecha presented so far.

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Ships: By far the reason many people probably bought this book was for the ships and the deck plans that go with them. While most games may not feature large scale ship to ship combat, the Earth was home to many crashed ships that would be great for adventures. They do give a lot of information on Zentraedi ships in general, including a scale and weapons but then go onto to give good descriptions of each vessel. The deck plans are really nice and laid out what each room is going to be. It was disappointing that the two smallest ships didn’t have plans (though they could be found elsewhere eventually).

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Overall: Back when I got this book, I would have given it a solid B. Like Book Two, for me, the printing I got, the paper quality seems to have been lower than other printings (almost like a coloring book). It has some good information, especially on the ships, but a lot of it I was never going to really use in my games (Zentraedi as PCs and massive fleet battles…keep in mind I was 13-14 years old when running most of my Robotech games). Nowadays, I would give it a good C+ - some great information is presented (especially on the ships) but a lot is also either reprinted from Book One or just expanded upon. Two of the ships don’t even get deck plans and the information on the Robotech Factory and Dolza’s ship barely fit a column together. At 50 pages, it is kind of short. Had Palladium put a little more time into this book, it could have been easily expanded to 64 or more pages (including more deck plans, adventure ideas and ideas for using working space vessels in a campaign). If you are going to run a lot of adventures and missions in Zentraedi ships (either as bases or to be attacked) then these can come in handy.

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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Fanholes Sidecast #24 - Dios Mios We R Kan-Celled So HERD!

Fanholes regulars Derek (derekwc), Justin (Grimlock), Brian (Breakdown) and Mike (Thunderwing) give commentary on the cancellations of Marvel's Defenders and Avenger's Academy as well as discuss their thoughts on Hawkeye #1.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Fanholes Sidecast #23 - Bros Before Widows!

In yet another Comic Book sidecast dug up from the mothballs, Fanholes regulars Justin (Grimlock), Mike (Thunderwing), Derek (derekwc), and Brian (Breakdown) give commentary on Marvel's Secret Avengers and Winter Soldier. Not to mention Dynamite Comic's The Shadow by Garth Ennis and of course IDW's new Transformer Comics, More Than Meets The Eye and Robots In Disguise.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Fanholes Episode # 56: I Haff No Hart!

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It's Fanholes Halloween episode! Listen to the gang discuss the Universal Monsters franchise, their favorite giant movie monster, and then give their opinions on the overexposure of zombies in modern day pop culture.



Fanholes Episode # 56: I Haff No Hart!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Fanholes Sidecast #22 - Needs Moar Drift-o-kun!

In a blast from the past, Fanholes regulars Justin (Grimlock), Mike (Thunderwing), Derek (derekwc), and Tony (Chainclaw) give commentary on IDW's new Transformer Comics, More Than Meets The Eye and Robots In Disguise.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Fanholes Side Story: Lord of the Apes

Lord of the Jungle is an ongoing series from Dynamite based on the Edgar Rice Burroughs novel Tarzan of the Apes. The first issue opens with John and Alice Clayton stranded in Africa. Jane is with child and eventually gives birth to a son but dies one year later from fever. John Clayton soon joins her as he is killed during a gorilla attack. Their son is later ‘adopted’ by the female gorilla Kala. The boy grows up with the apes, calls himself Tarzan or White Skin and eventually discovers the cabin his parents lived in. He learns to read and write all on his own.
Some years later Tarzan encounters a group of castaways who include Jane, her father, and William Clayton, who is Tarzan’s cousin. Tarzan saves Clayton from the perils of the jungle and later protects Jane, rescuing her from gorillas and even providing the group with food. Jane is instantly drawn to Tarzan, who is this attractive savage man who can write perfect English but not speak.
Eventually Jane and her group make their way off the island but leave Tarzan behind. Tarzan saves Paul D'Arnot from cannibals and in return D’Arnot teaches the jungle lord English and well as French. Tarzan becomes somewhat obsessed with finding Jane again and follows her to America. He saves her from a nefarious plot and just as he is about to profess his love she tells him of her engagement to Clayton. As issue six ends it is confirmed that Tarzan is in fact the son of John Clayton and heir to the Greystoke estate.
The first six issues cover the entirety of the first novel, Tarzan of the Apes, though there are some liberties taken. None of changes drastically alter the narrative, at least in my opinion. Being a Dynamite book it does have several variant covers and has a somewhat compressed story. I should point out that this adaption is not authorized or endorsed by the Burroughs Estate. In fact, they are suing Dynamite over the Warlord of Mars comics. That being said as a long time fan of Tarzan I enjoyed these six issues and would recommend them to anyone who was curious about the lord of the jungle.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Fanholes Episode # 54: Go Banana!

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It's the all-Simpsons episode of Fanholes! Learn the gang's favorite episodes, characters, and video games! Also, a roundtable discussing when and if each of the Fanholes felt the show jumped the shark!



Fanholes Episode # 54: Go Banana!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Fanholes Episode # 53: Whores & Fornicaters!

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Fanholes Episode # 53: Whores & Fornicaters!

In this episode of Fanholes, the gang discusses their Favorite & Worst Super Hero costumes, get into MTV's revival of Mike Judge's Beavis & Butthead, and give the low-down on some well-loved web-series! Check out the Cool Sites Section for links!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Fanholes Side Story: Mike's Top Ten Favorite Simpsons Episodes



I love the Simpsons. I grew up with the show. They played a huge role in shaping my sense of humor and worldview in-general. I'll defend it to the death.

