Please feel free to join me in a dramatic tear-soaked NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! After 26 years of voicing Ned Flanders, Mr. Burns, Mr. Smithers, Principal Skinner, Otto, Rev. Lovejoy, Dr. Hibbert, Kent Brockman, McBain, Scratchy, God, and roughly 8 billion other characters, Harry Shearer is saying smell ya later to The Simpsons. Excuse me while I dive face-first into a handful of children’s chewable Prozac.
According to CNN Money, Harry Shearer is walking away from a $14 million two-year contract because he wants the freedom to do other work (please let that “other work” be a spin-off about alien Mr. Burns). Shearer told CNN:
“In last four years, I’ve created and starred in a UK TV series and starred on London stage. Not stopping.”
The Simpsons showrunner Al Jean confirmed that Harry Shearer was leaving the show. Jean adds that they have no plans on giving his characters the Poochie treatment; they’ll replace them with other voice actors rather than killing them all off. Well DUH! If you killed off all of Harry Shearer’s characters on The Simpsons, you’d pretty much be killing off half the population of Springfield.
However, TMZ seems to think Harry Shearer quitting The Simpsons is all about money. Earlier in the week, a “source” claimed that Shearer had a problem with the part of his contract that dealt with back-end and merchandising, so he refused to sign it. I guess they never ended up working that shit out, because now he’s walking.
Well, this is a bummer. How in the hell are they going to explain that half the characters in Springfield got the New Becky treatment? More importantly, how in the heck are they going to explain this to Rod and Todd Flanders? Those poor little dorks. They’ve already lived through one parent getting re-voiced, I don’t know how they’ll handle it a second time.
UPDATE: Quick! Light a Krusty-Brand Lead Wick Faith Candle and say a prayer for the voice of Mr. Burns, because Harry might not be gone just yet. The Simpsons executive producer James L. Brooks has tweeted that they want to keep Harry around, and TMZ says that both sides are willing to re-negotiate that contract.