Set the VCR: Happy Birthday Lisa, from Bart and Michael Jackson…

2006257928018765212_rsYesterday was one of those surreal days. I think mostly everyone will remember the day Michael Jackson died. Combine this with the whirlwind of Farrah Fawcett passing away earlier in the day and Ed McMahon passing 2 days before that, it was just madness. I’m not even sure how they went through with an NBA Draft. Anyway, my dude jabok stated it best over twitter:

the worlds coming to an end. =(

A little overblown, but I think that was the general consensus. Now I know everyone is doing their little tributes and look backs to the “King of Pop” at the moment. It’s amazing really, MTV started to play music videos again… really! I’m going to ignore all the craziness and all the controversy surrounding the last few years of Michael Jackson’s life for the moment, and focus on this one touching moment in television animation history.

Hit the Jump to read more about this Set the VCR moment:


The Simpsons “Stark Raving Dad” / dir. Rich Moore/ September 19, 1991


simpsons-starkravingdad-homer-michaThis episode was originally intended to be the season 2 finale, but was held over and became the opening episode for season 3. The big draw for this episode was that it guest starred Michael Jackson. However,  If you look back at the credits, Michael Jackson was never credited as a voice actor, instead he choose to go by a pseudonym, John Jay Smith, but everyone knew it was him. In fact, because of this Fox andthe  producers of the Simpsons were not able to fully promote Michael’s appearance on the show. After this, the producers decided that if a celebrity guest-starred on the show they would have to go by their real name.

The Set-up

A laundry mix-up forces Homer to wear a pink shirt to work. Because of this Mr. Burns thinks Homer is a “free thinking anarchist” and is sent to a mental institution. At the mental institute Homer meets a large husky middle age white man that claims to be Michael Jackson. Seeing as Homer has no idea who Michael Jackson is, he assumes the truth. Homer and the fake Michael Jackson get to know each other and develop a friendship. When Homer is released from the mental institute, he invites fake Michael over for dinner (fake Michael was in the mental institute voluntarily). Bart gets word and spreads news to all of Springfield that Michael Jackson is coming. All this is happening while Lisa is sad and distraught that everyone is forgetting her birthday, especially Bart. When fake Michael is revealed,  the town of Springfield is deflated, Bart is angry, and Lisa is devastated that Bart has not acknowledged her Birthday. That night, Bart and fake Michael chat and decide to write a song for Lisa’s birthday. In the morning, Bart wakes up Lisa, and the next Set the VCR moment happens…

Set the VCR

It’s not that complicated, Bart and Michael Jackson sing Lisa the song that Bart wrote for her birthday. Lisa is so happy and joyed. It is the best present anyone has ever gotten her. Listen to the song here (I couldn’t find the clip):

The Impact

The best Simpsons moments are the touching ones, and this moment was just that… touching. Through all the gags, all the jokes, all the brash behavior, we see that this family genuinely loves each other. And how better to show that moment than a duet with the King of Pop himself. What I especially liked, was that, in the episode, it wasn’t even the REAL Michael Jackson that helped Bart write and sing (in real life Kipp Lennon actually did the singing voice of Michael in this episode). You didn’t need an actual celebrity, sometimes all you need is the spirit and the essence. 

And I guess that’s all we have left now huh. The spirit and the essence. 

RIP Michael Jackson…

One thought on “Set the VCR: Happy Birthday Lisa, from Bart and Michael Jackson…

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