These are my top ten favorite episodes. My criteria was basically choosing which episodes had the highest concentration of things that I found funny or clever, because beyond all else, the Simpsons is a comedy. Sure, people can tout their "touching" episodes or their "meaningful" episodes where characters grow or a life lesson is learned. But this is a show where the continuity is basically meaningless and references to past episodes are best utilized as gags. I can't say I've ever watched the Simpsons to find any deeper meaning than a bunch of dysfunctional characters that are routinely thrust into wacky adventures. There are episodes that have moved me and made me think, but I'm mainly looking to laugh, and that's basically what informed these choices.

Instead of just writing a handful of paragraphs for each episode, I've instead just made lists of my favorite bits from each one. I realize that some gags cannot possibly be done justice just by describing them with text, but I will do my best to elaborate on them as humorously as I can.

On with the show!

10. Bart Sells His Soul (Season 7, Episode 4)



(Bart sells his soul to Millhouse for five bucks. The B-plot is Moe converting his bar into a family restaurant.)

-The episode leads off with Bart replacing the sheet music in church with Iron Butterfly's In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, resulting in the entire assembly singing the 17-minute long psychedelic rock song. Reverend Lovejoy catches on eventually, commenting that the music sounds suspiciously like “rock AND/OR roll!”

-Lovejoy threatens the kids to confess who perpetrated the prank, threatening them with the possibility of going to hell, where they will eat “not but burning hot coals” and drink “not but burning hot cola”.

-After Millhouse confesses that it was Bart, the both of them are to be punished by Lovejoy (he tells Millhouse “you too, Snitchy”). Their punishment? To clean the church organ pipes that they have “befouled” with their “popular music”.

-The Hibbert family mistakes Moe's bar for a family restaurant and walks in. When the door opens, Barney screams in terror- “AH! NATURAL LIGHT! Get it off me! Get it off me!”

-In the midst of converting his bar into a restaurant, Moe receives a giant pressure-cooker that can “flash-fry a buffalo in forty seconds”. Homer whines “Forty seconds? But I want it nowwww.”

-The commercial for Moe's restaurant is consistently hilarious, from Moe's warning not to bring old people (“they're not covered by our insurance”) to the theme song at the end “It's good-good-good-good, goodgoodgood!”. Moe's struggle to maintain his hideous smile while said-song is playing is also a laugh.

-The Simpson family's first visit to “Uncle Moe's Family Feedbag” is memorable, as Homer is impressed that Moe himself has greeted them (“That's Moe- the guy from the ad!”). When Moe offers to show his friend's family to their seats, Homer comments “he knows my name!”

-Moe's Million-Dollar Birthday Fries consist of him personally singing a birthday tune to a lucky boy or girl while wearing a basket of fries on his head. When Rod Flanders begins to eat the fries off Moe's head, a sweating Moe asks him to please remove them, as “the basket is extremely hot”.

-A panicked Bart flees from the restaurant, seeking to recover his soul. Homer cries after him “Wait, Bart- your Spaghetti and Moeballs!”. Then Homer's brain advises “Quiet, you fool! They could be ours!”. Homer begins shoveling Bart's meal into his maw and shouts for Bart to keep running.

-Bart arrives at Millhouse's house to find a hazard-suited, sonorous individual within, who menacingly advises “Leave this place, you are in great danger. The one you call Millhouse...is gone.” He then removes his helmet to reveal the “Wise guy” character who often pops up in various episodes as a sarcastic proprietor, and casually informs Bart that Millhouse is staying at his grandmother's place while their house is being sprayed for potato bugs. When Bart asks if the guy noticed Millhouse carrying a small scrap of paper (Bart's soul), the Wise guy comments “Oh yeah. You don't forget a thing like that.”

-Probably the most memorable bit of this episode, is when Bart finally catches up with Millhouse at his grandmother's place. When he asks for his soul back, Millhouse reveals that he already traded it away...for Pogs. ALF pogs. “Remember Alf?? He's back! In Pog form.” Millhouse enthusiastically asserts. Bart leaves the house screaming.

9. Radioactive Man (Season 7, Episode 2)



(Hollywood decides to make a Radioactive Man movie in Springfield, and Millhouse is cast as Fallout Boy.)

-While browsing in the comic store, Bart comments on how all newer superheroes pale in comparison with Radioactive Man. When Millhouse attempts to defend “Radiation Dude”, Bart elaborates on the “subtle” similarities between him and Radioactive Man, including their catchphrases- “Up and Atom!” and “Up and Let's Go.”

-Bart and Millhouse are dedicated Radioactive Man comic book fans, even having read the special where “Radioactive Man and Fallout Boy get killed on every page!”

-The filmmakers don't want their Radioactive Man movie to be anything like the campy 70s TV show, where Radioactive Man and Fallout Boy fought such villains as “The Scoutmaster”. We're then treated to a pretty hilarious homage to the 60s Batman show, where upon the Scoutmaster's defeat, Radioactive Man and Fallout Boy begin spontaneously dancing with his henchmen and a bunch of women that randomly enter the scene.

-The filmmakers are impressed by a “Flim Springfield” ad, reasoning that the town must be good, because they “don't need a big ad, or even correct spelling!”. Two tickets to “the state that Springfield is in” are promptly ordered.

-Moe is revealed to have been one of the Little Rascals (“Were you the ugly one?” Homer asks). A flashback then reveals how Moe was booted out after killing “the original Alphafa” for stealing his bit. Moe goes on to explain “Luckily Alphafa was an orphan owned by the studio."

-After Millhouse is cast as Fallout Boy, he meets Lionel Hutz, who introduces himself as Millhouse's “new agent, unauthorized biographer, and drug-dealerrrrr....keeper-awayer.”

