Ricky Gervais Loves The Simpsons
Ricky Gervais has said that The Simpsons is the best TV show of all time, a sediment I’d have to agree with. It didn’t take long for Matt Groening to extend an invitation to Gervais after many of the creators and writers found they shared a love for The Office – saying: “Everybody on The Simpsons is a fan of The Office – it’s one of the best shows on TV in the last decade.”
Ricky Gervais went on to write and star in The Simpsons episode “Homer Simpson, This Is Your Wife” voicing the character Charles Heathbar [see video below]. He guest starred as himself in the Season 22 episode “Angry Dad – The Movie“. A 2008 article [here], Entertainment Weekly named Gervais one of the sixteen best Simpsons guest stars.
Before the episode air, Gervais did an interview with Entertainment Weekly, where he picks his favorite episodes! The man knows his stuff:
“It might be a cartoon, but The Simpsons is the best television comedy ever. It’s unfair because it’s almost too good. The characters are beautiful. The writing is out of this world. I sometimes sit back in amazement and wonder how they didn’t miss a trick. There are episodes when I’ve nearly been in tears, they’re so beautiful and ambitious. Favorite episodes? The thing is, I was never a nerd. I’ve never been that sort of geek or had that sort of male autism where you know things off by heart. I never quoted Monty Python. But I do it with The Simpsons. I get with a like-minded person and I’m crying with laughter, telling them bits I remember.
I met Matt Groening and I was even doing it to him. Although he just wanted to talk about The Office! It was a mutual back-slapping fest. I was going, ‘Oh, The Simpsons is the greatest TV show on earth: and he was saying the same about The Office. He [Groening] said I could do a voice in an episode. I’m not well known enough to have a cameo. Just a character is fine. I’ll probably end up being in a bar brawl.”
1. HOMER’S ENEMY [SEASON 8] – New nuclear-plant employee Frank Grimes drives himself to an early grave by plotting against Homer. ”The most complete episode. Grimes finds out Homer’s the safety inspector and can’t believe people around him don’t mind, and that this buffoon who nearly drinks acid by mistake has got a loving family. But he’s not seeing the whole picture. You sit back and watch this man’s demise with glee. The funeral is beautiful. Homer’s asleep, snoring, and goes, ‘Change the channel, Marge,’ and they all laugh as the coffin is going down. If someone comes into this world, they leave it the same as it was before. It’s just perfect.”
2. AND MAGGIE MAKES THREE [SEASON 6] – When Lisa asks why there are no pictures of Maggie in the photo album, a flashback recalls Homer and Marge’s leaner times. ”Homer has to go groveling back to Mr. Burns, and Mr. Burns gives him this terrible plaque above his desk that says, ‘Don’t forget: You’re here forever.’ It’s about how sometimes things don’t go the way you planned, which is pretty amazing in a cartoon. Homer then puts up all the pictures of Maggie he’s ever taken to strategically cover this horrible thing so it now reads, ‘Do it for her.’ It gives me a lump in the throat thinking about it.”
3. A FISH CALLED SELMA [SEASON 7] – McClure enters into a sham marriage with Selma to rehab his image and hide a secret. ”You think it’s going to be that he’s gay. And he says, ‘Gay, I wish!’ It turns out he’s got this weird fish fetish. There’s one throwaway line where one of the mobsters goes, ‘I thought you said Troy McClure was dead,’ and the other responds, ‘No, what I said was he sleeps with the fishes.’ That’s incredible! I never saw that coming! And it’s the one where Troy’s in the Planet of the Apes musical. One of my favorite lines is when he sings ‘from chimpan-A to chimpan-Z.’ Inspired, isn’t it?”
4. MUCH APU ABOUT NOTHING [SEASON 7] – When xenophobia overtakes Springfield, Homer comes to Apu’s aid. ”It’s a great swipe at ignorance and fear. [To prepare Apu for a citizenship test], Homer holds the flag up and says, ‘We all know the 13 stripes are for good luck. But why does the American flag have precisely 47 stars?’ Homer is at his best when he’s arrogant and ignorant at the same time. Also, Chief Wiggum says, ‘First we’ll be rounding up your tired, then your poor, then your huddled masses.’ I love the deconstructing, and taking something that’s so globally obvious and getting it wrong. A kids’ cartoon — think of the satire! Phenomenal!”
[last updated June 23 2011]