Sure, you know “The Shape of You,” but what will be the shape of Ed Sheeran when he guest-stars on The Simpsons?
Oh! Like that.
Following his turn as a singing soldier in the Game of Thrones season 7 premiere Sunday night, the British pop star will be Simpsonized: Sheeran is lending his multi-platinum pipes to the animated Fox comedy for a musical-themed episode, titled “Haw-Haw Land,” in the upcoming 29th season. EW has learned that he’ll be playing a musician named Brendan (think along the lines of Ryan Gosling’s character in La La Land) — and Lisa is instantly smitten with this slightly older fellow.
“He keeps alternating [between], ‘You’re not that great, but you could be fantastic,’ and she keeps falling for him because of his talent,” executive producer Al Jean tells EW. There’s actually a love triangle forming as well with Nelson, who tries to impress Lisa with his singing talent. How is Nelson’s voice? “Well, you’ll hear,” says Jean with a chuckle. “He sings ‘Save the Last Dance for Me’ with new lyrics, and he kind of bullies those notes.”
Sheeran as well does a brief bit of crooning in the episode when he meets Lisa, and it sounds like the Lisa-loving Milhouse will not be pleased with this Brendan character. “When Lisa meets Brendan, Milhouse comes in and he goes, ‘I’ve brought three kinds of waters — cold, warm, and lukewarm,'” teases Jean. “Lisa goes, ‘I’m not thirsty anymore,’ and ‘Milhouse goes, ‘Dammit!’ That’s the effect he has on somebody else…. The girls love him but he’s difficult.”
And what exactly brought Sheeran himself to Springfield? Longtime Simpsons producer Mike Scully heard that the musician — a Simpsons fan who rocks a tattoo of Blinky the three-eyed fish — was interested in appearing on the long-running comedy. “We had a perfect part for him,” explains Jean. “So we said, ‘Oh, great, we’ll have him do this!’ And we recorded him over the phone from England.”
Sheeran, of course, has a few episodic TV credits under his belt. Two years ago, he played himself — and some music — on NBC comedy Undateable, and he had a recurring role on FX drama The Bastard Executioner.
Sheeran, whose Simpsons episode is slated to air in late fall, is currently on tour in support of his latest album, ÷, which was released in March.
Season 29 of The Simpsons — which kicks off Oct. 1 — also features guest vocals from Norman Lear and Shaq.