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Entertainment Weekly

TV

The Simpsons taps Cate Blanchett, David Harbour for guest roles

Keith Mayhew/Getty Images; Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

Posted on

The Simpsons will be getting Stranger and turning Blue.

Fox’s forever-running animated comedy will be leaning on the vocal talents of Stranger Things star David Harbour and Cate Blanchett, who won an Oscar for Blue Jasmine, EW has learned.

Blanchett — who won another Academy Award for The Aviator and next stars in the small-screen dramas Stateless and Mrs. America — will pop up in Springfield next year in an episode that will likely serve as the season 31 finale. In “The Way of the Dog,” the actress voices a canine psychologist named Elaine who agrees to help Santa’s Little Helper, who is suffering from depression. “She determines if there’s a trauma in his past that they have to go solve, which actually goes back to the first episode of the series.”” Simpsons executive producer Al Jean tells EW, adding that fans will experience “a callback that is older than the internet.”

How would one describe Elaine’s dogside manner? “She sleeps in the same room with him when she brings him in for treatment,” explains Jean. “She’s very loving. But with people she’s a lot more brusque.” He adds of Blanchett, the Lord of the Rings alum who was nominated earlier this week for a Golden Globe for Where’d You Go, Bernadette: “As expected, she was fantastic. We’re proud to say that we got a two-time Oscar winner to talk in dog gibberish, but it really sounded like Elvish to me.”

Meanwhile, Harbour — who recently starred in Hellboy and returns to the big screen next year in Black Widow — will play an alternate version of Mr. Burns in a season 32 episode. In a take on Undercover Boss, Mr. Burns, voiced by Harry Shearer, spots some graffiti on the wall at the nuclear power plant (“Burns is not excellent”) and decides to go undercover to root out the problem. “Like Mission: Impossible, they give him a whole new body and face and voice so that this people in the plant won’t possibly recognize him,” shares Jean. “He’s supposed to be a blue-collar guy from another part of the plant, but everything he says is like Mr. Burns. He wants to go to karaoke and sing songs from the 1890s, but the guys don’t see through it.”

As you may have guessed, Jean and the Simpsons writers are big fans of Stranger Things, having parodied it twice on the show, including in the most recent “Treehouse of Horror.”

The Simpsons airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on Fox, but if you’ve missed the first 30 seasons, no worries. FXX is airing a marathon of those 661 episodes starting on Dec. 17, the same day that the show celebrates its true 30th anniversary: “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire” aired Dec. 19, 1989.

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