Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Coolest Puppet in Sockville

I have purchased the first ten seasons of The Simpsons currently available on DVD. However, I’ve no intention of buying any more, because, to be honest, the show took a nose dive around the time I was midway through high school and, coincidentally, had better things to do on Sunday night. I can actually pinpoint the episode that convinced me that the show had nosedived into the pits of suckitude: “Saddlesore Galactica,” an infuriatingly stupid episode in which Bart befriends a diving horse named Duncan and Homer is pursued by singing jockeys who, we learn, are actually members of a villainous elf-like race living beneath the surface of the earth. Ugh.

It’s strange, then, that I’d actually recommend an episode that ran a week from last Sunday, “Apocalypse Cow,” in which Bart befriends a cow whom he must save from the slaughterhouse. Superficially similar plot, overall higher quality episode. It’s actually pretty funny, not overly silly, and well-written — three descriptors I never thought I’d apply to a latter-day Simpsons episode.

Through the magic of Hulu, I can prevent “Apocalypse Cow” in full and in full accordance with the law below. I know many Back of the Cereal Box readers don’t usually spend half an hour here, but if you find you have some down time, you might not regret it.

Some highlights:
  • The couch gag, which runs for about a whole minute and references the Bayeux Tapestry, of all things. If you’re in a bind for time, just watch this.
  • A cartoon called the Trans-Clown-o-Morphs. (“And their human friend is you!”)
  • “Don’t you worry about Wikipedia. We’ll change it when we get home! We’ll change a lot of things!”
  • Two words (by which I mean one letter and one number): 4-H, an entity that apparently still exists and which, if you didn’t go to high school with me, you might not have had to encounter.
  • How the West Was Won, referenced musically
  • Special guest star Zooey Deschanel, as if I hadn’t heard her voice enough lately
  • “Fringe vests for gay cowboys”
  • Two separate, explicit reference to Tress MacNeille, who perhaps doesn’t get enough credit for making noises
  • Dr. Hippie’s Fungus Yums
  • Windsong, Compost, Solar Panel, Lisa’s Brother
  • The weirdly public service announcement messages from Tylenol
  • A callback to Lisa’s jug song in “Homer the Vigilante”
  • Diabetty
  • “We name all our kids after what we thinks gonna happen to them. Ain’t that right, Stabbed in Jail?”
  • “Mama, you know I love you’re Somethin’ Stew.”
  • The Laughter House
  • And a callback to “Don’t have a cow, man” — a phrase I’d rather forget but which was touched on rather poignantly.
Really, more worth it than you’d expect.


  1. I don't think I have read such a detailed analysis of 'The Simpsons' before! Unfortunately, I can't watch the provided clips due to not living in the United States. Nice post anyway!

  2. This came out during Free Comic Book Day on Saturday. It's drawn by the same artist that made manga renditions of The Simpsons and Futurama. There might still be copies available at comic stores.

  3. Funny you should mention the horse racing episode. Didn't Comic Book Guy make a reference to an earlier episode of the Simpsons as "Worst Episode Ever"? Maybe they just knew....

  4. Unless I'm mistaken, Comic Book Guy's big complaint in "Saddlesore Galatica" is the fact that it itself recycles a plot. He points out that Lisa has already had a pony.

  5. I can't watch it... damn you Americans and your laws!

    The Simpsons is all about linguistics, of course.