How does an animated series that has been on the air for 26 seasons keep viewers interested? Drama, of course! And who better to bring it than actress and self-declared feminist extraordinaire Lena Dunham, who has been confirmed for a voice role in the upcoming 27th season of The Simpsons. And it’s shaping up to be a doozy.
Al Jean, Executive Producer of the long-running animated comedy, disclosed to Variety that Homer and Marge will go through a separation in the premiere episode after discovering that Homer has narcolepsy, which puts added strain on the marriage. During this period, the couple’s love is tested when Homer takes an interest in his pharmacist, who will be voiced by Dunham. There will also be voice cameos from Dunham’s co-stars in her HBO show Girls in the episode.
As you might’ve guessed, Dunham won’t be the only actor guest-starring this season. Jean also confirmed that the character of a homeless woman Lisa befriends, who ends up having an amazing singing voice, will be voiced by Saturday Night Live’s Kate McKinnon (the singing, however, will be done by Natalie Maines).
The show could use the help of some well-known names to fill the void left by the recent departure of series stalwart Harry Shearer, who is leaving the show after being involved from its inception back in 1989. He voiced iconic characters on the show like nosy neighbour Ned Flanders, evil billionaire Mr. Burns, and momma’s boy Principal Skinner, leaving some big vocal shoes to fill. Whether or not the show can carry on in his absence without major disruption remains to be seen.
Recurring characters like Sideshow Bob and Spider Pig will be back. And one episode will get a fun Hollywood treatment as a flashback/flash forward based on the popular, Oscar-nominated movie Boyhood, featuring Bart.
That said, there are always famous folks you wish you could have had on board to guest voice, and Jean reveals his list, including two stars that have sadly passed on: Neil Armstrong and J.D. Salinger. He also expresses interest in having retired baseball player Sandy Koufax participate at some point.