The Simpsons Folder
January 17, 1997, By Ben Rayner, Ottawa Sun
Fretful parents given to lamenting the unproductive hours their children spend glued to the television would be dismayed to meet Bruce McNeill. He’s parlayed what some might call a borderline-obsessive interest in a couple of screen gems — namely The Simpsons and Return Of The Jedi — into a genuine creative endeavor.
Proof is on display tomorrow night, when he performs his Simpsons-meet-Star-Wars play Return Of The Homer at Carleton University’s Alumni Theatre.
It’s an amusingly convoluted, hour-long distillation of the climactic Star Wars sequel starring more than 40 animated characters from The Simpsons — including Homer Simpson himself as Luke Skywalker — all given voice by McNeill.
“I’ve been annoying people for years,” he explains, “and I finally found a way to entertain people by being annoying.”
McNeill, a guitar instructor by trade, also designed about 150 cartoon slides and composed a soundtrack to accompany the play, which he conceived of a few years ago when some of his students began requesting Simpsons impersonations (“Homer was the breakthrough,” he recalls) during their lessons.
Why all this fuss over The Simpsons, you ask?
“Although it’s a very abstract view of a family, there’s generally more love and affection amongst the family and amongst different races than any other show on TV … And the characters are so well-defined. Even the mention of Ned Flanders as C-3PO gets people laughing.”