Saturday, July 21, 2012

Could you tell we were on hiatus?

We know, we stink at updating. Like, the worst. Ever. Period.

One half of "Things We Learned From The Simpsons" got a job, and in our time off, as a surprise Christmas gift, we got a puppy! We almost named him Santa's Little Helper, but decided against it because it was too long...well, that and, while we're FANS of "The Simpsons," we're not obsessed...totally. We went with Freddo instead!

We're hoping to be back up and running sometime in the near future. The world needs our brilliance (*insert  sniff of condescension here*) and insight, this we know as fact! We also need to market our blog better to get more viewers because, while we appreciate our friends and family sticking around, we'd like to get more viewers.

So, until next time (SOON, WE PROMISE)!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Twice in One Week!?

SLOW DOWN!! You're making us look like geniuses!

Photo taken of our TV while watching "Jeopardy!" on 12/15/2011, the category was "TV Show Supporting Characters." #Winning, #HiDrNick, #ETC.

(Technically, this is the third "Simpsons" related question from "Jeopardy!" in the last week, but we didn't want to bore you all with our amazingness, so we didn't blog about that one).

New post coming soon, we promise. We've been busy preparing for Christmas!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Simpsons are EVERYWHERE...We told you so!

We predict the future.

The above screen cap is from Jeopardy! on 12/09/2011. We wrote a blog entry about it a month ago. Coincidence? We think not.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

We here at "Things We Learned From "The Simpsons"" want to wish all of our readers a very happy Thanksgiving! Share it with the people you love, be safe, and we will be back shortly with another life-altering blog.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A BONUS Quick Fact!

Quick fact learned from Lisa Simpson: Valhalla is where Vikings go after they die.

More specifically, a place in Asgard reserved for Vikings who died in battle.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Lesson #3: From "The Telltale Head" [S01, E08]

Lesson #3: Peer pressure makes you do idiotic things.

At one point or another, you have experienced or will experience peer pressure in your life. It's just a fact.

In the pursuit of acceptance, people are often willing to do whatever it takes to be part of the "in crowd." From something as simple as buying the right fashion to things as serious as taking drugs and participating in illegal activities, peer pressure happens in every stage of life.

In season 1 episode 8, "The Telltale Head," Bart gets himself into trouble by cutting off the head of the statue of Jebediah Springfield. This act goes far beyond anything Bart would think to do on his own, so why would he do it in the first place? He did so in an attempt to gain the approval of an older group of delinquent boys.

After an unfortunate accident on his skateboard, Bart meets Dolph, Kearney, and Jimbo, the baddest kids in school (whom Bart highly reveres), outside of the local movie theater. Bart's admiration for Jimbo immediately leads him to give in to the will of the group. They start by sneaking in a movie theater to watch the new Space Mutant movie. Bart questions this action, asking, "isn't this like stealing?"  They assure him that it is, in fact, stealing. Bart makes fart noises as they all make silly comments, hamming it up for the bad boys. Of course, this leads to the whole group to be thrown out of the theater, which seems to be a common occurrence for Jimbo and his cronies.

The boys head to the Kwik-E-Mart where Bart purchases a round of Squishies for them all; unbeknownst to him, the other kids have helped themselves to magazines, food, and candy ("five finger discount, man"). They then stop in the town square to throw stones at the statue of Jebediah Springfield. Bart is bothered by this at first, as he holds deep respect for Jebediah Springfield as the town founder. Nonetheless, Bart eventually gives in to peer pressure and chucks his own rock, nailing the statue right between the eyes.

They then head to a hill top to finish their Squishies, and lay in the grass to look at clouds. The hooligans remark that the clouds look like cherry bombs, a man with a knife in his back, etc. Bart notices a cloud which looks like the statue in the town square, but without a head. The group quickly remarks how great it would be if someone cut off the head of the statue and how it would "cheese everyone off." Bart is quick to defend the town founder, which leads to his quick ostracism from the group.

Bart would do anything to regain acceptance and popularity, so he goes to his dad for advice. He asks if it would it be OK to do something you knew was wrong in exchange for popularity. Homer, in his ignorance, tells Bart, "Being popular is the most important thing in the world." For Bart to regain favor with the group, in his mind, he must cut the head off the statue of Jebediah Springfield. Of course, this action does not turn out like Bart expected, and he feels deep regret; instead of becoming more popular, he is shunned by the group and hated by the town.

Like Bart, all of us do things crazy things in pursuit of popularity. Anyone rushing a fraternity or sorority may know the lengths people will go to for acceptance. It may be something insignificant, like wearing a Speed-O at a social event, eating ridiculous amounts of food for entertainment and shock value, or something worse, involving illegal drugs and underage drinking. Here's Josh's first experience with peer pressure:

I know my first experience with alcohol was from peer pressure. I was 19 years old at a small party with a group a friends. While we all sat in my friend's Jacuzzi, I was offered a drink. I turned it down, like I had many times in the past. I always used the excuse that I didn't like the taste, but they had an answer: a Bartles & Jaymes wine cooler. I made it through all of my high school years without drinking a drop, but, of course, I made it through all of high school not being very popular, either. Now, I was in college and things were going to be different, so I gave in to the will of the group and drank up. From then on, I pretty much drank at every party. The drinks had to get harder and less "girly" (and tasted far worse), but hey, I had to fit in. 
As we've said before, you don't need us to tell you peer pressure is alive and well. Between online bullying and cliques becoming more prevalent in schools, kids all across the world are being pressured into conforming to an almost "mob-esque" mentality. Hell, there are entire companies built around peer pressure (read: Girls Gone Wild). With the rise of the internet, social media and reality television, a switch got flipped and now every drunk, loud, annoying degenerate in the country is vying for their own 15 minutes of fame (go watch any video on YouTube that doesn't involve cats). With this mentality, giving in to peer pressure in the pursuit of popularity isn't just encouraged, it almost seems as if it is expected. Take "Jersey Shore," for example: millions of viewers tune in to see is how obnoxious Snooki and Deena were at the bar this week. Behind the scenes, people on reality TV are encouraged by producers to drink more, sleep around more, and get into fights (whether they are staged or not), all in the name of entertainment and ratings.

