Stark Raving Dad

"Stark Raving Dad" is the first episode in the third season of the American animated television series The Simpsons. It first aired on the Fox network in the United States on September 19, 1991. In the episode, main character Homer Simpson is mistaken for a "free-thinking anarchist" and sent to a mental institution, where he shares a room with a large white man named Leon Kompowsky who pretends to be American pop star Michael Jackson. Meanwhile, because he normally forgets her birthday, Bart promises his sister Lisa that he will get her the best present ever. Al Jean and Mike Reiss wrote the episode while Rich Moore served as director. Michael Jackson guest-starred in the episode as the speaking voice of Leon Kompowsky. For contractual reasons, he was credited as John Jay Smith in the closing credits, and his role in the episode was not officially confirmed until later. Jackson was a fan of the show and called creator Matt Groening one night offering to do a guest spot. Jackson pitched several story ideas for the episode and wrote the song "Happy Birthday Lisa" that is featured in the plot. He also stipulated that he would provide Kompowsky's speaking voice, but his singing voice would be performed by a sound-alike (Kipp Lennon) because he wanted to play a joke on his brothers. The episode contains references to many aspects of Jackson's career, with Kompowsky singing portions of the songs "Billie Jean" and "Ben". "Stark Raving Dad" received generally positive reviews from critics, particularly for the writing and Jackson's performance. A sequel to the episode was later written, in which Kompowsky was to be voiced by Prince rather than Jackson, but it was never produced. During the January 30, 1992, rerun of the episode, a short alternate opening aired before the credits; the opening was in response to a speech made by President George Bush three days earlier, in which he said Americans needed to be "a lot more like the Waltons and a lot less like the Simpsons".




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