Review: "Have You Ever Been to Zinzinnati?"

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Gulliver63
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Review: "Have You Ever Been to Zinzinnati?"

Postby Gulliver63 » Sat May 12, 2012 7:39 pm

Well, here it is - something I've threatened to do for ages. Futurama fanfiction is my comfort zone, and I've been wanting to step away from that zone a time or two. For my first Simpson story I decided to have the family visit my hometown. The only mention of Cincinnati in the show that I'm aware of was when Lisa bet on a Bengals game in "Lisa the Greek." It was a good excuse to plug my home city, and to throw in a few things from my childhood. The title comes from a 40 year old ad for a local beer where a cartoon German fellow with lederhosen asks the television viewers, "Have you ever been to Zinzinnati?" The 780 gift shop has long been called something else, and news anchor Al Schottlekotte has been gone for years. For obvious reasons I tried to stay away from product name dropping.
It is a fairly short story with a simple plot; I know it won't win any prizes, but I had to start somewhere. It's a challenge writing a Simpson story, as so many things have been done on the show over the years. Hopefully I've come up with a nice little tale that is good for a few chuckles here and there. Enjoy!
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"I always remember an epitaph which is in the cemetery at Tombstone, Arizona. It says: 'Here lies Jack Williams. He done his damnedest.' I think that is the greatest epitaph a man can have - When he gives everything that is in him to do the job he has before him. That is all you can ask of him and that is what I have tried to do."
Harry S Truman

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Just Chris
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Re: Review: "Have You Ever Been to Zinzinnati?"

Postby Just Chris » Sun May 13, 2012 8:02 pm

Typoes: "Larry Flint" should be spelled "Flynt"; "took her mind off of the afternoon storms" doesn't need the "of"; one of the dialogue lines on page 4 (the one beginning "Congratulations, Homer") is missing quotation marks at the start; the sentence starting "he focused his attention" needs a capital H

You also have a few cases of missing commas in dialogue addressing another character (such as "oh nuts Marge" instead of the correct "oh nuts, Marge"). I'm not pointing out all the instances, because grammar in dialogue is fairly fluid. Just mentioning it to be thorough.

It's fun to see you write a Simpsons fanfic; we've had a bit of an imbalance towards Futurama on this forum recently. (Though we used to have an imbalance towards The Simpsons, so I guess it evens out.) I like the title a lot.

Characterisation is good all over. I particularly liked Homer: he can be a tricky character to write without exaggerating him too much. Lisa felt a bit shallow once or twice (for example, saying she would die if she didn't get to see the game), but she does have that childish side on the show, so it's not out of character.

You have some very funny jokes, particularly Homer getting mocked at the seminar, and the police chief's response to Bart's request. There is some more low-key humour as well.

The set-up of a nuclear safety seminar is a good idea, and while I've never been to Cincinnati, I can appreciate the amount of references you slipped in. You have some very good descriptions (though I felt the story as a whole was a bit low on descriptions, see below).

On the downside, the main plot was rather cliché, and as soon as
Spoiler
I could guess what he would do with them. The climax is well-written and suspenseful, though. The story is a bit too dialogue-heavy for me, especially the first couple of pages. Where you do have descriptions or action scenes, they're very good.

All in all, I found this story a bit forgettable, with a fairly overdone main plot, but good characterisation and comedy, and a suspenseful finale. It's certainly as good as your Futurama fics.

My rating: B+

EDIT: In response to the below post, I was in fact a bit confused by Marge still having a phobia of flying in your story. I was always under the impression that it was cured by her therapy in "Fear of Flying", or at the very least reduced to manageable levels. Still, you know, it's your story.
Last edited by Just Chris on Mon May 14, 2012 9:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Gulliver63
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Re: Review: "Have You Ever Been to Zinzinnati?"

Postby Gulliver63 » Sun May 13, 2012 10:08 pm

Thanks! This was a tough one, and I got hung up for long periods of time on it. What I really tried to do with Homer was not to portray him as just being a stupid idiot; I enjoyed approaching him from the angle of someone seriously lacking in self-confidence. Another sticky point for me was Maggie - if you're not doing a "Maggie" story, she just sort of sits there and does nothing (she'd be easier to portray in a comic than in a written story). I also had problems with Marge's fear of flying - I've seen episodes where she's terrified to fly, and others where she has no problems...I stuck with the idea that it's a big problem for her. I admit that the plot is a bit contrived...something again that you might have seen in "The Patty Duke Show" years ago. I am hoping that another Simpson story will come along and bite me in the brain at some point. I do want to thank my sister for a few ideas; she used to work at Provident Bank in downtown Cincy and walk to Reds games after work.

BTW, I misspelled Larry Flynt? Ouch - that's one of our most infamous native sons next to Manson. In studying for the story I also found out that King Crimson's Adrien Belew was from there, and of course large parts of the movie "Rain Man" were filmed there. Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman drive an old Buick out of town on Columbia Parkway, a very familiar route to me as a child.
"I always remember an epitaph which is in the cemetery at Tombstone, Arizona. It says: 'Here lies Jack Williams. He done his damnedest.' I think that is the greatest epitaph a man can have - When he gives everything that is in him to do the job he has before him. That is all you can ask of him and that is what I have tried to do."
Harry S Truman

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Re: Review: "Have You Ever Been to Zinzinnati?"

Postby Lisabella » Thu May 17, 2012 3:46 am

Downloading this to read later :)
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