Well my friends at Accredited Colleges online have spent the last couple weeks sharing topics with me. I have to say, this this one got my interest before I even read the post!
So it was a no brainer when Accredited Colleges sent me the topic "10 Famous Authors featured on the Simpsons." "The Simpsons" has, for two decades, made celebrity cameos a mainstay of their episodes, celebs ranging from Kim Basinger to Steven Hawking. I didn't realize there's been THAT many authors...and now that I know, I'm wondering why Matt Groenig hasn't called ME.
Anyway, here's the list of the 10 Famous Authors Featured on the Simpsons!
On the air for nearly two decades, many young people today can't even remember a time when The Simpsons wasn't a part of weekly (or in some cases, daily) television viewing. During those twenty years, the show has poked fun at just about every pop culture fad and historical period, as well as scores of famous names. While sometimes silly, the show isn't all fluff, and some of the famous names it's lampooned have been some pretty well-known and well-regarded authors. Whether you want to find out more about authors that might be worth reading or just want to learn more about all things Simpson, read on to find out about some the giants of the literary world who have appeared on the show.
Gaiman is one of the most recent authors to appear on The Simpsons. Famous for his sci-fi and fantasy books, the author was appropriately helping Homer, Bart, and a host of other characters to write a young adult novel about vampires, trolls, and other monsters-of-the-minute that are all over pop culture. An award-winning author of the children's fantasy novel The Graveyard Book, Gaiman uses his expertise to help the team crack the code for creating the perfect best-selling YA novel (hint: it involves mixing elements of Twilight, Harry Potter, and a few trolls), but success in the publishing world isn't quite what they expected, nor is Gaiman the ally in their quest for millions they thought he was.
Stephen King is one of the most prolific and popular authors today, publishing numerous best-selling novels during his long career, so it only makes sense that'd he show up in an episode of The Simpsons. King appears comes into an episode when the family decides to take in a book festival, repayment to Lisa for the destruction of her room in a VCR repair gone wrong. When they meet the iconic author, Marge tells him to, "Call me when you start writing horror again," a jab at the author for getting away from his core audience, perhaps. King dutifully notes her request, however, with no hard feelings.
Like King, Amy Tan also appears on The Simpsons in the book fair episode. Lisa, excited to meet the author of The Joy Luck Club, participates in a panel with the authors, telling her that she loved the book and that "It really showed me how the mother-daughter bond can triumph over adversity." Tan responds that that's not what she meant at all with the book and that Lisa should just sit down as she's embarrassing the both of them. Not a flattering portrait, perhaps, but one might imagine that after months of promoting a book that's what authors would like to say.
He may be a Pulitzer Prize winner, but that didn't stop this famous author from appearing on The Simpsons. Updike is also hanging out at the book fair, but for a different reason than Tan or King. It's revealed that he's the ghost writer behind Krusty's new autobiography Your Shoes Are Too Big to Kickbox with God. Clearly not an awards contender like Updike's Rabbit series, Krusty is at the fair promoting it nonetheless. Updike has few lines and reflected later that he struggled with the small chuckle he was supposed to deliver (which promoted Krusty to tell him to shut up), hoping to make it perfect for the show.
Thomas Pynchon is a famous recluse, a lifestyle that is perhaps well-suited for crafting the dense and complex novels he writes. While Pynchon hasn't appeared in pretty much any media for decades, he has been featured in not one, not two, but three Simpsons episodes. In the first, called "Diatribe of a Mad Housewife" (an episode rife with literary references, and perfect for any bibliophile) he plays himself, though with a bag over his head. He also writes a blurb for the novel Marge has penned that says, "Thomas Pynchon loved this book, almost as much as he loves cameras!" In his second appearance, his lines consist entirely of puns made off of the titles of his novels (example: "These wings are 'V'-licious! I'll put this recipe in 'The Gravity's Rainbow Cookbook', right next to 'The Frying of Latke 49'"), which are sure to elicit more than a few groans from literature lovers. In his third and final appearance, he takes on a non-speaking role, appearing at the Word Loaf convention along with host of other famous authors.
Mitch Albom has written several books, but he's perhaps most famous for his true life story Tuesdays with Morrie. Naturally, the episode on which he appears is a parody of that book, and is called "Thursdays with Abie." Unlike many of the other authors on this list, Albom doesn't only appear on the show as himself, instead also voicing the character of Marshall, a journalist who follows Grandpa Simpson around to record his life stories. Albom also shows up as himself, however, entering the nursing home as a journalist competing to record Grandpa's stories, but is told to take a hike, as Grandpa already has his journalist.
Tom Clancy appears in a couple of episodes of The Simpsons, but only has a speaking role, actually voiced by the author, in one. Like Pynchon, Clancy also appears in the episode where Marge decides to become an author. Asked to give a sound bite about Marge's book, Clancy comes up with the groan-inducing, "Hello this is Tom Clancy. Would I say, 'if you're hunting for a good read this October, Marge Simpson's book is a clear and present danger to your free time?' Hell no I wouldn't! Whaddya mean I just said it. That doesn't count. Hello? Hello?" Classic Simpsons humor with a literary twist!
Stephen Jay Gould
If you're not much into non-fiction reading, you might not be familiar with Stephen Jay Gould, but when it comes to writing on evolution, paleontology, and popular science, he was one of the biggest names in the business. Before he passed away in 2002, Gould appeared on an episode of The Simpsons called "Lisa the Skeptic," in which the town discovers a skeleton that they believe to be from an angel. Lisa brings a sample of the angel to Gould to test, while the rest of the town goes gaga over the so-called angel. Gould isn't painted in the best light in the episode, however, never actually doing the tests, but telling Lisa the results were inconclusive.
Given the fervent following Rowling's Harry Potter series has generated around the world, it would have been difficult for such a pop culture-focused show like The Simpsons to have ignored her influence. When the Simpson family makes a quick hop across the pond to England for a vacation, they run into Rowling as she's coming out of a bookstore. Lisa thanks her for turning a generation of young kids onto reading and asks what happens at the end of the Harry Potter series (the episode was aired in 2003). Rowling replies, "He grows up and marries you. Is that what you want to hear?", much to Lisa's delight.
Michael Chabon appears as part of a literary power foursome that includes authors Jonathan Franzen, Gore Vidal, and Tom Wolfe appearing at the satirical Word Loaf Literary Conference. All of the authors have some great lines that poke fun at their work while they praise Moe for his surprisingly inspired poetry (created with the help of Lisa, of course). The episode includes a literary shunning and a great fight between Chabon and Franzen, where Chabon declares, "That's it, Franzen! I think your nose needs some Corrections!" Originally, the episode was to end with the authors being crushed by a boulder, but the show took pity on the authors and let them escape with only mild injuries.