The Simpsons Movie's marketing juggernaut continues! First, there was the Simpsons Character Generator. Then there was the real-live Kwik-E-Mart. Now over on USA Today's Website, fourteen towns of Springfield are competing to be named the "real-life Springfield," each presenting a homemade short video in an effort to sell its town as the perfect place for a Simpsons movie premiere. We watched them all, from the totally amateurish to the slightly less amateurish, and can firmly state that a lot of Middle American town managers really, really like The Simpsons. Which of the shorts is worth your time? Who should win your vote? The tale of the tape:
Best Homer look-alike: Vermont's, pictured.
Best short film: Massachusetts' mockumentary about a town betrayed by handsome, bearded Matt Groening's visit twenty years ago.
Short film most like something that would actually be mocked on The Simpsons: New Jersey's music video by bar band the Double Deuces, featuring lyrics like "Maude Flanders may no longer be, but we've got many representatives of Christianity!"
Most obscure references: Nebraska's entry features Mr. Sparkle; Illinois produces a dead three-eyed fish; Springfield, New Jersey, claims its town motto is "A Noble Spirit Embiggens the Smallest Man."
Insult humor: In Missouri's short, one angry townsperson says, "I think The Simpsons borrowed all their good ideas from Futurama"; in Ohio's, a member of the city council grumps, "They haven't been good in like ten years — ever since Conan left."
Local celebrities: Tony Hawk (Oregon); Ted Kennedy (Massachusetts); "Brad Pitt, who was born in Springfield, Missouri, could not be reached for comment" (Missouri).
Scenes of city employees calling a pub with a fake name: Tennessee ("Amanda Hugandkiss") and Michigan ("Hugh Jass").
Mayors wearing "Mayor" sashes à la Joe Quimby: Oregon, Illinois, Tennessee, Kentucky.
Springfield Challenge [USAT]