5 ‘Simpsons’ Guest Stars That Aged Horribly

5 ‘Simpsons’ Guest Stars That Aged Horribly

Since The Simpsons has been on the air longer than some adults currently on the cusp of a Kirk Van Houten-esque mid-life crisis have been alive, obviously not every episode has wholly stood the test of time. While most of the show’s much-ballyhooed celebrity guest appearances still hold up, some episodes featuring big-names playing themselves have aged about as well as a warm carton of Malk, like how… 

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Mel Gibson Shows Up and Complains That He’s Too Beloved

In the 1999 episode “Beyond Blunderdome,” Homer and Mel Gibson join forces to make a nonsensical mess of a movie that sacrifices logic and reason for scenes of nauseating gratuitous violence, which arguably took on a whole new meaning after Gibson made the anti-Semitic Saw prequel known as The Passion of the Christ just a few years later.

Even weirder, in retrospect, is the central conceit of the episode — that Mel Gibson partners with Homer because he’s the only person in the world who would dare to disparage the beloved Mad Max star/notorious racist. “People love me so much they never criticize me,” Gibson complains to Marge, presumably while holding a monkey’s paw. Even wilder, he then claims: “I speed all the time, but cops never give me a ticket.” Keep in mind, this was just seven years before Gibson was pulled over for drunk driving, went on an anti-Semitic rant, and allegedly called the arresting officer “Sugar Tits.”

Elon Musk Comes to Town, Ushers in Massive Layoffs

While it was criticized at the time, the 2015 episode “The Musk Who Fell to Earth” somehow plays even worse today, thanks to moments such as Lisa’s declaration that literal dick-measuring contest challenger Elon Musk is the “greatest living inventor” and the scene in which his rocket ship lands in the Simpsons’ backyard and inadvertently crushes a mailman — a joke that seems way less far-fetched now that bits of SpaceX debris are routinely raining down on private farms and random parked cars. 

More disquietingly prescient, when Musk partners with Mr. Burns’ nuclear plant, his environmental overhaul leads to massive layoffs — kind of the funhouse mirror version of the layoffs Musk would eventually order at Twitter/X/whatever dumb thing it’s surely going to be named in the future. Not to mention that Musk gifting Springfieldians with a fleet of sophisticated self-driving cars seems especially laughable now that eight years have passed and Tesla’s self-driving cars are still plagued with significant safety issues and bad publicity, including reports that the company’s past demos showcasing the impressive technology were total smoke and mirrors bullshit.

Mark McGwire Covers-Up a Major League Baseball Scandal

When Bart – hopped up on a new ADHD drug called “Focusyn” – accuses Major League Baseball of operating covert spy satellites, pretty much everybody in Springfield thinks he’s delusional. But Bart’s theories are ultimately proven correct, prompting a visit from Mark McGwire, fresh off of his historic home run race with Sammy Sosa. McGwire distracts the town by hitting a few “dingers” in an attempt to cover up the league’s transgressions. 

The idea of McGwire and the MLB conspiring to bury a scandal is a tad less hilariously wacky in hindsight; McGwire’s record was famously tarnished when he admitted to taking steroids in 2010, and MLB commissioner Bud Selig reportedly “looked the other way” when it came to the apparent steroid use, due to “the higher attendance numbers and profits.”

Jasper Johns Steals Another Artist’s Painting

In “Mom and Pop Art,” Homer’s rage-filled attempt to construct a barbecue pit inadvertently leads to a career as an acclaimed outsider artist. Along the way, he meets legendary painter Jasper Johns, who is oddly portrayed as a kleptomaniac that isn’t above filling his pockets with free hors d’oeuvres or even straight-up stealing Marge’s painting in the final moments of the episode. 

Seemingly this was a playful reference to Johns’ style, which appropriated “familiar everyday imagery” serving as “a major influence on Pop Art.” But in recent years, Johns actually landed in hot water for stealing another artist’s work; in this case, it was a 17-year-old boy’s drawing, which the Cameroonian teen had “gifted their mutual orthopedic surgeon.” Johns controversially took the image without permission and used it in his 2020 work Slice.

Michael Jackson Hangs Out With Bart and Lisa (But You’ll Have to Take Our Word for It)

The granddaddy of retroactively uncomfortable Simpsons guest stars is surely Michael Jackson, who famously lent his voice to the 1991 episode “Stark Raving Dad” — but, weirdly, not his singing voice. That cost extra, apparently.

Following the “renewed allegations of child sexual abuse” against Jackson brought to light in the documentary Leaving Neverland, the controversial decision was made in 2019 to pull the episode from circulation, which is why it’s nowhere to be found on Disney+ today.

Regardless of whether or not you feel that the episode should have been wiped from digital existence and sent to that purgatorial dimension where Ozzie Smith has been trapped since 1992, watching the episode — in which a guy claiming to be Michael Jackson is repeatedly left alone with several minors — is no doubt a decidedly different experience today.

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