TNCC frontman Matthew Cade was recently provided a batch of horror themed cigars from Famous Smoke Shop, each one named after a famous icon from horror film history. Cade came up with the grand idea that The Doctor should review a film to pair with his cigar reviews. Naturally I thought that this concept was brilliant. The first icon on the docket was Frankenstein, followed then by Leatherface, The Wolfman, that little bastard Chucky, and my fellow physician Dr. Jekyll. Tonight we’ve chosen another legendary nutjob to place under the Tuesday Night Cigar Club microscope…
The Simpsons Do Dracula… ok, maybe I should have come up with a better title, but it’s the holiday season and, as such, it is possible that the Doctor has been imbibing.
Tired of vampire movies? So am I. In fact, I’m fairly convinced that the last good Dracula movie had Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing involved and was released sometime during the Eisenhower administration, an era when your steady girl Sally wore your letter sweater to the drive-in and you hoped for some heavy petting once the sun went down. So rather than kick those bald tires once again, Mr. Cade and the good Doctor decided to take another tack: The Simpsons! That’s right, friends, from Treehouse of Horror IV it’s Mr.Burns as Dracula in a spoof of Francis Ford Coppola’s film of the early 90s. I have a copy of the Coppola DVD somewhere as well, but why bother with that tedium?
Ah, The Simpsons. For everything that happens in life, be it a turn of events or a philosophical quandary that you may find yourself mired in, I have long opined that there is an episode of The Simpsons that accurately (and humorously) portrays the experience and leaves us feeling better, if for no other reason than that we know that we are not alone on this earth. In one example of The Simpson’s prescience, its’s worth noting that Lisa Simpson once made reference to a President Donald Trump – sixteen years ago.
In fact, The Simpsons are probably at their best when they are firing repeated bullseyes at the state of the union and those of us who reside here. Gun control, gay marriage, public education, the everybody-wins-a-ribbon state of society, you name it and The Simpsons have tackled it. But they are equally adept at approaching many other aspects of American life, such as the ridiculous notion of reinstituting the law of prohibition. Who can forget Homer’s epic battle versus the 16th amendment, featuring this gemstone of a quote?
“To alcohol! The cause of – and solution to – all of life’s problems!”
Perhaps you are feeling bad about yourself. It’s been a rough day at work or your significant other is being a wretched pain in the ass or maybe you just have an indefinable sense of The Blues. Such baleful waves of shit can come crashing down on the best of us. The Doctor takes solace in two things whenever Lady Depression comes knocking at my door: the ubiquitous availability of adult beverages and the fact that I am not Moe Szyslak.
I could write an entire thesis paper on The Simpsons and society and the pure genius of it all, alas, I am not a politician or a sociologist and have generally lost any interest I may have once had in either of those arenas. I’m a man of medicine, but then you know that already. Allow me kindly to return to the theme of our recent spate of TNCC film and cigar reviews, that of the horror movie.
The annual Halloween episodes of The Simpsons known as the “Treehouses of Horror” are wonderful, three-part anthologies where all the rules go out the window and the characters are routinely slaughtered in gruesome fashion. They have captured everything from Poe’s The Raven and H.G. Wells The Island of Dr. Moreau to more recent fare like Harry Potter and The Hunger Games. And who can forget the special powers bestowed upon Bart in “The Shinning”, a classic episode where Homer does his best Jack Nicholson?
So when it came time to review a Dracula film, the choice was easy. A brief recapping of Bart Simpson’s Dracula, circa Halloween 1993: We are told courtesy of Kent Brockman, everyone’s favorite narcissistic newsman, that another victim has been found with two perfect puncture wounds in the neck.
Chief Wiggum, our famously bumbling law enforcement leader, actually suspects, based on the evidence, that a mummy is involved. He promptly has the Egyptian wing of the Springfield museum destroyed, sarcophagi and all. Of course, that is silly, correct? No one ever foolishly overreacts, right? Oh, wait, people do that all the time…
We are then informed that Mr. Burns, in a completely unrelated note, has purchased the town’s blood bank.
None of these events bother the Simpson family or even temper their excitement one iota when Mr. Burns invites them to his secluded estate in Pennsylvania – get it? Like Transylvania? Ok, I’ll move on – and only Lisa is concerned that the family were all asked by Mr. Burns to wash their necks prior to arrival.
