Tuesday, November 11

Stanger Danger.

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A few months ago, the above graphic popped up on my TV screen, causing me to spit out an entire mouthful of Blueberry Morning in a fit of wheezing laughter.

NBC 15 is my local news channel of choice here in Madison. I like the anchors, I like their approach to reporting, and most importantly, my good friend is employed there. I don't bust people on the Internet much for their grammar, but I snapped a 'Stanger Danger' photo so I could text it to my employed friend and engage in some good-natured ribbing regarding the nonexistent proofreading staff of NBC 15. I also joked that I would continue sending him photos like this every time they screwed up, because spelling errors were bad, and he should feel bad, even if he had nothing to do with it.

I was kidding. I don't pay close enough attention to the news to notice this stuff unless it's literally 50 inches across like the one above.

But then, a funny thing happened: They kept screwing up, and I kept noticing.

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(On the raod again. I'm convinced this is what began the Milwaukee Brewers' cursed tailspin right out of the Playoffs.)

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(Gotta watch out for that wet wather, weather or not you care about the whether.)

It didn't take long for my friend to no longer think this was funny. Perhaps he has a limited Data Plan when it comes to texting; I thought this was hilarious and refused to quit. Besides, I've got nothing better to do.

Now, I watch the news maybe three times a week, and I only pay attention to it about once a week. So by my calculations, considering how many times I was seeing stuff like this, there are approximately 18 thousand errors on NBC 15 every minute of every day.* It felt like every time I looked up at my television, something very wrong was being projected back at me.

(*Your math may vary.)

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(Yes, the headline is worrisome and we should be focused on what's important. But I couldn't sit idly by while 'nealy' floated across my TV screen like a turd in a pool. We can worry about the budget later. Or never. Hey, it is Wisconsin after all.)

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('Occasional' is a difficult word to spell from memory, I'll admit. Fortunately, Spell Check was invented 30 years ago.)

According to my friend (and from my logical deductions), working at a local news station is a fast-paced, deadline-chasing race against the clock. There sometimes isn't enough time to, you know, look at the monitor before you hit that 'sumbit' button that publishes your work to the airwaves. I get that; but man, the errors just kept on a comin'.

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(Sumbit. So you didn't have to, I went to that website. It's available for purchase, as it currently doesn't exist on this or any other planet.)

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(I've looked at this one about a dozen times and I still have no idea what message it's supposed to convey. It may, in fact, be a broadcast from another dimension where it snows in August and nothing is what it seems.)

I eventually gave up on snapping a photo every time I saw an error (they certainly haven't stopped). My friend was threatening to bash my skull in with a crescent wrench, and the whole thing began to make me sort of depressed as well.

I mean, look. If you're in the market for a cheap proofreader, NBC 15, I'm your guy. I'm an insomniac with OCD and a valid Driver's License. Just run the copy by me beforehand. It wouldn't take any more than 10 minutes, 15 if I had been drinking the night before.

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(HOLY SHIT. LAME-BAU.)

Please hurry.

Sound off in the comments section, rightfully call me a hypocrite because of all the grammatical errors I've made over the years, and enjoy the rest of your week.

Monday, September 29

Let's Get This Over With.



Ugh.

I never thought this day would come, but my phone got hacked. In order to preemptively cut this whole mess off before it gets out of hand, I wanted to just go ahead and publish the incriminating video here on the CDP, in the hopes that it's never discussed again. I apologize to my wife, friends and family.

Turn up the sound if you must.

Monday, September 15

Have A Super Sonic Day.

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I left work early a couple of Tuesdays ago. There wasn't a whole lot going on at the office, so I figured I could better utilize my time around the house, watching DVR'd Simpsons episodes and vacuuming the spiderwebs out of my garage. Instead of using several vacation days at a time, I usually opt for the few-hours-at-a-time approach whenever I feel like a Mental Health Afternoon is necessary for my well-being (and the well-being of those within roundhouse kick range of me).

Before I got home, I drove through Sonic for a grilled cheese. This particular Sonic is about a mile from my home, and for the six weeks it's been open, the place has been complete anarchy. The food is suspect at best, ordering mozzarella sticks takes three hours, and they'll be dead in the cold ground before you can special order anything. I once asked for a sundae with chocolate ice cream, and they said they "couldn't do that." Whatever, dude. I stick with the grilled cheese because I'm still pretending to be a vegetarian and it's the one item they screw up the least.

It still took around 10 minutes. Good thing I had nowhere to be.

It was around lunchtime as I sat in my car and waited for my food. As my mind began to wander, I realized that it was also lunchtime for the local school, which functioned as an 'open campus' for the hour. For those who grew up without such a luxury (like me), an 'open campus' allows you to leave the school grounds for lunchtime and eat wherever you want (fast food, gas station, landfill), provided that you're back on time. This meant that Sonic, a restaurant about a block from the school, was crawling with children of all ages.

