There isn’t much The Simpsons will not do. There is very little they have not already done if it made its way into pop culture. We look to the popular TV family to make heavy news lighter and funny stuff funnier. It seems they even paid homage to two stars the world lost this week. David Bowie and Alan Rickman both made appearances on the show in earlier seasons.
The Simpsons are famous for doing spoofs of TV shows, movies, actors, musicians, and even authors. In their three-decade run, the show has hosted many celebrity guest stars such as Phil Hartman, Tony Bennett, Reese Witherspoon, and Michael Jackson. The Simpsons also used their own celebrity staff to voice stars who could not make it to the show in person. Alan Rickman was one such voiced appearance, portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch from Sherlock.
In 2013, The Simpsons aired an episode called “Love is a Many-Splintered Thing.” Bart watches a film that parodies the classic Love Actually. In the clip, the Prime Minister professes his love for a blue-collar woman named Eliza Commonbottom. In memory of Rickman, the producers posted a clip from this episode. This clip included the intended target, Rickman, in his Severus Snape persona. However, a pleasant surprise lay within the same brief time span. In the background as Snape, the best-known character Rickman played, dances with members of Parliament, we hear a familiar tune. The song is “All the Young Dudes,” by none other than David Bowie.
“The clip serves as an accidental but thoughtful tribute to both artistic greats,” EW said on The Simpson’s unexpected nod to Bowie.
This prompted another homage idea from the staff of The Simpsons.
This is as close as we ever got to having David Bowie on The Simpsons pic.twitter.com/yiEXGs4sHQ
— Matt Selman (@mattselman) January 11, 2016
“This is as close as we ever got to having David Bowie on The Simpson’s,” executive producer Matt Selman said after posting a sketch of Kent Brockman in a Ziggy Stardust costume on Twitter.
Bowie wrote the song that appeared in the episode at the height of his glam rock era in the ’70s. However, he gave it to the band Mott the Hoople when he caught wind of the news that they were struggling and on the brink of splitting up. The band released the song in 1972. It quickly swept through both the U.S. and the U.K. almost overnight, and became a number one hit in classic rock.
The day the news of his death went public, the creators for The Simpsons posted a tribute to Bowie. In the sketch, Homer Simpson had the honor of representing the legend, mimicking the cover photo from Bowie’s Aladdin Sane album.
— Al Jean (@AlJean) January 12, 2016
With the character Severus Snape from the Harry Potter series, Rickman created a persona that fans hated to love. He was despicable to Harry and his friends, yet Snape also showed us all that he had a few heroic tendencies, too. Fans of the series share their tearful farewells all over social media, proving that the world’s biggest villains receive love, too. In fact, Snape had a line in the brief snippet shared by the network.
“Love is more powerful than all my magic,” he said.
The two-second pun The Simpsons delivered on Rickman as Snape was funny but very tasteful.
The losses of Alan Rickman and David Bowie are tragic, but fans and fellow stars alike celebrate their lives in heartwarming ways. These two icons had a profound impact on fans worldwide, and it is not surprising that even the fictional town of Springfield, whose state is still unknown after almost thirty years on the air, mourns the loss of these two legends with us. The homage from The Simpsons is just one of the first in a long series of emotional and meaningful tributes.
[Photo by David McNew/Getty Images]