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6 Greatest Guest Star Appearances Of All Time On The Simpsons
January 16, 2013 5:40 PM   Subscribe

Policymic has compiled a list of the 6 greatest guest star appearances of all time on the t.v. shoe The Simpsons. Trying to pick the best cameos from a pool of 500+ episodes is a daunting task, so for the purpose of the following list, one criteria is that the cameo needs to be more than just a celebrity drop-in to the Simpsons' world. Instead the cameo role needs to be central to the episode's storyline; the other criteria is that the appearance has to be funny.

1. Mark Hamill (“Mayored to the Mob,” Season 10)

2. Red Hot Chili Peppers (Episode: “Krusty Gets Kanceled,” Season 4)

3. Buzz Aldrin (“Deep Space Homer,” Season 5)

4. Steven Hawking (Four episodes, including “They Saved Lisa's Brain,” Season 10)

5. Gary Coleman (Four episodes, including “Grift of the Magi,” Season 11)

6. Mel Gibson (“Beyond Blunderdome,” Season 11)
posted by Sailormom (68 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
It's obviously Michael Jackson
posted by dng at 5:42 PM on January 16, 2013 [14 favorites]


Pattern not found: John Waters
He was great on the commentary too.
posted by Lorin at 5:44 PM on January 16, 2013 [16 favorites]


I guess he doesn't count because he didn't play himself? Anyways, that was what made celebrity cameos so great on classic Simpsons, they weren't so much "Hi everybody, I'm a celebrity!"
posted by Lorin at 5:47 PM on January 16, 2013


the other criteria is that the appearance has to be funny

So nothing from recent seasons then.
posted by 2bucksplus at 5:47 PM on January 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Criterion. CRITERION, dammit.
posted by uosuaq at 5:48 PM on January 16, 2013 [6 favorites]


By "guest star appearance" does it mean that the guest has to play themself? Because those are usually pretty crappy. (Except, of course, for John Jay Smith.)
posted by benito.strauss at 5:49 PM on January 16, 2013


They must be excluding celebrities playing original characters, because otherwise the whole list would look like this:

1. Albert Brooks ("The Call of the Simpsons," Season 1)
2. Albert Brooks ("Life on the Fast Lane," Season 1)
3. Albert Brooks ("Bart's Inner Child," Season 5)
4. Albert Brooks ("You Only Move Twice," Season 8)
5. Albert Brooks ("The Heartbroke Kid," Season 16)
6. Albert Brooks ("The Simpsons Movie")
posted by EmGeeJay at 5:49 PM on January 16, 2013 [27 favorites]


I find the little sequence where Barney, Homer and the NASA guy all exchange uncomfortable glances after Aldrin says "Second comes right after first!" unaccountably hilarious.

Also, and this is the only context in which I'd say this, Ron Howard should be on this list.
posted by The Card Cheat at 5:50 PM on January 16, 2013


Thanks a lot because now I've got "Luke Be A Jedi Tonight" stuck in my head. Again.
posted by Dr. Zira at 5:52 PM on January 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Does it bother anyone else that they misquoted the lines from the Red Hot Chilli Peppers?
posted by TwoWordReview at 5:52 PM on January 16, 2013


"Billy Corgan, Smashing Pumpkins."
"Homer Simpson, smiling politely."

nitpick: t.v. shoe?
posted by obscurator at 5:53 PM on January 16, 2013 [12 favorites]


It's a shame the Walken "Goodnight Moon" scene was actually done by Jay Mohr, because that's one of my favorites.
posted by uosuaq at 5:55 PM on January 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Reliance on this schtick is a lot of what weakened the show, in my opinion. I draw the line at the episode based on Mel Gibson.
posted by thelonius at 5:56 PM on January 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


This list might be an example of a phenomenon observed by executive producer David Mirkin, roughly paraphrased, that a whole generation of viewers who grew up in the post-classic era see these episodes differently. Season 11 aired almost 14 years ago. And yet I feel so young.
posted by Lorin at 5:58 PM on January 16, 2013


I can't believe they left off Thomas Pynchon.
posted by holmesian at 5:59 PM on January 16, 2013 [10 favorites]


