Adventures in Fake Journalism: The Simpsons 717

In the Season 7 episode 'Homer the Smithers', Burns is presented with a Junior Jumble-

Amazingly, it's a fully-constructed far-too-easy jumble. The clue involves a woman calling her husband a 'fat slob', while the riddle is 'What did the man need?' So let's solve it!


Which gives us the letters DETH. Which can't be turned into anything at all - so the Jumble is a failure. Strangely, though - it's simply a case of the circles being misplaced. If they were slightly rearranged, the selected letters would be DTIE.

This, of course, can be rearranged into what the fat man needs. A 'DIET'.


Criminal Minds 605: Safe Haven

A woman is tied up in a room upstairs. Meanwhile, a killer downstairs idly flips television channels on a kitchen television. Based on this look we get of him, he's obviously pretty young. The parents try gamely to make their escape, but the mother's heart really isn't in it since her children have already been murdered, so their deaths are inevitable.

Now it's time for the meeting room, where the team discovers that this is the second family to be murdered in just two days! The only information they're able to glean is that the fathers are somehow the focus of rage - other members of the family are killed relatively bloodlessly, but the fathers are brutally stabbed to death... but why?

We'll have to wait a moment to find out, since there's some extraneous plot to deal with. Remember Eric's daughter?

Yeah, me neither. Anyway, she's in Quantico to visit Derek, since she's being abused by her foster family. Will she be taken in by Derek, since he empathizes with her struggle, being the child of a murdered cop himself? I certainly hope so, since that would be an interesting turn for the character, and it's not like Derek gets many of those.



Haiku! Starring Luster!

Today I'll be utterly misusing a Japanese art to review the film:

Yet More Jekyll/Hyde
Only Misogyny Themed
Don't Watch This Movie


TheAvod New Year!

In this, the last new episode of 2011, DM and myself offer a nearly Asylum-themed show! Not only do they watch a questionably-written movie about the Boogeyman, they crack the code for what makes a decent Asylum picture. Tune in to find out what it is! Also, American Horror Story continues to disappoint.

Sound tantalizing? Well don't worry, because these water and grapes are well within reach! Just right-click here to download the new episode!


The Eighty-Fourth-Greatest Panel in the History of Comics

Is this a thing anyone actually ever said? Or was the writer simply trying to get colourful at an inopportune moment?


Merry Christmas, everyone!

I'm just going to go ahead and assume that everyone's been good this year, and therefore you deserve your gift - the greatest comic book story ever told! That may sound like hyperbole, and it's possible that I'm just biased towards the story, as it features both my favourite Golden-Age Hero (Zero, the Ghost Detective!) and a villain so spectacular that it must be seen to be believed! So, with no further ado, I give you, from the pages of Feature Comics #71, dated September, 1943 :

If necessary, all images can be bigified through clickery.

You know what's super-comforting? That there are a host of other ghost detectives out there equal in skill to Zero. After all, were he 'peerless' among ghost detectives, then if something bad were to happen to him, it could be disastrous for the whole world! Since he's just on par with all the other Ghost Detectives, however, there's plenty of backup available were things to take a left turn.


Something else I've noticed from The Simpsons

When the schoolkids get stranded on the deserted island in 'Das Bus', there's much comedy to be gleaned from their complete inability to handle life in the jungle. Just check out their attempt at a shelter:

Yet somehow when it comes time to imprison Milhouse they get a cage made out of bamboo and vines together quickly enough:

They also seem perfectly adept at constructing a spit and roasting a boar to perfection.

A vicious wild boar they killed with sharpened sticks.

What was the message of this episode again?


Criminal Minds 604: Compromising Positions

A couple are out on Lover's Lane, getting it on in their car. Not consensually, however - they're being forced to have sex by a man sitting in the front seat, aiming a pistol at them!

Naturally, he kills them, and the next day the team is on the case! It seems that two couples have been killed, only a week apart. Emily refers to this as 'not much of a cooling-off period', which is strange, considering that by the standards of this show, one kill a week is positively glacial. And again, I'm not sure how she knows the term 'cooling-off period'.

Before they can head off to Ohio to sort out the crime, Garcia swings by Greg's office, asking if she can come along as the communications liason. There's some blather about her job crossing over the most, and how important it is to have one, but the fact is, last week the team was without a communications liason, and absolutely no one noticed.

Also, isn't it much more important that they have a tech expert ready to go at a mainframe the second they need the information? Since she solves almost every case for them? Let's compare cases solved by Garcia to cases solved by JJ. It's an easy comparison:

Garcia: All of them.
JJ: None of them.

