During my time here on The Retroist I’ve written about both E.T. and Mr. T – on more than one occasion. However today was the first time that I have had the privilege of seeing both icons combined into something even greater. I’m referring of course to Mr ET!
That image was sent to me – so I am afraid I do not know who the cosplayer happens to be. But that isn’t the only way people are celebrating the idea. You can hop on over to TeeFury right this second. Pick up your own Mr ET shirt designed by Captain Ribman!
Image courtesy of TeeFury.
In addition it appears that Mr ET was made into a toy of some sorts. At least that certainly seems to be the case judging by this image from GeekTyrant!
Image courtesy of GeekTyrant.
You have to wonder how something so delightfully humorous came to be though, right? How so many different people embraced the idea of a Mr ET? Well, a quick internet search pointed to the ninth episode of season six for The Simpsons. In the episode entitled “Homer Badman” where Homer is watching a comedian who says: “I think about weird stuff, like what would happen if Mr. T and E.T. had a baby. You’d get Mr. E. T., wouldn’t you? And he’d sound something like this: ‘I pity the fool who doesn’t phooooone hoooome.”
Having said that it’s not like this has been the only Mr. T reference in long running series.
The writers for The Simpsons also included a throwaway line in “Homer’s Barbershop Quartet”, the first episode of season 5. At a moment when Homer, Apu, and Principal Skinner are beginning to break up as a musical act.
How much further can Mr ET go on as a possible pop-culture icon? Only time will tell us the answer to that question. But in addition to a younger generation falling in love with 1982’s E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial all the time. There is always the possibility they will stumble on Mr. T’s “Treat Your Mother Right” as well!
Not sure if anyone caught the Simpsons last night. The episode was called “Homer the Father” and the plot had Homer falling in love with and learning lessons from a Retro Television channel. The episode really struck a chord with me for some reason (duh?) and I enjoyed it thoroughly. I just wish I could really watch these Simpson-ized TV classics like “UpscAlien in Da House” and of course “Thicker Than Waters”.
My friends and I witnessed the birth of the Simpsons. We saw them evolve from crude shorts shown periodically on The Tracey Ullman Show to a somewhat less-crudely drawn half-hour sitcom. But nothing in this evolution could prepare us for what we witnessed on a late October episode of The Simpsons. It was a Halloween special the likes of which we had never seen, a special that involved the Simpson family in even more outrageous adventures than normal, adventures that were not bound by the larger Simpsons continuity and therefore could go anywhere (yeah, that doesn’t sound so surprising now, but we had no idea back then how The Simpsons would habitually play with their continuity over the years). The special featured three stories within the larger story of Bart, Lisa, and Maggie telling scary stories to each other while Homer listens on. Since these stories were told in the Simpson treehouse, the episode was called “Treehouse of Horror”. There was another “Treehouse of Horror” the next year, and another, and another. And there are still “Treehouses of Horror” today (Treehouses which oddly have begun arriving after Halloween, sometimes several days after).
Now the Treehouses of Horror typically reference well known horror works and tropes. The stories have parodied and/or referenced The Shining, Poltergeist, A Nightmare On Elm Street, many, many episodes of The Twilight Zone, and countless other films. There has also been a Simpson rendition of Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven (a rendition that is actually quite good) and a story that involved 3-D computer graphics and resulted in Homer Simpson arriving in our world. They usually feature Kang and Kodos, tentacle aliens, as well as an opening warning from Marge, Homer, or the Fox censors. And beyond that, they feature some of the absolute funniest lines in Simpsons history. You know all those Simpsons quotes you’re always tossing out? I’ll bet some of them come from the Treehouses of Horror and you don’t even know it.
It’s hard for anything to break into my long-established Halloween special canon of It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, The Legend of Sleepy Hallow, and Disney’s Halloween Treat, those specials that I watch every Halloween, that help me savor this season and that have in fact become a part of this season. But the Treehouses of Horror have done it, at least the first 8 (Treehouse of Horror I-VIII) have anyway. And I’m so glad they did.
Bart Simpson’s novelty hit/dance craze “Do the Bartman” is the sort of pop culture cheesy/product integration is the kind of thing they make fun of on the Simpsons nowadays (and explicitly, literally have – Bart tries to impress his classmates by singing and dancing the Bartman one day, to which Ralph Wiggum replies that it is “so 1991”). But it was a pretty big deal when it came out – a top 10 throughout Europe, the centerpiece of the platinum The Simpsons Sing the Blues Album, and one of the most requested videos of the year on MTV. It was actually co-written by Michael Jackson, a huge Simpsons fan both before and after his appearance on the show as an obese, white mental patient who thought he was Michael Jackson. On the show, Jackson was credited under the fake name John Jay Smith. On “Do the Bartman,” Jackson was also credited under a fake name, Bryan Loren.
Being around for 20 years certainly makes you Retro in my book, so I am happy to report the venerable series, The Simpson’s intro, has gotten a makeover. The new intro seems to be in honor of the shows first broadcast in HD this Sunday and its is awesome. Long overdue if you ask me. Now the old intro is “Classic Simpsons” or “Retro Simpsons”.