gifs

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I’ve been on a pixelated kick lately, digging up examples of early internet GIFs, Video Toaster screencaps, Game Boy sprites and After Dark screensavers. One file I’ve copied from PowerMac G4 to current laptop is a folder full of Simpsons icons, compiled by a website  so long dead its server host no longer exists. The icons are exhaustive, covering even the most obscure characters. Given the extreme gap in translation ability, they look to be the work of several hands and not a single artist. I actually like the ones that look like a 6th grader painstakingly put them together in MSPaint; their lack of shading, poor color choices and bizarre textures make them the folk art of the 90s.

 

Instead of flat orange/red, Bart’s shirt is Freddy Krueger-colored.

crappy bart

 

 

Here’s an example of the gap in ability I mentioned – two different ‘Bart from Treehouse of Horror III’ – note the use of shading, economy of space, and pleasing color scheme of the one on the right.

clockwork bart crappy clockwork bart

 

 

Possibly depicting Scratchy’s severed head instead of just a bust shot. I love the wall-eyes, gaped mouth and color scheme.

scratchy

 

Grandpa Simpson wearing 90s style Matrix sunglasses.

grandpa simpson

 

Troy McClure weirdly squished with Bob’s Big Boy checkered hair.

troy mcclure

 

Checkered Itchy; it looks like he has mousepox.

itchy

 

This Jimbo’s eyes and face are so wonky…there’s a decent Jimbo icon in the bunch, but this one’s more compelling.

jimbo

 

 

When I said these were exhaustive, they really went to the outer limits of obscure characters. These range from ‘Potentially Recognizable’ to ‘Why Would Someone Have That As A Desktop Icon’?

Worker from the lone ‘Worker And Parasite’ cartoon replacing ‘Itchy And Scratchy’ on Krusty’s show.

worker cat

 

 

The mutated laser-eyed squirrel from ‘Marge vs. The Monorail’

laser squirrel

 

 

MENDOZAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

mendozaaaaaaaaaaa

 

 

Spinal Tap’s Half Inflated Dark Lord

our half inflated dark lord

 

 

Bart The Raven from ‘Treehouse of Horror I’

raven bart

 

 

Edward The Penitent: actually I might use this one as an icon. “I’m afraid ‘sorry’ doesn’t cut it with this Pope!”

edward the penitent

 

 

Llewellyn Sinclair – another appearance of Jon Lovitz as the director of ‘Oh, Streetcar!’

theater guy

 

 

Sideshow Luke Perry

sideshow luke perry

 

 

Neil Patrick Harris as Bart in ‘Blood on the Blackboard: The Bart Simpson Story’

bart simpson story

 

 

“You kids probably know me best as Sgt. Fatso Judson in ‘From Here To Eternity’!

ernest borgenine

 

 

Perennial kids’ favorite Garrison Keillor!

garrison keeler

 

 

Then there’s icons with no basis in Simpsons canon whatsoever, like this Klingon Homer,

klingon homer

 

…or Mad Scientist Bart,

mad scientist bart

…or Old Bart, though Older Bart has been shown several times, including as male stripper ‘Bang Bang Bart’ and Supreme Court Justice Simpson.

old bart

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Memes are funny things. Once a niche term of social sciences, they’ve become part of our national lexicon, something even mom knows about.

Of course, variations on a theme existed long before they were defined by Richard Dawkins in his 1976 book, ‘The Selfish Gene’(thanks, Wikipedia), but this was a perfect confluence of a phenomenon needing a name and a word floating around sounding all sciency: the meme. Now, one cat picture passed around does not a meme make. A hundred variants of Nyancat (Mexican, Rasta, Nazi, flying over various cities, IRL, sans cat, plus Bollywood) however, is the very essence of the thing. Something grabs hold of the collective’s attention and mutates outward to all possible permutations. The result: something so far removed from the original, so rich and saturated with humanity, it becomes as strange as a fairy tale (themselves the burnished results of many hands).

Now that the lecture’s out of the way, may I have the honor to present: THE RESULTS ARE IN, a site devoted to the best moments of Maury Povich. Many of these chosen moments are not those of revelation, immediate physical violence, or fat babies stuffing their face with M&Ms. That’s far too easy (plus they have a separate site devoted to just that). No, whoever crafted (and I do use that word with care; these images were lovingly chosen out of thousands in an episode and placed together for maximum effect) these went out of their way to select that which we might have otherwise overlooked.

Several articles have cropped up touting the GIF as THE medium of the decade. I beg to differ as I’ve been a fan of the animated GIF since I found out they existed. Sure, it’s awesome now that people are using them to make wizard photos (seriously it’s like Harry Potter except shouting ‘accio remote’ still doesn’t work), but the GIF’s true genius lies in repeating a moment in time much as it might play in our heads over and over, allowing all the strangeness, harshness, silliness to play fully before our eyes. GIFs bring back that which everyone claims the internet takes away from us- that everyone sees only surface and plumbs no depths. With the GIF, all viewers become expert in a chunk of time, stretched to infinity.

And so I’d like to thank the fellow behind THE RESULTS ARE IN! for choosing only the best audience reactions, eye rolls, and weird freeze-frame facial expressions and sharing them with the world.

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