Sorry Lisa, it’s NOT your birthday as Fox confirms it’s pulling a classic episode of The Simpsons featuring Michael Jackson. Over the past 30 years, the yellow comedy has included some A-list talent.
Alongside the likes of Meryl Streep (Jessica Lovejoy), Patrick Stewart (Number One), Glenn Close (Mona Simpson), Dustin Hoffman (Mr. Bergstrom), and Leonard Nimoy as himself, Jackson cemented himself as one of the most iconic Simpsons guest stars in Season 3’s “Stark Raving Dad”.
In the wake of HBO’s shocking Leaving Neverland, The Wall Street Journal confirms that “Stark Raving Dad” will be pulled from circulation. Speaking to the site, executive producer James L. Brooks said, “It feels clearly the only choice to make”.
Brooks went on to say it was a unanimous decision from himself and fellow exec producers Matt Groening and Al Jean. He continued, “The guys I work with — where we spend our lives arguing over jokes — were of one mind on this”.
The 1991 episode sees Homer committed to a psychiatric facility where he meets a man called Leon Kompowsky. Kompowsky genuinely believes he is Michael Jackson, leading to plenty of shenanigans and references to the “Bad” singer.
The heartwarming episode ends with Bart and MJ penning a tribute song to Lisa with the catchy “Happy Birthday Lisa” — written by Jackson. For years, contractual obligations meant that Jackson went uncredited for his performance, while the star’s singing voice was provided by impersonator Kipp Lennon. “Stark Raving Dad” was so memorable, an unproduced sequel was planned that could’ve featured Prince.
The subject matter of Leaving Neverland saw Wade Robson and James Safechuck accuse Jackson of molesting them as children at Neverland Ranch. With Jackson’s death in 2009, the disgraced King of Pop will never be able to answer the claims levelled against him.
Either way, Leaving Neverland has become one of the most divisive documentaries in living memory. Director Dan Reed has already said he’d like to make a sequel with accusers Jordan Chandler and Gavin Arvizo.
While it’s a troubling turn of events, Brooks remains positive about the legacy of “Stark Raving Dad”. He told The Wall Street Journal, “This was a treasured episode. There are a lot of great memories we have wrapped up in that one, and this certainly doesn’t allow them to remain”.
Although the decision has been made, Brooks admits it will take a while to remove the episode from syndication, Fox’s streaming services, and any upcoming DVD releases.
[Featured Image: HBO/Fox]