'The Simpsons' Going Long With Hip-Hop Episode Featuring Taraji P. Henson & Keegan-Michael Key
The first-ever hour-long episode of The Simpsons will take on two American originals: hip-hop and F. Scott Fitzgerald. According to Entertainment Weekly, the longest-running American sitcom of all time will celebrate its 28th season in January by doing something it's never done before -- running a full hour.
The double-stuffed episode will be a hip-hop spoof of Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby entitled, wait for it, "The Great Phatsby," and it will feature guest voice work from Empire star Taraji P. Henson and Key & Peele's Keegan-Michael Key. The stunt was discussed on Monday during Fox's presentation at the TCA Summer Press Tour, where EW said it was revealed that the episode centers on the "destruction of a friendship between [Mr.] Burns and an enigmatic hip-hop mogul named Jay G. (aka Jay Gatsby).
"This was just going to be a regular episode, but the table read went so well, in a fit of passion and excitement and ambition and excess, we decided to supersize it,” Simpsons executive producer Matt Selman said. “And we haven’t done a huge amount of stories in the world of hip-hop and rap culture, so we just went for it.”
The majority of the episode takes place at Burns' summer mansion in the Springfield Hamptons, with Homer narrating the tale à la the novel's Nick Carroway. “Burns is an old-school Gatsby and Jay G is a new-school Gatsby,” said Selman, “and their mutual Gatsbyism brings them together.” After the two bond, Jay G "seduces" Burns into the flossy hip-hop lifestyle, which eventually drains the billionaire's coffers, allowing Jay G to snatch up Burns' nuclear power plant.
The episode also gives Lisa a rich boyfriend, casts Key as rapper Jazzy James, intent on getting revenge on Jay G for an old slight and has Henson playing a Cookie-esque character named Praline. Henson will be joined on the episode by another Empire break-out star, producer/songwriter Jim Beanz, who produces the music for the hit Fox drama.