Harry Shearer Walks
By: Connor Lenahan
I’m holding out the hope that this story will be rendered completely meaningless in the coming days and weeks. As it stands today Harry Shearer, voice actor for Mr. Burns, Smithers, Principal Skinner, Ned Flanders, and more, will not be returning to The Simpsons for the 27th and 28th that were recently ordered by FOX. Shearer, despite being offered the ability to record his lines over the phone to allow for maximum flexibility seemed to be driven towards departure over merchandising and back end dollar figures.
It’s hard to slight him for this. The Simpsons is a global success, one that has seen its characters touch almost every part of life imaginable. To request a chunk of that given the characters he played seems simple for Shearer.
Al Jean has stated that the characters in question as a result of today’s news will be recast if Shearer doesn’t return. I’m hoping that Shearer is able to come to an agreement and finish out the series – one that can’t have much more than the two seasons just ordered left – strong with the remaining voice cast. Shearer is huge to the show. Seeing him leave would be as sad a story possible save for death of a cast member.
Only time will tell what happens now. Please let this story have a happy ending.
I’m hoping that the early timing of the announcement means that this is just a training-camp holdout negotiation tactic (so to speak). I really can’t imagine what the show would be like without Shearer…