McCartney Times

The Beatles and The Simpsons

The Beatles and The Simpsons

The Beatles and The Simpsons
May 09
12:31 2017

The Beatles and The Simpsons

 

By Bill Harry

 

The Simpsons cartoon series featured many Beatles references and several references on Paul.

In Season 2 an opening sequence to one of the episodes featured a Paul McCartney gravestone, a parody of the 1960s ‘Paul Is Dead’ rumours. In another episode, at Stanley and Martha Peterson’s wedding, their vows include two lines from ‘Martha My Dear.’ In one of the episodes of Season 7 ‘Golden Slumbers’ is featured in Homer’s dream sequence. In an episode of Season Five first screened on Thursday April 14 1994 Marge and Homer engage a deprogrammer to deprogramme Bart out of believing he is Mr Burn’s son. When Marge and Bart ask the deprogrammer how effective he is, he replies, “I got Paul McCartney out of Wings, didn’t I?” A furious Homer says, “You idiot! He was the most talented one!”

Paul and Linda agreed to appear in animated form in the American cartoon and to provide their own voices in the episode ‘Lisa The Vegetarian’, first screened in the U.S. on October 15 1995. It was the first episode of Season Seven and the two introduce Lisa to vegetarianism after a meeting at Apu’s roof garden. When Lisa meets them she exclaims, “Wow! Paul McCartney! I read about you in history class.”

Ringo was featured in ‘Brush With Greatness’, the second season episode of the popular animated series, numbered 7F18 and first screened in America on April 11 1991.Homer’s wife Marge is rooting around the attic when she comes across some old paintings of hers. This inspires her interest in art once again and she enrols in a painting class with Professor Lombardo at Springfield Community College. She gains in confidence and enters her work in the Springfield Arts Fair and wins first prize, which results in multi-millionaire Mr Burns commissioning her to paint a portrait of him. She finds Mr Burns to be an ugly man and paints him with all his flaws. As a result, this humanises him in the eyes of the local population and he regards the portrait as a success.

Ringo appears as himself in the sub-plot. In 1966 Marge, a Beatles fan, had sent Ringo a fan letter. We now see Ringo settled in his castle in England, determined to answer every letter sent to him, with the help of his butler Weatherby. He has reached the year 1966 and sends an answer to Marge, saying that they do have French fries in England, only they call them chips. Marge has asked Ringo what he thinks of her portrait of him and he says it’s ‘gear.’

When Homer hears that Marge had a schoolgirl crush on Ringo he is jealous. He makes the comment, “Who’s the mop top with the big Schnozz?”

The Ringo portrait turns up in other episodes. In episode 9F21 Marge has Ringo’s portrait in her swapmeet stall. The Ringo portrait is seen again in Season 8 episode 4F02. There is also a portrait on Ringo seen on the wall at Pimento Grove when Tony McClure takes Selma there for dinner.

In episode 9F11 of Season Four, Homer is seen eating a cookie in the shape of Ringo’s head and in episode 2F02 of Season 6, Lisa describes Sideshow Bob as “Ringo to his rest of the Beatles.”

George provided the voice-over for his own appearance in the series.’ His brief appearance took place in episode 9F21 which was premiered in America on the Fox TV network on Thursday September 30 1993.

Episode 9F21 was entitled ‘Homer’s Barbershop Quartet.’ It was scripted by Jeff Martin who said, “It was an easy episode to write. We essentially presented a compressed history of the Beatles.”

The Simpsons are at a ‘swap meet’ and among the items on Marge’s booth is her painting of Ringo (from the episode where Ringo had a cameo). Bart and Lisa rummage through a batch of old records and come across ‘Meet The Be Sharps’ which has a picture of their dad on the cover.

Homer recalls his youthful days in the Be Sharps, a barbershop vocal group with himself, Principal Skinner, Apo and Chief Wiggum. The quartet are discovered by a British agent Nigel, who takes them over and decides Chief Wiggum can’t really sing too well and replaces him with Barney, Homer’s drinking buddy. He also decides that Apu’s last Indian name Nahasapemapetalon is too long. When the group – are trying to find a name for themselves, Principal Skinner says, “We’ve got to have something that’s funny at first, but less funny each time you hear it.” They record ‘Baby On Board’ and Nigel enters the studio saying ‘Gentlemen, you’ve just made your first number one.’ He also suggests to Homer that he keeps his marriage to Marge a secret.

Arriving at Kennedy Airport they are besieged by fans. One reporter asks, “Principal Skinner, you’ve been referred to as the funny one. Is that true?” “Yes. Yes it is” says Skinner – and everyone breaks out in hysterics.The group win a Grammy award for their ‘Meet The Be Sharps’ album, presented to them by David Crosby. In the after-the-ceremony party, Homer briefly meets George.

 

George: “Hello, Homer, I’m George Harrison.”

Homer: “Oh my God. Oh my God! Where did you get that brownie?”

George: “Over there. There’s a big pile of them.”

Homer downs the whole bunch: “Oh, ma-an.”

George: “Well, what a nice fellow.”

In it, there are many parallels to the Beatles career. Moe’s Tavern had previously been called Moe’s Cavern, Barney replaced Wiggum, just as Ringo replaced Pete Best, their ‘Meet The Be Sharps’ album cover mirrors ‘The Meet The Beatles’ cover and so on.

At home Homer shows Bart and Lisa his collection of Be Sharps memorabilia, including a Be Sharps lunch box.

“I can’t believe you’re still not popular” says Lisa.

“What’d you do, screw up like the Beatles and say you were bigger than Jesus?” asks Bart.

“All the time,” says Homer. “It was the title of our second album.”

He holds up a copy of ‘Bigger Than Jesus,’ which pictures the four walking across the Abbey Road zebra crossing, with Barney in his bare feet.

The group has problems, a shabby looking Be-Sharps, without Barney, are seen singing a jingle.

“And where’s Barney?” asks an angry Homer.

“Oh, he’s with his new girlfriend, the Japanese conceptual artist,” says Skinner.

Barney arrives, dressed in black and wearing granny glasses, accompanied by a Yoko lookalike.

“Barber shop is in danger of growing stale. I’m taking it to straaange new places,” he says.

The group decided to quit and Barney returns to Moe’s bar with his girlfriend. He orders a beer, she says, “I’d like a single plum floating in perfume, served in a man’s cap.”

After relating his story, Homer decides to arrange a reunion of the Be-Sharps and they reunite for a concert on the roof of Moe’s place. As they perform, George pulls up in his limousine, rolls down the window, looks at them and says, “It’s been done.”

As the credits roll, Homer says, “I’d like to thank you on behalf of the group, and I hope we passed the audition.”

In another episode of ‘The Simpsons’, Apu pulls out a record ‘The Concert Against Bangla Desh. It is almost an exact copy of the design of the original album with the exception that a mushroom cloud has replaced the image of the little boy.

Written by: Bill Harry ©2017. All rights reserved. No unauthorised copying or re-publishing of this material is allowed by law. Please contact the writer for re-print permission.
(Contributor, McCartney Times)

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Martin Nethercutt

Martin Nethercutt

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