Preview The Simpsons‘ Morrissey-Inspired Episode With Music By Flight Of The Conchords’ Bret McKenzie
Tomorrow’s The Simpsons is inspired by Morrissey and features original music by Flight Of The Conchords’ Bret McKenzie. The episode is called “Panic On The Streets Of Springfield,” a reference to the Smiths’ “Panic.” Here’s the official synopsis: “Lisa gets a new imaginary friend — a depressed British singer from the 1980s.” In the ep, that depressed singer is known as Quilloughby and he’s voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch.
In an Instagram post, Simpsons director Debbie Mahan wrote: “I’ve worked on this show for nearly 20 years. And this — BY FAR— is the most fun I’ve ever had working on an episode. My husband, who also works on the show, is an avid Smiths fan/collector, and was our resident Morrissey expert so it truly was a labour of love.”
“I grew up as a moody kid obsessed with catchy-yet-depressing indy music from England, so this show was sort of a natural for me,” added Tim Long, who wrote the episode. “And like Marge, my parents wondered what the hell was wrong with me — they still don’t know.”
Long says that Quilloughby — the former lead singer of the Snuffs, whose hits include “How Late Is Then,” “What Difference Do I Make?” and “Hamburger Is Homicide” — is “definitely Morrissey-esque, with maybe a small dash of Robert Smith from the Cure, Ian Curtis from Joy Division, and a bunch of other people … And the songs, with lyrics by me and music by Bret McKenzie, are so good. Bret knew exactly what we were going for and nailed it. He’s maybe the nicest genius I know.”
Long saw the Smiths on their The Queen Is Dead tour in 1986, “and it’s safe to say they changed my life,” he said. “I’ve seen Moz many times since then, most recently at the Hollywood Bowl in 2018. Executive producer Matt Selman was also at that show, and we got to talking about how much music meant to us as weird, alienated teenagers — and also how being a big fan of someone is like having a lifelong relationship with them, with all the ups and down that implies. This show grew out of that discussion.”
While The Simpsons takes inspiration from Morrissey of yesteryear, the Moz we all know was was dropped by his label last year after a very long history of reactionary and racist takes.
The Simpsons airs Sundays at 8PM on FOX. Here’s a clip from the episode: