Weird Al – In TSTO, On the Simpsons, In Real Life – True to Form

Let’s start with my reaffirmation that I am not a fan of Weird Al Yankovic.  However, unlike most, I am willing to keep an open mind about my opinion. And, as many have said he puts on an amazing live show, I am willing to reserve final judgment until I see him perform his shtick, live and in person (as long as the tickets are less than $30 each).

But, he is here…in our Springfields…begging for attention (which seems to be his primary purpose in life), which warrants a post about him here.

What seems evident to me, is that he is much the same in the game, as he is in real life…a cartoon character, based primarily on his ability to spin puns and parity into gold (and bling).  Even I have to admit…he has is act down.

So, where  did he first show up? And how will he interact with our characters long after this update is over?  Let’s take a look…

According to his WIKI profile: “Alfred Matthew “Weird Al” Yankovic (/ˈjæŋkəvɪk/ YANG-kə-vik; born October 23, 1959) is an American singer, songwriter, parodist, record producer, satirist, actor, voice actor, music video director, film producer, and author. He is known for his humorous songs that make light of popular culture and often parody specific songs by contemporary musical acts, original songs that are style pastiches of the work of other acts, and polka medleys of several popular songs, featuring his favored instrument, the accordion.”

I had to look up the term “style pastiches” to fully understand.  According to Webster.com, “A pastiche is a work of visual art, literature, theater, or music that imitates the style or character of the work of one or more other artists. … Pastiche is an example of eclecticism in art.”

So…it was pretty much what I thought it was. Al just rips off other people’s ideas, to “make them his own.”  Not exactly original…but then, neither is most of Pop music these days…but, I digress.

He has made a handsome living (that phrase always makes me laugh…what is the opposite of a “handsome living?” a “butt-ugly living???”), from taking other people’s music…and then through music and video, making fun of the original, while keeping himself in the joke, by being an accordion-playing buffoon, with a smirk. I guess the old saying, “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” goes a long way in Al’s mind. He flatters, a lot!

Getting his start with bits on the “Doctor Demento” show in 1976, most fans remember his huge success with Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” redux, “Eat It” (1984)  But by then, he already had certified hits with “My Bologna” (parody of My Sharona- 1079), “Another One Rides the Bus” (You can guess that one- 1981), and “I Love Rocky Road” (Joan Jett had to love that one- 1983).

While Al usually has the tacit blessing of the artists he is ripping off, there are several who have denied him the right to mess with their hits, including Led Zeppelin, Paul McCartney, Prince, and surprisingly, James Blunt. I say “surprisingly” in that Blunt didn’t have much of a career to risk.

OK…so enough about the “Real Al,” (is there a real Al?). Let’s move on to his appearances in “The Simpsons” and TSTO.

He has appeared in four Simpsons episodes…always as himself (to be fair…how can you parody someone who is a parody in real life?).  His most notable appearance was his first, in “Three Gays of the Condo,” when Marge hires him to write a love song to woo Homer back from living with two gay men. Yes. This was one of the episodes that stretched credulity, even for the Simpsons.

He also made appearances in the episodes “That ’90s Show,” “The Food Wife,” and “White Christmas Blues,” where his song, “Pringle Bells,”  was featured.

The best part of being someone who in real life, is “part cartoon,” is that you can pretty much show up anywhere, and everywhere. My guess, is that Al may have in fact reached out to EA to be part of TSTO. And while that may be a push, you can bet he had nothing but support for the idea for appearing in the game. After all…who was he going to sue if they used his likeness?

However…I do find it odd that he is not voiced. I would have thought that he would have no problem lending his voice to a project, knowing that there was nobody who was going to try to imitate someone who imitates others for a living.

The “Physics Loop” of an imitation cancelling out another imitation may be at work here…much like the physics of “stereo phasing” can actually cancel out two distinct recorded tracks that had microphones out of phase, when the track is played in mono. Look it up…it’s a very real phenomenon (here’s a video).

So…in the world of theoretic physics…if may mean that Weird Al’s voice is actually playing…you just can’t hear it.

Or not.

But what IS clear, is that while the EA programmers were happy to use Weird Al (can we just call him Weird for short?) profusely in this update, they cheaped-out horribly in the number of tasks, and especially outdoor tasks they gave him.

Weird Al Permanent Tasks

  • Permission to Parody a Song – Cash 70- XP 17-  60m – Brown House
  • Squeeze Out a Parody – Cash 175 – XP 45 – 4h – Brown House
  • Parody Himself –  Cash 275- XP 70 – 8h – OUTDOORS
  • Get Inspiration – Cash 420 – XP 100 – 12h – Kwik-E-Mart
  • Fix a Simpsons Relationship – Cash 600 – XP 150 – 24h – Simpson House

So you can see the problem…he is barely outside (mostly in the Brown House), and the one time he is outside, he is doing a parody of himself (see the Dual Imitation Physics Phase Cancellation theory above).

