Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

THE BEST...THE BEAUTIFUL...AND THE BIZARRE | CAST AWAYS
| SO SOCAL

Cow-a-Bono, Dude

April 26, 1998|Janet Kinosian

It wasn't Bart's idea to have U2 drop by Springfield, USA, for the 200th episode of "The Simpsons" tonight. That idea came from a phantom phone call when someone in the Irish band's camp--no one remembers whom--expressed interest in a Simpson-U2 collaboration, "if something worked out." Says Mike Scully, the show's executive producer: "We made darn sure something worked out."

How does a kid as smart, snotty and young as Bart (now in his ninth season, Bart is still 10 years old) rub elbows with the likes of Aerosmith, The Smashing Pumpkins, Sting, Johnny Cash and 170 or so other guest stars? That job falls to casting director--yes, cartoons boast casting directors--Bonnie Pietila, with the show since its inception. Sometimes it takes coaxing, cajoling, whining, always "persistence and courtesy," she says, "but most people not only know 'The Simpsons' and get them, but if they don't, their kids do." Which explains onetime guest star Meryl Streep's well-known quote about finally finding legitimacy in her children's eyes through her "Simpsons" appearance.

"People will sometimes ask us, in a mildly hurt tone, 'Why haven't you asked me?' " Pietila notes, a line she says director Ron Howard used when he ran into "Simpsons" executive producer James L. Brooks at a party. (Howard will appear next season.) Other times, what seems insurmountable--nailing Elizabeth Taylor as both herself and the voice of Maggie the baby, for example--is a piece of cake. "She was our quickest yes," Pietila recalls. "I think her agent called back in five minutes and said she'd be thrilled."

In tonight's episode, "Trash of the Titans," Bono and Bart--two late '80s/early '90s icons if ever there were ones--collide when U2 helps Homer in his bid to become sanitation commissioner. Bono delivers a dull sermon on the environment, boring everyone to tears, and all end up at Moe's Tavern for drinks.

"I'm here to kiss Homer Simpson's bottom," confessed Bono after the recording. "I, like many people of my generation, find the voice of my father quite scary. Homer has that, I think, effect on everyone.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|