Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Al Jean, Jose Canseco and Homer at the Bat

Perhaps you aren't a Simpsons fan and have no idea that every Simpsons ever started playing the marathon of all marathons last Thursday on FXX. If that's the case, this post isn't for you. Please go back to watching The Big Bang Theory on TBS. But if you're like me, you haven't been able to turn the channel in over 250-ish hours. Both work and my cable provider have called to make sure I was still alive. I am! And I still at least have cable for the moment.

Homer at the Bat, episode 8F13 with an original air date of February 20, 1992, aired during the marathon on Friday morning. This is important for a few reasons. Homer at the Bat was an amazing episode with player cameos galore. I also still had a concept of what day of the week it was. And finally, I hadn't fully armed myself with the protective coat of Cheeto dust that I'm sporting as I write this.

If you're unfamiliar with the episode, shame on you. You can catch up with my team study from 2010 right here. But the reason for rehashing this episode over 24(!) years later is that long time show runner, writer, producer and general Simpsons extraordinaire, Al Jean, is still not a fan of Jose Canseco. The commentary from Homer at the Bat is worth watching for a lot of nuggets but this was always my favorite, from Al Jean...

I usually say it's my favorite one, you know, people ask me, that I worked on, just because it was so exciting to meet all these guys and they were all really nice except for one whose name rhymed with Manseco

Of course, I pointed out that I knew this nerdy fact...

And got this response...

And now Blowsay Manseco will be the name of every fantasy baseball team I ever own again. Don't even think about stealing that either. Al Jean's blue haired lawyer claims I owe him $1.20 every time I type or say Blowsay Manseco. Dammit!

In case you are wondering why Al Jean might have been slightly annoyed grunt with Blowsay, I'll refer you to Deadspin's 20th anniversary post on the episode...

Aside from the logistics of recording nine separate guest roles, plot lines had to be rewritten on the fly. Jose Canseco's scene originally called for him and Mrs. Krabappel to engage in Bull Durham-inspired extramarital shenanigans. Canseco's wife rejected the scene, and the staff had to do a last-minute Saturday afternoon rewrite when Oakland came south on a mid-August road trip.

Instead of Lothario, Canseco got to play hero, rushing into a woman's burning house to rescue her baby, then cat, followed by a player piano, washer, dryer, couch and recliner combo, high chair, TV, rug, kitchen table and chairs, lamp, and grandfather clock. Requesting the new sequence turned out to be the wiser move. Canseco and his wife had nearly divorced earlier that year before reconciling, and a week before "Homer at the Bat" aired, Canseco was arrested by Miami police for chasing down and ramming his wife's BMW twice with his red Porsche at 4:30 a.m. After the chase ended, he allegedly got out of his car, came over to his wife's driver-side window, and spit on it.

It could have been the extra work the show runners, writers and cast had to put in to the episode that soured Al Jean on Canseco. Or it could have simply been from having to meet/work with him. I'll ask Jose his thoughts on the episode if I can raise enough money to pay him for an interview after his next PPV fight against a blindfolded bear.

No comments:

Post a Comment