Harvey Fierstein – Springfield Hero

Karl Book promotion seems to involve taking excepts from the book and repackaging them into headlines as a way to interest people in purchasing the thing.  In that vein I wanted to highlight one of my absolute favorite parts of Ortved’s book.  (Which you should think about buying, or at least getting from your local library where you can “borrow” books for free.)

Harvey Fierstein has solid Simpsons credentials.  He was the voice of Karl in Season 2’s “Simpson and Delilah” and Patty and Selma were stunned to learn that he was gay in Season 6’s “A Star Is Burns”.  Harvey Fierstein also thinks Zombie Simpsons is shit.  Well, he doesn’t say that in quite so many words, but he did say this to Ortved:

“Years later they contacted me when they wanted Carl to return.  But I didn’t really like their approach.  It had nothing to do with my character.  Homer and Marge have a fight, and she throws him out and he has no place to stay, and he runs into Carl, who sets him up with a pair of gay men.  All they needed me for was to introduce him to these gay guys.  But the script was basically just a lot of very clever gay jokes, and there wasn’t that Simpsons twist.  Jim Brooks and Matt Groening and those writers have always added that extra something beneath the surface, and it just wasn’t there.  Basically, Homer just had a lot of fun hanging out with gay men, and drinking in bars, and dancing at discos, and all that, and there was nothing – there was no commentary there.  Every restaurant had a silly gay name.  They gym had a silly gay name.  They were all double entendres, obviously.  And I said, “Anybody could do this.  You’re the fucking Simpsons.  Do something we have never seen before.”

And let me say that it was very flattering that they asked me to do it.  Jim Brooks said, “You know, you’re the very first voice we ever asked to come back and do it again.”  I was surprised.  I asked, “Why do they need me to introduce them to this gay couple?  Why wouldn’t he move in with Carl and his partner?”  Then I started thinking, Maybe [sic] they just wanted my stamp of approval on it because it was just a bunch of clichés.”

There’s more in the book, but the point is that Harvey Fierstein refused to be on Zombie Simpsons because it sucks.  Harvey Fierstein, you are my new hero.

[Edited to fix transcription errors on my part.]

5 Responses to “Harvey Fierstein – Springfield Hero”

  1. 30 October 2009 at 12:44 am

    That’s awesome. And if Fierstein asked them to come back with something better, and they either couldn’t or wouldn’t – well, that says it all, really. And the episode in question, Homer moving in with a gay couple – isn’t it that the episode that beat Futurama’s “Jurassic Bark” for the Emmy that year? That’s like shoving aside the top-notch chocolate soufflé in favour of lavishing praise on a bowl of sloppy turds.

    • 2 Charlie Sweatpants
      30 October 2009 at 9:24 am

      It’s a little later in the quote, but Fierstein did give them a different idea and then never heard back. Who knows how far along in the production process they were, but it’s still telling. And I looked up the Emmys for that year and, yeah, “Three Gays of the Condo” won over “Jurassic Bark”:


      If I had any respect or interest in the Emmys this would decrease them, but as I’m already at absolute zero for both I don’t think it matters.

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