About Me

A blog wherein a literary agent will sometimes discuss his business, sometimes discuss the movies he sees, the tennis he watches, or the world around him. In which he will often wish he could say more, but will be obliged by business necessity and basic politeness and simple civility to hold his tongue. Rankings are done on a scale of one to five Slithy Toads, where a 0 is a complete waste of time, a 2 is a completely innocuous way to spend your time, and a 4 is intended as a geas compelling you to make the time.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Oh those Simpsons!

I've probably watched the lion's share of episodes, and certainly pretty much all from the last 12 or 15 seasons. As the show's gotten on in years, there are the occasional weeks, and sometimes stretches of weeks, when the series shows its age. There are some ideas like the historical reenactments or fairy tale retellings that I can't stand at all.

The show is a lesson in TV credits. The longer a show is on the air, the more and more people manage to get contractual producer credits of some sort or another. The roster that appears on air is now pushing 30 producers of various shapes and sizes in the opening credits.

Most weeks, though, the show is pleasant enough, that it's worth watching because the only way to find the great episodes like this past week's is to keep plugging away, and then lo and behold once or three times a season there's something that works so wonderfully on so many levels that you just sit and marvel. This week's episode, written by Matt Selman (who is responsible for more than his share of great series moments), has Bart Simpson deciding he needs to have a a younger brother, so he hooks up with a kid from an orphanage.

And in the middle of the episode, Bart says his dad told him "I was one Uday who didn't need a Qusay."

And I was still thinking about this line and laughing to myself about this line hours later when I went to bed.

It would have been worth watching the episode for that one line alone, but in the best Simpsons tradition the episode references an amazing potpourri of just about everything. The first 8 minutes encompass references to the Food Network (or is it the Learning Channel that shows documentaries on how Twinkes are made), climate change, the Emmy Awards, Lewis Carroll, Peanuts, video games, pop-up books, the X-Men, the Manning Brothers, the Blues Brothers, the Smothers Brothers, the Mario Brothers, Smith Bros. cough drops and the Wright brothers. After the second commercial break, I think I might have missed two or three references but could spot the ones to South Park, Jerry Maguire, the Kama Sutra, carpal tunnel, birth control, breath mints and Buy America. And Homer's birds and bees talk with Bart consists of three words: "point and shoot."

And if I'm not entirely sure about one or two references, well, there's always "I was one Uday who didn't need a Qusay."

For the record, this is an awful, miserable, godawful line, because there's nothing in Homer's background or history over twenty seasons to suggest he would have the intellectual grounding to tell Bart that he "was one Uday who didn't need a Qusay."

There may not be another episode the rest of the season as good as this, but I'll keep watching to find one more "Uday who didn't need a Qusay."

1 comment:

ELT said...

The single best line I've heard this year came from the HBO series Flight of the Concords, in an episode called "Unnatural Love". In it, Jermaine, a Kiwi, starts up a relationship with an Aussie girl called Keitha. His Kiwi mates are appalled that he would date an Australian, and spend most of the episode trying to convince Jermaine to break it off. His manager claims that no one will accept their love, that they'll be outcasts.

Murray: "And your children, what about them? What will become of them? They'll be aberrations, won't they?"

Jermaine: "It's pronounced Aborigines."