The Tuesday after Labor Day was also the first day of school, and the energy was in the air. When I had left my house that morning, I saw a group of kids in my subdivision waiting for the bus, and I nearly had a full-blown panic attack. When I think back to my first days of school, every memory is that of pure, unbridled terror. I was a fair student, had plenty of friends and only got my ass kicked when I deserved it, but the PTSD always hangs low in the air. I firmly empathize with any child who was dragged screaming and fear-peeing onto a school bus that morning. I'm at an age where I should be preparing my own child for another year of public school, but in reality, I still connect a lot more with the kid begging to stay home. I feel you, little homies.

On Facebook that day, my News Feed was flooded with friends' photos of their children getting ready for their first day back. Most of the comments were positive and congratulatory, but it's in my nature to privately scoff and scroll ahead as quickly as possible. I hated school, I don't have kids, and I'm not interested in anyone else's. I've...been pretty clear about this.

However, as I was sitting in my car, waiting for my grilled cheese, something happened. Something that had never happened to me before in my life. And frankly, it scared the shit out of me.

I looked out my window and saw an adorable, beaming little girl. Brand new pink shirt. Brand new matching skirt. Crispy pink backpack without a scratch on it. Holding her smiling mother's hand as they both shared a milkshake and walked back to school for the afternoon. The weather was perfect. The sun was shining, and they both seemed extremely happy. I, on the other hand, was getting ready to eat a grilled cheese in front of the TV, and waste away the remainder of this perfect day by watching anime until my wife came home.

In that split second, I felt like my life had literally no purpose because I wasn't the parent of a child, and that I was finally ready to become one. It was a thought I had never let deep enough into my brain to even analyze, so when I did, it shook me like an existential crisis.

Oh, goddamn. I thought about how I was going to explain this change of heart to my wife. I thought about all the plans we were going to have to make. All the plans we were going to have to change. All the money we'd need to start saving. All the money we didn't have and never would have. We'd have to remodel the office, of course. Probably finish the basement. One of us would probably have to quit their job for awhile. We'd have to pick a good school. A great one. How much TV should a kid watch? None? How much should we limit their Internet usage? Who will watch them when we need a sitter? Will I need to throw all the liquor bottles away? Why did I waste all that money on a WiiU? I don't even play it!

In the past, this flood of logistical planning and strategic forecasting would be enough to stop the thought of having a baby dead in its tracks. Whenever I thought about it for longer than a second, I eventually convinced myself that it was a terrible idea, that I wasn't ready and we shouldn't even think about it for another five years. Unfortunately, this didn't work. As I watched this mother and daughter skip happily away, I longed to experience that moment. I wanted it more than anything I have ever wanted in my life. I thought about walking my daughter to school, freshly sporting the supplies we had picked out together the week before, and in the moment it seemed like the most heavenly experience in the world.

"Shit," I said out loud to myself. "I think I want to have a baby."

I was shaking in the car. I felt like I was going to throw up. This was a genuine moment.

I'm not a religious man, but this was a serious precipice in my evolution here, and I sincerely could have used a little guidance from Above. I didn't have any friends or relatives I could call at noon on a Tuesday for perspective, and the drive-thru of a Sonic wasn't exactly the sort of place where a spark of divine intervention would typically shine though. Although I was planning to check my grilled cheese to see if the Virgin Mary's face was visible in the grill marks. Wouldn't hurt, I figured.

But then, it hit me. Inspiration from above, and not a moment too soon.

Off in the distance, atop a pile of decorative landscaping surrounding the perimeter of Sonic, I saw him. A little boy, about 7 or 8. By himself, ruthlessly ripping out the plants, cattails and foliage, and throwing them haphazardly into the street in huge clumps.

He was basically feral. Dirt on his face. Sticky hands. He didn't look like he was headed back to school, or anywhere that didn't involve a padlock and water dish, frankly. He seemed plenty occupied with destroying the plant life like it was his profession. When he would uproot a cattail, he would wield it at passing cars like a samurai sword, kicking up soil with each mighty stomp. He was almost hit and killed a good three or four times. Horns were honking relentlessly. I had to think that one of them called the cops.

He was an asshole. He was unsupervised. He was me, and he was the living embodiment of every reason I've ever talked myself out of having children. That would be the one I get. No question about it.

Finally, his mother emerged from the Sonic with a large soda, which he snapped from her hands without so much as a Thank You. The mother looked like she wanted to scold him, but was too exhausted and busy with the infant she was balancing with her other arm, all while holding more food, a phone and her purse. Once she managed to stuff everything into her undersized car, the boy proceeded to kick the side panel of the passenger seat until she opened the door for him and sped off. He wasn't buckled.

