'Simpsons' parodies Broadway's 'Spider-Man' in Halloween episode
It seems a bit behind the curve if you ask us, but "The Simpsons" on Fox finally got around to parodying Broadway's "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" on Sunday's episode. The parody was part of the show's annual Halloween special called "Treehouse of Horror," which features bloody send-ups of pop culture.
The "Spider-Man" parody came in the mini-segment of Sunday's episode titled "The Diving Bell and the Butterball." The sketch started out as a send-up of the 2007 Julian Schnabel movie "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly." Homer suffers a poisonous spider bite and is able to communicate only through flatulence. (In the original movie, the protagonist communicates by blinking an eye.)
Later, Homer is bitten by a radioactive spider and assumes extraordinary arachnid powers, though he still remains paralyzed.
A spokesman for the Broadway show issued a statement Monday: "Everyone at 'Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark' was extremely flattered by last night’s tribute on 'The Simpsons.' 'The Simpsons' is an iconic American institution, and being part of last night's episode was an honor and dream come true."
Fans of "The Simpsons" will recall that the family's last trip to New York was a disaster that resulted in Homer vowing never to return to the city. The episode, which debuted in 1997, has not been aired recently because it features an important scene at the World Trade Center.
The "Spider-Man" spokesman said on the phone that Sunday's parody came as a surprise and was not a coordinated effort with the Broadway producers of the musical.
Perhaps coincidentally, last week's episode of "South Park" on Comedy Central also contained a brief reference to "Spider-Man." In the episode, Randy Marsh mounts his own stage musical that devolves into chaos that includes an aerial technical malfunction that causes the show to halt momentarily. ("Spider-Man" was plagued by stage malfunctions that sometimes left its performers dangling in mid-air.)
"There is no response to that one," said the "Spider-Man" spokesman about the "South Park" episode.
Earlier this year, "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" on the USA Network featured an episode loosely based on the backstage problems of the "Spider-Man" musical.
-- David Ng
Photo: A scene from Sunday's episode of "The Simpsons." Credit: Fox