‘The Simpsons’ Marathon: 6 Things to Notice While Watching FXX’s 12-Day Run

Simpsons Marathon Simpsons Through the Years

Five hundred and twenty-two episodes of “The Simpsons” shown over 278 continuous hours? Don’t have a cow, man!

When 21st Century Fox’s general-entertainment outlet FXX unspools every “Simpsons” half-hour ever made (plus the 2007 movie) starting at 10 a.m. Thursday, it would seem to offer an overwhelming task: How can a viewer immerse himself or herself in such a torrent of content and yet pause to note some of the nuances in the stream?

Your answer is here. While bingeing on Bart, Lisa and Maggie in such amounts could make the average couch potato feel as if they’ve been drizzled in butter, cheese and bacon, the simple fact is the series has its Easter eggs and special moments that everyone should at least try to note. Below, a small sampling:

Odd Musical Notes: Sure, Coldplay (Season 21, Episode 11) and U2 (Season 9, Episode 22) have made cameos on the series, but so too have some obscure and surprising players. Keep a lookout for NRBQ (Season 11, Episode 8); Bachman Turner Overdrive (Season 11, Episode 13); Sonic Youth (Season 7, Episode 24); Spinal Tap (Season 3, Episode 22); Robert Goulet (Season 5, Episode 10); and Phish (Season 13, Episode 16).

A Strange Alias: Who is John Jay Smith? Due to contractual obligations at the time, the show could not tell viewers of the first episode of the series’ third season (“Stark Raving Dad”) that Michael Jackson supplied his own voice to a character who believed he was, in fact, the singer. The solution was to identify the musician as John Jay Smith – a ploy that hardly convinced anyone that Jackson wasn’t really at work behind the scenes.

Boy, That Voice Sounds Familiar: Actor Phil Hartman, best known for his years on “Saturday Night Live,” provided the voices of various characters in more than 50 episodes of the series. Whenever shady lawyer Lionel Hutz or ubiquitous B-movie actor Troy McClure appear on screen, it’s Hartman who brings them to life.

O’Brien Abounds: Late-night host Conan O’Brien wrote for “The Simpsons” for a while, and he also appeared in the show. You can spot the lanky red-headed comic in Season 5’s “Bart Gets Famous.” But you can also enjoy his wit during the classic fourth-season episode “Marge Vs. the Monorail,” which he wrote.

How Old Is Mr. Burns – Really?: The question about “The Simpsons'” perpetual crank often emerges, particularly because the character himself has acknowledged being born in the 1800s and information surfaces in the series that his mother had an affair with President Taft. Viewers can get a glimpse of his storied history by looking for a framed pictures of ol’ Monty and Elvis Presley in the fourth-season episode “Marge Gets a Job.”

‘The Simpsons’ and Social Media: When Homer, Marge and family first arrived on TV in 1987 (during vignettes on Fox’s “The Tracey Ullman Show”) the World Wide Web was barely in swing,  let alone social media and streaming video. But FXX will try to use this cartoon clan to spark social-media buzz by having “Simpsons” executive producer and showrunner Al Jean tweet along with other series writers throughout the marathon (but not continuously). Look for their words and remarks at Twitter handle @everysimpsons and official hashtag #EverySimpsonsEver.



Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 6

Leave a Reply


Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. The biggest thing to notice: the episodes aren’t cut for time, like if you watch them on broadcast syndication. Can’t wait to see Doctor Colossus when they show Who Shot Mr. Burns?

  2. Joseppi says:

    Yeah no one should take Kenn He’s advice. He’s clearly a cynic of a fan. Seasons 1-2, while not nearly as polished as later years, have a lot of heart & are funny in less idiosyncratic ways. Seasons 9-12 have some of the most classic episodes in series history. Homer vs NYC? Guess who’s coming to criticize dinner? Worst episode ever? All really really good. Watch em all or as many as you care to & form your own opinion!

  3. KennH says:

    here’s a big tip: Skip season 1 and 2, watch 3-8 and avoid ALL other seasons after 8. They are incredibly unfunny.

    • sinn1 says:

      What?! Any and all Simpsons fans should ignore your comment completely. Homer steals cable TV, anyone. Bart the daredevil, Homer falling down Springfield gorge maybe you have forgotten those episodes and given the age I would understand. As far as skipping all of the rest, I again entirely and emphatically disagree with you. Season 14- The Great Louse Detective-, -The Dad Who Knew to Little-, to name two. This is just an example that I chose from my DVD collection at random, that was passed season 8.

  4. giobravo says:

    Ay carumba!

More TV News from Variety