Willie Nelson on the Simpsons, “Behind the Laughter”

Willie Nelson plays an integral role in a year 2000 episode of ‘The Simpsons’ called “Behind the Laughter.” It’s a mockumentary of the way VH1 creates Behind the Music. After 11 successful years on television, the family is unable to avoid the trappings of fame and success and soon find themselves jailed, broke and not speaking to each other. Nelson puts on a phony awards show to bring them all back together, and it works — or it seems to. At the end, Homer says the 2000 season will be the show’s last. Obviously, it wasn’t. Nelson was one of two country artists to make a cameo that year.

The show gives a behind the scenes look is taken at the Simpson family’s rise to fame, their successful years together and then their feud which resulted in a breakup and solo careers for the family members. The history is as follows: Homer decides to start a television show in the 1980s. He sends in a tape of their family antics to the major networks, and even FOX. They soon become successful, so successful that they waste money. They put out terrible records to supplement their income. Homer gets injured filming a scene, beginning his long addiction to painkillers. They start having financial problems due to their outrageous spending. Apu rats them out to the IRS and they lose everything.

The episodes’ plots get really lame, too. Bart goes to jail, being replaced by Richie Rich. When he returns, they agree to do an appearance at the Iowa State Fair. It goes to hell when they get in an argument onstage. This is the end of the Simpsons, or is it? Each goes on to do solo projects and they all hold grudges. Homer returns to his first love, the theatre, where he was dissed for literally eating the set. Marge opens a nightclub named “Marge and Friends,” Lisa writes a book, and Bart gets a TV show.

They hope through the efforts of Dr. Hibbert’s old college buddy Willie Nelson (musician/taxpayer) the family might be reunited to bring their brand of entertainment back to the millions of viewers who tune in each week.

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