'Mythbusters' tackling 'The Simpsons'
Mythbusters is looking to Springfield for its next big pop-culture cross-over event. Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman will seek to prove/bust Simpsons-inspired myths in their Discovery Channel hit’s 13th season premiere next month.
“We set out to test Bart throwing a cherry bomb into the toilet that makes all toilets in the school act like geysers,” Savage exclusively told EW, referring to the 1990 episode “The Crepes of Wrath.” “And then there’s one [from season five’s “Sideshow Bob Roberts] in which Homer’s house is about to be destroyed by a wrecking ball and Homer places his body between the wrecking ball and the house to keep it from being destroyed.”
The episode has roots going back at least a couple years. In 2012, Adam and Jamie guest-voiced a Simpsons episode that spoofed their Discovery show. “That felt like a bucket-list item more than almost any other thing that we’ve experienced doing our show,” Savage says.
The appearance led to the guys considering busting Simpsons myths. While the prospect of tackling scenes in TV’s longest-running scripted series was appealing, there was also a “very contentious” debate behind the scenes. “Several people were like, ‘This is a cartoon! What can you do with this?'” Savage recalls. “We looked through many, many, many different bits on The Simpsons, but I think that we found stuff that really is entertaining and not totally outside the realm of physics—unlike, say, Wile E Coyote stuff might be. We reached out [to The Simpsons producers], and they were totally into it.”
For the house-destroying stunt, the Mythbusters team not only had to find two houses to potentially wreck, but also create a life-size Homer Simpson.
“We put asked our researcher Eric to find which we could say take a wrecking ball to two of its sides, a house that was about to be destroyed, and we could not find one in all of California, and we expanded our search to Oregon, Arizona, and Nevada and really couldn’t,” Savage says. “It’s very difficult to find things that are about to be destroyed. We ended up building two replicas of the Springfield house out at a landfill. Then of course we had to make a Homer—this was the first time we made a non-human crash-test dummy because Homer is human, but he’s also a cartoon character, which means his proportions are totally not human. It’s a very elaborate process that we went through using three or four different technologies that we’ve used over the years in special effects. But there’s a weirdness to standing next to a 5’11” tall Homer Simpson proportioned correctly to the cartoon in real life, it’s really peculiar. I can’t describe it any other way than that.”
Expect the upcoming season to also revisit a couple other iconic titles too: Adam and Jamie will tackle new myths from the Indiana Jones franchise and AMC’s Breaking Bad. (Remember Walter White’s machine-gun-in-the-truck attack that caused so much debate after the series finale? That’s on the list.)