For the past 25 years “The Simpsons” has been reflecting American culture and society in the most entertaining and endearing formats, a network TV cartoon. Many of us have grown up with whimsical defiance of Bart Simpson and the smart aleck commentary Lisa Simpson has given us. This past weekend “The Simpsons” took over the legendary Hollywood Bowl for three nights of Springfield in Hollywood.
The Hollywood Bowl was the perfect backdrop for a show that only true Simpsons fans would appreciate. Concession stands had taken on a Springfield feel selling Duff energy drinks and Krusty Burgers. Simpsons motifs from the family’s ever present living room couch to Homer Simpsons’ favorite pink sprinkle donuts were made appearances all over the Hollywood Bowl. From life-size Homer Simpson cutouts for concertgoers to take photographs with to ushers in Sideshow Bob hats, the show was an experience filled with Simpsons nuanced surprises throughout the evening. Even the members of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra donned Marge Simpson’s iconic blue beehive.
The evening started off with famed Simpsons creator Matt Groening reading off a list of Fox censor notes and setting the tone for an evening of American satire. Throughout the show, the audience was treated to various hosts who had made a splash at one point through the show’s 25 year run.
Hank Azaria, esteemed actor and the voice of Moe Szylak, Chief Wiggum, Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, Comic Book Guy, and Professor Fink among other beloved characters, hosted the second half of the show. Azaria’s cohosts were the reason so many viewers adore the Simpsons. Yeardley Smith has been the voice of Lisa Simpson long before the show came to fruition on Fox and was a series of short segments on The Tracey Ullman Show. Nancy Cartwright has been the voice of America’s favorite skateboard riding elementary school student, Bart Simpson, for the past 25 years.
In addition to the legendary hosts, “The Simpsons” Take The Bowl included surprise performances from popular episodes. When Lisa Simpson receives a birthday serenade by pop icon Michael Jackson in the “Stark Raving Dad” episode, it is a little known fact that Michael Jackson wanted to play a joke on his family and friends and used impersonator Kipp Lennon to voice the song. Last night Lennon joined Yeardley Smith and Nancy Cartwright on stage to perform “Lisa Its Your Birthday.”
Weird Al Yankovic performed a commemorative Homer and Marge song while former Simpsons writer and famed late night talk show host Conan O’Brien made an appearance as well. The Los Angeles Gay Men’s Chorus performed and world famous skateboarder Tony Hawk made a brief cameo as well.
The evening culminated in a fireworks show befitting the Simpsons experience and putting the perfect button on the evening.