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Weird Al

The Simpsons 25th Anniversary
by yo go re

He who is tired of Weird Al is tired of life.

In Season 19's "That '90s Show," a parody of parody singer Weird Al sang a parody of the parody song made popular by Homer's parody band who parodied a famous grunge song of the '90s, a decade that the episode parodied. If reading that sentence gave you a "Brain Freeze" then you just guessed the title of Weird Al's fantastically funny food-related tune.

Weird Al Yankovic wasn't the first person to do what he did, but he might as well have been: he did it better than anybody before or since, and it's his name that's synonymous with the form. But now he's been doing it so well for so long that he makes it look easy, and every amateur with a YouTube channel thinks they're qualified to do the same.

Is it any wonder we admire him?

"That '90s Show" actually marked Weird Al's second guest spot on The Simpsons - but we can tell this is definitely based on the later appearance because of the face. His first appearance was a more modern look for him, with longer hair, no glasses, and no mustache (aka, the Running with Scissors look); this figure represents the more classic Al.

However, other than that, he looked the same both times he was on. Like Leonard Nimoy, his model sheet was recycled for his second appearance. NECA could easily make a variant version just by changing the head. It is a perfectly serviceable Weird Al outfit, it must be said: a green Hawaiian shirt with orange flowers (sort of the opposite of the standard Simpsons "vacation" shirt), bluish-green pants, and orange loafers - probably a pair of Vans, since the artist owns about 100 pairs of the things. Granted, his are generally more colorful than that, but that would be too much to ask from a cartoon design.

His pose is pretty weird (no pun intended). He appears to be walking forward, because his left leg is extended farther than his right. Both arms are bent, but the right arm is bent more: it nearly reaches his side, while his left arm hovers out in the air, as though he were throwing his arm around someone's shoulder. Perhaps he's posing for a photo with a fan. He moves at the Springfield Four, and his hair sits just far enough away from his shoulders to ensure that his neck can turn freely.

Weird Al comes with one accessory: his accordion. It's a nicely detailed piece, with the treble keyboard on one end, the bass buttons on the other, and a bellows in between. It's done just as well as Willie's bagpipes, and unlike the rest of the musical intruments that have appeared in this line so far, it's not attached to the figure in any way: he just holds it in his hands. Good thing his fingers are spread to hit the keys!

As already-great as "That '90s Show" was, its inclusion of Weird Al just took things to an all-new level: Fridge Brilliance. Like we said, this was his second appearance on The Simpsons -
the first came in Season 14's "Three Gays of the Condo." In that episode, to make up to Homer after a fight, Marge brought Weird Al to Springfield to sing a little ditty about their relationship (based, in fact, on a song that he'd tried to parody in real life, but was unable to get permission for). How does a middle-American housewife not only get in touch with a major musical act, but also convince him to come to her hometown to sing a song for one person? She doesn't. But if Al already knew Homer - if, say, he'd parodied a song Homer wrote - then it makes a lot more sense!

We're not the only ones who admire Weird Al, which is why his figure is the hardest figure in Series 4 to find. At one point, someone was trying to sell him on Amazon for upwards of $12,000. It was a joke listing, surely, but it was also the only listing, because all the others had been bought. The toy is popular, is the point, and the only reason I have this one is because the card was too damaged for scalpers to bother with (the left edge was slightly bent in shipping). It's good to get a toy version of Weird Al, but don't overpay.

-- 04/18/15


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