Only one episode of the entire run of The Simpsons was left off of the new streaming service, Disney+, and here’s why.
Almost the entire Simpsons library is available to stream, thanks to Disney+. Fans were excited to find out that the new streaming service was going to be the exclusive home of the series, meaning that anyone with internet service and a subscription to the House of Mouse’s platform now has access to all 30 seasons.
However, there is one very well-known episode that is noticeably absent from the streaming platform.
The episode in question is titled “Stark Raving Dad.” The 1991 episode was originally the season 3 opener. The popular (and now infamous) episode featured the voice of Michael Jackson. He was not officially credited in the episode, but it was later confirmed by producers that it was really the now-disgraced King of Pop.
Jackson voiced a character named Leon Kompowsky, a mental patient claiming to be the real Michael Jackson. Homer Simpson brings Leon home to help Bart celebrate Lisa’s birthday, and Leon ends up singing a song with Bart.
The episode was co-written and produced by showrunner Al Jean, and the episode was actually penned specifically for Jackson, who had been a fan of the show.
However, it was after HBO’s documentary Leaving Neverland, in which new allegations of abuse were made, that the decision was made to pull the episode. It was removed from FXX’s “Simpsons World” on-demand service, it was pulled from airing on television, and will never appear on future reissues of the show’s DVD sets. And now, it is not included in the 30-season library on Disney+.
Jean spoke out about the decision to remove the episode, saying he believes that part of the reason Jackson agreed to do the episode was because the show appealed to a young demographic. “I think it was part of what he used to groom boys,” Jean said.
After watching the HBO documentary and then going back to Jackson’s episode, Jean says that it opened his eyes to a lot about the pop star’s motives for doing the show.
“Honestly, it looks like the episode was used by Michael Jackson for something other than what we’d intended it,” Jean said of the episode, adding, “It wasn’t just a comedy to him, it was something that was used as a tool. And I strongly believe that.”
Superstar singer-songwriter Elton John would likely agree, considering he recently revealed how “disturbing” and “mentally ill” he found Jackson.
While the Simpsons team has never censored other episodes due to guest stars’ scandals, they stand by their decision to pull this one because “the episode itself has a false purpose.”
Producer James L. Brooks agrees with removing the episode. “I’m against book-burning of any kind, but this is our book and we’re allowed to take out a chapter,” he said about the removal.