Whose role is more vital for the team again?

Hey, new opening credits team shot!

And how long has this explosion been in the opening credits?

Nothing ever explodes on this show.


Terrible Moments in Taglining: Real Steel

"Courage is stronger than steel"

I'm fairly sure that's not accurate. If it was, then Hugh Jackman would have climbed into the ring and fought the evil robot himself, like the main character in the Twilight Zone episode this was based on.

Of course, the character in the story lost, and that doesn't play on the big screen.


Merry TheAvod Everybody!

That's right, continuing our annual Christmas tradition, DM and myself decided to check out some killer Santa movies - here's the twist: No Silent Night Deadly Night!

Daring, right? So check out the challenge by right-clicking here to download it!


The Eighty-Third-Greatest Panel in the History of Comics

Wow! Old-fashioned probably-racist turns of phrase! I wonder which kind of Indian he was referring to?


Baffling Decision Theatre Featuring: Ringer!

Perhaps the ultimate guilty-pleasure TV show, Ringer is the absurd tale of a woman who goes on the run from the mob and takes over the life of a twin sister she thinks is dead, but really the sister is a scheming villain who wants to steal all of her husband's money and disappear somehow. I'm not clear on the details, since (at the time of writing this), the season is just eight episodes in.

On top of the amazingly crazy premise, the show's madness is assisted by writers who have apparently never met a person, ever. Nearly everyone on the show makes baffling, impossible decisions when confronted with any problem, to the point where the average viewer's jaw will be on the floor three or four times per episode. These aren't examples of people getting in a bad situation and doing something dumb on the spur of the moment because they can't think straight - these are people going through elaborate, multi-step plans to accomplish nonsensical goals for reasons that are coherent to no one.

I offer, for elucidation, two examples.


The Simpsons actually cares about continuity?

So, in the Simpsons season ender last year, Ned and Edna started dating. This led to a scene in which Ned, while hanging out with Homer at Moe's, runs into some of the men that Edna has slept with over the years, including Joey from Aerosmith. Remember their assignation?

First off, bravo for the callback 19 years later - that's quite the accomplishment. More importantly, though, I've got to say that the years have not treated the animated depiction of Joey very well-

That's what he's looking like these days! Which brings me to the eternal question - how, exactly, does time work in Springfield? Homer has aged five years over the course of the show (from 36 to 41), while his children remain the same age, but apparently this was just a narcissistic move by the writers, who didn't want to be older than Homer, at least for a relatively brief amount of time.

Strangely, the 20-year age jump of Joey's isn't the only reference to the extreme passage of time in the episode. Ned mentions in passing that his 'Leftorium' has been the anchor store of the 'sad mall' for ten years. Which means we're not only getting a reference to the Leftorium being built almost twenty years ago, but also to the fact that the 'Springfield Mall' that it resides in has essentially been made obsolete by the opening of the Heavenly Hills Mall back in season nine.

Of course, Lisa almost got married back in 2010, so what does time even mean any more?


Criminal Minds 603: Remembrance of Things Past

A family gets ready to drive to a football game on a windy night! The whole thing is shot like a slasher film, mysteriously open doors and windows, a woman alone in the house briefly, but it's all a misdirect - it's actually the family's absent daughter who's being murdered! And her killer forced her to call her parents to talk about being murdered!

Then the show cuts over to Joe, who's trying to work on his new book - Greg calls him in because this case resembles something he'd worked on in the past. Although apparently there's no 'signature' this time, not that we're told what the original signature was.

Over at the office Garcia is sad about JJ's absence, and has taken to standing outside her office, looking forlorn.

Okay, prediction time - they gave her that office number because they were planning on bringing her back in episode 620! I know that theory is based on the show demonstrating any pre-planning at all, which is of course unsupportable given the show's history, but I still hope it's true.

Then it's time for the briefing - before we start, though, Derek mentions that he's still in touch with Ellie, Eric Close's orphan daughter. Random character note, or are they building to something? Joe then drops by, and they're able to start the case. A guy tortures and murders young blonde women, and then has them call their families. Joe feels like he almost caught the guy back in the 90s, and he's been out of the game for almost twenty years. Could he really be coming back as a seventy-year-old killer? The hands of the killer, shown in this pre-credits cutaway, suggest not:

But I guess we'll see!

Haiku! Starring Asylum!

Today I'll be utterly misusing a Japanese art to review the film:

The least essential
Nightmare on Elm Street happens.
This pleases no one.