Where do we, as a society, go from here? Peer pressure will never go away. It's written in our DNA to be part of groups, like social animals. As long as we crave acceptance to be in groups, to be popular, to be wanted, peer pressure will get the best of us every single time.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Wednesday's Word

We fail at updating. It's just that going from no blog to something of substance is quite challenging! We wanted to get a few notes taken on other episodes before we jumped into another full-on blog post.

So today, we bring you Wednesday's Word (well, more like phrase): pulled a boner (season 1, episode 8: "The Telltale Head").

Wait, wait, hear us out, first...

We were a little puzzled by this phrase. You probably are, too. First of all, "The Simpsons" have been on the air since 1989, and words meant different things back then. As Homer and Bart are being chased by an angry Springfield mob, Homer reluctantly says, "you know son, I've pulled a few boners in my day." Here, this phrase means to commit a silly or foolish mistake. Yeah, that's what we thought.

Write-up #3 coming soon. Be sure to tell your friends.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Tuesday's Trivia answer

Pardon our sluggishness, but we forgot to give you the answer to last week's trivia question! Sorry for the influx of posts, we're still trying to work our scheduling out.

The answer is: C) Albert Brooks. He was the first celebrity to guest voice on "The Simpsons," in season 1, episode 7 as Cowboy Bob the RV salesman.

It was certainly not his last appearance on the show, either!

Wednesday's Word

Today's word is: cuspidor (from Season 1, episode 2).

After Bart lies on his aptitude test and is declared a genius, Marge gets tickets for the opera, hoping it will foster his intelligence.

Bored out of his mind, he changes the lyrics in the musical "Carmen" to: "Toreador, oh, don't spit on the floor. Please use the cuspidor, that's what it's for!"

Turns out a cuspidor is a spitoon, or a pot used for spitting. Gross, but when you think about it, it is a much better location for spitting than the floor, so thanks, Bart!

Lesson #2: From "Homer's Odyssey" [S01, E03]

Lesson #2:  Our jobs are often our identity. Also, unemployment sucks.

"What do you do?"

So often in this life of ours, we are asked this seemingly simple question. Harmless, short, a great way to kick-start a conversation with strangers. For many of us, the answer is simple: "I work [insert job here]. I am [insert occupation here]. I do [this], I do [that]. This is who I am." Well folks, you don't need us to tell you that things aren't always what they seem.

In today's society, the jobs we take are not just places or professions we occupy from 9-5: they define us. They make and mold us. They can even become our everything.

In season 1, episode 3, "Homer's Odyssey," this is absolutely what we are told. And trust us, we know a little something about how this works from (recent) past experience.

Homer works at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant as a technical supervisor until an unfortunate screw-up, albeit his own gross incompetence, leaves him unemployed. He tries very hard to find a new job. We see door after door slammed in his face, and each missed opportunity leaves him a little more distraught. His old pal, Duff Beer, is there to temporarily fix his woes; at the bar, however, Homer is unable to pay for his drinks. Moe tells Homer he won't cover the tab because he doesn't think Homer will ever get another job. Defeated and broke, he lays around the house like a lump, day after day, sinking deeper into his depression. He becomes unresponsive and distant from his kids. It seems alcohol is the only way to fix his sadness; alas, he still finds himself unable to afford the delicious brew he loves, so much so that he steals Bart's piggy bank only to find a few measly cents. Homer is at rock bottom. He writes a suicide note to his beloved family, ties a huge boulder to a rope, picks it up, and begins marching to the nearest bridge. Homer is his job.

American society is in a rut, and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure this out. As of today, California has an 11.9% unemployment rate, and it doesn't seem to be getting any better. In a time where so many people define themselves based on their profession, the high unemployment rates across the country have left many of us without an identity. Something as harmless as standing in line at the grocery store can become awkward reaaaally fast for someone who is unemployed. A common conversation starter, like "where do you work?," can become a conversation killer within nanoseconds. While this question was meant to be friendly or light in context, it quickly turned into an embarrassing situation for the unemployed grocery store patron. Seemingly trivial incidents like this may lead to a deflated sense of self-worth or deep depression, like in Homer's case.

Fortunately, Homer stumbles upon an idea that gives him a new sense of purpose: a much needed stop sign at a dangerous intersection. From there, he begins a crusade to make Springfield safer by adding speed bumps, traffic and warning signs, etc. Homer even goes as far as challenging his old employer to change their safety regulations. Seeing that his company might be thrown under the bus for being dangerous, Mr. Burns offers Homer a new position as "safety inspector" at the plant, with a raise. Homer's "movement" to get people to pay attention to safety eventually paid off for him in the end, and he was able to find something he was passionate about and turn it into a job.

What we took away from this episode is not just that it sucks to be unemployed (because IT DOES). In fact, it's much more than that. If you have a full-time job, you're spending over 2,000 hours each year doing it. In that respect, it's hard not to identify yourself by your profession. When you lose your job, it's more than just not having it, but also the baggage follows: being broke, being depressed, feeling worthless or feeling unable to provide for the ones you's losing a piece of who you are. We need to find a way to discover who we are outside of our professions. Define yourself first, then get a job that fits your definition of yourself.

PS: It has only been two weeks and we have already spawned many philosophical discussions and soul-searching within ourselves, not even related to "The Simpsons." This is going to be AWESOME. :)