This Is So Not About The Simpsons

Harry Shearer and Judith Owens are fascinated by America’s obsession with democracy, free markets and cosmetic surgery.

Harry Shearer has had a long and successful career in Hollywood, including writing and appearing in This Is Spinal Tap. He is a brilliant mimic and provides many of the voices for the Simpsons, including Montgomery Burns and Ned Flanders. His wife, Judith Owens is a highly regarded singer, her best-known album being Lost And Found. Originally from Wales, she moved to the USA in the 1990s. Although both live in America, they are able to look at it as outsiders and take on its culture and politics through music, comedy and real-life video footage.

Shearer begins by talking about America’s self-image, its ignorance of history and its lack of understanding of moderation. Owen then goes on to explain about Californians’ love for cosmetic surgery and Botox. Further topics covered include tele-evangelists, Americans’ dependence on oil, Michael Jackson, Vice-President Cheney and George Bush’s direct conversations with God (demonstrated by a very funny commentary to a video of Bush). Interspersed are songs like Addicted To Oil and Let the Flag Burners Fry On the Fourth Of July.

Unfortunately, apart from the songs, very little of the material is particularly novel or exciting. The criticism of Bush and Cheney is really quite gentle, which is a pity when they are such easy and deserving targets. Clearly Shearer’s and Owen’s hearts are in the right place and I was ready and waiting to be enthused by their incisive humour, but it never quite happens. A little more bite in their material would liven up the show. Quite enjoyable and not a waste of an hour but it could have been so much better.

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The Blurb

Who knew Smithers was married? The real life voice of Smithers, Mr Burns and Ned Flanders, Harry Shearer and his wife Judith Owen bring their comic views of America to the fringe.

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