‘The Simpsons’ Boss Al Jean: Michael Jackson Used the Show to ‘Groom Boys’

Leaving Neverland - Still 1

The Harvard pals who created The Simpson, and who’d served in the show’s writers’ room since its inception, assumed the role of showrunner in Season 3, and, with classic episodes like “Flaming Moe’s” and “Homer at the Bat,” it’s since been recognized by Springfield historians as the start of the animated sitcom’s so-called “Golden Age.” Jean and Reiss would remain showrunners through Season 4, and then, following a brief stint helming The Critic, Jean returned to The Simpsons in Season 10, and then resumed running the show in Season 13—and has continued ever since.

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Mr. Reiss—decided to pull the episode that stars Michael Jackson,  after seeing the documentary Leaving Neverland,  wherein James Safechuck and Wade Robson recounted, in graphic detail, the child sexual abuse they allegedly suffered at the hands of the king of pop Michael Jackson.
Jackson provided guest vocals in the episode, playing the character of Leon Kompowsky, a burly, institutionalized man claiming he’s the pop star. The episode was penned specifically for Jackson, a fan of the show, with the icon demanding that a scene be included wherein he and Bart Simpson create a song together. In light of the documentary, the lyrics of that song seem troubling, to say the least.
When asked, Did Michael Jackson write the song that he and Bart sing to Lisa to cheer her up, and that includes Michael’s character singing, “And your first kiss from a boy…” 

The writer responded, “He did. But I’d really not talk about it anymore because I don’t want to belabor it. It’s from the heart, on our part, and I think Jim [Brooks] put it really well. It’s not for any other reason that for what I just said, where if you watch the documentary and then you watch that episode, something’s amiss.”

 

Adding, “Well, there’s a different for that, which is he was a satire—he was never voiced by Cosby. He wasn’t entirely a Cosby parody either, which is why I don’t think anybody looks at the character now and says “Oh, that’s Bill Cosby.” It’s a different thing. Nobody’s perfect, and other guest stars have been far from perfect, but this is the only episode where there was a point to the episode that was other than just having the guest star do a comic performance on the guest star’s part, which I didn’t realize at the time.”

Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
Photographs are Courtesy:   Fox
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