Monday, September 15, 2014
Highlights from "The Simpsons" at the Hollywood Bowl
I've attended many events at the Hollywood Bowl over the years, but none have been more consistently entertaining, or have meant more to me personally, than "The Simpsons Take the Bowl." Maria and I attended the event on Sunday -- the last of three consecutive nights of shows -- and had a blast. In honor of the show's 25th anniversary (it's actually heading into its 26th season this fall), the Bowl show was a fantastic celebration of all things "Simpsons," geared especially to the show's early, groundbreaking years. Hank Azaria (Moe, Prof. Frink, Apu) hosted the evening, which also included guest spots from Conan O'Brien, "Weird Al" Yankovic, Beverly D'Angelo, Jon Lovitz, the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles, and others. Fellow voice stars Nancy Cartwright and Yeardley Smith also participated, while creator Matt Groening kicked things off. Several animated moments were also especially created for the show, which ended with a fireworks display. Some highlights:
The Simpsons try to find their seat at the Hollywood Bowl
By the power of Homer Simpson, the Hollywood sign is reimagined as his signature "D'oh" grunt.
Hollywood Bowl Orchestra principal conductor Thomas Wilkins takes to the stage, wearing a Homer helmet.
Matt Groening -- dubbed "the world's richest underground cartoonist" by evening host Hank Azaria, opens the show. He kicks things off by reading a few network notes from long ago, when the show first started. (In one, an exec suggests that Homer shouldn't say "Help me, Jeebus," but instead, "Help me, Jesus.")
Host Hank Azaria won the crowd over by voicing some of his classic characters, including Chief Wiggum. He also performed the song and dance number "Who Needs the Kwik-E-Mart" as Apu. (His favorite voice, however, is Prof. Frink.)
Voice of Lisa, Yeardley Smith, was there, and also introduced Kipp Lennon -- the voiceover artist who mimicked Michael Jackson's singing voice in "Stark Raving Dad." Jackson voiced the character, but Lennon sang "Happy Birthday Lisa," which he did on stage on Sunday night.
"Weird Al" Yankovic ("He who is tired of Weird Al is tired of life") performs the new parody "Homer and Marge," to "Jack and Diane," as well as "The Simpsons" theme on accordion.
Nancy Cartwright's Bart engages Hank Azaria's Moe in a signature "Simpsons" phone bit.
Conan O'Brien pays tribute to Phil Hartman and performs "Monorail," from the classic episode he wrote.
Composer Hans Zimmer leads the orchestra as the perform the score to the Oscar-winning short "The Longest Daycare." Later, he also conducted the orchestra and the LA Gay Men's Choir in the "Stonecutters Song."
Beverly D'Angelo, as country singer Lurleen Lumpkin, sings "Bagged Me A Homer."
Jon Lovitz performs "Chimpan A to Chimpan Z"
A tribute of all the Fox entertainment presidents who have held the job during "The Simpsons" run, predicts that Gary Newman and Dana Walden will keep the job through 2021.
For the big finish, Nancy Cartwright (voice of Bart) leads us in a rendition of "Do The Bartman."
Earlier in the evening, outside the Bowl:
Fan with Lisa and Bart
The three-eyed radioactive fish!
"Why are you stack parking yourself? Why are you stack parking yourself?"
Kent Brockman with some disturbing news.
"The Simpsons" returns on Sunday, Sept. 28 at 8/7c on Fox with "Clown in the Dumps," in which a Springfield resident dies.