-When Homer is told he can have at the craft service table on the set of the movie, he promptly vanishes, leaving only an afterimage behind.

-Cast as Radioactive Man, Rainier Wolfcastle cannot correctly deliver his catchphrase “up and atom!”, instead consistently saying “Up and AT DEM!”

-Bart tries to locate Millhouse on-set, first finding a Millhouse dummy that explodes in his face, then a midget who acts as Millhouse's stunt double- “I'm only Millhouse when he gets hurt, ugggh.”

-When Millhouse abandons the set, a scene that requires him to save Rainier Wolfcastle from a wall of incoming acid goes very wrong. “My eyes! Deh goggles do nahthing!”

-The filmmakers attempt to finish the movie without Millhouse, relying on editing his previously-shot scenes together. The result is a completely-inconsistent mess with random scene and setting changes and inappropriate line deliveries. The editor is immediately fired. “And with good cause” he admits.

-Looking for Millhouse, Bart checks the abandoned Spirograph factory, where he asks “Doctor S.” for help. Doctor S. hasn't seen Millhouse, but asks Bart to think about the fact that “there's a direct correlation between the decline of Spirograph and the rise in gang activity.” Bart promises to think about it, but Doctor S. dejectedly responds “Nooooo ya won't.”

-At the end of the episode, Mickey Rooney chastises the “slick, small-town folk” for running those “naive” Hollywood types out of town.

8.The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show (Season 8, Episode 14)



(In an attempt to improve the ratings of Itchy and Scratchy, clueless executives add Poochie the Dog to the show, voiced by Homer.)

-The whole episode is a jab at the executive meddling that went on behind the scenes of the Simpsons show at Fox. Matt Groening commented that they once wanted him to add a character to the show that was “More Bart than Bart.”

-During a trip to the mall, Marge lets Bart and Lisa go off on their own, making them promise to be careful. As soon as Marge is out of sight, a strange man steps into Bart and Lisa's path and asks “Would you kids like to come with me?”. Bart and Lisa enthusiastically consent.

-Bart and Lisa are taken to participate in a focus group to improve Itchy and Scratchy. There, the children are given two potential premises. The first is that Itchy and Scratchy would face more grounded adventures, like those the kids face in real life. The second is the total opposite- that Itchy and Scratchy would go on more far-out adventures involving robots with magic powers. The kids react equally favorably to both scenarios, prompting the confused moderator to ask “So you want a realistic down-to-earth show that's completely off the wall and swarming with magic robots?”

-In creating Poochie the Dog, one executive describes him as a character that “gets biz-ZAY” and who is totally “proactive” and is “an outrageous paradigm”. One of the writers speaks up, asking “aren't those just buzzwords that dumb people use to sound important?” He then pauses, and asks if he's fired. He is.

-Lisa is expositing at the breakfast on how adding a new character to a show is “a desperate attempt to boost low ratings”. Roy, a thinly-disguised analogue to Poochie, walks in on the family, calling Homer “Mister S”. The family greets him like everything is normal.

-After Homer is cast as Poochie, he attends a signing at the comic store and has to deal with fan questions and comments “Are we to believe this is some sort of, heh, magic xylophone? Boy, I sure hope someone got fired for that blunder.”

-The first episode featuring Poochie is really terribly bad, with Itchy and Scratchy marveling about what an “outrageous dude” Pooche is and how he is “totally in my face!”

-After everyone leaves the Simpsons' home in disgust after Poochie's premiere, a sympathetic-to-a-fault Ned Flanders tells Homer that it was the best episode of “Impy and Chimpy” he's ever seen.

-Comic Book Guy utters the immortal “Worst. Episode. EVER” in response to the premiere of Poochie.

-Homer offers some ideas to improve Poochie. He suggests that Poochie should be “louder, angrier, and have access to a time machine”. Also, whenever Poochie's not on-screen, the other characters should be asking “Where's Poochie?”

-Homer's touching appeal to the fans as Poochie is overwritten and edited to make it seem like Poochie “returned to his home planet” and died on the way there.

7.Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(Annoyed Grunt)cious (Season 8, Episode 13)



(When Marge suffers a stress-related breakdown, the family hires Shary Bobbins, a totally-original character-not-at-all-similar to Mary Poppins, to function as a nanny and housekeeper.)

-The episode opens with the family watching the “Krusty Komedy Klassic” on TV. Krusty observes the three Ks in the backdrop and nervously comments “KKK?? That isn't good...” and is promptly booed.

-When Marge notices she's losing her hair, Homer notes that she seems upset and resolves to talk to her...during a commercial.

-When coming up with ideas to lessen Marge's stress, Bart chips in by suggesting he “take up smoking, and then give it up”. Homer proudly states that giving up smoking is the hardest thing Bart will ever have to do, and offers his son a dollar. Lisa protests, pointing out that Bart didn't actually do anything. Homer sagely responds “Didn't he, Lisa? Didn't he?” then realizes she's right and snatches the dollar back from Bart.

-Homer's contribution to help Marge is “giving up the Civil War Reenactment Society” he's a part of. When they are informed of this, Barney expresses further doubt about their Stonewall Jackson, played by Apu. “The South shall come again!”

-Several of the potential nannies are scared away by Homer, working off his knowledge of Mrs. Doubtfire and attempting to reveal them as men in drag.

-Bart and Lisa are about to present their ideas to their parents. Homer claims his “undivided attention”. Cut to Homer's head, where old-tyme cartoon animals frolic with “Turkey in the Straw” accompanying them.