Adventures in Fake Journalism: Paranormal Activity 2: Tokyo Night

Okay, for a film never intended for release in North America (because of the - I assume - serious legal blocks to doing so), PA2:TN has some stunningly detailed fake journalism on display. Let's start with their fake search engine, shall we?

Ah, Go Search - is it any wonder you became the world's number one web search service? You have a button that says 'happy' on it!



The Eighty-Second-Greatest Panel in the History of Comics

You know, there's little I can imagine more heroic than shooting people in the back. Of course, this is just the teaser image, I'm sure Tiny doesn't actually-

Oh. That's cold, man.


The Lost Simpsons Characters: The Devolution to Ralph Wiggum

As the Simpsons began, both Bart and Lisa had lives outside of the home. They both had social circles - Bart hung out with kids that weren't Nelson, Martin, or Milhouse, Lisa had all her friends over for slumber parties. In addition to actual friends, there was a wide circle of other children who attended Springfield Elementary. Among them was this guy, part of a two-man chorus who wittily commented on the action in a variety of scenes:

You may think that this character is Ralph Wiggum, but that's not a wholly accurate assumption. First off, there's the obvious intellectual disparity - this kid says things like 'It's recess everywhere but in his heart', while Ralph says things like 'I bent my Wookie'.


Saturday Night Live RapeWatch: Steve Buscemi Edition

You make me sad, SNL.

Long story short, there was a sketch 'lampooning' the whole college football child rape scandal. As if there was much to laugh about. Their angle was that this would lead to crazy witch hunts, in which anyone even slightly creepy and pathetic would be suspected of being a child molester.

Harmful messages in this sketch include: All molestation is adult man on male child, investigations into child molestation are over the top and a waste of time, false accusations are a common occurrence, only 'creepy' guys molest children.

I'm not going to say that this isn't a subject that it's possible to make jokes about, I'm just suggesting that the writers at SNL hold off until they actually manage to find one.

You make me sad, SNL.

I'm going to try to sleep now.


Criminal Minds 602: JJ

It seems this season proper is going to open with a 'torn from the headlines' kind of a case - a coed is missing! The cops think they know who might be responsible, but there's no evidence? Sound familiar? Well, not to me, but I'm assured by friends that this all relates to the Natalee Holloway case somehow. I'm not going to talk about it very much, though, largely because my word processor tells me I'm spelling her name wrong.

Before we get started, though, I'd like to quickly point out how weird it seems that this missing woman is getting so much attention given that she disappeared inside America, without any particular narrative that could be used to promote the case. People made a big deal about Natalee Holloway because the racist undertones of a white coed going missing in a foreign country served a xenophobic narrative that certain media outlets enjoy pushing. This character went missing in Maryland. Does this show not realize how many coeds go missing in the world of Criminal Minds without anyone in the media caring?

Spoiler Alert: It's a lot.

Maybe we're not supposed to pay too much attention to the case of the week, however, since the main focus of the opening sequence is that JJ is having a high-level meeting with AD Strauss, the evil woman who hates Greg. Who is also in the meeting.

Why the important pow-wow? The Department of Defence wants JJ to transfer over there, but she's refusing because she loves her job too much. Greg thinks she should consider taking the job of being the PR liason for the Pentagon, but she's not so sure. Here's where I demonstrate my utter ignorance about how the American government works - can people seriously get transferred from the FBI to another, utterly unrelated government agency? Is that a thing that happens?

"Hey, you seem to be doing a great job investigating the mob, agent - how'd you like a job at the department of Agriculture?" That doesn't sound right, does it? Also, I'm not sure exactly why JJ would be such a 'get' for the DoD - her job consists of two things: picking which cases to investigate (which has no use to Defense) and getting the press to report more or less information, depending on the case, buying their co-operation with promises of more comprehensive access to the casefile once the baddie is in jail. Again - not hugely useful over at the Pentagon.

Also, how many Prentiss Awards is she going to win over there?

As opposed to all the other murderers you interview, where you get endless bites at the old interview apple, right?

Anyhoo, case time! A lady is missing! And two evil pals did it! But the cops can't get them to turn on one another, and the clock is running out on charging them. How can the team help out? And can they do it before the rich one of the pair escapes into the aether? Let's find out after the opening credits!

Haiku! Starring Setup!

Today I'll be utterly misusing a Japanese art to review the film:

What's worst: Plot, acting,
Or the repeated shots of
Randy Couture's ears?