Just then, my grilled cheese arrived, and I decided that I wasn't ready to have a baby just yet. My earlier feelings had dissipated after seeing a far more realistic projection of why my life as a Father would truly entail.

The beaming girl with her mother was the best-case scenario. It was a scenario that could happen to my wife and I, through hard work and a shitload of genetic luck (I can't really tell my sperm what to do). And I would love and cherish her as much as I hypothesized I would...but the boy throwing plants into the street was probably a better snapshot of what my future would hold. The Missus and I were beyond difficult children to deal with, and even though we'd parent the hell out of whatever kid we ended up with, I knew that fate wasn't in our favor.

Win or lose, I've always played the odds when it came to big decisions, and between the Missus and I, we sort of selfishly assumed that there was a fairly good chance we'd have a baby we didn't like and it would ruin our marriage and lives, spiraling us straight into the gutter until one of us shanked the other with the lid of a baby formula can. I know people always say that you're in control of what your child is to become, and you'll love them unconditionally regardless, but I call 100% bullshit to that noise. You're not always in control of what your child is to become. Not even close. That's an argument so ridiculous it isn't worth arguing. Plenty of great parents have awful children, and it's not their fault (unless it is, which also totally happens).

Look, I know that if you want a kid, you'll have a kid and work with whatever you're given; that's what good people do. My wife and I strive to be good people, and when the time comes where we truly feel ready for the responsibility of parenting a child, we will stop at absolutely nothing to push every last chip into the center of the table to ensure their future success (even if it does end up being a boy).

But as I drove from Sonic with a grilled cheese in my hand, I was looking forward to an empty house.

If only for the time being.

Tuesday, September 2

The CDP 2014-2015 Fall TV Preview.

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IT'S BACK!

For the 9th goddamn year, the CDP is back with the scoop on 50 new, returning and canceled TV shows. These are the shows that I will be watching (or at least giving a chance to) this fall. All times are Central and the time slot information is accurate as of the date this was written. I also stuck with mostly national TV and some basic cable; I did not include premium channels, because the CDP is accommodating to TV fans in all tax brackets and considers piracy a crime literally worse than mass murder.

And hey, if this preview isn't enough for you, feel free to take a trip in the Wayback Machine to see my 8 other Fall Previews:

2005-2006 Preview. (Remember Invasion and Night Stalker?)
2006-2007 Preview. (Remember The Unit and Studio 60?)
2007-2008 Preview. (Remember Kid Nation and Carpoolers?)
2008-2009 Preview. (Remember The Goode Family and Lipstick Jungle?)
2009-2010 Preview. (Remember Time Warp and FlashForward?)
2010-2011 Preview. (Remember Detroit 1-8-7 and Better With You?)
2011-2012 Preview. (Remember Alcatraz and Awake?)
2013-2014 Preview. (Remember Animal Practice and The Neighbors?)

Let's do this, starting from the top.

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SUNDAY
6-7p - America's Funniest Home Videos (ABC - 10/5)
6:30-7p - Bob's Burgers (FOX - 10/5)
7-7:30p - The Simpsons (FOX - 9/28)
7-8p - Once Upon A Time (ABC - 9/28)
7-10p - Sunday Night Football (NBC - 9/4)
7:30-8p - Brooklyn Nine-Nine (FOX - 9/28)
8-9p - The Walking Dead (AMC - 10/12)
8:30-9p - Mulaney (FOX - 10/5)
9-10p - Talking Dead (AMC - 10/12)

The Skinny! - Timeslot mainstay AFV brings the (scrotal) pain at 6, followed by the best animated series on TV, Bob's Burgers. The Simpsons begins Season 26 on the heels of their record-breaking marathon on FXX, and Once Upon A Time brings their neverending fairytale to ABC at 7. FOX comedies Brooklyn Nine-Nine and newcomer Mulaney have the unenviable task of going up against Sunday Night Football. And where some shows begin to coast and lose their audience after 4 seasons, The Walking Dead only gets bigger, badder and decapitate-ier as we roll into the much-anticipated Season 5.

But I Can Only Watch One Show! - The Walking Dead continues to be a ratings anomaly and is arguably the best show on television. Put the kids to bed and jump on board. Then go back and watch every other episode.

