Poking fun at the success of young-adult novels like Twilight and The Hunger Games that publishers keep unloading on America seems easy enough, but it figures the creative team behind The Simpsons would go the extra mile by hiring author Neil Gaiman to play himself in The Book Job, an episode that airs on Fox Sunday. In fact, Gaiman told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette during a conference call Friday that he got more than he bargained for when he became involved with the episode, which focuses on a certain idiot's latest get-rich-quick scheme.
What I expected was the normal kind of celebrity cameo, when Homer Simpson says, 'Not even Neil Gaiman could do that,' and they cut to me stroking my chin, recalled Gaiman. When they actually sent me the script, I discovered I was in it all the way through. It was enormously fun, and kind of weird and wonderful.
Anything weird and wonderful would almost certainly be perfect for Gaiman, whose success with books like Coraline helps explain his place in Simpson's plan to win over younger readers.
I'm still a huge believer in books, and I hate the idea that there are people who would say that teens are not ready for them, said Gaiman.
While it's probably no coincidence the episode has a title that's similar to that of the 2008 movie The Bank Job, The Book Job is actually closer to Ocean's Eleven -- and has the blessing of Andy Garcia, who's got a role in it with Gaiman.
It's sort of a heist movie where the heist is writing a book but when that kicks in, there's a giant stylistic leap, writer and executive producer Matt Selman told the Los Angeles Times. It's also a little sillier, a little more stylistic than most episodes. We're coming up on 500 episodes, but really, this is the kind of episode a show would only do if hadn't already had a couple hundred episodes.