Hey, want to talk about self-published comics, Flash cartoons, internet start-ups, and rage issues? Well this episode somehow found a way to stick all of these together. Let’s go!
The episode starts off with the children of Springfield Elementary being bored to tears by Kirk Van Houten’s presentation for career day. Turns out he’s the assistant to the guy who puts fliers on people’s car windows. Things aren’t looking great for Kirk. But this isn’t an episode about how depressing Kirk’s life has become post-divorce, instead thing follow Principal Skinner as he complains about how terrible the school’s speakers have been lately.
Skinner, Krabappel, and Lisa head to his office and have a conversation about how terrible their speakers are, and Lisa recommends some bureau that hires out speakers for events. So Skinner and Lisa head to the place and start looking through the pictures of available speakers, thinking about how they could get Mr. T to debate people, when Lisa spots someone that she thinks will be a good fit. It’s an animator who has created a cartoon called Danger Dog that all the kids in school love.
So Skinner agrees and we cut to a lecture by the animator. And things aren’t going exactly how Skinner anticipated. The guy talks to the kids about how great being an animator is, and plays them a special sneak-preview of a new Danger Dog episode that involves a lot of barfing, so the kids love it. And after the clip he starts taking questions from the audience, and it gradually comes out that the guy did terribly in school, doesn’t care about education, and encourages the kids to do the same. Not exactly what Skinner was hoping for.
And the lesson crept in, because we see after the lecture that all the kids are sitting (in Ms. Hoover’s class, which is odd) and start drawing their own cartoon characters, most of which are lame rip-offs of Danger Dog. And while no one else seems that invested in their cartoons, Bart decides that his is genius, and brings his strip to the Android’s Dungeon to sell it. Comic Book Guy obviously mocks him relentlessly, and is joined by Stan Lee who cameos to make fun of Bart and intimidate people into buying Marvel products.
But Stan Lee does give Bart the advice to keep working and come up with a new idea, so Bart heads home and start brainstorming a classic character. At which point he sees Homer struggling with a folding chair in the front yard, getting incredibly pissed, and he realizes that Homer would be a great cartoon character. So he starts doodling and ends up creating little comics about Angry Dad that are just blatantly stolen from real things Homer has done.
And it starts to go great. Bar follows Homer around all the time, writing down everything insane Homer says, and start turning them into little self-published comic books that he’s selling at recess. And after people start to love the comics, he even convinces Comic Book Guy to sell his books, while also finding that Stan Lee is still there, and acting insane. Which is great.
Bart’s success continues when he’s giving a signing at the school and meets some weird dude who is from an internet startup company. The guy wants to start making terrible Flash cartoon on the site, and wants Angry Dad to become their star character. So Bart and Lisa head to the building and agree to make Angry Dad a new cartoon, all in exchange for stock instead of money. Red flag! But Bart doesn’t know any better, and the company starts churning out Angry Dad cartoons in between their Bin Laden in a Blender cartoon.
And people love it! Even more than the comic. The cartoon is a huge success, and even gets played around by adults. Which is where it becomes a problem. Because when people at the Plant are watching the cartoon, Homer finally comes across it, and is pissed. So Homer storms out of the Plant to go yell at Bart, and everyone starts treating him like his cartoon character, just like when there was a character on Police Cops named Homer Simpson.
But after yelling at Bart the family decide that Bart isn’t the issue, its Homer’s rage. It’s a real problem, so he decides to do something about it, and begins trying to be relaxed, listening to soothing music, taking baths, and taking horse tranquilizers. And even though Homer is not a calm man, he does his best, and as we see him push down his anger time and time again we also notice that he’s getting some sort of weird lumps on his neck. Usually a bad sign.
And this new Homer is really pissing off Bart, because it’s ruining all of his cartoons. So, desperate for material, he and Milhouse set up a ridiculous trap to piss off Homer. And while waiting for that he decides to go talk to the internet people and tell them the new cartoon may be a little late. But when he gets there he finds that the company has gone under, the bubble has popped, and there’s no longer any need for a cartoon, because there’s no site to play it. So the prank doesn’t have to happen.
Homer and Milhouse then run back to the Simpson’s house to stop Homer, but he’s already set off the Rube Goldberg prank Bart planned. Homer falls through a hole in the treehouse while looking for free donuts, gets tied up and then dragged through cacti, dirty diapers, and dropped into a kiddie pool of green paint. Which is when Homer’s fury finally can’t be stamped down, and he begins running around town, looking like the Hulk, and yelling. And after his little freak out he’s caught by the police, brought to the hospital, and we learn that those lumps were caused by him pushing down his rage, and it was killing him, so Homer actually has to be angry to be healthy. So Bart saved him!
This is a really fun little episode. It’s one of those ones that I don’t usually like where Bart’s just being a little asshole, but there’s a lot of fun stuff in this one that save it for me. I like the idea of Bart trying to come up with cartoon characters, and then briefly becoming obsessed with creating a viable comic book before selling out to create terrible Flash cartoons. Man, remember those? I used to think they were fascinating, watching terrible little cartoon over the internet that were exactly like the Bin Laden in a Blender joke. But the whole Homer trying to turn into a peaceful person plot didn’t work great for me, although the eventual explosion of fury was pretty great. And man do I remember them pimping out that image of Homer looking like the Hulk. I remember that being everywhere, and totally downloading a picture of it from frigging Kazaa back in the day (holy shit that was a flashback). And boy do I adore crazy Stan Lee in this episode. Honestly his role kind of makes up for any lackluster parts of the episode, because I love the idea of Stan Lee wandering into random comic book shops, covering up DC books with Marvel books, and convincing kids that the Thing can fit in the Batmobile.
Take away: If you want to create your own artistic project, it’s okay to start by ripping something off and taking it in a new direction, as long as you work hard on it and try to do something new with the ripoff.
“I Am Furious (yellow)” was written by John Swartzwelder and directed by Chuck Sheetz, 2002.
Categories: Lifetime of Simpsons
“Stan Lee never left” is a classic.
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This portrayal of Stan Lee is probably my favorite ever.