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MONDAY
7-8p - Gotham (FOX - 9/22)
7-8p - Antiques Roadshow (PBS - 9/22)
7-10p - Monday Night Raw (USA - Ongoing)
7:30-10:30p - Monday Night Football (ESPN - 9/8)
9-9:30p - Louie (FX - Midseason)

The Skinny! - Please let Gotham be awesome and make me forget that Ben Affleck is now donning the rubber suit. Elsewhere, Antiques Roadshow appraises 2 THE EXTREME at 7, Monday Night Raw holds fast as the most-watched weekly show on cable, and Monday Night Football showers us with concussions, illegal contact penalties and commercials for Hooters. God help me, I love football so much. Finally, Louie returns for a truncated Season 5, which is better than nothing, which is exactly what we received in 2013.

But I Can Only Watch One Show! - If nick-knacks, football, superheroes and wrasslin' aren't for you, there's plenty to be excited for when it comes to Louie.

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TUESDAY
7-8p - The Flash (CW - 10/7)
8-9p - Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC - 9/23)
8-9p - Agent Carter (ABC - Midseason)

The Skinny! - It's Nerd Night in America, as The Flash, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Marvel spinoff Agent Carter make you forget about how terrible and lonely your life is.

But I Can Only Watch One Show! - Who knows how good Agent Carter and The Flash will turn out to be, but Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. started good and ended better, so they're definitely earning prime space on my DVR.

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WEDNESDAY
7-7:30p - The Middle (ABC - 9/24)
7:30-8p - The Goldbergs (ABC - 9/24)
8-8:30p - Modern Family (ABC - 9/24)
8-9p - Mythbusters (DISC - Midseason)
8-9p - Red Band Society (FOX - 9/17)
9-10p - Nashville (ABC - 9/24)
9-10p - The Ultimate Fighter (FS1 - 9/10)

The Skinny! - Wednesday night starts off with solid comedies The Middle, Modern Family and (the exceptional) The Goldbergs on ABC. On cable, Mythbusters returns for another season of putting urban legends to bed, while Red Band Society tries to be Glee in a children's hospital or something (I'm unclear on the details, but it looks cute). The Ultimate Fighter returns with an all-female lineup of terrifying martial artists competing for the UFC's inaugural 115lb. title, and Nashville brings the heartbreak at 9.

But I Can Only Watch One Show! - Modern Family poops emmys and justifiably so, but I wholeheartedly believe that The Goldbergs is one of the best shows on TV right now, especially for children of the 1980's. 

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THURSDAY
6-6:15p - Adventure Time (TOON - Midseason)
6:30-6:45p - Regular Show (TOON - Midseason)
7-7:30p - Parks and Recreation (NBC - Midseason)
7-10p - Thursday Night Football (CBS - 9/11)
8-9p - Gracepoint (FOX - 10/2)
9-9:30p - Maron (IFC - Midseason)
9-10p - Secrets and Lies (ABC - Midseason)

The Skinny! - Adventure Time and Regular Show are the perfect yin and yang of the Cartoon Network (the decriminalization of marijuana only did favors for these shows), while Parks and Recreation begins their 7th and final (sniff) season on NBC. Thursday Night Football premieres on free TV this year, while Gracepoint is a new crime drama starring David Tennant. Maron appears to be getting better with each episode, and Secrets and Lies looks to bring a good old-fashioned murder mystery back to ABC.

But I Can Only Watch One Show! - You watch Parks and Recreation. There's no question about it. It's sincerely one of the greatest NBC comedies ever made, and that's saying something.

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FRIDAY
7-9p - Friday Night Smackdown (SYFY - Ongoing)
9-10p - Constantine (NBC - 10/24)

The Skinny! - BORK LASER SAY IF YOU NO WATCH SMACKDOWN I KILL YOUR BODY.

But I Can Only Watch One Show! - Constantine is about an enigmatic and irreverent con man-turned-reluctant supernatural detective who is thrust into the role of defending us against dark forces from beyond. So yeah, we're all going to watch that.

But seriously though, Brock Lesnar will find you and kill you.

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SATURDAY
7-7:30p - Cops (SPIKE - 8/23)
10:30p-5a - Toonami* (TOON - Ongoing)

(*Toonami's lineup currently consists of Attack On Titan, Space Dandy, Bleach, Naruto Shippuden, One Piece, Gurren Lagann, Beware The Batman, Black Lagoon, Naruto, Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Cowboy Bebop, Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Samurai Jack.)

The Skinny! - Look, you should have fun on Saturday. Spend time with your loved ones, have a drink and a few laughs, but be sure to get your ass back to the television by the time Toonami begins. And don't plan on sleeping, either, because it runs all night. As a warm-up, new episodes of Cops continue to air on Spike.

But I Can Only Watch One Show! - You watch the SHIT out of Attack On Titan.

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CANCELED/NOT RETURNING
Most of the shows that left our televisions last season wholly deserved to. And let's face it, most of the new shows premiering this year will do the same, if they're lucky enough to even make it through a full episode run. If you noticed, there aren't a lot of new shows that made my list this year. But there are two shows worth noting: One that is moving to the scary new world of online streaming, and one that may go down as the greatest Drama in TV history.