I liked it when James Taylor yelled at Buzz Aldrin.
posted by mcmile at 6:00 PM on January 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


My personal favorite is Tom Jones begging Marge to call Interpol.
posted by theBigRedKittyPurrs at 6:03 PM on January 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


They merely list the appearances without providing any substantive arguments as to why these are the best examples of guest appearances; explanations which are particularly necessary when you're dealing with something as subjective as this. While I welcome the opportunity to talk Simpsons, the link is really pretty thin at best.
posted by ooga_booga at 6:05 PM on January 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


OBVIOUSLY it's Sting.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:06 PM on January 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


Can't say I've stayed on top of the Simpsons since about 1999, but Sting's skewering of both himself and celebrity fundraisers with We're Sending Our Love Down The Well has to rate very high.
posted by philip-random at 6:07 PM on January 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


or what Chrysostom said
posted by philip-random at 6:08 PM on January 16, 2013


They merely list the appearances without providing any substantive arguments as to why these are the best examples of guest appearances; explanations which are particularly necessary when you're dealing with something as subjective as this. While I welcome the opportunity to talk Simpsons, the link is really pretty thin at best.
posted by ooga_booga at 8:05 PM on January 16


read in Comic book Store guys voice
posted by Sailormom at 6:12 PM on January 16, 2013 [12 favorites]


Last night's FPP was, without a doubt, the worst FPP ever. Rest assured I was on the Internet within minutes registering my disgust throughout the world.

And #1 on the Albert Brooks list is totally "You Only Move Twice". You people high?
posted by Talez at 6:16 PM on January 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


Zing!
posted by ooga_booga at 6:16 PM on January 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


If "not playing yourself" didn't disqualify a star, I'd definitely include Michael Jackson, Albert Brooks and the appearance of David Hyde Pierce as the brother of Sideshow Bob (played by Kelsey Grammer, whose ongoing presence I've never been too impressed with).
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:18 PM on January 16, 2013


Glad I am not the only one to immediately think of Albert Brooks as Hank Scorpio in "You Only Move Twice."

Two words: Hammock District.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 6:19 PM on January 16, 2013 [16 favorites]


...but Talez should have written it as "Worst. FPP. Ever."
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:19 PM on January 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


I've said it before, but Jasper Johns is my all-time favorite Art-with-a-capital-A cameo, because he played his angry, fighty, threatening self. I am not surprised when the Futurama writers make a ℵ0-plex joke, because they're all a bunch of math nerds, but I really can't tell if there's a closet art nerd on the Simpsons staff or if Mr. Johns had them re-write it to play up his slightly well-known persona among folks in the art word. Either way, mind=blown. Because: Layers, man. Layers.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 6:19 PM on January 16, 2013


...but Talez should have written it as "Worst. FPP. Ever."

Good sir the periods are only warranted after pointing out that I've received thousands of hours of entertainment for only $5 and if anything I owe them.

Worst. Reply. Ever.
posted by Talez at 6:21 PM on January 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Last night's FPP was, without a doubt, the worst FPP ever.

Thank you. I hardly tried at all and yet in the great history of MetaFilter it seems my fail was of epic proportions.
posted by Sailormom at 6:22 PM on January 16, 2013


Barry White ("I love the sexy slither of a lady snake") is several times the guest star the Chili Peppers were all by his own bad self. And much as I do love "Deep Space Homer," I'd still easily give the nod to Leonard Nimoy ("The cosmic ballet goes on") as best space-themed cameo.

Other strong contenders include Bette Midler, Ernest Borgnine and Mickey Rooney. And they clearly have criteria at work here, but they haven't clarified them all. (For example, they're evidently selecting only from the pool of guest stars playing themselves in limited roles, even if those roles are slightly bigger than the single-scene appearance implied by the term "cameo." Otherwise, as noted, Albert Brooks' Hank Scorpio would simply have to top the list.)

