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Simpsons on the horizon

Homer & the gang leave 'America to visit America Junior' in an upcoming show


Toronto Sun


Don't have a cow (or moose), Mel, but The Simpsons are heading to Toronto.

In an episode of the long-running Fox series currently scheduled to air next February, Bart, Homer, Marge, Lisa and Maggie leave their cartoon community of Springfield and take a bus across the border to Toronto.

Stepping off the bus directly in front of them are a mountie, a hockey player and a sasquatch.

"It's so clean and bland!" exclaims Marge. "I'm home!"

In the episode titled, The Bart Wants What It Wants, Bart Simpson gets a crush on a young girl named Greta who tells him that her father is shooting a movie in Toronto.

"You're going to Spain?" Bart asks.

Dad Homer, of course, is just as clued out when it comes to his neighbours to the north.

"Why should we leave America to visit America Junior?" he asks.

There are several other delicious digs at T.O., including references to the CN Tower, the SkyDome and even Letterman bandleader Paul Shaffer, who actually hails from Thunder Bay, Ont.

There are a couple of Canadian writers on The Simpsons. Tim Long hails from Exeter, Ont., and Joel Cohen is from Calgary (his brother, Rob, penned the famous "Flaming Moe" episode).

Both worked on the Toronto episode as did several other writers. "Basically there are 20 writers in a room sharing ideas, so who knows who came up with a lot of that stuff," says Simpsons' executive consultant Antonia Coffman.

The Simpsons have goofed on Canada before. One memorable episode had Bart penning love letters as hockey icon Gordie Howe to his teacher, Mrs. Krabbappel. (They even ran Howe's career stats at the end of the show.) Another time a Canadian kid was introduced to Bart's class, forcing all the other students to talk really slowly. And police chief Wiggum's son Ralph once sang the words to the Canadian national anthem.

Simpsons' creator Matt Groening actually has a great deal of affection for our city. His edgy, pre-Simpsons comic strip, Life In Hell, got its first pick-up in the Toronto alternative weekly Now.

The producers were flooded with mail from Australia a few seasons ago when the show poked fun at that country, depicting it basically as a nation of Crocodile Dundee clones.

The Simpsons is officially set to return on Nov. 11, but a new Treehouse Pf Horror XII post-Halloween episode is set to air Nov. 6 at 8:30 on Global and Fox.

Among the storylines in the new Halloween three-parter is "Wiz Kids," with Lisa and Bart as Harry Potter-like magic students under the spell of evil Mr. Burns and Smithers. Pierce Brosnan is a guest voice in the episode.

Future episodes this season will feature Phish (Homer gets addicted to medical marijuana) and Richard Gere (Lisa dabbles in Buddhism).

Now in its 13th season and well past the 250 episode mark, The Simpsons is the longest-running entertainment series currently on television. (More on: The Simpsons).

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