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Breaking Bad swept the Emmys for two years in a row, set Guinness records for critical acclaim, and most impressively, won the massive, 128-show, two month long CDP TV 25 Tournament to determine the Greatest TV Show of the Last 25 Years. It deserved everything it got, and it stands to reason that history will be nothing but kind to this one-of-a-kind masterpiece.

The story of Community is astounding. A show so weird it had no business being on NBC, getting cancelled only to be revived due to fan outcry, having their creator fired and then reinstated, and finally being revived for a 6th season on Yahoo! Screen. Wow. This is one of the few web-based shows I will definitely be watching this season; Jeff Winger and company are characters worthy of being followed.

Well, there you have it. The scoop on my personal Fall TV schedule, for the 9th year running. Set your DVR’s, sound off in the comments section and enjoy your week. Don’t forget to tell me the shows you plan on watching on My Twitter and over on My Facebook. And hey, go buy one of my books while you're at it. Thanks much; have a good one.

Friday, August 29

The Top 100 Simpsons Episodes Of All-Time: #10-1.


#10 – ‘Viva Ned Flanders

Season 10 – Episode 10 (Episode 213 Overall)

Synopsis – When Ned Flanders reveals that he is 60 years old and looks young because he has done nothing exciting in his life, Homer decides to take him to Las Vegas, where, after a night of drunken partying, they end up married to two derelict barmaids.


#9 – ‘Life On The Fast Lane
Season 1 – Episode 9 (Episode 9 Overall)

Synopsis – Having forgotten about Marge's birthday, Homer rushes to the Springfield mall and impulsively buys her a bowling ball. Marge is not impressed with the gift and after discovering that he intends to use it, she decides to spite him by going bowling herself. While at the alley, she meets Jacques, a charming French bowling instructor, who offers her lessons. Jacques begins to fall for Marge and Marge undergoes a moral dilemma.


#8 – ‘Behind The Laughter
Season 11 – Episode 22 (Episode 248 Overall)

Synopsis – In a parody of VH1's Behind The Music, viewers take an inside look at The Simpsons' rise to fame, and the many scandals, feuds, and break-ups that threatened to end the show and split up the family.


#7 – ‘Itchy and Scratchy Land
Season 6 – Episode 4 (Episode 107 Overall)

Synopsis – Bart and Lisa convince their parents to take their family vacation at the newly opened Itchy and Scratchy Land. The vacation seems to be going well, until Bart and Homer are both apprehended by the park security for assaulting a staff member dressed in an Itchy suit. Professor Frink realizes that all of the park's Itchy & Scratchy robots will turn on their masters; an event which proves true as a horde of Itchy and Scratchy robots advance on the Simpsons.


#6 – ‘Marge vs. The Monorail
Season 4 – Episode 12 (Episode 71 Overall)

Synopsis – After Mr. Burns is caught storing his excess nuclear waste inside Springfield Park's trees, he is ordered to pay the town $3 million. The town is originally set to use the money to fix Main Street, but the charismatic Lyle Lanley interrupts and convinces the town to use the money to buy one of his monorails.


#5 – ‘The City Of New York vs. Homer Simpson

Season 9 – Episode 1 (Episode 179 Overall)

Synopsis – Homer allows Barney to use his car when Barney is picked to be the designated driver for that night at Moe's Tavern. However, Barney disappears for two months with the car and returns without it. Homer searches for his car and eventually receives a letter from the City of New York. The family is excited to go there to obtain the car, but Homer, who had a bad experience in New York when he was younger, is reluctant.


#4 – ‘You Only Move Twice
Season 8 – Episode 2 (Episode 155 Overall)

Synopsis – When Homer accepts a new job at the Globex Corporation, the Simpson family moves to Cypress Creek. Homer enjoys his new work and his easy-going boss, but is completely unaware that his boss is an evil genius and that the company is a vehicle for international extortion. The rest of the family have trouble settling in Cypress Creek and Homer must make a choice between Cypress Creek and Springfield.


#3 – ‘Selma’s Choice
Season 4 – Episode 13 (Episode 72 Overall)

Synopsis – Marge's Great Aunt Gladys Bouvier dies and the Simpsons, Patty, and Selma attend her funeral. During the reading of her video will, Gladys tells Patty and Selma not to die lonely and miserable like she did. Though Patty doesn't care, Selma decides that she wants a baby. Meanwhile, Homer eats a spoiled hoagie, and becomes dreadfully ill. As a result, he can not fulfill his promise of taking Bart and Lisa to Duff Gardens and Selma agrees to take them instead.