Unsolicited advice for Mark Millar

After reading Kick-Ass 2, issue 5, I suspect you're laboring under an unfortunate misunderstanding: the following line from Spaceballs-

Was not intended for use as a plot outline.


TheAvod Takes a Sampling of Wares!

Eclectic is the watchword of today's TheAvod, with the Divemistress and myself covering a wide variety of films, from Lucky McKee's latest to a Korean movie to the story of an alien invasion told from the POV of some British punks!

Yes, you can learn about all that and more by just right-clicking here to download the latest episode of TheAvod!


The Eighty-First-Greatest Panel in the History of Comics

Wow, sentences were light back in the 40s, huh? Tim McVeigh gets a lethal injection while Zoff picks up a dime. Hardly seems fair.

To the society where Zoff lives, obviously. In case you thought I was on the other side of this.


Tales From the Darkside 311: Seasons of Belief

Oh my god! This is it! This is the episode I've been looking for all this time!

I'm going to just shut up while we watch it together. Will it be as scary and messed-up as I remember? Let's find out!

Okay, done?

Yeah, I'm messed up too. That was everything I wanted it to be. Who would have guessed that an episode of the oft-disappointing Tales From the Dark Side would totally live up to my memories?

I've got to wonder, though - how does it play for people watching it for the first time? Was it a surprise? A shock? It's obviously stated what's going to happen, but still, I didn't really think it would be like that...

Anyhoo, see you back here next week, as I begin watching the last thirty episodes of the show, because why not?


Really? All ten?

There are a large number of things about the movie Episode 50 that don't make any sense. For example, every single thing that happens in the course of the movie. Really, every moment of its running time refuses to make sense. I'd like to focus on one particular sequence from the film, however, more for brevity's sake than anything else.

After a brief introduction suggests that the movie is about a show so boring that it could never have made it past the pilot stage, let alone to episode 50, the gang meets a ne'er-do-well who's dying of cancer. Before he goes, he'd like to know whether or not he's going to hell. Why is he so concerned? Well, in the following clip, he explains why he feels he's earned god's punishment.

Which brings me to my question: really? You've broken each of the ten commandments ten times each? Is that really plausible? Let's look at them one at a time.


Wow do I not understand web advertising.

I think everyone's familiar with pseudo-interactive ads, in which it's suggested that the advertisee can win something by clicking on an ad. There are a wide varieties of these, with simple trivia questions, variations on whack-a-mole and so forth.

Just the other day I encountered a variation so bizarre that I felt it was worth calling out. Check this:


You get to pick a side and help Zeus or a soldier kill the other one. What is the backstory here? Why does a soldier think a sword would work on a god? Why is a god trying to stab someone with a lightning bolt? It almost makes me want to click on the ad so I can find out who is responsible for this madness.



Criminal Minds 601: The Longest Night

After the shockingly bad season ender so disgusted me, I'm going to try to handle this episode as quickly as possible. Because yikes.

The episode opens with more more Leonard Cohen, and a fantasy scene of the young Tim Curry with his mother.

Oh, god, is he going to be mother obsessed as well? Were they not cribbing from the Frank storyline hard enough as it was?

When we come back to the real world, while the rest of the team is stuck in traffic, Tim has somehow escaped, traffic apparently not being an issue when you're driving a giant RV. At first it seems like the daughter has escaped, but it turns out that Tim just let her go so that people would open their doors when they heard a scared little girl banging on their front door. The door opens, and Tim murders some more people.


Mystery Solved: Scream Edition!

Despite having seen the film Scream literally dozens of times, it held one lasting mystery. What, exactly, was opening victim Steve's last name? At the end of the movie he's credited only as "Steve", and the two times it's mentioned in the films weren't of much use.

So is he Steve Orrest, as Rose McGowan suggests?

Or is it Steve Orf, as Courtney Cox seems to say?

Turns out it's neither! Turns out I wasn't the only one still thinking about Steve all these years later. Check this out from the credits of Scream 4-

Doctor "Orth"! Finally! Yes, it seems that Scream 4 featured Steve's never-before-mentioned older brother, who's now a local doctor! It's a blink-and-you'll-miss-it performance, here's the half-a-second during which his face is visible.

Also, in a scene that appeared in an earlier version of the script, but may never have been shot - it didn't show up in the deleted scenes - Doctor Orth even had a chance to ruminate on his family's role in the film franchise.

Ah, Steve - you may have died a pointless death, but history will remember you fondly.

Also, weirdly, now that I know what it's supposed to be, when I go back and watch those clips, I can totally hear those actresses attempting to say 'Orth'. Funny how the mind works, isn't it?