I’m going to give the guy a break. He has made a fabulous career, using his talent to bring happiness to those with a low standard for humor (kind of like Taylor Swift), and for that, many of you are abundantly grateful!

For me…grinding to earn Weird Al Prizes is a bit like trying to collect all of his record catalog. You can do it…but, in the end, you may find yourself asking why you went to all of the trouble for this kind of a reward.

Go ahead. Bring it on. I know there are Weird Al fans out there. Let’s hear why I am wrong…and why I should stop harshin’ on your boy.  I can take it.

Yes. The world can use some more “silly” right now. But I’d preferred to have Spinal Tap in the mix.  Now THAT would be worth the grinding! 

 

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110 responses to “Weird Al – In TSTO, On the Simpsons, In Real Life – True to Form

  1. we get it you are not a fan , that’s fine ( we can tell from the sneering run down you gave of his career some of the work he does ) but many of us love what he does – personally I have seen him on his last 3 of his 4 tours of Australia and loved every one .
    ” surprisingly, James Blunt. I say “surprisingly” in that Blunt didn’t have much of a career to risk.” – like a few of your ‘facts’ is wrong , James LOVED “you’re pitiful” , it was the management who cracked the sads on it.
    the pastiche or homage is not a rip off – it is a song by Al that is done in the style of a band ( ” in my eyes ” is a song done as if the foo fighters would have written it )

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  2. Hi Patric,

    Let me start by saying I haven’t played TSTO but I have been a long-time close personal friend of Al. What you call ripping off other people’s music (I can see that pint of view)… I call taking an otherwise marvelous song and improving it and making it more relevant for his audience… My Sharona is a great song (and Al really loved it), but the folks in Al’s audience can’t relate to the kind of love expressed in the original. They’re more likely to turn people’s heads when the teacher embarrasses them by saying “Only one person got an A on this test.” So the less that “love” gets mentioned in a song the more enjoyable the music… when love isn’t a part of your life. His parodies have some complexities that some people don’t notice right away. Did you catch the reference in “Bus” about The Who tragedy when the doors didn’t all get opened?

    His band is great and has been with him since the beginning. Jon Schwartz (with Al since I handed him the accordion case for that song) spends his time reaching out to aspiring musicians. Interviews with him are very informative if you are into drumming. Jim West was featured in a recent interview (I’ll try and hook you up with that archive) and is known for his slack-key guitar outside working with Al.

    All the best,
    Beefalo Bill

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    • Again… I hear he is a great guy. And I get that he has a style…and a following…just not my thing.

      But thanks for verifying my suspicions that this thread had attracted a ton of “Weird Heads.” I’ll give you credit…you guys are loyal and obsessed.

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  3. My Sharona- 1079. LOL Wow he HAS been around a long time. There was another glaring error, but your text isn’t worth a re-read to find or point out.

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  4. Patrick, aren’t you a little worried Weird Al is going to invite you to join his band, and you will end up having to apologize to him over and over on his blog? 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I know i’m late to the party here but felt like I had to reply. I do like that you’re trying to keep an open mind about Weird Al when writing your opinion piece. I do find it interested that a show that’s over 600 episodes long and thrives on parody is OK with you but Weird Al isn’t. Weird Al is adding his own personal take on a wide range of songs and genres. Mostly everything is written by Al. How many artists can’t write a song but can sing the hell out of someone else’s song. Rihanna put her own take on Diamonds which was a huge hit but was written by Sia. You can also make the case for the countless remakes of songs throughout the years. How many versions of Knocking on Heaven’s Door are there? Or Anarchy in the UK/US? or countless other remade songs that offer different perspectives or takes. Al is just another artist putting his own touch on songs written by other people but also written by himself. Sure you might not like the humor in it and that’s ok but to say that he’s “begging for attention” or “ripping off other’s ideas” is a little off base.

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  6. I love Wierd Al. Loved him since I was in jr high and I now have a kid in jr high so you can do the math. I have all the cds, dvds and I’ve seen him in concert three times. He puts on an amazing live show.

    I think it’s great that I have him wandering around my Springfield. I wish he had more outdoor tasks, but free character of a singer I adore. I yelled out loud when I saw him in the game and I’d have bought him reguardless of the cost.

    But not everyone has to like him. If it’s not your thing then it’s not your thing. I could name several popular singers that I don’t like but I won’t so I don’t start an argument. If you don’t like him, you can put him in storage when the event is over. Me, I’ll have him performing all the time. Cheers and don’t let the people who disagree with you on the internet get you down.

    PS. – I love Allen Sherman, too, especially The Twelve Gifts of Christmas.

    Like

  7. MydadlookslikeFlanders

    Weird Al is awesome. I love his movie UHF too

    Like

  8. Thanks for another interesting post Patric! I discovered Weird Al as a kid, around the same time as finding Monty Python and the movie Airplane (every time I read your “I digress” I hear in my head “but that’s not important right now”). I don’t seek him out, but if I stumble across his music it still makes me smile. So that’s something!