-Shary Bobbins insists she's a completely original creation, much like Rickey Rouse and Monald Muck.

-Shary Bobbins reveals her previous employer as Lord Huffington of Sussex. Homer asks Marge if he is “the guy I bowl with- the black guy!”. Marge insists that Homer is thinking of his friend Carl. Homer then approvingly comments to Bobbins- “So, you worked for Carl, eh?”

-During Shary Bobbins' song about half-assing being the American Way, Homer is glimpsed in the backyard, tossing an old couch into Flanders' yard. Flanders pops up from behind his fence, looking perplexed.

-Willie's rendition of the song “Maniac” is hilarious.

-When Shary Bobbins thinks her job is done, she walks out of the house, lamenting that she'll never hear the Simpsons' “sweet voices” again. Cue Homer strangling Bart and shouting unintelligibly as they crash through the dinning room's window.

-The Simpsons watch a brief clip of a (fictional) episode of Andy Griffith, where Andy was replaced by Charles Bronson. Bronson admits he shot Otis the Drunk, and resolves to “go down to Emmett's Fixit Shop to fix Emmett”. He walks out of the office with a gun and the Andy Griffith show theme playing.

-Lisa watches a parody of Reservoir Dogs featuring Itchy and Scratchy. Quentin Tarantino comes out at the end of it, pointing out that he's trying to point out that “violence is everywhere, even in our breakfast cereals, man!”. He's then beheaded by Itchy.

-When Shary Bobbins leaves at the end, floating into the sky with her umbrella, Barney shouts “So long, Superman!” after her. When the kids ask if they'll ever see her again, Homer reassures them “I'm sure we will”. In the distance, we see Shary Bobbins get sucked into a passing jet's engine, and emerge as scraps of cloth.

-Special note; I'm not a fan of musicals, but all the songs in this episode are catchy and humorous and I can't really do them any kind of justice by transcribing them here.

6.Treehouse of Horror V (Season 6, Episode 6)



(This Halloween episode leads off with a parody of “The Shining”, then features a tale where Homer travels through time and space, and finally ends with a story about the staff of Springfield Elementary eating their students.)

-Mr. Burns describes the mansion the Simpsons will be staying in, mentioning how it was built on an old Indian burial ground and was the site of witch-burnings, satanic rituals, and five John Denver Christmas specials. Homer shudders in response- “Uhhhh, John Denver.”

-Blood pours from an elevator in the mansion, pooling around everyone's feet. Mr. Burns comments “That's odd- usually the blood gets off at the second floor.”

-Groundskeeper Willie claims Bart has “The Shinning”, to which Bart counters “You mean “Shining”. Willie shushes him- “You wanna get soooed?”

-”We come back and everyone's slaughtered? I owe you a Coke.” is Mr. Burns response to Smithers' worries about leaving the Simpsons in the mansion.

-Thanks to there being no beer and no TV in the entire place, Homer goes for a walk to “maybe check out that ax collection”. Once he's gone, Lisa asks her mother if “dad is gonna kill us?” Marge simply responds “I guess we're gonna have to wait and see.”

-Homer meets a ghostly Moe at the abandoned bar downstairs. Moe advises Homer to murder his family. When Homer asks why, Moe claims “they'd be much happier as ghosts”. Homer points out that Moe doesn't look so happy, to which Moe responds “Oh, I'm happy. I'm very happy. La-la-la-la-la-la, now waste your family and I'll get you a beer!”

-After a crazed Homer has knocked himself out, Marge deposits him like a sack of potatoes in a storage room until “he's no longer insane”. She then notices some cans, and snags one- “Hm, chili would be good tonight.”

-When Homer is freed and chases after his family with an ax, Marge attempts to radio for help- “My husband is on a murderous rampage! Over”. Chief Wiggum receives the message- “Phew, thank God that's over.”

-A recurring gag in the episode begins as Willie is axed in the back by Homer. “Ach, is that the best ye can DUUU??” he asks Homer before keeling over.

-Homer is finally calmed down by a portable TV that Willie dropped in the snow, and invites his family to come sit with him to enjoy “television's warm glowing warming glow.”

-The next Halloween tale leads off with Homer's hand randomly being caught in the toaster. He struggles with it, bashing it on hard surfaces until he finally dislodges it, only for his hand to be inexplicably caught in it again. When he attempts to repair the toaster, he inadvertently creates a time machine and is flung across the timestream.

-Homer's first stop is to “the time where dinosaurs weren't just confined to zoos”. He quickly recalls the advice his father gave him on his wedding day- “If you ever travel back in time, don't step on anything. Because even the slightest change can alter the future in ways you can't imagine!”

-His next stop is to an alternate reality, where “Flanders is unquestioned lord and master of the world”. Flanders greets the Simpsons with a cheery “Hiddily-ho, slaverinos!”

-When escaping from Flanders' “Re-Neducation” facility, Homer is set upon by a pack of ravenous dogs. He pulls a link of hot dogs from his shirt to aid his escape- “These wieners will give me the energy I need to escape!” After consuming them, Homer easily outruns the dogs.

-Willie appears again, with the promise of getting Homer home. He's promptly axed in the back again, this time by Maggie, who speaks with James Earl Jones' voice.

-Frustrated by his time-jumps, Homer eventually goes on a rampage in the prehistoric era, bludgeoning anything he sees with a baseball bat.

-The final tale of this Halloween episode has Principal Skinner attempting to solve the budget problems of the school by killing the more troubled students and serving them for lunch, as opposed to the “Grade-F Meat” that Lunchlady Doris is usually forced to work with.

