The Simpsons is a show that has managed to force its way into the zeitgeist like few other sitcoms, and fewer still animated programs. The beautiful characters that constitute Springfield are among the best written to be found anywhere on television. The franchise is known for the ease with which it integrates big names into its storytelling (Smashing Pumpkins! Lady Gaga! Sarah Silverman! Anderson Cooper!), but, let’s face it—not every episode gets it right!
10. The Mysterious Voyage of Homer
This one is a classic. It really reminds us of the depth of the love between Marge and Homer, and how central that sentiment is to the family dynamic. But rather than meeting a CELEBRITY GUEST marriage counsellor (imagine David Bowie! They could have done a three-part arrangement of Heroes!) Homer goes to the chilli cook off, eats the insanity pepper, and all we get is some crazy atacama desert allegory and a talking Coyote! Willie Nelson totally could have been there!
9. Bart’s Girlfriend
In this classic, Bart falls in love with the Reverend’s daughter in a plotline that teems with celeb potential. There could’ve been some great shots of God in heaven (Lovejoy is a reverend, after all!) hanging out with celebrities alive and dead! Why don’t we meet the rest of the Lovejoy family? What if Jessica’s grandmother was Madonna? Huh? What about that? They could’ve done so much with it!
8. Oh Brother Where Art Thou?
So we’re finally introduced to someone in Homer’s family other than also not a celebrity Abe Simpson. He’s a millionaire, he’s an inventor, he’s a genius. If only I knew one single celebrity who was those things?! Oh wait! I know so many of them I could vomit! Richard Branson is Homer’s long lost brother! Or Steve Jobs is Homer’s long lost brother! Or Bill Gates! He’d be great on The Simpsons!
7. Lisa’s Substitute
Ms Hoover has a psychosomatic illness and they need a ring in. While they go for the soulful Mister Bergstrom who teaches Lisa she is great for who she is, you know who else is good at doling out moral lessons? The Beatles! Why not get them to sing the theme song at some point? Or a different song? Don’t need Bergstrom jamming on the guitar when you could get The Beatles to do one of their number one hits! Gosh!
6. The Principal and the Pauper
Okay, so it’s revealed that Seymour Skinner is a fraud. That means we can either retroactively make him a big dumb nobody (like, say, Armond Tanzarian! Zing!) or reveal that Seymour Skinner was JAMES CAMERON making a FILM! or DAVID BOWIE recording a NEW ALBUM! Get it together The Simpsons!
5. The Last Temptation of Homer
Nevermind Mindy, imagine the chaos that could have been caused if a well known celebrity had visited the power plant! What shenanigans Homer might have gotten up to with Cindy Lauper, or Margaret Thatcher! Think unsexy thoughts—about Thatcher!
4. Homer the Great
Hello! This one writes itself! You’ve got a clandestine group like the freemasons with all the big personalities of Springfield involved! Why not put a big name celebrity at the top of the organisation! Imagine what a great job Ian McKellen would have done running the Stonecutters! “Who rigs every Oscar night?” Ian McKellen could have!
3. Stark Raving Dad
Everybody loves the episode where Homer is institutionalised and Bart proves himself as a wonderful brother. But just imagine how MUCH BETTER it would have been if the ACTUAL Michael Jackson had moonwalked into shot and then sung a song from his latest album! The image is incredible! Nobody believed that Leon Kompowsky was a star. Michael Jackson is, though! C’mon Groening!
2. Lisa’s First Word
Hypothetical question: you’ve got the opportunity to do a flashback show, do you a: populate the world with known characters from the franchise? or b: jam-pack it with timely eighties celebrities who can bring the house down with messages about their latest film or album? The answer is so obvious! Plus, imagine the high-power celebrity name that could have been nursing Maggie as she said her first word! ACDC! Or David Bowie.
1. Every Episode with Sideshow Bob
Okay, so it’s a bit of a cheat, but I think number 1 goes without saying! The character who is most desperately crying out for a celebrity cameo is SIDESHOW BOB! In EVERY episode Bob is in he sings BEAUTIFUL classical musical songs and operas, and he NEEDS a doubles partner! What about Sideshow David Bowie?! Huh?! How about Sideshow David Bowie! SIDESHOW DAVID BOWIE!?