On May 11, 2003, a man once described by Luigi Risotto as an “Elektra recording artist slash-a political activist-a” made his debut as a character on The Simpsons.
In the episode entitled “Brake My Wife, Please,” which aired during the show’s 14th season, Jackson Browne voiced an animated version of himself, one who was introduced by Luigi – the Springfield restaurateur who, you may be shocked to discover, is Italian – to perform a song called “Marjorie,” a parody of Browne’s classic track, “Rosie,” from his 1977 album Running on Empty.
Mind you, first of all he threatens the assembled crowd with the playing of a song from his new album, but after they collectively express their disapproval, Browne grins and says, “Just kidding.”
Ah, but you may ask, “How does it come to this moment in the first place?” And you may additionally ask, “You’re not going to make me watch the episode to find out, are you?” These are both valid questions...and don’t worry, we’re not going to scream “spoiler alert!” for a 15-year-old episode, because whatever the statute of limitations on spoilers is, we’ve got to be past it at this point.
In a nutshell, Homer corrals Browne to help him win points with Marge, who has grown furious at him for his tendency toward selfishness. (Startling reveal, we know, but it’s true.) We have no idea how Homer managed to get Browne to sing at his backyard barbecue, though lord knows we wish we did, but whatever he said or did to make it happen, it worked.
Now, just in case you ever thought that the cast of The Simpsons ever get numb to meeting famous people, Dan Castellaneta, (the voice of Homer) handily disproved that in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. “I went to record with Jackson Browne at his recording studio when he guest starred on the show,” Castellaneta said. “I’m thinking, ‘Wow, this is cool. I’m recording with Jackson Browne.’ And then Jackson Browne said, ‘Wow, this is cool. I’m recording with Homer Simpson.’ I couldn’t believe that.”