-When the fact that they're eating the remains of Jimbo Jones comes to light, Ms. Krabappel asks Skinner to confirm that he “killed Jimbo, processed his remains, and served him for lunch.” Skinner lightly taps his nose, Krabappel laughs.

-After Ooter is killed and served at lunch as a food called “Ooterbraten”, Skinner reassures Bart and Lisa- “I have a gut feeling Ooter is around here somewhere. After all, isn't there a little...”Ooter” in us all? In fact you could say that we just ate Ooter, and he's in our stomachs right now!” Skinner punctuates these statements with unhinged laughter, then pauses and adds “Wait, scratch that last one.”

-Bart and Lisa go to Marge to tell her that kids are being eaten at their school. Marge tells them that she can't be fighting all their battles and that they should “march straight up to them, look them straight in the eye, and say “Don't eat me!”

-Millhouse spies Ms. Krabappel reading a book titled “The Joy of Cooking Millhouse”, telling Bart and Lisa “Anyone of us could be next!”

-Skinner keeps most of the children he's planning on eating in cages, except for the “free-range children”, who walk around aimlessly in a paddock outside the school.

-Willie runs in to save the kids...and gets axed in the back AGAIN, this time by Skinner. He comments “I'm bad at this” and keels over again.

-Bart, Lisa, and Millhouse are being herded into a giant blender by Skinner and his staff. Bart reassures them “something always comes along to save us!” Millhouse then slips and falls into the blender, prompting Bart to amend “I remain confident that something will come along to save the two SIMPSON children.”

-The episode ends with a song and dance number by the Simpsons and Willie, who have been turned inside-out by a mysterious and unmentioned-to-this-point fog. It makes more sense when you watch it.

5.Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo (Season 10, Episode 23)



(The Simpsons take a family vacation to Japan.)

-Homer discovers the wonders of the Internet, and tells Lisa's he's invested in something called “Newscorp”. “Dad, that's FOX!” Lisa cries. “Ah, undo, undo!” Homer screams in response, jabbing at the keyboard. At the end of the episode, when the 20th Century Fox logo comes up, you once again hear Homer scream “Undo! Undo!”

-After attending a seminar about how to live on a budget, the Simpsons arrive at a 99 cent store. “Ew, we're not shopping here, are we?” asks Lisa. “Maybe for your wedding,” Marge responds, before the car moves onto a 33 cent store.

-Throughout their stay in Japan, Homer continuously walks through paper doors, instead of properly sliding them open.

-Homer marvels at the advanced toilet in their hotel room, which talks to him- “I am honored to accept your waist.” Bart manages to bring up a “toilet cam” on the TV in the next room, and the family screams in horror as Homer pulls down his pants and sits down.

-Bart finds a Japanese cartoon that he believes is the one that “gave people seizures”. In short order, he, Marge, and Lisa all see the strobe effect on the screen and collapse twitching on the ground. Homer walks in and observes his family seizing, then shrugs and joins them on the floor. The title of the cartoon is later given as “Battling Seizure Robots”.

-The Simpsons go to eat at “Americatown”, which serves American cuisine. Marge is excited to see the Japanese take on the club sandwich- “I'll bet it's smaller and more efficient!”

-Their Japanese waiter at the restaurant claims to be “average American joe”. When he's asked about the specials, he asserts “Don't ask me! I don't know anything! I'm product of American school system! I also make poor-quality cars and inferior-style electronics!”

-Bart and Homer spy Woody Allen making a cracker commercial in downtown Japan. After delivering his dialogue, Allen laments “What did I do to deserve this?...Oh right.”

-Homer defeats a sumo wrestler by hitting him with a chair, taunting “Like we say in my country, hasta la vista, baby!” The Emperor of Japan comes to congratulate him on his victory, but Homer lifts him up and tosses him into a large container of sumo thongs.

-Homer and Bart are arrested for their shenanigans at the sumo match, and thrown in prison. When Marge and Lisa come to liberate them, they have apparently learned to speak fluent Japanese from their brief time in jail. “Should we tell them the secret to inner peace?” Homer asks Bart in subtitles. “No, they are foreign devils” Bart responds.

-After losing all their money, the Simpsons are forced to get jobs at a fish farm to pay their way back home. Their job consists of cutting fish open and removing the guts. Bart is well-taken with it- “Knife goes in, guts come out, knife goes in, guts come out”. One of the fish he picks up speaks to him, promising three wishes if Bart spares him. The magical fish's plea is aborted, however, when Bart guts him and continues working unabated.

-Finally, the Simpsons agree to appear on a Japanese game show to get plane tickets home. “Happy Smile Super Challenge Family Wish Show” is hosted by “Wink”, voiced by the delightful George Takei. He advises the family how Japanese game shows are different from American ones- “You reward knowledge...we punish ignorance."

-Homer moves onto the “Lightning Round”, which consists of him being tied to an antenna and repeatedly struck by lightning. Wink assures the audience “He seems okay, but he is being burned internally.”

-After being repeatedly tortured, humiliated, and imperiled, the Simpsons get their plane tickets home, and Homer chastises the Japanese audience about their cruelty. Even Wink seems down, until he introduces the next guests- “a Canadian couple who say they are deathly-afraid of scorpions”. Said-couple is shown in a pool with scorpions continuously being poured on them. They cry out in pain as Wink laughs and encourages the scorpions to “sting those Canucks!”

-As the Simpsons depart Japan, their flight experiences some “Godzilla-related turbulence”. Indeed, the King of All Monsters takes hold of their plane and violently shakes it about. The pilot assures the passengers that once they reach 35 thousand feet, Godzilla does usually let them go.

