This St Patrick’s Day, Sky One screens a special Irish edition of their animated sitcom, The Simpsons. For the first time, this latest instalment will be premiered in the UK and Ireland before being shown in the USA. The episode, entitled In the Name of the Grandfather, sees Homer and his dad coming to Ireland to run a pub. I’m sure that a few leprechauns will appear as well as cameos from Irish personalities. It seems that animated versions of Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová will turn up and Colm Meaney will voice one of the characters.
The Simpsons has been going for nearly 20 years and I used to watch the early seasons and have seen some episodes over the last few years. I watched the film version and it wasn’t bad, considering the difficulty of translating 20 minute storylines into a full-length script. It takes a while to create each new episode, which means that this one will be slightly out-of-date. It was written prior to our current economic woes, so it will comment on the Ireland of the Celtic Tiger. Also, I understand that the quality of the series has faded somewhat, but I’ll be tuning in for a bit of blarney.
And now, a couple of Oscar-winning duets. To celebrate the appearance of Glen and Markéta, I’ve included the title track of their 2006 album, The Swell Season. This was a slow burner, but its songs inspired the film Once, which was built around the songs from the album. The film was also a slow burner, but it built up a following in the States and it was great to see them win the 2008 Academy Award for Best Song with Falling Slowly
In 1990, Randy Newman received one of his many Best Original Song Oscar nominations for I Love to See You Smile, taken from the film Parenthood. Later that year, a duet between Homer and Marge appeared on the album, The Simpsons Sing the Blues. This album also contains Homer’s wonderful version of Born Under a Bad Sign and even two hit singles, Do the Bartman and Deep, Deep Trouble. Have a listen to Homer and Marge singing I Love to See You Smile and, hopefully, the episode will bring a few smiles to Irish eyes
UPDATE: This Irish instalment of The Simpsons was quite diverting. It took a while to get going and we were already about a third of the way into the show when Homer decided to take his dad to Ireland. Then the leprechauns appeared. And the singing. And the dancing. It was quite funny in places, particularly when it poked fun at certain aspects of Irish culture. There was a brief musical interlude that was lacking in musical quality, but made up for it with a witty lyric. The parts that worked best were those that had a more subtle touch, usually appearing as visual gags in the background. Thankfully, the cameos were kept to a minimum and Glen and Markéta’s appearance was brief, albeit amusing. Overall, it had its fair share of Paddywhackery, but contained enough authenticity for Irish viewers. Even though it’s a brand new episode, an Irish audience would find many of the references to be outdated. Still, American fans of The Simpsons will most likely enjoy it, even if their knowledge of Irish culture is as rudimentary as their knowledge of culture in general