Special Guest Star O.J. Simpson Nearly Ruined a Classic ‘Simpsons’ Episode

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Special Guest Star O.J. Simpson Nearly Ruined a Classic ‘Simpsons’ Episode

While far from the worst thing he ever did, the late O.J. Simpson sure did come close to ruining a number of movies and TV shows with his presence. Like The Towering InfernoCapricorn One and The Naked Gun, which literally begins with his character Officer Nordberg skulking around in the shadows carrying a weapon. Yeah, it plays a tad differently post-1994.

Then there are the productions that came very close to including him, such as the 1990s Disney Channel show Adventures in Wonderland, which invited O.J. to pal around with the Mad Hatter and March Hare, then quickly pulled the episode from broadcast following his arrest. Disney still published the children’s book adaptation of the episode for some unknown reason, along with a cover that really makes it look like the White Rabbit is afraid for his own life. 

And just a year before the infamous Bronco chase, O.J. nearly showed up on TV alongside his animated namesakes The Simpsons. As Simpsons showrunner Al Jean revealed in 2018, O.J. was asked to make a voice cameo in one of the show’s classic episodes, Season Four’s “Last Exit to Springfield,” which found the nuclear plant workers going on strike. It’s perhaps best remembered as the episode with the “Dental plan, Lisa needs braces” moment that is now undoubtedly echoing throughout your brain, and will be for the next several minutes until someone drops a pencil down your butt crack. 

According to Jean, O.J. “fortunately” turned down the cameo, which seemingly would have found him playing himself and appearing alongside Kent Brockman and Homer on Springfield’s political panel show Smartline. Instead, the part was filled by celebrity psychologist Dr. Joyce Brothers who, last time we checked, was never accused of committing a double homicide. 

Were O.J. to have agreed, the episode would surely be viewed way differently today. Would Disney simply snip O.J. out of the show altogether, not unlike how they pulled the Michael Jackson episode from circulation and still occasionally omit any references to human sexuality? Or would it remain intact and serve as a weird cultural artifact of a time when O.J. Simpson was best known for his professional footballing and awkward acting?

Probably not, considering that The Simpsons’ corporate overlords were never exactly thrilled with the fact that O.J. shared a surname with their lucrative cartoon family, as evidenced by the time Fox sent legal threats to the creators of the web parody The O.J. Simpsons

The Simpsons did eventually include O.J. in an episode. Season Fourteen’s “The Bart of War” began with a confusing South Park parody (seemingly written by someone who had never actually seen South Park) in which a butcher-knife-wielding O.J. graphically decapitates Steve Guttenberg, Calista Flockhart and “Farty the Crippled Robot.”

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