4.You Only Move Twice (Season 8, Episode 2)



(The Simpsons move to a new town after Homer takes a new job with Hank Scorpio, a good-natured employer who also happens to be a James Bond-esque supervillain.)

-Smithers is first to be offered the new job, with Scorpio's representatives following him as he walks to work, promising benefits for “him and his life-partner”. Smithers politely declines several times before becoming annoyed and exclaiming “What's wrong with this country? Can't a man walk down the street without being offered a job??”

-Homer is the second to be offered the job and readily accepts, explaining to Marge about the benefits for him “and his life-partner”.

-As they leave Springfield, Homer fondly claiming that the town has been good to them. Bart points out that it hasn't, and that's why they're leaving. Homer abruptly changes his mind and agrees with Bart, shouting out the window “So long, Stink-Town!”

-The main attraction of the episode is Albert Brooks' hilarious performance as Hank Scorpio. Much of his dialogue in the episode was actually improvised by Brooks himself (with Dan Castellaneta having to respond on the fly as Homer).

-Homer initially refers to his new boss as “Mr. Scorpion”, only to be corrected by Scorpio, who tells him to simply call him “Hank”. Hank gives Homer his coat and asks him to hang it on a wall. A stymied Homer looks around for a couple seconds before Scorpio laughs and tells him “here at Globex, we don't believe in walls. In fact...I didn't even give you my coat!”. Homer looks down at his empty arms in confusion and then back to Scorpio, who is now wearing his coat backwards. Homer is impressed- “Wooow.”

-Scorpio is called away from Homer's tour of Globex by what seems to be an important phone call. He explains to Homer “Someone ate a part of my lunch.”

-Bart is removed from his new class when it becomes apparent that he doesn't know how to read cursive writing. When asked if he knows the multiplication tables or long division, Bart responds “I know OF them.”

-Bart is subsequently placed in a remedial class composed of (in Bart's words) “arsonists and kids with mittens pinned to their jackets all year-long”. When he tries to tell the teacher that he's not supposed to be in this class, she simply responds “Sounds like someone's got a case of the “suppose'das.”

-Scorpio calls the UN with a threat to deliver his gold or suffer the consequences. To prove he's not bluffing, he blows up the 59th Street Bridge. One of the UN delegates suggests the bridge just “collapsed on its own”. When another delegate tells him they can't take the chance, the first one retorts “You always say that! I want to take a chance!”

-Scorpio asks Homer what his least-favorite country is between Italy and France. Homer immediately chooses France, prompting a chuckle from Scorpio- “Nobody ever says Italy.”

-Homer comes looking for some sugar and cream for his coffee. Scorpio reaches into his pockets and produces handfuls of sugar, apologizing it isn't in packages. When he offers cream, Homer warily declines.

-Bart's class plays musical chairs, where there are always enough chairs to sit in and “Everyone's a winner!”

-Scorpio has “Mr. Bont”, a poorly-disguised James Bond, strapped to a table with a laser about to burn him. Bont asks if Scorpio expects him to talk. Scorpio responds “the only thing I expect from you is to die and be a cheap funeral!”

-Homer eventually has to quit the job and return to Springfield with his family. He informs Scorpio of this as Globex is under attacks from UN troops. Hank wishes Homer well and tells him “if you wanna kill someone on your way out, it would help me a lot”. He then turns a flamethrower on the attacking troops, laughing manically and shouting that Homer is missing out on “some fun”.

-As a parting gift to Homer, Scorpio buys him the (then-failing) Denver Broncos. Homer is fairly unenthusiastic about the gift.

-The ending credits are a parody of usual James Bond themes, but describing Hank Scorpio. His “twisted twin obsessions” are described as “his plot to rule the world and his employees' health”.

3.Homer Badman (Season 6, Episode 9)



(Homer is falsely accused of sexual harassment by a college student who babysat for Bart and Lisa.)

-The episode leads off with Homer revealing that he has tickets to a candy convention. When asked how he obtained them, we see a flashback of him unwrapping and examining countless Krusty Bars at the Kwik-E Mart. Apu indignantly tells him “I have asked you nicely not to mangle my merchandise! You leave me no choice but to...ask you nicely again!”

-Marge is selected to go to the candy convention, because according to Homer, the kids “have puny little arms” that can't hold enough candy. Bart and Lisa are resigned to this- “You go, mom. For the greater good.”

-Upon arriving at the convention, an awestruck Homer proclaims “I feel like a kid in some kind of a store.”

-A stand promotes wax lips as “the candy of a thousand uses”. Homer demands that the guy behind the stand elaborate. He's only able to give “a humorous substitute for your own lips” as a use before he runs out of uses.

-Marge attempts to sit down and eat a piece of celery. The security demands she put some sugar on it or leave the convention.

-After Homer swipes a rare Gummy Venus de Milo, the enraged candy conventioneers form a mob and chase him and Marge towards the exit. Homer turns and stands his ground, fashioning a grenade out of Pop Rox and Buzz Cola, hurling it at the oncoming throng of people and shouting “See you in hell...candy boys!” The next shot is of the building front exploding as Homer is flung into the air in slow motion, as if he were an action movie star.

-After being accused of sexual harassment by Bart and Lisa's babysitter, Homer swears to Marge that he's innocent- “You know how bashful I am! I can't even say the word “titmouse” without giggling like a schoolgirl! Heeheehee! Heehee!”