#2 – ‘Colonel Homer
Season 3 – Episode 20 (Episode 55 Overall)

Synopsis – After Homer's behavior at the movie theater embarrasses Marge, they have a large argument, causing Homer to head to a redneck bar where he meets a beautiful barmaid named Lurleen Lumpkin with a talent for singing. Homer becomes her manager and does everything he can to make Lurleen famous, but it takes a very long time for him to notice Lurleen has fallen in love with him. With Marge already upset and thinking Homer's the one with the roving eyes, it's time for him to decide on his romantic future.


#1 – ‘Last Exit To Springfield - READ THIS!
Season 4 – Episode 17 (Episode 76 Overall)

Synopsis – After learning that Mr. Burns' decision to revoke their dental plan has coincided with Lisa needing braces, Homer convinces his coworkers not to give up their dental plan and becomes the new head of the workers union at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant. He holds talks with Mr. Burns, but these go badly because Homer is not intelligent enough to understand Burns' sly innuendos. The plant goes on strike and Mr. Burns decides to take away the electricity for the entire town. However, this encourages the workers union and Burns decides to reach a deal with Homer.

Thursday, August 28

The Top 100 Simpsons Episodes Of All-Time: #20-11.


#20 – ‘Homer Simpson, This Is Your Wife

Season 17 – Episode 15 (Episode 371 Overall)

Synopsis – Homer's obsession with Lenny's new plasma TV prompts Marge to enter the family in a sweepstakes. Against Marge's wishes, Homer signs them up for a Trading Spouses/Wife Swap-style reality show and is forced to take in a controlling wife, while Marge moves in with a beaten-down husband and his perfect son.


#19 – ‘E-I-E-I-(Annoyed Grunt)
Season 11 – Episode 5 (Episode 231 Overall)

Synopsis – Inspired by a cheesy "Zorro" movie, Homer begins slapping people with a glove and challenging them to duels (with the victims giving Homer whatever he wants instead of accepting the challenge). But when a real Southern gentleman accepts Homer's request for a duel, The Simpsons run off to the old farm Homer lived in with his parents, and breed a dangerously addictive tobacco/tomato hybrid called "Tomacco."


#18 – ‘How I Spent My Strummer Vacation
Season 14 – Episode 2 (Episode 293 Overall)

Synopsis – Homer goes to a rock and roll camp, run by the Rolling Stones, after confessing on a hidden camera show that he hates his family and his job.


#17 – ‘New Kid On The Block
Season 4 – Episode 8 (Episode 67 Overall)

Synopsis – The Simpsons' next door neighbors move and are replaced by a single mother, Ruth Powers and her daughter Laura. Laura becomes the object of Bart's affection but Bart becomes heart broken after learning that her boyfriend is Jimbo Jones. Meanwhile, Homer wages war against the Sea Captain's seafood restaurant The Frying Dutchman, for falsely advertising their "all-you-can-eat" buffet.


#16 – ‘Treehouse Of Horror V
Season 6 – Episode 6 (Episode 109 Overall)

Synopsis – A Halloween special which is divided into three short stories:
'The Shinning' – A parody of the film The Shining, in which Homer tries to kill the rest of the family after Mr. Burns cuts off the beer supply and cable TV in his winter home.
'Time and Punishment' – Whilst attempting to fix it, Homer creates a time machine out of his toaster.
'Nightmare Cafeteria' – To solve the problems of overcrowded detention and lack of meat, the Springfield Elementary teachers resort to eating the students.


#15 – ‘Bart On The Road

Season 7 – Episode 20 (Episode 148 Overall)

Synopsis – While stuck at the DMV with Patty and Selma on "Go To Work With Your Parents Day," Bart creates a fake driver's license for himself and uses it to go on a spring break road trip. Bart and his friends decide to go to the World's fair in Knoxville, but discover that their guide book is outdated and the fair ended years ago.


#14 – ‘The Otto Show
Season 3 – Episode 22 (Episode 57 Overall)

Synopsis – Otto crashes the school bus, and is later discovered that he never actually owned a real driver's license, prompting authorities to fire him. Otto then moves in with the Simpsons after he has been evicted. Meanwhile, after attending a Spinal Tap concert, Bart decides he wants to be a rock star.


#13 – ‘The Way We Was
Season 2 – Episode 12 (Episode 25 Overall)

Synopsis – In the first Simpsons flashback episode, Marge tells the story of how she and Homer met in high school in 1974. Marge and Homer meet for the first time during detention and he immediately tries to get Marge to be his date for the prom. She initially agrees, but ends up attending with Artie Ziff. In the end, Marge regrets going with Artie, and reveals that she has fallen in love with Homer.


