The loss of Stephen Hawking has been a massive blow to the science community, as well as being a significant loss for the world of pop culture. Hawking was an instantly identifiable icon, as partially cemented by an appearance on The Simpsons' 1999 episode, "They Saved Lisa's Brain," one of his best cameos. The Simpsons showrunner Al Jean opened up about the episode and confirmed that Hawking was wholly game for any and all of the jokes in the episode, and his lone request was that his 2D form not appear drunk at all. Jean explained:
The episode involves Lisa joining the Springfield Mensa chapter, and The Simpsons being The Simpsons, all hell eventually broke loose when the ambiguously located town's most intelligent individuals began to quarrel. Eventually, Stephen Hawking showed up to put them in their place, and the episode saw him go to Moe's with Homer for a pint of Duff. Hawking performed the role himself, with the assistance of his voice audio program, but he just didn't want the show his character intoxicated in any way.
In the end, the folks at The Simpsons (a show already known for its love of science) complied with his request. As such, the Moe's is a casual exchange between new buddies, as opposed to potentially showing off a rip-roaringly trashy karaoke session.. You can check out the sequence, below.
Of course, the episode ultimately resulted in a classic line that has remained a favorite among many Simpsons fans: the moment in which Homer Simpson yells "Larry Flynt is right! You guys stink!" After hearing the jab, The Theory of Everything subject reportedly admitted that he found the gag very funny. Jean continued:
As many fans already know, "They Saved Lisa's Brain" was not the only episode of The Simpsons that Stephen Hawking appeared in during his life. In total, he made three separate appearances on the iconic, long-running animated series, earning himself the status as a beloved fan-favorite with each subsequent cameo. (Not to mention that Futurama appearance.) The folks behind the series have regarded Hawking as the most intelligent guest to ever appear on The Simpsons, and these stories seem to suggest that he also had a killer sense of humor that will we will sorely miss.
Now that Stephen Hawking has passed on, something tells us that we will continue to hear more awesome stories like this as the world continues to mourn. Until then, remember The Simpsons will return for its midseason premiere on Sunday, March 18. Head over to CinemaBlend's 2018 midseason premiere guide to check out the TV shows set to debut this spring and fill out your TV-viewing calendars accordingly!