-Homer defends himself against the protestors assembled outside his house by giving them the (entirely-true) reason he grabbed at the babysitter's behind- the Gummy Venus de Milo had been stuck to her pants. One of the protestors counters “Yeah right! That's the oldest excuse in the book!”

-Homer pleads for God's help with his troubles. The phone rings at that moment, which Homer slowly picks up. “Hello, Homer. This...is God” (Homer perks up) “-frey Jones of the television show “Rock Bottom."

-Homer agrees to go on Rock Bottom (a parody of “Hard Copy”) to tell his side of the story. The episode airs, opening with the story about “A sex farm for sex hookers!”. When they air Homer's interview, it is hilariously-edited and spliced to make it look like Homer is admitting to the harassment. The edits are so obvious and poorly-done that you can see the clock in the background jumping back-and-forth between different times. This becomes even more absurd when you realize that Homer only spoke with Godfrey Jones for less than a minute. After Homer's butchered interview ends with the implication that he attacked Jones, a disclaimer is spoken quickly and almost unintelligibly- “Dramatization, may not have happened!”

-Homer's solution to the dilemma is to move his family “under the sea”. Cue a parody of The Little Mermaid song, sung by Homer, where he claims that under the sea- “There'll be no accusations, just friendly crustaceans!”. Homer is then seen to eat said-friendly crustaceans.

-A made-for-TV movie based on Homer's situation is made, starring Dennis Franz as Homer. The title of the movie is “Homer S: Portrait of An Ass-Grabber”.

-The news is on constant 24-hour surveillance of the Simpson household, with Kent Brockman promising to inform viewers about “when Marge put the cat out- possibly because it was harassed, we don't know!”

-A news helicopter observes Homer getting out of the shower. He sees it and panics, grabbing the shower curtain for support, but slips and falls, knocking himself out. A picture of Homer unconscious, with the shower curtain draped over his naked body is later showcased on the news. An excited newscaster reports “Simpson scandal update! Homer sleeps nude in an oxygen tent which he believes gives him sexual powers!” Watching the report in the living room, Homer retorts “That's a half-truth!”

-The Simpsons take to public access television to let Homer speak on his own behalf. An American flag is draped behind him by Grandpa, which Marge notes only has 49 stars on it. Grandpa explains “I'll be deep in the cold, cold ground before I recognize Missourah.”

-The public access broadcast only garners two calls, with the Pimply-Faced Teen dubs “their best ever”. One is a wrong number, and one is someone asking about long distance savings, which the Pimply-faced Teen becomes “veeeeeery interested” in.

-The truth finally comes out, thanks to Groundskeeper Willie having covertly taped the supposed harassment. Rock Bottom runs a piece on him called “Roddy Roddy Peeper”. Homer denounces Willie as “sick and evil” because of the music playing during the promo, despite the fact that Willie cleared him.

2.And Maggie Makes Three (Season 6, Episode 13)



(When the TV breaks, the family listens to Homer retell the story of how Maggie was born.)

-Homer, Bart, and Lisa start the episode off by watching “Knightboat, the crime-solving boat” on TV. When Knightboat continues chasing “starfish poachers” on motorcycles through the use of a canal, Bart and Lisa complain- “There's always a canal! Or an inlet! Or a fjord!”

-Beginning his story, Homer describes the year of 1993 as a time when “the clear beverage craze gave us all a reason to live” and “the domestication of the dog continued unabated".

-Homer claims he stopped a band of freelance terrorists from taking over the power plant, complete with an over-the-top fantasy sequence of Homer beating them all up and rescuing Lenny, Carl, and Mr. Burns.

-Having cleared all his debts, Homer decides to quit the Nuclear Plant. He goes into Mr. Burns' office and tells him off. Then he calls Mr. Burns “Bongo-Head” and starts rapping on his skull. An indignant Mr. Burns responds “I should be resisting this, but I'm paralyzed with rage! And island rhythms.”

-Homer explains to his family that he's managed a perfectly-balanced budget, but there will have to be some sacrifices-“From now on, we buy regular toilet paper...not that fancy quilted kind!” Bart punches the wall in anger.

-Homer gets a new job at the bowling alley, which he excels at- "If horse racing is the sport of kings, then surely bowling is a...very good sport...as well."

-When no one is looking, Homer sticks his head in the bowling ball polisher, prompting his boss to ask “Homer, did you polish your head in the Shine-O-Ball-O?” Homer responds in the negative, and his boss adjusts his hair in the mirrored surface on Homer's forehead before leaving.

-Once he learns that Marge is pregnant with Maggie, Homer screams and tears out one of his hairs. In the present, Marge tells Bart and Lisa that he reacted in the exact same way to their births, tearing out all of his hair and screaming.

-The story pauses as the kids go for a bathroom break. Marge stays seated on the couch and “thinks of products she might like to purchase”.

-Back in the flashback, Homer is still panicking over Marge's pregnancy, to the point where his head inflates like a balloon and explodes. In the present, Marge orders Bart to let Homer tell the story.

-Homer's plan to stir up more business for the bowling alley is the fire a shotgun into the air repeatedly while shouting. Lisa tells Marge to “make dad tell the story right!”. Marge resigns “That's what really happened."

-Homer on his ill-fated shotgun plan- “-it attracted a record number of police and fire officials, but few stayed to bowl."

-Homer is forced to return to work at the power plant, where Mr. Burns ghoulishly informs him that it is “company policy to give you the...plague”. Smithers corrects him- “That's plaque, sir."

-The plaque reads “Don't Forget, You're Here Forever”. Homer reveals that he has since covered up parts of the plaque with pictures of Maggie, so it now reads “Do It For Her”. Awwwwwwww. Usually I'm not up for "touching" endings, but this one really works for me.