#12 – ‘Homer Badman
Season 6 – Episode 9 (Episode 112 Overall)

Synopsis – Homer and Marge attend a candy convention, where Homer successfully steals a gummy Venus de Milo. Later, after Homer takes the children's babysitter home, he notices that the gummy Venus has become stuck to her pants and grabs it, an action that Ashley misinterprets as a sexual advance. A mob of protesters soon appear at the Simpsons' house, claiming that Homer sexually harassed Ashley.


#11 – ‘Homer’s Phobia
Season 8 – Episode 15 (Episode 168 Overall)

Synopsis – The family tries to sell an old heirloom at a collectibles store and strike up a relationship with John, the store owner. The Simpsons invite John over to their house to assess their other belongings and Homer takes a liking to him. Marge then informs Homer that John is gay and he refuses to see him again. Afterwards Homer notices changes in Bart's behavior and fears that John has turned him into a homosexual.

Wednesday, August 27

The Top 100 Simpsons Episodes Of All-Time: #30-21.


#30 – ‘Marge Be Not Proud

Season 7 – Episode 11 (Episode 139 Overall)

Synopsis – Bart attempts to shoplift a popular video game at the local Try-N-Save but is caught by the security guard. The guard tells Bart to never set foot in the store again and leaves a message on the Simpson family's answering machine. Bart manages to stop Homer and Marge from finding out, but is later dismayed when he finds out that the entire family is going to Try-N-Save for the family's Christmas photo.


#29 – ‘That 90’s Show
Season 19 – Episode 11 (Episode 411 Overall)

Synopsis – After discovering Marge's diploma, Homer recounts the story of how he gave up his dreams of being a musician so Marge could attend Springfield University. However, after she became attracted to one of her professors, Homer started focusing his emotions into music and formed the first Grunge band.


#28 – ‘The Seemingly Never-Ending Story
Season 17 – Episode 13 (Episode 369 Overall)

Synopsis – While cave exploring with his family, Homer causes the cave to crumble and finds himself stuck upside down in the ceiling. Marge and Bart search for help while Lisa passes the time by telling Homer a story, which turns into a chain of narrated tales that, bit by bit, explain why The Simpsons are spending the day at Carl's Dad Caverns.


#27 – ‘A Milhouse Divided
Season 8 – Episode 6 (Episode 159 Overall)

Synopsis – Kirk and Luann Van Houten's marriage is in trouble and at a dinner party at the Simpson house Luann announces that she wants a divorce. Homer is confident that it will never happen to him, but Kirk tells him how quickly things can change. He realizes that he has taken his marriage for granted and overcompensates by smothering Marge. Deciding that their marriage is finished, Homer secretly files for a divorce from Marge.


#26 – ‘Deep Space Homer
Season 5 – Episode 15 (Episode 96 Overall)

Synopsis – NASA decides that they need to hire average joes in order to get higher television ratings. They recruit Homer and Barney to train to be the first average American in space. Homer, who wants to be respected, is the winner by default, and goes into space with Buzz Aldrin.


#25 – ‘One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish

Season 2 – Episode 11 (Episode 24 Overall)

Synopsis – The Simpsons go to a new Sushi bar, where Homer takes a liking to the food and decides to try Fugu, which is poisonous if not cut properly. Homer's fugu is not, and he is taken to the hospital where he is told he has 22 hours to live.


#24 – ‘Eternal Moonshine Of The Simpson Mind
Season 19 – Episode 9 (Episode 409 Overall)

Synopsis – Homer wakes up in the snow with no memory from the night before, and Moe informs him he drank a "Forget-Me-Shot," a drink powerful enough to rid the previous 24 hours from a user's mind. With his family missing, Chief Wiggum and Ned Flanders tell him of a domestic disturbance from the night before, prompting Homer to worry he may have done something awful and tries to regain his memories with help from Professor Frink. After gaining portions of his memory, Homer believes Marge cheated on him.


#23 – ‘Homer At The Bat
Season 3 – Episode 17 (Episode 52 Overall)

Synopsis – The Springfield Nuclear Power Plant softball team proves to be a huge success with Homer as their official star player. But after Mr. Burns makes a bet with Shelbyville Nuclear Power Plant owner Aristotle Amadopoulis, he hires nine professional baseball players to fill out the team. However, eight of those ringers fall victim to separate misfortunes, and Burns is forced to turn to his regular employees.


#22 – ‘Beyond Blunderdome
Season 11 – Episode 1 (Episode 227 Overall)

Synopsis – Mel Gibson admires Homer's brutal honesty during a test screening of Gibson's latest movie (a remake of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington) and hires him to create a better ending. However, when the ending proves to be too controversial, Mel and Homer end up on the run from studio executives while Marge and the kids see the sights of Hollywood.


