‘Simpsons’ Fans Blast Arnold Schwarzenegger for Ripping Off Rainier Wolfcastle
Sunday’s four-hour cavalcade of overpriced commercials — occasionally interrupted by spurts of football — brought with it a number of high-profile ads starring A-list movie stars. From Jennifer Aniston reuniting with David Schwimmer, to Michael Cera hawking skin creams, to Ben Affleck forming a Dunkin’-themed boy band with Matt Damon, soon to be emblazoned on the official flag of Boston, we assume. Also, Arnold Schwarzenegger reunited with his Twins co-star Danny DeVito for a State Farm Insurance commercial. Sadly for Junior fans, at no point in the spot did DeVito attempt to inseminate his Austrian bodybuilder pal.
While a lot of people clearly loved it, the premise of the ad was just that Arnold Schwarzenegger has a thick accent, therefore he couldn’t give his director proper line readings. Really? Wasn’t this joke already driven deep into the ground back in the days of Hans and Franz?
The commercial felt extra stale to Simpsons fans, as multiple viewers chimed in on social media to point out that this multimillion dollar advertisement was suspiciously similar to a scene in the “Radioactive Man” episode. Or, to put it another way: The Simpsons already did it.
Pointing out that The Simpsons inadvertently predicted pop-culture events, or utilized archetypal TV narratives that will inevitably be duplicated by other shows has become pretty rote by now, as South Park illustrated more than two decades ago. But in this particular instance, people have a point. Obviously Rainier Wolfcastle was created as an unsubtle parody of Schwarzenegger; the star of McBain and McBain: Let’s Get Silly is a noted Republican, drives a Humvee and was straight-up renamed “Arnold Schwarzenegger” in The Simpsons Movie. Oh, and he’s the president for some reason.
The State Farm commercial finds the ad-within-an-ad’s director becoming increasingly frustrated with Schwarzenegger’s line reading. The Terminator icon keeps pronouncing “Neighbor” as “Neighbaa.” They repeat the word back and forth, with Schwarzenegger’s dialect never wavering. This is nearly identical to the moment when Rainier Wolfcastle can’t stop saying “Up and at them” instead of “Up and atom” during rehearsals for the Radioactive Man movie.
Whether or not Schwarzenegger himself is aware of this particular episode isn’t clear. It’s likely that he’s not, considering that in 2014, author David Cicirelli tricked Schwarzenegger into saying “up and atom” on camera. Arnold was offering fans “personalized line readings” from his films as part of a charity donation reward, but seemingly wasn’t aware that this specific line A) wasn’t actually from an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie; and B) was originally uttered by his cartoon doppelganger.
If State Farm really wants to make this connection explicit, perhaps they’ll start offering coverage for when customers’ eyeballs get horribly burned by acid due to faulty goggles that do nothing.
You (yes, you) should follow JM on Twitter (if it still exists by the time you’re reading this).