“The Simpsons” will make history on Sunday, and coincidentally it’s happening during Women’s History Month. For the first time ever, after 33 seasons and 719 episodes (this Sunday is episode 720), the top four key creative roles that guide animation in a “Simpsons” episode are all women.
That includes director Jennifer Moeller, as well as assistant director Debbie Spafford, lead timer Esther Lee and background layout lead HeeJin Kim. Also, the episode (titled “You Won’t Believe What This Episode Is About — Act Three Will Shock You!”) has a “written by” credit for Christine Nangle.
This isn’t the first time, however, that the show has featured female writer/director pairs, but the first time it has worked out with the entire animation creative team. Moeller, for example, has directed several episodes in recent years, including last season’s “Mother and Child Reunion” and “Do Pizza Bots Dream of Electric Guitars.”
Variety has the exclusive first look for the episode, which features guest star Kumail Nanjiani. In the episode, Homer is blamed for leaving Santa’s Little Helper locked in the family car on a hot day. It’s actually not Homer’s fault, but footage of the incident is posted on a neighborhood social media website (dubbed “NeighborHub” — a parody of NextDoor) and then goes viral.
Nanjiani plays Theo, a mysterious man who runs “The Institute,” a company that rehabilitates the reputations of those people savaged on the internet. Theo approaches Homer and offers up his services to help save his reputation, and he joins a group that also includes Helen Lovejoy, Councilman Jed Hawk, Larry Doogan and Kirk Van Houten. The timely story also touches on Internet clickbait culture and headlines.
Also on this episode, it’s the first time Jay Pharoah voices Drederick Tatum, the infamous Springfield boxer who looks (and sounds) a lot like Mike Tyson. Hank Azaria had previously voiced the boxer, but as has been previously reported, “The Simpsons” in 2020 announced that it would no longer have white actors voice characters of color. Azaria had also previously stepped away from playing the character Apu.
“The Simpsons” is a Gracie Films Production in association with 20th Television Animation. James L. Brooks, Matt Groening, Al Jean and Matt Selman are the executive producers. Here’s a first look at Sunday’s episode: