Conchords in flight on SimpsonsSTACEY WOOD
Last updated 09:28 04/02/2011
You know you've made it when you get a guest spot on The Simpsons. Not many Kiwis have done it - Sam Neill, Lucy Lawless and now the Flight of the Conchords.
Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement guest-star as camp counsellors in the Simpsons episode Elementary School Musical, which airs on Four this Sunday. The stars of high school comedy Glee also appear in the episode, and Wellington's own Botanic Gardens get a shout-out.
Getting a guest spot on The Simpsons is a badge of honour for celebrities - other guests in this season include Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg and Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe. Even street artist Banksy designed an opening sequence "couch gag".
Simpsons writer Al Jean says he's a big Conchords fan and was keen to get them on the show. "We actually requested them, and I think their answer was 'Hell yeah', or even something stronger.
"I love their series, especially the episode where Jemaine slept with the Australian girl. We might have helped them get a few more fans over here, but they need no help in being popular."
Jean, 50, studied at Harvard in the early 80s and joined The Simpsons as one of the show's first writers in 1989. As the show runner, he now oversees all script writing, editing, and every aspect of the budget.
He says it is "surreal" that the show has become such a huge part of popular culture. "When you hear things like 'D'oh!' is in the Oxford English Dictionary, or the Pope endorses The Simpsons, you step back and go 'What?' "
He and his team of writers are now at work on the 23rd season, which will take them over the 500-episode mark.
"It's beyond comprehension. You know if you get to 100 episodes you're a hit, 200 is amazing, so I just can't believe it. When I joined the show I didn't think this was a lifetime calling, but it's the best thing in the world to work on The Simpsons."
See the Conchords in The Simpsons on Sunday at 6pm on Four. Get a sneak peek