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October 3, 2015

Michael Jackson's connection to The Simpsons runs deeper than you think

by Danny Gallagher, posted Jun 27th 2009 2:02PM
A cover of the Simpsons Comics parodying Michael Jackson's Michael Jackson's impact on TV's infallible mammoth The Simpsons goes far deeper than we previously suspected.

In fact, Jackson is probably one of the many creative minds who helped the show and its characters move into more musical territory and become an even deeper part of global pop culture. When you're a king, you have all sorts of powers, so you might as well use them for the good of your kingdom.

That's why when I become king, I will order all television networks to play nothing but Top Gear and Robot Chicken and that episode of Married...With Children where Al meets a stripper named Rocki Mountains. Anyone who tries to stop me will be thrown into a cell without the benefit of trial and forced to watch reruns of Cop Rock and AfterMASH until their eyes stop working and/or melt right out of their skull. Whadaya gonna do about it? I'm the frigging king!

Jackson did have an uncredited role as a mental patient who thinks he is Michael Jackson in the third-season's premiere episode titled "Stark Raving Dad", according to Mike Reiss, The Simpsons writer who co-wrote the episode with writing partner Al Jean, in a secret commentary hidden deep within the bowels of the third season DVD. The singing voice, however, is someone else.

Jackson did the show on the cusp of his popularity as a musician. Reiss said his skin color had just started to change and joked that Jackson was "three noses in" at the time of his appearance. Jackson was very involved with the episode. He reviewed the show's script very carefully, even asking if they could remove a joke about Prince and Elvis out of the dialogue.

Reiss said Jackson did all of his own acting, but insisted that his official singing double Kipp Lennon, the youngest member of the Lennon Sisters' family, provide Jackson's musical voice. Jackson reportedly "roared" during Lennon's performance because he thought it would make a great prank on his brothers. Reiss said he didn't get it.

Interestingly enough, his association with the show began way before that episode in another uncredited role. Apparently, Jackson was a huge fan of the show and, more specifically, of the mischievous Bart (it's probably best to leave any and all snide assumptions about Jackson's attachment to young Bart aside, out of respect for the dead). He actually called the show's producer James L. Brooks before his guest appearance and told him that he wanted to make Bart a musical sensation by writing a hit single for him. That hit single became "Do the Bartman."

The song appeared on the show's first album and later premiered as a single and music video. It never got much airtime in the states because the single was never released, but it tore up the British charts after spending three weeks at number one in 1991, a week longer than Jackson's own single "Black or White" released the same year. Maybe Jackson could have outlasted Bart if he called it "Black or Yellow."

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Good article except for the "let's snidely imply things without trying to say too much" part.

Let's ask every "so-called" normal, non-freaky, non-perverted, person here: Who is your favourite Simpson character??

Everyone man and his dog loved Bart Simpson when The Simpson's was in its prime. Of course, Homer was loved too, for all his useless ways.. But Bart was the rebel.. And that was what appealed about him the most to the majority.

Bart's still my favourite and I'm 31. Big deal. Bart has the better story lines. Of course Michael loved Bart too. We all did. It means nothing. He's a CARTOON.

FTR, Do The Bartman was a hit here in Australia. I'm sure it reached #1.

Also, Michael Jackson may be known for many things.. And the most endearing trait about him was his big heart and childlike sense of humour. But he was also a perceptive business man who knew when he was looking at something that was magic. And, so, here's another example with his involvement in The Simpson's. He wasn't jaded like the rest of us. He found ways to make the world a better place.

What have you done today?

I love you Michael. ♥

August 19 2009 at 11:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

FOX is playing this video now (8pm EST)

June 28 2009 at 8:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Bring on the Cop Rock, King Danny. I think my household contains the only two people in America who loved that show and wanted to see much more.

June 28 2009 at 10:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I loved Michael and always will. Thanks for this report.

June 28 2009 at 8:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Man, that must be a great episode of married... with children. Which season is it so I can try to find it on netflix?

June 28 2009 at 8:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"best to leave any and all snide assumptions about Jackson's attachment to young Bart aside"

You could have, like, just not said anything, out of respect for not being crass & obvious

June 28 2009 at 6:20 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The single may not have had much traction here in the US, but the video certainly did. According to Wiki, it was the #1 video on MTV between January and March '91. That matches up with my recollection of seeing it all the time.

The video had stellar production credits as well - it was directed by Brad Bird while he was an executive consultant for The Simpsons.

June 27 2009 at 5:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Who knew?

June 27 2009 at 2:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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