Friday, 10 October 2008 /
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Characters from Once to appear on The Simpsons
By Petr Vizina / HOSPODÁŘSKÉ NOVINY / Published 10 October 2008
Appearing on The Simpsons means you have made it.
COURTESY
Appearing on The Simpsons means you have made it.
Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová have lent their voices to their own characters in the cult cartoon, The Simpsons. The couple should appear in an 'Irish' episode.

Irglová and Hansard have joined celebrities like the Rolling Stones, U2, Metallica, Michael Jackson, Paul McCartney, R.E.M. and Johnny Cash. Like these music stars, the Czech-Irish couple are to appear in an episode of The Simpsons.

During their US tour in early October, Irglová and Hansard dubbed their own characters in Los Angeles for one of the episodes of the planned 21th series of the cult cartoon. A source close to the couple confirmed the information to the portal iDnes.cz on Wednesday. The episode should be broadcast in the Czech Republic in about a year and a half.

Homer buying a pub
If Hansard and Irglová appear in The Simpsons, it means one thing: They are known in the world of pop music to the extent that they will be easily to recognisable as cartoon characters. And a significantly large group of mostly young viewers perceive performing in the cult cartoon as a greater honour, on par with having a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

None of the famous people, who have appeared in The Simpsons and used their own voices, have ever complained about this a privilege – with one exception. Jack White, the guitar player and singer from the rock duo the White Stripes, who represent themselves using red and white color only, said it was a great honour to be on The Simpsons, but that they should have been white instead of yellow, he added, referring to the colour of the Simpsons. So let's see how Irglová and Hansard will do. Is Markéta Irglová going to have the Romanian look she had in the film Once?

The above-mentioned episode of The Simpsons is to take place in Ireland, where Homer and his father Abe will travel. Abe will take Homer Simpson to a bar in which he spent the best night of his life forty years back. According to US press reports, an important guest on the episode should be Belfast-born actor Kenneth Branagh, famous for his Shakespearean roles, who will play the pub landlord. Drunk Homer and his dad will decide to buy the pub, but find out that bars are no longer as lucrative a business as they were before the smoking ban was introduced in Ireland.

In their real life, Markéta Irglová and Glen Hansard cannot complain about lack of fame. A great deal of their success came after they received the Academy Award for music and for acting in the film Once. The film, which cost a mere USD 150,000 to produce, has made more than USD 20.5 million to date, and the song Falling Slowly has become a great hit all over the world. Hollywood continues to applaud the duo from Once, a Czech News Agency story quoted Reuters as writing Wednesday. The report says that the couple's Los Angeles concert last weekend, part of their US tour with Hansard's band The Frames, was very successful.

Is Lisa going to like them?
The response to the tour in US press suggests that it is not just Hollywood that applauds Irglová and Hansard. The magic of these pure artists continues to influence local audiences and critics. "Their music was aching and elegant, heartfelt and soulful," the Reuters agency said. The agency described Hansard as the focal point of the concert, thanks to his "gift of glib gab and wry humor between numbers… along with his raw-nerve-exposed taunt vocals". Irglová "offered gentle charm when she moved from her piano to the center-stage spotlight for lead vocals, and she played some acoustic guitar," Reuters says. "The rising success of the Swell Season is heartening, the band's organic, crafted music defying the conventions of calculated pop marketing," the agency says at the end of its story.

But it is hard to predict whether the melancholic song Falling Slowly and other songs by Irglová and Hansard will be appreciated by as demanding music fans as Lisa and Bart Simpson. Only past episodes can provide clues. While Bart prefers a dynamic mixture of rock'n'roll and hip hop (he played percussion in the episode with White Stripes and rapped with hip hop singer 50 Cent), Lisa is much more discriminating. Most contemporary music leaves her unmoved – the only music that stirs her is cool jazz.

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