Plus my hair's green, not blue. I got nothing to work with here.
posted by gompa at 6:23 PM on January 16, 2013 [6 favorites]


Also if they used a sort of Olympic-judging-type degree of difficulty as one of their criteria, then Thomas Pynchon should be near the top of this list. I mean, Thomas Freakin' Pynchon!?! Guy hasn't appeared in a newspaper in 30 years . . .
posted by gompa at 6:27 PM on January 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


Plus also Johnny Carson. I don't even think he appeared in most of his friendships after he left the Tonight Show.

/hey-oh
posted by gompa at 6:29 PM on January 16, 2013 [7 favorites]


"Crudler!"
posted by benito.strauss at 6:59 PM on January 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


"It was the best movie ever!! And you wouldn't believe the celebrities that did cameos...Michael Jackson, Dustin Hoffmann...of course they didn't use their real names, but you could tell it was them."
posted by dry white toast at 7:03 PM on January 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


I cannot believe that James Woods didn't make the list.
posted by smoke at 7:07 PM on January 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


If your memory fails you, Wikipedia has a complete list of Simpsons Guest Stars, which reminded me of the following other potential All Time Greatest...

Tony Bennett was the first person to voice himself on the show, singing in the classic "Dancing Homer".

In "shows within the show". Neil Patrick Harris was himself playing Bart in a bad made-for-TV movie and Fyvush Finkel was himself as Krusty the Clown.

Adam West made an appearance years before Family Guy stole him (as it stole SO MUCH),

And of all the musical guests, only there was only one legend who wrote a song for Homer & Marge: Weird Al Yankovic. (And does it count as 'himself' when Hank Williams Jr. sang the "Canyonero" jungle?)

And for major Meta-ness, don't forget the stars who played their characters from elsewhere: Christopher Guest and Michael McKean as their "Spinal Tap" alter egos, Werner Klemperer as Colonel Klink, David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson as Mulder and Scully, Dick Tufeld as the Robot from "Lost in Space" (twice), Robert Englund as Freddie Kruger in a "Treehouse of Horror" segment, Patrick McGoohan as Number Six, Antonio Fargas as Huggy Bear from "Starsky and Hutch", Keifer Sutherland as Jack Bauer...
Wait a minute, there's enough here for me to sell a whole other article to Policymic... or at least Cracked...
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:07 PM on January 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


Not Stan Lee?!? WTF???

I have... no... emoticon for the rage I am feeling!
posted by scaryblackdeath at 7:10 PM on January 16, 2013


I cannot believe that James Woods didn't make the list.

To be fair when one thinks of awesome James Woods guest starring in animation one usually thinks of his downright hilarious Family Guy guest spots rather than The Simpsons.
posted by Talez at 7:21 PM on January 16, 2013


the appearance of David Hyde Pierce as the brother of Sideshow Bob

Sideshow Bob: You wanted to be Krusty's sidekick since you were five. What about the buffoon lessons, the four years at clown college.

Cecil Terwilliger: I'll thank you not to refer to Princeton that way.
posted by Room 641-A at 7:23 PM on January 16, 2013 [14 favorites]


gompa, my mum gave me a copy of your great and witty Simpsons book for Christmas. She bought it for £2 at a book sale at the Woodbridge, Suffolk library, a sale of obsolete material withdrawn from circulation. The Simpsons is old.
posted by Flashman at 7:25 PM on January 16, 2013


Dolly Parton: "Ooh, look at the time...I better scoot to that halftime show! See Y'all!"
*Puts on giant Snoopy head, flies away on jetpack*
posted by sexyrobot at 7:32 PM on January 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


i never knew that was really michael jackson. wow. like so much so that i never even thought to look it up. but i just did. i thought maybe all of you were in on some sort of joke about it being "michael jackson" but nope...

that was really michael jackson.

like...um...i just don't know what to say. huh. what do you ya know.
posted by sio42 at 7:40 PM on January 16, 2013


Dustin Hoffman did one well. They didn't use their real names, but you could tell it was them.
posted by Talez at 7:55 PM on January 16, 2013


Johnny Cash as the Space Coyote!
posted by [expletive deleted] at 7:59 PM on January 16, 2013 [10 favorites]


I cannot believe that James Woods didn't make the list.

