I know many of you have given up on watching The Simpsons, so you might have missed a cameo by a fellow Valleyan this past Sunday. Pleasantville resident Will Shortz was the latest to get transported into Springfield — and he ran a Simpsons-themed crossword puzzle this Sunday as a tie-in.
In the episode, Lisa becomes a crossword fanatic (or “cruciverbalist” for the initiated) and enters a local tournament. Here’s a clip:
In his “Wordplay” blog, Shortz writes about his experience with the show: “Because of the Hollywood writers’ strike last year, the show was prepared early. The script had me speaking two lines. I taped them Oct. 31, 2007 (just ahead of the strike), at a studio in Manhattan, with the writers and producers connected in California. Despite my very small part, the taping took almost a half-hour, so I could do the lines in different ways, first emphasizing one word, then another, and then another, ‘with more feeling,’ etc. After the strike ended the script was revised, and I was given a third line, which I went back to the studio to do.”
Shortz is just the most recent in a line of ingenious Simpsons cameos. Instead of heading straight for the huge-name stars, they always manage to offbeat, celebrated personalities into the show: Hairspray director John Waters, comics writer Alan Moore, supergenius Stephen Hawking, scientist Stephen Jay Gould, etc. (I had a friend who went to a discussion with Gould, and during the Q&A he was very dismissive of the Simpsons experience, which tarnished his reputation in my opinion.) The crossword guru isn’t the first Valley personality to be given the yellow-skin treatment, either. I’m pretty sure they’ve done Ron Howard, Bill Clinton, and David Letterman, too. The question is, who should be next? Here are my top five suggestions for future Simpsons cameos.
Any other suggestions? Let me know in the comments.