Simpsons marks 500th episode with Julian Assange
LOS ANGELES - Agence France-Presse
Bart Simpson and Homer Simpson with their new neighbor, Julian Assange. AP photoThe Simpsons, the long-running US television animated comedy show, reached its landmark 500th episode Feb. 19, with an appearance from controversial WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
America’s most famous dysfunctional cartoon family have played out their lives before a worldwide audience for over two decades since the distinctive yellow characters Homer, Maggie and children Bart, Lisa and baby Maggie first burst onto American TV in 1989.
The series has become the longest-running comedy in US television history and in its 23rd season is currently the longest-running primetime scripted show.
In the 500th show, Homer and Marge discover Springfield residents are holding a secret meeting to kick them out of town, for all the trouble they’ve caused over the years. After being sent into exile, the Simpsons arrange to meet with Assange in a bid to clear their names.
The show’s executive producer Al Jean acknowledged last month that Assange, who leaked massive amounts of sensitive diplomatic and military documents, was a controversial figure.
“There was discussion internally whether or not to have him on the show, but ultimately we went ahead and did it,” said Jean in Entertainment Weekly.
He added “there’s nothing we did that has anything to do with the legal situation that he’s in.”
Assange is wanted in Sweden for questioning about allegations of rape and sexual assault, and he fears extradition to the United States for possible prosecution for the leak.
“We wanted to make sure it was satirical,” Jean added.