1.The Cartridge Family (Season 9, Episode 5)



(After a soccer riot spills across Springfield, Homer buys a gun to protect his family.)

-The kids watch a soccer commercial on TV, which makes soccer look like the most exciting sport ever. They ask Homer why he's never taken them to a soccer game before. “I...don't know...” an awestruck Homer manages.

-The match being advertised claims to decide the “greatest nation on Earth- Mexico OR Portugal!” Later at the match, Homer asserts “Oh, I'll kill myself if Portugal doesn't win.”

-The ad goes on to mention that “all your favorite soccer stars will be there, like Ariaga! Ariaga Two! Bariaga! Aruglia! And Pizzoza!” Homer laments “I've never heard of those people”. The ad continues- “And they'll all be signing autographs!” Homer whoo-hoos.

-The soccer game quickly proves boring for the citizens of Springfield, and a riot (mostly incited by Moe) breaks out. Groundskeeper Willie notes “Ye call this a socca riot??” and riles up the band of burly Scots he's with- “Come on, boys! Let's take 'em te skuul!”

-As a result of the riot, Homer looks into a home security system. A shady salesman tries to con them into spending five hundred dollars on one. Homer promptly throws him out, with the salesman pleading “But surely you can't put a price on your family's lives!” Homer responds- “I wouldn't have thought so either, but...here we are.”

-Homer goes to the gun shop (run by “the Wise Guy Clerk”) to purchase his “deadliest gun”. Homer tries an unloaded one out, pointing it at the clerk's face. “Whoa, careful there Annie Oakley,” the clerk warns. “I don't have to be careful- I've got a gun!” Homer asserts.

-After he learns there is a five-day waiting period before he can get his hands on the weapon, Homer threatens the clerk- “I'd kill you if I had my gun.” The clerk responds “Yeah, well, ya don't.”

-Marge is firmly against Homer owning a gun- “Remember when Maggie shot Mr. Burns?” Homer questions- “I thought Smithers did it?” Lisa mutters- “That would have made a lot more sense.”

-Lisa tells Homer that the Second Amendment is just “a leftover from Revolutionary times” and “has no meaning today.” Homer responds that without a gun, “the King of England could walk in here anytime he wants and start shoving you around.” Homer proceeds to shove Lisa a couple times for emphasis- “Do you want that? Huh? Do ya?”

-Homer and Marge attend an NRA meeting, where Lenny speaks of the relevance of assault weapons in today's world- “they're manufactured for a reason; to deal with today's modern super-animals, like the flying squirrel and the electric eel!”

-Moe tells a story of how his bar was almost robbed recently. “Whatever did you dooo, Moe?” Sideshow Mel melodramatically queries. Moe responds- “Well, it could have been a really ugly situation, but I managed to shoot him in the spine. I guess the next place he robs better have a wheelchair ramp!” Everyone laughs.

-Homer walks into the Kwik-E-Mart, his gun in his hand. Apu immediately assumes a robbery and sticks his hands up. Homer begins to explain, but then fantasizes about what his life would be like if he robbed the Kwik-E-Mart, which features him in a rocking chair, wearing a monocle and a sash that reads “Senator” while Marge dances in a bikini nearby. Homer then flashes back to reality, resolved to go through with it, then notices he's already in his car, eating a sandwich and driving away from the Kwik-E-Mart. “D'OH! Ah well, I'll rob it next time.”

-Homer and Bart do some skeet shooting using Marge's dinner plates. Bart points out that Homer missed one, prompting Homer to walk up to the final unbroken plate lying on the ground. “See you in hell, dinner plate,” Homer menaces in a dramatic up-lit shot, before destroying it.

-Trying to reason with Homer, Marge leads off with “Now, I've put up with a lot in this marriage...” Homer begins to open his mouth to respond, then catches the kids' disapproving head-shakes, and aborts.

-Agreeing to get rid of the gun, Homer and Marge embrace. “I'm a lucky woman,” Marge says. “And I'm a wonderful man,” Homer adds.

-Unfortunately Homer doesn't stick with his word, and Marge takes the kids away. Homer offers his house to the NRA for the next meeting, with Moe arriving first. “I brought you a bag of irregular Oreos,” Moe offers, dumping them out on a flat surface. He picks up a complete-looking Oreo- “I don't see what's wrong with this one,” and bites into it. “Oh,” Moe concludes, removing it from his mouth.

-Moe later shows the others “how to turn one gun into five guns”, revealing five guns crudely linked together by wire and tubing.

-Homer demonstrates his reckless gun use to open beer cans, turn the TV on and off, and shooting out the lights in his house at night.

-Marge and the kids stay at a cruddy motel. “Is that a camera?” Bart wonders, eying an aperture in the ceiling. “No. Go back to sleep,” a muffled voice from the ceiling responds.

-When Homer goes to retrieve his family from the motel, the main office is held-up by Snake, who swipes Homer's gun. Homer then proceeds to taunt “there's no bullets in that thing!” and produces an ammo box from his pants. Snake threatens him the empty gun again- “Gimme the bullets!” Homer immediately complies- “AH! Don't shoot!”

-Homer confesses to Marge that he felt “an incredible surge of power” when he held the gun- “like God must feel when he's holding a gun!”

_______________

Well, there ya have it. This order might shift around from time-to-time, but these are basically my top ten favorite episodes of the Simpsons. If you disagree with my picks, by all means, send us some mail and I'll address it on-air eventually.

Smell ya later.

-Mike