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The Simpsons a few weeks back did one of their episodes where they present a different story in each act. They’ve tackled Greek myths, fairytales, and tall tales over the years, among other topics. The loose theme this time centered around woman characters as Lisa and Marge get a mani/pedi (I guess after twenty seasons they’re running out of ideas even for these one-off episodes).

And surprisingly the first story they presented was that of Elizabeth I. But not the actual history. Instead they went with the version as presented in Shekhar Kapur’s Elizabeth: The Golden Age, the widely-panned 2007 Elizabeth sequel that still managed to land Cate Blanchett a Best Actress nom and won the Best Costume Oscar.

Isn’t that odd? The Simpsons maintains some of Kapur’s pretty large dramatic licenses and borrows the film’s imagery, including Elizabeth in a suit of armor on horseback and a flaming English ship sailing into the Spanish Armada. So here’s the fairly well-known¬†story of a famous figure but The Simpsons chooses to play off a box office flop that only made about $16 million domestically. Does that mean next year we can expect vignettes based on Soul Men? Body of Lies? Pride & Glory? Forgot about all of those, didn’t you?

Anyway, the piece was pretty funny with Selma as Elizabeth, Homer as Sir Walter Raleigh, Marge as the lady in waiting, and Moe as the Geoffrey Rush advisor character. The other stories were Snow White, MacBeth, and The Fountainhead of all things. Random. Here’s a clip from the Elizabeth portion:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Hulu – The Simpsons: Spanish Armada“, posted with vodpod

Full episode here until its Hulu window expires. And in other vaguely Oscar-related/Simpsons linkage, here’s a video with Yeardley Smith (voice of Lisa) and Ellen Page.

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I pulled double duty on this one. I felt obligated, writing for a site that every week gets dozens of readers people searching for Outkast lyrics and misspellings of Edith Piaf, to give Elizabeth: The Golden Age due process by first watching its predecessor, Elizabeth.

What a long and baffling prospect that turned out to be. Elizabeth is unfocused, cluttered, and confusing. The Golden Age is a bit tighter but then adds in heaps of silliness. There’s a love triangle! And a rousing speech to the troops in full armor! And a convenient war hero swinging from a mast! And cat fights! And playful but pointed ruminations about love! My eyes hurt from rolling so much.

I probably went into these films at a disadvantage since I haven’t paid any attention to the era since European History in 10th grade, but frankly I should have been able to decipher a bit more. There’s plenty of room for offering tidbits to the Tudor-obsessed, but not by forsaking those of us with barely a passing knowledge. There are too many characters to get to know many of them so all their political and religious motivations get glossed over. The result is their actions often don’t feel justified or well-developed. Read the rest of this entry »

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