Lisa Simpson isn’t the character Smiths fans thought they’d relate to this week, but thanks to an episode of The Simpsons that aired Sunday night called “Panic on the Streets of Springfield,” this is where we are. And, due to the incredibly satirical and irreverent nature of the show, heaven knows Morrissey is miserable now.
In the episode, 8-year-old Lisa befriends an imaginary character named Quilloughby — a romanticized version of an early Morrissey — and becomes charmed by this man who wrote, in the show, songs “Mother, What Are Friends?” and “Everyone is Horrid Except Me (And Possibly You)” — a brilliantly-done satirical song actually written by Bret McKenzie of comedy duo Flight of the Conchords. Eventually, Lisa can’t reckon how modern-day Quilloughby, shown in the show as a xenophobe shooting a hot dog gun into a crowd of concert-goers, has become so unlikable.
We get it, Lisa. We’re also just trying to blindly enjoy The Queen is Dead without recalling Moz’s past comments on immigration and race.
But the real point here is this: Morrissey and The Smiths haven’t been culturally relevant in years, so who gives a fuck? And this is coming from a fan.
Moz’s manager, Peter Katsis, responded to the episode on the Facebook page Morrissey Official in a series of fiery, unhinged posts, to which commenters unleashed some pretty comical rebuttals.
“In a world obsessed with Hate Laws, there are none that protect me.” – Morrissey, in response to a Simpsons episode
Some of Katsis’s whining includes: “The Simpsons show started out creating great insight into the modern cultural experience, but has since degenerated to trying to capitalize on cheap controversy and expounding on vicious rumors.” And regarding Benedict Cumberbatch, who voices the Moz-inspired character, he posted: “Could he actually be as big an asshole as the people on The Simpsons writing team?”
Some of the hundreds of comments in response include: “Watch out guys.... he's going to cancel every date of his Vegas residency!!!! He's spiteful like that.” “Quite frankly 'Everyone is Horrid' is the best Morrissey song in quite some time. Maybe he should do a cover version?” and “Surprised the episode didn’t cancel or postpone to a later date. That would make it a true Morrissey episode.”
Moz eventually broke his silence and released a lengthy statement of his own which is entirely more offensive than any Simpsons episode could be, stating that “In a world obsessed with Hate Laws, there are none that protect me.” He adds that legal action may be taken, although he doesn’t feel he has the funds for litigation.
Morrissey, it was really nothing.
The Simpsons chose to dedicate an entire episode to you and your band from decades past. Nobody was talking about The Smiths before this, and they won’t again in a few days. Enjoy the new media blitz that mentions your name dozens of times a day. Your fans are still your fans; your haters are still your haters. It changes nothing. Update your Facebook password so your manager can’t further destroy your reputation, and take advice from the young Quilloughby, who realizes his faults: "Don’t sneer at everything, and listen to others, at least a bit."