Ah, Mr.Burns. For the better part of two decades, The Doctor has firmly believed that this is the strong leader we all need, be it as little league coach or head of state. Granted, he once sang the Austro-Hungarian national anthem at a basketball game and was shocked to learn of the European Union… so, in other words, he’s perfect. He successfully avoided criminal charges of corporate malfeasance by declaring that his nuclear plant was actually owned by a bird named Canary M. Burns. When questioned further on this, he replied that Standard Oil was once owned by a half-eaten breakfast. He once asked his faithful, homosexual servant Waylon Smithers to draw him a “bath-e-ola.” His late grandfather referred to the Japanese as “sandal wearing goldfish eaters!” And, in perhaps the best example of everything Monty Burns stands for, when Lisa Simpson told him of the inherent responsibility of corporate mavens to have a recycling program, he responded with this timeless rejoinder: “I’ll handle this one, Smithers. Shut up, little girl.” I could go on indefinitely. He is the only character that could possibly rival the aforementioned Mr. Lee and Mr. Cushing in a Dracula move… with the possible exception of the late, wonderful Leslie Nielsen. But I digress.
Homer is oblivious to the danger, but then again this blissful obliviousness is the key to why Homer Simpson is without a doubt one of the world’s most wonderfully entertaining fictional characters. If only he were real. Homer avails himself of a wine glass filled to the brim with Mr. Burns blood supply and acts for all the world as if he couldn’t care less. Vampires? He’s on a weekend getaway and would prefer not to be bothered with trivial details. Lisa decides to do some sleuthing, which is always a mistake in horror, even in a cartoon. She drags a reluctant Bart along with her and it isn’t long before they stumble across the secret Vampire lair without having to exert themselves too much.
Lisa finds the evidence that she needs and flees the Secret Vampire Room, but Bart can’t resist using the dungeon’s “Super Happy Fun Slide.” Things don’t end well for him.
Well, we all know that your friendly neighborhood Doc doesn’t like spoilers, even for a seven-minute animated short, so I’ll just say that Lisa and her parents return to Mr. Burns manor to kill the head vampire. But is Mr. Burns actually the head vampire? Only a viewing of this episode will tell…
The Doctor supposes that if you are already a lifelong admirer of The Simpsons like himself then this review was simply a matter of preaching to the choir. In that case, I humbly suggest that you revisit this episode and other Treehouse of Horror episodes anytime you are in the need for a good tickling. Perhaps there are some out there who no longer find amusement in animated fare? I wholeheartedly understand, but I still defy you to watch this episode and find a funnier take on one of the world’s oldest legendary monster. Fear not, I will be back to more standard horror tropes the next time around. As always, The Doctor wishes you all a clean bill of health.
review by CADE
2017. Shit, how did that happen? Well regardless of how it happened we’re here now so I suppose we should make the best of it and what better way to bring in the new year than lighting up a STOGIE? Answer: there is no better way.
The 6×38 Tatuaje Skinny Drac is extremely veiny and soft to the squeeze (that’s what she said). The dark brown Ecuadorian habano maduro wrapper looks like a fudge brownie. I’m pairing the cigar with a couple glasses of pinot noir and by “couple glasses” I mean that I drank an entire bottle of wine while smoking the cigar.
The draw is thankfully spot-on despite the softness of the cigar and that draw, the one I just mentioned a few words ago, DELIVERS A CRAZY TIDAL WAVE OF BLACK PEPPER STRAIGHT TO MY FUCKING BRAIN. Wowzers, the pepper kick is off the charts right away. Throughout the first inch a very pleasant oak note gradually emerges. There is also a slight natural sweetness present that helps (slightly) to curb that peppery spice.
Please see my notes on the first third of the cigar to get my reaction to the second third. I could just copy and paste it all here but then you might think that I goofed and that would be bad for my rep as a major internet cigar personality. The oak note is holding steady as well as the black pepper on the retrohale. The faint sweetness never fully materialized unfortunately which is a bummer.
I’d like to think that my palate has developed over the years to where I can pick up flavors and subtle notes that perhaps would float right past a newbie smoker’s untested sense receptors. But sometimes, like tonight for example, I wonder if my rods and cones are tuned properly because I’m just not getting much of any noticeable notes from the Tatuaje Skinny Drac. It’s as if someone literally sucked out all the flavors from the cigar leaving it depleted of all its… wait a minute, the flavors have been sucked out… just like a vampire sucks the lifeblood from his victims… OK OK now I get it. Well played, Tatuaje, well played!
Head over to Famous Smoke Shop using the ad banner on this page and get your hands on some Skinny Monsters and try them out for yourself. And then find us on Facebook and let us know what you suckas think!