This fall, familiar faces from other places will pop up in Springfield—the Griffins from Quahog in an episode of Family Guy, the Planet Express crew from the 31st century in an episode of The Simpsons. But The Simpsons will toy with the crossover concept some more when Homer and his family match wits with… Homer and his family from The Tracey Ullman Show.
Airing Oct. 19 on Fox, the annual “Treehouse of Horror” Halloween episode contains a segment that parodies The Others, in which the Simpsons are haunted by another ghostly family living in the house. These ghosts turn out to be none other than their crudely drawn former selves. (The Simpsons, as you know, originally surfaced in 1987 as a series of animated shorts on Ullman’s sketch comedy show.)
The Ullman Show-era Simpsons, or at least their dead bodies, have surfaced in a few brief cameos on the modern-era show (see: 2012’s “Adventures in Baby-Getting” and the Guillermo del Toro-created opening credits of last year’s “Treehouse of Horror”). But this episode will feature the most elaborate and lengthy revival, one in which Simpsons cast members Dan Castellaneta (Homer), Nancy Cartwright (Bart), Yeardley Smith (Lisa), and Julie Kavner (Marge) summon their original voices for the characters so the early-era Simpsons and modern-day Simpsons can mix it up.
“People remember Dan’s, but Nancy’s is different too,” executive producer Al Jean tells EW. “It was lower-register, and you can see in the difference in this segment. It was really funny to get the interplay [between the two versions of the Simpsons] and for the actors to see the voice evolution. The great thing is we didn’t have to ask—we already had the cast hired for the Tracey Ullman Simpsons.”
Any more hints about the return of the original Simpsons? “We’ve implied that they were murdered and buried under the house, so this is expanding that thought,” says Jean, adding: “If people want a real Halloween bloodbath, they get it.”
For more on the Simpsons–Family Guy crossover episode, check out the Sept. 5 issue of Entertainment Weekly.