Good call, that is one that seems to meet the criteria used here. "Don't ... jerk me around, fella" is definitely part of my personal Simpsons lexicon.
posted by Lorin at 8:02 PM on January 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Did no one mention Stephen Jay Gould yet? He gets my vote for favorite cameo as he was one of the only who wasn't an entertainer and also one of the most unexpected (Lisa The Skeptic).
posted by sourwookie at 8:03 PM on January 16, 2013


I have one question.

How the hell did we forget about Patrick Stewart as Number One in Homer the Great?
posted by Talez at 8:07 PM on January 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


Did no one mention Stephen Jay Gould yet? He gets my vote for favorite cameo as he was one of the only who wasn't an entertainer and also one of the most unexpected (Lisa The Skeptic).

Joe Namath talking about the dangerous of vapor lock?
posted by Talez at 8:09 PM on January 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Gore Vidal: I don't need your sycophantic laughter...... I have some on tape.
[Plays tape]
Gore Vidal: Ah, you still love me, Temple University class of 1987.

posted by 445supermag at 8:32 PM on January 16, 2013 [9 favorites]


I don't think I was expecting more than one name on that list, I guess I'm guilty of being in the "early seasons only" fanboy bubble.
posted by Jezztek at 8:41 PM on January 16, 2013


This is ridiculous.

# of actual wizards in the entire Harry Potter movie series: 0

# of actual wizards in the Simpsons: 1 (Alan Moore)

Sheesh.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:42 PM on January 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Flashman, I am delighted to learn the book's still finding readers nine years on. And my children thank you every time I cash one of those fat two-digit UK royalty cheques.
posted by gompa at 8:45 PM on January 16, 2013


Just came in to search this page and see if anyone said "Ricky Gervais". Thankfully they did not, and thus you have all earned my continued respect.
posted by turgid dahlia 2 at 9:07 PM on January 16, 2013


I don't care what the questions is, but the answer is ALWAYS Hank Scorpio.
posted by blue_beetle at 9:13 PM on January 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


Unless the question is "Who's never said goodbye to a shoe?"
posted by gompa at 9:41 PM on January 16, 2013


What about all the ball players from Homer at the Bat?

Barney: Lord Palmerston!
Wade Boggs: Pitt the Elder!
posted by obscure simpsons reference at 9:57 PM on January 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


The best cameo episode has to be Homer at the Bat. I didn't know who half those guys were at the time, and it was still hilarious.

Deep Space Homer is up there too, tho. There's a lot of really strong competition, but Buzz Aldrin is the awesomest astronaut.
posted by Kevin Street at 10:43 PM on January 16, 2013


Argh, foiled by eponystericality!
posted by Kevin Street at 10:51 PM on January 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


No love for Jay Sherman, Mulder & Scully, or R.E.M?
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 11:46 PM on January 16, 2013


Bush (v1.0) would have gotten a million cool points had he done himself. But first he'd have to be cool.
posted by readyfreddy at 3:58 AM on January 17, 2013


Kent Brockman.
They don't come much bigger than that.
posted by sour cream at 5:03 AM on January 17, 2013


Though they don't meet the criteria I enjoyed watching the Ramones sing Happy Birthday to Mr. Burns only to have him tell Smithers to have the Rolling Stones killed.
posted by Sailormom at 5:21 AM on January 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


Match the actress to her Simpsons Guest Apperance!
posted by The Whelk at 7:22 AM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


I also like Robert Goulet singing "Jingle Bells (Batman Smells)"

Nelson: Your manager says for you to shut up!
Robert Goulet: Vera said that?
posted by obscure simpsons reference at 9:37 AM on January 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


What about all the ball players from Homer at the Bat?

Thank you. I was about to throw in lost Daryl Strawberry and clucking Roger Clemens.
posted by maryr at 1:52 PM on January 17, 2013


Lisa: Wait a minute, Xena can't fly!
Lucy Lawless: I told you, I'm not Xena, I'm Lucy Lawless.

posted by bonefish at 1:54 PM on January 17, 2013


Robert Goulet (after seeing that Bart brought him to his treehouse casino): "I'd better call my manager"

Nelson (brandishing his fist): "Your manager says to shut up."

Goulet: "Vera said that?"
posted by splatta at 7:43 PM on January 17, 2013


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