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  9. OK… It’s clear that there are a TON of Weird Al fans out there…and I suspect that some who have commented here aren’t actually TSTO players…but Weird Al fans that found the post and got their pantaloons in a wad…

    I get it. You just can’t believe that I would disrespect someone as “respected” as Weird Al. Pfffttt…

    But, I am going to say this again… ART IS SUBJECTIVE. And that includes music, humor, literature, theater, movies, and anything else that is creative and sold.

    Here’s the thing… for MY taste (please see the word MY as meaning me…not everyone), I lump Weird Al into the same category as Jerry Lewis…or Jim Carrey…or the Three Stooges or Adam Sandler. I get why people think they are funny…I just don’t find their kind of humor funny personally. I know. I might as well be saying I hate Jesus to some of you…

    But guess what? I also don’t like 90% of what the Grateful Dead put out…and I LIVE IN EUGENE! (which is pretty much Dead central these days).

    I prefer clever over overt, in your face.

    I admit to being a Python fan. But, mostly of the movies, not as much the actual show. “The Meaning of Life” still makes me wince…as I laugh my butt off…

    And I know you realize this…but in almost every instance I cited above, there is a “counter-side” or camp of ardent supporters for the “Anti-Weird Al” or the “Anti-Jerry Lewis.”

    If you want FUNNY and intelligent music… Randy Newman, or Frank Zappa…they fit my taste far better than the overt, “in your face with no subtlety” of Weird Al.

    I prefer the Marx Brothers over the Stooges… Peter Sellers or Chris Guest (and his band of Mock-u-mentarians), over Carey or Lewis… and while I laughed at a couple of his movies, Adam Sandler is pretty much a one-note, funny voice, repetitive note. He was good in “Spanglish” and “happy Gilmore” and passable in “Big Daddy.” The rest? Not so much.

    Carrey…is best when he isn’t trying to be funny… with one notable exception,his amazing characters on “In Living Color,” and his brother on “Dumb and Dumber” (even though I find Jeff Daniels to be funnier).

    IT’S SUBJECTIVE FOLKS….my opinion. And being an opinion, it is completely devoid of being right or wrong. It is what it is… live with it.

    For the record…just to be sure I didn’t miss anything…I watched 9 Weird All videos last night (my eyes are still burning), and all it did was harden my opinion. Just. Not. A. Fan.

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    • I am not sure what others have said in the comments but there are two things I would like to say:
      #1 Weird Al has never been mean with his parodies. He always asks permission from the appropriate people before releasing a parody and when permission is denied, he will not release the song. He is also a vegetarian without being a jerk about it. He is literally an all around nice guy.
      #2 He does have is own original songs. Majority of his work is parodies, but he does have an amusing catalogue if his own work.

      That said, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. If anyone has been rude to you over yours, let me apologize on behalf of the true Weird Al fan base who know it is all in good fun and don’t take anything too seriously.
      Keep calm and tap on.

      Like

    • Uh-oh… lumping together Weird Al, Jerry Lewis, Jim Carrey, the Three Stooges and Adam Sandler – I am surprised you haven’t gotten more flak for that 😉

      Like

  10. Handy is hiiiiiiiiilarious!!🤣🤣

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  11. But Patric … have you heard “Handy”? Check it out … https://g.co/kgs/QjRisc
    You giggled, right?? Be honest! 😂

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  12. While I don’t have strong feelings about Weird Al per se – I can take him or leave him – I do agree about two things: I would have preferred Spinal Tap as well, their sort of humor just works better for me; and I also think the Weird Al prize track is a PITA. Especially for freemium players. Took me almost all of act 2 in my freemium game to unlock his pop-ability, and so far I don’t feel the need to have him perform hip hop as well, filling the stages is not a problem any more. The extra bling from part 1 of the prize track might come in handy, but I don’t think I will pursue it after that.

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  13. Have you heard any of his original music, that isn’t parody? I love “The Hardware Store,” it’s a guilty pleasure.

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  14. You want to know Al’s genius?
    Ok, here you go:
    All that you love in popular music is a joke. Every artist you love has sold out to some record label, and the reason they’re kept around is because they’re making the suits their money. Al gets that, and he throws it right back in the industry’s face… in subtle ways, of course. Countless unoriginal, formulaic songs about douchey people whining about their crappy relationships is perfectly fine for most people’s artistic palates. People that appreciate Al’s output find in his absurd humor a reassurance that yes, pop music and pop culture are generally insincere swill for the masses, and that we’re all pretty much just TOLD to like it. If you’re gonna shove another song in my face, I’d rather it be about aluminum foil than some douchey person who didn’t even write the song they’re singing.
    This, of course, is in addition to his and his band’s immense talent.

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    • Says the guy clearly working for Al’s PR firm… or clearly out of touch with the reality of making music. But he is the salvation for honesty in the business? Sure. Why not. Loved his take on “crown of thorns!”

      Like

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