#21 – ‘Mother Simpson
Season 7 – Episode 8 (Episode 136 Overall)

Synopsis – Homer fakes his death in order to get out of working on a Saturday and is later forced to go to the records office to verify that he is alive. The clerk reveals that Homer's mother is still alive, and he takes her home to meet his family, but she remains silent as to where she was for the past 27 years. The family finally forces her to reveal her secret: she was part of group of Hippie radicals in the 60s and is on the run from Mr. Burns and the FBI.

Tuesday, August 26

The Top 100 Simpsons Episodes Of All-Time: #40-31.


#40 – ‘Flaming Moe’s

Season 3 – Episode 10 (Episode 45 Overall)

Synopsis – One night at Moe's Tavern, Homer tells Moe of a secret alcoholic cocktail made with cough syrup and fire that he calls "Flaming Homer." When Moe tries Homer's recipe in the bar, he finds it boosts his business and patronage, so Moe steals the recipe from Homer.


#39 – ‘Homer Goes To College
Season 5 – Episode 3 (Episode 84 Overall)

Synopsis – After failing a test at the nuclear plant, Homer's lack of a college degree is revealed and he is sent back to pass a nuclear physics class. Homer, having seen too many bad Animal House knock-off movies, goofs off, so he is sent to a group of boys for tutoring. They steal Springfield A and M's mascot, but his friends are caught and expelled. Homer invites them to live with him, but his family soon become angered by their new housemates, so Homer decides to try to help them get back into college.


#38 – ‘Homer’s Night Out
Season 1 – Episode 10 (Episode 10 Overall)

Synopsis – Bart purchases a mini spy camera and manages to take a picture of Homer dancing with a belly dancer named Princess Kashmir at a co-worker's bachelor party. He gives copies of the picture to his friends, and eventually the picture starts to circulate around until eventually Marge sees it. She kicks Homer out of the house, but the next day explains that she is not upset about him dancing, but rather that Bart saw it. She demands that he take Bart and go apologize to Princess Kashmir.


#37 – ‘Lisa The Iconoclast
Season 7 – Episode 16 (Episode 144 Overall)

Synopsis – While doing research for an essay, Lisa finds a confession written by town founder Jebediah Springfield revealing that he was a murderous pirate named Hans Sprungfeld who never cared about the people of Springfield. Homer decides to help Lisa get the message out, but they are arrested by the town council.


#36 – ‘A Star Is Burns
Season 6 – Episode 18 (Episode 121 Overall)

Synopsis – Springfield adopts Marge's suggestion of a film festival, in which any of the townspeople can enter a short film. To help her judge, Jay Sherman comes from New York to stay at the Simpsons' house. Homer feels threatened by Jay, and so Marge puts him on the panel as well.


#35 – ‘I Married Marge

Season 3 – Episode 12 (Episode 47 Overall)

Synopsis – After worrying that she may be pregnant again, Marge and Homer drive to Dr. Hibbert's office. While anxiously waiting, Homer begins to tell Bart, Lisa, and Maggie about how he and Marge got married, and how he attempted to prove to Marge's sisters that he can provide for their upcoming child.


#34 – ‘The Twisted World Of Marge Simpson
Season 8 – Episode 11 (Episode 164 Overall)

Synopsis – Marge starts a new pretzel franchise after being voted out of the Springfield Investorettes for being too conservative. The Investorettes see this and strike back by getting a falafel van. Homer helps Marge with her business by asking Fat Tony for assistance. Fat Tony attempts to collect all of Marge's profit, but she refuses.


#33 – ‘The Springfield Files
Season 8 – Episode 10 (Episode 163 Overall)

Synopsis – Homer opts to walk home one night from Moe's Tavern. On his way he sees an eerie glowing creature. The next day Homer's story is printed in the local newspaper. FBI agents Mulder and Scully read the story and go to Springfield to investigate the X-file.


#32 – ‘Secrets Of A Successful Marriage
Season 5 – Episode 22 (Episode 103 Overall)

Synopsis – Tired of being called "slow," Homer signs up to teach a class on keeping a successful marriage at a learning annex. He is an unsuccessful teacher and finds that the only way he can keep the class interested is to tell racy secrets about Marge and their bedroom antics. Marge soon gets fed up with Homer telling their secrets and kicks him out.


#31 – ‘Radio Bart
Season 3 – Episode 13 (Episode 48 Overall)

Synopsis – When Bart's birthday party turns into a disaster, Bart uses an AM radio microphone Homer gave him to play pranks. He decides to throw a radio down an old well and tricks the town into thinking a little boy is stuck in it. At first he is successful, but he realizes that he left a "property of Bart Simpson" label on the radio and goes to retrieve it. Bart becomes trapped in the well himself and the town decides to leave him there.