The Simpsons writer Josh Weinstein has celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Marge Be Not Proud episode with a wild behind-the-scenes story involving the late actor Lawrence Tierney.
The season 7 instalment, which sees Bart accused of shoplifting and Marge planning a family portrait at the same store, aired in 1995 and has been branded the most ‘nervewracking record’ in the cartoon’s 31-year history.
Tierney guest-starred in the episode as Don Brodka, a security guard at the shop at the Try-N-Save discount store where Bart is caught stealing, and according to Weinstein, ‘terrorised’ the staff on the day of filming.
Recalling the tense shoot in a thread posted on Twitter, Weinstein shared a dramatic timeline of events, claiming the actor was ‘cranky’.
‘Noon: Car arrives at Fox. Tierney steps out, driver says he refuses to take him back & speeds off. It’s raining,’ Weinstein began.
’12:05 Tierney, 76, is led grumbling down the stairs to our basement recording room. I’m sweating.
’12:10 As @thatbilloakley & I talk to Tierney, a PA hands out lunches & opens a plastic container. The sound angers Tierney & he yells “I’m tryin’ ta talk with the director here!!”
’12:15 Tierney informs me & Bill he intends to do the character Don Brodka in a Southern voice. We somehow convince him to do it in his regular voice which we tell him we love (it’s why we hired him based on Reservoir Dogs.)
‘He seems dubious but I lead him to the mic.’
Weinstein continued: ’12:20 Recording lines in dead quiet studio but stop to explain jokes. The answering machine gag IS complex. We can’t convey to him why it’s funny so we go along w/his insistence it’s only good “if someone else is on the line” & I imitate/adlib Marge “replies” which we’ll edit out.
’12:30 Tierney’s still cranky. Whenever Bill & I, sitting at a nearby table, discuss something, Tierney’s all “What are you sayin’ over there?!” & I end up having to stand next to him & explain stuff.
’12:45 We finish. Tierney’s led away to new unsuspecting driver & we breathe sigh of relief.’
Summing up the day, Weinstein concluded: ‘It was the most nervewracking record ever but we have a feeling it’ll be a memorable performance. (The events here are seared into my brain but may not be in the right order.)’
Tierney died in 2002 aged 82.
He passed away in his sleep of pneumonia in a Los Angeles nursing home, where he had been residing for nearly two years.
The Simpsons is available to stream on Disney+.
Credit: Original article published here.