Minor Scenes: Springfield’s Culture

Minor scenes is just a series where I can write some shorter posts on small scenes from TV and film that I think are worth talking about, even if they don’t warrant a full essay.


The Simpsons Season 5 Episode 6 | Marge on the Lam

There’s something very distinctive about small town culture – or, more accurately, the lack of it.

Moving from a middle-of-nowhere village or town to a city, or even just visiting one, gives you a taste of what there is out there. It always seemed odd to me, having the ability to grab cheap tickets to the next up-and-coming indie band as a teenager, go to your first play at eleven years old, and have the only real obstacle for spending an empty day in the calendar be money.

This is one of the many, many ways that the writers of The Simpsons nailed a specific feeling, or tone, of a place that many of us have felt like we have lived. Springfield, while set in a different country to my own and full of all sorts of colourful characters, plot-specific districts and an amorphous geography, always seemed like a reflection of my own hometown.

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Not only do the characters of the show not have the ability to view or take part in certain cultural events or art scenes (in the early seasons at least), but they don’t have the context to understand it. There are those like Lisa, who finds small avenues of culture where she can and desperately longs to move somewhere where she’ll find more of it – but her parents are a little different.

With little awareness of what they could have, this generation are fine to live without it for the most part. This is best summed up in the episode ‘Marge on the Lam,’ when Marge gets tickets to the ballet. Homer insists that he enjoys “all the meats of our cultural stew,” but is oblivious to its true meaning, happily fantasising about something far less… sophisticated.

As a second hitter to this gag, it turns out Homer isn’t the only one.

Telling his co-workers that he’s got to take his wife to the ballet that evening, Lenny replies: “Gonna go see the bear in the little car, huh?”

Homer doesn’t actually make it there, but Marge does – making a new friend in neighbour Ruth Powers

Once she’s there, Marge finally gets her outlet and sees one of the meats of Springfield’s cultural stew – perfectly happy to see her town’s less refined version of the performative dance.

Previous ‘Minor Scene’:

Captain’s Orders

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Minor Scenes: Marge and Moaning Lisa

I’ve been throwing around the idea of a new series, one that allows me to get some shorter posts out on this blog more often as well as provide an opportunity for me to look at smaller things that I don’t have a lengthy enough response to warrant a full essay.


The Simpsons | Season 1 Episode 6 | Moaning Lisa

While the show didn’t hit its comedic stride until a few years later, the first three seasons of The Simpsons are hard-hitting tragi-comic realism that somehow how got made under the guise of being the Bart Simpson experience.

The first season in particular is monumentally depressing at times (remember the time that Homer tried to commit suicide three episodes in?) yet alleviates this with absurd humour and a glimmer of optimism. It was, after all, a show about a dysfunctional family struggling to get by financially and emotionally, which is what makes the celebrity-stuffed morally-careless extravagance of some of the later episodes so unpalatable.

‘Moaning Lisa’, along with season 2’s ‘Bart Gets An F’, is the kind of episode I refuse to watch with friends, because I know I can’t get far without crying. This is in many ways the quintessential Lisa episode, and works effectively as an origin story. Like many children, not even just the smart ones, she is stifled and feels burdened by sadness. She finds a little solace in expressing herself artistically through music. It’s simple but it works.

This scene in particular is one that always stood out to me, and thankfully it’s one of the clips uploaded by one of those very helpful Simpsons Youtube channels that come around once in a blue moon.

Continue reading →

Death and the Passage of Time in Twin Peaks: The Return

One of the most unexpectedly powerful moments in Twin Peaks: The Return, a series that gave us many poignant scenes, involved none other than Carl Rodd. Harry Dean Stanton’s character, who we had previously seen stealing the show as the grouchy manager of the Fat Trout Trailer Park in the prequel film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, has changed a lot since we last saw him.

Other than the usual signs of ageing, he seemed a little more relaxed and generous, and while his exhaustion is still present, now it seems more melancholic than beleaguered. Continue reading →

Twin Peaks: The Return Finale Recap

I’ve been writing (pretty long) recaps of every episode of Twin Peaks: The Return, where I also delve into some analysis and theorising. You can find the post containing all these recaps here. Below is my recap for Part 17 and 18 aka the two-hour finale to the show.


Was this all Cooper’s dream? Was this a confluence of dream realities conjured up from those can’t live in theirs? Did Judy move Cooper to an alternate dimension? Does Twin Peaks, as we know it, exist any more?

These are some interesting questions to ask, and ones that will no doubt flood the world with articles, essays, books, blog posts, tweet threads, and forums in the weeks, months, and years to come. Continue reading →

Attack on Titan Season 2 Review

I feel like it’s worth pointing out two things up front: I am not a huge anime fan, and I am fully up to date with the still-running manga this show is adapting. The medium is one that has given me a few shows I really love, but I am often put off by certain attributes that come up time and time again.

The manga, which has left plenty of material for the show to bring to the small screen by this point, has left me in the position where I know pretty much exactly what is going to happen each episode. Continue reading →

Twin Peaks: The Return Recaps

Each week I will be doing a recap of the new season of Twin Peaks over at Audiences Everywhere. I’ll break down the key events of the episode, analyse what it means to me, and collect clues along the way.

This week the first episode was released (technically Part 1 & 2), and so I put up a pretty long exploration into what was going on. The short answer is that I liked it and want to see more. But no, I’m not going to find a ripped link to see the 3rd and 4th episodes that were put up for Showtime viewers (but not Sky viewers in the UK).

I’ll update this post as each entry is released:

Parts 1 & 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6 & 7 were covered by another AE writer while I was away

Part 8

Part 9

Part 10

Part 11

Part 12

Part 13

Part 14

Part 15

Part 16

Part 17 & 18

David Lynch’s Best Soundtrack Moments

Music is a big part of David Lynch’s work, from the eerie soundscapes of his early films to his own studio releases. As his career continued and full length feature films became a rarer sight, he began to make his own music—and now has five albums and a record label to his name.

Twin Peaks‘ season 3 revival looks to include more music than ever, with appearances by Trent Reznor, Sky Ferreira, Eddie Vedder, Sharon Van Etten as well as Lynch alumni Rebekah Del Rio and Julee Cruise. Continue reading →