After 30+ friggin’ years of being on the air, you’d think The Simpsons would be running out of stuff to skewer. But TVLine revealed that Springfield’s favorite nuclear family has a new target to go after — one that’s likely in direct response to Disney buying their former parent company, 20th Century Fox. In the upcoming season 31 episode “Bart and the Bad Guy,” Matt Groening and company are going after Marvel, Thanos, and the idea of spoiler culture in general. And they’ve got some wild cameos to help them out.
In the universe of The Simpsons (the Springfieldverse? The TSU? We’ll workshop it), Bart (Nancy Cartwright) and his peers love the “Vindicator” comic book movie universe, especially its supervillain Chinnos, a not-so-subtle nod to the MCU’s Thanos, played surprisingly by the friggin’ head of all things Marvel: Kevin Feige. When Bart manages to see a sneak preview of the latest “Vindicator” film (by being mistaken as a child suffering from a terminal illness, of course), he blackmails the makers of the “Vindicator” universe to get whatever he wants. If the movie studio execs — played, of course, by Joe and Anthony Russo, directors of Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame — don’t give Bart everything he wants, Bart will spoil the movie for everyone. So the Russo-voiced execs must fight back, leading to an all out war not unlike what happens in Captain America: Civil War.
It sounds to us like The Simpsons has not only Marvel in its comedic sights, but also the weaponization of “spoiler culture” in general. To be a fan of pop culture in this day and age is to constantly navigate a minefield of being caught up, and studios having spoiler embargo dates, and fans having their lives ruined by accidental spoilers. Heck, I recently started a Joker piece with a dang spoiler warning! Whatever your opinions are on the necessity of keeping every story beat hidden until everyone’s seen it, you will likely find something to laugh at — and perhaps something to be offended by — in The Simpsons‘ take on the loaded subject.
How satirical will The Simpsons get about the MCU? Can we expect more Disney clowning from the irreverent cartoon sitcom? And will they address why Bart is no longer into “Radioactive Man”? For answers to all of these questions, “Bart and the Bad Guy” airs February 23. For more on The Simpsons, check out where you can stream every single episode.