Making Milhouse a channel
April 28, 2008 6:17 AM   Subscribe

In a very old episode (The Last Temptation of Homer), Milhouse watches Bart be Bart and mourns, I fear to watch, yet I cannot turn away.

This sounds like it must be taken from somewhere, who was Milhouse quoting, or was it a Simpsons original?
posted by unsliced to Media & Arts (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
SNPP says it's Hamlet, but I haven't found the citation yet.
posted by ALongDecember at 6:47 AM on April 28, 2008

"I tried to turn away, but the shadows and the sounds and the stench were everywhere.

- H.P. Lovecraft, "Imprisoned with the Pharaos"

"He had tried to look away from it, but some obscure compulsion drew his eyes back."

- H.P. Lovecraft, "The Haunter Of The Dark"
posted by skywhite at 6:47 AM on April 28, 2008 [1 favorite]

I'm pretty sure it's not Hamlet. It doesn't even scan!
posted by phoenixy at 6:57 AM on April 28, 2008

SNPP is probably wrong if they attribute it to Hamlet. Shakespeare would have been more likely to use "watch" as a noun (as in "stand the watch") than as a verb. Likely it's just some mock-Shakespeare cooked up by the show's writers. If you want to dig around with word and phrase searching in Shakespeare, see
posted by aught at 7:14 AM on April 28, 2008

It definitely isn't Hamlet.

You can search the whole play here.
posted by sindark at 8:11 AM on April 28, 2008

Could it be from the Last Temptation of Christ?
posted by I-baLL at 8:32 AM on April 28, 2008

Here's a transcript of the Last Temptation of Christ; it doesn't seem to be in there.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:32 AM on April 28, 2008

What he actually said was, "I fear to look, yet I cannot turn away."
posted by bolognius maximus at 11:12 AM on April 28, 2008

In the Seinfeld episode "The Letter" (the one with the hilariously awful portrait of Kramer), an art critic studies the aforementioned portrait and comments:

"He is a loathsome, offensive brute... yet I can’t look away!"

Could that be the inspiration? The episode aired in 1992, for what it's worth.
posted by Rhaomi at 12:54 PM on April 28, 2008

Googling "yet I cannot turn away" doesn't seem to turn up anything that doesn't seem like a reference to the show.

Ditto for searching usenet - and the earliest reference is 1994.

"yet I cannot turn away" does not appear in any book in Project Gutenberg. Nor in Amazon's search-inside-the-book search.
posted by winston at 6:18 PM on April 28, 2008

Response by poster: Indeed, bolognius maximus, I had remembered him saying "I fear to look, yet cannot turn away" but as I was searching around imdb had the quote slightly differently, so I took them at their word so I had it their way.

Thanks all for the suggestions - I suppose we're to conclude that it might actually have been an original for the scriptwriters!
posted by unsliced at 12:49 AM on April 29, 2008

« Older Adding HDMI   |   The Prints and the Popper Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.